Thursday, July 01, 2010

Personnel, job opening, hygiene kits, and more.
  • Diane Parrott has accepted the position of administrative office assistant for Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) beginning July 14. She brings a broad array of experience to the position, serving most recently as human resource/office coordinator for Hoffie Nursery in Union, Ill. She also worked for BBT in 2008 as a loan processor for the Church of the Brethren Credit Union and worked for the Brethren Employees Credit Union from 1999-2003. She received her associates of arts degree with high honors from Elgin (Ill.) Community College. She lives in Lake in the Hills, Ill., and has been a life-long member of Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin.

  • Brethren Benefit Trust is seeking to fill the position of director of Insurance Services to start in the fall of 2010. This is a full-time, salaried position based in Elgin, Ill. The person filling this position will serve as chief administrator of Church of the Brethren Insurance Services. The director is responsible for program oversight for all health and welfare benefits including medical, life, long-term disability, short-term disability, dental, vision, and long-term care plan administration. The director is to be knowledgeable in legislation and regulations affecting the insurance services and is to ensure that the insurance ministries are compliant with all applicable laws. The director also will supervise work with program-related vendors and consultants. This person will represent the department in the field for customer service calls with current plan members, offer program interpretation for prospective clients, and supervise Insurance Services staff members. The director will travel to Annual Conference, BBT Board meetings, the Church Benefits Association annual meeting, and other BBT-related events and client-related meetings. BBT seeks a candidate with an undergraduate degree in business or human resources, and/or certification as an Employee Benefits Specialist, and at least 10 years of experience in employee benefits plans management, human resources administration, or related management experience. It is also preferred that the candidate be licensed in life and medical insurance. A member of the Church of the Brethren is preferred; active membership in a faith community is required. The salary for this position is competitive with those offered at Church Benefits Association agencies of comparable size and scope of services. A full benefits package is included. Send a letter of interest, a resume, three references (one supervisor, two colleagues), and salary range expectation to Donna March at 1505 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120, or For questions or clarification about the position, call 847-622-3371. For more information visit

  • The number of hygiene kits sent to Haiti through the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., since the January earthquake is now 49,980--just 20 short of 50,000. Shipments of hygiene kits have been sponsored by a number of church relief agencies including Church World Service, Lutheran World Relief, and others.

  • Nigeria mission workers Nathan and Jennifer Hosler have announced speaking engagements in the United States this summer. The couple have been serving with Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN--the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) teaching at Kulp Bible College and working with EYN’s Peace Program. They will lead an insight session at Annual Conference in Pittsburgh, Pa., on July 6, from 9-10 p.m. In addition, they will speak at Chiques Church of the Brethren in Manheim, Pa., on Sunday, July 11, at 9 a.m.; at Hempfield Church of the Brethren in Manheim, Pa., on July 11, at 7:15 p.m.; at Lititz (Pa.) Church of the Brethren on July 15, at 7 p.m.; and at the National Youth Conference in Fort Collins, Colo., later in July. "With KBC classes over, Peace Seminars have been at the forefront of our work," the Hoslers reported in a recent newsletter. "These are workshop trainings for EYN staff, clergy, and laity on Brethren peace background, basic conflict awareness, forgiveness, and conflict analysis. Our first one was held June 10...." On June 14 the Hoslers took part in a meeting of several Muslims and Christians from Mubi area who were at an Interfaith Peace Conference in January. "The meeting was the first step to enacting a community-based, interfaith peace initiative in Mubi. We are in the initial planning stages of conducting conflict resolution workshops with Muslim imams and Christian pastors. Please pray for the planning and implementation of this initiative!"

  • The Church of the Brethren Workcamp Ministry is holding its second "We Are Able Camp" for 14 participants June 29-July 2 at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. In another report from a workcamp this summer, 23 people traveled to Saint Louis du Nord, Haiti, for the Church of the Brethren young adult workcamp at New Covenant School on June 1-8. The school serves local children in need of an affordable education, with over 200 students in kindergarten through fourth grade. Two participants were young adult members of Eglise des Frères Haitiens (the Haitian Church of the Brethren) in Port-au-Prince. Workcampers worked on the new school building in the mornings. In the afternoon, they led a Vacation Bible School for the students, along with the teachers and other local volunteers. For more about New Covenant School, check out the page on Facebook. For more about youth and young adult workcamps, go to or call the workcamp office at 800-323-8039 ext. 286.

  • "The gift that keeps on giving"--that is what Becky Ullom, director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry, is calling the "reverse offering" that continues to be received from participants in the last National Junior High Conference. The youth were given a chance to participate in a reverse offering to "grow" a grant of $4,000 made possible by the Church of the Brethren’s funding and donor development office. As of June, the junior high have now given a total of $8,179.49 back to the church.

  • Bethany Theological Seminary reminds prospective students that July 15 is the admission deadline for the fall. Contact Elizabeth Keller, director of admissions, at or 800-287-8822 or go to

  • Join the current Brethren Volunteer Service Orientation group for a potluck dinner at Harrisonburg (Va.) First Church of the Brethren at 6 p.m. on July 27. Bring a dish to pass, a friend or spouse, "and your favorite memories to share!" said an invitation from BVS. Contact Callie Surber at for questions or directions.

  • A Pastors for Peace program will be held July 12 at Roanoke (Va.) Oak Grove Church of the Brethren, starting with a potluck meal at 6 p.m. "For the past several years Oak Grove's Peace and Justice group has partnered with the Roanoke Friends to sponsor the Pastors for Peace caravan as it travels through Roanoke on its annual humanitarian trip to Cuba," said an announcement. This year's speaker is Luis Barrios of the Pastors for Peace Board of Directors who also is associate pastor at St. Mary's Episcopal Church in West Harlem and spiritual advisor for Iglesia San Romero de Las Americas--UCC in the Washington Heights area of New York, associate professor of psychology and ethnic studies at John Jay College of Criminal Justice-City University of New York, and a weekly columnist for "El Diario La Prensa."

  • "Peace Pizzazz II: The Golden Rule," an event for children, was sponsored by Skyridge Church of the Brethren in Kalamazoo, Mich., and the Michigan 6th District Campaign for a US Department of Peace. The free children’s peace day art fest took place in a city park on May 22, with hundreds of children, teachers, and parents attending. The day included dancing, singing, bubble blowing, banner waving, and drumming as well as the making of art. The Kalamazoo Community Foundation provided funding. Skyridge member Lowey Dickason headed up the effort. Another Skyridge attendee, Karen Ullrich, summed up the day in a reflection prepared for worship: "The day had a special spirit because, I believe, it was just a peek...just a moment...of Christ’s kingdom here on Earth--all people together in joy and peace."

  • Cedar Lake Church of the Brethren in Auburn, Ind., now has a website. Go to

  • Peter Becker Community will break ground on July 12 at 2 p.m. for a $10 million project to renovate skilled nursing areas, increase personal care, and add a specialized Dementia Care Unit Highlights include additional residential rooms, new technology, and a secure dementia garden and walking area. The celebration takes place at 800 Maple Ave., Harleysville, Pa., at the site of the first phase of the project. Light refreshments will be served afterward in the Orchid Terrace. Please RSVP to Paul A. Nye at 215-703-4015 or Peter Becker Community also is holding a Green Fair for Eco-Friendly Living on July 29 at 12:30-4:30 p.m. at the Maplewood Estates.

  • The July edition of the community television program "Brethren Voices" produced by Portland (Ore.) Peace Church of the Brethren will feature an interview with Mary Blocher Smeltzer, a Church of the Brethren member who worked with Japanese Interned Citizens of the United States during World War II. Copies are available from Portland Peace Church of the Brethren for a contribution of $8, which includes postage. Contact Ed Groff at

  • The New Community Project has sent a grant of $16,500 to Sudan for girls' education, hygiene kits for girls, a women's tailoring program, reforestation, and administration. An initial 2010 grant in a similar amount was sent earlier this year. Part of these grants were made possible by Sarah Parcell of Hanover (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, who set out to raise $1,600 for the Give a Girl a Chance fund for her 16th birthday. For a newspaper story about Purcell

  • Starting July 17, will feature National Youth Conference news and photos and links to an NYC Facebook page, a live webcast of one of the worship services, and an NYC Twitter stream. In another communications development at NYC, Brethren Press staff will test a new web-based tool called "Poll Everywhere" in one workshop. Participants will use cell phones to text answers to questions, with results showing up on an overhead screen.

  • Orion Samuelson is the narrator for a new video, "Sowing Seed...Harvesting Hope," being produced for the Foods Resource Bank with help from the Church of the Brethren’s Global Food Crisis Fund and its manager Howard Royer, and Brethren videographer David Sollenberger. Samuelson is heard on WGN Radio in Chicago where he has served as Agribusiness Director since 1960, is known for his syndicated National Farm Report, and is seen weekly on RFD-TV as co-host of "This Week in Agri-Business." He was filmed last weekend at Karen and Ned Rolston’s home in Hampshire, Ill., in front of a vista of rolling fields of shoulder-high corn. The video will be previewed at the Foods Resource Bank Annual Gathering in the Gaithersburg/Myersville area of Maryland later this year.
Source: 7/1/2010 Newsline

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