The National Youth Cabinet met Feb. 20-22 at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., to select the theme for National Youth Sunday 2015. The cabinet selected Romans 8:28-39 as scripture focus for the theme “Always Loved, Never Alone.” Congregations are invited to celebrate the worship leadership gifts of their youth by participating in National Youth Sunday on May 3. Worship resources will be posted at www.brethren.org/youthresources on April 1. Shown above from left: Digby Strogen, Pacific Southwest District; Olivia Russell, Pacific Northest District; Krystal Bellis, Northern Plains District; Alexa Harshbarger, Northern Indiana District; Yeysi Diaz, Southern Ohio District; Emily Van Pelt, advisor, Virlina District; Jeremy Hardy, Mid-Atlantic District; Glenn Bollinger, advisor, Shenandoah District. Becky Ullom Naugle met with the cabinet in her role as director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry.
-- Remembrance: N.L. “Pete” Roudebush, 73, of Taylor Valley, Va., a former co-executive minister for Southeastern District, died Feb. 22 in Bristol, Tenn. He was an ordained minister and pastor of Walnut Grove Church of the Brethren in Damascus, Va. The following message was shared by Southeastern District: “It is with heavy hearts we want everyone to know Pastor Pete of Walnut Grove Congregation went to be with the Lord this morning at Welmont Hopsice House. We ask you to keep the family and our congregation in your prayers in the days ahead.” He was born in Harrison, Ohio, on June 19, 1941, attended Sinclair Community College earning an engineering degree, and worked for Parker Hannifin in Eaton and Brookville, Ohio. He was called into ministry and earned a bachelor of arts in Biblical Studies from Trinity Bible College and Seminary, and a master of divinity, doctor of ministry, and doctorate in theology from Andersonville Bible Seminary. In 2000 he was called as co-executive minister for Southeastern District with his wife, Martha, and served the district for 10 years. He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Martha June Roudebush; son Daryl Roudebush and wife Jackie of Alexandria, Ohio; daughter Carol Morris and husband Chris of Orland Park, Ill.; grandchildren and great grandchildren. The funeral was held this afternoon, Wednesday, Feb. 25, at Riverview Chapel at Garrett Funeral Home in Damascus. A second service will be on Saturday, Feb. 28, at 2 p.m. at Robert L. Crooks Funeral Center in West Alexandria, Ohio, and the family will receive friends from 1-2 p.m. prior to the service. Memorial gifts are received for Wellmont Hospice House in Bristol, Tenn., and Walnut Grove Church of the Brethren. Condolences may be posted online at www.garrettfuneralhome.com .
-- Remembrance: Margaret M. “Margie” Petry, 84, a former Church of the Brethren mission worker in Nigeria, died on Dec. 8, 2014. She had been living at Timbercrest in N. Manchester, Ind. She and her husband Carroll “Kaydo” Petry served in Nigeria with the Church of the Brethren from 1963-69. She also was a professional artist. Many of her works are found at Camp Alexander Mack, including the most recent addition to the camp’s murals. She was born Aug. 10, 1930, in Akron, Ohio, to Joseph Clyde and Rachel Merle (Barr) James. In Aug. 1950 she married her high school sweetheart, Kaydo, and supported him while he completed Manchester College and Bethany Seminary. The couple lived in Indiana and Illinois, where Carroll Petry pastored several churches, before going to Nigeria. On their return to the US he continued his career as a pastor while she completed a degree at Manchester College and became an art teacher for 17 years, teaching at two high schools in Indiana. She earned a master’s degree and a life teaching license during the course of her teaching years. She was a member of Manchester Church of the Brethren. She is survived by her husband, Carroll "Kaydo" Petry; son Daniel Mark (Amy) Petry of Bristol, Ind.; daughters Dianne Louise (Rich) Wion of North Manchester, and Darlene Kay (Doug) Miller of Dillsburg, Pa.; grandchildren and great grandchildren. A memorial service was held Dec. 22, 2014. Memorial gifts are received to Timbercrest Senior Living Community, Charitable Assistance Fund. Condolences may be shared online at http://mckeemortuary.com/Condolences.aspx .
-- “Please hold Cliff in your prayers for comfort and safety in the days ahead, and for safe travel home,” said a prayer request from the Church of the Brethren General Offices, asking for prayer for Cliff Kindy whose mother June Kindy passed away Feb. 20. Cliff Kindy has been serving in Nigeria as a volunteer with the Nigeria Crisis Response, and will be returning to the US within the week. A memorial service for June Kindy will be held March 28 at the Timbercrest Chapel in North Manchester, Ind. The family will receive visitors at the chapel beginning at 1:30 p.m. and the service will begin at 2 p.m. June A. Kindy, 85, was active in service work and volunteering in the church, having been a part of the second unit of Brethren Volunteer Service, and having served in Migrant Ministry in Florida. Her family frequently sponsored refugees and worked with exchange students, many of whom lived for a time with them. She volunteered at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., and as a Heifer Project hostess in Massachusetts. She was a member of Eel River Community Church of the Brethren in Silver Lake, Ind. She is survived by sons Cliff (Arlene) Kindy of North Manchester, Ind., Bruce (Donna) Kindy of Wooster, Ohio, and Joe (Peggy) Kindy of Sterling, Ohio; daughters Treva Schar of Wooster, Ohio, and Gloria (Dan Garrett) Kindy of Rockville, Md.; grandchildren and great grandchildren. Memorial gifts are received to Heifer International and the Timbercrest Charitable Assistance Fund. Condolences may be shared online at http://mckeemortuary.com/Condolences.aspx .
-- A webinar on the “Faith Community Responding to Crisis in Syria and Iraq” on Feb. 27 at 1-2 p.m. (eastern time) is recommended by the Church of the Brethren Office of Public Witness. The event addresses how the faith community can respond more fully, clearly, and effectively to the crisis in Syria and Iraq, discusses regional dynamics and the US role in the crisis. The event will propose action items for the faith community to engage. There will be time for discussion from all participants. Main speakers are Raed Jarrar, Policy Impact coordinator, American Friends Service Committee (who was born in and lived in Iraq); Elizabeth Beavers, legislative associate on militarism and civil liberties, Friends Committee on National Legislation; Wardah Kalhid, Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellow in Middle East Policy, Friends Committee on National Legislation. Facilitators are Marie Dennis, co-president, Pax Christi International; and Eli S. McCarthy, director of Justice and Peace, Conference of Major Superiors of Men, a Catholic organization. Register at https://pbucc.webex.com/pbucc/j.php?RGID=r6f7897e80e077d9e2bd986ead18a0c22 . Once the host approves the request, a confirmation e-mail will be sent with instructions for joining the meeting. For assistance go to https://pbucc.webex.com/pbucc/mc and on the left navigation bar, click “Support”; or contact Neurothm@ucc.org .
-- Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) is seeking an assistant director of Financial Operations, a full-time salaried position based at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. The primary function is to review and coordinate the reporting of all accounting and financial transactions related to the operations of the programs and administration of BBT. Duties include producing monthly financial statements, managing payroll, monitoring and managing cash flow, preparing account analyses, providing backup for other positions in the Finance Department, and completing other duties assigned by the director. The assistant director of Financial Operations will attend local BBT Board meetings and other BBT-related events, as assigned. The ideal candidate will possess a high level of technical proficiency, attention to detail, impeccable integrity, a collegial and engaging demeanor, and a strong faith commitment. Candidates with undergraduate degree in accounting are sought, a CPA is preferred. Requirements include strong verbal and written communications skills, proficiency in Microsoft Office, a strong working knowledge of fund accounting, and a track record of developing first-in-class support of operating activities across product lines within a complex enterprise. Experience with Microsoft Great Plains is desired. Current and active membership in the Church of the Brethren is preferred; current and active membership in a faith community is required. Salary and benefits are competitive with Church Benefits Association agencies of comparable size and scope of services. A full benefits package is included. Apply by sending a letter of interest, résumé, three professional references, and salary-range expectation to Donna March, 1505 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120,,or email@example.com . For questions or clarification about the position, call 847-622-3371. For more information about BBT visit www.brethrenbenefittrust.org .
-- Timbercrest seeks an associate administrator. Timbercrest is a Church of the Brethren-related retirement community in N. Manchester, Ind. This position has responsibility for human resources, risk management, corporate compliance, and oversight of support services departments. The position requires an Indiana Health Facilities Administrator’s License or the ability to obtain the same. Interested parties should contact David Lawrenz, Executive Administrator, at 260-982-2118 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
-- David Sollenberger will present a program about Nigeria at a meeting of Seniors for Peace at the Timbercrest Chapel in North Manchester, Ind., tomorrow, Thursday, Feb. 26. “Everyone is invited to join,” said an announcement. The presentation will begin at 10 a.m.
-- Registration is open online at www.brethren.org/codeconference for a conference on church leadership sponsored by the Council of District Executives. A brochure with more details is at www.brethren.org/ministryoffice/documents/code-conference-brochure.pdf . The event takes place May 14-16 at Frederick (Md.) Church of the Brethren.
-- La Verne (Calif.) Church of the Brethren is celebrating its quasquicentennial (125th anniversary) this year, reports member Marlin Heckman. Some special events are planned throughout the year, and one Sunday each month the church is having a “quasquicentennial moment” in worship on themes such as the cornerstone, women in the church, music in the church, camping, relationship to the University of La Verne, and more. An anniversary logo has been created by Eric Davis.
-- Elizabethtown (Pa.) Church of the Brethren is hosting a presentation by John Tirman, executive director and principal research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for International Studies, on March 4, at 7 p.m. Tirman heads the Persian Gulf Initiative at the center. He will talk about his book, "The Deaths of Others: The Fates of Civilians and Their Cultures in America's Wars." The free event is co-sponsored by the Lancaster Interchurch Peace Witness Forum and the international studies program at Franklin and Marshall College.
-- “Keep Calm and Be a Dunker Punk” is the theme for Regional Youth Conference at McPherson (Kan.) College on March 6-8. The event is for senior high youth and advisors. The theme scripture is from Isaiah 1:17: “Say no to wrong. Learn to do good. Work for justice. Help the down-and-out. Stand up for the homeless. Go to bat for the defenseless” (The Message). The conference will feature leadership by David Radcliff of the New Community Project, and performances by Mutual Kumquat and Ted and Co. The fee for youth to attend is $65. Special pricing is available for college students willing to volunteer part of their time to assist with the weekend. For more information and online registration go to www.mcpherson.edu/ryc . For questions contact Jen Jensen, McPherson College director of Spiritual Life, email@example.com or 620-242-0503.
-- The public is invited to performances by Mutual Kumquat and Ted and Co. in McPherson, Kan., as part of the Regional Youth Conference. Ted and Co. will present “Laughter Is Sacred Space” in Brown Auditorium at McPherson College at 12 noon on March 6, and “The Big Story” at 1 p.m. on March 7 at McPherson Church of the Brethren. Mutual Kumquat, a band rooted in the Church of the Brethren, and billed as “obviously the best band ever,” will perform at the McPherson Church at 9 p.m. on March 7. “All are welcome to attend these events!” said an invitation from the church.
-- Mount Morris (Ill.) Church of the Brethren “is encouraging others to be visible in a stand for peace and a different approach to life” through the sale of yard signs with the words “On Earth Peace” and a logo featuring the dove of peace. A letter from the congregation’s Mission and Evangelism Team announced the effort. The team had signs printed using memorial funds, with permission from On Earth Peace, in order to share a “clear, simple, and beautiful” message, wrote Dianne Swingel. The congregation promoted the signs at the Illinois and Wisconsin District Conference and now is reaching out to neighboring congregations, camps, nursing homes, educational institutions, and some 20 Mennonite churches in the area. The signs are suitable for placing in a yard or window. Each sign is printed on both sides on durable material, and comes with a sturdy metal framework. “When thinking about the many cars and trucks which pass my home, with the OEP sign out front, there is likely a very, very small number who are Church of the Brethren,” Swingel wrote. “The others are those with whom we want to share the beautiful message of peace.” Cost per sign is $10. Order from Mt. Morris Church of the Brethren, P.O. Box 2055, Mt. Morris, IL 61054, 815-734-4574, firstname.lastname@example.org .
-- The February edition of “Brethren Voices,” a community television program of Portland (Ore.) Peace Church of the Brethren, features an interview with Kim Stafford, son of poet William Stafford. Producer Ed Groff notes that this follows the March 2014 “Messenger” feature about William Stafford, who was Poetry Consultant for the Library of Congress in 1971-72. He was a member of the Church of the Brethren and during World War II served as a conscientious objector in Civilian Public Service. He worked for three years maintaining roads, building trails, restoring eroded lands, and fighting forest fires. After the war he taught high school, worked as secretary to the director of Church World Service, and completed his master’s degree at the University of Kansas with his thesis topic concerned his war experience as a CO. In 1948, William Stafford taught at Lewis and Clark College in Oregon before serving on the faculty at Manchester College in the English Department. He later returned to Lewis and Clark where he taught until his retirement. He died in Aug. 1993, having authored more than 60 volumes of poetry. His son Kim Stafford has continued to assist his father’s publishing efforts. Many poems are still to be published. Kim Stafford speaks with host, Brent Carlson, in this edition of “Brethren Voices.” Next month “Brethren Voices” features David Radcliff of the New Community Project. Contact producer Ed Groff at email@example.com .
-- “A Collage” concert is set for March 1 at Bridgewater (Va.) College, according to a release. The concert will be in the Carter Center for Worship and Music and is free and open to the public. A variety of college ensembles will perform jazz, gospel, and popular music. The Jazz Ensemble will be directed by Christine Carrillo, assistant professor of music and director of instrumental music. The College Chorale and the Concert Choir will perform under the direction of John McCarty, assistant professor of music and director of choral music. The A Cappella Choir will be directed by Katelyn Hallock, a senior music major, and Jordan M. Haugh, a junior music major, both from Frederick, Md. The Gospel Choir will perform under the direction of Rianna Hill, a senior English and communication studies double major, from Richmond, Va.
-- Candlelight dinners at the John Kline Homestead in Broadway, Va., are planned for March 20 and 21, and April 17 and 18, at 6 p.m. The dinners bring to life the Shenandoah Valley of 150 years ago, during the fifth year of the Civil War. After the burning of the valley by Union forces under General Sheridan, “families strain to find enough food and shelter after a bitterly cold winter,” said an announcement. “Listen to their conversation around a family style meal in the 1822 Kline home.” For reservations call 540-421-5267 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org . Cost is $40 per plate and groups are welcome.
-- Casa de Modesto marks its 50th anniversary in May, and is planning a year’s worth of activities to celebrate. Casa de Modesto, Calif., is a member of the Fellowship of Brethren Homes. As part of the celebration, the center is adding special activities including several open houses and a fundraiser in the fall. Staff and residents are putting together a time capsule to be opened in 2065. Also in the works are a Senior Gala in May, a Chamber of Commerce mixer in June, and participation in the 4th of July parade. The anniversary recognizes the work and foresight of Merle Strohm, member of Modesto Church of the Brethren, whose dream led to the creation of Casa de Modesto. It is the only nonprofit retirement center in Modesto that offers three levels of care for its residents--independent living, assisted living, and skilled nursing care.
-- A New Community Project Learning Tour visited communities and a camp for internally displaced people in South Sudan from Feb. 8-18. The focus of the trip was to connect with partners in Nimule and Narus, where grants support girls' education, women's skill training, and reforestation initiatives, reported director David Radcliff. “NCP provides scholarships for some 250 primary and secondary girls in half a dozen schools, sanitary kits for 3,000 young women, and recently raised over $30,000 to construct a girls' boarding school, which had just opened its doors as the group arrived,” he reported. “For women, the organization provides funding for tailoring training courses and gardening projects. To facilitate these efforts, NCP works through the Sudan Council of Churches in Narus, and the Girlchild Education and Development Association in Nimule.” The group also visited the Melijo camp, home to more than 1,000 refugees from the current round of fighting in South Sudan. A group of 100 women welcomed them, and shared requests for pots and pans, sleeping mats, a grinding mill--concluding with “husbands” because many are widows or have been abandoned. “NCP will offer some modest support, short of spouses,” Radcliff said. Brethren from Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Arizona participated in the delegation. Find out more at www.newcommunityproject.org .
-- Civil society groups including churches have again been denied access to the United Nations Conference on Disarmament, reports the World Council of Churches (WCC). “With governments spending record sums on arms, the world desperately needs a multilateral negotiating forum dedicated to disarmament,” said Peter Prove, director of the WCC Commission of the Churches on International Affairs, in a release. “It used to have one, here in Geneva. It is called the United Nations Conference on Disarmament (CD) and it has just tried--for the 18th year in a row--to agree a program of work. It has failed again, spectacularly,” said Prove. The UN Conference on Disarmament is the world’s only permanent multilateral disarmament negotiating forum. Its successes include a 1996 treaty banning all nuclear tests, its last achievement to date, the WCC release said. All civil society organizations are excluded and the CD president, Ambassador Jorge Lomónaco of Mexico, presented three drafts on the topic early in the session. However, the United Kingdom objected which denied the required consensus. In the meantime, the WCC reports that momentum is building in other international gatherings to ban nuclear weapons, with 44 of the countries present at the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons calling for a ban (see www.oikoumene.org/en/press-centre/news/momentum-builds-for-ban-on-nuclear-weapons ).
-- The World Day of Prayer is scheduled for Friday, March 6. This global, ecumenical movement of Christian women joins together to observe a common day of prayer each year on the first Friday of March, under the motto, “Informed Prayer and Prayerful Action.” The 2015 worship celebration is written by women from the Bahamas, on the theme of “Radical Love,” and the invitation to “come and be washed in God's ever-flowing ocean of grace: to bask in the iridescent light of Christ's love, and to be embraced by [God's] Holy Spirit with the cooling trade-winds of transformation.” Order this year’s worship resources by calling 888-937-8720. Find out more at www.worlddayofprayer.net or www.wdp-usa.org .
-- The National Council of Churches (NCC) has distributed a “Call to Multi-Faith Solidarity” in the wake of the killings of three Muslim students in Chapel Hill, N.C. The call comes from Shoulder to Shoulder, a campaign with the goal of “standing with American Muslims; upholding American values.” The three murdered students were Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21; her husband, Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23; and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19. “Regardless of the motivation of this particular tragedy, it has very clearly highlighted concern in the Muslim community about rising anti-Muslim sentiment. Now is the time for those of us in the faith community who are not Muslim to stand with our Muslim brothers and sisters,” said the statement from Shoulder to Shoulder. The campaign urges religious leaders to use scriptures highlighting themes of love, contact mosques or Islamic centers to offer condolence and support, use social media to join in expressions of condolence and support, among other activities. One suggestion is to listen to a National Public Radio StoryCorps piece with shooting victim Yusor Abu-Salha, at www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2015/02/12/385714242/were-all-one-chapel-hill-shooting-victim-said-in-storycorps-talk .
-- The World Council of Churches (WCC) has strongly condemned the latest attacks and atrocities reportedly committed by the so-called “Islamic State” against Assyrian Christians in Syria. The WCC released a statement today, Feb. 25, expressing grave concern over reports of attacks on Christian settlements, killings of civilians, abduction of more than 100 people, and provocation to a mass exodus of communities. The WCC denounced “these and all other attacks against this diverse social fabric, on which rest the prospects for an inclusive society and sustainable peace,” said Georges Lemopoulos, as acting general secretary. “The WCC condemns all violent attacks against civilians as war crimes and crimes against humanity, whoever may commit them.” Read the statement at www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/general-secretary/statements/statement-condemning-attacks-on-assyrian-christians-in-syria .
-- Rudy Amaya of Principe de Paz Church of the Brethren has received a Youth Opportunity Scholarship from Pacific Southwest District. He will use it to attend Christian Citizenship Seminar this April in New York and Washington, D.C. “Rudy demonstrated his skills for preaching during the Saturday evening District Conference Worship in November, 2014,” reported district youth advisor Dawna Welch. “He feels called to serve God, his church, and the disadvantaged. Please uphold Rudy and the 10 youth from La Verne Church of the Brethren with your prayers and blessings for safe travel and continued growth in faith.”