Brethren bits for June 29, 2019

— A memorial service for former Nigeria mission worker Monroe Good will take place on July 10 at 1 p.m. at Lancaster (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. Good passed away on May 3, find a remembrance in the Newsline of June 1 at www.brethren.org/news/2019/brethren-bits-for-june-1.html . Approximately 30 guests from the Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) are expected to attend the service and a Nigerian women’s choir will provide music. A time of visitation with light refreshments will follow. The service will be livestreamed on YouTube by the congregation. Contact the Lancaster Church for more information or see www.lancob.org .

An action alert from the Office of Peacebuilding and Policy invites Brethren to take action on the humanitarian crisis at the southern border. The alert calls attention to the inhumane conditions in migrant detention facilities, especially for children, and cites fundamental Christian beliefs about how we should treat our neighbors as well as the 1982 Annual Conference statement on undocumented persons and refugees which says, in part, “The primary truth of faith as we consider immigrants and refugees today is that Christ has made another appearance among us, as Himself an immigrant and refugee in the person of political dissidents, the economically deprived, and foreigners on the run. We are to join them as pilgrims in search of that city yet to come, with foundations of love and justice whose architect and builder is God” ( www.brethren.org/ac/statements/1982refugees). The alert also raises concern about preventing diversion of funds from agencies like the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to ICE for immigration enforcement. It offers action ideas and text for speaking with legislators. Go to https://mailchi.mp/brethren/border-crisis?e=9be2c75ea6 .

— Dylan Higgs of Fishers, Ind., has been hired as director of instructional design at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., starting July 8. In this new position, Higgs will support faculty and students in the use of technology for course content and resources; facilitate videoconferencing and production for classes, meetings, and other events; assist in the production of videos and DVDs; and provide training and education in the use of technological communication tools. He has been an adjunct instructor at Ivy Tech Community College and an instructional designer for Kelly Services, both in Indianapolis. From 2009-2014 he was an adjunct instructor at the University of the Bahamas in Nassau. He holds a master’s degree in translation from Autonomous University in Barcelona, Spain, and a master’s degree in higher education from Purdue University Global in Indianapolis, and is completing a master’s degree in learning design and technology from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind.

— Gabriela Carillo Chacón began as admissions recruiter at Bethany Seminary on June 26. She is a 2019 graduate of Earlham College, also in Richmond, Ind., with a bachelor’s degree in human development and social relations and a minor in French and Francophone studies. She interned with the Human Resources Department at Universidad Técnica Nacional in Costa Rica. Fluent in Spanish, she has taught English to native Spanish speakers and has done translation and interpretation.

— The Church of the Brethren seeks candidates for a full-time salaried director of Intercultural Ministries to serve on the Discipleship Ministries staff based at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. The major responsibility is to equip the denomination to fulfill its intercultural vision and commitments. Required skills and knowledge include, among others: commitment to Jesus Christ as understood through the Anabaptist and radical Pietist roots of the Church of the Brethren; knowledge of Church of the Brethren heritage, theology, and polity; effective sharing of personal faith; ability to articulate and operate out of the vision of the Church of the Brethren and the Mission and Ministry Board; ability to integrate intercultural competencies within a model of discipleship; demonstration of intercultural understanding and competency, and the ability to teach others; having a broad definition of “intercultural” and ability to see wide applications for core intercultural competencies; ability to move easily among a variety of different cultural groups, recognizing and respecting their unique qualities and gifts and cultivating forms of expression that bridge the diversity throughout the church; knowledge of group process and ability to facilitate appropriate processes for sharing learning, receiving feedback, and decision-making; written and oral communication skills with bilingual ability preferred; ability and willingness to draw on the expertise of others as needed; skills in developing, implementing, and evaluating strategic initiatives; logistics management, such as meeting and event planning; ability to function effectively in a complex system, including making difficult decisions; ability to engage and utilize teams of volunteers to execute strategies; interpersonal skills that contribute to effective work within the Church of the Brethren, its congregations, and districts; computer aptitude and experience with current platforms; familiarity with and experience of social media work; ability to build the capacity of the denomination to identify, acknowledge, confess, lament, repent, and counteract racialized hierarchies and patterns. Experience and education requirements include five or more years of participation in intercultural contexts; experience developing and implementing program, managing complex workloads, communicating effectively to a diverse constituency, and working as part of a collaborative team; a bachelor’s degree, with a master’s degree in a related field preferred. Applications are reviewed on an ongoing basis until the position is filled. Send a resume to COBApply@brethren.org . Contact the Human Resources Manager, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; 800-323-8039 ext. 367. The Church of the Brethren is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

— Bethany Theological Seminary seeks an office manager for “Brethren Life & Thought,” an academic journal of the Church of the Brethren. The position is expected to average eight hours per week. Many duties can be performed offsite; some travel to Bethany’s campus in Richmond, Ind., is required. Major responsibilities include operations of journal production (subscriptions, communication with editors, logistics of printing); communicating with subscribers and donors (not including fundraising); providing clerical support for the advisory board of the Brethren Journal Association; maintaining an inventory of back issues and archives of the association’s work. Qualifications include a high school diploma and preferably a year’s experience in a business setting, organizational skills, self-motivation, and familiarity with database management and current computer technology. Familiarity with the Church of the Brethren is preferred. The desired start date is early September. Applications will be reviewed until the position is filled. Send a letter of interest, resume, and contact information for three references to deansoffice@bethanyseminary.edu or Academic Dean’s Office, Office Manager, Brethren Life & Thought, Bethany Theological Seminary, 615 National Road West, Richmond, IN 47374; 765-983-1815. Bethany Theological Seminary’s policy prohibits discrimination in employment opportunities or practices with regard to race, gender, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, or religion.

— Shepherd’s Spring Inc., has launched a search for a new executive director. “We look forward to its continued impact on the lives of thousands of children, youth, and adults of all ages,” said an announcement from the board of the outdoor ministries and retreat facility in Mid-Atlantic District. The executive director has overall strategic and operational responsibility for Shepherd’s Spring staff, programs, facilities, and execution of its mission, and will develop a deep understanding of the outdoor ministry field, core programs, operations, and business plans. Qualifications include a thorough commitment to the Shepherd’s Spring mission and proven leadership, coaching, and relationship management experience, preferably in a faith-based outdoor ministry program with a retreat center. To apply, respond to the Indeed posting at www.indeed.com/cmp/Shepherd’s-Spring-Outdoor-Ministry-Center/jobs/Executive-Director-dd30307c74d9e8cb . More information about the organization is at www.shepherdsspring.org . For questions contact rhaywood@shepherdsspring.org .

— “Get the complete stories and more BVS goodness by reading our latest newsletter,” invites Brethren Volunteer Service. The latest BVS newsletter on the theme “Finding Joy” is online at www.brethren.org/bvs/files/newsletter/bvs-volunteer-newsletter.pdf . “If you or someone you know is wondering about their next step, BVS has life-changing volunteer positions open all year round,” the invitation continues. Find out more or explore project listings at www.brethren.org/bvs .

— A new edition of the BHLA News and Notes from the Brethren Historical Library and Archives is at www.brethren.org/bhla/documents/newsletter/bhla-news-and-notes-2019.pdf . In this issue: “Where Was I Born on March 21, 1930? A Story of Bethany Hospital” by Mary Bowman Baucher, with history of the hospital on the near west side of Chicago, Ill.; “The Dunker Meeting House and the Irony of Brethren History,” a review of the book “September Mourn. The Dunker Church of Antietam Battlefield” by Alann Schmidt and Terry Barkley; and more.

— Hoosier Interfaith Power and Light will host a Climate Change Forum at Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren in Fort Wayne, Ind., on Wednesday, July 10, at 6:30 p.m. “This will be a conversation about how climate change is impacting and will continue to impact northern Indiana,” said an announcement. Melissa Windhelm, operations manager of the Purdue Climate Change Research Center, will be the guest speaker.
     
— Antioch Church of the Brethren near Rocky Mount, Va., will host a World Hunger Organ Concert on Sunday, July 14, starting at 4 p.m. “Enjoy a very entertaining program of advance organ compilations by Franklin County’s own Jonathan Emmons,” said an invitation from Virlina District. A dessert fellowship will follow the concert.
     The annual World Hunger Auction itself is held at the church on Saturday, Aug. 10, starting at 9:30 a.m. This is the culmination of a year-long series of fundraising activities. The auction includes the sale of crafts, quilts, toys, produce, baked and canned goods, special services, and more. Throughout three decades, the World Hunger Auction has raised money to aid those facing hunger-related issues with the funding benefiting organizations working toward that goal.  The 10 congregations of the Church of the Brethren that sponsor the auction distribute the money to various organizations including Heifer International for international and domestic programs, Roanoke Area Ministries, the Church of the Brethren Global Food Crisis Fund, and Heavenly Manna, a food pantry in Rocky Mount, reported the district e-newsletter.

— Cabool (Mo.) Church of the Brethren held a workshop called “Separate No More, Being the Body of Christ,” on June 22, “and what a great time we enjoyed together!” reported Sandy Bosserman in the Missouri and Arkansas District newsletter. “Twenty-five persons, representing five denominations and four congregations of the Church of the Brethren, joined in as we engaged in earnest discussions about racism and white privilege. Jerry and Becky Crouse, members of the Ministry Team at Warrensburg Church of the Brethren, provided great leadership from their experience as Warrensburg High School Guidance Counselor and Chaplain at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City respectively, as Pastors, and as Mission Coordinators in the Dominican Republic. More importantly, the work grew from heartfelt empathy and a compelling sense of the leading of the Holy Spirit.”   

— Southern Ohio and Kentucky District is continuing its disaster response effort following devastating tornadoes in and around the Dayton area. The district is helping homeowners in Harrison Township (Northridge) and Dayton. “So far, 350 volunteers have worked about 2,165 hours for 145 families,” said a report. “The homeowners are very appreciative. Thank you to all who have served, made donations, and remembered this ministry in prayer.” However, the district notes that there is still much work to be done. In July district volunteers will be working Thursdays (except July 4), Fridays, and Saturdays doing brush and tree removal. Volunteers will meet at Happy Corner Church of the Brethren at 7:30 a.m. for registration and orientation. On Saturdays a breakfast will be served. Carpooling will be available to the day’s worksite. Workdays will end at 4 p.m. To volunteer, contact district disaster coordinator Burt Wolf at 937-287-5902 or Sam Dewey at 937-684-0510 or send an email to SouthernOhioBDM@gmail.com . Volunteers should bring a sack lunch, work gloves, and tools as requested by the organizers.

— Virlina District’s Commission on Nurture is sponsoring “Transitions: Maintaining Family Life–The Cycle of Your Sanity,” a family-life workshop hosted at Troutville Church of the Brethren on Saturday, Aug. 17, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. “Moving out-moving back in…. It has become a new rhythm in family life, one that extends across the generations,” said an announcement. “Adjusting to the changing family dynamics can result in a variety of feelings, leaving one to wonder, Am I still sane? What are my roles when we are different generations living together? Do I really need a curfew…I’m 40?! Do I have to go to Sunday School…I’m 25?! Come join us for a frank discussion of the realities as well as some tools for surviving any type of intergenerational co-habitation.” For a registration form contact Mary Sink St. John at 540-362-1816 or virlina2@aol.com .

— Camp Harmony near Hooversville, Pa., is looking ahead to two festivals this summer and fall, according to the Western Pennsylvania District newsletter. “Events to put on your calendar” include the Gospel Festival on Friday, Aug. 30, starting at 6 p.m., through Monday, Sept. 2, ending at 3 p.m. This weekend for the whole family will feature music, activities, and food. Said the announcement: “Stay for the whole weekend or come for just a day. Hear great talent from Gospel performers like Heaven4Shore, Good News, United, The Choraliers & Pearl and more!” Admission and parking are free, and lodging is available. 
     The camp’s Harmony Festival takes place Saturday, Sept 28, starting at 10 a.m., through Sunday, Sept. 29, ending at 5 p.m. Also with free admission, it features children’s activities, vendors, food, music, a campfire, and a movie “under the stars.”

— Virlina District is holding its first-ever choir festival on the theme “Tune My Heart to Sing Thy Grace” on Sept. 13-14 at Central Church of the Brethren in Roanoke, Va. Guest director is S. Reed Carter, IV, minister of music at Salem Presbyterian Church and director of the Salem Choral Society. Robert Iseminger, instrumentalist at Central Church, will serve as accompanist. “We will learn and rehearse four or five anthems on Friday evening and Saturday,” said the district announcement. “The festival will conclude with a service of worship filled with music and the Word at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday. It will be open to the public. We hope to have 100 percent participation from the Church of the Brethren Choirs (and all others who love to sing) in the area! You’ll be able to take your anthems home to share with your congregation!” Those attending from outside the area may request to stay in a Church of the Brethren family host home overnight Friday. A fee of $25 per participant will cover music and food. A schedule will be shared soon. Contact Carol Elmore at carol@oakgrovecob.org or 540-774-3217.

— Shenandoah District is recognizing Grant Simmons who is retiring after 73 years of ministry with the Church of the Brethren. Said the recognition: “Pastor Simmons grew up in the Sangerville Church, became a licensed minister in 1946. He graduated cum laude from Bridgewater College in 1952 and from Bethany Seminary in 1955. He was also ordained that same year. Early in his ministry Pastor Simmons served in a summer pastorate in the South Indiana District and then moved outside of Roanoke to serve at Boons Mill Church in the Virlina District (from 1955-65). He returned to the Shenandoah District and pastored at both the Mt. Vernon Church (1965-79) and the Arbor Hill Church (1999-present). During his hiatus from pastoring in the 1980s and 1990s, he worked in family counseling in Waynesboro and was active in the Mt. Vernon Church.” Simmons is quoted as saying that ministry has been “an interesting experience” but that at age 88, “I’m old enough to sit back and listen to others speak.” Two celebrations were planned, a retirement celebration on Sunday, June 30 at Arbor Hill, following last Sunday’s retirement celebration at Mt. Vernon.

— Northern Ohio District’s most recent “Pray for Peace” bulletin insert focuses prayer concern on “deplorable conditions inflicted upon children from infants to teenagers” among migrant children. The insert also highlights the problems of private prisons and the profit motive to increase incarceration rates, as well as the need to provide for refugees who are being persecuted for their faith. Download the insert titled “Our Inhumanity Is Showing–Again” from www.nohcob.org/blog/2019/06/27/pray-for-peace-6-26-2019 .

— South Central Indiana District has announced its 2019 district-wide service project. “This year, the District-Wide Projects committee is asking each church in the district to collect supplies for 5 Church World Service (CWS) Hygiene kits, including the $2 per kit for shipping/handling,” said an announcement. Churches are to bring the kits to the district conference in September.

— Worship in the Woods, a Summer vesper series at the Brethren and Mennonite Heritage Center Amphitheater in Harrisonburg, Va., will feature several Church of the Brethren preachers among other presenters. On the roster are Robbie Miller on June 30, Joanna Friesen on July 7, Larry Aiken on July 14, Ron Wyrick on July 21, Scott Duffey on July 28, Mountain High Rise on Aug. 4, and the Mount Pleasant Mennonite Youth Choir (at Weaver’s Mennonite Church) on Aug. 11. The vesper services start at 7 p.m.

— Longterm Church of the Brethren partner IMA World Health is one of the few organizations still offering care in the Ebola hot zone of the DR Congo. Reports a recent e-newsletter from IMA: “The Ebola crisis continues in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The situation is constantly evolving, but your support is making a real difference.” Find an IMA release on “Making a Stand to Prevent Ebola’s Spread” dated June 13 at https://imaworldhealth.org/making-a-stand-to-stop-ebolas-spread . “As Ebola advances beyond the Democratic Republic of Congo into Uganda, IMA World Health is intensifying efforts to contain the spread before it becomes a greater global emergency,” said the release, in part. “Two family members who crossed into Uganda from DRC died of the disease. The urgency now is that Ebola could reach international crossroads such as Goma in DRC and Kampala, Uganda, both home to more than 1 million people….”

— “Ecological conversion” is urgently needed says a statement issued by a conference on “Eco-Theology and the Ethics of Sustainability.” A release from the World Council of Churches reported: “After 52 participants from 22 countries from different confessional and faith traditions gathered June 16-19 in Wuppertal, Germany, they have released ‘Kairos for Creation–Confessing Hope for the Earth.’ The ‘Wuppertal Call’ describes how the participants of the conference…shared stories from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, North America, and Oceania. ‘We heard the cries of the earth, the cries of people vulnerable to the effects of climate change, especially children and the elderly, the cries of youth demanding intergenerational justice and the concerns of experts over current trends,’ the text reads. ‘We recognize the urgency of the years that lie ahead, nevertheless express the courage to hope and are compelled to call the global ecumenical movement towards a comprehensive ecological transformation of society.’ The call acknowledges that the ecumenical movement has long committed itself to a pilgrimage towards justice, peace and the integrity of creation. ‘These goals will require urgent steps on the road ahead,’ reads the call. ‘We have transgressed planetary boundaries…. At the heart of the required transformation is a need for ecological conversion (metanoia), a change of heart, mind, attitudes, daily habits and forms of praxis.’ The call suggests specific actions churches can take, then notes that the task ahead is immense and will require decades of dedication. ‘The urgency of the situation implies that a comprehensive response cannot be delayed.’” The conference in Wuppertal was organized by the Protestant Association of Churches and Mission, Evangelical Church in Germany, United Evangelical Mission, Bread for the World, and the World Council of Churches. Read the full text at www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/kairos-for-creation-confessing-hope-for-the-earth-the-wuppertal-call .

— “Stellar coaching career earns John Stern Hall of Fame induction,” said the headline in the “Midland Daily News.” John Stern, who received the honor for his 23-year career as the Bullock Creek High School head varsity wrestling coach, is a member of Midland (Va.) Church of the Brethren. He and his wife also have a farm and he has been a Homer Township board trustee, Midland County Farm Bureau president, and a Bullock Creek school board member. He was inducted into the Midland County Sports Hall of Fame in May. Find out more at www.ourmidland.com/sports/highschool/article/Stellar-coaching-career-earns-John-Stern-Hall-of-13827697.php .

— A new book by David A. Hollinger is being called an “important new publication on twentieth-century Brethren history” by the Brethren Historical Library and Archives (BHLA). Hollinger is Preston Hotchkis Professor of History Emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley, and a son of Church of the Brethren minister Albert Hollinger, Jr. “He has written an important and moving memoir about a remarkable Church of the Brethren family and its experiences in Pennsylvania, on the Alberta frontier, and eventually La Verne, California,” said the BHLA’s latest newsletter. Titled “When This Mask of Flesh Is Broken: The Story of an American Protestant Family,” the book can be ordered through Brethren Press at www.brethrenpress.com or call 800-441-3712.