Newsline Extra for January 16, 2008

“Celebrating the Church of the Brethren’s 300th Anniversary in 2008”

1) 300th Anniversary update: Pentecost offering will support churches, districts, denomination.
2) 300th Anniversary bits and pieces.

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1) 300th Anniversary update: Pentecost offering will support churches, districts, denomination.

A special Pentecost offering scheduled for the Sundays of May 11 or 18 on the theme, “New Heart…New Spirit” (Ezekiel 36:26) is being planned as a 300th Anniversary offering for the Church of the Brethren. The special Pentecost offering will support congregations, districts, and the denomination, and is sponsored by the Church of the Brethren General Board.

“Just as the wind and fire of Pentecost drew together and strengthened Jesus’ followers, through God’s spirit we can speak and work as one voice,” said an invitation from Ken Neher, director of donor development, and Carol Bowman, coordinator of stewardship education. “We hope and pray that this will be about new life and one spirit-filled voice within the Church of the Brethren.”

The Pentecost offering will differ from previous offering emphases in the way it will be allocated to support ministry at all levels of the church. “When the offering is received, your congregation will keep one third for local ministries and within two weeks forward the rest to the General Board,” the invitation said. “The General Board will then gather together all the offerings that are sent by your district churches and return one half of that total to the district office for district ministries. The final third of the offerings will then, after expenses, be shared in various amounts with several other denominational ministries.”

Congregations across the country are being encouraged to participate, and to consider multiples of three or 300 to “symbolize the three life-changing centuries of continuing the work of Jesus together.”

Worship resources, offering envelopes, and additional materials will be available. Contact Neher at 509-665-0441 or; or Bowman at 509-663-2833 or

2) 300th Anniversary bits and pieces.

  • A press release template has been posted at to help congregations and districts publicize local or regional 300th Anniversary events. For more about the use of the template or for help with press releases, contact the General Board’s director of News Services, Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, at 800-323-8039 ext. 260 or In the future, the website also will be offering a list of links to media reports about local or regional 300th Anniversary events. Please send any links or copies of articles to or News Services, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120.
  • The 300th Anniversary Committee has issued a challenge to each congregation to multiply its attendance at the 2008 Annual Conference in Richmond, Va., in July. Congregations are challenged to multiply by three the representation they sent to the 2007 Annual Conference. If a congregation had no members attending last year, they are encouraged to send at least three this year. “If there were four persons from your congregation at Conference last year, for instance, then this year the goal would be to have 12,” the committee said. “This would be an overall increase of 300 percent at our 300th Anniversary!” Congregations that succeed in this challenge will receive special recognition at the 2008 Annual Conference.
  • Southern Ohio District is planning three worship services centered around the 300th Anniversary theme. The first was planned for Jan. 13 at West Alexandria (Ohio) Church of the Brethren with Bethany Theological Seminary president Ruthann Knechel Johansen speaking on the theme, “Surrendered to God.” The second service is planned for March 2 at the recently purchased meetinghouse of Cincinnati (Ohio) Church of the Brethren, with Annual Conference moderator James Beckwith speaking on “Transformed in Christ.” The third service is scheduled at Pitsburg Church of the Brethren in Arcanum, Ohio, on May 18, with Annual Conference moderator-elect David Shumate speaking on “Empowered by the Spirit.”
  • Westminster (Md.) Church of the Brethren served an 18th-century dinner and offered a drama about Brethren history given by members of Everett (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, to kick off its celebration of the anniversary according to a piece in the “Carroll County Times.” Church members were encouraged to dress like the church founders, and the meal eaten by the light of oil lanterns included a corn-and-chicken casserole, corn fritters, applesauce, carrots, green beans, and an apple crisp. At each table were pictures of the Westminster church in its early days, the newspaper reported. Other events planned by the church include an old-fashioned worship service in February and a tour of the county’s Brethren churches in March.
  • A. Kathryn Oller, 91, retired as associate dean of the School of Library and Information Science at Drexel University in Philadelphia, is filling “her latest volunteer post” by helping to plan anniversary events at Waynesboro (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, according to the “Record Herald” of Waynesboro. The anniversary activities will include a program in March featuring Oller’s slides of her trip to Swarzenau, Germany, where the Church of the Brethren was founded. Oller is uniquely qualified, as she and her family are direct descendants of church founder Alexander Mack, the newspaper said, and her doctoral dissertation focused on Christopher Sauer, a colonial printer connected with the Brethren.

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. Newsline appears every other Wednesday, with other special issues sent as needed. The next regularly scheduled issue is set for Jan. 30. 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.

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