Thursday, December 30, 2010

Brethren bits: Correction, job opening, IRA rollover extension, more.
  • Correction: A previous Newsline article gave misleading information about the 2011 National Older Adult Conference. The following organizations are helping to sponsor specific events at NOAC, but not the conference itself: the Fellowship of Brethren Homes is sponsoring an ice cream social; the Brethren-related colleges and university and Bethany Seminary are sponsoring alumni receptions; Everence (formerly Mennonite Mutual Aid) is sponsoring the address by Robert Bowman; the Brethren Village in Lancaster, Pa., is sponsoring the address by David Fuchs and Curtis Dubble; and the Palms of Sebring, Fla., also is planning to sponsor an event.

  • Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) has an opening for a fulltime personnel coordinator. Preferred start date is April 15, 2011. Compensation is a stipend based on need. Initial appointment will be for a period of three years. Preferred location is Chicago, Ill. Persons with the required experience and skills who have not been members of CPT are welcome to apply. If chosen as the most promising applicant, an individual will be invited to participate in a CPT delegation and month-long training and discernment process. For more information go to Contact Carol Rose, CPT Co-Director, at with expressions of interest and nominations by Jan. 12, 2011.

  • An extension of the charitable IRA rollover has been put in place with the compromise tax bill passed by the US Congress. In an alert to church members, Steve Mason of Brethren Benefit Trust and the Brethren Foundation notes that this provision allows taxpayers who are 70 1/2 years old or older to make tax-free transfers of up to $100,000 per year from a Traditional IRA or Roth IRA directly to charity. The provision originally was effective for 2006-07 and then twice extended through 2009, but was allowed to expire on Jan. 1, 2010, and had not been available since. "The new law extends the charitable IRA rollover for two years, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2010, (that is, through 2011)," Mason writes. "Recognizing that there is little time left to take advantage of this extension in 2010, the new law allows donors to elect to treat IRA rollover gifts made in Jan. 2011 as if they were made on Dec. 31, 2010. Taxpayers who make this election are permitted to count their gift against the $100,000 limitation on such gifts in 2010 instead of against the 2011 limitation. They may also count their gift toward fulfilling their required minimum distribution for 2010." Individuals should consult with a financial counselor to ensure that they qualify. For more information go to

  • Dec. 31 is the registration deadline for "The Protestant Church of Germany: Past and Present," a study abroad offering from the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership. The trip takes place June 13-25, 2011, with instructor Ken Rogers, professor of Historical Studies at Bethany Seminary. This ecumenical and intercultural course, taught in English, will have participants spend 11 days in and around Marburg, Germany, addressing the questions: "How do the practices and beliefs of the Protestant (State) Church of Germany compare with our own?" and "How does one’s social context shape our Christian faith and theology?" Participants will live with local families and meet with clergy, laity, and theologians. A one-day bus excursion will take the group to important sites of Brethren history including the village of Schwarzenau, where the first Brethren baptisms took place in 1708. Cost is $2,500, including airfare from Philadelphia. Go to or call 800-287-8822 ext. 1824.

  • Join a faith expedition to Vietnam on March 6-20, 2011, coordinated by the Church of the Brethren’s Global Mission Partnerships. "Are you looking for a new travel experience in 2011? Would you like to learn more about Church of the Brethren involvement overseas?" asks the invitation. "Space is limited so contact us soon!" Participants will visit historic sites and Church World Service projects in Hanoi, Hue, and Muong Te. Price per person is $3,000 and includes airfare and in-country room, board, and travel. The deadline for applications is Jan. 5, 2011. Contact Anna Emrick at or 800-323-8039 ext. 230. For more information go to

  • On Earth Peace has announced plans to expand its Agape-Satyagraha program training young people to respond in positive, nonviolent ways to the conflicts and challenges they face. Agape-Satyagraha is currently in seven sites: Harrisburg, Pa.; Canton, Ill.; Lima, Ohio; Modesto, Calif.; South Bend, Ind.; Union Bridge, Md.; and Wilmington, Del. "In the coming year, we want to make this opportunity available in three more communities. Will you help us?" said the announcement from executive director Bob Gross. Also, On Earth Peace has posted a slide show of children's peace murals created by groups taking part in the Kids as Peacemakers program (find it at Over the past two years, more than 30 groups of children in 16 different communities have taken part. "In the coming year, with your help, On Earth Peace plans to support at least 10 more churches and schools to offer the Kids as Peacemakers program for children," the report said. For more information about On Earth Peace planning for 2011, go to

  • Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren in Fort Wayne, Ind., hosted a "Thou Shalt Not Kill" symposium on the death penalty on Dec. 4 with actor Mike Farrell of "M.A.S.H." fame, currently president of Death Penalty Focus. Also on the program was Church of the Brethren member Rachel Gross, who with husband Bob Gross of On Earth Peace co-founded the Death Row Support Project in 1978. Find a report from the Fort Wayne "Journal Gazette" at

  • East Chippewa Church of the Brethren in Orrville, Ohio, is holding a benefit dinner and concert the evening of Jan. 15, 2011, for the family of Wayne Carmany, who suffered from cancer for an extended period of time and passed away Dec. 29. The concert will feature musical talents and groups including New Beginnings, Brass Ensemble, Bob Hutson, Lela Horst, Rachel King, Rick Horst, Leslie Lake, and the East Chip Vocal Band.

  • The combined choirs of Staunton (Va.) Church of the Brethren and Olivet Presbyterian will present a benefit concert for the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank Network at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 9, 2011, at the Staunton Church. "Celebrate the Joy of Christmas this New Year" will be performed with accompanying orchestra, under the direction of David MacMillan.

  • Peace Church of the Brethren in Portland, Ore., has been in the news for its relationship to the family of Mohamed Mohamud, the teen accused of plotting to bomb a Christmas tree lighting ceremony. A report from Religion News Service interviews former pastor Sylvia Eagan, who explained how in the 1990s Peace Church was one of the congregations that aided the family as they fled from war in Somalia and a refugee camp in Kenya. Parents Osman and Miriam Barre were offered asylum in the US and gained the sponsorship of several churches in the Portland area. "It was our responsibility to help them find a place to live, get to appointments, and get settled," Eagan told RNS. Read "The Religious History of the Suspected Portland Bomber" at

  • Panora (Iowa) Church of the Brethren on Dec. 19 honored Esther Thompson for 76 years as a church organist. The "Guthrie Center Times" tells her story at

  • Roxbury Church of the Brethren in Johnstown, Pa., has honored Charles Allison for teaching Sunday school for more than 50 years, according to a report in the "Tribune-Democrat."

  • Codorus Church of the Brethren in Dallastown, Pa., is noting the upcoming 71st wedding anniversary of members John W. and Mary S. Keeney, who were married Feb. 3, 1940. As of the end of January, the couple both will be 96 years old.

  • The Brethren Mission Fund of the Brethren Revival Fellowship is sponsoring a workcamp to Haiti on Feb. 26-March 5, 2011. On-site coordination will be by Jeff Boshart, Haiti disaster response coordinator for Brethren Disaster Ministries, and leaders of Eglise des Freres Haitiens (the Church of the Brethren in Haiti). Cost is $900 including on-site meals, lodging, transportation, and travel insurance. Airfare to Port-au-Prince is an additional cost. Contact trip coordinators Doug Miller 717-624-4822, Jim Myer 717-626-5555, or Earl Eby 717-263-7590.

  • World Council of Churches general secretary Olav Fykse Tveit has hailed US ratification of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Russia. "Such a decision is especially meaningful in what is for Christians the season of peace," his statement said in part. "With member churches around the world we thank God for this small but significant demonstration of progress on a problem that continues to deny the hopes of people everywhere. We also welcome cross-party support in one nation for a decision that concerns all nations. The US and other nuclear powers do not possess weapons of mass destruction in isolation. They do so against the best interests of humanity." He concluded, "The ratification by Russia of the New START treaty would be a welcome start to 2011. We pray that the New Year will see more such news that is good news for all." Find the full statement at

  • Church of the Brethren member Sarah Scott Kepple designed the house that was built this fall in Savannah, Ga., by "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition." The show will be aired Jan. 16, 2011, on ABC affiliates. Kepple is employed by Hansen Architects.

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