Newsline for May 7, 2008

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

“…All tribes and peoples…standing before the throne….” (Rev. 7:9b)


1) Cross Cultural Celebration calls denomination to vision of Rev. 7:9.
2) Brethren prepare grant to support disaster relief in Myanmar.
3) Bethany Seminary celebrates 103rd commencement.
4) Brethren to lead out in funding for North Korea farm program.
5) On Earth Peace board meeting focuses on strategic planning.
6) Brethren, Mennonites meet on uniting the church for peacemaking.
7) Global Women’s Project reaffirms its purpose.
8) Juniata College board votes to arm campus security force.
9) Brethren bits: Moderator visits EYN, Jr. High Conference, more.

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1) Cross Cultural Celebration calls denomination to vision of Rev. 7:9.

“Separated No More” from Revelation 7:9 provided the theme for the 2008 Cross Cultural Consultation and Celebration, held in the Chicago area on April 24-26 (go to to find a photo journal, click on “Photo Journal” for the link). More than 130 Brethren attended from across the US and Puerto Rico. Three congregations each hosted an evening of worship and fellowship–Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, First Church of the Brethren in Chicago, and Naperville Church of the Brethren–and meetings were held at the denomination’s General Offices in Elgin.

“Why are we here?” asked Rubén Deoleo, in the opening statement of the consultation. “First of all we want to give glory to God…. Second, we want to make each of us aware that everybody is important for God, no matter who you are! You are important for the Church of the Brethren. We are here to be a witness so you can tell others about the Cross Cultural Consultation.”

Deoleo welcomed the group in his new role as Congregational Life Teams staff for Area 2 with special responsibility for Cross Cultural Ministries. He emphasized that participants would not leave empty handed. The “homework” he gave included a charge to share learnings in cross cultural ministry with churches and communities.

In two powerful sermons, pastor Orlando Redekopp of First Church Chicago, and pastor Thomas Dowdy of Imperial Heights Church of the Brethren in Los Angeles, spoke about “the need to embrace the cross cultural project,” in Redekopp’s words.

Dowdy, who was a member of the Annual Conference Intercultural Study Committee, noted that “some of us have dreamed of these kinds of gatherings…. Dr. King dreamed of a nation living out its true meaning and its creed.” The Intercultural Study Committee dreamed this dream for the Church of the Brethren, he said. He recalled how the study committee found that the work was God’s, not their own. As they studied Revelation 7:9, they realized they had to “look through the lens of what God sees,” Dowdy said. “God sees us in the future, that’s the picture of Revelation 7:9.” But it will take hard work to get there, he also warned.

Dowdy outlined several steps for the church to move into the vision of Revelation 7:9: first to understand oneself, second to “loosen up,” third to keep a sense of humor, and fourth to not worry about making mistakes. Some are hesitant in cross cultural efforts because they are afraid of saying or doing something wrong, “but you may say something right,” he encouraged. “Don’t be afraid to step out…. You will not experience the Revelation 7:9 experience unless your mind and hearts will be transformed…. Revelation 7:9 can start today!”

Redekopp emphasized similar themes. “If we do not embrace the cross cultural project we will remain strangers, while the Gospel flourishes elsewhere,” he said. Preaching on the experience of Pentecost, he characterized it as “this worldwide movement of languages talking about God’s power.” He asserted, “No language or culture is so superior that it can claim exclusive access to God…. Our Christian faith has always been on the cultural move. We are not required to go back to Bethlehem or Schwarzenau,” he said, referring to the German village where the first Brethren were baptized in 1708. “Bethlehem is no longer in Palestine, it is in the heart of the believer.”

Following his sermon, Redekopp received the first award for cross cultural ministry in the Church of the Brethren. “This is the first one, but it is not the last one,” said Deoleo as he presented the award along with Duane Grady of the General Board’s Congregational Life Team, and Sonja Griffith, pastor of First Central Church of the Brethren in Kansas City. The award honored Redekopp for a groundbreaking role in the first years of the consultation.

Griffith told of how at the first consultation in the late 1990s, participants shared stories of exclusion and hurt in the Church of the Brethren. The stories were so painful that participants were unable to hold Love Feast together in good faith. But at the second consultation in 2000 at Mack Memorial Church of the Brethren in Dayton, Ohio, Redekopp stood up to publicly confess and ask forgiveness on behalf of the caucasian majority in the church. “Orlando said to all his brothers and sisters of color, ‘Please forgive us.’” Wuerthner James, an elderly African-American man and a longtime member of Trotwood (Ohio) Church of the Brethren, embraced him sobbing. “That started a spirit of healing,” Griffith said, “to ask one another’s forgiveness for the wrongs that had been done, the hurts that had been caused. That was a turning point.”

A second award was given to Duane Grady, recognizing his work on cross cultural ministries as staff of the Congregational Life Team. The consultation gave him a standing ovation “for keeping this work going for so many years,” in the words of the presenter. Grady responded, “All I can say is, look what God can do.”

The consultation also featured a presentation on the history of the cross cultural work in the church, and an open discussion about cross cultural ministry with opportunity for participants to make comments and suggestions. Pastor Manuel Gonzalez of Una Nueva Vida En Cristo in Virlina District gave a presentation about serious issues facing the Hispanic community with regard to immigration. MERAN (Multi-Ethnic Reunion Adding Numbers) small group Bible studies were led by facilitators trained in a process of mutual invitation. The consultation also toured the denominational offices and heard about the ministries that are carried out there. At First Church Chicago, the group learned the history of that congregation and received a call to prayer for the rash of shootings of children in Chicago. Evenings at each congregation featured a meal provided by the church and fellowship around the tables.

During moments of worship, the gathering offered laying on of hands for Deoleo, for his work for cross cultural ministry; and for Annual Conference moderator James Beckwith, as he prepared to visit Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN–the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria).

The event was planned and led by the Cross Cultural Ministries Team Steering Committee: Founa Augustin, Barbara Daté, Thomas Dowdy, Carla Gillespie, Sonja Griffith, Robert Jackson, Marisel Olivencia, Victor Olvera, Gilbert Romero, and Dennis Webb. Next year’s Cross Cultural Consultation and Celebration will be held on April 23-26, 2009, in Miami, Fla.


2) Brethren prepare grant to support disaster relief in Myanmar.

The Church of the Brethren is contributing a $5,000 grant from its Emergency Disaster Fund to the international relief effort following a devastating cyclone in Myanmar. The grant supports the work of Church World Service (CWS) in Myanmar. CWS reports that the death toll is predicted to reach as high as 80,000 from the destruction brought by Cyclone Nagris, and thousands more are missing.

The grant request came from Brethren Disaster Ministries. “A coordinated response is hampered by extensive limitations from the Myanmar government and by US sanctions against the government,” the request said. “This initial grant will support immediate relief operations and assessment of Myanmar Council of Churches. Additional grants are expected as CWS finds ways to work around these challenges.”

CWS appealed for an initial amount of $50,000 from its supporters, and the Church of the Brethren is just one of several groups contributing grants. CWS Acting Asia Pacific Regional Coordinator is to arrive in Myanmar tomorrow, May 9, and other CWS team members are to follow as soon as their visas are cleared.


3) Bethany Seminary celebrates 103rd commencement.

Bethany Theological Seminary celebrated its 103rd commencement on May 3. Two observances marked the occasion. A ceremony for conferring degrees took place in Bethany’s Nicarry Chapel on the campus in Richmond, Ind. A public worship celebration was held at Richmond Church of the Brethren.

Sixteen students received degrees or certificates. Eleven students received a master of divinity degree, one with an emphasis in peace studies. Two students received a master of arts in theology degree, and three received a certificate in theological studies.

Steven L. Longenecker, professor and department chair of history and political science at Bridgewater (Va.) College, spoke at the conferring of degrees ceremony on the topic, “The Useful Dunker Past.” Dawn Ottoni Wilhelm, associate professor of preaching and worship at Bethany, was the speaker for the afternoon worship service with a message titled, “Where the River Goes,” based on Ezekiel 47:1-12.

Those who received a master of divinity degree were David Beebe of Bear Creek Church of the Brethren, Dayton, Ohio; Nan Lynn Alley Erbaugh of Lower Miami Church of the Brethren, Dayton; Stephen Carl Hershberger of Roaring Spring (Pa.) Church of the Brethren; Elizabeth Jacqueline Keller of Richmond (Ind.) Church of the Brethren; Jason Michael Kreighbaum of Nettle Creek Church of the Brethren, Hagerstown, Ind.; Matthew Eugene McKimmy of Good Shepherd Church of the Brethren, Blacksburg, Va.; V. Christina Singh of the Richmond Church; Karl Edward Stone of the Richmond Church; Paula Ziegler Ulrich of the Richmond Church; and Douglas Eugene Osborne Veal of the Richmond Church. Brandon Grady of Madison Avenue Church of the Brethren in York, Pa., received a master of divinity degree with a peace studies emphasis.

Receiving a master of arts in theology degree were Marla Bieber Abe of First Church of the Brethren, Akron, Ohio; and Susan Marie Ross of Churubusco (Ind.) United Methodist Church. Certificates of achievement in theological studies went to Mildred F. Baker of Diehls Cross Roads Church of the Brethren, Martinsburg, Pa.; Nicholas Edward Beam of Pleasant Hill (Ohio) Church of the Brethren; and Jerry M. Sales of Peoria (Ill.) Church of the Brethren.

Nan Erbaugh received distinction for her academic work in biblical studies. Matthew McKimmy received distinction for his work in ministry studies. Karl Stone received distinction for his work in biblical studies and ministry studies. Paula Ulrich received distinction for her work in theological and historical studies, and ministry studies.

–Marcia Shetler is director of public relations for Bethany Theological Seminary.


4) Brethren to lead out in funding for North Korea farm program.

A grant of $42,500 from the Church of the Brethren account at the Foods Resource Bank confirms the denomination as the lead sponsor of the Ryongyon Sustainable Food Security Program in North Korea. The Brethren account is made up of funds raised by local Church of the Brethren growing projects, and is sponsored by the denomination’s Global Food Crisis Fund.

The North Korea farm project supports environmentally friendly community development at a group of four collective farms covering over 7,000 acres. The Church of the Brethren is to be the lead sponsor for the three-year hunger program that will provide $100,000 to the farms this year, and is expected to provide $100,000 each year for the next two years. Earlier this year, Global Food Crisis Fund manager Howard Royer organized and was part of a delegation to North Korea.

The Foods Resource Bank general account will provide a matching grant of $42,500 to the project, and ecumenical partners will provide the remainder to make up the total of $100,000. Partners are Mennonite Central Committee, the United Methodist Committee on World Relief, the United Church of Christ, and Lutheran World Relief.


5) On Earth Peace board meeting focuses on strategic planning.

On April 4-5, the board of directors of On Earth Peace met at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. Each session of the meeting opened with devotions and prayer, led by members of the board. On Earth Peace continues to conduct discussion and decision-making by consensus, led by board chair Verdena Lee.

The primary focus of the meeting was program planning and prioritizing areas of work. The board received a preliminary report from a strategic planning work group, and approved the basic directions of the plan that is emerging from the group’s work. In September, the board will consider the complete strategic plan.

Staff reports included news of recent work in churches in Florida and Puerto Rico; continuing interest in the Welcome Home Project; conversations with First Church of the Brethren in Harrisburg, Pa., regarding partnership in youth education; reconciliation workshops and youth retreats planned for many locations; and local meetings with constituents and congregations. The board was pleased to learn that in 2007, On Earth Peace provided direct programs and services in all 23 districts of the denomination.

A process of discerning how On Earth Peace will respond to questions and requests related to sexual orientation and inclusion in the life of the church concluded, after several unifying and clarifying discussions, with a decision to support all efforts for greater justice.

New board member Jim Replogle of Bridgewater, Va., was welcomed along with new staff members Gimbiya Kettering and Marie Rhoades. Updates were received from members of the board who represent On Earth Peace in liaison relationships: Doris Abdullah, on the UN NGO Subcommitttee on the Elimination of Racism; Phil Miller, on the steering committee of Christian Peacemaker Teams; and Madalyn Metzger, on the board of New Community Project.

–Bob Gross is executive director of On Earth Peace.


6) Brethren, Mennonites meet on uniting the church for peacemaking.

Is it possible for a broken church to heal a divided society? A conference of people of Church of the Brethren and Mennonite backgrounds met in Washington, D.C., on April 11-12 to discuss this question. “Bridging Divides: Uniting the Church for Peacemaking” was held at Capitol Hill United Methodist Church, hosted by the Brethren Witness/Washington Office and the Anabaptist Peace Center. Speakers and participants discussed how to interact with those who are miles away politically, but sit next to us in worship every Sunday. Can we find common ground yet remain the prophetic voice in society?

An opening session on “Sources of Our Common Faith” was led by Celia Cook-Huffman, the W. Clay and Kathryn H. Burkholder Professor of Conflict Resolution at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., and Nate Yoder, associate professor of church history and director of the master of arts in religion program at Eastern Mennonite Seminary. Yoder discussed the idea that the church is empowered to discern according to criteria in the Lord’s prayer, that God’s kingdom come and God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven. When discussing sources of common faith between Mennonites and Brethren, the peace position is the main link, he said. Historically, both churches have been very strong on the peace position, but he asked, how is it playing out today? Cook-Huffman stressed history, rituals, faith, and community. The Brethren tradition of footwashing holds special significance, as does our shared story. She also emphasized getting conflict out in the open, talking about it, and resolving it peacefully.

Friday night’s worship featured Myron Augsburger, professor and president emeritus at Eastern Mennonite University. “For me, the deeper convictions for peace find their base in the Lordship of Christ, in his teachings and his mission of a crosscultural and global extension of his kingdom,” Augsburger said. He talked about the need for an ecumenical association of people committed to nonviolence. The members of the church are citizens of the state and may properly challenge the state’s just war theory, as well as fellow Christians who hold to this view, he said.

A plenary on “Mending the Broken Body of Christ” was led by Chris Bowman, pastor of Oakton (Va.) Church of the Brethren and a past moderator of Annual Conference, and Michelle Armster, codirector of Mennonite Central Committee’s Office on Justice and Peacebuilding. Bowman spoke about shifting circles of loyalty. The circle for Christians used to be the church, but now people have many different circles or spheres of influence, and other circles often do not interact much with the church, he said. He talked about pastoring as redrawing the circle, creating a family house where diversity can live.

A final session on “Christians Engaging the World” was led by Phil Jones, director of the Brethren Witness/Washington Office, and Steve Brown, minister and director of care ministry at Calvary Community Church in Hampton, Va., a Mennonite church. Jones stressed the importance of acting on matters of conscience, finding what makes you passionate and then being a strong advocate for that issue. Brown pushed the church to get out and minister to the community. He also invited people to openly talk about issues of racism, poverty, and violence. “We are called to be risk-takers, to move beyond the four walls of the church building,” he said.

The conference was a success in the minds of those who attended, and the hope is that it can continue annually. When asked why he attended, Jerry O’Donnell, a Brethren Volunteer Service worker, said, “I came to this conference to learn more about our struggles–both as a church and part of the Anabaptist movement–hoping to learn how we can peacefully resolve our internal divisions.

“I learned, simply, that we have taken the first step in mending the broken body of Christ by coming together in His name, committed to another way of living,” O’Donnell said. “Peace for far too long has solely been seen as the ends or the goal–a sort of distant prize. I think it is high time that we restore our faith in peace as the means.”

–Rianna Barrett is a legislative associate at the Brethren Witness/Washington Office.


7) Global Women’s Project reaffirms its purpose.

The Global Women’s Project’s Steering Committee met in Richmond, Ind., on March 7-9. The steering committee also led worship for Bethany Theological Seminary and Earlham School of Religion. The group includes Judi Brown of N. Manchester, Ind.; Nan Erbaugh of W. Alexandria, Ohio; Anna Lisa Gross of Richmond, Ind.; Lois Grove of Council Bluffs, Iowa; Jacki Hartley of Elgin, Ill.; and Bonnie Kline-Smeltzer of Boalsburg, Pa.

The Global Women’s Project is a Church of the Brethren group that seeks to educate about the global poverty, oppression, and injustice which women suffer and how our own over consumption and misuse of resources directly contributes to their suffering.

At the meeting, the committee reaffirmed the educational purpose of the project regarding lifestyles and luxury, and rejoiced in the steady flow of generosity from women and men in the Church of the Brethren. The committee also reveled in the astounding work of empowerment of women throughout the world, responded to several requests for support, received the gratitude of ambassadors and partners with the project, and recognized the important work they are doing.

The group reflected on the balance between building deeper relationships with partners, and giving freedom and all possible resources to partner sites. Partner sites include Casa Materna in Matalgapa, Nicaragua; Women Empowerment, Nepal; Palestine News Network radio show for women in Bethlehem; Carpentry Cooperative in Maridi, Sudan; and Shifting Ideas Through Education for African Women, Uganda and Kenya. The project gave one-time grants to Christian Commission for Development in Honduras and a women’s sewing cooperative in Nimule, Sudan.

The committee expressed gratitude for the long and dedicated work of Lois Grove and Bonnie Kline-Smeltzer, whose terms end this spring, and announced the affirmation of new members Myrna Frantz-Wheeler of Haverhill, Iowa, and Elizabeth Keller of Richmond, Ind. Go to for more information, or contact the steering committee at

–Anna Lisa Gross is a member of the Global Women’s Project steering committee.


8) Juniata College board votes to arm campus security force.

The Juniata College Board of Trustees voted April 19 to begin the process of arming its Safety and Security Services Department. Juniata College is a Church of the Brethren school in Huntingdon, Pa., and hosts the Baker Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies, one of the oldest peace studies programs in the country.

Juniata is the second Brethren school to make such a decision, following Bridgewater (Va.) College which for the past six years has employed sworn law enforcement officers who are permitted to carry guns on campus.

“In the wake of the student tragedies at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University, all colleges have started re-examining their security measures and we believe arming our officers is one of a number of important steps we are implementing to be sure our campus is safe,” said Juniata president Thomas R. Kepple in a press release.

The other five church related schools–Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind.; Elizabethtown (Pa.) College; Manchester College in North Manchester, Ind.; McPherson (Kan.) College; and the University of La Verne (Calif.)–do not have armed campus security. Bethany’s security is provided by the Quaker-related Earlham College.

After the Virginia Tech shootings, “there were definitely questions being asked by parents,” said John Wall, director of media relations for Juniata and a member of the Review Group that brought the recommendation. “It became pretty clear that parents and employees and other groups on campus wanted to look at security,” he said.

Juniata reached the decision to arm its campus security “after a thorough evaluation of options,” the press release said. “In April 2007, Kepple appointed a Review Group task force to evaluate Juniata’s current security measures and make recommendations on changes to campus security measures. The group made a series of recommendations to improve security in August 2007. In addition, the college hired a security consultant to evaluate its overall security policies.”

Juniata also recently added other measures, including a locking system for residence halls, plans to install a warning siren and to hold emergency drills, and a “notice of concern” program that allows students, faculty, or staff to identify students exhibiting signs of stress or other problematic behavior. In 2004, Juniata requested and was granted authority as a private police department by a county court, which allowed the college’s security personnel to exercise full police powers in their jurisdictional areas.

At Bridgewater College, president Phillip C. Stone made the decision “to protect…students with a trained police officer,” said Karen Wigginton, vice president for college relations. The college employs two sworn, certified law enforcement officers who are permitted to carry guns, and five campus safety officers who are not armed. The Bridgewater College Police Department is certified as a law enforcement agency by the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The decision to have armed police on campus “has not been an issue in the past, and was embraced even more after the Virginia Tech incident,” Wigginton said, when asked whether there was discussion of the college’s relationship with the Church of the Brethren when the decision was made to have armed police on campus.

Juniata’s relationship with a historic peace church was discussed as the college made its decision, Wall said. “It wasn’t an easy decision,” he said. The process included forums and meetings with faculty and students. “In all those meetings there were people who raised their hands for the longstanding peace tradition,” Wall said. He stated that the college has not received much comment from constituent groups about its decision, but that at least one peace and conflict studies major has met with the dean of students about the issue.

However, a resolution concerning the issue was sent to the Juniata College Board of Trustees by the board of the Baker Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies, according to Baker Institute director Andrew Murray. The resolution from the Baker Institute board urged the trustees to gather more information and make their own decision on the matter, rather than just accept the recommendation of the Review Group, Murray said. “We went on record as saying that the board really did not take the time to ask its own questions and do its own studies,” Murray said.

On the Board of Trustees, with a make up of about one-fifth Church of the Brethren members, the vote for armed security personnel “was not unanimous, but there was a pretty overwhelming majority,” Wall said.

Juniata’s decision finally came down to a response to what is happening in the world, Wall said. He contended that “there’s a consensus among colleges that you can’t stand still and let this (shootings like Virginia Tech) happen to you. You have to make sure that your atmosphere is the safest available…. Arming the campus security force makes people feel more comfortable about a random incident. The person who might do these kinds of things might go somewhere else.”

“I think it (the decision to arm security) is short sighted and based on extremely questionable logic,” Murray said. “In short, we had two tragic shootings at universities that had armed security. To go from that to say we ought to arm our security seems like interesting logic. And I regret that a decision that ignores the heritage of the college was made so quickly.”

“It’s a hot topic and a tough discussion for colleges,” said Lamont Rothrock, dean of students at McPherson College. “We’re not in that kind of situation, being in a very safe community. Our police are within five minutes of being on campus.” He emphasized that McPherson has a very small residential student body and that it has enacted a variety of other measures for security.

Jeri Kornegay, director of media and public relations at Manchester College, also cited a good relationship with community police. “We have a close relationship with the local police force,” she said. The police department is only two miles from campus. Manchester also works hard to maintain close relationships within the campus community and with students, she said.

Elizabethtown College has a trained campus security force but has no intention to arm it, said Mary Dolheimer, director of marketing and media relations. “We are particularly sensitive to our heritage as a peace institution, and feel that arming security guards runs counter to that. We are not moving in that direction in any way, shape, or form.”

Campus security is not armed at the University of La Verne, located in a metropolitan area east of Los Angeles. “We’re not even thinking about that,” said Charles Bentley, public relations director.

Juniata’s decision to arm its campus security officers means each must now complete a state training program known as Lethal Weapons certification. Wall said it may take six months or more before weapons will be carried on campus by security.


9) Brethren bits: Moderator visits EYN, Jr. High Conference, more.
  • Annual Conference moderator Jim Beckwith left April 30 for a 12-day visit to Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN–the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). The trip includes an opportunity for Beckwith to preach in Garkida, where his family lived when he was in high school. His parents were missionaries in Nigeria with the Church of the Brethren.
  • Next year’s National Junior High Conference will be held June 19-21, 2009, at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va. The event is for junior high youth grades 6-8 and their advisors. Rebekah Houff will serve as coordinator, and the event is sponsored by the denomination’s Youth and Young Adult Ministries. Congregations are invited to begin planning now for their junior high youth to participate.
  • A month remains to register for National Young Adult Conference. Registration ends June 1. The conference will be Aug. 11-15 at the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park, Colo. Go to to register. After June 1, those who want to attend must call the Youth and Young Adult Ministries Office at 800-323-8039 ext. 281 to be waitlisted.
  • The final event in a series of Deacon Ministry Training Events will be May 31 at Frederick (Md.) Church of the Brethren, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The registration deadline is May 16. The speaker is Jay Gibble, former executive director of the Association of Brethren Caregivers. Visit or call 800-323-8039.
  • First Church of the Brethren in Chicago, Ill., is holding an event at 4 p.m. on May 18 recognizing the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., during the 300th Anniversary year of the Church of the Brethren. Stephen Breck Reid, academic dean at Bethany Theological Seminary, will speak on the topic, “300 Years and 40 Years: Church of the Brethren and Martin Luther King, Jr., Two Anniversaries in Dialogue.” He also will preach for the 11 a.m. worship service. Contact First Church of the Brethren at 773-533-4273 or see
  • Creekside Church of the Brethren in Elkhart, Ind., is planning a Blessing of the Bikes (motorcycles) and an escorted ride through Elkhart County on May 17. “This will be our second year and we are looking to see about 100 bikes,” reported Jim Vance. The event raises money for the Church Community Services and helps the youth group raise money for National Youth Conference. Participants receive commemorative kickstand plates and decals. Go to for more information.
  • The 16th Annual Shenandoah District Disaster Ministries auction will be held May 16-17 at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds south of Harrisonburg, Va. The auction features livestock, one-of-a-kind art and craft items, handmade furniture, quilts, and a week at an Outer Banks vacation house. Meals include an oyster and ham dinner on Friday, pancake breakfast with sausage gravy or choice of omelets on Saturday, and a chicken barbecue lunch on Saturday. Visit or call 888-308-8555 for more information.
  • The Church of the Brethren colleges hold their commencement ceremonies in May:
    • Bridgewater (Va.) College commencement will be at 2 p.m. on May 11, with Frank J. Williams, chief justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court and noted Abraham Lincoln scholar, delivering the address. Judy Mills Reimer, of the college board of trustees and former general secretary of the Church of the Brethren General Board, will deliver the baccalaureate message.
    • Elizabethtown (Pa.) College holds commencement at 11 a.m. on May 17 with Art Levine, president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, giving the address.
    • Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., holds commencement at 10 a.m. on May 10, with speaker Michael Klag, a Juniata graduate and dean of Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.
    • Manchester College in North Manchester, Ind., holds commencement activities on May 18 beginning with a baccalaureate service at 11 a.m. with college president Jo Young Switzer speaking, and commencement at 2:30 p.m.
    • McPherson (Kan.) College holds its commencement ceremony in conjunction with an Alumni Weekend May 23-25. The commencement ceremony is at 2 p.m. on May 25.
    • University of La Verne (Calif.) holds a commencement ceremony for each college. The College of Law commencement is May 18 at 4 p.m. The College of Arts and Sciences commencement is May 23 at 6 p.m. in Ortmayer Stadium, with keynote speaker Robert Neher, division chair for the Natural Science Division, who in his 50th year as a faculty member. The College of Business and Public Management commencement is May 24 at 9:30 a.m. at Ortmayer Stadium. The Doctoral Program in Organizational Leadership commencement is May 24 at 11:30 a.m. at the Sheraton Fairplex in Pomona. The College of Education and Organizational Leadership ceremony is May 24 at 4 p.m. at Ortmayer Stadium.


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. Charles Bentley, Mary K. Heatwole, Bekah Houff, Jon Kobel, Orlando Redekopp, Howard Royer, John Wall, Roy Winter, contributed to this report. Newsline appears every other Wednesday, with special issues sent as needed. The next regularly scheduled issue is set for May 21. 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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