Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Haiti workcamp continues rebuilding; funding needed for 'Brethren phase.'

A second disaster relief workcamp visited Haiti on Oct. 24-Nov. 1, part of a joint effort of Brethren Disaster Ministries and the Church of the Brethren Haiti Mission to rebuild homes following four hurricanes and tropical storms that hit Haiti last year.

Participants included Haile Bedada, Fausto Carrasco, Ramphy Carrasco, Cliff Kindy, Mary Mason, Earl Mull, Gary Novak, Sally Rich, Jan Small, and David Young. Leadership included Jeff Boshart, Haiti Disaster Response coordinator; Ludovic St. Fleur, Haiti mission coordinator and pastor of Eglise des Freres Haitiens in Miami, Fla.; Roy Winter, executive director of Brethren Disaster Ministries; and Klebert Exceus, a consultant for the work in Haiti. The group was joined for much of its trip by leaders from the Church of the Brethren in Haiti.

A highlight was the opportunity to attend the dedication and opening worship service of a new church building in Fond Cheval. The church has been built by the local community as a gesture of gratitude to the Brethren for rebuilding homes in the area. Many people gathered for the dedication, including Brethren from congregations in Port au Prince, the newly formed Haiti Church of the Brethren Leadership Team, and members of Exceus's church. "It was standing room only," Winter said. A special donation to the church's Global Mission Partnerships program helped cover church construction expenses that local Haitians did not donate.

"From there we hiked into the mountains and visited the work in the Mont Boulage area. We saw good work there," Winter said. However, the workcamp spent the bulk of its time--most of a week--rebuilding homes in the city of Gonaives. The group accomplished work on latrines for 18 families, painted 20 houses, and wired 20 houses for electricity.

It was "hot work" Winter said, the heat forcing some participants to stop work by noon. Some workcampers also spent time with the children who would gather at the construction sites. "Many children helped or tried to help with the painting," Winter said. "During breaks workcampers would spend time offering love and comfort. Sometimes they would spell names and talk about the alphabet...just being present with the children."

Boshart reported that "the Haitian supervisor in charge of the project was very satisfied and pleased with the work of the workcampers. During a short worship service on Mont Boulage, where Brethren Disaster Ministries has already completed the rebuilding of 21 homes, mission coordinator Pastor Ludovic St. Fleur recalled a Haitian proverb which says, 'If someone sweats for you, you change a shirt for him.' I believe our workcampers felt this hospitality as we were well cared for by the local church members wherever we went."

The group closed its trip to Haiti with a visit to a Brethren congregation in Cap-Haitien. "For some workcampers, visiting the churches was the most important to them," Winter said. He noted that the Church of the Brethren in Haiti has many preaching points that even St. Fleur has not had a chance to visit. "I am somewhat in awe of the church plant there, how much has been accomplished, and how it's growing," Winter said.

A principle function of the rebuilding project is to support the church in Haiti, to "help create synergy for them," he added. "I believe many of the workcampers were surprised by the difficulty of the situation, especially in Gonaives--water on and off, electricity off part of most nights, no fan, unusual food for some. The hardship became in time a way of being in solidarity with the Haitians, many living in even more difficult situations."

Brethren Disaster Ministries has now completed 72 homes in Haiti, toward a goal of 100. "We need to do 28 more houses," said Boshart, "By my count, at $4,000 per house and $500 per latrine, we're talking $126,000 to do all 28."

"It is significant to mention that we've tried very hard not to show favoritism towards Brethren families who were victims of the hurricanes," Boshart added. "In Gonaives, of the first 30 homes, none of them were Brethren. We now wish to make the next phase our 'Brethren phase,' which would mean building six homes for those Brethren families. This 'Brethren phase' would be $27,000."

"We still need to raise significant funds to accomplish the goal," Winter confirmed. He also hopes that the undesignated reserve funds already expended on the project through grants from the Emergency Disaster Fund can be replenished, anticipating increased giving as the project comes close to reaching its goal. "We have expensed $370,000 from the Emergency Disaster Fund for the work so far. So far we have only received $72,500 (as of the end of September) in donations designated for Haiti--the rest came from undesignated gifts."

From now on, Brethren Disaster Ministries will not be using any more undesignated reserve funds in Haiti, Winter announced. "At this point we will build as we receive designated gifts," he said.

A third Haiti workcamp is planned for January 2010. To express interest, contact or 800-451-4407 ext. 8.

For more about the Emergency Disaster Fund or to donate to the Haiti project online go to

For a photo album from the workcamp held in Haiti in October, go to

Source: 11/18/2009 Newsline
Mission executive visits churches and Rural Service Center in India.

During a trip to India in October, Global Mission Partnerships executive director Jay Wittmeyer visited congregations of both the Church of North India (CNI) and the Church of the Brethren in India. He also visited the Rural Service Center in Ankleshwar, following up on a recent review and evaluation of that program.

Wittmeyer was in India from Oct. 15-25, starting with time in New Delhi, then traveling to visit with and preach at historically Brethren congregations of CNI in the Gujarat area. He also met with the directors and board of the Rural Service Center, visited with congregations and leaders of the Church of the Brethren India, and attended a meeting of the "CBGB Trust" (standing for the Church of the Brethren General Board).

CNI is beginning a year-long celebration of its 40th anniversary year this fall, having been formed in November 1970 by several mission groups including the Church of the Brethren. Among other CNI services and events, Wittmeyer was welcomed to a special gathering of historically Brethren congregations of CNI in Ankleshwar. The gathering featured two worship services and was attended by hundreds of people, including Bishop Vinod Malavia, CNI bishop of the Gujarat diocese, and most of the CNI pastors in the area. The CNI celebration was extravagantly welcoming, Wittmeyer reported. Piles of flower garlands were presented to mark the occasion.

At the Rural Service Center, Wittmeyer met with directors Idrak and Rachel Din and attended the annual meeting of the Board of Directors. He visited several family farms with which the center has worked, as a follow up to a review and evaluation of the center that was made possible through the Global Food Crisis Fund.

Wittmeyer reported that the Rural Service Center is doing basic agricultural education, support, and capacity building for the rural community. The center bridges "between the local farmer and the local government," he said, "motivating people to access government facilities."

Services provided by the center include land leveling, information about improved varieties of crops and farming techniques such as "intercropping," and information about government agricultural extension programs. The center also works at connecting poorer farm families with the more well-to-do, who may demonstrate newer or more expensive technologies. An essential focus is to establish trust and communications with the farming community, and offer new ideas. "If you take poor rural farmers, they don't have the margin of land to take a risk to try out new crops and techniques," Wittmeyer explained.

The Dins also "work with Muslims and Christians and Hindus," he added. "Whenever you have an interfaith group going together to look at a farm plot, that's interesting."

In the Ahmadabad area, Wittmeyer visited the CNI Gujarat Biblical Seminary.

He also visited with trustees and members of the CBGB Trust. The relationship of CNI and the Church of the Brethren India is "sensitive" because of a legal dispute over former mission properties, he explained. "We (in the Church of the Brethren in the US) recognize both. We have relationship to both entities," he said, referring to the two church bodies that have emerged from the former Brethren mission in India.

Wittmeyer said he spent time encouraging the two church bodies to have consideration for their future relationship, to think beyond the dispute over property, and to share a concern to respect all of the people who are affected by the issue.

Source: 11/18/2009 Newsline
'Martyr's Mirror' provides agenda for Brethren Historical Committee.

The Brethren Historical Committee met at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., on Nov. 6-7. The committee advises the Brethren Historical Library and Archives (BHLA), promotes the preservation of Brethren historical records, and encourages Brethren historical research.

On the agenda was a "Martyrs Mirror" Conference to be held at the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College on June 8-10, 2010. "The Martyrs Mirror" is a historic book recounting the stories of Anabaptist and Mennonite martyrs to religious persecution in Europe in previous centuries. Note was taken of the copies of the book that are in the BHLA collection, including a copy of the 1748-49 edition printed by the Ephrata Press.

In action items, the committee reviewed the fee schedule for BHLA and recommended that the fee for copies of obituaries be increased to $4, if staff need to search indexes to locate an obituary. The committee also decided to sponsor an insight session at the 2010 Annual Conference and appointed Denise Kettering to serve as presenter. Reports were received from Brethren Press, the Germantown Trust, the Brethren Digital Archives, and several individuals.

The committee is chaired by Ken Kreider and includes Marlin Heckman, secretary, Denise Kettering, and Steve Longenecker. Also meeting with the committee were Church of the Brethren treasurer Judy Keyser and Ken Shaffer, director of BHLA.

Kreider was thanked for his eight years of service on the committee. Since he is not eligible to serve another term, nominations were made to fill the position. The Executive Committee of the Church of the Brethren's Mission and Ministry Board will receive and act on the nomination.

-- Ken Shaffer is director of the Brethren Historical Library and Archives.

Source: 11/18/2009 Newsline
New REGNUH collection will benefit small-holder farm families.

A new "REGNUH: Turning Hunger Around" collection has been announced by the Church of the Brethren's Global Food Crisis Fund, "for donors who wish to focus their response on tangible aspects of development."

The collection features five items that help the world's small-holder farm families achieve healthy and productive lives:
  • $15 purchases a jerry can (water jug) to carry and store water in Myanmar.

  • $25 buys two dozen cashew saplings to replenish orchards in Honduras.

  • $40 provides one bag of high quality seed to rice farmers in North Korea.

  • $100 supports a microcredit loan for a small business in the Dominican Republic.

  • $500 helps construct a deep and safe village well in water-stressed Niger.
The designated gifts will be combined with the contributions of others to reach as many small farm families as possible, GFCF manager Howard Royer reported in a recent newsletter.

Descriptive information on each of the five projects is available. REGNUH notecards may be obtained to inform recipients of alternative gifts given in their name at holidays or on special occasions. Contact Global Food Crisis Fund, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; or 800-323-8039 ext. 264.

Source: 11/18/2009 Newsline
Emergency Disaster Fund grants go to Pakistan and Sudan.

Recent grants from the Church of the Brethren's Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) have been given for humanitarian assistance in Pakistan, and health care in southern Sudan.

An allocation of $40,000 responds to a Church World Service (CWS) appeal for assistance in Pakistan. The grant will assist in providing the basic needs of displaced families, mobile health services, schools for children, vocational training for adults, and special programs for women.

A grant of $7,500 responds to an appeal from IMA World Health, following up on a previous allocation of $10,000 provided in Sept. 2007. IMA received initial funding from a special Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) to develop basic health services in the Jonglei and Upper Nile States of southern Sudan. Additional funding from MDTF has been withheld for unclear reasons, and this grant will continue to support IMA's work in Sudan while efforts are made to restore the MDTF funding.

In other disaster relief news, the church's Material Resources program at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., has begun its busy fall season. The program processes, warehouses, and ships relief materials.

"Boxcars containing Lutheran World Relief quilts, kits and soap have started to arrive from Michigan and Wisconsin--six so far," said a recent report. "We also received a piggyback trailer from Spokane, Wash., and several large donations from Pennsylvania." Recent shipments made on behalf of CWS consisted of blankets, school, baby and hygiene kits to Biloxi, Miss., for the homeless; blankets to Marion, Iowa, in response to flooding; and blankets to Pennsylvania for disadvantaged workers. IMA World Health orders of medicine have been packed for Cuba, Honduras, Kenya, Haiti, Nicaragua, Korea, Cambodia, Togo, Bangladesh, Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Source: 11/18/2009 Newsline
Apple pickers flee, fearing Turkish bombing in Iraq.

Church of the Brethren member Peggy Gish has returned to her work in Iraq volunteering with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT). She is part of a team currently supporting Kurdish villages in northern Iraq that have been threatened by bombings from neighboring Turkey. The following is a report on her work, dated Oct. 24:

"Large clusters of ripe apples weighed down branches as Kaka Najeeb, the leader of Merkajia, a Kurdish Iraqi village near the Turkish border, led members of the Iraq team from Christian Peacemaker Teams through his orchard. 'This is one of the best apple crops we've had,' he said. 'With our hired workers it would take us about a month to complete the harvest. Without help, most of the apples will rot.'

" 'Our workers heard that the Turkish Parliament extended for another year the permission for the Turkish military to continue military strikes against Kurdish rebels in the border mountains,' Najeeb continued. 'So when Turkish military planes flew low over the trees the past three days, the workers believed the planes had come to bomb. They all fled.'

"This is not the first time Merkajia, an Assyrian Christian village, has been attacked. During the Anfal of 1987-88, a genocidal campaign carried out by Saddam Hussein's regime, Merkajia and its surrounding villages were destroyed, and the people scattered to other parts of Iraq. Then after the Kurdish uprising in 1991, the 200 families returned and built a new village uphill from the remains of the old. During the 1990s, Turkish soldiers bombed the villages and kidnapped and tortured the residents. These attacks destroyed homes, farmland, livestock, crops, and displaced hundreds of families.

"In recent years, soldiers at the nearby Turkish base which lies inside Iraq about 12 kilometers from the border, have periodically launched rockets at Merkajia and other villages, usually during the spring or summer harvests. In order to go the nearest town, Kani Masi, residents must pass the Turkish base with its tanks and surveillance equipment. While the people in many of the other Christian and Muslim villages in that region have been afraid to return, a small number of men and a few women continue to stay in Merkajia.

"Turkey claims it is targeting Kurdish rebel fighters who have attacked Turkish soldiers, yet most of their strikes are in these civilian villages and not in the stronghold areas of the rebel group, giving the people reason to believe that one purpose of the attacks is to clear the border areas of residents and destabilize the region.

" 'We are a peaceful people and just want to remain in the village of our ancestors,' another resident told us. 'Turkey does this for military purposes. We are the victims of this war. The US government is supporting Turkey's actions. It doesn't care about the Kurdish people, just about their own purposes and profits. We love the American people, but not the American government and what it does.'

" 'Please raise our voices to the people of the world. Do what you can to stop this bombing,' Najeeb exclaimed. 'Our apples and crops would provide for all we need to be happy here, if we are allowed to live and work here in peace.'"

(Find out more about the work of CPT, originally begun as an initiative of the three Historic Peace Churches (Church of the Brethren, Mennonites, and Quakers) at

Source: 11/18/2009 Newsline
Martin Marty to speak at Bethany Seminary's 2010 Presidential Forum.

The 2010 Presidential Forum at Bethany Theological Seminary will feature Martin E. Marty as speaker on the theme, "When Strangers Are Angels: The Spiritual and Social Movement of Brethren, Friends, and Mennonites in a New Century." The event is scheduled for April 9-10 at the Bethany campus in Richmond, Ind.

Marty is well known as a commentator on religion and culture. He is a columnist for "The Christian Century" magazine and edits "Context," a semi-monthly newsletter on religion and culture. He holds the position of distinguished service professor emeritus at the University of Chicago, and continues weekly contributions to "Sightings," an electronic editorial published by the Marty Center at the University of Chicago Divinity School.

The forum also will feature panelists from the three Historic Peace Churches (Church of the Brethren, Friends, and Mennonites). Online registration at will begin in January.

Source: 11/18/2009 Newsline
Personnel, curriculum writers, Ministry Summer Service, and much more.
  • Juniata College president Thomas R. Kepple Jr. has agreed to extend his current employment contract through May 2013. Juniata is a Church of the Brethren-related school in Huntingdon, Pa. Kepple was scheduled to retire in May 2011. In addition, the contracts of Kepple's senior management team--James Lakso, provost, and John Hille, executive vice president of enrollment and retention--also have been extended. Kepple arrived at Juniata from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., where he was vice president for business and community from 1989-98. Previously, at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn., he served as director of administrative services 1975-81, dean of administrative services 1981-86, and provost 1986-89. He holds a bachelor's degree in business and economics from Westminster College, and a master's degree in business administration and a doctorate in education from Syracuse University.

  • The Gather 'Round curriculum seeks freelance curriculum writers to write for the 2011-12 year. Gather 'Round is a project of Brethren Press and Mennonite Publishing Network. Writers are needed for Preschool (ages 3-4), Primary (K-grade 2), Middler (grades 3-5), Junior Youth (grades 6-8), and Youth (grades 9-12). All writers will attend an orientation conference in April 2010 and begin writing thereafter, with deadlines staggered quarter by quarter. Writers prepare weekly materials for teacher's guides, student books, and resource packs. Compensation varies according to the age group and the number of weeks (12-14) in a given quarter. For more information and to apply, visit the "Contact us" page at Deadline for applications is Nov. 30.

  • Applications for the 2010 Ministry Summer Service program are due Feb. 1. Ministry Summer Service is a leadership development program for college students in the Church of the Brethren. Students accepted into the program will spend 10 weeks of the summer working in the church, either in a local congregation, a district office, a camp, or a denominational program. "Through MSS, God is calling congregations to reach out in the ministry of teaching and receiving. God is calling young adults to explore the possibility of church work as their vocation," said an announcement. Students will receive a $2,500 tuition grant, food and housing for 10 weeks, $100 per month spending money, transportation from orientation to their placement, and transportation from their placement to home. Churches who host a student are expected to provide an atmosphere for learning, reflection, and development of leadership skills; a setting for a student to engage in ministry and service for a 10-week period; a stipend of $100 a month, plus room and board, transportation on the job, and travel of the intern from orientation to the placement site; a structure for planning, developing, and implementing ministry projects in a variety of areas; and financial resources and time for the pastor or a mentor to attend two days of orientation. Students and congregations must apply by Feb. 1, 2010. Go to for the application form and more information.

  • "The brochure for the 2010 workcamps has arrived!" says an announcement from the Youth and Young Adult Office of the Church of the Brethren. "In a National Youth Conference year, most workcamps offered are for junior high youth but there are still options for senior high youth, including an intergenerational workcamp co-led by On Earth Peace and the 'We Are Able' workcamp co-sponsored by Caring Ministries." In addition, a young adult workcamp in Haiti is scheduled for the end of May. Registration opens Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. central time. For more information or to request a brochure, go to or contact or 800-323-8039 ext. 286.

  • On Earth Peace continues to receive applications for its annual Middle East Delegation, which will travel to Israel and Palestine on Jan. 5-18, 2010. The delegation is co-sponsored by Christian Peacemaker Teams. "Are you ready for the trip of a lifetime?" asks an announcement. "This is not a typical guided tour of the Holy Land. It is a journey in faith and forgiveness. Meet the ordinary Israelis and Palestinians who are seeking to come together for peace." For more information go to or contact delegation leader and On Earth Peace executive director Bob Gross at or 260-982-7751.

  • On Earth Peace is inviting young adult artists and graphic artists affiliated with the Church of the Brethren to submit a design for the an annual report poster. Each year, On Earth Peace designs a poster, with the annual report appearing on the back. "However, it is the poster on the front side that (people) tend to look forward to the most!" said the announcement. "Some posters remain relevant and popular for years, encouraging peace." The theme for the 2010-11 poster is taken from Jeremiah 29: 4-7 and 10-11, with a focus on verse 11: "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." Submissions must be high-resolution electronic submissions only; able to be reproduced on a 22 inch by 17 inch poster; with the scriptural theme (Jer. 29:11) written out. Submissions with the additional verses also are welcomed. Submissions should include the artist's contact information (telephone and e-mail). An award/honorarium of $300 is given to the artist of the poster selected. Eligibility: artists age 18-35 years, affiliated with the Church of the Brethren (through a congregation, church-related college, or family connection). Deadline for submissions is Dec. 31. Send submissions and questions to Gimbiya Kettering Lim, On Earth Peace communications coordinator, at or 202-289-6341. For more information go to

  • Church of the Brethren general secretary Stan Noffsinger was one of more than 40 American faith leaders to sign a letter calling for Congress to do everything in its power to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. The letter sponsored by the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) states in part, "Guantanamo is the symbol of our country's violation of our deepest values. Regardless of how it is operated now compared to how it was operated in earlier years, it stands, in the minds of hundreds of millions of people in our nation and around the globe, as a place where America broke faith with itself and used torture as an interrogation technique."

  • NRCAT is offering two resources for congregations and clergy this winter: "Advent 2009: Resources for Christian Clergy" gives worship resources for clergy to address the issue of torture during this Advent season, a free download is at A "300 in 30" campaign aims to recruit 300 congregations in at least 30 states to view and study a 20-minute video about torture, titled "Ending US-Sponsored Torture Forever," between now and April 1, 2010. The video can be viewed online, ordered for $5 in DVD format, or downloaded as an .m4v file. Discussion guides, online help for facilitators of congregational discussions of torture, and other resources are provided as part of the campaign. Go to

  • New from Brethren Press is the Winter quarter's "A Guide for Biblical Studies," the Brethren Bible study curriculum for adults. "Christ, the Fulfillment" is written by Chris Bowman, pastor of Oakton Church of the Brethren in Vienna, Va. The study focuses on Jesus' coming as the Messiah, and how he fulfills Old Testament prophecies. The study includes a daily scripture and a weekly lesson for the quarter, and questions for individual preparation and classroom use. Order from Brethren Press for $4 per copy, or $6.95 for large print, plus shipping and handling. Call 800-441-3712.

  • "Footprints" (formerly the Eastern Regional Youth Conference) will be held Nov. 20-22 in Chambersburg, Pa. David Radcliff, director of the New Community Project, will be the keynote speaker. "This year it has a brand new look and a new name," said an announcement of the event. "The title comes from the idea that each of us is on a journey. Our footprints are taking us in new and exciting directions as each of us strives, in our own way, to follow in the footsteps of Christ." The event will include workshops and a service project. Cost is $125 for youth and advisors. Contact Karen Duhai at 814-643-0601 or

  • Bethel Ministries, a nonprofit faith-based program connected with Mountain View Church of the Brethren in Boise, Idaho, helps men leaving incarceration change their lives to become law-abiding, productive members of society. The ministry is holding its 2009 Graduation and Resident Testimonials Banquet on Nov. 21 at 6 p.m. at the church. "You are invited to join us for a wonderful evening of celebration and praise!" said the announcement. "A unique opportunity to hear what God has accomplished through Jesus Christ, not only for the graduating Bethel residents but also our community." The guest speaker is Michael Johnson, a deputy warden at Idaho Maximum Security Institution. Contact or 208-345-5988.

  • Sunnyslope Brethren/United Church of Christ in Wenatchee, Wash., held its first "Harvest Celebration" on Oct. 11, celebrating a year of sponsoring a growing project with the Foods Resource Bank. The Church of the Brethren participates with the Foods Resource Bank through the Global Food Crisis Fund. The Sunnyslope growing project supports the Totonicapan Program in Guatemala.

  • The John Kline Homestead Preservation Trust has received statements of support from the Broadway (Va.) Town Council and the Shenandoah District Board. Paul Roth, a leader in the effort and pastor of the nearby Linville Creek Church of the Brethren, reported that the district board expressed "unanimous affirmation of support" for raising funds to purchase the homestead. "We hold in the highest esteem your efforts to preserve what may be the most important historical preservation project ever undertaken on behalf of the Brethren," the statement said. "Elder John Kline certainly stood for and lived the very principles that we still hold in highest regard. For that reason alone this undertaking is one that will, Lord willing, provide education to the young and old of our denomination and valley for many years to come." The John Kline Homestead Preservation Trust has been created in hopes of preserving the home of Elder John Kline, a Civil War-era Brethren leader and peace martyr. At the end of October, the trust received a check for $3,250 from the Margaret Grattan Weaver Foundation in Harrisonburg, Va., which supports preservation of the religious heritage of the Shenandoah Valley. Brethren across Shenandoah District are raising funds for the John Kline Homestead at a Spaghetti Supper Extravaganza on Dec. 11 at Briery Branch Church of the Brethren in Dayton, Va. "Momentum is building!" Roth said "We have raised over 50 percent of the money for our goal of $425,000. Gifts and pledges thus far total over $215,000."

  • Shenandoah District senior high youth will participate in a "30-Hour Famine" at Dayton (Va) Church of the Brethren on Nov. 20-21. The event raises awareness of hunger and poverty.

  • Members of Lower Deer Creek Church of the Brethren in Camden, Ind., have been having fun with a food collection project called "Raise the Turkey, Hide the Pastor." The church is collecting food for the Carroll County Food Pantry, and stacking it in front of the pulpit with the goal of eventually hiding pastor Guy Studebaker.

  • South Waterloo (Iowa) Church of the Brethren has a new website:

  • WFMY News 2 in North Carolina reports that a rural area of about 2,300 acres in southwest Forsyth County with ties to Fraternity Church of the Brethren and Hope Moravian Church is "one step closer to becoming a national historic rural district." The station reports that the North Carolina National Register Advisory Committee agreed on Oct. 8 to put the historic rural district application for the Hope-Fraternity area on the North Carolina Study List, a step toward National Register recognition. See the story at

  • Virlina District in October delivered about 650 pounds of Gift of the Heart Kits for disaster relief to the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. The district collects clean-up buckets, hygiene kits, school kits, or other kits donated by congregations at its District Resource Center.

  • The 25th annual Brethren Heritage Day held at Camp Bethel near Fincastle, Va., netted $30,769.91 in support of ministries of the camp and Virlina District.

  • Brethren Village, a Church of the Brethren retirement community in Lancaster, Pa., has opened its new Courtyards and Welcome Center, according to the "Lancaster Intelligencer Journal." The new facilities include 120 private rooms in a home-like environment. A dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony on Nov. 8 featured Atlantic Northeast District executive minister Craig Smith as the keynote speaker.

  • Brethren Village has announced the appointment of board members F. Barry Shaw of Elizabethtown, Pa., who was appointed chair of the Board of Directors; along with Douglas F. Deihm and Alan R. Over, both from Lancaster, Pa.

  • Manchester College in North Manchester, Ind., and Parkview Health Systems have announced a collaboration on the college's new School of Pharmacy campus in central Fort Wayne, Ind. In 2012, the college will assume the Fort Wayne Cardiology building on Parkview Health's Randallia campus, according to a release from the college. The release added that Manchester will now focus on hiring a dean for the new campus, carrying out the extensive pre-accreditation process for a School of Pharmacy, and raising $10 million in start-up costs. Manchester expects to enroll 265 students into the School of Pharmacy, with 30 faculty and 10 staff members.

  • In more new from Manchester, the leader of the college's environmental studies, Jerry Sweeten, will be honored in Washington, D.C., as the 2009 Indiana Professor of the Year on Nov. 19. Sweeten and his family attend North Manchester (Ind.) Church of the Brethren. He is among 38 state winners being honored, along with the 2009 US Professor of the Year. The award is given by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. Sweeten is the second member of the Manchester College faculty to receive the award; art professor emeritus James R.C. Adams was the 2002 US Professor of the Year.

  • Nathan H. Miller, an attorney and businessman from Harrisonburg, Va., has been named chair of the Bridgewater (Va.) College Board of Trustees. Miller also is a former representative to the Virginia House of Delegates from 1972-75, and a former state senator from 1976-83. He replaces outgoing chairman James L. Keeler of Moneta, Va.

  • Bridgewater College has announced two major construction projects, one of which will improve two existing student residence halls and another which will provide new village-style student housing. The first phase of both projects will get under way in Feb.-March 2010 and be completed by August, in time for the 2010-11 academic year.

  • The November edition of "Brethren Voices," the monthly community television program offered by Portland (Ore.) Peace Church of the Brethren, utilized seven photographic sources for the half-hour show about the International Day of Prayer for Peace. Photos and video segments were submitted by congregations from as far away as Philadelphia to San Diego. "This seemed to exemplify the opportunities that exist for this Brethren community television program," said producer Ed Groff in an invitation for other Brethren congregations to submit photos or video. "Brethren Voices is requesting video footage or photographs and stories about your experiences as a volunteer with Brethren Disaster Ministries or your congregation's involvement with Heifer International," Groff wrote. The December show will feature the work of Brethren Disaster Ministries, along with an interview with director Roy Winter. The January program will take a look at the Heifer International Global Village at Camp Shepherd Springs in Maryland. Another program in the works will feature interviews at the World Friendship Center in Hiroshima, Japan, where the directors serve through Brethren Volunteer Service. For more information contact Ed Groff at

  • Record numbers of Americans are going hungry, according to new data released by the US Department of Agriculture this week. More than one in seven, or 14.6 percent of American households, suffered from food insecurity in 2008. The 3.5 percentage point increase from 2007 is the largest one-year increase since the USDA first began publishing data. However, Bread for the World president David Beckmann commented in a release that the new data "is not surprising," as he commented on skyrocketing unemployment and the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs. "What should really shock us is that almost one in four children in our country lives on the brink of hunger," Beckmann said. According to the USDA report, in 2008, 16.7 million children, or 22.5 percent, were "food insecure"--4.2 million more than the year before. "We must make serious progress against child hunger when Congress renews child nutrition programs next year," Beckmann said. "To end hunger, our leaders need to strengthen nutrition programs and provide steady jobs that allow parents to escape the cycle of poverty and feed their families for years to come."

  • SERRV is announcing new markdowns of more than 150 items from its Fall/Winter Catalog, "just in time for holiday shopping!" The announcement assured shoppers that "while you are getting a great deal, as always, our artisans have been paid fairly and in full." SERRV is a nonprofit fair trade organization with the mission "to eradicate poverty wherever it resides by providing opportunity and support to artisans and farmers worldwide," and began as a Brethren program. For more go to

  • Tana Durnbaugh of Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, Ill., is the 2009 recipient of the Elgin-South Elgin Church Women United Human Rights Award. Her peace and justice ministry includes activities with Fox Valley Citizens for Peace and Justice and Christian Peacemaker Teams.

  • Paula Worley of Wichita, Kan., received the Young Alumni Award from McPherson (Kan.) College on Oct. 2 during Honors Convocation at homecoming. She is a family physician at GraceMed Health Clinic.

  • Virginia Meadows, director of programs at the Second Mile in State College, Pa., received the 2009 Church College Young Alumni Leadership Award from Juniata College at an Oct. 16 ceremony at the Middle Pennsylvania District Conference. She received the award for her work at Camp Blue Diamond in Petersburg, Pa., where she worked as program director from 2004-07.

  • New at is a video about the 2009 Christian Citizenship Seminar. The event was held this spring in New York City and Washington, D.C., for high school age youth to engage the issue of modern-day slavery.

Source: 11/18/2009 Newsline

Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren, or 800-323-8039 ext. 260. Charles Culbertson, Jeanne Davies, Ed Groff, Shawnda Hines, Jeri S. Kornegay, Nancy Miner, Al Murrey, Anna Speicher, Becky Ullom, and John Wall contributed to this report.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Preachers are named for the 2010 Annual Conference.

Preachers have been named for the worship services at the 2010 Annual Conference of the Church of the Brethren, to be held in Pittsburgh, Pa., on July 3-7, 2010.

Preaching for the opening worship service of the Conference, on Saturday evening July 3, will be Shawn Flory Replogle, Annual Conference moderator and pastor of McPherson (Kan.) Church of the Brethren. Marlys Hershberger, pastor of Hollidaysburg (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, will bring the message on Sunday morning. Speaking Monday evening will be Earle W. Fike Jr., former Conference moderator and retired pastor, seminary teacher, and General Board executive from Bridgewater, Va. Nancy Fitzgerald, pastor of Arlington (Va.) Church of the Brethren, speaks Tuesday evening. Jonathan Shively, executive director of Congregational Life Ministries, will bring the closing message on Wednesday morning, July 7.

In other news from Annual Conference, nominations of candidates for open positions on the 2010 ballot are requested.

Nominations are sought for the following offices: moderator-elect (one person, three-year term); Program and Arrangements Committee (one person, three-year term); Mission and Ministry Board (three persons, five-year term); On Earth Peace Board (one person, five-year term); Brethren Benefit Trust Board (one person, four-year term); Bethany Seminary Board of Trustees, laity (one person, five-year term); Bethany Seminary Board of Trustees, clergy (one person, five-year term); Committee on Interchurch Relations (one person, three-year term); Pastoral Compensation and Benefits Advisory Committee, laity (one person, five-year term); World Council of Churches Representative (one person, to be appointed by Standing Committee); Denominational Visioning Committee (four people, to be appointed by Standing Committee).

Four qualified candidates are needed for each open position. The deadline for nominations is Dec. 1.

Members of the church may nominate persons online at (click on "Election Forms" then "2010 Nomination Form"). Nominees should be contacted and give permission before forms are filled out. Each nominee will be e-mailed a link to the "2010 Nominee Information" form to complete online.

The Annual Conference office also has paper nomination forms available in English and Spanish. Contact the Annual Conference office at 800-323-8039 ext. 229.

Source: 11/4/2009 Newsline
Hispanic Ministries executives of several denominations gather in Chicago.

On Sept. 22-23 the first Hispanic Ministries Executive meeting was celebrated. It brought together several Hispanic leaders of different denominations who are responsible for the national strategies for Hispanic ministries in their respective churches. The executives held the meeting to reach out and develop their Hispanic ministries. They expressed that "it was a historic moment as they sat together to develop a collaborative work."

The Hispanic leaders represented about seven different denominations and churches at the two-day meeting, where they determined their purpose together to network, inform, train, collaborate, educate, and volunteer. They did not discuss differences in their theologies, but also agreed to have an annual meeting.

The meeting for the Hispanic executives was held in the facilities of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) in Chicago, Ill. During their time together, the executives shared about how they are working with Hispanic groups in the US, the numbers of churches and the structures with which they work, Hispanic educational materials that are available, and their experiences on different issues affecting their ministries such as immigration, church planting, and Latin youth in the US. Those three topics will be discussed more at future meetings.

An invitation to other denominational Hispanic leaders who were not present or who were unable to attend will be send for a future gathering.

Those present included Hector Carrasquillo of the ELCA, Canon Anthony Guillen from the Episcopal Church, Hector Rodriguez and Marissa Galvan-Valle from the Presbyterian Church USA, Francisco Canas from the United Methodist Church, Roberto Hodgson from Church of the Nazarene, Steve Strand and Edgar A Chacon from the Wesleyan Church, Jorge Cuevas from the Christian and Missionary Alliance, and Ruben D. Deoleo from the Church of the Brethren.

The group plans to meet next at the Episcopal Cathedral in Los Angeles, Calif., on Oct. 3-5, 2010.

-- Ruben Deoleo is director of Intercultural Ministries for the Church of the Brethren.

Source: 11/4/2009 Newsline
Brethren Volunteer Service unit begins work.

Volunteers who participated in the most recent orientation of Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) have begun work at their projects. The orientation was the 286th unit of BVS. Following are the volunteers, their home towns or congregations, and project assignments:

Katie Baker of Piney Creek Church of the Brethren in Taneytown, Md., to Talbert House in Cincinnati, Ohio; Jesse Bradford of Olympia, Lacey (Wash.) Community Church of the Brethren, to International Community School, Decatur, Ga.; August and Jutta von Dahl of Bell, Germany, to the Meeting Ground in Elkton, Md.; Laura Dell of Holmesville (Neb.) Church of the Brethren, and Anne Wessell of Spring Creek Church of the Brethren in Hershey, Pa., to Cincinnati (Ohio) Church of the Brethren; Marcus Dombois of Kassel, Germany, to San Antonio (Texas) Catholic Worker House; Lea Ernst of Wuppertal, Germany, to Bridgeway in Lakewood, Colo.; Mathias Firus of Ramstein, Germany, and Chris Kollhed of Worspwede, Germany, to Project PLASE in Baltimore, Md.; Dominik Geus of Leverkusen, Germany, and Marcel Irintchev of Bonn, Germany, to the Brethren Nutrition Program in Washington, D.C.; David Jamison of Roanoke (Va.) Central Church of the Brethren, to Hadley Day Care, Hutchinson, Kan.; Sebastian Peters of Andernach, Germany, to the Religious Coalition for Emergency Human Need in Frederick, Md.; Jill Piebiak of Valleyview, Canada, to the World Student Christian Federation in Budapest, Hungary; Linda Propst of Staunton (Va.) Church of the Brethren, to Cross Keys Village in New Oxford, Pa.; Dassie Puderbaugh of Topeka (Rochester Community) Church of the Brethren in Topeka, Kan., to the Family Abuse Center in Waco, Texas; Steve Schellenberg of Terre Haute, Ind., to Brethren Disaster Ministries at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md.; and Cheryl Stafford of Oakland Church of the Brethren in Bradford, Ohio, to Kilcranny House in Coleraine, Northern Ireland.

Source: 11/4/2009 Newsline
Church receives large offering at Rally Day event on mission.

Chambersburg (Pa.) Church of the Brethren collected a $110,000 plus offering on Sunday, Oct. 18, at a Rally Day event focused on mission. Nancy and Irvin Heishman, co-coordinators of the Church of the Brethren mission in the Dominican Republic, were the keynote speakers.

The Heishmans led a Sunday school discussion on calling to ministry and mission, and gave a children's story on the conditions needed to grow the fruit of the Spirit in one’s life. A basket of fruits that can be grown in the DR but not in the US served as an illustration, and a papaya was cut open for children to sample. Irvin Heishman gave the morning sermon based on selections from Jeremiah. At a potluck meal following worship, the couple showed a slide presentation about the mission work in the Dominican Republic.

"It was a privilege and joy to be part of such a significant day in the life of this congregation," Irvin Heishman said.

The offering for the day was designated to help the congregation pay off a building debt. Their goal was to raise $80,000. The surprisingly strong $110,000 (estimated) offering was matched dollar for dollar up to $100,000 by an individual donor. This gave the congregation a total benefit of about $210,000 toward its $240,000 debt.

"We had planned our Oct. 18 event for a year in advance," commented pastor Harold Yeager. "Irvin and Nancy Heishman blessed our congregation with their ministry, and God blessed abundantly with the offering. We give God every praise for being part of that special day."

Source: 11/4/2009 Newsline
Webinar with Charles Arn to focus on ‘Making Evangelism Effective.’

A webcast seminar on the topic, "Making Evangelism Effective: Why New People Connect and Stay in Church" is offered through a partnership of the Transforming Practices office of the Church of the Brethren’s Congregational Life Ministries, and Bethany Seminary’s Electronic Communications. The speaker is Charles "Chip" Arn, president of the Church Growth Institute.

The webcast will be offered on Nov. 17 at 12:30-1:30 p.m. Pacific time (3:30-4:30 p.m. eastern), with a repeat broadcast on Nov. 19, at 5:30-6:30 p.m. Pacific time (8:30-9:30 p.m. eastern).

The event will provide information gleaned from research of new people who join a church and stay in the congregation, insights for leaders who want to invest their church’s outreach energy in the right place, and specific guidelines that are critical for church outreach to be effective.

No pre-registration is required, and there is no fee to participate. Those who view the webcast live may receive 0.1 continuing education credit. Go to to connect with the webcast.

Source: 11/4/2009 Newsline
Jonathan Reed to speak at Progressive Brethren Gathering.

A change of program has been announced for "Ready at the Thresholds: Progressive Brethren Gather," on Nov. 13-15 hosted by Elizabethtown (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. Jonathan Reed, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of Religion at the University of La Verne, Calif., has been announced as the featured presenter. Due to serious health concerns, Gordon Kaufman was forced to cancel his planned presentation.

In cooperation with Bethany Seminary’s Electronic Communications, most sessions will be webcast live with recordings available later (go to

This is the second Progressive Brethren Gathering, billed for "persons who see themselves as progressive and currently, or formerly, participating in the Church of the Brethren." It is sponsored by Womaen’s Caucus, Voices for an Open Spirit, and the Brethren Mennonite Council for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Interests (BMC).

Reed is an authority on first-century Palestine archaeology and has been involved in several major digs in the Middle East. His books include "The HarperCollins Visual Guide to the New Testament: What Archaeology Reveals About the First Christians," "Archaeology and the Galilean Jesus," and two books co-authored with John Dominic Crossan, "In Search of Paul: How Jesus’ Apostle Opposed Rome’s Empire with God’s Kingdom" and "Excavating Jesus: Beneath the Stones, Behind the Texts." He has been featured on the History Channel, "Good Morning America," and the National Geographic series "Science of the Bible." He and his family are members of La Verne Church of the Brethren.

Reed will give presentations on "Paul and Imperialism" and "Paul, Domination, and Sexuality" on Saturday afternoon, Nov. 14.

The weekend also will include opening worship on the theme, "Gathering at the Thresholds"; a variety of workshops; a banquet at Elizabethtown College on Saturday evening; Bible study led by Christina Bucher, dean of faculty and professor of Religion at Elizabethtown College; and a concluding service with the Elizabethtown Church, with BMC executive director Carol Wise bringing the message. Registration is $100 ($50 for students and $30 for children). Registration includes meals but not housing. Go to

Source: 11/4/2009 Newsline
Resources help prepare for National Youth Conference.

Resources to help youth groups and their congregations prepare for National Youth Conference (NYC) 2010 are being offered at the event’s website, . The conference is for senior high youth and adult advisors. It will be held on July 17-22, 2010, at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo. Registration opens on Jan. 5, 2010, at 8 p.m. central time.

To help prepare congregations and youth spiritually, the NYC office has put together a number of resources that are available online: a short promotional video, printable flyers, and monthly newsletters posted in pdf format. Fundraising ideas are provided as well, with each newsletter featuring an "NYC Fundraiser of the Month."

A monthly Bible study written by Church of the Brethren members also will be posted. So far, Bible studies are available through April. "Feel free to use these in your youth groups. They are a great way to get familiar with the theme from 2 Corinthians 4:6-10, 16-18, and to prepare spiritually for NYC," said a recent letter to congregations and pastors.

In addition, the coordinators are promoting NYC at popular social networking sites including Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter, and are providing a blog. Links are at

In other news, speakers for the NYC worship services have been announced: Shane Claiborne of Philadelphia, a leader in the new monastic movement; Jarrod McKenna, a leader in the emerging church movement in Australia; Brethren Revival Fellowship leader James Myer of Manheim, Pa.; Annual Conference moderator Shawn Flory Replogle; Bridgewater (Va.) College academic dean Carol Scheppard; Brethren videographer David Sollenberger; Ted & Company, a Mennonite comedy team from Harrisonburg, Va.; Naperville (Ill.) Church of the Brethren pastor Dennis Webb; Angie Lahman Yoder of the ministry team at Circle of Peace Church of the Brethren in Peoria, Ariz.; and the winners of the NYC youth speech contest.

-- Audrey Hollenberg and Emily LaPrade are the coordinators for NYC 2010.

Source: 11/4/2009 Newsline
Reflections on World Communion Sunday in Nigeria.

On Oct. 4--World Communion Sunday--Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN) celebrated communion. Communion followed a similar pattern to that of the Church of the Brethren in the US. The date and form of communion, or "love feast," was closely connected to our home congregation Chiques Church of the Brethren in Pennsylvania. As we participated in the service, we thought of our friends and family gathering around the tables commemorating the life and sacrifice of Jesus.

At Chiques, we gather around tables on Saturday evening for the common meal, unleavened bread, wine (which is grape juice), footwashing, and a cappella singing. On Sunday after the morning service, we gather again for an informal fellowship meal.

In Kwarhi--at the Kulp Bible College chapel--the scene was dramatically different but strangely familiar. Rather than Saturday evening we gathered on Sunday morning. After the regular service, we began the communion and love feast portion which also was held in the pews of the church sanctuary.

We began with the footwashing. To do this we filed out of the church in groups of about 20 people, men out one door and women out another. We then broke up into pairs and washed each other’s feet. After this was completed we shared a fellowship meal. The meal took place in the pews. People passed what they brought and moved about the room tasting the various dishes. At the conclusion of the meal, which lasted only a short time, everyone returned to their seats for the remainder of the service. The bread was small cubes of white bread and the wine was, because of the absence of grapes in Nigeria, a strawberry juice blend.

This was a dramatically different but strangely familiar experience. As we participated in the celebration, we were drawn to think of the truly international nature of the Church. While we knew what was happening at one congregation in Pennsylvania, we could only imagine what was taking place on this World Communion Sunday in many other parts of the world.

Jesus said to "do this in remembrance of me." We can now not only do this in remembrance of him, but we can remember our brothers and sisters around the world who also gather to celebrate the feast.

-- Nathan and Jennifer Hosler are Church of the Brethren mission staff in Nigeria.

Source: 11/4/2009 Newsline
How do I see God in my work?

The following reflection is by Scott Douglas, director of the Pension Plan and Employee Financial Services for Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT). It first appeared in "Simply News," a staff newsletter of Church of the Brethren agencies, as part of a series in which church staff answer the question, how do I see God in my work?

"The greatest challenge of the past nine months has been the process of reducing the benefits of over 1,450 Pension Plan annuitants. This reality was made more difficult by the fact that I personally know many of the folks whose benefits would be reduced.

"Since the plan to reduce benefits was announced in May, we have received many phone calls, e-mails, letters, and direct contacts. The thoughts and feelings expressed have included confusion, anger, and fear--all perfectly understandable. How does an individual on a fixed income handle a significant cut to income?

"What has impressed me most is that with few exceptions, the people contacting us with their questions and concerns have all comported themselves with grace and dignity. I come away from each encounter with a strong sense of the Holy Spirit’s presence. There is no personalizing--making me or anyone else the villain, nor is there self-pity. In fact, with amazing frequency I hear expressions of gratitude and blessing.

"By this I don't mean to suggest that anyone is happy about losing income. This is an awful reality that will impact each annuitant in a variety of ways, and we all wish that this reduction was not necessary.

"Rather, there is a matter-of-fact acceptance of the circumstance and an affirmation that in spite of the difficulties represented in this reduction, God is present and accompanying us through these challenging times."

Source: 11/4/2009 Newsline
Brethren bits: Corrections, Advent prayer, jobs, and more.
  • Correction: Nadine Monn’s name was omitted from the Intercultural Advisory Committee in the Newsline report from the Mission and Ministry Board meeting.

  • A correction has been made to the Prayer of Dedication for the Advent Offering scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 6. ( ). Following is the corrected prayer, in English and Spanish:

    Prayer of dedication: O God, Giver of Life and Light, Creator of all that is and will be, One with Jesus the Christ, and Author of Hope: Our words of gratefulness are inadequate to say thank you for coming into our midst through the Holy Child.Thank you for sending us Jesus, who came to teach, to heal, to set us free from all that captures us, and to love us and all of your children unconditionally. Accept these gifts and speed them on their way to make possible ministries that continue the work and example of Jesus. We pray this for Jesus’ sake and the sake of the world. Amen.

    Oración dedicatoria: O, Dios, Dador de Vida y Luz, Creador de todo lo que existe y existirá, en unión con Jesús el Cristo y Autor de la Esperanza, nuestras palabras de agradecimiento son insuficientes ara darte gracias por hacerte presente entre nosotros a través del Santo Niño. Te damos gracias por enviarnos a Jesús, quien vino para enseñarnos, sanarnos y librarnos de todo aquello que nos hace esclavos, y para amarnos incondicionalmente a todos y cada uno de nosotros, tus hijos. Acepta estas ofrendas y apresúralas para hacer realidad ministerios que prosigan con la labor y el ejemplo de Jesús. Te lo pedimos por Jesús y por el bien del mundo. Amén.por el bien del mundo. Amén.

  • Cheryl Stafford began an interim assignment as a staff volunteer with Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) on Nov. 2. She is a member of Oakland Church of the Brethren in Gettysburg, Ohio, and is a first-time BVS volunteer in her retirement years. Since 1997 she was on the staff of Indiana University East in Richmond, Ind., where she held many positions including most recently Interim Dean of Students. She plans to go to Northern Ireland to work at Kilcranny House, a peace and reconcilation center and farm.

  • The New Windsor (Md.) Conference Center is thanking volunteer hosts Mike and Barbara Hodson who returned home to Troy, Ohio, on Oct. 31. They served as hosts for Windsor Hall in October. Eileen Campbell of Ambler, Pa., has begun as hostess of the Old Main building.

  • COBYS Family Services in Lancaster, Pa., has an opening for the position of executive director, with an application deadline of Dec. 3. Among qualifications in the position announcement are: a strong Christian faith with an appreciation of Church of the Brethren heritage and practices; a master’s degree (preferred); thorough knowledge of business and fiscal management and senior level experience; awareness of current trends in the social services field; effective oral and written communication skills; executive, leadership, and supervisory skills; ability to network with other social service agencies and faith-based ministries; and an integrated faith commitment, both personally and professionally. Serving on the Search Committee are COBYS Board members Deb Krantz, chair, a certified school nurse in the Hempfield School District and a member of Mechanic Grove Church of the Brethren in Quarryville, Pa.; Pamela Bedell, a teacher assistant and member of Indian Creek Church of the Brethren in Harleysville, Pa.; Cindy Bradley, a pre-school director and member of Lebanon (Pa.) Church of the Brethren; Nancy Fittery, pastor of Swatara Hill Church of the Brethren in Middletown, Pa., and a certified spiritual director; and Arthur Kreider, a superintendent with builder Paul Risk Associates and a member of Lampeter (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. Also on the committee are Jim Beckwith, pastor of Annville (Pa.) Church of the Brethren and a former Annual Conference moderator; and Paul W. Brubaker, retired executive vice president of the ENB Financial Corp. and an ordained minister at Middle Creek Church of the Brethren in Lititz, Pa. COBYS Board president Whit Buckwalter, a corporate relationship manager with Fulton Bank, is an ex-officio member of the committee. COBYS Family Services is a Christian family service agency affiliated with the Atlantic Northeast District of the Church of the Brethren. Motivated by Christian faith, COBYS educates, supports, and empowers children and adults to reach their full potential. COBYS carries out this mission through adoption and foster care services, counseling, family life education, and a home for teen mothers. Based in Lancaster County, COBYS serves children and families in south central Pennsylvania. The complete position announcement is available at For more information, contact Search Committee chair Deb Krantz at

  • Camp Alexander Mack in Milford, Ind., is immediately seeking a Food Service manager-cook, to fill a year-round management position. Applications are due by Dec. 1. The position is to be filled by Dec. 28. The primary responsibilities are to prepare good quality food for groups according to schedules and menus with personnel who assist being properly instructed and supervised; maintain a clean, well organized kitchen and food storage room including food ordering, stock rotation, inventories, and record keeping; supervise the serving of food in an attractive and appealing manner and clean-up including proper storage of food and sanitation; provide for scheduling, supervision, instruction, and training of Food Service personnel; work with user groups to provide menus that meet the dietary needs of participants; serve on the Management Team; participate in professional growth events yearly. Compensation includes a competitive salary, health insurance, life and LTD insurance, conference and continuing education allowance, travel expenses, some meals, onsite residence available, two-week paid vacation, personal days off. Qualifications include a bachelor’s degree or comparable education or experience; a minimum of three years of food preparation in a camp setting, other food preparation field, or comparable experience; participation in a Christian church or fellowship; age 21 or older. To apply send a cover letter of intent, employment application (available at, and resume (if available) to Rex Miller, Executive Director at Camp Mack, to or to this address by Dec. 1: Camp Mack, P.O. Box 158, Milford, IN 46542.

  • Prayer concerns from Nathan and Jennifer Hosler, Church of the Brethren mission workers in Nigeria, were sent along with their recent report on peace and reconciliation work with Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). "We greatly appreciate any opportunities you have to lift up us and the Nigerian church in prayer," they wrote. They asked for prayer for their own health and safety during travel; for vision and planning for the EYN Peace Program; and for peace in Nigeria. "Please pray for healthy relationships to be built between Muslims and Christians, for trust to be restored in communities where it has been broken," they asked. "Pray for healing of trauma and against further outbreaks of violence. Please pray for good leaders, people of justice and integrity. Nigerians suffer a lot from corruption occurring at national, state, and local levels. A few are very rich and many are very poor."

  • Four Mile Church of the Brethren in Liberty, Ind., celebrated its 200th anniversary on Oct. 24-25. It is the oldest Brethren church in Indiana.

  • Funds totaling $50,000 have been distributed from proceeds of the World Hunger Auction at Antioch Church of the Brethren in Rocky Mount, Va. According to a report in the Virlina District newsletter, Heifer International will receive $25,000 for programs outside the US. "This year the committee was given the opportunity to participate in a matching grant through Heifer resulting in this contribution being matched by funds from other sources," the newsletter said. "The specific project is responding to the 2008 earthquake in the northwestern Sichuan province in China." Other funds went to Heifer’s domestic programs, Roanoke Area Ministries, the Church of the Brethren’s Global Food Crisis Fund, and the Heavenly Manna Food Bank.

  • Northern Colorado Church of the Brethren in Windsor, Colo., has changed its name to Peace Community Church of the Brethren.

  • Upcoming district conferences include the Shenandoah District Conference on Nov. 6-7 at Bridgewater (Va.) Church of the Brethren, led by moderator Matthew Fike. The Illinois and Wisconsin District Conference on Nov. 6-8 will be at Naperville (Ill.) Church of the Brethren, led by moderator Gil Crosby. The Virlina District Conference is scheduled for Nov. 13-14 in Roanoke, Va., on the theme, "At the Name of Jesus, Every Knee Should Bend" (Philippians 2:1-11), led by moderator Patrick Starkey.

  • A surprise gift has bequested more than $700,000 to Manchester College, according to a release. The bequest came from the estates of retired school teachers Florence E. Sanders and Lucile V. Sanders and their sister Ethel Sanders. Half the bequest will be applied to visionary initiatives in academics, renovations, and other student-focused opportunities that otherwise would be beyond the college’s budgetary reach.

  • "Unleashing the Longevity Revolution" is the title of a seminar led by William Cave on Nov. 13 from 9 a.m.- 12 noon at the Village at Morrisons Cove, a Church of the Brethren retirement community in Martinsburg, Pa. The seminar will review the radical demographic changes in contemporary society that call for significant change in how a congregation plans for and carries out older adult ministry. Cave is a member of the Older Adult Ministry Cabinet of the Church of the Brethren’s Caring Ministries and a faculty fellow with the Geriatric Education Center of Pennsylvania and an adjunct instructor for the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center. This event is sponsored by SVMC, the Village at Morrisons Cove, and Middle Pennsylvania District. There is a $10 charge to receive continuing education credit. Lunch will be provided. Registration deadline is Nov. 9. Contact Amy at 717-361-1450 or

  • The "Brethren Voices" community television show produced by Ed Groff and Portland (Ore.) Peace Church of the Brethren is featuring the International Day of Prayer for Peace in November. The On Earth Peace campaign to promote the International Day of Prayer for Peace saw 130 congregations and other interested organizations participate in at least 33 states and three different countries, according to Groff. "Brethren Voices" interviews co-coordinator Michael Colvin and features photos and videos of observances held in Rockford, Ill.; Pleasant Chapel, Ind.; Philadelphia, Pa.; Portland, Ore.; and a prayer and listening walk held in Vega Baja, P.R. Contact Ed Groff at

  • A letter encouraging an international trend toward nuclear disarmament was issued on Oct. 28 by the general secretaries of four major ecumenical bodies: the World Council of Churches, Conference of European Churches, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA, and Canadian Council of Churches. "The present opportunity must be transformed into conclusive actions," the letter said in part. "We appeal to all nuclear-weapon states and states with nuclear weapons on their soil to contribute to progress under the new political dynamic." The letter was sent to President Barack Obama, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, and leaders of NATO and the European Union. Find the full letter at

  • Michael Feldman’s comedy radio quiz show "Whad’ya Know" featured Heifer International on Oct. 10, according to Southern Pennsylvania District executive Joe Detrick, who listened in. Broadcasting from Little Rock, Ark., the show interviewed Ray White, Public Information Director for Heifer International. "He spoke of Dan West, seagoing cowboys, and the Church of the Brethren--an excellent interview," Detrick reported. The show archive is at

  • Ralph and Chris Dull of Lower Miami Church of the Brethren in Dayton, Ohio, and founders of the Dayton International Peace Museum, were featured in an Associated Press story about the museum’s appeal to President Obama to share his Nobel Peace Prize money. "Museum officials say they would use the prize money to expand their peacemaking and conflict-resolution programs in elementary schools and among first-time youthful offenders and at-risk youth," the report said. Find the story at

  • Ron Beachley, executive minister of Western Pennsylvania District, has announced the start of a "Sudan Prayer Adventure." The announcement appeared in the newsletter of the Brethren World Mission group. "During my personal prayer time a few months ago, I felt led to pray more intentionally for the work and ministry of the Church of the Brethren in Sudan," he wrote. Beachley will hold an initial meeting at Frederick (Md.) Church of the Brethren on Nov. 9 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. If interested in joining this effort, send a note to
Source: 11/4/2009 Newsline
BBT protests Wells Fargo effort to contact Pension Plan members, churches

It has been brought to the attention of staff at Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) that some individual Pension Plan members, as well as churches in the denomination, are being contacted by representatives of Wells Fargo Advisors concerning pensions and retirement. The Wells Fargo Advisors representatives make reference to the BBT website and imply that there are serious issues with the Brethren Pension Plan and that members should be concerned about their investments.

BBT emphasizes that these Wells Fargo Advisors officers are in no way connected to the Brethren Benefit Trust, the Brethren Pension Plan, or the Church of the Brethren denomination. They do not have a thorough understanding of the Brethren Pension Plan, but are clearly trying to undermine the Brethren Pension Plan for their personal benefit.

The Brethren Pension Plan remains a reliable, safe investment for church workers, pastors, district staff, staff of denominational agencies, and employees of retirement communities who are looking for security in retirement. Investing of the funds under BBT’s management is performed by eight national managers who are reviewed quarterly, and the funds are well diversified in market sectors. Although the Pension Plan has recently experienced the first decrease in its annuity assumption rate in its history, it continues to rank highly when compared with similar pension plans.

In the spirit of Matthew 18, BBT is sending a letter to the two representatives who are generating the letters from Wells Fargo Advisors, asking them to cease their attacks on the BBT program and to offer an apology to those whom they have contacted. BBT hopes this will resolve the problem, but if not, will pursue other avenues to protect its members and the Brethren Pension Plan.

Since 1943, plan members have looked toward their retirement with a sense of security, trusting that the Brethren Pension Plan would be there for them for the remainder of their lives. BBT takes that responsibility very seriously and intends to live up to those expectations. For questions or concerns about the Brethren Pension Plan, contact Pension Plan director Scott Douglas at 800-746-1505.

-- Patrice Nightingale is director of communications for Brethren Benefit Trust.

Source: 11/5/2009 Newsline Special Report

Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren, or 800-323-8039 ext. 260. Carol Bowman, Chris Douglas, Stan Dueck, Enten Eller, Joe Detrick, Nan Erbaugh, Don Fitzkee, Ed Groff, Irvin Heishman, Karin L. Krog, Phyllis Leininger, Dan McFadden, Patrice Nightingale, and Ken Kline Smeltzer contributed to this report.