Newsline for Feb. 11, 2010


Newsline is the Church of the Brethren e-mail news service. Go to to subscribe or unsubscribe.
Feb. 11, 2010

“O God…I seek you, my soul thirsts for you” (Psalm 6:3a).

1) Haitian-American Brethren experience losses, grief following earthquake.
2) Church of the Brethren reports pre-audit financial results for 2009.
3) Center ships 158,000 pounds of relief supplies to Haiti.
4) Grant of $50,000 continues support for farm rehabilitation in N. Korea.
5) Brethren couple to join faculty of North Korean University.
6) US Brethren send $16,000 to rebuild Nigerian church, EYN appeals for funds.

7) Lytle resigns as administrator of Fahrney-Keedy Home and Village.

8) Conference celebrates theme, ‘Plant Generously, Reap Bountifully.’
9) BVS older adult orientation unit needs volunteers.
10) More deacon training workshops are offered.

Brethren bits: Corrections, personnel, jobs, Haiti kits, and more (see column at right).

NYC and Annual Conference registration reminders: On Feb. 15, cost to register for National Youth Conference 2010 will increase to $450, from the current fee of $425. NYC 2010 registration has been open for over a month, and more than 1,770 people have registered. “If you or someone you know would like to pay only $425 for your registration–register today!” say NYC coordinators Audrey Hollenberg and Emily LaPrade. Register at  (first create an individual login at , and have a congregational code available). For more information contact 800-323-8039 ext. 246 or . Online registration for Annual Conference opens on Feb. 22. Go to  where early registration is offered for non-delegate participants and hotel reservations may be made for the Annual Conference to take place in Pittsburgh, Pa., on July 3-7.

1) Haitian-American Brethren experience losses, grief following earthquake.

Haitian-American Church of the Brethren congregations in the United States have been experiencing a period of grief and loss since the earthquake that hit Haiti on Jan. 12. Many Haitian-American Brethren have lost family members in the disaster, and some have still not heard from their family in Haiti.

“We have people who have lost loved ones” said pastor Ludovic St. Fleur of Eglise des Freres Haitiens in Miami, Fla. “Many…about close to 50 people who have lost loved ones. Brothers, sisters, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, close relatives….” All of the Haitian-Brethren congregations in Florida have lost loved ones, he added.

Atlantic Southeast District currently includes five congregations in Florida whose members are primarily of Haitian background: Eglise des Freres Haitiens in Miami; Orlando Haitian Fellowship, led by pastor Renel Exceus; Naples Haitian Church, led by pastor Fredette Pharisian; West Palm Beach Haitian Fellowship, led by pastor Lucien Eliezer, and Unify Church of the Brethren in North Miami Beach, led by pastor Banon Louis.

First Church of the Brethren in Miami, led by pastor Ray Hileman, also includes a number of members of Haitian background.

On the Friday after the earthquake hit, the Miami area congregations joined together for a time of prayer held at Eglise des Freres Haitiens. About two hours were spent in singing and prayer.

“For myself only, I lost about 14 people of my close family members,” said Renel Exceus, pastor of Orlando Haitian Fellowship, in a report to Atlantic Southeast District. He highlighted the overwhelming experience of loss for Haitian-Americans. “No one knows yet how many of parents or close family have died in this catastrophe. We do know thousands of Haitian people have trauma problems, and all the survival needs. (They need) immediate assistance in their basic needs. We are all affected. Please keep us in your prayers, that’s all we can ask.”

Some people from St. Fleur’s congregation have been able to travel to Haiti to see their family following the earthquake. He himself took part in the Church of the Brethren delegation to Haiti that arrived soon after the disaster, in his role as coordinator of the Brethren mission in Haiti.

“Yes, we do need support” in Miami, St. Fleur said. He and his congregation are working to organize support for the local Haitian community. “We just need to reach them personally, to give them help,” he said. He also sees a need, now that some weeks have passed since the disaster, to keep the community focused on the long-term. “We’re organizing to keep them focused on Haiti.”

In Atlantic Northeast District, three members of Haitian First Church of New York died in the earthquake, and many more members have lost close family, reported pastor Verel Montauban. He talked about the situation of the congregation in a phone call with denominational staff late last week.

“There are almost 75 people in this community who have had people, loved ones die in Haiti,” Montauban said. “So it is a crisis…. We have had a big problem.”

Some members of Haitian First Church are dealing with the knowledge that their family members in Haiti survived the earthquake but lost their homes, and are now homeless. There are still church members who have been unable to get in contact with their relatives in Haiti. And, Montauban added, “There are a lot of people who survived the earthquake, but now they have died. It is very difficult.”

Haitian First also is now hosting a family assistance center for Haitians in the New York area, in cooperation with the American Red Cross and the New York Disaster Interfaith Services. The program is funded by a $5,000 grant from the Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund. “Every day we see more than 60 to 65 people here, coming for help,” Montauban said. “Some of them lost their loved ones in Haiti, they are coming for counseling.”

Montauban himself has been trying to get a flight into Haiti to assess earthquake damage to a school that he helped start there, and to find out how the teachers are coping. “The people in the school don’t have anywhere to sleep,” he said, “they are in the street.”

A neighboring congregation to Haitian First Church is Brooklyn’s First Church of the Brethren, which also includes some families of Haitian background. Three families related to the church lost close relatives in the earthquake, one who died of injuries after the earthquake because she did not receive the medical care she needed. “Yes, we’ve been in prayer, we’ve been in anguish,” said pastor Jonathan Bream.

The Brooklyn First congregation has been walking alongside members of Haitian descent, as well as others who are “on the fringe” of the congregation, Bream said. One affiliated member still had not heard anything from family in Haiti, as of last week.

Brooklyn First member Doris Abdullah visited Haitian First Church to have prayer with the congregation following the earthquake. “I went over to have prayer with their congregation…and it was I that came away cheered up by their prayers and good will,” she said. “In the midst of so much horror within their birth land, they remain steadfast in their love of a just and merciful God.”

Miami First Church, where four or five members are of Haitian background, and several more are of Haitian-Dominican background, held a time of prayer and sharing in place of the sermon during a recent Sunday morning worship service. The sharing time was “where people could talk,” said pastor Ray Hileman. One member there lost up to 18 people from his extended family in the earthquake. “Beyond that the news has been fairly good” for other members of the church, Hileman said.

Miami First has been focusing on the home rebuilding effort, he added, and is raising funds with a goal of paying for two of the new homes being built in Haiti by Brethren Disaster Ministries. Members of the congregation are involved in supporting two schools in Haiti, one of which was out of the quake zone and undamaged, but the other had a building collapse.

Members of his church “dearly want to get down there…to get there to help,” Hileman said. “Our big concern, I keep hearing it time and time again, is let’s stay on this–because pretty soon people are going to start to forget. Not people in the church, but others. We need to keep it before us.”


2) Church of the Brethren reports pre-audit financial results for 2009.

The Church of the Brethren is releasing pre-audit financial results for 2009. Even though the church’s Core Ministries budget ended the year with a loss of $233,110, this loss was less than half of the anticipated amount. The Core Ministries budget funds programs that are considered “core” to the denomination’s overall ministry.

Net assets were available to cover this deficit, and congregations significantly exceeded budgeted expectations as well. Giving from individuals to the church’s Core Ministries was higher than in 2008, even in a faltering economy, but did not quite meet hoped-for levels. In addition, expenses were held under budget.

However, the church is expected to continue to experience financial challenges in upcoming years, even as staff work to achieve a balanced budget.

When staff budgeted for 2009, with the anticipation of another difficult economic year, projections included the expectation that giving would be lower than in 2008. We are pleased and grateful that congregations exceeded budgeted expectations for Core Ministries in 2009. This helped offset shortfalls in investment income.

The self-funding ministries of the Church of the Brethren experienced varied financial results in 2009, and several continue to have economic challenges. The church’s self-funding ministries include the Conference Office, Brethren Disaster Ministries, Brethren Press, Global Food Crisis, Material Resources, “Messenger” magazine, and the New Windsor (Md.) Conference Center.

Four of the self-funding ministries receive income through sales of goods and services. Good news came from Brethren Press with a positive year of $10,200 income over expense, which offsets some negative net assets in previous years. In addition, “Messenger” exceeded its budget with income of $5,220.

While economic conditions affected all ministries, Material Resources and the New Windsor Conference Center saw losses worse than anticipated. Material Resources ended the year with a loss of $68,860, but had sufficient net assets to undergird the year. However, the New Windsor Conference Center, which already had negative net assets in 2009, was seriously affected by reductions in income and ended the year with a loss of $155,900.

The Conference Office, a fifth self-funding ministry recently brought under the oversight of the Church of the Brethren’s Mission and Ministry Board, ended the year with a deficit of $259,330 largely due to low attendance at the 2009 Annual Conference held in San Diego, Calif. This shortfall increases the prior year’s negative net asset balance, resulting in the largest accumulated deficit ever experienced by the Annual Conference–a serious challenge for future years.

Gifts to the Emergency Disaster Fund in 2009 totaled $904,300, down from 2008. The Emerging Global Mission Fund received $58,422, and gifts to the Global Food Crisis Fund totaled $298,840, both up from the year before.

The figures above have been provided prior to completion of the 2009 audit. Complete financial information will be available in the Church of the Brethren’s audit report, to be published in June.

— Judy E. Keyser serves as treasurer for the Church of the Brethren.


3) Center ships 158,000 pounds of relief supplies to Haiti.

The Material Resources program at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., has sent a total of nine shipments of relief goods to Haiti since the earthquake, representing 157,962 pounds of food, tents, blankets, quilts, baby care kits, hygiene kits, toothpaste, and flashlights, along with 105 boxes of medicine and medical supplies provided by IMA World Health.

Material Resources is a Church of the Brethren program that warehouses, processes, and ships disaster relief materials on behalf of a number of ecumenical partner organizations including Church World Service, Lutheran World Relief, and IMA World Health, among others.

Four of the shipments were made on behalf of Church World Service, and CWS also joined with IMA World Health in sponsoring a shipment of the medicine boxes. Two other shipments of medicine boxes were made in partnership with Mennonite Central Committee and an Episcopal relief group. Lutheran World Relief and International Relief and Development (IRD) jointly sponsored a shipment of quilts, hygiene kits, and toothpaste by ocean freight. The organization Feeding the Nations shipped two loads of food and tents by ocean freight.

A total of 29,940 hygiene kits and 5,400 baby care kits have been sent to Haiti in the nine shipments. Also included in the shipments have been 10,500 quilts, 3,950 light-weight blankets, and 2,448 tubes of toothpaste.

An urgent plea for more hygiene kits was issued last week by Material Resources staff, after all available kits had been sent to Haiti, The plea is being heard by individuals and congregations from many denominations, reports Kathleen Campanella, communications staff for the center. “Deliveries of donated hygiene kits have increased,” she said. The center’s Buildings and Grounds staff have had to make two daily trips to the New Windsor Post Office to pick up kits, and UPS deliveries of kits have stepped up as well. “People within driving distance, in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia, are delivering kits directly to the distribution center,” Campanella said.

For instructions to make hygiene kits and baby care kits, go to . For instructions to make and donate the new Family Household Kit for Haiti, go to .

A worship meditation on the hygiene kit, accompanied by a PowerPoint slide show, is available for congregations, Sunday school groups, and others who are collecting kits for Haiti. Go to  to download the script in pdf format; go to  to download the slide show.

Also new is a revised bulletin insert giving up-to-date information on the Church of the Brethren earthquake response effort in Haiti. Download the bulletin insert at .


4) Grant of $50,000 continues support for farm rehabilitation in N. Korea.

The Church of the Brethren’s Global Food Crisis Fund (GFCF) has given $50,000 to continue the church’s support for the Ryongyon Farm Rehabilitation program in North Korea. The program assists four large farm cooperatives in promoting food security for thousands of people who live and work on the farms.

Now in its seventh year of working with Agglobe International in North Korea, the Church of the Brethren has had a lead role in the Ryongyon program. The program provides a model for sustainable agricultural development.

“Our involvement in North Korea has stepped up in the past several months, due to the upcoming opening of the University of Science and Technology in Pyongyang,” reported Howard Royer, who serves as manager of the fund. The Church of the Brethren also is helping provide faculty for the new university in North Korea (see story below).

“GFCF has also enlisted the help of nine other denominations and agencies through the Foods Resource Bank,” Royer said. The grant will assist in cultivating these relationships in North Korea through the shipment of materials for the university and the farm cooperatives, and through the purchase of additional agricultural materials.


5) Brethren couple to join faculty of North Korean University.

A Church of the Brethren couple from Kansas, Robert and Linda Shank, are to teach at North Korea’s new Pyongyang University of Science and Techology. The university is opening this spring.

The Shanks will be working North Korea under the auspices of the Church of the Brethren’s Global Mission Partnerships program and the church’s Global Food Crisis Fund.

Their road to North Korea has taken the Shanks through a succession of agricultural assignments in developing countries: Ethiopia, Liberia, Nepal, and Belize. Robert holds a doctorate in wheat breeding and has conducted rice research. Linda holds a master’s degree in counseling and learning disabilities.

In North Korea, the Shanks will work with both graduate and undergraduate students at the new university, which is funded largely by Christians in South Korea and the United States. The university is currently in the process of assembling a volunteer faculty of professionals in science, agriculture, and technology from around the world.

For more about Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, read a report on a visit to the school made by Global Mission Partnerships executive Jay Wittmeyer last September, at . A photo album from the university’s dedication ceremony is at .


6) US Brethren send $16,000 to rebuild Nigerian church, EYN appeals for funds.

Christmas collections by White Oak Church of the Brethren in Manheim, Pa., and the Brethren World Missions group chaired by Bob Kettering, pastor of Lititz (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, have donated more than $16,000 to help rebuild a church of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN–the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) in the northeastern city of Maiduguri.

EYN’s LCC Maiduguri/Wulari Church (also known as Maiduguri No. 1 Church) is the largest congregation of EYN. It was bombed and burned down during an episode of civil violence and rioting in late July last year (see the Newsline report of July 29, at ; a photo album is at ).

White Oak’s Christmas offering received $11,185 toward the rebuilding of the Maiduguri church, and Brethren World Missions gave $5,000. Both donations have been directed to EYN through the Church of the Brethren’s Global Mission Partnerships program.

Global Mission Partnerships is now receiving gifts toward the Maiduguri rebuilding fund, following receipt of a formal appeal letter from EYN president Filibus Gwama and general secretary Jinatu L. Wamdeo.

EYN has printed a four-color brochure outlining plans for the rebuilding effort; copies are available from Global Mission Partnerships at 800-323-8039. The Maiduguri Church website features an architect’s picture of the planned new building; see .

“It is with deep concern that we write you our friends and partners to solicit for your prayers and financial support in this trial period,” the appeal letter said. “The EYN LCC Maiduguri which has been our pride and one of the main sources of support to the EYN Headquarters has swung into action to rebuild a more befitting church building.” The letter gave an estimated cost of $1,098,198.07 for the project.

For more information or to contribute to rebuilding the Maiduguri Church, contact Jay Wittmeyer, executive director of Global Mission Partnerships, at  or 800-323-8039 ext. 226.


7) Lytle resigns as administrator of Fahrney-Keedy Home and Village.

Administrator Robert Lytle’s last day with Fahrney-Keedy Home and Village, a Church of the Brethren continuing care retirement community near Boonsboro, Md., was Feb. 5. He left to take a similar position with a retirement community in South Carolina. Michelle Mahn of Boyds, Md., has been named interim administrator.

Lytle came to work at Fahrney-Keedy in Sept. 2000. Before that he had worked at Allegheny County Nursing Home in Cumberland, Md., and had been an interim administrator for homes in Annapolis and Leonardtown, Md. A native of Chicago, he passed his national Nursing Home Administrator’s exam in Illinois in 1981.

During Lytle’s term of service at Fahrney-Keedy, he saw achievements including certification for Medicare, cooperation with Washington County Hospital on wound-care treatment, and renovation of the Bowman Center, an area for residents with Alzheimer’s and dementia. The community also experienced a dramatic increase in the levels of acuity of care over the years, resulting from Fahrney-Keedy being Medicare-certified.


8) Conference celebrates theme, ‘Plant Generously, Reap Bountifully.’

Online registration has opened for the Church of the Brethren’s New Church Planting Conference on May 20-22 on the theme, “Plant Generously, Reap Bountifully” (1 Corinthians 3:6). The event is hosted by Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind.

The conference features worship, prayer, keynote addresses, workshops, small group conversations, networking opportunities, and community outreach experiences. For the first time, a complete workshop track for Spanish-speaking church planters and leaders will be offered along with translation of keynote addresses and general sessions.

Goals for the event include to cultivate a network of support for church planting in the Church of the Brethren, and to develop new tools and skills through training, instruction, and Bible study, among others.

Keynote leaders are Jim Henderson, an author, speaker, musician, and leader of “Off the Map,” an organization dedicated to doable evangelism; and Rose Madrid-Swetman, a church planter and missional pastor who co-pastors Vineyard Community Church in Shoreline, Wash., with her husband Rich. She also is executive director of “Turning Point,” a missional group partnering with local agencies to serve greater Seattle area.

Preaching for the conference are Belita Mitchell, pastor of First Church of the Brethren in Harrisburg, Pa., and a former moderator of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference; and Lidia Gonzalez, founding planter of at least five churches, most recently His Way Church of the Brethren in Hendersonville, N.C.

Two special educational opportunities will also incorporate the conference experience: A Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership course, and a Bethany Theological Seminary course titled “Foundations for Church Growth,” taught by Jonathan Shively from May 17-28. For more information about these two courses, go to .

The registration fee of $149 includes three nights of lodging (double occupancy), complimentary breakfast, lunches, snacks, and conference fees. Discounts for two or more individuals from the same mission point, project, or congregation are available with advance registrations made at the same time.

All registrations must be received by April 9 in order to guarantee lodging. To register online or for more details about the conference, go to .


9) BVS older adult orientation unit needs volunteers.

Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) is calling for more volunteers to take part in its annual older adult orientation unit on April 19-30. The deadline to apply is March 8.

“Calling all older adults interested in spending six months or more in Brethren Volunteer Service,” said the announcement. “BVS has always been interested in providing opportunities for older adult volunteers. We ask you to bring your lifetime of experience and values of faith into volunteering.”

While older adults are welcome in any of the orientation units offered throughout the year, BVS provides a special orientation unit for people age 50 and older. This unit is offered each spring at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md.

The older adult program is slightly different from the customary BVS experience in a few ways, lasting only 12 days compared to the usual three weeks. Older adults also are welcome to come to orientation and explore BVS and the various project opportunities without committing to taking an assignment. While older adults can take a six-month term of service, they have the option to volunteer for a full year. The date on which the term of service begins also is negotiable, depending on the needs of the volunteer and the project.

Call the BVS office for more information at 800-323-8039, or visit .


10) More deacon training workshops are offered.

Several more Deacon Training Workshops will be offered this spring and summer by the denominational deacon ministry of the Church of the Brethren’s Caring Ministries.

On March 6, New Fairview Church of the Brethren in York, Pa., will host an all-day Deacon Training Workshop. The workshop will address the following topics: “What Are Deacons Supposed to Do, Anyway? (The Four Functions of Deacons),” “Offering Support in Times of Grief and Loss,” and “Deacons and Pastors: The Pastoral Care Team.” To register, call the Southern Pennsylvania District Office at 717-624-8636. The deadline for registration is March 1.

On March 20, Naperville (Ill.) Church of the Brethren will host a day of training for deacons. The workshop topics will include “What Are Deacons Supposed to Do, Anyway? (The Four Functions of Deacons),” “Congregational Peacemaking,” and “Deacons and Pastors: The Pastoral Care Team.” Contact the Naperville Church at 630-355-7171 for registration information.

Also, the deacon ministry is offering two workshop sessions on Saturday, July 3, prior to the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference in Pittsburgh, Pa. The July 3 morning session will be on the topic, “What Are Deacons Supposed to Do, Anyway?” The afternoon session will be on the topic, “The Art of Listening.” Participants can attend one or both sessions. Details and registration information can be found at .

For general information on deacon training and other related events contact Donna Kline, director of deacon ministry, at  or 800-323-8039.


Linda and Robert Shank are to teach at North Korea’s new Pyongyang University of Science and Techology. The university is opening this spring. The Shanks will be working in North Korea under the auspices of the Church of the Brethren’s Global Mission Partnerships program and the church’s Global Food Crisis Fund (see story at left).
A collection deadline of April 16 has been announced by Brethren Disaster Ministries in its new appeal for Family Household Kits and heavy duty 8-by-10 foot or 10-by-10 foot tarpaulins for Haiti. Collection points are being developed in each Church of the Brethren district. Pick-ups will be the first of March and again the first of April. Otherwise, send kits and tarpaulins to the Brethren Service Center, 601 Main St., New Windsor, MD 21776. The new kit contains supplies that will enable Haitian families to prepare their own food and take care of family needs with dignity. Go to
 for a list of kit contents.

Online registration has opened for the New Church Planting Conference on the theme, “Plant Generously, Reap Bountifully.” The conference is hosted by Bethany Theological Seminary on May 20-22. Go to
 for more information and to register.

Brethren bits

— Correction: In reports on the Church of the Brethren feeding program for children at a school in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Klebert Exceus was incorrectly identified as the founder of the school. The school was not founded by Exceus, but his Baptist Church runs the school and he has been given responsibility over it by his congregation. Jean Bily Telfort, general secretary of Eglise des Freres Haitiens (the Haitian Church of the Brethren), is the headmaster.

— Correction: A previous report on the “Area III Middle Pennsylvania” collection of kits for Haiti incorrectly identified it as an effort in Western Pennsylvania District. In an update, five congregations have joined in the effort, and the tally of contributions so far stands at $10,550.

— The Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., was closed for a second day today because of the massive snowfall in the mid-Atlantic area.

— Randy Miller of La Verne, Calif., has been named interim editor of “Messenger,” the Church of the Brethren denominational magazine. This is a long-distance, part-time assignment. Miller is currently teaching at the University of La Verne. Prior to that he worked for many years as editor of “World Vision” magazine. He was an editorial assistant for “Messenger” in 1974-75 and has carried several freelance assignments for the magazine over the years. During this interim period, former editor Walt Wiltschek will continue to edit some portions of the magazine.

— The COBYS Family Services Board of Directors has announced the appointment of Mark A. Cunningham to the position of executive director. COBYS Family Services is a family service agency affiliated with the Atlantic Northeast District of the Church of the Brethren. Cunningham has been employed by COBYS since Nov. 1996, serving initially as development representative. Since Jan. 2002, he has been associate administrator with responsibilities in human resources, development, and program supervision. He has served as acting administrator for the past six months. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Health and Physical Education from Messiah College and a master of divinity degree from Lancaster Theological Seminary. He previously served as associate pastor of Lampeter (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, where he is a member. He and his family currently attend a Mennonite church.

— The members of the 2010 Youth Peace Travel Team have been announced: Marcus Harden of First Church of the Brethren in Miami, Fla.; Timothy Sollenberger Heishman, who grew up in Iglesia des los Hermanos (Church of the Brethren in the Dominican Republic); Cambria Teter of La Verne (Calif.) Church of the Brethren; and Hannah Wysong of Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren in Fort Wayne, Ind. As they spend time with junior and senior high youth this summer at camps across the Church of the Brethren, the team will teach about peace, justice, and reconciliation, all core values throughout the church’s 300-year history. The Youth Peace Travel Team is sponsored by the Church of the Brethren’s Outdoor Ministries Association, Youth and Young Adult Ministry, Brethren Volunteer Service, Global Mission Partnerships, and On Earth Peace.

— Bridgewater (Va.) Retirement Community is accepting applications for the position of director of Pastoral Care. The director focuses on the spiritual needs of residents, families, staff, and volunteers, and is part of an interdisciplinary care team providing resident-centered care. Responsibilities include providing pastoral care, counseling, coordinating and conducting regularly scheduled worship services, providing meaningful spiritual growth opportunities, and regularly visiting residents. The position requires someone with compassion and skill in dealing with the spiritual dynamics of illness, loss, aging, and death, as well as a positive, encouraging demeanor. The ideal candidate will meet the following qualifications: a master of divinity or theologically-related degree; completion of Clinical Pastoral Education; ordination, licensing, or commission to function in a ministry of pastoral care and the endorsement of, and good standing with his or her faith community’s appropriate judicatory body; knowledge of and appreciation for Church of the Brethren beliefs, practices, and traditions; an ecumenical perspective and ability to work well with people of all faiths; desire to minister to people with varying physical, mental, and cognitive abilities; demonstrated ability to conceptualize and implement a full range of spiritual care activities and programs; management, communication, and interpersonal skills. Resumes may be submitted to  or to Cindy Bolan, Vice President-Human Resources, 302 N. Second St., Bridgewater, VA 22812. EOE.

— Lybrook (N.M.) Community Ministries, related to Western Plains District, urgently needs volunteers for a resident director position. Volunteers provide the campus with administrative and leadership qualities as well as work directly with community people through community development and organization, organizational programing, the church, and campus maintenance. Requirements include flexibility and adaptability to cultural differences, self initiative, management skills, organizational skills, willingness to participate in worship leading, and a desire to work in a remote, small, rural, mixed-cultural setting. Ideally, volunteers will commit to 1-2 years of service, but shorter terms of service will be considered. The hope is to have two separate family units with overlapping terms. Lybrook Ministries is a not-for-profit organization with a mission “to develop and support Christ-centered community ministries in the Lybrook area that are life sustaining and encourage persons to encounter the redeeming love of God” on the campus of the former Lybrook Navajo Mission in New Mexico. The organization strives to strengthen the community through community organization, development, relations, and outreach, as well as providing Christian presence through Tokahookaadi Church of the Brethren. For more information go to . Interested persons should contact Ken or Elsie Holderread at 620-241-6930 or .

— The Theological Program of the Church of the Brethren in the Dominican Republic held its third graduation on Jan. 23 at Príncipe de Paz Church of the Brethren in San Luis, Santo Domingo. Twelve students graduated from the program after a period of four years of study. The graduating class includes five pastors and three members of the current Executive Committee of the national church. Two thirds of the graduates are Dominican church members of Haitian background; one-third are of Dominican heritage. Taking as her text Luke 9:9, program director Nancy Heishman challenged the 12 graduates to continue the apostolic ministry of preaching and healing in Jesus’ name–to the extent that the world would ask of them as it did of Jesus, “Who is this about whom such things are said?” Students continuing in the program will begin a spring study of church administration with workshops on financial management and essential leadership skills.

— Gifts to the Emergency Disaster Fund continue to be the most important way to support lifesaving emergency relief efforts following the earthquake in Haiti, reports Brethren Disaster Ministries. Brethren Disaster Ministries staff are emphasizing the importance of general donations to the Haiti relief effort, in order to continue funding for feeding programs and the building of temporary shelters in Port-au-Prince area. Basic costs of some of the relief that the church is helping to provide in Haiti have been published: $15 provides two weeks of hot lunches for a child; $50 provides a water filtration system shared by two-to-four families; $120 provides a month’s salary for a teacher helping feed children; $200 provides assembly and shipping for a Family Household Kit; $2,000 will build a temporary shelter and sanitation for a family; $5,000 will builds a permanent three-room home. For more information contact Brethren Disaster Ministries,  or 800-451-4407 ext. 3.

— The total donated toward the Church of the Brethren earthquake relief effort in Haiti has grown to $290,256.55, as of yesterday, Feb. 10. This includes both online giving and donations received by check, toward the $300,000 in grants for Haiti made from the church’s Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF). Donations continue to be received at , and by check made out to the Emergency Disaster Fund, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120.

— Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., has announced new deadlines for students to apply for admission and financial aid. Beginning with the 2010-11 academic year, the seminary will require all new students who are applying for admission and financial aid to meet the following deadlines: July 15 for the fall session; Dec. 1 for the spring session (including January intensives); March 15 for May intensives. All application materials must be submitted to Bethany’s Admissions Office by the due dates. The changes are intended to streamline the registration and financial aid distribution processes. Questions may be directed to Elizabeth Keller, director of admissions, at  or 800-287-8822 ext. 1832.

— The “early bird” registration deadline has been extended to March 1 for the Religion Communication Congress–“RCCongress 2010”–to be held in Chicago on April 7-10. The RCCongress is a once-a-decade event for religious communicators and those interested in the relationship between communication, media, and faith. The Church of the Brethren is a sponsoring organization, and the church’s director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry, Becky Ullom, is one of the organizers. Registration costs $375 before March 1; or $250 for fulltime students, retirees, and senior citizens. Day rates are available. Registration does not cover lodging and some fees for banquet events. Participants may earn 3 continuing education units for an extra fee. Church of the Brethren members who are interested in attending are requested to contact Becky Ullom before registering online at .

— Danville (Va.) First Church of the Brethren has changed its name to Schoolfield Church of the Brethren.

— Salem Church of the Brethren in Englewood, Ohio, is hosting “A Weekend with Donald Kraybill” on April 30-May 2. Kraybill is co-author of “Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy,” the story of the Nickel Mines School tragedy and the Amish response. The weekend is sponsored by Salem Church and the Brethren Heritage Center in Brookville, Ohio. The weekend opens with a Friday evening session, “A Coat of Many Colors: The Anabaptist Churches in North America.” It continues with a Saturday morning workshop for church leaders on the topic, “Understanding Apology and Forgiveness: Biblical and Soci-Psychological Perspectives” ($10 registration fee); a Saturday evening session, and Sunday morning worship at Salem Church of the Brethren. Continuing education units are available. For more information contact 937-836-6145 or or go to

— Atlantic Southeast District, which includes at least six congregations with members of Haitian background, is holding a “round robin” of e-mails to share what congregations are doing to help following the earthquake. Among the congregations that have responded so far, First Church of the Brethren in Miami, Fla., is planning a Yard Sale on Feb. 27 to raise money for the rebuilding of two homes in Haiti through Brethren Disaster Ministries; First Church of the Brethren in St. Petersburg, Fla., has held three special Sunday morning offerings for the Brethren work in Haiti; and Winter Park (Fla.) Church of the Brethren, raised $1,300 through a beans-and-rice supper to aid a Haitian family related to a child who attends the church school.

— Seven environmental science students from Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., and two students from St. Francis University in Loretto, Pa., will come together to study for an entire semester at Juniata’s Raystown Field Station through May. Students will “explore forests, navigate lakes, and dig deep into the biodiversity of what could be called the largest outdoor classroom in higher education–the Raystown Field Station,” according to a Juniata release. Church of the Brethren member Chuck Yohn directs the field station. This is the second spring semester that St. Francis students have participated. “It was amazing; every day brought something different to learn about outside,” said Ian Gardner, a junior who spent last spring at the station. “We even witnessed the white-winged crossbill migration through the pine forests around Lake Raystown and the spring warbler migration.”

— The John Kline Homestead fund-raising effort has reached 75 percent of its goal, according to organizer Paul Roth. The historic homestead of Civil War-era Brethren elder and peace martyr John Kline is located in Broadway, Va. By Jan. 31, contributions and pledges totaled over $305,000 toward the $425,000 goal. The Park View Federal Credit Union has granted a one-year extension to enable the John Kline Homestead Board of Directors raise the balance of funds to purchase the property by Dec. 31, 2010. In the meantime, the Harrisonburg Office of Tourism, Broadway Hometown Partnership, and the Shenandoah Battlefield Foundation have joined efforts to promote visits to the Homestead during the Sesquicentennial Commemoration of the Civil War, which begins in 2011. Contact John Kline Homestead. P.O. Box 274, Broadway, VA 22815. The organization is a 501(c)3 nonprofit agency.

— The World Council of Churches (WCC) has announced Lenten study resources for congregations and individuals interested in ending violence against women. Featuring films and stories from places as diverse as Colombia, India, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and New Zealand, the Decade to Overcome Violence (DOV) website will host the interactive resources from Feb. 17-April 4. Congregations, community groups, and individuals are invited to sign up to follow the Bible studies, use the liturgical resources, and become involved in online discussions. The resources will be available as a downloadable “toolkit.” The campaign is in partnership with the World Student Christian Federation and the World Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA). A sample of the Lenten study resources, titled “Cries of Anguish, Stories of Hope,” is available at .

— IMA World Health, an ecumenical organization with headquarters at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., has announced that its immediate past president Paul Derstine is traveling to Haiti to lead an assessment team on the medical situation there. Derstine is a member of the Church of the Brethren. He will work with IMA’s Country Representative for Haiti, Dr. Abdel Direny, in developing comprehensive plans to address the Haitian health care crisis stemming from the earthquake.

— Staff of ECHO in Haiti (Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization) have contacted the Church of the Brethren’s Global Mission Partnerships asking if Brethren would join in the three days of prayer announced by the country’s president. The days of prayer begin this Friday, Feb. 12, and continue through the weekend. Friday has been declared a national day of mourning, marking the one-month anniversary of the earthquake that devastated Port-au-Prince. In addition, the ECHO staff noted that for the first time in its history, Haiti’s government is cancelling the Carnival celebration of Mardi Gras. Jay Wittmeyer, executive director of Global Mission Partnerships, responded with a request for Brethren to join in prayer, “as we go into Lent.”

Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren,  or 800-323-8039 ext. 260. Douglas Bright, Don Fitzkee, Sharon Flaten, Nancy Sollenberger Heishman, Elizabeth Keller, Donna Kline, Michael Leiter, Wendy McFadden, Nancy Miner, Frank Ramirez, Paul Roth, Becky Ullom, John Wall, Roy Winter, Jay Wittmeyer, Loretta Wolf contributed to this report. Newsline appears every other week, with other special issues sent as needed. The next regularly scheduled issue will appear Feb. 24. Newsline stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source.

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