— Staff of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) have sent updates on recent kidnappings and violence affecting EYN members and churches:
“Dear Brethren,” wrote Zakariya Musa, EYN head of Media, “thank God for the release of Reverend Zira Kwada’s wife and daughter who were kidnapped from Katsina. Your prayers really work. However, four lives were lost and a pastor’s house burnt at Kautikari, Friday [Feb. 25] in a continued attack on the area of Chibok LGA [Local Government Area], Borno State.”
Kautikari and the Chibok area have suffered several violent attacks already this year. EYN disaster relief staff Yuguda Mdurvwa reported to Brethren Disaster Ministries about the situation there: “Throughout the months of January and February Chibok area has been under attack by ISWAP and Boko Haram. Kautikari three times, 30 houses burnt, 3 churches, many people were killed. [In] Mbalala, 12 people were abducted, 1 church burnt down, houses and properties were destroyed. Kidnappers have intensified their activities in Niger, Zamfara, Kaduna, Sokoto [States] and many communities in the Northeast.”
Mdurvwa also reported on the effects of increased costs and inflation in Nigeria, increasing the difficulties for travel, in particular air travel at a time when traveling by road is still dangerous. “With all these challenges humanitarian service must go on, let’s pray for the Peace of the World.”
— The Church of the Brethren’s Southeastern District seeks a district executive to fill a half-time position available beginning Aug. 1. The district encompasses 15 congregations across five states: Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Alabama. Most congregations are rural, consisting of older members with some young families, and are served by pastors on a part-time basis. The district is characterized by a strong sense of family, shared conservative Brethren values, and a common sense of purpose. Following the loss of a significant number of congregations, the district seeks a leader who can promote healing and unity based on a common love of God and the core values of the Church of the Brethren including scripture as the inherent word of God. The office location is flexible. Responsibilities include directing, coordinating, managing, and leading the district ministries as authorized by the District Conference and implemented by the District Board; working with the congregations in calling and credentialing ministers and in the placement/call and evaluation of pastoral staff, providing support and counsel for ministers and other church leaders, and sharing and interpreting program resources for congregations; providing an important link between the congregations and the district and denomination by working collaboratively with the Council of District Executives, the Annual Conference and its agencies, and their staff. Qualifications include ordination, with ordination through an accredited program preferred; personal skills in organization, administration, and communication; commitment to the Church of the Brethren locally and denominationally, and willingness to work ecumenically; demonstrated leadership skills; pastoral experience preferred. Apply for this position by sending a letter of interest and resume to Nancy Sollenberger Heishman, director of the Church of the Brethren Office of Ministry, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Applicants are requested to contact three people to provide letters of reference. Upon receipt of the resume, the individual will be sent a Candidate Profile that must be completed and returned before the application is considered complete. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.
— Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) seeks a mobilization manager. CMEP is a partner organization of the Church of the Brethren. The mobilization manager is a fulltime position with responsibility to implement the annual mobilization strategy that equips CMEP’s network of supporters from across the country to advance the organization’s advocacy priorities (holistic peacebuilding, humanitarian and economic assistance, and human rights) related to the Middle East. Strong preference for candidates who can work from the CMEP office on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. For more information go to https://cmep.org/connect/work.
— Skippack Church of the Brethren in Philadephia, Pa., Mount Morris (Ill.) Church of the Brethren, and Hagerstown (Md.) Church of the Brethren are among congregations hosting and/or joining in community events for peace in Ukraine this weekend.
The Skippack Church has announced weekly community prayer services for Ukraine on Fridays at 6 p.m. (Eastern time), with an opportunity to join in via their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/skippack.church.
The Mount Morris Church shared in its weekly newsletter an invitation to a community candlelight vigil this Saturday evening on the lawn at the old Ogle County courthouse in Oregon, Ill.
In Hagerstown, the Herald-Mail reports that Church of the Brethren minister Ed Poling is one of the speakers at an interfaith vigil Sunday afternoon in the downtown Public Square. Among the other speakers are Volodymyr Grinchenko, chaplain at Hospice of Washington County, who has family in Ukraine; Mark Perman, rabbi and cantor at Congregation B’nai Abraham; Father Dennis Buck of St. Catherine’s Eastern Orthodox Church; Imam Momin Shahzad of the Islamic Society of Western Maryland; and Rhonda Keener of Hebron Mennonite Church, who is to share personal stories of working with Ukrainian women. The vigil will be livestreamed at www.facebook.com/HARCcoalition.
— The annual One Great Hour of Sharing offering is scheduled for Sunday, March 20, on the theme “Love Remains” from the scripture from 1 Corinthians 13:13: “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love” (NIV). Said the webpage for the event: “One Great Hour of Sharing reaches those near and far, sometimes changing the life of someone in distress in your own community, while at other times impacting the lives of those we may never meet but who are in need of our compassion. God provides the resources so that we can give back. It’s not the size of the gift that matters; it’s that we give of what we have. We’re simply giving back to God what is already God’s–and that means everyone has a gift to bring!” One Great Hour of Sharing donations to the Church of the Brethren denomination help fund ministries like Brethren Volunteer Service, Discipleship Ministries, Global Mission, and many others. Go to www.brethren.org/missionadvancement/offerings.
— Church of the Brethren Global Mission co-executive Eric Miller is requesting churches and districts to contact email@example.com to let him know about international church partners, projects, and missionaries they are supporting. He is wanting to connect on behalf of the denomination and the Church of the Brethren Global Communion.
— Antelope Park Church of the Brethren in Lincoln, Neb., is one of 29 faith communities in the area that are joining in “Faith to Forest,” an initiative including worship, education, stewardship, and advocacy. Said an article about the initiative: “What drives us to care for and about each other, our communities and our environment? For some it’s an internal moral compass. Those of us who belong to any of the world’s major faith traditions are called by sacred texts, example and tradition to love our neighbors and to care for God’s creation…. We’re focused on the special place of trees in creation, the gifts they give humanity, and our responsibilities to care for trees, particularly in a changing climate. Answering this call to care is based on love for people and places both now and in the future…. A healthy environment, including trees, is proven to benefit physical and mental health and fosters environmental justice. Healthy ecosystems provide food and other products and the jobs that come with them.” The initiative is linked to this year’s 150th anniversary of Arbor Day. Find out more at https://journalstar.com/opinion/columnists/local-view-faith-climate-and-the-future/article_86543e42-41e2-56ea-8783-9c6919c8450a.html.
— “New Community Project: Bringing Change to a World Seeking Change” is the title of the latest episode of the Brethren Voices community access television show. Said an announcement from producer Ed Groff: “New Community Project began nearly 20 years ago and today its website is stretched from Myanmar to Arctic Village, Alaska, home of the Native Gwich’in, through such places as New Mexico and the lands of the Native Diné, to the Ecuadorian Amazon and the Siona people. NCP works with local groups in the Dominican Republic to foster sustainable development in mountain communities. In South Sudan, the South Sudan Council of Churches and the Girlchild Education and Development Association are key program partners…. In Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, NCP has partners who support girl’s education, tailoring and microloan programs for women, as well as reforestation. A fundamental aspect of NCP is its Learning Tours to these areas…. The Tropical Conservation Center in Nigeria partners with NCP to restore mangrove forests in the Niger Delta. This involvement also promotes the use of wood‐conserving stoves and the development of alternative income sources to stem deforestation.” Brethren Voices host Brent Carlson interviews New Community Project director David Radcliff. Find Brethren Voices on YouTube at www.youtube.com/user/BrethrenVoices.
— Applications are open for the World Council of Churches (WCC) Eco-School on Water, Food, and Climate Justice, to be held April 24-May 1 at Stony Point Center in New York. This year the event is in-person and open to young people under age 30 from the North America region. “Participants will explore the ways in which the North America region has the ability and resilience to tackle climate change,” said an announcement. “They will also discuss how the political will to do so fluctuates under various administrations. Can North America lead the world in its endeavour to address climate change and its impacts on water, food, health and indigenous people? The Eco-School will help answer that crucial question.” Partners in organizing the event are the WCC Ecumenical Water Network in collaboration with various other WCC programs including the Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance, Economic and Ecological Justice, Youth Engagement in the ecumenical movement, Health and Healing and Ecumenical Indigenous Peoples Network (Mission from the Margins), along with additional partners Thrivent Charitable Impact & Investing, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. The deadline for applications is April 3. Go to www.oikoumene.org/news/applications-open-for-wcc-eco-school-2022-with-focus-on-north-america.
— The World Council of Churches (WCC) is joining calls for “equal treatment of black and brown people stranded at Ukrainian border,” said a release. The WCC has signed a letter of petition from the Pan African Women’s Association that also is supported by various parliamentarians, civil societies, and activists from across the globe. “In such crises, one would expect the affected population to receive equal and unbiased humanitarian aid irrespective of colour, race, or place of origin,” the letter said, in part. “Unfortunately, according to reports reaching us, this is not the case.” The petition highlights “the plight of black and brown people in Ukraine who are being systematically excluded from humanitarian evacuation operations,” said the release, quoting an experience shared on social media by an African student who watched fellow Africans and children being violently removed from a train crossing the border, while space was provided for domestic animals. “On the other hand, white Ukrainians have been allowed to go through the border without restrictions,” the release said. Find the release at www.oikoumene.org/news/wcc-joins-call-for-equal-treatment-of-black-and-brown-people-stranded-at-ukrainian-border.
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