Thursday, August 12, 2010

Brethren bits: Remembrance, personnel, NYC update, China delegation, more.
  • Shenandoah District invites prayer for the family of Carlton W. Ruff (89), who passed away July 30 at the Bridgewater (Va.) Retirement Community. Ruff, along with his wife, Hilda, was one of the founding leaders of the district’s annual Disaster Ministries Auction. He was a member of Summit Church of the Brethren in Bridgewater. Born in Augusta County, Va., on April 21, 1921, he was a son of the late Samuel and Hazel Cook (Kagey) Ruff. He retired from James Madison University, where he was a superintendent for buildings and grounds. He also had worked at Celanese Textile, where he helped organize the union and then presided as president for 19 consecutive years. After retirement he served with Brethren Disaster Ministries as a project coordinator at locations from Virginia to Texas, and in St. Croix and the Virgin Islands. He is survived by his wife, Hilda, and sons Jerry W. Ruff and wife, Bernice; and James E. Ruff and wife, Deborah; four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. A memorial service was held at Summit Church on Aug. 3. Memorial contributions are received to the Shenandoah District Disaster Program. An online guest book is available at

  • Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is grieving the death of a worker killed in Afghanistan. Glen D. Lapp (40) of Lancaster, Pa., was killed in a shooting in Afghanistan’s northeastern Badakhshan province on Aug. 6, an MCC release said. The incident has received wide international attention. Lapp was traveling with a medical team of four Afghans, six Americans, one Briton, and one German, all of whom worked with MCC partner organization International Assistance Mission, a charity providing eye care and medical help. IAM has worked in the country since 1966 and regularly dispatched "eye camp" medical teams. Lapp had been part of previous teams. Born in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, he was the son of Marvin and Mary Lapp of Lancaster, and a member of Community Mennonite Church in Lancaster. In previous service with MCC he helped with response to hurricanes Katrina and Rita. He also worked as a nurse in Lancaster, New York City, and Supai, Ariz. He was a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and Eastern Mennonite University. He was to complete his MCC term in October, and recently wrote about it in a report, "Where I was [Afghanistan], the main thing that expats can do is to be a presence in the country. Treating people with respect and with love and trying to be a little bit of Christ in this part of the world." In an bulletin announcement for Mennonite churches to use this Sunday, MCC called the church to prayer "for Glen’s loved ones, family and friends of the others who perished, staff of our partner organization in Afghanistan, the people of Afghanistan, and the people who carried out this tragic act." A memorial service will be held Sunday, Aug. 15, at 2:30 p.m. at Bright Side Baptist Church in Lancaster.

  • Mark Flory Steury will fill a temporary, part-time position as consultant in the Office of the General Secretary of the Church of the Brethren. He will assist as the Mission and Ministry Board of the denomination carries out strategic planning, and with a review and evaluation of the Stewardship and Donor Development department. He will be involved in ecumenical initiatives, assist in making arrangements for the 2011 InterAgency Forum, and work with the Council of District Executives. Steury most recently served as district executive for Southern Ohio District.

  • Lina Dagnew began as editorial assistant for Gather ’Round on Aug. 2. Gather ’Round is a Christian education curriculum jointly published by Brethren Press and Mennonite Publishing Network. Dagnew, originally from Ethiopia, graduated in January from Manchester College in Indiana, majoring in political science and economics. During her years at Manchester, she worked in the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Office of the President, and was a writing consultant and peer tutor. She also has served advocacy internships in Chicago and Montana.

  • A "Reach Deep" challenge from the Church of the Brethren’s Stewardship and Donor Development asks for help to raise $100,000 in support of the denomination’s Core Ministries Fund. "A concerned Brethren family has given $50,000 to cut in half the shortfall in our Core Ministries budget," said an online invitation. "They hope to motivate other individuals to 'reach deep' to help eliminate the remainder of the shortfall by Sept. 15," To contribute, go to

  • In an update on National Youth Conference 2010, youth donated $6,250 to the NYC Scholarship Fund out of their key deposits returned on the last day of the conference. For more about NYC 2010 go to

  • A Church of the Brethren delegation to China will help celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Ping Ting mission hospital on Aug. 26. The group will include Jay Wittmeyer, executive director of Global Mission Partnerships; Mary Jo Flory-Steury, executive director of Ministry, whose father was born in Ping Ting 90 years ago this past April; and Ruoxia Li, who grew up in a former Brethren mission area in Shouyang, China. Li wrote a "Messenger" article on her research into the Brethren influence in her hometown, published in the Jan./Feb. 2010 issue.

  • Global Mission Partnership staff request prayer for Michael Wagner, who left for Sudan last week as a peace worker seconded by the Church of the Brethren to the Africa Inland Church-Sudan. He begins work in southern Sudan as the country prepares for a national referendum on the possible secession of the south, to be held on Jan. 9, 2011. The referendum was mandated by a Comprehensive Peace Agreement made in 2005 between the north and south of the country.

  • Congregational Life Ministries executive director Jonathan Shively has contributed an article to an issue of "The Clergy Journal" that is focused on evangelism and outreach. The July/Aug. 2010 issue includes Shively's article, "Evangelism: Moving About in the World." The Clergy Journal is published by Logos Productions Inc. as a resource for personal and professional development for pastors and ministerial leaders. For more go to

  • Brethren Disaster Ministries’ flood rebuilding project in Indiana was featured last week by WLFI Channel 18 in Lafayette, Ind. "Kids and adults from across the country are spending the summer rebuilding homes along the Tippecanoe River," the report began. Find it at

  • An upcoming presentation, "Afghanistan and Beyond: Andrew Bacevich on America's Path to Permanent War," is recommended to Brethren in the Chicago area by Sam Smith, who is serving as a peace witness consultant to the Church of the Brethren. Bacevich, a professor of history and international relations at Boston University, will speak at the Chicago Temple on Aug. 19, 7-8 p.m. He is the author of "The Limits of Power and the New American Militarism," and his writing has appeared in "The Atlantic Monthly," "The Nation," "The New York Times," "The Washington Post," and "The Wall Street Journal." Contact

  • A rare Brethren book has been donated to Bridgewater (Va.) College, one of only a few known copies of the first Brethren hymnbook published in 1720 in Berleberg, Germany, according to a release from the college. The book was donated to the Alexander Mack Memorial Library at Bridgewater by Joyce DeBolt Miller, who graduated from the college in 1954, and her husband, Richard. The couple acquired the 464-page, leather-bound volume at an Ephrata, Pa., auction 10 years ago. They noted that the hymnbook was not known to exist until it was first discovered in Germany in 1958 by Brethren historians Donald and Hedda Durnbaugh. Of the handful of copies known worldwide, two are now owned by Bridgewater College. Contact Andrew Pearson, director of the library, at 540-828-5410 or

  • The August edition of "Brethren Voices" community television show is titled "Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki--Lest We Forget" on the 65th anniversary of the first atomic bombings. For over 20 of those years Brethren Volunteer Service has provided directors for the World Friendship Center in Hiroshima. Michiko Yamane, a center board member, provides a tour of the Hiroshima Peace Park. The program is hosted by Brent Carlson, who also interviewed Mito Kosei, a survivor of the Hiroshima bombing. In addition, Jacob Crouse is featured with his National Youth Conference winning song, "There's More than Meets the Eye." The September edition will feature the band Mutual Kumquat. Copies of Brethren Voices are available from Portland Peace Church of the Brethren for a donation of $8. Contact
Source: 8/12/2010 Newsline

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