Brethren bits for Jan. 10, 2013




-- The Colorado Council of Churches based in Denver, Colo. is seeking an executive director beginning May 15, to lead a state-wide, ecumenical community where covenant relationships and partnership efforts can flourish, advancing the mission “Walking Together in Faith, Working Together for Justice.” The executive serves as the primary face and voice of the council within the Christian community, interfaith relations, and addressing social justice issues. Information about the position, scope, qualifications, compensation, and application process may be found at www.cochurches.org . Send application materials to ApplicationCCC@stlukeshr.com . First consideration is being given to applications that were received by Jan. 4.

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-- Bethany Seminary faculty will offer Lenten devotionals continuing in the style of the Advent devotionals previously offered on Bethany’s website. Seminary teaching and administrative faculty will write the devotionals. Beginning Feb. 11, devotionals for Ash Wednesday, each Sunday in Lent, and Easter will be at www.bethanyseminary.edu/resources/devotionals based on Lenten lectionary texts. It is hoped that the insights, meditations, and prayers shared by the seminary faculty will be meaningful and useful to congregations, organizations, and individuals throughout the season.

-- Those planning to travel to the Holy Land in June with the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership trip led by Marilyn Lerch and Dan Ulrich, are requested to check now to be sure that passports are good through the end of 2013. If not, apply for a new passport today, notes Lerch in a reminder. For details of the trip go to www.bethanyseminary.edu/academy/courses or be in touch with the leaders at ulricda@bethanyseminary.edu or lerchma@bethanyseminary.edu .  The 12-day trip will begin on June 3.

-- The New Church Development Advisory Committee (NCDA) of the Church of the Brethren has announced its first webcast training event, a half-day session to be held May 18. “It is the vision of the New Church Development Advisory Committee to bring our district teams and leaders together for this unique learning opportunity that will include a keynote presentation and conversation groups,” said the announcement. The committee includes Rubén Deoleo, Lynda Devore, Steven Gregory, Dava Hensley, Ray Hileman, Don Mitchell, Nate Polzin, David Shumate, and Jonathan Shively, executive director of Congregational Life Ministries. Stan Dueck, director of Transforming Practices, is involved as well.

-- Sangerville Church of the Brethren in Shenandoah District is hosting an organ concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 13, in celebration of its new Viscount Prestige 100 organ. The concert is presented by Whitesel Music and features organist Jesse Ratcliffe.

-- Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren in Fort Wayne, Ind., hosted an information session about drones this past Sunday, Jan. 6, during the adult education hour with youth also invited to attend. Dave Lambert brought a model of a drone, showed a video, and led a discussion about how drones are used and misused, what the dangers are, and what church members can do.

-- The Agape Group at Manassas (Va.) Church of the Brethren is planning to attend the Feb. 12 Annual Lincoln Cemetery Ceremony in Rockingham County, Va., at the Lincoln Homestead--the original residence of President Abraham Lincoln’s grandfather. For the past 34 years, Church of the Brethren leader Phil Stone has conducted a ceremony in the Lincoln cemetery to honor President Lincoln and his Virginia family, said the announcement.

-- Virlina District has announced that its District Resource Center in Roanoke, Va., will relocate to 3402 Plantation Road, NE, in Roanoke, as soon as renovations of the new facility--a former bank building--are complete. As a result of the move, the district office will be closed through Jan. 14, at 8:30 a.m. On that date the new mailing address will become effective. Telephone and e-mail contact information will not change. Until renovations are complete, the district staff will work out of space provided by Williamson Road Church of the Brethren at 3110 Pioneer Ave., NW, in Roanoke. The district’s old facility on Hershberger Road will be demolished and the site landscaped as a part of a beautification project of Friendship Retirement Center. The district plans a “dismissal service” to mark the end of its 47-year residency on the campus of the retirement community on Jan. 12 at 5 p.m.

-- In more news from Virlina District, churches and individuals have been contributing to a special offering for Hurricane Sandy response. “Thus far we have received $24,162.92 from 44 congregations,” reports the district e-newsletter.

-- Northern Plains District has announced the launch of the Vital Ministry Journey in the district, as a previous program called Sending of the Seventy wraps up. “Meetings will be held in January and February in five areas of Northern Plains District to advance our emphasis on congregational vitality and renewal,” reported district executive Tim Button-Harrison in the district newsletter. “Participants will hear stories from visitors to churches from the most recent Sending of the Seventy and learn about the Vital Ministry Journey designed to unite congregations in discovering gifts, discerning God’s call, and developing vital ministries. Also there will be time for worship, for visiting with those in similar positions (i.e. board chairs, deacons, pastors, moderators, etc.), and for calling area ministers/shepherds.” The district is planning five meetings, one for each cluster of churches, and inviting all interested people to attend. The meetings started Jan. 5 and continue through Feb. 17.

-- The Shenandoah District Office will again be a Kit Depot for Church World Service in 2013. All forms of CWS relief kits including School Kits, Hygiene Kits, Baby Care Kits, and Emergency Clean-Up Buckets may be delivered to the district office at 1453 Westview School Road, Weyers Cave, Va., (adjacent to Pleasant Valley Church of the Brethren) beginning April 8 through May 16. The Depot will accept kits and buckets 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday. The kits will be picked up following the Shenandoah District Disaster Ministries Auction and trucked to the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md, for processing and warehousing. Details about kits and contents are at www.churchworldservice.org .

-- Manchester University’s College of Pharmacy professor Sidhartha Ray was selected as a national recipient of the 2013 Society of Toxicology Undergraduate Educator Award. “This honor is a significant tribute to Dr. Ray’s teaching, and we congratulate him!” said Manchester University president Jo Young Switzer in her e-mail newsletter.

-- “Manifold Greatness: The Creation and Afterlife of the King James Bible” is a traveling exhibition opening Feb. 2 at the High Library at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College. It celebrates the 400th anniversary of the first printing of the King James Bible and examines its fascinating and complex history, said a release. Elizabethtown is one of 40 sites across 27 states displaying the exhibition and the sole location in Pennsylvania (visit www.manifoldgreatness.org for detailed information). In addition to the exhibition, the High Library will showcase four displays of historical texts and Bibles including the High Library c.1599 copy of the Geneva Bible, from the Elizabethtown College special collections. Additional items will be shown from the special collections of the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist studies including the 1712 Marburg Bible, a mystic and prophetic Bible, as well as the Behrleburg folio, which includes a Bible and related commentary from the 1730s.The exhibit was organized by the Folger Shakespeare Library and the American Library Association Public Programs Office and made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Guest lecturer for the opening reception is Jeff Bach of the Young Center, who will speak  Feb. 2 at 2 p.m. Faculty will give a panel discussion on Feb. 6 at 4 p.m. on the topic “Shakespeare, Literature, and the Language of the King James Bible.” Panelists include Christina Bucher, professor of Religious Studies.

-- January’s “Brethren Voices” community television show features Stanley J. Noffsinger, general secretary of the Church of the Brethren. Host Brent Carlson interviews Noffsinger about his nine years as general secretary of the denomination. “His family heritage with the Church of the Brethren can be traced back many generations as his father was a Brethren pastor as well as his grandfather,” reports producer Ed Groff in an announcement. “The land for the Lower Miami Church of the Brethren in Southern Ohio was donated by his great, great grandfather.” Noffsinger also speaks about his passion for the church and his work in a job that “is different every day, and there’s always a challenge.” In February, “Brethren Voices” will feature Brethren Volunteer Service worker Rachel Buller of Comer, Ga., who is the first BVS volunteer to serve at the Asian Rural Institute in Nasushiobara, Tochigi-ken, Japan. To subscribe to “Brethren Voices” contact groffprod1@msn.com .

-- Christian Churches Together (CCT) has announced an April event to observe the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” The ecumenical organization, of which the Church of the Brethren is a member, also plans to release a formal response to that historic letter. CCT’s annual meeting early in 2013 in Austin, Texas, will focus on the human realities, legal implications, and challenges of immigration in the US--building on previous meetings devoted to the topics of poverty, evangelism, and racism.

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