Wednesday, April 22, 2009

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

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