Bethany Theological Seminary Names New Academic Dean

Church of the Brethren Newsline
March 17, 2009

Steven Schweitzer, assistant professor of Old Testament at Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Ind., will become associate professor and academic dean at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., beginning July 1, 2009. Bethany is the Church of the Brethren’s graduate school of theology.

Schweitzer is a member of Prince of Peace Church of the Brethren in South Bend, Ind. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Christian studies summa cum laude from North Central University in Minneapolis, Minn.; a master of arts in theology degree with a concentration in Hebrew Bible and a minor in patristics from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn.; and a doctoral degree in theology from the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. He previously taught at North Central University and the University of Notre Dame before joining the AMBS faculty in 2006.

Although a young scholar, Schweitzer has an impressive publishing record. In 2007, T & T Clark International published his book, “Reading Utopia in Chronicles,” and “Utopian Visions in the Ancient and Biblical Worlds” is under contract with Fortress Press. He also has published numerous journal articles, invited essays, and book reviews.

“Steve brings a love for teaching, outstanding teaching evaluations, and highly developed organizational skills to this position,” said President Ruthann Knechel Johansen. “I am pleased that he has accepted this call. We look forward to welcoming him and his leadership to Bethany.”

(This is taken from a press release distributed by Bethany Seminary, written by Marcia Shetler.)

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

“A story of hope for the Swords: Couple is back together at Brethren Village,” Lancaster (Pa.) New Era (March 16, 2009). Gene and Barbara Swords are back together in their Brethren Village apartment, after a year of living apart. Gene Swords spent months recovering in the hospital, then rehabbing at Brethren Village’s health-care center, after a stroke. The Swords, now 80, met as opera-loving teenagers at a church camp, ended up at Elizabethtown College, and both retired from long careers with the Lampeter-Strasburg School District. For many years, they performed with the Lancaster Opera Co.

“ACRS Monday Morning Story-Telling Breakfast,” Eastern Mennonite University (March 15, 2009). The Anabaptist Center at Eastern Mennonite University has started a new “story-telling” series that includes the Church of the Brethren. Yesterday’s presentation, on March 16, featured Earle Fike sharing his life story. Fike has dedicated his life to the ministry of the Church of the Brethren. A colleague unequivocally calls him “the dean of Brethren pastors.”

Obituary: Garnetta R. Miller, News Leader, Staunton, Va. (March 10, 2009). Garnetta Jean Reamer Miller, 85, of Weyers Cave, Va., died on March 9 at the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville. She was a member of Pleasant Valley Church of the Brethren and Dorcas Circle of the Church. Her husband of 63 year, Loren J. Miller, survives her.

“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. http://www.greene-

“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.

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.

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