Columbia City (Ind.) Church of the Brethren will hold a ground-breaking ceremony for its new addition this Sunday, May 15. Activities include worship at 10 a.m. followed by a carry-in meal at 11:15, and the ground-breaking service at approximately 12:30 p.m. All are welcome to join the church for this celebration. The congregation, established in 1961, purchased the existing 2,932 square foot building from the First Church of God that same year. Throughout the past 55 years the church has seen times of decline in the 1980s and 1990s followed by steady growth since 2000. “We’ve outgrown our space,” said pastor Dennis Beckner in a release. “Our children’s ministry, youth ministry, and young adult ministry has grown in recent years which has made us tight on space.” The church has used the former parsonage as classroom and youth group space since the early 1990s. The addition to the current building has been in the works since 2000. “We originally voted to move to a new site back in the early stages of this process,” Beckner said. “But as upgrades to the current building were completed and the realization of how much space we would be able to afford in an entirely new building became clear, we found that we were being led to stay right where we are now.” The new addition will add a total of 3,634 square feet to the current building, and is expected to be completed by Christmas.
-- Remembrance: Betty Jeanne Brooks Campbell, 90, died May 9 at Timbercrest Senior Living Community in North Manchester, Ind. She was a former Church of the Brethren mission worker in India. She was born in Bulsar, Bombay Province, India, the daughter of Harlan and Ruth Brooks who were Church of the Brethren missionaries. Her grandparents, D.L. and Anna Forney, were also missionaries there at the time. She grew up in India and attended Woodstock School, a boarding school for missionary children. After returning to the United States she attended La Verne (Calif.) College, now the University of La Verne, and Manchester College, now Manchester University, where she met her husband Glen Campbell. They were married June 8, 1948, at Walnut Street Church of the Brethren. She taught school while she and her husband prepared for mission work, and he received a master’s degree in agriculture at Cornell University and then continued his studies at Bethany Biblical Seminary in Chicago. In 1952 they sailed on a freighter to Bombay, India, where her parents were waiting to greet them. They served at several mission points in India for 18 years, then returned to the US to settle in Indiana. They served Liberty Mills Church of the Brethren from 1970-76 and the Guernsey/Pike Creek congregations from 1976-91, in South/Central Indiana District. Most recently, she lived at Timbercrest for ten and half years. She was preceded in death by her husband Glen (2010), daughter Margaret Ann (1999), and son Phil (2016). She is survived by her son John, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. A memorial service took place May 13 at the Timbercrest Chapel. Memorial gifts are received to Timbercrest Senior Living Community, and to Manchester Church of the Brethren.
-- Remembrance: Georgia Bagus, a former employee of the Church of the Brethren at the General Offices in Elgin, Ill., passed away May 9 at Delnor Hospital in St. Charles, Ill. She worked part-time for the former General Board in several capacities, serving as part-time secretary to the General Secretary from 1984-87, in 1995 returning on a part-time interim basis as transition support to the Treasurer’s office, and in 1996 serving as part time secretary to the Treasurer’s office. A memorial service was held May 13 at St. Patrick Parish in St. Charles. “Please hold Georgia’s husband, Brian, and her family and friends in your prayers for comfort,” said a prayer request from the General Secretary’s office.
-- Remembrance: Robert O. "Bob" Smith, 68, of Eldora, Iowa, died at home on April 22 after a 3 1/2 year battle with cancer. From 1985-92 he was manager of Camp Pine Lake, a camp of the Church of the Brethren’s Northern Plains District. “We are grateful for Bob's ministry with our camping program. Please keep Bob's family in your prayers,” said district executive Tim Button-Harrison in a remembrance in the district newsletter. Smith was born Nov. 26, 1947, in Waterloo, Iowa, to Orville C and Leona E. (Stout) Smith. Farming was his life-long goal, and he was the first in the history of Fredericksburg (Iowa) FFA to achieve the American Farmer Award that is only earned by 1 in 1,000 FFA members, said an obituary. He graduated from McPherson (Kan.) College with a degree in agriculture. He married Linda K. Allebach and later returned to Waterloo. He brought a new Pioneer funds investment program to Iowa, instead of returning to the family farm, and also owned numerous rental properties. A move to Eldora as manager of Camp Pine Lake brought him back to childhood days of attending church camp there. A new chapter in his life opened when he married Debra J. (White) Hightshoe. In later years he discovered a passion for driving semi-truck as a company driver for a few years before buying his first semi, and had a total of six in his fleet as an owner operator leased to Mara Transport. After 14 years in business as R.O.S. Express, his health forced the close of that dream. He was an active member of Eldora United Methodist Church, serving as a church trustee, and was a member of the Eldora Kiwanis, where he was currently vice president. He is survived by his wife Debra J. Smith and children Anisa M. Smith of Eldora, Galen R. Smith and Erin of Smithville, Mo., Trevor R. Smith of Des Moines, Iowa, and granddaughter. A memorial service was held on April 29 at Eldora United Methodist Church. Find a full obituary at www.abelsfuneralhomes.com/obituary/Robert-Bob-O.-Smith/Eldora-IA/1610791#obit-services .
-- Ken Neher has been employed as the new executive director for Wenatchee (Wash.) Brethren Baptist Homes, DBA Garden Terrace. He will begin in June. Neher served for several years as director of Funding for the Church of the Brethren denomination, and also has previously served as district executive in Pacific Northwest District.
-- Fabiola Fernandez of Elgin, Ill., has been hired as systems specialist for the Church of the Brethren, working at the denomination’s General Offices in Elgin. She starts on May 23 in the Information Technology office. She is a 2015 graduate of Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill., where she earned a bachelor of science degree in operations management and information systems. She also holds an associate’s degree from Elgin Community College. Her previous work experience has been in retail sales. She carried out a student internship abroad with Human Connections in Bucerias, Nayarit, Mexico.
-- Frederick A. Miller of Greenwood, Del., will begin June 22 as the 2016 intern in the Brethren Historical Library and Archives. The BHLA is located at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. A lifelong member of the Church of the Brethren, he graduated in 2014 from McPherson (Kan.) College with a bachelor of science degree in Historic Automotive Technology. He also has attended the Delaware Technical and Community College, where he studied design engineering technology and architectural drafting. He has worked at Camp Mardela, a Church of the Brethren camp near Denton, Md., and has been a student librarian at McPherson College and an archival intern at Studebaker National Museum in South Bend, Ind.
-- On Earth Peace is welcoming two new interns. Bryan Hanger is starting as Peace Day organizer, working to promote and support organizing efforts for Peace Day on Sept. 21. He is a student at Bethany Theological Seminary working toward a master of arts degree with a concentration in peace studies. He formerly served as advocacy assistant in the Church of the Brethren Office of Public Witness. Christine Kindler is starting as organizer for the Stop Recruiting Kids Campaign, working to expand the campaign through social media and public advocacy. She is a student at Eastern Mennonite University’s Center for Justice and Peace, working toward a master of arts degree in conflict transformation with a focus on the intersection of militarization and psychosocial trauma. On Earth Peace offers paid internships for college students and recent graduates. More information, including current openings and application instructions, can be found at http://onearthpeace.org/internships .
-- Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., seeks a half-time admissions counselor to work with the seminary admissions team starting in July. The position reports to the interim executive director of admissions and student services. The admissions counselor will oversee direct contact with potential students to help generate robust enrollment, enacting recruitment strategies as set forth by the interim executive director and the admissions team; will engage in face-to-face interactions and needs to be able to demonstrate excitement and enthusiasm in a wide variety of recruitment situations; will make new contacts with prospective students that reflect a growing diversity in the student body, strengthening existing prospective relationships, and inviting persons to attend Bethany by assisting them in discernment from prospective conversations to enrollment. This position requires broad travel within the United States. The office location is negotiable. Qualifications include admissions experience and a master of divinity or master of arts degree in a theological field, preferred; a bachelor’s degree with admissions experience is acceptable. Affinity with the values and mission of the seminary is required, and an understanding of the Church of the Brethren, in the Anabaptist-Pietist tradition, is preferred. Multicultural competency and the ability to engage with potential students of all age ranges and with individuals at all levels of university and denominational structures is required. Applicants should demonstrate strong interpersonal and oral and written communication skills, a collaborative working style, self-motivation, and task management skills. The use of social media and electronic communication is expected. For a complete job description, see www.bethanyseminary.edu/about/ employment . Application review will begin immediately and will continue until an appointment is made. To apply, send a letter of interest, resume, and contact information for three references to email@example.com or by mail to: Attn: Amy S. Gall Ritchie, Bethany Theological Seminary, 615 National Road West, Richmond, IN 47374. Bethany Theological Seminary’s policy prohibits discrimination in employment opportunities or practices with regard to race, gender, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, or religion.
-- Messenger magazine seeks an editorial assistant who will serve as an intern through Brethren Volunteer Service. The volunteer will write articles and assist the editorial team. The position, located at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., provides room and board, insurance, and a small stipend. For more information contact Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, associate editor of Messenger and director of News Services, at firstname.lastname@example.org .
-- Bridgewater (Va.) Retirement Community invites local young people, ages 12-18, to a summer of service as junior volunteers. This youthful and energetic group interacts with residents of the retirement community, gets a taste of the health care field, and builds lasting relationships. For more information, contact Laura Ipock, director of volunteer services, at 540-828-2682 or email@example.com by Friday, May 20. Mandatory orientation is June 15-16, and the program runs through the end of July.
-- Elkins (W.Va.) Church of the Brethren will celebrate its 65th anniversary on Saturday, June 18, with a special program beginning at 2 p.m. “Everyone is invited to come and help us reminisce and share an afternoon with old friends and family,” said an announcement from West Marva District. For additional information contact pastor John Knoll at 304-677-5780.
-- McPherson (Kan.) Church of the Brethren hosts a performance of the McPherson Community Brass Choir under the direction of Jerry Toews at 5 p.m. Sunday. The brass choir will give a Sousa-style concert. There is no cost to attend. The concert will feature professional jazz trombonist Denny Brunk on jazz numbers, and virtuoso trumpeter Kyle Unruh, McPherson High School Band Instructor, among other performers. The McPherson Brass Choir has been together since the early 1970s, said an article in the McPherson Sentinel. See www.mcphersonsentinel.com/news/20160513/brass-choir-to-give-free-concert-sunday .
-- “Praise the Lord! Mortgage is paid!” said an announcement from Shenandoah District. “The last payment on the Shenandoah District Office has been made--more than 11 years ahead of schedule!” The district newsletter reported that the district purchased the former parsonage of Pleasant Valley Church of the Brethren in 2002, with a 25-year mortgage note for $225,000. The former parsonage was converted into the district’s headquarters. The final payment on the mortgage was scheduled for Oct. 1, 2027, but “thanks to a very successful capital campaign by Brethren Woods, which included paying down the mortgage, the office is paid for. Brethren Woods made debt reduction contributions of $76,000. And, by beating the schedule by 11 years, the District has saved about $75,000 in interest charges,” said the district newsletter.
-- Camp Galilee in West Marva District is offering a Senior Citizen’s Camp on June 7, beginning at 9 a.m. The day’s events include breakfast and lunch, a program, and opportunities for fellowship. A free-will offering will support Samaritan’s Purse. Register by May 27. Call the district office at 301-334-9270.
-- The Brethren Bible Institute is scheduled for July 25-29 on the campus of Elizabethtown (Pa.) College. This event is sponsored by the Brethren Revival Fellowship (BRF). The courses offered this year include “Church Leadership and Administration,” “The Book of Judges,” “The Supernatural World,” “Relationships,” “The Book of Ecclesiastes,” “The Beloved Old Man on an Island--John, “More Than a Prophet: Jesus and the Gods of This World,” “History of the Christian Church,” “How to Study the Bible,” and “The Book of Job.” Instructors are Craig Alan Myers, Eric Brubaker, Carl Brubaker, Wilmer Horst, Fred Beam, John Minnich, and Steve Hershey. Total cost for dormitory students including room, board, and tuition, is $250 for the week. Applications must be completed by June 25. Continuing education credit is available for ordained ministers. Request an application form by mail to Brethren Bible Institute, 155 Denver Road, Denver, Pa., 17517.
-- Three Juniata College faculty members were honored May 3 with distinguished teaching and service awards during the Spring Awards Convocation in Rosenberger Auditorium in the Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts on the college campus in Huntingdon, Pa. Honored for their work were Dominick Peruso, professor and chair of accounting, business, and economics; Jay Hosler, professor of biology; and Regina Lamendella, assistant professor of biology. Peruso was honored with the 27th annual Beachley Award for Distinguished Academic Service. Hosler was named the 49th recipient of the Beachley Award for Distinguished Teaching. Lamendella received the Henry and Joan Gibbel Award for Distinguished Teaching (for faculty members with fewer than six years of service).
-- Bridgewater (Va.) College has recognized three students in the department of Philosophy and Religion for academic excellence. Andrew Bollinger and Kelsey Limbert, who will graduate May 14, and Laura Michaelis were recognized for academic excellence at the college awards ceremony on May 1. Bollinger received the Religion Award; he is a philosophy and religion major with a minor in English, is a member of the Brethren Student Movement, serves as secretary of the Interfaith Board, and is the son of Glenn and Debbie Bollinger of Bridgewater, Va. Limbert received the Philosophy Award; she is a philosophy and religion and Spanish double major with a minor in peace studies, is a member of the leadership team for the Brethren Student Movement, serves as a coordinator on the Spiritual Life Board, and is the daughter of Brad and Linda Limbert of Brookville, Ohio. Michaelis received the Ruth and Steve Watson Philosophy Scholarship Award, presented to a rising junior or senior. Michaelis, a philosophy and religion major with a minor in psychology, is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Michaelis of Oakton, Va.
-- Four Bridgewater College students have received the 2016 Summer Christian Experience Scholarship and will spend 10 weeks in the summer working at Church of the Brethren camps. Each student was awarded $2,800 from the scholarship program, which is funded by the Bridgewater College endowment fund. Receiving the scholarships are: Gabriel Lake, a sophomore from Eldersburg, Md., who will serve at Brethren Woods in Keezletown, Va.; Dafne Espinal, a freshman from Reading, Pa., who will serve at Camp Elder in Fairfield, Pa.; Imani Harris, a junior from Ashland, Va., and Lacey Householder, a junior from Williamsport, Md., both of whom will serve at Shepherd’s Spring in Sharpsburg, Md. The Summer Christian Experience Scholarship Program was created to memorialize a number of outstanding church leaders, and enables students to gain valuable experience and training in various forms of Christian ministry while providing useful service to church-related camps.
-- World Council of Churches (WCC) staff and partners were detained or deported by Israeli authorities after traveling to Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv for a climate justice meeting. In a release, WCC general secretary Olav Fykse Tveit termed the treatment unprecedented and intolerable. “The WCC protests the excessive, unreasonable, and wholly unwarranted treatment by the Israeli authorities of these representatives of WCC member churches and staff traveling to engage in discussions on climate change and environmental stewardship, at the invitation of and hosted by WCC’s member churches in the region,” he said. Members of the WCC Working Group on Climate Change from as many as 13 countries reported they were held for hours of interrogation, including tough intimidation and detention in prison-like conditions for up to three days. “We react in different ways emotionally to experiences like this,” Tveit said. “For all of them, I think it was totally unexpected and very disturbing, for most of them shocking, as they have never experienced anything like this before.” Although there have been small incidents in the past, there has been nothing approaching this level of intimidation of WCC by Israeli authorities, Tveit added. He said he had no reason to believe there would be any problem for people traveling to this meeting, particularly since there have been other such meetings over many years, not only related to climate change but also to ecumenical relations, peacemaking, and theological reflection. For many years, the WCC has drawn on resources and counterparts from both Palestine and Israel to promote peaceful relations and coexistence, the release said. All traveling participants from the working group are now safely out of Israel. The WCC called on the government of Israel for an apology as well as to desist its aggressive behavior toward WCC member churches and staff. Read the WCC statement at www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/general-secretary/statements/statement-on-events-at-ben-gurion-international-airport-29-april-2-may-2016 .
-- The Senate Armed Services Committee has joined its counterpart committee of the House of Representatives in adding a provision to the pending National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 that would extend the authority of the President to order women as well as men to register for the military draft. The Center on Conscience and War (CCW)--a longterm partner organization for the peace churches--is closely following these developments in Congress, where competing pieces of legislation have the potential either to subject young women to the requirement to register along with young men, or end draft registration and the Selective Service System altogether. A separate House bill HR 4523 would repeal the Military Selective Service Act, abolishing the registration requirement for everyone, while requiring that “a person may not be denied a right, privilege, benefit, or employment position under Federal law” for having refused or failed to register before the repeal. An online petition is collecting signatures in support of abolishing the draft registration requirement altogether, at https://diy.rootsaction.org/petitions/pass-the-new-bill-to-abolish-the-military-draft . The CCW staff recently wrote an opinion piece about this situation that was published by Sojourners, find it at https://sojo.net/magazine/june-2016/its-just-registration-its-not-draft .