- 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.
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).
- 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; firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 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 http://brethrencommunityministries.wordpress.com. To apply, send a letter and resume by July 20 to Brethren Community Ministries, Attn: Search Committee, 219 Hummel St., Harrisburg, PA 17104.
- New at www.brethren.org is a video clip featuring Bethany Theological Seminary president Ruthann Knechel Johansen speaking about the transition in leadership expected for the school when she retires in 2013. Go to www.brethren.org/video/leadership-transition-at-bethany.html
- 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 http://inhauser.blogspot.com and a website about pastoral matters at www.pastoralia.com.br . “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 www.nrcat.org .
- “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 www.wichurches.org/programs-and-ministries/season-of-civility.
- 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 www.campcolorado.org/WordPress , 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 www.brfwitness.org.
- 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 www.brfwitness.org/?p=2333 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 www.ncccusa.org/news/120618CDFconference.html.
- 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 www.churchworldservice.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=15212.