— Remembrance: Agnes Abuom, 73, the first woman and the first African to serve as moderator of the World Council of Churches (WCC) central committee and who led the WCC’s 11th Assembly in Germany last summer, died on May 31 in her native Kenya following a short illness. She was an Anglican layperson, who also served as a president for the WCC from 1999 to 2006. Said WCC general secretary Jerry Pillay, “Dr. Agnes Abuom…was a woman of humble spirit, great compassion and steadfast faith. Though small in frame yet she possessed the energy, strength and vision for leadership far beyond the reach of many people her age. Her wisdom, patience, ability to listen, sensitivity and firmness all gave her the qualities of a dynamic and wise leader. The WCC was blessed to have her serve for many years in the ecumenical movement and then in the past 8 years as moderator of the central committee. Her passion for Christian unity, justice and peace are what prompted her to give sacrificial and untiring service to the WCC.” Read the full remembrance from the WCC at www.oikoumene.org/news/peace-pilgrim-agnes-abuom-dies-at-73.
— Remembrance: Karen Spohr Carter, 87, who served on the former Church of the Brethren General Board, passed away peacefully in her home in Daleville, Va., on May 24. She was born on June 25, 1935, in Berlin, Germany, the daughter of classical composer Norbert Schultze and actress Vera Spohr. The turmoil and struggles of having grown up in World War II Germany and experiencing several childhood evacuations helped shape her life and ministry marked by social and political activism. She emigrated to the US in 1959 and married L. Clyde Carter Jr. that same year. As a stay-at-home mother she volunteered with the American Red Cross and as a nurse’s aide. She completed her college degree and graduated summa cum laude from Hollins University, then attended the University of Tuebingen Seminary in Germany and Bethany Theological Seminary in Illinois to earn a master of theology degree. She was an ordained minister. Her term of service on the General Board was from 1977 to 1984. Most recently she was an active member of Second Presbyterian Church in Roanoke, Va. She was preceded in death by her husband of 60 years. She is survived by daughter Claudia Carter Egge of Cary, N.C., and sons and daughters-in-law Kermon (Jennifer) Carter of Daleville, Leonard C. (Michelle) Carter III of Los Angeles, Calif.; and grandchildren. A memorial service was held at the Glebe Retirement Community in Daleville on June 3. A full obituary is at www.rader-funeralhome.com/tributes/Karen-Carter.
— Remembrance: Carol Sherbondy White, 87, a former employee of the Church of the Brethren, passed away peacefully at home in Aurora, Colo., on May 31 with family around her. She worked for some years on the denominational staff of the Church of the Brethren at the General Offices in Elgin, Ill. She also worked as an administrative assistant at various companies and organizations including a mobile home company in Kansas City, the American Baptist Convention in Valley Forge, Pa., and Quaker Oats Research in Barrington, Ill. She volunteered at numerous organizations including CASA for child advocates in legal matters, Friends of Judson College, Opportunities Industrialization Center near Philadelphia, and Willow Creek pastor conferences, among others. She was married to Robert Sherbondy and had three sons, and later was married to Charles White. She is survived by her husband, Charles (Chuck) White; sons Steven (Donna), Dana (Dawn), and Russell (Mary); grandchildren and great-grandchildren. A memorial service is planned for July 22 at Parker (Colo.) United Methodist Church. Find a full obituary at www.abbottfuneralservices.com/memorials/carol-sherbondy-white/5202912/index.php.
— The Brethren Historical Library and Archives seeks an intern to work out of the archives at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. The program will provide the intern with work assignments and opportunities to develop professional contacts. Work assignments will include processing archival materials, writing descriptive inventories, preparing books for cataloging, responding to reference requests, and assisting researchers. Professional contacts may include attending archival and library conferences and workshops, visits to libraries and archives in the Chicago area, and participation in a Brethren Historical Committee meeting. BHLA is an official repository for Church of the Brethren publications and records. The collection consists of over 10,000 volumes, over 3,500 linear feet of manuscripts and records, over 40,000 photographs, plus videos, films, DVDs, and recordings. Term of service is one year, beginning in June 2023 (preferred). Compensation includes housing, stipend of $550 every two weeks, and health insurance. Requirements include a completed undergraduate degree, interest in history and/or library and archival work, willingness to work with detail, computer skills, ability to lift 30 pound boxes, full COVID-19 vaccination. Apply by submitting a resume to COBApply@brethren.org; Office of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; 800-323-8039 ext. 367. For questions, contact director of BHLA Jen Houser at email@example.com. The Church of the Brethren is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
The Church of the Brethren’s Office of Peacebuilding and Policy is highlighting the National Council of Churches’ “Impact Week” offering a series of webinars and other events:
Speak Up! Mental Health Monday Assisting Trauma Survivors is a webinar offered online on Monday, June 12, at 7 p.m. (Eastern time) with leadership from Church of the Brethren physician Dr. Kathryn Jacobsen as moderator. She is a member of the NCC’s relaunched Health Task Force.
Journey to Jubilee Reparative Justice Bible Study on Tuesday, June 13, at 7 p.m. (Eastern time). This is the launch of a six-week online Bible study that will continue every Tuesday thereafter at 7 p.m. (Eastern time). Register at https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_nsG6LkKEQXOXiU5xZXUB8w. Harvard Kennedy School’s Partnership with the NCC has produced a related resource, the Reparative Justice Bible Study toolkit, to aid congregations in learning about reparative justice. It may be downloaded from https://drive.google.com/file/d/1G5vPMPuGOE2jQ0kd-aedcm8aqtj5_D40/view.
Reach Out! International Impact is a panel discussion on Wednesday, June 14, at 4 p.m. (Eastern time) examining areas of the world that are in need of prayer and action for peace, such as Syria/Turkey recovery, the Middle East, and Ukraine.
Act Up! A Call to Action–Crises, Character, Change, and Country (Life in the Extremes) on Thursday, June 15, at 7 p.m. (Eastern time) is a “conversation reception” for Bishop Vashti McKenzie, the new president and general secretary of the NCC. The in-person portion of the event takes place at Kingdom Fellowship AME Church in Carrolton, Md.
Pray On! Watch, Pray, and Act–Prayer Call for Victims of Gun Violence on Friday, June 16, at 4 p.m. (Eastern time) is an online event and time for prayer on the eve of the anniversary of the Emmanuel Nine shooting, remembering those and other victims of gun violence and their families.
Read In! Read-in Day on Saturday, June 17, is a day on which congregations are encouraged to hold read-ins at their churches. “People bring their favorite author or ban book author to read out loud, silently, or together,” said an announcement from the NCC. “Our written words are too important to be banned or ignored. People are encouraged to take a photo of themselves holding their favorite book or banned book by an African American author. We don’t ban assault weapons, but we can ban books.”
Lift Up! Worship in Your Community on Sunday, June 18, is a time when the NCC is urging church members to “join your local community in worship supporting one another in praise, pain, and protest!”
Stand Firm! Justice on Juneteenth is a march taking place in Washington, D.C., on Monday, June 19, starting at 10 a.m. (Eastern time). The NCC is joining other faith leaders, students, and activists to “Protect Democracy, End Gun Violence, and Reparations,” said an announcement. “The Justice on Juneteenth March is a continuation of the National Council of Churches USA’s Journey to Jubilee Campaign to encourage President Biden to issue an Executive Order to establish a Commission to Study Reparations. The March will gather at the Rev. Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, DC.”
More information on all these events as well as registration can be found at https://nationalcouncilofchurches.us/ncc-impact-week.
— An update on the situation of the Ukraine Brethren, pastor Alex Zazhytko, and the Chernihiv congregation, has been received from Keith Funk who pastors Quinter (Kan.) Church of the Brethren. Funk has served as the main US contact for the Ukraine Brethren. “Brother Alex, his family and congregation are faithfully meeting and providing ministry in the city of Chernihiv,” Funk wrote earlier this week. “The congregation has continued their ministry of food distribution, and ongoing evangelism to their neighbors (Jesus in the Neighborhood!) Most recently, they held what was a kind of bread drive–having purchased loaves of bread and then sharing these with their neighbors. There has been fighting north of the city, and rockets have been launched primarily at Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine. What is significant, as this concerns Brother Alex in his location, is that these rockets fly overhead across the city of Chernihiv. I think it is safe to say that this is a constant and unnerving reality our dear ones live under.” Funk went on to give some details about the breach of the Kahkova Dam, which has been in the news this week. “ Upon the news of the explosion, Alex reports that 16,000 people initially lost their homes. Now, large areas are currently being evacuated due to flood waters from the Dnipro river and the Kahkova Reservoir. May we continue to keep our brothers and sisters in prayer, as we petition God for them and for an end for this senseless war.”
— From the Office of Peacebuilding and Policy and the National Farm Worker Ministry (NFWM) is an invitation to a webinar to learn more about farm workers in the United States. The online event titled “Introduction to Issues Affecting Farm Workers” is scheduled for Monday, June 12, at 2 p.m. (Eastern time) and will offer information and education. “Farm workers are among the poorest workers in the U.S.,” said the announcement. “Hazardous conditions are routine and include pesticide exposure, heat stress, lack of shade, and more. Farm workers across the country are risking their health and safety for low wages. To turn around the unjust agricultural system, farm workers are organizing to change their inhumane working and living conditions.” Presenters will be Elizabeth Rodriguez-Marquez, community organizer with La Unión Pueblo Entero, and Julie Taylor, executive director of NFWM. The webinar will be offered in English and Spanish. Go to https://nfwm.org/news/intro-to-issues-affecting-farm-workers-webinar.
–– Manchester University in North Manchester, Ind., is celebrating the 75th anniversary of peace studies with a special feature in the spring issue of its magazine. Manchester has the oldest undergraduate peace studies program in the world. The formal celebration of the anniversary will likely be this fall during Homecoming. The magazine also celebrates the university’s presidential transition. Find the spring issue online at https://magazine.manchester.edu/issue/spring-2023.
— The latest Dunker Punks podcast episode at https://bit.ly/DPP_Episode148 features Colby of Wichita (Kan.) First Church of the Brethren interviewing three teenagers from the congregation about their thoughts and opinions of Christianity, the Church of the Brethren as a denomination, and their own congregation. “They share the ways that they have been involved in their location, congregation, district, and denomination and how this involvement has shaped their personal beliefs,” said an announcement. “The interview ends with their hopes and vision for the future of our denomination.”
— The crowning of the 2023-2024 Berks County (Pa.) dairy princess and her court was held at Mohrsville Church of the Brethren and included two members of the congregation’s youth group. Sara Haag, who was crowned the dairy princess, is the daughter of Michael and Alicia Haag, is graduating from Schuylkill Valley High School and Berks Career and Technology Center, and plans to attend Reading Hospital Tower of Health and Sciences registered nurse program. Also from the congregation, Alexa Davis has served as a Berks County dairy ambassador for the past three years, is the daughter of Michael and Angela Davis, and attends Schuylkill Valley High School and Berks Career and Technology Center taking classes in dental occupations. Read the full article from LancasterFarming.com at www.lancasterfarming.com/country-life/youth/berks-county-dairy-princess-named/article_97f4b8bb-3091-530d-94b1-aa1d4d75ed74.html.
Find more Church of the Brethren news:
- Brethren bits for Sept. 29, 2023
- For a common spiritual cause: Prayer walk is sponsored by Virlina Peace Affairs Committee
- Mountville Church witnesses on gun violence
- Lynchburg church reaches out with ‘grieving service’ for a nearby death
- Manchester Church hosts the Sing Me Home Festival this Saturday, Sept. 30