Newsline for July 1, 2010


July 1, 2010

“If you love me, you will obey what I command” (John 14:15, NIV).


1) Brethren leader at White House meeting on Israel and Palestine.

2) Church leaders meet with Secretary of Agriculture on childhood hunger.


3) Blevins to lead ecumenical peace program for NCC and Church of the Brethren.

4) Yoder resigns as BBT’s director of Insurance Services.

5) Michael Wagner to begin as peace worker in Sudan.


6) Daily webcasts are offered from Annual Conference.

7) Four Conference events feature Haiti disaster relief.

8) Brethren Press bookstore to host book signings.

9) On Earth Peace announces last year of Living Peace Church reports.

Annual Conference bits and pieces (see column at right)

Brethren bits: Personnel, job opening, hygiene kits, and more (see column at right)

Coverage of the 2010 Annual Conference in Pittsburgh, Pa., July 3-7, begins tomorrow at   starting with pre-Conference events like meetings of the Standing Committee of district delegates and the Minister’s Association. Go to the Newsline index page at   to find news reports, photo albums, links to live webcasts, “Conference in the News,” and more. ********************************************
Also new at are audio recordings of presentations at the New Church Development Conference this spring. Go to .

1) Brethren leader at White House meeting on Israel and Palestine.

Church of the Brethren general secretary Stan Noffsinger today attended a meeting at the White House with a group of church leaders who were invited to discuss Israel and Palestine with Denis McDonough, National Security Council Chief of Staff to President Obama.

Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) helped organize the meeting and Noffsinger was specifically asked to take part as a head of communion by CMEP executive director Warren Clark.

“This meeting is most timely as Israeli officials are scheduled next week to meet with the President,” Noffsinger commented by e-mail. The meeting was expected to allow the church leaders an opportunity to hear about progress the US administration is making in moving parties toward an agreement to end conflict in the area, including a freeze on new Israeli construction in east Jerusalem and the West Bank, Noffsinger said.

Noffsinger was to speak today at Standing Committee meetings of district representatives in Pittsburgh, Pa. However, after consulting with the Annual Conference officers and executive committee of the Mission and Ministry Board, it was decided the White House meeting “was an important opportunity for the voice of the Church of the Brethren to be heard,” Noffsinger said. “As Brother Fred (Swartz, Annual Conference secretary) put it in his response to my inquiry, ‘The Brethren have a story to tell. We’d better take every prime opportunity to tell it! So… go tell it on the Mountain!’”


2) Church leaders meet with Secretary of Agriculture on childhood hunger.

For all its wealth, our country still has children going hungry. And we can do something about it.

That was the take-home message from a June 15 meeting with US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, held by 20 Christian leaders and hunger advocates including Jay Wittmeyer, executive director of the Church of the Brethren’s Global Mission Partnerships.

Meeting with the group around a table symbolically spread with five loaves of bread and two fish, secretary Vilsack said he sees the biblical story of the feeding of the multitude as a miracle of overcoming the fear of sharing.

The numbers on childhood hunger are alarming: nearly one in four children in the United States lives in a family that struggles to put food on the table. The quickest and most direct way to help them is through federal nutrition programs.

Right now, Congress is debating and renewing an important group of nutrition programs aimed specifically at children. The child nutrition reauthorization legislation to be passed this year includes school lunch and breakfast, summer food, and WIC (the Women, Infants, and Children program).

Bread for the World president David Beckmann said that secretary Vilsack “made a strong plea for churches to provide more leadership on policy issues that affect hungry people, notably supporting the president’s proposed $1 billion increase in annual funding for child nutrition programs.”

The administration’s request would help more eligible children to gain access to these programs–and, of course, to the food they need. As secretary Vilsack emphasized, the most pressing need is for better access to meals in the summer; for every 100 children who eat free or reduced-price school lunches, only 11 receive lunch during the summer.

The church leaders concluded the meeting with a prayer for the secretary, the USDA child nutrition programs, Congress, and the hungry children who await their action.

“It was very powerful to have a Cabinet secretary encourage grassroots advocacy on hunger,” said Max Finberg, director of USDA’s Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. “I think the church leaders who came to the meeting were encouraged, and also challenged to do more.”

For more information on childhood hunger in the US and how you can support policies and programs to help hungry children, visit . For more about the hunger relief work of the Church of the Brethren, go to .

(Bread for the World provided this report.)


3) Blevins to lead ecumenical peace program for NCC and Church of the Brethren.

In a joint appointment announced today by the National Council of Churches (NCC) and the Church of the Brethren, Jordan Blevins starts July 1 as the church’s staff for witness in a position also seconded to the NCC to serve as an advocacy officer in Washington, D.C. Blevins will lead an ecumenical peacemaking program on behalf of the two organizations.

He is a member of Westminster (Md.) Church of the Brethren. Previously, he was associate director of the NCC’s Eco-Justice Program, and coordinator of Poverty Initiatives and Washington internships with the National Council of Churches since September 2007.

Michael Kinnamon, general secretary of the NCC, praised the appointment. “It models a new form of support for the work of the NCC,” he said. “The United Church of Christ already has a similar agreement with the Council that undergirds our ministry in racial justice and human rights, and we hope that other churches will follow suit. Second, this gives us staff coverage in the area of peacemaking, which has always been a crucial part of the Council’s agenda. And, third, I am absolutely delighted to welcome Jordan Blevins, who has been a fine colleague in the field of eco-justice, into this new position. He is the right person for this new portfolio.”

Blevin’s responsibilities for the Church of the Brethren will include nurturing the denomination’s witness to society and government from a uniquely Anabaptist-Pietist Brethren perspective, with a pacifist emphasis on peace and justice. He will represent the NCC member churches in advocacy for peace and provide leadership in educational initiatives with the member churches and wider society.

Prior to joining the NCC, Blevins was a legislative intern at the Brethren Witness/Washington Office beginning in January 2007, where he participated in a Faith Expedition to Vietnam and did follow up reporting and helped create a Brethren Water and Sanitation project in that area through the Global Food Crisis Fund. Additionally, he was manager of Cokesbury Bookstore in Washington, as well as a grassroots fundraiser for Grassroots Campaigns, Inc.

He holds a bachelor of arts degree in Philosophy and Religion and a bachelor of science degree in Business Administration from Bridgewater (Va.) College and recently graduated from American University and Wesley Theological Seminary with a master of arts degree in International Peace and Conflict Resolution, and a master of theological studies, respectively. He is pursuing a doctorate of ministry in Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue at Wesley Theological Seminary.

He serves on the Board of Directors of On Earth Peace, on the Church of the Brethren’s Young Adult Steering Committee, and on the New Fire Task Force, a young adult ecumenical movement.


4) Yoder resigns as BBT’s director of Insurance Services.

Randy Yoder has resigned from his position as director of Insurance Services with Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) effective Dec. 31. He will continue to work with Insurance Services as Client Development Representative. This part-time arrangement will continue through at least June 30, 2011, but could be extended based on developmental needs.

Yoder took his current assignment for BBT on March 6, 2006, as director of Insurance Plans at a time when there was much unrest in the Brethren Medical Plan. Since that time, he has worked to stabilize the Brethren Medical Plan. Prior to this assignment, he and his wife, Peg Yoder, were hired in Jan. 2005 as independent contractors to work for BBT on special marketing projects. Then, on Nov. 1, 2005, Randy became a permanent, part-time employee serving as Field Representative.

“We would like to thank Randy for all of his leadership and service to BBT over the past several years,” said an announcement from BBT.


5) Michael Wagner to begin as peace worker in Sudan.

Michael Wagner has accepted the call to serve as a peace worker with the Church of the Brethren in southern Sudan, effective July 1. This position is a seconded position with the Africa Inland Church-Sudan, a member of the Sudan Council of Churches.

Before joining the Church of the Brethren, Wagner served a two-year term with the Peace Corps in the West African country of Burkina Faso, in an enterprise development program. Prior to that, he worked as a life insurance auditor in Indianapolis, Ind.

Wagner’s responsibilities will include developing centralized management systems for planning, financial reporting, and project evaluation. He will serve as an organizational development advisor to build Africa Inland Church’s capacity to effectively implement post-war resettlement and poverty alleviation programs. These programs include health services, education, peacebuilding, theological training, agricultural development, women’s self-help strategies, and relief efforts. He also will play a key role in stakeholder relations and communications.

He is a graduate of Manchester College in North Manchester, Ind., and holds a master of arts degree in Finance and Accounting. His home congregation is Mountville (Pa.) Church of the Brethren.


6) Daily webcasts are offered from Annual Conference.

The schedule of events to be webcast from the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference in Pittsburgh, Pa., on July 3-7 includes each day’s worship service, one afternoon business session, pre-Conference deacon training sessions, a hearing for the Special Response process, and more.

The webcasts are being provided at no cost through a collaboration of the Conference Office and Enten Eller, director of distributed education and electronic communication at Bethany Theological Seminary.

Below is a tentative schedule of what will be webcast. To see an event streaming live go to then click on the Annual Conference link. Many of these events will be recorded for future viewing.

The Annual Conference live broadcast schedule (Eastern time):

Saturday, July 3:
9 a.m.-noon — Deacon Training Session I
1:30-4:30 p.m. — Deacon Training Session II
5-6:30 p.m. — Voices for an Open Spirit Dinner with Peggy Campolo as speaker
6:50-8:30 p.m. — Worship Service with Annual Conference moderator Shawn Flory Replogle preaching
9-10:15 p.m. — Hearing and Bible Study on the Special Response Process

Sunday, July 4:
10-11:30 a.m. — Worship Service with Marlys Hershberger preaching
1:55-4:30 p.m. — Business Session
5-5:45 p.m. — Early Evening With the Arts Concert by Community of Song
7-7:30 p.m. — Ryan and Friends Ventriloquist Act, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Emergency Disaster Fund (live only–no recording)

Monday, July 5:
5-6:30 p.m. — Global Ministries Dinner with Roger Thurow speaking
7-8:30 p.m. — Worship Service with Earle Fike Jr. preaching
9-10 p.m. — Insight Session Original Brethren Songs by Dennis Webb

Tuesday, July 6:
5-6:30 p.m. — Congregational Life Ministries Dinner with speaker John Creasy Roger
6:45-8:30 p.m. — Worship Service with Nancy Fitzgerald preaching
9-10 p.m. — Hearing on the Special Response Process featuring district conversations

Wednesday, July 7:
10-11:30 a.m. — Worship Service with Jonathan Shively preaching

View webcasts at , click on the Annual Conference link.


7) Four Conference events feature Haiti disaster relief.

Brethren Disaster Ministries is sponsoring four events about Haiti relief efforts at the Annual Conference, including a report during a business session, two insight sessions, and a special drop in gathering for those interested in the work in Haiti.

The report to the delegate body will take place Sunday, July 4, beginning at 2:50 p.m. in the Convention Center Hall A. Jean Bily Telfort, general secretary of Eglise des Freres Haitiens (the Haitian Church of the Brethren) will be present in person. The report also will feature video from the earthquake zone and personal reports from other church staff involved in the relief effort.

The two insight sessions on Haiti will be held on Sunday, July 4, at 12:30 p.m. in Room 326 of the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, with some time to talk about the ministry’s work in American Samoa and US rebuilding plans; and on Tuesday, July 6, at 12:30 p.m. in Room 329 with members of the medical delegation that provided clinics in the Port-au-Prince area in March.

The drop-in networking session is planned for Monday, July 5, at 8-10 a.m. in Room 338, as a time when people interested in Haiti can share about their work.


8) Brethren Press bookstore to host book signings.

A number of authors will be signing books at the Brethren Press bookstore at Annual Conference in Pittsburgh, Pa.:

Nancy Ferguson, speaker for the Ministers’ Association meeting, will sign copies of a number of her books on Saturday, July 3, from 3-4 p.m., including “The Retreat Leader’s Manual,” “Training Staff to Be Spiritual Leaders,” and “The Christian Educator’s Guide to Evaluating and Developing Curriculum.”

Melanie G. Snyder and Marie Hamilton, in celebration of their successful Brethren Press release “Grace Goes to Prison: An Inspiring Story of Hope and Humanity,” will be signing books on Sunday, July 4, from 2-3 p.m. The book is the story of Brethren homemaker Marie Hamilton and her simple vision to look for and affirm the good in prison inmates. Hamilton’s volunteer work challenged the conventional wisdom about how to deal with criminals and the prison programs she developed are still being used today.

R. Jan and Roma Jo Thompson will sign copies of “Beyond Our Means: How the Brethren Service Center Dared to Embrace the World,” a behind-the-scenes historical journey of the Brethren Service Center published by Brethren Press, on Sunday, July 4, from 3-4 p.m. Readers will find out how this one time educational institution became a community of compassion known around the world.

Bob Neff, professor emeritus of Old Testament at Bethany Theological Seminary and associate for resource development at the Village at Morrison Grove, will sign books on Monday, July 5, at 12:30-1:30 p.m., including the brand new Brethren Press title, “The Witness of the Hebrew Bible for a New Testament Church.”

Renowned “Wall Street Journal” reporter Roger Thurow will be signing copies of the book he has co-authored titled “Enough: Why the World’s Poorest Starve in an Age of Plenty,” on Monday, July 5, at 4-4:30 p.m. The book is a powerful indictment on the economic, political, and social dynamics that perpetuate famine–and makes a passionate call for change. Thurow also will be featured at Global Food Crisis Fund events throughout the week.

Retired pastor and former denominational staff member Ralph McFadden will sign copies of his newly self-published book “For Life Is a Journey: Reflections on Living,” on Tuesday, July 6, at 2-3 p.m. The book offers stories and poems from McFadden’s personal journey and explores concerns he has for the church as it addresses issues of sexuality.

Singer and songwriter Bryan Moyer Suderman will sign copies of his CD offerings including “My Money Talks” on Tuesday, July 6, at 4-4:30 p.m. Suderman has a gift for writing songs that are deeply scriptural, musically memorable, and readily singable. He will be performing a concert later that evening.


9) On Earth Peace announces last year of Living Peace Church reports.

This is the last year for Living Peace Church Reports at the Annual Conference, according to an announcement from On Earth Peace. The intent of the annual open microphone time slot during Conference business sessions has been to encourage the development of a living peace tradition in the Church of the Brethren.

Guided by the 2003 paper, “Call to Be a Living Peace Church,” the Annual Conference officers provided a time of open sharing at the microphones for people to report on “efforts to seek and develop a living peace tradition, in order to strengthen and encourage one another.” This year, 2010, is the last time for such reporting as mandated by the 2003 paper.

The Living Peace Church reports are scheduled for Monday, July 5, beginning at 3:25 p.m. during the business session in the Convention Center Hall A. Matt Guynn, On Earth Peace program director, will introduce the time of sharing.

Guynn “may bring one or two pre-planned reports to prime the pump, but the bulk of this time will be open sharing from the microphones,” the announcement said. “If you or your congregation have a story to tell about seeking and building a living Christian peace tradition, we would love for you to be ready to share it with the delegate body….

“Share about the way God is moving in your congregation and the kinds of ministries that are developing. Maybe you will share one particular story that has moved you, or something else that expresses this living Christian peace tradition, which we are creating together with God in our generation.”

Jordan Blevins has been named to lead an ecumenical peacemaking program on behalf of the Church of the Brethren and the National Council of Churches (NCC). In a joint appointment announced today, Blevins starts July 1 as the church’s staff for witness in a position also seconded to the NCC to serve as an advocacy officer in Washington, D.C. He is a member of Westminster (Md.) Church of the Brethren (see story at left). Photo courtesy of the National Council of Churches

Keep up with National Youth Conference
later this month through the Newsline index page at . Starting July 17, this page will feature NYC news and photos and links to an NYC Facebook page, a live webcast of one of the worship services, and an NYC Twitter stream.  In another communications development at NYC, Brethren Press staff will test a new web-based tool called “Poll Everywhere” in one workshop. Participants will use cell phones to text answers to questions, with results showing up on an overhead screen. Above, NYC co-coordinator Audrey Hollenberg (left) and Becky Ullom, director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry, help test out the new tool. Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford

Orion Samuelson (above left) is the narrator
for a new video, “Sowing Seed…Harvesting Hope,” being produced for the Foods Resource Bank with help from the Church of the Brethren’s Global Food Crisis Fund and its manager Howard Royer (at right), and Brethren videographer David Sollenberger. Samuelson is heard on WGN Radio in Chicago where he has served as Agribusiness Director since 1960, is known for his syndicated National Farm Report, and is seen weekly on RFD-TV as co-host of “This Week in Agri-Business.” He was filmed last weekend at Karen and Ned Rolston’s home in Hampshire, Ill., in front of a vista of rolling fields of shoulder-high corn. The video will be previewed at the Foods Resource Bank Annual Gathering in the Gaithersburg/Myersville area of Maryland later this year. Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford

Annual Conference bits and pieces:

— The 50th anniversary of the Emergency Disaster Fund will be celebrated with a presentation by Ryan & Friends ventriloquist and comedian, sponsored by Brethren Disaster Ministries on Sunday, July 4, at 7 p.m. in the Spirit of Pittsburgh Ballroom. A free-will offering will be received to benefit the Emergency Disaster Fund.

— The Church of the Brethren exhibit in the Brethren Press bookstore at Annual Conference will feature a hot new technology: QR code, a type of two-dimensional barcode. QR code will hold far more information than a regular barcode, and can include text, a business card, or even a URL. Brethren Press publisher Wendy McFadden is creating QR codes for about a dozen of the images on the exhibit, to be affixed in corners of display panels. The code can be read by a smartphone that has a barcode scanner app. The codes will be “a bonus for those people who recognize them,” McFadden said. “The QR codes on the exhibit will take people to relevant pages on our website, such as , workcamps, Brethren Volunteer Service, and several photo albums.

— Guests representing the Foods Resource Bank (FRB) at the Annual Conference include Cher-Frère Fortune, an agriculturist from Haiti, and translator Kelsey Day. Fortune is a consultant for SKDE, Sant Kretyen Pou Development Entegre (Christian Center for Integrated Development), and works with Haiti’s Northwest Rural Development Program. He also helped with the Brethren homes constructed in Gonaives, Haiti, through Brethren Disaster Ministries. Day is fluent in French, has done special projects for FRB at its Western Springs office, and is a recent graduate of Elmhurst (Ill.) College this month. The Church of the Brethren’s Global Food Crisis Fund contributed $15,000 to the Northwest Rural Development Program in 2008, and previously the Church of the Brethren allocated grants of $2,500 to the program from its member account in FRB in 2006 and 2007. “The guests also will attend the National Gathering of FRB hosted by our Grossnickle growing project in Maryland July 12-15,” reported fund manager Howard Royer.

— Two key Brethren ministries are marking 20th anniversaries at this Annual Conference: the Ministry of Reconciliation is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a reception on Saturday afternoon, July 3; the Brethren Foundation is celebrating its 20th anniversary with cupcakes in the exhibit hall on Monday, July 5, over the lunch hour.

— Ed Poling, pastor of Hagerstown (Md.) Church of the Brethren, is riding his bicycle to Annual Conference as a fundraiser for church camping in the Church of the Brethren, and is seeking people to make pledges as sponsors of his ride. “The distance is about 250 miles from Washington County, Md., to the big city,” he wrote in a letter to supporters. “I plan to take four days, traveling by way of the C&O Canal towpath to Cumberland, then over the Alleghany Mountains via the Great Alleghany Passage Rail-Trail.” He was to leave on June 30 from Shepherd’s Spring Outdoor Ministry Center near Sharpsburg, Md. “I used to be a camp director myself and have a great love for the out-of-doors and appreciation for what the experience of church camping can do for young people in their spiritual development,” he wrote. “Such Christian camping experiences help them not only learn to appreciate the natural world but also to see the Creator and Sustainer behind it all.” Read a “Washington Examiner” article about Poling’s bike ride at .

— The Springs of Living Water Initiative for church renewal is featured at several places during the Annual Conference. On Sunday, July 4, 9-10 p.m. an insight session will feature Springs founders Joan and David Young presenting a path of renewal for churches, with testimonies from congregation members and pastors, and sponsorship by four districts. At the Congregational Life Ministries exhibit the Youngs will offer two “Living Room Chats” about the Springs initiative, on Monday, July 5, 10:30-11:30 a.m., and on Tuesday, July 6, at 3-4 p.m. A Congregational Life Ministries insight session titled “Stories of Congregational Vitality and Hope” on Monday, July 6, 9-10 p.m. will feature a panel including David Young and Gary Moore representing the initiative. A prayer request from the Youngs asks “for a sense of the movement of God’s spirit in formal and informal gatherings and that the presence of Christ will be real as we gather in Pittsburgh and go forth with a sense of mission for Christ.”

Brethren bits:

— Diane Parrott has accepted the position of administrative office assistant for Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) beginning July 14. She brings a broad array of experience to the position, serving most recently as human resource/office coordinator for Hoffie Nursery in Union, Ill. She also worked for BBT in 2008 as a loan processor for the Church of the Brethren Credit Union and worked for the Brethren Employees Credit Union from 1999-2003. She received her associates of arts degree with high honors from Elgin (Ill.) Community College. She lives in Lake in the Hills, Ill., and has been a life-long member of Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin.

— Brethren Benefit Trust is seeking to fill the position of director of Insurance Services to start in the fall of 2010. This is a full-time, salaried position based in Elgin, Ill. The person filling this position will serve as chief administrator of Church of the Brethren Insurance Services. The director is responsible for program oversight for all health and welfare benefits including medical, life, long-term disability, short-term disability, dental, vision, and long-term care plan administration. The director is to be knowledgeable in legislation and regulations affecting the insurance services and is to ensure that the insurance ministries are compliant with all applicable laws. The director also will supervise work with program-related vendors and consultants. This person will represent the department in the field for customer service calls with current plan members, offer program interpretation for prospective clients, and supervise Insurance Services staff members. The director will travel to Annual Conference, BBT Board meetings, the Church Benefits Association annual meeting, and other BBT-related events and client-related meetings. BBT seeks a candidate with an undergraduate degree in business or human resources, and/or certification as an Employee Benefits Specialist, and at least 10 years of experience in employee benefits plans management, human resources administration, or related management experience. It is also preferred that the candidate be licensed in life and medical insurance. A member of the Church of the Brethren is preferred; active membership in a faith community is required. The salary for this position is competitive with those offered at Church Benefits Association agencies of comparable size and scope of services. A full benefits package is included. Send a letter of interest, a resume, three references (one supervisor, two colleagues), and salary range expectation to Donna March at 1505 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120, or . For questions or clarification about the position, call 847-622-3371. For more information visit .

— The number of hygiene kits sent to Haiti through the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., since the January earthquake is now 49,980–just 20 short of 50,000. Shipments of hygiene kits have been sponsored by a number of church relief agencies including Church World Service, Lutheran World Relief, and others.

— Nigeria mission workers Nathan and Jennifer Hosler have announced speaking engagements in the United States this summer. The couple have been serving with Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN–the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) teaching at Kulp Bible College and working with EYN’s Peace Program. They will lead an insight session at Annual Conference in Pittsburgh, Pa., on July 6, from 9-10 p.m. In addition, they will speak at Chiques Church of the Brethren in Manheim, Pa., on Sunday, July 11, at 9 a.m.; at Hempfield Church of the Brethren in Manheim, Pa., on July 11, at 7:15 p.m.; at Lititz (Pa.) Church of the Brethren on July 15, at 7 p.m.; and at the National Youth Conference in Fort Collins, Colo., later in July. “With KBC classes over, Peace Seminars have been at the forefront of our work,” the Hoslers reported in a recent newsletter. “These are workshop trainings for EYN staff, clergy, and laity on Brethren peace background, basic conflict awareness, forgiveness, and conflict analysis. Our first one was held June 10….” On June 14 the Hoslers took part in a meeting of several Muslims and Christians from Mubi area who were at an Interfaith Peace Conference in January. “The meeting was the first step to enacting a community-based, interfaith peace initiative in Mubi. We are in the initial planning stages of conducting conflict resolution workshops with Muslim imams and Christian pastors. Please pray for the planning and implementation of this initiative!”

— The Church of the Brethren Workcamp Ministry is holding its second “We Are Able Camp” for 14 participants June 29-July 2 at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. In another report from a workcamp this summer, 23 people traveled to Saint Louis du Nord, Haiti, for the Church of the Brethren young adult workcamp at New Covenant School on June 1-8. The school serves local children in need of an affordable education, with over 200 students in kindergarten through fourth grade. Two participants were young adult members of Eglise des Frères Haitiens (the Haitian Church of the Brethren) in Port-au-Prince. Workcampers worked on the new school building in the mornings. In the afternoon, they led a Vacation Bible School for the students, along with the teachers and other local volunteers. For more about New Covenant School, check out the page on Facebook. For more about youth and young adult workcamps, go to or call the workcamp office at 800-323-8039 ext. 286.

— “The gift that keeps on giving”–that is what Becky Ullom, director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry, is calling the “reverse offering” that continues to be received from participants in the last National Junior High Conference. The youth were given a chance to participate in a reverse offering to “grow” a grant of $4,000 made possible by the Church of the Brethren’s funding and donor development office. As of June, the junior high have now given a total of $8,179.49 back to the church.

— Bethany Theological Seminary reminds prospective students that July 15 is the admission deadline for the fall. Contact Elizabeth Keller, director of admissions, at or 800-287-8822 or go to .

— Join the current Brethren Volunteer Service Orientation group for a potluck dinner at Harrisonburg (Va.) First Church of the Brethren at 6 p.m. on July 27. Bring a dish to pass, a friend or spouse, “and your favorite memories to share!” said an invitation from BVS. Contact Callie Surber at for questions or directions.

— A Pastors for Peace program will be held July 12 at Roanoke (Va.) Oak Grove Church of the Brethren, starting with a potluck meal at 6 p.m. “For the past several years Oak Grove’s Peace and Justice group has partnered with the Roanoke Friends to sponsor the Pastors for Peace caravan as it travels through Roanoke on its annual humanitarian trip to Cuba,” said an announcement. This year’s speaker is Luis Barrios of the Pastors for Peace Board of Directors who also is associate pastor at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in West Harlem and spiritual advisor for Iglesia San Romero de Las Americas–UCC in the Washington Heights area of New York, associate professor of psychology and ethnic studies at John Jay College of Criminal Justice-City University of New York, and a weekly columnist for “El Diario La Prensa.”

— “Peace Pizzazz II: The Golden Rule,” an event for children, was sponsored by Skyridge Church of the Brethren in Kalamazoo, Mich., and the Michigan 6th District Campaign for a US Department of Peace. The free children’s peace day art fest took place in a city park on May 22, with hundreds of children, teachers, and parents attending. The day included dancing, singing, bubble blowing, banner waving, and drumming as well as the making of art. The Kalamazoo Community Foundation provided funding. Skyridge member Lowey Dickason headed up the effort. Another Skyridge attendee, Karen Ullrich, summed up the day in a reflection prepared for worship: “The day had a special spirit because, I believe, it was just a peek…just a moment…of Christ’s kingdom here on Earth–all people together in joy and peace.”

— Cedar Lake Church of the Brethren in Auburn, Ind., now has a website. Go to .

— Peter Becker Community will break ground on July 12 at 2 p.m. for a $10 million project to renovate skilled nursing areas, increase personal care, and add a specialized Dementia Care Unit Highlights include additional residential rooms, new technology, and a secure dementia garden and walking area. The celebration takes place at 800 Maple Ave., Harleysville, Pa., at the site of the first phase of the project. Light refreshments will be served afterward in the Orchid Terrace. Please RSVP to Paul A. Nye at 215-703-4015 or . Peter Becker Community also is holding a Green Fair for Eco-Friendly Living on July 29 at 12:30-4:30 p.m. at the Maplewood Estates.

— The July edition of the community television program “Brethren Voices” produced by Portland (Ore.) Peace Church of the Brethren will feature an interview with Mary Blocher Smeltzer, a Church of the Brethren member who worked with Japanese Interned Citizens of the United States during World War II. Copies are available from Portland Peace Church of the Brethren for a contribution of $8, which includes postage. Contact Ed Groff at .

— The New Community Project has sent a grant of $16,500 to Sudan for girls’ education, hygiene kits for girls, a women’s tailoring program, reforestation, and administration. An initial 2010 grant in a similar amount was sent earlier this year. Part of these grants were made possible by Sarah Parcell of Hanover (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, who set out to raise $1,600 for the Give a Girl a Chance fund for her 16th birthday. For a newspaper story about Purcell

Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren,  or 800-323-8039 ext. 260. Colleen M. Algeo, Jeanne Davies, Phil Jenks, Gimbiya Kettering, Karin Krog, Jeff Lennard, Wendy McFadden, David Radcliff, Howard Royer, Brian Solem, Becky Ullom, Loretta Wolf contributed to this report. Newsline appears every other week, with special issues as needed. The next regular issue scheduled for July 7 will feature a full report from the 2010 Annual Conference. Newsline stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source. To unsubscribe or change your e-mail preferences go to .

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