Newsline Special for March 21, 2008

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

“Surrendered to God–Transformed in Christ–Empowered by the Spirit”


1) 2008 Annual Conference will celebrate the 300th Anniversary.
2) Moderator issues 300th Anniversary challenge.
3) Food drive to be part of service project at Annual Conference.
4) Annual Conference to feature a children’s art exhibit.
5) More Annual Conference bits and pieces.


6) Ministers’ Association offers continuing education event.
7) Song and Story Fest to focus on “Streams of Mercy.”


8) Peace Fest to be part of Anniversary events in Germany.
9) Pentecost offering celebrates the 300th Anniversary.
10) Mission Alive 2008 focuses on vision for mission.

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1) 2008 Annual Conference will celebrate the 300th Anniversary.

The 222nd recorded Annual Conference of the Church of the Brethren will be held July 12-16 in Richmond, Va. The Conference will focus on a celebration of the 300th Anniversary of the Brethren movement, and is a joint annual meeting with the Brethren Church. The theme for the Conference is the 300th Anniversary theme, “Surrendered to God–Transformed in Christ–Empowered by the Spirit” (John 12:24-26a). Pre-registration for the Conference began online on March 7, and is available through May 30 at

The Conference will convene at the Greater Richmond Convention Center, with worship services and business sessions at the Richmond Coliseum. Some meal events and insight sessions will be held at the Richmond Marriott.

Main events on Saturday, July 12, include opening worship at 6:15 p.m., and an 8 p.m. worship concert by the National Christian Choir. Based in the area of Washington, D.C., the choir of 200 includes members representing a variety of denominations including the Church of the Brethren. The choir has been in existence since 1984, and was founded by its director, C. Harry Causey.

On Sunday, July 13, morning worship will be a joint service with the Brethren Church at 9:30 a.m., with a worship team representing both denominations. “Jubilee Events” on Sunday include an afternoon “Experience of Brethren Faith Journeys,” from 1:30-4:30 p.m., in which conference-goers may choose one of 10 presentations each hour that explore the past, present, and future identity of the Brethren. A “Global Celebration” is planned for the evening, beginning at 7 p.m., as a celebration of the Brethren presence and mission around the world, and featuring representatives from the global community of Brethren. In a special event on Sunday, the John Kline Memorial Riders will make a presentation in the morning, and then will be outside the Coliseum with their horses following the worship service.

On Monday, July 14, and Tuesday, July 15, the two denominations will hold separate business meetings and worship services. A concert on July 14 at 8 p.m. will feature Christian musician Ken Medema, known in the Church of the Brethren from his regular appearances at National Youth Conference. On July 15 at 8 p.m. will be a drama titled, “Life Is Great. Yea!” about the life of Ted Studebaker, a church volunteer who was killed during the Vietnam War.

On Wednesday, July 16, the Conference closes with a joint worship service with the Brethren Church, at 9:30 a.m., with a worship team representing both bodies.

A Service Blitz on Saturday, July 12, and Monday, July 14, will support to the Richmond community through a variety of work projects. “We are hoping that thousands of Brethren will participate, showing our Christian love by helping others in this way,” said the 300th Anniversary Committee. Various shifts are available each day. Advance registration by May 30 is required, and a fee of $12 for a half-day, $20 for a full day (including lunch), will help defray costs. Participants may order a sack lunch with registration (forms and more information are in the Annual Conference Packet and at

Business to be addressed by the 2008 Conference includes two unfinished business items, the “Review and Evaluation Implementation Committee Recommendation” and the “Process Committee for Doing Church Business,” and six items of new business: “Update on Ministerial Ethics,” “Resolution on Ministers’ Medical Insurance Crisis,” “Resolution on Slavery in the 21st Century,” “Resolution Urging Forbearance,” “Query–Conference Witness to Host City,” and “Revision to Unfunded Mandates Polity.”

This special annual meeting also offers the usual Annual Conference features of daily Bible studies, a variety of meal events and insight sessions, hearings on business items, age group activities, and a shared exhibit hall with the Brethren Church featuring a large heritage display.

Cost of registration for adult non-delegates is $75 for the full conference if pre-registered, or $100 onsite. Weekend and daily registration are also available. Cost of registration for ages 12-21 is $25 for the full conference if pre-registered, or $43 onsite. Children under 12 are free. Fees are required for age-group activities and child care. There is no charge to attend worship.

Pre-registration continues through May 30 at, or fill out and mail in the registration form from the Annual Conference Packet, which also gives detailed information about the Conference schedule, hotel options, meal tickets, age group activities, and more. Packets have been mailed to each congregation on CD, and the packet is posted at For more information contact the Annual Conference Office at 800-688-5186.

2) Moderator issues 300th Anniversary challenge.

“This will be a historic conference–the 300th Anniversary of the Brethren movement as well as the first time in 125 years that the Church of the Brethren and the Brethren Church have held denominational conferences together,” said 2008 Annual Conference moderator James M. Beckwith. He is challenging congregations to, “Come! Take part in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And bring others with you.”

Beckwith has reiterated a challenge from the 300th Anniversary Committee that each congregation triple the number of its participants at Annual Conference. The moderator suggests three specific ways individuals and congregations may participate in the challenge to triple participation:

“1. Invite at least one person who is not active in the Body of Christ to come into a life of faith as a partner with you in continuing the work of Jesus–the Great Commission Challenge issued at the 2007 Annual Conference. If you can bring that person with you to Annual Conference (in 2008), what a wonderful opportunity it will be for him or her to encounter the missions and ministries of the Body of Christ!

“2. Make a connection with someone from a congregation that has not been as active in the larger church. If you are coming to Conference, perhaps you can connect with a congregation that has not sent someone to Annual Conference in recent years and invite one of its participants to travel with you or to share lodging with you, or even just to sit with you at Conference events. Even if you are not able to come to Richmond, the 300th Anniversary is a key time to make connections with others who share our common origin in the Eder River baptisms of 1708.

“3. Make a connection with someone in upcoming generations–a child or a youth or a young adult. Encourage them to experience Annual Conference. It will be a special time for them to help launch the Brethren movement into our fourth century.”

He also noted with appreciation that “so many of our congregations are taking part in this 300th Anniversary–some are collecting anecdotes from their histories, some are collecting 300 blankets or 300 cans of food, or giving multiples of $300 towards special mission projects. It is Life-giving to take part in the work of Jesus in God’s world.”

3) Food drive to be part of service project at Annual Conference.

In an effort to “shower the Richmond community with loving acts of service,” a food drive is being planned in conjunction with the Service Blitz at the 2008 Annual Conference. The drive is sponsored by the 300th Anniversary Committee, to benefit the Central Virginia Food Bank. The scriptural theme for the project is from Matthew 25:35, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat.”

“Food banks experience a drastic increase in demand each summer,” explained the committee in an announcement. “During the school year, children in need are ensured one good meal a day through the free and reduced lunch program in their schools. However, during the summer, families in need really struggle and many of these children would go hungry without the help of organizations that provide food to those in need.”

Founded in 1980, the Central Virginia Food Bank distributes almost 49,000 pounds of food each day to the most vulnerable people–children in need, the elderly, working poor families, disabled individuals, and others in crisis–through more than 500 organizations and agencies feeding the hungry in five cities and 31 counties in the region, according to the announcement. “That’s 12.6 million pounds of food a year!”

Conferencegoers are encouraged to bring a donation of healthy, non-perishable food. Particular needs include canned fish and meats, peanut butter, canned fruits and vegetables, hot and cold cereals, pasta, and rice. Donations will be collected in the registration lobby at the Richmond Convention Center. The goal is to collect three tons (6,000 pounds) of food in celebration of the 300th Anniversary. Congregations are invited to hold a food drive in advance of Annual Conference and send their donations with their delegates.

4) Annual Conference to feature a children’s art exhibit.

The Association for the Arts in the Church of the Brethren (AACB) is sponsoring a children’s art exhibit for the 300th Anniversary celebration at the 2008 Annual Conference in Richmond, Va., in July. The theme for the exhibit is, “Show Us What Life Looks Like When God Is Important.”

The association is inviting children age pre-school through grade 5, to submit a drawing for the exhibit. Drawings should depict the theme, and should be done in crayon, paint, chalk, etc. The size of the drawings should be 8 1/2 by 11 inches. Only one entry per child will be accepted.

Mail entries by July 1 to Leslie Lake, P.O. Box 73, Orrville, OH 44667; or send entries to the 2008 Annual Conference with congregational delegates, hand-deliver to the AACB exhibit area by Saturday afternoon, July 12.

5) More Annual Conference bits and pieces.

  • A tour guide of Brethren historical sites in the mid-Atlantic region is available from the 300th Anniversary Committee. With Richmond, Va., as the site of the 2008 gathering, conference-goers may want to take advantage of the opportunity to visit historical sites in the region. The Anniversary Committee has developed a tour guide listing sites and giving background information, photos, hours, contact information, and directions. The guide can be downloaded from The project was inspired by the late Donald F. Durnbaugh, and completed by committee member Dean Garrett.
  • The 2008 Conference will offer continuing education opportunities for ministers:
    • Insight sessions sponsored by ABC offer .1 continuing education credit each: “Temperament: Understanding Your Child’s God-Given Individual Nature” at 6:45 p.m. on July 14; “The High Cost of Not Managing Your Health” at 6:45 p.m. on July 14; “LTC with TLC” co-sponsored by Brethren Benefit Trust at 12:30 p.m. on July 15; “The Legacy and Character of Deacons” at 12:30 p.m. on July 15; “A Heritage of Health: Reclaiming Our Wellbeing” at 12:30 p.m. on July 15; and “Passing on Sacred Legacies: Memory, Identity and Ritual” at 6:45 p.m. on July 15.
    • Insight sessions sponsored by On Earth Peace offer .1 credit each: “Deacons Guiding Us Toward Peace/Los Diáconos y Las Diaconisas guiándonos hacía la Paz” at 12:30-1:30 p.m. on July 14; “What I Wish Every Christian Knew About Islam” at 12:30-1:30 p.m. on July 14; “Working for Peace in the Middle East” at 12:30-1:30 p.m. on July 14; “Another Way of Believing–A Conversation with Dale Brown” at 6:45-7:45 p.m. on July 14; “Singing and Proclaiming Peace to a Troubled World” at 6:45-7:45 p.m. on July 14; “Exploring Your Faith Through Games” at 12:30-1:30 p.m. on July 15; “Prayerful Community Change” at 12:30-1:30 p.m. on July 15; “The Proclamation of Peace in the Old Testament” at 6:45-7:45 p.m. on July 15; and “Positive Futures for Youth: Alternatives to the Military” at 6:45-7:45 p.m. on July 15.
    • The Congregational Life Ministries Dinner offers .1 credit. It will be held at 5 p.m. on July 15 at the Richmond Marriott, on the theme, “Launching a Spiritual Strategic Journey” with speaker George Bullard, a church growth strategist and authority in conflict management who has written extensively on a life cycle model for congregations.
    • The Global Ministries Dinner offers .1 credit. It will be held at 5 p.m. on July 14 at the Richmond Marriott with speaker Baldemar Valásquez, president of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee, on the topic, “Immigration and Farm Labor: Toward Faithful Policy.”
  • Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) holds a retirement reception honoring Wil Nolen, BBT president, on July 13 at 4:30-6:30 p.m. at the Richmond Marriott. Nolen will be celebrated for his 25 years of guiding BBT ministries, and 42 years of service to the Church of the Brethren.
  • The Fitness Challenge sponsored by BBT will be held July 13, beginning at 7 a.m. The 5K race is a measured course for runners and walkers of all ages. Registration costs $15. For a registration form contact Donna March at 800-746-1505 ext. 371 or
  • Bethany Theological Seminary is offering an insight session for dialogue with the school’s new president Ruthann Knechel Johansen, on July 14 at 6:45-7:45 p.m. at the Richmond Marriott.
  • The Association of Brethren Caregivers (ABC) is advertising two special meal events at the 2008 Conference. The ABC Recognition Dinner on the theme, “Finding Your Healing Gifts,” takes place July 13 at 5 p.m. at the Richmond Marriott, with speaker and “chefnurcian” Laura Pole. She is president of “Eating for a Lifetime,” and is a Health Supportive Gourmet Chef, a registered nurse and clinical nurse specialist, a certified Nia Fitness Instructor, and a professional musician. The Denominational Deacon Luncheon will be held on the theme, “Grief, Hope, and Healing,” on July 14 at 12 noon at the Marriott. Leadership will be provided by Ray Donadio, who will share from his experience of grief, hope, and the beginnings of healing following a car accident that took the life of his young adult daughter. Donadio is an attorney in Greenville, Ohio, a member of Oakland Church of the Brethren, and currently vice-chair of the Bethany Theological Seminary board of directors.
  • Congregations are invited to “Celebrate 2008” by creating a block for the Conference Quilting Bee sponsored by the Association for the Arts in the Church of the Brethren (AACB). The bee will make “historic 2008 Conference quilts,” according to an invitation in the Annual Conference Packet. Congregations are asked to mail quilt blocks postmarked by May 15. Proceeds from the quilt auction will benefit projects to alleviate hunger. Mail blocks to: Mary Cline, 2321 Long Meadow Rd., Waynesboro, VA 22980; 540-363-5230. Enclose a check for $1 payable to AACB to help offset costs. For information about size, design, and fabric requirements, see the Annual Conference Packet or
  • The Brethren Disaster Ministries program is sponsoring a “Gift of the Heart Kit Challenge” on the theme, “Because Little Things Mean a Lot.” Conference participants are invited to collect and bring Church World Service kits providing essential supplies to disaster survivors. These kits are processed, warehoused, and shipped from the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. “Let’s see if we can surpass our goal of collecting 5,000 kits this year at Annual Conference!” said the invitation, which noted that School Kits are most needed. Kits will be collected at the Brethren Disaster Ministries booth in the exhibit hall. For a list of kits and content requirements, see the flier in the Annual Conference Packet or go to
  • “Brethren Life and Thought” is celebrating the 300th Anniversary with a luncheon on July 14 at 12-1:30 p.m., with speaker Dale R Stoffer, dean of Ashland Theological Seminary. Stoffer will present faith perspectives from the Brethren Church. An insight session sponsored by “Brethren Life and Thought” on July 14 from 6:45-7:45 p.m. features a panel on “Kassel House, Katrina, and Karbala: The WWII Brethren Service Explosion and Possibilities for Longterm Recovery after Katrina and the Iraq War.”
  • The Brethren Press Breakfast on July 14 will feature Donald B. Kraybill, one of the authors of the book “Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy.” Kraybill will speak about the book was written and researched. He is a senior fellow at the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College and a member of Elizabethtown Church of the Brethren. He will sign copies of his book in the Brethren Press Bookstore (a schedule of book signings will be announced at Annual Conference).
  • The “Messenger” Dinner at the 2008 Conference will feature keynote speaker Tom Ehrich, a nationally syndicated religion columnist, author, and church consultant. His topic will be, “On a Journey: Encountering God in Everyday Life.” The dinner is at 5 p.m. on July 13.
  • The Church of the Brethren Credit Union holds its Open House and Members Meeting on July 12 at 2 p.m. at the Richmond Marriott. By the time of Annual Conference, the credit union will be offering new checking accounts with debit cards, usable at thousands of surcharge-free ATMs nationwide. Membership in the credit union is open to all Church of the Brethren members. Learn more at the meeting or contact Dennis Kingery at 888-832-1383 or
  • The Mutual Aid Association (MAA) 2008 Members Meeting will be held on July 14 from 4:30-5:30 p.m. at the Richmond Marriott. MAA invites its constituents to attend the meeting to say farewell to outgoing president Jean Hendricks, who has served as MAA president from 2001-08, and to welcome new leadership. The incoming MAA president will be introduced at the event.
  • Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) will celebrates its 60th anniversary with a luncheon on July 14. The theme will be, “Oaks of Righteousness: BVSers in the 21st Century,” with speaker James H. Lehman. He is a writer and publisher in Elgin, Ill., author of “Living the Story,” a booklet celebrating BVS’s 50th anniversary in 1998, and BVS facilitator for Volunteers Exploring Vocation, a program funded by the Lilly Endowment and administered by the Fund for Theological Education encouraging volunteers to consider their calling.
  • The Committee on Interchurch Relations (CIR) has announced its Ecumenical Luncheon to take place July 15 at 12 noon at the Richmond Marriott, on the topic, “How the Closed Brethren Became Open.” The speaker will be leading Brethren Church historian Dale R. Stoffer, professor of historical theology and academic dean at Ashland Theological Seminary. He is involved on the Brethren Encyclopedia Board, and is program coordinator of the Fourth Brethren World Assembly to be held in Schwarzenau, Germany, in August. The 2008 Ecumenical Citation will be presented at the luncheon.

6) Ministers’ Association offers continuing education event.

The Church of the Brethren Ministers’ Association is offering a pre-Conference continuing education event on July 11-12 in Richmond, Va. The event begins with worship at 1 p.m. on July 11, and closing worship will end the event by 12 noon on July 12.

The event will be led by Bethany Theological Seminary professor Dawn Ottoni Wilhelm, with Russ Matteson, co-pastor of Modesto (Calif.) Church of the Brethren, and Jonathan Shively, director of the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership. Speakers will celebrate three centuries of Brethren worship, and explore the traditions, values, and practices that inform corporate worship among the Brethren as we seek the transforming power of Christ’s Spirit.

Presentations will be offered on “Better Than Burnt Offerings” (Mark 12:28-34), “The Sights, Sounds, and Technology of Worship,” and “The Music of Worship.” A Ministers’ Association Business Meeting will be included in the schedule, at 4-4:30 p.m. on July 11, and an offering will be taken for the Ministry Assistance Fund. A picnic is offered the evening of July 11, for an extra fee.

Cost is $60 per person for those who pre-register, or $90 at the door. A discount is available for clergy couples and current seminary, EFSM, or TRIM students. A per-session individual fee also is offered. Child care is $5 per child. Continuing education certificates will be available. Pre-registration forms and fees must be postmarked by June 10. Find the registration form and more information in the Annual Conference Packet or at

7) Song and Story Fest to focus on “Streams of Mercy.”

The 12th annual Song and Story Fest family camp co-sponsored by On Earth Peace will be held on the theme, “Shenandoah Song and Story Fest: Streams of Mercy, Never Ceasing.” The dates are July 6-12, at Brethren Woods Camp and Retreat Center in Keezletown, Va. The event features storytelling, workshops, concerts, campfires, intergenerational gatherings, recreation, and worship, for all ages of children, youth, and adults.

“We have a great line-up of the best folk musicians and story tellers in the denomination,” said director Ken Kline Smeltzer in an announcement. “In this 300th Brethren anniversary year, we will give thanks for God’s unceasing mercy and look forward to how God would use us to foster faith and peace and justice in a troubled world.”

Cost for the full event for adults is $230, $200 for teens, and $160 for children age 6-12. Children age 5 and under are welcome at no charge. A daily fee of $40 per person or $120 per family is available. Maximum fee per family is $720. Registration includes meals, onsite facilities, and leadership. Registrations post-marked after June 15 are subject to a 10 percent late fee. For information about financial aid, contact Bob Gross, On Earth Peace director, at 260-982-7751 or

Register at To mail registrations or for more information, contact On Earth Peace, P.O. Box 188, New Windsor, MD 21776; 410-635-8704; Contact Ken Kline Smeltzer, Song and Story Fest Director, at 1452 Willowbrook Dr., Boalsburg, PA 16827-1668; 814-466-6491 or More about the camp is at

8) Peace Fest to be part of Anniversary events in Germany.

A Peace Fest with Brethren programs and partners in Europe is planned for the evening of Friday, Aug. 1, at the Lutheran Pfarrkirche St. Marien in Marburg, Germany. The fest is part of a weekend of international celebrations of the 300th Anniversary of the Brethren movement, centered in the village of Schwarzenau, Germany, on Aug. 2-3. The first Brethren were baptized in Schwarzenau in 1708.

The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. and feature displays by peace organizations and a variety of presenters including Ken Kreider, author of the book “A Cup of Cold Water: The Story of Brethren Service”; Ken Rogers, speaking on the International Cultural Youth Exchange and Brethren Colleges Abroad; Dale Ott and Kristin Flory speaking about Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) in Europe; Marie-Noelle von der Recke speaking about Church and Peace and faith communities committed to nonviolent discipleship; Angela Koenig of EIRENE International Christian Service for Peace, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary; Wolfgang Krauss from the German Mennonite Peace Committee; and a presentation on a Marburg Peace Initiative.

The event is co-sponsored by BVS and EIRENE. To attend, please contact Myrna Frantz at or 641-475-3463.

9) Pentecost offering celebrates the 300th Anniversary.

Resource packets are now available for the “New Heart–New Spirit” Pentecost 300th Anniversary Offering. The offering is designed to be “a gift from all of us to the whole church for the new day!” said an announcement from the stewardship and funding offices of the Church of the Brethren General Board.

Suggested dates for the offering are the Sundays of May 11 or May 18. Resource packets, which include a worship resource guide and multiple insert-offering envelopes, will arrive in congregations’ mailboxes around April 1. A letter explaining the process, as well as a posting of the worship resource guide are available at

“The way this special offering will work is quite different than other special offerings,” explained the announcement. When the offering is received, each congregation is to keep one third for local ministries and within 30 days forward the rest to the General Board. The General Board will then gather together all the offerings that are sent by district churches and return one half of that total–the second third–to the district office for district ministries. The final third of the offerings will then, after expenses, be shared in various amounts with several denominational ministries. For more go to

10) Mission Alive 2008 focuses on vision for mission.

The Mission Alive 2008 conference scheduled for April 4-6 at Bridgewater (Va.) Church of the Brethren is planned both to empower congregations to take roles in mission in their communities, and to empower the Church of the Brethren denomination’s role in international mission. Online registration for the conference ends March 24, go to

The conference is sponsored by the Church of the Brethren General Board with support from the Brethren Revival Fellowship (BRF) and Brethren World Mission, and extensive involvement and logistical support from the churches of Shenandoah District.

In a recent addition to the conference schedule, the general secretary and leadership team of the General Board will hold an open discussion titled, “Hearing the Heart of the Church on Mission.” General secretary Stan Noffsinger issued an invitation to “come one, come all” to the discussion on Saturday, April 5, from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

The conference will begin with worship at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, April 4, and will close with worship, ending by mid-morning on Sunday, April 6. Highlights of the schedule are plenary sessions on “Biblical Calls: Biblical Bases of Mission,” “A Fruitful Past,” “Leadership for the Missional Church,” “Cultivating Faithful Congregations,” and “Challenges Facing the Church in Mission.”

Evening worship at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 4, will feature a drama by Ted & Trent and music from “Bellaccord,” a men’s ensemble from Eastern Mennonite University. For nearly two decades, Mennonite comedians and actors Ted & Lee offered a unique take on scripture stories; now after the sudden death of Lee Eshleman last year, Ted Swartz will be joined at Mission Alive by Trent Wagler, an actor and musician from Harrisonburg, Va.

A guest from Pakistan, Anglican Bishop Mano Rumalshah, will preach on Saturday, April 5, at 7 p.m., in a service also featuring “Shekinah,” a women’s music ensemble. Rumalshah serves the Peshawar Diocese of the Church of Pakistan, and previously was general secretary of the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in the UK, the oldest Anglican mission agency. He will be available for a “talk on” following worship, for participants to hear more about the current situation in Pakistan and to explore mission from the point of view of the church in a Muslim-oriented society.

A variety of workshops and panel discussions are offered, with a number of leaders from within and outside the denomination including Annual Conference moderator Jim Beckwith; Robert Alley, pastor of the Bridgewater congregation; Stephen Breck Reid, academic dean, and Eugene Roop, former president of Bethany Theological Seminary; general secretary Stan Noffsinger; and many former missionaries and denominational staff members. Dorothy Jean Weaver, professor at Eastern Mennonite Seminary who co-leads Middle East study tours and work groups, will also speak, among many others.

Offerings will be taken for the Emerging Global Mission Fund on Saturday evening, and for Bridgewater Church on Sunday morning. Evening meals provided by groups from the Bridgewater church and Shenandoah District also are fundraisers, and will be available for a donation.

A post-conference event at Harrisonburg (Va.) Mennonite Church on April 6 at 4 p.m. will be on the theme, “Missions in the Brethren Tradition,” with speaker Joan Daggett, associate executive minister of Shenandoah District. It is sponsored by Valley Brethren Mennonite Heritage Center.

The conference fee for those who pre-register is $79 and includes Saturday lunch. Onsite registration begins at 12:30 p.m. on April 4, with a cost of $89. Participation in segments of the program is invited; part-time participants are encouraged to support the conference through the Saturday evening offering. Housing arrangements are the responsibility of participants. Ministers may receive .75 continuing education credit. Register at or call 800-323-8039 ext. 230. To register by mail, send checks to Mission Alive 2008, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120.

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. Loyce Swartz Borgmann, Mark Flory Steury, Lerry Fogle, Bob Gross, Matt Guynn, Jon Kobel, and Stanley Noffsinger contributed to this report. Newsline appears every other Wednesday, with other special issues sent as needed. The next regularly scheduled issue is set for March 12. 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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