Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Brethren bits: Personnel, job openings, and much more.
  • Cyndi Fecher has announced her resignation as project assistant for the Gather 'Round curriculum project, effective Oct. 12. She has accepted a position teaching English as a second language in South Korea. Fecher started working for Gather 'Round, a joint curriculum project of Brethren Press and the Mennonite Publishing Network, on Sept. 22, 2006, in a three-quarter-time position located in Elgin, Ill. Previously she worked as a paralegal for Visser and Associates, PLLC, a law firm in Grand Rapids, Mich., and interned with Brethren Press in the summer of 2003.

  • The New Windsor (Md.) Conference Center has welcomed Cori Hahn as conference coordinator. She began work on Sept. 4. The New Windsor Conference Center is a ministry of the Church of the Brethren General Board, located at the Brethren Service Center. With 10 years of hospitality experience, Hahn has been the general manager of the Westminster (Md.) Inn for the past five years. She is a graduate of Westminster High School and has studied Business Management at Carroll Community College in Maryland. She will be a member of the New Windsor Conference Center management team, which includes managing chef Walt Trail, hospitality program assistant Connie Bohn, and housekeeping supervisor Gerry Duble.

  • Jordan Blevins has completed an internship at the Brethren Witness/Washington Office of the Church of the Brethren General Board, and has begun work as assistant director of the Environmental Justice Office of the National Council of Churches in Washington, D.C. He started work for the Brethren Witness/Washington Office on Jan. 1 this year as a legislative intern. During his internship he participated in a Faith Expedition to Vietnam, and did follow-up reporting and helped develop a Brethren Water and Sanitation project in that area through the church’s Global Food Crisis Fund. He also helped to staff the 2007 Christian Citizenship Seminar and assisted in the planning and presentation of many conference workshops and events. He is a graduate of American University and Wesley Theological Seminary.

  • Rianna Barrett joined the Brethren Witness/Washington Office on Aug. 20 as a legislative associate, serving through Brethren Volunteer Service. She is a member of Manassas (Va.) Church of the Brethren and graduated in May from the College of William and Mary with a bachelor’s degree in Government and Psychology. One of her focus areas will be environmental justice. She plans to attend law school following her year of volunteer service.

  • Two Brethren Volunteer Service workers, Sharon Flaten and Jerry O'Donnell, have begun work with the Youth and Young Adult Ministry of the Church of the Brethren General Board as assistant workcamp coordinators. Flaten is a graduate of Bridgewater (Va.) College. O’Donnell is a graduate of Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa.

  • The New Windsor (Md.) Conference Center has welcomed new volunteers for September. Adrian and Elaine Sayler are returning as host and hostess in Zigler Hall. David and Maria Huber, members of this year’s older adult Brethren Volunteer Service unit, will serve as host and hostess in Windsor Hall. Art and Lois Hermanson are staying on as volunteers to assist with the Conference Center’s busy fall schedule.

  • The Church of the Brethren General Board seeks a coordinator of Workcamp Ministry to fill a fulltime staff position based at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Responsibilities include providing overall coordination and leadership of workcamps for junior high, senior high, and young adult age groups under the auspices of the Youth and Young Adult Ministries; developing and expand the workcamp offerings and schedule; training and mentoring Brethren Volunteer Service workers who serve as assistant workcamp coordinators; and managing workcamp budgets, databases, and online registrations. Qualifications include membership in the Church of the Brethren, experience working with youth and young adults, experience on workcamps or mission trips, organizational and administrative skills, previous experience working in a team, interpersonal and relational skills, ability to mentor young adults and provide spiritual leadership for workcamps, competency with database and spreadsheet software, willingness to travel extensively, and a bachelor’s degree as a minimum, with seminary education preferred. Start date is Jan. 2008. A position description and application form are available on request. The application deadline is Oct. 15. Qualified candidates are invited to complete the General Board application form, submit a resume and letter of application, and request three references to send letters of recommendation to the Office of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren General Board, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120-1694; 800-323-8039 ext. 258;

  • The Mutual Aid Association for the Church of the Brethren (MAA) seeks new leadership to fill the position of president/general manager. Location is Abilene, Kan., some two-and-a-half hours west of Kansas City. The president/general manager serves as the principle administrator of the organization. Responsibilities include to plan, direct, and coordinate programs and staff to assure that stated board objectives are attained, policyholder needs are met, and effective internal and external relationships are maintained; demonstrate leadership skills and office management; and direct the organization’s vision, cooperatively with the Board of Directors. Qualifications include holding Church of the Brethren values, being trustworthy and reliable, having a positive attitude toward change, demonstrating effective written and oral communication skills, demonstrating successful people skills, insurance and marketing experience, managerial or supervisory experience, and a minimum education of a bachelor’s degree. Salary is commensurate with experience. Benefits include pension and medical benefits, vacation and other leave. Start date is March 1, 2008, or negotiable. Send a letter of interest, along with a one-page resume, and minimum salary requirement to the Chair, MAA Board of Directors, c/o 3094 Jeep Rd., Abilene, KS 67410; fax 785-598-2214; 785-598-2212;

  • The Gather 'Round curriculum project seeks an editorial and marketing assistant, to fill a fulltime hourly position at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Gather 'Round is a joint project of Brethren Press and the Mennonite Publishing Network. Responsibilities include assisting the project director, managing editor, and marketing staff; updating curriculum websites; and other tasks as assigned. Skills include excellent communications skills, written and verbal; ability to organize and execute tasks carefully and thoroughly; a keen eye for details; excellent computer technology skills; and ability to work autonomously. Required experience includes experience working in an office environment, facility with computer software and website technology, familiarity with Microsoft Word and Excel, and familiarity with Microsoft Front Page or Macromedia Dreamweaver. Familiarity with Quark XPress and Adobe Acrobat is helpful, experience in copy editing and proofreading is preferred. A minimum of an associate's degree or comparable level classes, training, or responsibilities is required, with a bachelor’s degree preferred. Understanding of Church of the Brethren or Mennonite heritage and theology is helpful. The application deadline is Sept. 28, or until the position is filled. Preferred start date is Oct. 15. To apply, contact the Office of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren General Board, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120-1694; 800-323-8039 ext. 258;

  • On Earth Peace has announced another networking call for those working against military recruitment, on Sept. 26 at 1-2:30 p.m. eastern time. On Earth Peace regularly sponsors national networking calls as an opportunity for those working on military recruitment in their communities, and related issues such as poverty and lack of opportunity. The calls are an opportunity to connect to a broader community of organizers, receive inspiration, offer advice, and provide each other with practical tips and spiritual support. The theme for the upcoming call is "Clarifying Vision, Strength for the Journey: Setting Goals for the Fall." Send an e-mail to or call 503-775-1636 to reserve a place in the call. For more information go to On Earth Peace is a peace education and action agency of the Church of the Brethren.

  • The Brethren Witness/Washington Office has called attention to two events calling for the end to the Iraq war: an Interfaith Fast to End the War in Iraq on Oct. 8 sponsored by the National Council of Churches (NCC) along with diverse religious groups; and a Continuous Prayer Vigil on Sept. 16 planned as a follow up to the Christian Peace Witness for Iraq that took place on March 16 ( The Oct. 8 fast is supported by leaders from many religious communities, who are urging Americans of all faiths to fast from dawn to dusk to call for an end to the war. Local communities are invited to organize joint interfaith events to break the fast together. Register events at, where an organizing toolkit and bulletin insert are available.

  • The fall planning retreat of officers of the Ministers' Association is being held Sept. 12-13 at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., hosted by the Ministry Office. Officers include Lisa Hazen, pastor of Wichita (Kan.) Church of the Brethren; David W. Miller, pastor of West Richmond (Va.) Church of the Brethren; Nancy Fitzgerald, on the pastoral team of Manassas (Va.) Church of the Brethren; Sue Richard, co-pastor of Elm Street Church of the Brethren in Lima, Ohio; and Tim Sollenberger Morphew, pastor of Bethany Church of the Brethren in New Paris, Ind.

  • The Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., will be a rest stop again this year for the Maryland Lung Association Bike Tour on Sept. 15. Hundreds of cyclists participate in this fundraising event to benefit children with asthma through the programs of the American Lung Association of Maryland.

  • The Fall orientation unit of Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) will be held Sept. 23-Oct. 12 in Peace Valley and Kansas City, Mo. This will be the 277th BVS orientation unit, and will include 33 volunteers. The group will spend three weeks exploring project possibilities and topics of community building, peace and social justice, faith sharing, diversity training, and more. The vollunteers also will have the opportunity for several work days, in both rural and urban communities, and will attend the Missouri/Arkansas District Conference. For more information contact the BVS office at 800-323-8939.

  • Preparations for the International Day of Prayer for Peace continue. The Church of the Brethren General Offices has joined the growing list of Brethren congregations and communities sponsoring prayer events, which has now increased to 80 including churches and groups in the US, Puerto Rico, and Nigeria. The General Offices will hold a short prayer service on Friday, Sept. 21, at 9:15 a.m. at the offices in Elgin, Ill. Brethren involvement in the International Day of Prayer for Peace is jointly promoted by the Brethren Witness/Washington Office and On Earth Peace, with Mimi Copp as the grassroots organizer. “It has been incredible to watch the number of Brethren communities involved in the International Day of Prayer for Peace multiply. Our original goal was 40! This is a Spirit-filled effort,” wrote Copp in an e-mail update. The international event is linked with the World Council of Churches Decade to Overcome Violence (DOV). Hansulrich Gerber, DOV coordinator, wrote to Copp to thank the Brethren for participating: “This morning on my Google Blogs Alert for ‘overcome violence’ I found one item: ‘Newsline Brethren Churches to observe day of prayer for peace....’ The news about the Church of the Brethren churches is a happy and enormously encouraging one. Thank you for setting a good example! Blessings of peace to you." Copp requests Brethren who are planning prayer vigils to list the events at, so others in local communities can find out about them. Contact Copp at For more information about Brethren involvement with the International Day of Prayer for Peace, go to

  • McPherson (Kan.) Church of the Brethren is hosting an art show and auction by seven-year-old Emma Marten on Sept. 22. Marten is selling her paintings and drawings as a benefit for Greensburg, Kan., which was destroyed in May by a tornado. The show and auction are from 7-9:30 p.m., and will feature 25 pieces of art.

  • First Church of the Brethren in Eden, N.C., is holding a centennial celebration on Sept. 16. A special Homecoming Service is planned with David K. Shumate, district executive minister and moderator-elect of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference, bringing the morning message. Following the service, a covered dish meal will be held on the church recreation area with music, games, and activities under the title, “Dunkard Day.” Participants are encouraged to dress in old Brethren garb. A revival service will begin that evening at 7 p.m. and continue through Thursday evening. Chuck Davis, pastor of Calvary Church of the Brethren in Winchester, Va., will be the revival speaker. Contact the church office at 336-627-7063.

  • Upcoming district conferences include two on Sept. 14-15: the 148th District Conference of Northern Indiana District will be at Goshen (Ind.) City Church of the Brethren with the theme, “Surrendered to GOD, Transformed by CHRIST, and Empowered by the SPIRIT”; Idaho and Western Montana District will meet under the theme, "Mission Possible! Extending the Kingdom in South Sudan and South Idaho," at Bowmont Church of the Brethren in Nampa, Idaho. Two districts plan their annual meetings for Sept. 21-22: South/Central Indiana District will meet at Living Faith Church of the Brethren in Flora, Ind.; West Marva District will meet at Moorefield (W.Va.) Church of the Brethren.

  • Northern Ohio District’s 51st Chicken Barbecue and Inspiration Celebration at Inspiration Hills, a camp near Burbank, Ohio, will take place Saturday, Sept. 22. The barbecue will be served from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Other activities include a camper reunion, hikes, crafts, games, wagon rides, and church booths. At 10 a.m. a time of singing old-time camp songs is planned, followed by worship at 10:30 a.m. A basket auction takes place 1-3 p.m. A freewill offering will be received for the Student Ministry Fund for scholarships for those going into Christian service. The celebration is organized through the Outdoor Ministry Commission of the district.

  • The Village at Morrison’s Cove, a Church of the Brethren retirement center in Martinsburg, Pa., hold its Good Samaritan Banquet on Sept. 22 at the Casino in Altoona, Pa. A reception will begin at 5:30 p.m. followed by dinner at 6 p.m. Proceeds from the $100 per person event will assist residents who have outlived their financial resources; the Village supplied $1.6 million in unreimbursed care in 2006, according to the announcement in the Middle Pennsylvania District newsletter. The program features Lou Stein, who has played with Lawrence Welk, the Dorsey Brothers, and the full chorus of the Sweet Adelines. The Village will honor a staff member with an Award of Giving and the Distinguished Service Award.

  • Pinecrest Community, a Church of the Brethren retirement center in Mount Morris, Ill., is hosting a public “Block Party” on Sept. 20 to provide the community with a “sneak peek” of its new Pinecrest Community Center scheduled for completion in 2008. The new center is located in Pinecrest Grove, a 20-acre development for active adults 62 or older. The Block Party kicks off with Business After Hours at 5 p.m., followed by a community-wide celebration at 7 p.m. Block Party guests will be treated to live entertainment with musician Jazzy Jeff at 5 p.m. and Beth and John Chase with Ed Garrison at 8 p.m. Attendees will also get a glimpse of the kinds of activities that are expected to take place in the center with tours. There will be the opportunity to meet local authors Clarence Mitchell, centenarian author of “The Diary of a Journeyman,” and Gary Haynes, veteran United Press International photographer and author of “PICTURE THIS!,” as well as sculptor Jeff Adams. For more information call 815-734-4103.

  • At two events on Sept. 25, Elizabethtown College professor Donald B. Kraybill and his two co-authors will discuss their recently published book, “Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy,” which tells the story of Amish grace and forgiveness in the wake of the shooting at the Nickel Mines Amish schoolhouse last October. The first presentation begins at 4 p.m. in High Library at the college, followed by a talk at 7:30 p.m. at Elizabethtown Church of the Brethren. Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing at both events, which are open to the public free of charge. Published by Jossey-Bass, “Amish Grace” was written by Kraybill along with Steven M. Nolt, professor of history at Goshen College; and David L. Weaver-Zercher, associate professor of religious history at Messiah College. Royalties from sales of the book will be donated to the Mennonite Central Committee.

  • Brethren Voices, a 30-minute community television program produced by Ed Groff of Portland's Peace Church of the Brethren, is highlighting two upcoming programs. The September program features the New Community Project and native Gwich’in Charley Swaney of Arctic Village, Alaska, in a program titled "The Gwich'in--A Matter of Survival.” The lifestyle and culture of the Gwich'in tribe revolve around the caribou, which could be threatened by the possibility of oil drilling in the calving areas of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, said a release from Brethren Voices. Copies of the September program are available for $9 from Brethren Voices, 12305 NE 27th St., Vancouver, WA. 98684. "The US Military Wants to Use You" is the October program featuring Matt Guynn of On Earth Peace, who has been supporting youth and congregations dealing with the recruiting efforts of the US military. The program is hosted by Rachael Waas Shull and is supplemented by video provided by On Earth Peace and the American Friends Service Committee. Brethren Voices is being submitted to local community television stations by 12 different Church of the Brethren congregations around the country, and is used as a video resource by others for Sunday school programs and campus ministry. For more information, contact Ed Groff at or 360-256-8550.

  • Sept. 29 is the annual Harvest Day at CrossRoads (Valley Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center) in Harrisonburg, Va. Events from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. include children’s activities such as old-time games and crafts, painting pumpkins and gourds, hayrides, shelling and grinding corn to feed barnyard animals, making pancakes and butter, and yarn dolls. Adults will enjoy stories, music, boiling molasses, pressing cider, sawing logs with a crosscut, spinning thread, quilting, homemade foods, and more. Entry fee is $8 per carload. For more go to
Source: 9/12/2007 Newsline

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