Newsline for November 7, 2007

November 7, 2007

“We give thanks to you, O God…your name is near” (Psalm 75:1a).

1) Implementation Committee makes significant progress.
2) Worship leadership is announced for 2008 Annual Conference.
3) Church responds to flooding in DR, continues child care after fires.
4) Sudan mission workers visit with Brethren across the country.
5) Brethren Volunteer Service places two units into service.
6) Mid-Atlantic conference encourages ‘rest in God’s presence.’
7) Brethren bits: Correction, NYAC, church planting, more.

8) Christian Citizenship Seminar to examine genocide.

9) Resources for National Donor Sabbath are available.

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1) Implementation Committee makes significant progress.

After two days of meetings, the Annual Conference committee charged with the task of how to implement the streamlining of two church agencies has made significant progress. The Implementation Committee was elected by the Conference as part of its adoption of recommendations from the Review and Evaluation Study Committee that assessed the program work of the denomination. A seven-member committee was chosen to address ways the recommendations could best be implemented.

The Implementation Committee began its meeting Oct. 30 in Elgin, Ill., by dividing some of the responsibilities of the committee between the three members elected by Annual Conference. John Neff from Harrisonburg, Va., was chosen to serve as convener. Gary Crim from Dayton, Ohio, will handle legal aspects of the task. David Sollenberger of Annville, Pa., will coordinate interpretation of the committee’s recommendations.

Other members of the committee are the heads of the three program agencies of the church–Kathy Reid of the Association of Brethren Caregivers, Stan Noffsinger of the General Board, and Bob Gross of On Earth Peace–and Lerry Fogle of the Annual Conference office.

Relying on the groundwork laid by informal discussions of the three agency heads and members of their boards prior to the first meeting of the Implementation Committee, the group unanimously agreed to the following recommendation to the 2008 Annual Conference:

“We recommend to the 2008 Annual Conference that the General Board and the Association of Brethren Caregivers be united in a single entity, incorporated as ‘Church of the Brethren, Inc.,’ effective Aug. 1, 2008. This corporation will assume responsibility for the functions previously assigned to the Annual Conference Council. Annual Conference will be the annual meeting of the corporation and will continue to be the highest authority in the church. On Earth Peace, Bethany Theological Seminary, and Brethren Benefit Trust will continue to be reportable and accountable to Annual Conference and will work in collaboration with the new organization, but are not affected structurally by this recommendation.”

In addition to the recommendation, the committee discussed organizational structure of the new corporation, details of which will be available in the coming months. The committee is scheduled to meet again in mid-December to finalize the presentation of documents for the new corporation for the Annual Conference booklet, as well as to clarify details of the make up of the board.

More details of the recommendation may be available on the Annual Conference website by March 2008, after the boards of the agencies involved are consulted.

2) Worship leadership is announced for 2008 Annual Conference.

Leaders for worship, music, and Bible study have been announced for the 2008 Annual Conference of the Church of the Brethren in Richmond, Va., on July 12-16. The Conference will celebrate the 300th Anniversary of the Brethren movement and will include times of joint worship and fellowship with the Brethren Church.

James Beckwith, moderator of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference and pastor of Annville (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, will preach for the Saturday evening opening worship. David Shumate, moderator-elect and district executive minister for Virlina District, will lead worship for the service.

A joint worship team from the Brethren Church and the Church of the Brethren will share the preaching and the worship leading on Sunday morning. The team of three includes Christopher Bowman, pastor of Oakton Church of the Brethren in Vienna, Va.; Shanthi Edwin of Brush Valley Brethren Church in Adrian, Pa.; and Arden Gilmer, pastor of Park Street Brethren Church in Ashland, Ohio.

On Monday, Mary Jo Flory-Steury will bring the message. She is executive director of the Ministry Office of the Church of the Brethren General Board. Sheri Weaver of Gap, Pa., will be worship leader.

Tuesday’s sermon will be given by Robert Neff, a Church of the Brethren biblical scholar and a former general secretary of the Church of the Brethren General Board. Neff also previously taught at Bethany Theological Seminary, and is a past president of Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa. Stafford Frederick, pastor of Summerdean Church of the Brethren in Roanoke, Va., will lead worship.

For the closing worship service on Wednesday morning, another team of leaders representing both denominations will share in bringing the message and leading worship: Melissa Bennett, one of the pastors at Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren in Fort Wayne, Ind.; Shawn Flory Replogle, pastor of McPherson (Kan.) Church of the Brethren; and Leroy A. Solomon, dean of the Doctor of Ministry Program at the Brethren Church’s Ashland (Ohio) Theological Seminary.

Worship coordinator for the Conference is Kristi Kellerman of Crystal Lake, Ill., who serves on the Program and Arrangements Committee. Leslie Lake of Orrville, Ohio, is music coordinator and serves on the Church of the Brethren’s 300th Anniversary Committee. The choir director will be Jesse E. Hopkins Jr., chair of the Music Department at Bridgewater (Va.) College. The Children’s Choir director is Sarah Ann Bowman of Boones Mill, Va. The organist is Jonathan Emmons of Dover, Del. Leah Hileman of Cape Coral, Fla., will play piano and keyboard.

Bible study leaders are Glenn McCrickard, pastor of Cloverdale (Va.) Church of the Brethren; David R. Miller, pastor of Montezuma Church of the Brethren in Dayton, Va.; and Tom Zuercher, pastor of Ashland (Ohio) Dickey Church of the Brethren. The Hispanic Bible study coordinators are Irv and Nancy Heishman. Theological Studies will be led by Christina Bucher, professor of Religious Studies at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College.

3) Church responds to flooding in DR, continues child care after fires.

Brethren Disaster Ministries is planning a longterm response for the Dominican Republic and other countries affected by Tropical Storm Noel, which dumped at least 21 inches of rain and caused extensive flooding. An emergency grant has been given from the Emergency Disaster Fund, and emergency funds have been available to mission staff Irv and Nancy Heishman in the DR, as they respond to needs among Church of the Brethren congregations there.

Children’s Disaster Services also continues its work in southern California this week, aiding children of families affected by wildfires. Children’s Disaster Services, Brethren Disaster Ministries, and the Emergency Disaster Fund are all programs of the Church of the Brethren General Board.

“We are thankful to be able to report that it appears that all of the Dominican Brethren are okay,” said the Heishmans. “We have been able to be in contact with almost all of the Dominican churches and pastors. Some of them have certainly suffered damage to their agricultural crops,” they said. “Some families were evacuated for a brief time. But at this point the pastors are reporting that they and their members weathered the storm relatively well.” One church building had a foot and a half of water in its sanctuary, the Heishmans added.

The Dominican government has reported 85 deaths from the storm and flooding, with 45 people missing, and 57 deaths were reported in Haiti. More than 58,000 people were evacuated in the DR, an estimated 14,500 homes were damaged or destroyed, and around 60,000 people were left homeless, along with extensive crop damage.

The grant of $5,000 from the Emergency Disaster Fund supports the work of Servicios Sociales de las Iglesias Dominicanas (SSID), which began an immediate response to emergency needs for drinking water, food, and shelter. SSID is a partner organization of Church World Service in the DR. “In the longterm, we will be supporting a Church World Service grant that will focus on recovery, rebuilding, and possibly agricultural losses,” said Roy Winter, director of Brethren Disaster Ministries. “Further, if the Church of the Brethren in the DR has response projects, we will explore how to best support their efforts.”

Following the storm, the Heishmans began delivering a shipment of canned chicken that was prepared and donated through the Meat Canning Project of Southern Pennsylvania District and Mid-Atlantic District, and shipped by the Material Resources program at the New Windsor (Md.) Service Center. Church World Service covered the expenses for the shipment. “These boxes of chicken will be an encouragement to families in our churches as they get back to normal schedules,” the Heishmans said.

In southern California, the response of Children’s Disaster Services to the wildfires is winding down, according to a memo from Roy Winter and Judy Bezon, associate director of Children’s Disaster Services. “Our work in the San Diego area is expected to close down at the end of the week, but continues today in two locations,” the memo said. “In San Bernardino area, the response at the Orange Show fairgrounds closed yesterday.”

Gloria Cooper, project manager for the response, reported that Children’s Disaster Services is providing a short-term response this week at the Lady of the Lake Catholic Church in Arrowhead, where volunteers will help care for children of affected families for a few days. The church is not a Red Cross or FEMA site, but is focused on ministering to marginalized people who are afraid to go where FEMA may be located. Children’s Disaster Services volunteers also are working today at a FEMA Disaster Assistance Center in Running Springs, as the county distributes food stamps. “They expect a very busy day,” Cooper said.

The Emergency Disaster Fund gave two grants related to the California fires: $5,000 to support the work of Children’s Disaster Services; and $5,000 in response to a Church World Service appeal for material aid, deploying staff to help with training, support of a longterm recovery process, and support to vulnerable communities.

Gifts to these emergency response efforts should be sent to the Emergency Disaster Fund, Church of the Brethren General Board, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120. While undesignated gifts are the most helpful, donors may choose to earmark donations for “Tropical Storm Noel” or “Children’s Disaster Services.”

4) Sudan mission workers visit with Brethren across the country.

Jim and Pam Hardenbrook are visiting Church of the Brethren congregations and districts to share information about the Sudan mission initiative, and to raise funds for their mission work in southern Sudan. The Hardenbrooks have been named as lead mission workers in the new initiative, and hope to be able to begin work in Sudan early next year.

The Hardenbrooks have given numerous presentations in the last several weeks, including presentations at six district conferences, a camp, several civic clubs, revival services, Sunday school classses, and more than 20 congregations in nine states.

Training for the mission workers has included a week-long seminar on cross cultural church planting and a Community Health Evangelism workshop. The couple also plan to attend the Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resiliency (STAR) training at Eastern Mennonite University, and five weeks of training with Mission Training International for cross cultural preparation and language acquisition. “Your prayers are needed as we attend these training sessions,” the Hardenbrooks said in a newsletter to supporters. “We need to learn and integrate all the information and wisdom being offered.”

They also thanked Brethren for the warm welcome they have received. “We have…visited with hundreds of folks who are interested in living the Good News of Jesus throughout the world,” they said. “Over and over we have experienced the enthusiasm and energy Brethren have for the Great Commands and the Great Commission.”

Upcoming presentations by the Hardenbrooks are scheduled at Virlina District Conference in Roanoke, Va., on Nov. 9; Mechanic Grove Church of the Brethren in Quarryville, Pa., on Nov. 10-11; Mount Pleasant Church of the Brethren in Harrisonburg, Va., on Nov. 13 at 7 p.m.; Shenandoah District’s “Making Peace Conference” on Nov. 17; Briery Branch Church of the Brethren in Dayton, Va., on Nov. 18; and Union Center Church of the Brethren in Nappanee, Ind., on Jan. 20, 2008. To schedule a presentation call 208-880-5866 or 800-323-8039 ext. 227.

5) Brethren Volunteer Service places two units into service.

Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) recently placed two units of volunteers into service.

Unit 276 jointly sponsored with the Brethren Revival Fellowship held orientation at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., on Aug. 19-29 with six volunteers: Keri Copenhaver, White Oak Church of the Brethren, Manheim, Pa., going to Maine Area Home School Project; Vera and Roy Martin, Trinity Church of the Brethren, Chambersburg, Pa., to the Good Shepherd Food Bank; Sheila Shirk of White Oak, to Good Shepherd; Kurt Hershey of White Oak, to Good Shepherd; Nathan Zerkle, Greenville (Ohio) Church of the Brethren, to a position as director of children and youth ministries.

Unit 277 trained 31 volunteers from Sept. 23-Oct. 12. at the Bosserman Community Center in Peace Valley, Mo., and Messiah Church of the Brethren in Kansas City, Mo. Unit members, congregations or hometowns, and placements: Ben Bear, Nokesville (Va.) Church of the Brethren, to La Puenta, Alamosa, Colo; Dana Cassell, First Church of the Brethren, Roanoke, Va., to Ministry Office of the General Board, Elgin, Ill.; Bonnie Chase of Bethleham, Pa., placement pending; Karen Duhai, Bedford (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, to the Junction, N. Ireland; Amy Fishburn of Lawrence, Kan., to Brethren Disaster Ministries, New Windsor, Md.; Sharon Flaten, Bridgewater (Va.) Church of the Brethren, to Youth and Young Adult Ministries of the General Board; Johannes Frey of Esslingen, Germany, to San Antonio (Texas) Catholic Worker House; Christoph Gutzmann of Bad Oldesloe, Germany, to the Edge, Atlanta, Ga.; Leslie Hammer of Livermore, Calif., to Gould Farm, Medford, Mass.; Katie Hampton of Pendleton, Ore., to OKC Abrasevic, Bosnia-Herzegovina; Bob Hayes of Memphis, Tenn., to Trees for Life, Wichita, Kan.; Melani Hom of Manhattan Beach, Calif., to National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund, Washington, D.C.; Beth Krehbiel, McPherson (Kan.) Church of the Brethren, to Kilcranny House, N. Ireland; Heather Lantz, Linville Creek Church of the Brethren, Broadway, Va., to Quaker Cottage, N. Ireland; Ulrich Lyding of Taunusstein, Germany, to Brethren Nutrition Program, Washington, D.C.; Katie Mahuron of Cambridge City, Ind., to Women in Black, Serbia; Haley McCoy of Fredericktown, Ohio, to Hopewell Inn, Mesopotamia, Ohio; Cassidy McFadden, Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren, Elgin, Ill., to CooperRiis, Mill Springs, N.C.; Stefan Meister of Ketten, Germany, to Lancaster (Pa.) Area Habitat for Humanity; Jerry O’Donnell, Green Tree Church of the Brethren, Oaks, Pa., to Youth and Young Adult Ministries of the General Board; William Olivencia, First Church of the Brethren, Harrisburg, Pa., to Camp Myrtlewood, Myrtle Point, Ore.; Alex Otake, York Center Church of the Brethren, Lombard, Ill., to SERRV International, New Windsor, Md.; Christina Pandya, Naperville (Ill.) Church of the Brethren; Ashley Ream of Palmyra, Pa., to L’Arche, Ireland; Ryan Richards of Coupeville, Wash., to Colegio Miguel Angel Asturias, Guatemala; Amanda Smith, Brummetts Church of the Brethren, Green Mountain, N.C., to Alderson (W.Va.) Hospitality House; Dora Smith, Brummetts Creek church, to Fingerlakes Restorative Justice Center, Rochester, N.Y.; Kat Stutzman of Goshen, Ind., to Igunario, in the DR; Tory Tevis, Westminster (Md.) Church of the Brethren, to Musicians without Borders, Bosnia-Herzegovina; Christine Wilkinson, Olympic View Community Church of the Brethren, Seattle, Wash., to Tri-City Homeless Coalition, Fremont, Calif.; Jon Zunkel, Elizabethtown (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, to Holywell Consultancy, N. Ireland.

6) Mid-Atlantic conference encourages ‘rest in God’s presence.’

The 41st Annual Mid-Atlantic District Conference convened Oct. 5-6 at Hagerstown (Md.) Church of the Brethren under the leadership of moderator Gretchen Zience. Highlights included a pre-conference continuing education event for pastors led by Dawn Ottoni-Wilhelm, associate professor of Preaching and Worship at Bethany Theological Seminary. She also served as the conference speaker.

Ottoni-Wilhelm’s informative presentation on “Make the Word Come Alive: How to Preach Like Anabaptists,” challenged pastors to incorporate historic Brethren practices into worship and preaching. In response to the conference theme, “Be Still and Know that I Am God” (Psalm 46:1), Ottoni-Wilhelm encouraged Friday evening worshipers to put their ultimate trust in God by “being still” and “resting in God’s presence.” She noted that prayerful silence “makes way for God’s creativity, imagination, and hope.”

The conference was divided into two business sessions. Approval of the 2008 district budget was the only new business and passed unanimously. In between sessions, attendees chose from 10 learning centers addressing topics as diverse as spirituality and spiritual direction, life planning, hymn leading, and gun violence. Walt Wiltschek, editor of the “Messenger” magazine, provided comic relief with “Top 10 Lists.” An observation in one list, that Mid-Atlantic District (which includes Baltimore and its inner harbor area) is the only district that could legitimately offer a “Booz Cruise,” earned hearty and sustained laughter from district executive minister Don Booz, along with all conference attendees.

The 2008 Mid-Atlantic District Conference is scheduled for Oct. 10-11, at Frederick (Md.) Church of the Brethren.

–Roseann Harwood is interim pastor at Dranesville Church of the Brethren in Herndon, Va.

7) Brethren bits: Correction, NYAC, church planting, more.

  • Correction: In the “Brethren bit” of Oct. 24, listing new trustees of Elizabethtown (Pa.) College, Warren Eshbach’s home town was given incorrectly. It is Dover, Pa.
  • National Young Adult Conference is offering a gift certificate option through the Youth and Young Adult Ministries Office of the General Board. Family and friends of young adults can purchase a gift certificate for 50 percent ($162.50) or 100 percent ($325) of the registration cost. “As Christmas is approaching, consider giving the gift of National Young Adult Conference to your favorite young adult!” said coordinator Rebekah Houff. Visit for more information, or contact Houff at 800-323-8039 ext. 281 or
  • The church planting conference sponsored by New Church Development, Bethany Theological Seminary, and the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership now has its own web address at This page will offer online registration after Jan. 1, 2008. The conference on the theme, “Plant Generously, Reap Bountifully! Plantando y Regando con Dios Cultivando! Planting and Watering What God Is Growing!” will be held May 15-17, 2008, at Bethany Seminary in Richmond, Ind.
  • The Association of Brethren Caregivers (ABC) is seeking information about upcoming anointing services that individuals and congregations plan to hold. ABC is creating a video about the power and comfort of the anointing service for congregational and individual use. Planners hope to illustrate the recording with actual anointing events. If you have a planned event or are calling for a more private service of anointing, please e-mail this news to If time and production details allow for the event to be recorded, ABC will send videographer David Sollenberger to the event. Recordings will take place over the next six months.
  • On Earth Peace has extended an invitation to Church of the Brethren peacemakers to join a delegation to the Middle East (Israel/Palestine) led by On Earth Peace executive director Bob Gross on Jan. 8-21, 2008. The group will travel to Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Hebron; meet with Israeli and Palestinian peace and human rights workers; join Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) in Hebron and the village of At-Tuwani in a limited amount of accompaniment and documentation; and engage in a public witness to nonviolently confront injustice and violence. The trip is being led in conjunction with CPT, which since June 1995 has maintained a team of trained peacemakers in Hebron. On Earth Peace will assist Brethren in raising funds for the cost of the trip by offering ideas, networking, and limited scholarships. Applications are available through the On Earth Peace website and are due in November. For more information go to Contact On Earth Peace executive director Bob Gross at 260-982-7751 or; or contact Claire Evans at Christian Peacemaker Teams, 773-277-0253 or
  • On Earth Peace is offering a new pamphlet for reflection and evangelism, titled “Clenched Fists, Open Hands: A Meditation on God’s Love and Peace in the Christian Life.” The pamphlet is intended to help individuals, study groups, and congregations connect the dots between Christian faith and a commitment to peace and peacemaking. It is available in English and Spanish, for distribution in public space and church literature racks, and for membership classes. Download from or order for 10 cents each by calling 410-635-8704.
  • Edgewood Church of the Brethren near New Windsor, Md., celebrated its 100th anniversary with a banquet on the afternoon of Nov. 4, at the Brethren Service Center.
  • Olympia, Lacey (Wash.) Community Church of the Brethren celebrates its centennial on Nov. 17-19 with a Love Feast, Thanksgiving dinner, worship, times for sharing, and the opening of a cornerstone from 1956.
  • The Virlina District Conference is Nov. 9-10 at Bonsack Baptist Church, Botetourt County, Va.
  • A national Concerned Philosophers for Peace conference on the theme, “Nonviolence: Critiquing Assumptions, Examining Frameworks” was hosted by Manchester College in North Manchester, Ind., on Nov. 1-4. The conference was sponsored by the college’s Peace Studies Institute and Department of Religion and Philosophy. About 40 philosophers from around the nation made presentations. Plenary sessions were open to the public and addressed topics such as “Gandhi vs. bin Laden: Nonviolent Strategies against Terrorism,” with David Cortright, Fourth Freedom Forum president and research fellow with the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame; and “Finding Hope in the World: Peace Activism,” with Barbara Wien, co-director of Peace Brigades International/USA. For more go to or contact Dr. Steve Naragon, professor of philosophy, at or 260-982-5041.
  • An Elizabethtown (Pa.) College professor has written a textbook to introduce students to the current global social problems they may face. Susan Mapp’s “Human Rights and Social Justice in a Global Perspective: An Introduction to International Social Work” (Oxford University Press) addresses difficult topics such as healthcare, violence against women, war and conflict, forced labor, and child soldiers. The book analyzes problems in their cultural contexts to help readers understand how they developed, why they persist, and what the local and international responses, both governmental and nongovernmental, have been. She also offers suggestions for what students can do to create change, and what they will be able to do as professionals. Mapp is an assistant professor of social work and has led Elizabethtown students on short-term study abroad trips to Ireland and Thailand, and a service-learning trip to Vietnam.
  • McPherson (Kan.) College enrollment has increased for the fifth year in a row, with 498 fulltime students enrolled this fall–the largest enrollment the college has seen since 1976. The college also honored three recipients of its 2007 Young Alumni Awards at Homecoming in October: Church of the Brethren member and physician Shannan Kirchner-Holmes of Port Townsend, Wash., who is associated with the Jefferson Medical Group in Port Townsend; Church of the Brethren member Jenny Stover-Brown of Wichita, Kan., who since 2001 has served as a school social worker with the Sedgwick County Special Education Cooperative where she has created a “Reading Buddies” program; and Doug Lengel of Carlsbad, Calif., secretary to the pastors at the Carlsbad Presbyterian Church and formerly an instructor at McPherson, an assistant bank examiner with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, an associate professor of business at Manchester College in North Manchester, Ind., and an associate professor of business and associate academic dean at Sterling College in Kansas.
  • Garbers Church of the Brethren in Harrisonburg, Va., will host a CrossRoads (Valley Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center) lecture on Nov. 10, at 4 p.m. Nancy Heisey, president of Mennonite World Conference and chair of the Bible and Religion Department at Eastern Mennonite University, will speak on the topic, “They Also Serve: The Brethren-Mennonite Service Experience.” A Historic House Tour sponsored by CrossRoads takes place on Nov. 17 featuring three historic homes and a church. Mill Creek Church of the Brethren will provide refreshments. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door. Contact CrossRoads at 540-438-1275.
  • “Brethren Voices,” a community access television program sponsored by Portland (Ore.) Peace Church of the Brethren and produced by Ed Groff, is now being aired in a dozen communities across the country, Groff reports. The list includes York, Pa.; Westminster, Md.; Richmond, Ind.; Dayton, Ohio; La Verne, Calif.; and McPherson, Kan. Longtime Brethren who are not served by a Church of the Brethren in Montana and Massachusetts are airing the show as well, and it is being seen in Arctic Village, Alaska. Upcoming editions include, in December, “What Would Jesus Give” on Heifer International and alternative Christmas giving, with five Brethren members sharing personal experiences; and in January, a show with representatives of American Friends Service Committee and “Nightmare Beyond Borders,” with speakers Raed Jarrar, an Iraqi political analyst, and Noah Baker Merrill, who has worked with Iraqi refugees in Jordan and Syria. Contact Ed Groff at Portland Peace Church of the Brethren, or 360-256-8550.
  • MutualAid eXchange (MAX) is marking its 50th anniversary of service to the Anabaptist community with insurance and mutual aid services, with an evening of commemoration and celebration at the Kansas City Airport Marriot Hotel on Nov. 16. For more about the event, contact Denise Dietz at 877-971-6300 ext. 100 or
  • Thanksgiving worship resources are being offered by the National Council of Churches (NCC) Eco-Justice Program: “At the Lord’s Table: Everyday Thanksgiving” and “Our Daily Bread: Harvesters of Hope and Gardeners of Eden.” The resources are intended to help lead congregations in theological conversations about food and faith, and may be downloaded from The Eco-Justice Program also seeks prayers for the nation’s farmers as part of a “Thanksgiving Prayer Offering” through Dec. 15. People of faith are encouraged to submit prayers, which will be collected in a web-based anthology to highlight the connection between the food we eat and the farmers who plant, grow, and harvest. Prayers can be submitted at
  • “Raising UP: Women of India,” a documentary produced by a filmmaker with Church of the Brethren connections–Susan Baumel–is being aired on various PBS television stations around the country, most recently by Georgia Public Broadcasting on Oct. 7. It received a CINE Golden Eagle award in 2006, and among other honors was previewed at the National Press Club’s International Women’s Day event, and was screened at the United Nations in honor of International Women’s Day. Following ideas about micro-credit made famous by Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohammad Yunus, the story follows a vegetable vendor in India who raised herself out of extreme poverty with the help of a small loan that allowed her to go into business. It includes interviews with women from different socio-economic levels, as well as leading economists such as Columbia University professors Jeffrey Sachs and Mark Malloch Brown, former administrator of the UN Development Program. Baumel is a former news correspondant and network producer who grew up in Church of the Brethren congregations in Pennsylvania and Florida, and currently lives and works in Washington, D.C. A clip can be viewed at

8) Christian Citizenship Seminar to examine genocide.

The 2008 Christian Citizenship Seminar will be held on the topic of genocide, focusing on the Darfur region of Sudan, with a scripture theme from Matthew 5:44. The event for high school youth is scheduled for March 29-April 3, in New York City and Washington D.C., sponsored by the Brethren Witness/Washington Office and the Youth and Young Adult Ministries of the General Board.

This year’s seminar is being planned to increase understanding of the relationship between faith and our response to the violence of genocide. The event is open to all high school youth and adult advisors. Registration will be limited to the first 100 youth and adults who apply. The $350 registration fee includes lodging for five nights, dinner on the opening evening, and transportation from New York to Washington.

Register at Registration will be cut off by Feb. 28, 2008 or as soon as 100 registrations have been received. Contact Youth and Young Adult Ministries at 800-323-8039 or

9) Resources for National Donor Sabbath are available.

Each year the Association of Brethren Caregivers (ABC) distributes more than 500 donor pins to congregations that plan to recognize National Donor Sabbath. This year, National Donor Sabbath will be Nov. 11. Congregations and individuals can show their support of organ and tissue donation by wearing and distributing green ribbon pins. To view worship and study resources for National Donor Sabbath, visit

While medical advances now enable more than 25,000 Americans per year to receive organ transplants that save or enhance their lives, latest statistics show that not enough organs are available to help everyone in need. As a result, nearly 7,000 people die in the US each year–about 19 a day–while waiting for a donated kidney, liver, heart, lung, or other organ. Today, more than 96,900 people are on the national organ transplant waiting list.

In recent years, progress has been made in creating awareness of the need for organ and tissue donation. Most Americans indicate they support organ donation. Nonetheless, only about 50 percent of families asked to donate a loved one’s organs agree to do so. Thousands of opportunities to donate are missed each year, either because families do not know what their loved ones wanted, or because potential donors are not identified for organ procurement organizations and their families are never asked.

–Mary Dulabaum is director of communications for the Association of Brethren Caregivers.

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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. J. Allen Brubaker, Lerry Fogle, Ed Groff, Jim and Pam Hardenbrook, Irv and Nancy Heishman, Rebekah Houff, Gimbiya Kettering, Jon Kobel, Jeri S. Kornegay, Beth Merrill, Jonathan Shively, and Roy Winter contributed to this report. Newsline appears every other Wednesday, with other special issues sent as needed. The next regularly scheduled issue is set for Nov. 21. Newsline stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source. For more Brethren news and features, subscribe to “Messenger” magazine, call 800-323-8039 ext. 247.