Newsline for December 31, 2008

Newsline — December 31, 2008

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

“You prepare a table before me…” (Psalm 23:5a).


1) Brethren funds offer replenishment grants for local hunger ministries.

2) Church of the Brethren plans major disaster recovery project in Haiti.

3) Grants are given for Pakistan, the Congo, Thailand.

4) Thousands gather at Fort Benning to oppose School of the Americas.

5) Three churches present Tercentennial Musical.

6) Brethren bits: Correction, end-of-the-year giving, job opening, more.


7) Musings on a resounding call for change.

8) A peace pole is erected in Schwarzenau.


New on the Internet, the logo for the Church of the Brethren’s 2009 Annual Conference is now available online. The logo was created by Jan Hurst of McPherson, Kan., to illustrate the theme for the Conference: “The old has gone! The new has come! All this is from God.” Go to to view the logo and for more information about the Conference to take place in San Diego, Calif., on June 26-30.


Contact for information about how to subscribe or unsubscribe to Newsline. For more Church of the Brethren news go to and click on “News.”


1) Brethren funds offer replenishment grants for local hunger ministries.

The Church of the Brethren’s Global Food Crisis Fund and Emergency Disaster Fund have begun a new program to encourage congregations to make a special effort this winter to respond to local food bank or soup kitchen financial needs. The “Domestic Hunger Matching Grant” program is a partnership with the Church of the Brethren’s stewardship department.

Congregations will be matched dollar for dollar–up to $500–for a gift to one local food bank or soup kitchen. The program will be in place through March 15. It was developed “in response to the worsening supply crisis in our nation’s food banks,” said Ken Neher, director of stewardship and donor development.

To qualify for the grant a congregation must raise new funds for the food crisis, fill out and return an application form, and enclose a copy of the check it writes to the food bank or soup kitchen. Matching checks will be issued in the charity’s name and mailed to the requesting congregation for forwarding to the local organization. Matching grants will be issued until the $50,000 set aside for the program by the two funds is exhausted.

The grant program also is a way that the Church of the Brethren is contributing to a new emphasis of the ecumenical organization Christian Churches Together (CCT). Each member organization and denomination in CCT is addressing poverty in a specific way through Easter 2009, according to Wendy McFadden, who helps represent the Church of the Brethren at CCT.

Said Neher: “We pray this will inspire your congregation to respond generously to this growing crisis in our own neighborhoods.”

2) Church of the Brethren plans major disaster recovery project in Haiti.

Church of the Brethren programs are planning a major longterm disaster recovery project in Haiti responding to the summer’s hurricanes and tropical storms, following a visit from a Brethren assessment team this fall.

The Haiti disaster response project is being coordinated by Brethren Disaster Ministries. Other groups that are part of the planning and implementation of the response include the Church of the Brethren Haiti Mission, the Haiti Advisory Committee, Global Mission Partnerships, the Global Food Crisis Fund, and Jeff Boshart who will serve as coordinator for the Haiti disaster response.

An allocation of $100,000 from the Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund has been given for the work in Haiti, which will include home rebuilding, road construction, children’s programs, and agricultural support. Vocation training, capacity leadership training, and medical aid also are planned. The project may include the shipping of canned meat provided by the Mid-Atlantic and Southern Pennsylvania Districts canned meat projects. The project is expected to last up to three years.

Four tropical storms and hurricanes (Fay, Gustav, Hanna, and Ike) crossed Haiti during the summer, affecting most areas of the country. Each storm compounded Haiti’s poverty and food insecurities, according to reports from disaster relief staff. More than 800 people died in the storms and some 200,000 homes were damaged or destroyed.

The Haiti Mission Advisory Committee reported that at least 35 Haitian Brethren lost their homes. There are five active Church of the Brethren congregations in Haiti, and 10 more preaching points.

The project will focus on longterm recovery in communities where Brethren churches or preaching points have been established, according to Roy Winter, executive director of Brethren Disaster Ministries. While the response will focus on communities where Brethren have been affected, he added, “Our response will focus on those with the greatest need in the community and not discriminate based on church affiliation.” The Brethren plan to work in partnership with other NGOs and pastors’ groups, and in coordination with local government officials. Nonprofit groups that have been invited to participate including Habitat for Humanity, Haiti Outreach, and Mennonite Central Committee.

Possible areas for Brethren response are Mirebalais, a mountainous region north of Port au Prince where Brethren preaching points are located in remote communities accessible only by foot path, and Gonaives, where there is a Brethren preaching point. Gonaives area received the greatest destruction from storms, with many damaged and destroyed homes in flood plains or mudslide areas.

Boshart traveled to Haiti on Dec. 16 to work on developing the disaster recovery project. The team that carried out the assessment trip in October included Ludovic St. Fleur, Haiti mission coordinator and pastor of L’Eglise des Freres Haitiens in Miami, Fla., his wife, Elizabeth St. Fleur, and Boshart.

Grants already given for relief in Haiti include a $10,000 grant from the Emergency Disaster Fund supporting immediate relief efforts through Church World Service (CWS), and a $15,000 grant from the Global Food Crisis Fund for agricultural development. The Brethren response also has included material aid shipped from the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., on behalf of CWS.

In other news from the Haiti Mission Advisory Committee, the group met on Nov. 21-22 and received reports that the Brethren congregations and preaching points in Haiti were doing well. “After five-and-a-half years since the first baptisms (six persons) in May 2003, there are now five congregations and ten preaching points,” said a report from chair Merle Crouse. “Ten (ministry) candidates are ready for licensing in 2009. One student will graduate from seminary in 2009.” The mission held its second annual theological training in August with more than 90 people in attendance. At least one congregation has a school in place, with another hoping to open a school. In September the New Covenant School was established in St. Louis du Nord for pre-school through third grade, with sponsorship from First Church of the Brethren in Miami, Fla. Several teachers from the school attended the theological training this year, the report said. In other business, a subcommittee was appointed to move ahead on the process of gaining legal recognition for the Church of the Brethren in Haiti.

3) Grants are given for Pakistan, the Congo, Thailand.

Grants from the Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund have been given following disasters in Pakistan, the Congo, and Thailand.

A grant of $32,000 responds to a Church World Service (CWS) appeal following a deadly earthquake in Pakistan. The funds will help provide water and sanitation, food, tents, blankets, stoves, and coal, as well as psycho-social support.

A grant of $20,000 responds to a CWS appeal for the Democratic Republic of the Congo where years of fighting have left millions dead and more than one million people displaced in the last two years. The grant will help supply water and sanitation, food security, nutritional supplements, clothing, basic supplies, and psycho-social support.

A grant of $2,500 responds to a CWS appeal in light of territorial disputes between Thailand and Cambodia, which have displaced hundreds of families. The money will help support a temporary school with meals, as well as fresh water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities for families.

In other news from Church of the Brethren disaster response efforts, Children’s Disaster Service (CDS) has cared for children in Indiana following winter storms across the Midwest. CDS volunteers worked at a shelter at the Fort Wayne Memorial Coliseum the weekend of Dec. 20-21, helping care for families and children whose homes lacked heat due to a power outage caused by an ice storm. “Despite the busy season, volunteers are willing to help out,” reported Judy Bezon, associate director for CDS. “One volunteer said, ‘When things happen, they happen.’”

4) Thousands gather at Fort Benning to oppose School of the Americas.

This year’s gathering at the gates of Fort Benning, Ga., marked the 19th year that activists came

together to voice opposition to the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, formerly known as the School of the Americas. School of Americas Watch (SOAW) organizers estimated the crowd on the first day of the events, Saturday, Nov. 22, at 12,000 and the crowd on the second day, Sunday, Nov. 23, at 20,000.

The days leading up to the weekend of Nov. 22-2 were filled with workshops, documentaries, learning, and breakout sessions, giving early arrivals a chance to network with others sharing their opposition to the institute. A group from Manchester College participated in many of the sessions. Nick Kauffman, a Manchester senior, shared his reasons for attending: “One of the things that makes the SOAW vigil special among protests is the faith-centeredness. Instead of the anger and jeering I encounter at other political events, there’s more of an emphasis on God’s call to a different life. I think SOAW is an important witness, both for myself and for the Church of the Brethren, if we’re to take seriously Christ’s call to seek justice and love our enemies.”

Saturday began with thousands of people perusing the hundreds of information tables lining the street leading to the military base. Throughout the day there were presenters, speakers, and musicians on the main stage of the event.

Saturday evening the Brethren Witness/Washington Office hosted a Brethren Gathering. Close to 80 people attended. Four colleges–Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa.; McPherson (Kan.) College, Bridgewater (Va.) College, and Manchester College in North Manchester, Ind.–were recognized as having students at the gathering. Peter Buck from Equal Exchange spoke to the group about buying fair trade goods, and connections between Equal Exchange, the Church of the Brethren, and Latin America. Hayley Hathoway from Jubilee USA Network spoke about debt relief and the work of Jubilee, which is an advocacy partner of the Church of the Brethren.

On Sunday morning thousands more gathered in the street in front of Fort Benning. They marched in a solemn procession that lasted almost three hours. During that time people walked by the razor-wired gates of the base, while names of people who were killed by those trained at the School of Americas were spoken. After each name was spoken, crosses, hands, and voices were raised in salute. “Presente,” the procession mourned, “you are accounted for.” Six people were arrested for civil disobedience.

5) Three churches present Tercentennial Musical.

A group of Brethren from Everett (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, Bedford (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, and Stone Church of the Brethren in Huntingdon, Pa., worked together to perform an original one-act musical by Frank Ramirez and Steve Engle titled “The Three Visions of Israel Poulson, Senior.”

The musical was commissioned by Robert Neff to be presented on Oct. 18 at the annual Good Samaritan Banquet of The Village at Morrison’s Cove, a Church of the Brethren retirement community in Martinsburg, Pa. The musical also recognized the 300th Anniversary–or tercentennial–of the Church of the Brethren as a way of looking forward into the future of caring ministries in the church.

The event dramatized the difference between cheerful and grumpy workers, an old fiddle that symbolized a tired-out sermon, and the terror of being weighed in the balance at the Last Trump. “The Three Visions” is based on reminiscences of the 19th century Brethren historian and book collector Abraham Harley Cassel about Israel Poulson, Sr., (1770-1856) who was pastor of the Amwell, New Jersey, congregation.

Scripts and accompaniment CDs can be made available to congregations who wish to perform the 25-minute show. Contact Frank Ramirez at or Steve Engle at

6) Brethren bits: Correction, end-of-the-year giving, job opening, more.

  • Correction: In the Newsline of Dec. 17, Bernie Sanders was incorrectly identified. He is a senator from Vermont.
  • In an end-of-the-year reminder, giving to Church of the Brethren ministries continues to be encouraged following the joining together of the former General Board, Association of Brethren Caregivers, and some Annual Conference administration into the new organization named “Church of the Brethren.” The action has not eliminated or ended any Brethren ministries. The preferred method of support from congregations is still the check, now to be made out to Church of the Brethren and mailed to 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120, or by electronic deposit. Individuals also may give by check, credit card, or online at A note in the memo line of a check will direct the donation to Core Ministries, which supports the work of the Caring Ministries (formerly ABC) and ministries of the former General Board including many basic church ministries such as Congregational Life, Youth and Young Adult Ministries, Global Mission Partnerships, the Ministry Office, the Brethren Witness/Washington Office, Brethren Volunteer Service, Communications, and the Brethren Historical Library and Archives, among others. Donations also are received to the other three major relief and church-planting funds of the Church of the Brethren: the Emergency Disaster Fund, the Global Food Crisis Fund, and the Emerging Global Mission Fund. For more information call 800-323-8039 ext. 271.
  • The Church of the Brethren’s Mid-Atlantic District seeks a fulltime district executive minister. The position is available immediately. The district includes 62 congregations in the states of Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and the District of Columbia. The district’s congregations are urban, suburban, and rural, and its membership is theologically diverse. The district office is located in New Windsor, Md., at the Brethren Service Center some 40 miles northwest of Baltimore. District staff include the district executive and a fulltime administrative assistant. The preferred candidate is someone who understands the history, values, and workings of the Church of the Brethren. Responsibilities include serving as executive officer of the Leadership Team of the district; giving general oversight to the planning and implementation of ministries as directed by District Conference and the Leadership Team; providing linkages to congregations, the Mission and Ministry Board, and other denominational agencies; assisting congregations and pastors with placement; building and strengthening relationships with congregations and pastors; using mediation skills to work with congregations in conflict; articulating and promoting the vision of the district; facilitating and encouraging the calling of people to set-apart ministry and lay leadership in the church; promoting unity in the district. Qualifications include a clear commitment to Jesus Christ demonstrated by a vibrant spiritual life; commitment to New Testament values; commitment to Church of the Brethren faith and heritage; a Master of Divinity or equivalent theological degree preferred; a minimum of seven years of pastoral experience; communication, mediation, and conflict resolution skills; administrative, management, and budget skills; respect for theological diversity; flexibility in working with staff, volunteer, pastoral, and lay leadership. Apply by sending a letter of interest and resume via e-mail to Applicants are requested to contact three or four people to provide a letter of reference. A candidate profile must be completed and returned before the application is considered complete. The application deadline is Feb. 20. Visit for more information about the district.
  • The Brethren Witness/Washington Office has issued an invitation for anyone who is interested to attend the upcoming Historic Peace Churches meeting, “Heeding God’s Call: a Gathering on Peace,” in Philadelphia, Pa., on Jan. 13-17. “We have a number of unclaimed seats that we had reserved for Brethren delegates,” said the announcement. “We would like to…invite you and members of your faith communities to join hundreds of others who have already registered for this amazing Gathering in Philadelphia.” E-mail for more information.
  • Professors at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., have written chapters in newly released books. Tara Hornbacker, associate professor of ministry formation, recently completed a chapter titled “Working with Technology and Distance Education in Theological Field Education” in the book “Preparing for Ministry: A Practical Guide to Theological Field Education” by George M. Hillman, Jr., published by Kregel Academic and Professional. “Anabaptist Theology,” an article by Thomas Finger, scholar in residence at Bethany during 2008-09, appears in the new “Global Dictionary of Theology” published by Intervarsity Press. Finger’s article is one of approximately 250 articles written by over 100 contributors.
  • In other news from Bethany, Hornbacker has received a grant from the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion to examine and revise the seminary’s Master of Divinity Review course. Dawn Ottoni Wilhelm, associate professor of preaching and worship, and Russell Haitch, associate professor of Christian education, also will work on the project. “Receiving the grant is the culmination of much of my work with the Wabash Center over the past two years in integration, curricular design, and assessment in theological education,” Hornbacker said. “The review also will facilitate the work of the entire faculty as we consider new curricular objectives.” The Master of Divinity Review course is the concluding course in the overall ministry formation process for the master of divinity degree. Seniors participate in a review by a faculty committee to assess their fulfillment of the objectives of the degree program.
  • The Church of the Brethren’s Global Women’s Project has made a year-end appeal for donations to its work with women seeking justice through grassroots projects in Rwanda, Nepal, Sudan, Palestine, and Uganda. Gifts may be made in honor of a loved one. Visit to download cards for those being honored.
  • The SERRV store at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., will be holding sales of holiday merchandise through the end of January (the store will be closed for inventory from Jan. 4-8). All holiday items will be 50 percent off. Also now through Feb. 15 customers may bring a nonperishable food item and receive 20 percent off their total purchase.
  • Dates have been announced for next year’s Ecumenical Advocacy Days on March 13-16, 2009, in Washington, D.C. The Brethren Witness/Washington Office is inviting Brethren to take part in this gathering on the theme, “Enough for All Creation” (John 10:10). Go to for more information or contact the Brethren Witness/Washington Office at or 800-785-3246.
  • The Death Row Support Project (DRSP) celebrated its 30th anniversary this year. A project of the Brethren Witness/Washington Office, DRSP invites people to respond to Jesus’ call to visit those in prison by writing letters to individuals who have been sentenced to death across the US. Like many other Brethren projects, DRSP has become an ecumenical effort: about 300 Brethren have been involved and over 4,000 people from around the world have participated in reaching out to more than 3,000 on death row. Visit for more information or e-mail coordinator Rachel Gross at
  • Parker Ford Church of the Brethren in Pottstown, Pa., recently recognized their pastor and his wife for longterm contributions to the congregation. Robert and Rose Ella Latshaw were honored for four decades of dedicated service. They have served the congregation since 1968, according to an article in the “Spring Ford Reporter” newspaper.
  • Among churches featured on the Botetourt County (Va.) Historical Society’s 2009 historical calendars are two Brethren congregations: Troutville (Va.) Church of the Brethren and Cloverdale (Va.) Church of the Brethren. The calendar is titled “Historical Churches of Botetourt.”
  • Two of three marshalls for the Floyd (Va.) Christmas Parade were leaders in the Church of the Brethren, according to a report in “Southwest Virginia Today.” Dale Bowman and Vernon Baker were among the marshalls. Bowman is retired as pastor of Copper Hill Church of the Brethren, and continues in free ministry at Parkway Church of the Brethren. Baker is a deacon at Topeco Church of the Brethren and is moderator for the Church of the Brethren’s Virlina District.
  • Manchester College in North Manchester, Ind., has announced a new “Triple Guarantee”: financial aid, graduate within four years, and a job or graduate school within six months of graduation. The guarantee is Manchester’s response to making college accessible and affordable in difficult times, according to a release from the school. President Jo Young Switzer announced the guarantee in a press conference on Dec. 16: Financial aid for all fulltime students, and full tuition for academically strong low-income students who live in Indiana; graduation within four years for all fulltime students or receive free tuition for credits needed to graduate in five years; and a job or post-graduate school within six months of graduation, or return for a full year tuition-free. “These are not ‘stretch’ goals” for Manchester,” the release said. “More than 85 percent of Manchester graduates already finish within four years…a rate far exceeding Indiana state universities…. More than 97 percent have jobs or are in graduate school within six months of receiving their diplomas.” The guarantees require students to maintain good academic and disciplinary standing and to meet financial aid filing and payment deadlines. To qualify for full tuition, students also must qualify for Indiana and federal Pell grant funds. Go to for more information.
  • Juniata Voices, a yearly anthology of lectures, articles, and presentations given by Juniata College faculty and visiting speakers, has released its 2008 edition featuring contributions from Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Galway Kinnell, “New York Times” journalist Cornelia Dean, and Andrew Murray, professor emeritus of peace and conflict studies. Go to
  • The January issue of “Brethren Voices” features an interview with Peggy Reiff Miller of Milford, Ind., about seagoing cowboys who between 1945-47 accompanied livestock to war-torn countries following World War II. Brethren Voices is a community television program produced by Portland (Ore.) Peace Church of the Brethren. More than 7,000 seagoing cowboys served under the partnership of the Brethren Service Committee and the UN Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. Dan West was the “idea man” for this project, inspiring the Heifer Project that soon became an ecumenical program involving many denominations. Miller shares photographs and stories she obtained from many of the seagoing cowboys during seven years of research. Brethren Voices programs are available for $8. E-mail to contact producer Ed Groff.
  • Two ecumenical groups that include the Church of the Brethren as a member have joined religious leaders around the world in calling for a cease fire between Israel and Gaza. Churches for Middle East Peace is urging Christians to call on the United States to exercise leadership to immediately end the violence, restore the cease fire, and lift the blockade of Gaza. As the death toll in Gaza exceeded 350 in the fourth day of violence yesterday, NCC general secretary Michael Kinnamon issued a prayer and a plea to God to “make war cease.” Also yesterday, patriarchs and heads of churches in Jerusalem issued a statement expressing “deep concern, regret, and shock.” Following are portions of Kinnamon’s prayer: “God of all creation, you who are so bound to humankind that you feel the joys that complete us and the sorrows that rend us; God of Abraham, you who have made covenant with our ancestors and called us to be special instruments of your peace; we come to you in pain. You have commanded us to love our neighbors as ourselves; yet throughout our world we see horrifying examples of our failure to love as you command…. Forgive us for how we turn away from the suffering of others. Help us to face their agony so that you might use us as instruments of your peace.”
  • Church World Service (CWS) is promoting its annual alternative gifts catalogue. Go to to find the “Best Gifts” catalogue online, where gifts may be browsed by type or price. Sample gifts include a blanket for $10, a goat for $112, and an Emergency Food Package for $72.
  • Religions for Peace is celebrating the Cluster Munitions Treaty signed by 100 governments on Dec. 3, calling it “the most significant disarmament and humanitarian treaty of the decade.” In a release, the organization said, “The treaty bans the use, production, transfer, and stockpiling of cluster munitions, committing each government to provide victim assistance and to clear contaminated land.” The organization continues to urge each government to ratify the treaty so that it becomes legally binding, and called on governments that have not yet signed to do so. The Church of the Brethren is a member of Religions for Peace.
  • Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) has announced a delegation to Iraq on April 18-May 2. The delegation will be based in Suleimaniya, in the Kurdish north of Iraq, and will meet with representatives of nongovernmental organizations, human rights groups, displaced people, government officials, and others to gain perspective on the challenges facing people in northern Iraq and the impact of violence in other areas of Iraq and along the border. CPT has had a presence in Iraq since Oct. 2002. The fundraising expectation is $3,500, which includes roundtrip airfare from a US or Canadian city. Apply at or contact CPT at or 773-277-0253. Applications are due March 2.
  • “Lectern Resource,” published by Logos Productions, features Frank Ramirez as the writer for 2009. Ramirez is pastor of Everett (Pa.) Church of the Brethren and the author of several books published by Brethren Press, most recently “Brethren Brush with Greatness.” Ramirez provides a children’s story and an offering message for each Sunday, along with several other worship resources including a Call to Worship, Prayer of Confession, Responsorial Psalm, and Benediction. The resources are built around the Year B Revised Common Lectionary scriptures, and are keyed to sermons written by William H. Willimon, available through another Logos publication. Go to or call 800-328-0200.
  • “Springs of Living Water-Christ-Centered Church Renewal” by David S. Young has been published by Herald Press. Young is an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren and author of “Servant Leadership for Church Renewal.” The book is a manual to help a church cultivate its spiritual life and focus efforts in ministries that express its identity and call, through a renewal team trained to get the congregation involved and to build on the church’s strengths. Young has used the model in Brethren, American Baptist, and Mennonite congregations.
  • Three new books feature the journals of the Bucher brothers–Christian, Jacob, and George–who lived in the Lebanon, Pa., area in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and were influential among Brethren there. The books by Gladys Sowers are published by Mast-hof Press: “Christian Bucher, Elder, Church of the Brethren: His Journals, Pastoral, and Genealogical Records, Jan. 1851 to June 1907,” “Jacob Bucher: His Journals and Agricultural Transactions, Jan. 1858 to July 1877,” and “George Bucher, Elder, Church of the Brethren: His Journals and Pastoral Records, Feb. 1862 to Sept. 1908.”

7) Musings on a resounding call for change.

The one-word message from this election year has been CHANGE. A noble call indeed! For far too many, change simply implies something different, doing away with old customs, patterns, traditions, just for the sake of being different. That is a poor excuse for change.

May I suggest that change starts from within. A changed society, indeed a changed culture must be built on changed hearts of individuals within that culture. Never is this kind of change easy. It comes out of struggle, discipline, willpower, prayer, and soul energy. Worthy change comes from God’s spirit and power touching the heart and the soul of an individual.

Here is what I see as evidence of real change: from fear to faith, from getting to giving, from greed to generosity, from futility to fulfillment, from words to work, from despair to discipleship, from loathing to loving. Try building a sermon or two by using the above expressions, and the following texts: “I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them” (Ezekiel 11:19); “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17a).

This 300th anniversary year could simply result in polishing the old, and some of that is good, but this special year also must help us faithfully face the future. I regularly remember my dad, Eugene O. Kinsel, resisting singing “’Tis the old-time religion and it’s good enough for me.” He always said, “The old-time religion is not good enough else this world would be a much better place.”

Godly change? Yes!

–Glenn Eugene Kinsel is a volunteer with Brethren Disaster Ministries.

8) A peace pole is erected in Schwarzenau.

At the 300th Anniversary Celebration in Schwarzenau, Germany, on Aug. 3, a Peace Pole was given to the village by the Brethren Encyclopedia Board of Directors on behalf of the Brethren bodies. In 1708 the village of Schwarzenau was the site of the first Brethren baptisms, which took place in the Eder River.

The villagers have now erected the Peace Pole near the village information sign at the end of the bridge across the Eder River. The Peace Pole has on it the words “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in eight languages.

“Peace Poles are memorials, silent prayers, and international symbols for peace,” said Karin Zacharias, a Schwarzenau resident and a member of the Schwarzenau Planning Committee for the 300th Anniversary Celebration, when she spoke at the ceremony. “They remind us that peace is possible and can only grow within us, and that we should live our everyday lives in the spirit of the words ‘May Peace Prevail on Earth.’”

The villagers of Schwarzenau (population 800) worked diligently to make the 300th Anniversary Celebration a most memorable occasion for the more than 500 Brethren who attended from 18 nations. The Peace Pole will be a constant reminder of the village’s appreciation of the Brethren, and stands as a challenge to all who see it to work for peace on earth.

–Dale Ulrich is a member of the Brethren Encyclopedia Board of Directors and helped coordinate the celebration in Schwarzenau.


Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren, or 800-323-8039 ext. 260. Judy Bezon, Jeff Boshart, Merle Crouse, Lerry Fogle, Ed Groff, Nancy Knepper, Jon Kobel, Jeri S. Kornegay, Wendy McFadden, Frank Ramirez, Carmen Rubio, Marcia Shetler, John Wall, and Roy Winter contributed to this report. Newsline appears every other Wednesday, with other special issues sent as needed. The next regularly scheduled issue is set for Jan. 14, 2009. 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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