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Extending greetings to all those present at the 5th Brethren World
Assembly on July 11-14 in Brookville, Ohio, Brethren Heritage Center
board secretary Larry E. Heisey noted the unique location of the
meeting. All of the seven main Brethren groups in North America
descended from the believers brought together by Alexander Mack Sr. in
Schwarzenau, Germany, are represented in the Miami Valley area near
“This makes us unique in Brethrendom,” Heisey said.
Brethren spirituality was the theme of the assembly, which is held
every five years with sponsorship from the Brethren Encyclopedia Board.
The 2013 assembly was hosted by the Brethren Heritage Center, a
nonprofit organization based in Brookville and started in 2001 to
preserve historical and current information on the various Brethren
The uniqueness of a cooperative venture between these Brethren
groups--now numbering seven--was remarked upon during the assembly by
several people including Donald Miller, former general secretary of the
Church of the Brethren and professor emeritus at Bethany Seminary. He
credited the impetus for such conversations to peacemaking icon and On
Earth Peace founder M.R. Zigler, who also helped to start the Brethren
The planning team for the 2013 assembly included representatives from
six of the seven main Brethren bodies in North America: chair Robert E.
Alley, Church of the Brethren; Jeff Bach, Church of the Brethren;
Brenda Colijn, Brethren Church; Milton Cook, Dunkard Brethren; Tom
Julien, Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches; Gary Kochheiser,
Conservative Grace Brethren Churches, International; Michael Miller, Old
German Baptist Brethren Church-New Conference. Although not on the
planning team, the Old German Baptist Brethren are represented on the
Brethren Encyclopedia Board and at the Brethren Heritage Center.
Having the Brethren Heritage Center host a meeting convened by the
Brethren Encyclopedia board was a match made in Brethren heaven--like
peanut butter and chocolate, or perhaps more like chocolate and even
more chocolate. The Brethren Encyclopedia Inc. since its founding has
provided the platform for cooperative work and planning between the
Brethren bodies descended from the 1708 baptisms. The Brethren Heritage
Center has exemplified the same cooperation and fellowship among all the
Brethren groups in the Miami Valley, even as they continue to
experience splits based on differences of doctrine and practice.
Although differences in dress, beliefs, and practice were immediately
apparent at the assembly, the gathering succeeded in large part because
it was not a business meeting but instead a place for Brethren to be
present with each other and with God. The participants expressed a
hunger to teach and learn more about a shared heritage, and simply to be
together as a faith family.
The assembly started off with keynote presentations on Brethren
spirituality in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. Other main sessions
focused on the place of Jesus in Brethren spirituality, Word and Spirit
in Brethren spirituality, community aspects of Brethren spirituality,
and the Brethren ordinances such as love feast, feetwashing, and
Seminars and panel discussions gave insight into evangelism and
mission as a form of Brethren spirituality, the role of the Bible in
Brethren spirituality, Brethren spiritual formation, Brethren worship
practices, Brethren separation from the world and engagement with the
world, Brethren hymnody, Brethren devotional literature and poetry, and
the spiritual writings and poetry of Alexander Mack Jr. A panel of youth
and young adults gave responses to close out the presentations.
Bus tours took participants to see Miami Valley sites important to
Brethren history. Included were sites related to the schisms of the
1880s when the “conservatives”--who became the Old German Baptist
Brethren, and the “progressives”--who became the Brethren Church and the
Grace Brethren, first organized and broke off from the body that
continues as the Church of the Brethren. Tours also visited Lower Miami
Church of the Brethren, a “parent” congregation for the Brethren
churches of the area, and other sites of interest.
Each evening the assembly ate and worshiped together at a local
congregation, hosted by Brookville Grace Brethren Church and Salem
Church of the Brethren. Ice cream socials closed out the days.
Although the event was dubbed a “world” assembly, the majority of
Brethren who attended were from the United States, many local to the
Miami Valley. A group of Nigerians attended from Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a
Nigeria (EYN--the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). Bernd Julius, who
had been on the planning committee for the 2008 assembly in Schwarzenau
on the 300th anniversary of the Brethren, brought greetings from the
village in Germany where the Brethren movement began.
Keynoters explore Brethren spirituality through the centuries
Nuances of spirituality may have been demonstrated or experienced in
different ways and languages during the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries,
but one unvarying thread was that it was expressed through dedication to
scripture and prayer, in community, and was considered most faithful
when expressed in a manner that brought the gospel of Jesus Christ to
“There is no such thing as a generic spirituality,” said Jeff Bach,
director of the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at
Elizabethtown (Pa.) College, as he approached the topic of 18th century
Brethren spirituality--but he nevertheless looked for common elements to
a complex story.
The first Brethren were wary of basing their spirituality upon the
lives of “holy men,” but devotional sources such as the Martyr’s Mirror
provided great inspiration. These Anabaptist sources had a profound
effect on a spirituality that inspired Brethren practices and
ordinances. The first Brethren preferred spontaneous prayer to outward
practices and an “outward prayer book.”
Bach chose to focus on lesser known Brethren individuals from the
18th century including John Lobach, Catharine Hummer, Michael Frantz,
and Jacob Stoll.
Lobach (1683-1750) wrote in his autobiography that he engaged in the
same practices before and after his spiritual awakening, but even as a
child he considered these practices faked and fruitless. After a vivid
conversion in 1713 he found that singing hymns, reading scripture, and
prayer were now a powerful part of a personal relationship with God. In
1716 he was arrested and sentenced to a life of hard labor as one of the
“Solingen Brethren,” although eventually he was released. His
experiences in prison led to a deeper identity with the sufferings of
Jesus and a deeper desire to love and forgive enemies.
Michael Frantz (1687-1748), minister to the Conestoga congregation in
Pennsylvania, wrote his Doctrinal Confessions that included a short
prologue of spiritual self-examination, a lengthy account of various
Brethren practices and doctrines (both of these sections in verse), and a
prose piece that encouraged nonconformity but warned, among other
things, that “taking pride in simple clothing might become the greatest
arrogance of all.”
Catharine Hummer (fl. 1762) of the White Oak congregation in
Pennsylvania, found expression of a powerful spirituality in dreams and
visions that were recorded by the breakaway Ephrata community. Her
warnings about the end time and her visions of baptism after death,
expressed in her powerful preaching, found expression in hymn texts and
demonstrated that their spiritual value was found not just in singing,
but in reciting and meditating upon these poems.
Conestoga elder Jacob Stoll, whose devotional works were published
posthumously in 1806, used Bible verses as the starting point for short
devotional poems that were widely read by the Brethren. His were the
“most mystical of Brethren writings” yet remained anchored in community.
The mystical union with Christ expressed in terms of marriage still
relied on a gathered community.
“Like a precious gem (spirituality) has many facets,” said Dale R.
Stoffer, who spoke on 19th century Brethren spirituality. Stoffer is an
elder in the Brethren Church and professor of Historical Theology and
former academic dean at Ashland Theological Seminary.
He noted that while Catholic spirituality was grounded in mysticism,
and Protestant mysticism was grounded in correct doctrine and an inward
private experience, for Brethren spirituality “ordered all of life under
Scripture, hymnbooks, the devotional literature of the Sauer and
Ephrata presses, and eventually the Brethren periodical literature that
began with Henry Kurtz’s “The Monthly Gospel Visiter” were the
ingredients of a spirituality that over the course of the century
encountered Revivalism and the Holiness Movement. This was especially
apparent in the differences in the categories included in German and
English hymnals of the Brethren.
“The Brethren, like the Anabaptists and the Pietists, did not
distinguish between doctrine and spirituality or doctrine and practice,”
Stoffer said. He brought attention to the writings of Henry Kurtz,
Peter Nead, and Abraham Harley Cassel--but the eye-opener for most
attendees was the story of Charles H. Balsbaugh (1831-1909) who, having
been reduced to permanent and painful disability, nevertheless wrote
over 1,000 articles scattered over various periodicals. Balsbaugh
confessed that he moved from a position as a legalist to one who
discovered that “Christ demonstrated how God lives and how the Holy
Spirit made it possible for us to live the same life.”
Speaking on the Brethren of the 20th century, William Kostlevy of the
Brethren Historical Library and Archive at the Church of the Brethren
General Offices, illustrated the breadth of influence of liberal,
conservative, and evangelical Christianity on Brethren spirituality.
“How does one get from Gottfried Arnold to M.R. Zigler?” Kostlevy
asked, then continued, “What in the world is spirituality, anyway? No
other word has been the subject of so much misunderstanding and useless
He suggested that the Keswich movement, founded in northern England,
was a major influence on American Protestantism and the Brethren.
Keswich theology insisted that “sinful nature is not extinguished but
countered” by Christian spirituality, as opposed to the Brethren hope
that transformation would lead to a more Christlike life. Kostlevy also
pointed to the influence of the school of Dwight L. Moody, which
demanded surrender to Christ, and emphasis on the cross instead of the
life of Jesus.
Diverse Brethren personalities of the 20th century were touched on,
such as A.C. Wieand, one of the founders of Bethany Theological
Seminary, who encouraged Brethren to seek “the higher Christian life”;
Bethany professor Floyd Mallot, who “was always suspicious of religious
emotionalism”; Anna Mow, who found the essence of spirituality in Bible
study, corporate worship, and prayer; and especially Dan West, founder
of Heifer Project, now Heifer International, who “often annoyed his
superiors, his behavior was erratic, he could be caustic and he was not
incapable of insulting the denomination that paid him,” in Kostlevy’s
words. West especially had an impact and even a cult-like following
among Brethren, Kostlevy said, perhaps because he had a spiritual side
expressed in poetry and action despite the fact that he was “impatient
The reinvigorated Believer’s Church, as influential 20th century
Brethren historian Donald F. Durnbaugh characterized the Brethren
movement, found spiritual expression in the authority of Christ, the
authority of scripture, the restoration of the New Testament church,
separation from the world, and, paradoxically, ecumenical engagement.
For more about the 5th Brethren World Assembly
Find a photo album from the assembly linked at www.brethren.org/album. DVDs of each major presentation and worship service are available,
with taping was done by Church of the Brethren videographer David
Sollenberger and crew. DVDs are $5 each, or any three for $10, with
shipping added. See story below for details or contact the Brethren
Heritage Center, 428 Wolf Creek St., Suite #H1, Brookville, OH
45309-1297; 937-833-5222; firstname.lastname@example.org ; www.brethrenheritagecenter.org.
-- This coverage of the 5th Brethren World Assembly is by Frank
Ramirez, pastor of Everett (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, and Cheryl
Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the
“Quotable quotes” from the 5th Brethren World Assembly give a
flavor of the three days of presentations, panels, sermons, and more:
“Brethren have been spiritual people even if they have been slow to write about spiritual practices.” -- Jeff Bach, director of the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College.
“What in the world is spirituality, anyway? No other word has been
the subject of so much misunderstanding and useless argument.” -- William Kostlevy, director of the Brethren Historical Library and Archives at the Church of the Brethren General Offices.
“Like a precious gem (spirituality) has many facets.... Brethren (of
the 19th century) did not distinguish between doctrine and spirituality
or doctrine and practice...all of this shared a single purpose: growing
in Jesus.” -- Dale R. Stoffer, an elder in the Brethren Church
and professor of Historical Theology and former academic dean at Ashland
“We tend to make Jesus into the image of ourselves.” -- Brian
Moore, a Brethren Church elder, longtime pastor, and two time national
moderator of the Brethren Church, in his presentation on “The Place of
Jesus in Brethren Spirituality.” He added that “following Jesus was of
first importance (to the early Brethren) regardless of the cost....
Basic radical discipleship then was the trademark of hte Brethren This
trait has ben the anchor of our persuasion.”
“It’s a tough act to follow Jesus.” -- Brenda Colijn an elder
in the Brethren Church and professor of Biblical Interpretation and
Theology at Ashland Theological Seminary, whose presentation on “Word
and Spirit in Brethren Spirituality” followed Brian Moore’s. Colijn
spoke about the way that, for Brethren, “both the outward Word and the
inner Word (Spirit) testify to the Living Word of God.”
“Community was not casual or haphazard but intentional.” --
Jared Burkholder of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches, associate
professor of History at Grace College in Winona Lake, Ind. He spoke on
“Community, Family, and Individual in Brethren Spirituality.”
“We live in perhaps the most crucial age of history since the
crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.... Our job is enormous. This is
not a time to twiddle our thumbs. This is a time to pray.” --
Roger Peugh, a longtime missionary in Germany now teaching missions at
Grace College and Seminary, a school of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren
Church. He preached on the importance of prayer for the Thursday
evening worship service.
“There’s something uniquely American about demanding unlimited choice, and that goes for religion as well.” --
Aaron Jerviss, a doctoral candidate in history at the University of
Tennessee, with a special interest in the history of peace churches. He
gave presentations on the spiritual writings and poetry of Alexander
Mack Jr., son of the founder of the Brethren movement, who chose to
leave the church and join the Ephrata community for a decade before
coming back to the Germantown congregation. Jerviss suggested that Mack
had as much right to go “church shopping” as anyone else.
“Cosmologies some years ago told us that the universe is shrinking.
Now they tell us it’s expanding. It seems to me that you could say the
same thing about worship practices in the Church of the Brethren.” --
Michael Hostetter, pastor of Salem Church of the Brethren, tracing the
changes in his home church. Whereas 30 years before his birth all songs
were sung acapella, by the time he was born the church had an organ,
piano, and choir that sang antiphons and responses throughout worship.
“We are informed and nourished by the wider Christian community,” he
noted, chronicling the adoption of the observance of seasons such as
“Since the beginning, ordinances have stood at the heart of Brethren
Spirituality.... The ordinances blend the spiritual with concrete
action.” -- Denise Kettering-Lane, assistant professor of
Brethren Studies at Bethany Theological Seminary and a licensed Church
of the Brethren minister. Her presentation on Brethren ordinances
chronicled the Brethren search for the correct way to perform the
ordinances based on a Christ-centered and biblically oriented
combination of discipleship and obedience. Ordinances like the love
feast and feetwashing serve a teaching function, she noted, and become,
through the experience of personal suffering, a memorial to Jesus.
“It is a tension that goes on among us, how we give form to the
movement of the Spirit.... Form without Spirit becomes dead, yet Spirit
without form is like a fire without boundaries.” -- Robert Alley,
a former moderator of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference and
retired from longterm ministry at Bridgewater (Va.) Church of the
Brethren. He preached the closing sermon of the assembly, calling the
congregation to think about their answers to the question, “What now?”
after such a gathering is over and participants head for home. “As
pilgrims, we journey toward Christ,” no matter our earthly destination,
Alley assured the Brethren.
“What a time it will be when all of God’s children sit down to supper.” --
Keith Bailey of the Dunkard Brethren, explaining how his community
spends significant time in spiritual preparation for and carrying out
the love feast, feetwashing, and communion.
“I remember at the end of one of these gatherings a ballot was taken
and the Fellowship of Grace Brethren was noted the least Brethren. We’ve
earned that.” -- Jim Custer of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren
Churches, speaking about the traditional ordinances and how some in his
community have moved away from them in favor of an emphasis on
evangelism and world missions.
“The Love Feast is a Christian celebration. It’s not just a Brethren thing.” --
Paul Stutzman, a Church of the Brethren minister and student in the
Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership, who carried out a survey of
practices among Church of the Brethren districts.
“The Brethren have never tried to be uniquely Brethren. They have
tried to be authentically Christian.... To be authentically Brethren is
to be radically obedient to Jesus.” -- Bill Johnson of the Brethren Church.
“I think there’s a real hunger for authentic Brethren witness, especially with regards to community…and obedience to Jesus.” --
Jay Wittmyer, executive director of Global Mission and Service for the
Church of the Brethren, during a panel on spirituality as a witness to
“We’ve grappled with this issue of going into all the world and being in all the world.” -- Curt Wagoner, Old German Baptist Brethren-New Conference
“Everyone of us has a responsibility and a duty to witness to Jesus Christ.” -- Ike Graham, Conservative Grace Brethren Churches International
“We make sure everyone in the EYN takes the Great Commission seriously.” --
Musa Mambula of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN--the Church of the
Brethren in Nigeria), during a panel discussion on world missions. He
listed the many stages new converts go through before being fully
integrated into an EYN congregation, adding that it is important for
Nigerian Brethren to understand and respect the larger Muslim culture
and to work with local leaders in order to make evangelism effective.
Asked how Nigerians do love feast, he described the EYN version as a
potluck in which everyone shares, and to which everyone is welcome
whether are not they are able to bring a dish to the table.
“The Bible tells us who Jesus is, what he has done, and what he expects of us.... We believe the Holy Spirit is still at work.” --
Dan Ulrich, professor of New Testament Studies at Bethany Theological
Seminary and an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren.
“It was in the Bible that I met the Lord Jesus Christ and I praise God that he gave me the grace to seek his truth.” -- Curt Wagoner of the Old German Baptist Brethren-New Conference.
“Each time we divide and re-form, about three days later we come up with the same problem.” --
An assembly attendee describing the schisms within the Brethren
movement, and how the same issues seem to re-occur in the new bodies
created by the divisions that have happened over the course of Brethren
Video recordings are available from the 5th Brethren World Assembly. The recordings in DVD format are of the main presentations and worship services, and are made available by the sponsoring body, the Brethren Encyclopedia Board, through the host organization the Brethren Heritage Center in Brookville, Ohio. The taping was done by Brethren videographer David Sollenberger and crew.
DVDs cost $5 each, or any three disks for $10, with a shipping fee added to each order:
Disk 1: Brethren spirituality in the 18th century presentation by Jeff Bach, Brethren spirituality in the 19th century presentation by Dale Stoffer, Brethren spirituality in the 20th century presentation by Bill Kostlevy.
Disk 2: The place of Jesus in Brethren spirituality presentation by Brian Moore, Word and Spirit in Brethren spirituality presentation by Brenda Colijn, and community role in Brethren Spirituality presentation by Jared Burkholder.
Disk 3: Brethren ordinances presentation by Denise Kettering Lane, Brethren ordinances panel discussion.
Disk 4: Seminars on the spiritual writings of Alexander Mack Jr. by Aaron Jerviss and Brethren hymnody by Peter Roussakis.
Disk 5: Seminar on Brethren separation from the world and engagement with the world by Carl Bowman.
Disk 6: Seminars on Brethren devotional literature and poetry by Karen Garrett, and spiritual formation practices by Christy Hill.
Disk 7: Thursday evening worship with preaching by Roger Peugh.
Disk 8: Friday evening worship with preaching by Fred Miller.
Disk 9: Saturday evening worship with preaching by Robert Alley.
Disk 10: Panels on Brethren spirituality as witness to the world.
Disk 11: Tour of Brethren sites in the Miami River Valley.
A two-page Wrap Up of Annual Conference 2013 has been posted at www.brethren.org/ac2013
along with more news reports from the Conference that took place in
Charlotte, N.C., on June 29-July 3. The Wrap Up in pdf format is
designed to be downloaded and shared by churches in Sunday bulletins or
newsletters, or as a hand out for delegate reports from the Conference.
“We are wowed,” said Classroom Central of Charlotte, N.C., in a
web post about the school supplies donated during Annual Conference:
26,682 pencils, 9,216 pens, 1,500 packs of crayons, 1,396 erasers, 1,026
packs of markers, 384 one-subject notebooks, 654 backpacks, 198 rulers,
165 gluesticks, 127 pairs of scissors, 118 highlighters, 61 composition
books, 38 calculators, totaling 43,183 items. “With over half the
region’s children living at or below poverty level, many parents are not
always able to supply their kids with the basic items needed at
school,” Classroom Central noted. “The donation from Church of the
Brethren will make such an incredible impact in the six districts we
serve, providing students in need with essential tools needed to learn!
Thanks to our contact person, Chris, and all the members of the church
who made this happen.” See the full post at http://classroomcentral.wordpress.com/2013/07/09/we-are-wowed .
The Womaen’s Caucus honored Pamela Brubaker with a "Mother of
Caucus" award during the 2013 Conference. Brubaker is professor of
religion at California Lutheran University and author of “She Hath Done
What She Could: A History of Women's Participation in the Church of the
Brethren” (1985, Brethren Press) as well as more recent volumes on
globalization and other issues related to women and economics including
“Globalization at What Price? Economic Change and Daily Life” and “Women
Don’t Count: The Challenge of Women’s Poverty to Christian Ethics.” She
participated in encounters between the World Council of Churches, the
International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank in 2003 where she
presented papers on Christian faith and economic justice, and was a
presenter at the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation in Jamaica.
She co-chairs the Los Angeles based organization Sweatshop Action
Committee of Progressive Christians Uniting, was co-chair of the Ethics
Section of the American Academy of Religion for a three-year term, and
is currently on the board of the Society of Christian Ethics. For more
about Womaen’s Caucus go to http://womaenscaucus.wordpress.com/tag/womaens-caucus.
“In the aftermath of a grievous miscarriage of justice--what do we
do?” asks Heeding God’s Call, a movement working against gun violence
that had its start at a conference of the Historic Peace Churches in
Philadelphia. Brethren leaders involved in Heeding God's Call include
former Annual Conference moderator and Harrisburg, Pa., pastor Belita
Mitchell. “Heeding God's Call grieves for Trayvon Martin's senseless gun
death, as we do all the senseless gun deaths and injuries that occur
daily in this country. And, we commit ourselves to keeping on to our
faithful work to make such deaths and injuries less likely,” said a
message today from executive director Bryan Miller, in part. “This has
meaning far beyond Trayvon's death, as sad and depressing as that is,
especially for people in the two dozen or so states, including
Pennsylvania, which both have such ‘Shoot First’ laws and allow
individuals to legally carry concealed and loaded handguns in public....
This deadly combination makes certain that some future arguments,
disagreements, even physical fights, will turn deadly, as one opponent
makes a life and death decision that will only have an effect on the
other. This is lethally out of balance and on par with a license to
kill. People will die who shouldn't. This is drastically and morally
wrong.” The message went on to state that Heeding God's Call “renews its
commitment to engage people of faith in becoming activists to prevent
gun violence” and pledges to “undertake a new direction, as
well--namely, we will seek to move the faith community to action to
eliminate bad gun laws, like 'Shoot First' and concealed carry laws, and
to enact good and effective gun regulation to prevent violence.” For
more go to www.heedinggodscall.org .
The National Council of Churches (NCC) has renewed its call for
racial justice in the wake of the Zimmerman acquittal. NCC president
Kathryn Lohre released a statement that said, in part: “This summer as
we commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation
and the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, we are reminded
that racism is alive and well. We have seen this in the Supreme Court’s
recent invalidation of parts of the Voting Rights Act and now in the
shocking impunity granted by a Florida jury to a man who stalked and
killed a black child. But even when the headlines fade, we witness every
day in our neighborhoods, towns, and cities how our culture of violence
preys upon all of us, with the most deadly impact on the lives of
people of color.” The statement also included support for gun control
measures and action against gun violence, and prayer “for the family and
friends of Trayvon Martin, for George Zimmerman and his family and
friends, for the members of the jury and their family and friends, and
for all who have suffered and will continue to suffer as a result of
this tragedy. The NCC includes a number of member communions from the
historic Black Christian community. For more go to www.ncccusa.org/news/120326trayvon.html , www.ncccusa.org/NCCpolicies/endinggunviolence.pdf , and www.ncccusa.org/NCCCalltoActionRacialJustice.pdf .
The National Youth Conference (NYC) office is accepting entries
for the Youth Music Contest and the Youth Speech Contest, as well as
applications for youthworker positions for the 2014 event. Youth who
enjoy writing music are invited to write a song based on the theme
“Called by Christ, Blessed for the Journey Together” (Ephesians 4:1-7)
and submit it to the NYC office. The winner will have the opportunity to
perform the song on stage during NYC. Youth also are invited to
prayerfully consider what message the NYC 2014 theme has for them, their
congregations, and the larger denomination, and express that in a
speech. Two speech contest winners will share their messages during a
worship service at NYC. All entries to the two contests must be
submitted by Feb. 16, 2014, either by uploading via a link on the NYC
website (coming soon) or by mail to the NYC office. The NYC office is
accepting youthworker applications until Nov. 2. Youthworkers are
dedicated volunteers (college age and older) who help carry out the
plans of the National Youth Cabinet during the week of NYC. For more
information on all three of these opportunities, go to www.brethren.org/yya/nyc/forms.html . Contact the NYC office with any questions at email@example.com or 847-429-4385. Or visit the recently updated NYC webpage: www.brethren.org/NYC .
The Church of the Brethren seeks an individual to fill the
full-time hourly position of media support specialist, a part of the
communications and web teams and reporting directly to the website
producer. Major responsibilities include creating and updating web pages
for the Church of the Brethren, including Annual Conference and all
offices and ministries. Additional responsibilities include formatting
and posting PDF files, maintaining the denomination’s Google calendar,
working with the news director to maintain the digital photo and video
archive and fill photo and video requests, serving as a sounding board
for web, photography, and video questions, and assisting as needed with
technical support within the office, including keeping communications
supplies up to date. Required skills and knowledge include skilled
video editing software, Convio/Blackbaud or other content management
systems, and Microsoft Office component applications including Outlook,
Word, Excel, and Power Point; knowledge of website structure, design,
and usability, as well as when to use different online platforms (web
pages, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, e-mail, surveys, etc.); ability to work
on a team, handle multiple simultaneous projects, and meet deadlines;
excellent customer service attitude. Training or experience in web
technology and software, including page design, is required, as well as a
high school diploma or equivalent. The position is based at the Church
of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill.
Applications will be
reviewed on an ongoing basis until the position is filled. Request the
application packet by contacting Office of Human Resources, Church of
the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; 800-323-8039 ext. 367; firstname.lastname@example.org . The Church of the Brethren is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Erika Fitz has accepted the position of program coordinator for
the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center (SVMC) and will assume her duties
on Aug. 1. A search committee composed of Donna Rhodes, David
Hawthorne, Del Keeney, and Craig Smith was formed to find a replacement
for Amy Milligan who recently resigned as program coordinator. Fitz grew
up in York (Pa.) First Church of the Brethren and is currently
affiliated with the Lancaster Friends Meeting. She earned a master of
divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary and a doctorate from
Emory University. The SVMC office is located on the campus of
Elizabethtown (Pa.) College. SVMC is a ministry partnership of the
districts of Atlantic Northeast, Southern Pennsylvania, Middle
Pennsylvania, Western Pennsylvania, and Mid-Atlantic, along with the
Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership and Bethany Theological
Church World Service (CWS) relief materials have been distributed
in West Virginia and Colorado, through the Church of the Brethren
Material Resources program at the Brethren Service Center in New
Windsor, Md. The shipments to Moundsville, W.V., and to various
locations in Colorado were made from the Brethren warehouses that
process, store, and ship disaster relief goods on behalf of CWS. On
behalf of CWS, Material Resources shipped 600 Hygiene Kits, 500
Emergency Clean Up Buckets, 75 Baby Kits, and 60 blankets to Appalachian
Outreach in Moundsville, which has West Virginia’s only warehouse for
voluntary agencies’ response following disasters, including recent
flooding and Superstorm Sandy, said a CWS release. Some 206 homes in
Roane County and about 140 homes in Kanawha County in West Virginia
suffered flooding during the past three weeks, and areas of the state
are still doing repairs following Superstorm Sandy. The Springs
Adventist Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., received a shipment of
1,020 blankets, 510 School Kits, 540 Hygiene Kits, and 500 Emergency
Clean Up Buckets for distribution to wildfire evacuees and first
responders. Also send to the Pikes Peak (Colo.) Chapter of the American
Red Cross were 300 Emergency Clean Up Buckets and 300 Hygiene Kits for
distribution to wildfire evacuees and first responders.
John Mueller began July 1 as district executive minister for
Atlantic Southeast District, serving in a half-time position. He and his
wife Mary also serve as co-pastors of Jacksonville (Fla.) Church of the
Brethren. The Atlantic Southeast District office has moved to the
Muellers’ home. The district’s new address is 1352 Holmes Landing Drive,
Fleming Island, FL 32003; 239-823-5204; email@example.com
. The former office location in Sebring, Fla., and the former post
office box for the district both closed on June 30. “There will be no
forwarding of mail,” said an announcement from the district. “Please
make sure you start using the new District Office address.”
Tomorrow, July 18, Bridgewater (Va.) College breaks ground on a $9
million Nininger Hall renovation and building project. A 10 a.m.
ceremony is planned. Nininger is the oldest athletic facility in the Old
Dominion Athletic Conference and was last refurbished in 1988, said a
release from the college. The transformation of Nininger, which was
built in 1958, will increase the facility's footprint by as much as
16,000 square feet and will provide a renovated gymnasium, updated
classrooms and laboratory for the health and human sciences program,
renovated faculty and coaches offices, new locker rooms, training/rehab
center, strength/conditioning facility, and team room. Other features
include a new, multi-sport flexible locker room, new building façade and
lobby, and new Athletic Hall of Fame celebration area. Jopson Field
will be included in the makeover, receiving a turf field and the
installation of lights. Bridgewater has launched a capital campaign to
raise funds for the project, which was designed by the Greensboro,
N.C.-based architectural firm of Moser Mayer Phoenix Associates and will
be executed by Lantz Construction in Harrisonburg, Va.
Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) announces the start of the summer
orientation unit, to be held July 16-Aug. 3 at the Brethren Service
Center in New Windsor, Md. This unit will be the 301st for BVS and will
consist of 25 volunteers including 17 Americans and 8 Germans. They will
spend three weeks exploring project possibilities and topics of
community building, peace and social justice, faith sharing, vocation,
and more. Harrisburg (Pa.) First Church of the Brethren is hosting the
unit for their middle weekend of service.
A Deacon Ministry workshop will be offered prior to the Western
Plains District Conference. Led by Donna Kline, director of the
denomination’s Deacon Ministry, the workshop is planned for July 26,
from 1-3:45 p.m. at McPherson (Kan.) Church of the Brethren. From 1-2:30
p.m. the event will focus on “The Art of Listening”; from 2:45-3:45
p.m. the workshop will be on “Offering Support in Times of Grief and
Southern Ohio District has a Special District Conference on July
27 at Prince of Peace Church of the Brethren in Kettering. “The focus
for this special district conference will be Camp Woodland Altars and
recommendations prompted by the directives that were passed at the
October 2012 district conference,” said an announcement. The
recommendations concerning Outdoor Ministries are: 1. To reorganize and
rename current Outdoor Ministries to encompass a larger scale by
changing the name to Camping Ministries, which can include both outdoor
and indoor ministries. 2. To combine the newly named Camping Ministries,
Shared Ministries, and Disaster Ministries under a new ministry title
called Connection Ministries. 3. To hire an Associate District Executive
of Connection Ministries. Recommendations concerning property are: 1.
To cease all operations at Woodland Altars as of Sept. 1. 2. To sell the
property and facilities at Woodland Altars. Find the full document of
recommendations at http://media1.razorplanet.com/share/511272-2452/resources/288707_Publication1.pdf . A timeline of related district decisions is at http://media1.razorplanet.com/share/511272-2452/resources/288434_Timelinefinal.pdf
. The district e-mail included guidelines for respectful communication
to help the district conference “be able to discern God’s spirit moving
among us. May our conversation be pleasing to God, our personal wants
and needs shared respectfully, and our prayers be for the good of others
and for building up the body of Christ.”
Others are holding district conferences on the same weekend:
Northern Ohio District meets July 26-28 in Ashland, Ohio; Southeastern
District meets July 26-28 in Mars Hill, N.C.; and Western Plains
District meets July 26-28 at McPherson (Kan.) Church of the Brethren and
McPherson College on the theme “Transformed by the Light of Christ.”
The Western Plains District Conference planning committee had issued an
invitation to the people of the district to bring their concepts of the
theme to life in artwork for a display at the conference, and Western
Plains also is holding its first Mission and Service Dinner on the
evening of July 27.
Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) is calling for help from its
supporters to replace volunteers to whom Israel has denied entry. “On
two occasions in the past week, Israeli officials at Tel Aviv's Ben
Gurion International Airport refused entry to members of CPT who had
traveled to Israel to join the Christian Peacemaker Team in the
Israeli-occupied West Bank,” said the release. On July 2, Israeli
authorities interrogated a CPT reservist from the Netherlands and held
him in the airport for 14 hours before placing him on a flight home, and
three days later they interrogated a CPT reservist from the US for 10
hours before sending him home. Each had served in Israel-Palestine
before. “CPT's sudden inability to get team members into the country is
especially worrying given Israeli authorities' recent ban on CPT
activities near the Ibrahimi Mosque in Al-Khalil, apparently intended to
halt international nonviolent protective presence in the most sensitive
and volatile area of the city,” the release said. Since May, Israel's
Border Police have prohibited CPTers from wearing their uniform, vests,
and hats, and from recording the obstructions imposed on Palestinians'
daily life between the two main checkpoints that control movement past
the mosque complex, which also includes a synagogue and visitors'
center. In response, the CPT team in Palestine wants to initiate a quick
surge of volunteers traveling through Israel to join its project within
the next few weeks. Find out more and read the full release at www.cpt.org/cptnet/2013/07/10/al-khalil-hebron-urgent-action-help-replace-volunteers-whom-israel-denied-entry-la .
The World Council of Churches (WCC) has announced dates for the
2013 World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel on Sept. 22-28. An
initiative of the Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum (PIEF) of the WCC,
the event “invites churches, faith-based communities, civil society
organizations, and other agencies working for justice to join a week of
prayer, education, and advocacy for an end to the illegal Israeli
occupation of Palestine and a just end to the conflict.” Theme for this
year is "Jerusalem, the City of Justice and Peace." A variety of new
resources including worship resources have been created by partner
congregations and peace activists. Find resources and more information
. To share details about local plans for the week with the WCC, contact
John Calhoun, convenor of World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel, at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Brethren Voices features Jerry O’Donnell as a special guest in
July. This public television program is provided through Peace Church of
the Brethren in Portland, Ore. "Our Man In Washington D.C.” is hosted
by Brent Carlson, and interviews O’Donnell about his personal history
and work as press secretary for Rep. Grace Napolitano of California’s
38th Congressional District. "As a second grader, Jerry O’Donnell was
the only student in his class who was politically engaged,” said an
announcement from producer Ed Groff. “He wore a political campaign
button during the 1992 presidential election. For Jerry O’Donnell...that
served an indication at an early age of his interest in government.”
O’Donnell has been active in various congregations including Royersford
and Green Tree Churches of the Brethren. He is a graduate of Juniata
College in Huntington, Pa., and served in Brethren Volunteer Service as
well as in the Church of the Brethren mission in the Dominican Republic
working with Irv and Nancy Heishman. Recently, he celebrated his third
year anniversary on the staff of Rep. Grace Napolitano. The Brethren
Voices August episode also will feature O’Donnell discussing how to
communicate to Congresspeople and upcoming legislation. Approximately 40
Brethren Voices programs can be viewed on WWW.Youtube.com/Brethrenvoices . Contact email@example.com to order a copy of the July episode on DVD.
Newsline is produced by the news services of the Church of the Brethren. Contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. Contributors to this Newsline include Deb Brehm, Lesley Crosson, Charles Culbertson, Terry Grove, Tim Heishman, Philip E. Jenks, Phil King, Frank Ramirez, Callie Surber, Loretta Wolf, and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren.