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District News & Announcements – February 2023

District News & Announcements

February 2023

 “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 February 22nd for inclusion in next month’s newsletter to:
Hannah Button-Harrison, Director of Communications 
communications@nplains.org

In this issue

Quick info

Banner photo: A snowy scene at Hammond Avenue Brethren Church.  Photo by Rich Corkery.  Send in your photos for future newsletters!  Email communications@nplains.org.

Holiness in our Midst: Session 125

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SESSION CXXV: ON ‘NEAR DEATH’ EXPERIENCES

Story Circle Prompt: If you knew you might only have a short time to live, what would you do differently now?

First, another question: Where were you on Jan. 2, 2023, when America stopped and dropped to its knees on behalf of a single unresponsive NFL player? I was wandering around my living room, having taken in the Rose Parade earlier (on Monday because they don’t hold it on Sunday), and wondering what football games were on. I turned on Monday Night Football and stumbled on the riveting scene unfolding in a game between the Buffalo Bills and the Cleveland Bengals. Damron Hamlin, wide receiver for Buffalo, was fighting for his life right in front of our eyes. The next evening Hamlin’s fate was still unknown when CNN anchor Anderson Cooper was interviewing Super Bowl-winning tight end Benjamin Watson on the tenuousness of life. Cooper paused and tossed out the rhetorical question, as an aside to their conversation on the importance of faith: If you knew you might only have a short time to live, what would you do differently now?

The essence of the question is spiritual in nature: Has a “near death” experience changed the course of your life? 

The first thing that Hamlin did, upon awakening, was begin collecting money for the nurses and first responders who saved his life.

For me, recovery from cancer resulted in a renewed vow to live each day more fully, faithfully, and honestly.

How have you responded to a “near death” encounter, real or vicarious?

FOR PERSONAL/JOURNAL REFLECTION:

  1. Read the above reflection. In your journal, answer the following: Have you had a life-altering experience that caused you to make changes? What was the event? What were the changes? 

FOR GROUP STUDY: 

 1.   Read aloud Session CXXV.

  2.   Ask each person to answer the Story Circle Prompt.

Holiness in Our Midst: Sharing 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 – January 2023

District News & Announcements

January 2023

 “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 25th for inclusion in next month’s newsletter to:
Hannah Button-Harrison, Director of Communications 
communications@nplains.org

In this issue

Quick info

Banner photo: Pies waiting to be auctioned at the Lewiston Church’s annual pie auction in November.  Photo by Uli Schorn-Hoffert.  Send in your photos for future newsletters!  Email communications@nplains.org.

Holiness in our Midst: Session 124

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SESSION CXXIV: ON ‘ONE SURE THING’

Story Circle Prompt: As the New Year begins, what is “one sure thing” in your life that you can build on?

This question challenges us to look beyond the uncertainty that clouds the horizon as we enter 2023. What is foundational enough to counter fears such as climate change and political unrest?

One sure thing for me is my support force, my local safety net: the medical team that helped me survive through and thrive after cancer; my church family at First Christian Church in Ames; my Prairiefire spiritual formation class and spiritual director; my quirky work community, and my long-standing friendships. 

Taken together, my circle of support enables me to try new things, take personal risks, and dare to dream, even though I am entering my final years.

What is “one sure thing” for you?

FOR PERSONAL/JOURNAL REFLECTION:

  1. Read the above reflection. In your journal, answer the following: What is “one sure thing” I can count on? What relationships can I depend on?

FOR GROUP STUDY: 

 1.   Read aloud Session CXXIV.

  2.   Ask each person to answer the Story Circle Prompt.

Holiness in Our Midst: Sharing 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 Advent Calendar 2022

District Advent Calendar 2022

Church of the Brethren at Ankeny
Dallas Center COB
Fairview COB
Ivester COB
Lewiston COB
Panora COB
Prairie City COB
South Waterloo COB

Please contact each church if you have questions about the programs mentioned below.

District News & Announcements – December 2022

District News & Announcements

December 2022

“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 December 28th for inclusion in next month’s newsletter to Hannah Button-Harrison, Director of Communications, communications@nplains.org

Submissions for the special advent newsletter are due December 7th.

Trouble viewing pictures and videos? 
Click here to view the newsletter in your browser.

TO PRINT – go to browser view
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In this issue

  1. CAMP UPDATES
  2. ADVENT 2022 CALENDAR
  3. MODERATOR MUSINGS
  4. DISTRICT EQUIPPING SESSION DEC 8 ON ZOOM
  5. HOLINESS IN OUR MIDST
  6. LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT MUSINGS
  7. JESUS IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD GRANTS RENEWED FOR 2023
  8. ALLOCATION DEADLINE & ANNOUNCING NEW FINANCIAL SECRETARY
  9. CONGREGATIONAL NEWSLETTERS

Quick info

Calendar of Events | District Staff & Leadership Contacts | Documents & Resources

Banner photo: Bob Curry and Buddy the horse visit Prairie City Church of the Brethren for a carriage and hay ride in early November.   Send in your photos for future newsletters!  Email communications@nplains.org.

Holiness in our Midst: Session 123

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SESSION CXXIII: ON CHRISTMAS MOVIES

Story Circle Prompt: What is your favorite Christmas movie? Why?

My favorite Christmas movie is “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The plot line is timeless. In the small town of Bedford Falls, George Bailey owns a savings and loan company that benefits the community. His nemesis, Henry Potter, is always looking for opportunities to take over George’s business and the town. When it appears to George that all is lost (including his livelihood and family), because of Mr. Potter, an angel named Clarence is sent from Heaven to show him what life in his town would have been like if he had never been born.

The spiritual question that the movie asks is a profound one: What would the world (or my family or communities) look like if I had never been born? Perhaps, I will make it my New Year’s Resolution for the coming year to answer it. 

FOR PERSONAL/JOURNAL REFLECTION:

  1. Read the above reflection. In your journal, contemplate the spiritual question: What value have I added through the years to my little corner of the world?

FOR GROUP STUDY: 

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

Holiness in Our Midst: Sharing 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 2022

District News & Announcements

November 2022

“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.

Trouble viewing pictures and videos? 
Click here to view the newsletter in your browser.

TO PRINT – go to browser view
Windows: right click + Print OR [Ctrl] + P
Mac: [Ctrl] + click + Print OR [Command] + P

In this issue

  1. CAMP UPDATES
  2. THE CHURCH ON NORTHLAND (CEDAR RAPIDS) CELEBRATING 50 YEARS OF SHARING
  3. MODERATOR MUSINGS
  4. DISTRICT EQUIPPING SESSION NOV 3 ON ZOOM
  5. HOLINESS IN OUR MIDST
  6. LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT MUSINGS
  7. DISTRICT SEEKING NEW FINANCIAL SECRETARY
  8. MISSION AND MINISTRY BOARD UPDATE
  9. REBECCA AND SAMUEL DALI BEGIN INTERIM MINISTRY AT PANTHER CREEK
  10. IOWA RELIGIOUS LEADERS SPEAK AGAINST GUN AMENDMENT
  11. CONGREGATIONAL NEWSLETTERS

Quick info

Calendar of Events | District Staff & Leadership Contacts | Documents & Resources

Banner photo: The attendees of Hands of Christ gathered to attend the funeral for Lloyd Broadwater.  Pictured: Doyle and Karen Harper, Alethea Broadwater, Kathy Mack, Beth Cage, Heidi and Jamie Risser.   Send in your photos for future newsletters!  Email communications@nplains.org.

Holiness in our Midst: Session 122

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SESSION CXXII: ON SILENCE

Story Circle Prompt: What have you discovered about the value of silence from intentional disconnection from digital devices or during a retreat?

Here are some of my learnings from a three-day silent retreat at the Creighton University Retreat Center in Griswold, IA in late July 2022:

  1. Silence and time away from my routine clarified which commitments are healthy. Life went on (How could it???) when I detached and disconnected. The persons and groups who actually depend on and benefit from my “touch” became apparent. 
  1. Silence exposed my hidden addictions. My first day, I missed cable news and political commentary terribly. Withdrawal was harder than I had imagined. Also, the retreat center served healthier foods than the fast food I so easily access on my busy schedule. I became aware of the need to make healthier food choices.
  1. Silence brought me closer to my true self and to the Living Christ. I now “schedule” time to deepen my relationship with the Divine.

Such simple learnings, but what major changes they are prompting!

What have you learned from being away in silence? 

FOR PERSONAL/JOURNAL REFLECTION:

  1. Read the above reflection. In your journal, respond to the following reflection: I have discovered that silence is not soundless. Is that true for you, too?                                     If so, what are some of the sounds that accompany your being alone with God? Sounds of nature? Sound of God’s voice?

FOR GROUP STUDY: 

        1.   Read aloud Session CXXXII.

        2.   Ask each person to answer the Story Circle Prompt.

Holiness in Our Midst: Sharing 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 2022

District News & Announcements

October 2022

“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.

Trouble viewing pictures and videos? 
Click here to view the newsletter in your browser.

TO PRINT – go to browser view
Windows: right click + Print OR [Ctrl] + P
Mac: [Ctrl] + click + Print OR [Command] + P

In this issue

  1. CAMP UPDATES
  2. DISTRICT EXECUTIVE SABBATH RENEWAL IN 2022
  3. DAY OF SPIRITUAL EMPHASIS FOR SE IOWA CLUSTER: OCT 16TH
  4. CHILDREN’S DISASTER SERVICES WORKSHOP: OCT 28-29
  5. INTRODUCTORY PASTORAL COMPENSATION WORKSHOPS
  6. DISTRICT SEEKING NEW FINANCIAL SECRETARY
  7. MODERATOR MUSINGS
  8. HOLINESS IN OUR MIDST
  9. LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT MUSINGS
  10. CONGREGATIONAL NEWSLETTERS

Quick info

Calendar of Events | District Staff & Leadership Contacts | Documents & Resources

Banner photo: Campers play games on the lawn at Camp Pine Lake during All Ages Camp this September.  Photo by Betsy Kuecker.  Send in your photos for future newsletters!  Email communications@nplains.org.