Brethren Bits for Oct. 7, 2014

The Church of the Brethren Global Food Crisis Fund (GFCF) recently received a unique gift, from the Colors of Humanity Art Gallery. “We are a brand new online art gallery that has monthly juried art shows. Each month we donate 10 percent of all entry fees to a worthy organization,” explained Janelle Cogan in an e-mail to GFCF manager Jeff Boshart. “Our October show is ‘Landscapes’ and we would like to donate to the Global Food Crisis Fund.” Shown here: Church of the Brethren staff Nancy Watts of the Treasurer’s Office, and Matt DeBall of donor communications, receive the check of $116 representing 58 entries mailed in by Colors of Humanity late last month. The Landscapes show will run Oct. 1-31. For more information go to www.colorsofhumanityartgallery.com

— Correction:The location for the Gathering event in Western Plains District on Oct. 24-26 was given incorrectly in a previous issue of Newsline. The Gathering will be held in Salina, Kan., at the Webster Conference Center. The Gathering is held annually as a transformational initiative in the district. This year the theme will be “Blessed, Broken, and Inspired,” from Mark 6:30-44.

— Remembrance: Charles M. Bieber, 95, who served as moderator of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference in 1977 and was a former mission worker in Nigeria as well as a former district executive, died on Sept. 27. He and his wife, Mary Beth, served as Church of the Brethren mission workers in Nigeria from 1950-63. He worked as a district executive minister in Northern Indiana District for seven years, from 1978-86. He also served pastorates in Nebraska and Pennsylvania and was pastor emeritus at Ephrata (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. In addition to moderating Annual Conference, his volunteer leadership in the denomination included a term on the former General Board, participation in an Annual Conference study committee on world missions, service on the Board of Trustees of Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., and membership on the board of the Disaster Relief Auction. He also wrote articles for “Messenger” magazine and published two books, a history of the Ephrata Church titled “Keeping the Embers Aglow,” and an autobiography, “Around the World in Eighty Years.” He was a graduate of Juniata College, Philadelphia School of Nursing, and Bethany Bible School, now Bethany Theological Seminary. He was born Sept. 11, 1919, in Williamsport, Pa., to the late George and Edith (Seriff) Bieber. He married Mary Beth High on June 24, 1944. They celebrated 60 years of marriage before her death in July 2004. He is preceded in death by an adopted son, Karagama Gadzama. He is survived by children Larien (Nancy) Bieber of Millersville, Pa.; Dale (Carla Nester) Bieber of Iowa City, Iowa; Bonnie Concoran of Amery, Wis.; Marla (Jim) Bieber Abe of Carlisle, Pa.; Doreen (Myron) Miller of Lebanon, Pa.; “adopted” children, Jeannette Matarita, Xinia Tobias, Bellanice Cordero, and Njidda Gadzama; grandchildren; and great-grandchildren. The family has thanked his special pen pal, Mary Ann Payne, for her friendship with him for many years. Two memorial services were held, on Oct. 3 at the Brethren Village Chapel in Lancaster, Pa., and on Oct. 4 at Ephrata (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. Memorial contributions are received to the EYN Compassion Fund aiding Nigerians affected by violence, or to Juniata College.

— Remembrance: Wayne B. Zook, 86, who twice served on the former General Board of the Church of the Brethren and was a family physician for 39 years in Wenatchee, Wash., passed away on Sept. 9. Dr. Zook served on the former General Board from 1963-69, and again from 1972-73. During the 1970s and 1980s he was very involved with the church at the district and denominational levels. His father, Ray E. Zook, had been a district executive in the Church of the Brethren and a Brethren minister for 50 years. Wayne Zook was born in Cresco, Iowa, on Oct. 2, 1927, and grew up in Flora, Ind. He attended Manchester College in North Manchester, Ind., and while in college volunteered as a Heifer Project “seagoing cowboy” for two trips taking livestock by ship to war-ravaged Poland. He attended medical school at Indiana University. While there he married Evelyn Johnson in 1950. He was an active member of Wenatchee Brethren-Baptist Church and was active in the Wenatchee Rotary Club where he served as president 1971-72, and was president of the Wenatchee Chamber of Commerce in 1987. In addition he was an active member of many professional medical associations, and was named Washington State Family Physician of the Year in 1982. He is survived by his wife of 64 years and daughter Teri Zook White and sons Kim Zook and Dale Zook, and numerous extended family members. A memorial service was held on Sept. 27 at Wenatchee Brethren-Baptist Church.

— Southeastern District of the Church of the Brethren has hired Jane Collins as communication manager for the district office. She is an active member at Jackson Park Church of the Brethren in Jonesborough, Tenn., and hold a degree in accounting and business management from Milligan College. She also is reading clerk for the district.

— Pinecrest Community, a Church of the Brethren-related nonprofit continuing care retirement community in the Rock River Valley of Illinois, is seeking a director of Social Services. The primary purpose of this position is to plan, organize, develop, and direct the overall operation of the facility’s Social Service Department in accordance with current federal, state, and local standards, guidelines, and regulations, and established policies and procedures to assure that the medically related emotional and social needs of residents are met and maintained on an individual basis. This person manages the admission process and needs to be knowledgeable in the areas of Medicare, Medicaid, and insurance. The qualified candidate will have a bachelor’s degree in Social Work, with a master’s degree preferred, and must be licensed in the State of Illinois. The candidate must possess leadership ability and willingness to work harmoniously with and supervise personnel. A minimum of two years of experience in a long-term care facility or other related medical facility is required. Submit a resume to Victoria L. Marshall PHR, Human Resources Director, Pinecrest Community, 414 South Wesley Ave., Mount Morris, IL  61054. Find more information about Pinecrest Community at www.pinecrestcommunity.org .

— An upcoming webinar has been postponed. “Telling the Truth and Shaming the Devil: A Postcolonial Take on Urban Mission in the 21st Century” originally scheduled for Oct. 9 has been postponed due to unforeseen circumstances. “We look forward to scheduling a future date with Dr. Anthony Reddie,” said an announcement from Stan Dueck, director of Transforming Practices for the Church of the Brethren.

— Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) has added a new volunteer training to its fall schedule. “This is the first training scheduled as a result of our Gulf Coast Expansion project,” reports Kathleen Fry-Miller, associate director of Children’s Disaster Services. The training will take place in Sarasota, Fla., on Nov. 21-22, hosted by the American Red Cross (2001 Cantu Ct., Sarasota, FL 34232). The local contact person is Joy Haskin Rowe, CDS Gulf Coast Regional Coordinator, 540-420-4896, cdsgulfcoast@gmail.com . Already scheduled by CDS is a training on Oct. 24-25 in Portland, Ore. For more information and registration forms to take part in CDS trainings, go to www.brethren.org/cds .

— “We want to hear from Shine teachers!” said an invitation from the Shine curriculum, a joint project of Brethren Press and MennoMedia. “Sometimes it is best to get feedback while people are in the midst of using an item. As we make plans for Year 2 of Shine, we’d like to have input from those using Shine about what works and doesn’t work for them and for their group of children.” In addition to the evaluation form on the inside front cover of every Shine teacher’s guide, there is an online evaluation form available at https://shinecurriculum.com/evaluationform . “If you are a teacher, please complete one of these forms,” said the invitation. “If you work with teachers, encourage them to complete an evaluation form soon.”

— In more news from Shine and Brethren Press, orders for Quarter 2, Winter 2014-2015 can be made now. “Products are in our warehouses, ready to be shipped to your congregation,” said an announcement. “Order early to give new teachers time to review the materials.” Contact Brethren Press at 800-441-3712 or order online at www.brethrenpress.com . For more about the Shine curriculum go to www.shinecurriculum.com or check out the Shine Facebook page at www.facebook.com/shinecurriculum .

— His Way Church of the Brethren in Mills River, N.C., is celebrating its 10th anniversary on Oct. 12 at 3 p.m., at Rapha House (127 School House Rd., Mills River). All are welcome to come and help celebrate, said an announcement from Southeastern District.

— Prince of Peace Church of the Brethren in the Denver area is starting a new inter-generational opportunity called “Messy Church.” Said a Facebook post by Gail Erisman Valeta, one of the pastoral team: “We are so excited about starting Messy Church at Prince of Peace on Sat. Oct. 11 from 5-6:30! Check it out! Life is messy so come as you are!” The event is intended to “bring together all generations to celebrate God’s love and the presence of Jesus in our lives.”

— A “Spiritual Renewal Circuit Ride” in Iowa featured Samuel Sarpiya, a Church of the Brethren minister and church planter from Rockford, Ill. He spoke at four Churches of the Brethren in Iowa (Fairview, Ottumwa, English River, and Prairie City) on four consecutive evenings, Oct. 5-8. All of the meetings started with a meal, followed by worship and the message.

— Pews from Enders (Neb.) Church of the Brethren have found a new home at the Tok’ahookaadi congregation and Lybrook Community Ministries in Cuba, N.M., after the Enders Church building was closed. The building had suffered damage in several thunderstorms. Western Plains District reported in its newsletter that Dave and Jane Sampson of Hutchinson Community Church of the Brethren drove a trailer filled with pews and several boxes of Sunday school material from Nebraska to New Mexico on Sept. 15. “The Enders congregation is very happy to find a home and good use for some of the church’s possessions,” the newsletter said.

— Western Plains District recently published a wrap up of the district conference, which was held July 25-27 on the theme, “Pursuing Peace.” Highlights included representation from 28 congregations including the Tok’ahookaadi Church of the Brethren and Lybrook Community Ministries in Cuba, N.M. “Kim and Jim Therrien presented a Lybrook insight session, where several Lybrook community members shared their stories,” the report said. Service projects supported the local United Way and $7,330 dollars were raised through the Projects Unlimited Auction. The theme inspired dramas and works of art, and was highlighted in business sessions through video interviews of district elders Paul Hoffman and Ellis Yoder, who shared their personal life stories and perspectives on conscientious objection and the military. The district youth shared their experiences and insights from National Youth Conference, and a message was given by On Earth Peace executive director Bill Scheurer. Ordained ministers who were honored for significant milestones in ministry were Mike Schneider and Jon Tuttle, 5 years; Barbra Davis, 10 years; Sonja Griffith and Tom Smith, 15 years; Stephen Klinedinst, 20 years; Edwina Pote (in memoriam, deceased June 26, 2014), 25 years; Francis Hendricks and Jean Hendricks, 35 years; John Carlson, 45 years; Lyall Sherred, 55 years; Dean Farringer and Charles Whitacre, 70 years.

— Two Church of the Brethren districts held their annual district conferences last weekend: Idaho District, which met at Nampa (Idaho) Church of the Brethren on Oct. 3-4; and Atlantic Northeast District, which gathered at Leffler Chapel on the campus of Elizabethtown (Pa.) College on Oct. 4. Three more districts will be meeting this coming weekend: Atlantic Southeast District plans to meet in conference at Sebring (Fla.) Church of the Brethren on Oct. 10-11; Mid-Atlantic District will meet at Manassas (Va.) Church of the Brethren on Oct. 10-11; and Southern Ohio District gathers at Happy Corner Church of the Brethren in Clayton, Ohio, on Oct. 10-11.

— “Caregiving in the Midst of Conflict: The Deacon’s Role” is the title of a deacon training workshop to be hosted at the Village Green at the Village at Morrison’s Cove in Martinsburg, Pa., on Nov. 1. Cost is $40 per person or $30 per person for church groups of 3 or more. The registration deadline is Oct. 24.

— New courses are offered in Ventures in Christian Discipleship at McPherson (Kan.) College. The Ventures courses do not offer college credit, but offer high-quality instruction at a reasonable cost. “The goal of the program is to empower lay people, especially in smaller congregations, to more effectively carry out the work of discipleship, following in Jesus’ footsteps to transform ourselves and the world,” said an announcement. All courses cost $15 and all times are central time. Some courses are offered both onsite at McPherson College and as online webinars. For webinars, group rates of $75 are available for 5 or more participants in one location. A computer with high-speed Internet connection and external powered speakers is recommended. Upcoming courses are: “Beyond the Numbers: The Power of Small Places (Think Small)” taught by Duane Grady online Nov. 8 from 9 a.m.-12 noon; “Laughing at Jonah and Sustaining Ourselves” taught by Duane Grady and offered online Nov. 8, 1:30-4:30 p.m.; “A Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness: Engaging Social Justice Movements” taught by Carol Wise on campus at McPherson College on Jan. 9, 2015, 12 noon-3:30 p.m., and offered online on Jan. 10, 2015, 9 a.m.-12 noon; “Starting with the Basics: Language, Sex and Gender” taught by Carol Wise on campus at McPherson College on Jan. 9, 6:30-8:30 p.m., and online on Jan. 10, 2015, 1:30-4:30 p.m.; “Innovation on a Timeline: Embracing Your Creativity Angels” taught by J.D. Bowman online on Feb. 7, 2015, 9 a.m.-12 noon;  “Come to the Table, but Bring Your Crayons” taught by J.D. Bowman online on Feb. 7, 1:30-4:30 p.m.; “Reading the Bible for Spiritual Growth” taught by Bob Bowman online on March 14, 2015, 9 a.m.-12 noon; “Reading Church History for Spiritual Growth” taught by Bob Bowman online on March 14, 2015, 1:30-4:30 p.m. For registration, course descriptions, and instructor introductions, go to www.mcpherson.edu/ventures .

— Elizabethtown (Pa.) College president Carl J. Strikwerda spoke at the Fourth Annual President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge National Gathering, which took place Sept. 22-23 at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., according to a release from the college. The event was sponsored by the White House and Inter-Faith Youth Core. Strikwerda was on a panel on the topic “Connecting Mission to Action: Prioritizing Interfaith Cooperation as a College President” and shared the progress made by Elizabethtown College in interfaith understanding, and also took part in a plenary sessions on “Power of Interfaith Work,” “Effective Practices in Campus Interfaith Work,” and “Celebration and Inspiration.” Tracy Sadd, Elizabethtown College chaplain, also was on a panel on the topic “Partnering with IFYC to Achieve Campus Impact.”

— A student at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., has made the news for his photography. “Gordon Dimmig may only be a college sophomore, but he’s already achieved a goal on the bucket list of any artist. His photography is hanging in the Smithsonian,” reports LancasterOnline. Dimmig, who comes from Elizabethtown, Pa., was the student winner of the “People in Wilderness” category of a competition by Nature’s Best Photography and the Smithsonian Institution called “Wilderness Forever: 50 Years of Protecting America’s Wild Places.” The online news piece reports that his photo is part of an exhibition of 50 images that opened Sept. 3 and runs through next summer at the Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. “At Juniata, Dimmig is studying environmental science, and he says he’s considering doing field research with birds or wildlife.” Find the full report at http://lancasteronline.com/entertainment/art/e-town-teen-s-award-winning-fly-fishing-photograph-on/article_35876562-4910-11e4-867f-0017a43b2370.html . For more of Dimmig’s photography, visit gwd-photography.com .

— The annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is scheduled for Jan. 17-25, 2015. The theme for 2015 comes from the gospel of John: “Jesus said to her: ‘Give me to drink.’” The theme, which is proposed by Christians in a different country or area of the world each year, in 2015 comes from a group of Brazilian Christians called together by the National Council of Christian Churches of Brazil (CONIC), reports the World Council of Churches. “The biblical gesture of offering water to whomever arrives, as a way of welcoming and sharing, is something that is repeated in all regions of Brazil,” said an announcement. “The proposed study and meditation on the story of Jesus meeting a Samaritan woman at the well is to help people and communities to realize the dialogical dimension of the project of Jesus, which we call the Kingdom of God.” For more information and links to online resources go to www.oikoumene.org/en/press-centre/events/week-of-prayer-for-christian-unity . Click on “more information” to find a page with links to a brochure about the 2015 event.

— The Ecumenical Advocacy Days (EAD) theme for 2015 is “Breaking the Chains: Mass Incarceration and Systems of Violence.” The annual gathering in Washington, D.C., is scheduled for April 17-20, and will be the 13th annual national gathering. “Join over 1,000 Christian advocates in Washington, D.C., in building a movement to shake the foundations of systems of human exploitation (Acts 16:16-40), including a prison-industrial system that incarcerates millions of people in the US and abroad,” said an invitation. “A world that incarcerates so many and allows some to profit from the exploitation of slave, trafficked, and forced labor remains far from the ‘beloved community’ which we are all called to seek.” The event includes prayer, worship, advocacy training, networking, and mobilization with other Christians, culminating with EAD’s Congressional Lobby Day on Capitol Hill. Go to www.AdvocacyDays.org for more information, downloadable brochures, bulletin inserts, hotel information, and to register.

— The World Council of Churches general secretary has welcomed a letter from a group of Muslim scholars, according to a WCC release. “The WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit has welcomed publication of an open letter by a group of 126 Muslim scholars to Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, leader of the self-proclaimed ‘Islamic State’ (IS) and his followers. The letter, issued on 24 September, condemns actions of the IS from an Islamic religious perspective,” the release said. “The meticulous, detailed and scholarly rebuttal of the claims of the IS to represent authentic Islam offered by this letter will be an important resource for Muslim leaders who seek to enable people of all religions to live together with dignity, respecting our common humanity,” Tveit said. “I am especially concerned at present for the safety and flourishing of Christian communities in the Middle East, as well as in other continents. This document is a significant contribution to how we together as people and leaders from our faith perspective and address threats to our one humanity.” Find the letter from the Muslim scholars at http://lettertobaghdadi.com .

— Representatives of Christian organizations and the United Nations took part in a World Council of Churches meeting on Ebola, held in Geneva, Switzerland, on Sept. 29. The meeting responds to the Ebola crisis in West Africa, which as of the end of September had taken more than 3,000 lives. The release also cited a World Health Organization estimate that numbers of infected persons could top 1 million by Jan. 2015. Dr. Pierre Formenty, an epidemiologist and coordinator of the WHO campaign against Ebola, while addressing the WCC consultation said, “This is a situation where everyone needs to work together: politicians, media, communities, faith organizations. We all have to do something. If one fails, everybody will fail…. Faith organizations in Africa have a huge role to play.” Dr. Gisela Schneider from the German Institute for Medical Mission, who was in Liberia a few weeks ago, shared observations from her visit. “Christian hospitals are highly vulnerable,” she said. “This is why ‘keep safe, keep working’ is an important slogan we promote for the health workers serving Christian hospitals…. People working on the ground need a great amount of encouragement, training, mentorship, and support.” Read the WCC release at www.oikoumene.org/en/press-centre/news/churches-and-agencies-formulate-responses-to-ebola-outbreak .