Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Brethren bits: Personnel, Caring Ministries Assembly, and more.
  • Stephanie Hartley of Lewistown, Pa., completed a two-year term of service as a mission worker in Nigeria with the Global Mission Partnerships of the Church of the Brethren General Board. Her term was completed at the end of the school year. In 2005-06, she taught math and social studies at the Comprehensive Secondary School of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN-the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria), near Mubi. In 2006-07, she taught middle school history at Hillcrest School in Jos. Hartley is returning to Nigeria to teach at a private international school.

  • Emily O'Donnell has ended her service with the Brethren Witness/Washington Office as a legislative associate and Brethren Volunteer Service worker, as of Aug. 3. She is a member of Green Tree Church of the Brethren in Oaks, Pa.

  • Beth Merrill has joined the Brethren Volunteer Service office as a fulltime BVS volunteer. Merrill, who attended Prince of Peace Church of the Brethren in her hometown of Sacramento, Calif., first joined BVS in the fall of 2005. She spent four months as a BVS volunteer at Bridgeway in Lakewood, Colo., working with pregnant women, and a year at Quaker Cottage in Northern Ireland, a cross-community family support center.

  • The General Board welcomes two new computer support volunteers serving through Brethren Volunteer Service. Jay Irizarry will serve at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md.; Tom Birdzell will serve at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill.

  • On Earth Peace and the Brethren Witness/Washington Office of the Church of the Brethren General Board haved hired Mimi Copp as grassroots organizer for the denomination’s participation in the International Day of Prayer for Peace on Sept. 21. This short-term position is a joint partnership of the two agencies to develop and carry out marketing, outreach, and organizing plans for the commemoration. A goal has been set of holding at least 40 vigils in Brethren communities on this date. Copp will provide resource materials and program support to congregations that become involved. She has served as a Brethren volunteer in Chicago, Ill., and Nigeria, and holds a master's degree in Peace and Development Studies from Universitat Jaume I in Spain. She is a member of Shalom House, an intentional community in Philadelphia, Pa.

  • The morning Bible study leader for the next Caring Ministries Assembly will be Stephen Breck Reid, academic dean of Bethany Theological Seminary. Curtis Dubble was to be the featured Bible study leader but has had to cancel his involvement in the Sept. 6-8 conference on "Being Family: Reality and Renewal" to take place at Lititz (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. Pastors, deacons, chaplains, caregivers, and those interested in family ministry can still register for the assembly, which promises three keynote sessions, three worship celebrations, and almost 30 workshops about family life. For more information visit the Association of Brethren Caregivers website at or contact the ABC office at 800-323-8039 ext. 300.

  • A conference call for International Day of Prayer for Peace organizers is offered tomorrow, Aug. 16, at 7 p.m. eastern time. The 90-minute call will offer ideas and plans for the Church of the Brethren congregations planning a public prayer meeting for peace on or near Sept 21. The facilitator will be Matt Guynn, coordinator of peace witness for On Earth Peace. To register send an e-mail to Mimi Copp, organizer for the International Day of Prayer for Peace in the Church of the Brethren, at For resources and a list of participating congregations, visit

  • The annual Brethren Revival Fellowship/Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) unit will begin orientation on Aug. 18 at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md.

  • "We’re doing well. We’re anxious to build," reported pastor Mark Teal of Black River Church of the Brethren in Spencer, Ohio. The Black River church building burned to the ground on Christmas Eve night last year, Dec. 24, 2006. Now the congregation is close to making a contract with a builder and breaking ground for a new building, and hopes to be able to worship in the new facility by the end of this year, Teal said. The congregation has actually increased in attendance while it has been meeting in the facilities of Chatham Community Church, just a couple of miles away. The new building will be built on an open field that was part of the original property. "It is going to be larger," Teal said, adding that the building plans include additional seating capacity for worship and more classrooms as well. "We’ve received a great deal of support and offers of help from across the denomination," Teal said. "We’ve really appreciated their prayers and support."

  • Oregon and Washington District is holding its first annual District Song and Story Fest on Aug. 17-19 at Camp Koinonia in Cle Elum, Wash. The purpose of the camp is "to get to know other district folks" and "to have fun together using music and stories," according to the district newsletter. Cost is $55. To register contact Mike and Nancy O'Cain at 509-674-5767.

  • Brethren Village, a Church of the Brethren retirement center in Lancaster, Pa., has the only two low-income housing units at a Lancaster County continuing-care retirement community that are subsidized by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, according to the newsletter of the Fellowship of Brethren Homes. The second of the units, Fairview Meadows, was dedicated May 8. The first is the Village Garden Apartments, built in 1990. Brethren Village began work on the second low-income unit after Village Gardens experienced a long waiting list, indicating need for low-income housing for seniors. Even after the second unit was built, 50 seniors are still on a waiting list, the newsletter said.

  • Camp Bethel near Fincastle, Va., celebrates its 80th anniversary with a service of celebration on Sunday, Sept. 2, at 4 p.m., followed by a potluck dinner at 5:30 p.m.

  • Friends, fans, and former students were invited to Roland "Ort" Ortmayer’s 90th birthday celebration on July 7, hosted by the Ortmayer family and the University of La Verne (ULV), in La Verne, Calif. Ortmayer served as head football coach from 1948-90. During 43 years at ULV, he also coached other intercollegiate sports teams and served as athletic director and professor of physical education. In 1980 he was inducted into the NAIA Coaching Hall of Fame. He later brought the university added prominence in 1989 as the subject of a feature article in "Sports Illustrated." His popular summer courses featuring rafting and kayaking in Montana began an "alumni float trip" tradition that continues today. The celebration on the football field in ULV’s Ortmayer Stadium featured picnic food, snow cones, and a special birthday cake. For more about the university go to
Source: 8/15/2007 Newsline

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