Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Small Business Health Care Tax Credit may benefit churches.

Last year the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama. Some changes took effect immediately, and some became effective Jan. 1, 2011. One of those changes that took effect Jan. 1 is the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit.

In Dec. 2010, the IRS clarified that the Tax Credit applies to churches and other small employers that obtain coverage through self-funded church health plans. If your church or employing organization provides coverage for one or more of your full-time or part-time employees through the Brethren Medical Plan or another health insurance plan, it may qualify for the Tax Credit. The IRS guidance also explained how clergy are to be counted under the Tax Credit and rules that apply when an employer offers more than one type of plan.

Small employers with 25 or fewer "full-time equivalent employees" and average wages of less than $50,000 may be eligible for a credit of up to 25 percent of the amount paid, if they contribute a uniform percentage of at least 50 percent toward the premiums or dues paid for their employees’ healthcare coverage. The tax credit of up to 25 percent is available for tax years 2010 through 2013.

The rules for determining full-time equivalent employees, average wages and uniform contributions, and other eligibility standards for the Tax Credit are complicated. For additional information about the Tax Credit, visit the IRS website at,,id=231928,00.html. A detailed discussion of how to calculate the Tax Credit is included in the instructions to Form 8941, which can be found at

Understanding that health care laws are rapidly changing, Brethren Insurance Services has made available a place to submit questions. If we do not have the answer to questions, we will direct you to a place where you can get the answer. Please submit any questions to As we receive further information, we will make it available at Learn more about health care reform in general at

-- This report was provided by Nevin Dulabaum, president of Brethren Benefit Trust, and Willie Hisey Pierson, director of Insurance Services for BBT. It also will be sent to churches and other organizations in the denomination in the form of a letter from BBT leaders. Brethren Benefit Trust does not provide tax advice to individuals or employers. The information in this notice is provided as part of Brethren Insurance Services’ educational efforts.

All Africa Conference of Churches issues statement on Sudan.

The All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) has issued a statement on the referendum held in southern Sudan in early January. CNN reported that final results show close to 99 percent majority vote to split from the north of Sudan. This would create southern Sudan as the world's newest country. The independence celebration is set for July 9. Sudan state television has reported that President Omar al-Bashir has stated his commitment to the results and said he will accept them.

Following is the AACC statement:

"We welcome and salute the results of the self-determination referendum which was conducted from Jan. 9-16, 2011. The results are a clear expression of the will and aspirations of the people of southern Sudan. The interim official results that have been released by the south Sudan Referendum Commission show a 99.57 percent vote for independence.

"Many actors contributed to the resounding success of the referendum. In particular, the AACC wishes to express sincere appreciation to the leadership of Sudan, President Gen. Omar al-Bashir and 1st Vice-President, and President of south Sudan, Gen. Salva Kiir, and the entire government, and in particular the south Sudan Referendum Commission for diligently organizing the south Sudan Referendum despite daunting challenges.

"We are impressed by the dignified manner in which the people of south Sudan conducted themselves throughout the week-long referendum. We were encouraged by their character to demonstrate their sense of civic duty and the general atmosphere of peace, which prevailed. This happened despite the fact that the referendum comes so soon after the presidential and general elections, which were a challenge in themselves after many years without similar elections, and following a protracted civil war.

"The AACC, teaming up with the Sudan Council of Churches (SCC) and other ecumenical organizations, accompanied the people of Sudan once again as we have always done throughout the period of the search for peace. The AACC played a significant role in assisting the churches with voter education programs and voter election monitoring.

"For the church in the entire continent, the referendum is a turning point after the huge loss of life and the prolonged pain by the Sudanese people.

"The impressive campaigns by supporters of either side of the referendum is an indication that the people of Sudan would want to see democracy work for them. The challenge that this presents for the leadership is to ensure that the expectations of the people are matched with a realization of a new era of peace and progress.

"We once again pray and hope that, even with interim results indicating a 99 percent vote in favor of independence by south Sudanese, when finally the official outcome of the referendum is announced on February 7, 2011, we call on:
  • The leadership of both north and south will not assume that they are indebted only to those who voted for their convictions but will provide leadership and service to all the people regardless of their vote, faith, or any other consideration as per the mandate of their offices.

  • The Sudanese in the north not to see themselves as losers and react in a manner that would plunge the country back to the abyss of death and darkness. Rather they would appreciate and respect the will of the people of the south through the referendum for self-determination which offered a chance for the southerners to define both the self and their belonging.

  • The leadership in both the north and the south to value their shared history and therefore consciously engage to offer each other opportunities that would continue to strengthen the history of a shared identity through the many years of hurting.
"In this regard we urge the two leaderships to ensure: The guarantee of basic rights and protection of the southerners in the north as well as northerners in the south, including the protection of opportunities and property. That post-referendum arrangements on transition, constitution making, sharing of wealth, and other issues including the demarcation of the north-south border are addressed as required with sobriety and the sensitivity they deserve....

"...The success of the referendum is not an end of the struggles of the people of the south Sudan but opens the door for a new future that must be characterized with strong relations with the north. Accordingly, we call upon the international community and African countries to rise up in solidarity and in support of the people of Sudan (north and south) to reconstruct their country and rebuild their nationhood.

"It is further our hope that religious leaders will use this time and space to build viable moral foundations for the Sudan society regardless of the political division that may place some in the north and others in the south location.

"The Church in Africa looks forward to a future when the people of Sudan and specifically in the south will benefit from their God-given natural wealth, which ironically has been the main source of their untold suffering."

-- The All Africa Conference of Churches is a fellowship of 173 member churches and Christian councils in 40 African countries. Its statement on Sudan also included specific recommendations about additional referendums and consultations in particular areas of the country, which were omitted above. For more go to

Sollenberger is named executive of South Central Indiana District.

Beth Sollenberger has been named district executive minister for South Central Indiana District, in a three-quarter time position beginning Feb. 21. She brings more than 29 years of experience in congregational, district, and denominational ministry to the post.

Sollenberger has served as pastor or associate pastor at a number of congregations in four different districts. She directed the Parish Resource Center in Dayton, Ohio, from 1990-92. From 1995-2004 she was on the staff of the Church of the Brethren General Board, serving as director of Stewardship Education, and then from 1997-2004 as coordinator of the Congregational Life Team, Area 3. More recently she has been pastoral consultant for New Church Development in Northern Indiana District. She was ordained in 1981 at Everett (Pa.) Church of the Brethren and holds degrees from Bethany Theological Seminary and Juniata College.

Boeger to coordinate recruitment for BVS, Global Mission office.

Katherine Boeger will serve as coordinator of Recruitment and as service advocate for Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) and the Church of the Brethren’s Global Mission Partnerships, effective Feb. 14.

She is a graduate of San Diego (Calif.) State University with a degree in business administration, emphasis in human resource management, and minor in psychology. She brings over 15 years of experience in a variety of fields including marketing and sales, human resources, and farming. Her church involvements have included travel to Nigeria for a workcamp and to Colombia with Christian Peacemaker Teams. She is a member of Live Oak (Calif.) Church of the Brethren.

Out of a small green box: A rediscovered manuscript on John Kline.

Shortly after assuming the directorship of the Brethren Historical Library and Archives (BHLA) on Nov. 1, 2010, I examined a small green box in my office labeled, "Original Penciled Manuscript of book LIFE OF JOHN KLINE by Funk." I quickly realized that I was looking at Benjamin Funk’s original hand-written manuscript (partial) for his book, "Life and Labors of Elder John Kline."

Elder John Kline (1797-1864) was a Civil War-era Brethren leader and martyr--a preacher, healer, and moderator of the Brethren Annual Meeting from 1861 until his murder in 1864. He was ambushed and killed on June 15, 1864, near his home in Rockingham County, Va., after falling under suspicion for making frequent trips across the lines between north and south, as he served the Brethren on both sides during the war.

As the story goes, Benjamin Funk reportedly destroyed John Kline’s original diary shortly after publishing his book in 1900. Why Funk felt that he needed to do this has always been open to speculation and controversy. What was in Elder Kline’s diaries that Funk didn’t want others to see? Thus, this "discovery" of Funk’s partial penciled manuscript and additional data is cause for celebration and scholarly examination.

Notations in the box indicate that the manuscript is incomplete, covering only the diary entries that Elder Kline wrote from March 1844 to August 1858. There is also some additional material in the manuscript, which apparently was not included in Funk’s book. This additional material includes sermons (at least one by Peter Nead) that are incomplete in beginnings and endings.

Jeffrey Bach, director of the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College, is presently working with the Funk/Kline material. Dr. Bach will give a presentation for the John Kline Homestead on April 9 regarding the history of the Brethren and slavery. In his presentation he plans to touch on the Funk/Kline manuscript. Bach also is the speaker for an insight session sponsored by the Brethren Historical Committee at the 2011 Annual Conference in Grand Rapids, Mich., on July 4.

-- Terry Barkley is director of the Brethren Historical Library and Archives at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill.

Salaam alaikum: Seeking peace in Israel and Palestine.

Salaam alaikum. In a land where this Arabic greeting means "Peace be with you," and the Hebrew greeting "Shalom" also means peace, there seem to be a lot of people seeking and few finding this peace.

On Jan. 4 and 5, assembled under the direction of Christian Peacemaker Teams, a diverse delegation gathered in Israel/Palestine. This mix of individuals varied in age between 24 and 70, and ranged from college professors to a plumber, and from one who thought the Bible was a myth and to one who was a biblical literalist. However, we were united by a desire to make a difference.

You likely have read about the demolition of Palestinian homes. And like me you possibly have come to the conclusion that these homes were torn down because the people living in them were terrorists. In reality, a lot of homes have been torn down because they were built without permits. Very few permits are given to Palestinians, even in their own territory, and their population continues to grow. While permits are restricted for Palestinians homes, Jewish settlement homes continue to be built on Palestinian land, with many sitting empty.

A friend I made while there, Atta Jaber, has had two homes removed and the one he is living in has a demolition order on it. His family has lived on the land for over 800 years and they have papers showing ownership from the time when French and British authorities were in control of the area.

As his second home was being destroyed, Atta Jaber was charged with "assault with a child." He had handed his four-month-old child to the soldier in charge, asking the officer to take his child because he had no home for his son and no way to feed him. As the child was wiggling in the officer’s arms, he hit the officer’s face. Although the charge did not stick, it is still on his son’s record.

A former soldier and a founder of the group "Breaking the Silence" spoke to our delegation, describing the conflict of emotions in an Israeli soldier’s life. He had served in Hebron and told about several situations he had encountered. One was a suspicious package placed next to a wall as his team did their nightly rounds. He said he had three options; one, to shoot into the package to see if it exploded; two, to call for a bomb team to come in, which could take hours; and three, to have a Palestinian go over and pick up the package. The thought that a person’s life was worth no more than a round from an M16 rifle, or the time it would take to have a skilled team come and check out the package, was challenging to me.

A few days later I was talking to a 19-year-old Israeli soldier who was detaining us at a check point. I thought back to the time when I was 19 years old and serving at Fort Jackson. At that age I would not have questioned those in authority, I had the confidence that they would never ask me to do anything wrong or that was not necessary.

As we grow in faith we begin to understand the value God has for human life. His Son suffered and died that we may have life. We also know that when someone’s life is ended here on earth, they will stand in judgment.

I don’t think I’ve ever been anyplace where hospitality is so widespread. At every home we were served tea shortly after arriving, and coffee before we left. Children greeted us on the streets with "Hellooooooo. Welcome." A young couple riding the bus with us from Bethlehem to Jerusalem invited all 13 of us into their home, after talking with us for just a short time.

Jesus said, "I was a stranger and you took Me in." I have never invited a group of strangers to my house after meeting them on public transportation. I have a better understanding of what hospitality is after this trip.

As I walked down the Mount of Olives, looking at the Old City of Jerusalem, I thought back to a time when my Savior wept as He made this journey. I let my eyes wander into the valley to my left, and looked at a wall built through it. I was told the wall was built to protect the Israelis from the Palestinians. At places the wall divides families, and in other places it divides individual farms. Whether you are looking at the 1948 or the 1967 agreements on Israel and Palestine, this wall is constructed well to the East of the line. How can something separating Palestinians from Palestinians protect the Israelis?

If we think back over the past 62 years we can recall a lot of terrible thing that have been done by both sides in this conflict, and I wonder how I would feel growing up in that environment. Would I hate other human beings? Would I be so fearful of others that I would throw rocks to keep them away from me? Would I shoot rockets into neighborhoods, or possibly attach an explosive device to my body, killing myself and others? I wonder even now if I will build a wall to protect me from seeing the pain of people Jesus died for.

I wonder, is Jesus weeping over His people today?

-- Wallace Cole is a member of the Church of the Brethren’s Mission and Ministry Board. He and his wife, Marty, are managers of Camp Carmel in Linville, N.C., in Southeastern District.

Reading with the Moderator.

("From the Moderator," will appear on occasion through the 2011 Annual Conference in Grand Rapids, Mich., July 2-6. Most books listed are available from Brethren Press, 800-441-3712.)

In recent years, as a pastor and now as moderator, the following books have helped to inform my theology, Christology, ethics, and perceptions of the church. They also have expanded my world through the historical, biblical, and current issues they address. I invite you to choose at least one and "read with the moderator" for our common enlightenment and spiritual growth.

"Counting the Cost: The Life of Alexander Mack" by William G. Willoughby. This volume highlights some of the formation experiences of the Brethren movement in the 18th century. In particular, it shows how early Brethren dealt with controversial issues and invites readers to ask how those experiences may enlighten our own.

"The Complete Writings of Alexander Mack" ed. William R. Eberly. This small volume, published through Brethren Encyclopedia, Inc., offers some of the essentials of the faith for early Brethren as shared by our founding minister Alexander Mack.

"The Christopher Sauers" by Stephen L. Longenecker. Like "Counting the Cost," this volume offers insights into how Brethren in colonial America struggled with following Jesus, sometimes in a hostile political environment.

"The Forgotten Faithful: A Window into the Life and Witness of Christians in the Holy Land" ed. Naim Ateek, Cedar Duaybis, and Maurine Tobin. These essays published through the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem provide insight into the struggles of Christians in an environment dominated by tensions over land and religion with Jews and Muslims.

"The Great Emergence: How Christianity Is Changing and Why" by Phyllis Tickle. One of the best and simplest explanations for what is happening in current Christian church circles. Tickle spoke at a dinner at the 2009 Annual Conference.

"Deep and Wide: Hospitality and the Faithful Church" by Steve Clapp, Fred Bernhard, and Ed Bontrager. This LifeQuest publication offers important guidance for congregations to carry out their evangelistic missions in their own communities.

"The Mission and Death of Jesus in Islam and Christianity" by A. H. Mathias Zahniser. For persons interested in the connections of Christianity and Islam, this volume explores some of the convictions that keep these two world religions apart, and that may help bridge the gaps between them.

"Stumbling Toward a Genuine Conversation on Homosexuality" ed. Michael A. King. The essays in this collection highlight the spectrum of views held by Christians, mostly Mennonites, on the matter of homosexuality.

Three volumes by N. T. Wright: "The New Testament and the People of God," "Jesus and the Victory of God," and "Surprised by HOPE: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church." This New Testament scholar offers helpful understandings of Jesus and His role as God’s presence in humankind. For the biblical scholar, these volumes are valuable. The last, "Surprised by HOPE," is highly recommended as pre-Easter reading.

"The Last Week (A Day-by-Day Account of Jesus’ Final Week in Jerusalem)" by Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crossan. This book provides a great daily reading from Palm Sunday to Easter.

"A Failure of Nerve (Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix)" by Edwin H. Friedman. Very important insights into the role and dynamics of leadership, especially for church leaders.

-- Robert E. Alley is moderator of the 2011 Annual Conference of the Church of the Brethren.

Brethren bits: Correction, job openings, upcoming events, more.
  • Correction: The new online page from the Brethren Historical Library and Archives is titled "Hidden Gems," not "Hidden Treasures" as incorrectly reported in the Newsline of Jan. 26.

  • The 2011 Youth Peace Travel Team has been announced: Mark Dowdy of Stone Church of the Brethren in Huntingdon, Pa.; Tyler Goss of West Richmond (Va.) Church of the Brethren; Kay Guyer of Manchester Church of the Brethren in North Manchester, Ind.; and Sarah Neher of McPherson (Kan.) Church of the Brethren. As they spend time with junior and senior high youth at camps across the denomination this summer, the team will teach about peace, justice, and reconciliation. Follow the team’s ministry at The team is sponsored by the Church of the Brethren’s Youth and Young Adult Ministry, Brethren Volunteer Service, On Earth Peace, and the Outdoor Ministry Association.

  • Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) seeks a chief operating and compliance officer for a full-time salaried position based at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. The chief operating and compliance officer will provide daily administrative oversight for BBT’s ministries and compliance leadership for all of BBT’s operations. As COO, this person will supervise directors of the Church of the Brethren Pension Plan, Brethren Foundation, Brethren Insurance Services, and Church of the Brethren Credit Union, as well as directors of the Communications and Information Technology departments. The COO will take the lead, in collaboration with the CEO and CFO, in working with department directors to develop annual budgets and business plans that reflect the organization’s strategic goals. As compliance officer, this person will direct internal and external risk assessments and will lead the organization in implementation of compliance-related procedures and practices. This person also will lead the development and implementation of the organization’s business continuity plan. BBT seeks candidates with undergraduate degrees in accounting, business, or related fields. Candidates should have eight years of experience in administration and personnel supervision, and five years of experience working with compliance or compliance-related issues. This person must be proficient with technology and systems. Experience in business planning and project leadership is desired. Current and active membership in the Church of the Brethren is preferred; current and active membership in a faith community is required. The COO and compliance officer will travel on occasion to fulfill the responsibilities of the position, including events related to denominational activities, the Church Benefits Association, and professional growth. Salary and benefits are competitive with Church Benefits Association agencies of comparable size and scope of services. A full benefits package is included. Apply by Feb. 25 by sending a letter of interest, resume, three references (two supervisors and one colleague), and salary-range expectation to Donna March, 1505 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120, or For questions or clarification about the position, call 847-622-3371.

  • Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) seeks applications for a full-time co-director to work with Carol Rose, current co-director. The position begins in July. The job description is flexible depending on the intersection of applicant’s skills with current co-director. Applications from members of racially marginalized groups and from outside North America are warmly welcomed. Compensation is a stipend based on need. The initial appointment is for a period of three years. Qualifications include spiritual grounding in Christianity; strong skills in organizational processes and administration; experience leading or working in an international organization committed to violence reduction, nonviolent resistance campaigns, and movement building; strong English with at least minimal Spanish; background and skill in undoing oppressions; ability to mobilize economic and human resources; knowledge of CPT and how the organization works. Needed traits include the ability to articulate and promote the CPT mission and vision; make collaborative decisions; listen well; be flexible; articulate and promote an organizational vision; lead in organizational change; and network between religious, political, geographical, and social groups. See for more information. Must participate in a CPT delegation and month-long training and discernment process prior to final appointment. Contact Susan Mark Landis at with expressions of interest by March 1. She will respond with a more complete job description and application materials.

  • Bread for the World seeks an associate for Denominational Women’s Organization Relations, a motivated professional to engage denominational women’s organizations in partnerships and promote their involvement in the 1000 Days Campaign on maternal and child nutrition. Must have a bachelor’s degree and three-to-five years of related work experience; excellent relational skills; experience in planning and coordinating small group events, including travel; excellent written and verbal communication skills; and knowledge of Christian scripture, theology, and church organization. Familiarity with denominational women’s organizations preferred. This is a full-time grant-funded position until Oct. 2012. Apply by Feb. 18. Bread is an EOE. Contact Rev. Diane Ford Jones, Senior National Church Relations Associate, Bread for the World, 425 3rd St. SW, Suite 1200, Washington, DC 20024; 202-639-9400;

  • Camp Brethren Heights in Rodney, Mich., has announced the hiring of camp director Randall Westfall. He began his duties on Jan. 15.

  • Young adults from all denominations are encouraged to participate in the Eco-Stewards Program, in a note from Greg Davidson Laszakovits, Brethren representative to the National Council of Churches’ Eco-Justice Working Group. The program is for young adults ages 20-30 who are interested in exploring connections between faith and environmental stewardship. The 2011 program will take place June 2-9 with the theme "Living with and from the Land on the Crow Reservation in Montana: Sustainability and Reconciliation Through Agriculture, Health, and Green Building." The program will be held at Greenwood Farm, an organic farm on the Crow Reservation just outside Hardin, Mont. Apply by March 1, find the application form and more information at

  • Church of the Brethren general secretary Stan Noffsinger has signed on to a letter to President Obama supporting a pending United Nations Security Council resolution on the Middle East. The letter was signed by leaders of 13 denominations and church related organizations that are members of Church for Middle East Peace (CMEP). It said, in part. "We believe that the United States must now respond positively to the resolution on Israeli settlement construction activity and related issues." In a separate release, CMEP said it is "deeply concerned" that the resolution pass the Security Council. The CMEP described the resolution as "calling on Israel to stop illegal construction of settlements in the territories over which it gained control in 1967, including East Jerusalem.... CMEP calls on the Obama Administration not to stand in the way of this resolution in a Security Council vote." For more go to

  • Church of the Brethren leaders also have written and signed letters in support of the National Council of Churches’ call for an end to gun violence, responding to the tragic shooting in Tucson. A letter has been written to President Obama and signed by the Inter-Agency Forum, including the officers of Annual Conference, representatives of the districts, and top executives and board chairs of the church agencies. A similar letter was sent to governor Pat Quinn of Illinois, the state in which the Church of the Brethren is incorporated. Both letters encouraged the initiation of "legislation that will limit access to hand guns and assault weapons."

  • Bethany Seminary president Ruthann Knechel Johansen will give the address to commemorate the purchase and preservation of the John Kline Homestead. "A Service of Celebration: Honoring the Legacy" is Feb. 27, at 3 p.m. at Linville Creek Church of the Brethren in Broadway, Va. Her address, "The Legacy of Radical Middleness," follows a child’s reading of the Brethren Press book "The Middle Man." Visitors will be able to tour the Linville Creek Church Historical and Kline Rooms and the John Kline house after the service. Also, seats are still available for Candlelight Dinners in the John Kline house, where re-enactors share concerns for the approaching War Between the States and its impact on home, farm, and faith. Seats are available Feb. 19, March 18, April 15 and 16. $40/plate, limit of 32 per evening. Contact 540-896-5001 or for reservations. Groups welcome.

  • Bethany Theological Seminary is offering "Sabbath space" on its campus in Richmond, Ind., on March 27-28. An announcement said: "At this moment in our national and denominational life, and taking Jesus seriously, Bethany Seminary is opening a Sabbath space for all people beginning on Sunday, March 27, at 5 p.m. with a simple fellowship meal and closing on Monday, March 28, by 3 p.m. The purpose of our gathering is to remember together that God is our creator, that we belong to God, and that we find our freedom and our joy in reconciliation with God and one another." The event will include worship, opportunities for prayer in small groups, and space for individual meditation. There is no charge, but those who plan to attend are requested to register. A registration form is at

  • Stan Dueck, director of Transforming Practices, is recommending several books on the evangelism resources page at The books can be purchased through Brethren Press for a discount. "Two books may be of particular interest due to the conversation in many congregations pertaining to ministry with youth and young adults," he writes: "Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers is Telling the American Church," by Kenda Creasy Dean, and "Souls in Transition: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of Emerging Adults" by Christian Smith and Patricia Snell.

  • Brethren Disaster Ministries is offering a Haiti Workcamp on March 14-20, working with Eglise des Freres Haitiens (the Church of the Brethren in Haiti). Register with deposit by Feb. 14. The workcamp will help rebuild homes in the Port-au-Prince area and outlying villages that have received earthquake victims. Cost is $900, with a $300 deposit due with registration. Participants purchase their own round-trip transportation to Port-au-Prince. Requirements include good health, stamina for hard work in a hot climate, age 18 or older, a passport, vaccinations and medications, sensitivity and flexibility with regard to cultural differences. Go to

  • Nursing scholarships are available from the Church of the Brethren’s Caring Ministries. The program awards a limited number of scholarships each year to individuals enrolled in an LPN, RN, or nursing graduate program who are members of the Church of the Brethren. Scholarships of up to $2,000 for RN and graduate nurse candidates and up to $1,000 for LPN candidates will be awarded. A preference is given to new applications, and to individuals who are in their second year of an associate’s degree or third year of a baccalaureate program. Scholarship recipients are eligible for only one scholarship per degree. Applications and supporting documentation must be submitted by April 1. Candidates who are awarded scholarships will be notified in July and funds will be sent directly to the appropriate school for the Fall term. To apply, print or download the instructions and application from

  • The Mid-Atlantic District Peace and Justice Committee on March 26 is sponsoring a Peace Symposium titled, "Is Pacifism a Core Christian Value?" The symposium will be held at University Park Church of the Brethren in Hyattsville, Md., from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Keynote speaker will be Stan Noffsinger, general secretary of the Church of the Brethren. A panel discussion also will be offered with local and denominational representatives. Attendees are invited to read "Christian Understanding of War in an Age of Terror(ism)," a paper under discussion by the National Council of Churches, in preparation for the symposium. Find the document at, scroll down to "Visioning Conversations" and click "Full Text of the Five Vision Papers." Contact Illana Naylor at

  • The January and February episodes of "Brethren Voices" cable television program from Peace Church of the Brethren in Portland, Ore., feature Melanie Snyder, author of the Brethren Press book "Grace Goes to Prison" and a member of Elizabethtown (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. The March edition will feature Randy Miller, interim editor of "Messenger." For copies contact

  • The first World Interfaith Harmony Week was held the first week in February 2011, following a resolution adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations last October. To mark the event, Church of the Brethren UN representative Doris Abdullah attended an Interfaith Breakfast of the Committee of Religious NGOs, in New York on Feb. 3.

  • The National Council of Churches (NCC) joined with the Coptic Orthodox Church to observe a three-day period of prayer and fasting for events in Egypt. NCC general secretary Michael Kinnamon said he prayed that "the people of Egypt will experience a just and hopeful resolution of the current crisis." The World Council of Churches also issued a statement of concern for Egypt: "Our hopes and prayers are for the safety of citizens, for wisdom and compassion on the part of the authorities and for a non-violent and just resolution of conflicts and grievances."

  • The National Religious Campaign Against Torture has released a statement hoping that this time of change in Egypt ensures the end of the use of torture there. The statement from NRCAT executive director Richard Killmer said, "There is strong evidence that in the past the US rendered suspected terrorists to Egypt with the knowledge that they would be tortured. It is our hope that this time of change in Egypt ensures that no government of Egypt will allow the use of torture. Further, we call upon the US government to create a Commission of Inquiry to investigate all aspects of its past use of torture." 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. Chris Douglas, Ed Groff, Philip E. Jenks, Karin Krog, Nancy Miner, Paul Roth, Becky Ullom, and Larry Ulrich contributed to this report.