Thursday, February 07, 2013

Newsline: February 7, 2013


Christian Churches Together urges fundamental immigration reform.

Banner for Christian Churches Together (CCT)Christian leaders representing the breadth of Christian churches and denominations in the United States issued a strong and urgent call for fundamental immigration reform at an annual meeting of Christian Churches Together (CCT). The statement was released Feb. 1 at the close of the four-day gathering in Austin, Texas.

The Church of the Brethren, which is a member denomination of CCT, was represented by general secretary Stan Noffsinger, Annual Conference moderator Bob Krouse and moderator-elect Nancy Heishman, and Brethren Press publisher Wendy McFadden who serves on the CCT steering committee. During the annual meeting, McFadden was elected president of the “Historic Protestant Family,” one of five “families” of churches that make up CCT.

The entire CCT meeting, planned a year ago, focused on the challenge of immigration reform, hearing from “dreamers,” a variety of immigrants, and experts on immigration issues. Its statement comes as the nation’s political leadership has turned its attention during the past week to this challenge. The CCT leaders said they would engage this debate “as followers of Jesus Christ who commanded us to welcome the stranger.”

“Each day in our congregations and communities, we bear witness to the effects of a system that continues the separation of families and the exploitation, abuse, and deaths of migrants. This suffering must end,” the statement declared in part (see full text below).

The diverse group, representing leadership from Catholic, Evangelical/Pentecostal, Historic Protestant, Orthodox, and Historic Black churches, agreed on these unified principles:
  • An earned path to citizenship for the 11 million people in the US without authorization.
  • The priority of family reunification in any immigration reform.
  • Protecting the integrity of national borders and protecting due process for immigrants and their families.
  • Improving refugee protection laws and asylum laws.
  • Reviewing international economic policies to address the root causes of unauthorized immigration.
During the course of the CCT gathering, the group heard from immigration advocates from evangelical organizations such as World Relief, immigration policy experts at the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, legislative advocates serving major Protestant denominations, and leaders from the Hispanic Christian community, among others.

The statement issued represents the broadest coalition of Christian denominations and groups to address together the urgency of fundamental immigration reform. It will be followed by advocacy to members of Congress from the membership of denominations and groups represented at the Austin meeting.

See for further information.

“Statement on Immigration Reform” by Christian Churches Together in the USA
February 1, 2013
Austin, Texas

Christian Churches Together in the USA, representing the breadth of Christian churches and denominations in the US, gathered in Austin, Texas, for its annual meeting to focus on the challenge of immigration reform. We heard from “dreamers,” a variety of immigrants, and experts on immigration issues. Through a process of prayer, reflection, and discernment of God’s call, we agreed on a statement that provides principles for just and humane immigration reform. In this hour, as our nation launches a national debate seeking immigration reform, we call upon people of faith, people of good will, elected officials in Congress, and the President of the United States to work together to enact just and humane immigration reform legislation in 2013.

As Christian leaders and Christian communities, we engage in this debate as followers of Jesus Christ, who commanded us to “welcome the stranger” (Matthew 25:35), and advised that “just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:40).

As Christians we believe that all will be judged, in part, by the way they treat strangers in their midst. “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left” (Matthew 25:31, 32a). We acknowledge that members of our own faith communities have been complicit in the establishment and reinforcement of our current system through active political engagement and apathetic inaction. As a moral matter, we cannot tolerate an immigration system that exploits migrants, is inhospitable, and fails to offer immigrants the full protection of the law.

While immigration is often viewed as an economic, social, or legal issue, it is ultimately a humanitarian and spiritual issue that directly impacts millions of unauthorized immigrants and the entire fabric of our society. The Bible frequently commands us to treat the immigrant justly. Further, every person is created in the image of God and possesses inestimable value. It is therefore paramount that our national immigration system protects the basic human rights and dignity of all persons. Sadly, our current system fails to meet this test and requires comprehensive reform now.

The timing of our statement on immigration is ever more poignant given that our country is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. We are reminded that there are those in our nation whose forebears were brought here involuntarily through the unjust institution of slavery. There are also those who lived here long before others arrived who experienced the denial of their basic human rights. Each day in our congregations and communities, we bear witness to the effects of a system that continues this legacy of separation of families and the exploitation, abuse, and deaths of migrants. This suffering must end. Therefore, in our relentless effort to achieve a more perfect union, we urge our elected officials to enact immigration reform consistent with the following principles and policies:

Pathway to citizenship
The 11 million individuals now in the US without authorization should be given an opportunity to earn citizenship, if the individual chooses. Many have built equities in our nation and have contributed to the economic and social fabric of this country. Such reforms would ensure that families are not separated and that the undocumented population can fully enjoy the rights and responsibilities of US citizenship. (Leviticus 18:33-34)

Family reunification
Family reunification should be the cornerstone of our nation’s immigration policy. Immigrant families have helped build this nation economically and socially, and will continue to do so. We support changes to the family-based immigration system, which expedite the reunification of families. Family-based visa categories should not be eliminated or reduced and the current lengthy backlogs should be addressed. (Mark 10:9)

Enforcement and due process
Enforcement measures should be just and include due process protections for immigrants. We support the right of our nation to defend our borders and to ensure the integrity of the workplace through immigration enforcement. However, for over twenty-five years, our nation has pursued an enforcement-only policy toward immigration, with severe humanitarian consequences. At the same time that our nation has spent billions of dollars on immigration enforcement, the number of undocumented in the nation has more than tripled. Millions have been incarcerated unnecessarily, thousands of families have been separated, and thousands have died attempting to enter the United States. We urge Congress to review our enforcement policies and restore due process protections to immigrants and their families in a way that respects their God-given dignity, including reform of our detention laws. (Exodus 1:1-22)

The human dignity and image of God has been further violated as a result of the cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration agencies that leads to racial profiling of people suspected of being in the US without authorization. Immigration laws should be reformed and implemented in a way that does not facilitate racial profiling. Enforceable detention standards and reforms should be established and include the review of partnerships between the federal government and for-profit prison corporations.

Refugees and asylum seekers
Refugees and asylum seekers should receive special protection as particularly vulnerable migrants because they are fleeing persecution. The United States has a moral obligation to continue to provide protection to ensure refugees and asylum seekers are able to find safety in the United States through the appropriate processes and not at heightened risk of being returned to their persecutors. There should be improvements to the asylum process to ensure asylum seekers are not detained upon arrival and are given a fair opportunity to express a fear of persecution. There should also be more robust support of the refugee resettlement program and adequate resources to help refugees integrate upon their arrival to the United States. We are also mindful of the millions of families and individuals waiting for resettlement, living, raising families, and dying in temporary refugee camps, and the many who perish attempting to reach those camps. (Matthew 2:13-18)

Root causes
In order to find a long-term solution to the problem of unauthorized immigration, the root causes of such migration should be examined. Persons should be able to find employment in their home countries in order to sustain their families in a place that is free from fear and violence. At a minimum, Congress and the Administration should review our international economic policies to ensure that they do not encourage unauthorized migration and do not eliminate living wage jobs in sending countries. Our country should help to foster job opportunities and respect for human rights in the countries from which many immigrants come. (Isaiah 2:1-4; Micah 4:1-5)

As Christian Churches Together, we recommit ourselves to be promoters and examples of justice, showing hospitality and love for the immigrant; for we know we may be “entertaining angels without knowing it” (Hebrews 13:2). We call for our nation to engage in an immigration debate that is conducted in a civil manner and does not dehumanize immigrants. We will speak out and educate communities about the past and current contributions of immigrants in building and growing this nation. Finally, we will work with our elected officials to ensure that, consistent with the aforementioned policies and principles, the human rights of immigrants are protected in any final legislation.

(This report is adapted from a press release from Christian Churches Together.)

Source: 2/7/2013 Newsline

Committee to study ecumenism in the 21st century.

A study committee on “The Church of the Brethren and Ecumenism in the 21st Century” has been named. Committee members were named by the denomination’s Leadership Team and Executive Committee of the Mission and Ministry Board, and approved by the full board when it met by telephone conference call in late January.

Last year’s Annual Conference called for the creation of the study committee, tasking the Leadership Team and Mission and Ministry Board to appoint its members. The study committee is to prepare a statement for Annual Conference giving vision and direction to the Church of the Brethren’s participation in the worldwide community of Christian communions.

One impetus for the study is the significant change in the ecumenical landscape in the 21st century. Among the new realities are new ways of being church, shifting relationships between faith groups, the rise of a major new ecumenical organization in Christian Churches Together, and reorganizations and new ways of working at longstanding ecumenical groups including the National Council of Churches, Church World Service, and the World Council of Churches.

The six members of the study committee are Tim Speicher of Atlantic Northeast District, David Shumate of Virlina District, Wanda Haynes of Pacific Northwest District, Liz Bidgood Enders of Atlantic Northeast District, Jenn Hosler of Mid Atlantic District, and Larry Ulrich of Illinois and Wisconsin District. General secretary Stan Noffsinger will will serve as staff support for the committee in his role as the denomination’s ecumenical officer.

Source: 2/7/2013 Newsline

Health care tax credit can help churches and organizations.

Are you familiar with the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit for Small Employers? If your church or organization provides health insurance coverage for one or more full-time or part-time employees through the Brethren Medical Plan or another health insurance plan, it may qualify for this tax credit. Below are some helpful links that will guide you through the application process from the Internal Revenue Service's website,
We hope your church or organization will benefit from this credit and be able to use those funds to further the mission of your congregation or organization. If you do reap the benefits of this tax credit, or if you have any questions, please let Brethren Benefit Trust know. Contact Tammy Chudy at 800-746-1505 ext. 372 or

Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) does not provide tax advice to individuals or employers. The information in this notice is provided as part of Brethren Insurance Services' educational efforts. For updated forms, guidance, and instructions, individuals and employers should go to the IRS website at or consult with their individual tax or financial advisers.

Source: 2/7/2013 Newsline

Nursing scholarships are available through the Church of the Brethren.

Marcia McCartney
Courtesy of Congregational Life Ministries
Marcia McCartney, previous nursing scholarship recipient
The Church of the Brethren awards a limited number of scholarships each year to individuals enrolled in a nursing program. Candidates for the scholarships must be enrolled in a LPN, RN, or nursing graduate program, and be members of the Church of the Brethren.

Scholarships of up to $2,000 for RN and graduate nurse candidates, and up to $1,000 for LPN candidates will be awarded to a limited number of applicants each year. A preference is given to new applications. Also, a preference will be given to individuals who are in their second year of an associate’s degree or third year of a baccalaureate program. Scholarship recipients are eligible for only one scholarship per degree.

Nominees must be members of the Church of the Brethren. Applications and supporting documentation must be submitted by April 1. Candidates awarded scholarships will be notified in July and funds will be sent directly to the appropriate school for the Fall term.

How are these scholarships possible? Scholarships are awarded from the Health Education and Research Endowment, which was established in 1958 to receive gifts raised through a fund drive authorized by the 1949 Annual Conference to reopen the Bethany Hospital School of Nursing formerly on the west side of Chicago. In 1959, Annual Conference authorized that the resources be placed in an endowment fund with the interest to be used primarily to grant loans and scholarships for nursing students in the school of their choice.

For more information and to download application forms go to

Source: 2/7/2013 Newsline

Kostlevy to direct Brethren Historical Library and Archives.

William Kostlevy, new director of the Brethren Historical Library and Archives
Photo by courtesy of Bill Kostlevy
William Kostlevy, new director of the Brethren Historical Library and Archives
William (Bill) Kostlevy begins March 1 as director of the Brethren Historical Library and Archives at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. He comes to the BHLA from Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kan., where he has been professor of History since 2005.

In previous work he was archivist at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif., from 2004-05. From 1988-2004 he worked at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Ken., first as bibliographer in a Wesleyan holiness studies project, and then as archivist and special collections librarian and professor of Church History.

He is an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren. He holds a bachelor’s degree in History from Asbury College; a master’s degree in History from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wis.; a master of Theology from Bethany Theological Seminary; and a master’s degree and doctorate in History from the University of Notre Dame, where he held the William Randolph Hearst Fellowship. He has been a fellow at the Young Center at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College, and was a member of the Church of the Brethren Historical Committee 1997-2007.

He is a published author, having contributed numerous articles to the “Brethren Encyclopedia,” “Brethren Life and Thought,” “Methodist History,” “Blackwell’s Dictionary of Evangelical Biography,” “Encyclopedia of New York City,” “Wisconsin Magazine of History,” “Christian History,” “The Encyclopedia of Christianity,” “Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements,” “Evangelical Studies Bulletin,” among other volumes. He also has written, compiled, edited, or co-edited a number of books with a focus on Wesleyan and holiness or Pentecostal movements.

Source: 2/7/2013 Newsline

Youth Peace Travel Team named for 2013.

2013 Youth Peace Travel TeamThe Church of the Brethren’s Youth Peace Travel Team for 2013 has been announced: Jacob Crouse, Heather Gentry, and Amanda McLearn-Montz.

Composed of Ministry Summer Service interns between the ages of 19 and 22, the team is sponsored by the church’s Outdoor Ministries Association, Youth and Young Adult Ministries, Advocacy and Peace Witness Ministry, and On Earth Peace. 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, and since that year a team has been fielded every summer.

Jacob Crouse, from Warrensburg, Mo., is a member of Warrensburg Church of the Brethren and Missouri and Arkansas District. He is majoring in Music Technology and minoring in Spanish at the University of Central Missouri. “I've had the good fortune of attending many Brethren camps, conferences, and churches,” he writes in a personal bio prepared for the Youth and Young Adult Ministries office. “This summer, I will finally be able to visit some of them again and see new places while meeting many people and sharing with them a message of peace!”

Heather Gentry, from Hinton, Va., is a member of Mount Bethel Church of the Brethren and Shenandoah District and counts Brethren Woods as her “home camp.” She attends Bridgewater (Va.) College where she is studying Family and Consumer Sciences as well as Elementary and ESL Education. She write, “I look forward to seeing new camps, meeting new people, and seeing what God is doing and how we can be a part of it.”

Amanda McLearn-Montz, from Ankeny, Iowa, is a member of Panther Creek Church of the Brethren and Northern Plains District. Currently, she attends Tulane University in New Orleans, where she is majoring in Public Health, minoring in Spanish, and is a pre-med student. “I went to Camp Emmaus as a camper and served on Camp Pine Lake's summer staff last summer,” she write. “I can't wait to come back to camp and share my love of peace and God with teens and kids!”

As the team spends time with junior and senior high youth this summer at camps across the denomination, they will teach about peace, justice, and reconciliation, all core values throughout the Church of the Brethren’s 300-plus year history. Follow the ministry of the 2013 Youth Peace Travel Team by visiting

Source: 2/7/2013 Newsline

Brethren Press offers new resources for the spring and summer.

Brethren Press is offering a number of new resources for Christian education and curriculum options for congregations to use this spring and summer. Among the new resources: a Vacation Bible School curriculum titled “Breathe It In: God Gives Life”; the “Inside Out” outdoor ministries resource on the theme “All Things New”; a new spring quarter of “A Guide for Biblical Studies”; a summer quarter of Gather ’Round on the theme “God’s Good Creation” suitable for multi-age groups, and a new Covenant Bible Study on 1 John.

All of these resources may be ordered from Brethren Press by calling 800-441-3712 or going to

Home page image for Vacation Bible School curriculumBreathe It In
 “Breathe It In: God Gives Life” (MennoMedia) is the Vacation Bible School curriculum available through Brethren Press.“Breathe It In” invites children up to grade 5 to discover the life-giving breath of God through Bible stories, exploring how God's breath was used to create people and how the wind of the Spirit helped the young church grow. As they participate in worship, music, Bible memory, and creative response activities, children will understand that God is the giver of life. Cost is $134.99 plus shipping and handling for a boxed set that includes two copies of all leaders' guides and one of every classroom, promotional, and student resource. Separately order extra leaders' guides, CDs, posters, and a student book for each child.

Inside Out - outdoor ministries curriculum 2013All Things New
A new curriculum for Christian camps, building on the success of the “New Earth” outdoor ministry resources, starts this summer. It was developed by the National Council of Churches Committee on Outdoor Ministries. This first installment of “Inside Out: Christian Resources for Outdoor Ministries” focuses on the theme, “All Things New.” The resource has a four-year sequence that zeroes in on clear teaching objectives and a rotation of themes that ensures returning campers will explore the fullness of God, who they are created to be, and what they are called to do. The themes are: Year 1: God, Year 2: Jesus, Year 3: Holy Spirit, Year 4: The Church and Its Mission. Each “Inside Out” DVD contains seven Daily Discovery sections for each age group and a counselor training video on the Bible background, and is designed to be shaped to each camp’s unique setting. Resources are adaptable to camper age levels, camp length and setting, and denominational teaching and traditions. Cost is $375 plus shipping and handling.

Guide for Biblical Studies
“Beyond the Present Time” is the theme for this March-to-May Bible study for adults, written by Frank Ramirez and David Valeta. Units based on Daniel, Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Thessalonians trace the theme of hope in both the Old and New Testaments. Cost is $4.25, or $7.35 for large print, plus shipping and handling.

Gather Round image How will I learn that it's not all about meGod’s Good Creation
The summer quarter of Gather ’Round has an environmental theme and helps children begin to learn to care for Creation as part of their faith. With the theme, “God’s Good Creation,” the quarter is provided for multiage (grades K-5), preschool (ages 3-4, with tips for 2s), and youth (grades 6-12). A Talkabout offers resources to connect with families, and a supporting resource is the 2012-13 Gather ’Round music CD. Lessons cover June 2-Aug. 25. Some samples: “God the Creator” Genesis 1:1-2:3, “Lessons from Birds and Flowers” Mark 6:25-34. The full list of summer themes is at Order from Brethren Press.

Covenant Bible Study
“1 John: The Believing Community” by Larry D. Fourman is the newest Covenant Bible Study volume. The series is designed for use in small group Bible studies and adult Sunday school. Fourman invites participants to a journey of spiritual formation based on 1 John, centered on the concept of the “word of life” in its personal and communal dimensions in the church, and how  relationships with others play a part in our faith. $7.95 plus shipping and handling.

All of the above resources may be ordered from Brethren Press by calling 800-441-3712 or ordering online at

Source: 2/7/2013 Newsline

Signs of the seasons: Lent.

PretzelThis quarter, a Gather 'Round resource pack poster is helping Middler children learn about the seasons of the Christian calendar.

On the first Sunday of Lent, they will read that people use the 40 days of Lent to pray and fast and grow more loving toward others. They will also discover that pretzels have been used during Lent for more than a thousand years because their crossed pieces look like crossed arms--the prayer posture adopted by some early Christians.

Teachers can bring in pretzels for a snack (and there are even good gluten-free versions in stores) or, even better, use the recipe on the teaching aids page to make pretzels themselves.

-- Originally published in the "Roundabout" e-mail newsletter from Gather 'Round, a Bible-based curriculum from Brethren Press and MennoMedia that nurtures children, youth, and families in becoming followers of Jesus: people who know and love God, interpret God's word, belong to God's gathered community, and share God's good news. Order Gather 'Round from Brethren Press, call 800-441-3712.

Source: 2/7/2013 Newsline

Founding pastor’s family reflects on 99 years with Arcadia Church.

Rachael Bail, daughter of the founding pastor, reflects on her family’s century-long relationship to Arcadia (Fla.) Church of the Brethren as they continue to own the original parsonage and other homes surrounding the church. Now living in Washington, D.C., she is a retired journalist who has worked for the St. Petersburg Times, among other newspapers, and a former editor and US Supreme Court correspondent for Voice of America:
Rev. S.W. Bail and Gurney Elizabeth Simpson Bail in Arcadia, Fla.
Photo by courtesy of Susan Baumel
Rev. S.W. Bail and Gurney Elizabeth Simpson Bail in Arcadia, Fla. Granddaughter Susan Baumel writes, “I think you'll be able to identify the Rev. Samuel Wishert Bail easily since he's wearing the clerical collar. He's on the far left. My grandmother, his wife, Gurney Elizabeth Simpson Bail, who was later ordained as a minister, is next to him with the white dog at her feet (Topsy)." The Bail family do not know the identity of the couple shown at the right in this photo. If you have that information, contact the Bail family at
“My father, S.W. (Samuel Wishert) Bail, wound up buying land in Arcadia, Fla., and nearby because another Brethren preacher advertised the property in the church publication, the ‘Gospel Messenger,’ saying there was a Brethren colony there. However, it turned out that was not the case.

“When my father and mother went to Arcadia in 1914, it was not an easy trip from Washington, Pa., where they were living on the family farm. My father had ordered the Crist Company to build a family home for us and six rental houses on two city blocks. At that time Arcadia was a center of the Florida cattle industry. My father was a dairy farmer and these were beef cattle, complete with ranches that spread 100,000 acres or more.

“In the end, with help from John Roebling, whose father built the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City, my father funded the construction of Arcadia Church of the Brethren.

“There was very little drainage in Arcadia at the time. When it rained, there was serious flooding, and the Arcadians used to refer to these houses as being on ‘Bail's lakefront.’ My father invested in a 200-acre citrus grove in Lake Placid with healthcare professionals, Dr. McSwain and pharmacist Jake Wey, while devoting weekends to preaching and converting members.

“Today we are celebrating the centennial of one block of those houses including our family home, which served as the parsonage at the time.

“I grew up in Arcadia, which frequently lives up to its idyllic name, and am hoping that we can finally realize the dream of the Brethren colony that my father thought he bought by filling the houses he built and the Church of the Brethren across the street with parishioners.”

-- Find out more about Arcadia Church of the Brethren at Contact the Bail family at

Source: 2/7/2013 Newsline

Brethren bits.

The Inter Agency Forum meeting in January 2013
The Inter-Agency Forum, which consists of the Annual Conference Officers, the general secretary and the chair of the Mission and Ministry Board, the executives and board chairs of Brethren Benefit Trust, Bethany Theological Seminary, and On Earth Peace, and two representatives of the Council of District Executives, met Jan. 24-25 to coordinate together the work of the denomination as a whole.
  • Matthew (Matt) DeBall begins Feb. 11 as the Church of the Brethren’s program assistant for Donor Relations, a new position located at the General Offices in Elgin, Ill. He is a 2012 graduate of Judson University in Elgin, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in communication arts with a minor in biblical studies and literature. He has begun his seminary studies at Northern Seminary in Lombard, Ill. He is a member of First Baptist Church in DeKalb, Ill.
  • Parker Thompson has begun as director of Camp Pine Lake in Eldora, Iowa, as of Jan. 1. He will continue to be a co-pastor at Ivester Church of the Brethren, where he has served for the past 10 months in pastoral ministry with his wife Katie, according to a Northern Plains District announcement. He holds a master of divinity degree from Bethany Theological Seminary, and in college studied recreational management, and has worked at various camping, environmental education, and adventure facilities across the country.
  • New from Annual Conference moderator Bob Krouse is a prayer guide designed to begin with Ash Wednesday, Feb. 13, through the time of the 2013 Conference in Charlotte, N.C., in  early July. The guide invites Brethren into a period of spiritual preparation for the Conference, beginning during the Lenten season with a focus on “The Inward Journey” and continuing in April with a focus on “The Outward Journey” and concluding in the months of May and June with a focus on “The Journey Forward.” Find it at
  • The Church of the Brethren has “made” the list of organizations and celebrities identified by the NRA as “anti-gun.” The list--referred to in the blogosphere as the “NRA enemies list”--is numerous and includes several Christian denominations as well as the YWCA, American Medical Association, American Bar Association, US Conference of Mayors, National Association of Police Organizations, and many many more. Find the list on the website of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action at
  • On Feb. 4 the Church of the Brethren took part in a national call-in day to Congress as part of the ecumenical coalition, Faiths Calling to Prevent Gun Violence. The denomination’s Advocacy and Peace Witness Ministries send an alert about the event that involved 40 religious organizations and was organized by the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism. “We hope that by teaming up with them and other religious organizations, Congress will hear an overwhelming and faithful voice demanding change,” the alert said. The alert noted the Church of the Brethren’s long history of witness against the proliferation of violence and church statements repeatedly calling on the nation to address gun violence. For the full alert, which includes a list of Annual Conference statements and church resolutions having to do with gun violence, and the policy changes suggested by the religious coalition, go to . For more about the Advocacy and Peace Witness Ministries, contact Nathan Hosler, advocacy officer, c/o National Council of Churches, 110 Maryland Ave. NE, Suite 108, Washington, DC 20002; or 202-481-6943.
  • 2013 Lenten devotional, "The Practice of Paying Attention" by Dana Cassell, published by Brethren PressBrethren Press’ 2013 Lenten devotional, “The Practice of Paying Attention” by Dana Cassell, is still available to order in time for the start of Lent. $2.50 per copy, $5.95 for large print, plus shipping and handling. Or buy an e-book version in either e-pub or pdf format for $2. Call 800-441-3712 or purchase online at
  • Joshua Brockway, director of Spiritual Life and Discipleship, is presenting a paper at a conference at Regent University School of Divinity in early March. The paper, "One Body, Many Parts: Reclaiming the Ecclesial Context of the Spiritual Gifts," is based on the work of the denomination’s Congregational Life Ministries staff on spiritual gifts. Brockway has been working on a spiritual gifts project for the Church of the Brethren, along with Stan Dueck, director of Transforming Practices, and Donna Kline, director of the Deacon Ministry. Find the schedule for the conference at
    • Brockway also again this year is offering a calendar for reading the Psalms during Lent. Find it at It is one of two Lenten resources offered by Congregational Life Ministries staff, alongside a prayer blog accompanying the Brethren Press Lenten devotional. The Congregational Life prayer blog will be available starting Ash Wednesday, Feb. 13, at
National Jr. High Conference worship planning team for 2013
Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
The worship planning team for the 2013 National Junior High Conference met at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., in early February. Shown here are team members (from right) Christopher Montgomery, Bethany Clark, Sarah Kolbe, music coordinator Mandy Garcia, Rachel Witkovsky who is the coordinator of the conference, and Becky Ullom Naugle, director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries.
  • “Dearest friends, registration for attendance at the 57th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women Forum is open,” says a note from Doris Abdullah, the Church of the Brethren representative to the UN. “The session runs from March 3-March 15. The theme is: Elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls. Hope to see you.” Speakers at the opening “consultation day” on March 3 include Nobel Peace Prize winner Tawakkwol Karman of Yemen. Cost is $100 to attend the March 3 events, or $50 for youth participants. Find out more and register at .
  • On Feb. 24, J. Floyd Wine will celebrate his 96th birthday by preaching at Calvary Church of the Brethren in Winchester, Va. Shenandoah District’s announcement of the milestone notes, “Brother Floyd, licensed in 1940 and ordained in 1942, was in ministry at Calvary from 1950-1968. He has been a significant mentor and role model for many.”
  • “Job well done!” comments a note from South Central Indiana District congratulating the youth group at Northview Church of the Brethren in Indianapolis for raising $2,232 to help youth attend workcamps this summer.
  • Codorus Church of the Brethren in Dallastown, Pa., assembled 165 Emergency Clean-Up Buckets in memory of Dean Godfrey, on Dec. 1, 2012. The buckets were shipped to the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. “Funds were raised throughout the year by special offerings, soup and salad lunches, Sunday school class donations, and silent auctions,” reports the Southern Pennsylvania District newsletter. “A special thank you goes to Zachary Wolgemuth, Bob Eisemann, and to Loganville True Value Hardware store for all their help and cooperation.”
  • Eversole Church of the Brethren is hosting a Southern Ohio District event titled “Focus on Finance,” on Feb. 9. The Southern Ohio Shared Ministries Commission is offering workshops designed to help church members get a better handle on family finances including “How to Talk to Adult Kids about Your Finances,” “Help! There's Too Much Month at the End of My Money,” “Missional Budget Planning: Not Your Parent's Stewardship,” “Why Young Adults Leave the Church and What to Do about It.” An announcement noted this is a repeat event, and that “those who attended the January event appreciated the information and fellowship.” Cost is $10. Pre-registration is required. Child care will be available if needed. Go to to register online, payment requires a credit card.
  • Mount Pleasant Church of the Brethren in Harrisonburg, Va., is hosting the CrossRoads annual meeting and dinner on Feb. 8 at 6:30 p.m. For reservations call 540-438-1275.
    • The annual World Hunger Auction in Virlina District has already kicked off events for 2013 with a Pancake Breakfast at Antioch Church of the Brethren on Jan. 12. The next event will be a Winter Music Festival at Germantown Brick Church of the Brethren on Feb. 10 at 4 p.m. featuring two gospel music groups, Haw Patch and After Jack. Refreshments will follow the music, plan to arrive early because a large crowd is expected. The main event of the World Hunger Auction is Aug. 10. at Antioch Church. “Great things have happened over the last 29 years because of the participation of many hard working and dedicated people who want to make an impact on hunger in the world,” said a note in the Virlina District “E-Headliner.”
    • Other upcoming events in Virlina District include “Pilgrimage XVII” on March 15-17 at Camp Bethel, a spirit-filled experience for adults of all ages. The deadline for registration is Feb. 16, contact 336-765-5263 or .
  • Shenandoah District has begun a “Mystery Guest” program and reports, “we now have several churches requesting visitations.” If you would enjoy visiting a church in the district, and completing a form about your experience there, contact Sandy Kinsey at the district office, 540-234-8555 or . Give your name, phone number, and e-mail address.
  • Chaplain Dan Lehigh is thanking all who helped make this cookie season a success for Southern Pennsylvania District’s Truck Stop Ministry. Some 13,366 bags of cookies were supplied for distribution this holiday season. “It went smoothly with all cookies being distributed weekly,” said his note in the district newsletter. “We received many cards, letters, phone calls, and personal greetings from grateful drivers and travelers. Only eternity will reveal how many lives were touched.”
  • Feb. 23 is Camp Mack’s “Maple Syrup Get Away Day”--an opportunity for family and friends to get together at the camp for “maple syruping.” “Nothing better than a snowy day with the sun shining and the sap dripping,” reads a Facebook post. The first run of maple syrup at the camp near Milford, Ind., has already begun, the post notes. Feb. 23 will start off with a pancake breakfast over the fire, and real maple syrup. Cost is $10. Register at .
  • Three presidents of Brethren-related schools are among “College Presidents for Gun Safety,” a lengthy list of leaders of colleges, universities, and seminaries urging Congress to take steps on gun violence. Elizabethtown (Pa.) College president Carl J. Strikwerda, Manchester University president Jo Young Switzer, and University of La Verne president Devorah Lieberman have signed the open letter, which does not represent any formal group or organization. The letter reads in part: “As educators and parents, we come together to ask our elected representatives to act collectively on behalf of our children by enacting rational gun safety measures, including:
    • Ensuring the safety of our communities by opposing legislation allowing guns on our campuses and in our classrooms
    • Ending the gun show loophole, which allows for the purchase of guns from unlicensed sellers without a criminal background check
    • Reinstating the ban on military-style semi-automatic assault weapons along with high-capacity ammunition magazines
    • Requiring consumer safety standards for all guns, such as safety locks, access prevention laws, and regulations to identify, prevent and correct manufacturing defects.”
  • Diana Butler Bass, noted author and theologian, will speak on the future of the church for the Anna B. Mow Endowed Lecture at Bridgewater (Va.) College on Feb. 28 at 7:30 p.m. in Cole Hall. The lecture is free and open to the public.
  • A one-woman play based on the writings of a 23-year-old American who was killed by an Israeli Army bulldozer in 2003 will be presented at Bridgewater College Feb. 21-24 in Cole Hall. “My Name is Rachel Corrie,” recommended for mature audiences, was taken from Corrie’s writings and edited by Alan Richman and Katharine Viner. On March 16, 2003, Corrie was crushed to death in the Gaza strip as she was trying to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian home. The play is composed from her journals, letters, and e-mails, creating a portrait of the young woman who left home and school to work as an activist in the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “Since its first performance, the play has raised difficult questions about problems without easy solutions,” said a release. Performances are at 8 p.m. Feb. 21, 22, and 23, and at 3 p.m. on Feb. 23 and 24. A talk-back will follow each performance and Corrie’s parents will take part in the Feb. 22 talk-back. Reservations are required call 540-828-5631 for tickets. Tickets are $9 for adults and $7 for seniors and non-Bridgewater students. The production is directed by Scott W. Cole, associate professor of theater. Playing the role of Corrie are Jessie Houff (8 p.m. performances), a senior art major with a minor in theater, and Aislinn H. Mirsch (3 p.m. matinees), a junior international studies major with a minor in cultural studies.
    • In a related event at Bridgewater College, the parents of Rachel Corrie will present their daughter’s story and their own work with the people of Palestine and Israel at 4 p.m. on Feb. 22 in the Boitnott Room in the Kline Campus Center. The presentation is sponsored by the Kline-Bowman Endowment for Creative Peacebuilding and is open to the public at no charge.
  • An annual “Meal for CROP” was held at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., on Feb. 5 in the college dining facility. Sponsored by the campus ministry office, students sacrificed the evening meal so those meals could be sold to the general public. The money raised was donated to CROP, an organization of Church World Service. The Huntingdon Forum of Churches also sponsored the meal, said a release. Over 20 years, the Huntingdon community has raised more than $50,000 for hunger through this event, with each year 75 percent of funds going to CROP and 25 percent donated to the Huntingdon Area Food Bank.
    • Juniata College also announces a new Environmental Geology Program of Emphasis (POE), approved for the incoming freshman class of next year. Students currently enrolled can now earn bachelor’s degrees in the new degree program. “A POE is an individualized program, similar to a ‘major’ ...which can combine any area of study that interests students,” a release explained. “The Program of Emphasis allows students to take classes, work on projects, and pursue internships in two or even three study areas.” The new program differs from the core geology degree by emphasizing physical environmental science and requiring students to take a full year of introductory environmental science courses; students will take upper-level courses focusing on applied geosciences; and students will take courses from a Societal Impacts track in which they study how humans interact with the Earth. The new focus allows Juniata’s geology faculty to include a group of courses that are centered on geology and societal concerns including Death and Destruction by Nature, Oceanography, Energy Minerals and Society, Soil Science and Global Climate Change. For more go to .
  • Elizabethtown (Pa.) College’s S. Dale High Center for Family Business is holding a seminar on "Energy Efficiency" Feb. 21 from 8-10:30 a.m. in Room 110 of the James B. Hoover Center for Business. Topics will include right and wrong ways to evaluate the financial viability of saving energy. The workshop will feature Mike Mumper of High Energy Solutions and Frank Richards of Richards Energy Group. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Call 717-361-1275 or e-mail to register.
    • Elizabethtown (Pa.) College is holding Judy S. and Paul W. Ware Colloquium on Peacemaking and Global Citizenship this month. Events are free and open to the public. On Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. in the Koon’s Activity Venue in Brossman Commons is a seminar on "Mass Shootings in America: Moving Beyond Newtown" with James Alan Fox, the Lipman Family Professor of Criminology, Law and Public Policy, at Northeastern University. On Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. in the Susquehann Room of Myer Hall is a panel discussion on Afghanistan with the CEO of Aid Afghanistan, and women's rights activist Hassina Sherjan; Matt Southworth, legislative associate on foreign policy with the Friends Committee on National Legislation; Steve Simon from the International Institute for Strategic Studies-US; Joyce Davis, president of the Harrisburg World Affairs Council; moderated by Jonathan Rudy, Global Peacemaking Scholar-in-Residence who recently returned from Afghanistan where he worked with peace building and development issues under OXFAM. Visit for more information.
  • Manchester University’s campus ministry reports that the Simply Brethren student group has been active this school year, with an average of 20 students attending any given gathering. “Our fall schedule included a love feast service, visits by Tracy Primozich of Bethany Theological Seminary and Becky Ullom of the denominational Youth/Young Adult Ministry office, a visit to the nearby Kindy-Gross farm, a retreat at Camp Mack, a Christmas party and, of course, ice cream!” said a recent newsletter. The report from campus minister Walt Wiltschek added that the ROBOT (Radically Obedient Brethren Outreach Team) is preparing for its third year of providing worship leadership with stops planned in Northern Indiana District and South Central Indiana District from late February to early May. For more about Simply Brethren go to .
  • The February "Brethren Voices" comes all the way from Japan, where host Brent Carlson interviews Rachel Buller, a Brethren Volunteer Service worker at the Asian Rural Institute in Nasushiobara. Producer Ed Groff notes that BVS is currently training its 300th unit of volunteers since 1948. The Asian Rural Institute teaches sustainable organic farming to the grassroots leaders of marginalized countries, who come from many different countries for a 9-month training. “At the heart of the program is the concept of ‘Foodlife’--a term designed to recognize and value the Interdependence between life and the food that sustains all of life,” Groff writes. In March, “Brethren Voices” will focus on gun violence and actions recommended by the Church of the Brethren together with the coalition Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence. More information about "Brethren Voices," a television show produced by Portland (Ore.) Peace Church of the Brethren, is available from Ed Groff at .
  • This Saturday morning, the Springs of Living Water Academy for Church Renewal launches its new course “Foundations for Church Renewal.” Five interactive two-hour telephone conference calls will be spread over a 12-week period, guided by a syllabus with formal learning objectives. Pastors who take part will have members of their congregations “walk alongside” through readings and opportunities to give invaluable input. On a daily basis, participants will utilize a spiritual disciplines folder on the 12 classic disciplines from Richard Foster’s “Celebration of Discipline,” mimicking something congregations do when they take part in the Springs Initiative. The main text will be David Young’s “Springs of Living Water, Christ-Centered Church Renewal,” which focuses on John 4 and the story of the woman at the well to teach a comprehensive, spiritually centered, servant-led path of church renewal. Pastors who take the course are expected to write a seminal paper and will receive continuing education credit. For more information contact David Young at .
  • A “Fact Not Fiction” campaign has been created by the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) to help people of faith to “question the fictional account of history as seen in the movie ‘Zero Dark Thirty,’ and to advocate for the public release of the facts of US-sponsored torture.” Fact Not Fiction aims to educate about the facts of torture, and advocate for release to the public of the Senate Committee on Intelligence Torture Report. NRCAT also is offering an alternate film particularly for viewing between now and the end of June, which is Torture Awareness Month: the 20-minute “Ending US-Sponsored Torture Forever.” Congregations are encouraged to show the short film particularly on the weekend of Feb. 22-24 to coincide with the Academy Awards. For more go to
  • A “Peace First Prize” for youth peacemakers has been announced by the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) and by Peace First, a new national nonprofit “that teaches peacemaking skills to young people and empowers them to become engaged leaders in their communities,” according to a release. Youth winners of the prize will be age 8-22 and will receive a $50,000 fellowship over two years to further their peacemaking work. Said Peace First co-founder and president Eric D. Dawson, “The Peace First Prize signals a new era of peacemaking--one where young people are finally recognized for their important contributions and solutions to injustices they see around them on a daily basis.” Peace First partner organizations include 4-H, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Girl Scouts, Teach for America, the American Association of School Administrators, and American Federation of Teachers, among others. Prize Fellows will be chosen and announced in September. For more information visit .
  • “Into the Next Chamber: A Journey Worth Considering” is a new book by a Brethren author, Ralph G. McFadden of Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, Ill. His second, the book includes 38 essays or reflections on the theme of “moving into the next chamber of life” based on the image of the Nautilus sea creature who repeatedly creates a new chamber in its shell and moves into the new and larger space as it grows. The book includes blank pages for readers to journal in response to essays. McFadden writes in a note to Newsline the book may be of most interest to “progressive thinkers” who want to reflect seriously on their own motivations and opportunities. Contact
Source: 2/7/2013 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 Paz Artaza-Regan, Jim Beckwith, Joshua Brockway, James Deaton, Ed Groff, Mary Kay Heatwole, Jon Kobel, Nancy Miner, Amy J. Mountain, Becky Ullom Naugle, John Wall, Rachel Witkovsky, and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren.