Thursday, October 07, 2010

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

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