Newsline for January 16, 2008

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

“Those of steadfast mind you keep in peace–in peace because they trust in you” (Isaiah 26:3).


1) ABC conducts survey in response to query on Child Abuse Prevention.
2) Church of the Brethren is received into Christian Churches Together.
3) ‘Regnuh’ poster project invites children’s ideas on turning hunger around.
4) Michigan’s ‘Church in Drive’ celebrates a first anniversary.
5) Brethren bits: Personnel, ‘USA Today’ on disaster work, Kenya grant, more.


6) Celebration marks 60th anniversary of BVS work in Falfurrias, Texas.
7) Ministry of Reconciliation offers spring workshops.


8) Brethren Press kicks off 20th year of faithQuest with Hebrews study.

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1) ABC conducts survey in response to query on Child Abuse Prevention.

The Association of Brethren Caregivers is conducting a survey of Church of the Brethren congregations, districts, camps, programs, and agencies to gather information in response to the query on Child Abuse Prevention that came to the 2007 Annual Conference.

The effort will survey how the recommendations made in previous church statements and documents–“Conditions of Childhood in the United States” (1986), the “Child Abuse Prevention Handbook” (1991), and the “Ethical Guidelines for Congregations” (1996)–are being utilized and implemented. The survey will be conducted between Jan. 15-Feb. 15, 2008.

Church board chairs, district executives, and directors of camps, agencies, and programs have been contacted, asking them to complete the short survey online at The website also features sample policies, FAQs, and links to child abuse prevention resources to assist organizations in responding to child protection issues.

Those without Internet access should contact the Association of Brethren Caregivers at 800-323-8039 to receive a paper copy of the survey by mail.

The Association of Brethren Caregivers will report the findings of the survey to the 2008 Annual Conference in Richmond, Va. Questions about the survey or other response to the Child Abuse Prevention query can be directed to Kim Ebersole, director of Family and Older Adult Ministries, at 800-323-8039 or

2) Church of the Brethren is received into Christian Churches Together.

On Jan. 11, the new ecumenical organization Christian Churches Together completed its second annual meeting in Baltimore at the Maritime Institute. Representatives of 37 participating churches and six organizations attended. CCT’s main objectives are evangelism and domestic poverty, and the organization seeks to bring Christians from across the theological and denominational spectrum together for fellowship and common witness.

The Church of the Brethren was one of seven new churches and organizations received into CCT during the opening worship service on Jan. 8. The other new participants are the American Bible Society, Elim Fellowship, Habitat For Humanity, the Mennonite Church USA, the Polish National Catholic Church, and the Vineyard USA.

“It was a very simple but meaningful ceremony. They called us forward, identified us, and gave thanks to God for us in prayer,” said James Beckwith, moderator of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference.He was one of two delegates representing the Brethren, along with Michael Hostetter, chair of the Committee on Interchurch Relations. Annual Conference moderator-elect David Shumate attended as an observer.

“I think our part in the CCT is intended to complement our work with other ecumenical groups, not to compete with other national associations,” Hostetter said. “It is intended as a much more broadly based national Christian organization and to bring a variety of Christian expression at the table.”

On Jan. 9, the group visited the headquarters of Bread for the World, a CCT participant organization, where they were joined by 18 seminarians including Nathan Myers, a Church of the Brethren student at Eastern Mennonite Seminary. The group also toured the service sites of S.O.M.E. (So Others May Eat) in Washington, D.C., and Sojourners, another CCT participant organization. They heard reflections from representatives of churches on the topic, “What we have learned in our struggle to eliminate poverty.”

Throughout the meeting, participants met in small discernment groups to pray and think together about what God may be calling CCT to do–as individuals, as churches and as CCT together–in regard to poverty and in addition to the organization’s Statement on Poverty.

“The heart of the meeting was in the discernment groups,” said Beckwith. The groups of five people were intended to include one person from each of the five faith families in CCT (Catholic, Historic Protestant, Evangelical/Pentecostal, Orthodox, and Racial Ethnic). “We talked about evangelism and poverty in tandem, just as Jesus did when he declared that he had come to preach good news to the poor in Luke,” Beckwith said. “We represented a broad political and religious spectrum and tried to discern what we can say together about the issues of poverty and evangelism.”

The group approved next steps including dedicating the largest part of the 2009 annual meeting to a continued exploration of the convergences and divergences of the participant churches and organizations regarding poverty. The group also decided to press the new US president-elect to make the elimination of domestic poverty a part of his or her administration’s goals.

In other actions, Wesley Granberg Michaelson, general secretary of the Reformed Church in America, was thanked for his service as moderator; Leonid Kishkovsky, director of External Affairs and Interchurch Relations of the Orthodox Church in America, was commissioned as the new moderator; and Richard L. Hamm was installed as the new executive administrator.

New members of the Steering Committee also were affirmed. One new member on the Steering Committee is Wendy McFadden, executive director and publisher of Brethren Press, who was selected because the Historic Protestant group wanted to include a peace church representative, Beckwith reported.

The date for the next annual meeting was set for Jan. 13-16, 2009.

–Brethren Press intern Jamie Denlinger contributed to this story. Denlinger is a senior English major at Ohio University, and has been an outreach intern at Prince of Peace Church of the Brethren in Kettering, Ohio.

3) ‘Regnuh’ poster project invites children’s ideas on turning hunger around.

On the heels of senior high and senior adult campaigns last year on “Regnuh: Turning Hunger Around,” the opportunity comes for younger folk to put forth their ideas on reducing global hunger. Kid’s Regnuh Poster Project invites children ages 6-14 to illustrate ways humankind can better respond to the world’s one billion people who lack adequate food.

The Regnuh Poster Project is sponsored by the Global Food Crisis Fund as part of its 25th anniversary celebration. While Regnuh (hunger spelled backward) is the overaching theme, the posters may also illustrate biblical sayings, Brethren teachings, or health and environment concerns related to hunger.

The drawings are to be on 8 1/2 x 11-inch paper with the name and age of the child, congregation, and district legibly noted on the reverse side. Entries are to be postmarked by April 30 and sent to the Global Food Crisis Fund, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120.

Tentative plans are to display the drawings at Annual Conference or to post them on the Global Food Crisis Fund website.

–Howard Royer is manager of the Global Food Crisis Fund for the Church of the Brethren General Board.

4) Michigan’s ‘Church in Drive’ celebrates a first anniversary.

The Church in Drive, a church plant of New Life Christian Fellowship in Mount Pleasant, Mich., is celebrating the one-year anniversary of its first official prayer meeting. This prayer meeting, held in Jan. 2007, involved pastor Nate Polzin along with Jeannie Kaufmen, Vanessa Palmer, and Jessica Herron, who drove throughout Saginaw, Mich., praying for those in need.

Polzin began his career in campus ministry at the Church of the Brethren’s New Life Christian Fellowship. There he directed the program “Standing in the Gap,” geared to bringing college students closer to Christ. The program began at Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, and incorporates a weekly Bible study, service projects, game nights, concerts, dances, and football tailgating. “The college campus is one of the greatest missionary fields and we have seen a lot of students come to Christ,” said Polzin.

After being called to ministry while working at New Life, Polzin believed it was time to reach out to a new community. “I felt God really started to talk to me about starting a new church” he said. This call was supported by New Life Christian Fellowship as well as the Michigan District Board. “The Michigan District people are very excited for the Church in Drive and all that Nate Polzin is doing,” said district executive minister Marie Willoughby.

Saginaw became the location for the new ministry. “As far as ‘choosing’ Saginaw, it was much more a spiritual draw that was confirmed by New Life than it was a calculated decision to come here because of the economic depression,” Polzin said. “The economic and social woes of Saginaw are real enough, but I came here because God really made it clear I was to come.” The location’s close proximity to Saginaw Valley State University, where Polzin began a second chapter of Standing in the Gap, was also a factor in the decision.

Economic hardships facing the community are caused partly by the struggling auto industry in the area. “The auto industry is going down the tank and the community is suffering from an economic depression,” said Polzin. The auto industry’s influence in the community was one of the leading factors for selecting the name “The Church in Drive” for the new plant. The name is both a symbol of hopeful progress for the community, and a reference to Jeremiah 29:7. According to the Church in Drive mission statement, the Jeremiah passage relates how “God tells His people to seek the shalom of the city they are living in, for as the city prospers, they too will prosper.”

Polzin hopes to bring a sense of community and safety to the citizens of Saginaw through creating a location that is not only a place of worship, but a place for events and a way to offer a circle of support. The Church in Drive is currently being housed in a remodeled jewelry store. Polzin hopes the recent addition of cable television and Internet access will allow for a more comfortable setting as well as a wider variety of activities throughout the week. Currently, Steve Heska, Marcy Abner, and Ian Niecko are assisting Polzin in the ministry.

The Church in Drive is based heavily on prayer. “Prayer Partners,” an initiative through the church’s website, is searching for dedicated volunteers to pray daily for the Church in Drive’s success. Polzin continues the theme of prayer in the Saginaw community by asking businesses for their individual prayer requests.

As for Standing in the Gap, it has expanded also, with a second chapter at Saginaw Valley State University drawing a regular attendance of 10-15 students for Bible study and prayer meetings. Polzin hopes for a bright future for the continuing campus ministry, and plans to assist in the formation of nine other chapters at surrounding campuses including schools such as Michigan State University.

–Brethren Press intern Jamie Denlinger is a senior English major at Ohio University, and has been an outreach intern at Prince of Peace Church of the Brethren in Kettering, Ohio.

5) Brethren bits: Personnel, ‘USA Today’ on disaster work, Kenya grant, more.

  • Stan Noffsinger, general secretary of the Church of the Brethren General Board, will be on sabbatical from Jan. 2-March 3. The sabbatical was approved and announced by the General Board’s Executive Committee at the board’s Fall meeting in Oct. 2007. Noffsinger’s sabbatical time will be spent reading, studying German, and spending several weeks in the high Sonoran Desert of Arizona considering wellness and wisdom through the desert prophets. Executive director of the Ministry Office, Mary Jo Flory-Steury, will be acting general secretary. She will work with Tim Harvey, General Board chair, and Jon Kobel of the general secretary’s office, to prepare for the Spring meeting of the General Board in March. To contact Flory-Steury call Jon Kobel at the general secretary’s office at 800-323-8039 ext. 201, or Margie Paris at the Ministry Office at 800-323-8039 ext. 207.
  • Tim Stauffer has accepted the position of computer technical support specialist in the Information Services department of the Church of the Brethren General Board, effective Jan. 7. Stauffer will work at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., where he has been a Brethren Volunteer Service worker since Aug. 2006. He is from Polo, Ill.
  • Nancy Buffenmyer, of Lombard, Ill., began work as the Gather ’Round editorial and marketing assistant on Jan. 14. Gather ’Round is a Sunday school curriculum published jointly by Brethren Press and the Mennonite Publishing Network. Buffenmyer has extensive experience in the publication production process, having worked for Tyndale House Publishers for more than a dozen years and more recently for Douglas Shaw and Associates in West Chicago. She currently serves on the worship committee of York Center Church of the Brethren. She will work fulltime at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill.
  • John and Mary Mueller, directors of a Katrina rebuilding project for Brethren Disaster Ministries, are part of the largest volunteer response in US history, according to an article published yesterday in “USA Today.” The Muellers and their story provide the lead for a Jan. 15 article, “Katrina Volunteers Come to Stay,” focused on those who are rebuilding the New Orleans area as fulltime volunteers. To find the article online, go to
  • The Emergency Disaster Fund has sent a grant of $2,300 to aid those displaced by political unrest and violence in Kenya. The grant supports a Church World Service appeal for displaced people affected by post-election rioting and violence, and supports the Kenya Evangelical Lutheran Church in providing emergency food to 15,000 displaced Kenyans.
  • The 2008 Lent devotional from Brethren Press, “He Set His Face: Devotions for Ash Wednesday Through Easter,” is written by James L. Benedict, pastor of Union Bridge (Md.) Church of the Brethren. The booklet of daily devotions offers a scripture, meditation, and prayer for each day of Lent through Easter Sunday. “The purpose of this devotional guide is to encourage reflection and prayer, two of the four pillars of Lenten observance,” Benedict writes in the introduction. “Through reflection and prayer, we will be encouraged to renew our understanding of discipleship and deepen our commitment to being followers of Jesus.” Order from Brethren Press for $2.25 each plus shipping and handling; call 800-441-3712 or go to
  • Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) announces the start of its 2008 Winter Orientation Unit, to be held Jan. 27-Feb. 15 at Camp Ithiel in Gotha, Fla. This will be the 278th unit for BVS with eight volunteers from the US and Germany, including several Church of the Brethren members. A highlight of the three-week orientation will be a weekend immersion experience in Miami, as well as volunteer work experiences in the Orlando area. The group will have the opportunity to work at food banks, nature preserves, nonprofit organizations, and Habitat for Humanity, and will work at Camp Ithiel for a day. A BVS potluck is open to all those who are interested on Feb. 4, at 5:30 p.m., at Camp Ithiel. “Please feel free to come and welcome the new BVS volunteers and to share your own experiences,” said an invitation from Beth Merrill of the BVS staff. “As always your thoughts and prayers are welcome and needed. Please remember this new unit and the people they will touch during their year of service through BVS,” Merrill said. For more information contact the BVS office at 800-323-8039 ext. 423.
  • *On Earth Peace has announced the theme for its work in 2008, “Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other” (Psalm 85:10). Each year, On Earth Peace selects a theme to inform its work, inspire its community, and ground its peacemaking efforts in scripture, according to an announcement in “The Peacebuilder” newsletter.
  • On Earth Peace is offering follow-up support for those who took part in events on the International Day of Prayer for Peace last September. Congregations that planned events are receiving phone calls to support and encourage next steps for building peace in local communities. To receive a support phone call contact the Peace Witness program at 503-775-1636. In addition, on Jan. 30 at 4 p.m. Pacific time (7 p.m. Eastern) a networking conference call is offered for organizers to share what has been happening since then, and to offer and receive inspiration and support for next steps. To register for the networking call, contact Darlene Johnson at 410-635-8706 or
  • Emmanuel Church of the Brethren in Mount Solon, Va., has moved to a new building. The old building that dates from 1896 is scheduled to be torn down, according to a report in the “Daily News Record” of Harrisonburg, Va. The new $1.5 million building was dedicated with worship on Dec. 30. Pastor Eugene Shaver said the church hopes the new building will become a resource for the community, and plans to open a day care center in the fall.
  • Stonewall Church of the Brethren in Floyd, Va., plans to honor former pastor Elbert Lee Naff Sr. for 33 years of service on Sunday, Jan. 20. Naff retired on Dec. 31.
  • Lititz (Pa.) Church of the Brethren held its ninth annual “First Day Feast” on New Year’s Day, with 1,365 people in attendance according to the “Lititz Record Express.” The feast included pork, potatoes, and sauerkraut. “For anyone wondering why the streets of Lititz were so barren on New Year’s Day, it’s because everyone in town, or so it seemed, was at Lititz Church of the Brethren for dinner,” the article said, going on to report that the event took place with the help of 135 volunteers working over two days, and that the church served 800 pounds of pork, 540 pounds of potatoes, and 85 gallons of sauerkraut. The annual dinner raises thousands of dollars for a Youth Foundation Fund.
  • The annual midwestern Regional Youth Conference usually hosted by Manchester College will not take place this year, according to an announcement posted on the website of Illinois and Wisconsin District. Dave McFadden, Manchester’s executive vice president, said in the announcement that declining attendance has led organizers to ask how youth and congregations in Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, and Michigan may be better served. During a meeting with youth pastors from Northern and South/Central Indiana Districts, McFadden and campus pastor Steve Crain learned that the traditional late April date conflicts with end-of-year school activities for many youth. Also, the “mini-National Youth Conference” approach spreads leadership and participants too thinly, the announcement said. “We know there will be disappointments with our decision but we hope this disappointment is a good sign that there is ongoing interest in a six-district event,” McFadden said. “As the interests and schedules of youth change, we want to adapt creatively to those changes.”
  • Upcoming “Grow with CBS (Center for Brethren Studies)” courses in Pacific Southwest District are planned on the theme “Serving in Your Strengths” on Jan. 31-Feb. 1 at Empire Church of the Brethren in Modesto, Calif., and on Feb. 7-8 at La Verne (Calif.) Church of the Brethren, with instructor Jeff Glass of the General Board’s Congregational Life Teams. A course on “The Vital Community of Jesus” is offered on Feb. 21-24 at the La Verne Church with former Annual Conference moderator Paul Grout as instructor. The Center for Brethren Studies is sponsored by the district and directed by Doris H. Dunham. For more information go to or contact the Center for Brethren Studies, P.O. Box 219, La Verne, CA 91750-0219;
  • A state survey of 224 nursing homes by the Maryland Health Care Commission found that families have “an excellent opinion” of Fahrney-Keedy Home and Village. Fahrney-Keedy is a Church of the Brethren retirement community in Boonsboro, Md., and reported these findings in a recent release. “From September to November the commission surveyed family members and other primary responsible parties with regard to services and care available for residents in the nursing homes,” the release said. For Fahrney-Keedy, 87 families received surveys, and on a 1-to-10 scale of overall satisfaction rated Fahrney-Keedy at 9.3. Statewide, the average rate was 8.1. “The results of this survey validate that the residents at Fahrney-Keedy receive quality care and that we have a dedicated group of staff that are committed to serving our residents well. We always strive to maintain this excellent level of care,” said Bob Lytle, administrator.
  • Pleasant Hill Village, a Church of the Brethren retirement community in Girard, Ill., held its annual Dinner and Auction on Oct. 20. Almost 200 people were in attendance, and proceeds netted $9,244, from an auction and other games. The gross revenue from the event is estimated at $15,300. “Thank you to all who assisted with this event and made donations. Several new donations were received from Brethren churches,” said Pleasant Hill Village in a note in the Illinois and Wisconsin District newsletter.
  • Pinecrest Community, a Church of the Brethren retirement community in Mount Morris, Ill., is holding an open house for new homes on Jan. 25-27. The new designs by Willett Hofman and Associates feature one and two bedroom homes with a one-car garage. For more information contact Chrystal Bostian at 815-734-2103.
  • For its annual Martin Luther King Day observance, Manchester College is bringing activist and historian Reiland Rabaka to campus on Jan.17-18. Manchester is a Church of the Brethren-related college in North Manchester, Ind. Rabaka is associate professor of Africana studies at the University of Colorado, and an affiliate professor of women and gender studies, and is author of “W.E.B. Du Bois and the Problems of the Twenty-First Century.” The public is invited to “A Drum Major for Justice: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Message and Its Special Meaning” at 7 p.m. on Jan. 18 in the College Union. A service of remembrance and celebration for Martin Luther King Jr. will follow, with the Union Baptist Church Mass Choir of Fort Wayne. While on campus, Rabaka also will lecture on “African-American Radical Politics and Social Movements” at 9 a.m. on Jan. 18, in the Lahman Room of the College Union; and at 7 p.m. on Jan. 17 will present “Hip-Hop vs. Hip-Pop” during a student poetry reading in Oakwood Hall. In February Manchester will commemorate the 40th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s visit to the college, when he delivered his final college address before his death. The commemoration will take place at 10 a.m. on Feb. 1, in Cordier Auditorium, with a 50-minute program including video clips, student readings from the speech, remembrances, and music.
  • A spring gathering of the Brethren Peace Fellowship will be held April 12 in Union Bridge, Md., on the topic, “Neglected Voices: Peace in the Old Testatment.” Leadership will be provided by David Leiter, pastor of Green Tree Church of the Brethren in Oaks, Pa., and author of a new book of the same title (available from Brethren Press, call 800-441-3712). The gathering also will include times of worship and singing, a potluck lunch, and the opportunity for walks around the Aukerman homestead. Participants are invited to bring food to share. The event will be held at Ruth Aukerman’s home, or if the group grows too large at Union Bridge Church of the Brethren. Limited sleeping space is available for those who may need it. To attend, contact Aukerman at 410-775-2254 or (note “BPF” in the e-mail title).
  • The Church of the Brethren’s Global Women’s Project has partnered with the New Community Project to help support a women’s empowerment initiative of the Christian Commission in Honduras. The two groups have sent a $5,000 grant–$2,500 from the New Community Project and $2,500 from the Global Women’s Project–for a series of community meetings and workshops designed to give women more voice in civic affairs and more equal standing in their communities.
  • Peggy Gish, a Church of the Brethren member with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) in Iraq, has reported that Turkish bombings in the Kurdish area of northern Iraq have killed, injured, and displaced civilians. The CPT team met with people who experienced the bombings, some of whom lost family members or had family members injured in the attacks. Gish reported that on the night of Dec. 16, Turkish planes bombed 34 villages in central-eastern Iraqi Kurdistan, close to the Iranian border. “This attack also displaced 350-400 families, destroyed a school, and damaged several mosques. Turkish planes flew as far as 50 miles south of the Turkish border across Iraqi airspace to bomb these villages,” she wrote. For the full report, go to
  • A Jan. 11 article in the “Arizona Republic” newspaper reminded Super Bowl fans that Glendale, Ariz.–the site of this year’s big game–was founded in 1892 by the New England Land Company for the Church of the Brethren in Illinois. “The city of Glendale began as a religious and temperance community,” the article said. “Farmers by trade, church members were attracted by cheap land, a miracle in the desert made possible by the arrival of water after the completion of the Arizona Canal in 1885.” There are no longer any Church of the Brethren congregations in Glendale, but the city’s tourism manager told the newspaper, “We still value our history…. We’re very proud to share the old and the new Glendale with visitors.” For the full article, go to

6) Celebration marks 60th anniversary of BVS work in Falfurrias, Texas.

The year 2008 marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of a Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) project in Falfurrias, Texas. Falfurrias Church of the Brethren is holding a celebration of this anniversary on Saturday and Sunday March 8-9. The congregation is welcoming former BVS workers at Falfurrias, former church members, and friends of the community.

More than 140 BVS volunteers served in Falfurrias between 1948-68. The volunteers helped to build the Falfurrias Church and various farm buildings, and either built or improved the homes of many low-income families in the community, said the invitation from the church.

“Most importantly, BVS volunteers created an atmosphere of goodwill and service, and demonstrated God’s love in daily practical acts,” the invitation said. “The Falfurrias community was changed and improved by the Christian witness of the BVS volunteers. Many hundreds of Falfurrias residents were uplifted. Many persons have moved to other communities now, but continue to be active participants in community betterment and church activities wherever they live.”

The celebration will include opportunities to meet former volunteers, church members, and old friends, as well as time to share stories and memories, look at pictures, and eat and fellowship. A written history of the work of BVS in Falfurrias will be available, along with pictures of volunteers and directors for the project, and updates of the results of some of the work BVS did in the community. Activities will start at noon on March 8.

“If you are unable to come, we invite you to send pictures and letters of greeting,” said the church’s pastor, Stanley Bittinger. “Please let us hear from you.” For more information contact Bittinger at 1614 Santa Cecilia, Kingsville, TX 78363; 361-592-5945;

7) Ministry of Reconciliation offers spring workshops.

The Ministry of Reconciliation (MOR) has announced its spring 2008 workshop schedule. MOR is a ministry of On Earth Peace.

The season begins with “Basic Conflict Mediation for Peacemakers: At Home, Work, or Play,” in Columbus, Ohio, on Feb. 22-23. CME credit is available for this workshop for social workers and nurses living in the state of Ohio.

“Keeping a Cool Head in a Hot Meeting,” a workshop on the facilitation of difficult meetings, takes place on April 3 at the New Windsor Conference Center on the campus of the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md.

“Exploring Consensus Decision-Making,” an introduction to the consensus process, will be presented on April 12 at West Charleston Church of the Brethren in Tipp City, Ohio.

Rounding out the spring season, “Healthy Congregations,” a workshop on congregational systems, will take place on May 3 at Camp Harmony in Hooversville, Pa.

MOR workshops taking place in April and May offer continuing education credits for Church of the Brethren ministers. For more information, go to or contact Annie Clark at or 260-982-8595.

8) Brethren Press kicks off 20th year of faithQuest with Hebrews study.

Brethren Press celebrated the 20th year of its faithQuest imprint by releasing “Hebrews: Beyond Christianity 101.” The study guide becomes the 38th title in the Covenant Bible Studies Series, a series introduced in 1988 as a new relational Bible study especially designed for small groups.

The series began as the curriculum for a small group program called People of the Covenant. Although the program has since completed its run, the Bible study series was continued because of requests from ongoing groups. The study guides maintain their original purpose of challenging committed Christians to become biblically informed, socially aware, and relationally sensitive.

“Hebrews: Beyond Christianity 101” focuses on the book of Hebrews in the New Testament. Author and spiritual director Edward L. Poling offers hope for the spiritually stagnant and invites believers to move beyond the shallow shorelines of elementary faith and into the deeper waters of lasting spiritual maturity.

Edward L. Poling is pastor of Hagerstown (Md.) Church of the Brethren. He has facilitated spiritual direction since 1994, receiving his training through the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation in Bethesda, Md. Poling has been a contributor on past Brethren Press projects. This is his first book.

Order “Hebrews: Beyond Christianity 101” for $6.95 plus shipping and handling; call 800-441-3712.

–Jeff Lennard is director of marketing for Brethren Press.


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. Stanley Bittinger, Chrystal Bostian, Annie Clark, Kim Ebersole, Jon Kobel, Jeri S. Kornegay, Karin Krog, Michael Leiter, Beth Merrill, and Anna Speicher 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. 30. 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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