Thursday, October 21, 2010

Moderator joins Archbishop of Canterbury at 40th anniversary of CNI.

Robert Alley, moderator of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference, joined the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, and other Christian leaders to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Church of North India.

CNI was formed on Nov. 29, 1970, by six Protestant denominations including the Church of the Brethren. The 1970 ceremony included Shantilal Bhagat, Loren Bowman, Joel Thompson, and Howard Royer, along with a number of mission workers representing the Church of the Brethren in the US, and Bishop Ishwarlal L. Christachari of the Indian Brethren was named as one of the original bishops of CNI serving in Gujarat Diocese.

The three-hour thanksgiving service for the 40th anniversary took place Oct. 14 in Nagpur, central India, and was attended by two dozen CNI bishops and over 5,000 church members. The service began with a long procession through the streets of Nagpur, lined with students from St. Ursula’s girl school, to the All Saints Church where a large tent was erected to host the celebration.

The moderator of CNI, Bishop Purely Lyngdoh, rededicated a hexagonal unity monument erected to commemorate the union, with the name of a founding member on each side. Alley and Williams then released balloons and pigeons in celebration.

The Annual Conference moderator was accorded a high level of respect, Alley said during his report on the event to the Church of the Brethren’s Mission and Ministry Board. Leaders of the six founding partners of CNI were seated at the head table at the 40th anniversary celebration, along with the Archbishop of Canterbury as head of the Church of England and the Anglican Communion. Alley was invited to join in serving communion along with the Archbishop and other leaders. "It was an honor to the Church of the Brethren," Alley told the board.

The Archbishop delivered the main address for the anniversary celebration. "In St John's Gospel," Williams began, "Jesus gives us a very simple account of what unity means for his followers. There is one flock because the sheep all recognize one voice--the voice of the Good Shepherd. So if there is not one flock, we must assume that the sheep are not listening to the same voice--that they are in part listening, as Jesus says earlier in the same passage, to the voices of strangers. When the Church of God begins to come together, it is a sign that we have stopped listening to strangers."

Williams went on to observe that "as we stop listening to one another, we stop listening to Christ. And whether this happens in the name of nationality or tradition or pride of achievement or purity of teaching, the effect is the same tragedy."

"While we celebrate our common unity that is expressed in our common worship and in our common mission towards working among the marginalized and dispossessed, we also recognize that being a united and uniting church implies that we continue to name the sin of disunity among us even today," stated CNI General Secretary Alwan Masih, reading out a unity declaration.

The most memorable moment during the service was the lighting of candles by Alley, Williams, and Lyngdoh, symbolizing the rededication of CNI to its uniting mission. With lighted candles in their hands, bishops, clergy, laity, and delegates of the church repeated a pledge of rededication to unity.

CNI is the dominant Protestant denomination in northern India with about 1.3 million members and 3,500 congregations in 27 dioceses. Its headquarters are in New Delhi. The six founding members are the Council of Baptist Churches in Northern India, the Church of the Brethren, the Disciples of Christ, the Church of India (Anglican, formerly known as the Church of India, Pakistan, Burma and Ceylon), the Methodist Church (British and Australasian Conferences), and the United Church of Northern India.

Leading up to the anniversary, Alley and Jay Wittmeyer, executive director of Global Mission Partnerships for the Church of the Brethren, participated in numerous events in CNI communities with a Brethren heritage. This included addressing faculty and students of the United School of Theology in Ahmedabad, speaking at a youth conference, breaking ground for a new school, and helping ordain pastors in Aywa. During their Oct. 6-16 trip, Alley and Wittmeyer also met with the India Brethren in Ankleshwar and the Rural Service Center.

Annual Conference has stressed the value of maintaining relationship with both CNI and the India Brethren, Alley reminded the board during his report. "The mission of Christ both informs us and far exceeds the boundaries of our distinctions," Alley said as he shared conclusions from the trip. One conclusion is that what is happening in both CNI and the India Brethren congregations is like the theme he has chosen for Annual Conference next year, he said: "Gifted and extending the table."

-- Jay Wittmeyer, executive director of Global Mission Partnerships, contributed to this report.

Heifer International president is co-winner of 2010 World Food Prize.

Jo Luck, president of Heifer International, was co-recipient of the World Food Prize on Oct. 14 for her work through Heifer to ensure availability and sustainability of food to people in need around the world. She shared the prestigious prize with David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World.

During Luck’s acceptance speech, she referenced the work of the Church of the Brethren and the beginnings of Heifer International. The organization was started as the Church of the Brethren’s Heifer Project, by then-denominational staff member Dan West.

The World Food Prize was presented at the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines, as part of the 2010 Borlaug Dialogue on the theme, "Take It to the Farmer: Reaching the World's Smallholders." The prize is presented to individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity, or availability of food in the world.

"The awards mark the first time NGOs (non-governmental organizations) have been recipients of the $250,000 prize; more often the laureates have been scientists from the developing world," commented Howard Royer, manager of the Global Food Crisis Fund.

Attending on behalf of the Church of the Brethren was Kathleen Campanella, director of partner and public relations at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., who represents the Church of the Brethren on the Heifer International Board.

Also present at the ceremony were 13 guests of the Foods Resource Bank from a number of countries including Guatemala, the Gambia, Honduras, Nicaragua, Laos, and Zambia. The group included two representatives from Totonicapan, Guatemala, a food security program for which the Church of the Brethren is a lead sponsor: Hugo Garrido, who coordinates the Totonicapan program, and Olga Tumax, women’s leader. The group plans to visit several growing projects while they are visiting the US, among them Ivester Church of the Brethren in Iowa.

-- Kathleen Campanella is director of partner and public relations at the Brethren Service Center.

Sudan’s church leaders are concerned about upcoming referendum.

A delegation of Sudanese church leaders has traveled to the United States and United Kingdom to warn about threats to the Sudanese people as Jan. 9, 2011, approaches--the date Sudan is supposed to vote on a comprehensive peace agreement that ended its decades-long civil war between north and south.

"At the referendum the people of Southern Sudan will exercise their right to self-determination to decide their future," explained a release from the All Africa Council of Churches (AACC), which has declared 2010 a special year for Sudan. "They will choose whether to remain as part of a united Sudan or separate to become a new nation state."

The Church of the Brethren currently has a mission worker in southern Sudan, Michael Wagner, who is serving as a peace worker seconded to the Africa Inland Church-Sudan, a member of the Sudan Council of Churches.

Last week the Sudanese delegation met with officials of the National Council of Churches (NCC) and Church World Service (CWS) in New York to warn that the safety and human rights of millions of Sudanese continue to be in jeopardy despite hopes raised by the referendum. Previously, the delegation was in the UK to meet with the Archbishop of Canterbury and other church leaders and politicians.

According to the NCC, the Sudanese church leaders are skeptical that the referendum will be carried out as planned, or that it will solve problems brought on by years of bloodshed. And they warned US church leaders that "the safety and human rights (including the right to freedom of religion) of southerners living in northern Sudan are in jeopardy before, during, and after the referendum."

The Sudanese civil war began in 1983 and has claimed more than 2 million lives and displaced more than 4 million people, the NCC release noted. More recent violence in Sudan's Darfur region has killed upwards of 300,000 people and displaced 2.7 million. The NCC release added that the current concern for the peace process goes far beyond Darfur and extends to all of Sudan.

The US leaders supported their Sudanese colleagues as they called on the UN to "hold all parties and guarantors of the CPA (comprehensive peace agreement) accountable." The group called on the UN and the international community to "listen to and respect the voice of the voiceless, the voice of the suffering people of southern Sudan in the transitional areas, as expressed by the church."

In the UK, the Anglican Communion News Service reported, "The archbishops explained that the critical issues related to the referendum include delays in voter registration, tensions in the border regions, and the future for some 4 million refugees from the south who are currently living in the north."

The Archbishop of Canterbury spoke about the danger of Sudan "sleepwalking towards disaster...if action does not continue from the international community." The threat of open war "in and after the referendum period is the most serious thing of all," Williams said, "and that signals a return to what have been decades of slaughter and poverty and utter instability in a very large and very vulnerable country."

The AACC expressed concern "that the CPA implementation process is behind schedule. Specifically we note with concern that the work of the referendum commission has not started in earnest." The emphasis of the message from the Sudanese churches is, "The integrity of the CPA must be respected by all. The self-determination referendum must take place on 9th January 2011 as provided for in the CPA," the AACC said.

The Sudanese church leaders delegation included Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul, Anglican Primate of Sudan; Bishop Emeritus Paride Taban; Bishop Daniel Adwok Kur, auxiliary bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Khartoum; Ramadan Chan, secretary general of the Sudan Council of Churches; Samuel Kobia, ecumenical special envoy to Sudan and former general secretary of the World Council of Churches; John Ashworth, Sudan advisor for Catholic Relief Services and the Sudan Ecumenical Forum; and Rocco Blume of Christian Aid.

(For more about the work of Church of the Brethren mission staff in Sudan, go to

David Shetler to serve as executive for Southern Ohio District.

David D. Shetler begins Jan. 1, 2011, as district executive minister for the Church of the Brethren’s Southern Ohio District in a half-time position. Most recently, since Sept. 2006, he has been on the staff of Mennonite Mutual Aid as an agency manager/counselor.

Shetler has more than 30 years of experience in ministry, having served several congregations as pastor, associate pastor, or interim minister. From Oct. 1996-June 2003, he was director of Admissions and Student Development at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind. He holds a master of arts in Religion degree from Eastern Mennonite Seminary, with an emphasis in historical and theological studies, and a bachelor of arts in Philosophy and Religion and Business Administration from Bridgewater (Va.) College.

The Southern Ohio District Office continues to be located in the community center at Mill Ridge Village (Brethren Retirement Community) in Union, Ohio.

Annual Advent offering emphasis calls Brethren to ‘Prepare the Way.’

The 2010 Advent Offering Emphasis for the Church of the Brethren is scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 5 on the theme, "Prepare the Way" (Isaiah 40:3-5). Resources are provided in English and Spanish.

"Today’s world is the one into which Jesus is still being born," said an invitation to the special offering supporting Church of the Brethren denominational ministries. "How do we prepare the way for Jesus to be born in 2010? How do we prepare the way for that birth to affect lives into 2011 and beyond? The Church of the Brethren prepares by gathering resources for our journey together. Ours is a journey that proclaims Christ’s perfect peace and God’s justice far and wide."

Worship materials and theme reflections are among the resources posted at Congregations may print as many copies as needed. "Prepare the Way," an inspiring worship video set to music, will be available to download from the website as of Nov. 1. Contact stewardship staff Carol Bowman at 509-663-2833 for a paper copy of the resource guide. Congregations on standing order will automatically receive pre-ordered quantities of combination bulletin insert/offering envelopes.

Workcamps are scheduled for summer 2011.

The 2011 schedule of summer workcamps has been announced by the Church of the Brethren’s Youth and Young Adult Ministry. The 2011 workcamp theme is "We Are the Body" (Romans 12:4-5). The week-long service opportunities are for those from age 12 to 100-plus. Held in the months of June, July, and August, the workcamp ministry provides an opportunity for spiritual formation through service and simple living in Christian community.

"The 2011 workcamps offer the chance to step out of our singular day-to-day lives and enter into a spirit of unity with fellow workcampers, people of other cultures and communities, and God’s creation," said the announcement. "It is through this movement that we can evolve into the living Body of Jesus!"

In 2011, 29 workcamps will be offered in diverse locations. Four of the workcamps offer unique and special opportunities:

-- A Young Adult Workcamp in Taizé, France, and Geneva, Switzerland, for ages 18-35 will be held June 4-14. This first workcamp of the summer offers young adults the opportunity to travel and explore relationships as individuals and a denomination with the global Body of Christ. The Taizé community in France is especially designed as a place for Christian young adults from across the globe to come together for work, Bible study, worship, and fellowship. After a week in Taizé, the group will visit the World Council of Churches, World Health Organization, and other international organizations to learn about their ministries.
  • An Intergenerational Workcamp in Coconino National Forest, Ariz., for ages 12 to 100-plus will be held June 25-30. This workcamp promises to be a true nature adventure. Participants will meet in the mountains of northern Arizona, and then backpack a short distance onto National Forest property to set up base camp for the week. Lodging and food will be primitive as the group enjoys fellowshiping together in God’s glorious creation. Work will involve removing invasive crayfish from streams and improving habitat for native fish species. Bring the whole family for an intense week serving on some of God’s holy ground.

  • The "We Are Able" Workcamp at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., for ages 16-23 will be held July 11/12-15. With the recognition that all people have gifts to share, this workcamp enables youth and young adults with intellectual disabilities to serve side-by-side with a service partner youth or young adult. The group will work at SERRV and the Material Resources warehouse.

  • Haitian Church of the Brethren in Miami, Fla., is the setting for a senior high workcamp on June 20-26. This church with over 400 members is located in the heart of the Haitian community in Miami, and the workcamp is an opportunity learn more about Haitian-American brothers and sisters while serving together and celebrating in Christian fellowship. Worship on Sunday morning will be in both English and Haitian Kreyol. This is a wonderful opportunity to deepen faith while experiencing the vibrant, passionate witness of the Haitian church.
Workcamp registration begins online on Jan. 3, 2011, at 7 p.m. (central time). For more information, go to or contact Jeanne Davies, Carol Fike, or Clara Nelson in the Workcamp Office at 800-323-8039 or

(Find a photo album from the 2010 workcamps at

-- Jeanne Davies coordinates the Church of the Brethren’s Workcamp Ministry.

Minister’s Association announces 2011 pre-Conference event.

"Breaking Down Walls: Pursuing the Vision of Becoming Multi-Cultural Congregations" is the theme for the Ministers’ Pre-Conference Event to be held July 1-2, 2011, in Grand Rapids, Mich., prior to the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference.

Facilitators for the event are Darla Kay Deardorff and Robert Hunter. Deardorff is executive director of the Association of International Education Administrators at Duke University and member of the denominational study committee that wrote the "Separate No More" paper. She is a member of Peace Covenant Fellowship Church of the Brethren in Durham, N.C. Hunter is a Diversity and Justice specialist with Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship and a member of the organization’s Black Campus Ministries Board, from Richmond, Ind.

The schedule features three plenary sessions--on Friday afternoon and evening, and Saturday morning--along with worship led by Belita Mitchell, pastor of Harrisburg (Pa.) First Church of the Brethren.

Continuing education units will be offered, and there will be a discounted price available for students and first-time attendees. More information will be available in the 2011 Annual Conference Packet and online. For questions contact association chair Sue Richard at

Brethren bits: Personnel, jobs, jr. high Sunday, Chronicles webcast, more.
  • Emily Osterhus has begun as advocacy assistant in the Washington (D.C.) office of the Church of the Brethren and the National Council of Churches, after finishing a year of Brethren Volunteer Service with the Capital Area Food Bank. Born and raised in coastal North Carolina, she joined BVS after receiving a degree in Political Science and English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she was president of the UNC Wesley Campus Ministry.

  • The New Windsor (Md.) Conference Center is thanking volunteer host couples who served this summer: Ed and Betty Runion of Markle, Ind., and Ric and Jan Martinez of Live Oak, Calif.

  • The Church of the Brethren seeks a coordinator for recruitment and service advocate for Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) and Global Mission Partnerships. The position will coordinate and lead recruitment efforts and activities for BVS along with attention to the open mission positions. This includes relating to Brethren congregations, districts, camps, colleges, and Annual Conference. The coordinator will connect with Brethren organizations in many ways, through communication vehicles as well as attendance and leadership at functions such as youth events. Primary recruitment efforts are within the denomination, however this position will also lead BVS efforts to recruit outside the denomination. The service advocate component will provide leadership at national, district, and congregational events focused on the peace and justice goals of BVS with knowledge of the conscientious objection witness of the denomination and BVS relationship to the Selective Service System. Requirements include a bachelor’s degree, with a master’s or equivalent work experience helpful; grounding in Church of the Brethren heritage, theology, and polity; ability to articulate and operate out of the vision of the Mission and Ministry Board of the Church of the Brethren; recruitment experience in a college or equivalent volunteer service setting helpful; interpersonal skills and ability to take initiative without regular supervision; organizational abilities and ability to work on the road and in an office setting; general financial understanding. Previous experience with a volunteer service organization helpful but not required. Location is the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Request an application, criminal background check authorization, and position description from Karin Krog, Director of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60123;; 847-742-5100 ext. 258. The position is open until filled.

  • Pinecrest Community, a Church of the Brethren retirement community in Mt. Morris, Ill., seeks a CEO. Pinecrest, a faith-based CCRC, serves 200 residents in independent living, skilled nursing, intermediate care, and dementia care. The CEO will play a pivotal role in guiding Pinecrest through its current five-year strategic planning and the current capital campaign that benefits the skilled nursing facility. Expectations include expertise in planning, financial and operational management, fundraising, a team style of leadership, willingness to be significantly involved in the local communities, effective communication, and commitment to a faith-based philosophy. Deadline for applications is Dec. 31. The position is to begin July 15, 2011. Resume and indication of interest may be submitted to Search Consultant Ralph McFadden at Questions may be directed to home/office phone 847-622-1677 or home/office address 352 Shiloh Ct, Elgin, IL 60120.

  • Camp Brethren Heights near Rodney, Mich., is seeking two staff: a part-time camp director with responsibility for administration of the camp, and a part-time camp manager responsible for maintenance of the camp. Responsibilities of the camp director include, but are not limited to, marketing the camp to the Michigan District and outside groups, booking retreat groups, coordinating and supervising camp staff, making sure inspections and regulations for the camp are current, keeping financial records, and updating staff files. The camp director must be at least 21 years of age and have at least a high school diploma (or equivalent). The camp director must have excellent communication and organizational skills, with preference for applicants who have experience or training in marketing. Responsibilities of the camp manager include, but are not limited to, cleaning for groups using the camp, organizing work groups, mowing and trimming brush and trees, general repair jobs, snow plowing. The camp manager must have a high school diploma (or equivalent), should have basic maintenance knowledge, and must be able to work with a team. The camp manager will be expected to maintain the camp at a high level of cleanliness and safety. Individuals do not need to be part of a married couple to apply. The camp board is looking to fill the position in a non-traditional way. Send applications and resumes to Tara Wise, 7270 Brown Rd., Lake Odessa, MI 48849-9432. Applications can be found at under "forms," select the "staff" application. Questions may be directed to Wise at 269-367-4824 or Applications are due by Nov. 1.

  • The Ecumenical Stewardship Center, of which the Church of the Brethren is a member, seeks a CEO/executive director. Successful candidates will demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirit, successful program development experience, strong business acumen, board experience, and a stewardship passion grounded in a strong personal faith. Relocation is not required. Additional information is available at Interested candidates should contact Kirk Stiffney, MHS Alliance, 234 S. Main St., Suite A, Goshen, IN 46526; 574-537-8736;

  • A call for writers from the Ecumenical One Great Hour of Sharing Committee seeks submissions of liturgy, sermon starters, and activities for all ages. The deadline for submissions is Nov. 15. "Share your unique voice as a writer of resources for the ecumenical community across the US, collecting the 2012 One Great Hour of Sharing Offering," said an invitation. For information and a compensation schedule visit and click the "Writer Call for Entries" button. Be sure to review the guidelines for submissions. For more information contact

  • Junior High Sunday on Nov. 7 will focus on the theme, "Piece by Piece: Finding Our Place Within God's Story" (Ephesians 2:19-22). Resources at include a bulletin cover, Bible study, lectionary commentary, worship resources such as invocations and litanies, a drama, and a scripture jam. For more contact the Youth and Young Adult Ministry Office at 800-323-8039.

  • "Join three Old Testament scholars as they share information, ideas, and insights on the book of Chronicles," said an invitation to a webcast sponsored by the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership on Oct. 26 at 8 p.m. (eastern). Presenters are Robert W. Neff, professor emeritus at Bethany Theological Seminary, former general secretary of the Church of the Brethren, president emeritus of Juniata College, and current associate for resource development at the Village at Morrison's Cove; Frank Ramirez, writer, president of the Brethren Journal Association, and pastor of Everett (Pa.) Church of the Brethren; and Steven Schweitzer, Bethany’s academic dean and associate professor of Old Testament Studies. The three also will record a series of 15-minute podcasts based on the chapters of "The Chronicler," a Brethren Press Bible study by Neff and Ramirez. Tune in at Those who attend the live broadcast may earn .15 continuing education units.

  • The Church of the Brethren is part of a new ecumenical partnership, "After the Spill: Religious Communities Restoring the Gulf," through its advocacy office in Washington, D.C. Find more information at The effort will focus on an ongoing response to the oil disaster and dedication to long-term Gulf restoration, as the nation approaches the six-month anniversary of the BP oil spill. The website offers a resource on "Gulf Coast Restoration: Five Ways to Get Involved" and "What’s Next for the Gulf?" highlighting ways to engage.

  • The Seminary Consortium on Urban Pastoral Education (SCUPE) in Chicago is holding a 2011 biennial conference on "Peacemaking in a Culture of Violence." Details of the March 1-4 event are at Announced speakers include Shane Claiborne, Renita Weems, and Walter Brueggemann. There are opportunities to submit a proposal to provide a workshop for the conference. "This event is a wonderful event for Brethren to learn and to share from our expertise, so consider sending a workshop suggestion and offering your leadership," said an announcement from Jonathan Shively, executive director of Congregational Life Ministries for the Church of the Brethren and a member of the planning committee for the event. Early registration of $220 is offered until Nov. 15, along with special rates for students.

  • The Arc of Carroll County, Md., is being honored as Nonprofit Organization of the Year at the fifth annual Carroll County Philanthropists of the Year Awards, given by the Community Foundation of Carroll County. The organization advocates for and supports people with developmental disabilities and their families, and partners with the Church of the Brethren’s New Windsor Conference Center in a Carroll County Training Academy. The program provides employment training for Arc participants who "shadow" Brethren Service Center workers and receive hands-on experience, conference center head Shelly Wagner told the "Carroll County Times." See

  • Douglas Park Church of the Brethren in Chicago, Ill., celebrated its centennial on Oct. 17.

  • Brooklyn (N.Y.) First Church of the Brethren is "having a birthday" on Sunday, Oct. 24, at noon. The church is rededicating its renovated church building, originally built in 1908. "Many congregations and individuals of the Atlantic Northeast and Southern Pennsylvania Districts made these necessary upgrades possible," said an announcement. "In appreciation to you and to our Lord Jesus Christ who is always faithful, we seek your presence during the rededication." Earl Ziegler, district organizer of the project, will be guest speaker. A luncheon will follow. RSVP with number attending to or 718-439-8122.

  • One of the Foods Resource Bank Growing Projects in which the Church of the Brethren participates--the Polo project in northern Illinois--has reported a bumper crop this year. Sponsored by Polo Church of the Brethren, Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, and Faith United Presbyterian Church in Tinley Park, the project has produced 40 acres of soybeans this year, averaging 65 bushels an acre, sold for $28,000 to benefit hunger relief.

  • "Freedom Lies Just North--The Underground Railroad in Adams County" is a bus tour on Oct. 30, sponsored by York (Pa.) First Church of the Brethren. The intergenerational educational opportunity will help congregation members learn about the Underground Railroad.

  • Western Pennsylvania District Conference is this Saturday, Oct. 23, at Camp Harmony near Hooversville, Pa. Moderator Ruby F. Mader will lead the meeting.

  • Western Plains District is planning its sixth annual "Gathering" for Oct. 22-24 in Salina, Kan., on the theme "Melt Me, Mold Me, Fill Me, Use Me." In-depth Bible study about congregational and individual renewal will be led by Stephen Breck Reid, professor of Christian Scriptures at George Truett Theological Seminary and former academic dean at Bethany Theological Seminary. Mutual Kumquat will perform "Melting and Molding Hymn Classics."

  • The University of La Verne in southern California is hosting Preview Days on Oct. 23 and Nov. 20 in the university’s Campus Center. Participants will have an opportunity to speak with faculty and students and go on campus tours. Contact the Office of Admission, 1950 Third St., La Verne, CA 91750; 800-876-4858;

  • Bridgewater (Va.) College is hosting a "Fall Bash at BC" on Oct. 24 as a "harvest party/National Youth Conference reunion/youth worship," said an announcement. Participants should check in at the Boitnott Room at 3 p.m. (in the Kline Campus Center). The evening ends with worship led by NYC co-coordinator Audrey Hollenberg and the college’s band, Outspoken. Contact chaplain Robbie Miller at

  • The John Kline Homestead preservation project in Broadway, Va., has announced that $374,500 has been raised toward the purchase of the property. "We only need $50,500 to meet our $425,000 goal by the end of December," said a note from Paul Roth, one of the leaders of the project. Fundraising continues with six Candlelight Dinners offered in the John Kline house on Nov. 13, 14, 20, and 21, and Dec. 11 and 12. "Enjoy a traditional 1860s meal in a Valley Brethren home. Hear the family discuss rumors of war and its implications for their family and farm. The $40 per plate will also go to preserve the John Kline Homestead," said an invitation. Reservations may be made with Roth at 540-896-5001 or Contributions to the preservation effort may be sent to John Kline Homestead, P.O. Box 274, Broadway, VA 22815. Find a photo album of the homestead at

  • A number of Learning Tours are offered by New Community Project in 2011: Burma (Myanmar), Jan. 5-16, cost $1,050 ($950 student); Sudan, Feb. 2-16, cost $1,400; the Ecuadorian Amazon, June 11-21, cost $1,150/$1,075; El Salvador and sites related to Oscar Romero’s martyrdom, July 12-21, cost $675/$600; Denali/Kenai Fjords, Alaska, Aug. 2-11, cost $850/$750; Arctic Village, Alaska, and the Gwich’in community, Aug. 11-19, cost $875 (from Fairbanks). Tours are open to all ages. Cost does not include airfare from the United States. For tour details go to or contact 888-800-2985 or

  • Church communicators are urging the Federal Communications Commission to protect freedom of the Internet. At meetings in mid-October, the National Council of Churches Communications Commission issued a resolution stating that "faith communities have experienced uneven access to and coverage by mainstream media and wish to keep open the opportunity to create their own material describing their faith traditions.... As faith communicators, we see every day the vital connection between a free and fair communications system and the achievement of important social justice goals." The resolution warned, "If vital net neutrality protections are not assured by the FCC, large for-profit companies providing Internet services may have a commercial incentive to favor their own content over others and as a result could limit the activity and equal access of members of faith communities and other non-commercial organizations online." Full text is at

  • "The Amish Way: Patient Faith in a Perilous World" (October 2010, Jossey-Bass) is a new book by the authors of "Amish Grace": Donald Kraybill, a Church of the Brethren member and senior fellow at the Young Center at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College; Steve Nolt, professor of history at Goshen College; and David Weaver-Zercher, professor of American religious history at Messiah College. The book offers an "inside look" at how Amish Christian beliefs and practices inform every aspect of Amish daily life, according to a release. Order through Brethren Press for $18.95 plus shipping and handling, call 800-441-3712 or go to
Denominational Board Sets Framework for Stratigic Planning, Adopts 2011 Budget
A framework for strategic planning for the next decade of denominational ministry, and a 2011 budget, have been approved by the Church of the Brethren’s Mission and Ministry Board. The group met Oct. 15-18 at the church’s General Offices in Elgin, Ill. The board used a consensus style of decision making, led by chair Dale E. Minnich.

Worship each day of the board meetings centered on the theme, "Hearers and Doers of the Word." A group of students from Bethany Theological Seminary led the Sunday morning worship service.

Also on the agenda were a proposal for a private conversation for the board to seek a working relationship while dealing with controversial issues such as the current denominational conversation on sexuality. The group acted on a proposal regarding the Committee on Interchurch Relations, named a new chair-elect, and received a number of reports including recent Brethren delegations to China and India, among other business.

Framework for Strategic Planning:

The bulk of the board’s time was spent on a framework for strategic planning for the next decade of denominational ministry. The document that was adopted features a preamble prayer, six broad directional goals, and a plan for next steps such as development of strategic objectives and how the resulting strategic plan will be implemented.

Previously adopted vision, mission, and core values statements ( ) are considered foundational to the effort.

"As we envision the next decade for the Mission and Ministry Board of the Church of the Brethren, we pray that...Christ will be at the center of all we do," begins the preamble prayer, which continues with words of intent for Brethren ministry focused on discerning "God’s yearnings for our ministries," "gathering around the Word," "God’s vision for reconciliation and healing," embodying "Jesus’ example of servant leadership," and more.

Six directional goals are to give broad guidance for denominational ministries for the next 10 years. They identify five large program areas-- "Brethren Voice," church planting, congregational vitality, international mission, and service--and an organizational goal of sustainability. In addition to a title, each directional goal includes a short description and one or two scripture references. (Find the full text of the preamble prayer and directional goals below.)

"The possibilities before us are indeed exciting," said Minnich as he introduced the framework to the board. The preamble prayer reaffirms the vision, mission, and core values of the organization, he said, and the directional goals provide guidance and priorities for church work.

Using an "appreciative inquiry" process that focuses on identifying strengths of the organization, data for strategic planning has been gleaned from a five-year evaluation of the work of the General Secretary, and a survey of seven leadership groups in the denomination: the Mission and Ministry Board, Standing Committee of district delegates to Annual Conference, district executives, executive staff of the Church of the Brethren, the denominational Leadership Team (Annual Conference officers and General Secretary), Intercultural Ministry Team, and participants in a Young Adult Forum.

Consultant Rick Augsburger of the Konterra Group based in Washington, D.C., is providing assistance for the strategic planning. A Strategic Planning Working Group also has been named from board members and executive staff: board chair Dale Minnich; board members Andy Hamilton, Frances Townsend, and Colleen Michael; treasurer Judy Keyser; and general secretary Stan Noffsinger. This working group also was in conversation with the envisioning committee of Annual Conference as it created the framework for strategic planning.

A final strategic plan and any resulting changes in program or staffing are not expected for at least a year, Noffsinger explained during the meetings.

The "real meat" of the strategic planning process will come in the next round of work, as small groups of board members and staff develop strategic objectives to meet the new goals, Minnich said.

Budget for 2011:

The board approved a 2011 budget of $10,038,040 in expense and $10,143,620 in income for all eight Church of the Brethren ministry areas: Core Ministries, Brethren Press, "Messenger" magazine, Brethren Disaster Ministries, Material Resources, the New Windsor (Md.) Conference Center, the Global Food Crisis Fund, and the Conference Office.

The budget includes a Core Ministries budget of $5,369,770 expense, $5,426,000 income, and a decision to use up to $437,000 from a bequest quasi endowment to cover what would otherwise be an anticipated deficit budget in Core Ministries. The Core Ministries are the non-self-funded program areas of the denomination, ranging from Congregational Life Ministries to Global Mission Partnerships, from the Ministry Office to Brethren Volunteer Service, and more.

As part of its decision, the board said it will review the budget at its next meeting in March to see if there is any additional margin to apply to a cost of living increase for employees, and expressed concern about the financial situation of the New Windsor Conference Center.

According to assistant treasurer LeAnn Wine, who presented the budget to the board, underlying assumptions for 2011 include no cost of living increase in employee wages for the second year in a row, a 20-percent increase in cost of medical insurance premiums over 2010, continuation of the established pattern of a slight annual decline in giving from congregations and individuals, and "challenging scenarios" for some self-funding units including the New Windsor Conference Center and Brethren Press.

This budget also is designed to give the board a year to put in place its strategic plan, before any resulting changes are made to program or staffing.

Finance and stewardship staff also reviewed year-to-date income and expense, and reported on stewardship and fundraising results through the end of September. Staff noted that donations from congregations are strong this year, and most Church of the Brethren ministry areas are "in the black" year-to-date. The exception is the New Windsor Conference Center, which continues to experience financial difficulties following the economic recession and resulting loss of bookings from groups that use the facility for meetings and retreats.

Proposal for a Special Conversation:

The board agreed to schedule a half day of private conversation at its next meeting in March, approving a recommendation from the Executive Committee. The time of private conversation will be held in order "to share their views on issues of intense conflict and discord like the current issue of human sexuality and to listen attentively and respectfully to the thoughts of their colleagues," according to the Proposal for a Special Conversation.

"The primary objective of this session would be to encourage frank and trusting sharing," the proposal said, "to build understanding of and respect for our differing points of view, and to undergird a trusting and loving working relationship among board members centered in our common focus on Christ."

Executive Committee members explained that the recommendation is in part a motion of solidarity with a denomination undergoing the current Special Response process on issues related to sexuality. The rest of the board agreed to it with some reservations, after a conversation that focused on questions such as why the board does not engage in the same Special Response process as the rest of the denomination, and whether the conversation will prove to be helpful or harmful to the board.

In other business:
  • Two international delegations reported: a delegation to China in August for the centennial of the Ping Ding mission hospital started by the Brethren, and a delegation representing the denomination at the 40th anniversary of the Church of North India (see story to come with regularly schedules issue of Newsline). The China delegation included Jay Wittmeyer, executive director of Global Mission Partnerships; Mary Jo Flory-Steury, executive director of Ministry, whose grandparents were mission workers in Ping Ding and whose father was born there; and Ruoxia Li, who grew up in a former Brethren mission area in China. Two hospitals were part of the celebration, Flory-Steury told the board: the hospital started by the mission, which now practices traditional Chinese medicine; and a new Friendship Hospital that also offers Western medicine. A banner from the celebration displayed the two Chinese characters used to translate the word Brethren: "friendship and heart." Wittmeyer said the phrase represents "a deep sweetness" in the way the Ping Ding community remembers the Brethren. The community would like more Brethren fellowship, he added. His office has received an invitation for Brethren to engage in a medical collaboration there. He noted that the invitation for a church to work openly in China is rare.

  • A review and evaluation of the Committee on Interchurch Relations (CIR) was set in motion, at the request of CIR and the Executive Committee. CIR is jointly answerable to Annual Conference and the Mission and Ministry Board. CIR chair Paul Roth presented the request "that Standing Committee and the Mission and Ministry Board review the CIR’s mission and discern what is most appropriate for the ecumenical work of the Church of the Brethren in the 21st century." The denomination’s Leadership Team will facilitate the review.

  • The board affirmed a change in designation of the Church Loan Fund to become a board-designated fund.

  • Becky Ball-Miller was chosen as chair-elect beginning at the 2011 Annual Conference. She will assist the next chair, Ben Barlow, for a two-year term as chair-elect, and then will serve as chair for two years. The term of service of current board chair, Dale Minnich, ends in July.

  • Todd Eichelberger of Bedford, Pa., was named to the board to fill the unexpired term of Willie Hisey Pierson, who became ineligible for the position when hired by Brethren Benefit Trust. The appointment will come before Annual Conference delegates for confirmation.

  • Board member Wallace Cole was named as a Church of the Brethren representative to the On Earth Peace delegation to Israel and Palestine in January.
(Find a photo album from the Mission and Ministry Board meeting at
Framework for Strategic Planning: Preamble Prayer and Directional Goals
The Mission and Ministry Board of the Church of the Brethren has adopted a framework to guide strategic planning for the next decade of denominational ministry. The framework includes a preamble prayer and directional goals (see below). Also included in the full document are an outline of next steps in the process, which includes the setting of strategic objectives and how to implement a resulting strategic plan.

Preamble Prayer

As we envision the next decade for the Mission and Ministry Board of the Church of the Brethren, we pray that...

Christ will be at the center of all we do.

We will discern God’s yearnings for our ministries by prayerfully gathering around the Word.

We will creatively imagine and live out God’s vision for reconciliation and healing.

We will help the Brethren express faith through humble service, simple words, and courageous proclamation.

We will grow into a community that more fully reflects all God’s people.

We will embody Jesus’ example of servant leadership.

We will provide opportunities for Brethren to be involved in hands-on ministry so that God’s transforming energy is released through committed service and support.

Our Brethren dedication to peace, simplicity, and community will undergird all aspects of our life and work.

May the Holy Spirit empower us as we respond to God’s yearnings.

Directional Goals

Brethren Voice:
Equip the Brethren to speak Christ’s peace and love to each other, to neighbors, to ecumenical and interfaith communities, and to national powers. "...To give light to those who sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace" (Luke 1:79).

Church Planting:
Cultivate a growing movement of emerging mission points and church planting. "I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth" (1 Corinthians 3:6).

Congregational Vitality:
Strengthen the Brethren as we live into our calling as joyful communities of radical, compassionate disciples. "And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds..." (Hebrews 10:24).

International Mission:
Grow the church of Jesus Christ around the world in partnership with sisters and brothers within the Church of the Brethren and beyond. "Therefore, as you go, disciple people in all nations" (Matthew 28:19, International Standard Version). "So that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine" (Romans 1:12).

Challenge and equip the Brethren to integrate faith and service, deepening our faith as we respond to human need. "...Let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action" (1 John 3:18).

Assure that the vision for the Mission and Ministry Board is embodied in an organization that is sustainable, flexible, streamlined, and interdependent, and which calls forth committed support from congregations and individuals. "For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ" (1 Corinthians 12:12).

Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren, or 800-323-8039 ext. 260. Doris Abdullah, Jordan Blevins, Carol Bowman, Kathleen Campanella, Rachel Cohen, James Deaton, Mary Jo Flory-Steury, Cori Hahn, Phillip Jenks, Karin Krog, Cheryl A. Leanza, Nathan D. Polzin, David Radcliff, Paul Roth, Howard Royer, Marcia Shetler, and Jonathan Shively contributed to this report.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Summer workcamps explore passion, practices of early church.

In 2010, more than 350 participants took part in 15 workcamps through the Church of the Brethren’s Youth and Young Adult Ministry. "With Glad and Generous Hearts" was the workcamp theme based on Acts 2:44-47 and during each week of workcamps participants explored the passionate Christian practices of the early church.

Young adults served at New Covenant School in St. Louis du Nord, Haiti, leading crafts, games, songs, and providing a Bible story theater and snacks at a Vacation Bible School. They also worked on the school’s new building.

Intellectually disabled youth and young adults served at the "We Are Able" workcamp held at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md.

Junior high youth took part in workcamps in Elgin, Ill.; Brooklyn, N.Y.; Indianapolis, Ind.; Ashland, Ohio; Roanoke, Va.; Harrisburg, Pa.; and Richmond, Va. Junior high students at the Harrisburg workcamp worked alongside the Brethren Housing Association helping to provide housing and social services to the homeless.

Brethren Revival Fellowship (BRF) senior high youth took part in workcamps in the Dominican Republic and Mexico.

An intergenerational workcamp at the Brethren Service Center and co-led by On Earth Peace gave participants of all ages the opportunity to serve and learn about peacemaking.

For more information about youth and young adult workcamps, contact the Workcamp Office at 800-323-8039 or, or visit

-- Jeanne Davies coordinates workcamps for the Church of the Brethren’s Youth and Young Adult Ministry.
Disaster ministry opens new Tennessee project, announces grants.

Brethren Disaster Ministries is establishing a new home rebuilding site in Tennessee, in an area hit by devastating floods in May. A grant of $25,000 from the Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) is supporting the new project site.

The grant supports the work of obtaining information to determine the need for Brethren Disaster Ministries programing, and will help underwrite expenses related to travel, food, and housing incurred by volunteers and staff during early assessment and project setup. Funds also will be used to furnish tools, equipment, and supplies for the work of repairing and rebuilding homes for qualified individuals and families.

The EDF also has given grants to continue work at two current rebuilding sites of Brethren Disaster Ministries: $30,000 for the Hurricane Katrina Rebuilding Site 4 in Chalmette, La., in a grant expected to carry the project through the end of 2010; and $25,000 for continued work in the area of Winamac, Ind., along the Tippecanoe River following heavy rains and flooding in 2008 and 2009, where the response is expected to be complete as of the beginning of 2011.

The grant request for the Louisiana site noted that, "Since doubling volunteer capacity in the summer of 2008, Brethren Disaster Ministries’ monthly expenses have nearly doubled as well.... With continued need and financial and volunteer support, BDM staff anticipates a continued presence in the region through mid-year 2011."

In addition, an EDF grant of $40,000 was announced for the Church World Service (CWS) response to the Pakistan floods. The grant will assist CWS and the ACT Alliance in supplying emergency food, water, shelter, medical care, and some personal supplies.

In a recent update on its work in Pakistan, CWS reported that it is continuing its flood response and increasing the number of operational areas. As of Sept. 20, CWS in Pakistan and its partners have distributed food packages to more than 90,000 individuals, as well as 2,500 packages of non-food items; distributed another 140 tons of food for approximately 11,000 more beneficiaries; distributed 1,500 tents for approximately 10,500 beneficiaries; deployed three mobile health units, which have provided services for 2,446 patients. CWS also is supporting additional activities by other donors, including food distribution and another six health units.

Heishmans announce decision to leave Dominican Republic mission.

Irvin and Nancy Sollenberger Heishman have announced a decision not to seek renewal of their service agreement as co-coordinators of the Church of the Brethren mission in the Dominican Republic. The couple will end their service as mission coordinators in early December, after serving in the DR for seven and a half years. Nancy Heishman also finish her service as director of the Theological Program in the DR, a position she assumed in the fall of 2008.

During their years in the DR, the Heishmans have provided coordination for the mission, working with leadership of Iglesia de los Hermanos (Dominican Church of the Brethren) and providing guidance and support to the DR church and to others involved in the mission including Brethren Volunteer Service workers. Key ministries of the mission during their term included theological education, a BVS/BRF volunteer house, a micro-loan program, and guidance and accompaniment to the DR church during a difficult time of conflict in previous years.

In addition, Irvin Heishman currently is coordinating logistics for the Historic Peace Churches meeting that will gather Brethren, Friends, and Mennonites from the Americas in the DR later this year. The event is to take place Nov. 28-Dec. 2. in Santo Domingo, capital city of the DR.

The couple will leave the DR in December, but stay on contract with the Church of the Brethren until June 2011. They will be doing mission interpretation in the American church community and take time for personal restoration after a stressful term of mission service.

Global Mission Partnership executive director Jay Wittmeyer said the partnership of the Church of the Brethren with Iglesia de los Hermanos will be re-evaluated, particularly in terms of roles and responsibilities, before new staff will be seconded to the DR.

Fahrney-Keedy names Keith R. Bryan as president.

At its Sept. 22 meeting, the Board of Directors of Fahrney-Keedy Home and Village, a Church of the Brethren retirement community in Boonsboro, Md., named Keith R. Bryan as president/CEO. Bryan has been at Fahrney-Keedy filling that position in an interim role since January.

Bryan is an accomplished fundraiser and has extensive expertise in the field. Prior to starting his own business in 2003, he worked with nonprofit groups for 13 years in leadership roles. These included fund development, marketing, administrative, and volunteer positions. He graduated from the University of Maryland with a bachelor’s degree in law enforcement and sociology, and continued his studies at St. Joseph’s College in Windham, Maine; Pennsylvania State University; Morgan State University; and University of Pennsylvania. He is a retired law enforcement officer. He and his family live in Westminster, Md.

On Earth Peace announces Jim Replogle as new operations director.

James S. Replogle has been appointed operations director of On Earth Peace. He will handle daily operations for the organization, create and implement longterm strategy, supervise paid and volunteer staff, expand program income and constituencies, and provide leadership in developing program and financial plans and objectives.

Replogle and executive director Bob Gross will share authority for the organization as a whole. The new appointment allows Gross to focus more on fundraising and development--a step toward fulfilling the organization's desire and strategic plan to reach new and larger audiences.

In addition to his new role with On Earth Peace, Replogle will continue as president and owner of J.S. Replogle & Associates, an investment management firm. In prior positions with the church, he has served on the board of directors for On Earth Peace, has directed the Brethren Foundation for Brethren Benefit Trust, directed planned giving for the former General Board of the Church of the Brethren, and was a general manager/publisher of Brethren Press.

Historic Peace Churches to hold conference in Latin America.

"Hunger for Peace: Faces, Paths, Cultures" is the theme of a conference of the Historic Peace Churches in Latin America, to held in Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic, from Nov. 28-Dec. 2.

This is the fifth of a series of conferences that have taken place in Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America as a part of the Decade to Overcome Violence (DOV), an initiative of the World Council of Churches. The Historic Peace Churches include the Church of the Brethren, Mennonites, and the Society of Friends (Quakers).

The conference will be a combination of personal storytelling, Bible study, and theological reflection about the way that Christian faith addresses the violence of our lives. Invited participants will come from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, the US, and Venezuela. All sessions will be translated into Spanish and English, as well as Haitian Kreyol and Portuguese as needed.

In addition to presentations, worship, and sharing of experiences, participants will receive a tour of the Colonial Zone of Santo Domingo, reflecting on divergent religious traditions expressed in the colonizing of the Americas where one tradition legitimized exploitation while another raised a prophetic voice for human rights. The latter will be celebrated in the 500th anniversary (1511-2011) of the sermon preached by the Dominican Friar Antonio Montesinos in the Santo Domingo Cathedral calling for just and humane treatment of the native Taino people.

Speakers include Heredio Santos, a Quaker from Cuba; Alexandre Gonçalves, a theologian and pastor in the Church of the Brethren in Brazil, and a national coordinator of a nonprofit organization that works to sensitize and prevent the abuse of children; Elizabeth Soto, a Mennonite professor, pastor, and theologian from Puerto Rico, currently living in the United States, who also has served in churches and theological seminaries in Colombia; and John Driver, Mennonite professor, theologian, and missiologist from the US who has served in Latin American and Caribbean countries as well as in Spain, and has authored various books.

Taking part in the planning committee are Marcos Inhauser, a national director of the Church of the Brethren mission in Brazil and a leader in Igreja da Irmandade (the Church of the Brethren in Brazil); Irvin Heishman, a mission coordinator for the Church of the Brethren in the DR; and Donald Miller, a past general secretary of the Church of the Brethren and professor emeritus at Bethany Theological Seminary.

The opening and closing worship services of the conference will be open to the public. The opening worship will be held Nov. 28 at 11 a.m. at Luz y Vida Evangelical Mennonite Church on Avenida Mexico in Santo Domingo with the sermon given by Alix Lozano, Mennonite pastor and leader from Colombia. The closing worship service will be Dec. 2 at 7:30 p.m. at Nueva Uncion Church of the Brethren on Calle Regino Castro in Mendoza with the sermon given by Marcos Inhauser, Brethren pastor and mission coordinator for Brazil.

Webcasts will be offered from several sessions of the conference, viewers will be able to connect at

Brethren Disaster Ministries schedules workcamps in Haiti.

Brethren Disaster Ministries has announced three "Work, Worship, and Learn" workcamps in Haiti. Dates are Nov. 6-13 (registration and deposit due Oct. 13); Jan. 23-30, 2011 (registration and deposit due Dec. 31); and March 14-20, 2011 (registration and deposit due Feb. 14, 2011). Additional dates may be added if there is interest. Each workcamp can accommodate 15 participants.

The workcamps will help rebuild homes in the Port-au-Prince area and other areas that have received earthquake victims. Working closely with L’Eglise des Freres Haitien (the Haitian Church of the Brethren), participants will help construct homes for earthquake survivors and a guest house at the new Haiti Church offices. A highlight of the trip will be worshiping with Haitian brothers and sisters. Workcamp leaders will provide background information on Haiti and the Haitian Church of the Brethren.

Leaders for the workcamps are Jeff Boshart, Ilexene Alphonse, and Klebert Exceus. Cost is $900 per person, with a $300 deposit due with registration. This fee includes all expenses while in Haiti: meals, lodging, in-country transportation, travel insurance, and $50 for building supplies. Participants will purchase round-trip transportation from their homes to Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Requirements for participation include good health and stamina for hard work in a hot climate, at least 18 years of age, a passport, vaccinations and medications, with tetanus required and malaria medications recommended; and sensitivity and flexibility with regard to cultural differences. For more information contact Brethren Disaster Ministries at 800-451-4407 or

Courses are offered through the Brethren Academy.

A number of upcoming courses for church leadership are offered through the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership, a partnership of Bethany Theological Seminary and the Church of the Brethren. Courses are open to Training in Ministry (TRIM) students, pastors (who will earn two continuing education units unless otherwise noted), and all interested persons.

"Administration as Pastoral Care" is offered at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College through the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center, with instructor Julie M. Hostetter on Nov. 18-21. The registration deadline is Oct. 18.

"Healthy Congregation, Healthy Prospects, Missional Engagement" is held at McPherson (Kan.) College taught by Jim Kinsey, on Nov. 18-21. Registration deadline is Oct. 18.

"Introduction to Pastoral Care" takes place at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., with Anna Lee Hisey Pierson, on Jan. 10-14, 2011. Registration deadline is Dec. 10.

"Introduction to the New Testament," an online course led by Susan Jeffers, runs from Jan. 17, 2011, through March 11, 2011. Registration deadline is Dec. 17.

"The Historic Peace Churches Seeking Cultures of Peace" is taught at Bethany Seminary by faculty member Scott Holland, on June 13-17, 2011. Registration deadline is May 9, 2011.

A study tour to Germany, "The Protestant Church of Germany: Past and Present," with instructor Ken Rogers takes place in June 2011. Approximate cost will be $2,000 including airfare. The course will include some church history, but its major focus is on cross-cultural experience with most of the time spent in the city of Marburg and one-day excursions to a number of places including the village of Schwarzenau, where the Brethren movement began in 1708. Training in Ministry students will earn two units credit, pastors will earn four continuing education units. The registration deadline is December.

Go to for class brochures and registration information, or call 800-287-8822, ext. 1824. For courses offered by the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center, contact or 717-361-1450.

Organizers of deacon trainings ask, ‘Don’t let it snow!’

"Last winter we made the nearly four-hour (one way!) trip to Bremen, Ind., to attend a deacon training event. Actually it was longer even than that since we had to stop and dig our van out of the February snow along the way!" laughed Gene Karn, Outdoor Ministries director for the Southern Ohio District of the Church of the Brethren.

"In spite of the travails of travel, it was a very worthwhile day, and we wished more of our fellow deacons could have come along," Karn added. "By the time we arrived home we’d decided to schedule a training session of our own. And, if we felt it would be good for our congregation’s deacons, then other deacons and church leaders in the district would probably enjoy the workshop as well.

"Specifically, I would hope that new or potential deacons would get a better understanding of what the role of deacon is, both in their own congregations as well as in the denomination."

And that’s how the deacon training session scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 23, at West Charleston Church of the Brethren in Tipp City, Ohio, came about. Anticipating a good turnout given the location, multiple workshops are planned on the topics of congregational peacemaking, listening skills, caring for caregivers, and discussing financial concerns as a part of holistic caregiving.

The plenary session, offered by Donna Kline, director of the Church of the Brethren’s Deacon Ministry, will address the question, "So What Are Deacons Supposed to Do, Anyway?" Other presenters are Kim Ebersole, the denomination’s director of Family Life and Older Adult Ministries, and David Doudt, a Church of the Brethren spiritual director.

For more information and to register for this day of workshops in southern Ohio, visit, where this and other fall sessions are described.

-- Donna Kline is director of Deacon Ministry for the Church of the Brethren.
Brethren bits: Correction, remembrances, anniversaries, and more.
  • Correction: The date of a Special Response hearing at Grandview Church of the Brethren in Pendleton, Ind., is Dec. 4 at 9:30 a.m.

  • Merlin G. Shull, 83, passed away Sept. 22 at Bridgewater (Va.) Retirement Community. He served as executive minister for the Church of the Brethren’s Shenandoah District from 1985-92, and previously was a mission worker in Ecuador. He and his late wife, Grace, who passed away in 1997, also served pastorates in Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. A remembrance from Shenandoah District invited prayers of sympathy and support to the family. Shull was born July 1, 1927, in Chicago, Ill., to the late Merlin C. and Pearl Grosh Shull. He was a graduate of Manchester College, Bethany Theological Seminary, and Lutheran Seminary of Gettysburg, Pa. His service to the church also included a term of Brethren service in Austria. In 1955 he married Mary Grace (White) Shull. He was a member of Bridgewater Church of the Brethren. He is survived by a son, Mark A. Shull Sr.; a daughter, Mary Elizabeth Martin; seven grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. A memorial service was held on Oct. 2 at the Bridgewater Church. Memorial contributions are received to Bethany Theological Seminary. Online condolences may be sent to the Shull family by visiting .

  • Phyllis Kinzie, 82, a former board member of the General Board of the Church of the Brethren, passed away on June 11 at Baptist Medical Center in Oklahoma City, Okla. She was a longtime resident of Cushing, Okla. Kinzie served on the General Board from 1988 until 1992. According to her obituary in the "Stillwater News Press," she was born on Feb. 7, 1928, the fourth child of Chester A. Olwin and Beatrice Yaney Olwin. She attended McPherson (Kan.) College. She married Oliver H. Kinzie in 1945, and they were married for 65 years. She was a longtime member of the Church of the Brethren in Cushing, where she served 16 years as choir director, and of First Baptist Church in Cushing, where she taught Sunday school. Her memberships in community organizations also included Honorary Chapter Farmer of Cushing FFA, and Sunnyside Home Extension, where she held several leadership roles, and she received a Cushing Chamber of Commerce Community Service Award. She is survived by her husband; three sons, Allen Kinzie and wife Cynthia, Kent Kinzie and wife Annette, and Kris Kinzie and wife Denise; daughter Sheree Fielding and husband Dr. Jeff Fielding; ten grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Memorial services were held June 14 at First Baptist Church with burial in the Big Creek Church of the Brethren Cemetery. Condolences may be shared with the Kinzie family at

  • Brett K. Winchester, 57, a member of the Church of the Brethren denomination’s Disabilities Ministry, passed away on Sept. 20 at home in Garden City, Idaho, after a long struggle with liver disorders leading to liver failure. Winchester came to the Church of the Brethren while in high school through youth outreach, his mother having been a member of Eden Valley Church of the Brethren in St. John, Kan., as a young woman. Blind since birth, he developed a great deal of experience coping with blindness and low vision, and shared this experience with his employer, the Idaho Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired. He served as ICBVI Reading Services Coordinator for the Boise office, coordinating radio reading services. He also was involved in numerous advocacy efforts on behalf of persons who are blind or visually impaired. He is survived by his widow, Leona Marie Hutchison Winchester, and his two daughters, Lynnette Hunter and Evelyn Pollock, both of Boise. A memorial service was held Oct. 2 at the United Church of the Brethren in Boise. Memorial contributions are received to the Masonic Lodge of Boise or to the National Federation of the Blind.

  • Moala Penitani of Elkhart, Ind., started Oct. 4 as Customer Service Inventory Specialist for Brethren Press. She holds a bachelor of arts degree in marketing and management from Manchester College in North Manchester, Ind. Her three years of work experience includes involvement with customer service, sales promotion, and raising multicultural awareness.

  • An opening for a Haiti Trauma Program coordinator has been announced by the STAR Program at Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) in Harrisonburg, Va. Brethren Disaster Ministries is helping fund the STAR Program in Haiti, where Haitian Brethren pastors will be trained and in turn facilitate seminars in their congregations. The coordinator of the Haiti Trauma Awareness and Resilience Initiative will facilitate development of structure and administration of the initiative; oversee staff/consultants based in Haiti who will provide administrative support, logistics, and training; coordinate work of the initiative with sponsoring agency programs and initiatives and the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding (CJP); supervise fiscal matters related to the initiative in collaboration with the CJP Practice and Training Institute Director; develop a longterm sustainability proposal for the initiative that will build capacity of Haitian community and leaders to respond to trauma needs of the country. This is a three-year assignment. The program will not operate beyond the initial three-year period. Qualifications and experience required or preferred include among many others a bachelor’s degree required with a master’s degree in development, social work, conflict transformation, or related field preferred; strong experience in program development and administration within Haiti preferred; experience in trauma training, capacity building, and emergency management helpful. Fluency in Creole and English is required. Send letter of intent, curriculum vitae, transcripts, and names, addresses, and telephone numbers of three professional references to Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at, attention Maria Hoover. Review of applications will begin immediately. The position will remain open until filled. Persons who bring diversity are encouraged to apply. EMU is an equal opportunity employer, conducts criminal background investigations as part of the hiring process, and complies with federal and state requirements for non-discrimination in employment with regard to sex, age, race, color, disability, national, and ethnic origin.

  • The National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund ( seeks a volunteer to staff its office in Washington, D.C., while its executive director is on indefinite medical leave. Since 1972, NCPTF has been working to promote a legal alternative for conscientious objectors to military taxation. This volunteer will function as the organization’s administrator while the Executive Director is recovering. Compensation will be negotiated depending on the needs of the volunteer. Responsibilities include assuring that regular communication with the constituency takes place through newsletters, website updating, and maintaining a database; office administration; and assisting with and undergirding lobbying efforts by constituents. A minimum term of one year is sought. Contact Kim McDowell, chair of the NCPTF Personnel Committee, at 301-927-6836 or

  • The Fall meeting of the Church of the Brethren’s Mission and Ministry Board takes place Oct. 15-18 at the church’s General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Agenda items include an overview of the finances of the denomination in 2010, a budget for 2011, and a strategic planning proposal.

  • "Piece by Piece: Finding Our Place Within God’s Story" (Ephesians 2:19-22 in the Message version) is the theme for next summer’s National Junior High Conference on June 17-19 at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College. An updated web page for the event is at

  • The Global Food Crisis Fund is offering a DVD documentary, "Sowing Seeds...Harvesting Hope," showing how a congregation’s growing project can revitalize small farm enterprises in poor communities abroad, through a partnership with the Foods Resource Bank. Produced by the Church of the Brethren with partners Church World Service, the Foods Resource Bank, and the United Methodist Committee on Relief, the documentary centers on transformed communities in Guatemala and Nicaragua. Narrating the 11-minute video is syndicated radio/television farm editor Orion Samuelson. Request a copy from the Global Food Crisis Fund at 800-323-8039.

  • Staunton (Va.) Church of the Brethren is hosting a financial workshop titled "Faith, Family, and Finances: How to Live Faithfully Within Your Means and Keep Peace in the Family" on Oct. 23 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. The workshop presented by the Church of the Brethren Credit Union, Brethren Benefit Trust, and On Earth Peace and its Ministry of Reconciliation program is for those currently experiencing financial challenges, those who anticipate experiencing such struggles in the future, or those ministering to people who are struggling financially. Cost is $15 or $25 per couple. Contact Steward’s Workshop, Staunton Church of the Brethren, 1615 N. Coalter St., Staunton, VA 24401.

  • Mill Creek Church of the Brethren in Port Republic, Va., celebrates its 170th anniversary on Oct. 17.

  • Bethlehem Church of the Brethren in Franklin County, Va., is celebrating its 140th anniversary throughout October.

  • Freeport (Ill.) Church of the Brethren has set aside Nov. 14 as "A Day of New Beginnings" to celebrate its 90th anniversary. The church was founded on Oct. 3, 1920. The celebration begins with morning worship at 9:30 a.m. led by pastor Lisa Fike, followed by a time of sharing stories, lunch, and afternoon worship with former pastors beginning at 1 p.m. Call 815-232-1938.

  • Miami (Fla.) First Church of the Brethren celebrates its 75th Diamond Anniversary with a weekend of events Oct. 23-24. On Saturday afternoon there will be a luncheon event at the Shula Hotel in Miami Lakes, followed by a program of remembrances, greetings, and music offered in the ballroom. A variety of activites will be available for guests on Saturday evening. On Sunday morning the celebration will continue with a 10:30 a.m. worship service at the building where the congregation meets (Biscayne Gardens Civic Association Hall, 1500 N. Miami Ave.). Pastor Ray Hileman will give a message of vision for the future. Following worship, a light lunch will be served. For information about Saturday meal costs, housing, and other questions, contact Anniversary Committee chair Renee Davis at 954-397-5997 or

  • Three district conferences will be held over the next couple of weeks: Atlantic Southeast District holds its 126th District Conference on Oct. 8-9 at Camp Ithiel in Gotha, Fla., on the theme "Health and Wellness" (Mark 12:29-31) with James Graybill as moderator. Mid-Atlantic District holds its 44th District Conference on Oct. 8-9 at Manassas (Va.) Church of the Brethren on the theme "Let the Peace of Christ Rule in Your Hearts" (Colossians 3:15) with Cinda Showalter as moderator. Middle Pennsylvania District Conference will be Oct. 15-16 at Maitland Church of the Brethren in Lewistown, Pa., on the theme "Seeking the Mind of Christ--Together" (Philippians) with Lowell H. Witkovsky as moderator.

  • McPherson (Kan.) College has reached its highest enrollment numbers in 40 years, according to a release from the school. The college has a total of 622 fulltime students this fall, representing a nearly 15 percent increase in enrollment over last year. In addition to the 622 full-time students, there are another 85 part-time students. This results in a total head count of 707 students, and a total full-time equivalent of 689.

  • The Brethren Revival Fellowship (BRF) has published a commentary on "The Acts of the Apostles" written by Mark E. Baliles (352 pages, suggested donation $20). The BRF’s Brethren New Testament Commentary series aims to give a readable explanation of the New Testament text, with loyalty to Anabaptist and Pietist values. "This commentary is a tool which attempts to explain and apply the teaching of the text through an exposition and an application of the Bible message. There are helpful divisions to aid in structured teaching of God’s Word," said a release. Baliles serves as pastor of Indian Creek Church of the Brethren in Vernfield, Pa. The general editor of the series is Harold S. Martin, a Church of the Brethren elder and editor of the "BRF Witness" newsletter. Send orders and donations to Brethren Revival Fellowship, P.O. Box 543, Ephrata, PA 17522-0543, or make requests at

  • Recommendations regarding process and some practical tools and things to consider in district hearings are being offered to Church of the Brethren members taking part in the denomination’s Special Response conversations by the Brethren and Mennonite Council for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Interests (BMC). The group is offering two resources, titled "Doing Process Well: Recommendations for Brethren Congregations" and "Recommendations for Safe, Sacred, and Meaningful Conversations." Both are available at

  • The October edition of "Brethren Voices," the community television program produced by Portland (Ore.) Peace Church of the Brethren, features the band Mutual Kumquat. Beth Merrill interviews members of Mutual Kumquat, and the show also features portions of their evening concert at this year’s Song and Story Fest. During its 10-year history the band has performed at Annual Conference and National Youth Conference, and each of the past six years at the Song and Story Fest co-sponsored by On Earth Peace. Members of the band are Chris Good, Drue Gray, and Seth Hendricks, and Ben Long and Jacob Jolliff also add their musical talents to the group. In other news from the program, beginning this month "Brethren Voices" will be broadcast on Channel 14 in Spokane, Wash. Copies of the October edition of "Brethren Voices" are available for a donation of $8. Contact Ed Groff at

  • "Embracing Aging: Families Facing Change" is the title of a National Council of Churches documentary slated for broadcast on ABC television affiliates beginning Oct. 17. The documentary features residents of ElderSpirit, a co-housing community for age 55 and up in rural Virginia, and families in a variety of situations such as a family caring for a mother with Alzheimer’s and a father with chronic leukemia, or a family managing long-distance care of father with brother and sister on opposite coasts. The program also features geriatricians and experts in geriatric social work and other fields. The documentary was produced by Mennonite-based Third Way Media in partnership with the Catholic Telecasters Group. Air dates and times are scheduled individually by each ABC affiliate, check Order a copy on DVD from for $24.95 with study guide and bonus content. The website adds additional resources on aging.

  • "Justice, Not Greed," a new book from the World Council of Churches, is co-edited by Brethren scholar Pamela K. Brubaker along with Rogate Mshana, director of the WCC program on Justice, Peace, and Creation. Brubaker is professor of Religion and Ethics at California Lutheran University. Included are papers from 14 Christian economists, theologians, ethicists, and sociologists who are part of the WCC Advisory Group on Economic Matters. The authors "analyze the recent global financial collapse and its roots in a system which fosters structural greed. From economic analysis to biblical and ethical reflection, the papers provide individuals, students, and groups in religious and nonreligious settings a solid basis to learn, discuss, and act to support solutions that favor justice, not greed." The book is listed at

Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren, or 800-323-8039 ext. 260. Joan Daggett, Jan Fischer Bachman, Ed Groff, Ray Hileman, Donna Kline, Karin L. Krog, Michael Leiter, Jim Miller, Adam Pracht, Becky Ullom, Carol Spicher Waggy, Doris Walbridge, and Jane Yount contributed to this report.