-- Sandy Kinsey, Shenandoah District office administrative assistant, has announced her retirement effective Nov. 30. She will continue to be employed part-time through Dec. 21.
-- Tina Rieman will end her tenure with the Brethren Leadership Institute (BLI) of South Central Indiana District this month. “Many thanks to Tina for her administrative skills that have been integral to launching BLI in our district,” said an announcement in the district newsletter. “BLI’s approval by the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership as a credentialed program is almost complete,” the announcement continued. “Ongoing BLI task force members are Marie Willoughby, Erin Huiras, Larry Fourman, and Beth Sollenberger.”
-- The Church of the Brethren seeks to fill a full-time salaried position of Donor Relations specialist. This position is part of the Donor Relations team and reports to the director of Donor Relations. The major responsibility is to strengthen and nurture the individual and congregational stewardship, direct gift, planned giving, and enlistment programs of the Church of the Brethren through face-to-face visits with individuals and congregations. Primary focus will be on positively impacting individual giving in support of denominational ministries. Required skills and knowledge include grounding in Church of the Brethren heritage, theology, and polity; ability to articulate and operate out of the vision of the Church of the Brethren; at least three years of experience in planned/deferred giving and/or five years in development-related activities in the not-for-profit sector, or other comparable experience; ability to relate with individuals and groups; basic computer skills working with Microsoft Word, Excel, e-mail, Internet access; a bachelor’s degree or equivalent work experience. Location is flexible; the candidate must be willing to travel to the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., for individual and department meetings as needed. Applications are received beginning immediately and will be reviewed on an ongoing basis until the position is filled. Send a resume to COBApply@brethren.org or to the Human Resources Manager, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; 800-323-8039 ext. 367.
-- Bethany Theological Seminary is seeking a full-time executive director of finance and administration who is entrepreneurial, is able to multitask, seeks collaborative solutions, and provides a positive and productive impact with both strategic and tactical initiatives. A successful candidate will be invited to join the seminary’s leadership team starting no later than March 2018. The position reports to the president. Bethany Theological Seminary is located in Richmond, Ind. The executive director will oversee short- and long-term financial planning, accounting, payroll, facilities management, and human resources and will supervise the Business Services Office staff. This person will advise the president and Leadership Team on financial planning, budgeting, cash flow, investment priorities, and policy matters. In all matters, this person will employ clear and continuous lines of communication, keeping the president informed of all critical issues. Salary is commensurate with qualifications. A master’s degree in business administration and/or qualification as a certified public accountant is preferred; a bachelor’s degree in business or accounting with finance experience is acceptable. This person must have a proven track record of excellent judgment; skills in administration, leadership, and interpersonal communication; and demonstrate a commitment to personal and professional growth. Affinity with the values and mission of the seminary is required. For a complete job description, visit 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or Attn: President Jeff Carter, 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.
Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) has openings at two upcoming orientation units, for those interested in giving a year or more of volunteer service. The winter orientation, Unit 319, will be held from Jan. 28 to Feb. 16, 2018, at Gotha, Fla.; applications are due by Dec. 15. The summer orientation, Unit 320, will be held from July 29 to Aug. 17, 2018, at Camp Colorado in Sedalia, Colo.; applications are due by June 15, 2018. For more about volunteering, go to www.brethren.org/bvs .
-- Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) seeks a production coordinator to fill a full-time position located in Elgin, Ill. The primary function is to serve as the desktop publishing/graphic design staff person, as well as follow-through production for publications, departmental resources, and special projects. Additional function would involve website management, organization of communication materials and inventory, and coordination of mailings. Duties include layout and design, scanning, photo manipulation, printing or replication, website content maintenance, and distribution tasks. This position works with consultants/vendors in producing departmental resources and on other special projects, including both traditional print and electronic media. The ideal candidate will have an undergraduate degree in graphic design and a working knowledge of production and copy editing. Must have experience with Adobe Creative Suite; knowledge of QuarkXPress is a plus, and proficiency in Microsoft Office as well. This position requires a person who is very deadline-oriented and has strong organizational skills, with the ability to prioritize workloads and juggle projects; knowledge of website management is a must. BBT seeks candidates with strong verbal and written communications skills, the ability to design materials, review and update website content, and manage mailing list data. 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. Send a letter of interest, résumé, three professional references, and salary-range expectation to Donna March at 1505 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120, or email@example.com . For more information about Brethren Benefit Trust, visit www.cobbt.org .
-- The Workcamp Ministry invites young adults in the Church of the Brethren to apply for the Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) position of assistant coordinator. Assistant coordinators of the Workcamp Ministry serve at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., from the end of August 2018 to May 2019, preparing for summer workcamps. They travel throughout the summer of 2019, coordinating the workcamps. The workcamps are week-long service projects both in and outside of the United States. The position description and online application are available at www.brethren.org/workcamps . Direct questions to Emily Tyler, coordinator of Workcamps and BVS Recruitment, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 847-429-4396.
-- Ministry Summer Service is looking for young adult interns, ministry sites, and mentors to join this Church of the Brethren program. Applications for the summer of 2018, available at www.brethren.org/mss , are due Jan. 5, 2018. This program is open to Church of the Brethren students, regardless of which college/university they are attending. MSS challenges Church of the Brethren college students and congregations/ministry sites to consider God’s call on their lives. MSS partners with ministry sites and mentors to offer interns the opportunity to engage the questions of call, vocation, and discernment in the context of a deeply rooted faith. The Youth Peace Travel Team is also a part of MSS. Interns find space to do deep discernment in the context of a faith community, and mentors/communities find new opportunities to consider how God is moving in their ministry setting. Interns attend a week of orientation in Elgin, Ill., before serving for nine weeks in a ministry setting, developing leadership skills and exploring their sense of God’s call on their lives. In exchange for their leadership and work, interns receive a $2,500 college scholarship, as well as food, housing, a $100 monthly stipend, and transportation for the summer. Mentors and ministry sites will be able to welcome an intern into their life and the work of their communities for nine weeks, being open to their new perspectives, challenging questions and God-given gifts. They will help to create an atmosphere for learning, reflection and discernment for the intern. Together, interns, mentors and ministry sites explore the ways that working in and for the church can be a way to address the world’s deep need. For more information or to receive some brochures, please contact Becky Ullom Naugle, director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Church of the Brethren, at email@example.com or contact Dana Cassell at firstname.lastname@example.org .
-- The Church of the Brethren workcamp office is offering sample 2018 registrations for Junior High, Senior High, Young Adult, Adult, Advisor, and We Are Able participants. The office hopes that these sample forms will give registrants the ability to familiarize themselves with the information need in the form, as well as contact the workcamp office with any questions they may have before registration opens on Jan. 11, 2018, at 7 p.m. (central time). The sample registrations can be found at www.brethren.org/workcamps . Any questions or comments concerning the 2018 workcamps schedule and registration can be sent to email@example.com .
-- The World Council of Churches (WCC) invites young adults to be stewards at the 2018 Central Committee in Geneva, Switzerland. The application deadline is Jan. 31, 2018. The Stewards Program aims to bring together a dynamic and diverse group of 20 young people from all over the world, to serve from June 5-23, 2018. The invitation is open to people from a variety of backgrounds, churches, and regions. “As a diverse community, stewards bring their faith, experiences and visions to an ecumenical experience of togetherness and friendship,” explains Joy Eva Bohol, WCC program executive for Youth Engagement. Bohol, a former steward herself, highlights the value such an experience can give to those interested in engaging in the ecumenical movement. ”This is both an opportunity to listen, learn, and experience the work of the WCC and its efforts towards Christian unity, and a chance to contribute your own experience, and to dive into the work hands-on. Although the work is often done under tight deadlines and high pressure, it is an opportunity not to be missed,” Bohol says. Stewards are young people between the ages of 18 and 30. English is the working language of the program, and patience, ability to work with people from other countries and cultures, as well as a willingness to work together as a team, are key. Application guidelines for the WCC Stewards Program for Central Committee 2018 are online at www.oikoumene.org/en/press-centre/events/wcc-invites-applications-to-central-committee-stewards-programme .
-- Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) invites church members and friends to send Christmas cards to BVS volunteers this December. “If you, your family, congregation, or small group would like to send Christmas greetings to the current volunteers in BVS, please contact the BVS office at firstname.lastname@example.org for the mailing list. Our volunteers love receiving cards and greetings from Brethren congregations!” said an invitation.
-- Thursday was Bethany Day on the Seminaries that Change the World’s “Advent Calendar for Hope, Justice, and Joy.” Bethany Seminary has been named to the list of “Seminaries that Change the World” again this year, in a program of the Center for Faith and Service based out of McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, Ill. The theme for the day was “Serving Where You’re Needed,” from Matthew 25:31-46. Find out more at www.stctw.org/december-7.html .
-- “Join us for this informational and instructive seminar!” invites the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership. The next Clergy Tax Seminar is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with a break for lunch. Deb Oskin returns as the leader for this event. Students, pastors, and other church leaders are invited to attend either in person at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., or online. Participants will learn how to file clergy taxes correctly and legally, and how to comply with regulations while maximizing tax deductions. Participants may earn .3 continuing education credit. This seminar is highly recommended for all pastors and all other church leaders who wish to understand clergy taxes including treasurers, steward commission chairs, and church board chairs. Sponsors include the Brethren Academy, the Church of the Brethren Office of Ministry, and Bethany Theological Seminary. Registration costs $30 per person. Current Bethany, TRIM/EFSM/SeBAH, and Earlham School of Religion students may attend at no cost, although registration is still required. Registrations are not complete until payment is received. The registration deadline is Jan. 19, 2018. Register at https://bethanyseminary.edu/brethren-academy/clergy-tax-seminar .
-- Each year, “Brethren Voices” features alternative giving ideas for the holiday season. “Brethren Voices” is a Brethren-made community television show, produced by Peace Church of the Brethren in Portland, Ore. “This year we are grateful that they have chosen to feature Brethren Disaster Ministries,” said a note from the denomination’s disaster staff. Brent Carlson hosts the show, as the district disaster coordinator for Pacific Northwest District. Watch this episode of “Brethren Voices” on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQPeF4erAnQ .
-- Mohrsville (Pa.) Church of the Brethren celebrated its 150th anniversary with a homecoming on Nov. 12. Jeff Bach of the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College was the guest preacher. Worship was followed by a lunch with church family and friends.
-- Many Church of the Brethren congregations are hosting Christmas festivities during this Advent season. Among them, Elizabethtown (Pa.) Church of the Brethren is hosting a performance by the Susquehanna Chorale, which will present its annual Candlelight Christmas concert at the church at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 16. The group will perform Benjamin Britten’s “A Ceremony of Carol” and other new and traditional carols arranged by contemporary composers. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door for adults, $5 for students. For more information go to http://cumberlink.com/entertainment/local-scene/music-susquehanna-chorale-to-perform-annual-christmas-concert/article_f1eb43d1-d4be-5342-a5fb-945d6b711f9e.html .
-- South Waterloo (Iowa) Church of the Brethren is one of the congregations planning a live nativity this Advent season. The South Waterloo church is hosting its 27th annual live nativity tomorrow evening, Saturday, Dec. 9, from 6-8 p.m., according to “The Courier” newspaper. The free event includes refreshments and fellowship time in the church’s Family Life Center.
-- Kevin Kessler, district executive minister for Illinois and Wisconsin District, has been announced as the preacher for the opening of the 2018 Illinois Conference of Churches Annual Assembly. The theme for the event to be held in Champaign, Ill., next Sept. 28 will be “Christian Healing in a Fractured World: An Ecumenical Perspective on Polarization in the USA 2018.”
-- Virlina District continues to receive a disaster response offering for hurricane relief. “As of November 30, 2017 we have received $52,230 from forty-five congregations and twenty-four households. We will continue to receive offerings from our congregations to underwrite denominational efforts in response to the hurricanes that have devastated the Gulf Coast of the United States and the entire Caribbean basin,” said the district newsletter. “Thus far, we have sent $40,000 to assist our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico. We expect to send the remainder to other affected areas soon.”
-- Southern Ohio District is working on a new venture called the “Together” magazine. The Connections Commission and the District Board are working on the new magazine, according to a notice in the district newsletter. “This magazine will feature inspirational and informational articles and other items from members of our district. The magazine will be sent twice a year as an insert in Messenger magazine, the official magazine of the Church of the Brethren,” the newsletter said. The publication will be sent to all the addresses in the district data base including those who do not currently subscribe to “Messenger.”
-- Also from Southern Ohio District, the Connections Commission is sponsoring a fun experience called the Great Southern Ohio/Kentucky Passport Adventure. “The purpose of this experience is to get acquainted with sisters and brothers in our district who attend church at some other congregation,” the newsletter said. “The Passport Commission has assembled a book of our churches, their location, and their worship times.” Participants download the book from a website, then choose a church to visit. They make themselves known once they arrive at the church they are visiting, or visit incognito. “Enjoy yourself, then share your experience on Facebook in the group that has been created for this purpose,” the announcement said.
-- A group of student athletes at Bridgewater (Va.) College dedicated to promoting a safer, healthier campus environment has won one of only five national awards for its education of high-risk students about alcohol and making responsible decisions in the presence of alcohol. According to a release from the college, STEP UP was presented the Outstanding Peer Education Group award from Boosting Alcohol Consciousness Concerning the Health of University Students (BACCHUS), a student organization founded in 1975 at the University of Florida. BACCHUS operates under the auspices of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators. The award, which was given to the Bridgewater group for its work during the 2016-17 academic year, acknowledged STEP UP Bridgewater’s creativity and overall effectiveness in campus awareness and education. The vision of STEP UP Bridgewater is to see fewer incidents of negative consequences associated with consuming alcohol.
-- A project that combines branding, outreach, and a commercial to raise awareness of the plight of the Ecuadorian rainforest was the winning proposal in this year’s Global Enterprise Challenge at McPherson (Kan.) College. A proposal by Jaden Hilgers, a junior from Wichita, was selected from a field of six entries and earned Hilgers a week-long learning tour in Ecuador, according to a release from the college. The Global Enterprise Challenge is a competition that encourages students to address significant global issues through entrepreneurial thinking. This year’s competition challenged students to take on the issue of globalization, specifically in the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador. The students were asked to plan a project that would help give voice to the marginalized populations that depend on the rainforest for a variety of resources. McPherson College worked with the New Community Project to provide a platform of this year’s challenge. The winning student project could become a tangible product used by The New Community Project to share the Ecuadorian people’s story.
-- Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) and the National Council of Churches (NCC)--both ecumenical partners of the Church of the Brethren--are among the Christian organizations opposing the US decision to declare Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. “In 1980, the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA adopted a policy statement on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” said an NCC release, in part. “In that statement, the NCC said, ‘Unilateral actions by any one group in relation to Jerusalem will only perpetuate antagonisms that will threaten the peace of the city and possibly of the region.’ In 2007, the NCC again affirmed a shared Jerusalem. We reiterate those statements today.... The status of Jerusalem has long been at the center of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While West Jerusalem serves as the de facto capital of Israel, East Jerusalem has always been considered the capital of the future state of Palestine.”
-- In a global campaign called “A Light of Peace,” the World Council of Churches (WCC) invites people across the globe to unite in prayer for the Korean Peninsula and for a world free from nuclear weapons. “The candle of the first week of Advent reminds us of the coming light of Christ,” says one of the prayers, shared in a WCC release. “Together with sisters and brothers in North and South Korea, and people around the world campaigning to abolish nuclear weapons, we are waiting for the days when the nations will no longer be divided and the nations will beat their weapons into ploughshares.” On the first week of Advent, the WCC invited the global Christian fellowship to express solidarity for the Korean people and to support efforts to ease tensions and sustain hope. On the second Sunday in Advent, Dec. 10, one of WCC’s partners, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, will receive the Nobel Peace Prize at an award ceremony in Oslo, Norway. “By lighting candles during special prayers and worship services two Sundays in a row, people in many nations from many faith traditions can unify and amplify voices of peace,” the release said. Prayer resources are online at www.oikoumene.org/en/press-centre/events/a-light-of-peace-for-the-korean-peninsula-and-a-world-free-from-nuclear-weapons .
-- The 2018 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is scheduled for Jan. 18-25. The theme for the 2018 observance: “Your Right Hand, O Lord, Glorious in Power,” inspired by Exodus 15:6. The resources for the week have been prepared by members of different churches in the Caribbean. Find resources and more information at www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/commissions/faith-and-order/xi-week-of-prayer-for-christian-unity/2018/2018 .