Thursday, February 24, 2011

Brethren bits: Remembrances, jobs, Disabilities Awareness Month, more.
  • Remembrance: Frederick "Fred" W. Benedict, 81, longtime head of the Brethren Encyclopedia Project and a member of the Old German Baptist Brethren Church, died on Feb. 20 at the Brethren Retirement Community in Greenville, Ohio. He was a prominent "Old Order" historian, printer, and writer who headed the encylopedia project until the current president, Robert Lehigh, succeeded him. He also published "Old Order Notes," one of the best sources for data on Old Order groups, on an irregular basis from 1978-2003. He was born Jan. 16, 1930, in Waynesboro, Pa., to Louis and Martha (Stoner) Benedict. He is survived by his wife Reva Benedict; sons and daughters-in-law Solomon and Linda Benedict, Daniel and Angela Benedict; daughters and son-in-law Martha Montgomery, and Sara and Wade Miller; grandchildren and great grandchildren. A funeral service was held this morning at the Old German Baptist Brethren Church in Covington, Ohio. Memorial contributions are received to Brethren Heritage Center in Brookville, Ohio, or State of the Heart Hospice.

  • Remembrance: Max Douglas Gumm, 76, a former associate district executive in the Church of the Brethren, passed away on Feb. 20 in West Des Moines, Iowa. Born in Jefferson, Iowa, on June 7, 1934, to Earnest "Ray" and Wilma (Jones) Gumm, he started a family with his first wife Norita Carson (now Elwood) on a farm near Yale. Called to ministry by Panora (Iowa) Church of the Brethren, he earned degrees from McPherson (Kan.) College and Bethany Theological Seminary and held a number of pastorates. He served as associate district executive of the former Iowa-Minnesota District, and also was regional director of Church World Service (CWS)/CROP in Des Moines, and director of Development and Alumni Relations at McPherson College. He received chaplaincy training at the University of Omaha, where he met and married JoAnne Davis Howry and finished his career as a chaplain at the Omaha Correctional Center. In 2001, he was moderator of Northern Plains District Conference. He and his late wife JoAnne retired to Arkansas, where they lived until her death from cancer in 2008. He is survived by children Doug (Diane) Gumm and Tim (Carol) Gumm of Ankeny, Iowa; Jeff (Sharon) Gumm of Clive, Iowa; Alan (Gayle) Gumm of Mt. Pleasant, Mich.; Mary (Habib) Issah of Iowa City, Iowa; Jim (Sabrina) Howry of Atlanta, Ga.; Cindy Howry Laster of Blue Springs, Mo.; and Sue Howry of Omaha, Neb.; grandchildren and great-grandchildren. His funeral will be Feb. 25 at 10:30 a.m. at Prairie City (Iowa) Church of the Brethren. Condolences may be sent to the Gumm Family c/o Doug and Diane Gumm, 801 NE Lakeview Dr., Ankeny, IA 50021. Memorial donations are received to Heifer Project or the Northern Plains District.

  • Remembrance: John Bather, 92, who worked for Brethren Press for more than 28 years as a proofreader and copy editor, died on Feb. 21 at Pinecrest Retirement Community in Mount Morris, Ill. He worked for Brethren Press at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., from May 1953 until his retirement in Dec. 1981. He was born July 4, 1918, in Clinton, Iowa. He studied civil engineering at Iowa State College, and also spent a year studying at Bethany Theological Seminary. As a young man he was a conscientious objector to World War II. "The then-24-year-old Iowa Baptist decided not to fight," according to an interview published in "Messenger" magazine in 1984. After being drafted in 1943, the Fellowship of Reconciliation put him in contact with the Society of Friends (Quakers) for whom he ended up serving more than two years in Civilian Public Service (CPS). He also worked in China with a Quaker ambulance unit, helping to run a mission hospital and also overseeing construction of homes and a hospital addition. For a year from 1946-47 he worked with the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration supervising the building of a dike on the Yellow River in China. Prior to his employment with the Church of the Brethren, he taught at Chicago Technical College. In retirement he spent time volunteering at the Brethren Historical Library and Archives, sorting the large collection of pictures of CPS. As a member of Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren, he also was a deacon, volunteered with Meals on Wheels and visited patients at the Elgin Mental Health Center. He is survived by his son and daughter, Bruce and Linda.

  • Remembrance: Pauline Louise Shively Daggett, 88, a former assistant to the secretary of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference, died on Feb. 14 at Timbercrest Healthcare Center in North Manchester, Ind. She was born in Wabash County, Ind., to Frank O. and Freda (Anderson) Ulery. On Sept. 19, 1942, she married Noah L. Shively. He died on July 11, 1988. She married J.W. (Bill) Daggett on Feb. 15, 1997. He died on June 10, 2000. She graduated from the International Business School in Fort Wayne, Ind. She worked at the Heckman Bindery for 10 years and then became administrative secretary for Manchester Church of the Brethren, where she was a member. In addition to seven years assisting the Conference secretary, her volunteer work for the church included service on Standing Committee; service as youth advisor for South Central Indiana District for 10 years, working along with her husband; and service on the board of Camp Alexander Mack in Milford, Ind. Surviving are sons James (Amy) Shively of Roann, Ind., and Robert (Paula) Shively of New Paris, Ind.; daughter, Linda (George) Blair of Tulsa, Okla.; step-sons John (Denise) Daggett and Dan (Theresa) Daggett; grandchildren and great-grandchildren. A memorial service will be held Feb. 26 at 11 a.m. at Manchester Church of the Brethren. Memorial contributions are received to Camp Mack.

  • Alan Patterson is the new executive director of Camp Eder in Fairfield, Pa. The camp newsletter in January reported a number of staff changes, and called for prayers of blessings for former executive director Michele Smith; announced that Judy Caudill has left as hospitality assistant; welcomed Keri Gladhill as new office manager; and expressed thanks for the work of interim executive directors Tim Frisby and Tom Brant before the hiring of Patterson in Nov. 2010.

  • Carol Smith has begun as a math teacher at the EYN Comprehensive Secondary School in Mubi, Nigeria, as of Feb. 3. The school is a Christian school founded for the children of members of Ekklesiyar Yan'uwa a Nigeria (EYN--the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria), as well as other Christian denominations. Her appointment as a program volunteer is supported by the Church of the Brethren’s Global Mission Partnerships. Her prior experience abroad includes nine years of teaching math in Nigerian secondary schools, colleges, and universities. She also has taught a variety of math levels in the United States for over 30 years. She holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and Spanish from Manchester College in North Manchester, Ind.; a master of science degree in computer science from the University of Illinois at Chicago; and a master of arts in mathematics from Illinois State University. Her home congregation is Crest Manor Church of the Brethren in South Bend, Ind.

  • Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) seeks a programmer analyst and technology support specialist for a full-time salaried position at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. The primary responsibility is to develop and maintain a working knowledge of all IT systems; handle technology support requests from staff; write, analyze, review, and rewrite programs as well as maintain current computer programs; conduct trial runs; write documentation of programmed applications; provide back up for the Director of Operations for Information Technology, and complete other duties assigned. 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 an undergraduate degree in computer science or related fields/work experience. Requirements include strong verbal and written communications skills, ability to work independently and to conceptualize and understand data with minimal direction, and proficiency in: Microsoft Visual Studio (2008/10) – .net Framework, MS SQL, XML, or C#, Windows Forms Application and In addition, preferred skills include Javascript, HTML, Sharepoint, SSRS, AJAX, and Crystal Reports. 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. Apply by sending a letter of interest, résumé, 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 information about Brethren Benefit Trust visit

  • The World Council of Churches (WCC) is seeking a staff writer to promote the work and concerns of the WCC and the ecumenical movement by writing stories about WCC work and activities for public release and posting on the WCC website. Starting date is as soon as possible. Among other specific responsibilities are work with the WCC communication team to develop new and innovative ways of reporting WCC work, such as audio and video podcasting and social networking, etc. and then work as a team to implement them; participating with the communication team to train and improve the news writing skills of program staff; assisting the director of communication in strengthening collaborative relationships with communication offices in WCC member churches, ecumenical partners, and writers for Ecumenical News International; and work with the WCC photographer to maintain the gathering of WCC photos for stories and photo essays, among other tasks. Qualifications and special requirements include a university degree in related field desired; professional qualifications and experience in the field of communication work, experience in international work desired; excellent command of written and spoken English, knowledge of other WCC working languages (French, German, Spanish, Russian) an asset; proficiency with information technology: Word, Excel, Powerpoint. Willingness to learn other technology. Deadline for applications is March 15. An application form may be obtained from and returned to: Human Resources Office, World Council of Churches, 150, route de Ferney, P.O. Box 2100, 1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland; fax: +41-22.791.66.34; e-mail: The application should be filled and returned with a separate and detailed curriculum vitae only if the applicant meets the requirements specified. Applicants are expected to send professional and non-professional reference letters. Only those short-listed for interview will be contacted.

  • March is Disabilities Awareness Month for the Church of the Brethren. "We Are Able! ... Through Worship, Service, Participation, and Fellowship" is the theme selected by the Disabilities Ministry to encourage congregations to see the disabled in new ways, as fellow pilgrims on a spiritual journey. "This is a call for congregations to not only welcome and provide the means for those of different abilities into worship, service, and participation, but to offer an opportunity for those individuals to share themselves as equal brothers and sisters in Christ." said an explanation of the theme on the ministry’s web page. The scripture theme comes from 1 Corinthians 12:7 (Living Bible, paraphrased): "The Holy Spirit displays God's power through each of us as a means of helping the entire church." Visit for activity ideas, worship resources, and congregational self-evaluations.

  • "Illuminating Paradise: The Ephrata Cloister" is the title of an educational event with Jeffrey Bach, director of the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College and author of "Voices of the Turtledoves: The Sacred World of Ephrata." The event is a fundraiser for the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center. It takes place March 26, with registration beginning at 1:30 p.m. and a tour of the cloister beginning at 2:15. Dinner and a lecture begin at 5:30 p.m. at Ephrata (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. Cost for the tour is $15. A free-will offering to benefit the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center will be taken at the dinner. The registration deadline is March 11. Contact 717-361-1450 or

  • Children’s Disaster Services is offering a volunteer workshop at Snellville (Ga.) United Methodist Church on March 18-19. Meals and overnight accommodations are provided by the host organization. This workshop is part of the Faith In Action Mission Conference. To register, go to For more information contact the Children’s Disaster Services office at 800-451-4407, option 5, or For more about the program see

  • Global Mission Partnerships is requesting renewed prayer for the city of Jos, in central Nigeria. A leader of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN--the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) this week sent an update on the violence that continues there. "Every day we have a new dimension of the crisis," he wrote, in part. "The city is now experiencing a total division of the two faith (Christian and Muslim) demarcating ward (areas) without crossing borders." The most recent killings took place outside Jos, he reported, when 18 people died in a pre-dawn attack on Bere, a border community in Barkin Ladi and Mangu local government areas. "People are fleeing away trying to relocate their business and homes," the EYN leader wrote. Prayer "is highly needed."

  • A "National Evangelism Workshop, NEW2011" on July 8-9 in Nashville, Tenn., sponsored by the National Evangelistic Association is recommended by Stan Dueck, director of Transforming Practices for the Church of the Brethren. Keynote speakers are Bill Easum and Ed Stetzer, nationally recognized leaders for evangelism and church transformation. The theme will follow a three-track format using Joshua 1:1-8: 101: "Be Bold," a basic track for churches engaging evangelistic processes; 201: "Be Strong," an advanced track for churches engaging transformation; 301: "Be Courageous," a track for churches on the cutting edge and ready to (or engaging in) multi-site and church planting. Early bird registration is $99 by April 30, going up to $140 on May 1. The meal package must be purchased in advance and is an additional $30. Registration is at Or contact Dueck at 717-335-3226 or

  • Mountain View Fellowship in McGaheysville, Va., celebrates its 10th anniversary on March 6.

  • Lancaster (Pa.) Church of the Brethren is hosting events sponsored by the Militarism/Taxes for Peace interest group of the Lancaster Interchurch Peace Witness. A meeting on Feb. 26 from 8:30-10 a.m. will explore consequences of the US military budget and learn about alternatives to paying taxes that support war making, followed by a free public "Workshop on Militarism and War Tax Redirection" from 10:30 a.m.-noon the same day. For more information contact H.A. Penner at or 717-859-3529.

  • Manchester College students are seeking a world record in Four Square, in a benefit for Camp Alexander Mack in Milford, Ind. Generations of Manchester students have learned how to play Four Square each fall during Camp Mack Day, according to a release. On Feb. 25-26, students will take the game to the highest level, in pursuit of a Guinness World Record for continuous play. The event in the middle of the Haist Commons dining hall in the College Union begins at noon on Feb. 25. When successful, the 25 sleep-weary student players will head for their beds at 8 p.m. on Feb. 26. They’re taking no chances: They will play at least one hour beyond the current 29-hour Guinness World Record, vows first-year student Todd Eastis of Warsaw, Ind. Eastis is a member of Simply Brethren, a campus club that has assumed leadership of the event.

  • Bridgewater (Va.) College will host a Young Brethren Scholars Panel on Feb. 24 at 7:30 p.m. in the Boitnott Room. The event is sponsored by the college’s Forum for Brethren Studies, according to a release. Denise Kettering-Lane, assistant professor of Brethren studies at Bethany Theological Seminary, will discuss "Anointing for Healing: Critical Analysis of a Brethren Practice." Aaron Jerviss, a Ph.D. candidate from the University of Tennessee and a member of the Brethren Church, will present "‘Living and Moving Amongst Us Again’: The Life After Death of Elder John Kline." In addition to Stephen L. Longenecker, professor of history at Bridgewater, members of the Forum for Brethren Studies are William Abshire, the Anna B. Mow Endowed Professor of Philosophy and Religion; Ellen Layman, former director of church relations; Robert Miller, chaplain; and Carol Scheppard, vice president and dean for academic affairs and professor of philosophy and religion.

  • The 50-member Juniata College Concert Choir has announced its spring tour, directed by Russ Shelley. The following concerts will be hosted by Church of the Brethren congregations: March 5, 7 p.m., Lancaster (Pa.) Church of the Brethren; March 6, 7 p.m., Codorus Church of the Brethren in Dallastown, Pa.; March 7, 7 p.m., Maple Spring Church of the Brethren in Hollsopple, Pa.; March 9, 7:30 p.m., Manassas (Va.) Church of the Brethren; March 12, 7 p.m., First Church of the Brethren in Roaring Spring, Pa. The Tour Homecoming Concert takes place on the college campus in Huntingdon, Pa., on March 26 at 7:30 p.m.

  • Women of Chile will lead the prayers on World Day of Prayer on March 4. This ecumenical event has been conducted by Christian women around the world for more than a century. The 2011 theme is "How Many Loaves Have You" (Mark 6:30-44). Resources are at

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