Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Brethren bits: Correction, personnel, position openings, and more.
  • Correction: The subject of Michael Hodson’s writing project for the Brethren Encyclopedia Inc. (see Newsline Extra of Sept. 12) is Brethren, universal restoration, and universalism, over the time period of the 18th and 19th centuries.

  • Nancy Watts of Elgin, Ill., began Sept. 16 as donations and accounts receivable specialist for the Church of the Brethren, working at the denomination’s General Offices. She most recently has been assistant to the controller for Butera Finer Foods Corporate offices. Prior to that she held accounting positions with Mueller and Co., LLP, and Elgin Sweeper Co.

  • Debbie Brehm of Huntley, Ill., began an internship in Human Resources Management at the Church of the Brethren General Offices on Sept. 17. The internship is part of her bachelor degree program at Judson University. Brehm comes from a background as faculty member and board member with Heritage Homeschool Workshops.

  • The New Windsor (Md.) Conference Center is recognizing the service of several volunteer hosts. Ron and Jean Strine of Hershey, Pa., departed on Sept. 1 after volunteering at SERRV/A Greater Gift during July, and serving as first-time volunteer hosts in the Old Main building in August. Art and Lois Hermanson returned to Iowa on Sept. 2 after having served as volunteer hosts in Zigler Hall for six months. Sally Allstott of Pennsylvania has been a first-time volunteer host in Zigler Hall for the month of September. Red and Emily (Larson) Brandon have served as host and hostess of Old Main for September. Olive Provost has served as volunteer host in Windsor Hall for the past six months.

  • McPherson (Kan.) College invites nominations and applications for a president to succeed Ronald D. Hovis, who will retire in June 2009. McPherson is a small college with 500 fulltime students, focusing on career-oriented liberal arts. It is located in McPherson, Kan., about an hour north of Wichita, the largest city in the state. The college was founded in 1887 by the Church of the Brethren and remains committed to the values of the church: peace and justice, ethical behavior, and putting faith into action. McPherson’s mission is to develop whole persons through scholarship, participation, and service. The next president should be someone who is prepared to serve as both a chief executive and an academic leader; believes in the college’s mission as a church-related baccalaureate college; models the values of the Church of the Brethren; demonstrates a record of achievement in leading and managing organizations, and in dealing with complex financial challenges; can help frame a compelling vision of McPherson’s potential that will energize the campus, community, and other stakeholders to lend their support; possesses an advanced degree and an understanding of the distinctive culture of higher education. Nominations, inquiries, and expressions of interest, which will be held in the strictest confidence, should be submitted as a Microsoft Word attachment to Richard Doll, Chair of the Search Committee for the President, at Go to for a more detailed leadership statement. Review of candidates will begin Nov. 1.

  • Manchester College in North Manchester, Ind., seeks an assistant professor of religion to fill the vacancy left by Dr. Kendall Rogers, who is now teaching at Bethany Theological Seminary. This is a tenure-track position, to begin in fall 2009. Responsibilities include teaching eight courses per year (3-1-4), undergraduate, including multiple sections of an introductory course in Christian theology. Departmental needs include the history of Christianity, world religions, feminist/womanist theology, and the philosophy of religion. The college will consider ABD; a Ph.D. is preferred. Excellence in teaching is required. Candidates should be familiar and comfortable with the traditions of the Church of the Brethren. Salary is dependent on qualifications and experience. A complete benefit package includes paid sick time, health insurance, retirement plan, tuition, and the opportunity to serve in a dynamic, educational environment committed to faith, service and learning. Manchester College is an independent, residential liberal arts and sciences college related to the Church of the Brethren, located 45 minutes west of Fort Wayne, Ind. It offers more than 55 areas of study to about 1,036 students from 24 states and 23 countries, and has 72 faculty members. Manchester has a distinctive commitment to developing respect for ethnic, cultural, and religious pluralism and an international consciousness. Apply by sending a cover letter, curriculum vitae, evidence of teaching experience and ability, and teaching philosophy to Religion Search Committee, Office of Academic Affairs, Manchester College, 604 E. College Ave., North Manchester, IN 46962; or e-mail Go to for the complete posting and the option of making an application online.

  • The Gather 'Round curriculum project is expanding its pool of writers and is accepting applications from experienced writers. Those interested in the next round of writing should inquire by Oct. 31. Applications also will be accepted on a rolling basis for future quarters. Prospective writers must have the ability to write clearly and in the established style of the curriculum. Active membership in a Brethren or Mennonite congregation is preferred, as is teaching experience. Send a letter of interest, including information about writing and teaching experience, to Gather 'Round, or 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120. Questions may be directed to Anna Speicher, project director and senior editor. Gather 'Round: Hearing and Sharing God's Good News is a project of Brethren Press, publisher for the Church of the Brethren, and Mennonite Publishing Network, the publishing agency of Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada. The materials are published for the Church of the Brethren, Mennonite Church Canada, and Mennonite Church USA, and are also used by congregations in at least half a dozen other denominations.

  • Church of the Brethren general secretary Stan Noffsinger has endorsed two national interfaith statements recently, a response to Hurricanes Gustav, Rita, and Katrina put together by community and faith groups along the Gulf coast as part of a Gulf Coast Civic Works Campaign; and a letter addressing the issue of torture that calls on Congress to provide the International Committee of the Red Cross with access to all US-held detainees. The "Gulf Coast Civic Works Interfaith Statement: Supporting Human Rights in Gulf Coast Recovery Is a Moral Priority," urges more than a charitable response to the hurricanes including a bi-partisan federal solution addressing longterm needs for rebuilding community infrastructure, restoring the environment, and creating jobs for local and displaced residents. The letter addressing the issue of torture asked for legislation that requires the Central Intelligence Agency to notify the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) of all US-held detainees and to allow the ICRC access to them. "The United States has long opposed holding detainees incommunicado and supported ICRC access, because incommunicado detention is most often used as the means to engage in unlawful and inhumane treatment." the letter said.

  • Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) is celebrating its 60th Anniversary this Friday through Sunday at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. The event will feature displays and information in Windsor Auditorium, insight sessions with featured speakers, a Saturday evening banquet at the New Windsor Fire Hall, and more. The New Windsor Conference Center expects up to 300 visitors on the campus, including more than 90 overnight guests.

  • The 130 participants at National Young Adult Conference in mid-August gave generously to the Church of the Brethren’s Global Food Crisis Fund. In successive offerings, donations were received of $850 to the farm rehabilitation program in North Korea that is supported by the fund, and $965 for its work with trees, stoves, and cisterns in Guatemala.

  • The Foods Resource Bank has received a $100,000 grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, an honor that positions it to be automatically considered for the $1.5 million Hilton Humanitarian Award in 2009. The Church of the Brethren’s Global Food Crisis Fund has been a partner with the Foods Resource Bank since 2004, and encourages Church of the Brethren congregations to sponsor growing projects to benefit the work of the Foods Resource Bank. "Brethren from growing projects in Maryland and Illinois were active in supporting the FRB nomination," reported Howard Royer, manager of the Global Food Crisis Fund. Among new growing projects this year sponsored by Brethren in cooperation with the Foods Resource Bank is the 10-acre corn crop of Greenmount Church of the Brethren near Harrisonburg, Va. This is the Foods Resource Bank’s first growing project in the state, according to Royer. Other new growing projects reported by Brethren this season involve individual farm families from the Chiques, Conewago, and Hanover churches in Pennsylvania, and the partnership of First Central and Washington Creek churches in Kansas. Produce ranges from a sweet potato patch to 10 acres of soybeans.

  • On Sept. 18 the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., hosted a visit by leaders of the National Council of Churches. The group met with the executive directors of the main areas of the Church of the Brethren’s work. All employees were invited to a worship service with the delegation, held in the General Offices chapel.

  • On Earth Peace has announced the latest book in its Shalom Series. "Where Two or Three Are Gathered: Interpersonal Peacemaking" by Annie Clark is written "for those who recognize that significant differences exist among members of the church, yet value our unity as the Body of Christ, and are willing to work for it," the announcement said. "In these pages you will find stories of those who have stretched out their hands to clasp the hands of others with very different beliefs. Here are practical ideas for communicating positively with people you may not understand, including resources for engaging in difficult discussions, and advice for dealing with conflict." Order for $2 plus shipping and handling (less for multiple copies) from 410-635-8704.

  • The Ecumenical Stewardship Center's Leadership Seminar this year is on the theme of ecological sustainability, titled "It's Easy Being Green." The setting is Marco Island, Fla., in a hotel that has been rebuilt as a "green" building. On the agenda are opportunities for several eco-tours. Presenters include Church of the Brethren member David Radcliff, director of the New Community Project; C. Jeff Woods, associate general secretary for the American Baptist Churches, USA; Stan McKay, a minister in the United Church of Canada who has served as national coordinator of Native Ministry for the United Church; Mark Vincent from Design for Ministry; Bryan Moyer Suderman, a musician whose most recent album and songbook is titled "My Money Talks: Songs For Worship"; and Fletcher Harper, an Episcopal priest and executive director of GreenFaith. Registration discounts include a group discount per denomination, a discount for early-bird registrations before Oct. 21, and a discount for first-timers. Be in touch with Carol Bowman, Church of the Brethren coordinator for stewardship formation and education, by Oct. 13 to help her coordinate Brethren registrations and take advantage of the discounts. Contact Bowman at or 509-663-2833. Go to for more information.

  • Awards given at the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference in mid-July included the 2008 Camp Volunteer Award from the Outdoor Ministries Association, given to Norris and Gerry Martin of Masons Cove Church of the Brethren in Salem, Va.; and the Womaen's Caucus "Friend of Caucus Award," given to Charles (Chuck) Boyer of La Verne, Calif. Boyer is a retired Church of the Brethren pastor, a past Annual Conference moderator, and a former staff member of the Church of the Brethren General Board.

  • Pipe Creek Church of the Brethren in Union Bridge, Md., is celebrating a 250th anniversary. It is planning a special worship service on Sept. 28 at 10 a.m.

  • Sugar Creek West Church of the Brethren in Lima, Ohio, is celebrating 175 years on Sunday, Sept. 28. Worship begins at 10:30 a.m., followed by a luncheon, and a celebration service at 3 p.m. with burial of time capsule and balloon release.

  • Lewiston (Minn.) Church of the Brethren celebrated its 150th anniversary on Sept. 13-14.

  • Williamson Road Church of the Brethren in Roanoke, Va., holds its 60th Anniversary Celebration on Oct. 11-12. David Radcliff, director of the New Community Project, will be the speaker on Saturday evening at 7 p.m. and Sunday morning at the 11 a.m. worship service.

  • Lancaster (Pa.) Church of the Brethren and Maranatha Multi-Cultural Fellowship held a first annual Multi-Cultural Festival on July 26.

  • Best Friends performed at Wenatchee (Wash.) Brethren Baptist Church United on Sept. 12, as part of a Northwest Tour that also included churches in Idaho. The group was formed in 2006 by James Washington, an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren, to share African-American cultural traditions through music and help break down racial divisions.

  • A workshop for those concerned to help high school students make informed decisions about the military is at Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, Ill., on Saturday, Oct. 4, at 12 noon. Lunch will be provided. The event is co-sponsored by the church, the American Friends Service Committee and Fox Valley Citizens for Peace and Justice. For more call 312-427-2533.

  • Virlina District has been holding a special offering to help defray the costs of rebuilding Erwin (Tenn.) Church of the Brethren. The Erwin Church building was destroyed in a fire after lightning hit the steeple on June 9. The offering has received $19,891.30 from 58 congregations.

  • Several districts are holding conferences in the next two weeks: Middle Pennsylvania District holds a combined District Conference and Heritage Fair weekend on Sept. 26-28 at Camp Blue Diamond. Oregon and Washington District holds its conference at Olympic View Community Church of the Brethren in Seattle, Wash., on Sept. 26-28. Idaho and Western Montana District holds its conference on Oct. 3-4 at Fruitland (Idaho) Church of the Brethren on "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God" (Mt. 6:33a). A special gathering of Northern Plains District will be held at Camp Pine Lake on Oct. 4 as a follow up to a "Sending of the Seventy" project. The focus is "How do we be Missional?" Jonathan Shively and Duane Grady from the Church of the Brethren's Congregational Life Ministries will provide leadership, along with district leaders.

  • The 32th Annual Brethren Disaster Relief Auction sponsored by Atlantic Northeast and Southern Pennsylvania Districts will be held Sept. 26-27 at the Lebanon (Pa.) Area Fairgrounds.

  • Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., has received a $6.1 million bequest in the will of Larry S. Johnson of Somerset, Pa. The bequest is the largest single estate gift ever received by Juniata, according to the college. The bequest endows the Lawrence S. Johnson '61 Scholarship giving a full tuition, room-and-board scholarship to a graduate of Somerset Area High School; gives $1.5 million to the University of Rochester (N.Y.) School of Medicine and Dentistry to endow a four-year, full tuition scholarship for a graduate of Juniata; distributes more than $2 million to the Homer C. and Ethel F. Will Endowed Freshman Biology Scholarship offering financial aid packages for science students at Juniata; and gives about $400,000 to the general operating fund at the college. Juniata College president Thomas R. Kepple and board chair David Andrews will present a memorial plaque to Mark Gross, principal of Somerset Area High School, on Sept. 29.

  • Manchester College in North Manchester, Ind., has registered its largest class in 25 years, according to a release. The class includes 390 new students. The increase was the result of a recruiting push and new marketing and admission strategies that produced a 46 percent increase in applications and 32 percent increase in campus visits.

  • Fahrney-Keedy Home and Village, a Church of the Brethren retirement community in Boonsboro, Md., was a partner recently in a transaction involving hospital beds, according to a release from the home. Washington County Hospital in Hagerstown and IMA World Health also participated, and Fahrney-Keedy residents and people in the country of Rwanda will benefit from the deal. The hospital had electric beds it no longer needed after purchasing many new ones. Fahrney-Keedy bought 51 of those beds from the hospital for a greatly reduced price. In return, the community donated 26 manual-crank beds to IMA World Health, which has its main office at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md.

  • The October edition of "Brethren Voices," a community television program of Peace Church of the Brethren in Portland, Ore., is titled "Bob Gross-A Man of Peace," and tells the life story of the executive director of On Earth Peace. The show includes the story of how Gross as a conscientious objector returned his draft card during the Vietnam War, and spent 18 months in federal prison. The November edition is titled "Re-Thinking, About Other Life Forms" featuring singer and songwriter Mike Stern. The programs are designed for Church of the Brethren congregations to air on community cable television in their communities. Contact producer Ed Groff at or 360-256-8550. Copies of the programs are available for a contribution of $8.

  • Joel Kline, pastor of Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, Ill., is one of the honorees at an 18th Annual Awards Breakfast given by the Community Crisis Center in Elgin. The theme for the event, scheduled for Oct. 3 at 7:30 a.m. at the Elgin Country Club, is "Partners for Peace." October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Tickets are $20, for reservations call 847-697-2380 by Oct. 1.
Source: 9/24/2008 Newsline

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