Thursday, June 28, 2012

Newsline: June 28, 2012


Young adults contemplate ‘being the church.’

Service project group at NYAC
Photo by Ashley Kern
A group at one of the NYAC 2012 service projects. Young adults helped out at two service project sites in Knoxville: the Knoxville Area Rescue Mission and the Lost Sheep Ministry.
National Young Adult Conference was held June 18-22 at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. About 105 Brethren between the ages of 18 and 35 gathered from across the country to hear sermons, worship in community, participate in Bible studies and workshops, and explore what it means to be humble, yet bold, as the church in our world today.

The theme of the conference was “Humble Yet Bold: Being the Church,” and focused on Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapters 5-7. Over the course of the week, participants dove deep into the Beatitudes, and the risks, realities, and rewards of being salt and light to those around us.

They were challenged to take part in this calling by a dynamic group of speakers including Angie Lahman of Circle of Peace Church of the Brethren in Arizona, Dana Cassell of Manassas (Va.) Church of the Brethren, Shelly West of Happy Corner Church of the Brethren in Ohio, Joel Peña of Alpha and Omega Church of the Brethren in Pennsylvania, Greg Davidson Laszakovits of Elizabethtown (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, Tracy Primozich representing Bethany Theological Seminary, and Josh Brockway and Nate and Jenn Hosler, representing Congregational Life and Peace Witness Ministries of the Church of the Brethren.

Each morning’s Bible study began with singing led by Josh Tindall, director of Music Ministries at Elizabethtown Church of the Brethren. This was followed by opportunities to attend workshops on topics such as Brethren Volunteer Service, workcamps, peace, scripture, spirituality, creation care, women in leadership, and a history of Brethren conflicts and fashion. Workshops were led by representatives from several organizations including the Church of the Brethren denomination, On Earth Peace, Bethany Seminary, the Open Table Cooperative, and the Center on Conscience and War.

“Coffee and Conversation,” talk-back sessions, and meals hosted by NYAC speakers took place on various afternoons. These were unique times of casual dialogue on a variety of subjects with church leaders including Annual Conference moderator Tim Harvey and general secretary Stan Noffsinger.

After supper each evening, participants gathered again for worship. Each session was carefully crafted by worship coordinators Katie Shaw Thompson of Ivester Church of the Brethren in Iowa, and Russ Matteson of Modesto (Calif.) Church of the Brethren. Along with singing, they included scripture readings and dramatic interpretations, prayers, footwashing, anointing, and communion. A worship center was constructed in the middle of the intimate theater space where worship was held, and it was slightly altered each day to emphasize the daily themes of being humble, salt, light, and bold.

Two special offerings were taken. The first raised $746.62 for the Haiti Health Program providing mobile medical clinics (see story below). The other collected $148 and eight bags of craft supplies and goodies for “Christmas in July” at the John M. Reed Nursing Home, a Church of the Brethren retirement community that has decided to spread Christmas cheer to residents all year long.

In between worship and teaching, workshops and conversation, community groups and breaking bread together, a number of activities were planned and led by members of the Young Adult Steering Committee. Highlights were a white water rafting trip in the Smokie Mountains, service projects at the Knoxville Area Rescue Mission and the Lost Sheep Ministry, ultimate Frisbee, board games, a night swim, and an unforgettable talent show.

National Young Adult Conference was coordinated by Carol Fike and the Young Adult Steering Committee of Josh Bashore-Steury, Jennifer Quijano, Jonathan Bay, Mark Dowdy, Ashley Kern, and Kelsey Murray. Each of these persons, as well as Becky Ullom, director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries, worked diligently for many months to make the conference a success.

NYAC was a conference built on time spent in community, worshiping God, and engaging in inspirational conversation. It was a safe space for attendees to gather in the name of Jesus, lift their voices in song and prayer, ask questions, and be exposed for exactly who they are: brothers and sisters, children of God, called to be salt and light--humble, yet bold.

Find an album of pictures from NYAC, provided by young adult participants, at

-- Mandy Garcia carries out donor communications for the Church of the Brethren.

Source:6/28/2012 Newsline

Supreme Court upholds Affordable Care Act; Brethren Insurance Services remains compliant.

Today, June 28, the US Supreme Court ruled that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act--legislation passed in 2010 that dramatically transforms the nation’s health care system--may stand with few modifications. The bill’s controversial mandate that requires all Americans to carry health insurance was ruled constitutional under Congress’ right to levy taxes.

How does this decision affect Church of the Brethren Insurance Services members? Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling will have no impact on plan rates or coverage offered by Brethren Insurance Services, which is part of Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT). All rates and coverage for the current plan year will remain unchanged.

Brethren Insurance Services has worked to stay in compliance with provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as they have gone into effect. Sections of the health care overhaul that are already part of Brethren Insurance Services’ plans include restrictions against pre-existing condition exclusions, restrictions against lifetime coverage limits, the extension of benefits coverage to dependents up to age 26, and more.

As a member of the Church Benefits Association, BBT has collaborated with other faith-based benefits providers to interpret and incorporate the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into its insurance plans. BBT will continue to comply with this health care legislation, as well as all other pertinent laws and regulations, and inform its members about any changes that may occur.

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

Source:6/28/2012 Newsline

Endowment, donations help fund Haiti Health Program.

Haiti Health Program provides mobile clinics
Photo by Jeff Boshart
A woman has her blood pressure checked at one of the mobile clinics being offered through a new Haiti Health Program. The program is an initiative of American Brethren physicians, working with the church's Global Mission and Service department and Eglise des Freres Haitiens (the Haitian Church of the Brethren).
A special offering at NYAC has encouraged young adults to be among those helping to fund the Haiti Health Program, which is providing Brethren-based mobile medical clinics in Haiti. Direct contributions to the current clinic program are being received, along with donations to a term endowment created to ensure future funding for the initiative.

The Haiti Health Program is an initiative of American Brethren physicians in cooperation with the Church of the Brethren’s Global Mission and Service department and Eglise des Freres Haitiens (the Church of the Brethren in Haiti).

Staffed by Haitian medical professionals, the clinics travel to neighborhoods of churches of Eglise des Freres Haitiens. The congregations advertise the clinics, triage patients, and provide volunteers who serve in the clinics. Short-term medical teams from the US join the clinics when possible. The program’s goal is to conduct 16 mobile clinics per year. A brochure for the program states, “For under $7 per patient, a recent pilot project provided medication and care to 350 people in just one day.”

A term endowment has been established to ensure the program’s sustainability. To date, the endowment has received $7,260. Direct contributions to the current clinic program total $23,820, with $19,610 expended on clinics so far. For more information contact Global Mission and Service at 800-323-8039.

Source:6/28/2012 Newsline

Bethany Seminary begins its search for a new president.

Bethany Seminary’s Board of Trustees and Presidential Search Committee have begun inviting inquiries, nominations, and applications for the position of president of the seminary. President Ruthann Knechel Johansen has announced her plans to retire from the position on June 30 next year. Located in Richmond, Ind., Bethany Theological Seminary is the graduate school and academy for theological education for the Church of the Brethren.

Following is the full announcement:
The Board of Trustees of Bethany Theological Seminary and its Presidential Search Committee invite inquiries, nominations, and applications for the position of president, succeeding Ruthann Knechel Johansen who is retiring June 30, 2013. The new president will assume office in July 2013.

The seminary seeks a president who carries knowledge of theological education, a passion for teaching and research, and a deep love for Christ and the church, bringing a vision for Bethany’s future. He/she should possess a terminal degree (either a Ph.D. or a D.Min.), and strong skills in administration, communication, cooperative leadership, and fundraising, as well as the ability to engage others in effective planning and implementation of priorities.

Founded in 1905, Bethany Theological Seminary is a graduate school that seeks to equip spiritual and intellectual leaders with an incarnational education for ministering, proclaiming, and living out God’s shalom and Christ’s peace in the church and world. Bethany’s educational program bears witness to the beliefs, heritage, and practices of the Church of the Brethren in the context of the whole Christian tradition. Set in partnership with Earlham School of Religion and the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center, Bethany embodies ecumenical cooperation in the Anabaptist and Pietist tradition, and innovation in programming, curriculum design, and economic stewardship. Bethany is fully accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada and by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Review of applications will begin this summer and will continue until an appointment is made. Interested individuals should provide a letter outlining their interest in and qualifications for the position, a curriculum vitae, and the names and contact information for five references.

Applications and nominations may be submitted electronically or by mail to: Rhonda Pittman Gingrich, Chair, Presidential Search Committee, Bethany Theological Seminary, 615 National Road West, Richmond, IN 47374-4019;
For more information about Bethany Theological Seminary, visit

Source:6/28/2012 Newsline

Brethren church in Kaduna, Nigeria, has been burned.

An update on violence in northern Nigeria has been received from Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN--the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). In an e-mail dated June 19, EYN headquarters reported that a Brethren church in the city of Kaduna had been burned in an attack, and three people were killed.

This most recent attack on an EYN church follows on one carried out the Sunday of the previous week, when on June 10 gunmen shot into an EYN church in the city of Biu during morning worship (see the Newsline report at

During the burning of the church in Kaduna, the security man at the church and two of his children were “slaughtered,” said the e-mail. One of the victims was a pregnant woman. “Also, a lot other Christians have been trapped and killed across that state,” the e-mail continued. It added that here has been heavy fighting between the Nigerian army and “Muslim jihadists.”

The June 10 attack has been linked to the Boko Haram sect of Islamist extremists, according to the Nigerian media. The “Sun News”--a Nigerian newspaper--has reported that the five men arrested and accused of being the gunmen told reporters they each were paid about 7,000 Naira by Boko Haram to carry out the attack.

The e-mail from EYN headquarters closed by requesting: “Please, intensify your prayer for Christians in northern Nigeria.”

Source:6/28/2012 Newsline

Nigerian Brethren hold 65th Annual General Church Council.

The Nigerian Brethren hold their 65th annual general council or Majalisa
Photo by Zakariya Musa
The 65th Annual General Church Council or “Majalisa” of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN--the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) was held April 17-20. Jay Wittmeyer (front row at right) attended as representative of the US Church of the Brethren. Wittmeyer serves as executive director of Global Mission and Service.
The 65th Annual General Church Council or “Majalisa” of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN--the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) was held April 17-20 with the theme, “Building a Living and Relevant Church.” This was the first Majalisa led by Samuel Dali as EYN president.

Addressing the Majalisa, Dali said that during his first year in service he was a student learning about the church’s administration and her problems. In less than 10 months, he has met with all the District Church Councils (DCC) of EYN, that are grouped into 11 zones. He urged the participants, “Let’s be one in decision making and by so doing our meeting will gain God’s blessings.”

The DCC secretary of Mubi, who was the guest speaker, based his message on Matthew 16:13-19. He challenged the participants to fight ungodly conduct found in churches today, such as corruption, injustice, and their like, and to provide jobs for youth. “We must listen to people’s needs in order to reduce problems that are sending the entire citizenry into confusion, because people are the church,” he said. In addition, several other scholars also taught at the Majalisa on different topics.

Awards of recognition were presented to 30 people. This is the first time the church has made such a recognition at the Majalisa. Awardees included the first EYN female theologian, the Deputy Governor of Adamawa State, along with a number of EYN national leaders, several of EYN’s district general secretaries, Women’s Fellowship (ZME) directors, youth directors, and pastors. EYN general secretary Jinatu L. Wamdeo, while presenting the names of awardees, expressed the view that they deserve recognition for their contributions to the development of EYN.

The Majalisa made some important decisions:
  • EYN through the Majalisa has decided to speak with the same voice with the Christian Association of Nigeria on matters of security in Nigeria.
  • EYN has decided to strengthen her educational institutions in order to provide quality Christian education to members.
  • EYN has decided to pursue microfinance banking to strengthen youth and empower her members economically.
  • EYN has decided to establish security intelligence to network security across the denomination.
Meeting in a situation of insecurity

The annual conference was held under tight security, where all participants were thoroughly checked while going into the hall. During the meeting, the Women’s Fellowship presented a song of encouragement in a situation of insecurity.

Commenting on the security challenges in Nigeria--particularly in northern Nigeria--Dali encouraged members to be strong and not to be confused by terrorist acts. He called on Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan to be more serious in fighting terrorism, in order to prevent Nigeria from falling into total collapse, and to be faithful in tackling unemployment and admission into colleges and universities for the benefit of youth.

Jay Wittmeyer, executive director of Global Mission and Service for the Church of the Brethren, attended from the United States. He encouraged EYN members to seek peace in a time of persecution. Wittmeyer said the Brethren are praying for Nigeria and other countries facing  persecution such as Sudan, Somalia, North and South Korea, Congo. Many were moved by his words.

The EYN general secretary after his report asked the house to observe a silence in remembrance of pastors lost in the year 2011-12 and prayers were ushered for the families who lost loved ones in Boko Haram attacks.

Responses to the Majalisa

After the Majalisa, a reporter for EYN’s “Sabon Haske” asked participants how they saw it. A former general secretary of EYN said, “One of the things that excited me was the topic ‘Building a Living and Relevant Church.’ I think if people put into use what is taught, it will bring progress to the church.” When asked, how do you see church’s existence in the urban areas in the face of violence, he responded, “Protection comes from God in rural or urban areas.”

The principal of Madu Bible School in Marama, said, “This year’s Majalisa was perfect, the agenda was followed accordingly, delegates were privileged to talk. The only problem we saw was at the kitchen, the food was not ready in time.”

During the meeting, Dali had announced that delegates would be given more chances to talk. A delegate from DCC Gwoza expressed his satisfaction: “It was seen clearly that delegates had their say and they will report to the members. The president has a vision for this and it is good.”

The convention was organized by several committees. The chair of the main committee was asked if the meeting went as planned. “Yes,” he said, adding, “there is always a point of correction as usual, because people complained much about the meals. We are Brethren even during eating.”

-- This is excerpted from a lengthier report on the Majalisa provided by Zakariya Musa, secretary of EYN’s “New Light.” Most individual names have been removed for security concerns.

Source:6/28/2012 Newsline

Follow Annual Conference via Church of the Brethren news coverage.

Church members from across the country--and the world--may follow events at this year’s Annual Conference through the onsite coverage provided by a news team of staff and volunteers, writers, photographers, and videographers.

The Annual Conference takes place July 7-11 at the America’s Center in St. Louis, Mo. Pre-Conference events start with the Standing Committee of district delegates, who begin meeting on July 4, the Ministers’ Association which holds its annual event July 6-7, and the Council of District Executives and deacon workshops also scheduled prior to the Conference. is the main index page for Annual Conference coverage. Go to this page to find links and easy access to
  • daily news stories
  • daily photo albums
  • webcasts of worship services and business sessions (go to for a report on the webcasts and an invitation to join in Sunday morning worship with the Conference)
  • worship bulletins that are downloadable in print-friendly pdf format
  • the daily “Conference Journal” sheets, also in pdf format"
  • a print-friendly two-page wrap up, which will be available after the Conference to help delegates make their reports to congregations or for use as an insert in newsletters and bulletins.
Pre-order the DVD “Wrap Up” video report from the 2012 Annual Conference, and the DVD of the Conference sermons, from Brethren Press at 800-441-3712. The “Wrap Up” may be ordered for $29.95, and the sermons for $24.95, plus shipping and handling. Orders will be shipped several days after the Conference ends.

Find the Conference business items online, the 2012 ballot, and this year’s Information Packet at

Other ways to follow Annual Conference include joining the Twitter conversation at #2012COBAC and going to the Church of the Brethren Facebook page at

Source:6/28/2012 Newsline

MoR offers guidelines for setting the tone of Annual Conference.

An MoR observer at the 2011 Annual Conference
Photo by Regina Holmes
One of the MoR observers on duty at the 2011 Annual Conference. For some years, the Ministry of Reconciliation (MoR) has provided observers as a resource for participants in the Conference business sessions. This year, the ministry also is helping to provide teams of trained volunteers who will be available to be called on as needed throughout the Annual Conference venue.
The Ministry of Reconciliation of On Earth Peace has been asked by the Annual Conference leadership to help the denomination create a culture of respect and a climate of safety at this year’s annual meeting. The following communication from the MoR staff of On Earth Peace shares some expectations for those attending the 2012 Annual Conference:

“The Church of the Brethren Annual Conference exists to unite, strengthen, and equip the Church of the Brethren to follow Jesus.” We find great joy in gathering together as the church. Ironically, however, the power of our unity can magnify our feelings of animosity, vulnerability, and frustration.

These feelings are not conflicts that can be resolved; they also don’t justify reacting to others with threats or accusations. They are a call to respond respectfully when we are feeling most uncomfortable. Jesus said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5: 44). This isn’t easy and we don’t have to do this work alone. The Annual Conference officers have asked the Ministry of Reconciliation of On Earth Peace to help us work collaboratively to create a culture of respect.

We need everyone’s help to create a climate of safety “…so that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine” (Romans 1:12). This means:
  • Speak for yourself without putting others down. 
  • Use “I” statements. 
  • Give each person equal time to talk.
  • Speak respectfully so that others can listen.
  • Listen thoughtfully to build trust.
  • If you are considering what to say or are uncomfortable with what another is saying ask, is it safe? Is it respectful? Does it encourage faithfulness? These answers will vary from one person and conversation to another, yet just talking about them can create a culture of respect and faithfulness.
There are several important steps to take if you feel vulnerable:
  • Use a “buddy system.” Check in at regular times to let your buddy know you are safe.
  • Minimize your risks by walking in groups as much as possible and as little as possible after dark.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. If something feels “off,” take another route or get help.
  • If you feel unsafe or harassed get help from the nearest source such as MoR, Program and Arrangements Committee, hotel staff, or security.
Jesus said the second great commandment is to “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12: 30).  Keeping yourself safe creates a safe environment for all.

Harassment is not acceptable at Annual Conference. If you feel you are being harassed, contact MoR. They will be with you to consider behavior, motivations, and appropriate actions. If you feel like you’re ready to harass someone, contact MoR. They will listen and talk with you about the message you want to communicate and appropriate ways to magnify your voice without putting others down. If MoR notices aggressive conversations they may check to see that participants feel safe.

“How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!” (Psalms 133:1, NRSV). Annual Conference is not a place to hurt, ridicule, or threaten anyone for any reason. In extreme cases MoR will enlist the help of security or the police.

Our prayer is that everyone who comes to Annual Conference will feel safe, respected, and encouraged to be faithful. We can’t do it alone. We can do it together because we are called to love one another as Christ has loved us (John 13:34).

Source:6/28/2012 Newsline

Annual Conference bits and pieces.

  • A room change has been announced for the Ministers’ Association pre-Conference gathering July 6-7. The event featuring biblical scholar Walter Brueggemann will now meet in Room 131 of the America’s Center convention center in St. Louis. The room change has been made because of good registration numbers, and it gives more space for those who wish to register at the door. Registration will be available beginning at 4 p.m. Friday afternoon, July 6. The event begins at 6 p.m. that afternoon and concludes at 3:35 p.m. on July 7.
  • Young adults going to Annual Conference are invited to an opportunity to get to know moderator-elect Bob Krouse. Young adults will meet with Krouse in the Young Adult Room #253 on Sunday, July 8, from 4:45-5:45 p.m.
  • The Global Women's Project is inviting Conference-goers to “take a break from meetings and workshops to stop by our booth for a cup of tea.” Tea-time is  4:45 p.m. Monday, July 9, in the Exhibit Hall. “Come and meet members of the steering committee and learn about our partner projects, worship and Lenten resources, gifts for Mother's Day, and more. Let us know which aspects of GWP's work inspire you!” said the invitation.
  • A Dunker Guide to Brethren BeliefsA new Dunker Guide from Brethren Press will debut at the Annual Conference bookstore. “A Dunker Guide to Brethren Beliefs” is a collection of 20 essays, each focusing on a core Brethren belief. The essays are written by 20 members of Lancaster (Pa.) Church of the Brethren--some former clergy, some lay people--and edited by Guy E. Wampler. Charles Denlinger is assistant editor, and the foreword is by Jeff Bach of the Young Center at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College. The essays are intended to help the reader engage topics such as salvation, baptism, or simplicity. Discussion questions help individuals or small groups take the themes even further. Brethren Press hopes the book will be used in new membership classes and small group studies. “It’s a great introduction on core Brethren values and beliefs,” according to James Deaton, Brethren Press managing editor for books and study resources. “A Dunker Guide to Brethren History” and “A Dunker Guide to the Bible” are the two previous books in the series. Buy the new Dunker Guide at the Brethren Press bookstore in St. Louis, or order from or 800-441-3712 for $12.95 plus shipping and handling.
  • Voices for an Open Spirit (VOS) will celebrate 10 years at its Annual Meeting and Celebration at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, July 10. The gathering takes place in Rooms 101-102 of the America’s Center. A VOS announcement said the event also will hear plans for the Progressive Brethren Fall Gathering to be held on Oct. 26-28 at La Verne (Calif.) Church of the Brethren on the theme, “Holy Work: Becoming a Beloved Community.”
  • In a recent newsletter, Western Plains District lauded the volunteer coordinators who are helping to make this year’s Annual Conference possible. “What a great opportunity we have in the Midwest to host the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference in St. Louis!” the newsletter said. Phil and Pearl Miller of Warrensburg, Mo., and Stephanie Sappington of Brentwood, Mo., are site co-coordinators. Ronda Neher of Grundy Center, Iowa, is the early childhood coordinator. Barbara Flory of McPherson, Kan., is coordinator for grades K-2. Rhonda Pittman Gingrich of Minneapolis is coordinating activities for grades 3-5. Walt Wiltschek of N. Manchester, Ind., is junior high coordinator. Becky and Jerry Crouse of Warrensburg, Mo., are senior high coordinators. Barb Lewczak of Minburn, Iowa, is coordinating young adult activities. Lisa Irle, also of Warrensburg, is coordinator for single adults. Barbara J. Miller of Waterloo, Iowa, is registration coordinator. Gary and Beth Gahm of Raytown, Mo., are responsible for the information booth. Martha Louise Baile and Melody Irle, both of Warrensburg, are coordinating ticket sales. Diana Smith of Warsaw, Mo., is head usher. Hospitality coordinators are Mary Winsor and Jim Tomlonson of Warrensburg, and Lois and Bill Grove of Council Bluffs, Iowa.
  • All those from South-Central Indiana District who are attending Annual Conference are invited to meet for lunch on Monday, July 9, at the Food Court in the America’s Center. “Please bring a lunch and eat together,” said an invitation in the district newsletter.
For a full schedule of Annual Conference go to

Source:6/28/2012 Newsline

Mission Alive 2012 is held to invigorate interest in mission.

2012 Mission Alive conference logoMission Alive 2012, a conference sponsored by the Global Mission and Service program of the Church of  Brethren, will take place Nov. 16-18 at Lititz (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. The theme is “Entrusted with the Message” (2 Corinthians 5:19-20).

The goal of the conference is to educate and invigorate church members to get involved in Church of the Brethren missions. This the third Mission Alive event since 2005, but the first in the tenure of the current mission executive.

Jay Wittmeyer, executive director of Global Mission and Service, is one of the speakers for the conference along with Jonathan Bonk, a Mennonite minister and executive director of the Overseas Ministries Study Center in New Haven, Conn., and editor of the International Bulletin of Missionary Research; Josh Glacken, Mid-Atlantic regional director for Global Media Outreach; Samuel Dali, president of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN--the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) and chairman of the Governing Council of the Theological College of Northern Nigeria (TCNN); and Suely Zanetti Inhauser, a family therapist and an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren who works as a pastor in Igreja da Irmandade (Brazil) and is co-coordinator for a Brazilian church planting project.

Workshops are also a large part of the event. Find a list of confirmed workshop leaders online (see the link below), with more details about workshops to come soon.

A special event during Mission Alive 2012 is a concert by REILLY, a Philadelphia-based band known for a unique blend of rock and dueling violins, an energetic live show, and spiritual depth. The concert is open to the public, for a charge of $5 per ticket at the door.

The conference begins at 3 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 16, and wraps up with worship on Sunday morning, Nov. 18. Registration for the full conference is $65 per person until Sept. 30, going up to $75 on Oct. 1. Family, student, and daily rates are available. Housing will be in local homes, with sign up for housing included in the registration process.

The Mission Alive planning team includes Bob Kettering, Carol Spicher Waggy, Carol Mason, Earl Eby, and Anna Emrick, coordinator for the Global Mission and Service office.

For more detailed information about Mission Alive 2012 and to register online, go to

Source:6/28/2012 Newsline

Planning begins for NOAC 2013.

The planning committee for National Older Adult Conference (NOAC) 2013
Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
The planning committee for National Older Adult Conference (NOAC) 2013 includes (from left) Eugene Roop, Delora Roop, Kim Ebersole, Eric Anspaugh, Bev Anspaugh, and Deanna Brown.
The planning committee for the 2013 National Older Adult Conference (NOAC) met recently at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., to begin planning next year’s NOAC. The dates for NOAC are Sept. 2-6, 2013.

The conference theme, “Healing Springs Forth” (Isaiah 58), reflects a longing for healing on a personal, denominational, and global level. The theme and scripture text also communicate God’s reassurance of refreshment and restoration, as believers remove the yoke of oppression and extend compassion to those in need.

NOAC is the Church of the Brethren’s conference for adults age 50 and older. Participants will enjoy a week of inspiration, community, and renewal in the beautiful mountain setting of Lake Junaluska (N.C.) Conference and Retreat Center.

Committee members include Kim Ebersole, director of family life and older adult ministries for the Church of the Brethren, and Bev and Eric Anspaugh, Deanna Brown, and Delora and Eugene Roop.

Additional information about the 2013 NOAC will be posted at as it becomes available. Registration for the conference will begin next spring.

Source:6/28/2012 Newsline

Brethren bits: Correction, personnel, job openings, district events, more.

  • Christian Churches Together (CCT) has appointed Carlos L. Malavé as executive director. CCT is a national organization that brings together churches from all the Christian traditions in the US, with the Church of the Brethren as one of its member denominations. Malavé has served 11 years as associate for Ecumenical Relations for the Presbyterian Church (USA), and previously served in pastoral ministry in California and Puerto Rico. “I'm ready to do whatever is needed to continue to break down any walls that divide the churches in our country,” he said in a release. He noted that one of the most important challenges for CCT is to seek deeper relationships with churches of the African-American and evangelical traditions.
  • Julie Hostetter has been promoted to executive director of the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership. The change in title was announced at Bethany Theological Seminary’s 107th commencement in May. The Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership is a ministry training partnership of Bethany and the Church of the Brethren.
  • Francie Coale has been promotedto manager of Information Services, a new salaried staff position at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. She has worked at the Brethren Service Center for over 30 years, since 1982.
 Artist Mark Demel paints a door for the Church of the Brethren live report 2012
Many people including church staff, volunteers, artists, designers, writers, videographers, and even handyman have been working hard on the exhibits and presentations for Annual Conference. Above, Elgin artist Mark Demel paints one of the doors that will be part of the church's live report this year. Below, a group puts together the Church of the Brethren exhibit, also centered on doors as symbols of the theme, "Jesus Moved into the Neighborhood" (John 1:14, The Message).
Committee puts together Church of the Brethren exhibit for 2012 Annual Conference
  • Emily Tyler started as coordinator of workcamps and volunteer recruitment for the Church of the Brethren on June 27. Her new position combines oversight and administration of the youth and young adult workcamps with recruitment for Brethren Volunteer Service. She comes to the position from Peoria, Ariz., where she has been a member of Circle of Peace Church of the Brethren.
  • Keith S. Morphew of Goshen, Ind., on June 25 began a one-year internship at the Brethren Historical Library and Archives (BHLA) in Elgin, Ill. He brings to the assignment a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. Virginia Harness closed out her BHLA internship on June 27.
  • The Church of the Brethren seeks a director of Donor Relationship to fill a fulltime salaried position managing the direct gift, planned giving, congregational stewardship, and enlistment programs of the church. The director for Donor Relationships is responsible for solicitation and management of gifts and securing special, deferred, and direct gifts from individuals and congregations for the work of the church. In this capacity the director works in collaboration with all stakeholders of the Church of the Brethren to develop and carry out an organizational plan for fund development that nurtures and builds relationship with members of the church. Additional responsibilities include overseeing congregational stewardship and enlistment activities working collaboratively with various other staff, volunteers, and contractors; holding area meetings to acquaint individuals with planned giving options and ministries supported by special and deferred gifts; formulating objectives, budget, and program for the Donor Relations office; and representing the church in ecumenical organizations related to funding, stewardship, planned giving, offering emphases, and special gifts. Required skills and knowledge include grounding in Church of the Brethren heritage, theology, and polity; ability to articulate and operate out of the vision of the Church of the Brethren; at least three years experience in planned/deferred giving and/or five years in development-related activities in the not-for-profit sector; ability to relate with individuals and groups; some management experience or work experience in objective setting, budget preparation, team building, and organizational dynamics. A bachelor’s degree is required, a master’s degree is preferred. This position is based at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Relocation to Elgin is strongly preferred. Consideration will be given to applicants living in the greater Mid-Atlantic region who are unable to move, with the expectation of one week spent at the General Offices each month. Applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis until the position is filled. Request the application form and complete 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 60120-1694; 800-323-8039 ext. 367;
  • The position of interim program director is available at Brethren Community Ministries, Harrisburg (Pa.) First Church of the Brethren, starting Oct. 1. The position is 20-25 hours per week, salary negotiable. A job description is at To apply, send a letter and resume by July 20 to Brethren Community Ministries, Attn: Search Committee, 219 Hummel St., Harrisburg, PA 17104.
  • Leaders of Igreja da Irmandade (the Church of the Brethren in Brazil) have been posting a blog with weekly articles written for a Brazilian newspaper at and a website about pastoral matters at . “It is in Portuguese,” notes Marcos Inhauser, “but I think that people that can read Spanish can also understand Portuguese.”
  • A recent Action Alert calls on Brethren to speak out against torture citing Romans 12:21, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good,” and the 2010 Annual Conference Resolution Against Torture. The alert from the advocacy and peace witness office urges church members to contact senators and representatives in support of anti-torture legislation during June, which is Torture Awareness Month. The alert calls for establishing a Commission of Inquiry and a move toward closing the Guantanamo Bay prison facility. Learn more at .
  • “Blissville Church of the Brethren celebrates 100 years!” said an announcement from Centennial Committee member Mirna R. Dault. The church in Plymouth, Ind., enjoyed a Centennial Celebration on the theme “Furthering Our Inheritance” on June 10. Keynote speaker was former pastor Eldon Morehouse, who served at Blissville in the 1960s. A time of remembrance began with statements by current pastor Dester Cummins. A video of a 1937 day at church showed the original church building and some of the members from early days. “We thank the Lord for His goodness and faithfulness that gave us reason for this day filled with celebration, love, and fellowship!” Dault reported.
  • July 22 is the date of Virden (Ill.) Church of the Brethren’s 100th anniversary homecoming. The congregation is inviting all previous pastors to attend. Contact the church at 217-965-3422.
  • Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren in Fort Wayne, Ind., has been nominated for “best church in the region” in the “Journal Gazette” annual poll of northeast Indiana.
  • Illinois and Wisconsin District executive minister Kevin Kessler is one of the religious leaders who have signed a “Call for a Season of Civility in Wisconsin.” The statement says, in part, “As Wisconsin struggles through another year of divisive campaigning and elections, we are concerned that hostile political rhetoric is overstepping the bounds of civility and even decency in our congregations and society at large.” The statement lists a number of commitments. Find it at
  • The Church of the Brethren Home in Windber, Pa., held a 90th anniversary celebration on Sunday, June 24. The afternoon event held at Scalp Level Church of the Brethren was a Rededication Service celebrating the past, present, and future of the home’s care for the aged in a Christian atmosphere.
  • The Children's Aid Society (CAS) of Southern Pennsylvania District has announced the beginning of centennial celebrations 1913-2013. The district is the only one in the Church of the Brethren that has had a continuous ministry for children for 100 years, according to Theresa C. Eshbach. She is helping to publicize events that include a 100th Anniversary Dinner on Oct. 13, 2012, at the Valencia Ballroom in York, Pa. The Children’s Aid Society mission is to help children and their families build stronger, healthier lives through compassionate, professional services. It operates the Lehman Center in York County, Nicarry Center in Adams County, and Frances Leiter Center in Franklin County, Pa.
  • The weekend of July 27-29 marks the opening of district conference season in the Church of the Brethren. The first district conferences of 2012 will be held by Northern Ohio District, meeting in Ashland, Ohio; Southeastern District, meeting in Mars Hill, N.C.; and Western Plains District, meeting at McPherson (Kan.) Church of the Brethren and McPherson College.
  • Camp Colorado staff report that they can see and smell smoke from the Waldo Canyon wildfire near Colorado Springs. “As the crow flies it’s about 40 miles away,” said a post at , which features a map showing the location of the camp in relation to the fire. The Church of the Brethren camp is just west of the town of Castle Rock.
  • In her “Notes from the President,” Manchester University’s Jo Young Switzer highlights “The Otho Winger Experience,” a rock band named for Otho Winger, president of Manchester College 1911-41. “Lots has changed since then, but I think Otho Winger would be proud of the eclectic band of faculty, staff, and alumni named in his honor.” The band performed in Cordier Auditorium this past spring. Switzer describes it as “guitarists who are professors in biology, chemistry, English, physics, and communication; a female vocalist who is an English professor and adviser to the ‘Oak Leaves’; back-up dancers from philosophy, religion, art, and multicultural affairs; historians, music professors, a retired high school band director, a trustee, the college's director of marketing, graduates, and with the Chamber Singers in tie-dyed T-shirts as backup.”
  • The Brethren Revival Fellowship’s Summer Brethren Bible Institute is scheduled for July 23-27 on the campus of Elizabethtown (Pa.) College. Classes are intended for ages 16 and up, with some designed for licensed ministers. The deadline for registration is June 29. For more information go to the BRF website at
  • In more news from the BRF, a new color brochure is available for the joint units of Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) and BRF. The next BVS/BRF orientation unit will be held Aug. 19-28 at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. Go to to download the brochure and find more information.
  • A Children's Defense Fund national conference is slated for July 22-25 in Cincinnati, with National Council of Churches member communion representatives and program leaders among the 3,000 people expected to attend. “This is not a talk conference,” said Marian Wright Edelman, Children’s Defense Fund founder and president, in a release. “It is an act conference. It is not a problem wallowing, handwringing conference. It is a strategic problem-solving conference.” The conference is expected to attract leading researchers, educators, policymakers, practitioners, faith leaders, and other advocates for children. See Edelman's video invitation to the conference at
  • Church World Service (CWS) executive John L. McCullough has welcomed advances and commitments made by some 57 countries to end preventable child deaths, shared at a recent Child Survival Summit held in Washington, D.C. He was among 750 people at the high-level summit convened by the governments of the US, Ethiopia, and India, in collaboration with UNICEF. The primary goals of the participating countries and organizations are to reduce the number of deaths of children under five years to 20 for every 1,000 live births by 2035, and to drastically lessen maternal, prenatal and newborn deaths, according to a CWS release.
  • In more news from CWS, McCullough issued a comment following the Supreme Court decision striking down three out of four provisions of Arizona’s anti-immigrant law SB 1070. The Supreme Court “has gotten some points right,” he said, “but has unfortunately left the question of racial profiling to another day and thus prolonged civil and human rights abuses in Arizona.” Find the full text of McCullough’s statement at
Source:6/28/2012 Newsline


Newsline is produced by the news services of the Church of the Brethren. Contact the editor at Contributors to this issue of Newsline include Deborah Brehm, Lesley Crosson, Jan Dragin, Kim Ebersole, Ecumenical News International, Anna Emrick, Carol Fouke, Leslie Frye, Rhonda Pittman Gingrich, Philip E. Jenks, Gerald W. Rhoades, and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Newsline: June 14, 2012


A large group prepares for licensing to the ministry in Haiti.

In late May, Church of the Brethren leaders from the US and Haiti interviewed a large group of people preparing for licensing to the ministry, to serve in Eglise des Freres Haitiens (the Church of the Brethren in Haiti).

Nineteen men and women were interviewed by Jay Wittmeyer, executive director of Global Mission and Service for the Church of the Brethren; Mary Jo Flory-Steury, executive director of Ministry and the denomination’s associate general secretary; Ludovic St. Fleur, coordinator of the Haiti mission and pastor of Eglise des Freres Haitiens in Miami, Fla.; and members of the National Committee of the Haitian Church of the Brethren including pastors Ives Jean, Jean Bily Telfort, and Freny Elie.

The interviews took place in Croix des Bouquets, a neighborhood of the capital city Port-au-Prince, at the Ministry Center of the Haitian Church of the Brethren. Ilexene Alphonse, who helps staff the Ministry Center, served as translator.

Interview questions related to the candidates’ family and background, education, spiritual journey, role in the local church, and understanding of Brethren beliefs and practices, reported Wittmeyer. Each of the 19 individuals interviewed identifies with a specific member of the National Committee as a mentor and spiritual leader and came with a recommendation for licensing from that member of the National Committee.

“Each was deemed to be uniquely prepared to receive the set apart status that licensing denotes and to be empowered to serve the denomination in this capacity,” Wittmeyer said. “Each individual has demonstrated a strong commitment to the local church and to the denomination. They have been very active in local churches and serving as the backbone of the denomination.”

Those interviewed are already active in leading worship, starting preaching points, ministry with children, outreach activities, and other ministries in their communities. The group is now expected to examine their calling and work toward ordination. Some are already qualified for ordination according to national requirements, and one of the candidates is ordained in a different denomination.

In 2009, a similar process occurred, when 10 people were interviewed for licensing in Haiti. Of that group, seven have served the Haitian church on its National Committee since then.

The 19 people interviewed in May include 4 women and 15 men, and come from congregations located in various areas of Haiti including Bohoc, Cap Haitian, Gonaíves, Grand Bois, Leogâne, Mont Boulage, as well as the Croix des Bouquets and Delmas neighborhoods in the Port-au-Prince area, and other smaller towns and villages.

Source:6/14/2012 Newsline

Church staff involved in ecumenical prayer service for peace in Syria.

His Eminence Archbishop Mor Cyril Aphrem Karim at ecumenical prayer service for Syria
Photo by Jonathan Stauffer
His Eminence Archbishop Mor Cyril Aphrem Karim speaks at the ecumenical prayer service for peace in Syria. The special worship service was held in Alexandria, Va., at Saint Aphraim Church of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch.
On Tuesday, June 12, at 7:30 p.m. an ecumenical prayer service for peace in Syria took place with involvement from Church of the Brethren staff. The program was initiated and organized by Nathan Hosler, ecumenical peace coordinator for the National Council of Churches (NCC) and advocacy officer for the Church of the Brethren, in collaboration with Father Fady Abdulahad, a Syrian priest ministering in Alexandria, Va.

About 70 people met at Saint Aphraim Church of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch to pray and fellowship together. His Eminence Archbishop Mor Cyril Aphrem Karim planned the order of worship and led in prayers and a sermon. The joint service was organized in response to the ongoing and intensifying violence in Syria. While the leaders of the church wished to avoid a particular political stand, it was agreed that the group should come together in prayer.

Sermons by the Archbishop and Hosler focused on the need to pray and our call as Christians to work for peace. Emphasis was placed on the call to end violence and standing in solidarity across church or religious lines. In addition to a number of chanted prayers and songs in Syriac, Arabic, and English, Gwen Miller from Washington City Church of the Brethren led a hymn, “Move in Our Midst.”

Source:6/14/2012 Newsline

BVS director participates in conference call with Selective Service.

Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) director Dan McFadden yesterday participated in a telephone conference call with the Selective Service System. The Selective Service System hosted the call to update participants about Alternative Service plans in the event that a military draft is ever called for by the US Congress.

The call was hosted by Cassandra Costley, manager of the Alternative Service Program for SSS.

At this point the SSS does not anticipate a draft, McFadden said. The Selective Service office hosts calls such as this a couple of times a year to stay in touch with the various groups that have interest in Alternative Service options in the event of a draft.

During the call, Costley announced that another memorandum of understanding with the SSS has been signed by the Church of God in Christ Mennonite. This is the eleventh group or denomination to sign an MOU. The Church of the Brethren signed an MOU with Selective Service in June 2010.

Yesterday’s call focused on becoming an alternative service employer. In the event of a draft the SSS will look to faith groups such as the Church of the Brethren and BVS to host alternative service workers for two-year placements. During the Korea and Vietnam wars BVS hosted alternative service workers and would do so again.

McFadden asked about the numbers Selective Service anticipates during any given year. Based on a 1984 study, Costley reported an estimated 30,000 young men a year would be looking for alternative service placements in the event of a military draft. She added that it is possible the numbers might have doubled since then.

BVS also participates in a conference call twice a year with Anabaptist groups and the Center on Conscience and War to stay in contact in the event that there is a draft.

Source:6/14/2012 Newsline

Grants are given to start new Brethren disaster project sites.

BDM_logoTwo grants have been given from the Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) to start new Brethren Disaster Ministries project sites in New York State and Alabama. Other recent EDF grants also have been announced in response to Church World Service (CWS)  appeals for Pakistan and northern Africa.

In related news, the Global Food Crisis Fund (GFCF) also has announced a grant to a Rural Development Program in Nigeria.

An allocation of $30,000 from the EDF will aid recovery efforts in Prattsville, N.Y., following flash flooding caused by Hurricane Irene in Aug. 2011. On July 1, Brethren Disaster Ministries will open a repair and rebuilding project in Prattsville, in one of the lowest income regions of New York State. Many residents of the nearly 300 flooded homes were uninsured or elderly. This grant will provide the opportunity for volunteers to assist in repairing and rebuilding homes for qualified individuals and families. Funds will underwrite expenses related to volunteer support including housing, food, travel expenses incurred onsite, training, tools, and equipment.

An EDF grant of $30,000 for tornado recovery work in Town Creek, Ala., follows the April 2011 “Super Outbreak” of tornadoes that claimed 346 lives in 21 states. Brethren Disaster Ministries has been present in Alabama since Nov. 2011, and will move its operations from the town of Arab to Town Creek on July 1. Working closely with a long-term recovery group in the area, the ministry will continue to repair and rebuild homes for qualifying families still in need of permanent housing. The grant will be used for expenses related to volunteer support including housing, food, travel expenses incurred onsite, training, tools, and equipment.

In other recent grants, the EDF has given $27,000 to a Church World Service (CWS) appeal for the Sahel region of northern Africa. The appeal follows unusually low rainfall, low crop production, food insecurity, and political strife and violence, which have resulted in a complex humanitarian crisis affecting more that 15 million people. The initial EDF grant toward this appeal--$8,000 given in May--was based on the relatively small size of the initial CWS appeal. Since then, CWS has indicated a much greater need. The grant supports the work of CWS and partner agency Christian Aid in providing food, seeds, and other emergency assistance to more than 83,000 people in Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, and Senegal.

An EDF grant of $20,000 responds to a CWS appeal follows increasing military operations against militants in tribal regions and other parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province in northern Pakistan. The situation has resulted in the evacuation of residents to safer regions. A needs assessment by CWS indicates poor living conditions, low food intake, and vulnerability to a number of communicable and non-communicable diseases.  In addition, displaced people in the host communities of Peshawar and Nowshehra do not have easy access to emergency and primary health care. Without assistance, the humanitarian crisis could spread to a larger region. The grant supports the provision of emergency food assistance, household supplies, and medical care for families who have been repeatedly displaced over the last several years.

The GFCF has given a grant of $10,000 (or 1.5 million Nigerian Naira) to support the Rural Development Program of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN--the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). The head of the program requested the grant to help purchase improved seed.

Source:6/14/2012 Newsline

Nigerian Brethren are among those killed, injured in Sunday attacks.

A congregation of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN--the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) was one of those attacked on Sunday by Islamist extremists. At least one EYN member was killed and several more injured. Nigerian church leaders have been requesting prayer for the situation in their country, where the Boko Haram sect has been targeting churches as well as government facilities and police stations with terrorist-type violence.

Media reports indicate that two attacks were made against churches this past Sunday, June 10. In Biu, a city in northeast Nigeria, gunmen opened fire at the Church of the Brethren killing at least one person, and injuring others. Also attacked the same day was Christ Chosen Church of God in Jos, a city in central Nigeria. The second attack was carried out by a suicide car bomber who was killed along with four other people. Some 40 people were injured in the Jos incident.

EYN leadership reports that the attack in Biu was carried out by five gunmen who came and surrounded the church, and started shooting indiscriminately. An alert watchman closed the gate to the church, but the gunmen then began shooting into the church through the walls. At the time there were about 400 people in the church service, including children. One woman was killed and a number of people were injured, but of the injured only two church members sustained major injuries.

An e-mail from EYN leadership noted the relatively few serious injuries as a matter for thanksgiving, given the circumstances. “So, continue to pray for us and for Nigerian Christians,” it said.

Source:6/14/2012 Newsline

Webcasts offer opportunity to worship with Conference, from a distance.

Webcasting from Annual Conference
Photo by Glenn Riegel
The webcasting of worship services and business sessions from Annual Conference is made possible by a group of dedicated people including Enten Eller (shown here, working at webcasting from the 2011 Conference in Grand Rapids, Mich.), David Sollenberger and a team of videographers, and Church of the Brethren communications staff who are responsible for the denominational website at
Join the gathered Brethren for Sunday worship in St. Louis--from your own sanctuary! For a second year, the Annual Conference officers are inviting congregations to join in Sunday morning worship with the church gathered in St. Louis, Mo., for Annual Conference. The invitation is for as many Brethren as possible--across the denomination and across the country--to worship together on July 8.

While each worship and business session of the Conference from July 7-11 will be webcast, and will be available to view either live or as a recording, congregations are particularly encouraged to stream the live webcast of the Sunday morning worship service.

The webcast on July 8 will be webcast live beginning at 9 a.m. central time (10 a.m. eastern). Congregations with a projector and Internet service should be able to participate. Because the webcast also is being posted as a DVR, congregations will be able to start the broadcast of the worship service at any time after the live webcast begins.

Moderator Tim Harvey will bring the message on July 8, with moderator-elect Bob Krouse as worship leader. The message is titled, "Continuing the Work of Jesus. Peacefully. Simply. Together."

Find a link to the webcasts at, the index page for online coverage of the 2012 Conference where a variety of news reports, photo albums, worship bulletins, sermon texts, and more will be made available throughout the event. Or go directly to For technical questions or assistance with webcasts contact Enten Eller at

Source:6/14/2012 Newsline

Conference blood drive is a way to reach out to host city.

The annual blood drive is being planned again for the 2012 Annual Conference in St. Louis, as a way Brethren may give back to the host community.

“We Brethren have been quietly giving blood at Annual Conference for years, leaving over 220 pints in Pittsburgh and just over 140 in Grand Rapids,” said coordinator Bradley Bohrer, pastor of Crest Manor Church of the Brethren in South Bend, Ind.

Bohrer has been told by host locations that the Brethren who attend Annual Conference “always give far more blood than any other groups that come to the city, including other church groups!” he reported. “Last year, we outgave one of the local hospitals” which was having a blood drive at the same time as the Conference drive. “The Michigan Blood people had to shift staff from the hospital to us due to volume, even with our lower numbers,” he added.

The Annual Conference blood drive is carried out in cooperation with the American Red Cross and Brethren Disaster Ministries. A Red Cross release that has gone out to publicize the blood drive was titled, “Hop in the Pool this Summer, the Blood Donor Pool. Don’t Sweat it!”

“Currently, only 38 percent of the United States population is eligible to donate blood,” the release said. “Of those eligible donors, only about eight percent actually give blood. . . . Someone in the US needs blood every two seconds and 44,000 units of blood are needed for transfusions daily. That’s why it’s important to attract new donors to the donor pool and encourage current donors to give blood every 56 days.”

A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required. Donors must be in general good health, weigh at least 110 pounds, and be at least 17 years old (16 with completed Parental Consent Form). New height and weight restrictions apply to donors 18 and younger.

The best times to donate at the 2012 Annual Conference will be Monday, July 9, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. or Tuesday, July 10, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., at the America’s Center Exhibit Hall 2. Everyone who attempts to donate will receive a free t-shirt, while supplies last, and a chance to win a Gibson guitar.

There will be a table for registration and to sign in to volunteer at the blood drive on Saturday and Sunday, July 7-8, in the Annual Conference registration area. “Look for us and sign up!” invites Bohrer.

To schedule an appointment to donate during the Conference, call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit and enter sponsor code: brethren. For more information about the blood drive call 574 291-3748 or e-mail

Source:6/14/2012 Newsline

MSS interns begin a summer of service to the church. Ministry Summer Service (MSS) interns for 2012

Ministry Summer Service (MSS) interns for 2012The 2012 class of Ministry Summer Service interns have been holding orientation June 1-6 at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. The mentors for each intern joined the orientation for the last two days of the event.

Below is a list of interns and mentors, as well as the ministry settings in which they will serve for the next 10 weeks:

Jamie Frye of McPherson, Kan., will be mentored by Ginny Haney, pastor of Mount Morris (Ill.) Church of the Brethren, and Jay Wittmeyer, executive director of Global Mission and Service for the Church of the Brethren.

Lucas Kauffman of Goshen, Ind., will be mentored by Larry Fourman, pastor of Union Center Church of the Brethren in Nappanee, Ind.

Sarah Neher of Rochester, Minn., will focus on workcamps and be mentored by Becky Ullom, director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Church of the Brethren.

Laura Whitman of Ono, Pa., will be mentored by Dennis Lohr, lead pastor of Palmyra (Pa.) Church of the Brethren.

The Youth Peace Travel Team of Katie Furrow of Boones Mill, Va.; Hunter Keith of Kokomo, Ind.; Kyle Riege of Wakarusa, Ind.; and Molly Walmer of Myerstown, Pa., will be mentored by a group of leaders including denominational staff. Their mentors include Ullom along with Dan McFadden, director of Brethren Volunteer Service; Marie Benner-Rhodes of the On Earth Peace staff; and Margo Royer Miller, Outdoor Ministries Association representative. The Youth Peace Travel Team provides peace education at Brethren camps and gatherings.

For more about the Church of the Brethren's Ministry Summer Service program go to

Source:6/14/2012 Newsline

Brethren bits.

  • The Ministry Office has shared new contact information for Russell and Deborah Payne, who started as co-district executives in Southeastern District on June 1: Southeastern District Church of the Brethren, P.O. Box 8366, Gray, TN 37615; 423-753-3220;
  • Webcasting from the Church of the Brethren’s National Young Adult Conference (NYAC) begins Monday evening, June 18, at The daily worship services and the morning Bible studies will be webcast. The 2012 NYAC is meeting on the theme "Humble Yet Bold: Being the Church" (Matthew 5:13-18).
    Logo for advocacy and peace witness ministry office in Washington, D.C. - June 2012
  • The Church of the Brethren’s advocacy and peace witness office in Washington, D.C., has a new logo. The image is of a dove superimposed on the Church of the Brethren cross. “Thank you to Kay Guyer for the beautiful, inspiring design!” said a note on the “Brethren Advocacy” Facebook page.
  • The John Kline Homestead is holding an open house and birthday party celebrating the 215th birthday of Civil War-era Brethren elder John Kline. The event takes place at 2-4 p.m. on Sunday, June 17, at the homestead in Broadway, Va. Festivities will include an open-house tour, a presentation depicting the significance of the life of Elder Kline and his many accomplishments, light refreshments including birthday cake and homemade ice cream. A free-will 215th Birthday offering will benefit the John Kline Homestead. For more information contact Linville Creek Church of the Brethren at 540-896-5001 or
  • A date has been set for the next Powerhouse regional youth conference to be hosted by Manchester University. The weekend of worship, workshops, music, food, and fun is scheduled for Nov. 10-11 in North Manchester, Ind., for senior high youth and adult advisors. For more go to or call the Campus Ministry/Religious Life office at 260-982-5243.
  • Virlina District is calling attention to the upcoming 75th anniversary of the disappearance of three Church of the Brethren missionaries in China. Dec. 2, 2012, marks 75 years since the three Brethren disappeared from their post in Shou Yang, Shansi Province, China: Minneva Neher from LaVerne, Calif.; Alva Harsh from Eglon, W.Va.; and Mary Hykes Harsh from Cearfoss, Md. Virlina is encouraging its churches to commemorate the fateful event on Sunday, Dec. 2. “Many Brethren entertain memories of the sad reports in ‘Messenger,’ two books, and other memorial reports,” the district newsletter said. Virlina has several connections with the former Brethren mission in China. A young Shou Yang native, Ruoxi Li, is a member of the district's Good Shepherd congregation, and has authored a 96-page report about the current state of the church in Shou Yang. Another district connection has been formed by a sibling of Alva Harsh, Norman, a current resident of Friendship Retirement Community in Roanoke, Va. The community has been asked to assist Friendship Hospital in Ping Ding, a former Brethren mission post in China, and helped host a delegation of three Chinese doctors in April this year.
  • West Marva District held its Women’s Spring Rally on May 9 at Oak Park Church of the Brethren. Attendance was 89, with 23 churches represented, according to the district newsletter. A Love Offering received during the event is sending $2,472 to Church World Service to assist in preparing clean-up buckets for areas affected by disasters. The group also sent 374 hygiene kits, 21 school kits, and 1 baby layette to the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., for disaster relief, and collected $110 to purchase blankets for those in need. Another $678 was donated for shipping expenses.
  • Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) has issued an urgent prayer request for the Palestinian village of Susiya, which received demolition orders from the Israeli military on June 12. “The demolition, to be completed by June 15, will destroy 18 tents and make 160 people homeless,” said the prayer request. For more about CPT’s work in Israel and Palestine go to
  • David and Joan Young, who lead the Springs of Living Water initiative in church renewal, will present a seminar titled “Servant Leadership and the Life Cycle of the Church, the Gift of Hope” at the 22nd Annual International Conference on Servant Leadership in Indianapolis on June 20-21. The Greenleaf Center has just published an essay David wrote on the communication pattern their family uses, which also is being taught in churches. At the conference, the Youngs have been invited to tell their story of a lifetime involvement in servant leadership that has impacted their family, and the spiritually oriented Springs Initiative in church renewal in the Church of the Brethren and beyond. For more information contact
  • A new name and a new Leadership Board have been announced by the former Feast of Love. The movement--led in large part by young adults and introduced at the Progressive Brethren Gathering last fall--has chosen the new name Open Table Cooperative. The new Leadership Board includes Kathy Fry-Miller of North Manchester, Ind.; Josih Hostettler of La Verne, Calif.; Aaron Ross of Bethel, Pa.; Katy Rother of Alexandria, Va.; Ken Kline Smeltzer of Boalsburg, Pa.; and Elizabeth Ullery of Olympia, Wash. One position still remains to be filled on the seven-member board. The new website address for Open Table Cooperative is
  • McPherson (Kan.) College is offering an “adventure in Greece” travel experience on Jan. 15-23, 2013. “It will be a feast for the palate, the eyes, and the spirit,” said an announcement. “In one of the most gorgeous countries on earth, we will travel to the land where the Apostle Paul spread the good news. As we travel we will enjoy the intriguing stories, rituals, and mythologies of the Greco-Roman world, which set the stage for the coming of Christianity.” If interested in joining this McPherson College tour with students, alumni, and friends, contact Herb Smith at or at the following address: 26 Mt. Lebanon Dr., Lebanon, PA; 717-273-1089.
  • Pinecrest Community, a Church of the Brethren retirement community in Mount Morris, Ill., has announced the achievement of a “Five-Star” ranking by its nursing home, Pinecrest Manor. The achievement was made known in ratings released in May by Medicare. It is a tribute to the dedicated nursing staff of Pinecrest Manor, and its diligence on health inspections and quality measures, said CEO Ferol Labash in a release. “Jolene LeClere, administrator of health services, and our team of administrative staff, lead the way in providing quality, compassionate care.” A five-star rating is the highest rating a nursing home can be given by Medicare, the release said, adding that this star rating is for overall staffing hours, which includes registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, licensed vocational nurses, and certified nursing assistants. Pinecrest Community recommends that those considering nursing homes for their loved ones consult the information made available at the website.
  • The New Community Project has announced grants and assistance to partner organizations in South Sudan in support of education for girls. A grant of $12,000 has been given to the Girlchild Education and Development Association in Nimule, South Sudan, following on an $18,000 grant made earlier this year for school tuition and materials for girls. The project also plans another grant later this year to support education for girls in Narus, South Sudan. “Ongoing support for our efforts to educate girls in South Sudan comes through the Amanda O'Donnell fund--a fund set up to honor a young woman whose life was cut tragically short,” the release said. More information is at
  • A webinar from the National Council of Churches’ Eco-Justice Program will address the theme “All God’s Children are Sacred” on June 19 at 1 p.m. (eastern). Pediatric physician Jerry Paulson will discuss why children are vulnerable to environmental health triggers, and Hester Paul from the Children’s Environmental Health Network's Eco-Healthy Child Care Program will offer tips to make homes and churches safer. Sign up at
  • Korean churches are developing plans for a “peace train” that would travel from Berlin through Moscow and Beijing to Busan, South Korea, in time for the World Council of Churches’ (WCC) global assembly in Oct. 2013. “The plan is to draw attention to the need for peace and reunification in the Korean peninsula,” a release said, “and North Korea also would be on the route of the train, which would carry church and civil society representatives.” Peace Together 2013, a committee of the National Council of Churches of Korea, is working with the governments on the plan. The council also is in early phases of discussion about how to work with the governments of North and South Korea to prepare a peace treaty to be signed in 2013 that marks the 60th anniversary of the ceasefire treaty that ended the Korean War.
Source:6/14/2012 Newsline


Newsline is produced by the news services of the Church of the Brethren. Contact the editor at Contributors to this issue of Newsline include Jeff Boshart, Enten Eller, Nathan Hosler, Dan McFadden, Nancy Miner, David Radcliff, Diana Roemer, Becky Ullom, Jay Wittmeyer, and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren.

Friday, June 01, 2012

General Secretary Announces Decision Regarding BMC Project With Brethren Volunteer Service

Church of the Brethren general secretary Stan Noffsinger today made an announcement concerning the BMC Kaleidoscope Coordinator as a Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) project. The decision was shared in a letter addressed to Carol Wise, executive of BMC--the Brethren Mennonite Council for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Interests.

“After conversations with the Church of the Brethren Mission and Ministry Board Executive Committee and a conference call with members of the board, I have withdrawn the BMC Kaleidoscope Coordinator as a BVS project as it is currently defined,” the letter said.

“As General Secretary, I will hold in trusting tension the possibility for a BMC project until such time as delegations from the MMB and the BMC board can meet face-to-face in the spirit of Matthew 18.”

In January, BMC had been accepted as a placement site for BVS volunteers after applying on a regular basis for some years (find a report of the original decision at

The Church of the Brethren is a Christian denomination committed to continuing the work of Jesus peacefully and simply, and to living out its faith in community. It is based in the Anabaptist and Pietist faith traditions and is one of the three Historic Peace Churches. It celebrated its 300th anniversary in 2008. It counts about 125,000 members across the US and Puerto Rico, and has missions and sister churches in Nigeria, the DR, Brazil, Haiti, and India.

Source: 6/1/2012 Newsline