— Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) is seeking applicants for the position of program assistant, a fulltime hourly position to be part of the Brethren Disaster Ministries team working out of the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. The major responsibilities of this position are to support programming and administration of CDS, providing administrative, programming, and clerical support to the associate director including support of volunteers, volunteer training and response, and assistance with general administration of Brethren Disaster Ministries. Required skills and knowledge include administrative office skills, ability to relate with integrity and respect, strong interpersonal and written communication skills, ability to manage multiple simultaneous priorities, ability to learn and competently utilize new software, ability to keep information and records confidential, and ability to uphold and support the basic beliefs and practices of the Church of the Brethren. An associate’s degree or high school graduation with equivalent work experience is required, as is proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite, particularly Word, Excel, and Outlook. Full COVID-19 vaccination is a condition of employment. This position will begin as soon as possible. Applications are being received and reviewed on an ongoing basis until the position is filled. Apply by sending a resume to COBApply@brethren.org.
The annual Pentecost Offering in the Church of the Brethren is on the theme “Gathering in Community,” inspired by the text from Acts 2:1: “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.” The suggested date for the offering is Pentecost Sunday, June 5. Find worship resources linked at https://blog.brethren.org/2022/pentecost-offering-2022. Give to the offering online at https://churchofthebrethren.givingfuel.com/offerings.
–– National Young Adult Conference 2022 is taking place this long weekend on the theme “I Am Because We Are” (Romans 12:5), from May 27-30 at Montreat (N.C.) Conference Center. The event sponsored by the Church of the Brethren’s Youth and Young Adult ministry offers people ages 18-35 a chance to enjoy fellowship, worship, recreation, Bible study, service projects, and more. Find out more at www.brethren.org/yya/yac.
— The first of this summer’s FaithX experiences is scheduled for June 2-13, taking a group age 18 and up to Rwanda to meet and worship with the emerging Church of the Brethren there and to help build churches. This is one of eight FaithX experiences planned for 2022, for junior highs, adults, and “We Are Able” participants. Find out more about this summer’s schedule for FaithX (formerly the Workcamp Ministry) at www.brethren.org/faithx/schedule.
–– Earlier this month a wind storm caused destruction in the Kwarhi community in northeast Nigeria, where the headquarters of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) and EYN’s Kulp Theological Seminary are located. A report from EYN head of media Zakariya Musa said that “it was another devastating nature for many people who lost their buildings, roofing, trees, food stuff, clothes, etc., in Kwarhi community as a result of heavy wind and rainfall experienced on Thursday 12th May.” The EYN president’s house “was miraculously not affected by two gigantic trees; one uprooted and the other broken down, covering the house in the middle,” said the report. “Adjacent to the house is the ICT office where its internet mast and power cables were brought down.” At the seminary, a big mahogany tree fell in front of the main building, and many student houses were also affected by the storm to various degrees. Wrote Musa: “The KTS houses, especially student’s quarters, need total reconstruction to allow for conducive learning environment, because most of the houses were locally built about five decades ago, which receive minimal maintenance.”
— The June Messenger Playlist is posted. Allison Snyder, who has served as an intern at the Brethren Historical Library and Archives, wrote a lovely reflection on choosing the music: “Inspired particularly by the creative imagery of the old, country church, the music I selected for this month sought to capture two themes: nostalgia and community building. There is a melancholy to nostalgia and community building has its challenges so some of the songs reflect that. The themes of the song ‘Creature’ permeate this collection, mostly due to it being a chronic and comfortable listen for me that validates and celebrates struggle in a stark and laid-bare honesty (YouTube comments sometimes run amok but reading through those for that song was uplifting nonetheless). Likewise, many of these songs, especially the hymns, act as a sort of comfort listen and a homecoming of some sort for me. The duality of emotions interwoven in the articles, of both melancholy and hope in community building and remembrance, is something I hoped to accomplish with this playlist, and I hope we continue to celebrate the ‘beauty of discovering’ ‘Half Alive’ sings about and the blessing that comes with striving together to live into God’s blessed community. Also, I know ‘Encanto’ is a wonderful, but probably overplayed, masterpiece, especially in homes with kids–but what better example do we have of Jesus in the neighborhood (or family) than that ending piece?” Go to www.brethren.org/messenger/playlists/playlist-june-2022.
— Beaver Creek Church of the Brethren in Hagerstown, Md., is celebrating more than 175 years in an anniversary event planned for June 11 and 12. The theme is “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.”
–– Quiltmaking groups in Michigan–Midland Quiltmakers and Beaverton Quiltmakers–donated 100 quilts to Orphan Grain Train for distribution to Ukrainian refugees in Lithuania and eastern Europe, reported Judy Harris in a letter published by Midland Daily News. The 100 quilts were picked up from Midland Church of the Brethren and were donated in memory of quiltmaker Nancy Hurtebuise.
— Shenandoah District has published a review of its 2022 Disaster Ministries Auction. “It was a great day,” said the e-newsletter article, in part, quoting Lee Ann Jackson’s Facebook comment. “One of the best outcomes from the 2022 auction was the involvement of youth,” the article went on to report. “They took part in the event’s setup, helped during the livestock auction and stepped in with food preparation. Gary Shipe noted a few young men came to assist with the physical labor of setting up and young backs were welcomed. The fast-food booth was primarily operated by young people, as was the donut-making project on Saturday. In addition, children who were too young to serve had the opportunity to spend some time on Saturday at the Children’s Activities tent, where they blew bubbles and engaged in games with volunteers from the Children’s Disaster Ministry. On the other side of the age range, several older donors are still living and still giving. Quilter Flora Coffman is 105 years old and is still producing items for the auction. Ned Conklin is 78 and still carving beautiful birds. This year, he provided three birds for the sale. Retired Pastor Gene Knicely travels in a motorized wheelchair and is still crafting items such as the marble tower donated this year. Most volunteers who set up and serve the meals, sell baked goods, staff the sales and information tables and conduct the quilt wrapping station are older. Yet, these faithful servants return year after year to do what they can to continue the ministry for those experiencing a disaster…. When all the great food is digested, the quilts are snuggled under, and the sawdust settles in the barn, the sole purpose of all this effort is to be able to humbly walk alongside those who are devastated and hurting after experiencing a disaster.”
— Kris Hawk, district executive minister for the Church of the Brethren’s Northern Ohio District, was one of the religious leaders in Ohio who signed an opinion piece submitted by the Ohio Council of Churches to the Cincinnati Enquirer titled “New concealed carry law is not an antidote to fear but an accelerant.” The article said, in part: “Out of grave concern for the well-being and safety of all Ohioans, we who give leadership to Christian churches that form the Ohio Council of Churches, are highly disappointed and extremely disturbed over Governor Mike DeWine’s recent signing of Senate Bill 215 into law. This new law surgically removes the requirements of permits, training, and background checks for those who elect to carry concealed weapons in Ohio. We are cognizant of the fact that many hold a contested belief that carrying concealed guns provides a sense of confidence in their ability to manage actual threats or perceived risks of violence, injury, and death around themselves, and, therefore, reduces their sense of vulnerability while offering protection and defense for themselves and others. However, experience informs us that there are others within the human family who hide their possession of guns not out of concern for their vulnerability but to render those around them as vulnerable. People in this category are not seeking to protect and defend humanity but instead, assault it….” The piece was published on May 21, before the latest mass school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Read the full opinion piece at www.cincinnati.com/story/opinion/2022/05/21/opinion-new-concealed-carry-law-not-antidote-fear-but-accelerant/9820342002.
— More than 160 University of La Verne (Calif.) students from diverse cultures celebrated the completion of their degrees with friends and family on May 20-21 during three cultural graduation ceremonies, reported a release from ULV, written by Tunmise Odufuye. The celebrations acknowledged the achievements of the class of 2022 and showcased the accomplishments of individuals within a cultural context, this year including the Multicultural Graduation Celebration, the Latinx Cultural Graduation Celebration, and the Black Cultural Graduation Celebration. “These celebrations supplement the main commencement ceremonies, which will take place at Ortmayer Stadium on the La Verne campus on May 27 and 28,” the release said. “At the cultural graduation ceremonies, students are able to share a short statement of appreciation about those who have supported them throughout their academic journey. Students also wore sashes representing their cultural upbringings and identities. Sash options included: Black/Kente cultural sash, Latinx/Recuerdo cultural sash, Middle Eastern/Arabic cultural sash, Multicultural/Unity in Diversity cultural sash, Native American/Indigenous cultural sash, Pacific Islander/Asian American cultural sash, and Rainbow/Lavender cultural sash.” The Center for Multicultural Services coordinates the annual multicultural graduation celebrations. Commented the release: “The center is one of the reasons many diverse students feel comfortable at the University of La Verne.” Read the full release at https://laverne.edu/news/2022/05/23/annual-cultural-graduation-celebrations-honor-student-accomplishments.
— The board of directors of the Brethren Mennonite Council (BMC) has announced the appointment of Annabeth (AB) Roeschley as executive director, effective June 1. The announcement noted that Roeschley brings years of advocacy experience to the position including experience on the leadership team of the Pink Menno campaign, being a key organizer of the Fabulous, Fierce & Sacred conference, and being an advisor for various Mennonite Church USA projects including the 2017 Future Church Summit Process Design Team and the 2019 Membership Guidelines Advisory Group. Roeschley succeeds longterm BMC executive director Carol Wise, who is now interim pastor at La Verne (Calif.) Church of the Brethren. The transition in leadership has included relocation of the BMC office from Minneapolis to Chicago.
— “We are excited to launch our new 30×30 webpage!” said an announcement from Creation Justice Ministries, which explained: “Have you heard about the proposed 30×30 initiative? The plan calls for stronger protections for our public lands, watersheds, and coastal ecosystems to protect 30 percent of lands and waters by the year 2030. The 30×30 initiative would encourage the conservation of God’s creation through habitat restoration, biodiversity goals, and the protection of terrestrial and marine ecosystems. The initiative is a great example of public policy that reflects creation justice: collaborating with local and indigenous communities and increasing equitable access to natural spaces. The movement highlights our earth’s inherent value–beyond resources and recreation. Our 30×30 web page is a compilation of information and resources relating to the 30×30 initiative.” Visit the 30×30 webpage at www.creationjustice.org/what-is-30-x-30.html.
–– Eunice Culp of West Goshen (Ind.) Church of the Brethren has been honored by Everence Financial, a Mennonite-related company, for her more than 51 years of service. She retired May 18 as vice president of Human Resources. She began work for the agency in 1970, when Everence was known as Mennonite Mutual Aid.
— Peggy Reiff Miller will be making a Zoom presentation for the Indian Valley Public Library in Telford, Pa., on June 9 at 7 p.m. (Eastern time). Her illustrated presentation, titled “Oceans of Possibilities: Turning Swords into Plowshares,” will talk about the transformations from a warring world to a peaceful world that took place through Heifer Project and the seagoing cowboy program following World War II. Registration is required at https://bit.ly/IVPLPlowshare.
— The World Council of Churches (WCC) has written a letter of condolence to the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) following the school shootings at Uvalde, Texas. “And again, it is on behalf of our worldwide fellowship of churches that I offer our sincere condolences to people and churches in the US,” wrote WCC acting general secretary Ioan Sauca on May 25. “Yesterday’s gun violence and the loss of life are horrific reminders of how people on earth fall short of the will of our just and loving God.” The innocence of children cannot be ignored, Sauca urged. “As I write, I am reminded of Psalm 6:3, ‘My soul is in deep anguish. How long, Lord, how long?’ Please know that our grief is deep, our prayers are strong and our fellowship offers our heartfelt sorrow,” Sauca concluded. Download the letter from www.oikoumene.org/resources/documents/wcc-letter-of-condolences-to-the-national-council-of-churches-of-christ-in-the-usa.
Find more Church of the Brethren news:
- Bring rocks to National Youth Conference!
- Office of Peacebuilding and Policy signs letter on Cuba, statement on Iran nuclear deal
- EYN women are freed after abductions, including two of the former schoolgirls from Chibok
- One church begot three in troubled northeastern Nigeria
- Andrew Hamilton to lead Southeastern District