Newsline Extra for July 19, 2007

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Romans 12:21

1) Churches invited to sponsor public prayer on International Day of Prayer for Peace.
2) Shane Hipps to lead workshops on faith in a media culture.
3) 300th anniversary update: Registration opens for Germantown event, academic conference.
4) 300th anniversary bits and pieces.
5) Anniversary is celebrated with a 300-day wellness challenge.

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1) Churches invited to sponsor public prayer on International Day of Prayer for Peace.

The Brethren Witness/Washington Office and On Earth Peace are calling on congregations to organize prayer events as part of the World Council of Churches (WCC) International Day of Prayer for Peace on Sept. 21. The Brethren Witness/Washington Office is a ministry of the Church of the Brethren General Board. On Earth Peace is an agency rooted in the Church of the Brethren, empowering people to discern the things that make for peace.

Sept. 21, 2007, marks the fourth observance of the WCC-sponsored International Day of Prayer for Peace, which joins the 25-year commitment by the United Nations to an International Day of Peace. Churches are invited to plan prayer meetings, vigils, or other events that focus on concerns about violence in their own communities and around the world, and that lift up God’s promise of shalom and healing for all people.

On Earth Peace and the Brethren Witness/Washington Office have jointly announced a goal of at least 40 vigils or public prayer meetings sponsored by Brethren congregations. It is hoped that at least half of those events will be cosponsored with ecumenical or interfaith partners, inviting fellow Christian denominations and movements to join with this effort for prayer and peacemaking. Participants are invited to ask God for vision and insight about how to address violence, laying the groundwork for faithful engagement and collaboration to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21).

“The idea of linking the world in prayer is awesome, whether it is a moment at noon praying, ‘May Peace Prevail,’ or a 24-hour vigil. It’s truly exhilarating!” said Lois Clark, Decade to Overcome Violence organizer for the Northern Indiana District of the Church of the Brethren.

A Source mailing at the beginning of August will include a bulletin insert about the International Day of Prayer for Peace. For more information contact Mimi Copp, Church of the Brethren organizer for the International Day of Prayer for Peace, at 260-479-5087 or Find the International Day of Prayer for Peace website at

2) Shane Hipps to lead workshops on faith in a media culture.

“Navigating the Technological Storm: Leadership and Faith in a Media-Drenched Culture” is the title of a pair of workshops scheduled for early November in Pennsylvania, to be presented by Shane Hipps. The workshops are offered on Nov. 2 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at Chambersburg (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, and on Nov. 3 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at Carlisle (Pa.) Church of the Brethren.

The events are sponsored jointly by the Church of the Brethren General Board’s Congregational Life Team, Area 1, along with Atlantic Northeast District, Mid-Atlantic District, Middle Pennsylvania District, Southern Pennsylvania District, Western Pennsylvania District, and the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center.

Hipps is pastor of Trinity Mennonite Church in Phoenix, Ariz., and previously was a strategic planner in advertising who worked on a multimillion dollar communications plan for Porsche. He is a contributor to “Leadership Journal,” host of a “Third-Way Faith” podcast on, and author of “The Hidden Power of Electronic Culture: How Media Shapes Faith, the Gospel, and Church” (go to Hipps will speak on the broader impact of the electronic culture on the church.

“This is an event for pastors and laity concerned with the changing cultural realities and how we stay connected to the spiritual heritage of the Church of the Brethren,” said an announcement of the workshops. “We live in a media-drenched culture, confronted with a legion of options for how to communicate, how to be more productive, and how to be entertained from blogs and Blackberrys to plasma screens and iPods. Nearly every aspect of culture and the church are altered by them…. Amid these perpetual changes, the challenge of leading God’s people has never been greater.”

The individual registration fee is $35 for pastors, $25 for laity. An “early bird” group discount registration rate is offered for a church that sends a pastor and three or more laity, saving $5 per person. Register by Sept. 28 to receive the group discount. Registration includes the workshop, lunch, and .5 continuing education credit for pastors.

To register, go to For more information contact Stan Dueck, Congregational Life Team, Area 1, 717-335-3226,

3) 300th anniversary update: Registration opens for Germantown event, academic conference.

Registration has begun for the Opening Celebration of the 300th Anniversary on Sept. 15-16 at Germantown (Pa.) Church of the Brethren near Philadelphia; and for an academic conference titled “Honoring a Legacy, Embracing a Future: 300 Years of Brethren Heritage,” sponsored by the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College on Oct. 11-13.

Opening Celebration, Germantown, Sept. 15-16:

Registration began July 4 and ends Aug. 31 for the opening celebration at the first Brethren meetinghouse in the Americas. Registration costs $10 per person or $20 per household. Find a registration brochure at

On the schedule for Saturday, Sept. 15, are a lunch prepared by the Germantown Church Women’s Fellowship, children’s activities, a historic simulation of crossing the Atlantic ocean, and a number of short afternoon presentations such as a Bible study on the anniversary scripture, a session of prayer, guided exploration of the Germantown Cemetery, a presentation of the current work and vision of Germantown Outreach Ministries, history sessions on the congregation and various aspects of Brethren history, music from contemporary Brethren cultures and Germantown members, a session on the Sauer Bible, a session on the Ephrata Cloister, a Youth Heritage Travel Team presentation, and a workshop on connections between Brethren, Mennonites, and Quakers. Saturday evening at 6:30-8 p.m. neighboring Coventry Church of the Brethren will hold a Historical Presentation and Hymn Sing.

On Sunday, Sept. 16, a worship service at 10 a.m. is planned by the Germantown congregation led by pastor Richard Kyerematen, with guest preacher Earl K. Ziegler, followed by a catered lunch. Afternoon worship at 2 p.m. will feature guest preacher Belita Mitchell, moderator of the 2007 Annual Conference, marking the opening of the anniversary year.

Organizers request attendees to register ahead of time, because space is limited at the Germantown church. They suggest that area congregations interested in attending may charter buses to help with the traffic situation. The Germantown event is planned by a joint group from the Germantown and Coventry congregations and the 300th Anniversary Committee: George Ansah, Marilyn Ansah, Jeff Bach, Karen Christophel, Sandy Christophel, Joseph Craddock, Norma Keith, Richard Kyerematen, and Lorele Yager.

Academic Conference, Elizabethtown College, Oct. 11-13:

Register by Sept. 7 to receive a discount for this national academic conference on the 300th anniversary of the Brethren movement, 1708-2008. The registration deadline is Sept. 20. Cost is $110. For schedule information and a registration form go to

The conference will focus on the historical development and cultural life of the Church of the Brethren and related groups, featuring six plenary speakers and more than 20 additional presentations on the Brethren experience since 1708.

Plenary speakers are

  • Carl Bowman, author of “Brethren Society” and director of the Brethren Member Profile 2006, a professor of sociology at Bridgewater (Va.) College and director of survey research at the University of Virginia’s Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture;
  • Chris Bucher, Carl W. Zeigler Professor of Religion at Elizabethtown College, currently serving a four-year term as dean of faculty, who has a special interest in Pietist readings of scripture;
  • Stewart Hoover, professor of media studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder and a professor adjoint of Religious Studies and American Studies, with research interests in reception studies of media audiences and the related cultural implications;
  • Richard T. Hughes, senior fellow in the Ernest L. Boyer Center and distinguished professor at Messiah College, who has written extensively on American political myths, the restoration impulse in Christian history, and scholarship in relation to Christian faith;
  • Marcus Meier, teaching assistant in the theology department at Philipps-University Marburg, Germany, who in 2003 finished his doctoral dissertation about the beginnings of the Schwarzenau Brethren in Europe and currently is the recipient of a research award from the University at Halle/Saale; and
  • Dale Stoffer, academic dean and professor of historical theology at Ashland Theological Seminary, who teaches in the fields of church history, theology, and Brethren, Anabaptist, and Pietist studies.

The Young Center advises that many hotels and motels in the area are already sold out for the nights of the conference because a large car show will be held on the same dates. Go to the website for lists of lodging options that are still available, or for a form to request lodging in the homes of church members.

4) 300th anniversary bits and pieces:

*A traditional love feast will be held at the Young Center on Oct. 13, at 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Jeff Bach will lead this Brethren service of communion that includes a time of self-examination, feetwashing, a love feast meal, and the bread and cup of communion. The service combines scripture readings, devotional commentary, and hymn singing, and will last approximately two hours. Registration is required for this event, which is separate from the academic conference sponsored by the Young Center. A freewill offering will be taken. To register, send an e-mail to or call the Young Center at 717-361-1470. Include your name, phone number, e-mail address, and the time of the love feast service you would like to attend (4:30 or 7:30 p.m.). The registration deadline is Sept. 20.

*An inspirational DVD titled “FAITH ALIVE! Surrendered, Transformed, Empowered,” tells stories of contemporary Brethren continuing the work of Jesus 300 years after the birth of the denomination. The video explores distinctive marks of Brethren faith, and profiles Brethren members who live their beliefs in ways that make a real difference, daily exemplifying the values of baptism, simplicity, peacemaking, service to others, respect for creation, and the need to share with others the good news of Jesus Christ. The video was written and produced by David Sollenberger, together with the 300th Anniversary Committee. The DVD is available from Brethren Press for $20 plus shipping and handling, call 800-441-3712.

*Michigan District 300th anniversary plans include a car pool tour of all the congregations in the district. A district-wide children’s class on Brethren beliefs is also being planned. District conferences in 2007 and 2008 will be devoted to the anniversary. Frank Ramirez is the speaker for 2007, and Tim Harvey is scheduled for 2008.

*The 300th Anniversary Committee has collected more information about tours being planned by individuals to coincide with the Brethren World Assembly on Aug. 3, 2008, in Schwarzenau, Germany. The list is not meant as endorsement of any tour, and the committee is not sponsoring any tours. More tours may be added to the list in the future. Brethren-related tours to Europe in the summer of 2008 are planned by: Jeff Bach,; Fred Bernhard, on July 26-Aug. 7, 800-658-7128,, information at or from; Mark and Mary Jo Flory-Steury, on July 26-Aug. 9, 937-293-8585,; Jim Hardenbrook, July 26-Aug. 7, 800-658-7128,, information at or from; Gordon Hoffert, a Brethren minister who works at Ed-Ventures Inc., who is working with the Bernhard, Hardenbrook, and Jim Miller tours, contact 507-289-3332 or; Glen Kinsel, July 24-Aug. 4, 717-630-8433,; Ken Kreider, July 29-Aug. 10, 717-367-7622,; Jim Miller, July 26-Aug. 7, 800-658-7128,, information at; Mike and Sondra Miller, July 26-Aug. 7, 937-687-3363, 1715 N. Clayton Rd., Brookville, OH 45309; Ted Rondeau, 574-268-1888 ext. 29,, P.O. Box 588, Winona Lake, IN 46590; and Dale Stoffer, 419-289-5161,, 910 Center St., Ashland, OH 44805.

5) Anniversary is celebrated with a 300-day wellness challenge.

The Church of the Brethren Wellness Ministry has issued a 300-day wellness challenge as another way of celebrating the 300th anniversary of the Church of the Brethren, using Romans 12:1 as a theme scripture: “Therefore, I urge you…offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship.”

The Wellness Ministry is a joint ministry of the Association of Brethren Caregivers, Brethren Benefit Trust, and the Church of the Brethren General Board, staffed by Mary Lou Garrison.

The “Anniversary Challenge” encourages Brethren to engage in exercise or other healthy activities on 300 days of the next year. The challenge was issued at the 2007 Annual Conference that ended July 4, and continues through next year’s anniversary Conference in Richmond, Va., on July 12-16, 2008.

“As part of our 300th Anniversary celebration, individuals and congregations are encouraged to take on the challenge to be fit for the journey as the Church of the Brethren,” said Garrison on the challenge website. “Being well is a journey–of the body, mind, and soul. Each step takes us to new places of discovery about ourselves. As we exercise our freedom to make healthy choices in how we use our body, tend our soul, and enrich our mind, we draw closer to the Creator.”

Those who attended the 2007 Conference and completed the “Passport to Wellness” activities received a “Fit for the Journey” t-shirt that featured a chart to mark off 300 days of participation. The same chart can be downloaded from Participants mark a square of the chart for each day they engage in a “good-for-you choice” of activity, then are invited to bring their completed chart to the Wellness Office exhibit at the 2008 Annual Conference.

“Keep in mind that the 300 days do not need to be consecutive and the more varied activities you mix in, the happier and healthier you’ll be!” said Garrison. “Post or hang your chart where you will see it and mark it daily, incorporating the challenge as part of your spiritual wellness and whole person development.”

Brethren are invited to take the Anniversary Challenge as a personal goal, invite others to join in a supportive group, or use the challenge to promote healthy activities in a congregation or district. The website also offers sample wellness activities such as an annual physical, turning down dessert, eating a healthy snack, reading scripture, going on a family picnic, and taking a walk, among others. Also available is a bulletin insert about the Anniversary Challenge to help congregations promote the program.

Find the bulletin insert, the chart, and more information about the challenge at, where congregations and individuals also may register their activities and sign up to receive periodic notes of encouragement and a “mid-way check in.”

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Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren General Board, or 800-323-8039 ext. 260. Dean Garrett, Matt Guynn, and Rhonda Pittman Gingrich contributed to this report. Newsline appears every other Wednesday, with the next regularly scheduled Newsline set for Aug. 1. Other special issues may be sent as needed. Newsline stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source. For more Church of the Brethren news and features, subscribe to “Messenger” magazine, call 800-323-8039 ext. 247.

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