Newsline is a free service sent only to those requesting a subscription. Newsline stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source. Click here to receive Newsline by e-mail.
Newsline is available and archived at www.brethren.org; for additional news and features, subscribe to the Church of the Brethren magazine Messenger.
Mission Alive 2005 energizes Brethren for mission.
Mission Alive 2005, a conference "designed to energize and equip members of the Church of the Brethren to faithfully share Christ's love with the world," took place in Goshen, Ind., April 1-3. With over 320 participants, the first-ever national Church of the Brethren mission conference gathered Brethren from 21 of the 23 districts. The General Board's Global Mission Partnerships was the lead sponsor, but planners emphasized widespread participation in service or funding from individuals, congregations, and denominational groups that in the end helped make the conference successful, according to the Global Mission Partnerships Office.
The conference opened with a worship message by Nathan Showalter focused on "The Biblical Face of Mission." Showalter, director of Community Center Shanghai and country strategist China with Eastern Mennonite Mission, spoke of a paradigm shift that has taken place in the mission field in the last few years. "The 500-year-long missionary era that began when Christopher Columbus `discovered' the New World is over," stated Showalter. He said that in the past, the focus has been "missions" (what the church is doing), but the focus has now shifted to joining "God's mission," which transcends individual programs by various organizations.
Showalter joined Art McPhee to give another worship message on "New Faces of Mission: Emerging Models." McPhee is associate professor of Mission and Intercultural Studies at Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary. The session highlighted stories from successful missions programs around the world. Many new missions programs are being started at the grassroots level by individuals rather than institutions, the speakers said. Technology also is changing the mission field, making it possible to reach people through nontraditional methods. Without the ability to love one's neighbor, the desire to lead someone to Christ and the methods by which someone is led to Christ can be misguided, McPhee said. "The Great Commandment must always precede the Great Commission."
A sweeping historical panorama of missions from the Roman era to the present was presented by Grace Holland, who with her husband, Fred, spent 23 years with Brethren in Christ World Missions in Zimbabwe and Zambia. She currently serves as chair of the same group. She warned that "keeping the treasure of Jesus Christ to ourselves could cost us our civilization." Annual Conference moderator Jim Hardenbrook encouraged participants to "Go, see, and love," in a sermon entitled, "Setting Your Face...Toward Mission: Accepting the Challenge, and Going Forth to Serve!"
In a panel discussion, Brethren speakers answered the question, "What distinctive gifts, or weaknesses, does the Church of the Brethren bring to mission from its Anabaptist-Pietist identity?" Brethren emphasis on holistic mission was a natural outcome of this heritage, according to some presenters. Bradley Bohrer, pastor of Brook Park (Ind.) Church of the Brethren and former Nigeria mission staff, moderated the session. Other panel members were Jeff Bach, associate professor of Brethren and Historical Studies at Bethany Theological Seminary; Peggy Boshart, former mission staff in the Dominican Republic; Merv Keeney, executive director of Global Mission Partnerships; Suely Inhauser, national co-director for the Church of the Brethren Brazil mission; and J. Roger Schrock, pastor of Cabool (Mo.) Church of the Brethren and former denominational mission executive.
An offering for new mission ventures received $13,231.03 for the General Board's Emerging Global Mission Fund, including special gifts from congregations.
Members of the steering committee reported that evaluations were overwhelmingly positive. "I felt a strong sense of unity and positive energy," noted Larry Dentler. "Many participants anticipated this event to be the beginning of a series of mission conferences," added Carol Spicher Waggy. The steering committee also included James F. Myer, Carolyn Schrock, and Keeney.
For more information about the General Board's mission programs, contact Janis Pyle, coordinator for Mission Connections, at email@example.com or call 800-323-8039 ext. 227.
Emergency Disaster Fund disburses six grants totaling $232,500.
Six grants totaling $232,500 have been given from the General Board's Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) for tsunami relief and work in Sudan, Arizona, Mexico, and China. Giving to the EDF in 2005 has now topped $1 million, totaling $1,036,024 as of today.
An allocation of $150,000 continues Church of the Brethren support of a Church World Service appeal for work in southern Asia following the tsunami Dec. 26. The money will provide emergency food, medical support, drinking water, and shelter, along with mental health interventions and income-generating programs. Another $30,000 will go to Service Ministries' tsunami relief efforts. As a result of this disaster, the program based at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., has received 330,000 pounds of Gift of the Heart kits and over 327,000 pounds of aid. The funds will help cover additional staff and volunteer expenses needed for this large response effort. Including these two grants, to date the EDF has given a total of $360,000 toward tsunami relief.
An allocation of $25,000 supports an Action by Churches Together International (ACT) appeal for repatriation, relief, and rehabilitation for displaced families returning to southern Sudan. The money will help with food production, infrastructure development in health and education, and social services and activities.
Another $10,000 supports an ACT appeal for relief work in China following snowstorms and accompanying avalanches, landslides, and mudslides. The grant will help distribute food and blankets and rebuild homes, schools, and irrigation canals for drinking water systems.
An allocation of $10,000 supports the work of Companeros en Ministerio after mudslides destroyed more than 150 homes in Tijuana, Mexico. The funds will help repair and rebuild homes and build retaining walls. The General Board's Emergency Response program and Companeros have had successful partnerships in rebuilding homes damaged by a variety of disasters, said Roy Winter, director of Emergency Response.
A grant of $7,500 supports No More Deaths, an Arizona-based multifaith coalition supplying food, water, and medical assistance to migrants crossing the Arizona desert. "Over the last six years more than 2,000 men, women, and children have died trying to cross the Mexican border into the United States. Most of these deaths occur in the brutal heat of the summer months," Winter said. "Recognizing the current militarized border enforcement strategy is a failed policy, No More Deaths determined an around-the-clock, nonviolent, humanitarian physical presence in the desert was needed." Central to the program are camps called "Arks of the Covenant," where volunteers keep water and shelter available for migrants.
The grant has the support of Brethren congregations in Arizona. "Prior to requesting this grant, the district executive of Pacific Southwest District and all of the Church of the Brethren congregations in Arizona were consulted," Winter said. "Each of the churches that responded supported a grant to No More Deaths."
In other news, the board's Disaster Response program and volunteers who worked on a rebuilding project in Poquoson, Va., were recognized by the city council in a resolution dated Dec. 13. Poquoson was devastated by Hurricane Isabel on Sept. 18, 2003. The Brethren rebuilding project completed on March 18 repaired more than 40 homes. "The Church of the Brethren Disaster Response Program volunteer teams immediately responded to the city's needs," the resolution said. "Their dedication to the highest principles of service to humanity has earned respect, praise, and admiration of the citizens of this community."
Anniversary group plans Youth Heritage Travel Teams.
The Annual Conference Anniversary Committee met March 13-15 in Elgin, Ill. Named at Annual Conference 2000, this committee is developing events, activities, and resources to help congregations, districts, and the denomination as a whole celebrate the 300th anniversary of the Church of the Brethren in 2008.
Engaging children and youth in the anniversary celebration was a key agenda item at the meeting. The committee met with Chris Douglas, General Board director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry, who has agreed to work with the committee in planning for the training and equipping of Youth Heritage Travel Teams. These teams of two youth from each district will visit congregations during the anniversary year to interpret Brethren heritage and how it can shape the church today and into the future.
The committee also met with Wendy McFadden and Nancy Klemm from Brethren Press to receive updates on publishing projects related to the anniversary. "Meanest Man in Patrick County," a book by Frank Ramirez, was released at Annual Conference last summer. The second book in the anniversary series, "Another Way of Believing," by Dale Brown on Brethren theology, should be released at Annual Conference this summer. A sourcebook by Steve Longenecker on the Brethren between the world wars is being edited and indexed. In addition, Brethren Press is beginning work on a devotional book to be used during the anniversary year.
Updates on current and potential projects fleshed out the agenda: a kick-off celebration in Germantown, Pa., in Sept. 2007; a celebration in Schwarzenau, Germany, Aug. 3, 2008; a curriculum resource for the anniversary year; plans for Annual Conference 2008; a commemorative calendar; anniversary-related courses at the Brethren colleges; a tour guide for Brethren historical sites; submission of music, drama, and worship resources; and a study guide on the anniversary theme.
For more information on anniversary plans, including the submission of original musical compositions, drama resources, and worship resources, visit www.churchofthebrethrenanniversary.org. Committee members are Jeff Bach (chair), Don Durnbaugh, Dean Garrett, Rhonda Pittman Gingrich (recorder), Leslie Lake, Lorele Yager, and Lerry Fogle (ex-officio).
Study Committee on Doing Church Business meets, makes plans.
The Annual Conference Study Committee on Doing Church Business held its second meeting March 11-13, at Camp Mack near Milford, Ind. In three days of meetings, the committee spent time in prayer, song, and lengthy discussion, and prepared for the next 12 months' work, reported committee member Matt Guynn.
Results from an initial round of interviewing with conflict and process experts informed the weekend's work. Plans laid by the committee feature extensive information-gathering including interviews, a survey, and a web page. "We recognize that this query isn't just about process," said Guynn. "It addresses a broader and widely shared concern about the spiritual health of the Church of the Brethren."
Committee members also shared in Sunday school, discussion, and worship with Turkey Creek Church of the Brethren near Nappanee, Ind., which sent the query on doing church business, and shared a meal with Turkey Creek pastor Roger Eberly.
The committee will ask this year's Annual Conference for a one-year extension of its work. A listening session is scheduled for Saturday evening, July 2, at the Conference in Peoria, Ill.
Committee members are Joe Detrick of Logansville, Pa.; Matt Guynn of Richmond, Ind.; Dena Lee of Kent, Ohio; Dale Posthumus of University Park, Md.; and Dave Shetler of New Paris, Ohio. Contact the committee by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. An updated webpage will be available soon on the Annual Conference website at www.brethren.org.
On Earth Peace forms Peace Retreat Leadership Team.
On Earth Peace has formed a volunteer Peace Retreat Leadership Team to help increase the number of retreats and workshops it is able to offer across the denomination, reported Kim Stuckey Hissong, On Earth Peace program coordinator of Peacemaker Formation. The new team will expand and energize the existing retreat program. Team members will be available to provide leadership for youth retreats, workshops, and worship experiences for congregations, districts, camps, denominational gatherings, and other groups.
Plans call for slowly expanding the number of team members, making sure that program staff can adequately support the network, according to Hissong. Retreats provided by the team will be based on an interactive, experiential model that challenges youth to consider Christian peacemaking in the context of faith and the world. Retreat sessions will draw on the Brethren heritage of peacemaking and bring scripture alive to examine how Christ calls believers to live in these times.
"If we are serious about being a resource to the entire denomination, we need to increase our identified leaders in the church," said Hissong. "There are so many great leaders in our denomination that are already doing peace education work. Formation of the Peace Retreat Leadership Team is an attempt to bring these folks together, recognize them for the work they are doing, and provide support and a place to develop and exchange ideas."
The team gathered for an initial planning meeting at the New Windsor (Md.) Conference Center in late February. Current team members are Carrie Eikler of Richmond, Ind.; Debbie Eisenbise of Kalamazoo, Mich.; Dena Lee of Kent, Ohio; and Rick Polhamus of Fletcher, Ohio. To schedule a retreat, or if you are interested in serving on the Peace Retreat Leadership Team, call Kim Stuckey Hissong at 410-635-8706 or e-mail email@example.com. See www.brethren.org/oepa/team.html for more information.
Brethren bits: Job opening, Annual Conference, and more.
Camp Eder seeks a fulltime executive director. The 400-acre facility is a year-round Church of the Brethren camp and retreat center near Gettysburg, Pa., in the southern Pennsylvania mountains. The qualified candidate will be a Christian with a growing faith, a heart for evangelism, understanding and acceptance of Brethren values, passion for outdoor ministry, ability to implement planning as directed by the camp board, capability and enthusiasm for interpreting the mission and vision of the camp, a bachelor's degree or equivalent experience, and strong fiscal, management, and communication skills. Previous administration and camping experience is preferred. Application deadline is June 1. Send a letter of interest and resume, and provide letters of professional reference from three or four people, to Kris Longwell, Search Committee, 319 E. Hanover St., Hanover, PA 17331; or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Short-term resident volunteer opportunities are available for people interested in serving as hosts and hostesses at the New Windsor (Md.) Conference Center. Duties include welcoming guests and other hospitality tasks. There is a special need for volunteers in May, but other dates are available as well. Meals and an apartment on the Brethren Service Center campus are provided. Contact Connie Bohn at 800-766-1553 for more information.
The Annual Conference Office has issued a reminder to pre-register, for those planning to attend the Conference this summer in Peoria, Ill. Those not attending as church delegates can pre-register online or by mail. Doing so before May 20 saves $10 and eliminates the need to stand in long registration lines onsite. To register online, visit the Conference homepage at www.brethren.org. To register by mail, complete the registration form from the Annual Conference Information CD that has been mailed to each Church of the Brethren congregation, or from the Information Packet on the website. Mail registration forms to the Annual Conference Office, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120.
The Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) annual Older Adult Orientation will be held April 17-29 at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. The unit will be made up of seven older adults including five members of the Church of the Brethren. The unit will spend two weeks exploring project possibilities and topics of community building, faith sharing, diversity training, and more. Two work days will be included, at the Brethren Service Center and at the Church of the Brethren Soup Kitchen in Washington, D.C. Field trips are planned to the Young Center at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College, the Ephrata Cloister, and Grace LeFever's organic farm. Guest staff and speakers include Larry and Alice Petry, Joyce Nolen, Rebekah Helsel, Al Herring, and David Eller. For more information call the BVS office, 800-323-8039 ext. 410.
The situation in Darfur, Sudan, is the topic of a letter-writing campaign publicized by the General Board's Brethren Witness/Washington Office in its most recent newsletter. The office is urging Brethren to write to the United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan and members of the Security Council to help stop the violence in Darfur. The newsletter stated that "since spring 2003, over 300,000 persons of Darfur have died from violence, disease, and starvation. More than two million people have been forced from their homes and over 2,000 non-Arab villages have been destroyed. To date, three UN resolutions have done little to stop death and destruction in Darfur. A fourth resolution, being considered this week, should include strong language that pressures the government of Sudan and its proxy militia to halt the ongoing atrocities." For more information call the office at 800-785-3246 or e-mail email@example.com.
Online registration has opened for the Heartland Song and Story Fest co-sponsored by On Earth Peace July 6-12 at Joyfield Farm in North Manchester, Ind. The annual family camp features Brethren musicians and storytellers. See www.brethren.org/oepa/SongandStoryFest2005.html or call On Earth Peace at 410-635-8704 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elkhart City (Ind.) Church of the Brethren has changed its name to Creekside Church of the Brethren because land purchased for a new building is outside the city. A statement on the church website says, "We are a baptism community and water is an important factor in this imagery."
Bells of the Valley, a group from Codorus Church of the Brethren in Loganville, Pa., will join other church musicians performing in a benefit for O.P.E.N., the HIV/AIDS ministry of the York County (Pa.) Council of Churches. The concert will be hosted by Otterbein United Methodist Church (301 W. Philadelphia St., York) at 4 p.m. Sunday, April 17. Admission is free, and a free-will offering will be taken.
Benefit concerts for cystic fibrosis were presented in two Church of the Brethren congregations in Maryland in early April. Locust Grove Church of the Brethren in Mount Airy, Md., hosted its seventh annual "Sing for Breath" concert April 9, and Frederick (Md.) Church of the Brethren hosted its 23rd annual "Sing for Breath" concert April 10. Freewill donations went to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
"Wonderful World of Wildflowers" is presented by the Southern Ohio District Outdoor Ministries from 2-5 p.m. on April 17 at Charleston Falls, south of Tipp City. Robert Henn, author of "Wild Flowers of Ohio," will lead the program including a walking tour. Children, adults, and older adults are invited. For more information call Bruce Rosenberger at 937-417-1184.
Middle Pennsylvania District presents "Congregations Alive '05: To Empower, Nourish, and Renew Congregations," from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. April 16 at Martinsburg (Pa.) Memorial Church of the Brethren. The event is sponsored by the Congregational Development Team. Childcare will be provided. Call the district office at 814-643-0601.
West Marva District's Pulpit Exchange Sunday is scheduled for April 17 on the Annual Conference theme, "Fixing Our Eyes on Jesus." The scripture text will be Hebrews 12:1-4.
A fourth annual Sounds of the Mountains Music and Story Festival will be held at Camp Bethel near Fincastle, Va., April 22-23. Topping the list of performers are John McCutcheon, five-time Grammy-nominated recording artist and Appalachian performer, and Donald Davis, master storyteller. Also performing are Brethren folk singer and instrumentalist Joseph Helfrich; Baba Jamal Koram, a traditional African storyteller and percussionist; Marshall Brothers and Highroad, a bluegrass and gospel band; and Steel Praisin', a steel drum band from Friedberg Moravian Church. The festival is a fundraiser for the camp. Lodging, RV, and tent sites are available. See www.campbethelvirginia.org/sotm.htm or call 540-992-2940.
Bridgewater (Va.) College is honoring six alumni and a retiring professor as part of its annual Alumni Weekend April 15-16. William R. Johnson and Elbridge "Ed" and Louis Bowman Callahan, all members of Bridgewater Church of the Brethren, will receive the 2005 Ripples Society Medals. The Ripples Society comprises alumni who graduated 50 or more years ago. The others receiving awards during the weekend are Donald G. Simmons, Julie C. Hensley, Cheryl Lackey Fairchilds, and Ralph C. MacPhail Jr., professor of Theater and Communication Studies, who is retiring after 33 years on the faculty. Alumni Weekend opens Friday morning with campus tours and alumni seminars. For information call 540-828-5451.
On April 12 the University of La Verne in La Verne, Calif., launched its Campus Center Project with a celebration for alumni. The project will transform the school's "Super Tents"--described in a release as the "university's most recognizable campus feature"--into a Sports Science and Athletics Pavilion. The project also includes the building of the Plaza, an outdoor, three-tiered central gathering place of circular pads, and the Sara and Michael Abraham Campus Center.
Elizabethtown (Pa.) College's Durnbaugh Lectures will feature Donald E. Miller on "The Challenge of Being a Peace Church in Africa" at 7:30 p.m. April 14. Miller will report on the Aug. 2004 People of Peace Conference in Nairobi, Kenya. The talk is part of the annual banquet of the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies. Participants may attend the banquet, lecture, or both. Miller also will present a seminar, "Expanding the Circle of Peace: The World Council of Churches (WCC), the Historic Peace Churches, and Violence in Africa" at 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. April 15 at the Young Center. He is professor emeritus at Bethany Theological Seminary, former general secretary of the General Board, and has served on the WCC Central Committee. The lecture is free; tickets are $14 for the banquet, $10 for the seminar. Reservations are required--call 717-361-1470.
Wallace A. Lusk, visitation pastor at Locust Grove Church of the Brethren in Mount Airy, Md., was among five inducted into the Mount Airy Hall of Fame March 22. The ceremony hosted by the Mount Airy Historical Society honored positive contributions to the community.
Larry O'Neill, moderator of Atlantic Northeast District, has pledged to "go backwards, so COBYS can go forward." O'Neill has promised to walk the COBYS "Family Fun Walk" backwards--if he can gather $1,000 in sponsorships. COBYS is an agency affiliated with the district, serving children and families in several Pennsylvania counties. The walk takes place on May 1. E-mail O'Neill at SkippackChurch@comcast.net.
In the past six months, ten Brethren and Mennonite congregations or groups have joined the Supportive Communities Network (SCN) of the Brethren Mennonite Council for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Interests (BMC), according to a news release from the council. The communities in the network indicate public welcome of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals and their families. The ten new communities bring the number in the network to 43, including 21 Church of the Brethren congregations and Brethren-related groups. The ten new members are Fellowship in Christ Church of the Brethren, Fremont, Calif.; San Diego (Calif.) Church of the Brethren; Springfield (Ill.) Church of the Brethren; Voices for an Open Spirit, a Church of the Brethren group; Womaen's Caucus, a Church of the Brethren group; The Group meeting at Palmyra (Pa.) Church of the Brethren; Christian Community, Inc., of Fort Wayne, Ind.; the Welcoming Dialogue Group of Lancaster County, Pa.; Mennonite House Church of St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada; and the Inclusion Team of Assembly Mennonite Church, Goshen, Ind. For more information call BMC at 612-343-2060 or e-mail email@example.com.
Assembly speakers will focus on 'Peace Beyond Our Fears.'
Speakers for the next Caring Ministries Assembly will focus on the theme, "Peace Beyond Our Fears." The assembly, sponsored by the Association of Brethren Caregivers (ABC), will be held Aug. 11-13 at Bridgewater (Va.) Church of the Brethren.
"Fear has become a more prominent part of daily life," ABC said in a release about the event. "Brethren deacons, pastors, chaplains, and caregivers are invited to explore how people of faith respond to threats and fears that are ever present in this world.... Through worship, keynote presentations, workshops, and intentional times of silence, planners hope that participants will explore the character of fear and invite God to reshape it."
Keynote speakers Robert Wicks, Louise Baldwin Rieman, Carol Yoder, and Andrew Murray will take different approaches to explore transforming fear with faith. Wicks, professor of pastoral care at Loyola College in Maryland, works with clergy and first responders on prevention of secondary stress and the integration of spirituality and psychology. Rieman co-pastors Northview Church of the Brethren in Indianapolis with her husband, Phil, and has served as a missionary in Africa. Yoder directs STAR, a justice and peace-building program at Eastern Mennonite University, and has worked with relief workers in the Middle East and Africa as well as with victims of war and torture. Murray founded Juniata College's Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies and has served as a college chaplain and a pastor. Bible studies will be led by Stephen Reid, academic dean and professor of Old Testament at Bethany Theological Seminary.
The assembly will feature more than 25 workshops with special tracks for chaplains and deacons. A post-assembly EFSM/TRIM academy-level course will be offered (information will be included in the registration booklet or call Marilyn Lerch at 540-961-0354).
Registration is $100. Hotels are available for housing. Meals will be available for purchase at the Bridgewater Retirement Community, adjacent to the Bridgewater church. Registration materials will be mailed in May to each congregation's deacon contact, pastors, chaplains, and past assembly participants. Posters announcing theme and speakers have been sent to congregations in a Source mailing. Information will be posted at www.brethren.org/abc/ as it becomes available.
Office encourages youth to start conscientious objector files.
Resources related to conscientious objection are available from the General Board's Brethren Witness/Washington Office, including the maintenance of personal conscientious objector files. The office maintains individual files for youth and young adult men and women who choose to document their conscientious objection to war and violence.
The office has received over 40 conscientious objector files in recent months. Such files are the only means for conscientious objectors to register their beliefs against war, as the Selective Service System does not keep records of conscientious objectors and does not acknowledge statements of conscientious objection when young men register at age 18. In the event of a military draft, having such a file in place from an early age may help a young man or woman prove a long-standing faith basis for his or her convictions.
Forms and instructions for the files are included in a Church/Youth Conscientious Objector Packet available from the office. Over the past 18 months more than 2,500 of the packets have been distributed. Call 800-785-3246 or download the packet from the Conscientious Objection link at www.brethren.org (search words: Witness/Washington Office). Congregations and youth groups are encouraged to use the packet in youth group discussions and congregational forums.
Brethren may request office staff to lead congregational or district conscientious objection workshops. Office staff have presented workshops in seven districts and another district event is planned for Columbus, Ohio, in May. Other regional retreats are scheduled for the Spring, and workshops at district conferences are scheduled for the Fall. Office director Phil Jones also is a board member of the Center on Conscience and War (CCW--formerly NISBCO), and can assist in making available materials, resources, and staff leadership from that organization.
Other upcoming events on conscientious objection include the Christian Citizenship Seminar for Church of the Brethren youth, which will provide an opportunity for youth to make their voice heard in Washington, D.C,; and an insight session and the "Un-Luncheon" at this year's Annual Conference. The "Un-Luncheon" will feature CCW program director Bill Galvin.
The office also is organizing a pool of district support people and legal counselors to be available to conscientious objectors in the event of a draft. To participate in the program, call the office at 800-785-3246 or visit www.brethren.org (search words: Witness/Washington Office).
Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren General Board, on every other Wednesday with other editions as needed. Newsline stories may be reprinted provided that Newsline is cited as the source. Mary Dulabaum, Lerry Fogle, Rhonda Pittman Gingrich, Matt Guynn, Mary Kay Heatwole, Kim Stuckey Hissong, Phil Jones, Becky Ullom, and Carol Wise contributed to this report.