Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Brethren bits: Personnel, position openings, cyclone response, more.
  • Pat Papay has announced her retirement from Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) effective April 1, 2008. She was hired as BBT's general office services support staff in 1995, and since then has been "the cheerful greeter" for the agency for more than 12 years. In addition to operating the switchboard, she has processed mail and mailings, ordered office supplies, coordinated special celebrations of the staff, and performed many other miscellaneous duties. Her future plans include joining her husband, Ron, in more quality time together, and possibly returning to school. BBT will plan a celebration of Papay's work as April approaches.

  • Ed and Betty Runion and Art and Lois Hermannson have concluded terms of service at the New Windsor (Md.) Conference Center as part of the team of volunteer hosts at the Brethren Service Center.

  • Applications are being accepted for the 2008 Youth Peace Travel Team sponsored jointly by the Youth and Young Adult Ministry Office, Brethren Witness/Washington Office, and Brethren Volunteer Service of the Church of the Brethren General Board, and by On Earth Peace and the Outdoor Ministries Association. The first Youth Peace Travel Team was formed in the summer of 1991 as a cooperative effort of a number of General Board programs. Since that year a team has been fielded every summer. The team travels to camps throughout the Church of the Brethren to talk with other young people about the Christian message and the Brethren tradition of peacemaking. College-age Brethren young adults between the ages of 19 and 22 will be selected for the 2008 team. A stipend is paid to team members. For a downloadable application form go to Applications are due Feb. 4, 2008. For more information contact the Brethren Witness/Washington Office at 202-546-3202.

  • Brethren Disaster Ministries reports that the Church of the Brethren contributed to an international response to Cyclone Sidr, which hit the southern coast of Bangladesh on Nov. 15. The response was carried out through Church World Service (CWS) and ACT International (Action by Churches Together). CWS said the death toll was more than 3,000, with that number expected to rise. The ACT response began with an initial grant of $50,000, along with a short-term operation to provide family relief packages of food including rice, pulses, oil, salt, and oral dehydration saline sachets. ACT members were to distribute relief packages in the most severely affected locations, with the goal of providing immediate assistance to 7,098 cyclone-affected families representing more than 35,500 people. Special attention was paid to the very poor and destitute, women, children, the elderly, and disabled. "There may be as many as three million survivors who need assistance," said CWS.

  • Chicken Soup for the Soul and HCI are providing an opportunity for On Earth Peace to earn a commission on each copy of "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Stories for a Better World" sold from the On Earth Peace website, a fundraiser made possible by On Earth Peace supporter Linda K. Williams who is a co-author of the book. With each purchase, a 20 percent commission comes to On Earth Peace; visit On Earth Peace also has suggested other Christmas-season giving opportunities in its recent newsletter, such as honoring a loved one through a donation to On Earth Peace, which will send the honoree a beautiful holiday card. The newsletter gave examples of what the holiday gifts can accomplish: $20 would cover the cost of an information packet on counter recruitment, $75 would provide scholarship assistance to one person attending a Ministry of Reconciliation workshop, and $1,800 would provide support for one member of next summer's Youth Peace Travel Team. Contact On Earth Peace, P.O. Box 188, New Windsor, MD 21776.

  • Next year's courses offered by the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership are open to students in the Training in Ministry and Education for Shared Ministry programs, pastors, and laypeople. The academy is a ministry training partnership of the Church of the Brethren General Board and Bethany Theological Seminary. "Everyday Life in Biblical Times" is offered Jan. 14-18, 2008, at Bethany Seminary in Richmond, Ind., with instructor Stephen Breck Reid. "Jeremiah" is offered Feb. 4-March 15, 2008, online with instructor Susan Jeffers, register through the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center (SVMC). "Sermon on the Mount" is offered Feb. 7-10 at St. Petersburg (Fla.) Church of the Brethren with instructor Richard Gardner. "Pastor as a Spiritual Being" is offered Feb. 21-24, 2008, at La Verne (Calif.) Church of the Brethren with instructor Paul Grout. "Me, My Church, and Money" is offered March 3-9 at Troy (Ohio) Church of the Brethren with instructor Steve Ganger. "Church Vitality and Evangelism" is offered April 17-20, 2008, at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., with instructor Randy Yoder, register through SVMC. Contact the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership at or 800-287-8822 ext. 1824. To register for Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center courses, contact 717-361-1450 or

  • Middle River Church of the Brethren in New Hope, Va., is celebrating its rebuilt sanctuary following a fire that destroyed sections of the church more than a year ago, according to a report from WVIR-TV of Charlottesville, Va. The fire on Nov. 7, 2006, destroyed the sanctuary roof and the whole building suffered smoke damage. "After 13 months of prayer and about $1.5 million, the new sanctuary now boasts high, wooded ceilings, fine furniture, and a fresh coat of paint," the report said. The first service in the sanctuary is planned for Sunday, Dec. 9.

  • As of yesterday morning, Oregon and Washington District disaster relief coordinators reported that "all of our vulnerable churches and people of the Oregon and Washington District are okay from the latest wrath of winter weather," in an e-mail alert. Co-coordinators Nancy Louise Wilkinson and Brent Carlson said that the disaster relief agencies of Washington State will gather teams of volunteers to help clean up flooded homes. "More than 1,000 homes in Lewis County have waist-deep water in the house, and other counties are also affected," they said. Contact Nancy Louise Wilkinson at 360-848-1827 or, or Brent Carlson at 503-697-7500 or In other news from the district, $4,059.50 was raised by a Disaster Relief Auction at the district conference this year. The money will be used to aid local and national rebuilding projects and help disaster volunteers with transportation expenses.

  • Ten new members have been elected to the Bridgewater (Va.) College Board of Trustees. The group includes four Church of the Brethren members: Carl R. Fike, vice president of O.C. Cluss Lumber in Uniontown, W.Va., and a licensed Church of the Brethren lay speaker; Stephen L. Hollinger, president of Construction Options Inc., and a member of Manassas (Va.) Church of the Brethren; Stephanie LaPrade Naff, church secretary for Mill Creek Church of the Brethren and a member of Southeastern District's Program and Arrangements Committee; and Ronald E. Sink, a retired treasurer for Norfolk Southern Corp., former board member of Bethany Seminary and active in Church of the Brethren and civic activities in the Roanoke, Va., area.
Source: 12/05/2007 Newsline

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