Friday, December 20, 2013

Newsline: December 20, 2013

A passion for teaching God’s word: Interview with mission workers Carl and Roxane Hill

By Zakariya Musa of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN--the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria)
Brief us about yourselves and your mission in Nigeria.

We started our missionary experience in late December of 2012. Roxane’s parents and grandparents had both been missionaries in Nigeria (Ralph and Flossie Royer, Red and Gladys Royer). Ralph had often said that we would be a good fit to teach at Kulp Bible College, but we always found reasons not to go. When the last of our children moved out of the house we decided to pursue the opportunity. Sight unseen, we boarded a plane and came to Nigeria.

Roxane and Carl Hill
Zakariya Musa
Roxane and Carl Hill, in a photo from Zakariya Musa of the “Sabon Haske” publication of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN--the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria).
Tell us what encouraged you to come to work especially in the northern states of Nigeria?

Both of us have always had a passion for teachings God’s word. To be honest we were not fully aware of the potential dangers that exist in northeast Nigeria. We never considered any other position in Nigeria, and have had peace about living in an area of conflict. We are careful, but not afraid. Many thanks to the leaders of EYN for their advice on travel and the provision of wonderful, capable drivers.

Was there anything that surprised you on your arrival?

Roxane grew up in Nigeria and had some idea of what conditions might be like. She was amazed at the number of people in the cities and by how little life has changed in the rural areas since she was here last. Carl, on the other hand, was just willing to give it a try. Carl’s biggest adjustment was in eating the food. You would not consider him a picky eater in the US. However, he was not ready for what he found in trying to live on African food. This is one of the surprises Carl has to share with anyone wanting to go on a foreign mission: be ready to either bring your own food with you or learn to live on what is there. After our summer break in the US, we brought numerous American staples with us so Carl has been much happier.

Can you give brief successes or difficulties you have encountered in your work in Nigeria?

We have enjoyed living among the staff and students on the Kulp Bible College campus. Our success can be summed up very easily. We have found the Nigerian people warm, friendly, and accepting of us. Getting along so well with everyone has been our biggest joy. This experience has allowed us to really live out our ministry verse, 1 Thessalonians 2:8, “To share not only the gospel but our lives as well.” We also had the opportunity and privilege to present a practical program on individual spiritual growth to the entire body of district secretaries (executives of EYN).The overall goal being that the secretaries would take the materials back to the local churches under their care. The participants received us well and the communication gaps were few. Speaking of communications, this has been one of the biggest challenges we have faced, not only the language but also some of the customs and unspoken protocol which is to be expected when doing foreign missions.

What would you advise Nigerian Brethren regarding ongoing persecution in some northern states?

Well, we can’t advise them on this matter. As American Christians we simply cannot relate to such danger associated with our faith. We can learn from their courage and unswerving faith, and look at them with admiration. Like the first Christians in Acts 4:29, we pray for boldness as we continue to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I know you have experienced problems in communication, limited traveling, weather, the state of emergency in northeastern Nigeria. Would you like to share your experiences with the entire Brethren?

There have been challenges and limitations during our stay, but when we look back they seem minor. The 105-degree temperatures between mid-February and mid-May were extremely difficult without air-conditioning. Our travel was somewhat limited but we were able to preach 15 times at 10 different churches. The leaders at EYN Headquarters took responsibility for our safety and we yielded to their recommendation for any travel. The state of emergency has made travel slower due to the additional military check points. Telephone and Internet services were suspended several times. Our family in America was concerned the first time, but they are aware of the situation and everyone in Nigeria has had to be flexible.

What would you like to do after your mission in Africa?

We are convinced that this intercultural experience, where we have been immersed in God’s word and learning to live simple lives, will lead us to planting a church for the Brethren in America. There are many urban areas that need the freshness and enthusiastic approach that God has been instilling in us, both for His people and His glory. We are reading everything we can get, and beginning to write up a proposal for church planting. We are trusting in God to lead us to the next opportunity.

What is your view on the partnership between EYN and the Church of the Brethren?

The relationship has changed over time from a father-child interaction to one of equal partnership. It would be great to see more interaction between the two organizations. We pray the partnership will continue to grow over time with Americans coming to Nigeria and Nigerians helping in America.

What is your view on having international workcamps in EYN with Church of the Brethren and Mission 21 participants?

It is still a great idea. The experience of participating in a work camp is priceless. A person’s eyes are really opened when you work together with others in another country. We hope that the workcamps could go both directions, with Nigerians working in America or Switzerland as well. Wouldn’t an exchange of summer service workers among all the organizations be great?

EYN is pushing to promote its hospitals. Would you recommend a medical personnel volunteer from any of the EYN partners?

Yes, we would love to see some medical volunteers come here. New facilities have been built but they are not being utilized. The EYN area is in great need of trained medical personnel--doctors, physician assistants, and midwives all could be utilized, even if only for two-to-four months at a time.

What would you like to add in general perspective?

We would highly recommend a short- or long-term assignment to those God is calling. The Church of the Brethren in America has a special place in its heart for Nigeria. The Nigerian people will inspire your faith and the slower pace will allow you more time to spend on your personal walk with God.

-- Zakariya Musa is secretary of “Sabon Haske,” a publication of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN--the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria).

Source: 12/20/2013 Newsline

Brethren attend ECHO Caribbean conference in the DR, GFCF manager assesses situation of Haitian Dominicans

A group of Brethren at the ECHO Caribbean conference
Photo by Jeff Boshart
Anastacia Bueno, Onelys Rivas, and Flora Furcal (from left) at the ECHO Caribbean conference held in the Dominican Republic. Not pictured but also in attendance were Ariel Rosario and Juan Carlos Reyes.
Brethren representatives from the Dominican Republic and the United States were part of an ECHO Caribbean conference this fall, including Jeff Boshart, manager of the Church of the Brethren’s Global Food Crisis Fund (GFCF).

ECHO (Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization) is a non-profit, interdenominational Christian organization headquartered on a demonstration farm in North Ft. Myers, Fla., that provides resources for mission and agricultural workers in over 160 countries. The organization is dedicated to fighting world hunger through innovative ideas, information, agricultural training, and seeds, seeking to find agricultural solutions for families growing food under difficult conditions.

The ECHO Caribbean conference was a success on many levels, Boshart reported, but also a disappointment as Haitian Brethren leaders were not able to get visas to attend despite efforts on their behalf by him and others including Lorenzo Mota King, the executive director of Servicio Social de Iglesias Dominicanas (Church World Service partner agency in the DR). In the end, the two Brethren delegates from Haiti--Jean Bily Telfort and Adias Docteur--were replaced by Dominican Brethren delegates.

The Dominican Brethren in attendance included Anastacia Bueno, Onelys Rivas, Flora Furcal, Ariel Rosario, and Juan Carlos Reyes.

Onelys Rivas, a Dominican Brethren leader, gives morning devotions
Photo by Jeff Boshart
Onelys Rivas, a Dominican Brethren leader, gives morning devotions at the ECHO Caribbean conference.
“The ECHO conference allowed our DR Brethren to rub shoulders with university professors from the US and other countries, as well as hear presentations from Christian development agencies working in the DR, Haiti, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Africa,” Boshart said. “I made numerous contacts on behalf of the Haitian Brethren who could not come and will pass those along to them.”

Effects of recent ruling on Haitian Dominicans

The visa situation for Haitian church leaders who cannot enter the DR may be related to a recent court decision in the Dominican Republic that will strip people of Haitian descent of rights to stay in the country. A significant number of Dominican Brethren are of Haitian descent and leaders in the church there are in process of putting the situation on their agenda, Boshart reported.

Anastacia Bueno, a Dominican Brethren church leader who is of Haitian descent, and a former moderator of Iglesia de los Hermanos (the Dominican Church of the Brethren) was one of the Brethren representatives to the ECHO conference. During his visit to the DR, Boshart also spent an hour visiting in her home in San Luis.

During the visit, he had a chance to find out about the effects of the court decision on daily life in the DR.  “This is still a situation in flux so things could easily change in the next few months,” he said. “The current issue is complicated by several factors that aren't entirely obvious at first glance. The obvious things are the anti-Haitian feelings in Dominican society that are nearly 200 years old, as well as the present presence of many illegal Haitian residents in the DR.

“The Brethren in Sabana Torsa (one of the bateys east of the capital) are reporting that a Catholic priest has been banned from the area by the government for his outspoken opposition to the recent ruling and treatment of Dominicans of Haitian descent. Check points are on the alert to turn him away if he shows his face,” Boshart added.

The Organization of American States, among others, are pressuring the DR government to change its ruling, Boshart reported. The decision impacts all children of foreigners born in the DR since 1929, and will reclassify them as "in transit" on their government documents, and likely will have an impact on at least three, if not four or more, generations of Haitian Dominicans. “Many have ancestors who came to the DR legally as contract workers to work in the sugar industry for companies ranging from Dominican to European to American-owned companies,” Boshart said. Up until now, they been able to carry Dominican identity cards, attend Dominican schools, vote in Dominican elections, and pay Dominican taxes.

For more about the Global Food Crisis Fund, go to

Source: 12/20/2013 Newsline

Dominican Republic court ruling from the international perspective

By Doris Abdullah, Church of the Brethren representative to the United Nations
The Sept. 25 Dominican Republic court ruling denies Dominican nationality to children of undocumented migrants who have been born or registered in the country after 1929 and who do not have at least one parent of Dominican blood. This comes under a 2010 constitutional clause declaring these people to be either in the country illegally or in transit.

This court ruling has caused many to speak out in concern across the Americas, the Caribbean, and the international community, including the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights based in Geneva, Switzerland. Demonstrations against the court ruling have been held in New York, which has a large population of Haitian and Dominican residents.

The Church of the Brethren has concerns about the new law, expressed particularly through the Global Mission and Service office headed by Jay Wittmeyer, because the ruling will disproportionately affect brothers and sisters of Haitian descent in the Dominican Republic. I expressed the church’s concern about the court ruling at the Oct. 21 New York NGO briefing with the assistant secretary general for Human Rights and wrote a brief summary on the ruling based on reports and documents available from the Office of the High Commissioner.

First it should be noted that the International Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Racial Discrimination, which is one of the oldest of the UN treaty bodies, has declared that no nation is free of racial discrimination. As such we are not to judge the Dominican Republic any less or more harshly than our own country or any other country.

The ruling in the DR infringes on other international covenants and agreements as well as the one on racial discrimination including the International Covenant on Social, Economic, and Cultural Rights; the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the Rights of the Child; and most glaringly the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (1990). That any country may not have signed a United Nations agreement does not make their noncompliance valid.

The population of the Dominican Republic is around 10 million, of whom it is estimated about 275,000 thousands are of Haitian descent and are affected by the court ruling. The country’s racial mix is overwhelmingly of African and European background. According to a report from April of this year, the racial and structural denial of the country’s African origin in its population is a factor limiting measures to overcome racial discrimination, and there appear to be attempts to not allow people to identify themselves as Black. The report requested the government to “amend their electoral law to enable Dominicans to identify themselves as negro, mulatto.” The report further notes that terms such as “indio-claro (light skinned Indian) and indio-oscuro (dark skinned Indian) fail to reflect the ethnic situation in the country and renders invisible the dark skinned population of African descent.”

It is not by chance or arbitrary that “after 1929” was chosen as the year persons born of Haitian parentage should be denied citizenship. The bulk of Haitian migrants to the DR came to the sugar plantations in the early part of the last century. Most would be dead by now, but declaring their offspring noncitizens would be another means to rid the country of persons born of Haitian origin and by extension African descent.

Dec. 18 was the United Nations International Migrant Day. A joint commemoration statement on the plight of migrants, that would include those of Haitian descent in the DR, was issued by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants, Francois Crepeau; the chair of the UN Committee on the Protection of the Rights of all Migrant workers and their Families, Abdelhamid El Jamni; and the Rapporteur on the Rights of Migrants of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Felipe Gonzales. They once again reminded the world that "migrants are first and foremost human beings with human rights." Migrants "cannot be perceived or portrayed only as agents for economic development" nor "helpless victims in need of rescue and/or criminal frauds.”

Let us continue to pray and hope that the government and people of the Dominican Republic embrace their entire cultural heritage as we give support to our brothers and sisters of Haitian origin. We will rejoice on the day that the Dominicans recognize the African contribution to their country, and allow their citizens the freedom to choose their racial and cultural identity without prejudice.

-- Doris Abdullah of Brooklyn, N.Y., is the Church of the Brethren representative to the United Nations and chair of the UN NGOs’ Human Rights Sub-Committee for the Elimination of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance.

Source: 12/20/2013 Newsline

Brethren Academy issues updated course listing

The Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership has issued an updated listing of courses to be offered. Courses are open to Training in Ministry (TRIM) students, pastors who may earn 2 continuing education units per course, and all interested persons.
The academy staff note that “while we continue to accept students beyond the registration deadline, on that date we determine whether we have enough students to offer a course. Many courses have required pre-course readings, so students need to be sure to allow enough time to complete those. Please do not purchase texts or make travel plans until the registration deadline is passed, and you receive a course confirmation.”

Register for courses noted as “SVMC” through the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center at or 717-361-1450. For all other courses listed go to the Brethren Academy website at

Jan 21-24, 2014: “The Reality of the Unseen: An Overview of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism” taught by Michael Hostetter at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind. Registration deadline: Dec. 20.

Jan. 27-March 21, 2014: “Introduction to Old Testament,” an online course taught by Craig Gandy. Registration deadline: Dec. 16.

March 7-8, 21-22, 2014: “History of the Church of the Brethren" taught by Jeff Bach at the Young Center, Elizabethtown (Pa.) College. SVMC. Registration deadline: March 1.

April 21-June 15, 2014: “Ministry with Children,” an online course taught by Rhonda Pittman Gingrich. Registration deadline: March 17.

May 14-17, 2014: “Rock the Church, Rethinking Church Renewal” at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., in conjunction with the Church Planting Conference.

July 1-2, 2014: Annual Conference Directed Independent Study Unit with Dr. Thomas G. Long, Bandy Professor of Preaching at Candler School of Theology, to take place onsite in Columbus, Ohio, in conjunction with the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference. The instructor is Chris Bowman. Registration deadline: June 2.

Summer 2014: “Church of the Brethren Polity” to be taught at the Young Center, Elizabethtown (Pa.) College. SVMC.

Fall 2014: “Luke-Acts and the Birth of the Church” (tentative title), an online course taught by Matthew Boersma.

Source: 12/20/2013 Newsline

Brethren Press announces curriculum resources for 2014

Brethren Press has announced curriculum resources for the coming year. In the spring, the Christian education curriculum Gather ’Round is offered for children and youth classes, and A Guide for Biblical Studies for adult classes and small group Bible studies. In the summer, Gather ’Round offers a quarter for multi-age groups of children and for youth, and a Vacation Bible School package is available. In the fall, Brethren Press and MennoMedia will roll out Shine: Living in God’s Light, the successor curriculum to Gather ’Round.
Spring curriculum

Gather 'Round curriculum logo
Gather ’Round: “Living in the Light: Stories from John” is the theme for spring, covering Sundays from March 2 -May 25. Included are stories for Lent and Easter such as Jesus raising Lazarus, Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion, his resurrection appearances to Mary Magdalene and the disciples, and his teachings in the latter part of John. Gather ’Round is for preschool, primary, middler, youth.

A Guide for Biblical Studies: “Jesus’ Fulfillment of Scripture” is the spring theme for this Bible study for adult groups. The quarter is written by Estella Horning and explores connections between Jesus and the Hebrew scriptures. Cost is $4.25 or $7.35 for large print, plus shipping and handling.

Summer curriculum

Vacation Bible School: Give and Receive God's Great Love (MennoMedia) is the Vacation Bible School curriculum available from Brethren Press for 2014. It highlights Bible stories about God's people who showed hospitality and welcome to others, inviting children to learn about God who welcomes each one of us. The curriculum is organized around five stories and is adaptable to a traditional daily program, or to a midweek or club plan. Stories are drawn from Genesis, 1 Samuel, Luke, and Acts. The curriculum offers worship resources, games, crafts, and a drama of each story. The boxed kit includes everything needed for planning and preparation. All of the items in the boxed set are also available to order separately. $159.99 for the starter kit, with churches able to order additional materials through Brethren Press customer service.

Gather 'Round: Stories of God’s People, the summer quarter of Gather ’Round, is a resource for multiage groups (grades K-5), preschool (ages 3-4, with tips for 2s), and youth (grades 6-12). Lessons cover the Sundays of June 1-Aug. 24. Stories focus on people around Jesus--Matthew, Mary and Martha, Zacchaeus, Nicodemus, Peter and John--and key leaders in the early church--Paul and Ananias, Barnabus, Philip and the Ethiopian, Lydia, Aquila, Priscilla. The list of summer sessions is at .

Fall curriculum

ShineShine: Living in God’s Light: Development of a new Sunday school curriculum called Shine is underway by Brethren Press and MennoMedia. Shine is a successor curriculum to the current Gather ’Round. The first quarter of Shine: Living in God’s Light, will be available for use this fall. “We are pleased to offer our congregations a user-friendly, enriching curriculum that grows out of our distinct beliefs as Brethren and Mennonites,” said Wendy McFadden, publisher of Brethren Press. Foundational scriptures include Isaiah 9:2 and Matthew 5:14-16. For children age three through grade eight, Shine is based on a three-year overview of the Bible with a separate Bible outline for early childhood. Sessions include an emphasis on teaching prayer and other spiritual practices, and will highlight peace themes. A multi-age resource will serve churches with small numbers of children. See

Order curriculum from Brethren Press at 800-441-3712 or

Source: 12/20/2013 Newsline

Feature: Deacon Ministry reminds churches to welcome new friends this holiday season

By Donna Kline

December Deacon Update: Making Friends

Things were a little sparse in the primary Sunday school class the weekend after Thanksgiving. Only two little girls were there, one of them a visitor. Elbow-deep in the glitter and glue of the construction paper Advent wreathes they were making, the visiting kindergartner smiled at the other and said, "Wanna make friends?"

In another congregation, I'm told, a couple had been regularly attending worship as well as the fellowship time that follows, and were dismayed that members of the congregation seemed to only be interested in talking to each other. Finally one Sunday another couple approached them, and a good conversation began. Within a few minutes, though, the couples realized that they were both visitors, neither of which had been welcomed by anyone from the congregation: there was no evidence that anyone there wanted to "make friends."

The second story isn’t at all unusual, and is in fact human nature--we gravitate to those with whom we are most comfortable. But isn't this just the opposite of what Jesus taught us? Are we not to seek out those who themselves are seeking the hope found in the good news of the Gospel story? Certainly when they seek us out the least we can do is welcome them!

Advent is a time when more visitors join our services than any other time of year. In the days of Advent remaining, consider offering the gift of friendship to those visiting your congregation whose faces aren't familiar to you. Think of people in your life who may not do well at "making friends" and invite them to a service. It may be the best gift you can give--to them and to yourself.

"Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers" (Romans 12:13).

-- Donna Kline is director of the Church of the Brethren Deacon Ministry, and a member of the Congregational Life Ministries staff.

Source: 12/20/2013 Newsline

Brethren bits

  • A note from the Finance Office: Donations to support Church of the Brethren denominational ministries must be postmarked no later than Dec. 31, 2013, and received by Jan. 13, 2014, to be credited to the 2013 tax year. Mail to Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120. Donations also can be made online at before year end. The Church of the Brethren staff extend thanks for the financial support from congregations and individual members across the denomination that make these ministries possible.
  • Correction: The “save the date” note in the last Newsline gave an incorrect date for the Goodbye Still Night concert in North Manchester, Ind. The correct date is April 26, 2014, for the concert featuring Brethren musicians including Andy and Terry Murray, Mutual Kumquat, Shawn Kirchner and Ryan Harrison, and Kim Shahbazian.
Larry Ulrich
Photo courtesy of Nancy Ulrich
Larry Ulrich
  • Remembrance: Larry K. Ulrich, 72, a Brethren leader in ecumenical circles and the denomination’s representative on the Interfaith Relations Commission of the National Council of Churches, passed away Dec. 7. In January he was named to the Church of the Brethren study committee on “The Church of the Brethren and Ecumenism in the 21st Century.” Ulrich was an ordained minister, clinical pastoral educator, and director of chaplaincy services and medical ethicist in Rush Presbyterian St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago, Cook County Hospital, and University of Chicago Hospitals. From 1979-84 he was dean of Supervised Ministry and Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling at the Vincentian seminary, DeAndreis Institute of Theology, in Lemont, Ill., perhaps the first Protestant dean in a Roman Catholic seminary. He was a leader in the Chicago area in promoting hospice care for the dying. At the 1969 Annual Conference he was instrumental in a resolution that created the Fund for the Americas for racism education and direct assistance to minorities, after having participated in civil rights activities in Louisiana and Chicago while at seminary. From 1972-76 he chaired the Annual Conference Committee on Health and Welfare relating to the 22 hospitals and retirement communities of the Church of the Brethren at the time. On behalf of the denomination, he testified to the US House Ways and Means Committee in support of a “comprehensive and accessible” national health insurance (reported by “Messenger” in Oct. 1974). From 1975-83 he was vice-president and a director of the Brethren Health Education Foundation, and in 1977-79 chaired the Board of Trustees of Bethany Hospital in Chicago after being on the board since 1974. Most recently, he represented the church’s Illinois and Wisconsin District on the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago, which was awarded the Chicago Theological Union’s prestigious “Blessed Are the Peacemakers” award in 2004. In his role with the National Council of Churches, he promoted the World Interfaith Harmony Week to Brethren as “an opportunity to remember that we are called to be the best believers we can be within our Christian faith tradition, and encourage followers in other religions to be the best believers they can be.... Loving believers in other faith heritages isn’t easy, but it’s what God’s Living Spirit calls us to.” In 2012 he was designated a Friend of the Muslim Educational Cultural Center of America for helping facilitate the building of mosques in western suburbs of Chicago against opposition. He was a member at York Center Church of the Brethren in Lombard, Ill., and a 35-year resident of the interracial York Center Community Cooperative. He was born in 1941 in Greencastle, Ind., the only child of Kenneth and Ruth Ulrich. He held degrees from Manchester College, Bethany Theological Seminary, University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, and Chicago Theological Seminary. He spent some years as a pastor in Maryland, Indiana, and Illinois, and also was a family therapist and pastoral counselor. He is survived by his wife Nancy Studebaker Ulrich; children Michael (Emily), Andrew Ulrich, and Joel Krogstad (Faith); and grandchildren. A memorial service will be held Jan. 11, 2014, at 3 p.m. at the York Center Church. Memorials are received to York Center Church and the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago.
Sarah Thompson
Christian Peacemaker Teams
Sarah Thompson
  • Sarah Thompson has been appointed executive director of Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT), an organization that was begun with help from the peace churches including the Church of the Brethren. Thompson starts in the position in January 2014. She served on CPT’s Steering Committee 2010-12 and has worked for the past year as CPT’s outreach coordinator. Her church involvements include six years of volunteer work as the North American representative to Mennonite World Conference's Youth and Young Adult Executive Committee and Global Youth Summit planning group, as well as service with Mennonite Central Committee in Jerusalem, Washington, D.C., and her hometown of Elkhart, Ind. She holds a degree from Spelman College in Comparative Women's Studies and International Studies with a minor in Spanish, and a master of divinity degree from Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary. For more go to
  • The Church of the Brethren seeks an office assistant for Material Resources, a full-time position located at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. Responsibilities include facilitating Church World Service kit pickups; preparation of domestic and overseas shipments and maintaining documentation and reports; knowledge of transportation related regulations and compliance; working with outside trucking firms; maintaining driver logs and other driver files; auditing monthly reports, bills, and invoices related to trucks, transportation, and drivers; customer service; and daily collaboration with office manager and warehouse staff. The preferred candidate will be well organized, skilled at creating and maintaining spreadsheets and recordkeeping, able to effectively manage multiple simultaneous tasks, able to work collaboratively in a team environment, comfortable making suggestions and process improvements, with a flexible and positive attitude. A high school diploma or the equivalent, and competency in Microsoft Office Outlook, Word, and Excel are required. Applications will be received and reviewed until the position is filled. Request an application packet and job description from the Office of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; 800-323-8039 ext. 367;
  • Bethany Theological Seminary, a graduate school of the Church of the Brethren located in Richmond, Ind., seeks a part-time project director with education and experience in financial planning and program implementation to fulfill the aims of a grant received from Lilly Endowment Inc. This appointment will be renewed annually for up to three years. The grant will fund research to identify the unique financial challenges for Bethany students in the local and distance programs and to design and implement ways Bethany can better prepare and support students and alumni/ae to face the economic challenges of pastoral ministry. Duties will include overseeing the collection of new data outlined in the grant narrative; presenting research findings to Bethany staff and faculty (and others, as needed); introducing students to new ideas about “simple living”; connecting students with career counseling resources; increasing student awareness of available outside financial aid and sources of funding for seminary; exploring bivocational ministry preparation at Bethany and throughout the denomination; facilitating financial education for Bethany staff and faculty; establishing new programs to strengthen the financial literacy of students; informing alumni/ae of financial stewardship resources available to them; compiling grant reports; assessing grant initiatives. Candidates should have strong organizational abilities, good interpersonal skills, and excellent financial expertise. A bachelor’s degree is required. Additional education and familiarity with the values of the Church of the Brethren is preferred. Copies of the grant can be requested from Brenda Reish at Mail a letter of interest and resume to Project Director Search, Bethany Theological Seminary, 615 National Road West, Richmond, IN 47374 or The application deadline is Jan. 31, 2014, or until the position is filled. Bethany Seminary does not discriminate in employment opportunities or practices on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, marital status, genetic information, or any other characteristic protected by law. Find this full announcement online at
  • “We’re watching the situation” in South Sudan following an outbreak of violence there, said Global Mission and Service executive Jay Wittmeyer. Church of the Brethren staff in South Sudan are not working in the affected areas and are not in immediate danger, he said. Athanasus Ungang and Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) worker Jocelyn Snyder are working in Torit, in the eastern part of the country, and BVS volunteer Jillian Foerster has completed her work in Yei in the southwest of the country and has returned home to the United States. Violence has erupted in South Sudan’s capital city Juba this week, with varying statements by political leaders and others blaming an alleged coup linked to the recent deposing of the country’s vice president, and to ethnic tensions between the Dinka and Nuer. Thousands have fled the Juba area, according to news reports, although a United Nations statement yesterday said peace seemed to be returning to the capital city. In the meantime, fighting also broke out in the city of Bor in Jonglei State. “We ask for special prayer for South Sudan,” Wittmeyer said. “We’re watching the situation and continue to stay in contact with staff.”
  • Registration for the 2014 Clergy Women’s Retreat closes at 4:30 p.m. (central time) today, Dec. 20. “We have 42 participants registered so there is still room for several more,” reports Mary Jo Flory-Steury in a Facebook post encouraging clergy women to participate. “If you haven't registered yet and have been pondering the possibility of joining us please come. We will be blessed by your presence and we trust you will be blessed by your participation.” The retreat takes place Monday, Jan. 13, through Thursday, Jan. 16, at Serra Retreat Center in Malibu, Calif. To register and for more information go to
  • “Plan your registration party now!” say the NYC coordinators. Jan. 3, 2014, 7 p.m. (central) is opening time for online registration for the 2014 National Youth Conference, to be held in Fort Collins, Colo., on July 19-24. Go to
  • A “3rd Thursday Middle East Action Alert” from the denomination’s Office of Public Witness highlights the problem of restrictions on movement for Palestinians in Israel. Referencing Psalm 122:6-9, "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: 'May they prosper who love you. Peace be within your walls, and security within your towers.' For the sake of my relatives and friends I will say, 'Peace be within you” (NIV), the alert was a part of the ecumenical advocacy community's Third Thursdays for Israel-Palestine initiative. “Over the next few days,” it noted, “thousands of visitors from around the world will begin arriving in Bethlehem for the celebration of Christmas.... However, in the Bethlehem District after the visitors have left and the Christmas decorations have been taken down, a stark reality will surface. The buses used to ferry foreign guests to and from the city will have passed easily through the steel gates in the wall that separates Jerusalem from Bethlehem, and Christmas visitors will have felt little impact from the closure imposed over the city. For the Palestinians that remain, however, movement into and out of the city remains restricted and those Palestinians given permission to move between Jerusalem and Bethlehem are forced to wait in line for hours as they wait to pass through crowded tunnels and turnstiles that are contained in the terminal hidden just out of sight of the tourists.” The Office of Public Witness asked for help from church members to contact representatives in Congress urging US policy toward Israel and Palestine to “support freedom, not restriction.” The alert also asked for prayer: “As we celebrate the arrival of our Lord to the town of Bethlehem, take time to pray and reflect for the current situation in his birthplace.” Find the full Action Alert online at Contact the public witness ministries of the Church of the Brethren at or 717-333-1649.
Task team begins process of creating new ministers manual
Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
A task team has begun the process of creating a new ministers manual for the Church of the Brethren. The group met at the General Offices this week, and plans to offer an insight session at the 2014 Annual Conference to share more information and gain input for the new book.
  • A task team has begun the process of creating a new ministers manual for the Church of the Brethren. The group is led by the Ministry Office and associate general secretary Mary Jo Flory-Steury, and includes Dana Cassell, Laura Stone, Paul Roth, Dawn Ottoni Wilhelm, Becky Rhodes, Josh Brockway, and Wendy McFadden. The task team had its first meeting in August and a conference call in October. At a meeting this week at the Church of the Brethren General Offices, the group began to shape the purpose and draft an outline for the book. The book will be several years in the making, and is anticipated to serve the denomination as ministry changes in the 21st century. The process of creating it will include a future call for submissions of worship and other resources. The task team will provide more information and seek input at an insight session at the 2014 Annual Conference.
  • A short video invitation to the 2014 Annual Conference in Columbus, Ohio, on July 2-6 is posted at Created by Brethren videographer David Sollenberger, it includes interviews with Conference-goers who have enjoyed the experience of the denomination’s annual meeting and with moderator Nancy Heishman on the theme “Live as Courageous Disciples” taken from Philippians, and highlights the range of activities planned for families and children as well as the culminating Sunday morning worship on the theme “Rejoice in the Lord.”
  • Danville Church of the Brethren near Rawlings, Md., presents its annual Living Christmas today, Dec. 20, and Saturday, Dec. 21, from 6-9 p.m. at the Narrow Gate Farm on Route 220. Visitors will walk along a lighted path from station to station to witness and hear the miracle of the Christmas story. “Everyone welcome,” said an announcement in the “Mineral Daily News.”
  • Frederick (Md.) Church of the Brethren received praise from the “Frederick News Post” for an innovative interactive “pageant” that “captured the essence of the Christmas story Saturday in a more significant way than sitting in a pew and watching a play,” the newspaper said. The event titled "Search for the Christ Child" transformed the church building into ancient Bethlehem, and visitors were led on a half-hour guided tour through the story of the first Christmas. The newspaper quoted one visitor as saying: “I’ve been to many Christmas pageants, but nothing like this. It was intellectual--a tool you walked through, not sitting in a church watching.” The event was a success despite being held on a day when several inches of snow fell in the area. Read more at
  • Western Pennsylvania District is extending “a special thanks to all who supported the District Auction that was held at Camp Harmony on Nov. 2, with their prayers, donations and purchases.” To date, without expenses, $7,892 has been received for district ministry, reported the district newsletter. Camp scholarships will be given to first place and second place churches that raised the most funds. Maple Spring Church of the Brethren took first place raising $1,950. Scalp Level Church of the Brethren took second place raising $697.50.
  • Also in the Western Pennsylvania District newsletter: A call for support for relief efforts following Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. The district will be contributing $5,000 from its Disaster Fund to the Brethren Disaster Ministries effort, and is calling on congregations and members to contribute as well.
2014 theme logo for Illinois and Wisconsin District
Logo by Debbie Noffsinger
  • Illinois and Wisconsin District has announced a theme for the year 2014: “Abide in the Vine, Abide in My Love” (John 15:1-17). This will be the theme also for the district conference next year, led by moderator Stan Rodabaugh. The theme logo was designed by Debbie Noffsinger.
  • The Christmas Tree of Stars program at the Church of the Brethren Home in Windber, Pa., is in its 30th year. Donations to help decorate the tree honor or memorialize a loved one or friend, and help provide benevolent care for residents.
  • The board of Pinecrest Manor, a Church of the Brethren retirement community in Mount Morris, Ill., has established a $1,000 scholarship in honor of Jim Renz, a 49-year board member who died in May. The scholarship is to be awarded in the spring to a graduating high school senior from Oregon High School or a student who is a member of any Church of the Brethren congregation in the northern district of Illinois-Wisconsin District, said the district newsletter. The scholarship is to focus on a future interest in health care, social work, or pastoral care. Contact Ferol Labash of Pinecrest Manor, 815-734-4103.
  • The Camp Harmony Reunion Dinner has been announced for Dec. 30, at 6 p.m. The camp in Hooversville, Pa., is holding a reunion dinner in place of an appreciation dinner at the end of the year said an announcement that invited: “Come join camp staff, volunteers, and friends from Camp Harmony over the years.” Cost is $10 per person and the deadline to register is Dec. 23. Contact or 814-798-5885.
  • Elizabethtown (Pa.) College was awarded a $531,885 grant by the National Science Foundation to support the Engineering Practices with Impact Cohort (EPIC) Scholarship for High Achieving Women in Engineering program. A release from the school reported that this selective scholarship specifically is offered to academically talented women who have interest in the college's engineering program. “The college's EPIC scholarship program falls in line with the STEM Educate to Innovate initiative promoted by the Barack Obama administration this spring. The initiative intends to provide students at all levels of education in fields of study in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) as a means to improve the nation's competitiveness in these areas,” said the release. Elizabethtown’s EPIC scholarship program is under the direction of Sara A. Atwood, assistant professor of engineering and physics, and Kurt M. DeGoede, professor of engineering and physics, and serves up to four scholars per year. Each receive up to $10,000 per year for all four years at Elizabethtown, with the total amount based on financial need. Each EPIC scholar will have expanded opportunities for Signature Learning Experiences and professional mentoring from STEM employers and graduate programs, will reside on campus in the Partners In Engineering Living/Learning Community, and will have fully funded summer research opportunities and access to Elizabethtown's Engineering Co-op program. To qualify for the scholarship, a student must maintain a 2.75 grade point average. Application deadline for the EPIC scholarship is Feb. 1. Go to
  • Manchester University president Jo Young Switzer has received the 2013 Chief Executive Leadership Award from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, reports a release from the university in North Manchester, Ind. She received the honor for “outstanding efforts in promoting and supporting education and institutional advancement. As the first female president of the 125-year-old school, Switzer has boldly led Manchester through transformational change, praised CASE,” according to the release. CASE recognized Switzer’s ability and conviction in actively supporting advancement and fundraising for the university, inspiring others to Manchester’s vision, establishing a positive image for Manchester while leading it to higher levels of success, increasing Manchester’s stature, and encouraging innovation and risk-taking among employees. Learn more about Manchester University at
  • Manchester University has been in the news for a statement from the President’s Cabinet that the university will remain neutral on a proposed amendment to the Indiana state constitution that would ban gay marriage and civil unions. Today “The Journal Gazette” of Fort Wayne reported on a petition opposing that decision by Manchester students, staff, faculty, and alumni, and an upcoming protest fast by some students. The cabinet’s statement in November explained that the university has not historically taken positions on political issues. Today’s newspaper article is at .
Source: 12/20/2013 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 Jan Fischer Bachman, Chris Douglas, Jim Chinworth, Elizabeth Harvey, Jeri S. Kornegay, Marie Willoughby, Ed Woolf, and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Newsline: December 16, 2013


Shine On storybook Bible will offer new way to teach children the faith

By Jeff Lennard 

Front cover of the Shine On story Bible for children, to be available in March 2014 from Brethren PressComing in March from the creators of the Shine curriculum for Christian education: “Shine On: A Story Bible.” This new children’s storybook Bible will feature over 150 engaging Bible stories for use by families and congregations.

Published by Brethren Press and MennoMedia, the 320-page, hardback book will retail for $24.99, plus shipping and handling. Pre-order from Brethren Press by calling 800-441-3712.

“Shine On” will be a valuable new resource for families and Sunday school leaders, providing an exciting way to nurture faith in children. “Shine On” has colorful illustrations designed by a variety of artists, that will capture children’s imaginations. Its clear and engaging language stays true to the biblical text.

Each full-page spread includes sidebars that offer questions and activities to reach children’s hearts and minds.

About the curriculum: Shine: Living in God’s Light is a dynamic Sunday school curriculum for age 3 to grade 8 that engages Christian communities in their life together. It is a joint project of Brethren Press and MennoMedia and will be available beginning in the fall of 2014. For more about Shine see

-- Jeff Lennard is director of marketing and sales for Brethren Press.

Source: 12/16/2013 Newsline

Zach Wolgemuth resigns as associate director of Brethren Disaster Ministries

BDM associate director Zach WolgemuthZach Wolgemuth has resigned as associate director of Brethren Disaster Ministries. He has served in this position, working out of the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., for almost eight years.

His resignation is effective Jan. 18, 2014, after which he begins employment with the United Church of Christ as executive for the UCC National Disaster Ministries.

He started at Brethren Disaster Ministries on April 24, 2006. His work has focused in the disaster rebuilding program within the US, working closely with Roy Winter, associate executive director of Global Mission and Service and Brethren Disaster Ministries.

Wolgemuth has helped spur growth of the denomination’s disaster rebuilding program and provided leadership for Brethren Disaster Ministries to become active in new places across the country. Respect for his leadership among Brethren volunteers and other disaster response organizations resulted in his election to the board of National VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster). Additionally, he has facilitated several grant awards over the last four years, the largest being a $280,100 Red Cross grant for Hurricane Sandy recovery.

Among other responsibilities his work has included assessment of needs following disasters, building relationships with coordinating groups in affected areas, training volunteer project site directors, connecting with supporters at the individual and district levels, and helping represent the Church of the Brethren at the national level through participation with organizations such as FEMA and NVOAD. As a part of his job, he has worked personally at most--if not all--of the Brethren Disaster Ministries project sites that were active during his years on staff.

Source: 12/16/2013 Newsline

Kathy Fry-Miller to lead Children’s Disaster Services

Kathy Fry-Miller has been named associate director of Children’s Disaster Services, a Church of the Brethren program that is part of Brethren Disaster Ministries. Since 1980, Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) has been meeting the needs of children by setting up child care centers in shelters and disaster assistance centers across the nation. CDS volunteers, who are specially trained and certified to respond to traumatized children, provide a calm, safe, and reassuring presence in the midst of the chaos created by natural or human caused disaster.

Fry-Miller of North Manchester, Ind., has worked with CDS as a volunteer for a number of years, has been a trainer and project manager for CDS, and has received Critical Response and FEMA training. She has served on the advisory committee of Brethren Disaster Ministries 2012-13.

She founded and spent 12 years administering a nationally accredited preschool program at Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren in Fort Wayne, Ind. From 1988 to the present she has worked as an education specialist for Early Childhood Alliance, a 10-county Child Care Resource and Referral agency in Indiana. It is also a United Way agency. She has worked with local and state partners including nonprofit, government, and business partners, and has supported development of state-wide early childhood systems including the Indiana Quality Rating and Improvement System and state-wide early childhood administrator training. For the past 15 years she has planned and hosted an annual early childhood director’s conference.

Her previous work for the Church of the Brethren has included writing and consulting for the Gather ’Round curriculum and the new Shine curriculum that are joint projects of Brethren Press and MennoMedia. She is author of the Brethren Press books “Young Peacemakers Project Book,” “Peace Works” written with Judith A. Myers-Walls and Janet R. Domer-Shank, and “Story Gifts for Children.”

Fry-Miller holds a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Towson State University in Maryland, and a bachelor’s degree in Education and German from Manchester University. She has taught early childhood courses at Indiana Purdue University and Ivy Tech Community College in Fort Wayne. Currently she is doing coursework in the Training in Ministry (TRIM) program and is carrying out an internship with a focus on children and family ministry.

For more about Children’s Disaster Services go to

Source: 12/16/2013 Newsline

Lent devotional ‘Real Rest’ to focus on themes of grace, light living

The Brethren Press 2014 devotional booklet for Lent, offering devotions for Ash Wednesday through Easter, is written by Duane Grady. Each day will feature a scripture, meditation, and prayer in a pocket-sized booklet suitable for individual use or for congregations to offer to members. Pre-order now for $2.25 per copy, plus shipping and handling.

The devotional is regularly priced at $2.75 per copy, or $5.95 large print, plus shipping and handling. Become a seasonal subscriber and receive both annual devotionals from Brethren Press--Advent and Lent--at the discounted price of $2.25 or $5 for large print. Contact Brethren Press at 800-441-3712 or purchase online at

Sample devotion: ‘Calmly present’

Real Rest, the Brethren Press devotional for Lent 2014, written by Duane Grady“The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter; [God] utters his voice, the earth melts. The LORD of hosts is with us” (Psalm 46:6-7a).

We live in a time when there is no shortage of troubling news, both at the international and local levels. Many of these crises are real, and real persons are harmed. Anxiety is stirred up by the media, especially cable news networks that crave the hoopla of a world tottering on a narrow edge as long as their income stream remains fixed.

The world in crisis is not new. The writer of Psalm 46 spoke to the harrowing experiences of many in describing mountains shaking and waters roaring (vv. 2-3). Like many of the psalms, this one concludes on a more positive note by reminding us that in the midst of chaos, God is calmly present. God puts an end to war and terror, and provides refuge in God’s holy habitation (vv. 4, 9). And yet, we worry.

When I read this passage, my memory turned to a recent hospital visit. A three-year-old child was having a risky procedure, and anxiety was high in the family. It was necessary, but many things could go wrong. Under the best of circumstances, the recovery would be slow and painful—nothing you’d wish on anyone, especially such a small child.

I prayed with the family the night before and anointed the parents as they braced themselves for the long journey ahead. Following the surgery, I visited their hospital recovery room. Upon entering the darkened room, I saw the child’s mother in bed with him, embracing him completely in her arms with only his tightly bandaged head visible. Both were sleeping in a scene as comforting and calm as any I’d ever seen. It was the perfect image for the psalmist’s reminder: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (v. 1).

Prayer: God of peace, be with us in all circumstances. But make your presence most vividly known when we stress and stew about things that trouble us. Calm our hearts and teach us to rest in you.

Source: 12/16/2013 Newsline

Bethany Seminary invites junior high youth to ‘Immerse!’

By Jenny Williams 

Next summer has a special event in store for junior high students: Immerse! will bring youth who have completed seventh, eighth, and ninth grades together to share questions, experiences, and ideas about faith, all within a community of friendship and support. Sponsored by the Institute for Ministry with Youth and Young Adults at Bethany Seminary, Immerse! will take place at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College June 12-17, 2014, and is free. Participants are only responsible for the cost of transportation to and from the event.

Russell Haitch, professor of practical theology at Bethany, is overseeing the event as director of the institute. “As its name implies, the purpose of Immerse! is to go beneath the surface and dive more deeply into learning about the Bible and questions of faith. For young people who may be thinking about baptism or just what it means to be a Christian, we want to create an engaging, friendship-forming, potentially life-changing experience."

Youth participants will take part in worship, classroom time, group activities, and recreation, enjoying the amenities of Elizabethtown College and surrounding area. The central Pennsylvania location is ideal for incorporating Brethren history into the week’s schedule, such as visits to historic sites. Leadership will be provided in part by Bethany faculty and staff, including Bekah Houff, coordinator of outreach programs; Steve Schweitzer, academic dean; and Haitch.

Bethany faculty and staff are enthusiastic about engaging with this age group, their energy and personalities, and the life questions they are beginning to ask. Dana Cassell, minister of youth formation at Manassas (Va.) Church of the Brethren, says that her church’s junior high group also was enthused to hear about Immerse! “I think that their excitement centered around the opportunity to travel together, being with their peers from around the denomination, and the exposure to the reality that this ‘church thing’ is bigger than our congregation--an exciting prospect for middle schoolers.”

Registration is open on the Bethany Seminary website at . In compliance with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, parents of children under 13 are required to complete the Parent Consent Form as part of the application process. For more information, contact Bekah Houff at

A note for clarification

Immerse! is for junior high students interested in experiencing the Bible and Church of the Brethren history more deeply. Participation is available to roughly 30 participants. Although Immerse! happens to have the same location and similar date range to the Church of the Brethren National Junior High Conferences, it is a separate, grant-funded program of Bethany Theological Seminary.

The next National Junior High Conference is being planned for June of 2015. Contact Becky Ullom Naugle in the Youth and Young Adult Ministry Office for more information about National Junior High Conference. Call 847-429-4385.

-- Jenny Williams is director of Communications and Alumni/ae Relations for Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind.

Source: 12/16/2013 Newsline

Covenant Bible Study will take a look 'Behind the Drama'

"Behind the Drama: The Old Testament You Missed" is an upcoming Covenant Bible Study by Eugene F. Roop, Old Testament scholar and former Bethany Seminary president, available from Brethren Press this spring for $7.95 plus shipping and handling. Call 800-441-3712 or order online at

“Our reading of the Old Testament is colored by dramatic texts in which God acts in extraordinary ways, calling and saving God’s people through fire and flood,” explains a flier for the resource.

“But too often we focus on these familiar stories alone and ignore the seemingly unimportant parts, or avoid altogether the hard parts we don’t understand. This study explores a few of these scriptures--some overlooked, some troubling--and shows how God works in and through everyday situations and conflicts to bring hope and faith to ordinary lives.”

Covenant Bible Studies are relational Bible studies for small groups. Each contains 10 sessions that promote group interaction and open discussion about practical aspects of the Christian faith.

Source: 12/16/2013 Newsline

Manchester $1 million grant brings new degree in sales, internships, collaborations to bolster employment opportunities for graduates

By Jeri S. Kornegay

A $1 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. will ignite several exciting new Manchester University programs and collaborations, including an undergraduate sales degree that is unprecedented in Indiana.

The Manchester University initiative, “Liberal Arts Plus,” will enable the university to expand its leadership and engagement in northeast Indiana economic development to improve employment opportunities for Indiana college graduates.

In addition to a new bachelor’s degree (and minor) in sales, Manchester University will:
  • Develop at least five new certificate programs that align with the workforce needs of Indiana employers over the next five years.
  • Engage 60 Manchester students in internships to provide them with professional experience and contribute to economic development initiatives in northeast Indiana through strategic use of their talents.
  • Collaborate with work force agencies, other northeast Indiana universities and the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership to strengthen the school’s relationship with employers and leverage the Lilly Endowment grants for more support.
  • Develop a smartphone software application that will help guide students in their career readiness through college.
“Liberal Arts Plus will embed the university more deeply in the state’s economic future,” said president Jo Young Switzer. “In turn, our students will become catalysts for change and realize their personal stake in Indiana’s vitality.”

Liberal Arts Plus will help close the skills gap between the needs of Indiana employers and the liberal arts preparation of Manchester students. Manchester University also will create new opportunities for internships focused specifically on regional economic development. Those efforts will help business and industry expand their capacities and markets which, in turn, will create a climate for additional high-skill jobs.

Manchester is among 39 accredited colleges and universities to receive a total of $62.7 million from the endowment to enhance and expand opportunities for their college graduates to find meaningful employment in Indiana. The grants support the endowment’s Initiative to Promote Opportunities Through Educational Collaborations.

“The endowment has seen firsthand that colleges and universities have the ability and desire to help improve the job prospects of college graduates in Indiana, and we wanted to give them the resources to be even more strategic and ambitious,” said Sara B. Cobb, vice president for education for the endowment.

In 2003 and 2008, endowment support helped cement the foundation for Manchester’s shared-funding internship program that has fostered professional connections in Indiana for 195 students through 2012.

“Through those programs, we enhanced our career services for students, including online job and internship posting and alumni networking,” said Liz Bushnell, associate dean and director of Career Services.

Manchester’s graduate placement rates are high--an average of 94 percent over the past five years. About 71 percent of Manchester’s 2012 graduates remained in Indiana.

“Now, the endowment has raised the bar on Manchester University’s efforts to help graduates find meaningful employment in Indiana,” said Switzer.

Manchester already offers three certificate programs--Innovation, Conflict Resolution, and Libraries and Literacies. The sales degree is a natural for Manchester, whose largest academic department is Accounting and Business. About a fifth of undergraduate degrees earned are granted through that department.

Researchers indicate that most Indiana businesses--from orthopedics to rubber, pharmaceuticals to plastics, and forestry to steel--depend on an effective sales force to prosper. Without sales that generate revenue, companies can’t create jobs. Despite the obvious role sales plays in economic development, relatively few universities nationwide or in Indiana offer any coursework that examines the research behind effective sales strategies.

The sales degree will incorporate Manchester’s acumen in helping its students develop skills in listening, empathy, effective oral and written communication, and critical thinking.

Included among the 60 paid internships the grant will fund is a continuation of the Wabash County Economic Report, which enhances efforts to attract potential employers to the county. “The grant will allow us to hire additional student interns to expand our research on the economic conditions in Wabash County,” said John Deal, associate professor of economics. “And, it will give more students an opportunity to gain practical experience with the collection and analysis of data and technical writing, skills that are in high demand in the job market.”

Learn more about the Lilly Endowment Inc. at Learn more about Manchester University at

-- Jeri S. Kornegay works in University Media Relations for Manchester University.

Source: 12/16/2013 Newsline

Juniata College faith-based service program among those honored by White House

By John Wall

The Juniata College Office of Campus Ministry was recognized by the Corporation for National and Community Service for the Huntingdon (Pa.) school’s year-long participation in the President's Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge during 2012-13. The campus challenge, which is a US Department of Education program, was focused around the 2012 inaugural year.

"I commend the students and staff who are promoting interfaith community service on college campuses across our country,” wrote President Barack Obama in a letter congratulating participants. "Thank you for your commitment to service, and I wish you all the best as you continue to make a lasting difference in the lives of others."

Juniata was recognized for its innovative Planting Seeds program, which centered on three service topics: food, hunger, and farming. One of the year's initial events featured a service day on local Amish and Mennonite farms near Belleville, Pa. A contingent of Juniata students, led by Lauren Seganos, an Americorps volunteer who worked as the interfaith service coordinator for the 2012-13 academic year, and Grace Fala, professor of communication, performed odd jobs on various farms, including fruit picking, yard work, and gathering firewood.

Throughout the course of the year, Seganos also organized a series of bread-baking events centered on baking bread recipes from various international traditions and cultures. The group made breads from the Middle East, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, and also created pastries from the Pennsylvania Dutch culinary tradition.

After the baking, Seganos would lead a discussion. Finished bread would be donated to the soup kitchen at Huntingdon Presbyterian Church. "We talked to them about what we made and why we made it together and then we shared a meal with the people at the soup kitchen," said Seganos in a Campus Opinions interview last year.

The Planting Seeds program also organized film showing throughout the year and collaborated with Hillel, the Juniata student club for Jewish students, to plan the college's Freedom Seder.

Juniata was one of more than 250 colleges to participate in the campus challenge.

--John Wall of the Juniata College communication staff contributed this release.

Source: 12/16/2013 Newsline

Virlina District produces new stewardship curriculum

By Fred Swartz 

“Give of the First Fruits: A Study of Stewardship for the 21st Century” has just been published by the Church of the Brethren’s Virlina District. This fresh, practical approach to the Christian concept of “stewardship” is a 13-lesson quarterly with each lesson written by a different church leader or couple from the Virlina and Shenandoah Districts.

Included among the writers are two former Annual Conference moderators, a district executive, nine pastors, and three pastoral couples. The late Judy Mills Reimer, a former Church of the Brethren general secretary and a former moderator of Annual Conference, is author of the chapter entitled “Total Commitment.” She illustrates the meaning of total commitment in a dramatic story from her visit as moderator to the Church of the Brethren mission in Sudan.

The study defines stewardship as holistic faithful discipleship. The 13 chapters cover the care of creation, personal health and time, as well as our responsibility with material resources. Among questions it addresses: What did you and God promise each other in the covenant of baptism? How do good stewards balance faith and reason? Do you shop for what you need or for what you want? How does the church use people’s talents? Have you ever passed by someone in need because you were too busy? How do you share the gift of Jesus Christ with others? In our giving, where can we get the most bang for our buck?

The resource is designed to be used in both youth and adult settings, church school classes, youth groups, midweek services, men’s and women’s fellowships, and personal and family devotions. It is available in booklet form at the cost of $3 per book plus shipping. Orders can be sent by mail to Virlina District Resource Center, 3402 Plantation Road NE, Roanoke, VA 24012 or

-- Fred Swartz is past secretary of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference, and an ordained minister.

Source: 12/16/2013 Newsline

‘Summertime Children’ re-released to mark 40th anniversary of first NYC theme song

Summertime Children CD cover, Andy and Terry Murray album
Church of the Brethren musicians Andy and Terry Murray have announced the release of a CD version of their first recording featuring the first theme song for a National Youth Conference, “Summertime Children.” The song was introduced at NYC in Glorieta, N.M., in 1974. The 40th anniversary of that conference, along with continuing requests for some of the songs, prompted the Murrays to undertake the project, said a release.

The CD was duplicated from a digital master made by Geoff Brumbaugh at Common Ground Audio from the original Nashville Studio mix tapes. It uses the photography from the original vinyl album and contains a six-page foldout with the lyrics to all of the songs.

In addition to the title song, “Summertime Children,” the album includes “The Ballad of John Kline,” “Cowboy Dan,” “The Great Botetourt Bus-Truck Race,” and Earle Fike’s descant for “Amazing Grace.” Other songs include “To Be Free,” “A Christmas Carol,” “Growing Old,” and a sung version of the 23rd Psalm. Joel Yoder, Nancy Yoder, Alice Brown, Bill Zimmerer, Kim Hershberger, Karl Honsaker, and Miriam Smith provided background vocals and a live studio audience for the recording.

“We did the whole thing from first rehearsal to final mix in six hours,” Andy says of the recording, “so it is pretty raw in places. But it has a freshness and spirit that bring back sweet memories and it is enduring evidence of my hillbilly accent. The physical CD is a little replica of the original vinyl, so that adds to the retro feel.”

Contact Andy and Terry Murray at

Source: 12/16/2013 Newsline

Brethren bits

  • Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) director Carol Rose has announced her retirement after 10 years in leadership of the peacemaking organization that was begun with support from the three Historic Peace Churches. Rose is a member at First Church of the Brethren in Chicago. Her retirement was announced in a recent e-mail release from CPT, which included a short statement from her: “During 2014, I will finish 10 years cultivating peace as a director of CPT. My season in this leadership role is ending. I am delighted with the growth in CPT. Though next year I will be moving to other work, I will continue, with you, as part of CPT’s support and action. I am waiting in eager expectation to see where the next generation of leadership will guide us.” For more about CPT go to
  • A celebration for Georgia Markey’s 25 years in ministry, given by the Southern Pennsylvania District board, has been rescheduled for Dec. 29 from 3-5 p.m., with a snow date of Jan. 5. The celebration will take place at Nicarry Meeting House at Cross Keys Village, the Brethren Home Community, in New Oxford, Pa. Those who plan to attend are requested to contact Jay Finkenbinder, 717-776-5703.
  • The Church of the Brethren is seeking an individual to fill the position of maintenance mechanic. This full-time position works directly with the director of Buildings and Grounds and is located at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. The maintenance mechanic performs maintenance, repairs and installation of HVACR, electrical, plumbing, and other infrastructure components at the Brethren Service Center. The preferred candidate will have a State of Maryland DLLR HVACR license, extensive knowledge of commercial infrastructure systems, and the ability to maintain, repair, and troubleshoot HVACR, electrical systems, and plumbing systems. A high school diploma or equivalent is required with five years of experience with HVACR preferred. Applications will be received and reviewed until the position is filled. Qualified candidates are invited to request the application packet and complete job description 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.
  • The Shine curriculum under development by Brethren Press and MennoMedia is seeking writers. Shine is looking for writers for Year Two (2015-16) for the following age groups: early childhood (ages 3-5), primary (grades K-3), middler (grades 3-6), multiage (grades K-6) (note: apply for either primary or middler but indicate openness to writing multiage), and junior youth (grades 6-8). Most age groups have a teacher’s guide, a student piece, and posters, all of which are written and planned by the writer. Early childhood also has a resource pack. New writers are hired to write one quarter. Accepted writers must attend a writers’ conference on Feb. 28-March 3, 2014, at Camp Mack in Milford, Ind. Shine pays for meals and lodging at the conference and covers reasonable travel expenses. Payment for writers varies according to the age group. Contact the managing editor for the current rates. For experience and skills needed and additional detailed information go to Completed applications including a sample session are due by Dec. 31. For questions contact Rose Stutzman, project director, at 574-523-3076 or; or Rachel Nussbaum Eby, managing editor, at 574-523-3071 or
    Home page image for the New Inglenook Cookbook
  • Brethren Press is asking for help to continue to spread the word about the New Inglenook Cookbook. “Although it's a reflection of our Brethren heritage and values, we also know it has wider appeal. There's an inherent cookbook philosophy that many identify with, especially at a time when folks are trying to get back to the basics of cooking with simple, wholesome ingredients,” said a recent announcement. Here are some suggestions to help Brethren Press tell others about the New Inglenook Cookbook: Ask a local bookstore or gift shop to carry the cookbook--have them call Jeff Lennard, director of marketing and sales, at 800-323-8039 ext. 321, to learn how to arrange to sell Inglenook merchandise; like the New Inglenook Cookbook on Facebook and pin it on Pinterest as a quick and easy way to show support, and to get updates and news related to the cookbook; share something on the Kitchen Scrapbook blog created specifically for sharing recipes, stories, memories, and conversation; continue the Inglenook tradition by giving copies to friends and family for Christmas, or as a gift for birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, or weddings. Order 12 or more copies and get 25 percent off the retail price. Other Inglenook merchandise includes mugs and aprons, as well as copies of all the previous Inglenook cookbooks. Also on the Inglenook site, corrections to a few errors that were found in the first printing of the cookbook. Go to
  • Lititz (Pa.) Church of the Brethren will be celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2014, with year of celebration events on the theme “Following in the Steps of Jesus...A Century of Ministry.” The congregation was chartered on Jan. 10, 1914, with 119 members, said an announcement of events during the celebration. A worship service on Sunday afternoon, Jan. 12, at 3 p.m. will include members of the parent congregation, Middle Creek Church of the Brethren, and the choirs of both churches will provide music plus there will be congregational singing from the 1901 Brethren Hymnal. On Feb. 2, a Sunday morning heritage worship service will be held at 9 a.m. in the style of worship from 1914, with Ralph Moyer preaching. Throughout the year, former pastors will be preaching including Arlin Claassen on April 6, Jimmy Ross on Aug. 3, and Pam Reist on Nov. 2. A celebration weekend including an anniversary video, a fellowship meal, and a worship service with preacher Earl Ziegler, will be held on May 3-4. Bethany Seminary president Jeff Carter will preach on Oct. 19. Sunday worship services are held at 9 a.m. (traditional) and 9:15 a.m. (contemporary). For additional information go to
  • Mill Creek Church of the Brethren in Shenandoah District, along with Vern and Mary Jane Michael, will host a live nativity at the Michaels' barn at 8218 Port Republic Road, Port Republic, Va., 7-9 p.m. on Dec. 21-23. “Enjoy scripture, music and scenery along with Mary, Joseph and the Baby Jesus as well as the wise men, shepherds and the animals, including camels,” said an invitation. Music on Dec. 21 will be provided by VOICE (Vocalists Offering Inspirational Community Enrichment). The upper part of the barn will be open as an observation area, especially for older adults and those in wheelchairs.
  • Save the date of April 4-5, 2014, for Bethany’s 6th Annual Presidential Forum “Living Love Feast,” said an announcement. The event will explore the biblical, practical, and experiential nature and meaning of the Love Feast. For more information, visit
  • Another date to save this spring: Manchester Church of the Brethren in North Manchester, Ind., is hosting “Goodbye Still Night,” an evening with Brethren singers and songwriters, on April 16, 2014. Featured performers are Andy and Terry Murray, Mutual Kumquat, Shawn Kirchner and Ryan Harrison, and Kim Shahbazian. No tickets required, donations will be received.
  • More dates to save: The 2014 Meat Canning dates in Southern Pennsylvania District are April 21-25.
  • The Shenandoah District Office in Weyers Cave, Va., will be accepting Church World Service kits until Dec. 20, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. “Needs are great following the devastating typhoon in the Philippines and the tornadoes that swept across the midwest,” explained the district newsletter. Directions and kit contents are at The kits will be trucked to the Material Resources warehouse at the Brethren Service Center in  New Windsor, Md., just after Christmas.
  • West Marva District has announced a theme from Philippians--following the Annual Conference challenge to read and memorize that New Testament letter this year--for its 2014 District Conference: “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name” from Philippians 2:9-11.
  • A winter/spring Foundations of Church Renewal course for pastors has been announced by the Springs church renewal initiative. Classes take place by telephone conference call, with 5 calls spread over 12 weeks Feb. 4-April 29. The course will cover topics of a spiritually grounded, servant-led process of church renewal, with teacher David S. Young. Along with the course, participants will use a spiritual disciplines folder like that used by congregations that are part of Springs, and will read Richard Foster’s “Celebration of Discipline.” A group from the congregation walks along with their pastor and also learns about church renewal. Continuing education units are available. Also starting in February: A Level 2 course on Servant Leadership for Church Renewal offered via Wednesday morning conference calls, with 5 sessions spread over 12 weeks beginning Feb. 19. “Life Together” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer is one of the texts. Contact
  • The Brethren Missions Fund of the Brethren Revival Fellowship (BRF) announces a missions, work, and worship week in Haiti for adults and youth on March 12-19, 2014. The experience with Eglise des Freres Haitiens (Haitian Church of the Brethren) congregations in several communities outside the capital city of Port-au-Prince will include serving, working, and worshiping alongside Haitian Brethren, with some construction projects, interactional time with children's groups, and worship experiences. The size of group is approximately 15 people with on-site coordination of activities administered by local Haitian church leaders and trip coordinators Ilexene and Michaela Alphonse. Lodging will be in the recently completed Brethren Service Center facility. Educational pre-trip preparation events and material will be provided to enhance the cross-cultural experience. Cost of $700 includes on-site meals, lodging, transportation, and international travel insurance. Airfare to Port-au-Prince is an additional cost. “Emphasis will be placed upon relationship building and discipleship encouragement,” said a release. “Come join us in the exchange of sharing and receiving knowledge, love, and joy as we work and worship Christ together in a different culture, language, and climate.” Contact trip coordinators Doug and Holly Miller 717-624-4822, Jim Myer 717-626-5555, or Earl Eby 717-263-7590.
  • The nonviolence training workshop featuring Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) coordinator Palestine Tarek Abuata, originally planned for Nov. 16-17 in Akron, Pa., has been rescheduled for Jan. 18-19, 2014, the weekend commemorating Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. An announcement from registrar H.A. Penner notes that participants will have the opportunity to “learn Martin Luther King Jr.’s principles of nonviolence from a Palestinian Christian.” The experiential workshop will give participants a comprehensive introduction to King’s philosophy and strategy of nonviolence. It will be held at Akron (Pa.) Mennonite Church, sponsored by Participation is limited. Partial scholarships to offset the $100 workshop fee are available. Contact or 717-859-3529 prior to Jan. 6.
  • In more news from Christian Peacemaker Teams, CPT has launched a new Plowing and Planting Campaign, the organization’s “first major gift campaign,” said a release. “Drawing on the image of swords into plowshares, we are preparing our field. Can you join us?” the release said. Goals are to raise $110,000 by Aug. 24, 2014, for “plowing under” debt related to development of the CPT Chicago training center and office, and “planting new seeds of psycho-social care for CPTers” through a weeklong retreat and in-person care for peacemakers in the field. For more information contact
  • A new book from a Brethren author features editorials written by Gordon Bucher over the span of 33 years for “The Herald,” a quarterly magazine published by Northern Ohio District during his service as district executive minister. “Tidbits of Wisdom (Or Not),” is 113 pages, spiral bound on 8 1/2 by 11 inch sized paper. “The editorials were concerns of the day in which they were written such as women in the pastorate, church growth, tithing, being loyal to the Church of the Brethren, right-wing extremism, ending the draft, etc.,” Bucher writes in an announcement. Purchase price of $15 includes shipping. Orders may go to Gordon W. Bucher, 299 Hickory Lane, N. Manchester, IN 46962 or
Source: 12/16/2013 Newsline