Newsline for March 15, 2006

“I am the Lord your God….” — Exodus 20:2a


1) Inter-Agency Forum discusses decline in church membership.
2) Brethren Volunteer Service Unit 268 completes training.
3) Youth Peace Travel Team is chosen for 2006.
4) Emergency Disaster Fund gives $162,800 in ten new grants.
5) Brethren Service Center contributes to school shipments for Gulf Coast.
6) Brethren graduate student reflects on Gulf Coast counseling experience.
7) Brethren bits: Correction, job opening, and much more.


8) Churches encouraged to focus on mental illness, older adult ministry in May.
9) Workcamp space is still available for Pine Ridge Reservation.
10) National Youth Conference welcomes Superchick, Medema, Gunzel.

PLEASE NOTE: A full report from the Church of the Brethren General Board meeting March 9-13 in New Windsor, Md., will appear soon as a Special Report.

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.

1) Inter-Agency Forum discusses decline in church membership.

The Inter-Agency Forum, a component of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference, held its annual meeting Feb. 1-2 in Daytona Beach, Fla. Two major concerns occupied much of the discussion reported Conference secretary Fred Swartz, a proposal from the Association of Brethren Caregivers (ABC) to examine the structure and vision of the Church of the Brethren, and the declining membership of the denomination.

Jim Hardenbrook, immediate past moderator of Annual Conference, presided at the meeting that included the Conference officers, a representative of the Council of District Executives, and the executives and board chairs of the five Annual Conference agencies–Association of Brethren Caregivers (ABC), Bethany Theological Seminary, Brethren Benefit Trust, General Board, and On Earth Peace.

ABC served as the meeting host. Fred Swartz, Conference secretary, issued the report of the meeting.

Concern about the vision and structure of the denomination originated in the ABC Board, which has made a proposal for Annual Conference to examine the structure and vision of the denomination, “toward a greater sense of unity and a more responsible stewardship of resources,” Swartz reported. The forum referred the matter to the Annual Conference Review and Evaluation Committee.

“The second issue concerned the declining membership of the Church of the Brethren,” Swartz said. “Jim Hardenbrook raised the concern, but it was rapidly evident that several of the agencies have had discussion within their boards about the matter.” The General Board is supporting a survey of factors contributing to the membership and attendance decline, and Brethren Benefit Trust and Bethany Seminary both have had discussions relating to the relationship of the decline to the number of constituents available for their programs, Swartz said.

“Several other ideas related to the decline were noted, such as cultural and social factors, family patterns, the Brethren style of evangelism, and confusion about Brethren identity,” Swartz said. “The agencies agreed to keep this matter on their agendas, to give it prayer and to continue to look for answers.”

“What is the Good News,” said Hardenbrook, “is that it is not our church. It is God’s church.”

The meeting also included an evaluation of the 2005 Annual Conference and a look ahead to the 2006 Conference. A report was received on an initiative on wellness by ABC, Brethren Benefit Trust, and the General Board, with ABC providing overall administration including hiring a fulltime director. Each agency, Annual Conference, and the Council of District Executives gave additional reports and projections for future ministries. Summaries are available, call the Annual Conference Office at 800-323-8039.


2) Brethren Volunteer Service Unit 268 completes training.

Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) Unit 268 has completed orientation and the new volunteers have begun their assignments. Camp Ithiel in Gotha, Fla., hosted the winter 2006 orientation from Jan. 29 to Feb. 17.

The unit consisted of seven volunteers: Elizabeth Davis-Mintun of Indianapolis, Ind., whose project assignment is pending; Tom and Gail Druck of Yorkana Church of the Brethren, York, Pa., going to the Meeting Ground, Elkton, Md; Claus Mendler of Stuttgart, Germany, to serve at the Brethren Nutrition Program, Washington, D.C.; Bastian Matutis of Allmersbach im Tal, Germany, to work at Gould Farm, Monterey, Mass.; Wanja Frank of Berlin, Germany, serving at the Samaritan House, Atlanta, Ga.; and Patrick Meinelt of Burgstadt, Germany, to serve with the Community Home Repair Project of Arizona, Tucson, Ariz.

While in Florida, the volunteers spent several days serving the community including a workday at Camp Ithiel, Habitat for Humanity, and several food banks. During a weekend immersion experience in Miami, the group fellowshiped with the Church of the Brethren Haitian community. “The group also hosted a potluck for current and past BVS volunteers and had a great time sharing food and stories,” reported Becky Snavely of the BVS office.

“As always, your prayer support is greatly appreciated,” said Snavely. “Please pray for the unit, and the people they will touch during their year of service through BVS.” For more information call the BVS office at 800-323-8039, or visit http://www.brethrenvolunteerservice.org/.


3) Youth Peace Travel Team is chosen for 2006.

The members of the Youth Peace Travel Team have been chosen for the summer of 2006. Four young adult women were chosen from the field of applicants to travel to youth camps throughout the Church of the Brethren. The goal of the team’s work is to talk with other young people about the Christian message and the Brethren tradition of peacemaking.

Team members will be Corinne Lipscomb, a Manchester College student from Springfield (Ill.) Church of the Brethren; Christina McPherson, a McPherson (Kan.) College student from Boise Valley Church of the Brethren in Meridian, Idaho; Margaret Bortner, a Lycoming College student from Palmyra (Pa.) Church of the Brethren; and Karen Duhai, an Elizabethtown (Pa.) College student from Bedford (Pa.) Church of the Brethren.

The Youth Peace Travel Team is sponsored by On Earth Peace, the Outdoor Ministries Association, and the Church of the Brethren General Board’s Youth and Young Adult Ministry Office, Brethren Witness/Washington Office, and Brethren Volunteer Service.


4) Emergency Disaster Fund gives $162,800 in ten new grants.

The Emergency Disaster Fund, a ministry of the Church of the Brethren General Board, has given ten grants totaling $162,800, for disaster relief in the US, Kenya, Liberia, and Guatemala.

An allocation of $40,000 was given to a Church World Service (CWS) appeal for a prolonged drought in Kenya affecting some 2.5 million people. The funds will provide food distribution, water for people and animals, restocking livestock, and seeds for the next crop season.

An additional allocation of $35,000 supports the continuing Brethren Disaster Response project for hurricane recovery in Florida, which began in 2004. The project continues in Pensacola and is projected to take several more years. Previous allocations to this project total $80,000.

A grant of $30,000 supports a Brethren Disaster Response project in Mississippi as part of the continuing work following Hurricane Katrina. Multiple project sites are anticipated. These funds will provide feeding, housing, transport, and support for Brethren volunteers at the project.

The sum of $20,000 supports a CWS appeal responding to the Liberian civil war that has left 500,000 people displaced. The money will help with rehabilitation and resettlement and will include food and non-food items, reconstruction of shelters, agriculture recovery, water and sanitation, health assistance, psychosocial support, and peace and reconciliation activities.

An additional allocation of $13,800 continues emergency response work after landslides and floods in Guatemala. An initial grant of $7,000 was given to provide emergency food. The new funds will help rebuild a bridge needed for an affected community to transport coffee beans to market, and purchase an additional three-month supply of corn. The distribution and work related to the grant is being handled by Brethren Volunteer Service worker Rebecca Allen and the General Board’s Latin America specialist Tom Benevento.

Grants of $9,000 and $7,200 cover the balance of expenses for Brethren Disaster Response projects in Alabama and Lake Charles, La., which have been closed. The projects did clean-up work following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

An additional allocation of $3,000 continues support of a CWS appeal in the aftermath of Hurricane Rita. The money will provide small “seed grants” to local organizations and help the longterm recovery committee begin the work of case management.

A grant of $3,000 responds to a CWS appeal after wildfires in Texas and Oklahoma destroyed more than 500 homes and damaged another 1,200. The funds will provide small grants to longterm recovery work, and help complete needs assessments, case management, and efforts at reconstruction.

A grant of $1,800 covers the balance of expenses for Disaster Child Care volunteers and others working in southern Florida after Hurricane Wilma. This response has been completed.

For more information about the Church of the Brethren General Board’s Emergency Response and Service Ministries, go to www.brethren.org/genbd/ersm/DisasterResponse.htm.


5) Brethren Service Center contributes to school shipments for Gulf Coast.

Church World Service (CWS) is distributing grants totaling $599,095 to 13 schools in Mississippi and Louisiana badly damaged by last year’s devastating hurricanes. In addition, CWS also sent material assistance valued at $110,170 to the schools, including 7,830 “Gift of the Heart” Kits (school and health), 1,500 blankets, and five recreation boxes donated by UNICEF.

The grant program was made possible by a generous donation from Diakonie Emergency Aid, a German faith-based humanitarian aid agency. The material aid was sent from the distribution center of Service Ministries–a program of the Church of the Brethren General Board at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md.

The schools will use the funds to purchase student and teacher supplies, computers, audio-visual equipment, books, musical equipment, and furniture. The 13 schools currently have 15,673 students and 1,839 teachers. The schools are Martin Behrman Elementary (Algiers Charter Schools) in New Orleans; Forked Island/E. Broussard Elementary in Abbeville, La.; East Hancock Elementary in Kiln, Miss.; Franklin Elementary in New Orleans; Gulfview Elementary in Kiln; Hancock High School in Kiln; McMain High School in New Orleans; Orange Grove Elementary in Gulfport, Miss.; Pascagoula (Miss.) School District; Resurrection Middle High School in Pascagoula; St. Thomas Elementary in Long Beach, Miss.; Watkins Elementary in Lake Charles, La.; and Westwood Elementary in Westlake, La.

“Although this has been an exciting and rewarding opportunity to be able to administer this grant program, the sad reality is that out of the 200 schools that were identified, the destruction was so bad that only 13 were able to apply for this program,” said CWS Disaster Response and Recovery liaison Lesli Remaly, who served as coordinator of the grant application process.

“Most of the students who attend our school are on the free or reduced lunch program, which means they come from households earning around $16,000 or less per year,” said Michelle Lewis, Human Resource manager for Algiers Charter Schools. Lewis said that many of the students recently returned to the area after attending well-equipped schools in other parts of the country unaffected by the hurricanes, mainly in Texas.

At Orange Grove Elementary, 90 percent of students come from low-income families. Stephanie Schepens, a teacher, said many children are in homes with mold conditions and in need of extensive repairs. Some are waiting for FEMA temporary housing trailers; some have already been denied. “To see things new and shiny means so much to them,” she said. “The school supplies and blankets were like a Christmas some of them never had.”

In addition to shipments aiding Hurricane Katrina survivors, other recent shipments of material aid from the Brethren Service Center include a CWS container for Ghana weighing 8,354 pounds with blankets, school kits, wheelchairs, and walkers; a Global Assistance 40-foot container of medical supplies for the Republic of Congo; a Lutheran World Relief 40-foot container to Nicaragua filled with 525 cartons of school kits; and blankets for the homeless and disadvantaged in Salt Lake City and Binghamton, N.Y.


6) Brethren graduate student reflects on Gulf Coast counseling experience.

“Surreal is the only word I have for it,” said Karen Croushorn, describing the Gulf Coast of Mississippi last fall. Driving south from Jackson, Miss., was “eerie…like a nuclear bomb had gone off,” she said “We were still looking at roads that were impassible, no clean drinking water, no sanitation.”

Croushorn, a member of Manassas (Va.) Church of the Brethren and a former Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) worker, was one of 14 graduate students and two professors from George Mason University who spent a week in Mississippi doing mental health counseling with survivors of Hurricane Katrina. Croushorn is a part-time graduate student in counseling, and also works for a credit union.

The students spent the week before Thanksgiving in Mississippi, offering counseling services to survivors almost three months after Katrina hit. The group were “not doing formal counseling,” Croushorn said, but mainly just sitting down and talking with people who needed a listening ear.

The opportunity to do such work is unusual for students who are not authorized to work in disaster zones by the American Red Cross because they are not licensed, she said. But the professors who accompanied the group made connections with the director of Mississippi’s Mental Health Counseling Association. Mississippi had such a great need for counselors that the association was willing to take the students. The association director arranged for places to stay and sites at which to work. Croushorn’s group worked with almost 600 people at sites from East Biloxi to Pearlington, and west almost to the Louisiana border. The work sites were central locations for survivors to receive services such as help with housing and food.

Many of the people the group met were aid workers themselves, or counselors who were personally affected by the disaster as they attempted to serve clients. Some of the counselors were from Louisiana, and were working in Mississippi because of so much need in the state. The students counseled both people who had evacuated, and people who had stayed through the storm. The professors worked with the professional counselors.

The group was in Mississippi when the “honeymoon period” after the disaster was waning, she said. People were frustrated with the lack of help and attention compared to that given to Louisiana, and a lot of racial tension was resurfacing, she said. “Instilling hope was what we were doing while we were there,” she said. The “absolute resiliency” of the people surprised her, as well as the welcome the group received, and the thanks from the people they worked with. “And the fact that they’re going to rebuild,” even without the insurance or the money to rebuild, she said.

Another goal for the group was to help collect data in order to be effective advocates for Katrina survivors, because funding for such services is being cut off, Croushorn said. “In order to get funding, you have to have data.” At the time, the George Mason group was told they were the last such group to be in Mississippi to help with the mental health counseling needs.

As she reflected on the experience a couple of months later, the needs she saw in Mississippi spoke to Croushorn’s Brethren understandings of social justice. It was a perspective she had learned in BVS as well, she said. “It put a whole new spin on Thanksgiving, for all of us,” she remembered. “First, how much being in something like that (Hurricane Katrina) puts things in perspective.”

Since their return from Mississippi, the students have become advocates for the counseling needs of Katrina survivors, Croushorn said. The group is working toward doing lobbying on Capitol Hill. Some of the students planned to attend a March 14 march in Washington to protest the evictions of Katrina survivors without other viable housing options.

Croushorn has learned to talk through the “Katrina fatigue” that she has seen in other areas of the country, where some already are tired of dealing with the aftermath of the disaster. “There’s a different kind of `Katrina fatigue’ in Mississippi,” she said. “It’s not that they’re tired of it–they can’t get away from it, and they’re tired.”


7) Brethren bits: Correction, job opening, and much more.
  • Correction: Since 1985 there have been 20, rather than 13, Nigeria workcamps sponsored by the General Board, as was incorrectly reported in the Newsline Special of March 3.
  • The Church of the Brethren General Board seeks a fulltime coordinator of Workcamp Ministry in the Youth and Young Adult Ministry Office in Elgin, Ill. The position starts this summer. Responsibilities include coordination of workcamps for junior high, senior high, and young adults; developing and expanding workcamp offerings; providing training and mentoring for Brethren Volunteer Service workers who serve as assistant coordinators; managing workcamp budgets, databases, and online registrations. Qualifications include membership in the Church of the Brethren, experience in working with youth and young adults, experience on workcamps or mission trips, organizational and administrative skills, experience working in a team, interpersonal and relational skills, ability to mentor young adults and provide spiritual leadership, willingness to travel. Education required is a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, seminary education preferred, and competency with database and spreadsheet software. Application deadline is April 14. A position description and application form are available on request. Qualified candidates are invited to complete the General Board application form, submit a resume and letter of application, and request three references to send letters of recommendation to the Office of Human Resources, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120-1694; 800-323-8039 ext. 258; mgarrison_gb@brethren.org.
  • Bethany Theological Seminary will host its annual Open House for college students and others on April 1, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Open House will offer a time of conversation with faculty, students, and staff; a tour of the campus; and information about Bethany’s degree programs and financial aid package. Bethany is located in Richmond, Ind. For more information contact Kathy Royer at 800-287-8822 ext. 1832, or e-mail royerka@bethanyseminary.edu. Registration for this event will end March 30.
  • The Global Food Crisis Fund has given an additional allocation of $11,800 to cover remaining expenses for 2005 for the Church of the Brethren Community Development Loan Program in the Dominican Republic. A grant of $73,000 was given in Aug. 2005 for this program, but due to additional costs the actual expenditures exceeded the original grant. The fund is a ministry of the Church of the Brethren General Board.
  • The 23rd Annual Flower Show at Peter Becker Community, a Church of the Brethren retirement center in Harleysville, Pa., will feature the theme, “See You in the Movies.” The show plans to recreate three well-known movies into garden sets, with guests invited to stroll through the magical set of Singing in the Rain, pop through a chalk drawing into the English countryside of Mary Poppins, and discover the sweetness of life in Willie Wonka’s edible gardens from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The show will be open March 17, 10 a.m.-8 p.m., and March 18, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Suggested donation is $4, $10 for a family. Proceeds benefit the residents. For more see http://www.peterbeckercommunity.com/.
  • The Womaen’s Caucus Steering Committee will meet in Fort Wayne, Ind., March 24-26. The group is hosting a gathering on Saturday evening, March 25, at 6 p.m., at Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren for anyone who would like to learn more about Womaen’s Caucus or hear about the group’s latest work. An entree will be provided; please bring a salad or dessert. Current Steering Committee members are Carla Kilgore, convener; Deb Peterson, “Femailings” editor; Lucy Loomis; Audrey de Coursey; Heidi Gardner; and Jan Eller, administrator.
  • A book on the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II includes a 14-page chapter on the work of Ralph and Mary Smeltzer, Church of the Brethren members who taught school at the Manzanar internment camp and then directed a hostel for Japanese-Americans leaving internment, connected with Bethany Theological Seminary in Chicago. The 308-page book, “In Good Conscience: Supporting Japanese Americans During the Internment” by the Kansha Project and Shizue Seigel is a project of the Military Intelligence Service of Northern California, funded in part by the California Civil Liberties Public Education Fund, and published by AACP, Inc. Hard cover costs $39.95, soft cover $26.95, plus shipping. Order from AACP, Inc., P.O. Box 1587, San Mateo, CA 94401; 800-874-2242.
  • The first CrossRoads (Valley Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center) lecture for 2006 will be given by Stephen L. Longenecker, history professor at Bridgewater (Va.) College, on March 25 at 7:30 p.m. “Brethren and Mennonites in the Midst of Other Religions in the Valley” will be held at Community Mennonite Church in Harrisonburg, Va. In other news from the center, a press kit created with parts of a documentary entitled “The CPS Story: A Life of Peace in a Time of War” has won a Gold Davey Award for WVPT, an educational television station in Harrisonburg, Va. The show featured the stories of Brethren and Mennonite conscientious objectors in the Shenandoah Valley. Al Keim, first director of CrossRoads, served as program coordinator for research and production. WVPT first aired the show in June 2004. It is available for $24.95 from WVPT, 298 Port Republic Rd., Harrisonburg, VA 22801.


8) Churches encouraged to focus on mental illness, older adult ministry in May.

Church of the Brethren congregations are invited to consider “Offering Hope: The Church’s Role with Mental Illness” on Health Promotion Sunday, May 21, in a special emphasis by the Association of Brethren Caregivers (ABC). The Older Adult Ministry of ABC also is encouraging congregations to use the month of May as a time to recognize and provide ministry about older adults.

A special Sunday emphasis on health is sponsored each year by ABC. “By offering the hope and love of God, congregations can walk with families often isolated by the nature of mental illness–an illness that affects one of every four families,” said a release from ABC. “Many times families living with mental or emotional illnesses are unable to express their pain, sorrow, and spiritual needs. Sometimes, congregations unwittingly perpetuate stigmas associated with mental illness and further silence those who need compassionate care, acceptance, and understanding.”

Health Promotion Sunday resources provide congregations with information about mental illness and the church’s unique role of offering help to individuals and families. They are available at http://www.brethren-caregivers.org/. Congregational leaders can request a printed version of the resources at no charge by calling ABC at 800-323-8039.

Several new resources are also available at ABC’s website to help congregations consider older adult ministry in worship and Sunday school during May. Older Adult Month helps congregations recognize aging as a natural part of living, and affirm the worth of people in all stages of development and at all functional levels, ABC said. The resources explore issues of loss, empathy, and aging, and were created by members of the Older Adult Ministry Cabinet. A series of reflections provides a month-long study for discussion groups. For more information about Older Adult Ministry, contact ABC staff Scott Douglas at 800-323-8039.


9) Workcamp space is still available for Pine Ridge Reservation.

The Youth and Young Adult Office “is excited to report that all spaces for the junior high workcamp opportunities are full!” said a report from Monica Rice, a workcamp coordinator. The response to the summer workcamps has been “overwhelmingly enthusiastic, and we are looking forward to an amazing summer of work and learning while focusing on the theme of `Continuing the WORK of Jesus,'” she said.

One camp that still has space available is the senior high workcamp in Kyle, S.D., on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. “This will be a week of service and relationship building with the adults and youth on the reservation,” Rice said. Senior high youth in the Church of the Brethren are invited to register for the camp, which will take place the week of June 11-17. The Pine Ridge workcamp experience also is being opened to any young adults who would like to join.

For more information visit http://www.brethren.org/genbd/yya/workcamps/Home.html or contact Rice at mrice_gb@brethren.org or 800-323-8039 ext. 281.


10) National Youth Conference welcomes Superchick, Medema, Gunzel.

There are three additions to the line up of speakers and music leadership for National Youth Conference (NYC) in Fort Collins, Colo., July 22-27. The Christian band “Superchick” will be performing during Late Evening Activities on Sunday evening, July 23. Christian musician Ken Medema also will be sharing his talent with the Conference. However, Beatrice Biira will not be able to attend. In her place Beth Gunzel will be speaking.

“We are very excited to have Superchick on our schedule,” said the NYC coordinating team of Cindy Laprade, Beth Rhodes, and Emily Tyler. “They’re a great up and coming Christian band with songs already out on Christian radio.”

Medema has performed at many past National Youth Conferences “and we are happy to have him return once again,” the coordinators said. “He will be offering not only a Late Evening Concert, but also workshops and music leadership during a worship service.”

Biira will not be able to attend because of problems with getting a visa to visit the US during the summer. Beth Gunzel has accepted the invitation to speak on the evening Biira was scheduled. A Church of the Brethren member working for the General Board’s Global Mission Partnerships in the Dominican Republic, Gunzel will offer a unique perspective as a young adult working with an economic development program in the Caribbean island nation. Her work includes exploring “second-generation” business opportunities for communities in the DR. She also is working to increase the capacity of the Dominican Church of the Brethren to foster ownership and enable its successful operation of the program.

The current registration count for the conference stands at 3,133. Registration opened online on Jan. 1, and continues at http://www.nyc2006.org/. The coordinators are hoping for a final registration of around 4,000 youth, advisors, volunteers, and staff.

Recently the worship coordinators and the National Youth Cabinet met to continue preparations for the conference. The coordinators also plan to travel to McPherson, Kan., to lead Regional Youth Conference at the end of March.

Special events at this year’s NYC will include a “REGNUH” 5K walk/run to fight hunger, with proceeds going to the Global Food Crisis Fund, a ministry of the Church of the Brethren General Board (registration is $10, pledge sheets are available online); and the collection of Gift of the Heart School Kits at a Sunday evening offering (for information about collecting and packing items for the kits contact the NYC office or visit the website).

In preparation for the conference, the Church of the Brethren is being called to an “NYC Prayer Day” on June 25, to pray for those who will be traveling to Colorado for the event as well as to have an opportunity for congregations to commission youth and their advisors. Worship resources and commissioning ideas will be sent to pastors and NYC advisors and will be available online.

An “NYC Tithe Challenge” calls on congregations sending youth groups, and individuals who are planning to attend NYC, to give ten percent of their registration fees. This would come to $40 per person. The money will go to the Global Food Crisis Fund.

The worship coordinators also are looking for stories of Church of the Brethren youth to share during the NYC worship services. “Do you know youth who have felt empowered through faith and are doing something unique that is making a difference in the lives of others? Whose faith journey was positively impacted by the 2002 NYC?” asked the group. “If you know of a youth who fits these criteria, we would like to hear about them!” Responders are asked to first seek the youth’s permission to tell their stories. Send both your contact information and the youth’s contact information to Wendi Hutchinson at wendi_hutchinson@yahoo.com.

To receives updates about National Youth Conference, join a list serve at http://listserver.emountain.net/mailman/listinfo/nyc2006.


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, J. Allen Brubaker, Mary Dulabaum, Jan Eller, Jon Kobel, Beth Rhodes, Kathy Royer, Becky Snavely, and Emily Tyler 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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