Thursday, June 17, 2010

Church developers called to ‘Plant Generously, Reap Bountifully.’

The New Church Development Conference was held May 20-22 at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind. Was it a church planting conference or a Holy Spirit conference? It was hard to make a distinction as 120 participants gathered for the fifth biennial conference sponsored by the Church of the Brethren’s Congregational Life Ministries and New Church Development Advisory Committee, in partnership with the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership and hosted by the seminary.

Planters, district leaders, and revitalizing pastors attended this event, which challenged, inspired, connected, and equipped the church for new mission and ministry development.

Guest leaders Jim Henderson and Rose Madrid-Swetman provided provocative and practical perspectives and tools for connecting with non-Christians and engaging local communities with the transforming Gospel. Henderson challenged the gathering to "take back Jesus" from Christianity and stay focused on valuing the "outsider" unconditionally, while clearly following Jesus. Swetman shared the purpose for and practical forms of community-based servant ministry, drawing on her experience as a pastor/planter in the Seattle area. Swetman also shared her gift of spiritual insight through reflective listening and prayer leadership.

Workshops were led by Church of the Brethren planters and leaders, focusing on everything from holistic health for planters, to practical steps for beginning a plant, to the district’s role in supporting new plants. Thirty workshops were offered, including a complete track of workshops in Spanish. Translation was provided throughout the conference.

Worship and prayer rooted the conference. Preaching to begin the event was Belita Mitchell, a former Annual Conference moderator and current pastor of First Church of the Brethren in Harrisburg, Pa. Church planter Lidia Gonzalez provided the encouragement and challenge for the close of the conference. Worship was coordinated by Bethany professor Tara Hornbacker.

Two evening sessions were open to the public, the second of which drew an overall attendance of 180 people to hear two atheists talk about their experiences visiting local Church of the Brethren congregations. The interview with Willis and Shane was conducted by Jim Henderson and was alternately uncomfortable, enlightening, and motivating.

A photo album of the conference is online at For more information about new church development in the Church of the Brethren contact or Jonathan Shively at 800-323-8039.

-- Jonathan Shively is executive director of Congregational Life Ministries.

Source: 6/17/2010 Newsline
Young adults ‘rock’ Camp Blue Diamond over Memorial Day weekend.

Camp Blue Diamond in Petersburg, Pa., was rockin’ this Memorial Day weekend. Four-square, footwashing, and four-part harmonies filled the weekend as almost 70 Church of the Brethren young adults from across the country gathered for the denomination’s annual Young Adult Conference.

Participants not only studied and discussed the theme of community, focused on a passage from Romans 12, but also lived it out.

The church’s Young Adult Steering Committee planned the conference, and many others shared their gifts to make the weekend happen. Sermons were offered by Matt McKimmy, pastor of Richmond (Ind.) Church of the Brethren; Marie Benner-Rhoades of On Earth Peace; and Carrie Fry-Miller, a student at Bethany Theological Seminary. Other participants led over a dozen workshops on topics from faithful ecology to crafting.

Saturday evening’s open microphone coffee house provided another opportunity for young adults to share their passions, and the offerings ranged from the beautiful (Broadway ballads and classical violin) to the bizarre (beat-boxing flute and recorder played by nostril).

Hiking, canoeing, card playing, cooking out, and roasting s’mores around the campfire took up generous portions of the weekend, but the group also dove into some serious conversation. Jordan Blevins and Bekah Houff, members of the denominational Visioning Committee, led an intentional conversation about a proposed new vision statement for the Church of the Brethren. "Here’s something we’ve put together about who we are as Brethren," Blevins said. "Now what did we leave out?" The question provoked impassioned responses from the young adults, who expressed both their love for the church as well as their frustration with it.

This shared sense of love and frustration, combined with genuine attempts to live in joyful community as "members of one another," seemed to characterize the entire weekend. Young adults are invited to join in the fun, fellowship, and community building at next year’s Young Adult Conference, held over Memorial Day weekend May 28-31, 2011, in a location to be determined.

A photo album from the Young Adult Conference is online at

-- Dana Cassell is Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) staff for vocation and community living.

Source: 6/17/2010 Newsline
Brethren leader helps defend CWS against charges of proselytizing.

Church of the Brethren general secretary Stan Noffsinger has been among American church officials helping to defend Church World Service (CWS) against charges of religious proselytizing in Afghanistan. CWS is an international humanitarian aid agency related to the National Council of Churches, established after World War II in 1946 to assist displaced people in Europe and Asia with food assistance and relief activities.

"When I saw and read the allegations I was dumbfounded," said Noffsinger in a CWS release. "For more than 60 years, Church World Service has grounded its role in serving people regardless of faith tradition.

"Church World Service is held in the highest regard and is seen as honoring those whom it serves," he added. "I believe CWS functions with the highest of integrity."

Also quoted in defense of CWS was Susan Sanders, head of Global Sharing of Resources for the United Church of Christ, who noted that CWS has signed the NGO code of conduct of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement that specifically prohibits proselytizing in disaster relief, and that in Afghanistan and Pakistan CWS is a member of Humanitarian Accountability Partnership International, a self-regulatory partnership of NGOs, and adheres to humanitarian standards for quality and accountability.

In the first week of June CWS’s long-time work in Afghanistan dating back more than 30 years was temporarily suspended by the Afghan Ministry of Economy, pending investigation of allegations related to an Afghan television news story claiming that CWS and Norwegian Church Aid had engaged in religious proselytizing. CWS formally denied the allegations and said it expected the suspension to last only briefly.

Noffsinger’s experience with CWS dates back to the 1970s. He once served as a CWS staffer.

Source: 6/17/2010 Newsline
Global Food Crisis Fund supports work of Foods Resource Bank.

A member contribution of $22,960 has been given to the Foods Resource Bank from the Church of the Brethren’s Global Food Crisis Fund. The allocation represents a 2010 grant for operational support of the organization, based on the scope of overseas programming for which the denomination is lead sponsor.

Member contributions to the Foods Resource Bank are allocated in the following way: 40 percent administration and resource development; 17 percent overseas programing; 43 percent US growing projects. The organization’s current total assets stand at $3.6 million, of which $3 million is designated for overseas programing and $0.6 million for operations.

The Church of the Brethren is lead sponsor for four of the 62 Foods Resource Bank overseas programs: the Totonicapan program in Guatemala, the Rio Coco program in Nicaragua, and Bateye Food Security in the Dominican Republic (all in partnership with Church World Service); and the Ryongyon program in North Korea in partnership with Agglobe International.

In the United States the Foods Resource Bank is engaged in 200 growing projects. In 2009, 22 of these were Church of the Brethren led. This year, a growing project called "Field of Hope" started by a group of six Church of the Brethren congregations in the area of Grossnickle, Md., will host the Foods Resource Bank Annual Gathering on July 13-15.

"Foods Resource Bank has become an increasingly major partner of the Global Food Crisis Fund," said the grant request from fund manager Howard Royer. "Some 35 of our congregations have participated in FRB growing projects, the majority for three or more years. In 2009 Brethren-led growing projects raised $266,000 for investing in agricultural development with indigenous partners in poor countries abroad."

The Global Food Crisis Fund also has given a grant of $5,000 to Liberia to assist with the distribution of 300,000 vegetable seed packets to subsistence farmers and gardeners and schools, with logistics handled by Church Aid Inc., Liberia. Three previous grants of this amount were allocated to Church Aid Liberia in 2006, 2007, and 2008.

A grant of $3,000 has been given to the ECHO organization in support of a West Africa Networking Forum this fall. The funds will cover the $200 registration fee for five delegates and will provide a $2,000 grant toward the cost of the forum itself. In September ECHO will host its first networking forum bringing together agricultural leaders from Nigeria, Niger, Benin, Togo, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, the Gambia, Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Algeria, and Libya. The venue is a central location, Ouagadougo in Burkina Faso.

A special effort will be made by the Church of the Brethren’s Global Mission Partnerships to enlist two Nigerian agricultural workers from Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria to attend. In 2008, the fund participated in a similar ECHO-related event in Haiti with a grant of $1,750. Through that experience, Haitian Brethren became connected to a wider group of agricultural specialists in the country. One Haitian Brethren pastor and agriculturalist, Jean Bily Telfort, was invited to address the forum.

In other news, Royer and the Global Food Crisis Fund are congratulating the leaders of Heifer International and Bread for the World as joint recipients of the 2010 World Food Prize. The prize is shared by Jo Luck, president of Heifer International, and David Beckmann, head of Bread for the World. Heifer International was started by the Church of the Brethren and denominational staff member Dan West as Heifer Project, and since going independent has grown into a large international nonprofit that receives wide ecumenical support. The two leaders were honoured for "landmark achievements in building two of the world's foremost grassroots organizations leading the charge to end hunger and poverty for millions of people around the world."

For more about the Global Food Crisis Fund, go to

Source: 6/17/2010 Newsline
Nine receive Caring Ministries nursing scholarships.

Nine Church of the Brethren nursing students are recipients of Caring Ministries Nursing Scholarships for 2010. This scholarship, made possible by the Health Education and Research Endowment, is available to members of the Church of the Brethren enrolled in LPN, RN, or nursing graduate programs.

This year’s recipients are Janet Craig of Briery Branch Church of the Brethren in Dayton, Va.; Natalie England of Peoria (Ill.) Church of the Brethren; Timothy Fisher of Chiques Church of the Brethren in Manheim, Pa.; Amy Frye of Woodbury (Pa.) Church of the Brethren; Heather Galang-Ellerbee of Bridgewater (Va.) Church of the Brethren; Tina Good of Bermudian Church of the Brethren in East Berlin, Pa.; Jennifer Miller of West Green Tree Church of the Brethren in Elizabethtown, Pa.; Kimberly Ryman of Antioch Church of the Brethren in Woodstock, Va.; and Shayla Thomas of Palmyra (Pa.) Church of the Brethren.

Scholarships of up to $2,000 for RN and graduate nurse candidates and up to $1,000 for LPN candidates are awarded to a limited number of applicants each year. Information on the scholarships, including an application form and instructions, is available at Applications and supporting documentation are due by April 1 of each year.

-- Nancy Miner is manager of the Office of the General Secretary.

Source: 6/17/2010 Newsline
Agape-Satyagraha peace program begins at three new pilot sites.

It looks like it could be tutoring: an after-school program, adults and youth paired together, having intense conversations. But if you listen closely, no one is talking about math or history or literature. The word coming up again and again is peace.

Not a generic peace, like peace on earth, but rather how these students can choose peace in their day-to-day activities. They role play ways to respond to situations they face: in school with bullies, interactions in their neighborhoods, and how to help friends who may be angry at one another.

Adults call this conflict resolution, with a foundation in social theory and religious philosophy that informs their conversations; whereas in these classrooms it is called Agape-Satyagraha building upon Jesus’ philosophy of interpersonal love and Gandhi’s belief that nonviolent expressions of truth are forceful.

It is On Earth Peace’s newest program offering. The program equips youth to confront violence with active nonviolence. These skills are taught within the context that the youth face in their lives, preparing them to think about the larger context of their communities, country, and the world as a whole.

Agape-Satyagraha was developed in Harrisburg, Pa., by Brethren Community Ministry’s director Gerald Rhoades in response to school shootings in 2001. "Youth need alternatives to solving conflicts rather than fighting," he reflected. Success in Harrisburg inspired On Earth Peace to develop a curriculum that could be expanded to other communities.

Donations from Church of the Brethren constituents and a matching grant from the Shumaker Foundation have enabled three new pilot sites: Modesto (Calif.) Church of the Brethren; Elm Street Church of the Brethren in Lima, Ohio; and Beaver Dam Church of the Brethren in Union Bridge, Md. There are currently 22 youth and 17 adult mentors active in the Agape-Satyagraha program.

Site coordinators hold monthly phone calls to share updates, hear from On Earth Peace staff, work on specific questions, and network with one another. Communication also includes individual site check-ins with On Earth Peace staff and weekly and monthly written reports.

The Agape-Satyagraha program continues to grow. On Earth Peace is currently in conversation with four congregations discerning their call to bring this message of peace to the youth in their communities. This is a possibility because of the time donated by volunteers in the classroom and donors from around the country who support the vision that young people can change the world, if we teach them how.

For more information visit

-- Gimbiya Kettering is communications coordinator for On Earth Peace.

Source: 6/17/2010 Newsline
National Youth Conference to gather close to 3,000 Brethren.

National Youth Conference (NYC) is about a month away, and more than 2,800 people are registered to attend. Online registration ended on June 15 for the conference that takes place in Fort Collins, Colo., on July 17-22.

Youth, advisors, parents, and congregations have been spending years preparing for NYC by raising money, having informational meetings, coordinating travel, and much more.

Coming up on June 20, the denomination is having an NYC Prayer Day. Just under a month from the beginning of NYC, congregations will spend time in prayer for their youth and what they will experience at NYC. The congregations who have spent so much time physically preparing for NYC, will take this time to spiritually prepare the youth for their mountain top experience, both literally and figuratively.

National Youth Conference is such a unique experience for youth. Youth will come together, in community, with people who are very different, yet very similar. The NYC participants are a diverse community. In a time when it feels like differences are being accented, we encourage participants to be in conversation with people who are different from themselves. The diversity that the body of Christ offers is important. As the scripture reminds us, not everyone can be a hand. Some people need to be a foot, or an arm, or a nose.

Everyone is invited to take advantage of the unique opportunity that is NYC, and we invite everyone to see the God in others! It is no accident that the NYC theme this summer is "More than Meets the Eye."

-- Audrey Hollenberg is one of the two NYC coordinators, along with Emily LaPrade.

Source: 6/17/2010 Newsline
Garcia to coordinate donor invitation for Church of the Brethren.

Amanda (Mandy) Garcia has accepted the position of coordinator of Donor Invitation for the Church of the Brethren, effective July 26. Her responsibilities will include promoting and securing online and direct mail gifts, working in the Stewardship and Donor Development department.

She comes to the position from Brethren Benefit Trust, where she has resigned as administrative office assistant, effective July 23. She has worked for BBT since Feb. 2, 2009. She is a graduate of Judson University in Elgin, Ill., where she earned a degree in worship arts/communications and media. She and her family live in Elgin.

Source: 6/17/2010 Newsline
Baseball... and forgiveness.

The following reflection by Larry Gibble about what baseball may have to teach us about forgiveness comes from the e-mail newsletter of York (Pa.) First Church of the Brethren. It is used here with permission:

"And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors" (Matthew 6:12, KJV).

Detroit. Wednesday night, June 2, 2010. The Cleveland Indians vs. the Detroit Tigers. The principles: pitcher Armando Galarraga (2-1/2 weeks Major League experience) and umpire Jim Joyce (Major League umpire since 1989). The witnesses: millions of TV viewers. The situation: a perfect game is underway and is down to the last out.

A grounder is hit to the first baseman, who tosses to the pitcher covering first base. Then there is the blown call at first base (the mistake). The spontaneous smile (instead of anger) of the pitcher when the umpire made the bad call depriving him of a perfect game forever. The TV replay (seeing the facts). The remorse of the umpire (after seeing the replay several times) realizing, "I just cost that kid a perfect game." The umpire's tears. Minutes later, the umpire's sincerest apology in the clubhouse to the pitcher with tears flowing down his cheeks (his debt to the young pitcher could never be repaid). The pitcher's immediate acceptance of the apology (forgiveness).

The witnesses: millions around the world. The replays of the event since then: provided by the news media around the world. The lesson: for each one of us to apply in our everyday living. "And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors."

Source: 6/17/2010 Newsline
Personnel, job openings, hunger advocacy, more.
  • Jan Fischer Bachman began June 7 as website producer for the Church of the Brethren, working on a contract basis from Chantilly, Va. A member of Oakton (Va.) Church of the Brethren, she is a writer for the Gather ’Round curriculum published by Brethren Press and Mennonite Publishing Network. In other work, she has provided consultation in editing, design, and marketing for a wide range of clients in several countries, most recently in the Gambia, where she used to live. During a stint with the Foreign Service Institute at the US Department of State, she was a writer, editor, and manager of the organization’s websites.

  • Sam Smith has joined the Church of the Brethren’s Global Mission Partnerships staff in a 12-week position as Peace Witness Consultant. His responsibilities will include strengthening the conscientious objector program, developing peace-related print resources, populating the Church of the Brethren website peace pages, and nurturing relationships with Brethren-affiliated peace entities. He is an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren. He and his family live in West Chicago, Ill. Since 1995 he has served as a youth pastor in Mennonite, Brethren, and United Methodist congregations. Currently he is a youth speaker/evangelist with Heavy Light Ministries and most recently started a youth church called Upper Xtreme Fellowship, which meets in the western suburbs of Chicago.

  • Ray and Bev Ax have begun as managers at Camp Wilbur Stover in New Meadows, Idaho. Both grew up on farms in the Nampa area where Bev Ax attended Bowmont and Nampa Churches of the Brethren. They are currently members of First Church of the Nazarene in Nampa. Retired in 2003 and 1995 respectively, the couple are members of ROAM (RVers On A Mission), a ministry of the Nazarene Church, and have worked at small Nazarene congregations and campgrounds in Arizona, Oregon, and Washington States. In other news, the camp was struck by flash floods recently, pictures of damage are at, click on "News" and choose "Goose Creek Murmurs" Vol. 2, Issue 4. "Due to the flash floods this year we are in need of your prayers," said the camp newsletter. "Also we are in need of donations for gravel and other repairs." Send love offerings to Gary Ackerman, 44 N. Pit Ln., Nampa, ID 83687.

  • Southern Ohio District seeks a district executive minister for a part-time position available Jan. 1, 2011. The district includes 52 congregations and 3 fellowships in Ohio and Kentucky, and is entering a time of transition and visioning new mission and ministry as it moves from full-time to part-time executive staffing. Congregations are rural, suburban, and urban, with the majority in the greater Dayton area. It is theologically diverse while able to celebrate its unity in Jesus Christ. The preferred candidate is a spiritual leader who offers inspiration and works collaboratively. The district office is at Mill Ridge Village of the Brethren Retirement Community in Union, Ohio. Responsibilities include serving as executive officer of the board of the district, facilitating and giving general oversight to planning and implementation of ministries as directed by the District Conference and District Board, providing linkages to congregations and denominational agencies, articulating and promoting the vision of the district, assisting congregations and pastors with placement, building and strengthening relationships with congregations and pastors, using mediation skills to work with congregations in conflict, facilitating and encouraging the calling of people to set-apart ministry and lay leadership, and promoting unity in the district. Qualifications include a clear commitment to Jesus Christ demonstrated by a vibrant spiritual life, commitment to New Testament values, commitment to Church of the Brethren faith and heritage, a minimum of 10 years of pastoral experience, respect for theological diversity, flexibility in working with staff and volunteers and pastoral and lay leadership, and strong skills in communication, mediation, conflict resolution, administration, management, and budget. Ordination in the Church of the Brethren is required, with a master of divinity degree preferred. Send letter of interest and resume to Applicants are requested to contact three or four people to provide a letter of reference. A candidate profile must be completed and returned before the application is complete. The application deadline is Aug. 1.

  • With the announced retirement of president Steve Morgan, the University of La Verne Board of Trustees, through the Presidential Search Advisory Committee and national search firm of Witt/Kieffer, is conducting a nationwide search for a new president to take office July 2011. The University of La Verne is a Church of the Brethren related school located in La Verne, Calif. Visit the Presidential Search webpage at to review the "Position Specification." Submit letters of nomination or expressions of interest to Witt/Kieffer through the Presidential Search webpage by selecting "How to Submit or Nominate" for details and contact information.

  • Camp Eder near Gettysburg, Pa., seeks a seasoned and dynamic full-time executive director to lead the organization to new levels of growth in its mission to provide creative camping ministry for children, youth, and adults in a place of natural beauty where people can experience God’s creation in a loving and caring environment. The executive director works with the camp board to carry out the strategic goals of Camp Eder. Responsibilities include managing personnel and fiscal operations, fundraising, agency relations, communications, assuring compliance with governmental regulations, assessing organizational needs, and implementing improvements. The executive director will foster development and implementation of organizational strategic direction, reporting directly to the camp board and nurturing a strong relationship with Southern Pennsylvania District. Camp Eder is eight miles west of Gettysburg on a 400-acre facility. As a ministry of the Southern Pennsylvania District, Camp Eder is a faith-based agency grounded in values and beliefs of the Church of the Brethren. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to lead an organization rooted in central Pennsylvania’s history for 50 years and whose future will build on the agency’s exemplary record of creative camping ministry for children, youth, and families. Qualifications and required skills: A Christian with a growing faith and a heart for evangelism as well as an understanding and acceptance of Church of the Brethren core values. Strong spiritual leader with a passion for outdoor ministry. Ability to implement the strategic vision plan as directed by the camp board. A bachelor's degree or equivalent life/work experience. Previous administration and camping experience preferred with strong fiscal, management, organizational, computer, and communication skills. Capability and enthusiasm for interpreting the mission and vision of the camp to area congregations and beyond. Submit a cover letter, resume, and three or four references (personal and professional) along with salary expectations to Joe Detrick at The deadline for submissions is Aug. 7.

  • Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) seeks a full-time administrative office assistant at its Elgin, Ill., office as soon as possible. This person will assist the director of office operations by typing general documents; assisting with logistics for special events and travel; maintaining records; assisting with document retention (electronic and paper) for Board documents, contracts, and more; and performing other administrative duties as requested. This position also assists the director of information technology by functioning as the operations go-to person for the VOIP phone system, training employees to use BBT’s e-mail system, helping with backup tape rotation, and administering BBT’s Internet conferencing system. Qualifications for this role include maintaining confidentiality (which is critical to the position), proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite, and excellent writing, grammar, organizational, and multi-tasking skills. The candidate must possess a positive, committed, collaborative working style and be a member of a faith community. Candidates must have at least five years of experience performing secretarial or general office duties or a bachelor’s degree. Submit a resume, letter of interest, salary requirement, and three references to Donna March, Director of Office Operations, Brethren Benefit Trust, 1505 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; 800-746-1505 ext. 371; More information about the position can be found at, click on "About BBT" and then "Job Openings."

  • Brethren Disaster Ministries is in need of long-term volunteer cooks at its Winamac, Ind., and Chalmette, La., projects, willing to spend three or more weeks cooking for groups of volunteer disaster workers. The ministry will pay transportation costs and provide separate sleeping quarters when possible. Cooks are needed during the months of July and August at both sites. Contact Zach Wolgemuth at or 800-451-4407.

  • Several Brethren were part of hunger events in Washington, D.C., this week. Among religious leaders in a meeting with US Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was Jay Wittmeyer, executive director of the Church of the Brethren’s Global Mission Partnerships. The meeting was organized by Bread for the World and addressed domestic hunger issues. Also sponsored by Bread was a training for 75 young adult hunge justice advocates including former National Youth Conference coordinator Beth Rhodes. In addition, Herb and Jeanne Smith of McPherson, Kan., participated in the Foods Resource Bank's "Heart of the Hill" witness on hunger to legislators.

  • Congregational Life Ministries executive director Jonathan Shively is on the planning committee for the 2011 Congress on Urban Ministry, titled "Peacemaking in a Culture of Violence." Sponsored by the Seminary Consortium for Urban Pastoral Education in Chicago, Ill. (SCUPE), the event will be held March 1-4, 2011, at Hyatt McCormick Place in Chicago.

  • The Church of the Brethren’s Facebook page now has more than 3,000 fans as of yesterday. "Thanks for being part of the Church of the Brethren online community," wrote Wendy McFadden, Brethren Press publisher who posts on behalf of the denomination. "Thanks for all the ways you continue the work of Jesus." The 3,000 mark is roughly double the number of fans in late January. The country with the second highest number of fans after the United States is Nigeria, with 19, and top cities are Philadelphia, Roanoke, Harrisburg, and Chicago. Find the page at

  • "Join us live in Colorado!" says an invitation to the first-ever webcast from National Youth Conference. On July 19, from 8:30-9:55 a.m. mountain time (10:30-11:55 a.m. eastern), streaming video of the worship service from NYC will feature the youth speech and music contest winners. A recording will be made for those unable to tune in at the time of the live broadcast. All that will be needed to view the broadcast is a computer connected to the Internet. The webcast will be produced by Bethany Seminary in collaboration with the Church of the Brethren’s Youth and Young Adult Ministry. To view the webcast or access the recording go to and click on the National Youth Conference link.

  • The Sustaining Pastoral Excellence program of the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership continues this year with some "tweaking," reports the academy newsletter. Recruitment of pastors began this April, an initial retreat for the Advanced Foundations for Congregational Leaders will be Aug. 24-27, and a first retreat/workshop for Vital Pastor cohorts will be Sept. 13-16. Recruitment will continue through the summer while there is time for the pastors entering this fall’s cohorts to complete their pre-retreat reflections or until each educational track is filled. Pastors can contact coordinators Linda and Glenn Timmons at or or 800-287-8822 ext. 1810.

  • "Peace Among the Peoples: Overcoming the Spirit, Logic, and Practice of Violence" is planned for July 28-31 in Elkhart, Ind. The Church of the Brethren is one of the sponsors of this ecumenical peace conference focused on contemporary North American responses to war in preparation for the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation culminating event of the Decade to Overcome Violence in Jamaica next year. For more information and to register go to

  • Erwin (Tenn.) Church of the Brethren has opened its new sanctuary for worship, two years after a fire touched off by lightning destroyed its church building on June 9, 2008 (see the Newsline report of the fire at A piece from News Channel 11 posted at last Sunday, June 13, reported on the first worship service open to the public at the new building. "That new church smell greeted dozens of regulars--and several guests," the report said, quoting pastor Phil Graeber: "A lot of times I hear people say, ‘Well you all have done a tremendous job.’ It’s not me that’s done a tremendous job, it’s everyone. Because everyone has had a hand in it." A video report is at

  • Shiloh Church of the Brethren near Kasson, W.Va., has started rebuilding following a fire on Jan. 3 this year (see the Newsline report of Jan. 5 at Financial secretary Doug Mills reports the congregation hopes to have its new building enclosed and weather proofed by the end of this week, at this point focusing on first completing the sanctuary and restrooms. So far, about $474,000 has been received from the church’s insurance plan and in donations, toward a total rebuilding estimate of $528,000, Mills said. Virlina District churches have contributed more than $8,000, and some 20 other Brethren congregations also have sent donations. "You never can get enough insurance, and we voted not to borrow any money," Mills commented. For more information about the rebuilding effort contact Shiloh Church of the Brethren, Attn: Doug Mills, Rt. 1, Box 284, Moatsville, WV 26405; 304-457-2650 or

  • May 16 marked the Open House service for the new Glory to Glory Ministries, a church plant of Illinois and Wisconsin District in the Douglas Park neighborhood of Chicago. "The house was packed with all 64 seats taken," reported the district newsletter. "Please continue to keep this ministry and the work in Chicago in your prayers."

  • Colorful fabric bags were made out of used t-shirts by women at Skyridge Church of the Brethren in Kalamazoo, Mich., on May 15. Carie Gross had seen the pattern in her "Family Fun" magazine as an idea for your child's favorite t-shirts that have been outgrown. Seeing a possible outreach project, she began in February collecting donations. Thanks to the letter she wrote to the local paper, the church not only received donations, but two women from the community joined in the first work day alongside six from the congregation. Over 600 t-shirts were donated and the women finished 180 bags that first day. The bags were blessed the following day during worship, and delivered to Ministry with Community, a daytime drop-in shelter that serves the homeless.

  • Atlantic Southeast District has a new website:

  • Manchester College in North Manchester, Ind., has recognized five people with its Alumni Honor Award including physician Phil Wright of Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren in Fort Wayne, Ind., who serves as medical director for Physicians Health Plan. Also receiving the award are Marvin L. Bittinger of Carmel, Ind., mathematics textbook author and honorary professor emeritus of mathematics education for Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis; Carolyn Hardman, long-time board member of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and the American Pianists Association; Edward L. Hollenberg of Winamac, Ind., family physician and author; and Anita Sherman of Indianapolis, senior audit partner of Greenwalt CPAs.

  • The Chinese Golden Dragon Acrobats will perform at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., on June 29 starting at 7:30 p.m. in Rosenberger Auditorium in Oller Hall. "The awe-inspiring acts of acrobatics used by the Golden Dragon troupe date back more than 2,000 years" and include routines such as the human pagoda, rope-walking, and the "dancing horse," the release said. For tickets and information call 814-641-JTIX (5849). General admission is $12. Juniata College students are admitted free with a student ID.

  • Louise Nolt, a resident at Timbercrest Senior Living, a Church of the Brethren retirement community in North Manchester, Ind., is collecting stories from people who served in Civilian Public Service (CPS) or alternative service during World War II. Nolt is undertaking a history of CPS camps and alternative service projects during the war. Write to Louise Nolt, c/o Timbercrest Senior Living, 2201 East St., North Manchester, IN 46962.

  • Nine Ministry Summer Service interns participated in orientation in early June. Interns serve in congregations and denominational programs and include the Youth Peace Travel Team. Above from left are interns Hannah Wysong, Bethany Clark, Allen Bowers, Marcus Harden, Jenna Stacy, Cambria Teter, Hannah Miller, Sarah Neher, and Tim Heishman. Find a blog from the 2010 Youth Peace Travel Team (Harden, Heishman, Teter, and Wysong) at

  • Artist and minister David Weiss painted pictures inspired by the New Church Development Conference. This painting illustrates the text for the conference, 1 Corinthians 3:6. View the photo album from the conference at
Source: 6/17/2010 Newsline

Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren, or 800-323-8039 ext. 260. Jan Fischer Bachman, Martha Beach, Kathleen Campanella, Lesley Crosson, Joe Detrick, Enten Eller, Mary Jo Flory-Steury, Jonathan Frerichs, Ed Groff, Carie Gross, Audrey Hollenberg, Jeri S. Kornegay, Karin L. Krog, Emily LaPrade, Donna March, Wendy McFadden, Howard Royer, Andrew Sampson, Jonathan Shively, Brian Solem, John Wall, Julia Wheeler contributed to this report.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Newsline Special

Churches are alerted to FCC ruling prohibiting use of wireless microphones in700 MHz bandwidth

Church congregations are being alerted to a ruling from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) prohibiting the use of wireless microphones in the 700 megahertz bandwidth. The prohibition goes into effect tomorrow, June 12.

An action taken by the FCC earlier this year will prohibit the use of all wireless receivers in the 700 MHz frequency range. The FCC has reassigned that frequency range to be used for public safety and emergency communications by groups such as police and fire departments.

"When these microphones were first designed, the frequencies they used were in between the frequencies that television stations used to broadcast television programs," said a release from the FCC. "With the completion of the digital television (DTV) transition on June 12, 2009, television stations no longer use the frequencies between 698 and 806 MHz (the 700 MHz Band) for broadcast. These frequencies are now being used by public safety entities (such as police, fire and emergency services) and by commercial providers of wireless services (such as wireless broadband services)."

Examples of devices affected by the ruling include wireless microphones, wireless intercoms, wireless in-ear monitors, wireless audio instrument links, and wireless cueing equipment. Wired microphones and other devices with cords are not affected.

Churches and other organizations that use wireless microphones or other wireless receivers are encouraged to check their equipment to find out if it falls within the 700 MHz range. If so, the equipment must be either "rebanded" or reconfigured, or replaced by new equipment in a different frequency range.

At least one Brethren congregation has been taken off guard by this ruling. For example, Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, Ill., only learned of it last week and has discovered that all six of its wireless microphones must be replaced at a cost of $3,500 according to Nevin Dulabaum, Brethren Benefit Trust president who also volunteers as sound coordinator for the congregation.

However, Highland Avenue also has learned that it may receive several hundred dollars of rebates for its replaced equipment.

"In all that I have read, and with all I have spoken, there is no ability not to comply," Dulabaum said. "These frequencies are going to be used by emergency traffic and simply cannot be used by others."

After presenting a proposal to the church board, Dulabaum had the new equipment for his congregation ordered by Thursday morning this week, and expects delivery today. "We won't miss a Sunday without our wireless mikes," he said. "Equipment vendors have known of this problem and are prepared to ship new units very quickly."

A number of manufacturers are offering rebates for a limited time for organizations that must replace their wireless microphones. Churches may check with sales representatives of the companies they use to replace their microphones in order to learn more about the rebates.

For the FCC's release about the new ruling, go to The web page also features a link to a manufacturers' equipment list.

Source: 6/11/2010 Newsline Special


Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren, or 800-323-8039 ext. 260. Newsline regularly appears every other week, with special issues as needed.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Bethany Seminary celebrates 105th commencement.

On May 8, Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., celebrated its 105th commencement, awarding nine students a master of divinity degree and one student a certificate of achievement in theological studies.

Ted Flory of Bridgewater, Va., chair of the seminary's board of trustees, gave the address at the academic ceremony titled "An Incarnational Education." Flory ends his 10-year term on the board July 1. Scott Holland, professor of theology and culture and director of peace studies and cross-cultural studies, shared a sermon at the afternoon worship service titled "We Live Only What We Imagine."

Those who received a master of divinity degree are Barbara Leininger Dickason of Frederick, Md.; Seth D. Hendricks, Englewood, Ohio; Judith A. Hollandsworth, Parker City, Ind.; Roland D. Johnson, Live Oak, Calif.; Denton Eugene Krietz, Thurmont, Md.; Travis Edward Turner Poling, Richmond, Ind.; Rebecca O. Rhodes, Roanoke, Va.; Tracy Ann Stoddart, Dayton, Ohio, with emphases in peace studies and youth and young adult ministry and distinction in ministry studies; and Joseph Campbell Tolton, Midland, Mich. One graduate received a certificate of achievement in theological studies: Laura Kelsey of Fishers, Ind.

Graduates' future endeavors include careers in pastoral and congregational ministry, chaplaincy, spiritual direction, and additional graduate study.

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

Source: 6/4/2010 Newsline
Hundreds of deacons trained in 2010.

"I suppose it’s time to have deacon training in our district again--it’s been a few years. Is that something you can help us with?" Those words, or variations on them, have been repeated numerous times in these first months of 2010, resulting in more than 300 deacons and other church leaders participating in training sessions in Indiana, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Illinois.

And that’s just through May.

The trainings are offered by the Church of the Brethren’s Deacon Ministry. "Our deacons need to know why they exist," one pastor commented when asked about issues that should be covered during training. "They exist in name, but not in function. [Some] feel that it is an old idea whose time has passed."

Another common sentiment reflects the trend for deacons to be the older adults in many congregations: "I am concerned about care and pastoring of the older deacons, as well as how to initiate younger men and women into the fold.... Like many other churches [in our district] our future will be bleak unless we can attract more young families."

District executives often see things from a different perspective: "Some of our pastors are not always willing to pass on work…that deacons could be doing. Sometimes it is ego; sometimes they may think the deacon is not capable.... They should be educating their deacons for some of those tasks."

The needs expressed for deacon training are many, and the workshop topics are just as varied. The most popular workshop, generally offered as a plenary session but with significant participant involvement, is called "What Are Deacons Supposed to Do, Anyway?" based on the four functions of deacons as set out in the 1997 Annual Conference statement on the role of deacons in the Church of the Brethren.

Other often requested topics are listening skills, conflict resolution, the pastoral care team, and providing support in times of grief and loss. Consultation on topics such as the calling of deacons is also available.

So far six training sessions are scheduled for the fall, to be held in a variety of locations from California to Pennsylvania. In addition, the Deacon Ministry is offering for the first time ever a pre-conference deacon training event on Saturday, July 3, in Pittsburgh, Pa.

For information on deacon workshops, the fall schedule for deacon training, or to register for the pre-Annual Conference training events, visit For more information contact Donna Kline, director of the Deacon Ministry, at or 800-323-8039.

-- Donna Kline is director of the Church of the Brethren’s Deacon Ministry.

Source: 6/4/2010 Newsline
Haitian Family Resource Center is hosted by New York Brethren.

A Haitian Family Resource Center hosted by Haitian First Church of New York--a Church of the Brethren congregation--has become a primary resource service for Haitians displaced by disaster and living in the New York area.

Directed by church member Marilyn Pierre, the center located on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn is a cooperative endeavor with New York Disaster Interfaith Services. It has been recognized by city and state officials, and has been awarded a $20,000 grant by the Brooklyn Community Foundation and the Hope and Healing Fund of United Way of New York.

Over the past few weeks, the center has received supportive visits from NY Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, New York City Council member Jumaane D. Williams, and an advisor to the United Nation’s donor conference on Haiti.

"The demand (for services) is just tremendous," said Pierre in a telephone interview. "The trauma the people having been facing.... They know there is a place to come to."

Set up soon after the earthquake hit Haiti in January, the center has become a clearinghouse for Haitian immigrants’ needs. "The earthquake was on the 12th. We began on the 18th," Pierre said. In the period immediately after the earthquake the Red Cross was at the center regularly. "People who were searching for loved ones would come in to register," Pierre said. The Red Cross also provided clothing and vouchers for other needs.

The focus on immediate disaster needs is slowly ending, Pierre said, and more recently the center has focused on providing social services support, legal advice on immigration issues, and help to apply for Temporary Protected Status (TPS)--a special immigration status offered by the US government since the earthquake. Other services provided include sponsoring of relatives, medical assistance/resources, food stamp benefits, translation services, housing assistance, educational resources, clothing and other related needs, transportation assistance, Social Security assistance and assistance with filling out various application forms.

An immigration clinic every Thursday evening has drawn between 35-40 families each week. They come seeking legal advice and help to apply for TPS. Many want to bring family members from Haiti, or are concerned about their own visas. "There are a lot of families that have migrated here on visas, some for just six months, some for one month," Pierre said.

In addition, the center has been doing case management, providing translation services, and assisting with applications and forms such as medical forms, job applications, and letters of recommendation. Many of the clients do not speak English, Pierre explained. Another offering has been pastoral counseling for the grief and healing process of those who lost loved ones in the earthquake.

Among the more than 1,200 who have used the center’s services a mix of people, Pierre said, including Haitians who were already living in New York at the time of the earthquake and people who have come to the US since then. For example, the center has been able to help people newly arrived from Haiti go a hospital for the first time in their lives. Others simply have never known about the services available to them in New York.

She told the story of a woman and her three-year-old son who is a US citizen, who were living with a family member. The center helped the mother receive support for her son through the WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) program. "She was just so excited that she was able to receive assistance," Pierre said, "because a lot of (Haitian immigrants) come here and now are a burden to a family member."

Brethren Disaster Ministries has been working with Atlantic Northeast District, the leadership of the center, and pastor Verel Montauban of Haitian First Church to coordinate support services, and recently requested a second grant of $7,500 from the Emergency Disaster Fund to continue Church of the Brethren support for the center.

Other groups who have been working with the center or have helped provide services there include Lutheran Immigration Services, the American Red Cross, World Vision, Mennonite congregations in Manhattan, and Lutheran Social Services of New York, among others.

"Without the assistance of the church and other partner agencies, we would not be able to do this," Pierre said.

Her current concerns are the center’s need for volunteers to keep the work going; and for Haitians who have not yet applied for TPS status, which has a July application deadline. Haitians who are awarded the special status will be allowed to stay in the US legally for 18 months, and be provided working papers, Pierre said.

"I don’t know if there will be an extension" of the TPS status, she added. "We’ve noticed there is a lot of fear" among clients. Some of those who come to the center are fearful even of making the application, and others are waiting to see if the status will be extended beyond 18 months before they decide to apply, Pierre said. She foresees the work of the center extending to immigration advocacy in the future, commenting, "This is not something that’s going to go away in a year."

The Haitian Family Support Center welcomes offers of volunteer help. Contact Marilyn Pierre at

Source: 6/4/2010 Newsline
Workcamper to share Beanie Babies with children in Haiti.

When Katie Royer departed for Haiti this week, 250 Beanie Babies went along. She filled two large suitcases with the stuffed animal toys, in order to give one to each of 200-plus children at the New Covenant School in St. Louis du Nord, Haiti.

Royer is one of 19 young adults from across the United States and 2 young adults from Eglise des Freres Haitiens (the Haitian Church of the Brethren) in Port-au-Prince who are part of the week-long workcamp, June 1-8. A student at Arcadia University in Pennsylvania, she is back home in Elgin, Ill., for the summer.

This is the first Church of the Brethren workcamp of the summer, and is specifically for young adults. Jeanne Davies, who coordinates the Workcamp Ministry, is accompanying the group. The workcamp is directed by Michaela and Ilexene Alphonse, Church of the Brethren members from Florida who founded New Covenant School.

Family and friends have been helping Royer collect the Beanie Babies since she made the decision to attend the workcamp. A total of 500 toys have been donated to the effort, but Royer could fit only half in the two suitcases she was allowed to check for free on the airplane. She is still working out where to donate the other half of the toys she has received.

New Covenant School is currently housed in a rented property but is in the process of constructing a new school building. Workcamp participants will work alongside members of the community on the new building, and also will lead crafts and games at a Vacation Bible School.

St. Louis du Nord is a day’s drive north of Port-au-Prince and was not affected by the January earthquake. However, along with disaster response and crisis intervention, there also is a need for longterm mission in Haiti. One way the Church of the Brethren is attempting to do this is through support of education.

Although there are some public schools in Haiti, 90 percent of primary schools are private. Even in public schools, the cost of fees, uniforms, and books is too expensive for the families of many Haitian children. New Covenant School was founded to give neighborhood children the opportunity of a basic education. The school also holds Christian education classes on Sundays.

A commissioning litany for workcamp participants is available at

Source: 6/4/2010 Newsline
New webinar series to focus on money leadership.

A webinar series titled "Money Leadership: From ‘OH MY!’ to ‘A-MEN’" is being planned to help pastors and other church leaders address issues of stewardship. The series of webcasts is sponsored by the Church of the Brethren’s offices of Stewardship Formation and Transforming Practices. Bethany Seminary staff are providing the webcast link.

Mark Vincent, CEO of Design Group International, a set of consulting networks concerned with organizational development, will be the presenter. Webcasts will focus on the fact that church leaders and pastors serve as leaders in money matters for their congregations. "When times are prosperous, the spiritual agenda stands against greed. When economies crumble, the spiritual agenda battles fear. In fat years and lean years, the opportunities to fully live our faith in God starts with leadership," said an announcement.

Three sessions are planned to equip pastors and leaders to show the way at the intersection of faith and money. Each session will conclude with discussion and action steps for congregational working teams.

Session 1 on the topic, "Get Centered," is offered on June 22 at 4 p.m. (eastern time); and on June 24 at 8:30 p.m. (eastern). Session 2 on the topic, "Get Savvy," will be held on July 15 at 4 p.m. (eastern) and on July 19 at 8:30 p.m. (eastern). Session 3 on the topic, "Get Conspiratorial," is planned for Aug. 4 at 4 p.m. (eastern) and Aug. 5 at 8:30 p.m. (eastern).

Go to for more information about the webinars and to log in and participate in webcasts. For more information contact Carol Bowman, coordinator for Stewardship Formation and Education, at

Source: 6/4/2010 Newsline
‘A Future and a Hope’ is theme for Day of Prayer for Peace.

In 2010, On Earth Peace invites individuals, families, and faith and community groups to participate in the International Day of Prayer for Peace on Sept. 21, on the theme, "A Future and a Hope" (Jeremiah 29). On Earth Peace is an agency of the Church of the Brethren empowering people to discern the things that make for peace.

Together with ecumenical partners including the Lutheran Peace Fellowship and the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program of the Presbyterian Church (USA), On Earth Peace calls all people of goodwill to consider observing the International Day of Prayer for Peace. An initiative of the United Nations and the World Council of Churches, the International Day of Prayer for Peace (IDOPP) is intended as a time for guns, armies, and militias to go silent through 24-hour ceasefires observed around the world.

This year marks On Earth Peace’s fourth annual campaign for the IDOPP. Hundreds of participating groups in previous years have prepared public prayer vigils, prayerful community walks, vesper services, rallies, public art displays, and events ranging from a few minutes to 24 hours of coordinated prayer for peace.

Highlights of the 2010 IDOPP campaign include online registration for individuals, families, and faith and community groups at, a website offering activity ideas, links to partner organizations, and a community organizing handbook for IDOPP participants; and Nonviolence Leadership Seminars via conference call on topics including listening initiatives, planning an effective vigil, and attracting publicity for an event. Conference calls are scheduled for June 10, 10-11 a.m. (Pacific time); June 22, 3-4 p.m. (Pacific); July 14, 1-2 p.m. (Pacific); and Aug. 5, 10-11 a.m. (Pacific). For more about the conference calls contact Michael Colvin at or 626-802-5900.

This year, for the first time, On Earth Peace is requesting a participation fee to help cover the costs of organizing the campaign. Starting at a minimum of $1, the suggested fee for individuals and families is $20, with other suggested fees for faith and community groups of 35-100 depending on the size of the group.

Individuals and groups also are invited to participate in Change for Peace, a few moments of daily reflection and prayer when participants deposit their daily pocket change in an offering for peace, and pray for strength, inspiration, and courage to engage the many faces of violence. Some congregations plan to do this as a group activity.

On Earth Peace is seeking 10 faith and community groups who will commit to do a listening initiative as part of the preparation for a Sept. 21 prayer vigil. Listening initiatives are a focused time of gathering up stories and information, and can lead to deeper relationships and opportunities for real community change.

Follow-up trainings include "You Can’t Stop the River: Nonviolent Community Leadership," on Oct. 28-31, in Harrisburg, Pa.;, and Salt and Light, a seven-month extended learning program focused on nonviolent community mobilization to take place from Oct. 2010-May 2011.

Through the 2010 IDOPP campaign, On Earth Peace hopes to connect with many individuals and emerging leaders for peace and nonviolence, in order to walk and work together to build more peaceful communities and organize alternatives to violence, oppression, and poverty. For more information go to and

Source: 6/4/2010 Newsline
Noffsinger Erbaugh to serve S. Ohio District as interim executive.

Wendy Noffsinger Erbaugh has been appointed interim district executive for Southern Ohio District, a quarter-time position from July 1-Dec. 31. She is an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren currently serving as a freelance curriculum editor for the Gather ’Round Christian education curriculum jointly produced by Brethren Press and the Mennonite Publishing Network.

Previously she has served as pastor of children’s ministries at Happy Corner Church of the Brethren in Clayton, Ohio, and as administrative secretary at the district office. She holds an associate of arts degree in Early Childhood Education and a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Manchester College in North Manchester, Ind., and a master of divinity degree from Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind.

The district office continues to be located at 1001 Mill Ridge Circle, Union, OH 45322; 937-832-6399 or 937-475-6377.

Source: 6/4/2010 Newsline
Spicher Waggy to be interim executive for South Central Indiana.

Carol Spicher Waggy has been appointed to serve as interim executive for South Central Indiana District, a part-time position from May 14-Dec. 31. She is an ordained minister and a network practitioner of the Ministry of Reconciliation.

She has served at all levels of the church including congregation, district, denomination, and international mission. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Services from Goshen (Ind.) College, a master’s degree in Social Work with an Interpersonal Services track from Indiana University School of Social Work, and a master of divinity degree in Pastoral Counseling from Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary.

The district office will continue to be located at 604 N. Mill St., N. Manchester, IN 46962; 260-982-8805 or 877-730-9315. Spicher Waggy may be contacted at or 574-903-3597.

Source: 6/4/2010 Newsline
Kettering named seminary’s assistant professor of Brethren studies.

Denise D. Kettering has been named assistant professor of Brethren Studies at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind. She will begin in this part-time position July 1.

Kettering received a master’s degree in theological studies from the Candler School of Theology and a doctor’s degree from the University of Iowa in 2009. Her dissertation was entitled "Pietism and Patriarchy: Spener and Women in the 17th-Century Pietist Movement."

In 2002-03 and again in 2009-10 she worked in the Brethren Historical Library and Archives at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. She served as an adjunct professor at Bethany Seminary during the past academic year.

Source: 6/4/2010 Newsline
Brethren bits: Remembrance, personnel, Annual Conference, more.
  • Remembrance: Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) staff are remembering the life and work of David Stevens, who died in late May. Stevens was the leader of the Corrymeela Community in Northern Ireland ( He had a long history with BVS in Northern Ireland, where BVS volunteers have been placed since 1972. Through his work at the Irish Council of Churches, where he eventually became general secretary, Stevens started a support committee for BVS in 1975. "That's 35 years of accompaniment of Northern Irish BVS volunteers, in one form or another!" wrote Kristin Flory, who coordinates BVS placements in Europe. "At the beginning and during the height of the Troubles this was vital; he would make suggestions for project placements and advise about volunteer selection, as well as visiting the volunteers on site." Along with Harold Good, a Methodist pastor who invited BVS to send a volunteer to the Shankill Road in 1972, Stevens spoke at the BVS 30th anniversary event at the Forthspring project in Belfast in 2002. "He talked about the courage and imagination required for peacemaking," Flory wrote, and that "peace requires you to work with people you might not like to associate with." In his comments, Stevens commended the long-term perspective and quiet and powerful witness of BVS. "In response to Harold Good's remark that ‘when the full story of all these years in Northern Ireland is written, sadly BVS probably won't be mentioned,’ David said that we would be ‘recorded in a greater book,’" Flory wrote. "I know that David himself is in that greater book." For more about David Stevens’ life and work go to

  • James Ward begins June 7 as a summer intern at the Church of the Brethren Credit Union. He is a senior at Manchester College in North Manchester, Ind., on track to receive a degree in Accounting and Finance with a minor in Economics this December. He spent the previous two summers working in Chase’s student loan division in Indianapolis, and recently led a student team that developed a business plan for a new aquatic and fitness center under consideration by the North Manchester Parks and Recreation department.

  • A change of date has been announced for the annual Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) 5K Fitness Challenge at Annual Conference. To accommodate 4th of July activities in Pittsburgh, the race will now take place at 7 a.m. on Monday, July 5. Since this is a recent change, the date published in the Conference booklet is not correct. Because of this change, the BBT Congregational Contact breakfast has been moved to Sunday, July 4, at 7 a.m. in Room 317 of the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. The early bird deadline to register for the Fitness Challenge has been extended to Monday, June 7. That special rate is $18 per person and $55 per family. After June 7, the registration fee increases to $20 per person. Find a pre-registration form at and mail the bottom portion to, along with payment, to Brethren Benefit Trust, Attn: Mandy Garcia, 1505 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120. Contact with any questions or to request a copy of the pre-registration form by mail. Participants also may register onsite in Pittsburgh at the BBT booth at Annual Conference through Sunday, July 4.

  • Church of the Brethren general secretary Stan Noffsinger has signed on to a letter to members of Congress supporting legislation requiring all federal agencies to notify the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) of all US-held detainees and to allow the ICRC access to them. The letter dated May 25 noted that "this requirement was included in President Obama's executive order on interrogations; however, legislation is required to codify this requirement so that it remains permanent US policy." An independent neutral observer, the ICRC has a mandate to visit detention facilities around the world to ensure that prisoners of war and other detainees are treated humanely as required by international law.... By passing legislation permanently providing the ICRC with access to US-held detainees we can prevent secret detentions, strengthen America’s ability to advocate for the appropriate treatment of Americans detained overseas, and restore US credibility on the issue of torture." The letter was signed by leaders of Christian denominations and organizations along with leaders from other religious traditions and was sponsored by the National Religious Campaign Against Torture.

  • A grant of $10,000 has been given by the Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) in response to a Church World Service (CWS) appeal for assistance following flooding and multiple tornado outbreaks across the southern US, including record-breaking flooding in Nashville, Tenn. The grant will support material aid shipments as well as resources and training in the development of long-term recovery groups in affected communities.

  • Mission workers in Nigeria have begun a Peace Club for students at Kulp Bible College. Nathan and Jennifer Hosler reported the development in May. They are teaching peace classes and working in a Peace Program at the school, which serves as a training college for pastors of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN–the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). "While the Church of the Brethren is a Historic Peace Church, peace has not been a large part of EYN’s theological teaching (though that is changing)," the Hoslers reported. "As can be expected, the students have had many questions.... Students routinely struggle with how it is possible to work for peace in their context. Students have expressed fear that if they work for peace they will become marginalized in society and politics. They try to understand how they can move toward peace while protecting their churches, families, and property. There is no easy or straightforward answer to this dilemma. In an effort to assist concerned students in understanding and acting for peace we have started a KBC Peace Club." The club provides a venue for students to engage in discussion of peace topics beyond the classroom and assists students in working for peace while they are studying. As of mid-May the group met weekly and included nine students and three faculty. "Ideally, the Peace Club will provide an opportunity for students to put the class material into practice," the Hoslers wrote.

  • The Annual Members’ Meeting of the Church of the Brethren Credit Union is scheduled for 2 p.m. on July 3 in Pittsburgh, Pa., prior to the opening of Annual Conference. The meeting will be held in Room 317 of the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. The meeting is open to all Credit Union members and all attendees of Annual Conference. Board members and staff will be present for questions and dialogue. For more information contact 888-832-1383 or go to

  • Overseas mission workers from Asia were hosted at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., last week. The group included Steve Cutting, ecumenical relations officer for the Asian Rural Institute in Japan, and Church of the Brethren mission workers Robert and Linda Shank, who have served the past three months at Yanji University of Science and Technology in northern China. The Shanks plan to teach at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology in North Korea when it opens this fall.

  • East Chippewa Church of the Brethren has reported on its 5th Annual Fishing Derby for children, held in late May and sponsored by the church’s youth group. The event was "a success," according to a release from the church, located north of Orrville, Ohio. "The public was welcomed and nearly 100 showed up to cast their lines."

  • The Church of the Brethren’s Atlantic Southeast District is inviting visitors to its new website:

  • Students at McPherson (Kan.) College this spring collected 1,005 pairs of used shoes for the organization SOLES4SOULS, an international agency based in the United States that gives away millions of pairs of used shoes each year, reports Tom Hurst of the college’s Campus Ministries. Students also coordinated efforts with several McPherson County churches and schools to raise money and purchase items to donate 903 Hygiene Kits for Haiti, and money was raised for International Action’s HaitiWater project, which provided a chlorinator for one of the country’s water distribution centers. In addition, 16 faculty, students and staff members worked with Brethren Disaster Ministries in the Hammond, Ind., area over spring break to help clean up, repair, and paint houses flooded in Sept. 2008.

  • Church World Service (CWS) executive director John L. McCullough has pressed President Obama to convene a bipartisan summit with the goal of enacting comprehensive immigration reform this year. "Federal immigration reform has become all the more urgent," said a CWS press release, "as Arizona and at least 12 other states move to introduce their own ‘fixes,’ which threaten to create an unworkable and contradictory patchwork of local immigration laws that don't serve national security, economic recovery, or human rights." McCullough’s letter to President Obama noted that, "This is a worrisome trend that may not be easy to reverse if we don't act now. The worst thing the federal government can do right now is stand by and do nothing as other states follow Arizona's example." He also wrote all members of Congress urging them to support and participate in a bipartisan summit on immigration, saying, "This is a critical, historic time for the President and Congress to put politics aside, act decisively, and exhibit the moral courage necessary to do what's best for America and enact immigration reform."

  • The World Council of Churches (WCC) has issued a call for Christians to pray and act for a just peace in Palestine and Israel following the killing of peace activists after Israeli commandos stormed a convoy of ships carrying aid to the blockaded Gaza Strip. The WCC release noted that the event fell at the beginning of the annual World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel. Speaking at the Ecumenical Center in Geneva to mark the start of the week’s observances on May 31, WCC general secretary Olav Fykse Tveit, said, "This year again we need even more than before to point to how settlements and occupation are real obstacles to a just peace. All parties must stop violence and find the way forward." Pointing to the message of the Kairos document written by Christians in the Middle East and launched last December, Tveit reiterated its call to churches and Christians throughout the world to respond to the conflict "with prayer, witness, and hard work.... It is remarkable that in this situation people are prepared to talk about love. We are not against anybody; we are for peace for all peoples." Find the website of the World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel at
Source: 6/4/2010 Newsline

Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren, or 800-323-8039 ext. 260. Michael Colvin, Mary Jo Flory-Steury, Matt Guynn, Nancy Miner, Howard Royer, Brian Solem contributed to this report.