Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Brethren bits: Personnel, NYC 2010, immigration statement, and more.
  • The University of La Verne has named Ibrahim Helou as dean of its College of Business and Public Management. Helou succeeds Gordon Badovick, who retired at the conclusion of the 2007-08 academic year. Helou first joined the La Verne faculty in 1993, having previously taught at Arizona State University and the College of William and Mary in Virginia. During his time at La Verne, he has served as a professor of finance, chair of the college's graduate business programs, and for the past five years as associate dean of the College of Business and Public Management. He holds a Ph.D. in finance from Arizona State University, a Master of Business Administration from Loma Linda University, and a Bachelor of Arts from Lebanese University. Helou migrated from Lebanon in 1985 to pursue his educational and professional goals.

  • Dates have been announced for the Church of the Brethren's National Youth Conference (NYC) in 2010: July 17-22. The conference is sponsored by the Youth and Young Adult Ministry Office. It will take place at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo., beginning with dinner on Saturday, July 17, and concluding Thursday morning, July 22, at 11:30 a.m.

  • Stan Noffsinger, general secretary of the Church of the Brethren, recently added his signature to two interfaith and ecumenical letters to national leaders: "Ecumenical Christian Letter to Next President: Make Israeli-Palestinian Peace an Immediate Priority," a letter initiated by the Churches for Middle East Peace encouraging President-Elect Obama to work to bring peace to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict during the first year of the new administration; and "Interfaith Platform on Humane Immigration Reform," a document encouraged by the Church World Service (CWS) Immigration and Refugee staff, to be sent to the new US administration and Congress. The letter calling for immigration reform identified immigration as a matter of human rights, and stated that "our diverse faith traditions teach us to welcome our brothers and sisters with love and compassion--regardless of their place of birth." It called on the new administration and Congress to uphold family unity as a priority of all immigration policies, to create a process for undocumented immigrants to earn their legal status and eventual citizenship, to protect workers and provide efficient channels of entry for new migrant workers, to facilitate immigrant integration and naturalization, to restore due process protections and reform detention policies, and to align the enforcement of immigration laws with humanitarian values.

  • The 2009 Christian Citizenship Seminar on April 25-30 will focus on the topic of modern-day slavery. The event for 100 high school age youth and advisors is sponsored by the Brethren Witness/Washington Office and the Youth and Young Adult Office of the Church of the Brethren. All high school youth and adult advisors are eligible to attend. Churches sending more than four youth are required to send at least one adult. Registration is limited to the first 100 youth and advisors who apply. The seminar will begin in New York City and end in Washington, D.C. The registration fee of $350 includes lodging for five nights, dinner on the opening evening, and transportation from New York to Washington. At go to keyword "Youth/Young Adults" and click on "Christian Citizenship Seminar" for more information and to register. Registration ends Feb. 28, 2009, or as soon as 100 registrations are received.

  • An evaluation of the ministry of the Rural Service Center in Ankleshwar, India, is being carried out. The center is one of the organizations that emerged from Brethren mission work in India. "For 55 years the Rural Service Center at Ankleshwar has championed development, health, and conservation in the villages of Gujarat State. It has done pioneer work in land leveling, water management, and biogas production," reported the newsletter of the Global Food Crisis Fund. For the last dozen years, the fund has provided the center its prime support from the Church of the Brethren. The evaluation will be carried out by an independent team of development specialists, with a full report anticipated in early 2009. The evaluation was requested by the Global Mission Partnerships of the Church of the Brethren, and the Global Food Crisis Fund's grant review panel.

  • A Marketplace Sale will be held at the SERRV store at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., on Dec. 6-15. Overstock items will be available for sale at greatly reduced prices. All staff, volunteers, and guests visiting the Brethren Service Center are invited to attend the preview of the Marketplace Sale on Friday, Dec. 5, at 3-5:30 p.m. Santa will be visiting the SERRV store on Sunday, Dec. 7, from 2-4 p.m. SERRV is a nonprofit organization dedicated to eradicating poverty through the sale of craft and food items from artisans and farmers around the world. It was begun as a Church of the Brethren program, and was one of the first alternative trade organizations in the world. Go to for more information.

  • Columbia-Lakewood Community Church in Seattle, Wash., is celebrating a double anniversary: the 15th anniversary of the forming of the church by combining Columbia United Church of Christ and Lakewood Community Church of the Brethren; and the 12th anniversary
    of the calling of pastor Jeff Barker. The church observed the two anniversaries on Sunday, Oct. 26, with a special worship service followed by a "decadent dessert bar," according to an announcement in the Oregon and Washington District newsletter.

  • Elmer Q. Gleim of York, Pa., has been celebrated as "a Brethren Treasure" in an article in the Southern Pennsylvania District newsletter. "This minister, theologian, teacher, scholar, genealogist, and nonageian (91) continues writing prolifically six to eight hours per day, penning articles for the Southern Pennsylvania District as well as authoring numerous Brethren books and articles, although he has long passed the age when most retire," the newsletter said. Gleim graduated from Crozer Theological Seminary, and later obtained a masters degree in education from the University of Pittsburgh. He was ordained at age 18, and spent 73 years in the ministry. His written work includes more than 17 books and innumerable articles. He also was noted for almost 25 years of Literary Roundtable studies at The Brethren Home in New Oxford, Pa.

  • Atlantic Southeast District has announced recipients of the Robert and Myrna Gemmer Peacemaking Award, which is given annually at the district conference by the Action for Peace Team. This year's recipients are the members of the Sutton family of Miami, Fla.--Wayne, Karen, Sarah, Maggie, and Levi. "Beginning with Wayne's decision during the Vietnam War to do alternative service as a conscientious objector to military service, each member of the family has pursued peacemaking as a part of his or her Christian lifestyle," the citation read. "Their various individual activities have included editing peace curriculum, performing in a school peace musical, relating to prisoners in a death row support project, and serving on the Action for Peace Team. As a family, they have sought to respond to God's love by living in multicultural neighborhoods, by being part of a multicultural church, and by practicing hospitality to people of many cultures." In previous years, the Gemmer Peacemaking Award has been given to John Forbes and Elsa Groff (2006), and SueZann Bosler and Myrna Gemmer (2007).

  • The University of La Verne, Calif., has received a $3.58 million Title V Grant from the US Department of Education in recognition of continued efforts to actively support and educate students from underserved populations. The two-year, renewable cooperative federal grant allows the university to partner with Citrus College, a community college in nearby Glendora, to help students prepare for university education in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or "STEM," reported a release from the university. This marks the third such cooperative Title V Grant that ULV has received in the past four years, joining previously awarded grants involving the university's College of Business and Public Management, and College of Education and Organizational Management.

  • The Juniata College Orchestra will perform Ludwig van Beethoven's "Symphony No. 5" as part of its fall concert at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 4. The concert will be conducted by James Latten, associate professor of music. The orchestra also will play "Concerto for Clarinet, Movement 1" by Wolfgang Mozart, with solo clarinetist Steven Schmitt, a sophomore from New Providence, Pa., and co-winner of the 2008-09 Juniata Concerto Competition. The concert will take place on the college campus in Huntingdon, Pa., in Rosenberger Auditorium. Tickets are $5 for adults and free for children under age 18.

  • Paul Grout, a former Annual Conference moderator, is the leader for the 2009 Men's Retreat at Woodland Altars, a Church of the Brethren outdoor ministry center near Peebles, Ohio. The theme of the retreat is "Warrior, Mystic, Monk: Taking hold of the life that is really life; Body, Spirit, and Mind." The event is scheduled for Feb. 20-22. Go to

  • At a Volunteer Appreciation Banquet hosted by Happy Corner Church of the Brethren, Woodland Altars recognized 12 people for the amount of time they have volunteered for
    outdoor ministries. Sherry Liles, Lisa Osswald, Dan Poole, Matt Shetler, Tracy Sturgis, and
    Keith Weimer were recognized for 500 hours of volunteer time. Dean Dohner, Tonnya Helfrich, and Ryan Stackhouse were honored for 1,000 hours of volunteer time. Bob Bitner was recognized for volunteering 1,500 hours, and Shelley Flenner for over 2,500 hours. The winner of the evening with more than 4,500 hours was Raymonde Rougier.

  • Church of the Brethren member Cliff Kindy is taking part in a new Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) project in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Kindy previously worked with CPT in Iraq. He was part of a four-member CPT team who left for the Congo in early December at the invitation of a Martin Luther King Group there. This three-month project follows three previous short-term CPT delegations to the region in 2005-07. The CPT team plans to work in an area where thousands of Rwandans fled in the aftermath of the Tutsi genocide. In other news from CPT, a team has returned to the Kurdish area of northern Iraq and has begun documenting the situation of families who have fled their villages because of aerial bombardment and shelling by Turkish planes and Iranian missiles. CPT is an initiative of the Historic Peace Churches (Church of the Brethren, Mennonites, and Quakers).

  • The Church of North India (CNI), which has been a partner of the Church of the Brethren in mission efforts in India, has issued a statement condemning the terrorist attacks in Mumbai (Bombay). The statement from general secretary Enos Das Pradhan said in part, "The Church of North India strongly condemns the shootouts and appeals to the churches and religious communities to pray for peace and reconciliation. The CNI also appeals to the civil society to start a drive against fanaticism that is mutilating the secular fabric of India. We express solidarity with those killed and taken hostage by the terrorists, particularly our friends from other countries." The attacks struck in Mumbai, the commercial capital of India, in the early hours of Nov. 27. At least 115 people were killed and hundreds injured, according to the CNI statement.

  • The World Council of Churches (WCC) has called for prayers for Bethlehem during this Advent and Christmas. People from around the world are invited to e-mail Advent and Christmas wishes and prayers for justice and peace to Bethlehem, in collaboration with the WCC and its Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum. Wishes and prayers will be printed and handed out as personal messages, educational materials, and in the context of interfaith prayers in places of worship and in the newly established peace house of the Arab Educational Institute opposite the Israeli "separation wall" in Bethlehem. E-mail Christmas messages and prayers for peace before Dec. 25 to the Arab Educational Institute at Go to and to read the messages.

  • The Association of Professional Chaplains has announced new leaders. The association is a national organization of professional pastoral care providers, including Church of the Brethren chaplains. Susan K. Wintz has been named president; she is a staff chaplain at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, Ariz., endorsed by the Presbyterian Church (USA). David C. Johnson is president-elect; he is director of pastoral care and education at Cabell Huntington Hospital in Huntington, W.Va., endorsed by the United Methodist Church. James Gibbons has been appointed transitional executive director; he retired from Advocate Health Care in 2002 as vice president for mission and spiritual care.

  • Brethren Revival Fellowship (BRF) has announced a new book by Harold S. Martin, titled "Marriage, Family, and the Christian Home." The announcement said, "Drawing on his years of experience as a husband, father, grandfather, church elder, evangelist, and teacher, Bro. Harold Martin provides useful, practical material for those considering marriage and for those who are married. Helpful pointers, direct guidance, and biblical teaching permeate this book." The BRF is offering the book for $10 plus shipping fee of $2 per book for quantities up to four books; free shipping is offered on orders of five books or more. Go to to order online, or send a request and check to Brethren Revival Fellowship, P.O. Box 543, Ephrata, PA 17522-0543.
Source: 12/3/2008 Newsline

No comments: