Wednesday, July 04, 2007

General Board sets budget parameter, gives 'first read' to recommendations for Brethren Service Center.

At a pre-Annual Conference meeting in Cleveland, Ohio, the General Board set a budget parameter for 2008, gave a first reading to the report from a committee exploring ministry options at the Brethren Service Center, acted on a resolution against the use of depleted uranium weapons, acted on mission funding in Haiti, and received a report naming a lead team of mission workers for Sudan, among other business.

The 2008 budget parameter was set at $5,803,000 expense, and $5,892,000 income. In funding and finance reports, the board heard that although the agency experienced a good year financially in 2006, this year's giving to date has fallen about 9.2 percent.

The board engaged in a first read-through of a report from Brethren Service Center Ministry Options Exploration Committee, presented by chair Dale Minnich. A final report and recommendations will come to the board for action in October. The report makes a foundational recommendation for the center in New Windsor, Md.: "That the Brethren Service Center continue in its present location and that its ministries be strengthened and undergirded with new vision." A recommendation directed to the General Board is to "strongly affirm its ministries based at the Brethren Service Center--Brethren Disaster Ministries, lease partnerships with other agencies, Material Resources, and the New Windsor Conference Center--and plan to support their continued development."

The rest of the report gives a context for the committee's work, states the mission of the Brethren Service Center, reviews ministries presently located at the center, recommends enhancements to the center and organizational changes, and addresses funding. The committee will hold a series of hearings on its report at the Brethren Service Center in August, and is gathering and sharing responses to its report.

In a report on the Sudan mission, director Bradley Bohrer announced the names of the lead team of mission workers: Jim and Pam Hardenbrook of Idaho, and Matt and Kristy Messick of Colorado. An assessment team also has been named for the initiative: Phil and Louise Rieman and Enten Eller. The assessment team plans a trip to Sudan from July 8-Aug. 6.

A decision with regard to funding of the Church of the Brethren mission in Haiti was made by the board, affirming a move by staff to add the mission in Haiti to the mission projects supported by the Emerging Global Mission Fund.

A resolution against the use of depleted uranium weapons was adopted. It was presented by Brethren Witness/Washington Office director Phil Jones, who introduced it as a partnership with Christian Peacemaker Teams and the World Council of Churches, which both have worked against such weapons. The paper states that "the primary danger of using depleted uranium in weapons comes from breathing in the DU dust created by burning or exploded weaponry, or from ingesting DU dust that has contaminated the food or water supply. A growing body of evidence suggests such exposure may increase a person's cancer risk and cause birth defects." The resolution declares the use of depleted uranium weapons as "a specific and compelling example of the sinfulness of war," appeals for a halt to their manufacture, lifts up the work of CPT and the WCC, and directs the Brethren Witness/Washington Office to advocate for elimination of the weapons, among other actions.

In other business, the board gave a first reading to part of a revision of the Ethics in Ministry Relations paper, with the full document to come to an October meeting; received reports on recent conferences including the first National Junior High Conference; heard an update on Brethren Disaster Ministries; recognized retiring Bethany Seminary president Eugene Roop; and recognized board members who are completing their terms of service: chair Jeff Neuman-Lee, Frank Ramirez, Janet Stutzman, and Angela Lahman Yoder. The meeting closed with prayer and consecration of the General Board exhibit.

During a reorganization meeting later in the Conference week, a new executive committee was named: Tim Harvey, chair; Dale Minnich, vice chair; Michael Benner; Vickie Samland; Kate Spire; Ken Wenger.

Source: 07/04/2007 Newsline

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