Newsline for November 5, 2008

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

“Lead a life worthy of the calling…” (Ephesians 4:1b).


1) Grants support hurricane response, Zimbabwe food crisis.
2) Amwell Church of the Brethren celebrates 275 years.
3) Brethren bits: Remembrances, personnel, jobs, events, more.


4) ‘We Are Able’ is among new workcamps scheduled for 2009.


5) Ingold retires as director of buildings and grounds at church’s General Offices.
6) Wittmeyer to serve as executive for Global Mission Partnerships.
7) Rodeffer is called as Brethren Benefit Trust’s chief financial officer.
8) Olson to serve as loan officer for Church of the Brethren Credit Union.


9) John Kline Homestead workcamp strengthens hearts and spirits.

New on the web are two photo journals: Photographs of the planting of a Peace Pole in the village of Schwarzenau, Germany, are posted at click on “Photo Journal.” The village received the Peace Pole as a gift of appreciation from the Brethren Encyclopedia Board during the international celebration of the 300th Anniversary of the Brethren in early August. The second new photo journal offers a photographic tour of the John Kline Homestead in Broadway, Va. (see related workcamp story below).
For Newsline subscription information go to For more Church of the Brethren news go to, click on “News” to find a news feature, links to Brethren in the news, photo albums, conference reporting, webcasts, and Newsline archive.

1) Grants support hurricane response, Zimbabwe food crisis.

Grants from two Church of the Brethren funds have been given to support the church’s work responding to recent hurricanes, to the food crisis in Zimbabwe, and to the Brethren response to flooding in Indiana.

The Emergency Disaster Fund has made a grant of $20,000 to aid the African country of Zimbabwe, which is experiencing a growing food crisis. The grant has been given through Church World Service (CWS) and will help support monthly food rations and agricultural recovery. Staff reported that it is estimated that up to four million people in Zimbabwe needed food aid beginning in October.

The Global Food Crisis Fund also has allocated $10,000 to support the partner work of CWS, Action by Churches Together, and Christian Care in Zimbabwe. The allocation will assist in conservation farming, food processing, preservation storage, and nutrition education.

Brethren Disaster Ministries requested an allocation of $35,000 from the Emergency Disaster Fund in response to an expanded CWS appeal for hurricane response in the United States. The money will support longterm recovery work in southern Louisiana, as well as providing CWS with material aid, staff deployment for trainings, and financial support to longterm recovery groups in Texas.

Brethren Disaster Ministries has received a grant of $15,000 from the Emergency Disaster Fund for work in Johnson County, Ind., which was affected by heavy rains and flooding. The area had 900 homes suffer damage, with a longterm recovery committee reporting 250 cases pending and waiting for help. The grant will support a Brethren Disaster Ministries project to repair and rebuild homes, to open early this month. The grant will pay for volunteer housing, food, onsite expenses, tools, and equipment.

In Indiana, Brethren Disaster Ministries has been working closely with pastor Chuck Berdel of Christ Our Shepherd Church of the Brethren in Greenwood, Ind. Berdel is the Construction Committee chairman for the Johnson County Long-Term Recovery Committee. He reported that more needs are emerging as the weeks go by. “The time is critical to begin before cold weather gets here,” he said. The project is anticipated to continue well into 2009.

2) Amwell Church of the Brethren celebrates 275 years.

Amwell Church of the Brethren celebrated its 275th anniversary on Sunday, Oct. 5. Amwell is one of the oldest Brethren congregations and the only Church of the Brethren in New Jersey.

The Amwell congregation was organized in 1733, 10 years after the first Brethren congregation in the Americas was organized at Germantown, Pa., in 1723. The congregation claims legendary Brethren figure Johannes Naas as its founder.

“To put this into perspective, George Washington was kicking in his crib when Amwell was doing church!” commented Atlantic Northeast District executive minister Craig Smith.

The Amwell Church is located in a rural area near the town of Sergeantsville, N.J., in the west-central part of the state about 25 miles north of Trenton. The congregation “is a real nice mix of people,” said pastor Robert DiSalvio. Average attendance at the church is about 100 people, and DiSalvio added that recently the attendance numbers have been growing.

The congregation makes use of its rich heritage and age as it reaches out to people who do not know the Brethren, DiSalvio said. In fact, most church members have had little connection with the denomination, and most are new converts to Christianity, he said. “We have to use the idea that we have been here since 1733, that kind of diminishes the ‘cult’ status,” he said, an association that those unfamiliar with the Brethren may make with the name.

DiSalvio is working with the congregation’s leaders to help a country church “step up to the 21st century,” he said. For example, the church website at offers a variety of interactive features including audio and video recordings of worship services. During his sermons, the pastor uses PowerPoint presentations to highlight words and images and to provide more information to the congregation as he preaches.

The church has been working on a servant leadership model with a team approach, and the leadership also have been identifying the common objections people have to coming to church, DiSalvio said. He intentionally keeps those common objections in mind in designing services and presenting the church’s ministries, in order to work to remove those objections.

DiSalvio also is working to reconnect the congregation to the district. He recently was nominated moderator-elect for Atlantic Northeast District.

The 275th Anniversary celebration included a two-hour worship service with about 140 people in attendance. The guest preacher was Phill Carlos Archbold, interim pastor at First Church of the Brethren in Brooklyn, N.Y., and a former moderator of Annual Conference. Others who brought greetings or gave statements included Smith and others representing Atlantic Northeast District.

In a special presentation, the director of pastoral care at Hagedorn Psychiatric Hospital expressed appreciation for the congregation’s ministry with patients. Up until recently, a busload of patients attended worship at Amwell Church of the Brethren once a month. Pastor DiSalvio is a chaplain at the hospital, and church members visit the hospital as well.

After worship, the congregation held a dinner at a local fire house. Filet mignon and a special chicken dish were on the menu, offered by a chef who is a new member of the church. Another church in the community offered to serve the meal so that Amwell members could relax and enjoy the celebration.

Go to for more about the congregation and its ministries.

3) Brethren bits: Remembrances, personnel, jobs, events, more.

  • Marie Elizabeth Kachel Bucher, 98, who was the last surviving member of the German Seventh-Day Baptists at Ephrata, Pa., died on July 27. Born in 1909, she lived the early part of her life at Shady Nook Farm, located on what is now the Ephrata Cloister. The Ephrata Community was begun by Conrad Beissel and a few followers in 1732 after his separation from the Brethren, and grew into a community of some 300 people by 1750. After that date the community began to decline in numbers, and the celibate orders ended in 1814. At that time title to the land and buildings transferred to a German Seventh Day Baptist congregation, according to the Brethren Encyclopedia. Ephrata Cloister is now a National Historic Landmark administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Bucher grew up on the cloister property before it was purchased by the state of Pennsylvania in 1941. She was the daughter of Reuben S. Kachel and M. Kathryn Zerfass Kachel. She graduated from Ephrata High School in 1927, earned a degree in education from Millersville State Teachers College in 1935, the degree of Master of Education from Penn State in 1939, and also studied at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College and Duke University. She began her teaching career in a one-room school in Clay Township, later moving to southern Lancaster County to take a position in the East Drumore Township school system. She concluded her teaching career in the public schools as a math teacher at Solanco High School. In 1945, she married Loren H. Bucher, a farmer in East Drumore Township. As the wife of a farmer, she joined the Society of Farm Women and was an active member for many years, and volunteered as a leader in 4H Clubs. Although she never formally joined the Church of the Brethren, she was active in Mechanic Grove Church of the Brethren in Quarryville, Pa. She is survived by her son Loren K. Bucher, her daughter Christina Bucher and spouse Theodore M. Bushong, and two grandsons. A funeral service was held in the Saal at the Ephrata Cloister on July 31, and a memorial service was held at Mechanic Grove Church of the Brethren on Aug. 10. Memorial donations are received to Hospice of Lancaster County or to Mechanic Grove Church of the Brethren.
  • Roland “Ort” Ortmayer, 91, a longtime faculty member at the University of La Verne, Calif., and a nationally recognized football coach, died on Oct. 9 at Hillcrest Homes in La Verne. Ortmayer spent 43 years guiding the university’s Leopards football program. He was appointed head football and baseball coach in 1948 at what was then La Verne College, and grew to become an iconic figure at the school by the time he retired in 1991. While he also managed the basketball and track and field programs and served as athletic director during his tenure, he was most recognized for coaching football. He finished his career with a 182-193-8 record and earned induction into the NAIA Hall of Fame in 1979. His distinctive coaching style, based on the viewpoint that football was supposed to be fun, attracted national attention. One season when his team was struggling to move the football, his observation that “I don’t think our offense could get a first down against high grass,” found its way into “Sports Illustrated” and other publications. In Sept. 1989 he was the subject of a feature article in the “Sports Illustrated” College Football Preview issue, written by Douglas S. Looney titled “A Most Unusual Man.” The article led to a television feature by ABC national news and a feature segment on Paul Harvey’s syndicated radio program. Among La Verne alumni, he also is remembered for leading kayaking, rafting, and canoeing trips on a portion of the Lewis and Clark expedition route. He was born on Aug. 22, 1917, in College Park, Md. After his family moved to Montana, he excelled at sports at Billings High School. He attended Intermountain Union College, Rocky Mountain College, and Northwestern University. He was a conscientious objector during World War II, and while with Civilian Public Service in Tennessee he met his future wife, Cornelia “Corni” Burgan. He is preceded in death by his wife, Corni, and son, David. He is survived by two daughters, Suzi Bowles and Corlan Harrison, four grandchildren, and two great grandchildren. Arrangements for services are pending.
  • Athena Gibble of York, Pa. completed her term of service Oct. 20 as a community outreach worker in Rio Verde, Brazil, with the Global Mission Partnerships of the Church of the Brethren. She was serving through Brethren Volunteer Service. She holds a bachelor of science degree in social work and Spanish from Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa.
  • Jerry O’Donnell will serve as assistant to the Church of the Brethren mission coordinators in the Dominican Republic–Nancy and Irvin Heishman–beginning Nov. 6. Last year, he assisted with the Church of the Brethren workcamp program as a Brethren Volunteer Service worker. He graduated from Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., with an emphasis in Spanish/Hispanic cultures and educational studies.
  • Gerald and Eleanor Roller of Roanoke, Va., began a six-month assignment on Oct. 1 as Rural Health Program consultants for Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN–the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). They are working through the Church of the Brethren’s Global Mission Partnerships.
  • Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) seeks a director of Brethren Pension Plan/Employee Financial Services to fill a fulltime salaried position located at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. The not-for-profit organization provides pension, insurance, foundation, and credit union services for 6,000 members and clients nationwide, and is an agency of the Church of the Brethren. The position serves as chief administrator of the Church of the Brethren Pension Plan and Employee Financial Services, and also administers the Church Workers’ Assistance Plan and Supplemental Income Fund for Equitable Annuitants. The director is responsible for program oversight, which includes maintaining the legal plan description, employer agreements, employer supplement sheets, and the plan members’ handbook. The director is to be knowledgeable of 403(b) regulations, pastors’ tax and housing allowance provisions, and investments. The director also will supervise work with program-related vendors and consultants, will provide oversight of the department’s software system, will represent the department in the field for customer service calls with current plan members, offer program interpretation for prospective clients, supervise the customer service representative, travel to the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference and to BBT Board meetings and the Church Benefits Association annual meeting and other BBT-related events. BBT seeks a candidate with an undergraduate degree in business, human resources, finance, accounting, or pre-law, and/or certification as an Employee Benefits Specialist, and at least five years of experience in employee benefits plans management, human resources administration, or related management experience. Membership in the Church of the Brethren is preferred; membership in an active faith community is required. The salary is competitive with Church Benefits Association agencies of comparable size and scope of services. A full benefits package is included. Send a letter of interest, a resume, three references (one supervisor, one colleague, one friend), and salary-range expectation to Donna March, 1505 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120, or For more information call 847-622-3371. Visit for more about Brethren Benefit Trust. Applications will be accepted immediately. Interviews will begin on Nov. 17, and will continue until the position is filled.
  • The Church of the Brethren is seeking an individual skilled in information technology to serve a one- to two-month volunteer placement in Yei, southern Sudan, to be filled as soon as possible. The placement will be with RECONCILE, a peace and reconciliation partnering organization with the Church of the Brethren. The position will work to upgrade and update an existing computer system, train personnel to maintain it, and help RECONCILE personnel access and maintain a website. Travel expenses, housing and food, and insurance coverage are provided. Candidates should bring relevant education and experience in information technology, have a good understanding of the relational aspects of Church of the Brethren theology and practice, have a team orientation, and be open to living in a multicultural milieu in a safe and secure compound with ample water available. RECONCILE’s present computer network includes satellite connection, wireless connections, and both desktop and laptop computers. The setting provides a steady supply of electricity and international cell phone service. For applications, contact Karin Krog, Office of Human Resources, at or 800-323-8039.
  • Forty-four women have already registered for the 2009 Clergywomen’s Retreat, to be held Jan. 12-15, 2009, at the Mary and Joseph Retreat Center in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. Registration is still open and available, go to or contact Dana Cassell in the Office of Ministry at
  • The Church of the Brethren’s Office of Ministry is sponsoring a Young Adult Forum titled “A Theological Conversation on Ministry.” The forum is an effort to include young adult scholars, theologians, pastors, and leaders in discussions of the shape of ministerial leadership in the Church of the Brethren. It will bring together Brethren young adults from across the country to worship, fellowship, and engage in theological discussion about questions of ministry in the Anabaptist/Pietist tradition. Questions to be addressed include: What does it mean to be called? How does our tradition of “set-apart” ministry continue to serve and enliven a church facing major changes? How do we envision the future of ministerial leadership in the denomination? The forum will take place Dec. 15-17 at the Spirit in the Desert Retreat Center in Carefree, Ariz. Dana Cassell is coordinating the event, working with a planning team.
  • Upcoming courses have been announced by the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership. The courses are open to Training in Ministry students, pastors, and others who are interested. Register through the Brethren Academy unless otherwise noted; go to or call 800-287-8822 ext. 1824. Courses through the spring of 2009 include “Church Leadership and Administration” Nov. 13-16 at Stone Church of the Brethren in Huntingdon, Pa., with instructor Randy Yoder (register through the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center at or 717-361-1450); “The Reality of the Unseen: An Overview of the Religions of the West and the Indian Subcontinent” Jan. 26-29, at Bethany Seminary in Richmond, Ind., with Michael Hostetter; “The Theology of the Apostle Paul” offered online Jan. 12-March 6 with Craig Gandy; “The Church’s Ministry with Children” offered online Feb. 2-March 27 with Rhonda Pittman Gingrich; “Practical Peace Church Theology” Feb. 26-March 1 in Southern Ohio District with Dean Johnson; “Ezekiel” offered online Feb. 16-March 27 with Susan Jeffers (register through the SVMC); “Introduction to New Testament” offered online March 16-May 1 with Susan Jeffers; and “Psalms” April 23-26 at Stone Church of the Brethren in Huntingdon, Pa., with Robert Neff (register through the SVMC).
  • Spring Branch Church of the Brethren in Wheatland, Mo., will hold intercultural revival services on Nov. 8-11, led by the Nueva Vida congregation of Carthage, a church with many members from Guatemala and a new fellowship of Missouri and Arkansas District. Additional services will be led by Duane Grady of the Church of the Brethren’s Congregational Life Team.
  • Upcoming district conferences include the Pacific Southwest District Conference on Nov. 7-9 at Community Brethren Church in Fresno, Calif., with moderator John Price; Illinois and Wisconsin District Conference on Nov. 7-9 at Peoria (Ill.) Church of the Brethren, led by moderator Jerry Sales; and Virlina District Conference on Nov. 14-15 at Bonsack Baptist Church, led by moderator Vernon Baker.
  • An exhibit celebrating 300 years of Brethren history and its journey to Bridgewater, Va., will be on display at Bridgewater College’s Reuel B. Pritchett Museum through May 2009. “A Journey from Schwarzenau to Bridgewater: Celebrating 300 Years of Brethren History, 1708-2008” will feature artifacts, photographs, documents, and books from the Pritchett Museum and Special Collections in the college’s Alexander Mack Memorial Library. The exhibit will be open Monday through Friday 1-4:30 p.m. For further information, call Dale Harter, college archivist and curator of the Pritchett Museum, at 540-828-5457.
  • Phillip C. Stone, president of Bridgewater (Va.) College, will lecture at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., on “Abraham Lincoln’s Legacy: Why He Matters” at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 19. The lecture will be offered in Neff Lecture Hall in the von Liebig Center for Science at Juniata. Stone will describe Lincoln’s family ties to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Stone has been president of Bridgewater College since 1994 and founder of the Lincoln Society of Virginia.
  • Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) has announced that its Hebron project is to close after 13 years. Several Church of the Brethren members have been fulltime participants in CPT’s Hebron team. The announcement emphasized that a strong CPT project continues in the village of At-Tuwani in partnership with Palestinian communities of the Southern Hebron Hills.

4) ‘We Are Able’ is among new workcamps scheduled for 2009.

The 2009 schedule of summer workcamps has been announced by the Church of the Brethren’s Youth and Young Adult Office. The workcamp theme for the year is “Bound Together, Finely Woven” (2 Corinthians 8:12-15). In 2009, 29 workcamps will be offered in 25 diverse locations in the United States and several international locations.

Each workcamp offers a week-long service opportunity for junior high youth, senior high youth, young adults, or an intergenerational group. Held in the months of June, July, and August, the workcamps provide experiences that unite service, spiritual growth, and Brethren heritage.

Four of the 2009 workcamps are highlighted by staff as offering new or unique opportunities:

A workcamp titled “We Are Able” for senior high youth and young adults at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., on July 6-10 is a new concept in the workcamp ministry. Recognizing that all people have gifts to share, the workcamp will enable youth and young adults with intellectual disabilities to serve side-by-side with a service-partner youth or young adult.
A young adult workcamp in Northern Ireland will be held June 6-14, offering the opportunity to travel to an area of extreme beauty, but also extreme conflict. Participants will learn about conflict and reconciliation while working at Kilcranny House in Coleraine.
An intergenerational workcamp titled “Passing on the Peace Witness” at the Brethren Service Center on Aug. 2-7 is co-sponsored by On Earth Peace and is offered to people of all ages. Multiple generations will serve together, exploring the legacy and importance of the peace witness in the Church of the Brethren. Families are invited.
A workcamp for senior high youth on the issue of racism is held in Germantown, Pa., on July 27-Aug. 2, co-sponsored by On Earth Peace. Church of the Brethren leaders recently issued a letter calling for continued study and self-examination on the issue of racism. This workcamp will offer that opportunity as participants serve together in an urban setting.
Junior high workcamps will be held at 10 other sites, among them the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., and the John Kline Homestead in Broadway, Va. (see feature story below reflecting on this summer’s workcamp at the John Kline Homestead; go to and click on “Photo Journal” to find a photographic tour of the homestead). Many other senior high workcamps will be offered next summer, at 15 sites including at Brethren Disaster Ministries rebuilding projects on the Gulf coast.

“Just as each thread is important in a tapestry, each person is important in a workcamp,” said an announcement from the workcamp staff. “This summer we will work side by side, giving and receiving; revealing a God already present in the world. Come discover the importance of each thread of the tapestry, bound together and finely woven as the community of all God’s children.”

Workcamp registration begins online at 8 p.m. central time on Jan. 5, 2009. Go to for more information. For a brochure with a complete listing of the 2009 workcamp sites and dates contact Jeanne Davies, Meghan Horne, Bekah Houff, or Emily LaPrade in the workcamp office at or 800-323-8039.

–Meghan Horne is one of the coordinators for the workcamp program, through Brethren Volunteer Service.

5) Ingold retires as director of buildings and grounds at church’s General Offices.

Dave Ingold, director of buildings and grounds at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., has announced his retirement effective Dec. 31. He has served in the position since 1981. He and his wife, Rose, who also works at the General Offices, plan to move to their farm in Missouri.

He has worked for the Church of the Brethren for a total of 28 years, beginning in Oct. 1980 as an engineer. He was promoted to his present position the next year. During his tenure, he has overseen several large capital improvement projects and efforts to “green” the General Offices facilities, most recently the replacement of the roof of the General Offices buildings, and replacement of aging air conditioning equipment with a new environmentally friendly and economical “chiller” system.

In previous positions, Ingold worked in the North African country of Niger with several service institutions including Lutheran World Relief and the International Red Cross. During his service there, the Niger government cited him for his unselfish work. The son of Church of the Brethren mission workers, he grew up on the mission field in Nigeria. He worked briefly for the Church of the Brethren mission in Nigeria training drivers for the Lafiya medical program.

6) Wittmeyer to serve as executive for Global Mission Partnerships.

Jay Wittmeyer has resigned as director of the Brethren Pension Plan and employee financial services for Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT), to accept the position of executive director of the Church of the Brethren’s Global Mission Partnerships, effective Jan. 5, 2009.

Wittmeyer has served as director of the Brethren Pension Plan and employee financial services for BBT since Jan. 1. Prior to that, he served BBT for 14 months as manager of publications. He concludes his service with BBT on Dec. 31.

He brings a wide range of work experience to the executive position with Global Mission Partnerships, including experience working with Mennonite Central Committee in Nepal and Bangladesh, and as assistant director at the Lombard (Ill.) Mennonite Peace Center. Most notably, his background includes conflict management coaching and congregational mediations for churches and judicatories throughout the US.

Wittmeyer’s educational background includes a master’s degree in Teaching English as a Second Language from the University of Illinois, a master’s degree in conflict transformation from Eastern Mennonite University, and he is a certified teacher for grades 6-12. He and his family attend Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, Ill.

7) Rodeffer is called as Brethren Benefit Trust’s chief financial officer.

Jerry Rodeffer begins Nov. 19 as chief financial officer of Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. In this role, he will direct BBT’s finance department and oversee management of BBT’s eight national investment managers and the company’s investment system that secures the assets of more than 400 Brethren Foundation clients and 4,300 Brethren Pension Plan members.

Rodeffer has held the position previously, when from Nov. 1990 to July 1994 he served as BBT’s chief financial officer and treasurer. During his tenure as Brethren Foundation director, the organization grew to service 75 participating Church of the Brethren-affiliated members with assets of $26 million. Today the Foundation’s assets exceed $120 million.

He has worked in banking or in private business for the past 14 years. He has served as a personal banker at Washington Mutual in Seattle, Wash., since June 2007. He also worked for Washington Mutual from Dec. 2002 to July 2004 as a loan officer. From 1994-2002, and again from 2004-07, he managed a multimillion dollar business that bred, developed, and marketed elite genetics from high-producing dairy cattle.

Rodeffer holds a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from Purdue University and a master of Business Administration from the University of Washington. He is a member of Olympic View Church of the Brethren in Seattle.

8) Olson to serve as loan officer for Church of the Brethren Credit Union.

Jill Olson has been called to serve Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) in the newly created position of loan officer/office specialist for the Church of the Brethren Credit Union, effective Nov. 10. She and her family recently relocated to Illinois from Fishers, Ind.

She formerly worked as senior account manager for Wesleyan Investment Foundation, where she served on the firm’s senior management team. In that role, she managed transactions and processes for savings/IRA accounts, developed policies and procedures, managed and audited accounts, managed databases, worked closely with the administration of loans, and was responsible for ACH transactions and deposits.

In her role with the Church of the Brethren Credit Union, she will serve as loan officer and will assist with customer service needs, support the director in the creation and implementation of policies and procedures, assist with administrative duties related to the Board of Directors, and work with product development, marketing, promotion, interpretation, and field-visit initiatives.

9) John Kline Homestead workcamp strengthens hearts and spirits.

Going to the John Kline Homestead was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We worked to renew the John Kline property for others who will visit the historic place in its 300th anniversary year.

Our theme for the week was “strengthen our hands,” but it was more than just doing hard work for a good cause. Not only did we strengthen our hands, but I feel also our hearts and spirits. It’s hard to believe we were able to be part of something that will forever be part of our Brethren history.

To sleep in the house Elder John Kline slept in, and to touch and feel things he actually used with his own hands, was something I’ll never forget. Our group spent three days cleaning out the antiques in the horse barn. It was amazing to see these old and dusty things come to life. We saw medicine bottles Elder John Kline used as a doctor, a tanner’s bench and shoe forms he used to make shoes, and a gorgeous blue glass coffee table we discovered after cleaning years of dust.

Before going on our trip, not many in our group knew who John Kline was. But through this experience we all learned how important he was. A person to look up to and aspire to be like. He gave so much of himself to help others without really getting much in return. Hopefully each of us who went can feel that we strengthened our hearts and spirits, so that we too can help others in the Brethren way that Elder John Kline did.

–Stacy Stewart is a member of the youth group at Spring Run Church of the Brethren. This report first appeared in the Middle Pennsylvania District newsletter. To view a photographic tour of the John Kline Homestead go to and click on “Photo Journal.”

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. Nevin Dulabaum, Mary Jo Flory-Steury, Duane Grady, Mary K. Heatwole, Jon Kobel, Jane Yount, Karin Krog, Patrice Nightingale, Janis Pyle, Dale Ulrich, and John Wall contributed to this report. Newsline appears every other Wednesday, with other special issues sent as needed. The next regularly scheduled issue is set for Nov. 19. 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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