Thursday, January 10, 2013

Newsline: January 10, 2013

NEWS PERSONNEL UPCOMING EVENTS FEATURES BRETHREN BITS

Special provisions make IRA Charitable Rollover extension more complex.

By now many are aware that the IRA charitable rollover has been extended through the end of 2013. There are some special provisions this time that make it more complex. Read on to learn about the details of the law.

The IRA charitable rollover has proven a popular way for donors to support their favorite causes. It enables donors to make a gift to charity from their IRA and not include the distributed amount in their taxable income. Beyond making it easier to make gifts from their IRA, this can be advantageous for donors from a tax standpoint if:
  • They do not itemize deductions.
  • They pay state income tax but cannot take charitable deductions on the state return.
  • They would not be able to deduct all of their charitable contributions because of deduction limitations.
  • An increase in taxable income may negatively impact their ability to use other deductions.
The extension keeps in place all of the previous requirements in order for the transfer to qualify:
  • The donor must be at least 70 1/2 years of age when the gift is made.
  • The transfer must be made directly from the IRA administrator to the charity.
  • The gifts from the IRA cannot exceed $100,000 per person or $200,000 for a couple in a given year.
  • They can only be outright gifts (they cannot fund a charitable gift annuity or charitable trust).
  • No goods or services can be given in exchange.
  • The gift cannot be made to a donor-advised fund or a supporting organization.
The law is retroactive and includes gifts in 2012 as well as 2013. This helps donors who made qualifying IRA distributions in 2012 in the hope that the provision would be extended. These donors need to make sure they get a receipt that has the required information for IRA charitable rollover gifts.

If donors did not make a qualifying gift in 2012 but would still like to, they can do so in one of two time-limited ways:
  • Make a 2012 IRA rollover in January 2013. A donor can do a rollover gift in January and elect to have this be considered made in 2012. There is a short window of opportunity for this--it must be made by the end of January. How the election is to be made will be specified by the secretary of the Treasury Department later this year (presumably before April 15!).
  • Convert a December 2012 IRA distribution into a 2012 IRA charitable rollover gift. Some donors waited to take their required minimum distributions until December, hoping that the IRA rollover would be extended for 2012. If that is the case, and the distribution meets all of the IRA rollover criteria except for the direct transfer to charity requirement, donors can now claim it as a charitable rollover gift in 2012, to the extent that they now transfer the distribution in cash to the qualifying organization.
This transfer from their bank account to the charitable organization must occur by Jan. 31, 2013. If the donor took a distribution in December and made a gift to a qualifying organization in December, these two can be tied together, as long as the charitable distribution occurred after the withdrawal from the IRA.

It is not clear at this time what the Internal Revenue Service will require from the taxpayer (donor) to document this gift arrangement. Please contact the Brethren Foundation if you would like to receive this information when it becomes available.

This is great news for the not-for-profit community and its donors, and a good way to start the new year!

-- From the Newsline editor: Our thanks to Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) staff Brian Solem for submitting this report to Newsline, with information provided by PGCalc.

Contact the Brethren Foundation if you would like to receive more information about the IRS requirements to document rollover gifts, when it becomes available. Call 888-311-6530 or 847-695-0200 or e-mail bfi@cobbt.org.

Contact the Church of the Brethren Donor Relations team for more information or help with giving a gift to the Church of the Brethren denomination: John R. Hipps at jhipps@brethren.org or Mandy Garcia at mgarcia@brethren.org.

Church members interested in supporting other Church of the Brethren-related agencies through the IRA charitable rollover are encouraged to contact those organizations directly. A directory of church agencies is available at www.brethren.org/about/directory.html.


Source: 1/10/2013 Newsline

Applicants sought for Ministry Summer Service, Youth Peace Travel Team.

2010 Youth Peace Travel Team - jumping
Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
2010 Youth Peace Travel Team - jumping
The denomination’s Youth and Young Adult Ministry is seeking applicants for Ministry Summer Service and the 2013 Youth Peace Travel Team. Registration for both of these summer programs closes on Friday, Jan. 11. Go to www.brethren.org/yya/mss for more about Ministry Summer Service. Go to www.brethren.org/yya/peaceteam.html for more on the Youth Peace Travel Team.

Ministry Summer Service

Ministry Summer Service (MSS) is a leadership development program for college students in the Church of the Brethren, who spend 10 weeks of the summer working in the church--either in a  congregation, district office, camp, Youth Peace Travel Team, or denominational program.

Through MSS, God calls congregations to reach out in the ministry of teaching and receiving new leadership, and God calls young adults to explore the possibility of church work as their vocation.

The MSS orientation dates for 2013 are May 31-June 5. Interns are required to spend one week at the orientation with the other interns, followed by nine weeks working in a church setting to develop leadership skills and to explore a call to ministry. Interns receive a $2,500 tuition grant, food and housing for 10 weeks, $100 per month spending money, transportation from orientation to their placement, transportation from their placement to home.

Congregations and other placement sites are expected to provide an atmosphere for learning, reflection, and development of leadership skills of the intern; a setting for intern to engage in ministry and service for a 10-week period; a stipend of $100 a month, plus room and board; transportation on the job and travel of the intern from orientation to the placement site; a structure for planning, developing, and implementing a ministry or service project in a variety of areas; financial resources and time for the pastor or another mentor to attend two days of orientation.

Mentors are expected to spend at least an hour a week with the intern in intentional supervision or mentoring, using materials shared during orientation or other ideas to develop their own model and style for doing mentoring or supervision; informally check in daily with the intern for questions, progress reports, and feedback; negotiate expectations for the number of hours the intern will work each week; prepare a written report; assist the placement site in creating a support network for the intern; communicate expectations and responsibilities to the intern and to the congregation or placement site; attend a two day orientation.

Four of the Church of the Brethren-related colleges and universities (Bridgewater, Elizabethtown, Manchester, and McPherson) provide $2,500 scholarship from the respective college for the first two interns from their institutions who participate in MSS, and the Ministry Summer Service program provides $2,500 per student for each young adult from other colleges.

For more information go to www.brethren.org/yya/mss.

Youth Peace Travel Team

The Youth Peace Travel Team, composed of Ministry Summer Service interns, is sponsored by the Church of the Brethren, On Earth Peace, and the Outdoor Ministries Association. The group gives peace programs at a variety of camps and conferences over the summer including the Annual Conference of the Church of the Brethren.

The first Youth Peace Travel Team was formed in the summer of 1991 as a cooperative effort of a number of Church of the Brethren programs. Since that year, a team has been fielded every summer. The members of the team travel to Brethren camps throughout the US with the goal of talking with other young people about the Christian message and the Brethren tradition of peacemaking.

College age Church of the Brethren young adults (19-22 years old) will be selected for the next team. Team members receive the same scholarship and benefits as other MSS interns.

Go to www.brethren.org/yya/peaceteam.html or for more information, contact the Youth and Young Adult Ministry office at 800-323-8039 ext. 385 or cobyouth@brethren.org.

Source: 1/10/2013 Newsline

Kettering begins as coordinator of Intercultural Ministries.

Gimbiya Kettering, shown here speaking at the On Earth Peace breakfast at the 2009 Annual Conference
Photo by Ken Wenger
Gimbiya Kettering, shown here speaking at the On Earth Peace breakfast at the 2009 Annual Conference
Gimbiya Kettering began Jan. 7 in a part-time position as coordinator of Intercultural Ministries for the Church of the Brethren. Her position is within the staff of Congregational Life Ministries.

The focus of her position will be to facilitate planning for the Intercultural Consultation and Celebration and its successors, to strengthen and develop networks of support for ethnic minority congregations and their leaders, and to assist denominational staff in becoming more effective at helping the church live out the intercultural vision articulated in the Annual Conference paper “Separate No More.”

She brings a lifetime of experience with the Church of the Brethren, both abroad and in the US, which has been enhanced with ecumenical relationships. As a young adult of color, she brings insight and passion toward building an intercultural identity for the Church of the Brethren.

In previous service to the church, Kettering was communications coordinator for On Earth Peace for close to five years, from Aug. 2007-Dec. 2011. She has a degree in International Studies from Maryville College, Tenn., and holds an MFA degree in Creative Writing from American University. Recently she was named the “Undiscovered Voices Scholar” at the Writer's Center in Bethesda, Md., she has been published in national literary magazines, and continues to work on her first novel. After college, she interned with her father Merlyn Kettering on a series of workshops and peace gatherings led by the New Sudan Council of Churches and sponsored by the Church of the Brethren, which culminated with the publication of a book entitled “Inside Sudan: The Story of People-to-People Peacemaking in Southern Sudan.”

She remains rooted in Maple Grove Church of the Brethren in Ashland, Ohio, and lives in the Washington, D.C., area.

Source: 1/10/2013 Newsline

Coordinators are named for National Youth Conference 2014.

The three coordinators for National Youth Conference 2014Three coordinators have been named for National Youth Conference 2014, to be held July 19-24, 2014, on the campus of Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo.: Katie Cummings, Tim Heishman, and Sarah Neher.

Katie Cummings hails from Summit Church of the Brethren in Bridgewater, Va. She graduated from Bridgewater College in 2012 with a major in sociology and a minor in peace studies. She currently is serving in Brethren Volunteer Service as an assistant coordinator for the Church of the Brethren workcamp ministry.

Tim Heishman calls the North Baltimore Mennonite Church “home” this year as he serves as a youth leader through Mennonite Voluntary Service and also teaches seventh graders at Acts4Youth, an after-school program in the city. Over the years, he has called many places “home,” including the Dominican Republic where his parents served as Church of the Brethren mission workers. He graduated from Eastern Mennonite University in 2012 with majors in biblical studies and history.

Sarah Neher, currently a senior at McPherson (Kan.) College, calls McPherson Church of the Brethren her home church. She will complete student teaching this spring, and graduate in May with a degree in biology education.

The three coordinators will meet Feb. 15-17 with the National Youth Cabinet to begin planning the next National Youth Conference.

--Becky Ullom Naugle is director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry.

Source: 1/10/2013 Newsline

‘Strengthening Your Small Congregation’ to be held in mid-April at Camp Mack.

Margaret Marcuson
Photo courtesy of Margaret Marcuson
Margaret Marcuson
“Strengthening Your Small Congregation” is the title of a day-long event planned for Saturday, April 13, from 8:45 a.m.-4 p.m. at Camp Alexander Mack in Milford, Ind. The gathering will be devoted to encouraging and equipping pastors and lay leaders of small congregations. It is designed especially to reach those in Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio who can travel to Camp Mack within a reasonable amount of time, but it is open to anyone.

Keynote leadership will be provided by Margaret Marcuson, whose presentation will be on “Leaders Who Last: Sustaining Yourself in Small Church Ministry.”

Congregational Life Ministries executive Jonathan Shively reports some of the story behind the event, featuring two Indiana pastors: Kay Gaier of Wabash Church of the Brethren, and Brenda Hostetler Meyer of Benton Mennonite Church.

The two women met through a Lilly-funded program for small church pastors. “Kay approached me in 2010 about their enthusiasm for the work they’d done and their desire to pass along the same encouragement and insight to other pastors and leaders of small churches like theirs,” Shively remembers. “We had them do an insight session in Grand Rapids (at the Annual Conference), which was standing room only and very well received.

“A few months ago Kay contacted me and said that they were planning a day-long event for small church leaders and that they had already arranged for the keynote leader, Margaret Marcuson, who had worked with them in the Lilly process. They were looking for some support from Mennonite and Church of the Brethren folk. They realized quickly that you don’t just put together a conference, and so we’ve been working collaboratively to give shape to the event.

“I love the initiative of these two pastors and the vision they have for supporting others in the vital ministry of smaller congregations!”

Contributing partners are the Congregational Life Ministries, the Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference and the Central District Conference of the Mennonite Church USA, and the Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary. Endorsing partners are Bethany Theological Seminary, the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership, and two Church of the Brethren districts: Northern Indiana and South/Central Indiana.

Marcuson speaks and writes on leadership and works with church leaders in the US and Canada as a consultant and coach. She is author of “111 Tips to Survive Pastoral Ministry,” “Leaders who Last: Sustaining Yourself and Your Ministry,” and “Money and Your Ministry: Balance the Books While Keeping Your Balance” (forthcoming). She has taught in the Leadership in Ministry workshop, a family systems training program for clergy, since 1999. An American Baptist minister, she pastored First Baptist Church of Gardner, Mass., for 13 years, where the average worship attendance was 80 people.

The schedule for the day includes opening and closing worship, a keynote address in the morning, followed by a panel discussion with small church pastors, lunch, and two afternoon workshop sessions. Workshops will be offered on the following topics:
  • “Worship in Your Own Voice”
  • “Fair Fighting in the Small Church: Caring for Each Other Through Divisive Issues”
  • “Money and Your Ministry: Balance the Books While Keeping Your Balance”
  • “Discerning Our Congregation’s Future: Finding the Meeting Place of God's Intention and Our Hope”
  • “The Pastoral Care Team: Elders and Deacons and Pastors, Oh My!”
  • “The Gift of Leadership: Structures for Small Congregations”
  • “Welcoming and Nurturing Children within the Small Congregation”
  • “Evangelism: A Mindset for Mission”
Also an open coaching session with Marcuson will be offered. Participants are invited to bring a challenge from their own churches to this session, at which Marcuson will coach several participants and observers will have the chance to think through possibilities and solutions for their own leadership settings.

Cost is $50 for the first person from a congregation, and $25 for each additional person from the same congregation. Students enrolled in ministry training may attend for $25. Continuing education units are available for an additional $10 fee.

Find out more and register at www.brethren.org/smallchurch . A Facebook page is available at www.facebook.com/smallchurch or go to www.facebook.com/events/173968569409127 . A Twitter stream is planned as well, to be found at #smallchurch2013. For more information, contact 800-323-8039 ext. 303 or congregationallife@brethren.org.

Source: 1/10/2013 Newsline

Clergy tax seminar is Feb. 11, both online and at seminary campus.

The annual tax seminar for clergy will be held on Monday, Feb. 11, sponsored by the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership, the Church of the Brethren Office of Ministry, and Bethany Theological Seminary's Office of Electronic Communication. Students, pastors, and other church leaders are invited to attend, either in person at the seminary in Richmond, Ind., or online.

The sessions will cover tax law for clergy, changes for 2012 (the most current tax year), and detailed assistance as to how to correctly file the tax forms and schedules that pertain to clergy including housing allowances, self-employment, W-2s clergy reductions, and so forth.

Participants will learn how to file clergy taxes correctly and legally and how to comply with regulations while maximizing tax deductions, and will earn .3 continuing education credit.

Greatly appreciated by Bethany Seminary students, this seminar is now open to clergy and others across the denomination. It is recommended for all pastors and other church leaders who wish to understand clergy taxes including treasurers, steward commission chairs, and church board chairs.

The seminar takes place Feb. 11 with the following schedule: morning session from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. (eastern time) with .3 continuing education units available upon request for live attendance; afternoon session from 2-4 p.m. (eastern time). Lunch is not included.

Registration is $20 per person. Registration for current students of Bethany Seminary, the Brethren Academy programs (TRIM, EFSM, SeBAH), and Earlham School of Religion are fully subsidized although registration is still required to reserve a seat. Registration also is required for those attending online to allow proper access to the online seminar and for instructions and handouts to be sent a few days prior to the event. Registrations are not complete until payment is received. For space and quality reasons, registrations may be capped at 25 persons locally and 85 persons online.

Leadership is provided by Deb Oskin, EA, NTPI fellow, who has been doing clergy tax returns since 1989 when her husband became pastor of a small Church of the Brethren congregation. She has learned the problems and pitfalls associated with the IRS's identification of clergy as "hybrid employees," both from a personal and professional perspective. During her 12 years with H&R Block (2000-2011), she achieved the company’s highest level of expertise certification as master tax adviser, and teaching certification as certified advanced instructor, and has earned the status of enrolled agent with the IRS and is qualified to represent clients to the IRS. She was called by Living Peace Church of the Brethren in Columbus, Ohio, to be the peace minister to the wider community in 2004 and served as Southern Ohio District board chair from 2007-2011. She also works closely with several interfaith peace organizations in central Ohio and currently operates her own independent tax service specializing in clergy taxes.

Register for the seminar at www.bethanyseminary.edu/webcasts/clergytax2013.

Source: 1/10/2013 Newsline

Bridgewater College to host conference on substance abuse prevention.

A conference and continuing education opportunity that explores substance abuse prevention and treatment methods will be held at Bridgewater (Va.) College on Jan. 26 from 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. in Bowman Hall.

Sponsored by the Shenandoah District of the Church of the Brethren, the conference is open to all members of the community including pastors, youth leaders, lay leaders, substance abuse prevention professionals, students, and parents.

The conference will include guest speakers, a panel discussion, and activities designed to examine current trends and explore how drugs work, cultural sensitivity, risk factors for addiction, assessments and referrals, tools for church engagement, signs and symptoms of abuse, and short- and long-term outcomes.

Topics also include “Substance Abuse Across Development,” “Environmental Scan: Media’s Impact on Perception of Risk” and “Risk Factors for Use and Abuse.”

“Substance abuse is our nation’s number-one public health problem, with more than 25 percent of our country dealing with some form of chemical addition,” said Brian Kelley, associate professor of psychology and department chair at Bridgewater and organizer of the conference. “While substance abuse may conjure up images of sordid neighborhoods and dangerous, predatory drug dealers, the most serious drug abuse problems often occur in our own homes and include drugs and chemicals that are the most easily accessible like cigarettes, alcohol, prescription pills, and inhalants.”

Kelley said nearly every home in America contains a chemical that potentially may be abused and that “the most common drug dealer in the US is parents.” The most common age for drug-use initiation, he said, is the teen years.

“While it is true that faith and fellowship provide significant protective factors for reducing substance use and abuse, many folks in our various faith communities end up leaving just when they need support the most, generally in their late teens and early twenties, and don’t come back to the church,” Kelley said. “Or, if they do, it is generally in their forties after drugs have already ravished their lives. Our community would benefit tremendously from a concentrated and coordinated message of support from our faith communities.”

He said the goal of the conference is to help explain the scope of the problem and equip faith leaders with more effective prevention and treatment strategies.

The cost of the conference is $30, which includes a DVD, handouts, and light breakfast. A lunch buffet is an additional $7.50. To register or RSVP, contact Kelley via e-mail by Jan. 11 at bkelleyphd@gmail.com.

-- Mary K. Heatwole is editorial assistant for medial relations in the Office of Marketing and Communications at Bridgewater College. For more about the college see www.bridgewater.edu .

Source: 1/10/2013 Newsline

At home in beloved community.

The Freedom Ride group sings together
Photo by Steve Pavey, courtesy of CPT
The Freedom Ride group sings together
The following reflection by Lizz Schallert, development assistant at On Earth Peace, was originally published by Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) on Dec. 19, 2012:

In November I received an e-mail from Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) describing the 21st Century Freedom Ride, asking if someone would be willing to represent CPT on the trip. After reviewing the website, I quickly jumped on the opportunity to spend a weekend with Vincent Harding and dozens of folks representing present social justice movements. I am thankful to be a part of CPT and support its work to reduce violence and undo structural oppression.

Over the weekend of the Freedom Ride I found myself celebrating the diversity of God’s people: openly undocumented youth, recently incarcerated women now working against our prison industrial complex, formerly homeless men seeking shelter for others, sisters and brothers at various Catholic Worker houses and intentional Christian communities, and those carrying on the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement by fighting for racial justice--certainly an unlikely gathering in the eyes of the world.

What is the thread that binds us together in our diverse ages, races, and stories? How did we all end up on a bus travelling across southern states, visiting war zones and holy sites of the Civil Rights Movement? As the weekend progressed, answers to these questions emerged.

While Dr. Harding spoke to us and encouraged us toward the New America, the "America that must be born again," the dust began to settle and the spool began to spin. We all wanted to be midwives in this work--to dream, to yearn, to create this "country that does not exist, of which we are citizens."

Throughout the weekend we were blessed, critiqued, and encouraged by Dr. Harding as we envisioned a new democracy. We sat close, shared the microphone, and incarnationally found ourselves living what we hope for.

As a Christian, I could not help but draw connections between our discussions of hope for a new country with my hope for a new Church. As a somewhat lost Catholic-Quaker-Brethren who grew up in the Church of Christ, I felt at home for a few days. Every voice mattered. Everyone was seeking the truth.

Before boarding the bus to Alabama I was hoping I could still make it to Mass on Sunday, particularly in this season of Advent, when we anticipate and hope for the return of Christ in us and the world. This desire gently diminished and disappeared as Dr. Harding put on Ben Branch's Operation Breadbasket Orchestra's version of "Precious Lord, Take My Hand" during our first gathering over the weekend.

As the song came over us our eyes began to close, our toes tapped, and we were together. Our barriers no longer mattered. Eternity mingled with the present. This is the Holy Church, I thought. This is the work we are to be about. Here we were, in 2012, a rag-tag mix of concerned citizens of a "country that does not exist," singing Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s last request.

"Ben, make sure you play 'Precious Lord' in the meeting tonight. Play it real pretty," Martin Luther King Jr. said on April 4, 1968, at the Lorraine Motel, just before his assassination.

-- Lizz Schallert is development assistant at On Earth Peace. Christian Peacemaker Teams was founded by the Historic Peace Churches (Church of the Brethren, Mennonites, and Quakers) and has the mission to build partnerships to transform violence and oppression, with a vision of a world of communities that together embrace the diversity of the human family and live justly and peaceably with all creation. For more go to www.cpt.org.

Source: 1/10/2013 Newsline

Litany of Commitment: A worship resource on gun violence using the words of Martin Luther King Jr.

This Litany of Commitment includes words of Martin Luther King Jr., from a speech to Clergy and Laity Against the Vietnam War, delivered less than a month before his death. Written by pastor Dolores McCabe and Susan Windle, it was first published in the Heeding God’s Call newsletter before the most recent school shooting at Newtown, Conn. Newsline shares it here as a resource for celebrations of Martin Luther King Day on Jan. 21.
 
Leader: In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, “the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak.”

People: Listen to our voices.

Leader: We are the mothers and fathers who have children who will never grow old, because they have been shot dead on the city streets.

People: Listen to our voices.

Leader: We are brothers and sisters who are growing up without seeing what our siblings would become, and we want to end the killing.

People: Listen to our voices.

Leader: We are cousins, aunts, uncles, neighbors.... We are all related to the victims of violence.

People: Listen to our voices.

Leader: We are the children of the most high God. We speak for the voiceless of Tucson, Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora, Colorado, Oak Park,Wisconsin.... For the voiceless of Philadelphia and all the wounded cities and towns throughout this nation, for all beloved communities torn by the ravages of gun violence.

People: Listen to our voices.

Leader: In the words of Dr. King, "We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late."

People: Now is the time.

Leader: Now is the time to end the senseless killing of our boys and girls, our men and women.

People: Now is the time.

Leader: Now is the time to cease the profligate sale of assault weapons and all multiple firing guns, weapons meant only for murder.

People: Now is the time.

Leader: Now is the time to rid our streets of all illegal weapons, to put a stop to the straw purchasing of firearms.

People: Now is the time.

Leader: Now is the time to demand that gun dealers adhere to an ethical "Code of Conduct,” a code of behavior that holds them accountable to the communities in which they do their business.

People: Now is the time.

Leader: Returning to the voice and message of Martin Luther King, “We as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a 'thing-oriented' society to a 'person-oriented' society.”

People: Now is the time.

Leader: With homage again to Dr. King, we say “...let us begin...let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter but beautiful struggle for a new world.”

All: Listen to our voices. Now is the time.

-- This litany was shared by Heeding God’s Call, a faith-based movement to prevent gun violence. Heeding God’s Call was started during a meeting of the Historic Peace Churches in Philadelphia, Pa., and now has chapters in other areas of Pennsylvania including Harrisburg, as well as Baltimore, Md., and Washington, D.C. For more go to www.heedinggodscall.org.

Source: 1/10/2013 Newsline

Brethren bits.

  • The Colorado Council of Churches based in Denver, Colo. is seeking an executive director beginning May 15, to lead a state-wide, ecumenical community where covenant relationships and partnership efforts can flourish, advancing the mission “Walking Together in Faith, Working Together for Justice.” The executive serves as the primary face and voice of the council within the Christian community, interfaith relations, and addressing social justice issues. Information about the position, scope, qualifications, compensation, and application process may be found at www.cochurches.org . Send application materials to ApplicationCCC@stlukeshr.com . First consideration is being given to applications that were received by Jan. 4.
  • Bethany Seminary faculty will offer Lenten devotionals continuing in the style of the Advent devotionals previously offered on Bethany’s website. Seminary teaching and administrative faculty will write the devotionals. Beginning Feb. 11, devotionals for Ash Wednesday, each Sunday in Lent, and Easter will be at www.bethanyseminary.edu/resources/devotionals based on Lenten lectionary texts. It is hoped that the insights, meditations, and prayers shared by the seminary faculty will be meaningful and useful to congregations, organizations, and individuals throughout the season.
  • Those planning to travel to the Holy Land in June with the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership trip led by Marilyn Lerch and Dan Ulrich, are requested to check now to be sure that passports are good through the end of 2013. If not, apply for a new passport today, notes Lerch in a reminder. For details of the trip go to www.bethanyseminary.edu/academy/courses or be in touch with the leaders at ulricda@bethanyseminary.edu or lerchma@bethanyseminary.edu .  The 12-day trip will begin on June 3.
  • The New Church Development Advisory Committee (NCDA) of the Church of the Brethren has announced its first webcast training event, a half-day session to be held May 18. “It is the vision of the New Church Development Advisory Committee to bring our district teams and leaders together for this unique learning opportunity that will include a keynote presentation and conversation groups,” said the announcement. The committee includes RubĂ©n Deoleo, Lynda Devore, Steven Gregory, Dava Hensley, Ray Hileman, Don Mitchell, Nate Polzin, David Shumate, and Jonathan Shively, executive director of Congregational Life Ministries. Stan Dueck, director of Transforming Practices, is involved as well.
  • Sangerville Church of the Brethren in Shenandoah District is hosting an organ concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 13, in celebration of its new Viscount Prestige 100 organ. The concert is presented by Whitesel Music and features organist Jesse Ratcliffe.
  • Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren in Fort Wayne, Ind., hosted an information session about drones this past Sunday, Jan. 6, during the adult education hour with youth also invited to attend. Dave Lambert brought a model of a drone, showed a video, and led a discussion about how drones are used and misused, what the dangers are, and what church members can do.
  • The Agape Group at Manassas (Va.) Church of the Brethren is planning to attend the Feb. 12 Annual Lincoln Cemetery Ceremony in Rockingham County, Va., at the Lincoln Homestead--the original residence of President Abraham Lincoln’s grandfather. For the past 34 years, Church of the Brethren leader Phil Stone has conducted a ceremony in the Lincoln cemetery to honor President Lincoln and his Virginia family, said the announcement.
  • Virlina District has announced that its District Resource Center in Roanoke, Va., will relocate to 3402 Plantation Road, NE, in Roanoke, as soon as renovations of the new facility--a former bank building--are complete. As a result of the move, the district office will be closed through Jan. 14, at 8:30 a.m. On that date the new mailing address will become effective. Telephone and e-mail contact information will not change. Until renovations are complete, the district staff will work out of space provided by Williamson Road Church of the Brethren at 3110 Pioneer Ave., NW, in Roanoke. The district’s old facility on Hershberger Road will be demolished and the site landscaped as a part of a beautification project of Friendship Retirement Center. The district plans a “dismissal service” to mark the end of its 47-year residency on the campus of the retirement community on Jan. 12 at 5 p.m.
  • In more news from Virlina District, churches and individuals have been contributing to a special offering for Hurricane Sandy response. “Thus far we have received $24,162.92 from 44 congregations,” reports the district e-newsletter.
  • Northern Plains District has announced the launch of the Vital Ministry Journey in the district, as a previous program called Sending of the Seventy wraps up. “Meetings will be held in January and February in five areas of Northern Plains District to advance our emphasis on congregational vitality and renewal,” reported district executive Tim Button-Harrison in the district newsletter. “Participants will hear stories from visitors to churches from the most recent Sending of the Seventy and learn about the Vital Ministry Journey designed to unite congregations in discovering gifts, discerning God’s call, and developing vital ministries. Also there will be time for worship, for visiting with those in similar positions (i.e. board chairs, deacons, pastors, moderators, etc.), and for calling area ministers/shepherds.” The district is planning five meetings, one for each cluster of churches, and inviting all interested people to attend. The meetings started Jan. 5 and continue through Feb. 17.
  • The Shenandoah District Office will again be a Kit Depot for Church World Service in 2013. All forms of CWS relief kits including School Kits, Hygiene Kits, Baby Care Kits, and Emergency Clean-Up Buckets may be delivered to the district office at 1453 Westview School Road, Weyers Cave, Va., (adjacent to Pleasant Valley Church of the Brethren) beginning April 8 through May 16. The Depot will accept kits and buckets 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday. The kits will be picked up following the Shenandoah District Disaster Ministries Auction and trucked to the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md, for processing and warehousing. Details about kits and contents are at www.churchworldservice.org .
  • Manchester University’s College of Pharmacy professor Sidhartha Ray was selected as a national recipient of the 2013 Society of Toxicology Undergraduate Educator Award. “This honor is a significant tribute to Dr. Ray’s teaching, and we congratulate him!” said Manchester University president Jo Young Switzer in her e-mail newsletter.
  • “Manifold Greatness: The Creation and Afterlife of the King James Bible” is a traveling exhibition opening Feb. 2 at the High Library at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College. It celebrates the 400th anniversary of the first printing of the King James Bible and examines its fascinating and complex history, said a release. Elizabethtown is one of 40 sites across 27 states displaying the exhibition and the sole location in Pennsylvania (visit www.manifoldgreatness.org for detailed information). In addition to the exhibition, the High Library will showcase four displays of historical texts and Bibles including the High Library c.1599 copy of the Geneva Bible, from the Elizabethtown College special collections. Additional items will be shown from the special collections of the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist studies including the 1712 Marburg Bible, a mystic and prophetic Bible, as well as the Behrleburg folio, which includes a Bible and related commentary from the 1730s.The exhibit was organized by the Folger Shakespeare Library and the American Library Association Public Programs Office and made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Guest lecturer for the opening reception is Jeff Bach of the Young Center, who will speak  Feb. 2 at 2 p.m. Faculty will give a panel discussion on Feb. 6 at 4 p.m. on the topic “Shakespeare, Literature, and the Language of the King James Bible.” Panelists include Christina Bucher, professor of Religious Studies.
  • January’s “Brethren Voices” community television show features Stanley J. Noffsinger, general secretary of the Church of the Brethren. Host Brent Carlson interviews Noffsinger about his nine years as general secretary of the denomination. “His family heritage with the Church of the Brethren can be traced back many generations as his father was a Brethren pastor as well as his grandfather,” reports producer Ed Groff in an announcement. “The land for the Lower Miami Church of the Brethren in Southern Ohio was donated by his great, great grandfather.” Noffsinger also speaks about his passion for the church and his work in a job that “is different every day, and there’s always a challenge.” In February, “Brethren Voices” will feature Brethren Volunteer Service worker Rachel Buller of Comer, Ga., who is the first BVS volunteer to serve at the Asian Rural Institute in Nasushiobara, Tochigi-ken, Japan. To subscribe to “Brethren Voices” contact groffprod1@msn.com .
  • Christian Churches Together (CCT) has announced an April event to observe the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” The ecumenical organization, of which the Church of the Brethren is a member, also plans to release a formal response to that historic letter. CCT’s annual meeting early in 2013 in Austin, Texas, will focus on the human realities, legal implications, and challenges of immigration in the US--building on previous meetings devoted to the topics of poverty, evangelism, and racism.
Source: 1/10/2013 Newsline

Credits

Newsline is produced by the news services of the Church of the Brethren. Contact the editor at cobnews@brethren.org. Contributors to this issue of Newsline include Ed Groff, Julie Hostetter, Marilyn Lerch, Amy Mountain, Vickie Samland, Jonathan Shively, Jenny Williams, and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren.