Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Brethren bits: Job opening, Spanish translators, legislation, more.
  • IMA World Health (founded and incorporated as Interchurch Medical Assistance, Inc.) based at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., is seeking a president/CEO. IMA World Health is an international faith-based member organization advancing health and healing to vulnerable and marginalized people in developing countries. It is a membership association of 12 US Protestant relief and development agencies including the Church of the Brethren, with field offices in Tanzania, Haiti, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, and Kenya. Responsibilities of the position include among others: providing visionary and strategic leadership; overseeing day-to-day operations; maintaining understanding of financial position and outlook; ensuring fiscal responsibility and security; providing resource development leadership for expansion of the donor base and fostering relations with donors; providing management and direction to staff; communicating the mission of IMA to various audiences and developing and maintain sound relationships with those who share the vision. Ideal candidates will share passion and commitment to advancing health and healing to vulnerable and marginalized people and strengthening health systems in developing countries, and will bring a variety of experiences and attributes including significant senior leadership experience in the nonprofit sector, specifically in a large organization operating in several diverse geographic and cultural locations; a high degree of financial literacy; experience or working knowledge of international public health, including hands-on overseas experience; familiarity with large contract and government organizations; knowledge of and experience in member-based organizations, preferably faith-based; a successful record of fundraising; understanding of the servant leadership model; interpersonal and communications skills and ability as a speaker; a deep Christian faith commitment to Gospel values; integrity and a positive reputation; sensitivity to cultural differences; willingness to travel; and a master’s degree or equivalent. IMA offers a competitive salary and benefits package. IMA has retained TransitionGuides to assist in identifying and recruiting candidates. To apply, e-mail a cover letter, resume, and salary requirements to Send other inquiries to IMA Search c/o TransitionGuides, 1751 Elton Rd., Suite 204, Silver Spring, MD 20903; 301-439-6635. Contact: Ginna Goodenow. Resume reviews will begin in June. Interviews will take place July through September. The board will approve and welcome the new president/CEO in October. Go to for more information.

  • Spanish translators are needed for the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference in San Diego, Calif., on June 26-30. "Looking for a unique volunteer opportunity at Annual Conference? Serve as a Spanish translator during the business sessions and worship services," said an invitation from Spanish translation coordinator Nadine Monn. Those who may be able to help provide this service for Hispanic church members from Puerto Rico and the US are invited to contact Monn at

  • Church of the Brethren General secretary Stanley J. Noffsinger has signed a national faith letter in support of the Employee Free Choice Act. A total of 39 faith-based organizations and denominations signed the letter coordinated by Interfaith Worker Justice and the Poverty Initiative of the National Council of Churches. "As leading religious organizations and denominations representing people of faith throughout the country, we are committed to promoting and uplifting the dignity of working people and particularly low-wage workers," the letter said in part. "We therefore urge you to support the Employee Free Choice Act, legislation that will help to ensure the right of all workers to form unions if they so choose, in order to negotiate decent wages, provide for their families, secure fair benefits and decent working conditions, and have a voice in the workplace." Noffsinger reported that he signed the letter on the basis of the Church of the Brethren General Board’s 1988 "Resolution for a Just Minimum Wage." Go to for the full text of the letter.

  • Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) has welcomed the news that President Obama has signed the "Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act" reauthorizing and expanding national volunteer service programs. "BVS is excited that President Obama has so strongly embraced volunteer service," said director Dan McFadden. "The Brethren have a long history of service being an active part of one’s faith life. The support the administration has for public service can only strengthen BVS." The legislation will increase the number of AmeriCorps volunteers from 75,000 to 250,000, increase education rewards to $5,350, provide incentives for middle and high school students to engage in service, recognize and support universities engaged in service, create new service corps to meet needs in low-income communities, expand service opportunities for older Americans and public-private partnerships, and build a nationwide service infrastructure through community-building investments and social entrepreneurship. "The increase in the education award will be a help to those BVS volunteers who qualify for AmeriCorp through direct service sites," McFadden said. "Many young people come out of college with significant debt and this will be an encouragment for service."

  • The New Windsor Conference Center at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., has begun a major kitchen renovation. The four-week construction project will replace equipment to meet fire and safety regulations, and also will expand the facility and allow for safer and more user friendly work stations, better customer flow, and upgrades to operating systems. During the renovation, a self-service area and a temporary kitchen will operate out of the rear dining room. Dining services will be continue to be open daily for lunch.

  • SERRV has received the inaugural award for "Outstanding Service to the Fair Trade Community" from the Fair Trade Federation (FTF). SERRV was begun as a Church of the Brethren program. Carmen Iezzi, executive director of FTF, applauded SERRV saying, "The Fair Trade Federation could think of no better organization to honor with its first Award for Service to the Fair Trade Community than SERRV. Their tireless commitment to artisans and farmers over the last 60 years, as well as their numerous contributions to the broader Fair Trade movement, are a great example to new and established Fair Trade Organizations alike."

  • An orientation for the Training in Ministry and Education for Shared Ministry programs of the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership took place at Bethany Seminary in Richmond, Ind., on March 26-29. Participants included Amy Bell of Union Bridge, Md.; Sharon Heien of Centerville, Iowa; Becky Henry of Frederick, Md.; Marilyn Koehler of Udell, Iowa; Diane Mason of Moulton, Iowa; Janice Shull of Venice, Fla.; Diana Smith of Warsaw, Mo.; and Jeremy Westlake of Browning, Ill.

  • Prayer requests from RECONCILE, a partner organization in southern Sudan where the Church of the Brethren mission has placed staff, include prayer for a trauma healing program with 51 children who were affected by recent Lord’s Resistance Army attacks on the city of Yei. The Lord’s Resistance Army is a rebel group from Uganda. "Pray especially for the children who have had family members killed or abducted," RECONCILE staff asked. RECONCILE also received news of a serious raid in Akobo, a major center of the Presbyterian Church of Sudan, leaving 177 people dead. In addition, the staff requested people of faith to join in praising God "for how well the three-month courses here at RECONCILE Peace Institute are going and pray that the Lord would use the students as instruments of peace and healing."

  • Onekama (Mich.) Church of the Brethren is celebrating its 100th anniversary on June 13-14. Pastor Frances Townsend reports that a book about the history of the church and its founding pastor, J. Edson Ulery, is now online. "We in the congregation have always enjoyed the book, ‘A Heap of Living,’ by Cora Helman," Townsend wrote. "Recently her great nephew Jeff Clemans finally read the book he had heard of in family circles. He was so excited by it that he created a website and put the entire contents on it. The website also includes a picture biography of Cora Helman." Go to to find the book online.

  • Three Church of the Brethren congregations in the Harrisonburg and Dayton areas of Virginia--Fairview, Greenmount, and Mount Bethel--are among 10 churches, Ruritan clubs, and a Boy Scout troop who are sponsoring a new food pantry.

  • Olympia, Lacey (Wash.) Community Church of the Brethren has offered to host Camp Quixote during July and August. Camp Quixote is a camp for people who live "without traditional housing," according to a report by Howard Ullery in the church newsletter. Ullery wrote that "hosting this camp...has felt like a calling for our congregation for some time."

  • The Illinois and Wisconsin District Leadership Team has begun an effort to visit as many churches as possible in the district, in order to meet personally with pastors and members. The team held its most recent meeting at Woodland Church of the Brethren in Astoria, Ill., in April. The Leadership Team has met in 12 different congregations since District Conference in 2007.

  • The McPherson (Kan.) College Board of Trustees in March approved a "Plan for Sustainability" to address financial concerns related to a declining endowment, a need to balance the budget, and to create a plan for future growth. According to a release from the college, in December the board invited faculty to develop proposals and adopted a revised plan this spring. "In light of these significant economic issues, some more difficult financial decisions were necessary," the release said. Reductions in staffing include adjunct staffing in academic areas including business and behavioral science; elimination of a half-time position in physical education and two staff in the library and academic dean’s office. Tuition and fees will be increased by about 6 percent. Advancement, athletic, and administrative budgets will be decreased collectively by about $100,000. The Spanish major will become dormant, but the college will continue to offer up to 12 hours of Spanish language courses each year. Theater and music departments will combine to form a new performing arts major with three fulltime faculty. The instrumental music program will be discontinued. The history department will continue to offer a major with a more compact set of course offerings while providing an opportunity for teacher licensure with two fulltime faculty. "Due to the continuing declines in the financial markets since the original announcement of this plan, the college has regretfully decided to suspend the college’s contribution to its employee retirement plans," the release said. "The board will revisit this decision at its future meetings." The plan also features a combination of donor-designated endowed funds to allow the college to continue and enhance a variety of programing related to philosophy and religion, peace and Christian service, including the campus ministry position. Go to for the full plan.

  • Bridgewater (Va.) College has announced a Presidential Search Committee. The committee will conduct the search for a replacement for retiring president Phillip C. Stone. The committee will be chaired by G. Steven Agee, a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. The committee also includes Judy Mills Reimer, former general secretary of the Church of the Brethren, along with William S. Earhart, Michael K. Kyles, Robert I. Stolzman, James H. Walsh, W. Steve Watson Jr., James L. Wilkerson, and Kathy G. Wright.

  • Colleen Hamilton, a Church of the Brethren student at Manchester College, is one of two students to win top honors at the school’s 11th annual Student Research Symposium. Hamilton, a senior from Rockford, Mich., was honored for her paper, "A Springtime for Our Language: The Protection and Promotion of Regional and Minority Languages in Europe." Also honored was Utsav Hanspal of New Delhi, India, for his paper, "Temperature Analysis of Galactic Bubbles."

  • Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) co-director Carol Rose has announced that programs are at risk because of financial concerns. "CPT has always lived with the tenuous balance of having the work to do, the people to do it, and finding enough money to fund it," Rose wrote in a release. "Now, for the first time, the balance has tipped to the degree that we may need to suspend and scale back compelling peacemaking work because funds are low." CPT has "made the difficult decision to freeze the stipended Peacemaker Corps at its current size," Rose reported. "On every team, CPTers are drastically reducing expenses. Some have offered to work fulltime without pay or with deep cuts to very modest subsistence stipends." The release also listed opportunities for continued and expanded CPT work including renewed work in Palestine in the old city of Al Khalil (Hebron) and communities around the village of at-Tuwani; training opportunities in Colombia and the UK; opportunities in the DR Congo; and to accompany Kurdish Iraqi villagers displaced by Turkish bombing. Go to for more about CPT.

  • Mark Kuntz of Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, Ill., and a cello player in the Elgin Symphony Orchestra (ESO), has been honored by the Illinois Council of Orchestras for 50 years with the ESO.

  • Chuck Riedesel of Holmesville (Neb.) Church of the Brethren, who teaches computer science and engineering at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, has won the James A. Griesen 2009 Chancellor’s Award for Exemplary Service to Students.

  • Mary Goetzke, a resident of Fahrney-Keedy Home and Village, celebrated her 102nd birthday on April 7 at the Church of the Brethren retirement community in Boonsboro, Md. Asked how she feels to be 102, Goetzke said, "That’s what they say, but I don’t feel any different," according to a release from Fahrney-Keedy. As for advice on living as long as she has, she says people should, "Just live a good, common, clean life."
Source: 5/06/2009 Newsline

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