Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Annual Conference issues 2011 logo, makes online input form available for Special Response.

A new logo and a full theme statement for the 2011 Annual Conference of the Church of the Brethren have been released. Moderator Robert Alley has posted a full statement about the 2011 theme, "Gifted with Promise: Extending Jesus’ Table," at
along with detailed plans for Conference worship services.

In other news from the Conference Office, an online response form is now being offered for those unable to attend a Special Response hearing about items of business related to sexuality.

The 2011 Annual Conference will be July 2-6 in Grand Rapids, Mich. The event is open to all members, family, and friends of the Church of the Brethren, and will feature daily worship services, business sessions for congregational and district delegates, age group activities, meal events and insight sessions on a wide variety of topics, and more.

New this year, delegates will be able to register online at beginning Jan. 3 through Feb. 21, 2011. Online registration for nondelegates will begin Feb. 22 at noon central time. A letter explaining the registration process for delegates is being mailed to all congregations.

This year’s theme is taken from the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000 in Matthew 14:13-21, Mark 6:30-44, Luke 9:10-17, and John 6:1-14. The logo illustrating the theme has been designed by Darin Keith Bowman of Bridgewater, Va.

"The expanding cloth logo concept depicts the feeding of the 5,000 at its essence," says Bowman’s description of its meaning. "The elements themselves represent the promise of a coming miracle that is beyond belief. The table surface is a cloth that expands as it transforms literally and figuratively into a dove. This present and future transformation is initiated by the Spirit and carried out by the faithful. The overhead view invites us to find our place at the table. The figures around the table represent different aspects of our faith journey, inviting (maroon), receiving (orange), and teaching (green). The different colors of the figures also give the logo an intercultural dimension. Finally, where two or three are gathered, we are certain of God’s presence. The logo can serve as a visual reminder that we can make shared experiences around the table so much more than just physical nourishment."

In the Conference Office announcement about the new online input form, Conference director Chris Douglas wrote: "The officers and Standing Committee of Annual Conference value the input of our congregations and membership in the two business items currently in our Special Response Process: ‘A Statement of Confession and Commitment’ and ‘Query: Language on Same Sex Covenants.’"

Most district hearings on these business items occurred this fall, with leadership from members of the Standing Committee of district representatives. For those unable to attend a hearing this fall the online input form has been made available through Feb. 28, 2011.

The form is to be used to share opinions about what Standing Committee should know regarding the statement and the query as the group prepares its recommendations to the 2011 Annual Conference. "As the e-mails come in, they will be compiled for consideration along with the responses from the district hearings in the work of Standing Committee," Douglas said.

Find the online form at -- click on "Special Response Input."

Meeting issues ‘Letter from Santo Domingo to All Churches.’

Representatives of the Historic Peace Churches in Latin America have issued a "Letter from Santo Domingo to All Churches" as a joint declaration calling on churches worldwide to commit to work to overcome violence.

The conference on Nov. 27-Dec. 2, 2010, was the fourth and final in a series of peace church conferences that have been part of the World Council of Churches Decade to Overcome Violence (DOV). More than 70 Brethren, Friends (Quakers), and Mennonites from some 17 countries gathered in Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic, on the theme, "Hunger for Peace: Faces, Paths, Cultures." The effort flows into the culminating conference of the DOV, the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation to be held in Jamaica next year.

The letter is written in 13 sections beginning with an overview of the history of the event, and the types of stories and theological reflections that were offered. It continues with calls to care for particular vulnerable communities, shared challenges for peacemaking, concerns for political and disaster-related situations in certain countries, calls for peace churches to help build public policy and to work together, and dreams for the overcoming of violence.

The letter closes with the invitation for "all churches in Latin America and around the world to come together in this movement to overcome violence and reject any possibility of just war." (Find the full letter, in Spanish and English, at

The letter was formulated by a small committee that gathered a "sense of the meeting" out of the presentations at the conference, with an approval process conducted in the consensus tradition of the Friends. The formulating committee had the job of reducing several days of presentations, testimonies, reports, and personal stories into a document of common understandings. The committee included César Moya, Delia Mamani, and Alexandre Gonçalves.

Testimonies shared during the conference revealed difficulties as well as opportunities for Brethren, Mennonite, and Quaker churches working for peace in Latin America and the Caribbean. Reports and stories of church programs, and other personal efforts, addressed broad areas of peacemaking, justice and human rights work, and services meeting human needs.

Also presented were the theological roots of peacemaking in the three peace church traditions (find a report of the Brethren presentation on a peace church hermeneutic given by Gonçalves at

Worship services were hosted by local Mennonite and Brethren congregations, with evening devotions led by the three denominational groups. On one afternoon the group experienced an "alternative" tour of colonial Santo Domingo with an emphasis on the genocide, slavery, and other injustices set in motion with Columbus’ arrival in the Americas.

Alix Lozano, a Mennonite minister who has taught for 16 years at a seminary in Colombia, set the tone for the conference with her opening sermon calling for a focus on the "peace of the city." She called for the church to carry out peacemaking at the service of the surrounding community. Noting a text in Jeremiah in which the prophet tells the exiles in Babylon that, in Lozano’s words, "from the wellbeing of the city depends your wellbeing," she urged: "Work for your city, and pray for it."

Suely and Marcos Inhauser of Igreja da Irmandade (Church of the Brethren in Brazil) closed the conference by jointly preaching the evening sermon at host congregation Mendoza New Anointing Church of the Brethren, a Haitian-Dominican church. The story of the newly resurrected Christ appearing to his disciples while they were in hiding from the authorities, was related to Haitian experiences of oppression and discrimination in the DR and became a challenge to confront violence and oppression head on.

"I really love this Jesus of ours because he was so courageous," the Inhausers preached, pointing out that after the resurrection Jesus returned to the same city in which he had suffered torture and death. Nothing can be done about violence and oppression if we run away, they said, "We have to face it with a witnessing presence." They called believers to move out of shelter and hiding and into the world as disciples of Christ. "I need you to get out and spread the peace."

Webcasts of many of the presentations at the conference are at A photo album is at

NCC leaders offer pastoral advice to Senate on nuclear arms reduction.

With perhaps unintended irony, two US senators have declared that Christmas is not the time to move toward peace by reducing the number of nuclear arms in the arsenals of the US and Russia. Today, Dec. 15, general secretary of the National Council of Churches Michael Kinnamon and several heads of NCC member communions, including Church of the Brethren general secretary Stan Noffsinger, sent the lawmakers a reminder that the Prince of Peace is the reason for the season.

Senators Jim Demint and Jon Kyl have both declared their intention to delay ratification of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START II) during the lame duck session of Congress. Observers suspect they may be taking the stand for partisan reasons, but each has declared that Christmas is not the time to support arms reduction.

"You can't jam a major arms control treaty right before Christmas," Demint said in an interview with Politico, calling the whole thing "sacrilegious." "This is the most sacred holiday for Christians," he said. "They did the same thing last year--they kept everybody here until (Christmas Eve) to force something down everybody's throat."

Earlier, Kyl complained that efforts by Senate majority leader Harry Reid to ratify START II as well as pass other legislation was too much at Christmas time. "It is impossible to do all of the things that the majority leader laid out, frankly, without disrespecting the institution and without disrespecting one of the two holiest of holidays for Christians," insisted Kyl.

But Kinnamon sent the senators a peaceful admonishment that they have overlooked the true spirit of Christmas. "If anything this time of year should be an encouragement for our leaders to work harder for peace on earth in response to God who wills peace for all," he said. "Peace is major theme of the Advent season and celebration of Christmas. The NCC looks forward to being able to celebrate ratification of this treaty to reduce nuclear stockpiles and improve verification. Any delay would be contrary to our commitment to peace on earth."

Last month the general assembly of the NCC and Church World Service unanimously adopted a call to ratify the treaty. Kinnamon and CWS executive director John L. McCullough sent copies of the statement to US senators (see

Meeting today with the heads of several NCC member communions, Kinnamon said several other leaders endorsed the call to senators to recognize that the Christmas season is indeed the appropriate time to support measures for peace.

The leaders include Noffsinger along with Wesley Granberg-Michaelson of the Reformed Church in America; Bishop Serapion of the Coptic Orthodox Church in North America; Michael Livingston of the International Council of Community Churches; Betsy Miller of the Moravian Church Northern Province Provincial Elders' Conference; Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; Gradye Parsons of the Presbyterian Church (USA); Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori of the Episcopal Church; and Dick Hamm of Christian Churches Together.

Kinnamon and the group also reminded the Senate that the theme of peace at Christmas time is unmistakable in scripture. The song of the angels on the night Christ was born makes it clear that the word on high is "Peace on Earth," Serapion said, citing Luke 2:14. The Prophet Isaiah declares the coming of a messiah called, "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6).

"In this advent season we anticipate the birth of the Prince of Peace and hear the good news to 'fear not,'" said Noffsinger. "The theme of 'fear not' calls us to a world freed from these weapons that are based on the response of fear."

-- Philip E. Jenks is media relations specialist for the National Council of Churches.

Murray Williams tour proclaims Anabaptist values for the present context.

For four days in early November, the Church of the Brethren hosted British church planter and self-proclaimed Anabaptist Stuart Murray Williams. In a tour organized by Stan Dueck of Congregational Life Ministries, Murray Williams spoke and led workshops at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College and the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies, as well as Frederick (Md.) Church of the Brethren, First Church of the Brethren in Roanoke, Va., and Somerset (Pa.) Church of the Brethren.

Murray Williams opened the gathering in Frederick by stating clearly that Anabaptism "has something very significant to say to our current context." At each gathering, he presented the seven core Anabaptist convictions discerned by the British Anabaptist Network and published in his 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).

He also described the context of Western Christianity through the lens of what he and others have termed Post-Christendom. He was quick to qualify the nature of Post-Christendom for the American context by noting the legal separation of church and state. Yet, he also provided an outsider's observation by noting that from across the Atlantic, it looks as though the United States "has a different form of Christendom, a Christian nation ideology."

Tim Heishman, a 2011 Youth Peace Travel Team member, attended the gathering at Roanoke and came away "feeling inspired and hopeful, as well as challenged," he said. In a sense, Heishman reflected, Murray gave "us a loving (and humble) report card," and encouraged attendees "to aspire to the life of radical discipleship that the founding Brethren/Anabaptists embraced."

The seven directors of the Congregational Life Ministries staff attended the gatherings. In addition to three of the public meetings led by Murray Williams, the staff spent several hours in a closed session with him. During that time, the six directors and executive director Jonathan Shively explored how Anabaptist values could be applied in this new and changing Post-Christendom context.

Murray Williams is chair of the Anabaptist Network ( and since 2001, under that auspice, has served as a trainer, mentor, writer, strategist, and consultant with particular interest in urban mission, church planting, and emerging forms of church.

-- Joshua Brockway is director of Spiritual Life and Discipleship for the Church of the Brethren. Find a photo album at

Youth seek ‘Hidden Treasure’ at Powerhouse regional youth conference.

No pirates were involved, but about 100 senior high youth and advisors came to Manchester College in Indiana on Nov. 13-14 to seek "Hidden Treasure" at the 2010 Powerhouse Church of the Brethren regional youth conference.

Participants came from six districts spanning Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, and Illinois as the conference received a "reboot" in a new format and new time of year after a two-year absence. The conference was organized by Manchester’s Campus Ministry office, and many Brethren college students assisted with the weekend.

Three worship services looked at "The Treasure Within" (our unique gifts and talents), "The Treasure Among Us" (our larger faith community), and "The Treasure Before Us" (scripture and the pursuit of wisdom). Angie Lahman Yoder, a Manchester alumna from Peoria, Ariz., spoke at two of the services, and another alumnus, Brethren videographer Dave Sollenberger of North Manchester, Ind., wove reflections amid a series of video clips at the other. Manchester sophomore Kay Guyer, an art major, created three colorful banners that hung in Wampler Auditorium to illustrate the themes.

Other highlights of the weekend included a high-energy concert by Mutual Kumquat, a popular band composed mostly of Manchester graduates, and a selection of breakout sessions led by denominational leaders, local pastors, and Manchester faculty on themes of vocation, service, salvation, and wisdom literature. Youth also had time to explore the campus, play games, do creative arts, or relax.

Feedback was positive, and another conference is tentatively being planned for next fall. Watch for details at

-- Walt Wiltschek is campus minister at Manchester College in North Manchester, Ind.

Atlantic Southeast District holds ecumenical Family Peace Camp.

On Sept. 3-5 an intergenerational Family Peace Camp with a strong ecumenical flavor gave expression to the joys and challenges of living peaceably in these times, sponsored by the Action for Peace Team of Atlantic Southeast District, and hosted by Camp Ithiel.

More than 70 campers, including 10 teens and 13 children, sang, danced, played, and shared stories of how God's presence gives strength to carry the burdens of brokenness and struggle. Father Eric Haarer of the Roman Catholic Spiritual Life Institute in Crestone, Colo., and Ireland, led the adult sessions using the theme, "A Love Stronger than Our Fears" focusing on inner peace.

Haarer is a rare find among religious leaders. He grew up in a Mennonite home in Michigan, was baptized as a youth into Lansing (Mich.) Church of the Brethren, and found his calling to a Roman Catholic religious vocation while serving in a Mennonite volunteer project. He has found peace and meaning for his Anabaptist heart within the tent of the Roman Catholic Church.

In a few hours of fellowship and worship, the camp group came together as a vibrant, caring community of faith made up of Brethren, Catholics, Christian and Missionary Alliance members, and people of other Christian traditions. An older Baptist woman led a band of young girl campers in colorful rhythmic liturgical dance during congregational singing. A mixed age praise band, with very little rehearsal, combined fiddles, bass guitar, ukulele, recorder, and keyboard in skillful harmony.

"Each person has a unique journey," was one camper’s response to the event. "There is quiet pain and burden-bearing in young people as well as in older folks. Somehow this camp helped us reveal some of the dark stuff and let it go, giving room for trust and laughter and faith to be confirmed and enriched."

A planning group has been named to arrange for the 2011 Family Peace Camp, to take place at Camp Ithiel in Gotha, Fla., on Sept. 2-4. Everyone is welcome!

-- Merle Crouse is a member of the Action for Peace Team.

John Kline Homestead closes in on goal to purchase property.

There is "exciting news" coming from the John Kline Homestead preservation project, according to leader Paul Roth. The project is within $5,000 of raising the $425,000 needed to purchase the historic Kline family property by the end of this year.

A John Kline Homestead Preservation Trust was created in 2006 in hopes of preserving and eventually being able to purchase the home of Elder John Kline, a leader of the Brethren during the Civil War and a martyr for peace. The homestead is in Broadway, Va., near Linville Creek Church of the Brethren where Roth is pastor.

The date has not yet been set by Park View Federal Credit Union of Harrisonburg, Va., for closing on the property, Roth said. The homestead Board of Directors will plan a celebration event after the property has been purchased.

This fall the homestead has hosted a number of events both to encourage the raising of funds and to highlight the peacemaking witness of Elder John Kline as a key anniversary of the Civil War approaches in 2011.

"We just completed our third Candlelight Dinner in the John Kline house with 88 guests enjoying a traditional homemade meal and the conversations of people who lived in the house sharing their concerns about the rumors of war in the fall of 1860," Roth reported. Actors played the parts of people who would have lived and worked in the house at that time. An actor playing John Kline "read from his Jan. 1, 1861, diary entry, fearing the impact of secession and war upon his family and congregation," Roth said.

More Candlelight Dinners will be offered in 2011. Tentative dates are Jan. 21 and 22, Feb. 18 and 19, March 18 and 19, and April 15 and 16. Tickets are $40 per plate. Seating is limited to 32. Reservations will be received beginning Jan. 3. For more information contact Paul Roth at 540-896-5001 or

James Miller retires from Shenandoah District.

James E. Miller will retire as district executive minister of the Church of the Brethren’s Shenandoah District, effective May 31, 2011. He began in the position in June 1992.

Ordained at Beaver Creek Church of the Brethren in Hagerstown, Md., in 1974, he is a graduate of Manchester College and holds master’s degrees from Bethany Theological Seminary and American University. His previous service has included work with his wife, Mary, in Africa and South America, serving with East Africa Yearly Meeting of Friends in Kenya from 1970-73, and with Mennonite Central Committee in Brazil from 1981-85. He was associate district executive for Shenandoah 1977-81, and district executive for Northern Plains District 1985-92.

His retirement plans include spending time as an ESL tutor and doing volunteer research work with the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College.

Devorah Lieberman named ULV’s 18th president.

Devorah Lieberman has been selected to be the 18th president of the University of La Verne (ULV), a Church of the Brethren-related school in La Verne, Calif. According to a release from the university, she will be the first female president in ULV’s 119-year history when she begins in the position on June 30, 2011, following the retirement of president Stephen C. Morgan.

Lieberman has a 33-year career in higher education. Since 2004 she has served as provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Wagner College in Staten Island, N.Y. Prior to her time at Wagner, she spent more than 16 years at Portland (Ore.) State University as a faculty member in the Department of Communication Studies and an administrator.

From 2002-05 she was one of 13 national scholars selected to participate in the Project on the Future of Higher Education. She has chaired the American Council on Education (ACE) International Collaborative, has been an ACE Institute Facilitator and an Institutional Representative chair for the New American Colleges and Universities, and has served on an advisory board for the National Review Board for Civic Engagement. Along with her administrative duties, she has continued to teach and one course co-taught online with a professor in Greece, "Intercultural Business Communications," earned her the American Council on Education "Bringing the World into the Classroom" award in 2010.

ULV held a special event introducing Lieberman to the campus community on Dec. 8.

National Older Adult Conference to be held Sept. 5-9, 2011.

"Passion and Purpose in a Changing World" (Romans 12:2) is the theme for the 2011 National Older Adult Conference (NOAC) on Sept. 5-9 at Lake Junaluska (N.C.) Conference and Retreat Center. Adults age 50 and older are invited to this Church of the Brethren event.

Speakers for worship are Robert Bowman, associate professor of biblical studies at Manchester College, who will preach for the opening worship service Monday evening; Philip Gulley, a master storyteller and author of "If the Church Were Christian," "I Love You, Miss Huddleston," and the Harmony and Porch Talk series, who will preach on Wednesday evening; and Susan Stern Boyer, pastor of La Verne (Calif.) Church of the Brethren, who will preach for the closing service, with Ken Kline Smeltzer, interim pastor at Burnham (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, sharing a brief reflection about the week.

Morning Bible studies will be led by Dawn Ottoni-Wilhelm, associate professor of preaching and worship at Bethany Theological Seminary.

Other featured speakers include Jonathan Wilson-Hargrove, a leader in the new monastic movement and author of many books including "To Baghdad and Beyond," about his experience with Christian Peacemaker Teams in Iraq; David E. Fuchs, M.D., and Curtis W. Dubble, who will share a dialogue about "Unexpected Travels in Healing" exploring questions about life, death, medical ethics, and faith raised by the illness of Dubble’s wife, Anna Mary; C. Michael Hawn, university distinguished professor of church music at Perkins School of Theology in Dallas, Texas, whose address, "Singing with the Saints," will explore the gifts of the world Christian church and invite the audience to join in a "choir rehearsal for heaven."

On Tuesday evening, NOAC will be graced with a concert of spirituals, show tunes, and classical selections sung by Amy Yovanovich and Christyan Seay. Music continues Thursday evening with a hymn sing coordinated by Jonathan Shively, executive director of Congregational Life Ministries for the Church of the Brethren, assisted by Hawn, the NOAC choir, and a variety of musicians.

Opportunities for service will include a fundraising walk supporting leadership development of young adults through Ministry Summer Service, and the collection of school and hygiene kits for disaster relief. Also offered will be dozens of Interest Groups on a wide variety of topics, arts and craft classes, and recreational opportunities such as hiking, tennis, golf, and boating.

NOAC is receiving support from the following sponsors: the Fellowship of Brethren Homes, the Brethren-related colleges and university, Bethany Theological Seminary, Everence (formerly Mennonite Mutual Aid), Brethren Village in Lancaster, Pa., and the Palms of Sebring, Fla.

Kim Ebersole, director of family life and older adult ministries for the Church of the Brethren, coordinates NOAC assisted by the planning committee of Deanna Brown, Ken and Elsie Holderread, Nancy Faus-Mullen, Peggy Redman, and Guy Wampler.

Registration materials will be sent to past attendees, congregations, district offices, and retirement communities around March 1. They also will be available online at or contact or 800-323-8039 ext. 302.

Brethren bits: Personnel, jobs, Sudan, bullying, Lent devotional, more.
  • Steve Mason, director of the Brethren Foundation Inc. and the socially responsible investing activities of Brethren Benefit Trust, has been called as interim chief financial officer of BBT. This temporary role will last up to one year. He will work from his home office in North Manchester.

  • Jerry and Connie Reynolds have retired as managers of Camp Emmanuel in Astoria, Ill., as of Nov. 1, after serving five years in the position. Mike and Ruth Siburt of Decatur (Ill.) Church of the Brethren, began as the new camp managers on Nov. 11. The new Camp Emmanuel e-mail address is

  • The University of La Verne, Calif., seeks an interfaith chaplain to promote and advance a campus culture that values religious diversity, community service, and social awareness. A doctorate in an appropriate field is preferred, but a master of divinity or equivalent degree will be considered. The position requires a minimum of three years experience in college administration or related religious leadership. Preference will be given to candidates with ordination in a religious tradition. Benefits include a comprehensive health and welfare plan, tuition remission program for employee, spouse, and dependent children, and a generous 10 percent contribution to the university’s 403B retirement plan. Review of applications begins Jan. 3, 2011. For a full job description and to apply go to

  • 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, multiage, 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.

  • Brethren are asked to commit themselves to prayer for Sudan, which is on the brink of renewed hostilities as it enters into a crucial stage of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005. This request comes from Jay Wittmeyer, executive director of the church’s Global Mission Partnerships. "On Jan. 9, a historic referendum vote is scheduled to determine if the predominantly Christian South will secede from Sudan and form an independent state, the Government of Southern Sudan," Wittmeyer said. "At the best of times, elections and referendums are difficult processes, but given Sudan’s tumultuous history, ethnic tensions, and disputed oil fields and water resources, this referendum could spark violence and even outright war. Brethren are asked to pray that this historic event takes place in a peaceful, timely, and credible manner, and that the results of the vote are respected on all sides."

  • Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN--the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) has announced the planting of a local church council in the neighboring country of Cameroun. The announcement came in a Nov. 24 e-mail from EYN general secretary Jinatu L. Wamdeo to the US church’s Global Mission Partnerships. "We are happy to inform you that we have witnessed big events of God’s work through the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria (EYN) in Cameroun yesterday where autonomy is given to Zamga Cameroun," Wamdeo wrote. "It is the first in EYN History to install a Local Church Council (LCC) EYC outside Nigeria."

  • Church of the Brethren resources on the problem of bullying are available online, including a pastoral letter signed by general secretary Stan Noffsinger, a video clip of Noffsinger speaking about the issue, "Safe Places" materials originally prepared for a Health Promotion Sunday, and more. "Our response to bullying, at its base, is a response to violence. Bullying, for any reason and in any manner, is inconsistent with the Good News of Jesus Christ," the letter says, in part. Find resources at

  • Brethren Press is offering a pre-publication price for its 2011 Lent devotional, "The Cost of Following Jesus: Devotions for Ash Wednesday through Easter" by J.D. Glick. Order by Dec. 17 to get the special discount price of $2 per copy and $5 for large print. After Dec. 17 the cost is $2.50 per copy, $5.95 for large print. Become a seasonal subscriber to the annual devotional series and receive both Lent and Advent devotionals at the discounted price, with your subscription automatically renewed each year. Call Brethren Press at 800-441-3712 or go to

  • Brethren Disaster Ministries associate director Zach Wolgemuth has been involved in meetings with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) around disaster housing initiatives and how to work with government partners. He reports that a core working group has been established, unofficially called the Collaborative Housing Work Group, with one representative each from Habitat for Humanity, Christian Reform World Relief Committee, Mennonite Disaster Service, and Brethren Disaster Ministries. "This is a unique opportunity with lots of promise," he wrote. "Communication and collaboration among agencies will be keys to success. We hope to develop a framework for our response to housing needs in the wake of disaster, to understand each other’s strengths and capacities so that we might better serve those in need. We then hope to develop a decision tree to help guide responders after an event."

  • Michigan District has a new address at P.O. Box 6383, Saginaw, MI 48608-6383.

  • Shane Claiborne, one of the keynote speakers at National Youth Conference, will be featured at a meeting at Lancaster (Pa.) Church of the Brethren at 7 p.m. on Jan. 4, 2011. "Another way of Doing Life" will be the subject of his presentation. The announcement of the event notes that his message is a needed one during a time of unemployment, war, environmental disaster, and political corruption. All are welcome, including parents and grandparents. A free-will offering will pay for the expenses of the evening. Claiborne’s appearance is sponsored by the Taxes for Peace Interest Group of the Lancaster Interchurch Peace Witness and 1040 for Peace. For more information, contact John Stoner at 717-859-3388.

  • Harold Martin of the Brethren Revival Fellowship is this quarter’s speaker for a half-hour radio program of the Sunday School Meditations Association. The program offers commentary on the International Sunday School lessons, produced out of Lancaster, Pa. Listen at

  • IMA World Health’s Safe Motherhood Kit is to be featured on ABC’s "20/20" program this Friday. IMA is headquartered at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. The special episode titled "Be the Change: Save a Life" will focus on six common health problems from around the world and what can be done to fix them. The Dec. 17 program kicks off ABC News’ new year-long global health care series. For a promotional video from ABC go to

  • Springs of Living Water, a Brethren-based church renewal program, is making a Christmas eve spiritual disciplines folder available for use by congregations this season. "Guided by the Light of Christ Jesus" is available online at, along with study questions written by Vince Cable, pastor of Uniontown (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. The folder is designed to be distributed at Christmas eve services, so individuals will have a daily scripture to meditate on and follow into the new year, according to an announcement from Springs leader David Young. The texts follow the international lectionary, with themes from the Brethren bulletin series. An insert offers options for spiritual growth, anything from a commitment to Sunday worship to a family discerning how to carry the light of Christ daily. Contact

  • Kathryn Grim, oldest member of First Church of the Brethren in York, Pa., will celebrate her 100th birthday at an Open House at the Brethren Home Community on Dec. 18. The church newsletter reports that today Willard Scott was scheduled to honor her on NBC’s "Today Show."

Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren, or 800-323-8039 ext. 260. Charles Bentley, Douglas Bright, Mary Jo Flory-Steury, Phil Lersch, Craig Alan Myers, Harold A. Penner, Paul Roth, Brian Solem, Julia Wheeler, Jay Wittmeyer, Roy Winter, David Young contributed to this report.