Friday, September 19, 2008

Brethren Service programs in Northern Indiana - Part 1

The program of Brethren Service had many of its roots in the state of Indiana. War conditions provided the great impetus which began the program of Brethren Service.

One of the first of the many Brethren Service programs which came to fruition in Indiana was the Heifer Project. Dan West had developed this idea as a result of his experiences in Spain. The germ of the idea was presented to a 1942 Men's Meeting in Middlebury. The men were rather enthusiastic about the possibilities of sending live animals for breeding purposes to Europe.... Initially, it was impossible to ship to Europe, so one shipment was arranged to sharecroppers in Arkansas. Another was sent to Puerto Rico, and later a second shipment went to Puerto Rico. A few cattle were sent to Mexico.

In the meantime, the idea was spreading throughout our church, and was adopted and accepted by other church groups. The net result was the moving of headquarters from Indiana to the Brethren Service Center at New Windsor. Following the war, cattle were sent to Greece; to Belgium, to Italy, to Poland, to Ethiopia, to China, to Czechoslovakia, to France and to other countries.

Within the first decade, over 6,ooo head of cattle and 4,000 milk goats had been shipped for relief and rehabilitation as a result of the meeting held in one of the Northern Indiana churches.

Today, Heifer International has over 800 projects in 50 countries.

Tomorrow: Food for CPS Camps

Source: History of the Church of the Brethren in Indiana, 1952