Newsline for October 8, 2008

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

“Lord, you have been our dwelling place…” (Psalm 90:1).


1) Committee places increased emphasis on interfaith relations.
2) Reconciliation meetings are held in the Dominican Republic.
3) Brethren Disaster Relief Auction raises $425,000.
4) Brethren bits: Remembrance, personnel, giving to the denomination, more.


5) Wagner resigns as director of New Windsor Conference Center.
6) Wine to be executive director in denominational office of Operations.
7) Chudy is promoted to manager of Insurance Operations at BBT.


8) Brethren in greater Philadelphia area celebrate a rich heritage.
9) BBT issues letter regarding international financial crisis.

New on the web, the 2008 Annual Conference Statements and Resolutions are now available online. These are the statements and resolutions passed by the Conference in Richmond, Va., on July 12-16. Go to to find the new statements and resolutions including Ministerial Ethics, Minister’s Medical Crisis, Urging Forbearance, Slavery in the 21st Century, Unfunded Mandates Revision, and New Denominational Structure.
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1) Committee places increased emphasis on interfaith relations.

The Church of the Brethren’s Committee on Interchurch Relations (CIR) met in Elgin, Ill., on Sept. 4-6. Increased emphasis on interfaith understanding and relations was a frequent topic of discussion throughout the meetings.

In addition to a list of ongoing priorities, three areas were lifted up as current CIR priorities. One of these is to encourage the Church of the Brethren to think about and act on Christ’s call for in a time when people of various world religions are increasingly in contact and experiencing conflict or opportunities for friendship and community. Other priorities are to promote and celebrate participation in the Decade to Overcome Violence through 2011, and to confer with the Church of the Brethren delegates to the National Council of Churches (NCC) and World Council of Churches (WCC) for mutual support and to help promote implementation of larger church initiatives as appropriate in congregations.

The committee reviewed its new roles in the new denominational structure that began Sept. 1. Stan Noffsinger, general secretary of Church of the Brethren, shared that the CIR functions as a vision casting body for his ecumenical responsibilities. The CIR’s mission statement was reviewed and affirmed as follows: “The CIR will help the Church of the Brethren pursue, promote, and celebrate respectful conversations, loving relationships, and shared ministries with other communities of faith to create an ever-widening circle of the Gospel of Peace.”

Other items of business included reviewing the committee’s practice of sending Church of the Brethren representatives to the annual meetings of the six other Brethren bodies who share common roots, and fostering new and existing relationships with other denominations who have expressed interest. The group also reviewed 2008 Annual Conference activities and planning for the 2009 Annual Conference.

Ex-officio member Jerry Cain, president of Judson University in Elgin, hosted the committee for dinner, where conversation continued on ways to promote involvement of the Church of the Brethren with the American Baptist Churches USA. Dialogue between the two denominations to “discuss matters of mutual information and understanding” dates back to a Church of the Brethren General Council request in 1960.

Noffsinger reported on his past and upcoming ecumenical activities, which include the work of Christian Churches Together, the NCC, the WCC, and a 2009 conference of the Historic Peace Churches. He shared how the efforts of the Historic Peace Churches in the US have made a positive influence throughout the world in helping others to solidify their identity as peace churches.

Members of the committee are Melissa Bennett of Northern Indiana District, Jim Eikenberry of Pacific Southwest District, Rene Quintanilla of Pacific Southwest District, Paul Roth of Shenandoah District, Carolyn Schrock (chair) of Missouri and Arkansas District, and Melissa Troyer of Northern Indiana District. Visit for more information.

–Melissa Troyer is a member of the Committee on Interchurch Relations from Middlebury, Ind.

2) Reconciliation meetings are held in the Dominican Republic.

A delegation of Church of the Brethren ministers has traveled from the United States to the Dominican Republic to help with reconciliation meetings. The delegation went to the DR as representatives of the American church, for the purpose of assisting efforts of reconciliation within the Dominican Brethren church, according to a report from Church of the Brethren mission staff Irv and Nancy Heishman. The meetings took place Sept. 19-23.

Delegation members were Earl Ziegler of the Brethren World Mission committee, an ordained minister and a former Annual Conference moderator; Daniel D’Oleo, pastor of Maranatha Church of the Brethren in Lancaster, Pa.; and Guillermo Encarnación, former director of Theological Education and a longtime leader in the life of the Dominican Church of the Brethren.

The Church of the Brethren in the DR has been through a leadership crisis in the last couple of years, according to reports from mission staff. “Accomplishments of the delegation’s visit included progress toward better communication within the DR church and greater understanding on the part of the delegation of the challenges faced by the new leadership,” said the Heishmans.

“Prayers are welcomed for the ongoing efforts,” the Heishmans added. As the Church of the Brethren mission coordinators in the DR, their responsibilities include assisting Dominican Brethren leaders in their work.

3) Brethren Disaster Relief Auction raises $425,000.

The annual Brethren Disaster Relief Auction in Lebanon, Pa., ended Saturday evening with more than $425,000 added to coffers to aid victims of natural and man-made disasters in the US and abroad, according to a release from Duane Ness, chairman, and Jay M. Witman, co-founder of the Executive Board of the auction. The auction is a joint effort of the Church of the Brethren’s Atlantic Northeast District and Southern Pennsylvania District.

The 32nd annual Brethren Disaster Relief Auction was held at the Lebanon Expo and Fairgrounds on Friday and Saturday. One of the nation’s largest relief auctions, it is run entirely by volunteers and attracts approximately 7,000 people.

A lamb named “Midnight” was donated by students of New Covenant Christian School in Lebanon, who pooled their money to buy the animal. It brought $1,075.

The Woodland Butterfly quilt donated by Nancy Erwin and Joanne Hess and quilted by the Atlantic Northeast District women sold for $8,000 and was gifted back to the auction. It sold for a second time for $2,000. A Golden Needles quilt was sold three times netting $2,950. Quilts brought a total of $43,755.

An original painting “Grace and Forgiveness” by Elsie Beiler commemorating the West Nickel Mines Amish school tragedy of two years ago brought $8,300. Olen Landes also donated a child’s youth spring wooden wagon which brought $7,500.

Among the other items that were sold were 60 head of heifers, which brought $102,667. Donated theme baskets brought a total of $13,750. A 1999 Buick brought $3,000, and a maple tree sold for $1,300. Baked goods, cakes, and pies brought $17,000, and the Farmers Market items brought $15,000. Food sales totaled $36,000. The general auction brought $32,474.

In addition, a check for $12,900 was presented at the auction from the Mechanics Grove Golf Tournament.

During the event, 12,000 individual kits were assembled consisting of school supplies to be distributed to school children throughout the world.

A follow up event, an afternoon of favorite hymns, will be held at the Sight & Sound Millennium Theatre in Strasburg, Pa., on Sunday, Oct. 19, at 2:45 p.m. The hymn sing will provide additional funds for Brethren disaster relief.

–This report comes from a Brethren Disaster Relief Auction press release. Go to for more information.

4) Brethren bits: Remembrance, personnel, giving to the denomination, more.

  • John Troutman Fike, 95, passed away on Sept. 23 in Sebring, Fla. Over a long career he had held several positions of leadership in Church of the Brethren institutions, including as treasurer and then as vice president of Financial Affairs at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., beginning in 1952 through 1972. From 1973-78 he was business manager for the Florida Brethren Homes, a retirement center now known as the Palms of Sebring. He and his wife, June, were Brethren Volunteer Service mission workers in Nigeria from 1979-81. Other denominational service included a period as superintendent of Buildings and Grounds at Bridgewater (Va.) College 1949-52, and numerous volunteer positions including terms on the Church of the Brethren General Board and on the Standing Committee of Annual Conference, president of the board of the Palms, and treasurer for Atlantic Southeast District. He also managed family businesses including Tire Retreading Co. in Somerset, Pa., and a computerized accounting service for small businesses in Lakeland, Fla. While in Huntingdon, he served on the Borough Council, the board of directors of the Union National Bank, and as director of the first board of Huntingdon Business and Industry Council. He was born in Somerset, Pa., on April 26, 1913. He earned a degree in business administration from Juniata College. In 1937 he married June Elizabeth Hoover in Waynesboro, Pa. He and his wife both held private pilot licenses and enjoyed flying. They were active members of Sebring Church of the Brethren. June Fike preceded her husband in death on March 9 of this year. He is survived by his son John Greyson Fike and daughter Nancy F. Knepper, three grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. A memorial service was held Sept. 26 at Sebring Church of the Brethren, and another is planned for Oct. 31 at Waynesboro (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. Memorial contributions are being received by the Palms Foundation and Sebring Church of the Brethren.
  • Emma Moses has completed her service at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., effective Sept. 23. She has worked in Food Services at the center for almost 30 years, beginning in the fall of 1978. Her work has included service throughout the kitchen, in the dish room, in food preparation and banquet services, and most recently as a kitchen aide.
  • Debbie Mullins, administrative secretary for the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership, has submitted her resignation. The Brethren Academy is a joint program of the Church of the Brethren and Bethany Theological Seminary. Mullins has worked at the Bethany Seminary campus in Richmond, Ind., for six years. Her last day on campus will be Oct. 10. A reception in her honor will take place on Oct. 9, at 3 p.m. in the President’s Conference Room.
  • Kathy Maxwell, assistant to the director of operations of Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT), has submitted her letter of resignation. She began work for BBT on April 1 this year. Maxwell has taken a position with Provena St. Joseph Hospital in Elgin, Ill.
  • Camp Bethel, the outdoor ministry of Virlina District located in Fincastle, Va., is accepting applications for a fulltime assistant director and a fulltime food services director. Go to for application forms, position descriptions, and more information about each position.
  • How do I write my check to denominational ministries? Funding staff report this is a question they are hearing as a result of the Annual Conference action combining the General Board, the Association of Brethren Caregivers (ABC), and some Annual Conference administration into a new organization named “Church of the Brethren.” “This action did not eliminate or end any ministries. All the work continues just as before,” said Ken Neher, director of stewardship and donor development for the Church of the Brethren. The preferred method of support from congregations is still the check, but made out to Church of the Brethren and mailed to 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120, or by electronic deposit. Individuals can give by check or credit card, or go to for online giving. A note in the memo line of a check will direct the donation to Core Ministries (which now supports the work of the Caring Ministries, formerly ABC, as well as ministries of the former General Board), the Emergency Disaster Fund, the Global Food Crisis Fund, or the Emerging Global Mission Fund. Donations received unmarked will be directed to the Core Ministries fund that supports a variety of basic denominational ministries including Congregational Life, Youth and Young Adult Ministry, Caring Ministries, Stewardship and Donor Development, the Ministry Office, Global Mission Partnerships, Brethren Witness/Washington Office, Brethren Volunteer Service, Communications, Brethren Historical Library and Archives, the Finance Office, and Information Services. “The core ministries are the heart of Church of the Brethren service and outreach, and the firm base that gives support and security to vital work of our community expression of God’s love,” Neher said. “Please continue to give of your time and treasure as we seek to be the hands and feet of Christ in the world.” For more information call 800-323-8039 ext. 271.
  • Church of the Brethren mission staff are alerting church members to what may be a scam e-mail purporting to be from Musa Mambula, a leader in Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN–the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). Anyone who receives such an e-mail is requested not to respond to it. Global Mission Partnerships staff are attempting to verify the e-mail and will respond accordingly. For more information contact R. Jan Thompson at or 800-323-8039.
  • Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., has announced Nov. 7 as its Fall Campus Visit Day for prospective students and their families. Prospective students will spend the day with students and faculty, worship with the Bethany community, tour campus, and observe classes. Visit to register or contact Marcia Shetler, director of Public Relations, at 765-983-1823.
  • The US Congress has renewed an IRA gift opportunity, according to an announcement from Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT). For those who qualify, a popular charitable gift alternative that was available in 2006 and 2007 but allowed to expire, has been extended for 2008 and 2009. Embedded in the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 was reauthorization of the charitable IRA rollover. Traditional IRA or Roth IRA owners age 70 1/2 and older are permitted to make distributions to qualified organizations of up to $100,000 per year. No charitable deductions are allowed, but gift amounts will not be included in the donors’ incomes. Contact IRA trustees or custodians to make a 2008 gift from an IRA. Transfers for 2008 must be completed by Dec. 31. Distribution checks should be issued in the name of a qualified charity, not to the account owner, with notification to the charity. For more information go to and click on the link “Charitable IRA Rollover Resources.” Questions may be directed to Steve Mason, Director of the Brethren Foundation, at or 888-311-6530.
  • A joint Fall Harvest event is planned for Oct. 12, from 1-4 p.m., by the Harvest of Hope committee of Hammond Avenue Brethren Church in Waterloo, Iowa; South Waterloo Church of the Brethren; First United Methodist Church of Cedar Falls, Iowa; Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Waterloo; and Zion Lutheran and St. Timothy Lutheran Churches. The event celebrates this year’s harvest from the congregations’ growing project for the Foods Resource Bank. The project is growing some 17 acres of corn and 17 acres of soybeans on five different farms, with an additional farm raising market beef. The crop will be harvested and sold, and proceeds given to the Foods Resource Bank to help an international area in need. Over the past three years, this growing project has donated $52,920 to the Foods Resource Bank. Coordinated by Marlin Hershey, Harvest of Hope is one of 24 growing projects supported by Church of the Brethren congregations this season.
  • Upcoming district conferences include the Atlantic Northeast District Conference on Oct. 10-11 with guest speakers including 2008 Annual Conference moderator James Beckwith; and Atlantic Southeast District Conference on Oct. 10-11 at Camp Ithiel in Gotha, Fla., led by moderator Wayne Sutton.
  • Northern Ohio District is holding a Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) 60th Anniversary Celebration on Nov. 1 at County Line Church of the Brethren in Harrod, Ohio. The event begins with an Opening Celebration at 2 p.m. led by Leslie Lake, followed at 2:30 p.m. by a “Mingle and Share” time for former volunteers to bring pictures and stories of their time in BVS. A dinner follows at 5:30 p.m., cost is $5. The evening closes with a 7 p.m. Worship Celebration Concert. The celebration is not limited to BVS volunteers and former volunteers, and family and friends are invited. RSVP to Billi Janet Burkey by Oct. 24 at or 330-418-1148 or send a response by mail to 7980 Hebron Ave. NE, Louisville, OH 44641.
  • Bridgewater (Va.) College’s campaign to raise $40 million for academic and capital improvements has to date raised $31.7 million, 79.3 percent of the goal, according to a release from the college. “Every Student, One Commitment Campaign for Bridgewater College” launched a year ago, seeks to raise money to support endowed scholarships, academic enhancement, facilities improvements, laboratories, equipment and information technology, and the Bridgewater Fund. “It’s important for donors to the campaign to know that Bridgewater College students are the ultimate beneficiaries,” said president Phillip C. Stone.
  • Two Church of the Brethren members are among six new members of the Juniata College board of trustees. Christy Dowdy, co-pastor of Stone Church of the Brethren in Huntingdon, Pa., is a new church trustee on the board. David Beachley is an active member of Hagerstown (Md.) Church of the Brethren and is president of Beachley Furniture Company Inc. The other new trustees are Eugene Baten, associate professor in the Department of Management and Organizations at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, Conn.; Fred Mason, director of product source planning for Caterpillar Inc. and managing director for Caterpillar in Luxembourg; James Pirrello, CEO and president of Vision Homes USA of Fort Myers, Fla., and chief financial officer of Michael Sivage Homes and Communities operating in Texas and New Mexico; and Frank L. Pote III, a foreign language program manager for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, who is serving as an alumni trustee.
  • Two anti-nuclear events are being held at Manchester College in North Manchester, Ind., in October: a survivor of the Hiroshima atomic bomb will speak and the Hiroshima-Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Exhibition will open for a month-long display. On Oct. 10, Sachiko Masuoka of Chicago will tell of wandering the streets of Hiroshima, searching for family following the Aug. 6, 1945, bombing. The public is invited to Masuoka’s talk, from noon to 2 p.m. in the Lahman Room in the College Union. The Hiroshima-Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Exhibition will be open Oct. 27-Dec. 1 in Link Gallery of Wine Recital Hall. Visitors will fold origami cranes for display at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. The speakers and exhibit come to Manchester College through the efforts of senior peace studies major Mary Cox of Kokomo, Ind.
  • The Village at Morrison’s Cove, a Church of the Brethren retirement center, holds its Good Samaritan Dinner on Oct. 18 at 5:30 p.m. at the Casino in Altoona, Pa. This year marks the 29th anniversary of the founding of the event. The program will be a musical written by Frank Ramirez and Steve Engle, “The Three Visions of Israel Poulson, Sr.,” celebrating the 300th Anniversary of the Church of the Brethren by recalling events from a pastor’s life in Amwell, N.J., in the 19th century. The dinner raises funds for residents who have outlived their resources. Tickets are $100 donation, call 814-793-5207.
  • The Brethren Revival Fellowship (BRF) has announced new and returning members of the BRF Committee, in its recent newsletter. The appointments were made at the BRF General Meeting during the Brethren Alive gathering at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College in July. Wilmer R. Horst of Falling Spring, Hades Church of the Brethren near Shady Grove, Pa., was confirmed as a new committee member. John A. Shelly Jr. of Shanks Church of the Brethren in Greencastle, Pa., and Craig Alan Myers of Blue River Church of the Brethren in Columbia City, Ind., were affirmed to continue on the committee. Other committee members are Carl L. Brubaker, J. Eric Brubaker, Kenneth G. Leininger, Mervin C. Groff, Walter K. Heisey, Jordan P. Keller, Paul E. Schildt, and David. R. Wenger. BRF staff persons are Harold S. Martin and James F. Myer.
  • The World Council of Churches (WCC) Executive Committee met in Germany on Sept. 23-26. The committee extended the contract of WCC general secretary Samuel Kobia, through the time when a new general secretary takes office, according to a press release. A new general secretary is to be elected in Sept. 2009 at Central Committee meetings. In other business, the committee reviewed programs and budget, and approved various public statements and reports. A statement on religious violence and intolerance in India expressed concern about violence and religious intolerance particularly in the State of Orissa. Christians, who are a minority in Orissa, have experienced a series of attacks in the form of looting and destruction of churches and church-run institutions. Reports are that 50,000 Christians have been displaced, some taking refuge in forests and living in relief camps. The statement urged the government of India to meet its constitutional obligations and said the violence is “an assault on the Constitution of India.” It also urged the government to “take steps to prevent violence, and harassments against the Christian minorities in Orissa and other parts of the country.”

5) Wagner resigns as director of New Windsor Conference Center.

Shelly Wagner has tendered her resignation as director of the New Windsor Conference Center and director of Marketing at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. Her resignation is effective Oct. 10.

Wagner has worked less than a year in the position, since March 24, 2008. At the time, the conference center director was a new fulltime staff position at the Brethren Service Center. Wagner came to the conference center from a background in domestic and international marketing in the for-profit arena. She is a member of Welty Church of the Brethren in Smithsburg, Md., and lives in Waynesboro, Pa.

6) Wine to be executive director in denominational office of Operations.

LeAnn Wine has been appointed executive director of Systems and Services for the Church of the Brethren, as of Oct. 1. This is a new position in the office of the associate general secretary of Operations.

The position will oversee three departments: Finance, Information Services, and Buildings and Grounds at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Wine also will continue to be assistant treasurer for the Church of the Brethren.

Wine began working for the Church of the Brethren General Board as director of Financial Operations and assistant treasurer in March 2004. She earned her bachelor of arts degree in accounting, finance, and management from McPherson (Kan.) College, and attends Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin.

7) Chudy is promoted to manager of Insurance Operations at BBT.

Tammy Chudy has been promoted to a salaried position as manager of Insurance Operations for Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT), effective Oct. 13. Chudy has worked for BBT for some seven years in the areas of finance and insurance.

Chudy first worked with BBT in the Finance Department from November 1990 to May 1995, at which time she left to raise her two children. Wanting to get back into the work force on a part-time basis, she was rehired by BBT in August 2006 as a member services representative for insurance.

With staffing changes that have transpired in BBT’s insurance department over the past two years, Chudy has become more involved with vendor negotiations, reviewing and implementing insurance summary plan descriptions, and other duties that are in line with a managerial role.

8) Brethren in greater Philadelphia area celebrate a rich heritage.

It was beautiful. The room was set with round tables covered with white cloth and decorated with simple but elegant centerpieces of wheat–all in a wide open space that felt like the great outdoors. All the chairs were in place around the tables, waiting for the disciples of Jesus to come together from the Greater Philadelphia-Delaware Valley congregations of the Church of the Brethren’s Atlantic Northeast District, to celebrate our heritage and look beyond the horizon of today.

Celebration it was! On Aug. 24, 156 people from the oldest congregation in the area to the newest Hispanic congregation came to celebrate the 300th Anniversary of the Church of the Brethren. The theme was, “From a Rich Heritage Moving Forward.” The crowd was colorful–Korean, Black, White, Hispanic, all ages including children and youth, as well as those who were using walking assists or a wheel chair.

Hymns and praise songs were sung, the Holy Scriptures were read, stories and commentaries were given, all contributing to the high moment of worship. The worshipers engaged in the four sections of the love feast: self-examination, washing each other’s feet, enjoying a simple delicious lunch, and then receiving the broken bread and the cup of the New Testament.

Unlike most other love feast services, however, this celebration included changes in the middle of the organized worship, choirs, praise bands, a cappella singing by the congregation, and songs shown on an overhead projection screen as well as the hymn book. The twelfth panel of the Murals painted by Medford D. Neher also was seen on the screen.

Organized by the pastors, the event was held in the large community room of Peter Becker Community, a Church of the Brethren retirement community in Harleysville, Pa.

Will it happen again? Only God knows!

–Levi J. Ziegler is interim pastor at Drexel Hill (Pa.) Church of the Brethren.

9) BBT issues letter regarding international financial crisis.

The following letter from Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) president Nevin Dulabaum was issued last Friday, Oct. 3, regarding the agency’s response to the international financial crisis. BBT is a Church of the Brethren agency providing insurance and pension benefits for pastors and employees of congregations, districts, and church agencies; ministries that undergird the financial health and wellbeing of individuals and organizations; and investment and information technology services for the wider church:

“As investors in the United States, and now the world, wait to learn what is next in the rapidly changing financial markets, Brethren Benefit Trust joins its clients and members with concern over what this all means in the short-, mid-, and longterm for investments that are under BBT’s management.

“Obviously, BBT’s stock and bond investments will follow the trend of the markets. Our mandate to our eight national investment managers is to outperform their respective indices, which are used as benchmarks to gauge how successfully they invest our funds. However, our managers cannot buck strong trends–no one can. This means that if one or more investment markets are in full-scale decline, such as equities at this time, BBT investments most likely will not decline as much as its benchmark, the S&P 500, but investments will decline nonetheless.

“It is all part of the ebb and flow of the investment marketplace, but just because this is part of the business cycle does not mean it is easy to watch. Exacerbating the situation is the fact that the scope and impact of the current financial crisis is being likened to that of Wall Street ’s crash of 1929. Over the past two weeks, a number of financial service companies have been bought out or shut down so quickly that it is difficult to keep up-to-date on whether one has investments in any of these firms.

“We are in unprecedented times; however, that does not mean that we are not prepared for times such as these.

“The BBT investment policies, which cover investments in the Brethren Pension Plan and Brethren Foundation and have been fine-tuned for two decades, emphasize investing in strong companies, not chasing “hot” stocks or bonds. Companies are looked at for their stability, longterm potential, and fiscal wellbeing.

“BBT’s investment guidelines call for funds under its management to be invested in a broad spectrum of sectors. With financials being one of a number of investment sectors, and with guidelines also limiting how much exposure BBT’s asset managers are allowed to purchase in any one firm, the BBT financial system is designed to absorb declines in individual companies and individual sectors. This system is also the reason why BBT’s investments were not adversely impacted in the recent past by other headline-grabbing implosions, such as with WorldCom and Enron.

“BBT’s investment strategy also calls for diversification through multiple managers. BBT currently contracts with four equity managers, two bond managers, one short-term manager, and a community development manager to guide the investing of its funds. Each of the equities and bond managers is given a unique investment style to follow, so that none of the managers is investing in the same manner. Managers are then reviewed quarterly to ensure that they are following investment guidelines and are equaling or outperforming their respective benchmarks.

“And who is managing these managers? On a daily basis, it is BBT’s staff that gives guidance to the investment managers. Mid- and longterm issues receive input and direction from BBT’s investment committee, which currently is composed of an investment officer who works for an $8 billion trust, a professional bond manager, the owner of a financial planning firm, and an attorney. BBT also contracts with a firm that specializes in providing investment oversight to companies like BBT to add additional expertise to our decision making.

“Indeed, these are unprecedented times. What is certain, however, is that the investment strategy crafted by BBT is designed to weather crises such as this one. Which brings me to the final point: For those who are not investment professionals, the best investing advice is to develop a strategy with a financial planner, and then stick with it. Market timing–that is, the jumping in or out of investments because a perceived increase or loss is about to take place–usually is not a sound move. For example, on Monday, Sept. 29, all signs pointed early in the day that Congress would approve a $700 billion bailout plan for the troubled financial industry. The equities markets seemed poised to rise under news of that planned stabilization. However, when the plan unexpectedly fell apart, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped a whopping 777 points–the index’s largest one-day drop ever.

“BBT recommends that all of its Pension Plan members and Brethren Foundation clients develop a longterm investment strategy based on their respective needs, and then stick to their plans. It is the best strategy for these uncertain times.”

Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren, or 800-323-8039 ext. 260. Mary K. Heatwole, Jeri S. Kornegay, Karin Krog, Julie Hostetter, Donna March, Patrice Nightingale, 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 Oct. 22. 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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