Brethren bits for Sept. 15, 2023

Remembrance: Barbara Fay Ober, 84, formerly on the denominational staff of the Church of the Brethren, passed away on Aug. 8 at Timbercrest Healthcare Center in North Manchester, Ind. She was born to Waverly V. and Elizabeth A. (Hudson) Dunnavant on July 1, 1939, in Richmond, Va. She served the church most of her life. Her first job after high school was working for the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board. Her church career continued when she became part-time secretary for East Petersburg (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. Later, she was assistant to the director of the Center for Professional Development in Ministry at Lancaster (Pa.) Theological Seminary. From there, she was called to a position as administrative assistant and mission interpreter for the World Ministries Commission of the Church of the Brethren, working at the General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Her role included work with the World Council of Churches. While in Elgin, she earned a bachelor’s degree from National Louis University. In 2000, she was ordained in the Church of the Brethren. Her final professional position was as pastor of Live Oak (Calif.) Church of the Brethren, retiring in 2009. She also was active in prison ministry through the Death Row Support Project, was an on-call chaplain for a women’s prison, and volunteered with a domestic violence shelter. In 1959, she married Robert L. Ober. Although they eventually divorced, they remained devoted parents to their two daughters. She is survived by daughters Diane E. (Blaine) Garber of Elizabethtown, Pa., and Janet L. (Simon Lambert) Ober Lambert of Richmond, Ind.; grandchildren; and great-grandchildren. A celebration of life will be held on Oct. 7 at 2:30 p.m. at Timbercrest Senior Living Chapel in North Manchester. The family will receive friends after the celebration. Memorial gifts are received to Timbercrest Charitable Assistance, the Death Row Support Project, and Casa De Esperanza of Yuba City, Calif. Find a full obituary at www.mckeemortuary.com/obituary/Barbara-Ober.

— Christy Crouse has been named as the Church of the Brethren representative on the board/steering committee of Community Peacemaker Teams (CPT). She was designated to the position by the Office of Peacebuilding and Policy. Crouse is a Church of the Brethren member and a legal researcher for the International Area of the Center of Study on Law, Justice, and Society (Dejusticia), a human rights NGO in Bogotá, Colombia. She is a US attorney with a J.D. degree from the University of Chicago Law School, where she focused on international human rights and immigration law. She has participated in several of the church’s peace-related programs, interned at the Office of Peacebuilding and Policy in 2015, was a member of the Youth Peace Travel Team in 2014 teaching nonviolent conflict resolution techniques at church camps, and served on the board of On Earth Peace Board from 2015 to 2018.

— Max Finberg is concluding his service as president and CEO of Growing Hope Globally in order to take the position of vice president of government affairs at Chobani, the yogurt company. Finberg spent five years at the helm of Growing Hope Globally, formerly known as the Foods Resource Bank. Mark Swanson will serve as interim CEO while the board initiates a search process for a permanent CEO. Swanson used to serve on the board of directors and created the apple-based Growing Project, Sharing the Harvest, in Yakima, Wash., when he served as pastor of an Evangelical Covenant Church There. The Church of the Brethren’s Global Food Initiative is a partner organization of Growing Hope Globally. Find out more at www.growinghopeglobally.org.

Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) is seeking more volunteers. “Our Fall Children’s Disaster Services Training Workshops are coming up soon,” said an announcement. “Can you share this news with others who have a heart for serving children after disasters? The Early Bird pricing ends three weeks before the workshop so sign up soon!”

Upcoming CDS volunteer training workshops:

Oct. 20-21 hosted by Bridgewater (Va.) Church of the Brethren, 420 College View Dr., Bridgewater, VA 22812

Oct. 27-28 hosted by Skyridge Church of the Brethren, 394 S. Drake Rd., Kalamazoo, MI 49004

Find out more and register at www.brethren.org/cds/training/dates.

The Shine curriculum, a joint publishing project of Brethren Press and MennoMedia, seeks applicants for two positions: full-time project editor for Shine’s quarterly faith formation resources, and full-time project facilitator to oversee Shine’s new Everyday Faith project, a Lilly Endowment-funded initiative that aims to help parents and caregivers share faith and values with their children. Both are remote positions with some travel requirements. Shine values diversity and encourages people of color to apply. Email a resume and cover letter to Jobs@ShineCurriculum.com. Find a full position description for the project editor position at https://shinecurriculum.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/PD-Project-Editor-2023.pdf. Find a full position description for the project facilitator position at https://shinecurriculum.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/PD-Project-Facilitator-2023.pdf.

On Earth Peace seeks a Racial Justice Organizer intern focused on supporting the Church of the Brethren Standing with People of Color study/action team. The position description can be found at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Gpzfa38s5PxyLOXNzW08L–kZnzdPu0Vhitwqg7529w/edit?usp=drivesdk. Apply by sending a cover letter and resume to Marie Benner-Rhoades at mrhoades@onearthpeace.org. Further information and application instructions for this paid internship can be found at www.OnEarthPeace.org/internships.

— Anniversaries:

Germantown Church of the Brethren in Philadelphia, Pa., continues its 300th anniversary celebration on Sunday, Oct. 8, at 2:30 p.m. An announcement added an invitation to also join the congregation for its regular worship service that morning at 11a.m., and for lunch at 12:30 p.m., before the anniversary event at 2:30 that afternoon. RSVP for lunch is appreciated but not needed, send to rich684@cs.com.

Celebrating 175 years on Oct. 1 is Germantown Brick Church of the Brethren in Rocky Mount, Va. Said an invitation in the Virlina District e-newsletter: “You are invited to join us for a special worship service at 10:30 followed by a potluck meal and dedication services for our new playground and recently renovated picnic shelter and kitchen.” On Nov. 12, the anniversary celebration continues with an open house from 12 noon to 4 p.m. with a display of quilts, pictures, and artifacts. “Learn about our stained-glass windows, tour the facilities and share stories of the past 175 years,” said the announcement.

Celebrating its 157th homecoming on Sept. 17 is Mt. Vernon Church of the Brethren in Waynesboro, Va. The guest speaker for a service at 11 a.m. is Shenandoah District executive ministry John Jantzi. A carry-in luncheon will follow.

Celebrating 100 years on Oct. 8 is 9th Street Church of the Brethren in Roanoke, Va. A worship service at 11 a.m. will be followed by a meal. Daniel Rudy, former pastor and currently Virlina District executive minister, will be the speaker.

Congregational milestones were recognized at a recent district conference in Northern Plains District. In addition to recognizing the five-year milestones of ordained ministers, “we also now recognize the five-year milestones of our congregations, fellowships and projects,” said a newsletter article. These congregations were recognized: Grandview/Big Sky Church of the Brethren (115 years), Sheldon Church of the Brethren (135 years), Church of the Brethren at Ankeny (155 years), Lewiston Church of the Brethren (165 years), and Fairview Church of the Brethren (170 years). Read short bios and histories of the recognized ministers and congregations at https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Jvjj02WU7QyFTp7UVDlnOfHWHe2x38L5/view.

— Jesus Lounge Ministry, a congregation of the Church of the Brethren’s Atlantic Southeast District, has been nominated for the Community Collaborators Award Hats Off Nonprofit Award with Nonprofit First. Reported pastor Founa Augustin Badet, “We celebrated 12 years on 9/1 in Jesus name as we continue to meet the needs of Christ and His people.” The honoree for this award will be announced at the 2023 Hats Off Nonprofit Awards event on Oct. 3. The Hats Off Nonprofit Awards celebrate and honor nonprofit causes, professionals, and volunteers in the Palm Beach County (Fla.) nonprofit sector who contribute to making the community strong.

— Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, Ill., gained media attention for hosting the first “Hygiene Hutch” in town. It was installed by Go with the Flow, a local nonprofit that collects and distributes women’s hygiene products to those in need. The organization was seeking “a shelter, school, or similar community resource” to help distribute donated products. The article reminded its readers: “Remember, period products are not available for purchase with SNAP or Women, Infants, and Children. Go With the Flow president and founder Carrie Zaccaria took note of the little community libraries and micro pantries gaining in popularity in the area.” She worked with the Elgin Area Men’s Shed, described as “a dynamic nonprofit made up of local, mostly retired, gentlemen that enjoy woodworking and creating things for the community,” who built the hutch. She worked with the Highland Avenue Church to provide an ideal location. The church serves a hot meal at its Soup Kettle every Saturday, and is just a block from an elementary school and a few blocks from a high school. The full article is at www.dailyherald.com/submitted/20230907/elgin-nonprofit-installs-hygiene-hutch-in-local-neighborhood.

Howard Royer (middle) and Willard Dulabaum (right) of Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, Ill., who presented at Gail Borden Library about their experiences at the 1963 Civil Rights March on Washington, pose for a picture with Pamela Bethany, an audience member who also was at the march 60 years ago (photo by Nevin Dulabaum).

— Also from Highland Avenue Church, two longterm members shared stories of their involvement with the 1963 March on Washington under the title “60 Years Later: Continuing the Call to Beloved Community.” The event at Gail Borden Library in Elgin, Ill., on Aug. 28, featured Willard Dulabaum and Howard Royer speaking before a large audience including dozens of fellow church members and many more from the community at large. Reported the newsletter: “Both men underlined the need to continue the work of the Civil Rights Era in the face of persistent racial injustice today. Quoting his 1963 Messenger article, Howard concluded that the church can never go back to the ‘sidelines’ of this work for racial equity. Duly shared behind-the-scenes stories of the hurdles, risks, and consequences to those who traveled to the March with him from the Manchester (Indiana) Church of the Brethren, where he was then associate pastor. The Second Baptist Praise Team led the gathered body in singing ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’ as well as ‘We Shall Overcome.’”

— Quilts made by Lois Sowder, a long-time member of Roanoke (Va.) Oak Grove Church of the Brethren, will be on display and for sale at the church on Saturday, Sept. 23, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. “She has been making quilts for 20 years and has made over 100,” said an announcement in the Virlina District e-newsletter. “Twenty quilts of various sizes will be available for sale. Lois’ quilts are machine pieced and quilted. She uses 100% cotton fabrics and batting. She loves color, and she likes the backs of her quilts to be as pretty and interesting as the fronts. Come enjoy the beauty of her quilts and find one that will bring joy to your house.”

— Virlina District’s Peace Affairs group is sponsoring a worship service for this year’s International Day of Prayer for Peace, at Smith Mountain Lake Community Church of the Brethren in Wirtz, Va., at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 17. The guest speaker is Joshua Brockway, director of Spiritual Formation for the Church of the Brethren, presenting on “The Peace Position of the Church of the Brethren: Past and Future.” Said the announcement: “The Smith Mountain Lake church has a Peace Path on the church grounds; interested persons are welcome to arrive a bit early on September 17 and walk that path at their own pace.”

Peace Affairs also is sponsoring a prayer walk through the Gainsboro neighborhood of Roanoke, Va., at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 21. The approximately two-mile walk will begin at the Gainsboro Library and will cover several blocks between Gainsboro Road and 8th Street NW. Participants will visit five historic Black churches and meet their pastors and some church members. “We will have prayer at each stop,” said the announcement. In case of rain, the event will be cancelled. For questions, contact Tim Harvey at pastortim@oakgrovecob.org.

— “Continuing compassion, kindness made possible through 2023 Disaster Auction proceeds,” said an article in the most recent Shenandoah District newsletter, announcing that $212,941.06 has been raised for Brethren Disaster Ministries. A portion of the proceeds will remain in the district to help fund travel costs for volunteers on rebuilding projects and for supplies to construct clean-up buckets to send to disaster areas. “Almost every congregation finds its unique way of adding value to the auction each year,” the article said. “Some make apple dumplings or bake pies, others create quilts and still others hold dinners or chicken barbecues throughout the year and donate the proceeds…. The amount of compassion and kindness made possible through the financial support of Brethren Disaster Ministries for those who are devastated and hurting cannot be fully understood by those who have not yet found themselves in a tragic situation.”

– The University of La Verne, Calif., holds it 19th Presidential Inauguration for incoming president Pardis Mahdavi on Oct. 13, with a reception to follow. “With over 20 years of experience in higher education, Dr. Mahdavi is a widely published and highly acclaimed author and academic,” said the announcement. “She most recently served as the provost and executive vice president at the University of Montana.” Learn more about new ULV president Pardis Mahdavi at https://laverne.edu/news/2023/06/06/university-of-la-verne-names-19th-president.

– Bridgewater (Va.) College has established its second endowed, named school: the Rev. Wilfred E. and Dr. Joyce A. Nolen School of Business and Professional Studies. The school is the largest on campus, said the announcement, “with nearly 45% of the undergraduate population declaring majors within the school’s three academic departments: economics and business administration, health and human sciences, and the teacher education program.” Wil Nolen has served on the denominational staff of the Church of the Brethren, retiring as founding president of Brethren Benefit Trust, now Eder Financial. He is a 1963 graduate of Bridgewater, and has been on the college’s board since 1993. Joyce Nolen is retired from a faculty position in student development at William Rainey Harper Community College. She is a 1961 graduate of Manchester University, where she was on the board from 1980 to 1990.

— Also at Bridgewater, a new memorial has been dedicated in honor of those lost in a shooting on campus. At right is the college’s tweet with a photo of the memorial.

— The Dunker Punks Podcast invites listeners to enjoy two new episodes:

Episode 150: “Join us at Annual Conference 2023, as Anna Lisa Gross sits down for a live queer panel discussion, which includes Everett Fisher, Liz Ullery Swenson, and Annabeth Roeschley. They each share their experiences of attending Annual Conference over the years and the progression of LGBTQ inclusion at this yearly event. Annabeth uniquely shares her impressions of Annual Conference as a first-time attender. Everett shares from the prospective of an adult who’s been attending for decades, and Liz shares her experience as a child growing up attending conference.” Go to https://bit.ly/DPP_Episode150.

Episode 151: “Anna Lisa Gross talks with youth on a mountain about the youths’ involvement with politics, as well as conversations about mass incarceration. The talk is an educating and eye-opening experience about how youth view current situations, and we invite you to take a listen.” Go to https://bit.ly/DPP_Episode151.

— A global prayer service held by the World Council of Churches (WCC) will commemorate the World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel on Sept. 18. The week, which is observed from Sept. 16-23, includes the International Day of Prayer for Peace on Sept. 21. The WCC is inviting online or in-person participation “for people to pray, advocate, and stand in solidarity with people in the Holy Land,” said a release. The theme for the week, “No place to lay my head,” reflects the challenge “for Palestinian families as well as other people facing difficulties to a uniting home.” The online and in-person global prayer service will include leadership by WCC general secretary Jerry Pillay and Patriarch Theophilus III of Jerusalem. Watch the Global Prayer live on Monday, Sept. 18, at 9 a.m. (Eastern time) at www.oikoumene.org/live.

— Dawn Ottoni-Wilhelm, Brightbill Professor of Preaching and Worship at Bethany Theological Seminary, is keynote lecturer and preacher for the upcoming Hugh Benner Preachers’ Conference in Kansas City, Mo. The event takes place Sept. 26-27, sponsored by Nazarene Theological Seminary on the theme “Creating New Worlds with Words.” Workshops will be led by a variety of educators and pastors. For more information, go to www.nts.edu/preach.


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