Thursday, November 18, 2010

Brethren bits: District job opening, OEP board, Spain visit, Advent video, workcamp brochures, more.
  • The Church of the Brethren’s South Central Indiana District seeks a district executive minister for a three-quarter time position available April 1, 2011. The district is made up of 46 congregations in the middle third of the state of Indiana with an average worship attendance from 10 to 350. They are predominantly small congregations in small towns and rural settings. The district is theologically diverse. The preferred candidate demonstrates initiative, adaptability, and capacity to envision future ministry. The district office is currently located in North Manchester. Responsibilities include serving as executive officer of the District Board; facilitating implementation of core ministries of the district; assisting congregations and pastors with search and call of ministerial leadership; assisting congregations and pastors with development of wholesome relationships; assisting congregations with church growth initiatives. Qualifications include a clear commitment to Jesus Christ demonstrated by a vibrant spiritual life; a commitment to Church of the Brethren faith and heritage; a commitment to the Seven Core Values of the district; a master of divinity or equivalent degree; minimum five years of pastoral or related experience; strong personal, communication, and mediation skills; strong administrative, management, and budget skills; respect for theological diversity; willingness and ability to travel. Send a letter of interest and a resume via e-mail to Applicants are requested to contact three or four people to provide a letter of reference. Upon receipt of a resume, the individual will be sent a Candidate Profile that must be completed and returned before the application is complete. The application deadline is Dec. 17.

  • Camp Swatara, outdoor ministries center for the Church of the Brethren’s Atlantic Northeast District, is seeking applications for a part-time director of Development. This position involves approximately 18 hours per week. Provided is shared office space in the camp office. Applicants should have excellent interpersonal skills, be willing to travel to visit with potential donors, and have basic computer skills working with database software. The opening will be filled by Jan. 1, 2011. Interested persons should send a resume, references, and a letter of intent to Marlin Houff, Administrator, Camp Swatara, 2905 Camp Swatara Rd., Bethel, PA 19507.

  • The New Windsor (Md.) Conference Center is thanking Eddie and Becky Motley of Scottville, N.C., who have served as volunteers at the Brethren Service Center for the last six months.

  • A new video resource is available for the Advent Offering on the theme, "Prepare the Way." Congregations are invited to stream the video in their sanctuaries during the offering, or in other settings as desired. Downloadable copies are not available due to music copyright. The Advent Offering is scheduled for Dec. 5.

    Other resources are at

  • A Spain visit has been made to connect with people and churches interested in the Brethren movement. Jay Wittmeyer, executive director of the Church of the Brethren’s Global Mission Partnerships; Fausto Carrasco, a pastor at Nuevo Amanecer Fellowship in Bethlehem, Pa.; and Carol Yeazell, a pastor at His Way/Iglesia Jesucristo El Camino in Mills River, N.C., met with church leaders in the Asturias Province of Spain during a visit from Nov. 2-9. The majority of interested parties are of Dominican background and many are from the Church of the Brethren in the DR, but there also is representation from Ecuador, Colombia, and the Spanish community. Representatives also came from Madrid and the Canary Islands to attend meetings. The "mother church" of the group is La Luz in las Tinieblas in Gijon, pastored by Santos Terrero, Carrasco's half-brother. The new mission effort will need to be approved by the Church of the Brethren’s Mission and Ministry Planning Council to receive official support, Wittmeyer said.

  • The On Earth Peace board met Sept. 23-24 at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. The board approved the formation of a task group for a racism audit of the organization. Other major items of business included approving a budget for the 2011 fiscal year and updates about the Ministry of Reconciliation, the "Step Up!" program, and community nonviolence programs. The board reorganized for 2011, calling Madalyn Metzger of Bristol, Ind., to continue as chair; Robbie Miller of Bridgewater, Va., as vice chair; Doris Abdullah of Brooklyn, N.Y., as treasurer; and Ben Leiter of Washington, D.C., as secretary. Outgoing members were thanked for their service: Sarah Quinter Malone, Jordan Blevins, and Ken Edwards. Special thanks was extended to Joe Detrick, liaison with the Council of District Executives.

  • After hours of labeling, sorting, and printing, the 2011 workcamp brochures are making their way out into the Church of the Brethren, reports Carol Fike, assistant coordinator of the Workcamp Ministry. "Youth of the denomination, remember to check your mailbox to receive your copy of the brochure," she said in an announcement. "If you did not receive a brochure contact the Workcamp Office and we would love to send one out to you." Registration for workcamps opens Jan. 3 at 7 p.m. central time, on a first come, first served basis. "The earlier you register the more likely you are to get your first choice," Fike said. For more information call the Workcamp Ministry at 800-323-8039.

  • "Let us give hope to one another," invites a new resource for the Christmas season from the Church of the Brethren’s Global Food Crisis Fund. A mini-poster is available for congregations, Sunday school classes, and others interested in contributing to food security and agricultural development abroad this Advent. The poster highlights five giving levels, and what gifts can accomplish--ranging from the $250 that helps establish a tree nursery and demonstration plots in the Rift Valley of Kenya, to $50 that purchases a bag of rice seed for a farm rehabilitation program in N. Korea. Other programs focus on Haiti, Honduras, Sudan. Go to or call 800-323-8039 to order printed copies.

  • Dates for the 2010 Christian Citizenship Seminar have been announced by the Youth and Young Adult Ministry: March 26-31 in New York City and Washington, D.C., on the theme, "Give Us Today Our Daily Bread" (Matthew 6:11, NIV). The seminar is for high school students and advisors to explore the connections between the food we eat and the faith we speak. Online registration will open early in 2011. For more information go to

  • Dec. 1 is the deadline for new students to register for the spring session and January intensive at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind. Find application information at or contact Elizabeth Keller, director of Admissions, at or 800-287-8822 ext. 1832.

  • The SERRV Store at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., is holding a holiday overstock sale in the Blue Ridge Building on Nov. 24-Dec. 4--9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays and Saturdays and 1-5 p.m. Sundays (closed Thanksgiving). All sale items will be 60 percent off.

  • Seven months after construction began, Shiloh Church of the Brethren has completed its rebuild. The church near Kasson, W.Va., lost its building to a fire on Jan. 3 this year. "The only work that remains is a small amount of work in the kitchen area," reported pastor Garry Clem in a recent e-mail. "We have seen first-hand how God and God's people can really be a blessing to each other. We have received support from the coast of California to the east coast of the United States. We even received support from Nigeria. More than 200 gifts of money, supplies, and services have been received to this point. And we shall never forget the greatest gift of all, and that is the prayers that have been prayed for we here at Shiloh." As a gesture of thanks to supporters, the church is holding an open house on Nov. 20 beginning at 2 p.m. The official dedication will take placed Sunday, Jan. 2, 2011, "which coincides with the first anniversary of the burning of our beloved Shiloh," Clem noted. "All are welcome and encouraged to attend these celebrations. May God bless each of you in a very special way."

  • World Hunger Auction events in Virlina District have raised $55,254.17 this year, approximately $5,000 more than last year according to the district newsletter. The funds benefit Heifer International, Roanoke (Va.) Area Ministries, the Church of the Brethren’s Global Food Crisis Fund, and the Heavenly Manna organization.

  • Melanie Snyder, author of the Brethren Press book "Grace Goes to Prison," is the keynote speaker at the 2010 graduation ceremony for Bethel Ministries, an organization that helps men leaving incarceration change their lives to become law-abiding, productive members of society. The ceremony and a dinner take place Nov. 20 at 6 p.m. at Mountain View Church of the Brethren in Boise, Idaho. Snyder has been a featured speaker throughout the US, speaking on restorative justice. Suggested donation is $15. This is an "adults only" event as children are not allowed due to the presence of men on probation.

  • Mercedes-Benz USA is giving three annual scholarships to McPherson (Kan.) College, according to a release. McPherson offers a unique major and four-year degree in automotive restoration. Each year, one $5,000 scholarship will be awarded to each of three students working toward an automotive restoration degree. This year, recipients are Rod Barlet, a Church of the Brethren student from Elizabethtown, Pa., along with Kendall Critchfield from Hesston, Kan., and Taylor Adams from Ashland, Va. In addition to the scholarship, the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center in Irvine, Calif., will offer at least one internship to a qualified McPherson College automotive restoration student each year.

  • Stephen Morgan, president of the University of La Verne, Calif., has received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa. He received the honor at a ceremony Nov. 8, along with Theodore Long, president emeritus of Elizabethtown (Pa.) College. Morgan was at Juniata for the annual director's meeting of Brethren Colleges Abroad, a consortium of colleges and universities associated with the Church of the Brethren. Presidential representatives from four colleges attended the meeting: La Verne, Elizabethtown, Bridgewater (Va.) College, and Manchester College in North Manchester, Ind.

  • In other news from ULV, a Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) Team is participating in Campbell Soup Company’s "Let’s Can Hunger" Campaign. A kick off event took place Nov. 8 with a panel presentation including Vicki Brown DeSmet, founder and CEO of "Sowing Seeds for Life"; Linda J. Carroll, area representative for Campbell Soup Company; La Verne City Council member and mayor pro tem Donna Redman; City of La Verne director of community services Nikole Bresciani; ULV associate professor Cathy Irwin; and La Verne police chief Scott Pickwith. The public forum provided an opportunity for community leaders and the public to discuss the need to recognize the challenge of feeding the hungry, both locally and globally. The SIFE Team has a goal of donating 100,000 food items to the community food bank by Dec. 20.

  • The Springs of Living Water Initiative is offering a new spiritual disciplines folder this Advent at Several districts in the Church of the Brethren are engaging in the initiative to bring renewal to existing congregations, with leadership from David S. and Joan Young of Lancaster (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. In an announcement from the Springs Initiative, the new resource follows lectionary themes and the topic from the Church of the Brethren bulletin series, and offers a daily scripture text for participants to "read and meditate upon and attempt to apply throughout the day." An insert provides options for next steps in spiritual growth. Study questions written by Vince Cable may be applied to personal spiritual growth or Bible study groups. Also assisting in preparing the resource were Sue Richards and Bill and Deidre Schaefer. "In the Springs Initiative the entire church joins in seasons of spiritual growth with the outcome of greater unity and a collective sense of being on a spiritual journey," the announcement explained. Contact

  • The November edition of "Brethren Voices," a community television program from Portland (Ore.) Peace Church of the Brethren, features an interview with Audrey deCoursey, associate pastor at Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, Ill. The show is hosted by Brent Carlson. In December, the program features an in-studio visit with 17 members of the 291st orientation unit of Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS). Contact producer Ed Groff at Copies of the program cost $8, with donations forwarded to Portland Peace Church of the Brethren, 12727 SE Market St., Portland, OR 97233.

  • People around the globe are called to "put their names and faces behind the call for strong international action on climate change" by the World Council of Churches, one of a coalition of Christian organizations holding a "photo petition" ahead of the next round of negotiations by the parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The event takes place in Mexico Nov. 29-Dec. 10. Individuals and groups are invited to contribute images of themselves and their message about climate change by sharing a picture via Flickr ( ) or by sending pictures, individual or group name, and country, to View photos at Resources are available at

  • Terry Barkley, director of the Brethren Historical Library and Archives, has written an article in the current "Living Blues" magazine (#209) entitled "In Search of Charley Patton: Revisiting Holly Ridge and Longswitch." The illustrated article is about the controversy surrounding the final days, death, and burial place of Charley Patton, the father of the Mississippi Delta Blues singers. Barkley describes "Living Blues" as "the oldest and most authoritative Blues magazine in the world." The magazine was founded in Chicago, but is now owned and published by the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi, Oxford.

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