Church of the Brethren Gifts to the World

By Marilyn Kettering Badger

July 16, 2018

Heifer Project, the sharing of animals, the first-born - which is then passed on - involved UNRRA (United Nationals Relief and Rehabilitation Administration) and a large number of volunteer seagoing "cowboys" who cared for the cattle and horses on the boat travel to their destination.  BECAME Heifer International

Brethren Civilian Public Service (CPS) and Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS)
BECAME the model for the Peace Corps for the US government
Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) became a service used by Germany for their youth who wanted to volunteer work in place of military conscription.  Brethren Volunteer Service became the program used by many conscientious objectors (CO) and IW boys in the US as a military service alternative.

Student Exchange Program from Poland and Germany BECAME International Christian Youth Exchange (ICYE).

Relief Work

  • Recycling clothing and shoes BECAME Church World Service (CWS) Project (under the National Council of Churches) for many denominations.  Items were collected by CWS/BVS trucks. Includes Blanket Sunday, CROP, Best Gift Program, Gifts of the Heart Kits
  • Recycling animal fats became soap making to send much needed soap to needy countries.  Materials were collected by CWS/BVS trucks.  Now discontinued.
  • Canning of foods for needy and disasters and teaching people to do it.
  • Sewing of clothing by Church of the Brethren Women's groups for places in need from "kits" (cut out at New Windsor).
  • Relief collecting of medicines and making simple medical "kits" for the needy BECAME IMA (Interchurch Medical Assistance) and is distributed from New Windsor Center.  Very important to Disaster Services work today.

Refugee Resettlement Services - Church World Service used New Windsor as a first stop for many refugees until placement could be set up for them.

CROP (Christian Rural Overseas Program) started in the COB and became a program of CWS and continues today.  "Lord's Acres" CROP walk is held in Ashland County in the fall.

SERRV (Sales Exchange for Refugee Rehabilitation Vocations) BECAME non-profit "A Greater Gift?" shops/sales to assist third world countries distribute "crafts." Coffee is a fair trade commodity. 

Disaster Service

  • Children's Disaster Services BECAME tied to the American Red Cross for many services, especially Children Disaster Services (CDS).
  • Church of the Brethren (COB) Disaster Ministries is recognized world wide for its fast response to places in need because things are already "in place" to go.  "Gift of the Heart" Kits (health, school, baby, cleaning, etc.) assembled by local groups were started to help with immediate responses to disasters.  Now done by many churches and groups to assist with these needs.
  • Disaster Services (Rebuilding) goes into areas and helps with reconstruction or repair services to people's homes, churches, and buildings after a disaster.
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