Newsline for August 27, 2010

The Internal Revenue Service is warning that small nonprofit organizations may be at risk of losing tax-exempt status if they have not filed required returns for the last three years (2007 through 2009). Churches are not required to file, but some nonprofits connected to churches may fall under this requirement, put in place with the Pension Protection Act of 2006. Organizations can preserve tax-exempt status by filing returns by Oct. 15 in a one-time relief program. The IRS lists organizations at risk of losing tax-exempt status at www.irs.gov/charities/article/

Aug. 27, 2010

“Let me be delivered…from the deep waters” (Psalm 69:14b).

1) Brethren Disaster Ministries marks fifth anniversary of Katrina.
2) Church of the Brethren membership experiences decline in 2009.
3) Districts begin hearings on issues of sexuality.
4) Bethany Seminary launches MA Connections program.
5) BBT CFO Jerry Rodeffer resigns from position.

6) Bethany president to keynote 2010 Progressive Brethren Gathering.
7) Global Mission Offering supports worldwide Brethren ministries.
8) Webinars to address church strategies for serving, sharing, inviting.
9) Brethren hold 40th Annual Dunker Church Service at Antietam.

10) Brethren bits: Personnel, job openings, WCC stewards program, jr. high conference, more.



Above, a Children’s Disaster Services volunteer cares for an infant following Hurricane Katrina. Five years later, the Church of the Brethren is still working to mitigate the suffering caused by the hurricane, with an ongoing Brethren Disaster Ministries rebuilding project in St. Bernard Parish near New Orleans. Below, a volunteer helps rebuild a house in the Parish.

1) Brethren Disaster Ministries marks fifth anniversary of Katrina.

Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the Louisiana coast on Aug. 29, 2005. Five years later, the Brethren Disaster Ministries rebuilding project in St. Bernard Parish, La., is still working on rebuilding homes destroyed by Katrina.

It is the sixth Brethren Disaster Ministries-run project to rebuild homes for families affected by the hurricane. Current project leaders are John and Mary Mueller and Brethren Volunteer Service worker Steve Schellenberg.

Over the five years since the devastation of New Orleans and surrounding Gulf coastline, volunteers working through Brethren Disaster Ministries have given thousands of hours to rebuild hundreds of homes. The church’s Children’s Disaster Services also has helped care for thousands of children affected by the disaster.

“We are accomplishing what is typical of most Brethren disaster sites: helping families get back into their homes,” said Mary Mueller in a telephone interview this week. In St. Bernard Parish, Brethren Disaster Ministries is representing the church at its best by “serving the people who would have fallen through the cracks,” she added.

The Muellers have worked for more than three years in St. Bernard Parish, an area of Lousiana just east of New Orleans. During that time they have helped host and lead thousands of volunteers–and they have seen the community turn around.

It was a “ghost town”–in Mary Mueller’s words–when they arrived in early 2007, a place where debris lined the side walks and strip malls were deserted. Now the area is becoming revitalized, businesses have reopened, schools are being rebuilt.

“It’s wonderful to see the comeback…it is a community transformed,” she said, remembering her emotional response one day when she saw someone planting flowers in a front yard. “My heart just leaped,” she said, because it was a sign the community was moving beyond survival mode.

Brethren Disaster Ministries is partnering with the St. Bernard Project to rebuild homes in the parish. In total the project has put 290 families back in their homes. And the Brethren have helped with the majority of those houses, Mueller reported.

To commemorate the fifth anniversary of the hurricane, the St. Bernard Project is holding a 50-hour rebuild to show how much can be done on a house in that short period of time. The work for this week’s Brethren Disaster Ministries volunteers–14 Brethren from Virlina District, and two hospice nurses who came along–has included preparing a house for an influx of volunteers taking part in the special project. The Virlina group also has worked on several other homes, installing flooring and exterior siding, putting up drywall and storm shutters, repairing a leaky chimney and a rotted out soffit–in fact, a “pretty typical week” according to Mueller.

Mueller encourages people to consider volunteering with Brethren Disaster Ministries. “Whether they volunteer at this site or any other site, it’s a very good thing, and it is so encouraging for survivors,” she said.

And then she added a helpful reminder to new disaster volunteers, perhaps learned from years of serving Katrina survivors: “You never know when you’ll be on the receiving end of something like this.”

Hurricane Katrina statistics as reported by Brethren Disaster Ministries:
— Brethren Disaster Ministries volunteers have rebuilt homes in six communities: Citronelle, Ala.; Lucedale, Miss.; McComb, Miss.,; Pearl River, La.; East New Orleans, La.; and Chalmette and Arabi in St. Bernard Parish, La. The program also contributed to a New Orleans Ecumenical Build in cooperation with Church World Service and a number of other Christian organizations.
— The ministry has served 454 families affected by the hurricane.
— A total of 4,929 volunteers have worked at Katrina rebuilding, giving 38,691 work days or 309,528 work hours representing a value of donated labor of $6,453,659 (at $20.85 per hour).

Hurricane Katrina statistics as reported by Children’s Disaster Services:
— The program cared for children in the Gulf region directly affected by the storm, in places that received families displaced by the hurricane, and in New Orleans when displaced families began to return. The 12 communities where Katrina-related child support has been provided are Los Angeles and San Bernardino, Calif.; Denver, Colo.; Pensacola and Fort Walton Beach, Fla.; Lafayette, La.; Norfolk and Blackstone, Va.; Kingwood, W.Va.; Mobile, Ala.; Gulf Port, Miss.; and the Welcome Home Center in New Orleans.
— Children’s Disaster Services has made a total of 4,856 child contacts related to Hurricane Katrina.
— A total of 173 volunteers with the program have served 2,055 days doing Katrina relief work, or 16,440 volunteer hours valued at $342,774 in donated labor.

A short video clip about the fifth anniversary of Katrina is featured at www.youtube.com/user/brethrendisastermin . Worship resources for remembering Hurricane Katrina this Sunday are offered by the National Council of Churches Eco-Justice program at www.nccecojustice.org/resources/Katrina5Anniversary.php .

2) Church of the Brethren membership experiences decline in 2009.

The Church of the Brethren denomination’s membership declined by almost 1,600 people in 2009, according to data from the “Church of the Brethren Yearbook,” and continues a decades-long trend of declining membership since the 1960s. The denomination’s total membership stood at 122,810 in 2009, declining from the 124,408 members reported by congregations in 2008. The denomination reported a total average weekly worship attendance of 58,830 for the year, also a decline from the previous year’s 59,084.

Yearbook figures are based on data provided by congregations that turn in statistical reports. In 2009, 686 or 65.5 percent of Church of the Brethren congregations turned in a statistical report–a number consistent with most recent years providing a consistent means for comparing statistics. About 66 percent reported in 2008.

Atlantic Northeast continues as the largest district, with 14,336 members in 2009, and also is the leading district in terms of membership decline having lost 335 members. The second largest district is Shenandoah District with 14,189 members in 2009, representing a gain of 33 people over 2008. The third largest is Virlina District with 10,947 members, a decline of 69. Mid-Atlantic District gained the most members, 37, to arrive at a total membership of 9,694 for 2009.

The total number of congregations in the denomination, which includes the United States and Puerto Rico, also declined by five to 994 in 2009, down from 999 in 2008. There were 53 fellowships and projects in 2009, an increase of three from the previous year.

The number of baptisms reported by congregations, 1,394, posted a sharp decline from the previous year’s 1,714, but was higher than the 1,380 reported in 2007.

Giving to general ministries of the denomination–which totaled $3,519,737 in 2009–fell by more than $91,000 from 2008’s total of $3,611,474. Giving to special purpose funds such as the Emergency Disaster Fund or other specially designated gifts to the work of the denomination, came to $1,401,454 in 2009, a drop of almost $354,000 from the previous year’s total of $1,755,359. Such giving, especially to the EDF, often is determined by the nature and scope of disasters or other events that occurred during that period.

Giving to the other two Annual Conference agencies that receive financial support from congregations also dropped in 2009, with Bethany Theological Seminary seeing a decline of more than $22,000, and On Earth Peace seeing a decline of more than $52,000. In 2009, Bethany reported actual giving of $414,988 and On Earth Peace reported $51,878.

The 2010 Yearbook will be available this fall in a new electronic format on CD, for the price of $21.50 and will be shipped automatically to customers on the standing order list with Brethren Press. Others should purchase the Yearbook at www.BrethrenPress.com or call 800-441-3712.

Special Response insight session is standing room only
One of the hearings on the Special Response process held at Annual Conference was standing room only–until a larger venue was found for the crowd. The two hearings were sponsored by the Standing Committee of district delegates. Photo by Glenn Riegel

3) Districts begin hearings on issues of sexuality.

Some Church of the Brethren districts have begun to hold hearings on issues of sexuality at their district conferences, and others are beginning to plan for such hearings this fall and winter, led by district delegates to the Standing Committee of the Church of the Brethren’s Annual Conference.

The hearings are a central part of the “Special Response” process leading up to a decision by the 2011 Conference on two items of business: “A Statement of Confession and Commitment” from the 2008 Standing Committee ( www.cobannualconference.org/pittsburgh/A_Statement_of_Confession_and_Commitment.pdf ), and “Query: Language on Same Sex Covenantal Relationships” from Northern Indiana District ( www.cobannualconference.org/pittsburgh/NB_2_Query-Language_on_Same_Sex_Covenental_Relationships.pdf). Hearings in each of the denomination’s 23 districts will provide feedback to Standing Committee as it meets prior to the Conference next July in Grand Rapids, Mich., to frame a recommendation on the two business items.

In Southern Pennsylvania District, the District Conference on Sept. 17-18 will include two insight sessions on the Special Response process led by Standing Committee members. Also, the district plans to offer “Zone Hearings” on the two items of business coming to the Conference.

At least one district is providing training for church leaders to hold Bible studies in congregations, which also is a recommended part of the Special Response process (the Bible study resource may be downloaded from www.cobannualconference.org/pdfs/special_response_resource.pdf ).

Shenandoah District will offer opportunities for pastors and church leaders to receive training and resources for congregational Bible studies. On Aug. 28, Shenandoah pastors and church leaders are invited to Linville Creek Church of the Brethren in Broadway, Va., for an evening training. On Sept. 9, 30 and Oct. 14 Minister’s Bookshelf events will review resource documents and books that will assist with facilitating conversations.

Illinois and Wisconsin District has announced regional listening sessions in the northeast, northwest, south, and central parts of the state of Illinois. District churches also are encouraged to engage in the Bible study to provide a foundation for the listening sessions.

The Middle Pennsylvania District newsletter has announced three hearing sessions, with a memo reviewing the Special Response process and noting, “This attempt to discern the mind of Christ through the members of the Church now comes even closer to home.” Middle Pennsylvania hearings will be Sept. 23 from 7-9 p.m. at Pine Glen Church of the Brethren in Lewistown, Pa.; Oct. 26 from 7-9 p.m. at Hollidaysburg (Pa.) Church of the Brethren; and Nov. 7 from 2:30-4:30 p.m. at Snake Spring Valley Church of the Brethren in Everett, Pa. The district also is encouraging members to prepare for hearings using the Special Response Bible study.

Northern Plains District hopes to have five hearings around the district some time during October and November, with members welcome to attend whichever hearing bests suits their schedules. “It is hoped that these hearings will provide a wide range of persons for the listening and input to Standing Committee,” the district newsletter noted. “Most of all, these events will let us as Brethren grow with respect and grace through our tensions and differences.”

For more about the Special Response process see www.cobannualconference.org/special_response_resource.html . The Newsline editor welcomes reports from districts about their plans related to the Special Response process, please send to cobnews@brethren.org.


Bethany Logo FB4) Bethany Seminary launches MA Connections program.

Since 2002, Bethany Theological Seminary has offered a master of divinity degree completion track titled “MDiv Connections” for students unable to relocate to the seminary’s campus in Richmond, Ind. On July 12, the seminary received approval from its accrediting body, the Association of Theological Schools (ATS), to launch an “MA Connections” track for students working on master of arts degrees in theological reflection and research.

The seminary will officially enroll students in the new track in the Spring 2011 semester. New and continuing students interested in MA Connections can take courses prior to Spring 2011 and transfer them into the track.

Distributed education tracks offer degrees through classes in a variety of formats: weekend or two-week intensives on campus, online courses, hybrid courses (a mix of online and residential), and off-site courses. ATS requires that students take half of the courses for the degree at the Richmond campus. The other half may be online courses or taken at the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center or at other ATS-accredited schools.

The MA thesis sequence courses, which are the core classes of the program, will be offered in a variety of formats: as weekend intensives, hybrid classes, or meeting weekly with some students physically present in the classroom and others connected via video. Students enrolled in MA Connections will have access to Bethany’s library resources while they are attending classes on the Richmond campus, and to the many online resources available through the library including the American Theological Library Association’s ATLA Religion Database and ATLAS full-text PDF section. Both the MA and MDiv Connections tracks assume a part-time course load. MA Connections students will have six years to complete their degrees.

“With a growing number of students interested in distributed education, Bethany will begin to offer other courses in alternative formats in the near future,” said academic dean Steve Schweitzer. “These changes come at the same time as curriculum review is underway at the seminary, and the convergence of these factors should allow us room to think ‘outside the box’ in terms of what we are teaching and how we are teaching it.”

Malinda Berry, instructor in theological studies and director of Bethany’s master of arts program, will serve as administrator of MA Connections. Those interested in MA Connections may contact berryma@bethanyseminary.edu or the Admissions Office at enroll@bethanyseminary.edu .

— Marcia Shetler is director of public relations for Bethany Seminary.


5) BBT CFO Jerry Rodeffer resigns from position.

Jerry Rodeffer resigned from his position as chief financial officer of Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) on Aug. 11 for medical reasons.

Rodeffer had served in this role for nearly two years, having begun on Nov. 19, 2008. He directed BBT’s finance department and oversaw management of nine national investment managers and the company’s investment system that secures the assets of Brethren Pension Plan members and Brethren Foundation clients.

Rodeffer had held the position previously, when from Nov. 1990-July 1994 he served as BBT’s chief financial officer and treasurer.


Bethany president Ruthann Knechel Johansen
Bethany Seminary president Ruthann Knechel Johansen is the keynote speaker for the Progressive Brethren Gathering in November. She is shown here speaking at the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference in July. Photo by Glenn Riegel

6) Bethany president to keynote 2010 Progressive Brethren Gathering.

The third Progressive Brethren Gathering will be held on Nov. 12-14 at Manchester Church of the Brethren in North Manchester, Ind. Sponsored by Womaen’s Caucus, Voices for an Open Spirit, and the Brethren Mennonite Council for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Interests (BMC), the conference will explore the theme “Forward Together: Conversations Towards an Enlivened Community.”

Ruthann Knechel Johansen, president of Bethany Theological Seminary, will be the keynote speaker. Her presentation is entitled, “Becoming Incarnational People.” Johansen became president of the seminary in July 2007. For the previous 20 years she had been a professor at the University of Notre Dame where she taught in the Program of Liberal Studies, administered the interdisciplinary Core Course in the College of Arts and Letters, and was a Fellow of the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies.

In addition to the keynote address, workshops will offer opportunities for conversation and reflection, and worship will be an important part of the event. Debbie Eisenbise, pastor of Skyridge Church of the Brethren in Kalamazoo, Mich., and Kreston Lipscomb, pastor of First Church of the Brethren in Springfield, Ill., are scheduled to preach, and Mutual Kumquat will perform.

Cost of the two-day event is $100, with limited scholarships available and special rates for students and children. On-line registration is available at www.progressivebrethren.org . For more information contact Carol Wise at 612-343-2060 or cwise@bmclgbt.org .


Global Mission Offering logo, tall English


Global Mission Offering logo, tall Spanish

7) Global Mission Offering supports worldwide Brethren ministries.

The theme for this year’s Global Mission Offering benefitting the global mission of the Church of the Brethren is “Turn the World Upside Down” (Acts 17:6b). Oct. 10 is the suggested date. Offering resources include interpretation and sermon notes and worship resources, and a map poster of the global ministries of the Church of the Brethren, in both English and Spanish. Both items were sent to each congregation in a recent Source packet. Churches on the standing order list also have received bulletin insert/offering envelope combos by mail. Those not on the standing order list may request the materials from Brethren Press at 800-441-3712.

Also available from the Stewardship and Donor Development office is a supplemental resource to the “More Than Enough” theme for fall stewardship emphases in congregations. The resource offers a time-line for using “More Than Enough” materials, sermon and worship resources, sample letters, Bible studies, and more. It is available for purchase in electronic form, normally priced at $20. The first 20 Brethren congregations to order will receive a $5 discount. Order from Kathy Craig at the Ecumenical Stewardship Center at 800-835-5671 and identify your Church of the Brethren congregation. Contact Church of the Brethren stewardship formation coordinator Carol Bowman at cbowman@brethren.org or 509-663-2833.


8) Webinars to address church strategies for serving, sharing, inviting.

The next webinars offered by the Church of the Brethren’s Congregational Life Ministries are held in cooperation with New Life Ministries. “Beyond the Church Door: Healthy Strategies for Serving, Sharing, and Inviting” will be offered on Sept. 14 at 12:30-1:30 p.m. Pacific time (3:30-4:30 p.m. eastern); and Sept. 16 at 5:30-6:30 p.m. Pacific (8:30-9:30 p.m. eastern).

The webinars will provide an introduction to the book and DVD of the same title by Steve Clapp and Fred Bernhard. Participants will learn how to engage congregations in new practices of servant evangelism, inviting, and faith-sharing. Bernhard has co-authored books on hospitality including “Widening the Welcome of Your Church” and “Deep and Wide: Hospitality and the Faithful Church.” Clapp is the author of more than 40 books on congregational life and president of Christian Community, a nonprofit organization focused on congregational health.

Link to the webinars at www.bethanyseminary.edu/webcast/transformation2010 . For more information contact Stan Dueck, director of Transforming Practices, at 717-335-3226 or sdueck@brethren.org .

9) Brethren hold 40th Annual Dunker Church Service at Antietam.

Frank Ramirez, pastor of Everett (Pa.) Church of the Brethren and author of many Brethren Press titles, will preach for the 40th Annual Dunker Church Service at the Antietam National Battlefield in Sharpsburg, Md., on Sept. 19. The service is to start at 3 p.m. It is sponsored by area Churches of the Brethren.

The worship service will be held in the restored Mumma Meeting House on the battlefield site, commonly referred to today as the Dunker Church. The meetinghouse was built in 1853 and was heavily damaged during the Sept. 17, 1862, Battle of Antietam. After extensive repairs were made, services resumed in the summer of 1864.

Ramirez also will preach at Sharpsburg (Md.) Church of the Brethren that Sunday morning, at 9:30 a.m. His many books include two popular volumes of stories about Brethren historical figures, “The Meanest Man in Patrick County” and “Brethren Brush with Greatness.” He also is the author of the feature “Out of Context,” which appears weekly in the Brethren Press curriculum for adults, “Guide for Biblical Studies.”

For more information about the service contact Eddie Edmonds at 304-267-4135 or Tom Fralin at 301-432-2653.

10) Brethren bits: Personnel, job openings, WCC stewards program, Jr. High Conference, more.

— Kirk Carpenter, customer service specialist for Brethren Press, has resigned effective Sept. 17. He began working for Brethren Press on May 12, 2008, just after completing a bachelor of arts degree in Biblical and Theological Studies from North Park University in Chicago. He has helped maintain an e-commerce site, monitored inventory, and assisted with the book store at National Youth Conference. He and his family are moving to Seattle, Wash.

— Sue Snyder has begun a volunteer position at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., providing administrative support for several departments. Her previous work for the church has included coordinating the General Secretary’s office.

BBT logo— Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) seeks to fill the position of chief financial officer. This full-time salaried position is based at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. BBT is an agency of the Church of the Brethren and is a not-for-profit organization that provides pension, insurance, foundation, and credit union services for 6,000 members and clients nationwide. The CFO’s chief responsibility is to safeguard BBT’s assets and assets under management, providing oversight of the Finance Department, the budgeting process, annual audit and audit functions, investment managers, and compliance issues. The CFO works with each program unit to develop the annual budget and then monitors all expenses against the budget; serves on the senior management team and is charged with planning strategically to help ensure that each BBT ministry meets the needs of members and clients and is self-sustaining; manages all aspects of the organization’s work and relationships with BBT’s custodian, investment managers, audit firm, and related consultants, and serves as the staff liaison to the BBT Board’s Investment and Budget and Audit Review Committees; coordinates all of BBT’s tax filings and insurance needs; ensures that BBT remains compliant with all applicable organizational and industry-related laws, policies, procedures, rules, and regulations. The CFO travels to the Annual Conference, BBT Board meetings, and other events as appropriate. BBT seeks candidates with undergraduate degrees in accounting, business, or related fields, along with advanced certifications or degrees, such as CPA or MBA. Candidates should have eight years of experience in finance, administration, and personnel supervision, preferably for not-for-profit organizations. Strong knowledge of investments and experience in business planning is desired. Current and active membership in the Church of the Brethren is preferred; current and active membership in a faith community is required. The salary is competitive with Church Benefits Association agencies of comparable size and scope of services. A full benefits package is included. Apply by sending a letter of interest, resume, three references (one supervisor and two colleagues), and salary-range expectation to Donna March at 1505 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120, or dmarch_bbt@brethren.org . For questions or clarification about the position call 847-622-3371. For more information about BBT, visit www.brethrenbenefittrust.org . The interviewing process will begin Sept. 14. The position will be filled as soon as possible.

— Brethren Press seeks a customer service inventory specialist to work at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Responsibilities include providing professional customer service functions by handling telephone, fax, mail, and Internet orders; maintaining a thorough knowledge of products offered by Brethren Press; optimizing the e-commerce site with consistent product additions, updates, and promotions; specializing in providing resource information to congregations and individuals; maintaining inventory levels in an accurate and timely way through the use of purchase orders, invoices, credit memos, monthly reports, and journals; providing sales and marketing support services; assisting in coordinating and developing standardized procedures and maintaining written documentation. Qualifications include ability to become familiar with Church of the Brethren organization and beliefs and to operate out of the vision of the denomination; ability to relate with integrity and respect in and beyond the organization; strong interpersonal skills that contribute to effective interaction with customers and with colleagues; fundamental understanding of accounting theory and practice; good listening and telephone skills and competency in oral and written communication; proficient abilities in typing and data entry; ability to work well in a team environment, juggling several tasks simultaneously; knowledge of Christian education and the resourcing of congregations. Required education and experience include customer service functions; computer literacy; experience with sales, marketing, inventory management, and reporting; with Christian education experience desirable. A high school diploma is required, some college education preferred. Applications are accepted immediately and will be received until the position is filled. A position description and application form are available on request. Apply by completing the application form and submitting a resume and letter of application, and requesting three references to send letters of recommendation to the Office of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120-1694; 800-323-8039, ext. 258; kkrog@brethren.org .

— The World Council of Churches (WCC) is accepting applications for its Stewards Program 2011. Young adult Christians ages 18-30 from around the world are invited to apply for one of two hands-on learning experiences: the WCC Central Committee meeting on Feb. 8-24 in Switzerland; and the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation on May 12-26 in Jamaica. During the meetings stewards will work in the areas of worship, conference room, documentation, press office, sound, and other administrative and support tasks. Send in application forms by Sept. 30 for the Central Committee meeting, by Nov. 30 for the IEPC. More information is at www.oikoumene.org/index.php?RDCT=26c38a9411e394a00470 .

— Fees for next year’s National Junior High Conference have been set by the Youth and Young Adult Ministry: $150 for registrations received between Jan. 10 and April 15, after which costs go up to $175. Travel scholarships of $175 are available for those who live west of the Mississippi. The event is June 17-19 at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College ( www.brethren.org/njhc ).

— Two events are underway at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md.: The annual joint orientation of Brethren Volunteer Service and Brethren Revival Fellowship, with 11 volunteers; and a Brethren Disaster Ministries Leadership Seminar for about 100 people.

— Two resources on evangelism are recommended by Jonathan Shively, executive director of Congregational Life Ministries: The upcoming “Evangelism in the Community” meeting focused on smaller churches in cities, Nov. 3-7 in Detroit, Mich. “Through our denomination’s Evangelism Connections partnership, this United Church of Christ event is open to Church of the Brethren participants as well,” he reported (go to www.ucc.org/evangelism/E.vents ). The second resource, EvangeLectionary, is at www.evangelismconnections.org and offers reflections on the lectionary text, a brief meditation, related quotation, illustration, and a worship resource. Shively is a regular contributor to the site and prepared the lectionary reflections for Aug. 8.

— Sparked by World Food Day on Oct. 16, the Global Food Crisis Fund is encouraging congregations to observe a hunger or food emphasis this fall. “In an era when a billion people endure chronic hunger and 18,000 children die each day from hunger-related causes, the 2010 World Food Day theme, ‘Food for All: Working Together Works!’ holds special meaning for the Church of the Brethren,” said an announcement. Congregations may join the emphasis either on Oct. 16 or another date such as a harvest celebration or Thanksgiving. “As donations to the Global Food Crisis Fund are running 50 percent behind those of a year ago, heightened support becomes crucial,” the announcement said. Give to the fund through “My 2-Cents Worth” offerings, designations for a specific program or country, memorials, or tributes to loved ones. For more visit www.brethren.org/globalfoodcrisisfund . The latest grants from the fund are to the Church of the Brethren in Haiti for water conservation on the island of La Tortue and to Care of Creation Kenya for construction of a tree nursery in the Rift Valley. Each grant was $4,000.

— The first of this fall’s denominational deacon trainings is Sept. 11 at Lititz (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. Register by Sept. 6 with the church at 717-626-2131 or dlamborn@lititzcob.org. Cost is $15, which includes lunch. Continuing education units are available for an additional $10. For other fall training sessions visit www.brethren.org/deacontraining or contact Donna Kline, director of the Church of the Brethren’s Deacon Ministry, 800-323-8039 or dkline@brethren.org .

— On Earth Peace is offering conference calls to prepare congregations for the International Day of Prayer for Peace on Sept. 21. The next two calls on Aug. 31 at 12:30 p.m. (eastern) and Sept. 2 at 5 p.m. (eastern) will cover basic information about getting the word out to media about IDPP events–or any other event a congregation may be planning. Resource people are On Earth Peace communications coordinator Gimbiya Kettering and Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren. Call 712-338-8730 and use access code 173#.

— Mount Bethel Church of the Brethren near Eagle Rock, Va., celebrates 125 years on Aug. 29.

— Brethren Housing Association is holding a benefit “Concert of Hope” with Ken Medema–who performed at the National Youth Conference–at Elizabethtown (Pa.) Church of the Brethren on Sept. 9 from 6-9 p.m. The ministry provides housing to homeless families. A free will offering will be taken, and a dessert reception follows. Obtain tickets at http://housingforhope.org .

— An annual Labor Day Coffee Break in Kansas begun in 1961 by pastor Russell Kiester and the Men’s Fellowship at the Church of the Brethren in Sabetha, continues this year coordinated by Trinity Church of the Brethren. The ministry offers refreshments to travelers at the “4-Mile Corner” rest stop at the junction of Highways 75 and 36. Cheryl Mishler, one of the organizers, reports that over the years an estimated 100,000-plus people have been served with over 4, 500 dozen cookies, 500 pounds of coffee, and 300 gallons of orange juice. More than 16,000 volunteers have taken part. Many businesses in Sabetha have provided supplies and a variety of churches have helped out. “What began as a ministry of service by the Sabetha Church of the Brethren men,” Mishler reported, “has now become a service of the community of Sabetha.”

— Manchester College in Indiana is expecting record numbers for a third straight year. The college expects more than 1,270 students when classes begin Sept. 1–its largest enrollment since the Vietnam era and at least 5 percent more than last fall.

— In September the Brethren Voices community cable show from Portland (Ore.) Peace Church of the Brethren interviews Kay Guyer, Manchester College student and a member of the National Youth Cabinet of the Church of the Brethren. Guyer has received recognition for her creative videos such as “Brethren We Have Met to Jump,” which won the video contest at the 300th Anniversary Annual Conference. Order a copy from producer Ed Groff at groffprod1@msn.com .

— The family of Art Gish, Brethren peacemaker who died in a farming accident in July, has established a memorial “Art Gish Peacemaking Fund” to help young people get started in peacemaking. New Covenant Fellowship in Athens, Ohio, is receiving contributions to the fund.

Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren, cobnews@brethren.org  or 800-323-8039 ext. 260. Jordan Blevins, Kathleen Campanella, Jeri S. Kornegay, Karin L. Krog, LethaJoy Martin, Nancy Miner, Howard Royer, Brian Solem, Becky Ullom, Carol Wise, Ed Woolf , Jane Yount contributed to this report. Newsline appears every other week, with special issues as needed. The next regular issue is scheduled for Sept. 8. Newsline stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source. To unsubscribe or change your e-mail preferences go to www.brethren.org/newsline .

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