Thursday, November 04, 2010

Brethren bits: Corrections, remembrances, personnel, jobs, more.
  • Corrections: In the Newsline of Oct. 21, an incorrect link was given for Church of the Brethren workcamps. Find the correct page at Caption information for the photo from the Church of North India’s 40th anniversary celebration also was incorrect. At the head table at CNI’s anniversary were Annual Conference moderator Robert Alley (second from right), seated among CNI church leaders and the Archbishop of Canterbury (second from left). In the Oct. 7 remembrance for Brett K. Winchester, his church membership was incorrect. He was a member of Mountain View Church of the Brethren in Boise, Idaho.

  • Correction: The General Secretary's office has provided a full list of all the other leaders of denominations who participated in Monday's meeting with President Obama (see the Newsline Special report of Nov. 1): Bishop Johncy Itty of Church World Service, Bishop Mark Hanson of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Bishop John R. Bryant of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Sharon Watkins of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Bishop Thomas L. Hoyt Jr. of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Archbishop Khajag S. Barsamian of the Armenian Church of America, Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori of the Episcopal Church, Archbishop Demetrios of the Greek Orthodox Church of America, Gradye Parsons of the Presbyterian Church (USA), Betsy Miller of the Moravian Church, Thomas Swain of the Religious Society of Friends, Wesley S. Granberg-Michaelson of the Reformed Church in America, Bishop Sharon Zimmerman Rader of the United Methodist Church, Metropolitan Jonah of the Orthodox Church in America, Geoffrey Black of the United Church of Christ, and Walter L. Parrish III of the Progressive National Baptist Convention.

  • Kenneth M. Shaffer Jr., 64, director of the Brethren Historical Library and Archives (BHLA) at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., passed away on Oct. 23 at his home in Elgin. In May he had announced his retirement date as Dec. 31. He had served as BHLA director since Jan. 1989, holding responsibility for the extensive archival collection housed in the basement of the General Offices. With documents dating back to a 1539 German New Testament, the archive preserves Brethren publications, records, and items of historical importance. Shaffer regularly aided researchers, provided information for church programs and projects, served as staff liaison for the Brethren Historical Committee, oversaw the work of interns, and wrote about Brethren history. He began work for the Church of the Brethren in Aug. 1970 as consultant for curriculum development for the former General Board. From 1972-88 he worked at Bethany Theological Seminary in Oak Brook, Ill., where his positions included bookstore manager, acquisitions librarian, administrative assistant to the Doctor of Ministry program, and library director. He served as book review editor for the journal "Brethren Life and Thought" from 1986-99. From 1987-89 he was editor of "A Guide for Biblical Studies," the Brethren Press Bible study curriculum for adults. Most recently he had contributed to a new project to digitize Brethren periodicals, in a cooperative endeavor with several other Brethren bodies, and along with co-author Graydon Snyder was writing articles for "Brethren Life and Thought" to bring their books on "Texts in Transit" up to date. He also compiled the third supplement to the Brethren Bibliography and wrote numerous articles for "Messenger" magazine, of note recently his contributions to the coverage of the 300th anniversary of the Brethren movement. Originally from the eastern shore of Maryland, Shaffer was born Dec. 10, 1945, in Greensboro, Md. He graduated from North Caroline High School in 1963, and from Bridgewater (Va.) College in 1967. He received a master of divinity degree from Bethany Theological Seminary in 1970. In 1983 he also completed a master of arts degree in Library Science from Northern Illinois University. Professional memberships included the American Library Association, the American Theological Library Association, Beta Phi Mu (a library science honor society), the Chicago Area Theological Library Association, and the Midwest Archives Conference. He was an ordained minister and early in his career filled two summer pastorates. Most recently he was active in Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin. He is survived by his sister Jean Shaffer, aunts Kathleen Cole and Betsy Bareford, and numerous cousins. His funeral was held Oct. 27 at Denton (Md.) Church of the Brethren. A memorial service is planned at Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren, at a date yet to be determined.

  • Kenneth L. Brown, 77, died yesterday, Nov. 3, at the Cleveland (Ohio) Clinic of complications stemming from vasculitis, an auto-immune disease. He was a national peace studies pioneer and professor emeritus at Manchester College in North Manchester, Ind., a nonviolent activist, and an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren."Ken was an amazing man," said Manchester president Jo Young Switzer in a release sent out by the college late yesterday. "For decades, his name was synonymous with our Peace Studies program. His students grappled with big questions and ambiguities. We respected him for all that and more." For 25 years, beginning in 1980, he directed the nation’s oldest peace studies program--the Peace Studies Institute and Program in Conflict Resolution at Manchester College. He also served as a consultant to peace studies programs across the country and around the world, and led study teams to Vietnam, Brazil, Northern Ireland, Haiti, Thailand, India, Jamaica, Colombia, Nicaragua, Mexico, and Cuba. After retiring in 2006, Brown continued to teach and with his wife, Viona. The couple also had hosted weekly discussions for students in their home, since their arrival in North Manchester in 1961. In 2005, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Peace and Justice Studies Association, of which more than 300 colleges and universities are members. He also was a founder of several organizations, including the Brethren Action Movement and the War Tax Resisters Penalty Fund. A native Kansan, he graduated from Wichita East High School in 1951, and from McPherson College in 1955. He attended Wichita State University and pursued graduate work at the University of Kansas. He held degrees from Bethany Theological Seminary and Duke University, where he received his doctorate in 1964, and also attended Garrett School of Theology and the University of California. Early in his career, he held pastorates at two Church of the Brethren congregations, and taught in the Chicago school system. He is survived by his wife, Viona, sons Chris Brown and Michael P. Brown, and daughter Katy Gray Brown. A memorial service will be planned.

  • Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN--the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) is mourning a death in the family of a denominational leader. Barka Filibus, a son of EYN president Filibus Gwama, died on Oct. 24 in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city, perhaps of a heart attack. "He has a family with four children," report Nigeria mission workers Nathan and Jennifer Hosler in an e-mail asking for the American church’s support for the Gwama family and EYN as a whole. The Hoslers drove to the family’s home village of Gava to attend the burial service, where they were asked to bring condolences on behalf of the Church of the Brethren in the United States. Notes of condolence may be sent to EYN President Filibus Gwama at

  • Pierre U. Ferrari has been named CEO of Heifer International, an organization that originally started as the Church of the Brethren’s Heifer Project. He succeeds interim CEO Charles Stewart and Heifer’s longtime president and former CEO Jo Luck. Ferrari, who was born in Africa in 1950 in then the Belgian Congo, has more than 40 years of business experience ranging from Coca-Cola USA to socially oriented organizations like CARE and the Small Enterprise Assistance Fund. He is chair of the board for Ben and Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream, where he led the board to firm up its global commitment to fair trade by 2013 with its vanilla, cocoa, and coffee farmers; is a board member of the Small Enterprise Assistance Fund; sits on the advisory council for the Emory Ethics Center in Atlanta, Ga.; is a director of Guayaki Sustainable Rainforest Products; is president of "Hot Fudge" community development venture capital fund; and teaches (Sustainable) MBA Marketing at Bainbridge Graduate Institute. He holds a master’s degree in Economics from the University of Cambridge and an MBA from Harvard Business School. In a release from Heifer, Ferrari noted its "amazing legacy" but added that he has been hired "at a time where the urgency to end poverty is even greater. Heifer has a totally relevant set of values and model for today. My task will be to serve our various communities to empower more people much more rapidly, with a sense of passionate urgency."

  • Camp Bethel seeks a food services director. Camp Bethel is the outdoor ministry of the Church of the Brethren’s Virlina District, located near Fincastle, Va. This fulltime salaried position is available for a dependable, caring worker with good interpersonal and leadership skills. Starting date is as early as Jan. 1, 2011, and no later than April 30, 2011. Culinary experience or training is required, and staff management experience is preferred. Starting benefits package includes salary of $29,000, family medical insurance plan, a pension plan, travel allowance, and professional growth funds. An application, a position description, and more information is available at, or call 540-992-2940, or send a letter of interest and an updated résumé to Barry LeNoir, Camp Director, at (note that this is a new e-mail address for the camp).

  • The Gather ’Round curriculum, a project of Brethren Press and Mennonite Publishing Network, is accepting applications to write for the 2012-13 year. Writers are hired for one or two quarters for a particular age unit: preschool, primary, middler, multi-age, junior youth, or youth. Writers produce well-written, age-appropriate, and engaging material for teacher’s guides, student books, and resource packs. All writers will attend an orientation conference March 6-10, 2011, in Chicago, Ill. For more information visit the Job Opportunities page at . The deadline for applications is Jan. 1, 2011.

  • Applications are being received for the 2011 Youth Peace Travel Team. The team is sponsored annually by the Church of the Brethren's Youth and Young Adult Ministry, Brethren Volunteer Service, On Earth Peace, and the Outdoor Ministries Association. Dates of service for the 2011 team are May 30-Aug. 15. Members of the team travel to Brethren camps throughout the US with the goal of talking with other young people about the Christian message and the Brethren tradition of peacemaking. College-age Church of the Brethren young adults (19-22 years old) will be selected. A stipend is paid to team members. Find the application at For more information contact the Youth and Young Adult Ministry office at 800-323-8039 ext. 289. Applications are due Jan. 19, 2011.

  • Assistant coordinators for the 2012 workcamp ministry are sought by the Church of the Brethren. "Are you a young adult who loves workcamps?" said an invitation. "Would you like to serve through Brethren Volunteer Service?" To learn more, go to or contact the workcamp office at or 800-323-8039.

  • The deadline is Dec. 1 for nominations for Annual Conference-elected positions. Conference director Chris Douglas is issuing an urgent call for nominations, as she noted in an e-mail reminder very few nominations have been given to the Nominating Committee. Nomination forms are available online at Those who make nominations should inform the nominees, who will receive an e-mail notice from the Conference Office and must fill out the Information Form that is also available on the website. Both forms must be filled out to complete a nomination. Find a list of the leadership positions that are open for 2011 at

  • The 2011 youth and young adult workcamp video has been released. This year’s workcamp theme is "We Are the Body." To view the video, go to Request a copy from the workcamp office at 800-323-8039. Copies are also available from district offices.

  • The final deacon training of the year will be held at Bermudian Church of the Brethren in East Berlin, Pa., on Nov. 14. The afternoon of workshops is sponsored by the Church of the Brethren’s Deacon Ministry and will include workshops on the Pastoral Care Team (deacons and pastors) and the "Art of Listening." Details and registration information can be found at The following deacon events are planned for 2011: Feb. 5 at Mexico Church of the Brethren in Peru, Ind.; March 19 at Freeport (Ill.) Church of the Brethren; and May 15 at County Line Church of the Brethren in Champion, Pa.

  • A series of presentations on "Faith Essentials for Anabaptists" with Stuart Murray Williams begins this afternoon, sponsored by the Church of the Brethren’s Congregational Life Ministries. Murray, an English scholar known for his most recent book, "The Naked Anabaptist: The Bare Essentials of a Radical Faith" (order from Brethren Press for $13.99 plus shipping and handling, call 800-441-3712), is to speak about the core components of Anabaptism, and the contemporary significance of a faith tradition of following Jesus. One event in the series is free and open to the public--an evening lecture today at 7 p.m. at the Young Center at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College. Contact Congregational Life Ministries at 800-323-8039.

  • IMA World Health was forced to lay off a number of staff in mid-October, after the organization was not awarded an expected contract with USAID in the African country of the Democratic Republic of Congo. IMA World Health is a partner organization of the Church of the Brethren, with office headquarters at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. "IMA World Health’s mission is to advance health and healing to vulnerable and marginalized people the world over," said an IMA statement. "Funding for that work is provided primarily by grants from public funding sources. As a direct result of the ending of a significant grant, IMA has reduced its workforce to reflect its current income level. Staff losses are difficult and regrettable, but IMA’s staffing and cost structure must be appropriate for its funding levels. IMA is now leaner, but still strong and vital as we continue our mission to those in need."

  • A sermon by pastor Tim Ritchey Martin of Grossnickle Church of the Brethren in Myersville, Md., is featured on the Foods Resource Bank website. He gave the message at the Oct. 24 harvest celebration of the Grossnickle growing project in western Maryland, which involves six Brethren congregations, a United Church of Christ congregation, and a Catholic parish. Find "You're Not You When You're Hungry," at

  • Four Church of the Brethren districts are holding conferences over the next two weeks: Illinois and Wiconsin District Conference is Nov. 5-7 in Shannon, Ill., with Orlando Redekopp as moderator. Shenandoah District Conference is Nov. 5-6 at Bridgewater (Va.) Church of the Brethren, with Bernie Fuska as moderator. Virlina District Conference is Nov. 12-13 in Roanoke, Va., with Sharon S. Wood as moderator. Pacific Southwest District Conference is Nov. 12-14 at Hillcrest Retirement Village in La Verne, Calif., with Felton Daniels as moderator.

  • Theodore Long, president of Elizabethtown (Pa.) College, will lecture at Juniata College on "Educating for Global Citizenship" at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 8 in Neff Lecture Hall in the von Liebig Center for Science. Before the lecture, according to a release from Juniata, Long will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from Juniata president Thomas R. Kepple. Long will retire from the Elizabethtown presidency in July 2011, after a 15-year career

  • In news from McPherson (Kan.) College, those receiving annual Young Alumni Awards this year included two Church of the Brethren members: Becky Ullom, the denomination’s director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry, and Iowa farmer Paul Neher of Ivester Church of the Brethren in Grundy Center, whose family opened their doors in 2004 to a Sudanese family of eight.

  • The World Council of Churches has condemned the killings on Sunday at a church in Baghdad, Iraq, when gunmen took hostages in the Sayidat al-Nejat Church. The WCC "is deeply troubled by the continuous suffering of Christians in Iraq and continues to stand in solidarity with all churches as they pass through turbulent and challenging times and witness to the love and peace of God in Jesus Christ even amidst hatred and aggression," a statement said.

No comments: