Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Brethren bits: Remembrances, personnel, jobs, Jena 6, and more.
  • June Adams Gibble, 70, passed away Sept. 20 at her home in Elgin, Ill., from ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease). She was a former denominational staff member of the Church of the Brethren, having served as director of Congregational Nurture and Worship for the General Board from 1988-97, and as program field staff with the Association of Brethren Caregivers (ABC) from 1998-99. In her work for the denomination, she provided leadership to the deacon ministry and Christian education, edited Sunday school and small group curriculum, wrote worship resources, and provided leadership for women’s ministries, among other areas. Her volunteer work for the church included service on the steering committee for Bethany Theological Seminary’s centennial celebration in 2005 along with her husband, Jay Gibble, who is a former executive director of ABC and former staff of the General Board. Early in her career, Gibble studied elementary education and was a school teacher in Minneapolis. She was ordained to ministry in 1986--when she was almost 50--and also served as a pastor. For some years she was a chaplain with Provena St. Joseph Hospice in Elgin, Ill., where she continued her work even after her diagnosis. For the last year and a half, Gibble and her family have been active supporters of ALS research and the Les Turner ALS Foundation. She had continued to write and paint, contributing worship resources for the 300th Anniversary celebration of the Brethren, and creating poems and paintings for her 18 grandchildren. A memorial service will be held at Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, Ill., on Sept. 29 at 12:30 p.m.

  • Claire Randall, 91, general secretary of the National Council of Churches (NCC) from 1974-84, died on Sept. 9 in Sun City, Ariz. She was the fourth general secretary and the first woman to lead the organization, and was an ordained elder in the Presbyterian Church USA. NCC president Michael E. Livingston said, "Claire Randall was general secretary of the NCC at a turbulent time of history, for the nation and the world as well as the church. Looking back on those days, it is especially obvious that her leadership skills and clear vision were those of a woman chosen by God 'for a time such as this.'" Randall was general secretary during the fallout of a 1983 broadcast of CBS' "60 Minutes" that implied the NCC and the World Council of Churches were leftist organizations that defied the conservative wishes of their membership. The following year, an article in “The Reader's Digest” made a similar claim. Randall firmly denied the allegations and organized member communions of the NCC to inform their congregations that the reports were false. She was partially vindicated in 2002 when retiring "60 Minutes" producer Don Hewitt characterized the report as the one show he regretted in his 36-year career. Randall is remembered for insisting on a racially and ethnically diverse staff. She also gave leadership that would later culminate in the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible (NRSV), and was associate executive director of Church Women United before she came to the NCC. A private family memorial service will be held.

  • Beth Burnette is finishing a two-year special promotions position with the General Board’s “Messenger” magazine, as of the end of the month. She started in the position in June 2005, after she retired as administrative assistant for Illinois and Wisconsin District and as Christian education director for York Center Church of the Brethren in Lombard, Ill., where she is a member. Previously, Burnette also had experience in nonprofit and for-profit marketing and developing print materials for advertising in the Chicago area and in Maryland.

  • Justin Barrett began Sept. 24 as program assistant for the Global Mission Partnerships of the Church of the Brethren General Board. His career has been centered in the field of office administration since 2001, with responsibilities in all areas within a variety of organizations. Most recently, he has been office coordinator for Student Services at North Park Theological Seminary in the Chicago area. He is a graduate of Western Michigan University and North Park Theological Seminary, with a master of arts degree in Christian Ministry, and is an active member at Resurrection Covenant Church in Chicago.

  • Two new members have joined the Steering Commitee for the Church of the Brethren’s Cross-Cultural Ministries Team: Founa Augustin of the Miami (Fla.) Haitian Church of the Brethren, and Victor Olvera, from the ministry team at Bella Vista Church of the Brethren in Los Angeles.

  • Bethany Theological Seminary and the Brethren Journal Association seek a managing editor for the academic quarterly journal “Brethren Life and Thought.” The journal is a joint publication of the seminary and the association. The managing editor position is part time, about ten hours a week, and has responsibility for the operational activities of the journal including printing and mailing, promoting circulation, providing an archive, storage of back issues, and a permanent record of association minutes and related documents. Other duties may include maintainance of a computer and office, a subscription database, communications with patrons and donors, paying bills and making deposits. Minimum qualifications area high school diploma, with a year of previous experience in a business environment preferred. For a full job description go to Applicants are invited to contact Stephen Breck Reid, academic dean of Bethany Seminary, at

  • The Gather ’Round curriculum project of Brethren Press and the Mennonite Publishing Network is accepting applications from experienced writers. Requirements include the ability to write clearly, convey Brethren and Mennonite faith perspectives, and develop creative and meaningful activities. Teaching experience and background in Bible studies are helpful. Writers produce up to four quarters of teacher’s session plans, student material, and other resources for one age group. The next writing year begins with a writers’ conference on March 1-6, 2008. Learn more about the curriculum at Request an application from or call 847-742-5100 ext. 261. The application deadline for the next writing year is Dec. 31.

  • A Greater Gift/SERRV International seeks temporary fall staffing in warehouse picking and packing orders at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. The Customer Service Department also is seeking fall staffing. Accuracy, dependability, and attention to detail are required. Hours are flexible. Contact Pam Sheedy at 410-635-8750.

  • On Earth Peace last week sent an e-mail alert to its Peace Witness Action List to raise awareness of the “Jena 6,” six African-American youth in Jena, La., who have been threatened with years in prison “in a spiraling situation of race-based intimidation,” the alert said. On Earth Peace called the situation in Jena to Brethren attention, and referred to the work of Color of Change on the issue ( The situation in Jena centered on racially charged incidents at the high school, in one instance nooses hung from a tree, followed by several outbreaks of white-on-black violence, according to news reports. Then, last December, the six African-American teens were accused of beating a white classmate and received what many characterize as unequal and excessive punishment by local authorities. On Earth Peace encouraged participation in a protest in Jena on Sept. 20. CNN reported that at least 15,000 people from across the country attended the protest.

  • The National Council of Churches (NCC) Governing Board this week also issued a call for "equal justice under the law" in Jena, La. "This is indeed a tragic situation and many lives, both Black and White, have been negatively impacted by the events that have taken place in Jena: the nooses hanging from a tree; a justice system and community that seemed to ignore this hate crime; violent retaliation against a white youth; excessive criminal charges against six African-American teenagers; a community torn apart; and protests and cries for justice from across the country," said the NCC. The NCC plans to send letters to Louisiana elected officials stating this position, work collaboratively with the Louisiana Interchurch Conference, and invite Jena church leaders to its General Assembly in November for a report and guidance on ways the NCC can support their community.

  • The Ministry of Reconciliation of On Earth Peace has announced its fall practitioner workshop, “Appreciative Inquiry Workshop/Practitioner Consultation,” at Camp Alexander Mack, Milford, Ind., on Nov. 14-16. The event is for church leaders, Shalom Team members, pastors, and consultants who are interested in leading congregations through change by identifying and building upon the positive characteristics of the group. Leadership for the workshop will be provided by Marty Farahat, a Ministry of Reconciliation practitioner and congregational consultant. Following the workshop will be the Practitioner Consultation to learn more about each other's work, share effective tools for consulting, experience a clinic where case studies are explored, and consult on practitioners’ educational needs along with the next steps for the Ministry of Reconciliation in supporting practitioners. The consultation is open to all levels of practitioners. Leadership for the consultation will be provided by Carol Waggy and Annie Clark. Cost for the entire event is $195 for tuition and lodging or $155 for commuters. The workshop and consultation begin Nov. 14, at 7 p.m., and end at 4 p.m. on Nov. 16. One continuing education credit is available for Church of the Brethren ministers. For more information or to register, visit or contact Annie Clark, Ministry of Reconciliation coordinator, at Registration closes Oct. 26.

  • Oregon-Washington District Conference is Sept. 28-30 at Wenatchee (Wash.) Brethren-Baptist Church, on the theme, “Three Hundred Years of Brethren History.” The conference will provide a weekend of worship and fellowship, beginning with Love Feast. A disaster auction will take place on Saturday afternoon. A hymn sing Saturday evening will include time for congregational sharing. Worship on Sunday will be shared with the two Wenatchee congregations.

  • Mid-Atlantic District Conference will be held Oct. 5-6 at Hagerstown (Md.) Church of the Brethren, led by moderator Gretchen Zience. The event will begin with worship and a message from Dawn Ottoni-Wilhelm, associate professor of Preaching and Worship at Bethany Theological Seminary. A business session and workshops will be held Saturday.

  • Camp Blue Diamond in Petersburg, Pa., will hold its 2007 Heritage Fair on Sept. 28-30. The event raises funds for Middle Pennsylvania District ministries including the camp, Breezewood Trucker Traveler Ministries, CentrePeace Prison Ministries, the Pennsylvania Council of Churches, the Prince Gallitzin State Park Chaplaincy Program, Heifer International, and youth workcamp scholarships. This year a fundraising goal of $35,000 has been set. Go to

  • Camp Alexander Mack near Milford, Ind., holds its ninth annual Camp Mack Festival on Saturday, Oct. 6. The event offers a variety of festival foods, demonstrations, displays, entertainment, children’s activities, horse-drawn carriage rides, hayrides, train rides, and pontoon rides on Lake Waubee. Auctions will feature quilts, theme baskets, old books, and other items. Part of the proceeds will provide scholarships for campers. Go to

  • Camp Bethel’s 23rd Heritage Festival Day also is Oct 6. Events at the fundraiser for the camp located near Fincastle, Va., include the sale of crafts, baked goods, food, and displays. More information is at, or call 540-992-2940.

  • Ronn Moyer, the first administrator of Peter Becker Retirement Community in Harleysville, Pa., has written a history of the home titled, “I Want to Go Home: A Pictorial, Anecdotal Story of the Peter Becker Community from Idea in 1960 to a Home for 500 Residents in 2007.” In addition to being the center’s first administrator, Moyer was the community’s first employee, and is a current resident. For the last 45 years, he has collected stories, history, and anecdotes of the community he once served--a continuing care retirement community that has met the physical, spiritual, and emotional needs of seniors since opening in 1971. The book is illustrated by Leon Moyer. It is being sold for $15, with the proceeds benefiting those at Peter Becker Community who can no longer afford to pay for their care. For more information contact Colleen M. Hart, director of Community Relations, at 215-703-4029.

  • Professor Scott Strode is retiring after 34 years with Manchester College, as of the end of this school year--but first will take the stage in one of the lead roles in the Tony-winning “Foxfire” for the college’s Homecoming play. Strode is theater director and chair of the Communication Studies Department for more than 20 years, and is a member of Manchester Church of the Brethren in North Manchester, Ind. Performances will take place Oct. 4-6 at 7:30 p.m., in Cordier Auditorium. Tickets are available in advance, order from 260-982-5551, or on the night of the show at $7; $6 for senior citizens. For more information visit
Source: 9/26/2007 Newsline

No comments: