Friday, July 29, 2011

Brethren Bits: Reflections, Milestones and More
  • What are we to say? Reflections on Annual Conference by Joshua Brockway, director, spiritual life & discipleship

    The Church of the Brethren now holds within it that same paradox-a confession of God's presence and absence. Some mourn the actions of the gathering, still others proclaim victory, and all decry the violence done to another through a threat of death.

    In between lamenting absence and celebrating presence is the question of the ages: What is God working within us in these days? That is the question of a sage to seeker, or a spiritual director to companion. That is the question for us as we consider being the church in the wake of Grand Rapids. The entire essay can be seen at

  • The BVS Summer Orientation Unit 293 met at the New Windsor Service Center from June 12 to July 1, completing their training and eagerly anticipating their next exciting and rewarding BVS adventure. The eleven participants have been assigned to their posts in Europe, Japan, and various locations in the United States.

    The United States assignments are Elizabeth Heiny of Long Beach, Calif., to Casa de Esperanza de los Ninos, Houston, Tex.; Vanessa Jacik of Hamburg, Germany, to Bridgeway in Lakewood, Colo.; Lina Berger of West Salem, Ohio, to San Antonio, Tex., Catholic Worker; Kailynn Clark of Yellow Creek CoB in New Enterprise, Pa., to Brethren Disaster Ministries in New Windsor, Md.; Charles Carney of Kansas City, Kans., to Companion Ministries in Kansas City, Kans.; Andreas Nowottny of Stuttgart, Germany, to Abode Services in Fremont, Calif. Rachel Buller of Comer, Ga., is going to Meeting Ground in Elkton, Md., and then to Asian Rural Institute in Tochigi-ken, Japan And going to Europe are Julianne Funk Deckard of Hickory, N.C., to Small Steps in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovia; Samantha Carwile of Anderson, Ind., CoB to Quaker Cottage in Belfast, Northern Ireland; Courtney Klosterman of Gilbert, Ariz., to Quaker Cottage in Belfast, Northern Ireland; Katarina Eller of Ephrata, Pa., CoB to San Antonio, Tex., Catholic Worker and then to Brot und Rosen in Hamburg, Germany.

  • Pulaski County, Virginia Tornado Recovery: Preparations are well underway to open a tornado recovery project in Pulaski County, Va., later this summer. Brethren Disaster Ministries (BDM) will be engaged in 4 new rebuilds in the towns of Pulaski and Draper. The project is in response to two devastating tornadoes that damaged more than 250 homes and destroyed dozens of others on April 8.

  • Ashland City, Bellevue (Brentwood), Tennessee Flood Recovery. As much as 20 inches of water was dumped on Tennessee over three days in May 2010, submerging thousands of homes in the worst flood in Tennessee history. BDM first opened a rebuilding project based in Ashland City on January 30, 2011. A second project opened the first week of June, with much of the work being done in Bellevue.

  • Emergency Disaster Fund grants $4,000 to Church World Service. In response to flooding in Angola, this grant will support the work of Church World Service in assisting approximately 2,000 families by providing food, supplies for flood cleanup, and seeds and tools to restore farming and self-reliance.

  • Annual Conference Lost and Found: A valuable bracelet was found at Annual Conference in Grand Rapids and was never claimed. The owner can contact the Annual Conference office, describe the bracelet and arrange for its return. 800-323-8039, x229 or

  • Districts holding their annual meetings in August: Southern Plains District Conference is at Roanoke (La.) Church of the Brethren on Aug. 4-6; Western Plains District Conference will be at McPherson (Kan.) Church of the Brethren on Aug. 5-7. Michigan District Conference will be at Winding Creek Wesleyan Conference Center in Hastings, Mich., on Aug. 12-14.

  • Missouri and Arkansas District Conference is at Windermere Conference Center in Roach, Mo., on Sept. 9-10. Three districts will meet on Sept. 16-17: Northern Indiana District Conference at Middlebury (Ind.) Church of the Brethren; Southern Pennsylvania District Conference at Mechanicsburg (Pa.) Church of the Brethren; and West Marva District Conference at Moorefield (W.Va.) Church of the Brethren.

  • Two district conferences take place on the weekend of Sept. 23-25: Oregon and Washington District Conference is at Camp Koinonia in Cle Elum, Wash., on Sept. 23-25; South Central Indiana District Conference will meet at Logansport (Ind.) Church of the Brethren on Sept. 24.

  • Brethren Theological Training Academy in Spain: The Church of the Brethren has had a presence in Spain for at least ten years, and last year several delegations of U.S. Brethren visited Spain to meet with the Brethren there. The church leaders in Spain have formally requested to be recognized by the Church of the Brethren in the United States. Earlier this spring, pastors Fausto Carrasco and Daniel D'Oleo submitted to executive director of Global Mission Partnerships, Jay Wittmeyer, a proposal for theological training. Although formal recognition of the church in Spain has not yet occurred, Wittmeyer has given permission to begin this training program. However, because there has been no formal recognition of these churches, funds were not permitted to be designated to the training program. Jeff Boshart contacted both Brethren World Missions and Brethren Mission Fund (BMF) to see if they would consider jointly sponsoring the first year of theological training for Spain. The expenses for this training for 2011 (for two people) would be $4,200. The BMF committee agreed to contribute a one-time gift of $2,100 toward this work, with the monies being channeled through the Global Mission Partnerships, a ministry of the Mission and Ministry Board of the Church of the Brethren.

  • The World Hunger Auction will be held at the Antioch Church of the Brethren on Saturday, August 13th at 9:30 a.m. The auction includes the sale of crafts, quilts, toys, produce, baked and canned goods, special services and much more. Come early for the best selection. Let the highest bidder win, for doing what we can opens the door for God to do much more. The total amount raised in all the World Hunger Auction events in 2010 totaled $55,254.17 which is approximately $5,000 more than last year. For more information go to

  • West Marva District native interns at the White House. Robby May, of Cumberland, Md., and formerly of Westernport, Md., is interning at the White House this summer in the Office of Public Engagement, responsible for building relationships with advocacy groups and non-governmental organizations. His parents are Diane and Walter May; and Diane is pastor of Westernport (Md.) Church of the Brethren.

    Robby is in his third year of teaching at KIPP Gaston College Preparatory in rural Gaston, N.C., instructing political science, economics, and vocal music. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in social services and secondary education at Frostburg State University and a Master of Science degree in teaching, learning, and curriculum from Drexel University. He believes this summer's internship at the White House has taught him that people are needed in the trenches to work for social justice and "the changes we wish to see" in the world.

  • Church World Service Elkhart Office issued a report of Blanket + donor churches that contributed $3,000 or more to the CWS Blanket + program during the calendar year 2010. Two Virginia churches are listed in the report: Bethlehem Church of the Brethren Boones Mill, Virginia, Donation amount: $7,911.00 Bridgewater Church of the Brethren Bridgewater, Virginia, Donation amount: $5,110.00

    Church World Service Blankets + and Kits programs are critical aspects of the immediate relief that disaster victims need. The contributions made by the participating congregations enable CWS to extend a blanket of warmth and protection to victims of disaster at home and abroad.

  • A Special Milestone: Marie Frantz, a member of the Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren in Ft. Wayne, Indiana celebrates her 100th birthday on August 7, 2011.

  • Song & Story Fest could be described as one of the best kept secrets of the Church of the Brethren. The event held on June 26 - July 2, 2011, marked the 15th Annual Song & Story Fest and the first time held in the great state of Michigan. Song and Story Fest, sponsored by On Earth Peace is an intergenerational family camp for those who enjoy a wide variety of musical styles and storytelling as part of their spiritual worship and growth. Next year's annual fest will be held July 1 -7, 2012. At this time, the site has not yet been determined.

  • Bridgewater College Receives Disc Golf Course as Alumni Gift. Teed off at your golf performance? If so, say bye-bye to the traditional birdie and join Bridgewater College on July 30 when it completes its new 9-basket course for disc golf - also known as Frisbee golf. In the morning hours of July 30, Bridgewater students and faculty will assemble the disc baskets at each hole. The course should be open for play in the afternoon.

    The course was donated to Bridgewater College by members of the class of 2010. Class president Zack Guida of Bristol, R.I., said the idea to create a disc golf course at the college grew out of a pastime in which he and other students would throw Frisbees at random objects, which substituted for baskets.

    The class of 2010 supported the idea with donations, and Bridgewater College faculty and staff helped push the project through the administrative process with the town of Bridgewater. Guida noted that the course is open to the public as well as the campus community.

  • "If you love teaching, this is the best place you can possibly teach," says John Deal, assistant professor of economics at Manchester College. Praise from Deal and other faculty and staff members helped convince The Chronicle of Higher Education to place Manchester on its "Honor Roll of 2011 Great Colleges to Work For."

    The Honor Roll, in The Chronicle, is based on a survey of nearly 44,000 employees at 310 colleges and universities. Only 42 of The Chronicle's 2011 Great Colleges made the Honor Roll. Manchester receives high marks from its faculty and staff in six areas.

    This is Manchester's second year on The Chronicle's "Great Colleges to Work For" roster in the tenure category. "You know exactly what they are looking for so nothing comes as a surprise," said Deal, who achieved tenure status this spring.

  • Students and two recent graduates from Manchester College will create an economic index to help Wabash County woo business and industry. The start-up project - underwritten by a $16,000 grant from Ball Brothers Foundation Venture Fund - will serve as a model for other rural areas, said John Deal, chair of the College's economics program. The full news release with links at:

  • Manchester College is a leader among the nation's colleges and universities for its volunteerism, service learning and civic engagement. For the fifth year in a row, the school is on the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. Link to the story on the website:

  • Fahrney-Keedy Home and Village near Boonsboro, Md., hosts its seventh Annual Summer Festival on Saturday, Aug. 6, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The family fun includes children's games, face painting, a petting zoo, inflatable's play area, arts and crafts vendors, a magician, and a food and bake sale. For more information contact Kathy Neville, festival chair, at 301-671-5005, or go to

  • A Youth and Young Adults Peace Retreat is offered at Camp Mount Hermon near Tonganoxie, Kan., in Western Plains District on Aug. 12-14. Download a brochure at or contact the District Office at 620-241-4240 The event is billed as a historic Peace Retreat with leadership from staff of On Earth Peace and Bethany Theological Seminary. It is being created along the lines of the original Peace Institute led by Dan West on June 24-July 4, 1948. During this time, the youth, with the help of their leaders, built the fireplace in the dining hall of the camp, along with the bell tower. It is sponsored by the Western Plains District Witness Commission.

  • The 100th Anniversary celebration for Schoolfield Church of the Brethren in Danville, Va., will be Aug. 13-14. During a portion of its history, the congregation's name was changed to Danville, First Church of the Brethren. At the 2009 Virlina District Conference, approval was given for the name Schoolfield to once again be used. Celebration activities include a cookout on Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. for members, former members, friends, and the district. On Sunday morning, worship at 10 a.m. will feature a message from Curtis English, pastor of the Danville, Emmanuel Church, and David K. Shumate will bring words of greeting and reflection from Virlina District. A covered dish meal will follow.

  • Peace Covenant Church of the Brethren in Durham, N.C., will celebrate its new congregational status with special services on Sunday, Aug. 21. Bob Gross of On Earth Peace will be the keynote speaker for both the 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. services.

  • An all-day Fall Foliage and Mother Churches Bus Tour is scheduled in Virlina District on Oct. 15. Tickets are $40, thanks to contributors to a matching gift challenge. The history tales of district executive David Shumate and reports at the six stops will be recorded by videographer David Sollenberger. A copy of the DVD will be made available to each participant. Copies will be for sale later via the District Resource Center. Mother churches highlighted on the tour: Peters Creek in Roanoke, Va.; Daleville in Botetourt County; Topeco in Floyd County; Spruce Run in West Virginia; Fraternity in North Carolina; and Germantown Brick in Franklin County. Ticket purchases may be made through the District Resource Center 540-362-1816 or 800-847-5462.

  • Heritage Fair 30th Anniversary: It's not too early to start planning for Heritage Fair on Saturday, September 24, reports Camp Blue Diamond. It is the hope that all 55 churches of Middle Pennsylvania District will participate in some way as the camp celebrates the 30th anniversary of its annual fair. The emphasis will be on Brethren heritage. The Heritage Fair proceeds support the ministries of Middle Pennsylvania District and Camp Blue Diamond.

  • The Campaign ... a nationwide effort enabling millions of gardeners nationwide to donate excess garden produce to a local food pantry. More than 4,000 food pantries can now receive fresh produce from local growers. However, there are more than 33,500 food pantries in America, so many are still missing the opportunity. Gardeners across America are now harvesting food from their gardens and many are donating to pantries, but many more are not yet able to donate to a local pantry.

    While food pantries nationwide are begging for help, gardeners nationwide are looking to help a pantry. can bring them together... but only if the food pantry is listed in the registry. wants to share this information with all of the food pantries/shelves/closets/cupboards/banks. Register

No comments: