Newsline for August 27, 2008

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

“Come, bless the Lord…” (Psalm 134:1a).


1) National Young Adult Conference meets in the mountains of Colorado.
2) Annual Conference Council holds final meeting.
3) Disabilities Ministry issues statement on movie ‘Tropic Thunder.’
4) Brethren bits: Corrections, personnel, jobs, Hurricane Katrina, more.


5) Booz resigns from Mid-Atlantic District, to serve in Pacific Southwest.


6) Armenia study tour is planned for Sept. 2009.

Para ver la traducción en español de este artículos, “MIEMBROS DE LA IGLESIA DE LOS HERMANOS SE REUNEN EN VIRGINIA EN LA CONFERENCIA HISTORICA DEL 300avo ANIVERSARIO” y “SE APROBO UN PLAN PARA UNIR DOS AGENCIAS, SE ADOPTO UN DOCUMENTO DE TOLERANCIA,” vaya a www.brethren.org/genbd/newsline/2008/jul1608.htm (for a Spanish translation of the report from the 300th Anniversary Conference of the Church of the Brethren and the Brethren Church, held in Richmond, Va., on July 12-16, 2008, go to www.brethren.org/genbd/newsline/2008/jul1608.htm).
For Newsline subscription information go to http://listserver.emountain.net/mailman/listinfo/newsline. For more Church of the Brethren news go to http://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) National Young Adult Conference meets in the mountains of Colorado.

About 130 people worshiped, conversed, and enjoyed the outdoors at this year’s Church of the Brethren National Young Adult Conference (NYAC) in Estes Park, Colo.

The schedule was built around worship, with morning and evening celebrations on the theme “Come to the Mountain: Guidance for the Journey” each day of the Aug. 11-15 event. Leaders for those times included a mix of young adults and denominational staff, each addressing a key word such as “honesty,” “credibility,” or “grace.”

Several speakers looked at issues currently confronting Brethren. Videographer Dave Sollenberger of Annville, Pa., highlighted both examples of faithfulness and credibility in the church and places where the church has come up short. “It’s very easy to buy into the lies our culture has taught us,” Sollenberger said.

On Thursday evening, in a drizzly outdoor service, On Earth Peace peace witness coordinator Matt Guynn looked at the conflict and differences that exist among Brethren. He suggested that the “push-pull” process can be dynamic and healthy, moving the church out of being “stuck” and stagnant. “We in the church need to engage in the push and the pull together,” said Guynn, who also spoke at the closing service.

Kayla Camps, a young adult leader from Florida, challenged the group to work toward integrity. “The more of God we have in our everyday choices, the more just our society will become,” she said.

Other worship leaders included general secretary Stan Noffsinger; Imperial Heights Church of the Brethren (Los Angeles) pastor Thomas Dowdy; Laura Stone, a young adult currently volunteering at Gould Farm in Massachusetts; and “Messenger” editor Walt Wiltschek.

Young adults delved further into some of the issues raised during a variety of workshops and community group times. Topics ranged from media and ministry to more controversial issues in the church, such as homosexuality and biblical interpretation. Staff from numerous Brethren agencies also shared about their work.

Less structured times included opportunities for salsa dancing, ultimate frisbee, volleyball, hiking, roller skating, and other options at the host YMCA of the Rockies. Several dozen people took part in service projects one afternoon, assisting with tasks such as staining fences and pulling invasive thistles. Late-evening open microphone sessions offered abundant music and laughter.

Bekah Houff, a Brethren Volunteer Service worker in the Youth and Young Adult Ministry Office, served as coordinator for the conference with the help of the Young Adult Steering Committee. Jim Chinworth and Becky Ullom were worship coordinators, and Shawn Kirchner provided musical leadership.

–Walt Wiltschek is editor of the Church of the Brethren’s “Messenger” magazine.

2) Annual Conference Council holds final meeting.

The Annual Conference Council met for its final meeting on Aug. 18 at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. As of Sept. 1, the council will be dissolved and its functions will be transferred to the new denominational Leadership Team of the Church of the Brethren.

In addition to the council’s members, Stan Noffsinger, general secretary, participated to begin the transition to the Leadership Team. The Leadership Team, beginning Sept. 1, will include Annual Conference moderator David Shumate and moderator-elect Shawn Replogle, Annual Conference secretary Fred Swartz, and Noffsinger.

The council conducted its usual follow-up on the actions of the 2008 Annual Conference, noting where reminders needed to be sent to people or groups responsible for implementing the actions of the Conference. The council authorized a letter to members of the Implementation Committee expressing appreciation for their work in designing the new Church of the Brethren structure. It also encouraged the Conference officers to discuss how Standing Committee may receive training for handling appeals, and it directed letters to be sent to both Brethren Benefit Trust staff and Church of the Brethren staff encouraging them to give attention to the suggestions made in the Resolution on Ministers’ Medical Crisis. The council noted that the Program and Arrangements Committee already has the concerns of the Query on Annual Conference Witness to Host Cities on its agenda.

The council discussed a number of matters that it will pass on to the Leadership Team, including the coordination of envisioning for the denomination, updating the Church of the Brethren bylaws, updating the Manual of Organization and Polity, and deciding how appeals related to Program and Arrangements Committee guidelines will be handled in the future.

As its last function as the Annual Conference Council, the group conducted a performance review for Annual Conference executive director Lerry Fogle, enthusiastically affirming his work and his commitment to the church, to his family, and to Christ. Noffsinger shared with the council that the hiring of an executive to replace Fogle when he retires Dec. 5, 2009, will be handled by the Human Resources process of the Church of the Brethren. The plan includes having a new executive in place in time to receive on-the-job training at the 2009 Annual Conference.

–Fred Swartz is the secretary of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference.

3) Disabilities Ministry issues statement on movie ‘Tropic Thunder.’

The Church of the Brethren Disabilities Ministry has issued a statement on the recently released movie, “Tropic Thunder.” The statement is made in support of people with intellectual disabilities, said Kathy Reid, executive director of the denomination’s Caring Ministries.

“Tropic Thunder” is a DreamWorks production directed by and starring Ben Stiller, released on Aug. 13. A portion of the plot is a fictional film, “Simple Jack,” about a farmer with intellectual disabilities who is played by the Stiller character.

“While some people think labeling and humiliating others is funny, we believe such behavior is abusive and should not be considered acceptable,” the Disabilities Ministry statement said in part, adding that the group is “appalled” by the movie. “Under the guise of ‘parody,’ ‘Tropic Thunder’ insults and harms individuals with intellectual disabilities by repeated use of the ‘R-word.’ The movie perpetuates derogatory images and stereotypes of these individuals by mocking their physical appearance and speech, perpetuating inappropriate myths and misperceptions, and legitimizing painful discrimination, exclusion, and bullying.”

The Disabilities Ministry is led by a committee including Pat Challenger, Heddie Sumner, Karen Walters, Brett Winchester, and Kathy Reid as staff representative. Go to www.brethren.org/abc/disabilities/2008DisabilitiesStatement.pdf for the full text of the statement. Go to www.brethren.org/abc/disabilities/index.html for more information about the Church of the Brethren Disabilities Ministry.

4) Brethren bits: Corrections, personnel, jobs, Hurricane Katrina, more.

  • Corrections: Brethren Press has been informed that the price announced in the Newsline Special of Aug. 26 for the book, “Schwarzenau 1708-2008,” is incorrect–the correct price is still to be determined. Also, the Young Adult Conference dates announced in Newsline were incorrect. Correct dates for next year’s Young Adult Conference are May 23-25, 2009.
  • Beth Gunzel on July 24 completed four years as consultant to the Church of the Brethren’s Micro-Loan Community Development Program in the Dominican Republic. The ministry reaches 19 communities with 500 loans for economic development. She recently began transitioning the program to Dominican leadership. Gunzel holds a Master of Urban Planning and Policy degree from the University of Illinois-Chicago.
  • There have been several staffing changes among Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) workers at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill.: Monica Rice has completed a term as assistant to the director of BVS, and will attend Bethany Theological Seminary this fall. Sharon Flaten and Jerry O’Donnell have completed their work as assistant coordinators of the Workcamp Program, and Flaten has begun a new term of service as recruitment assistant in BVS. O’Donnell will be traveling to the Dominican Republic to serve as assistant to Brethren mission coordinators Nancy and Irvin Heishman. Emily Laprade and Meghan Horne have begun as assistant coordinators for the Workcamp Program for 2008-09. Laprade attended Bridgewater (Va.) College and is a member of Antioch Church of the Brethren. Horne attended UNC at Chapel Hill and is a member of Mill Creek Church of the Brethren.
  • Susan Chapman, program director at Camp Bethel from 2002-08, will be honored at a Labor Day Family Weekend at the camp in Fincastle, Va. The recognition will take place at the potluck dinner on Aug. 31, at 5:30 p.m. “During Susan’s tenure at Camp Bethel, summer camps grew 51 percent!” said camp director Barry LeNoir. Gifts, notes of appreciation, and requests for camp song lyrics for Chapman may be sent to skc002@gmail.com or to 3228 Pasley Ave., SW, Roanoke, VA 24015-4422.
  • Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., is seeking applicants for the position of academic dean. The seminary seeks to make an appointment by or before July 1, 2009. The academic dean assists in the management of the seminary with and on behalf of the president. The dean provides administrative oversight for Bethany’s graduate and certificate programs with direct responsibility for the graduate curriculum. The dean also works with administrative colleagues who have immediate responsibility for certificate educational programs and the developing program in distributed education. The position provides the dean opportunity to teach part time. Preferred qualifications for appointment include an earned doctoral degree, five or more years of teaching experience, and commitment to academic innovation and excellence; administrative skill: personnel relations, program oversight, including distributed education, and budget management; membership in the Church of the Brethren with commitment to the church’s beliefs, practices, and heritage; and excitement about and dedication to preparing people for Christian ministry and educating those called as witnesses to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Founded in 1905, Bethany Theological Seminary is the graduate school and academy of the Church of the Brethren. The seminary seeks to prepare people for Christian ministry and to educate those called as Christian leaders and scholars. In the context of the whole Christian tradition, Bethany’s educational program bears witness to the belief and practices of the Church of the Brethren, including community, peace, justice, reconciliation, service, and simplicity. Bethany’s student body includes graduate and certificate students, residential and distance students, who have diverse theological perspectives and vocational directions. In partnership with the Earlham School of Religion, Bethany is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the US and Canada and by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. The seminary is an equal-opportunity employer and welcomes applications from persons who can enhance the diversity of the community. Review of applications will begin Oct. 31. Interested persons should submit a letter of application and curriculum vitae, and request three people to send letters of recommendation. Electronic submissions of materials are preferred at Academicdeansearch@bethanyseminary.edu or mail materials to the Office of the President, Bethany Theological Seminary, 615 National Rd. W., Richmond, IN 47374.
  • Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) seeks to fill the position of chief financial officer (CFO). This is a fulltime salaried position based in Elgin, Ill., for a not-for-profit organization that provides pension, insurance, foundation, and credit union services for 6,000 members and clients nationwide. This second-level management position reports to the president of BBT. Brethren Benefit Trust is an agency of the Church of the Brethren. The CFO’s chief responsibility is to safeguard BBT’s assets and assets under management. The CFO provides oversight of the Finance Department, the budgeting process, the annual audit and audit functions, BBT’s investment managers, and the organization’s compliance issues. The scope of the CFO’s duties includes to work with each program unit to develop the annual budget and then monitor all expenses against the budget. The CFO serves on the senior management team and is charged with planning strategically to help ensure that each BBT ministry meets the needs of members and clients and is self-sustaining. The CFO manages all aspects of the organization’s work and relationships with BBT’s custodian, investment managers, audit firm, and related consultants, and serves as the staff liaison to the BBT Board’s Investment and Budget and Audit Review Committees. The CFO coordinates all of BBT’s tax filings and the organization’s insurance needs. The CFO ensures that BBT remain compliant with all applicable organizational and industry-related laws, policies, procedures, rules, and regulations. The CFO travels to the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference, BBT Board meetings, and other denominational events as needed. BBT seeks candidates with undergraduate degrees in accounting, business, or related fields, along with advanced certifications or degrees such as CPA or MBA. Candidates should have eight years of experience in finance, administration, and personnel supervision, preferably for not-for-profit organizations. Strong knowledge of investments and experience in business planning is desired. Current and active membership in the Church of the Brethren is preferred; current and active membership in a faith community is required. Salary is competitive with Church Benefits Association agencies of comparable size and scope of services. A full benefits package is included. Apply by sending a letter of interest, resume, three references (one from a supervisor, one from a colleague, and one from a friend), and salary-range expectation to Donna March, 1505 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; or dmarch_bbt@brethren.org. For questions or clarification about the position, call 847-622-3371. For more information about Brethren Benefit Trust, visit http://www.brethrenbenefittrust.org/. The application deadline is Oct. 6.
  • Brethren Benefit Trust seeks a director of communications to serve in a fulltime salaried position based in Elgin, Ill. This second-level management position reports to the president of BBT. The director of communications provides oversight of communications, marketing, promotional, and operational initiatives that undergird BBT’s ministries. The scope of the director’s duties includes overseeing the department that produces newsletters, fliers, mailings, advertisements, a family of websites, promotional and operational materials, videos, and other resources to meet the various needs of BBT and its individual departments. The director supervises the manager of publications, the production coordinator, and the marketing coordinator. The director is a member of BBT’s senior management team and is responsible for establishing the organization’s editorial policies and guidelines. The director of communications travels to the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference, BBT Board meetings, and other denominational events as needed. BBT seeks candidates with undergraduate degrees in communications, English, business, or related fields. Candidates should have a minimum of five years of professional experience in editorial, marketing, promotions, administration, and/or personnel supervision. Candidates need to be articulate writers and public presenters. Knowledge of and interest in business and financial investments is helpful. Current and active membership in the Church of the Brethren is preferred; current and active membership in a faith community is required. Salary is competitive with Church Benefits Association agencies of comparable size and scope of services. A full benefits package is included. Apply by sending a letter of interest, resume, three references (one from a supervisor, one from a colleague, one from a friend), and salary-range expectation to Donna March, 1505 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120, or dmarch_bbt@brethren.org. For questions or clarification about the position, call 847-622-3371. For more information about Brethren Benefit Trust, visit http://www.brethrenbenefittrust.org/. The application deadline is Oct. 6.
  • Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., seeks a half time associate for its Institutional Advancement Department. Primary responsibilities include visiting with donors in selected geographical areas, representing Bethany at conferences and church gatherings, and working with the advancement team to plan and implement constituent relations and fundraising activities. Half the time of this position needs to be in travel, sometimes on weekends. Prior fundraising experience is not required, but best-suited candidates will enjoy creative and fruitful interpersonal conversation as well as be comfortable speaking in public settings. Candidates should also be prepared to learn about funding approaches and strategies, and to develop skill and astuteness in assessing donor circumstances and matching appropriate approaches with donors. Candidates must be familiar with the Church of the Brethren, be committed to leadership development for a changing church, and have instinctive sensitivity for realities of congregational life and ministry challenges in congregations. Minimum educational preparation is a baccalaureate degree, with a master of divinity degree helpful. Send resumes as soon as possible to Lowell Flory, Bethany Theological Seminary, 615 National Rd. W., Richmond, IN 47374; or florylo@bethanyseminary.edu. Review of resumes will begin by Sept. 29 and applications will continue to be received until the position is filled. Bethany is an equal opportunity employer.
  • Camp Bethel, a ministry of Virlina District located near Fincastle, Va., is accepting resumes and applications for the following positions, for dependable, caring workers with good interpersonal and leadership skills: assistant director (fulltime), food services director (fulltime), administrative assistant (part-time), cooks (part-time), and resident volunteers. Application forms, position descriptions, and more information about each position are available at www.campbethelvirginia.org/jobs.htm or call 540-992-2940. Send a letter of interest and updated resume to Camp Bethel director Barry LeNoir at camp.bethel@juno.com.
  • Many across the nation are remembering the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, including Church of the Brethren disaster relief volunteers and staff who have worked to rebuild homes destroyed in the storm. Zach Wolgemuth, associate director of Brethren Disaster Ministries, also has been involved in an ecumenical program called Churches Supporting Churches, which is bringing together partners from across the country in an effort to rebuild the church communities of New Orleans. “Prior to a recent meeting, a local pastor approached me and handed me a pecan nut,” Wolgemuth wrote in a reflection on the disaster relief work. “He said that he wanted me to carry the nut with me to remind me that a nut is also a seed, and at times being a little ‘nuts’ is just what God has called us to be. In this vein, Brethren Disaster Ministries thanks all volunteers, who as ‘nuts’ have been seeds of hope to numerous survivors struggling to recover from disasters. May God bless you this day with a touch of insanity so that you too may be a ‘nut,’ sowing seeds of hope, love, peace, and justice in the name of Christ the risen Lord.”
  • The 2008 National Older Adult Conference (NOAC) begins on Sept. 1 at Lake Junaluska (N.C.) Assembly. For the news team’s onsite reports, see http://www.brethren-caregivers.org/.
  • “Judgment and Hope” is the Gather ’Round theme for the fall. The Gather ’Round Sunday school curriculum is produced jointly by Brethren Press and the Mennonite Publishing Network. Bible stories for the Fall quarter, which starts Aug. 31, focus on the stories of Israel’s history through prophets and kings. Gather ’Round also has launched a new website feature called “Ask Anna,” a Q&A column with answers to questions that have come to the curriculum staff. Users of the curriculum are invited to submit questions, and the content will be changed weekly. This week’s question, for example, is signed by “Teaching Tuneless,” and asks, “I teach a small youth class. My kids don’t like to sing from the hymnal–actually they don’t like singing at all. What do I do?” Go to http://www.gatherround.org/ for the answer from Gather ’Round project director and editor Anna Speicher, and to see the complete line-up of Gather ’Round products. Order Gather ’Round curriculum from Brethren Press at 800-441-3712.
  • Children’s Disaster Services has three Level 1 Volunteer Workshops planned for October. The workshops are required for anyone who volunteers with the program to care for children following disasters. Workshops will take place on Oct. 3-4 at the American Red Cross, 2530 Lombard Ave., Everett, Wash.; on Oct. 3-4 in Tacoma, Wash. (location to be announced); and on Oct. 10-11 at the Holiday Inn Evansville Conference Center, 4101 Highway 41 N., Evansville, Ind. Children’s Disaster Services is a Church of the Brethren program in which volunteers provide a calm, safe, and reassuring presence in the midst of the chaos that follows disaster by setting up and operating special child care centers in disaster locations. Workshops are open to anyone over 18 years of age. Cost is $45 or $55 for late registration. For more see http://www.childrensdisasterservices.org/ or contact cds_gb@brethren.org or 800-451-4407 ext. 5.
  • Lewiston (Minn.) Church of the Brethren holds its 150th Anniversary Celebration on Sept. 13-14. Activities include time for visiting, viewing photos and scrapbooks, historical exhibits, a cemetery walk, Saturday evening worship at 7:30 p.m. with former pastors Roger Schrock and Paul Roth, and Sunday morning worship at 10 a.m. with pastors Schrock and Roth. Meals will be served throughout the weekend, with free-will donations accepted. Proceeds beyond celebration costs will benefit a mission project of making hygiene kits for Church World Service. Submit reservations to the church by Aug. 31, send to lewistoncob@yahoo.com or call 507-523-3117.
  • Oak Grove Church of the Brethren in Lowpoint, Ill., is celebrating its 125th anniversary on Oct. 12. A worship service will be held at 10:30 a.m., following by a potluck lunch, and an afternoon program at 1:30 p.m. The program will feature stories from the church’s history, greetings from former pastors and friends of the congregation, and “any other testimonies people want to give,” according to church member Alberta Christ, who is publicizing the event. For more information call 309-443-5275.
  • Bellefontaine (Ohio) Church of the Brethren is planning an Anniversary-Homecoming Celebration on Sept. 14, to mark the 100th anniversary of the congregation’s present church building. Events begin at 9:30 a.m. with a 300th Anniversary presentation by Mark and Mary Jo Flory-Steury, worship at 10:45 a.m. with a message by Mark Flory-Steury, executive minister for Southern Ohio District, followed by a carry-in dinner. For more information call 937-292-7191.
  • Dixon (Ill.) Church of the Brethren is hosting a Spiritual Renewal Weekend on Sept. 13-14 in celebration of the congregation’s 100th anniversary and the 300th Anniversary of the Church of the Brethren. Jim Myer, an ordained minister at White Oak Church of the Brethren and a leader in the Brethren Revival Fellowship, will lead the services. Worship will take place on Saturday at 8:45 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., followed by an ice cream social, and on Sunday morning at 9:30 a.m. followed by a question and answer time and a carry-in dinner. For more information call the church at 815-284-2711.
  • Chambersburg (Pa.) Church of the Brethren will celebrate its 100th anniversary with a Homecoming Service on Oct. 19. Phil Carlos, a former moderator of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference and interim pastor at First Church of the Brethren in Brooklyn, N.Y., will be the speaker. For more information contact the church at 717-264-6957.
  • Olympic View Church of the Brethren is holding a 300th Anniversary/60th Anniversary Homecoming and Rally Sunday Weekend on Sept. 6-7. The congregation will celebrate the 300th Anniversary of the Church of the Brethren and the 60th anniversary of its church building.
  • Northern Ohio District is holding a Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) 60th Anniversary Celebration on Nov. 1 at County Line Church of the Brethren in Harrod, Ohio. The event begins with an Opening Celebration at 2 p.m. led by Leslie Lake, followed at 2:30 p.m. by a “Mingle and Share” time for former volunteers to bring pictures and stories of their time in BVS. A dinner follows at 5:30 p.m., cost is $5. The evening closes with a 7 p.m. Worship Celebration Concert. The celebration is not limited to BVS volunteers and former volunteers, and family and friends are invited. RSVP to Billi Janet Burkey by Oct. 24 at billijanet@aol.com or 330-418-1148 or send a response by mail to 7980 Hebron Ave. NE, Louisville, OH 44641.
  • Juniata College has hired Richard Mahoney as director of the Baker Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies. He succeeds Andrew Murray in the position. Mahoney has spent the last four years as visiting professor for the New York University Stern School Program at Universidad de Palermo in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He also has taught at the Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale, Ariz., and has been a guest lecturer or professor at Oxford University, Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, the Beijing Institute of Foreign Trade, and the Universidad del Pacifico in Quito, Ecuador. He has been a John F. Kennedy Presidential Scholar at the University of Massachusetts and a Kennedy Scholar at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, and holds degrees from Princeton University, Johns Hopkins University, and Arizona State University. His political career includes serving a four-year term as the Secretary of State for Arizona, and running for the US Senate seat of Arizona and for governor of Arizona. He has worked as a speechwriter or political consultant from 1978-2002, and was chief speechwriter for the presidential campaigns of Gary Hart and Paul Simon. Mahoney is an author and film director as well, having written book on politics including “Sons and Brothers: The Days of Jack and Bobby Kennedy,” and more recently has directed documentary films including “Strong at the Broken Places,” with stories from the Iraq war.
  • The Manchester College A Cappella Choir will sing for the Sunday morning worship service at Elkhart (Ind.) Valley Church of the Brethren on Sept. 14 at 10:30 a.m. The congregation is hosting the choir’s annual organizational retreat. For more information call the church at 574-875-5802.
  • The World Council of Churches (WCC) has marked its beginnings 60 years ago on Aug. 23, 1948, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The commemoration included a select gathering at the Nieuwe Kerk where the opening service of the WCC’s founding assembly took place exactly 60 years earlier, as well as the publication of a new book of essays on the ecumenical movement.
  • An Ecumenical Conference on Human Trafficking will be held on Sept. 29-Oct. 1 at the Church Center for the United Nations in New York City, co-sponsored by the National Council of Churches (NCC) Justice for Women Working Group and the United Methodist Women’s Division-United Methodist Seminar Program on National and International Affairs. This conference will serve as an opportunity for faith-based leaders to explore best practices and new approaches for working together to end human trafficking. The event will feature resource people from diverse fields including both secular and religious organizations, and will consider education, legislative, recovery, and social work approaches to address human trafficking, taking seriously the web of oppression that includes race, economics, and gender. Following the conference, the NCC will be collecting and developing ecumenical worship materials for use on Sunday, Jan. 11, Human Trafficking Awareness Day. The registration deadline for the conference is Sept. 15. An agenda with a list of resource presenters can be requested from atiemeyer@ncccusa.org.
  • Church of the Brethren member Brian Sell gained 22nd place in the Olympic marathon on Aug. 24, with a time of 2:16:07. Gold medal winner Samuel Kamau Wansiru of Kenya won the race with a time of 2:06:32, a new Olympic record (see www.nbcolympics.com/trackandfield/resultsandschedules/rsc=ATM099100/index.html for the full results). It was Sell’s first experience at the Olympics. He is a member of Woodbury (Pa.) Church of the Brethren.

5) Booz resigns from Mid-Atlantic District, to serve in Pacific Southwest.

Donald R. Booz has resigned as district executive minister of Mid-Atlantic District, effective Nov. 21. He has been called to serve as district executive minister of Pacific Southwest District, beginning in December.

Booz has had 28 years of experience in ministry, having served as executive for Mid-Atlantic District since 2000, and filling previous positions as district executive of the former Florida and Puerto Rico District (now Atlantic Southeast), and pastorates at McPherson, Kan., and Winter Park, Fla. He is a graduate of Shippensburg State University, Bethany Theological Seminary, and Chicago Theological Seminary, from which he earned a doctor of minister degree.

He will relocate to the La Verne, Calif., area in late November, and will attend the Pacific Southwest District Conference in Fresno, Calif., Nov. 7-9.

6) Armenia study tour is planned for Sept. 2009.

Heifer International and the Church of the Brethren’s Global Mission Partnerships are co-sponsoring a study tour to Armenia in Sept. 2009. The tour will be led by Jan Schrock, a former director of Brethren Volunteer Service and daughter of Dan West, who originally established Heifer Project as a program of the Church of the Brethren.

“It’s an historic event for Brethren, harking to the remarkable engagement of Brethren with Armenians at a time of genocide almost a century ago. The response marked the entry of Brethren into overseas relief and service ministries,” said Howard Royer, manager of the Church of the Brethren’s Global Food Crisis Fund.

The Global Food Crisis Fund has maintained Brethren involvement with Armenia and Heifer International through a series of recent grants. The fund in 2004 gave a grant of $10,000 to Heifer for the Aigebetz “Sunrise” Project in Armenia, that helped orphaned teens who were no longer eligible for government support to become established with land, housing, training, and livestock. In 2006, a $10,000 grant to Heifer helped develop a Rural Women’s Union in Armenia, networking women heads of households engaged in subsistent farming. Currently the fund supports the PASS Program in Armenia through a partnership with the Foods Resource Bank.

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. Nevin Dulabaum, Nancy Knepper, Jeri S. Kornegay, Barry LeNoir, LethaJoy Martin, Mary Kay Ogden, Janis Pyle, Howard Royer, Marcia Shetler, and John Wall 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. 10. 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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