Newsline for April 12, 2006

“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” — John 15:13


1) Brethren invited to take part in love offering for Nigerian churches.
2) Grants from Global Food Crisis Fund and Emergency Disaster Fund total $158,500.
3) Emergency Response program plans additional projects along Gulf Coast.
4) Winners of National Youth Conference Speech Contest are announced.
5) Brethren bits: Correction, remembrance, job opening, and more.


6) Will Thomas resigns from Brethren Benefit Trust.
7) Jeff Boshart resigns from the Sudan initiative of the General Board.
8) Zachary Wolgemuth hired as associate director for Emergency Response.
9) Enten Eller appointed director of distributed education at Bethany Seminary.


10) List of Gather ‘Round trainings grows.
11) Church planting conference welcomes Portuguese speakers.
12) Counter-recruitment calls are scheduled for late April.
13) Wild Rose Song and Story Fest to focus on theme, `Blossom into Wholeness.’
14) Amana Colonies seminar offers continuing education credits.

For more Church of the Brethren news, go to www.brethren.org, click on “News” to find a news feature, more “Brethren bits,” links to Brethren in the news, and links to the General Board’s photo albums and the Newsline archive. The page is updated as close to daily as possible. The next regularly scheduled Newsline is planned for April 26.

1) Brethren invited to take part in love offering for Nigerian churches.

Violence in the northern Nigerian city of Maiduguri in February left three church buildings of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN–the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) completely destroyed and two more severely damaged. The General Board is inviting the denomination to join in a love offering for EYN to assist in reconstructing church buildings in Maiduguri and to support the Nigerian church’s peace and reconciliation efforts to heal the divisions in its communities.

“As we walk with Christ toward the cross, we are aware of the empty tomb and the hope that is promised. Let us walk with the churches in Nigeria, reminding ourselves of our common faith and hope in Christ while renewing our bonds as sister churches on different continents,” said Merv Keeney, executive director of Global Mission Partnerships for the General Board.

The offering was initiatied by the General Board at its March meeting, where an offering received $7,723, including $5,000 from Western Pennsylvania District, brought to the meeting by district minister and Annual Conference moderator Ron Beachley. The board and other participants in the meeting also signed a letter to EYN expressing the desire to stand with them during this crisis. The letter read, in part:

“We pray for God’s healing of persons and families where there has been loss of life and injury. We pray for healing of the divisions in Nigerian society at this critical time. We pray for God’s strengthening and guidance of the Nigerian leadership and members as the church faces these serious threats. We pray that Christ’s message of peace and reconciliation, reclaimed anew by the Nigerian church at the Nairobi gathering of historic peace churches in 2004, might enliven and empower all within EYN to be instruments of Christ’s peace.”

Congregations are invited to be in prayer for the church in Nigeria and to take a love offering during this Lent and Easter season. Checks may be made out to “Church of the Brethren General Board” designated on the memo line for “Love Offering–Nigeria Church.” It would be helpful if all funds could be mailed to the General Board by the first week of May, so the monies may be promptly made available in Nigeria.

For more information contact Global Mission Partnerships at 800-323-8039.


2) Grants from Global Food Crisis Fund and Emergency Disaster Fund total $158,500.

Two funds administered by the Church of the Brethren General Board have given a total of $158,500 in seven recent grants for hunger and disaster relief around the world. The Global Food Crisis program also has directed funds from the Foods Resource Bank to a food security program in Serbia.

The Global Food Crisis Fund has given $50,000 for the Agglobe Mission to provide seed and plastic film supplies to farms in North Korea. The funds not only help boost food production, but also improve the living environment and civil society of the North Korean people. A similar grant was issued in 2005.

In another grant related to the Global Food Crisis program, $3,000 has been given to a Church World Service (CWS) project in Serbia from the Church of the Brethren Foods Resource Bank account. The money will help provide food security for displaced people.

The Emergency Disaster Fund has given an allocation of $40,000 for vital medical supplies for the Christian Hospital Association of Liberia, which is recovering from years of civil war. The grant is given in response to an appeal from Interchurch Medical Assistance Inc., and follows a previous grant to help resettle 500,000 refugees and displaced persons in Liberia. Some of the medical supplies will be shipped from the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md.

A grant of $25,000 has been sent from the EDF to fund medical treatment for Palestinian people at the Augusta Victoria Hospital in Jerusalem. The Israeli government has suddenly stopped funding for the only cancer treatment facility available for Palestinians. The funds will help provide dialysis, radiation, chemotherapy, endoscopy, and head and neck treatments. The grant supports a CWS appeal.

The sum of $20,000 from the EDF supports recovery work and provides material aid following heavy rains and flooding in Angola. The disaster has left over 41,000 people homeless. The funds will help provide food, blankets, plastic sheeting, medical kits, and hospital beds. The grant is given in support of a CWS appeal.

An EDF allocation of $15,000 continues support of a Brethren Disaster Response project in Ohio doing flood recovery work. The project began in June 2005 and has recently been moved to the city of Caldwell. The work is expected to continue through the spring, and possibly into the summer. Previous allocations to this project total $35,000.

The EDF has given $5,000 after recent spring storms brought tornados, hail, and destruction to eight states in the US. These funds support the work of the Disaster Response and Recovery Liaisons from CWS, as well as provide material resources and seed grants.

An EDF allocation of $3,500 after a massive landslide buried a Philippine village. The funds will help provide emergency assistance to 500 families, including food, medicine, seeds, farm tools, and reconstruction materials in response to a Church World Service appeal.

For more about the Emergency Disaster Fund see http://www.brethren.org/genbd/ersm/EDF.htm. For more about the Global Food Crisis Fund see http://www.brethren.org/genbd/global_mission/gfcf.htm.


3) Emergency Response program plans additional projects along Gulf Coast.

“Given the tremendous need resulting from this past hurricane season, one thing became clear–the greater church wants to do more,” said a recent communication from the General Board’s Emergency Response office. Emergency Response staff have been brainstorming, praying, dreaming, and discerning how to expand the Gulf Coast hurricane response of the Church of the Brethren.

After briefing the General Board meeting in March about prospects for new work in the Gulf Coast area, staff are moving forward with plans that include establishing additional projects along the Gulf Coast, and exploring the possibility of building modular homes for disaster survivors. “This initiative will require longterm project managers, ongoing volunteer work teams, a modular home ‘factory’ site, and additional vehicles and tools,” the program said. Volunteer disaster project director Mike Walker has made an assessment trip in southern Mississippi to locate potential additional project sites.

Currently, Brethren Disaster Response volunteers are working at building homes, roofing, and major remodeling jobs in the area of Lucedale, Miss. Building codes in Mississippi allow out-of-state electricians and plumbers to work, so the program is able to use volunteers with those skills.

The two other ongoing Brethren Disaster Response projects continue in Pensacola, Fla., rebuilding following Hurricanes Ivan and Dennis, with volunteers doing major repair of wind- and water-damaged homes; and in Ohio, where a flood recovery project following three severe floods in the fall and winter of 2004-05 was moved in March from Belmont County to Caldwell, in Noble County. The Ohio project will close at the end of April.

In other disaster relief news, the Service Ministries program of the General Board continues to make shipments of relief supplies to the Gulf Coast. Recent shipments to the Gulf area include 17 cartons of Gift of the Heart School Kits (weight 1,190 pounds) shipped to New Orleans; and blankets, Gift of the Heart Baby Kits, School Kits, and Health Kits, emergency cleanup buckets, and antibacterial hand and face wipes (weight 2,669 pounds) to Baton Rouge.

Other recent Service Ministries shipments have gone to North Dakota for spring flood survivors (50 emergency cleanup buckets weighing 950 pounds), to Missouri following spring storms (20 cartons of blankets and 34 bales of blankets weighing 4,168 pounds), and to Zimbabwe (32 pallets of donated medical supplies weighing 19,277 pounds).

To volunteer for Brethren Disaster Response or for more information about openings for longterm disaster project directors, the new modular home project, and other volunteer opportunities related to the Gulf Coast efforts, contact the Emergency Response office at 800-451-4407 or e-mail ersm_gb@brethren.org.


4) Winners of National Youth Conference Speech Contest are announced.

The National Youth Cabinet has announced the three winners of the 2006 National Youth Conference (NYC) Youth Speech Contest: Allen Bowers, Jamie Frye, and Chrissy Sollenberger. All three youth will deliver their speeches during the Monday morning worship celebration at NYC, on July 24 in Fort Collins, Colo.

Allen Bowers was born and raised in Woodstock, Va. He was baptized on Aug. 8, 1996, and will be 17 in May. He attends Antioch Church of the Brethren in Woodstock, Va., and is president of the congregation’s youth group. Bowers has spoken at numerous churches in the past few years.

Jamie Frye lives in McPherson, Kan., where she is a member of Monitor Church of the Brethren. Next fall she will be a high school sophomore. She likes to participate in service projects, including a workcamp in Honduras with New Community Project and a Brethren Disaster Response project in Mississippi.

Chrissy Sollenberger is from Annville, Pa., and attends Mount Wilson Church of the Brethren in Lebanon, Pa. She is a high school junior and editor of the school newspaper. Sollenberger was the grand prize winner of “Messenger” magazine’s 2005 youth essay contest.

For more information about National Youth Conference, including full biographies of the speakers, visit http://www.nyc2006.org/.


5) Brethren bits: Correction, remembrance, job opening, and more.
  • Correction: The correct date for Earth Day 2006 is Saturday, April 22. The Brethren Witness/Washington Office is encouraging local congregations to celebrate Earth Day on Sunday, April 23, or on any Sunday near that date.
  • Charles Luther Baldwin, age 87, died on his birthday, Jan. 30, at Grace Village Retirement Home in Winona Lake, Ind. He and his wife, Naomi, served as Church of the Brethren missionaries in Nigeria from 1953-55 and 1957-61. They served in the remote village of Chibuk, where Charles worked with a group of churches and preaching points, as well as schools. Baldwin was an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren. He was born in 1919 in Wenatchee, Wash., and married Naomi Nora Roller in 1940. In addition to his mission service, he worked for Timbercrest Church of the Brethren Home, Inc., in North Manchester, Ind.; as a Girl Scout ranger and counselor at Camp Ella J. Logan near Syracuse, Ind.; and as a school bus driver for Wawasee Community Schools. He also served as a volunteer church visitor for Syracuse Church of the Brethren and did pulpit supply for several congregations. Surviving in addition to his wife are sons Charles F. Baldwin of Winona Lake, Ind., and Terry Lee Baldwin, pastor of Silver Creek Church of the Brethren in Pioneer, Ohio; sister Alice Newcomer; four grandchildren; and one great grandchild. Memorials are designated for Evangelism Explosion International or the Chibuk Bible School in Nigeria, care of Silver Creek Church of the Brethren.
  • The Church of the Brethren General Board seeks a Mission Alive conference coordinator to fill a fulltime, temporary position starting May or June 2006 to May 2007. This is a “program volunteer,” Brethren Volunteer Service, or intern position based in Elgin, Ill. Responsibilities include planning and coordinating the next Mission Alive conference in April, 2007, in consultation with the planning committee; utilization of database software; coordinating speakers, events, and logistics for the conference; serving as contact person for registration; and general office tasks. Skills and knowledge required include basic computer skills, an effective and pleasant communication style, knowledge of Church of the Brethren belief and practice, and skill in working independently and taking initiative. Required experience and education includes planning and organizing events within work or volunteer situations, and a minimum of an associate degree or equivalent training or experience. Send a cover letter and resume by May 5 to the Office of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren General Board, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120-1694; 800-323-8039 ext. 259; mgarrison_gb@brethren.org.
  • Brazil mission workers Greg and Karin Davidson Laszakovits are available to share their experiences with congregations. The couple have completed a term of service with the Church of the Brethren General Board, working with the fellowships of Igreja da Irmandade (the Church of the Brethren in Brazil). Serving as Brazil representatives for the Global Mission Partnerships office, they lived for two-and-a-half years in the Sao Paulo area. During their stay in Brazil, they also learned Portuguese and began their family of two girls. The family are currently living in Lebanon, Pa. They will speak at Midland (Va.) Church of the Brethren on May 7. To schedule a Sunday visit on April 23 or 30 or May 21, or to schedule a mid-week visit, contact them at 717-867-1806 or kdlaszakovits@juno.com.
  • At its March meeting, the Association of Brethren Caregivers board approved expanding the scope of the nursing scholarship program it administers to include providing continuing education grants for member facilities of the Fellowship of Brethren Homes. Grants in the amount of $1,000 will be made available to the Brethren retirement centers on an every-other-year basis. Each facility must request consideration for the program. Contact the Association of Brethren Caregivers at 800-323-8039 for more information.
  • Flowing Faith Project, a new church development near Greensboro, N.C., celebrated its first love feast on April 11.
  • A meat canning project of Southern Pennsylvania and Mid-Atlantic Districts is planned for April 17-20 and April 24-27, according to the Southern Pennsylvania District newsletter. This year’s goal is to process 85,000 pounds of chicken for distribution through local charitable agencies, Christian Aid Ministries, and the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md.
  • Two Church of the Brethren members are among six Bridgewater (Va.) College alumni to be honored at an annual Alumni Weekend April 21-22. Mary Hooker Weybright, a member of Nokesville (Va.) Church of the Brethren and a board member of the Brethren Housing Corporation, will receive a Ripples Society Medal. Anne Haynes Price, who in 1980 assisted in founding Disaster Child Care, will receive the West-Whitelow Award for Humanitarian Service. Price also serves as vice president of the Hillcrest Homes Auxiliary Board in La Verne, Calif., is a member of the Christian Education Commission at La Verne Church of the Brethren, and is a practitioner in the Ministry of Reconciliation program of On Earth Peace. For more information contact the Alumni Office at 540-828-5451.
  • Manchester College will dig into spring ground for its new College Union in an April 20 groundbreaking beginning at 3:30 p.m. The college in North Manchester, Ind., will break ground on a $7.5 million transformation of its East Street structure. As with other major construction projects of the school’s $72 million “Next Step!” fundraising campaign, the college is paying for the new union without debt, a press release said. The general contractor is Michael Kinder and Son of Fort Wayne. Construction is expected to take 18 months, with the building completed for fall 2007 classes. For more see http://www.manchester.edu/.
  • Groundbreaking for the new Pinecrest Grove at the Pinecrest Community, a Church of the Brethren retirement center in Mount Morris, Ill., will take place April 19 at 9 a.m. The ceremony will include speakers such as Illinois Congressman Don Manzullo and State Representative Jerry Mitchell, along with city and county officials and Pinecrest leaders. Pinecrest Grove is a 22-acre site for 42 single and duplex living units for retirees age 55 “and better,” Pinecrest said in a press release. The community is invited to the groundbreaking, and the center plans to take pictures from the air of the crowd that gathers. For more information call 815-734-4103.


6) Will Thomas resigns from Brethren Benefit Trust.

Will Thomas has resigned from the Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) staff after serving nearly seven years with the agency in a number of roles. His resignation takes effect July 31. He has accepted a faculty position in accounting at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, Minn.

Thomas has served as director of customer service operations for the Brethren Foundation, working with asset management and deferred gift clients, and has written the monthly “Investment Perspective” newsletter. He has been responsible for supervising and maintaining relationships with BBT’s eight investment managers, scheduling quarterly and annual reviews, and examining each manager’s results against established industry benchmarks.

In addition, he has served as BBT’s primary voice for socially responsible investing initiatives including BBT shareholder resolutions in 2002, 2003, and 2004 that asked Yum! Brands to ban smoking in its corporately owned restaurants. Although those resolutions were not approved by shareholders, having the issue presented to the parent company of Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Long John Silver’s, A&W All American, and KFC prompted the firm in 2005 to announce that it was banning smoking in its own restaurants and would work to eliminate smoking in the restaurants of its franchisees. He has been BBT’s representative to the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility, for the past five years serving on the governing board with one year as chair, currently serving as vice-chair.

Thomas also helped establish BBT’s Community Development Investment Fund, an investment choice for Foundation and Pension Plan members that helps infuse development funds into low-income areas of large cities; and has been a contributor to BBT’s Communication Team as a senior writer and editor.


7) Jeff Boshart resigns from the Sudan initiative of the General Board.

Jeff Boshart has resigned his position as director for the new Sudan Initiative of the Church of the Brethren General Board, in order to pursue other opportunities. He plans to complete his work by the middle of May.

Boshart has served in this new role since Jan. 30 of this year. He and his wife, Peggy, previously served as economic community development coordinators in the Dominican Republic from 2001-04 through the General Board. He also has worked for the Educational Concern for Hunger Organization Inc. in Nigeria and in agricultural community development in Haiti.


8) Zachary Wolgemuth hired as associate director for Emergency Response.

Zachary Wolgemuth has accepted the position of associate director of Emergency Response, a program of the Church of the Brethren General Board. He will begin the work on April 24.

Wolgemuth brings a background in overseas mission relief work, coordinating construction projects in Guatemala, and rebuilding experience in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. He is currently a site supervisor for Habitat for Humanity. Combined with a degree in Technology Education from Millersville University, his skills incorporate teaching and leading volunteer groups.

Currently he and his wife, Annie, live in Manheim, Pa., and will be planning to move to the New Windsor (Md.) area. He will work from the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor. The family belongs to Chiques Church of the Brethren in Manheim.


9) Enten Eller appointed director of distributed education at Bethany Seminary.

Bethany Theological Seminary has appointed Enten Eller as director of Distributed Education and Electronic Communications, effective July 1.

A 1991 graduate of Bethany and a 1983 graduate of Bridgewater (Va.) College, Eller has been employed as a pastor, teacher, and in various information technology positions including training and computer support for the New Sudan Council of Churches and the All Africa Council of Churches. He recently served as an American Red Cross volunteer for Hurricane Katrina response in telecommunications and computer operations, and has been a member of the On Earth Peace Board and the Ministry of Reconciliation.

Eller will move to the seminary in Richmond, Ind., from La Verne, Calif., where he is owner and senior consultant of Eller Computer Services, and owner and resident manager of Gidan Salama International House, a residence for international students.


10) List of Gather ‘Round trainings grows.

A lengthy and growing list of local training events for the new Sunday school curriculum Gather ‘Round: Hearing and Sharing God’s Good News, is available at http://www.gatherround.org/ (click on “Training Events”). The website also offers a list of downloadable resources for trainers such as bookmarks, posters, and promotional fliers.

Training events for the curriculum jointly published by Brethren Press and the Mennonite Publishing Network are being held across the US and Canada. All are open to both Brethren and Mennonite members, regardless of the denomination that is sponsoring the particular events.

At the website, training events are listed by state or province. Some 100 events are already listed, and more are expected to be added as further events are planned. For more information call the Gather ‘Round project office at 800-323-8039.


11) Church planting conference welcomes Portuguese speakers.

Additional leadership has been announced for the church planting conference “Scissors, Paper, Rock: Tools, Textures, and Testimonies in Church Planting,” May 20-23 at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind. Marcos Inhauser from Igreja da Irmandade (Church of the Brethren in Brazil) and another Brazilian church representative will provide leadership.

Inhauser will bring his perspective on leading a new church into existence, seeking to fulfill Brethren and Anabaptist values through mission, witness, and practice. He will relate the theological and biblical foundations for the emerging church in Brazil, as well as the successes and struggles of embodying the priesthood of all believers in a culture largely unfriendly toward such a reality.

“The US churches have much to learn from the emerging church in Brazil in terms of what it means to follow Jesus and plant churches in a challenging cultural context,” said Jonathan Shively, director of the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership, who has visited the churches in Brazil.

Registration for the conference has been extended through May 1; information is at www.brethren.org or http://www.bethanyseminary.edu/. The conference is sponsored by the New Church Development Committee of the Church of the Brethren General Board in partnership with the Brethren Academy and Bethany Seminary.


12) Counter-recruitment calls are scheduled for late April.

On Earth Peace has scheduled networking calls for those working on countering military recruitment for April 20 and 26.

“For those who haven’t participated previously, the call is a great place to share what’s been happening in your encounters with recruiters or work with youth around issues of militarism,” said Matt Guynn, coordinator of peace witness for On Earth Peace. “We usually have eight to twelve participants from all around the country–California to Nebraska to Michigan to Maryland. Each gets a chance to share and request input or counsel. Whether or not you are currently active, it’s a good place to hear how different groups are approaching the situation and get a little boost.”

The calls will be offered on Thursday, April 20, at 7:30-9 p.m. eastern time, and on Wednesday, April 26, at 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. eastern time. Respond to mattguynn@earthlink.net. If responding, please indicate any specific focus or question for conversation.


13) Wild Rose Song and Story Fest to focus on theme, `Blossom into Wholeness.’

The annual family camp co-sponsored by On Earth Peace will take place July 5-11 at Camp Pine Lake near Eldora, Iowa, following the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference. “Wild Rose Song and Story Fest: Blossom into Wholeness!” will start the day that the Conference ends, July 5, and end on Tuesday morning, July 11, at the camp about 70 miles northeast of Des Moines.

The camp for families and people of all ages features Brethren musicians and storytellers leading campfires, workshops, concerts, intergenerational gatherings, story telling, folk dancing, and worship. This is the tenth summer for the camp. On Earth Peace is providing leadership and administrative support.

Participation will be limited to the first 125 people who register. “Get your registration in soon,” said director Ken Kline Smeltzer. “I’m looking forward to another great Fest,” he added. “Mike Stern will be back, the Button-Harrisons are working up a concert, newcomers LuAnne Harley and Brian Kruschwitz will be back, as well as our regulars Jim and Peg Lehman, Bill Jolliff, Jonathan Hunter, Debbie Eisenbise, Sue Overman, Kathy Guisewite, Barb Sayler, Bob Gross…. Plus a local bluegrass band will help us get stompin’ in an opening night square dance.”

Registration and fees are adults $160, with discounted fees for children and teens, maximum fee per family $500. An online brochure and registration information is available at www.brethren.org/oepa/SongandStoryFest2006.html.


14) Amana Colonies seminar offers continuing education credits.

“The Other Stream: Alternative Forms of Radical Pietism” is a continuing education opportunity for clergy, ministry students, and others. The seminar July 5-6 in Amana, Iowa, follows the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference in Des Moines. It is offered by the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership and the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies.

Participants will study the influence of radical pietism on the Brethren through a study of the Amana Colonies, home of the Community of True Inspiration which co-existed and interacted with the early Brethren in Europe. The community came to America much later than the Brethren and settled in Iowa, where it developed several villages operated as a communal society until the mid-twentieth century.

The seminar will begin at 3 p.m. on July 5 with a tour of the Amana Heritage Museum. On July 6 participants will meet at the Amana Church. Leaders will include David Eller, Wally Landes, Jim Benedict, and Jeff Bach from the Church of the Brethren, and Lanny Haldy and Peter Hoehnle from the Amana Church Society.

Cost is $80, and covers entrance into the Amana Heritage Museum, a bus tour, “Amana People: History of a Religious Community” by Peter Hoehnle, some meals, and continuing education credit. Participants are responsible for their own lodging.

To register or for more information, contact the Young Center at youngctr@etown.edu. Training in Ministry students who wish to create a course for credit should contact their advisors. Registration deadline is May 15.

Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren General Board, on every other Wednesday with other editions as needed. Jane Bankert, Mary Dulabaum, Nevin Dulabaum, Mary Lou Garrison, Matt Guynn, Mary Kay Heatwole, Merv Keeney, Jon Kobel, Jeri S. Kornegay, Janis Pyle, Marcia Shetler, and Jane Yount contributed to this report. Newsline stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source. To receive Newsline by e-mail or to unsubscribe, write cobnews@aol.com or call 800-323-8039 ext. 260. Newsline is available and archived at www.brethren.org, click on “News.” For more news and features, subscribe to Messenger magazine; call 800-323-8039 ext. 247.


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