Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Brethren bits: Corrections, remembrance, personnel, more.
  • Corrections: The Newsline story on leadership at the 2009 Annual Conference included several errors. Erin Matteson's first name was not spelled correctly. Scott Duffey’s hometown is Staunton, Va. Noel Naff is pastor of Mount Hermon Church of the Brethren in Bassett, Va.

  • A. Blair Helman, 88, president of Manchester College for 30 years from 1956-86, and moderator of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference in 1975-76, died on March 22 at Timbercrest Retirement Community in North Manchester, Ind. "President Helman’s leadership reflected his keen intellect, deep faith, and enduring love for Manchester College," said Manchester College president Jo Young Switzer. "The entire Manchester College community continues to walk in his footsteps: his commitments to faith, learning, and service; a broad world view; financial integrity; and educational strength." Helman was acknowledged as a national and state leader in higher education and in the Church of the Brethren, which he served as an ordained minister since 1942. In addition to his service as Annual Conference moderator, he also served the church as chair of the Committee on Higher Education, as chair of the McPherson (Kan.) College Board of Trustees, as chair of district boards and as a district moderator, three terms on Standing Committee, as chair of the Executive Committee of the former Western Region, and as a member of the Annual Conference Review and Evaluation Committee in the 1980s. He also served on the Policy Board of the Department of Higher Education of the National Council of Churches, from 1960-71, and on the board of the Indiana Council of Churches. His leadership in state and national education included service on the Commission on Arms Control Education for the UN, leadership in the establishment of the Associated Colleges of Indiana and the Independent Colleges of Indiana, a term as chair of the Council of Protestant Colleges and Universities, and as president of the Indiana Conference of Higher Education. He attended Bethany Bible Training School and McPherson College, where he met his wife, Patricia Kennedy Helman. He earned a master’s degree and doctorate from the University of Kansas. He was born Dec. 25, 1920, to Henry and Luie (Pritt) Helman. He grew up in and was ordained by Rummel (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. After high school, he worked in a coal mine to help support his family and his college plans. He pastored three Church of the Brethren congregations in Kansas, and also taught at Ottawa University, Friends University, and the University of Kansas, before going to Manchester. Patricia Kennedy Helman died in October 2005, after 58 years of marriage. He is survived by his daughters Bunny Hill of Wichita, Kan., and Patty Magaro of Columbus, Ind.; and five grandchildren. Memorials may be made to the Manchester College Presidential Leadership Awards/A. Blair and Patricia K. Helman Honor Scholarships and to the A. Blair and Patricia Kennedy Helman Charitable Endowment in care of the Community Foundation of Wabash County. A memorial service will be held at Manchester College’s Cordier Auditorium at 1:30 p.m. on March 27, with a reception following.

  • The Church of the Brethren has announced the elimination of the position of volunteer service ministries secretary, as of March 24. Kim Bickler’s service in the position ended the same day. The elimination of this position is happening because of the economic recession and the budget reduction put in place by the Mission and Ministry Board at its Spring meeting. Each person whose position is eliminated because of the budget reduction is receiving a three-month severance package of regular salary and benefits and outplacement services. Bickler was hired as secretary for Brethren Volunteer Service recruitment and orientation in May 1991. In 1992, her title changed to secretary of BVS recruitment, and more recently to volunteer service ministries secretary. During her tenure with BVS she served "at the hub" of the organization, and enjoyed getting to know as many as possible of the hundreds of volunteers who have served through BVS in the past 17 years. She is married to Steven Bickler, who works for Brethren Press, and is a member of Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, Ill.

  • Middle Pennsylvania District has called Karen Duhai as part-time Youth Ministry Coordinator. She is a member of Bedford (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. She recently completed a year of Brethren Volunteer Service in N. Ireland, where she worked in a community relations program and with youth and young adults in the pursuit of a better and more peaceful future for the city of Derry/Londonderry. Most recently she has been a substitute teacher. She graduated from Elizabethtown (Pa.) College in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in English and Religion. While in college she served as the chaplain’s assistant. She also served one summer with the Youth Peace Travel Team, and another summer with Ministry Summer Service at Manassas (Va.) Church of the Brethren.

  • Zach Erbaugh, director of seminary computing for Bethany Theological Seminary and Earlham School of Religion in Richmond, Ind., has submitted his resignation effective April 17. He has accepted a position with a national software services company providing medical records tracking to hospitals and pharmacies. He began his service with Bethany and ESR in Oct. 2000.

  • Bethany Theological Seminary and Earlham School of Religion seek applicants for the joint position of director of Seminary Computing at their campus in Richmond, Ind. Bethany Seminary is the graduate school of theology of the Church of the Brethren. Earlham School of Religion is a graduate theological school in the Quaker tradition. The director of Seminary Computing serves on the administrative faculty of both seminaries, and reports to the Academic Dean at Bethany. The director provisions, manages, and secures technology resources for the two seminaries; advises the seminaries on the use and development of information technology; and coordinates resources between the seminaries. In carrying out these responsibilities, the director consults and collaborates with various faculty and staff colleagues; prepares and manages shared and separate institutional budgets; supervises a technical staff consisting of a fulltime employee and multiple student workers; and convenes the Seminary Computing Roundtable. Qualifications include at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science and/or information technology, a minimum of two years of experience related to the responsibilities of the position, understanding of an educational environment preferably including familiarity with the nature of seminary education, a commitment to the vision and mission of the two seminaries in partnership and individually, a combination of superior technological skills and skills in interpersonal communication, ability to quickly evaluate problems and work toward solutions to maximize institutional efficiency, ability to work with deadlines and under pressure. The position begins on July 1, or earlier depending on the availability of the candidate. Review of applications will begin April 1 and will continue until the position is filled. To apply, submit a letter of application, accompanied by a resume and references, to, or via mail to Office of the Academic Dean, Bethany Theological Seminary, 615 National Road West, Richmond, IN 47374.

  • Kathy Reid, executive director of the Church of the Brethren’s Caring Ministries, participated in a conference call briefing on the "Serve America Act" with US President Obama's Domestic Policy Council. Others on the conference call included representatives of many denominational health and human service providers, such as Catholic Charities and Lutheran Services of America. "As you know, national service is a priority of President Obama," Reid reported. "The ‘Serve America Act’ has strong bipartisan support with a goal of tripling the number of current volunteers with the hope of having more than 250,000 core members." Reid said that the legislation is expected to increase the leveraging of private sector dollars within current programs (Senior Corp, VISTA-AmeriCorp, and NCCC) with an increase in federal dollars for these programs and expanded possibilities for service. Key elements of the legislation are major outreach to the faith-based community, a streamlined application process, new fixed-price grants, strong emphasis on volunteer generation, and focus on capacity building within faith-based health and human service organizations. The bill is expected to be passed by Congress this week.

  • The Church of the Brethren’s Material Resources currently is loading two 40-foot containers of quilts and school kits destined for two locations in Ukraine. The program based at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., processes, warehouses, and ships relief materials on behalf of a number of ecumenical partner agencies. The second container will be loaded Thursday while International Relief and Development representatives from Armenia, Ukraine, and the Republic of Georgia are visiting the Brethren Service Center. This coordinated visit was arranged so that representatives could see the preparation process and container loading in the US, and the unloading in the Ukraine, reported Material Resources director Loretta Wolf. In addition, working on behalf of Church World Service, the Material Resources staff have shipped 200 clean-up kits, blankets, school, and hygiene kits to Monmouth, Ill., in response to spring storms, and 50 blankets were sent to Victoria, Texas, for the homeless and economically disadvantaged.
Source: 3/25/2009 Newsline

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