Thursday, April 30, 2009

Brethren staff ready a denominational response in the event of a flu pandemic.

Church of the Brethren staff are readying a denominational response in the event of a flu pandemic in the United States and Puerto Rico. The denominational staff have been alert to the eventuality of a flu pandemic since initial warnings about avian flu were issued several years ago.

Brethren Disaster Ministries is monitoring the progress of the current flu outbreak and is forwarding information pertinent to Brethren congregations and members (see resources listed below).

The staff of Brethren Disaster Ministries have kept up-to-date on information from health organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and information shared through ecumenical partners such as Church World Service. CWS staff continue to monitor the spread of the flu as well, and CWS Emergency Response personnel are engaged in regular briefings by the CDC in the event the disaster response community needs to become further involved.

The Church of the Brethren’s communications staff already have crisis communications plans in the event of a pandemic, and staff will provide information about the flu outbreak through Newsline, e-mail communications to congregations and districts, and online tools at on a page dedicated to flu resources.

An online form at (go to ) has been created to facilitate communication across the denomination in the event that churches must cancel worship services or gatherings. Leaders of congregations and districts will be invited to use the survey form to post news from their churches, to share requests for prayer, and to offer other information to the denomination during a flu crisis.

The Caring Ministries staff is offering a resource to aid pastors and deacons in dealing with anxiety and fears among congregations about the flu outbreak (see article below). This resource will be available at as well, and will be e-mailed to those on the Caring Ministries list serves.

In addition, a document giving suggestions for how Church of the Brethren congregations may continue to carry out ministry during a flu pandemic is being prepared for use by congregational and district leaders. The document will be distributed within the next day or two to congregations and district offices by e-mail, and will be posted at

For more information about the denominational response in the event of a flu pandemic, contact Roy Winter, Executive Director of Brethren Disaster Ministries, at or 800-451-4407; or Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, Director of News Services, at or 800-323-8039 ext. 260.

Source: 4/30/2009 Newsline Extra
Flu resources are recommended by Brethren Disaster Ministries.

Brethren Disaster Ministries is recommending the following resources to Church of the Brethren congregations during the current flu outbreak. These resources may help congregations and church members better understand the outbreak, maintain good health and prevent the flu from spreading, and learn about ways churches may respond.

The following recommended resources come from a variety of sources including the federal government’s Pandemic Flu website, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Church World Service (CWS), and Lutheran Disaster Relief. This list of resources also is provided online at

Recommended Resources:

General Information about Pandemic Flu:

General Swine Flu Information:

A Planning Guide for Churches:

The Role of Churches in a Pandemic Response:

Swine Flu Key Facts:

Swine Flu and You:

Swine Flu Video Podcast: (In this video, Dr. Joe Bresee of the CDC Influenza Division describes swine flu--its signs and symptoms, how it's transmitted, medicines to treat it, steps people can take to protect themselves from it, and what people should do if they become ill.)

All You Have to Do Is Wash Your Hands Podcast: (This podcast teaches children how and when to wash their hands properly.)

The Flu: A Guide for Parents: (A downloadable resource offering questions and answers about the flu, how to protect your child, treatment, and more.)

Protecting Against the Flu: Advice for Caregivers of Children Less Than 6 Months Old:

Stopping Germs at Home, Work, and School:

Ounce of Prevention Campaign for Parents and Children:

BAM! Body and Mind: Teacher's Corner: (In this activity, students conduct an experiment on washing their hands. They will learn that "clean" hands may not be so clean after all, and the critical importance of washing their hands as a way to prevent the spread of disease.)

Cough Etiquette in Health Care Settings:

Scrub Club: (Children learn about health and hygiene and become members of the Scrub Club(tm). The site features an animated Webisode with seven "soaper-heros" who battle germs and bacteria. Children learn the six key steps to proper handwashing, a handwashing song, and interactive games. Also included are other children’s activities and educational materials.)

Source: 4/30/2009 Newsline Extra
Facing the Unknown--Coping with Our Emotions.

The following resource has been prepared by the Caring Ministries of the Church of the Brethren:

Facing new and unknown situations such as the current H1N1 (Swine Flu) virus outbreak can cause us to experience apprehension, anxiety, and fear. These are natural psychological responses to the unknown, and it is expected that we might feel anxious and distressed about this new and spreading disease. However, there are some things we can do to help us cope during stressful situations such as this.

Coping with stress and anxiety:

Lisa Wyatt, director of Counseling and Psychological Services at Sonoma State University, offers these tips for coping with stress and anxiety (
  • Limit your exposure to news stories which can include incorrect or outdated information.

  • Get accurate, timely information from reliable sources.

  • Educate yourself about the specific health hazards associated with swine flu.

  • Maintain your normal daily routine to the extent possible.

  • Exercise, eat well, and rest.

  • Stay active physically and mentally.

  • Stay in touch with family and friends.

  • Find comfort in your spiritual and personal beliefs.

  • Keep a sense of humor.

  • Find healthy ways to express your feelings.
Becoming informed:

Knowing the facts and taking appropriate precautions can help us be prepared and not panic. The following websites provide accurate information about the H1N1 virus and disease, and how to prevent its spread.

The website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at offers information about the H1N1 flu and what we can do to stay healthy.

Knowing how to care for someone with the H1N1 flu can help decrease anxiety and increase effectiveness as a caregiver. This article at provides practical suggestions for caring for people with the flu and preventing the spread of the illness in the home.

An interview with Dr. Joseph Bocchini, chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics' committee of infectious diseases, discusses how grandparents and parents should prepare for the possible threat of swine flu in their families. Go to and click on the "Expert Advice" tab, then "Health," to access the article, "Swine Flu: What Grandparents Need to Know."

Staying connected:

During times of anxiety and stress, it helps to remain connected with family, friends, and our faith community. This can be difficult due not only to geographical distance, but also because people may distance themselves from others to lessen the chance of exposure to the virus. However, we can stay connected by phone, mail, e-mail, and texting, if we cannot be together in person.

It is important to share feelings, fears, and concerns while offering a listening ear and support to those around us. Now is a great time to reach out and connect with family members, old and new friends, church members, and others who might be feeling anxious, alone, and isolated. Watching out for each other is an expression of Christ’s compassion and care. Together we can help support each other during this difficult time.

Source: 4/30/2009 Newsline Extra

Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren, or 800-323-8039 ext. 260. Kim Ebersole, Kathy Reid, Becky Ullom, and Roy Winter contributed to this report.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Bethany Theological Seminary Trustees hold spring meeting.

The Bethany Theological Seminary Board of Trustees gathered at the Richmond, Ind., campus for its semi-annual meeting March 27-29. A focus was discussion of the strategic direction plan for the seminary. Over the past year, a revisioning of Bethany’s mission and role in the Church of the Brethren and society at large has been undertaken by the board, faculty, and staff.

Composition of a draft strategic direction plan was a directive from the board in its fall 2008 meeting, and is the first formal step of a long-range planning process for the seminary. The plan was drafted by Bethany president Ruthann Knechel Johansen, drawing from discussions with and input from trustees and all members of the Bethany campus community.

The plan presented challenges facing the seminary, goals that address the challenges, and strategies for achieving the goals. "In these challenges lie seeds of opportunity for the seminary to imagine and implement a bold vision faithful to the gospel of Jesus Christ and essential for the 21st century church and world," said Johansen in the plan.

The issues and their presentation in the plan were discussed by trustee committees and the full board. With a few revisions, the plan was approved, and the creation of a Strategic Planning Committee approved as a next step. The committee will be appointed by the board chair in consultation with the president.

"The Bethany Board of Trustees, together with Bethany faculty, staff, and students, engaged in a deep, stimulating, vigorous, and inspirational discussion on the strategic direction paper for several hours on Saturday, leading to the board adopting the paper on Sunday in a unanimous vote," said chair Ted Flory. "The Bethany board expresses deep appreciation to President Ruthann Johansen and the entire Bethany community for the significant work that brought us to this action."

In other business, the Student and Business Affairs Committee recommended a tightened and balanced budget for 2009-10, which was approved. Concern was expressed about economic uncertainties over the next several years. Staff are hopeful that 2008-09 will end with a balanced budget. It was noted that Bethany’s endowments put it in a better financial position than many schools.

Also approved were graduate tuition and fees for 2009-10; the 2009-10 budgets for the Brethren Academy, Sustaining Pastoral Excellence program, Brethren Journal Association, and Brethren House; the Brethren Benefit Pension Plan Resolution of the Board of Trustees; the TIAA-CREF Pension Plan Resolution of the Board of Trustees; and a Resolution Regarding Investments.

The Student and Business Affairs Committee heard an encouraging admissions report, that applications in general are at a 12-year high, and applications to the Connections distance-learning program are at an all-time high. More than 40 prospective students have visited campus through formally structured visit days, a new initiative this year.

The Institutional Advancement Committee devoted time to a survey of district executives on denominational awareness and higher education. Results were mixed, with strong support for the witness and mission of the Church of the Brethren, congregational leaders with a Brethren education, and ministry education made available in the districts. Less agreement was expressed on suitability of various ministry training programs and factors of location and cost in education.

The Academic Affairs Committee recommended and received board approval of the list of nine potential graduates for 2008-09. Also, the seminary has received final approval from the Pennsylvania Department of Education to operate an education program at the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center (SVMC) in Pennsylvania. Donna Rhodes, SVMC executive director, reported that the center has established an Hispanic Academy for Lay Leadership in collaboration with Atlantic Northeast District.

The Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership reported that the Training in Ministry program included 77 students this year. Nine students and supervisors participated in Education for Shared Ministry.

Trustees also heard that Bethany’s special collections archival project has been completed. Funded by an Arthur Vining Davis Foundation grant, the project involved cataloging and preserving the Abraham Harley Cassel collection, Huston Bible collection, and William Eberly hymnal collection, housed in Earlham College’s Lilly Library.

The board approved the Academic Affairs Committee recommendation to promote Scott Holland to the rank of professor of Peace Studies and Cross-Cultural Studies. Board members expressed enthusiasm for the appointment of Steven Schweitzer as associate professor and academic dean. He will begin at Bethany on July 1. Johansen recognized two Bethany employees who are leaving the seminary: Zach Erbaugh, director of seminary computing; and Rick Gardner, interim academic dean 2008-09. Gardner had held the position of dean at the seminary from 1992-2003.

-- Marcia Shetler is director of Public Relations for Bethany Theological Seminary.

Source: 4/22/2009 Newsline
Brethren representative attends UN conference on racism.

Church of the Brethren representative Doris Abdullah is attending the United Nations’ Durban Review Conference, an anti-racism event being held in Geneva, Switzerland, April 20-24. Brethren participation has been accredited by the UN Human Rights Council, and Abdullah is attending as an NGO (non-governmental organization) representative. She regularly serves as a member of the UN’s NGO Sub-Committee for the Elimination of Racism.

The Durban Review Conference is an international event to review and evaluate progress towards the goals set by the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance held in Durban, South Africa, in 2001.

The event has become controversial, with the US and several other countries boycotting it based in part on a document they say singles out Israel for criticism and conflicts with free speech, according to CNN. On the first day, remarks by President Ahmadinejad of Iran sparked the walk-out of several national delegations, "as he accused Israel of having a ‘racist government’ and committing genocide," CNN reported. Ahmadinejad was the first speaker at the conference because he was the only head of state to respond to the invitation, a spokesperson told CNN.

Abdullah said that "many detours have been placed along the way, but the conference will go forward," in an e-mail sent before she left for Geneva. At that time only two countries--Israel and Canada--were nonparticipants, and the United States was still debating its participation.

"The original declaration addressed past manifestations as well as the contemporary forms of racial discrimination and presented a road-map for the international community and civil society to take to put an end to racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and to prevent their future occurrence," Abdullah said. "The international community agreed in 2001 for a followup meeting to assess where the 192 states of the United Nations and Civil Society are in the implementation of the 2001 Durban Declaration."

Abdullah reported that interested Brethren may follow the conference via an Internet link, go to to access reports and webcasts.

Source: 4/22/2009 Newsline
Church of the Brethren staff participate in White House conference call.

Two Church of the Brethren staff participated on April 17 in a meeting by conference call with the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and the Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation. Kathy Reid, associate general secretary and executive director of Caring Ministries, and Dan McFadden, director of Brethren Volunteer Service, took part. Reid offered the following report:

"The purpose of the meeting was to continue the dialogue between the faith community and the White House to strengthen the call to service, which is a priority for President Obama. With the passage of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, President Obama has called on Americans to engage in the economic recovery agenda and to commit to service as a life-long endeavor.

"On Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, both the President and the First Lady challenged people of all ages to commit to a day of service. Very shortly they will again call Americans this time to commit to a summer of service (mid-June through mid-September). The four priority areas of service are economic recovery, healthcare, energy, and education. This call will be supported by tool kits, websites, and other support services to enable Americans to find opportunities and skills for this summer of service.

"This conference call was the first of a series for the White House to seek guidance from the faith community and from those who have a history of providing service opportunities. The Church of the Brethren, the BVS office in particular, will continue to participate to support these service opportunities within the church and the wider community. Future calls will detail the coming opportunities to participate in President Obama's service agenda."

Source: 4/22/2009 Newsline
Ecumenical Blitz Build begins in New Orleans.

Brethren Disaster Ministries and Church of the Brethren volunteers are participating in an ecumenical Blitz Build currently taking place in New Orleans to rebuild homes destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Brethren Disaster Ministries is providing 15 volunteers per week for all four weeks of the project.

The Blitz Build is sponsored by Church World Service (CWS) with the participation of 10 Christian denominations, working with the local New Orleans longterm recovery organization Crescent Alliance Recovery Effort. Volunteers began work on April 20 in the community of Little Woods, which is described as a historic lakefront community in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward. The project will repair or rebuild 12 homes during the four weeks from April 19-May 16.

During the first morning orientation, more than 125 volunteers gathered from the 10 Christian denominations, including the Church of the Brethren, according to Brethren Disaster Ministries coordinator Jane Yount. The Blitz Build is gathering the diverse volunteers under the themes, "Working as One," and "Rebuilding Homes, Reclaiming Hope." To kick off the event, volunteers each hammered a single nail into a common board to represent their participation in the project.

Go to and click on the Blitz Build link for a photo album by Matthew Hackworth of CWS.

Source: 4/22/2009 Newsline
Sustaining Pastoral Excellence fields final pastor cohorts.

The Sustaining Pastoral Excellence program of the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership is beginning its sixth year. Funded by a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., this program offering continuing education for pastors has launched its last "class" of pastoral cohorts.

This final year of the Lilly grant has seven cohort groups. These seven groups of pastors will be studying their respective questions for two years, 2009-10. In Nov. 2010 they will come together to share with each other what they have learned about their question.

Listed below are the participants in each group, district(s) represented, critical questions to be studied, and the destination of each group’s travel:

Davidson Cohort (Western Plains District): Question: "What does it mean for us to become effective rural mission-oriented pastoral leaders in effective rural, great commission, mission-oriented ministries?" Immersion retreat destination: Chicago (and places along way) to visit mission-oriented ministries and ministers. Participants: Ken Davidson (facilitator), George Hinson, Ed Switzer.

Eikler Cohort (West Marva and Pacific Southwest Districts): Question: "How does engaging other religious traditions inform and transform us and our practice of ministry?" Immersion retreat destination: Shikoku Island and Hiroshima, Japan. Participants: Torin Eiker (facilitator), Carrie Eikler, Bill Haldeman-Scarr, Sara Haldeman-Scarr, Erin Matteson, Russ Matteson.

Oltman Cohort (Western Plains District): Question: "How do we as pastors of diverse congregations experience abundant life in Christ as we individually grow in our discipleship, and hence, our ability to foster healthy relationships in Christ’s love with others?" Immersion retreat destination: Church of the Savior, Washington D.C.; and a retreat center in Great Bend, Kan. Participants: Marlo Oltman (facilitator), Leslie Frye, Sonja Griffith.

Smalley Cohort (Western Plains District): Question: "What are the attitudes, skills, and principles we need as ministerial leaders to work effectively in our own cross-cultural and multi-cultural settings?" Immersion retreat destination: Quo Vadis Center for Interfaith Dialogue in Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu, India. Participants: David Smalley (facilitator), Michael J. Burr, Barbra S. Davis, Christopher Everett Stover-Brown.

Snyder Cohort (Western Plains District): Question: "What personal worship and spiritual direction/formation practices shape us as corporate worship planners and leaders to encourage spiritual formation in the congregation?" Immersion retreat destination: Iona Community, Scotland. Participants: Laura Snyder (facilitator), Karen Cox, Keith Funk, Jon Tuttle.

Speicher Cohort (Atlantic Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Southern Pennsylvania Districts): Question: "How do we develop and sustain courage and passion to minister to our communities within a culture of fear?" Immersion retreat destination: Nigeria. Participants: Timothy Speicher (facilitator), Peter Haynes, Del Keeney, Wally Landes, Belita Mitchell.

Wenger Cohort (Western Pennsylvania District): Question: "As pastoral leaders, what actions and initiatives on our part will lead our churches into a deeper encounter with Christ and motivate them to be actively engaged in a counter-cultural fashion in the mission of Christ in our world?" Immersion retreat destination: Current Christian Ministries in England along with historical sites related to the Anabaptist/Pietist movement in England and Germany. Participants: William Wenger (facilitator), Jeffrey Fackler, Robert Rummel, John Stoner, Jr., Linda Stoner, William Waugh.

-- Linda and Glenn Timmons are coordinators of the Sustaining Pastoral Excellence program.

Source: 4/22/2009 Newsline
Christopher Saur Historical Marker is dedicated in Philadelphia.

On April 19, an official Pennsylvania Historical Marker honoring the life of Christopher Saur (1695-1758) was dedicated in Philadelphia. The event was held by the Historical Committee of the Church of the Brethren’s Atlantic Northeast District in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.

Saur printed the first European language Bible in America as well as numerous other religious books and hymnals. His German newspaper was the most widely read in Colonial America, and he used his power and the influence of his press to improve conditions for the German immigrant minority in Pennsylvania.

The event took place at Trinity Lutheran Church on Germantown Avenue in Philadelphia, across the street from where the marker will be placed. On the church grounds is the only building owned by Saur that survives to this day. Street construction prevented the marker from being installed on the day of its dedication, but it should be placed by the end of June.

Around 40 people attended, including two families who are Saur descendants. Bryan Van Sweden represented the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission; his wife is a Saur descendant. Ken Leininger, a book dealer and avid Saur collector from Cocalico Church of the Brethren in Denver, Pa., brought a 1743 Saur bible and several books printed by Saur. The committee made a display of the highlights of Saur’s life. Included in the display was a photograph of the Saur stained glass from Bethany Theological Seminary, taken by Jim Chagares. Al Huston's video about Saur was viewed by many attendees.

Stephen L. Longenecker, professor and chair of the Department of History and Political Science at Bridgewater (Va.) College, gave a keynote address describing Saur as a man of conviction who was a staunch separatist, fought slavery, and used his influence politically to improve the life of the German immigrant minority group. Longenecker highlighted the importance of stimulating historical interest using markers, and remarked about the lessons the present-day church can learn from Saur's many benevolent activities.

Kay Weaver, director of Stewardship for Atlantic Northeast District and a member of the Historical Committee, led the singing of hymns from the 1901 Brethren Hymnal highlighting the importance of the Bible. Opening and closing prayers were offered by district moderator John Hostetter and pastor Robert DiSalvio of Amwell Church of the Brethren in Stockton, N.J.

-- David Fuchs is chair of the Atlantic Northeast District Historical Committee.

Source: 4/22/2009 Newsline
Brethren bits: Correction, job opening, call for service partners, more.
  • Correction: The feature on Erwin Church of the Brethren in the April 8 issue of Newsline did not give the church’s location. The church is located in Erwin, Tenn.

  • The Church of the Brethren seeks a director for Spiritual Life and Discipleship. This fulltime position is part of a developing team of leaders in the office of Congregational Life Ministries, and will be integral in developing discipleship ministries throughout the denomination. Responsibilities will include working collaboratively with the Spiritual Directors network, developing spiritual growth and discipling resources for congregations, supporting pastors and other church leaders in nurturing the spiritual lives of congregations and individuals, advocating for healthy congregations through interpretation of the denomination’s congregational ethics guidelines, cultivating gender-focused ministries, and fostering the spiritual growth of individuals, congregations, and the church as a whole. The preferred candidate will demonstrate Christian character, commitment to the values and practices of the Church of the Brethren, a disciplined spiritual life, biblical rootedness, the flexibility to work collaboratively within a wide variety of contexts, experience in leading new initiatives, and the ability to follow an idea through from conception to implementation. The preferred candidate will have expertise in some combination of the following areas: spiritual direction (certification preferred), worship, prayer, group dynamics, spiritual formation, discipleship, women’s ministries, men’s ministries, small group ministries, or Christian education. Communication skills and strong interpersonal competency are required. The selected candidate will work as part of a team, utilize a variety of computer and digital technologies, represent the denomination’s Mission and Ministry Board, attend to self-care and continuing education, efficiently manage a complex workload, participate in regular processes of review and priority-setting, and understand this position as part of a larger vocational commitment. This position is based at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Applications will be reviewed beginning May 9, with interviews in May and continuing until the position is filled. Apply by requesting the application form and complete job description, submitting a resume and letter of application, and requesting three references to send letters of recommendation to the Office of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120-1694; or 800-323-8039 ext. 208.

  • Service partners are needed for the "We Are Able" Workcamp on July 6-10 at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. The workcamp is for intellectually disabled youth and young adults age 16-23, sponsored by the Church of the Brethren’s Workcamp Ministry. "We would like to pair each of these participants with a participant who serves as a service partner," said director Jeanne Davies. "This is an opportunity to volunteer, as well as help an intellectually disabled youth or young adult to volunteer. An orientation day for the service partners will be provided." Obtain registration forms from the website or call Davies at 800-323-8039 ext. 286.

  • In news from Bethany Theological Seminary, Russell Haitch, associate professor of Christian Education and director of the Institute for Ministry with Youth and Young Adults, has presented a paper titled "Mission Impossible? Applying Insights from Africa to Evangelism with Western Youth" at the International Association for the Study of Youth Ministry at Cambridge University in England. An article by Tom Finger, Bethany’s scholar in residence 2008-09, appears in a new book titled, "Cynicism and Hope: Reclaiming Discipleship in a Post Democratic Society." The article is titled, "A Sign of Hope: Conversations with Iranian Religious Leaders."

  • First Church of the Brethren in Wyomissing Hills, Pa., shared a seder meal with the synagogue Reform Congregation Oheb Sholom to mark the start of Passover, according to an article in the "Reading Eagle." The church congregation moved into the synagogue last summer when construction on its new building began; the Oheb Sholom congregation met in the church’s building a decade ago when the synagogue was renovated. "We both have a love of God," First Church pastor Timothy D. Speicher told the newspaper. "We choose to love one another and be tolerant of our differences." First Church planned to worship in its new building on Easter.

  • Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren in Fort Wayne, Ind., has received a Flourishing Congregations Matching Grant of $6,000 from the Center for Congregations, which is affiliated with the Alban Institute and related to the Lilly Endowment Inc. According to the church newsletter, the congregation will use the grant for a Stephen Ministry and to bring in a consultant to assess the church’s environmental impact. The church is raising matching funds.

  • Five alumni of Bridgewater (Va.) College were honored at Alumni Weekend on April 17-18: L. Daniel Burtner, a member of Harrisonburg (Va.) Church of the Brethren, and Betty Halterman Kline, a former assistant professor of psychology and dean of women at the college, received the 2009 Ripples Society Medals; James H. Benson Sr., a former executive assistant to college president Phillip C. Stone and director of planning for the college, received the 2009 Distinguished Alumnus Award; Jeffrey K. Miller received the 2009 Young Alumnus Award; Byron A. Brill received the West-Whitelow Award for Humanitarian Service.

  • Artifacts from a woman’s 22-year career as a Brethren missionary and nurse in India will go on display in Bridgewater (Va.) College’s Reuel B. Pritchett Museum beginning April 24. The items will form a part of an exhibit celebrating 300 years of Brethren history. Louise Sayre Vakil, a 1959 Bridgewater College graduate and current Bridgewater resident, worked in India from 1950-72, where she trained nurses and delivered or helped deliver some 6,000 babies. In 2008, she donated 27 items she collected in India and many photographs to the college. The exhibit is open Monday through Friday 1-4:30 p.m., free of charge. Contact Dale Harter at 540-828-5457.

  • A Mother’s Day Gratitude Project is being offered by the Church of the Brethren’s Global Women’s Project. The program gives participants an opportunity to honor the women they love on Mother’s Day, May 10, by giving gifts to benefit mothers around the world. The chosen recipient will receive a personalized card indicating that a gift has been made in her honor. Send donations and gift card orders to Global Women’s Project, c/o Nan Erbaugh, 47 S. Main St., West Alexandria, OH 45381-1243; include donor’s name and recipient’s name and address.

  • A coalition of national, regional, and global councils of churches has issued a statement affirming that a world without nuclear weapons is not only possible but more secure. The March 30 letter signed by the general secretaries of the World Council of Churches, the Conference of European Churches, the National Council of Churches of Christ USA, and the Canadian Council of Churches, urged NATO leadership to "reinforce the vision of a world without nuclear weapons," consigning to history the notion that nuclear weapons preserve peace and instead recognizing that they make security more precarious, according to a WCC release. Go to for the full text of the letter.

  • The May edition of "Brethren Voices" features "Kids as Peacemakers" in partnership with On Earth Peace, to encourage discussion, understanding, and action by children of all ages to reduce violence. "Brethren Voices" is a monthly public access television show sponsored by Peace Church of the Brethren in Portland, Ore., and produced by Ed Groff. The May edition also will feature an award winning television story by ABC reporter Jay Schadler. Contact for more information about "Brethren Voices" or to subscribe.

  • Ray Warner, a longtime Church of the Brethren member, celebrated his 100th birthday on March 25 at a retirement community in Eden, N.C., where he has lived for the past three years. His life story appeared in an article in the "Greensboro News-Record." "I didn’t set out to have a long life, but I always served the Lord," Warner told the newspaper.
Source: 4/22/2009 Newsline
Mosley retires as director of Financial Operations for BBT.

Bob Mosley has announced his retirement as director of Financial Operations for Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT), effective Oct. 23. He has served in the position for one year but has worked for BBT for almost 11 years, filling various positions in the Finance Department.

Mosley was hired by BBT as a staff accountant on Sept. 14, 1998, and then was promoted to senior accountant on July 2, 2000. In October 2005, he was named manager of Accounting, and then was promoted to director of Financial Operations on May 1, 2008.

In all of his BBT roles, Mosley has provided excellent service in financial operations, said an announcement from BBT. "BBT especially appreciates his leadership during the transitional period of the Finance staff last year," the statement said.

Source: 4/22/2009 Newsline
Answered prayer in Los Ranchos, Honduras.

The following reflection from pastor Ellis Boughton of Yellow Creek Church of the Brethren in Pearl City, Ill., is excerpted from his report on a short-term mission workcamp in 2008 led by Bill Hare, manager of Camp Emmaus in Illinois and Wisconsin District. Hare regularly leads the annual workcamp experience:

"Our mission was to build 14 houses, working with masons who spoke Spanish and no English. This was not the first year that the village of Los Ranchos had construction crews on site to help raise its standard of living. In past years, a water supply storage tank and delivery pipes had been installed, water storage containers were provided, and latrines were constructed.

"During our mission trip, construction teams were formed to work at each site. Everything was run in a very organized and democratic manner. Nothing happened without a vote taken. The owner of each house was required to have enough sand, rock, and gravel ready before construction was allowed to start. Each house was allotted a certain amount of cement and steel, and those materials were moved to the site only just before construction began to prevent theft. Materials were inventoried with precise detail. Even our tools were counted and stored so that they would not disappear.

"One afternoon, three homeowners started to load cement and steel onto the truck without getting approval from the man in charge of materials. The homeowners had loaded nearly 90 bags of cement at over 100 pounds each, when the man in charge stopped them. I had just come over to get a drink of water when an argument started in Spanish. I sat on the ground with my back to the disagreement and prayed.

"The dispute got louder. It became apparent that the homeowner--who was mentally challenged--did not understand that he could not take materials for his house without permission. Soon the men started to unload the cement bags from the truck. Our Honduran construction leader joined in the argument, and it intensified. Even the children began to taunt the mentally challenged homeowner.

"Finally the men began to reload the truck. They had handled the 100-pound bags three times by then, and I thought the argument was over. I turned around to see the homeowner standing by himself, with his fists clenched at his sides. I could see how all alone he was, so I walked over and hugged him.

"It was like hugging a steel column, he was so rigid with anger. I held him for what seemed like forever. After a time, he started to soften and I could feel the anger slowly ebb away. Finally he hugged me back, and smiled and kissed my cheek. He now had someone standing with him and he did not feel alone.

"Ernie, the Honduran construction leader, told me later that what I did was extremely dangerous. The homeowner had threatened bodily harm by way of a machete. Ernie added, however, that what I had done probably saved the project from falling into chaos, as fragile as it was at that stage. I told Ernie that the Holy Spirit indicated to me that the homeowner needed a friend to stand with him. It was answered prayer on the spot.

"And for the rest of the story, that same homeowner was given special help from the rest of the villagers to get rock, sand, and gravel to build his house. When it was finished, he danced inside and exclaimed, ‘I have a house and now I can get married!’"

Source: 4/22/2009 Newsline
Environmental resources recommended by Brethren, ecumenical groups.

On the occasion of Earth Day, a number of environmental resources are recommended by Brethren organizations and ecumenical groups in which the church participates:

The Green Bible: "The Green Bible" in the NRSV version is a new specialty Bible published by Harper Collins with the Eco-Justice Program of the National Council of Churches, the Sierra Club, and the Humane Society. Passages that speak to God’s care for creation are in green, and a study guide is included by contributors such as Brian McLaren and Desmond Tutu, among others. The Bible is printed on recycled paper using a soy-based ink. Order through Brethren Press for $29.95 plus shipping and handling, call 800-441-3712.

Mindful Living Resources: From the National Council of Churches Eco-Justice Program, these are recommended for Christians to learn about environmental health and ways to protect God's creation and vulnerable populations. The program is offering "Mindful Living: Human Health, Pollution, and Toxics" offering a faith and justice exploration of health risks caused by toxic chemicals. The "Mindful Living Gathering Guide" provides a straightforward, step by step process for publicizing and facilitating an adult Christian education session on the issues. The program also suggests that congregations offer a Mindful Living Gathering for the community and then get back in touch with the program to "tell us what you learned, changes that you made, and how your faith sustains you in caring for Creation on Earth Day and every day." Go to

Resource for Endangered Species Day: A resource on biodiversity titled "Tending the Garden," Also from the NCC Eco-Justice Program, is offered for those wanting to observe May 15 as Endangered Species Day. The resource is designed to help congregations remember those beings of God's Creation at risk for extinction. Go to

"Green" Certification Program for Religious Institutions: The NCC Eco-Justice Program is publicizing a GreenFaith Certification Program offered by GreenFaith, an interfaith environmental coalition. The program is for houses of worship, designed to help churches earn recognition as environmental leaders by carrying out a number of environmental activities over a two year period. "From eco-themed worship services and religious education to "green" facility management and environmental justice advocacy, GreenFaith provides a variety of resources and opportunities for religious-environmental action," the announcement said. Information and application materials can be found at The first application deadline for the program is May 1.

Postcard Campaign on Global Summit: Church World Service (CWS) is giving people an opportunity to take immediate action to fight climate change by participating in a national postcard "Countdown to Copenhagen" advocacy campaign aimed at the Obama administration and members of Congress. The campaign urges people to send President Barack Obama and lawmakers in Washington the following message: Attend the upcoming global summit on climate change; agree to cut carbon emissions that cause climate change; and provide fair and just funding to help poor countries deal with global warming. The agreement to be worked out at the Dec. 2009 meeting of world leaders in Copenhagen, Denmark, would replace the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement on climate change that expires in 2012. The campaign is part of CWS' broader "Enough for All" initiative and also outlines lifestyle changes individuals can personally commit to in order to lower their own carbon footprints. The Church of the Brethren is one of numerous Christian denominations to endorse the campaign. Go to for more information.

One Day Resource from the New Community Project: The New Community Project, a Church of the Brethren related nonprofit, is offering "ONE DAY" statistics in honor of Earth Day. The statistics give "a picture of one day in the life of our consumer society and of the planet as a whole, followed by ideas for making the world a better place for all living things," said director David Radcliff:
  • "Earth Day impacts USA: 40 million water bottles and 150 million aluminum cans tossed, along with 1.8 billion pounds of other household trash; 9 billion miles driven (as much as the rest of the world combined) creating 9 billion pounds of CO2; 10 million hours in the shower emitting 150 million pounds of of CO2 (and that's just the teenagers!); 18,000 tons of beef consumed, requiring around 180,000 tons of grain and 37 billion gallons of water to produce; 400,000 cell phones tossed; 17 million tons of CO2 put into the atmosphere (from all activities); 375 million pounds of food spoiled/thrown away; 10 million pounds toxic chemicals released into the ecosystem; 200 people die from causes related to air pollution.

  • "Earth Day planetary impacts: 50-150 species of plants or animals go extinct; 86,000 acres of rainforest are cut down; 100,000 acres of semi-arid land lost to desertification; 70 million tons of CO2 enter the atmosphere from human activities; the world's glaciers thin an average of 1/10th of an inch as a result of global warming; 500 people die as a result of global warming impacts (increased infectious disease, hunger, floods, and heat waves); 14,000 children die, at least in part due to an unhealthy environment.

  • "Earth Day ‘Go’ actions for a healthier planet: go local, support local producers; go bicycle, make car driving the luxury it is; go lower on the food chain, a typical fast food burger meal requires 1,400 gallons of water and produces a pound of trash; go higher, let elected officials know you are for preserving nature, taxing harmful behavior, and not paying corporations to trash the planet (governments give $900 billion in tax breaks every year to corporations, often in support of actions that harm the planet); go public, get over your embarrassment at loving the planet (fish recyclables out of the trash or scavenge uneaten food off your friend's plateit won't save the world, but it will make a statement!); go Amazon, get involved in saving one of the most important parts of God's creation, the Amazon Rainforest. For more information go to or contact New Community Project director David Radcliff at 888-800-2985.
Source: 4/22/2009 Newsline Special
Brethren bits for Earth Day.
  • Camp Myrtlewood near Myrtle Point, Ore., has announced a new ecostewardship project. The camp is related to the Church of the Brethren’s Oregon and Washington Disrict. "We are going to buy 34 acres of land which borders the upstream boundary of the camp," wrote managers John and Margaret Jones in the district newsletter. "The new land acquisition will assure that the acreage will be carefully stewarded and prevent any notion of clear cutting.... The parcel also has about a quarter mile of creek frontage, which is most important to riparian/wildlife habitat and the camp's watershed. The Jones announced that the camp was able to make a very significant down payment on the purchase thanks to a major gift from the Jess and LaVaune Dunning Memorial Fund and use of some reserve funds. The camp soon will be kicking off a major fundraising drive to help pay the balance.

  • Quinter (Kan.) Church of the Brethren is hosting an event on April 24 to kick off a "Take Charge" campaign that pits local communities against each other in a race to see which can save the most energy over the next year, according to the "Daily News" of Hays, Kan. At the event, the Hays-based Midwest Energy company is to showcase its "How$mart" program, which has been honored by the Environmental Defense Fund as among the top 15 innovations in the nation, with the potential to reduce US greenhouse gas emissions by 5 percent. "The How$mart program essentially lends money to Midwest customers for energy efficiency efforts, such as upgrading heating and air conditioning systems or installing insulation," the newspaper said. Competing communities include Quinter, Kinsley, Merriam, Mount Hope-Haven, Wellington, and Salina. The community that saves the most will win a small wind turbine, solar panels, or cash. "Because Quinter already has a wind turbine at its high school, it likely would go for the solar panels or the cash," the newspaper commented. Go to to watch the ongoing race in tracking how many incandescent bulb have been switched to CFLs.

  • Portland (Ore.) Peace Church of the Brethren and Portland Parks and Recreation have begun a partnership to provide a community garden. The Peace Community Garden opened on the last weekend of March on an unused parking lot on church property. The garden offers 16 plots, one of which will be shared with the day shelter that the church hosts for homeless families.

  • Pleasant Valley Church of the Brethren in Weyers Caver, Va., has a new approach to funding missions, including its crop garden for hunger relief--and a community with a taste for entertainment is "eating it up," according to the "Daily News Record." Starting April 2, the church held its fourth annual dinner theater to help finance church projects, this year an irrigation system for one of three tracts of land on which Pleasant Valley grows produce for the Verona Food Pantry.

  • Today to celebrate Earth Day, Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, Ill., is holding its first-ever "Blessing of the Bikes" and will be painting a rain barrel for the Gail Borden Library's "Rain Barrels on Parade" campaign ( Church members and the congregation’s children have been invited to bring their bicycles to receive a special blessing.

  • The confectionery firm Mars has said it will certify its entire cocoa supply as being produced in a sustainable manner by 2020, in an announcement distributed by the Foods Resource Bank. The Church of the Brethren participates in the Foods Resource Bank through the Global Food Crisis Fund. Mars and the Rainforest Alliance, an international not-for-profit organization, have announced a multi-year, multi-country collaboration to achieve certification of 100,000 metric tonnes of cocoa annually for use in Mars products. As part of the Mars global strategy to secure its supply of cocoa and improve the livelihood of farmers, Mars will be using Rainforest Alliance certified cocoa in its Galaxy Chocolate, sold in the UK and Ireland, beginning in 2010. Rainforest Alliance and Mars have been sharing ideas and expertise since the First International Workshop on Sustainable Cocoa Farming in 1998.
Source: 4/22/2009 Newsline Special
Annual Conference to address five new business items, ends online registration May 8.

The Church of the Brethren Annual Conference will address five items of new business when it meets in San Diego, Calif., on June 26-30: "A Statement of Confession and Commitment" from the Standing Committee of district delegates, a revision of "A Structural Framework for Dealing with Strongly Controversial Issues," revised bylaws for the Church of the Brethren, "Query: Language on Same-Sex Covenantal Relationships," and "Query: Secret Oath-Bound Societies." Online registration for the Conference ends May 8, go to to register.

The Conference will meet on the theme, "The old has gone! The new has come! All this is from God!" from 2 Corinthians 5:16-21, with leadership by moderator David Shumate, district executive for Virlina District. No items of unfinished business are scheduled. Also on the agenda will be elections for denominational offices, reports from agencies of the church and committees of the Conference, as well as other items of information.

"A Statement of Confession and Commitment" was adopted by Standing Committee at last year’s Conference. The one-page document addresses the issue of homosexuality as one that "continues to bring tension and division within our Body" and confesses that, "We are not of one mind on this matter." The statement declares that the church’s 1983 paper on Human Sexuality "remains our official position," but also acknowledges tension between different parts of the 1983 paper. The statement confesses "meanness and fighting" over the issue, and calls the church to stop unchristian behavior.

The revision of the document for dealing with strongly controversial issues follows up on a decision of the 2002 Conference, which referred an update of the original 1988 document to the former Annual Conference Council. The council in turn appointed a committee to update the paper and present a revision. The revision gives guidelines for how Standing Committee and Annual Conference will identify and deal with queries that may generate adversarial stances. The proposed three-year process includes appointment of a "Resource Committee" representing diverse perspectives on the issue to develop study materials; facilitated hearings at Annual Conference and in districts; and a special procedure for presenting such queries to the Conference.

Revised bylaws for the Church of the Brethren follow on the decision of last year’s Annual Conference approving merger of the former Association of Brethren Caregivers with the former General Board to form a new entity called the Church of the Brethren.

"Query: Language on Same-Sex Covenantal Relationships" was initiated by Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren in Fort Wayne, Ind., and approved by Northern Indiana District. Stating in part that the denomination "has a history and practice of seeking reconciliation" and that it "has experienced deep division and brokenness related to the language from the 1983 Human Sexuality Paper that same-sex covenantal relationships are not acceptable," the query petitions Conference "to consider whether it is the will of the church that this language on same-sex covenantal relationships will continue to guide our journey together."

"Query: Secret Oath-Bound Societies" was initiated by Dry Run (Pa.) Church of the Brethren and approved by Southern Pennyslvania District. Citing a number of scriptures, among others 2 Timothy 3:16-17, John 8:31-32, Matthew 5:33-34, 2 Corinthians 6:14-17, and Ephesians 5:7-17, the query states in part that "it is clear that membership in these societies constitutes a dual allegiance" and that there is confusion among Brethren about secret oath-bound societies. The query requests Conference to take action to give clarity to the issue.

Online registration for the Conference ends May 8, go to to register. Registrations also may be mailed to the Annual Conference Office using the form in the Annual Conference Information Packet that has been mailed to all Church of the Brethren congregations. After May 8, participants will register for the Conference as they arrive onsite in San Diego. On-site registrations will be charged an additional fee.

The Annual Conference schedule also has been posted online, go to to download it as a pdf document. The schedule provides detailed information about worship services, meal events, insight sessions, age group activities, and more.

In another note on the Conference schedule, the Mission and Ministry Board meeting on June 26 from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. is incorrectly listed as "by invitation only." That meeting is open to the public.

For more information about Annual Conference in San Diego, call the Conference office at 800-688-5186 or 410-635-8740.

Source: 4/22/2009 Newsline Special
Cross Cultural Celebration to be webcast from Miami.

The Church of the Brethren’s Cross Cultural Consultation and Celebration in Miami, Fla., this week is to be available to view online. The worship services and large group sessions at the event will be webcast, through a partnership between Bethany Theological Seminary with the Church of the Brethren’s Cross Cultural Ministries and the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership.

Go to to login and link to the webcasts from the Cross Cultural Celebration. The webcasts are to begin April 23 and continue through April 25, see the website for a more detailed schedule.

Those who participate in sessions, even over the Internet, have the possibility of earning continuing education credits through the Brethren Academy. For more information about this continuing education opportunity, contact the Brethren Academy at or 765-983-1824.

Source: 4/22/2009 Newsline Special
International Day of Prayer for Peace Campaign to focus on economic crisis.

On Earth Peace is calling on churches and organizations to join its annual campaign to participate in the World Council of Churches’ International Day of Prayer for Peace (IDOPP) on Sept. 21. This year, a special emphasis is being given to the ways in which the current deep recession is affecting local communities.

"Times like these remind us that peace is always a local issue," observed Matt Guynn, Peace Witness coordinator for On Earth Peace. "A severe recession is the economic equivalent to war. Families are being destroyed, and community life is disrupted. God calls us to lift up and pursue a positive vision of life that has community and family at its center."

The On Earth Peace campaign is an ecumenical effort open to all faith traditions. Participating groups will have a variety of ways to observe the International Day of Prayer for Peace, depending on their demographics, energy, and experience with peace and social justice issues.

"This is our third year for conducting a campaign around the International Day of Prayer for Peace," said Michael Colvin, Peace Witness associate for On Earth Peace. "Our experience has taught us that churches and other community groups come to the campaign with a wide variety of expectations, and so we have geared our training and support to meet a variety of different needs."

On Earth Peace is providing group registration, information, training, resources, and other assistance at its new International Day of Prayer for Peace website Questions about the campaign may be directed to

The International Day of Prayer for Peace was first proposed in 2004 during a meeting between World Council of Churches general secretary Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia and then-United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan as one of the initiatives of the WCC's Decade to Overcome Violence (DOV). It is celebrated annually on Sept. 21, or the closest Sunday to the UN International Day of Peace. In 2008, over 160 congregations and organizations from all over the United States, Puerto Rico, and four other countries took part in the second year of the On Earth Peace campaign.

Source: 4/22/2009 Newsline Special
May is Older Adult Month on the theme, ‘Become Your Legacy.’

Each May, the Older Adult Ministry Cabinet of the Church of the Brethren’s Caring Ministries sponsors Older Adult Month. The theme for 2009 is "Become Your Legacy."

Rachael Freed, founder of Life Legacies, has described legacy as the "footprints we leave behind," evidence that our lives have had meaning and that we have made a difference to the people our lives have touched. "Becoming your legacy" is a life-long process, one that we begin as children and continue throughout our lives as we lead the way by example, teaching and living life faithfully and striving toward the "hope to which we have been called."

Resources have been created to help congregations explore "the hope to which you have been called" and ways to live out and preserve your legacy. Resources include "Sharing Our Legacy in the Connected Age," "Living the Legacy: A Four-Session Study Series," and "Sharing Wisdom through Stories: Grandparent-Grandchild Conversations" as well as worship resources, Sunday school and small group study sessions, intergenerational activities, and personal reflections available at Click on Older Adult Month to download and print materials or contact Caring Ministries at 800-323-8039 for paper versions.

In a related event, the Church of the Brethren’s Health Promotion Sunday on May 17 is on the theme, "Coping with the challenges of aging." When we think of the aging process we tend to think of events that generally occur later in life (which, depending on one’s perspective, could mean anything from age 30 on). Regardless, it’s important to keep in mind that aging begins as soon as we are born--how we face challenges throughout our lives plays a significant role in the options we have as we grow older.

Recognizing that reality, the theme of this year’s Health Promotion Sunday could just as easily be "Coping with the challenges of life." This year's resources support different components of a healthy life as it is lived over many years. Materials are offered on aging in its more traditional sense, as well as reissued materials from previous Health Promotion Sundays on the importance of family in creating and sustaining emotional health, the role of wellness in aging well, and the crucial nature of our faith communities to the health of our spirit.

-- Kim Ebersole is director of Family Life and Older Adult Ministries for the Church of the Brethren.

Source: 4/22/2009 Newsline Special
Book signings are scheduled for ‘Beyond Our Means.’

R. Jan and Roma Jo Thompson will be at two book signing events in Carroll County, Md., to sign copies of their new Brethren Press book, "Beyond our Means, How the Brethren Service Center Dared the Embrace the World." The Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., has been responding to those in need around the world since 1944, and is celebrating its 65th anniversary this year. It currently houses nine nonprofit organizations that work in relief and development, disaster response, fair trade, social justice, and hospitality.

"Beyond our Means" traces the history of the campus from its days as a college beginning in 1849 through the present. The Church of the Brethren purchased 26 acres and four college buildings in 1944 as a relief center to ship material resources to war-torn Europe. It is a story of partnerships with many organizations to offer a helping hand both in the US and overseas. The book is dedicated to the thousands who have volunteered and worked in ministries and education on the campus and to the millions who have benefited.

The authors will be autographing books at the following locations and dates: on April 30 from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at the SERRV Store at the Brethren Service Center; and on May 2 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Mid-Atlantic District Disaster Auction in Westminster, Md.

Order the book from Brethren Press at 800-441-3712, or buy it at one of the book signings.

-- Kathleen Campanella is director of Partner and Public Relations at the Brethren Service Center.

Source: 4/22/2009 Newsline Special
More upcoming events.
  • Next week an international group of Brethren representatives will be at a steering committee meeting to start planning for the Historic Peace Churches of the Americas conference in 2010. The event will be the fourth continental gathering of the Historic Peace Churches, connected to the Decade to Overcome Violence. Brethren representatives include Irvin Heishman and Felix Arias Mateo from Iglesia de los Hermanos, Dominican Republic (Church of the Brethren in the DR); Marcos Inhauser from Igreja da Irmandade (Church of the Brethren in Brazil); and Stan Noffsinger and Don Miller from the Church of the Brethren in the US. The steering committee also includes Mennonite and Quaker representatives from across the Americas.

  • A small group of Church of the Brethren young adults are scheduled to attend a "Youth Retreat" in Nigeria held by Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN--the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). The event is for EYN church members age 18-35. The Church of the Brethren’s Youth and Young Adult Ministry and Global Mission Partnerships Office have selected Ben Barlow and Jenn and Nate Hosler to attend on behalf of the Brethren in the US. The retreat will be held at the EYN Headquarters near the town of Mubi in northeastern Nigeria. The group is scheduled to depart for Nigeria on April 25 and return on May 9.

  • The Ministry of Reconciliation of On Earth Peace is offering a "Grow Healthy Congregations" workshop on May 9 at Elizabethtown (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. "In times of significant change, the health or lack of health of our congregations becomes increasingly evident," said an announcement. "In this introductory workshop, you will be invited to explore the congregation as an emotional system and delineate the attributes of a healthy faith community." The event will be led by Del Keeney, a certified Healthy Congregations Trainer and pastor of Mechanicsburg (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. Register by sending name, contact information, and number of participants to or go to to register online. Cost is $40 and includes continuing education credit.

  • Glendale (Calif.) Church of the Brethren is celebrating its 80th anniversary on April 25-26. An event titled "This Is My Story, This Is My Song--The History of the Brethren on the Pacific Slope," will be held at 7 p.m. on April 25. Anniversary events on Sunday, April 26, begin at 9:30 a.m. with Sunday school led by former pastor Todd Hammond; worship featuring re-consecration of the church’s restored sanctuary at 10:45 a.m. with former pastor Matt Meyer; and a community meal after worship with a message by former pastor John Martin.

  • Harrisburg (Pa.) Mayor Stephen R. Reed will be the guest speaker at the third annual Agape-Satyagraha Recognition Banquet at Harrisburg First Church of the Brethren, according to an announcement in the "Patriot-News." The event begins at 6 p.m. on April 29. The banquet is held by Brethren Community Ministries to recognize youth involved in training to develop leadership skills in resolving family, neighborhood, and peer conflicts without violence. Tickets are $15, contact Gerald W. Rhoades at or 717-234-0415 ext. 12.

  • A program director of the Foods Resource Bank’s food security program in eastern Zambia, Tim Bootsma, is to speak on May 2 at 7 p.m. at Pleasant Chapel Church of the Brethren in Ashley, Ind. The joint growing project of Pleasant Chapel with Peace United Church of Christ in Fort Wayne, Ind., has supported the Zambia-Eastern program for the past two years.

  • Glendora (Calif.) Church of the Brethren and Modesto (Calif.) Church of the Brethren are hosting Pacific Southwest District workshops on May 2-3 led by Carl Bowman, Church of the Brethren sociologist and author of "Portrait of a People: The Church of the Brethren at 300" (available through Brethren Press). Ministers who attend will receive continuing education credit. The workshop is offered on May 2 at the Glendora Church, and on May 3 at the Modesto Church. Cost is $25 per person, or $100 for unlimited attendees from a church.

  • Skippack Church of the Brethren in Collegeville, Pa., is hosting a Prayer Summit on May 5-6 sponsored by the Church of the Brethren Evangelical Network (COBEN). The network is described in a district announcement as "a loosely organized list-serve group for e-mail discussion among Brethren of like evangelical convictions." The moderator of the group is pastor Phil Reynolds of Bear Creek Church of the Brethren in Southern Ohio District. The prayer summit is "for renewal, for wisdom, and for the Lord's will to be done in our denomination," the announcement said.

  • Camp Bethel is holding its 8th Annual Sounds of the Mountains Story and Music Festival on April 24-25. Camp Bethel near Fincastle, Va., is an outdoor ministry center of the Church of the Brethren’s Virlina District. Featured are Donald Davis, Odds Bodkin, Kim Weitkamp, Joseph Helfrich, and the Celtibillies. Go to

  • The Juniata College Choral Union will highlight its spring concert with "Ode for St. Cecilia's Day," by Georg Friedrich Handel, at 7:30 p.m. on April 28 in Rosenberger Auditorium on the campus in Huntingdon, Pa. The Choral Union is directed by Russell Shelley, Elma Stine Heckler Associate Professor of Music. It is the largest choral ensemble at Juniata with a student membership of more than 90 and about 25 members from the area.

  • The Brethren Heritage Center in Ohio welcomes the public to a Grand Re-Opening Celebration on May 2, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and on May 3 from 2 p.m.-6 p.m. The Center, a library, museum, and archive of cultural heritage materials documenting the various branches of the (German Baptist) Brethren movement, opened in 2003 and has recently expanded and renovated its space to better serve the public. The Grand Re-Opening weekend will include guided tours, live music, the first public viewing of a traveling exhibit on Bethany Theological Seminary’s Rare Book Collections, presentations by William Eberly (Manchester College) and Murray Wagner (Bethany Theological Seminary) and Heritage Center staff members, a silent quilt auction on Saturday, new and used books sale on Saturday, and home-made refreshments. The Brethren Heritage Center is located in Brookside Plaza, 428 Wolf Creek St., Brookville, Ohio. The committee is inviting all the Brethren denominations to help provide music. If you would like to represent your congregation and the Church of the Brethren musically, call Tim Binkley at 937-890-6299 to sign up for a time slot. For directions or more details, call 937-833-5222 or see

  • The Springs of Living Water initiative led by Church of the Brethren minister David Young, which aids congregations and districts to work for church renewal, has requested prayer for three upcoming events: on April 25, renewal teams in Northern Ohio District meet at Mohican Church of the Brethren for a training event; on May 2, all of the churches in Western Pennsylvania District have been invited for an interpretative leadership training event at Somerset Churchof the Brethren; and on June 6, Shenandoah District is holding a training event for church renewal teams. Young also reported that "Net Results" magazine plans to publish an article on Springs of Living Water titled, "Church Renewal in Times of Fear and Opportunity."

  • The annual Christian Peace Witness for Iraq in Washington, D.C., on April 29-30, is marking the 100th day of the new administration. Organizers are inviting participants to affirm, "Yes We Can...End the War." The April 29 opening convocation at National City Church features speakers Diana Butler Bass, an Episcopalian author and Senior Fellow at the Cathedral College of Washington National Cathedral, and Noah Baker Merrill, a Quaker and co-founder of Direct Aid Iraq. The evening worship at the Washington Convention Center includes speakers Fr. Daniel Berrigan, Jesuit priest and peace activist, and Tony Campolo, Baptist speaker and social activist, among others. Worship will be followed by a candlelight procession to the White House. On April 30, the event concludes with a 9 a.m. witness and nonviolent action on the steps of the Capitol building. Go to for more information.

  • Churches for Middle East Peast (CMEP) is holding its annual conference June 7-9 at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., on the theme, "Israeli-Palestinian Peace: Hope for Things Unseen." "The recent Gaza crisis demonstrates the urgent need for US engagement to bring about a just and lasting resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," said a flyer for the event. "Your elected officials need to hear from American Christians who care about the two peoples of the Holy Land and expect robust US diplomatic action in 2009." Speakers at the conference include Amjad Attalah, Michael Kinnamon, Daniel Levy, Trita Parsi, and Daniel Seidemann. Participants also will have an opportunity meet with elected officials. CMEP is a coalition of 22 US churches and church organizations including the Church of the Brethren. Go to to register.
Source: 4/22/2009 Newsline Special

Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren, or 800-323-8039 ext. 260. Tim Binkley, Michael Colvin, Jeanne Davies, Audrey deCoursey, Chris Douglas, Enten Eller, Lerry Fogle, Mary K. Heatwole, Karin L. Krog, David Radcliff, Marcia Shetler, John Wall, Dana Weaver contributed to this report.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

On Earth Peace reports mid-year financial concern.

On Earth Peace in a recent newsletter has reported concerns about its finances. The organization currently is at the mid-point in its fiscal year.

"At the half-way point of our fiscal year, our income is running about $9,500 above expenses," reported executive director Bob Gross in follow up comments by e-mail. "However, most years the difference between income and expense is considerably greater at this half-way point. We know that income is generally lower in the second half of the year, and expenses are usually higher. So we are concerned."

In the newsletter report, Gross wrote that "the current economic downturn, and the financial bind it puts on our organization, is threatening essential ministries of peace-building and reconciliation." He called for prayer following the downsizing of denominational staff and redesign of some programs of the Church of the Brethren, and encouraged participation in the listening process that has been announced following the closing of the Washington Office, noting that participation will help the church make decisions about the future of its peace witness.

"The economic downturn we are experiencing is both global and local," Gross wrote in the newsletter. "Some of us are feeling its effects personally; nearly all of us know persons who have been strongly affected.... It is important that we pray for those who have been most affected by these cuts in staff and program, including those who have carried the responsibility of making painful decisions."

"For the first time in several years, On Earth Peace's income in 2008 did not keep up with expenses," Gross reported. He said that the organization has drawn from its limited reserves to make up the difference, which comes to about 7 percent of the On Earth Peace budget for 2008. Current projections show an even greater gap between income and expenses this year for On Earth Peace, he said.

Gross announced that in order to preserve its small reserve fund, On Earth Peace has set a strict limit on any withdrawal from reserves this year. It will work at ways to control expenses, but he noted that "our normal way of working is already very frugal. Our salaries are modest, many volunteers assist our small staff in the work, and we keep our travel and other expenses very low." His report also noted the efficiency of the On Earth Peace program, from an audited financial report for 2008 showing only 11 percent of contributions spent on fundraising and administration combined, while 89 percent has gone directly to program ministries.

Source: 4/8/2009 Newsline
Bethany Seminary holds second annual Presidential Forum.

Bethany Theological Seminary hosted its second annual Presidential Forum March 29-30 with the theme "Weaving Wisdom’s Tent: The Arts of Peace." Focusing on scripture from the Wisdom of Solomon 7:23-81, wisdom was invoked and examined throughout the forum. Gathered together to weave poetry, painting, song, and spirit, participants experienced varied forms of art over the two full days of the event.

Highlights of the forum included three plenary sessions lead by artists who embody peacemaking through their work. Marge Piercy, poet and novelist, shared reflections on art affecting consciousness a little bit at a time. She read several of her own poems including "The Art of Blessing the Day" and "To Be of Use," reflecting the reality of a world without peace, and hope for peaceful transformation.

John Paul Lederach, professor of International Peacebuilding with the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame, highlighted the "craft of noticing" and how careful noticing and listening are expressed through thoughtful words of poetry and artistic expression.

Painter Douglas Kinsey displayed several paintings portraying places where justice is absent. He shared his creative work as a way to bring about justice by exposing injustice. All three plenary speakers stimulated thoughtful questions and fruitful conversations.

Outside of the plenary sessions were imaginative worship services, creative workshops, and reflective conversation groups that engaged a variety of arts striving for peace. The Manchester College A Cappella Choir, with special guest James Hersch, offered music, and several seminary and college students had the opportunity to share their own creative works in a panel discussion.

"There is in her a spirit that is intelligent, holy, unique, manifold, subtle, mobile, clear..." (Wisdom of Solomon 7:23). Wisdom certainly was present and enveloped the Presidential Forum as Bethany Theological Seminary invited space for the arts to speak of the things that make for peace.

-- Monica Rice is a student at Bethany Theological Seminary.

Source: 4/8/2009 Newsline
Domestic hunger program receives funding to fulfill grant requests.

The Church of the Brethren’s Domestic Hunger Matching Grant program has received an additional $30,000 from the Global Food Crisis Fund as well as approximately $30,000 in donations received in response to a direct fundraising appeal for the program. The program has offered matching grants of up to $500 to match congregations’ contributions for local food pantries and soup kitchens during the first quarter of 2009.

The program was conceived as a 10-week special response to the food crisis across the country this winter, co-sponsored by the church’s Global Food Crisis Fund and Emergency Disaster Fund, along with the Stewardship department.

The new funding represents enough money to match the remaining 158 applications from congregations. Congregations that submitted applications by the deadline of March 15 will have their grant amounts matched by the program. The matching grants will aid local food banks and food pantries in communities across the United States.

Congregations and denominational programs together have provided a total of more than $330,000 in assistance to 318 food pantries.

"In summary, through the Domestic Matching Grant Program, 354 congregations raised $186,446 for local food banks," reported Howard Royer, manager of the Global Food Crisis Fund. The Global Food Crisis Fund provided a total of $80,000, and the Emergency Disaster Fund provided a total of $37,500.

"We rejoice not only in this monetary response but in the significant way Brethren congregations and individuals are otherwise engaged in local ministries of compassion," Royer said.

Source: 4/8/2009 Newsline
Church of the Brethren Credit Union offers online banking.

Members of the Church of the Brethren Credit Union can now view their accounts at any time of day, anywhere in the world. On April 1, the credit union launched online banking services, including account access and bill pay, through the website Brethren Benefit Trust has acted as a third-party administrator for the Church of the Brethren Credit Union since April 2004.

"We’re excited to offer online access to Credit Union account holders. Now all Credit Union members can keep track of their accounts from any Internet connection," said Steve Bob, director of the Church of the Brethren Credit Union. "In these times, it’s important for our members to be able to manage their accounts at any time, not just within our office hours. We hope these services will encourage our members to continue to be good stewards of their financial resources," Bob said.

The new online services allow credit union members to monitor their account balances; transfer funds among savings, checking, and Club accounts; and submit credit union loan payments from any Internet connection, 24 hours a day. A bill pay system has also been added to the Church of the Brethren Credit Union’s online services for members with checking accounts. Bill pay allows users to set up payees to handle such payments as auto insurance, cable television, or utility bills, or even their monthly tithe. Members can transfer money to any outside party or individual who has a checking account and an e-mail address.

Online banking is available to all members of the credit union, whether they have a savings account or both savings and checking accounts. Access to credit union accounts online is a free service, and members can sign up at To use bill pay, members must have a checking account through the credit union. Credit union members who are not signed up for checking accounts can do so by downloading the Account Agreement form from and submitting it with a $25 deposit. New checking account members will receive a free box of checks when they open their accounts.

For additional information see or contact the Church of the Brethren Credit Union at or 888-832-1383.

Source: 4/8/2009 Newsline
Brethren Press responds to ruling about lead in children’s products.

Brethren Press and Gather ’Round, the curriculum jointly produced by Brethren Press and the Mennonite Publishing Network, are working under a tight timeline to meet new requirements for testing for lead and other chemicals in children’s products, and certification of children’s products including books and other printed materials.

A recent act of congress has set a year’s deadline to prevent the presence of lead and phthalate, and other potential health hazards in children’s products. The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) has set the new requirements for testing and certification of children’s products that are sold or distributed in the United States. The deadline for compliance was originally Feb. 10, 2009, but recently a one-year stay of enforcement was announced. The act affects not only publishers but libraries and schools that own books for children.

Under the CPSIA, "we would be liable if it were discovered that any products we sell contain lead over the legislated maximum," said Anna Speicher, editor for Gather ’Round. "We would never want to produce and sell a product that would pose a health hazard to anyone," she said. "However, all indications so far are that the US printing industry is not using paper or inks that contain levels of hazardous substances anywhere near the mininum amounts specified by law."

The curriculum and Brethren Press will be seeking third-party certification of their products for children, which are printed by a variety of companies. "We were heartened by the reactions from the printers who appear to be taking the view that it is their responsibility to provide any necessary testing and certification," Speicher said. "Further, it does not appear to be the case that we need to test every product, but rather that a testing program needs to be in place and the paper and inks we use would need to be certified as sufficiently lead-free."

Brethren Press already has received certification on two of its stronger selling children’s titles, "Faith the Cow" and "Benjamin Brody's Backyard Bag." Both titles have passed the requirements, reported Jeff Lennard, director of Marketing and Sales.

The publishing industry has filed a request to be exempted from the act on the grounds that regular books do not present any kind of a health threat. The request is being filed through the Association of American Publishers, an organization whose members include large and small publishers of children’s books in the consumer marketplace, nonprofits, and publishers of instructional and assessment materials for students at all levels of education.

Source: 4/8/2009 Newsline
Brethren bits: Response to flooding, youth/young adult news, more.
  • Children’s Disaster Services, a ministry of the Church of the Brethren serving children and families following disasters, has monitored the need for child care responding to the flooding in North Dakota and Minnesota. After a team of child care volunteers arrived at Fargo on March 30, but found no immediate need for their services, the volunteers ended up helping the American Red Cross with other tasks. Children’s Disaster Services director Judy Bezon commented, "True to form, they found another way to help."

  • The Church of the Brethren’s Material Resources program has coordinated several shipments responding to situations in the news recently. The program shipped 30 medicine boxes valued at $101,095.50 to Gaza, Israel, on behalf of IMA World Health and International Orthodox Christian Charities. A Friday afternoon telephone call resulted in rearrangement of two shipments of clean up buckets originally bound for Arkansas, to be shipped instead to help with the flooding in North Dakota. In addition, a shipment of blankets, school kits, and hygiene kits were delivered to North Dakota in response to the flood situation. The North Dakota shipments were arranged through QW Express, a shipping company owned by a Church of the Brethren member in Virginia, reported Material Resources director Loretta Wolf.

  • The Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., marked its 50th anniversary today. Fifty years ago today, on April 8, 1959, a dedication service was held for the General Offices in the chapel. The building was new and the staff had just moved into it from the old building on State Street in Elgin. A celebration of the 50th anniversary of the General Offices is being planned for May 13.

  • The Church of the Brethren’s National Youth Sunday is scheduled for May 3. Congregations are encouraged to invite youth to participate in leading Sunday worship on the theme, "Standing On Holy Ground" from Exodus 3:5. Go to to find skits, Bible studies, scripture jams, children’s stories, a bulletin insert, and other worship resources.

  • National Junior High Conference registration continues to be open after April 15, however the cost will rise to $150 after that date, from the early registration cost of $125. "There are still spaces left and we would love for you to attend National Junior High Conference at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., June 19-21," said an invitation from the Church of the Brethren’s Youth and Young Adult Ministry. Go to for online registration. Participants living west of the Mississippi River may apply for a $150 travel scholarship, contact 800-323-8039 ext. 281 for details.

  • Young Adult Conference registration also is still open, with the registration fee rising to $100 after April 15. The conference is for young adults ages 18-35 and will be held at Camp Swatara in Bethel, Pa., on May 23-25. Go to to register online. For questions or more information call 800-323-8039 ext. 281.

  • McPherson (Kan.) College on April 17-19 will offer a Regional Youth Conference for the Church of the Brethren districts of Missouri and Arkansas, Northern Plains, Southern Plains, and Western Plains. The theme is "The Heavens Declare the Glory of God." Leadership will be provided by Rex Miller and Curt Rowland of Camp Alexander Mack in Milford, Ind. Jen Jehnsen will lead worship. Cost is $46 per person. Contact Tom Hurst, Director of Campus Ministries, at or 620-242-0503.

  • Upcoming courses offered through the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center include two classes to be taught by Old Testament scholar Robert Neff: "Psalms: The Inner Life of Lament and Praise" on April 23-26 at Stone Church of the Brethren in Huntingdon, Pa.; and "Reading Biblical Books in Context: A Study of the Festal Scrolls" on May 19 at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College. Contact the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center at 717-361-1450 or or go to

  • Bethel Ministries, sponsored by Mountain View Church of the Brethren in Boise, Idaho, has been the subject of an article in the "Idaho Statesman." Bethel Ministries is a program that helps to rehabilitate men convicted by violent crimes or sexual offenses as they transition back into society after serving terms in prison. The program runs four neighborhood homes with the capacity for 34 men, working closely with probation and parole officers and programs such as such as Alcoholics Anonymous or SANE (Sex Abuse Now Ended) Solutions. Rob Lee, who is the executive director of Bethel Ministries, currently serves the congregation as director of worship. The "Idaho Statesman" highlighted Lee as running "a rigorous and disciplined, six-month program for men," committed to "creating a safer community by guiding society's most hated criminals to a clean, spiritually based life.... He's upfront and clear about his program and its strict rules. Each man must commit his life to Jesus Christ before entering Bethel Ministries." Mountain View pastor David McKellip reported that this past year the church has called a number of Bethel graduates to serve on its board of directors.

  • The finance committee of Oregon and Washington District has written a letter to congregations asking for ideas to help attain sufficient funding for the district. The committee was appointed when the district budget was adopted at last year’s District Conference in September. "We continue to operate at a deficit," the letter said in part. "We really do want our district to thrive. So...if you have an idea, suggestion, or comment we invite you to forward your thoughts to us and thereby be a part of this important ‘work in progress.’" Sample ideas included a "Church of the Month" special offering and a "10th Man Project" based on the story of the 10 lepers, of whom only one returned to thank Jesus.

  • The Fahrney-Keedy Home and Village Board of Directors has announced the appointment of two new board members: Keith Bryan, of Westminster, Md., president and fundraising counsel of Sundance Consulting Services; and Joseph Dahms of Glade Valley Church of the Brethren in Walkersville, Md., economics professor at Hood College in Frederick, Md., since 1978. Fahrney-Keedy is a Church of the Brethren continuing care retirement community near Boonsboro, Md.

  • The annual Christian Peace Witness for Iraq is scheduled for April 29-30 in Washington, D.C. Organizers plan to gather thousands of loaves of bread in front of the White House on the evening of April 29 as a symbol of repentance and new life. Each loaf will be accompanied by a monetary contribution, the bread will be shared with the hungry, and financial gifts will support the people of Iraq. Other events include an opening convocation and an evening worship service on April 29, and a closing witness on the steps of the Capitol building on the morning of April 30 timed to coincide with the 100th day of a new administration and new Congress. Featured speakers include Tony Campolo, Daniel Berrigan, and others. Go to for more information or to register.

  • The National Council of Churches Eco-Justice Program offers resources for making Earth Day Sunday worship "reverent and relevant." Churches are encouraged to celebrate Earth Day Sunday on April 19 or 26. Resources include the Eco-Justice Program's 2009 Earth Day Sunday resource, "Celebrating and Caring for God's Creation" (go to to download); prayers, hymns, and liturgy about climate change (go to to find them online); and a free copy of the video "God's Creation and Global Warming" on the connection between human actions and the impact on God's Creation (go to contact to order).

  • A Good Friday Service is being held at Colosimo's Gun Center in Philadelphia, as a follow-up to the "Heeding God's Call" gathering that took place in January, held by the Historic Peace Churches. At the gathering, a new faith-based campaign against gun violence in America's cities was launched, and witnesses were held at the gun center. The center "has been named one of the 10 worst gun dealers in the country due to the number of handguns it sells traced to crimes," said an announcement of the event. "Heeding God’s Call asked Mr. Colosimo to sign a 10 point Code of Conduct (agreed to by Wal-Mart) intended to keep handguns from being sold to straw purchasers who supply the criminal market. Mr. Colosimo has refused to sign." The Good Friday Service on April 10 will include prayer for victims, families, and friends of those affected by gun violence. For more information contact or 267-519-5302.

  • The Christian Peacemaker Team in Iraq, which includes Church of the Brethren member Peggy Gish, has announced a new emphasis on accompaniment of Kurdish villages on the northern border of Iraq that are threatened by bombings and attacks by Turkey, Iraq, and Iran. "The US government has allowed Turkish military planes to fly over Iraqi airspace and has given Turkey military ‘intelligence’ to bomb Kurdish villages along Iraq's northern borders with Turkey and Iran, causing destruction of hundreds of villages and displacement of villagers," wrote Gish in a recent release for CPT. The CPT Iraq team has relocated to Dohuk in northwest Iraq. Go to to find Gish’s reports online.

  • The April edition of "Brethren Voices" features the Shenandoah Song and Story Fest under the title, "Streams of Mercy, Never Ceasing." "Brethren Voices" is a monthly public access television show sponsored by Peace Church of the Brethren in Portland, Ore., and produced by Ed Groff. In the April edition, Ken Kline Smeltzer, founder of "Song and Story Fest," hosts the program and introduces a day’s activities at the Song and Story Fest annual family camp co-sponsored by On Earth Peace. The program also includes Jim Lehman's story about the youth who brought the motion to the 1948 Annual Conference to establish Brethren Volunteer Service. More information about "Brethren Voices" can be obtained from Groff at

  • Brethren author Peggy Reiff Miller of Milford, Ind., is touring this spring to honor the "seagoing cowboys" who tended livestock on cattle boats to Europe and China following World War II. The trips were part of the reconstruction efforts of Heifer Project, then a Church of the Brethren program, and the UN Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, with the Brethren Service Committee as the recruiting agency for the cowboys. Miller has been gathering stories and artifacts for a documentary photo story, "A Tribute to the Seagoing Cowboys." She will present programs at Dayton (Va.) Church of the Brethren on April 13; Lititz (Pa.) Church of the Brethren on April 14; the Brethren Village Assembly Hall in Lancaster, Pa., on April 15; the Mennonite Heritage Center in Harleysville, Pa., on April 19; Zion Mennonite Church in Archbold, Ohio, on May 29; East Chippewa Church of the Brethren in Orrville, Ohio, on May 31; Bethel College Mennonite Church in North Newton, Kan., on June 9; and West Des Moines (Iowa) United Methodist Church on June 11. Additional information is available at or 574-658-4147.

  • Daniel Lafayette "Lafie" Wolfe, a member of Harmony Church of the Brethren in Myersville, Md., celebrated his 104th birthday on March 14. "We praise God for his good mind and health," said pastor Tracy Wiser.
Source: 4/8/2009 Newsline