Thursday, August 12, 2010

Church gains memo of understanding with Selective Service System.

A Memo of Understanding between the federal government’s Selective Service System and the Church of the Brethren has been signed by Stan Noffsinger, general secretary of the denomination, and Lawrence G. Romo, director of Selective Service.

The memo represents an agreement that goes into effect in the event a military draft is reinstated in the United States. In that event, the Church of the Brethren working through Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) will be able to place conscientious objectors assigned to alternative service work.

"It’s good to be prepared," said BVS director Dan McFadden. "Do I think there will be a draft? No." Global Mission Partnerships executive director Jay Wittmeyer commented, "We need to be prepared and maintain our historical position just in case."

A similar agreement recently was made between Selective Service and Mennonite Voluntary Service (MVS) and the Mennonite Mission Network. MVS is a program of the Mennonite Mission Network, which is the mission agency of Mennonite Church USA.

McFadden noted that both agreements are the fruit of a number of years of effort by the Church of the Brethren and the Mennonites to maintain a relationship with the Selective Service System and with each other’s provisions for conscientious objectors.

He said a key part of the agreement is that "in the event of a draft, the Church of the Brethren and BVS would be in a position to negotiate the details of being a site for conscientious objectors."

Among other stipulations in the memo, the church and BVS will meet a legal obligation to place alternative service workers "in work that benefits the nation’s health, safety, and interests"; a Selective Service officer will be assigned as a liaison to the church; Selective Service will provide transportation to and from their residences for alternative service workers placed with BVS; and the church and BVS will supervise the alternative service workers assigned to them. The agreement is considered provisional and will be reviewed every 36 months.

Source: 8/12/2010 Newsline
Conference considers ‘Peace Among the Peoples.’

Jamal, a Muslim refugee from Zanzibar, and Matthew, a Jew, got acquainted as their children played in a neighborhood parkette in Canada’s largest city, Toronto. Learning of Jamal’s computer skills, Matthew found him a job.

Later, as the events of Sept. 11, 2001, unfolded, Jamal came to Matthew’s house, shaken. "I’m so sorry, but I don’t know who to say sorry to." Matthew invited Jamal’s family to share dinner with them.

The relationship of these neighbors represents "a testimony to the possibility of peace among peoples," said Mary Jo Leddy, addressing the opening worship of an ecumenical peace conference, "Peace Among the Peoples," held July 28-31 in Elkhart, Ind.

At the same time, the US government’s response to 9/11 illustrates "the near impossibility of such peace in an age of empire violence," Leddy said. For almost 20 years this Catholic writer, speaker, theologian, and social activist has lived with and directed the Romero House Community for Refugees, people living in four small houses in Toronto.

"Our daily summons is to build peace among the people in our home, city, country, and universe," Leddy said. Christians are summoned "to preach with our lives the good news that we can, should, must love our enemies. If we simply hate our enemies, we become like them."

The Church of the Brethren was one sponsor of Peace Among the Peoples, along with a number of churches, national and state ecumenical groups, peace and justice organizations, and educational institutions. Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary hosted the event. Other sponsors were Bridgefolk, Catholic Peacebuilding Network, First Presbyterian Church of Elkhart, Historic Peace Churches-Fellowship of Reconciliation Consultative Committee, Indiana Partners for Christian Unity and Mission, Institute of Mennonite Studies, Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church, Mennonite Central Committee, Mennonite Church Canada, Mennonite Church USA and its Peace and Justice Support Network, Mennonite Mission Network, National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA, Orthodox Peace Fellowship, United Church of Christ, and the University of Notre Dame’s Institute of Church Life and Department of Africana Studies.

Just over 200 people attended, including 18 Brethren members and special guest of the Church of the Brethren, Jarrod McKenna from Australia, who a week before had been a speaker at National Youth Conference. Most registrants were from the US, but others came from Canada, Europe, South America, Africa and Australia, representing Peace Church, Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Free Church traditions. Stan Noffsinger, general secretary of the Church of the Brethren, served on the Advisory Committee and Scott Holland, Bethany Seminary’s director of peace studies, served on the Steering Committee.

Peace Among the Peoples is part of the Decade to Overcome Violence, an initiative of the World Council of Churches (WCC) culminating on May 17–25, 2011, in an International Ecumenical Peace Convocation to be held in Jamaica.

In addition to Leddy, other keynote speakers included Rita Nakashima Brock, founding co-director of the Faith Voices for the Common Good. who addressed the opening plenary on "Alternative Approaches to Christians and War"; Linda Gehman Peachey, who directs the Mennonite Central Committee US Women’s Advocacy Program, addressed sexual violation, intimate partner abuse, and abuse of children; theologian and author Brian McLaren, who used the metaphor of story to show what peacemaking may look like in the future; and Stanley Hauerwas of Duke University and Gerard Powers of the University of Notre Dame, who dealt with "Just War and Pacifism in Dialogue"; among others.

One session reviewed the Decade to Overcome Violence and reported on plans for the peace convocation in Jamaica next year, which will revolve around four themes: Peace in the community, peace with the earth, peace in the marketplace, and peace among the peoples. In addition, the WCC is working toward an Ecumenical Declaration on Just Peace, said a staff member who explained the concept: a multifaceted, collective, and dynamic process of ensuring that human beings are free from fear and from want; are overcoming enmity, exclusion, and oppression; and are establishing conditions for right relationships that include the most vulnerable and respect the integrity of creation.

Conferees affirmed plans for a continuation committee of 12 people who will consider findings, recommendations, and next steps; work at ways to support the 2011 peace convocation; consider creation of a peace center; and review potential for a global peace network. For more about the conference see Photos are at

-- John Bender of Elkhart, Ind., contributed the bulk of this report.

Source: 8/12/2010 Newsline
Church of the Brethren joins complaint on CIA treatment of detainees.

The Church of the Brethren has joined as a complainant in support of a complaint to the Office of Human Research Protections regarding evidence of CIA violations of prisoners. The complaint is being led by the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT).

The complaint has been sparked by a report released by Physicians for Human Rights that CIA doctors and other health professionals may have engaged in illegal and unethical medical experiments involving torture and detainees in US custody.

In his statement of support for the complaint, which was filed prior to the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference in early July, general secretary Stan Noffsinger cited the Oct. 2009 "Resolution Against Torture" adopted by the Mission and Ministry Board of the church. In the resolution, the board said that its members "find both the occurrences of torture and the attempt to legitimize the acts of torture unconscionable," and stated, "we will be silent no more." The resolution since has been adopted by the full delegate body of the denomination.

As of late July, the Church of the Brethren was one of 20 national religious groups and 7 state and local religious groups had joined NRCAT and other human rights organizations and more than 3,000 individuals in filing the formal complaint with the Office of Human Research Protections.

The Office of Human Research Protections is part of the Department of Health and Human Services. The complaint asks the office to investigate the alleged illegal medical experiments as the federal agency tasked with investigating allegations of unethical medical experimentation involving human subjects.

However, NRCAT director Richard L. Killmer has reported that DHHS responded to the complaint in a letter to Physicians for Human Rights. "We are disappointed in the agency’s decision not to assert jurisdiction in this complaint and simply to forward the complaint to the CIA ‘for review,’" Killmer wrote in late July in an e-mail report to organizations taking part in the complaint. "Since the CIA has already publicly denied the allegations, this decision will effectively bury the complaint, even if that is not the explicit intent," he said.

Since the DHHS response, NRCAT and the complainants have called on President Obama to ensure an independent, thorough, and open investigation, and are calling on the House and Senate Intelligence Committees to do the same. NRCAT has announced plans to continue the effort by requesting a meeting with White House staff to present the list of complainants, discuss the DHHS response and ask how the Administration will ensure that the allegations are appropriately investigated.

"The evidence is absolutely shocking and repulsive," said Michael Kinnamon, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches, in a release from the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, which also signed on to the complaint along with the NCC and a number of Christian denominations. "Torture is an affront to God and the denial of the bedrock convictions of all people of faith."

In related news, the Church of the Brethren through its Global Mission Partnerships program recently gave a $2,000 grant to the work of NRCAT. For more information about the complaint go to

Source: 8/12/2010 Newsline
BBT urges US President to help protect indigenous peoples.

In a letter dated Aug. 6, Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) has urged President Barack Obama to lead the US government in supporting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The letter, signed by BBT president Nevin Dulabaum and Steve Mason, BBT’s director of socially responsible investing activities, suggests that companies may be more encouraged to protect the rights of these small, native groups in their corporate policies if the US government shows more support for the measure. Additionally, the letter says, "We believe that the merits of endorsing the Declaration...would strengthen the United States’ position as an advocate for human rights worldwide."

The declaration, adopted by the UN General Assembly in Sept. 2007, affirms that "indigenous peoples are equal to all other peoples, while recognizing the right of all peoples to be different, to consider themselves different, and to be represented as such." The US voted against the resolution.

BBT has identified the declaration as a guideline that echoes Brethren values, and has advocated for companies in which it owns shares to adopt corporate policies that reflect the declaration. In May, Mason represented shareholders of ConocoPhillips in talks with the oil company regarding its commitment to indigenous peoples’ rights around the world. BBT has been engaged with ConocoPhillips for more than five years on this issue and continues to meet with representatives of the company.

To read the full letter, go to Find the UN declaration at

-- Brian Solem is publications coordinator for Brethren Benefit Trust.

Source: 8/12/2010 Newsline
Brethren contribute $40,000 to flood relief in Pakistan.

The Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund has given $40,000 to the work of Church World Service (CWS) in Pakistan following monsoon-related floods. The grant is assisting CWS and the ACT Alliance in supplying flood survivors with emergency food, water, shelter, medical care, and some personal supplies.

Today’s situation report from CWS said that "the torrential rains and flooding that have affected Pakistan in recent weeks continue, with at an estimated 1,600 dead and 14 million affected. Some 1.5 million people are now homeless." According to CWS, the floods that began in the northern parts of Pakistan have now spread to four provinces covering about 82,000 square miles, out of the country’s total area of 340,132 square miles.

"As the rains continue, the waters are moving downstream like a rolling earthquake affecting Punjab and Sindh provinces further south," the report said. "The continued rains and flooding are creating difficulties in rescue and relief operations; bridges throughout the country have been washed away from flooding and landslides; poor weather has also grounded relief helicopters. Delays in relief supplies reaching distribution points means that the affected communities must wait longer for the shelter, food, and other items which are immediately required for their survival."

CWS is coordinating a response in a wide geographic area, working in Swat, Kohistan, D.I. Khan, Shangla and Mansehra districts of Khyber Pakhtoonkwa Province; Sibbi district of Balochistan Province; and Khairpur district of Sindh Province. As well as directly implementing aid, CWS is partnering with Participatory Village Development Program, Help in Need, VEER Development Foundation, and Nation’s Capacity Building Program. A total of 99,000 individuals or approximately 13,500 households are being served through the CWS response.

As of Aug. 6, CWS has distributed food items to thousands of households, and plans to dispatch 2,500 tents in the coming week. It is providing emergency health assistance through a mobile health unit, with two additional units to be mobilized. CWS health units under the Afghan Refugee Program have conducted educational activities and preventive measures against water-borne diseases, which have increased significantly in the aftermath of the flood. In the next few days CWS plans to distribute several hundred more tons of food with the assistance of the Royal Netherlands Embassy and the Canadian Food Grains Bank.

Contributions to the flood relief work in Pakistan may be made through a donation to the Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund, go to

Source: 8/12/2010 Newsline
Northern Ohio District meets on theme of freedom.

The 2010 Northern Ohio District Conference took place July 30-Aug. 1 at Ashland (Ohio) University. Moderator Kris Hawk, pastor of visitation at Akron, Springfield Church of the Brethren, chose the theme "Free from Fear, Free to Love," from 1 John 4:16b-21.

Delegates heard the theme described in music and drama presented by Junior and Senior Performing Art Camps; in worship and preaching by Annual Conference moderator Robert Alley, interim pastor Tom Michaels of Hartville Church of the Brethren, and Hawk; and in business sessions led by Hawk and the conference officers. Conference guests included Alley, Brethren Benefit Trust representative Loyce Swartz Borgmann, and Bethany Theological Seminary representative Fred Bernhard.

Delegates passed a modestly-increased district budget for 2011, approved trustees for Manchester College, received and approved reports from district and denominational representatives, and elected new board members and district officers.

During her Sunday morning closing message, Hawk talked about the struggle to understand the depth of God’s love: "The problem is that we are not secure ourselves in the love of God. We should never base our love on something we can lose. When we love other people, we become more secure of who we are in Christ. Through us, God can powerfully love other people."

Following the closing service, Sherry Reese Vaught, ordained minister at the Maple Grove congregation, and Tom Zuercher, pastor of the Ashland Dickey congregation, were consecrated as moderator and moderator-elect of the 2011 district conference.

-- John Ballinger is district executive minister for Northern Ohio District.

Source: 8/12/2010 Newsline
Harold Smith is remembered for leadership of On Earth Peace.

Harold Smith (89), who served as executive director of On Earth Peace in the late 1980s, died on July 21 at Huffman Nursing Center in Bridgewater, Va. He was an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren and a committed church leader, who in other volunteer service to the church was a member of local church and district boards and was a member of the Standing Committee of Annual Conference.

Smith began his work to bring about peace in the world by serving as a conscientious objector in Civilian Public Service. He earned degrees from Bridgewater (Va.) College, the University of Maryland, American University in Washington, D.C., and attended Bethany Theological Seminary. On an international level, he served as an agricultural economist through the US Department of Agriculture in Thailand, El Salvador, and the Phillipines; as a consultant in Puerto Rico with Robert Nathan Associates; and as a member of the National Institutes of Health Nutrition Team in Panama.

In 1971 when M.R. Zigler began developing the On Earth Peace Assembly (OEPA) at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., he consulted closely with Smith who was then a professor of agricultural economics at the University of Maryland and associate director of the Maryland Cooperative Extension Service.

In 1983, at age 91, Zigler was no longer able to lead the work of On Earth Peace and Smith was asked to serve as executive director. He responded by retiring from his positions at the University of Maryland and the Maryland Cooperative Extension Service and accepting OEPA's call. During the next six years, he provided outstanding leadership to establish the position of OEPA within the structure of the Church of the Brethren--specifically, the relationship of OEPA to the former General Board, and to raise needed funds to support OEPA programs.

He established the M.R. Zigler Endowment which grew to over $220,000 during Smith's years of service. In addition, the work of the Brethren World Peace Academy, an OEPA program for young people started by Zigler, expanded during his years of leadership.

Smith was born March 12, 1921, in Churchville, Va., the son of Enoch David and Minnie Huffman Smith. He married Mary Hoover Smith, who preceded him in death on March 27, 1979. He then married Miriam Rohrer Odom Smith, who survives. Also surviving are daughters and stepsons Darlene Carol Smith Meyers and husband, Gary; Linda Beth Smith Lumsden and husband, Chris; James Odom; Clifford Odom and wife, Barbara; Curtis Odom; and a number of grandchildren, step-grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Online condolences may be sent to the family at

-- Dale Ulrich contributed to this remembrance.

Source: 8/12/2010 Newsline
On Earth Peace offers ‘You Can’t Stop the River’ training.

On Earth Peace and First Church of the Brethren in Harrisburg, Pa., invite teams from congregations and community groups to attend "You Can’t Stop the River: Nonviolent Community Change," Oct. 28-31. The four-day workshop focuses on developing skills and spiritual strength for nonviolent community mobilizing based on the approaches developed by Martin Luther King, Jr. to address the triplet of poverty, racism, and militarism/violence.

"The genius of King’s approach is that it catalyzes the community in a hopeful direction and brings together many sectors to solve a problem," shared On Earth Peace program director Matt Guynn, one of the leaders for the training. "This workshop is for anyone wanting to provide community leadership that is strategic, hope-filled, and addressed to change the root causes."

Participants can expect to share and reflect on their own experiences, and to go away inspired, equipped, and ready to take specific next steps in their communities. Teams from the same group or geographic area are encouraged to attend together, to enable them to apply principles and skills to their situations at home. Organizers hope the energy and information generated will have an ongoing ripple effect, yielding action for reducing violence and building peace.

The workshop runs from Thursday 6 p.m. to Sunday 6 p.m. and costs $150 per participant, which includes materials, tuition, and meals. No one will be turned away for lack of funds. For more information call Matt Guynn at 503-775-1636 or visit

-- Gimbiya Kettering is communications coordinator for On Earth Peace.

Source: 8/12/2010 Newsline
Mundey to lead webinar on ‘Leadership that Transforms.’

An upcoming webinar on "Leadership that Transforms!" will be led by Paul E. Mundey, senior pastor of Frederick (Md.) Church of the Brethren. "The heart of the webinar examines leadership that empowers a congregation to move forward," said a flier for the event.

The webinar will explore practical applications of transformational pastoral leadership with a focus on the pastor or leader as visionary and change agent; as facilitator of boards, committees, or ministry teams; and as advocate of stewardship and enlarged giving.

Mundey is senior pastor of the largest congregation in the Church of the Brethren, and is a community leader, sponsoring numerous outreach efforts including an innovative medical ministry to the working poor. He also has served as staff of the Parish Ministries Commission of the former Church of the Brethren General Board, during his tenure helping establish the Andrew Center as a multi-denominational resource center for congregational development and renewal, and also developing "Passing On the Promise," a church renewal process.

The webinar will be offered on Aug. 24 from 1-2 p.m. Pacific time (4-5 p.m. eastern time); and on Aug. 26 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Pacific (8:30-9:30 p.m. eastern). Go to Participants in the live session earn 0.1 continuing education credit.

The webinar is a collaborative resource offered by the Church of the Brethren’s Congregational Life Ministries, Bethany Theological Seminary, and the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership. Contact Stan Dueck, the Church of the Brethren’s director of transforming practices, at 717-335-3226 or

Source: 8/12/2010 Newsline
Interim ministry team is announced by Southeastern District.

The Church of the Brethren’s Southeastern District has announced an interim ministry team that began work Aug. 1, while a search process for a district executive continues. The three-member team includes Wallace Cole, Loretta Sheets, and John Markwood.

Wallace Cole will take responsibility for pastoral support and consultation/conversation, and pastoral placement, and will be the district contact person for the denomination. Loretta Sheets will carry out administrative duties such as forms and mailings, Weekly News and Visions, prayer requests, and other tasks as needed. John Markwood is the district designee to assist treasurer Beverly Graeber with any financial matters.

Interim contact information for the district: for general e-mail; Wallace Cole, 3037 Middlebrook Dr., Clemmons, NC 27012, or 336-766-5743.

Source: 8/12/2010 Newsline
Barkley to direct the Brethren Historical Library and Archives.

Terrell (Terry) Barkley will begin Nov. 1 as director of the Brethren Historical Library and Archives (BHLA), located at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Current director Ken Shaffer Jr. has announced his retirement effective Dec. 31 after serving for more than 20 years in the position. He and Barkley will work together until Shaffer’s retirement.

Barkley is currently archivist at Marion (Ala.) Military Institute. He formerly served as archivist/museum curator at Bridgewater (Va.) College from 1993-2005. He has chaired the Shenandoah District Historical Committee, contributed to the Brethren Encyclopedia, served on several Brethren- and Mennonite-related committees including the Elder John Kline Bicentennial Celebration and the Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center in Harrisonburg, Va., and published "One Who Served: Brethren Elder Charles Nesselrodt of Shenandoah County."

He holds a degree in history/political science from the University of North Alabama, a master of arts degree in theology from the Citadel, a master of library science degree from the University of Alabama specializing in archives and special collections, and has done doctoral study in history and historical preservation.

Source: 8/12/2010 Newsline
Brethren bits: Remembrance, personnel, NYC update, China delegation, more.
  • Shenandoah District invites prayer for the family of Carlton W. Ruff (89), who passed away July 30 at the Bridgewater (Va.) Retirement Community. Ruff, along with his wife, Hilda, was one of the founding leaders of the district’s annual Disaster Ministries Auction. He was a member of Summit Church of the Brethren in Bridgewater. Born in Augusta County, Va., on April 21, 1921, he was a son of the late Samuel and Hazel Cook (Kagey) Ruff. He retired from James Madison University, where he was a superintendent for buildings and grounds. He also had worked at Celanese Textile, where he helped organize the union and then presided as president for 19 consecutive years. After retirement he served with Brethren Disaster Ministries as a project coordinator at locations from Virginia to Texas, and in St. Croix and the Virgin Islands. He is survived by his wife, Hilda, and sons Jerry W. Ruff and wife, Bernice; and James E. Ruff and wife, Deborah; four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. A memorial service was held at Summit Church on Aug. 3. Memorial contributions are received to the Shenandoah District Disaster Program. An online guest book is available at

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren, or 800-323-8039 ext. 260. Jordan Blevins, Alan Bolds, Joan Daggett, Mary Jo Flory-Steury, Ed Groff, Mary K. Heatwole, Jeri S. Kornegay, Karin L. Krog, Emily LaPrade, Stan Noffsinger, Jonathan Shively, Sam Smith, Jane Yount contributed to this report.