Don Murray (94), an actor, director, and producer, and a former Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) worker, died Feb. 2 at his home near Santa Barbara, Calif. He served in BVS from 1953 to 1955, during which time he joined the Church of the Brethren. Just a few years before he was nominated for an Oscar for best supporting actor in his film debut, 1956’s Bus Stop with Marilyn Monroe, Murray served in post-war Europe with BVS.
The next Church of the Brethren Christian Citizenship Seminar (CCS), for senior high youth and first-year college students and their adult advisors, will be April 11-16, 2024, in Washington, D.C. The 2024 theme is “And They Fled: Advocating for Just Immigration Policy,” drawing from Matthew 2:13-23.
Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) deployed a team of three volunteers to Oak Park, Ill., to aid children and families among asylum seekers who have been sent to Chicago from the southern border of Texas. The team served from Monday, Nov. 6, to Thursday, Nov. 9, caring for 51 children.
The October online offering from the Ventures in Christian Discipleship program at McPherson (Kan.) College will be “From Ukraine to Central Kansas: A Positive Refugee Experience” to be presented by the McPherson (Kan.) Church of the Brethren Welcomers Group. The course will be held online Saturday, Oct. 28, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon (central time). Continuing education units (CEUs) are available.
Brethren Disaster Ministries has directed grants from the Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) to respond to multiple crises in Haiti, support continued Brethren Disaster Ministries work following 2022’s summer flooding in the central United States, aid displaced Ukrainians with disabilities, provide school kits for displaced children in the Democratic Republic of Congo, provide flood relief in Rwanda, and support a summer program for migrant children in Washington, D.C.
This year I caught a glimpse of the first firefly next to a pile of refuse near our back gate, blinking beautifully and hopefully in an abandoned place. When we celebrate Pentecost we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit. The disciples gathered in prayer, hidden in a room, in fear. While there may have been hope and expectation, it was likely tentative. I imagine it felt like an abandoned place. Into that place of fear and disorientation came a blinking light. A flicker of flames amidst a rush of wind.
Brethren Disaster Ministries has directed grants from the Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) for a tornado response and rebuilding program in Kentucky, aid to Ukrainian refugees and others affected by the war, a hurricane response in Honduras, projects of the Church of the Brethren in the Democratic Republic of Congo, among other needs.
Due to numerous humanitarian crises around the world, thousands of people are seeking asylum in the United States, some of whom make perilous journeys to the southern border. In April 2022, the state of Texas began sending many of these asylum seekers in buses to Washington, D.C., without plans for their care or in coordination with the city government or others in the area.
As director of Humanitarian and Disaster Response for World Relief, and someone who has attended a Church of the Brethren congregation for many years, I am stunned and saddened by what is happening in Ukraine. As a member of the Integral Alliance, World Relief has witnessed many natural and man-made disasters over the years. Nothing quite compares to this.
Church World Service (CWS) is circulating a faith sign-on letter urging the administration to support Ukrainians and uphold protections for displaced and at-risk populations. The deadline for signatures is Wednesday, March 23.