Newsline for April 23, 2008

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

“The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective” (James 5:16).


1) Church of the Brethren is represented in prayer service with the Pope.
2) ABC Board approves merger documents.
3) Bethany Seminary trustees consider ‘core testimonies’ of Brethren.
4) Growing Project in Maryland engages six Brethren churches.
5) Womaen’s Caucus leads discussion of future church at Bethany.
6) Brethren representative helps plan UN remembrance of slave trade.
7) Brethren bits: Remembrance, personnel, jobs, and much more.

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1) Church of the Brethren is represented in prayer service with the Pope.

The Church of the Brethren was represented at an ecumenical prayer service with Pope Benedict XVI during the Pope’s first official visit to the United States. Michael Hostetter, pastor of Salem Church of the Brethren in Englewood, Ohio, represented the denomination as chair of the Church of the Brethren’s Committee on Interchurch Relations.

The Pope was in the United States from April 15-20 for his first apostolic visit to the US since he was elected the 265th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church in 2005. The prayer service and reception with leaders from the National Council of Churches, Christian Churches Together, and other Christian denominations took place the evening of April 18 at St. Joseph’s Church in New York.

The service was held in a modest setting at a small historically German-Catholic parish, Hostetter said, making a connection with the Pope’s German nationality. Guests were required to arrive two hours early to go through security screening, which gave the church leaders a chance to mingle and listen to some “marvelous music,” Hostetter commented. Choirs from various parishes sang, as well as soloists, among them some of New York’s opera singers.

The service began after the Pope arrived, with the Pope seated on a large chair in the center front of the chancel, the US Catholics bishops seated to one side, and the ecumenical guests making up the congregation. The short 40-minute service included prayers, the reading of scripture, a choral piece, and an address from the Pope. It concluded with personal introductions of several guests who were selected to greet the Pope personally, followed by a benediction.

The Pope’s address “emphasized the importance of correct doctrine and prayer and Christ’s own prayer and commitment to unity,” Hostetter reported. “There was nothing shocking or surprising. He showed an openness that his reputation belies. He talked about the quest for unity as a commission from Christ. That unity, he would say, is grounded both in prayer but also in doctrine.

“He’s not backing away from the historical views of the Roman Catholic Church,” Hostetter added. But the Pope did emphasize that Christians need some substantive conversation about doctrine. “Of course, that’s the sticky point,” Hostetter said. “He was not overly confrontive, but clear, calling on Christians to hold fast to the faith that we have.”

The Pope’s comments about the nature of the church may connect with Brethren, Hostetter said. He spoke of the church as not just a biblical reality and a present reality, but also a teaching community that goes back in time. This understanding of the church is “a notion that makes sense to Brethren, although we’d be looking back at different communities” as the teaching church of the past, Hostetter said.

Hostetter affirmed that it was important for a Brethren representative to attend the event. “Our continuing participation ecumenically is very important. We have participated through the National Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches but neither of those has included Catholics. Now we’re involved with Christian Churches Together and that has a vital participation by Roman Catholics.”

As he travels to various ecumenical events on behalf of the denomination, Hostetter said he finds connections and a sense of unity with other Christians that the Brethren may not even know we have. He calls it, “a subterranean unity that exists often beyond our field of view. It’s just important to remain in conversation as we move into the future.”

For the text of the Pope’s address to the ecumenical prayer service, and other addresses during the US visit, go to

2) ABC Board approves merger documents.

The Board of Directors of the Association of Brethren Caregivers (ABC) met in a conference call on April 13. The board reviewed the merger agreement and unanimously approved the resolution merging the Church of the Brethren General Board and the board of ABC into the Church of the Brethren Mission and Ministry Board. This action was in response to the decisions of the 2007 Annual Conference.

During the meeting, members of the board voiced regret that ABC will lose its uniqueness and independence, however all agreed that the grieving would be short lived. The board is committed to support of the organization of the Church of the Brethren, Inc. and its ministries, which will now include the caring ministries of ABC. The board believes this action will provide for a Christ-led, simplified structure that best serves the entire denomination.

ABC is excited about the possibilities this new structure provides and looks forward to the challenges and blessings of the Caring Ministries of the Church of the Brethren.

–Eddie H. Edmonds is the current chair of the board of the Association of Brethren Caregivers.

3) Bethany Seminary trustees consider ‘core testimonies’ of Brethren.

The Bethany Theological Seminary Board of Trustees gathered at the Richmond, Ind., campus for a semi-annual meeting on March 28-30. The meeting included spirited discussion and deliberation about many significant items related to the seminary’s mission and program, including discussion of the “core testimonies” of the Church of the Brethren.

Faculty and administration joined the board for an evening meal followed by a time of creative visioning about the seminary’s mission. Board chair Ted Flory described the conversation as a discussion about, “How we might refocus that mission around Church of the Brethren core testimonies in order to meet the needs of the denomination and wider church, and the world, for the 21st century.” President Ruthann Johansen added, “What the Church of the Brethren core testimonies have to offer to the world as well as to the church in this time is an important element of our discernment.” No decisions were made other than a consensus to continue the conversations and build on the creative energies that were ignited during the meeting.

The board approved 16 candidates for graduation on May 3, pending successful completion of their studies. The board also received a report from academic dean Stephen Breck Reid that 51 percent of seminary students in the US are women, and during the 2007-08 academic year, 57 percent of Bethany students are women. A new course titled “Women in Ministry” will added to the curriculum in the 2008-09 academic year, taught by Tara Hornbacker, associate professor of Ministry Formation.

Academic year budgets for 2008-09 were approved for Bethany operations, the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership, and the Brethren Journal Association. The Bethany operations budget is $2,406,280, an approximate $186,500 increase.

The Academic Affairs committee reported that several documents are in progress to address recommendations of the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) and the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools (HLC), related to the seminary’s 2006 re-accreditation. An initial assessment plan will be submitted to ATS in April, a recruitment plan to HLC by Oct. 1, and a comprehensive assessment plan for review by the HLC by 2010-11.

The board heard a report on preservation of three book collections owned by the seminary: the Abraham Cassel Collection, the Huston Bible Collection, and the John Eberly Hymnal Collection. The project is funded by a grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundation. The collections include the theological library of 19th century Brethren leader Abraham Cassel, as well as many rare volumes on radical Pietism and early sectarian works. Custom-made protective covers are being created for each book, and the collections are stored in the climate-controlled archival section of Earlham College’s Lilly Library. Titles will be included in the Internet search engine WorldCat and on a web page maintained by the Brethren Journal Association.

In other reports, the board heard an update on the Sustaining Pastoral Excellence programs of the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership, which are funded by Lilly Endowment, Inc. Financial support from the endowment ends in 2009, and plans are being developed to obtain continuing funds. Steve Clapp of Christian Community is working with the academy to survey pastors about the impact of the Sustaining Pastoral Excellence programs. The board also discussed the partnership with Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center. SVMC executive director Donna Rhodes shared a history of the center. Discussion focused on procedural and programmatic issues and ways to clarify and strengthen the partnership.

The board approved the promotion of Daniel W. Ulrich to professor of New Testament Studies, and learned of three teaching and administrative appointments (see personnel notices in the April 9 Newsline). The service of Christine Larson, Delora Roop, and Jonathan Shively was recognized. Larson leaves as reference librarian for Earlham College, Earlham School of Religion, and Bethany at the end of this academic year. Roop retires this summer as receptionist and coordinator of the Office of Institutional Advancement, after 25 years of service. Shively leaves July 1 as director of the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership to begin as executive director of the denomination’s Congregational Life Ministries.

The board retained its current officers for 2008-09: Ted Flory of Bridgewater, Va., as chair; Ray Donadio of Greenville, Ohio, as vice chair; Frances Beam of Concord, N.C., as secretary; Carol Scheppard of Mount Crawford, Va., as chair of the Academic Affairs Committee; Elaine Gibbel of Lititz, Pa., as chair of the Institutional Advancement Committee; and Jim Dodson of Lexington, Ky., as chair of the Student and Business Affairs Committee.

–Marcia Shetler is director of Public Relations for Bethany Theological Seminary.

4) Growing Project in Maryland engages six Brethren churches.

The kick-off of the 2008 Grossnickle, Md., growing project took place on April 13. This year’s growing project is engaging six Church of the Brethren congregations in the Mid-Atlantic District–the Beaver Creek, Grossnickle, Hagerstown, Harmony, Myersville, and Welty churches–and possibly a United Church of Christ congregation. Growing projects raise food to benefit hunger efforts through the Foods Resource Bank and the Church of the Brethren’s Global Food Crisis Fund.

“We had a wonderful kick-off yesterday for this year’s growing project,” reported Patty Hurwitz of Grossnickle Church of the Brethren, who is a committee member for the growing project. “We sold 17 acres at $250 an acre plus a $1,000 donation from a family, all after church on Sunday!”

The Grossnickle growing project this season will benefit the Micro Devru program in the DR Congo. Its first-year overseas program focused on anti-hunger efforts in Kenya, and the second year the project focused on Zambia.

Each year, the Grossnickle growing project has held planting and harvest celebrations featuring food, dress, music, and stories from the recipient country. The kick-off event included a children’s story about crops being improved by the Micro Devru project. “We planted seed peanuts, and talked about how that handful of peanuts might feed one person one meal, but the seeds would create food for many people,” said Hurwitz. “I showed them a cassava root and they tasted cassava bread. We had a palm tree and talked about palm oil production. We had black-eyed peas, which are a cousin to cow-peas.” Another committee member shared a report about the success of the Kenya Bamba project in 2006.

Other efforts that may be added to the initiative in Grossnickle include ideas for a pen-pal program for children to correspond with Congolese children or school groups, and ways youth and farmers can connect. “Real personal connections add so much to our work,” Hurwitz said.

Sponsors of the project have invited Betty Rogers, who is assessing the Foods Resource Bank for the Hilton Humanitarian Award, to come to a planting celebration in May. The Foods Resource Bank is among a dozen or so organizations being screened for the 2008 award, which carries a prize of $1.5 million.

Several Brethren members have participated in meetings in which Rogers talked with Foods Resource Bank officials and growing project supporters–including Tim Ritchey Martin, Robert Delauter, and Patty Hurwitz of the Grossnickle project, along with Jim and Karen Schmidt from a growing project involving Polo (Ill.) Church of the Brethren, and Global Food Crisis Fund manager Howard Royer and his wife, Gene.

5) Womaen’s Caucus leads discussion of future church at Bethany.

As a part of the Womaen’s Caucus Steering Committee meetings held recently in Richmond, Ind., a potluck supper and gathering was held with over 25 people attending in the lounge at Bethany Theological Seminary. Those attending discussed the future church and their dreams for the church, as well as other timely topics.

Richmond Church of the Brethren offered its facilities for the three days of caucus meetings. Members of the Steering Committee discussed the upcoming Annual Conference and planned the design of their booth in the exhibit hall. Womaen’s Caucus also will sponsor a luncheon on Tuesday, July 16, with speaker Doris Abdullah of Brooklyn, N.Y. Tickets are available through the Annual Conference office.

Much discussion surrounded the new website that has been designed and administrated by new member Sharon Neerhoof May. The group planned resources that will be added to the site in the near future, including inclusive language worship resources as well as items for female youth.

Womaen’s Caucus members participated in Sunday morning worship at the Richmond Church with Anna Lisa Gross as worship leader, Peg Yoder presenting a children’s story, Deb Peterson speaking on how she came to be a part of the caucus, and Carla Kilgore speaking on the work of the caucus. Both Peterson, who is editor of the group’s newsletter “Femailings,” and Kilgore, the convener, are ending their four-year terms. Gross will be the new editor of the newsletter, and Audrey DeCoursey will serve as convener. Other members who attended are Jan Eller, administrator, Jill Kline, and Neerhoof May.

–Deb Peterson has served as editor of “Femailings” for the Womaen’s Caucus.

6) Brethren representative helps plan UN remembrance of slave trade.

The Church of the Brethren was represented at United Nations events on March 27 marking the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Doris Abdullah of First Church of the Brethren in Brooklyn, N.Y., and a board member of On Earth Peace, attended as the denomination’s credentialed representative with the UN and as a member of the NGO Subcommittee for the Elimination of Racism.

The subcommittee planned the events and recommended the speakers for morning and afternoon briefings. “Both programs went extremely well,” Abdullah said.

A briefing on “Lest We Forget: Breaking the Silence on the Transatlantic Slave Trade,” drew an overflow crowd and included the viewing of a documentary by Sheila Walkers, “The Slave Route: A Global Vision.” Abdullah recommends the film for education in the church and community; it is a part of the UNESCO Slave Route Project, and will be available to the public.

Speakers at a session on the prevention of genocide included among others Yvette Rugasaguhunga, a survivor the Rwandan Tutsi genocide; Mark Weitzman, associate director of education for the Simon Wiesenthal Center; and Rodney Leon, designer of the African Burial Ground Memorial in Wall Street.

The African Burial Ground Memorial is the grave site of 20,000 slaves discovered in 1991 at a construction site in lower Manhattan, Abdullah said. The architect’s design process for the memorial included education and an urban presence, along with “cultural, symbolic, spiritual, international, and interactive participation,” she said. “To me it means that we truly ‘walk on holy grounds.’ These Africans were brutally taken from their homes, chained in a boat for months, enslaved for a lifetime, and entombed in concrete for centuries, with the moneyed class walking over their bones. One story of one people, but what a story.”

Concerns raised by the briefings included hate games and violent games played on the Internet, the need for prevention of genocide and mass killings, and psychological recovery and reconciliation following genocide.

7) Brethren bits: Remembrance, personnel, jobs, and much more.

  • J. Earl Hostetter, 90, passed away April 18. He twice served as interim district executive minister for Northern Indiana District, in 1986 and again in 1994 when he worked in a half-time position as interim executive for pastoral care with duties including pastoral placement and care for pastors and their families. In other service to the denomination, he was a volunteer staff member for the Church of the Brethren General Board in the early 1990s, when he filled a position as evangelism volunteer staff working for the Evangelism Office. Beginning Sept. 1, 1991, he was appointed special ministries associate for the Evangelism Office and worked with emerging programs and Annual Conference events. He pastored New Paris (Ind.) Church of the Brethren from 1973 until his retirement in 1984, and served previous pastorates at Eel River in South Central Indiana District, at Oakland in Southern Ohio District, and at Everett in Middle Pennsylvania District. He also was an interim pastor for several Northern Indiana congregations. He is survived by his wife, Pearl, and their family. A memorial service will be held on April 26 at 11 a.m. at New Paris Church of the Brethren.
  • Tom Birdzell, a Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) worker with the information services department at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., since Aug. 2007, has taken a new assignment through BVS. He will begin at Meeting Ground in Elkton, Md., in May.
  • Three coordinators have been named for the 2009 youth and young adult workcamps, a program of the Youth and Young Adult Ministry of the Church of the Brethren General Board. Emily Laprade of Antioch Church of the Brethren in Rocky Mount, Va., and Meghan Horne of Mill Creek Church of the Brethren in Tryon, N.C., have been named as coordinators serving through Brethren Volunteer Service. Bekah Houff of Palmyra (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, who is coordinator for this year’s National Young Adult Conference, will stay on as a part-time workcamp coordinator and program intern and also will coordinate the 2009 National Junior High Conference.
  • An extended application date has been announced by the search committee of Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT), which is seeking applicants for the position of president. The application date has been extended to May 16. BBT’s offices are located at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. The primary services of BBT are the administration of the Pension Plan and the Brethren Foundation. The president serves as chief executive officer for BBT, including all its corporate entities (Brethren Benefit Trust, Brethren Benefit Trust, Inc., and Brethren Foundation, Inc.). The president will oversee the administration and operations of BBT by leading, administering, managing, and inspiring the staff, modeling servant leadership. The president will guide BBT in its service to the Church of the Brethren by developing and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships with individuals and organizations which are affiliated with or share the values of the Church of the Brethren. The full position description can be found at Church of the Brethren membership is preferred. The president will be expected to live in the Elgin area. Applicants are requested to send a current resume, cover letter, and three references via e-mail to Ralph McFadden, Search Committee Consultant, Hard copies, if necessary, may be sent to 352 Shiloh Ct., Elgin, IL 60120. The Search Committee also is inviting nominations. Send the names of people who should be called to consider the position to any member of the Search Committee or to Ralph McFadden. The Search Committee is composed of Eunice Culp, chair; Harry Rhodes, BBT Board chair; Janice Bratton, BBT Board vice chair; Donna Forbes Steiner, BBT Board member; and Fred Bernhard, former longterm BBT Board member.
  • The Global Mission Partnerships of the Church of the Brethren General Board seeks a couple or family as part of a lead team to begin a new ministry in Sudan, seeking to rebuild and heal communities after decades of war. As a holistic effort, it will include the formation of churches. A complementary team that includes people bringing one or more of the following skills is preferable: peace and conflict transformation, healthcare, church planting and Christian education, community development preferably with experience in emerging nations, dealing with trauma, and literacy and adult education. Candidates should bring education and experience in their area of specialty, experience in international cross-cultural settings, a team orientation, and grounding in Church of the Brethren identity and practice. Secondary skills in repair and maintenance of computers, household maintenance, or vehicle mechanics is useful. Candidates need to exhibit the following strengths: willingness to work in a strongly different cultural environment; patience in working with people and relationship building; openness to being changed and transformed in the process of doing the work; ability to live in settings that are at times hard to predict and control. Team members participate in raising their own support under General Board oversight. The application deadline for this position has been extended, with interviews and placement occurring during 2008. Request an application form from Karin Krog, Office of Human Resources, at 800-323-8039 ext. 258 or
  • Global Mission Partnerships also seeks a teacher of Bible and theology at Kulp Bible College in Nigeria. Primary teaching assignments may include Brethren history and beliefs, Christian doctrine, faith and practice, New Testament. Teaching is at an academic level comparable to a US junior college, students are experienced church leaders. Courses are taught in English. Tasks include teaching and lecturing, developing and administering tests for student assessment, assisting in curriculum development, participating in school administration and supervision, accepting periodic leadership roles in the wider church. A master’s degree in theology, commitment to Christian beliefs and lifestyle, ability to work under Nigerian leadership, and ability to live and work in Africa are required. The preferred candidate will bring experience in teaching Bible, theology, or Christian education; willingness to learn conversational Hausa language; and experience in another culture. Because Kulp Bible College is the primary training ground for leadership in Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN–the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria), membership in the Church of the Brethren is preferred and knowledge of its polity and practice is expected. The college is operated by EYN and is located near the city of Mubi in northeast Nigeria. Compensation includes salary, housing, vehicle, and a basic medical insurance plan. A two-year commitment is expected. Candidates open to considering additional terms are preferred. The position is available in mid-2008. 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;
  • Applications are available for those wishing to apply for a Brethren Volunteer Service position as 2010 National Youth Conference coordinator. The position begins in May 2009. Contact Chris Douglas, director of the Church of the Brethren’s Youth and Young Adult Ministry, at or 800-323-8039. Applications are due by Oct. 20.
  • The On Earth Peace Board of Directors is inviting volunteers to share their time, energy, and skills with the organization. “We are now listing volunteer opportunities on our website and recognizing those who provide support as Peace Partners,” said an announcement. The organization’s Peace Witness Action List specifically seeks a volunteer editor to gather news stories and write reflections on Christian peacemaking, distribute items to a list serv, and maintain a listserv and blog (contact Matt Guynn, coordinator of Peace Witness, at
  • The Annual Conference Office has announced a correction to the Annual Conference airline discount code. The group meeting discount code for airline travel to the Conference in Richmond, Va., was listed incorrectly in the Information Packet. The meeting discount code that should be supplied to United Airlines is 577RP. Those who are flying to the Conference and have not yet made reservations are invited to consider booking with United, the official airline of Annual Conference 2008, by calling 800-521-4041. The code has been changed and is shown correctly on the Annual Conference website, on the Information Packet pages.
  • Bethany Theological Seminary will observe a “Sabbatical Day” on May 8. All employees will participate and the offices in Richmond, Ind., will be closed. The sabbatical day was approved by the Bethany Board of Trustees. “Bethany’s 2007-08 academic year has been overly filled with institutional transitions, faculty searches, core testimonies discussions, the Inaugural Forum, plus all the regular tasks associated with an educational institution,” said president Ruthann Knechel Johansen. “This sabbatical day is intended to open space for rest, prayer or meditation, examination of conscience, and reflection on personal and institutional values and priorities.”
  • The Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., hosts the Cross Cultural Consultation and Celebration on April 25-26. About 130 people are to attend, along with denominational staff and members of three Chicago area churches hosting evening meals and worship services: Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin on April 24; First Church of the Brethren in Chicago on April 25, and Naperville Church of the Brethren on April 26. Worship services begin at 7 p.m. and are open to the public. The theme is “Separated No More” from Revelation 7:9.
  • Health Promotion Sunday is May 18, sponsored by the Association of Brethren Caregivers. The theme is “Being Family: Growing in God’s Love” with the scriptures Ephesians 3:17b-19 and 1 John 4:7a. Resources to help congregations explore how families and faith communities can grow in God’s love are available at or call the ABC office at 800-323-8039. Resources include prayers and other worship resources, sample sermons, children’s stories, family activities, and bulletin inserts. ABC also invites congregations to celebrate May as Older Adult Month, with the theme “Aging with Grace” and scripture verses from Ephesians 5. See the website for related worship resources offered by the Older Adult Ministry.
  • Children’s Disaster Services is offering Level 1 Training Workshops in Bethlehem, Pa., on April 25-26; and at the Tacoma (Wash.) Nature Center on June 20-21. The registration fee of $45 includes curriculum, meals, and lodging (the fee is $55 if participants register less than three weeks ahead). The workshop is for those who have an interest in volunteering for Children’s Disaster Services to support the needs of children after a disaster. Visit for registration information or contact 800-451-4407 #5.
  • On Earth Peace is calling for Living Peace Church Stories to share at the 2008 Annual Conference. “We look for stories of how individuals and congregations are living out the calling to be living peace churches,” said an announcement. “These stories will be reported from the Conference floor microphones after On Earth Peace gives its agency report.” Contact Annie Clark, coordinator of the Ministry of Reconciliation, at
  • Williamson Road Church of the Brethren in Roanoke, Va., kicks off its 60th anniversary celebration with a Paul Todd Concert on May 3 at 7 p.m. Todd is a Christian artist performing a variety of musical styles while playing six keyboards simultaneously (
  • Elizabethtown (Pa.) Church of the Brethren held a “Ray Diener Memorial Benefit Concert” at Elizabethtown College’s Leffler Chapel in March. Diener was a member of the church who had worked to provide clean water to villages in Honduras, before he was killed on his own doorstep in a random act of violence last year. The concert featured the bands Along for the Ride, which grew out of jam sessions at the Elizabethtown church, according to the Atlantic Northeast District newsletter, and Bottom of the Bucket, whose members met while working at Gould Farm in Massachusetts, a Brethren Volunteer Service project.
  • The 28th Annual Disaster Response Auction of Mid-Atlantic District will be held May 3, starting at 9 a.m., at the Carroll County Agricultural Center in Westminster, Md.
  • A seminar titled “They Like Jesus, but Not the Church” is planned by Pacific Southwest District on May 3 at Pomona (Calif.) Fellowship Church of the Brethren. The seminar will be led by Dan Kimball, author of several books about the emerging church and emerging worship. He has been the high school pastor at Santa Cruz Bible Church, helped start a Sunday night “Graceland” worship service and ministry, and helped launched the Vintage Faith Church. Currently he is an adjunct faculty mentor at George Fox Evangelical Seminary. Cost is $25 or $15 for those under age 25. For more go to
  • Fahrney-Keedy Home and Village, a Brethren retirement community near Boonsboro, Md., has received a $1,000 donation from the Nora Roberts Foundation for its Benevolent Fund assisting residents who run out of money to pay for care. The Nora Roberts Foundation is a means by which the best-selling Boonsboro author assists humanitarian and other nonprofit organizations.
  • A special event at McPherson (Kan.) College benefits the Pat Noyes Scholarship Fund. Noyes was a member of the McPherson basketball program for two years before becoming involved with the Oklahoma State University basketball program. Along with nine others affiliated with OSU basketball, he was killed in a plane crash near Byers, Colo., in Jan. 2001. The 5th annual Pat Noyes Golf Experience and sports memorabilia auction will be held May 3 (see for a list of auction items). During the past five years over $30,000 has been raised for the fund, and the college has awarded two scholarships in his name.
  • The May edition of “Brethren Voices,” a 30-minute program made for Church of the Brethren congregations to offer on public access cable television, is on the topic, “Five Years of War in Iraq…The Occupation Continues.” For three years, Brethren Voices has interviewed participants of peace rallies to allow them the opportunity to express their feelings about the war, said a release. The Iraq Body Count Exhibit also is featured. Brethren Voices is a ministry of Peace Church of the Brethren in Portland, Ore. Contact producer Ed Groff at
  • A group from Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) has returned to the northern Kurdish area of Iraq. The Iraq team includes Church of the Brethren member Peggy Gish along with Anita David, Michele Naar-Obed, and Chihchun Yuan. In a letter to supporters, the team announced that CPT plans to resume delegations to Iraq, which have been suspended since Nov. 2005. The letter also requested prayer: “This is a time of a different kind of risk-taking for us. Please continue to hold us, this land, and its people in your thoughts and prayers.” For more go to

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. Lerry Fogle, Matt Guynn, Rachel Kauffman, Gimbiya Kettering, Cindy Dell Kinnamon, Karin Krog, Michael Leiter, LethaJoy Martin, Howard Royer, and Walt Wiltschek contributed to this report. Newsline appears every other Wednesday, with other special issues sent as needed. The next regularly scheduled issue is set for May 7. 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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