Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Brethren bits: Personnel, job opening, congregational news, more.
  • Audrey Hollenberg has begun work as one of the three National Youth Conference (NYC) coordinators in the Church of the Brethren’s Youth and Young Adult Ministry Office. She will coordinate NYC along with Emily LaPrade and Matt Witkovsky. Hollenberg has completed her third year at Bridgewater (Va.) College and is taking a year out for this Brethren Volunteer Service assignment. She is from Westminster (Md.) Church of the Brethren.

  • The Church of the Brethren seeks a director for Youth and Young Adult Ministries to fill a fulltime position at the General Offices in Elgin, Ill., as part of a dynamic team of leaders in the office of Congregational Life Ministries. Responsibilities include leading the church in cultivating dynamic relationships with youth and young adults, developing creative responses to the challenges and opportunities of contemporary youth culture and its relationship to the Christian faith, planning and overseeing major denominational events for youth and young adults, working collaboratively as part of a denominational team to pursue a common vision, and serving as a mentor to volunteers and planning teams. 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 in a wide variety of contexts, experience in leading new initiatives, and the ability to follow an idea through from concept to implementation. The preferred candidate will have expertise in some combination of the following areas: junior high ministry, senior high ministry, young adult ministry, cultural trends, stages of faith development, faith and technology, service ministries, event planning, and congregational vitality. Communication skills and interpersonal competency are required. The selected candidate will work as part of a team, utilize a variety of computer and digital technologies, represent the Church of the Brethren, attend to self-care and continuing education, efficiently manage a complex workload, develop and manage a detailed budget, participate in regular processes of review and priority-setting, and understand this position as part of a larger vocational commitment. Applications will be received beginning June 3 and will be reviewed beginning June 17, with interviews commencing in late June and continuing until the position is filled. Qualified candidates are invited to request the application form and complete job description, submit a resume and letter of application, and to request 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. 258.

  • Church of the Brethren general secretary Stan Noffsinger has signed on to an ecumenical letter to President Obama about peace in Israel and Palestine, at the invitation of Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP). The letter encourages the President’s vigorous leadership for peace on the occasion of his speech in Egypt on June 4. CMEP has worked with Ron Sider, a leader in the Evangelical community, and William Shaw, a leader from the historic African-American church tradition, in circulating the letter to a broad list of Christian traditions, according to a report from Warren Clark, executive director. The letter says, in part, "Mr. President, you have assumed office at one of the most critical moments in the long history of this conflict. While the international community and majorities of the Israeli and Palestinian people are all committed to a two-state solution as the only option for achieving peace and security, the window of opportunity is rapidly closing. Continued settlement growth and expansion are rapidly diminishing any possibility for the creation of a viable Palestinian state. The targeting of Israeli civilians through ongoing rocket fire and the insistent rejection of Israel’s right to exist reinforce the destructive status quo.... Now is the time for immediate and bold American leadership."

  • The Church of the Brethren’s annual Stewardship Resource Packet has been distributed early this year in response to requests from congregations for resources be available before July. The packet was mailed to every congregation in late May. With a theme of "New Love, New Mercy," based on Lamentations 3:21-24, the packet contains the 2009 "Giving" magazine, materials based on the fall campaign theme, and a sample of one bulletin insert. To receive sample copies of the remaining three inserts, contact Carol Bowman at or call Brethren Press at 800-441-3712.

  • Upcoming courses from the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership and the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center include "Distinctive Marks of the Brethren" June 11-14 taught by Kate Eisenbise at McPherson (Kan.) Church of the Brethren (contact or 765-983-1824); "Introduction to Biblical Languages" June 8-Aug. 14 taught by Susan Jeffers online (contact or 765-983-1824); "Micah and Isaiah" Sept. 11-12, Oct. 2-3, Oct. 23-24, and Nov. 6-7, with Robert Neff at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College (contact or 717-361-1450); "Messages of Peace in the Old Testament," on Sept. 16 with David Leiter at Elizabethtown College (contact or 717-361-1450); "Passions of Youth, Practices of Christ" on Sept. 24-27 with Russell Haitch at Codorus Church of the Brethren in Dallastown, Pa. (contact or 765-983-1824); "A Study of Judges" Sept. 28-Nov. 6 with Susan Jeffers online (contact or 765-983-1824).

  • The New Church Development Advisory Committee has published a Monthly Prayer Card through May 2010, to help Brethren join in prayer for new mission points and new church starts throughout the denomination. The card was enclosed in both English and Spanish in a recent "Source" mailing that went to all Church of the Brethren congregations.

  • On Earth Peace is calling on churches to join its campaign for the International Day of Prayer for Peace (IDOPP) on Sept. 21. A series of conference calls has been scheduled to share On Earth Peace's vision, describe ways to be involved, and answer questions. Calls will be held June 4, from 1-2 p.m.; and June 16, from 7-8 p.m. (Eastern time). Go to to register. Two more conference calls are planned for July or August to talk about the listening process that On Earth Peace is recommending for IDOPP participants, led by David Jehnsen, chair of the board of Every Church a Peace Church. This year, a special emphasis of the campaign is how the recession is affecting local communities. Churches have three ways to participate: through an observance, a vigil, or a listening initiative. Visit to learn more about ways to be involved, or go to to register as a participant. Direct specific questions about the campaign to So far, 23 groups have registered to participate, reported coordinator Michael Colvin. "We are well on our way to having 40 registered participants by the beginning of Annual Conference."

  • The New Windsor (Md.) Conference Center dining services will host a "Grand Re-Opening of the Kitchen" on June 10 with a special lunch menu showcasing the new capabilities of its renovated dining services. The kitchen will be open for walk-through tours for visitors to see the improvements to the facility.

  • The SERRV Store at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., is holding its Second Annual Sidewalk Sale on June 4-6. Specials include savings of 50 percent or more on a variety of items from vases to baskets, and sampling of Rooibos Iced Tea and Divine chocolate.

  • Tony Campolo has been a guest speaker for the 125th anniversary celebration at York (Pa.) First Church of the Brethren. He is a well known American Baptist preacher and a past presenter at Annual Conference and National Youth Conferences of the Church of the Brethren.

  • Christ the Servant Church of the Brethren in Cape Coral, Fla., is experiencing a complete makeover, according to the Atlantic Southeast District newsletter. The congregation, now known as "A Life in Christ" Church of the Brethren, is moving to a new building in downtown Cape Coral. The church has developed new mission and vision statements, a new website at , a Facebook group, and a MySpace page. Leah J. Hileman is pastor.

  • As part of National Police Officers Week, a church service for active and retired law enforcement professionals was held at Stone Church of the Brethren in Buena Vista, Va., on May 3. The service remembered five officers from the community killed between 1921-1989.

  • Family Faith Fellowship Church of the Brethren in Enid, Okla., was showcased during Enid Historic Preservation Month in May. The limestone church with a three-sided staged steeple was built in 1947 by the First Church of Christ and purchased by Family Faith Fellowship in 1995.

  • The Annual Assembly of the Church of the Brethren in Puerto Rico takes place June 12-13.

  • Western Plains District is calling for prayer for Lybrook Community Ministries, which serves the Tokahookaadi congregation and Native American community around Lybrook, N.M. The district’s Lybrook Vision Committee requested prayer "for the persons and work groups that will be coming to do needed repairs and upgrades to the property to make it more inviting for guests who seek the sense of God that can be found in this beautiful land."

  • Pinecrest Community, a Church of the Brethren retirement community in Mount Morris, Ill., has been selected 2009 Business of the Year by the Oregon Area Chamber of Commerce. Pinecrest was noted for supporting education and being part of the education of medical students and nurses, involvement of employees in the community, and support for an area food pantry.

  • Several faculty at Church of the Brethren colleges have received honors recently. Three Juniata College faculty members have received honors: Norm Siems, Woolford Professor of Physics, received the 20th annual Beachley Award for Distinguished Academic Service; James Roney, I.H. Brumbaugh Professor of Russian, was named 42nd recipient of the Beachley Award for Distinguished Teaching; and James Tuten, associate professor of History, received the Henry and Joan Gibbel Award for Distinguished Teaching. At McPherson (Kan.) College, assistant professor of education Shay Maclin was named Advisor of the Year at the KNEA-SP Spring Representative Assembly in Emporia, Kan., nominated by sophomore education major Jenni Birdsall, Teachers of Tomorrow president. In addition to Maclin’s award, the Teachers of Tomorrow chapter at McPherson received recognition as "Outstanding Chapter."

  • The June edition of "Brethren Voices" features an interview with Annual Conference moderator David K. Shumate in a third annual "Meet the Moderator" program. Shumate and Annual Conference secretary Fred Swartz present the site of this year’s Conference in San Diego, and discuss the items of new business. Closing minutes of the show include the song, "When Love Leaves," written by Brethren musician and composer Shawn Kirchner in honor of past moderator Chuck Boyer. The July edition of "Brethren Voices" will include an interview with Kirchner. "Brethren Voices" is a community television program offered by Peace Church of the Brethren in Portland, Ore., and produced by Ed Groff. Congregations may purchase copies for use in their own communities, contact or 360-256-8550.

  • This is the third summer that Emily Young of First Church of the Brethren in Harrisonburg, Va., is serving as a Solidarity Worker in Sudan through the New Community Project, a Brethren-related nonprofit. Director David Radcliff reports that three solidarity workers have begun their summer service in Nimule, Sudan: Young as team leader; Christian Kochon of Marlton, N.J.; and Adella Barrett of Lynchburg, Va. The group is hosted by the Girl Child Development and Education Committee, through whom the project also gives grants for girls' education and women's development, and in cooperation with the Sudan Council of Churches. Radcliff also reported that the project recently transferred a donation of $10,000 to the Girl Child Committee for educational scholarships and women's tailoring and gardening projects, on top of $24,000 already sent to Sudan this year for these programs as well as a reforestation effort. A Learning Tour to Sudan is planned for Jan. 2011. Visit for more.

  • The World Council of Churches (WCC) marked the International Day of Conscientious Objection on May 15 by releasing results of a study showing a global trend to better recognize conscientious objection, but also showing that those who exercise it are often discriminated against or sent to prison. "Korea, Israel, and the United States are examples of countries where conscientious objection may put people through a tough time," said a release. "South Korea has the largest number of imprisoned conscientious objectors in the world--about 700 each year.... Most of them are Jehovah's Witnesses who do not get any support from most local churches." In Israel, the report said, "the army not only recruits young men, but also women at the age of 17. It takes much courage to refuse, and those who do often face a first prison term when they are still teenagers.... Many of those who refuse are not against the army in general, but against the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory. They also condemn the recent war in Gaza." War resisters from the US are finding sanctuary in Canada, the report said. "Most of these are soldiers who joined the army as volunteers, but now refuse to serve the armed forces as a consequence to their experiences in Iraq, which have made them feel that this war was morally wrong. Since selective objection to a certain war is not legally recognized in the United States, the war resisters flee to Canada with their families and ask for refugee status. They are nevertheless often faced with the threat of deportation and subsequent imprisonment in the US."

  • A new book about modern-day slavery is recommended by Church of the Brethren staff who are working on the issue. "The Slave Next Door: Human Trafficking and Slavery in America Today" by Kevin Bales and Ron Soodalter is the result of a three-year project looking into slavery across America, and thinking about how the country can fulfill its promise of liberty and become slave free. Purchase this hardcover volume from Brethren Press for $24.95 plus shipping and handling, call 800-441-3712.
Source: 6/3/2009 Newsline

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