Thursday, April 22, 2010

Bethany Seminary board approves new strategic plan.

Bethany Theological Seminary's Board of Trustees gathered at the school's campus in Richmond, Ind., for its semi-annual meeting on March 26-28. The board addressed several significant items of business including a strategic plan, a proposal for a distributed education track for the Master of Arts degree, a feasibility study for a fundraising campaign, and a budget for the coming year.

The board approved the strategic plan, which was reviewed by the entire Board of Trustees and the committees of the board. The board also gave direction to the seminary president Ruthann Knechel Johansen and the Strategic Planning Committee to include an additional priority of increased seminary visibility through attention to enrollment, communications, and public relations.

Described by board member John Neff as "fresh and fluid," the strategic plan combines into seven priorities, with accompanying subsets of goals and tasks, the 22 recommendations from a strategic direction paper passed by the board in March 2009. That paper created specific action steps to align the seminary's educational program with its new mission and vision statements.

The goals focus on educational ethos and environment; curriculum focus, integration, and expansion of the educational program; and funding for new initiatives. Each task has a time frame for completion, measurable marks for accomplishment, and personnel assignments.

The Strategic Planning Committee was chaired by John D. Miller Jr. and included the chair of the Board of Trustees, the committee chairs, the seminary's administrative team, and faculty members Dawn Ottoni-Wilhelm and Dan Ulrich.

In an update to the board about the Master of Arts Connections program, the board learned that a proposal was to be sent to the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) by April 1 for approval by the association. The Board of Trustees approved proceeding with development of the program at its Oct. 2009 meeting. Since 2003, Bethany has offered an ATS-approved distributed education track for the Master of Divinity degree, named MDiv Connections.

The new Master of Arts track will offer a parallel track to the current MA program, imitating its requirements and standards while offering courses in formats that are more conducive to the needs and desires of students who would enroll in a distributed education program. Pending ATS approval, the new track will be implemented as soon as possible.

The board received a feasibility study report conducted by Braren, Mulder, German Associates regarding the possibility of launching a new financial campaign. The board approved a four-year, $5.9 million campaign, with the lead gift phase to begin in July.

The board approved a budget for the 2010-11 fiscal year of approximately $2.3 million, a one percent increase from the prior year. Jim Dodson, Student and Business Affairs Committee chair, noted the current challenges of developing a balanced budget, including compensating for a 42 percent increase in health insurance premiums for employees. The board's Investment Committee reported that Bethany's investments, which meet the criteria of social screens that are aligned with the seminary's mission and values, are performing well.

Other business:

To facilitate the ongoing work of assessment related to curriculum review and strategic plan implementation, Karen Garrett of Eaton, Ohio, has been hired as coordinator of assessment. She holds a Master of Arts degree from Bethany and a Master's degree in education with specialization in curriculum and assessment. The board is expected to approve a comprehensive assessment plan in anticipation of a focus visit by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools in 2011.

The board received a report on a marketing and communications study conducted by Liechty Media, Inc. The board approved funding for the study in Oct. 2009. Board committees offered suggestions to prioritize the recommendations of the plan.

The seminary's new financial aid program will go into effect in the 2010-11 academic year. The basic components of the program include significant scholarship awards for academic excellence and goals of church service after degree completion. Federal loans, grants, and work-study will be available. Several forms of communication have been developed to promote and interpret the new program, including a brochure and a video.

The board approved 10 candidates for graduation, pending completion of all requirements. Bethany's 105th commencement will take place on Saturday, May 8. The board also celebrated the increase of fulltime students enrolled in the 2009-10 academic year.

Amy Gall Ritchie, director of student development, presented a report on student retention over the last decade and its findings regarding student patterns in progress toward finishing degrees. The board also received reports on the Institute for Ministry with Youth and Young Adults and the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership.

President Johansen led a special recognition for chair Ted Flory of Bridgewater, Va., whose term of service ends this year. Carol Scheppard of Bridgewater, Va., will serve as board chair beginning in July. Others chosen to serve as officers include vice chair Ray Donadio of Greenville, Ohio; secretary Marty Farahat of Oceano, Calif.; Elaine Gibbel of Lititz, Pa., Institutional Advancement Committee chair; Jim Dodson of Lexington, Ky., Student and Business Affairs Committee chair; and Lisa Hazen of Wichita, Kan., Academic Affairs Committee chair.

-- Marcia Shetler is director of public relations at Bethany Theological Seminary.

Source: 4/22/2010 Newsline
Fellowship of Brethren Homes holds annual forum.

The annual Forum of the Fellowship of Brethren Homes met April 7-8 at Lebanon Valley Brethren Home in Palmyra, Pa. The fellowship includes 22 retirement communities related to the Church of the Brethren. Member communities are committed to providing high quality, loving care for older adults and work together on common challenges such as longterm care needs, uncompensated care, and nurturing relationships with congregations and districts.

The annual forum provides an opportunity for leaders of the church-related retirement communities to network, share best practices, receive training relevant to longterm care, and tour the host facility.

This year’s forum featured sessions on corporate compliance by Karla Dreisbach of Friends Services for the Aging; and on current issues and future trends led by David Slack of the Aging Research Institute and Malcom Nimick of Ascension Capital Enterprises.

A tour of Lebanon Valley Brethren Home included the community’s innovative Green House® homes, developed by Dr. William Thomas of the Eden Alternative. The homes are small intentional communities where elders live in habilitative, social settings. During a break, some members of the forum group joined residents playing their favorite past time, "pickle ball," a sport that combines aspects of tennis, badminton, and Ping Pong.

Representatives from 10 communities attended the forum: John Warner of the Brethren Retirement Community in Greenville, Ohio; Gary Clouser of Brethren Village in Lancaster, Pa.; Vernon King of Cross Keys Village-the Brethren Home Community in New Oxford, Pa.; Michael Leiter of Fahrney-Keedy Home and Village in Boonsboro, Md.; Chris Widman of the Good Shepherd Home in Fostoria, Ohio; Jeff Shireman of Lebanon Valley Brethren Home in Palmyra, Pa.; Wayne Eberly of the Palms Estates in Lorida, Fla.; Carol Davis of the Pinecrest Community in Mount Morris, Ill.; Maureen Cahill of Spurgeon Manor in Dallas Center, Iowa; and David Lawrenz of Timbercrest Senior Living Community in North Manchester, Ind.

Others in attendance included Shari McCabe, executive director of the Fellowship of Brethren Homes; Jane Mack, executive director of Friends Services for the Aging; Keith Stuckey, vice president of Mennonite Health Services Alliance; Phil Leaman, CEO of Resource Partners: Risk Management Solutions; Steve Mason, director of the Brethren Foundation for Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT); Diana Seymour, manager of sales for health and welfare benefits for BBT; and Kim Ebersole, director of Family Life and Older Adult Ministries for the Church of the Brethren.

The 2011 forum will be held on April 5-7 at the Good Shepherd Home in Fostoria, Ohio.

-- Kim Ebersole serves as director of Family Life and Older Adult Ministries.

Source: 4/22/2010 Newsline
Grants support hunger relief in Sudan and Honduras.

The Church of the Brethren’s Global Food Crisis Fund (GFCF) has given two grants totaling $35,080 for a hunger program in Honduras and an agriculture project in Sudan.

In Honduras, a grant of $25,000 will support food security for Lenca Indian families. The allocation is going a new hunger program in cooperation with Proyecto Alden Global (PAG). The grant will underwrite development of family microbusinesses through the purchase of fish, pigs, cows, and chickens. Beyond those families benefiting at the outset, others will gain access to quality offspring and to the availability of livestock products at lower prices.

"Essentially the program seeks to improve food security and economic opportunity for Lenca Indian families living in remote areas of Cerro Azul Meambar National Park," said the grant request. "The goal is to reach 60 families a year over a two- or three-year timeline. Nearly three-quarters of the families in and around the park’s buffer zone live in poverty."

A grant of $10,080 has been received by the African Inland Church for the Agriculture Project for Sustainable Development in Sudan. The funds will purchase hand tools, spray materials, a variety of vegetable seeds, and mango and guava seedlings to be used in training 500 youth for gardening as an income-generating enterprise.

The project was "scouted out" by Global Mission Partnerships executive director Jay Wittmeyer. The African Inland Church is an indigenous evangelical body which has had a presence in southern Sudan since 1949. "The integration of agriculture with Bible school programs is a new venture of African Inland Church-Sudan," said the grant request. "Two of the church’s Bible schools in Eastern Equatorial State will train 500 youth for gardening as an income-generating enterprise. Directly aimed at alleviating poverty, the project focuses on marginalized and unemployed youth who have received little or no basic education.

"Upon meeting and talking with staff at one of the Bible schools...Wittmeyer discovered that the schools in their teaching of the Bible lift up peace, reconciliation, and post-trauma healing--themes crucial to the rebuilding of post-war Sudan," the request continued. "The intent for the students upon graduation, Wittmeyer learned, is that they return to their home villages and engage in farming on a small scale."

Source: 4/22/2010 Newsline
Brethren part of effort for flood-affected Cedar Rapids.

The sounds of hammers and saws echoed along the Cedar River in Iowa on April 12 as volunteers from across the US and Canada started work to help families return to their homes in a new rebuild project directed by humanitarian agency Church World Service (CWS) and carried out in partnership with a number of denominational disaster relief programs.

National partners include Brethren Disaster Ministries, American Baptist Churches USA, Catholic Charities USA, Christian Reformed World Relief Committee, Lutheran Disaster Response, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, Reformed Church in America, United Church of Christ, the United Methodist Committee on Relief, and Week of Compassion.

"It’s been almost two years since the Cedar River flood forced out these families. No one knows more than they do that that’s just too long to be away from home," said Bonnie Vollmering, CWS associate director for domestic emergency response. "We’re working as hard as possible to help in such a trying time."

Dubbed "Neighborhood: Cedar Rapids," the Iowa project builds on the award-winning CWS rebuilding project, "Neighborhood: New Orleans." That effort completely repaired more than a dozen families’ homes following Hurricane Katrina in a historic Lake Pontchartrain community.

Together with Iowa-based partners Block by Block, the Linn Area Long-Term Recovery Coalition, the Presbytery of East Iowa, and Lutheran Services in Iowa, 10 national faith-based disaster response agencies including Brethren Disaster Ministries will bring more than 700 volunteers to Cedar Rapids over six weeks.

Many of the rebuilding and repair efforts will focus on the hard-hit Cedar Rapids neighborhood of Time Check, where the local longterm recovery partners still have extensive cases of need. Despite ongoing efforts to help families put the flood behind them, there are still plenty of bare walls and water lines serving as reminders of June 14, 2008.

"There are many Cedar Rapids families who could return home but for a few major repairs," Vollmering said. "We intentionally haven’t set a specific number of homes to be completed because we want to see exactly how many we can repair well in six weeks’ time."

Block by Block and LALTRC identified the homes to be repaired. CWS and its national disaster response partners are providing volunteers, some donated materials, and other support.

"We had such a success in New Orleans that we had to try it in Cedar Rapids," CWS executive director John L. McCullough said. "Our hope is that the people of Cedar Rapids will feel like they haven’t been forgotten, and we can help at least some of those affected find a new sense of normalcy after such a devastating disaster."

-- This release was provided by Lesley Crosson and Jan Dragin of Church World Service.

Source: 4/22/2010 Newsline
Brethren Disaster Ministries releases 2009 statistics.

Statistics released by Brethren Disaster Ministries, Children’s Disaster Services, and the Material Resources program reveal the extent of Church of the Brethren disaster relief work in 2009.

Working at five rebuilding sites in Louisiana and Indiana, 1,505 volunteers with Brethren Disaster Ministries served 108 families and put in a total of 11,164 workdays--an estimated $1,808,568 worth of volunteer labor. At six Children’s Disaster Services project sites--including a response to an airplane crash in New York--39 volunteers cared for 195 children. "We are grateful that fewer children were impacted by disasters last year," said the report. In addition, Children’s Disaster Services held nine workshops training 201 volunteers.

Material Resources, which warehouses and ships disaster relief materials out of facilities at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., also released stats for 2009: 97 shipments of kits, quilts, and blankets representing a total 1,451,190 pounds of materials valued at $7,136,344.72; 3,364 shipments of medical goods representing a total of 546,571 pounds of materials valued at $4,602,273.44.

Source: 4/22/2010 Newsline
Intercultural Consultation and Celebration to be webcast.

Have you wanted to attend the Church of the Brethren's annual Intercultural Consultation and Celebration but are not able to make the trip? There's no need to miss it: join online!

In partnership with Bethany Theological Seminary, the 12th Intercultural Consultation and Celebration from April 22-24 will once again be webcast live. Webcasts begin today at 6:30 p.m. (eastern time).

This event is open to all church members and provides a time of fellowship with participants from different racial and ethnic backgrounds, support for intercultural ministry and mission, and an educational opportunity to build up intercultural efforts in church communities.

With a theme of "Celebrating Diversity in Harmony" based on Romans 12:15-17, highlights of this year's schedule include:
  • This evening's opening worship service featuring Richard Zapata and Samuel Sarpiya.
  • Friday and Saturday’s education sessions, a main session on "Diversity in Harmony" led by Barbara Daté, and additional workshops on coaching and mentoring and listening skills.
  • Friday evening worship featuring Leah Hileman and Ray Hileman, and presentation of the third Revelation 7:9 Diversity Award.
  • Saturday evening's closing, a musical worship service led by Don Mitchell with attendees celebrating and sharing their cultural backgrounds in song and appearance.
To join the live webcast, participants need access to an Internet-connected computer installed with Adobe Flash. Webcast participants will be to watch a live feed and interact with the gathering using a chat pod.

Check the online schedule at for daily worship and session times and follow the login instructions to participate. We hope to "see" you there!

-- Nadine Monn is a member of the Church of the Brethren’s Intercultural Advisory Committee.

Source: 4/22/2010 Newsline
Webinar series continues with Cook-Huffman and Roxburgh.

A series of webinars continues for pastors and church leaders this spring, offered as a collaborative resource by the Church of the Brethren’s Congregational Life Ministries, Bethany Theological Seminary, and the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership. Link to the webinars by going to

The third in a series on "Developing Conflict Healthy Congregations" led by Celia Cook-Huffman will be offered on two dates in early May. Cook-Huffman is professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., where she also serves as associate director of the Baker Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies and directs the Baker Mediation Services.

Part 3 of Cook-Huffman’s webinar series is on the topic, "Take Charge: Solve the Conflict." It is offered on May 5 at 12:30-1:30 p.m. (Pacific time) or 3:30-4:30 p.m. (eastern time); and will be repeated on May 6 at 5:30-6:30 p.m. (Pacific) or 8:30-9:30 p.m. (eastern).

No pre-registration is required and there is no fee to participate. Participants are requested to connect 10-15 minutes before the start of the webcast. Those who have a webcam or microphone available will be able to connect and talk to the presenter. Participants may earn a 0.1 continuing education credit for attending the live session.

Alan Roxburgh will present webinars focused on developing leadership to transform congregations into missional communities. Roxburgh is a pastor, teacher, writer, and consultant with more than 30 years experience in church leadership and seminary education. His books include "Reaching a New Generation," "Crossing the Bridge: Leadership in a Time of Change," "The Sky is Falling--Leaders Lost in Transition," "Introducing the Missional Church," and "Missional Map Making." He was a member of the writing team for the book "Missional Church: A Vision for the Sending of the Church in North America."

The first two webinars by Roxburgh are scheduled for May 25 at 12:30-2 p.m. (Pacific) or 3:30-5 p.m. (eastern) on the subject "Leading in an Un-Thinkable World"; and on June 7 at 12:30-2 p.m. (Pacific) or 3:30-5 p.m. (eastern) on the topic "Forming Missional Community: Practical Steps." (The second Roxburgh webinar has been rescheduled to June 7 from the formerly announced June 8 date)

The topic of the second webinar builds on the first event. No pre-registration is required and there is no fee to participate. Participants are requested to connect 10-15 minutes before the start of the webcast. Participants may earn 0.15 continuing education credit for attending each live session.

Go to to participate in a webinar or for links to recordings following the events. For more information prior to the webinar events contact Stan Dueck, the Church of the Brethren’s director for Transforming Practices, at 717-335-3226 or

Source: 4/22/2010 Newsline
'Peace Among the People' to gather N. American peacemakers.

An ecumenical peace conference, "Peace Among the Peoples: Overcoming the Spirit, Logic, and Practice of Violence," will be held July 28-31 at Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Ind. The meeting will focus on contemporary North American responses to war. Christian peacemakers of all traditions and disciplines are invited.

Church of the Brethren general secretary Stan Noffsinger is serving on the Advisory Committee, and On Earth Peace executive director Bob Gross and Bethany Theological Seminary professor Scott Holland also have a part in planning the event.

Because of the venue's capacity, only a total of 160 registrations will be accepted for the meeting. Those interested in attending are encouraged to register as soon as possible; go to

"Peace Among the Peoples" is a preparatory meeting for the World Council of Churches International Ecumenical Peace Convocation--the culminating event of the Decade to Overcome Violence (DOV) to be held in Jamaica next year. Participants will dream, discern, and strategize next steps for creating a more unified peace witness in North,America as well as encouraging churches to become peace churches. Results of the meeting will be presented at the NCC’s General Assembly in Nov. 2010 and at the 2011 Peace Convocation.

Presentations will be given by leading thinkers such as Stanley Hauerwas, Rita Nakashima Brock, and Brian McLaren. Discussions on contemporary issues will include exchanges between presenters and listeners. There will be deliberative working sessions on current ecumenical efforts like the Truth Commission on Conscience in War, conciliar peace dialogue, and the formation of a North American Ecumenical Peace Center. Morning prayer and evening worship will frame the beginning and the ending of each day with preachers including Vincent Harding, Mary Jo Leddy, Leonid Kishkovsky, and John Perkins.

Sponsors of the meeting include the Church of the Brethren, Bridgefolk, the Catholic Peace Network, the Fellowship of Reconciliation and Historic Peace Church Consultative Committee, the Institute of Mennonite Studies, the Kroc Institute and Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame, Mar Thomas Orthodox Church, Mennonite Central Committee, the National Council of Churches, the Orthodox Peace Fellowship, and the United Church of Christ.

Go to or for schedule and detailed program information and conference registration links. The registration fee is $225 ($250 after April 30), plus meal costs (full meal package is $71.50). Participants arrange their own housing, or may request to stay in a local home. For more information contact Peace Among the Peoples, 3003 Benham Ave., Elkhart, IN 46517; or 574-296-6203.

Source: 4/22/2010 Newsline
Christians celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day.

Congregations across the country are observing Earth Day by celebrating the goodness of God's Creation, recognizing that stewardship begins in the sacred spaces of our church buildings and grounds.

To aid congregations in honoring Creation, the National Council of Churches (NCC) developed an Earth Day Sunday resource titled "Sacred Spaces and an Abundant Life: Worship Spaces as Stewardship." The resource includes ideas on energy and water conservation, and toxics reduction.

Across the country, congregations are answering the call to stewardship of their sacred spaces, by taking action to green their congregations.

For example, Riverside-Salem United Church of Christ and Disciples of Christ in Grand Island, N.Y., is in the process of building a sustainable building with straw bale insulation. First Universalist Church in Minneapolis started a comprehensive recycling program that reduced the congregation's trash by 65-75 percent.

Warner Memorial Presbyterian Church in Kensington, Md., installed programmable thermostats and weather-stripping, purchased copy paper with recycled content, switched to an energy conservative copier, eliminated the use of Styrofoam serving ware, and ensured that 50 percent of the funds spent on electricity supports wind power. Their motto: "We may be a red brick building, but we are working to be a 'green' church!"

Here are other Earth Day Sunday stories from congregations around the country:

On April 18, St. Mark Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach, Calif., celebrated Earth Day using the NCC Earth Day theme. According to member Mary Roberts, "It worked well with our goals for the year of reexamining the environmental features of our campus." Between worship services they offered family fun activities, green lifestyle displays, and a guided tour of their certified Audubon International Signature Sanctuary and grounds.

Forest Lake Presbyterian Church in Columbia, S.C., is celebrating "ALL GOD'S CREATURES, GREAT AND SMALL ...Their Environment Is Our Sacred Space." Their Earth Sunday celebrations will include special Sunday school programs and service projects.

Westminster Church of the Brethren in Westminster, Md., will make a joyful noise on Earth Day Sunday with hymns taken from the NCC's Stewards of the Bay resource for congregations in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

St. Mark United Methodist Church in Seneca, S.C., shows the movie "Kilowatt Hours" every year on Earth Day Sunday for the confirmation class. They also have a special class on the environment with tips on being good stewards of God's Creation and encourage members to bring their own dishes and silverware when they have church meetings, rather than use disposable products.

The Church of Reconciliation, a Presbyterian congregation in Chapel Hill, N.C., has celebrated God's Creation all month long with adult education classes and environmental Sabbath art projects, culminating in an outdoor worship service on April 25.

Read more about the Earth Day celebrations of these and other congregations on the NCC Eco-Justice Programs website at The resources mentioned in this article can be downloaded from

-- This release was provided by Philip E. Jenks of the National Council of Churches.

Source: 4/22/2010 Newsline
A meditation: God's dwelling place.

"Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself where she may lay her young, at thy altars, O Lord of hosts.... Blessed are those who dwell in thy house, ever singing thy praise!" (Psalm 84:3-4, RSV).

The great west door of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London swung open to admit a colorful and stately procession. The year was 1958, and all the bishops of the Anglican communion, more than 300 of them from around the world, were on hand for the beginning of their Lambeth conference, held once every 10 years.

I watched as the verger and cross bearer led the procession of bishops robed in red and white, followed by the choir, the primate and metropolitans, finally by the Archbishop of Canterbury--all moving to the front of the nave to stand before the high altar. Such an occasion must have been in the mind of the architect, Sir Christopher Wren, when he designed a church so rich in symbolism, gleaming in glass and stone, in wood and metal, topped by a dome that would dominate the London skyline.

Just a few weeks later that same summer I attended another convocation, composed this time mostly of a few hundred Americans who had come to Schwarzenau in Germany to join with German friends there on the 250th anniversary of the beginning of the Church of the Brethren. Perhaps it was appropriate that, of the three major services then, two were held in a tent provided alongside the Alexander Mack School in the village, the other on the banks of the River Eder where the initial service of baptism of eight persons launched the new church.

There were some church dignitaries at Schwarzenau: Bishop Ernst Wilm of the Evangelical Church in Germany, Dr. W.A. Visser’t Hooft, then secretary of the World Council of Churches, as well as Brethren officials. And there were printed orders of service in both German and English. But somehow the occasion did not require a vast sanctuary with stained-glass windows. The temporary tent, the soft sunlight, the view of tree-lined mountains, and the quiet movement of the stream nearby--all of these contributed to an awareness of God’s presence and a tie with a past day when some Christians separated themselves from their imposing church buildings to seek for a deeper sense of God’s dwelling in a community of believers.

-- This excerpt from "Move in Our Midst," Kenneth Morse’s book on the nature of worship published by Brethren Press in 1977, is reprinted here with permission. This small paperback book is available to order for $1.50 plus shipping and handling; call 800-441-3712. More resources related to church and environment are available from Brethren Press at

Source: 4/22/2010 Newsline
Brethren bits:
  • Remembrance: Lois I. Shull, 92, a former Church of the Brethren missionary in India, passed away on April 7. She was a resident of Timbercrest, a Church of the Brethren retirement community in North Manchester, Ind. She was born June 15, 1917, in Union City, Ind., the daughter of William E. and Lula M. (Jackson) Netzley. She married Ernest M. Shull (deceased) on Aug. 17, 1937. With her husband, she spent from 1946-64 as a Brethren missionary among the hill people of the Western Ghats in India. There she was a pastor’s wife, school principal, and nurse. Returning to the United States in 1964, she taught for many years at the Akron and North Manchester High Schools. She retired from teaching in 1982. She also wrote numerous articles and a filmstrip called "A Chance to Live." She wrote the scripts for, and directed three movies called "Shepherd of India," "To Meet the Sun," and "The Turn of the Tide,"; a radio play titled "Valley of the Sun"; and a book called "Women in India Who Kept the Faith." Last year at the age of 91, she finished her book, "Splendor in the Dust," with the help of her son James Shull. She and her husband were long time members of the North Manchester Rotary Club and attended the Church of the Brethren since returning from the missionary field. She is survived by daughter Linda (Shull) Fisher of Liberty, Ind.; sons James Shull of North Manchester, and Daniel Shull of Zionsville, Ind.; eight grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren. A celebration of her life was held April 10 at Manchester Church of the Brethren. Memorial contributions may be made to donor’s choice. Online condolences may be expressed at

  • Cori Hahn began as part-time coordinator of Human Resources for the Church of the Brethren on April 13. She is serving at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. Hahn also continues serving as conference coordinator at the New Windsor Conference Center.

  • The Children’s Aid Society seeks a seasoned and dynamic fulltime executive director to lead the organization to new levels of growth in its mission to help children become healthy, productive adults. The executive director works with the Board of Directors to carry out the strategic goals of the Children’s Aid Society. An overview of responsibilities includes managing personnel and fiscal operations, assuring compliance with all state and federal regulations, assessing organizational needs, and implementing improvements. The executive director will serve as the lead staff professional of the organization, oversee all functional areas including but not limited to administration, finances, fundraising, fund distribution, agency relations, community initiatives, communications, buildings and operations maintenance. The executive director will foster the development and implementation of the organizational strategic direction, reporting directly to the Board of Directors and nurturing a strong relationship with the Southern Pennsylvania District of the Church of the Brethren. The Children’s Aid Society is a not-for-profit organization committed to helping children and their families build strong, healthy lives through the provision of compassionate, professional services. As a ministry of the Southern Pennsylvania District, Children’s Aid Society is a faith-based agency grounded in the values and beliefs of the Church of the Brethren. It operates out of three locations in Pennsylvania, at the Frances Leiter Center in Chambersburg, the Lehman Center in York, and the Nicarry Center in New Oxford. The range of services includes a crisis nursery, counseling services with specialization in art and play therapy, case management, referrals, parent support, community education, and a 24-hour hotline. The management philosophy is grounded in a Christian perspective with a holistic orientation that is exhibited in the manner the organization relates with its staff, clients, constituents, and the general public. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to lead an organization that has been rooted in Central Pennsylvania’s history for nearly 100 years and whose future will build upon the agency’s exemplary record of service and care for the youth it serves. Qualifications and required skills: a master’s degree preferred, bachelor’s degree required; 3-5 years of management experience in a multi-program, not-for-profit organization; strong interpersonal, listening, public speaking, facilitation, and organizational skills; comfortable across economic, social, and gender lines; strong background in finance and fundraising with knowledge of 501(c)(3) rules and regulations; proficiency in relevant computer skills; advanced communication skills. Submit a cover letter, resume, and three professional references along with salary expectations to Christian Miller, 137 East Philadelphia St., York, PA 17401. Deadline for submissions is May 17.

  • Church of the Brethren general secretary Stan Noffsinger is one of 123 religious leaders who have signed the "Covenant for Civility," an effort to encourage civil discourse led by the Sojourners Christian community in Washington, D.C. Thousands more people of faith have joined in by signing the statement online. The covenant is based on New Testament scriptures and pledges to "model a better way" and "lead by example in a country where civil discourse seems to have broken down." An invitation from Sojourners leader Jim Wallis said, "The political polarization of our society has now reached a new and dangerous level. Honest disagreements over policy issues have turned into a growing vitriolic rage against political opponents, and even threats of violence against lawmakers.... Political debate, even vigorous debate, is a healthy thing for a democracy; but to question the integrity, patriotism, and even faith of those with whom we disagree is destructive to democratic discourse, and to threaten or even imply the possibility of violence toward those whose politics or worldview differs from ours is a sign of moral danger, and indeed, a sign of democracy’s unraveling." He reported personal conversations with members of Congress and others of varying political points of view who share the concern and are asking for help from the faith community. Go to to read the covenant and for a list of initial signers.

  • "Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Poland as they mourn the tragic loss of their president, his wife, and numerous Polish officials in the plane crash," writes Kristin Flory in the current issue of the Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) Europe newsletter. Flory is coordinator of Brethren Service (Europe). Although the Church of the Brethren no longer has BVS project connections in Poland, Brethren were part of an agricultural exchange with Poland from the 1950s through the early 1990s. The exchange "saw many BVS volunteers heading there to teach English in agricultural institutes and schools, and Polish scientists and fruit farmers heading to the USA," Flory said.

  • "Basin and Towel" debuts this month as a new publication of the Church of the Brethren’s Congregational Life Ministries. It is the successor to the "Caregiving" magazine of the Caring Ministries. Organized around the ministry areas within congregational life, the three issues published each year will offer insights and practical resources for the development of church leaders in the areas of church planting, deacon ministry, disabilities, family life, intercultural ministries, older adults, spirituality and discipleship, transforming practices, and youth and young adults. The charter issue is scheduled to ship to all current "Caregiving" subscribers by the end of this month. A preview copy is available at A subscription order form can be printed from the web page, or contact Diane Stroyeck at or 800-323-8039.

  • Sunday, May 2, is National Youth Sunday in the Church of the Brethren. Resources for a youth-led worship service are available at Downloadable resources include calls to worship, prayers, a scripture jam, ideas for offering and children’s time, sermon outlines, a benediction, and resources for celebrating and commissioning youth who plan to attend this summer’s National Youth Conference (NYC). The theme is the same as for NYC: "More than Meets the Eye" (2 Corinthians 4:6-10 and 16-18).

  • National Council of Churches (NCC) president elect Kathryn Lohre is calling for essays written by emerging ecumenists ages 35 and younger. Essays must address the theme, "Moving Forward Together: Visions of Young American Ecumenists." Selected essays will appear in an anthology to be presented at the NCC CWS Ecumenical Centennial Gathering in November. The project is intended to cultivate emerging ecumenical leaders, increase the visibility of the work of the NCC among younger generations, and provide a resource for intergenerational dialogue. Essays should focus primarily on one of the themes listed below, and should seek to convey the author’s ecumenical vision in both theological and practical terms: unity, mission, the Creation, the economy/cultures of greed, Christian identity and interfaith relations, overcoming violence/living in peace, overcoming poverty, overcoming racism, overcoming sexism/gender justice. For submission requirements and more information go to Complete submissions must be received in both hard copy and electronic form by May 1, 12 p.m. (eastern time).

  • Children’s Disaster Services associate director Judy Bezon has been invited to a number of special speaking engagements this spring, including an invitation by the American Red Cross director of Mass Care to be part of a panel at the National Hurricane Conference in Orlando, Fla., on March 31. The title of the panel was "Children and Disasters: Ensuring Needs are Met." Children’s Disaster Services also has been invited by FEMA to be part of a plenary session panel on "Meeting the Unique Needs of Children During Disasters" at a conference on April 28. In May, Bezon will provide a webinar for Church World Service on "Children, Youth, and Disaster" on May 4; and will coordinate reports on the topic "Children in Disaster--Where Do They Stand Today? What’s Ahead?" at the National VOAD Conference of Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster on May 13.

  • New Carlisle (Ohio) Church of the Brethren is offering a Leadership Academy Event on the theme, "Missional Evangelism: Being and Making Disciples," on May 14-16. The worship and workshop event will explore what it means to be mission-minded as Christians share the Gospel of Jesus Christ and make disciples in the 21st century. The workshop will be lead by Dick Shreckhise, associate pastor at Lancaster (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. Schreckhise has completed the Vital Pastors program, in which he studied the emerging church in New Zealand and Australia. The schedule includes worship and teaching on Friday evening beginning at 7 p.m., and a workshop session on Saturday from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. for a registration fee of $20. For more information contact 937-845-1428 or

  • Vinton (Va.) Church of the Brethren celebrated its 60th anniversary on April 18.

  • A deacon training on congregational peacemaking will be held June 5 at Everett (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. The day-long session on topics of conflict resolution and reconciliation for deacons, pastors, and other congregational leaders will include how deacons can serve as "first responders" in a time of conflict, enhancement of listening and communication skills, and learning to take advantage of opportunities for spiritual growth and transformation when conflict occurs. Leadership will be provided by Bernie Fuska, pastor of Timberville (Va.) Church of the Brethren, Shenandoah District moderator, and a member of the Ministry of Reconciliation Practitioners Network. To register contact 814-652-5710 or

  • The churches in Atlantic Southeast District have channeled $5,000 through the District Office to be sent to the Emergency Disaster Fund for Haiti.

  • Shenandoah District offerings for Haiti earthquake relief totaled $88,811.50 as of mid-month. The total represents donations from individuals and offerings collected by 41 congregations.

  • The 30th Annual Mid-Atlantic District Disaster Response Auction will be held on May 1 at the Carroll County Agricultural Center in Westminster, Md. General items will be auctioned at 9 a.m. and the quilt auction is at noon. Information booklets are available at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md.

  • Fahrney-Keedy Home and Village, a Church of the Brethren retirement community near Boonsboro, Md., will host a Spring Open House on May 15 from 1-4 p.m. Guests will receive tours of the village and community, and meet the staff and several of the residents. Entertainment and an informational seminar will be presented by residents and business partners from the community. Gourmet refreshments will be provided. RSVP or obtain additional information by contacting 301-671-5015 or 301-671-5016 or visiting

  • Manchester College and Heifer International are establishing a permanent display to honor Dan West, a Manchester alumnus who in 1944 founded the Church of the Brethren’s Heifers for Relief Committee. Over the years the program grew into the Heifer Project, and then became the independent organization Heifer International. Dedication of the display begins with a 1 p.m. program on May 10 in Cordier Auditorium on the North Manchester, Ind., campus. An unveiling of the display and reception will follow at 2 p.m. in Funderburg Library. The display features memorabilia from West’s life, from his years as a conscientious objector during World War I to his service as an aid worker in the Spanish Civil War to his work with Heifer Project. He died in 1971, a lifelong member of the Church of the Brethren. Special guests will include West’s daughter Jan Schrock, a former director of Brethren Volunteer Service; and Ray Bowman, one of the "seagoing cowboys" who escorted Heifer Project animals to overseas destinations.

  • The Peter Becker Community, a Church of the Brethren retirement community in Harleysville, Pa., has thanked its local fire company with a $5,000 donation. On March 29, Peter Becker president/CEO Carol Berster, met with Harleysville Community Fire Company chief Todd Burns to present the donation. According to Berster, "Every day, we are rewarded with peace of mind knowing that the members of the Harleysville Fire Company stand ready to serve and are committed to saving lives. We hope this donation serves to further their efforts and remind members of the Fire Company that the residents of Peter Becker Community value the vital services they provide."
Source: 4/22/2010 Newsline

Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren, or 800-323-8039 ext. 260. Colleen M. Algeo, Ruben D. Deoleo, Stan Dueck, Joedy Isert, Donna Kline, Jeri S. Kornegay, Karin L. Krog, Nancy Miner, John Rempel, Howard Royer, and Kent Yoder contributed to this report.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Special Response Resource Committee concludes its work.

The Special Response Resource Committee has completed its work and has provided a bibliography of suggested study resources and a study guide for congregations to explore issues of human sexuality. The resources are posted online at

The special response group was named by the Church of the Brethren's Standing Committee of district delegates following an action by the 2009 Annual Conference to accept two items of business as "special response" items to be dealt with using a process for strongly controversial issues. The group was charged with developing resources in order to aid the church in a conversation process set in motion by the Conference decision.

Last year's Conference action identifying the two business items--"A Statement of Confession and Commitment" and "Query: Language on Same-Sex Covenantal Relationships"--as "special response" items has set in motion at least two years of intentional denomination-wide conversation on the two documents.

The members of the Special Response Resource Committee are John Wenger, chair; Karen Garrett, recorder; Jim Myer; Marie Rhoades; and Carol Wise.Jeff Carter has served as the liaison from Standing Committee.

Next steps in the special response process include two hearings at the 2010 Annual Conference in Pittsburgh, Pa., one on Saturday evening, July 3, and another on Tuesday evening, July 6. After this year's Conference, districts are encouraged to schedule special hearings or discussions, and congregations are encouraged to use the study guide and resources recommended by the Special Response Resource Committee.

Also posted at are a number of other documents relating to the 2010 Conference, including the unfinished business and new business items, the biographical ballot, and the daily Conference schedule.

In other news from the Annual Conference Office, June 7 is the closing date for advance registration. Those who register in advance through the online process save 25 percent of the on-site fee. Hotel rooms also are still available."The Hilton Hotel is the only one of the six hotels booked by Annual Conference that still has rooms available, but there are 80 rooms still available there," notes Conference director Chris Douglas. "Please remember that by booking into the hotel room block reserved by the Annual Conference Office, the rental cost of the Convention Center meeting rooms is reduced."

To register and for more information about the 2010 Annual Conference go to

Source: 4/7/2010 Newsline
Denomination's new Vision Committee holds first meeting.

The committee called to help the Church of the Brethren discern a vision for the current decade held its first meeting March 29-31 at the church's General Offices in Elgin, Ill. The Vision Committee is considered a committee of the denomination's Standing Committee of district delegates.

The Vision Committee is gathering data in order to prepare a vision that will provide the general direction for denominational mission in the next decade. Committee members will be present at several Church of the Brethren gatherings this year including the Young Adult Conference in late May, National Youth Conference, and Annual Conference this summer in Pittsburgh. The committee also will be accepting input through various web-based, social media outlets.

The committee discussed creating a statement that will inform not only church-wide agencies but also districts, congregations, and individual church members. The committee is seeking ways of creating the statement that include means to implement it within the life of the church.

Committee members appointed by Standing Committee are Frances Beam, Jim Hardenbrook, Bekah Houff, and David Sollenberger. Members appointed by the four Annual Conference agencies are Steven Schweitzer of the Bethany Theological Seminary faculty, Jonathan Shively of the Church of the Brethren denominational staff, Jordan Blevins representing On Earth Peace, and Donna Forbes Steiner representing Brethren Benefit Trust.

The Vision Committee invites input through e-mail at or to the Vision Committee, c/o Annual Conference Office, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120.

-- David Sollenberger, a member of the Vision Committee, provided this report.

Source: 4/7/2010 Newsline
Gather 'Round is 'starting over.'

Gather 'Round, a Christian education curriculum project of Brethren Press and the Mennonite Publishing Network, is starting over. That is to say, the curriculum is completing its four-year cycle through the Bible, and returns this fall to Genesis.

As congregations launch into the next round of the curriculum, they will notice a few new features. The most visible change is a completely new version of the "Talkabout," the signature item that connects church and home.

Previously a three-dimensional item intended for congregations to purchase for each family, the "Talkabout" is now provided on CD or as a computer download so that material can be copied or e-mailed to families in weekly or monthly formats. Bonus content gives parents a summary of the Sunday school quarter, commentary on each week's Bible story, and additional items such as children's pages or articles for teachers. Congregations need to purchase only one copy of the CD per quarter, and may decide which format is best for their setting.

The youth unit, called "Search," now offers more options for group exploration of Bible stories and their application to the everyday lives of high school teens. Also new this coming year is a full youth resource for the summer quarter. Previously the youth material for summer was a supplement to one of the other teacher's guides. The new "Summer Search" includes ways to adapt the material for junior high youth, and is provided on CD or as a download.

The multiage teacher's guide, which serves congregations with a small number of children that span a wide age range, is now coordinated with both the primary and middler student books. Teachers may select one or both levels of student books based on the particular mix of children in the group, and the teacher guide identifies parallel activities in both student books.

Session plans for all age levels have been revised to be simpler and easier to use. The curriculum will once again cover the whole Bible, so that families hear the story of God's faithfulness over the generations. Many new stories are added in this outline, and there are two completely new quarters: "God's Good Creation" and "Stories of God's People."

Gather 'Round: Hearing and Sharing God's Good News, published by Brethren Press and Mennonite Publishing Network, is a Sunday school curriculum for children and youth and their families. Partner denominations include the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Mennonite Brethren, Moravian Church in America, United Church of Canada, and United Church of Christ.

-- Anna Speicher is editor of the Gather 'Round curriculum.

Source: 4/7/2010 Newsline
On Earth Peace board plans for a future with hope.

During its spring meeting, the On Earth Peace board of directors discussed ways the organization is continuing to help youth, children, families, congregations, and community leaders work toward a more peaceful and hopeful future. At this meeting, the board continued to conduct discussion and decision-making by consensus, led by board chair Madalyn Metzger.

The biannual gathering took place March 19-20 at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. Major items of business included revisions to the organization's bylaws, which will be presented for approval at the On Earth Peace breakfast at Annual Conference in Pittsburgh in July; and updates on expansions of the Agape-Satyagraha program, the Ministry of Reconciliation, and the International Day of Prayer for Peace.

The board welcomed new member Louise Knight of Mechanicsburg, Pa.

The On Earth Peace board and staff also participated in a three-hour session on the elimination of institutional racism led by Valentina Satvedi, anti-racism program director for Mennonite Central Committee and an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren. Elimination of racism is an issue the On Earth Peace board and staff are committed to addressing, both within and outside of the organization.

-- Madalyn Metzger is chair of the board for On Earth Peace.

Source: 4/7/2010 Newsline
Brethren Digital Archives group introduces new website.

The Brethren Digital Archives (BDA) group has a new website at The website includes background about the digitization project for Brethren publications, the mission statement of the group, a list of the partners, news, and contact information. There are plans to add an option for online contributions.

The website was introduced at the BDA meeting on March 4-5 in Winona Lake, Ind., hosted by the "Brethren Missionary Herald" office. A significant portion of the meeting was spent evaluating vendors interested in digitizing Brethren periodicals. Also considered were digitizing standards, fundraising, promotion, and by-laws. The group toured the Manchester College library and archives, the Grace College library and archives, and the facilities of the HF Group in North Manchester, one of the potential vendors.

The mission of the Brethren Digital Archives is to digitize Brethren periodicals produced from 1851-2000 by each of the Brethren groups that trace their origin to the first Brethren baptisms in Schwarzenau, Germany, in 1708. The first Brethren periodical was begun in 1851 by Henry Kurtz, titled "The Monthly Gospel-Visiter."

The first periodicals to be digitized will be those published before 1880, documents that are common to all the groups. Plans are being made to raise funds for the first phase, which includes 49 volumes, 1,504 issues, and 23,000 images or pages. The first phase could cost up to $40,000.

This was the sixth meeting of the BDA. The next meeting is scheduled for June 28 in Ashland, Ohio.

-- This report was provided by Liz Cutler Gates, Ken Shaffer, and Jeanine Wine.

Source: 4/7/2010 Newsline
Mark Flory Steury resigns from S. Ohio District.

Mark Flory Steury has resigned as district executive of the Church of the Brethren's Southern Ohio District, effective June 30. He has served in the position for more than 10 years, since Oct. 1, 1999.

Previously he served as co-pastor of Troy Church of the Brethren and as pastor of Mack Memorial Church of the Brethren, both in Southern Ohio District. He is a graduate of Manchester College in North Manchester, Ind., with a degree in elementary education and an endorsement in special education, and holds a master of divinity degree from Bethany Theological Seminary.

Steury has accepted a call to serve as pastor of Neighborhood Church of the Brethren in Montgomery, Ill., beginning July 1. He and his wife Mary Jo Flory-Steury, who is executive director of the Church of the Brethren's Office of Ministry, will move to the Elgin, Ill., area.

Source: 4/7/2010 Newsline
Young Adult Conference to meet on 'Community.'

Another year of planning and work for the young adult steering committee has begun. This usually includes hours of praying, thinking, processing, and even an impressive amount of laughter. All the ingredients needed to create a successful, meaningful, and more importantly, blessed young adult conference!

This year's Young Adult Conference is simply themed "Community." Such a small word packed with meaning for young adults in the Church of the Brethren as well as the church as a whole.

After taking a close look at the first churches of Christ in the book of Acts, it becomes quite clear that the church today does not fully resemble the church we see there. During that time, the followers of Christ lived in close-knit groups and shared everything they had. They created a community amongst themselves.

Now we find ourselves far from this original set up, with modern technology and the idea of "every man for himself." We are surrounded by constant pressure to make money, live comfortably, and put ourselves before others. Online options such as Facebook and Google replace older forms of personal relationships, and even our dependence on one another for finding and learning new information.

"For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in teaching; the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the compassionate, in cheerfulness" (Romans 12:4-8).

All of us have been given gifts from the Lord, some of which are mentioned in Romans 12. Many people attend church and just become a face in the crowd because they do not know where they fit in, or where they feel comfortable. Helping other people find their place in the body of Christ is just as important as finding our own. We are all one body in Christ and cannot survive while another part suffers.

At Young Adult Conference we will explore how we can create community, starting by looking within. What talents has the Lord given us? How can these talents be used to better the church community? How can we help others discover their gifts and gain confidence to use them for Christ? How can we as young adults of the Church of the Brethren get back to our roots? This year's conference will try to answer these questions by taking a deeper look at what the Lord tells us about community. How do we define it? Build it? Seek it? Maintain it?

Join us this Memorial Day weekend, May 29-31, at Camp Blue Diamond in Petersburg, Pa., to help us build a community of young adult believers. There will be workshops, worship services, a coffeehouse, campfires, and amazing fellowship. Young adults ages 18-35 are invited, and registration is open now! Go to

-- Jennifer Lynn Quijano is a member of the Young Adult Steering Committee.

Source: 4/7/2010 Newsline
On attending the funeral for Evangelist Obida Hildi.

On Jan. 27 I attended the funeral service for evangelist Obida Hildi. He was someone I counted as a friend to myself, to the Theological College of Northern Nigeria (TCNN), and to Africa Christian Textbooks (ACTS).

Security officials had helped his church members recover his body from his house, where he was killed by Muslims on the morning of Jan. 19. He was buried in a plot of land where he had been in the process of building a new house. At the Bukuru congregation of Ekklesiyar Yan'uwa a Nigeria (EYN--the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) his fellow church members, still fearful, consoled each other with the Word of God and stories of the friend they had lost in such painful circumstances.

Others knew him much better, but let me share a brief sketch of this faithful witness.

He had been born and brought up in a Muslim family, but in his teens gave his life to Christ and was baptized in 1958. He suffered fierce persecution for his faith and became an outcast as far as his family was concerned. However, he did not allow anything, even childlessness in his marriage, to divert him from following Jesus. Thus he came to Jos, a city in central Nigeria, in 1960 and was able to find work, fellowship and opportunity for service.

He still worked at relationships with his people back home in Hildi, Adamawa State, so much so that when his tribal chief, a Muslim, phoned to inquire how his people--hundreds of them--were faring in the Jos crisis, he inquired by name regarding only two. One of them was his friend evangelist Obida.

After some other casual jobs, his first engagement in Christian ministry came through the Lutheran gospel radio station in Jos. From there he moved to the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and then to the newly created Plateau Radio and TV station (PRTV). There he acquired a nickname, "Mr Official," because in a situation where corruption was common, he was known for checking that every job was being properly treated as official duty. He was compulsorily retired when there was a command to retrench all workers who were not indigenous of Plateau State.

Already recognized by his denomination as a part-time evangelist, his retirement from PRTV was the prompt he needed to launch himself even more fully into working for the church. Today many congregations of EYN owe their beginning and early progress to his efforts. The Bukuru congregation started in his home near TCNN, and I remember first meeting him when I was invited to preach there.

He was very gifted at rallying congregations to sacrifice for the cause of the gospel. He was a visionary who saw the need to push forward with new projects--including acquiring a site for Africa Christian Textbooks. He and his wife were key partners in advising and encouraging the general manager in the pursuit of the land where ACTS headquarters now stand. Furthermore, he was a man who could not rest until he had finished a project. He had another nickname, "Now or never," because he always was challenging people that we should serve God now while we have life and health, remembering that we do not know about tomorrow.

True to the peace-loving tradition of his denomination, he worked hard at peacekeeping in his neighborhood. He always had practiced a shuttle diplomacy wherein he would talk to the Christians encouraging them to have patience, then say to the Muslims, we will not attack you, securing their agreement that they too would not attack the Christians.

There had been tension in the area before, but never trouble. What happened this time took many by surprise. Obida probably continued to trust that his efforts for peace and understanding would prevent him from losing his life. In the end, he was hacked down and burned to death close to his home--perhaps by outside elements bent on violence. But his testimony as a man of peace stands firm.

As I greeted and sympathized with the congregation at his funeral, I pointed to the large sign behind the pulpit--"Jesus is Alive"--and reminded them of the great passage on the resurrection, 1 Corinthians 15, which ends with this challenge and assurance: "Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourself fully to the work to the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."

The death of dear evangelist Obida is a loss for us, but not a waste. He has entered his reward, and the work and loving gospel witness for which he invested his life will go on. But we feel for his wife Habiba, and their seven year old adopted son. We also pray that the peace and understanding he worked for will be restored to Plateau State and Nigeria.

-- Sid Garland is executive director of Africa Christian Textbooks at the Theological College of Northern Nigeria (TCNN) in Bukuru, Plateau State, Nigeria.

Source: 4/7/2010 Newsline
A reflection on Iraq, after seven years of war.

After seven years of war, Iraqis live with...
  • A society (other than the semi-autonomous northern Kurdish region) broken from the invasion and occupation, with the loss of civil society and the deterioration of trust and cohesion necessary for a peaceful society. There has been some reconstruction, but most infrastructure remains unrepaired. There is still contaminated water, an average of only four to six hours a day of electricity, and inadequate medical care.

  • Violence, killing, and torture still the norm in the northern Iraqi Kurdish region because the United States supplied and supported Saddam Hussein during the Anfal campaign (the genocide against the Kurds).

  • Deaths of an estimated million Iraqi civilians since 2003 (statistic from a Sept. 2007 poll by British polling agency ORB).

  • Continued economic crisis. Sixty percent of families rely on food rations, which have been reduced. Unemployment is over 50 percent. Prices of food and fuel have increased, but not wages.

  • Iraqis in control of prisons and "security," but with many innocent detainees forced, through torture, to confess to acts of terror they did not commit. Iraqis often feel terrorized by Special Forces. Many Iraqis say that the ways of Saddam continue.

  • Continued widespread anger and despair about the conditions of their lives.

  • Decreased violence on the streets in central and southern Iraq, but without the deeper problems being resolved. Iraqis still live in daily fear of kidnaping or other violence. Many say the groups doing greater acts of terror have moved to areas such as Mosul and Baqubah where higher rates of violence continue.

  • Women subjected to increased violence and loss of personal rights and freedoms.

  • Children growing up seeing violence and killing as the norm.

  • A country polluted with radioactive depleted uranium from US weaponry used in the 1991 and 2003 wars with Iraq, resulting in increased cancers and birth defects.

  • A ratified constitution and current elections, but a government plagued with power struggles. Kurds in Kirkuk and other northern disputed areas are afraid of civil war between Arabs and Kurds.

  • The US government still giving military intelligence to Turkish military planes to fly over Iraqi airspace and bomb civilians in villages along Iraq's northern borders. The US turning a blind eye to Turkish attempts to destabilize the Kurdish region, while using the actions of the armed resistance group, the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), as their excuse. Turkish bombing and Iranian shelling across the borders cause destruction of hundreds of villages and displacement and disruption of thousands of residents' lives.

  • An estimated 4.5 million Iraqis having fled to other countries or living as displaced people in their own country, because of the hardship and dangers.
Although Iraqis suffered from brutal policies under Saddam Hussein's regime and US and British interventionist policies before 2003, words cannot express the anguish that the Iraqi people have experienced in these last seven years of the continued war. Occupying forces have exacerbated ethnic conflicts and oppressive political forces in their country that will continue to cause suffering and hardship for generations.

-- Peggy Gish is a Church of the Brethren member who works in Iraq with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) on a regular basis. An initiative of the Historic Peace Churches (Church of the Brethren, Mennonites, and Quakers), CPT seeks to enlist the whole church in organized, nonviolent alternatives to war and places teams of trained peacemakers in regions of lethal conflict. For more go to

Source: 4/7/2010 Newsline
Brethren bits: Correction, remembrances, personnel, jobs, disaster giving, more.
  • Correction: The Newsline report from the Mission and Ministry Board meeting omitted the board's appointment of Melissa Bennett to a second term of service on the Committee on Interchurch Relations.

  • Remembrance: Mildred Grimley of Ephrata (Pa.) Manor died on March 21. She and her late husband John Grimley, who died on Sept. 17, 1997, served 21 years as Church of the Brethren missionaries in Nigeria. She also was the author of several books including Children of the Bush Country (Brethren Press, 1959) and Mattie Loves All (Brethren Press, 1985). She is survived by her daughters Milly (Phil) Kruper, Joane (Ron) Eby, Peg Grimley, and son, John (Iris Brower) Grimley. The funeral was held on March 27 at Akron (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. Memorial contributions are received to Akron Church of the Brethren.

  • Remembrance: Elizabeth 'Dianne' Morningstar, 65, composer of the music for the hymn, "For We Are Strangers No More" (#322 in "Hymnal: A Worship Book"), died on March 22 at Hershey (Pa.) Medical Center after a 10-year journey with metastatic melanoma. She was born April 30, 1944, in Timberville, Va., a daughter of Paul H. and Anna Crist Huffman, who both survive her.She is also survived by her daughter, Amy Rist (Brian) Korsun, and a granddaughter. As a young adult she served as organist at Timberville (Va.) Church of the Brethren. She earned a degree in Music Education at Bridgewater (Va.) College and later entered the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago, Ill., and pursued postgraduate study at Westminster Choir College, Princeton, N.J. She held teaching positions in Illinois at Glen Ellyn High School and at Elmhurst College, and was director of the Bethany Theological Seminary Choir. In Pennsylvania, she taught at Elizabethtown High School and Messiah College. She was a published hymn-writer and church music clinician. In 1999 she was honored by the National Association of Performing Arts Educators as guest clinician and performer at the Winter Choral Festival at Carnegie Hall. For 27 years she was minister of music at Trinity United Methodist Church in New Cumberland, Pa. Memorial contributions are received by Trinity United Methodist Church or Timberville Church of the Brethren.

  • Mary Osborne will begin a one-year internship in the Brethren Historical Library and Archives on Aug. 16. She currently is completing two degrees at Indiana University--a master of Library Science and a master of arts in Public History--and works for the Indiana Historical Bureau assisting with historical marker applications. Previously she served an internship with the Indiana Historical Society.

  • The Church of the Brethren seeks candidates for the new position of website producer. The website producer oversees the Church of the Brethren website, and seeks ways to build community through the church's web presence. Candidates should have the relational skills to collaborate with other individuals and organizations within the Church of the Brethren, the technical skills to work closely with the website vendor, the organizational skills to manage complex projects, and the communication skills to create and oversee the content of the website. The position is based at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., and strong preference will be given to an active member of the Church of the Brethren. Request a copy of the position description and application from the Office of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120-1694; 800-323-8039 ext. 258;

  • The Church of the Brethren seeks candidates for the position of director of Interpretation. The director of Interpretation communicates the mission and ministry of the church using a variety of media including web, e-mail, print, and graphic display. This person writes extensively, serving the needs of both the Communication Team and the Stewardship and Donor Development Team. Candidates should have a deep understanding of the Church of the Brethren, experience with the denominational scope of the church's identity and ministries, superior skills in writing and editing, and experience with digital media. The position is based at the church's General Offices in Elgin, Ill., and strong preference will be given to an active member of the Church of the Brethren. Request a copy of the position description and application from the Office of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120-1694; 800-323-8039 ext. 258;

  • The Church of the Brethren seeks candidates for a coordinator of Donor Invitation. The position will serve as part of the stewardship and donor development team, building relationship and inviting participation in Church of the Brethren mission and ministries through electronic and traditional communication strategies. This work will require the applicant to be a "team player" working closely with the communications staff toward a consistent Brethren voice. Also desired are above average Internet communication experience, experience with CONVIO if possible, as well as excellent writing abilities that are at once inspirational, motivational, and invitational. The position is expected to be full-time and located at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. The position is open until filled. Request a copy of the position description and application packet from the Office of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120-1694; 800-323-8039 ext. 258;

  • The Church of the Brethren's Material Resources program is seeking volunteers at its warehouse facilities at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. "Due to the AMAZING response we have had for kits to be sent to Haiti, Material Resources is in need of volunteers and are now scheduling for the month of April," said an announcement. "We welcome any help age 18 and older. Benefits of volunteering are not only the joy of giving but if you work a full day (six hours) lunch is provided at no cost." Youth ages 14-18 also can volunteer, but must come with supervision. A typical volunteer work day is Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m., but volunteers can set their own hours within that time frame. The program will take groups as small as one person and as large as 25. Call Terry Riley at 410-635-8794 to schedule a volunteer opportunity.

  • Gifts to the Church of the Brethren's Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) this year have now exceeded $1 million. The total given to the EDF from Jan. 1 through March 31 comes to $1,028,759--a huge jump in disaster relief giving compared to the $74,840 received by the fund during the same period in 2009.

  • The Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership, jointly funded by the Church of the Brethren and Bethany Theological Seminary, is offering a new series of Lilly Endowment Inc. funded educational experiences for Church of the Brethren pastors. New cohort groups will be started in August for the Advanced Foundations for Church Leaders program, and in September for the Vital Pastor program. While open to all ordained pastors who have not previously participated in the SPE program, special invitations will be extended to pastors who have served congregations for 2-10 years. Contact Linda and Glenn Timmons at Bethany Seminary, 800-287-8822 or or or

  • The once-a-decade Religion Communication Congress begins today in Chicago. RCCongress 2010 is held on the theme, "Embracing Change, Communicating Faith in Today's World." The Church of the Brethren is one of the cooperating organizations, with youth director Becky Ullom on the planning committee, and former denominational staff Stewart M. Hoover as one of the presenters. Hoover, professor of Media Studies in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Colorado at Boulder, is co-leader for the opening seminar on "Global Media, Global Religion: Research on Popular Media and the Remaking of Religions." Go to for more.

  • Shiloh Church of the Brethren near Kasson, W. Va., which lost its church building to a fire on Jan. 3, reports that the congregation has received a "string of blessings." Pastor Garry Clem's comments came in an e-mail to the denominational communication staff. Blessings include a local contractor who cleaned up the site without charge. "We had a wrap up meeting with our contractor, architect, and the company that is going to build our building yesterday, March 23, and all our plans are now in place," Clem wrote. "We are hoping to get into our new building by the end of summer or early fall." He also expressed appreciation to the church members, writing: "We are able to build so quickly because of the total cooperation of the congregation.... Our council meetings have progressed with a spirit of cooperation and the determination to move forward." A shortfall in insurance coverage of about $75,000 "is being made up by the generosity of people all across the country," he added. "To this point we have had contributions from 11 Churches of the Brethren, 18 donations from churches of other denominations, two businesses, and 60 individuals." Donations include 80 copies of the old red Brethren Hymnal from Brethren Press, which was specially requested by the congregation.

  • The Church of the Brethren's Southern Pennsylvania District has a work project scheduled in the Dominican Republic on April 13-20, working with members of Mendoza Haitian Church of the Brethren as they continue work building a second floor to the church building.

  • The annual Sounds of the Mountains Festival at Camp Bethel in Fincastle, Va., will be held on April 16-17 featuring the musical talents of Bill Harley, Beth Horner, Kevin Kling, and Acoustic Endeavors. Tickets, schedule, and more are at

  • The board of directors of the Indianapolis Peace Institute (formerly Indianapolis Peace House) has announced that it has discontinued on-site student programming. The program is a six-year-old inner-city collaboration of Indiana's three historic peace colleges. "The economic downturn has put an unbearable burden on the nonprofit project of Earlham, Goshen, and Manchester colleges," said a release. The institute provided an innovative urban service learning opportunity for students interested in peace-building. Over the six years, institute students contributed almost 22,200 volunteer hours to some 100 community organizations. The board has placed its 6,500-square-foot, four-level historic structure in the Old Northside neighborhood of Indianapolis on the market. The institute opened in 2004, and generous funding from Lilly Endowment Inc. supported peace studies initiatives on the three campuses as well as creation of the institute.

  • Two Bridgewater (Va.) College alumni will be honored at an annual Alumni Weekend celebration on April 16-18: Samuel H. Flora Jr. and Gerald W. Roller will receive the 2010 Ripples Society Medals. The Ripples Society comprises alumni who graduated from the college 50 or more years ago. Flora is honored for his role as peacemaker, extending back to 1944-46 when he was pastor of North Baltimore (Md.) Church of the Brethren, a small group expelled from a larger congregation in a theological disagreement. During a lengthy career as a pastor he also was on several district boards including the Shenandoah District Board, moderated the Second Virginia District Conference, was a member of the Annual Conference Standing Committee, and was involved on the committee that purchased and developed Brethren Woods. Roller, a physician, is recognized for his life devoted to medicine. "His was one of the first medical offices in Roanoke to have a single, desegregated waiting room, reflecting his commitment to and support of equality," the announcement said. He is a member of the Church of the Brethren and has served on many local and Virlina District committees, and was district moderator in the 1970s. Since retirement, he and his wife have been medical consultants to the Church of the Brethren Nigeria mission five times since 2000. They also have led marriage-strengthening seminars and retreats both in the US and Nigeria.

  • Bridgewater College also has announced the establishment of two new academic chairs and a science institute. The A. LeRoy and Wanda Harmon Baker Chair of Science honors the couple's contributions to science, society, the community, and the college, and their commitment to education. The late A. LeRoy Baker, who graduated from Bridgewater in 1961, was a prominent national leader in the development of recombinant DNA technology for human health care applications. Wanda Harmon Baker, who also graduated from Bridgewater in 1961, was present at the Founder's Day ceremony for the announcement of the establishment of the chair. The John W. Martin Summer Science Research Institute has been established to honor the late Bridgewater professor and his expertise as a teacher and exceptional caring and mentoring for students. He taught chemistry at the college from 1961-85. The William Thomas Chair of Humane Letters was established to honor the late William W. Thomas, class of 1954, who bequeathed nearly $2 million to the college through his will. He was a professor of philosophy and religion at James Madison University from 1971-97.

  • Ellen Catlett and Bill Wantz have joined the board of directors at Fahrney-Keedy Home and Village, a Church of the Brethren retirement community in Boonsboro, Md. Catlett is a retired registered nurse from Fairplay, Md., and a member of Grossnickle Church of Brethren in Myersville, Md., and an associate member of First Christian Church in Hagerstown, Md. Wantz of Hagerstown practices law in Washington County.

  • For four consecutive years, "Brethren Voices"--the community television program of Portland (Ore.) Peace Church of the Brethren--has produced programs featuring interviews with Annual Conference moderators. Shawn Flory Replogle, 2010 moderator, is interviewed in the April edition. In the program, Replogle shares about some experiences while serving in Brethren Volunteer Service from 1992-94 that have changed his life, discusses his thoughts about being the moderator as well as his hopes and goals, and shares his perceptions of the needs of the various generations that today make up the Church of the Brethren. For more information about "Brethren Voices" contact Ed Groff at Copies are available from Peace Church for a donation of $8. The May edition of "Brethren Voices" will feature storytellers from the annual Song and Story Fest family camp co-sponsored by On Earth Peace.

  • The New Community Project has given a grant of just over $25,000 to programs in Nimule and Narus, Sudan. The majority of the funds will support girls' education, women's tailoring and gardening projects, and a reforestation initiative partnering with the Girl Child Education and Development Association. A portion of the funds sent to Nimule were donated by Northview Church of the Brethren in Indianapolis, in honor of the late Phil and Louise Rieman, former pastors and long-time advocates for Sudan. In Narus, a smaller grant will support girls' education in a Toposa community partnering with the Sudan Council of Churches. This summer, the New Community Project also plans to send solidarity workers to Sudan for the fourth year of the program, with volunteers to be stationed in Nimule and assisting in schools, with women's programs and with the reforestation effort. A Learning Tour to Sudan is set for February 2011. For more information, contact

  • The 2010 Earth Day Sunday Resource from the National Council of Churches, "Sacred Spaces and an Abundant Life: Worship Spaces as Stewardship," is available to download from The resource is intended to empower congregations to practice stewardship of their sacred spaces by providing practical ideas to help conserve energy, reduce toxic materials and products, and conserve water and land. It includes worship resources and study guides to reflect on God's call to care for creation. Earth Day Sunday this year is scheduled for April 18.

  • The National Council of Churches is calling for a common Easter date, after this year's celebration was observed on April 4 in all Christian traditions. Most years, Easter is celebrated on different dates in western and most Orthodox churches because of ancient discrepancies in calculating the calendar. In a letter to member communions, NCC general secretary Michael Kinnamon and Antonios Kireopoulos, senior program director for Faith and Order and Interfaith Relations, lamented the fact that "almost every year the Christian community is divided over which day to proclaim this Good News. Our split, based on a dispute having to do with ancient calendars, visibly betrays the message of reconciliation." The letter proposes continued movement toward a common Easter date based on the recommendations of the Aleppo Conference of 1997, to adhere to the decision of the first ecumenical council at Nicea to celebrate Easter on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the spring equinox, thus maintaining the biblical association between Jesus' death and Passover.

  • Church World Service (CWS) has become a founding member of the new ACT Alliance, one of the world's largest humanitarian bodies. The new alliance includes more than 100 member churches and church-based humanitarian groups working in 125 countries with a combined operating budget of $1.5 billion. The new alliance combines the former ACT International (est. 1995), which focused on longtime disaster relief and rehabilitation with the former ACT Development, which focused on sustainable development and further expands its work to include advocacy. Alliance members retain individual identities while working collaboratively.
Source: 4/7/2010 Newsline
How to put a week on a page: A physician reflects on the Church of the Brethren medical delegation in Haiti.

Lori Zimmerman, a physician from North Manchester, Ind., who took part in the Church of the Brethren medical delegation to Haiti on March 21-26, has written the following reflection on the week:

Many have asked about my experience in Haiti last week. How do I put a week on a page?

The week turned out to be a blessing in my life. I had some anxiety about being away from my family for the first time and traveling with strangers, but neither of these concerns ended up as issues at all. In fact thanks to technology, I could e-mail back and forth with my kids and call anytime. I met 8 total strangers and left with eight new friends.

We overcame some early challenges as two of the physicians from New York did not come. So we found three Haitian physicians who were hired to work with us all week. It was wonderful to work with them and they were even able to provide some needed follow up and resources for us. Paul Ullom-Minnich from Kansas was the other physician from the US.

For the week, I believe we saw over 1,300 patients. We would set up and tear down in new location each day. The locations were at or near the Brethren churches or preaching points in or near Port-au-Prince, but the facilities were vastly different. One day we would be in a school with cement floors, and another day in a thatched building, cramped quarters with mud floors.

We saw a variety of complaints with many being stress related, and nutritional deficiencies. Many complained of headaches, dizziness, insomnia, and upset stomach. About everyone I saw was anemic. I treated a lot of people for parasites, and some for symptoms of malaria (which I have never treated before). Many children had fungal skin infections, parasites, and colds.

I took 150 toothbrushes, 70 tennis balls, and 60 beanie babies to give away to children and could have used more.

Almost everyone I saw lived in a tent due to their homes being destroyed by the earthquake.

I worked with a delightful nurse from Miami, Kelent Pierre, who is of Haitian descent. She also served as my trusty translator. We became good friends as she spent the week in the top bunk above me.

Our sleeping quarters were very nice by Haitian standards. We stayed in a guest house run by a woman originally from Ohio. There was running water and we had cold showers and flush toilets as well as screens on the windows--something to be thankful for. But it was hot at night and the fan just didn't seem to do enough. We had breakfast and supper there and I ate protein bars for lunch, which kept me healthy.

I have several stories I could share: A women who is an insulin-dependent diabetic, who hasn't been able to get insulin since the earthquake because her doctor like many other affluent Haitians has fled the country. I sent a church member with money to go to the pharmacy and get her enough insulin for three months. But then what? Many people had high blood pressure and couldn't get medicine for the same reason.

There was also a one year old whose mother died in the earthquake. I guessed he weighed about 10 pounds. His grandmother brought him in to see me, like a limp dish rag in her arms. I saw them in the waiting area and hoped I wouldn't be the doctor to have to see him. He was previously breastfed and now doesn't want to eat. He was having diarrhea 10 times a day and fevers every night. He was clinically dehydrated. I treated him formalaria, parasites, and dehydration. More importantly, I got him plugged in for follow up, with one of the Haitian doctors to see his care through.

The most touching story is about a two-month-old baby who was at birthweight (about six pounds) and was throwing up every time he ate. He was very weak, dehydrated, and his eyes would roll back in his head. He didn't have long to live in that state. I listened to his chest and he also had pneumonia. I got him some oral rehydration and antibiotics. I was concerned about pyloric stenosis which is a narrowed portion of the lower stomach which requires surgery.

As luck would have it, one of the Haitian physicians who joined us was a surgeon. He gave him a "pass" to the hospital and did surgery two days later. The surgeon told me the baby had a tumor blocking his esophagus (leading to the stomach) which was removed. He is going to make it.

It was heart warming to work with the Haitian Brethren all week. Several members and pastors traveled to the different clinic sites with us all week. They did the planning, opened the morning with a short service, and organized the crowds. We then set up shop and went to work.

The Haitian Brethren shared with our group that the subsidies from the Church of the Brethren and Brethren Disaster Ministries are the first they have seen from any agency. There is an active feeding program going on. There have been 20 temporary houses built in a community in the past six weeks. Many there feel this is an amazing accomplishment in a short amount of time. These homes have plywood walls, cement floor and a tin roof. Also built by Brethren Disaster Relief was a group sanitation area.

After being in Haiti and seeing what is going on, I feel Brethren Disaster Ministries is the best place to put money. They were organized before the earthquake, building 100 homes in the north for hurricane relief from 2008, so they have a system in place already. That is why I think they have been so effective for this disaster.

Many people have asked, "so are things getting better now?" My answer is clearly, no. Just because Haiti is no longer headline news, things are not better. There are tremendous amounts of rubble around and no bulldozers in sight. Tents are still lining streets and crowded in parks just inches apart. Lines are still formed for basic necessities like drinking water and food. Doctors have not returned to their offices. School has not reopened. And the rainy season had yet to begin when we left Haiti.

That is why I have left Haiti in body, but have not left it in my mind. I continue to think about ways that we can be helpful for more than a week. How we can create real and lasting improvement? I look forward to continuing these discussions with my church's witness commission and again in July at Annual Conference in Pittsburgh.

I know that God intended for me to spend my week in Haiti and I am thankful that I followed the call.

-- A note from the editor: The Church of the Brethren medical delegation also included two nurses from Florida, Neslin Augustin and Kelent Pierre; Jeff Boshart, the Brethren Disaster Ministries coordinator for Haiti; Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren; Jonathan Dieusauve Cadette, a signal employee for the railroad CSX Transportation in Florida; Evelyn Dick, a Church of the Brethren member living in Georgia who with her late husband, LeRoy, founded Vine Ministries in Haiti and who has lived there for some 29 years; Jerry Eller, serving on the medical delegation as a crisis counselor, who has a private practice in Florida and also is an elementary school counselor and part of the critical incident response team for NASA; Paul Ullom-Minnich, a family physician from Kansas; and Verel Montauban, pastor of Haitian First Church of New York.

A number of Haitian physicians, nurses, and medical students joined the group in Haiti, among them Beulah Alexandre, a Haitian medical student and a member of the church at Vine Ministries; physicians Luc Guerlentz and Jacson Luxamar; Serge Hyacinthe, a leading Haitian psychiatrist and head of the departments of psychiatry and sociology in the Faculte d'Ethnologie at the Universite d'Etat d'Haiti, and a group of his graduate students in psychology led by student Alain Fleurimond; surgeon Gauthier Noisete.

Several of the leaders and members in Eglise des Freres Haitiens (Haitian Church of the Brethren) organized the clinics and served as translators and general helpers, among them pastor Joseph Erimer Remy of Delmas 24 Church; Sister Marie A. Ridore, in whose house the Croix des Bouquets church meets; Jean Bily Telfort, general secretary of Eglise des Freres Haitiens, and pastor at Croix des Bouquets; and Klebert Exceus, Haiti consultant for Brethren Disaster Ministries and a leader of the Baptist church and school where the first clinic was held, who oversees construction work on the temporary shelters.

The delegation's work was funded by grants from the church's Emergency Disaster Fund. For more about the delegation and the situation of the Brethren in Haiti, a blog and online photo album are linked at

Source: 4/7/2010 Newsline Special