Thursday, September 24, 2009

NOAC makes connections between wisdom and legacy.

The Church of the Brethren held its 10th National Older Adult Conference (NOAC) on Sept. 7-11 at Lake Junaluska (N.C.) Conference and Retreat Center. The event is for people 50 and older. Registered participants numbering 928 came from across the country to attend.

The theme of "Legacies of Wisdom: Weaving Old and New" (1 Corinthians 2:6-7) and images of weaving informed the conference. Keynote speakers and preachers addressed the connections between legacies of life, faith, and wisdom, and ways to create new possibilities of hope.

Rachael Freed, founder of Life-Legacies and author of "Women’s Lives, Women’s Legacies," gave a keynote address on her work to reclaim the ancient Jewish tradition of the ethical will or legacy letter. She proposed the tradition of writing a legacy letter as a useful tool for older adults to pass on legacies of wisdom and faith to future generations. The idea is quite simple: a letter that a person writes to children, grandchildren, or other descendants in order to impart life lessons, values, meaningful stories, and blessings. Freed described it as "one of the examples of weaving the old to meet the needs in a new world."

David Waas, Church of the Brethren member and emeritus professor of history at Manchester College, asked NOAC, "What will be said about how we witnessed to our time?" Explaining that he asked the question from the point of view of two identities--Brethren and American--he said, "You and I have helped fashion not only our church, but...our nation." He traced current crises in the US, such as the economy and health care, focusing on the "crisis that we never seem to be able to talk about ... a shift to massive, ever-present military strength." He called for an alternative legacy that followers of Christ may offer. "We should adopt and reinvigorate the Christian vision to call the state to its highest ideals," he said. "We must work as never before to advocate for peace. You and I are citizens of a great land and we carry the mantle of ... a rich Brethren heritage which our nation needs."

Michael McKeever, a Brethren member who teaches at Judson University in Elgin, Ill., took NOAC "on the road" tying together biblical themes of people on the move with themes from popular film to talk about how a life journey may lead to reconciliation. He has taught a course on "Luke and the American Road Movie," also the subject of an upcoming book. He discussed three parables from Luke 15 about God’s search for the lost. Christians are portrayed as on the road or "followers of the way" in the New Testament, he reminded his audience, just as Americans identify with the Hollywood portrayal of "a restless people who go out on the road to find ourselves." The search for what has been lost--whether sheep, coin, or family relationship--takes "active and concerted effort," he noted. The work to seek what has been lost may seem foolish to the world, but it is the foolishness of God, McKeever said. And for the wise seeker, "giving up is not an option."

Also addressing NOAC were preachers for the three worship services: Christopher Bowman, pastor of Oakton Church of the Brethren in Vienna, Va., who preached on the story of the rebuilding of the temple from Ezra 3, in which the sounds of the crying of the old and the rejoicing of the young become blended together. "When the voices of the young and the voices of the old were united in one sound, the temple was born," he told the group of older adults. "We need each other."

Cynthia L. Hale, founding and senior pastor of Ray of Hope Christian Church in Decatur, Ga., spoke on the theme of growing older gracefully. "I like to think we get better with time," she said. "When we have Christ in our life we have the courage to live fully until the day we die."

Dennis Webb, pastor of Naperville (Ill.) Church of the Brethren, gave the closing message on "Hometown Showdown Downtown Your Town: Nazareth" (Mark 6:1-6). Focusing on the healing that Jesus performed despite the doubt that met him in his hometown, Webb assured that Jesus is able to act in our lives despite physical, spiritual, or emotional burdens--even for those who may have borne hurts or endured disabilities for decades. "The Bible is right. Those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength," he asserted.

A series of morning Bible studies were given by Bob Neff, former professor of Old Testament at Bethany Seminary, former general secretary of the Church of the Brethren, and former president of Juniata College. He led the group in considering the legacies of family, service, and devotion, inspired by passages in Matthew.

Evening concerts were given by Quaker singer and songwriter Carrie Newcomer, and Andy and Terry Murray, well-loved musicians in the church whose songs have focused on the legacy of Brethren values and the stories of Brethren heroes.

In other activities, some 175 people joined in a Hike for Haiti that raised $3,541 for theological training in the Church of the Brethren in Haiti. A total of $25,124 was received in offerings, including $720 raised by the "Share to Shear" effort of the NOAC News team. The comic NOAC News video reports from the team of David Sollenberger, Chris Stover-Brown, and Larry Glick were a highlight of the conference.

A new NOAC record was set by the service project to collect Church World Service kits for disaster relief. A total of 1,299 kits were received including 4 clean-up buckets, 535 personal hygiene kits, and 760 kits of school supplies. Other events during the week included early morning devotions, hikes, bird watching, a golf tournament, ice cream socials, craft lessons, and interest groups on a wide variety of topics, among others.

Standing on the stage for the opening worship was a large loom into which worship leaders wove strands of fabric or ribbon during the service. Then the loom was moved to the exhibit hall for the rest of the week, and each NOAC participant was invited to add a piece to the weaving. The completed weaving stood on the stage for closing worship, a symbol of the way disparate legacies may come together to create something beautiful and new.

The NOAC Planning Committee included Deanna Brown, Barbara and Lester Kesselring, Joyce Nolen, and Glenn and Linda Timmons, and coordinator Kim Ebersole, who serves as director of Family and Older Adult Ministries for the Church of the Brethren. For more about the conference, including links to daily reports and online photo albums, go to

Source: 9/24/2009 Newsline
Leadership Team welcomes invitation from German church.

The Leadership Team of the Church of the Brethren dealt with a varied agenda in its Aug. 19 meeting at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. The agenda included response to a communication from a church in Germany, follow-up to the 2009 Annual Conference, a progress check on the creation of a Moderators Manual, and issues related to updating polity and by-laws of the denomination.

The group provided counsel to general secretary Stan Noffsinger regarding an invitation for dialogue and relationship with the Evangelische Kirche von Westfalen (the Protestant Church of Westphalia) in Germany. A leader of the German church, Ingo Stucke, addressed the celebration of the 300th anniversary of the Brethren movement that was held in Schwarzenau, Germany, last August.

In his message, Stucke invited the Church of the Brethren to continue dialogue with the German church on "our differing understandings of baptism and our differing practices of child and adult baptism." Additionally, he expressed hope that conversations may lead to "a reconciliation among us in our diversity ... as a testimony to the world .. of Christian unity."

The Leadership Team gave counsel to welcome this opportunity for further dialogue and relationship, and informally identified members of the Church of the Brethren who might take part in a delegation to the German Church. The Committee on Interchurch Relations and the Mission and Ministry Board will be asked to ratify and follow up on the interchange.

The decisions of the 2009 Annual Conference were reviewed and responses were sent to the districts that presented queries. The Conference officers are to follow up with Standing Committee regarding the two-year denomination-wide study of two business items identified as controversial. The Leadership Team learned that the committee appointed to develop related study materials already has begun its task.

A Moderators Manual called for by the 2007 Annual Conference paper on "Doing Church Business" is being developed by the Leadership Team. Writers for chapters have been recruited and nine former Conference moderators have contributed reflections and suggestions from their experiences. The Leadership Team hopes to have the manual completed by the end of 2009.

A first draft of a revision of the by-laws of the Church of the Brethren was introduced to the 2009 Annual Conference in late June. Since then, the Leadership Team has received several suggestions for refinements. The Leadership Team plans to review all suggestions and present a revised draft to the Mission and Ministry Board in October. A final draft will be brought to the 2010 Annual Conference for approval.

Members of the 2009-10 Leadership Team are general secretary Stan Noffsinger, Annual Conference moderator Shawn Flory Replogle and moderator-elect Robert Alley, and secretary Fred Swartz, who provided this report.

Source: 9/24/2009 Newsline
Brethren funds give grants for disaster and hunger relief.

The Church of the Brethren’s Global Food Crisis Fund (GFCF) has announced grants supporting hunger relief projects in Guatemala and Honduras. The church’s Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) has given grants to begin a new disaster rebuilding site in Indiana and to support relief efforts following storms in the United States.

An allocation of $25,000 from the EDF has been given for Brethren Disaster Ministries work along the Tippecanoe River in Indiana following heavy rains and flooding in the winter of 2008. The funds will support the opening of a new project site in Winamac, Ind., as well as volunteer housing, food, on-site expenses, tools, and equipment.

An EDF grant of $25,000 has been given in response to a Church World Service (CWS) appeal following extreme storms that caused flooding and damage in several areas of the US. The funds will support CWS shipments of cleanup buckets, hygiene kits, and school kits to Kentucky, Florida, Maine, and New York, as well as supporting local partner recovery efforts.

A GFCF grant of $8,500 has been given to an organization named Pastoral Social for operation of a tree nursery at San Ildefonso Ixtahuacan in Huehuetenango, Guatemala. Pastoral Social is a long-time partner of the Church of the Brethren. The grant was recommended by Todd Bauer, a Brethren Volunteer Service worker who has assisted with the program for several years.

A GFCF grant of $4,700 has been given to SERRV International for a rural project in Honduras planting new cashew trees. The project is replenishing aging cashew trees that are basic to the Just Cashew organization with which SERRV partners.

Source: 9/24/2009 Newsline
New Brethren Disaster Ministries project site opens in Indiana.

"We're excited to offer an additional volunteer opportunity for disaster response volunteers this fall," read an announcement from Brethren Disaster Ministries office. "The new project in Winamac, Ind., will be ready to get started the week of Sept. 27."

Volunteers are needed at the new project site to help rebuild homes following destruction caused by a storm system with heavy rain that flooded the area in the winter of 2008. Many communities along the Tippecanoe River in northern Indiana were affected, leaving many homes damaged or destroyed.

"While over 1,300 households in the region applied for FEMA assistance, many families did not receive enough assistance to fully recover and return home," said the announcement from Brethren Disaster Ministries. "The local disaster recovery agency has called upon Brethren Disaster Ministries to help with the needed reconstruction."

The program currently is recruiting volunteers to help rebuild two homes, seeking volunteer groups of 6-8 volunteers for each week from Sept. 27 through Nov. 21. Volunteers should be in good health, physically fit, and able to do heavy lifting. Skills in new construction will be helpful. Initial work will includes framing, roofing, sheeting, subfloor, and window and door installation. Volunteer housing will be at Bethel Bible Church in Winamac, where the Shenandoah District bunk trailer and tool trailer will be available.

District Disaster Coordinators are being requested to share this information with potential disaster volunteers in their districts. For more detailed information go to or call 800-451-4407 ext. 7.

Source: 9/24/2009 Newsline
Ministers Association officers hold annual planning meeting.

Officers of the Church of the Brethren Ministers Association held their annual planning meeting on Aug. 26-27 at the church’s General Offices in Elgin, Ill. The group spent time evaluating the association activities of 2009 and planning for next year’s continuing education event that will once again take place ahead of Annual Conference on July 2-3 in Pittsburgh, Pa.

The presenter for the 2010 event will be Nancy Ferguson, a Presbyterian minister, author, and certified Christian educator. Her topic will be, "Faith Forming Outside the Box." Advance registration fees will remain the same: $60 for individuals and $90 for couples. The association will continue to offer one-half off discount registration fees for first-time participants. Online registration will be available again next year. Additional details will be made available in the "Lead" section of the denominational website

The Ministers Association officers include chair Nancy Fitzgerald of Arlington, Va.; vice-chair Sue Richard of Lima, Ohio; vice-chair Chris Zepp of Bridgewater, Va.; and treasurer Rebecca House of Union Bridge, Md. Mary Jo Flory-Steury, executive director of Ministry for the Church of the Brethren, also met with the group.

The officers at this meeting welcomed Dave Kerkove of Adel, Iowa, who is replacing newly confirmed officer Myrna Wheeler. She is unable to serve due to illness.

-- Sue Richard is vice-chair of the Ministers Association.

Source: 9/24/2009 Newsline
Western Plains District focuses on ‘all things new.’

The Western Plains District Conference convened July 31-Aug. 2 at McPherson, Kan. The 229 registered participants included 65 delegates from 30 congregations, 18 youth, and 17 children. District moderator Leslie Frye led the conference under the theme from Rev. 21:5, "Behold, I Make All Things New!"

Speakers for the worship services included Frye, of Monitor Church of the Brethren; Shawn Flory-Replogle of McPherson (Kan.) Church of the Brethren and current Annual Conference moderator; and Chris Bowman, pastor of Oakton Church of the Brethren in Vienna, Va. Conference offerings totaled $6,247.

A pre-conference workshop on "Faith, Family, and Finances: How to Live Faithfully within Your Means and Keep Peace in the Family" was led by Steve Bob, director of the Church of the Brethren Credit Union, and Bob Gross, executive director of On Earth Peace.

Twelve ministers were recognized for "Milestones in Ministry": Dean Farringer, Merlin Frantz, and Charles Whitacre were recognized for 65 years of ordination; Lyall Sherred for 50 years; John Carlson for 40 years; Francis Hendricks and Jean Hendricks for 30 years; Edwina Pote for 20 years; Stephen Klinedinst for 15 years; and Sonja Griffith, Lisa Hazen, and Tom Smith for 10 years.

In conference business sessions, Robert W. Dell was elected moderator-elect. Those elected to the District Board included Becki Bowman, Kip Coulter, Eldon Luker, Joe McFadden, Catherine Price, Richard Schmalzreid, and Les Shenefelt. Re-elected for second terms were Rita Suiter and Andy Ullom. David Smalley was elected to the Nominating Committee and Cheryl Mishler was elected for a second term on the District Conference Planning Committee.

The District Board reorganized as follows: Lisa Hazen, chair; Emilie Dell, vice-chair;

George Hinton, chair of Church Development and Renewal; Phil Adams, chair of Ministry; Beverly Minnich, chair of Nurture; Andy Ullom, chair of Outdoor Ministry; Lauren Worley, chair of Stewards; Darrell Barr, chair of Witness.

District Board proposals of a 2010 operating budget of $126,939 and 2010 budget for restricted-invested funds of $36,175 were approved by the delegates. The board brought a proposed structure revision for discussion. Delegates will take the proposal to their congregations for discussion, and it will come to the 2010 District Conference for action.

Following the Friday evening worship service The Cedars retirement community hosted an ice cream social with music provided by Guitars, Etc. of Monitor Church of the Brethren, the Funk Sisters of Quinter Church of the Brethren, and Roger Cooper and Tom Harrison of Eden Valley Church of the Brethren. The Projects Unlimited Auction netted $3,278.50 for various projects.

Next year’s Western Plains District Conference will be held in McPherson, Kan., on July 30-Aug. 1 with moderator Keith Funk, pastor of Quinter Church of the Brethren.

-- Elsie Holderread is co-district executive for Western Plains District.

Source: 9/24/2009 Newsline
Workcamp Ministry announces schedule for 2010.

The Workcamp Ministry of the Church of the Brethren Youth and Young Adult Office has announced a theme and schedule for the workcamps that will be offered in the summer of 2010. The theme, "With glad and generous hearts," is taken from Acts 2:46. Online registration will open on Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. (Central) at

The Workcamp Ministry recorded a successful season this summer, with a total of 723 participants, 16 more than in 2008. "It is exciting and encouraging in this difficult economy, when many are struggling, that parents and congregations are making it a priority to send their youth on short-term service trips," said coordinator Jeanne Davies. "Workcamps give our youth an opportunity to put their faith into action, an experience that can be life-changing."

Twelve workcamps are planned for next summer, with a focus on junior high events because it is a National Youth Conference year. Following are dates and locations. The registration fee is $245 unless otherwise indicated:

Junior high workcamps are planned for Elgin, Ill., on June 16-20; Brooklyn, N.Y., on June 23-27; Indianapolis, Ind., on June 23-27; Ashland, Ohio, on June 28-July 2; Roanoke, Va., on July 28-Aug 1; Harrisburg, Pa., on Aug 2-6; and Richmond, Va., on Aug 3-7.

Senior high workcamps sponsored by the Brethren Revival Fellowship are planned for the Dominican Republic on June 20-27 ($695) and for Reynosa, Mexico, on July 31-Aug 7 ($595).

An intergenerational workcamp for ages 11 and up, co-led with On Earth Peace, will take place at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., on June 14-19 ($295).

A young adult workcamp will go to Haiti on May 23-30 ($695).

A "We Are Able" workcamp for intellectually disabled youth and young adults, and youth and young adult service partners, will be offered at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., on June 28/29-July 2 ($350).

For more information go to or contact or 800-323-8039 ext. 286.

Source: 9/24/2009 Newsline
World Mission Offering resources are available.

"Called... by Example" is the theme for this year’s World Mission Offering to benefit the mission work of the Church of the Brethren. The suggested offering date is Sunday, Oct. 11. Materials have been provided by the church’s Office of Stewardship Formation and Education.

This is the third year that the World Mission Offering theme highlights calling. "We follow last year’s focus on communion with another Church of the Brethren ordinance--footwashing," said an announcement from Carol Bowman, coordinator of Stewardship Formation and Education. "These timely (and timeless) themes celebrate 301 years of the Brethren movement and help us look ahead into our fourth century--a time of discerning God’s call to those of us who choose the Brethren way of following Jesus."

Resources include sheet music for two songs that may be used in a worship service highlighting the church’s mission work: "A Simple Act" by Merry Titus, and "Power of the Towel" by Jonathan Shively. Also offered are worship resources in English and Spanish, a bulletin insert in English and Spanish, and a poster. A sample packet of the resources has been sent to each congregation.

Congregations without a standing order for printed materials can order more inserts or offering envelopes from Brethren Press, call 800-441-3712 or use the form provided in the packet. Also materials may be ordered online at For more information contact Carol Bowman at or 509-663-2833.

Source: 9/24/2009 Newsline
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
Alan Bolds resigns from online gifts development position.

Alan Bolds has resigned as the Church of the Brethren’s coordinator of Online Gifts and Development, effective Sept. 30. He has worked in the position since Dec. 1, 2008.

Bolds has helped in implementation of Convio software for the church’s website, and has created and launched the "eBrethren" e-mail newsletter of the Stewardship and Donor Development Office. He came to the Church of the Brethren from a position as a fundraising professional with Awana International, where he also implemented Convio, the same web-based constituent relationship management software currently used by .

He will be taking up an opportunity to assist in the fight against Alzheimer's disease, working for the Alzheimer’s Association in Chicago, Ill. He and his family attend Wheaton (Ill.) Evangelical Free Church.

Source: 9/25/2009 Newsline Extra
Shannon Kahler called as director at Inspiration Hills.

Shannon Kahler has been called as director at Inspiration Hills Camp and Retreat Center beginning Nov. 10, in an announcement from Northern Ohio District of the Church of the Brethren. Inspiration Hills is the district camp located in Burbank, Ohio.

Kahler has served as food services/marketing manager at Camp Alexander Mack in Milford, Ind., since 2004. Previously she served as head chef/assistant food services manager at the Michindoh Conference Center in Hillsdale, Mich., and as district retail operations manager for the Great Harvest Bread Company in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. She has owned and operated a food service management company in Farmington, Mich., called Campus Cuisine, which offered a variety of services to schools, ministries, and nonprofit organizations.

She holds a degree in business administration and marketing from William Tyndale College, a degree in culinary management and culinary arts from Schoolcraft College, and a degree in elementary education and biblical literature from Fort Wayne Bible College. She is a member of the Church of the Brethren Outdoor Ministries Association, the Christian Camp and Conference Association, and the American Camp Association. She is married to Allen Kahler, district executive of South-Central Indiana District.

Source: 9/25/2009 Newsline Extra
Youth workers are needed for National Youth Conference.

"Are you interested in volunteering at National Youth Conference 2010?" asks an invitation from the Church of the Brethren’s Youth and Young Adult Ministry. "Serving as a youth worker is a serious task," the invitation continues. "Youth workers are an essential part of the NYC staff, helping to carry out the programs and plans of the National Youth Cabinet as well as making sure that no details are missed."

Volunteer youth workers are expected to commit for the entire week of National Youth Conference, which is scheduled for July 17-22 in Fort Collins, Colo. Responsibilities include assisting the NYC coordinators, the National Youth Cabinet, and the director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry in required tasks for carrying out the conference.

"Youthworkers often miss sessions, meals, and sleep in order to get the job done, often meaning 10-12 hour days or longer," the invitation warned. "These responsibilities are not meant to scare you out of applying, but rather to emphasize the importance and responsibility of being a youth worker. We need committed, focused, and enthusiastic people to make NYC run smoothly."

Youth workers are expected to arrive on the campus of Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo., in the early afternoon of Friday, July 16, and to be present at the conference through the evening of Thursday, July 22. As compensation, registration fees will be waived (the fee covers lodging and meals) and travel expenses will be covered provided the Youth and Young Adult Ministry office books the airline tickets. Youth workers must have completed at least their second year of college. Adults of all ages are encouraged to apply as well.

Completed applications must be postmarked by Nov. 1 and final decisions will be made in early 2010. Go to to find the application online.

Source: 9/25/2009 Newsline Extra
Brethren Bits
  • IMA World Health has announced the appointment of Richard "Rick" Santos as the organization’s new president and CEO. IMA World Health has its main offices and warehouse space at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., and the Church of the Brethren is a member denomination. Santos begins working with IMA World Health on Oct. 12 as president-elect, to assume full duties after a short transition with retiring CEO Paul Derstine. Santos brings more than 15 years of experience in international development, joining IMA from International Relief and Development, where he was director of Communications and Advocacy, and prior to that Church World Service, where he held a series of positions including coordinator of Strategic Planning and Evaluation, coordinator of Technical Resource, country director for Indonesia, and program officer in Bangladesh and Vietnam.

  • Nathan and Jennifer Hosler departed for Nigeria on Sept. 18, to take up their new positions as mission workers. They will be serving as teacher of peace and reconciliation at Kulp Bible College and peace and reconciliation worker with Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN--the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). "Please include them in prayers," asked Karin Krog, director of the Church of the Brethren’s Human Resources department.

  • Grace Mishler has returned to Vietnam as a mission worker and program volunteer for the Church of the Brethren. She has worked in Vietnam previously, in a placement jointly sponsored by the Church of the Brethren and Eastern Mennonite Missions, when she was a teacher and social worker at National Vietnam University in Ho Chi Minh City and counted among her accomplishments the creation of a course on Social Awareness of People with Disabilities. In an e-mail to the Global Mission Partnerships office dated Sept. 11, Mishler reported on her first week back at work at the university. "They want me to help in social work curriculum development in teaching students, disabilities, and English Social Work Practice Skill." She also has begun teaching an English Bible study class for the Foreign Language Department.

  • Don Knieriem has joined the Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) team as staff volunteer. His primary responsibilities will be to assist Callie Surber, the orientation coordinator. Knieriem just completed his first volunteer term as disaster project assistant with Brethren Disaster Ministries, based in New Orleans assisting with work following Hurricane Katrina. He is a member of Wilmington (Del.) Church of the Brethren and a graduate of the University of Delaware.

  • The New Windsor (Md.) Conference Center is thanking volunteer hosts Ric and Jan Martinez, who hosted for the Old Main building in August and September, and Ed and Betty Runion, who hosted for Windsor Hall in September. Both couples will depart for home on Sept. 30. The Conference Center welcomes back Mike and Barb Hodson of Troy, Ohio, as hosts for Old Main in October.

  • SERRV is welcoming longterm volunteers Valetta and Roland Kesler of Quinter, Kan., who will be in their 20th year of volunteering on the Brethren Service Center campus in New Windsor, Md.

  • The Church of the Brethren is still accepting applications for the position of director of Brethren Identity and Relations, who holds responsibility to communicate the mission and ministry of the Church of the Brethren to those affiliated with the church and to those outside who seek information about the church. A major responsibility is oversight of the denominational website, along with responsibility for annual reports, connections with district conferences, and meeting other communication needs. Candidates should have proven experience in communication and website development; a deep understanding of the Church of the Brethren; active membership in the Church of the Brethren; experience with the denominational scope of the church’s life and work; superior skills in writing, editing, and public speaking; and the technical and relational skills to manage a complex website and collaborate with others. The position is located at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., and is part of the Brethren Press communication team. Applications are being accepted until the position is filled. Request a position description and an application from Karin Krog, Office of Human Resources, at or 800-323-8039 ext. 258.

  • Manchester College in North Manchester, Ind., seeks a fulltime campus pastor. Responsibilities include planning and coordinating weekly chapel services and other regular worship services; participating in planning activities for Focus on Faith Week, Peace Week, and other programming that facilitates religious life, promotes understanding of different faith traditions, and helps integrate faith and learning in the campus community; overseeing religious life groups; participating on a number of committees; organizing special services such as Baccalaureate and the Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration; attending department meetings; supervising student workers; serving on the counseling staff; maintaining relationship with the Church of the Brethren; developing a congregational communication program with the director of church relations; managing a budget and other administrative functions. Qualifications include minimum of a Master of Divinity or equivalent degree; appreciation for the religious diversity of a college campus; experience in conducting worship services; training and experience in personal counseling; presentation skills; proficiencyt in spoken and written English; organizational and administrative skills; team orientation; ability to prioritize responsibilities, meet deadlines, and respond to students’ legitimate needs in a timely manner; ability to work with students of all backgrounds; ability and willingness to perform clerical work as necessary; leadership, financial, and supervisory skills; proficiency in word processing, spreadsheet, e-mail, and Internet use. Ordination in the Church of the Brethren preferred. Some weekend and evening work required, 10 months per year, August through May. Submit a cover letter, resume, and completed application ( ) by Oct. 8 to Human Resources, Manchester College, 604 E. College Ave., North Manchester, IN 46962;; fax 260-982-5449. Manchester College is an equal opportunity employer. Applicants who further diversify faculty and staff are warmly welcomed.

  • 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.

  • Jan Eller has resigned as administrator of the Womaen’s Caucus of the Church of the Brethren, after more than six years in the role. She is an ordained minister, living in Portland, Ore. The Womaen's Caucus seeks a part-time administrator to begin work in January. The Caucus administrator is responsible for arranging Steering Committee meetings, coordinating Annual Conference activities, sustaining denominational relationships, maintaining organizational correspondence and records, and serving as Caucus treasurer. The successful candidate will be a Church of the Brethren feminist who is familiar with church structure, possesses strong administrative and secretarial skills, and is eager to take the initiative and articulate Caucus goals to the Caucus community and wider church. Qualified candidates will have strong writing skills and be fluent in using e-mail, the Internet, and appropriate computer programs for communication, database management, and financial management. Attendance at two multi-day meetings per year, one in late January and the second at Annual Conference, is required. The contract is renewable in two-year intervals. The position is estimated to require an average of 25 hours per month at $10 per hour plus expenses. Applications are due by Nov. 30. A downloadable application, full job description, and more information are available online at or by contacting Audrey deCoursey at
Source: 9/25/2009 Newsline Extra

Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren, or 800-323-8039 ext. 260. Kris Bair, Kim Ebersole, Mary Jo Flory-Steury, Mary Ann Grossnickle, Cori Hahn, Audrey Hollenberg, Judy Keyser, Karin Krog, Nancy Miner, Sharon Nearhoof May, Anna Speicher, John Wall, and Jane Yount contributed to this report.