Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Cease and Desist

Unless someone asks for it's return, this (unofficial and unaffiliated, if you were wondering) site will no longer be a source for Church of the Brethren news. Apparently Newsline stories may not simply be reprinted even when Newsline is cited as the source.
Someone at really wished that this (Newsline blog) site shut down operations. Although this site does not claim to be an official Church of the Brethren website apparently that was confusing (although there are a multitude of sites that also make no claim of being official Church of the Brethren sites). The claim is that nothing is gained by copying in its entirety each Newsline; fair enough. But is it simply confusing to readers?
They asked us to "Please stop, for the sake of users." Users have always had and will continue to have access to the additional material available at (while that site allows it). This site never restricted any access to and kept Newsline links intact (although, in some instances broken links were corrected).

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Newsline: February 10, 2015


Ballot is announced for the 2015 Annual Conference

The ballot has been announced for the 2015 Annual Conference of the Church of the Brethren, to take place in Tampa, Fla., on July 11-15. The Nominating Committee of the Standing Committee of district delegates developed a slate of candidates, and the Standing Committee then voted to create the ballot that will be presented to the delegate body in July.

Nominees are listed by position:

Annual Conference Moderator-Elect:
Michael Benner of Loysburg, Pa., in Middle Pennsylvania District
Carol Scheppard of Mount Sidney, Va., in Shenandoah District
Annual Conference Program and Arrangements Committee:
Founa Inola Augustin of Miama, Fla., in Atlantic Southeast District
Deborah Lynn Payne of Jonesborough, Tenn., in Southeastern District
Pastoral Compensation and Benefits Advisory Committee:
Beth M. Cage of St. Charles, Minn., in Northern Plains District
Michael S. Miller of Thomasville, Pa., in Southern Pennsylvania District
Review and Evaluation Committee:
Ben S. Barlow of Ellicott City, Md., in Shenandoah District
Tim Harvey of Roanoke, Va., in Virlina District
Leah J. Hileman of East Berlin, Pa., in Southern Pennsylvania District
Cathy Simmons Huffman of Rocky Mount, Va., in Virlina District
Robert D. Kettering of Manheim, Pa., in Atlantic Northeast District
Dale E. Minnich of Moundridge, Kan., in Western Plains District
David K. Shumate of Roanoke, Va., in Virlina District
Craig H. Smith of Elizabethtown, Pa., in Atlantic Northeast District
Phillip C. Stone Jr. of Linville, Va., in Shenandoah District
Fred Wilson Swartz of Bridgewater, Va., in Shenandoah District
Church of the Brethren Mission and Ministry Board:
Area 1 --
Paul Albert Liepelt of Sipesville, Pa., in Western Pennsylvania District
Rebecca Miller Zeek of Duncansville, Pa., in Middle Pennsylvania District

Area 4 --
John Hoffman of McPherson, Kan., in Western Plains District
Vandna Christina Singh of Panora, Iowa, in Northern Plains District

Area 5 --
Mark Bausman of Twin Falls, Idaho, in Idaho District
Mary Fleming of Elk Grove, Calif., in Pacific Southwest District
Bethany Theological Seminary Trustee:
Representing the laity --
Lynn M. Myers, (incumbent), of Rocky Mount, Va., in Virlina District
Deborah Hoffman Wagoner of McPherson, Kan., in Western Plains District

Representing the clergy --
Marla Bieber Abe of Carlisle, Pa., in Southern Pennsylvania District
Christopher Bowman of Manassas, Va., in Mid-Atlantic District
Brethren Benefit Trust Board:
Harry Spencer Rhodes, (incumbent), of Roanoke, Va., in Virlina District
Kay Weaver of Strasburg, Pa., in Atlantic Northeast District
On Earth Peace Board:
Randy Cosner of Dayton, Va., in Shenandoah District
Christy Crouse of Warrensburg, Mo., in Missouri and Arkansas District
For more information about the 2015 Annual Conference go to Delegate registration is now open online at that address. General registration and hotel reservations for nondelegates will open online on Feb. 25.

Source: 02/10/2015 Newsline

General registration and hotel reservations for Annual Conference 2015 begin soon

Logo design by Debbie Noffsinger

Logo for Annual Conference 2015
General registration and hotel reservations open online on Feb. 25 for the Church of the Brethren 2015 Annual Conference. The Conference takes place in Tampa, Fla., on July 11-15. General registration will be available at where online registration for delegates already has begun.

The general registration for nondelegates begins at 12 noon (central time) on Wednesday, Feb. 25, at which time Conference hotel reservations for both delegates and non-delegates also will be available.

After registering, participants will immediately receive an e-mail giving a link to reserve rooms at a Conference hotel. Delegates who already are registered also will receive the e-mail link on Feb. 25 to secure their hotel reservations.

Conference facilities in Tampa

The Conference will meet at the Tampa Bay Convention Center. The headquarters hotel will be the Tampa Marriott Waterside. Also in the Conference hotel block is the Tampa Embassy Suites Downtown.

The Conference hotel rate at the Marriott Waterside is $109 for one to four persons per room. At the Embassy Suites, the rate is $114 for one person per night including a hot breakfast for one, with each additional person in the room charged an additional $10 per night.

More details about these two hotels are on the Conference website. This room rate is only available through the e-mail link, the hotels cannot give the negotiated Conference rate directly.

For any questions, call the Conference Office at 847-429-4365.

Source: 02/10/2015 Newsline

Opportunities at Tampa Conference include meaningful worship, Florida sights, and the work of the church

The Conference Office is highlighting a number of special opportunities on the schedule of the 2015 Annual Conference in Tampa, Fla., July 11-15, in addition to doing the work of the church together. Conference-goers this year may enjoy activities unique to Florida--such as outings to view dolphins in their natural habitat--as well as worship opportunities including a Sunday evening with the music of Ken Medema and the comedy and drama of Ted and Co.

Florida venue

Conference-goers and their families may enjoy some of the sights of Tampa and its seaside location during this annual meeting. Among special opportunities being organized by the Conference Office are Dolphin Trips scheduled for Monday, July 13. A boat will come to the dock at the Convention Center to pick up people who have signed up and purchased a ticket. Tickets will cost $25 per person. Trips will leave at 11 a.m., 2 p.m., and 4 p.m. for an hour and fifteen minute boat ride. Sign up as part of online registration for the Conference, beginning at 12 noon (central time) on Feb. 25 at Tickets will be on a first come, first served basis.

Meaningful worship

Annual Conference Sunday will be celebrated on Sunday, July 12, when Church of the Brethren congregations around the country are invited to worship together by participating in the webcast from Tampa. The Annual Conference Sunday morning worship will be shared via a live video webcast and local congregations may broadcast the service in their own sanctuaries, to join together as one virtual congregation with other Brethren across the denomination. More information about how to join the Annual Conference Sunday webcast will be made available.

The Sunday evening program on July 12 will feature musician Ken Medema and Ted and Co. with Mennonite actor Ted Swartz. Medema and Swartz are well known to Brethren of all ages through their participation in denominational events over the years, including previous Annual Conferences, National Youth Conference, and National Older Adult Conference. The Sunday evening program will be open to all Conference participants, and will take place from 7-8:30 pm.

Photo by Glenn Riegel

Ted Swartz of Ted & Co. (left) hams it up with musician Ken Medema onstage at last year's National Youth Conference (NYC). Both have provided inspirational leadership at previous Church of the Brethren events including Annual Conferences, NYCs, and National Older Adult Conferences.
Schedule overview

The overall schedule for the Conference also includes numerous opportunities for fellowship including a Conference-wide ice cream social, fellowship for delegates who will be seated at round tables again this year, and table fellowship at meal events, among others.

The ice cream social for the whole Conference is on the opening night, Saturday, July 11, in the Convention Center. The ice cream social is free for all Conference-goers, and will take place from 8:30-10:30 p.m.

Also on the schedule are daily worship services, catered meal events, hearings on Conference business, insight sessions, support groups, age group activities for children, youth, and young adults, and additional special activities for single adults and other groups.

Business sessions are scheduled at 2-4:30 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, July 12, and 8:30-11:30 a.m. and 2-4:30 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday, July 13-14.

The Conference opens with worship starting at 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 11, and closes with worship on Wednesday morning, July 15, ending by 10:30 a.m.

For an overview of the schedule and more information about the 2015 Annual Conference go to

Source: 02/10/2015 Newsline

Brethren mission worker involved in auto accident in Nigeria

Photo courtesy of EYN

Cliff Kindy (left) with Dr. Samuel Dali, president of Ekklesiyar Yan'uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria), after the accident.
By Carl Hill

At the end of a busy work week, Church of the Brethren mission worker Cliff Kindy was involved in an auto accident while traveling from Yola to Jos, Nigeria (approximately 200 miles). He and his party appeared unhurt, but the driver of another car suffered a broken leg in the accident.

Traveling by car in Nigeria can be an experience in itself. Speed limits and ordinary rules of the road do not always apply when trying to get from one place to another. Last Saturday, during this trip that usually takes about eight hours, the front tire came off the car somewhere in Bauchi State. The driver lost the ability to keep the car on the road and it veered off into a field where it eventually came to a stop. Meanwhile, the tire continued to roll down the middle of the road where it struck the driver’s side door of an on-coming pickup truck. The tire caused considerable damage to the truck and the driver’s leg was broken by the impact.

Photo courtesy of EYN
Another car was soon sent to pick up Kindy and the others, and they continued to their destination. It was not until the next morning that he suffered the after-effects of the ordeal. Before too long, he was surrounded by his new friends in Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria), his glasses were straightened out, and a few band-aids were put on to patch up our bruised ambassador. Kindy contacted his wife back in the States to let her know what had happened and to assure her that he would be alright.

Markus Gamache, EYN staff liaison, visited the man who was injured in the accident and encouraged him.

We are praying for Cliff Kindy and we believe that God has been watching over him while he has been in Nigeria. The support shown to him by members of EYN leadership is a sign that everything he has been doing there is being appreciated and serves as a testimony to the outstanding work he has been doing.

-- Carl and Roxane Hill are co-directors of the Nigeria Crisis Response of the Church of the Brethren. More about the Nigeria Crisis Response is at

Source: 02/10/2015 Newsline

Brian Bultman begins as CFO, executive for Organizational Resources for the Church of the Brethren

Brian Bultman
Brian Bultman, CPA, of Plainfield, Ill., has been appointed chief financial officer and executive director of Organizational Resources for the Church of the Brethren. He began work at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., on Feb. 9.

“I am excited about the skills that Brian brings to this position, and hope you will join me in welcoming him to the Church of the Brethren,” said Stan Noffsinger, general secretary.

Most recently Bultman has been CFO of NYMEO Federal Credit Union in Frederick, Md., from 2013-2014, where he held responsibility for management of the Accounting, Auditing, Payments, and Information Systems departments, as well as the compliance function, and was part of the Senior Management Team.

From 2004-2013, he worked for Healthcare Associates Credit Union in Naperville, Ill., where he was vice president for Information Systems and chief information officer from 2004-2010, and senior vice president and CFO from 2011-2013.

Previously, he served at three credit unions in Illinois, as vice president of Finance for the Kane County Teachers Credit Union in Elgin from 2001-2003, chief executive officer (CEO) of the Narda Credit Union in Lombard from 1998-2001, and director of Auditing and Compliance at the Baxter Credit Union in Deerfield from 1990-1998.
He holds a master of science in Management Information Systems from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, and a bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and the Illinois CPA Society.

Source: 02/10/2015 Newsline

Julie Kingrey resigns as assistant director of Financial Operations for Brethren Benefit Trust

Julie Kingrey has tendered her resignation as assistant director of Financial Operations for Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT). Her resignation comes after her husband’s work was relocated to North Carolina.

Kingrey has been employed by BBT for a short time, since Aug. 25, 2014. She has been a tremendous asset, in part due to her prior work with BBT while employed by the Nottingham Company--one of BBT’s vendors--and assigned as account manager.

BBT will determine next steps for the Finance Department. Meanwhile, Bob Mosley has agreed to work on a contracted basis to assist with audit papers. He will start work on Monday, Feb. 16.

-- Donna March is director of Office Operations for the Church of the Brethren Benefit Trust.

Source: 02/10/2015 Newsline

‘Dear Ms. Grace, my name is Linh’: Vietnamese students learn from a Brethren life story

By Jess Corrigan and Linh

On Friday, Jan. 30, the English Communication Skills Class at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, had the pleasure of celebrating Ms. Grace Mishler’s and Miss Lan’s birthdays in the classroom. Our guest, Grace Mishler, took center stage as the 12 students in attendance introduced themselves. She is a Social Work Project Developer at the university.

Photo courtesy of Jess Corrigan

Grace Mishler (seated, in an orange blouse) 
with an English class in Vietnam.
The students talked about their jobs, studies, and interests. Everyone spoke clearly and confidently, which was a source of pride for me since the class has only been going for three weeks. It is always a pleasure to invite guests to the class and Grace is a suitable candidate because she paints images when she tells her stories.

The students were entertained when I asked Grace what her first job was. This led to some hilarity when she came up with a string of jobs the first being a prison guard. A graduate of life’s university, our guest had worked in a variety of professions. Her care work involved helping teenage boys and girls who were in dire straits, a stint taking care of people in a mental health institution. And oh! she once worked as an ice cream seller and drove a catering truck. For the past 14 years Grace has been a Social Work Project Developer in Vietnam.

While telling us about the farm where she grew up with seven siblings, Grace embroidered her stories with so much color and imagery especially as she remembered the plants, fruit trees, and vegetables which kept the family going during the long harsh winters. Her mother had to preserve fruit and vegetables--a practice familiar to most Vietnamese people. This provided a vocabulary list which included: apples, peaches, cherries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, potatoes, carrots, lettuce, peas, beans, squash, and pumpkins.

Grace also provided a vivid description of how maple syrup is extracted from the maple tree. Her father would drill a small hole into the tree trunk allowing the sap to drain into a container, then filled jars with syrup available for sale.

Miss Tran, a business woman, took the initiative to thank our guest, concluding with a humorous remark, “I hope someday I will be able to taste the maple syrup from your farm.”

When asked if the students wished a return visit from our guest, all hands were raised and we left the class for our weekend break. Grace later commented on how she felt happy and relaxed during the visit.

It was the least we could do on her birthday.

Jess Corrigan

Photo courtesy of Jess Corrigan

Linh (third from left in the back row) 
with her English class in Vietnam.
Dear Ms. Grace,

My name is Linh from the English Communication Class at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities here in Ho Chi Minh City. My English teacher is Ms. Jess from Scotland.

I would like to thank you for visiting our class last Friday and sharing your interesting stories with us. When I heard about how many different jobs you had, I was surprised. You are the first person I’ve met who had worked in various fields, from a bank teller, an ice cream maker, a driver, and even a prison guard, etc.

Normally in Viet Nam, when you graduate from college or university, you will use your degree to look for a job in the field that you learned at college. It is unlikely that they would change from one company to another so often. But you had a variety of jobs. I wonder how interesting it must have been to have experience in so many things like you. You knew what a bank teller has to do. You knew how to make ice cream in an ice cream store. You knew how to drive a catering truck safely and effectively. And being a prison guard, you had a rare chance to know how a prison was run in reality. (Even though it made me wonder what had led you to this job. Was it hard? Was it dangerous? Was it interesting?) Each of your jobs brought you a different experience. When I listened to your stories, and saw your happy face, I couldn’t stop thinking how interesting it is to have many different jobs like you. It was like an adventure, a job-adventure. It made your life very colorful, didn’t it? Most people who work in one field after graduating do not have as many colors as yours.

This world is large, very large, and colorful too. It is great to experience many different things in life like you. I really wish to have an interesting life like you. Thanks for sharing your  job adventure stories with us.

Oh! And when you talked about your childhood on a farm: wow! I really envy you. You grew up on a big farm with different animals: cat, dog, horse, cow, and so on. Your house was even near a big wood with maple trees. I grew up in a small town in Binh Dinh province, in the middle of Viet Nam. I did not live in a city, my home is small but comfortable. I like planting trees and raising animals very much. But there was no place in my home to plant anything.

About animals, I did once raise a cat. That happened when my father brought home a little white cat. It was really cute. When it was little, my sister and I tried hard to keep it from running out of our home. Well, there is a main street in front of our home, and there are many big trucks driving by, so it is dangerous. But when our cat got bigger, how could you prevent a cat from going out? It just went out at night and came home in the morning. Home is just a place to eat and sleep for my cat. But, it was still cute and it was a brave cat. It chased out all the big dogs in the neighborhood who dared to venture near our home. It wasn’t scared of any big dog.

Until today I still think that it was part of my fault that my cat’s life ended too soon. One morning, it was found in a well with another cat. I could only guess that it got into a fight with the other cat, and then...they both  fell into the well. Since then I haven’t raised any animal and probably won’t until I know how to take better care of the animal. Just feeding it isn’t enough.

As you can see, my childhood wasn’t as interesting as you. It was mostly about school, television, and hard work. So, when I heard your stories, I thought what an interesting childhood you had.

Once again, Ms. Grace, thank you for visiting our class and talking about the interesting things you have experienced. I believe you still have many interesting stories to tell us. Personally I would like to hear more details on how you got your jobs? And any other stories you may wish to share with our class.

I  wish you good health, and please visit our class when you have free time!!!

Yours sincerely,


-- Jess Corrigan, an English teacher from Scotland who is working in Vietnam, and Linh, a student in her English class, provided these reflections for Newsline. Grace Mishler is serving in Vietnam through the Church of the Brethren Global Mission and Service.

Source: 02/10/2015 Newsline

Death Row Support Project: DRSP News, Issue 7, February 2015

By Rachel Gross

Dear Friends of DRSP -- Four years ago, a group here in North Manchester, Ind., asked me to talk to them about the Death Row Support Project, as well as general issues related to the death penalty. A week later, I met with individuals from that group interested in writing to someone on death row. I took to the meeting all of the letters we had from death row prisoners waiting for pen pals. Several people attended; they passed the letters around, reading through them until each person settled on someone they wanted to write.

One of the letters circulated that evening was from Raymond Johnson, who is on death row in Oklahoma. David Waas, a retired Manchester University professor and a member of Manchester Church of the Brethren, selected Raymond's letter and began writing to him.

We ask correspondents to write at least once each month, and more often if possible. Raymond is a prolific letter writer; it seemed like every time I saw David at church, he would say, "I got another letter from Raymond!"

Within a few months, David started sending Raymond a copy of pastor Kurt Borgmann's sermon each week. Raymond very much appreciated the theology expressed in those sermons, as well as the beliefs and views that David expressed in his letters.

One day, David got a letter from Raymond in which he said, "I would like to be a member of your church!" Over time, Raymond continued to express that sentiment.

Eventually, David took this request to pastor Kurt and the church's Executive Board. The board suggested that Kurt begin writing to Raymond, which he did. On Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015, Kurt preached about Jeremiah's prediction of God’s people returning home after being in exile (Jeremiah 31:7-14). Here is part of his sermon:

"Over the last almost 11 months, I have been corresponding with a prisoner on death row in Oklahoma. I started the correspondence because I was asked to by the church board. Raymond is his name, and David and Becky Waas have been writing to him for some years now and sharing with him their Christian love and the messages and spirit of our church. Almost a year ago, Raymond asked them if he could become a member of our church, so the church board asked me to engage in a conversation with him about that.

"Raymond lives on death row. He does not have a home. He wants this to be his home; us to be his home.

"I have to confess that this has been a testing journey for me (and when I say confess, I mean that in the most open sense, because Raymond will read these words--I send him the sermon by mail every week). It's been a testing journey for me because I cannot quite wrap my head around the idea of murder. I cannot fathom it--what possesses a person to kill another. I cannot fathom it and I cannot stomach it. And yet...what Raymond and I have shared with each other across these months of writing back and forth is not inhumanity, but humanity. When I talked in a sermon in early November about upcoming stewardship enlistment--a sermon about the stewardship of self, Raymond made his own commitment card and sent it tucked into a letter. The card said this: ‘I, Raymond Johnson, commit to being the best me I can be and giving of myself freely, and in love and in service, to further the kingdom and still strive to be a light in darkness. All I have is myself, so I strive to better it and give more of it. In God's service, Raymond.’

"The Church Board, at our last meeting, back in December, decided to accept Raymond into membership. (That's the way it works in our church when someone asks for membership--the pastor brings the request, and the board takes a vote.) So, sometime soon, we receive Raymond into membership. He comes home."

This will not be the first time a person on death row has joined the Church of the Brethren. About 30 years ago, Wanda Callahan, then pastor of Jacksonville (Florida) Church of the Brethren, baptized at least one person on Florida's death row, and I believe that person was then a member of the congregation.

Photo courtesy of DRSP
There is a man on death row in Pennsylvania who grew up in the Church of the Brethren. In a letter exchange last year, he and I discovered that we both attended the 1985 Annual Conference. He said he was a kid at the time, there with his parents, and his main memory is playing four-square. This person now has a pen pal who graduated from Manchester University. When he writes to her he sends a piece of origami he has created.

When we started the Death Row Support Project in 1978, I certainly had no idea of the impact it would have on hundreds of lives. And it certainly did not occur to me that someone on death row would become a member of my church. I am grateful for those heeding Jesus' call to visit those in prison, including by letter-writing. And I am grateful that our church can be home for Raymond Johnson.

Praying for a world where all find home,

Rachel Gross

P.S. An update! On Monday, Jan. 26, the man in Pennsylvania who created the origami shown above had his sentence commuted from death to life without parole (lwop). LWOP is not much different from a death sentence, but it still feels like good news.

-- Rachel Gross is director of the Death Row Support Project, P.O. Box 600, Liberty Mills, IN 46946;;

Source: 02/10/2015 Newsline

Brethren bits

Carl and Roxane Hill, co-directors of the denomination’s Nigeria Crisis Response, were hosted last week by Lakewood Church of the Brethren in Millbury, Ohio. Church members observed a day of fasting before enjoying a wonderful dinner and fellowship together. Afterwards, the Hills presented a slide show about life in Nigeria, the violence that is taking place now, and the church’s response to the crisis. If your church or district wants to hear more about what is happening in Nigeria and what the Church of the Brethren is doing to walk with our sisters and brothers in the Nigerian Church of the Brethren, contact Kendra Harbeck at 847-429-4388. She can arrange speakers to come to churches or districts to present on Nigeria including Carl and Roxane Hill, Jay Wittmeyer of the Global Mission and Service, Roy Winter of Brethren Disaster Ministries, or Larry Glick who is offering presentations in the persona of Elder John Kline. Photo by Barbara Wilch
  • Remembrance: Sidney Elizabeth King of Nampa, Idaho, passed away on Jan. 27 following a long illness. She had served as district executive minister for the Church of the Brethren’s Idaho District from Nov. 1989 through Dec. 1998. She also served as treasurer of the Council of District Executives. Prior to that, she served on the denomination’s General Board from 1986-1989. Other church involvements included the Womaen’s Caucus. She was a licensed minister, and a public accountant, and had a business providing bookkeeping and income-tax services. A celebration of life service was to be held today, Feb. 10, at Mountain View Church of the Brethren in Boise, Idaho.
  • More information about “All God’s People Say Amen,” an intercultural retreat on May 1-3 hosted by Atlantic Northeast District and Harrisburg (Pa.) First Church of the Brethren, is now available at The retreat is co-sponsored by the Church of the Brethren Congregational Life Ministries and Intercultural Ministries. The schedule includes plenary sessions, workshops, and worship. Craig Smith, district executive minister of Atlantic Northeast District, will preach on Sunday, May 3, at a joint service. The plenary sessions will be led by Congregational Life Ministries executive director Jonathan Shively, “Anablacktivist” Drew Hart who writes and speaks about Christian response to the issues of race and ethnicity, and Joel Peña, pastor of Alpha-Omega congregation in Lancaster, Pa. Early bird registration costs $40, or $35 per person for groups of three or more (valid until April 1). Find more information and registration at For questions contact Intercultural Ministries director Gimbiya Kettering at or 847-429-4387.
  • Congregational Life Ministries executive Jonathan Shively will provide leadership for “Cultivating for a Great Harvest”--the annual church development conference of Shenandoah District. The conference takes place Feb. 21, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., at Mountain View Fellowship Church of the Brethren in McGaheysville, Va. Shively’s presentation will be on calling and equipping leadership. Cost to attend is $25 per person or $20 per person for groups of more than five from a congregation. For a brochure and more information go to
  • “With Winter comes Spring, Spring comes rain, help us build the Ark one board at a time…” said an announcement of a fundraiser for a Noah’s Ark Playground at Camp Placid in Blountville, Tenn., in Southeastern District. A love offering event is planned for March 22, at Camp Placid. A quartet will sing starting at 6:30 p.m.
  • “Christ the Lord Has Risen; Alleluia; And He Goes Before Us Today” is the title for the Springs of Living Water Spiritual Disciplines folder for the season of Lent and Easter, running from Ash Wednesday, Feb. 18, through Resurrection Day, April 5, and Easter week. The Springs of Living Water church renewal initiative is led by David and Joan Young. “With Lent a season of preparation and repentance, Easter is a season of new life and knowledge that the Risen Christ goes before,” said the announcement. Using Sunday and daily lectionary readings that follow the Brethren Press bulletin series, the folder helps individuals and congregations in daily prayer, following the Brethren practice to live the meaning of the text each day. The folder also has Bible study questions written by Vince Cable, pastor of Uniontown Church of the Brethren south of Pittsburgh, Pa. The folder can be used for individual or group Bible study. Find the folder and Bible study questions on the Springs website at under the Springs button. The use of the folders has now spread to three prisons, the Youngs report, as congregations reach out in their ministries. For more information contact David and Joan Young at 717-615-4515.
  • Former students and graduates of the peace studies program at Manchester University in N. Manchester, Ind., are showcased in a new "Peacemakers Project" online. So far, profiles of the current work of six peace studies grads have been posted including Natalie Rivera (2003), Matt Guynn (1995), Sarah Hall (2007), Yvonne Dilling (1979), Rachel E. Long (2006), and Kourtney Reed (2013). Go to
  • Bridgewater (Va.) College will host a presentation by David Radcliff, director of the New Community Project, titled “1,000 Piece Puzzle” at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 25 in the Carter Center for Worship and Music. “Radcliff, who has just returned from Myanmar and South Sudan, will share stories and photos from his journey, which was undertaken to promote peace,” said a release from the college. Radcliff teaches courses at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College in the areas of globalization, environmental care, and poverty and hunger, and leads Learning Tours to the Arctic, Amazon, Nepal, Myanmar, Sudan, and Central America. He is a 1975 Bridgewater graduate and recipient of the college’s 2008 West/Whitelow Humanitarian Award. His presentation is sponsored by the Glen E. Weimer Peace Lecture Series. The program is free and open to the public.
  • In more news from Bridgewater College, Stephen Longenecker, the Edwin L. Turner Distinguished Professor of History, will speak about his book “Gettysburg Religion: Refinement, Diversity, and Race in the Antebellum and Civil War Border North” at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 19 in the Carter Center for Worship and Music. Longenecker’s book explores the religious history of antebellum and Civil War era Gettysburg, shedding light on the diversity of American religion and the intricate ways it interacted with the broader culture, a release said. He has written five other books, including “Shenandoah Religion: Outsiders and the Mainstream, 1716-1865" and “The Brethren During the Age of World War: The Church of the Brethren Encounter with Modernization, 1914-1950: A Source Book.” Sponsored by the Anna B. Mow Lecture Series, the event is free and open to the public.
  • The E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation has awarded a grant to the Brethren Mennonite Council for LGBT Interests to initiate an online Center for Queer Anabaptist/Pietist Studies. The announcement of the initiative came in the BMC NewsNet e-mail newsletter. “The project, which will be developed over the next three years, will have three primary areas of focus,” the newsletter said: “I. Holding Sacred Memory--The Oral History Project, featuring films and interviews collected from individuals, families and congregations. II. Enhancing Competency and Awareness--The Online Training and Resource Center, offering lgbtq related courses, webinars and resources for pastors, parents and allies. III. Building Connections--The Network for Queer Scholars, Seminarians and Artists, a means to encourage, develop, showcase, and connect scholars and artists who are doing lgbtq related work.”
  • Final policy recommendations of the Interfaith Conference on Drone Warfare have been released online at The Church of the Brethren Office of Public Witness staff were involved in planning for the event, and reported on it in Newsline on Jan. 27 ( ). Headlined, “Immediately Halt Lethal Drone Strikes,” the document quotes from various religious traditions including the New Testament (1 Peter 3:11), and states that the recommendations emerge from “our growing concern about the use of lethal drones by the United States and other countries” centered on “the nature of lethal drones as a weapon, namely their use in targeted killings of specific individuals most of whom are Muslims, their impact upon targeted communities, their operation by remote control, and the consequences that drones increase hostilities.” In addition to the recommendation to immediately halt targeted lethal drone strikes, other recommendations call for transparency and accountability on the part of the US administration in acknowledging the strikes, accounting for victims, explaining official criteria for the “kill list,” and more. The document also calls on Congress to repeal the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force and calls on the President “to rescind the authority of the Central Intelligence Agency, Joint Special Operations Command, or any other government agency or contractor to use weaponized or lethal drones,” among other measures. Find the full document at
Source: 02/10/2015 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 Jeffrey S. Boshart, Deborah Brehm, Jane Collins, Jess Corrigan, Chris Douglas, Rachel Gross, Mary Kay Heatwole, Carl and Roxane Hill, Grace Mishler, Nate Hosler, Jon Kobel, Donna March, Nancy Miner, David Young, and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Newsline: February 3, 2015


Church of the Brethren funds give grants for work in Africa and Haiti

Grants have gone to several ministries in Africa and Haiti from two funds of the Church of the Brethren, the Global Food Crisis Fund (GFCF) and the Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF). The four grants total $49,330.

Democratic Republic of Congo

The Brethren Disaster Ministries staff have directed an EDF allocation of $23,000 for response to major flooding following three days of rain in the far western edge of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In the poor neighborhoods of the city of Uvira more than 980 homes were destroyed, leaving families without most of their belongings, access to drinking water, stored food, clothing, and shelter. The recipient of the grant, Shalom Ministry for Reconciliation and Development (Shalom Ministry), is a ministry of the “Congolese Church of the Brethren,” which while in relationship with Global Mission and Service staff is not yet recognized as an official Church of the Brethren body. The money will provide emergency food, household supplies, and tools to 300 of the most vulnerable households, including 1,000 children, 300 infants, and 800 women. It also will support construction of shelters for two widows.

A GFCF additional allocation of $10,000 supports agriculture work in the DRC. The recipient of the grant, Shalom Ministry for Reconciliation and Development (SHAMIRED), is a ministry of Eglise des Freres au Congo (Church of the Brethren in the Congo). The grant will fund tools, agricultural inputs, training in agricultural techniques, and monitoring activities as part of SHAMIRED's continued work among the Twa people. The Twa are historically a hunter-gatherer society that was evicted from traditional lands in recent decades and brought into conflict, often violent conflict, with its farming neighbors. The new grant request will expand the work to include new Twa families in the cultivation of cassava and bananas/plantains. Twa families that have received training in past years would begin a new vegetable raising initiative, together with Congolese Brethren families who are in need. Previous allocations to this project include: December 2011 $2,500; March 2013 $5,000; March 2014 $5,000.


A GFCF allocation of $10,000 is supporting agriculture work in Rwanda among the Twa (Batwa) people. The project is being administered by ETOMR (Evangelistic Training Outreach Ministries of Rwanda), a ministry of the Evangelical Friends Church of Rwanda. Funds for agricultural inputs and land rental will be used for the expansion of the project to include 60 new families in both an existing potato growing effort and a new maize (corn) growing initiative. A major benefit of the project beyond the potatoes grown for consumption comes from the sale of potatoes to buy annual health insurance for participating families. Previous GFCF grants to this organization in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 totaled $14,026. Since 2011, Carlisle (Pa.) Church of the Brethren also has been supporting this project.


A GFCF allocation of $4,900 supports the attendance of six staff members of the Rural Development Program of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) at an agricultural development forum in Accra, Ghana. Participants will represent EYN's Agriculture and Integrated Community-Based Development Programs. The conference, organized by the Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization (ECHO), will be geared toward “enabling networking related to alleviating hunger and poverty by those persons serving Africa’s poor.” Funds will cover the travel and lodging costs of these six participants.


A GFCF allocation of $1,430 pays for an engineering study in Acajou, Haiti. This study is for a combination drinking water and irrigation project jointly undertaken by the agricultural staff of Eglise des Freres (Church of the Brethren in Haiti) and the Haiti Medical Project's community development staff. Future expenses related to the drinking water portion of this project will be supported through the Haiti Medical Project.

For more information about the Global Food Crisis Fund go to For more information about the Emergency Disaster Fund go to

Source: 02/03/2015 Newsline

Co-directors of Nigeria Crisis Response praise God for ‘phenomenal’ giving

Photo courtesy of Cliff Kindy

Cliff Kindy (right) is pictured here at the site for a camp for displaced people in central Nigeria, near the capital Abuja. This camp sponsored by a nonprofit led by Markus Gamache, staff liaison for Ekklesiyar Yan'uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria), was originally planned for 10 families from both the Christian and Muslim faiths. Since then, the numbers of displaced people has dramatically increased and the camp is now harboring some 100 families.
By Roxane and Carl Hill

“Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise.... The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made” (Psalm 145:3a, 9).

Praise God for what he has been doing through all of you. Your response to the Nigeria Crisis Fund has been phenomenal! In December alone we received donations of $369,000 from 365 churches and individuals. Eleven churches gave over $5,000 each. In January, two churches donated $50,000 and $157,000 respectively.

Personal notes from churches and donors:

“My parents were missionaries there from mid 1930s to 1950. I feel heartbroken about the terrible tragedies taking place there, and my prayers go out to God on behalf of the people there.”

“I was at Garkida and Lassa as the only doctor in a 100-mile radius. I was also elected as the elder for the two small churches for the Chibok tribe. Pray for my people.”

“This effort has inspired and united our congregation in unimagined ways. We are grateful for your leadership in support of our sisters and brothers across the globe who are suffering at the hands of Boko Haram.”

The situation in Nigeria remains desperate. Additional funds are still needed. President Samuel Dali of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) has expressed his appreciation for our fundraising efforts saying they couldn’t do it without us. Markus Gamache, EYN staff liaison, shares his anguish about, “hearing the cry of people with no wisdom to offer in solving their problems.”

Brethren Disaster Ministries volunteer Cliff Kindy provided a report by telephone today, Feb. 3. Here are some highlights:
  • Helping organize Peace and Democracy Conference in Yola: promoting civic responsibility as the national elections draw near (scheduled for Feb. 14).
  • He will accompany delegates from the Swiss Embassy as they visit IDP (internally displaced person) camps in Yola and survey the conditions in Mubi.
  • Boko Haram insurgents continue their campaign of fear with bomb blasts in Gombe where President Goodluck Jonathan was campaigning earlier this week
  • He has been instrumental in encouraging and participating in various Trauma Healing workshops. Mennonite Central Committee is sponsoring one for EYN leadership this week, helping these leaders to lead despite the trauma they may be experiencing.
  • He received reports that the Nigerian military attacked Boko Haram headquarters in the Sambisi Forest. With the successful defense of the city of Maiduguri, it appears that Boko Haram is being limited to hit-and-run tactics.
  • With his encouragement, EYN’s director of education has established a teacher-training program and set up locations to begin teaching at the five IDP camps in Jos.
  • As most of us are digging out of the recent snow storm, he is enduring 100-degree heat with failing electricity, and fighting mosquitoes in humid east Nigeria.
  • He is asking for prayers for his mother who was recently hospitalized; also, continued prayer for his safety and health as he continues his important work in Nigeria.
For more about the crisis response going on in Nigeria as a cooperative effort of Brethren Disaster Ministries and the Church of the Brethren working with Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) go to

-- Roxane and Carl Hill are co-directors of the Nigeria Crisis Response of the Church of the Brethren.

Source: 02/03/2015 Newsline

Youth Peace Travel Team is named for 2015

By Becky Ullom Naugle 

The 2015 Youth Peace Travel Team has been announced. The team is cooperatively sponsored by the Outdoor Ministries Association, On Earth Peace, Bethany Theological Seminary, and the Church of the Brethren’s Office of Public Witness and Youth and Young Adult Ministry Office.

The four team members for 2015 are:
  • Annika Harley of Madison (Wis.) Mennonite Church
  • Michael Himlie of Root River Church of the Brethren in Northern Plains District
  • Brianna Wenger of Woodbridge Church of the Brethren in Mid-Atlantic District
  • Kerrick van Asselt of McPherson Church of the Brethren in Western Plains District.
As the team spends time with 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 2015 Youth Peace Travel Team by visiting

-- Becky Ullom Naugle is director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries for the Church of the Brethren.

Source: 02/03/2015 Newsline

White Gift Offerings, an Ivester tradition of ministry and outreach

Photo courtesy of Ivester Church of the Brethren

Ron Brunk, pictured during his most recent trip back to Hawaii where he grew up
By Marlene Neher

Following the aftermath of World War II, members of Ivester Church of the Brethren in Grundy Center, Iowa, began what has become a long tradition--the White Gift Offering. It began as an offering of clothing, bedding, or other household items for people in need. On a designated Sunday in Advent, members of the congregation were invited to bring a gift, wrapped in white, to place under the church Christmas tree during worship. The gifts were then sent to Church World Service for distribution to needy people.

In more recent years, members have been invited to bring a gift of money in a white envelope for one or more selected projects. Projects chosen usually include a local need and a national or an international need, or a ministry arm of the Church of the Brethren.

Two projects were supported this past Christmas: On Earth Peace and relief work for the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria (Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria, or EYN).

On Earth Peace works as an educational arm of the Church of the Brethren to teach nonviolent ways to confront conflicts in schools, churches, and in everyday living. The White Gift Offering this year netted $734 for On Earth Peace.

During the past year the Nigerian church, EYN, has suffered great loss of lives, churches, property, and schools in the brutal attacks by Boko Haram. Many church members are living as refugees and in need of the basics of life--food and shelter. The offering for the Nigerian church amounted to $2,070. This amount is being matched at the denominational level!

The Missions and Outreach Team at Ivester is responsible for planning the White Gift Offering each year. Ron Brunk has been team leader for the Missions and Outreach Team for the past several years and just recently retired from that position. His leadership, devotion, and world-wide view has been appreciated as he has so faithfully served.

-- Written by Marlene Neher and submitted by pastor Katie Shaw Thompson of Ivester Church of the Brethren in Grundy Center, Iowa.

Source: 02/03/2015 Newsline

Concerned about uncertainties of the Affordable Care Act? Help is on the way

From a Brethren Benefit Trust release

On Feb. 12, Danny Miller, who serves as legal counsel for benefits to Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT), and also serves in that capacity for many mainline Protestant denominations because of his 40 years of experience working with the IRS and church benefit plans, will be discussing the latest news pertaining to the Affordable Care Act in a free webinar. He will be joined by Allison Gardner, a healthcare attorney, who works with him at the Connor and Winters law firm in Washington, D.C.

The webinar, which will begin at 1 p.m. (eastern time) on Thursday, Feb. 12, is sponsored by ECFA, a faith-based organization that focuses on best practice issues. The webinar is free for those who register, and an audio recording will be made available for those who can’t attend the webinar live.

There has been so much confusion about the Affordable Care Act and provisions that pertain to congregations,” said Nevin Dulabaum, BBT president. “This session will provide some context as to the reason for the changes and what they mean to individual congregations. Danny and Allison will hopefully take questions to clear up any remaining ambiguity that still exists after their presentation.”

BBT encourages Church of the Brethren pastors and district executives to sign up for the free webinar.

BBT’s role as an insurance provider within the denomination and as an official Annual Conference agency is to make sure members know which questions they should be asking of their respective accountants and legal counsel to help navigate through ACA rules and restrictions. This webinar gives Church of the Brethren members the opportunity to hear from the team that serves as BBT’s benefits counsel.

Participation is limited, so do not delay in signing up to participate live or to receive an audio recording after the fact. Go to for more information.

-- To join the BBT Alert list and receive pertinent news about tax rules, ACA legislation, and more, please send a request via e-mail to Jean Bednar, Director of Communications, Brethren Benefit Trust, at

Source: 02/03/2015 Newsline

Ministers’ Association ‘Delving Deeply into Compassion’ at pre-Conference event

By Erin Matteson

The Minister’s Association invites you to join them and Joyce Rupp in Tampa, Fla. Registration is up and running for the pre-Conference Meeting, “Delving Deeply into Compassion,” with Joyce Rupp.

Rupp has avidly researched and spoken on the topic of compassion for the past 10 years. She firmly believes that compassion can change a heart, change a life, change a world. Her presentations include foundational insights, as well as current trends related to being a compassionate presence. She will explore the depths of the vital quality of compassion from numerous dimensions, including scripture, science, medicine, spirituality, and psychology.

The focus of this continuing education event will be personal transformation and the renewal of vision and enthusiasm for ministry. Thus, time will be given for integration of the topic by including periods of dialogue and quiet reflection. Come and delve more deeply into a quality of Jesus meant to permeate the heart and life of the pastoral person.

Three sessions will be held: Friday evening, July 10, from 6-9 p.m.; Saturday, July 11 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. with a lunch break. Childcare is provided at a minimal cost. Continuing education units are available.

Register online at today or by mail using the 2015 Event Registration Form found on that webpage. For questions contact Erin Matteson, Ministers’ Association chair, at or 209-484-5937.

More about Joyce Rupp

Joyce Rupp is well known for her ministry as a writer, “spiritual midwife,” international retreat leader, and conference speaker. She is a member of the Servants of Mary religious community and the author of 22 award-winning books on spiritual growth. She has been a spiritual director for 30 years, and a volunteer for Hospice, and is currently the co-director of the Institute of Compassionate Presence. She resides in Des Moines, Iowa, and can be visited online at

View Rupp’s video invitation to the Minister’s Association meeting at

-- Erin Matteson is chair of the Church of the Brethren Minister’s Association and co-pastor of Modesto (Calif.) Church of the Brethren.

Source: 02/03/2015 Newsline

Romans 12 provides theme for National Junior High Conference

By Becky Ullom Naugle

National Junior High Conference will be held June 19-21 on the campus of Elizabethtown (Pa.) College. The conference will invite youth and their advisors to consider Romans 12:1-2. The theme, “Living the Change: Our Offering to God,” asks participants to consider taking their everyday, ordinary life--our sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking around life--and place it before God as an offering.

As junior high youth encounter a number of changes in their lives, the conference will encourage them to live the changes in ways pleasing to God. The event will be enriched by worship speakers Lauren Seganos, Steve Schweitzer, Amy Gall-Ritchey, and Eric Bishop. Seth Hendricks will be coordinating music, and worship will be coordinated by Rebekah Houff and Trent Smith.

In addition to four celebrations of worship, there will be time for learning during workshops and time for play during recreation and evening activities.

Online registration is open at . Register now to take advantage of early bird rates! Through March 31, the cost is $160 per person. After March 31, the cost for regular registration is $185 per person. Travel scholarships are available to those who live west of the Mississippi River.

For more information and to register, visit or call 847-429-4389. National Junior High Conference is sponsored by the Church of the Brethren Youth and Young Adult Office.

-- Becky Ullom Naugle is director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries for the Church of the Brethren.

Source: 02/03/2015 Newsline

Bethany Seminary to host ‘Anabaptism, the Next Generation’

By Jenny Williams

There is talk about “the new Anabaptist.” What images might this bring to mind? Radical discipleship? Searching for authentic community? Working for peace? Loving Jesus? Simple living? Creation care?

The Institute for Ministry with Youth and Young Adults at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., is hosting a new event that will delve into values long held as traditional to Anabaptism and now appealing to new audiences. “Anabaptism, the Next Generation,” to be held April 17-19, targets those in ministry with young adults and welcomes all who want to explore the growing edges of Anabaptism.

"More young people are drawn toward Anabaptist themes of community and simplicity, perhaps as a countercurrent to pervasive individualism and consumerism,” says Russell Haitch, professor of Christian education and director of the Institute. “Peacemaking is also a concern because of outrageous violence in the global village or even because of domestic conflict. And some are even wanting to know how to become radical disciples of Jesus. So, for all these reasons, we thought it would be great to have a conference focused on what Anabaptism means to this next generation."

Among the leadership for the forum are the following Brethren and ecumenical voices:
  • Chuck Bomar, writer and pastor, is also the founder of iampeople, empowering volunteers to serve others in their communities, and of CollegeLeader, a website of resources for college ministry.
  • Josh Brockway, director of spiritual life and discipleship for the Church of the Brethren, brings perspective on how the Brethren are poised well for this new movement in Anabaptism.
  • Dana Cassell, minister of youth formation at Manassas (Va.) Church of the Brethren, offers expertise on discernment in community among young people.
  • Laura Stone, a lifelong Church of the Brethren member and a doctoral student of practical theology and Anabaptism, has a passion for expression of faith through music.
  • Dennis Webb, pastor of Naperville (Ill.) Church of the Brethren, explores the intersection of Anabaptism and multiculturalism.
  • Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, spiritual author and speaker, is the founder of the School of Conversion, building community through prison reform, among the disadvantaged, and in community-based education.
In the style of the increasingly popular TED talks in today’s media, speakers will present topics of relevance and value for community and culture in a series of 20-minute sessions. Leaders also will facilitate discussion groups on topics related to their presentations or other subjects of interest to the group. Participants are encouraged to bring their own questions for conversation with colleagues and forum leadership.

Bekah Houff, coordinator of outreach programs at Bethany, is helping coordinate the event. “The format of this forum came mostly from conversations I’ve had with Brethren young adults across the denomination. Someone suggested a forum in which the speakers gave presentations similar to TED talks instead of longer plenary sessions. People were excited about this idea. Even now as we finalize our leadership and invite people to attend the forum, there is good energy for the format. I’m excited to experience it!”

For those who choose to travel home early, a break in the schedule will take place at 4 p.m. Saturday, with additional group activity and discussion continuing that evening. A formal worship service will be held Sunday morning in addition to scheduled times for singing and worship throughout the forum. Registration begins at noon on Friday. Dinner Friday evening and lunch on Saturday are included in the cost. Early registration will be discounted to $99 through Friday, April 3; the regular cost of $129 will be charged after that date. All students and those in Brethren Volunteer Service can register at any time for $50.

Attendees are encouraged to reserve housing in Richmond early, as several community events are being held that weekend. Blocks of rooms are available at some local hotels, and lodging with host families is an option to reduce costs. Registrants will receive details on housing after their registration has been received. More information and online registration are available at For assistance contact or 765-983-1809.

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

Source: 02/03/2015 Newsline

Drone warfare: Easy and cheap

By Jim Winkler, National Council of Churches

Last summer my extended family gathered for a beach vacation. One afternoon as we were happily enjoying the sun and surf we realized a small drone, much like the one that crashed on the grounds of the White House this week, was hovering over us. For a couple of minutes we found it to be interesting but as the drone remained over us and it became clear the operator was particularly focusing on the women in our family we found it to be unnerving and intrusive. It is estimated some 15,000 consumer drone models are being sold each month in the US alone.

In Palestine, Pakistan, Yemen, and other places much larger, weaponized drones sometimes hover and emit a significant buzzing noise within view of those on the ground. Obviously, this is intended to frighten people. By now, thousands of people in a number of countries have been killed by US drones.

This past weekend, I attended an interfaith conference on drone warfare at Princeton Theological Seminary. We heard from numerous experts on international law, political and international affairs, and moral and ethical thinkers. Rev. Mike Neuroth, co-convener of the NCC Convening Table on Justice and Peace, also attended and moderated a discussion at the conference.

My sense is that drone warfare is demonic. In fact, the General Atomics MQ-9 drone, developed for the US Air Force, is known as the “Reaper,” the symbol of death. Drone warfare has an allure because it permits military and political leaders to say two things you never want to hear said about war: it’s easy and cheap.

Ironically, a 2009 secret CIA report concluded, “The potential negative effect of (High Level Target) operations include increasing the level of insurgent support...strengthening an armed group's bonds with the population, radicalizing an insurgent group's remaining leaders, creating a vacuum into which more radical groups can enter, and escalating or de-escalating a conflict in ways that favor the insurgents.”

In other words, if you terrorize a population by firing missiles at them from the sky which result in the deaths of thousands of bystanders, including hundreds of children, you can expect to drive more and more people into the ranks of your enemies.

The smart thing to do would be for President Obama to rescind the authority of the CIA and the US military to use lethal drones and to work with the international community to negotiate a treaty to ban autonomous weapons systems.

The interfaith drone warfare conference is one milestone on a long spiritual journey many people have been on as we confront what Martin Luther King Jr. referred to when he said, “We must rapidly begin the shift from a ‘thing-oriented’ society to a ‘person-oriented’ society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”

His words are as true today as they were in 1967. It’s time for us to get a move on and bring an end to war.

-- Jim Winkler is general secretary and president of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA. This reflection appeared in a recent e-mail newsletter from the NCC.

Source: 02/03/2015 Newsline

Brethren bits

As Brethren seek ways to reach out to members of our sister church in Nigeria, Larry Glick is available to present a special program. Glick is well known for his portrayals of leaders from Brethren history including Brethren founder A. Mack (Alexander Mack Sr.) and Civil War-era elder and martyr for peace John Kline. The special program for Nigeria will include a time of worship, the story of Elder John Kline, a video presentation on the crisis in Nigeria, and will conclude with an opportunity to contribute to the Nigeria Crisis Fund. Contact Larry Glick at
  • Fahrney-Keedy Home and Village, a Church of the Brethren-related continuing care retirement community near Boonsboro, Md., has announced the retirement of CEO and president Keith Bryan. Bryan, who has been the chief executive since 2010, will retire on Dec. 31. He shared in a release: “The time has come for me to begin planning for my retirement... This decision does not come without prayer and discussion with my family.” Chair of the Board of Directors, Lerry Fogle, commented, “During his tenure as CEO/president, Keith has guided us through some challenging times.  He has returned the organization to financial soundness, restructured and worked on operational efficiency, strongly networked Fahrney-Keedy with the larger community, worked to strengthen the executive team and the board, and played a significant role in developing strategic and master plans for future expansion and development.  Fahrney-Keedy is a better community because of Keith’s valued leadership. We will be looking for a chief executive to continue strong leadership, strategic thinking, and overall excellence for the community into the future.” The Board of Directors has begun an executive search, said the release.
  • Jeffrey A. Bach, director of the Young Center and associate professor of religious studies at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College, has succeeded Dale. V. Ulrich as the Church of the Brethren member of the Brethren Encyclopedia, Inc. Board of Directors. The announcement came in the Winter 2014 issue of “Brethren Encyclopedia News.” Bach has served as editor of the Brethren Encyclopedia Monograph Series since 2007. Ulrich retired from the board in Oct. 2013 and was appointed to an Honorary Membership after serving as secretary since the board’s formation in 1977--a position he held for 36 years. He is the only surviving original member of the Brethren Encyclopedia Inc. Board of Directors and was a participant in the first meeting of the Brethren bodies called by M.R. Zigler in June 1973. He attended each of the board’s biannual meetings, recorded the proceedings, wrote the minutes of the meetings, participated in development of five Brethren World Assemblies, and playing a large role in preparation of Volume 4 of the Brethren Encyclopedia after the death of Donald F. Durnbaugh. In 2005 he began producing the catalog, and since 2002 he has published the annual newsletter. Previously he was a professor of physics at Bridgewater (Va.) College for 14 years, dean of the college for 15 years, and provost for 9 years.
  • In more news from the Brethren Encyclopedia Inc., the organization has made a plea for financial help for the Alexander Mack Museum in Schwarzenau, Germany--the village that witnessed the birth of the Brethren movement and the first baptisms in the Eder River in 1708. With initiative from the late Donald F. Durnbaugh, an endowment was created in the 1980s to support a museum in the Hüttental area above Schwarzenau where the first Brethren lived. “The endowment for the Alexander Mack Museum (now $40,000) was sufficient to support operations for many years,” the newsletter reported. “Because investments in Germany are yielding exceedingly low interest rates at this time, the endowment produced an income of only $500 in 2013--far below the $4,300 needed.” The board of the Brethren Encyclopedia Inc. has set a goal of establishing an additional endowment of $40,000 invested in the US, “which would provide adequate diversity of investment and stable support for the Museum.” Contact Brethren Encyclopedia Inc., 10 South Broad St., Lititz, PA 17543.
  • Lakewood Church of the Brethren in Millbury, Ohio, will host a presentation by Carl and Roxane Hill, co-directors of the Nigeria Crisis Response of the Church of the Brethren, tomorrow, Wednesday, Feb. 4. The event was announced in the “Sentinel-Tribune” of Bowling Green, Ohio. The Hills previously have served as mission workers at Kulp Bible College of Ekklesiyar Yan'uwa in Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). “The presentation will conclude a local church sponsored day of fasting and prayer for the people ravaged by the terrorists in Nigeria,” the newspaper reported. The Hills’ presentation will start at 7 p.m., preceded by a light dinner served at 6 p.m. for anyone wishing to attend.
  • Roundtable, a Church of the Brethren regional youth conference, takes place at Bridgewater (Va.) College on March 20-22. The theme, “Follower and Friend: Our Relationship with God,” is inspired by John 15:12-17. The speaker will be Carol Elmore, minister of youth and music at Oak Grove Church of the Brethren in Roanoke, Va. Friday night entertainment will feature Jessica Crawford, a Christian recording artist and former member of the youth group at Bridgewater Church of the Brethren. The event also includes small groups, workshops, a variety show, singing, vespers, recreation, and more. Participants will stay on the college campus for the weekend and eat their meals in the dining hall. Estimated cost is $50 per participant. The event is for high school age youth and adult advisors. Information is being posted, with registration opening soon, at For questions e-mail
  • Southern Pennsylvania District is challenging its congregations and members to raise $250,000 for the Nigeria Crisis Fund by the time of the 2015 district conference in September. The challenge was issued by the district board, and shared in the district newsletter. As a way of celebrating attaining the goal, two district members--Larry Dentler, an ardent Farmall fan, and Chris Elliott, a John Deere aficionado--will exchange tractors for a day, the newsletter said. “Brother Dentler is already being teased by Brother Elliott about how wonderful it will be to see him on a green tractor.”
  • Each year, McPherson (Kan.) College offers travel opportunities during spring break that students can spend their time serving others, said an announcement in the Western Plains District newsletter. Two Alternative Spring Break trips will be offered this year from March 16-20. One option will take students to the Heifer Ranch in Arkansas, with opportunities to experience team building, along with service activities like milking a goats or harvesting vegetables, while learning how Heifer International functions. The second Alternative Spring Break trip is to the Lybrook Community Ministries and Tokahookaadi Church of the Brethren in New Mexico. “The Lybrook Community Ministries is experiencing growth and rejuvenation and our students will have the opportunity to be a part of it,” said the newsletter. “They will spend the week working on houses in the community, assist with cooking at the mission, work in the thrift store, and possibly assist with setting up the spring garden. The evenings will be spent participating in community activities offered by Lybrook Community Ministries such as GED class, craft night, carpentry class, etc. They might even have an opportunity to learn some of the Navajo native language.” Students are not asked to pay for the cost of Alternative Spring Break trips. Some of the necessary funds are raised, but the college is still looking for 20 people to sponsor a student’s Alternative Spring Break trip at $150 each. Contact Jen Jensen, director of Spiritual Life and Service Learning, at or 620-242-0503.
  • The Shenandoah District Service Ministries Team is awarding grants to congregations that are ready to take on a new service project, said an announcement in the district newsletter. “In 2014, the Service Ministries Team approved seven $1,000 grants to congregations across the District,” the newsletter reported, listing some of the service projects supported: Antioch Church’s "Welcome Home" ministry for persons moving from homelessness to new homes; Briery Branch’s restoration of a local residence for a family of five; Concord’s new well and associated plumbing; the start of a new thrift shop by Mt. Zion/Linville to support an orphanage in Haiti; Mt. Zion/Luray’s support for a pre-med student who volunteers in Kenya; Staunton workcamp experience in Mexico; an outreach ministry called the Connection by White Hill joining with other Stuarts Draft congregations. “Christ's work is being done in the Shenandoah District!” the newsletter said.
  • Shenandoah District’s Pastors for Peace will hold its annual "Peace Feast" Living Peace Recognition Banquet at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 17, at Staunton (Va.) Church of the Brethren. This fifth annual banquet will recognize the work of Church of the Brethren peacemakers the late R. Jan Thompson and Roma Jo Thompson, who have been members of Bridgewater (Va.) Church of the Brethren. Evan Knappenberger, a member of Veterans for Peace, will speak; and special music will be provided by Scott Duffey. Cost is $15 for adults and $10 for students. Registration and payment are due to the district office by March 10. For a flier go to
  • The first event in celebration of the 90th Anniversary of Camp Mack in Milford, Ind., is a Sweetheart Banquet “for all those who love Camp Mack,” said an invitation. The Sweetheart Banquet is on Feb 14. “This will be a very special evening beginning with hors d'oeuvres at 5 p.m., followed by dinner at 6 p.m. Special recognition will go to those who met or were married at Camp Mack,” said the invitation. The banquet features a photo booth, dancing, shrimp cocktail, prime rib, chocolate, and flowers. Register online at or call 574-658-4831.
  • Southeastern District Church of the Brethren has issued an invitation to a reception for Mandy Rocker, administrator of the John M. Reed Home Home and Healthcare, a Church of the Brethren-related retirement community in Limestone, Tenn. The celebration takes place on Feb. 5 at 2 p.m. “Come and meet the staff, see the remodeled facilities, and share in the celebration of Mandy’s graduation and licensing as well as the Five Star rating from the State,” said the invitation. Contact 423-257-6122.
  • Bridgewater (Va.) College and 14 other private, nonprofit colleges in the Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia and the US Department of Energy have joined forces to help develop comprehensive plans for implementing solar power on area campuses, said a Bridgewater release. “Money for the three-year program will come through the CICV via an $807,000 award provided by the Department of Energy SunShot Initiative. The program will help Bridgewater and partner schools navigate complex legal, regulatory, and technical challenges associated with installing solar-powered systems. It will also provide group purchasing to achieve price reductions for hardware and installation services and create a learning network accessible by other organizations considering solar power.” Consulting services will be provided by Optony, Inc., a global consulting firm focused on solar energy. The project is to create and implement a replicable plan for participating institutions to deploy solar electricity within five years.
  • The Kansas Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (KIPCOR) in North Newton, Kan., is offering a two-day course “Managing Differences within Faith Communities” on April 23-24 from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. “Differences in the congregation don’t have to result in a polarization that leaves a congregation stuck in disagreement,” said an announcement. “Resilient congregations understand this. Still, many of us feel ill prepared to handle conflict within our faith communities.” The course will help participants learn how to transform conflict into spiritual and community renewal, focusing on biblical and theological principles; congregations as family systems; levels of conflict within faith communities; collaborative and transparent decision-making principles; structured dialogue in high-anxiety situations; and congregational discernment processes. Cost is $300 per person or, for congregations sending more than one member, $250 per person for two people or $200 per person for three or more. The course will be held at KIPCOR’s Kaufman House Training Facility at Bethel College. Academic credit, continuing education credit, and seminary credit are available. The instructors are Robert Yutzy, senior associate, Congregational Ministries; and Kirsten Zerger, KIPCOR director of Education and Training. Go to For questions contact Doug Lengel, office manager, at 316-284-5217 or
Source: 02/03/2015 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 Jean Bednar, Jeffrey S. Boshart, Nevin Dulabaum, Gary Flory, Larry Glick, Mary Kay Heatwole, Carl Hill, Roxane Hill, Cliff Kindy, Ellen K. Layman, Erin Matteson, Nancy Miner, Becky Ullom Naugle, Marlene Neher, Glen Sargent, Katie Shaw Thompson, Vonna Walter, Jenny Williams, Jim Winkler, Roy Winter, and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren.