Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Newsline: July 24, 2013


Four congregations receive the 2013 Open Roof Award

Elizabethtown Church of the Brethren receives 2013 Open Roof Award
Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
Elizabethtown Church of the Brethren receives 2013 Open Roof Award
The Open Roof Award is presented each year to congregations who have made specific efforts to “ensure that all may worship, serve, be served, learn, and grow in the presence of God, as valued members of the Christian community.”

During the Mission and Ministry Board meeting prior to the 2013 Annual Conference, four congregations were honored for their work: Elizabethtown (Pa.) Church of the Brethren; Nettle Creek Church of the Brethren in Hagerstown, Ind.; Stone Church of the Brethren in Huntingdon, Pa.; and Wolgamuth Church of the Brethren in Dillsburg, Pa.

“For us, hospitality and inclusion are HIGH priority.” This statement from Elizabethtown Church of the Brethren nicely summarizes the congregation’s ministry of including those who are differently abled. The church’s most recent work was a major renovation to the chancel to install a ramp allowing mobility-challenged choir members to more easily participate.

Within two hours of the ramp having received ADA approval, church staff received a phone call from a bride-to-be from a neighboring Church of the Brethren congregation inquiring if she could have her wedding in the sanctuary. She uses a wheelchair and her congregation’s sanctuary is not fully accessible. That wedding took place in June, making this accessible space a blessing to the congregation and beyond.

Nettle Creek Church of the Brethren receives 2013 Open Roof Award
Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
Nettle Creek Church of the Brethren receives 2013 Open Roof Award
Nettle Creek Church of the Brethren faced a different kind of challenge when Richard Propes was hired as interim pastor. The congregation admittedly had misgivings, since Propes is in a wheelchair, born with spina bifida and becoming a double amputee as an adult. The congregation came to find out that they were more concerned about it than was Propes, and reported that things the church felt would be impossible worked out just fine. “Richard taught us that it’s okay to look different; he opened our eyes to the ways we as a congregation could open our hearts and minds to be better stewards through every avenue and every person God sends our way.”

Stone Church of the Brethren receives Open Roof Award
Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
Stone Church of the Brethren receives Open Roof Award
Stone Church of the Brethren is committed to “recognizing the uniqueness of every individual as God’s beloved child” and to “welcoming all, regardless of...physical or mental ability.” The church’s overall renovation project included a deep desire to make the building accessible, and the resulting list of changes is a long one: all but one of the outside doors into the building is now accessible; all bathrooms were gutted and made ADA compliant; a lift was installed from the fellowship hall level to the sanctuary level; a new sound system was installed in the sanctuary with hearing enhancement devices available; new lighting in the sanctuary has aided in the ability of persons to see the printed bulletins and hymnals more easily.

“Since the completion of the renovations in 2009, we have seen the value and blessing of what these renovations have done for not only members and friends of Stone Church, but also for anyone who comes to use our building. In many ways, words do not describe the impact this has had on our self-image and awareness of being sensitive to those who are dealing with accessibility issues.”

Wolgamuth Church of the Brethren receives 2013 Open Roof Award
Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
Wolgamuth Church of the Brethren receives 2013 Open Roof Award
Wolgamuth Church of the Brethren, a small, rural congregation in south central Pennsylvania, has as leaders reported, “finite resources,” but over time was able to install a fully accessible restroom on the main floor, remove a pew from the sanctuary to accommodate wheelchairs, and as a part of an audiovisual equipment upgrade, offer hearing devices. Even with these improvements, the one significant challenge that remained was accessibility to the lower level, which houses the kitchen, fellowship hall, and classroom. For more than a decade the congregation had been seeking ways to address the concern, but all of the options explored proved to be cost-prohibitive.

With a recent increase in membership and the need to use the lower level more regularly, a proposal was approved to build a cement ramp to one of the basement entrances. While the church’s location and size may limit some types of outreach, it now has the added benefit of allowing the congregation to invite everyone for fellowship, refreshments, and even simply shelter.

These congregations are commended for their work and for increasing awareness of the needs--including the need to serve, not just be served--of sisters and brothers who are differently abled.

-- Donna Kline is director of the Church of the Brethren Deacon Ministry and a member of the Congregational Life Ministries staff. She reports, “A version of this article will appear in an upcoming issue of the monthly online newsletter of the Anabaptist Disabilities Network (ADNet). We are very happy to be able to celebrate the good work being done in our congregations with the greater Anabaptist community.”

Source: 7/24/2013 Newsline

Brethren volunteers assemble 1,700 Emergency Clean-Up Buckets in two hours

Brethren volunteers assemble Emergency Clean-Up Buckets in Mount Joy, Pa., on June 29, sponsored by the Brethren Disaster Relief Auction of Atlantic Northeast and Southern Pennsylvania Districts.
Photo by BDRA/Dave Farmer
Brethren volunteers assemble Emergency Clean-Up Buckets at Florin Church of the Brethren in Mount Joy, Pa., on June 29, sponsored by the Brethren Disaster Relief Auction of Atlantic Northeast and Southern Pennsylvania Districts.
Why would anyone want to work on a hot summer day? On a Saturday? As a volunteer? For free? Well, 150 people from the Church of the Brethren districts of Atlantic Northeast and Southern Pennsylvania did on June 29 at Florin Church of the Brethren in Mount Joy, Pa.

Ranging in age from 3 years to more than 85, they came in response to a request from Brethren Disaster Ministries and the Material Resources program at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., where the supply of Emergency Clean-Up Buckets had been depleted following tornadoes in Texas and Kansas. The denominational staff had asked the Brethren Disaster Relief Auction to assemble more of the buckets, which are distributed to disaster sites on behalf of Church World Service (CWS).

The assembly area was set up the day before, so that when the volunteers arrived there were 7 assembly lines with 12 stations each, with supplies already stacked on the tables. An empty bucket started at one end, and as it traveled down the line volunteers packed 58 items needed for clean-up after a disaster. The last person tightly packed the items in the bucket, hammered the lid on, secured it with tape, and stacked it on a pallet.

A second crew then moved the pallets to a waiting 18-wheeler where a third crew loaded them for immediate shipment to the New Windsor warehouse. A fourth crew supplied the tables with fresh products and removed and packed the discarded boxes. When one line depleted its product supply, it was shut down, the area cleaned, and the tables folded and stacked. By the time the last line was finished, the clean-up was already nearly complete.

The crews completed 1,700 Emergency Clean-Up Buckets in less than 2 hours. That’s 14 buckets per minute or 1 bucket every 4.2 seconds.

The wholesale value of the buckets is $100,000, paid for by the Brethren Disaster Relief Auction. The annual auction is held every September at the Lebanon (Pa.) Expo and Fairgrounds, and last year raised over $500,000 for disaster relief, which includes not only activities such as assembling the Emergency Clean-Up Buckets, but also disaster relief trips for volunteers from the organization.

-- Dave Farmer is media liaison for the Brethren Disaster Relief Auction. In addition to this article, he provided a link to a short video showing how the volunteers assembled 1,700 buckets in just 2 hours, at

Source: 7/24/2013 Newsline

Brethren Disaster Ministries continues to bless SALT with skilled volunteers

Tim Sheaffer, who has served as a project leader at the Brethren Disaster Ministries home rebuilding project site in Schoharie, N.Y.
Photo by Jerrine Corallo
Tim Sheaffer, who has served as a project leader at the Brethren Disaster Ministries home rebuilding project site in Schoharie, N.Y.
As we approach the two year anniversary of Hurricane Irene, it is hard to believe that there are still those who have yet to move back into their homes. Though many homeowners still have their work cut out for them, organizations like Brethren Disaster Ministries (BDM) are helping in a big way to keep the recovery process moving forward.

Since this past April, Brethren Disaster Ministries has been sending volunteer groups to Schoharie County to help rebuild homes. Volunteers of all ages from across the country are donating their time and working hard in the summer heat.

Brethren Disaster Ministries recruits and coordinates new groups of up to 15 volunteers each week. Long-term project leader Tim Sheaffer, a self-employed contractor from Pennsylvania, has been managing the local teams and the progress since their arrival in the spring. Sheaffer has been with the program for about nine years and originally started as a volunteer. He says that working with the Brethren has had a huge effect on his life.

"Every week it feels like you just can't get enough done, which makes you want to keep going back and work even harder. The homeowners we have worked with in Schoharie have been so warm, gracious, and thankful that it is a huge pleasure to become a part of the community," Sheaffer states.
Groups from Brethren Disaster Ministries are scheduled to volunteer with SALT through September. In addition, Schaefer said that based on what he has seen over the past few months, the volunteer groups will be in Schoharie through the fall and possibly into the winter months.

Adam Braun, a young volunteer from Illinois who has been working alongside Sheaffer this week, says that "it really opens your eyes to go out and volunteer in a community like this. Even though money and resources aren't in abundance, that just makes you want to come back again and again until things are back in shape."

Sheaffer will be ending his term in our region next Friday and SALT would like to recognize all that has been accomplished under his leadership locally. He has helped supervise over 500 volunteers who have worked on over 20 homes in the region.

"Tim is one of those unique people, who always has a smile on his face, emanating a sense of calm and assurance that is vital for disaster recovery work," executive director Sarah Goodrich shares. "No task was ever to big or to small for he and his team to tackle. His leadership will be greatly missed, but we look forward to meeting the new project leader and continuing to work with the Brethren volunteers."

Having groups like Brethren Disaster Ministries in Schoharie is absolutely vital for recovery, as they guarantee volunteers will continue to fill the need for skilled labor that becomes harder to fill as time passes. The time they donate is greatly appreciated in the community, and we hope that they will keep coming back to aid us in recovery for as long as they can!

-- Written by Sarah Roberts for SALT, Schoharie Area Long-Term Inc., a local disaster recovery organization dedicated to rebuilding Schoharie, N.Y., after Hurricane Irene. Find out more about SALT at .

Source: 7/24/2013 Newsline

Christian Peacemaker Team activists reveal radioactive pollution

Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) and the Appalachian Peace Education Center (APEC) held a press conference on July 15 announcing the findings of a recent study revealing uranium contamination in the area surrounding Aerojet Ordnance Tennessee (AOT) in Jonesborough, Tenn. Ken Edwards, an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren and a resident of Jonesborough, is involved with the CPT and APEC project.

Johnson City Press newspaper and NBC-affiliate WJHL Channel 11 attended the press conference, held on Old State Route 34 across from the northeast Tennessee uranium weapons facility. Standing at a table arrayed with soil samples gathered outside the facility, representatives of CPT and APEC spoke about the contamination in the area while affirming their faith in the goodness of humanity.

John Mueller, a former chemist, noted that a 2013 study has demonstrated that soil, creek sediment, and biological life near the plant are contaminated with waste from the manufacturing of radioactive weaponry. “Because Aerojet is the only nearby company that can work with processed uranium, we assert that the Aerojet plant is polluting the environment with uranium,” Mueller said.

Amarillo, Texas, resident Rusty Tomlinson spoke about the health implications of the uranium contamination. “Studies of veterans exposed to uranium weapons showed that male vets have three times the normal rate of children with birth defects,” he said. “Female vets have four times the normal rate.” He cited the case of Army major Doug Rokke whose contact with uranium munitions in Iraq in 1991 caused life-threatening illnesses with which he continues to struggle.

Depleted uranium (DU), widely used by the US military, is both highly toxic and radioactive. It becomes an aerosol fume when it combusts--as part of the process of uranium waste incineration and as a result of munitions deployment--and has traveled airborne thousands of miles. When ingested, DU particles travel via the bloodstream throughout the body where it can cause cancer and disease associated with resultant DNA disruption (source: Roselie Bertell in “Depleted Uranium: All the Questions About DU and Gulf War Syndrome Are Not Yet Answered,” “International Journal of Health Services” 36.3 (2006): 503-20).

Aerojet declined an offer by CPT to participate in the press conference. Guards looked on as APEC Board member Ken Edwards handed fliers to people driving by. However when Edwards began approaching people within the facility parking lot a guard came out and told him, “You cannot do that here.”

Maryknoll nun Rosemarie Milazzo emphasized CPT and APEC's commitment to a nonviolent path toward transformation. “We believe all weapons are immoral and their use is incompatible with the most basic principles of humanity and environmental health protection. How can we as a civilized society continue to harm others by disregarding our responsibility to care for and protect our land?”

-- Michael Henes provided this release from CPT, an organization originally begun by the Historic Peace Churches (Church of the Brethren, Mennonites, and Quakers). Its mission is to build partnerships to transform violence and oppression, with the vision of a world of communities that together embrace the diversity of the human family and live justly and peaceably with all creation.

Source: 7/24/2013 Newsline

Kendra Johnson to be manager of Global Mission and Service office

Kendra Johnson
Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
Kendra Johnson
Kendra N. Johnson has accepted the position of manager in the office of Global Mission and Service for the Church of the Brethren. Her start date will be Sept. 1. She will work at the denomination’s General Offices in Elgin, Ill.

Johnson currently is a Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) worker, serving as orientation assistant and staff volunteer in the BVS office. She began volunteering at the General Offices on Jan.  2, 2012, after completing a term of service in BVS at the German Branch of Peace Brigades International in Hamburg. She also has been a youth care worker at Jugendhilfe Collstede in Westerstede, Germany, and was part of a team of international volunteers rebuilding Palestinian homes with the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions.

She is a 2008 graduate of Dana College in Blair, Neb., where she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology, international studies, and German.

Source: 7/24/2013 Newsline

Peace Day 2013: With whom will you make peace?

Peace Day is coming up soon on Sept. 21, and this year’s theme asks one simple question: With whom will you make peace?

Peace Day (formerly called the International Day of Prayer for Peace) is a rallying call to bring people together to think about how this peace can transform relationships and communities. Sometimes it feels like violence is all around, and that peace is unattainable, but Jesus gives us peace and calls us to be peacemakers who build up our world and our communities. "My peace I leave with you" (John 14:27). Asked how many times to forgive, Jesus responded, "Not 7 times, but 77 times" (Matthew 18:22). How can we all live into his peace?

Peace Day 2013This year’s Peace Day theme is a reminder of the situations and relationships into which we have the ability to bring peace. Communities are filled with opportunities to bring the peace of Jesus into neighborhoods, for the possibility of transformation and reconciliation.

Last year, more than 170 congregations participated, including more than 90 Church of the Brethren congregations. The public events of Peace Day 2012 included prayer, cultural sharing, music, and art that brought communities together to talk and pray with one another.

On Earth Peace, the Church of the Brethren, the World Council of Churches, the Fellowship of Reconciliation, and the United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries invite and encourage the organizing of Peace Day events this year on or near Sept. 21.

Already churches and groups have signed up from places as different as Pennsylvania and the Congo. Join them, and start thinking about how to engage your communities on Peace Day this September. Here are some possibilities:
  • Follow Peace Day on Twitter @peacedaypray .
-- Bryan Hanger, a Brethren Volunteer Service worker serving as a legislative associate for the Church of the Brethren's Office of Public Witness, provided this report.

Source: 7/24/2013 Newsline

Covenant study on women in Luke and Acts, Guide for Biblical Studies on ‘First Things’ new from Brethren Press

Covenant Bible Study on Women in Luke and Acts, published by Brethren Press 2013A new Covenant Bible Study from Brethren Press titled “Women in Luke and Acts” is among the new resources from the Church of the Brethren publishing house. Order these resources from Brethren Press by calling 800-441-3712 or ordering online at . A shipping and handling fee will be added to the listed price.

“Women in Luke and Acts” is written by Lani Wright, an ordained minister, author and editor, and online seminary instructor based in Cottage Grove, Ore. The Covenant Bible Studies series may be used by individuals, but is especially designed for small group settings. Each study includes 10 sessions that promote interaction and encourage open discussion about practical aspects of the Christian faith.

This study examines the character and development of certain women of the Way--women who were among the first and most faithful converts of the Jesus movement. Once they became part of the Christian community, they took important roles as prophets, teachers, church leaders, and financial benefactors. Their stories will surprise, challenge, transcend  barriers, and encourage believers to turn the world upside down in Jesus’ name. Order one copy per student. Purchase from Brethren Press for $7.95.
  • “First Things” is the theme of the fall quarter of A Guide for Biblical Studies, written by Michael Hostetter, pastor of Salem Church of the Brethren in southern Ohio. Lessons employ selected texts from Hebrews and Acts to move towards a biblical definition of faith, speaking to the responsive obedience of God's love revealed in Jesus as an act of faith. Each quarter of A Guide for Biblical Studies contains daily NRSV scriptures, lessons, and questions for individual preparation and classroom use. The curriculum follows the International Sunday School Lessons/Uniform Series. Purchase one copy per student, per quarter. $4.25 per copy or $7.35 for large print.
  • The 2013 Annual Conference Wrap-up DVD ($29.95) and Sermons DVD ($24.95) provide an overview of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference held June 29-July 3 in Charlotte, N.C. The DVD of sermons contains five of the six messages given for the Conference worship services. Preachers are moderator Bob Krouse of Little Swatara Church of the Brethren, popular speaker and author Philip Yancey, Paul Mundey of Frederick Church of the Brethren, Pam Reist and Paul Brubaker who gave a dialogue sermon, and Suely Inhauser, a leader in the Church of the Brethren in Brazil. Both videos are produced by videographer David Sollenberger and crew.
  • The Living Word Bulletin Series 2014 offers bulletins for worship with texts and images chosen by Brethren, for Brethren. Since 1943, this series from Brethren Press has served congregations by providing worship resources such as litanies and prayers focused on God’s word, paired with inspiring photography and images that challenge worshipers to Christ-like living. Bulletins are offered for each Sunday from September 2013 through August 2014, with special bulletins for Love Feast and Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Subscription price is $4.25 per 50 or $2.65 per 25, per Sunday. For a flier displaying each cover and lectionary based scripture text for the year, contact Brethren Press.
Order these resources from Brethren Press by calling 800-441-3712 or ordering online at A shipping and handling fee will be added to the listed price.

Source: 7/24/2013 Newsline

August issue of ‘Basin and Towel’ to focus on peace

The August issue of “Basin and Towel,” a magazine produced by the Congregational Life Ministries of the Church of the Brethren, focuses on "The Issue of Peace." The staff hope to encourage a new congregational focus on “something that often is overlooked as a basic tenet of the Church of the Brethren,” said editor and Deacon Ministry director Donna Kline.

“I'm particularly excited about this issue not just because of the theme, but also because of the type of articles,” Kline added.

Articles include:
  • Marilyn Lerch, coordinator of TRIM and EFSM for the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership, writing on pastoral responses to acts of violence and terrorism, coming out of her experience of ministry following the shootings at Virginia Tech.
  • Barbara Daté, a member of the Intercultural Advisory Group, writing on conflict resolution from her experience as the founder of the Daté Discernment Circle process.
  • Kathy Reid, a former executive of the Association of Brethren Caregivers and currently director of a domestic violence shelter in Waco, Texas, writing on inter-relational peace and domestic violence.
  • Advice from a teacher on how to deal with bullying in social media.
  • Bill Kilgore of Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren in Fort Wayne, Ind., writing about conscientious objection as a former member of ROTC who then became a CO.
  • Alan Kahler writing on the long-term effects of violence on individuals and families, based on his family’s experience after his brother, Dean Kahler, was one of the passersby who were injured in the shooting at Kent State.
Order a copy of the August issue of “Basin and Towel” for $4 or subscribe for the annual fee of $12 (for an individual subscription; congregational subscriptions are also available) by contacting Diane Stroyeck at or 800-323-8039 ext. 327. Bonus materials for this issue also will be available at

Source: 7/24/2013 Newsline

Brethren bits

  • The Church of the Brethren seeks a volunteer kitchen assistant to serve at the Zigler Hospitality Center on the campus of the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. This position works directly with the head cook and assists in the preparation of food for guests, and works in the dish room following all sanitation and health department rules and regulations. The preferred candidate will have experience assisting in a kitchen environment and must be able to lift 35 pounds and exercise care in handling sharp equipment and power operated equipment. Applications will be received and reviewed beginning immediately and will continue until the position is filled. Qualified candidates are invited to request the application packet by contacting: Deborah Brehm, Office of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120-1694; 800-323-8039, ext 367; .
  • Happy Corner Church of the Brethren in Clayton, Ohio, is hosting a 7th Annual Brethren Disaster Ministries Ice Cream Social Fundraiser on Aug. 3 from 4-7 p.m. “Join us,” said an invitation, “Great ice cream, great food.” The menu includes chicken salad on croissants and macaroni and cheese as well as ice cream. Entertainment will be by Community of Song, Simple Gifts, Hope Singers, Happy Corner Singing Minstrels, and We’re All Family. “Don’t forget to bring your change jars for the ‘You Can Make A Change With Your Change Project,’” the announcement added. Last year’s project brought in $3,624.03.
  • Atlantic Southeast District’s seventh Church of the Brethren Family Peace Camp will be held just before Labor Day at Camp Ithiel near Orlando, Fla., from Friday evening, Aug. 30, through Sunday noon, Sept. 1. “We want all of you to consider attending this year,” said an invitation from Phil Lersch of the district’s Action for Peace Team. "Come when you can....and leave when you must!" The event, which is for both families and individuals, features leadership by LuAnne Harley and Brian Kruschwitz of Yurtfolk, and Michaela and Ilexene Alphonse, Church of the Brethren mission workers in Haiti. The theme is “Doing Peace.” For information contact Lersch at 727-544-2911 or .
  • The Southern Center of the Christian Growth Institute is sponsoring "Brethren Life and Thought" as the fall class series, taught by Virlina District executive minister David K. Shumate. Classes will be held at Topeco Church of the Brethren near Floyd, Va., on the following Saturdays from noon-5:30 p.m.: Sept. 14 and 28, and Oct. 19. The class is designed for ministerial training, but also would be helpful for Sunday school teachers, Bible study leaders, and others wishing to know more about the Church of the Brethren. A 1.5 continuing education credit is available for ordained ministers. Contact Sue Morris at or 540-651-8331 for more information and registration forms.
  • The 2013 Peace Day Service sponsored by the Peace Affairs Committee of Virlina District will be at Peters Creek Church of the Brethren in Roanoke County, Va., on Sunday, Sept. 22, at 4 p.m. The theme is, "Who Will You Make Peace With?" based on scripture texts from John 14, Matthew 18, and Ephesians 2.
  • South/Central Indiana District is offering a professional growth event on the afternoon of Sept. 20 at Manchester Church of the Brethren in N. Manchester, Ind., for all church leaders including pastors, deacons, and other interested individuals. Cost is $10. Participants may earn .5 continuing education units for an additional $10. Registration begins at 12:30 p.m. Events include workshops on family systems, listening skills, and dealing with dying. Leaders are Tara Hornbacher, Bethany Theological Seminary professor of Ministry Formation, and Dan Poole, Bethany’s coordinator of Ministry Formation. A dinner follows, with an evening session starting at 7 p.m. on “Putting the Bible on Paper” led by Robert Bowman, professor emeritus at Manchester University. For more information see the district newsletter at .
  • Middle Pennsylvania District and Camp Blue Diamond hold an annual Brethren Open Golf Tournament on Aug. 13 at Iron Masters Golf Course in Roaring Spring, Pa. The tournament is followed by a meal at Albright Church of the Brethren. Cost is $75. Contact the District Center at 814-643-0601. A registration form is online at
  • Western Plains District already is planning for its annual Gathering, this year scheduled for Nov. 1-3 in Salina, Kan. “What Now?! Where Next?!” is the theme, intended to set the event “in a context similar to Luke 24:13-35, where disciples, trudging along the road to Emmaus, felt caught between their disappointed hopes and unimaginable possibility as they began to discover Jesus in a new way,” said Bob Dell, chair of the district’s Transformation Training Vision Fulfillment, in the district newsletter. Speakers include Annual Conference moderator Nancy Sollenberger Heishman, along with Bethany Seminary president Jeff Carter.
  • Southern Plains District and Northern Plains District Conferences are coming up in early August. Southern Plains meets Aug. 1-3 at Family Faith Fellowship Church of the Brethren in Enid, Okla. Northern Plains meets Aug. 2-4 at Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Brethren/Baptist Church, on the theme “Northern Plains District--Doing Justice, Loving Kindness, and Walking Humbly with Our God” (Micah 6:8). Ruthann Knechel Johansen, recently retired from the presidency of Bethany Seminary, will bring the message for the Sunday worship service.
  • Cross Keys Village-The Brethren Home Community in New Oxford, Pa., holds a 53rd Annual Auxiliary BBQ/Car Show/Auction on Aug. 10 from 9 a.m.- 4 p.m. Aponsored by the Brethren Home Community Auxiliary, the event welcomes children and families and includes a children’s bounce area, train ride, games, and animals, in addition to shopping, vendors, Almost New Shop, and auction. Proceeds benefit the Brethren Home Community Good Samaritan Fund, Professional Artists Series Programing, BEHEAP Scholarship, and holiday decorations.
  • Camp Eder hosts a Senior Citizen Day on Aug. 28. The program includes Ruthmary McIlhenny portraying Mamie Eisenhower in "Mamie Remembers Gettysburg" and Roy Owen, a Grammy Award singer/songwriter performing Golden Oldies. The cost of $15 covers all food and activities. Call ahead for reservations, 717-642-8256 or e-mail . More information is at .
  • Camp Bethel’s 19th Annual Benefit Golf Tournament is Aug. 14 at Botetourt Golf Club. Tee off is at 12:45 p.m. Cost is $70 per person, which includes the banquet held at the camp near Fincastle, Va. ($15 for dinner only). For more information go to .
  • Several series of “Creating Community” days of reflection and prayer are being held once a month from this fall through next spring at a Quiet Place Prayer Center at Camp Mack, Milford, Ind. In an announcement from Northern Indiana District, the series are: “Women Creating Community” days focused on Celtic spirituality, led by Karla Minter; “Women Creating Community” days focused on “The Work of Your Hand” led by Rosanna Eller McFadden; “Men Creating Community” days focused on “What Good Is God?” led by Dan Petry; and “Women Creating Community” days focused on “God’s Joy-Filled Surprises” led by Yvonne Riege. “We believe that it is necessary to have times of reflection, prayer, and solitude away from the many voices in the world,” said the announcement. “On these days we can take the time to hear the still, small voice of God that speaks truth and love to us.” The day long gatherings occur once a month and include reflection and prayer as a group, opportunity for silence and solitude, and sharing in small covenant groups. Cost is $300 for eight sessions, September through May, and continuing education units may be available through Bethany Seminary. Contact a Quiet Place Prayer Center, P.O. Box 158, Milford, IN 46542; 574-658-4831; .
  • Two Church of the Brethren-related schools have been named among this year’s “Great Colleges to Work For”: Manchester University in N. Manchester, Ind., and Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa. The listing is produced by “The Chronicle of Higher Education,” which polled 45,000 employees at 300 institutions for its annual report. According to a release, Manchester is “the only small Indiana college in a five-state area to make the list.... Manchester University not only is one of the best college workplaces in the nation, it is a role model for fair and clear faculty tenure policies.” This is the fourth year in a row that Manchester achieved Honor Roll status among the 97 colleges receiving recognition. Juniata College also was placed on the Honor Roll, “the fourth time Juniata has been singled out as an Honor Roll recipient since the poll began in 2008,” said a Juniata release. “Juniata was recognized as a leader in the ‘Small College’ division (499 employees or fewer) in six out of 12 categories.” Find the full release from Manchester at . Find the full release from Juniata at .
  • Fahrney-Keedy Home and Village, a Church of the Brethren retirement community near Boonsboro, Md., is preparing for its Ninth Annual Summer Festival to be held from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 17. A silent auction, games for teens, a sheriff’s canine demonstration, and an appearance by “Eddie the Eagle” are some of the events along with favorite attractions returning from past years such as barrel train rides, face painting, games and an “inflatables park” for children, arts and craft vendors, a petting zoo, a bake sale, and many food vendors. Among the items that will be up for bid at a silent auction are gift certificates from AC&T in Hagerstown, Orioles baseball tickets, a chainsaw carving, a ride with Santa in the Boonsboro Christmas Parade, and a family swim-and-golf membership at Beaver Creek Country Club. “The ultimate goal of the Summer Festival is to increase public awareness of the campus and to raise money for the community’s Benevolent Fund to assist residents who exhaust their financial resources,” said a release. For more information contact Bonnie Shirk at 301-671-5001 or visit .
  • Bittingers receive honor from John Kline RidersThe John Kline Memorial Riders have honored founding members Emmert and Esther Bittinger. On June 9, the horseback group that rides in honor of Civil War-era Brethren elder and peace martyr John Kline hosted a picnic at the John Kline Homestead in Broadway, Va. The event celebrated Emmert and Esther Bittinger’s 17 years of leadership of the annual John Kline Memorial Rides. Guests were board members of the John Kline Homestead, and friends and family of the Bittingers. Local locust wood logs were crafted into an authentic hitching rail by Joe Wampler and Greg Geisert. A bronze plaque was installed on the hitching rail with the following inscription: “In honor of Emmert and Esther Bittinger for their dedication and leadership commemorating John Kline’s legacy through the John Kline Memorial rides beginning 1997.” Reported Margaret Geisert in the announcement sent in to Newsline: “The spirit of John Kline continues to live through the ministry of the John Kline Memorial Riders and it is fitting to honor the founders of this group.”
  • New logo for Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT)Christian Peacemaker Teams has launched a new logo, emerging out of a three-and-a-half year Mission and Presentation Re-visioning process. Graphic artist Nekeisha Alexis-Baker created the new logo for CPT to focus on the organization’s new mission statement, “Building partnerships to transform violence and oppression,” said a CPT release. CPT began as a project of the Historic Peace Churches including the Church of the Brethren. Read the release at .
  • Kairos Palestine, a ministry connected with the World Council of Churches (WCC) Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum, is searching for volunteer translators for an Advent resource, with the goal of sharing the resource widely in many different languages. The study booklet titled “Christmas Alert” has the goal “to bring awareness about the deteriorating situation in Bethlehem (in the occupied Palestinian territories) and to encourage churches, parishes, lay-persons, and clergy all around the world to remember this season that marks the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ,” said a WCC release. “Those who use the booklet are invited to experience today’s reality in the region of Jesus’ birth by mentally coming and seeing the hurdles to peace.” For 2013, the spotlight is on refugees in the Bethlehem area, Palestinian prisoners in Israeli Jails (adults and children), family reunification, and settler violence. “Christmas Alert” is slated to be issued in October. Kairos Palestine is announcing this in advance to request assistance in translating the alert into as many languages as possible. Contact . For more go to .
  • Clair Mock of Dunnings Creek Church of the Brethren, who lives at Colonial Courtyard independent living center in Bedford, Pa., turns 108 tomorrow, July 25. According to a note from a pastor who stopped in to visit recently, Mock plans to take his annual motorcycle ride on his birthday “and later in the day is going to the fair to meet with the state Secretary of Agriculture and present him with a small model wheelbarrow he made.” Mock is the father of former Annual Conference moderator Elaine Sollenberger.
Source: 7/24/2013 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 Deborah Brehm, Jeri S. Kornegay, Frank Ramirez, Glen Sargent, John Wall, and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Newsline Special: July 17, 2013

-- Coverage by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford and Frank Ramirez UPDATES FROM ANNUAL CONFERENCE 2013 BRETHREN BITS

Miami Valley of Ohio welcomes the 5th Brethren World Assembly.

Extending greetings to all those present at the 5th Brethren World Assembly on July 11-14 in Brookville, Ohio, Brethren Heritage Center board secretary Larry E. Heisey noted the unique location of the meeting. All of the seven main Brethren groups in North America descended from the believers brought together by Alexander Mack Sr. in Schwarzenau, Germany, are represented in the Miami Valley area near Dayton, Ohio.

“This makes us unique in Brethrendom,” Heisey said.

Brethren spirituality was the theme of the assembly, which is held every five years with sponsorship from the Brethren Encyclopedia Board. The 2013 assembly was hosted by the Brethren Heritage Center, a nonprofit organization based in Brookville and started in 2001 to preserve historical and current information on the various Brethren bodies.

The uniqueness of a cooperative venture between these Brethren groups--now numbering seven--was remarked upon during the assembly by several people including Donald Miller, former general secretary of the Church of the Brethren and professor emeritus at Bethany Seminary. He credited the impetus for such conversations to peacemaking icon and On Earth Peace founder M.R. Zigler, who also helped to start the Brethren Encyclopedia.

The planning team for the 2013 assembly included representatives from six of the seven main Brethren bodies in North America: chair Robert E. Alley, Church of the Brethren; Jeff Bach, Church of the Brethren; Brenda Colijn, Brethren Church; Milton Cook, Dunkard Brethren; Tom Julien, Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches; Gary Kochheiser, Conservative Grace Brethren Churches, International; Michael Miller, Old German Baptist Brethren Church-New Conference. Although not on the planning team, the Old German Baptist Brethren are represented on the Brethren Encyclopedia Board and at the Brethren Heritage Center.

Having the Brethren Heritage Center host a meeting convened by the Brethren Encyclopedia board was a match made in Brethren heaven--like peanut butter and chocolate, or perhaps more like chocolate and even more chocolate. The Brethren Encyclopedia Inc. since its founding has provided the platform for cooperative work and planning between the Brethren bodies descended from the 1708 baptisms. The Brethren Heritage Center has exemplified the same cooperation and fellowship among all the Brethren groups in the Miami Valley, even as they continue to experience splits based on differences of doctrine and practice.

Although differences in dress, beliefs, and practice were immediately apparent at the assembly, the gathering succeeded in large part because it was not a business meeting but instead a place for Brethren to be present with each other and with God. The participants expressed a hunger to teach and learn more about a shared heritage, and simply to be together as a faith family.

Presentations, panels, tours, worship--and ice cream

The assembly started off with keynote presentations on Brethren spirituality in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. Other main sessions focused on the place of Jesus in Brethren spirituality, Word and Spirit in Brethren spirituality, community aspects of Brethren spirituality, and the Brethren ordinances such as love feast, feetwashing, and anointing

Seminars and panel discussions gave insight into evangelism and mission as a form of Brethren spirituality, the role of the Bible in Brethren spirituality, Brethren spiritual formation, Brethren worship practices, Brethren separation from the world and engagement with the world, Brethren hymnody, Brethren devotional literature and poetry, and the spiritual writings and poetry of Alexander Mack Jr. A panel of youth and young adults gave responses to close out the presentations.

Bus tours took participants to see Miami Valley sites important to Brethren history. Included were sites related to the schisms of the 1880s when the “conservatives”--who became the Old German Baptist Brethren, and the “progressives”--who became the Brethren Church and the Grace Brethren, first organized and broke off from the body that continues as the Church of the Brethren. Tours also visited Lower Miami Church of the Brethren, a “parent” congregation for the Brethren churches of the area, and other sites of interest.

Each evening the assembly ate and worshiped together at a local congregation, hosted by Brookville Grace Brethren Church and Salem Church of the Brethren. Ice cream socials closed out the days.

Although the event was dubbed a “world” assembly, the majority of Brethren who attended were from the United States, many local to the Miami Valley. A group of Nigerians attended from Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN--the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). Bernd Julius, who had been on the planning committee for the 2008 assembly in Schwarzenau on the 300th anniversary of the Brethren, brought greetings from the village in Germany where the Brethren movement began.

Keynoters explore Brethren spirituality through the centuries

Nuances of spirituality may have been demonstrated or experienced in different ways and languages during the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, but one unvarying thread was that it was expressed through dedication to scripture and prayer, in community, and was considered most faithful when expressed in a manner that brought the gospel of Jesus Christ to life.

“There is no such thing as a generic spirituality,” said Jeff Bach, director of the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College, as he approached the topic of 18th century Brethren spirituality--but he nevertheless looked for common elements to a complex story.

The first Brethren were wary of basing their spirituality upon the lives of “holy men,” but devotional sources such as the Martyr’s Mirror provided great inspiration. These Anabaptist sources had a profound effect on a spirituality that inspired Brethren practices and ordinances. The first Brethren preferred spontaneous prayer to outward practices and an “outward prayer book.”

Bach chose to focus on lesser known Brethren individuals from the 18th century including John Lobach, Catharine Hummer, Michael Frantz, and Jacob Stoll.

Lobach (1683-1750) wrote in his autobiography that he engaged in the same practices before and after his spiritual awakening, but even as a child he considered these practices faked and fruitless. After a vivid conversion in 1713 he found that singing hymns, reading scripture, and prayer were now a powerful part of a personal relationship with God. In 1716 he was arrested and sentenced to a life of hard labor as one of the “Solingen Brethren,” although eventually he was released. His experiences in prison led to a deeper identity with the sufferings of Jesus and a deeper desire to love and forgive enemies.

Michael Frantz (1687-1748), minister to the Conestoga congregation in Pennsylvania, wrote his Doctrinal Confessions that included a short prologue of spiritual self-examination, a lengthy account of various Brethren practices and doctrines (both of these sections in verse), and a prose piece that encouraged nonconformity but warned, among other things, that “taking pride in simple clothing might become the greatest arrogance of all.”

Catharine Hummer (fl. 1762) of the White Oak congregation in Pennsylvania, found expression of a powerful spirituality in dreams and visions that were recorded by the breakaway Ephrata community. Her warnings about the end time and her visions of baptism after death, expressed in her powerful preaching, found expression in hymn texts and demonstrated that their spiritual value was found not just in singing, but in reciting and meditating upon these poems.

Conestoga elder Jacob Stoll, whose devotional works were published posthumously in 1806, used Bible verses as the starting point for short devotional poems that were widely read by the Brethren. His were the “most mystical of Brethren writings” yet remained anchored in community. The mystical union with Christ expressed in terms of marriage still relied on a gathered community.

“Like a precious gem (spirituality) has many facets,” said Dale R. Stoffer, who spoke on 19th century Brethren spirituality. Stoffer is an elder in the Brethren Church and professor of Historical Theology and former academic dean at Ashland Theological Seminary.

He noted that while Catholic spirituality was grounded in mysticism, and Protestant mysticism was grounded in correct doctrine and an inward private experience, for Brethren spirituality “ordered all of life under Christ’s Lordship.”

Scripture, hymnbooks, the devotional literature of the Sauer and Ephrata presses, and eventually the Brethren periodical literature that began with Henry Kurtz’s “The Monthly Gospel Visiter” were the ingredients of a spirituality that over the course of the century encountered Revivalism and the Holiness Movement. This was especially apparent in the differences in the categories included in German and English hymnals of the Brethren.

“The Brethren, like the Anabaptists and the Pietists, did not distinguish between doctrine and spirituality or doctrine and practice,” Stoffer said. He brought attention to the writings of Henry Kurtz, Peter Nead, and Abraham Harley Cassel--but the eye-opener for most attendees was the story of Charles H. Balsbaugh (1831-1909) who, having been reduced to permanent and painful disability, nevertheless wrote over 1,000 articles scattered over various periodicals. Balsbaugh confessed that he moved from a position as a legalist to one who discovered that “Christ demonstrated how God lives and how the Holy Spirit made it possible for us to live the same life.”

Speaking on the Brethren of the 20th century, William Kostlevy of the Brethren Historical Library and Archive at the Church of the Brethren General Offices, illustrated the breadth of influence of liberal, conservative, and evangelical Christianity on Brethren spirituality.

“How does one get from Gottfried Arnold to M.R. Zigler?” Kostlevy asked, then continued, “What in the world is spirituality, anyway? No other word has been the subject of so much misunderstanding and useless argument.”

He suggested that the Keswich movement, founded in northern England, was a major influence on American Protestantism and the Brethren. Keswich theology insisted that “sinful nature is not extinguished but countered” by Christian spirituality, as opposed to the Brethren hope that transformation would lead to a more Christlike life. Kostlevy also pointed to the influence of the school of Dwight L. Moody, which demanded surrender to Christ, and emphasis on the cross instead of the life of Jesus.

Diverse Brethren personalities of the 20th century were touched on, such as A.C. Wieand, one of the founders of Bethany Theological Seminary, who encouraged Brethren to seek “the higher Christian life”; Bethany professor Floyd Mallot, who “was always suspicious of religious emotionalism”; Anna Mow, who found the essence of spirituality in Bible study, corporate worship, and prayer; and especially Dan West, founder of Heifer Project, now Heifer International, who “often annoyed his superiors, his behavior was erratic, he could be caustic and he was not incapable of insulting the denomination that paid him,” in Kostlevy’s words. West especially had an impact and even a cult-like following among Brethren, Kostlevy said, perhaps because he had a spiritual side expressed in poetry and action despite the fact that he was “impatient with orthodoxy.”

The reinvigorated Believer’s Church, as influential 20th century Brethren historian Donald F. Durnbaugh characterized the Brethren movement, found spiritual expression in the authority of Christ, the authority of scripture, the restoration of the New Testament church, separation from the world, and, paradoxically, ecumenical engagement.

For more about the 5th Brethren World Assembly

Find a photo album from the assembly linked at DVDs of each major presentation and worship service are available, with taping was done by Church of the Brethren videographer David Sollenberger and crew. DVDs are $5 each, or any three for $10, with shipping added. See story below for details or contact the Brethren Heritage Center, 428 Wolf Creek St., Suite #H1, Brookville, OH 45309-1297; 937-833-5222; ;

-- This coverage of the 5th Brethren World Assembly is by Frank Ramirez, pastor of Everett (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, and Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren.

Source: 7/17/2013 Newsline Special

Quotable Brethren: The 5th Brethren World Assembly in soundbites.

“Quotable quotes” from the 5th Brethren World Assembly give a flavor of the three days of presentations, panels, sermons, and more:
“Brethren have been spiritual people even if they have been slow to write about spiritual practices.”
-- Jeff Bach, director of the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College.

“What in the world is spirituality, anyway? No other word has been the subject of so much misunderstanding and useless argument.”
-- William Kostlevy, director of the Brethren Historical Library and Archives at the Church of the Brethren General Offices.

“Like a precious gem (spirituality) has many facets.... Brethren (of the 19th century) did not distinguish between doctrine and spirituality or doctrine and practice...all of this shared a single purpose: growing in Jesus.”
-- Dale R. Stoffer, an elder in the Brethren Church and professor of Historical Theology and former academic dean at Ashland Theological Seminary.

“We tend to make Jesus into the image of ourselves.”
-- Brian Moore, a Brethren Church elder, longtime pastor, and two time national moderator of the Brethren Church, in his presentation on “The Place of Jesus in Brethren Spirituality.” He added that “following Jesus was of first importance (to the early Brethren) regardless of the cost.... Basic radical discipleship then was the trademark of hte Brethren This trait has ben the anchor of our persuasion.”

“It’s a tough act to follow Jesus.”
-- Brenda Colijn an elder in the Brethren Church and professor of Biblical Interpretation and Theology at Ashland Theological Seminary, whose presentation on “Word and Spirit in Brethren Spirituality” followed Brian Moore’s. Colijn spoke about the way that, for Brethren, “both the outward Word and the inner Word (Spirit) testify to the Living Word of God.”

“Community was not casual or haphazard but intentional.”
-- Jared Burkholder of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches, associate professor of History at Grace College in Winona Lake, Ind. He spoke on “Community, Family, and Individual in Brethren Spirituality.”

“We live in perhaps the most crucial age of history since the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.... Our job is enormous. This is not a time to twiddle our thumbs. This is a time to pray.”
-- Roger Peugh, a longtime missionary in Germany now teaching missions at Grace College and Seminary, a school of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Church. He preached on the importance of prayer for the Thursday evening worship service.

“There’s something uniquely American about demanding unlimited choice, and that goes for religion as well.”
-- Aaron Jerviss, a doctoral candidate in history at the University of Tennessee, with a special interest in the history of peace churches. He gave presentations on the spiritual writings and poetry of Alexander Mack Jr., son of the founder of the Brethren movement, who chose to leave the church and join the Ephrata community for a decade before coming back to the Germantown congregation. Jerviss suggested that Mack had as much right to go “church shopping” as anyone else.

“Cosmologies some years ago told us that the universe is shrinking. Now they tell us it’s expanding. It seems to me that you could say the same thing about worship practices in the Church of the Brethren.”
-- Michael Hostetter, pastor of Salem Church of the Brethren, tracing the changes in his home church. Whereas 30 years before his birth all songs were sung acapella, by the time he was born the church had an organ, piano, and choir that sang antiphons and responses throughout worship. “We are informed and nourished by the wider Christian community,” he noted, chronicling the adoption of the observance of seasons such as Lent.

“Since the beginning, ordinances have stood at the heart of Brethren Spirituality.... The ordinances blend the spiritual with concrete action.”
-- Denise Kettering-Lane, assistant professor of Brethren Studies at Bethany Theological Seminary and a licensed Church of the Brethren minister. Her presentation on Brethren ordinances chronicled the Brethren search for the correct way to perform the ordinances based on a Christ-centered and biblically oriented combination of discipleship and obedience. Ordinances like the love feast and feetwashing serve a teaching function, she noted, and become, through the experience of personal suffering, a memorial to Jesus.

“It is a tension that goes on among us, how we give form to the movement of the Spirit.... Form without Spirit becomes dead, yet Spirit without form is like a fire without boundaries.”
-- Robert Alley, a former moderator of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference and retired from longterm ministry at Bridgewater (Va.) Church of the Brethren. He preached the closing sermon of the assembly, calling the congregation to think about their answers to the question, “What now?” after such a gathering is over and participants head for home. “As pilgrims, we journey toward Christ,” no matter our earthly destination, Alley assured the Brethren.

“What a time it will be when all of God’s children sit down to supper.”
-- Keith Bailey of the Dunkard Brethren, explaining how his community spends significant time in spiritual preparation for and carrying out the love feast, feetwashing, and communion.

“I remember at the end of one of these gatherings a ballot was taken and the Fellowship of Grace Brethren was noted the least Brethren. We’ve earned that.”
-- Jim Custer of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches, speaking about the traditional ordinances and how some in his community have moved away from them in favor of an emphasis on evangelism and world missions.

“The Love Feast is a Christian celebration. It’s not just a Brethren thing.”
-- Paul Stutzman, a Church of the Brethren minister and student in the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership, who carried out a survey of practices among Church of the Brethren districts.

“The Brethren have never tried to be uniquely Brethren. They have tried to be authentically Christian.... To be authentically Brethren is to be radically obedient to Jesus.”
-- Bill Johnson of the Brethren Church.

“I think there’s a real hunger for authentic Brethren witness, especially with regards to community…and obedience to Jesus.”
-- Jay Wittmyer, executive director of Global Mission and Service for the Church of the Brethren, during a panel on spirituality as a witness to the world.

“We’ve grappled with this issue of going into all the world and being in all the world.”
-- Curt Wagoner, Old German Baptist Brethren-New Conference

“Everyone of us has a responsibility and a duty to witness to Jesus Christ.”
-- Ike Graham, Conservative Grace Brethren Churches International

“We make sure everyone in the EYN takes the Great Commission seriously.”
-- Musa Mambula of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN--the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria), during a panel discussion on world missions. He listed the many stages new converts go through before being fully integrated into an EYN congregation, adding that it is important for Nigerian Brethren to understand and respect the larger Muslim culture and to work with local leaders in order to make evangelism effective. Asked how Nigerians do love feast, he described the EYN version as a potluck in which everyone shares, and to which everyone is welcome whether are not they are able to bring a dish to the table.

“The Bible tells us who Jesus is, what he has done, and what he expects of us.... We believe the Holy Spirit is still at work.”
-- Dan Ulrich, professor of New Testament Studies at Bethany Theological Seminary and an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren.

“It was in the Bible that I met the Lord Jesus Christ and I praise God that he gave me the grace to seek his truth.”
-- Curt Wagoner of the Old German Baptist Brethren-New Conference.

“Each time we divide and re-form, about three days later we come up with the same problem.”
-- An assembly attendee describing the schisms within the Brethren movement, and how the same issues seem to re-occur in the new bodies created by the divisions that have happened over the course of Brethren history.

Source: 7/17/2013 Newsline Special

Brethren World Assembly video recordings are available.

Video recordings are available from the 5th Brethren World Assembly. The recordings in DVD format are of the main presentations and worship services, and are made available by the sponsoring body, the Brethren Encyclopedia Board, through the host organization the Brethren Heritage Center in Brookville, Ohio. The taping was done by Brethren videographer David Sollenberger and crew.

DVDs cost $5 each, or any three disks for $10, with a shipping fee added to each order:

Disk 1: Brethren spirituality in the 18th century presentation by Jeff Bach, Brethren spirituality in the 19th century presentation by Dale Stoffer, Brethren spirituality in the 20th century presentation by Bill Kostlevy.

Disk 2: The place of Jesus in Brethren spirituality presentation by Brian Moore, Word and Spirit in Brethren spirituality presentation by Brenda Colijn, and community role in Brethren Spirituality presentation by Jared Burkholder.

Disk 3: Brethren ordinances presentation by Denise Kettering Lane, Brethren ordinances panel discussion.

Disk 4: Seminars on the spiritual writings of Alexander Mack Jr. by Aaron Jerviss and Brethren hymnody by Peter Roussakis.

Disk 5: Seminar on Brethren separation from the world and engagement with the world by Carl Bowman.

Disk 6: Seminars on Brethren devotional literature and poetry by Karen Garrett, and spiritual formation practices by Christy Hill.

Disk 7: Thursday evening worship with preaching by Roger Peugh.

Disk 8: Friday evening worship with preaching by Fred Miller.

Disk 9: Saturday evening worship with preaching by Robert Alley.

Disk 10: Panels on Brethren spirituality as witness to the world.

Disk 11: Tour of Brethren sites in the Miami River Valley.

Order DVDs from the Brethren Heritage Center, 428 Wolf Creek St., Suite #H1, Brookville, OH 45309-1297; 937-833-5222;;

Source: 7/17/2013 Newsline Special

‘We are wowed’: Updates from Annual Conference 2013.

  • A two-page Wrap Up of Annual Conference 2013 has been posted at along with more news reports from the Conference that took place in Charlotte, N.C., on June 29-July 3. The Wrap Up in pdf format is designed to be downloaded and shared by churches in Sunday bulletins or newsletters, or as a hand out for delegate reports from the Conference.
  • “We are wowed,” said Classroom Central of Charlotte, N.C., in a web post about the school supplies donated during Annual Conference: 26,682 pencils, 9,216 pens, 1,500 packs of crayons, 1,396 erasers, 1,026 packs of markers, 384 one-subject notebooks, 654 backpacks, 198 rulers, 165 gluesticks, 127 pairs of scissors, 118 highlighters, 61 composition books, 38 calculators, totaling 43,183 items. “With over half the region’s children living at or below poverty level, many parents are not always able to supply their kids with the basic items needed at school,” Classroom Central noted. “The donation from Church of the Brethren will make such an incredible impact in the six districts we serve, providing students in need with essential tools needed to learn! Thanks to our contact person, Chris, and all the members of the church who made this happen.” See the full post at .
  • The Womaen’s Caucus honored Pamela Brubaker with a "Mother of Caucus" award during the 2013 Conference. Brubaker is professor of religion at California Lutheran University and author of “She Hath Done What She Could: A History of Women's Participation in the Church of the Brethren” (1985, Brethren Press) as well as more recent volumes on globalization and other issues related to women and economics including “Globalization at What Price? Economic Change and Daily Life” and “Women Don’t Count: The Challenge of Women’s Poverty to Christian Ethics.” She participated in encounters between the World Council of Churches, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank in 2003 where she presented papers on Christian faith and economic justice, and was a presenter at the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation in Jamaica. She co-chairs the Los Angeles based organization Sweatshop Action Committee of Progressive Christians Uniting, was co-chair of the Ethics Section of the American Academy of Religion for a three-year term, and is currently on the board of the Society of Christian Ethics. For more about Womaen’s Caucus go to
Source: 7/17/2013 Newsline Special

Brethren bits: Aftermath of Zimmerman trial, NYC news, job openings, personnel notes, S. Ohio special conference, more.

  • “In the aftermath of a grievous miscarriage of justice--what do we do?” asks Heeding God’s Call, a movement working against gun violence that had its start at a conference of the Historic Peace Churches in Philadelphia. Brethren leaders involved in Heeding God's Call include former Annual Conference moderator and Harrisburg, Pa., pastor Belita Mitchell. “Heeding God's Call grieves for Trayvon Martin's senseless gun death, as we do all the senseless gun deaths and injuries that occur daily in this country. And, we commit ourselves to keeping on to our faithful work to make such deaths and injuries less likely,” said a message today from executive director Bryan Miller, in part. “This has meaning far beyond Trayvon's death, as sad and depressing as that is, especially for people in the two dozen or so states, including Pennsylvania, which both have such ‘Shoot First’ laws and allow individuals to legally carry concealed and loaded handguns in public.... This deadly combination makes certain that some future arguments, disagreements, even physical fights, will turn deadly, as one opponent makes a life and death decision that will only have an effect on the other. This is lethally out of balance and on par with a license to kill. People will die who shouldn't. This is drastically and morally wrong.” The message went on to state that Heeding God's Call “renews its commitment to engage people of faith in becoming activists to prevent gun violence” and pledges to “undertake a new direction, as well--namely, we will seek to move the faith community to action to eliminate bad gun laws, like 'Shoot First' and concealed carry laws, and to enact good and effective gun regulation to prevent violence.” For more go to .
  • The National Council of Churches (NCC) has renewed its call for racial justice in the wake of the Zimmerman acquittal. NCC president Kathryn Lohre released a statement that said, in part: “This summer as we commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, we are reminded that racism is alive and well. We have seen this in the Supreme Court’s recent invalidation of parts of the Voting Rights Act and now in the shocking impunity granted by a Florida jury to a man who stalked and killed a black child. But even when the headlines fade, we witness every day in our neighborhoods, towns, and cities how our culture of violence preys upon all of us, with the most deadly impact on the lives of people of color.” The statement also included support for gun control measures and action against gun violence, and prayer “for the family and friends of Trayvon Martin, for George Zimmerman and his family and friends, for the members of the jury and their family and friends, and for all who have suffered and will continue to suffer as a result of this tragedy. The NCC includes a number of member communions from the historic Black Christian community. For more go to , , and .
  • The National Youth Conference (NYC) office is accepting entries for the Youth Music Contest and the Youth Speech Contest, as well as applications for youthworker positions for the 2014 event. Youth who enjoy writing music are invited to write a song based on the theme “Called by Christ, Blessed for the Journey Together” (Ephesians 4:1-7) and submit it to the NYC office. The winner will have the opportunity to perform the song on stage during NYC. Youth also are invited to prayerfully consider what message the NYC 2014 theme has for them, their congregations, and the larger denomination, and express that in a speech. Two speech contest winners will share their messages during a worship service at NYC. All entries to the two contests must be submitted by Feb. 16, 2014, either by uploading via a link on the NYC website (coming soon) or by mail to the NYC office. The NYC office is accepting youthworker applications until Nov. 2. Youthworkers are dedicated volunteers (college age and older) who help carry out the plans of the National Youth Cabinet during the week of NYC. For more information on all three of these opportunities, go to . Contact the NYC office with any questions at or 847-429-4385. Or visit the recently updated NYC webpage: .
  • The Church of the Brethren seeks an individual to fill the full-time hourly position of media support specialist, a part of the communications and web teams and reporting directly to the website producer. Major responsibilities include creating and updating web pages for the Church of the Brethren, including Annual Conference and all offices and ministries. Additional responsibilities include formatting and posting PDF files, maintaining the denomination’s Google calendar, working with the news director to maintain the digital photo and video archive and fill photo and video requests, serving as a sounding board for web, photography, and video questions, and assisting as needed with technical support within the office, including keeping communications supplies up to date. Required skills and knowledge include skilled competency in HTML, CSS, Javascript, Photoshop, Adobe Premiere or other video editing software, Convio/Blackbaud or other content management systems, and Microsoft Office component applications including Outlook, Word, Excel, and Power Point; knowledge of website structure, design, and usability, as well as when to use different online platforms (web pages, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, e-mail, surveys, etc.); ability to work on a team, handle multiple simultaneous projects, and meet deadlines; excellent customer service attitude. Training or experience in web technology and software, including page design, is required, as well as a high school diploma or equivalent. The position is based at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill.

    Applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis until the position is filled. Request the application packet by contacting Office of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; 800-323-8039 ext. 367; . The Church of the Brethren is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
  • Erika Fitz has accepted the position of program coordinator for the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center (SVMC) and will assume her duties on Aug. 1. A search committee composed of Donna Rhodes, David Hawthorne, Del Keeney, and Craig Smith was formed to find a replacement for Amy Milligan who recently resigned as program coordinator. Fitz grew up in York (Pa.) First Church of the Brethren and is currently affiliated with the Lancaster Friends Meeting. She earned a master of divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary and a doctorate from Emory University. The SVMC office is located on the campus of Elizabethtown (Pa.) College. SVMC is a ministry partnership of the districts of Atlantic Northeast, Southern Pennsylvania, Middle Pennsylvania, Western Pennsylvania, and Mid-Atlantic, along with the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership and Bethany Theological Seminary.
  • Church World Service (CWS) relief materials have been distributed in West Virginia and Colorado, through the Church of the Brethren Material Resources program at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. The shipments to Moundsville, W.V., and to various locations in Colorado were made from the Brethren warehouses that process, store, and ship disaster relief goods on behalf of CWS. On behalf of CWS, Material Resources shipped 600 Hygiene Kits, 500 Emergency Clean Up Buckets, 75 Baby Kits, and 60 blankets to Appalachian Outreach in Moundsville, which has West Virginia’s only warehouse for voluntary agencies’ response following disasters, including recent flooding and Superstorm Sandy, said a CWS release. Some 206 homes in Roane County and about 140 homes in Kanawha County in West Virginia suffered flooding during the past three weeks, and areas of the state are still doing repairs following Superstorm Sandy. The Springs Adventist Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., received a shipment of 1,020 blankets, 510 School Kits, 540 Hygiene Kits, and 500 Emergency Clean Up Buckets for distribution to wildfire evacuees and first responders. Also send to the Pikes Peak (Colo.) Chapter of the American Red Cross were 300 Emergency Clean Up Buckets and 300 Hygiene Kits for distribution to wildfire evacuees and first responders.
  • John Mueller began July 1 as district executive minister for Atlantic Southeast District, serving in a half-time position. He and his wife Mary also serve as co-pastors of Jacksonville (Fla.) Church of the Brethren. The Atlantic Southeast District office has moved to the Muellers’ home. The district’s new address is 1352 Holmes Landing Drive, Fleming Island, FL 32003; 239-823-5204; . The former office location in Sebring, Fla., and the former post office box for the district both closed on June 30. “There will be no forwarding of mail,” said an announcement from the district. “Please make sure you start using the new District Office address.”
  • Tomorrow, July 18, Bridgewater (Va.) College breaks ground on a $9 million Nininger Hall renovation and building project. A 10 a.m. ceremony is planned. Nininger is the oldest athletic facility in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference and was last refurbished in 1988, said a release from the college. The transformation of Nininger, which was built in 1958, will increase the facility's footprint by as much as 16,000 square feet and will provide a renovated gymnasium, updated classrooms and laboratory for the health and human sciences program, renovated faculty and coaches offices, new locker rooms, training/rehab center, strength/conditioning facility, and team room. Other features include a new, multi-sport flexible locker room, new building façade and lobby, and new Athletic Hall of Fame celebration area. Jopson Field will be included in the makeover, receiving a turf field and the installation of lights. Bridgewater has launched a capital campaign to raise funds for the project, which was designed by the Greensboro, N.C.-based architectural firm of Moser Mayer Phoenix Associates and will be executed by Lantz Construction in Harrisonburg, Va.
  • Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) announces the start of the summer orientation unit, to be held July 16-Aug. 3 at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. This unit will be the 301st for BVS and will consist of 25 volunteers including 17 Americans and 8 Germans. They will spend three weeks exploring project possibilities and topics of community building, peace and social justice, faith sharing, vocation, and more. Harrisburg (Pa.) First Church of the Brethren is hosting the unit for their middle weekend of service.
  • A Deacon Ministry workshop will be offered prior to the Western Plains District Conference. Led by Donna Kline, director of the denomination’s Deacon Ministry, the workshop is planned for July 26, from 1-3:45 p.m. at McPherson (Kan.) Church of the Brethren. From 1-2:30 p.m. the event will focus on “The Art of Listening”; from 2:45-3:45 p.m. the workshop will be on “Offering Support in Times of Grief and Loss.”
  • Southern Ohio District has a Special District Conference on July 27 at Prince of Peace Church of the Brethren in Kettering. “The focus for this special district conference will be Camp Woodland Altars and recommendations prompted by the directives that were passed at the October 2012 district conference,” said an announcement. The recommendations concerning Outdoor Ministries are: 1. To reorganize and rename current Outdoor Ministries to encompass a larger scale by changing the name to Camping Ministries, which can include both outdoor and indoor ministries. 2. To combine the newly named Camping Ministries, Shared Ministries, and Disaster Ministries under a new ministry title called Connection Ministries. 3. To hire an Associate District Executive of Connection Ministries. Recommendations concerning property are: 1. To cease all operations at Woodland Altars as of Sept. 1. 2. To sell the property and facilities at Woodland Altars. Find the full document of recommendations at . A timeline of related district decisions is at . The district e-mail included guidelines for respectful communication to help the district conference “be able to discern God’s spirit moving among us. May our conversation be pleasing to God, our personal wants and needs shared respectfully, and our prayers be for the good of others and for building up the body of Christ.”
  • Others are holding district conferences on the same weekend: Northern Ohio District meets July 26-28 in Ashland, Ohio; Southeastern District meets July 26-28 in Mars Hill, N.C.; and Western Plains District meets July 26-28 at McPherson (Kan.) Church of the Brethren and McPherson College on the theme “Transformed by the Light of Christ.” The Western Plains District Conference planning committee had issued an invitation to the people of the district to bring their concepts of the theme to life in artwork for a display at the conference, and Western Plains also is holding its first Mission and Service Dinner on the evening of July 27.
  • Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) is calling for help from its supporters to replace volunteers to whom Israel has denied entry. “On two occasions in the past week, Israeli officials at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport refused entry to members of CPT who had traveled to Israel to join the Christian Peacemaker Team in the Israeli-occupied West Bank,” said the release. On July 2, Israeli authorities interrogated a CPT reservist from the Netherlands and held him in the airport for 14 hours before placing him on a flight home, and three days later they interrogated a CPT reservist from the US for 10 hours before sending him home. Each had served in Israel-Palestine before. “CPT's sudden inability to get team members into the country is especially worrying given Israeli authorities' recent ban on CPT activities near the Ibrahimi Mosque in Al-Khalil, apparently intended to halt international nonviolent protective presence in the most sensitive and volatile area of the city,” the release said. Since May, Israel's Border Police have prohibited CPTers from wearing their uniform, vests, and hats, and from recording the obstructions imposed on Palestinians' daily life between the two main checkpoints that control movement past the mosque complex, which also includes a synagogue and visitors' center. In response, the CPT team in Palestine wants to initiate a quick surge of volunteers traveling through Israel to join its project within the next few weeks. Find out more and read the full release at .
  • The World Council of Churches (WCC) has announced dates for the 2013 World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel on Sept. 22-28. An initiative of the Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum (PIEF) of the WCC, the event “invites churches, faith-based communities, civil society organizations, and other agencies working for justice to join a week of prayer, education, and advocacy for an end to the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine and a just end to the conflict.” Theme for this year is "Jerusalem, the City of Justice and Peace." A variety of new resources including worship resources have been created by partner congregations and peace activists. Find resources and more information at . To share details about local plans for the week with the WCC, contact John Calhoun, convenor of World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel, at .
  • Brethren Voices features Jerry O’Donnell as a special guest in July. This public television program is provided through Peace Church of the Brethren in Portland, Ore. "Our Man In Washington D.C.” is hosted by Brent Carlson, and interviews O’Donnell about his personal history and work as press secretary for Rep. Grace Napolitano of California’s 38th Congressional District. "As a second grader, Jerry O’Donnell was the only student in his class who was politically engaged,” said an announcement from producer Ed Groff. “He wore a political campaign button during the 1992 presidential election. For Jerry O’Donnell...that served an indication at an early age of his interest in government.” O’Donnell has been active in various congregations including Royersford and Green Tree Churches of the Brethren. He is a graduate of Juniata College in Huntington, Pa., and served in Brethren Volunteer Service as well as in the Church of the Brethren mission in the Dominican Republic working with Irv and Nancy Heishman. Recently, he celebrated his third year anniversary on the staff of Rep. Grace Napolitano. The Brethren Voices August episode also will feature O’Donnell discussing how to communicate to Congresspeople and upcoming legislation. Approximately 40 Brethren Voices programs can be viewed on . Contact to order a copy of the July episode on DVD.
Source: 7/17/2013 Newsline Special


Newsline is produced by the news services of the Church of the Brethren. Contact the editor at Contributors to this Newsline include Deb Brehm, Lesley Crosson, Charles Culbertson, Terry Grove, Tim Heishman, Philip E. Jenks, Phil King, Frank Ramirez, Callie Surber, Loretta Wolf, and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Newsline Special: July 4, 2013


Annual Conference recognizes the new Church of the Brethren in Spain

Tim Harvey and Jay Wittmeyer present the recognition of the Church of the Brethren in Spain
Photo by Glenn Riegel
The business item recognizing the new Church of the Brethren in Spain was presented by past moderator Tim Harvey (left) and Global Mission and Service executive director Jay Wittmeyer.
Recognition of the Church of the Brethren movement taking hold in Spain was given with enthusiasm by the delegate body.

The proposal was presented by Tim Harvey from Standing Committee and Jay Wittmeyer, executive director of Global Mission and Service. They described how the church in Spain got started about 10 years ago when Brethren from the Dominican Republic emigrated to Spain to find employment and then started churches. With support from Fausto Carrasco, a Church of the Brethren pastor in Bethlehem, Pa., they have been attracting and ministering to other immigrants to Spain from Latin America and other areas of the world, as well as native Spaniards.

The Brethren movement was already established in Spain when Wittmeyer heard about it in 2009. He and Carol Yeazell made a visit. Tim Harvey also visited during his year as Conference moderator. Harvey said the visitors found functioning congregations, vital worship, and active outreach to other immigrants to that area of Spain.

During questioning from the Conference floor, one person raised financial concerns, asking if approving this mission would open the denomination up to excessive costs. Wittmeyer responded that the main work, the mission work, was already being done by the people in Spain. Church of the Brethren resources and staff will not be needed to plant the church, but the role of American Brethren will be to build relationships and be supportive. He did not see the Spanish church as being resource dependent.

In response to another question, Wittmeyer noted that the main Spanish Brethren congregation has over 100 worshiping, that there are four churches in Madrid, several in the northern part of the country, and some preaching points. He said there are probably around eight congregations deeply interested in connecting with the Church of the Brethren.

The voice vote was loud as the delegates gave approval with enthusiasm. Harvey then led a prayer of thanksgiving and celebration.

-- Frances Townsend is pastor of Onekama (Mich.) Church of the Brethren and a member of the Annual Conference News Team.

Source: 7/4/2013 Newsline