Brethren bits for May 5, 2023

— The Brethren Heritage Center in Brookville, Ohio, seeks a part-time center manager. Responsibilities include overseeing operations and volunteers; facilitating, designing, and creating exhibits; promoting the center’s activities and collections; among additional responsibilities to be discussed at interview. Other desired skills and knowledge include a working knowledge of Brethren groups; computer/technology knowledge; and a focus on archives. The Brethren Heritage Center is an equal opportunity employer. Apply by sending a resume to ghoneyman@woh.rr.com or Brethren Heritage Center, c/o Gale Honeyman, Interim Director, Box 35, Laura, Ohio 45337.

— Nate Hosler of the Church of the Brethren’s Office of Peacebuilding and Policy interviews Chidinma Chidoka (Chidi), a Nigeria-trained lawyer who has worked with Hosler in Washington, D.C., for Episode 146 of the Dunker Punks Podcast. Listen at https://bit.ly/DPP_Episode146. “She speaks about the intersection of theology and policymaking that can help us build peace within our local communities and around the world,” said an announcement.

— The May episode of “Brethren Voices” can now be viewed on YouTube at www.youtube.com/brethrenvoices. Titled ““Let Your Little Light Shine: The Production Story of Brethren Voices” is tells the story of how this community television program came to be. It started “when Portland [Ore.] Peace Church of the Brethren discovered a unique way of letting their neighbors know who they were, they really never imagined that they would be sharing that ‘voice’ with countless communities around the country.” As of April 28, 2023, there are 682 YouTube subscribers who are notified each month of the newest edition of Brethren Voices, said an announcement from producer Ed Groff. “Brethren Voices programs have been downloaded 1,436 times by over 80 stations around the country. This edition features memorable moments of the program. It is hosted by BVSer Billy Harness, featuring interviews with the ‘host’ of Brethren Voices, Brent Carlson, as well as the producer and editor, Ed Groff. Brethren Voices will soon be completing 18 years of monthly programs, with this edition, being number 215.”

Sign up for this free webinar from the Shine curriculum, a joint effort of Brethren Press and MennoMedia, at https://shinecurriculum.com/webinar.

— “Turning Swords into Plowshares: The Story of the Seagoing Cowboys and the Heifer Project” will be presented on May 21, 4-6 p.m., by Peggy Reiff Miller at Trotwood (Ohio) Church of the Brethren. Reiff Miller is the recognized authority on “seagoing cowboys” who helped ship heifers and other animals to post-war Europe and other areas of the world under the auspices of Heifer Project (now Heifer International). She also is author of The Seagoing Cowboy, an illustrated children’s book from Brethren Press. Said an announcement: “Through historical images on screen and verbal presentation she tells the story of World War II ships and the lives of many men transformed into vessels of peace thru the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration and Brethren Service Committee and its Heifer Project program. Many southwestern Ohio people played roles in this story of turning ‘swords into plowshares’ including Heifer International founder Dan West and Dayton International Peace Museum co-founder Ralph Dull.”

— Community Peacemaker Teams (CPT) was awarded the International Peace Award by the Community of Christ Church and the Shaw Family Foundation on April 22. CPT got its start as a joint project of the Historic Peace Churches (Church of the Brethren, Mennonites, and Friends or Quakers). Said a CPT announcement: “Honoring CPT’s 35 years of peacemaking while presenting the award, the awarding body said, ‘We do this in recognition of your significant contribution to peacemaking through nonviolent accompaniment with those actively working for human rights and just peace. Your work includes spiritually-centred peacemaking, evidenced by your multifaith relationships and organization. And we recognize that you do all this with a willingness to put yourself in harm’s way.’ We want to express our gratitude to the Community of Christ and the Shaw Family Foundation for this award, but also to recognize that this award is a recognition of the communities and organizations that we accompany who allow us to walk in solidarity, and to our support network who do make it possible to continue the work we do.”

— The National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) has issued a statement of concern “about the numerous and widespread efforts to ban books in many localities across the country. This disturbing and alarming trend stands in opposition to the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, American values of liberty and freedom, and our faith tradition as Christians, which urges us to tell our stories and testimonies to our children, as is evident in scripture, including Psalm 78:4, ‘…We will not hide them from their children; we will tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord and his might and the wonders that he has done.’ (NRSVue) Disappointingly, these efforts have mostly targeted books written by authors from marginalized communities, in effect silencing their voices, history, and experiences. We stand against these efforts and encourage those in our member congregations to do the same,” the statement said, in part. On Wednesday, May 3, the NCC joined the Freedom to Learn coalition, which consists of civil rights, faith, and other leaders representing a broad spectrum of American society and culture for a National Day of Action. Find the full text at http://nationalcouncilofchurches.us/national-council-of-churches-deeply-concerned-about-efforts-to-ban-books.

— The World Council of Churches (WCC) has issued a release about the devastating effects of the flooding on churches in Rwanda, from many different denominational affiliations. “Accounts tell of entire families being killed or injured, and a desperate need for basic services for thousands of people left homeless by the flooding,” the release said, in part. “More than 5,000 houses have been swept away, according to the authorities, with officials anticipating the death toll to rise, following reports of hundreds of people missing.” Evalister Mugabo, bishop of the Lutheran Church in Rwanda, said in an interview, “It is so sad that so many people have lost their lives in the flood disaster. Many families are also affected. We are praying for them.” Find the full release at www.oikoumene.org/news/rwandan-churches-express-pain-after-floods-kill-130-people. Find a pastoral letter from the WCC to the churches in Rwanda at www.oikoumene.org/resources/documents/wcc-pastoral-letter-to-the-churches-and-people-of-rwanda.

The York Daily Record has published an article on Civil War-era conscientious objectors including Brethren. The article is titled “Religious Objectors in York County and PA: Exploring ‘The Other Side’ of the Civil War,” by Jim McClure. The piece opens by noting that “every five years since the Battle of Gettysburg, interest in the Civil War is renewed. Many Civil War writers and researchers give more focus on the military and political parts of this bloody conflict. Family researchers wade deeper into the military service of their ancestors. Yet there’s research probing what some call ‘the other side’ of the war–religious objectors who refused military service as a matter of conscience.” The piece includes a focus on the family of Jonathan Stayer, retired reference archivist at the State Archives and a York County resident, whose third great-grandfather, Adam Stayer, was Brethren and of draft age during the Civil War. Read the article at www.ydr.com/story/opinion/2023/05/02/religious-objectors-in-york-county-and-pa-history/70174461007.

Click here to download the following brochure from the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center, complete with live links:

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