Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Newsline: January 25, 2012


Daily devotion leaders announced for 2012 Annual Conference.

Moderator Tim Harvey has announced leaders of the devotional times that will start the Monday and Tuesday business sessions at the 2012 Annual Conference. The Conference takes place in St. Louis, Mo., on July 7-11.

Morning devotions begin at 8:30 a.m. and will be led on Monday, July 9, by Wallace Cole, an interim district executive minister in Southeastern District; and on Tuesday, July 10, by Pamela Reist, a member of the denomination’s Mission and Ministry Board and a pastor at Elizabethtown (Pa.) Church of the Brethren.

Afternoon devotions will be led July 9 by Jonathan A. Prater, a new church planter in Shenandoah District and pastor of Mt. Zion Church of the Brethren in Linville, Va.; and on July 10 by Becky Ullom, the Church of the Brethren’s director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries.

Time set aside for devotional thoughts or Bible study reflections also will include hymns and prayers, and will address the daily themes of the Conference. For more information about the 2012 Annual Conference, and for online registration of congregational delegates, go to Registration for nondelegates opens online Feb. 22 at 12 noon (central).

Source:1/25/2012 Newsline

New web design, 2012 Annual Conference packet are unveiled.

Annual Conference mission statement, with hands raisedThe Conference Office has unveiled a new website design at , where the information packet for the 2012 Annual Conference is now available to download. Postcards giving the web address have been sent to each congregation of the Church of the Brethren.

The Conference Office has emphasized that unlike in years past, this year the information packet will not be distributed on disk but will be made available solely online at the Annual Conference website.

The information packet provides basic information about the 2012 Conference to be held in St. Louis, Mo., from July 7-11. Included are sections on the theme, schedule, location and facilities, fees, hotel information, age group activities, Conference Choir, and more.

Congregations can register their delegates online now. Nondelegate registration and hotel reservations will open online at 12 noon (central time) on Feb. 22. For more information go to

Source:1/25/2012 Newsline

BMC approved as project site for BVS

The Brethren Mennonite Council for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Interests (BMC) has been accepted as a placement site for Brethren Volunteer Service volunteers.

The group has applied on a regular basis for some years. During that time there have been Brethren volunteers who have worked at the BMC office in Minneapolis, but they have served through other volunteer organizations.

BVS currently lists more than 100 volunteer opportunities with projects and organizations that meet human needs, work for peace, advocate justice, and care for creation. Projects are located across the United States and in a number of other countries in Europe, Central and South America, Asia, and Africa. The program was begun as an initiative of young adults at the 1948 Annual Conference of the Church of the Brethren.

For more about BVS go to

Source:1/25/2012 Newsline

Client investments enable BBT to take stand against human trafficking.

BBT logoPutting the spotlight on global slavery and trafficking: That is what retirement contributions and congregational investments through Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) have helped achieve through the agency’s socially responsible investing initiatives. BBT signed on to a January letter urging the US Congress to require large companies to enact policies and auditing procedures that can expose and eliminate human mistreatment in their global supply chains.

“BBT represents the denomination’s positions, as established by Annual Conference actions, through its socially responsible investing activities,” said Steve Mason, director of BBT’s socially responsible investing initiatives. “Our members and clients have a voice, and today that voice is urging Congress and large companies to take significant action against trafficking and slavery.”

Through its relationship with the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, an interfaith corporate advocacy organization, BBT has signed on to the letter, which is addressed to House of Representatives speaker John Boehner and majority leader Eric Cantor. It urges Republican leadership to place the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (HR 2759) at the top of the Financial Services Committee’s agenda. This bill requires companies with a minimum of $100 million in gross receipts to report their organization’s efforts to address trafficking and slavery to the Securities Exchange Commission and on their websites.

The letter reads, “Given trends in globalization and growing concerns regarding working conditions, labor issues, human trafficking, and slavery, investors and other stakeholders will increasingly call for greater disclosure from companies related to their supply chains. We therefore strongly encourage the Republican House leadership to support investors, companies, workers, and consumers by moving this important legislation forward in an expeditious manner.”

Signing on to this letter is another step in BBT’s efforts to represent its members and clients by bringing human rights matters to the attention of the US government and publicly traded companies. In 2011, BBT’s work with energy company ConocoPhillips helped to persuade the company to review its Human Rights Position to address the rights of indigenous peoples occupying areas in which ConocoPhillips does business. An Aug. 2010 letter from BBT to President Barack Obama urged the US government to support the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

For more information about BBT’s socially responsible investing projects, visit or contact Steve Mason at 800-746-1505 ext. 369 or

-- Brian Solem is publications coordinator for Brethren Benefit Trust.

Source:1/25/2012 Newsline

Brethren congregations among those being surveyed.

Church of the Brethren congregations are being invited to respond to a survey that will be arriving in mailboxes soon. The survey is a broad curriculum survey being conducted by the Protestant Church-owned Publishers Association (PCPA), of which Brethren Press is a member.

The survey seeks to explore an underlying issue in congregations today--that is, how to work effectively at growing disciples in today’s culture. The publishers are interested in learning what new strategies and programs local churches are using today to disciple their members of all ages, and what resources they are looking for to support these programs.

The survey sample will include every congregation within the Church of the Brethren, since the Brethren are smaller than the other participating denominations. Others are providing random samplings of 1,265 congregations.

PCPA is an association of about three dozen publishing houses that vary greatly in size and theology. About 15 of the member publishing houses are participating in the survey, for a combined survey group of about 19,000 congregations. The curriculum survey is being carried out by LifeWay Research, affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. Respondents will be able to fill out the survey on paper or online.

-- Wendy McFadden is publisher of Brethren Press and Church of the Brethren communications.

Source:1/25/2012 Newsline

Stewardship leadership seminar focuses on generosity.

Resources from the Ecumenical Stewardship Center include Giving magazine
Photo by Ecumenical Stewardship Center
Resources from the Ecumenical Stewardship Center include Giving magazine along with offering theme materials and more.
On Nov. 28, 2011, more than 80 steward leaders gathered at the Sirata Beach Resort in St. Pete Beach, Fla., for the Ecumenical Stewardship Center 2011 Leadership Seminar. The theme was “Creating Congregational Culture of Generosity in the 21st Century.” Representatives from nearly 20 denominations heard presentations on the subject by plenary speakers Carol F. Johnston, Jill Schumann, and Paul Johnson. Attendees participated in lively discussion, sharing of ideas, and mutual encouragement.

On Tuesday morning, associate professor of Theology and Culture and director of Lifelong Theological Education at Christian Theological Seminary, Carol Johnston, shared her extensive research about the public roles that congregations play in communities. She told stories of churches in different cities across the US, their unique personalities, and key roles in neighborhood development.

After an ocean-view lunch break, Jill Schumann spoke from her experience as president and CEO of Lutheran Services in America, and suggested “rethinking stewardship” according to shifts in culture and technology. Thinking positively about asset mapping and mutual care were large components of her informative speech.

Wednesday morning brought a presentation from Paul Johnson, director of Neighborhood Development Strategies of the City of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. He continued the theme of viewing stewardship through a new perspective, and told of trials and successes of unusual and innovative community-based programs in Hamilton.

All three speakers were prepared to discuss difficult questions and speak from their extensive experience at the panel discussion that afternoon. Each of the three days also included worship led by Ted & Company Theaterworks. The company concluded the event with a rousing performance of their original piece, “What’s So Funny About Money,” at the seminar’s closing banquet.

Though the Florida weather was cool and windy, the energy during group discussion, “talk-back” sessions, and songs of praise sung each morning kept participants warm. Inspiring, informative, and encouraging conversation dominated the seminar and the atmosphere was supportive and collegial. After the closing festivities, attendees lingered to exchange embraces and contact information, and that one last idea until meeting again next year at the ESC Leadership Seminar 2012.

-- Mandy Garcia is coordinator of donor development for the Church of the Brethren. For more about the Ecumenical Stewardship Center, of which the Church of the Brethren is a denominational supporter, go to Former Bethany Seminary staff member Marcia Shetler is now serving as executive director of ESC, which recently adopted a new set of by-laws and new governance structure to enhance its position as a stewardship education and resource leader for churches and denominations.

Source:1/25/2012 Newsline

Leaders in disaster ministry to gather at Brethren Service Center.

CWS 2012 Forum flierFaith communities often play a crucial role in responding to disasters throughout the US, such as by building houses, providing emotional care to survivors, and meeting other unmet needs. How and why faith communities respond to disasters will be explored at the 2012 Church World Service (CWS) Forum on Domestic Disaster Ministry, March 19-21 at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md.

The biennial forum brings together leading scholars, theologians, and staff who work in disaster programs throughout the interreligious community. Participants explore the changing nature of response to disasters and learn from experienced practitioners in the field.

The forum will focus on "Sacred Hospitality: Compassion and Community in the Wake of Disaster" and explore topics including economic justice, spiritual and emotional care, and forging partnerships with secular, faith-based, and government agencies.

The forum is a great place to learn the latest developments in how faith communities are responding to disasters, according to Barry Shade, CWS associate director for Domestic Emergency Response. “We're very excited about the speakers who are coming this year,” Shade says. “We'll cover everything from the theological to the practical aspects of disaster response and recovery.”

Amy Oden, a scholar of Christian traditions of hospitality and the dean of Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., will be the keynote speaker. Other scheduled speakers include Stan Duncan, Bob Fogal, Bonnie Osei-Frimpong, Ruama Camp, Claire Rubin, Jamison Day, and Bruce Epperly.

Participants in past forums have included staff members from faith-based disaster programs, government agencies, corporations, foundations, and community organizations.

The gathering will be the fifth CWS Forum on Domestic Disaster Ministry. It will take place at the New Windsor (Md.) Conference Center in rural, western Maryland. Transportation is available from Baltimore-Washington International Airport for those who register by March 10. The registration form and additional information are available at

-- Lesley Crosson and Jan Dragin of Church World Service provided this release.

Source:1/25/2012 Newsline

Bethany Seminary to hold 2012 Presidential Forum.

Photo by: Melanie Weidner artwork
“Joy and Suffering in the Body: Turning toward Each Other” is the theme of Bethany Theological Seminary’s 2012 Presidential Forum, to be held April 13-14 at the campus in Richmond, Ind.

The title of the forum refers to experiences both within individual bodies and our faith bodies. Ruthann Johansen, president of Bethany, describes the development of the theme: “For people of faith to be created in the image of God calls us to embrace the gifts of our sexuality and our spirituality and to treat our own and one another's lives with reverence. This forum topic will explore the intersections of human sexuality and spirituality openly to increase our understanding of ourselves and one another and to help us live in Christ-like integrity with compassion and justice toward all people.”

The forum is also a response to the call stated in Standing Committee's report from the 2011 Annual Conference in Grand Rapids--“to continue deeper conversations concerning human sexuality outside of the query process”--and to the recommendations of the original 1983 statement “Human Sexuality from a Christian Perspective.”

James Forbes will be the keynote speaker, with an address titled “Who for the Joy Set Before Him.” He is senior minister emeritus of Riverside Church in New York City and the Harry Emerson Fosdick Adjunct Professor of preaching at Union Theological Seminary. He is also president of the Healing of the Nations Foundation, which draws its mission from Revelation 22:2: “And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.”

Panelists representing the fields of medicine, ecclesiology and sexuality, Christian history, religion and psychiatry, and biblical studies will round out leadership. They include David E. Fuchs, MD; David Hunter, Cottrill-Rolfes Chair of Catholic Studies at the University of Kentucky; Gayle Gerber Koontz, professor of theology and ethics at Mennonite Biblical Seminary; Amy Bentley Lamborn, assistant professor of pastoral theology at General Theological Seminary; and Ken Stone, academic dean and professor of Hebrew Bible, culture, and hermeneutics at Chicago Theological Seminary. Each panelist’s presentation will incorporate opportunity for audience discussion.

Parker Thompson, Bethany student and coordinator of the Forum Planning Committee, says, “Guided by the command to ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind’ (Matthew 22:37), we were looking for leaders who could address spirituality and sexuality in the full context of Christian living. In seeing Dr. Forbes preach at a conference in Chicago on urban ministry, I experienced him to be an amazingly embodied preacher with a gift and a passion for seeking healing in this broken world. Each of the panelists is excited about contributing her or his unique expertise to the forum’s holistic approach to spirituality and sexuality.”

As a complementing event, a Pre-Forum Gathering is planned for April 12-13, sponsored by Bethany’s Alumni/ae Coordinating Council. “The gathering will bring alumni/ae and other interested persons together for educational presentations by faculty as well as the opportunity to reconnect and meet new friends,” says council member Greg Davidson Laszakovits. “Rooted in the Presidential Forum’s theme of spirituality and sexuality, this event will take a practical approach toward equipping participants to work with these real-life issues in their ministries and lives.”

Attendees of the Pre-Forum Gathering will hear four sessions presented by faculty from Bethany and Earlham School of Religion: Julie M. Hostetter, director of the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership; Russell Haitch, associate professor of Christian education and director of the Institute for Ministry with Youth and Young Adults at Bethany; Jim Higginbotham, assistant professor of pastoral care and counseling at ESR; and Dan Ulrich, professor of New Testament studies at Bethany. This event is the second of its kind to be held in conjunction with a Presidential Forum.

Continuing education units are available for both events. Those attending the Pre-Forum Gathering can earn 0.5 units, while forum attendees can earn up to 0.6 units. Participants must attend all sessions on a given day to receive credit.

The 2012 forum is the fourth in a series begun in 2008. “The Presidential Forums were inaugurated to develop substantive topics that thoughtfully and prophetically address issues of faith and ethics and that enable the seminary to provide visionary, educational leadership for the church and society,” states Johansen. In Fall 2010, Bethany received a generous grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations to endow the Presidential Forums.

Forum and pre-forum activities will include worship services and a concert by the band Mutual Kumquat. The forum also will feature the artwork of ESR graduate Melanie Weidner, whose painting “Between Us” is serving as the feature piece of the forum.

The Pre-Forum Gathering will begin with dinner and fellowship on Thursday, April 12; the forum will likewise begin with dinner and worship on Friday, April 13. Discounted rates are available for students. For a complete schedule and session descriptions, registration information, and housing options, visit For further questions, contact Registration will be capped at 150 participants.

-- Jenny Williams is director of communications and alumni/ae relations at Bethany Seminary. The artwork titled “Between Us” is reproduced by permission, © 2005 by Melanie Weidner

Source:1/25/2012 Newsline

Renovaré Essentials Conference offered by Atlantic Northeast District.

Renovare Essentials Conference - logoRichard Foster, founder of Renovaré and author of “Celebration of Discipline,” along with Chris Webb, new president of Renovaré and an Anglican Priest from Wales, will be the featured leaders at a Renovaré Essentials Conference on April 21, 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m., at Leffler Chapel at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College.

Sponsored by the Church of the Brethren’s Atlantic Northeast District, the conference is a day of spiritual growth for participants to develop a balanced vision for personal and corporate spiritual renewal.

An added feature of this conference will be classes for children on the spiritual disciplines, held at nearby Elizabethtown Church of the Brethren, with a new curriculum written by Jean Moyer.

Resources on developing the spiritual life will be offered in an onsite bookstore. The District Spiritual Renewal Team who is organizing the conference has a sheet of information available to help congregations prepare for the conference and suggested resources for follow up. A prayer team also is at work for the conference.

Cost by March 1 is $40, after which registration increases to $50. Children through grade 6 may register for $5. Continuing education units (.65 CEU) will be available for an additional $10 fee. A registration form is available both on the Atlantic Northeast District website at or by e-mailing David Young, chair of the steering committee, at A cordial welcome is extended to all.

-- David S. Young, with his wife Joan, is founder of the Springs of Living Water initiative for church renewal, which is active in several Church of the Brethren districts.

Source:1/25/2012 Newsline

Clergy Tax Seminar will review tax law, 2011 changes.

Deborah Oskin leads Clergy Tax Seminar for Bethany Seminary, Brethren Academy, Ministry Office
Photo by Brethren Academy
A tax seminar for clergy will be held on Feb. 20 through a collaboration of Bethany Seminary's Office of Electronic Communication, the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership, and the Church of the Brethren Office of Ministry. Seminary students, pastors, and other church leaders are invited to attend the seminar either in person at Bethany Seminary in Richmond, Ind., or online.

The sessions will cover tax law for clergy, changes for 2011 (the most current tax year), and detailed assistance on how to file the various forms and schedules that pertain to clergy (including housing allowances, self-employment, etc.).

Greatly appreciated by Bethany Seminary students, this seminar is being opened up to clergy and others across the denomination for the first time. It is recommended for all pastors and other church leaders who wish to understand clergy taxes.

Leading the seminar is Deborah L. Oskin, EA, NTPI Fellow, and an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren. She has been doing clergy tax returns since 1989 when her husband became pastor of a small Church of the Brethren congregation. She has learned the problems and pitfalls associated with the IRS identification of clergy as "hybrid employees" both from personal and professional experience as an H&R Block agent. During 12 years with the company (2000-2011) she achieved the highest level of expertise certification as a master tax adviser, a teaching certification as a certified advanced instructor, and the status of enrolled agent with the IRS. She is serving Living Peace Church of the Brethren in Columbus, Ohio, as peace minister to the wider community. She also was Southern Ohio District's board chair from 2007-2011, and works closely with several interfaith peace organizations in central Ohio.

The schedule for Feb. 20: morning session 10 a.m.-1 p.m. (eastern), lunch on your own, afternoon session 2-4 p.m. (eastern). Registration is $15 per person (nonrefundable to keep fees and overhead low). Registration for current students of Bethany Seminary, Training in Ministry (TRIM), Education for Shared Ministry (EFSM), and Earlham School of Religion is fully subsidized and free to the student. Those who register to attend online will receive instructions about how to gain access to the seminar a few days prior to the event. Registrations are not complete until payment is received. Register at

Source:1/25/2012 Newsline

What makes for peace? A nomination for the Okinawa Peace Prize.

Hiromu Morishita
Photo by JoAnn Sims
Hiromu Morishita welcoming guests at the Barbara Reynolds monument unveiling at Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima in June 2011.
Since 1895 the world recognizes individuals through the Nobel Prize for achievements in various fields such as economics, physics, literature, or medicine. The Nobel Peace Prize is the best known and perhaps the most revered prize as it recognizes a peacemaker in a world that is often in conflict. Nobel’s will described the recipient of the peace prize as “a person who shall have done the most or best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies, and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.” The world waits each year to hear who will receive the next award.

There is another peace prize award. It is not as well known and has a history only since 2001. It is the Okinawa Peace Prize. It is awarded every two years. The prize is issued from Okinawa as the only prefecture in Japan during World War II where a severe ground battle engulfed all residents and claimed over 200,000 lives. Okinawa has a deep appreciation of the preciousness of life and the importance of peace. Okinawa sees itself as a bridge and a Crossroad of Peace in the Asia-Pacific region, and is involved in the building and maintenance of peace with the rest of the world.

The Okinawa Peace Prize recognizes efforts of individuals and organizations contributing to the promotion of peace in the Asia-Pacific region geographically and historically related to Okinawa. There are three foundations for eligibility: 1) Promote peace and nonviolence in the Asia-Pacific region. 2) Help achieve human security, promote human rights, solutions to poverty, hunger, disease, and activities that contribute to enriching society. 3) Cultivate cultural diversity and mutual respect and make efforts to create foundations for peace in different regions around the world.

As volunteer directors of the World Friendship Center in Hiroshima, Japan, we nominated Hiromu Morishita for the Okinawa Peace Prize. He is an amazing individual. His story begins in 1945 when he survived the A-bomb in Hiroshima. He was severely burned. He became a high school home room and calligraphy teacher. Stunned that his students didn’t know about the A-bomb and the realities of war, he decided he needed to tell his story in hopes that such a horror would never be repeated.

He joined a peace mission sponsored by Barbara Reynolds, founder of the World Friendship Center. That experience helped shape his lifetime of peacemaking. One of his contributions to peace is as a peace ambassador, visiting 30 countries with his message of peace and sharing his A-bomb survival story.

He is the founder of peace education in Japan, developing curriculum and organizing A-bomb teacher survivor associations. He directly influenced over 10,000 students and indirectly over 6 million students since 1970 when peace education began in Japan.

Hiromu Morishita is a poet and master calligrapher. On his peace ambassador trips he shares his story through poetry and by teaching or demonstrating calligraphy. His poetry and calligraphy are displayed on significant monuments in Hiroshima and its Peace Memorial Park. Over one million visitors view his work each year.

Morishita has been chairperson of the World Friendship Center for 26 years. Under his guidance the center has sent multiple peace ambassador teams to Germany, Poland, the US, and Korea to tell the story of Hiroshima and its work for Peace. The center operates a guesthouse and has shared the story of Hibakusha (survivors of the A-bomb), the hope of Hiroshima for a world without nuclear weapons, and the story of Barbara Reynolds to over 80,000 visitors. The World Friendship Center is celebrating its 47th year of operation. Hiromu Morishita has guided its direction and accomplishments, with the most recent example his overseeing the design and unveiling of a monument dedicated to Barbara Reynolds, jointly erected by the City of Hiroshima and the World Friendship Center.

Mr. Morishita is a worthy nominee for the Okinawa Peace Prize. He represents for each of us a living model of peacemaking. We are hopeful he will be selected.

-- JoAnn and Larry Sims are co-directors of the World Friendship Center in Hiroshima, Japan, working through Brethren Volunteer Service. Go to for a reflection on how they were called to Hiroshima. Also on the page is a video of receiving origami peace cranes from a congregation in the US, set to the music of Brethren folksinger Mike Stern. They write: “Part of the peace activities we do at World Friendship Center is to register the paper cranes we receive and take photos of the process.”

Source:1/25/2012 Newsline

Brethren bits: Personnel, jobs, nursing scholarships, Nigeria, and much more.

Service Sunday 2012 poster
Service Sunday on Feb. 5 is an opportunity for Church of the Brethren congregations to celebrate those who offer service in the name of Jesus Christ in our communities and around the world, and to explore and call people to new opportunities to serve through church ministries. The annual commemoration on the first Sunday of February is sponsored jointly by Brethren Disaster Ministries, Brethren Volunteer Service, the Brethren Service Center, and the Workcamp Ministry. This year’s theme, “Using Our Lives for Faith-Filled Service,” comes from 1 John 3:18. Find worship resources online at .
  • Deborah Brehm begins Jan. 31 as part-time program assistant in Church of the Brethren Human Resources in Elgin, Ill. She is a previous intern with the office from 2008-10. Most recently she has been a new business processor for Protective Life Insurance Co. She also has been a commercial loan secretary and administrative assistant at Harris Bank in Roselle, Ill. In volunteer commitments she is a committee chairperson for Christian Youth Theater and has been on the board and faculty of Heritage Homeschool Workshops. She earned a degree in human resource management from Judson University in 2010. She and her family live in Huntley, Ill.
  • Steve Bickler has shifted responsibilities at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., and is now working half-time in Brethren Press and half-time as support for Buildings and Grounds. Bickler has worked for the Church of the Brethren for 33 years.
  • The Church of the Brethren seeks a fulltime director for Intercultural Ministries to fill a position based at the General Offices in Elgin, Ill. This position is part of a team of leaders in Congregational Life Ministries and will be integral in developing intercultural ministries throughout the denomination. Responsibilities include strengthening the intercultural competence of the church at all levels; relating to, advocating for, and integrating gifts, experiences, and needs of nondominant cultural groups within the church; assisting congregations toward greater diversity; resourcing church planting efforts; calling and working effectively with advisory groups; participating in development of financial strategies to support intercultural ministries; and pro-actively articulating the vision for and reinforcing commitment to a church that is multicultural. The preferred candidate will demonstrate Christian character, commitment to the values and practices of the Church of the Brethren, a disciplined spiritual life, biblical rootedness, flexibility to work collaboratively in a variety of contexts, intercultural competence, experience in leading new initiatives, and ability to follow an idea through from conception to implementation. The preferred candidate will have expertise in group dynamics and facilitation, teaching, public speaking, strategic planning, and project development. Communication skills and strong interpersonal competency are required, bilingual Spanish and English preferred. The selected candidate will work as part of a team, utilize a variety of computer and digital technologies, represent the Mission and Ministry Board, attend to self-care and continuing education, efficiently manage a complex workload, participate in regular processes of review and priority-setting, and understand this position as part of a larger vocational commitment. Applications are received immediately and will be reviewed beginning Feb. 13, with interviews commencing in February and continuing until the position is filled. Request the application form and job description, submit a résumé and letter of application, and request three references to send letters of recommendation to: Office of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; 800-323-8039 ext. 258;
  • Pinecrest Community, a Church of the Brethren retirement community in Mount Morris, Ill., seeks a director of Advancement/Marketing with the general purpose to develop, coordinate, and monitor overall fundraising strategy for solicitation, cultivation, and closing of major and planned gifts and manage relationships with donors, congregations, and prospects. The position also oversees capital campaigns, direct mail, and social media appeals, and advancement communications; maintains and expands 50-60 major donor relationships; expands the Century II Club, the planned giving society of Pinecrest Community; is an active leader in the organization as part of the administrative team and works closely with the Board of Directors, Foundation Board, and community volunteers. Requirements include minimum of a bachelor’s degree; preferred five years of fundraising experience with two years supervisory experience and understanding of retirement and long-term care communities. Skills and abilities include coordinating and/or directing a variety of complex tasks and assignments simultaneously; oral and written communication skills; management skills; ability to deliver individual and group presentations; energy and vision to take the advancement function to the next level; ability to motivate self and others with strong relationship skills;  ability to work individually or collaboratively; working knowledge of general business operations in a nonprofit, social service, or similar environment; responsibility for departmental budget; fluency in fundraising software; working knowledge of MS Office. Pinecrest offers a competitive salary and comprehensive benefit package. The position description is posted at . Resumes should be sent electronically to or mailed to Pinecrest Community, Attn: Victoria Marshall, 414 S. Wesley Ave., Mt. Morris, IL 61054.
  • Fahrney Keedy Home and Village, a Church of the Brethren retirement community near Boonsboro, Md., seeks an administrator. This position is responsible for day-to-day operations of 106 skilled bed and 32 assisted living bed units in accordance with regulations that govern long-term and assisted living facilities. Candidates must hold a current unencumbered nursing facility Administrator’s License for the State of Maryland. For additional information visit . Send resumes or applications to Cassandra Weaver, Vice President of Operations, 301-671-5014,
  • Camp Pine Lake in Eldora, Iowa, outdoor ministry center for Northern Plains District, seeks four energetic, hard working, nature-loving people to join the 2012 summer staff. Applicants must be flexible, willing to work as a team, love children, and have a deep desire to share God’s love. Summer staff will live and work at the camp June 1-Aug. 15; serve in all capacities on a rotation of property, kitchen, and programming preparation work during outside rentals; and as full-time counselors during all Church of the Brethren camps. Applicants must be 19 years of age and out of high school with one year of college or equivalent. Some counseling experience and/or work with children is preferred, as well as previous involvement in organized church activities. A formal training weekend or retreat will be required, as well as participation in summer-long team building and Bible study meetings. Compensation is $1,500 to be paid in monthly stipends or directly to an educational institution in the form of a scholarship. Room and board is provided. Application materials include the application form, essay worksheet, and two letters of reference--one character and one professional. Each applicant will be interviewed by current camp staff. Each staff member will go through a complete background check. Deadline is March 1. To apply contact Camp Pine Lake for more information: or 641-939-5334, or or 515-240-0060.
  • The deadline to apply for the 2012 Youth Peace Travel Team has been extended until Jan. 31. To learn more about the Youth Peace Travel Team or to apply visit . If you have questions, contact Becky Ullom, director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries, at or 800-323-8039 ext. 297.
  • 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 no later than 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
  • World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Olav Fykse Tveit has sent a letter to Nigeria’s president Goodluck Jonathan expressing sadness over the violence in Nigeria, calling on the churches to pray for the victims, and asking the president to support solidarity efforts for peace by both Christians and Muslims. Tveit wrote, “We continue to mourn the loss of life, particularly among those who were killed in brutal attacks this past weekend in Kano and the attacks on and deaths of Christian worshipers celebrating the mass service of Christmas in Abuja only a month ago.” He said that actions of both Christian and Muslim leaders working together in Nigeria will ultimately allow both communities to live in peace. “Nigeria cannot become another battlefield where religion is used to promote division, hatred and allowing for destructive intentions. Christians and Muslims around the world offer their support to our sisters and brothers in Nigeria to enable them to live together in peace.” Read the letter at
  • In more news from Nigeria, Church of the Brethren mission worker Carol Smith reported some encouragement in the midst of more attacks by the Boko Haram Islamist sect. She reports that Brethren leaders are continuing efforts at dialogue and cooperative peacemaking with local Muslim leaders, with a next meeting scheduled for Feb. 6. They also plan to deliver letters of condolence and encouragement to the Emir of Mubi and the leader of the Igbo people living in the area, whose communities suffered attacks by Boko Haram earlier this month. In her e-mail reports, Smith said some of the southern Igbo people who had fled the violence are already beginning to return to the northeast of Nigeria. She also shared some nonviolent initiatives, originally reported by the BBC, including an incident in which Boko Haram soldiers turned in their guns saying they were tired of killing, and places where Christians and Muslims have cooperated to protect each other. Nigerian church leaders continue to ask for prayer.
  • Would you like to have constantly updated Church of the Brethren news for your church, district, or even personal website? An RSS feed is now available to add Newsline content to a website, and to update that content automatically. The process is simple, a matter of copying and adding code to the web page where you would like to see Church of the Brethren news appear. Users may also add the feed URL ( ) in a personal news reader to have Church of the Brethren news delivered directly to your computer. More information is at
  • The church’s advocacy and peace witness office asks Brethren to take a survey to help decide a focus for Peace Witness Ministries for 2012. “It is time to consider what issues can the Church of the Brethren best bring its voice to,” said the Action Alert. “Is it issues of creation care, calling for the church and society to live in better relationship with God’s Creation? Is it working to eradicate hunger and poverty--both in our communities and around the world? Is it seeking to reduce military spending, and lessen the impacts and reality of the violence wrought by war in so many places?  Is it engaging the 2012 election process, and making sure issues of justice are highlighted? Now is your chance to weigh in!” Find the Action Alert and a link to the survey at
  • The United Nations Commission on the Status of Women will meet in New York for two weeks from Feb. 26-March 9. Church of the Brethren representative to the UN, Doris Abdullah, invites interested Brethren to join her in attending related events such as those hosted by the NGO Committee on the Status of Women, to be held at the Church Center for the UN, the Salvation Army, and other locations around the city at the same time. The theme is:”The empowerment of rural women and their role in poverty and hunger eradication; Development and current challenges.” “Join me and come to New York with a good pair of walking shoes. Together, we will explore the many discussions and debates around the issue of rural women 2012 across the globe,” Abdullah writes. The discussions and debates both inside and outside of the UN are free. More information is at and
  • “Brethren Life and Thought,” a joint publication of Bethany Theological Seminary and the Brethren Journal Association, has begun an online blog with postings from young adults reflecting on the church in a changing culture and prospects for future leadership. Find the blog at as well as more information about the journal.
  • Monitor Community Church of the Brethren in McPherson, Kan., is looking for past and present members and friends of the church to help celebrate its 125th anniversary. “We would like to have any knowledge, addresses, or e-mail addresses of friends and members, and/or pictures of the beginnings of Monitor Church to the present, that you may have or know about,” said the announcement. The church will be celebrating its anniversary Sunday, Oct. 7. Send any information, pictures, or questions to or Monitor Church of the Brethren, P.O. Box 218, McPherson, KS 67460. The planning committee includes Sara Brubaker, Leslie Billhimer Frye, Kay Billhimer, Bill Kostlovy, and Mary Ellen Howell.
  • David Shetler, district executive of Southern Ohio District, has shared a prayer request for Happy Corner Church of the Brethren in Clayton, Ohio. Significant damage was done to the church building when a stolen car was driven through the glass entry area and into the sanctuary early on Thursday, Jan. 19. “Your prayers are appreciated,” he wrote. The “Dayton Daily News” reported that, “The vehicle continued to plow into the church sanctuary where it ran into a rear wall, causing possible structural damage, according to police. The driver also spun the car’s tires, ripping up carpet and damaging numerous pews inside the sanctuary.” Television coverage with dramatic views of the damage to the church is at
  • Brethren Woods Camp and Retreat Center in Keezletown, Va., is holding a Caving Adventure Day on Feb. 12. The half day of caving will take participants underground to see natural subterranean features. The group will gather at Bridgewater (Va.) Church of the Brethren and travel to a cave in the area, led by Lester Zook of WildGuyde Adventures and EMU’s Outdoor Ministry and Adventure Leadership Department. Cost is $45. For more information contact the camp office at 540-269-2741. Registrations are due Jan. 27.
  • The University of La Verne, a Brethren-related school in southern California, has attracted attention in a number of areas recently. An opinion piece by ULV president Devorah Lieberman titled “Diversity benefits higher education” ran in several publications including the “San Gabriel Valley Tribune,” “LA Daily News,” “Long Beach Press,” and others. She wrote, in part, “The US Departments of Justice and Education recently issued new guidelines for the use of race to measure diversity and increased student learning outcomes in colleges and universities. The guidelines make a compelling case for academic, social, and economic benefits to be achieved through a pluralistic, co-education of people from diverse backgrounds.” In other news, associate professor of writing Sean Bernard was awarded $25,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts in recognition of his fiction (see ); the university received attention for moving its Ventura County campus to a new location; and Lou Obermeyer, a graduate of the Doctoral Program in Organizational Leadership, was named 2011 Superintendent of the Year by the Association of California School Administrators (see
  • Work on Manchester College’s new $9.1 million Academic Center is progressing through the winter reports a release from the school in N. Manchester, Ind. “We are on target for a June 4 possession of the Academic Center from the contractors,” said Jack Gochenaur, vice president for finance and treasurer. The Academic Center is a renovation and expansion of the former Holl-Kintner Hall of Science.
  • The Anna B. Mow Endowed Lecture Series at Bridgewater (Va.) College on Feb. 1 features race car driver and environmental activist Leilani Münter, who will speak on “Never Underestimate a Vegetarian Hippy Chick with a Race Car.” Recognizing that racing is “not an eco-friendly sport,” says a release from the college, Münter has a strategy for minimizing an oversized carbon footprint. Her goals include convincing auto racing executives to develop more fuel-efficient engines and eco-friendly venues. Münter races in the ARCA Series, a development league of NASCAR, and is the fourth woman in history to race in the Indy Pro Series. The event at 7:30 p.m. in Cole Hall is open to the public at no charge.
  • Poet and playwright Amiri Baraka will discuss American politics and culture Feb. 1 at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College, as part of Bowers Writers House events. Baraka is a recipient of the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Rockefeller Foundation Award for Drama, the Langston Hughes Award from the City College of New York, and a lifetime achievement award from the Before Columbus Foundation. He will give two presentations on Feb. 1, at 11 a.m. in Leffler Chapel, and at 8 p.m. in Brinser Lecture Hall, Steinman 114. Admission is free, seating is first-come, first-served. More information is at
  • Brethren, slavery, and Hutterite colonies will be the subject of February talks at Elizabethtown College's Young Center. Although the Brethren were strong opponents of slave holding, with some even paying to free slaves, a few rare individuals kept slaves. Jeff Bach, director of the Young Center for Pietist and Anabaptist Studies will explore these cases in a presentation titled "The Unchristian Slave Trade: Brethren and Slavery," at 7 p.m. on Feb. 2, in the Bucher Meetinghouse. At 7 p.m. on Feb. 23, also in the meetinghouse, college graduate Ryan Long will discuss the challenges facing Hutterite colonies during World War I. For more information contact the Young Center at 717-361-1470 or
  • New Zealand ambassador Jim McLay is the first United Nations Visiting Scholar at Juniata College’s Baker Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies. The church-related college is in Huntingdon, Pa. McLay is New Zealand's permanent representative to the UN, and is spending the week of Jan. 22-27 at the college. The UN Visiting Scholar program will bring UN diplomats and envoys to central Pennsylvania in coming years.
  • The Brethren Revival Fellowship (BRF) has announced its latest book: From the pen of longtime BRF leader Harold S. Martin comes “A Study of Basic Bible Teachings.” The 164-page book may be purchased for $12 plus $2 shipping for each book for requests under five copies. Five copies or more receive free shipping. Ten copies or more in one order receive a 10 percent discount and free shipping. According to a release from the BRF, the book “proclaims sound doctrine from a solid evangelical biblical point of view, with understandings in keeping with historic Brethren beliefs.” The 13 chapters address a wide variety of topics including the scriptures, the nature of the Trinity (“God Our Father,” “Jesus Christ Our Savior,” “The Holy Spirit Our Teacher”), sin, salvation, the church, living the Christian life, and more. Request copies at
  • Chris Raschka's illustrated children’s book “A Ball for Daisy” (Random/Schwartz and Wade Books) was awarded the Caldecott Medal at a recent meeting of the American Library Association. Raschka, who grew up in the Church of the Brethren as son of Hedda Durnbaugh and the late Donald F. Durnbaugh, has illustrated several Brethren Press books including "Benjamin Brody's Backyard Bag" by Phyllis Vos Wezeman and Colleen Allsburg Wiessner; "R and R: A Story of Two Alphabets," written and illustrated by Raschka; and "This I Remember" by George Dolnikowski, a memoir by the Russian-born professor emeritus at Juniata College. Raschka was a speaker for the Brethren Press breakfast at the 2007 Annual Conference, where he demonstrated to a fascinated audience his illustration technique for “The Hello, Goodbye Window,” which won the top illustration honor in 2006. His book “Yo! Yes?” also has won a Caldecott Honor. This year he takes the 75th Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children (see ). Brethren Press is carrying “A Ball for Daisy” as well as “Benjamin Brody’s Backyard Bag” and “The Hello, Goodbye Window,” order from or call 800-441-3712.
Source:1/25/2012 Newsline


Newsline is produced by the news services of the Church of the Brethren. Contact the editor at Contributors to this Newsline include Jan Fischer Bachman, Jordan Blevins, Beth Carpentier, Mary Jo Flory-Steury, Leslie Frye, Elizabeth Harvey, Mary Kay Heatwole, Jeff Lennard, Ralph McFadden, Alisha M. Rosas, John Wall, Julia Wheeler, and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Newsline: January 11, 2012


Brethren mark the second anniversary of Haiti’s earthquake.

Ruin of the Delmas 3 Church after Haiti earthquake
Photo by Roy Winter
A deacon of the church plays his accordion in the ruins of the Delmas 3 Church of the Brethren, Jan. 20, 2010. This photo was taken by Brethren Disaster Ministries director Roy Winter just a week after the 7.0 quake that devastated the capital city of Haiti. Winter traveled to Haiti just days after the earthquake with a small delegation from the US that also included Pastor Ludovic St. Fleur of Miami, Fla., Klebert Exceus, and Jeff Boshart.
The Church of the Brethren in Haiti this week is remembering the earthquake that devastated the Caribbean island nation in early 2010. Tomorrow, Jan. 12, is the second anniversary of the earthquake.

The powerful 7.0 earthquake hit at 4:53 p.m. on a weekday afternoon. Its epicenter was Léogâne, a town 15 miles from the capital city Port-au-Prince. It caused the deaths of as many as 200,000 or more people, with thousands more injured. There were numerous aftershocks, as well as the aftereffects of injuries, illness, homelessness, lack of sanitation, and other privations that caused yet more deaths. More than a million people in Port-au-Prince and surroundings areas were left without shelter. Rubble filled the streets. Tent cities and encampments sprang up. A cholera outbreak many months after the earthquake was linked to a continued widespread lack of shelter, sanitation facilities, and clean water. Two years later, many Haitians still struggle to regain homes and employment.

Since the earthquake the Church of the Brethren has been heavily involved in disaster response in Haiti. The collaborative response joins together efforts of Brethren Disaster Ministries and the Global Mission and Service program of the US church with Eglise des Freres Haitiens (the Church of the Brethren in Haiti).

At first, Brethren focused on immediate needs: food and water, medical care, temporary housing, and those suffering psychological trauma. Building of permanent homes for earthquake survivors then started, and longer term needs of Brethren congregations and their communities began to be addressed. The effort has included building a new Ministry Center and Guesthouse complex for Eglise des Freres Haitiens in the Port-au-Prince neighborhood Croix des Bouquets. Work groups from the US also have been traveling to Haiti to help out.

In these two years, the Emergency Disaster Fund has expended $1 million in grants for Haiti, supporting both Church of the Brethren and ecumenical disaster response. (See articles below for an overview of Brethren accomplishments in Haiti and reflections from leaders in the effort.)

Tomorrow a number of Haitian Brethren congregations will fast and hold prayer meetings, said Pastor Ludovic St. Fleur of Miami, Fla., who has been a guiding force in establishing Eglise des Freres Haitiens. The Brethren in Croix des Bouquets, whose church building is located at the new Ministry Center complex, for example, will remember the day by fasting from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., reports Ilexene Alphonse, who is managing the Ministry Center and Guesthouse. “They said they will spend the time thanking God for life,” he reported by e-mail.

The Haitian Brethren prayer and fasting will “thank God for those who are alive, saved from that tragedy,” said St. Fleur.

Haitian Brethren in the US commemorating the anniversary will include members of Haitian First Church of New York. The church, located in Brooklyn, also houses the Haitian Family Resource Center that started up two years ago to aid Haitians who had lost loved ones or were otherwise affected by the earthquake. The center is continuing to offer services to the Haitian community in New York, Pastor Verel Montauban reported by telephone.

Haitian First Church is holding a prayer service tomorrow evening, 7-10 p.m. Visitors are welcome. During the service, pictures of the earthquake and damage will be shown on a large screen, as the church did for the one-year anniversary last January--but images like the removal of bodies won’t be shown because they would be too disturbing for a congregation that had at least 50 relatives in Haiti affected by the earthquake, Montauban said. “Some of them are still in crisis,” he added.

For IMA World Health the anniversary is a special occasion. The organization, which has its offices at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., is holding a “Happy Hour for Haiti” hosted by CEO and earthquake survivor Rick Santos. Santos and two IMA colleagues were in Port-au-Prince at the time of the earthquake and were trapped for days in the rubble of the Montana Hotel, before they were rescued without serious injury. The IMA gathering is 4:30-7 p.m. tomorrow, Jan. 12, at Hudson Restaurant and Lounge in Washington, D.C. A $10 suggested donation will support health and development programs in Haiti.

Source:1/11/2012 Newsline

An overview of Brethren accomplishments in Haiti, 2010-2011.

Map of church locations in Port-au-Prince, Haiti
This map shows the locations of some of the main Church of the Brethren congregations in the area of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Circled in red at center right is Croix des Bouquets, the neighborhood where Eglise des Freres Haitiens has its new Ministry Center and Guesthouse complex, and where the Croix des Bouquet Church is now meeting in a new building.
This listing of work and achievements of the Brethren in Haiti 2010-2011 was compiled by Klebert Exceus, who has led the Brethren Disaster Ministries building projects there (translated from French with the help of Jeff Boshart). All disaster related relief and response programs were funded by Brethren Disaster Ministries via the Emergency Disaster Fund including support for strategic partnerships and much of the agricultural work, except where it is noted that the Global Food Crisis Fund supported the project. All of the church building was made possible through special donations from congregations and individuals to the Emerging Global Mission Fund.


  • seed distribution in 20 areas of the country
  • support (through the Global Food Crisis Fund) for an agricultural program in Bombadopolis distributing goats
  • water filters in more than 15 areas of the country to combat cholera
  • distributions of food in Port-au-Prince during six months following the earthquake for around 300 families
  • household kits to more than 500 beneficiaries across the country
  • distributed cases of canned chicken in more than 12 areas of the country after the earthquake, approximately 5,000 cases
  • built temporary homes for around 50 families, a temporary village constructed on a plot of land
  • a community cistern and a water retention pond on the island of La Tortue (Tortuga) with support from the Global Food Crisis Fund
  • a security wall around land purchased for a Ministry Center
  • the Paul Lochard School in the Delmas neighborhood of Port-au-Prince for one year by paying teachers, providing food, and temporary classrooms
  • three other schools in Haiti: Ecole Evangelique de la Nouvelle Alliance de St. Louis du Nord, Ecole des Freres de La Tortue aux Plaines, and Ecole des Freres de Grand Bois Cornillon
  • mobile health clinics in six locations after the earthquake (now continuing in more than five areas of the country)
  • a Nissan Frontier pick up truck for transportation, etc.
  • land in Croix des Bouquets for a Ministry Center, guesthouse, and church offices

  • 50 homes, 45 square meters, following anti-seismic standards
  • guesthouse built on the Ministry Center land to receive volunteers
  • 5 churches (supported through the Emerging Global Mission Fund): Eglise des Freres de Gonaives, Eglise des Freres de Saut d’eau, Eglise des Freres de La Feriere, Eglise des Frères de Pignon, Eglise des Freres de Morne Boulage
  • 5 church shelters (supported through the Emerging Global Mission Fund): La Premiere Eglise des Frères de Delmas, Eglise des Frères de Tom Gateau, Eglise des Frères de Marin, Eglise des Freres de Croix des Bouquets, Eglise des Freres de Canaan
  • currently around 23 churches or preaching points in the country of Haiti
  • financing for a micro-loan program for those families who could not find land upon which to build a permanent home, and paid rent for one year for those families
  • supported other agricultural programs in 12 areas of the country
  • created 500 jobs through all of these activities
  • provided civic, social, and Christian education for over 500 children in Port au Prince (through Vacation Bible School)
  • supported other organizations working in Haiti (including IMA World Health and Church World Service)
  • sent groups of mission volunteers to work in the country
Additional information provided by Brethren Disaster Ministries:

Strategic partnerships have provided relief work in areas where Brethren Disaster Ministries does not have the proper expertise or capacity, but are areas considered critical for this response.

Health services partner IMA World Health:
As a member communion of IMA World Health, Brethren Disaster Ministries supporting ACCorD (Areas for Cooperation and Coordination of Development), a program demonstrating how faith-based organizations can co-manage health and development programming to improve service delivery, utilization, and community health in Haiti. Project objectives focus on strengthening health interventions through: 1. Maternal, newborn, and child health: antenatal care visits, assisted deliveries, immunizations and growth monitoring; 2. Addressing malnutrition: nutrition demonstration center and therapeutic food distribution; 3. Community development: constructing latrines and wells.

Emotional and spiritual care partner STAR Haiti:
Also called Twomatizasyon ak Wozo, STAR Haiti is a program of Eastern Mennonite University. "Of all the many things that have come to Haiti following the earthquake, STAR is the best of all of them,” stated Freny Elie, a Church of the Brethren pastor and teacher, after attending Advanced STAR training in February 2011. The program provides knowledge and skills for Haitian church and community leaders to assist them in dealing with the effects of trauma in their congregations and communities. Two Brethren leaders participate on the advisory council and as STAR trainers. Brethren leaders train others and the information is shared throughout the church and the local communities. This process is replicated in other participating churches and communities.

Ecumenical response partner Church World Service (CWS):
Partnering with CWS supports a large-scale ecumenical response, expanding the response beyond what Church of the Brethren resources allow. CWS provides: 1. Material and aid for two camps of internally displaced people; 2. Reconstruction of permanent housing; 3. Repairing of institutional centers; 4. Support for agricultural sustainability; 5. Programs addressing the needs (education, nutrition, counseling) of vulnerable children; 6. Support for  economic recovery within Haiti through empowering and supporting people with disabilities and implementing disaster risk reduction strategies.

Source:1/11/2012 Newsline

A reflection on the Haiti earthquake: Two years of recovery.

Roy Winter and Ludovic St. Fleur on delegation to Haiti after the earthquake
Photo by Jeff Boshart
Roy Winter (left), director of Brethren Disaster Ministries, traveled to Haiti just days after the Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake with a small delegation from the US church. He is shown here with Pastor Ludovic St. Fleur (at center in red) of Miami, Fla, meeting with members of Eglise des Freres Haitiens (the Church of the Brethren in Haiti) who were affected by the disaster.
Roy Winter is associate executive director of Global Mission and Service for the Church of the Brethren and director of Brethren Disaster Ministries. He provided the following personal reflection to mark the second anniversary of the earthquake:

When I learned of the terrible earthquake in Haiti my mind started racing, while my voice trembled and emotions peaked. I searched the Internet, e-mails, and news for more information. My heart wept as I thought of the fledgling Church of the Brethren in Haiti, some members whom I had the pleasure to work with. Did the church leaders survive? Would the church survive?

Yet, in the midst of this chaos that quiet voice repeated: “Respond boldly, be creative in the response, but do no harm.” Don’t let the response, all the finances and all this activity, harm the Haitian people or this fledgling church.

The Haitian Church of the Brethren not only survives, it has continued to grow and share an uncommon faith found in a land filled with hardship and poverty. The church leadership has grown from victims of the earthquake to leaders in the response, while still leading the church. So often I am surprised, even astounded, and completely inspired by the Haitian Brethren. They come to God with thanks, with hope, with a deep faith, even as they live in the deepest poverty and unemployment found in the Americas. They want to thank me for the support from the US church, but I thank them for their faith, which has touched me in ways I can’t describe. It gives me a whole different perspective on life.

Another surprise has been how smoothly the early disaster relief and now recovery programs have gone. When working in Haiti we expect to encounter major obstacles with supplies, logistics, leadership, the government, local town officials, and even the real possibility of violence or theft. Under Klebert Exceus’ and Jeff Boshart’s leadership so many obstacles have been avoided or navigated without major delays, and I am astounded.

When other agencies are seeking expensive housing for expatriate staff, we are hiring and mentoring unemployed Haitians. When a shortage of US dollars means other relief agencies can’t pay staff, we continue to pay staff in Haitian dollars. When Klebert was under threat of kidnapping or violence, the local Brethren helped him leave by a different route. He knew to send others to supervise the home construction or travel in unexpected ways.

Our work in Haiti is sometime dangerous, always challenging, and in an extremely difficult setting, but each step of the way guidance has been provided. So once again I am amazed at how God is working through people to make all this possible!

So often North Americans rather arrogantly believe they have the right answers for people of developing countries like Haiti, especially on issues of faith. While certainly education, medical care, food security, and jobs with dignity should be shared with all people, we are the ones with much to learn. Even more we need to experience the extraordinary faith of the Haitian Brethren.

I have much gratitude for the Haitian people and especially the Haitian Brethren in how they have embraced us North Americans. I have been impressed with the humility and faith of US Brethren workcampers as they work beside and under the leadership of Haitian “bosses.” I am profoundly grateful for all the material, prayer, and financial support of the US church; this is the foundation for our response. We should all celebrate the inspired leadership of Klebert Exceus (response director in Haiti) and Jeff Boshart (response coordinator based in the US). It is their leadership, guided by faith, respect, and wisdom, which sets us apart from other response organizations, and really made this response possible.

We can all celebrate and thank God for what has been accomplished in these last two years, both things of the world and of faith. However, the greatest tragedy in Haiti continues: extreme poverty. I wonder if we, the US church, will walk away as response funds dwindle and the headlines are long forgotten? Or will we feel compelled--or even better called--to continue this journey of faith and hope with the Haitian people?

Source:1/11/2012 Newsline

Dear beloved Church of the Brethren: A letter from Port-au-Prince.

Ilexene AlphonseIlexene Alphonse is manager of the Ministry Center and Guesthouse of Eglise des Freres Haitiens, where he serves as a program volunteer for the Church of the Brethren’s Global Mission and Service program. He sent this letter to the Church of the Brethren in the US:

Port au Prince, Haiti
January 5, 2012

Dear beloved Church of the Brethren,

January 12 is my wedding anniversary to my wife Michaela. January 12 is the day I saw my country falling, my people dying, and my hopes for my people fading. I lost family members and friends. I felt like a bird with two wings but could not fly to avoid danger. I imagine on January 12, 2012, there’ll be mourning, praying, singing. People will light candles, visit mass graves to remember loved ones. People will give speeches. People will again make a lot of promises. As for me I will remember this day in prayer thanking God for life and thanking God for the Church of the Brethren.

Some people prefer not to know what’s going on, because information might bring obligation. The old saying is “What you don’t know doesn’t hurt.” Nehemiah asked about Jerusalem and the Jews living there because he had a caring heart. When you care about people, you want the facts, no matter how painful they may be.

Church of the Brethren, you did not rebuild Haiti in 52 days, but the rebuilding, restoring, and healing started two days after the earthquake. When brothers Roy Winter, Jeff Boshart, and Ludovic St. Fleur showed up the people saw a very small but very bright light coming out of the dark. They had hope.

Church of the Brethren, you didn’t just ask about the Haitian remnant, you didn’t say: You are Haitian, you are strong, you are a resilient people you’ll survive. But you stayed. You’re touching lives, giving hope to a hopeless people, feeding school children, providing hygiene kits, mobile clinics, building houses, building relationships, and still doing these things today. I have seen school children rejoicing after a hot meal, people receiving medical treatment, moving from homelessness to a beautiful home. The smiles are incomparable. All this happened because you care, and you asked for the facts.

I don’t have the right words to thank you for what you’ve done for the people of Haiti. For the love you’ve shown, for the peace you brought, THANK YOU. Thank you for answering God’s call when you came to our rescue. Thank you for saying yes. Jesus will never take what you did for granted. When you do it to the least you do it to Him. “Who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and He will reward him for what he has done” (Proverbs 19:17).

Ilexene Alphonse

Source:1/11/2012 Newsline

Thoughts from Haiti on the new year.

Jean Bily TelfortJean Bily Telfort is general secretary of the Comité National of Eglise des Freres Haitiens, the National Committee of the Haitian Church of the Brethren. He wrote the following on Dec. 31, as 2011 transitioned into 2012 (translated from Kreyol by Jeff Boshart):

To: Church of the Brethren USA

The peace of God be with you.

I am extremely happy today to give you this year-end greeting.
2011 - What a support and comfort 2011 was for me.
2011 - Well done in the way in which you helped my country Haiti.
2011 - We will be saying goodbye to 2011 in 7 hours.

2011+1=2012 - By faith in Jesus I'm wishing you a great 2012.
2012 - May you have blessings in your lives.
2012 - May you have progress in your lives.
2012 - In 2012 may God's protection be with you.
2012 - May 2012 bring you good things that you have never seen in your lives.
2012 - May you have a year of good health for your families.
2012 - May this be a year in which God spares his children from danger, as he says, "I am with you always until the end," and in Psalm 23, "The Lord is our shepherd, we shall not fear anything." May his grace cover you each day of your life.

All that comes tomorrow will be good for you because the bride is waiting for her bridegroom. All will be well as we already have the oil or gas (Holy Spirit) in the lamp, therefore we need not fear for tomorrow.

I will finish by saying that I love you and thank you for how you all helped my country, my church, and my family.

A special thank you to Brother Roy (Winter) for the size of the love that God placed in your heart so that your thoughts and your work could help my country. I remember the condition my country was in. I saw how you were crying and that made me feel that in God's family there is no discrimination. With your interventions, Br. Roy, the social condition of the lives of many people changed. Thank you because you agreed to support me with a salary as part of BDM's (Brethren Disaster Ministries) activities. That helped me a great deal with my family. Thank you Br. Jeff (Boshart), Br. Jay (Wittmeyer), and everyone else. May

God bless you greatly.

Happy New Year 2012.

La pe Bon Dye ak nou.

Mwen reyelman kontan jodi a poum ba nou denye salitasyon sa a.
2011 - Se te 2011 sipo ak sa te ye pou mwen.
2011 - Byenfe nan fason ke nou te ede Ayiti peyi pa m lan. Mwen pwofite di nou.
2011 - Remesiman pou tout sa nou te fe mwen pandan ane 2011 lan.
2011 - 2011 ap di nou babay apre 7h de tan.

2011+1=2012 - Pa la fwa nan jezi map deklare Bon ane 2012.
2012 - Benediksyon sou la vi nou.
2012 - Pwogre sou la vi nou.
2012 - Se 2012 pwoteksyon k'ap soti nan Bon Dye.
2012 - Se 2012 bagay ki bon ke nou pat janm fe nan lavi nou.
2012 - Yon ane de sante pou fanmi nou.
2012 - Yon ane ke Bondye va epanye  pitit li yo de 2012 danje, ka li di. Mwen avek nou jouk sa kaba epi nan som 23 senye a se Beje nou nou pap pe anyen gras li va kouvri nou  chak jou nan lavi nou. Tout sa ki va vini demen mwen ak ou lap bon pou nou paske nou se yon demwazel kap tan n menaj nou. Sa ki pi bon seke nou gen deja lwil ou byen gaz (Sentespri) nan lan lanp nou deja donk ke nou pa sote pou demen.

Ma fini pou mwen di nou kem renmen nou anpil e mesi pou tout fason nou te edem swa se peyim legliz mwen fanmiy mwen mesi.

Yon mesi espesyal pou fre Roy pou yon gwose lanmou Bondye te mete nan ke w pou te kapab panse anpil travay anpil pou w te ka edepeyim. Mwen sonje nan sitiyasyon peyim te ye. Mwen te we jan ou tap kriye mwen te fremi we sa. Sa te fem santi nan fanmi Bondye a pa gen diskriminasyon. Ak entevansyon ou yo fr Roy lavi sosyal anpil moun te chanje mesi paske nou te dako sipotem ak yon sale nan aktivite BDM. Sa te edem anpil ak fanmi m. Mesi fr Jeff, FR JAY, AK TOUT LOT MOUN. Ke Bondye beni nou anpil.

Bon ane 2012.

--Fr. Telfort Jean Bily

Source:1/11/2012 Newsline

BBT members, clients invest $700,000 in low-income communities.

From soup kitchens to small businesses in the US and abroad, Brethren Benefit Trust’s member and client assets are making a positive impact on projects that serve low-income areas. In 2011, Brethren Pension Plan members and Brethren Foundation clients provided $735,776 in loans to projects that serve the needs of at-risk communities through BBT’s Community Development Investment Fund (CDIF).

 “Our members and clients should celebrate the support they’re offering to qualified community development institutions around the world through the CDIF,” said BBT president Nevin Dulabaum. “This fund reflects the Brethren principle of mutuality, and those who place assets in this fund are helping low-income communities grow stronger and enriching people’s lives.”

BBT member and client assets invested in the CDIF are used to purchase Community Investment Notes at a fixed interest rate through Calvert Foundation. These notes are used to provide loans in the areas of community development, affordable housing, microcredit, and small business development.

In total, Calvert Foundation reported that BBT member and client assets helped build or rehabilitate 13 affordable housing units and financed three not-for-profit organizations, cooperatives, or social innovations in 2011. CDIF assets also funded 120 new enterprises and created 175 new jobs in 2011.

Through Calvert Foundation, the CDIF supports projects like Boston Community Capital, an organization that buys foreclosed properties and resells them to the original owners--often with reduced mortgages. A Calvert Foundation borrower provided $7 million of its tax credit allocation to support expansion of St. John’s Bread and Life, a Brooklyn soup kitchen and nutritional counseling center, so that it could serve a total of 450,000 meals annually. Internationally, investments in the CDIF help projects like KREDIT, a small loans provider that helps support entrepreneurs in Cambodia.

Pension Plan members and Brethren Foundation clients who are interested in investing in the CDIF are encouraged to allocate no more than one percent of their portfolio to this fund. For more information, Brethren Foundation clients should contact Steve Mason, director, at 800-746-1505 ext. 369, or at . Brethren Pension Plan members should contact John Carroll, manager of Pension Operations, at 800-746-1505 ext. 383 or .

-- Brian Solem is publications coordinator for Brethren Benefit Trust.

Source:1/11/2012 Newsline

Dueck offers coaching, resources on ‘Emotional Intelligence.’

Stan Dueck discusses coaching
Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh Cayford
Stan Dueck discusses coaching and mentoring at the Intercultural Consultation and Celebration
Emotional intelligence accounts for more than 50 percent of a person’s leadership capacity. In 2011, Stan Dueck, the Church of the Brethren’s director for Transforming Practices, completed the certification process in “Emotional Intelligence with Multiple Health Services.” Emotional intelligence is an important companion to a pastor’s or church leader’s spiritual foundation, especially while serving congregations during this time of profound change for many churches, he reports.

Emotional intelligence is an awareness of the interaction between a person and the environment in which he or she operates. Emotional intelligence is a set of personal and social skills that influence how we relate with others, cope with challenges, and achieve our potential.

Dueck’s training supports Congregational Life Ministries’ expanding capacity to utilize reliable resources that help church leaders identify key skills and growth potential. Emotional intelligence surveys such as the EQ-i2.0 and EQ 360 benefit an individual’s understanding of how he or she interacts within various personal and vocational contexts along with insightful feedback from others. This, in turn, can lead to increases in the person’s interaction with others and leadership potential when used as a development tool.

Coaching along with leadership resources pertaining to emotional intelligence are one of several instruments and strategies available to pastors and church members through Congregational Life Ministries and the office of Transforming Practices. Dueck has used EI resources when coaching pastors and church leaders and in consultations and leadership training events with congregations.

Contact Stan Dueck for more information about the benefits you and your congregation can receive from coaching and leadership resources: 717-335-3226, 800-323-8039,

Source:1/11/2012 Newsline

Gross moves into new role at On Earth Peace.

Bob GrossOn Earth Peace is launching a search for a new executive director. Bob Gross, who has served as director of On Earth Peace since October 2000, will be moving to another role in the organization.

“We have been planning for this transition for the past two years,” said Gross, “and we look forward to strengthening our staff team with the addition of a new organizational leader. As our ministries grow in scope and depth, it is time for fresh leadership, and I look forward to a new set of responsibilities.”

Gross has served in leadership of On Earth Peace for more than a decade, for a number of years serving as a co-executive director alongside former co-executive Barbara Sayler. His tenure with On Earth Peace has included notable service to the denomination in the area of mediation work and training, including mediation work in India during conflict over former mission properties there, and most recently facilitating a special session of the Mission and Ministry Board as a part of denomination-wide conversations on sexuality, as the Church of the Brethren was preparing for the 2011 Annual Conference.

He also has led several delegations to Israel and Palestine in cooperation with Christian Peacemaker Teams, but during the last delegation in January 2010 was detained by Israeli airport security and refused entry to the country, presumably because of his peacemaking work with Palestinian partners.

Gross has engaged in peacemaking work in a number of areas throughout his life, starting with his witness as a conscientious objector and draft resister. He and his family are part of a longstanding simple living community and farm near North Manchester, Ind., where his wife, Rachel Gross, leads the Death Row Support Project originally formed by concerned Church of the Brethren members in 1978.

On Earth Peace plans to have a new director on board this spring, and to introduce the new staff leader at the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference in St. Louis in July. (The position opening announcement appears below in the “Brethren bits” section of this issue of Newsline.)

Source:1/11/2012 Newsline

Church’s Elgin warehouse to be collection point for MLK food drive.

Wales Window from 16th St. Baptist Church, Birmingham, Alabama
For Elgin's Martin Luther King Day commemorations the church is lending for display a large poster of this photograph of the Wales Window from the 16th St. Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., taken by Brethren Press publisher Wendy McFadden during a Christian Churches Together meeting. The window was a gift from the people of Wales, U.K., to the church two years after the bombing there that killed four girls in 1963. Created by Welsh artist John Petts, the window depicts Christ who with one hand rejects injustice and with the other extends forgiveness. The text, "You do it to me," was the Sunday school lesson the morning of the tragedy. This image became a powerful symbol for the CCT leaders who met in Birmingham prior to Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday last January.
The warehouse at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., is to be the collection point for the city’s food drive commemorating Martin Luther King Day. Food collected over the weekend by churches and schools will be brought to the warehouse at 1451 Dundee Ave. for sorting and distribution to area food pantries and the Community Crisis Center that serves families affected by domestic violence.

Youth from across Elgin also are invited to make Monday, Jan. 16, a day for service to the community, with the food collection at the church’s warehouse as one option for youth groups to take part.

Brethren Volunteer Service workers Rachel Witkovsky and Catherine Gong will be two of the workshop presenters at the afternoon Youth Leadership Conference that will follow the morning’s service projects.

This year is Elgin’s 27th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration. Additional elements of the weekend--which are being planned with input from the Elgin Human Relations Commission and church congregations along with other community organizations--are a Friday evening Gospel Talent Show Kick Off at Elgin Community College, an Annual Prayer Breakfast on Saturday morning, and a public program featuring a community choir on Sunday afternoon. More information is at

Source:1/11/2012 Newsline

Brethren colleges hold events honoring Martin Luther King Jr.

A number of colleges related to the Church of the Brethren are holding special events to commemorate Martin Luther King Day, including Elizabethtown (Pa.) College, Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., and Manchester College in N. Manchester, Ind. (information is from college press releases):

Elizabethtown College marks Martin Luther King Day Jan. 16 with a day dedicated to service and a series of events, most open to the public (a complete list is at ). All day Jan. 16 there will be no classes, but community service activities will be offered for the campus community. At 10:30 a.m. is the MLK Program Kick Off in Brossman Commons, Blue Bean Café. At 11 a.m. the commons holds an MLK-themed lunch in its Marketplace hosted by the Office of Diversity with traditional southern fare. That evening at 6:15 p.m. is a Candlelight March starting at the commons, re-enacting the Civil Rights March to remember the struggles of the civil rights movement. At 7 p.m. an MLK Gospel Extravaganza and Awards in Leffler Chapel will feature community and college performers including Harris AME Zion Church Choir, the Elizabethtown College Concert Choir, St. Peter's Lutheran Church Choir, and Jamal Anthony Gospel Rock. Awards will be given to faculty and staff members for contributions to diversity and inclusion.

On Jan. 18, at 11 a.m. a presentation, "Black History of the White House," will be given at Leffler Chapel by Clarence Lusane, associate professor at the School of International Service, American University, and an author on race, human rights, and electoral politics. Also Jan. 18 at 8:30 p.m. in the Blue Bean Café will be a “Stand Up" session about what students stand for in terms of justice and service.

At Juniata College, Imani Uzuri will lecture and perform on Jan. 16-17. She will showcase and discuss her upcoming album, "The Gypsy Diaries,"  at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 16, in Rosenberger Auditorium. She also will facilitate an inclusion-focused workshop, "Hush Arbor: Living Legacies of Negro Spirituals" at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 17, in Sill Boardroom in the von Liebig Center for Science. Admission to both events is free and open to the public. Featuring vocals, violin, cello, acoustic guitar, sitar and daf, Uzuri's music is both spiritual and meditative. She has performed in venues as varied as the Apollo Theater, Joe's Pub, the Whitney Museum, and the UN. The "Hush Arbor" workshop will discuss the history of African-American spirituals. Hush Arbors were wooded areas where slaves would gather to mourn, worship, or sing. The workshop focuses on the conditions in which the songs were created and how they were pathways to catharsis, revolt, and freedom.

Manchester College celebrates the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with two special events on Jan. 13 and Jan. 16. The public is welcome and reservations are not necessary at both free events.

“Eyes on Economic Justice, the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” is the topic of a speech by Christopher M. Whitt, founder of the Africana Studies program at Augustana College, at 7 p.m. this Friday, Jan. 13, in the upper College Union. The talk focuses on King’s push for economic justice, what he saw as the next frontier in the Civil Rights Movement. Whitt will deliver his message from the same podium Dr. King used on Feb. 1, 1968, at Manchester College as he gave his final campus speech, two months before his assassination.

Manchester continues its celebration at 7 p.m. on Jan. 16 in Petersime Chapel with an interfaith gathering featuring a hypothetical conversation among influential leaders about King’s dream. The Martin Luther King events are sponsored by the college’s Office of Multicultural Affairs and Campus Ministry. Find the full news release at

Source:1/11/2012 Newsline