Nov. 18, 2009
“O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good” (Psalm 136:1a).
1) Haiti workcamp continues rebuilding, funding needed for ‘Brethren phase.’
2) Mission executive visits churches and Rural Service Center in India.
3) ‘Martyr’s Mirror’ provides agenda for Brethren Historical Committee.
4) New REGNUH collection will benefit small-holder farm families.
5) Emergency Disaster Fund grants go to Pakistan and Sudan.
6) Apple pickers flee, fearing Turkish bombing in Iraq.
7) Martin Marty to speak at Bethany Seminary’s 2010 Presidential Forum.
Brethren bits: Personnel, curriculum writers, Ministry Summer Service, and much more (see column at right)
New at http://www.brethren.org/ is a video about the 2009 Christian Citizenship Seminar. The event was held this spring in New York City and Washington, D.C., for high school age youth to engage the issue of modern-day slavery. Go to www.brethren.org/ccs .
1) Haiti workcamp continues rebuilding; funding needed for ‘Brethren phase.’
A second disaster relief workcamp visited Haiti on Oct. 24-Nov. 1, part of a joint effort of Brethren Disaster Ministries and the Church of the Brethren Haiti Mission to rebuild homes following four hurricanes and tropical storms that hit Haiti last year.
Participants included Haile Bedada, Fausto Carrasco, Ramphy Carrasco, Cliff Kindy, Mary Mason, Earl Mull, Gary Novak, Sally Rich, Jan Small, and David Young. Leadership included Jeff Boshart, Haiti Disaster Response coordinator; Ludovic St. Fleur, Haiti mission coordinator and pastor of Eglise des Freres Haitiens in Miami, Fla.; Roy Winter, executive director of Brethren Disaster Ministries; and Klebert Exceus, a consultant for the work in Haiti. The group was joined for much of its trip by leaders from the Church of the Brethren in Haiti.
A highlight was the opportunity to attend the dedication and opening worship service of a new church building in Fond Cheval. The church has been built by the local community as a gesture of gratitude to the Brethren for rebuilding homes in the area. Many people gathered for the dedication, including Brethren from congregations in Port au Prince, the newly formed Haiti Church of the Brethren Leadership Team, and members of Exceus’s church. “It was standing room only,” Winter said. A special donation to the church’s Global Mission Partnerships program helped cover church construction expenses that local Haitians did not donate.
“From there we hiked into the mountains and visited the work in the Mont Boulage area. We saw good work there,” Winter said. However, the workcamp spent the bulk of its time–most of a week–rebuilding homes in the city of Gonaives. The group accomplished work on latrines for 18 families, painted 20 houses, and wired 20 houses for electricity.
It was “hot work” Winter said, the heat forcing some participants to stop work by noon. Some workcampers also spent time with the children who would gather at the construction sites. “Many children helped or tried to help with the painting,” Winter said. “During breaks workcampers would spend time offering love and comfort. Sometimes they would spell names and talk about the alphabet…just being present with the children.”
Boshart reported that “the Haitian supervisor in charge of the project was very satisfied and pleased with the work of the workcampers. During a short worship service on Mont Boulage, where Brethren Disaster Ministries has already completed the rebuilding of 21 homes, mission coordinator Pastor Ludovic St. Fleur recalled a Haitian proverb which says, ‘If someone sweats for you, you change a shirt for him.’ I believe our workcampers felt this hospitality as we were well cared for by the local church members wherever we went.”
The group closed its trip to Haiti with a visit to a Brethren congregation in Cap-Haitien. “For some workcampers, visiting the churches was the most important to them,” Winter said. He noted that the Church of the Brethren in Haiti has many preaching points that even St. Fleur has not had a chance to visit. “I am somewhat in awe of the church plant there, how much has been accomplished, and how it’s growing,” Winter said.
A principle function of the rebuilding project is to support the church in Haiti, to “help create synergy for them,” he added. “I believe many of the workcampers were surprised by the difficulty of the situation, especially in Gonaives–water on and off, electricity off part of most nights, no fan, unusual food for some. The hardship became in time a way of being in solidarity with the Haitians, many living in even more difficult situations.”
Brethren Disaster Ministries has now completed 72 homes in Haiti, toward a goal of 100. “We need to do 28 more houses,” said Boshart, “By my count, at $4,000 per house and $500 per latrine, we’re talking $126,000 to do all 28.”
“It is significant to mention that we’ve tried very hard not to show favoritism towards Brethren families who were victims of the hurricanes,” Boshart added. “In Gonaives, of the first 30 homes, none of them were Brethren. We now wish to make the next phase our ‘Brethren phase,’ which would mean building six homes for those Brethren families. This ‘Brethren phase’ would be $27,000.”
“We still need to raise significant funds to accomplish the goal,” Winter confirmed. He also hopes that the undesignated reserve funds already expended on the project through grants from the Emergency Disaster Fund can be replenished, anticipating increased giving as the project comes close to reaching its goal. “We have expensed $370,000 from the Emergency Disaster Fund for the work so far. So far we have only received $72,500 (as of the end of September) in donations designated for Haiti–the rest came from undesignated gifts.”
From now on, Brethren Disaster Ministries will not be using any more undesignated reserve funds in Haiti, Winter announced. “At this point we will build as we receive designated gifts,” he said.
A third Haiti workcamp is planned for January 2010. To express interest, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-451-4407 ext. 8.
For more about the Emergency Disaster Fund or to donate to the Haiti project online go to www.brethren.org/site/PageServer?pagename=give_emergency_disaster_fund . For a photo album from the workcamp held in Haiti in October, go to http://www.brethren.org/site/PhotoAlbumUser?AlbumID=9703&view=UserAlbum.
2) Mission executive visits churches and Rural Service Center in India.
During a trip to India in October, Global Mission Partnerships executive director Jay Wittmeyer visited congregations of both the Church of North India (CNI) and the Church of the Brethren in India. He also visited the Rural Service Center in Ankleshwar, following up on a recent review and evaluation of that program.
Wittmeyer was in India from Oct. 15-25, starting with time in New Delhi, then traveling to visit with and preach at historically Brethren congregations of CNI in the Gujarat area. He also met with the directors and board of the Rural Service Center, visited with congregations and leaders of the Church of the Brethren India, and attended a meeting of the “CBGB Trust” (standing for the Church of the Brethren General Board).
CNI is beginning a year-long celebration of its 40th anniversary year this fall, having been formed in November 1970 by several mission groups including the Church of the Brethren. Among other CNI services and events, Wittmeyer was welcomed to a special gathering of historically Brethren congregations of CNI in Ankleshwar. The gathering featured two worship services and was attended by hundreds of people, including Bishop Vinod Malavia, CNI bishop of the Gujarat diocese, and most of the CNI pastors in the area. The CNI celebration was extravagantly welcoming, Wittmeyer reported. Piles of flower garlands were presented to mark the occasion.
At the Rural Service Center, Wittmeyer met with directors Idrak and Rachel Din and attended the annual meeting of the Board of Directors. He visited several family farms with which the center has worked, as a follow up to a review and evaluation of the center that was made possible through the Global Food Crisis Fund.
Wittmeyer reported that the Rural Service Center is doing basic agricultural education, support, and capacity building for the rural community. The center bridges “between the local farmer and the local government,” he said, “motivating people to access government facilities.”
Services provided by the center include land leveling, information about improved varieties of crops and farming techniques such as “intercropping,” and information about government agricultural extension programs. The center also works at connecting poorer farm families with the more well-to-do, who may demonstrate newer or more expensive technologies. An essential focus is to establish trust and communications with the farming community, and offer new ideas. “If you take poor rural farmers, they don’t have the margin of land to take a risk to try out new crops and techniques,” Wittmeyer explained.
The Dins also “work with Muslims and Christians and Hindus,” he added. “Whenever you have an interfaith group going together to look at a farm plot, that’s interesting.”
In the Ahmadabad area, Wittmeyer visited the CNI Gujarat Biblical Seminary.
He also visited with trustees and members of the CBGB Trust. The relationship of CNI and the Church of the Brethren India is “sensitive” because of a legal dispute over former mission properties, he explained. “We (in the Church of the Brethren in the US) recognize both. We have relationship to both entities,” he said, referring to the two church bodies that have emerged from the former Brethren mission in India.
Wittmeyer said he spent time encouraging the two church bodies to have consideration for their future relationship, to think beyond the dispute over property, and to share a concern to respect all of the people who are affected by the issue.
3) ‘Martyr’s Mirror’ provides agenda for Brethren Historical Committee.
The Brethren Historical Committee met at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., on Nov. 6-7. The committee advises the Brethren Historical Library and Archives (BHLA), promotes the preservation of Brethren historical records, and encourages Brethren historical research.
On the agenda was a “Martyrs Mirror” Conference to be held at the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College on June 8-10, 2010. “The Martyrs Mirror” is a historic book recounting the stories of Anabaptist and Mennonite martyrs to religious persecution in Europe in previous centuries. Note was taken of the copies of the book that are in the BHLA collection, including a copy of the 1748-49 edition printed by the Ephrata Press.
In action items, the committee reviewed the fee schedule for BHLA and recommended that the fee for copies of obituaries be increased to $4, if staff need to search indexes to locate an obituary. The committee also decided to sponsor an insight session at the 2010 Annual Conference and appointed Denise Kettering to serve as presenter. Reports were received from Brethren Press, the Germantown Trust, the Brethren Digital Archives, and several individuals.
The committee is chaired by Ken Kreider and includes Marlin Heckman, secretary, Denise Kettering, and Steve Longenecker. Also meeting with the committee were Church of the Brethren treasurer Judy Keyser and Ken Shaffer, director of BHLA.
Kreider was thanked for his eight years of service on the committee. Since he is not eligible to serve another term, nominations were made to fill the position. The Executive Committee of the Church of the Brethren’s Mission and Ministry Board will receive and act on the nomination.
— Ken Shaffer is director of the Brethren Historical Library and Archives.
4) New REGNUH collection will benefit small-holder farm families.
A new “REGNUH: Turning Hunger Around” collection has been announced by the Church of the Brethren’s Global Food Crisis Fund, “for donors who wish to focus their response on tangible aspects of development.”
The collection features five items that help the world’s small-holder farm families achieve healthy and productive lives:
— $15 purchases a jerry can (water jug) to carry and store water in Myanmar.
— $25 buys two dozen cashew saplings to replenish orchards in Honduras.
— $40 provides one bag of high quality seed to rice farmers in North Korea.
— $100 supports a microcredit loan for a small business in the Dominican Republic.
— $500 helps construct a deep and safe village well in water-stressed Niger.
The designated gifts will be combined with the contributions of others to reach as many small farm families as possible, GFCF manager Howard Royer reported in a recent newsletter.
Descriptive information on each of the five projects is available. REGNUH notecards may be obtained to inform recipients of alternative gifts given in their name at holidays or on special occasions. Contact Global Food Crisis Fund, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; email@example.com or 800-323-8039 ext. 264.
5) Emergency Disaster Fund grants go to Pakistan and Sudan.
Recent grants from the Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) have been given for humanitarian assistance in Pakistan, and health care in southern Sudan.
An allocation of $40,000 responds to a Church World Service (CWS) appeal for assistance in Pakistan. The grant will assist in providing the basic needs of displaced families, mobile health services, schools for children, vocational training for adults, and special programs for women.
A grant of $7,500 responds to an appeal from IMA World Health, following up on a previous allocation of $10,000 provided in Sept. 2007. IMA received initial funding from a special Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) to develop basic health services in the Jonglei and Upper Nile States of southern Sudan. Additional funding from MDTF has been withheld for unclear reasons, and this grant will continue to support IMA’s work in Sudan while efforts are made to restore the MDTF funding.
In other disaster relief news, the church’s Material Resources program at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., has begun its busy fall season. The program processes, warehouses, and ships relief materials.
“Boxcars containing Lutheran World Relief quilts, kits and soap have started to arrive from Michigan and Wisconsin–six so far,” said a recent report. “We also received a piggyback trailer from Spokane, Wash., and several large donations from Pennsylvania.” Recent shipments made on behalf of CWS consisted of blankets, school, baby and hygiene kits to Biloxi, Miss., for the homeless; blankets to Marion, Iowa, in response to flooding; and blankets to Pennsylvania for disadvantaged workers. IMA World Health orders of medicine have been packed for Cuba, Honduras, Kenya, Haiti, Nicaragua, Korea, Cambodia, Togo, Bangladesh, Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
6) Apple pickers flee, fearing Turkish bombing in Iraq.
Church of the Brethren member Peggy Gish has returned to her work in Iraq volunteering with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT). She is part of a team currently supporting Kurdish villages in northern Iraq that have been threatened by bombings from neighboring Turkey. The following is a report on her work, dated Oct. 24:
“Large clusters of ripe apples weighed down branches as Kaka Najeeb, the leader of Merkajia, a Kurdish Iraqi village near the Turkish border, led members of the Iraq team from Christian Peacemaker Teams through his orchard. ‘This is one of the best apple crops we’ve had,’ he said. ‘With our hired workers it would take us about a month to complete the harvest. Without help, most of the apples will rot.’
” ‘Our workers heard that the Turkish Parliament extended for another year the permission for the Turkish military to continue military strikes against Kurdish rebels in the border mountains,’ Najeeb continued. ‘So when Turkish military planes flew low over the trees the past three days, the workers believed the planes had come to bomb. They all fled.’
“This is not the first time Merkajia, an Assyrian Christian village, has been attacked. During the Anfal of 1987-88, a genocidal campaign carried out by Saddam Hussein’s regime, Merkajia and its surrounding villages were destroyed, and the people scattered to other parts of Iraq. Then after the Kurdish uprising in 1991, the 200 families returned and built a new village uphill from the remains of the old. During the 1990s, Turkish soldiers bombed the villages and kidnapped and tortured the residents. These attacks destroyed homes, farmland, livestock, crops, and displaced hundreds of families.
“In recent years, soldiers at the nearby Turkish base which lies inside Iraq about 12 kilometers from the border, have periodically launched rockets at Merkajia and other villages, usually during the spring or summer harvests. In order to go the nearest town, Kani Masi, residents must pass the Turkish base with its tanks and surveillance equipment. While the people in many of the other Christian and Muslim villages in that region have been afraid to return, a small number of men and a few women continue to stay in Merkajia.
“Turkey claims it is targeting Kurdish rebel fighters who have attacked Turkish soldiers, yet most of their strikes are in these civilian villages and not in the stronghold areas of the rebel group, giving the people reason to believe that one purpose of the attacks is to clear the border areas of residents and destabilize the region.
” ‘We are a peaceful people and just want to remain in the village of our ancestors,’ another resident told us. ‘Turkey does this for military purposes. We are the victims of this war. The US government is supporting Turkey’s actions. It doesn’t care about the Kurdish people, just about their own purposes and profits. We love the American people, but not the American government and what it does.’
” ‘Please raise our voices to the people of the world. Do what you can to stop this bombing,’ Najeeb exclaimed. ‘Our apples and crops would provide for all we need to be happy here, if we are allowed to live and work here in peace.’”
(Find out more about the work of CPT, originally begun as an initiative of the three Historic Peace Churches (Church of the Brethren, Mennonites, and Quakers) at www.cpt.org .)
7) Martin Marty to speak at Bethany Seminary’s 2010 Presidential Forum.
The 2010 Presidential Forum at Bethany Theological Seminary will feature Martin E. Marty as speaker on the theme, “When Strangers Are Angels: The Spiritual and Social Movement of Brethren, Friends, and Mennonites in a New Century.” The event is scheduled for April 9-10 at the Bethany campus in Richmond, Ind.
Marty is well known as a commentator on religion and culture. He is a columnist for “The Christian Century” magazine and edits “Context,” a semi-monthly newsletter on religion and culture. He holds the position of distinguished service professor emeritus at the University of Chicago, and continues weekly contributions to “Sightings,” an electronic editorial published by the Marty Center at the University of Chicago Divinity School.
The forum also will feature panelists from the three Historic Peace Churches (Church of the Brethren, Friends, and Mennonites). Online registration at http://www.bethanyseminary.edu/ will begin in January.
The Haiti workcamp held in October did some “hot work” on the island to rebuild homes destroyed by four hurricanes and tropical storms that hit last year. A photo album from the workcamp’s experience in Haiti is available at http://www.brethren.org/site/PhotoAlbumUser?AlbumID=9703&view=UserAlbum. Photo by Roy Winter
The choir at the Church of North India (CNI) Ankleshwar congregation sang for a celebration service during the visit of Jay Wittmeyer, Church of the Brethren executive director for Global Mission Partnerships. The story of his visits with churches and the Rural Service Center in India appears at left. Photo by Jay Wittmeyer
“REGNUH: Turning Hunger Around” is a campaign by the Church of the Brethren’s Global Food Crisis Fund. New this winter is a REGNUH collection to aid small-holder farm families (see story at left below). Shown here is a REGNUH children’s poster illustrating what it means to turn hunger around, created by Ashley, age 8, from Florin Church of the Brethren. See more children’s REGNUH posters at PhotoAlbumUser
— Juniata College president Thomas R. Kepple Jr. has agreed to extend his current employment contract through May 2013. Juniata is a Church of the Brethren-related school in Huntingdon, Pa. Kepple was scheduled to retire in May 2011. In addition, the contracts of Kepple’s senior management team–James Lakso, provost, and John Hille, executive vice president of enrollment and retention–also have been extended. Kepple arrived at Juniata from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., where he was vice president for business and community from 1989-98. Previously, at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn., he served as director of administrative services 1975-81, dean of administrative services 1981-86, and provost 1986-89. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business and economics from Westminster College, and a master’s degree in business administration and a doctorate in education from Syracuse University.
— The Gather ’Round curriculum seeks freelance curriculum writers to write for the 2011-12 year. Gather ’Round is a project of Brethren Press and Mennonite Publishing Network. Writers are needed for Preschool (ages 3-4), Primary (K-grade 2), Middler (grades 3-5), Junior Youth (grades 6-8), and Youth (grades 9-12). All writers will attend an orientation conference in April 2010 and begin writing thereafter, with deadlines staggered quarter by quarter. Writers prepare weekly materials for teacher’s guides, student books, and resource packs. Compensation varies according to the age group and the number of weeks (12-14) in a given quarter. For more information and to apply, visit the “Contact us” page at http://www.gatherround.org/ . Deadline for applications is Nov. 30.
— Applications for the 2010 Ministry Summer Service program are due Feb. 1. Ministry Summer Service is a leadership development program for college students in the Church of the Brethren. Students accepted into the program will spend 10 weeks of the summer working in the church, either in a local congregation, a district office, a camp, or a denominational program. “Through MSS, God is calling congregations to reach out in the ministry of teaching and receiving. God is calling young adults to explore the possibility of church work as their vocation,” said an announcement. Students will receive a $2,500 tuition grant, food and housing for 10 weeks, $100 per month spending money, transportation from orientation to their placement, and transportation from their placement to home. Churches who host a student are expected to provide an atmosphere for learning, reflection, and development of leadership skills; a setting for a student to engage in ministry and service for a 10-week period; a stipend of $100 a month, plus room and board, transportation on the job, and travel of the intern from orientation to the placement site; a structure for planning, developing, and implementing ministry projects in a variety of areas; and financial resources and time for the pastor or a mentor to attend two days of orientation. Students and congregations must apply by Feb. 1, 2010. Go to www.brethren.org/mss for the application form and more information.
— “The brochure for the 2010 workcamps has arrived!” says an announcement from the Youth and Young Adult Office of the Church of the Brethren. “In a National Youth Conference year, most workcamps offered are for junior high youth but there are still options for senior high youth, including an intergenerational workcamp co-led by On Earth Peace and the ‘We Are Able’ workcamp co-sponsored by Caring Ministries.” In addition, a young adult workcamp in Haiti is scheduled for the end of May. Registration opens Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. central time. For more information or to request a brochure, go to www.brethren.org/workcamps or contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-323-8039 ext. 286.
— On Earth Peace continues to receive applications for its annual Middle East Delegation, which will travel to Israel and Palestine on Jan. 5-18, 2010. The delegation is co-sponsored by Christian Peacemaker Teams. “Are you ready for the trip of a lifetime?” asks an announcement. “This is not a typical guided tour of the Holy Land. It is a journey in faith and forgiveness. Meet the ordinary Israelis and Palestinians who are seeking to come together for peace.” For more information go to www.onearthpeace.org/programs/special/
middle-east-peacemaking/delegations.html or contact delegation leader and On Earth Peace executive director Bob Gross at email@example.com or 260-982-7751.
— On Earth Peace is inviting young adult artists and graphic artists affiliated with the Church of the Brethren to submit a design for the an annual report poster. Each year, On Earth Peace designs a poster, with the annual report appearing on the back. “However, it is the poster on the front side that (people) tend to look forward to the most!” said the announcement. “Some posters remain relevant and popular for years, encouraging peace.” The theme for the 2010-11 poster is taken from Jeremiah 29: 4-7 and 10-11, with a focus on verse 11: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Submissions must be high-resolution electronic submissions only; able to be reproduced on a 22 inch by 17 inch poster; with the scriptural theme (Jer. 29:11) written out. Submissions with the additional verses also are welcomed. Submissions should include the artist’s contact information (telephone and e-mail). An award/honorarium of $300 is given to the artist of the poster selected. Eligibility: artists age 18-35 years, affiliated with the Church of the Brethren (through a congregation, church-related college, or family connection). Deadline for submissions is Dec. 31. Send submissions and questions to Gimbiya Kettering Lim, On Earth Peace communications coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-289-6341. For more information go to www.onearthpeace.org/opportunities/
— Church of the Brethren general secretary Stan Noffsinger was one of more than 40 American faith leaders to sign a letter calling for Congress to do everything in its power to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. The letter sponsored by the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) states in part, “Guantanamo is the symbol of our country’s violation of our deepest values. Regardless of how it is operated now compared to how it was operated in earlier years, it stands, in the minds of hundreds of millions of people in our nation and around the globe, as a place where America broke faith with itself and used torture as an interrogation technique.”
— NRCAT is offering two resources for congregations and clergy this winter: “Advent 2009: Resources for Christian Clergy” gives worship resources for clergy to address the issue of torture during this Advent season, a free download is at www.nrcat.org/index.php?option=com_
content&task=view&id=382&Itemid=288 . A “300 in 30” campaign aims to recruit 300 congregations in at least 30 states to view and study a 20-minute video about torture, titled “Ending US-Sponsored Torture Forever,” between now and April 1, 2010. The video can be viewed online, ordered for $5 in DVD format, or downloaded as an .m4v file. Discussion guides, online help for facilitators of congregational discussions of torture, and other resources are provided as part of the campaign. Go to www.nrcat.org/index.php?option=com_content&task
— New from Brethren Press is the Winter quarter’s “A Guide for Biblical Studies,” the Brethren Bible study curriculum for adults. “Christ, the Fulfillment” is written by Chris Bowman, pastor of Oakton Church of the Brethren in Vienna, Va. The study focuses on Jesus’ coming as the Messiah, and how he fulfills Old Testament prophecies. The study includes a daily scripture and a weekly lesson for the quarter, and questions for individual preparation and classroom use. Order from Brethren Press for $4 per copy, or $6.95 for large print, plus shipping and handling. Call 800-441-3712.
— “Footprints” (formerly the Eastern Regional Youth Conference) will be held Nov. 20-22 in Chambersburg, Pa. David Radcliff, director of the New Community Project, will be the keynote speaker. “This year it has a brand new look and a new name,” said an announcement of the event. “The title comes from the idea that each of us is on a journey. Our footprints are taking us in new and exciting directions as each of us strives, in our own way, to follow in the footsteps of Christ.” The event will include workshops and a service project. Cost is $125 for youth and advisors. Contact Karen Duhai at 814-643-0601 or email@example.com .
— Bethel Ministries, a nonprofit faith-based program connected with Mountain View Church of the Brethren in Boise, Idaho, helps men leaving incarceration change their lives to become law-abiding, productive members of society. The ministry is holding its 2009 Graduation and Resident Testimonials Banquet on Nov. 21 at 6 p.m. at the church. “You are invited to join us for a wonderful evening of celebration and praise!” said the announcement. “A unique opportunity to hear what God has accomplished through Jesus Christ, not only for the graduating Bethel residents but also our community.” The guest speaker is Michael Johnson, a deputy warden at Idaho Maximum Security Institution. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 208-345-5988.
— Sunnyslope Brethren/United Church of Christ in Wenatchee, Wash., held its first “Harvest Celebration” on Oct. 11, celebrating a year of sponsoring a growing project with the Foods Resource Bank. The Church of the Brethren participates with the Foods Resource Bank through the Global Food Crisis Fund. The Sunnyslope growing project supports the Totonicapan Program in Guatemala.
— The John Kline Homestead Preservation Trust has received statements of support from the Broadway (Va.) Town Council and the Shenandoah District Board. Paul Roth, a leader in the effort and pastor of the nearby Linville Creek Church of the Brethren, reported that the district board expressed “unanimous affirmation of support” for raising funds to purchase the homestead. “We hold in the highest esteem your efforts to preserve what may be the most important historical preservation project ever undertaken on behalf of the Brethren,” the statement said. “Elder John Kline certainly stood for and lived the very principles that we still hold in highest regard. For that reason alone this undertaking is one that will, Lord willing, provide education to the young and old of our denomination and valley for many years to come.” The John Kline Homestead Preservation Trust has been created in hopes of preserving the home of Elder John Kline, a Civil War-era Brethren leader and peace martyr. At the end of October, the trust received a check for $3,250 from the Margaret Grattan Weaver Foundation in Harrisonburg, Va., which supports preservation of the religious heritage of the Shenandoah Valley. Brethren across Shenandoah District are raising funds for the John Kline Homestead at a Spaghetti Supper Extravaganza on Dec. 11 at Briery Branch Church of the Brethren in Dayton, Va. “Momentum is building!” Roth said “We have raised over 50 percent of the money for our goal of $425,000. Gifts and pledges thus far total over $215,000.”
— Shenandoah District senior high youth will participate in a “30-Hour Famine” at Dayton (Va) Church of the Brethren on Nov. 20-21. The event raises awareness of hunger and poverty.
— Members of Lower Deer Creek Church of the Brethren in Camden, Ind., have been having fun with a food collection project called “Raise the Turkey, Hide the Pastor.” The church is collecting food for the Carroll County Food Pantry, and stacking it in front of the pulpit with the goal of eventually hiding pastor Guy Studebaker.
— South Waterloo (Iowa) Church of the Brethren has a new website: http://www.southwaterloochurch.org/ .
— WFMY News 2 in North Carolina reports that a rural area of about 2,300 acres in southwest Forsyth County with ties to Fraternity Church of the Brethren and Hope Moravian Church is “one step closer to becoming a national historic rural district.” The station reports that the North Carolina National Register Advisory Committee agreed on Oct. 8 to put the historic rural district application for the Hope-Fraternity area on the North Carolina Study List, a step toward National Register recognition. See the story at www.digtriad.com/news/local/
— Virlina District in October delivered about 650 pounds of Gift of the Heart Kits for disaster relief to the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. The district collects clean-up buckets, hygiene kits, school kits, or other kits donated by congregations at its District Resource Center.
— The 25th annual Brethren Heritage Day held at Camp Bethel near Fincastle, Va., netted $30,769.91 in support of ministries of the camp and Virlina District.
— Brethren Village, a Church of the Brethren retirement community in Lancaster, Pa., has opened its new Courtyards and Welcome Center, according to the “Lancaster Intelligencer Journal.” The new facilities include 120 private rooms in a home-like environment. A dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony on Nov. 8 featured Atlantic Northeast District executive minister Craig Smith as the keynote speaker.
— Brethren Village has announced the appointment of board members F. Barry Shaw of Elizabethtown, Pa., who was appointed chair of the Board of Directors; along with Douglas F. Deihm and Alan R. Over, both from Lancaster, Pa.
— Manchester College in North Manchester, Ind., and Parkview Health Systems have announced a collaboration on the college’s new School of Pharmacy campus in central Fort Wayne, Ind. In 2012, the college will assume the Fort Wayne Cardiology building on Parkview Health’s Randallia campus, according to a release from the college. The release added that Manchester will now focus on hiring a dean for the new campus, carrying out the extensive pre-accreditation process for a School of Pharmacy, and raising $10 million in start-up costs. Manchester expects to enroll 265 students into the School of Pharmacy, with 30 faculty and 10 staff members.
— In more new from Manchester, the leader of the college’s environmental studies, Jerry Sweeten, will be honored in Washington, D.C., as the 2009 Indiana Professor of the Year on Nov. 19. Sweeten and his family attend North Manchester (Ind.) Church of the Brethren. He is among 38 state winners being honored, along with the 2009 US Professor of the Year. The award is given by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. Sweeten is the second member of the Manchester College faculty to receive the award; art professor emeritus James R.C. Adams was the 2002 US Professor of the Year.
— Nathan H. Miller, an attorney and businessman from Harrisonburg, Va., has been named chair of the Bridgewater (Va.) College Board of Trustees. Miller also is a former representative to the Virginia House of Delegates from 1972-75, and a former state senator from 1976-83. He replaces outgoing chairman James L. Keeler of Moneta, Va.
— Bridgewater College has announced two major construction projects, one of which will improve two existing student residence halls and another which will provide new village-style student housing. The first phase of both projects will get under way in Feb.-March 2010 and be completed by August, in time for the 2010-11 academic year.
— The November edition of “Brethren Voices,” the monthly community television program offered by Portland (Ore.) Peace Church of the Brethren, utilized seven photographic sources for the half-hour show about the International Day of Prayer for Peace. Photos and video segments were submitted by congregations from as far away as Philadelphia to San Diego. “This seemed to exemplify the opportunities that exist for this Brethren community television program,” said producer Ed Groff in an invitation for other Brethren congregations to submit photos or video. “Brethren Voices is requesting video footage or photographs and stories about your experiences as a volunteer with Brethren Disaster Ministries or your congregation’s involvement with Heifer International,” Groff wrote. The December show will feature the work of Brethren Disaster Ministries, along with an interview with director Roy Winter. The January program will take a look at the Heifer International Global Village at Camp Shepherd Springs in Maryland. Another program in the works will feature interviews at the World Friendship Center in Hiroshima, Japan, where the directors serve through Brethren Volunteer Service. For more information contact Ed Groff at email@example.com .
— Record numbers of Americans are going hungry, according to new data released by the US Department of Agriculture this week. More than one in seven, or 14.6 percent of American households, suffered from food insecurity in 2008. The 3.5 percentage point increase from 2007 is the largest one-year increase since the USDA first began publishing data. However, Bread for the World president David Beckmann commented in a release that the new data “is not surprising,” as he commented on skyrocketing unemployment and the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs. “What should really shock us is that almost one in four children in our country lives on the brink of hunger,” Beckmann said. According to the USDA report, in 2008, 16.7 million children, or 22.5 percent, were “food insecure”–4.2 million more than the year before. “We must make serious progress against child hunger when Congress renews child nutrition programs next year,” Beckmann said. “To end hunger, our leaders need to strengthen nutrition programs and provide steady jobs that allow parents to escape the cycle of poverty and feed their families for years to come.”
— SERRV is announcing new markdowns of more than 150 items from its Fall/Winter Catalog, “just in time for holiday shopping!” The announcement assured shoppers that “while you are getting a great deal, as always, our artisans have been paid fairly and in full.” SERRV is a nonprofit fair trade organization with the mission “to eradicate poverty wherever it resides by providing opportunity and support to artisans and farmers worldwide,” and began as a Brethren program. For more go to http://www.serrv.org/ .
— Tana Durnbaugh of Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, Ill., is the 2009 recipient of the Elgin-South Elgin Church Women United Human Rights Award. Her peace and justice ministry includes activities with Fox Valley Citizens for Peace and Justice and Christian Peacemaker Teams.
— Paula Worley of Wichita, Kan., received the Young Alumni Award from McPherson (Kan.) College on Oct. 2 during Honors Convocation at homecoming. She is a family physician at GraceMed Health Clinic.
— Virginia Meadows, director of programs at the Second Mile in State College, Pa., received the 2009 Church College Young Alumni Leadership Award from Juniata College at an Oct. 16 ceremony at the Middle Pennsylvania District Conference. She received the award for her work at Camp Blue Diamond in Petersburg, Pa., where she worked as program director from 2004-07.