Newsline for September 12, 2007

September 12, 2007

“…A place in the family…” (Acts 26:18b from “The Message”).

1) Caring Ministries Assembly 2007 focuses on ‘Being Family.’
2) Youth cabinet issues 300th anniversary challenge to youth groups.
3) Steering committee plans next denominational gathering for young adults.
4) Western Plains District meeting invites, ‘Come and Walk with Jesus.’
5) Brethren bits: Personnel, job openings, and much more.

6) Hendricks retires as president of the Mutual Aid Association.
7) Van Houten resigns as workcamp coordinator for General Board.
8) Surber to begin as Brethren Volunteer Service orientation coordinator.
9) Kettering begins as co-coordinator of communications for On Earth Peace.

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1) Caring Ministries Assembly 2007 focuses on ‘Being Family.’

Lititz (Pa.) Church of the Brethren was a busy place last week as more than 200 deacons, pastors, chaplains, and other caregivers attended this year’s Caring Ministries Assembly, sponsored by the Association of Brethren Caregivers on Sept. 6-8. The theme, “Being Family: Reality and Renewal” (Acts 26:18a), was explored through keynote presentations, workshops, Bible study, and worship.

The assembly began Thursday evening with worship and the first of two keynote presentations by David H. Jensen, associate professor at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, who explored family life in our society. On Friday morning, Jensen continued his look at family life with a presentation called, “Marking Time Together: Christian Faith, Brethren Tradition, and the Renewal of Our Days.”

On Friday afternoon, participants attended their choice of workshops about family, including a look at step families, end-of-life spiritual care, healthy aging, strengthening marriage, creatively handling conflict, and self-care for caregivers. An hour-long “Time for Renewal of Body, Mind, and Soul” provided the opportunity for silent reflection, walking a labyrinth, prayer, journaling, meditative movement, and massage therapy.

Marilyn Lerch led the Friday evening worship and communion service, sharing stories about family. Musicians and songwriters Jim and Jean Strathdee performed a concert of music of compassion, justice, healing, and hope.

The Saturday sessions featured Donald Kraybill and Kate Eisenbise, authors of “The Brethren in a Post-Modern World,” who shared a multi-generational look at how their own families have changed as they interviewed each other. Afternoon workshops again provided opportunities to learn, in workshops about communication, healthy relationships, bridging multicultural differences, and deacon visitation etiquette.

The assembly concluded Saturday afternoon with worship. Belita Mitchell, immediate past moderator of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference, challenged worshipers to “go and tell” others what the Lord has done, and what they learned at the Caring Ministries Assembly.

Other highlights of the conference included Bible study led by Stephen Breck Reid, academic dean of Bethany Theological Seminary; musical leadership by the Strathdees throughout the entire assembly; and the hospitality of members of the Lititz church as they shared the congregation’s facilities with the conference.

The next Caring Ministries Assembly is planned for September 2010.

–Kim Ebersole is director of Family and Older Adult Ministry for the Association of Brethren Caregivers.

2) Youth cabinet issues 300th anniversary challenge to youth groups.

The 2007-08 National Youth Cabinet held its first meeting Aug. 1-3 in Elgin, Ill., giving input for the national youth program, selecting a 2008 youth ministry theme, developing resources for the 2008 National Youth Sunday, and preparing for the denomination’s 300th anniversary.

Elizabeth Willis of Tryon, N.C., Tricia Ziegler of Sebring, Fla., Joel Rhodes of Huntingdon, Pa., Seth Keller of Dover, Pa., Turner Ritchie of Richmond, Ind., and Heather Popielarz of Prescott, Mich., are serving on the cabinet. Dena Gilbert of La Verne, Calif., is serving as advisor to the group, along with Chris Douglas, Youth/Young Adult Ministries director for the Church of the Brethren General Board.

The cabinet settled on “By the Manner of Their Living” for next year’s youth ministry theme, drawing on a familiar quote attributed to Alexander Mack Sr. for the denomination’s 300th anniversary year. Mack is considered the founder of the Church of the Brethren. The theme scripture is Colossians 3:12-15. Resources will be drawn on this theme for the National Youth Sunday scheduled for May 4, 2008.

In addition, the group issued a 300th anniversary challenge to youth groups across the denomination, following up on a General Board challenge to do something in multiples of 300 for the anniversary year, such as rebuilding 300 homes in disaster areas or having 300 more people participate in summer workcamps. Suggestions to youth groups include giving 300 hours of service, preparing 300 school kits for disaster relief, giving 300 cans of food to a local food pantry, or offering 300 prayers of peace.

The meeting also included conversations about Brethren Volunteer Service, a tour of the offices, and several times of worship. The cabinet next meets July 31-Aug. 3, 2008, in Elgin.

–Walt Wiltschek is editor of “Messenger” magazine for the Church of the Brethren General Board.

3) Steering committee plans next denominational gathering for young adults.

The Young Adult Steering Committee for the Church of the Brethren met Aug. 24-26 in Elgin, Ill., to plan National Young Adult Conference (NYAC). The denomination’s young adult program is a ministry of the Church of the Brethren General Board.

NYAC is scheduled for Aug. 11-15, 2008, in Estes Park, Colo., at the YMCA of the Rockies, Estes Park Center. The conference is open to all young adults ages 18-35. The Steering Committee is encouraging congregations to put NYAC scholarships in their 2008 budgets to help support the young adults in their churches. Go to http://www.nyac08.org/.

Members of the Young Adult Steering Committee are Hannah Edwards of Southeastern District, Bob Etzweiler of Middle Pennsylvania District, Megan Fitze of Southern Ohio District, Ethan Gibbel of Atlantic Northeast District, Caitlin Haynes of Mid-Atlantic District, and Virginia Meadows of Middle Pennsylvania District. Staff working with the steering committee are Chris Douglas, director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries for the General Board, and Brethren Volunteer Service worker Rebekah Houff, who serves as NYAC coordinator.

–Bekah Houff serves as coordinator of National Young Adult Conference, and can be contacted at rhouff_gb@brethren.org or 800-323-8039 ext. 281.

4) Western Plains District meeting invites, ‘Come and Walk with Jesus.’

The Western Plains District Conference convened July 27-29 at McPherson (Kan.) Church of the Brethren and McPherson College with the theme, “Come and Walk with Jesus.” Paintings by artist Connie Rhodes of Newton (Kan.) Church of the Brethren, lined the sanctuary and sidewalks leading to the church, illustrating the theme. Moderator David Smalley led the 260 attendees including 78 delegates from 33 of the district’s 40 congregations.

“The spirit of the conference reflected an appreciation of God’s movement in our midst,” said the conference report from the Western Plains District office. “The action-packed weekend included 11 workshop opportunities, youth and children’s activities, and an ice cream social hosted by the Cedars, following a presentation by the Youth Heritage Team.”

Inspirational worship services were led by moderator Smalley, who spoke for Friday evening worship, and Annual Conference moderator Jim Beckwith, who spoke on Saturday evening and Sunday morning. Other speakers included Mary Jo Flory-Steury, executive director of the Ministry Office of the Church of the Brethren General Board, who addressed the minister and spouse dinner; and Paula Frantz, who spoke for the women’s breakfast.

Business items were interspersed with stories of transformation. The conference celebrated the life of Pueblo (Colo.) Fellowship and Navarre Church of the Brethren in Abilene, Kan., as the district brought official closure to their ministries. A Milestones in Ministry celebration acknowledged 65 years of ordained ministry for B. Wayne Crist, D. Eugene Lichty, and J. Jack Melhorn; 60 years for Duane L. Ramsey; 45 years for Robert L. Sifrit; 30 years for Donald E. Roberts; 25 years for Kenneth W. Davidson; 20 years for Joyce E. Petry and David L. Smalley; and 15 years for C. Bryan Harness.

Offerings received $10,000 for the district budget and $2,230 for the Church of the Brethren’s Sudan mission. A Projects Unlimited auction raised $5,100 for various outreach ministries.

5) Brethren bits: Personnel, job openings, and much more.

  • Cyndi Fecher has announced her resignation as project assistant for the Gather ‘Round curriculum project, effective Oct. 12. She has accepted a position teaching English as a second language in South Korea. Fecher started working for Gather ’Round, a joint curriculum project of Brethren Press and the Mennonite Publishing Network, on Sept. 22, 2006, in a three-quarter-time position located in Elgin, Ill. Previously she worked 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.
  • The New Windsor (Md.) Conference Center has welcomed Cori Hahn as conference coordinator. She began work on Sept. 4. The New Windsor Conference Center is a ministry of the Church of the Brethren General Board, located at the Brethren Service Center. With 10 years of hospitality experience, Hahn has been the general manager of the Westminster (Md.) Inn for the past five years. She is a graduate of Westminster High School and has studied Business Management at Carroll Community College in Maryland. She will be a member of the New Windsor Conference Center management team, which includes managing chef Walt Trail, hospitality program assistant Connie Bohn, and housekeeping supervisor Gerry Duble.
  • Jordan Blevins has completed an internship at the Brethren Witness/Washington Office of the Church of the Brethren General Board, and has begun work as assistant director of the Environmental Justice Office of the National Council of Churches in Washington, D.C. He started work for the Brethren Witness/Washington Office on Jan. 1 this year as a legislative intern. During his internship he participated in a Faith Expedition to Vietnam, and did follow-up reporting and helped develop a Brethren Water and Sanitation project in that area through the church’s Global Food Crisis Fund. He also helped to staff the 2007 Christian Citizenship Seminar and assisted in the planning and presentation of many conference workshops and events. He is a graduate of American University and Wesley Theological Seminary.
  • Rianna Barrett joined the Brethren Witness/Washington Office on Aug. 20 as a legislative associate, serving through Brethren Volunteer Service. She is a member of Manassas (Va.) Church of the Brethren and graduated in May from the College of William and Mary with a bachelor’s degree in Government and Psychology. One of her focus areas will be environmental justice. She plans to attend law school following her year of volunteer service.
  • Two Brethren Volunteer Service workers, Sharon Flaten and Jerry O’Donnell, have begun work with the Youth and Young Adult Ministry of the Church of the Brethren General Board as assistant workcamp coordinators. Flaten is a graduate of Bridgewater (Va.) College. O’Donnell is a graduate of Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa.
  • The New Windsor (Md.) Conference Center has welcomed new volunteers for September. Adrian and Elaine Sayler are returning as host and hostess in Zigler Hall. David and Maria Huber, members of this year’s older adult Brethren Volunteer Service unit, will serve as host and hostess in Windsor Hall. Art and Lois Hermanson are staying on as volunteers to assist with the Conference Center’s busy fall schedule.
  • The Church of the Brethren General Board seeks a coordinator of Workcamp Ministry to fill a fulltime staff position based at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Responsibilities include providing overall coordination and leadership of workcamps for junior high, senior high, and young adult age groups under the auspices of the Youth and Young Adult Ministries; developing and expand the workcamp offerings and schedule; training and mentoring Brethren Volunteer Service workers who serve as assistant workcamp coordinators; and managing workcamp budgets, databases, and online registrations. Qualifications include membership in the Church of the Brethren, experience working with youth and young adults, experience on workcamps or mission trips, organizational and administrative skills, previous experience working in a team, interpersonal and relational skills, ability to mentor young adults and provide spiritual leadership for workcamps, competency with database and spreadsheet software, willingness to travel extensively, and a bachelor’s degree as a minimum, with seminary education preferred. Start date is Jan. 2008. A position description and application form are available on request. The application deadline is Oct. 15. Qualified candidates are invited to complete the General Board application form, submit a resume and letter of application, and request three references to send letters of recommendation to the Office of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren General Board, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120-1694; 800-323-8039 ext. 258; kkrog_gb@brethren.org.
  • The Mutual Aid Association for the Church of the Brethren (MAA) seeks new leadership to fill the position of president/general manager. Location is Abilene, Kan., some two-and-a-half hours west of Kansas City. The president/general manager serves as the principle administrator of the organization. Responsibilities include to plan, direct, and coordinate programs and staff to assure that stated board objectives are attained, policyholder needs are met, and effective internal and external relationships are maintained; demonstrate leadership skills and office management; and direct the organization’s vision, cooperatively with the Board of Directors. Qualifications include holding Church of the Brethren values, being trustworthy and reliable, having a positive attitude toward change, demonstrating effective written and oral communication skills, demonstrating successful people skills, insurance and marketing experience, managerial or supervisory experience, and a minimum education of a bachelor’s degree. Salary is commensurate with experience. Benefits include pension and medical benefits, vacation and other leave. Start date is March 1, 2008, or negotiable. Send a letter of interest, along with a one-page resume, and minimum salary requirement to the Chair, MAA Board of Directors, c/o 3094 Jeep Rd., Abilene, KS 67410; fax 785-598-2214; 785-598-2212; maa@maabrethren.com.
  • The Gather ’Round curriculum project seeks an editorial and marketing assistant, to fill a fulltime hourly position at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Gather ’Round is a joint project of Brethren Press and the Mennonite Publishing Network. Responsibilities include assisting the project director, managing editor, and marketing staff; updating curriculum websites; and other tasks as assigned. Skills include excellent communications skills, written and verbal; ability to organize and execute tasks carefully and thoroughly; a keen eye for details; excellent computer technology skills; and ability to work autonomously. Required experience includes experience working in an office environment, facility with computer software and website technology, familiarity with Microsoft Word and Excel, and familiarity with Microsoft Front Page or Macromedia Dreamweaver. Familiarity with Quark XPress and Adobe Acrobat is helpful, experience in copy editing and proofreading is preferred. A minimum of an associate’s degree or comparable level classes, training, or responsibilities is required, with a bachelor’s degree preferred. Understanding of Church of the Brethren or Mennonite heritage and theology is helpful. The application deadline is Sept. 28, or until the position is filled. Preferred start date is Oct. 15. To apply, contact the Office of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren General Board, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120-1694; 800-323-8039 ext. 258; kkrog_gb@brethren.org.
  • On Earth Peace has announced another networking call for those working against military recruitment, on Sept. 26 at 1-2:30 p.m. eastern time. On Earth Peace regularly sponsors national networking calls as an opportunity for those working on military recruitment in their communities, and related issues such as poverty and lack of opportunity. The calls are an opportunity to connect to a broader community of organizers, receive inspiration, offer advice, and provide each other with practical tips and spiritual support. The theme for the upcoming call is “Clarifying Vision, Strength for the Journey: Setting Goals for the Fall.” Send an e-mail to mattguynn@earthlink.net or call 503-775-1636 to reserve a place in the call. For more information go to www.brethren.org/oepa/programs/peace-witness/counter-recruitment/NetworkingCalls.html. On Earth Peace is a peace education and action agency of the Church of the Brethren.
  • The Brethren Witness/Washington Office has called attention to two events calling for the end to the Iraq war: an Interfaith Fast to End the War in Iraq on Oct. 8 sponsored by the National Council of Churches (NCC) along with diverse religious groups; and a Continuous Prayer Vigil on Sept. 16 planned as a follow up to the Christian Peace Witness for Iraq that took place on March 16 (www.christianpeacewitness.org/vigil). The Oct. 8 fast is supported by leaders from many religious communities, who are urging Americans of all faiths to fast from dawn to dusk to call for an end to the war. Local communities are invited to organize joint interfaith events to break the fast together. Register events at http://www.interfaithfast.org/, where an organizing toolkit and bulletin insert are available.
  • The fall planning retreat of officers of the Ministers’ Association is being held Sept. 12-13 at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., hosted by the Ministry Office. Officers include Lisa Hazen, pastor of Wichita (Kan.) Church of the Brethren; David W. Miller, pastor of West Richmond (Va.) Church of the Brethren; Nancy Fitzgerald, on the pastoral team of Manassas (Va.) Church of the Brethren; Sue Richard, co-pastor of Elm Street Church of the Brethren in Lima, Ohio; and Tim Sollenberger Morphew, pastor of Bethany Church of the Brethren in New Paris, Ind.
  • The Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., will be a rest stop again this year for the Maryland Lung Association Bike Tour on Sept. 15. Hundreds of cyclists participate in this fundraising event to benefit children with asthma through the programs of the American Lung Association of Maryland.
  • The Fall orientation unit of Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) will be held Sept. 23-Oct. 12 in Peace Valley and Kansas City, Mo. This will be the 277th BVS orientation unit, and will include 33 volunteers. The group will spend three weeks exploring project possibilities and topics of community building, peace and social justice, faith sharing, diversity training, and more. The vollunteers also will have the opportunity for several work days, in both rural and urban communities, and will attend the Missouri/Arkansas District Conference. For more information contact the BVS office at 800-323-8939.
  • Preparations for the International Day of Prayer for Peace continue. The Church of the Brethren General Offices has joined the growing list of Brethren congregations and communities sponsoring prayer events, which has now increased to 80 including churches and groups in the US, Puerto Rico, and Nigeria. The General Offices will hold a short prayer service on Friday, Sept. 21, at 9:15 a.m. at the offices in Elgin, Ill. Brethren involvement in the International Day of Prayer for Peace is jointly promoted by the Brethren Witness/Washington Office and On Earth Peace, with Mimi Copp as the grassroots organizer. “It has been incredible to watch the number of Brethren communities involved in the International Day of Prayer for Peace multiply. Our original goal was 40! This is a Spirit-filled effort,” wrote Copp in an e-mail update. The international event is linked with the World Council of Churches Decade to Overcome Violence (DOV). Hansulrich Gerber, DOV coordinator, wrote to Copp to thank the Brethren for participating: “This morning on my Google Blogs Alert for ‘overcome violence’ I found one item: ‘Newsline Brethren Churches to observe day of prayer for peace….’ The news about the Church of the Brethren churches is a happy and enormously encouraging one. Thank you for setting a good example! Blessings of peace to you.” Copp requests Brethren who are planning prayer vigils to list the events at http://www.idpvigil.com/, so others in local communities can find out about them. Contact Copp at miminski@gmail.com. For more information about Brethren involvement with the International Day of Prayer for Peace, go to www.brethren.org/oepa/programs/peacewitness/prayforpeace.html.
  • McPherson (Kan.) Church of the Brethren is hosting an art show and auction by seven-year-old Emma Marten on Sept. 22. Marten is selling her paintings and drawings as a benefit for Greensburg, Kan., which was destroyed in May by a tornado. The show and auction are from 7-9:30 p.m., and will feature 25 pieces of art.
  • First Church of the Brethren in Eden, N.C., is holding a centennial celebration on Sept. 16. A special Homecoming Service is planned with David K. Shumate, district executive minister and moderator-elect of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference, bringing the morning message. Following the service, a covered dish meal will be held on the church recreation area with music, games, and activities under the title, “Dunkard Day.” Participants are encouraged to dress in old Brethren garb. A revival service will begin that evening at 7 p.m. and continue through Thursday evening. Chuck Davis, pastor of Calvary Church of the Brethren in Winchester, Va., will be the revival speaker. Contact the church office at 336-627-7063.
  • Upcoming district conferences include two on Sept. 14-15: the 148th District Conference of Northern Indiana District will be at Goshen (Ind.) City Church of the Brethren with the theme, “Surrendered to GOD, Transformed by CHRIST, and Empowered by the SPIRIT”; Idaho and Western Montana District will meet under the theme, “Mission Possible! Extending the Kingdom in South Sudan and South Idaho,” at Bowmont Church of the Brethren in Nampa, Idaho. Two districts plan their annual meetings for Sept. 21-22: South/Central Indiana District will meet at Living Faith Church of the Brethren in Flora, Ind.; West Marva District will meet at Moorefield (W.Va.) Church of the Brethren.
  • Northern Ohio District’s 51st Chicken Barbecue and Inspiration Celebration at Inspiration Hills, a camp near Burbank, Ohio, will take place Saturday, Sept. 22. The barbecue will be served from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Other activities include a camper reunion, hikes, crafts, games, wagon rides, and church booths. At 10 a.m. a time of singing old-time camp songs is planned, followed by worship at 10:30 a.m. A basket auction takes place 1-3 p.m. A freewill offering will be received for the Student Ministry Fund for scholarships for those going into Christian service. The celebration is organized through the Outdoor Ministry Commission of the district.
  • The Village at Morrison’s Cove, a Church of the Brethren retirement center in Martinsburg, Pa., hold its Good Samaritan Banquet on Sept. 22 at the Casino in Altoona, Pa. A reception will begin at 5:30 p.m. followed by dinner at 6 p.m. Proceeds from the $100 per person event will assist residents who have outlived their financial resources; the Village supplied $1.6 million in unreimbursed care in 2006, according to the announcement in the Middle Pennsylvania District newsletter. The program features Lou Stein, who has played with Lawrence Welk, the Dorsey Brothers, and the full chorus of the Sweet Adelines. The Village will honor a staff member with an Award of Giving and the Distinguished Service Award.
  • Pinecrest Community, a Church of the Brethren retirement center in Mount Morris, Ill., is hosting a public “Block Party” on Sept. 20 to provide the community with a “sneak peek” of its new Pinecrest Community Center scheduled for completion in 2008. The new center is located in Pinecrest Grove, a 20-acre development for active adults 62 or older. The Block Party kicks off with Business After Hours at 5 p.m., followed by a community-wide celebration at 7 p.m. Block Party guests will be treated to live entertainment with musician Jazzy Jeff at 5 p.m. and Beth and John Chase with Ed Garrison at 8 p.m. Attendees will also get a glimpse of the kinds of activities that are expected to take place in the center with tours. There will be the opportunity to meet local authors Clarence Mitchell, centenarian author of “The Diary of a Journeyman,” and Gary Haynes, veteran United Press International photographer and author of “PICTURE THIS!,” as well as sculptor Jeff Adams. For more information call 815-734-4103.
  • At two events on Sept. 25, Elizabethtown College professor Donald B. Kraybill and his two co-authors will discuss their recently published book, “Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy,” which tells the story of Amish grace and forgiveness in the wake of the shooting at the Nickel Mines Amish schoolhouse last October. The first presentation begins at 4 p.m. in High Library at the college, followed by a talk at 7:30 p.m. at Elizabethtown Church of the Brethren. Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing at both events, which are open to the public free of charge. Published by Jossey-Bass, “Amish Grace” was written by Kraybill along with Steven M. Nolt, professor of history at Goshen College; and David L. Weaver-Zercher, associate professor of religious history at Messiah College. Royalties from sales of the book will be donated to the Mennonite Central Committee.
  • Brethren Voices, a 30-minute community television program produced by Ed Groff of Portland’s Peace Church of the Brethren, is highlighting two upcoming programs. The September program features the New Community Project and native Gwich’in Charley Swaney of Arctic Village, Alaska, in a program titled “The Gwich’in–A Matter of Survival.” The lifestyle and culture of the Gwich’in tribe revolve around the caribou, which could be threatened by the possibility of oil drilling in the calving areas of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, said a release from Brethren Voices. Copies of the September program are available for $9 from Brethren Voices, 12305 NE 27th St., Vancouver, WA. 98684. “The US Military Wants to Use You” is the October program featuring Matt Guynn of On Earth Peace, who has been supporting youth and congregations dealing with the recruiting efforts of the US military. The program is hosted by Rachael Waas Shull and is supplemented by video provided by On Earth Peace and the American Friends Service Committee. Brethren Voices is being submitted to local community television stations by 12 different Church of the Brethren congregations around the country, and is used as a video resource by others for Sunday school programs and campus ministry. For more information, contact Ed Groff at groffprod1@msn.com or 360-256-8550.
  • Sept. 29 is the annual Harvest Day at CrossRoads (Valley Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center) in Harrisonburg, Va. Events from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. include children’s activities such as old-time games and crafts, painting pumpkins and gourds, hayrides, shelling and grinding corn to feed barnyard animals, making pancakes and butter, and yarn dolls. Adults will enjoy stories, music, boiling molasses, pressing cider, sawing logs with a crosscut, spinning thread, quilting, homemade foods, and more. Entry fee is $8 per carload. For more go to http://www.vbmhc.org/.

6) Hendricks retires as president of the Mutual Aid Association.

Jean L. Hendricks has announced her retirement as president and general manager of the Mutual Aid Association for the Church of the Brethren (MAA), effective May 1, 2008. Since February 2001, Hendricks has led the association’s ministry of offering property insurance to Church of the Brethren individuals, congregations, and organizations.

Her work has included serving as the chief executive officer for MAA and providing general oversight for the company. She also has offered leadership with the MAA board of directors, coordinated area representatives, and supervised staff in the association’s office in Abilene, Kan. She has represented MAA at the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference and district conferences, and has aided the growth of the annual Members’ Meeting.

Hendricks is a graduate of McPherson (Kan.) College and Bethany Theological Seminary, and earned a doctorate from the University of Kansas. She has pastored congregations in Iowa and Kansas, and worked for the Church of the Brethren General Board from 1991-97 in the ministry training program. She worked for McPherson College from 1997-2000 as director of church relations. She also has served on Bethany’s board of directors, has been an officer for the Brethren Ministers’ Association, and was a board member for MAA.

Hendricks helped guide the association through a transition period in leadership at the beginning of her term as president, and will help MAA through another period of transition over the next eight months as new leadership is put in place (see job opening in “Brethren bits” above).

7) Van Houten resigns as workcamp coordinator for General Board.

Steve Van Houten has resigned as coordinator of the Workcamp Ministry of the Church of the Brethren General Board, effective Jan. 30, 2008. He began his work with the General Board on July 1, 2006, when he was hired to fill the new staff position of workcamp coordinator in the board’s Youth and Young Adult Ministries.

In the past year, Van Houten and the workcamp staff began a significant expansion of the workcamp program. This summer, he oversaw 37 workcamps involving 854 participants.

Prior to coming to the General Board Van Houten served as a pastor for 25 years, most recently as senior pastor of Akron (Ohio) Springfield Church of the Brethren. Over the past decade he also frequently served as a volunteer workcamp leader for the General Board, and was dean or service project coordinator at the last four National Youth Conferences. He is contemplating returning to pastoral ministry.

8) Surber to begin as Brethren Volunteer Service orientation coordinator.

Callie Surber begins Sept. 17 as coordinator of Brethren Volunteer Service orientation for the Church of the Brethren General Board. She has been working as a teaching classroom aide at Accel Schools in Phoenix, Ariz., where she has assisted the head teacher with a classroom of nine severely autistic teenagers.

Previously, Surber taught English to 160 middle school students in Mubi, Nigeria, as a mission worker and Brethren Volunteer Service volunteer for the Global Missions Partnerships of the Church of the Brethren. She is a member of Circle of Peace Church of the Brethren in Peoria, Ariz., where she has functioned as a youth group leader. In other service to the church, she has mentored and facilitated programs for youth, attended a Combined Youth Fellowship Conference, taught Sunday school, and recently began coordinating the start-up of small group meetings.

Surber’s education was earned at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, in Speech Pathology and Audiology.

9) Kettering begins as co-coordinator of communications for On Earth Peace.

On Earth Peace has introduced Gimbiya Kettering as co-coordinator of communications. In this shared position with Barb Sayler, Kettering will focus on writing and editing newsletters, publicity for events, and other written communications.

Kettering is joining the staff of On Earth Peace from Takoma Park, Md. She brings a balance of writing and editorial skills. Raised in Nairobi, Kenya, by an interracial family rooted in the Church of the Brethren, she also brings a unique perspective on issues of diversity and multi-cultural awareness.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in International Studies from Maryville (Tenn.) College, and a master’s degree in Creative Writing from American University in Washington, D.C. She is co-author of “Inside Sudan: People-to-People Grassroots,” published by the New Sudan Council of Churches. She can be reached at gimbiyakettering@yahoo.com or 301-717-0971.

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Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren General Board, cobnews@brethren.org or 800-323-8039 ext. 260. J. Allen Brubaker, Kathleen Campanella, Michael K. Garner, Ed Groff, Jean Hendricks, Bekah Houff, Karin Krog, Beth Merrill, and Anna Speicher contributed to this report. Newsline appears every other Wednesday, with the next regularly scheduled Newsline set for Sept. 26. 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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