Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Brethren bits: Correction, remembrance, personnel, and more.
  • Corrections: In the retirement notice for Dave Ingold, incorrect information was given about the replacement of aging air conditioning systems at the Church of the Brethren General Offices: the old system was replaced by a thermal ice storage system.

  • James Brubaker Bowman, 92, an ordained Church of the Brethren minister and life-long missionary to Nigeria, died on Nov. 8. He was born on Aug. 31, 1916, in Hagerstown, Ind., the oldest of four children of Vinna Ressa (Brubaker) and O. Clinton Bowman. He married Merle (Allen) Bowman of Modesto, Calif., in 1937 and they graduated from La Verne College (now the University of La Verne) in 1941. He completed a master of divinity degree at Bethany Theological Seminary in 1944. The Bowmans served as Church of the Brethren missionaries in Nigeria from 1946-75, with three years (1960-63) in Elgin, Ill., working on the Foreign Mission Commission staff of the Church of the Brethren. During his tenure in Nigeria, Bowman built the church, school, shop, dispensary, and mission house at Gulak, and served in evangelism, Christian education, agriculture, dispensary work, vehicle maintenance, and building construction in the towns of Lassa, Garkida, Virgwi (at the leprosarium), and Shafa. He spoke three languages of northeastern Nigeria fluently, a skill that served him well in his translation, literature, and leadership training work. In 1976, following a call from a former student, Jabani Mambula, who was working in the Borno State government in northern Nigeria, the Bowmans taught Christian Religious Knowledge in former Church of the Brethren schools in Waka. In 1982 they retired to Modesto, Calif., and in 1986 moved to Wenatchee, Wash. Until his death, Bowman was very active in the Sunnyslope Brethren/United Church of Christ in Wenatchee, where he served on the Leadership Team and as a deacon. He also sang in Wenatchee's "Columbia Chorale" until age 89 and often played organ for vesper services. He was preceded in death by his wife, Merle, in 2002. He is survived by his children C. Ivan Bowman, Esther (Bowman) and Steven Gregory, James R. and Sally Bowman, Carol Joy Bowman and Ben Green, and Maurice and Bernadette Badibanga; 13 grandchildren; and many great grandchildren. A memorial service was held on Nov. 15 at Sunnyslope Brethren/United Church of Christ. Memorial gifts are received by the Church of the Brethren, designated for "African missions." Condolences to the family may be sent care of Carol Bowman, 1210 Jefferson St., Wenatchee, WA 98801.

  • Allen K. Easley has been named dean of the College of Law at the University of La Verne, Calif. Easley was named to the position in the midst of the university’s effort to obtain full American Bar Association approval for the college. Easley comes to ULV College of Law from William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, Minn., where he was appointed dean in 2004. His academic experience also includes 25 years at Washburn University School of Law, 13 of them as associate dean for Academic Affairs. He chaired the ABA's Questionnaire Committee for four years and was a member of the Association of American Law Schools' Executive Committee for three years. He takes a position made vacant by Donald J. Dunn, who passed away in January, and held in the interim by H. Randall Rubin.

  • Bibek Sahu has accepted a short-term position working for the Church of the Brethren in Yei, southern Sudan. He will be placed with Reconcile International, a peace and reconciliation organization. Sahu will work to upgrade and update an existing computer system and train personnel to maintain it, and will assist Reconcile personnel to access and maintain a website. He brings more than 15 years of experience of software development, computer consulting, programing, and UNIX System Administration, and holds a degree in Computer Science from Iowa State University. He has been active in Wichita (Kan.) Church of the Brethren and currently attends Stover Church of the Brethren in Des Moines, Iowa. He also has worked with Trees for Life, a nonprofit organization based in Wichita, as a fulltime volunteer since 2002, giving technical support for the design and implementation of the Trees for Life Journal and assisting in network management and technical service. He departs for Sudan on Dec. 8.

  • Several new employees have begun work at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. Nate Gibson is a new employee in Dining Services; he has had previous work experience in large kitchen operations at Westminster Nursing Home. Jed Smith is a temporary employee in the Material Resources program, and after that assignment will work in the kitchen as a regular on-call temporary employee; he comes from a career working with horse farms. Cristian Villegas is a temporary employee in Material Resources, unloading boxcars. Yahaira Rodriguez is a temporary on-call empoyee in Dining Services; she recently relocated from Allentown, Pa.

  • The New Windsor (Md.) Conference Center is extending appreciation to a number of volunteer hosts. Emily and Red Brandon were hosts for the Old Main building in September, and in Zigler Hall for the first two weeks of October. Tony and Claire Fortune are serving as hosts for Zigler Hall through the first two weeks of December. Michael and Barbara Hodson completed a month of service as volunteer hosts in Windsor Hall in October. Ric and Jan Martinez are the hosts for the Old Main building for the month of November.

  • The Church of the Brethren seeks an individual or couple skilled in peace and reconciliation work and/or mediation to serve a three-year placement in Yei, southern Sudan, to begin as soon as possible. The placement will be with Reconcile, a peace and reconciliation partnering organization with the Church of the Brethren. The position will include working within the program of Reconcile, helping further the work that is presently being done as well as helping to develop new programs and possible new locations for expansion, and interpreting Reconcile’s work to the Church of the Brethren. Reconcile’s work includes conflict resolution between groups in southern Sudan following 21 years of civil war, addressing situations such as conflicts between tribes, communities, and the repatriation of ex-combatants; trauma transformation; good governance; holding workshops to help the populace understand what it means to be responsible citizens in light of upcoming elections; working with politicians to help them effectively serve the people. Candidates should bring relevant education and experience in the areas of peace and reconciliation or mediation, experience in international cross-cultural settings, grounding in Church of the Brethren identity and practice, and a team orientation. The church seeks candidates with the maturity that comes from both life and professional experiences. Candidates must be open to living in a cultural milieu that includes people from many countries and different expressions of Christianity. Ordination is not necessary for the position. Contact Karin Krog, Office of Human Resources, at or 800-323-8039 ext. 258.

  • An opening for an archival intern has been announced by the Brethren Historical Library and Archives at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., for one year beginning July 2009. The purpose of the program is to develop interest in vocations related to archives and libraries and/or Brethren history. Compensation includes housing, a stipend of $520 every two weeks, and health insurance. A graduate student is preferred, or an undergraduate with at least two years of college. The intern should be willing to work with details, have accurate word processing skills, and be able to lift 30-pound boxes. The application deadline is Feb. 28, 2009. Send a resume, college transcript (can be an unofficial copy), and three reference letters to the Office of Human Resources, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; or For more information contact the Brethren Historical Library and Archives at or 800-323-8039 ext. 294.

  • The Brethren Witness/Washington Office is inviting church members to an annual vigil at Fort Benning, Ga., to help close the School of Americas (WHINSEC). The School of Americas Watch vigil is Nov. 21-23. Fort Benning houses the School of Americas/Western Institute for Security Cooperation, whose graduates have been connected with human rights abuses. Events sponsored by the Brethren Witness/Washington Office will include an information table outside the gates of Fort Benning Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 22-23, a Brethren Gathering on Saturday evening Nov. 22, and an opportunity for Brethren to march together in the procession on Sunday, Nov. 23. Contact the Brethren Witness/Washington Office, 800-785-3246.

  • The deadline is Jan. 19, 2009, for applications for the next Youth Peace Travel Team. The team travels to camps throughout the Church of the Brethren to talk with young people about the Christian message and the Brethren tradition of peacemaking. The team is sponsored by the Church of the Brethren's Youth and Young Adult Ministry, the Brethren Witness/Washington Office, Brethren Volunteer Service, On Earth Peace, and the Outdoor Ministries Association. Church of the Brethren young adults between the ages of 19-22 may apply. A stipend is paid to team members. Applications are due to the Brethren Witness/Washington Office by Jan. 19, go to or call 800-785-3246.

  • Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., has scheduled its next Campus Visit Day for March 6, 2009. Sixteen people took part in a Fall Campus Visit Day on Nov. 7. Register for the Spring Campus Visit Day at or contact Elizabeth Keller, director of admissions, at or 765-983-1832.

  • Next year’s Song and Story Fest, the annual family camp co-sponsored by On Earth Peace, will be held at Camp Peaceful Pines near Dardanelle, Calif., on July 3-9. The event is timed to follow the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference in San Diego.

  • Three dozen senior high youth and advisors gathered Oct. 4-5 at Manchester College in North Manchester, Ind., for a Regional Youth Conference exploring faith and politics. Phil Jones, director of the Brethren Witness/Washington Office, led sessions emphasizing the possibilities that Christians can help bring about. “Politicians and political structures are not going to be the answers for this world,” Jones said. He described from scripture what the world “should be” and told youth, “It’s up to us to help (government) get there. It’s putting our basic and core faith understandings into action.” Sessions explored topics of justice, passion, and humility, using Micah 6:8 as a central text. Paul Fry-Miller led music for the weekend, while Manchester students helped to lead small groups for deeper discussion. The two-man band Jayber Crow gave a concert.

  • A new documentary titled “Pax Service: An Alternative to War” reviews a Mennonite Central Committee service program that ran from 1951-75, and will premier on the Hallmark Channel on Sunday, Nov. 23, at 7 a.m. eastern time. The documentary tells the story of a program in which some 1,200 young volunteers did relief and development work in 40 countries around the world--including the story of a couple of Brethren who took part in the program. Longtime Church of the Brethren members Walter Daggett of Bridgewater, Va., and Ralph Warner of Broadway, Va. both appear in the documentary. Wendy McFadden, executive director of Brethren Press, also consulted on the project. In addition to many individual Pax volunteers funding the production of the program, the Church of the Brethren, Faith and Values Media (now Odyssey Networks), and Mennonite Media all contributed funds or in-kind staff/facilities. The documentary will be made available on DVD, and may be ordered from Brethren Press when it is published in January.

  • Spring Run Church of the Brethren in McVeytown, Pa., celebrated 150 years on Oct. 4-5. The theme of the weekend was “Commitment Kept! Commitment Renewed!”

  • Hollidaysburg (Pa.) Church of the Brethren celebrated its 100th anniversary on Oct. 25-26. A time capsule in the cornerstone of the church was opened. New items were placed in the capsule and returned for another 100 years.

  • Connellsville (Pa.) Church of the Brethren recently celebrated its 85th anniversary. Two worship services were held, with former pastor Chester Fisher as guest speaker.

  • Teams from two Church of the Brethren related schools--Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., and the University of La Verne, Calif.--are competing in the women’s volleyball NCAA Division III 2008 National Championships at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Ill. Juniata is playing University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in the quarterfinals on Thursday, Nov. 20, and La Verne is playing State University of New York (SUNY) New Paltz. If the two Brethren teams both win their quarterfinal matches, they will face each other in the semifinals on Friday, Nov. 21. The Championship Match takes place Saturday, Nov. 22. Go to for the schedule of games and more information.

  • The University of La Verne, Calif., gave a Distinguished Alumni Award to Eric Bishop at a Homecoming Dinner and Dance on Oct. 17. Bishop served on the denominational staff of the Church of the Brethren in the early 1990s as managing editor of “Messenger” magazine and director of news services. Since then he has taught at the University of La Verne as assistant professor of journalism, then worked in administration as director of academic advising and as associate dean of academic support and retention. Last fall he took a new post as director of Chaffey College's Fontana Center.

  • Young Alumni Award recipients have been announced by McPherson (Kan.) College and honored at homecoming on Oct. 10-11, including Church of the Brethren member Dan Masterson. He has served as adjunct music professor at McPherson College and Central College, and currently is a professor of music at Bethany College. He also has held various positions in the Church of the Brethren, including minister of music in the McPherson congregation and the Annual Conference pianist in 1982. The two other recipients were Thomas King, president and CEO of Alexza Pharmaceuticals, and Paula Vincent, who works in the Clear Creek Amana Community School District as superintendent.

  • Leaders from Bridgewater (Va.) College are taking part in Virginia's first workshop on at-risk college students on Nov. 19-21, according to a release. Bridgewater College president Phillip C. Stone will deliver a keynote address to the Virginia Student Services Conference on Nov. 20. The workshop also will feature comments by William Miracle, dean of students at Bridgewater College and president of the Virginia Association of Student Personnel Administrators. The keynote address will be presented by Chris Flynn of Virginia Tech. "The incident at Virginia Tech was a stark reminder of the realities of life on all our campuses across the state. When an incident such as this happens at one of our campuses, all of us share the experience to some extent,” Miracle said. Go to for more.

  • The work of painter Susan Joseph is displayed at Manchester College in North Manchester, Ind., through Nov. 30 in its Gallery G. She is a member of the Church of the Brethren from Onekama, Mich. She will display gouache paintings inspired by textile designs from indigenous cultures around the world.

  • Manchester College in North Manchester, Ind., and the Manchester Fellowship of Reconciliation are two of the organizations partnering in an “Iraqi Student Project.” The project plans to bring to the US 15 Iraqi students who have been unable to pursue their education due to the war. A 17-year-old Iraqi student arrived this fall at Manchester to study computer science.

  • Last month Church World Service (CWS) issued a report on its refugee resettlement program. In fiscal year 2008, the program resettled 4,892 refugees to the United States, or just over 8 percent of the total of 60,192 refugees who began new lives in the US during the year. CWS is one of 10 agencies that work with the US Department of State to meet the needs of refugees upon their arrival and assist them as they work to attain self-sufficiency. The new CWS arrivals this year are from the Near East (1,821), East Asia (1,724), Africa (730), the former Soviet Union (231) and Latin America (56). Top nationalities resettled through CWS were Karen Burmese, Iraqi, Iranian, Chin Burmese, Bhutanese, Somali, Cuban, Burundian, and Ukrainian.

  • Dale and Carolyn Seburn of Manor Church of the Brethren in Boonsboro, Md., have been inducted into the Maryland Senior Citizens Hall of Fame, according to the “Herald-Mail” newspaper. The couple were nominated by their pastor, Joy Zepp.

  • The National Council of Churches Eco-Justice program invites churches to take part in a “Cool Congregations Competition.” Interfaith Power and Light is offering $10,000 in prizes--$5,000 for the congregation with lowest overall emissions per congregant and $5,000 for the church that has shrunk its carbon “footprint” the most. Congregations use an online calculator to measure carbon footprints through the end of the year. Go to for details.

  • The Church of North India (CNI), which has been hit hard by anti-Christian violence in India, held its synod meeting on Oct. 17-21 in Pathankot, Punjab State. The meeting began with a minute of silence as more than 400 delegates representing the 26 CNI dioceses remembered the victims of violence in the eastern state of Orissa, according to a release from the World Council of Churches. Three of CNI's dioceses are located in Orissa. The Church of North India came into existence in 1970 through a merger of six churches including the Church of the Brethren, Baptists, Anglicans, Methodists, and Disciples. The violence in India has not been in areas that were part of Brethren mission work or where India Brethren are located.
Source: 11/19/2008 Newsline

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