Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Brethren bits: Remembrance, personnel, giving to the denomination, more.
  • John Troutman Fike, 95, passed away on Sept. 23 in Sebring, Fla. Over a long career he had held several positions of leadership in Church of the Brethren institutions, including as treasurer and then as vice president of Financial Affairs at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., beginning in 1952 through 1972. From 1973-78 he was business manager for the Florida Brethren Homes, a retirement center now known as the Palms of Sebring. He and his wife, June, were Brethren Volunteer Service mission workers in Nigeria from 1979-81. Other denominational service included a period as superintendent of Buildings and Grounds at Bridgewater (Va.) College 1949-52, and numerous volunteer positions including terms on the Church of the Brethren General Board and on the Standing Committee of Annual Conference, president of the board of the Palms, and treasurer for Atlantic Southeast District. He also managed family businesses including Tire Retreading Co. in Somerset, Pa., and a computerized accounting service for small businesses in Lakeland, Fla. While in Huntingdon, he served on the Borough Council, the board of directors of the Union National Bank, and as director of the first board of Huntingdon Business and Industry Council. He was born in Somerset, Pa., on April 26, 1913. He earned a degree in business administration from Juniata College. In 1937 he married June Elizabeth Hoover in Waynesboro, Pa. He and his wife both held private pilot licenses and enjoyed flying. They were active members of Sebring Church of the Brethren. June Fike preceded her husband in death on March 9 of this year. He is survived by his son John Greyson Fike and daughter Nancy F. Knepper, three grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. A memorial service was held Sept. 26 at Sebring Church of the Brethren, and another is planned for Oct. 31 at Waynesboro (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. Memorial contributions are being received by the Palms Foundation and Sebring Church of the Brethren.

  • Emma Moses has completed her service at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., effective Sept. 23. She has worked in Food Services at the center for almost 30 years, beginning in the fall of 1978. Her work has included service throughout the kitchen, in the dish room, in food preparation and banquet services, and most recently as a kitchen aide.

  • Debbie Mullins, administrative secretary for the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership, has submitted her resignation. The Brethren Academy is a joint program of the Church of the Brethren and Bethany Theological Seminary. Mullins has worked at the Bethany Seminary campus in Richmond, Ind., for six years. Her last day on campus will be Oct. 10. A reception in her honor will take place on Oct. 9, at 3 p.m. in the President’s Conference Room.

  • Kathy Maxwell, assistant to the director of operations of Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT), has submitted her letter of resignation. She began work for BBT on April 1 this year. Maxwell has taken a position with Provena St. Joseph Hospital in Elgin, Ill.

  • Camp Bethel, the outdoor ministry of Virlina District located in Fincastle, Va., is accepting applications for a fulltime assistant director and a fulltime food services director. Go to for application forms, position descriptions, and more information about each position.

  • How do I write my check to denominational ministries? Funding staff report this is a question they are hearing as a result of the Annual Conference action combining the General Board, the Association of Brethren Caregivers (ABC), and some Annual Conference administration into a new organization named "Church of the Brethren." "This action did not eliminate or end any ministries. All the work continues just as before," said Ken Neher, director of stewardship and donor development for the Church of the Brethren. The preferred method of support from congregations is still the check, but made out to Church of the Brethren and mailed to 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120, or by electronic deposit. Individuals can give by check or credit card, or go to for online giving. A note in the memo line of a check will direct the donation to Core Ministries (which now supports the work of the Caring Ministries, formerly ABC, as well as ministries of the former General Board), the Emergency Disaster Fund, the Global Food Crisis Fund, or the Emerging Global Mission Fund. Donations received unmarked will be directed to the Core Ministries fund that supports a variety of basic denominational ministries including Congregational Life, Youth and Young Adult Ministry, Caring Ministries, Stewardship and Donor Development, the Ministry Office, Global Mission Partnerships, Brethren Witness/Washington Office, Brethren Volunteer Service, Communications, Brethren Historical Library and Archives, the Finance Office, and Information Services. "The core ministries are the heart of Church of the Brethren service and outreach, and the firm base that gives support and security to vital work of our community expression of God's love," Neher said. "Please continue to give of your time and treasure as we seek to be the hands and feet of Christ in the world." For more information call 800-323-8039 ext. 271.

  • Church of the Brethren mission staff are alerting church members to what may be a scam e-mail purporting to be from Musa Mambula, a leader in Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN--the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). Anyone who receives such an e-mail is requested not to respond to it. Global Mission Partnerships staff are attempting to verify the e-mail and will respond accordingly. For more information contact R. Jan Thompson at or 800-323-8039.

  • Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., has announced Nov. 7 as its Fall Campus Visit Day for prospective students and their families. Prospective students will spend the day with students and faculty, worship with the Bethany community, tour campus, and observe classes. Visit to register or contact Marcia Shetler, director of Public Relations, at 765-983-1823.

  • The US Congress has renewed an IRA gift opportunity, according to an announcement from Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT). For those who qualify, a popular charitable gift alternative that was available in 2006 and 2007 but allowed to expire, has been extended for 2008 and 2009. Embedded in the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 was reauthorization of the charitable IRA rollover. Traditional IRA or Roth IRA owners age 70 1/2 and older are permitted to make distributions to qualified organizations of up to $100,000 per year. No charitable deductions are allowed, but gift amounts will not be included in the donors' incomes. Contact IRA trustees or custodians to make a 2008 gift from an IRA. Transfers for 2008 must be completed by Dec. 31. Distribution checks should be issued in the name of a qualified charity, not to the account owner, with notification to the charity. For more information go to and click on the link "Charitable IRA Rollover Resources." Questions may be directed to Steve Mason, Director of the Brethren Foundation, at or 888-311-6530.

  • A joint Fall Harvest event is planned for Oct. 12, from 1-4 p.m., by the Harvest of Hope committee of Hammond Avenue Brethren Church in Waterloo, Iowa; South Waterloo Church of the Brethren; First United Methodist Church of Cedar Falls, Iowa; Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Waterloo; and Zion Lutheran and St. Timothy Lutheran Churches. The event celebrates this year’s harvest from the congregations’ growing project for the Foods Resource Bank. The project is growing some 17 acres of corn and 17 acres of soybeans on five different farms, with an additional farm raising market beef. The crop will be harvested and sold, and proceeds given to the Foods Resource Bank to help an international area in need. Over the past three years, this growing project has donated $52,920 to the Foods Resource Bank. Coordinated by Marlin Hershey, Harvest of Hope is one of 24 growing projects supported by Church of the Brethren congregations this season.

  • Upcoming district conferences include the Atlantic Northeast District Conference on Oct. 10-11 with guest speakers including 2008 Annual Conference moderator James Beckwith; and Atlantic Southeast District Conference on Oct. 10-11 at Camp Ithiel in Gotha, Fla., led by moderator Wayne Sutton.

  • Northern Ohio District is holding a Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) 60th Anniversary Celebration on Nov. 1 at County Line Church of the Brethren in Harrod, Ohio. The event begins with an Opening Celebration at 2 p.m. led by Leslie Lake, followed at 2:30 p.m. by a "Mingle and Share" time for former volunteers to bring pictures and stories of their time in BVS. A dinner follows at 5:30 p.m., cost is $5. The evening closes with a 7 p.m. Worship Celebration Concert. The celebration is not limited to BVS volunteers and former volunteers, and family and friends are invited. RSVP to Billi Janet Burkey by Oct. 24 at or 330-418-1148 or send a response by mail to 7980 Hebron Ave. NE, Louisville, OH 44641.

  • Bridgewater (Va.) College's campaign to raise $40 million for academic and capital improvements has to date raised $31.7 million, 79.3 percent of the goal, according to a release from the college. "Every Student, One Commitment Campaign for Bridgewater College" launched a year ago, seeks to raise money to support endowed scholarships, academic enhancement, facilities improvements, laboratories, equipment and information technology, and the Bridgewater Fund. "It's important for donors to the campaign to know that Bridgewater College students are the ultimate beneficiaries," said president Phillip C. Stone.

  • Two Church of the Brethren members are among six new members of the Juniata College board of trustees. Christy Dowdy, co-pastor of Stone Church of the Brethren in Huntingdon, Pa., is a new church trustee on the board. David Beachley is an active member of Hagerstown (Md.) Church of the Brethren and is president of Beachley Furniture Company Inc. The other new trustees are Eugene Baten, associate professor in the Department of Management and Organizations at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, Conn.; Fred Mason, director of product source planning for Caterpillar Inc. and managing director for Caterpillar in Luxembourg; James Pirrello, CEO and president of Vision Homes USA of Fort Myers, Fla., and chief financial officer of Michael Sivage Homes and Communities operating in Texas and New Mexico; and Frank L. Pote III, a foreign language program manager for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, who is serving as an alumni trustee.

  • Two anti-nuclear events are being held at Manchester College in North Manchester, Ind., in October: a survivor of the Hiroshima atomic bomb will speak and the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Exhibition will open for a month-long display. On Oct. 10, Sachiko Masuoka of Chicago will tell of wandering the streets of Hiroshima, searching for family following the Aug. 6, 1945, bombing. The public is invited to Masuoka's talk, from noon to 2 p.m. in the Lahman Room in the College Union. The Hiroshima-Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Exhibition will be open Oct. 27-Dec. 1 in Link Gallery of Wine Recital Hall. Visitors will fold origami cranes for display at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. The speakers and exhibit come to Manchester College through the efforts of senior peace studies major Mary Cox of Kokomo, Ind.

  • The Village at Morrison’s Cove, a Church of the Brethren retirement center, holds its Good Samaritan Dinner on Oct. 18 at 5:30 p.m. at the Casino in Altoona, Pa. This year marks the 29th anniversary of the founding of the event. The program will be a musical written by Frank Ramirez and Steve Engle, "The Three Visions of Israel Poulson, Sr.," celebrating the 300th Anniversary of the Church of the Brethren by recalling events from a pastor’s life in Amwell, N.J., in the 19th century. The dinner raises funds for residents who have outlived their resources. Tickets are $100 donation, call 814-793-5207.

  • The Brethren Revival Fellowship (BRF) has announced new and returning members of the BRF Committee, in its recent newsletter. The appointments were made at the BRF General Meeting during the Brethren Alive gathering at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College in July. Wilmer R. Horst of Falling Spring, Hades Church of the Brethren near Shady Grove, Pa., was confirmed as a new committee member. John A. Shelly Jr. of Shanks Church of the Brethren in Greencastle, Pa., and Craig Alan Myers of Blue River Church of the Brethren in Columbia City, Ind., were affirmed to continue on the committee. Other committee members are Carl L. Brubaker, J. Eric Brubaker, Kenneth G. Leininger, Mervin C. Groff, Walter K. Heisey, Jordan P. Keller, Paul E. Schildt, and David. R. Wenger. BRF staff persons are Harold S. Martin and James F. Myer.

  • The World Council of Churches (WCC) Executive Committee met in Germany on Sept. 23-26. The committee extended the contract of WCC general secretary Samuel Kobia, through the time when a new general secretary takes office, according to a press release. A new general secretary is to be elected in Sept. 2009 at Central Committee meetings. In other business, the committee reviewed programs and budget, and approved various public statements and reports. A statement on religious violence and intolerance in India expressed concern about violence and religious intolerance particularly in the State of Orissa. Christians, who are a minority in Orissa, have experienced a series of attacks in the form of looting and destruction of churches and church-run institutions. Reports are that 50,000 Christians have been displaced, some taking refuge in forests and living in relief camps. The statement urged the government of India to meet its constitutional obligations and said the violence is "an assault on the Constitution of India." It also urged the government to "take steps to prevent violence, and harassments against the Christian minorities in Orissa and other parts of the country."
Source: 10/8/2008 Newsline

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