Sustaining Pastoral Excellence Program Fields Final Pastor Cohorts

Church of the Brethren Newsline
April 21, 2009

The Sustaining Pastoral Excellence program of the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership is beginning its sixth year. Funded by a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., this program offering continuing education for pastors has launched its last “class” of pastoral cohorts.

This final year of the Lilly grant has seven cohort groups. These seven groups of pastors will be studying their respective questions for two years, 2009-10. In Nov. 2010 they will come together to share with each other what they have learned about their question.

Listed below are the participants in each group, district(s) represented, critical questions to be studied, and the destination of each group’s travel:

Davidson Cohort (Western Plains District): Question: “What does it mean for us to become effective rural mission-oriented pastoral leaders in effective rural, great commission, mission-oriented ministries?” Immersion retreat destination: Chicago (and places along way) to visit mission-oriented ministries and ministers. Participants: Ken Davidson (facilitator), George Hinson, Ed Switzer.

Eikler Cohort (West Marva and Pacific Southwest Districts): Question: “How does engaging other religious traditions inform and transform us and our practice of ministry?” Immersion retreat destination: Shikoku Island and Hiroshima, Japan. Participants: Torin Eiker (facilitator), Carrie Eikler, Bill Haldeman-Scarr, Sara Haldeman-Scarr, Erin Matteson, Russ Matteson.

Oltman Cohort (Western Plains District): Question: “How do we as pastors of diverse congregations experience abundant life in Christ as we individually grow in our discipleship, and hence, our ability to foster healthy relationships in Christ’s love with others?” Immersion retreat destination: Church of the Savior, Washington D.C.; and a retreat center in Great Bend, Kan. Participants: Marlo Oltman (facilitator), Leslie Frye, Sonja Griffith.

Smalley Cohort (Western Plains District): Question: “What are the attitudes, skills, and principles we need as ministerial leaders to work effectively in our own cross-cultural and multi-cultural settings?” Immersion retreat destination: Quo Vadis Center for Interfaith Dialogue in Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu, India. Participants: David Smalley (facilitator), Michael J. Burr, Barbra S. Davis, Christopher Everett Stover-Brown.

Snyder Cohort (Western Plains District): Question: “What personal worship and spiritual direction/formation practices shape us as corporate worship planners and leaders to encourage spiritual formation in the congregation?” Immersion retreat destination: Iona Community, Scotland. Participants: Laura Snyder (facilitator), Karen Cox, Keith Funk, Jon Tuttle.

Speicher Cohort (Atlantic Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Southern Pennsylvania Districts): Question: “How do we develop and sustain courage and passion to minister to our communities within a culture of fear?” Immersion retreat destination: Jos, headquarters of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN–the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) and other locations in Nigeria. Participants: Timothy Speicher (facilitator), Peter Haynes, Del Keeney, Wally Landes, Belita Mitchell.

Wenger Cohort (Western Pennsylvania District): Question: “As pastoral leaders, what actions and initiatives on our part will lead our churches into a deeper encounter with Christ and motivate them to be actively engaged in a counter-cultural fashion in the mission of Christ in our world?” Immersion retreat destination: Current Christian Ministries in England along with historical sites related to the Anabaptist/Pietist movement in England and Germany. Participants: William Wenger (facilitator), Jeffrey Fackler, Robert Rummel, John Stoner, Jr., Linda Stoner, William Waugh.

— Linda and Glenn Timmons serve at the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership as coordinators of the Sustaining Pastoral Excellence program.

The Church of the Brethren Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren. Newsline stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source. Contact to receive Newsline by e-mail or to submit news to the editor at For more Church of the Brethren news and features, subscribe to “Messenger” magazine; call 800-323-8039 ext. 247.

Brethren in the News

“Six Named to DN-R Leadership Awards Panel,” Daily News Record, Harrisonburg, Va. (April 21, 2009). Three of the people named to a six-member committee charged with selecting the winners of the 2009 Daily News-Record Leadership Awards given to local high school seniors, have ties to the Church of the Brethren: Gerald W. Beam, president of Beam Bros. Trucking, Inc., is a member of Mill Creek Church of the Brethren; Anne Burns Keeler is vice president for finance and treasurer at Bridgewater (Va.) College, a Church of the Brethren school; and Michael A. Stoltzfus, president and CEO of Dynamic Aviation, has chaired the Bridgewater Retirement Community Foundation board, a Church of the Brethren retirement community.

“Four nominated for Church Award,” Cumberland (Md.) Times-News (April 18, 2009). Matraca Lynn Shirley of Keyser (W.Va.) Church of the Brethren is one of four high schoolers nominated for the Katharine Church Award, given annually by the Keyser Rotary. The award ceremony takes place April 22 at 6 p.m. at the Wind Lea Banquet and Conference Center. The award was established in honor of Katharine Church, organist and choir director at Keyser Presbyterian Church and a teacher at all levels from elementary through college. The Keyser High School faculty vote on the candidates, who are then judged by a panel of past presidents of Keyser Rotary.

Also see “And the nominees are: Katharine M. Church nominees are announced,” Mineral Daily News-Tribune, Keyser, W.Va. (April 16, 2009).

Obituary: John A. Severn, Palladium-Item, Richmond, Ind. (April 18, 2009). John A. “Jack” Severn, 90, of Eaton, Ohio, died on April 15 at his home. He was retired from NACA (NASA). Survivors include his wife, Betty Brock Severn. Memorials are to Eaton Church of the Brethren Building Fund or Reid Hospice.

Obituary: James K. Bullen, Palladium-Item, Richmond, Ind. (April 15, 2009). James Kurtis Bullen, 24, of Eaton (Ohio) Church of the Brethren, died on April 11 at a family residence. He was an Army soldier stationed out of Fort Campbell, Ky., and had recently returned from a one-year tour in Afghanistan and was home on leave. Survivors include his wife, Samantha (Hartley) Bullen; his mother, Mary Ellen Vice, of Eaton, Ohio; and his father, James M. Bullen, of Centerville, Ind.

“On film: Cowboys on a different range,” Lansdale (Pa.) Reporter (April 14, 2009). Church of the Brethren author and documentary producer Peggy Reiff Miller of Milford, Ind., is touring with her film “A Tribute to the Seagoing Cowboys” telling the story of men and boys who delivered livestock on cattle boats to Europe and China after World War II, as part of a Church of the Brethren program. This summer will mark the 65th anniversary of the first shipment of the Heifer Project to Puerto Rico in July 1944. Miller showed the film on April 19 at the Mennonite Heritage Center in Franconia, Pa.

“Christian America shrinking and expanding at the same time,” Seattle (Wash.) Post-Intelligencer (April 12, 2009). An account of the children’s story told by pastor Ken Miller Rieman for Easter Sunday morning worship at Olympic View Community Church of the Brethren in Seattle, Wash., begins a blog entry by editorial cartoonist David Horsey. He muses on the success of American-style Christianity in a time of shrinking churches.

“Arbor Ridge resident celebrates 100th birthday,” Greensboro (N.C.) News-Record (April 12, 2009). Ray Warner, a longtime Church of the Brethren member, celebrated his 100th birthday on March 25 at Arbor Ridge, a retirement community in Eden, N.C., where he has lived for the past three years. He was born on a farm near Newport, Md., and when he was 6 the family moved closer to New Windsor, Md., to attend Edgewood Church of the Brethren. They moved to New Windsor in 1930, where his mother earned money to support the family by taking in laundry. He married Edna Rickman in 1935 at First Church of the Brethren. She died in 2003. “I didn’t set out to have a long life, but I always served the Lord,” Warner told the newspaper.

“Bowman Anniversary,” Palladium-Item, Richmond, Ind. (April 12, 2009). Mr. and Mrs. Daniel L. Bowman of Hagerstown, Ind., celebrated their 50th anniversary with an open house on April 19 at White Branch Church of the Brethren in Hagerstown. Gail Manifold married Dan Bowman on April 18, 1959.

“Feast of love, service,” Journal-Advocate, Sterling, Colo. (April 11, 2009). The newspaper reviews the Love Feast service held on Maundy Thursday at Haxtun (Colo.) Church of the Brethren, calling it “a service of love, and a remembrance of the humble spirit of the one they call their Savior.” Pastor Ken Frantz told the newspaper, “There’s no arrogance in faith when kneeling in service to another.”

“Study mulls children in disasters,” Disaster News Network (April 10, 2009). A story national study of children’s needs following disasters references the Church of the Brethren’s Children’s Disaster Services. A coalition of national organizations are helping a commission study services for children post-disaster times like Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Obituary: Alden H. Chandler, News Leader, Staunton, Va. (April 10, 2009). Alden Hugh Chandler, 78, a lifelong member of White Hill Church of the Brethren in Stuarts Draft, Va., passed away on April 8 after losing his battle to mesothelioma. He was employed by DuPont for 39 years and enjoyed farming and tending to livestock. His wife, Frances Brooks Chandler, was his faithful companion and caregiver to the end.

Obituary: Willima “Billie” Rae Garber Bishop Fisher Hayes, Mansfield (Ohio) News Journal (April 10, 2009). Willima “Billie” Rae Garber Bishop Fisher Hayes, 78, a member of Ashland (Ohio) Church of the Brethren, died on April 9 at Brethren Care in Ashland. She worked at Samaritan Hospital for 30 years as a PBX Operator. She was preceded in death by her husbands, Wendell R. Bishop, Edward L. Fisher, and Jack E. Hayes.

“Upcoming banquet to support youth training in Harrisburg,” Patriot-News, Harrisburg, Pa. (April 7, 2009). Harrisburg (Pa.) Mayor Stephen R. Reed will be the guest speaker at the third annual Agape-Satyagraha Recognition Banquet at 6-7:30 p.m. on April 29 at Harrisburg First Church of the Brethren. The banquet is held by Brethren Community Ministries to recognize youth involved in training to develop leadership skills in resolving family, neighborhood and peer conflicts without violence.

Obituary: Leslie H. Everett, News Leader, Staunton, Va. (April 7, 2009). Leslie “Les” Henderson Everett, 58, of Weyers Cave, Va., died April 7. He was a member of Lebanon Church of the Brethren in Mount Sidney, Va. He had been employed at Padgett Manufacturing in Bridgewater for the past 33 years as a custom woodworker. In 1982, he married Willie M. Summy Everett, who survives.

Obituary: Goldie Mae Arey, Record Delta, Buckannon, W.Va. (April 7, 2009). Goldie Mae Arey, 82, a member of Mount Zion Church of the Brethren in Luray, Va., died on April 2 at MontVue Nursing Home in Luray. She was a daughter of the late William Jacob Gochenour and Grace Ellen (Cave) Gochenour. In 1949, she married Harry “Ed” Arey, who died in 1995.

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