Monday, May 16, 2011

Brethren bits: Annual Conference birthdays, personnel, bookstore reminder, CPS website, more.
  • The three Annual Conference officers for 2011 all have birthdays this month--and moderator-elect Tim Harvey is using this unusual occasion as a call for prayers of celebration. He and Conference secretary Fred W. Swartz share a birthday on May 27, and moderator Robert E. Alley’s birthday is May 25.

  • Michael Colvin has resigned from On Earth Peace, effective May 18. Since May 2008, he has worked as a full or three-quarter time volunteer in key organizational roles, including coordinating the International Day of Prayer for Peace (IDPP) campaign and providing web design and maintenance. With Colvin's undergirding service, On Earth Peace's IDPP campaign has emerged as an offering of global reach, and a gateway through which hundreds of community groups partner with On Earth Peace each year. He was also central in the early development of the Change for Peace program. He is moving on to greater involvement with local activism in Portland, Ore., an expanding web consulting business, and preparations for his June 4 wedding to Susan Shepard.

  • Dawna Welch began May 1 as youth advisor for Pacific Southwest District. She is a licensed minister in the Training in Ministry (TRIM) program, and for the past seven years has been director of the Children and Young Families Ministries at La Verne (Calif.) Church of the Brethren. In her work for the district, she will be establishing a District Youth Cabinet and helping organize junior and senior high events.

  • On July 11, Virginia Harness will begin a one-year internship in the Brethren Historical Library and Archives. She is completing a bachelor’s degree at St. John’s College in Annapolis, Md., and carried out an internship with Lost Towns Project in Annapolis. She also has worked as an archaeology intern in both the field and laboratory. She and her family are Church of the Brethren members, most recently from Kansas, and now from Lynchburg, Va.

  • Brethren Press reminds those planning to attend Annual Conference 2011 to "remember your tax exempt letters for bookstore purchases." Tax exempt purchases for church congregations at the Conference bookstore will require an accompanying tax exempt letter from the congregation. A copy of this letter can be left with Brethren Press and will cover purchases for the week. In addition to the letter, the state of Michigan requires a short form to be filled out for each purchase. Brethren Press will have a supply of short forms at the registers and encourages churches to consolidate their purchases to cut down on paperwork. Purchases that do not follow these guidelines will be subject to sales tax.

  • The new website for Civilian Public Service (CPS) has been launched and is now live at The launch took place May 15 at a 70th anniversary celebration of the first CPS camp opening at Patapsco Camp, now in Patapsco Valley State Park near Relay, Md. On the program were speakers Edward Orser, a historian who has examined the Patapsco Camp; Cassandra Costley of the Selective Service; J.E. McNeil from the Center on Conscience and War; and John Lapp, former director of Mennonite Central Committee; among others.

  • May 17-19, 2012, are the dates for the next New Church Development Conference, to be held in Richmond, Ind., on the theme "Plant Generously, Reap Bountifully." The event is for church planters, core teams, committees, district leaders, and established congregations called to support new church development. Keynote leaders will be Tom Johnston and Mike Chong Perkinson of Praxis Ministries. Worship, prayer, workshops, and networking are key features of the event. Sponsored by the Church of the Brethren New Church Development Advisory Committee and Congregational Life Ministries and hosted by Bethany Theological Seminary.

  • On Memorial Day weekend, Brethren young adults will gather for the 2011 Young Adult Conference at Camp Inspiration Hills near Burbank, Ohio. The event takes place May 28-30 on the theme, "Re: Thinking Church" (Acts 2:1-4). For information go to

  • The Church of the Brethren is joining in the national "Let’s Move!" initiative to end childhood obesity. The emphasis for May "is all about simplicity, an important concept whenever we consider changing long-ingrained habits," said a note from Donna Kline of the Congregational Life Ministries staff. Learn more about all aspects of the program at "And then share this information with everyone who cares about the health and future of our children," Kline said in an announcement. "Be sure to use the link on the page to share your stories with us so we can celebrate our successes together!"

  • York Center Church of the Brethren in Lombard, Ill., is now hosting the new Chicago area office of Heifer International.

  • Codorus Church of the Brethren in Dallastown, Pa., was damaged last week when a seed planter broke loose on a nearby farm and rolled through the wall of the church. The York (Pa.) Daily Record reported on May 13 that farmer Dan Innerst was planting soybeans when the hitch on his tractor broke and his grain drill swung free and began rolling down a sloping field, coming to rest in the junior and senior high Sunday school classrooms of the church. No one was hurt, but a crew from the fire company and area rescue squads worked on the building to shore up the roof. Read the story at and see a video from WGAL Channel 8 at

  • Olympic View (Wash.) Community Church will reach out internationally when Lily Ghebral becomes an Ambassador of Goodwill, traveling to Iran with filmmaker Abdi Sami. She is a senior at Lakeside School in Seattle. The Oregon/Washington District newsletter quoted her comment from the church newsletter: "I believe that this trip will help me develop a deeper understanding of Iran and Muslim culture, but also help me represent Americans in a positive light."

  • The historic First Church of the Brethren in Chicago needs some $100,000 to repair its roof, according to the Illinois and Wisconsin District newsletter. The church building served for many years as home congregation for Bethany Theological Seminary when it was on the west side of Chicago, and also provided office space for Martin Luther King Jr. during a period when he worked in the city. "The majestic trusses that lift the sanctuary roof have rotted out at the point where they meet the pillars," said the newsletter.

  • Olathe (Kan.) Church of the Brethren successfully planned a surprise celebration on April 9 for Truman and Retta Reinoehl, for 45 years of service in ministry in the Church of the Brethren.

  • World Hunger Auction events began in Virlina District on May 1 with a six-mile Hunger Walk starting and ending at Antioch Church of the Church. Events continued May 14 with a bike ride through the mountains and valleys of Franklin and Floyd Counties. A golf tournament on May 25 will take place at Mariner's Landing Golf and Country Club. An organ and vocal concert on June 19 at 4 p.m. at Antioch Church of the Brethren will feature organist Jonathan Emmons joined by a vocal quartet. The World Hunger Auction itself will be Aug. 13 at the Antioch Church. For more information go to

  • Steven J. Schweitzer, academic dean at Bethany Theological Seminary, is leading a "Practice of Ministry" day in Virlina District on June 4. "The Sermon on the Mount: Jesus and the Old Testament" will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Summerdean Church of the Brethren. A .6 continuing education credit is available to ordained ministers. Cost is $25, which includes lunch.

  • Retiring Elizabethtown (Pa.) College president Theodore E. Long will offer the final address of his presidency during the college's 108th commencement on May 21, beginning at 11 a.m. Approximately 500 undergraduate and graduate students will have met the requirements to receive their diplomas. The event will be held on the lawn in front of the Alpha Administration Building. Long also will receive an honorary degree, and has been granted emeritus status by the college board of trustees. On April 29, a new Steinway D grand piano appeared in the college's Leffler Chapel and Performance Center, given by the trustees in appreciation for his 15 years of service as Elizabethtown president.

  • Commencement at Manchester College in N. Manchester, Ind., will include awarding of an honorary degree to alumna Janis Johnston of Oak Park, Ill., a family psychologist and philanthropist. She will speak for commencement on May 22, when 201 students are to receive degrees. Baccalaureate services begin at 11 a.m. in Cordier Auditorium; commencement begins at 2:30 p.m. in the Physical Education and Recreation Center.

  • Two of the Manchester students graduating this May are recipients of Fulbright grants, including Brethren member Katy McFadden. She is a member of Creekside Church of the Brethren in Elkhart, Ind. Of Manchester College’s 28 Fulbright recipients through the years, 13 (46 percent) have been members of the Church of the Brethren. This represents more Fulbrights per student than at any other Indiana college or university, according to a release from the college. McFadden will spend a year teaching English in Indonesia.

  • Four students at Bridgewater (Va.) College have been awarded Summer Christian Experience Scholarships and will spend 10 weeks working at church-related camps. Each student was awarded $2,750 from the scholarship program, which is funded by the college endowment fund. Receiving the scholarship are: Abram Rittenhouse of Green Bank, W.Va., who will serve at Brethren Woods in Keezletown, Va.; Jennifer Stacy of Inman, S.C., who will serve at Camp Bethel in Fincastle, Va.; Whitney Fitzgerald of Lexington, Va., who will serve at Shepherd’s Spring in Sharpsburg, Md.; and Amanda A. Hahn of Culpeper, Va., who also will serve at Shepherd’s Spring.

  • The Family Abuse Center in Waco, Texas, honored Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) with an award for "Volunteer Group of the Year." The center, led by former Church of the Brethren associate general secretary Kathy Reid, has been providing a safe haven for victims of domestic violence in Waco since 1980. It provides services to more than 600 victims each year as well as prevention efforts through education, intervention, and outreach to a service area that includes seven central Texas counties. BVS director Dan McFadden visited the center to receive the award in person.

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