Church of the Brethren Newsline
April 3, 2009
Bridgewater (Va.) College president Phillip C. Stone announced today that he will retire at the end of the 2009-10 academic year, concluding 16 years at the helm of the institution. Stone took office on Aug. 1, 1994, as the seventh president of Bridgewater College. His retirement will be effective June 30, 2010.
In a letter to the college community, Stone wrote, “It is with bitter-sweet emotions that I announce that I will retire from the presidency of the College, effective June 30, 2010. The feelings are bitter because I shall so sorely miss being involved in the life of this wonderful campus community. The sweet part of my decision is the opportunity to have more time for my family, including my four wonderful grandchildren; reading; Lincoln research; travel; and, especially, spending more time in Germany where my wife and I have an apartment.” He thanked college employees and students for their friendship over the years and noted that being a part of the lives of Bridgewater students “has enriched my life beyond measure.”
Stone’s administration oversaw increased academic and athletic excellence, capital improvements, student successes, increased endowment, and expanded co-curricular opportunities. During his tenure as president, Stone–a member of the Bridgewater class of 1965–has overseen great progress and expansion in all areas of campus life, including undergraduate program growth, a nearly doubling of enrollment, and facility and technology expansion. Under his guidance, the college implemented its signature Personal Development Portfolio (PDP) program, elevated the quality of its faculty and staff and secured its financial underpinnings through the current Every Student, One Commitment Campaign for Bridgewater College.
James L. Keeler, chair of the Bridgewater College Board of Trustees, noted that Stone’s “leadership roles in the Church of the Brethren translated into a unique understanding of the church’s joint heritage with the College and he has maintained those strong ties.” Keeler went on to note that Stone’s leadership roles in the Church of the Brethren, his accomplishments as a lawyer, and his love of history have all benefitted Bridgewater College.
According to Keeler, a national search will be conducted to identify Stone’s successor.
Born in Bassett, Va., Stone attended the University of Chicago Graduate School of Economics and received a law degree from the University of Virginia. After 24 years of law practice with the Harrisonburg, Va., law firm of Wharton, Aldhizer & Weaver, Stone accepted the invitation to become president of Bridgewater College. In his law practice, he was involved in estate planning, corporate, and health law. He was elected a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers, the International Society of Barristers, the American Bar Foundation, and the Virginia Bar Foundation. He was also listed in the first four editions of The Best Lawyers in America. In addition, he has held leadership positions in the Virginia State Bar, the Virginia Bar Association and other legal societies. In 1997, he served as president of the Virginia Bar Association. He has chaired the Virginia State Bar Committee on Ethics and its Disciplinary Board. He has been president or chairman of several bar groups.
Stone served as moderator of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference from 1990-91. Previously, he served as chair of the Church of the Brethren General Board. He has been a Bridgewater College Trustee since 1975. He also has served on the Board of Rockingham Memorial Hospital in Harrisonburg for nine years, serving five years as chair. He was appointed by Virginia governor Mark Warner to the Commonwealth Transportation Board from 2002-05.
In addition, Stone is chair of the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and has served as a trustee of the accrediting organization since 2007. He has been active in the NCAA as chair of the NCAA III Presidents Council (2004-06) and has served on a number of its committees, including Audit, Executive and Special Committee on Executive Authority. From 2005-06 he was a member of the NCAA Presidential Task Force on the Future of Division I Intercollegiate Athletics. He has taken an active role in local historical groups and annually conducts a ceremony at the local Lincoln Cemetery to commemorate the birth of Abraham Lincoln. He is founder of the Lincoln Society of Virginia and serves on the advisory board of the National Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, as well as the advisory board of the Lincoln Forum. In 1987, he was honored as the National Churchman of the Year by Religious Heritage of America and in 1993 received the Harrisonburg Exchange Club Golden Deeds Award.
(Excerpted from a press release from Bridgewater College, released by Mary K. Heatwole.)
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Brethren in the News
“Peace Community Garden: A Marriage Made in Heaven,” Neighborhood Notes, Mill Park, Ore. (March 31, 2009). In east Portland, Ore., Peace Church of the Brethren and Portland Parks and Recreation have forged a relationship that will do heavenly work here on earth: feed people at minimal cost. Over the weekend, Portland Parks and Recreation celebrated the opening of Peace Community Garden, its 32nd community garden. The garden was built on an unused parking lot on church property. http://www.neighborhoodnotes.com/se/mill_park/news/2009/
“Living words for tough times,” Suburbanite, Akron, Ohio (March 31, 2009). Pastor Tobin Crenshaw of Hartville (Ohio) Church of the Brethren offers a meditation on the troubled economy in light of the promise of Easter resurrection. http://www.thesuburbanite.com/communities/
“Denominations Trim Presence on Capitol Hill,” Religion News Service (March 30, 2009). A review of the situations of religious and nonprofit groups supporting advocacy work in the nation’s capital includes a section about the closing of the Church of the Brethren’s Washington Office and comments from former director Phil Jones. http://blog.beliefnet.com/news/2009/03/
“More seeking church help in slow economy,” Chambersburg (Pa.) Public Opinion (March 30, 2009). Chambersburg (Pa.) Church of the Brethren and its minister of pastoral care, Darlene Stouffer, are featured in an article about local congregations who believe in offering a helping hand, or even a free meal, in good times as well as bad. http://www.publicopiniononline.com/ci_12026750
“Safety emphasized at children’s fair,” Chambersburg (Pa.) Public Opinion (March 29, 2009). The Brethren Life Center at Chambersburg (Pa.) Church of the Brethren hosted a “Get Ready, Get Set, Learn Children’s Fair” on Saturday, March 28, sponsored by the Franklin County Early Childhood And Education Community Engagement Program. Some 200 people attended. http://www.publicopiniononline.com/ci_12021523
“Theater + Dinner = One Tasty Church Fundraiser,” Daily News Record, Harrisonburg, Va. (March 27, 2009). Pleasant Valley Church of the Brethren in Weyers Cave, Va.,, has a new approach to fundraising, and a community with a taste for entertainment is eating it up. Pleasant Valley now draws upon the thespian skills of its members to bankroll worthy causes. This weekend, the church holds its fourth annual dinner theater for three straight nights, starting April 2, to help finance an irrigation system for a crop garden on which Pleasant Valley grows produce for the Verona Food Pantry. http://www.dnronline.com/news_details.php?
“Church helping to support child in need of transplant,” Cumberland (Md.) Times-News (March 26, 2009). Attending Living Stone Church of the Brethren in Cumberland, Md., every Sunday with her older brother and sister and her uncles, one wouldn’t suspect the happy 2-year-old girl is sick. But Jaelyn Spencer was born with polycystic kidney disease and will need a kidney transplant in the near future. Matthew Cuppert, youth leader at Living Stone, is spearheading a benefit to help raise money for Spencer and her family. http://www.times-news.com/local/local_story_085233528.html
Obituary: Elizabeth K. “Betty” DeLong, Mansfield (Ohio) News Journal (March 26, 2009). Elizabeth K. “Betty” DeLong, 82, of Mansfield, Ohio, died on March 24 at Mifflin Care Center. A homemaker, she was a member of Mansfield Church of the Brethren where she volunteered in many areas. She was also very involved with her children and grandchildren. She is survived by her husband of 60 years, Mervin L. DeLong. http://www.mansfieldnewsjournal.com/article/
“‘Faith in Action’ at Herndon Church,” Herndon (Va.) Connection (March 25, 2009). Brown paper bags lined tabletops, as an assembly line was created for ham sandwich construction. Volunteers dropped packets of mustard and salt into open bags. One volunteer dried leaves of lettuce as she chatted with a fellow church parishioner about the virtue of romaine lettuce versus its mellower iceberg cousin. On Saturday afternoon, March 21, volunteers gathered at Dranesville Church of the Brethren in Herndon, Va., to prepare around 150 bag lunches and at least 10 gallons of soup for distribution among the homeless population of Washington, D.C. http://www.connectionnewspapers.com/
“Erwin church demonstrates how to keep your faith,” Erwin (Tenn.) Record (March 24, 2009). An opinion piece lauds Erwin (Tenn.) Church of the Brethren for keeping its faith alive. The congregation broke ground for a new church building on March 15, after losing the previous building to a fire last June. http://www.erwinrecord.net/Detail.php?Cat=VIEWPOINT&ID=58750
“A Little Help, a Lot of Hope: Churches, Clubs Join to Create New Food Pantry,” Daily News Record, Harrisonburg, Va. (March 24, 2009). Three Church of the Brethren congregations in the Harrisonburg and Dayton areas of Virginia–Fairview Church of the Brethren, Greenmount Church of the Brethren, and Mount Bethel Church of the Brethren–are among the 10 churches, Ruritan clubs, and a Boy Scout troop who are jointly sponsoring a new food pantry. The West Rockingham Food Pantry has opened in the fellowship hall at Cooks Creek Presbyterian Church. It will be a branch of the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. http://www.dnronline.com/skyline_
Obituary: Hazel F. Hall, Staunton (Va.) News Leader (March 24, 2009). Hazel Lucille (French) Hall, 81, died on March 21 at her residence. She was a member of Staunton (Va.) Church of the Brethren. Prior to retirement, she was employed by Arlington Hospital as a nurse’s aide. She was preceded in death by her husband, Paul Irvin Hall Jr. http://www.newsleader.com/article/20090324/
“Former Manchester College President Dies,” Inside Indiana Business (March 23, 2009). Former longtime Manchester College President A. Blair Helman has died. He led the college from 1956 to 1986, overseeing construction of new residence halls, the Funderburg Library, and a physical education and recreation center. Helman was 88. http://www.insideindianabusiness.com/newsitem.asp?ID=34649
“Joseph Kosek Will Lecture on Radical Christian Pacifists on March 25 at Library of Congress,” Library of Congress (March 6, 2009). Joseph Kip Kosek, assistant professor at George Washington University and a member of Oakton Church of the Brethren, will discuss the impact of radical Christian pacifists on American democratic theory and practice, at the Library of Congress on March 25 beginning at 4 p.m. He is the author of “Acts of Conscience: Christian Nonviolence and Modern American Democracy” and a former fellow of the Library’s John W. Kluge Center. The event is free and open to the public. http://www.loc.gov/today/pr/2009/09-047.html
Obituary: Annabel F. Bullen, Palladium-Item, Richmond, Ind. (March 22, 2009). Annabel F. Bullen, 84, of Eaton, Ohio, died on March 20 in her home at the Suites of Greenbriar. She was a member of Eaton Church of the Brethren. She had worked at the Preble County Department of Health for several years and was an active member of the Miami Valley Hospital School of Nursing Alumni. She was preceded in death by her husband of 44 years, James E. Bullen, in 1993. http://www.pal-item.com/article/20090322/
“Ben’s Bells : ‘Ultimate giver’ treats everyone with love,” Arizona Daily Star (March 21, 2009). The recipient of this week’s Ben’s Bell is Dotty Ledner, who’s been visiting lonely nursing home patients for decades, on top of all the work she does for her church, raising six children on her own, and doting on her many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. About three years ago, she began attending Tucson (Ariz.) Church of the Brethren. “God is so good to me,” she said. http://www.azstarnet.com/allheadlines/285342
“Wyomissing zoners grant variance for church sign,” Reading (Pa.) Eagle (March 20, 2009). The Wyomissing (Pa.) Zoning Hearing Board has granted two variances to Wyomissing Church of the Brethren for a new sign. The congregation is constructing a new church on its property. http://www.readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=130535
“Franklin County milk makers shaking,” Roanoke (Va.) Times (March 20, 2009). Laird Bowman, a member of Antioch Church of the Brethren in Franklin County, Va., is featured in this newspaper article about the difficulties facing dairy farmers. No matter what happens, the sixth generation dairy farmer of Bowmont Farms says he’s not going anywhere. The 800-acre farm nestled between Boones Mill and Callaway has been in his family since 1839. http://www.roanoke.com/news/roanoke/wb/198326