Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Newsline: March 7, 2012


Annual Conference ballot for 2012 is announced.

2012 AC logo 200The ballot has been announced for the 2012 Annual Conference of the Church of the Brethren, to take place in St. Louis, Mo., on July 7-11. The Nominating Committee of the Standing Committee of district delegates developed a slate of candidates, and the Standing Committee then voted to create the ballot that will be presented to the delegate body in July.

Nominees are listed by position:

Annual Conference Moderator-Elect: Dava Hensley of Roanoke, Va.; Nancy Sollenberger Heishman of Tipp City, Ohio.

Annual Conference Secretary: James Beckwith of Lebanon, Pa.; Bonnie Martin of Annville, Pa.

Annual Conference Program and Arrangements Committee: Wendy Noffsinger Erbaugh of Clayton, Ohio; Rebekah Houff of Richmond, Ind.

Pastoral Compensation and Benefits Advisory Committee: Bernie Fuska of Timberville, Va.; Carol L. Yeazell of Arden, N.C.

Mission and Ministry Board: Area 1 -- Connie Burk Davis of Westminster, Md.; Rhonda Ritenour of York, Pa. Area 2 -- J. Trent Smith of New Lebanon, Ohio; Sherry Reese Vaught of Mansfield, Ohio.

Bethany Theological Seminary Trustee: Representing the clergy -- James Benedict of New Windsor, Md.; Paul Brubaker of Ephrata, Pa. Representing the colleges -- Celia Cook-Huffman of Huntingdon, Pa.; W. Steve Watson of Harrisonburg, Va.

Brethren Benefit Trust Board: Eric Kabler of Johnstown, Pa.; Karen Pacheco of North Miami Beach, Fla.

On Earth Peace Board: Barbara Wise Lewczak of Minburn, Iowa; Cindy Weber-Han of West Chicago, Ill.

For more information about the 2012 Annual Conference and for online registration, go to

Source:3/7/2012 Newsline

Brethren give grant for tornado outbreak, Syria; CDS begins care for affected children.

Kansas tornado damage
KS Div. of Emergency Mgt.
The town of Harveyville, KS was heavily damaged by a Feb. 28, 2012 tornado.
The tornado outbreak that began on Feb. 28-29 and continued March 2-3 was one of the largest ever recorded in March, according to Brethren Disaster Ministries. The program has given a grant from the denomination’s Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) in response to a plea from Church World Service (CWS) for funds for affected communities. Another EDF grant has been given to aid those affected by violence in Syria.

Children's Disaster Services (CDS) is sending volunteers to Multi Agency Resource Centers in Moscow, Ohio, and Crittenden, Ky., and waiting for confirmation of another location in Missouri to provide care for children affected by the storms. “It is anticipated that these MARCs will be open for four to five days or longer if the need persists,” reports associate director Judy Bezon. In these locations, teams of trained and certified CDS volunteers will care for children while parents apply for assistance and attend to other needs.

Brethren Disaster Ministries has been contacting the affected Church of the Brethren districts about local needs and how the program can support any local or regional efforts. Preliminary reports indicate that there were no Brethren congregations in the affected areas.

“BDM does not normally provide direct assistance in the form of cleanup or chainsaw crews on a national level,” wrote coordinator Jane Yount in an update, “as there are a number of other organizations whose mission and structure is well suited for this type of work--just as BDM is well suited to repair and rebuild homes.

“Many people are wondering how they can help. Following a major disaster such as this, it is always advisable to follow the lead of the affected communities with regard to volunteers and donations. At this time state and local emergency operations are underway in many areas, and access to some of them is limited or prohibited. The message coming from the affected areas is ‘Cash is King.’ Monetary donations are currently needed and will continue to be needed to ensure a sustained recovery and rebuilding of these communities. Unsolicited in-kind donations can clog the system and prevent the most needed supplies from reaching the disaster survivors quickly.”

It is still too early to tell how Brethren Disaster Ministries may be involved in long-term rebuilding efforts. The program is supporting immediate response efforts by CWS through the EDF grant of $7,500. The money will help CWS respond in 13 states.

CWS staff have been monitoring the situation, communicating with response organizations, assessing needs, and arranging shipments of material aid. As local long-term recovery groups are forming in affected areas, CWS will support these groups through training and small seed grants to assist with start-up costs. The total goal for the CWS appeal is currently $110,000.

CWS reported the following worst-hit areas (numbers are preliminary):
  • Indiana: 13 fatalities, with the city of Marysville heavily damaged by one of 16 reported tornadoes in the state
  • Tennessee: 11 tornadoes, 3 fatalities, 40 people injured, at least 5 counties affected
  • Kentucky: 32 tornadoes, 12 fatalities, flash flooding reported in Bell County
  • Alabama: at least 16 tornadoes, 5 injuries reported, as many as 40 homes destroyed and several hundred more damaged. “Some of the houses damaged were just recently rebuilt from damage incurred by tornadoes in April 2011,” CWS said.
  • Ohio: 9 tornadoes, 3 people dead, 8 injured.
In the Feb. 28-29 outbreak, tornadoes caused significant damage in Missouri, Kansas, and Illinois:
  • Missouri: 17 counties hit by tornadoes, 3 people killed, more than 100 injured, in Cape Girardeau County as many as 490 homes damaged and 25 destroyed, in Kimberling City (Stone County) 22 homes destroyed and 54 with major damage, in Branson (Taney County) 41 homes destroyed, in Le Clede County 1 home destroyed with 8 sustaining major damage and 85 suffering minor damage, in Phelps County 22 homes damaged
  • Kansas: town of Harveyville most severely damaged with 1 person killed and 14 injured, 2 houses destroyed, 28 houses with major damage, 36 with moderate damage, 3 injuries reported in Labette County, 1 person injured in Wilson County, some damage reported in 14 other Kansas counties
  • Illinois: tornadoes throughout the lower third of the state, 500 houses affected, town of Harrisburg hit by a major category-4 tornado in which 6 people died, 100 homes were destroyed, and 200 sustained major damage.
“BDM will post further updates as things progress,” Yount wrote. “Please keep all tornado survivors and response workers in your prayers.” Find her current update at . Support the grant from the Emergency Disaster Fund by donating online at

In related news:

The EDF grant of $8,000 for Syria responds to a Church World Service appeal following an 11-month political crisis in the Middle Eastern country. The related violence has resulted in a humanitarian crisis, with thousands of people displaced within Syria and thousands more seeking refuge in neighboring countries. The money supports the work of CWS and its partner, International Orthodox Christian Charities, in responding with food packages, relief kits, household supplies, and training for community health care workers.

Brethren Disaster Ministries also requested an EDF grant of $15,000 for the Ashland City, Tenn., rebuilding site established following flooding in May 2010. This grant supports the completion of the work in Cheatham County and surrounding areas. Funds will underwrite operational expenses related to volunteer support, including housing, food, travel expenses incurred on site, training, tools, and equipment, and will pay to transport tools and equipment to other BDM sites or headquarters once the work at Ashland City is completed. Prior grants for this project total $85,000.

An EDF grant of $2,500 has responded to a Church World Service appeal following a series of severe storms in several southern states in January. The grant helped pay for CWS to process and ship material goods, and for long-term recovery group start-up grants and training.

Brethren Disaster Ministries needs skilled volunteer electricians to help rebuild homes in Minot, N.D., where flooding last June damaged or destroyed thousands of homes. Since the flood, the city of Minot has struggled to meet the needs of many of its residents. BDM is working closely with FEMA and other National VOAD member organizations to recruit and mobilize volunteers to assist with specific work. A shortage of local licensed electricians has created a backlog of work that threatens to hinder the recovery. BDM seeks electricians to do residential wiring in flood damaged homes. The need is immediate, with 90 homes waiting for wiring to be completed before reconstruction can continue. Specific criteria for volunteer electricians: needed immediately and through the next few months; must be Master level or Journeyman; must be willing to serve for a minimum of two weeks. Through BDM’s partnerships, selected individuals will be provided with round-trip transportation, food, and lodging. Call the BDM office at 800-451-4407 for additional details.

(Roy Winter, Zach Wolgemuth, Judy Bezon, and Jane Yount contributed to this report.)

Source:3/7/2012 Newsline

Dominican Brethren hold annual assembly.

Brethren leaders pose for a photo at the Dominican church's 2012 Asamblea
Photo by Jay Wittmeyer
Brethren leaders pose for a photo at the Dominican church's 2012 Asamblea (from left): Isaias Tena, moderator of Iglesia de los Hermanos and pastor of the San Luis congregation in the Dominican Republic; Earl K. Ziegler, a longtime supporter of the Brethren in the DR, who was at the Asamblea with a group of workcampers from Atlantic Northeast District; and Daniel d’Oleo, who is serving as a mission liaison between the Church of the Brethren in the US and the Brethren in the DR.
Iglesia de los Hermanos (Church of the Brethren) in the Dominican Republic held its 2012 Asamblea on Feb. 24-26. The annual assembly was “really positive,” said general secretary Stan Noffsinger, who attended along with Global Mission and Service executive Jay Wittmeyer and mission liaison Daniel d’Oleo.

Two Brethren leaders from Haiti represented l’Eglise des Freres Haitiens (the Haitian Church of the Brethren). The two countries of Haiti and the Dominican Republic share the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, and many members of the DR church are of Haitian background. Also at the assembly were workcampers from Atlantic Northeast District led by Earl K. Ziegler, a long-time supporter of the DR church.

Following the Asamblea, Wittmeyer met with DR church leaders to talk about the microfinance community development program of the Dominican church, and a meeting also was held with a leading Haitian-Dominican pastor to hear concerns for those of Haitian descent living in the DR.

Noffsinger also spent time with the Los Guaricanos congregation, and visited in the homes of church members. Wittmeyer and d’Oleo accompanied the workcamp group to San Jose de los Llanos, where they worked on a building project in cooperation with the Sabana Torza congregation.

Both at the Asamblea and in his visits with church members, Noffsinger reported seeing evidence of a mature church that is “engaging society, leading to spiritual and community transformation.” He praised the DR Brethren for publishing a transparent and fully audited financial report this year, and expressed admiration for the combination of evangelism, church planting, and peace work that is being carried out in various congregations.

He lifted up the example of the Guaricanos congregation and its five preaching points. The Guaricanos church has a goal of expanding that effort to 10 preaching points, Noffsinger said, and is deliberately planting in communities where there are social issues that need to be addressed. One preaching point, for example, is in a neighborhood marked by gun violence, prostitution, and gambling. Even as they do evangelism at a weekly open market, the Guaricanos Brethren also have held weapons swaps in which they offered food to people who turned in their guns. Noffsinger said, “There is critical need in that community, and they are reaching out to affect the lives of the people.”

Wittmeyer and Noffsinger both commented on seeing the effects of the global recession on the DR’s economy, which is “dismal” in Wittmeyer’s words. In part, this results from a decline in tourism, he said. There was a decline in attendance at the Asamblea because of economic difficulties among church members, he added, as many were already surviving on subsistence wages. “They’re facing the same kinds of things (as American Brethren),” he said. “Staggering increase in the price of gasoline, increases in the price of food.” During the trip, the American church leaders noticed that the price of gas in the DR had risen above $7.50 per gallon.

At the Asamblea, Ziegler preached the Sunday morning sermon from Philippians 3, and called on the Dominican Brethren to press toward the mark, with the goal of following Jesus. “The worship at the Asamblea was outstanding,” Noffsinger said.

Business items included a “clean” and independently audited financial report. Noffsinger said that at the invitation of the executive committee, the auditor presented his credentials and the audit in person, and answered questions. Also, each congregation reported how much it is giving to support the ministries of the national church.

Wittmeyer reported that the Global Mission and Service office is giving a grant of $20,000 to the church in the DR for the year 2012. The money will help rent properties for congregations, and support the Dominican Brethren in holding outreach events like Vacation Bible School, but will no longer be used to pay salaries for pastors.

In other business, Ariel Rosario Abreu, pastor at Los Guaricanos, was chosen moderator-elect. Isaias Tena, co-pastor of the San Luis congregation, is serving as moderator.

Source:3/7/2012 Newsline

EYN Ministers’ Council 2012 is praised.

Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN--the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) held its ministers’ annual conference from Feb. 13-17, the first under the leadership of Samuel Dali as president of EYN. The conference is the second in decision making on ministerial issues. The meeting included ordained ministers from the nationwide church and other mission fields outside Nigeria.
During the meeting, the group approved the ordinations into probation of 66 people and 47 full ministers. On the other hand, the group also confirmed the action to let go one pastor for alleged misconduct.

The event carried teachings on “Pastor and Wealth Creation” from Rebecca S. Dali, the wife of the EYN president; and “Pastor and His Family,” presented by Musa A. Mambula. EYN secretary Amos Duwala, commenting on the conference said it was wonderful and welcomed teachings, which he said came at point when the church needs to strengthen its ways to create income.

A participant from Local Church Council (LCC) Port Harcourt, Joshua B. Mainu, said, “We can see that EYN will move to the greater height. Let us support Mr. President; we have the big dream for EYN. Let us put our hands on deck to make EYN the best.

“The meeting has changed from the past meetings we used to have, because of the questions, contributions, and addressing issues has taken a different dimension altogether.”

Anthony A. Ndamsai is the former coordinator of the EYN Pastoral Development Program, now pastor of LCC Ikeja Lagos. “In fact I am impressed with this year’s Ministers' Council,” he said. “The teachings and deliberations were thought provoking. Especially the business session; it was straight to the point and the president who chaired the meeting was able to coordinate it very well.”

-- Zakariya Musa provided this report on behalf of the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria and the “New Light” journal.

Source:3/7/2012 Newsline

Bridgewater College announces change in leadership.

The Board of Trustees of Bridgewater (Va.) College accepted a request by George Cornelius to allow his contract as president to expire at the end of the current academic year. The Board of Trustees has appointed executive vice president Roy W. Ferguson, Jr. as interim president to succeed Cornelius, with the transition to be completed on May 14.

“After significant reflection I have decided not to pursue an extension of my contract as president of the college,” Cornelius stated. “I would like to conclude the efforts I’ve started on campus and then focus my efforts elsewhere. I look forward to partnering with my friend and colleague Roy Ferguson to ensure a smooth transition.”

“We thank George and Susan, his wife, for their service to Bridgewater and wish them the best in their future endeavors,” Nathan H. Miller, chair of the Board of Trustees, affirmed. “The college has benefited from George’s broad business experience across an array of industries during its current strategic planning efforts. And we are pleased to have a leader of Roy Ferguson’s caliber to maintain the college’s momentum and history of providing a valuable education to our students.”

“Today the board invites the campus community to join its leaders in the next chapter of our strong story,” Miller continued. “Together, we are a campus that is keeping pace with change and embracing our robust future. Bridgewater College has and will continue to be a home for students, faculty, staff, and alumni who believe in our values and the college’s approach of educating the whole person.”

“I am honored to be asked to serve in the vital role of interim president of Bridgewater College,” stated Ferguson. “As begun by my predecessors, I look forward to leading the transition of a strong campus with a bright future.”

A search for the ninth president of the college will commence after discussion by the board at its regularly scheduled meeting in April. Under the board’s leadership, the search will progress with input and involvement from the campus community.

For more about Bridgewater College go to

-- Mary Kay Heatwole is editorial assistant for Media Relations for Bridgewater College.

Source:3/7/2012 Newsline

Tyler to serve as coordinator of workcamps and volunteer recruitment.

Emily Tyler will begin June 27 as coordinator of workcamps and volunteer recruitment for the Church of the Brethren. The job combines oversight and administration of the youth and young adult workcamps with recruitment of volunteers for Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS).

This new coordinator position is located within the Global Mission and Service program, reports to the director of BVS, and also works closely with the director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry.

Tyler has been teaching music and choir at the elementary school level in Peoria, Ariz., where she is a member of Circle of Peace Church of the Brethren. In previous teaching positions she was an elementary music teacher in Wichita, Kan., where she received the Kansas State Teacher of Promise Award in 2004.

Her volunteer work for the Church of the Brethren has included serving as a co-coordinator of National Youth Conference in 2006, working as a BVS volunteer. She also was a coordinator for Young Adult Conference in 2006. She was a member of the National Young Adult Steering Committee 2003-05. In recent years she has been a volunteer director for some of the workcamps that are held across the country through the Workcamp Ministry, and in 2009 co-coordinated youth activities at Annual Conference. She is a graduate of McPherson (Kan.) College.

Source:3/7/2012 Newsline

Crain hired by McPherson College as new campus minister.

McPherson (Kan.) College has chosen a new campus minister with deep roots in both the spiritual and the scientific--Steve Crain.

The campus minister is responsible for the spiritual life of the McPherson College campus. Among the responsibilities are creating spiritual formation programs, supporting students of faith, and connecting students in need to available resources. The campus minister helps create the connection between the intellectual and spiritual at the college.

Crain comes to McPherson College from Fort Wayne, Ind., where he has served as director of Christian formation at Trinity Episcopal Church; co-chaplain for Timbercrest Senior Living Community, a Church of the Brethren retirement community; and adjunct faculty at the Department of Philosophy and Theology at the University of Saint Francis. He also has previous experience as a campus pastor at Manchester College in North Manchester, Ind.

Ordained in the Church of the Brethren, he holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from Stanford, a master’s degree in theology from Fuller Theological Seminary, and a master’s in history and philosophy of science from the University of Notre Dame from which he also received his doctorate in theology. His academic focus has been on the relationship between theology and natural science. In his spare time, he is a passionate reader and outdoorsman.

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

Source:3/7/2012 Newsline

Gather ’Round co-sponsors conference on children, youth, and Christianity.

Display of Gather 'Round curriculum
Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
A display of the Gather 'Round curriculum, produced jointly by Brethren Press and MennoMedia. Products include Christian education materials for preschool, primary, middler, junior youth, and senior high youth ages, along with multiage class sessions, a "Talkabout" CD that helps congregations connect Sunday school with life at home in family settings, an annual music CD, and more.
The Gather ’Round curriculum project is co-sponsoring an innovative conference on “Children, Youth, and a New Kind of Christianity.” The event takes place May 7-10 in Washington, D.C.

Gather ’Round: Hearing and Sharing God’s Good News is a Bible story-based curriculum published jointly by Brethren Press and MennoMedia.

“Children, Youth, and a New Kind of Christianity” is presented by Emergent Village, Wood Lake Publishing, Seasons of the Spirit, Virginia Theological Seminary, and Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., which is hosting the event. Other sponsors of the conference are the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, District of Columbia Baptist Convention, Eastern Mennonite University,, Duke Divinity School, Vibrant Faith Ministries, Bethel University and Bethel Seminary, Transform, Wesley Theological Seminary, CBFVA, Church Publishing Incorporated, and United Church of Canada.

“I’ve been saying again and again that we need a creative revolution in spiritual formation and Christian education for children and youth,” says Brian McLaren, one of the conference planners, “and this is the gathering that I think will bring the right people together.”

Dave Csinos, founder of the conference, believes that new movements within Christianity have much to offer young people but too often lack the resources they need to develop innovative ministries with them. He issued a call to those who are searching for a new kind of Christianity, inviting them to come together and generate new ideas and practices for new generations.

Topics discussed will include cultivating young public theologians, teaching young people about violence in the Bible and the world, faith development in interfaith contexts, sexuality and youth ministry, educating young people about social justice, innovative ideas for ministry, and teaching peace to children.

Keynote presentations will be by McLaren, John Westerhoff, Ivy Beckwith, and Almeda Wright. Titles are: McLaren: “Christian Faith (and) the Next Generation: Why We Need this Conference”; Westerhoff: “Changing Times, Changing Responses”; Wright: “Personal Jesus, Public Faith: Cultivating a Generation of Young Public Theologians”; Beckwith: “Godspell, Footloose (the Original) and a New Kind of Children’s and Youth Ministry.”

“On the Ground,” a panel of practitioners, will be led by Church of the Brethren member Michael Novelli and Amy Dolan. Others presenting at the conference include Shane Claiborne, Jeremiah Wright, Jr., the Jim Wallis family, Joyce Ann Mercer, and Tony Campolo. See the full list at

“This event sets the bar high: it’s got passion, purpose, and a line-up of theological luminaries who rarely share the same stage,” says youth ministry expert and Princeton Theological Seminary professor Kenda Creasy Dean. “What brings it all together is a shared core conviction: if we’re going to be the church Christ calls us to be, we’re going to need to take young people as seriously as Jesus does.”

Register and get information about the conference at Find out more about Gather ’Round at

Source:3/7/2012 Newsline

Brethren bits: Jobs, MMB meeting, ‘Basin and Towel’ online, registration deadlines, and more.

  • The Church of the Brethren seeks a director of Donor Relations to fill a fulltime salaried position based at the General Offices in Elgin, Ill. This position manages the direct gift, planned giving, congregational stewardship, and enlistment programs of the Church of the Brethren. The director for Donor Relations is responsible for the solicitation and management of gifts and for securing special, deferred, and direct gifts from individuals and congregations. In this capacity the director works in collaboration with all stakeholders of the Church of the Brethren to develop and carry out an organizational plan for fund development, while nurturing and building relationship with members of the church. Additional responsibilities include overseeing congregational stewardship and enlistment activities; working collaboratively with the Donor Invitation coordinator, executive director of Congregational Life Ministries, and director of Spiritual Life and Discipleship; working with volunteers, contractors, and staff to hold area meetings to acquaint individuals with planned giving options and ministries supported by special and deferred gifts, and to interpret the ministries and programs of the church; objectives, budget, and program for the Donor Relations office; and representing the denomination as appropriate in ecumenical organizations. Required skills and knowledge include grounding in Church of the Brethren heritage, theology, and polity; ability to articulate and operate out of the vision of the Church of the Brethren; at least five years of experience in planned/deferred giving and/or five years in development-related activities in the not-for-profit sector; ability to inter-relate with individuals and groups; some management experience or work experience related to objective setting, budget preparation, team building, and organizational dynamics. A bachelor’s degree is required. A master’s degree is preferred. Interviews begin mid-March and continue until the position is filled. Request the application form and complete job description, submit a résumé and letter of application, and request three letters of reference to be sent to: Office of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120-1694; 800-323-8039 ext. 258;
  • The National Council of Churches (NCC) is searching for a leader skilled in change management, organizational transformation, and funds development to serve as its transitional general secretary for 18 months during the council's planned restructuring. The Search Committee is chaired by Bishop Mark Hanson, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Review of applicants will begin immediately with the aim of presenting a candidate to the NCC's Governing Board in May. Clare J. Chapman has been serving as the council's interim general secretary since the departure on Dec. 31 of former general secretary Michael Kinnamon. The announcement of the search for a transitional general secretary coincides with the formation during the NCC Executive Committee meeting Feb. 23-24 of a task force to re-envision and restructure the council. This Task Force will facilitate a coordinated effort among NCC leaders, Governing Board members, and staff to provide clarity of mission, and to develop and implement an organizational structure that is better suited to the unique challenges of today's ecumenical landscape. The transitional general secretary will be expected to work with board and staff to transform the NCC mission and oversee funds development. Special skills in addressing institutional racism and working with diverse constituencies are required. Since its founding in 1950, the NCC has been the leading force for shared ecumenical witness among Christians in the US. The NCC's 37 member communions include the Church of the Brethren and represent a wide spectrum of Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox, Evangelical, historic African-American and Living Peace churches, which include 45 million people in more than 100,000 congregations in communities across the nation. See the job posting at
  • Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) seeks a full-time delegations and administrative coordinator. The person in this position will provide leadership support to CPT’s delegation program. CPT delegations form essential advocacy links between communities experiencing violence with concerned individuals and groups, and offer participants first-hand experiences of CPT's on-the-ground faith-based, active peacemaking. This includes working with CPT teams to schedule delegations, recruiting delegates and delegation leaders, facilitating pre-delegation orientation and post delegation debriefings, administering details such as booking flights and finances, taking part in CPT’s Chicago-based administrative coordination. Exact roles will be determined by how the appointee’s gifts mesh with those of others working in CPT administration. Location is Chicago, Ill. Expressions of interest/nominations are due no later than March 19, with full application materials due March 30. Position to start as soon as preferred candidate is available. After confirmed, appointment will be for a period of three years. Compensation includes a need-based stipend, full health coverage, and “incredibly  meaningful work within a team of kind, gutsy, and committed peacemakers,” according to the announcement. Contact Carol Rose, CPT Co-Director, at . See for background information.
Mission and Ministry Board, Fall 2011 meeting
The Church of the Brethren’s Mission and Ministry Board (MMB) holds its Spring meeting
at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., on March 9-12. Board chair Ben Barlow will lead the meeting. Topping the agenda are financial reports and a budget for denominational ministries in 2012, alongside a conversation on the “Ecumenical Call to Just Peace,” the Ministerial Leadership Paper that is coming to the 2012 Annual Conference, a new Congregational Vitality Initiative partnership between Congregational Life Ministries and the Council of District Executives, a query from Southern Pennsylvania District on representation to the board, and a conversation with executives of agencies that report to Annual Conference, among other business. On Sunday the group worships with Frederick (Md.) Church of the Brethren and board members will meet with pastor Paul Mundey for an executive session on “Leadership in Times of Struggle.” A report from the meeting will appear in the next Newsline.
  • The visas of Samuel Sarpiya and his family have been denied, according to a release from Illinois and Wisconsin District, where Sarpiya serves as a new church planter and pastor in Rockford, Ill. Sarpiya also is a part-time staff person with On Earth Peace, and has been a presenter and a preacher at Annual Conference. Prior to moving to the United States, Sarpiya and his family lived in various European and African countries. “The denial letter states that a 30-day window is open for Samuel's attorney to file a motion to continue or re-open the case for Samuel's visa,” said the release from the District Leadership Team, which has established a Sarpiya Visa Fund. For the full release from the district go to
  • “Basin and Towel,” a magazine published by Congregational Life Ministries, is now offering resources from each issue at . Click on the books referenced to order them through Brethren Press. Complete issues more than a year old also are being made available online, as is a subscriptions link to subscribe to the magazine, order a gift subscription, or order a subscription for a congregation (minimum of three copies) to share with leaders in your faith community.
  • Rates go up March 16 for the Church of the Brethren’s New Church Development Conference. Go to for online registration and information including a schedule, speakers, workshops, logistical details, and more. The conference is May 17-19 at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., on the theme, “Plant Generously, Reap Bountifully” (1 Corinthians 3:6). Pre-conference activities begin May 16. Keynote leaders are Tom Johnston and Mike Chong Perkinson of the Praxis Center for Church Development ( ). Workshops for Spanish speaking participants are offered and Spanish translation is available. Sponsors are the New Church Development Advisory Committee and Congregational Life Ministries. The early registration fee of $169 is available through March 15.
  • A March 31 deadline is quickly approaching for young adults who would like to request a scholarship to attend this year’s National Young Adult Conference. The conference is June 18-22 at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. March 31 is the deadline for attendees to contact the Youth and Young Adult Office requesting staff to send a letter to their home church requesting a scholarship. More information and online registration are at . For questions contact Carol Fike, NYAC coordinator, at 800-323-8039 or
  • Regional Youth Conference will be held at McPherson (Kan.) College on March 30-April 1 on the theme “For All of You Are One” (Galatians 3:26-28). For more information and to register, go to . Registration is due by March 19. For questions, call McPherson College dean of students LaMonte Rothrock at 620-242-0501.
  • Covington (Wash.) Community Church of the Brethren in November began “Soup, Soap, Socks, and Soccer Balls,” a holiday collection. “Here’s what we collected,” reports the church in a recent newsletter: 120 pairs of socks for 16 mentally ill men and women who used to be homeless, 67 soccer balls and 110 bars of soap for refugee children and families being resettled in the community, 8 boxes and 142 cans of food for hungry families in the Covington area.
  • Whittier Community Church, a new church plant in Denver, Colo., in Western Plains District, has started a free meal program called “The Feast of Love,” according to the district newsletter. The meal is held on the last Sunday of every month, “when a lot of folks’ checks run out.” Go to
  • The steering committee for the Renovaré Essentials Conference at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College on April 21 has extended the $40 registration fee until the registration deadline of April 5. “This is going to be a wonderful conference,” said David Young, a leader in the Springs Initiative for church vitality. “We invite you to an ‘oil change’ for our spirit! ...The (Atlantic Northeast) District Spiritual Renewal Team...hopes that this will be a way to develop the spiritual journey of for you and your congregation in 2012.” Richard Foster and Chris Webb will be the speakers. Foster is the author of “Celebration of Discipline” and a founder of Renovaré. Webb is the new president of Renovaré and an Anglican priest from Wales. A program for children will be part of the conference. Go to
  • A “Matthew 18 Workshop” is offered in Northern Indiana District on March 16-17 at Union Center Church of the Brethren. Cost is $10 if pre-registered by March 9 ($15 at the door) which includes lunch, snacks, and materials. The workshop will be led by District Shalom Team members. At the close of this workshop, participants will be able to articulate the relevance of Matthew 18 and put conflict transformation skills into practice. Contact Northern Indiana District Church of the Brethren, 162 E. Market St., Nappanee, IN 46550.
  • The Shenandoah District office in Weyers Cave, Va., is a drop-off depot for Church World Service (CWS) kits again this year. The depot is open to receive donations of kits Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., through April 20 (excluding April 5, 6, and 9). For current information about CWS kits go to . Contact the Shenandoah District office at or 540-234-8555.
  • In more news from Shenandoah District, Pastors for Peace is holding a second annual Living Peace Award Banquet on March 20 at 6:30 p.m. at Mill Creek Church of the Brethren in Port Republic, Va. David Radcliff, director of the New Community Project, is the speaker. A Living Peace Award will be presented to a local Church of the Brethren person who embodies the living peace witness of Christ's gospel. Tickets are $15 ($10 for students). Contact David R. Miller at
  • Middle Pennsylvania District is holding a lay leadership event titled “Changing Landscapes: Responding to Congregational Challenges” on March 24 at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa. The event takes place in the Von Liebig Center for Science Sill Boardroom. The district’s Shalom Team is sponsor. Jonathan Shively, executive director of Congregational Life Ministries, will facilitate. Cost is $60. “Being a Christian congregation in North America is more unpredictable than in years past,” said an announcement. “Such unpredictability makes some people very anxious; for others it signals new opportunities. Whether you are anxious, eager, or somewhere in between, this workshop will provide key insights and introduce essential tools for responding to the rapid changes taking place both within and around the church.” Find a brochure on the district website (click on the tab “Middle PA News”).
  • “Reflections on the Care of Creation from the Perspective of the Hebrew Bible” is the title of a continuing education event with Robert Neff on March 27 at the Village at Morrisons Cove, Willows Room, in Martinsburg, Pa. Cost is $50, with an additional $10 for continuing education credit. Light refreshments and lunch are included. Registration deadline is March 13. Contact the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center to register, 717-361-1450 or
  • The Brethren Home Community in Windber, Pa., is planning a 90th Anniversary Celebration Service on June 24, to be hosted by Scalp Level Church of the Brethren. Organizers are seeking copies of old photographs from over the years for displays, including photos for an album of Candy Striper classes through the years. Contact Rebecca Hoffman, director of Church and  Community Relations/Fund Development, at
  • “Pasta with the Pastors,” an annual fundraiser benefiting the scholarship fund for staff of Bridgewater (Va.) Retirement Community, will be held from 4:30-6:30 p.m. on March 16, in the facility’s Houff Community Center. Following dinner, the Rockingham Male Chorus will present a concert at 7 p.m. in Lantz Chapel.
  • COBYS Family Services is planning to “Have a Ball” on March 15. The annual informational/fundraising banquet will be a Fancy Ball, according to a release. The COBYS Fancy Ball takes place March 15 at 6:30 p.m. at Middle Creek Church of the Brethren in Lititz, Pa., with a mix of good food, humor, music, information, and inspiration about COBYS ministries. Doors open at 6 p.m. During the program, guests will meet COBYS resource parents Matt and Marie Cooper and some special friends they met through foster care; Ryan and Erica Onufer and their four adopted children; Lancaster County judge Jay Hoberg, who presided over the Onufer adoptions and many other COBYS adoptions; and District Magisterial Justice Rodney Hartman with COBYS Family Life Education supervisor Abby Keiser. Providing music is a quartet of members of the Susquehanna Chorale, including COBYS controller Cynthia Umberger, Brethren Village pastor Mark Tedford, Sara Zentmeyer, and Stephen Schaefer. There is no charge to attend, but reservations are required. Register by contacting director of Development Don Fitzkee at or 717-656-6580. Additional information is at the News and Events page at
  • The February edition of “Brethren Voices” tells the story of how one Church of the Brethren congregation is continuing the work of Jesus. Portland Peace Church of the Brethren in Oregon has transformed Super Bowl Sunday to "Souper Bowl Sunday,” making a gift to the community and having fun--all at the same time. Members of the church put together packages of bean soup for the community’s emergency food program, Snow Cap. “Host John Zunkle and his crack on-field-reporters interview the MVPs of this years record breaking ‘Souper Bowl Sunday,’” said an announcement from producer Ed Groff. Brethren Voices is a community television program offered by Portland Peace Church, tailored for congregations to air on local community access cable television, or for use by study groups or Sunday school classes. In March, Brethren Voices features the work and photographs of Laura Sewell, who served in India as a missionary for the Church of the Brethren from 1946-84. In May, Brethren Voices features Jim Lehman of Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, Ill., who is known for his writing about the Brethren and his involvement with the annual Song and Story Fest family camp. To order a copy or subscribe to the show, contact Groff at
  • Manchester College in N. Manchester, Ind., is awarding a record $14.4 million in academic scholarships to 228 top high school seniors, according to a release from the school. The four-year scholarships for the baccalaureate program range from $56,000 Dean’s Scholarships to two full-tuition Honors Scholarships valued at $103,400 each. All are competitive, awarded for academic achievement and impressive presentation at Scholarship Day last month. “A record number of top students participated in our Scholarship Days this year,” said Dave McFadden, executive vice president. “It was exciting to see such a positive response. We responded to their enthusiasm with record scholarships.” For more about Manchester go to
  • McPherson (Kan.) College is offering students at least three service opportunities with Church of the Brethren organizations during Spring break: in Lybrook, N.M., at a mission site related to Western Plains District; at the district’s Camp Mount Hermon in Kansas; and at a Brethren Disaster Ministries rebuilding project in Arab, Ala. The college’s Spring break is March 17-24.
  • Eighteen students and two staff of Bridgewater (Va.) College are volunteering with Habitat’s Collegiate Challenge Spring Break 2012, according to a release from the school. The group, accompanied by Jarret and Whitney Smith, director of admissions and director of student activities respectively, left for Maryville, Tenn., on March 4 and return to campus March 10. The group is working in partnership with the Blount County Habitat for Humanity affiliate in the Great Smoky Mountains. To raise money for the trip, they held a chili cook-off and sponsored an evening of childcare for Parents’ Night Out. This makes the 20th year that Bridgewater students have used their Spring break to work in various Habitat projects.
  • This Spring students at the University of La Verne, Calif., will offer free tax services for local taxpayers. Several students are part of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, an IRS-sponsored program that helps low-to-moderate income families and individuals. “Our students have all been trained and will be supervised by our adjunct faculty...who are also IRS employees. Students had to pass an exam to participate in this volunteer program,” said professor of Accounting Renee Miller in a release. “They will be providing free tax filing services to eligible taxpayers as part of the university’s efforts to help the communities we serve.” Approximately 35 students are participating and donating about 40 work hours of their time. For more information on the VITA program contact 909-593-3511 ext. 4432 or
  • The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival has announced its National Awards for Festival Year 2011, including two individual awards and one ensemble award to Bridgewater (Va.) College. The awards recognize outstanding achievement showcased at the eight regional festivals in January and February this year. The awards to Bridgewater are for its presentation of Caryl Churchill’s adaptation of August Strindberg’s “A Dream Play” at the 44th annual Kennedy Center American College Theater Regional Festival in January. Jessica Snellings, a freshman music major from Stanley, Va., won the Distinguished Sound Design award for her work in the play. Production assistant for theater Holly Labbe was one of two Distinguished Costume Design awardees. “A Dream Play” also received a Kennedy Center nod in the Distinguished Performance and Production Ensembles category. The play was first performed at Bridgewater last November, and was chosen to perform at the Region 2 festival at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in January.
  • Robert Willoughby, a 1947 graduate of Elizabethtown (Pa.) College, returns to his alma mater to talk about his experiences as a conscientious objector during World War II. On March 20 at 7:30 p.m. his presentation at the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies is titled, "Starvation Volunteer: A Conversation with an Elizabethtown Alumnus." Young Center director Jeff Bach will facilitate a discussion about Willoughby’s CO experience and his participation in US government research on human starvation. On March 21 at 11 a.m. in Gibble Auditorium in Esbenshade Hall, he will be interviewed by Diane Bridge of the Biology Department about the government experiments he endured, and by Donald Kraybill, senior fellow at the Young Center, who will explore his Brethren heritage, conscientious objection to war, and civilian public service. Willoughby majored in sociology while at Elizabethtown, went on to earn a master's in sociology from the University of Chicago, and taught middle school in Maryland for most of his professional life, before retiring in 1984. He has remained connected to the Church of the Brethren since his days as a CO. Go to to read more about the programs conducted during the 1940s that tested the impact of wartime diets on human volunteers.
  • The Fasnacht Committee on Religion and Society at the University of La Verne, Calif., has announced the Spring 2012 Fasnacht Lecturer: Bishop Carlton Person, who will speak March 22 at 11:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. in Morgan Auditorium. Pearson is a theologian and senior pastor of New Dimensions Chicago, a multicultural and radically inclusive spiritual community, according to the announcement. He is the author of “God Is Not a Christian,” published by Simon and Shuster in 2010. His lectures will be titled “What Has Hell to Do With It?” and “Emerging Spirituality.” The Fasnacht Committee oversees the longest-standing endowed lecture series at the university, named in honor of former president Harold Fasnacht. Its goal is to encourage debate and discussion in the learning community about the place of religion in society today.
  • Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) has announced a spring tour by Ted and Company TheaterWorks. The "Peace, Pies, and Prophets" tour initially travels to four cities, with additional performances to be announced: a performance on March 9 at 7:30 p.m. at Akron (Pa.) Mennonite Church; March 10 at 7 p.m. at Broad Street Ministry in Philadelphia; and March 11 at 3 p.m. at Souderton (Pa.) Mennonite Church. “Jesus commanded us to love our enemies, and Moses said, ‘Thou shall eat pie’ (or so some imagine),” said a release about the tour, which will incorporate theater and comedy into biblical storytelling. Performances will include “I’d Like to Buy an Enemy,” and will feature pie auctions to benefit CPT. Go to
  • The tenth annual Ecumenical Advocacy Days takes place March 23-26 in Washington, D.C., on the theme, “Is This the Fast I Seek? Economy, Livelihood, and Our National Priorities” (Isaiah 58). The event co-sponsored by Church World Service and the National Council of Churches and many of their member communions, brings faith-based advocates and activists from across the US and around the world to Washington to explore issues related to the economy, livelihoods, and national priorities. Presentations, workshops, and policy issue discussions will explore the need for and means of seeking a global economy and a national budget that addresses injustice, poverty, hunger, and unemployment throughout the world. Area specific sessions are planned on Africa, the Asia-Pacific, Latin America, the Middle East, and the US, including workshops on human trafficking and slavery, the economics of the Arab Spring, the US embargo on Cuba, and indigenous land rights. Following the weekend of worship, dialogue, and training on policy issues and grassroots advocacy, participants will go to Capitol Hill on March 26 to lobby lawmakers for effective and just economic policies. More information and registration is at
  • Sunbury Press has released the memoir of Helen Buehl Angency, a Church of the Brethren missionary who was held captive in a Japanese detention camp during World War II. The book is titled “Behind Barbed Wire and High Fences” and tells the story of how Angeny and her husband were held for three years in a detention camp in the Philippines, after they replaced murdered missionaries in China in 1940. According to a report in the “Pueblo (Colo.) Chieftain” newspaper, Angeny wrote the memoir when she was 80. She died in 2005. For more go to
Source:3/7/2012 Newsline


Newsline is produced by the news services of the Church of the Brethren. Contact the editor at Contributors to this issue of Newsline include Deborah Brehm, Lesley Crosson, Jan Dragin, Carol Fike, Don Fitzkee, Mary Jo Flory-Steury, Ed Groff, Mary Kay Heatwole, Philip E. Jenks, Donna Kline, Jeri S. Kornegay, Nancy Miner, Amy J. Mountain, Richard Rose, Jonathan Shively, Julia Wheeler, and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren.