Newsline for March 28, 2007

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” — John 1:5


1) Christian Peace Witness for Iraq is ‘a candle in the darkness.’
2) Vital Pastor program continues to launch and conclude pastor groups.
3) Disaster Child Care provides training workshops.
4) Brethren Disaster Response appeals for more volunteers.
5) Brethren bits: Remembrance, personnel, job opening, and more.


6) Mark Hartwig to direct Information Services for General Board.
7) Carol Yeazell serves as interim director of Congregational Life Team.


8) ‘I don’t have it all together, but I can try’: A reflection on working for peace.

Go to for this week’s Church of the Brethren webcast, the first from the Association of Brethren Caregivers (ABC). Tim Durnbaugh of Chicago, Ill., recently passed his exams to receive a degree in nursing. Mary Dulabaum, communications director for ABC, interviews Durnbaugh about his motivation to pursue a career in nursing, and ways that ABC’s nursing scholarship helped him achieve his goal. ABC awards a limited number of scholarships each year to Church of the Brethren members enrolled in an LPN, RN, or nursing graduate program. Scholarships of up to $1,000 or $2,000 are awarded. A preference is given to new applications. Recipients are eligible for one scholarship per degree. Applications and supporting documentation must be submitted by April 1, go to

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1) Christian Peace Witness for Iraq is ‘a candle in the darkness.’

A hand holding a candle in the darkness was the central image for the Christian Peace Witness for Iraq, which took place in Washington, D.C., on Friday evening, March 16. Some 3,500 Christians gathered to repent of their complicity with the war and to seek the end of the US occupation of Iraq. On Earth Peace and the Brethren Witness/Washington Office of the Church of the Brethren General Board were among the organizations sponsoring the witness. On Earth Peace staff Matt Guynn and Susanna Farahat provided logistics for a peacekeeper training before the event.

The witness marked the fourth anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq. It was attended by Church of the Brethren members from as far away as California and as close as Virginia, with Brethren also traveling from Kansas, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and New York, among others. More than 210 Brethren were identified as participating in the weekend including the Christian Peace Witness on Friday evening, a Brethren breakfast the next morning, and a March on the Pentagon on Saturday afternoon, according to the Brethren Witness/Washington Office.

The Christian Peace Witness began with an ecumenical worship service at the National Cathedral. Candles shone as they were carried into the cathedral’s immense stone hall by representatives of 15 denominations and more than 30 partner organizations, including Phil Jones, director of the Brethren Witness/Washington Office representing the General Board, and Verdena Lee, a physician representing On Earth Peace.

Testimony and messages from US soldiers, Iraqi citizens, Abu Ghraib detainees, and members of Christian Peacemaker Teams were shared. “Hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches,” was the refrain repeated again and again.

One of the preachers, Raphael G. Warnock of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Ga., preached that, “Too often, the wrong question is being asked when people say, ‘What can we do to keep from losing this war?’ The danger is not that America may lose the war, but that America may lose its soul.” In a month when the administration made a case for a temporary surge in US troops in Iraq, Warnock said, “The surge we need is a surge in truthtelling, a surge in the nonviolent army of the Lord.”

In a four-mile candlelight procession down the hill from the cathedral and surrounding the White House, participants expressed support for soldiers, a desire to end the occupation, and a prayer for the just rebuilding of Iraq. In a nonviolence training before the procession, participants spiritually prepared themselves to surround the White House with the light of Christ, and some prepared to risk arrest by entering restricted space around the White House.

At the White House, 222 people were arrested including at least four members of the Church of the Brethren–Esther Moller Ho, Phil Jones, Phil Rieman, and Illana Naylor. Esther Ho later reflected, “I decided to participate in the civil disobedience so that my trip would have the strongest impact against the war. My primary motivation comes from the example Jesus gave us by being arrested and going to the cross in obedience to God. I felt humbled and honored that my congregation initiated the idea of my going to the witness and paid my way.” She is a member of Fellowship in Christ Church of the Brethren in Fremont, Calif.

At least 60 Brethren and friends joined together for breakfast following the witness, organized by the Brethren Witness/Washington Office at Washington City Church of the Brethren. Art Gish, recently returned from working with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) in Iraq, was the keynote speaker. He and his wife Peggy Gish have rotated in and out of Iraq and Hebron as members of CPT. Brethren at the breakfast collected more than $480 for the work of CPT and $120 in support of the fines given to the four Brethren who were arrested, according to the Brethren Witness/Washington Office.

While major events like the Christian Peace Witness can be moments of media focus, spiritual formation for nonviolent followers of Jesus requires longterm organizing and prayer at the congregational level. The trip to Washington was the culmination of such a process for Jan Long, pastor for congregational life at Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren in Fort Wayne, Ind., who accompanied a delegation of 10 members and friends of her congregation.

In the months leading up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003, Beacon Heights formed a group called Persistent in Prayer for Peace.“Initially, we were very focused on sharing our own personal commitments and connecting around praying for the situation in Iraq,” Long reported. “We grew into a group that educates itself on the issues, calling ourselves to be faithful and persistent in being involved–from writing letters to actively participating in public witness, a whole variety of things. The group has become a space where we know that we have support and that there are others who are aware of what we are doing for peace. It has been really helpful to know a group of people that are also called to have this (peace commitment) be an ongoing part of our faith journey.”

The Beacon Heights group studied the work of theologian Walter Wink, participated in local groups with witnesses related to the Iraq war, and participated in other community peace events. “All along, it has been my vision to see this group continue to grow in involvement and activity,” Long said. “To have 10 people commit to go to this national witness felt like clearly another step of being persistent for peace.”

Is witnessing in the streets the only way to work for peace? “No,” said Long, but added, “being in the streets is a way of witnessing with our physical presence, where we find our spirits called and engaged,” she said. “It’s a way of joining with others to make a call for the awareness of injustice and alternative possibilities in our world. Peace groups and Christians who take that seriously are a megaphone that help to amplify that message for our world.”

–Matt Guynn is coordinator of peace witness for On Earth Peace.


2) Vital Pastor program continues to launch and conclude pastor groups.

In late 2006 and early 2007, six pastoral cohort groups in the Church of the Brethren were awarded Sustaining Pastoral Excellence (SPE) grants that launched a two-year, self-chosen study focus for each group. SPE is administered by the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership, a joint ministry of Bethany Theological Seminary and the Church of the Brethren General Board, and is funded by a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. Following are the groups of pastors, their congregations, and their questions for study:

Dennis Beckner, Columbia City (Ind.) Church of the Brethren; Linda Lewis, Mansfield (Ohio) Church of the Brethren; Cara McCallister, Lafayette (Ind.) Church of the Brethren; Carol Pfeiffer, North Liberty (Ind.) Church of the Brethren; Keith Simmons, Agape Church of the Brethren in Fort Wayne, Ind.; Mark Stahl, Kokomo (Ind.) Church of the Brethren. Question: “How shall the Brethren be grown–what are the pastoral leadership characteristics and skills needed to help congregations grow?”

David Banaszak, Martinsburg (Pa.) Church of the Brethren; Dale Dowdy, Stone Church of the Brethren in Huntingdon, Pa.; Marlys Hershberger, Hollidaysburg (Pa.) Church of the Brethren; Connie Maclay, Beech Run Church of the Brethren in Mapleton Depot, Pa.; Ken Kline Smeltzer, Burnham (Pa.) Church of the Brethren; Dottie Steele, Bedford (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. Question: “In light of a dominant North American culture that breeds alienation, what can we learn from our spiritual ancestors (Anabaptists, Pietists, and other Christian traditions) to strengthen our personal and community practices in order to become a more whole and faithful people?”

Ryan Braught, Hempfield Church of the Brethren in Manheim, Pa.; Dennis Garrison, Spring Creek Church of the Brethren in Hershey, Pa.; Steve Hess, Lititz (Pa.) Church of the Brethren; John Hostetter, Lampeter (Pa.) Church of the Brethren; Bob Kettering, Lititz (Pa.) Church of the Brethren; Phil Reynolds, Mohler Church of the Brethren in Ephrata, Pa. Question: “What leadership skills are needed to pastor disciple-forming communities in a postmodern world?”

Joel Kline, Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, Ill.; Kreston Lipscomb, Springfield (Ill.) Church of the Brethren; Orlando Redekopp, First Church of the Brethren in Chicago; Christy Waltersdorff, York Center Church of the Brethren in Lombard, Ill.; Dennis Webb, Naperville (Ill.) Church of the Brethren. Question: “How can we share the Gospel in ways that will move ourselves (and our congregations) more intentionally toward joyous worship, active peacemaking, passionate faith, and spiritual maturity?”

Paula Bowser, Trotwood (Ohio) Church of the Brethren; Tracy Knechel, Mack Memorial Church of the Brethren in Dayton, Ohio; Nancy Fitzgerald, Nokesville (Va.) Church of the Brethren; Kim McDowell, University Park Church of the Brethren in Hyattsville, Md.; Darlene Meyers, Good Shepherd Church of the Brethren in Silver Spring, Md. Question: “How do image, story, and place create openings for spiritual transformation in us?”

Dennis Lohr, Palmyra (Pa.) Church of the Brethren; Twyla Rowe, Westminster (Md.) Church of the Brethren; Dick Shreckhise, Lancaster (Pa.) Church of the Brethren; Jim Zerfing, Lake View Christian Fellowship Church of the Brethren in East Berlin, Pa. Question: “What are the insights and skills needed for effective pastoral leadership to minister amid the intersections of our Anabaptist/Pietist identity and the emerging postmodern church/culture?”


3) Disaster Child Care provides training workshops.

This year, Disaster Child Care has been offering a series of Level I Training Workshops for child care volunteers, and has named a new training coordinator. The program is a ministry of the Church of the Brethren General Board.

Robert (Bob) Roach of Phenix, Va., will work on a volunteer basis with Disaster Child Care coordinator Helen Stonesifer to coordinate the Level I Training Workshops. He will work with sponsoring organizations to establish dates and locations, and to assign trainers. Congregations interested in sponsoring a training may contact him at 434-542-5565 or “Our goal continues to be to schedule training events in the Gulf Coast states, as well as in other states where there are very few trained volunteers or none at all,” Stonesifer said.

Level I Training Workshops have been held in Atlanta, Ga., on Feb. 16-17, with 19 participants; in Tampa, Fla., on Feb. 23-24, with 18 in attendance; at Dallas Center (Iowa) Church of the Brethren on March 9-10 with 19 participants; at Agape Church of the Brethren in Fort Wayne, Ind., on March 16-17 with 11 people registered; and at the Martin Luther King Center in Natchitoches, La., on March 23-24.

An upcoming training on April 20-21 will be at Prince of Peace Church of the Brethren in Littleton, Colo.; contact Judy Gump at 970-352-9091 or Maxine Meunier at 303-973-4727.

Several experienced child care volunteers are receiving American Red Cross (ARC) Critical Response Team Training this week. Eight volunteers are attending the training in Las Vegas, Nev., on March 25-30, including a special Disaster Child Care orientation on March 26. The training will help volunteers understand the roles and responsibilities of a Critical Response Team member and how Disaster Child Care fits into the structure of the ARC Critical Response Team.

In other work, Disaster Child Care has represented the Church of the Brethren in conversations with the American Red Cross and Save the Children, in the process of establishing a “Statement of Understanding” to ensure the wellbeing of children in emergency evacuation shelters for people who have been affected by conflict and disasters. “One of the ways to achieve this is to set up safe play spaces–designed for children ages 4 to 10 to play and participate in recreational activities with other children for several hours each day,” Stonesifer said. “Working together, these agencies plan to provide a ‘Safe Space Kit’ and to secure and train volunteers to work in the areas,” she said.


4) Brethren Disaster Response appeals for more volunteers.

“Katrina survivors desperately need your help!” said an appeal from Brethren Disaster Response, a program of the Church of the Brethren General Board. “Now, 19 months after the storm, tens of thousands of families are still living in FEMA trailers or in crowded living conditions with extended family members or friends.”

Brethren Disaster Response volunteers rebuild and repair homes following disasters. The program currently has four active rebuilding projects in Gulf Coast areas affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Volunteers are urgently needed this spring and summer: in Chalmette, La., volunteers are needed from May 20-26, May 27-June 2, June 3-9, July 8-14, July 15-21, and August 19-25; in Pearl River, La., volunteers are needed from May 27-June 2, and August 12-18.

The appeal included a testimonial from Adam A., a hurricane survivor from Slidell, La.: “We were severely impacted by Katrina and are receiving amazing help from a group of Brethren from all over the country. I am touched by their service, concern, and compassion. After feeling helpless for such a long time, and seeing these people come from out of nowhere to do the impossible to rebuild the homes and lives of my family, I am simply left speechless by what has happened…. The Brethren that I have met truly are amazing representatives of Christ and stand as the salt of the earth…. This has answered years of daily prayers and lifted a terrible burden from my shoulders.”

To volunteer contact your District Disaster Coordinator or the Brethren Disaster Response office at or 800-451-4407. For more go to


5) Brethren bits: Remembrance, personnel, job opening, and more.

Rae Hungerford Mason, a career missionary for the Church of the Brethren, died Dec. 3, 2006, in Portland, Ore. She was the widow of George Mason, who passed away in 1983, and together with her husband had served in Puerto Rico, China, and India. In Puerto Rico they contributed to the building of the hospital in Castaner. They next served the church in China, until they were forced to leave by the communists. In India they were mission workers for 26 years, from 1952 until they retired in 1978. They worked in rural development, first in Bulsar then in Anklesvar, Gujarat. While raising her children, Rae supported her husband through his work of co-creating and running the Rural Service Center. Her work in India included relief food distribution in schools, hosting international travelers, substitute teaching in music, and serving as a housemother at Woodstock School. The couple retired to Centralia, Wash. Rae Mason had been born in Pullman, Wash., was a 1941 graduate of the University of Washington, and in high school played violin in the Portland Junior Symphony. She was active in peace and justice causes, was a life-long member of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, participated in civil rights sit-ins of CORE and NAACP, supported Japanese-Americans during the internment after Pearl Harbor, and participated in anti-nuclear protests during the 1980s. Her activism included supporting the rights of conscientious objectors–she met her husband when he was in alternative service at the Cascade Locks camp for conscientious objectors. She is survived by her daughters Anne Mason and Greta Mason Nelson and husband, Peter, and daughter-in-law, Carol Mason, and by her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her son, Ralph Mason, who was a Brethren mission worker in Nigeria.

Margaret Drafall began March 26 as customer service resource specialist for Brethren Press, working at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. She brings more than 24 years of experience in office management, including customer service, human resources, and business administration. She is an active member of Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Elgin, where she serves on the church council and the worship committee, and is liaison to the Child Development Center.

*The application deadline for the position of “lead team” for the Church of the Brethren mission in Sudan has been extended. The Global Mission Partnerships of the General Board continues to seek two couples or families to serve as the lead team to begin the new ministry in Sudan, seeking to rebuild and heal communities after decades of war. As a holistic effort, the work will include the formation of churches. A complementary team that includes people bringing one or more of the following skill sets is preferred: peace and conflict transformation, healthcare, church planting and Christian education, community development preferably with experience in developing nations, dealing with trauma, and literacy and adult education. Candidates should bring relevant education and experience in their area of specialty and previous experience in international cross-cultural settings, be well-grounded in Church of the Brethren identity and practice, and have a team orientation. Secondary skills in repair and maintenance of computers, houses, or vehicle mechanics will be useful. Team members will participate in raising their own support under General Board oversight. The application deadline has been extended from previous announcements of this position. The extended timetable is for interviews and decisions to be made during this spring, with placement possibly by the fall of this year. Application forms may be requested from Karin Krog, Office of Human Resources, by telephone at 800-323-8039.

Great Harvest Church Planting of Illinois and Wisconsin District seeks individuals who desire to fulfill the biblical mandate of the Great Commission by starting new, multiplying congregations of believers in the district. “Church planting is considered the most effective means of evangelism,” said the announcement from Lynda Lubbs-DeVore, apostle for the district’s New Church Development Board. “Great Harvest Church Planting is working hard to develop systems and strategies in order to equip church planters to launch healthy, missional churches in the district,” she said. Great Harvest Church Planting will offer help to church planters including help with assessment, training and coaching, and grant funds to get started. “We will do all that we can to assist you and your family as you explore and respond to the call to plant a successful, multiplying church,” the announcement said. “If you are not satisfied with ministry that is ‘status quo,’ if you have a heart for lost people and God has given you a desire to live and do ministry in our region, church planting may be what God is calling you to. Don’t ignore that call!” Contact DeVore at or 630-675-9740.

The Annual Conference Office is listing e-mail addresses for communicating with the Annual Conference Officers. Each Annual Conference officer has an e-mail addresses through which he or she may be contacted on matters related to Annual Conference. Contact moderator Belita Mitchell at Contact moderator-elect Jim Beckwith at Contact secretary Fred Swartz at

The Service Ministries program of the Church of the Brethren General Board has had a busy beginning to the year, reported director Loretta Wolf. International shipments of relief materials have been sent to Angola, with items from both Church World Service (CWS) and Interchurch Medical Assistance (IMA) organized through the Church of the Brethren Emergency Response; to Montenegro and Romania, through a cooperative effort of International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC) and CWS; to Serbia, sponsored by Lutheran World Relief and IOCC; to Burkina Faso, on behalf of CWS; to Jordan, on behalf of Lutheran World Relief; and a pending shipment to the Palestinian Territories, for Lutheran World Relief. Domestic US shipments for CWS this year have included blankets to McAlester, Okla., and Austin, Texas, in response to winter storms; blankets to homeless and disadvantaged people in Binghamton, N.Y.; blankets, baby kits, health kits, and cleanup buckets in response to tornados in the area of Orlando, Fla.; blankets to disadvantaged border areas near Brownsville, Texas; blankets to St. Paul, Minn., for the homeless and disadvantaged; baby kits, health kits, and emergency cleanup buckets to Gould, Ark., following the tornados and severe storms that hit the southern US.

Westernport (Md.) Church of the Brethren will hold a homecoming on Sunday, Aug. 5, to mark its 50th year of service at its present site, and its 80th year as a church, according to an announcement in the “Mineral Daily News-Tribune.” Pastor Leon Swigart will be the guest speaker. Activities will include morning worship, lunch, and an afternoon program with a “Walk Down Memory Lane,” choir, and open-mike period. Displays will feature memorabilia and photographs of church life through the years. A commemorative church history booklet is planned. For more information and to register contact the church office at 301-359-3762. The deadline to register for the luncheon is April 1.

In an update on the Boca Chica church building project in the Dominican Republic (see Newsline of Nov. 22, 2006), Irv and Nancy Heishman, co-mission coordinators in the DR for the Church of the Brethren General Board, report that the congregation recently celebrated building accomplishments, including blocks built up to roof level. More fill will need to be added before the floor is poured. The building will include an extension at the back for bathrooms and stairs, leaving open the possibility of adding a second story as the church grows. In the congregation’s Sunday school offering for the construction project, each of four classes competed to be the highest giver for the month. “The winners for January were the ‘Damas’–the women’s class,” the Heishmans said. “These women gained some of their offering money by making sweets and other goodies to sell in the streets.” The Heishmans thanked the Brethren World Mission and the General Board for financial support and coordination, and passed on thanks from the congregation: “The Boca Chica church is grateful for the support they feel from the Global Mission and Brethren World Mission…. Praise be to God for what the Spirit is doing here!”

The 6th Annual Shenandoah Disaster Auction Kick Off Dinner will be held March 31, beginning at 6 p.m. in the Kline Campus Center at Bridgewater (Va.) College. Entertainment will be provided by the Sunset Mountain Boys.

Fahrney-Keedy Home and Village, a Church of the Brethren retirement community near Boonsboro, Md., is remembering resident Charlotte Winters, who died March 27 at age 109. According to Scripps Howard News Service, she was the last living female World War I veteran.

In other news from Fahrney-Keedy Home and Village, the community is exhibiting its Celebrity Autograph Quilt and Wall Hangings on April 1, from noon to 3 p.m. The exhibit is free to the public and will be held in the lobby of the main building. A total of 92 celebrities of stage, screen, opera, sports, and music took part in the unique fundraiser, including Charlton Heston, Elizabeth Taylor, James Earl Jones, Lauren Bacall, Hank Williams Jr., and NASCAR’s Jimmie Johnson, among many others. All items will be offered to international memorabilia collectors on internet auction beginning April 9. Proceeds benefit Fahrney-Keedy, and contribute to the Benevolent Fund. For more information, contact Betsy Miller at 301-671-5016 or

Manchester College is offering a 150-hour accounting program, after suspending its master of accountancy program following a survey of regional and national accounting firms, according to a release from the college in North Manchester, Ind. Many firms do not pay higher starting salaries for a master’s degree, nor do they consider it for promotions, the release said. Janis Fahs, CPA and chair of the Department of Accounting and Business, said the new program positions Manchester students in the job market well-prepared for certification as certified public accountants. The program moves students into the job market six months earlier than the traditional master’s degree program, the release said. Students receive a bachelor’s degree after completing 128 credit hours; the additional 22 credit hours fulfill CPA certification requirements. For more about Manchester’s accounting programs, visit

New Life Ministries is sponsoring a Leadership Training Event entitled “Deep and Wide: Expanding Hospitality in the Faithful Church” on May 8 at Franconia Mennonite Church in Telford, Pa. Keynote speakers are Eddie Gibbs and Ron Sider. Registrations received before April 1 qualify for a discount–as well as those registrations with multiple persons attending from the same congregation. For more information visit or contact director Kristen Leverton Helbert at 800-774-3360 or

The Brethren Peace Fellowship is encouraging meetings of silent presence to pray for peace throughout the world. A meeting for prayerful presence will take place in front of the Westminster (Md.) branch of the Carroll County Public Library on April 3, between 5-6 p.m. “If you too are longing for a more peaceful world, please come and silently pray with us,” invited Jane Yount, of the Brethren Disaster Response office.

The Global Women’s Project, a Church of the Brethren women’s organization, is in the process of weighing its future course. A consultation was held at Manchester Church of the Brethren in North Manchester, Ind., on Feb. 16-18 by the project’s Steering Committee: Judi Brown, Lois Grove, Nan Erbaugh, Jacki Hartley, and Bonnie Kline Smeltzer. The committee is in a discernment process on the future of the project, which is a grassroots movement that has lifted up lifestyle and justice issues and initiated women-to-women projects in more than a dozen developing countries over the past 30 years. Among the 15 participants in the consultation were representatives from the Church of the Brethren General Board.

Resources for Earth Day Sunday, April 22, are available from the National Council of Churches (NCC). The 2007 Earth Day Sunday resource for worship, study, and action, is titled “Our Daily Bread: Harvesters of Hope and Gardeners of Eden.” The resource focuses on creating a more sustainable food system in the US by seeking spirit-filled solutions to the root causes of injustice in farm and food policy. The council also is providing an opportunity for direct action with legislators for Earth Day Sunday, encouraging elected officials to “Sow Justice” in the 2007 farm bill. Congregations may also register their Earth Day Sunday celebrations with the NCC’s Eco-Justice Network so that others in the area can locate events. For more information go to

Church of the Brethren congregations may take part in a faith-based health care survey being conducted by the National Council of Churches (NCC). This is the first nationwide, in-depth, systematic study of health services provided by religious communities, according to the NCC. The project will survey more than 100,000 congregations to determine the level of health care education, delivery, and advocacy being offered. The study is made possible by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. A comprehensive report will be released at the conclusion of the study. It will help faith leaders and health care providers determine, for the first time, what role the religious congregation is playing, or not, in the delivery of health-related services to communities across the country. Congregations may take part in the survey at


6) Mark Hartwig to direct Information Services for General Board.

Mark Hartwig has been hired to fill the position of director of Information Services with the Church of the Brethren General Board, as of March 27. He has worked for the General Board at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., as a computer and applications specialist since March of 2005.

Prior to joining the General Board staff, he had more than 20 years of experience in the information technology field. His prior experience includes positions as computer coordinator/trainer and information services manager. He also holds a master’s degree in pastoral studies and is a spiritual director.


7) Carol Yeazell serves as interim director of Congregational Life Team.

Carol Yeazell has been called as interim director of the Congregational Life Team for the Church of the Brethren General Board. She serves as a staff member of the Congregational Life Team, Area 3. The interim position will continue at least through this summer.

In previous work for the church, Yeazell, has served as executive minister for Atlantic Southeast District, and as a pastor in Florida. Other work experience has included a position as executive director of Beth-El Farm Worker Ministry in Florida, a position as executive director of the US/Mexico Chamber of Commerce–Gulf States Region, and operation of a family business.


8) ‘I don’t have it all together, but I can try’: A reflection on working for peace.

I admit it. I had a stereotype about people working for peace. I thought “they” had it all together. I am glad I am wrong.

While I was on the January 2007 delegation to Israel and Palestine jointly sponsored by On Earth Peace and Christian Peacemaker Teams, I heard lots of people’s stories. Some people were in political power, others were in Israel, others in Palestine, and others were just people who were living their lives. I saw a glimpse of what life might be like if I lived under occupation. I saw people’s care for me. And I heard the cry to help carry their stories to my friends, family, and country. I learned that many Palestinians are living peacefully and trying to resist the occupation just by living out their day. Not all is perfect, but they work for peace anyway.

While we were in Jerusalem, we met with Michael Swartz, a representative from Rabbis for Human Rights. This organization brings voice to human rights violations that are happening in Palestine. I not only liked what the organization did, but I found hope in Michael because he didn’t seem to have it all together.

Michael is quite fond of the Wall, quite one-sided on several tension issues that we had previously heard an opposite view, and has some prejudiced attitudes. While I didn’t always agree with his perspective, I really was thankful for him. He was the first person who spoke with the delegation who, in my opinion, didn’t have it all figured out.

He works at a human rights organization and has laid a personal foundation for his social justice perspective–but sometimes other stuff gets in the way. Biases pop up; a brother’s friend gets killed by terrorists; understandings of the real issues get bound up. His realness was refreshing to me. I may want to “grow up” to be other people that I met in Palestine–but I can be Michael now. I don’t have it all together but I can try.

Michael helped me realize the importance of being in the struggle. There will always be the person to look up to, too. Dorothy Day and Mother Teresa come to mind, maybe they really did have it all together. But the average peacemaker, like me and Michael, we have issues, biases, and even are wrong sometimes. We are a part of the process of peace.

Thanks to Michael and others, I realize that I too can work for peace.

–Krista Dutt attends First Church of the Brethren in Chicago and directs DOOR Chicago, a Mennonite and Presbyterian urban education program.


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. Janis K. Fahs, Lerry Fogle, Karin Krog, Glenn and Linda Timmons, Helen Stonesifer, Loretta Wolf, and Jane Yount contributed to this report. Newsline appears every other Wednesday, with the next regularly scheduled Newsline set for April 11; 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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