Newsline Extra for September 12, 2008

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

“…Let your light shine…” (Matthew 5:16b).


1) Emergency Clean-Up Bucket kits are urgently needed.


2) ‘Origin of the Schwarzenau Brethren’ is offered in English translation.
3) Advent devotional booklet is written by Kenneth Gibble.
4) Report of Together conversations available as a study guide.
5) Resource bits: 300th Anniversary, Jr. High Sunday, Mission Offering, more.

PLEASE NOTE: The Church of the Brethren website will be unavailable beginning at 3 p.m. central time today, Sept. 12, through Sunday, Sept. 14, while the servers are moved. A number of Church of the Brethren staff and district offices may not be able to receive or send e-mail over the weekend. Also affected will be the Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) website, and other websites and e-mail systems hosted by BBT.

1) Emergency Clean-Up Bucket kits are urgently needed.

An urgent appeal for Emergency Clean-Up Bucket kits has been issued by Church World Service (CWS) following the recent onslaught of coastal storms and flooding, and in anticipation of needs after the 20-foot storm surge from Hurricane Ike hits the Texas coastline this weekend.

Staff of Brethren Disaster Ministries and Children’s Disaster Services are monitoring needs related to Hurricane Ike as it approaches Texas. The American Red Cross has requested Children’s Disaster Services to prepare 10 teams of volunteers for possible deployment on Monday, following the storm.

CWS disaster relief kits are processed, warehoused, and shipped from the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. “Church World Service has allocated all the buckets we had in the warehouse,” said Loretta Wolf, director of the Church of the Brethren’s Material Resources program. “We’re down to a zero level and they don’t have enough.”

The buckets are kits that may be assembled by congregations, other groups, and individuals, and donated to the disaster clean-up effort. In the last 30 days, CWS also has provided dozens of shipments of blankets, Hygiene Kits, and Baby Kits, as well as Emergency Clean-Up Buckets. CWS kits have helped flood survivors in Iowa, displaced persons from the Russia-Georgia conflict, and those affected by Hurricanes Hannah, Gustav, and Ike. These items provide immediate, important relief to those coping with disaster. Many disaster-affected individuals rely on CWS resources after being forced from their homes with little more than the clothes on their backs.

Go to for information about how to assemble Emergency Clean-Up Bucket kits.

2) ‘Origin of the Schwarzenau Brethren’ is offered in English translation.

Marcus Meier’s new book, “The Origin of the Schwarzenau Brethren,” has been published in English as part of the Brethren Encyclopedia’s Monograph Series. The book was translated from German by Dennis Slabaugh.

Meier was the keynote speaker for the international celebration of the 300th Anniversary. He is a research fellow at the Institute for European History in Mainz, and a German academic authority on the early Brethren. The book represents a continuing development in Brethren historical studies to seek original European sources of information, according to an announcement by William R. Eberly in the Brethren Encyclopedia newsletter.

“Brethren historiography has gone through several phases,” Eberly wrote. “First, M.G. Brumbaugh and other authors reconstructed Brethren history primarily from collected documents available in America…. Donald and Hedda Durnbaugh did extensive research in archives in Germany and uncovered much new information. The first Source Book, ‘European Origins of the Brethren,’ was ready for the 250th Anniversary in 1958. Now, 50 years later, Marcus Meier has written about still new information on the Schwarzenau Brethren…. It is a very important book for a new era of Brethren historiography.”

Order the 236-page volume through Brethren Press for $40 plus shipping and handling, call 800-441-3712.

3) Advent devotional booklet is written by Kenneth Gibble.

The annual Advent devotional booklet for the Church of the Brethren this year is written by Kenneth L. Gibble. The booklet titled “With Heart and Soul and Voice” offers daily devotional readings and prayers for Advent through Epiphany, and is published by Brethren Press. It is designed for congregations to offer to each family or member during the Advent season.

“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,” said a description from Brethren Press. “Ken Gibble encourages us to listen for this familiar refrain and respond by joining our own voices in praise and thanksgiving to God.”

The devotional costs $2.75 per copy, plus shipping and handling. Orders placed before Oct. 1 will receive a pre-production price of $1.75 per copy, plus shipping and handling. Orders received by Oct. 31 will be shipped by Nov. 7. Call 800-441-3712.

4) Report of Together conversations available as a study guide.

A report of the Church of the Brethren’s Together conversations is now available as a booklet and study guide from Brethren Press. “What We Said, What We Heard, and Why It Matters” is written by Steve Clapp.

The book reports results of Together: Conversations on Being the Church, a national emphasis in the Church of the Brethren to encourage people to think and talk about what it means to be the church. Clapp reviews the process of the Together conversations and their intent, and then offers a series of observations on what the participants talked about and heard from each other. The 43-page paperback book also includes a discussion guide with questions to continue the conversation.

Order “What We Said, What We Heard, and Why It Matters” from Brethren Press for $3.95 per copy, plus shipping and handling, call 800-441-3712.

5) Resource bits: 300th Anniversary, Jr. High Sunday, Mission Offering, more.

— The final set of Tercentennial Minutes written by Frank Ramirez have been released. These short one-minute readings have been made available through Everett (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, where Ramirez serves as pastor, as an observance of the 300th Anniversary of the Church of the Brethren. Write to to receive the minutes free of charge. Those who missed the first three series can receive them by writing to the same address. The 38th through the 55th of the series are recommended for the weeks from Sept. 7 through Dec. 28, and offer anecdotes cover interesting snippets of Brethren history. The final set of minutes include the story of “Hat Sunday” at Snake Spring Valley congregation in Pennsylvania, the tragic history of the 16 Brethren martyred in China, and the Brethren response to the Pandemic of 1918-19, as well as many more.

— Worship resources for the Church of the Brethren’s 2008 World Mission Offering are available online, and have been mailed to congregations. The suggested date for the offering is Sunday, Oct. 12. Resources are offered in English and Spanish on the theme, “Called…by Remembrance” (Luke 22:19b), focusing on a Communion theme. Also available for order are bulletin inserts and offering envelopes. Go to for more information.

— Worship resources for National Junior High Sunday are now available online, go to for downloadable resources to assist junior high groups planning to lead congregational worship on Sunday, Nov. 2.

— A 2008 Stewardship Resource Packet for the Church of the Brethren was mailed to each congregation this summer, suitable for use during the Advent season. The packet includes resources on the theme, “Blessed Be the Lord God” (Luke 1:68) for stewardship emphases during Advent. The packet includes a sample commitment card, sample bulletin inserts for the four Sundays of Advent, a four-color theme poster, a booklet on “Stewardship Resources,” and two samples of the new “Reality Check” resources for youth retreats (see below). Multiple copies of the resources may be ordered through Brethren Press at 800-441-3712. For a list of available resources and prices see the packet, or contact Carol Bowman, coordinator of Stewardship Formation and Education, at

— The new “Reality Check” pamphlets offer a series of plans for youth retreats and workshops on stewardship themes. The pamphlets have been prepared by Church of the Brethren staff including Carol Bowman, coordinator of Stewardship Formation and Education. The four pamphlets currently offered in the series are titled “Meal to Meal” focusing on the denomination’s REGNUH (turning hunger around) emphasis; “Moment by Moment: Living in the Rhythm of God’s Heartbeat” on valuing choices and God’s gifts of life and time; “Dollar by Dollar: Licensed to Spend, Learning to Drive the Money Machine”; and “Sunrise to Sunrise: Waking up to God’s Creation” to engage youth in the biblical command to care for creation. Each pamphlet offers a comprehensive plan for a youth retreat including a schedule, a scripture focus, a theme song, session plans, ideas for activities and games, worship resources, Internet links for additional resources, and notes for leaders. Copies of the pamphlets have been included in the Source packets that are mailed to congregations. Or order the pamphlets from Carol Bowman at

— Jeffrey A. Bach is succeeding William R. Eberly as editor of the Brethren Encyclopedia, Inc.’s Monograph Series. Bach is director of the Youth Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies and associate professor of religious studies at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College. Eberly is a professor emeritus of biology at Manchester College, and was the first editor of the Monograph Series. Under his leadership the series has published seven volumes, including “The German Hymnody of the Brethren, 1720-1903” by Hedda T. Durnbaugh; “The Background and Development of Brethren Doctrines 1650-1987” by Dale R. Stoffer; “Brethren Beginnings” by Donald F. Durnbaugh; “Hochmann von Hochenau 1670-1721” by Heinz Renkewitz and William G. Willoughby; “Brethren Dress: A Testimony of Faith” by Esther Fern Rupel; “The Beliefs of the Early Brethren 1706-1735” by William G. Willoughby; and most recently Marcus Meier’s new book, “The Origin of the Schwarzenau Brethren.” The first Monograph to be edited by Bach is being written by Michael L. Hodson on the subject of Brethren, universal restoration, and universalism, over the time period of the 18th and 19th centuries.

— A new children’s book, “Give a Goat,” is by Jan Schrock, a former director of Brethren Volunteer Service and a senior advisor for Heifer International. Schrock also is the daughter of Heifer founder Dan West. The illustrated hardcover book tells the story of a fifth-grade class that reads the Heifer children’s classic “Beatrice’s Goat,” and decides to raise money to give a goat themselves through Heifer International. The book is published by Tilbury House. “Give a Goat” may be ordered through Brethren Press for $16.95 plus shipping and handling, call 800-441-3712.


For Newsline subscription information go to For more Church of the Brethren news go to, click on “News” to find a news feature, links to Brethren in the news, photo albums, conference reporting, webcasts, and Newsline archive. Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren, or 800-323-8039 ext. 260. Wendy McFadden, Roy Winter, and Jane Yount contributed to this report. Newsline appears every other Wednesday, with other special issues sent as needed. The next regularly scheduled issue is set for Sept. 24. 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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