Friday, July 29, 2011

East Africa gripped by drought and famine

Thousands of Somalis are feared dead as famine grips the eastern Horn of Africa in the worst drought since 1950. A poor rainy season again this year means that the October harvest will not yield enough food. Crop failures will put 11 million people, mostly in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya, at risk of malnutrition.

"This is an unprecedented humanitarian crisis that deserves the attention and support of the world," said Zach Wolgemuth, associate director for Brethren Disaster Ministries.

Early last week, the UN officially declared a famine in parts of southern Somalia for the first time in nearly twenty years. A food crisis becomes a famine only when certain conditions are met - at least 20 percent of households face extreme food shortages with a limited ability to cope; acute malnutrition rates exceed 30 percent; and the death rate exceeds two persons per day per 10,000 persons.

Other factors compounding the food insecurity in Somalia include the country's anarchic government, persistent fighting, large-scale displacement, widespread poverty, and disease. Trekking on foot for weeks or months to escape the drought, thousands of displaced Somalis are pouring across the border into neighboring Kenya carrying small children and whatever possessions they can manage. Some of the mothers arrive with dead infants in their arms.

The Church of the Brethren has released $40,000 from the Emergency Disaster Fund to support the relief efforts of international partner Church World Service (CWS). According to an appeal released by CWS on July 21, 2011, the agency is focusing work on both immediate relief and longer-term food security and water initiatives. Work is focused in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia.

The CWS appeal states that the immediate work in Kenya, in cooperation with the ACT Alliance (Action by Churches Together), will involve provision of family food packages, Unimix nutritional supplement for children under the age of five, and water tinkering. The program will target over 97,500 families. Longer-term, CWS will bolster existing disaster risk reduction initiatives with food security, nutrition, and livelihood efforts, and construction of permanent water systems.

The CWS-supported efforts in Somalia are focused on contributing to the work by fellow members of ACT Alliance: Lutheran World Federation and Norwegian Church Aid. This includes emergency food, non-food items (shelter, clothing, hygiene materials), water and sanitation in the crisis phase at three of the border camps which currently house some 358,000 refugees.

In Ethiopia, CWS is supporting the response efforts by the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus Development and Social Services Commission, who is providing food aid to 68,812 persons. The monthly rations consist of wheat, beans and cooking oil. Children under five, and pregnant or lactating women are receiving supplementary food, known as Famix, as well.

Contributions to support the East Africa drought and famine response may be sent to: Emergency Disaster Fund, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Avenue, Elgin, IL 60120.

Jane Yount, Coordinator for Brethren Disaster Ministries, in New Windsor, Maryland.

Religious Leaders requesting a Circle of Protection

In a meeting with President Obama and senior White House staff on July 20, 2011 national Christian leaders asked the president to protect funding for programs for hungry and poor people in the ongoing budget debate and in any deal concerning the default crisis.

All agreed that we can get our fiscal house in order without doing so on the backs of those who are most vulnerable. The shared concern was to cut the deficit in a way that protects the safety net, protects the vulnerable, and maintains our investments in the future.

Christian leaders at the meeting included representatives from the National Council of Churches, the National Association of Evangelicals, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bread for the World, Sojourners, the Alliance to End Hunger, the Salvation Army, the National African American Clergy Network, the National Baptist Convention of America, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.

They are part of the Circle of Protection a nonpartisan movement that insists budgets are moral documents and that poor and vulnerable people should be protected not targeted in efforts to reduce long-term deficits. White House staff in the meeting included Senior Advisory Valerie Jarrett, Director of Domestic Policy Council Melody Barnes and Director of the Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships Joshua DuBois.

The Circle of Protection* statement has been signed by more than 60 heads of Christian denominations and religious organizations including the Church of the Brethren and endorsed by 45 heads of development agencies as well as leaders of other faiths. The Circle of Protection movement has worked to uphold the bipartisan consensus that has long prevailed in deficit-reduction agreements that programs serving poor and hungry people should be protected and exempted from any automatic cuts.

Last week, representatives from the Circle of Protection, a non-partisan movement that insists that the poor should be protected not targeted in efforts to reduce long term deficits, met with President Obama to express their concerns. From a press release provided by Philip E. Jenks, National Council of Churches.

*In a radio and press campaign by Sojourners Pastor Nan Erbaugh from the Lower Miami Church of the Brethren in Dayton, Ohio, shared her thoughts. Erbaugh who lives in Speaker Boehner's district, stressed the importance of such programs by saying, "As a pastor, mother, and grandmother, it is imperative to stand together to protect those who are most vulnerable in our society and whose voices are seldom heard inside the Beltway. As Christians, there is no doubt that we are morally accountable to take care of the least of these--hungry children are the responsibility of each and every one of us. Congress is not making decisions about issues, but about people. I cannot be silent because I am my brother and sister's keeper."

Church World Service Celebrates 65th Anniversary

"You have reached 65 years, but please don't retire!" With those words, Vincent Cochetel, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees regional representative for the United States and the Caribbean, joined those wishing Church World Service a fond birthday as the global humanitarian agency marked its 65th anniversary and its long service and dedication to refugee protection.

Cochetel's wishes were not merely professional - the UNHCR official told those attending a Thursday, July 21, celebration of the agency at the Museum of the City of New York that among those resettled by CWS during its early years was a relative of his wife's family fleeing persecution from the Soviet Union.

Such stories were common during the event, which also marked the 60th anniversary of the signing of the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the 50th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. In his remarks, the Rev. John McCullough, CWS executive director and CEO, said the experiences of immigrants and refugees reflect an underlying philosophy of CWS -- that partnership and working at solutions begins at the grassroots.

Erol Kekic, the director of CWS's Immigration and Refugee Program, noted that when Church World Service was formed in 1946, and when "food trains were organized to assist the victims of hunger caused by the Second World War, few imagined an agency functioning 65 years later with an annual operating budget of over 80 million dollars and staff of several hundred."

He added: "Much has changed since that time. CWS is today a global voluntary agency well equipped to respond to natural and human induced disasters, offer refugee assistance and work to alleviate hunger domestically and abroad. Since 1946, CWS has helped resettle 500,000 refugees into the US and changed countless lives abroad."

As one example of change and looking toward the future, McCullough announced that the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) has asked CWS to conduct a new international study focused on protection of the world's growing numbers of urban refugees.

The yearlong study aims to identify successful, replicable models in "host communities" in the U.S. and other countries that are helping refugees integrate more quickly and successfully into urban settings and new cultures.

-Chris Herlinger/CWS

Heeding God's Call rally and peace march

Nearly one hundred people rallied in Harrisburg, Pa., Friday afternoon, July 15, 2011, to express their strong feelings of putting an end to violence in their neighborhood. The rally and peace march were organized by Heeding God's Call, a group of churches uniting people of faith in the sacred responsibility to protect our brothers, sisters, and children. This march was a vigil and a rallying cry to stop gun violence, just one day after 18-year-old Keion Gooding was shot and killed outside his Harrisburg home.

Belita Mitchell, pastor of Harrisburg First Church of the Brethren, is active in Heeding God's Call, one of whose primary objectives is to ask gun shop owners to sign a code of conduct suggesting a few extra steps of precaution to eliminate the straw sale of firearms. Straw sale is buying handguns in bulk and selling them to people who would not be able to pass a background check. Individuals and congregations active in Heeding God's Call unite to bring God's vision of a peaceable kingdom, without the violent loss of over 30,000 American lives by gunfire each year, embracing Dr. Martin Luther King's hope for peace and safety in our communities.

Peace Corps partners with the University of La Verne College

The University of La Verne College of Law has entered into a ground-breaking partnership with the Peace Corps, establishing the very first Fellows/USA partnership in the nation to exclusively offer a law degree. Fellows/USA is a graduate fellowship program that offers financial assistance and degree-related internships to Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs).

Under the program, RPCVs enrolled at La Verne Law will participate in externships with local public interest organizations, or participate in one of the law school's two clinics, where they will use the cross-cultural, language and leadership skills developed in the Peace Corps to assist in providing legal services to people who cannot afford attorneys.

La Verne Law Fellows will have the opportunity to direct their talents toward advocating for children's and workers' rights, disabilities services, and public defenders' services, or combating human trafficking and slavery, among other important issues.

"The Peace Corps is delighted to have the University of La Verne College of Law as a partner in the Fellows/USA program," said Peace Corps Director Aaron S. Williams. "This new partnership not only opens doors to an enriching law school opportunity at a reduced cost, it also enables returned Peace Corps volunteers to continue their work in public service through meaningful internships in underserved American communities. Experience overseas, combined with a law degree, position a Peace Corps Fellow well for all future endeavors."

Besides building their professional skills through externships, selected Fellows also will also receive as much as $4,500 per year in financial aid. For more information, visit

Georgia Markey to serve as acting district executive

The Southern Pennsylvania District Leadership Team is pleased to announce that Georgia Markey will serve as Acting District Executive beginning October 1, 2011. The Leadership Team envisions the development of a ministry team that will work alongside the acting district executive when circumstances require extra hands and expertise. Markey will serve as the district's placement officer and will be the contact for churches and ministers needing support and/or placement services. The associate district executive position currently held by Markey will be terminated effective September 30, 2011, as the board and staff work at restructuring staff and support staff for the district.

Markey, an ordained minister, came to the Southern Pennsylvania District as a district board member and chair of the district ministry commission. She moved from that position to serving as the administrative assistant in 1989. The position title was changed from administrative assistant to assistant to the district executive and in 1998 to the position of associate district executive. In that position, Markey has provided oversight of the administrative work of the district office and also worked closely with the Witness, Nurture, and Stewards Commissions of District Board in the outreach ministries of the District.

The District Office will continue to be located within The Brethren Home complex, at 6035 York Road, New Oxford, PA 17350. As the restructuring and reduction of staff takes shape, revised office hours will be advertised.

Elizabeth Keller to Resign from Bethany Seminary

Bethany Seminary announces that Elizabeth Keller, director of admissions, is resigning as of November 25, 2011. A master of divinity graduate of Bethany in 2008, she began serving the Seminary as interim director of admissions during her final year of study in 2007-2008. She has held the position of director of admissions since July 1, 2008.

During Keller's tenure, semiannual Campus Visit Days were established, giving many prospective students the experience of campus life, and admissions promotional and resource materials were expanded and updated. The Seminary also experienced its largest incoming class in more than a decade during the fall of 2009.

The Idaho and Western Montana District

The Idaho and Western Montana District is seeking candidates for the position of District Executive. This is a half-time position that could be filled by an individual or a team. It is available January 1, 2012. This District is comprised 6 congregations in Idaho; currently only in Idaho - Boise Valley, Bowmant, Fruitland, Mountain View, Nampa, and Twin Falls. Camp Wilber Stover, the district camp, is located at New Meadows, Idaho.

Interested and qualified persons may apply for this position by sending a letter of interest and a resume via e-mail to: A position description is available upon request. Applicants are requested to contact 3 or 4 persons who are willing to provide a letter of reference. Upon receipt of the resume the individual will be sent a Candidate profile that must be completed and returned before the application is considered complete. Application deadline: September 1, 2011

Bethany Theological Seminary

The Institutional Advancement Department at Bethany Theological Seminary seeks a full-time administrative assistant. Critical required skills include the ability to multitask, knowledge of computerized record keeping and communication systems, written communication, maintaining confidentiality, working collegially with department staff (who often work from remote locations), and interacting with the public in person and on the phone.

Knowledge and appreciation of the breadth of Church of the Brethren membership and organizational structure is highly desirable. Starting date is as soon as suitable arrangements can be made. Assessment of resumes and interviewing will commence as soon as applications are received and will continue until the position is filled.

Please submit inquiries, or letter of application and resume, to Lowell Flory, Executive Director of Institutional Advancement, Bethany Theological Seminary, 615 National Road West, Richmond, IN 47374,, 765-983-1805. Detailed position description is available on request.

Bethany Theological Seminary announces an opening for the full-time position of director of admissions with a starting date in October of 2011. The director of admissions will be responsible for a wide range of student recruitment activities, including: taking the lead to implement a recruitment plan, working as a team member in recruitment and marketing activities, representing the Seminary at off-campus events related to recruitment, conducting interviews, designing creative presentations for small and large group settings, and developing relationships with prospective students and church and college constituents. The work will include significant travel to visit students, attend camps, and conferences, etc.

Applicants should hold a bachelor's degree; a seminary degree is preferred. Familiarity with and an understanding of the Church of the Brethren is required. Two to five years professional experience in recruitment and marketing is valuable, and a career field of working with people is required. Experience in communications technology and multicultural recruitment is a plus.

Interested individuals are invited to submit a letter of application and resume to: Executive Director of Student and Business Services, Bethany Theological Seminary, 615 National Road West, Richmond, IN 47374 Application review will begin on August 15, 2011. Applications will continue to be accepted until the position is filled.

Brethren Benefit Trust

Brethren Benefit Trust has an opening for a Programmer Analyst and Technology Support Specialist. It is a full-time salaried position based in Elgin, Ill., for a not-for-profit, faith-based organization that provides Pension, Insurance, and Foundation services for 6,000 individuals and client organizations nationwide.

The primary responsibility is to develop and maintain a working knowledge of all IT systems; handle technology support requests from staff; write, analyze, review, and rewrite programs as well as maintain current computer programs; conduct trial runs; write documentation of programmed applications; provide backup for the Director of Operations for Information Technology; and complete other duties assigned by the Director.

Please send a letter of interest, résumé, three professional references, and salary-range expectation to Donna March at 1505 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120, or For questions or a position description, please call 847-622-3371.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Newsline is produced by the news services of the Church of the Brethren. Contact the editor at Contributors include Jennifer Williams, Don Knieriem, Sue Snyder, Chris Herlinger, Adam Pracht, Julia Wheeler, Jordon Blevins, Nancy Miner, Jane Yount, Ed Groff, Jeri S. Kornegay, and John Javed.