Personnel Announcements for January 13, 2006

Several personnel announcements have been made recently by Church of the Brethren agencies or Brethren-related organizations, including the General Board, Idaho District, Peter Becker Community, and MAX (Mutual Aid eXchange).

Mary Lou Garrison, director of Human Resources for the Church of the Brethren General Board, has announced her retirement effective July 28. She began in the position on Oct. 15, 2001, working at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Prior to her work with the General Board, Garrison served 12 years as Human Resources director at Pinecrest Community, a Church of the Brethren retirement and longterm care community in Mount Morris, Ill. She held positions there previously as geriatric social worker and program director for eight years.

Sue Daniel began Jan. 1 as half-time administrative executive of the Idaho District of the Church of the Brethren. She is a graduate of the University of La Verne, Calif., and recently retired as off-campus center director of Eastern Oregon University. Daniel has been actively involved in the Church of the Brethren, having served as district moderator and in other district and congregational positions. She will work from an office in her home. Her contact information is 1816 First Avenue S., Payette, ID 83661; 208-642-1577;

Carol A. Berster of Hollidaysburg, Pa., has been named president of Peter Becker Community in Harleysville, Pa. She will begin Feb. 20. The community has been served by an interim president since Oct. 2005, when Rod Mason resigned after serving as CEO for 19 years. Berster most recently served as a regional CEO for PHI, Inc., a Presbyterian system with 19 senior communities in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland. She has been in the senior services field since 1976. This year, Peter Becker Community is celebrating 35 years of service to senior adults through easy living cottages and apartments, an assisted living unit, and a healthcare center.

Marisel Olivencia has been engaged on a contract basis by the Congregational Life Ministries of the General Board to assist with preparations for the 2006 Cross-Cultural Consultation and Celebration in Lancaster, Pa., May 4-7. She will provide services on the board’s behalf from Jan. 23-May 8. Her responsibilities will include reaching out to Spanish-speaking congregations, coordinating a youth event and day care for the celebration, and helping to coordinate information. Olivencia serves as part-time Hispanic pastor at First Church of the Brethren in Harrisburg, Pa.

MAX (Mutual Aid eXchange) has named Carl Litwiller of Lancaster, Pa., as executive vice president of MAX Mutual Aid Ministries, and Scott Forland as executive vice president of Insurance Operations. Forland, who has been instrumental in merging 10 former mutual aid organizations into MAX, will oversee and manage insurance operations throughout the US and Canada.

The Church of the Brethren Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren General Board. Newsline stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source. Denise Dietz, Colleen Hart, Del Keeney, Nancy Knepper, and Stan Noffsinger contributed to this report. To receive Newsline by e-mail write to or call 800-323-8039 ext. 260. Submit news to For more news and features, subscribe to Messenger magazine; call 800-323-8039 ext. 247

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