Thursday, June 16, 2011

Brethren bits: Correction, remembrance, personnel, Today Show, more.
  • Correction: In the Newsline of June 2, Ron De Weerd’s name was spelled incorrectly in a "Brethren bits" note about a Foods Resource Bank celebration. In another correction to "Brethren bits," in addition to his other accomplishments Wilbur Mullen served on the denominational staff in the area of health and welfare and as director of Brethren Volunteer Service.

  • Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-CayfordMinistry Summer Service interns received orientation at the church’s General Offices in Elgin, Ill., before most of the group went to summer placements in congregations, camps, and on the Youth Peace Travel Team (YPTT): (from left) Mark Dowdy, serving on the YPTT; Todd Eastis, serving at Elizabethtown (Pa.) Church of the Brethren; Ryan Roebuck, Manassas (Va.) Church of the Brethren; Kyle Riege, Palmyra (Pa.) Church of the Brethren; Hunter Keith, Black Rock Church of the Brethren in Glenville, Pa.; Tyler Goss, YPTT; Kay Guyer, YPTT; Sarah Neher, YPTT; Kristen Hoffman, Middlebury (Ind.) Church of the Brethren; Allison Snyder, Hanover (Pa.) Church of the Brethren; Sally Lohr; Katie Furrow, Camp Mardela in Denton, Md.

  • Phyllis Louise Miller, 79, died June 6 at her home in Richmond, Ind. She was the wife of Donald E. Miller, who was general secretary of the Church of the Brethren from Sept. 1986 until he retired in December 1996, and is professor emeritus at Bethany Theological Seminary. Born Oct. 4, 1931, in Dayton, Ohio, to J. Paul and Verda Hershberger Gibbel, she grew up in Hollansburg, Ohio, and attended Manchester College. She taught home economics in public schools in Illinois and Ohio. After she and her husband were married on Aug. 19, 1956, they moved to Chicago where she taught in elementary schools. In 1969 she helped develop and direct a nursery school program related to York Center Church of the Brethren in Lombard, Ill. In 1986 she and her husband moved to Elgin, Ill., and she became deeply engaged in the ministries of Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren. She retired to Richmond, Ind., in 1997, where she was an active member of Richmond Church of the Brethren. Over the years she taught Sunday school and helped coordinate Christian education in congregations. She was one of the initiators of the Global Women’s Project and is regarded as an advocate of women’s leadership in the ecumenical church. Survivors include her husband, daughter Lisa Kathleen Miller (Cyrille Arnould) of Luxembourg, sons Bryan D. Miller of Chicago and Bruce D. Miller (Michelle Ellsworth) of Boulder, Colo., and grandchildren. The funeral was held at Richmond Church of the Brethren on June 12. Memorial contributions are received to the Global Women’s Project and Richmond Church of the Brethren. Condolences may be sent to the family at

  • Amy Buchweitz is serving as Brethren Press summer intern from June 6-Aug. 5. She is a senior at Murray State University in Kentucky.

  • On June 15, NBC’s "Today Show" featured a Brethren Volunteer Service project with Al Roker broadcasting live from the grounds of Casa de Esperanza de los Niños (House of Hope for Children) in Houston, Texas. Patrick and Susan Chapman Starkey, BVS volunteers from Virlina District, are serving there as foster parents.

  • "Peace in Isaiah" is the latest Covenant Bible Study from Brethren Press, written by David A. Leiter, an Old Testament scholar and pastor of Green Tree Church of the Brethren in Oaks, Pa. Explore the eight visions and two songs of peace in Isaiah, in this study meant for small group use. "Isaiah employs messages of peace to move the community forward from despair to hope, from desolation to restoration, from ruin to rebuilding. By taking these same messages seriously, perhaps we can be moved to do those things that will bring a larger sense of peace into our lives and our world," said a review from Brethren Press. The book offers 10 sessions that promote group interaction and open discussion. Order for $7.95 per copy, plus shipping and handling. Call 800-441-3712 or order online at

  • Brethren Volunteer Service workers in Germany attended Kirchentag, a national church festival that took place in Dresden, along with Kristin Flory, coordinator of Brethren Service (Europe). Two BVSers are serving in Germany: Kendra Johnson at Peace Brigades International in Hamburg, and Susan Pracht at Church and Peace in Laufdorf.

  • A "hidden gem" from the Brethren Historical Library and Archives is a new feature at Not many know of a connection between "Peanuts" creator Charles Schultz and the now defunct Brethren Service Center in Modesto, Calif. Schultz moved to California in 1958 where he built his first studio, and during this time he was featured in the junior high magazine "Friends," co-published by the Church of the Brethren. See a rediscovered photograph of Schultz at

  • Bethany Theological Seminary has launched a redesigned website at "Enjoy the crisp, clean looks; larger layout; and improved navigation structure!" said an announcement from Enten Eller, director of electronic communication at the seminary. "While we are proud of our work, we know that it is difficult to capture every single loose end--we'd be glad for your help! If you find a loose end that still needs to be tied up, such as a broken link or a missing photo, or even a missing page, just let us know. Additionally, we're also glad to hear your comments and suggestions as to how we might improve things even more." Send feedback to

  • First Church of the Brethren in the Allison Hill area of Harrisburg, Pa., has become a center for peace concern after the neighborhood suffered a series of incidents of senseless gun violence. In one incident, a 24-year-old man survived being shot seven times on a sidewalk near the church. Reports in the "Patriot-News" have highlighted the way residents are using the church as a home base for restoring community. Find stories at

  • Skyridge Church of the Brethren in Kalamazoo, Mich., kicked off a year-long celebration of its 50th anniversary on Pentecost, June 12 (find the "Kalamazoo Gazette" report at The church also sponsored the annual "Peace Pizzazz" celebration, with the Campaign for a US Department of Peace. The outdoor festival emphasized multicultural acceptance and was made possible by some 100 volunteers and more than 60 organizations, including 12 schools and 10 religious communities. The theme was "Weaving the Golden Rule into Our Lives."

  • Eaton (Ohio) Church of the Brethren collected clean-up buckets for Church World Service in response to the spring’s tornadoes and flooding. The Fellowship Class sponsored the project, holding an Italian dinner to raise funds. Many churches in Southern Ohio District helped purchase items and sent volunteers to assemble the buckets at a "bucket party" in early June. In total 304 buckets were assembled along with cartons of school kits, hygiene kits, and baby kits.

  • Springfield (Ore.) Church of the Brethren is part of a partnership with ShelterCare and Brethren Community Services to create affordable housing. On June 10, they dedicated the new Afiya Apartments for 16 adults with psychiatric disabilities. "Our Springfield Church has once again accomplished an amazing thing for the people of their community," commented Oregon and Washington District executive Steven Gregory in an e-mail note about the event.

  • In honor of Jim Miller’s service as Shenandoah District executive for the past 19 years, the district’s Leadership Team presented him with special gifts at a reception June 12 at Bridgewater (Va.) Church of the Brethren: a desktop sculpture of "The Divine Servant," and the planting of a peace pole in his honor at the district office, at a date later in the summer.

  • Fahrney-Keedy Home and Village ceremonially broke ground recently for its $2.6-million Wastewater Treatment Plant expansion. Fahrney-Keedy is a Brethren retirement community near Boonsboro, Md. Lantz Construction of Winchester, Va., is heading up the project. The groundbreaking included (from left) Charles Wiles, a Fahrney-Keedy resident and Board member; Joe Dahms, Board of Directors chair; Keith Bryan, Fahrney-Keedy President/CEO; William McKinley, member, Washington County Board of Commissioners; State Del. Neil Parrott; Pete Heffern, Lantz Co. project manager; and Partha Tallapragada, senior engineer, Maryland Environmental Service.

  • Elizabethtown (Pa.) College has announced a new partnership with the Wheatland Chorale, which brings the chorale to the college as a resident artistic organization. Established in 1987, the chorale--taking its name from the Wheatland Hills neighborhood of Lancaster, Pa., where founder Robert J. Upton lived--is one of Pennsylvania's premier choral ensembles.

  • Twelve students at the University of La Verne, Calif., have been awarded Summer Service Scholarships and will spend 10 weeks serving at a variety of locations along the Pacific Southwest and Northwest. Each was awarded $3,000 from the scholarship program, funded by the Christian Leadership endowment fund. Students are serving at camps in Oregon, Washington, and California, including Camp Myrtlewood, Camp Koinonia, Camp La Verne, Camp Mariastella, and Camp Oaks, as well as in church communities such as Portland Peace Church of the Brethren and La Verne Church of the Brethren, and in social service organizations such as Pomona Valley Habitat for Humanity.

  • As Bridgewater (Va.) College coaching and teaching legend Harry G.M. "Doc" Jopson celebrates his 100th birthday on June 23, former students and supporters have created an endowed fund in his honor for track and cross country programs. Jopson, who came to Bridgewater in 1936 to head up the biology department, also reinvigorated a defunct track program and founded the cross country program. By the time he retired in 1981, his runners had chalked up two dozen undefeated track seasons and dozens of conference and state championships. Jopson was selected Old Dominion Athletic Conference Track Coach of the Year, 1978-81. The new Jopson Track Endowed Fund now contains more than $25,000.

  • Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) is celebrating 25 years with the help of a benefactor who matched all 25th anniversary donations up to $5,000 this spring, according to a release. "As we celebrate 25 years of disciplined, nonviolent peacemaking, we face the challenge of ensuring the financial foundation to go forward for the next 25 years," said co-director Carol Rose. The release warned that CPT is some $67,000 behind budget projection for the year, despite trimming expenses, and if donations do not increase important projects will be cut. In more news from CPT, "Create Space for Peace" has earned top honors in the second Annual International Book Awards. The book is a collection of experiences and insights from the late Gene Stoltzfus, CPT founding director, and his 40 years of peacemaking. The book made the list of finalists in the 2011 International Book Awards, announced in Los Angeles on May 11 by the JPX Media Group. "Create Space for Peace" was a finalist in the category of Spirituality: Inspirational. For more information go to

  • The next Spiritual Disciplines Folder for the Springs of Living Water Initiative in Church Renewal can be found at for the season after Pentecost, June 13-Aug. 28. "With the coming of the Holy Spirit, the focus of this season is the church’s mission in the world," said an announcement. Vince Cable, pastor of Uniontown Church of the Brethren in Western Pennsylvania District, has created this summer disciplines folder. The Spiritual Disciplines Folder is the basic tool used in the Springs initiative to aid congregations in reading scripture and having prayer together as a body. The folder offers Sunday morning texts, based on the lectionary, and daily scriptures that build up to each Sunday, with the options of an insert inviting participants to take the next step in spiritual disciplines, and a place church name and times of services on the front. At Annual Conference in early July, Joan and David Young and members of the Springs Advisory Committee will be available to talk about the Springs Initiative, and will assist at the Congregational Life Insight Session on Tuesday evening on the topic, "Transformation: Stories of Congregational Vitality and Hope."Contact

  • Escalating violence against civilians in Sudan’s disputed oil-producing state of South Kordofan is leading to a major humanitarian catastrophe, says a release from the World Council of Churches. An estimated 300,000 people are cut off from relief aid and unable to escape fighting, according to aid agencies. Up to 40,000 people have fled fighting between Sudanese government troops and members of the former Sudan People's Liberation Army. The Sudan Council of Churches is calling on the international community and the UN mission to rescue survivors and prevent a return to war. "The people of Sudan as well as the churches in Sudan have committed too much of their lives in the past decades to work for peace to see the region slip into violence again," WCC general secretary Olav Fykse Tveit said. In a Jan. 9 referendum nearly 99 percent of voters in South Sudan chose to secede. On July 9, South Sudan is to formally declare independence and become the world’s newest nation.

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