Newsline Extra for November 21, 2008

November 21, 2008

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

“Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord” (Psalms 118:19).

1) Brethren Press recommends resources for holiday gifts.
2) Brethren Press offers two new Bible studies for the winter.
3) Lenten devotional available for pre-publication price.
4) Thanksgiving resources highlighted by Brethren Witness/Washington Office.
5) Resource bits and pieces.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
For Newsline subscription information go to http://listserver.emountain.net/mailman/listinfo/newsline. For more Church of the Brethren news go to www.brethren.org, click on “News” to find a news feature, links to Brethren in the news, photo albums, conference reporting, webcasts, and Newsline archive.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

1) Brethren Press recommends resources for holiday gifts.

Brethren Press is recommending several of its current publications and resources as gifts for the holidays. The following list was supplied by marketing director Jeff Lennard. To order an item call Brethren Press at 800-441-3712.


“Lines, Places, and Heritage: Essays Commemorating the 300th Anniversary of the Church of the Brethren” edited by Steve Longenecker and Jeff Bach. This collection of essays honoring the Church of the Brethren’s 300th Anniversary is divided into sections of essays on peace and social justice, essays on ministry and higher education, and essays on history. Contributors hail from the seven Brethren institutions of higher education–the six Church of the Brethren-related colleges and university, and Bethany Theological Seminary. In this year of celebration, the editors offer this book as a gift of serious thought and scholarship. Order from Brethren Press for $22.95 plus shipping and handling.

“Schwarzenau 1708-2008″ edited by Otto Marburger. Three hundred years after the first Brethren baptism in 1708, the 2008 Brethren World Assembly convened in Schwarzenau, Germany, the birthplace of the Brethren. Authors from Scharzenau and the surrounding Bad Berleburg region as well as authors from different Brethren bodies have contributed to this book, which is in both English and German. Proceeds go to support the Alexander Mack Museum in Schwarzenau. Order from Brethren Press for $24 plus shipping and handling.

Childrens Books

“Give a Goat” by Jan West Schrock, illustrated by Aileen Darragh. Can reading a picture book in class end up making a difference to a family that lives on a different continent? And what does a goat have to do with it? Some people think philanthropy is only for big foundations with lots of money, but that’s only part of the picture. In this true story, readers will discover what is possible when a class works together on a small but successful project. Written by the daughter of Heifer International founder Dan West. Order from Brethren Press for $16.95 plus shipping and handling.

“Small Camel Follows the Star” by Rachel W. N. Brown, illustrated by Giuliano Ferri. Wise Balthazar is going on an important journey; he is following a brilliant star and looking for a baby king! Small Camel and his mother are going too, and Small Camel is carrying a special bundle tied to his hump. What is in the bundle? Brown’s sweet nativity story is sure to touch the hearts of children everywhere, while Ferri’s luminous paintings capture the wonder and joy of the birth of Jesus. Order from Brethren Press for $16.95 plus shipping and handling.

Daily Devotions

“With Heart and Soul and Voice: Devotions for Advent through Epiphany” by Kenneth L. Gibble. The carols and stories we hear during the Christmas season focus our ears–and hearts–on the timeless message of God’s love made known in Jesus Christ. Through daily devotional readings and prayers, Gibble encourages us to listen for this familiar refrain and respond by joining our own voices in praise and thanksgiving to God. This small devotional booklet is suitable for individual use, and also is designed for congregations to give to their members during Advent. Order from Brethren Press for $2.25 plus shipping and handling.


“Hymns for a Baby Boy: Christmas Songs and Hymns of the Brethren” by Brent Holl and Friends. Hymns and songs in the Brethren and Mennonite tradition with Celtic influence, done in acoustic folk guitar style. Selections give special emphasis to the birth and life of Christ. Many of the songs came from “Hymnal: A Worship Book” and the “Hymnal Supplement.” Order from Brethren Press for $12.97 plus shipping and handling.

Commemorative Anniversary Gifts

Alexander Mack Logo Pewter Pin. This solid pewter pin featuring the Alexander Mack logo is a simple yet elegant keepsake of the church’s 300th Anniversary year. Three dimensionally crafted and measuring one inch in diameter, the pin offers striking shadow lines that are not found with flat pins of lesser quality. The pin makes an affordable gift for family and friends. Order from Brethren Press for $5 plus shipping and handling.

Alexander Mack Pewter Coaster. Every detail of the Alexander Mack seal has been carefully engraved on this cork-backed, solid pewter coaster. Both tasteful and affordable, these coasters make wonderful gifts. The coaster measures 3 1/2 inches in diameter. Order from Brethren Press for $10 plus shipping and handling.

Stainless Steel Church of the Brethren Logo Water Bottle. This sleek 20-ounce classic water bottle looks great and is BPA free. It features an unlined single wall stainless steel construction and a black plastic waterproof screw top lid. The bottle is imprinted with the logo of the new Church of the Brethren denominational organization. The bottle is two and three-quarter inches in diameter, eight and five-eighths inches in height. Order from Brethren Press for $19.95 plus shipping and handling.

Videos in DVD Format

“Back to Schwarzenau: Celebrating 300 years of the Brethren Movement” is a video in DVD format produced by David Sollenberger. On Aug. 2-3, more than 600 people came to the small German village of Schwarzenau to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the beginning of the Brethren movement. This DVD contains a narrated 12-minute overview of the gathering, and a three-minute collage of images from the weekend. Bonus tracks include sermons from the Anniversary worship service, the McPherson (Kan.) College choir singing the anthem commissioned for the 300th Anniversary, a presentation by Larry Glick in his role as Alexander Mack Sr., and a video tour of the Alexander Mack Museum in Schwarzenau. Order from Brethren Press for $29 plus shipping and handling.

“300th Anniversary Annual Conference Wrap-up” and “300th Anniversary Annual Conference Sermons.” These two videos in DVD format are produced by David Sollenberger. They capture the highlights and sermons from a memorable joint conference with the Church of the Brethren and the Brethren Church in Richmond, Va., in July. The wrap-up DVD documents highlights of the week and contains special bonus material. The sermons two DVD set offers the week’s nine keynote addresses. Order the “300th Anniversary Annual Conference Wrap-up” DVD from Brethren Press for $29.95 plus shipping and handling. Order the “300th Anniversary Annual Conference Sermons” DVD from Brethren Press for $24.95 plus shipping and handling.

“A Tribute to the Seagoing Cowboys” produced by Peggy Reiff Miller. This photo documentary in DVD format tells the story of the men and boys who volunteered to serve as “seagoing cowboys” after World War II. Recruited by the Brethren Service Committee between 1945-47, they tended to the livestock being sent to war-devastated countries by the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration and the Heifer Project. Order from Brethren Press for $12.95 plus shipping and handling.

“A Simple Feast.” A musical drama about the Brethren by Steve Engle and Frank Ramirez, in DVD format. When a musical play rehearsal is interrupted by a board meeting that falls apart in anger, a teen actor questions whether the Brethren really have anything to offer her. Can their production of “A Simple Feast” bring the participants back together to demonstrate that Brethren are still committed to live the love of Jesus, no matter what the cost? This entertaining, thought-provoking, intergenerational musical DVD includes a study guide. Sheet music and CD accompaniment are also available. Running time is 1:48. Order from Brethren Press for $15 plus shipping and handling.

Coming Soon from Brethren Press

“Beyond Our Means: How the Brethren Service Center Dared to Embrace the World” by R. Jan and Roma Jo Thompson. A new history with behind-the-scenes details of how the Brethren Service Center campus in New Windsor, Md.–first devoted to education–later became a community of Christian service known around the world. Available early 2009. Order from Brethren Press for $18.95 plus shipping and handling.

2) Brethren Press offers two new Bible studies for the winter.

A new Covenant Bible Study titled “The Five Festal Scrolls,” and the winter quarter’s Guide for Biblical Studies on the topic of “Human Commitment” are now available from Brethren Press.

“The Five Festal Scrolls” studies the Old Testament books of the Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, and Esther, written by Robert W. Neff and Ramirez. The book is designed as a relational resource for small group Bible study. Each of 10 chapters includes suggestions for personal preparations, sharing, and prayer as well an essay to increase understanding of the text, and discussion questions and suggestions for action.

The Guide for Biblical Studies is the Brethren Press adult Sunday school curriculum. This winter quarter by Gene Bucher focuses on the topic of human commitment with weekly study sessions for December on the Christmas story, and weekly studies for January and February on Old Testament people of commitment. Each session offers suggested daily scriptures for personal preparation, an essay on the text for the week, discussion question, and an “Out of Context” feature by Frank Ramirez.

Order “The Five Festal Scrolls” from Brethren Press for $7.95 plus shipping and handling. Order the winter quarter Guide for Biblical Studies from Brethren Press for $3.50, or $5.95 for large print, plus shipping and handling. Call 800-441-3712.

3) Lenten devotional available for pre-publication price.

A daily devotional booklet Ash Wednesday through Easter 2009 is now available for a pre-publication price from Brethren Press. The booklet by Guy E. Wampler is titled “May the Road Rise.” The booklet is designed both for individual study and for use by congregations to encourage devotions by members during the Lenten season.

Each daily devotion includes a short Bible reading, a meditation related to the reading, and a prayer. By illuminating the road Jesus took to Jerusalem, the places he went, the people he met, the words he spoke, and the things he did, these devotions give perspective on a Christian’s own experiences today and lead into a deeper understanding of Easter hope.

Orders received by Dec. 15 will receive a pre-publication price of $2 per copy, plus shipping and handling. After Dec. 15, the devotional is $2.50 per copy, plus shipping and handling. Call 800-441-3712.

4) Thanksgiving resources highlighted by Brethren Witness/Washington Office.

The Brethren Witness/Washington Office has highlighted Thanksgiving resources in a recent “Action Alert.” The office recommends resources from the National Council of Churches (NCC) and the National Farm Worker Ministry for this year’s celebrations of harvest and Thanksgiving.

The NCC’s Eco-Justice Program is offering two Thanksgiving resources: “At the Lord’s Table: Everyday Thanksgiving” is for worship leaders, adult educators, and teenage youth group leaders in congregations, and focuses on how food choices and the type of agriculture we support reflect our relationship with God’s creation. “Sacred Food” is a Sunday school and group activity curriculum for elementary age children. Go to www.nccecojustice.org/resources.html to find these two resources under the title “Food and Farming Resources.”

“Harvest of Justice Table Prayers” is available through the National Farm Worker Ministry website. The prayers can be used in worship services throughout the harvest season, in Bible studies, in small groups, or at the family dinner table. The ministry is encouraging participation in a tradition of the farm worker by hosting a sacrificial meal honoring the hands that harvest our food. Go to www.nfwm.org/HOJSeason/HOJmain.shtml for the prayer resource and more information about how to host a meal honoring farm workers.

For more information contact the Brethren Witness/Washington Office at washington_office_gb@brethren.org or 800-785-3246.

5) Resource bits and pieces.

  • Brethren Press has unveiled a “new” online store at brethrenpress.com, with a new look and improved functionality. Recommendations for new titles are always welcomed and can be directed to Jeff Lennard or Kirk Carpenter at 800-323-8039. “Remember, when you shop at Brethren Press, your purchases help fund the publishing ministry of the Church of the Brethren,” said an announcement from Brethren Press.
  • The 300th Anniversary year for the Brethren is winding down but there’s a way for Brethren to preserve some of the excitement, writes Frank Ramirez in an announcement of the publication of the musical drama “A Simple Feast.” The drama is authored by Steve Engle and Frank Ramirez, and commissioned by Southern Pennsylvania District. It is available through Brethren Press, Final Focus Productions, or directly from the authors in a professionally taped and edited DVD. “A Simple Feast” is the story of a Brethren congregation struggling to put on a musical about the Tercentennial while confronted with the consequences of a messy board meeting that falls apart in anger. A study guide is included. Sheet music and CD accompaniment will soon be available. The DVD menu is divided into chapter scenes as well as acts, making it flexible for viewing by Sunday school and study groups. The complete production runs 1 hour and 48 minutes. Engle is the composer of “I See a New World Coming,” (recently made available in choral form), “The St. Judas Passion,” “Rumors of Angels,” and “A Christmas Patchwork.” Frank Ramirez is the author of “The Love Feast,” “The Meanest Man in Patrick County,” “Brethren Brush with Greatness,” and the “Out of Context” feature in A Guide for Biblical Studies. For more information about “A Simple Feast” go to http://www.brethrenpress.com/ or contact the authors at englemedia@juno.com or frankramirez@embarqmail.com.
  • A copy of “Whose Birthday Is It Anyway? Ideas for a Christ-Centered Holiday 2008″ has been sent to each Church of the Brethren congregation through the denomination’s Source packet mailing. This annual booklet from Alternatives for Simple Living offers reflections on Advent and Christmas, ideas for preparing for Christmas, family activities, and resources for the holidays–all encouraging people of faith to examine and challenge the commercialization of Christmas. The Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund is one of two pages of listings of faith-based and nonprofit organizations for charitable giving during the holidays. Go to http://www.simpleliving.org/ for more information.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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. Jeff Lennard contributed to this report. Newsline appears every other Wednesday, with other special issues sent as needed. The next regularly scheduled issue is set for Dec. 3. 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.

[gt-link lang="en" label="English" widget_look="flags_name"]