-- Remembrance: Shenandoah District is lifting up prayers following the death of Richard Harrison (Richi) Yowell, moderator of the 2018 district conference, a member of the district’s Shalom Team, and pastor of Mt. Olivet Church of the Brethren. “Brother Richi had been missing for several days before his body was located Saturday afternoon, July 7,” said a message from the district. “He was 48 years old. Pray for peace and comfort for his wife, Christal, and their children.... Pray for the Mt. Olivet congregation as it confronts the reality of the sudden loss of their shepherd. Pray for Shenandoah District leaders as they reach out with love and friendship to all who have been touched by this tragedy to help them move ahead in faith.” A celebration of life service will be held on Friday, July 20, at 10 a.m. at the Broadway (Va.) High School auditorium. Memorial gifts are received for Camp Brethren Woods.
-- Sherri Crowe has accepted the position of client manager for the Brethren Foundation, Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT), working at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. She will begin her duties on Aug. 6. She has worked as an investment advisor associate for more than eight years and has other relevant background to make her well-suited to this position, holding several designations and licenses including CRPC, APMA, Series 7 and 66, and Illinois Insurance. She and her family live in South Elgin and are members of Christ Community Church in St. Charles, Ill.
-- Everett Teetor has been hired as accounting assistant for Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT), as of July 23, serving at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. He has been serving BBT as an intern in the finance department since June 5, 2017. BBT is forecasting additional major transitions to internal/external operations that will directly affect the finance staffing, and so the intern role has been made into a regular full-time hourly position. Teetor graduated in 2017 from Beloit (Wis.) College with a degree in business economics and relevant course work in areas of finance and accounting. He is a member of Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin.
-- Staffing changes have been announced by Brethren Woods, a camp and outdoor ministry center near Keezletown, Va.
Katie and Tim Heishman, program co-directors for three years, have accepted a call to co-pastor Prince of Peace Church of the Brethren in Dayton, Ohio. Both are ordained ministers and 2018 graduates of Bethany Theological Seminary. They will make the transition to Ohio in mid-September.
Andrew Wenger, the camp’s maintenance director for three years, will leave at the end of October to join his father’s handyman business.
-- Among staffing changes at Camp Bethel near Fincastle, Va.:
Beth Heaton, guest services coordinator, is moving to Charlottesville, Va., as of July 1, joining her husband, Gary, who has been appointed senior pastor at First United Methodist Church in Charlottesville. “Since 2012, she has diligently served Camp Bethel guests with efficiency and extraordinary attention to detail. She also joyfully led ‘Nature Time with Beth’ for thousands of summer campers,” said an announcement. Send appreciative notes to Beth Heaton, 564 Bethel Road, Fincastle, VA 24090 or CampBethelOffice@gmail.com .
Wesley Shrader is serving as interim food services coordinator at Camp Bethel. He served on the summer staff from 2010-2015 and on the summer kitchen staff in 2013. He is a 2013 graduate of Johnson & Wales University's culinary program in Charlotte, N.C., and most recently was banquets supervisor at Hotel Roanoke from 2014-2018.
-- Bethany Theological Seminary seeks an executive director of institutional advancement. As a senior administrator and primary fundraiser, this person will lead the seminary’s development efforts with creative and proven strategic approaches that will successfully position the seminary for the future as well as cultivate and deepen relationships with alumni, supporters, and friends in the Church of the Brethren. The new executive director of institutional advancement will join the seminary at a time of growth and innovation as the seminary expands program, institutes new initiatives for residential and distance learners, and continues to raise its profile in the Church of the Brethren and larger ecumenical community. Responsibilities include supervising institutional advancement staff and overseeing department operations; developing and implementing annual, major, and planned gift securement strategies; overseeing maintenance of donor records; overseeing communications including marketing, publications, and alumni relations; representing Bethany at conferences and in congregations, speaking and providing leadership as opportunities arise; envisioning new goals and methods for institutional advancement. A full position description is at www.bethanyseminary.edu/about/employment . Review of applications begins July 30 and will continue until an appointment is made. Send a letter of interest, a resume, and contact information for three references to Rev. Dr. Jeff Carter, President, Bethany Theological Seminary, 615 National Road West, Richmond, IN 47374-4019, or firstname.lastname@example.org . For more information about Bethany visit www.bethanyseminary.edu . 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.
-- Camp Bethel seeks a guest services and marketing coordinator to serve at the camp and outdoor ministry center near Fincastle, Va. Camp Bethel is accepting online applications for this full-time, year-round position. The application form and complete information are at www.CampBethelVirginia.org/jobs .
-- Camp Swatara in Bethel, Pa., is celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2018 with the theme “Tell the Story--75 Years at the Base of Blue Mountain.” An anniversary celebration weekend is scheduled for Aug. 3-5, with the major events happening on Saturday, Aug. 4. Friday will feature “A Day in the Life of Camp” with morning classes, afternoon recreation options, and family-style meals for all ages. Saturday, Aug. 4, will be the main celebration day including a ticketed pancake breakfast in the family campground, a variety of morning activity options, food trucks/stands and decade dinner reunions for lunch, an afternoon program featuring speakers, songs, skits, staff panels, and more from throughout camp’s history, ticketed supper/dinner meals, and evening campfires. Sunday, Aug. 5, will conclude the weekend with worship in the family campground. Advanced registration is strongly encouraged. Day registration is free. Meal tickets can be purchased in advance with limited quantities available onsite. Weekend lodging and weekend packages including lodging and meals are available. Find out more and register online at www.campswatara.org .
-- Camp Bethel is announcing two upcoming events in August:
The Camp Bethel Benefit Gold Tournament and Banquet takes place Aug. 22. Golfers and sponsors are needed for the tournament held at Botetourt Golf Club in Virginia. Tee off time is 12:45 p.m. The cost of $70 per person includes green fees, cart, and dinner at the camp near Fincastle, Va.. Go to www.CampBethelVirginia.org/golf .
The Camp Bethel PEP 5k run/walk is Aug. 25. An announcement described it as “our newest fundraiser for ‘the PEPPIEST gang around!’” The $32.50 entry fee includes a race t-shirt, pre- and-post-race snacks, fully stocked water/aid stations, prizes, and fun. Registration is from 7-7:45 a.m., with an 8 a.m. start. Sponsor packages are available. For more information go to www.CampBethelVirginia.org/5K .
-- Pinecrest Community in Mt. Morris, Ill., will host a daylong celebration of its 125th anniversary on Saturday, Aug. 11, beginning at 10 a.m. Events include addresses at the Pinecrest Grove Community Center by Illinois and Wisconsin District executive Kevin Kessler and Leading Age Illinois president Karen Messer, a pulled-pork luncheon, music performances throughout the day, children's activities including bounce houses, a petting zoo, and crafts, and an ice cream social at the gazebo beside Pinecrest Village. “This celebration is our way of thanking you for supporting the ministry of Pinecrest through the years,” said CEO Ferol Labash.
-- Knobley Church of the Brethren children and youth presented some special donation boxes to local libraries recently. The church is located in New Creek, W.Va. The small wood and glass houses were presented to four county libraries during a meeting of the Mineral County Commission, reports the “Mineral Daily News Tribune.” Find the story and a photo at www.newstribune.info/news/20180629/libraries-grateful-to-community .
-- Indian Creek Church of the Brethren in Harleysville, Pa., dedicated its new Peace Pole on Sunday, June 24. “Lord, make us instruments of your peace,” the congregation sang, as reported in an online piece from “The Reporter” newspaper. “Move us to light flames of fire against the darkness of war, and to build bridges across the chasms of hate,” they said in a responsive prayer. “This is a completion that merits celebration, but it really is a beginning,” pastor Mark Baliles told the paper. Find the article and photos at www.thereporteronline.com/article/RO/20180626/NEWS/180629872 .
-- On the latest episode of the Dunker Punks Podcast, Dana Cassell interviews members of Umstead Park United Church of Christ of Raleigh, N.C., who are providing sanctuary for an undocumented immigrant with an active deportation order. The Dunker Punks Podcast is an audio show created by more than a dozen Brethren young adults across the country. Listen at http://bit.ly/DPP_Episode61 or subscribe on iTunes at http://bit.ly/DPP_iTunes .
-- The World Council of Churches (WCC) is inviting participation in the World Week of Peace in Palestine and Israel on Sept. 16-23. This year’s theme is “Youth and Children: Raising Hope and Making Change.” Held the third week of September each year, the World Week of Peace unites Christian witness in peaceful actions around the world to promote a just peace in Palestine and Israel. “We remind world leaders, as well as the public, about a sad, unsolved--and in some ways forgotten--situation, which benefits neither Israelis nor Palestinians,” wrote WCC general secretary Olav Fykse Tveit. “Youth and children are the ones who suffer the most in conflicts and under occupation. Today, too many children in Palestinian territories grow up in fear, poverty and hopelessness, caused by more than 50 years of occupation. Too many youngsters lack access to proper education and can’t find decent work.” During this week, which includes the International Day of Peace on Sept. 21, organizations, congregations, and people of faith are encouraged to bear a common witness by participating in worship services, educational events, and acts of support in favor of a just peace for Palestinians and Israelis.
-- Susan Baumel, who attends Arlington (Va.) Church of the Brethren and is founder and executive producer of Voyage® Productions, has been involved in the creation of a new ongoing program for PBS television stations titled “Playback Social Entrepreneurs®.” A release described the program as “the first broadcast television program of its kind, focused entirely on issues of socially responsible business.” The show also is aligned with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. The premiere episode that has been released this month includes segments on healthcare, ride-sharing and wheelchair accessibility problems faced by the disabled--especially seniors, and a separately trademarked segment “Player Power®” profiling Hollywood producer and social entrepreneur Jeff Skoll. Find out more and see clips of the first episode at www.voyageproductions.org or go to www.playbacktv.org .
-- Rebecca Brazaitis, a sophomore at Morgantown (W.Va.) High School, and Morgantown Church of the Brethren made it into the news earlier this week after Brazaitis brought the “Never Again” movement to her hometown. On July 11, West Virginia Public Broadcasting published a report on her efforts against gun violence including organizing a town hall panel at the Church of the Brethren in Morgantown in April. “Panelists included Morgantown student, Emma Gray, the Monongalia County Schools Extended Day director, Julia Hamilton, and local police officer, Sergeant Dave Wilfong,” the report said. “They discussed issues related to guns and school safety.” The report added, “Brazaitis passionately wants to change gun laws and school safety from the ground up, starting in her own neighborhood.” Read the full article at www.wvpublic.org/post/how-one-morgantown-student-brought-neveragain-movement-wva#stream/0 .
-- Roy Pfaltzgraff Jr. of Haxtun, Colo., has been interviewed by the “Holyoke Enterprise,” in an article published online. Pfaltzgraff, who grew up in Nigeria as the son of Church of the Brethren mission workers, told the story of how he learned agricultural practices upon his return to the United States by working on a cross-country harvesting crew in the 1960s. Read the interview at www.holyokeenterprise.com/ag-business/harvest-brings-back-memories-pfaltzgraff .
-- Jeffrey Clouser, director of music ministries at Palmyra (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, has written an article for the UCC Musicians Association journal “Worship, Music, and Ministry” titled “Capable Leadership for the Church’s Music Ministry.” He addresses the role of a director of music in a congregation, and the ways that skilled people who fill such a role may enhance the church’s mission, values, and theology. At Palmyra, Clouser facilitates the choral, handbell, and praise team programs, participates in planning worship, and organizes special musical events. He is in the Master’s of Church Music degree program at Trinity Lutheran Seminary at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. “The mission of the Palmyra Church of the Brethren is to invite, welcome, nurture, disciple, equip, empower, and inspire all persons to live and to serve in the way of Jesus,” he writes. “I can’t think of a better way to do this than through leading the church’s song.”
-- An interview with one of the authors of the new book, “September Mourn: The Dunker church of Antietam Battlefield,” has been published by “The Herald Mail.” Alann Schmidt speaks about how he and co-author Terry Barkley, former archivist at the Brethren Historical Library and Archives of the Church of the Brethren, came to write a book about the small church building around which the battle swirled--one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. Schmidt is a pastor and a former park ranger at Antietam National Battlefield. Find the interview at www.heraldmailmedia.com/life/pa-author-shines-a-light-on-dunker-church-of-antietam/article_9c90327e-b06c-5db1-95f5-c3748782c554.html . The book may be purchased through Brethren Press, call 800-441-3712.