Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Prayer for Haiti on one-year anniversary of 2010 earthquake.

Brethren Disaster Ministries staff and volunteers are calling for prayers for Haiti as Brethren help rebuild there. Today, Jan. 12, is the one-year anniversary of the earthquake that struck Haiti’s capital city Port-au-Prince, killing hundreds of thousands of people and making millions homeless.

"As we approach the anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti let us all pause for prayer. Thousands of Haitians still live in tarp shelters, hungry and exposed to the weather," began the message from Brethren Disaster Ministries executive director Roy Winter, his staff, and volunteers.

"Pray for new Haitian leadership that will guide the country out of poverty. Pray for physical and spiritual fortitude for our Brethren sisters and brothers in Haiti. Pray for those who have been permanently disabled by their injuries. Pray for the children who have been left orphaned. Remember those who are toiling endlessly to rebuild homes and communities, to restore livelihoods, and to rekindle hope.

"The Brethren response to the earthquake has many facets from agriculture to home construction, from distribution of food to water filters, from health care to trauma recovery. Pray that our efforts nurture solidarity and support a sustainable recovery for those whom we serve. Let this whole day be one of prayer and remembrance."

In related news, an additional grant of $150,000 has been given from the Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) for relief work in Haiti. The grant provides Brethren Disaster Ministries with ongoing support for its longterm recovery effort following the earthquake. The grant will support construction of a multi-use structure to be a guesthouse for workcamp groups and for Haitians coming to Port-au-Prince for meetings or training; homes for earthquake survivors; water and sanitation projects; new agriculture projects that help communities be increasingly self-sufficient; and a new micro-loan program in Port-au-Prince, to be made available to Church of the Brethren members from the devastated Delma 3 congregation. Previous EDF grants for earthquake relief in Haiti total $550,000.

For more about the church's disaster work in Haiti, go to

Today IMA World Health held a Day of Prayer to mark the anniversary of the earthquake. Three of the organization’s staff who work out of the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., were trapped in the rubble in Port-au-Prince and rescued some days after the disaster. A prayer service was held at Carroll Lutheran Village in Westminster, Md. IMA president Rick Santos presented the current situation in Haiti, and pastors led a time of prayer to ask for hope, comfort, and provision for the Haitian people. Participating ministers included Glenn McCrickard of Westminster Church of the Brethren.

Church leader joins in national call to civility following Arizona shooting.

Church of the Brethren general secretary Stan Noffsinger has added his signature to a letter to members of Congress following the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and a member of her staff, federal district judge John Roll, and 17 others this past Saturday in Tucson, Ariz. Six people were killed in the attack and 14 people were wounded.

The letter, pulled together by the organization "Faith in Public Life" and signed by national religious leaders, thanks elected representatives for their service and expresses support as they cope with the trauma. It also encourages reflection on the often heated political rhetoric in the nation, and continued commitment to robust dialogue and democracy. It is to be published tomorrow as a full-page advertisement in "Roll Call."

"As Americans and members of the human family," the letter opens, "we are grieved by the recent tragedy in Tucson, Arizona. As Christian, Muslim, and Jewish leaders, we pray together for all those wounded, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords as she fights for her life. Our hearts break for those lives lost and for the loved ones left behind.

"We also stand with you, our elected officials, as you continue to serve our nation while coping with the trauma of this senseless attack," the letter continues, in part. "This tragedy has spurred a sorely needed time of soul searching and national public dialogue about violent and vitriolic political rhetoric. We strongly support this reflection, as we are deeply troubled that rancor, threats, and incivility have become commonplace in our public debates."

In a separate interview, Noffsinger shared his concern for all those affected by the shooting, including the perpetrator. "I pray for this young man’s soul, I pray for his family," he said, noting that the incident calls Christians to work harder to minister with those at the margins and be attentive to violent rhetoric. "How inappropriate it is for us to use rhetoric that places people within the sights of our discourse," Noffsinger said. "It is as bad as pulling the trigger."

Among numerous other statements from American religious leaders responding to the shooting, a release from the National Council of Churches (NCC) called for renewal of efforts for gun control and civil discourse. The NCC noted that it has been less than eight months since its governing board called for action to end gun violence--a statement that received support from the Church of the Brethren’s Mission and Ministry Board last July when it adopted a "Resolution on Ending Gun Violence" (see; the NCC resolution is at

In Sept. 2009, alarmed by the intensity of angry and sometimes violent language coming out of public meetings on healthcare and other issues, the NCC Governing Board called for "civility in public discourse." The Governing Board said in its 2009 statement, "This clash of views demeans the dialogue and ultimately risks subverting the democratic process itself. Individuals cannot express their best hopes and acknowledge their deepest fears within a climate of intimidation and character assassination, and all too often this climate is the product of racism and xenophobia."

See below for a prayerful reflection on the Arizona shooting by Brethren poet Kathy Fuller Guisewite. More resources for Brethren engaged in prayer and reflection are available at the General Secretary’s page, Worship resources from the NCC include two prayer hymns on gun violence by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette, go to

Brethren take part in national youth ministry conference.

Eighteen Brethren were among more than 200 youth ministry professionals who gathered Dec. 1-4, 2010, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., for the National Council of Churches-sponsored Youth Worker Summit.

The event, designed to provide "a sacred space for youth workers," focused on the theme "Gathering in Hope, Rekindling the Light." It offered three worship services, plenary sessions, a choice of nine workshops, affinity groups for deeper discussion, resource displays, a presentation by the Disney Youth Education Series, and some unwinding time in the parks of the host Walt Disney World resort. One participant called it the place where "the Magic Kingdom intersects with the kingdom of God."

Rodger Nishioka, associate professor of Christian education at Columbia Theological Seminary near Atlanta, delivered two keynote addresses that focused on the theme concepts of hope and light. Highlighting the writings of Jürgen Moltmann and Kenda Creasy Dean, he said that hope isn’t a "flimsy or passive thing" or something only in the future. "When you live hope, you are ushering in part of the reign of God," he said. He urged youth workers to use John the Baptist as a model for ministry, pointing the way to Jesus Christ. "All I’m trying to do is point to the model for the universe," Nishioka said.

Another keynoter, prominent emerging church author and speaker Phyllis Tickle, spoke to the importance of youth workers in shaping the future during a pivotal time in religious culture. "You’re touching half a millennia of history, if history holds," Tickle said. She also cautioned against being "cracked cisterns" that can no longer hold any living water, as she asserted that long-time church institutions no longer hold the key to the way forward.

Music, conversations over meals and elsewhere, and networking opportunities dotted the rest of the schedule, along with an evening at EPCOT that included the annual "candlelight processional," a retelling of the Christmas story through a massed choir and a celebrity narrator who reads the scripture texts. That day’s narrator, Corbin Bersen, finished with a call to strengthen faith, family, and community at the center of life, especially in challenging times.

The Church of the Brethren’s Youth and Young Adult Ministry provided support for many of those attending the event, which was last held in 2006. Eleven denominations assisted in planning and promoting the conference.

-- Walt Wiltschek is campus minister at Manchester College.

BVS opens new Intentional Community House in Portland.

In a continued effort to foster intentional Christian community for volunteers, Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) opened its second Intentional Community House this fall. The new BVS house is a partnership with Portland (Ore.) Peace Church of the Brethren, where the effort was spearheaded by Beth Merrill, a former BVS volunteer.

Four current and former BVS volunteers are living in the house in Portland, paying special attention to life together, spiritual formation, conflict resolution, and being a presence in the neighborhood. The group includes Ben Bear from Nokesville, Va.; Chelsea Goss from Mechanicsville, Va.; Heather Lantz from Harrisonburg, Va.; and Jon Zunkel from Elizabethtown, Pa. Projects connected with the Portland house include On Earth Peace and Snow Cap, a local food bank.

Volunteers who live in BVS Intentional Community Houses agree to be an active part of the life of the sponsoring congregation, in addition to carrying out their fulltime work at project sites. Sponsoring congregations offer spiritual support, fellowship, and Christian community to the volunteers.

The first BVS Intentional Community House opened in the fall of 2009 in partnership with Cincinnati (Ohio) Church of the Brethren, located in the Walnut Hills neighborhood. In addition, the longstanding BVS House in Elgin, Ill., which for decades has housed volunteers working at the Church of the Brethren General Offices, also has become more intentional in its community life in partnership with Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren.

Each of the BVS Intentional Community Houses maintain weekly blogs: Portland, Cincinnati, and Elgin

-- Dana Cassell is Brethren Volunteer Service staff for Vocation and Community Living.

Weak commitment to human rights factors into decision to divest from Cisco Systems.

Boston Common Asset Management, LLC, has divested of its holdings in Cisco Systems, Inc., stock due in part to the company’s weak human rights risk management and poor response to investor concerns. Cisco’s deceptive announcement of vote results on proxy items at the 2010 annual shareholder meeting has raised further alarm about the company’s commitment to transparency.

Boston Common is one of the investment managers for Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) and the Brethren Foundation. Since 2005 it has led a growing coalition of investors, representing over 20 million Cisco shares, in asking Cisco management to ensure its products and services do not stifle human rights. Cisco has testified before federal lawmakers twice since 2006 over questions on its human rights record, including its marketing of equipment to the Chinese Ministry of Public Security.

"Boston Common’s decision to divest comes after years of campaigning Cisco for greater transparency and accountability on key human rights and business development concerns," stated Dawn Wolfe, associate director of environmental, social, and governance research at Boston Common Asset Management. "Freedom of expression, privacy, and personal security are all critical elements in maximizing network traffic. Politically and socially repressive policies related to speech and privacy has a chilling effect on users and violates universally recognized human rights. When pressed for details on how Cisco addresses these risks, they come up short."

At the Nov. 18, 2010, annual meeting of shareholders, Cisco did not answer yet another request for engagement with shareholders. This followed a Sept. 30, 2010, letter to independent board member and Stanford president John Hennessy requesting his assistance in establishing a meaningful dialogue between Cisco and shareholders on human rights. Similar to previous attempts to engage the board as a whole, Hennessy did not respond to the request.

"As technology becomes more prevalent in the world, we expect human rights-related concerns will become more, not less prominent," said Nevin Dulabaum, president of BBT, a long-time shareholder of Cisco Systems and active participant in the investor-driven human rights campaign. "For all its talk about the ‘human network’ and adherence to the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Cisco has not demonstrated in any concrete way that it fully recognizes its potential impact on human rights around the world."

Boston Common’s ESG Team recommended the removal of Cisco Systems from its portfolios because of strong reservations about its human rights performance and poor shareholder engagement on the issue.

"The voice of shareholders fall on deaf ears at Cisco," stated Wolfe. "About a third of Cisco Systems shareholders voting their proxies have supported our proposal over the years, voting in favor of greater disclosure on issues of censorship and privacy. Cisco’s deceptive tallying practices in 2010 do not change that. The investor coalition will march ahead, and perhaps one day Cisco will wake up and realize how dedicated these shareholders are to the company’s success. Until then, significant questions remain about its ability to manage risks it is reticent to recognize."

(BBT provided this release from Boston Common Asset Management.)

Deacon Ministry offers training events this spring.

The Church of the Brethren’s Deacon Ministry spring 2011 calendar is well underway, says an announcement from director Donna Kline. "Mark your calendar for one of the following training sessions," she invites. Details and registration information are at

Deacon training sessions will be offered on the following dates: Feb. 5 at Mexico Church of the Brethren in Peru, Ind.; Feb. 12 at First Church of the Brethren in Roaring Spring, Pa.; March 19 at Freeport (Ill.) Church of the Brethren; May 14 at Sugar Valley Church of the Brethren in Loganton, Pa.; and May 15 at County Line Church of the Brethren in Champion, Pa.

In addition to these sessions, two workshops will be offered as pre-Annual Conference sessions on Saturday, July 2, in Grand Rapids, Mich.

To sign up for monthly e-mail news from the Deacon Ministry go to For any questions or comments about the Deacon Ministry or to schedule a training session, contact Kline at 800-323-8039 or

Intercultural Consultation 2011 to unite under the cross of peace.

The Church of the Brethren’s annual Intercultural Consultation and Celebration meets this year under the theme "United by the Cross of Peace" (Ephesians 2:11-14). The event on April 28-30 in Mills River, N.C., will explore the issues related to diversity and peace, reported Intercultural Ministry director Rubén Deoleo. Hosts are His Way Church of the Brethren and Southeastern District.

On Earth Peace will help provide training sessions. Preachers will include David C. Jehnsen of the Institute for Human Rights and Responsibilities, Inc., and Bob Hunter of Earlham School of Religion in Richmond Ind. Other presenters are Carol Rose of Christian Peacemaker Teams; Jordan Blevins, advocacy officer for the Church of the Brethren and the National Council of Churches in Washington, D.C.; and Stan Dueck of the Congregational Life Ministries staff.

Participants will spend time looking at the roots of peace in the life of Christian faith and Brethren practice, including biblical roots and experiments in nonviolence, and will draw from the history of the US Civil Rights movements and other struggles for justice.

Concurrent Spanish interpretation will be provided during the event as needed. Cost of registration is $60, which includes all meals, transportation to and from Asheville International Airport, transportation to and from the church in the mornings and evenings, and training sessions and booklet. Two continuing education credits will be offered, at an additional cost of $10. Arrangements have been made with a hotel for lodging, at the rate of $52 double occupancy.

Churches and individuals are expected to make their own travel arrangements and cover their own travel expenses. However, limited travel assistance is available for one person from a congregation that has limited resources. For more information, contact Deoleo at Online registration is at

Stop. Listen. Wait. A Brethren poet reflects on the shootings in Arizona.

Church of the Brethren poet and licensed minister Kathy Fuller Guisewite wrote the following reflection in response to the Jan. 8 shootings in Tucson, Ariz.:
Still without a full-time job,
I am roaming the house today
feeling the need to do something valuable
or at least something that is
not wasteful.
Aren’t we supposed to be productive
at all times
at all costs?
Aren’t we supposed to be
producing something,
something tangible and
monetarily significant?

And yet,
there is a deeper pull today.
It pulls toward an awareness, a vague awareness
that beckons at the edges of productivity to slow down
and lean into intention.

Our world keeps crying out
for us to lay down the cravings that
satisfy only the shallow part of self
and quench the thirst of depth,
of calling beyond word or voice
to what yearns to be born.
Can you hear it?

What is it? What is struggling to find life?
What blocks that first breath
where all that was, and all that is, and all that can be
merge together in an interlocking shout of wholeness?

Why can we not put down the guns?
Why can we not put aside our divisions?
We choose these. We choose the freedoms that take life.
And the news is filled with sorrow
all the while we force ourselves to do
the daily routines,
counting down our days until
the something more or the something better arrives.

My little dog begs to
sit in my lap.
Her warmth enhances mine,
and I should like to think
that mine enhances hers.
As we sit together, I recognize
a still intuition that leads the
the little birds to feed, the snow clouds to fill the skies,
and the afternoon light to hang low.
Somewhere in South Africa my daughter mourns something
The weeping she cannot contain.
And I wonder, how is it that we aren’t
all on our knees
weeping for what we cannot name.

There’s no unlocking the peace of tomorrow
until we stand wide-eyed to the pain of today.
This is the work we must tend.
These are the wounds we must heal.
This is the price we must pay until we return
to the first breath,
the knowing
that waits.
-- Kathy Fuller Guisewite, Jan. 10, 2011. (For more of Guisewite’s poetry go to

Brethren bits: Correction, remembrances, job opening, Annual Conference, more.
  • Correction: The correct suggested date for the 2011 One Great Hour of Sharing is Sunday, March 6, not March 5 as given in the packet of printed materials sent out to congregations. This year’s theme is "Sharing Brings Joy: To Us. To Others. To God." For more about this special offering go to

  • David G. Metzler, 80, of Bridgewater, Va., died peacefully at his home Jan. 2 surrounded by family. A former mission worker, he taught at the University of Jos in Nigeria from 1981-83 where he also was head of the Department of Religious Studies. In other service to the church, he was an ordained minister, a professor at Bridgewater College from 1958-62 and 1966-95, served on the Committee on Interchurch Relations, and was a member of the Ecumenical Task Force on Christian-Muslim Relations for the National Council of Churches, and on the NCC's Interfaith Relations Commission. His pamphlet "Understanding Islam" has been a best seller in Brethren Press’s Perspectives series. In Jan. 2003, immediately prior to the second Gulf War, he spent a month in and around Baghdad, Iraq, with Christian Peacemaker Teams. He was born June 23, 1930, in Chicago, the son of the late Burton Metzler and Alma Stump Metzler of McPherson, Kan. He held degrees from McPherson College, Bethany Theological Seminary, Harvard Divinity School, and Boston University. He also pursued overseas studies at the Ecumenical Study Center in Geneva, Switzerland, and the Ecumenical Institute at Tantur, Jerusalem, Israel. He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Doris (Kesler) Metzler, and children Daniel and Gwen (Slavik) Metzler, Steve and Karen (Glick) Metzler, D. Burton and Diane (Hess) Metzler, Laurel (Metzler) Byler, and Suzanne (Metzler) and David Peterson, as well as grandchildren and great-grandchildren. A memorial service was held Jan. 8 at Bridgewater Church of the Brethren.

  • M. Paul Dennison, 89, of DeKalb, Ill., passed away on Jan. 4. He served as missionary for the Church of the Brethren in India in the early 1950s. He had a varied career path after returning to the United States, including pastor, high school teacher, and counselor for the Illinois Bureau of Employment Security. He was a member of First Church of the Brethren in Chicago since 1965. Born March 27, 1921, in Marion, Ind., to Melvin and Belle (Richardson) Dennison, he married Dorothy Mae Brown June 26, 1952, in Curryville, Pa. He held degrees from Manchester College, Bethany Theological Seminary, and Roosevelt University, Chicago. He is survived by his sons, Thomas A. (Gloria) Dennison and Daniel P. Dennison, and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife, Dorothy. A memorial service was held on Jan. 8 at First Church of the Brethren in Chicago.

  • George T. Dolnikowski died on Dec. 23, 2010. Emeritus professor at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., a Russian soldier during World War II and survivor of a German prisoner of war camp, he authored the Brethren Press book "This I Remember: From War to Peace." He also was featured in an article in the Dec. 1988 issue of "Messenger" titled "In Christ Now Meet Both East and West." Dolnikowski "had an amazing life story--resettled through the Church of the Brethren, employed at Juniata as a janitor, then rising through the ranks until he became a professor. I had him as a professor for Russian literature," remembers Brethren Press publisher Wendy McFadden. He also taught in the college’s Peace Studies program. Memorial services were held at Stone Church of the Brethren in Huntingdon, Pa., on Jan. 2.

  • Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) seeks an accounting manager to fill a full-time salaried position at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Primary responsibility is to process, review, and report transactions related to the programs of BBT. Additional responsibilities include managing and processing payroll, reconciling bank and investment accounts, monitoring and managing cash flow, preparing account analyses, assisting with accounts payable and receivable, assisting with the month-end close, providing backup for other positions in the Finance Department. The ideal candidate will possess a high level of technical proficiency, intense attention to detail, impeccable integrity, a collegial and engaging demeanor, and a strong faith commitment. BBT seeks candidates with undergraduate degree in accounting, business, or related fields. A CPA is preferred. Requirements include strong communications skills, proficiency in Microsoft Office, and a working knowledge of automated accounting systems. Experience with ADP payroll processing is desired. Current and active membership in the Church of the Brethren is preferred; current and active membership in a faith community is required. Salary and benefits are competitive with Church Benefits Association agencies of comparable size and scope of services. A full benefits package is included. Send a letter of interest, resume, three professional references, and salary-range expectation to Donna March, 1505 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; For questions or clarification about the position, call 847-622-3371. For more about BBT visit

  • The information packet for the 2011 Annual Conference to be held in Grand Rapids, Mich., on July 2-6 will be available from within the next couple of days. This includes information about housing and hotels, conference schedule, special events and meal tickets, age group activities, and more. Early registration for delegates ends on Feb. 22, after which the delegate registration fee goes up from $275 to $300. Housing reservations and nondelegate registration also open Feb. 22 at 12 noon (central time) at

  • The Peace Program of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN--the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) celebrated the grand opening of its Peace Office and Peace Resource Library on Dec. 10. Mission workers Nathan and Jennifer Hosler reported on the event in their January newsletter. The library contains over 250 books and is a highlight of the couple’s work. With support from Toma Ragnjiya, Peace Program coordinator and principal of Kulp Bible College, Jennifer Hosler developed the project proposal for the library, and the couple raised funds from Brethren in the US to buy books and carry them back to Nigeria. "The goal of the Peace Resource Library is to provide a place where students, pastors, laypeople, and community members can further their study on subjects like conflict, forgiveness, peace theology, and reconciliation," the Hoslers wrote. They also asked for prayer for an end to violence in Nigeria and for calm during political primaries occurring this week and the campaign season that continues until April, as well as strength for EYN students, pastors, and churches in conflict areas. Over the holiday season, renewed episodes of violent conflict occurred in the cities of Maiduguri and Jos.

  • Two members of the Church of the Brethren--Wallace Cole of the denomination’s Mission and Ministry Board, and Rick Polhamus of Fletcher, Ohio--are among 13 people who arrived in Jerusalem last week as part of a delegation of Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT). During the trip Jan. 4-17, the group will speak with representatives of Israeli and Palestinian peace and human rights organizations and will travel to the West Bank city of Al Khalil (Hebron) and the South Hebron Hills where CPT's longterm Palestine team is based. They will visit Palestinian farmers and shepherds whose land and livelihoods have been threatened by expanding Israeli settlements. Find a blog by one of the delegates at

  • Four of the Church of the Brethren workcamps offered in 2011 have already filled since registration started last week. Registration is closed for the workcamps at Eastern Shore, Brooklyn, Los Angeles, and Chicago. However, numerous other workcamps still have openings. For the listing of workcamps and online registration, go to

  • Congregational Life Ministries staff are recommending two training events led by Eric Law, both at Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Va. "Fundamental Skills for Building Inclusive Community" is on Jan. 26-28 and "Models and Processes for Community Transformation" will be Jan. 29-Feb. 1. Register at For more information, contact or 800-366-1636 ext. 216.

  • Children’s Disaster Services is holding volunteer workshops at La Verne (Calif.) Church of the Brethren on March 5-6, and at Goshen (Ind.) City Church of the Brethren on March 18-19. CDS volunteers provide a calm, safe, and reassuring presence in the midst of the chaos that follows disaster by setting up and operating special child care centers. A $45 registration fee covers materials and trainer costs. Meals and overnight accommodations are provided. Late registration is $55. For the California workshop contact local coordinator Kathy Benson at 909-593-4868. For the Indiana workshop contact John Sternberg at 574-612-2130 or Betty Kurtz at 574-533-1884. Or contact Children’s Disaster Services at 800-451-4407 ext. 5 or More information is at

  • On Nov. 6, Buckeye Church of the Brethren in Abilene, Kan., celebrated its 130th anniversary. Oldest member Letha Correll, 104, was recognized during the service.

  • West Charleston Church of the Brethren celebrated its new building in Tipp City, Ohio, Jan. 8.

  • South Waterloo (Iowa) Church of the Brethren is hosting the Foods Resource Bank’s Winter Regional Meeting on Jan. 15. Keynote speakers include Bill Northey, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture; FRB president Marv Baldwin; and Jay Wittmeyer, executive director of the Church of the Brethren’s Global Mission Partnerships. RSVP to or 319-939-5045.

  • Martin Luther King Jr. observances at Manchester College will feature ground-breaking Brethren pastor and former Annual Conference moderator Belita Mitchell of First Church of the Brethren in Harrisburg, Pa., along with stories of students and faculty who also have breached barriers. Mitchell, the first African-American woman to serve in the denomination’s highest elected office, will bring the keynote address for the MLK Service of Celebration and Rededication at 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 14 in the College Union. Her speech is titled "Navigating the Storms of Life...Excess Baggage Not Allowed." The evening also will include a student choir and readings and reflections on King’s legacy. On Jan. 17 at 7 p.m. in Petersime Chapel, readers will share student and faculty stories about challenging the status quo, as well as poetry and images. Refreshments will follow. The public is welcome at both free events. For more information go to

  • The John Kline Homestead Preservation Trust closed on the historic property in Broadway, Va., on Dec. 30. The effort succeeded in raising $425,000 needed to preserve the site. "We will announce a celebration event in the next few weeks," wrote Paul Roth, pastor of nearby Linville Creek Church of the Brethren. In related news, another series of Candlelight Dinners is planned at the homestead. An 1860s traditional meal will be served in the John Kline house, and actors will replicate conversations that might have surrounded dinner tables of area Brethren as the Civil War approached. Seats are $40 per plate. Dates are Jan. 21 and 22; Feb. 18 and 19; March 18; April 15 and 16. Contact 540-896-5001 or

  • Southern Pennsylvania District is offering "Rivers of Faith: A Historical Narrative," a 300th anniversary heritage DVD tracing the history of the district from the banks of Germany’s Eder River, where the first Brethren baptisms took place, to Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna River and beyond. Order for $30 plus mailing fee of $2.50 from Southern Pennsylvania District, P.O. Box 218, New Oxford, PA 17350.

  • The United Nations has designated the first week in February as World Interfaith Harmony Week. The resolution adopted Oct. 22 "reaffirms that mutual understanding and interreligious dialogue constitute important dimensions in a culture of peace" and encourages nations to support the spread of interfaith harmony and goodwill in the world’s places of worship. "This resolution specifically acknowledges the love of God (or the good in some nations) and the love of one’s neighbor, which is taught in very similar wording in all major faith traditions," commented Larry Ulrich, Brethren representative on the Interfaith Relations Commission of the National Council of Churches. "Hate and religion do not share the same space, regardless to what one attempts to say about ‘just war,’" commented Doris Abdullah, the church’s representative to the UN. For more go to

Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren, or 800-323-8039 ext. 260. Christy Dowdy, Claire Evans, Carol Fike, Matt Guynn, Philip E. Jenks, Jeri S. Kornegay, LethaJoy Martin, Brian Solem, Larry Ulrich, and Jane Yount contributed to this report.