Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Newsline Special: Hurricane Isaac

Hurricane Isaac, in a NASA photographBrethren Disaster Ministries staff are monitoring the damage being caused by Hurricane Isaac--now downgraded again to a tropical storm--as it continues to make its way north across Louisiana, Mississippi, and other areas of the Gulf Coast. Hitting New Orleans on the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Isaac has been a much less severe storm but has caused widespread power outages and flooding in a number of areas, and has put thousands of people into shelters.

Children’s Disaster Service associate director Judy Bezon reports that CDS volunteers are on alert, ready to set up child care centers in shelters following the storm.

Roy Winter, director of Brethren Disaster Ministries, said that the Church of the Brethren initially will help support an ecumenical response by Church World Service (CWS), while he and his staff assess the need for eventual rebuilding project sites.

A Brethren grant to support work by CWS will be made possible by donations to the Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund. Any Children’s Disaster Services response also will be funded by the EDF. For more information about the fund and for an opportunity to donate online, go to

Children’s Disaster Services readies volunteers

Approximately 250 CDS volunteers have been contacted as the program gets ready to respond to the needs of Gulf Coast residents affected by Isaac. The program was put on alert by the Red Cross several days ago.

Children’s Disaster Services is a Church of the Brethren ministry that works cooperatively with the American Red Cross and FEMA, providing trained and certified volunteers to set up child care centers in shelters and disaster assistance centers. Specially trained to respond to traumatized children, CDS volunteers provide a calm, safe, and reassuring presence in the midst of the chaos that follows disasters.

CDS’ most recent work was in Oklahoma where volunteers spent Aug. 9-16 caring for children and families affected by wildfires.

Last Friday, when Isaac was making its way across the Caribbean, the program began contacting volunteers for their availability. Initially CDS volunteers were contacted in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, North and South Carolina (FEMA Region IV). Yesterday, CDS expanded its call for volunteers, adding FEMA Regions VI and III.

“We are in waiting mode with volunteers ready to go,” Bezon said by e-mail this afternoon.

In related news, CDS is offering several workshops to train more volunteers this fall. A workshop at Camp Ithiel near Orlando, Fla., on Oct. 27-28, for example, will be the first CDS workshop held in Florida since 2008. Other workshops are planned in Johnson City, Texas, on Sept. 7-8; at Modesto (Calif.) Church of the Brethren on Oct. 5-6; in Oklahoma City, Okla., on Oct. 5-6; at Camp Brethren Heights in Rodney, Mich., on Oct. 12-13; and in Denver, Colo., on Nov. 2-3. For more information including fees, requirements for participation, contacts for each workshop, and online registration go to

Brethren Disaster Ministries to assess need for rebuilding, support for CWS response

“It is too early to determine if rebuild assistance will be needed,” says Brethren Disaster Ministries associate director Zach Wolgemuth, who added that it is likely that flooding will be the most devastating aspect of this storm.

“We continue to monitor the storm, participating in conference calls and communicating with partners,” he said.

Winter and Wolgemuth both said it is highly likely that the Church of the Brethren will be supporting a CWS appeal in response to the storm, by approving a grant from the EDF. “We will be supporting responses in all these areas in some way, mostly likely through partners,” Winter said. “Assessments continue in the DR and Haiti to determine the extent of unmet needs and how Brethren may respond.”

The Church World Service situation report, dated today, said that although Isaac only reached hurricane category 1 windspeeds at its height, “it is a large and wide-ranging storm with a significant storm surge, and it will continue to produce drenching rains from the Florida panhandle to the eastern coast of Texas. The storm is extremely slow moving.... The continued storm surge combined with high tides will significantly add to the coastal flooding.”

CWS added that damage assessments cannot start until the storm moves past the coast, but as it moves north continued heavy rains are expected to cause significant inland flooding. “It is also not uncommon for tornadoes to spin off from a hurricane,” the situation report warned.

The report noted the town of Plaquemines, La., south of Baton Rouge, as a particularly hard hit community where Mississippi River waters have overtopped the town’s levee and caused flooding. Residents have reported as much as 12 feet of water in their homes, and rescue operations are underway, the report said.

“Mass care sheltering operations are up and running in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana,” CWS said. “Power outages are reported in several states. As many as 500,000 customers have lost power in Louisiana; it will take several days before power is restored.”

The CWS response is likely to include providing material resources such as blankets, hygiene kits, and clean-up buckets, and assisting communities in developing long-term recovery plans, providing technical and financial support as possible.

CWS is reminding those who would like to help out that donations of clothing are not required. Brethren who would like to help with the response are encouraged to make donations to the Emergency Disaster Fund, go to

Haitians clean up following Tropical Storm Isaac
Photo by USAID/PGeiman
Haitians still living in camps after the 2010 earthquake clean up following damage by Tropical Storm Isaac.
Haitian and Dominican Brethren report on storm damage

Brethren Disaster Ministries also is expressing concern for those affected by Tropical Storm Isaac when it passed across Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

The program posted this prayer on its Facebook page today: “For this we pray: For the people of Haiti and the Dominican Republic who suffered loss of life and damage to homes and crops by Tropical Storm Isaac. For the residents of Louisiana as Isaac bears down on them today.”

Early reports from Haiti and the DR indicate that there were at least 19 deaths in Haiti related to the storm, with six people reported missing, said Winter in an e-mail today.

Isaac caused severe flooding in Haiti, and damaged houses and infrastructure including schools, as well as caused loss of livestock and severe damage to agriculture, and the damage has been particularly in camps as well as vulnerable rural regions said a report from the ACT Alliance, an ecumenical disaster response group of which the Church of the Brethren is a partner. The report also said that new outbreaks of cholera have been reported following the storm.

“As far I know all the Brethren are fine,” reported Ilexene Alphonse, who works with L’Eglise des Freres Haitiens (the Church of the Brethren in Haiti), in an e-mail. “I called all of the leaders that I have their phone numbers,” he wrote. “The only complaint is that they lost some gardens.... Some tents were severely damaged and a few roofs were lifted.”

From the Dominican Republic, pastors in Iglesia des los Hermanos (the Church of the Brethren in the DR) wrote to report that several communities in the DR faced flooding, more than 80,000 people were without power across the country, and thousands were displaced by the storm. The DR suffered damage to roads from San Juan to Santo Domingo and Bani, where there were several broken bridges as well.

The Dominican Brethren, however, have not suffered severely from the storm, the report said. Some Brethren pastors suffered the loss of some crops. The e-mail added, “There were many plantain crop lost in Barahona and other place in the southern part of the country. However the places where farmers were facing a great drought were blessed by so much rain.”

Contributors to this issue of Newsline include Judy Bezon, Steve Shenk, Roy Winter, Zach Wolgemuth, Jay Wittmeyer, Jane Yount, and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren. 

Source:8/29/2012 Newsline Special

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Newsline: August 22, 2012


Children’s Disaster Services completes Oklahoma response.

One of the children cared for by Children's Disaster Services following fires in Oklahoma, 2012
Photo by Children's Disaster Services
Children express themselves through art activities and play, notes Children's Disaster Services associate director Judy Bezon. "When there are 'no instructions' on what to paint or how to play, what is on their minds comes through in their play. So many things lost in the Oklahoma fires--trees too."
Wildfires in Oklahoma have destroyed over 600 homes. Firefighters in eight counties struggled to contain the fires in temperatures of 95 to 100 degrees with 10 to 20 mile-per-hour winds, and drought conditions. The fires are finally under control.

Myrna Jones, the Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) representative to Oklahoma VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster), participated in daily conference calls that reviewed the disaster, the response, and unmet needs of survivors.

Some of those unmet needs could be met at the American Red Cross Multi Agency Resource Centers (MARC) where nine different agencies were offering aid. Each agency had a different application and interview process. CDS volunteers cared for children in the busiest MARC in Mannford, Okla.

Reports were that as many as 85 percent of the homes affected there were uninsured. Imagine being a survivor who has just lost a home--numb, in shock, upset, anxious about where to live, what to eat, how to get clothes to wear. There is help available, but you just have to find out what you need, fill out forms, have an interview, and more. You must take your children with you, as your typical day care is unavailable. Imagine having children with you while you take up to two hours for the application process.

Fortunately, CDS had volunteers in Oklahoma, the result of a workshop last November. A total of 11 volunteers cared for children for 9 days: 6 local volunteers from Oklahoma, 3 volunteers from Kansas, and 2 from Missouri. The CDS volunteers saw a total of 69 children.

CDS is grateful there was a workshop in Tulsa last November, which enabled us to respond quickly. How many CDS volunteers are in your area? Could they respond to a local disaster? To find out more about hosting a Children’s Disaster Services workshop visit or call 800 451-4407 option 5. Support the ministry of CDS wherever you live by donating at .

-- Judy Bezon is associate director of Children’s Disaster Services.

Source:8/22/2012 Newsline

Southern Plains District dedicates ‘Pop’s House’ at Falfurrias.

Pop's House at Falfurrias, Texas
Photo by Brooke Holloway
A highlight of Southern Plains District Conference this year, hosted by Falfurrias (Texas) Church of the Brethren, was dedication of a newly renovated "Pop's House." This is the cottage in which the founders of the Brethren Volunteer Service project at Falfurrias lived in the early years of that project. One of the early ministers was K.O. Thralls. He was well loved in the community and soon became known as Pop Thralls to everyone.
Southern Plains met for its 45th District Conference at Falfurrias (Texas) Church of the Brethren on Aug. 2-4. The theme for the conference was "Do It God's Way." The theme scripture was Micah 6:8, "And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."

Bob Krouse, Annual Conference moderator, was the keynote speaker. Other guests were Loyce Borgmann with Brethren Benefit Trust and Jay Wittmeyer with the Church of the Brethren Global Mission and Service office.

Krouse led a workshop for pastors on Thursday morning about the church embracing the community and ways in which we can reach out to be a presence and witness in the communities where we live. The conference also was blessed with messages from Jim Kelly, pastor at Clovis, N.M., and Katie Carlin, a TRiM (Training in Ministry) student.

The highlight of the afternoon was the dedication of "Pop's House." This is the cottage in which the founders of the Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) project at Falfurrias lived in the early years of that project. One of the early ministers was K.O. Thralls. He was well loved in the community and soon became known as Pop Thralls to everyone. Another family to occupy that house was Olin and Mary Mason. The district was honored to have some of the Thralls family at the event.

At the district conference last year, the delegates voted to provide materials to remodel the house, with the Falfurrias members doing the work. This work was done in one year. It is not only a charming house, but a true labor of love.

The Ministry Team interviewed Katie Carlin, of Monument, N.M., for licensing. The conference delegates approved. Lucinda Anderson conducted the Memorial Service. An auction was held to benefit the camping program. The delegates voted to sell the Thomas Church property.

Bob Krouse led in the closing worship service on Saturday morning, with the dedication of those who serve in the district for the new year.

-- This report was provided by the Southern Plains District.

Source:8/22/2012 Newsline

Planning begins for upcoming junior and senior high youth events.

2012 Jr High logoThe Church of the Brethren Youth and Young Adult Ministry director Becky Ullom has announced initial planning for National Junior High Sunday this November, as well as next year’s National Junior High Conference and National Youth Sunday, and the next National Youth Conference (NYC) in 2014.

National Junior High Sunday will be held Nov. 4 on the theme, “Put on love,” based on Colossians 3:12-15. A logo, poster, and bulletin cover are available now at More worship resources will be posted in September.

Next year’s National Junior High Conference will take place June 14-16, 2013, at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College. For more information and to register, go to Registration opens Jan. 4, 2013.

Congregations are encouraged to celebrate National Youth Sunday on May 5, 2013, using the theme “In God’s Image...” (2 Corinthians 3:18). The National Youth Cabinet met recently to select this year’s focus and begin writing worship planning materials, which will be posted at in September.

Dates for the next National Youth Conference have been announced as well. NYC will be held July 19-24, 2014, in Fort Collins, Colo. Applications for NYC 2014 coordinators are now being accepted. To request an application, contact the Youth and Young Adult Ministry Office at 800-323-8039 ext. 397 or The deadline for applications is Nov. 1, 2012.

Source:8/22/2012 Newsline

McPherson College to celebrate 125 years.

McPherson (Kan.) College is celebrating 125 years since its founding, and its deep roots in the Church of the Brethren, with a special worship service on Oct. 21.

Although the service will start at 10 a.m. in Brown Auditorium on the campus of McPherson College, the McPherson Community Brass Quintet will play pre-service music beginning at 9:45 a.m.

All students, faculty, staff, friends of the college, and community members are welcome to the service. The planning committee features one person from the five closest Church of the Brethren congregations. Already, members of Church of the Brethren congregations in McPherson, Monitor, Hutchinson, Wichita, and Newton are planning to come to McPherson College for the special occasion.

The service will include an opportunity for people to participate in a large mass choir. Rehearsal will start at 8:30 a.m. in Brown Auditorium for anyone who wishes to participate.

The message will be delivered by campus minister Steve Crain, who is planning to speak on "Kneeling Before the Lord of the Harvest"--giving thanks for God's blessings.

Following the Children's Time in the service, childcare will be available for children age preschool and younger. Following the service, there will be a Sunday brunch available to all in attendance for $8 for adults and $6 for children at 11 a.m. in the nearby Hoffman Student Union.

Plans are also in the works to help those unable to attend to still be able to view this special time of worship. Watch for details on about how to access a planned live stream of the service online, and a video of the service afterwards.

McPherson College, located in central Kansas, is a four-year private liberal arts college offering more than 20 bachelors of arts and pre-professional programs, as well as an experiential graduate-level courses in teaching. Throughout the curriculum, students are given the “Freedom to Jump”--to explore their ideas, to learn through doing, and to make a difference in the world.  McPherson College, associated with the Church of the Brethren, is committed to the ideals of scholarship, participation, and service--developing whole persons, prepared for fulfilling life vocations.

-- Adam Pracht is coordinator of development communications for McPherson College.

Source:8/22/2012 Newsline

Letter of appreciation from St. Louis Public Schools.

Conferece-goers bring offerings of school supplies for the St. Louis schools
Photo by Regina Holmes
Worshipers bring back packs full of school supplies for the St. Louis schools, during a Sunday morning offering at the 2012 Annual Conference.
The following letter of appreciation from the St. Louis (Mo.) Public Schools has been shared by the Conference Office. Addressed to past Annual Conference moderator Tim Harvey, it thanks the Church of the Brethren for school supplies donated by those who attended the Conference in St. Louis in early July. The letter was signed by the school district’s Volunteer Services Specialist:

“Dear Pastor Harvey, such a wonderful gift to our children and our district! We certainly had no idea that you would completely PACK one of our big St. Louis Public School District trucks with more than 430 ‘stuffed’ book bags and enough book supplies to fill almost an entire classroom.

“On the last morning of the Conference, the day we picked up all of your gifts, I had the chance to meet your father and then a Conference participant whom I told that we would be bringing things to our International Welcome School--a place where students and families who just arrive in the United States as refugees come until they are settled here. I was hoping that I could have brought you by the school before you left town so you could see up-close how important your gift was. (As we were dropping off the book bags, a family of seven with only what they were wearing walked in from Somalia.) Perhaps sometime you will have the opportunity to come back this way and visit.

“Please tell your colleagues and fellow-members how grateful we are for ALL of your gifts--the supplies, the bags, the checks!”

Source:8/22/2012 Newsline

‘It's messy’: A reflection from the Deacon Ministry.

This reflection first appeared in the August issue of the “Deacon Update,” an e-mail newsletter from the denominational Deacon Ministry. For more deacon ministry resources, past copies of the “Deacon Update,” or to subscribe to the newsletter, go to :
Robin's nestA couple of months ago I took down the robins' nest from behind the wreath on our front porch--a bittersweet moment, in spite of the nest's auspicious beginnings.

Robins' nests are messy things, and having birds that close to our front door just seemed like a bad idea. When the first nest started to take shape we promptly removed it. Within a few days a second nest appeared, and again we took it down. Then--we went out of town for a few days and returned to a fully formed nest, home to four eggs. We let it be.

Fast forward several weeks. My husband left for a walk early one morning and was greeted by an adolescent robin on the edge of the nest and a robin parent swooping in to keep the young one safe for her first flight. We lived through swoops and fledgling flights for a few days, and felt surprisingly sad when we became "empty nesters." A far cry from the "birds are messy and don’t belong on our porch" days.

As I grew more attached to this little family I couldn't help but see a similarity with how our feelings often evolve during ministry. A messy situation appears on our doorstep and we try our best to make it go away, but it's there to stay and we try to find ways to help. But, you know, over time these untidy, needy gifts from God become part of our family. They begin to trust us, and we start to love them. Relationships develop.

An early issue of “Basin & Towel” (magazine of Congregational Life Ministries) was called "The Messy Issue: There Is No Mission Without the Mess." People's lives are messy, a lot messier than a few baby robins. But that's what we're here for, isn't it, to help our sisters and brothers through the muddled, cluttered, confused times? There is satisfaction in that work, God's work, and we may even miss it a little when the fledglings are able to be on their own, without quite so much support. But fear not, there is always a new, messy nest being built somewhere close to our front porch.

“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners” (Mark 2:17).

Enjoy the mess!

-- Donna Kline is director of the Church of the Brethren Deacon Ministry.

Source:8/22/2012 Newsline

Brethren bits.

  • Deborah Brehm of the Church of the Brethren human resources office will begin working fulltime on Sept. 4. Her position, which has been part-time, is being expanded to incorporate facility hospitality services at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill.
  • Cori Hahn has been promoted to the new position of hospitality coordinator at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. This salaried staff position holds responsibility for coordinating hospitality and public relations for the center; managing the schedules for volunteers, guests, meetings, BSC community events, and other activities; and promoting and interpreting the programs of the Church of the Brethren and partner agencies based at the center. Hahn has worked at the Brethren Service Center since Sept. 2007. She was previously conference coordinator for the New Windsor Conference Center in addition to being a part-time Human Resources administrator. She will have the opportunity to continue working alongside the dedicated volunteers at the new Hospitality Center at Zigler Hall.
  • The Church of the Brethren is seeking an individual to fill a fulltime position of packer for the Material Resources program at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. Material Resources processes, warehouses, packs, and ships relief materials on behalf of a number of ecumenical and not-for-profit partner organizations such as Church World Service (CWS) kits and medical supplies on behalf of IMA World Health. The packer will receive and pack quilts and blankets, and act as backup packer for other Material Resources orders and assist with unloading and working with volunteer groups as requested. Hours are 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Required skills and knowledge include ability to handle a variety of tasks accurately and efficiently, comprehend product codes and other detailed information, work compatibly and cooperatively with co-workers and volunteers, and ability to lift and move 50 pounds. Education requirement is a high school diploma or equivalent, or equivalent experience. Interviews began Aug. 15 and will continue until the position is filled. Request the application packet from Office of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120-1694; 800-323-8039 ext. 367; .
  • Map, where did all the Bethany graduates go?The admissions newsletter from Bethany Theological Seminary is reporting on “Where in the WORLD did all the Bethany graduates go?” The newly “re-energized” e-mail publication includes updates from recent graduates as well as upcoming dates at the seminary. Fall classes at the Church of the Brethren seminary in Richmond, Ind., start Thursday, Aug. 23. In another announcement, Nov. 2 is an “Engage Visit Day” for prospective students to explore the Bethany experience. For more information contact .
  • Brethren Disaster Ministries on its Facebook page reports that a recent grant of $3,000 from the Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund has helped Church World Service send 300 hygiene kits to Oklahoma to aid people fleeing wildfires. The CWS kits are processed and warehoused at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md.
  • Mission Alive organizers have announced a “growing list” of workshops for the mission conference scheduled for Nov. 16-18 at Lititz (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. View the list at . Mission Alive 2012 will encompass not only international mission opportunities and efforts, but also opportunities for participants to get involved from home. Learn about becoming an online missionary, peacebuilding and advocacy as mission, the Springs of Living Water church renewal program, each of the current Church of the Brethren mission points, and much more. “Check back regularly for new information,” invites Anna Emrick, program coordinator for the denomination’s Global Mission and Service office.
  • The Church of the Brethren’s Outdoor Ministries Association (OMA) is now offering memberships to congregations. A letter and brochure about the new membership option has been mailed to each congregation in the September Source packet. “This provides an opportunity for congregations to support OMA and Church of the Brethren camps and conference centers, and to work intentionally at increasing our church’s corporate care of God’s creation. Membership provides resources: the OMA newsletter and access to Environmental Grants to help fund projects that benefit the earth,” the letter said. The annual fee for congregational membership is $75. Other fees apply for student, individual, family, and camp professional memberships. For more information contact OMA, P.O. Box 229, Bethel, PA 19507.
  • An anonymous donor donated $1,000 again this year for Brethren Press to give away four $250 gift certificates to the Annual Conference bookstore. The winning churches were Gortner Union Church of the Brethren in Oakland, Md.; Westminster (Md.) Church of the Brethren; Hollisdaysburg (Pa.) Church of the Brethren; and Topeco Church of the Brethren in Floyd, Va.
  • This year’s Powerhouse regional youth conference at Manchester University (N. Manchester, Ind.) will be Nov. 10-11. The theme “Hello, My Name Is…: Getting to Know God” will explore the names and nature of God with keynote messages by Josh Brockway, director of spiritual life and discipleship for the Church of the Brethren. Registration will be $50 for youth, $40 for advisors. Registration materials and other details will come out in early September at .
The steeple at Fairview Church of the Brethren, after a lightning strike
Photo courtesy of Ron and Diane Mason
The steeple at Fairview Church of the Brethren, after a lightning strike
  • “Rejoice with them that do rejoice!” (Romans 12:15) begins a note from Ron and Diane Mason reporting on a lightning strike that hit Fairview Church of the Brethren in Unionville, Iowa. “The evening of Aug. 8 the Fairview Church steeple was directly hit by lightening,” they wrote. “The bolt exploded the west side off the steeple and charred a spot on the south side. By God’s grace, and God’s grace alone, that is all the damage that was done. The church building did not burn! Hallelujah!”
  • Middlebury (Ind.) Church of the Brethren and Goshen City Church of the Brethren are stops on Richard Propes’ 23rd Annual Tenderness Tour Against Family Violence. Propes works for the State of Indiana, Bureau of Developmental Disabilities Services, and is interim pastor at Nettle Creek Church of the Brethren in Hagerstown, Ind. Since 1989, he has traveled over 3,500 miles by wheelchair and helped raise thousands of dollars for children's organizations, reports a release. Propes, a paraplegic/double amputee born with spina bifida, is a sexual abuse survivor who recently published his story, "The Hallelujah Life," on his own imprint, Heart n' Sole Press. This year his Tenderness Tour through Elkhart County, Ind., on Sept. 1-6 will raise funds for Child and Parent Services, Inc. Sponsors include the Middlebury and Goshen City churches, the Independent Critic, and Das Dutchman Essenhaus, among others. Propes will preach at the Middlebury church on Sunday, Sept. 2, at 9 a.m. He will then begin his countywide wheeling on Labor Day. On Sept. 5 in the evening he will be hosted by Goshen City Church of the Brethren. The tour includes visits to Elkhart and Wakarusa, a public reading from "The Hallelujah Life," and meetings with city leaders, media, and schools. Propes will start each day of wheeling at 9 a.m. from each community's city or town hall, and plans to end each day at the same location. For more information go to . To meet Propes or invite him to speak, contact 317-691-5692 or .
  • Hanoverdale Church of the Brethren in Hummelstown, Pa., was one of the churches taking part in non-denominational worship services that marked the opening and closing of their town’s 250 year anniversary celebration. The celebration opened July 13.
  • Florin Church of the Brethren hosted a Corn Roast to support the Brethren Disaster Auction. “Saturday (Aug. 11) 137 people came out for Florin COB's annual corn roast,” reported Brethren Disaster Ministries. “The evening consisted of delicious corn, great entertainment from Ridgeway Brass, and peaches and ice cream for dessert.”
  • The 42nd annual commemorative service at the Dunker Church adjacent to the Antietam National Battlefield Park in Sharpsburg, Md., will be held at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 16. Phil Stone of Harrisonburg, Va., a noted Lincoln scholar and president emeritus of Bridgewater College, will preach on the topic, “Lincoln and Antietam: Peacemaker or Warrior.”
  • Bridgewater (Va.) Church of the Brethren is hosting a series of musical events in support of a Habitat for Humanity house in Elkton, Va., sponsored by Central Valley Habitat for Humanity. “Habitat Fest--Singing to Raise the Roof!” ecumenical choral festival starts at 7 p.m. on Sept. 15, and continues at 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 16. A commissioned anthem by John Barr, organist at Bridgewater Church, titled “Christ Is Made the Sure Foundation” will feature the chorus, organ, brass quartet, two harps, and tympani directed by Curtis Nolley, choral music director at the church. On Sunday, Oct. 14, at 3 p.m. another event at the Bridgewater Church will perform music included in a new compact disc, “Songs of Comfort, Songs of Joy.” The recording features flutist Andrea Nolley, soloist Curtis Nolley, and harpist Virginia Bethune.
  • Last winter, Mount Etna Church of the Brethren decided to close. On Aug. 4, the Northern Plains District Conference voted to officially disorganize the congregation, according to the district newsletter. A committee is working on disposal of the property and moving remaining assets to the district. A special service to honor the congregation’s life and ministry will be planned in upcoming months.
  • Friday, Aug. 24, is Church of the Brethren day at the Great Darke County Fair in Greenville, Ohio, in an announcement from Southern Ohio District. District youth will be responsible for a 6-8 p.m. time slot that will include games and other fun activities, as well as an opportunity to witness to others who are attending the fair. Look for the Brethren at the Spiritual Life building just west of the rabbit barn.
  • Unique camping experiences are planned for September by Brethren Woods Camp and Retreat Center near Keezletown, Va.: Scrap and Stamp Camp on Sept. 7-9, a weekend getaway of scrapbooking and rubber stamping (registration due Aug. 25); and Rock Climbing Adventure Day the afternoon of Sept. 23, with opportunities to learn rock climbing skills for a variety of levels. Participants will gather at the Broadway/Mauzy Park ’n Ride (I-81 exit 257) and travel to a climbing site on Waterfall Mountain led by Lester Zook of WildGuyde Adventures. Cost is $45 and includes bag lunch, transportation, and some gear. Registrations are due Sept. 7. For more information or registration forms contact Brethren Woods at 540-269-2741,, or on the web at .
  • Brethren Alive 2012 was held on July 27-29 with sponsorship from the Brethren Revival Fellowship (BRF). Worship theme was “Fit for the Kingdom” (Luke 9:62), with a focus on Anabaptist and Pietist principles that define the Kingdom of God, and paradoxical challenges and rewards involved when living in the Kingdom, according to the BRF website, . The event took place at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College and was preceded by the annual Brethren Bible Institute. The BRF general meeting was held in conjunction with the conference, on July 28. BRF announced that it will not be holding a September BRF general meeting this year.
  • The Springs of Living Water initiative for church renewal is offering a new spiritual disciplines folder to help persons read the book of Acts in a meditative manner this fall. “The People of God in Mission,” the first part of the folder, begins Aug. 27. Intention for the folder is to invite entire congregations to discern their next steps in spiritual growth and read daily scripture and prayer together. With regard to the choice of the book of Acts for meditation this fall, a Springs release noted that “Brethren have always attempted to lift up the early church as a model for our life.” The folder is available to download from the Springs website . Springs leaders David and Joan Young also are requesting prayer for “a four-way renewal event to be on Sept. 28, 29, and 30 in Western Pennsylvania District held at the Somerset Church.” The event features Annual Conference moderator Bob Krouse as guest speaker. The weekend will include opportunities to hear preaching and teaching on Acts, and training on spiritual discernment and how to shape mission in one’s own neighborhood, as well as a “concert of prayer.” Each participating congregation will be encouraged to return home with plans for its own renewal service on Sept. 30. All are invited. For more information contact .
  • The 2012 Progressive Brethren Gathering on the theme, “Holy Work:  Becoming a Beloved Community,” will be Oct. 26-28 at La Verne (Calif.) Church of the Brethren. The annual event is sponsored by Womaen’s Caucus and the Brethren Mennonite Council for LGBT Interests (BMC), this year joined by the new Open Table Cooperative. The schedule includes a keynote address on “Social Movements” by speakers Abigail A. Fuller and Katy Gray Brown. Both teach at Manchester University in N. Manchester, Ind. Fuller is associate professor of sociology and chair of the Department of Sociology and Social Work. Brown is associate professor of philosophy and peace studies. The weekend also features opportunities for small group discussion, a film screening, an evening of music featuring La Verne artists, and Sunday morning worship with the congregation. The registration fee, which includes all meals, is $125 for adults, $60 for students, $35 for children under 10. Childcare will be provided. Partial registration fees are available. Participants reserve their own housing at hotels, with members of the congregation offering to host some participants in their homes free of charge. Registration and more information is online at
Several visitors to Summer Festival at Fahrney-Keedy Home & Village get to know some of the animals on display at the Petting Zoo
Photo by courtesy of Fahrney-Keedy
Visitors to the Summer Festival at Fahrney-Keedy Home & Village get to know some of the animals on display at the Petting Zoo.
  • Several hundred visitors attended Fahrney-Keedy’s eighth annual Summer Festival on Aug. 4, said a release from the Church of the Brethren retirement community near Boonsboro, Md. “This was a great turnout for the event, considering the heat,” said Deborah Haviland, director of marketing/admissions and one of the co-chairs of the event. Residents and visitors enjoyed a variety of music including the Glory Land Rambler Band and a disc jockey, and other entertainment including a magic show. Besides food and arts and crafts vendors, other attractions included a petting zoo, a classic car “cruise-in” and, for children, games, a barrel-train ride and an “inflatables park,” including a moon bounce.
  • The Global Women's Project has announced dates of its next Steering Committee meeting, Sept. 7-9 in Morgantown, W.Va. Two new members will be welcomed: Sharon Nearhoof May from Phoenix, Ariz., and Tina Rieman from San Francisco, Calif. The project also is promoting a Children's Giving Project developed by steering committee member Carrie Eikler, a five-part learning series designed to teach children about a partner project in Uganda and to introduce them to the concept of sharing with others around the world. The resource may be used for a Sunday school class or for children's time during worship. For more information visit and click on "Children's Giving Project."
  • Bridgewater (Va.) College is one of the best colleges and universities in the Southeast,  according to the Princeton Review. The New York City-based education services company selected Bridgewater as one of 136 institutions it recommends in its “Best in the Southeast” section on its website feature, 2013 Best Colleges: Region by Region, reports a release from the college. “In the profile on Bridgewater at, the college is described as one concerned with ‘personally developing students in every aspect of life and making each individual physically, academically, socially, and mentally fit for the real world,’” the release said. Students at Bridgewater were surveyed on a range of issues from accessibility of professors to quality of campus food. According to the Review, students say, “You know you’re getting your money’s worth” thanks to consistently small class sizes and ample personal interaction with faculty. One senior is quoted as saying, “I’ve never been turned away from a professor’s office; they always make time for their students and advisees.”
  • The 64 first students of Manchester University’s brand-new College of Pharmacy received their clinical white coats in a ceremony Aug. 9, according to a release. In her welcome, president Jo Young Switzer spoke of the Manchester heritage. The ceremony was on the North Manchester, Ind., campus to help students understand the compassionate roots of their pharmacy education. “We meet today in Cordier Auditorium, named after Manchester graduate Andrew Cordier, a top aide to Dag Hammarskjold who, with others, founded the United Nations,” said Switzer, who also spoke of alumni Paul Flory, who won the Nobel Prize in chemistry, and his roommate Roy Plunkett, who invented Teflon. “And, we meet today on a campus where the nation’s first academic program in Peace Studies was established in 1948 and where it thrives today, known worldwide for its combination of theory with practice.” Students received their white coats from faculty mentor and dean Dave McFadden. Each member of the class of 2016 also signed a copy and affirmed their commitment to the College of Pharmacy honor code: “As members of the Manchester University College of Pharmacy, we commit ourselves to unwavering professionalism and rigorous ethical standards. We will behave with integrity and honesty, upholding the honor of our profession and institution and accepting full responsibility for our actions. We are dedicated to being professionals of ability and conviction and leading principled, productive, and compassionate lives that improve the human condition.” For more visit .
  • Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) has announced delegations to CPT project sites during the remainder of 2012 and into 2013. Delegates connect with communities experiencing violence and take part in collaborative nonviolent action and advocacy. Delegations are open to all interested people and do not require specific training. CPT has fundraising expectations for delegates, who arrange and pay for their own transportation to the sites. Some physical rigors are involved in most CPT delegations. Upcoming delegation sites and dates follow: Aboriginal justice, northwestern Ontario, Canada, on Sept. 28-Oct. 8, 2012; April 5-15, Aug.9-19, and Sept. 27-Oct. 7, 2013. Colombia, Nov. 28-Dec. 12, 2012; May 30-June 12, July 17-30, Sept. 19-Oct. 2, 2013. Iraqi Kurdistan (Kurdish north of Iraq), Oct. 4-17, 2012; May 25-June 8 (German language delegation), Sept. 14-28, 2013. Palestine/Israel, Oct. 22-Nov. 4, Nov. 19-Dec. 2, 2012; March 5-18, May 21-June 8, Aug. 13-26, October and November dates TBA, 2013. For more information go to or contact .
  • A Clarence Jordan Symposium honoring the 100th anniversary of Jordan's birth is planned for Sept. 28-29, part of a month-long celebration at Koinonia Farms in Americus, Ga. July 29 would have been Jordan’s 100th birthday. He died in 1969. He was a Southern Baptist minister, a Civil Rights leader, and author of the Cotton Patch Bible. The Associated Baptist Press reports this is the first-ever Clarence Jordan Symposium at Koinonia Farms, an interracial Christian farming community that he founded 70 years ago. The report notes also that the symposium is scheduled at the birthplace of Habitat for Humanity. Former President Jimmy Carter will deliver opening remarks. Other speakers will include leaders in the New Monasticism movement of intentional Christian communities. The symposium will be followed by a Renovation Blitz Build on Oct. 1-26 to repair buildings at Koinonia. The celebration wraps up with a Koinonia Family Reunion Oct. 26-28, “both for those who have visited in the past and those who always wanted to,” says the report. Cost for the symposium is $195, with student discounts available. Information about how to register is at . (Ron Keener, who sent in this information, remembers hearing Jordan speak at a Church of the Brethren young adult conference at Bridgewater (Va.) College in the late 1950s, when he engaged in a spirited dialogue with Brethren leader Kermit Eby.)
Source:8/22/2012 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, Mary K. Heatwole, Katie Hill, Jeri S. Kornegay, Hallie Pilcher, Howard Royer, Glen Sargent, Karen Stocking, Melissa Troyer, Becky Ullom, Walt Wilschek, Jay Wittmeyer, David Young, and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Newsline: August 9, 2012


Church leaders express heartache at shootings, call for action on gun violence.

Brethren leaders have joined others in the American Christian community in expressing sorrow and calling for prayer following shootings at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin this past Sunday. At least seven Sikh worshipers were killed and three others injured. The gunman, who had connections with radical right racist groups, committed suicide after being wounded by police gunfire.

Statements have been made by Church of the Brethren general secretary Stan Noffsinger, along with Belita Mitchell who is a Brethren leader in Heeding God’s Call, and Doris Abdullah, the denomination’s representative to the United Nations. Ecumenical partners who are speaking out include the National Council of Churches.

Noffsinger shared in the grief of the families affected in this act of violence. He also expressed frustration with repeated incidents in recent weeks, referring to the shootings at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., as well as the daily incidents of handgun violence across the country.

“Loss of life through gun violence occurs every day in American society, one person at a time,” Noffsinger said. “Now we’ve had two larger events. How many people have to die in America before we come to the realization that there is a problem with assault weapons and handguns in our country? It is time for church and society to call for a thorough re-examination of the laws governing the purchase and ownership of guns and munitions.”

An “Ending Gun Violence” resolution from the denomination’s Mission and Ministry Board is just the most recent call for Brethren to join with other Christians to work against handgun violence in particular. The statement was made in 2010 in support of the National Council of Churches Governing Board and includes links to relevant statements issued in previous years by the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference. Find it at

NCC calls shootings a ‘tragedy of violence’

In a release this week, the National Council of Churches (NCC) called the shootings in Wisconsin a “tragedy of violence.” Council president Kathryn Lohre expressed heartache for the Sikh community across the country.

“As children of God, we mourn the tragedy of violence wherever it occurs, whether in a movie theater or a house of prayer,” Lohre said. “We pray for healing and wholeness for all affected by today’s events and stand in solidarity with our Sikh brothers and sisters in this frightening time.”

The NCC noted that Sikhs originated in the Punjab region of India in the 15th century but now live all over the world, with about 1.3 million in the US and Canada. The release said that Sikhs are known for their devotion to peace, their belief that all persons are equal, and their belief in one God.

Brethren representative to the UN calls for prayer

A request for people of faith to join in prayer vigils with the Sikh community has been shared by Doris Abdullah, the Church of the Brethren’s representative to the United Nations.

“In response to the awful violent attack at their place of request calls for the faith community to show solidarity through prayer vigils,” Abdullah said. “I hope that we can extend their request to our greater community.”

Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
"Act to End Gun Violence" reads a banner at the first Heeding God's Call event in Philadelphia in 2009. Since then the organization has worked against "straw sales" and other activities that help put guns on the streets of American cities. Heeding God's Call was started at a meeting of the three Historic Peace Churches--Brethren, Mennonites, and Quakers--during the Decade to Overcome Violence.
Abdullah also represents the Brethren on an NGO committee related to the UN, the Human Rights Sub-Committee for the Elimination of Racism. She noted that the Sikhs have recently joined the group. “I have extended personal sympathy to them on the tragedy,” she reported. “Finding ‘common ground’ among the various faith traditions and beliefs is another one of the challenges put forward to civil societies by the UN to help eliminate racism.”

Abdullah shared a “United Sikh” newsletter that is calling the interfaith community to show solidarity by holding prayer vigils in their own places of worship. (Find her own prayer response under “Features” below.)

Mitchell speaks on behalf of Heeding God’s Call, Harrisburg

Brethren minister and past Annual Conference moderator Belita Mitchell was quoted this week in a press release from Heeding God’s Call. She pastors First Church of the Brethren in Harrisburg, Pa., and coordinates the Heeding God’s Call chapter there.

Heeding God’s Call has been working against gun violence on the streets of America’s cities since it’s beginnings at a meeting of the Historic Peace Churches (Brethren, Mennonites, and Quakers) in Philadelphia some years ago.

“We at Heeding God’s Call grieve for those killed and injured and their families, friends, neighbors, and co-religionists,” Mitchell said. “Americans believe that houses of worship should be places of safety and refuge, not places of carnage and terror. But, as long as we allow people intent on mayhem to gain guns with ease, often illegally, houses of worship will be as dangerous as so many neighborhoods and communities are now in our country.”

Heeding God’s Call is rapidly growing, the release said, and now includes active chapters in Northwest and Northeast Philadelphia, on the Main Line, in Harrisburg, Pa., Baltimore, Md., and Washington, D.C. For more about the organization go to

Source:8/9/2012 Newsline

Children’s Disaster Services works in Oklahoma.

Children in a CDS center work together to rebuild a house following the tornado that devastated Joplin, Mo.
Photo by Julie Heisey
Children in a CDS center work together to play rebuilding a house following the tornado that devastated Joplin, Mo., last year. The centers provided by Children's Disaster Services not only care for children while their parents seek help to rebuild their lives following disasters, but also guide children to engage in play that helps them regain their emotional health in disaster situations.
Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) on Tuesday, Aug. 7, opened a child care center in Glencoe, Okla., to aid families affected by fires. The center is located at the Methodist Church where the American Red Cross has a Multi Agency Resource Center (MARC). CDS volunteers will care for children while their parents apply for aid to help them put their lives back together.

CDS is a part of Brethren Disaster Ministries and places trained and certified volunteer teams in disaster areas to help care for children and families, in partnership with FEMA and the American Red Cross.

Wildfires in Oklahoma have destroyed at least 121 homes, said an e-mail report from CDS associate director Judy Bezon. “There are fires in eight counties and the weather forecast for next week is for 10 -20 mile-per-hour winds, temperatures from 95 to 100 degrees, and continued drought conditions, making it difficult to for firefighters to contain the fires,” she wrote.

Myrna Jones, the CDS representative to Oklahoma VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) has been participating in daily conference calls that review the disaster, the response, and the needs of survivors.

Two Multi Agency Resource Centers (MARC) sponsored by the American Red Cross are opening in Oklahoma this week, one on Tuesday in Glencoe, the other on on Wednesday or Thursday in Payne County. Agencies that offer aid to disaster survivors will have space at the MARC to offer their services.

“In past responses, the MARC have been our busiest sites,” Bezon noted. “Both parents and agency volunteers were grateful for our presence, as having children safely in the CDS center freed them to concentrate on the application process without needing to tend to children’s needs.”

A CDS workshop held last November has resulted in enough certified volunteers in northeastern Oklahoma to support this response. The volunteers live locally and will drive in on a daily basis and return home at night, giving more volunteers a chance to serve and saving on transportation and housing costs. The CDS response in Oklahoma is funded by a $5,000 grant from the Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund.

In more news from Children’s Disaster Services, the program has scheduled a series of workshops this fall at which prospective volunteers may receive the required training. CDS training events are planned for
  • Sept. 7-8 at Johnson City (Texas) United Methodist Church;
  • Oct. 5-6 at Modesto (Calif.) Church of the Brethren;
  • Oct. 5-6 at New Hope Christian Church in Oklahoma City, Okla.;
  • Oct. 12-13 at Camp Brethren Heights in Rodney, Mich.; Oct. 27-28 at Camp Ithiel in Gotha, Fla.; and
  • Nov. 2-3 at Highland Christian Church in Denver, Colo.
For more information about the training events and requirements for becoming a CDS volunteer, visit Find out more about CDS at and see photos from recent CDS work at (click for CDS and BDM albums). Give to the disaster work of the Church of the Brethren through donations to the Emergency Disaster Fund at

Source:8/9/2012 Newsline

Disaster grants announced for Haiti, Angola, summer storms in US.

Several grants have been given recently by the Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF). Heading the list is a grant continuing the post-earthquake work of Brethren Disaster Ministries in Haiti.
The EDF grant of $48,000 continues funding for earthquake recovery work in Haiti by Brethren Disaster Ministries in cooperation with L’Eglise des Freres Haitiens (the Church of the Brethren in Haiti). The response is nearing completion, with the current need in Haiti less related to the 2010 earthquake and more a problem of pervasive poverty and unemployment, said the grant request.

“Long-term recovery programming has focused on lifting earthquake survivors into a sustainable living situation,” the grant request explained. “Building homes for the many homeless has been an important part of the story, but is far from the whole response. By focusing on systemic issues in Haiti that were brought to light by the disaster, we are building capacity--meaning caring for people emotionally and spiritually, encouraging and equipping Haitian leadership to lead in social ministries, creating work for unemployed construction workers, and creating a physical location for the Haitian Church of the Brethren to expand and continue service ministries in partnership with the US church.”

This grant will support continued home construction and repair for earthquake survivors, completion of a guesthouse for volunteers and a manager’s house at the Ministry Center of L’Eglise des Freres Haitiens, along with purchase of furnishings and a new generator, provide volunteer support and staff salaries for security and maintenance, support work groups needing housing in Haiti, continue to expand the Wozo program providing emotional and spiritual care through a three-year program cycle with STAR Haiti--Seminars on Trauma Awareness and Resiliency, and develop and produce a wrap-up DVD and reports summarizing the work of Brethren Disaster Ministries in Haiti.

Previous allocations to this project total $1,300,000. The funds have been given in seven grants between Jan. 14, 2010, and Oct. 12, 2011.

In Angola, the EDF is giving a grant of $3,500 to support the work of the Church World Service (CWS) Development and Humanitarian Assistance Program. More than 114,000 refugees from the decades of civil war are returning to Angola, the grant request reports, and they are finding a country in drought and without resources to support the re-establishment of their livelihoods and households. This grant will provide emergency food and longer-term supplies including food, utensils, tools, shelter, and seeds to help the refugees establish temporary homes in host communities.

In the United States, an EDF grant of $3,000 responds to a CWS appeal following summer storms and wildfires in multiple states. This grant supports CWS work to assist affected communities through training for construction management, volunteer management, emotional and spiritual care, and case management, as well as start-up grants for longterm recovery groups.

For more information about the work of Brethren Disaster Ministries go to See photos from recent disaster rebuilding projects at (click for BDM and CDS albums). Give to the disaster work of the Church of the Brethren through donations to the Emergency Disaster Fund at

Source:8/9/2012 Newsline

New Global Mission Advocate Network is begun.

The Church of the Brethren’s Global Mission and Service program has begun a network of congregational- and district-based mission advocates. The purpose of the new Global Mission Advocate Network is to equip districts and congregations to promote and invigorate Brethren mission efforts at the individual, congregational, and district levels.

Each district and congregation is being encouraged to name a mission advocate. The advocate will keep Brethren mission work before their district or congregation through newsletters, websites, conferences and other avenues, as well as communicate district mission efforts to the broader network. In addition, the advocate will encourage participation in funding of Church of the Brethren missions and consideration of mission service opportunities.

The Global Mission and Service office has committed to provide regular mission updates to the network including prayer requests, stories from the mission field, and opportunities for church members to become involved. The office also has committed to providing avenues for districts and churches to give support to Brethren mission work, to regularly host mission-focused events such as the Mission Alive conference, and to keep an active list of all district and congregational advocates.

The first issue of a newsletter for mission advocates was sent out recently by e-mail. The newsletter included a review of the upcoming theological training in Haiti (see story in “Upcoming Events” below), as well as a number of mission prayer requests and opportunities to become directly involved in mission work.

Mission advocates were requested to pray for peace in Nigeria and for Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN--the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria), as well as mission worker Carol Smith who is returning to Nigeria to teach math at the EYN Secondary School. Prayer also was requested for mission worker Grace Mishler who returns to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, to continue her work of training others to compassionately mainstream the physically disabled.

Service opportunities that were shared include an invitation to join Bill Hare of Polo (Ill.) Church of the Brethren on a Jan. 9-19, 2013, trip to build homes in southern Honduras; an invitation to attend Mission Alive on Nov. 16-18 at Lititz (Pa.) Church of the Brethren (go to for more information and online registration); and an invitation from Global Mission and Service executive Jay Wittmeyer to consider traveling with him to an annual meeting of one of the other Church of the Brethren bodies around the world.

For more information about the Global Mission Advocate Network contact Anna Emrick at 847-429-4363.

Source:8/9/2012 Newsline

Seminary receives $20,000 grant for ministry formation program.

Bethany Theological Seminary has received a $20,000 grant from the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion for assessment and refinement of its Ministry Formation program. Entitled “Exploring Incarnational Ministry Formation through Contextual Pedagogy,” the project will help Bethany develop the best educational strategies to encourage personal, professional, and spiritual growth in both current and future ministerial leadership. The project’s time frame extends from the fall of 2012 to the spring of 2014.

For Bethany students earning a master of divinity degree, Ministry Formation is at the center of their course of study, incorporating traditional classes, spiritual formation groups, field placements, and group reflection and collaboration. As enrollment of distance-learning students has continued to grow since the establishment of the Connections program in 2003, alternate course formats have been incorporated, combining online sessions with onsite classes and discussion.

Grant writer Tara Hornbacker, professor of Ministry Formation, says, “We are constantly improving the ways in which we lead the Ministry Formation process at Bethany. Ministry Formation is the most natural place to expand learning beyond the classroom because our area is the place where classroom and context integrate in the most intentional manner.”

One question to be addressed by the project is how the online versus the onsite pedagogical approaches used in Ministry Formation are preparing students for ministry in the 21st century. Hornbacker notes that Bethany’s experience in online education puts the seminary in a good position to examine how the context of Ministry Formation preparation impacts the practice of ministry, specifically in contemporary settings.

A second question is how to define and shape Ministry Formation in light of the seminary’s current mission statement: “To equip spiritual and intellectual leaders with an Incarnational education for ministering, proclaiming, and living out God's shalom and Christ's peace.” As the grant proposal asks, “What signifies a well-formed ministering person embodying shalom-centered leadership?”

A primary objective in addressing these questions will be to ask those in leadership at current and prospective student placement sites to describe the qualities desired in those who minister. “This grant allows us to travel, observe, and ask questions of a variety of ministry settings so that the settings themselves have influence on the pedagogical strategies and shape of Ministry Formation for theological education,” explains Hornbacker.

The data gathered from site visits will be used to develop models for effective ministry in today’s contexts. It may also inform the work toward the additional project goals: crafting a definition of Ministry Formation that reflects the language of Bethany’s current mission statement and determining the best methods for teaching Ministry Formation in the distance-learning setting.

Led by Hornbacker, the project team includes Dan Poole, coordinator for Ministry Formation; Amy Ritchie, director of student development; and Enten Eller, director of electronic communication. According to Poole, the team has begun by examining how its work could set a new course for the program, specifically the distance-learning component; by addressing the logistics for collecting data from ministry sites; and by strengthening the team’s own working relationships. “We’ve given deeper expression to our hopes for how this process will benefit not only the Ministry Formation program but the seminary as a whole.” The next steps will be to invite participation from selected sites and to arrange for visits.

Ultimately the team will present methods and conclusions to the Association of Theological Field Educators. “Bethany has been in the forefront of Ministry Formation in an online format, and other theological field educators look to our experience to guide their process. They are interested in how we involve the teaching settings in Ministry Formation as a context for learning and the appropriate use of technology to reflect upon the practice of ministry and spiritual formation for leadership,” says Hornbacker.

The Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion is located on the Wabash College campus in Crawfordsville, Ind. It offers a variety of programs and resources for teachers of theology and religion in higher education, all of which are funded by Lilly Endowment Inc.

-- Jenny Williams is director of communications and alumni/ae relations for Bethany Seminary.

Source:8/9/2012 Newsline

Haiti theological training to focus on the church's foundation in Christ.

Pastor Ludovic St. Fleur with Haitian church leaders at a theological training in 2010
Photo by Roselanne Cadet
Ludovic St. Fleur (center) with Haitian church leaders at a theological training in 2010. St. Fleur pastors two Haitian Brethren congregations in Florida, and is a key leader in the Haiti mission. He is one of those traveling from the US to help lead the 2012 theological training seminar for the Haitian church.
The sixth annual theological training seminar of L’Eglise des Freres Haitiens (the Church of the Brethren in Haiti) will take place Aug. 13-16 and will conclude with a day of church business on Aug. 17. A final worship service will include the licensing of 19 new ministers.

A key text from 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 will form the theme for the week, "The Church's Foundation Is Christ." Participants will focus on the pre-eminence of Christ as a person for the Church of the Brethren, particularly represented in the church's understanding of Jesus as the Prince of Peace.

The training will review related Church of the Brethren concepts, such as the idea that as followers of Jesus, the Church of the Brethren is a living peace church, and the Church of the Brethren peace position as evidenced in its church polity. The Haitian Brethren will consider as well the belief that there should be no force in religion.

Other aspects of church life that will be presented include the structure of an annual gathering of delegates to determine the church’s life together as a body and questions such as, What is a delegate? How are delegates determined? And the question, what constitutes a church? These are just a few of the church-formation issues the theological training seminar aims to address.

Approximately 75 leaders in the Haitian congregations are expected to attend, representing the 24 churches and preaching points in the denomination. Leadership will include Annual Conference moderator Robert Krouse, mission and service executive Jay Wittmeyer, Ludovic St. Fleur who pastors two Miami (Fla.) congregations, and Dominican pastors Isaias Santo Teña and Pedro Sanchez.

This annual seminar is intended to become the annual conference of L'Eglise des Freres Haitiens. This year's theme will reinforce that goal and give a framework to lead in this direction.

-- Anna Emrick is coordinator of the Global Mission and Service Office of the Church of the Brethren.

Source:8/9/2012 Newsline

Deacon Ministry announces fall workshops.

The Church of the Brethren Deacon Ministry has scheduled five workshops this fall, offering training for deacons in local congregations. Most of the workshops will offer a number of sessions on topics such as “What are Deacons Supposed to Do Anyway?” “Beyond Casseroles: Offering Support Creatively,” “Deacons and Pastors: The Pastoral Care Team,” and more.

The one-day events generally begin with registration at 8:30 a.m. and opening worship at 9 a.m., and end by 3 p.m. Other schedules pertain to workshops held during district gatherings.

Following are dates and locations of workshops:
  • Saturday, Sept. 29, at East Chippewa Church of the Brethren in Orrville, Ohio
  • Saturday, Oct. 13, held as a Northern Plains District event at Camp Pine Lake in Eldora, Iowa
  • Saturday, Oct. 20, at Antioch Church of the Brethren, Rocky Mount, Va. (contact the Antioch Church at 540-483-2087 or to sign up for this event by Oct. 12)
  • Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 27-28, held during the Gathering event in Western Plains District, at Salina, Kan.
  • Saturday, Nov. 10, at the Village at Morrisons Cove, Martinsburg, Pa.
For more information about the workshops and training for deacons go to For more about the denomination’s Deacon Ministry contact director Donna Kline at 800-323-8039 ext. 306 or

Source:8/9/2012 Newsline

Brethren Academy releases updated list of courses.

The Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership has released an updated list of courses for 2012 and into 2013. Courses are open to Training in Ministry (TRIM) students, pastors (who may earn continuing education units), and all interested persons.

The academy accepts students beyond the registration deadlines, but on those dates will determine whether enough students have registered to be able to offer the class. Many courses have required pre-course readings, and students need to be sure to allow time to complete those assignments. Courses noted below as “SVMC” require registration through the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College, contact or 717-361-1450.

Registration brochures for these and other training opportunities are available through the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership website or by calling 800-287-8822 ext. 1824.

2012 courses:

“What Brethren Believe,” an online course with instructor Denise Kettering, Sept. 4-Nov. 5 (registration deadline was Aug. 3)

“The Book of Romans,” an online course with instructor Susan Jeffers, Sept. 24-Nov. 2, register by Sept. 12 (SVMC)

“Family Systems: Hints for Congregational Leadership” in New Oxford, Pa., with instructor Warren Eshbach, Oct. 5-6 and Nov. 2-3, register by Sept. 21 (SVMC)

“But Who Is My Neighbor? Christianity in a Global Context” at McPherson (Kan.) College with instructor Kent Eaton, Oct. 25-28, register by Sept. 24

2013 courses:

“The Word Alive: An Introduction to Preaching” at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., with instructor Dawn Ottoni-Wilhelm, professor of Preaching and Worship, Jan. 7-11, 2013, register by Dec. 10

“Introduction to New Testament,” an online course with instructor Susan Jeffers, Jan. 28-March 2, 2013, register by Jan. 7

“The Book of Jonah,” an online course with instructor Susan Jeffers, Feb. 11-March 22, 2013, register by Feb. 1 (SVMC)

“Story of the Church: Reformation to the Modern Age” in Lewistown, Pa., with instructor Craig Gandy, Feb. 28-March 3, 2013, register by Feb. 14 (SVMC)

“Evangelism,” an online course with instructor Tara Hornbacker, associate professor of Ministry Formation at Bethany Theological Seminary, to be held in Spring 2013

“Introduction to Pastoral Care” at McPherson (Kan.) College with instructor Anna Lee Hisey Pierson, to be held in Spring 2013

Two educational travel experiences are planned for late Spring 2013: a trip to Iona, Scotland, led by Ottoni-Wilhelm; and a “Journey Through the Bible” trip to the Holy Land (Israel) led by Bethany’s professor of New Testament Dan Ulrich and TRIM coordinator Marilyn Lerch, for 12 days beginning June 3. Contact the Brethren Academy office to express interest in either trip and for more details, e-mail .

Additional classes offered by the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center (contact Amy Milligan at 717-361-1450 or ):

“Introduction to Old Testament” at the Middle Pennsylvania District Center with instructor David Banaszak, 6:30-9:30 p.m. on Sept. 11, 18, 25, Oct. 9, 16

“Reflections on the Care of Creation from the Perspective of the Hebrew Bible,” a continuing education event at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College with instructor Robert Neff, 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. on Oct. 23, cost is $50 with an additional $10 for continuing education units

“Brethren Life” at the Middle Pennsylvania District Center with instructor Frank Ramirez, 6:30-9:30 p.m. on Jan. 15, 22, Feb. 5, 19, 26, 2013

“Teaching and Learning” at the Middle Pennsylvania District Center with instructor Donna Rhodes, 6:30-9:30 p.m. on March 18, April 1, 8, 22, 29, 2013

Source:8/9/2012 Newsline

‘My 2¢ Worth’ has a new look, new collection label.

A new look and a new label are now available for “My 2¢ Worth,” formerly Two Cents a Meal. My 2¢ Worth is a program of the Church of the Brethren’s Global Food Crisis Fund (GFCF). The new look and label were showcased at Annual Conference and the labels, as well as envelopes, are now available from the Global Mission and Service office.
GFCF Banner

The GFCF is the primary way that the Church of the Brethren assists in developing food sovereignty around the world. Since 1983, the fund has provided grants upwards of $400,000 annually to community development programs in 32 countries. My 2¢ Worth donations help make it possible for the church, through the GFCF, to promote food sovereignty and mitigate hunger through sustainable agriculture development.

Write in to receive one or more free My 2¢ Worth labels for personal or congregational use. The labels are designed to wrap around tin cans or glass jars, turning them into attractive collection containers for change. A sample label and an order form will arrive at each congregation in the September Source packet.

For more information or to request labels and envelopes, contact GFCF manager Jeff Boshart at or 800-323-8039 ext. 332.

Source:8/9/2012 Newsline

Have mercy on us: A prayer response.

On Sunday morning, Aug. 5, in a small town in Wisconsin six Sikhs worshipers were gunned down in their Gurdwara, place of worship, by a racist who then killed himself. On Sunday afternoon, the Sikh community issued a newsletter calling on the interfaith community to show solidarity with them by holding prayer vigils in our own places of worship. I do not know if my church will hold a prayer vigil. So I will pray my prayer and stand in silent worship in my home. -- Doris Abdullah, Church of the Brethren representative to the United Nations and chair of the Human Rights Sub-Committee for the Elimination of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance
“And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat, and the whole multitude stood on the shore” (Matthew 13:2).


O Lord, you are in the boat, and we are standing on the shore. Have mercy on us, our failure to respond to the violent hatred that darts across our land against those who worship differently, or who are not perceived to be of pure European origins, or who are poor and uneducated.

If only we could drown all the hate in the waters of love that you offer to the people. Let us not go on watching you, Lord Jesus, from the shoreline. Let us abandon our fears and swim out to thank you for a life everlasting. Swim out and thank you for the oldest of those killed, 84 years of age. Thank you for the brave policeman who had been shot eight times but waved away help for himself so other injured could be helped. And thank you for all the lives that were saved from the gunman on Sunday morning.

Thank you for another day to show that in solidarity prayer, good fruits without the blemish of hate can come forth. Lord have mercy on us as we pray. Amen

Source:8/9/2012 Newsline

Peace: A world without borders.

Visitors take pictures of the Peace Bell in Hiroshima, Japan
Photo by JoAnn and Larry Sims
Visitors take pictures of the Peace Bell in Hiroshima, Japan
Borders are everywhere. There are borders separating countries/nations, borders drawn between states or municipalities, and even borders that define factory areas or commerce areas within cities.

Some say we have to have borders. It keeps areas economically and culturally sound. It is said that borders keep your home safe and protect your family from dangerous “others.” If jobs were available regardless of national origin or immigration status those willing to work for less and employers eager to pay less would corrupt our Social Security system. So...borders are necessary to keep economies functioning and homes safe.

What if borders between countries didn’t exist? What if people could travel from one area to another without hostility? If there were no borders, would countries need weapons to keep people out or in?

The Peace Bell in Hiroshima’s Peace Park in Japan imagines such a world. The bell is a permanent part of the Peace Park. It was crafted in 1964. The bell displays the continents of the earth carved around its surface with no national borders. This design represents Hiroshima’s earnest hope that the world will become one in peace. Every Aug. 15 there is a ceremony at the Peace Bell to remind the world that on that day peace began after World War II.

Is a world without borders a dream today?

There is a medical NGO called, “Doctors without Borders.” The thrust of this group is to provide medical assistance to people who need help as a result of war, conflict, or natural disaster. These medical teams arrive in an area, set up a clinic--often in some sort of temporary tent, and work to provide medical help to people who come to them. Country of origin, location of home, religious preference, or political allegiance is not important. What is important is to tend to the medical needs of the patient.

At the World Friendship Center in Hiroshima, many guests from around the world gather for breakfast each morning. The conversations often include the sharing of vocations, hobbies, and travel experiences.

A French couple explained that she lived in France and worked in Germany. Her companion lives in France and builds buildings wherever the job is. He works in both France and Germany.

A couple from India currently living in London said he was a computer systems sales and installation manager. He lives in London and works part of each week in Brussels. The wife works in London and frequently visits him in Brussels.

Families living near the border of Canada and the US frequently shop in the country where their wages have more purchasing power. They often travel from border to border weekly.

One traveler from Pakistan shared his hope for a Peace Museum on the border of India and Pakistan. His hope is to bring peace-loving people from both countries together at a place that celebrates peace, where boundaries are not important. What would be important would be the common heart for peace. His dream is like Hiroshima’s Peace Bell.
Peace: A world without borders is maybe not a dream at all, maybe it is already beginning to happen.

-- JoAnn and Larry Sims are volunteer directors of the World Friendship Center in Hiroshima, Japan. The Sims are working in Hiroshima through Brethren Volunteer Service.

Source:8/9/2012 Newsline

Brethren bits.

  • Remembrance: Alma Maxine Moyers Long (86) passed away July 31 at Lima (Ohio) Memorial Health System surrounded by her family. She was one of the young people who in 1948 brought a proposal to Annual Conference for a volunteer program for Brethren youth. This resulted in the formation of Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS), of which Alma was a member of the first unit. She was born Oct. 20, 1925, in Bruceton Mills, W.Va., to Charles and Stella Guthrie Moyers. On June 10, 1951, she married Urban L. Long, who survives her. She was a graduate of Bridgewater (Va.) College. She began her teaching career in the last one-room school in Preston County, W.Va., where her mother had also taught. She taught chemistry, biology, and earth science in the Upper Scioto Valley School System for 30 years and received the Acker Teaching Award and led many successful chemistry quiz bowl teams. Her involvements in the church included serving as the first female moderator for Northern Ohio District and, along with her husband, as a district youth counselor for many years. She was instrumental in establishing Inspiration Hills Camp and served on its board. At County Line Church of the Brethren she was a deacon, Sunday school teacher, and lay leader. She also was an avid gardener, especially of roses, and had exhibits in county fair flower shows as well as being a member of the Millstream Rose Society and the American Rose Society. In addition to her husband, survivors include sons, Doyle Long of Ada and Nolan Long of Dayton; daughter Carma (Michael) Sheely of Wapakoneta; grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Services were held at County Line Church of the Brethren. Memorial contributions are received to BVS. Condolences may be expressed at Dan McFadden, director of Brethren Volunteer Service, shared his memory of Alma from the BVS 60th anniversary celebration. “At 82 years of age,” McFadden recalled, “Alma still had a spring in her step and a gleam in her eye as she held us all spellbound with the story of the birth of BVS. She was a gift to all who knew her.”
  • Rosella (Rosie) Reese is retiring a packer for Material Resources at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. She began employment at the center on June 2, 1986, when she was hired to work in the kitchen at the conference center. In 1989 she began work as a medical packer. Over the years she also has worked as needed in housekeeping and has served banquets. She currently packs medicine and hospital supplies for IMA World Health as well as white cross supplies for the American Baptist Church, Evangelical Covenant Church, and Presbyterian Church. As time permits, she folds Lutheran World Relief quilts and assists with truck unloading and other duties. Her ability to pack all sizes and shapes of items safely and securely is very appreciated. Material Resources director Loretta Wolf also notes that Reese has been photographed and interviewed by nearly every local newspaper and television news station, who have shown her packing supplies in response to disasters and needs around the world.
  • Camp Swatara, in the Church of the Brethren’s Atlantic Northeast District, is seeking an administrator/CEO/CFO to begin in June 2013. The perfect candidate will have success in marketing and fundraising, manage a million dollar budget, and be a team builder/leader. He or she will be professional, hold a bachelor of science degree, and be technologically savvy. He or she will be the personification of Camp Swatara, a people person, enthusiastic, articulate, and innovative. Applications may be obtained after Sept. 1 from the Camp Swatara website or from Melisa Wenger at
  • On Earth Peace is inviting churches and community groups to organize public prayer events with the theme “Praying for Ceasefire” on or near Sept. 21 as part of Peace Day 2012. Sept. 21 is recognized as an international day of peace by both the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the United Nations. Nearly 120 groups have registered for On Earth Peace’s Peace Day campaign, from the USA, Canada, Nigeria, India, El Salvador, Australia, Thailand, Jamaica, and the Philippines. Sixty-five congregations--many of them new to the effort--registered during the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference. On Earth Peace is working with the WCC, National Council of Churches, and campaign co-sponsors the Fellowship of Reconciliation and the Justice and Witness Ministries office of the United Church of Christ. Organizing resources and a list of current participants can be found at . The campaign is tweeting from @idopp using the hashtag #peaceday.
  • Annual Conference moderator Bob Krouse, who will preside in Charlotte, N.C., at the 2013 Conference from June 29-July 3, is welcoming invitations to speak at congregations and district events in the coming year. “While he may not be able to accept every invitation he receives, he hopes to visit many of our districts during the coming year,” said a memo from Conference Office director Chris Douglas. “These opportunities provide districts and congregations ways to maintain contact with Annual Conference, as well as giving the moderator important feedback on the pulse of our denomination.” When requesting a moderator visit, please know that honoraria is not accepted. However, the Conference Office hopes the hosting body will provide travel reimbursement to the Annual Conference fund. Checks for travel reimbursement should be made payable to “Annual Conference” marked “Moderator Travel Expenses,” and sent to: Annual Conference Office, 1451 Dundee Avenue, Elgin, IL 60120. Extend invitations to the moderator care of .
  • Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., has announced its 2013 “Exploring Your Call” event for rising juniors and seniors in high school. The dates of the event will be June 14-24. Participation is limited to 25 students. This grant-funded program is free for participants. Students only have to pay for transportation to and from the event. Applications will be accepted starting Sept. 1. Go to .
  • San Diego (Calif.) Church of the Brethren is celebrating its 100th anniversary with special events on the theme "Unbroken Circle of Love-100 years of Ministry." A kickoff event is Aug. 11, when the church hosts the Fairmount Neighborhood Block Party. Worship on Sunday, Aug. 12, will celebrate the anniversary with guest speaker Susan Boyer and historic videos from 100 years of ministry shown before worship.
  • Antioch Church of the Brethren in Virlina District hosts the World Hunger Auction on Aug. 11, beginning at 9:30 a.m. The church is located in Rocky Mount, Va. “Unique and interesting things will be available again this year including quilts, art work, a drum from Kenya, hand-made dolls, baked and canned goods, and a bowl crafted from walnut,” reports the district newsletter. Breakfast, lunch, and ice cream will be served. Also for sale are some “Special Services” such as a nature excursion--including a boat ride--to view a currently inhabited eagle’s nest (starting bid $250), and eight hours of professional interior house painting (starting bid $200) and more.
  • Baugo Church of the Brethren in Wakarusa, Ind., has hosted mission speaker Kuaying Teng, a pastor with the Mennonite Mission Network, speaking on “Laos: An Interreligious Dialogue about Building Up Peacemaking Communities.” A Sunday school class was held with the Laotian community, followed by a potluck. In related news, Grace Mishler who serves in Vietnam as a Global Mission and Service program volunteer for the Church of the Brethren, has been invited by Pastor Teng to visit peace-building communities that are emerging in Laos.
  • East Chippewa (Ohio) Church of the Brethren is beginning its third year of ECHO (East Chippewa Helping Out), an effort to help working parents and assist children with school homework and other meaningful activities after school. “I am very excited for the new school year,” commented Jodi Conrow, director and one of the ECHO teachers, in a release. “In addition to our homework help we also have a reading incentive program that the students really get excited about reading for rewards. Sort of a Summer Reading Program that lasts all school year.” More information is available by contacting 330-669-3262 or .
  • Camp Bethel near Fincastle, Va., holds an interfaith Creation Care Day for youth on Aug. 25 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. “It will be a community experience of outdoor, hands-on Interfaith Creation Care: a day of fun, faith, food, and finding joy in Creation,” said the Virlina District newsletter. The camp is partnering with the interfaith “Spirituality and Ecology” group to host the day, rain or shine, for youth from all faith expressions. Cost is $15 and includes lunch, program leadership, plus pool time. Register or find more information at .
  • “Steeped in the Past, Standing in the Present, Looking Toward the Future: How to Help Your Congregation Respond to a Violent World” is the title of a peace retreat co-sponsored by the Brethren Peace Fellowship and three Church of the Brethren districts: Mid-Atlantic, Southern Pennsylvania, and Atlantic Northeast. The event on Aug. 25 from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. is at the Miller Homestead in Spring Grove, Pa. “This retreat is calling together all who find themselves in the often lonely outposts of peacemaking both within and outside of their congregations,” said an announcement. Leadership will be provided by Joel Gibbel, Jon Brenneman, Cindy Laprade Lattimer, and Bill Scheurer, who recently began as executive director of On Earth Peace.
  • As part of a series of district wide worship services, Southern Ohio District will worship together on Aug. 10, at 7 p.m. at Oakland Church of the Brethren. Moderator-elect Julie Hostetter will speak on the theme, "God's Kingdom for all People" (John 4:1-42). In addition, the district “will celebrate our young people with a display of over 100 pieces of artwork which our children have created at Camp Woodland Altars during the 2012 camping season,” said an invitation. More information is at .
  • Michigan District Conference will be Aug. 17-18 at Camp Brethren Heights in Rodney, Mich.
  • A COBYS Bike & Hike is set for Sept. 9, to begin at 1:30 p.m. at Lititz (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. “$100,000 and 550 participants. Those are the ambitious goals for the 16th annual COBYS Bike & Hike,” said a release from COBYS Family Services. The Bike & Hike includes a three-mile walk through Lititz, 10- and 25-mile bicycle rides on rural roads around Lititz, and the 65-mile Dutch Country Motorcycle Ride. This year’s motorcycle ride for the first time crosses the Susquehanna River. Sites include the Columbia/Wrightsville Bridge, expansive pastures of Lauxmont Farms, views of the river at Long Level, Sam Lewis State Park, and some Lancaster County back roads and bridges. Participants choose their event and either pay a minimum registration fee or obtain sponsors. Last year, despite severe flooding a few days before, the Bike & Hike set an income record of more than $89,000. Youth groups who raise $1,500 or more win a free gym and pizza night. Grand prizes donated by area businesses will be awarded to the top three fundraisers. Brochures, sponsor sheets, and routes are at .
  • An expanded wastewater treatment plant is in operation for Fahrney-Keedy Home and Village, a Church of the Brethren retirement community near Boonsboro, Md. Local and state officials joined Fahrney-Keedy executives and board members on July 16 to mark the end of more than a year of construction. The improvements bring the wastewater treatment plant into compliance with Maryland Department of the Environment regulations. The US Department of Agriculture Rural Development program assisted in the project with a low-interest loan of $3,692,000. In a release, Keith Bryan, Fahrney-Keedy’s president and CEO, said, “USDA’s oversight before and during the construction phase has been immeasurable; without USDA’s low-interest loan this project would have been very difficult to undertake.”
  • Brethren Woods is offering a Tubing Adventure Day on Aug. 25. “Join us for a fun morning or afternoon of tubing on the Shenandoah River!” said an announcement. Participants will gather at Mountain View-McGaheysville (Va.) Church of the Brethren at 9:30 a.m. or 1 p.m. Brethren Woods staff including a certified lifeguard will provide orientation to tubing and safety on the river. Groups will float a stretch of river from Power Dam Road to Island Ford and return to the church about 12 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. Cost is $15 and includes transportation, certified staff leadership, innertube, lifejacket, and some additional gear. Registration forms and more information are available online at . Registrations are due Aug. 17.
  • The Bridgewater (Va.) College Alumni Choir presents a concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 19, at Bridgewater Church of the Brethren. The choir was founded by Jesse E. Hopkins, Edwin L. Turner Distinguished Professor of Music Emeritus, according to a release. In addition to Hopkins, the 32-member choir will be directed by David L. Tate and Ryan E. Keebaugh. Among other works, the ensemble will perform original works by Bridgewater alumni composers: “Peace I Leave with You,” by Aaron Garber ’05, and “The Suffering Servant,” by Ryan Keebaugh ’02. Hopkins recently retired from the college after 35 years.
  • McPherson (Kan.) College has an agreement with Fort Hays State University in support of new graduate courses in education. Thanks to the agreement, McPherson will be able to follow an innovative approach to its new graduate-level courses in education while allowing those credits to apply for school leadership certification, said a release. McPherson will begin offering its graduate-level courses this fall. Mark Malaby, director of the graduate courses in education and associate professor of education, has developed the entrepreneurial curriculum. Classes will allow professionals who take the courses to learn through developing programs or initiatives that improve the quality of education in their own communities. Extensive use of project-based learning and collaborative projects has meant the new courses don't always fit traditional certification paths such as those required for school principals and administrators. The partnership with Fort Hays State allows graduate credits obtained at McPherson to be accepted by the Educational Leadership program at the university. See .
  • Manchester University in N. Manchester, Ind., is appearing on “The Chronicle of Higher Education” Honor Roll of 2012 Great Colleges to Work For, for the third straight year. A release from the university notes that “The Chronicle says Manchester University is a ‘Great College to Work For’ because of its teaching environment, job satisfaction, respect and appreciation, confidence in senior leadership, work/life balance, professional/career development programs, supervisor/department chair relationship, tenure clarity and process, collaborative governance.” The Honor Roll of 42 colleges and universities is based on a nationwide survey of more than 46,000 faculty, administrators, and professional support staff at 294 institutions, plus demographics and workplace policies.
  • Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) is reporting a success in its work in northern Iraq. The Iraq team has spent years working against attacks on displaced residents of villages along Iraq’s borders with Turkey and Iran, according to a release. In 2006, CPT began visiting people forced to evacuate their homes every year, conducted investigations, and detailed impacts on civilians. In 2011, Iranian mortar, rocket, and shelling attacks, and bombing from Turkish fighter jets damaged and destroyed more life and property than in any year since the operations began. Last August the CPT team started a series of public events to raise awareness of the attacks, as the villagers themselves feared personal repercussions from speaking out against the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq. The CPT team witnessed outside the Iranian, Turkish, and US consulates and the KRG parliament; visited the KRG Human Rights Committee; and, on behalf of village partners, delivered letters and goodwill gifts to the Turkish and Iranian consulates. “They asked that 2012 be a year of no attacks on border residents.... So far this year, no attacks have affected civilians living in villages along the borders,” the release concluded. The full report is at .
  • Marie Frantz’s 101st birthday on Aug. 7 has been celebrated by Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren in Fort Wayne, Ind. The congregation sent cards to Frantz, who is living in Leo, Ind.
Source:8/9/2012 Newsline