Brethren Disaster Ministries holds leadership seminar

By Mary Mueller and Kim Gingerich

The Brethren Disaster Ministries leadership seminar held May 14-17 at Camp Blue Diamond in Petersburg, Pa., brought together staff, district disaster coordinators (DDCs), and disaster project leaders (DPLs) to review and renew the rebuilding program. An additional goal was to learn more about other ministries of Brethren Disaster Ministries, including Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) and Global Response, and how rebuilding leaders could spread the news about and make connections to support those ministries.

Centering our days around the scripture from 1Thessalonians 5:18, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances,” our spirits were well fed and renewed as we visited with friends and discussed new ways of performing our responsibilities.

Participants at the recent Brethren Disaster Ministries leadership seminar held at Camp Blue Diamond in Middle Pennsylvania District. Photo courtesy of Brethren Disaster Ministries

Please pray… For the leadership, volunteers, and staff of Brethren Disaster Ministries, and particularly those who participated in the leadership seminar.

We rejoiced in generous servings of laughter as we told stories and hugged friends we hadn’t seen in years. We encouraged one another to pray continually and to practice that habit not only while at this seminar, but forever. And we talked about “giving thanks in all circumstances”–not necessarily for all circumstances, but in all circumstances–two little words on paper but a big discipline in practice.

We heard about Brethren Disaster Ministries’ Global Response program from Roy Winter and about CDS from guest speaker and CDS volunteer/project manager Martha Reish. From virtual guest speaker Raiza Spratt of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Week of Compassion we heard about Willing to Respond and Crisis Cleanup, two programs with which they are involved. We also learned how individual church districts work at recruiting volunteers and responding to local needs, and what works best and what doesn’t work for coordinators and project leaders. The group was introduced to resources available to help us help others.

We were all affirmed during the appreciation banquet as thanks were brought, virtually or in person, by several guest speakers: Raquel and José Acevedo of Puerto Rico District; Beth Bucksot who is director of Pamlico County Planning and Economic Development, Bayboro, N.C.; Lynn Evans who is a longterm project leader for Brethren Disaster Ministries; Martha Reish who is a CDS project manager; Kris Shunk who is a rebuilding program volunteer and administrative assistant for Middle Pennsylvania District; Evan Ulrich who is a former Brethren Volunteer Service volunteer who was assigned to work with Brethren Disaster Ministries; and Helen Wolf of Southern Ohio/Kentucky District who is a disaster project leader in training.

A Church of the Brethren celebration wouldn’t be complete without ice cream. so following the banquet we were treated to an ice cream bar, hosted and served by members of Middle Pennsylvania District. Yummy! And thank you!

And we couldn’t be at camp without a campfire, camp songs, and s’mores. A special thank you to Deb and Dale Ziegler for the fun night!

— Mary Mueller is a Brethren Disaster Ministries disaster project leader and Kim Gingerich is program assistant for Brethren Disaster Ministries’ rebuilding program.


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