Newsline for Sept. 24, 2009

Newsline is the Church of the Brethren e-mail news service. Go to to subscribe or unsubscribe.
Sept. 24, 2009

“But we speak God’s wisdom…” (1 Corinthians 2:7a).

1) NOAC makes connections between wisdom and legacy.
2) Leadership Team welcomes invitation from German church.
3) Brethren funds give grants for disaster and hunger relief.
4) New Brethren Disaster Ministries project site opens in Indiana.
5) Ministers Association officers hold annual planning meeting.
6) Western Plains District focuses on ‘all things new.’

7) Workcamp Ministry announces schedule for 2010.

8) World Mission Offering resources are available.

Brethren bits: Corrections, Middle East, SERRV anniversary, more (see column at right).

New online is a Church of the Brethren fan page on Facebook. Fan numbers have grown to 1,116 since the page was created on Sept. 4. The denomination also has a number of other fan pages including Brethren Disaster Ministries, Brethren Press, Brethren Volunteer Service, and “Messenger” magazine. Commented Brethren Press publisher Wendy McFadden, who is responsible for updating the page, “The BVS page is the trailblazer, having started several years ago when we were all wondering what Facebook was.” Find the Church of the Brethren fan page at  .
Go to
 to subscribe or unsubscribe.

1) NOAC makes connections between wisdom and legacy.

The Church of the Brethren held its 10th National Older Adult Conference (NOAC) on Sept. 7-11 at Lake Junaluska (N.C.) Conference and Retreat Center. The event is for people 50 and older. Registered participants numbering 928 came from across the country to attend.

The theme of “Legacies of Wisdom: Weaving Old and New” (1 Corinthians 2:6-7) and images of weaving informed the conference. Keynote speakers and preachers addressed the connections between legacies of life, faith, and wisdom, and ways to create new possibilities of hope.

Rachael Freed, founder of Life-Legacies and author of “Women’s Lives, Women’s Legacies,” gave a keynote address on her work to reclaim the ancient Jewish tradition of the ethical will or legacy letter. She proposed the tradition of writing a legacy letter as a useful tool for older adults to pass on legacies of wisdom and faith to future generations. The idea is quite simple: a letter that a person writes to children, grandchildren, or other descendants in order to impart life lessons, values, meaningful stories, and blessings. Freed described it as “one of the examples of weaving the old to meet the needs in a new world.”

David Waas, Church of the Brethren member and emeritus professor of history at Manchester College, asked NOAC, “What will be said about how we witnessed to our time?” Explaining that he asked the question from the point of view of two identities–Brethren and American–he said, “You and I have helped fashion not only our church, but…our nation.” He traced current crises in the US, such as the economy and health care, focusing on the “crisis that we never seem to be able to talk about … a shift to massive, ever-present military strength.” He called for an alternative legacy that followers of Christ may offer. “We should adopt and reinvigorate the Christian vision to call the state to its highest ideals,” he said. “We must work as never before to advocate for peace. You and I are citizens of a great land and we carry the mantle of … a rich Brethren heritage which our nation needs.”

Michael McKeever, a Brethren member who teaches at Judson University in Elgin, Ill., took NOAC “on the road” tying together biblical themes of people on the move with themes from popular film to talk about how a life journey may lead to reconciliation. He has taught a course on “Luke and the American Road Movie,” also the subject of an upcoming book. He discussed three parables from Luke 15 about God’s search for the lost. Christians are portrayed as on the road or “followers of the way” in the New Testament, he reminded his audience, just as Americans identify with the Hollywood portrayal of “a restless people who go out on the road to find ourselves.” The search for what has been lost–whether sheep, coin, or family relationship–takes “active and concerted effort,” he noted. The work to seek what has been lost may seem foolish to the world, but it is the foolishness of God, McKeever said. And for the wise seeker, “giving up is not an option.”

Also addressing NOAC were preachers for the three worship services: Christopher Bowman, pastor of Oakton Church of the Brethren in Vienna, Va., who preached on the story of the rebuilding of the temple from Ezra 3, in which the sounds of the crying of the old and the rejoicing of the young become blended together. “When the voices of the young and the voices of the old were united in one sound, the temple was born,” he told the group of older adults. “We need each other.”

Cynthia L. Hale, founding and senior pastor of Ray of Hope Christian Church in Decatur, Ga., spoke on the theme of growing older gracefully. “I like to think we get better with time,” she said. “When we have Christ in our life we have the courage to live fully until the day we die.”

Dennis Webb, pastor of Naperville (Ill.) Church of the Brethren, gave the closing message on “Hometown Showdown Downtown Your Town: Nazareth” (Mark 6:1-6). Focusing on the healing that Jesus performed despite the doubt that met him in his hometown, Webb assured that Jesus is able to act in our lives despite physical, spiritual, or emotional burdens–even for those who may have borne hurts or endured disabilities for decades. “The Bible is right. Those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength,” he asserted.

A series of morning Bible studies were given by Bob Neff, former professor of Old Testament at Bethany Seminary, former general secretary of the Church of the Brethren, and former president of Juniata College. He led the group in considering the legacies of family, service, and devotion, inspired by passages in Matthew.

Evening concerts were given by Quaker singer and songwriter Carrie Newcomer, and Andy and Terry Murray, well-loved musicians in the church whose songs have focused on the legacy of Brethren values and the stories of Brethren heroes.

In other activities, some 175 people joined in a Hike for Haiti that raised $3,541 for theological training in the Church of the Brethren in Haiti. A total of $25,124 was received in offerings, including $720 raised by the “Share to Shear” effort of the NOAC News team. The comic NOAC News video reports from the team of David Sollenberger, Chris Stover-Brown, and Larry Glick were a highlight of the conference.

A new NOAC record was set by the service project to collect Church World Service kits for disaster relief. A total of 1,299 kits were received including 4 clean-up buckets, 535 personal hygiene kits, and 760 kits of school supplies. Other events during the week included early morning devotions, hikes, bird watching, a golf tournament, ice cream socials, craft lessons, and interest groups on a wide variety of topics, among others.

Standing on the stage for the opening worship was a large loom into which worship leaders wove strands of fabric or ribbon during the service. Then the loom was moved to the exhibit hall for the rest of the week, and each NOAC participant was invited to add a piece to the weaving. The completed weaving stood on the stage for closing worship, a symbol of the way disparate legacies may come together to create something beautiful and new.

The NOAC Planning Committee included Deanna Brown, Barbara and Lester Kesselring, Joyce Nolen, and Glenn and Linda Timmons, and coordinator Kim Ebersole, who serves as director of Family and Older Adult Ministries for the Church of the Brethren. For more about the conference, including links to daily reports and online photo albums, go to  .


2) Leadership Team welcomes invitation from German church.

The Leadership Team of the Church of the Brethren dealt with a varied agenda in its Aug. 19 meeting at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. The agenda included response to a communication from a church in Germany, follow-up to the 2009 Annual Conference, a progress check on the creation of a Moderators Manual, and issues related to updating polity and by-laws of the denomination.

The group provided counsel to general secretary Stan Noffsinger regarding an invitation for dialogue and relationship with the Evangelische Kirche von Westfalen (the Protestant Church of Westphalia) in Germany. A leader of the German church, Ingo Stucke, addressed the celebration of the 300th anniversary of the Brethren movement that was held in Schwarzenau, Germany, last August.

In his message, Stucke invited the Church of the Brethren to continue dialogue with the German church on “our differing understandings of baptism and our differing practices of child and adult baptism.” Additionally, he expressed hope that conversations may lead to “a reconciliation among us in our diversity … as a testimony to the world .. of Christian unity.”

The Leadership Team gave counsel to welcome this opportunity for further dialogue and relationship, and informally identified members of the Church of the Brethren who might take part in a delegation to the German Church. The Committee on Interchurch Relations and the Mission and Ministry Board will be asked to ratify and follow up on the interchange.

The decisions of the 2009 Annual Conference were reviewed and responses were sent to the districts that presented queries. The Conference officers are to follow up with Standing Committee regarding the two-year denomination-wide study of two business items identified as controversial. The Leadership Team learned that the committee appointed to develop related study materials already has begun its task.

A Moderators Manual called for by the 2007 Annual Conference paper on “Doing Church Business” is being developed by the Leadership Team. Writers for chapters have been recruited and nine former Conference moderators have contributed reflections and suggestions from their experiences. The Leadership Team hopes to have the manual completed by the end of 2009.

A first draft of a revision of the by-laws of the Church of the Brethren was introduced to the 2009 Annual Conference in late June. Since then, the Leadership Team has received several suggestions for refinements. The Leadership Team plans to review all suggestions and present a revised draft to the Mission and Ministry Board in October. A final draft will be brought to the 2010 Annual Conference for approval.

Members of the 2009-10 Leadership Team are general secretary Stan Noffsinger, Annual Conference moderator Shawn Flory Replogle and moderator-elect Robert Alley, and secretary Fred Swartz, who provided this report.


3) Brethren funds give grants for disaster and hunger relief.

The Church of the Brethren’s Global Food Crisis Fund (GFCF) has announced grants supporting hunger relief projects in Guatemala and Honduras. The church’s Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) has given grants to begin a new disaster rebuilding site in Indiana and to support relief efforts following storms in the United States.

An allocation of $25,000 from the EDF has been given for Brethren Disaster Ministries work along the Tippecanoe River in Indiana following heavy rains and flooding in the winter of 2008. The funds will support the opening of a new project site in Winamac, Ind., as well as volunteer housing, food, on-site expenses, tools, and equipment.

An EDF grant of $25,000 has been given in response to a Church World Service (CWS) appeal following extreme storms that caused flooding and damage in several areas of the US. The funds will support CWS shipments of cleanup buckets, hygiene kits, and school kits to Kentucky, Florida, Maine, and New York, as well as supporting local partner recovery efforts.

A GFCF grant of $8,500 has been given to an organization named Pastoral Social for operation of a tree nursery at San Ildefonso Ixtahuacan in Huehuetenango, Guatemala. Pastoral Social is a long-time partner of the Church of the Brethren. The grant was recommended by Todd Bauer, a Brethren Volunteer Service worker who has assisted with the program for several years.

A GFCF grant of $4,700 has been given to SERRV International for a rural project in Honduras planting new cashew trees. The project is replenishing aging cashew trees that are basic to the Just Cashew organization with which SERRV partners.


4) New Brethren Disaster Ministries project site opens in Indiana.

“We’re excited to offer an additional volunteer opportunity for disaster response volunteers this fall,” read an announcement from Brethren Disaster Ministries office. “The new project in Winamac, Ind., will be ready to get started the week of Sept. 27.”

Volunteers are needed at the new project site to help rebuild homes following destruction caused by a storm system with heavy rain that flooded the area in the winter of 2008. Many communities along the Tippecanoe River in northern Indiana were affected, leaving many homes damaged or destroyed.

“While over 1,300 households in the region applied for FEMA assistance, many families did not receive enough assistance to fully recover and return home,” said the announcement from Brethren Disaster Ministries. “The local disaster recovery agency has called upon Brethren Disaster Ministries to help with the needed reconstruction.”

The program currently is recruiting volunteers to help rebuild two homes, seeking volunteer groups of 6-8 volunteers for each week from Sept. 27 through Nov. 21. Volunteers should be in good health, physically fit, and able to do heavy lifting. Skills in new construction will be helpful. Initial work will includes framing, roofing, sheeting, subfloor, and window and door installation. Volunteer housing will be at Bethel Bible Church in Winamac, where the Shenandoah District bunk trailer and tool trailer will be available.

District Disaster Coordinators are being requested to share this information with potential disaster volunteers in their districts. For more detailed information go to or call 800-451-4407 ext. 7.


5) Ministers Association officers hold annual planning meeting.

Officers of the Church of the Brethren Ministers Association held their annual planning meeting on Aug. 26-27 at the church’s General Offices in Elgin, Ill. The group spent time evaluating the association activities of 2009 and planning for next year’s continuing education event that will once again take place ahead of Annual Conference on July 2-3 in Pittsburgh, Pa.

The presenter for the 2010 event  will be Nancy Ferguson, a Presbyterian minister, author, and certified Christian educator. Her topic will be, “Faith Forming Outside the Box.” Advance registration fees will remain the same: $60 for individuals and $90 for couples. The association will continue to offer one-half off discount registration fees for first-time participants. Online registration will be available again next year. Additional details will be made available in the “Lead” section of the denominational website .

The Ministers Association officers include chair Nancy Fitzgerald of Arlington, Va.; vice-chair Sue Richard of Lima, Ohio; vice-chair Chris Zepp of Bridgewater, Va.; and treasurer Rebecca House of Union Bridge, Md. Mary Jo Flory-Steury, executive director of Ministry for the Church of the Brethren, also met with the group.

The officers at this meeting welcomed Dave Kerkove of Adel, Iowa, who is replacing newly confirmed officer Myrna Wheeler. She is unable to serve due to illness.

— Sue Richard is vice-chair of the Ministers Association.


6) Western Plains District focuses on ‘all things new.’

The Western Plains District Conference convened July 31-Aug. 2 at McPherson, Kan. The 229 registered participants included 65 delegates from 30 congregations, 18 youth, and 17 children. District moderator Leslie Frye led the conference under the theme from Rev. 21:5, “Behold, I Make All Things New!”

Speakers for the worship services included Frye, of Monitor Church of the Brethren; Shawn Flory-Replogle of McPherson (Kan.) Church of the Brethren and current Annual Conference moderator; and Chris Bowman, pastor of Oakton Church of the Brethren in Vienna, Va. Conference offerings totaled $6,247.

A pre-conference workshop on “Faith, Family, and Finances: How to Live Faithfully within Your Means and Keep Peace in the Family” was led by Steve Bob, director of the Church of the Brethren Credit Union, and Bob Gross, executive director of On Earth Peace.

Twelve ministers were recognized for “Milestones in Ministry”: Dean Farringer, Merlin Frantz, and Charles Whitacre were recognized for 65 years of ordination; Lyall Sherred for 50 years; John Carlson for 40 years; Francis Hendricks and Jean Hendricks for 30 years; Edwina Pote for 20 years; Stephen Klinedinst for 15 years; and Sonja Griffith, Lisa Hazen, and Tom Smith for 10 years.

In conference business sessions, Robert W. Dell was elected moderator-elect. Those elected to the District Board included Becki Bowman, Kip Coulter, Eldon Luker, Joe McFadden, Catherine Price, Richard Schmalzreid, and Les Shenefelt. Re-elected for second terms were Rita Suiter and Andy Ullom. David Smalley was elected to the Nominating Committee and Cheryl Mishler was elected for a second term on the District Conference Planning Committee.

The District Board reorganized as follows: Lisa Hazen, chair; Emilie Dell, vice-chair;

George Hinton, chair of Church Development and Renewal; Phil Adams, chair of Ministry; Beverly Minnich, chair of Nurture; Andy Ullom, chair of Outdoor Ministry; Lauren Worley, chair of Stewards; Darrell Barr, chair of Witness.

District Board proposals of a 2010 operating budget of $126,939 and 2010 budget for restricted-invested funds of $36,175 were approved by the delegates. The board brought a proposed structure revision for discussion. Delegates will take the proposal to their congregations for discussion, and it will come to the 2010 District Conference for action.

Following the Friday evening worship service The Cedars retirement community hosted an ice cream social with music provided by Guitars, Etc. of Monitor Church of the Brethren, the Funk Sisters of Quinter Church of the Brethren, and Roger Cooper and Tom Harrison of Eden Valley Church of the Brethren. The Projects Unlimited Auction netted $3,278.50 for various projects.

Next year’s Western Plains District Conference will be held in McPherson, Kan., on July 30-Aug. 1 with moderator Keith Funk, pastor of Quinter Church of the Brethren.

— Elsie Holderread is co-district executive for Western Plains District.


7) Workcamp Ministry announces schedule for 2010.

The Workcamp Ministry of the Church of the Brethren Youth and Young Adult Office has announced a theme and schedule for the workcamps that will be offered in the summer of 2010. The theme, “With glad and generous hearts,” is taken from Acts 2:46. Online registration will open on Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. (Central) at .

The Workcamp Ministry recorded a successful season this summer, with a total of 723 participants, 16 more than in 2008. “It is exciting and encouraging in this difficult economy, when many are struggling, that parents and congregations are making it a priority to send their youth on short-term service trips,” said coordinator Jeanne Davies. “Workcamps give our youth an opportunity to put their faith into action, an experience that can be life-changing.”

Twelve workcamps are planned for next summer, with a focus on junior high events because it is a National Youth Conference year. Following are dates and locations. The registration fee is $245 unless otherwise indicated:

Junior high workcamps are planned for Elgin, Ill., on June 16-20; Brooklyn, N.Y., on June 23-27; Indianapolis, Ind., on June 23-27; Ashland, Ohio, on June 28-July 2; Roanoke, Va., on July 28-Aug 1; Harrisburg, Pa., on Aug 2-6; and Richmond, Va., on Aug 3-7.

Senior high workcamps sponsored by the Brethren Revival Fellowship are planned for the Dominican Republic on June 20-27 ($695) and for Reynosa, Mexico, on July 31-Aug 7 ($595).

An intergenerational workcamp for ages 11 and up, co-led with On Earth Peace, will take place at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., on June 14-19 ($295).

A young adult workcamp will go to Haiti on May 23-30 ($695).

A “We Are Able” workcamp for intellectually disabled youth and young adults, and youth and young adult service partners, will be offered at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., on June 28/29-July 2 ($350).

For more information go to or contact or 800-323-8039 ext. 286.


8) World Mission Offering resources are available.

“Called… by Example” is the theme for this year’s World Mission Offering to benefit the mission work of the Church of the Brethren. The suggested offering date is Sunday, Oct. 11. Materials have been provided by the church’s Office of Stewardship Formation and Education.

This is the third year that the World Mission Offering theme highlights calling. “We follow last year’s focus on communion with another Church of the Brethren ordinance–footwashing,” said an announcement from Carol Bowman, coordinator of Stewardship Formation and Education. “These timely (and timeless) themes celebrate 301 years of the Brethren movement and help us look ahead into our fourth century–a time of discerning God’s call to those of us who choose the Brethren way of following Jesus.”

Resources include sheet music for two songs that may be used in a worship service highlighting the church’s mission work: “A Simple Act” by Merry Titus, and “Power of the Towel” by Jonathan Shively. Also offered are worship resources in English and Spanish, a bulletin insert in English and Spanish, and a poster. A sample packet of the resources has been sent to each congregation.

Congregations without a standing order for printed materials can order more inserts or offering envelopes from Brethren Press, call 800-441-3712 or use the form provided in the packet. Also materials may be ordered online at . For more information contact Carol Bowman at or 509-663-2833.

Jonathan Shively (above) introduced the theme song at National Older Adult Conference. The chorus begins, “We’re honoring the stories of a thousand passing lives….” More on NOAC can be found online, click here. Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford

Ingo Stucke (above) addressed the 300th Anniversary celebration of the Brethren movement in Schwarzenau, Germany, representing the Evangelische Kirche von Westfalen. A photo album of the event is available online (click here). Photo by Glenn Riegel

A moment for prayer during one of the 2009 workcamps, held at Germantown (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. A photo album from this summer’s Workcamp Ministry is available online (click here). Photo by Bekah Houff




























Brethren bits

— Corrections: In a Newsline story of Sept. 9 on the Eagle Creek Church, the word “with” was inadvertently left out of the following corrected sentence: “Ballinger consulted with other district executives and found that churches have done this before with approval from their districts.” Also, in the Newsline Extra of Sept. 7, the correct title of David Leiter’s book is “Neglected Voices: Peace in the Old Testament.”

Churches for Middle East Peace has issued a letter supporting strong US leadership to achieve a negotiated, sustainable resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Church of the Brethren general secretary Stan Noffsinger is one of the numerous religious leaders who have added their signatures to the letter. “The letter asserts that this is a time of great opportunity and urgency and a comprehensive Middle East peace is a fundamental American interest that crosses racial, ethnic, and religious lines,” said a release. “It expresses support for the President’s determination to bring the conflict to an end and to six principles including Israel’s right to exist in security and the right of the Palestinian people to a viable, sovereign, and secure state of their own.” The full text of the letter can be found at .

SERRV celebrated its 60th anniversary on Sept. 11 with a special event held at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. SERRV was begun by the Church of the Brethren, one of the first fair-trade organizations in the country, with a mission to “Eradicate poverty wherever it resides.” It continues to have its warehouses and a retail store at the Brethren Service Center.

Registration remains open for the Church of the Brethren’s Nigeria Workcamp to be held Jan. 9-30, 2010. Registrations are due by Oct. 9. Workcamp volunteers will worship, learn, create relationships, and work with Christians from Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN–the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) and Mission 21. The group will work in Kwarhi, tour Kulp Bible College, Hillcrest, and other schools, and visit a game reserve in Yankari. Cost is $2,200, which includes the round-trip flight to Nigeria, meals, lodging, in-country transportation, and overseas travel insurance. For more information and a registration form go to

Labor Day weekend marked the 49th Annual Labor Day Coffee held at the junction of Highways 36 and 75 south of Sabetha, Kan. The event was started by Russell Kiester, then pastor of Trinity/Sabetha Church of the Brethren, to provided rest and refreshment for the many people traveling over Labor Day in a time before convenience stores and the numerous restaurants of today. A special 50th celebration of this event is being planned for next year, reports Western Plains District.

Nampa (Idaho) Church of the Brethren on Oct. 8-9 is hosting a workshop sponsored by On Earth Peace. The workshop will be on the topic of handling conflict and will offer “Matthew 18 Training for Trainers.” It will be led by Rick Polhamus, a Ministry of Reconciliation trainer from Fletcher, Ohio. The event is intended to equip leaders for Matthew 18 Workshops, described as “a practical, faith-centered resource for strengthening a congregation s ability to deal with differences.” Contact .

Stover Memorial Church of the Brethren in Des Moines, Iowa, has begun offering office space for the Iowa Peace Network. Christine Sheller, a member of Ivester Church of the Brethren and a part-time student at Bethany Theological Seminary, has begun an internship with the network and has been working to set up the office at Stover Memorial.

Upcoming district conferences include the Missouri and Arkansas District Conference on Sept. 25-26 in Roach, Mo.; and the Oregon and Washington District Conference on Sept. 25-27 at Camp Koinonia in Cle Elum, Wash.

The 29th Annual Heritage Fair sponsored by Camp Blue Diamond and Middle Pennsylvania District will be held Sept. 26 at the camp. Activities for all ages including food, fun and fellowship, will be held from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. A quilt and basket auction begins at 11 a.m., a children’s auction at 1 p.m., and the district quilt will be auctioned at 2:30 p.m. Proceeds are split between the camp and district outreach ministries. For more information call at 814-667-2355.

The 11th Annual Camp Mack Festival will be held on Oct. 3 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. The festival featured a variety of booths, exhibits, and activities including silent auctions, entertainment, a scarecrow contest, a train ride, a hay ride, a horse-drawn carriage, pontoon rides, and children’s activities.

A Fall Banquet for the Carlisle (Pa.) Truck Stop Chaplain Ministry will be held on Oct. 3 at New Fairview Church of the Brethren in York, Pa.

The Juniata College board of trustees has added three new members: alumni trustee Geoffrey Clarke of Huntingdon, Pa., who is vice president of construction at New Enterprise Stone and Lime Co.; Gayle Pollock of Lewisburg, Pa., director of student recruitment with George Dehne Associates and part-time senior associate director of admissions at Bucknell University; and Eric Jensen of Indianapolis, Ind., a senior research fellow at Eli Lilly and Co. In addition, Jenifer Cushman, Juniata’s dean of international programs and associate professor of German, has been named a Presidential Fellow by the Association of International Education Administrators.

The Global Women’s Project Steering Committee met at the end of August in North Manchester, Ind. The project is affiliated with the Church of the Brethren. “We welcomed new board member Kim Hill Smith from Minneapolis to the committee and heard from Yvonne Dilling, who shared insights she learned from working with development projects in Central America,” said a report in the Global Women’s Project newsletter. The group also celebrated the beginning of collaboration with a new project: Growing Grounds, a collaborative effort between Education for Conflict Resolution Inc. of North Manchester, Ind., and Wabash (Ind.) Church of the Brethren serving the needs of women in prison. The committee also noted receipt of over $3,000 from a Mother’s Day Project and the sale of Lenten Calendars. The steering committee will meet next in March 2010 in Indianapolis.

A Progressive Brethren Gathering on the theme, “Ready at the Thresholds,” is planned for Nov. 13-15 hosted by Elizabethtown (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. “The gathering will offer opportunities to reflect on the theological, social, and political thresholds that we engage as progressive people of faith and vision in changing times,” said an announcement. Guest speaker Gordon Kauffman, professor emeritus at Harvard Divinity School, will give a presentation titled “Mystery, God, and the Human Imagination.” Cost of $100 includes most meals. A discount is available for students. To register, go to . The gathering is jointly sponsored by Womaen’s Caucus, Voices for an Open Spirit, and the Brethren Mennonite Council for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Interests.

A gun store in Philadelphia that has been the focus of witnesses against gun violence has been charged with breaking the law, and may close. The initiative against gun violence in America’s cities started at the Heeding God’s Call gathering of the Historic Peace Churches in January. The Associated Press reported on Sept. 23 that Colosimo’s Gun Center has been charged in federal court with making false statements and failing to keep records required by law. Colosimo’s was chosen as a focus for witnesses “because of the number of guns sold there that end up being used in crimes,” in the words of the AP report. On Sept. 24, the “Philadelphia Daily News” reported that the business may close (see
). “Our thanks to anyone who has participated in any way in this faith-based movement to end gun violence,” said an e-mail from those organizing the witnesses, which have continued consistently since the January gathering. A number of Philadelphia religious leaders have supported the effort including Jewish rabbis, Roman Catholic leaders, a variety of Protestant clergy, and Thomas Swain, clerk of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren, or 800-323-8039 ext. 260. Kim Ebersole, Mary Jo Flory-Steury, Judy Keyser, Nancy Miner, John Wall, and Jane Yount contributed to this report. Newsline appears every other Wednesday, with other special issues sent as needed. The next regularly scheduled issue is set for Oct. 7. Newsline stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source.

Forward Newsline to a friend

Subscribe to Newsline

Unsubscribe from receiving email, or change your email preferences.

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