Thursday, August 25, 2011

Newsline: August 25, 2011

Sept. 11 resources available

The Church of the Brethren has prepared worship and study resources to help congregations reflect on the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Three study guides that can be used individually or as a series have been written by staff members Josh Brockway and Jordan Blevins. They are accompanied by a guide for interfaith dialog and a bibliography of books and other study materials.

The worship resources have been written by Chris Montgomery, pastor of the Drexel Hill (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, and Brockway.

The resources are posted on the Church of the Brethren website under the theme "The way of peace," from Luke 1:78-79-the same theme used for resources posted 10 years ago.

New Church of the Brethren staff structure announced

Church of the Brethren general secretary Stan Noffsinger has unveiled a new management structure for denominational staff. The changes respond to a strategic plan approved last fall by the Mission and Ministry Board, and are a first step toward a significant budget reduction for 2012.

The board held off on reducing the Core Ministries budget during the past two years so it could complete its work on the strategic plan. The parameter approved for the 2012 budget is $638,000 lower than the 2011 budget. Those reductions will include employee layoffs, which will be announced at the end of September.

The gap is caused by a combination of declining contributions from congregations and individuals, and increasing costs for health insurance and other expenses. Employee pay, which was frozen in 2010 and 2011, will have a cost-of-living increase of 3 percent in 2012.

The new organizational chart streamlines the executive structure from eight people to five (the general secretary, an associate general secretary, and three executive directors). The three executive areas are Global Mission and Service, Congregational Life, and Organizational Services. The chart depicts the new structure, but does not yet indicate staffing levels.

BBT continues to maintain investment-grade holdings, despite U.S. credit rating downgrade

In the wake of Standard & Poor's downgrade of the U.S.' credit rating in early August, Church of the Brethren Benefit Trust sent a letter to Pension Plan members and Foundation clients assuring them that their investments continue to be in higher-rated securities, and that the portfolios are being carefully monitored during these uncertain times.

The Investment Guidelines - documents that outline the duties and regulations that BBT expects its investment managers to fulfill - state that all bond funds, except the High Yield Bond Fund, shall invest in securities that are investment-grade (the credit rating is BBB- or higher by Standard & Poor's or Baa3 or higher by Moody's). An investment-grade bond possesses a strong capacity to meet its financial commitment. The Aug. 12 letter notes, "Despite S&P's actions, our investment managers continue to be in compliance with our Investment Guidelines and our holdings maintain investment-grade status."

The release provided an overview of the investment manager review process that BBT staff members and their consultants undertake each quarter, which includes verification that investment managers are adhering to BBT's and BFI's Investment Guidelines.

"Investment Guidelines are designed to protect the assets of our members and clients, especially during these stressful times," the letter states. "We maintain well-diversified portfolios with the goal of insulating the portfolios from the effects of substantial losses in any single security or sector of the market. Policies and procedures designed to oversee the execution of Investment Guidelines are ensuring efforts to properly fulfill our fiduciary responsibility in the management of these assets, and we will take appropriate action as necessary."

Brethren Pension Plan members should contact Scott Douglas, director, with any questions they have about their investment allocations. Steve Mason, director of BFI, can be contacted by clients who have accounts with Brethren Foundation.

Visit\news to read the letters sent to BBT members and BFI clients.

Brethren Disaster Ministries reports on East Coast earthquake

The Brethren Service Center (BSC) in New Windsor, Md. was slightly shaken but not damaged by the 5.8 earthquake centered in Virginia at 1:51 p.m. on August 23. BSC employees headed for safety in doorways as buildings on campus shook and the ground rumbled for several seconds.

Shortly after the incident, upon learning that the epicenter was located in central Virginia, Brethren Disaster Ministries (BDM) staff in New Windsor called the Virlina and Shenandoah District offices in Virginia to check on their wellbeing. Staff at both locations indicated that they felt the tremors fairly strongly but were unharmed.

Sandy Kinsey, administrative assistant for the Shenandoah District, reported that there is damage in Charlottesville, about 27 mi. west of the epicenter. BDM has offered assistance with any needs that arise as a result of the disaster.

BDM staff also spoke with project leaders at the Pulaski, Va. tornado recovery project and was assured that everyone there was alright.

Zach Wolgemuth, BDM associate director, was on a conference call with FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) when the quake hit. FEMA personnel in Washington, DC "dropped off the line only to return a few minutes later and inform us they needed to evacuate," he said.

Minister's Association Officers annual fall retreat held

The Minister's Association met in Elgin August 10-11, for their annual fall retreat. Members include Chris Zepp, Chair; Rebecca House, Treasurer; Dave Kerkove, Joel Kline, and Erin Matteson; with Mary Jo Flory-Steury, Executive Director of Ministry, serving as staff liaison to the group. The charter and purpose of The Minister's Association is: " to provide a forum for ministers to explore issues that affect their life and work; to serve as an advocate voice for ministers in the denomination; to strengthen ties of individuals and the Minister's Association with the wider church; to offer ministers continuing education opportunities."

This group is responsible for planning the pre-Annual Conference professional growth event for ministers both licensed and ordained, and anyone else interested. As the group met, they adopted a new budget for 2012; recommitted to the fullness of their charter, looked at fresh ways to live that out through Annual Conference and District insight sessions, a new brochure, and more communication with local clergy groups and those newly out in ministry; began planning for the 2012 pre-Annual Conference event with Walter Brueggemann and brainstormed topics and leaders for future events.

The pre-Annual Conference event will be on July 6-7, 2012 in St. Louis, Mo. Note: Change in start time - Friday, July 6 @ 6:00 p.m. Sessions will be held Friday evening, Saturday morning, and Saturday afternoon. The event will conclude at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. If there are questions or ideas to share, please contact Chris Zepp.

Pension director called to serve as BBT's chief operating and compliance officer

Scott Douglas has accepted the newly created position of chief operating and compliance officer for Church of the Brethren Benefit Trust effective Jan. 1, 2012. Scott has agreed to assume the compliance officer responsibilities of the portfolio prior to his effective date of becoming COCO. Additionally, Scott will continue his duties as director of Brethren Pension Plan and Employee Financial Services until this position has been filled.

Scott has a rich career history that includes entrepreneurial business, pastoral and ministry assignments, and health care and financial services. He has served BBT as Pension Plan director since Jan. 1, 2009. He has shown a dedicated and passionate spirit for the denomination throughout the more than 15 years he has worked with Church of the Brethren-related organizations.

He received his Bachelor of Science in management/marketing with a minor in psychology from Purdue University. He also has a Master of Divinity from McCormick Theological Seminary and a Master of Social Work from Jane Adams College of Social Work at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Scott is currently pursuing his certification as an Employee Benefits Specialist.

Scott and his wife are members of Highland Avenue (Ill.) Church of the Brethren and reside in Elgin, Ill.

National Older Adult Conference begins Labor Day; New Conference Bible Study Leader Announced

In just a little over a week, nearly 900 older adults will gather for the 11th National Older Adult Conference (NOAC), held at Lake Junaluska, North Carolina, September 5-9. It is not too late to register for this Church of the Brethren sponsored conference for adults age 50 and older. You may register online with a credit card at or call Kim Ebersole, NOAC coordinator, at (800) 323-8039 to have a registration brochure sent to you.

Lani Wright will lead the morning plenary Bible studies, sponsored by the Church of the Brethren Benefit Trust. Wright replaces Dawn Ottoni-Wilhelm, who is unable to attend for health reasons. An ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren, Wright specializes in eco-psychology (developing human ways of building a sustainable culture) and wellness groups at Oregon State Hospital with people recovering from mental illness and substance dependence. Wright was Project Editor for Generation Why Bible Studies for youth, and also helped staff the production of Hymnal: A Worship Book, Hymnal Supplement series, and edited the Hymnal Companion. Wright teaches online courses in worship for the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership, and is a free-lance editor and writer. She lives in Cottage Grove, Oregon, with her husband and three daughters. Her three sessions at NOAC will explore the conference theme of passion, purpose, and a changing world, using chapter 14 of the Gospel of John.

Visit the NOAC website at for complete information about the conference, including the conference booklet and confirmation packet for registrants.

International Day of Prayer for Peace

On Earth Peace continues to invite congregations and community groups to recognize International Day of Prayer for Peace in their community by holding a public prayer event on or around September 21, focusing on community or global violence. A prayer service doesn't heal everything that's broken - but it is a great place to start reaching out, building relationship, and catalyzing your community. As of August 22, 81 congregations and community groups have registered with the campaign. This includes groups from 8 countries and 19 states. On Earth Peace organizers continue to seek a total of 200 groups to participate in this event. Registration is free and online at Resources to assist with planning your event, as well as contact information for further On Earth Peace support, can also be found at this website.

Mark Pickens writes about his hopes for IDPP 2011 in Mechanicsburg, Pa: "I believe strongly in the power and presence of peace in the world and the call for God's people all over the world to faithfully commit to one another and to all of creation, the spirit of prayer and practice to be an active participation in the bringing forth of the fulfilled Kingdom of God to Earth--one where Peace will dwell within us as well as among us. My vision for the community is to grow as a community of welcoming individuals to the local strangers who dwell in our midst and to faithfully open ourselves up to service: Serving Them, Our Neighbors; Serving God, Our Common Creator, and to be challenged to be humbly served ourselves by both. I would like to invite the local ecumenical ministerium and members from different local congregations, staff from Church World Service (CWS), individuals from the local Somali community, and finally, staff members and volunteers from a local social service ministry, New Hope Ministries."

Back to school with the Deacon Ministry

As your children and grandchildren head back to class this fall, why not continue your own education and participate in a deacon workshop?

First on the schedule is a half-day session at the Oakton Church of the Brethren in Vienna, Virginia, on Saturday, September 24. This session is described as: "Difficult people, challenging needs. People doing well, who don't 'need' a deacon. Crises, joys, and everything in between. Deacons are called to be present for all, to be God's hands and feet, His eyes and ears. Join us to learn to listen and be present when deacon ministry is a joy as well as in times of challenge, when offering support is frustrating as well as when that support is welcomed."

In October, join the deacons of the Quakertown (Pennsylvania) Church of the Brethren for a full day on Saturday, October 22, to explore the many things deacons are called to do, with workshops entitled "Listeners, caregivers, peacemakers, disciples, advocates....Deacons!"; "Called to listen...called to serve those suffering from grief and loss...called to be peacemakers"; and "Answering the call."

The Lakeview Church of the Brethren (Brethren, Michigan) will host a full day of workshops on Saturday, November 12. The schedule is still under development, but visit for full registration information for this and all other sessions.

Questions? Contact Donna Kline Director, Deacon Ministries at, or 800-323-8039 ext. 304.

Brethren Bits: Remembrance, Resources and More
  • Dorris Murdock, missionary and author, died on June 20, 2011, after a long bout with cancer. Murdock was born August 3, 1927, in North Carolina to John and Blanche Murdock. She graduated from McPherson College in 1948. That same year, she married Marvin Blough and went to Nigeria, West Africa, as a Church of the Brethren missionary. Murdock wrote eight books. Journey into the Light chronicled her own crisis of divorce, and Storm of the Soul the story of her experience in Nigeria. Her last years were spent in Idaho City, Id.

  • The Church of the Brethren Global Mission Partnerships hosted a luncheon at the General Offices in Elgin, Ill., on Thursday, August 25, sharing the story of the launch of Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST) in North Korea last fall.

    Presenters were Robert and Linda Shank, volunteers who after completing two terms of teaching at PUST will return to the campus on August 29, and Joshua Song, who is president of a foundation related to PUST. Dr. Shank is dean of Agriculture and Life Sciences for PUST. Linda Shank is a teacher of English. The Shanks will reflect on their firsthand experiences and explain how American educators and institutions can participate in this new venture.

  • Work Camp Volunteers -With gratitude for their service, the Church of the Brethren workcamp office bids farewell to volunteers Carol Fike and Clara Nelson, 2011 youth and young adult workcamp coordinators. Nelson is entering a school of veterinary medicine. Fike will continue to serve in the Youth and Young Adult Office as she coordinates National Young Adult Conference 2012.

    The 2012 youth and young adult workcamp coordinators are Catherine Gong and Rachel Witkovsky, both from the Middle Pennsylvania District. Gong is a recent graduate of Pennsylvania State University. Witkovsky is a graduate of Elizabethtown College, and comes to us after a year of working in the theatre in New Hampshire.

  • The resources section from Basin & Towel is now online. Subscribers to Basin & Resources section from Towel, the magazine of Congregational Life Ministries, know that the 'Resources' section in each issue can be one of the most helpful, listing books, websites, and other materials relevant to the theme of that issue. Starting with the August issue ("The Technology Issue"), those resources are also available online for easy 'linking'. All future issues also will offer this feature; and plans are underway to provide resources for all past issues online as well.

  • "Fear is Not the Answer: 9/11 Revisited" will be held on Sunday, September 11, 2011, beginning at 4:30 p.m. in Binns Park, 100 block of N. Queen Street in Lancaster, Pa. Celeste Zappala, mother of the first Pennsylvania National Guard soldier killed in Iraq, and Michael Berg, father of a contractor also killed there, will headline this solemn remembrance of the links between 9/11 and war. This public event will affirm the traditional American values of accountability, the rule of law, the protection of civil liberties and the pursuit of peace. Musicians David Armstrong, Frances Miller, Jessica Smucker and Daryl Snider will perform. Bring lawn chairs for seating. Sponsored by Every Church a Peace Church, 1040 for Peace, and the Lancaster Coalition for Peace and Justice.

  • A religion communicators group is calling for responsible discussion of faith groups in news coverage of 9/11's 10th anniversary. The Religion Communicators Council urged journalists and bloggers to "pursue accuracy, respect and understanding of people of all faiths and faith communities." The statement is in a resolution adopted Aug. 7, 2011 in Philadelphia by the board of governors for the 400-member interfaith council.

    The 17-member board called "for responsible discussion of religion and of all faith groups, seeking the understanding and acceptance of religious communities." The anniversary of the 2001 attacks could "bring about painful recollections of terrorism and its effects," the resolution said. Rhetoric about the attacks "could become heated and distorted as it intermingles the religious identity of participants in those heinous acts," the measure continued.

    The council encourages communicators for faith groups to adhere to the highest ethical guidelines in presenting religious faith and values in public discourse.

  • The Yahoo! group for Brethren Peace Fellowship has been reactivated. This moderated forum is at

  • Ann Behrens to serve as Chair of the Global Crises Intervention Commission. This unique response unit of the Word Federation of Music Therapy organization supports the needs of music therapists affected by or responding to crises-natural and human-made-across the world that result in trauma stress. The Global Crises Intervention Commission facilitates communication, coordinates services and training among music therapists, and maintains a collection of materials and resources to use during current or ongoing disasters and traumatic situations. Behrens teaches and supervises music therapy students while directing the music therapy program in the Department of Fine and Performing Arts of Elizabethtown College where she has taught since 1998.

  • Kansas Campus Compact has named two McPherson College professors as its first "Engaged Faculty Fellows," granting them each $7,500 in support of service learning in their teaching and research. Dr. Allan Ayella, assistant professor of biology, and Dr. Becki Bowman, assistant professor of communication, were two of the three fellows named under the new program. In exchange for the grant, Dr. Ayella and Dr. Bowman will develop and introduce a course with a practical service learning component, collaborate with the other fellows in a research project, and act as advocates for service-learning and civic engagement in the community.

    Dr. Bowman said she will be using the funds to modify a fall class at McPherson College on conflict communications. The class now will include a student service project developing a curriculum to teach elementary school students about conflict resolution.

    Kansas Campus Compact is a coalition devoted to funding and facilitating service learning and civic engagement in its 12-member colleges and universities throughout Kansas, from community colleges to Regents institutions.

  • Bridgewater College hires vice president of institutional advancement. Bruce D. Smith Jr., of West Chester, Pa., assumed his duties as vice president of institutional advancement at Bridgewater on August. 23. In leading the advancement team, Smith will build and strengthen the organization, develop strategies and contribute to the work of the President's Council. Smith is a native of Swarthmore, Pa., who earned his bachelor's degree in mathematics from Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Va. In 1965 he joined the faculty at The Westtown School, a co-educational college-prep boarding school near Philadelphia. In 1982, Smith left Westtown to design and implement hardware and software solutions using microprocessor technology. He also worked at The West Company, helping to design control and monitoring systems for the company's machinery products division. Smith formed Genesis Machinery Products in 1996, where he served as president and director of technology.

  • President Ruthann K. Johansen of Bethany Seminary has announced the hiring of Shaye M. Isaacs as the executive assistant to the president. She began her duties on August 23, 2011. A resident of Richmond, Indiana, Isaacs has worked with Wernle Youth & Family Treatment Center in Richmond since 2006, most recently as director of development. Her roles and responsibilities at Wernle included management, fund-raising, donor relations, public relations, agency referral and placement, and administrative support.

  • Roy Unruh and Mildred Martens-Unruh have written a book Two Feet Apart at the Altar: Four Love Stories and Five People, which tells the story of how they have found guidance through tragedies with God's love. Their inspiration to complete the book came at the National Older Adult Conference (NOAC) in 2009 where there was a focus on sharing wisdom and leaving a legacy. Unruh served on the Church of the Brethren General Board from 1999 to 2004.

  • Four district conferences take place on Oct. 7-8: Atlantic Northeast District Conference at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College; Atlantic Southeast District Conference at Winter Park (Fla.) Church of the Brethren; Idaho District Conference at Community Church of the Brethren in Twin Falls, Idaho; and Mid-Atlantic District Conference at Hagerstown (Md.) Church of the Brethren.

  • Three district conferences are planned for the weekend of Oct. 14-15: Southern Ohio District Conference is at Eaton (Ohio) Church of the Brethren on Oct. 14-15; Middle Pennsylvania District Conference is at Carson Valley Church in Duncansville, Pa., on Oct. 14-15; and Western Pennsylvania District Conference is at Camp Harmony in Hooversville, Pa., on Oct. 15. This will be the 150th Middle Pennsylvania District Conference.

Newsline is produced by the news services of the Church of the Brethren. Contact the editor at Contributors include Adam Pracht, Jeanne Davies, Wendy McFadden, Brian Solem, Jane Yount Elton Ford, Chelsea Goss, Erin Matteson, Jenny Williams, Mary K. Heatwole, Christopher W. Zepp and Sue Snyder. This issue of Newsline is edited by Kathleen Campanella, director of
partner and public relations at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Capitol Building Prayer vigil participants arrested

Jordan Blevins, director of the Church of the Brethren's and the National Council of Churches' Peace Witness Ministries, was arrested Thursday, July 28, along with other leaders from the faith community as they held a prayer vigil inside the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. They were released later that afternoon.

Recent events have inspired interfaith leaders to strive to promote a message calling for the President and Congress to exempt programs from budget cuts that help the most at-risk families and children. Without a sustained federal assistance program, these leaders fear they will not be able to support the country's most vulnerable in their time of need.

Christian, Jewish, and Muslim faith-based organizations are united by their shared beliefs in caring for their neighbors. Statements mad by prayer vigil participants included "Our faith calls us to lift up the voices and the stories of the most vulnerable," and "Faith leaders cannot stand idly by and watch while the mandate of the gospel to love our neighbors is violated in the halls of Congress." The interfaith leaders fear further reductions in federal assistance programs will result in heavier strains on finances of houses of worship, already suffering from decreases in contributions from their members.

Blevins said "It was a powerful experience - to kneel in prayer in the Rotunda of the Capitol building, and pray that the decisions made in that building would reflect the values of the faith that so many hold dear. That the Holy Spirit would fill that place, and move our decision makers to seek to make this world more in accordance with the will of God - and to stand where God stands, caring for the poor and feeding the hungry. And then to be arrested for doing that very thing - with 10 other persons of faith."

Training schedule announced by Children's Disaster Services

Children's Disaster Services, a Church of the Brethren ministry based at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. will be holding workshops across the country, training volunteers to care for children following disasters.

The workshops will be held in the following locations:
October 7 - 8, 2011 - Central United Methodist Church in Sedro-Woolley, Wash.
October 14 - 15, 2011 - Ben Hill United Methodist Church in Atlanta, Ga.
October 21 - 22, 2011 - First United Methodist Church in Victor, N.Y.
November 4 - 5, 2011 - Bethany Christian Church in Tulsa, Okla.
November 11-12, 2011- Somerset Church of the Brethren in Somerset, Pa.
March 24 - 25, 2012 - La Verne Church of the Brethren in La Verne, Calif.
For more information or to register call the Children's Disaster Services office 410-635-8735 or 800-451-4407, option 5.or go to

McPherson College recognized for community service

McPherson College students have logged more than 11,200 hours of volunteer service at home and abroad during the last academic year, assisting 123 organizations or locations in 176 events or projects.

This commitment to service resulted in McPherson College being named to the 2010 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction. McPherson College was the only Kansas college to receive this honor, awarded by the Corporation for National and Community Service.

It is significant to note that the students logged much of their service out of state and overseas. Five students, winners of the Global Enterprise Challenge in November 2010, traveled to Haiti in June 2011 to help the people of Aux Plaines on Tortuga Island. Four other students traveled to Ethiopia in April to help deliver wheelchairs to victims of polio.

Volunteers also assisted flood survivors at a Brethren Disaster Ministries rebuilding project in Ashland City, Tenn. Eighteen students worked in Lybrook Community Ministries, Lybrook, N.M., during spring break helping the Navajo Native Americans.

Close to the McPherson campus, 129 students and staff packaged 20,000 meals for the people of Haiti through Numana, Inc.

BBT hosts Church Benefits Association

On Aug. 15-16, 2011 Brethren Benefit Trust will be hosting the annual meeting of the CEOs who represent the mid-level group of the Church Benefits Association (CBA) at the Church of the Brethren general offices in Elgin, Ill. The CBA is an ecumenical group that consists of 54 denominations and organizations that provide pension or health insurance benefits nationwide to people of faith. Joining Nevin Dulabaum, president of Brethren Benefit Trust will be the following CEOs of their respective pension boards: Don Walter, Church of the Nazarene USA; Jim Ceplecha, Christian Brothers Services; Jeff Jenness, Church of God (Anderson, Ind.); Ray Lewis, National Association of Free Will Baptists; Ross Morrison of Evangelical Free Church of America; Art Rhodes, Church of God (Cleveland, Tenn.); Mitch Smilowitz, Joint Retirement Board for Conservative Judaism; and Jack Short, AG Financial (Assemblies of God).

New Windsor Conference Center Director resigns

Shelly Potts, director of the New Windsor Conference Center at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. has tendered her resignation effective Friday, August 12, 2011. Potts began her second term of employment at the Brethren Service Center on March 23, 2009. She brought skills in strategic planning, niche marketing, branding, and customer service. Her accomplishments included completing a Conference Center marketing plan and assisting with planning for facilities improvements. She has accepted a position with another organization.

Ronald E. Wyrick to serve as Interim District Executive

The Shenandoah District Leadership Team has announced that Ronald E. Wyrick will begin serving as Interim District Executive beginning November 1, 2011. Wyrick, currently pastor of the Harrisonburg (Va.) First Church of the Brethren, will work on Mondays from August 15 until he begins full time on November 1, providing transition time with Acting District Executive Joan Daggett, who concludes her work on September 9. Additionally, members of the Leadership Team will work with office staff prior to November 1, in carrying forward the ministry of the district. Wyrick, an ordained minister, has over 30 years of ministry experience in congregational, denominational, and college leadership positions. He is from the Waynesboro (Va.) Church of the Brethren where he was baptized (1963), licensed (1968), and ordained (1975). Wyrick is a graduate of Bridgewater College (1970) and has a Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees from Bethany Theological Seminary.

Brethren Bits: Upcoming events and more
  • Cindy Laprade Lattimer has been called to fill a vacancy on the Program and Arrangements Committee. Thomas Dowdy, elected to the Program and Arrangements Committee by the 2011 Annual Conference delegate body, has resigned his position. Nominating Committee chairperson Ed Garrison and the current members of the Nominating Committee of Standing Committee called Cindy Laprade Lattimer to fill the vacancy left by Dowdy's resignation. Lattimer was the other candidate on the ballot for the Program and Arrangements Committee.

  • Stan Noffsinger, Church of the Brethren general secretary, will be the preacher for the 41st Annual Dunker Church Service on Sunday, September 18, at 3:00 pm, at the Antietam National Battlefield, near Sharpsburg, Md. This worship service will be in the restored Mumma Meeting House, commonly referred to today as the Dunker Church. It was built in 1853 and heavily damaged by the September 17, 1862, Battle of Antietam. After extensive repairs were made, services resumed in the summer of 1864. This service is sponsored by area Church of the Brethren congregations. For more information, call Eddie Edmonds at 304-267-4135 or Tom Fralin at 301-432-2653.

  • On November 7, 2011 a continuing education event, The Witness of the Hebrew Bible for the New Testament Church will be held at Elizabethtown College in the Susquehanna Room. Although the church affirms that its Scriptures include both the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and the New Testament, Christians often down play or ignore the witness of its "first testament." In a 2010 Brethren Press publication titled The Witness of the Hebrew Bible for a New Testament Church, thirteen Brethren scholars address the question "Of what relevance is the Old Testament for Christians today?" This event is sponsored by the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center and the Elizabethtown College Department of Religious Studies. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and the course will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The cost for this event is $50 with an additional $10 charge for those wishing to receive CEU documentation. The registration deadline is October 24, 2011. For more information contact Donna M. Rhodes, executive director of the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center 814-599-3680

  • Six Church of the Brethren youth gathered at Bethany Theological Seminary this summer for Exploring Your Call, held June 17-27. This unique program brings high school juniors and seniors together to reflect on their own faith, explore concepts of ministry, and form supportive relationships as they consider God's presence and call in their lives. The full schedule included shadowing pastors in their work; site visits, such as the Brethren Retirement Community in Greenville, Ohio; class sessions with Bethany faculty; and leading and participating in worship. The group also traveled further afield to the Church of the Brethren general offices in Elgin, Ill., and Reba Place Fellowship, an intentional Christian community in Chicago, Ill.

  • There is a great need for Church World Service Emergency Clean up Buckets following the spring storms in many areas in the U.S. The Mechanicsburg (Pa.) Church of the Brethren Witness Team challenged the congregation to complete 10 buckets in less than a month. The response was more than double the challenge. Twenty-two buckets were sent to the Material Resources program at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md.

  • Peter Becker Community celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. Located in Harleysville, Pa. it is a Continuing Care Retirement Community and a member of the Fellowship of Brethren Homes. According to an article in the Souderton Independent, "The idea of building an assisted living and nursing home on 20 acres of open fields began with several families at Indian Creek Church of the Brethren in Vernfield, Pa. Four decades later, the continuing care retirement community expanded to cover 100 acres in Franconia Township, employ more than 250 people and become home to almost 500 people."

  • Manchester College is taking the lead on an interfaith initiative to boost literacy rates and reduce hunger in North Manchester, Ind. The college was among about 200 representatives from higher education and seminaries who gathered at the White House to kick off the President's Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge. "In a partnership with local churches, we will use education and coordinated service to improve the literacy rates in our community and combat the poverty level," said Carole Miller-Patrick, coordinator of the Manchester College Center for Service Opportunities. Miller-Patrick and campus Pastor Walt Wiltschek will lead the challenge.

  • Bridgewater College dedicated Stone Village a new environmentally sustainable student residences on August 9, 2011. Stone Village, which is located at East College and College View streets, is registered as a potential Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver project. The five residences adhere to an internationally recognized green building certification system and represent significant energy savings, water efficiency and improved indoor environmental quality. Everything about Stone Village - landscaping, building materials, electrical systems and appliances - reflects a carefully thought-out respect for the environment and commitment to sustainability. Funding for the project was provided through a U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development loan.

  • The Bridgewater College Alumni Choir will present a concert at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 21, at the Bridgewater (Va.) Church of the Brethren located at 420 College View Drive. The Alumni Choir was co-founded by Jesse E. Hopkins, the Edwin L. Turner Distinguished Professor of Music at Bridgewater College, and Jonathan Emmons, a 2005 graduate of Bridgewater College. The choir will perform works by Byrd, Debussy, Fissinger, Mozart and Whitacre. The concert is open to the public at no charge.

  • A Peace Pole will be dedicated in honor of Jim and Mary Miller for their years of servant leadership to the Shenandoah District! The dedication service, led by Pastors for Peace, will be held on Tuesday, August 16, at 7 p.m. on the front lawn of the District Office. Fellowship and refreshments will follow the service.

  • The July edition of "Brethren Voices" features Special Moments at Song & Story Fest which was held on June 26 - July 2, 2011. Copies of the newsletter can be obtained from Ed Groff, Peace Church of the Brethren at The August edition of "Brethren Voices" will feature Heifer International. -

  • "Spread the Word" is the theme of the fall disciplines folder that will begin August 28 in the Springs of Living Water Initiative in church renewal. In addition to the Sunday lectionary readings from the Church of the Brethren bulletin series, the folders has daily scripture texts for persons to read, meditate on and use as a guide for daily discipleship. Bible study questions for the daily texts are written by Vince Cable, pastor of the Uniontown Church south of Pittsburgh, and can be used by individuals or small groups. Information is available on the Springs website at

  • The Missouri and Arkansas District Conference will be held 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 will take place on the weekend of Sept. 23-25: Oregon and Washington District Conference at Camp Koinonia in Cle Elum, Wash., on Sept. 23-25; and South Central Indiana District Conference at Logansport (Ind.) Church of the Brethren on Sept. 24.

  • On every August 6 and 9 since 1945 there has been a profound moment of sorrow and reason for hope as the world remembers the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 66-years-ago during World War II. In a statement released on Friday, August 5, Rev. Dr Olav Fkyse Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches, remembers this tragedy as one that can never be repeated."For as long as nuclear weapons exist, each year brings us new reasons to build a world where such a tragedy can never happen again," Tveit said To read the full statement click here

Newsline is produced by the news services of the Church of the Brethren. Contact the editor at Contributors include Jennifer Williams, Sue Snyder, Chris Adam Pracht, Jordon Blevins, Nancy Miner, Ed Groff, Jeri S. Kornegay, Chris Douglas, Donna Rhoades, Nevin Dulabaum, LethaJoy Martin and Mary Heatwole. This issue of Newsline is edited by Kathleen Campanella, director of partner and public relations at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Remembrance: Dr. William Robert Eberly, former moderator of the Church of the Brethren

Dr. William Robert Eberly, 84, passed away on July 28, 2011, at his summer home on Big Chapman Lake, Warsaw, Ind. He served as moderator of the Church of the Brethren in 1980 and as Annual Conference secretary from 1968 to 1977. He also served as a member of the Church of the Brethren General Board from 1995 to 2000, and as a member of the Brethren Encyclopedia board of directors from 1985 to 2008. An ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren, he served many congregations, including Pleasant View Church of the Brethren in South Whitley, Ind., Roann (Ind.) Church of the Brethren, and Buffalo (Ind.) Church of the Brethren. He was a member of the Manchester Church of the Brethren, North Manchester, Ind.

Eberly was born in North Manchester Oct. 4, 1926 to John H. and Ollie (Heaston) Eberly, and married Eloise Whitehead in 1946. After receiving his bachelor's degree from Manchester College in 1948, he taught music and science in public schools for five years. He received his master's degree and Ph.D. from Indiana University and in 1955 joined the faculty of Manchester College as a professor in the biology department. In 1963 he was invited as a visiting scientist to the Institute of Limnology at the University of Uppsala in Sweden.

Eberly served as past president of Indiana Academy of Sciences. He started the Environmental Studies program at Manchester College in 1972 and served as its director until his retirement in 1992. He served on the Indiana Pesticide Review Board representing limnologists of the State of Indiana and received the Sagamore of the Wabash Award from Gov. Robert Orr in 1983 for his strong advocacy for environmental concerns. He is also a former instructor in church history for Bethany Seminary. His passion for genealogy, history, and research led him to author and edit many books, most recently The Story of the Natural Sciences at Manchester College.

Active in his community, he was immediate past president of the North Manchester Historical Society, where he played a significant role in developing and expanding the Center for History on Main Street.

A memorial service will be held Aug. 14 at 3:00 p.m. at Manchester Church of the Brethren. Memorial contributions may be made to the Dr. William R. Eberly Scholarship Fund at Manchester College, the Center for History in North Manchester, Heifer International, or Timbercrest Senior Living Community Charitable Assistance Fund.


Newsline is produced by the news services of the Church of the Brethren. Contact the editor at Newsline appears every other week, with special issues as needed. Stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source.