Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Brethren bits: Personnel, job opening, Annual Conference, more.
  • Mary Miller has begun work as office assistant in the Material Resources program at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. Material Resources is a ministry of the Church of the Brethren General Board. Miller's most recent position was as a supervisor at Bon Secours Spiritual Center in Marriottsville. She and her family live in Union Bridge, Md.

  • Western Pennsylvania District of the Church of the Brethren has announced the calling of Abby R. Mader of Windber, Pa., to the newly created position of district children/youth ministries coordinator. She will guide, counsel, and encourage district and local church workers in matters of children and youth ministry; will work at creating programs for the children and youth of the district; and also will work closely with staff at Camp Harmony in Hooversville, Pa. Mader is a 2005 graduate of Grove City College with a bachelor’s degree in history education. She also is a licensed minister in the district.

  • The National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund (NCPTF) is seeking an executive director. The NCPTF, located in Washington, D.C., lobbies for passage of the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Bill, to establish in law the right of conscientious objection to military taxation. NCPTF is seeking an executive director to begin on Oct. 1, 2008, to lead lobbying, administration, and fundraising activities of the NCPTF, and the Peace Tax Foundation (a 501c3 educational organization). Contact for detailed requirements and salary information, and to submit a resume. The deadline for applications is Aug. 15. Additional information is at or call 888-PEACETAX.

  • June 20 is the deadline for making housing reservations for Annual Conference, according to an announcement from the Annual Conference Office. Hotel rooms are still available to anyone who has not yet obtained housing for the 2008 Annual Conference in Richmond, Va., on July 12-16. Housing reservations in the Church of the Brethren hotel block can be made up until June 20. Go to
    to obtain housing reservations online. After June 20, call 804-783-7490 to contact the housing bureau in Richmond for assistance with finding housing.

  • A video report about a youth workcamp to clean up the historic John Kline home in Broadway, Va., has been posted by WHSV Channel 3 in Harrisonburg, Va. The report interviews Paul Roth, who has been instrumental in the effort to preserve the homestead, and youth who volunteered to clean it up in preparation for those who are expected to visit on their way to and from the 2008 Annual Conference. A total of 27 high school students from across the country came together for the workcamp. Go to and click on the picture box at the right of the story to find the video report.

  • The Association of Brethren Caregivers has announced a "Walk for the Well-Being of School Children in Nigeria," to take place at the National Older Adult Conference (NOAC) in September. The non-competitive "Well Walk" will raise money to help supply water for the Comprehensive Secondary School at the headquarters of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN--the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria), with a fundraising goal of $5,000. The $10 per person registration for the walk will go to the water project. NOAC is being held on the theme, "Come to the Water," from Sept. 1-5 in Lake Junaluska, N.C. The Well Walk is planned for Sept. 4. Go to for more information.

  • A new deacon resource will be available at the 2008 Annual Conference. For more than 25 years, Fred Swartz, Annual Conference Secretary and retired pastor, has been writing about the caring work of deacons. Recently he put together some of his best writing on deacons and added discussion questions. This new free resource titled "Essential Servants: Reflections on the Caring Ministries of Deacons," will be available online at after July 1, and at Annual Conference in Richmond, Va., this summer. The Association of Brethren Caregivers will have 100 copies available at the Conference. There also will be a display at the ABC exhibit explaining how to download the resource to make your own free copy.

  • "Treasure in Earthen Vessels: A Women's Celebration of Body, Mind, and Spirit" is being offered by the Association of Brethren Caregivers as a retreat for women who are seeking to develop balance, a sense of wellbeing, and fullness of spirit. The weekend will be led by Deanna Brown and Anita Smith Buckwalter, and will be held at the Leaven Retreat Center in Lyons, Mich. The event begins at 7 p.m. on Sept. 26 and continues through 11 a.m. Sept. 28. The registration deadline is July 25, but space is limited, so early registration is encouraged. Contact Mary Lou Garrison at the ABC office at or 800-323-8039.

  • On Earth Peace has announced the date for the next observation of the International Day of Prayer for Peace, scheduled for Sept. 21, 2008. Last year, more than 100 groups and congregations associated with the Church of the Brethren planned events as part of the International Day of Prayer for Peace. "How about 300 in 2008?" asked an invitation from On Earth Peace. For more information visit or contact or 410-635-8704.

  • Northern Indiana District is seeking volunteers to help replace a ceiling that is collapsing in the fellowship hall at La Porte (Ind.) Church of the Brethren. The work will include removing old ceiling panels and replacing them with a new dropped ceiling, according to board chair Ruth Blake. She expressed appreciation for the help of district disaster coordinator John Sternberg in coordinating the effort. "It's a big issue for us because we don’t have much funds," she said.

  • Virlina District has begun a new evangelistic and service-oriented outreach project called "Mision Agua Vida--Water of Life Mission," according to a recent district newsletter. The project is for congregations, Vacation Bible Schools, Sunday school classes, youth and young adult groups, and men’s or women’s fellowship groups searching for a project to sponsor. Two fellowships in the district have developed the concept of passing out bottled water to soccer players, primarily Hispanic in origin, as an act of hospitality and an evangelistic means of establishing relationship. Sponsoring groups provide funds to purchase the water. The District Resource Center houses and sees to the distribution of funds or bulk water. The two fellowships are Siguiendo Los Pasos de Jesus in Roanoke, Va., and Living Faith in Concord, N.C.

  • Twenty-four members of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN--the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) who are attending Annual Conference in Richmond, Va., also will be visiting in Virlina District on July 16-19. The group is made up of Christian business people who are part of BEST (Brethren Evangelism Support Trust). The district is searching for hosts willing to offer a place to stay for members of the group, contact Carol Mason at 800-244-5896.

  • The Church of the Brethren's Oregon and Washington District is a contracting denominational partner of the Institute for Ecumenical Theological Studies (IETS) at the School of Theology and Ministry of Seattle University. According to a report from John Braun, a district appointee to the IETS Board, the School of Theology and Ministry has drawn international respect for its success in building ecumenical participation with sensitivity to each denomination’s unique gifts and requirements. His report appeared in the Oregon and Washington District newsletter in May. "The school is so young that it must clearly be seen as still evolving," Braun wrote. "But the quality of graduate education, the hundreds of students enrolled, and the growing community of alumni serving in area churches make me proud and excited to be a small part of this venture." The school is working toward an even deeper commitment to its interfaith vision, he said, including unifying its two advisory boards--the school also has an Institute for Catholic Theological Studies--and continuing an emphasis on disciplined interreligious conversation. In addition, the school is building new dual degree programs between theology and other professional disciplines. Braun reported, "Our first such venture with a dual degree will occur with the law school and a new program on conflict mediation and peacemaking."

  • The Northwest Brethren Arts Gathering will be held Aug. 15-17 at Camp Koinonia in Cle Elum, Wash. The weekend will feature arts, music, and Brethren fellowship. More information in available from Oregon-Washington District, call 509-662-3211.

  • Four employees have successfully completed the Certified Nursing Assistant class started recently at Fahrney-Keedy Home and Village, a Church of the Brethren continuing care retirement community in Boonsboro, Md. Those completing the class are Tiffany Waters of Waynesboro, Pa.; Misty Shifflett of Williamsport, Md.; Trina Hammond of Martinsburg, W.Va.; and Samantha Shry of Boonsboro. Stephanie Alexander, assistant administrator at Fahrney-Keedy, created the course curriculum, which includes 164 hours of instruction over 12 weeks. Each day’s session lasts for up to six hours. While taking the course, each student spends a day working in each of several departments: laundry, maintenance, housekeeping, and dietary. Passing a final exam means the student is a Certified Nursing Assistant. Then, successful completion of an optional state exam is necessary for a person to become a Geriatric Nursing Assistant. All four recent graduates plan to take the GNA exam. Alexander thanked the Fahrney-Keedy Auxiliary for helping with funding and in making the class a reality.

  • COBYS Family Services, an agency affiliated with Atlantic Northeast District of the Church of the Brethren, has signed up to be a beneficiary of For every Internet search done by COBYS supporters using GoodSearch, COBYS earns about a penny. The agency also earns money for online purchases made through the site. Go to for instructions to designate COBYS as a recipient. For more information contact Don Fitzkee, development and interpretation coordinator for COBYS, at or 717-656-6580.

  • Two more graduates of Manchester College in North Manchester, Ind., have received Fulbright scholarships. This brings the total from the college to 25--the most per capita of any university or college in Indiana, according to the release from the college. Andrew F. Haff, a history major is from Westminster, Md., and is a member of Westminster Church of the Brethren; and Timothy R. Polakowski is a social work and Spanish major from Rockton, Ill. Polakowski will teach English in South Korea; Haff will teach English in Vietnam. Go to for more.

  • Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., presented five alumni-related awards on June 7 during Alumni Weekend 2008. Stamford, Conn., resident Carol McFate, chief investment officer for Xerox Corp., was awarded the Alumni Achievement Award. West Grove, Pa., resident Charlie Goodale, a retired sales manager with DuPont Corp., received the Harold B. Brumbaugh Alumni Service Award. Reading, Pa., resident Nicholas Bower, president of Physicians for Humanity and currently a family practice resident at St. Joseph Medical Center, received the Young Alumni Achievement Award. David Orth-Moore, a country representative for Catholic Relief Services in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, was awarded the William E. Swigart Jr. Alumni Humanitarian Award. Hummelstown, Pa., resident Thomas Terndrup, professor and chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, received the Health Professions Alumni Achievement Award.

  • The "Brethren Voices" program for July interviews Annual Conference moderator James Beckwith, pastor of Annville (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. Brethren Voices is a community-access cable television project for Church of the Brethren congregations and groups, sponsored by Portland (Ore.) Peace Church of the Brethren. Beckwith will preside over the Conference during the historic 300th Anniversary of the Church of the Brethren. Brent Carlson of Peace Church of the Brethren hosts the program. The August edition of "Brethren Voices" celebrates three years of community television programing with a trip to the Amazonian Rain Forest of Ecuador with the New Community Project, a Brethren-related nonprofit. New Community Project has just announced the purchase of a 137-acre parcel of Ecuadorian rain forest adjacent to the Cuyabeno Ecological Reserve. Copies of these programs are available from Peace Church of the Brethren for a donation of $8. For more information contact producer Ed Groff at or 360-256-8550.

  • Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) has announced the release of the new book "118 Days: Christian Peacemaker Teams Held Hostage in Iraq." The book tells the story of the hostage crisis endured by the organization and its team members in Iraq, beginning in Nov. 2005. Editor Tricia Gates Brown has compiled chapters written by members of CPT and CPT sympathizers actively involved with securing the release of Harmeet Singh Sooden, Jim Loney, Tom Fox, and Norman Kember, as well as by family, friends, and others affected by the crisis. The book contains first-hand accounts of what led the four men to Baghdad, where their paths crossed with armed militants who did not understand their mission; provides insight into the daily lives of CPT delegations and teams; and describes the daily sacrifices of the four hostages. In particular, readers will learn about the life of Tom Fox, the hostage who was killed. Go to for more. An initiative of the historic peace churches--the Church of the Brethren, Mennonites, and Quakers--Christian Peacemaker Teams seeks to enlist the whole church in organized, nonviolent alternatives to war and places teams of trained peacemakers in regions of lethal conflict.

  • A new documentary is being recommended to congregations interested in starting a conversation about history and race. The recommendation is passed along by Valentina Satvedi, an ordained Church of the Brethren minister serving with Mennonite Central Committee’s anti-racism program. "Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North" will air on PBS in the P.O.V. series on June 24. Filmmaker Katrina Browne tells the story of a troubling discovery--that her New England ancestors were the largest slave-trading family in US history. She retraces the "Triangle Trade," from the family’s old hometown in Rhode Island to slave forts in Ghana and sugar plantation ruins in Cuba. "Traces of the Trade" is being released in 2008 on the occasion of the Bicentennial of the US Abolition of the Slave Trade, which took place Jan. 1, 1808. To find out more, visit and check local PBS station listings for exact dates and times of broadcast.

  • Janice Holsinger, founder and owner of U-Gro Learning Centres and a member of Palmyra (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, in May was honored as one of Pennsylvania’s Best 50 Women in Business for 2008. A report in the "Lebanon Daily News" quoted Holsinger as saying, "The areas I stress as owner and founder are treating each child as a special person and developing a strong self-image and self-confidence in each child." Holsinger also is a musician, a graduate of Elizabethtown (Pa.) College, and a member of the board of directors of the college.
Source: 6/18/2008 Newsline

No comments: