Newsline for June 17, 2009

“…But the word of our God will stand forever” (Isaiah 39:8b).

1) Listening process will help reshape Brethren Witness program.
2) Caring Ministries programs to work from within Congregational Life.
3) Emergency Disaster Fund issues four grants for international work.
4) Brethren bits: Correction, remembrances, job openings, and more.

5) Amy Gingerich resigns as managing editor for Gather ‘Round.
6) Joshua Brockway to be director of Spiritual Life and Discipleship.

7) Brethren programs sponsor Bread for the World guide for short-term missions.

8) Notes on how the economic downturn has improved a college.

On June 25, onsite coverage of the 2009 Annual Conference of the Church of the Brethren in San Diego, Calif., will begin to be offered at . The Conference scheduled for June 26-30 will gather delegates from the Church of the Brethren congregations and districts in the US and Puerto Rico to worship, fellowship, and make decisions on church business. Click on “News” at  to find the online coverage including news reports and a photo album, beginning the evening of Thursday, June 25.
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) Listening process will help reshape Brethren Witness program.

A “listening process” has been announced to help reshape the Brethren Witness program, following the closing of the former Brethren Witness/Washington Office. The process will include an online survey, personal interviews with church leaders and related peace and justice organizations, and the welcoming of letters, e-mails, and other communications with opinions, feedback, and suggestions for future programming.

“In order to develop and shape an interactive Brethren Witness program for the denomination,” said the announcement from Jay Wittmeyer, executive director of Global Mission Partnerships, “pastors, church members, Brethren-related organizations, and ecumenical partners are all invited into a listening process that will help establish priorities and direction for the program.”

The announcement listed questions that will help guide the process, including “How can the unique voice of the Brethren be heard beyond our denomination?” and “How can we have a big voice’ for peace and justice with our limited resources?”

The online survey will be available from June 20-Aug. 20 at on the Church of the Brethren website. Other communications may be addressed to Jay Wittmeyer, Executive Director of Global Mission Partnerships, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; or 800-323-8039 ext. 226.

In addition, Wittmeyer and other denominational staff will interview key church leaders and related peace and justice organizations including current and past Annual Conference leaders, district executives, and other denominational leaders. The interviews will be concluded by the beginning of September.

After receiving responses, Global Mission Partnerships in consultation with the Church of the Brethren’s executive leadership will propose a Brethren Witness initiative based on the responses and insight gained through the process. Findings are to be posted on in late September.

2) Caring Ministries programs to work from within Congregational Life.

Effective July 1, the programs of the Church of the Brethren’s Caring Ministries–including older adult, family life (child protection), disabilities, and deacon ministries–will work from within the Congregational Life Ministries, according to an announcement from general secretary Stan Noffsinger.

“The former Association of Brethren Caregivers continues to refine its place in the new Church of the Brethren structure,” the announcement said. “This change has been prompted by the announcement of Kathy Reid’s resignation as executive director of Caring Ministries and associate general secretary of Ministry and Program of the Church of the

Brethren, and a decision not to fill that position. This restructuring allows for new directions and cares for the leadership for both Caring Ministries and Congregational Life Ministries areas.”

The move also is intended to align generational ministries from children through youth, young adults, families, and older adults in one ministry oversight area, and to integrate deacon and disabilities ministries with the other focuses of Congregational Life Ministries: transforming congregational practices, spiritual life and discipleship, intercultural ministries, church planting, and evangelism. “Together these ministries will strengthen the collaborative efforts of the Church of the Brethren focused on spiritual growth and congregational health,” the announcement said.

Other responsibilities of Caring Ministries, including National Older Adult Conference and the publication “Caregiving,” will continue. One major program of Caring Ministries, the Health Education and Research Fund, will be administered from the General Secretary’s office. This fund provides nursing scholarships to individuals and grants for educating nursing staffs of Fellowship of Brethren Homes member communities.

“A key component of the vision of the Association of Brethren Caregivers–to seek and secure the well-being of all people–can be seen in the newly restructured ministry area which is organized for ministry and mission in this new century,” Reid commented.

“Congregational Life and Caring Ministries staff are excited about this new configuration,” said Jonathan Shively, executive director of Congregational Life Ministries. “We are envisioning ways that this closer working relationship will provide significant leadership toward greater spiritual health and vitality for the Church of the Brethren.”

3) Emergency Disaster Fund issues four grants for international work.

The Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) recently issued four grants for international relief efforts following disasters. The four grants total $88,000.

A grant of $40,000 responds to a Church World Service (CWS) appeal for assistance in Myanmar. This is the first grant from the EDF supporting the long-term recovery phase following Cyclone Nargis, which struck Myanmar in May 2008. The grant funds will assist with dry season agricultural programs, training for disaster preparedness, school construction, and a “season long” employment plan for landless families.

An allocation of $25,000 will go to a CWS appeal for a food crisis in Afghanistan following a decade of severe drought, which has worsened in the past three years. The money will help provide immediate assistance, including education for farmers, seeds, clean water, and emergency food packets.

A grant of $15,000 will go to a CWS appeal for aid to displaced people in Sri Lanka. Following the government’s recently declared victory in a very long and violent civil conflict, thousands of displaced people including great numbers of children are in dire need of assistance, the grant request said. The grant from the Church of the Brethren will support work by CWS and Action by Churches Together, primarily focusing on emergency food aid, non-food items, and educational support for school-age children.

The sum of $8,000 will respond to a CWS appeal for Pakistan where more than 500,000 people have fled their homes because of military conflicts between Pakistani forces and the Taliban. The grant will support relief programs aimed at providing food packages and emergency shelter kits.

4) Brethren bits: Correction, remembrances, job openings, more.

— Correction: A song by Shawn Kirchner was incorrectly named in Newsline on June 3, in a “Brethren bits” note about Brethren Voices. The correct title is, “When Love Leads.”

— Ellen Edmister Cunningham of Fresno, Calif., a former Church of the Brethren missionary in China and India, died on April 23 at age 102. She and her late husband, E. Lloyd Cunningham, responded to a call for missionaries to go to China in 1938. After unrest developed in China they were in the Philippines for language study when Pearl Harbor was attacked in 1941. Along with more than 400 other civilians they and their young son, Larry, were in a Japanese internment camp from 1941-45. The story of the internment experience has been published in “Brethren Life and Thought.” Coming home after liberation in 1945, the Cunninghams returned to China in 1947 only to be forced out by the communists in 1949. While in Hong Kong, awaiting passage home, they received word that the mission field in India needed a doctor so the family, with two children by then, went on to India to work for the church’s mission there. Cunningham was born on Jan. 22, 1907. For the past 27 years she lived at San Joaquin Gardens in Fresno, Calif.

— James K. Garber, 83, a former member of the executive staff of the Church of the Brethren General Board, died June 9 at Timbercrest Healthcare in North Manchester, Ind. From 1983-86 he served as executive for the General Board’s Human Resources department. He also worked at Manchester College for 30 years, beginning as director of Alumni Affairs in 1962, then moving to the post of director of Public Relations and Development through 1984, and again serving as director of Development from 1987 to his retirement in 1994. After retirement, he directed community fundraising projects including the Manchester Community Pool, library, and Sports Complex. He also served on the Board of Directors of Timbercrest, the North Manchester Library–where he served two terms as president, and the Shepherd’s Center. He was a past president of the North Manchester Chamber of Commerce, and was named Distinguished Citizen of the Year in 1997-98. In earlier years, he worked at Garbers Inc., the family business, and was assistant director of placement for Indiana University’s Bureau of Personnel Relations. He was born in Elkhart, Ind., on May 1, 1926, to Samuel H. and Florence (Kulp) Garber. He married Helen Anne Winger in 1947. He was a 1950 graduate of Manchester College, and in 1962 earned a master of business administration from Indiana University in Bloomington. He was interviewed about his conscientious objection and participation in Civilian Public Service during World War II in a 1990 “Messenger,” where he recalled that his conviction against violence began when as a young boy he threw his toy guns in the waste can. “My mother told the pastor about that and he preached a sermon about me,” Garber remembered. He is survived by his wife, Helen Anne Garber; four children, Gloria Jan Garber of Rockville, Md., Timothy James (Deborah Nelson) Garber of Elgin, Ill., Christopher Wayne (Kathy) Garber and  Julie Lynne Garber, both of North Manchester; four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. A memorial service was held on June 13. Memorial gifts are received to the Manchester College Peace Studies program.

— Jay M. Witman, 56, Pennsylvania auctioneer who helped begin two Church of the Brethren disaster relief auctions, died at his home in Manheim, Pa., on June 7. He co-founded the Atlantic Northeast District Disaster Relief Auction in 1977, and assisted in establishing a similar auction in Shenandoah District in 1994. He started his career as an auctioneer in 1971 with Wilbur H. Hosler; in 1973 cofounded Hat and Gavel Auction Co. in Lititz, Pa.; was a partner in J. Omar Landis Auction Service of Ephrata, Pa.; and was founder and owner of Witman Auctioneers, Inc. and Tents for You in Manheim. He also sold for several automobile auctions, participated in specialty auctions including the Dutchland Toy Auction, was the first to hold a Winross collectable auction, and conducted many public sales. His volunteer work also included service with the Mennonite Central Committee Disaster Relief Auction in Harrisburg, Pa., and at the Sarasota (Fla.) Christian School. Born in Lancaster, Pa., he was the son of the late Amos B. and Anna Mary Johns Witman, and following his father’s death, Earl and Marian Minnich were instrumental in raising him. In 1970, he graduated at the top of his class from Reppert School of Auctioneering in Indiana, and also studied real estate appraising at Stevens Trade School in Lancaster. He served as a Northeast Advisory Board Member for the former Lititz Springs Commonwealth National Bank, was a past member of the Lancaster and Manheim Chambers of Commerce, was a presiding president of the Manheim Historical Society, and a member of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. He was a member of White Oak Church of the Brethren in Manheim, and was instrumental in organizing the Manheim Area Prayer Breakfast. A funeral was held June 14. Memorials are received to Gideons International or Bible Helps.

— On July 6, Denise Kettering will begin a one-year internship in the Brethren Historical Library and Archives at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. She has completed a doctorate in religious studies at the University of Iowa, with a focus on women in 17th-century Pietism. She grew up in Ashland, Ohio, and previously served a one-year internship in the archives in 2002-03.

— The New Windsor (Md.) Conference Center has welcomed Ed and Betty Runion from Markle, Ind., as hosts for the Old Main building for the months of May and June. Brethren Volunteer Service workers Larry and Elaine Balliet have been first-time hosts in Windsor Hall for May, June, and July. The Balliets most recently worked at the Bahamas Methodist Habitat on Eleuthera, where they served as financial assistant and development coordinator.

— The Gather ‘Round curriculum, a project of Brethren Press and Mennonite Publishing Network, is accepting applications for a managing editor. This fulltime position carries responsibility to copy edit and proofread, manage the curriculum production process, and secure and maintain contracts and permissions. Qualifications include excellent editorial and computer technology skills, ability to organize projects and manage details, ability to operate well in a collaborative environment, grounding in Church of the Brethren or Mennonite beliefs and practices, with marketing experience a plus. A bachelor’s degree is required; a graduate degree in a related field is preferred. Location is open, with a preference for the General Offices location in Elgin, Ill. Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. The start date is Aug. 17, or earlier. The full position description will be available soon at To apply, send a letter of application and resume to Anna Speicher, Project Director and Senior Editor, Gather ‘Round Curriculum, at  or 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120.

— The Gather ‘Round curriculum, a project of Brethren Press and Mennonite Publishing Network, is accepting applications for a content editor. This contract position will work closely with curriculum writers, and edit manuscripts in accordance with editorial and production guidelines. Qualifications include excellent editorial and writing skills, understanding of faith formation and developmental stages, the ability to operate well in a collaborative environment, and grounding in Church of the Brethren or Mennonite beliefs and practices. A bachelor’s degree is required; a graduate degree in theology or education is preferred. Location is open. Employment will begin with attendance at a writers’ conference on Sept. 27-Oct. 2. The full position description will be available soon at To apply, send a letter of application and resume to Anna Speicher, Project Director and Senior Editor, Gather ‘Round Curriculum, at or 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120.

— The Church of the Brethren has announced an opening for a shared position in Nigeria: teacher of peace and reconciliation at Kulp Bible College, and peace and reconciliation worker with Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN–the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). Location is Kulp Bible College (KBC) in Kwarhi, Adamawa State, in a rural area near the town of Mubi in northeast Nigeria close to the Cameroon border. KBC is operated by EYN with the primary function to train leaders for the rapidly-growing Nigerian church, and provides training for 180 students annually in multi-year certificate or degree programs. This fulltime salaried position is for a period of two years, with a possible opportunity for renewal. It can be divided between two individuals. Married couples are encouraged to apply. The application deadline is July 15, or until filled. Responsibilities are to teach peace and reconciliation classes including conflict resolution and self care for those in conflict situations; conduct training and workshops for faculty and staff as requested; work to develop and expand the existing EYN Peace and Reconciliation program through the denominational offices located near KBC, including to conduct workshops for church leadership, create and implement programs related to peace and reconciliation and conflict resolution, and related tasks. The position is accountable to the Principal of KBC and the Director of Peace and Reconciliation for EYN, and will be a shared position between both programs. Qualifications include a passion for helping others to realize their full potential through peace and reconciliation; commitment to Christian beliefs and lifestyle; ability to work under leadership in another cultural setting; ability to adapt and live with openness in another cultural setting without judgment or personal agenda; ability to learn the Hausa language; Church of the Brethren membership preferred. Required education and experience include a masters degree or higher in peace and reconciliation, conflict mediation, or a related field. Other degree disciplines will be considered on a case- by-case basis. Salary will reflect applicant’s education and experience. Housing, transportation costs, and a vehicle will be provided. Medical and other insurance will be provided for the applicant and his or her family members. Contact the Office of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120-1694; or 800-323-8039 ext. 258.

— Spanish translators are needed for the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference in San Diego, Calif., on June 26-30. “Looking for a unique volunteer opportunity at Annual Conference? Serve as a Spanish translator during the business sessions and worship services,” said an invitation from Spanish translation coordinator Nadine Monn. Those who may be able to help provide this service for Hispanic church members from Puerto Rico and the US are invited to contact Monn at .

— Church of the Brethren general secretary Stan Noffsinger has signed on to a letter to President Obama urging the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry to investigate US-sponsored torture that occurred post-9/11. The letter has been written through the work of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT). The letter says, in part: “As senior religious leaders in the United States, we write to give voice to the compelling need for a comprehensive investigation into US-sponsored torture since 9/11. We believe the most credible way to conduct such an investigation is by establishing an independent, non-partisan Commission of Inquiry. Such a Commission is necessary to: (1) uncover the whole truth about US torture policies and practices; (2) mobilize a national consensus, and (3) build support for the requisite safeguards to ensure that US-sponsored torture never happens again…. Our nation can guarantee the abolition of torture only if and when we put in place safeguards to prevent once and for all the future twisting and abrogation of the existing laws that prohibit torture.” The letter also acknowledged that “recent polls show that many people of faith have been persuaded that the use of torture can be justified in some situations…. We accept our responsibility to bear bold and compelling witness to the sanctity of the divine image in all people and to the fact that torture in every instance defiles and desecrates this divine image.”

— Children’s Disaster Services is offering workshops in late summer and fall: on Aug. 10-11 at Native American Ministry United Methodist Church in Milwaukee, Wis. (contact coordinator Lorna Jost at 605-692- 3390); on Oct. 9-10 at McPherson (Kan.) Church of the Brethren (contact coordinator Elva Jean Naylor at 620-241-3123); and on Nov. 6-7 at Wesley Freedom United Methodist Church in Sykesville, Md. (contact coordinator Mary K Bunting at 410-552-1142). The $45 registration fee includes meals, curriculum, and one overnight stay ($55 for late registration mailed less than three weeks before the workshop begins). Workshops are limited to 25 people. The workshops are intended for prospective volunteers with Children’s Disaster Services, to receive training to work with children and families following disaster situations in the US. For more information contact Children’s Disaster Services, 800-451-4407 ext. 5.

— A donor to Heifer International has offered $4,000 for scholarships to help four young people participate in the September tour to Armenia and Georgia co-sponsored by Heifer and the Church of the Brethren. Applications must be made by mid-August, according to Jan West Schrock who will be co-leading the event along with Kathleen Campanella from the Brethren Service Center staff. For more information contact Schrock at 207-878-6846.

— A 10-day workshop in Chalmette, La., beginning on May 26, has trained 16 new Brethren Disaster Ministries project leaders. Zach Wolgemuth, associate director of Brethren Disaster Ministries, traveled to Louisiana to help lead the workshop.

— A meeting of the “Brethren Digital Archives” group was held June 3 at the Brethren Historical Library and Archives in Elgin, Ill. This committee is working on a project to digitize Brethren periodicals such as “Messenger,” “Gospel Messenger,” “Gospel Visitor,” and others.

— Ministry Summer Service orientation took place at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., May 30-June 4. Eleven interns will participate in the program this summer, at a variety of settings including Harrisburg and Palmyra, Pa.; Pleasant Dale and Bremen, Ind.; Broadfording, Md.; York Center, Ill.; and San Diego, Calif. The Youth Peace Travel Team also participated in the orientation, which was organized by the Ministry Office.

— Good Shepherd Church of the Brethren in Springfield, Mo., held its final worship service on Sunday, June 7, according to an announcement in the “News-Leader” newspaper. The church also held a “Celebration of the Life of Good Shepherd Church of the Brethren” on that Saturday.

— McPherson (Kan.) College has announced recipients of its 2009 Citation of Merit Award recognizing lifetime achievements of outstanding alumni: Church of the Brethren pastor Sonja Sherfy Griffith, of First Central Church of the Brethren in Kansas City, who also has held various positions in nursing including staff development coordinator at the Minneapolis Health Department and OB/GYN instructor at St. Olaf College; G. Eddie Ball, owner and operator of Ball & Son funeral home until his retirement in 1995, and a member of the United Methodist Church; and Gene Elliott, employed at Farmer’s Alliance until 1966 and then president of Elliott Insurance Management Inc., until retirement in 2005, and a member of the Nazarene Church.

— Alumni Award honorees at Manchester College include Church of the Brethren general secretary Stanley J. Noffsinger (class of 1976), along with William N. Harper (’66) of Scottsdale, Ariz.; Peter M. Michael (’74) of Indianapolis, Ind.; and Nancy Walker (’76) of Wabash, Ind.

— Manchester College faculty, former staff, and alumni have contributed to a new Peace, Justice, and Security Studies curriculum guide. The publication is described as “fully revised in its seventh edition to reflect the realities of post-September 11.” The four co-editors include Julie Garber, a former editor at Brethren Press who has worked with the Plowshares cooperative of Manchester and two other peace church colleges in Indiana; and Tim McElwee, formerly of the Manchester peace studies department and a former director of the Church of the Brethren’s Washington Office. Contributors include Manchester faculty and alumni Katy Gray Brown (peace studies), Steve Naragon (philosophy), Ken Brown (retired peace studies), G. John Ikenberry, and Robert Johansen.

— Thomas R. Kepple, president of Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., has been named chair of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania, effective July 1, for the 2009-10 academic year. He will oversee a board comprising 22 college and university presidents.

— In an update from Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT), co-director Carol Rose reports that “CPT’s first quarter income this year from individuals and congregations is ahead of what we’d expected, but we’re clearly not out of the woods yet.” CPT has re-instituted work in Al Khalil/Hebron, in the Middle East, and postponed closure of its work in Iraq. “We are still unable to welcome new, stipended workers for teams in the field. But with the help of donors’ ongoing generosity, we hope to be able to end that freeze,” she said. The CPT office in Chicago also is moving to a new location and is seeking donated labor to make repairs and clean up the property, donations of materials, and interest-free loans of $5,000 or more to “reduce or eliminate the need for a commercial loan.”

— Members of the Society of Friends (Quakers) in central Pennsylvania– the State College Friends Meeting–are inviting Brethren to join them in support of the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund. The fund would receive the tax payments of conscientious objector tax payers, and would be disbursed only to non-military government programs–diverting tax dollars to “alternative service.” A bill to establish the fund was recently reintroduced in Congress as HR 2085, by a group of 11 co-sponsors among the House representatives. An online link offers more information, go to  at the Friends Committee on National Legislation website.

5) Amy Gingerich resigns as managing editor for Gather ‘Round.

Amy Gingerich has resigned as managing editor of Gather ‘Round, the curriculum published jointly by Brethren Press and the Mennonite Publishing Network, in order to accept a new position as editorial director of Herald Press.

Gingerich has served as managing editor of Gather ‘Round for more than four years, since she began in the position in February 2005. She holds a master of divinity degree from Pacific School of Religion and has brought writing and editing experience with newspapers in Indiana and California to the curriculum project. Her last day of employment with Gather ‘Round will be Aug. 7, and she will begin her new position on Aug. 17.

6) Joshua Brockway to be director of Spiritual Life and Discipleship.

Joshua Brockway has accepted the position of director for Spiritual Life and Discipleship in the Church of the Brethren’s Congregational Life Ministries, effective Jan. 4, 2010. He leaves a position as instructor in Brethren Studies at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind. Brockway’s seminary employment concludes on Dec. 31. He will teach an online class “History of Christianity I” during Bethany’s fall semester.

In previous work, he has been an interim pastor at East Atlanta Christian Fellowship, provided campus ministry at Manchester College, collaboratively planned the Church of the Brethren’s Young Adult Forum on Ministerial Leadership, and directed Exploring Your Call at Bethany. He holds a degree from Manchester College, a master of arts in theology from Bethany Seminary, a master of divinity from Candler School of Theology, and is completing a doctor of philosophy at Catholic University of America.

Responsibilities of the newly created position will include developing spiritual growth and discipling resources for congregations, supporting pastors and other church leaders in nurturing the spiritual lives of congregations and individuals, working collaboratively with the Spiritual Directors network, advocating for healthy congregations through interpretation of the denomination’s congregational ethics guidelines, cultivating gender-focused ministries, and fostering the spiritual growth of individuals, congregations, and the church as a whole.

7) Brethren programs sponsor Bread for the World guide for short-term missions.

“Getting Ready to Come Back: Advocacy Guide for Mission Teams” is a  new resource from Bread for the World, with sponsorship from more than a dozen Christian groups including the Church of the Brethren. The church’s Global Mission Partnerships along with Brethren Volunteer Service and the Global Food Crisis Fund are partners with Bread for the World in publishing the book.

“For anyone doing a short term mission trip or a workcamp, this can be a helpful way to understand the context,” said Jay Wittmeyer, executive director of Global Mission Partnerships. “The intent is to help people answer the question, how do I grow from this experience, with an emphasis on the life-changing possibilities of the trip on the person’s return home.”

The book is intended to help short-term mission teams traveling internationally to understand the root causes of hunger and poverty in the communities and countries they visit. The guide may be useful to church members who are participating in international workcamps, Christian Peacemaker Team delegations, or Vacation Bible School experiences in the Dominican Republic, for example.

The paperback spiral-bound book includes workbook sections to help participants research the host country and people; links to online resources for such research; scripturally based group study sessions to help groups process the experience; study guides for individual journals; worship resources including prayers, scriptures, a “stone by stone” activity, and a litany by Church of the Brethren pastor Jeff Carter; and ideas for participants who want to do advocacy for the places and people they have visited, after their return home.

Purchase “Getting Ready to Come Back” from Brethren Press for $10 each, or $25 for a pack of five copies. Shipping and handling charges will be added. Call 800-441-3712.

8) Notes on how the economic downturn has improved a college.

The following reflection is excerpted from the May “Notes from the President,” a monthly e-mail release from president Jo Young Switzer of Manchester College in North Manchester, Ind.:

“Our academic year began with the arrival of the largest first-year class in 25 years. It ends during a global economic downturn that is affecting students’ families, our endowment, and our budget, as well as the job market for our new graduates.

“Like other colleges and universities, we are reducing spending in anticipation of an extended recovery. We do so strategically, however, because our goal is to emerge from this setback stronger and as mission-driven as we have always been.

“How has the downturn improved the college? Faculty and staff are collaborating more than ever as we explore new methods and ventures. We are collaborating with other colleges to reduce costs by sharing services. We are doing without non-essentials. We are entertaining fresh ideas with open minds

“These opportunities’ do not come without pain. We have chilled hiring–limiting new hires to the most essential positions that support strategic priorities, such as admissions. We are trying to reduce all operational budgets (not salaries or benefits) by 10 percent for next year. We are restricting travel and professional development for the short term. We are delaying capital purchases.

“None of these are choices between good and bad options. All of our options are important and valuable. Moreover, these are not all reductions that we can sustain. They are, however, necessary now to build cash reserves for a slow recovery.

“Some of our strategic goals are on hold because we simply cannot afford them on the schedule we had planned. For example, we have a priority to improve salaries for full professors, the faculty rank where our average salary is significantly lower than comparable colleges. We also have a priority to increase faculty salaries overall. But our commitment to provide financial aid to students who need it competes with faculty

salaries. As students’ families become even needier with unemployment continuing to rise, Manchester College’s dollars are stretched even further.

“Hearing the truth spoken respectfully is a real gift. During the many budget meetings this year, hearing the truth has been invaluable, even when the truth wasn’t pleasant.

“So why am I smiling when I come to work each morning? Manchester College has a clear sense of mission. We know our top commitment is to open doors of learning to students from a wide range of family backgrounds…. Good learning is happening each day.

“We will emerge from this current economic crisis with a strong mission, smart and student-centered faculty, and students whose lives are transformed by their time here.”

Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren,  or 800-323-8039 ext. 260. Mary Jo Flory-Steury, Cori Hahn, Marlin Heckman, Shawnda Hines, Karin Krog, Peg Lehman, Nancy Miner, Marcia Shetler, Jonathan Shively, Anna Speicher, John Wall, and Jay Wittmeyer contributed to this report. Newsline appears every other Wednesday, with other special issues sent as needed. The next regularly scheduled issue is set for July 1. 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.

[gt-link lang="en" label="English" widget_look="flags_name"]