Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Brethren bits: Remembrances, personnel, jobs, workcamps, more.
  • Warren S. Kissinger died on Dec. 14, after having been diagnosed this fall with a tumor in his shoulder and back. He was an ordained Church of the Brethren minister and a religion and philosophy cataloguer at the Library of Congress. In 1988 he received a pin commemorating 20 years of Federal service, all of which were in subject cataloguing at the Library of Congress. Kissinger read several Western European languages and told "Messenger" magazine in a 1975 interview that he handled more books in other languages than in English for the library. He also was editor of the academic journal "Brethren Life and Thought" for 10 years. He was the author of four books including "The Sermon on the Mount: A History of Interpretation and Bibliography," "The Parables of Jesus: A History of Interpretation and Bibliography," "The Lives of Jesus: A History and Bibliography," and "The Buggies Still Run." In a "Messenger" review of "The Sermon on the Mount," reviewer Murray Wagner commented, "It is a volume which belongs in the personal library of anyone who believes the Beatitudes to be formative to Christian discipleship." In addition, Kissinger taught for four years in the Department of Religion and Philosophy at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa. He pastored congregations in Pennsylvania and served a number of interim and part-time pastorates in churches in Virginia and Maryland. He held a bachelor's degree from Elizabethtown (Pa.) College, a master's degree in Library Science from Drexel University, and master's degrees from Yale Divinity School and the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, Pa. He has been an active member at University Park Church of the Brethren in Hyattsville, Md. Kissinger is survived by his wife, Jean, and his children Anne, Adele, and David. His oldest son, John, predeceased him by three weeks. A memorial service will be held on Friday, Dec. 19, at 10 a.m. at University Park Church of the Brethren, followed by burial at the Middle Creek Church of the Brethren cemetery in Lititz, Pa.

  • Bill Eicher, 85, died on Dec. 13 at his home in Harrisonburg, Va. He was one of those who went to China in 1946 as part of the Church of the Brethren's "tractor unit" with Brethren Service. He was born in Mount Pleasant, Pa., on April 16, 1923, a son of Marion L. and Vernie Lillian (Shaffer) Eicher. He was an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren, a 1946 graduate of Manchester College in North Manchester, Ind., and a 1950 graduate of Bethany Biblical Seminary in Chicago, Ill. He served as pastor of five congregations in Virginia, a congregation in Ohio, and a church in Pennsylvania. Following his retirement in 1993, he was interim pastor at five other churches. He married Elsie Ruth (Williard) Eicher of Harrisonburg on June 24, 1949. He is survived by his wife, daughter Linda Neff and husband John of Harrisonburg, son David Eicher of Louisville, Ken., and two grandchildren. A memorial service was held at Harrisonburg First Church of the Brethren on Dec. 16. A funeral service was to be held at Fraternity Church of the Brethren, Winston Salem, N.C., at 3 p.m. today, Dec. 17, with burial following at Fraternity Church of the Brethren Cemetery. Memorial contributions are being received to Heifer International, RMH Hospice, or Harrisonburg First Church of the Brethren. Go to to send condolences to the family.

  • The World Council of Churches (WCC) and Christians around the world are joining in remembrance of the life and ministry of the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, Alexy II, who died on Dec. 5 at the age of 79. The patriarch had led the Russian Orthodox Church since 1990. The church counts the majority of Russia's 142.5 million people among its members, according to a release from the WCC. From the 1960s, Alexy II was seen as being one of the most vigorous supporters of the movement for church unity. He played a major role in theological dialogue with Protestant churches in Germany and Finland and held a seat on the WCC Central Committee.

  • Leah Yingling of Martinsburg, Pa., will complete her term of service with the Church of the Brethren's Global Mission Partnerships and Brethren Volunteer Service on Dec. 24. She has been a staff worker at the Emanuel Children's Home in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Her work has involved daily support and teaching at the facility, which is an orphanage for abused and neglected children. She holds a bachelor's degree in Spanish education from Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa.

  • Amy Waldron of Lima, Ohio, completed her term of service with Global Mission Partnerships and Brethren Volunteer Service on Dec. 12. She has been a mathematics teacher at the Comprehensive Secondary School of Ekklesiyar Yan'uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). She holds a bachelor of arts degree in physics from Bluffton (Ohio) College and a master of science degree in physics from Indiana University in Bloomington.

  • The Church of the Brethren's Western Plains District seeks a district executive minister to fill a half-time position available Jan. 1, 2010. Since 2003, the district has been engaged in a visionary, Christ-centered transformation movement and has become deeply committed to personal and congregational transformation. A team of volunteer Area Ministers works closely with the district executive in serving congregations, facilitating congregational relationships across considerable geographic distance. An annual "Gathering" conference and a creative program of leadership training for pastors and other key leaders support an environment of growing unity in vision and mission. The district foresees the position of district executive as being attractive to energetic, pioneering, spiritually-sensitive people who are seeking an exciting and challenging calling. The district serves 36 congregations and several fellowships in Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, and New Mexico. The district office is located in McPherson, Kan. Focuses of the district executive position include to call forth a vision for the district, provide leadership for the transformation movement, support congregational life including pastoral placement through leadership of the Area Minister network, give leadership to an emerging New Church Development movement, assist the district search committee in calling additional staff, develop collegial team leadership relationships. Qualifications include having a vibrant Christian faith; membership and active participation in the Church of the Brethren; passion about the potential of the Church of the Brethren; openness to the leading of the Holy Spirit; positive pastoral experience in the Church of the Brethren; ability to serve as a spiritual leader of the district; understanding of the transformation in process in the district and ability to give leadership to this movement; commitment to the Area Minister model of servicing congregational needs; commitment to a team leadership style; ability to build strong bonds of shared ministry; "big picture" management skills; commitment to Christian coaching; master of divinity degree preferred. Apply by sending a letter of interest and resume via e-mail to and contact three or four people to provide letters of reference. A Candidate Profile must be completed and returned before the application is considered complete. The application deadline is Feb. 7, 2009.

  • The Church of the Brethren seeks a director of Buildings and Grounds for the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. The position will manage assets at the General Offices and related houses including capital planning, equipment selection, inventory, acquisition, and disposal; provide space planning, utilization, negotiating, and letting; manage building and equipment maintenance for the physical plant and grounds; ensure development and maintenance of a purchasing system for office supplies and small equipment, photocopier systems, mail systems, telephone system, and a system to meet catering needs; coordinate technology needs with the Buildings and Grounds department at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., and the director of Information Systems; establish cost allocation methods for billable services; manage Church of the Brethren-owned vehicles; hold responsibility for budget development, monitoring, and reporting; administer human resource policies and procedures for the Buildings and Grounds unit in consultation with executive staff. Required skills and knowledge include a minimum of three years of administrative experience in facilities management; a bachelor's degree or equivalent; ability to articulate and operate out of the vision of the Church of the Brethren; ability to relate with integrity and respect in and beyond the organization; knowledge and experience to plan and implement a vision for ongoing facilities needs and uses of physical resources; communication skills; and knowledge and experience in budget development and management. Request the Church of the Brethren application packet from the Office of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120-1694; or 800-323-8039 ext. 258. The deadline for applications is Jan. 5.

  • The World Council of Churches (WCC) is inviting applications for its top executive position. The WCC has invited member churches and ecumenical partners to nominate candidates for the position of general secretary. The deadline for applications is Feb. 28. The general secretary is the WCC's chief executive officer and serves as a spokesperson for the council. He or she is charged with the responsibility to interpret and promote the strategic vision of the WCC. An active lay or ordained member of one of the member churches of the WCC, the general secretary is expected to be a gifted, skilled, and experienced Christian theologian and leader with deep spiritual discernment grounded in scripture and prayer. A new WCC general secretary is to be elected at the council's Central Committee meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, from Aug. 26-Sept. 2. At the Feb. 2008 Central Committee meeting a search committee was formed after the current general secretary, Samuel Kobia, announced he would not seek a second term. Candidates' applications must be addressed to the moderator of the search committee, Dr. Agnes Abuom. The search committee will screen applications and short-list candidates at the beginning of April. Interviews are expected to take place in late June. Go to for a full description.

  • The Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., hosted a meeting of the Anabaptist Council of Moderators and Secretaries on Dec. 12-13. The council includes the moderators and general secretaries of several Anabaptist denominations and groups including the Church of the Brethren, Mennonite Church USA, the Brethren in Christ, Mennonite Central Committee, the Conservative Mennonite Church, and the Mennonite Brethren.

  • Registration opens Jan. 5 at 8 p.m. central time for the Church of the Brethren's 2009 workcamps. The 2009 workcamp theme is "Bound Together, Finely Woven." Workcamp opportunities are available for junior high youth, senior high youth, and young adults, as well as a new opportunity for an intergenerational workcamp on the theme, "Passing on the Peace Witness," available for families. Also new this year is "We Are Able," a workcamp for intellectually disabled participants to work alongside a service partner. Go to for a bulletin insert with a list of the 2009 workcamps and more information, or call the workcamp office at 800-323-8039.

  • For the 2009 Annual Conference, the Church of the Brethren's Congregational Life Team is sponsoring a contest for the best 3-minute video giving a creative interpretation of the Conference theme, "The old has gone! The new has come! All this is from God!" The winner of the contest will see their video shown from the floor of Annual Conference and will receive a $100 prize. Up to four runner-ups will have their videos distributed on a DVD at the Conference and will receive $50. The video contest entry form and an information form are at For more information contact Jeff Glass at or 888-826-4951.

  • The National Council of Churches (NCC) has announced a holiday television special on Christmas Eve at 11:35 p.m. on the CBS network. "The Voices of Christmas" will include music and testimonies from a variety of faith groups ranging from the Brethren to Baptist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist, and Orthodox traditions in celebration of 100 years of ecumenism.

  • New resources on the issue of human trafficking and modern-day slavery are available from the National Council of Churches website, according to an announcement from Ann Tiemeyer, director for Women's Ministry. They were issued on Dec. 10 as a way to mark the 60th Anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights, and are designed for use on Sunday, Jan. 11, for Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Go to for more information.

  • Subway, the third largest fast-food chain in the world and the biggest fast-food buyer of Florida tomatoes, reached an agreement on Dec. 2 with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers to help improve wages and working conditions for workers who pick tomatoes, according to the Presbyterian Church news service. The agreement with Subway follows on the heels of similar wage and working condition agreements with Yum! Brands--the parent of Taco Bell--as well as Burger King, McDonald's, and Whole Foods stories. Subway has agreed to pay the additional one cent per pound for tomatoes grown in the Immokalee region of Florida. Florida Senator Bernie Sanders issued a statement saying the agreement "is yet another blow to the scourge of slavery that continues to exist in the tomato fields of Florida."

  • Liz McCartney of the St. Bernard Project in Louisiana has won the 2008 CNN Hero of the Year award. The St. Bernard Project is a grassroots disaster recovery organization and a partner organization for the Hurricane Katrina rebuilding project of Brethren Disaster Ministries. The St. Bernard Project will receive a $100,000 donation from CNN.
Source: 12/17/2008 Newsline

No comments: