Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Brethren bits: Correction, remembrances, job openings, more.
  • Correction: A song by Shawn Kirchner was incorrectly named in Newsline on June 3, in a "Brethren bits" note about Brethren Voices. The correct title is, "When Love Leads."

  • Ellen Edmister Cunningham of Fresno, Calif., a former Church of the Brethren missionary in China and India, died on April 23 at age 102. She and her late husband, E. Lloyd Cunningham, responded to a call for missionaries to go to China in 1938. After unrest developed in China they were in the Philippines for language study when Pearl Harbor was attacked in 1941. Along with more than 400 other civilians they and their young son, Larry, were in a Japanese internment camp from 1941-45. The story of the internment experience has been published in "Brethren Life and Thought." Coming home after liberation in 1945, the Cunninghams returned to China in 1947 only to be forced out by the communists in 1949. While in Hong Kong, awaiting passage home, they received word that the mission field in India needed a doctor so the family, with two children by then, went on to India to work for the church’s mission there. Cunningham was born on Jan. 22, 1907. For the past 27 years she lived at San Joaquin Gardens in Fresno, Calif.

  • James K. Garber, 83, a former member of the executive staff of the Church of the Brethren General Board, died June 9 at Timbercrest Healthcare in North Manchester, Ind. From 1983-86 he served as executive for the General Board’s Human Resources department. He also worked at Manchester College for 30 years, beginning as director of Alumni Affairs in 1962, then moving to the post of director of Public Relations and Development through 1984, and again serving as director of Development from 1987 to his retirement in 1994. After retirement, he directed community fundraising projects including the Manchester Community Pool, library, and Sports Complex. He also served on the Board of Directors of Timbercrest, the North Manchester Library--where he served two terms as president, and the Shepherd's Center. He was a past president of the North Manchester Chamber of Commerce, and was named Distinguished Citizen of the Year in 1997-98. In earlier years, he worked at Garbers Inc., the family business, and was assistant director of placement for Indiana University’s Bureau of Personnel Relations. He was born in Elkhart, Ind., on May 1, 1926, to Samuel H. and Florence (Kulp) Garber. He married Helen Anne Winger in 1947. He was a 1950 graduate of Manchester College, and in 1962 earned a master of business administration from Indiana University in Bloomington. He was interviewed about his conscientious objection and participation in Civilian Public Service during World War II in a 1990 "Messenger," where he recalled that his conviction against violence began when as a young boy he threw his toy guns in the waste can. "My mother told the pastor about that and he preached a sermon about me," Garber remembered. He is survived by his wife, Helen Anne Garber; four children, Gloria Jan Garber of Rockville, Md., Timothy James (Deborah Nelson) Garber of Elgin, Ill., Christopher Wayne (Kathy) Garber and Julie Lynne Garber, both of North Manchester; four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. A memorial service was held on June 13. Memorial gifts are received to the Manchester College Peace Studies program.

  • Jay M. Witman, 56, Pennsylvania auctioneer who helped begin two Church of the Brethren disaster relief auctions, died at his home in Manheim, Pa., on June 7. He co-founded the Atlantic Northeast District Disaster Relief Auction in 1977, and assisted in establishing a similar auction in Shenandoah District in 1994. He started his career as an auctioneer in 1971 with Wilbur H. Hosler; in 1973 cofounded Hat and Gavel Auction Co. in Lititz, Pa.; was a partner in J. Omar Landis Auction Service of Ephrata, Pa.; and was founder and owner of Witman Auctioneers, Inc. and Tents for You in Manheim. He also sold for several automobile auctions, participated in specialty auctions including the Dutchland Toy Auction, was the first to hold a Winross collectable auction, and conducted many public sales. His volunteer work also included service with the Mennonite Central Committee Disaster Relief Auction in Harrisburg, Pa., and at the Sarasota (Fla.) Christian School. Born in Lancaster, Pa., he was the son of the late Amos B. and Anna Mary Johns Witman, and following his father’s death, Earl and Marian Minnich were instrumental in raising him. In 1970, he graduated at the top of his class from Reppert School of Auctioneering in Indiana, and also studied real estate appraising at Stevens Trade School in Lancaster. He served as a Northeast Advisory Board Member for the former Lititz Springs Commonwealth National Bank, was a past member of the Lancaster and Manheim Chambers of Commerce, was a presiding president of the Manheim Historical Society, and a member of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. He was a member of White Oak Church of the Brethren in Manheim, and was instrumental in organizing the Manheim Area Prayer Breakfast. A funeral was held June 14. Memorials are received to Gideons International or Bible Helps.

  • On July 6, Denise Kettering will begin a one-year internship in the Brethren Historical Library and Archives at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. She has completed a doctorate in religious studies at the University of Iowa, with a focus on women in 17th-century Pietism. She grew up in Ashland, Ohio, and previously served a one-year internship in the archives in 2002-03.

  • The New Windsor (Md.) Conference Center has welcomed Ed and Betty Runion from Markle, Ind., as hosts for the Old Main building for the months of May and June. Brethren Volunteer Service workers Larry and Elaine Balliet have been first-time hosts in Windsor Hall for May, June, and July. The Balliets most recently worked at the Bahamas Methodist Habitat on Eleuthera, where they served as financial assistant and development coordinator.

  • The Gather ’Round curriculum, a project of Brethren Press and Mennonite Publishing Network, is accepting applications for a managing editor. This fulltime position carries responsibility to copy edit and proofread, manage the curriculum production process, and secure and maintain contracts and permissions. Qualifications include excellent editorial and computer technology skills, ability to organize projects and manage details, ability to operate well in a collaborative environment, grounding in Church of the Brethren or Mennonite beliefs and practices, with marketing experience a plus. A bachelor’s degree is required; a graduate degree in a related field is preferred. Location is open, with a preference for the General Offices location in Elgin, Ill. Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. The start date is Aug. 17, or earlier. The full position description will be available soon at To apply, send a letter of application and resume to Anna Speicher, Project Director and Senior Editor, Gather ’Round Curriculum, at or 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120.

  • The Gather ’Round curriculum, a project of Brethren Press and Mennonite Publishing Network, is accepting applications for a content editor. This contract position will work closely with curriculum writers, and edit manuscripts in accordance with editorial and production guidelines. Qualifications include excellent editorial and writing skills, understanding of faith formation and developmental stages, the ability to operate well in a collaborative environment, and grounding in Church of the Brethren or Mennonite beliefs and practices. A bachelor’s degree is required; a graduate degree in theology or education is preferred. Location is open. Employment will begin with attendance at a writers’ conference on Sept. 27-Oct. 2. The full position description will be available soon at To apply, send a letter of application and resume to Anna Speicher, Project Director and Senior Editor, Gather ’Round Curriculum, at or 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120.

  • The Church of the Brethren has announced an opening for a shared position in Nigeria: teacher of peace and reconciliation at Kulp Bible College, and peace and reconciliation worker with Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN--the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). Location is Kulp Bible College (KBC) in Kwarhi, Adamawa State, in a rural area near the town of Mubi in northeast Nigeria close to the Cameroon border. KBC is operated by EYN with the primary function to train leaders for the rapidly-growing Nigerian church, and provides training for 180 students annually in multi-year certificate or degree programs. This fulltime salaried position is for a period of two years, with a possible opportunity for renewal. It can be divided between two individuals. Married couples are encouraged to apply. The application deadline is July 15, or until filled. Responsibilities are to teach peace and reconciliation classes including conflict resolution and self care for those in conflict situations; conduct training and workshops for faculty and staff as requested; work to develop and expand the existing EYN Peace and Reconciliation program through the denominational offices located near KBC, including to conduct workshops for church leadership, create and implement programs related to peace and reconciliation and conflict resolution, and related tasks. The position is accountable to the Principal of KBC and the Director of Peace and Reconciliation for EYN, and will be a shared position between both programs. Qualifications include a passion for helping others to realize their full potential through peace and reconciliation; commitment to Christian beliefs and lifestyle; ability to work under leadership in another cultural setting; ability to adapt and live with openness in another cultural setting without judgment or personal agenda; ability to learn the Hausa language; Church of the Brethren membership preferred. Required education and experience include a masters degree or higher in peace and reconciliation, conflict mediation, or a related field. Other degree disciplines will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Salary will reflect applicant’s education and experience. Housing, transportation costs, and a vehicle will be provided. Medical and other insurance will be provided for the applicant and his or her family members. Contact the Office of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120-1694; or 800-323-8039 ext. 258.

  • 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 Stan Noffsinger has signed on to a letter to President Obama urging the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry to investigate US-sponsored torture that occurred post-9/11. The letter has been written through the work of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT). The letter says, in part: "As senior religious leaders in the United States, we write to give voice to the compelling need for a comprehensive investigation into US-sponsored torture since 9/11. We believe the most credible way to conduct such an investigation is by establishing an independent, non-partisan Commission of Inquiry. Such a Commission is necessary to: (1) uncover the whole truth about US torture policies and practices; (2) mobilize a national consensus, and (3) build support for the requisite safeguards to ensure that US-sponsored torture never happens again.... Our nation can guarantee the abolition of torture only if and when we put in place safeguards to prevent once and for all the future twisting and abrogation of the existing laws that prohibit torture." The letter also acknowledged that "recent polls show that many people of faith have been persuaded that the use of torture can be justified in some situations.... We accept our responsibility to bear bold and compelling witness to the sanctity of the divine image in all people and to the fact that torture in every instance defiles and desecrates this divine image."

  • Children’s Disaster Services is offering workshops in late summer and fall: on Aug. 10-11 at Native American Ministry United Methodist Church in Milwaukee, Wis. (contact coordinator Lorna Jost at 605-692-3390); on Oct. 9-10 at McPherson (Kan.) Church of the Brethren (contact coordinator Elva Jean Naylor at 620-241-3123); and on Nov. 6-7 at Wesley Freedom United Methodist Church in Sykesville, Md. (contact coordinator Mary K Bunting at 410-552-1142). The $45 registration fee includes meals, curriculum, and one overnight stay ($55 for late registration mailed less than three weeks before the workshop begins). Workshops are limited to 25 people. The workshops are intended for prospective volunteers with Children’s Disaster Services, to receive training to work with children and families following disaster situations in the US. For more information contact Children's Disaster Services, 800-451-4407 ext. 5.

  • A donor to Heifer International has offered $4,000 for scholarships to help four young people participate in the September tour to Armenia and Georgia co-sponsored by Heifer and the Church of the Brethren. Applications must be made by mid-August, according to Jan West Schrock who will be co-leading the event along with Kathleen Campanella from the Brethren Service Center staff. For more information contact Schrock at 207-878-6846.

  • A 10-day workshop in Chalmette, La., beginning on May 26, has trained 16 new Brethren Disaster Ministries project leaders. Zach Wolgemuth, associate director of Brethren Disaster Ministries, traveled to Louisiana to help lead the workshop.

  • A meeting of the "Brethren Digital Archives" group was held June 3 at the Brethren Historical Library and Archives in Elgin, Ill. This committee is working on a project to digitize Brethren periodicals such as "Messenger," "Gospel Messenger," "Gospel Visitor," and others.

  • Ministry Summer Service orientation took place at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., May 30-June 4. Eleven interns will participate in the program this summer, at a variety of settings including Harrisburg and Palmyra, Pa.; Pleasant Dale and Bremen, Ind.; Broadfording, Md.; York Center, Ill.; and San Diego, Calif. The Youth Peace Travel Team also participated in the orientation, which was organized by the Ministry Office.

  • Good Shepherd Church of the Brethren in Springfield, Mo., held its final worship service on Sunday, June 7, according to an announcement in the "News-Leader" newspaper. The church also held a "Celebration of the Life of Good Shepherd Church of the Brethren" on that Saturday.

  • McPherson (Kan.) College has announced recipients of its 2009 Citation of Merit Award recognizing lifetime achievements of outstanding alumni: Church of the Brethren pastor Sonja Sherfy Griffith, of First Central Church of the Brethren in Kansas City, who also has held various positions in nursing including staff development coordinator at the Minneapolis Health Department and OB/GYN instructor at St. Olaf College; G. Eddie Ball, owner and operator of Ball & Son funeral home until his retirement in 1995, and a member of the United Methodist Church; and Gene Elliott, employed at Farmer’s Alliance until 1966 and then president of Elliott Insurance Management Inc., until retirement in 2005, and a member of the Nazarene Church.

  • Alumni Award honorees at Manchester College include Church of the Brethren general secretary Stanley J. Noffsinger (class of 1976), along with William N. Harper (’66) of Scottsdale, Ariz.; Peter M. Michael (’74) of Indianapolis, Ind.; and Nancy Walker (’76) of Wabash, Ind.

  • Manchester College faculty, former staff, and alumni have contributed to a new Peace, Justice, and Security Studies curriculum guide. The publication is described as "fully revised in its seventh edition to reflect the realities of post-September 11." The four co-editors include Julie Garber, a former editor at Brethren Press who has worked with the Plowshares cooperative of Manchester and two other peace church colleges in Indiana; and Tim McElwee, formerly of the Manchester peace studies department and a former director of the Church of the Brethren’s Washington Office. Contributors include Manchester faculty and alumni Katy Gray Brown (peace studies), Steve Naragon (philosophy), Ken Brown (retired peace studies), G. John Ikenberry, and Robert Johansen.

  • Thomas R. Kepple, president of Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., has been named chair of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania, effective July 1, for the 2009-10 academic year. He will oversee a board comprising 22 college and university presidents.

  • In an update from Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT), co-director Carol Rose reports that "CPT's first quarter income this year from individuals and congregations is ahead of what we'd expected, but we're clearly not out of the woods yet." CPT has re-instituted work in Al Khalil/Hebron, in the Middle East, and postponed closure of its work in Iraq. "We are still unable to welcome new, stipended workers for teams in the field. But with the help of donors’ ongoing generosity, we hope to be able to end that freeze," she said. The CPT office in Chicago also is moving to a new location and is seeking donated labor to make repairs and clean up the property, donations of materials, and interest-free loans of $5,000 or more to "reduce or eliminate the need for a commercial loan."

  • Members of the Society of Friends (Quakers) in central Pennsylvania--the State College Friends Meeting--are inviting Brethren to join them in support of the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund. The fund would receive the tax payments of conscientious objector tax payers, and would be disbursed only to non-military government programs--diverting tax dollars to "alternative service." A bill to establish the fund was recently reintroduced in Congress as HR 2085, by a group of 11 co-sponsors among the House representatives. An online link offers more information, go to at the Friends Committee on National Legislation website.
Source: 6/17/2009 Newsline

No comments: