Newsline for January 2, 2008

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

“…Walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8b).


1) Visit to India Brethren finds a church maintaining its faith.
2) Historic Peace Churches Asia gathering is held in Indonesia.
3) Grants help continue Hurricane Katrina rebuilding efforts.
4) Nigerian church leader completes doctoral study on peacebuilding.
5) Brethren bits: Remembrance, personnel, workcamp registration, more.


6) Jay Gibble to fill volunteer leadership role with Deacon Ministry.


7) Service Sunday theme for 2008 recalls early Brethren motto.
8) Association of Brethren Caregivers announces its first Health Assembly.
9) Mission Alive conference to feature Pakistani church leader.
10) 300th Anniversary update: McPherson RYC to celebrate anniversary.

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1) Visit to India Brethren finds a church maintaining its faith.

A group of Church of the Brethren leaders from the US visited Brethren in India on Nov. 27-30, finding a church that is maintaining its faith and identity. The US group joined in celebrations of the 300th Anniversary of the Church of the Brethren, but also heard church members speak about difficult issues such as the continuing persecution of Christians in India, the struggle to carve out a daily living, and the desire to educate children to keep them from child employment.

It was the first visit to the India churches by the general secretary of the Church of the Brethren General Board, Stanley Noffsinger. Also present was Mervin Keeney, executive director for Global Mission Partnerships, and Brethren videographer David Sollenberger, who filmed the visit. The group visited India on the way to Indonesia to attend an Asia conference of the Historic Peace Churches.

The group was met at Mumbai, and traveled north to Gujarat State, passing by the property of the former Church of the Brethren mission hospital at Dahanu. One day was spent in worship in the Valsad church building, which dates to 1908, and celebrating the 300th Anniversary at the Wilbur Stover bungalow nearby.

The following day, the group traveled to Ankleshwar where a new building had been constructed for the congregation, and made a visit to the Vocational Training School. The group also viewed new buildings of the church and brought greetings at Bhilwara, and at Centenary Church at Vali, and by the end of a long travel day had reached a new building under construction at Dariya village. A surprising introduction at this stop was meeting the Hindu man from the village who had donated the land for the church building, which is located on a prominent ridge.

The final day of the India visit was spent orienting and preparing the 17 Brethren representatives from India who also traveled to Indonesia to participate in the Asia conference of the Historic Peace Churches. The India representatives included Kantilal R. Rajwadi (K.R. Rajwadi), president of the Church of the Brethren in India.

Darryl Sankey, the India church leader who coordinated the visit, spoke to its importance. The visit “really boosts our church,” he said. “Their presence itself helps the church because it gives us a feeling of belonging, it gives us a feeling of brotherly love. We don’t expect any financial aid, we don’t expect any support from them. But just their being there with the church with whom we have had relationships for the past 100 years, does provide us with inspiration.”

2) Historic Peace Churches Asia gathering is held in Indonesia.

Representatives of the Historic Peace Churches gathered in Solo, Indonesia, on Dec. 1-8, 2007, to focus on the theme of “Peace in Our Land” through the interrelated topics of injustice, religious pluralism, and poverty. These churches include the Church of the Brethren, the Mennonites, and the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

The Brethren were represented regionally by 17 representatives from the Church of the Brethren in India, which has roots in the mission efforts of the US church to India beginning in 1895. Present on behalf of the Church of the Brethren in the US were Stanley Noffsinger, general secretary of the General Board; Mervin Keeney, executive director for Global Mission Partnerships; Donald Miller, emeritus faculty at Bethany Theological Seminary; and Scott Holland, seminary faculty for peace and cross cultural studies. Miller had served on the planning committee on behalf of the General Board’s Global Mission Partnerships office. David Sollenberger also was present to photograph and film the event.

This was the third in a series of regional conferences of the peace churches, invited by the Decade to Overcome Violence program of the World Council of Churches. Previous gatherings had been held in Beinenberg, Switzerland, in 2001; and in Kenya in 2004. Each gathering has been funded and planned by the peace churches themselves.

This gathering included participants from Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, New Zealand, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the US. Representatives came from a wide array of backgrounds in professions and industry in addition to church work. Presenters told stories of the poverty and injustices of their specific contexts, and how the church was responding. Christians are small minorities in many countries in Asia, so in every case religious diversity was a factor. Poverty also is a dimension of these societies that undermines peace. The Church of the Brethren group observed that a government role can be relevant in peace building, sometimes as an instrument of fairness and inclusion and at other times fostering injustice and conflict.

Some of the stories of struggle gave cause for hope. The loving and courageous actions by the churches in very difficult settings were a challenge and witness to all listeners. It was reported by some that Christianity in the East often is seen as foreign religion, and is associated with the worst aspects of the West. This perception creates a credibility challenge for Asian churches.

In addition to speakers, plenary sessions, and small group discussions, the conference integrated visits to Indonesian churches, and also included colorful cultural events and short trips that helped to ground discussion in the local reality.

Differences within the region had surfaced by the end of the week. The activist approach of the Australian and New Zealand participants, who felt free to speak out and to confront their governments, contrasted with the real risk of such expression in some nations. As a result, a slower, relationship-building approach to peacebuilding is used by most Asian churches within their communities and nation.

Darryl Sankey, a Church of the Brethren member from Valsad, India, served on the planning committee. He reflected on the event at its conclusion: “As the Church of the Brethren in India, we have learned what the Historic Peace Churches actually mean. For the last several years, we have felt left out of this process, of relating to other churches. This (was an) opportunity to participate in an international conference where we, as a peace church, have realized the importance of being a peace church. This has been a very great learning experience, not only for me, but for everyone who has been part of this delegation…. I think this could be a revival for our church.”

–Mervin Keeney is executive director of the Global Mission Partnerships of the Church of the Brethren General Board.

3) Grants help continue Hurricane Katrina rebuilding efforts.

Two grants from the Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund have been given to the Hurricane Katrina rebuilding efforts of Brethren Disaster Ministries. A grant of $30,000 continues funding of work at the Hurricane Katrina Rebuilding Site 2 in Pearl River, La., and a grant of $30,000 continues funding for Rebuilding Site 4 in Chalmette, La. The money helps feed, house, transport, and support the Brethren volunteers that travel to Louisiana, as well as provides tools and materials.

In an update on the work of Brethren Disaster Ministries, the staff report that volunteers are sought for the rebuilding project in Rushford, Minn., following flooding this past August. The program “is looking for some hardy people who aren’t afraid of a little snow and cold weather to work on homes this winter so that displaced flood survivors can occupy their homes this spring,” said the update. “We have project directors who are willing to go, but we need workers!” For the remainder of the winter, the project will operate on a week-by-week basis as volunteers are available. Group size is limited to 15 volunteers. Most work is inside buildings where furnaces are running. Work may include insulation, drywall, flooring, cabinets, and painting. To volunteer, contact Zach Wolgemuth at 410-259-6194 or 800-451-4407 ext. 9.

“Brethren Disaster Ministries wishes to thank all who have played a part in Katrina recovery,” the update said. “Your continued participation is essential to the restoration of hope in the Gulf Coast. Together we are spreading the love of Christ to so many desperate people.”

4) Nigerian church leader completes doctoral study on peacebuilding.

The peace coordinator for Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN–the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria), Toma H. Ragnjiya, has completed his Doctor of Ministry degree at Ashland (Ohio) Seminary. He was awarded the degree on Dec. 15. His thesis is titled, “Create a Model for Peace-Building in the Ethno-Religious Conflict of Kaduna, Nigeria, and Evaluate Its Effectiveness for Achieving Peaceful Coexistance.”

Ragnjiya’s family is from the Margi people, a group that includes both Muslims and Christians. Having served previously in the positions of general secretary and president of EYN, he most recently has filled the relatively new position of peace coordinator. His study has been supported by the Global Mission Partnerships office of the Church of the Brethren General Board. Bradley Bohrer, director of the General Board’s Sudan mission initiative, was an advisor on his final thesis review committee.

Given the post-911 difficulties of bringing Nigerian church leaders to the US for study at Bethany Theological Seminary, the Global Mission Partnerships office is also assisting another EYN leader, Yakubu Joseph, for study in peace at the University for Peace. UPEACE is a United Nations-mandated entity in Costa Rica.

5) Brethren bits: Remembrance, personnel, workcamp registration, more.

  • John Samuel Horning (82) died Dec. 26, 2007. He was an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren and with his wife, Estella, was a former Brethren mission worker in Ecuador and Nigeria. From 1956-71, the couple were medical mission workers in Ecuador, where Horning worked in a variety of ministries that included clinics, school vaccination programs, and planned parenthood measures. In Nigeria, from 1973-76, Horning was a mission doctor in the Lafiya health and medical program and served as director of the Rural Health Program. By the end of his service in Nigeria, 32 villages were participating in the Rural Health Program, and trained Nigerian medical staff were placed in leadership positions. Horning also was a medical family doctor and had been at the Wheaton (Ill.) Medical Clinic for 23 years, retiring in 1990. In volunteer service to the denomination, he was on the board of Bethany Hospital in Chicago, a Brethren-founded institution, and also was instrumental in forming the Brethren Health and Education Foundation. The Hornings were recipients of the Brethren Health and Welfare Association’s Caregiving Award in 1978 and have been longtime supporters of the ministries of the Association of Brethren Caregivers. Horning was born in China on Dec. 9, 1925, to Brethren mission workers Daniel and Martha (Daggett) Horning. He graduated from Manchester College and studied medicine at the Chicago Medical School, Chicago’s Cook County Hospital, and Milwaukee (Wis.) County General Hospital, and also served at Bethany Hospital. During World War II, he was in Civilian Public Service at a camp at Wellston, Mich., and at the state mental hospital at Logansport, Ind. He also was an ardent photographer, and his pictures interpreting mission work appeared often in publications of the church. On their return to the US, the family lived for some years in the York Center community in Lombard, Ill. Most recently Horning had been a resident of Goshen, Ind., and a member of Goshen City Church of the Brethren. He is survived by his wife, their four daughters and one son, 13 grandchildren, and a great-grandson. Services will be held at York Center Church of the Brethren at 4 p.m. on Jan. 12; and at Goshen City Church of the Brethren at 4 p.m. on Jan. 19. Memorial contributions may be made to Goshen City Church of the Brethren.
  • Randy Koontz has resigned from the Material Resources program of the Church of the Brethren General Board, located at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. He has been a baler for the program since 1985. Effective Jan. 1, he has taken a position with the warehouse operations of A Greater Gift/SERRV, which also are located at the Brethren Service Center.
  • Harry Torres Jr. has accepted the position of housekeeping supervisor for the New Windsor Conference Center at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., effective Jan. 2. Torres brings a good deal of experience to the position, having headed and managed cleaning crews for a private cleaning company, served as rental manager for heavy equipment rentals, and as a housekeeper at Carroll Hospital Center. He is a graduate of Gary Whetsone School of Biblical Studies and also has been a youth pastor for Crossroads Restoration Church.
  • Jamie Denlinger begins Jan. 7 as an intern with Brethren Press. She is a senior English major at Ohio University, and plans to complete a three-month internship with the publishing house at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. In addition to her work experience at Ohio University Press, where she has been a production and office assistant, she has been an outreach intern at Prince of Peace Church of the Brethren in Kettering, Ohio.
  • Registration for the 2008 workcamps offered by the Church of the Brethren General Board begins online early tomorrow morning, on Jan. 3 at 12:01 a.m. central time. To register go to The workcamp program is part of the Youth and Young Adult Ministries of the General Board. Staff issued a reminder today of some things to remember when registering: individual congregations are asked to make up no more than a third of the participants of any one workcamp; although those registering will receive a confirmation e-mail, this may not guarantee a place in the workcamp because registration is not complete until the $100 non-refundable deposit is received; deposits are due within seven days of registration. “We at the workcamp office have been anxiously awaiting this day for months,” said the staff. “Thank you for your submissions, questions, recommendations, and all of the other things you do to help us prepare for the 2008 Workcamps.” The workcamp coordinators for 2008 are Sharon Flaten, Jerry O’Donnell, Jeanne Davies, and Steve Van Houten. Contact the program at 800-323-8039 or
  • Children’s Disaster Services Level I Training Workshops will be held Feb. 1-2, at Hudson Community Chapel in Hudson, Ohio, and on the same dates at the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County in Tampa, Fla. The workshop is required for all volunteers in the program, which serves children and families in disaster situations. Cost is $45 for early registration, $55 for late registration mailed less than three weeks before the workshop. For more information contact Children’s Disaster Services at 800-451-4407 ext. 5.
  • On Earth Peace has issued a “last chance” notice for registration for the Faith-Based Mediation Workshop in Milford, Ind., in February. The Ministry of Reconciliation, a branch of On Earth Peace, welcomes natural peacemakers and those interested in conflict resolution to a two-weekend mediation workshop. Five more participants are needed to meet the attendance quota. Registration continues until Jan. 16. For more information, visit
  • On Earth Peace also requests prayer for a delegation to the Middle East, sponsored jointly with Christian Peacemakers Team, which will take place Jan. 8-21. “Please add our leaders, delegates, and those they will meet to your prayers. Also remember the family members left behind,” said a prayer request in the On Earth Peace newsletter. For more information about the delegation, go to
  • Una Nueva Vida En Cristo, a new church development in Virlina District, was chartered as a fellowship in a special worship service on Dec. 21. The fellowship worships near Willis in Floyd County, Va., with Manuel Gonzalez as pastor.
  • Oak Grove Church of the Brethren in Roanoke, Va., is hosting a performance by hip hop artist Demetrius Doss, known as El Prezidino, at 6 p.m. on Jan. 6. Formerly a star athlete at Marshall University and an arena league football all star, the rapper originally from South Philadelphia brings a “funky, upbeat, and unflinchingly Christian message,” according to an announcement from Virlina District.
  • Middle Pennsylvania District and Church of the Brethren congregations are supporting Trucker Traveler Ministries. In a ministry sponsored by the Pennsylvania Council of Churches, chaplain Bruce Maxwell is available to those who are traveling through Breezewood, Pa. As part of a Trucker Ministry in Carlisle, members at York First Church of the Brethren have been sharing cookies at a truck stop. “The church ladies baked, the Bible Study ladies packed, and 110 bags of delicious cookies were delivered to the Carlisle Truck Stop!” reported a newsletter from York First. “This brought the total bags of cookies donated this year to this ministry to over 8,800.”
  • “Another Way of Sending: Brethren Mission in the 21st Century” is a continuing education event led by Wally Landes, pastor of Palmyra (Pa.) Church of the Brethren on Feb. 21, at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa. The event is co-sponsored by the General Board’s Congregational Life Team, Area 1, the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center, Middle Pennsylvania District, and Juniata College. Cost is $25 plus $10 for continuing education documentation. Light refreshments and a lunch are included. The event meets the “Evangelism and Church Growth” category of the Annual Conference Continuing Education paper and provides .5 continuing education units. The registration deadline is Feb. 5.
  • Manchester College in North Manchester, Ind., has announced Fast Forward, a new way to get a bachelor’s degree in three years, available for every major offered by the college. “It is the complete four-year program, compressed into three years by offering the general education courses online during summers,” explained a press release. “Students can finish in three years, saving as much as $25,000 in room and board and tuition (summer online tuition costs less), and getting an entire year jump on their careers.” Only a handful of colleges and universities in the nation are offering this kind of program for all majors, the release said. Participating students must be highly motivated, in the top quarter of their high school classes, score at least 1,100 on the SAT, and maintain at least a B average. Go to
  • A class of 15 Manchester College political science students and their professor are studying the Iowa caucuses up close this week. The “Contemporary Politics: Presidential Campaign” course is led by professor Leonard Williams. Students are following the campaigns, volunteering for a candidate of their choice, attending precinct caucuses, and keeping a daily blog, according to a release from the college. Two of the students are Church of the Brethren: Stephen Hendricks of Prince of Peace Church of the Brethren in South Bend, Ind., and Benjamin Martin of Grossnickle (Md.) Church of the Brethren. The group departed for Iowa on Dec. 31, 2007, and will return to Manchester to continue their studies on campus Jan. 7. For the students’ blog go to
  • Elizabethtown (Pa.) College has bought a nine-acre farm bordering its campus for $1.25 million, according to the “Lancaster (Pa.) Sunday News.” Formerly known as the Simon farm, the nine acres is located along Cedar Street between Elizabethtown Church of the Brethren and the Founders Hall of the college. In an e-mail sent to the college community, president Theodore E. Long said that the purchase is part of a plan to renovate older residence halls and construct new, high-quality housing on campus, the newspaper said.
  • Cross Keys Village-The Brethren Home Community in New Oxford, Pa., has announced that David K. Gerber, senior vice president, has earned the Certified Aging Services Professional credential from the Coalition for Leadership in Aging Services. Gerber was one of approximately 110 graduates of the professional training program this year, and was recognized during the annual meeting of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging. Gerber serves on the board of the Brethren Benefit Trust, and is a lay leader for Black Rock Church of the Brethren in Glenville, Pa.
  • Dorothy Van Landeghem, a resident of the Peter Becker Community retirement center in Harleysville, Pa., plans to celebrate her 100th birthday on Jan. 13.
  • The Sojourners Community in Washington, D.C., has called attention to an effort by Burger King to undermine agreements between farm workers and fast-food chains to increase pay for Florida tomato pickers. The agreement for a pay increase of one penny per pound of picked tomatos was made by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and McDonald’s and Yum! Brands–owner of Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and KFC. Representatives of the Immokalee workers visited a meeting of the Church of the Brethren General Board in Oct. 2006, where they received the blessing of a laying on of hands. The “New York Times” has reported, however, that “Burger King has refused to pay the extra penny…and its refusal has encouraged tomato growers to cancel the deals already struck with Taco Bell and McDonald’s.”
  • The January 2008 edition of “Brethren Voices,” the 30-minute community television program produced by Portland (Ore.) Peace Church of the Brethren, features “Nightmare Beyond Borders,” a discussion of the Iraq refugee crisis with two representatives of the American Friends Service Committee. In February, the show will feature Brethren Disaster Ministries as church members serve in areas around the country devastated by natural disasters. Contact Ed Groff at for copies of the programs and information about how to subscribe.
  • Tom Benevento has joined the staff of the New Community Project as a “sustainability specialist” to coordinate an Undoing Global Warming initiative and develop a model sustainable living center in Harrisonburg, Va. A key part of the program is to visit congregations to do energy audits, helping churches reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and save money. The Harrisonburg Habitat for Humanity group has asked Benevento to work with them to install solar hot water heaters on all future homes they build, using a model he has developed. Contact Benevento at 540-433-2363 or go to
  • The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity marks its 100th anniversary in 2008. The first time Christians joined in such a week of prayer was in 1908 in Graymoor, N.Y., according to a release from the World Council of Churches (WCC). Jan. 18-25 is the traditional date for the week. “Pray Without Ceasing” is the theme for 2008, from 1 Thessalonians. The worship resources are jointly published by the WCC’s Commission on Faith and Order and the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. Download in English from and in Spanish from

6) Jay Gibble to fill volunteer leadership role with Deacon Ministry.

The Association of Brethren Caregivers (ABC) has announced that the agency’s former executive director Jay Gibble will fill a volunteer leadership role with the Deacon Ministry. His primarily responsibilities will be to plan and hold a series of regional Deacon Ministry Training Events for the Spring of 2008, at which he also will serve as keynote speaker.

The regional events will be held in the Plains, Southwest, Northwest, and Eastern regions of the country in April and May (for more information see “Deacon Ministry offers regional training events,” in the Newsline of Dec. 5).

In 1998, Gibble retired as executive director of ABC after more than 17 years of work with the agency. During his tenure he helped to shape the major ministries of ABC, as well as its National Older Adult Conference and Caring Ministries Assembly.

Most recently, in 1998-99 Gibble and his late wife, June, served as part-time program field staff for ABC. They toured the US and Puerto Rico for the nationwide Denominational Deacon Ministry Tour, presenting a total of 55 deacon workshops in 22 districts, to more than 3,600 people. The tour also introduced the “Deacon Manual for Caring Ministries,” and during that time more than 3,400 copies were sold.

7) Service Sunday theme for 2008 recalls early Brethren motto.

The Church of the Brethren’s Service Sunday is scheduled for Feb. 3, 2008. This special Sunday is recognized annually on the first Sunday in February. The 2008 theme is, “For the Glory of God and My Neighbor’s Good,” a motto from the Sauer Press. The scripture text focus is Mark 12:28-31.

Service Sunday is a time for congregations to remember, celebrate, explore, and continue in opportunities of service. The sponsoring programs of the Church of the Brethren General Board are Brethren Disaster Ministries, the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., Brethren Volunteer Service, and Youth and Young Adult Workcamps.

Resources are available online, by authors Jerry O’Donnell, 2008 workcamp co-coordinator; Rebekah Houff, coordinator for the National Young Adult Conference in 2008; Jon Zunkel, a Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) worker serving in Northern Ireland; Dana Cassell, a BVS worker serving in the General Board’s Ministry Office; and Roma Jo Thompson, a retired Brethren mission worker who served in Nigeria. For more information go to

8) Association of Brethren Caregivers announces its first Health Assembly.

The Association of Brethren Caregivers (ABC) announced the first-ever Association of Brethren Caregivers Health Assembly, to take place March 27-30, 2008, in collaboration with Mennonite Health Services (MHS) and the American Baptist Homes and Caring Ministries Association. The Health Assembly will be held at the Millennium Hotel in St. Louis, Mo., on the theme, “Communities of Healing and Hope.”

“These three Christian groups share a common commitment to health and human service ministry,” said Don Fecher, director of the Fellowship of Brethren Homes. “This is an opportunity for us to learn from each other and encourage each other in our Christian ministry.”

The Health Assembly will offer opportunities for participants to renew their energy and vision for the years ahead, examine new models and conceptual frameworks, network with colleagues, and hear real-life stories and examples. Nurses, pastors, physicians, psychologists, and social workers are all encouraged to attend. The conference will provide a networking opportunity for the CEOs and chaplains of the Brethren retirement communities, who gather concurrently for their annual meeting.

Keynote speakers include Hector Cortez, vice-president of national programs for Esperanza USA, a network of Hispanic Christians, churches, and ministries committed to raising awareness and identifying resources that strengthen the Hispanic community. Church of the Brethren pastor Marilyn Lerch along with others will give a presentation on “Managing a Community in Crisis,” reflecting on the experience of Good Shepherd Church of the Brethren in Blacksburg, Va., during and following the campus shootings at Virginia Tech in April 2007.

Registration materials are available by calling the Association of Brethren Caregivers at 800-323-8039.

9) Mission Alive conference to feature Pakistani church leader.

The national missions conference of the Church of the Brethren–“Mission Alive 2008,” planned for April 4-6 at Bridgewater (Va.) Church of the Brethren–will feature a Pakistani Christian leader as one of the featured speakers. Mano Rumalshah, bishop of the Diocese of Peshaway for the Church of Pakistan, will be one of three keynote speakers leading plenary sessions at the conference.

Also giving keynote addresses will be Rebecca Baile Crouse, former mission staff for the Church of the Brethren General Board, and Robert Alley, pastor of Bridgewater Church of the Brethren. Worship will be coordinated by Tara Hornbacker, associate professor of ministry formation at Bethany Theological Seminary, and music coordinator will be Paul Roth, pastor of Linville Creek Church of the Brethren.

Additional leaders will provide workshops on a variety of topics including “Linking Local and Global Mission,” “Congregational Transformation Through Mission,” “Emergent Church Views of Mission,” and many more.

Registration cost is $79 and includes Saturday lunch. Evening meals will be available onsite for a nominal fee. Housing arrangements are the responsibility of participants. Continuing education units are available. Online registration will be available on the Mission Alive page of, go to the keyword box to access the page, or register by calling 800-323-8039 ext. 230.

The conference is sponsored by the General Board, with partnering support from Bethany Theological Seminary and mission-minded groups in the denomination. Post-conference events will be sponsored by the Valley Brethren Mennonite Heritage Center.

10) 300th Anniversary update: McPherson RYC to celebrate anniversary.

The Regional Youth Conference (RYC) 2008 to be held at McPherson (Kan.) College and McPherson Church of the Brethren on April 4-6 is planned as a celebration of the 300 years of history of the Church of the Brethren. The theme is, “Cherishing the Tradition: The Church of the Brethren, 300 Years of Faithfulness,” with Mark 12:30-31 as the focus scripture.

A line-up of Brethren musicians and story tellers will lead the conference. Musicians include Michael Stern, Andy and Terry Murray, and Peg Lehman. Jim Lehman will be the story teller. Other stories will be brought by people involved in current church programs, videos of Brethren ministries, and people representing Brethren from history. The weekend will include worship experiences and concerts.

Students in grades 6 through 12 are invited to register and attend, along with adult advisors and youth volunteers. Other interested adults are invited to attend concerts and story telling times. Registration packets will be available in January, contact director of campus ministries Tom Hurst at 620-242-0503 or


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. Colleen M. Hart, Merv Keeney, Jeri S. Kornegay, Wendy McFadden, Joan McGrath, and Jane Yount contributed to this report. Newsline appears every other Wednesday, with other special issues sent as needed. The next regularly scheduled issue is set for Jan. 16. 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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