Posts by Communications

District News & Announcements – December 2018

District News & Announcements

December 2018

“District News and Announcements” is a monthly e-newsletter for members and friends of the Church of the Brethren in the Northern Plains District.  District Leaders, Commissions, Committees, and those doing special ministries share information on programs and activities.  Local churches share news and invitations.  Send submissions by January 1st for inclusion in next month’s newsletter to Hannah Button-Harrison, Director of Communications, communications@nplains.org.

Get a printable version of the newsletter here.

In this issue

  1. Iowa Peace Network Open House & Holiday Gift Fair: Dec. 8
  2. South Waterloo Live Nativity: Dec. 8
  3. Brethren Academy Upcoming Courses
  4. Church Treasurer Allocations
  5. Brethren Disaster Ministries Update
  6. District Members Recognized in Midwives for Haiti Newsletter
  7. Iowa River COB Provides more Disaster Relief at Police Ride-along
  8. Message from the Moderator
  9. Holiness in our Midst
  10. Leadership Development Musings
  11. Remember BVSers this Christmas
  12. Open Denominational Positions
  13. Congregational Newsletters
Quick info
Calendar of Events | District Staff & Leadership Contacts | Documents & Resources

Banner photo: Iowa River Church of the Brethren member Sharon Somers, left, and Marshalltown Police Lt. Rick Bellile ready to face the cold and give out gift cards and cash to those in need in Marshalltown.  Photo by Adam Sodders of the MarshalltownTimes-Republican. Send in your photos for future newsletters! Email communications@nplains.org.

Holiness in our Midst: Session 75

Holiness in our Midst

SESSION LXXV: ON PREPARING YOUR HEART

How are you preparing your heart to receive the Christ Child during Advent this year?

Dr. John Buchanan, pastor of Fourth Presbyterian Church in downtown Chicago from 1985 to 2012, shared this story from a nursery school teacher in the Chicago suburbs. She asked her class if they knew what the season before Christmas was called. One child raised his hand and answered “Advil!”

The season of holy hub-hub, which begins with Black Friday and ends with Christmas services (and/or bargain-hunting), begs us to pause long enough to experience the wonder of Jesus’ birth. For myself, I am adding an exercise this year to my morning devotions from December 1 to December 25, that of writing a thank you note to God each day. No other rules or format, whatever come to mind that day. I hope by doing so I can slow down, so that I may experience the Miracle of Advent rather than the Season of Advil.

Story Circle Question: How will you welcome the Christ Child into your heart this year?

FOR PERSONAL/JOURNAL REFLECTION:

  1.  Read the above reflection. Begin each day from Dec. 1 to Dec. 25 writing a thank you note to God. The content can be from that day or the past month or year. On Christmas Day, review what you have written.

FOR GROUP STUDY:

  1.   Read aloud Session LXXV.
  2.   Ask each person to answer the Story Circle Prompt.

[View Past Sessions Here]

Note: Holiness in Our MidstSharing Our Stories to Encourage and Heal is a monthly on-line feature created by Janis Pyle to facilitate sharing of our personal experiences, thoughts, beliefs, and spiritual practices with one another, especially through stories. Barriers are broken down when we begin to see all persons, even those with whom we disagree ideologically, as sacred and constantly attended to by a loving Creator. Each column is accompanied by a “story circle” prompt and study guides for personal and group reflection. To share your stories, contact Hannah Button-Harrison at communications@nplains.org. Janis Pyle can be reached at janispyle@yahoo.com.

District News & Announcements – November 2018

District News & Announcements

November 2018

“District News and Announcements” is a monthly e-newsletter for members and friends of the Church of the Brethren in the Northern Plains District.  District Leaders, Commissions, Committees, and those doing special ministries share information on programs and activities.  Local churches share news and invitations.  Send submissions by November 24th for inclusion in next month’s newsletter to Hannah Button-Harrison, Director of Communications, communications@nplains.org.

Get a printable version of the newsletter here.

Banner photo: Bill & Lois Grove provided altar decoration for World Communion Sunday at Peace COB from their collection of material and utensils from their time as missionaries in Nigeria.  Photo taken by Laura Leighton-Harris. Send in your photos for future newsletters! Email communications@nplains.org.

Holiness in our Midst: Session 74

Holiness in our Midst

SESSION LXXIV: ON HIDDEN GIFTS

What is a hidden gift you would like to develop?

But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. I Corinthians 12:7 (NIV)

Sometimes the “front and center” gifts we bring to our congregations are obvious, such as preaching, teaching Sunday school, staffing the nursery, playing the organ or organizing events. These may even be taken for granted year after year. But is there something you would like to do for your church, a gift you would like to develop, but have kept hidden for some reason? The first step is to name it. As for me, I would like to learn to sing. Perhaps take lessons. I discovered my singing voice as I created church services with local pastors and musicians for persons with disabilities. When guitarists would assume I would sing with them, I learned that I could carry a tune within a certain range! Fortunately, a key to renewal at my church, First Christian in Ames, IA, has been to create an atmosphere where persons can feel free to picture themselves in different roles. Slowly, I am creating small opportunities to perform…

STORY CIRCLE PROMPT: Name a gift you would like to develop with the help of those around you.

FOR PERSONAL/JOURNAL REFLECTION:

  1. Read the above reflection.
  2. Dream on paper about a gift that is not yet visible to those around you. Create a plan. Picture a community around you, helping you achieve it. How are you feeling at each step along the way?

FOR GROUP STUDY:

  1.   Read aloud Session LXXIV.
  2.   Ask each person to answer the Story Circle Prompt.

[View Past Sessions Here]

Note: Holiness in Our MidstSharing Our Stories to Encourage and Heal is a monthly on-line feature created by Janis Pyle to facilitate sharing of our personal experiences, thoughts, beliefs, and spiritual practices with one another, especially through stories. Barriers are broken down when we begin to see all persons, even those with whom we disagree ideologically, as sacred and constantly attended to by a loving Creator. Each column is accompanied by a “story circle” prompt and study guides for personal and group reflection. To share your stories, contact Hannah Button-Harrison at communications@nplains.org. Janis Pyle can be reached at janispyle@yahoo.com.

District News & Announcements – October 2018

District News & Announcements

October 2018

“District News and Announcements” is a monthly e-newsletter for members and friends of the Church of the Brethren in the Northern Plains District.  District Leaders, Commissions, Committees, and those doing special ministries share information on programs and activities.  Local churches share news and invitations.  Send submissions by October 25th for inclusion in next month’s newsletter to Hannah Button-Harrison, Director of Communications, communications@nplains.org.

Get a printable version of the newsletter here.

  1. In this issue

    1. In Our Prayers: Brad Harris (1965-2018)
    2. Southeast Iowa Circuit Ride: Oct. 6-9
    3. West Central Iowa Love Feast: Oct. 7
    4. 3rd Annual Lasagna Supper at Ivester: Oct. 14
    5. Michael Himilie to Speak on his time in CPT: Oct. 20-21
    6. Fall Women’s Retreat: Oct. 25-27
    7. Compelling Vision Conversations: Please Plan to Participate
    8. Camp Pine Lake 2019 Staff Openings and Dates
    9. New Community Project 2019 Learning Tours
    10. Holiness in our Midst
    11. Leadership Development Musings
    12. District Conference Recap Video
    13. Congregational Updates
    14. Congregational Newsletters
Quick info
Calendar of Events | District Staff & Leadership Contacts | Documents & Resources

Banner photo: Barbara Wise Lewczak speaks during Beaver Church of the Brethren’s closing service.  Photo by Rhonda Bingman. Send in your photos for future newsletters! Email communications@nplains.org.

Holiness in our Midst: Session 73

Holiness in our Midst

SESSION LXXIII: ON BEING REMEMBERED

How would you like to be remembered?

This question was inspired by my pastor, Mary Jane Button-Harrison, from First Christian Church in Ames, IA, when she suggested that we try writing our own obituaries and by the recent and very memorable funeral of Sen. John McCain. As for myself, I would like to be remembered for Five Simple Things:

  • For having a sense of humor, lightness and goodwill.
  • For being a good friend to a few people,
  • For advocating for hunger, homelessness and disabilities causes,
  • For sharing stories and creating tables for others to share theirs, and
  • For showing up each day, wherever in the world I was, building community with kindness.

STORY CIRCLE PROMPT: How would you like to be remembered?

FOR PERSONAL/JOURNAL REFLECTION:

  1. Read the above reflection.
  2. Write your own obituary.

FOR GROUP STUDY:

  1.   Read aloud Session LXXIII.
  2.   Ask each person to answer the Story Circle Prompt.

[View Past Sessions Here]

Note: Holiness in Our MidstSharing Our Stories to Encourage and Heal is a monthly on-line feature created by Janis Pyle to facilitate sharing of our personal experiences, thoughts, beliefs, and spiritual practices with one another, especially through stories. Barriers are broken down when we begin to see all persons, even those with whom we disagree ideologically, as sacred and constantly attended to by a loving Creator. Each column is accompanied by a “story circle” prompt and study guides for personal and group reflection. To share your stories, contact Hannah Button-Harrison at communications@nplains.org. Janis Pyle can be reached at janispyle@yahoo.com.

Compassion: A Marshalltown Disaster Report

Paul Daniel, Iowa River COB

For the world, 07.19.2018 @ 4:38 in the afternoon is just a date and time on a calendar.  But for a specific group of people, in Marshalltown, Iowa, it is not just numerals, but they are characters that remind us of a specific moment that altered the course of our hometown.  This date will be branded in our memories. The EF3 tornado that rampaged through our community changed the landscape of our hearts and souls.  This transformation is visible in the city’s infrastructure to the deep-rooted trees that no longer provide shade and shelter to the traumatized mental and emotional lives.  Yet, in the aftermath of this disaster, our comm“unity” compelled by an innate desire to “love thy neighbor as yourself” chose to act.  Neighbor helping neighbor; churches united; businesses halted to take care of others; compassion for each other was felt and experienced.

One month post-tornado, our initial crisis relief efforts are mostly complete.  Many individuals jumped in working collaboratively with all those impacted by the disaster.  Government, churches, and non-profit agencies, local, state, and national, have put “boots on the ground.” They came, they saw, they helped, some left, others stayed and some will come back again.  We were “all hands on deck” post-disaster. We did well and we continue to persevere in our longing to help each other.

Iowa River Church of the Brethren has been blessed to receive support throughout this disaster.  Although not directly impacted, we had families from our congregation who experienced loss.  Yet, the church surrounded not only them, but took on the idea of becoming the Matthew 25 church helping where it was needed.  Immediately following the crisis, church banded together to provide basic needs (food, water, shelter); church was opened up for volunteers to use while helping the impacted; church provided meals for volunteers and the law enforcement agency; prayer walks in the community were part of our “boots on the ground;” ministry of presence to those families was done; food coupons and cards were passed out to families.  Iowa River COB was truly alive and doing ministry.

The fervent prayers of the faithful received to date are unmatched and we continue to welcome your prayers to sustain us during this time of crisis.  The donations received from individuals in the area, various Brethren Churches, the Northern Plains District, and Brethren Disaster Ministry has overwhelmed us to propel us to ministry and become the hands and feet of Jesus.  There is no greater joy we find as we become messengers of the Good News of Jesus Christ.  On August 29 2018, our NP Disaster Coordinator and the Brethren Disaster Ministries Director toured the city and received a report on the impact that Iowa River COB is having in the community.  Leadership of the church are involved in the rebuilding process through long-term recovery and Chaplaincy with the Marshalltown Police.During Thanksgiving week 2018, working with the Marshalltown Police and Sheriff, Iowa River COB will do  ride-a-longs with law enforcement passing out “Thanks-living” Cards for basic food and needs.  In December, we plan to initiate the Kingdom Assignment of giving each church family $100 to “Pay it Forward” as they deem necessary in the community.  Our church is on the move, a church without walls.

As a community, we are moving into the long term healing process.  We have provided and/or made available immediate response and relief for all those impacted.  Now, we move onto the next level of rebuilding.  This is a long process yet our resiliency is strong.  With God as our guide, we will rise again.  We will not be defeated.  We will rebuild.  We will be restored.  We are MarshalltownStrong but most importantly, we are GodStrong.

District News & Announcements – September 2018

District News & Announcements

September 2018

“District News and Announcements” is a monthly e-newsletter for members and friends of the Church of the Brethren in the Northern Plains District.  District Leaders, Commissions, Committees, and those doing special ministries share information on programs and activities.  Local churches share news and invitations.  Send submissions by September 24th for inclusion in next month’s newsletter to Hannah Button-Harrison, Director of Communications, communications@nplains.org.

Get a printable version of the newsletter here.

In this issue

  1. Songs of the Pines and All Ages Camp: Sept. 1-3
  2. District Conference Recap
  3. District Conversations Begin as Part of Compelling Vision Process
  4. National Youth Conference Reflections
  5. Closing Service for Beaver Church of the Brethren: Sept. 8th
  6. Continuing Education Courses for the Fall
  7. District Educational Event: Sept. 16-18
  8. Ankeny 150th Anniversary Celebration: Sept. 29
  9. Southeast Iowa Circuit Ride: Oct. 6-9
  10. Fall Women’s Retreat: Oct. 25-27
  11. Holiness in our Midst
  12. Leadership Development Musings
  13. Compassion: A Marshalltown Disaster Report
  14. Sabbatical Reflection: Laura Leighton-Harris
  15. Meet Our BVS Rep!
  16. District Board Reorganization
  17. Congregational Newsletters
Quick info
Calendar of Events | District Staff & Leadership Contacts | Documents & Resources

Banner photo: Northern Plains youth doing a service project at Habitat for Humanity ReStore during District Coference.  Photo by Jeff Finke, ReStore Manager for Iowa Heartland Habitat for Humanity. Send in your photos for future newsletters! Email communications@nplains.org.

Holiness in our Midst: Session 72

Holiness in our Midst

SESSION LXXII: ON WHY WE ARE BORN

Why are we born? Why has God put us here?

In a classic episode of the sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond,” daughter Ally, age 8, asks these questions. Her mother Debra had just assigned her father Raymond to give Ally the “facts of life” talk. Ally wasn’t interested in the “birds and bees” details, which he had prepared extensively to give her. Instead, she wanted answers to these deeper questions of life (which baffled Raymond and the whole Barone family, who deferred them, in an emergency call, to the family priest).

What is your answer to these questions? As we listen to each other’s answers, we gain insights into what motivates and shapes the perspectives of those with whom we agree and differ. My answer comes from the Westminster Shorter Catechism, which I had to study to join Highland Park Presbyterian Church in Des Moines, IA at age 11. The first question was: What is the chief end of man? The answer: Man’s Chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever. Having put aside the masculine language, I still retain the belief that I exist to glorify the Creator, but my primary goal has always been to enjoy the Creator. This carries with it the capacity for relationship. That means that the Holy One can enjoy me back! I also believe we are here to make our little corner of Earth more like Heaven, and, using our highest gifts, work toward the common good. How do you view Life’s purpose?

STORY CIRCLE PROMPT: Why are we here?

FOR PERSONAL/JOURNAL REFLECTION:

  1. Read the above reflection.
  2. Reflect in your journal on the ultimate meaning of life.

FOR GROUP STUDY:

  1.   Read aloud Session LXXII.
  2.   Ask each person to answer the Story Circle Prompt.

[View Past Sessions Here]

Note: Holiness in Our MidstSharing Our Stories to Encourage and Heal is a monthly on-line feature created by Janis Pyle to facilitate sharing of our personal experiences, thoughts, beliefs, and spiritual practices with one another, especially through stories. Barriers are broken down when we begin to see all persons, even those with whom we disagree ideologically, as sacred and constantly attended to by a loving Creator. Each column is accompanied by a “story circle” prompt and study guides for personal and group reflection. To share your stories, contact Hannah Button-Harrison at communications@nplains.org. Janis Pyle can be reached at janispyle@yahoo.com.

District News & Announcements – August 2018

 

District News & Announcements

August 2018

“District News and Announcements” is a monthly e-newsletter for members and friends of the Church of the Brethren in the Northern Plains District.  District Leaders, Commissions, Committees, and those doing special ministries share information on programs and activities.  Local churches share news and invitations.  Send submissions by August 25th for inclusion in next month’s newsletter to Hannah Button-Harrison, Director of Communications, communications@nplains.org.

Get a printable version of the newsletter here.

In this issue

  1. Message from the Moderator
  2. District Conference Announcements: August 3-5
  3. District Conference Worship on Facebook Live
  4. Annual Conference DVDs for Borrowing
  5. Songs of the Pines: Sept. 1st
  6. Closing Service for Beaver Church of the Brethren: Sept. 8th
  7. Continuing Education Courses for the Fall
  8. District Educational Event: Sept. 16-18
  9. Southeast Iowa Circuit Ride: Oct. 6-9
  10. In Our Prayers
  11. Holiness in our Midst
  12. Leadership Development Musings
  13. Pastoral Transitions
  14. Principe De Paz: A Journey of Grace – By Jess Hoffert
  15. Congregational Newsletters
Quick info
Calendar of Events | District Staff & Leadership Contacts | Documents & Resources

Banner photo: Northern Plains youth and advisers pose in front of their bus on the way to National Youth Conference.  Photo by Barbara Wise Lewczak. Send in your photos for future newsletters! Email communications@nplains.org.