Thursday, February 11, 2010

Brethren bits: Corrections, personnel, jobs, Haiti kits, and more.
  • Correction: In reports on the Church of the Brethren feeding program for children at a school in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Klebert Exceus was incorrectly identified as the founder of the school. The school was not founded by Exceus, but his Baptist Church runs the school and he has been given responsibility over it by his congregation. Jean Bily Telfort, general secretary of Eglise des Freres Haitiens (the Haitian Church of the Brethren), is the headmaster.

  • Correction: A previous report on the "Area III Middle Pennsylvania" collection of kits for Haiti incorrectly identified it as an effort in Western Pennsylvania District. In an update, five congregations have joined in the effort, and the tally of contributions so far stands at $10,550.

  • The Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., was closed for a second day today because of the massive snowfall in the mid-Atlantic area.

  • Randy Miller of La Verne, Calif., has been named interim editor of "Messenger," the Church of the Brethren denominational magazine. This is a long-distance, part-time assignment. Miller is currently teaching at the University of La Verne. Prior to that he worked for many years as editor of "World Vision" magazine. He was an editorial assistant for "Messenger" in 1974-75 and has carried several freelance assignments for the magazine over the years. During this interim period, former editor Walt Wiltschek will continue to edit some portions of the magazine.

  • The COBYS Family Services Board of Directors has announced the appointment of Mark A. Cunningham to the position of executive director. COBYS Family Services is a family service agency affiliated with the Atlantic Northeast District of the Church of the Brethren. Cunningham has been employed by COBYS since Nov. 1996, serving initially as development representative. Since Jan. 2002, he has been associate administrator with responsibilities in human resources, development, and program supervision. He has served as acting administrator for the past six months. He holds a bachelor's degree in Health and Physical Education from Messiah College and a master of divinity degree from Lancaster Theological Seminary. He previously served as associate pastor of Lampeter (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, where he is a member. He and his family currently attend a Mennonite church.

  • The members of the 2010 Youth Peace Travel Team have been announced: Marcus Harden of First Church of the Brethren in Miami, Fla.; Timothy Sollenberger Heishman, who grew up in Iglesia des los Hermanos (Church of the Brethren in the Dominican Republic); Cambria Teter of La Verne (Calif.) Church of the Brethren; and Hannah Wysong of Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren in Fort Wayne, Ind. As they spend time with junior and senior high youth this summer at camps across the Church of the Brethren, the team will teach about peace, justice, and reconciliation, all core values throughout the church's 300-year history. The Youth Peace Travel Team is sponsored by the Church of the Brethren's Outdoor Ministries Association, Youth and Young Adult Ministry, Brethren Volunteer Service, Global Mission Partnerships, and On Earth Peace.

  • Bridgewater (Va.) Retirement Community is accepting applications for the position of director of Pastoral Care. The director focuses on the spiritual needs of residents, families, staff, and volunteers, and is part of an interdisciplinary care team providing resident-centered care. Responsibilities include providing pastoral care, counseling, coordinating and conducting regularly scheduled worship services, providing meaningful spiritual growth opportunities, and regularly visiting residents. The position requires someone with compassion and skill in dealing with the spiritual dynamics of illness, loss, aging, and death, as well as a positive, encouraging demeanor. The ideal candidate will meet the following qualifications: a master of divinity or theologically-related degree; completion of Clinical Pastoral Education; ordination, licensing, or commission to function in a ministry of pastoral care and the endorsement of, and good standing with his or her faith community's appropriate judicatory body; knowledge of and appreciation for Church of the Brethren beliefs, practices, and traditions; an ecumenical perspective and ability to work well with people of all faiths; desire to minister to people with varying physical, mental, and cognitive abilities; demonstrated ability to conceptualize and implement a full range of spiritual care activities and programs; management, communication, and interpersonal skills. Resumes may be submitted to or to Cindy Bolan, Vice President-Human Resources, 302 N. Second St., Bridgewater, VA 22812. EOE.

  • Lybrook (N.M.) Community Ministries, related to Western Plains District, urgently needs volunteers for a resident director position. Volunteers provide the campus with administrative and leadership qualities as well as work directly with community people through community development and organization, organizational programing, the church, and campus maintenance. Requirements include flexibility and adaptability to cultural differences, self initiative, management skills, organizational skills, willingness to participate in worship leading, and a desire to work in a remote, small, rural, mixed-cultural setting. Ideally, volunteers will commit to 1-2 years of service, but shorter terms of service will be considered. The hope is to have two separate family units with overlapping terms. Lybrook Ministries is a not-for-profit organization with a mission "to develop and support Christ-centered community ministries in the Lybrook area that are life sustaining and encourage persons to encounter the redeeming love of God" on the campus of the former Lybrook Navajo Mission in New Mexico. The organization strives to strengthen the community through community organization, development, relations, and outreach, as well as providing Christian presence through Tokahookaadi Church of the Brethren. For more information go to Interested persons should contact Ken or Elsie Holderread at 620-241-6930 or

  • The Theological Program of the Church of the Brethren in the Dominican Republic held its third graduation on Jan. 23 at Príncipe de Paz Church of the Brethren in San Luis, Santo Domingo. Twelve students graduated from the program after a period of four years of study. The graduating class includes five pastors and three members of the current Executive Committee of the national church. Two thirds of the graduates are Dominican church members of Haitian background; one-third are of Dominican heritage. Taking as her text Luke 9:9, program director Nancy Heishman challenged the 12 graduates to continue the apostolic ministry of preaching and healing in Jesus' name--to the extent that the world would ask of them as it did of Jesus, "Who is this about whom such things are said?" Students continuing in the program will begin a spring study of church administration with workshops on financial management and essential leadership skills.

  • A collection deadline of April 16 has been announced by Brethren Disaster Ministries in its new appeal for Family Household Kits and heavy duty 8-by-10 foot or 10-by-10 foot tarpaulins for Haiti. Collection points are being developed in each Church of the Brethren district. Pick-ups will be the first of March and again the first of April. Otherwise, send kits and tarpaulins to the Brethren Service Center, 601 Main St., New Windsor, MD 21776. The new kit contains supplies that will enable Haitian families to prepare their own food and take care of family needs with dignity. Go to
    for a list of kit contents.

  • Gifts to the Emergency Disaster Fund continue to be the most important way to support lifesaving emergency relief efforts following the earthquake in Haiti, reports Brethren Disaster Ministries. Brethren Disaster Ministries staff are emphasizing the importance of general donations to the Haiti relief effort, in order to continue funding for feeding programs and the building of temporary shelters in Port-au-Prince area. Basic costs of some of the relief that the church is helping to provide in Haiti have been published: $15 provides two weeks of hot lunches for a child; $50 provides a water filtration system shared by two-to-four families; $120 provides a month's salary for a teacher helping feed children; $200 provides assembly and shipping for a Family Household Kit; $2,000 will build a temporary shelter and sanitation for a family; $5,000 will builds a permanent three-room home. For more information contact Brethren Disaster Ministries, or 800-451-4407 ext. 3.

  • The total donated toward the Church of the Brethren earthquake relief effort in Haiti has grown to $290,256.55, as of yesterday, Feb. 10. This includes both online giving and donations received by check, toward the $300,000 in grants for Haiti made from the church's Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF). Donations continue to be received at, and by check made out to the Emergency Disaster Fund, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120.

  • Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., has announced new deadlines for students to apply for admission and financial aid. Beginning with the 2010-11 academic year, the seminary will require all new students who are applying for admission and financial aid to meet the following deadlines: July 15 for the fall session; Dec. 1 for the spring session (including January intensives); March 15 for May intensives. All application materials must be submitted to Bethany's Admissions Office by the due dates. The changes are intended to streamline the registration and financial aid distribution processes. Questions may be directed to Elizabeth Keller, director of admissions, at or 800-287-8822 ext. 1832.

  • The "early bird" registration deadline has been extended to March 1 for the Religion Communication Congress--"RCCongress 2010"--to be held in Chicago on April 7-10. The RCCongress is a once-a-decade event for religious communicators and those interested in the relationship between communication, media, and faith. The Church of the Brethren is a sponsoring organization, and the church's director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry, Becky Ullom, is one of the organizers. Registration costs $375 before March 1; or $250 for fulltime students, retirees, and senior citizens. Day rates are available. Registration does not cover lodging and some fees for banquet events. Participants may earn 3 continuing education units for an extra fee. Church of the Brethren members who are interested in attending are requested to contact Becky Ullom before registering online at

  • Danville (Va.) First Church of the Brethren has changed its name to
    Schoolfield Church of the Brethren.

  • Salem Church of the Brethren in Englewood, Ohio, is hosting "A Weekend with Donald Kraybill" on April 30-May 2. Kraybill is co-author of "Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy," the story of the Nickel Mines School tragedy and the Amish response. The weekend is sponsored by Salem Church and the Brethren Heritage Center in Brookville, Ohio. The weekend opens with a Friday evening session, "A Coat of Many Colors: The Anabaptist Churches in North America." It continues with a Saturday morning workshop for church leaders on the topic, "Understanding Apology and Forgiveness: Biblical and Soci-Psychological Perspectives" ($10 registration fee); a Saturday evening session, and Sunday morning worship at Salem Church of the Brethren. Continuing education units are available. For more information contact 937-836-6145 or or go to

  • Atlantic Southeast District, which includes at least six congregations with members of Haitian background, is holding a "round robin" of e-mails to share what congregations are doing to help following the earthquake. Among the congregations that have responded so far, First Church of the Brethren in Miami, Fla., is planning a Yard Sale on Feb. 27 to raise money for the rebuilding of two homes in Haiti through Brethren Disaster Ministries; First Church of the Brethren in St. Petersburg, Fla., has held three special Sunday morning offerings for the Brethren work in Haiti; and Winter Park (Fla.) Church of the Brethren, raised $1,300 through a beans-and-rice supper to aid a Haitian family related to a child who attends the church school.

  • Seven environmental science students from Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., and two students from St. Francis University in Loretto, Pa., will come together to study for an entire semester at Juniata's Raystown Field Station through May. Students will "explore forests, navigate lakes, and dig deep into the biodiversity of what could be called the largest outdoor classroom in higher education--the Raystown Field Station," according to a Juniata release. Church of the Brethren member Chuck Yohn directs the field station. This is the second spring semester that St. Francis students have participated. "It was amazing; every day brought something different to learn about outside," said Ian Gardner, a junior who spent last spring at the station. "We even witnessed the white-winged crossbill migration through the pine forests around Lake Raystown and the spring warbler migration."

  • The John Kline Homestead fund-raising effort has reached 75 percent of its goal, according to organizer Paul Roth. The historic homestead of Civil War-era Brethren elder and peace martyr John Kline is located in Broadway, Va. By Jan. 31, contributions and pledges totaled over $305,000 toward the $425,000 goal. The Park View Federal Credit Union has granted a one-year extension to enable the John Kline Homestead Board of Directors raise the balance of funds to purchase the property by Dec. 31, 2010. In the meantime, the Harrisonburg Office of Tourism, Broadway Hometown Partnership, and the Shenandoah Battlefield Foundation have joined efforts to promote visits to the Homestead during the Sesquicentennial Commemoration of the Civil War, which begins in 2011. Contact John Kline Homestead. P.O. Box 274, Broadway, VA 22815. The organization is a 501(c)3 nonprofit agency.

  • The World Council of Churches (WCC) has announced Lenten study resources for congregations and individuals interested in ending violence against women. Featuring films and stories from places as diverse as Colombia, India, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and New Zealand, the Decade to Overcome Violence (DOV) website will host the interactive resources from Feb. 17-April 4. Congregations, community groups, and individuals are invited to sign up to follow the Bible studies, use the liturgical resources, and become involved in online discussions. The resources will be available as a downloadable "toolkit." The campaign is in partnership with the World Student Christian Federation and the World Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA). A sample of the Lenten study resources, titled "Cries of Anguish, Stories of Hope," is available at

  • IMA World Health, an ecumenical organization with headquarters at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., has announced that its immediate past president Paul Derstine is traveling to Haiti to lead an assessment team on the medical situation there. Derstine is a member of the Church of the Brethren. He will work with IMA's Country Representative for Haiti, Dr. Abdel Direny, in developing comprehensive plans to address the Haitian health care crisis stemming from the earthquake.

  • Staff of ECHO in Haiti (Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization) have contacted the Church of the Brethren's Global Mission Partnerships asking if Brethren would join in the three days of prayer announced by the country's president. The days of prayer begin this Friday, Feb. 12, and continue through the weekend. Friday has been declared a national day of mourning, marking the one-month anniversary of the earthquake that devastated Port-au-Prince. In addition, the ECHO staff noted that for the first time in its history, Haiti's government is canceling the Carnival celebration of Mardi Gras. Jay Wittmeyer, executive director of Global Mission Partnerships, responded with a request for Brethren to join in prayer, "as we go into Lent."
Source: 2/11/2010 Newsline

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