Brethren bits

— The Shine Curriculum project seeks a full-time project editor for quarterly faith formation resources. The publishers value diversity and encourage people of color to apply. Shine is a joint project of Brethren Press and MennoMedia. Learn more at https://shinecurriculum.com/jobs.

— The Schowalter Foundation has given a $20,000 grant for youth curriculum to be part of the Shine curriculum jointly produced by Brethren Press and MennoMedia. The news was shared in a press release from MennoMedia. With the $20,000 grant, Shine will create a new module-based curriculum series to help congregations reach senior high youth grades 9 to 12. “Research shows that today’s youth feel isolated and long for deeper connections. One in four teens and young adults report feeling lonely at least ‘a little,’” said the release. “They are hungry for togetherness and real experiences, yet for many, church does not feel relevant. Nearly 60 percent of all Gen Z respondents to a Barna poll agreed that ‘church is not relevant to me personally.’ Youth leaders and pastors are searching for ways to respond and for resources that will help youth build deeper connections with their peers, other generations, and God.” The new module-based youth series will contain four to seven curriculum sessions rooted in Anabaptist faith and values. Find out more about Shine at www.shinecurriculum.com. Purchase Shine products from Brethren Press at www.brethrenpress.com.

— Bethany Seminary is celebrating a new Steinway B grand piano that was donated and purchased with money from a fund created by Nancy Faus-Mullen, professor emerita of worship and music, to support music and worship at the seminary. The piano was delivered to Nicarry Chapel at the end of the fall semester. “We are excited to bring this wonderful instrument to Bethany and we are so grateful to Nancy for her generosity,” said seminary president Jeff Carter in a release. The piano was selected by Dawn Ottoni-Wilhelm, Brightbill professor of preaching and worship, and Carolyn Ripp, Bethany’s organist for major events. The piano is already in use for weekly chapel services, and a piano recital is planned for next spring.
Members of Lafayette (Ind.) Church of the Brethren including Mark and Ann Cripe and Tom, Ann, and Jasmine Brown gathered to witness for peace and call for a ceasefire in Israel and Palestine last weekend. (Photos taken and submitted by Tom Brown)

Juniata College sent a delegation to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28), reported college president James Troha in his latest e-newsletter. “For the third consecutive year, a delegation of Juniata College faculty and students attended the United Nations Climate Change Conference as an observer organization,” he wrote. “This year’s conference, COP 28, was held from November 30 through December 12, 2023, in Expo City, Dubai, UAE. Juniata’s delegation is comprised of Matt Powell, professor of geology; Kushal Adhikari, assistant professor of environmental engineering; Elisha Stenger ’24; Bailey Saunders ’25; Isabel Kruse ’24; and Kei Takahashi ’24. ‘Our hope is to provide a one-of-a-kind experience for our students that bridges the gap between learning and action, and that specifically explores the interplay between scientific results and policy decisions,’ said Powell. ‘Last year, only 13 U.S. liberal arts colleges were admitted observers. We believe the experience helps us fulfill our mission to build ethical leaders in a global community, and advance our demonstrated commitment to climate action and international engagement.’ This year, Juniata was one of about 15 liberal arts colleges participating as observers.”

The newsletter also highlighted a unique Juniata event, “the collective effort to recreate the 1963 Book Move in preparation for the January 16, 2024, opening of Statton Learning Commons.” The photos below are side-by-side pictures from the book moves of 1963 and 2023.

Find the e-newsletter at https://juniata-college.shorthandstories.com/presidents-newsletter-december-2023/index.html

— In an update on the Powerhouse regional youth conference for the midwestern districts, the district youth cabinet for Northern Indiana District will be coordinating the event this year. The group is called “District Youth Serving Christ Openly.” The event has been planned by Manchester University in the past. Dates for this year are Feb. 16-18. Location is Camp Mack in Milford, Ind. “While Manchester University is not taking on the full planning, we will still have Church of the Brethren students from Manchester come and help us out,” said an announcement. “We will also have some similar things from the past as well. There will be workshops from Brethren Volunteer Service and Faith X. There will also be other workshop opportunities and worship services. Our main speaker this year will be David Radcliff, director of the New Community Project.” The theme is “Caring for Others and Caring for God’s Creation.” Cost is $99 for youth, $79 for adult advisors. Financial assistance may be available from the planning group. The organizers ask congregations to send information about how many youth may be coming from your churches by emailing lucaskauffman1210@gmail.com or v3kline@hotmail.com.

— The Global Women’s Project Steering Committee met last month in person at Wabash (Ind.) Church of the Brethren. “We thank Carol and Dennis Horn, Kaye and Jim Gaier, and Michelle Roudebush for hosting us!” said a report from the group. “We had a productive meeting and visited one of our Partner Projects, Growing Grounds, which the Wabash Church of the Brethren started. They began working with women who had been incarcerated and assisted them in the transition back into society. Their present focus is helping to provide affordable housing for families in transition.” The group announced that Katie Heishman has completed her term of service on the steering committee, and that they have welcomed Maddie Dulabaum from Carmel, Ind., as a new member. “We are still one person short on our Steering Committee, and would welcome suggestions from those of you who support us,” said the announcement. The group also is continuing to share its Advent Calendar on the website https://globalwomensproject.org under Educational Resources. “Participate with us in coloring the picture, and consider what gift you can give this Christmas. GWP is funded completely by your generosity, and your passion for our mission.”

— The latest episode of the Dunker Punks Podcast is now available at https://bit.ly/DPP_Episode158. Here’s the summary of the episode: “In this special bonus episode M. Gresh interviews Lydia Morris on her first time at Annual Conference. She gives an interesting point of view about her time at Annual Conference as well as how fellowship has been for her since she was married into it and we invite you to take a listen.”

— The latest episode of Brethren Voices interviews Chelsea Goss Skillen, director of Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS). Goss Skillen became the director in 2022 and previously served in BVS on two occasions. The second term took her on a cross-country bike trip promoting peace and volunteer service. She shares about that bike trip and her extensive history with the Church of the Brethren in this episode, videotaped when she conducted the orientation of the 334th BVS Unit at Camp Koinonia, near Cle Elum, Wash. Brent Carlson hosts. Find this and other episodes of Brethren Voices on YouTube.

Photo courtesy of East Dayton Fellowship, Facebook post

— A special mural has been installed at the East Dayton (Ohio) Fellowship, which is jointly affiliated with the Church of the Brethren and the Brethren In Christ. Said the church newsletter: “The image above is of a mural painted for our church on a large stretch of plywood by a local graffiti artist. Etch (as this artist is known) has depicted the holy family as East End homeless people in the midst of a tent encampment. In so doing, he has visually distilled some profound truths. Jesus entered the world at the margins, among poor and overlooked people; he had no place but a manger to lay his infant head. Moreover, Jesus remains in this world among the poor and homeless. He told us, in fact, that whenever we serve the needy, we are really serving him! To see him in and as a homeless east ender is to see clearly. Thanks to Etch for donating this large piece for us to hang on the front of our building in this season!”

A Facebook announcement from the Brethren Housing Association in Harrisburg, Pa.
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