Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Brethren bits: Remembrance, personnel, jobs, and much more.
  • J. Earl Hostetter, 90, passed away April 18. He twice served as interim district executive minister for Northern Indiana District, in 1986 and again in 1994 when he worked in a half-time position as interim executive for pastoral care with duties including pastoral placement and care for pastors and their families. In other service to the denomination, he was a volunteer staff member for the Church of the Brethren General Board in the early 1990s, when he filled a position as evangelism volunteer staff working for the Evangelism Office. Beginning Sept. 1, 1991, he was appointed special ministries associate for the Evangelism Office and worked with emerging programs and Annual Conference events. He pastored New Paris (Ind.) Church of the Brethren from 1973 until his retirement in 1984, and served previous pastorates at Eel River in South Central Indiana District, at Oakland in Southern Ohio District, and at Everett in Middle Pennsylvania District. He also was an interim pastor for several Northern Indiana congregations. He is survived by his wife, Pearl, and their family. A memorial service will be held on April 26 at 11 a.m. at New Paris Church of the Brethren.

  • Tom Birdzell, a Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) worker with the information services department at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., since Aug. 2007, has taken a new assignment through BVS. He will begin at Meeting Ground in Elkton, Md., in May.

  • Three coordinators have been named for the 2009 youth and young adult workcamps, a program of the Youth and Young Adult Ministry of the Church of the Brethren General Board. Emily Laprade of Antioch Church of the Brethren in Rocky Mount, Va., and Meghan Horne of Mill Creek Church of the Brethren in Tryon, N.C., have been named as coordinators serving through Brethren Volunteer Service. Bekah Houff of Palmyra (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, who is coordinator for this year's National Young Adult Conference, will stay on as a part-time workcamp coordinator and program intern and also will coordinate the 2009 National Junior High Conference.

  • An extended application date has been announced by the search committee of Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT), which is seeking applicants for the position of president. The application date has been extended to May 16. 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., and Brethren Foundation, Inc.). 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. 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 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.

  • The Global Mission Partnerships of the Church of the Brethren General Board seeks a couple or family as part of a lead team to begin a new ministry in Sudan, seeking to rebuild and heal communities after decades of war. As a holistic effort, it will include the formation of churches. A complementary team that includes people bringing one or more of the following skills is preferable: peace and conflict transformation, healthcare, church planting and Christian education, community development preferably with experience in emerging nations, dealing with trauma, and literacy and adult education. Candidates should bring education and experience in their area of specialty, experience in international cross-cultural settings, a team orientation, and grounding in Church of the Brethren identity and practice. Secondary skills in repair and maintenance of computers, household maintenance, or vehicle mechanics is useful. Candidates need to exhibit the following strengths: willingness to work in a strongly different cultural environment; patience in working with people and relationship building; openness to being changed and transformed in the process of doing the work; ability to live in settings that are at times hard to predict and control. Team members participate in raising their own support under General Board oversight. The application deadline for this position has been extended, with interviews and placement occurring during 2008. Request an application form from Karin Krog, Office of Human Resources, at 800-323-8039 ext. 258 or

  • Global Mission Partnerships also seeks a teacher of Bible and theology at Kulp Bible College in Nigeria. Primary teaching assignments may include Brethren history and beliefs, Christian doctrine, faith and practice, New Testament. Teaching is at an academic level comparable to a US junior college, students are experienced church leaders. Courses are taught in English. Tasks include teaching and lecturing, developing and administering tests for student assessment, assisting in curriculum development, participating in school administration and supervision, accepting periodic leadership roles in the wider church. A master’s degree in theology, commitment to Christian beliefs and lifestyle, ability to work under Nigerian leadership, and ability to live and work in Africa are required. The preferred candidate will bring experience in teaching Bible, theology, or Christian education; willingness to learn conversational Hausa language; and experience in another culture. Because Kulp Bible College is the primary training ground for leadership in Ekklesiyar Yan'uwa a Nigeria (EYN--the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria), membership in the Church of the Brethren is preferred and knowledge of its polity and practice is expected. The college is operated by EYN and is located near the city of Mubi in northeast Nigeria. Compensation includes salary, housing, vehicle, and a basic medical insurance plan. A two-year commitment is expected. Candidates open to considering additional terms are preferred. The position is available in mid-2008. 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;

  • Applications are available for those wishing to apply for a Brethren Volunteer Service position as 2010 National Youth Conference coordinator. The position begins in May 2009. Contact Chris Douglas, director of the Church of the Brethren’s Youth and Young Adult Ministry, at or 800-323-8039. Applications are due by Oct. 20.

  • The On Earth Peace Board of Directors is inviting volunteers to share their time, energy, and skills with the organization. "We are now listing volunteer opportunities on our website and recognizing those who provide support as Peace Partners," said an announcement. The organization’s Peace Witness Action List specifically seeks a volunteer editor to gather news stories and write reflections on Christian peacemaking, distribute items to a list serv, and maintain a listserv and blog (contact Matt Guynn, coordinator of Peace Witness, at

  • The Annual Conference Office has announced a correction to the Annual Conference airline discount code. The group meeting discount code for airline travel to the Conference in Richmond, Va., was listed incorrectly in the Information Packet. The meeting discount code that should be supplied to United Airlines is 577RP. Those who are flying to the Conference and have not yet made reservations are invited to consider booking with United, the official airline of Annual Conference 2008, by calling 800-521-4041. The code has been changed and is shown correctly on the Annual Conference website, on the Information Packet pages.

  • Bethany Theological Seminary will observe a "Sabbatical Day" on May 8. All employees will participate and the offices in Richmond, Ind., will be closed. The sabbatical day was approved by the Bethany Board of Trustees. "Bethany’s 2007-08 academic year has been overly filled with institutional transitions, faculty searches, core testimonies discussions, the Inaugural Forum, plus all the regular tasks associated with an educational institution," said president Ruthann Knechel Johansen. "This sabbatical day is intended to open space for rest, prayer or meditation, examination of conscience, and reflection on personal and institutional values and priorities."

  • The Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., hosts the Cross Cultural Consultation and Celebration on April 25-26. About 130 people are to attend, along with denominational staff and members of three Chicago area churches hosting evening meals and worship services: Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin on April 24; First Church of the Brethren in Chicago on April 25, and Naperville Church of the Brethren on April 26. Worship services begin at 7 p.m. and are open to the public. The theme is "Separated No More" from Revelation 7:9.

  • Health Promotion Sunday is May 18, sponsored by the Association of Brethren Caregivers. The theme is "Being Family: Growing in God’s Love" with the scriptures Ephesians 3:17b-19 and 1 John 4:7a. Resources to help congregations explore how families and faith communities can grow in God’s love are available at or call the ABC office at 800-323-8039. Resources include prayers and other worship resources, sample sermons, children’s stories, family activities, and bulletin inserts. ABC also invites congregations to celebrate May as Older Adult Month, with the theme "Aging with Grace" and scripture verses from Ephesians 5. See the website for related worship resources offered by the Older Adult Ministry.

  • Children’s Disaster Services is offering Level 1 Training Workshops in Bethlehem, Pa., on April 25-26; and at the Tacoma (Wash.) Nature Center on June 20-21. The registration fee of $45 includes curriculum, meals, and lodging (the fee is $55 if participants register less than three weeks ahead). The workshop is for those who have an interest in volunteering for Children’s Disaster Services to support the needs of children after a disaster. Visit for registration information or contact 800-451-4407 #5.

  • On Earth Peace is calling for Living Peace Church Stories to share at the 2008 Annual Conference. "We look for stories of how individuals and congregations are living out the calling to be living peace churches," said an announcement. "These stories will be reported from the Conference floor microphones after On Earth Peace gives its agency report." Contact Annie Clark, coordinator of the Ministry of Reconciliation, at

  • Williamson Road Church of the Brethren in Roanoke, Va., kicks off its 60th anniversary celebration with a Paul Todd Concert on May 3 at 7 p.m. Todd is a Christian artist performing a variety of musical styles while playing six keyboards simultaneously (

  • Elizabethtown (Pa.) Church of the Brethren held a "Ray Diener Memorial Benefit Concert" at Elizabethtown College’s Leffler Chapel in March. Diener was a member of the church who had worked to provide clean water to villages in Honduras, before he was killed on his own doorstep in a random act of violence last year. The concert featured the bands Along for the Ride, which grew out of jam sessions at the Elizabethtown church, according to the Atlantic Northeast District newsletter, and Bottom of the Bucket, whose members met while working at Gould Farm in Massachusetts, a Brethren Volunteer Service project.

  • The 28th Annual Disaster Response Auction of Mid-Atlantic District will be held May 3, starting at 9 a.m., at the Carroll County Agricultural Center in Westminster, Md.

  • A seminar titled "They Like Jesus, but Not the Church" is planned by Pacific Southwest District on May 3 at Pomona (Calif.) Fellowship Church of the Brethren. The seminar will be led by Dan Kimball, author of several books about the emerging church and emerging worship. He has been the high school pastor at Santa Cruz Bible Church, helped start a Sunday night "Graceland" worship service and ministry, and helped launched the Vintage Faith Church. Currently he is an adjunct faculty mentor at George Fox Evangelical Seminary. Cost is $25 or $15 for those under age 25. For more go to

  • Fahrney-Keedy Home and Village, a Brethren retirement community near Boonsboro, Md., has received a $1,000 donation from the Nora Roberts Foundation for its Benevolent Fund assisting residents who run out of money to pay for care. The Nora Roberts Foundation is a means by which the best-selling Boonsboro author assists humanitarian and other nonprofit organizations.

  • A special event at McPherson (Kan.) College benefits the Pat Noyes Scholarship Fund. Noyes was a member of the McPherson basketball program for two years before becoming involved with the Oklahoma State University basketball program. Along with nine others affiliated with OSU basketball, he was killed in a plane crash near Byers, Colo., in Jan. 2001. The 5th annual Pat Noyes Golf Experience and sports memorabilia auction will be held May 3 (see for a list of auction items). During the past five years over $30,000 has been raised for the fund, and the college has awarded two scholarships in his name.

  • The May edition of "Brethren Voices," a 30-minute program made for Church of the Brethren congregations to offer on public access cable television, is on the topic, "Five Years of War in Iraq...The Occupation Continues." For three years, Brethren Voices has interviewed participants of peace rallies to allow them the opportunity to express their feelings about the war, said a release. The Iraq Body Count Exhibit also is featured. Brethren Voices is a ministry of Peace Church of the Brethren in Portland, Ore. Contact producer Ed Groff at

  • A group from Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) has returned to the northern Kurdish area of Iraq. The Iraq team includes Church of the Brethren member Peggy Gish along with Anita David, Michele Naar-Obed, and Chihchun Yuan. In a letter to supporters, the team announced that CPT plans to resume delegations to Iraq, which have been suspended since Nov. 2005. The letter also requested prayer: "This is a time of a different kind of risk-taking for us. Please continue to hold us, this land, and its people in your thoughts and prayers." For more go to
Source: 4/23/2008 Newsline

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