Newsline for September 27, 2006

“…And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.” — Rev. 22:2c


1) God’s spirit moves at National Older Adult Conference.
2) On Earth Peace board member works with UN subcommittee on racism.
2) Un Miembro de la junta directiva del Comité Paz en la Tierra trabaja con un subcomité de las Naciones Unidas en el área de racismo.
3) Board of Brethren Colleges Abroad meets at Bethany Seminary.
4) Brethren Peace Fellowship holds annual retreat.
5) Brethren bits: Personnel, Annual Conference, and much more.


6) Robert Johansen will speak at Bethany’s Huston Lectures.

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1) God’s spirit moves at National Older Adult Conference.

Something miraculous happened when nearly 1,100 adults over a “certain age” came together to sing, learn, worship, listen, and laugh with one another. This year’s National Older Adult Conference (NOAC), held Sept. 4-8 and sponsored by the Association of Brethren Caregivers, proved once again to be a time where those present experienced God’s spirit on the move.

God’s living spirit was present during keynote events at NOAC as stories gave testimony to lives dedicated to living out Jesus’ teachings. Kathy Reid preached about her grandmother’s strong desire to be a part of her faith community, a desire so strong that she rose very early each day to memorize hundreds of hymns so that when the disease attacking her vision left her blind she would still be able to sing with the faithful. David Augsburger gave new insights about the differences between reconciliation and forgiveness. Later that same day, his older brother, Myron, called older adults to remember when they were called to be leaders in the church, inspiring them now to mentor new leaders for the next generation. Many hearts were moved when musicians Shawn Kirchner and Ryan Harrison performed songs from across the decades and when comedians Ted and Lee brought humor and poignant insights from scripture and well-loved Bible stories.

God’s gentle, loving spirit flowed freely during the spaces in between a busy week of presentations, interest groups, crafts, tournaments, and entertainment. All could feel the energy and peace that came from the gathered community singing four-part harmony to “Move in Our Midst,” “Will You Let Me Be Your Servant,” and “Praise God from Whom.” Equally moving was the profound silence at the close of night-time worships as five candles were carried off the darkened stage, down each aisle and out into the world.

A spirit of laughter and fun was brought by video announcements that included the character of Alexander Mack (a.k.a. “A-Mack”), who was disappointed at being passed over as the oldest attendee at NOAC-an honor that went to 98-year-old Claire Throne from Brook Park Church of the Brethren, Cleveland, Ohio. Certainly, God’s spirit of service was present in the $3,000 raised for the REGNUH Fitness Walk/Run around the lake one hazy morning. A work project held during the week resulted in 565 school kits, 336 health kits, and nearly $1,700 in donations.

The miraculous truth-that when two or more are gathered in Jesus’ name, the spirit moves-was true once again among the older adults from across the denomination who took part in the eighth National Older Adult Conference.


2) On Earth Peace board member works with UN subcommittee on racism.

When Doris Abdullah pondered how her involvement as a board member of On Earth Peace connects with her membership on a United Nations subcommittee working against racism, two scripture texts came to her: Revelation 22:2c, “…And the leaves of the tree (of life) are for the healing of the nations”; and James 3:18. She likes a Catholic Bible version of James 3:18, “The harvest of justice is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace.”

Abdullah is a member of the UN Subcommittee for the Elimination of Racism of the International NGOs (non-governmental organizations) Committee on Human Rights. She also serves as a credentialed representative of the Church of the Brethren with the UN. The Church of the Brethren has a long-standing history as a certified NGO with one of the UN directorates, according to Stan Noffsinger, general secretary of the General Board. For many years, former General Board staff member Shantilal Bhagat served as a Church of the Brethren representative to the UN, as well.

The sub-committee, which meets once a month, has “a great commission,” Abdullah said: the charge to eliminate racism, “which the UN considers a scourge on human history.” As a member of the subcommittee, she also had the opportunity to attend the 59th Annual Department of Public Information/NGO Conference on “Unfinished Business: Effective Partnerships for Human Security and Sustainable Development.” The Sept. 6-8 gathering featured presentations on effective partnerships to achieve the Millennium Development Goals of the UN. Abdullah’s subcommittee offered a workshop titled, “Racism and Discrimination as a Cause of Poverty and Hunger.”

Still awed by the level of work she has become involved in, Abdullah thought, “Pinch me!” when she was seated only five rows from UN secretary general Kofi Annan at the conference. The address Annan gave impressed her as well. “He said that we are the boots on the ground that push things forward,” referring to NGOs like the Church of the Brethren and On Earth Peace, she said. For Abdullah, the work of these organizations are “like the leaves of the tree in Revelation.”

Ecumenical and international perspectives come naturally to Abdullah, and are major reasons for her involvement with the UN. “I suppose God prepares you for the things you do in life, although you don’t realize it,” she said. Her personal journey of respect for people of other backgrounds began early, with her wedding to her Muslim husband, held at Convent Avenue Baptist Church in New York, with a Jewish friend as an attendant. In her professional career of 30 years, she was employed in the New York area by an international company based in Europe.

Then, five years ago on Sept. 11, 2001, “when those buildings came down,” her world changed, she said. At about the same time she retired and had new time and energy to work on the healing of a world she characterizes as deeply flawed by the linked ills of racism and poverty.

Abdullah joined the On Earth Peace board in 2002; she joined the UN subcommittee just this April. The goals of On Earth Peace are the same as the goals of her work at the UN, “because as long as there is racism, we cannot have peace,” Abdullah said. She pointed to the Church of the Brethren’s recognition of racism as an enduring structural factor related to poverty, in the 2000 Annual Conference statement, “Caring for the Poor.” The UN recognizes the link between racism and poverty in its Millennium Development Goals, which Annual Conference has endorsed.

Abdullah’s concern for the connection between racism and poverty shows in her volunteer work at a shelter for young women. In the three years she has worked there, she said, she has seen only three white women stay at the shelter; all the others have been Hispanic and African-American. The women are there because of dysfunctional family backgrounds, dismal experiences in the school system, lack of basic education, and lack of skills, Abdullah said. Many are pregnant and homeless at age 17 or younger.

“Why does this happen to these girls?” she asked. “We expect them to make choices. But there are no choices.” The women are victims of institutional racism, she said. At the UN, Abdullah heard reports of the progress of African women, aided by programs teaching life skills, agriculture, and small enterprise. In contrast, she said, “my young ladies have no skills. They are fourth-world women living in the first world.”

Praising the Church of the Brethren as a peace church, Abdullah also called Brethren to recognize the long way we have to go to eliminate racism. Referring to the “Caring for the Poor” statement, she called for fulfillment, for example, of the recommendation to make anti-racism training available in the denomination and a standard part of orientation for new employees.

The church “still is overwhelmingly white in its structure,” she said. Society in the US is based on white privilege, the idea that “white makes you right,” and the church has picked that up, she said. The rich color present among Brethren in places such as the Northeast, Chicago area, and sister churches in Nigeria and the Dominican Republic still remains to be seen in the denomination as a whole. “Our church drifts along with a white European structure at the top.”

How can the church eliminate racism? Abdullah suggested some possibilities. One is the successful model used by Nelson Mandela to address the pain of apartheid in South Africa, where he worked on reconciliation first, before he started to seek justice, she said.

A story from the life of her “favorite white European,” Mother Theresa, illustrates another measure to eliminate racism from the church. When Mother Theresa went to India, she discarded the traditional habit of a nun and created a habit more suited to Indian culture, Abdullah said. “Why? Because she never assumed that white means right.” When churches begin asking what people of other cultures need, and allowing them to decide that for themselves, “of course you can succeed,” she said, “if you throw off the nun’s habit.”

Her final suggestion may be startling to some: use shame. “Start by shaming people,” Abdullah said. For example, the horrific events in New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina, revealing the persistence of poverty and racism, are shameful, she said. “You have to address it.”

For more about the work of On Earth Peace, go to


2) Un Miembro de la junta directiva del Comité Paz en la Tierra trabaja con un subcomité de las Naciones Unidas en el área de racismo.

Cuando Doris Abdullah consideró cómo involucrarse con el subcomité de las Naciones Unidas que trabaja en el área de racismo como miembro del Comité Paz en la Tierra, dos textos bíblicos le vinieron a la mente: Apocalipsis 22:2c, “Y las hojas del árbol (de la vida) son para la sanación de las naciones”; y Apocalipsis 3:18, (ella prefiere la versión de la Biblia Católica del Rey Jaime) “La cosecha de justicia se recoge en forma de paz para aquellos que cultivan la paz.”

Abdullah es miembro del subcomité de Derechos Humanos de las Naciones Unidas para Eliminar el Racismo en Organizaciones Internacionales no gubernamentales (NGO’s). Ella también sirve como representante de la Iglesia de los Hermanos con credenciales en las Naciones Unidas. De acuerdo a Stan Noffsinger, Secretario General de la Junta Nacional, la Iglesia de los Hermanos tiene una larga historia como organización no gubernamental en uno de los Consejos de Administración de las Naciones Unidas. Por muchos años, Shantilal Bhagat, empleado retirado de la Junta Nacional, también sirvió a la Iglesia de los Hermanos como representante en las Naciones Unidas.

El subcomité, quien se reúne una vez al mes, tiene “una gran misión,” dijo Abdullah: el eliminar el racismo, “lo que las Naciones Unidas considera un azote en la historia humana.” Como miembro de este subcomité, ella también tuvo la oportunidad de asistir a la 59ava Conferencia Anual del Departamento de Información Pública/Conferencia de organizaciones no gubernamentales de “Negocios no Terminados: Sociedades Efectivas para la Seguridad Humana y Desarrollo Sostenido.” La junta del 6 al 8 de septiembre tuvo presentaciones para alcanzar las metas del Desarrollo del Milenio de las Naciones Unidas. El subcomité de Abdullah ofreció un taller llamado “El Racismo y Discriminación son la Causa de la Pobreza y el Hambre.”

Todavía impactada por el nivel de trabajo en que se ha envuelto, Abdullah pensó “¡pellízquenme!” cuando durante la conferencia la sentaron a solo cinco filas del secretario general de las Naciones Unidas, Kofi Annan. La presentación de Annan también le fue muy impresionante. “El dijo que nosotros somos los soldados de infantería que abrimos brecha,” refiriéndose a los NGO’s, como la Iglesia de los Hermanos, y el comité Paz en la Tierra. Para Abdullah, el trabajo de esas organizaciones es “como las hojas del árbol en el Apocalipsis.”

Las perspectivas ecuménicas internacionales son muy naturales para Abdullah, y son grandes razones para envolverse con las Naciones Unidas. Abdullah dijo “Supongo que Dios te prepara para las cosas que harás en la vida, aun cuando tú no te das cuenta.” Su trayectoria personal de respeto por otras personas y otras culturas comenzó temprano, cuando ella se casó con su esposo musulmán, cuya boda tomó lugar en la Iglesia Bautista Convent Avenue en Nueva York, con un amigo judío como asistente. En su carrera profesional de 30 años, ella trabajo en el área de Nueva York para una compañía internacional europea.

Luego, hace cinco años, el 11 de septiembre de 2001, “cuando esos edificios cayeron”, su mundo cambió. Más o menos en esta fecha ella se retiró y tuvo más tiempo y energía para trabajar en la sanación del mundo, lo cual ella caracteriza muy deficiente por el racismo y la pobreza.

Abdullah fue nombrada a la junta directiva del comité Paz en la Tierra en 2002, y comenzó con el subcomité de las Naciones Unidas este abril. Las metas de Paz en la Tierra son las mismas metas del trabajo de las Naciones Unidas, “porque mientras haya racismo, no podremos tener paz,” dijo Abdullah. Hace ver que la Iglesia de los Hermanos, en su declaración “Cuidando de los Pobres”, reconoce el racismo como un factor estructural perpetuo relacionado con la pobreza. En sus Metas de Desarrollo para el Milenio, las Naciones Unidas reconocen la conexión entre el racismo y la pobreza, la cual la Iglesia de los Hermanos ha endorsado.

A Abdullah le preocupa la conexión entre el racismo y la pobreza, y es evidente con su trabajo voluntario en una casa de amparo para mujeres jóvenes. En los tres años que ella ha trabajado ahí, dice que ha visto solamente a tres mujeres blancas en la casa de amparo — todas las demás han sido hispanas y afro-americanas. Las mujeres están ahí porque vienen de familias disfuncionales, han tenido malas experiencias con el sistema escolar, y les faltan educación básica y habilidades. Muchas están embarazadas y sin casa a la temprana edad de 17 años, o más jóvenes.

“¿Por qué les pasa eso a estas muchachas?, preguntó ella. “Esperamos que tomen decisiones. Pero realmente no hay alternativas para esas decisiones.” Las mujeres son víctimas del racismo institucional. En las Naciones Unidas, Abdullah oyó reportes del progreso de las mujeres africanas que fueron ayudadas por programas que les enseñan habilidades para la vida, como agricultura y negocios pequeños. Ella dijo que en contraste “mis muchachas jóvenes no tienen habilidades. Son mujeres del cuarto mundo viviendo en el primer mundo.”

Abdullah alabó la Iglesia de los Hermanos por ser una iglesia de paz, y la llamó a reconocer el largo camino a recorrer para eliminar el racismo. Refiriéndose al documento “Cuidando de los Pobres”, ella hace un llamado al cumplimiento de la recomendación para el entrenamiento anti-racismo en toda la iglesia, y para hacerlo parte de la orientación para nuevos empleados.

La iglesia “todavía es extremadamente blanca en su estructura” dijo ella. La sociedad en los Estados Unidos está basada en el privilegio de los blancos, la idea que “ser blanco te hace correcto”, y la iglesia también ha sido afectada por esa idea. El rico color entre Hermanos en lugares como el noreste, el área de Chicago, e iglesias hermanas en Nigeria y la República Dominicana todavía esta por verse en toda la iglesia. “Nuestra iglesia sigue la corriente de la estructura blanca europea por encima de todo.”

¿Cómo puede la iglesia eliminar el racismo? Abdullah sugirió algunas posibilidades. Una es el modelo exitoso usado por Nelson Mandela cuando habló del dolor de la discriminación racial en Sud África, trabajando primeramente con reconciliación antes de empezar a trabajar por justicia.

La historia de la vida de su persona “blanca europea favorita,” la Madre Teresa, ilustra otra medida para eliminar el racismo en la iglesia. Abdullah dijo que cuando la Madre Teresa fue a la India se quitó el hábito tradicional de monja y creó otro hábito más a la par con la cultura india. “¿Por qué? Porque ella nunca asumió que blanco quiere decir correcto.” Cuando las iglesias empiezan a preguntar a personas de otras culturas que es lo que necesitan, y les permiten decidir por ellos mismos, ¡por supuesto que tendrán éxito! dijo ella, “si tú tiras el hábito de monja.”

Su sugerencia final fue desconcertante para todos: usen la vergüenza. “Empiecen por avergonzar a la gente,” dijo Abdullah. Por ejemplo, los eventos horrendos de Nueva Orleáns durante y después del Huracán Katrina revelaron la persistencia de la pobreza y el racismo, y son vergonzosos dijo ella. “Necesitan confrontarlos.”

–Traducción: Maria-Elena Rangel


3) Board of Brethren Colleges Abroad meets at Bethany Seminary.

The presidents of the Church of the Brethren-related colleges and Bethany Theological Seminary met in August with representatives of Brethren Colleges Abroad (BCA) at Bethany’s Richmond, Ind., campus. The college and seminary presidents serve as the BCA Board of Directors.

The group included Mell Bolen, who became president of BCA on July 1, and Henry Brubaker, chief financial officer. Bolen is the former director of the Office of International Programs at Brown University. This was the first meeting of the group since she was named president.

The agenda centered on future initiatives for BCA. A new core course for all students who participate in BCA will discuss social justice in a global context and include cross-cultural theory. “It will not be simply another international relations course,” said Bolen, “but will combine the best of BCA’s history and core vision with educational practice and theory.” Another goal is to create new education sites in the developing world, where students will experience a nuanced view of the complexity of global issues.

Bolen believes that cross-cultural experiences are increasingly important for quality higher education. “This generation lives life in a global context,” she explained. Students “will not be able to effectively address the critical issues that they face, such as the environment, immigration, and ethnic identity, unless they can discuss them in an informed way. BCA is one of the best programs because of its long history, and commitment to promote international understanding and academic excellence in a coordinated and conscious way.”

BCA works with more than 100 colleges and universities, but Church of the Brethren distinctions such as peace and social justice guide day-to-day operations. “These core values lend themselves to BCA’s mission,” said Bolen, “and provide the foundation for the faculty as they serve a broad range of students.”

A third initiative under discussion is the development of short-term or intensive educational experiences. Bethany president Eugene Roop noted that this option could lead to increased involvement of Bethany students in the BCA program. “Bethany students need to engage in a cross-cultural course that features both study and direct engagement,” he said. “BCA can provide many more of such contexts than Bethany could provide alone.”

For more about Brethren Colleges Abroad go to For more about the Brethren colleges and seminary go to


4) Brethren Peace Fellowship holds annual retreat.

On Saturday, Aug. 26, more than 65 adults and children gathered at the Miller homestead, situated on a beautiful lake in Spring Grove, Pa., for the yearly Peace Retreat of the Brethren Peace Fellowship. The retreat was sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic District Peace and Justice Committee and the Mid-Atlantic Brethren Peace Fellowship.

As the committee met to plan the event, one of the themes that needed attention was equipping peace advocates to share their vision and concerns in the local congregation, according to a report from Mike Leiter of the Peace and Justice Committee. Cynthia Mason, former chaplain for Hood College, served as the day’s facilitator and worked with the committee to plan the content. Joe and Nonie Detrick led group singing with guitar and violin. The day was anchored with worship, singing, and meditation.

“Speaking Peace with Young People” was the focus of the first session, led by Bill Galvin of the Center on Conscience and War (formerly the National Interreligious Service Board for Conscientious Objectors). Galvin provided current information about Selective Service and registration for the draft, shared tactics used by military recruiters to entice young people to join the military, and updated participants about what is happening to conscientious objectors in the military who are involved with the war in Iraq.

Mason led afternoon discussions on “Empowered by Christ: Finding Our Voice,” and “Speaking Peace with Congregations.” Participants broke into small groups to compare varying renditions and interpretations of the “Peaceable Kingdom,” the famous artwork by Edward R. Hicks. The paintings inspired stories and conversation of how peacemaking takes place in congregations.

The gathering closed after the evening meal. Attendees dispersed to their homes in West Virginia, Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C., with renewed enthusiasm and interest in furthering the gospel of Christian peacemaking. Next year the Southern Pennsylvania Brethren Peace Fellowship group will coordinate the event.


5) Brethren bits: Personnel, Annual Conference, and much more.
  • Cyndi Fecher started Sept. 22 as Gather ’Round project assistant, in a three-quarter-time position located in Elgin, Ill. “Gather ’Round: Hearing and Sharing God’s Good News” is the new Sunday school curriculum published jointly by Brethren Press and Mennonite Publishing Network. Fecher worked for the last year as a paralegal for Visser and Associates, PLLC, a law firm in Grand Rapids, Mich., and interned with Brethren Press in the summer of 2003.
  • Terry Riley has accepted the position of office coordinator for the Service Ministries program of the Church of the Brethren General Board, located at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. Riley had been employed as a finance representative at Kelly and Associates Insurance Group. Riley began in the fulltime position on Sept. 14.
  • Hannah Kliewer, a Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) worker from Powell, Wyo., has joined the BVS office in Elgin, Ill., as assistant to the orientation director.
  • The Annual Conference Office will have an open house on Sunday, Oct. 29, from 2-4 p.m., at their new location in New Windsor, Md. All are invited to see the new office, talk to the staff, and have some refreshments. Conference executive director Lerry Fogle and Conference assistant Dana Weaver will host the event. The office is located on the lower level of the Blue Ridge Building, 500 Main Street, New Windsor, Md., 21776-0720. Further information or directions can be obtained by calling 800-688-5186.
  • Annual Conference moderator Belita D. Mitchell has written to Church of the Brethren congregations expressing “deep appreciation to the delegates and other persons in attendance at the 220th Recorded Annual Conference, held July 2-5,” and highlighting the offerings amounting to $47,440 as “a wonderful expression of support for the value of Annual Conference to the life and work of our denomination.” The letter called on congregations to send delegates to the 2007 Annual Conference in Cleveland, Ohio, on July 30-July 4, and to encourage other members to attend as well. The letter is being sent to congregations in the monthly “Source” packet.
  • Church of the Brethren representatives are traveling to Sudan during the last week of September and early October to renew connections with the New Sudan Council of Churches and other organizations. The group will engage in reflection about possibilities for the Church of the Brethren mission in Sudan. The Brethren representatives are Merv Keeney, executive director of the General Board’s Global Mission Partnerships; Bradley Bohrer, who began Sept. 11 as director of the Sudan mission initiative; and former Brethren mission worker Louise Rieman. “This new effort is requiring shaping new systems and models, a process that we want to do in conversation with long-time Sudan church partners,” said Bohrer in an announcement of the trip on the initiative’s web page. The conversations will be critical to define next steps for the Sudan mission, he added. After the group’s return, staff anticipate announcing first openings for mission workers, with the hope of having new staff at work in Sudan by the end of the first quarter of 2007. By the end of the second quarter of 2007, the Sudan initiative may have identified the region in which work will be centered, the announcement said. “Part of the timing of placement will depend on how quickly we can raise support” for mission workers, Bohrer said. “We will be soliciting churches to ‘adopt’ part or all of the support for these families through a new program, asking for not only financial support, but also prayer support or even relational support. . . . Raise the Sudan initiative in your churches as a prayer concern and celebration,” he requested. For resources about the Sudan mission contact Janis Pyle, coordinator for mission connections, at 800-323-8039 ext. 227 or
  • The Association of Brethren Caregivers has rescheduled next year’s Caring Ministries Assembly. The assembly is now planned for Sept. 6-8, 2007, at Lititz (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, on the theme, “Being Family: Reality and Renewal.”
  • Registrations are being accepted for Bethany Theological Seminary’s six-week workshop, “Introduction to On-Line Teaching.” The workshop, to be held completely online Oct. 23 to Dec. 8, will equip participants with the awareness and skills needed to successfully facilitate online learning as a course instructor. For more information, see or contact Enten Eller, Bethany Theological Seminary’s director of Distributed Education, via e-mail at, or by phone at 765-983-1831 (800-287-8822 x1831).
  • Lutheran World Relief has announced a change to its Material Resources Program that will affect the work of the Service Ministries program of the Church of the Brethren General Board. For more than 60 years, Lutheran World Relief has shared handmade quilts, kits, soap, and clothing with people in need around the world. As of Dec. 31, the program will no longer collect clothing of any kind for distribution. All other projects-including the collection of quilts, kits, and soap-will continue. The Service Ministries program at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., first began packing and shipping for Lutheran World Relief in 1951 and will continue processing and shipping quilts, soap, school kits, health kits, baby kits, sewing kits, and cotton prewashed fabric in three- to four-yard pieces. Service Ministries staff will work closely with Lutheran World Relief as the clothing portion of the program is phased out.
  • The Church of the Brethren’s Intercultural Study Committee has launched a Spanish version of its web log, “COB Intercultural en Espanol.” Spanish-speaking sisters and brothers can learn more about the current work of the committee and contribute to the topic’s discussion by visiting A new, short survey has been posted on the English and Spanish web logs. The English version is available at
  • El Comité de Estudio Intercultural de la Iglesia de los Hermanos anuncia el lanzamiento de la versión de su web log en español, titulada “COB Intercultural en Espanol.” Hermanas y hermanos hispanoparlantes pueden aprender más sobre el trabajo actual del comité y contribuir a la discusión de este tema al visitar Una nueva encuesta corta se añadió a los dos web logs. La versión en inglés se encuentra en
  • A Disaster Child Care (DCC) Level I Training Workshop is scheduled at La Verne (Calif.) Church of the Brethren Nov. 18-19. Download a brochure and registration form from, or call the DCC office at 800-451-4407 ext. 5 to request copies. DCC volunteers who received their original training more than 10 years ago are also encouraged to participate in a Level 1 workshop to brush up on their skills. “Having experienced childcare volunteers in the workshop enhances the experience for new people,” said DCC coordinator Helen Stonesifer. DCC volunteers may attend for a reduced fee of $25, as members of the volunteer network. For further information or to reserve a place in the training, contact on-site coordinator Kathy Benson at 909-593-4868 or 814-467-7381, or contact the DCC office at 800-451-4407 ext. 5 or e-mail
  • New Vision Church of the Brethren, a new church development project in Virlina District, has closed. Twenty-eight people from the community and district gathered on Sunday, Sept. 17, for a final worship service of the congregation in Calabash, N.C. The effort began with worship services on April 14, 2002, and was formerly located in nearby Sunset Beach. The Coastal Carolina Steering Committee, which is responsible for Church of the Brethren mission work in the eastern Carolinas, will meet soon to review other opportunities in the area east of I-95 between Wilmington, N.C., and Surfside Beach, S.C., according to the district newsletter.
  • Camp Bethel near Fincastle, Va., is hosting the national conference of the Church of the Brethren’s Outdoor Ministries Association (OMA) on Nov. 17-19. The conference will likely draw about 50 people, according to the camp newsletter. The theme is, “Fill Their Cups: Fostering Leadership.” The conference is “for everyone,” the announcement said, including church leaders, educators, youth and children’s ministry leaders, camp staff, camp boards, Outdoor Ministries Committees or district commissions, and members and leaders from all denominations. More information is available at
  • Midland Christian Academy, a school related to Midland (Va.) Church of the Brethren, is being recognized by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society for raising the most funds for “Pennies for Patients” out of participating schools in Virginia, according to the “Fauquier Times-Democrat” newspaper. A recognition ceremony took place Sept. 20 at the church.
  • Lewiston (Maine) Church of the Brethren celebrated 25 years on Aug. 26-27. The congregation was begun 25 years ago by six families from Pennsylvania, who moved to Maine to be part of the new church plant, according to the “Sun-Journal” newspaper.
  • Oct. 7 is Camp Bethel’s Heritage Day celebration, a fundraiser for the ministries of the camp. Breakfast begins at 7:30 a.m. followed by booths and displays opening at 9 a.m. The day features hot foods, baked goods, barbecue, crafts, quilts, wreaths, activities, candies, fresh vegetables, baskets, ornaments, soups, woodcraft, open-kettle apple butter, flowers, pies, tie-dye t-shirts, holiday decorations, Camp Bethel clothing and hats, and much more. Troutville Church of the Brethren’s praise band, “Joyful Noiz,” will perform. Go to
  • On Oct. 13, McPherson (Kan.) College will honor three graduates as recipients of the Young Alumni Award for 2006. Honorees include Roy Winter, Vic Ullom, and Dennis Kingery. The awards will be presented during Honors Convocation at 1:30 p.m. in Brown Auditorium. Winter graduated from McPherson in 1986 with a degree in psychology, and now serves as executive director of the Brethren Service Center and Emergency Response for the Church of the Brethren General Board. Ullom received his bachelor’s degree from McPherson in 1990, followed by a master’s degree in ’93 from the University of Kansas and a second master’s degree in International Studies and a law degree from the University of Denver; since 2002 he has worked for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Kingery graduated from McPherson in 1996 with a degree in accounting and business finance; since 2004 he has directed the Church of the Brethren Credit Union for Brethren Benefit Trust.
  • On Sept. 30, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m., CrossRoads Valley Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center in Harrisonburg, Va., is sponsoring its annual Harvest Day. Activities include music, storytelling, horse-drawn carriage rides, painting pumpkins and gourds, making and tossing darts made from corn cobs, grinding corn and feeding it to chickens, petting barnyard babies, boiling molasses from sorghum cane syrup, pressing cider from apples, sawing logs with a crosscut saw, thread being spun from flax and wool, bed covers being quilted and woven, and nails and clothes hooks crafted by blacksmiths. Homemade food and drink will be available. Entrance fee is $8 per car. For more go to
  • Bridgewater (Va.) Church of the Brethren will host a presentation by John Ruth-historian, storyteller, writer, and filmmaker from Pennsylvania-on the “Migration of Mennonites and Brethren from Pennsylvania to Virginia” on Oct. 15, at 7:30 p.m. The public is invited. Donations will support CrossRoads Valley Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center.
  • “NeXt Generation Stewardship,” the 2006 Leadership Seminar sponsored by the Ecumenical Stewardship Center, will be held Nov. 27-30 in Saint Petersburg Beach, Fla. The Church of the Brethren is a member of the center. Speakers include Brian McLaren, author of “The Church on the Other Side: Doing Ministry in the Postmodern Matrix”; Diana Butler Bass, author of the upcoming book, “Christianity for the Rest of Us: How the Neighborhood Church Is Transforming the Faith”; and Christian musician Ken Medema, who will serve as worship leader. Early bird registration is $375, due by Oct. 4. First-time attendee and group rates offer further discounts. Registration does not include hotel costs. For more information and to register go to
  • National Council of Churches (NCC) general secretary Robert Edgar has written a new book titled “Middle Church,” about “reclaiming the moral values of the faithful majority from the religious right.” The book was published by Simon and Schuster on Sept. 5. In a release from the NCC, a review said the book challenges people of “middle America” to speak up about their faith. As the media seeks out the most extreme religious spokespersons, many of them on the far political right, the views of ordinary people of faith are often drowned out, Edgar writes. Along with biblical reflection, the book is also part biography. Read more at
  • The “season” for CROP walks is beginning, according to Church World Service (CWS). The humanitarian agency has announced the start of its 2006 season of community fundraising events that bring together people of all faiths in an effort to combat hunger. In 2005, more than 2,000 communities across the country-including many Church of the Brethren congregations-participated in 1,708 CROP walks. Over the past 20 years, CROP walkers have raised more than $270 million to fight hunger. Twenty-five percent of the money stays in the local communities to help stock food pantries for emergency assistance to local families; the balance helps CWS efforts to eradicate hunger and poverty around the world. Information about local CROP Hunger Walks is at or call 888-CWS-CROP.
  • The School of the Americas (SOA) Watch has announced that this year’s witness will be held Nov. 17-19 in Columbus, Ga., at the gates of Fort Benning. On Earth Peace is inviting Brethren to take part. Visit for more information. The witness is focused on closing the school that has trained military personnel from other countries, many of whom have been connected with human rights abuses in Latin America.


6) Robert Johansen will speak at Bethany’s Huston Lectures.

Bethany Theological Seminary’s Huston Peace Lecture Series will take place Oct. 19-20. Robert Johansen, senior fellow and professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame, will be the guest lecturer.

On Thursday at 7 p.m., Johansen will speak on “The Politics of Love, War, and Peace: Understanding Moral Responsibility.” The title of the Friday lecture, at 11:20 a.m., is “The Promise of the Rule of Law in Global Society: Accepting International Moral Responsibility.”

Both lectures are free and open to the public and will take place at Bethany’s Nicarry Chapel in Richmond, Ind. A reception will follow the Thursday evening lecture.

Johansen has been a senior fellow at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame since 1986, and is the founding editor-in-chief of “World Policy Journal.” He specializes in issues of international ethics and global governance, the United Nations and the maintenance of peace and security, and peace and world order studies. He is conducting research on enhancing UN peacekeeping and enforcement through an institutional grant from the US Institute of Peace, and on the role of nongovernmental organizations in promoting compliance with international humanitarian law and establishment of a permanent International Criminal Court under a grant from the Aspen Institute.

The Huston Peace Lectures are sponsored by the Ora I. Huston Memorial Peace Lectureship Endowment, established to engage the seminary community with current issues relating to peace and justice. The endowment honors Ora I. Huston, for many years the Church of the Brethren peace counselor. For more about the seminary go to

Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren General Board. Contact the editor at or 800-323-8039 ext. 260. Walt Wiltschek (guest editor), Bradley Bohrer, J. Allen Brubaker, Mary Dulabaum, Janice England, Karin Krog, Mike Leiter, Marcia Shetler, Anna M. Speicher, Helen Stonesifer, and Loretta Wolf contributed to this report. Regularly scheduled issues of Newsline appear every other Wednesday, with the next scheduled for Oct. 11; 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, click on “News.” For more Church of the Brethren news and features, go to and click on “News,” or subscribe to “Messenger” magazine, call 800-323-8039 ext. 247. To receive Newsline by e-mail or to unsubscribe, go to


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