Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Brethren bits: Correction, remembrances, job opening, Annual Conference, more.
  • Correction: The correct suggested date for the 2011 One Great Hour of Sharing is Sunday, March 6, not March 5 as given in the packet of printed materials sent out to congregations. This year’s theme is "Sharing Brings Joy: To Us. To Others. To God." For more about this special offering go to

  • David G. Metzler, 80, of Bridgewater, Va., died peacefully at his home Jan. 2 surrounded by family. A former mission worker, he taught at the University of Jos in Nigeria from 1981-83 where he also was head of the Department of Religious Studies. In other service to the church, he was an ordained minister, a professor at Bridgewater College from 1958-62 and 1966-95, served on the Committee on Interchurch Relations, and was a member of the Ecumenical Task Force on Christian-Muslim Relations for the National Council of Churches, and on the NCC's Interfaith Relations Commission. His pamphlet "Understanding Islam" has been a best seller in Brethren Press’s Perspectives series. In Jan. 2003, immediately prior to the second Gulf War, he spent a month in and around Baghdad, Iraq, with Christian Peacemaker Teams. He was born June 23, 1930, in Chicago, the son of the late Burton Metzler and Alma Stump Metzler of McPherson, Kan. He held degrees from McPherson College, Bethany Theological Seminary, Harvard Divinity School, and Boston University. He also pursued overseas studies at the Ecumenical Study Center in Geneva, Switzerland, and the Ecumenical Institute at Tantur, Jerusalem, Israel. He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Doris (Kesler) Metzler, and children Daniel and Gwen (Slavik) Metzler, Steve and Karen (Glick) Metzler, D. Burton and Diane (Hess) Metzler, Laurel (Metzler) Byler, and Suzanne (Metzler) and David Peterson, as well as grandchildren and great-grandchildren. A memorial service was held Jan. 8 at Bridgewater Church of the Brethren.

  • M. Paul Dennison, 89, of DeKalb, Ill., passed away on Jan. 4. He served as missionary for the Church of the Brethren in India in the early 1950s. He had a varied career path after returning to the United States, including pastor, high school teacher, and counselor for the Illinois Bureau of Employment Security. He was a member of First Church of the Brethren in Chicago since 1965. Born March 27, 1921, in Marion, Ind., to Melvin and Belle (Richardson) Dennison, he married Dorothy Mae Brown June 26, 1952, in Curryville, Pa. He held degrees from Manchester College, Bethany Theological Seminary, and Roosevelt University, Chicago. He is survived by his sons, Thomas A. (Gloria) Dennison and Daniel P. Dennison, and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife, Dorothy. A memorial service was held on Jan. 8 at First Church of the Brethren in Chicago.

  • George T. Dolnikowski died on Dec. 23, 2010. Emeritus professor at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., a Russian soldier during World War II and survivor of a German prisoner of war camp, he authored the Brethren Press book "This I Remember: From War to Peace." He also was featured in an article in the Dec. 1988 issue of "Messenger" titled "In Christ Now Meet Both East and West." Dolnikowski "had an amazing life story--resettled through the Church of the Brethren, employed at Juniata as a janitor, then rising through the ranks until he became a professor. I had him as a professor for Russian literature," remembers Brethren Press publisher Wendy McFadden. He also taught in the college’s Peace Studies program. Memorial services were held at Stone Church of the Brethren in Huntingdon, Pa., on Jan. 2.

  • Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) seeks an accounting manager to fill a full-time salaried position at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Primary responsibility is to process, review, and report transactions related to the programs of BBT. Additional responsibilities include managing and processing payroll, reconciling bank and investment accounts, monitoring and managing cash flow, preparing account analyses, assisting with accounts payable and receivable, assisting with the month-end close, providing backup for other positions in the Finance Department. The ideal candidate will possess a high level of technical proficiency, intense attention to detail, impeccable integrity, a collegial and engaging demeanor, and a strong faith commitment. BBT seeks candidates with undergraduate degree in accounting, business, or related fields. A CPA is preferred. Requirements include strong communications skills, proficiency in Microsoft Office, and a working knowledge of automated accounting systems. Experience with ADP payroll processing is desired. Current and active membership in the Church of the Brethren is preferred; current and active membership in a faith community is required. Salary and benefits are competitive with Church Benefits Association agencies of comparable size and scope of services. A full benefits package is included. Send a letter of interest, resume, three professional references, and salary-range expectation to Donna March, 1505 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; For questions or clarification about the position, call 847-622-3371. For more about BBT visit

  • The information packet for the 2011 Annual Conference to be held in Grand Rapids, Mich., on July 2-6 will be available from within the next couple of days. This includes information about housing and hotels, conference schedule, special events and meal tickets, age group activities, and more. Early registration for delegates ends on Feb. 22, after which the delegate registration fee goes up from $275 to $300. Housing reservations and nondelegate registration also open Feb. 22 at 12 noon (central time) at

  • The Peace Program of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN--the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) celebrated the grand opening of its Peace Office and Peace Resource Library on Dec. 10. Mission workers Nathan and Jennifer Hosler reported on the event in their January newsletter. The library contains over 250 books and is a highlight of the couple’s work. With support from Toma Ragnjiya, Peace Program coordinator and principal of Kulp Bible College, Jennifer Hosler developed the project proposal for the library, and the couple raised funds from Brethren in the US to buy books and carry them back to Nigeria. "The goal of the Peace Resource Library is to provide a place where students, pastors, laypeople, and community members can further their study on subjects like conflict, forgiveness, peace theology, and reconciliation," the Hoslers wrote. They also asked for prayer for an end to violence in Nigeria and for calm during political primaries occurring this week and the campaign season that continues until April, as well as strength for EYN students, pastors, and churches in conflict areas. Over the holiday season, renewed episodes of violent conflict occurred in the cities of Maiduguri and Jos.

  • Two members of the Church of the Brethren--Wallace Cole of the denomination’s Mission and Ministry Board, and Rick Polhamus of Fletcher, Ohio--are among 13 people who arrived in Jerusalem last week as part of a delegation of Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT). During the trip Jan. 4-17, the group will speak with representatives of Israeli and Palestinian peace and human rights organizations and will travel to the West Bank city of Al Khalil (Hebron) and the South Hebron Hills where CPT's longterm Palestine team is based. They will visit Palestinian farmers and shepherds whose land and livelihoods have been threatened by expanding Israeli settlements. Find a blog by one of the delegates at

  • Four of the Church of the Brethren workcamps offered in 2011 have already filled since registration started last week. Registration is closed for the workcamps at Eastern Shore, Brooklyn, Los Angeles, and Chicago. However, numerous other workcamps still have openings. For the listing of workcamps and online registration, go to

  • Congregational Life Ministries staff are recommending two training events led by Eric Law, both at Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Va. "Fundamental Skills for Building Inclusive Community" is on Jan. 26-28 and "Models and Processes for Community Transformation" will be Jan. 29-Feb. 1. Register at For more information, contact or 800-366-1636 ext. 216.

  • Children’s Disaster Services is holding volunteer workshops at La Verne (Calif.) Church of the Brethren on March 5-6, and at Goshen (Ind.) City Church of the Brethren on March 18-19. CDS volunteers provide a calm, safe, and reassuring presence in the midst of the chaos that follows disaster by setting up and operating special child care centers. A $45 registration fee covers materials and trainer costs. Meals and overnight accommodations are provided. Late registration is $55. For the California workshop contact local coordinator Kathy Benson at 909-593-4868. For the Indiana workshop contact John Sternberg at 574-612-2130 or Betty Kurtz at 574-533-1884. Or contact Children’s Disaster Services at 800-451-4407 ext. 5 or More information is at

  • On Nov. 6, Buckeye Church of the Brethren in Abilene, Kan., celebrated its 130th anniversary. Oldest member Letha Correll, 104, was recognized during the service.

  • West Charleston Church of the Brethren celebrated its new building in Tipp City, Ohio, Jan. 8.

  • South Waterloo (Iowa) Church of the Brethren is hosting the Foods Resource Bank’s Winter Regional Meeting on Jan. 15. Keynote speakers include Bill Northey, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture; FRB president Marv Baldwin; and Jay Wittmeyer, executive director of the Church of the Brethren’s Global Mission Partnerships. RSVP to or 319-939-5045.

  • Martin Luther King Jr. observances at Manchester College will feature ground-breaking Brethren pastor and former Annual Conference moderator Belita Mitchell of First Church of the Brethren in Harrisburg, Pa., along with stories of students and faculty who also have breached barriers. Mitchell, the first African-American woman to serve in the denomination’s highest elected office, will bring the keynote address for the MLK Service of Celebration and Rededication at 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 14 in the College Union. Her speech is titled "Navigating the Storms of Life...Excess Baggage Not Allowed." The evening also will include a student choir and readings and reflections on King’s legacy. On Jan. 17 at 7 p.m. in Petersime Chapel, readers will share student and faculty stories about challenging the status quo, as well as poetry and images. Refreshments will follow. The public is welcome at both free events. For more information go to

  • The John Kline Homestead Preservation Trust closed on the historic property in Broadway, Va., on Dec. 30. The effort succeeded in raising $425,000 needed to preserve the site. "We will announce a celebration event in the next few weeks," wrote Paul Roth, pastor of nearby Linville Creek Church of the Brethren. In related news, another series of Candlelight Dinners is planned at the homestead. An 1860s traditional meal will be served in the John Kline house, and actors will replicate conversations that might have surrounded dinner tables of area Brethren as the Civil War approached. Seats are $40 per plate. Dates are Jan. 21 and 22; Feb. 18 and 19; March 18; April 15 and 16. Contact 540-896-5001 or

  • Southern Pennsylvania District is offering "Rivers of Faith: A Historical Narrative," a 300th anniversary heritage DVD tracing the history of the district from the banks of Germany’s Eder River, where the first Brethren baptisms took place, to Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna River and beyond. Order for $30 plus mailing fee of $2.50 from Southern Pennsylvania District, P.O. Box 218, New Oxford, PA 17350.

  • The United Nations has designated the first week in February as World Interfaith Harmony Week. The resolution adopted Oct. 22 "reaffirms that mutual understanding and interreligious dialogue constitute important dimensions in a culture of peace" and encourages nations to support the spread of interfaith harmony and goodwill in the world’s places of worship. "This resolution specifically acknowledges the love of God (or the good in some nations) and the love of one’s neighbor, which is taught in very similar wording in all major faith traditions," commented Larry Ulrich, Brethren representative on the Interfaith Relations Commission of the National Council of Churches. "Hate and religion do not share the same space, regardless to what one attempts to say about ‘just war,’" commented Doris Abdullah, the church’s representative to the UN. For more go to

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