Thursday, April 22, 2010

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

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