Thursday, September 24, 2009

Brethren Bits
  • Corrections: In a Newsline story of Sept. 9 on the Eagle Creek Church, the word "with" was inadvertently left out of the following corrected sentence: "Ballinger consulted with other district executives and found that churches have done this before with approval from their districts." Also, in the Newsline Extra of Sept. 7, the correct title of David Leiter's book is "Neglected Voices: Peace in the Old Testament."

  • Churches for Middle East Peace has issued a letter supporting strong US leadership to achieve a negotiated, sustainable resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Church of the Brethren general secretary Stan Noffsinger is one of the numerous religious leaders who have added their signatures to the letter. "The letter asserts that this is a time of great opportunity and urgency and a comprehensive Middle East peace is a fundamental American interest that crosses racial, ethnic, and religious lines," said a release. "It expresses support for the President's determination to bring the conflict to an end and to six principles including Israel's right to exist in security and the right of the Palestinian people to a viable, sovereign, and secure state of their own." The full text of the letter can be found at .

  • SERRV celebrated its 60th anniversary on Sept. 11 with a special event held at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. SERRV was begun by the Church of the Brethren, one of the first fair-trade organizations in the country, with a mission to "Eradicate poverty wherever it resides." It continues to have its warehouses and a retail store at the Brethren Service Center.

  • Registration remains open for the Church of the Brethren’s Nigeria Workcamp to be held Jan. 9-30, 2010. Registrations are due by Oct. 9. Workcamp volunteers will worship, learn, create relationships, and work with Christians from Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN--the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) and Mission 21. The group will work in Kwarhi, tour Kulp Bible College, Hillcrest, and other schools, and visit a game reserve in Yankari. Cost is $2,200, which includes the round-trip flight to Nigeria, meals, lodging, in-country transportation, and overseas travel insurance. For more information and a registration form go to

  • Labor Day weekend marked the 49th Annual Labor Day Coffee held at the junction of Highways 36 and 75 south of Sabetha, Kan. The event was started by Russell Kiester, then pastor of Trinity/Sabetha Church of the Brethren, to provided rest and refreshment for the many people traveling over Labor Day in a time before convenience stores and the numerous restaurants of today. A special 50th celebration of this event is being planned for next year, reports Western Plains District.

  • Nampa (Idaho) Church of the Brethren on Oct. 8-9 is hosting a workshop sponsored by On Earth Peace. The workshop will be on the topic of handling conflict and will offer "Matthew 18 Training for Trainers." It will be led by Rick Polhamus, a Ministry of Reconciliation trainer from Fletcher, Ohio. The event is intended to equip leaders for Matthew 18 Workshops, described as "a practical, faith-centered resource for strengthening a congregation s ability to deal with differences." Contact

  • Stover Memorial Church of the Brethren in Des Moines, Iowa, has begun offering office space for the Iowa Peace Network. Christine Sheller, a member of Ivester Church of the Brethren and a part-time student at Bethany Theological Seminary, has begun an internship with the network and has been working to set up the office at Stover Memorial.

  • Upcoming district conferences include the Missouri and Arkansas District Conference on Sept. 25-26 in Roach, Mo.; and the Oregon and Washington District Conference on Sept. 25-27 at Camp Koinonia in Cle Elum, Wash.

  • The 29th Annual Heritage Fair sponsored by Camp Blue Diamond and Middle Pennsylvania District will be held Sept. 26 at the camp. Activities for all ages including food, fun and fellowship, will be held from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. A quilt and basket auction begins at 11 a.m., a children’s auction at 1 p.m., and the district quilt will be auctioned at 2:30 p.m. Proceeds are split between the camp and district outreach ministries. For more information call at 814-667-2355.

  • The 11th Annual Camp Mack Festival will be held on Oct. 3 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. The festival featured a variety of booths, exhibits, and activities including silent auctions, entertainment, a scarecrow contest, a train ride, a hay ride, a horse-drawn carriage, pontoon rides, and children’s activities.

  • A Fall Banquet for the Carlisle (Pa.) Truck Stop Chaplain Ministry will be held on Oct. 3 at New Fairview Church of the Brethren in York, Pa.

  • The Juniata College board of trustees has added three new members: alumni trustee Geoffrey Clarke of Huntingdon, Pa., who is vice president of construction at New Enterprise Stone and Lime Co.; Gayle Pollock of Lewisburg, Pa., director of student recruitment with George Dehne Associates and part-time senior associate director of admissions at Bucknell University; and Eric Jensen of Indianapolis, Ind., a senior research fellow at Eli Lilly and Co. In addition, Jenifer Cushman, Juniata's dean of international programs and associate professor of German, has been named a Presidential Fellow by the Association of International Education Administrators.

  • The Global Women's Project Steering Committee met at the end of August in North Manchester, Ind. The project is affiliated with the Church of the Brethren. "We welcomed new board member Kim Hill Smith from Minneapolis to the committee and heard from Yvonne Dilling, who shared insights she learned from working with development projects in Central America," said a report in the Global Women’s Project newsletter. The group also celebrated the beginning of collaboration with a new project: Growing Grounds, a collaborative effort between Education for Conflict Resolution Inc. of North Manchester, Ind., and Wabash (Ind.) Church of the Brethren serving the needs of women in prison. The committee also noted receipt of over $3,000 from a Mother’s Day Project and the sale of Lenten Calendars. The steering committee will meet next in March 2010 in Indianapolis.

  • A Progressive Brethren Gathering on the theme, "Ready at the Thresholds," is planned for Nov. 13-15 hosted by Elizabethtown (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. "The gathering will offer opportunities to reflect on the theological, social, and political thresholds that we engage as progressive people of faith and vision in changing times," said an announcement. Guest speaker Gordon Kauffman, professor emeritus at Harvard Divinity School, will give a presentation titled "Mystery, God, and the Human Imagination." Cost of $100 includes most meals. A discount is available for students. To register, go to The gathering is jointly sponsored by Womaen’s Caucus, Voices for an Open Spirit, and the Brethren Mennonite Council for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Interests.

  • A gun store in Philadelphia that has been the focus of witnesses against gun violence has been charged with breaking the law, and may close. The initiative against gun violence in America’s cities started at the Heeding God’s Call gathering of the Historic Peace Churches in January. The Associated Press reported on Sept. 23 that Colosimo’s Gun Center has been charged in federal court with making false statements and failing to keep records required by law. Colosimo's was chosen as a focus for witnesses "because of the number of guns sold there that end up being used in crimes," in the words of the AP report. On Sept. 24, the "Philadelphia Daily News" reported that the business may close (see ). "Our thanks to anyone who has participated in any way in this faith-based movement to end gun violence," said an e-mail from those organizing the witnesses, which have continued consistently since the January gathering. A number of Philadelphia religious leaders have supported the effort including Jewish rabbis, Roman Catholic leaders, a variety of Protestant clergy, and Thomas Swain, clerk of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).
Source: 9/24/2009 Newsline

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