Friday, June 28, 2013

Newsline: June 28, 2013


Standing Committee holds special session about On Earth Peace statement of inclusion

On Earth Peace executive director speaks with Standing Committee
Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
On Earth Peace executive director Bill Scheurer (at center, third from left) speaks with Standing Committee members during a specially called session on the agency's Statement of Inclusion.
The Standing Committee of district delegates began meeting yesterday, June 26, prior to the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference in Charlotte, N.C. The meetings of Standing Committee are led by moderator Bob Krouse, assisted by moderator-elect Nancy Sollenberger Heishman and Conference secretary James Beckwith.

Today the delegates from the 23 districts in the Church of the Brethren held a specially called session with On Earth Peace executive director Bill Scheurer to continue conversation about the agency’s Statement of Inclusion.

The session concluded with a decision to send a second Standing Committee delegation to meet with the On Earth Peace board “to explore a way to attempt to find a resolution.”

Concerns date back to 2012

Last year’s Standing Committee issued “A Way Forward” statement of concern that “trust in leadership has been broken” by three events, one of them being the Statement of Inclusion made by the board of On Earth Peace, which is an Annual Conference agency.

The On Earth Peace statement reads: “We are troubled by attitudes and actions in the church, which exclude persons on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or any other aspect of human identity. We believe God calls the church to welcome all persons into full participation in the life of the faith community.”

In “A Way Forward” Standing Committee urged On Earth Peace “to re-examine its statement of inclusion regarding ‘full participation’ so that it will be consistent with Annual Conference decisions regarding Human Sexuality from a Christian Perspective [the 1983 Conference statement] and the polity regarding ordination.” (Read “A Way Forward” in full at

Since then, in September last year, a three-member delegation from Standing Committee visited with the board of On Earth Peace to talk about the Statement of Inclusion.

Today moderator Bob Krouse and Standing Committee member Kathy Mack, who were both part of the group, reported back. “It is clear that the OEP board heard the concern expressed by Standing Committee,” said Krouse’s report, in part. “However, the members of the board were unanimous in expressing their reluctance to change the language of the statement of inclusion,” he added, listing several of the reasons expressed by On Earth Peace board members.

Mack added that the On Earth Peace board also acknowledged the hard feelings caused by their statement, and the need to bridge gaps and restore faith in their board.

After a discussion in which several Standing Committee members raised continuing concerns, there was a motion “in the spirit of Matthew 18" to approach On Earth Peace leaders to find a time for more conversation. The meeting took place this evening.

OEP executive called to special session

On Earth Peace executive director Bill Scheurer readily agreed to the specially called session, where he reiterated the conviction that because the agency does not marry or ordain, its Statement of Inclusion does not transgress Annual Conference polity and falls within the scope of the entire 1983 paper.

He said he did not view the On Earth Peace statement as an attempt at prophetic witness or an attempt to direct action by the denomination, but simply a way of “sharing an immense pain and sharing what we heard in response to that pain. We’re not telling anyone what to do. We are just one voice.”

Standing Committee members responded by characterizing the Statement of Inclusion as a statement of advocacy, with the implication that it advocates for a change in Annual Conference polity. Scheurer acknowledged that the phrase “full participation” means full inclusion in the church of people who he said are not fully included at present because of Annual Conference decisions.

Several changes of wording of the On Earth Peace statement were offered as suggestions to resolve the issue, which Scheurer said he would take back to the On Earth Peace board, but did not hold up any hope that the board would make changes.

Scheurer openly talked of the possibility of On Earth Peace losing its status as a Conference agency if enough members of Standing Committee push the issue, and it is brought to the full Annual Conference. He said that On Earth Peace recognizes that it is “well within the scope” of Annual Conference “to remove our agency status...and we would live with that. And we would still live and minister within the Brethren community,” he said. “It is conceivable it would come to that. We’d accept it in goodwill and with a sense of innocence.”

However, he added, “I would consider it a tragic step backward.”

The session concluded with a solid majority of Standing Committee voting for the officers to appoint another delegation to meet with the On Earth Peace board again, “to explore a way to attempt to find a resolution.”

The Standing Committee member who made the motion, Bob Kettering, said he hoped the delegation would be a next step in the Matthew 18 process for resolving differences in the church, and that a second delegation would take the conversation “to the next level.”

Source: 6/28/2013 Newsline

CDS volunteers in Oklahoma care for more than 1,000 children

CDS volunteers care for children in Moore, Okla., following a devastating tornado
Photo by Patty Henry
CDS volunteers care for children in Moore, Okla., following a devastating tornado
The number of children served by Children’s Disaster Services volunteers working in Moore, Okla., has now passed 1,000. The CDS volunteers are serving children and families affected by the tornado that devastated the town of Moore in May.

As of June 20, CDS has worked in Moore for more than 4 weeks and has served more than 1,020 children. Two teams of CDS volunteers have each finished two weeks of service, and another team started work in Moore this past weekend. John Elms is currently serving as project manager.

The volunteers last week visited the Plaza Tower Elementary School memorial and left a CDS smock, which they all wear to identify themselves as they work with disaster survivors in facilities set up in cooperation with the American Red Cross and FEMA.

“All had signed a CDS smock with verses, names and states. This was hung on the fence along with a CDS lanyard,” reported Elms. “A young man, Ian, approached us and took photos of our team next to the smock.

“The young man started telling us his story,” Elms wrote in an e-mail report. “His home of 15 years was across the street from the school. He was not there when the tornado hit and destroyed his home. He raced to his home to check on his mom and sister. The home had been totally destroyed and he started digging to try and find his family. Mom and sister arrived and had gone to a friend’s shelter. They continued to dig for their seven dogs and cats. It took them a week to find the animals and they all survived. However, eight of his neighbors died.”

“As of Thursday, 6/20, we have surpassed the milestone of 1,000 children, averaging about 40-60 daily for 4 weeks,” reported Hallie Pilcher, a Brethren Volunteer Service worker serving with Brethren Disaster Ministries. “We are sending in a third team of volunteers today and tomorrow. So far we have had 19 volunteers with 10 headed in for the next team. We continue to serve in the West Moore High School.

“We are not sure at this point how much longer we will be there, as the numbers continue to be unusually high for this late after a disaster,” Pilcher added. “On Weds., 6/19, we saw 60 children again, so there is no decline in numbers yet.”

For more reflections from the CDS response in Moore, Okla., see Kathy Howell's blog at or Katie Nees’ blog at . To give to the Children’s Disaster Services response in Moore, Okla., donate to the Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) online at or by mail to Emergency Disaster Fund, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120.

Source: 6/28/2013 Newsline

Moore overwhelmed by donations of unneeded goods

The Brethren Disaster Ministries office has issued an alert that the Moore, Okla., tornado area has been overwhelmed with unneeded donated goods. Disaster response agencies have requested help in stemming the tide.

“Please help spread the word that in-kind donations are not needed in Oklahoma for the tornadoes!” said an e-mail from the Brethren Disaster Ministries office. “If you hear of local drives for food, clothing, or other donated goods, please advise the organizers NOT to send additional donated goods into Oklahoma.”

Instead of sending goods, several more helpful options are suggested:
  • Sell collected items and donate the cash to the Emergency Disaster Fund to aid Brethren Disaster Ministries work. Donated online at or send checks by mail to the Emergency Disaster Fund, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120.
  • There is a general appeal for Church World Service (CWS) relief kits, which are collected and warehoused at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. Right now, supplies of Emergency Clean-Up Buckets and Baby Care Kits are low and need to be replenished. For instructions on kit assembly, see .
  • Donate non-food items to local thrift stores or other nonprofits.
  • Donate food to local food banks, which might ultimately benefit Oklahoma via the Feeding America network, if food is needed.
  • Donate blood yourself or organize a blood drive at your church or workplace.
“Please help the Moore, Okla., tornado relief effort by sharing this message widely!” said the Brethren Disaster Ministries e-mail. “Thank you!”

Source: 6/28/2013 Newsline

Brethren Disaster Ministries directs disaster grants to Angola, Palestine

Brethren Disaster Ministries staff have directed allocations from the Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) to SHARE to support schoolchildren in Angola, and to the Shepherd Society of Bethlehem Bible College in Palestine.

An allocation of $17,000 responds to a SHARE appeal aimed at providing food resources, bicycles, wheelchairs, school materials, and hygiene kits to children affected by almost three decades of protracted civil war in Angola. SHAREcircle has been a partner organization to Brethren Disaster Ministries, along with the IECA Church in Angola, for more than a decade. The grant will support students in three schools in Bié, Kwanza Norte, and Kuando Kubango provinces and will provide shipping of material aid to Angola from the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. As part of a larger coordinated relief program, the resources and material aid increases the likelihood of SHARE receiving a USAID grant for a food package program.

An allocation of $15,000 to the Shepherd Society in Bethlehem, Palestine, the charitable arm of Bethlehem Bible College, will aid Palestinian people living in the West Bank who find themselves confined to their towns without adequate employment. “Bethlehem is under occupation and the separation wall makes business difficult,” said the grant request. “The poorer segments of society lack insurance and social security. The result is a despairing people reaching for hope.” The allocation will provide support and relief to a minimum of 500 needy people in the Bethlehem area with urgent medical care and a family food subsidy. The Global Food Crisis Fund also is making a similar allocation (see related report from the GFCF).

In more disaster relief news:

A week of rain in eastern New York State resulted in some minor flooding in the small town of Middleburg on June 14. Middleburg is about six miles south of the current Brethren Disaster Ministries project housing in Schoharie, and is in the service are of partner agencies to Brethren Disaster Ministries. The majority of the homes affected only experienced flooding in the basements, though a handful did have water in the first floor. The creekbeds in the region were still loaded with silt that had been deposited during the flooding in Aug. 2011, resulting in a considerable mess, reports team leader Tim Sheaffer. The Brethren volunteers who were in Schoharie for the week had already left, but the leadership team of Sheaffer along with Larry and Alice Petry and Adam Braun, joined with associates from World Renew and local volunteers the next day to assist in clearing out ruined furniture, flooring, and carpeting, and clearing driveways and basements and a couple of first floor homes. The effort was coordinated by partners at Schoharie Recovery.

Florin Church of the Brethren in Mount Joy, Pa., is hosting a district Emergency Clean-Up Bucket assembly to help replenish the depleted supply of buckets warehoused at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. The two-day event June 28-29 starts each day at 9 a.m., with lunch provided. The project is sponsored by the Brethren Disaster Auction and organizers hope to assemble a total of 1,700 buckets. RSVP to 717-898-3385 or 717-625-4918.

Source: 6/28/2013 Newsline

Global Food Crisis Fund supports Shepherd Society, ECHO with grants

Recent grants have been given from the Church of the Brethren’s Global Food Crisis Fund (GFCF) to a partnership project with the Shepherd Society of Bethlehem Bible College in Palestine, and to an agriculture project of ECHO, Inc., in the Dominican Republic.
An allocation of $10,000 has been given for a partnership with the Shepherd Society of Bethlehem Bible College, a non-profit organization that was visited recently by Church of the Brethren staff and Mission and Ministry Board members. The Shepherd Society makes contacts with NGOs and municipal organizations seeking to identify short-term jobs for unemployed Palestinian workers. Its micro-projects program provides loans to help families start their own small businesses or develop already-established businesses. The grant provides assistance for job creation and micro-projects. It is given in coordination with a grant from the Emergency Disaster Fund (see related report from the EDF).

An allocation of $4,400 has been given to ECHO Inc. for scholarships for participants attending ECHO’s Caribbean-wide agricultural conference in Santo Domingo, D.R., in October.  The Conference will provide a network and training opportunity for those involved in alleviating hunger and poverty in the Caribbean Region. This conference will be offered in Spanish, Haitian Creole and English. Registration for the conference costs $220 per person; the grant will provide scholarships for 20 participants. ECHO is assuring the Church of the Brethren up to five scholarships to be used for Brethren coming from Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The balance of the scholarships will be awarded to other participants by ECHO staff, based on financial need.

For more about the Global Food Crisis Fund go to

Source: 6/28/2013 Newsline

WCC plans 2013 Assembly on the theme ‘God of Life, Lead Us to Justice and Peace.’

Peace doveThe World Council of Churches (WCC) 10th Assembly will be held Oct. 30-Nov. 8 in Busan, South Korea, on the theme, “God of Life, Lead Us to Justice and Peace.” The Church of the Brethren delegation has already begun preparing for the event. Delegates from each worldwide member communion of the WCC are expected to attend the assembly, which is held every seven years and is considered the largest international gathering of Christians.

Church of the Brethren congregations are invited to use WCC worship resources to connect with this important gathering. Resources and more information are at .

Christian groups around the world are beginning to prepare for the gathering. Recently, delegations from American churches gathered for an orientation at the headquarters of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in the Chicago area.

The orientation included the Brethren who will be attending: elected delegate Michael Hostetter, elected alternate R. Jan Thompson, general secretary Stan Noffsinger and director of the Office of Public Witness Nathan Hosler who are both delegates by appointment by the WCC Executive Committee, and director of News Services Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford.

At this year’s German Protestant Kirchentag more than 1,000 participants offered prayers for the Busan assembly. The service also featured reflections from WCC general secretary Olav Fykse Tveit. “We are praying, working, and walking together on a pilgrimage to justice and peace,” Tveit said. “The image of a pilgrimage as the framework for our way to justice and peace offers a link between spirituality and work that is urgently needed.” He highlighted the significance of churches to “be together” in their journey toward peace. “We are on the way, with one another, with the God of life, with a clear purpose.”

 “An Ecumenical Call to Just Peace,” which is a key document for the Historic Peace Churches (Church of the Brethren, Mennonites, and Quakers) emerging from the Decade to Overcome Violence, will serve as a background document for the WCC Assembly. The WCC Central Committee adopted the document earlier this year and announced that it will be provided to the delegate body of the assembly.

So far, a brief and recently created paper on Christian unity is the only ecumenical statement that has been announced as coming for action at the assembly. However, delegates will be busy with a number of matters related to finance and governance, including proposed changes to the WCC constitution, a strategic plan for the work of WCC staff, elections, and reports from staff and committees including joint working groups with the Roman Catholics and Pentecostal Christians.

Delegates also will worship and fellowship with other Christians from around the world, do Bible study in small groups, take part in the many committees that meet during each assembly, and choose from a “marketplace” of workshop opportunities offered under the Korean name “madang.” Speakers at thematic plenaries will address the assembly theme as well as the subtopics of Asia, mission, unity, justice, and peace. Blocks of time are set aside for ecumenical conversations, regional meetings, and meetings of similar “confessions” of Christians.

Those not named to committees have the opportunity to go on weekend excursions that may include a public peace witness, and will worship with Korean churches.

Pre-assembly gatherings are planned for young adults, women, indigenous people, and the Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network. There will be a Global Ecumenical Theological Institute for seminarians. Young adult “stewards” who serve as volunteer assembly staff also begin their training prior to the assembly.

At the orientation for US participants, the Brethren group had a chance to meet and begin thinking about how to share responsibilities and make the best of an important opportunity to represent the denomination and learn from other Christians. The orientation included a focus on WCC assemblies as key turning points for the worldwide church, times when the Holy Spirit has moved in unexpected ways to guide the Christian movement into new directions of discipleship and witness.

The WCC is an ecumenical fellowship of churches founded in 1948. By the end of 2012 the WCC had 345 member churches representing more than 500 million Christians from Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican, and other traditions in over 110 countries. Brethren bodies that are member communions include the US Church of the Brethren and Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN--the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria).

Source: 6/28/2013 Newsline

Intercultural Gathering scheduled for October on theme ‘The Great Multitude: A Symposium Bringing Us Together.’

Intercultural Advisory Committee
Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh Cayford
The Intercultural Ministry office, advisory committee, and Virlina District have announced the 2013 Intercultural Gathering, titled “The Great Multitude: A Symposium Bringing Us Together.” The gathering will be held Oct. 25-27 at the Skelton 4-H Center, 775 Hermitage Rd., Wirtz, Va.

The theme scripture comes from Revelation 7:9: "After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands.”

The event is a new way of bringing together those who are passionate about intercultural work within the denomination and their communities. It builds on the former Intercultural Ministries Celebration and Consultation and a partnership with districts. Participants from all walks of life and all districts are invited for an intercultural experience of prayer, study of the theological basis for an ethnically diverse church, conversation about contemporary trends in intercultural ministry, fellowship with new people and neighbors in the region, and worship with the Bittersweet Gospel Band and one another.

Speakers for the event include Barbara Daté, Daniel D’Oleo, Dava Hensley, Samuel Sarpiya, Dennis Webb, and Jonathan Shively, executive director of Congregational Life Ministries. Participants are invited to join host congregations Roanoke (Va.) First Church of the Brethren and Roanoke Renacer Fellowship for the Sunday morning service at 2001 Carroll Avenue in Roanoke.

Early registration (by Sept. 1) costs $199 for those staying onsite, or $99 for commuters. (After Sept. 1 the registration fee will increase). Resident participants will have hotel-style lodgings, linens and towels provided, in shared double rooms at the 4-H Skelton Center. The registration fee will include meals from Friday dinner through Sunday brunch. Continuing education credit is available.

Find a schedule and printable brochure at . For more information or if you need financial assistance to attend, contact Gimbiya Kettering, Intercultural Ministries coordinator, at or 847-429-4387.

Source: 6/28/2013 Newsline

Remembering Slim Whitman, the church’s ‘Mr. Songman.’

Photo by courtesy of Brethren Press
"Mr. Songman" biography of the country singer Slim Whitman, published by Brethren Press in 1982
Country singer Slim Whitman, 90, who was a longtime member and deacon emeritus at Jacksonville (Fla.) Church of the Brethren, passed away June 19 at Orange Park (Fla.) Medical Center. He was the subject of the book “Mr. Songman,” written by Kenneth L. Gibble and published by Brethren Press in 1982.

Remembered by friends in the congregation and Atlantic Southeast District as a gentle and loving man, Whitman retained his Brethren simplicity even as he gained in popularity as a performer. He is remembered in media reports as “the high-pitched yodeler who sold millions of records” and whose song saved the world in the film comedy "Mars Attacks!" He recorded more than 65 albums, and was known for his three-octave singing range.

His obituaries have recorded his musical influence on early rock, and how he popularized country music, particularly in the UK. “Whitman also encouraged a teen Elvis Presley when he was the headliner on the bill and the young singer was making his professional debut,” noted one report.

“His career spanned six decades, beginning in the late 1940s, but he achieved cult figure status in the 1980s. His visage as an ordinary guy singing romantic ballads struck a responsive chord with the public,” said the Huffington Post, which quoted Whitman’s good humored comment about a famous TV advertisement for his music: "It buys fuel for the boat."

"I don't think you've ever heard anything bad about me, and I'd like to keep it that way,” he was quoted in the Huffington Post. “I'd like my son to remember me as a good dad. I'd like the people to remember me as having a good voice and a clean suit."

The Messenger Dinner program that featured a drawing of Slim Whitman by Messenger editor Kermon Thomasson, Annual Conference 1982
Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
The Messenger Dinner program that featured a drawing of Slim Whitman by Messenger editor Kermon Thomasson, Annual Conference 1982
Slim Whitman performed at the Messenger Dinner at the Annual Conference in Wichita, Kan., in 1982. For the occasion, “Messenger” editor Kermon Thomasson drew him for the cover of the dinner program, shown playing his guitar and adorned with sequins. Brethren Press publisher Wendy McFadden, at the time on the Messenger staff, recalls the flurry of activity to prepare for the dinner and how the “sequins” on the program illustrations were created by hand with glue and glitter.

Whitman was for many years a deacon at Jacksonville Church of the Brethren, where his wife Alma Geraldine (Jerry) often cooked the love feast meal, reported family friend Ruby Raymer. “They were good church members,” Raymer said.

The Jacksonville congregation would gather for a Sunday evening Bible study in the 1960s and ’70s, when Jerry would play the piano and Slim would lead a hymn sing.

Whitman also was a good fisherman, taking out his boat “Chicken of the Sea” to fish off the Florida Keys. He loved animals, Raymer said, to the point of taking in a stray cat he named Roadkill, and once buying a new ladder when the short ladder he was going to use to fix his roof was of a length to disturb a dove’s nest. He couldn’t bear to destroy the doves’ home, she recalled.

“I want him remembered as just a simple, living person,” Raymer said, telling of the Whitmans’ simple lifestyle. While he was still able, Whitman cared for his property himself, and maintained his own equipment. “He didn’t take advantage of the fact that he was famous.”

Ruby and her husband Bill accompanied the family on Slim Whitman’s Farewell Tour when--at close to 80--he toured England, Scotland, and Ireland for the last time. His shows were sold out. “He didn’t miss a cue,” Raymer said. “He didn’t have a prompter. The only thing he had at the show was a piece of notebook paper with the songs he would do that night.”

At one of Slim’s last shows in Ireland, the crowd began to hum along softly to “Rose Marie.” Hearing them, as Raymer tells it, Whitman paused and invited the people to sing along. He always went out front after each performance to meet his fans, and during the Farewell Tour emotional fans crowded around wanting a last chance to give Slim Whitman a hug.

Son Byron Whitman “was half of his show for many years,” Raymer said. Byron played the keyboard organ and would introduce his father. “Do what you do do well,” Slim had told Byron when he was a little boy, Raymer remembers--advice that stuck with him, and was picked up by others who were struck by its wisdom.

Born in Tampa, Fla., on Jan. 23, 1923, he was named Ottis Dewey Whitman Jr. Before his singing career he worked as a meatpacker and a postman and also worked at a shipyard. Whitman’s wife Jerry passed away in 2009. After her death, he produced a last album on CD titled “Twilight on the Trail,” in her memory. He is survived by his son Byron, daughter Sharron Beagle who is married to Roy Beagle, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on June 29 at The Rock Bible Church, a Church of the Brethren congregation in Middleburg, Fla. Jerry Whitman’s father, A.D. Crist, helped build the congregation, formerly named Clay County Church of the Brethren.

Source: 6/28/2013 Newsline

Brethren bits.

    Group from Little Swatara Church that made crosses for Annual Conference 2013
  • Little Swatara Church of the Brethren in Bethel, Pa., and pastor Bob Krouse, who is serving as moderator of the 2013 Annual Conference, held a consecration ceremony last Sunday for the wooden crosses that will be handed out at the Conference. Krouse and a team from the church hand-made the 3,000 small crosses to share with Brethren from across the country and around the world. Shown here: a blessing of the crosses, with a picture of all of the church members who helped make them by hand, identified by name by photographer and church member Glenn Riegel.
  • Andrew Pankratz of Abilene, Kan., begins Monday, June 24, as archival intern for 2013-14 in the Brethren Historical Library and Archives at the General Offices in Elgin. He is a student at Emporia State University in Kansas, where he is working on a master of arts in history degree, and is planning to work on a master’s degree in library science. His past experience has included work as a student archival assistant at the Center for Mennonite Brethren Studies in Hillsboro, Kan.; a summer internship at the Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene; and volunteer experiences at the Lyon County Archives in Emporia and the Heritage Center (Dickinson County Museum) in Abilene. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Tabor College in Hillsboro.
  • Deborah Brehm has been promoted to manager, Office of Human Resources for the Church of the Brethren. This salaried staff position is a reflection of the breadth and depth of responsibilities of the Office of Human Resources. Responsibilities include managing human resource activity at Elgin and New Windsor, promoting trust and confident relationships among employees, facilitating recruitment and hiring processes, managing the human resource outsourced benefits system and processes, and facilitating hospitality services at the Church of the Brethren General Offices. Deborah began her employment January 30, 2012. 
  • Fahrney Keedy Home and Village, a Church of the Brethren retirement community near Boonsboro, Md., seeks a director of activities. The position is responsible for the development, implementation, and supervision of recreational activities for Fahrney-Keedy Home and Village residents. Experience and/or certification in therapeutic recreation preferred. Resumes may be submitted to: Cassandra Weaver, Vice President of Operations, . In addition to a resume a completed employment application must be received. Applications may be submitted online or completed in person. For more information go to . EOE. Fahrney Keedy Home and Village is located at 8507 Mapleville Rd., Boonsboro, MD 21713; fax: 301-733-3805. 
  • Lancaster (Pa.) Mennonite Historical Society (LMHS) is seeking a full-time director of development. Primary responsibilities include building a development program; cultivating relationships with individuals, congregations, and businesses; and managing capital campaigns. The person should have experience and training with development activities in nonprofit organizations. Applicants must embrace Anabaptist Mennonite faith and be active in an  Anabaptist congregation. An application form and a job description are available in pdf format at . Submit application and resumé by e-mail to Dorothy Siegrist by July 12 at or by mail to LMHS, Attn: Office Manager, 2215 Millstream Rd., Lancaster, PA 17602.
  • View a new digital edition of the Church of the Brethren Annual Report at . The digital version includes enhanced content like video clips, live links, and click throughs where readers can get more information about the denomination’s ministries across the nation and around the world.
  • Global Mission executive Jay Wittmeyer and members of his family were interviewed about Heifer International and the Church of the Brethren in a recent segment of "Different Drummers," a television show produced by Greater Chicago Broadcast Ministries. The interview centers on their living in Nepal a decade ago and the recent visit Jay and his wife Sarah made there. It also reflects the transformation Heifer enterprises are bringing about in remote mountain communities. Wittmeyer represents the Church of the Brethren on the Heifer International board. Different Drummers is geared to a teen audience, and daughter Alysson also was part of the interview. The video segment is posted at and on the Global Mission and Service main webpage.
  • Online photo albums are being posted from Church of the Brethren summer workcamps. Find links at .
  • On Earth Peace is bringing the “3,000 Miles for Peace” campaign to Annual Conference in Charlotte, N.C. “This means you can participate in a national movement of active peacemaking--just by showing up,” said an announcement. There will be several opportunities to log miles for peace and join the fundraising campaign for On Earth Peace: Participants in the Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) Fitness Challenge at Annual Conference (scheduled for Sunday morning, June 30) may join the 3,000 Miles for Peace campaign online, and invite family and friends to sponsor the walk/run for peace, or may choose to sponsor another participant. Go to . “In addition to your Fitness Challenge $25 registration fee, which you should pay for at the BBT booth, we also ask that you consider making a $25 donation to the Paul Ziegler Young Peacemakers Fund,” the announcement said. Conference-goers also can use stationary bicycles at the On Earth Peace booth in the Annual Conference exhibit hall to log miles with the campaign. The bikes are provided by Flywheel Sports. For more information call the campaign hotline at 260-982-7751 or e-mail .
  • On Pentecost Sunday, Brooklyn (N.Y.) First Church of the Brethren welcomed two new members who were baptized into the church from unique backgrounds. Brooklyn member Doris Abdullah sent a celebratory note to Newsline: “Maybe your readers would be interested to know that we Brethren have two new Sisters. Zizhao Ding is a graduate student here in New York and comes to us from Ordos, Inner Mongolia, China. Sara Martinez is from Guayaquil, Ecuador.... On the first Sunday that Zizhao came, Caroline is her English name, we gave her the only Chinese Bible that we had ever had. It was given to us one week before she came. Our Lord is always on time.... Our new Sister Sara adds to our Central and South American family. We are indeed blessed to have Pentecost worship every Sunday. The scriptures are now read in Chinese each Sunday in addition to Spanish, French, and English.”
  • Dunkard Valley Live, a Christian music festival sponsored by Codorus Church of the Brethren in Dallastown, Pa., will celebrate a 10th anniversary on Saturday, Aug. 3. The festival will be held from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. on Aug. 3 and continues on Sunday, Aug. 4, from 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m. at the church’s ball field. Rain dates are Aug. 10 and 11. The festival is free and open to the public. It features local groups and soloists who will perform a variety of music styles. Performers include Dane Hartman, Maria Lytle, The Edge, Red Letter Stance, Freely Captured, Codorus Men’s Chorus, The Deacons, New Season, Soul Purpose, Keith Grim, and more. Saturday will feature an Ultimate tournament for youth groups. To participate in the tournament contact Megan Miller at . Sunday morning worship will be held at 10:30 with guest speaker Christy Waltersdorff, pastor of York Center Church of the Brethren in Lombard, Ill. Attendees are asked to bring blankets or chairs. Parking is on site. Food will be available for purchase. For more information visit or call 717-428-3301.
  • World Hunger Auction events in Virlina District continue in July with a Jonathan Emmons organ concert on July 14 at 4 p.m. at Antioch Church of the Brethren in Rocky Mount, Va. The World Hunger Auction itself is Saturday, Aug. 10, beginning at 9:30 a.m. at the Antioch Church, culminating the year-long, fund-raising activities. The auction includes the sale of crafts, quilts, toys, produce, baked and canned goods, special services, and much more. “Come early for the best selection,” said the Virlina District newsletter. “Let the highest bidder win, for doing what we can opens the door for God to do much more.” Last year the World Hunger Auction Committee disbursed a total of $53,000 from the auction and other related events. The first World Hunger Auction was held in 1984, planned by the Antioch Church. Now several other Church of the Brethren congregations are involved including Bethany, Bethlehem, Boones Mill, Cedar Bluff, Germantown Brick, Monte Vista, Oak Grove (South), Roanoke-Ninth Street, and Smith Mountain Lake. For more information go to .
  • Camp Pine Lake near Eldora, Iowa, is preparing for its first Music Fest on Aug. 31 reports Katie Shaw Thompson in the Northern Plains District newsletter. “All manner of storytellers, musicians, square dancers, and merry-makers will descend upon Camp Pine Lake for a day of fundraising, community building, and fun-having,” she wrote. The event kicks off at 1 p.m. and that evening at 7 p.m. will welcome singer, songwriter, and storyteller Garrison Doles. Free-will donations will support the ministry of camp. The Music Fest also marks the opening of a weekend All Ages Camp organized by camp program coordinator Barbara Wise Lewczak, which will run from 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 31, through 10 a.m. Monday, Sept. 2, and will include a Sunday morning worship service led by Garrison Doles. Visit to register. Direct questions to Katie Shaw Thompson at .
  • The Springs of Living Water initiative for church renewal has announced a summer spiritual disciplines folder for scripture reading and prayer written by Thomas Hanks of Franklin, W.Va., who pastors the yoked parish of Smith’s Creek and Friend’s Run Church of the Brethren. Hanks was in the first class of the Springs Academy and both congregations are creatively working together in renewal as a yoked parish, where the spiritual disciplines folders have been a vital part of their new life, said a release. The folder is titled, “When Did You First Think of Me?” and explores themes of God’s mindfulness, and how the tree of life is still available to all. Guidelines for a personal devotional time are included along with space for journaling. Access and receive permission to copy it from the Springs website at .
Global Womens' Project is auctioning dolls during Annual Conference 2013, in celebration of its 35th anniversary
Photo by courtesy of GWP
Global Womens' Project is auctioning dolls during Annual Conference 2013, in celebration of its 35th anniversary
  • Global Women’s Project is celebrating its 35th anniversary with a silent auction of three hand-made dolls representing an “enlivened” version of the organization’s logo. The dolls were made by Global Women’s Project Steering Committee member Anke Pietsch. Two have been revealed (see photo) with a third to be revealed next week. The three dolls will be up for silent bid throughout Annual Conference in Charlotte, N.C., at the Global Women’s Project booth in the exhibit hall. Those who cannot bid in person may bid by e-mail; send bid to . All money received from the highest bidder for the three dolls (sold together), will support the organization’s Partner Projects. The winner will be announced at the Global Women’s Project Tea Time on Tuesday, July 2, at 4:45 p.m. (eastern) in the Annual Conference exhibit hall.
  • The John Kline Homestead is holding a silent auction of woodcraft items made from the John Kline maple tree. A large branch from the tall maple tree that stands in front of the John Kline house in Broadway, Va., broke off during a wind storm on June 29, 2012. Joe Glick of Harrisonburg, Va., crafted bowls and cylinder boxes from the wood as fundraisers for the John Kline Homestead. Photos of the silent auction items are linked from the John Kline Homestead website at . Bids may be sent to Paul Roth by e-mail at . Please specify the item(s) with your bid. The silent auction will close and the highest bidders will be informed on July 31. Early bids on each of the items are at $25 each. All proceeds benefit the John Kline Homestead. Go to .
  • Heeding God’s Call marked the six-month anniversary of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on June 14 with a statement of concern for “the families and friends of those innocent victims who continue to try to put their lives back together while bearing their heavy sadness,” it said, in part. “Many of the Newtown families are finding meaning in their loss by dedicating themselves to preventing more massacres. Specifically, they know that if there had been universal background checks, and a ban on assault weapons and limitation of ammunition magazines their loved ones might still be alive. They are translating their grief into action, so that other families will not have to suffer the loss of their loved ones.” Harrisburg First Church of the Brethren pastor Belita Mitchell is one of the Pennsylvania leaders in Heeding God’s Call.
  • West Marva District newsletter recently congratulated members of the May family. Diane May, pastor of Westernport Church of the Brethren, had an article titled “Voices of Experience" printed in the second edition of the Manual for Fire Service Instructors Principles and Practice, a textbook endorsed by the International Association of Fire Chiefs, International Association of Fire Service Instructors, and National Fire Protection Association. Walt May received the North American Wildlife Enforcement Association “Officer of the Year.” He also was named the State of Maryland Department of Natural Resources Police “Officer of the Year” for the second time.
Source: 6/28/2013 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 Doris Abdullah, Duane Bahn, Judy Bezon-Braune, Jeffrey S. Boshart, Deborah Brehm, John Elms, Jan Fischer Bachman, Jon Kobel, Wendy McFadden, Nancy Miner, Glenn Riegel, Paul Roth, Howard Royer, Tim Sheaffer, Roy Winter, David S. Young, Jane Yount, and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Newsline: June 13, 2013


CDS volunteers continue to care for children affected by Oklahoma tornados.

“Please keep the people of Oklahoma in your prayers,” asks Roy Winter, executive director of Brethren Disaster Ministries. Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) has had a group of volunteers serving in Moore, Okla., since May 25. As of June 4, 325 children have received care.

Volunteers from CDS, a program within Brethren Disaster Ministries, have been helping to care for children and families affected by the tornado that devastated Moore on May 20. CDS works cooperatively with FEMA and the American Red Cross to provide care for children following disasters. Trained and certified CDS volunteers set up child care centers in shelters and disaster assistance centers. Specially trained to respond to traumatized children, the volunteers provide a calm, safe, and reassuring presence in the midst of the chaos created by disasters.

CDS staff report that the volunteers had to evacuate to a storm shelter twice last week when more tornados touched down in Oklahoma causing more damage and flooding, and more loss of life. All the CDS volunteers are doing well and keeping in good spirits, reports project manager Bob Roach.

The CDS volunteers in Oklahoma so far have included Bob and Peggy Roach, Ken Kline, Donna Savage, Beryl Cheal, Douetta Davis, Bethany Vaughn, Josh Leu, and Virginia Holcomb. These same nine volunteers plan to continue working in the Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) at West Moore High School through the end of the week. The team will be replaced by a new set of CDS volunteers over the coming weekend.

CDS volunteers began work in Moore on Saturday, May 25, initially setting up child care areas at two MARCs at Little Axe Elementary School and West Moore High School. The school sites were two of four MARCs that were opened in the Moore area on May 25. CDS served several children at the Little Axe center on Saturday and Sunday, before that center closed. The CDS volunteers were then consolidated at the West Moore High School center.

Donations to the Emergency Disaster Fund will support the response by Children’s Disaster Services. Go to or send a check to the Emergency Disaster Fund, Church of the Brethren General Offices, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120.
A child's drawing displays her yearning for lost pets
Photo by Bob Roach
A child's drawing displays her yearning for pets lost in the tornado that hit Moore, Okla. Children's Disaster Services volunteers use play and art to help children recover from the trauma of such disasters.

CDS stories from Oklahoma

Project manager Bob Roach shares these stories from the child care centers in Moore, Okla., where Children’s Disaster Services volunteers are caring for children and families affected by the tornado that devastated the town on May 20:

A dad comes to check on daughter. “You having fun? We’re hurrying.” The child backs away and pouts. Dad: “What’s wrong?” Child: “I want you to go slow.” Dad hesitates then replies, “Okay, we’ll try to go slow.”

A grandfather stops by (without children). “I want to tell you this is the best thing here. My two grand boys spent the night under the bed and then spent two hours here. It was the first time they got to play or see toys since the school went down. You did a good thing. Some people don’t realize kids need to de-stress just like adults do--sometimes kids need it more. I wanted to thank you.”

A mom is ready to leave the MARC but her daughter has just started painting. She sits outside the CDS center to wait and begins to share: “We just moved from Massachusetts last summer and we lost everything. We got hit again last night. My father in law teases that we brought bad luck and I told him I would take the credit for any snow but I am not taking the blame for any tornados!” How wonderful that she can still have a sense of humor after all she has been through.

E’s mother just signed him out and he tells her he wants her to “meet my new friend.” He runs over to ask M (another child) to meet his mother, but she refuses to leave the play doh table. She waves and tells E’s mother, “I used to go to Plaza Towers School. I don’t go there any more.” The mother nods and replies, “I guess we’ll have to find a new school for you guys.”

During his visit with CDS one little boy stands in the center of the space, spreads out his arms, and declares, “I’m staying here forever!”

Yesterday a nurse from West Moore MARC came over and asked if I could come with her. She had a young teary-eyed mother who was very concerned about her 10 year old daughter (not present). Mother stated that since the Friday tornado, child has been very scared and upset. She stated the child was not acting like she used to. “What can I do?” I tried to reassure her that this was normal, and that children will go through the same phases of trauma that the adults were facing--almost like the grieving process. I explained that children also need to work through the trauma of a disaster and often regress to younger behaviors. I tried to explain the best thing was to get the child to express her feelings--talking, creative play, playing with classmates who are going through the same situation, drawing, art, and activities that help relieve stress and tension. “Let the child know you are having many of the same feelings and be honest how you are coping with them.” We spoke of giving reassurance to the child, and having the child involved in a plan of safety. Mother said she would get neighbor’s child and her daughter together and make emergency/safe back packs. Told her I thought this was good idea. I encouraged her to speak with Red Cross mental health and said they would be available now as well as in the future. I also gave her the brochure “Trauma, Helping Your Child Cope.” Mother gave me a big hug, saying, "I don't know who you are, but you really helped!”

Source: 6/13/2013 Newsline

Brethren Disaster Ministries to start Sandy recovery project in New Jersey.

BDM_logoIn an exciting new partnership to help recovery in communities displaced by Super Storm Sandy, Brethren Disaster Ministries is collaborating with a trusted local non-profit in a project aimed at increasing the supply of safe and affordable rental housing in New Jersey. This unique project will allow Brethren Disaster Ministries to reach out to a population that is often underserved following disasters, yet whose recovery is crucial to the overall recovery and health of the community.

Super Storm Sandy made landfall on Oct. 29, 2012, devastating the mid-Atlantic coast with flooding and high winds. Among the worst affected regions, Ocean County, N.J., saw 62 percent of all the damage in the entire state, including approximately 50,000 homes and nearly 10,000 rental properties damaged or destroyed.

As is the case after most disasters, housing availability in Ocean County is extremely limited as homeowners seek temporary rentals while repairs are made to their homes, and displaced renters seek alternative housing--not knowing if or when landlords will rebuild. These unfortunate circumstances create a situation where rental prices in the region have gone up significantly, placing many low- to moderate-income families at risk of being unable to return to their communities, places of worship, work, and schools.

Brethren Disaster Ministries is partnering with O.C.E.A.N., Inc., which will provide the land to build six single family homes in Berkeley Township, N.J. Homes will be located outside of the “flood zone,” will be constructed by Brethren Disaster Ministries volunteers, and will incorporate certain mitigation techniques designed to reduce the risk of damage from future disasters. The new homes will be rented on a sliding scale to low- and moderate-income families with special needs who were affected by Super Storm Sandy.

Brethren Disaster Ministries’ guiding principles do not allow for building rental properties for private landlords--and this project, while unique, is no exception. O.C.E.A.N., Inc. will provide case management services in order to certify all income and eligibility standards and give priority to those with special needs. Following completion of the homes, property management and maintenance services will be provided by O.C.E.A.N., Inc.

Construction is expected to begin in late August on the three- and four-bedroom homes. The response in this region also is expected to expand to include more new homes and/or repairs to existing storm-damaged homes. An allocation of $40,000 from the Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) is providing financial support for the project.

An additional EDF allocation is continuing support for the Brethren Disaster Ministries repair and rebuild project in Binghamton, N.Y., following catastrophic flooding caused by Tropical Storm Lee in Sept. 2011. To date over 200 volunteers have given close to 15,000 hours of service to complete repairs on over 40 homes. Previous grants to this project total $30,000. Give to the Emergency Disaster Fund at

-- Zach Wolgemuth is associate director of Brethren Disaster Ministries.

Source: 6/13/2013 Newsline

Young adult event takes place at Camp Pine Lake.

Young Adult Conference 2013 gathered at Camp Pine Lake near Eldora, Iowa
Photo by Kelsey Murray
Young Adult Conference 2013 gathered at Camp Pine Lake near Eldora, Iowa
More than 40 young adults from across the country gathered at Camp Pine Lake in Eldora, Iowa, for the Church of the Brethren’s annual Young Adult Conference (or YAC for short). YAC took place over Memorial Day weekend from May 25-27. The young adults had a great time filled with laughter, conversation, coffee, and four square, despite what was otherwise a very rainy and cool weekend in Iowa.

There was time set aside for workshops, small groups, large groups, a coffee shop and talent show, a camp fire enjoyed in the dry and warm conditions of the lodge, joyful noise, and worship.

The theme for this year revolved around “Voice...the Stones Would Shout Out!” based on Luke 19:36-40. Worship coordinators were Tyler Goss and Marie Benner-Rhoades. Worship services were led by Eric Landram, Kay Guyer, Jonathan Brenneman, and Joanna Shenk, with music leadership from Jacob Crouse.

The Young Adult Steering Committee is excited to announce that next year’s YAC will take place at Camp Brethren Woods in Keezletown, Va. Please stay tuned for more information on the exact dates.

Also, the Young Adult Steering Committee is now taking applications for open spots on the committee. Applications can be found at

-- Josh Bashore-Steury provided this report from the 2013 Young Adult Conference.

Source: 6/13/2013 Newsline

World Council of Churches celebrates signing of Arms Trade Treaty.

“Sign early and save lives!” said the World Council of Churches (WCC) celebratory news release on the signing of the world’s first Arms Trade Treaty:

Nearly 70 governments signed the world’s first Arms Trade Treaty at the United Nations on the day it opened for signatures, June 3. Churches in dozens of countries urged them to do so in order to keep up the momentum from successful negotiations until the new treaty takes effect.

Signatories included states that export arms and states where imported arms fuel violence.

The high turnout on the first day of signing mirrored the broad support for controlling arms sales, which brought nearly 100 churches and related organizations into the WCC two-year campaign for the treaty.

“Sign early” was the message that ecumenical campaigners gave to 24 governments in recent days--14 of them in Africa, the continent that has suffered most from unregulated arms sales.

Major arms exporters Germany, United Kingdom, and France took part in the first day of signing, as did smaller exporters such as Norway and Sweden. The world’s largest arms producer and exporter, the United States, said it would sign later. Russia, China, India, and others abstained from the treaty vote and have not indicated if they will sign.

The human cost of illicit arms trading has been the focus of church advocacy for the arms treaty to as many as 47 countries when negotiations peaked earlier this year. In April, 156 countries voted for the treaty, a milestone in bringing the multibillion-dollar arms exports under control. The treaty will take effect once 50 countries have ratified it.

In the meantime, without these new binding global controls, some 2,000 people will continue to die each day from armed violence.

When the treaty is in force and working, it will be more difficult to supply the arms that are fueling the ongoing bloody conflict in Syria. Until then it remains easier to sell bullets, bombs, and deadly weapons than it is to sell bananas or pineapples.

Given the geographic location of WCC member churches and related organizations in different regions, the WCC-led campaign was able to speak with one voice to four different kinds of governments, those that make and sell the most weapons; those that have suffered the most from irresponsible arms trading; those that want the arms trade to be reformed; and those that may not be focused on the issue but see its value.

The “Ecumenical Campaign for a Strong and Effective Arms Trade Treaty” developed out of a WCC Central Committee action in 2011. A campaign network was formed in mid-2011 during the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation in Kingston, Jamaica.

Churches and church ministries in 40 countries joined the campaign. Uganda, DR Congo, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, Sweden, Germany, Norway, India, South Korea, Australia, and Papua New Guinea were some of the countries involved. There was close collaboration with Catholic and evangelical groups.

African churches and governments played a key role in the campaign. Countries heavily affected by decades of irresponsible arms sales stood together and made their voices heard.

A key demand was that the treaty must include small arms and light weapons, plus ammunition, or it was not the treaty that Africa needed. Two major players in the negotiations, the US and China, both took note of the African position. Changes in their stance followed, and the negotiations were able to continue.

In the end, the treaty that opened for signature this week addresses much of what the WCC adopted as policy for the campaign, even though it falls short at various points.

For the first time, a global treaty covers small arms and light weapons, ammunition, human rights violations, international humanitarian law, and gender-based violence.

It bans exports of conventional arms where there is knowledge that weapons could be used in war crimes, genocide, attacks against civilians, and other grave breaches of international humanitarian law.

Support for the treaty from so many states, including major arms exporters, will put pressure on states that abstained to reform their practices.

Members of the ecumenical campaign continue to work so that more governments will sign and then ratify the long-awaited treaty.

See pictures of country officials and campaigners at the treaty signing at The Arms Trade Treaty web page is

The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith, witness, and service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches founded in 1948, by the end of 2012 the WCC had 345 member churches representing more than 500 million Christians from Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican, and other traditions in over 110 countries. The WCC works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church. The Church of the Brethren is a member communion of the WCC.

Source: 6/13/2013 Newsline

NYC 2014 logo and registration opening date are announced.

National Youth Conference (NYC) 2014 logo - large sizeA new logo for National Youth Conference (NYC) 2014, the once every four years Church of the Brethren conference for youth who have completed grade 9 through the first year of college, has been released by the Youth and Young Adult Ministry office. The logo designed by Debbie Noffsinger illustrates the NYC theme from Ephesians 4:1-7, “Called by Christ, Blessed for the Journey Together.”

Also announced is the opening date of online registration for NYC: Jan. 3, 2014, at 7 p.m. (central time).

NYC will be held July 19-24, 2014, at Colorado State University in Ft. Collins, Colo. The conference will begin with registration at noon on Saturday and end at noon on Thursday. Meals, lodging, and programming are included in the registration fee of $450. A non-refundable deposit of $225 must be paid at the time of registration. Balance will be due by April 30, 2014.

Youth who have completed ninth grade of high school through one year of college (at the time of NYC) are eligible to attend. All youth must be accompanied by an adult advisor. Congregations and youth groups must send at least one adult advisor who is at least 22 years old for every five youth who attend, and must send a female advisor to accompany female youth, and a male advisor to accompany male youth.

The NYC 2014 coordinators, who are serving through Brethren Volunteer Service, are Katie Cummings, Tim Heishman, and Sarah Neher. The National Youth Cabinet, which helps plan and lead NYC, includes Kerrick van Asselt, Zander Willoughby, Sarah Ullom-Minnich, Sarandon Smith, Brittany Fourman, and Emmett Eldred, with adult advisors Rhonda Pittman Gingrich and Dennis Lohr. Becky Ullom Naugle is the director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Church of the Brethren.

Find more information about NYC 2014 as it becomes available at Connect with NYC on Facebook by “liking” the NYC2014 page at Follow NYC on Twitter @NYC_2014. For questions contact 800-323-8039 or

Source: 6/13/2013 Newsline

Brethren Academy updates its list of upcoming courses.

The Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership has updated its upcoming course listing, which includes independent study units connected with the Ministers’ Association event in late June in advance of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference, and the Fifth Brethren World Assembly in mid-July.

Brethren Academy courses are open to Training in Ministry (TRIM) and Education for Shared Ministry (EFSM) students, pastors (who may earn continuing education units), and all interested persons. Registration deadlines are noted below. The academy continues to accept students beyond the registration deadline, but on that date staff determine if there are enough students registered to offer the course. Many courses have required pre-course readings, so students must allow enough time to complete readings in advance. Students should not purchase texts or make travel plans until the registration deadline has passed, and a course confirmation is received.

For more information about these Brethren Academy courses or to enroll, contact Francine Massie, administrative assistant for the Brethren Academy, at or 765-983-1824. Register for courses noted as “SVMC” (offered by the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center, located at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College) by contacting or 717-361-1450.
  • Annual Conference directed independent study unit, June 28-29 in Charlotte, N.C., available for TRIM/EFSM students. This directed independent study unit is offered in conjunction with the Ministers' Association pre-Conference continuing education event titled “Faithful Christian Leadership in the 21st Century” led by L. Gregory Jones. The study unit is directed, planned, and led by Julie Hostetter, the Brethren Academy executive director. It will include pre-Conference reading, a one-hour session before and after the Ministers’ Association event, and attendance at the entire Ministers' Association event. A follow-up project will be expected. If interested, contact . There will be no tuition fee, however participants must register and pay for the Ministers' Association event. Those planning on participating will need to arrange their own lodging in Charlotte. For more about the Ministers’ Association event and to register, go to .
  • Independent study unit connected with the Fifth Brethren World Assembly on the theme, “Brethren Spirituality: How Brethren Conceive of and Practice the Spiritual Life,” July 11-14, sponsored by the Brethren Encyclopedia Board and hosted by the Brethren Heritage Center in Brookville, Ohio. TRIM students wishing to attend should work with their district coordinator to arrange an independent study unit. EFSM students wanting to use this event as part of the Basic Brethren Beliefs learning unit should contact Julie Hostetter. Students are responsible for the registration fee, travel, and expenses at the assembly, and arrange their own lodging. Continuing education units are available for ordained ministers. More about the Brethren World Assembly and online registration is at .
  • “Story of the Church: Reformation to the Modern Age,” an online course from July 29-Sept. 20 with instructor Craig Gandy. The registration deadline is July 15 (SVMC).
  • “Ministry with Youth/Young Adults,” an online course from Aug. 19-Oct. 11 with instructor Russell Haitch, professor of Christian Education at Bethany Theological Seminary and director of the Institute for Ministry with Youth and Young Adults. The registration deadline is July 22.
  • “Introduction to Theology,” an online course from Oct. 14-Dec. 13 with instructor Malinda Berry, assistant professor of Theological Studies and director of the MA program at Bethany Seminary. The registration deadline is Sept. 16.
  • “But Who Is My Neighbor? Christianity in a Global Context,” an online course in Jan. 2014 with instructor Kent Eaton, provost and professor of Cultural Studies at McPherson (Kan.) College.
For more information about Brethren Academy courses contact or 765-983-1824.

Source: 6/13/2013 Newsline

Progressive Brethren Gathering to be held in Indiana.

Registration is open for the 2013 Progressive Brethren Gathering on the theme, “Holy Longing: This Is My Body.” This sixth annual gathering of progressive Brethren will be held Nov. 15-17 at Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren in Fort Wayne, Ind. The theme reflects the gathering’s ongoing commitment to a church and society that affirms the goodness of the whole body of Christ, said a release.

Sharon Groves, director of the Religion and Faith Program for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), will be the featured preacher and presenter. Her background includes teaching, writing, advocacy, and social service. Prior to her work at HRC, she was managing editor of “The Journal of Feminist Studies” and taught at the University of Maryland.

The gathering will include discussion groups, worship, music, and a screening of “Love Free or Die,” a documentary about Episcopal bishop Gene Robinson, the first openly gay priest ordained a bishop in any major Christian denomination. An ecumenical panel discussion featuring local pastors will follow the screening. The gathering will culminate with a banquet and celebration featuring a performance by dAnce.Kontemporary, a Fort Wayne dance company.

“Progressive Brethren are individuals who are wrestling with what it means to be people of faith in this time and setting,” said the release. “Together we embrace the gifts of diversity, hospitality, intellectual pursuit, honest engagement, and creative worship. All are welcomed to join us.”

The gathering is sponsored by the Womaen’s Caucus, the Open Table Cooperative, and the Brethren Mennonite Council for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Interests (BMC). Registration is online at Contact Carol Wise at for additional information.

Source: 6/13/2013 Newsline

Moderator Bob Krouse sets the tone for Annual Conference 2013.

Bob Krouse 200b"By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:35).

“The Church of the Brethren Annual Conference exists to unite, strengthen and equip the Church of the Brethren to follow Jesus.” We find great joy in gathering together. Ironically, the power of our unity can magnify our feelings of vulnerability and frustration. These feelings are not conflicts that can be resolved; they also don’t justify reacting to others unkindly, nor with threats, attacks, or accusations. They are a call to respond respectfully when we are feeling most uncomfortable.

Jesus said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5: 44). This isn’t easy and we don’t have to do this work alone. The Annual Conference officers have asked the Ministry of Reconciliation (MoR) of On Earth Peace to help us work collaboratively to create a culture of faithful love and respect.

We need everyone’s commitment to create a climate of safety “so that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine” (Romans 1:12). This means: 
  • Give each person time to speak, think, and listen.
  • Speak from your own experience without assuming the motives and thoughts of others.
  • Speak respectfully so that others can hear you without becoming defensive.
  • Listen thoughtfully to build trust and to increase your own understanding.
If you are considering what to say or are uncomfortable with what another is saying ask:
  • Is it safe?
  • Is it respectful?
  • Does it encourage faithfulness?
Reflecting on and talking about safety, respect, and Christ-like love will create a culture of respect and faithfulness:
  • Recognize vulnerability. Jesus said the second greatest commandment is to “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12: 30). Keeping yourself and others safe creates a safe environment for all.
  • Those who are in the minority or who are regularly criticized and challenged publically understandably feel vulnerable and need to be treated with sensitivity in order to feel safe.
  • If you feel vulnerable use the buddy system. Check in on a regular basis to let your “buddy” know how you are feeling.
  • Reduce unnecessary risk. Walk in groups as much as possible. Walk after dark as little as possible. Be aware of your surroundings.
  • If something feels “off” or uncomfortable take another route or make another choice.
  • Contact the Ministry of Reconciliation to help you assess the situation and what your choices are.
  • If you feel threatened or in danger get immediate help from the nearest source: Ministry of Reconciliation (MoR), hotel staff, or security.
Stop harassment. “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers and sisters dwell in unity” (Psalm 133:1). Annual Conference is not a place to hurt, ridicule or threaten anyone for any reason. Words or actions that attack or condemn are not acceptable.

If you feel like you’re ready to confront or speak out against someone, contact MoR. They will listen and talk with you about the message you want to be heard and appropriate ways to magnify your voice without putting others down.

If you feel you are being harassed, contact MoR. They will help you consider behavior, motivations, and appropriate actions.

If MoR notices aggressive conversations they may check to see that participants feel safe. In cases of threatened or actual physical violence MoR will enlist the help of security.

Our prayer is that we can make room for the Holy Spirit to move in our midst by helping each other feel safe, respected, and encouraged to be faithful. We can’t do it alone. God grants us the grace to do it together even as Christ calls us to love one another as Christ has loved us (John 13:34).

-- Bob Krouse is moderator of the 2013 Annual Conference of the Church of the Brethren, to be held June 29-July 3 in Charlotte, N.C. He also pastors Little Swatara Church of the Brethren in Bethel, Pa. The Ministry of Reconciliation (MoR) contact number during the 2013 Annual Conference will be 620-755-3940.

Source: 6/13/2013 Newsline

Evidence of God working: A revival of faith at McPherson College.

Steve Crain, campus minister at McPherson (Kan.) College
Photo by: courtesy of McPherson College
Steve Crain, campus minister at McPherson (Kan.) College
Reviving traditions as old as reading scripture and sharing communion. Discovering God through such unusual ways as “The Simpsons” and taking a pie to the face. God is active at McPherson (Kan.) College in ways both expected and “strange and mysterious.”

Kent Eaton, provost and professor of cultural studies, teaches courses in church history and spiritual formation. He’s seen a resurgence of Christian faith on campus in a way that both harkens back to McPherson’s roots in the Church of the Brethren and looks ahead to meeting students’ spiritual needs across a spectrum of faith traditions. “I see this evidence of God working on campus in ways that are proactive, as well as sponsored,” Eaton said.

The guidance of Steve Crain, campus pastor and associate professor of philosophy and religion, has created new ways for students to explore their faith, deepen their beliefs, and support each other on the journey. Crain began as campus pastor in fall 2012.

Events and organizations Crain has helped initiate include the start of a student-led Campus Ministry Leadership Team with about 12 active members, and prayer, worship, and communion services on campus. He has actively supported the ongoing student-led campus Bible study in Bittinger Hall, which has continued to attract students over the years. The Campus Ministry Leadership Team also helped turn a small room in the Hoffman Student Union, formerly used by student government, into “The Gathering Place”--a quiet area for prayer, reflection, and worship.

He’s helped initiate bringing together the campuses of McPherson and Central Christian College for joint worship services. Along with Matt Tobias, admissions and financial aid counselor, Shawn Flory Replogle, youth leader for the Church of the Brethren’s Western Plains District, and many students, Crain helped plan and lead a recent Regional Youth Conference in McPherson.

But Crain also has been part of some more unusual aspects of campus ministry, such as mentoring two freshmen students as they serve as regular preachers at Buckeye Church of the Brethren in Abilene, Kan. He was one of seven faculty and staff willing to take a pie to the face as a fun reward to students for winning a fundraiser competition to benefit the church’s Haiti Medical Project.

“As campus pastor, my first priority was to meet people and develop relationships.” The goal, Crain said, was to help students feed and grow their faith in the same way they nourish their mind with their education. “It’s a deep priority. For these students, their life is not complete if their faith isn’t at the heart of it,” he said. “And there are many students looking to make faith a priority again. They need one another to make it happen. As they learn and grow as young adults in an academic way, their faith is growing at the same time. Scholarship and faith wind around one another.”

A new program to help students to support each other this fall is Peer Ministry, in which volunteer peer ministers will be trained to listen, guide, and support their fellow classmates. As the leadership team considered ways to promote campus ministry, they also created “Love Month” in February to celebrate four kinds of love--friendship, romantic, familial, and unconditional (Godly) love--for each of the four weeks. Activities included creating friendship bracelets, providing cards for students to write home to family, and sponsoring a charity drive (including the aforementioned face pie). The trend has led to new groups forming at the students’ initiative, such as “Takeover,” a group open to all faiths for social time, spiritual support, and advice from peers.

Students have had an opportunity for Christian-based service at home and abroad thanks to Tom Hurst, director of service. Along with opportunities for service throughout the year, this spring he organized spring break trips to Brethren Disaster Ministries in Holton, Ind., to help rebuild destroyed homes; to the Heifer International Ranch in Arkansas; and to Camp Mt. Hermon in Tonganoxie, Kan., to help spruce up the camp for summer.

Some students traveled to Ethiopia in the spring with Herb Smith, professor of philosophy and religion, where they delivered personal energy transportation wheelchairs to polio victims. Smith said that learning about religion both in and out of the classroom is important for a complete liberal arts education. He teaches courses in World Religion, Hebrew Bible, and New Testament. “To overlook religion would be to overlook the whole dynamism of culture in human history,” he said. “All major human activities were based in religious beliefs. It permeates the ancient world, which is most of our time on planet earth.”

The same can be said about popular culture today, as students discovered in one religion class Eaton taught. They saw how spiritual lessons and ideas are conveyed in humorous satire today through “The Onion,” “Mad Magazine,” and “The Colbert Report,” but most of all “The Simpsons.” A requirement of the class was to choose an episode of the popular animated show and analyze its theological content. Students had a blast while still learning much, Eaton said, often without realizing it.

Supporting the religious and spiritual needs of students, Eaton said, must be a core aspect of campus life. “If we’re just educating the mind and the hands,” he said, “and we leave out the heart, we fail at the task of developing whole persons.”

-- Adam Pracht is coordinator of Development Communications for McPherson College.

Source: 6/13/2013 Newsline

UN representative reports ‘troubling’ global meeting on human trafficking.

Slavery, image of breaking chainAfter attending the United Nations General Assembly meeting on the Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons, Church of the Brethren UN representative Doris Abdullah wrote the following report and personal responses to the issue:

"Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother and his mother's sister, Mary wife of Cleophas and Mary Magdalene" (John 19:25).

I am writing to you about how we, as people of faith, may help in the struggle against modern day slavery. Modern day slavery is best known to us, today, as Trafficking in Persons. While the facts involved in 2013 trafficking in persons are troubling, the knowledge that we are doing so little to slow down this horror, is even more disturbing. Awareness of these facts, wisdom, Christian love, and clarity I hope will help us explore the issue and make a difference.

Some basic and troubling facts, given at the two-day meeting:

a. The global 2012 report from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) shows that women, used for sexual purposes, make up the largest number of those trafficked. Forced labor make up the second largest group of persons in slavery. Women are often both forced laborers and sex slaves.

b. Trafficking is a global problem with origin, transit, and destinations from 155 countries and territories. The bulk of reporting came from the 155 governments that participated in the data gathering while only 7 percent of the information came from non-governmental sources.

c. Factual information from the Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, and Saisuree Chutikul, board member of the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for victims of trafficking: The age of girls in sex slavery has dropped to as young as 5 years old. In addition, young women in slavery are now being forced to become pregnant in order that their babies can be sold, with mother and child bought and sold as "chattel slaves." Chattel slavery (personal property) was the method of slavery in the USA from 1655-1863.

d. The UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking has received contributions, year to date, of only $806,000 from 12 of the 193 countries at the UN plus private donors. The 12 countries gave 54 percent or $559,000 and private donors gave the balance of $247,000. The Swedish ambassador rose from the floor, after this startling announcement of so little funds in a fund set up by themselves, and read from his cell phone another $100,000 pledge from Sweden.

So much more was said over the two days, and so much needs to be done to combat this awful moral lapse in our society, as well as criminal enterprise. While the nations need to step up to the plate, pay into their own created voluntary fund, and clean up their societies with better enforceable laws, we have the deeper commitment of doing Christian clean-up within ourselves.

I venture to say that we can start with behavior that follows the examples of the Marys who followed Jesus from Galilee and stood by him at the cross. In our churches can we preach more?  Maybe we can begin to bring forth the positive aspects of all women. As persons of faith, we owe it to women enslaved everywhere to stand up and fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.

That I am upset about these findings on trafficking is an understatement. Outrage alone is not enough. We must start to work within our outrage to combat the problem. I offer the pulpit as a start, because we are Christians. I feel that we have a pulpit alternative in the scriptures for combating trafficking of women, forced labor, and all inhumanity.

Another way to bring awareness is to start with gatherings where we show films and documentaries on trafficking in persons, which often come with educational materials that can be used in discussions. I recommend the PBS series "Half the Sky."

Another resource is online videos and recordings of speakers on trafficking, as well as documents and reports such as those presented at the UN meeting.

-- Doris Abdullah is the denomination’s UN representative and chairs the Human Rights Sub-Committee for Elimination of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance.

Source: 6/13/2013 Newsline

Brethren bits.

  • Corrections: The correct date of the concert by La Verne Church of the Brethren Sanctuary Choir at the Annual Conference in Charlotte, N.C., is Saturday, June 29, at 9 p.m. following worship. In another correction, facilitators for the youth and young adult peace retreat at Camp Mt. Hermon in Kansas on Aug. 9-11, include Bethany Seminary along with On Earth Peace and Western Plains District (an updated brochure is available, contact ).
  • Brethren Disaster Ministries staff share their sadness at the death of Doris Hollinger, 93, on June 2. She was married to Paul Hollinger, who passed away in 2008. The Hollingers spent 25 years doing disaster relief work together. They served as Shenandoah District disaster coordinators and as disaster project leaders for Brethren Disaster Ministries, traveling as far as Puerto Rico to serve. Along with three other couples, they organized the Brethren Disaster Relief Sale held annually in Rockingham County, Va. She also was one of the early volunteers for Children’s Disaster Services. A celebration of her life took place on June 8 at Mount Vernon Church of the Brethren in Waynesboro, Va. Brethren Disaster Ministries has been named as one of the charities to receive memorial gifts.
Printing pages of the New Inglenook Cookbook
Photo by Versa Press
Brethren Press celebrated printing of the “New Inglenook Cookbook.” In a Facebook post, the printers at Versa Press posted a video of the new cookbook’s title page for the “Desserts” section, which came off the press May 31. “How did they know we'd be most tantalized by this page?” commented the Brethren Press Facebook post. See the video at
  • The National Council of Churches (NCC) seeks candidates to fill the top executive leadership position of general secretary/president. This newly designated position is the top staff leadership position in the 63-year-old ecumenical organization and has emerged from a year-long transitional process conducted by the NCC Governing Board led by president Kathryn Lohre and transitional general secretary Peg Birk. In the new configuration, the president of the NCC will become chair of the Governing Board. The general secretary/president serves as executive leader with overall responsibility for personnel, deploying resources to achieve priorities, organizational and board development, fundraising, vision-setting, long-range planning, financial management, external relationships, and thoughtful leadership. Since its founding in 1950, the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA has been the leading force for shared ecumenical witness among Christians in the US. The 37 member communions--from a wide spectrum of Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox, Evangelical, historic African American, and Living Peace churches--include 40 million people in more than 100,000 congregations in communities across the nation. Additional information can be found at and . The deadline for applications is July 8. Applications should be sent to Alisa Lewis, director of human resources, United Church of Christ, at , or by mail to 700 Prospect Ave., Cleveland, OH 44115.
  • Brethren Press and MennoMedia seek a managing editor for a new Sunday school curriculum titled “Shine: Living in God’s Light.” The managing editor, who reports to the project director, manages contracts, guides all curriculum components through the production process, attends to administrative details, relates to freelance writers and editors, and serves on various committees. Candidates should have excellent skills in editing and project management, and have strong technical skills. They should be knowledgeable about the Church of the Brethren or the Mennonite Church. Applications will be reviewed as they are received. For a full job description and contact information visit .
  • The Palms of Sebring, Fla., a church-related retirement community, is searching for a chaplain, on a part-time basis, who will minister to seniors in the Health Care Center. Familiarity with senior ministries in a skilled nursing or assisted living environment would be preferable. Hospital ministry would also be helpful. The Palms of Sebring is located in central Florida, approximately 84 miles southwest of Disney World. Highlands County offers wonderful golfing, fishing, and auto racing. Annually, the first race of the American Formula 1 Grand Prix series is held in Sebring. Apply at or submit a resume to 863-385-2385.
  • On Earth Peace has issued a request for proposals for curriculum development with an arts emphasis. The agency seeks a curriculum developer to add an arts component to the existing Agape-Satyagraha Training resource. The estimated budget for this project is $2,500; any proposal should include what could be accomplished with this amount. A secondary proposal may be submitted with an estimate for an amount greater than $2,500. The project should be completed during the time frame of July 1-Oct. 31. This time frame is negotiable but should be discussed within the proposal. Contact Marie Benner-Rhoades, Youth and Young Adult Peace Formation Director, at for a full description of the project, the existing curriculum, and any questions. All completed proposals are due by June 21.
  • Amy Heckert has resigned as media support specialist with the Church of the Brethren. Her last day at the General Offices in Elgin, Ill., will be July 26. As of July 15 she will have completed 22 years of service with church-related agencies. She was first hired by Brethren Benefit Trust in 1991. She moved to a job with the former General Board in 2000, and has worked for the Church of the Brethren since then. Most recently, her work has focused on creation and maintenance of web pages for including widely used denominational tools such as the online calendar. In a major website project, she helped move the denominational website to its current host. She regularly aids the various departments of the church with a variety of web-based functions, e-mail newsletters, online photo albums, and more. For many years, she has been a key person in the Press Rooms at Annual Conference and National Youth Conference, where she serves as webmaster and creates a welcoming environment for volunteers.
  • Audrey Hollenberg-Duffey will serve as summer intern with the Ministry of Reconciliation (MoR) of On Earth Peace. A Bethany Seminary student, she grew up in Westminster (Md.) Church of the Brethren and has done occasional work with MoR for the past several summers. This summer she will dig deeper into the work of MoR with the main responsibility of supporting the Annual Conference MoR team and helping update the Matthew 18 workshop.
  • Prayer is requested for the National Junior High Conference being held at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College this weekend. Sponsored by the Youth and Young Adult Ministry, Church of the Brethren junior high students and adult advisors will gather for the conference tomorrow through Sunday. “Pray for safety in travel and participation and pray that these young people be encouraged in their faith and recognize the opportunities available to them to serve the church and our God,” said the June prayer guide from the Global Mission and Service office. Find the full prayer guide at .
  • Congregations are invited to use Gather ’Round themes in worship this summer. Worship resources and sermon starters that coordinate with the weekly Gather ’Round themes are available. Gather ’Round is the curriculum produced by Brethren Press and MennoMedia. “God's Good Creation” is the theme for the summer, “a wonderful time to pause and appreciate the essential goodness of the natural world,” said an announcement. “In Genesis 1, we meet God the majestic poet; in Genesis 2, we encounter a God with muddy hands, crafting human beings out of dirt. Psalms lift up the vast diversity of creation as well as God's love for each one of us, inside and out.... This is a great opportunity to show children and youth that the congregation walks with them in their faith formation journey. One good way to use the prayers and calls to worship is to invite children and youth to lead them.” Find resources at . Summer curriculum is available for Preschool (ages 3-4), Multiage (grades K-5), and Youth/Junior Youth (grades 6-12). Order curriculum from Brethren Press at 800-441-3712.
  • The summer 2013 quarter of A Guide for Biblical Studies, the Church of the Brethren Bible study curriculum for adults, is focused on the theme “God’s People Worship.” Written by Debbie Eisenbise, this study uses Old Testament texts to focus on God’s holiness, steadfast faith, joyful worship, and more. Cost is $4.25 ($7.35 large print) per copy, plus shipping and handling. Order from Brethren Press at 800-441-3712 or online at .
  • Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) director Dan McFadden is the special guest for the June program of “Brethren Voices,” a community cable television show produced by Portland (Ore.) Peace Church of the Brethren. The program is hosted by Brent Carlson, with Ed Groff as producer. “Over 7,000 volunteers have served in BVS during the past 63 years and it has been Dan McFadden who has been at the helm of Brethren Volunteer Service the last 17 years,” said an announcement. “Under his leadership, BVS has celebrated its 300th training unit since 1948. Currently, there are 104 active projects with 67 in the US, 21 in Europe, 8 in Latin America, 5 in Africa, 2 in Japan, and 1 active project in Haiti.” The program also explores McFadden’s personal experience as a BVS volunteer in Honduras in 1981. “It was a time of war in El Salvador and Honduras. Dan states that his responsibility was to accompany refugees to safe areas using large cattle trucks.” Upcoming “Brethren Voices” will feature church member Jerry O’Donnell who is press secretary for US Representative Grace Napolitano in Washington D.C.; youth who attended the 2013 Christian Citizenship Seminar and some of the first who participated in this event in the 1950s; and Merle Forney, founder of “Kids as Peacemakers.” Order a copy from Ed Groff at . Brethren Voices is also seen on .
  • Spirit of Joy, a Church of the Brethren group meeting in Arvada, Colo., is asking for prayer as it moves through a process of being “reborn” under the name “Living Light of Peace,” and becoming a dually affiliated congregation with the former Arvada Mennonite Church. “Pray we will be open to and follow the leading of the Spirit in this new and wonderful adventure God is calling us to experience,” said a note in the Western Plains District newsletter.
  • “Are you looking for adventure? Then we might have an opportunity for you,” says Stover Memorial Church of the Brethren in the Oak Park/Highland Park neighborhood of Des Moines, Iowa. The church seeks “a few good folks” who want to live and work in Des Moines to help the congregation create a new “point of light” in the neighborhood. Stover will make the parsonage available to church planters, and the church house will be available for meetings, Bible study, worship, and community events. “We have been in an intentional discernment process for the past five years as our membership has declined,” said the announcement. “We believe that God is not done with us yet. The Northern Plains District has expressed its full support for this endeavor. Please come and join us on this new journey as we continue God’s work together.” Contact Pastor Barbara Wise Lewczak, 515-240-0060 or .
  • Columbia Furnace Church of the Brethren in Woodstock, Va., is hosting a Holy Spirit Conference on July 15-18 on the theme, "One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism" (Ephesians 4:4-6). According to the Western Pennsylvania District newsletter, speakers include Melodye Hilton and Eric Smith, with workshop leaders Lallah Brilhart, Carolyn Cecil, and Sheryl Merritt. Childcare and age appropriate worship and activities are available. The Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership will grant .5 continuing education units to ministers who attend. For more information and to register go to .
  • On July 7, Brian McLaren will be the featured guest in worship with Living Stream Church of the Brethren, the denomination's first strictly online church plant. McLaren is a leader in the emergent church movement and author of “A Generous Orthodoxy,” “A New Kind of Christianity,” and “Naked Spirituality: A Life with God in 12 Simple Words.” Living Stream pastor Audrey deCoursey reports that McLaren will share visions for the church in the emerging Internet era. Questions from worshipers are welcomed throughout the live interview or by e-mail before the service. The webcast begins at 5 p.m. (Pacific time) on July 7. Worshipers can join the service by visiting and following links to the webcast portal. Archived video will be made available. Living Stream celebrated a six-month anniversary on June 2 when Colleen Michael, executive minister of Pacific Northwest District, installed deCoursey as pastor. The church plant operates under the auspices of Portland (Ore.) Peace Church of the Brethren.
  • The 7th Annual Family Peace Camp in Atlantic Southeast District will be Aug 30-Sept. 1 at Camp Ithiel near Gotha, Fla. Resource leaders LuAnne Harley and Brian Kruschwitz of Yurtfolk will lead family-oriented peace activities. Kayla and Ilexene Alphonse will speak about their work in Haiti. Contact Phil Lersch, Action for Peace Team, at .
  • Shepherd’s Spring outdoor ministry center is holding its 17th annual golf tournament on June 17 at the Maryland National Golf Club in Middletown. Entry fee is $95, check in is at 7:30 a.m. The tournament benefits scholarships and ministries at Shepherd’s Spring. Call 301-223-8193.
  • Manchester University president Jo Young Switzer wrote in a recent newsletter that “commencement was especially exciting this year with the largest graduating class in years--284! Typically we honor around 200 graduates.” The university welcomed thousands of guests to its campus in North Manchester, Ind., to celebrate commencement.
  • Three Church of the Brethren couples have received Citations of Merit from McPherson (Kan.) College: David and Bonnie Fruth, Phil and Pearl Miller, and Bill and Lois Grove. “David, Pearl, and Lois are also siblings, but the couples have more in common than their family connection,” notes a release. “These six encapsulate the values at the roots of the college, based in the Church of the Brethren.” Recipients are honored for “a commitment to quality education, to serving others, to building community, to promoting peace, and to living with simplicity and humility.” David and Bonnie Fruth met in Brethren Volunteer Service and spent their careers in education, David as a high school counselor and Bonnie as an elementary school teacher. They live at the Cedars, a Brethren retirement community in McPherson. Phil and Pearl Miller were mission workers with the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria, where Phil did alternative service as a conscientious objector and the couple taught school. They spent the rest of their careers in education in Iowa, and today are retired in Missouri and active in Warrensburg (Mo.) Church of the Brethren. Bill and Lois Grove also were mission workers in Nigeria where Bill was a teacher and school principal. Later both taught school in Zaire. Back in Iowa, Bill was a school principal while Lois “had the harder job--full-time mom.” Today she works for FEMA with survivor disaster assistance, and is an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren. Read the release at .
  • In more news from McPherson--the only college that offers a four-year degree in automotive restoration--assistant professor of technology Ed Barr has written a comprehensive handbook on automotive metal shaping published by Motorbooks under the title “Professional Sheet Metal Fabrication.” After Motorbooks approached Barr to write the book, the volume took him two years working nights and weekends to complete, said a release. He received help from McPherson students “who illustrated shaping techniques and made their projects available to be photographed.” As of June 3, Barr has been blogging for Motorbooks at . Read the full release at .
  • Christian Churches Together (CCT) has sent a letter to President Obama sharing “deepest concern over the kidnaping of two prominent archbishops in Syria, Greek Orthodox Archbishop Paul Yazigi of Aleppo and Syriac Orthodox Archbishop Yohanna Ibrahim of Aleppo.” The two have been missing since April 22. The letter asked the US government to use its influence to make a difference in the fate of the two church leaders. The letter also said, in part, “The members of our churches and organizations deeply lament the ongoing and horrible tragedy in Syria, with the deaths of tens of thousands, the displacement of millions, and the bitter sectarian hostility which seems to grow daily. Our prayers for comfort are with all who suffer, and our prayers for wisdom and courage are with all who are working for peace.” The letter was signed by the five presidents of the “families” of churches within CCT including Brethren Press publisher Wendy McFadden, president of the historic Protestant family.
  • African churches celebrated 50 years of the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) at a 10th Assembly in Kampala, Uganda, on June 3-9. For this 50th Jubilee of the AACC, “church leaders from more than 40 African countries asked how they can rise up against the shackles of the colonial legacy, conflicts, poverty, class struggles and political upheavals, to unlock Africa's immense potential,” said a release from the World Council of Churches. Speaking on the AACC vision, president Valentine Mokiwa said the AACC was created in 1963 to translate “African spirituality into the social, political, and moral transformation of this continent as it was emerging from the bondage of spiritual and mental imperialism and colonization.” He encouraged African churches to speak out against poverty, calling it a sin: “We must declare poverty the greatest scandal and sin of our time and age.” For the WCC release go to .
  • A special trip to experience life in Lewistown, Maine, a ministry center for Brethren Revival Fellowship and the Brethren Volunteer Service BRF unit, has been announced for July 6-13. “You’ll get a taste of day-to-day life on Horton Street as we interact with those young and old in desperate need of the Savior,” said the BRF newsletter. “Those needed are to be 16 years old and older who have a heart to serve. Activities may include time spent at the Root Cellar, working with the local youth, time at the Good Shepherd Food Bank, as well as helping local church families with service projects.” Cost for the trip is approximately $100. Contact Caleb Long at 717-597-9935 or .
  • An interview with Noam Chomsky has been published by Christian Peacemaker Teams and is available as a podcast online, according to a CPT release. The linguist, cognitive scientist, philosopher, and “radical truth-teller,” is interviewed by CPT interim assistant director Tim Nafziger and Herald Press editor Joanna Shenk, followed by a discussion with Nafziger, Shenk, and editor of Mark Van Steenwyck. In the interview, Chomsky and Nafziger discuss the 2005-06 CPT hostage crisis and how grassroots movements sustain themselves. Chomsky “has said in the past that CPT’s work gives him hope,” the release reported. “Although Chomsky is not religious, he has often expressed respect for religious people who put themselves at risk for the sake of justice.” The podcast is part of an Iconocast series on the Jesus Radicals website and is available at .
Source: 6/13/2013 Newsline