Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Brethren bits: Remembrance, personnel, disaster response, and more.
  • John Rodney Davis, 80, passed away on May 25. He was a former director of volunteer services for the Church of the Brethren General Board 1960-64, when he administered Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) and Alternative Service programs, and assisted in placing Brethren Service personnel. He previously was director of training for BVS in 1951. He was a volunteer member of the first BVS unit in 1948 and served as a "peace caravaner" in the Southeastern and Eastern regions of the denomination. His work for the University of La Verne (ULV) in California spanned three decades, and included positions in the public relations department and as professor of psychology. During his tenure at ULV he also developed and directed LV CAPA, an accelerated degree program for working adults. He had a private psychology practice and worked at Tri City Mental Health in Pomona, Calif., as a psychologist. He also taught at the Fielding Institute in Santa Barbara, Calif., in the advanced degree program in psychology. He was born in Wenatchee, Wash., in 1927, and earned degrees from La Verne College and Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. Davis was a passionate pacifist, and during the Korean War served in alternative service at Bethany Hospital in Chicago. He marched in the 1963 Civil Rights march, and witnessed Martin Luther King Jr. deliver "I Have A Dream." He was a lifetime member of La Verne Church of the Brethren. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Dorothy (Brandt) Davis--who also was in the first BVS unit; and by their four children and 13 grandchildren. A memorial service was held May 28 at La Verne Church of the Brethren. Memorial contributions may be made to On Earth Peace or to the La Verne Church.

  • Susan Chapman has resigned as fulltime program director for Camp Bethel, after completion of this summer’s camping program. Camp Bethel is a program of Virlina District, located near Fincastle, Va. Chapman has served in the position for seven years. During her tenure, attendance at summer camps grew 48 percent. She begins a bachelor of nursing program this fall.

  • Kendra Flory has begun a summer internship with the Association of Brethren Caregivers (ABC). She is a student at Bethany Theological Seminary. In previous volunteer service at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., she served in Ministry Summer Service with Brethren Press in 2000, and as a program volunteer in 2001, first with "Messenger" magazine and then with ABC. Most recently she has been interim editor for ABC’s "Caregiving" quarterly, while also serving an internship at First Church of the Brethren in Wichita, Kan.

  • The Church of the Brethren's new Mission Advisory Group is scheduled to meet with the Brethren World Mission on June 16 at the Young Center at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College. Following that meeting, the group plans to stay on for more meetings with Stan Noffsinger, general secretary of the Church of the Brethren General Board, and R. Jan Thompson, interim executive director of Global Mission Partnerships. The group will look at current staffing for mission, will assist in the formation of a position description for the executive director of Global Mission Partnerships, and will receive reports from Brethren mission work around the world. Members of the group are Bob Kettering, Dale Minnich, James F. Myer, Louise Baldwin Rieman, Roger Schrock, Carol Spicher Waggy, and Earl K. Ziegler.

  • Somerset (Pa.) Church of the Brethren has received an exceptionally generous donation from a church member, according to a report in the "Daily American" newspaper. Warren Enfield gave $500,000 to help pay off the mortgage for a new church building. "I did something that I will remember for the rest of my life, and it’s completely gratifying," he told the newspaper. Go to for the full article.

  • Pacific Southwest District is requesting prayer for Principe de Paz Church of the Brethren in Santa Ana, Calif., which was burglarized on the night of May 29. Most of the church’s sound system and musical instruments were stolen. The district requests notes of prayer and support to be sent through pastor Mercedes Zapata, community outreach pastor Richard Zapata, or family life minister Becky Zapata, at Principe de Paz Church of the Brethren, 502 S. Ross St., Santa Ana, CA 92701-5598.

  • The 35th Annual Brethren Bible Institute will be held July 21-25 on the campus of Elizabethtown (Pa.) College. For more information, contact the Virlina District Resource Center at for a complete brochure listing course descriptions, instructors, cost, and scholarship information. The application process must be completed by June 25.

  • York Center Church of the Brethren in Lombard, Ill.; Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren in Fort Wayne, Ind.; and the Emerging Welcomers of Turkey Creek Church of the Brethren in Nappanee, Ind., have recently joined the Supportive Communities Network of the Brethren Mennonite Council for LGBT Interests (BMC). The network includes communities that are publicly affirming of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. A release from BMC added that all three congregations have a long history of community involvement and commitment to peace and justice ministries.

  • During commencement ceremonies, Manchester College awarded two honorary doctorates, to Donald Miller, professor emeritus of Bethany Theological Seminary who also has served the Church of the Brethren as general secretary; and to Loren Finnell, a 1964 graduate and founder of a New York City-based nonprofit that seeks funds for social service projects in Latin America--he was a recent recipient of the Sergeant Shriver Award from the Peace Corps.

  • The World Hunger Committee of Virlina District has announced a full schedule of events for this year. The group raises funds and awareness of hunger problems in the world. Events include a bike ride on June 7, starting at Antioch Church of the Brethren; an organ concert on June 8 at the Antioch Church; a Family Fun Day on July 19 at Monte Vista Acres; and the Hunger Auction, the group’s "flagship event," on Aug. 9 at the Antioch Church. This will be the 19th Annual World Hunger Bike Ride. Contact Ron Jamison at 540-721-2361 for more about the ride. Go to for more about the World Hunger Committee’s ministry.

  • Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) has announced its first delegation to the Kurdish region of Iraq, on July 31-Aug. 14. CPT has had a presence in Iraq since Oct. 2002, first in Baghdad, and since Nov. 2006 in the Kurdish north of the country. For more information or to apply, contact CPT at or see Applications must be received by June 9.

  • The New Community Project, a Church of the Brethren related nonprofit, has announced another $12,000 in grants to southern Sudan, primarily for women's development and reforestation focused on the communities of Maridi and Nimule. "This brings to over $30,000 our support in 2008 thus far," said director David Radcliff. The project also has placed six young adults in Sudan this summer, to serve as "solidarity workers" in schools and in the reforestation project. The volunteers are Marie Bowman of Bally, Pa.; Jana Burtner and Emily Young of Harrisonburg, Va., who are members of First Church of the Brethren in Harrisonburg; Sarah Durnbaugh of Indianapolis, Ind., and a member of Northview Church of the Brethren; Julie Sears of East Sandwich, Mass.; and Larisa Zehr of Pittsburgh, Pa. Go to for more.

  • The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) and Burger King Corp. have announced plans to work together to improve wages and working conditions for farmworkers who harvest tomatoes in Florida. Among other agreements, Burger King Corp. will pay an additional net penny per pound for Florida tomatoes, to increase wages for the farmworkers. To encourage grower participation in this increased wage program, Burger King Corp. will fund incremental payroll taxes and administrative costs incurred by growers, or a total of 1.5 cents per pound of tomatoes. "If the Florida tomato industry is to be sustainable longterm, it must become more socially responsible. We, along with other industry leaders, recognize that the Florida tomato harvesters are in need of better wages, working conditions, and respect for the hard work they do," said a Burger King Corp. spokesperson. Yum! Brands and McDonald’s already have made similar agreements. The CIW campaign has been supported by the National Council of Churches and several Christian denominations. "This coalition of farm workers has worked tirelessly in this effort and we celebrate with them in this great victory," said Phil Jones, director of the Brethren Witness/Washington Office and a board member of the National Farm Worker Ministry. At the 2008 Annual Conference, the Church of the Brethren will address additional issues for farmworkers through a resolution against modern-day slavery, and Baldemar Valesquez, president of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee, will speak at the Global Mission Partnerships Dinner.

  • Madalyn Metzger of Elkhart Valley Church of the Brethren and a communication manager for Mennonite Mutual Aid, was recognized with a "Forty Under 40" award by the Michiana regional chambers of commerce, the "Elkhart Truth," "South Bend Tribune," and Bethel College. The award recognizes 40 young professionals under the age of 40 for professional contribution in the workplace, dedication to community service, and volunteerism. Metzger also is a member of the On Earth Peace board of directors and a 1999 graduate of Manchester College.

  • "Springs of Living Water: Christ-Centered Church Renewal," a book by Church of the Brethren member David S. Young, has been published by Herald Press. Young is a pastor and church renewal leader who has used the model explained in the book in guiding congregations and districts to take on church renewal. The book serves as a manual to help a church cultivate its spiritual life, train leaders, and focus efforts in ministries which express its identity and call, through a renewal team that is trained to get the entire congregation involved.
Source: 6/4/2008 Newsline

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