Newsline for January 29, 2009

Newsline January 29, 2009

“God is a refuge for us” (Psalm 62:8b).


1) Brethren Benefit Trust issues a report on its investment losses.

2) Matching grant program for hunger relief gets off to a good start.

3) Leadership Team works toward revisions of church documents.

4) Outdoor Ministries Association holds annual meeting in Northwest.

5) Brethren bits: Remembrance, personnel, jobs, Sudan prayer, more.


6) On Earth Peace offers ‘Community Change for Congregations.’


7) A reflection from the Congo: Standing on the wall as it crumbles.


New at is a photo journal of “Heeding God’s Call: A Gathering on Peace,” a meeting held in Philadelphia on Jan. 13-17 by the Historic Peace Churches. Click on “News” at to find the link to the photo journal. Also offered online at (the official website for the gathering) listeners may find audio recordings of the major presentations at Heeding God’s Call. Speakers included James Forbes, Ched Myers, and Vincent Harding, among others.


Contact for information about how to subscribe or unsubscribe to Newsline. For more Church of the Brethren news go to and click on “News.”


1) Brethren Benefit Trust issues a report on its investment losses.

Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) has issued a report on its investments, following the sharp market decline and national financial crisis. The report was written by Nevin Dulabaum, president of BBT, and is taken from the BBT newsletter “Benefit News”:

“A 50 percent decline in one year–that was the dubious milestone reached by the S&P 500 in November during the time that the Brethren Benefit Trust Board was convened for its fall meetings. This decline was the sharpest by the equity markets since the 1930s. What is worse, there were few safe investment havens in 2008–all market sectors experienced declines, which means all investors in the equity markets experienced negative returns, including BBT.

“Through November, BBT’s assets under management, which include funds of Brethren Pension Plan and Brethren Foundation, had declined $119 million for the year to $320 million. However, they rebounded slightly in December as the markets showed a sign of recovery–the S&P 500 increased by about 10 percent for the month.

“Nevertheless, what does the aggregate decline in investments mean for BBT’s members and client organizations?

“It depends. For people who have more than one investment cycle left (generally 10 years) before they retire or for organizations making longterm investments, the downturn should have little impact, if history is any guide. The markets typically rebound over time, as equities began to do in December. In the meantime, investments made while the markets are lower will increase greatly as the markets climb upward, which will benefit portfolios invested in equities longterm.

“For people approaching retirement or for organizations wanting to access their funds in the near future, conservative asset allocation is the key–a less risky fund choice should be selected to ensure that there is no erosion of principle.

“For people who have retired through the Brethren Pension Plan, BBT has given them an annuity that will pay them for life. BBT’s mandate is to ensure that the Retirement Benefits Fund, from which the annuities are paid, remains able to fulfill its obligations for decades to come. Each year in January, BBT engages Hewitt Associates to perform an actuarial assessment that gives us a snapshot of the fund’s longterm viability. This year’s study will be more comprehensive than normal, given the severity of the markets’ sharp declines in 2008. The results of the study are expected to be ready for review by the BBT board and staff in February.

“In the meantime, the BBT board did take action in November to help BBT have one investment option that is expected to show a positive return over any rolling three-month period–its Short-Term Fund. The board hired a new fund manager, Sterling Capital Management of Charlotte, N.C., that specializes in investing in shorter duration notes, allowing the firm to be more agile in its investment selection and thus reduce the likelihood of negative returns.

“At its Nov. 20, 2008, meeting in Elgin, Ill., the BBT board’s Investment Committee reviewed the performances of its eight national investment managers, seeking to ensure that all managers were producing results that exceed their respective benchmarks and were positioned in the top quartile of their peers. By frequently reviewing the investment managers and ensuring that they are diversified among many investment sectors, BBT board members and staff seek to ensure that investments under management can weather most financial downturns with little adverse impact relative to their respective benchmarks.

“Whatever your investment situation, the best way to deal with your financial investments is to meet with a financial planner, develop a plan, and stick with it. That course of action will minimize the impact of a financial storm as was experienced in 2008.”

2) Matching grant program for hunger relief gets off to a good start.

Church of the Brethren staff report that the new “Domestic Hunger Matching Grant” program encouraging Church of the Brethren congregations to support local hunger programs has gotten off to a good start.

As of the end of January, 42 congregations in 16 states have issued grants to local hunger programs, reported Howard Royer, manager of the fund. “The amount of matching funds from the denomination averages $437,” he reported. “Of the $50,000 committed to this effort by the Emergency Disaster Fund and Global Food Crisis Fund, $19,000 has been expended.”

The Church of the Brethren’s Global Food Crisis Fund and Emergency Disaster Fund, in partnership with the Stewardship department, announced the program at the end of 2008 to encourage congregations to make a special effort this winter to respond to the needs of local food pantries and soup kitchens. Congregations will be matched dollar for dollar–up to $500–for a gift to one local food bank or soup kitchen.

The first congregational application came from Whitestone Church of the Brethren in Tonasket, Wash. With the matching grant program, the congregation’s check for $600 written to the Tonasket Food Bank has become $1,100. Whitestone has a membership of 26, according to the “2008 Church of the Brethren Yearbook.”

To qualify, a congregation must raise new funds for the food crisis, fill out and return an application form by March 15, and enclose a copy of the check it writes to the food bank or soup kitchen. Matching checks will be issued in the charity’s name and mailed to the requesting congregation for forwarding to the local organization. Grants will be issued until the $50,000 set aside for the program by the two funds is exhausted.

“In projecting responses, we thought 100 congregations might be a reasonable target. With another month to go, the participation is likely to exceed that number considerably,” Royer said.

Go to for the application form for the matching grant program. For more information contact Justin Barrett in the Global Mission Partnerships office at 800-323-8039 ext. 230.

3) Leadership Team works toward revisions of church documents.

The Church of the Brethren Leadership Team met at Circle of Peace Church of the Brethren in Arizona on Dec. 17-18, 2008, with all four members present: Annual Conference moderator David Shumate, moderator-elect Shawn Flory Replogle, secretary Fred Swartz, and general secretary Stan Noffsinger.

The Leadership Team is working with diligence toward a revision of the bylaws of Church of the Brethren, Inc., as indicated to the delegates of the 2008 Annual Conference. At last year’s Conference a preliminary set of bylaws was approved in order for the new denominational structure to be initiated. It is expected that the Mission and Ministry Board will review the revised bylaws in March at a meeting in New Windsor, Md.

The team also is working at revisions to the Church of the Brethren’s Manual of Organization and Polity. A number of changes are necessary to incorporate various actions of the 2008 Annual Conference. As soon as the polity is updated, it will be posted at on the denominational web site.

In other business, the Leadership Team set Sept. 1 as the starting date of the new Annual Conference executive director, but with the expectation that the new director will be hired in time to attend Annual Conference in San Diego in late June. Applications for the position will be accepted after Jan. 15. The new director will work with retiring Annual Conference executive Lerry Fogle, for orientation.

The Annual Conference offices will be relocated from the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., to the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., on Sept. 21.

Other items on the agenda included approval of a survey compiled by the Program and Arrangements Committee to acquire information from the denomination regarding participation in Annual Conferences. Distribution of the survey is expected to cover a wide spectrum of the church. The Leadership Team also plans to propose to the 2009 Standing Committee a denominational committee that will set goals for the denomination’s mission. The team in addition has begun planning for developing a Moderator’s Manual, as recommended by the Doing Church Business study paper of 2007.

–Fred Swartz serves as the Annual Conference secretary.

4) Outdoor Ministries Association holds annual meeting in Northwest.

Directors, managers, and other staff of the Church of the Brethren’s camps headed to the great Northwest this fall for their annual gathering. Camp Myrtlewood in Myrtle Creek, Ore., hosted the Outdoor Ministries Association (OMA) group for four-plus days of professional growth, business, hiking, sightseeing, networking, and fellowship. About 40 people attended.

Glenn Mitchell, a Brethren spiritual director from Spring Mills, Pa., provided leadership for sessions throughout the Nov. 16-20 event, focusing on Celtic Christianity and its relevance to church camping ministry. The sessions included devotional and reflection times using traditional Celtic prayers.

Each of the camps that were represented gave an update on recent activities and projects, with particular focus on the eco-stewardship activities occurring at the host camp. Natasha Stern, program coordinator at Camp Swatara in Bethel, Pa., was called as the new chair of the OMA Steering Committee, which next meets March 3-5 at Brethren Woods in Keezletown, Va.

OMA’s next major gathering will be in November, when it offers the OMA National Conference to the wider church Nov. 13-15 at Woodland Altars in Peebles, Ohio. The 2009 OMA directors, managers, and staff retreat will follow the conference.

–Walt Wiltschek is editor of the Church of the Brethren’s “Messenger” magazine.

5) Brethren bits: Remembrance, personnel, jobs, Sudan prayer, more.

  • Paul Hoover Bowman, 94, of Lakeview Village in Lenexa, Kan., died on Dec. 5. He and his wife, Evelyn, were volunteer coordinators for Older Adult Programming under the Church of the Brethren Health and Welfare Association from 1985-91. Bowman was born on June 20, 1914, in Philadelphia, the son of Dr. Paul Haynes and Flora Hoover Bowman. He spent most of his childhood in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, growing up on a Brethren college campus as the son of a college president and minister. Following the Spanish Civil War he accepted a two-year tour of duty in Spain providing clothing and food relief to refugees. During World War II he served as a conscientious objector, and then served the Brethren Service Committee in various capacities both in the US and abroad. He and his wife, Evelyn Stouffer, married in 1942 and together were involved in projects in Ecuador, Bolivia, Puerto Rico, Brazil, and Bangladesh. He held degrees from Bridgewater (Va.) College, Crozer Seminary, and the University of Pennsylvania. In 1948 he completed studies at the University of Chicago for a doctorate in clinical psychology. He retired in 1981 as executive director of the Institute for Community Studies, a social research arm of the University of Missouri at Kansas City. He was preceded in death by two of his children–a son, Douglas, and a daughter, Debora. He is survived by his wife; his son Rick Bowman and wife Judi of Tucson, Ariz.; and daughter Marilyn Pompey and husband James of Kansas City, Mo.; and two grandchildren. A memorial service was held on Dec. 10 at Colonial United Church of Christ, where he was a longtime member. Memorial gifts are received for Heifer International.
  • On Feb. 2, Amanda (Mandy) Garcia will begin in the position of administrative office assistant for Brethren Benefit Trust at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Her duties will include providing administrative support to the president, the director of Information Technology, and the director of Office Operations. She graduated from Judson University in Elgin, Ill., in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in communications and media. Before joining BBT, Garcia worked as a supervisor at Starbucks, and also has served as creative arts coordinator at Christ Community Church in St. Charles, Ill.
  • Bibek Sahu, who is working as a Church of the Brethren short-term mission worker in southern Sudan, has extended his time in Sudan to four months, through April. The extension came at the request of RECONCILE, the partner organization for the Sudan mission. Sahu has been working as a computer consultant for RECONCILE.
  • The Church of the Brethren seeks an executive director of the Conference Office, to fill a fulltime staff position located at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. The starting date is Aug. 31, with training at the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference from June 21-July 1, as contract employee is required. Responsibilities include planning and facilitating activities required for the Annual Conference and other denominational events; providing multiple functions for business sessions, worship services, meal events, age activities, and other break-out events for up to 4,000 people; providing administrative support to officers of Annual Conference and program committees; recruiting numerous volunteers and promoting events; investigating sites for future conferences and negotiating contracts. Qualifications include a bachelor’s degree in conference management, business administration, or a related field; knowledge and support of Church of the Brethren vision, mission, and core values, with membership in the Church of the Brethren preferred; a minimum of five years of experience in management and event planning; interpersonal skills; financial management and accounting knowledge; experience with computer systems, including systems development; long-range planning skills; verbal and written communication skills. Applications will be received beginning March 15 through April 15. Interviews will take place at the church’s General Offices in Elgin, Ill., in May. Apply by requesting the application form, submitting a résumé and a letter of application, and requesting three references to send letters of recommendation to the Office of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120-1694; or 800-323-8039 ext. 258.
  • The Church of the Brethren’s Michigan District seeks an interim district executive to fill a half-time position, available Feb. 15. Michigan District is in a time of transition, prompted partly by the retirement in Feb. 2009 of the current district executive. Michigan District serves 19 congregations and fellowships. The District Board and District Conference have named a committee to review and evaluate the district mission and structure and bring recommendations to the 2010 District Conference for ratification. An interim district executive is sought to serve until this process is complete. An interim district executive is expected to be maintenance oriented rather than visionary. Focus of the assignment will include normal administrative tasks of the district, pastoral placement when needed, maintaining connections with the District Board and District Conference Program and Arrangements Committee, guiding and encouraging district and local church leaders, willingness and ability to execute ethics process if the need arises. Qualifications include a vibrant Christian faith; membership and active participation in the Church of the Brethren; commitment to Church of the Brethren values, polity, traditions; administrative skills; ability to relate to and work with theologically diverse people and congregations; communications skills; high comfort level and capability with with computer e-mail, word processing, etc.; positive pastoral experience in the Church of the Brethren. A master of divinity degree is preferred. Apply by sending a letter of interest and resume via e-mail to Applicants are requested to contact three or four people to provide a letter of reference. Upon receipt of a resume, a candidate will be sent a Candidate Profile which must be completed and returned before the application is considered complete. The application deadline is Feb. 7.
  • The Church of the Brethren seeks an individual or couple skilled in peace and reconciliation work and/or mediation to serve a three-year placement in Yei, southern Sudan, as soon as possible. The placement will be with RECONCILE, a peace and reconciliation partnering organization with the Church of the Brethren. The position includes working within the program of RECONCILE, helping to further work that is presently being done as well as helping to develop new programing and possible new locations for expansion of the program. RECONCILE is presently mandated to do conflict resolution between groups in southern Sudan following 21 years of civil war; trauma transformation in an area where everyone has been touched by the war and emotional and relational brokenness; good governance by giving workshops in communities to help the populace understand what it means to be responsible citizens in light of upcoming elections, and workshops with politicians on how to effectively serve the people. Candidates should bring education and experience in the area of peace and reconciliation and/or mediation, experience in international cross-cultural settings, be well-grounded in Church of the Brethren identity and practice, and have a team orientation. Pastoral training would be acceptable, but ordination is not necessary. The position needs someone with the maturity that comes from both life and professional experiences, and openness to living in a cultural milieu that includes people from many countries and different expressions of Christianity. Candidates are expected to help interpret to the church their work with RECONCILE. Contact Karin Krog, Office of Human Resources, at or 800-323-8039.
  • Camp Pine Lake in Eldora, Iowa, in Northern Plains District, has announced the resignations of Larry and Joyce Dreesman and Rachel Bakker as camp manager and kitchen staff. “Our words cannot express adequately our sincere thanks for the labor of love which these followers of Christ have provided to our property, programs, and campers for the past 17 years,” said an announcement in the district newsletter. The camp has formed a search committee to begin the task of hiring a new manager. The manager is responsible for scheduling camps throughout the year and also will do maintenance, acquire and supervise kitchen help, maintain grounds, and do general management. A job description is available on request. The position is fulltime May to September. During the off season it is part time with minimal responsibilities. Salary is paid over a 12-month period, in the low $20,000 range. The package includes a two-bedroom house, utilities, camp vehicle, FICA, and employee insurance. Send applications and resumes to Cletus S. Miller at or 912 E 8th St , Tama IA 52339.
  • Church of the Brethren general secretary Stan Noffsinger is one of the co-signers of a letter from ecumenical leaders to President Barack Obama. The letter was sent by the US Conference of the World Council of Churches on Jan. 20, Inauguration Day. Representatives of WCC member churches in the US declared that they wanted to “roll up (their) sleeves and partner with (President Obama) to help bring about the changes that are so desperately needed for the United States and the world to more closely reflect God’s vision for humankind and all of creation.” Go to for the text of the letter.
  • Children’s Disaster Services prepared its Critical Response Childcare team for deployment following the landing of an airliner in the Hudson River two weeks ago, and a team prepared to respond to emergencies at the Presidential Inauguration last week–but neither was called to service. In the case of the airliner, “everyone survived the ‘double bird hit’ engine failure, thanks to the expertise of the pilot,” said Children’s Disaster Services director Judy Bezon. She reported that the Critical Response Childcare team–experienced volunteers with additional training that prepares them for an aviation incident or mass casualty–is on call each month, ready to travel within four hours of deployment by the American Red Cross. Since 1997, the Critical Response Childcare team has responded to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and seven aviation incidents, Bezon said. Children’s Disaster Services received the request for volunteers to stand by during the inauguration from the American Red Cross of the National Capital Area. The team was prepared to work with children in a family reunification center or a center set up for some other unexpected event that involved children or their families. “A total of 16 people volunteered,” Bezon said. “Fortunately, the Inauguration went along without any major mishap and CDS services were not needed.”
  • Children’s Disaster Services has announced Level 1 Workshops for volunteers who will provide services for children and families in disaster situations in the United States. Workshops will be held on the following dates: March 28-29 at La Verne (Calif.) Church of the Brethren (contact Kathy Benson at 909-593-4868); May 1-2 at LeeTown United Methodist Church in Kearneysville, W.Va. (contact Carol Strickler at 304-229-2625 or Joanna Marceron at 304-725-8308); and May 29-30 at First United Methodist Church in Victor, N.Y. (contact Dot Norsen at 585-924-7516). The workshops are open to anyone over 18 years of age. Cost to attend is $45 or $55 for registrations postmarked less than three weeks prior to the workshop. Go to or contact or 800-451-4407 ext. 5.
  • The Church of the Brethren’s Material Resources program is communicating a request from Lutheran World Relief for quilts and kits to meet rising demands around the world. The Material Resources program at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., processes, warehouses, and ships relief supplies on behalf of partner organizations including Lutheran world Relief. “As humanitarian crises increase in intensity, Lutheran World Relief has received many new requests for quilts and layettes, as well as health, school, and sewing kits. Currently, LWR’s supply will not meet these demands,” said the request. In 2008, more than 1,455 tons of quilts, kits, layettes, and soap were shipped to more than 740,000 people in 27 countries including Niger, India, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Thailand. Visit for instructions for making the quilts and kits.
  • Prayer concerns have been received from RECONCILE, a partner organization to the Church of the Brethren’s Sudan mission. “They have asked us to keep them in prayer,” reported Brad Bohrer, Sudan mission director. “Following a December offensive against the Lord’s Resistance Army there has been a huge upsurge in violence on the Congo-Sudan border 28 miles to the west,” Bohrer reported. “Please pray that the children who have been abducted would be returned, for the women who have been raped, for those who have lost loved ones, and those living in fear. Pray for RECONCILE staff member Martin Dasikoko as he works in this area equipping Key Mobilizers to minister to the victims.” RECONCILE also requested prayer for the opening of its Peace Institute on Feb. 2. The institute will offer courses in Community Based Trauma Healing and Peace Studies and Conflict Transformation.
  • On Dec. 10, 2008, the US Congress passed “The William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008.” The Brethren Witness/Washington Office has been active in pressing for the signing of this re-authorization act since Annual Conference endorsed a resolution calling for the abolition of modern-day slavery, reported director Phil Jones. “In meetings with co-sponsors of this bill Senators Durbin, Brownback, and Specter, all heavily Brethren-populated areas, (our staff) shared the concern of Brethren congregations across America,” Jones said. The signing of the act will be one of the items celebrated at the Christian Citizenship Seminar on April 25-30, which will explore the issue of modern-day slavery. Go to for more information.
  • Springfield (Ore.) Church of the Brethren and its Brethren Housing program will be working in partnership with the ShelterCare program to construct an apartment complex for adults with psychiatric disabilities. ShelterCare was selected to receive a HUD (US Department of Housing and Urban Development) to construct affordable housing units for the very low-income elderly or people with disabilities. The $1,977,500 grant will help construct the apartment complex on land adjacent to the current Brethren Housing program. ShelterCare will provide support services to residents to help keep them living as independently as possible, and will collaborate with the Springfield Church on the development of the site, according to a release. Construction on the Afiya Apartments building is scheduled to begin in spring 2010.
  • Jan. 1 marked the beginning of York (Pa.) First Church of the Brethren’s 125th anniversary celebration. People are invited to share memories of the congregation, or a vision for its future. Contact the church at 717-755-0307.
  • New Carlisle (Ohio) Church of the Brethren is hosting a concert by The Brethren Brass on Feb. 21, at 7 p.m. “Music for a Midwinter’s Eve” will provide an evening of music and fun for the whole family. Go to or contact the church at 937-845-1428.
  • Jay Shell, president and CEO of Fahrney-Keedy Home and Village, a Church of the Brethren retiement community near Boonsboro, Md., has accepted an appointment as a member of the LifeSpan Products and Services Board of Directors. He also will serve as a member of the LifeSpan Policy Committee, which focuses on advocacy needs of seniors. LifeSpan is the largest senior care provider association in the Mid-Atlantic region, representing more than 300 organizations in Maryland and the District of Columbia.
  • Seven Brethren were among 13 participants on a Jan. 8-26 Learning Tour to Sudan, sponsored by the New Community Project. The delegation visited women’s groups, school children, reforestation projects, and church partners in the communities of Nimule and Narus. The group was hosted by the Girl Child Education and Development Association in Nimule and the Sudan Council of Churches in Narus. New Community Project also announced that it will be forwarding some $50,000 in assistance in 2009 for programs related to girls’ education, women’s development, reforestation efforts, and tree nursery projects in elementary schools in Sudan, and the program will send up to six solidarity workers to live and work in communities in Sudan this summer. For more information, visit or contact director David Radcliff at or 888-800-2985.

6) On Earth Peace offers ‘Community Change for Congregations.’

“You Can’t Stop the River: Community Change for Congregations” is being offered on April 2-5 in Kansas City, Kan., by On Earth Peace and hosted by First Central Church of the Brethren, in conjunction with the Kansas City Metropolitan Parish Council, Church of the Brethren. The theme scripture comes from Rev. 22, “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life….”

The event is billed for congregations concerned about community issues such as gun violence, domestic violence, racism, or loss of employment. The meeting will offer help to build skills and confidence for community leadership, explore the history of community change initiatives and nonviolence struggles, and prepare plans for what happens next in the community.

Only three to seven congregations will be identified as participants, and each congregation will be invited to send a team of three people. On Earth Peace is making the event available for a $50 materials fee plus a participant offering. Housing and food will be provided by the host church, through space on the church’s carpeted floor and home stays with church members. For $40 per night participants can reserve a bed at a nearby Christian retreat center. Participants are responsible for their own travel costs.

Congregations may apply by writing a one-page letter telling the congregation’s story, describing the team the congregation will send the event, and sharing why the congregation wants to take part. Each team is to ask its church leadership for a letter of blessing, to show support from the congregation for the knowledge and skills the team will bring home from the training.

The application deadline is Feb. 16. Apply by e-mailing application letters to or call 503-775-1636.

7) A reflection from the Congo: Standing on the wall as it crumbles.

Cliff Kindy is working in the Democratic Republic of the Congo with Christian Peacemaker Teams. His blog for Jan. 23, the day after the arrest of Laurent Nkunda, who led the rebel group National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP), reflects on positive changes in the country. Members of the CNDP and previous armed groups led by Nkunda are accused of war crimes and human rights abuses by the UN and human rights organizations. Allegations include the recruitment and use of children as soldiers, unlawful killings, and systematic rape. Following are excerpts from Kindy’s blog (go to for more):

“It feels as though we are standing on the Berlin Wall as it crumbles beneath our feet. Nkunda’s CNDP rebel group had been pushing through the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) military lines this fall…as they were ready to sweep into Goma. They had support from Rwanda with US backing.

“DRC civil society has been building a new foundation patiently and at great risk for years. Last December the Group of Experts in its report to the UN Security Council accused…CNDP of dire human rights violations with support of Rwanda and the DRC military. Sweden and Belgium stopped aid to Rwanda and the US pulled back from Nkunda support, though aid to Rwanda still flowed from US, according to a US spokesperson in Goma….

“Nkunda conceded (news of his arrest today) and two days ago Christian Peacemaker Teams passed through Rutshuru region as DRC military by the hundreds moved north and CNDP troops filed south peacefully. This was no longer rebel-held territory.

“As we drove through, and out of Rutshuru, there were cheering crowds. Local people had already retrned to abandoned fields. Homes that had been neglected were being remudded and rethatched. In the midst of the changes, more than among civil society partners, CPT saw the optimism.

“But it is the hard work of (nonprofit groups such as) Pax Christi, Synergie de Femmes, CREDDHO, and Ebenezer Peace Center that built this changed spirit. As the Berlin Wall, the Apartheid Wall, and the Cold War walls fell, the underlying spirit needed to be replaced, and that is what civil society has been occupied with.

“The focus is change, from what I can get for myself, to what I can do for others. If that new spirit takes control in people’s lives, then there will be a new thing that can be a model for the world. Congo can lead the way.”


Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren, or 800-323-8039 ext. 260. Brad Bohrer, Matt Guynn, Nancy Knepper, Karin L. Krog, LethaJoy Martin, Robert Miller, Patrice Nightingale, David Radcliff, Howard Royer, Glen Sargent, and Loretta Wolf contributed to this report. Newsline appears every other Wednesday, with other special issues sent as needed. The next regularly scheduled issue is set for Feb. 11. 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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