— Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, and one of the places people are coming together to mark the occasion is on Facebook. A “Brethren Volunteer Service–75th Anniversary” Facebook group has been created, and more than 300 people have joined. A flurry of photos, stories, and other recollections have been filling the page’s feed, from the earliest years of BVS up to the present. It’s a public group, so anyone can view the page at www.facebook.com/groups/709470850904528.
— Registration for National Older Adult Conference (NOAC) will open online on May 1 at www.brethren.org/noac. Those who need to reserve a room in the Terrace Hotel due to mobility issues may register early, from April 24 to 28. Terrace is the housing option closest to the NOAC meeting area. For a paper registration form, call 800-323-8039 ext. 303 and leave a voicemail message with your name and mailing address.
— The Church of the Brethren’s Discipleship Ministries has announced that the registration cost for the 2023 New and Renew Conference will increase on April 1. “Be sure to register today at www.brethren.org/discipleshipmin/newandrenew,” said an announcement. “We are excited to highlight a series of New and Renew workshops, which Ryan Braught will offer! To learn more about New and Renew, see a list of workshop offerings, visit www.brethren.org/discipleshipmin/newandrenew.”
— “Disciples in a VUCAH World” has been announced as the Directed Independent Study (DISU) course related to the New and Renew Conference, to be led by Stan Dueck with sponsorship from the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership. Those attending the conference, either in person or virtually, may participate in this course scheduled for May 16-23. “How might churches relate with people who live in a North American culture that is increasingly both non-religious and multi-religious?” said an announcement. “The course will explore discipleship and congregations in a VUCAH world (volatile, uncertain, chaotic, ambiguous, hyperconnected). TRIM/EFSM students will receive one credit in Ministry/Ministry Skills upon completion. This also qualifies for a Brethren College/Connections Experience.” The registration deadline is April 12. Go to https://bethanyseminary.edu/brethren-academy/brethren-academy-course-listings/brethren-academy-course-registration-annual-trim-payment.
A silent auction will be held by the Program and Arrangements Committee at the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio, this summer.
The idea emerged during a discussion about how to intentionally contribute to the vitality of and increase traffic in the Exhibit Hall. However, it also offers an opportunity to raise some additional funds. Two-thirds of the proceeds will support Brethren Disaster Ministries, with the remaining one-third to offset Annual Conference expenses as we continue to face challenges brought on in large part by the pandemic.
You can help!
First, contribute an item to the auction. Donations are requested in three categories:
1) Experiences: Included in this category are things like tickets to events, use of vacation homes, trips, classes, a living room concert, and so on.
2) Gift baskets: Baskets may be assembled around a theme (perhaps a retreat or family game night), organizational “swag,” books (perhaps a recommended reading list), regional products, food, and so on. Be creative.
3) Arts and craft items: Included in this category are quality and unique hand-made items like woodworking, pottery, fabric art, paintings or drawings, and so on.
To make a contribution, go to www.brethren.org/ac2023/silentauction to submit your contact information and a description of the item you wish to contribute. Online submissions must be received by June 1. Actual items must be onsite at Annual Conference no later than 10 a.m. on Tuesday, July 4. Arrangements can be made to ship them to the Annual Conference office in advance if you are not planning to attend Annual Conference.
Second, volunteer to assist with the auction. Volunteers will be needed to staff the auction throughout Annual Conference. Volunteers will assist with receiving and staging auction items, registering bidders, and identifying/notifying winners. Anyone interested in volunteering can sign up for a shift at www.signupgenius.com/go/10C0945AFA722A4FCCF8-annual
Third, visit the auction and bid–over and over again. Once onsite at Annual Conference, attendees are encouraged to visit the silent auction to bid on your favorite items (and browse through the exhibits while you are there). Make sure to return throughout the week to see if you have the winning bid or if you need to enter a higher bid. Bidding will open at 12 noon on Tuesday, July 4, and end at 2 p.m. on Friday, July 7. Winners will be announced by 4:30 p.m. that day and will have until 7 p.m. to return to the Exhibit Hall to pay for and pick up their items.
— In another announcement from Discipleship Ministries, a Facebook Live event with Drew Hart will be offered on April 29 at 4:30 p.m. hosted on the Discipleship Ministries Facebook page. Go to www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=513063827694416&set=gm.896942741589497. Said an announcement: “Whether tweets, press releases, or resolutions, we live in a culture of making statements. Yet, Christian witness is incarnational. Radical discipleship is a way of putting flesh and bone to the love of God. Dr. Drew Hart will help us imagine how our statements can lead us into embodied action in our communities. Dr. Hart teaches theology at Messiah University and is author of two books–Trouble I’ve Seen and Who Will Be a Witness. His work uses Black theology to frame Anabaptist theology along with social activism. He calls the bringing together of these three traditions Anablacktivism. You may attend in person at the Church of the Brethren General Offices at 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, Illinois, or take part in the live stream on Facebook.” For questions, contact Joshua Brockway, director of Spiritual Formation, at email@example.com.
— Bethany Theological Seminary has announced Jana Carter as the 2023 commencement speaker. The commencement ceremony is scheduled for May 13 at 10 a.m. (Eastern time) in Nicarry Chapel on the campus in Richmond, Ind. “Jana Carter is a third-generation Bethany Theological Seminary alumnus,” said the announcement. “She also holds a JD from University of California Berkeley School of Law. Carter began her career as a civil rights litigator in Oakland, CA, before moving to Washington, DC, to work with Search for Common Ground as their USA Director of Racial Healing, before returning to California in 2011 to produce media projects that highlight the power and possibility of empathy and bridge-building. Carter helped to produce the CNN primetime docuseries, The Redemption Project with Van Jones, and was awarded an Emmy for production of The Messy Truth VR Experience (2020), which seeks to create empathy using Virtual Reality technology. Her most recent project is the documentary film, The First Step, which documents bi-partisan efforts to pass prison reform legislation under the Trump administration.” The announcement noted that Jana Carter is not a relative of Bethany president Jeff Carter. Find the full announcement at https://bethanyseminary.edu/bethany-welcomes-jana-carter-as-commencement-speaker.
–– Eder Financial is seeking to fill the position of Client Services manager to deepen client relationships and manage client satisfaction while enhancing operational efficiency. Manager-level positions require individuals who can appropriately solve for the spoken and unspoken needs of external and internal customers. While some tasks and meetings require an onsite presence, most work is done remotely from homes or onsite at client locations, so applicants need to work well independently. Eder offers a fair compensation structure with a strong benefits package that includes organizational contributions for retirement, medical, life, and long-term disability, options to add dental, vision, and short-term disability coverage, 22 days of vacation accrued at the start of the year, and flexible work hours within a basic workday structure. Eder Financial provides retirement, insurance, and organizational investing to more than 5,000 individuals and client organizations nationwide. It is an agency organization of the Church of the Brethren, which believes in peace, simple living, family values, and service to one’s neighbors. Eder is strategically evolving its entrepreneurial mindset to expand the client base and the organization’s influence, offering products and services that enable security, wellness, and stability in a constantly changing world. Within that context, applicants are sought who will manage strategic initiatives but also pitch in with seemingly small tasks that show caring for those served. This is a full-time, exempt position working for a not-for-profit, faith-based organization that aligns with peace church traditions. Employees practice their faith in a diverse array of worldviews and denominations. The Client Services manager position requires at least an undergraduate degree, four to eight years of experience, effective oral and written communication skills, experience in managing client service initiatives to support the brand and its products and services, working in a team environment, coordinating and executing client service visits and networking, detail and data orientation, knowledge of employee benefits and asset management, comfortable presenting business reviews, workshops, and employee group sessions. Working knowledge of CRM software is a plus. The individual will use this background to manage relationships for a group of assigned clients to deepen client and member engagement and satisfaction. The position is expected to have 25 to 50 percent travel and requires attendance at an annual conference each year in July and other conference opportunities and networking or educational travel as needed. To learn more, visit www.ederfinancial.org. To apply, submit a cover letter, resume, and three professional references to Tammy Chudy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
— “Join East Dayton Fellowship in cleaning up Dayton!!” said an invitation shared by Southern Ohio and Kentucky District. The East Dayton Fellowship, a joint congregation of the Church of the Brethren and the Brethren in Christ, “is one of many organizations working together on Saturday, April 22 during a massive city-wide clean up in Dayton organized by a ministry called Declare,” said the announcement. “Volunteers will gather at the East Dayton Fellowship (3520 E. 3rd St, Dayton 45403) at 8:30am. We will work until noon. At that time, our partner Food for the Journey Project will serve us a hot, delicious lunch. Food for the Journey Project is the organization that prepares and serves 300-400 hot lunches every Friday out of our parking lot…. This is an opportunity to meet other Brethren (both COB & BIC) and to help the East Dayton neighborhood…. Volunteers will be provided gloves, trash bags, and trash grabbers. We hope to demonstrate Jesus’ love for our neighbors by getting our hands dirty in the act of cleaning up.” Call pastor Susan Liller at 937-902-2240.
— Antelope Valley Church of the Brethren is one of 20 religious groups from across Lancaster County in Nebraska “that have formed a new interfaith coalition and plan to push public officials for help on two subjects: criminal justice reform and mental health care,” reports the Nebraska Examiner. The new “Justice in Action” coalition planned a rally, among other efforts, following “a two-year buildup that started when several clergy leaders met to explore joining forces to spark change in their community. More than 85 small-group house meetings later, eight issues emerged as most relevant or troublesome to some 600 participants, a spokesperson said. A vote held at a subsequent assembly narrowed the slate to the two burning issues the group plans to focus on in the coming year.” A statement from the coalition said, “Given that 73% of those in the Lancaster County Jail are there for nonviolent offenses, we intend to look into the expansion of diversion programs and services…. We intend to seek solutions that might help recruit and maintain more mental health care providers in the community as well as mechanisms for streamlined navigation of the existing system.” Read the full article at https://nebraskaexaminer.com/briefs/new-interfaith-coalition-names-top-justice-concerns-plans-to-pressure-lincoln-area-officials-for-solutions.
— Bridgewater (Va.) Church of the Brethren hosted more than 500 people at the launch of a new citizen action organization called Valley Interfaith Action, reported WHSV-3 TV. “Members of the Valley Interfaith Action group called on elected officials, Sentara and James Madison University to work with them to create more transportation and childcare opportunities in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County. ‘We’re really excited about the elected officials that are here and the community leaders that are here to help work together to create a better situation for childcare and a better situation for transportation here,’ Jennifer Scarr, Pastor at Bridgewater Church of the Brethren said.” Find the full report at www.whsv.com/2023/03/22/valley-interfaith-action-group-unveiled-call-more-transportation-childcare-valley.
— Virlina District is announcing a service of celebration and installation for new district executive minister Daniel Rudy on Saturday, April 29, at 1 p.m. at Pleasant Valley Church of the Brethren in Floyd County, Va. Please note the change from the previously announced time.
— Virlina District also is thanking Daniel Naff for his work as food services coordinator for Camp Bethel. He completed this role on March 6, to start a new career working as a conservation technician for the Mountain Castles Soil and Water Conservation District. Said the district newsletter: “We celebrate with a big “Thank You!” to Dan for his excellent years of service in Camp Bethel’s Ark Dining Hall and his many years serving on our Summer Camp Staff Team.”
— Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., has announced two recent grants: “Juniata has received a $496,500 grant from the Sherman Fairchild Foundation to fund the creation of an environmental fluids lab within Brumbaugh Academic Center and a $1,199,981 grant from the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program of the National Science Foundation (NSF) to fund a project, Energizing STEM Teaching Across Rural Schools.”
— In another announcement from Juniata, Derek A. James begins this summer as the new dean of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and as a member of the senior leadership team. He comes to Juniata from Penn State University, where he was coordinator of multicultural programs within the College of Agricultural Sciences and served as one of the college’s subject matter experts. He holds a bachelor of science degree in biology from Grand Valley State University and a master of science degree in agricultural and extension education from Penn State University.
— The new episode of the new season of the Dunker Punks Podcast is available at https://bit.ly/DPP_Episode142. Anesu Makufa, the Youth and Young Adult Peace Formation organizer intern for On Earth Peace, interviews Simi Gill, the Children’s Peace Formation organizer intern for On Earth Peace, who shares about the importance of creating a “brave space” for others to use the arts to share their feelings and experiences. “Through music, poetry, drama, and creative writing, healing from trauma can occur as brave spaces are created to share authentically so that people can hear others’ stories and know that they are not alone,” said an announcement.
— The Bittersweet Gospel Band has announced an upcoming tour schedule in early May at various Churches of the Brethren in Pennsylvania and Maryland. The band ‘has been worshipping and making music to the glory of God for over 30 years,” said the announcement. “A number of musicians have come and gone, but pastor Gilbert Romero has been the one constant, motivated by a deep desire to reach the hearts of Christians and non-Christians alike with the love of God. His faith is personal and powerful, and his presence is inspiring. Twenty-six years ago he invited pastor Scott Duffey to join him on this journey and together they have traveled from coast to coast, north and south, and even to Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Mexico to share the love of Jesus, writing and sharing music that tells stories and challenges us to live out our faith. Every band member is a veteran of Bittersweet tours and all are outstanding musicians in their own right. Leah Hileman (LeahJSongs.com), Dan Shaffer (co-pastor at Windber Church of the Brethren), David Sollenberger (Annville, Pa.), and Kevin Walsh (Beaufort, S.C). Bittersweet’s music can be found on Spotify, Itunes, Amazon, and many other music and streaming sites. Check it out!”
The tour schedule includes:
Thursday, May 4, 7 p.m., Mount Wilson Church of the Brethren in Lebanon, Pa.
Friday, May 5, 7 p.m., Hagerstown (Md.) Church of the Brethren
Saturday, May 6, 5 p.m., the Brethren World Mission Dinner hosted by Hempfield Church of the Brethren in Manheim, Pa.
Sunday, May 7, 10 a.m., worship at the Brethren Village Retirement Community in Lititz, Pa.
Sunday, May 7, 1:30 p.m., Ebenezer /Lampeter Churches of the Brethren in Lancaster, Pa.
— An outdoors Easter Sunrise service at the Brethren and Mennonite Heritage Center, overlooking the Shenandoah Valley, is planned for April 9 at 6:30 a.m. Caleb Schrock-Hurst, Racial Justice and Equality minister of the Virginia Mennonite Conference, will share a meditation. Special music will be provided by a brass ensemble from Lindale Mennonite Church. “Dress warmly and bring a lawn chair for seating,” said an announcement shared by the Church of the Brethren’s Shenandoah District. “An offering will be taken to support the Heritage Center.” For more information visit https://brethrenmennoniteheritage.org/sunrise.
— April 1 is the last day to register a Bible study group to contribute to the Anabaptist Community Bible project. “Study group materials are available in English, Español, Bahasa Indonesian, Français, and Deutsch!” said an announcement. Go to www.mennomedia.org/register-your-bible-study-group to register a Bible study group. Marginal note submissions from groups will be due by June 1. For questions about the project, see a recording of a recent webinar and FAQs online at https://anabaptismat500.com/about-the-project.
— Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) has issued an action alert calling on those concerned about escalating violence in Israel and Palestine to contact their representatives in Congress. “One of Congress’ responsibilities is to ensure no U.S. assistance is used abroad to violate human rights or harm civilians,” said the alert. “In the beginning months of 2023, over 80 Palestinians have been killed, including children by Israeli forces. Despite the Biden administration’s call for equal freedom and security in the West Bank, it is clear the U.S. government has not exerted sufficient pressure to stop the violence. Rep. Jamaal Bowman and Sen. Bernie Sanders are circulating a letter to press the Biden Administration to determine whether any U.S. supplied materials have been used to violate Palestinian human rights. Contact your representative now: Ask them to sign this critical Congressional letter. In the wake of escalated violence, Congress must ensure existing U.S. law is enforced. The U.S. cannot help encourage a peaceful and just resolution to the conflict without first guaranteeing U.S. funds are not used to expand settlements, annex Palestinian land, or physically harm Palestinians.” Find the full action alert at https://cmep.salsalabs.org/march2023congressionalletter/index.html.
— An update about the #NoDraft contest sponsored by the Center for Conscience and War (CCW): Due to the delayed release of the contest, the dates have changed. The deadline to submit is June 30 and winners will be announced on Sept. 16. The CCW invites high school students to submit short videos on why they oppose the military draft and Selective Service registration. Winning videos will receive cash prizes up to $1,000. “Help us spark a real conversation and inspire a movement to end Selective Service and the draft once and for all!” said the CCW. Go to https://centeronconscience.org/nodraft-video-contest.
— The World Council of Churches (WCC) is inviting young adults to apply for the Emerging Peacemakers Forum that the WCC is co-hosting. The event for “young men and women working in civil society and international organizations, or for influential people in their societies” takes place at the WCC-related Ecumenical Institute at Bossey in Switzerland. “Young people who have previous experience in peacemaking, conflict resolution, or conflict management, are also invited to apply, in addition to young people who are interested in spreading the values of peace where they live. The forum is designed to open a platform for dialogue between young people who are working on developing innovative and sustainable solutions and recommendations to achieve peace in societies. Fifty young participants will be equipped with the faith-based knowledge and skills for conflict resolution, mediation, and managing and facilitating dialogue. The forum aims to empower young men and women to launch national and regional initiatives and projects related to peacemaking and disseminating human fraternity principles.” The announcement noted that “participants will be fully funded and there are no participation fees. The Muslim Council of Elders bears all costs, including economical airline tickets, accommodation, visas, and internal transportation.” Applicants must be between 18 and 30 years old. Apply online at https://ep-forum.org/register.
— Martha Bird’s 100th birthday will be celebrated at Spring Branch Church of the Brethren in Missouri and Arkansas District on Sunday, April 2. Bird will be 100 years old on April 5, reported the district newsletter.
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