Thursday, June 30, 2011

Brethren bits: Personnel, job openings, college news, more.
  • About a dozen denominational staff, family members, and friends have bicycled from Elgin, Ill.--location of the Church of the Brethren General Offices--to Grand Rapids, Mich., to attend Annual Conference. The two-day bike trip took a route via Milwaukee, Wis., and the ferry across Lake Michigan, arriving in Grand Rapids on Wednesday, June 29. The bicyclers included Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) president Nevin Dulabaum and one of his daughters, along with Randy Miller, Becky Ullom, LeAnn Wine, Debbie Noffsinger, Anna Emrick, Scott Douglas, John Carroll, Joe Liu, and Jeff Lennard, among others.

  • The New Windsor (Md.) Conference Center is welcoming back Ed and Betty Runion, of Markle, Ind., as hosts of Windsor Hall for the months of July, August, and September.

  • The Brethren Disaster Ministries office at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., is welcoming Kailynn Clark, who is beginning a one-year term with Brethren Volunteer Service.

  • Bethany Theological Seminary seeks a full-time executive assistant to the president, with application date of July 15 or until the position is filled. Candidates should have strong organizational abilities, good interpersonal and communication skills, knowledge of office technology, and attentiveness to detail. A bachelor's degree, equivalent experience, and knowledge of the Church of the Brethren are preferred. A letter of application and resume should be sent to Executive Assistant Search, Bethany Theological Seminary, 615 National Road West, Richmond, IN 47374. A detailed position description, including list of responsibilities, is available by calling 800-287-8822 ext. 1803.

  • Oregon and Washington District seeks a district executive to serve a one-quarter-time position (12-15 hours per week) available Jan. l, 2012. The district includes 12 congregations located in Washington and four in Oregon. The preferred candidate demonstrates strong administration and communication skills, initiative, adaptability, and capacity to give oversight to district work. Location of the district office is negotiable. Responsibilities include to serve as executive officer of the District Board, oversee major administrative tasks of the district, represent the district in denominational and ecumenical events/circles/gatherings, facilitate the district's role in oversight of ministerial leadership working with area ministers and the ministry commission, facilitate the planning of district board meetings and district conference, facilitate the fiscal management of the district in collaboration with the district treasurer and stewardship commission. Qualifications include a clear commitment to Jesus Christ demonstrated by a vibrant spiritual life; commitment to Church of the Brethren faith, heritage, and values; membership in a Church of the Brethren congregation; demonstrated organizational and administrative skills; communication and interpersonal skills; computer/technology skills; four-year college degree or equivalent required; minimum of four years of experience in executive or supervisory positions in social service, non-profit, or ecclesiastical settings. Apply by sending a letter of interest and a resume via e-mail to Applicants are requested to contact three or four people who are willing to provide a letter of reference. Upon receipt of a resume, a candidate profile will be sent that must be completed and returned before the application is considered complete. The application deadline is Aug. 26.

  • Wakeman's Grove Church of the Brethren in Shenandoah District is hosting a special evening with Pamela Dirting, who will speak about her Brethren Volunteer Service experience in Ireland. The church's youth band will perform and a bonfire is planned afterward. The program will begin at 7 p.m. on July 9.

  • Construction has begun on Manchester College's new Pharmacy School, located near Dupont Road and Interstate 69 on the north side of Fort Wayne, Ind. The two-story building will be approximately 75,000 square feet and will house classrooms, offices, laboratories, student meeting spaces, and more, according to Manchester president Jo Young Switzer in her June newsletter. The groundbreaking will take place at 11 a.m. on Aug. 4 at the intersection of Dupont and Diebold Roads. The "ambitious" construction timetable calls for the building to open mid-summer 2012.

  • Manchester College also is constructing a $9.1 million Academic Center on its campus in North Manchester, Ind. Construction is well under way to prepare the building for students in August 2012, according to a release. In addition to 16 classrooms, the Academic Center will house faculty offices, study lounges, conference rooms, a small lecture auditorium, a peace studies library, and areas for language study, psychology research, video editing and accounting multi-media. Departments that will find permanent homes in the Academic Center include accounting and business, communication studies, economics, education, English, finance, history and political science, management, marketing, modern languages, peace studies, psychology, religion and philosophy, sociology and social work. The three-story Academic Center also will house computer labs, research labs, an atrium and café, and a Welcome Center for admissions. Find the full story at

  • Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., has begun a new partnership with Pennsylvania Highlands Community College for a Joint Enrollment Program for high school students interested in reducing their costs for a four-year bachelor's degree. According to a release, the program gives students the opportunity to earn an associate's degree at Penn Highlands and then transfer to Juniata to complete a bachelor's degree. The new program is specifically designed for students seeking a pathway to a four-year degree but who need a less expensive alternative for the first two years of study. The "2+2" plan is expected to apply to all of Juniata's academic programs (including business administration and accounting) except biology and chemistry. The two institutions finalized the agreement May 23.

  • Thirteen Brethren joined a New Community Project (NCP) tour to the Ecuadorian Amazon in mid-June, according to a release. The group spent four days in the rainforest guided by Delio, leader of the Siona people and an expert in traditional medicine. In a special ceremony, Delio presented NCP director David Radcliff with a hand-hewn canoe paddle to recognize NCP's seven years of visits to the rainforest and its advocacy efforts in the US for the Amazon and its people. The delegation also toured a 137-acre parcel of forest being preserved by NCP, as well as oil processing centers discharging petroleum waste into Amazon waterways. In other news from NCP, in South Sudan solidarity workers are spending the summer in Nimule for the fifth year in a row. NCP has recently forwarded $10,000 in assistance to partners in South Sudan for girls' education, women's development, and reforestation, making a total of $25,000 in aid thus far in 2011. For more go to or contact

  • Heeding God's Call "continues to grow its unique faith-based and grassroots campaign to prevent gun violence," according to a release from the organization that was begun in Philadelphia during a Historic Peace Church conference held under the same name in Jan. 2009. This year, in addition to holding regular bi-weekly vigils in two Philadelphia neighborhoods, in April the organization and its Northwest Philadelphia chapter, "Neighborhood Partners to End Gun Violence" (NPEG), hosted a Good Friday ecumenical service next to Delia's Gun Shop. "The service drew 250 people of faith to worship, sing, pray, and call on Delia's to adopt Heeding's Code of Conduct. The next morning, Holy Saturday, another 60 faithful braved a rain storm to join in worship in the parking lot of a church in Philadelphia's Burholme/Fox Chase section and then march to Mike & Kate's Sport Shoppe where they held a brief ecumenical service," said a release. There are now Heeding God's Call chapters in Harrisburg, Pa.; Baltimore, Md.; Washington, D.C.; and Columbus, Ohio, working on their own actions to encourage gun shops to follow guidelines aimed at preventing gun violence on the streets of America's cities. Go to

  • An Ample Harvest campaign connected with the National Council of Churches is inviting congregations and church members across the US to join in making donations of excess produce from community gardens to local food pantries. The effort "is a new form of charitable giving and provides a way to care for God's people by sharing the extra food they grow," said an invitation from the organizers. "We believe with the help of the Church of the Brethren many more food pantries will benefit from donations made by local gardeners." Churches are being encouraged to help local food pantries become registered for free (no fee is involved) at the coordinating website, then to urge people in the community to post at garden shops and nurseries. Resources for church leaders are available at A flier to help gardeners understand how to donate excess produce to food pantries is at and is appropriate for church bulletin boards.

  • The National Council of Churches (NCC) Interfaith Relations Commission seeks nominees for "Interfaith Engaged Congregations" to recognize congregations that engage with communities of other faiths. The Interfaith Engaged Congregational Initiative is receiving nominations for congregations that "have something important to share about interfaith engagement." To receive this recognition, a congregation must be affiliated with a member communion of the NCC, such as the Church of the Brethren; by Sept. 1 complete the nomination form and a two-page essay; submit at least three letters of support, one from the congregation's regional or national church structure, and at least two from recognized leaders of other faith communities; agree to be listed as a mentoring congregation for three years, and be available to provide advice about nurturing interfaith relations in a congregational setting. Find information at

  • The silence of the international community to the plight of millions of North Koreans facing starvation and severe malnutrition was of deep concern to the members of an ecumenical forum for peace and reunification of the Korean Peninsula, which met June 16-19 in Nanjing, China. A release from the World Council of Churches reports that the group, the steering committee of the Ecumenical Forum for Peace, Reconciliation, Reunification, and Development in the Korean Peninsula (EFK), called on churches and the ecumenical community to advocate and lobby governments, the United Nations, and the European Union to end the strategy of using food as a political weapon to isolate the North Korean government and cause its downfall. Despite being the major donors of food aid to North Korea during the severe food crises following the famine of the 1990s, the US and South Korea have both withdrawn their food aid and imposed sanctions in response to North Korea's policy of developing nuclear weapons and its recent military activities. "Christians in South Korea are firmly committed to support food aid to our brothers and sisters in the North who are faced with starvation," said Kim Young Ju, general secretary of the National Council of Churches in Korea, in the release. Recently the council sent a shipment of 172 tons of food to North Korea with the financial support of the EFK and South Korean churches, despite a government order prohibiting any civil society and religious organizations from supporting people in North Korea. "Even though the South Korean government is prohibiting us from sending food aid to North Korea, we will follow only the order of Jesus Christ, who taught us to love our suffering neighbours," said Ju.

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