Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Newsline Special: Request for prayer for college communities

The Church of the Brethren requests prayer for college communities in Kansas and Virginia following three separate and unrelated tragedies: McPherson (Kan.) College and Bridgewater (Va.) College, both Church of the Brethren-related schools, and Tabor College in central Kansas, which is related to the Mennonite Brethren denomination.

“Hold our colleges in prayer as they deal with the loss of life and tragedy,” requested Church of the Brethren general secretary Stan Noffsinger. “Any of these events are enough to send a community reeling. This is where the church really has a role to play, holding all in prayer without judgment, asking for the Spirit of God to be present.” He added that the church has an opportunity and responsibility as people of faith to be in partnership with the colleges at this time to support students, faculty, and staff who are in mourning.

The community at McPherson College has been hit hard by the death of nineteen-year-old Paul Ziegler from Elizabethtown, Pa., a sophomore business major, who was killed Sunday afternoon when his bicycle was hit by a car (find a release, “McPherson College Mourns Death of Beloved Student,” at www.mcpherson.edu/news/index.php?action=fullnews&id=2282 ).

Also this past weekend McPherson student Alton Franklin was arrested in connection with the death of Tabor student Brandon Brown, and has been charged with “aiding and abetting murder in the second degree,” according to a report in the “McPherson Sentinel” newspaper. Brown died Saturday in a Wichita hospital, about a week after he was found injured outside a house in McPherson after an altercation at a party (see below for a statement issued by McPherson College president Michael Schneider).

Bridgewater College is mourning the death of senior Rasheda Alestock, 22, a business administration major who attended Bridgewater as a commuter student. She was killed on Sunday, Sept. 16, in a shooting at her home. The Carter Center Stone Prayer Chapel was open the day after the death for members of the college community to pray and light a candle for her, and the school held a service of prayer and remembrance last Tuesday. The college also is offering counseling and spiritual services to students, faculty, and staff. (Find the release, “BC Mourns Loss of Student” at www.bridgewater.edu/news-and-media/releases/1084-bc-mourns-loss-of-student ).

Dear McPherson College Alumni and Friends,

It is with a deep sadness that I write to you regarding an off-campus altercation involving McPherson College and Tabor College students. I want to communicate directly with you so that you might keep both schools and their communities lifted up in prayer.

At approximately 4:10 a.m. Sunday, September 16, 2012, officers of the McPherson Police Department were dispatched to a loud music call in the 400 block of North Carrie. Upon their arrival officers located a 26-year old male unconscious and unresponsive. He was transferred to the McPherson Hospital and later airlifted to Wichita in critical condition.

The student was identified as Brandon Brown, a Tabor College junior transfer student from Sacramento, California. On Saturday afternoon the McPherson Police Department arrested McPherson College student Alton Lamont Franklin in conjunction with the event.

Late Saturday night President Jules Glanzer from Tabor College informed me that Brandon Brown had passed away. Our heartfelt condolences go out to Brandon’s family and friends, and to everyone in the Tabor College and Hillsboro community.

It is the responsibility of our students, faculty and staff to maintain an atmosphere conducive to learning and consistent with our mission. Any behavior that is inconsistent with learning or adversely affects the welfare of our students will not be tolerated. The Campus Conduct Committee determined that any student arrested and charged in conjunction with this event should be immediately suspended. As a result, Alton Franklin has been suspended from the college.

McPherson College has spent the past week trying to comprehend how such violence could occur in our community. We are devastated that one of our own McPherson College students has been arrested in conjunction with this criminal act, and we pray for him and his family, as well.

We continue to cooperate with local and state law enforcement in their ongoing investigation and appreciate your help in keeping people focused on the facts. This is a difficult time for both campuses. I encourage you to pray for the Tabor community and all of those involved in this tragedy.

Tabor College and McPherson College are bound by a sense of community and faith. I will remain in regular contact with President Jules Glanzer from Tabor. We continue to pray for one another and our campuses as we look for answers.


Michael Schneider, President, McPherson College
Source: 9/25/2012 Newsline Special

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Newsline: September 20, 2012


Brethren Press, MennoMedia to develop Gather ’Round successor.

Brethren Press and MennoMedia are beginning work on a successor to the Gather ’Round Sunday school curriculum. The two publishing houses, working on behalf of the Church of the Brethren and the Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada, plan to continue their decades-long cooperative work to produce joint Christian education curriculum.

Gather ’Round, which has received kudos from other Christian denominations who have signed on as cooperating and endorsing partners (see story below), has been used in congregations across the US and Canada for six years. Gather ’Round continues through the summer of 2014.

The new curriculum will build on Gather ’Round as well as its predecessor, the Jubilee curriculum. Plans are to make the next curriculum in the series available to congregations beginning in the fall of 2014.

MennoMedia and Brethren Press have hired Rebecca Seiling and Rose Stutzman to begin development of the new curriculum. MennoMedia will administer the project on behalf of the two publishing houses. For a period of time, work on the new project will run concurrently with Gather ’Round.

Seiling began May 1 in a one-year assignment as project developer. She has been a Gather ’Round writer and editor since 2004. Stutzman started June 4 as project director. She also continues as editor for Gather ’Round, a position she has held since 2006, until next May when she will shift to fulltime on the new project.

Source:9/20/2012 Newsline

Gather ’Round receives support from a variety of Christians.

Gather 'Round curriculum logo Now in its seventh year, the Gather ’Round curriculum for children and youth jointly published by Brethren Press and MennoMedia continues to attract attention from a variety of Christians beyond Brethren and Mennonites. The Cumberland Presbyterian Church has just signed on as an endorsing partner, and Gather ’Round recently received a strong endorsement from popular Christian author Brian McLaren.

“Many of us have lamented the fact that some of the flashiest and most widely-marketed curricula teach children about God, the Bible, and the Christian life in ways that students will need to unlearn when they reach adolescence and adulthood,” McLaren said. “We've hoped and prayed for curricula that would lay a foundation in childhood that will still serve as students come of age. I'm grateful that Gather 'Round is a creative leader in this needed approach. I'm so glad to have finally discovered them.”

Gather ’Round is a joint project of the Church of the Brethren, Mennonite Church USA, and Mennonite Church Canada.

Three other denominations continue as cooperating partners: the United Church of Christ (UCC), the Mennonite Brethren, and the Moravian Church. They order prepublication quantities of the materials and sell directly to their congregations.

In addition, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), United Church of Canada, and the Cumberland Presbyterian Church are endorsing partners, promoting the curriculum in exchange for a small percentage of sales made to their congregations.

Over the years, as word of the curriculum has spread, a number of congregations from other Christian traditions have begun ordering Gather ’Round for their Sunday school classes, including Methodist, Episcopal, Baptist, Presbyterian, Friends (Quakers), Lutheran, Brethren in Christ, and Evangelical Covenant churches.

Find out more about Gather ’Round at www.gatherround.org. Order the curriculum through Brethren Press by calling 800-441-3712 or visiting www.brethrenpress.com.

Source:9/20/2012 Newsline

BVS-BRF orientation unit completes training.

BVS-BRF Unit 298 completes orientation
Photo by courtesy of BVS
The members of BVS-BRF Unit 298: (front from left) Hannah Wagner, Sandra Hughes, Sarah Bucher, Joe Fretz; (back from left) Peggy and Walter Heisey (orientation coordinators), Ross Gingrich, Joyelle Bollinger, Carol Fretz
Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) unit 298, a unit held jointly with the Brethren Revival Fellowship (BRF), completed orientation on Aug. 19-28 at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md.

The seven new volunteers, their congregations or home towns, and project sites follow:

Joyelle Bollinger and Hannah Wagner of Cocalico Church of the Brethren in Denver, Pa., will serve with the Root Cellar in Lewiston, Maine.

Sarah Bucher of Heidelberg Church of the Brethren in Myerstown, Pa., is to work at the Maine Home School Project in Lewiston.

Carol Fretz and Joe Fretz of Cocalico Church of the Brethren in Denver, Pa., are going to Maine Ministries in Lewiston.

Ross Gingrich of Heidelberg Church of the Brethren, will work at the Good Shepherd Food Bank.

Sandra Hughes of Central, S.C., will go to Cross Keys Village Brethren Home in New Oxford, Pa.

For more about Brethren Volunteer Service go to www.brethren.org/bvs.

Source:9/20/2012 Newsline

Haiti Medical Project reports growth of its endowment fund.

The Haiti Medical Project has issued an update on efforts to raise an endowment fund to support Church of the Brethren medical clinics in Haiti, as the project approaches the one-year mark.

A nurse helps out at one of the mobile medical clinics being provided through the Haiti Medical Project
Photo by Carolyn Fitzkee
A nurse helps out at one of the mobile medical clinics being provided through the Haiti Medical Project. Shown here, a clinic held earlier this year with a group from Chiques Church of the Brethren in Manheim, Pa.
The effort is supported by the denomination’s Global Mission and Service program. Leading the project are Brethren physicians including Paul Ullom-Minnich of central Kansas and other church members and congregations concerned to provide basic healthcare to Haitian Brethren communities, such as former Mission and Ministry Board chair Dale Minnich.

Ullom-Minnich, who was part of a Brethren medical delegation to Haiti shortly after the devastating 2010 earthquake, travels to the Caribbean nation again Sept. 18 to meet with Haitian church leaders and physicians who are helping to provide mobile clinics. The clinics are being held in neighborhoods around congregations of L’Eglise des Freres Haitiens (the Church of the Brethren in Haiti). Videographer Mark Myers of Little Swatara Church of the Brethren in Bethel, Pa., will go along to film for an upcoming video on the project.

In a recent e-mail to friends of the project, Ullom-Minnich reported that “a total of $20,591 has been raised for endowment.” The short-term goal for the endowment is to raise $300,000 in five years. Separately, $32,250 has been received in 2012 for the current year’s need. The project aims to raise an additional $30,000 per year to meet current operating expenses for the mobile clinics.

So far, about $12,000 has been spent to provide 10 clinics. Several more clinics are planned for coming months, with an overall goal to hold about 16 clinics a year in Haiti.

“All of this is fantastic, considering we are just nine months into this project,” Ullom-Minnich commented. “I am thrilled with the participation of so many individuals and groups. A special committee in Pennsylvania, dedicated to building the endowment, recently hosted an event with participation of 64 individuals from 6 different congregations! This group aims to raise $150,000 for the endowment in their region. A recent gift of almost $10,000 came from the Chiques Church of the Brethren, through Brethren World Mission. This foundation has set a goal of $100,000 (for operating expenses) over the next five years. Several churches across the nation are in the process of discerning whether they might also set five-year goals. The McPherson Church of the Brethren youth group has started planning a fundraising dinner for this fall, and I know many other efforts and plans are forming. Thank you all for the work and prayer you have contributed.”

For more information about the Haiti Medical Project and how to contribute or make a five-year commitment, contact Anna Emrick, coordinator of the Global Mission and Service Office, at aemrick@brethren.org or 800-323-8039.

Source:9/20/2012 Newsline

Sixth Annual Family Peace Camp is held in Florida.

About 35 campers came together on Labor Day weekend at Camp Ithiel in Gotha, Fla. Quakers, Catholics, and Brethren from six congregations met with Donald E. Miller of Richmond, Ind., to hear stories from Africa, Asia, and Latin America, where Christians face violent threats to human life.

The Action for Peace Team of Atlantic Southeast District and Camp Ithiel co-sponsored this Sixth Annual Family Peace Camp, providing a rich experience for peacemakers young and old.

The theme for the weekend was “Decade to Overcome Violence,” a program of the World Council of Churches that led to peace conferences of the Historic Peace Churches being held on several continents between 2000 and 2010--skillfully coordinated with help from Miller, professor emeritus at Bethany Theological Seminary and a former general secretary of the Church of the Brethren.

His clear, inspiring sessions raised challenging questions: Does commitment to peace make a difference? How do peacemakers address the principalities of power? What does a peace person or group do with a violent adversary? What about the victims? Is there really a “Just War”? What does “Just Peace” look like?

The camp also gave participants opportunities to sing, play, pray, and explore new ways to be peacemakers. Miller brought his clarinet. Other musicians joined in on recorder, mandolin, and banjo, teaming with a participant who sang and played guitar. Someone else played an original number on piano, composing as he played. Sisters invented a stately “trust dance.”

-- Merle Crouse provided this report.

Source:9/20/2012 Newsline

Outdoor Ministries Association holds annual retreat.

Outdoor Ministries Association OMA logo and headerThe Outdoor Ministries Association (OMA) holds its annual retreat Nov. 11-15 at Camp Harmony in Hooversville, Pa. The theme is “Move in Our Midst.”

A flier notes that the theme “gives everyone from directors, office staff, program staff, food service staff, to maintenance staff, and friends of Outdoor Ministry an opportunity to let the Holy Spirit work within our camp ministries and ourselves.”

Keynote speaker Walt Wiltschek, campus minister at Manchester University and former editor of “Messenger,”, will lead the event with messages on “Encounters with the Holy.” Lance Kaltenbaugh, assistant professor of Sports Management and internship coordinator for Ashland University, will direct activities on the theme, “Diversity and Inclusion in the Outdoors: It Matters.”

Registration fees are $160 for adults, $75 for children age 5-8, children under 5 free. To request a scholarship through the Four Horsemen Fund, contact a member of the OMA Steering Committee prior to Oct. 1. To register and for more information contact Camp Harmony, 1414 Plank Road, P.O. Box 158, Hooversville, PA 15936.

Source:9/20/2012 Newsline

Unique deacon training to be offered at the Village at Morrisons Cove.

Worship, workshops, and fellowship are standard components of deacon training, but when staff from Middle Pennsylvania District asked about hosting a day of training at the Village at Morrisons Cove, they requested that the focus be on ministry specific to older adults.

With that, director of deacon ministry Donna Kline and director of older adult and family life ministries Kim Ebersole worked together with district and Village staff and came up with a plan for a very focused day of training, to be held in Martinsburg, Pa., on Saturday, Nov. 10.

“Ministry with ‘Boomers’ and Beyond” will begin with a discussion of what older adulthood looks like today, and include sessions on deacon ministry specific to older adults, transitions in adulthood (retirement, health changes, death of spouse and/or friends, moving/downsizing, no longer driving, a second marriage, etc.), listening to the stories of older adults, and making the most of a visit with a resident of a longterm care community.

Ebersole and Kline also will offer resources specific to their ministries, and provide ample opportunities for sharing experiences and questions.

This training opportunity is co-sponsored by the Village at Morrisons Cove and Middle Pennsylvania District, but is open to deacons, pastors, and caregivers across the denomination. Download the registration form from www.brethren.org/deacons/training.html or contact Kris Shunk at 814-643-0601, kshunk@midpacob.org.

Source:9/20/2012 Newsline

Program, presenters announced for next older adult conference.

2013 NOAC logo dark Major presenters for the 2013 National Older Adult Conference (NOAC) have been confirmed, reports NOAC coordinator Kim Ebersole, director of Family Life and Older Adult Ministries for the Church of the Brethren. The conference theme, “Healing Springs Forth” (Isaiah 58), will be explored throughout the week by keynote presenters, preachers, and the Bible study leader.

NOAC is the Church of the Brethren conference for adults age 50 and older, to be held at Lake Junaluska (N.C.) Conference and Retreat Center on Sept. 2-6, 2013. Participants will enjoy a week of inspiration, community, and renewal in a beautiful mountain setting.

Keynote presenters are Phyllis Tickle, popular speaker and author of over two dozen books on religion and spirituality, who will speak on Tuesday morning; Richard J. Mouw, theologian, philosopher, author, and president of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif., who will speak on Wednesday morning; and John Paul Lederach, professor of International Peacebuilding at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame, widely known for pioneering work on conflict transformation, who will speak on Thursday morning.

Preachers are Dava Hensley, pastor of First Church of the Brethren, Roanoke, Va., preaching for the opening service on Monday evening; Edward L. Wheeler, president emeritus of Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, preaching Wednesday evening; and Kurt Borgmann, pastor of Manchester Church of the Brethren in North Manchester, Ind., preaching the closing sermon on Friday morning.

Leading the morning Bible studies will be Dawn Ottoni-Wilhelm, professor of preaching and worship at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind.

Evening performances also have been scheduled. On Tuesday, Ted Swartz of Ted & Company will perform “Laughter Is Sacred Space.” On Thursday, a concert of popular, classical, and sacred music will be given by pianists Josh Tindall and Elizabeth Davis Tindall of Elizabethtown, Pa.

Other highlights will include Interest Group workshops on a wide variety of topics, creative arts and crafts, recreation opportunities, a service project to collect and assemble school and hygiene kits for Church World Service, a fundraising walk around Lake Junaluska to support the denomination’s Youth Peace Travel Team, and the ever-popular NOAC News Team of David Sollenberger, Larry Glick, and Chris Stover.

Ice cream socials will be sponsored by the Fellowship of Brethren Homes, Bethany Theological Seminary, and the six colleges and universities affiliated with the Church of the Brethren.

The 2013 NOAC Planning Committee includes Ebersole, Bev and Eric Anspaugh, Deanna Brown, and Delora and Eugene Roop. Additional information about the 2013 NOAC will be posted at www.brethren.org/NOAC as it becomes available. Registration for the conference will begin next spring.

Notes on the NOAC theme:

We are people eager to know and do God’s ways…
     To loose the chains, untie the ropes, set the oppressed free.
Yearning for a deeper relationship with God and with each other…
     To share our bread, extend compassion, satisfy the needs of the afflicted.
Longing to respond to God’s call to Sabbath rest and restoration,
     Remembering the One who frees us from bondage…
          Ready for our worship to be reflected in our lives together.
Light breaks out, healing springs forth…
     Refreshed in the Lord, we experience renewal of body, mind, and spirit.

A time of community, gathering in the company of sisters and brothers in Christ…
A time of deepening relationships with God and with each other…
A time of challenge as we worship, learn, pray, serve, and play together…
A time of response, ready to listen to God’s call…
A time of renewal, as we experience God’s reassurance of refreshment and restoration!
Healing springs forth: Come be refreshed in the Lord.

Source:9/20/2012 Newsline

Workcamp dates and locations are announced for 2013.

Updated logo for 2013 Workcamps The denomination’s Workcamp Ministry has announced dates and locations for next summer’s workcamps. Fees and more information may be found at  www.brethren.org/workcamps as it becomes available.

Week-long workcamps are offered for junior and senior high youth, young adults, an intergenerational group, and youth and young adults living with disabilities and their adult assistants. This year workcamps are held at locations across the United States and Puerto Rico.

Senior high youth who have completed ninth grade through age 19 are invited to the following workcamps:

June 8-14 at Innisfree-Crozet, Va.
June 9-16 at Idaho Mountain Camp, Idaho
June 15-21 at Caimito, P.R.
June 16-23 at Brooklyn, N.Y., in cooperation with the Brethren Revival Fellowship (BRF)
June 22-28 at Bayamon, P.R.
June 23-29 at Concord/Charlotte, N.C.
July 7-13, at a disaster response site (TBA)
July 15-21 at Koinonia Partners in Americus, Ga.
July 15-21 at Pine Ridge Reservation in Kyle, S.D.
July 22-28 in Peoria, Ariz.
July 22-28 in Washington, D.C.
July 22-28 in Lombard, Ill.
July 29-Aug. 4 at ECHO in North Fort Meyers, Fla.
Aug. 5-11 in Los Angeles, Calif.
Aug. 5-11 at Camp Eder in Fairfield, Pa.

Junior high workcamps are for youth who have completed sixth through eighth grades:

June 16-30 at New Community Project in Harrisonburg, Va.
June 17-21 at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md.
July 3-7 at the John Kline Homestead in Broadway, Va.
July 10-14 in Harrisburg, Pa.
July 17-21 in Springfield, Ill.
July 24-28 in Indianapolis, Ind.
July 29-Aug. 2 in Greenville, Ohio

Two workcamp experiences are offered for young adults, ages 18-35:

May 28-June 2 in Seattle, Wash.
June 10-13 at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., assisting with the “We Are Able” experience for youth and young adults living with disabilities

One intergenerational workcamp is open to those who have completed sixth grade and older:

July 29-Aug. 4 at Camp Colorado near Sedalia, Colo.

The “We Are Able” workcamp is for youth and young adults living with disabilities, ages 16-23, and adult assistants:

June 10-13 at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md.

Registration for the 2013 workcamps opens online on Jan. 9, 2013, at 7 p.m. (central), 8 p.m. (eastern). The website for registration and more information is www.brethren.org/workcamps.

Source:9/20/2012 Newsline

Brethren bits.

  • Correction: Newsline reader Sam Funkhouser has noted a correction to the feature on hymns in the last Newsline: the oldest in the list is not “Amazing Grace” but “Praise God from Whom.”
  • Remembrance: William G. “Bill” Willoughby, 94, died on Aug. 28. He was a Brethren historian and ordained minister, and author of a number of articles and books including “Counting the Cost: The Life of Alexander Mack” and “The Beliefs of the Early Brethren 1706-1735.” He also translated the book “Hochmann von Hochenau” by Heinz Renkevitz from German into English. The Brethren Press website notes that “Willoughby's translation is the only work on Hochmann in English,” adding that some regard Hochmann, an important Pietist leader, as a co-founder of the Brethren movement. Willoughby taught at Bridgewater (Va.) College and the University of La Verne, Calif., and was an early supervisor for Brethren Colleges Abroad. He was predeceased by his wife, Lena. Survivors include daughters Nancy (Frank) Garcia and Susan Rocheleau, and son Tom Willoughby; son James Willoughby died in 2001. Also surviving are brothers Robert Willoughby of Frederick, Md.; James Willoughby of Roseville, Calif.; David Willoughby of Elizabethtown, Pa.; and Don Willoughby of North Manchester, Ind.; sister Evelyn Bortner died in 2006. More information about a memorial service is to come.
Kayla and Ilexene Alphonse
Photo by Jeanne Davies
Kayla and Ilexene Alphonse
  • Kayla Alphonse has served her last summer as program director at Camp Ithiel in Gotha, Fla., before leaving for a term of service in Haiti working for the Church of the Brethren on a contract basis. She will join her husband, Ilexene Alphonse, who is serving at the headquarters of L’Eglise des Freres Haitiens (the Church of the Brethren in Haiti). She will be working with a special focus on theological education.
  • The Church of North India (CNI) consecrated three bishops at a ceremony in late August, including a new bishop for the diocese of Gujarat where former Church of the Brethren members are part of the denomination. Silvance S. Christian was consecrated bishop for Gujarat. A thanksgiving and farewell service for the retiring Bishop Malaviya was held in late June, according to a CNI release. CNI is one of the largest Protestant churches spread across northern India, with a membership of nearly 1.5 million.
  • The Conference Office has announced the opening of nominations for offices to be filled by election at the 2013 Annual Conference. Nominations may be made either by filling out a paper form or online through a nomination tool on the Annual Conference website. Nominations are due by Dec. 1.  Go to www.brethren.org/ac . The positions that are open are moderator-elect, Annual Conference Program and Arrangements Committee, Mission and Ministry Board, On Earth Peace Board, Brethren Benefit Trust Board, Bethany Theological Seminary Trustees--clergy and laity, and Pastoral Compensation and Benefits Advisory Committee.
  • “One People…One King” is the theme for a special worship emphasis for the Church of the Brethren, being planned for Sunday, Nov. 25. This year there is a Sunday between Thanksgiving and the start of Advent called “Christ the King” or “Reign of Christ” Sunday in the church calendar, inviting Christians to be reminded--before a season of waiting--of whom we await. In a year of contention and partisan rhetoric surrounding the upcoming national election, Christians also threaten to become a people divided. For the potentially divisive time after the election, a group of denominational staff are planning a worship emphasis based instead on the New Testament understanding that followers of Christ are a people with one ruler, from Philippians 3:20, “But our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” Special worship resources for Nov. 25 will be available online at www.brethren.org by early October. The resources will help invite Brethren, as we enter into preparations for Christmas, to spend this one Sunday recalling that “our citizenship is in heaven.”
  • Mourn, celebrate, connect - logo for Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Oct. 2012October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The Family Life ministry is encouraging individuals, pastors, and congregations to learn more about domestic violence, how to recognize signs of domestic violence, ways it may be prevented, and how to respond if you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship. Links to information and resources from the National Domestic Violence Hotline, the Domestic Violence Awareness Project, and FaithTrust Institute are at www.brethren.org/family .
  • An update on the REILLY concert at Mission Alive 2012 has been shared by planners of the conference. The concert is open to the public for the admission price of $5 at the door. The concert is on the evening of Saturday, Nov. 17, starting at 8:30 p.m. at Lititz (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. REILLY is a Philadelphia-based band known for a unique blend of rock and dueling violins, an energetic live show, and spiritual depth. For more about Mission Alive 2012 go to www.brethren.org/missionalive2012 .
  • Church of the Brethren staff last week participated in a conference call with peace church partners to share Selective Service updates. Participating were Dan McFadden of Brethren Volunteer Service and Nate Hosler of the Advocacy and Peace Witness Office. This was one of regular twice-a-year conference calls that have resulted from a conference on Selective Service held in March 2005. “It is an effort for us to stay in touch and connected in the event that sometime in the future we need to coordinate our work,” McFadden reported. In addition to the Church of the Brethren, the following groups usually participate: Mennonite Central Committee; Mennonite Disaster Service; Mennonite Mission Network (Mennonite Volunteer Service); the Bruderhof Communities; Christian Aid Ministries--an umbrella group that works with a number of Anabaptist groups including the Beachy Amish, Old Order Amish, New Order Amish, and the Old Order Mennonites; the Quakers represented through the Friends Committee on National Legislation; and the Center on Conscience and War. “The message out of the Selective Service office is that there are no initiatives for a new draft law,” McFadden said.
  • Dates and a theme have been announced for the next Christian Citizenship Seminar for high school age youth and their adult advisors. The 2013 CCS will be held March 23-28 on the theme, “Childhood Poverty: Nutrition, Housing, and Education,” according to an announcement from the Advocacy and Peace Witness Office. CCS will be held in New York City and Washington, D.C. Registration costs $375, and opens online on Dec. 1 at 10 a.m. (central time). More information and registration details will be made available at www.brethren.org/ccs .
  • “Another response completed successfully,” wrote Judy Bezon-Braune, associate director of Children’s Disaster Services, in a note on the CDS Facebook page after the program closed out its response to Hurricane Isaac in Louisiana. “It was a great response,” Bezon-Braune wrote. “Hopefully there will not be another disaster this year, but if there is, we're ready.”
  • The Church of the Brethren’s Global Food Crisis Fund has made a grant of $10,000 to Nagarta, a Christian NGO in the African country of Niger. This grant will be used to dig 10 gardening wells to supply drinking water, water for off-season gardening, and water for livestock. Five previous grants made to Nagarta from 2009-2012 total $35,000.
  • Barack Obama and Mitt Romney both responded to an invitation by the “Circle of Protection” initiative to go on the record about their intentions for dealing with poverty, according to a release from the National Council of Churches. View the presidential candidates' video statements at www.nccendpoverty.org/praythevote . Brethren staff person Nate Hosler is one of the Christian leaders quoted in the NCC release about the Circle of Protection, which is made up of more than 65 heads of denominations, including Church of the Brethren general secretary Stan Noffsinger, alongside relief and development agencies and other Christian organizations. “The Church of the Brethren has firmly believed that as followers of Jesus we are called to serve one another in the way that Jesus demonstrated by washing his disciples’ feet,” Hosler said in the release. “We urge all leaders to support programs that care for persons in poverty. We recognize that as individuals and families are assisted they will not only lead healthier lives but will be able to assist others in need.”
  • Disaster Tip Sheets for Religious Leaders are a new resource provided through the National Disaster Interfaith Network. The network is offering 26 downloadable tip sheets covering a wide array of topics from disaster sheltering to spiritual care to how to prepare for an active shooter situation in church. “Disaster preparedness isn’t something most churches think about until after a disaster happens in their community,” remarked Jane Yount, coordinator for Brethren Disaster Ministries. “These tip sheets can help get the discussion started.” The effort is part of National Preparedness Month this September with the theme, “Pledge to Prepare.” Find the tip sheets at www.n-din.org/ndin_net/2012/09_04_2012_Alert.html .
  • Smith Chapel Church of the Brethren in Blue Field, W.Va., celebrates its 125th anniversary  on Sunday, Sept. 23. Mike Gallimore, pastor of Boones Chapel (Snow Creek) Church of the Brethren will be the guest speaker for the 11 a.m. worship service, followed by a covered dish lunch and an afternoon of  fellowship and singing. For more information call 304-425-5639.
  • Sept. 30 is the 125th anniversary celebration and dedication of a new fellowship hall at Prairie View Church of the Brethren near Friend, Kan.
A painted stone outside the Friendship Lodge at Camp Pine Lake in Eldora, Iowa
Photo by courtesy of Northern Plains District
A painted stone outside the Friendship Lodge at Camp Pine Lake in Eldora, Iowa
  • Northern Plains District also is mourning the loss of Kirby Leland, 59, who passed away unexpectedly on Aug. 21 at his home. He was serving as chair of the Camp Pine Lake Board, and had been active in the renovation of Friendship Lodge for its 50th anniversary re-dedication. He was a leading member of Ivester Church of the Brethren in Grundy Center, Iowa. Memorial gifts are received to Camp Pine Lake.
  • Spirit of Joy Fellowship in Arvada, Colo., is requesting prayer for a time of change, in a note in the Western Plains District newsletter. The fellowship and Arvada Mennonite Church have voted to become one entity, which may mean a name change for both congregations as well as dual affiliation with the Church of the Brethren and the Mennonite Church USA. “Our new focus is on creating community,” the prayer request said. “Change does not come without loss. We have lost some longtime members. We need prayers for God’s guidance, for healing of brokenness and loss, for comforting our fears of the unknown and acceptance of change.”
  • Dixon (Ill.) Church of the Brethren recently gave a substantial grant to a project in Honduras that is led by Bill Hare, who manages Camp Emmaus in Mount Morris, Ill. The deacon body at the church had recommended the gift, to come from memorial funds. “A great way to honor and remember our members who cared so much about helping God's people and our denomination,” said a note from Marty Creager. “We would like to challenge other churches to do the same.”
  • First Church of the Brethren in Springfield, Ill., has announced a new ministry called COMPASS in partnership with Harvard Park Elementary School and the Family Service Center. The ministry provides an after-school program for homeless and low-income students. “Each Thursday of the week some 30-plus students will walk from the school to our meetinghouse where they will follow a schedule that includes a snack time, help with homework, life skills lessons, and a family style dinner,” said the announcement.
  • Middlebury (Ind.) Church of the Brethren is one of the congregations hosting a “Peace, Pies, and Prophets” Ted & Company benefit for Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) this fall. The show, “I’d Like to Buy an Enemy,” is interspersed with auctions of freshly baked pies, according to a CPT release. Middlebury hosts a show on Oct. 17. Other upcoming shows are Sept. 21 at 7-9 p.m. at Kaufman Mennonite Church in Davidsville, Pa.; Sept. 22, 7:30-9:30 p.m. at Central Christian School in Kidron, Ohio; and Sept. 23, 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Sharon Mennonite Church in Plain City, Ohio. For more information contact timn@cpt.org .
  • York Center Church of the Brethren in Lombard, Ill., is hosting a performance of “The Cotton Patch Gospel” on Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. Originally written by Clarence Jordan, founder of the Koinonia Community in Georgia, and transformed into a bluegrass musical by Harry Chapin, this one-man show is performed by actor/musician Phil Kaufman. Proceeds benefit Lombard Villa Park Food Pantry and Mcc Food Programs. Cost is $10 plus free-will offerings. Children 12 and under are free. Contact the church office at 630-627-7411.
  • Cloverdale Church of the Brethren in Virlina District is hosting a “Renacer Festival Banquette” on Sept. 22 at 6 p.m. The benefit raises funds for the Renacer new church planting ministry. Cloverdale will provide entrees, bread, dessert, and drinks, and Renacer members will bring various ethnic dishes. Attendees are invited to bring a salad or side dish if they wish. Guest speaker is Maria Conley, social worker for the Chip of Roanoke Valley.
  • The Brethren Disaster Relief Auction will be held on the theme, "To God Be the Glory” on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 21-22, at the Lebanon (Pa.) Valley Expo.
  • The 2012 Northern Plains District Conference recognized a number of milestones in ministry. Sarah Mason and Barbara Wise-Lewczak were recognized for completing Training in Ministry (TRIM). Others  were recognized for significant years of ministry: Marilyn Coffman for 10 years, John Glasscock for 15 years, Earl Harris for 20 years, David Lewis for 40 years, Dale Shenefelt for 50 years, Carl Heien for 55 years, and Charles Lunkley for 70 years.
  • West Marva District is offering two more events in its “Equipping the Saints” series: “Christian Caregiving” at Keyser (W.Va.) Church of the Brethren on Sept. 30, 2-5:30 p.m., led by Fred Swartz who recently completed 10 years of service as Annual Conference secretary. “Christian Educator’s Toolbox” at Oak Park Church of the Brethren in Oakland, Md., on Oct. 20, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., led by Amy Elmore Williams, elementary school librarian and former kindergarten teacher. Pastors receive continuing education credit.
  • Virlina District’s board and Commission on Ministry are holding “Calling the Called” events to encourage participants to consider ministerial vocation and the call to Christian service. All three days will be held at Beaver Creek Church of the Brethren in Floyd County, Va., from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. On Sept. 29 “When God Calls--Listen!” is the theme with keynote speaker Dana Cassell, minister of youth formation at Manassas (Va.) Church of the Brethren. On Oct. 13 “When God Calls--Prepare!” is the theme with keynote speakers Julie and Michael Hostetter, executive of the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership and pastor at Salem (Ohio) Church of the Brethren, respectively. On Oct. 27 “When God Calls-Respond!” is the theme with speaker Mary Jo Flory-Steury, associate general secretary of the Church of the Brethren. For more information contact Emily LaPrade at emily.laprade@gmail.com .
  • Western Pennsylvania District office is hosting a “Fountain of Youth” event Sept. 23 from 3-6 p.m. Youth workers, pastors, and parents are invited to come and talk about “encouraging youth to worship an unchanging God in a rapidly changing world,” according to an announcement. The event is free, participants are invited to bring money for ordering supper from Fox’s. Register by Sept. 21 by contacting 814-479-2181 or wpadistrictyouth@yahoo.com.
  • A number of church districts are holding annual meetings the next two weekends: Missouri and Arkansas District Conference is Sept. 21-22 in Roach, Mo. West Marva District Conference is Sept. 21-22 at Moorefield (W.Va.) Church of the Brethren with the theme, “Soaring to New Heights in God” (Jeremiah 29:11). South Central Indiana District Conference is at Marion Church of the Brethren on Sept. 22, preceded by a special event the evening of Sept. 21 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of “Hymnal: A Worship Book” with leadership from Nancy Faus-Mullen and Jenny Williams. Idaho District Conference meets Sept. 28-29 at Mountain View Church of the Brethren in Boise, Idaho.
  • The 16th annual COBYS Bike & Hike set records for income and participation, reports a release. Held Sept. 9 at Lititz (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, the event attracted 514 participants and raised more than $90,000 to support the ministries of COBYS Family Services. Overall attendance was the best in five years. Income and participation for 2011 were $89,605 and 428, respectively. The Bike & Hike consists of a three-mile walk, 10- and 25-mile bicycle rides, and the 65-mile Dutch Country Motorcycle Ride. Participants choose their event and either pay a registration fee, obtain support from sponsors, or both. Participating were 203 walkers, 169 motorcyclists, and 142 bicyclists. Seven Church of the Brethren youth groups participated, including four who earned a gym and pizza night by raising at least $1,500: Little Swatara, Midway, Chiques, and West Green Tree. COBYS Family Services educates, supports, and empowers children and adults to reach their full potential, carrying out this mission through adoption and foster care services; counseling for children, adults, and families; and family life education programs.
  • Friends of Timbercrest, a supporting organization for the Church of the Brethren senior living community in North Manchester, Ind., celebrates 40 years with a Fall Fellowship Pie and Ice Cream Social and Benefit Auction the evening of Sept. 22, featuring Nordmann’s Nook Pies and the Singing Auctioneer. Tickets are $5.
  • Camp Bethel near Fincastle, Va., has reported meeting and exceeding an “ambitious goal” for 2012: to increase by 99 to 925 campers. “We registered 933 campers in 67 program choices, compared to 826 total in 2011. This is a 107-camper and 13 percent increase from 2011!” said a recent camp newsletter.
  • Camp Bethel is host for a “Soul Care: Music of the Heart” day-long retreat on Sept. 22. The theme is “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23). Leaders are Bill Hinton, Becky Rhodes, and Patricia Ronk, with Terry Garman and Judy Mills Reimer leading worship. A fee of $15 covers lunch, snacks, and materials.  Pre-registration is required, contact the Virlina District Resource Center at 540-362-1816 or virlina2@aol.com .
  • The Heritage Fair that supports the ministries of Middle Pennsylvania District and Camp Blue Diamond is planned for Sept. 29 at the camp. The fair includes an auction, a Children’s Basket Activity, sales of donated items from businesses, and more. District youth are planning a 1st Annual Heritage Fair Four Square Tournament. Information is at www.midpacob.org .
  • The Valley Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center in Harrisonburg, Va., holds its annual Harvest Day on Sept. 29. The day features family fun, opportunities to feed barnyard animals, boil molasses, press cider, make butter, and enjoy homemade food. See www.vbmhc.org .
  • Kimberly McDowell, pastor of University Park Church of the Brethren in Hyattsville, Md., has been named church trustee on the Juniata College board. The college in Huntingdon, Pa., also has added four other trustees: Bruce Davis, who was executive director of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for more than 20 years, and who started his career as an instructor at Juniata in 1968; Douglas Spotts, alumni trustee, a family physician and chief medical information officer at Evangelical Community Hospital in Lewisburg, Pa.; John Nagl, a senior fellow of the Center for a New American Security and a research professor at the US Naval Academy; and John Hill II, president and chief operating officer of Magna Carta Companies.
  • A course on “Brethren Heritage” will be offered at Manchester University this coming January, for the first time in several years reports campus minister Walt Wiltschek (find his full update at www.manchester.edu/oca/church/mcnews/fall2012 ). The course will include travel to significant sites in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions to do hands-on learning about Brethren heritage. “About 6 percent of Manchester’s student body is Brethren, the second largest group among the Brethren colleges and universities. Many participate in our ‘Simply Brethren’ group, and they are often among the top students and most actively involved leaders on campus,” Wiltschek writes.
  • Brethren Voices is now on YouTube. Produced by the Portland (Oregon) Peace Church of the Brethren, this monthly show designed for use on community access cable television and for small study groups can now be viewed at www.youtube.com/BrethrenVoices . The most recent Brethren Voices segment features an interview with Brethren Press publisher Wendy McFadden.
  • Organizers of the Progressive Brethren Gathering hosted by La Verne (Calif.) Church of the Brethren on Oct. 26-28 have announced the theme: “Holy Work: Becoming a Beloved Community.” This marks the fifth year for the gathering, said a release. A full schedule of events begins with a Friday evening dinner and celebratory worship with La Verne pastor Susan Boyer as preacher. On Saturday, professors Abigail Fuller and Katy Gray Brown from Manchester University will speak on the dynamics and characteristics of social justice movements including ways Brethren have responded to, and helped shape, the Civil Rights, anti-war, feminism, lgbt rights, and environmental movements. Also on the schedule: a screening of the award winning film “Two Spirits,” a music and worship experience exploring songs that inspired and strengthened justice movements throughout history led by Shawn Kirchner and artists from the La Verne congregation, a Sunday morning report from sponsoring groups, and Sunday morning worship with the La Verne congregation led by guest preacher Father Gregory Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles with the mission “to provide hope, training, and support to formerly gang-involved and recently incarcerated men and women.” The gathering is sponsored by Womaen’s Caucus, Open Table Cooperative, and the Brethren Mennonite Council for LGBT Interests. Registration is online at http://progressivebrethrengathering.eventbrite.com .
Source:9/20/2012 Newsline


Newsline is produced by the news services of the Church of the Brethren. Contact the editor at cobnews@brethren.org. Contributors to this issue of Newsline include Kim Ebersole, Anna Emrick, Don Fitzkee, Philip E. Jenks, Kendra Johnson, Donna Kline, Wendy McFadden, Nancy Miner, John Wall, Marie Willoughby, Walt Wiltschek, Jay Wittmeyer, Jane Yount, and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Newsline: September 6, 2012


Children’s Disaster Services aids families displaced by Isaac.

A Children's Disaster Services child care center set up in a shelter following Hurricane Katrina
Photo by Children's Disaster Services
A view of one set up for a Children's Disaster Services child care center in a large shelter. This center was set up by volunteers serving children and families displaced by Hurricane Katrina.
Children's Disaster Services (CDS) is aiding children in Louisiana who have been displaced by Hurricane Isaac. Fifteen CDS volunteers were deployed to this heavily impacted area on Sept. 3. R. Jan Thompson is serving as project manager for the response.

As of Sept. 4, the group of CDS volunteers split up into two teams and have set up temporary child care centers in separate American Red Cross shelters. Fourteen volunteers are working in two larger shelters in the towns of Baker and Gonzales, La. Thompson is working out of Port Allen, La., to coordinate the response.

“They are very busy with children, taking the children in shifts,” reports Roy Winter, associate executive director for Global Mission and Service and Brethren Disaster Ministries. “Jan is talking with RC (the Red Cross) about the need for additional volunteers.” The CDS volunteers are all staying in a Red Cross staff shelter that has been set up in a filming studio, Winter said.

“Everything is very fluid and changing quickly,” Winter added. “These shelters will likely move sometime this week as they are schools, and schools will reopen next week.”

“Please keep our volunteers and all disaster survivors--especially the littlest ones--in your prayers,” said CDS staff on the program’s Facebook page.

CDS had to wait several days before sending in its volunteers, some 250 of whom have been on alert since Tropical Storm Isaac was on its way across the Caribbean to the Gulf Coast. “Red Cross needs to know how long the shelters will be open before sending CDS in,” staff explained via Facebook.

Most recently, CDS volunteers spent nine days in August caring for children affected by fires in Oklahoma. CDS is a Church of the Brethren ministry that has been meeting the needs of children since 1980. Working cooperatively with FEMA and the American Red Cross, CDS provides 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.

Updates from CDS are posted regularly at www.facebook.com/cds.cob . Go to www.brethren.org/cds for more about CDS and a list of fall workshops to train more CDS volunteers at a variety of locations around the country.

Source: 9/6/2012 Newsline

Workcamp coordinators wrap up their service, review the summer.

Brethren youth brave the heat of summer 2012 at a workcamp at ECHO in Florida
Photo by Cat Gong
Brethren youth brave the heat of summer 2012 at a workcamp at ECHO in Florida
The Church of the Brethren’s Workcamp Office is simultaneously wrapping up the summer and gearing up for next summer’s events (see announcements for 2013 program below under Upcoming Events).

There were 23 workcamps held this summer: 7 for junior high youth, 13 for senior highs, 1 for young adults, and 2 for intergenerational groups. Attending those camps were approximately 500 people--over 100 advisors and adult participants as well as over 350 youth and young adult participants. At each camp there were also two leaders provided by the Workcamp Office. Out of those leaders, about 33 were volunteers who committed a whole week away from home, family, and work to help out.

Workcamp coordinators for the 2012 season were Cat Gong and Rachel Witkovsky, both placed by Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS). The coordinators work out of the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill.

Gong grew up in State College, Pa., and attended University Baptist and Brethren Church. After graduating from Penn State with a degree in sociology she decided she wanted to give back. Growing up she had always done workcamps with her youth group and when she heard about BVS placements in the Workcamp Office she applied right away. “It has been an amazing year here in Elgin,” she commented, “and an amazing summer serving with youth and young adults from our denomination!”

Witkovsky graduated from Elizabethtown (Pa.) College in 2010 with a theater performance major and a creative writing minor. Her home congregation is Stone Church of the Brethren in Huntingdon, Pa. “I’ve gone on many service trips before,” Rachel said, “but this summer--the places I went, the people I worked with--will always have a special place in my heart.” Her time with BVS is not ending, however. She will continue as National Junior High Conference coordinator, working in the Youth and Young Adult Ministries Office.

The two coordinators worked for a year to prepare for the 2012 workcamps on the theme “Ready to Listen” (1 Samuel 3:2-10). Throughout the summer, they made their way from the East Coast to the West Coast and beyond. They were joined by youth from all over the country.

Amazing things happen at workcamps, and wonderful work gets done by those who are willing to serve. A lot of good stories and memories came out of the summer. Here are just a few:

“Can you come back next week?” was a comment Gong remembered from the ECHO (Educational Concerns for Hunger Organizations) workcamp, the most intense work week of her summer. The youth and their advisors worked outside in 95 degree July weather in humid North Fort Myers, Fla., on a farm where they weeded, moved trees, built a bridge, and sweated a lot. A farm worker later said the group did more work in three-and-a-half days than a group of senior highs did in seven days earlier in the summer.

“No one ever serves us like that,” is a response that Witkovsky received from one of the volunteers at Innisfree Village who was commenting on the Brethren workcampers. “We had decided to serve everyone at their tables instead of do buffet style,” she said. “That one small decision helped a lot of people. It made a difference to them to be able to sit with their housemates and just enjoy their dinner. The volunteers do all the serving normally.”

“At Camp Eder we were surrounded by the beauty of God’s creation with little outside noise,” Gong reported from another workcamp at a Church of the Brethren camp in Pennsylvania. “During devotions one night, one of the youth shared a story with the group that he had heard at another camp.” The story was about a Native American chief meeting with a general to discuss terms of peace. They were meeting outside a major city where noises included factories, horses, children running and screaming up and down the street. The chief heard the sound of a cricket, to the general’s disbelief. Then the chief pulled a quarter from his pocket and dropped it on the road. Suddenly heads turned at the clink of change. The chief looked at the general and said, “It’s a matter of what you’re listening for.”

“If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me” (Jeremiah 29:13) is a scripture Witkovsky found helpful during a workcamp on Skid Row in Los Angeles, Calif. The group was distributing bag lunches to the homeless. “‘Here comes the spirit! Whoa!’ yelled a man as we walked past,” she said. “I couldn’t tell if he was serious, sarcastic, or crazy. But either way, I found myself looking to the front of the group and, there, in front of Gilbert, leading the group, I saw Jesus walking with us. Protecting us. Handing out sandwiches to those who needed food.”

It’s great to think of some 500 people of the Church of the Brethren out there, helping--“giving a hand up, not just a hand out,” as one project leader said this summer. Workcamps are a chance for anyone who has ever felt called to help their neighbor. Those involved in the Workcamp Ministry are carrying out Jesus’ call to live simply, peacefully, together. They are his hands and feet. And it happens every summer. A new season is about to start! Are you in?

-- Rachel Witkovsky and Cat Gong provided this report. They are saying farewell to the Workcamp Office, passing the torch to new coordinators Katie Cummings and Tricia Ziegler who have already begun planning for 2013. Photo albums from the 2012 workcamps will be available soon at www.brethren.org.

Source: 9/6/2012 Newsline

Reorganized BBT Board focuses on committee work and investments.

Boston Common Management representatives meet with Brethren Benefit Trust in August.
Photo by BBT
Boston Common Management representatives meet with Brethren Benefit Trust in August.
The annual reorganization of Brethren Benefit Trust’s Board of Directors marked the beginning of a three-day series of meetings involving board members and BBT staff in Elgin, Ill., from Aug. 3-5. Led by re-elected chairwoman Karen O. Crim and vice chairwoman Ann Quay Davis, the board’s committee work drove key decisions in the areas of investments, Brethren Pension Plan, the Retirement Benefits Fund Contingency Fund, and the administration of the board.

This year’s summer meeting replaced a much shorter four-hour meeting typically held in July at the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference.

“We expanded the summer meeting so that we had enough time to delve into issues both as committees and as a full board,” said Crim.

Investment Committee reviews three asset managers

The Investment Committee interviewed two investment managers to replace its current short-term manager, and it chose Ponder Investment Co. based on strong performance history and willingness to meet BBT’s socially responsible investing parameters.

A third investment manager was also interviewed during the day-long Investment Committee meeting--domestic large-cap core and international equity manager Boston Common. Representatives of the Boston-based firm responded to a questionnaire and presented information about its performance as part of a three-year review cycle for BBT’s eight investment managers.

Committee members requested that investment consulting firm Marquette Associates prepare annual reviews of the breadth and appropriateness of BBT’s fund offerings. Brethren Pension Plan members have access to up to 16 fund offerings, and Brethren Foundation clients will soon be able to invest in up to 21 funds.

Two new board members had their first meeting on the committee: Tom McCracken, a financial adviser from Dallastown, Pa., and Eric Kabler, an investment adviser from Johnstown, Pa. They joined Harry Rhodes, an attorney from Roanoke, Va., and voted him committee chairman.

“We need to continually assess the funds that we’re offering our clients and members so that we can best meet the investment and diversification needs of those we serve,” said Rhodes. “It is this committee’s responsibility to give BBT’s constituents the tools they need to manage their assets well.”

Pension Plan prepares for new record keeper; Task Force recommends new mortality assumption

Brethren Pension Plan staff will now be able to consolidate multiple accounts of plan members who have served more than one Brethren Pension Plan sponsor. The board approved this recommendation as a way to prepare for Brethren Pension Plan’s move to a new record keeper, which charges its fee based on the number of accounts it manages. The board also voted to eliminate a difficult-to-compute catch-up contribution provision.

Before the full board meeting began on Saturday, the Pension Plan Task Force gathered to receive research and guidance from Marquette Associates regarding the allocation of the Retirement Benefits Fund (RBF), which pays out benefits to Brethren Pension Plan retirees.

“Brethren Pension Plan continues to work toward returning the RBF to fully funded status,” said Scott Douglas, director of Employee Benefits. “Our goal is to balance the RBF’s liabilities with market returns, while managing the overall risk of the portfolio.”

The task force also revisited a recommendation from its April meeting to change the mortality assumption that is used to help determine benefits payouts for Brethren Pension Plan members. The full board approved the change, which will provide a more accurate picture of the life expectancy of annuitants.

Governance, Budget Audit and Review, and Property groups present guidance to the board

The Governance Committee met on Friday to continue its mission of assessing board performance, developing resources to train new board members, and growing the pool of candidates for future board members. Donna Forbes-Steiner and Carol Hess were elected chairwoman and vice chairwoman of that committee, respectively. The Budget Audit and Review Committee also met on Friday to elect Ann Quay Davis chairwoman and Karen O. Crim vice chairwoman, as well as to review a recommendation from BBT staff. The Property Task Force gathered on Friday evening to assess BBT’s office space needs.

Other news
  • After Saturday’s daylong meeting, the board joined BBT staff members, retirees, and their guests for a banquet to honor milestones in the careers of several staff members. Brethren Foundation director Steve Mason was honored for his five years of strong service; Tammy Chudy, manager of Insurance Operations, received accolades for her 10 years of service; Connie Sandman, member services representative for Insurance, was recognized for her outstanding 30 years of service. Christian folk ensemble Act of Grace performed for the attendees.
  • John Waggoner, a personal finance columnist for “USA Today,” resigned from the board in the week leading up to the board meeting. His successor will be announced in the coming months.
  • The next full meeting of the BBT Board will take place in Elgin and Mount Morris, Ill., from Nov. 15-18. Board and staff members will meet with members and clients at Pinecrest Community, a Brethren-affiliated retirement community. Several committees will meet between now and the board meeting as they continue their work.

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

Source: 9/6/2012 Newsline

Bethany Seminary hosts annual Exploring Your Call event.

“I loved my time at Exploring Your Call and speak of it constantly. If it were possible for me to go again, I would--in a heartbeat,” says Laura Brown, a 2012 participant in this annual discernment event held by Bethany Theological Seminary.

Brown, from Happy Corner Church of the Brethren in Clayton, Ohio, was joined by Issac Brunk and Autumn Ehrig from Ivester Church of the Brethren, Grundy Center, Iowa; Michael Himlie, Root River Church of the Brethren, Preston, Minn.; and Sarandon Smith from Palmyra (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. From June 14-24, these high school students gathered to consider what God’s call might mean in their own lives and faith journeys.

The Bethany campus in Richmond, Ind., served as the central space for learning sessions, group discussion and reflection, and worship. The group also had some hands-on experience in assisting with Vacation Bible School at the local First Christian Church in Richmond.

Russell Haitch, director of the program, was joined by current faculty and students in leading the group sessions. Haitch is associate professor of Christian education and director of the Institute for Ministry with Youth and Young Adults. Marla Abe, a 2008 Bethany graduate and copastor of Carlisle (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, assisted in directing the week’s activities.

Beyond Richmond, the group was introduced to ministry at the Brethren Retirement Community in Greenville, Ohio. They also traveled to Reba Place, an intentional Christian community in Chicago, Ill., and visited the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill.

Each participant also spent time shadowing regional Church of the Brethren pastors and being hosted by their congregations. Brown highlights her connection with copastors Charles Bell and Mike Cassidy at Buck Creek Church of the Brethren in Mooreland, Ind. “The experience I had with them--including talking with and being hosted by church members, Sunday school, etc.--made the most impact on me.”

Michael Himlie says that EYC gave him additional insight into what he feels led to do in his faith journey. “My favorite part of EYC was the opportunity to experience all types of ministry. Some may not have fit with our interests, but we all took a lot away from each and every setting.”

The EYC program was reinstated in 2011 after a hiatus of several years. "With smaller groups these past two years, we've been able to travel more, and it has meant that wonderful family-like friendships could develop,” says Haitch. “Our goal is to expand enrollment while keeping the quality of the program and closeness of relationships."

Registration for EYC 2013 opens Sept. 1 for rising high school juniors and seniors. Through a generous grant from Barnabas, Ltd., in New South Wales, Australia, all expenses for participants are covered except for transportation to and from the event. Bekah Houff, coordinator of outreach programs at Bethany and former EYC participant, is organizing EYC 2013. “It is my hope that next year’s EYC will be an eye-opening experience as young people discern God's call in their lives while exploring different kinds of ministry."

Information is available by contacting eyc@bethanyseminary.edu or on the Bethany website at www.bethanyseminary.edu/eyc.

In more news from Bethany, the seminary held Opening Convocation Aug 23 in a joint service with neighboring Earlham School of Religion (ESR). The service was in Nicarry Chapel, in the Bethany Seminary building. All were invited, and especially welcomed were new and returning students in theological and religious studies. ESR professor Nancy Bowen offered the message. The convocation was webcast, as will be other services throughout the year, so that distance learning students and anyone else who might wish to worship with the seminary could also participate. Find a link at www.bethanyseminary.edu/news/OpeningConvo2012.

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

Source: 9/6/2012 Newsline

Brethren couple go to Israel and Palestine as accompaniers.

Joyce and John CasselChurch of the Brethren members Joyce and John Cassel of Oak Park, Ill., have begun work in Palestine and Israel with the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program of the World Council of Churches (WCC). They departed Sept. 1 for a three month tour of duty, from September through November this year.

The Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) brings international workers to the West Bank “to experience life under occupation,” according to the description of the program ( www.eappi.org ). “Ecumenical accompaniers provide protective presence to vulnerable communities, monitor and report human rights abuses, and support Palestinians and Israelis working together for peace.” When they return home, participants are expected to “campaign for a just and peaceful resolution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict through an end to the occupation, respect for international law, and implementation of UN resolutions.” Those who participate go through an extensive interview process and receive training and several days of orientation from EAPPI staff.

A group of 33 from all over the world will be working with EAPPI this fall, including people from Australia, South Africa, the Philippines, Canada, and European countries, as well as the US. The Cassels, who are retired, are the only Americans in the team, and are two of the three oldest members. The group is placed as small teams living in various areas, and Joyce and John will be working in two different locations in the West Bank during their three months of service.

The Cassels are receiving support from the Church of the Brethren denomination to participate with the WCC program, including travel costs and travel insurance. They also are supported by On Earth Peace, which is providing blogging and social networking support. OEP peace witness coordinator Matt Guynn is their denominational support person. In addition they have been in communication with Illinois and Wisconsin District executive Kevin Kessler about their work with EAPPI.

“We assume we will learn much and hope we can find ways to share our learnings and experiences--to the benefit of the larger church in the US,” they wrote in a letter of appreciation for the support they are receiving from the church.

After their return from the Middle East, the Cassels are scheduled to report to the Church of the Brethren Mission and Ministry Board’s spring meeting next March. During their time in Israel and Palestine they are blogging about their work, at www.3monthsinpalestine.tumblr.com.

Source: 9/6/2012 Newsline

Beach retires from leadership of Atlantic Southeast District.

Martha R. BeachMartha R. Beach has announced her plans to retire as executive minister of Atlantic Southeast District, effective Jan. 1, 2013. She began her ministry as district executive on March 20, 2000.

Beach began her tenure as a long-time active lay leader in the Church of the Brethren. She was baptized in 1959 at Koontz Church of the Brethren in Middle Pennsylvania District. During her tenure as district executive she was both licensed (April 2003) and ordained (July 2011) at St. Petersburg (Fla.) Church of the Brethren.

Prior to moving to Florida, she served numerous terms as chair of the church board at her congregation as well as chair of the Trustee Board of Morrison’s Cove Home in Pennsylvania. Her professional experience was in the insurance industry as owner of her own agency and representative for several other agencies. In that work she attained the CLU designation from American College in 1995 and the LUTCF designation from Life Underwriters Training Council in 1989.

She and her husband Bob Beach were married in 1959. In retirement she looks forward to being able to do more traveling and studying, and spending time with her family.

Source: 9/6/2012 Newsline

Hipps to begin as denomination’s director of Donor Relations.

John R. Hipps begins Sept. 24 as director of Donor Relations for the Church of the Brethren. He is a member of Bridgewater (Va.) Church of the Brethren and brings a broad range of knowledge and expertise in fundraising to the position, having helped carry out a $40 million fundraising campaign at Bridgewater College.

Hipps most recently has been director of Development at the Shenandoah County Free Clinic in Woodstock, Va. Previously he worked in the Office of Institutional Advancement at Bridgewater College where from 2008-11 he was executive director of Development, and from 2005-08 was director of Special Gifts. Other professional experience has included 13 years with Air Products and Chemicals Inc. in Allentown, Pa., where he held several different positions including financial analyst and global business controller.

Church involvements include lifelong affiliation with the Church of the Brethren, seven years on the summer staff of Brethren camps during high school and college, and service on local church boards. He is an active member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the Virginia Gift Planning Council. He holds a bachelor of science in Business Administration and Economics from Bridgewater College, and a master’s degree in Business Administration from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va.

Hipps will work out of a main office in Bridgewater while also working one week per month at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill.

Source: 9/6/2012 Newsline

Communities around the globe invited to ‘Pray for Ceasefire’ Sept. 21.

A peace pole in the courtyard at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill.Sept. 21 is the International Day of Prayer for Peace--and it’s not too late to participate! On Earth Peace is inviting all churches and community groups to use this day to lift up a message of peace and ceasefire in whatever ways make sense in your community, including shortly before or after the 21st itself. Register at http://prayingforceasefire.tumblr.com/signup.

Currently 145 communities have signed up, including participants in Australia, Canada, the Democratic Republic of Congo, El Salvador, India, Jamaica, Nigeria, the Philippines, Thailand, and the US. Participating groups report a number of religious affiliations, including Church of the Brethren, American Baptist, Presbyterian, Christian Council of Nigeria (Methodist), Disciples of Christ, Dominican Sisters of Peace, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Pax Christi, Quaker, Roman Catholic, Seventh Day Adventist, Uniting Church (Australia), United Church of Christ, United Church of Canada, and United Methodist.

Here is a sampling of plans reported so far:

Quinter (Kan.) Church of the Brethren is planning prayers around a peace pole.

Midland (Mich.) Church of the Brethren is holding a "Fortress of Peace" children's Bible school and children's mural project, and a "Grandma's Silence" prayer time in which grandmothers in the neighborhood pause in prayer.

Miami (Fla.) First Church of the Brethren is participating in a community forum on Florida's "Stand Your Ground" handgun law, and public prayers for peace in a park with a sermon on how to respond to violence.

In Portland, Ore., the Wilderness Way Community (Lutheran-ELCA) is hosting a webinar viewing and prayer meeting around the theme, "Restorative Justice and Historical Violation," with biblical scholar Ched Myers and mediator Elaine Enns.

In Oyo State, Nigeria, Churches in Action for Peace and Development is organizing an interdenominational service at Wesley Chapel to pray for peace and ceasefire. Expected participants include seminarians from Immanuel College of Theology-Ibadan and Christian Council of Nigeria (Methodist).

Code Pink and the Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones are organizing a Sept. 21-28 peace delegation to Waziristan, Pakistan, an area hard hit by predator drone attacks. They announced via a press release that they will "meet with survivors of US drone attacks, lawyers who are representing drone victims, and political figures. As citizen diplomats from the United States, we will join with people from the region affected by US drone attacks, and call for an end to the killing." Their 50-person delegation includes many people involved in religious communities.

Interfaith prayer services organized by Brethren individuals working with community coalitions are happening in Dayton, Ohio; San Diego, Calif.; Manassas, Va.; Sharpsburg, Md.; and South Bend, Ind.

As one illustration, Ed Poling writes: "Our church, the Hagerstown (Md.) Church of the Brethren, for the last several years has been celebrating International Day of Prayer for Peace with the Interfaith Coalition of Washington County, which I coordinate. This year our event will be on Sunday evening, Sept. 23, 5 p.m., at the Dunker Meetinghouse on the Antietam Battlefield, Sharpsburg, Md. We’re calling it our Song and Prayer Peace Fest. We’ll have 18-20 different religious traditions each share a brief statement on peace, a prayer for peace, and a peace song. Besides a number of Protestant denominations, including all the historic peace churches, we plan to involve Catholics, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Baha’i, Sufi, Unity, Adventists, Metropolitan Community, Hispanic, and Unitarian/Universalists. During this week the community is commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest single-day battle of the Civil War, with over 23,000 casualties. So we have the present-day violence to ponder as well as memories of war from the past. A great place to pray for peace in our homes, our communities, the nation, and the world.”

To see a full list of participants in Peace Day, go to http://prayingforceasefire.tumblr.com/events . For event plans that have been reported so far, see http://prayingforceasefire.tumblr.com/tagged/local-event-plans .  More information and registration for Peace Day is at www.prayingforceasefire.tumblr.com.

-- Matt Guynn is coordinator of Peace Witness for On Earth Peace.

Source: 9/6/2012 Newsline

Dunker Church Service at Antietam National Battlefield set for Sept. 16.

A photo of the Dunker Church on the Antietam National Battlefield Park, viewed through one of the cannons at the park. This photo was taken on the occasion of a Song and Story Fest worship service in the meetinghouse
Photo by Regina Holmes
The 42nd Annual Dunker Church Service at Antietam National Battlefield Park is planned for Sept. 16. The worship service will begin at 3 p.m. at the historic Civil War site in Sharpsburg, Md., sponsored by Church of the Brethren congregations in Maryland and West Virginia.

Preaching for the service is Phil Stone, well-known throughout the Church of the Brethren as a past moderator of Annual Conference in 1991, former president of Bridgewater (Va.) College 1994-2010, and a noted Abraham Lincoln scholar and Civil War historian. Stone practices law with his three children in Harrisonburg, Va. His sermon topic will be “Lincoln and Antietam: Peacemaker or Warrior.”

“This worship service is similar to an 1862 Dunker Worship Service and is held in the restored Mumma Meeting House, commonly referred to today as the Dunker Church,” said an announcement from the organizers. “This year is the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam, Sept. 17, 1862. We extend our gratitude to the National Park Service for their cooperation, for the use of this meeting house, and the loan of the Mumma Bible.”

As they publicize the service, organizers also are sharing a quote generally attributed to E. Russell Hicks, now deceased, a former member of Hagerstown (Md.) Church of the Brethren: “It is the hope of the Brethren that the little white church on the Antietam Battlefield may be to our troubled world a symbol of tolerance, love, brotherhood, and service--a witness to the spirit of Him [the Christ] whom we seek to serve.”

For more information call one of the following pastors who are involved in the service: Eddie Edmonds at 304-267-4135 or 304-671-4775; Tom Fralin at 301-432-2653 or 301-667-2291; or Ed Poling at 301-733-3565.

In related news, a stamp from the US Postal Service commemorating the sesquicentennial of the battle at Antietam shows the Dunker meetinghouse in the background, go to https://ecom-prod.usps.com/store/browse/productDetailSingleSku.jsp?productId=S_577040&categoryId=subcatS_S_Sheets. The story of the meetinghouse and its Mumma Bible are on the National Parks Service website at www.nps.gov/anti/historyculture/dunkerchurch.htm.

Source: 9/6/2012 Newsline

Workcamp ministry announces theme for 2013, new coordinators.

Logo for the 2013 summer workcampsThe Workcamp Ministry has announced a theme and released a logo for the 2013 workcamps to be held next summer.

In other news, the new set of coordinators have begun their work. Katie Cummings of Summit Church of the Brethren in Bridgewater, Va., and Tricia Ziegler of Sebring (Fla.) Church of the Brethren, are serving as workcamp coordinators through Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS). Their official start date was Aug. 20, and they will complete BVS orientation later this fall.

Emily Tyler, the new denominational staff person overseeing workcamps as well as BVS recruitment, also recently started her work with the ministry.

For 2013, the ministry has announced the theme “Deeply Rooted,” with the additional tagline, “Let your living spill over into thanksgiving.” The logo for 2013 was designed by Debbie Noffsinger.

The theme is based on Colossians 2:6-7 (The Message): "My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you've been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him. You're deeply rooted in him. You're well constructed upon him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you've been taught. School's out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving."

Source: 9/6/2012 Newsline

Top 10 favorite hymns from 'Hymnal: A Worship Book.'

At Annual Conference in July, Brethren Press sponsored a hymn sing celebrating the 20th anniversary of “Hymnal: A Worship Book.” Nancy Faus-Mullen, who chaired the committee that put together the hymnal on behalf of Brethren Press and the Mennonite publishing house, led the event. In preparation, she and a team that included Haley Goodwin and Douglas Archer surveyed a number of Brethren to find out what hymns from the 1992 hymnal are most loved by those who sing from it in worship. Although it was not a scientific survey, the results are interesting. More survey findings and the group’s reflection on the survey may appear in a future issue of “Messenger” magazine. 
Top 10 favorite hymns from the 1992 “Hymnal: A Worship Book”:
  1. “In the Bulb There Is a Flower,” #614
  2. “Amazing Grace,” #143
  3. “Blessed Assurance,” #332
  4. “Great Is Thy Faithfulness,” #327
  5. “Here I Am, Lord,” #395
  6. “When Peace Like a River,” #336
  7. “Praise God from Whom,” #118
  8. “Move in Our Midst,” #418
  9. “Here in This Place,” #6
  10. “Wonderful Grace of Jesus,” #150
Of the top 10 hymns, one (#418) is totally a Brethren hymn, written by a Brethren text writer, Kenneth Morse, and a Brethren tune writer, Perry Huffaker.

Five of the hymns are in a hymnal produced by the Church of the Brethren for the first time: #614, #395, #118, #6, #150. Of these five, three have been written since 1980 (#614, #395, and #6).

The oldest hymn of the top 10 is #143.

Two of the top 10 are in “The Brethren Hymnal” of 1901 (#332 and #336).

Two are in “Hymnal Church of the Brethren” of 1925 (#332 and #336).

Four are in “The Brethren Hymnal” of 1951 (#143,  #332, #327, #336).

-- Prepared and compiled by Nancy Faus-Mullen, Haley Goodwin, and Douglas Archer.

Source:9/6/2012 Newsline

Brethren bits.

  • Groups related to Annual Conference held meetings at the Church of the Brethren General Offices last week: the denomination’s Leadership Team, the Annual Conference Officers, and the Program and Arrangements Committee and Worship Committee for 2013. The Conference Officers are Bob Krouse, moderator (Fredericksburg, Pa.); Nancy Sollenberger Heishman, moderator-elect (Tipp City, Ohio); and Jim Beckwith, secretary (Lebanon, Pa.). The officers and general secretary Stan Noffsinger make up the Leadership Team. Program and Arrangements Committee members are Eric Bishop (Pomona, Calif.), Cindy Laprade Lattimer (Lancaster, Pa.), and Christy Waltersdorff (Lombard, Ill.). Additional Worship Committee members are music coordinator Carol Elmore (Roanoke, Va.), and choir director John Shafer (Oakton, Va.).
  • GMO 2012 logoThe Church of the Brethren’s Global Mission Offering is Oct. 7 using the theme scripture 2 Corinthians 5:18-19, “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ....” This annual offering emphasis supports denomination-wide ministries, with a focus on mission. Resources are available at www.brethren.org/GMO and include downloadable logos, worship resources, song suggestions, children’s sermon, and youth-centered resources including a skit and youth activity. Still to come: a video congregations may use to highlight the offering emphasis. Congregations on standing order will soon receive a cover letter, poster, and combination bulletin inserts/collection envelopes through the mail. Congregations not on standing order will receive a sample of the insert/envelope combination and information about how to order more. For more information or to order copies of any of the offering materials contact offerings@brethren.org or call Mandy Garcia at 847-429-4361.
  • New at the denomination’s website are Love Feast resources provided through members of the Gibble family and Codorus Church of the Brethren in Dallastown, Pa. Go to www.brethren.org/resources and enter the words “Love Feast” in the “Occasion” search box. Suitable for use on World Communion Sunday, Oct. 7, the resources provide some creative new scripture jams and ideas to focus the Love Feast experience. Web producer Jan Fischer Bachman invites others who want to contribute worship resources to contact her at jfischerbachman@brethren.org .
  • Bruce Lockwood is working to bring Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) to Connecticut, partly as a response to the Oct. 2011 snowstorm that hit the state, according to the Canton Patch. Lockwood was a member of the National Commission for Children in Disasters, and is co-chair of the state’s Children Emergency Preparedness Committee. He told the publication that in his travels he’s seen several groups that cater to children and feels Children’s Disaster Services is the best. “I’m a huge fan of this program,” he said. Find the article at http://canton-ct.patch.com/articles/group-looks-to-help-children-during-disasters
  • Zach Wolgemuth, associate director of Brethren Disaster Ministries, recently was asked to join the drought task force of National VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster). He also is part of a subgroup that is dealing with farm operations.
  • Circleville (Ohio) Church of the Brethren celebrates its 100th anniversary on Sept. 16. with a meal, special music, and visits by former pastors.
  • Decatur (Ill.) Church of the Brethren has sold its building and now worships in the Crestview Worship Center, a facility of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Mailing address for the church remains the same but the congregation has a new phone number: 217-875-4849.
  • Modesto (Calif.) Church of the Brethren has made the news with a commitment to renewable energy. “After decades of preaching the power of the Son (Jesus), the Modesto Church of the Brethren is harnessing an additional kind of power--energy from the sun,” the “Modesto Bee” reported. The church has installed a solar system to provide 100 percent of its electricity, with an excess amount helping to pay for the program. Find the article at www.modbee.com/2012/09/03/2356725/modesto-church-sees-the-light.html#storylink=cpy .
  • Briery Branch Church of the Brethren in Dayton, Va., is hosting an auction Sept. 7 to benefit members who face major medical expenses. Doors open at 4 p.m. The sale includes handmade furniture, computer equipment, TVs, an iron sleigh bed, NASCAR and Longaberger items.
  • Middle Pennsylvania District is kicking off the new Vital Ministry Journey, an initiative in cooperation with the Church of the Brethren’s Congregational Life Ministries. Sept. 8 some 65 representatives from 15 churches will gather at the Village at Morrisons Cove. Said the district newsletter, “It is our hope that participating congregations will invest the time and energy into the Journey of recapturing and/or maintaining the dynamic vision and mission for their congregations.” More information can be found at www.midpacob.org .
  • Virlina District has shared results of this year’s World Hunger Auction held Aug. 11. Hundreds gathered for the day of sharing and fellowship, according to the district newsletter. “More than $30,000 was collected on auction day which will be added to the more than $22,000 which has been contributed in earlier activities.” A Hunger Walk was postponed because of bad weather, and will be held Sept. 30 starting at 3 p.m. at Antioch Church of the Brethren.
  • The Pacific Southwest District Executive Board recently revised its "Child Abuse Prevention Policy Statement" and is requiring volunteers who work with children and youth at District Conference to undergo a background check and sign a statement (find it at www.pswdcob.org/youth/youth-worker-forms ). Earlier this summer, the district mailed each congregation a copy of the May/June issue of “Church Law & Tax Report” with the article "12 Lessons Church Leaders Can Learn from Penn State's Abuse Scandal" (find a link at www.christianitytoday.org/mediaroom/news/2012/12lessonslearnfrompennstate.html ).
  • West Marva District is offering “Equipping the Saints” events beginning on Sept. 15 with “Inviting and Welcoming Guests to Worship” at Maple Spring Church of the Brethren. The event from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. is led by Kendal Elmore, district executive minister.
  • Shenandoah District announces that “the books are closed on the 2012 Disaster Ministries Auction.” The auction raised $214,620.03--the fourth highest amount in its 20-year history.
  • Three district conferences are held in mid-September: On Sept. 14-15, Northern Indiana District meets at Camp Mack near Milford, Ind., with a Friday evening hymn sing celebrating the 20th anniversary of “Hymnal: A Worship Book” led by Nancy Faus-Mullen. On Sept. 14-15 Southern Pennsylvania meets at Faith Community of the Brethren Home in New Oxford, Pa., on the theme, “Wake Up! Strengthen What Remains” (Revelation 3:2). On Sept. 14-17 Oregon and Washington District meets to consider a name change to Pacific Northwest District.
  • The Bridgewater (Va.) Home Auxiliary’s Fall Festival will be Sept. 15, from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds. Breakfast and a silent auction start at 7:30 a.m., followed by lunch, the featured auction with art and quilts among the offerings, Cottage Gifts, a ReRun Shoppe, and specialty shops with baked goods, handcrafts, plants, and more.
  • Camp Ithiel near Gotha, Fla., is sponsoring a Men’s Retreat in cooperation with L’Eglise des Freres Haitiens, the Haitian Church of the Brethren in Miami. The event is Sept. 15, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. The $30 fee covers breakfast, lunch, and all materials.
  • Middle Pennsylvania District and Camp Blue Diamond held their 18th annual Brethren Open on Aug. 14. Tournament sponsor this year was Dr. Raymond Burket. “Thank you to the 109 golfers who participated,” said the district newsletter. “Congratulations to the winning team of John Showalter, Jim Snowberger, Jim Hamm, Bill Dodson. Total funds raised was $7,542.”
  • Camp Pine Lake in Eldora, Iowa, is holding a Men’s Spiritual Retreat and Canoe Weekend on Sept. 14-16 with leadership from Joshua Brockway, director of spiritual life and discipleship for the Church of the Brethren, and Randall Westfall, camp director of Camp Brethren Heights in Michigan District. Cost is $60. Contact baacoffee@yahoo.com .
  • Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., has been included in the revised and updated edition of “Colleges That Change Lives.” Juniata is one of 40 colleges and universities profiled in the book.
  • Minnijean Brown Trickey, one of the “Little Rock Nine,” will speak at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 12, in Cole Hall at Bridgewater (Va.) College. A release from the college explained the special role she played in helping set America on the path of desegregation when in 1957 the group walked through the doors of Central High School in Little Rock, Ark. “Although all of the Nine experienced verbal and physical harassment during their year at Central, Brown was first suspended, and then expelled for retaliating against the daily torment,” the release said. “She moved to New York and lived with Drs. Kenneth B. and Mamie Clark, the African American psychologists whose social science research formed the basis for the NAACP argument in Brown v. Board of Education.” Trickey served in the Clinton administration as deputy assistant secretary for workforce diversity at the Department of the Interior.
  • Manchester University marks its largest enrollment since the Vietnam Era, says a release. Unofficial total for fall enrollment is 1,350, including 20 new Church of the Brethren students.
  • Among upcoming events at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College is a lecture at the Young Center’s Bucher Meetinghouse on Sept. 20 at 7:30 p.m., when Samuel Funkhouser will present "In the Line of Duty: Brethren and Their Early English Hymns." He is a licensed Church of the Brethren minister and graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary.
  • The August “Brethren Voices” features Wendy McFadden, publisher of Brethren Press. Copies for use by Sunday school classes can be obtained from producer Ed Groff by e-mailing groffprod1@msn.com . Host Brent Carlson interviews McFadden about her journey to the Church of the Brethren, and her recent participation in a Sankofa Journey. For a dozen years, this journey has been part of the Evangelical Covenant Church’s commitment to becoming more multiracial, and takes participants on a but tour of Civil Rights sites in pairs that each include an African-American partner. “Brethren Voices” is in its 8th year of offering a monthly program designed for public access cable television or small group study.
  • Interfaith 9/11 Unity Walks are planned for  Sept. 9 in Washington, D.C., and New York City, with support from the National Council of Churches. Starting point for the Washington walk is the Washington Hebrew Congregation at 1:30 p.m., with various houses of worship opening their doors for the event. In New York, the walk takes place from 3-5:30 p.m. starting at Washington Square Park. For more information go to www.911UnityWalk.org.
  • Timbercrest Retirement Community in N. Manchester, Ind., is hosting a celebration of Olden Mitchell’s 100th birthday on Sept. 15, from 2-4 p.m. South/Central Indiana District has extended an open invitation to “celebrate 100 years of a good life!”
Source:9/6/2012 Newsline