Thursday, September 26, 2013

Newsline: September 26, 2013


Preachers are announced for Annual Conference 2014, nominations are sought for next year’s elections.

Columbus, Ohio
Photo by
A view of Columbus, Ohio, site of the 2014 Annual Conference of the Church of the Brethren
The list of preachers and others who will be leading worship at the 2014 Annual Conference of the Church of the Brethren has been announced. The 2014 Annual Conference takes place in Columbus, Ohio, on July 2-6, a Wednesday through Sunday schedule. Delegate registration opens in early January. General registration will open in mid-February.

Also from the Conference Office: a call for nominations for offices to be filled through elections at the 2014 Conference. “Please prayerfully consider nominating persons for leadership,” said the Conference office.

Six offices will be filled: moderator-elect, a position on the Annual Conference Program and Arrangements Committee, a position on the board of On Earth Peace, a position on the board of Brethren Benefit Trust, a trustee on the board of Bethany Theological Seminary representing the colleges, a position on the Pastoral Compensation and Benefits Advisory Committee representing the district executives. Nominations are accepted until Dec. 1. Make nominations online at

2014 Annual Conference worship participants

Preaching on Wednesday evening, July 2: Tom Long of the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga.

Preaching on Thursday evening, July 3: Annual Conference moderator Nancy Sollenberger Heishman, who pastors the congregations of Cristo, Nuestra Paz and West Charleston in Southern Ohio District

Preaching on Friday evening, July 4: Bob Kettering, pastor of Lititz Church of the Brethren in Manheim, Pa., in Atlantic Northeast District

Preaching on Saturday morning, July 5: Erin Matteson, co-pastor of Modesto (Calif.) Church of the Brethren in Pacific Southwest District

Preaching on Sunday morning, July 6: Stafford Frederick, pastor of Summerdean Church of the Brethren in Roanoke, Va., in Virlina District

The Worship Planning Team: Cindy Laprade Lattimer of Lancaster, Pa., and Lancaster Church of the Brethren in Atlantic Northeast District; David Steele, moderator elect from Huntingdon, Pa., and Memorial Church of the Brethren, who serves as district executive minister of Middle Pennsylvania District; Dana Cassell of Manassas, Va., and Manassas Church of the Brethren in Virlina District; David W. Miller of Hanover, Pa., and Black Rock Church of the Brethren in Southern Pennsylvania District

Choir director: Joy Brubaker of Lebanon, Pa., a member of Midway Church of the Brethren in Atlantic Northeast District

Organist: Jonathan Emmons of Greensboro, N.C., and Antioch Church of the Brethren in Virlina District

Pianist: Cyndi Fecher of Chicago, Ill., and Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Illinois and Wisconsin District

Children’s choir director: Donita Keister of Mifflinburg, Pa., and Buffalo Valley Church of the Brethren in Southern Pennsylvania District

Music coordinator: Andrew Wright of New Carlisle, Ohio, and New Carlisle Church of the Brethren in Southern Ohio District

Chris Douglas serves as director of the Conference Office.

Find out more about the Conference theme “Live as Courageous Disciples,” the moderator’s theme statement in three languages including English and Spanish and Haitian Creole, suggested resources to read and study the theme scripture of Philippians, and much more at

Source: 9/26/2013 Newsline

Coordinators of NYC 2014 issue challenge for Brethren youth to exceed capacity at host university.

National Youth Conference (NYC) 2014 logo - large sizeWhat if so many people registered for National Youth Conference (NYC) that Colorado State University ran out of room to house everyone? That’s the challenge NYC coordinators Katie Cummings, Tim Heishman, and Sarah Neher are issuing to Brethren youth and to the denomination as a whole.

The conference is scheduled for July 19-24, 2014, at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo. NYC is a week-long faith formation event for youth and their advisors that takes place every four years. All youth who have completed ninth grade through one year of college (at the time of NYC) are eligible to attend.

Typical attendance at NYC has been around 3,000 in recent history, but Colorado State University is able to house up to 5,000 people. The NYC coordinators are challenging the denomination to fill up all 5,000 beds.

“It may sound like a challenge, but if every participant just brought a friend along, it would happen! Or if everyone who reads this article tried to get one youth to attend NYC, it would happen!” they wrote for Newsline.

“There is a great story in the Gospels about Jesus feeding 5,000 people. Jesus said to his disciples, ‘You give them something to eat.’ And the disciples responded, ‘We only have five loaves and two fish.’ But where the disciples saw an obstacle, Jesus saw an opportunity.

“Particularly at this significant moment in the life and history of the Church of the Brethren, we need every youth to be at NYC 2014. Now is the time to bring the next generation together, to hear Christ’s call, and be blessed for the journey together.”

NYC coordinators see an opportunity to create a “delightful problem” for the Church of the Brethren: so many youth signing up for the conference that staff will “have to scramble to figure out where to house everyone. Wouldn’t that be incredible?”

The coordinators are encouraging church members to help support the ministry of NYC by joining the challenge: “Find one youth to send to NYC 2014!”

For more information about National Youth Conference, visit

Source: 9/26/2013 Newsline

BBT eliminates position of manager of Pension Operations.

Given the ongoing challenges of providing a competitive and cost effective Pension Plan to members, Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) has concluded that the agency needs to refocus resources. Therefore, BBT has taken another step to streamline the Benefits Department and has eliminated the position of Manager of Pension Operations, which has been held by John Carroll.

During this reorganization, Tammy Chudy has begun the interim assignment of providing operational oversight for all of the employee benefits provided by BBT.

Carroll began his employment with BBT on Jan. 25, 2010. He has served as manager of Pension Operations and has been key in assisting with compliance and customer service issues relative to the Pension Plan. He will continue to work on special projects, with his duties ending on Sept. 30, at which time he will receive a severance package. He also will have assistance with searching for a new position through an outplacement agency.

Source: 9/26/2013 Newsline

Clergy Women's Retreat is planned for January in southern California.

2014-retreat-logo“Hand in Hand, Heart to Heart: On the Journey Together” is the theme for the Clergy Women’s Retreat early next year. The event is to be held Jan. 13-16, 2014, at the Serra Retreat Center in Malibu, Calif., sponsored by the Church of the Brethren Office of Ministry.

Leading the retreat will be Melissa Wiginton, vice president for Education Beyond the Walls at Austin Seminary. The scriptural focus is from Philippians 1:3-11 (CEB), “I keep you in my heart. You are all my partners in God’s grace.”

The retreat is open to all credentialed female ministers in the Church of the Brethren. The goal of the event is to provide a time of rest, renewal, fellowship, and inspiration. Events will begin Monday, Jan. 13, at 5:30 p.m. with dinner, and end Thursday, Jan. 16 with lunch. There will be a daily worship service, along with sessions led by Wiginton, opportunities for personal time and recreation, story sharing, and entertainment.

The registration fee is $325 or $415 for a private room, before Nov. 1. Costs rise after that date. Registration covers lodging, meals, and program activities. A limited number of scholarships are available, make requests in writing to with subject line Clergy Women’s Retreat Scholarship. For more information and online registration go to

Source: 9/26/2013 Newsline

‘Prodigal Christianity’ author to speak at General Offices, Bethany, N. Ohio District.

David Fitch
Photo by courtesy of David Fitch
David Fitch
The Church of the Brethren is hosting David Fitch on a speaking tour Oct. 21-23. Workshops and lectures take place at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill.; Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind.; and the Northern Ohio District Office in Ashland, Ohio. An additional event takes place at Ashland Theological Seminary.

Each workshop will focus on “Leadership for a Prodigal Church.” Following his recent book “Prodigal Christianity,” Fitch will explore mission in a post-Christendom context, and ways Anabaptist thought and practice are poised for the current time.

Pastors and other church leaders are invited to attend a workshop in their region:
  • Oct. 21, 1-4 p.m. at the Church of the Brethren General Offices, Elgin Ill.
  • Oct. 22, 9 a.m.-12 noon at Bethany Theological Seminary, Richmond, Ind.
  • Oct. 23, 9 a.m.-12 noon at Northern Ohio District Office, Ashland Ohio
Ministers who attend one of the above workshops may earn .3 continuing education units through the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership. A $10 administrative fee will be charged for continuing education units.

Fitch also will give a public lecture at Ashland (Ohio) Theological Seminary on Oct. 23 at 7 p.m.

Fitch is the B.R. Lindner Chair of Evangelical Theology at Northern Seminary in Chicago, Ill., and founding pastor of Life on the Vine Christian Community, a missional church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. He coaches a network of church plants in the Christian and Missionary Alliance linked to Life on the Vine. He also writes on issues churches must face in mission including cultural engagement, leadership, and theology. His articles have appeared in numerous periodicals including “Christianity Today,” “The Other Journal,” “Missiology,” and academic journals. His books include “The End of Evangelicalism? Discerning a New Faithfulness for Mission,” “The Great Giveaway: Reclaiming the Mission of the Church from American Business, Para-Church Organizations, Psychotherapy, Consumer Capitalism and Other Modern Maladies,” and mostly recently “Prodigal Christianity: Ten Signposts into the Missional Frontier” with co-author Geoff Holsclaw.

Contact Joshua Brockway, director of Spiritual Life and Discipleship for the Church of the Brethren, or 800-323-8039 ext. 303.

Source: 9/26/2013 Newsline

Advent devotional, outdoor ministry curriculum are among new resources from Brethren Press.

“Good News of Great Joy,” the Advent devotional from Brethren Press, and “Get Real: Finding Your True Self in Jesus,” the outdoor ministries camping curriculum for the summer of 2014, are now available. Purchase these and more resources from Brethren Press at 800-441-3712 or A shipping and handling charge will be added to the listed price.

The 2013 Advent devotional from Brethren Press, Good News of Great Joy“Good News of Great Joy” is written by Tim Harvey, pastor of Central Church of the Brethren in Roanoke, Va., and a past moderator of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference. This pocket-sized paperback is meant both for individual use and for churches to provide to members. It includes a devotion, scripture, and prayer for each day from Advent through Epiphany. Get a pre-production price of $2 or $5 for large print for made by Oct. 7. After that date the price goes up to $2.50 per copy, or $5.95 for large print.

Get Real, the outdoor ministries/camping curriculum for 2014 from Brethren Press“Get Real: Finding Your True Self in Jesus” is the outdoor ministry/camp curriculum for next summer, developed by the National Council of Churches Committee on Outdoor Ministries in which Brethren Press is a partner. Offered on DVD, it includes 250 pages of printable curriculum, training video and materials, t-shirt and publicity graphics, and a new bonus section of Day Camp material for up to six weeks of activities. Daily guides engage each age level to explore scripture; experience activities that develop the “Get Real” theme, connect with Bible teachings, and connect with Christian community; and express love of Jesus through worship and song. Purchase one DVD for each camp site. Copies may be made only for use within each camp site. Cost is $375.

Contact Brethren Press at 800-441-3712 or

Source: 9/26/2013 Newsline

Feature: Bethany president focuses on making seminary a priority for the church.

This interview with Jeff Carter, the new president at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., was provided to Newsline by Frank Ramirez, pastor of Everett (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. Ramirez interviewed Carter while both were attending the National Older Adult Conference in Lake Junaluska, N.C., in early September.
Jeff Carter, president of Bethany Theological Seminary
Photo by courtesy of Jeff Carter
Two things. Jeff Carter, president of Bethany Theological Seminary, is focused on two things. “I want Bethany to be your first thought in theological education,” Carter said, “and I want Bethany to be your first thought as a church resource.”

How do you get from youth pastor playing guitar and singing, “Jesus is the Rock and he rolled my sins away?” to a recognized figure in the ecumenical church, the head of an institution more than a century old with a venerable history and a changing future?

“This may not be the traditional path” to the presidency of the seminary, Carter said with a laugh, chronicling his 20-year journey from associate pastor in 1993, through 18 years of pastoral work at Manassas (Va.) Church of the Brethren, to his term as Church of the Brethren representative to the World Council of Churches. But his educational path may have uniquely prepared him for the position.

“I went to Bethany and six additional schools,” he explained. “I was probably one of the first students that did nontraditional education from a distance. I commuted to Bethany, but I also wanted an ecumenical degree, so that when I graduated with Bethany the larger church would also be behind my education.”

Carter considers his ability to balance full-time ministry and full-time education to be one of the gifts he brings to seminary leadership. “I balanced my family life, my church life, my school life, and managed to finance it all, with a sense of integrity and excellence.”

He looks forward to the challenges he faces. “At this time in our history [Bethany is] facing some pressing challenges, which also means we have some of our greatest opportunities. If we are willing to think creatively, imaginatively, and maintain our sense of faith and hopefulness, the future is limitless.”

The main tasks that lie ahead for the school include calling, equipping, and empowering people for ministry in a variety of settings, Carter said, adding “valuing academic rigor and practical experiences, and just exploring with faculty and staff what God is doing in the world and how we might be a part of it. We’re preparing people to share the gospel and extend the kingdom. That could be for the traditional pastoral ministry, church ministry, full-time, part-time ministry, chaplaincy--theological training can be used in a variety of ways. If you’re a lawyer with theological training you can serve the church and be a mediator.”

“I think everyone should have some theological education,” Carter said. One of his jobs, he asserted, is to remove any doubt that getting a theological education is possible. “We provide generous financial aid, and we can assist with housing for our residential students. Our online learning has been cutting edge from the very beginning. We have distributed education, so we can be found in many districts.”

For the individual seeking theological education, questions are similar to those facing the church as a whole, Carter said. “Where are the opportunities? Where’s the adventure?” This sense of adventure and opportunity is something Carter and his family bring to their new home in Richmond, Ind., and to his new position at the seminary, and is something he hopes to instill in all who are thinking of coming to Bethany.

“If there’s one thing I’d remove, it would be the doubt.  If you feel the call, go for it. Let us help you. Come for the big adventure.”

-- Frank Ramirez is pastor of Everett (Pa.) Church of the Brethren and was on the volunteer communication team at National Older Adult Conference.

Source: 9/26/2013 Newsline

Brethren bits.

Bishop emeritus Mano Rumalshah (right) in 2008 at Mission Alive conference held in Bridgewater, Va.
Photo by Janis Pyle
Bishop emeritus Mano Rumalshah (right) in 2008 at the Mission Alive conference held in Bridgewater, Va. He is shown with Church of the Brethren general secretary Stan Noffsinger (left). Rumalshah's former parish, All Saints Church in Peshawar, was the target of a horrendous bombing last Sunday, Sept. 22.
  • Shine: Living in God’s Light, a new Sunday school curriculum being developed by Brethren Press and MennoMedia, is accepting applications for writers for the following age groups: early childhood through junior youth. The writers will be working on products for the 2015–2016 curriculum year. Writers must attend a writers’ conference on Feb. 28-March 3, 2014, at Camp Mack in Milford, Ind. Writers’ expenses for meals and lodging at the conference and reasonable travel expenses will be covered. The application deadline is Dec. 31. For more information and an online application go to
  • Let's move logo 160September has been designated National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, based on the Let’s Move! initiative begun several years ago. “How might we tackle this problem peacefully, simply, together?” asks Donna Kline of Congregational Life Ministries staff. Resources for the Church of the Brethren commitment to this serious issue are available at
  • New Fairview Church of the Brethren in York, Pa., hosts the Fall Banquet for the Carlisle Truck Stop Ministry of Southern Pennsylvania District. The event on Oct. 5 starts at 4 p.m. with a Silent Auction. The meal begins at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $12. Contact the district office at 717-624-8636.
  • The youth at Salem Church of the Brethren at Stephens City have received thanks from Shenandoah District for their “creative and generous support of our disaster response teams.” The youth raised $766 for disaster response by participating in the Route 11 Yard Crawl on Aug. 10, selling sandwiches, drinks, chips, and yard sale items. Also contributing money to disaster relief in the district was the first Family Fun Day on Aug. 24, which brought in about $2,500, said the district newsletter.
  • Southern Ohio District has extended the registration deadline for an Outdoor Ministries Golf Outing on Oct. 5. The registration deadline has been extended to Sept. 30. The annual event is at Penn Terra Golf Course in  Lewisburg, Ohio, and offers fellowship, fun, a challenge, and a way to benefit the Southern Ohio District Outdoor Ministries summer camping program. After play, a meal will be served at Brookville Church of the Brethren. Cost is $70. Go to for more information and a registration form.
  • Idaho District Conference will be held Sept. 27-28 at Nampa (Idaho) Church of the Brethren.
  • The John Kline Homestead holds its Donor Dinner on Oct. 4, at 6 p.m., at Linville Creek Church of the Brethren in Broadway, Va. The featured speaker will be Jeff Carter, president of Bethany Theological Seminary. Cost is $20. Reservations are due by Sept. 30. Contact 540-896-5001 or .
  • Following news of the bombing at All Saints Church in Peshawar, Pakistan, Church of the Brethren general secretary Stan Noffsinger shared his condolences. “It saddens us that acts of violence are perpetrated against any people, and especially where we have a relationship,” he said, remembering the participation of Peshawar bishop emeritus Mano Rumalshah at Mission Alive 2008 in Bridgewater, Va. The attack on the All Saints Church took place Sunday, Sept. 22, and according to “The New York Times” killed at least 78 people, including 34 women and 7 children. The attack was made as some 600 worshipers left the church following Sunday worship to receive free food being distributed on the lawn outside. Also sharing solidarity and concern was the Church of North India (CNI), which in a letter from general secretary Alwan Masih expressed “deep shock and concern at the terrible and inhumane act of bombing of innocent worshipers.... Church of North India deeply expresses its solidarity and concern with the victims and members of the bereaved families. We uphold the affected families in our prayers so that the Lord strengthen their faith as they journey through the time of umpteen trials and tribulations. We assure our continued prayers and support to all the Christian community of Pakistan.” The World Council of Churches characterized the bombing as the “single worst loss of life among Christians in Pakistan” in a letter from general secretary Olav Fykse Tveit, who said it was a “deliberate targeting of a vulnerable Christian community.” He called for an end to wanton violence and asked the government of Pakistan to protect all citizens from those bent on dividing the country and causing suffering.
Source: 9/26/2013 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 Joshua Brockway, Dana Cassell, Chris Douglas, Mary Jo Flory-Steury, Tim Heishman, Donna Kline, Jeff Lennard, Donna March, Jay Wittmeyer, and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren.