Newsline for Oct. 21, 2009

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Oct. 21, 2009

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15).

1) Annual Conference looks for stories about people taking Jesus seriously.
2) Grants go to Indonesia, American Samoa, Philippines, and Niger.
3) Cincinnati church starts first BVS volunteer community house.
4) Manchester College to launch school for pharmacists in Fort Wayne.
5) Veritas new church plant is launched in Atlantic Northeast.
6) Mid-Atlantic District holds its 43rd District Conference.

7) April Vanlonden to direct Academic Services for Bethany Seminary.

8) Youth Peace Travel Team: A dream of peace.

Brethren bits: Correction, remembrance, personnel, jobs, and more (see column at right).

New online at  is a new resource provided by the National Council of Churches on “best practices” for churches to help prevent spread of the new H1N1 flu strain. The resource from the NCC’s Health Task Force gives succinct, practical advice for how to practice communion, pass the peace, do handwashing, and clean church buildings, among other matters.

1) Annual Conference looks for stories about people taking Jesus seriously.

Stories related to the theme of the 2010 Annual Conference of the Church of the Brethren, “Taking Jesus Seriously” (John 14:15), are sought for presentations during the conference next year on July 3-7 in Pittsburgh, Pa.

A letter from moderator Shawn Flory Replogle to district and congregational leaders in the Church of the Brethren has requested the submission of stories about people who have taken Jesus seriously, “as a way of challenging and inspiring us to consider the theme.

The Annual Conference Program and Arrangements Committee is looking for stories that may represent a moment of selfless action or a lifetime’s commitment to a cause of the Gospel, and that may be about one person, a congregation, a district, an agency, or an organization. “We are interested in stories that span the diversity of our denomination: theologically, geographically, generationally, and more,” Replogle wrote. “The aim is to include those stories of faith and testimony throughout our time together in Pittsburgh, celebrating God’s good work among us.”

At the moment, the Program and Arrangements Committee is interested in receiving a brief synopsis of stories and contact information for follow-up. Send submissions by Nov. 9 to the Annual Conference Office, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120 or .

The moderator also issued a general invitation to attend the 224th recorded Annual Conference, and to hold the conference in prayer. “This is the only gathering within the Church of the Brethren where everyone is invited to the table, regardless of age, theology, and geography,” he wrote. “This is the place that members of the Church of the Brethren come to be the body of Christ, to be a part of a community of faith that is more powerful than we could be on our own. That body will not be the same without you.

“Please hold the ‘big meeting’ in your prayers,” he added. He requested prayer for the workers and staff of the convention center and hotels and restaurants in Pittsburgh, the delegates to the Conference, the Annual Conference officers, and the volunteers and other attendees. For more information visit .


2) Grants go to Indonesia, American Samoa, Philippines, and Niger.

Church of the Brethren funds have given grants totaling $109,000 for disaster relief in Indonesia following the Sept. 30 earthquake, relief efforts following flooding in the Philippines, relief efforts and exploration of a Brethren rebuilding project following the massive tsunami in American Samoa, and a “Water for Life” program in Niger.

The Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) has given $69,000 to support work on the island of Sumatra following the 7.6 magnitude earthquake that struck Sept. 30. The grant supports efforts by the Church World Service (CWS) Emergency Response Program. Shortly after the quake, CWS began distributing tarpaulins and blankets to affected communities. In addition, water distribution is under way and work has begun on sanitation facilities.

The Brethren grant also supports the distribution of food aid to children under age five, tools for rehabilitation, reconstruction of houses, and psychosocial first-aid for affected populations–particularly women and children. As part of the long-term response, livelihood recovery assistance will be provided and training will help communities in disaster risk reduction.

An EDF allocation of $10,000 for American Samoa follows the massive tsunami wave that struck in late September. The funds will provide small grants to support local relief efforts and initial grants to start a long-term recovery process. The money also will support an assessment trip to explore creation of a Brethren Disaster Ministries reconstruction project on the island.

An EDF grant of $20,000 is helping CWS and Action by Churches Together (ACT) provide assistance in the Philippines following flooding from tropical storm Ketsana, which unleashed continuous heavy rains for almost eight hours on Sept. 26. The storm mainly hit the island of Luzon. Extensive flooding affected more than three million people and caused at least 293 deaths. The grant will assist in providing emergency food and household supplies for 98,000 of the most vulnerable flood survivors.

The Global Food Crisis Fund has allocated $10,000 for the “Water for Life” program in Niger. The money will be used by the NGO Nagarta to assist in the construction of 20 wells in the villages of Dan Kalm and Dan Chamoua. Two of the wells will be used to supply potable water for drinking, while the rest will be used for watering gardens and livestock. Villagers will be trained to manage and maintain the wells and existing water spots.

In related news, Brethren Disaster Ministries holds its second Haiti Hurricane Response Workcamp on Oct. 24-Nov. 1. Executive director Roy Winter will join 10 volunteers and field staff for the workcamp. The group will work and worship with Haitian Brethren and will rebuild homes in the coastal city of Gonaives. Disaster News Network recently featured a story about the Brethren project in Haiti, go to .

For more information and to make online donations to the Emergency Disaster Fund go to . For more information and to make online donations to the Global Food Crisis Fund go to .


3) Cincinnati church starts first BVS volunteer community house.

Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) and Cincinnati (Ohio) Church of the Brethren have partnered to open the first BVS House as part of an initiative to develop community living opportunities for volunteers.

The initiative, which was announced last year, envisions a number of volunteer community houses supported by BVS and local congregations, each housing four-to-six volunteers serving in full-time BVS projects and committed to intentional practices of life together.

The BVS House opened in early October in Cincinnati and has welcomed four fulltime BVS volunteers: Katie Baker of Taneytown, Md.; Ben Bear of Nokesville, Va.; Laura Dell of Holmesville, Neb.; and Anne Wessell of Hershey, Pa. All are Church of the Brethren members.

On Sunday, Oct. 11, the congregation held a dedication service for the volunteers. The Cincinnati church has rented a house for the volunteer community and provides spiritual support including weekly meetings of congregation members and volunteers. For their part, the volunteers have committed to worship with the congregation, take part in the program of the church in the local community, and provide 40 hours a week of work for a local project.

Ben Walters is one of the co-pastors of the Cincinnati congregation, along with co-pastor Roger Cruser, and has provided much of the impetus for the church’s involvement, according to BVS director Dan McFadden. Having served as a BVS volunteer at the Washington Office in the 1990s, Walters was one of the first to express interest in the BVS House initiative, and has worked with BVS staff since then to make it a reality. He even personally visited the most recent BVS orientation to recruit prospective volunteers and “talk up” the project.

The Cincinnati church is in the Walnut Hills neighborhood of the city, which borders upscale areas as well as rough neighborhoods, McFadden said. In a recent communication with BVS, Walters wrote that the congregation is “building a new model of church in Cincinnati, where most of our work is outside our walls.”

Two of the four volunteers at the BVS House in Cincinnati will work with the congregation’s program for children and other programs in the community surrounding the church. The others will serve at Interfaith Hospitality Network, an ecumenical agency partnering with local congregations to provide housing for homeless families, and Talbert House, a large agency providing a community-wide network of social services.

The new community emphasis in BVS is part of a partnership with Volunteers Exploring Vocation through the Fund for Theological Education (FTE) and a grant from the Lilly Foundation. Dana Cassell is helping to guide the initiative as the BVS volunteer staff for Vocation and Community Living.

“I am excited that this is a reality, that a BVS House exists,” she told the Church of the Brethren’s Mission and Ministry Board during a recent report. “This is a partnership of something new–which actually is really old, the concept of intentional Christian community–with something established.” For more information contact .


4) Manchester College to launch school for pharmacists in Fort Wayne.

Manchester College will begin the accreditation process for a School of Pharmacy in Fort Wayne, Ind., with unanimous approval given by its Board of Trustees. Manchester College is a Church of the Brethren-related school in North Manchester, Ind.

The college plans to enroll its first students in the four-year Doctor of Pharmacy program in the fall of 2012. This is the 121-year-old baccalaureate college’s first venture into a doctoral program and into a satellite campus. It will be the only Doctor of Pharmacy program in northern Indiana.

“Graduate education for pharmacists is a natural fit with Manchester College,” said president Jo Young Switzer. Manchester has a strong reputation in the sciences, particularly for preparing students for medical and graduate school. The college also emphasizes service learning.

Fort Wayne is a natural fit for the new venture. In addition to numerous medical facilities and opportunities for pharmacy practicum experiences, Fort Wayne offers many amenities attractive to the school’s 250 students, 40 faculty and staff members, and their families.

“The decision by Manchester College to start a PharmD program in Fort Wayne is a wonderful investment of financial and intellectual capital in our city,” said mayor Tom Henry. “As the health care sector continues to grow in Fort Wayne and northeast Indiana, Manchester College’s expansion of professional programs is going to be key in creating the highly skilled, highly educated workforce employers demand.”

The average starting salary for pharmacists exceeds $100,000 and demand in the highly competitive profession is expected to grow more than 20 percent in the coming decade, said Switzer. The college’s research indicates many pharmacy graduates–who come from throughout the nation–remain in the communities where they study. Said Switzer, “During our exploration, many told us that this project aligns well with other initiatives undertaken in northeast Indiana to strengthen the economy here.”

Admission to Manchester’s new school will require two years of pre-pharmacy coursework. The college will add that program to its undergraduate curriculum in North Manchester and its students will compete with pre-pharmacy students from other colleges and universities for seats in the School of Pharmacy.

The college has not finalized its plans for a Fort Wayne site for the new school, which will require at least 35,000 square feet for classrooms, offices, and laboratories. The pharmacy school will be a part of Manchester College and governed by the college’s Board of Trustees.

The search for a founding dean and building of a leadership team will begin immediately. That team will begin preparing the school’s application for accreditation.

— Jeri S. Kornegay is director of Media and Public Relations for Manchester College.


5) Veritas new church plant is launched in Atlantic Northeast.

Veritas, a “church plant to reach a new generation” in the Lancaster, Pa., area, was launched in Atlantic Northeast District with a worship gathering on Sunday, Sept. 13. Veritas is led by church planters Ryan and Kim Braught, with a team of core leaders. Don Mitchell serves as district director of church development.

“This is a great day” said district executive Craig Smith to the group of 56 worshipers.

Veritas’ worship gathering is on Sundays at 10:45 a.m., using the facility of English Presbyterian Church in Marietta, Pa. Every six or eight weeks the worship gathering will include participation in a service event.

The name “Veritas” is Latin for “truth, real, authentic, or genuine.” The Veritas new church plant is dedicated to being an authentic community, where people are committed to each other and can genuinely seek how God wants followers of Jesus to live in this modern life.

“Above all, we seek to pattern our daily living after the life of Jesus: a life of humble service and unconditional love,” said a statement from Veritas. “As part of a larger body of believers–the church, the body of Christ–we go into the entire world today with a mission of witness, service, and reconciliation.”

The vision includes people gathering in homes in the greater Lancaster area on a weekly basis to pray together, share together, be in relationship with each other, and value open and honest dialogue centered on the scriptures. The Braughts envision people developing deep friendships that draw them together throughout the entire week. “We see people hanging out with each other, and spending time together, and forming witness and service projects that bring blessing to the community,” they said.

Veritas is guided by the following three core values: A Safe Spiritual Search: to be a community where people experience genuine love and care. A Missional Kingdom Life: to be a community where people are blessing others in practical ways. An Authentic Worship Expression: to be a community where people create relevant worship experiences. For more information see .

— Stan Dueck is director of Transforming Practices for the Church of the Brethren.


6) Mid-Atlantic District holds its 43rd District Conference.

“Behold! I am doing a new thing…I will make a way in the wilderness…and rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:19) was the theme of the 43rd Mid-Atlantic District Conference. The conference began with 34 ministers convening in the beautiful chapel of the newly renovated St. Mark’s United Methodist Church to explore the basics of “Transformational Leadership,” with Paul Mundey and Doug Sider. All were challenged to become self-aware and be the leaders God has called each to be. The workshop leaders were honest and led the group through how to become transformed, effective leaders in churches.

As the conference transitioned from the workshop to opening worship on Friday evening, participants enjoyed a meal with one another at Easton Church of the Brethren, and connected with other pastors and spouses in the district. A meal also was held at St. Mark’s, where connections were made and relationships renewed.

Linda Lambert gave a passionate message Friday evening, and Paul Mundey shared an energizing sermon on Saturday morning. Jonathan Shively, executive director of the Church of the Brethren’s Congregational Life Ministries, brought greetings and a vision for new church development. Stan Dueck, the church’s director of Transforming Practices, led a conversation on “Being the Church.” Many conference attendees and delegates took the opportunity to share their thoughts during the time allowed for the conversation.

Business was light, the budget was presented by the district’s Leadership Team with few questions asked, and the microphones were quieter than usual. The body voted to approve the budget and affirmed the slate of leadership. Newly-elected and re-elected officers include Leadership Team members Dale Posthumus, Dianne Nelson, Ted Hallock, Brenda Hall, Martina Lane, and Karen Winter; Program and Arrangements Committee member Rusty Curling; Standing Committee member Howard Miller; Camp Mardela board member Jody Gunn; and Leadership Calling Team member Joe Ikenberry.

Participants at the district conference brought bags of nonperishable food items as a service project that was developed to reach out to the host community. A local Easton outreach, the Neighborhood Service Center, was the recipient of more than 330 boxes, jars, and cans of food.

The conference finished on a positive note with laying on of hands for new district moderator Cinda Showalter of Westminster Church of the Brethren, and moderator-elect Jim Lohr of Easton Church of the Brethren.

— This report is taken from an article by Jody Gunn in the Mid-Atlantic District newsletter.


7) April Vanlonden to direct Academic Services for Bethany Seminary.

April Vanlonden has been called as director of Academic Services in a joint position for Bethany Theological Seminary and Earlham School of Religion (ESR) in Richmond, Ind. The director functions as the registrar for both schools in liaison with Earlham College, and facilitates the cooperative academic operation of the two seminaries.

Vanlonden is a recorded Quaker minister in the Western Yearly Meeting and pastors Fountain City (Ind.) Friends Meeting. She also is a mental health consultant for the Indiana Bar Association’s Committee on Civil Rights of Children, Indiana Screening, Assessment, and Treatment Pilot Project. She holds degrees from Indiana University and ESR.


8) Youth Peace Travel Team: A dream of peace.

Applications are being accepted for next summer’s Youth Peace Travel Team, a group of young adults age 19 to 22 who share Jesus’ message of peace with other young people at church camps and other venues. The team is sponsored by the Church of the Brethren’s Youth and Young Adult Ministry, Brethren Volunteer Service, On Earth Peace, and the Outdoor Ministries Association. They receive food, lodging, and travel expenses for the summer, and a college tuition grant. Applications are due Jan. 19, 2010. Go to or contact Becky Ullom at 800-323-8039 ext. 297.

The following is excerpted from a reflection by Jessica Flory-Steury, a member of the 2009 Youth Peace Travel Team along with Bethany Funkhouser, Chelsea Goss, and Marianne Houff:

“Before my experience on the Youth Peace Travel Team, I dreamed of peace on earth. I wondered what it would be like if all wars ended, world hunger was defeated, and love reigned over all. I always knew it was possible. I just didn’t know how….

“One of our junior high campers had a very interesting story. He had come to camp by invitation of a friend. He had not been to church more than a few times in his life. He didn’t know anything about the church, or much about Jesus Christ. He had come from a broken home and had witnessed things that no one should ever have to see in their lifetime…. He often teased other campers and in the past had been known to be involved in violence. In spite of that, he could be a kind and passionate individual. I was so glad he was there and I was glad to be there to witness his transformation.

“Throughout the beginning of the week, he got in trouble for goofing off. I discovered from conversation with him that he often had no idea what the leaders were talking about during Bible studies, leaving him frustrated and pushed even farther when he was reprimanded for not paying attention.

“From observing the campers that week, the team decided that these kids needed to hear more of the basics. They had more experiences of violence and hate in their lives than we could imagine. We told them that Jesus loved them–completely, uniquely, and intimately. We told them that we are called to love one another. In the session, we had them think of ways to break down walls of hate. At the end, we had them write their own ‘peace raps.’

“The passion and creativity that poured out of those kids was amazing. It was inspiring to observe that even though they had all experienced so much hate and violence in their schools and homes, they still had hope.

“The previously mentioned camper grew from an instigator to a leader…the one who was encouraging his teammates, presenting ideas, and motivating everyone to keep going. After we left that week, I wanted to go with that boy, to help him maintain his eagerness to learn and make peace and to remind him that he was loved. My hope is that we instilled something in him that doesn’t go away…. I pray that boy continues on his journey of peace with God….

” World peace will not be solved by one person in a day. We need each other and all the love that we possess to fulfill the message that Jesus had for us.”

New online at is a photo album from the Fall meeting of the Church of the Brethren’s Mission and Ministry Board. “Hearers and Doers of the Word” (James 1:22) was the theme. A report will follow shortly as a Newsline Special. Shown here is chair Dale Minnich, giving the opening devotions. Find the photo album at Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford

One of the families being served by the Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN) in Cincinnati, Ohio, where Brethren Volunteer Service and the Cincinnati Church of the Brethren have opened a new BVS House. One of the four volunteers living at the house will be serving with IHN. Photo by Don Knieriem

Tsunami damage at the port of Pago Pago in American Samoa, in late September. A recent grant from the Emergency Disaster Fund gives $10.000 to relief efforts in American Samoa and funds exploration of a new Brethren project site there. Photo courtesy of FEMA

Brethren bits

 Correction: The recent Pastoral Letter on the Economy was identified incorrectly in Newsline. It was from executives of the Annual Conference-related agencies, not the Inter-Agency Forum.

Remembrance: Joseph M. Long, 80, of Harrisburg, Pa., passed away on Oct. 14. He served as the Church of the Brethren’s denominational director for Youth Work from September 1959 through August 1964. He also was the first executive secretary of a tri-district Pennsylvania area of the Church of the Brethren encompassing the districts of Eastern Pennsylvania, North Atlantic, and Southern Pennsylvania, beginning in September 1964. He then served as the first executive secretary of Atlantic Northeast District at its formation by the former Eastern Pennsylvania and North Atlantic Districts in the fall of 1970. He continued in that office through his retirement. In other church work, he was one of Heifer Project’s “seagoing cowboys” in 1946, delivering animals to Poland, served two pastorates, and was a trustee and assistant manager at Camp Swatara and a trustee and director of development for Camp Eder. Born on Oct. 29, 1928, in Lebanon, Pa., he was the son of the late Henry F. and Frances (Horst) Long. He attended Hershey (Pa.) Junior College and earned degrees from Elizabethtown (Pa.) College and Bethany Theological Seminary. In Harrisburg, he was executive assistant to the Chairman of the Board of Probation and Parole for 20 years and volunteered for Contact Harrisburg for 35 years. Surviving are his wife, Shirley; son Timothy J. Long and wife Lorrie; daughter Patti Schylaski and husband Kurt; stepdaughters Leslie Hess and husband Brian, and Kelly Ross and husband Michael; 10 grandchildren and step grandchildren; and one great grandchild. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Oct. 30 at Ridgeway Community Church of the Brethren in Harrisburg, Pa., preceded by visitation from 1 p.m. Interment will be at the convenience of the family in Spring Creek Cemetery in Hershey. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are being received to Hospice of Central Pennsylvania, 1320 Linglestown Road, Harrisburg, PA 17110. Condolences may be shared at .

Kendra Flory has been called to serve as half-time administrative assistant for the Western Plains District office beginning Nov. 30. She is a member of McPherson (Kan.) Church of the Brethren, a graduate of Bridgewater (Va.) College, and a 2009 graduate of Bethany Theological Seminary. The Western Plains District office is located on the campus of McPherson College.

Brethren Disaster Ministries is welcoming new Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) worker Steve Schellenberg. He is a recent graduate of Manchester College in North Manchester, Ind., and has volunteered with Brethren Disaster Ministries in the past. He will join the leadership team at the Hurricane Katrina recovery project in Chalmette, La.

On Earth Peace has welcomed new BVS worker John-Michael Pickens. He is working with staff member Marie Rhoades to lead youth and young adult retreats in the Peace Education program. In 2008, he was a member of the denomination’s Youth Peace Travel Team. Contact him for more information about youth retreats at or 717-233-3786.

West Marva District seeks a district executive minister to fill a part-time position, available immediately. The theologically diverse district includes 62 congregations and two fellowships in Maryland and West Virginia, in the Appalachian Mountains. Its congregations are mostly rural, with several in urban areas. The preferred candidate will be someone who understands the history, values, and workings of the Church of the Brethren and will lead the district in focusing on its mission of nurturing the faith of its members and extending the witness of the Gospel to the people, problems, and needs of the world. The district office is located in Oakland, Md. Responsibilities include serving as executive officer of the District Board, giving general oversight to the planning and implementation of ministries, providing linkages with denominational agencies and ministries, assisting congregations and pastors with placement, building and strengthening relationships with congregations and pastors, articulating and promoting the vision and mission of the district, serving as an advocate for policies and directives of Annual Conference in conversation with the district, facilitating the calling and training of people to set-apart ministry and lay leadership, promoting unity in the district. Qualifications include clear commitment to Jesus Christ demonstrated by a deep faith and vibrant spiritual life; commitment to the New Testament and its values; commitment to Church of the Brethren faith and heritage; a minimum of 10 years of pastoral experience; communication, mediation, and conflict resolution skills; administrative, management, and budget skills; respect for theological diversity; flexibility in working with staff, volunteer, pastoral, and lay leadership; with a master of divinity or equivalent theological degree preferred. Apply by sending a letter of interest and a resume via e-mail to . Applicants are requested to contact three or four people to provide a letter of reference. A candidate profile must be completed as well. Application deadline is Dec. 2.

The Special Response Resource Committee created by the 2009 Annual Conference met for the first time on Oct. 12-13. This committee was asked to develop a study guide and resource list for congregations, districts, and the denomination to discuss two documents that came to the 2009 Conference: “Statement of Confession and Commitment” and the query on “Language on Same-Sex Covenantal Relationships.” In an announcement from the Annual Conference Office, the committee has begun its work, which the Conference requested be available no later than April 1, 2010. Members are John Wenger, chair; Karen Garrett, recorder; James Myer; Marie Rhoades; Carol Wise; and Standing Committee liaison Jeff Carter. The committee will post occasional updates at

Church of the Brethren general secretary Stan Noffsinger has signed on to a letter from interfaith leaders to President Obama urging that poverty, climate, and coast restoration projects become priorities in the recovery of the Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina. More than 50 Christian, Jewish, and Muslim leaders signed the letter, which was organized by Louisiana-based interfaith groups related to the Gulf Coast Civic Works Campaign. The letter read in part, “Four years after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck and the levees were breached, the slow pace of recovery, persistent poverty, climate change, and coastal land loss have created a moral crisis across the region that demands a powerful response from people of faith and our elected officials.” For the full text go to .

Recent shipments of disaster relief materials by the Material Resources program at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., included ten 40-foot containers of Lutheran World Relief kits, quilts, and soap. “This was quite intense as all ten containers needed to be delivered back to the Baltimore pier in less than eight days,” reported director Loretta Wolf. Other recent shipments have been made on behalf of Church World Service (CWS) and World Missions Outreach to send blankets, school and hygiene kits, and other materials to Nicaragua; more than 32,000 pounds of baby kits, school kits, and hygiene kits to the Dominican Republic; one 40-foot high cube container to the Congo for IMA World Health; and domestic shipments for CWS were made to Mississippi, New York, Colorado, Minnesota, and Georgia.

Selma (Va.) Church of the Brethren observed its 95th anniversary on Oct. 18.

West Charleston Church of the Brethren broke ground on Oct. 18 for a new facility in Tipp City, Ohio.

Shenandoah District is requesting prayer following the death of District Youth Council member Angela Kania, daughter of Phillip Kania and Cathy (Cupp) VanLear, from injuries received in a car accident. She was a member of Lebanon Church of the Brethren in Mount Sidney, Va., and a student at Fort Defiance High School. Condolences may be sent to the family through the guest book at .

Rebecca Miller Zeek, pastor of 28th Street Church of the Brethren in Altoona, Pa., has been named to the Juniata College Board of Trustees as a church trustee.

Flora Williams, an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren from Lafayette, Ind., has written a manual titled “The Shepherd’s Guide Through the Valley of Debt and Financial Change” that combines financial management, counseling, and spiritual guidance for those doing pastoral counseling and family care. The book “is based on my teaching and research at Purdue University for 32 years, directing a financial clinic for 25 years, study at Bethany Theological Seminary, my ministering to families, and results of a survey funded by Eli Lilly for ministry excellence,” she reported. “You can use this book to share the good news that God cares about our personal finances.” Williams directed the financial advising clinic at Purdue, which was awarded “Outstanding Financial Counseling Center” in the US in 2001, and has written materials for the National Foundation for Consumer Credit to certify counselors. She also is past president and distinguished fellow of the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education. Contact 765-474-4232 or for more information.

A plea agreement has been reached in criminal charges brought against a young woman for an incident that took place while she was in the Fall 2008 orientation unit of Brethren Volunteer Service. Charges of first-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death had been brought against Melanie Blevins, who during the orientation checked into a hospital and was discovered to have given birth. After she told police the baby was stillborn, they found the body of the child in a trash bin outside the building where the orientation unit was staying in Baltimore, Md. On Oct. 13, Blevins pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter and was given a 10-year suspended sentence, ordered to perform 900 hours of community service over the next three years, and to continue in psychiatric care.


Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren, or 800-323-8039 ext. 260. Nathan Buse, Chris Douglas, Mary Jo Flory-Steury, Karin Krog, Nancy Miner, Marcia Shetler, Callie Surber, John Wall, 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 Nov. 4. Newsline stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source.

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