Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Brethren bits: Corrections, personnel, jobs, and much more.
  • Corrections: The full name and title of Ruthann Knechel Johansen as president of Bethany Theological Seminary was inadvertently left out of the announcement of webcasts from Bethany’s Inaugural Forum in the March 26 Newsline; the editor regrets this omission. Also, the start date of Eric Miller's employment with Brethren Press was incorrect; it was Sept. 6, 2005.

  • The New Windsor Conference Center is thanking Lavonne Grubb and Myrna McLaughlin for serving as volunteer hosts for the month of March, and has welcomed Clarice Ott and Gloria Hall-Schimmel as hosts for April. Ed and Betty Runion are returning to serve as hosts for April, May, and June. The conference center is on the campus of the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md.

  • Bethany Theological Seminary’s Institutional Advancement Department on the campus in Richmond, Ind., seeks an administrative assistant. The department seeks a person who likes working with people, likes working with a computer, and likes being around a vibrant educational environment of a spiritual character. The position serves as the primary receptionist at Bethany’s front desk, maintains donor records systems, processes gifts, and supports advancement staff in correspondence, scheduling, and publications. Critical required skills include the abilities to multitask, meet the public in person and on the telephone, maintain confidentiality, and work with computerized record-keeping and communication systems. Knowledge and appreciation of the breadth of Church of the Brethren membership is desired. The starting date is negotiable, sometime this summer. The application review will begin May 5 and continue until the position is filled. To apply or seek additional information, contact Lowell Flory, Executive Director of Institutional Advancement, Bethany Theological Seminary, 615 National Rd. W., Richmond, IN 47374;; 800-287-8822.

  • Brethren Press seeks a customer service inventory specialist to fill a fulltime position at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Responsibilities include providing professional customer service functions by telephone, fax, mail, and Internet, and maintaining a thorough knowledge of products offered through Brethren Press; specializing in providing resource information to congregations and individuals; accurate and timely maintenance of inventory levels; providing marketing support services; participating in year-end inventory; and assisting with coordinating and developing standardized procedures and maintaining written documentation. Qualifications include ability to become familiar with Church of the Brethren organization and beliefs and to operate out of the vision of the General Board; ability to relate with integrity and respect within and beyond the organization; strong interpersonal skills; understanding of accounting theory and practice; good listening and telephone skills and competence in oral and written communication; proficiency in typing and data entry; ability to work well in a team, juggling several tasks simultaneously; knowledge of Christian education and resourcing of congregations. Education and experience requirements include experience in customer service, computer literacy, experience with inventory management and reporting. Christian education experience is desirable. High school diploma is required, with some college education preferred. A position description and application form are available on request. Applications will be considered until the position is filled. To apply, 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 Material Resources program of the Church of the Brethren General Board seeks an office assistant to fill a fulltime, hourly position at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. The assistant will work closely with the office manager to ensure timely and accurate collection of information, and the transfer of information to various reports, people, and tracking systems related to shipping matters. This is a clerical position with responsibility for correspondence, telephone inquiries, stencils, shipping instructions, loading sheets, activity reports, invoices, and billing records. This position also handles all interaction by telephone with pier contacts, meetings with transportation related salespersons, and ensures that volunteer work groups are recognized and thanked. The position requires a high degree of accuracy, organizational skills, ability to provide excellent customer service, ability to multitask, meet deadlines, and work with minimal supervision. The candidate must demonstrate competence with Word, Excel, Quickbooks, and Access. Patience and perseverance are essential to coping with the many tasks and interactions. High school graduation or equivalent is required, with some college education preferred. The application period closes April 21. Contact Joan McGrath, Office of Human Resources, Brethren Service Center, P.O. Box 188, New Windsor, MD 21776;; 410-635-8780.

  • The Material Resources program also seeks a baler to fill a fulltime, hourly position at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. The baler will operate a baling machine and a strapping machine, and must be attentive and compliant with safety restrictions in using the equipment. The position is responsible for preparing quilts, blankets, etc. for storage; baling; filling tables; removing cardboard crates; recording data; maintaining the work area; and keeping a cordial work climate with employees and volunteers. Candidates must be able to lift and move up to 130 pounds, be on their feet all day long, and be willing to assist in other positions as needed. High school graduation or equivalent experience is required. The application period closes April 21. Contact Joan McGrath, Office of Human Resources, Brethren Service Center, P.O. Box 188, New Windsor, MD 21776;; 410-635-8780.

  • The Annual Conference Office seeks a webmaster to make regular changes to its website. This is an excellent opportunity for a student or recent graduate who wants to gain more experience and build up a portfolio. Experienced webmasters are welcome as well. The time commitment is approximately two to four hours per month with responsibilities for updating the Annual Conference website at Contact Lerry Fogle, Annual Conference Executive Director, at 800-688-5186.

  • Additional housing has been announced for the 2008 Annual Conference in Richmond, Va. Due to high demand for housing, additional rooms at an overflow hotel--the Sheraton Richmond West--will soon be available from the Housing Bureau in Richmond. To make reservations online, go to Reservations also can be made by faxing or mailing housing reservation forms from the Annual Conference Information Packet to the Church of the Brethren Housing Bureau, c/o Richmond Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau, 401 N. 3rd St., Richmond, VA 23219. Register for the Conference by going to

  • Michael Hostetter will represent the Church of the Brethren at an ecumenical prayer service with Pope Benedict XVI during the Pope’s first official visit to the United States. The Pope is to be in the country from April 15-20. Hostetter chairs the Church of the Brethren’s Committee on Interchurch Relations, and pastors Salem Church of the Brethren in Englewood, Ohio. He will participate in the prayer service and reception with the Pope and leaders from the National Council of Churches (NCC) and other Christian denominations on the evening of April 18 at St. Joseph’s Church in New York. This will be Pope Benedict's first apostolic visit to the US since he was elected the 265th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church in 2005.

  • Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) is announcing an Older Adult Orientation on April 21-May 2 at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. This will be the 279th orientation unit for BVS and will include six individuals and couples. The volunteers will spend two weeks exploring project possibilities and topics of community building, faith sharing, diversity training, and more. They also will work at SERRV International and at the Washington (D.C.) Soup Kitchen. Guest staff and speakers will include Larry and Alice Petry, Jim Lehman, Bev and Joel Eikenberry, Phil Jones, and Grace LeFever. For more information contact the BVS office at 800-323-8039.

  • The Brethren Witness/Washington Office was one of 16 national religious organizations that filed formal comments opposing a plan by the federal government to update the US nuclear arsenal. The proposal would cost $150 billion and is called the Nuclear Weapons Complex Transformation project. It would streamline the nation's current atomic arsenal of some 10,000 warheads and build new nuclear weapons at various sites. "Today we have a historic opportunity to begin the journey out from under the shadow of nuclear weapons," stated the comments submitted to the Department of Energy by a coalition of Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, and Protestant groups. "We hope and pray that all Americans will take advantage of this moment and join us as we work toward the total elimination of these weapons of mass destruction."

  • The Church of the Brethren in the Dominican Republic held its annual assembly Feb. 28-March 2. The event drew 86 delegates among some 200 people in attendance at a church camp in Bani. Twenty churches were represented. Worship was held on the theme "Total Integrity," with preaching by moderator Jose Juan Mendez, pastor of Fondo Negro Church; Tim Harvey, chair of the Church of the Brethren General Board; and Miguel Nunez, a well-known Baptist pastor from Santo Domingo. Much of the business and all sermons were translated from Spanish to Creole, reflecting the diversity of both Dominican and Haitian-immigrant members. Business items included reports from pastors and national leaders as well as Irvin and Nancy Heishman, General Board mission coordinators for the DR, and Beth Gunzel, General Board staff for a church microcredit project. The present Dominican Board leadership, called to serve in the recent Sept. 2007 Assembly, was re-affirmed for another year. Pastor Felix Arias Mateo from the Maranatha congregation was chosen as moderator-elect. "We sensed a positive spirit and a desire among the Dominican Brethren that the Spirit would bring wisdom and understanding out of difficulties of the past year, when the Dominican church has been struggling with a crisis related to leadership," reported the Heishmans.

  • The Illinois and Wisconsin District Office is moving from Lombard, Ill., to Canton, Ill. The new address for the office is 269 E. Chestnut St., Canton, IL 61520; 309-649-6008. The district also has hired a new administrative assistant, Emily Cleer, who begins the week of April 14.

  • A member of the Church of the Brethren was one of two top presenters in the annual Student Research Symposium at Manchester College in N. Manchester, Ind., on April 4, according to a release from the college. Sarah Hall of First Church of the Brethren in Roaring Spring, Pa., presented research exploring the possibility of Germany prosecuting a former US Secretary of Defense for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity during the war in Iraq. Georgi Chunev of Bulgaria, who spent a summer scrutinizing infrared data delivered by NASA's $733 million orbiting Spitzer Space Telescope, also was a top presenter. The two each received $150 and the Jo Young Switzer Award for Excellence, named after Manchester’s president. For more go to

  • For Earth Day this year--scheduled for April 22--the National Council of Churches (NCC) has released a new study and action resource recognizing the interconnectedness of poverty and climate change. "By focusing on the interconnectedness between climate and poverty we hope to empower congregations to take action to address climate," said Cassandra Carmichael, director of the NCC Eco-Justice Programs. For a copy of the new resource, visit or contact the Eco-Justice Program office at or 202-481-6943.

  • The World Council of Churches (WCC) Central Committee celebrated the organization’s 60th anniversary at meetings Feb. 13-20 in Geneva, Switzerland. Among the many business items, the committee chose Kingston, Jamaica, as the venue for the 2011 International Ecumenical Peace Convocation, which will culminate the WCC's Decade to Overcome Violence 2001-2010. The gathering will be held on the theme, "Glory to God and Peace on Earth." For full reports from the meetings, go to Messenger editor Walt Wiltschek, who is staff of the Church of the Brethren General Board, served on the ecumenical news team for the meetings.

  • Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) has requested prayer for a team returning to northern Iraq after a short break. "The situation there is tense with continuing attacks by Turkey and the upcoming referendum on the status of the contested city of Kirkuk," said the prayer request.
Source: 4/9/2008 Newsline

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