Friday, April 29, 2011

Brethren Disaster Ministries reports on severe tornado outbreak, Children’s Disaster Services begins response in Tuscaloosa

The severe tornado outbreak stretching across the South is being called the worst in four decades. There were 210 deaths in Alabama alone, and the death toll in all the impacted states is rising as search and rescue teams comb the impacted areas. The death toll today stands at 308 in 7 states. Power outages are affecting 1.5 million people, making communications difficult.

During this emergency phase, it is too soon for Brethren Disaster Ministries to send in volunteers for repair or rebuilding work. Communities will first need to assess the damage and determine the unmet needs.

Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) is responding to a shelter at the Belk Center Park Recreation Building in Tuscaloosa, Ala. As of this morning there are over 600 residents at the shelter, with probably at least 100 children. Six CDS volunteers are arriving today with more volunteers on standby ready to go as needed. CDS also is monitoring the Missouri tornado and flood situation and has offered services in the Poplar Bluffs area.

Brethren Disaster Ministries staff are monitoring the situation following the tornadoes that plowed through North Carolina on April 16. We plan to have a representative at a meeting of the North Carolica VOAD (Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster) late next week to discuss long-term recovery, including repair and rebuilding work for storm survivors. Staff are also monitoring the other storm and flood ravaged areas across the Midwest and South.

In addition, Brethren Disaster Ministries has been collaborating with Virlina District and Shenandoah District as they get set up to do minor repairs after the Pulaski County, Va., tornadoes that struck on April 8. Volunteers from these districts will begin doing this work next week. As the community establishes a long term recovery group, we may be asked to help with major repairs and rebuilding work.

There was a small tornado that touched down in Lebanon County, Pa. Atlantic Northeast District disaster coordinator Bob Eisemann has contacted Palmyra and Annville Churches of the Brethren to see if they have volunteers to help with cleanup, or anyone affected in the congregations.

Naturally, good-hearted people want to know what they can do. It is stressed that unaffiliated volunteers are not encouraged right now, due to safety issues and damaged infrastructure. It is most helpful to make financial contributions that can be used where they are most needed. Clothing is not being requested. Please do not send clothing or any other material donations that are not specifically requested.

Church World Service (CWS) is appealing for Emergency Clean-Up Buckets to assist flooded homeowners with cleaning and sanitizing their homes. Instructions for assembling the buckets can be found at

The work of Brethren Disaster Ministries may be supported with gifts to the Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120 or give online at

As always, the prayers of the Christian community for the victims and the responders are needed, welcome, and appreciated.

-- Jane Yount is coordinator for Brethren Disaster Ministries.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Brethren Disaster Ministries responds to tornado damage.

Twin tornadoes tore through Pulaski County, Virginia, on April 8, 2011 destroying approximately 69 residences, causing major damage to 183 homes and minor damage to another 171, primarily in the county seat town of Pulaski.

A crew of 10 Brethren volunteers from Virlina District worked with chainsaws on Tuesday, April 12, cutting up fallen trees and clearing debris. The crew was organized by Jim Kropff, disaster coordinator for the district.

Kropff has been in contact with the Southwest Virginia VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) and offered the services of Brethren Disaster Ministries. Any future need for volunteers for cleanup or rebuilding will be made known as the response and recovery progresses. No members of the Pulaski First Church of the Brethren were harmed.

A deadly tornado outbreak on Saturday, April 16, wreaked havoc in seven states and claimed more than 40 lives. North Carolina was the most heavily impacted, with 62 tornadoes destroying 500 homes and damaging more than 1,000 across 15 counties. The American Red Cross reports that some of the hardest hit areas of the Tar Heel state are still inaccessible, and officials say that many more than 1,000 families will be homeless.

Brethren Disaster Ministries continues to monitor reports and potential needs, maintaining close contact with impacted Church of the Brethren districts. The Virlina District, encompassing parts of Virginia and North Carolina, has borne the majority of the serious damage from storms two weekends in a row. Damaging tornadoes this weekend also struck Oklahoma, Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, Virginia, and Maryland.

-Jane Yount, coordinator for BDM and Glenn Kinsel, administrative volunteer

A Report on Bethany Seminary's Board of Trustees meeting.

Bethany Seminary's Board of Trustees held their semi-annual meeting March 25-27, 2011, at the Richmond, Ind., campus. Reports from all areas of the Seminary were received, and several action items were heard and passed, including
  • Personal reflections from board members Rhonda Pittman Gingrich and Lynn Myers on Bethany's role as an academic institution and its relationship to the Church of the Brethren

  • Granted tenure to Steven Schweitzer, Academic Dean, and promoted Dawn Ottoni-Wilhelm to the rank of professor

  • Approved new and continuing leadership for the board: Carol Scheppard, chair; Lynn Myers, vice chair; Marty Farahat, secretary; Lisa Hazen, chair, Academic Affairs Committee; Elaine Gibbel, chair, Institutional Advancement Committee; and Rex Miller, chair, Student and Business Affairs Committee

  • Received and accepted the resignation of trustee Raymond Donadio and appointed Katherine J. Melhorn to complete his term

  • Recognized Michele Firebaugh, chair, Investment Committee, with ten years as a board trustee, and Jim Dodson, chair, Student and Business Affairs Committee, with thirteen years as a board trustee, as they conclude their terms

  • Recognized Marcia Shetler, as she leaves fifteen years of service as director of communications and public relations

  • Received a report from the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership on the launch of Seminario Biblico Anabautista Hispano (SeBAH-CoB) in partnership with the Mennonite Education Agency

  • Approved the proposed budget for 2011-2012, several board policies, Presidential Forum funding, authorization regarding financial accounts, and consultation for the Advancement Department

  • Approved, pending completion of requirements, the 2011 graduating class of twenty, the largest class since Bethany's relocation to Richmond in 1994
More detailed information is available from

Church of the Brethren in Nigeria holds 64th annual meeting

The 64th annual General Church Council (GCC) meeting of Ekklesiyar Yan'uwa a Nigeria (EYN) was held April 12-15, 2011, with the theme of "UNITY." Elections, reports, presentations, and deliberations were on the agenda.

This is the highest decision-making body of the church, and the meeting was expected to have over 1000 participants, comprising all active and retired ministers, one delegate from each of the existing 49 District Church Councils, church group leaders, all Directors, Heads of Programs and Institution, and observers.

The guest preacher of the GCC meeting was Mrs. Suzan Mark, Principal of John Guli Bible School, Michika and Director of EYN National Women Fellowship. Jay Wittmeyer, executive director of Global Mission Partnerships, was a special guest at the event.

-Zakariya Musa, EYN Headquarters, Kwarhi.

Forum of the FBH meets in Ohio

The 2011 Forum of the Fellowship of Brethren Homes (FBH) enjoyed the warm hospitality of the Good Shepherd Home, Fostoria, Ohio, for its annual meeting April 5-7. Representatives from FBH retirement communities, the Church of the Brethren, and the Church of the Brethren Benefit (BBT) Trust gathered to hear presentations by several experts in the field of long-term care and to share updates and best practices from their respective organizations.

Robert E. Alley, the first Annual Conference moderator to attend a FBH Forum, spoke to participants about the long relationship enjoyed by the Church of the Brethren and Brethren retirement communities. Alley highlighted the importance of this ministry through the years to older adults, and shared personal recollections about the beginning of the Bridgewater Retirement Community and his connections with its residents during his ministry career. A tour of the Good Shepherd Home (GSH) campus included their health care, dementia, assisted living, and independent levels of care. Good Shepherd's "Departing with Dignity" service, celebrating the lives of residents at the time of their death, was described by executive director Chris Widman and local funeral director Terrence Hoening. Upon a resident's death, family members, staff, and residents accompany the body, covered by a specially embroidered cloth, to the main entrance of the home where a short service honoring the deceased is held. Two family members whose loved ones were remembered in this manner shared how meaningful the service was for them, and expressed appreciation that their relatives left Good Shepherd through the front entrance, the same one they entered when they moved into the home. Contact Jim Sampson, chaplain, at for more information about this service.

Forum participants also toured HUD Section 202 apartments on the GSH campus and heard a presentation by consultant David Brainin, who described the application process to build and run HUD supportive housing for the elderly. Other presentations related to long-term care included Steve Wermuth, COO, Ohio Department of Health, who addressed national health care reform and older adults; Steve Stanisa, CPA, President, Howard Wershbale and Company, who presented strategies to respond to health care reform; and Karla Dreisbach, Senior Director of Compliance, Friends Services for the Aging, who reviewed the latest compliance regulations. Brethren Benefit Trust sponsored a presentation by Lou Burgess from Front Line Advantage about the importance of quality customer service.

Participants in the 2011 Forum included Chris Widman, Good Shepherd Home, Fostoria, Ohio; John Warner, Brethren Retirement Community, Greenville, Ohio; Carma Wall, The Cedars, McPherson, Kans.; and Vernon King, Cross Keys Village - The Brethren Home Community, New Oxford, Pa. Also, Mike Leiter, Fahrney-Keedy Home and Village, Boonsboro, Md.; Jeff Shireman, Lebanon Valley Brethren Home, Palmyra, Pa.; Ferol Labash, Pinecrest Community, Mt. Morris, Ill.; David Lawrenz, Timbercrest Senior Living Community, North Manchester, Ind.; and Shari McCabe, executive director, Fellowship of Brethren Homes. Additional participants were Nevin Dulabaum and Loyce Borgmann representing Church of the Brethren Benefit Trust; Robert Alley, Jonathan Shively, and Kim Ebersole representing the Church of the Brethren; and Wally Landes, chair of the former Association of Brethren Caregivers board, who led devotions for the group. Good Shepherd staff also contributed to the meeting, from the dining services staff to inspirational music provided by Kevin Gordon and Liz Darnell.

The date and location for the 2012 Forum will be announced at a future date. The Fellowship of Brethren Homes is comprised of 22 retirement communities related to the Church of the Brethren. Members of FBH are committed to providing high quality, loving care for older adults and work together on common challenges such as long-term care needs, uncompensated care, and nurturing relationships with congregations and districts.

-Kim Ebersole, Director of Family Life and Older Adult Ministries and Loyce Borgmann, Client Relations Manager, BBT

Vietnamese and American friends come together in Ho Chi Minh City.

The following refection by David Morrissey was provided by Grace Mishler, program volunteer working on behalf of Global Mission Partnerships in Vietnam.

In March, I had the honor to be invited to visit Vietnam with a diverse group of Americans brought together by Common Cause, the Ford Foundation, and the Aspen Institute. This small delegation spent five days looking at the legacy of the Vietnam War: Agent Orange and its effect on the environment and people. For me, this was an important opportunity to lend a disability rights perspective to these explorations. This was also an exciting opportunity for me to return to Vietnam. In 2006, while in graduate school, I spent the summer living in Ho Chi Minh City working with grassroots disability advocates and conducting a survey of the experiences and outlook among the Vietnamese disabled.

This was my first chance to return to Vietnam since publishing a paper of my research findings, "Voices of Persons with Disabilities in Vietnam," and I hoped that this short visit would be a chance to see my old contacts and supporters and share with them the product of our work together. With the help of friends Grace Mishler and Tran Ba Thien, a lunch was arranged for my first day in the country. I was honored that many old friends and colleagues there came together on a Sunday afternoon.

It was like a reunion, but not only for me to see these friends after five years, but for many of these activists to see each other too. Living in one of the world's largest cities, its motorbike fast pace, where my friends are working hard to advance the status of people with disabilities in Vietnamese society, it can be difficult to connect. In a garden beside the river Saigon, we took the time and did just that, embracing and catching up on our families and work. We went around and everyone shared their current efforts in organizing disability empowerment projects, and later I read them small portions from my paper, the "voices" of their brothers and sisters. The discussion then turned to planning, for these local activists to discuss future meetings, collaborations, and how to build solidarity among Vietnamese with disabilities. I am thrilled that this lunch became the opportunity for new energy and collaboration in the movement.

- David Morrissey is the executive director of the United States International Council on Disabilities (USICD) in Washington, D.C.

A Prayer is offered for all tornado survivors.

This prayer was written by Glenn Kinsel, a long time volunteer for Brethren Disaster Ministries, in response to the devastation created by the recent tornados.

"Dear God and Father of all, help us to fully understand that the struggles of one person become the pain of all, especially for those of us who follow Jesus Christ. Please, God, work in us and through us so that we indeed sense the pain and suffering of all those caught in storms and struggles of this time in our nation and on this planet. In it all, help us to feel pain even as it exists in those whom we know only as storm survivors. May the peace and care of Jesus Christ be felt and shared in the minds and hearts of our great human family everywhere. In the name of the living Christ whom we worship this Easter Season, Amen."

Congregational Life Ministry Fair to be held at Annual Conference.

Some of the events at the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference, Grand Rapids, Mich. July 2-6 are changing and questions have been raised. "What happened to the Congregational Life dinner?" "Is there no Deacon Luncheon this year?" The new Congregational Life Ministry Fair will debut on Monday, July 4. It's designed to expand both of these events. As a 'fair,' this new event will provide the opportunity for participants to move from table to table to talk with others involved or interested in the same ministry areas you are, whether that be deacons, evangelism, children's ministry, older adults, board chair, or many others - a total of fifteen in all. Since most people wear multiple hats in their congregations, we thought it important to allow time for conversation with people in more than one ministry area. Register for the Fair under 'Meal Tickets' as a part of the Annual Conference registration.

-Donna Kline, Director, Deacon Ministries

Early registration for Annual Conference Children's Activities ends on June 6.

Annual Conference experiences always have been fulfilling and exciting for youth and children, and this year is no exception. The Grand Rapids, Michigan, activities include the Public Museum, a West Michigan Food Bank service project, a Ken Medema concert, the Michigan Adventure amusement/waterpark, presenters, crafts, music, and recreation.

All children and youth must be registered for Annual Conference, and early registration (before June 6) for Age Group Activities helps the coordinators plan for the number of participants and is less expensive than registering onsite in Grand Rapids. The advance registration fee is $30 for ages 12-21 (not included in the Annual Conference Registration Fee). Children under 12 are free but do need to be registered to receive a nametag.

Completed Medical Record and Permission Form, appropriate for the age group, are required, to be mailed to Annual Conference, 1451 Dundee Avenue, Elgin, IL, 60120.

Online registration and forms are at

Children's Disaster Services to hold workshops in Hawaii

Children's Disaster Services is partnering with Hawaii State Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (HS VOAD) to provide free workshops to train volunteers to meet the unique needs of children following a disaster. The 30-hour workshops are being held on all major islands. Participants arrive at 5:00 p.m. on day one, sleep overnight in the facility, and leave the second day at about 7:00 p.m. All meals and supplies are provided. Workshops will be held at the following locations:

Oahu, April 25-26, Camp Homelani, Waialua
Kauai, April 28-29, Breath of Life Church, Lihue
Hilo, May 1-2, Location to be announced
Kona, May 4-5, Location to be announced
Maui, May 6-7, Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Kahului

For more information or to register for these workshops contact: Diane L. Reece at (808) 681-1410, Fax: (808) 440-4710, Email:

Children's Disaster Services is a Church of the Brethren ministry working cooperatively with FEMA and the American Red Cross to provide care for children and families following disasters. The program has been meeting the needs of children since 1980. A national network of trained and screened volunteers is maintained, ready to respond whenever a disaster strikes.

Study Papers for Christian Understanding

Five study papers on Christian understanding were written for and presented at the 2010 National Council of Churches (NCC) and Church World Service General Assembly. These papers served as the focus for discussions throughout the Assembly. Church of the Brethren General Secretary Stan Noffsinger describes the papers as "thought-inspiring and provocative resources, which should be made available for each member communion's leadership and congregations."

According to the National Council of Churches, the papers "draw on the common heritage which Christians and their churches share, the richness of which is found in scripture and tradition."

Study guides are being developed to accompany each of these papers. The first of these papers and its accompanying study guide, Christian Understanding of Unity in an Age of Radical Diversity, has been posted on the General Secretary's web page. Brethren pastor and former District Executive Minister Mark Flory-Steury wrote the study guide, and will also write three of the others. Leadership for a second study guide, on War in an Age of Terror[ism], was given by Jordan Blevins, Advocacy Officer and Ecumenical Peace Coordinator for the Church of the Brethren and the National Council of Churches.

Other titles to be made available in the coming months are:
  • "Christian Understanding of Mission in an Age of Interfaith Relations"
  • "Christian Understanding of Creation in an Age of Environmental Crisis"
  • "Christian Understanding of the Economy in an Age of Growing Inequality"
The study guides are designed to give church leadership, pastors, and laity exposure to the broader Christian community's thinking on these topics. They also will be linked from the NCC website, as well as those of other denominations wishing to use them.

Go to to download copies of these documents.

Church of the Brethren provides resources to help end childhood obesity.

The Church of the Brethren is gearing up to end childhood obesity - in a very Brethren way, of course! As we participate in the national Let's Move! Initiative, our efforts will be organized around how we can face this challenge peacefully, simply, together. Each of the next three months you will find new ideas and resources posted at -- check out April's peacefully pages today, and share this information with everyone who cares about the health and future of our children. And be sure to use the link on the page to share your stories with us so we can celebrate our successes together!

-Donna Kline,Director, Deacon Ministries

Brethren bits corrections, job openings, upcoming events and more.
  • Correction - An incomplete telephone number was included in last Newsline for Church World Service staff member Lesley Crosson. The correct number is 212-870-2676

  • Jan Fischer Bachman, website producer for the Church of the Brethren, reports that a technical issue has been resolved that affected some individuals who tried to sign up for e-mail publications. "Our apologies if you wanted to receive messages and have not gotten them until now!" Please contact with questions or for more information.

  • The Youth and Young Adult Office is delighted to announce the assistant coordinators for the 2012 workcamp ministry, Catherine Gong and Rachel Witkovsky. Assistant coordinators serve through BVS in the Elgin office from September-May, planning for summer workcamps. During the summer, they are on the road, leading workcamps for junior highs through young adults. Catherine is graduating from Pennsylvania State University this spring. Rachel is a graduate of Elizabethtown College. Both bring a passion for service and a desire to share this with the youth of our denomination.

  • Lina Dagnew, editorial assistant for the Gather 'Round curriculum, has resigned her position effective May 20. She will return to her home in Ethiopia for the summer and come back to the United States in the fall to attend Harvard Law School. We will miss Lina very much but are proud of her accomplishments and wish her the very best in her future endeavors.

  • The Gather 'Round is seeking an individual to fill a 40-hour-per-week position at their offices in Elgin, IL. Position is available May 16, 2011.

    The editorial assistant supports the editorial and marketing arms of the curriculum project, working closely with the managing editor and project director. He or she proofreads; coordinates contracts and payments for illustrators, designers, writers, and photographers; researches and requests permissions for use of copyrighted material; serves as a liaison to denominational customer service staff and the public; produces spreadsheets and other reports; assembles a monthly e-newsletter; coordinates logistics for writers conferences and other meetings; and performs general office duties. The editorial assistant also maintains and updates the Gather Round website and troubleshoots web download orders.

    For a full position description candidates are invited to request the application packet from:
    Office of Human Resources
    Church of the Brethren
    1451 Dundee Avenue
    Elgin, IL 60120-1694
    Phone: 1-800-323-8039, ext 258

  • The Valley Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center ( invites applications for the position of full-time Executive Director. The successful candidate should have expertise in fundraising, marketing, administration, public relations, volunteer coordination, and interpreting the vision of the Center to the church and community. The Director should be committed to the heritage which Brethren and Mennonites share, especially in the Shenandoah Valley. Salary and benefits as determined by the Board of Directors. Send letter of application, resume, and three recommendations to Beryl H. Brubaker, Chair, Search Committee, 965 Broadview Drive, Harrisonburg, VA, 22802 ( Position open until filled.

  • Church World Service (CWS) is seeking applications for the position of Associate Director Pre-Arrival. This position, located in New York, NY, manages the pre-arrival component of refugee placement and resettlement for CWS. Required qualifications include a college degree in a related field and extensive experience in refugee processing and staff supervision.

    Submit resumes by May 13, 2011, to Church World Service, Attn: Karen de Lopez, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515; or e-mail to; or fax to (574) 266-0087.

    For details on this and other employment opportunities with Church World Service, log on to

  • A statement by the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) called "Protecting Everybody From Torture: Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT) " has been endorsed by Stan Noffsinger, general secretary of the Church of the Brethren. The Statement includes a list of the 51 senior religious leaders who have endorsed the statement. OPCAT is a U.N. Treaty that would help prevent torture around the world. Information on the work of NRCAT is available at

  • Two grants were approved from the Emergency Disaster Fund. An additional allocation of $30,000 for continued work at the Ashland City, Tennessee, work project, established following devastating floods of May 2010. This EDF grant will support BDM's continuing work in Cheatham County and surrounding areas by providing the opportunity to assist in the repair and rebuilding of homes for qualified individuals and families. Funds will be used to underwrite operational expenses related to volunteer support, including housing, food, travel expenses incurred on site, as well as volunteer training, tools and equipment needed for rebuilding and repair. Previous allocations to this project total $25,000.

    Additional funds were provided in the amount of $65,000 for the BDM program at Hurricane Katrina rebuilding site #4 in Chalmette, Louisiana. Since doubling volunteer capacity in the summer of 2008, BDM's monthly expenses have nearly doubled as well. This allocation will help carry the project from January 2011 through its projected closing in June 2011. The funds will continue to assist in the repair and rebuilding of homes, as well as provide volunteer support including travel expenses, leadership training, tools and equipment, and food and housing. Previous allocations to this project total $400,000.

  • Several Church of the Brethren District Disaster Auctions will be held in May to benefit Brethren Disaster Ministries. 31st Annual Mid-Atlantic District Disaster Response Auction will be held on May 7, 2011 at the Carroll County Agricultural Center, Shipley Arena in Westminster, Maryland. 19th Annual Disaster Ministries Auction is scheduled for May 20 & 21 at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

  • Fahrney-Keedy Home & Village, a five-star-rated Continuing Care Retirement Community on a 90-acre campus near Boonsboro, Md., will host a Spring Open House on Saturday, May 14, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. Guests will receive tours of the village, meet the staff and have the opportunity to take a horse-drawn carriage ride through the community. Gourmet refreshments will be provided.

    "We are very excited for our guests to see firsthand the lifestyle at Fahrney-Keedy," said Keith R. Bryan, President/CEO. "They will be very impressed at the full range of retirement opportunities, including single-family homes and apartments, assisted living studios and our highly acclaimed skilled nursing center."

    To RSVP or to obtain additional information, call 301-671-5015 or 301-671-5016 or visit

    Located on Maryland Route 66, Fahrney-Keedy has nearly 180 full- and part-time employees. It serves a resident population of almost 200 women and men in independent living, assisted living and long- and short-term nursing care. Fahrney-Keedy is committed to enhancing the lives of seniors through caring quality service.

  • Jeff Carter, pastor of the Manassas (Va.) Church of the Brethren gave the opening invocation for the US Senate on Thursday, April 7, 2011. He was nominated by Senator Webb of Virginia and accepted as a guest chaplain by Rev. Dr. Black, Chaplain of the US Senate.

  • McPherson College has announced a $1.2 million anonymous gift for their visionary new Transformative Entrepreneurship Minor, available for the first time this fall as an essential part of every field of study.

    A top priority of the process will be to fund a new Director of Entrepreneurship, who will provide direction and guidance for liberal arts and entrepreneurship programming, creating new programs as well as leading those already in existence. Current programs include the Horizon Fund, providing micro-grants of up to $500 to any McPherson College student with an entrepreneurial idea, and the Global Enterprise Challenge, in which students develop sustainable ventures to help in Haiti. The grant also will support faculty training and curriculum development in entrepreneurship.

    The purpose of this program is to allow all students the opportunity to study entrepreneurship within any major. Faculty of all academic areas has ownership in this cross-disciplinary minor. Students' required hours will be divided between core courses on entrepreneurship essentials and selected liberal arts courses.

    McPherson College is a four-year private liberal arts college in central Kansas, associated with the Church of the Brethren, committed to the ideals of scholarship, participation, and service. -- Adam Pracht, Coordinator of development Communications, McPherson College,

  • 2011 Pennsylvania Science Olympiad Finals to be held on the campus of Juniata College, Friday, April 29, 2011, "The 20th anniversary of bringing Science Olympiad to Juniata has meant that we have been able to get the cream of the crop of talented science students from across Pennsylvania," says Ron Pauline, professor emeritus of education and Science Olympiad state tournament site director. "The visiting students can see our campus and consider going here to use our excellent science facilities. Juniata is honored to have hosted the state finals for such a long time and also serve as the site for the national finals in 2004." The students from 70 high schools and middle schools across Pennsylvania will compete across campus at sites such as the von Liebig Center for Science, Knox Stadium, the Kennedy Sports and Recreation Center, and the lawn behind Ellis Hall. The 2011 Science Olympiad begins at 8:30 a.m. and continues throughout the day, ending with an awards ceremony at approximately 4:15 p.m. in the sports center's main gym. More than 1,000 students will compete.

    Science Olympiad is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of science education, increasing student interest in science and recognizing outstanding achievements in science education. Contact: John Wall office: (814) 641-3132 e-mail:

  • Elizabethtown College Theatre presents staged readings of fresh, new, short plays at 8 p.m., Friday, April 29, and Saturday, April 30, in the College's Tempest Theatre. Tickets for the productions, which are open to the public, can be purchased for $4 through the Theatre Box Office by calling 717-361-1170 or sending a request via e-mail to The two nights include a total of 13 readings of plays written or directed by students in the College's Playwriting class. The plays also are directed by students from the College. Contact: Michael Swanson, coordinator of Theatre and Dance, at

  • An Easter Season Spiritual Disciplines folder which coordinates with Sunday worship scriptures of the Brethren bulletin series is being posted on the Springs of Living Water web site at under the Springs button. Entitled "Born Anew to a Living Hope" from I Peter 1:3, the folder has topics for Sunday morning worship and daily scripture readings that build to the next Sunday.

    The insert is an invitation to go deeper in spiritual disciplines according to God's leading. Vince Cable, pastor of the Uniontown Church of the Brethren south of Pittsburgh, has written Bible study questions for individuals or small groups Bible study and they are also on the Springs website.

    The Springs of Living Water Initiative in Church Renewal is in the midst of a study entitled "The Intentional Renewal Pastor." This is an endeavor to explore the challenges, needs and joys of pastors intentionally working on renewal in their congregations. In this study done as a project in the Greenleaf Academy of Servant Leadership, twenty-five pastors working in renewal are being interviewed using a questionnaire on these topics. For more information email David Young at

Newsline is produced by the news services of the Church of the Brethren. Contact the editor at Contributors to this issue of the Church of the Brethren Newsline include Stan Noffsinger, Sue Snyder, Jane Yount, Glenn Kinsel, Jan Fisher Bachman, Nancy Miner, Jeanne Davies, John Wall, Elizabeth Harvey, Adam Pracht, Michael Leiter, and David Young. Kathleen Campanella, director of partner and public relations at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., is serving as guest editor.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Global Food Crisis Fund makes grant to North Korea

A grant has been approved for $50,000 from the Global Food Crisis Fund to assist the Ryongyon Sustainable Community Development Program in North Korea. Now in the eighth year of partnership with Agglobe International, the Ryongyon program of community development presents a countrywide model for sustainable agriculture and provides an opportunity for the Church of the Brethren to work at reconciliation as well as food security. Following a disappointing 2010 crop harvest, this grant will aid in the purchase of seeds, plastic sheeting, and fertilizer. Previous Global Food Crisis Fund allocations to Agglobe for the Ryongyon cooperatives have totaled $360,000.

For more about the work of the Global Food Crisis Fund, go to

Church of the Brethren Credit Union proposes merger

After more than 72 years of serving the Church of the Brethren with savings and loan opportunities, as well as checking accounts and online banking, the Church of the Brethren Credit Union (CoBCU) Board of Directors has unanimously approved a merger proposal with Corporate America Family Credit Union, with an anticipated completion date of June 1.

This decision was necessitated by the impact the economic recession has had on CoBCU and many other credit unions its size. For several years, savings figures at CoBCU have increased, but revenue producing loans have tapered off. Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) has served as the administrator of CoBCU since 2004 and has worked to grow membership and push the credit union toward self-sustainment.

"BBT staff worked tirelessly to grow and solidify CoBCU," said Nevin Dulabaum, BBT president and a 37-year member of the credit union. "While the economic challenges experienced by CoBCU finally made it impossible for BBT to continue serving as CoBCU's administrator, we were determined to help the credit union board find a way to provide enhanced services for CoBCU members. A merger with CAFCU achieves that goal."

After performing a thorough search of potential merger candidates across the country, the CoBCU Board accepted CAFCU's proposal. This decision was based on CAFCU's mission statement, excellent member service track record, familiarity with credit union mergers, financial stability, and its impressive list of products and branch locations.

Once the merger is complete, CoBCU members may access the many financial products and services that CAFCU offers its 60,000 members. In addition to the offerings at CoBCU, Corporate America Family Credit Union also offers several credit cards, mortgages and home equity loans, mobile banking, and a variety of educational tools for members.

In addition to its 20 branches nationwide, CAFCU participates in shared branching, meaning that members can perform banking functions at over 6,500 credit unions across the country. Additional services offered through CAFCU include expanded hours of operation, remote deposit options, BALANCE financial counseling, Fresh Start checking and debit card, Visa credit cards, mortgages and home equity loans, mobile banking, member loyalty program, and auto, homeowners, and pet insurance.

A brief history of CAFCU: One year after the groundwork for Church of the Brethren Credit Union was being established by Brethren employees and a Brethren congregation in Elgin, Ill., another credit union's charter was being finalized. In 1939, 15 employees of Automatic Electric Co. formed the Automatic Credit Union. Once that company was purchased by GTE Corporation, it became GTE Employees Federal Credit Union. To ensure the long-term well-being of the credit union, GTE Employees Credit Union began to expand its charter in the early 1980s in order to diversify its membership. To reflect this strategic change, the credit union adopted Corporate America Federal Credit Union as its name. Since the 1980s, CAFCU has grown to serve nearly 60,000 members, and it has seen its assets grow to $550 million (with $65 million in reserves). When it adopted a state of Illinois charter instead of its previous federal charter in 1997, it adopted the name Corporate America Family Credit Union.

A CoBCU membership meeting will be held on April 29 at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., providing an opportunity to ask questions and vote to support the merger. In the meantime, business will continue as usual at the Church of the Brethren Credit Union.

-- Brethren Benefit Trust provided this release. Questions or requests for more information may be addressed to Lynnae Rodeffer, Connie Sandman, or Jill Olson at 888-832-1383 or More about the Church of the Brethren Credit Union is at

CWS expedites relief to thousands in neglected coastal cities

Tokyo, Japan - Tuesday March 29, 2011 - Nearly three weeks after the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami that devastated the northeastern coast of Japan, humanitarian organization Church World Service reports that the country's domestic resources alone aren't sufficient to deal with the disaster, and there are still thousands who haven't yet received assistance.

From Tokyo, Takeshi Komino, CWS Asia/Pacific's head of emergencies, is coordinating CWS efforts in Japan. Over the weekend, Komino reported that "It is evident that even a very developed country like Japan is not able to cope with its domestic resources only," due to the magnitude of four nearly simultaneous disasters - a 9.0 earthquake, tsunami, nuclear threat, and freezing winter weather in affected areas. . .

Church World Service now is working with local partners in Japan to coordinate emergency relief for about 25,000 individuals sheltered at 100 evacuation sites in Miyagi, Fukushima, Iwate, Ibaragi and Tochigi Prefectures.

CWS's Komino reports that needs are changing rapidly, even as the government copes with the triple challenge of working to restore safety at the damaged nuclear plant, building temporary shelters, and dealing with the half million people living at evacuation sites or visiting daily because they have no resources at home.

Komino credits the government for working hard to meet these challenges, but points out, that the government simply does not "have the human resources to serve the most vulnerable, including people who can't even go to these evacuation sites."

That is where local Japanese partner agencies have a distinct advantage, being "stationed in the field and working with the affected population on a daily basis," he said. Those local agencies will play a key role in finding and filling people's changing needs, Komino said, "much more precisely and faster ... and will enable CWS to target the most vulnerable, including those unable to go to evacuation sites." Excerpt from a news update provided by Lesley Crosson, Church World Service,, (212) 870-267

Steve Gregory to retire as District Executive

Steven W. Gregory has announced his plans to retire as District Executive of the Oregon and Washington District effective September 31, 2011. Gregory began his ministry as district executive on November 1, 1999.

Steven Wendell Gregory was licensed in 1962 and ordained in 1969 at the Lacey (Wash.) Community Church of the Brethren. He is a graduate of La Verne (Calif.) College (now University of La Verne) and received his M.Div. from Bethany Theological Seminary in 1969.

Gregory served as pastor of the Outlook (Wash.) Church of the Brethren from July 1969 to February 1972, pastor of the Ladera Church of the Brethren (Los Angeles, Calif.) from February 1972 to August 1977, campus minister at University of La Verne from August 1977 to August 1989, pastor of the Mountain View Church of the Brethren (Boise, Idaho) from August 1989 to August 1997, and as a member of the Congregational Life Ministries team of the Church of the Brethren General Board (now Mission and Ministry Board) from January 2000 to April 2009, along with his ministry as district executive of the Oregon and Washington District.

The Gregory's plan to continue to live in Wenatchee ,Wash. They look forward to traveling, gardening,refurbishing their Craftsman style house, and volunteering!

Juniata College to test laser-based instruments

Normally, college science researchers work on projects designed to advance our knowledge of chemistry, physics, or biology. But a Juniata College chemist and some student researchers are using a prototype laser instrument to examine materials that could potentially yield breakthroughs in forensic investigations, coal emissions, and even global politics.

The global politics part comes into play as a student researcher, Katrina Shughrue, a senior from New Freedom, Pa., studying chemistry, uses the laser-based instrument to analyze "conflict minerals."

Conflict minerals are rare and precious ores sold by groups in certain nations who use the proceeds to fund civil wars, genocide, or forced labor. Examples are "blood diamonds" from various African nations and materials from mineral-rich Congo, where rebel movements have used these resources to fund conflicts that have fomented genocide, sexual violence, and terror.

Richard Hark, professor of chemistry at Juniata, is collaborating with Applied Spectra, Inc. (ASI), a California-based company, to test a new commercial version of a Laser Induced Breakdown Spectrometer (LIBS). The instrument, called an RT-100, is a completely contained laser system, roughly about the size of a backyard gas barbecue grill, that can be moved easily in areas such as a building or laboratory, but is not designed to be portable in the field. An LIBS instrument uses a laser to atomize a sample of material. The bright spark formed is then analyzed according to its unique light signatures.

"This year and through 2012 our students will put this equipment through its paces," Hark explained. "As we see changes that need to be made we will contact ASI software engineers with suggestions."

Hark is working on three projects that use Applied Spectra's LIBS technology to accurately identify the chemical makeup of various materials. The project with the most far-reaching import may be the conflict minerals project funded by the II-VI Foundation and done in collaboration with scientists at the Smithsonian Institution and ASI. Shughrue and Hark are using LIBS to see if it is possible to identify the location from which conflict minerals originated.

They are examining two specific minerals, tantalite and columbite, both of which are used in the manufacture of capacitors in cell phones, computers, and other consumer electronics. Hark is using LIBS to characterize samples from individual mining sites in the US and around the world. If the LIBS shows that individual samples from different sites have unique "signatures," then it can be used to detect where and when minerals from conflict mines are being sold.

They also are analyzing various types of paper for unique signatures, which can be useful in forensic analysis. Results will be compared to testing using an RT100 at Florida International University. "This type of research is important in forensic science because it demonstrates the validity of the analysis," Hark explained. He said that his work will establish baseline information to determine if the LIBS instrument can be use in the investigative process or if it can be used in the evidentiary process, in a court of law.

A third LIBS project to analyze the ash content of coal is funded by the II-VI Foundation. Ash in coal is a clay-like aggregate within the coal that can cause maintenance problems and production inefficiencies during the burning process. "Using the LIBS instrument to examine coal samples will give us a baseline of information whether we can determine the exact amount of ash content so that in a production operation, 'dirty' coal can be removed," Hark said. "LIBS is very good at real-time analysis, so this work could be important in power plants and other operations."

-- John Wall is director of media relations for Juniata College, a Church of the Brethren-related school in Huntingdon, Pa.

BRETHREN BITS: Remembrances, job openings, Annual Conference Business, upcoming events and more.
  • Louise Garber Holderreed, former Church of the Brethren mission worker in China and India, died March 14, 2011 in Twin Falls, Idaho. While attending Bethany Bible Training School in Chicago, she met Andrew Holderreed who was studying to be a minister. They were married on May 30, 1941, and both graduated the following year in May. Louise and her husband were called to the mission field in China. On February 14, 1947, the family joined 450 other missionaries on a converted troop ship to set out for China. This was a time of great civil turmoil in China, and by April 1949, the American Consul advised all non-essential foreign personnel to leave in order to avoid becoming prisoners of war as General Mao Tse-Chung marched his Red Army across China. Louise and her family escaped in the back of a freight truck and returned to the United States. On Christmas Eve the same year, they boarded a freighter ship and left for India. The family lived in several locations as Andy's assignments changed. After completing 25 years of work in India, Andy and Louise returned to Tacoma, Wash., and began to minister in the Larchmont Church of the Brethren. A memorial service was held for Louise on April 1, at Twin Falls Church of the Brethren. The family suggests memorial contributions to Heifer International or Habitat for Humanity.

  • Position Opening -The Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., seeks a director of Buildings and Grounds, with an application deadline of April 26, 2011, or until the position is filled. Experience should include at least three years of administrative experience in facilities management and at least three years of HVACR, electrical and/or plumbing experience; education Bachelor's degree or equivalent experience. A detailed position description is available from the Church of the Brethren Office of Human Resources, 800-323-8039, Ext. 258, email

  • The Material Resources program, housed at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., has been busy moving shipments of relief goods. Shipments made over the past few weeks include one 40-foot container of hygiene kits, toothpaste, sheets, quilts, and t-shirts to Serbia for International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC); one 40-foot container of school kits to Syria for IOCC; one 40-foot container of quilts and kits to Armenia on behalf of Lutheran World Relief in cooperation with International Relief and Development (IRD); one 40-foot container with baby kits, sewing machines, and books to Yemen for IRD. Several shipments were sent on behalf of Church World Service (CWS): blankets and hygiene kits to Kansas City, Mo., for those affected by the flooding that began in May 2010; blankets, baby kits, school kits, hygiene kits, and 50 clean-up buckets to Appalachian Outreach in Moundsville, W.Va.; blankets and hygiene kits to St. Louis, Mo., and Fresnos, Tex., in response to winter storms; blankets and hygiene kits to Willamantic, Conn., and Brattleboro, Vt., for use by homeless persons in shelters.

  • The Business agenda for the 225th Church of the Brethren Annual Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan, July 2-6, 2011, is now available on the website

    Unfinished Business:
    A Statement of Confession and Commitment
    Query: Language on Same Sex Covenantal Relationships
    Query: Guidelines for Implementation of the Congregational Ethics Paper
    New Business:
    Query: Guidance for Responding to the Changing of the Earth's Climate
    Query: Proper Decorum
  • Gifts for Workcampers: Congregations and individuals are invited to support over 600 youth and adults who will serve as the Body of Christ at Church of the Brethren Workcamps in the summer of 2011, working on service projects throughout the United States and the world. These Christian servants will spend a week of their lives learning about people on the margins, God, service, and themselves, making change in the world through their actions and through their presence. Reflecting the love and support of the Church of the Brethren family, you are invited to give gifts - donations of craft items, cards, bookmarks, or any small item you would be willing to give to enrich their experience - that can be distributed to the participants of each workcamp. By giving to them, you enrich the experience of those who are giving their time to act as the hands and feet of Christ. In order to have the the gifts ready to pack into boxes sent to each workcamp, please send 40 small items by May 1, 2011, to 2011 Church of the Brethren Workcamp Office, 1451 Dundee Avenue, Elgin IL 60120. Bless you for your efforts in blessing others in service and love.

  • Church of the Brethren Christian Citizenship Seminar was held March 26 - 31, 2011 in New York City and Washington, D.C. High school youth gathered to consider how their faith interacts with the food. The Christian Citizenship Seminar (CCS) announcement read, "Since our beginnings, Brethren have been closely related to the agricultural system. While fewer and fewer of us work with the land on a daily basis, we all enjoy the fruits of the labors of those who do because we all eat. As our population (and the US population) continues to increase and shift from rural to urban, it is important to think about where our food comes from, why it comes from that particular place, and how it arrives to us. The number of questions we face about food and faith continue to expand." The youth brought these questions to Capitol Hill, sharing with legislators that the way we use and interact with food is an important part of their faith. "We have a moral obligation, in a time when more are suffering in our world than ever before, to protect and strengthen programs that serve those who are hungry and in a state of poverty, and that seek to alleviate hunger and poverty both domestically and around the world."

  • The board of directors of Fahrney-Keedy Home and Village near Boonsboro, Md., has welcomed a new chair, Joseph Dahms, and two new members, Lerry Fogle and Donna Ritchey Martin. Dahms, of Frederick, Md., was named to the board in 2009. He has been an economics professor at Hood College in Frederick since 1978 where he was chair of the Economics and Business Department from 2004-07, and is a member of Glade Valley Church of the Brethren in Walkersville, Md. Fogle, also of Frederick, served as director of Annual Conference from 2002-09. Ritchey Martin, of Myersville, Md., is pastor of Grossnickle Church of the Brethren along with her husband, Tim.

  • Manchester College is offering 191 high school seniors almost $11.3 million in academic scholarships, according to a release from the school. The students, on track to begin Manchester College careers in the fall, have qualified for four-year scholarships ranging from $50,000 to $64,000. Two will receive full-tuition Honors Scholarships. "We're thrilled to have top students interested in attending Manchester," said Dave McFadden, executive vice president. The college offers a "Triple Guarantee," the release said: financial aid for every student, a degree in four years, and a job or admission to graduate study within six months of graduation. For more visit

  • The first in a series of annual John Kline Lectures during the sesquicentennial commemoration of the Civil War will feature a Church of the Brethren scholar looking at the issue of slavery and the Brethren. Dr. Jeff Bach, director of the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College, will speak on "The UnChristian Negro Slave Trade: Brethren and the Problem of Slavery" at a dinner meeting at 6 p.m. Saturday, April 9, at the Clear Spring Homestead west of Dayton. For tickets, $30 each, call the Linville Creek Church of the Brethren (540-896-5001) or send payment to the John Kline Homestead, PO Box 274, Broadway, Va. 22815. Seating is limited, and reservations are required.

  • Huntingdon, Pa. -- Two local artists are donating 100 hand-made bowls and more than 15 Juniata College students and community members are crafting bowls for hungry diners willing to eat a vast range of hearty soups at an Empty Bowls event to raise money to benefit four Huntingdon County food banks. The Empty Bowls dinner is at 5:00 p.m. Saturday, April 9 in the basement of the Stone Church in Huntingdon. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children under 10. Patrons of the event who have paid the adult price will get not only soup and bread, but also a hand-made ceramic soup bowl from the college's renowned pottery program. Empty Bowls, is a nationwide event designed to focus attention on world hunger. Tickets are available at the information desk in Juniata's Ellis Hall. The dinner will raise funds for the Huntingdon Food Pantry, Mount Union Food Bank, Southern Food Bank, Salvation Army Food Bank and the Mary Alexander Project. For more information contact John Wall e-mail:

  • The Bittersweet Gospel Band will lead an evening of praise at Staunton (Va.) Church of the Brethren on Sunday, April 10, at 4:30 p.m. Pastor Gilbert Romero from Los Angeles, Calif., and pastor Scott Duffey from Staunton, team up to lead worship with a revival atmosphere. More information is at

  • Steve Longenecker, history professor at Bridgewater (Va.) College, will discuss "Shenandoah Anabaptists and the Secession Crisis" at the April 10 Spring Lecture of CrossRoads Valley Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center. The lecture is hosted by Weavers Mennonite Church in Harrisonburg, Va., at 4 p.m. In other news from the center, Ron Wyrick, pastor of Harrisonburg First Church of the Brethren, offers the meditation for the April 24 Easter Sunrise Service held at CrossRoads. The service starts at 6:00 a.m. April 30 is the date of the center's annual Tears and Ashes Bus Tour. The tour will describe how the Civil War impacted each of these places: 1) Breneman-Turner Mill, featuring re-enactors and a demonstration of grinding grain. 2) John Kline House, featuring a John Kline re-enactor. 3) Downtown Harrisonburg, with a choice of a walking tour or the Quilt Museum. 4) Hardesty-Higgins House, featuring the Civil War Room and Turnpike Museum. 5) Widow Pence house and farm, featuring re-enactors. The $70 per person fee includes lunch at Union Station Restaurant in Harrisonburg. Reservation, with payment, should be sent to CrossRoads by April 25. Send to P.O. Box 1563, Harrisonburg, VA 22803. For more information go to or contact or 540-438-1275.

  • Elizabethtown (Pa.) College will present Shirin Ebadi, award-winning human rights activist and Nobel Laureate at the 2011 Ware Lecture on Peacemaking, Thursday, April 14, 7:30 p.m. at Leffler Chapel and Performance Center. Tickets are free but required, via the Ticket Hotline, 717-361-4757.

  • The 10th annual Sounds of the Mountains Festival of Music and Storytelling will be held April 15-16 at Camp Bethel near Fincastle, Va. "This being our 10th year, we're planning our BEST festival ever!" said an announcement. "Notably, Church of the Brethren singer-songwriters Andy and Terry Murray will perform Saturday afternoon, April 16." The festival also features four-time Grammy winner David Holt, master story teller Donald Davis, comedian Andy Offutt Irwin, humorist Suzy Whaples, and the bands the Wright Kids and Clinton Collins and the Creekboys. Check for tickets, schedule, and more information.

  • Earth Day is celebrated on April 22 each year, and the National Council of Churches Eco-Justice program has released its annual worship and education guide for individuals and congregations to use on the Sunday closest to Earth Day. This year the theme centers around community. Related resources are free at

  • Dates for the annual Meat Canning Project of Mid-Atlantic and Southern Pennsylvania Districts are April 25-28 and May 2-3. This is the 34th year for the project, and the goal is to process 67,500 pounds of chicken for hunger and disaster relief.

  • Live Oak (Calif.) Church of the Brethren celebrates 100 years of ministry, May 14-15. The celebration will include music, prayer, praise, and stories about the 100 years. Contact Roland Johnson at 530-695-1709 for more information.

  • Steven J. Schweitzer, academic dean at Bethany Theological Seminary, is the leader for "The Sermon on the Mount: Jesus and the Old Testament," a continuing education event for ministers held in Virlina District on June 4, 9 a.m.- 4 p.m. Roanoke (Va.) Summerdean Church of the Brethren hosts the event. A credit of 0.6 continuing education units is available to ordained ministers. The event is the "Practice of Ministry Day" for the district's Christian Growth Institute. Cost is $25, which includes lunch.

  • On June 12, the Shenandoah District Leadership Team will host a retirement reception in honor of district executive minister Jim Miller and his wife Mary. The event takes place, 3-5 p.m. at Bridgewater (Va.) Church of the Brethren.

  • Brethren Woods Camp and Retreat Center near Keezletown, Va., holds its Spring Festival on April 30, from 7 a.m.-3 p.m. The day's activities help raise money to support Shenandoah District's outdoor ministry program. Activities include a "Dunk the Dunkard Booth," fishing contest, pancake breakfast, craft demonstrations, paddle boat rides, hike-a-thon, children's games, petting zoo, zip line rides, live auction, and other entertainment along with food. More information is at

  • The 38th Annual Brethren Bible Institute of the Brethren Revival Fellowship will be July 24-29 at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College. Nine courses will be taught. Total cost for room, board, and tuition is $200 for the week. Cost for commuting students is $70. Continuing education units are available for ordained ministers. Some courses may apply toward district training programs for licensed ministers. Application forms must be received by June 24. More information is at Call Kenneth Leininger at 717-336-1287 for details.

  • For Palm Sunday, April 17, Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT)
    Colombia has prepared a litany, sermon notes, and bulletin insert
    connecting the passion Jesus faced with the one being suffered by the
    communities that CPT accompanies in Colombia due to the palm oil
    industry. Resources are available at

  • Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) seeks applicants for its Peacemaker Corps. The summer 2011 Peacemaker Corps Training takes place in Chicago, Ill., July 15-Aug. 15. Applicants must have participated in a CPT delegation or equivalent CPT experience before June 2011. Full-time, and part-time positions with stipends are available, especially for the Palestine project, to start as early as Sept. 2011. Mail in Peacemaker Corps applications by May 1 to Christian Peacemaker Teams, P.O. Box 6508, Chicago, IL 60680; or e-mail to Find the application form online at peacemaker. Originally founded as an initiative of the Historic Peace Churches (Church of the Brethren, Mennonites, and Quakers) CPT seeks to enlist the whole church in organized, nonviolent alternatives to war, and places teams of trained peacemakers in regions of lethal conflict.

  • The World Council of Churches (WCC) and church organizations on both sides of the Atlantic have urged NATO to remove all United States nuclear weapons still based in Europe and end their role in the alliance's policy. The 200 or so nuclear weapons involved are "remnants of Cold War strategies" the ecumenical organizations say in joint letters. "NATO should rethink deterrence and security cooperation in Europe" and make good on NATO's new commitment last year to "creating the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons." The letters were sent to the leaders of NATO, the US, and Russia in mid-March by the heads of the WCC, the Conference of European Churches, the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC), and the Canadian Council of Churches. The four organizations acted in anticipation of an important NATO nuclear policy review this year. That review and a NATO summit in 2012 present an "opportunity for change that is long overdue and widely anticipated," the letters say. Read the joint letter at

Newsline is produced by the news services of the Church of the Brethren. Contact Kathleen Campanella, director of partner and public relations at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., is serving as guest editor. Contributors to this issue of the Church of the Brethren Newsline include Jordon Blevins, Karin Krog, Loretta Wolf, Mandy Garcia, Nancy Miner, Carol Fike, Jeri S. Kornegay, Craig Alan Myers, Steve Longenecker and Howard Royer.