Annual Conference Preachers, Other Leaders Announced

Church of the Brethren Newsline
March 10, 2009

Preachers and other leaders for the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference to be held June 26-30 in San Diego, Calif., have been announced by the Annual Conference Office. Coordinating the worship services will be Scott Duffey of Staunton, Va. Preachers will address the Conference theme for 2009, “The old has gone! The new has come! All this is from God!” (2 Corinthians 5:16-21).

Annual Conference moderator David K. Shumate, who is district executive minister for Virlina District, will preach for the opening worship service on the evening of Friday, June 26. Moderator-elect Shawn Flory Replogle, pastor of McPherson (Kan.) Church of the Brethren, will be worship leader for the Friday evening service.

For the Saturday evening worship service, the preacher will be Richard F. Shreckhise, of the pastoral team at Lancaster (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. The worship leader will be Susan R. Daniel, administrative executive of Idaho District.

Eric H. F. Law will bring the Sunday morning message for the Conference. He is an ordained Episcopal priest and consultant in the area of multicultural ministry, and author of a number of books including “The Wolf Shall Dwell with the Lamb: A Spirituality for Leadership in a Multicultural Community” and “Finding Intimacy in a World of Fear” among others. Leading worship Sunday morning will be Jonathan Shively, executive director of the Church of the Brethren’s Congregational Life Ministries.

Preaching on Monday evening will be Nancy Heishman, co-coordinator of the Church of the Brethren mission in the Dominican Republic along with her husband, Irvin Heishman. Leading worship will be Joseph V. Vecchio of the Pacific Southwest District office staff.

The closing worship service for the Conference, on Tuesday morning, June 30, will receive the message from Jaime Diaz, pastor of Castañer Iglesia de los Hermanos (Castañer Church of the Brethren) in Puerto Rico. The worship leader will be Valentina Satvedi, an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren and director of the Anti-Racism Program of Mennonite Central Committee US.

Music for the Annual Conference worship services will be coordinated by Erin Matteson, co-pastor of Modesto (Calif.) Church of the Brethren. Music leaders will include Conference Choir director Stephen Reddy, also of Modesto; Children’s Choir director Linda Williams of San Diego; organist Anna Grady of Goshen, Ind.; and at the piano/keyboard Dan Masterson of Lindsborg, Kan.

Bible study leaders include Julie Hostetter, director of the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership, who will serve as leader of evening Bible study sessions; Nick Corrall, pastor of Iglesia de Cristo Genesis, a Church of the Brethren congregation in Los Angeles, who will coordinate Hispanic Bible studies; Gene Hagenberger, pastor of Easton (Md.) Church of the Brethren, and Noel Naff, pastor of Mount Hermon Church of the Brethren in Bassett, Va., who will lead morning Bible study sessions; and Estella Horning, an ordained Church of the Brethren minister and retired seminary teacher from Goshen, Ind., who will lead the theological studies.

Go to for more information about the Annual Conference and to register online.

The Church of the Brethren Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren. Newsline stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source. Contact to receive Newsline by e-mail or to submit news to the editor at For more Church of the Brethren news and features, subscribe to “Messenger” magazine; call 800-323-8039 ext. 247.

Brethren in the News

“Woman, 110, known for sharp mind and humor,” Dayton (Ohio) Daily News (March 9, 2009). Sylvia Utz celebrated her 110th birthday on March 9 at the Brethren Retirement Community in Greenville, Ohio. She told the newspaper that her earliest memory is of members of her church, Pitsburg Church of the Brethren in Arcanum, Ohio, picnicking on the present-day grounds of the Brethren Retirement Community with orphans and senior citizens. She figures she was 6 or 7. The newspaper reported that only 1 in 5 million people lives to age 110.

“Fuentes volunteers at The Palms of Sebring,” News Sun, Sebring, Fla. (March 8, 2009). Emily Fuentes of Erie, Colo., has recently undertaken a Brethren Volunteer Service assignment with The Palms of Sebring, a Church of the Brethren retirement community. Before joining BVS, Fuentes studied astrophysics at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She has also been very involved in her church serving on the Worship Team, Pastoral Search Committee, and as custodian.

“Arrangements Made for Meyersdale Teens,” (March 7,2009). Meyersdale (Pa.) Church of the Brethren is holding funerals for two of the three Somerset County, Pa., teens killed in a car crash last Thursday. A funeral service for Austin Johnson was to be held at the church today, Monday, March 9, at 10 a.m.; a funeral service for Lee Gnagey will be at the church at 3 p.m. tomorrow.

Also see “Police: Teens Were Racing Another Car Prior to Fatal Crash,” (March 7, 2009)

Also see “Funeral Plans Set for Three Meyersdale Teens,” (March 9, 2009)

Obituary: Betty Jane Kauffman, The Review, East Liverpool, Ohio (March 7, 2009). Betty Jane Kauffman, 84, died at home on March 3. She was active in Zion Hill Church of the Brethren in Columbiana, Ohio. She was preceded in death by her husband, Adin R. Kauffman, whom she married in 1949. She was a graduate of the Hanna Mullins School of Nursing and worked as a registered nurse.

“Two Garrett churches hit by burglars,” Cumberland (Md.) Times-News (March 6, 2009). Oak Park Church of the Brethren in Oakland, Md., was one of two churches to be hit by thieves during the week. The Garrett County Sheriff’s Office said the two victim churches were ransacked with damages resulting to interior doors, door frames, and jambs.

“In and Around Greene,” Greene County Record, Stanardsville, Va. (March 6, 2009). The Food Pantry in Greene County received 42 donations of food and/or dollars during the February Souper Bowl of Caring food drive. Gifts in memory of Delbert Frey and a Church of the Brethren “Domestic Hunger Matching Grant” helped surpass the goal.

“Thurmont’s Christian congregations observe Lent season together,” Business Gazette, Gaithersburg, Md. (March 5, 2009). The lights were on and the doors were open at Thurmont (Md.) Church of the Brethren on a cold Monday evening, as the first installment of the Thurmont Ministerium’s rotating Lent service got under way. The messages coming from the dual pulpits–one for Linda Lambert, pastor of the Church of the Brethren, and one for worship leader Steve Lowe–were clear. “May it be a season of sorrow and remorse,” Lowe said in his invocation.

Obituary: Eula Lavon “Babe” Wylie, Morning Sun, Pittsburg, Kan. (March 4, 2009). Eula Lavon “Babe” Wylie, 81, of Pittsburg, Kan., went to be with the Lord on March 1 at St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Joplin, Mo. She was a member of Osage Church of the Brethren in McCune, Kan. In 1947, she married Edwin Marriott “Mennie” Wylie; he preceded her in death in 2005. She had worked as a key punch operator for McNally Manufacturing for 22 years.

Obituary: Linda Goolsby Downs, News Leader, Staunton, Va. (March 4, 2009). Linda Goolsby Downs, 54, passed away on March 3. She was a member of Stone Church of the Brethren in Buena Vista, Va. A lifelong educator, she taught in Page, Rockbridge, Culpepper, and Madison Counties before joining the Buena Vista School System in 1984, where she taught sixth grade and was a library media specialist. She is survived by her husband of 30 years, D. Earl Downs.

Obituary: Harold E. Spitzer, Palladium Item, Richmond, Ind. (March 3, 2009). Harold E. Spitzer, 86, of Richmond, Ind., died on Feb. 27. He had worked for Truss Joist in Boise, Idaho. He sang in the church choir and barbershop quartet at Nampa (Idaho) Church of the Brethren, and attended Richmond (Ind.) Church of the Brethren. He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Clara Ruth (Huston) Spitzer.

“Many feel compelled to take dinner to homeless,” Modesto (Calif.) Bee (March 3, 2009). “These early evenings at a back entrance to the big warehouse (coordinated by the Salvation Army in Modesto, Calif.) you can see them lined up. About a hundred of them, homeless and waiting for nighttime shelter and a meal.” This news report includes the participation of Modesto Church of the Brethren in helping meet the needs of the homeless and hungry in their community.

“Center for homeless needed in Salisbury,” Bethany Beach (Del.) Wave (March 2, 2009). A letter to the editor from pastor Martin Hutchison of Community of Joy Church of the Brethren in Salisbury, Md. The letter advocates for a local resource center for the homeless and outlines the activities to serve the homeless by Community of Joy Church.

Obituary: Connie Andes, McPherson (Kan.) Sentinel (March 2, 2009). Connie S. Andes, 66, a former executive staff member for the Church of the Brethren, died on March 2 at the Kansas City (Mo.) Hospice House. She served the Church of the Brethren General Board from July 1984 through August 1988 as an associate general secretary and executive of the General Service Commission.

“Persons of the Week: Girls forgo birthday presents in favor of donations,” Tribune-Democrat, Johnstown, Pa. (March 1, 2009). Page Prebehalla of Moxham Church of the Brethren in Johnstown, Pa., was one of two junior high schoolers named by the newspaper as “persons of the week” for celebrating their birthdays together with a dance party to benefit children who need surgery through the International Association of Fire Fighters’ Burn Foundation. Her father is Johnstown fire Capt. Mike Prebehalla.

Obituary: Janis C. Moyer, News Leader, Staunton, Va. (Feb. 28, 2009). Janis “Deany” Cook Moyer, 75, died on Feb. 26. She was a member of Waynesboro (Va.) Church of the Brethren, where she was president of the Delphia Wright Circle and served on numerous committees. She was preceded in death by her husband of 52 years, William D. “Bill” Moyer, on Dec. 16, 2008.

Obituary: Alice Snellman, Great Falls (Mont.) Tribune (Feb. 28, 2009). Alice (Richwine) Snellman, 92, died on Feb. 25 in Minot, N.D. Burial was at Grandview Church of the Brethren near Froid, Mont., where she was baptized in 1929. She taught school in Montana, Washington, and Arizona, and then worked as a medical technician in Colorado, Arizona, Oregon, and California.

“Dr. Emmert Bittinger speaks at Young Center,” Etownian, Elizabethtown (Pa.) College (Feb. 26, 2009). Dr. Emmert Bittinger, a Church of the Brethren scholar, gave a lecture entitled “Crisis of Conscience: The Shenandoah Anabaptists During the Civil War,” linking the Civil War to the experiences of Anabaptists during that time, at the Young Center at Elizabethtown College on Feb. 26. Bittinger also donated his collection of rare books.

Obituary: Irene (Calhoun) Metzler, Altoona (Pa.) Mirror (Feb. 26, 2009). Irene (Calhoun) Metzler, 58, died on Feb. 24 at Altoona (Pa.) Hospital. She was a member of Clover Creek Church of the Brethren near Martinsburg, Pa., and served on the Ethics Committee for the Church of the Brethren’s Middle Pennsylvania District. She was a private practice psychologist. She is survived by her husband, Durban D. Metzler.

“Penton to speak at County Line,” Ada (Ohio) Herald (Feb. 25, 2009). County Line Church of the Brethren in Harrod, Ohio, hosted guest speaker Joel Penton on March 1. Penton travels the nation bringing the Gospel of Christ to schools, churches, and gatherings of youth for the Central Ohio Fellowship for Christian Athletes.

“Families share homefront hugs,” Cumberland (Md.) Times-News (Feb. 24, 2009). Mel and Catherine Menker, recent pastors at Oak Park Church of the Brethren in Oakland, Md., are among family of military who are interviewed for this article. The Menkers lead a locally organized Military Family Support Group in Garrett County, Md.

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