Brethren bits for April 22, 2022

— The Church of the Brethren seeks applicants for the position of director of Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS). This is a full-time salaried position. A successful candidate will be an energetic and dynamic leader who connects well with people of all ages, is skilled at leading through programmatic change, and facilitates Christian discipleship formation. Major responsibilities include directing the program, ministry, and staff of BVS and FaithX (formerly workcamps). The new director will join a review and reimagining of BVS programs that is currently in process. This position is part of the Service Ministries team and reports to the executive director of Service Ministries. Required skills and knowledge include excellent written and oral communication in English; skills in program development, management, administration, and volunteer management; effective training and presentation skills; skilled competency in Microsoft Office component applications, particularly Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, with the capability and willingness to learn new software; knowledge and experience in budget development and management; skills at supervision and mentorship of staff and staff volunteers; ability to work with minimum supervision, be a self-starter, and adapt to change; ability to act within a multicultural and multigenerational team environment; ability to articulate, support, and lead from the core values of the Church of the Brethren and to operate out of the vision of the denomination and the Mission and Ministry Board; ability to relate with integrity and respect within and beyond the organization. Full COVID-19 vaccination is a condition of employment. Five years of proven experience in social services, program development, and administration, and three years of experience in volunteer management are required, with previous international living experience preferred. A bachelor’s degree is required, with an advanced degree in a related field preferred. This position is based at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Applications are being received and will be reviewed on an ongoing basis until the position is filled. Send a resume to COBApply@brethren.org or to the Office of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; 800-323-8039 ext. 367. The Church of the Brethren is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Material Resources this month completed shipments of hospital supplies and equipment to Guyana and to Haiti. Material Resources is a Church of the Brethren program that collects, warehouses, and ships relief goods on behalf of a number of ecumenical and humanitarian organizations, working out of the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. Staff member Scott Senseney loaded two containers filled with Brothers Brother Foundation donations. On April 14, one of the 40-foot containers was shipped to Guyana, filled with hospital equipment including 16 hospital beds and mattresses, exam tables, wheelchairs, pediatric scale, bedside cabinets, and patient room recliners. On April 19, the other 40-foot container was shipped to Haiti, containing hospital supplies and equipment. These shipments were from donations that had been inspected and organized on pallets by staff Winni Wanionek and Jeffrey Brown. Glenna Thompson, as with all shipments, organized and filled out the paperwork in order to get the containers on their way.

— The Church of the Brethren’s South/Central Indiana District seeks candidates for district executive minister. The district includes 40 congregations in the middle of the state of Indiana, representing a wide range of theological views. The district seeks good connections and relationships between the executive minister, pastors, and congregations. The shift to a full-time position envisions strong connections out of which congregations will be able to reach out in service and witness more effectively to Christ. The executive minister’s commitment to Jesus Christ and the scriptures is essential. This full-time position is available Sept. 5, 2022. The executive minister functions as executive officer of the District Board, facilitates the implementation of the core ministries of the district, serves as custodian of all official papers of the district, serves as an ex-officio member of the District Board (without vote), assists congregations and pastors with search and call of ministerial leadership, assists congregations and pastors with the development of wholesome relationships, and assists congregations with church growth initiatives. Qualifications include a clear commitment to Jesus Christ demonstrated by a vibrant spiritual life; commitment to the Seven Core Values of the district; commitment to Church of the Brethren faith and heritage; strong personal, communication, and mediation skills; strong administrative, management, and budget skills; respect for theological diversity; willingness and ability to travel across the district on a regular basis. A master of divinity degree is preferred, as well as a minimum of five years of pastoral experience. Apply by sending a letter of interest and a resume to Nancy Sollenberger Heishman, Director of the Office of Ministry, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; officeofministry@brethren.org. Applicants will be asked to complete a candidate profile on receipt of resume. Applicants are requested to contact three or four people to provide letters of reference. Applications will be received until the position is filled.

— Camp Swatara in Bethel, Pa., is posting the following job openings for the 2022 season: lifeguards, counselors, housekeeping, kitchen, grounds keepers (Building & Grounds). Applicants can visit www.campswatara.org/full-time-employment-opportunities for job description and to apply.  

– The Annual Conference is sharing an announcement that there will be no onsite quilting at the 2022 Conference. “Due to some lingering hesitations about the need for people to be in close proximity to one another during the quilting, the Association for the Arts in the Church of the Brethren (AACB) will not be hosting the auction or quilting at Conference this year,” said the announcement from AACB coordinator Tara Hornbacker. “There will be a presentation to the moderator. Send your quilt blocks to Margaret Weybright, 1801 Greencroft Blvd., Apt. #125, Goshen, IN 46526. We plan to return to quilting at Conference, along with hosting the auction next year in Cincinnati. See you there!”

— Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) has been highlighted in an article on the “Cool Deeds” website. The article promotes CDS as one of the “Share Good, Do Good, Feel Good” options for readers to support. Go to www.cooldeeds.org/post/view/760.

— Brethren Disaster Ministries is celebrating “all the rebuild volunteers who have served in many ways to support our projects!” Said a Facebook post for this National Volunteer Week: “You have helped us to support Hurricane Matthew and Florence survivors in the Carolinas for the last five years, ending last week! You have signed up to serve on our new site in Waverly, Tenn., that opens next week and short-term responses around the country. And you have supported the Dayton, Ohio, tornado response during a pandemic for survivors like Ms. North. The work that BDM volunteers and supporters did to transform the ‘Little Marlin’ house has offered the opportunity for her to possibly go from being homeless for 10 months to owning her own house she can welcome her family to. THANK YOU!” Find an article about North and the house, rebuilt by Brethren Disaster Ministries volunteers, from Spectrum News at https://spectrumnews1.com/oh/columbus/news/2022/04/13/tornado-survivor-moves-one-step-closer-to-homeownership.

— Brethren Disaster Ministries also issued a reminder about the upcoming disaster relief auction in Shenandoah District: “It is time to put the Shenandoah District Disaster Ministries Auction on your calendar: May 20 & 21!” Find the schedule and follow the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ShenandoahDistrictBrethrenAuction for updated information.

— Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., has announced that its commencement this year is scheduled for Saturday, May 7. “Bethany will honor graduates from the Class of 2022 during an Academic Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 7, at 10 a.m. in Nicarry Chapel,” said an announcement. “The featured speaker is Kelly Burk, MDiv, a Bethany graduate who serves as Chaplain and Director of Quaker Life at Earlham College.” The seminary will provide a live stream via Zoom.

— Dauda Gava has joined Bethany Seminary as visiting international scholar-in-residence for the Spring semester 2022. Gava is provost of Kulp Theological Seminary, the seminary of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria), located near EYN’s headquarters in Kwarhi in northeast Nigeria. He is a Pauline scholar and previously collaborated with Bethany’s Dan Ulrich “to team teach a well-received course on the Book of Romans. They offered that course this year as a January intensive, with Dr. Gava teaching from the Technology center in Jos [Nigeria],” reported a Bethany release. During this Spring semester, Gava has taught a course on Paul’s letter to the Philippians and will be writing a commentary on the book of Titus. He also preached for the Bethany Seminary chapel service on April 6. 

— “Join us for our seminar ‘Children as Peacebuilders: Equipping Resilient Leaders- Environmental Justice,’” invites On Earth Peace. The event is offered at 12 noon (Eastern time) on April 23. “Bring your children!” says the invitation. The agency’s Environmental Justice organizer Calum Clow, and Children’s Peace Formation organizer Hadil Alhayek, will be addressing Environmental Justice as part of On Earth Peace’s Earth Day activities, equipping caregivers and educators with tools–such as storytelling using the Read Aloud Program–to talk to children and the community about issues surrounding environmental justice. Go to www.onearthpeace.org/cap_environmental_justice.

— Atlantic Northeast District is holding a special event on May 14, under the theme “The Church: Alive to Thrive,” hosted at Ephrata (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. Said an announcement: “Gathering from different areas within ANE District, representing ethnically and culturally diverse congregations, we will worship, fellowship, and share testimonies about The Church: Alive To Thrive. La Iglesia: viva para prosperar Encuentro de congregaciones desde diferentes lugares dentro del Distrito ANE, representando la diversidad Étnica y Cultural, adoraremos, compartiremos y proporcionaremos testimonios sobre la Iglesia: Vivo Para Prosperar. Join us in this inspirational time of connection and relationship building with the expectation to learn and return to your own congregation with renewed excitement about how God is working among us! ¡Únase a nosotros en este tiempo inspirador de conexión y construcción de relaciones con la expectativa de aprender y regresar a su propia congregación con entusiasmo renovado sobre cómo Dios está trabajando entre nosotros!” The gathering will address the questions: What is keeping your church alive? ¿Qué mantiene viva a su iglesia? How does your church thrive? ¿Cómo prospera su iglesia? How does your church call out the gifts of persons in your midst? ¿Cómo llama su iglesia a los dones de las personas entre ustedes? How are leaders called out within your church? ¿Cómo se llama a los líderes dentro de su iglesia?

— Pacific Northwest District has begun holding special times of prayer led by the Envisioning Team of Peggy Liley, John Jones, Howard Ullery, and Colleen Michael. The evening online events are held on the first and third Thursdays of the month via Zoom, according to an announcement. The intent is “for a time of prayerfully discerning how best to encourage our congregations and faith communities to reconnect and stay connected in intentional community so we can explore together what God might have in mind for us…. We anticipate this being a time of sharing and prayer concerns for our congregations and thoughtful discernment about the direction our District will be heading specifically in terms of ministry and organization.”

— Virlina District has announced that its Kentucky tornado offering is complete. “District congregations and individual members contributed $12,404.50…. The Disaster Response Committee of the district matched this amount. As a result, we have sent $24,809.00 to Brethren Disaster Ministries. We appreciate the generosity of our people and congregations in giving to this effort!”

— Cross Keys Village: The Brethren Home Community in New Oxford, Pa., is offering educational events for those living with or caring for people with memory loss and dementia. “Making a Difference in the Lives of People with Dementia in the Adams & York Area” is offered in person and online on May 13 from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (Eastern time) led by author and speaker Loretta Woodward Veney. Register at www.crosskeysvillage.org/difference. “Memory Care Basics,” an interactive three-part series, begins on May 11. Memory care coach Kim Korge will present three afternoon sessions, providing a thorough orientation for family caregivers and professionals who need a better understanding of neurocognitive disorders. Register at www.crosskeysvillage.org/basics.

— McPherson (Kan.) College has announced its Spring Horizon Fund Grant recipients. “For more than a decade, McPherson College has been encouraging the entrepreneurial ideas of its students by awarding mini-grants that help students develop innovative solutions to common problems,” said a release. “This spring, the Horizon Fund is providing grants to 15 students with ideas ranging from a car rental service to daycare to fitness training. The individual grants range from $100 to $500 and students have the option to reapply for continued funding of existing Horizon Fund Grant projects.” Abbey Archer-Rierson, chief of staff and head of the entrepreneurship program at McPherson, said, “The grants have supported a variety of wildly creative ideas and this most recent round of funding is no exception.” Find the full release at www.mcpherson.edu/2022/04/mcpherson-college-announces-spring-horizon-fund-grant-recipients.

– Mutual Aid Agency (MAA) is announcing the Kingdom Advancing Grant program from the Brotherhood Mutual Foundation for congregations carrying out innovative church programs. MAA is an independent insurance agency based near Abilene, Kan., providing property insurance to the Church of the Brethren and its members and beyond, and is an agency partner of the Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company. The Kingdom Advancing Grants “will be awarded to innovative Christian church programs that are transforming local communities through ministry,” said a release. “The goal is to support sustainable initiatives that then can be replicated by other Christian churches by awarding up to $100,000 in grants. Grant recipients will be announced July 2022.” Criteria for the grant includes church teams and programs focused on planning a new initiative or revitalizing a recent initiative that addresses at least one of the following objectives: increasing community engagement; meeting real and practical human needs; establishing creative, transformative, or collaborative revenue streams to help the church expand its impact. In order for an initiative or program to be considered for a grant, it must be directly overseen by a Christian church that meets each of the following requirements: a tax-exempt charitable organization as described in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code; in good standing with the IRS; if the 501(c)(3) tax exemption was previously revoked by the IRS, it must have been reinstated for at least one full year prior to applying for the Kingdom Advancing Grant; based in the United States. Each grant recipient will be paired with an experienced ministry leader who can provide guidance and assistance. Applications are open through May 1 at www.brotherhoodmutual.com/kingdom-advancing-grant. MAA’s Church of the Brethren Ministry Partner landing page is at www.brethren.org/insurance. Find the MAA website at https://maabrethren.com.

— Anabaptist Disabilities Network is the recipient of the 2022 Mennonite Health Services’ Innovation Grant, which will go towards the development of an Anabaptist membership curriculum for youth and adults with intellectual disabilities. A release from the network reported that “ADN’s membership curriculum will include an overview of the biblical story, a brief history of the Anabaptists, an exploration of Anabaptist beliefs and practices, and a detailed explanation of the practice of baptism in Anabaptist tradition. The curriculum will be written for adults, easy to read and illustrated. The teacher’s book will help teachers accompany their students as they consider a choice for baptism. Membership curriculum and Bible studies for youth/adults with intellectual disabilities are some of our most frequently requested resources.”

— Global Scholars Canada is hosting a talk by Rebecca Dali titled “Women in the Cross-Fire: The Girls of Chibok and the Long Road to Healing,” with respondent Elaine Storkey, author of Scars Across Humanity: Understanding and Overcoming Violence Against Women. Dali is a member of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) who has been a leader in responding to and aiding women and children, particularly widows and orphans, affected by violence in northeast Nigeria. Dali completed a master’s thesis as well as a doctoral thesis with Global Scholar’s Wendy Helleman, and “in both she dealt with the effect of violence on women, children and the family in the context of ethnic unrest/riots,” said the announcement. She has been recognized for her work through the NGO she founded called the Center for Caring, Empowerment and Peace Initiative (CCEPI), in 2017 receiving the Sergio Vieira de Mello United Nations Humanitarian Award. The Zoom event takes place on Saturday, May 14, at 11a.m. (Eastern time). To receive the link for this event, email Global Scholars Canada at admin@globalscholarscanada.ca or go to the website www.globalscholarscanada.ca/news-stories/may-14-11am-est-rebecca-dali-on-women-in-the-cross-fire-the-girls-of-chibok-and-the-long-road-to-healing.

– The National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) is mourning the shooting death of Patrick Lyoya at the hands of the police in Grand Rapids, Mich. The NCC is sharing a prayer by its chief operating officer Leslie Copeland Tune, written for the NCC’s Holy Week of Prayer series: “We are triggered by yet another unnecessary death by police of an unarmed Black man, this time in Grand Rapids, Michigan. We are weary of the ways in which racial hatred and vitriol continue to erode the fabric of this nation, making the promise of America seem to be a dream deferred for far too many. We pray for the loved ones of Patrick Lyoya and all those who know the pain they are experiencing right now. We pray for our nation to break this confluence of systemic racism, inhumanity and violence by police who are supposed to protect and serve. We pray for Black and Brown communities, too often plagued by violence and many of whom believe we are not safe, including and especially with law enforcement. Lord, have mercy.”

— Church World Service (CWS) is calling for people of faith “to welcome vulnerable people with warmth and open arms, and urge Members of Congress to do the same. We invite faith leaders and faith organizations to sign onto this important faith letter” about the Biden administration’s “planned end to the inhumane Title 42 policy by May 23rd, 2022.” CWS explained, “Since the announcement to end the policy, new anti-asylum measures have been introduced in an attempt to keep Title 42 in place, including the Public Health and Border Security Act of 2022. This bill would make it difficult or impossible to rescind Title 42 and would force the CDC and DHS to keep border expulsions in place–contradicting the CDC’s scientific analysis which found that the expulsion policy is not necessary to protect public health.” The sign-on letter is available through April 25 at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdJ-h9dK8se0v-Ow5aE5RGeGy_Oy5ZCeclMnQI6ipcNr9xLuQ/viewform.

— Church agencies are urging action for those threatened by famine in eastern Africa. An estimated 15.5-16 million people are in urgent need of food assistance in Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya, according to the Intergovernmental Government Authority on Development. Reported in a release from the World Council of Churches (WCC), of these numbers, 6 to 6.5 million are in Ethiopia, 3.5 in Kenya, and 6 million in Somalia. “It is also anticipated that floods and insecurity in South Sudan will push another 8 people into acute food insecurity. In the region, 29 million are facing high food insecurity.” Read the full release at www.oikoumene.org/news/as-severe-drought-hurts-food-security-in-eastern-africa-church-and-aid-agencies-call-for-urgent-action.

— The National Religions Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) is requesting letters from people of faith to members of Congress urging them “to vote to end the restrictions on transferring detainees out of Guantanamo. The House and Senate Armed Services Committees are now beginning to draft their respective versions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). In the past, this bill has been used by Congress to place restrictions on transferring Guantanamo detainees to the U.S. for any reason, even for trial or for necessary medical treatment. Congress has also used the NDAA to place limits on transfers to other countries with bureaucratic hurdles that make transfers unnecessarily complicated. For the past three years, the U.S. House has voted to lift the restrictions on transfers to the United States in their version of the NDAA, but the Senate has not,” explained the NRCAT action alert. Find out more at https://nrcat.salsalabs.org/close-guantanamo-2022-3/index.html. View an NRCAT Facebook post and webinar recording about the Guantanamo Bay detention center, first posted in January of this year, at https://fb.watch/cyqpchqga2.

— Creation Justice Ministries is sharing an Earth Day Sunday website with numerous resources for congregations to use in worship and other settings. “The last five years have shown that the climate crisis is no longer something to worry about in the future–it is affecting our communities right now,” says the introduction, in part. “It has become clear that climate change is not merely a problem for the church to prepare for in ten or twenty years; it is time for the church to prepare right now. Around us, God’s people and planet are facing the impacts of the climate crisis. As the world groans in travail, the church ought to partner with God in cultivating a redeemed, restored, and resilient creation. It is time for Christians to be agents of ‘Faithful Resilience.’” The theme for the 2022 resources is “Weathering the Storm: Faithful Resilience.” The webpage includes links to free worship resources, Bible studies, sermon starters, a church crisis map, faithful resilience videos, and action steps. Go to www.earthdaysunday.org.

— Dawn Blackman, outreach pastor at Champaign (Ill.) Church of the Brethren, is one of the speakers for the YWCA of the University of Illinois’ virtual event titled “We Can’t Wait to Close the Digital Divide” scheduled for April 28. The event is part of the YWCA USA’s annual Stand Against Racism campaign that happens every April to “raise awareness about the negative impact of institutional and structural racism in our communities and to build community among those who work for racial justice,” said an announcement on the “Smile Politely” blogsite. The 2022 theme is “We Can’t Wait.” Blackman will be part of a panel discussion on the “impact of racism on access to technology and the subsequent inequities in education, healthcare, employment,” moderated by Lemond Peppers, community engagement coordinator for the city of Urbana. Also on the panel are Sam Hall III, program director with DREAAM, and Stephanie Burnett, Move to Work and Community Program Manager for the Housing Authority of Champaign County. Go to www.ywcauofi.org/we-cant-wait-digital-divide.

— Tim and Byron Joseph, who have been part of Onekama (Mich.) Church of the Brethren, were highlighted by the Manistee News Advocate recently as “two-thirds of popular singing group The Nephews…. The cousins grew up next door to each other as part of a larger family that was music oriented. Some of their earliest recollections are attending church on Sunday with the family at Church of the Brethren in Onekama where music played a big role in their services. Both Tim and Byron Joseph couldn’t help but smiling a little when they recalled the debut performance of The Nephews when they played together 62 years ago for the Junior Clio Club in Onekama. Many songs later, they still are entertaining audiences with their smooth harmony. They possibly are the longest-performing musical group in Manistee County.” Read the article titled “The Nephews Spread Joy Through Music” at www.manisteenews.com/news/article/The-Nephews-spread-joy-through-music-17084170.php.

— Marci Frederick, director of libraries at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Va., is researching Brethren communion bread practices, including recipes, spiritual practices while making bread, purchased bread, and how the bread is used. In an announcement of a survey for this research, she requests “your personal and congregational stories as she attempts to track how recipes spread and changed.” The survey is open through June 30 at https://emu.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_6QiDm3DEgvRGsU6. For more information on this Eastern Mennonite University sabbatical project, feel free to contact Ms. Frederick at marci.frederick@emu.edu.

— Mary Dulabaum of Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, Ill., who works as director of marketing and communications at Judson University, will receive the Marguerite Henry Award for Communications and Technology at the YWCA Elgin 38th annual Leader Luncheon on May 12. She is among 28 women to be honored in a number of categories.


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