Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Brethren bits: Remembrances, personnel, jobs, events, more.
  • Marie Elizabeth Kachel Bucher, 98, who was the last surviving member of the German Seventh-Day Baptists at Ephrata, Pa., died on July 27. Born in 1909, she lived the early part of her life at Shady Nook Farm, located on what is now the Ephrata Cloister. The Ephrata Community was begun by Conrad Beissel and a few followers in 1732 after his separation from the Brethren, and grew into a community of some 300 people by 1750. After that date the community began to decline in numbers, and the celibate orders ended in 1814. At that time title to the land and buildings transferred to a German Seventh Day Baptist congregation, according to the Brethren Encyclopedia. Ephrata Cloister is now a National Historic Landmark administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Bucher grew up on the cloister property before it was purchased by the state of Pennsylvania in 1941. She was the daughter of Reuben S. Kachel and M. Kathryn Zerfass Kachel. She graduated from Ephrata High School in 1927, earned a degree in education from Millersville State Teachers College in 1935, the degree of Master of Education from Penn State in 1939, and also studied at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College and Duke University. She began her teaching career in a one-room school in Clay Township, later moving to southern Lancaster County to take a position in the East Drumore Township school system. She concluded her teaching career in the public schools as a math teacher at Solanco High School. In 1945, she married Loren H. Bucher, a farmer in East Drumore Township. As the wife of a farmer, she joined the Society of Farm Women and was an active member for many years, and volunteered as a leader in 4H Clubs. Although she never formally joined the Church of the Brethren, she was active in Mechanic Grove Church of the Brethren in Quarryville, Pa. She is survived by her son Loren K. Bucher, her daughter Christina Bucher and spouse Theodore M. Bushong, and two grandsons. A funeral service was held in the Saal at the Ephrata Cloister on July 31, and a memorial service was held at Mechanic Grove Church of the Brethren on Aug. 10. Memorial donations are received to Hospice of Lancaster County or to Mechanic Grove Church of the Brethren.

  • Roland "Ort" Ortmayer, 91, a longtime faculty member at the University of La Verne, Calif., and a nationally recognized football coach, died on Oct. 9 at Hillcrest Homes in La Verne. Ortmayer spent 43 years guiding the university's Leopards football program. He was appointed head football and baseball coach in 1948 at what was then La Verne College, and grew to become an iconic figure at the school by the time he retired in 1991. While he also managed the basketball and track and field programs and served as athletic director during his tenure, he was most recognized for coaching football. He finished his career with a 182-193-8 record and earned induction into the NAIA Hall of Fame in 1979. His distinctive coaching style, based on the viewpoint that football was supposed to be fun, attracted national attention. One season when his team was struggling to move the football, his observation that "I don't think our offense could get a first down against high grass," found its way into "Sports Illustrated" and other publications. In Sept. 1989 he was the subject of a feature article in the "Sports Illustrated" College Football Preview issue, written by Douglas S. Looney titled "A Most Unusual Man." The article led to a television feature by ABC national news and a feature segment on Paul Harvey's syndicated radio program. Among La Verne alumni, he also is remembered for leading kayaking, rafting, and canoeing trips on a portion of the Lewis and Clark expedition route. He was born on Aug. 22, 1917, in College Park, Md. After his family moved to Montana, he excelled at sports at Billings High School. He attended Intermountain Union College, Rocky Mountain College, and Northwestern University. He was a conscientious objector during World War II, and while with Civilian Public Service in Tennessee he met his future wife, Cornelia "Corni" Burgan. He is preceded in death by his wife, Corni, and son, David. He is survived by two daughters, Suzi Bowles and Corlan Harrison, four grandchildren, and two great grandchildren. Arrangements for services are pending.

  • Athena Gibble of York, Pa. completed her term of service Oct. 20 as a community outreach worker in Rio Verde, Brazil, with the Global Mission Partnerships of the Church of the Brethren. She was serving through Brethren Volunteer Service. She holds a bachelor of science degree in social work and Spanish from Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa.

  • Jerry O'Donnell will serve as assistant to the Church of the Brethren mission coordinators in the Dominican Republic--Nancy and Irvin Heishman--beginning Nov. 6. Last year, he assisted with the Church of the Brethren workcamp program as a Brethren Volunteer Service worker. He graduated from Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., with an emphasis in Spanish/Hispanic cultures and educational studies.

  • Gerald and Eleanor Roller of Roanoke, Va., began a six-month assignment on Oct. 1 as Rural Health Program consultants for Ekklesiyar Yan'uwa a Nigeria (EYN--the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). They are working through the Church of the Brethren's Global Mission Partnerships.

  • Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) seeks a director of Brethren Pension Plan/Employee Financial Services to fill a fulltime salaried position located at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. The not-for-profit organization provides pension, insurance, foundation, and credit union services for 6,000 members and clients nationwide, and is an agency of the Church of the Brethren. The position serves as chief administrator of the Church of the Brethren Pension Plan and Employee Financial Services, and also administers the Church Workers' Assistance Plan and Supplemental Income Fund for Equitable Annuitants. The director is responsible for program oversight, which includes maintaining the legal plan description, employer agreements, employer supplement sheets, and the plan members' handbook. The director is to be knowledgeable of 403(b) regulations, pastors' tax and housing allowance provisions, and investments. The director also will supervise work with program-related vendors and consultants, will provide oversight of the department's software system, will represent the department in the field for customer service calls with current plan members, offer program interpretation for prospective clients, supervise the customer service representative, travel to the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference and to BBT Board meetings and the Church Benefits Association annual meeting and other BBT-related events. BBT seeks a candidate with an undergraduate degree in business, human resources, finance, accounting, or pre-law, and/or certification as an Employee Benefits Specialist, and at least five years of experience in employee benefits plans management, human resources administration, or related management experience. Membership in the Church of the Brethren is preferred; membership in an active faith community is required. The salary is competitive with Church Benefits Association agencies of comparable size and scope of services. A full benefits package is included. Send a letter of interest, a resume, three references (one supervisor, one colleague, one friend), and salary-range expectation to Donna March, 1505 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120, or For more information call 847- 622-3371. Visit for more about Brethren Benefit Trust. Applications will be accepted immediately. Interviews will begin on Nov. 17, and will continue until the position is filled.

  • The Church of the Brethren is seeking an individual skilled in information technology to serve a one- to two-month volunteer placement in Yei, southern Sudan, to be filled 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 work to upgrade and update an existing computer system, train personnel to maintain it, and help RECONCILE personnel access and maintain a website. Travel expenses, housing and food, and insurance coverage are provided. Candidates should bring relevant education and experience in information technology, have a good understanding of the relational aspects of Church of the Brethren theology and practice, have a team orientation, and be open to living in a multicultural milieu in a safe and secure compound with ample water available. RECONCILE's present computer network includes satellite connection, wireless connections, and both desktop and laptop computers. The setting provides a steady supply of electricity and international cell phone service. For applications, contact Karin Krog, Office of Human Resources, at or 800-323-8039.

  • Forty-four women have already registered for the 2009 Clergywomen's Retreat, to be held Jan. 12-15, 2009, at the Mary and Joseph Retreat Center in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. Registration is still open and available, go to or contact Dana Cassell in the Office of Ministry at

  • The Church of the Brethren's Office of Ministry is sponsoring a Young Adult Forum titled "A Theological Conversation on Ministry." The forum is an effort to include young adult scholars, theologians, pastors, and leaders in discussions of the shape of ministerial leadership in the Church of the Brethren. It will bring together Brethren young adults from across the country to worship, fellowship, and engage in theological discussion about questions of ministry in the Anabaptist/Pietist tradition. Questions to be addressed include: What does it mean to be called? How does our tradition of "set-apart" ministry continue to serve and enliven a church facing major changes? How do we envision the future of ministerial leadership in the denomination? The forum will take place Dec. 15-17 at the Spirit in the Desert Retreat Center in Carefree, Ariz. Dana Cassell is coordinating the event, working with a planning team.

  • Upcoming courses have been announced by the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership. The courses are open to Training in Ministry students, pastors, and others who are interested. Register through the Brethren Academy unless otherwise noted; go to or call 800-287-8822 ext. 1824. Courses through the spring of 2009 include "Church Leadership and Administration" Nov. 13-16 at Stone Church of the Brethren in Huntingdon, Pa., with instructor Randy Yoder (register through the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center at or 717-361- 1450); "The Reality of the Unseen: An Overview of the Religions of the West and the Indian Subcontinent" Jan. 26-29, at Bethany Seminary in Richmond, Ind., with Michael Hostetter; "The Theology of the Apostle Paul" offered online Jan. 12-March 6 with Craig Gandy; "The Church's Ministry with Children" offered online Feb. 2-March 27 with Rhonda Pittman Gingrich; "Practical Peace Church Theology" Feb. 26-March 1 in Southern Ohio District with Dean Johnson; "Ezekiel" offered online Feb. 16-March 27 with Susan Jeffers (register through the SVMC); "Introduction to New Testament" offered online March 16-May 1 with Susan Jeffers; and "Psalms" April 23-26 at Stone Church of the Brethren in Huntingdon, Pa., with Robert Neff (register through the SVMC).

  • Spring Branch Church of the Brethren in Wheatland, Mo., will hold intercultural revival services on Nov. 8-11, led by the Nueva Vida congregation of Carthage, a church with many members from Guatemala and a new fellowship of Missouri and Arkansas District. Additional services will be led by Duane Grady of the Church of the Brethren's Congregational Life Team.

  • Upcoming district conferences include the Pacific Southwest District Conference on Nov. 7-9 at Community Brethren Church in Fresno, Calif., with moderator John Price; Illinois and Wisconsin District Conference on Nov. 7-9 at Peoria (Ill.) Church of the Brethren, led by moderator Jerry Sales; and Virlina District Conference on Nov. 14-15 at Bonsack Baptist Church, led by moderator Vernon Baker.

  • An exhibit celebrating 300 years of Brethren history and its journey to Bridgewater, Va., will be on display at Bridgewater College's Reuel B. Pritchett Museum through May 2009. "A Journey from Schwarzenau to Bridgewater: Celebrating 300 Years of Brethren History, 1708-2008" will feature artifacts, photographs, documents, and books from the Pritchett Museum and Special Collections in the college's Alexander Mack Memorial Library. The exhibit will be open Monday through Friday 1-4:30 p.m. For further information, call Dale Harter, college archivist and curator of the Pritchett Museum, at 540-828-5457.

  • Phillip C. Stone, president of Bridgewater (Va.) College, will lecture at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., on "Abraham Lincoln's Legacy: Why He Matters" at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 19. The lecture will be offered in Neff Lecture Hall in the von Liebig Center for Science at Juniata. Stone will describe Lincoln's family ties to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Stone has been president of Bridgewater College since 1994 and founder of the Lincoln Society of Virginia.

  • Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) has announced that its Hebron project is to close after 13 years. Several Church of the Brethren members have been fulltime participants in CPT's Hebron team. The announcement emphasized that a strong CPT project continues in the village of At-Tuwani in partnership with Palestinian communities of the Southern Hebron Hills.
Source: 11/5/2008 Newsline

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