Newsline for August 16, 2006

“For waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert.” — Isaiah 35:6b


1) Denominational membership declines by largest amount in five years.
2) Brethren cooperate in Peace Church Longterm Care Insurance.
3) Caregiving award winners honored by Association of Brethren Caregivers.
4) Grants go to Lebanon crisis, Katrina rebuilding, hunger in Guatemala.
5) Western Plains District Conference sees signs of transformation.
6) Southeastern District holds 38th annual district conference.
7) Brethren bits: Personnel, Annual Conference office move, and more.


8) New speaker announced for National Older Adult Conference.
9) Bethany Seminary to host discernment retreat.


10) Finding the roots of hope in Iraq.

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. 

1) Denominational membership declines by largest amount in five years.

Church of the Brethren membership declined by the largest amount in five years in 2005, down 1,861 members or 1.42 percent. Total reported denominational membership fell under 130,000 for the first time since the 1920s. Denominational membership has been on a steady decline since the early 1960s, as it has been for most “mainline” denominations in the US.

Membership for the denomination in the US and Puerto Rico at the end of 2005 stood at 129,340 according to figures collected by the “Church of the Brethren Yearbook” published by Brethren Press. The figure does not include Church of the Brethren membership in other countries including Nigeria, Brazil, India, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti. The Nigerian church reported a membership of about 160,000 earlier this year.

Fifteen of the 23 US districts reported membership declines last year, one (Oregon/Washington) reported no change, and seven reported membership increases.

Atlantic Southeast District had the largest percentage increase, up 2.66 percent with a net gain of 52 members. Atlantic Northeast, already the largest district, grew larger with the largest numerical gain last year. It reported an increase of 101 members (.68 percent), for a total of 14,947.

The largest numerical and percentage decrease came from Pacific Southwest District, down 472 members or 16.38 percent. Missouri/Arkansas District dropped 12.79 percent, a loss of 82 members, moving it behind Idaho to become the denomination’s smallest district. Three other districts–South/Central Indiana, Michigan, and West Marva-had declines of 3.75 percent or more.

The number of full congregations fell by nine, but there were four new fellowships and four new projects welcomed during the year. Total reported average weekly worship attendance dropped by nearly 2,500 people from the year before, to 65,143. And the number of baptisms was at its lowest level in recent history, with just 1,660 reported. A total of 1,955 baptisms were reported in 2004 and 2,923 in 2003.

Updated “Yearbook” figures are based on data provided by congregations that turn in statistical reports. In 2005, 69 percent of the congregations reported, a fairly consistent response to previous years; 71 percent reported in 2004.

The “Yearbook” also lists contact information and statistics for congregations, districts, and agencies of the denomination, as well as related Brethren organizations. The 2006 edition is available from Brethren Press; to order call 800-441-3712.


2) Brethren cooperate in Peace Church Longterm Care Insurance.

A new Peace Church Longterm Care Insurance program is now available through the Fellowship of Brethren Homes, an organization of Church of the Brethren retirement centers, and the Association of Brethren Caregivers (ABC). The new program addresses the problem of “uncompensated care” that is faced by the Brethren retirement facilities. For the last several years, more than $14 million annually has been spent by 18 of the 22 centers to care for older adults who no longer have the financial resources to pay for their own care.

“As our population and denomination continue to age, (the fastest-growing segment of the US population is the 80 and older group), the financial strain on our retirement facilities increases,” reported Don Fecher, director of the fellowship. It is unlikely that governmental funding for longterm care will increase, or that a legislative solution is even possible, Fecher said. “It is also unlikely that a Church of the Brethren facility will turn away a resident in need,” he added.

Through its ecumenical partnerships with the other historic peace churches–Mennonites and Friends–the fellowship is making it possible for anyone connected with the Church of the Brethren to take advantage of the Peace Church Longterm Care Insurance program. Anyone connected to the Church of the Brethren may participate along with their spouse, children ages 18 and older, parents, grandparents, siblings, in-laws, aunts, and uncles.

The program will pay benefits for longterm care services in a person’s home, assisted living facility, adult day care facility, or nursing home, and is available for Alzheimer’s/dementia coverage. The program is guaranteed renewable and offers tax quantified plans.

Currently, costs for assisted living facilities range from $900 to $3,000 per month depending on amenities provided and services required, according to ABC. Also, about 90 percent of the nation’s assisted living services are paid for with private funds, states the National Center for Assisted Living. The Health Insurance Association of America reports that the national average for a year in a nursing home is estimated to cost more than $46,000, and in some areas can easily cost twice that amount.

“The costs of longterm care may present the greatest threat to financial security during a person’s retirement years,” Fecher said. “Longterm care insurance is also appropriate for the working age person to protect against illnesses, disabilities, or injuries from automobile or sporting accidents. HMOs and traditional health insurance policies generally do not pay for long-term care services.”

To find out more about the program or to request cost estimates contact the administering organization, Senior Ministries Insurance Alliance of Harrisburg, Pa., at 800-382-1352.


3) Caregiving award winners honored by Association of Brethren Caregivers.

The Association of Brethren Caregivers (ABC) recognized recipients of the agency’s annual caregiving awards during a reception July 3 at the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference in Des Moines, Iowa.

Retired pastor Chuck Boyer of La Verne, Calif., was recognized for a lifetime of caregiving. Throughout his ministry, he has advocated for peace and for those who were left at the margins in society and the church, ABC said. He has served the Church of the Brethren as director of Brethren Volunteer Service, peace consultant, pastor, and moderator of Annual Conference. During his time as peace consultant, Boyer focused on domestic peace concerns, action, and education. In 1988, he became senior pastor of La Verne Church of the Brethren, where he was active in housing and food projects, the formation of a new ministerium that supported women in ministerial roles, and compassionate caregiving for his congregation, especially those who felt excluded from the faith community.

Rodney E. Mason of Chambersburg, Pa., was recognized for his service as former CEO of Peter Becker Community, a Church of the Brethren retirement community in Harleysville, Pa. During his tenure Mason fostered ministry for and with elders in many ways, collaborating with the Indian Valley YMCA to bring a satellite to Peter Becker Community, working with other area care centers to provide services to seniors in the Harleysville community, and helping establish the Peace Church Risk Retention Group, a collaboration between the Church of the Brethren, Mennonites, and Friends. Mason resigned from Peter Becker in 2005 to become CEO of Menno Haven Retirement Communities.

ABC honored Disaster Child Care, a program of the Church of the Brethren General Board, for providing more than 25 years of caregiving for children and families during more than 175 disasters. The program has trained more than 2,500 volunteers who donate their time and services. Disaster Child Care began in 1980 and later became an ecumenical endeavor. The program is well respected and relied on by partner agencies such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the American Red Cross, and Church World Service. In 1998, it was designated as the official child-care service to assist the American Red Cross following a domestic aviation disaster and formed a specially trained group of volunteers for its “Critical Response Childcare Team.”

Papago Buttes Church of the Brethren in Scottsdale, Ariz., received the “Open Roof” award for its work on accessibility for people with disabilities. People with disabilities participate fully in the worship, activities, and leadership of the church, even though the congregation does not have a formal disabilities program. Papago Buttes has reached out with services and programs to members of a neighboring group home. Love Feast at the congregation includes hand washing for those with mobility issues, along with the traditional foot washing. Adults and children with disabilities are mainstreamed into Sunday school classes, with special training available for teachers when needed. The congregation’s new building was designed to be completely handicapped accessible. Now the congregation is beginning a new construction project, a handicapped accessible baptistery.

For more information about the Association of Brethren Caregivers go to www.brethren.org/abc.


4) Grants go to Lebanon crisis, Katrina rebuilding, hunger in Guatemala.

Two funds of the Church of the Brethren General Board–the Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF), and the Global Food Crisis Fund–are giving a total of $68,555 in three grants for the humanitarian crisis in Lebanon, rebuilding following Hurricane Katrina, and a hunger relief program in Guatemala.

The EDF has given a grant of $25,000 to support a Church World Service appeal for the humanitarian crisis created by the Israeli/Hezbollah war in Lebanon. The funds will help provide emergency supplies of food, water, bedding, medicine, and sanitation.

The fund also is granting $25,000 for Brethren Disaster Response to open a new rebuilding site in an area affected by Hurricane Katrina. The money will pay for the travel expenses, leadership training, food, and housing of volunteers working on the project, as well as additional tools and equipment and some building supplies.

In Guatemala, the Global Food Crisis Fund has allocated a grant of $18,555 from the Church of the Brethren Foods Resource Bank account to continue support of a hunger relief project in the Totonicapan region. This is the second year of a three year project to help increase food diversification through community greenhouse and patio gardening. Additionally, the project promotes appropriate technology, community organization, and food security.


5) Western Plains District Conference sees signs of transformation.

With a theme of “God’s Love Forever and Ever,” the Western Plains District Conference was convened by moderator LeRoy Weddle at McPherson (Kan.) Church of the Brethren and McPherson College. The conference had 272 registered attendees.

Jim Kinsey, Congregational Life Team staff of the General Board, was the theme speaker. Sandy Bosserman, executive minister for Missouri and Arkansas District, spoke at the minister and spouse dinner.

There was an emphasis on the congregational transformation movement that is permeating the district, reported district co-executive minister Elsie Holderread. Singing, worship, sharing of individual faith stories, and congregational stories of transformation were woven throughout the weekend. The presence of 30 youth, some coming directly from National Youth Conference in Fort Collins, Colo., was a positive influence. The renovation to the church added greatly to the quality and comfort of the conference, Holderread added.

In business sessions, the 73 delegates from 32 congregations passed a $194,000 district budget, approved a constitutional amendment, and elected eight new district board members and elected Sonja Griffith as moderator-elect.

A Projects Unlimited auction raised $4,416.25 to be divided between Heifer Project, Trees for Life, On Earth Peace, Disaster Child Care, Camp Colorado, Camp Mount Hermon, the Outdoor Ministries Association, the Western Plains District General Fund, McPherson College, the Lybrook Mission, and Darfur World Hunger. The district quilt sold for $1,000.

Next year’s district conference will be held at McPherson, Kan., July 27-29 with David Smalley as moderator.


6) Southeastern District holds 38th annual district conference.

The 38th annual Southeastern District Conference on July 28-30 was led by moderator Jim Hoffman on the theme, “Together in God’s Presence.” A total of 94 delegates represented 27 congregations, and a total of 167 people were in attendance. Prayer was given for the youth and leaders who were returning home from National Youth Conference in Colorado, said co-executive minister Martha Roudebush in her report from the meeting.

Keynote speaker pastor Gilbert Romero of Bella Vista Church of the Brethren in Los Angeles, presented challenging messages Friday evening and Sunday morning entitled “To His Presence We Will Go.”

A 2007 district budget of $80,148 was passed including increasing the position of the co-executive ministers to three-quarter time. The delegate body approved and passed a new business item allowing His Way Fellowship to seek out and purchase a larger facility, and to sell the current property. They also approved and supported the new district ministry education program “School of Spiritual Leadership.”

In elections, Jeremy Dykes, youth pastor from Jackson Park Church of the Brethren in Jonesborough, Tenn., was called to be moderator-elect.

The district churches were thanked for giving $70,674 to the Disaster Katrina Fund. The conference received a that some of this fund is still being used to help with small town situations along the gulf coast in Alabama.

The Witness Commission also had challenged each church this past year to collect money for Heifer International. Several churches in the district participated, collecting a total of $25,506. The donations purchased several “arks” of animals, heifers, llamas, and many others. The district youth visited the Heifer Ranch in Arkansas on the way to National Youth Conference, and presented the check from the district.

A time was held during the business to have small group discussions as part of the denominational study process Together: Conversations on Being the Church. Discussion focused on the question, “What does it mean to be the church?” This was a very productive time of conversation, Roudebush reported. Saturday night’s insight session provided leadership training for individuals to lead their congregations in this conversation.

A quilt auction was held with proceeds going to the John M. Reed Home.

Roudebush said that the district faced a “unique situation” this year. “The parliamentarian was at National Youth Conference,” she said, “and the moderator-elect was also at NYC. Donna Shumate, who will be moderator in 2007, was in the hospital with a new baby boy.”


7) Brethren bits: Personnel, Annual Conference office move, and more.
  • Ralph McFadden will serve as coordinator for the second Mission Alive conference, planned for April 13-15, 2007, filling a temporary, part-time position in the Global Mission Partnerships of the General Board. McFadden will coordinate a working committee to plan and implement the conference. He will work from the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., and from his home in Elgin. He has served in the Church of the Brethren as a pastor, district executive, and executive for Parish Ministries Commission of the General Board. Among his wide experience is coordinating the National Youth Conference in 1974. More recently he has been a part of the Association for Brethren Caregivers staff, and has served as chaplain for Hospice of Northeastern Illinois.
  • As announced earlier this year, the Annual Conference Office relocates from the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., to the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., this month. The move takes place the week of Aug. 21-25. The office will open for business in New Windsor on Aug. 28. The new address of the Annual Conference Office is 500 Main Street, P.O. Box 720, New Windsor, MD, 21776-0720; 410-635-8740, 800-688-5186, fax 410-635-8742, executive director 410-635-8781. E-mail addresses remain unchanged for Fogle (lfogle_ac@brethren.org) and Conference assistant Dana Weaver (dweaver_ac@brethren.org).
  • The annual Brethren Revival Fellowship orientation unit for Brethren Volunteer Service will be held at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., from Aug. 20-30. A total of 11 staff and volunteers are expected.
  • An Action Alert from the Brethren Witness/Washington Office of the General Board, dated Aug. 3, calls attention to the Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act of 2006 (S. 3698), introduced by Senator Jim Jeffords (I, VT). The legislation “is based on the increasing scientific evidence that global warming poses a significant threat to the public health and welfare of the US and to the global environment as a whole,” the alert stated. As well as giving details of the legislation, the alert quotes from the 1991 Annual Conference statement “Creation: Called to Care,” and urges Brethren to contact their senators in support of the act. “Your voice can make a difference,” the alert said. “As little as 10 calls or letters on an issue can be enough to convince an elected official to support or not support a piece of legislation. Let us take a serious stand on reducing global warming and caring for our environment.” For more information go to www.brethren.org/genbd/WitnessWashOffice.html or contact the office at 800-785-3246 or washington_office_gb@brethren.org.
  • Virlina District is holding a teacher’s workshop for Christian educators on the theme, “Called, Equipped, Sent Forth” on Sept. 16 from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at Germantown Brick Church of the Brethren in Rocky Mount, Va. The scriptural texts will be Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and Ephesians 4:11-12. The workshop will include worship, teacher training, inspiration, and a commissioning of teachers. Workshops will include training for the new curriculum “Gather ’Round: Hearing and Sharing God’s Good News” from Brethren Press and Mennonite Publishing Network; a workshop on serving those with disabilities; and a workshop on ministering to difficult behaviors. Cost is $15 for an individual or $25 for a group from a congregation. Carol Mason, staff for the General Board’s Congregational Life Teams and a retired school teacher and ordained minister with a master’s degree in curriculum development, will provide leadership. For more information contact Virlina District at 540-362-1816.
  • Bridgewater (Va.) College “enjoyed unparalleled fundraising success in fiscal year 2005-06,” according to a release from the school. Gifts and pledges totaled $8,074,548, the release said, with highlights of the year including several gifts in the range of a half million dollars, and additions to the college endowment of $4.2 million. In other news from the college, nine new fulltime faculty arrive in mid-August to join the departments of communication studies, education, health and exercise science, history, music, and philosophy.
  • Manchester College in North Manchester, Ind., is changing its accounting offerings to reflect changing needs in the larger accounting environment, announced a letter from president Jo Young Switzer. “After 15 years with a good master of accountancy program that has dwindled in number of graduates, we will offer, instead, a program that allows students to complete their 150 hours required by the accounting industry in four-and-a-half years,” the letter said. “Accounting firms nationwide are clear that they prefer to hire new accountants who already have met the 150-hour requirement and are ready to sit for the CPA exam. Firms are telling us the master’s degree does not carry weight in their hiring decisions.” The new accounting program will begin this fall. For more about the college go to http://www.manchester.edu/.
  • Sculptor Jeff Adams has been commissioned to create a bronze sculpture to depict the spirit of compassion given to seniors at Pinecrest Community in Mount Morris, Ill. A “maquette” or model of the sculpture titled “The Good Samaritan” was unveiled at a fundraiser in July. The sculpture is to be displayed at the entrance of the Grove, a new 20-acre active adult community now under construction as part of Pinecrest.
  • Fahrney Keedy Home and Village holds its Second Annual Heritage Day on Aug. 19, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Events includes live entertainment, a chicken barbecue, bake sale, yard sale, food vendors, craft vendors, trade vendors, and displays of quilts and celebrity autographs. Fahrney Keedy Home and Village is located at 8507 Mapleville Rd., Boonsboro, Md.
  • Camp Eder in Fairfield, Pa., is hosting a “Moving Stories, Healing Stories” retreat on Sept. 22-24, with sponsorship from the Jubilee Troupe. The troupe is an endeavor of Brethren and others joining creative arts, social change, and spiritual renewal, sponsored by On Earth Peace, the New Community Project, and the Brethren Peace Fellowship. Keynote presenter is Julie Portman, an Obie Award winning performer and founder of Ki Theater in Washington, Va. The retreat is an opportunity to explore spiritual enrichment and community renewal processes through forms of interactive drama, movement, and other creative arts. Activities include working with storytelling tools and exploring personal stories; forums for sharing skills, ideas, media, and findings; “getting into our bodies” with quietness and play; personal and group devotional time; sharing meals and supportive fellowship. InterPlay instructor Judith Reichsman from Marlboro, Vt., also will lead a workshop to provide improvisational tools to further explore personal stories. Find out more and register online at http://jubileetroupe.org/events/2006-retreat.htm.
  • Members of Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) in northern Indiana have begun a nonviolent campaign to stop the production of depleted uranium weaponry. Leaders include Church of the Brethren members Cliff Kindy and Tom Benevento, who is Latin America/Caribbean program volunteer for the Global Mission Partnerships of the General Board. CPT was originally an initiative of the historic peace churches (Church of the Brethren, Mennonites, and Quakers) but now enjoys support and membership from a wide range of Christian denominations. The campaign focuses on depleted uranium production sites, such as the ones in Rocket Center, W.Va., and Jonesborough, Tenn., both operated or contracted by Alliant Technologies, said a release from the campaign. The focus is to only stop the production of depleted uranium, not to shut down the plants, the release said. Those participating in the campaign spend an hour in silence and fasting every Friday noon, and are encouraged to examine their lifestyles to ask how one lives a life that does not need to be defended by war. Plans have included monitoring trucks in and out of plants, holding prayer vigils for the victims of depleted uranium weapons, and scheduling public forums on the effects of depleted uranium weapons. For more go to the campaign’s website http://www.stop-du.org/.
  • A National Council of Churches (NCC) expert on international affairs and peace is scheduled to be on Fox News tonight, Aug. 16. Antonios Kireopoulos, the NCC’s associate general secretary for International Affairs and Peace, is to be interviewed by Bill O’Reilly on “The O’Reilly Factor.” The program airs on the Fox News cable channel at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. eastern. Kireopoulos will discuss solutions to the war in Lebanon and Israel, and the root causes of terrorism. He has visited the region many times and has worked on issues of peace for several years. For more information about the programs of the NCC go to http://www.councilofchurches.org/.
  • A Greater Gift (SERRV) offers a “Summer Overstock Sale” on Aug. 23-26 at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. The sale will include 60 percent off first quality items. A Greater Gift sells fair trade handcrafts and foods from around the world through partnerships with small-scale artisan and farmer groups. The organization was started by the Church of the Brethren. For more information go to http://www.agreatergift.org/.


8) New speaker announced for National Older Adult Conference.

David Augsburger will give the keynote plenary session on Wednesday morning of the National Older Adult Conference (NOAC), an event sponsored by the Association of Brethren Caregivers (ABC). Ken Haughk, founder of Stephen Ministries, was slated to speak but cancelled because of caregiving responsibilities. NOAC takes place Sept. 4-8 at Lake Junaluska Assembly in North Carolina.

Augsburger is professor of pastoral counseling at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif. An ordained minister in the Mennonite Church, he has written 20 books on pastoral counseling, marriage, conflict, and human relations. His most recent books are “Pastoral Counseling Across Cultures” and “Conflict Mediation Across Cultures.” He also has taught at seminaries in Chicago, Indiana, and Pennsylvania, and has been a radio spokesperson for the Mennonite churches.

Augsburger’s presentation, “Forgiving: Thou Shalt Not Nail Others to Their Past,” will be followed that evening with a worship service in which his brother, Myron Augsburger, is the featured preacher.

Older adults who are 50 and over can still register for the conference at http://www.brethren-caregivers.org/ or by calling ABC at 800-323-8039.


9) Bethany Seminary to host discernment retreat.

Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., will host a discernment retreat titled “Open Hearts–Open Minds” on Sept. 22-24. Participants will discover and work with their calls to ministry through prayer, worship, group sessions, and personal time for reflection.

Tara Hornbacker, assistant professor of Ministry Formation, is the retreat leader. An inspirational speaker, humorist, and ministry consultant, Hornbacker is an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren. As a faculty member, she gives overall direction to the seminary’s program of preparing people for the ministry through experiential education, spiritual formation, and theological reflection on the practice of ministry.

Opportunities for individual spiritual direction also will be available, facilitated by Lisa Lundeen Nagel, a 2006 graduate of Earlham School of Religion.

“Open Hearts–Open Minds is a retreat grounded in scripture, worship, and an openness to the presence of God,” said Amy Gall Ritchie, director of student development at Bethany. “It brings learning and doing together, as people delve into the issues that God is presenting to them.”

Registration cost is $25. Information about lodging and other information will be sent to participants registered by Sept. 1. To register or for more information contact Ritchie at 765-983-1806 or ritcham@bethanyseminary.edu.


10) Finding the roots of hope in Iraq.

Church of the Brethren member Peggy Gish has returned to Iraq with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT). Originally a violence-reduction initiative of the historic peace churches (Church of the Brethren, Mennonite, and Quaker), CPT now enjoys support and membership from a wide range of Christian denominations. Gish has spent much of the last several years in Iraq, first working there before the war began. Formerly the CPT Iraq team was based in Baghdad, but currently is working in another area of the country. Here Gish reflects on the seeming hopelessness of the war, and our source of hope in God.

“A call came last week from an Iraqi human rights worker and friend of the (CPT) team. The previous night, someone attempted to shoot him near his home in southern Iraq. He does not know what group may be behind this attack and the threats on his life he has received in the past months.

“A former team translator told us that militia and criminal gangs control many neighborhoods in Baghdad. In his neighborhood, daily gun battles on the street break out. In another Baghdad neighborhood, the husband of another team friend–also a human rights activist–was killed.

“‘I couldn’t believe it at first,’ another human rights worker in Najaf told us after recently returning from several months in the US. ‘The situation in Iraq is much worse than I ever imagined. I can no longer say this isn’t civil war.’

“Some Iraqis are fleeing their homes, but most cannot leave. They feel helpless to do anything to change the escalating violence and chaos. Just two weeks ago the team’s landlord and his wife told us that even though most of Baghdad was dangerous, the neighborhood we had been living in was safe. Since then, they have called us to say the situation there has become worse. Fewer people are out on the streets doing business or shopping. They have left and now agree with other Iraqi friends and colleagues who have advised our team not to return to Baghdad.

“These Iraqis are like our family. We feel a deep love and grieve for them. Not being able to accompany them or to do more to help them is painful. During our morning prayers, we mentioned them by name. We read about and spoke of hope, but we felt this hope was something out of reach, something that instead of buoying us up, was flying in our faces. A team mate named what we were all feeling, ‘Right now it’s hard to have hope for the future of Iraq.’

“But, I thought, the prophet Isaiah addressed this struggle when he spoke of God bringing forth springs of water in the thirsty ground of the desert (Isaiah 35:6-7) and of God being with us as we pass through the rivers and through fire (Isaiah 43:2.) Just like water in dry lands, hope is a precious commodity in war-torn places.

“If we base our hope mainly on our ability to stop this horrible violence, we are lost. Only when our faith is rooted in God’s ability to work in impossible situations can we rise above despair and allow hope to strengthen us and lead us to action. That is the hope I pray for and want to walk in.”

To receive Newsline by e-mail or to unsubscribe, go to http://listserver.emountain.net/mailman/listinfo/newsline. Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren General Board. Contact the editor at cobnews@brethren.org or 800-323-8039 ext. 260. Chrystal Bostian, Mary Dulabaum, Mary Kay Heatwole, Elsie Holderread, Jon Kobel, Martha June Roudebush, Marcia Shetler, and Walt Wiltschek contributed to this report. Newsline appears every other Wednesday, with the next regularly scheduled Newsline set for Aug. 30; other special issues may be sent as needed. Newsline stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source. Newsline is available and archived at www.brethren.org, click on “News.” For more Church of the Brethren news and features, go to www.brethren.org and click on “News,” or subscribe to Messenger magazine, call 800-323-8039 ext. 247.


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