Newsline Extra for October 9th, 2009


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Newsline Extra: Webcasts and Upcoming Events
Oct. 9, 2009 

“Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness…” (Psalm 5:8a).

1) Congregational Life, seminary, and districts cooperate on webcasts.
2) Bethany Seminary offers January study trip to Kenya.
3) National Junior High Sunday is scheduled for Nov. 1.
4) Advent Offering will be held on Dec. 6.
5) RCCongress involves Church of the Brethren in sponsorship, leadership.

Brethren bits: Mission and Ministry Board, Bethany visit day, more upcoming events (see column at right).


1) Congregational Life, seminary, and districts cooperate on webcasts.

Webcasts of presentations at three upcoming district meetings are being planned with the help of the Transforming Practices office of the Church of the Brethren’s Congregational Life Ministries and Bethany Seminary’s Electronic Communications.

“Don’t miss these webcast events!” said an announcement from Stan Dueck, director for Transforming Practices.

The webcasts are offered from a Christian coaching training event in Western Plains District on Oct. 12-13, the “Gathering V” in Western Plains District on Oct. 23-25, and the Pacific Southwest District Conference on Nov. 6-8. They are a collaborative effort between Congregational Life Ministries, Bethany, and the districts. For a detailed schedule and how to participate go to .

A “Life/Christian Coaching Training” on Oct. 12-13 in Western Plains District will be led by Jane Creswell. This 12-hour course provides the basics to begin to practice coaching for creative pastoral ministry. Creswell is managing director of the Organizational Leadership Development Lab at Purdue University and co-founder of two organizations, Coach Approach Ministries and Internal Impact LLC. In previous work in the district she provided foundational training for the coaching effort among the congregations in Western Plains. A 67-page workbook can be purchased for use during the webinar from Western Plains District for a $15 charge. This fee is part of Jane Creswell’s expenses. To order the workbook contact Western Plains District Office at and it will be sent via e-mail.

Plenary sessions led by Annual Conference moderator Shawn Flory Replogle and Congregational Life Ministries executive director Jonathan Shively, worship services, and several workshops will be webcast from the Gathering V in Western Plains at various times on Oct. 23-25. For the schedule go to .

Presentations by Diana Butler Bass and Charles “Chip” Arn will highlight webcasts from the Pacific Southwest District Conference on Nov. 6-8. Bass is an independent scholar specializing in American religion and culture and author of several books including “Christianity for the Rest of Us” and “The Practicing Congregation.” Her two presentations will be offered on Nov. 6 at 2:15-4 p.m. and on Nov. 7 at 1-3 p.m. (Pacific time). Arn is president of the Church Growth Institute. He will provide two sessions on the topic “Side Doors: Effective Church Outreach in the 21st Century” on Nov. 7 at 10:30-11:30 a.m. and 2:15-3 p.m. (Pacific time). Also to be webcast are workshops on a variety of topics as well as Sunday morning worship.

For more information go to or contact Stan Dueck at .


2) Bethany Seminary offers January study trip to Kenya.

Bethany Theological Seminary is seeking additional participants for a travel seminar to Kenya, to take place on Jan. 2-20, 2010. The focus of the study trip will be Christian theology and ministry, particularly as informed by the missional context in Kenya and with the Masai tribe.

In student responses to previous offerings of this course, one student wrote: “Kenya was beautiful. It stole my heart. It also left me confused and preoccupied, as any romance will.” The seminary is offering the course as a cross-cultural experience of the “two-thirds world” to stretch minds and give focus to Christian ministry.

Participants will spend time living with people of the Masai tribe and “will witness what happens when the Gospel takes root in one of Africa’s most traditional cultures,” according to a description of the course. Also offered will be opportunities to converse and study with professors and students at an African seminary, and opportunities to do ministry with small children in orphanages, with older women and men who are suffering from illness, and with Kenyan pastors who will partner in prayer and worship. The trip will include an overnight stay at a game park and time in the capital city, Nairobi.

Information about the travel seminar is available at . Contact instructor Russell Haitch at or 800-287-8822 ext. 1827. The deadline for applications is Oct. 16.


3) National Junior High Sunday is scheduled for Nov. 1.

Sunday, Nov. 1, has been scheduled as National Junior High Sunday in the Church of the Brethren. The junior high theme for the upcoming year is “Overflowing with Thankfulness” (Colossians 2:6-7).

“I hope many congregations will invite junior highs to lead worship on that Sunday,” said an announcement from Becky Ullom, director of the church’s Youth and Young Adult Ministry.

A number of resources for National Junior High Sunday are available online: a Bible study by Dennis Lohr of Palmyra, Pa.; worship resources including a call to worship, invocation, invitation to giving, offertory prayer, readers theater, and benediction; a skit and prayer litany by Lorele Yager of Churubusco, Ind., (the skit is adapted from a demonstration by Charles Tayler of Goshen City, Ind.); a sample bulletin cover, and some creative ideas for worship including a “thankfulness display” and worship center.

Go to  for links to the junior high resources.


4) Advent Offering will be held on Dec. 6.

“What are we waiting for?” is the question asked in the Church of the Brethren Advent offering materials. The second Sunday of Advent, Dec. 6, is the date suggested for this special offering to support the denominational ministry of the Church of the Brethren.

Based on Zechariah’s proclamation of Jesus giving light to those who sit in darkness and guidance to walk in the way of peace, the Advent Offering resources ask church members to reflect on the significance of “Emmanuel,” or “God with us.”

“In our time and culture, we are asked to move away from a cultural response to Christmas celebration and to recognize Jesus’ coming as a call to work for God’s reign of justice and shalom,” said Carol Bowman, coordinator of Stewardship Education and Formation.

Resource materials for the special offering including a poster and an Advent activity calendar titled “Changing the Look of Christmas.” The resources will soon be posted online at . The poster also will appear on the back cover of the denomination’s “Messenger” magazine. Additionally, a resource guide with an order form and a sample bulletin insert will be enclosed in the October “Source” packet that is mailed to each Church of the Brethren congregation. Congregations on standing order will automatically receive the materials around Oct. 19. Those not on standing order can order bulletin inserts online or by calling Brethren Press at 800-441-3712. Congregations are asked to provide their own offering envelopes.

“Please join congregations across the country by prayerfully participating in the Advent offering,” Bowman said. “The gifts you share will renew spirits and bring light, peace, and justice to God’s children everywhere.”


5) RCCongress involves Church of the Brethren in sponsorship, leadership.

RCCongress 2010, a Religion Communication Congress held once every 10 years and scheduled for April 7-10 next year in Chicago, Ill., is involving the Church of the Brethren in sponsorship and leadership.

“Embracing change, communicating faith in today’s world” is the theme for the Congress, which will include plenary speakers, workshops, roundtable discussions, interest groups, and a “Resource Plaza” or exhibit hall.

The Church of the Brethren is one of the cooperating organizations for this interfaith event, which is expected to bring together more than 1,200 religious communication professionals.

Brethren staff member Becky Ullom is serving on the planning committee for the Congress, with responsibility for organizing the Resource Plaza. She recently has been named as the church’s director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry.

Former Church of the Brethren denominational staff Stewart M. Hoover also is one of the presenters. He is professor of Media Studies in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Colorado at Boulder, a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the journal “Media and Religion,” and founding co-chair of the Religion, Culture, and Communication Program Unit at the American Academy of Religion. He will co-lead a seminar on “Global Media, Global Religion: Research on Popular Media and the Remaking of Religions” and will give a workshop on “Religion, Media, and Masculinity.”

Brethren who are interested in attending are requested to contact Becky Ullom at or 800-323-8039 ext. 297 in order to help make possible a Church of the Brethren group registration. Early bird registration is open through Jan. 15 for $25 off the individual registration fee of $400 ($225 for fulltime students and retirees). Participants make their own arrangements for accommodations. Go to for more information .

National Junior High Sunday is scheduled for Nov. 1 on the theme, “Overflowing with Thankfulness.” Church of the Brethren congregations are encouraged to involve junior high youth in worship leadership that Sunday. Resources are available at

Bethany Theological Seminary’s Electronic Communications office is working with the Church of the Brethren’s Congregational Life Ministries and two districts to offer a series of webcasts of upcoming events (see story at left). More information and schedule details are at .

Brethren bits

The Church of the Brethren Mission and Ministry Board will hold its fall meeting on Oct. 15-19 at the church’s General Offices in Elgin, Ill. The agenda includes a performance appraisal for the general secretary; work on new mission, vision, and core values statements following up on the coming together of the former General Board with the former Association of Brethren Caregivers; a budget for 2010; financial resourcing for denominational ministries; a resolution on torture; trustee appointments to India trusts; and a number of reports including an Intercultural Survey and the Brethren Witness Listening Process.

Bethany Theological Seminary invites prospective students to a Campus Visit Day on Friday, Nov. 6. “Come savour the mystery and meaning at Bethany Theological Seminary!” said an invitation. “Engage with students and faculty, participate in theological discussions, come to the table to eat, pray, and learn.” For more details and to register go to  or contact Elizabeth Keller at or 800-287-8822 ext. 1832.

A program titled “Money: Friend or Foe?” will be presented by Carol Bowman, coordinator for Stewardship Formation for the Church of the Brethren, on Oct. 24 at the Red Barn in North Franklin County, Va., hosted by Antioch Church of the Brethren and other area congregations. The program will help younger adults focus on stewardship as a way of life but all ages are encouraged to attend. Sessions start at 4:30 p.m. A corn maze and hay ride will be offered for children, along with a session for children kindergarten through fifth grade at 6:45 p.m. At 7:45 p.m. an intergenerational session “Every Day in Every Way” will be offered. A hot dog supper and campfire will close the evening.

Selma (Va.) Church of the Brethren observes its 95th anniversary with a special Homecoming on Oct. 18.

Bedford (Pa.) Church of the Brethren celebrates its 50th anniversary on Oct. 10.

Brethren in Sioux City, Iowa, are sponsoring a workshop on Oct. 16-17 titled, “Peace Is Possible!” The workshop led by On Earth Peace is intended to teach ways of making peace between people, at school, at work, and in communities. The co-facilitators are John Pickens and Rick Polhamus. For more information contact Lucinda Douglas at or 712-204-8950.

First Church of the Brethren in Chicago, Ill., is holding a benefit “Raising the Roof for Youth.” The target is to raise $1,500 for an unexpected roof repair. “First Church of the Brethren in East Garfield Park is a small church with a big impact on the youth of Chicago, particularly ones who face a lack of resources and violence as a way of life,” said an invitation to the fundraiser. “Ceasefire, an organization that has made a big difference for youth by reducing gun violence, has its headquarters in the church, as does the youth-oriented DOOR program. In addition the church has its own youth programs including an after-school tutoring program. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke here in the ’60s, speaking about what is possible for the neighborhood and the nation.” The Raising the Roof for Youth concert will be held on Oct. 10 from 7-10 p.m. at the Hidden Cove in Chicago featuring musicians John Greenfield, Seth Hitsky and Hashim Uqdah, and The Match Factory.

Several district conferences will be held on Oct. 9-10, including the Atlantic Northeast District Conference at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College on the theme “Receive, Refresh, Released to Bless”; the Idaho District Conference at Nampa (Idaho) Church of the Brethren on the theme “Choose to Serve”; and the Atlantic Southeast District Conference at Arcadia (Fla.) Church of the Brethren on the theme “Be Holy Because God Is Holy.” This will be the 40th district conference for Atlantic Northeast, and the 125th conference for Atlantic Southeast. On Oct. 16-17, Middle Pennsylvania District holds its conference at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., on the theme, “God Lives in Us.”

Pleasant Hill Village, a Church of the Brethren retirement community in Girard, Ill., is holding its 13th annual dinner and auction on the theme, “Western Hoedown,” on Oct. 17. The event will be held in Virden, Ill., at the Knights of Columbus Hall beginning at 5 p.m. The cost is $25 per person. Ccontact Paulette Miller at 217-627-2181 or .

A seminar on Long-Term Care Insurance will occur Oct. 27-28 at Fahrney-Keedy Home and Village in Boonsboro, Md. The session Oct. 27 will be at 6 p.m. in the Auditorium; on Oct. 28 information will be presented at 10 a.m. in the Board Room. Randy Yoder, Insurance Services director for Brethren Benefit Trust, will lead the seminars. Reservations are recommended, contact Mike Leiter at 301-671-5015.

The newly organized Church Development and Evangelism Team of Shenandoah District is announcing a special event for all congregations in the district, as it works on a plan for renewal and revitalization for new church development and congregational life. The event will be held Oct. 17 from 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m. at First Church of the Brethren in Harrisonburg, Va. Jonathan Shively, executive director of the Church of the Brethren’s Congregational Life Ministries will give one of the presentations. Participants also will work together in dynamic group exercises to develop strategies for the district’s vision for church growth.

Founders Hall, the first building on the Juniata College campus in Huntingdon, Pa., built in 1879, has undergone a renovation and will be dedicated at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 23. The Founders Hall renovation, completed for $8.5 million, will have a grand opening on Homecoming Weekend, Oct. 30-Nov.1. The refurbishment features environmentally conscious technology, yet many of the building’s signature features remain, according to a release from the college. The restoration by Street Dixon Rick Architects of Nashville, Tenn., emphasized “green design” and was built as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building. Juniata will seek a LEED Silver designation certification from the US Green Building Council.

A Reorganization Meeting for Camp Mount Hermon in Western Plains District will be held on Oct. 10. Trustees (past and present), campers, parents, camp staff, and friends of the camp were invited to the meeting in an announcement in the district newsletter. The meeting will select the new members of the camp’s board of trustees. Over the past 18 months, the current trustees and district groups have worked together to create a new structure for the trustees group as well as an operations agreement, the newsletter reported.

Elizabethtown (Pa.) President Theodore E. Long will speak at a seminar on “Brethren Higher Education and Church Renewal” on Nov. 2 at 3:30 p.m. at Bridgewater (Va.) College. “If the colleges have grown while the denomination has lost membership, can the church learn something from Brethren campuses, especially about interpretation of the Brethren heritage?” said a release about the event. The seminar will be held in the Boitnott Room of the Kline Campus Center. Contact Steve Longenecker at .

The National Council of Churches is offering a free national conference call for people of faith to kick off a “Fighting Poverty with Faith” week of action. The call will be offered on Oct. 14 at 2-3 p.m. eastern time, and will give an opportunity to hear from several national faith-based leaders, elected officials, and others working to reduce poverty. Presenters will include Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA; Rabbi Steve Gutow, president of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs; and Miquela Craytor, executive director of Sustainable South Bronx. For information about how to join the call go to .

Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren, or 800-323-8039 ext. 260. Jordan Blevins, Stan Dueck, Enten Eller, Glen Sargent, Marcia Shetler, 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. 21. Newsline stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source.

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