Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Brethren bits: Personnel, job openings, and much more.
  • Allen T. Hansell Sr. has announced his retirement as director of church relations for Elizabethtown (Pa.) College, effective April 5. He has filled the position since May 2005, serving as the primary liaison between the college and the Church of the Brethren, including alumni, congregations, districts, and Annual Conference agencies. His previous denominational leadership positions have included service as director of ministry for the Church of the Brethren General Board from late 1997 through 2001, following a term of eight years as executive minister of the Church of the Brethren's Atlantic Northeast District. Prior to that, he had been a pastor for 23 years. He also chaired the Small Church Task Team, was a member of the Standing Committee of Annual Conference, and served as moderator of Atlantic Northeast District. He holds degrees from Bridgewater (Va.) College and Bethany Theological Seminary.

  • Pacific Southwest District has announced the hiring of Carrie Cesar as intergenerational ministry director, and her husband, Alfredo Cesar, as intercultural ministry director. Carrie Cesar will work with youth, young adults, and family ministries, coordinating training and resources for congregations and their leaders, and serving as a liaison for age-related leadership teams and district programming. She previously served as missions director for the district. Alfredo Cesar will coordinate district efforts in mission and church planting, and will hold a variety of responsibilities including developing a program to recruit coaches and church planters and other new leaders, and relate to ministries in Mexico. The Cesars live in Mesa, Ariz.

  • Donna Forbes Steiner begins April 1 as director of church relations at Elizabethtown College. She holds a bachelor's degree in music education from Drake University and a masters of religious education from Bethany Theological Seminary. She began serving in ministry in 1964, as minister of Christian education for Palmyra (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, and since then has held several pastoral positions. From 1997-2002, she was associate executive minister of Atlantic Northeast District. Most recently, since 2003, she has been interim pastor of Elizabethtown (Pa.) Church of the Brethren and summer pastor of Palmyra (Pa.) Church of the Brethren and Reading (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. She also has served as a consultant for congregational ministries for Mid-Atlantic District, and as a consultant for districts and congregations in Virginia. She will work out of the Institutional Advancement Office of Elizabethtown College.

  • Brian Bert has begun as program director at Camp Blue Diamond, a ministry of Middle Pennsylvania District near Petersburg, Pa. He started in the position on Jan. 21. He is a member of Hollidaysburg (Pa.) Church of the Brethren where he is a youth group advisor. He also serves as advisor for the district's Youth Ministry Team. He is a graduate of West Virginia University and worked last summer as a fulltime counselor at the camp.

  • Scott Senseney began work this week in the Material Resources program of the Church of the Brethren General Board as a forklift operator/warehouse coordinator. He previously worked for 17 years with Fidelitone/Black and Decker. He lives in Keymar, Md., and will work at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md.

  • Diane Parrott begins a temporary part-time assignment at the Church of the Brethren Credit Union in Elgin, Ill., on March 14. She will work on loans and assist with other projects. She is a member of Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, and worked most recently for the Kane County Teachers Credit Union.

  • David and Maria Huber have completed a six-month assignment as volunteer hosts for the New Windsor (Md.) Conference Center, serving at the Windsor and Zigler Halls on the campus of the Brethren Service Center. The couple have been serving through Brethren Volunteer Service.

  • Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) is seeking applicants for the position of president. BBT's offices are located at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. The primary services of BBT are the administration of the Pension Plan and the Brethren Foundation. The president serves as chief executive officer for BBT, including all its corporate entities (Brethren Benefit Trust, Brethren Benefit Trust, Inc., Brethren Foundation, Trustee, Pension Plan Trust). The president will oversee the administration and operations of BBT by leading, administering, managing, and inspiring the staff, modeling servant leadership. The president will guide BBT in its service to the Church of the Brethren by developing and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships with individuals and organizations which are affiliated with or share the values of the Church of the Brethren. The full position description can be found at Church of the Brethren membership is preferred. The president will be expected to live in the Elgin area. The deadline for applications is April 30. Applicants are requested to send a current resume, cover letter, and three references via e-mail to Ralph McFadden, Search Committee Consultant, Hard copies, if necessary, may be sent to 352 Shiloh Ct., Elgin, IL 60120. The Search Committee also is inviting nominations. Send the names of people who should be called to consider the position to any member of the Search Committee or send to Ralph McFadden. The Search Committee is composed of Eunice Culp, chair; Harry Rhodes, BBT Board chair; Janice Bratton, BBT Board vice chair; Donna Forbes Steiner, BBT Board member; and Fred Bernhard, former longterm BBT Board member.

  • Bethany Theological Seminary and the Church of the Brethren General Board seek a fulltime director of the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership, to start in the summer of 2008. The director will work from the Bethany campus in Richmond, Ind. Responsibilities include discerning the leadership needs of the denomination, working with the Ministry Advisory Council, coordinating the Education for Shared Ministry (EFSM) and Training in Ministry (TRIM) programs, certifying ministry training programs of districts, contributing to developing intercultural competencies, planning and coordinating continuing education events, denominational workshops for leadership development, teaching in the academy program and offering occasional courses in the seminary's graduate-level curriculum, supervising staff, budget development, and reporting to both sponsoring institutions. Qualifications include five years of effective leadership in pastoral ministry; grounding in Church of the Brethren heritage, theology, and polity; ability to articulate and operate out of the vision of Bethany and the General Board; ability to relate with integrity and respect; interpersonal skills; knowledge and experience in budget development and management; oral and written communication skills; knowledge and skill in systems theory; knowledge and skills in developing educational experiences in ministry training and professional growth; ability to envision grant proposals and oversee grant-funded programs. Required education and experience includes a master of divinity degree or the equivalent, a record of regular continuing education experiences, ordination and active membership in the Church of the Brethren. The application deadline is April 3. To apply, complete the Bethany Theological Seminary application form, submit a resume and letter of application, and request three references to send letters of recommendation to Bethany Theological Seminary, Stephen Reid, Academic Dean, 615 National Rd. W., Richmond, IN 47374-4019; 765-983-1815; For additional information contact Mary Jo Flory-Steury, Executive Director of Ministry, Church of the Brethren General Board, 847-644-1153,

  • The Cedars, Inc., of McPherson, Kan., a Church of the Brethren continuing care retirement community also affiliated with the Great Plains Conference of the Free Methodist Church, is seeking applicants for its chief executive officer. With more than 300 residents on its 60-acre campus, the Cedars provides levels of care ranging from independent living to skilled nursing, from a person-centered social model. The Board of Trustees is looking for a person with home administration credentials who appreciates a faith-based environment and who has strategic planning skills, and experience in fund development, marketing, and innovative planning. Resumes are to be sent to Bob R. Green, 110 Eastmoor Dr., McPherson, KS 67460;

  • The Pacific Southwest District of the Church of the Brethren seeks a qualified person to serve as finance and property manager, to maintain income, expense, and balance sheet records for the district office. In addition, duties will include limited property management for congregational churches in California and Arizona. Proven experience in accounting and commercial property transactions are necessary qualifications. This person must see the position as a ministry and have a faith compatible with the mission of the Church of the Brethren. This is a fulltime position with benefits. To apply and receive a complete job description, send a cover letter of interest, a resume of relevant work experience, and three letters of reference to the Pacific Southwest District of the Church of the Brethren, P.O. Box 219, La Verne, CA 91750-0219. Applications and materials will be reviewed beginning April 1 until the position is filled.

  • Three Children's Disaster Services Level 1 Trainings have been added to the 2008 spring training schedule, in addition to trainings that already have been announced at Blackrock Church of the Brethren in Glenville, Pa., on April 4-5 and at La Verne (Calif.) Church of the Brethren on April 12-13. The training events are for volunteers interested in serving with Children's Disaster Services to care for children and their families following disasters. The additional trainings will be held at Ivy Tech Community College in Evansville, Tenn., on April 4-5; at the Pacific Union Conference Office in Westlake Village, Calif., on April 19-20; and at First Presbyterian Church in Bethlehem, Pa., on April 25-26. More information and registration forms go to the website of Children's Disaster Services.

  • A workshop for pastors and congregations titled, "Facilitating Healthy Pastor-Congregation Relations," is sponsored by Middle Pennsylvania District's Shalom Team and the Church College Relations Council of Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa. The event will be led by the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center on March 28-29, and will be part of a weekend event kicking off the evening of March 27 with a presentation by Brethren sociologist Carl Bowman. A March 28 workshop for students and the public will be held on "Appreciative Inquiry." Brochures and registration information can be found on the district website at The registration deadline is March 24.

  • The Peter Becker Community, a Church of the Brethren retirement community in Harleysville, Pa., is holding its 25th Annual Flower Show on the theme, "Back the Old Country Road." The show is open to the public on March 13-15, with a suggested donation at the door of $5 per person, children free. The show began 25 years ago as a winter " pick me up" and a resident activity that recognized those who took great care of their house plants, said a release from the community. This year's show is very different, fully encompassing a large auditorium with custom painted backdrops and hand crafted architectural elements providing staging for scores of greenhouse-grown flowers. The community expects more than 8,000 guests to attend. Visit for more information.

  • The World Council of Churches (WCC) Ecumenical Water Network is offering a "Summer School on Water" for young adults from July 27 through Aug. 5 at the Ecumenical Institute in Bossey, Switzerland. "Preserving the world's water resources and securing access to water for all is one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century," said an announcement of the event. Participants will have the opportunity to study--in a regionally and confessionally diverse group--the local, regional, and international manifestations and causes of the water crisis. Participants must be between 18 and 30 years old with a good knowledge of English, which is the working language of the program. More information and an application form are available at Applications are due before March 24. Applications sent by e-mail should be addressed to

  • The New Community Project (NCP), a Church of the Brethren related nonprofit, has forwarded grants totaling nearly $33,000 to church and community partners in and around the southern Sudanese communities of Nimule and Maridi. A total of $18,000 was sent from the Give a Girl a Chance Fund for girls' education, girls' sanitary products, adult literacy, and women's development; $2,300 from the If a Tree Falls fund to a reforestation project on the banks of the Nile River near Nimule; some $4,500 from the Every 30 Seconds mosquito net fund for malaria prevention to support sewing cooperatives; $3,500 to complete and stock a community store; and the remainder was allocated for stipends and logistical support for workers in Sudan. An additional $8,600 has been pledged for projects later in the year. NCP's partners in the projects are the Sudan Council of Churches and a community-based group in Nimule. For more visit

  • Church of the Brethren member Cliff Kindy was interviewed on WBEZ Chicago Public Radio's "WorldView" program on Feb. 27, about his work with Christian Peacemaker Teams in the northern, Kurdish area of Iraq, and military operations by Turkish troops against Kurdish PKK separatists. He spoke about visiting with survivors and families from villages bombed in the Iraqi Kurdish area in December as Turkey began air attacks. To listen to the radio show online go to

  • Seven-year-old Emma Marten has been chosen one of six Distinguished Kansans of 2007, reports the "McPherson Sentinel." Marten held an auction of art work at McPherson Church of the Brethren in Sept. 2007 to benefit the children of Greensburg, Kan., after that town was devastated by a tornado. She recently presented about $4,000 to Greensburg Elementary School.
Source: 3/12/2008 Newsline

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