Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Brethren bits: Correction, personnel, jobs, YAC, and more.
  • Correction: The church affiliation for the two youth who were baptized in the Eder River in Schwarzenau, Germany, during the international celebration of the 300th Anniversary of the Brethren movement was incorrectly reported in Newsline. Lauren Knepp and John Michael Knepp are members of Curryville (Pa.) Church of the Brethren.

  • A donor and accounts receivable specialist is sought to fill a fulltime position at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Interviews will begin Aug. 18. Responsibilities include receiving and processing donations, accounts receivable and miscellaneous cash processing including reporting, coordinating an NGS accounts receivable system in Elgin, maintaining a thorough knowledge of all donor system financial reports and their impact on each other, donation information management, coordination of a mortgage system which includes gift related and church mortgage loans, creation and uploading of miscellaneous journals throughout the month. Qualifications include excellent typing and data entry skills, accuracy and efficiency in use of a 10-key calculator, attention to detail, ability to be a team worker, mature judgment and character, ability to maintain confidentiality, with proficiency in spreadsheet applications and word processing skills and accounting knowledge helpful. Required education and experience includes a high school diploma, with some accounting background helpful, and an associate degree in accounting, finance, or business preferred; at least two years of experience in a related field; experience working with money, and some computer experience required. Qualified candidates are invited to complete an application form, submit a resume and a 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; or contact or 800-323-8039 ext. 258.

  • Dates and location for the 2009 Young Adult Conference have been announced: May 29-31, at Camp Swatara in Bethel, Pa. This conference is for young adults ages 18-35, sponsored by the Church of the Brethren's Youth and Young Adult Ministry.

  • The denomination's National Youth Cabinet met at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., Aug. 1-3. The group of five youth includes Seth Keller, Joel Rhodes, Elizabeth Willis, Turner Ritchie, and Tricia Ziegler. The cabinet worked on selecting the National Youth Theme for 2009 and on plans for next year’s National Youth Sunday, along with worship materials to be sent to youth groups across the denomination.

  • The Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., recently witnessed results of the church’s work for peace in the world. Forty years ago US forces were fighting in Vietnam. This year, in late July, the New Windsor Conference Center hosted a youth retreat for 100 members of the Capital Vietnamese Christian Fellowship based in Maryland. The program for the youth included volunteer opportunities at SERRV International and a chance to learn more about the organizations at the Brethren Service Center. "For those of us old enough to remember the Vietnam War, what a joy it is to see this generation of Vietnamese youth in New Windsor working side by side with Brethren and other denominations making a difference in the world," commented public relations director Kathleen Campanella.

  • An article titled "Caring for Children in the Aftermath of Disaster" in the online professional journal "Children, Youth, and Environments" reviews the work of the Church of the Brethren Children’s Disaster Services program. The article was co-authored by Judy Gump, a Church of the Brethren member from northern Colorado and a professor of Early Childhood Education at AIMS Community College in Greeley, Colo., along with Lori Peek of the Department of Sociology at Colorado State University, and Jeannette Sutton of the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Gump has worked with Children’s Disaster Services since 1984 as a childcare giver, project manager, trainer, and regional coordinator, and is on the Critical Response Child Care Team. Go to to read the article.

  • Dottie Steele, Marlys Hershberger, and Mark Liller led a traditional Brethren love feast as part of the "2008 Matter of Faith Summer Series" offered by the Interfaith Committee of the Ecumenical Conference of Greater Altoona, Pa. The three are all ordained in the Church of the Brethren, and Steele has been a member of the Interfaith Committee since 2002. The theme of this year's summer season, "How We Worship," provided an opportunity to share a unique Brethren worship service with the community, as well as some of the history of the Brethren in this 300th Anniversary year. The service was hosted by Hollidaysburg (Pa.) Church of the Brethren on July 17.

  • The "Wall Street Journal" recently published an article about a summer program that meets at York Center Church of the Brethren in Lombard, Ill. "Summer camp at the York Community Resource Center in suburban Chicago offers all the usual activities: arts and crafts, sports, computer games, new adventures in reading," the article begins. "But the prime attraction for Elizabeth Castro, who drops off her two children every morning, is the activity that begins at noon: lunch." The July 8 article by Roger Thurow and Anna Prior highlighted the food crisis for many American families, and the way that day camps and summer camp programs help keep children fed. Go to the church’s website at to find a link to the article. The York Center church also is holding a benefit concert and ice cream social on Aug. 16 to benefit disaster flood relief.

  • Scott Major, pastor of Pottstown (Pa.) First Church of the Brethren, was the prime attraction at a "dunk the pastor" booth at the town’s "Night Out" event Aug. 5. Other activities included music, crafts and food, games, a magician, child identification kits, and a Relay for Life, according to a report in the "Pottstown Mercury." The event is held to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness in the community and to strengthen neighborhood spirit and partnership with the police.

  • "Reading Biblical Books in Context: A Study of the Festal Scrolls" is a continuing education event of the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center to be taught by Robert Neff on Sept. 9. The class will be held from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa. The course will explore ways to read a particular writing based on the context in which it is found. Cost is $50 and includes light refreshments and lunch. An additional $10 documentation fee is required to receive continuing education units. The registration deadline is Sept. 1. Contact or call 717-361-1450.

  • Juniata College's "2008 General Election" course is offering eight students the opportunity to attend the 2008 national party conventions, according to a release from the college in Huntingdon, Pa. Six students plus Dennis Plane, assistant professor of politics, will travel to Denver to attend the Democratic National Convention from Aug. 25-28, followed the next week by two student attendees at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn. The trips are organized in part by the Washington Center in Washington, D.C. "Instead of learning about campaigns from a text book, we are going to look at a campaign as it naturally unfolds," said Plane. He will assign students who did not travel to the conventions to watch them on television. "The media looks at politics differently than voters and the students who watch the conventions will have a different perspective than the students who were in attendance," he explained. Plane is expanding on a formula he first developed as a visiting assistant professor at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., when he accompanied students to the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

  • The August edition of "Brethren Voices" celebrates three years of community television programming by Portland (Ore.) Peace Church of the Brethren with a trip to the Amazonian Rainforest of Ecuador. The show highlights the work of New Community Project, a Church of the Brethren related nonprofit, which has been providing learning tours to the Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest for four years. The learning tours take people to the Cuyabeno Ecological Reserve at the headwaters of the Amazon River, hosted by SELVA, a nongovernmental international organization that since 1997 has been actively engaged in supporting the indigenous communities of the rainforest. In support of SELVA, the New Community Project has agreed to purchase and preserve a 137-acre parcel of rainforest adjacent to the Cuyabeno Ecological Reserve. Go to for information about the project. In September, "Brethren Voices" will celebrate 60 years of Brethren Volunteer Service. As told by Jim Lehman, the program features the story of Brethren youth who made the proposal of BVS to the 1948 Annual Conference, and a group interview with four of the first BVSers: Alma and Irvan Long, Julia Larade, and Vernon Merkey. For copies of these programs contact producer Ed Groff, Portland Peace Church of the Brethren, at

  • Leaders in the National Council of Churches in the USA (NCC) and the Orthodox Peace Fellowship have issued statements on the Russia-Georgia conflict, according to a release from the NCC. "Russia's attack on Georgia is a disheartening reminder that the 21st century remains a primitive age of fanatical nationalism and military bullying," said NCC general secretary Michael Kinnamon. "The military intervention in Georgia, like all actions born of hatred or callous self-interest, is an act of madness, a senseless rejection of God's love and salvation." Leaders of the Orthodox Peace Fellowship issued a letter stating, "What a sin and a scandal it is to see these armies shedding each other's blood. That such an event can happen is a poignant reminder of how often, among Orthodox Christians no less than others, national identity easily takes priority over our common identity as children of the One God." Go to for Kinnamon's statement and a link to the Orthodox Peace Fellowship letter.

  • Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) has announced a delegation to the Kurdish north of Iraq on Jan. 8-22, 2009. "The Kurds of northern Iraq faced discrimination, terror, and death under the regime of Saddam Hussein. As the security situation deteriorated in southern and central Iraq after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, thousands of displaced persons fled to the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG)-controlled area in the north. Recently, northern border villages have suffered military attacks by Turkey and Iran," CPT explained. CPT has had a presence in Iraq since Oct. 2002, first in Baghdad and since Nov. 2006 in the Kurdish north. The fundraising expectation for participants is $3,500. Contact CPT, PO Box 6508, Chicago, IL 60680; or 773-277-0253; or see Applications must be received by Nov. 10.

  • Dawn Ottoni Wilhelm has written a new commentary on "Preaching the Gospel of Mark: Proclaiming the Power of God," published by Westminster John Knox Press. Wilhelm is a member of the faculty of the Church of the Brethren’s Bethany Theological Seminary, where she is associate professor of preaching and worship. In this 300-page paperback volume, she combines biblical scholarship with a close reading of the text to meet the needs of preachers. Swift and purposeful, the Gospel of Mark proclaims God’s reign and urges the participation of all God’s people in the witness of the good news that God has transformed human reality through Jesus Christ. Wilhelm’s new commentary is intended to help that message come alive while providing pertinent suggestions about how preachers can proclaim the message to today’s churchgoers. Order "Preaching the Gospel of Mark" through Brethren Press for $24.95 plus shipping and handling, call 800-441-3712.

  • Seven-year-old Natalia Contreras found herself in the media spotlight when she asked a question of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama at a town hall meeting in Elkhart, Ind. The second-grader is the granddaughter of pastor Frank Ramirez of Everett (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, and was accompanied to the meeting by her grandmother, Jenny Ramirez. Contreras stood on a chair to ask the question, "Why did you run for president?" Her question and Obama’s answer were covered by the "South Bend Tribune" and Fox News Channel 28 in South Bend. Go to for the newspaper report. Go to
    for the video clip.
Source: 8/13/2008 Newsline

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