Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Resources bits and pieces: Denominational Polity Manual, books for intercultural understanding and evangelism, ‘green’ Bible, and more.
  • The Annual Conference Council recently completed revisions to the Church of the Brethren's denominational Polity Manual. Revisions include changes to polity created by Annual Conference actions through the most recent annual meeting in July 2007. The 2008 version of the manual is now available free of charge at in downloadable pdf format. Congregations without Internet access may request a printed copy for $10, including shipping and handling. Send orders and checks made out to "Annual Conference" to the Annual Conference Office, P.O. Box 720, New Windsor, MD 21776-0720.

  • Recommended by the publisher: three books for intercultural understanding. Following passage of the 2007 Annual Conference statement, "Separate No More," Brethren Press executive director Wendy McFadden has recommended three books to help church leaders increase intercultural understanding. All three may be ordered through Brethren Press, call 800-441-3712; shipping and handling charges will be added to the prices listed below, call 800-441-3712. "Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: A Psychologist Explains the Development of Racial Identity" by Beverly Daniel Tatum (Basic Books, revised 2003), $15.95 from Brethren Press; "It's the Little Things: Everyday Interactions that Anger, Annoy, and Divide the Races" by Lena Williams (Harcourt, Inc., 2000), $14 from Brethren Press; "Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America" by Michael O. Emerson and Christian Smith (Oxford University Press, 2000), $17.95 from Brethren Press.

  • The first-ever recognized "green" Bible--a Charles Stanley "Life Principles" daily Bible in the New King James Version, published by Thomas Nelson--is now available for purchase through Brethren Press for $19.99 plus shipping and handling, call 800-441-3712. Nelson worked on the project with paper manufacturer Domtar and the Green Press Initiative, a nonprofit that works with the book industry to conserve environmental resources. The new Bible fits into the "Treatise on Responsible Paper Use," an industry-developed agreement that defines shared goals for improving environmental impacts associated with book publishing.

  • "Unbinding Your Heart: 40 Days of Prayer and Faith Sharing" (Chalice Press) is a new all-congregation evangelism study by Martha Grace Reese, available from Brethren Press for $19.99 plus shipping and handling. The study is a six-week, churchwide, small group evangelism event perfect for Lenten, summer, or fall study for all established classes and church groups. Based on the best-selling book "Unbinding the Gospel," this addition to the series includes 40 days of individual prayer exercises coordinated with each chapter. "Unbinding Your Heart" will enrich a church’s community life and help individuals risk fact-to-face encounters with God.

  • Brethren Press is hosting a meet and greet with Chicago poet Anne Basye, author of the newly released book "Sustaining Simplicity: A Journal," on Jan. 9, 2008, at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. The book has been described as "an emotionally honest exploration of mindful lifestyle decisions" and shows how faith and daily life intersect. The reception will follow Basye's chapel message at 9:15 a.m. that Wednesday. On the same day, at 12:10 p.m., Basye will also give a Brown Bag Briefing at the General Offices on the topic of "Sustaining Simplicity in the New Year." Her book is available for purchase from Brethren Press for $12 plus shipping and handling.

  • In a congregational renewal project in some districts of the Church of the Brethren, the 300th Anniversary devotional from Brethren Press, "Fresh from the Word," is being accompanied by a study guide for church renewal. The study guide was prepared by David Young and the Springs of Living Water renewal initiative. It offers a spiritual disciplines guide to help members of congregations, with the hoped-for outcome of new focus, energy, and growth in the church. The guide uses the same scriptures as the 300th Anniversary devotional book, looks like a bulletin, and includes instructions, daily texts, and an insert on spiritual disciplines. Young anticipates offering new guides for each quarter of 2008. He also reported that the guide may be used by the Church of the Brethren in Brazil, and is being translated into Portuguese. Contact David Young, 464 Ridge Ave., Ephrata, PA 17522; 717-738-1887;

  • In honor of the 300th Anniversary of the first Brethren baptism, the Tercentennial Committee of Everett (Pa.) Church of the Brethren is offering a year’s worth of one-minute meditations focused on events in Brethren history. The "Tercentennial Minutes" are designed to be read one a week in worship or Sunday school settings, starting with Sunday, Dec. 23. On that day, the one-minute meditation will focus on the first Brethren baptism in America, which took place on Christmas Day in 1723. Upcoming minutes will tell stories from Brethren history, such as the Brethren connection with Billy the Kid, Abraham Harley Cassel’s visit to the nation’s centennial in 1876, Julia Gilbert’s impassioned speech at Annual Meeting in 1910, Evelyn Trostle’s brave stand to protect Armenian orphans from the Turks in 1920, and many others. Each is written in an entertaining style by Frank Ramirez, pastor of the Everett congregation. The Everett church will share the "Tercentennial Minutes" by e-mail with any church interested in receiving and using them. Contact the congregation at

  • The Juniata College Concert Choir has released its first CD, called "Velvet Light: Christmas Carol Arrangements by Shawn Kirchner." Kirchner is the former music director at La Verne (Calif.) Church of the Brethren. The recording was inspired by the Church of the Brethren’s Christmas Eve special on CBS, for which Kirchner also served as music director. The music on "Velvet Light" is scored for string quartet, oboe, flute, guitar, piano, and percussion, as well as the choir from Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., and offers a fresh approach to Christmas music. The CD is available for $15 plus shipping and handling from Brethren Press, call 800-441-3712
Source: 12/19/2007 Newsline Extra

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