Newsline for June 17, 2010

June 17, 2010

“I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth” (1 Corinthians 3:6).


1) Church developers called to ‘Plant Generously, Reap Bountifully.’

2) Young adults ‘rock’ Camp Blue Diamond over Memorial Day weekend.

3) Brethren leader helps defend CWS against charges of proselytizing.

4) Global Food Crisis Fund supports work of Foods Resource Bank.

5) Nine receive Caring Ministries nursing scholarships.

6) Agape-Satyagraha peace program begins at three new pilot sites.


7) National Youth Conference to gather close to 3,000 Brethren.


8) Garcia to coordinate donor invitation for Church of the Brethren.

9) Baseball… and forgiveness.

Brethren bits: Personnel, job openings, hunger advocacy, more (see column at right).

Prayer Day for National Youth Conference (NYC) is Sunday, June 20. Online worship resources are available to help congregations ask God’s blessing for the Church of the Brethren youth and advisors traveling to the conference in Fort Collins, Colo., on July 17-22. These resources were written by the NYC spiritual directors and NYC coordinators, go to

1) Church developers called to ‘Plant Generously, Reap Bountifully.’

The New Church Development Conference was held May 20-22 at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind. Was it a church planting conference or a Holy Spirit conference? It was hard to make a distinction as 120 participants gathered for the fifth biennial conference sponsored by the Church of the Brethren’s Congregational Life Ministries and New Church Development Advisory Committee, in partnership with the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership and hosted by the seminary.

Planters, district leaders, and revitalizing pastors attended this event, which challenged, inspired, connected, and equipped the church for new mission and ministry development.

Guest leaders Jim Henderson and Rose Madrid-Swetman provided provocative and practical perspectives and tools for connecting with non-Christians and engaging local communities with the transforming Gospel. Henderson challenged the gathering to “take back Jesus” from Christianity and stay focused on valuing the “outsider” unconditionally, while clearly following Jesus. Swetman shared the purpose for and practical forms of community-based servant ministry, drawing on her experience as a pastor/planter in the Seattle area. Swetman also shared her gift of spiritual insight through reflective listening and prayer leadership.

Workshops were led by Church of the Brethren planters and leaders, focusing on everything from holistic health for planters, to practical steps for beginning a plant, to the district’s role in supporting new plants. Thirty workshops were offered, including a complete track of workshops in Spanish. Translation was provided throughout the conference.

Worship and prayer rooted the conference. Preaching to begin the event was Belita Mitchell, a former Annual Conference moderator and current pastor of First Church of the Brethren in Harrisburg, Pa. Church planter Lidia Gonzalez provided the encouragement and challenge for the close of the conference. Worship was coordinated by Bethany professor Tara Hornbacker.

Two evening sessions were open to the public, the second of which drew an overall attendance of 180 people to hear two atheists talk about their experiences visiting local Church of the Brethren congregations. The interview with Willis and Shane was conducted by Jim Henderson and was alternately uncomfortable, enlightening, and motivating.

A photo album of the conference is online at . For more information about new church development in the Church of the Brethren contact  or Jonathan Shively at 800-323-8039.

— Jonathan Shively is executive director of Congregational Life Ministries.

2) Young adults ‘rock’ Camp Blue Diamond over Memorial Day weekend.

Camp Blue Diamond in Petersburg, Pa., was rockin’ this Memorial Day weekend. Four-square, footwashing, and four-part harmonies filled the weekend as almost 70 Church of the Brethren young adults from across the country gathered for the denomination’s annual Young Adult Conference.

Participants not only studied and discussed the theme of community, focused on a passage from Romans 12, but also lived it out.

The church’s Young Adult Steering Committee planned the conference, and many others shared their gifts to make the weekend happen. Sermons were offered by Matt McKimmy, pastor of Richmond (Ind.) Church of the Brethren; Marie Benner-Rhoades of On Earth Peace; and Carrie Fry-Miller, a student at Bethany Theological Seminary. Other participants led over a dozen workshops on topics from faithful ecology to crafting.

Saturday evening’s open microphone coffee house provided another opportunity for young adults to share their passions, and the offerings ranged from the beautiful (Broadway ballads and classical violin) to the bizarre (beat-boxing flute and recorder played by nostril).

Hiking, canoeing, card playing, cooking out, and roasting s’mores around the campfire took up generous portions of the weekend, but the group also dove into some serious conversation. Jordan Blevins and Bekah Houff, members of the denominational Visioning Committee, led an intentional conversation about a proposed new vision statement for the Church of the Brethren. “Here’s something we’ve put together about who we are as Brethren,” Blevins said. “Now what did we leave out?” The question provoked impassioned responses from the young adults, who expressed both their love for the church as well as their frustration with it.

This shared sense of love and frustration, combined with genuine attempts to live in joyful community as “members of one another,” seemed to characterize the entire weekend. Young adults are invited to join in the fun, fellowship, and community building at next year’s Young Adult Conference, held over Memorial Day weekend May 28-31, 2011, in a location to be determined.

A photo album from the Young Adult Conference is online at .

— Dana Cassell is Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) staff for vocation and community living.

3) Brethren leader helps defend CWS against charges of proselytizing.

Church of the Brethren general secretary Stan Noffsinger has been among American church officials helping to defend Church World Service (CWS) against charges of religious proselytizing in Afghanistan. CWS is an international humanitarian aid agency related to the National Council of Churches, established after World War II in 1946 to assist displaced people in Europe and Asia with food assistance and relief activities.

“When I saw and read the allegations I was dumbfounded,” said Noffsinger in a CWS release. “For more than 60 years, Church World Service has grounded its role in serving people regardless of faith tradition.

“Church World Service is held in the highest regard and is seen as honoring those whom it serves,” he added. “I believe CWS functions with the highest of integrity.”

Also quoted in defense of CWS was Susan Sanders, head of Global Sharing of Resources for the United Church of Christ, who noted that CWS has signed the NGO code of conduct of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement that specifically prohibits proselytizing in disaster relief, and that in Afghanistan and Pakistan CWS is a member of Humanitarian Accountability Partnership International, a self-regulatory partnership of NGOs, and adheres to humanitarian standards for quality and accountability.

In the first week of June CWS’s long-time work in Afghanistan dating back more than 30 years was temporarily suspended by the Afghan Ministry of Economy, pending investigation of allegations related to an Afghan television news story claiming that CWS and Norwegian Church Aid had engaged in religious proselytizing. CWS formally denied the allegations and said it expected the suspension to last only briefly.

Noffsinger’s experience with CWS dates back to the 1970s. He once served as a CWS staffer.

4) Global Food Crisis Fund supports work of Foods Resource Bank.

A member contribution of $22,960 has been given to the Foods Resource Bank from the Church of the Brethren’s Global Food Crisis Fund. The allocation represents a 2010 grant for operational support of the organization, based on the scope of overseas programming for which the denomination is lead sponsor.

Member contributions to the Foods Resource Bank are allocated in the following way: 40 percent administration and resource development; 17 percent overseas programing; 43 percent US growing projects. The organization’s current total assets stand at $3.6 million, of which $3 million is designated for overseas programing and $0.6 million for operations.

The Church of the Brethren is lead sponsor for four of the 62 Foods Resource Bank overseas programs: the Totonicapan program in Guatemala, the Rio Coco program in Nicaragua, and Bateye Food Security in the Dominican Republic (all in partnership with Church World Service); and the Ryongyon program in North Korea in partnership with Agglobe International.

In the United States the Foods Resource Bank is engaged in 200 growing projects. In 2009, 22 of these were Church of the Brethren led. This year, a growing project called “Field of Hope” started by a group of six Church of the Brethren congregations in the area of Grossnickle, Md., will host the Foods Resource Bank Annual Gathering on July 13-15.

“Foods Resource Bank has become an increasingly major partner of the Global Food Crisis Fund,” said the grant request from fund manager Howard Royer. “Some 35 of our congregations have participated in FRB growing projects, the majority for three or more years. In 2009 Brethren-led growing projects raised $266,000 for investing in agricultural development with indigenous partners in poor countries abroad.”

The Global Food Crisis Fund also has given a grant of $5,000 to Liberia to assist with the distribution of 300,000 vegetable seed packets to subsistence farmers and gardeners and schools, with logistics handled by Church Aid Inc., Liberia. Three previous grants of this amount were allocated to Church Aid Liberia in 2006, 2007, and 2008.

A grant of $3,000 has been given to the ECHO organization in support of a West Africa Networking Forum this fall. The funds will cover the $200 registration fee for five delegates and will provide a $2,000 grant toward the cost of the forum itself. In September ECHO will host its first networking forum bringing together agricultural leaders from Nigeria, Niger, Benin, Togo, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, the Gambia, Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Algeria, and Libya. The venue is a central location, Ouagadougo in Burkina Faso.

A special effort will be made by the Church of the Brethren’s Global Mission Partnerships to enlist two Nigerian agricultural workers from Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria to attend. In 2008, the fund participated in a similar ECHO-related event in Haiti with a grant of $1,750. Through that experience, Haitian Brethren became connected to a wider group of agricultural specialists in the country. One Haitian Brethren pastor and agriculturalist, Jean Bily Telfort, was invited to address the forum.

In other news, Royer and the Global Food Crisis Fund are congratulating the leaders of Heifer International and Bread for the World as joint recipients of the 2010 World Food Prize. The prize is shared by Jo Luck, president of Heifer International, and David Beckmann, head of Bread for the World. Heifer International was started by the Church of the Brethren and denominational staff member Dan West as Heifer Project, and since going independent has grown into a large international nonprofit that receives wide ecumenical support. The two leaders were honoured for “landmark achievements in building two of the world’s foremost grassroots organizations leading the charge to end hunger and poverty for millions of people around the world.”

For more about the Global Food Crisis Fund, go to .

5) Nine receive Caring Ministries nursing scholarships.

Nine Church of the Brethren nursing students are recipients of Caring Ministries Nursing Scholarships for 2010. This scholarship, made possible by the Health Education and Research Endowment, is available to members of the Church of the Brethren enrolled in LPN, RN, or nursing graduate programs.

This year’s recipients are Janet Craig of Briery Branch Church of the Brethren in Dayton, Va.; Natalie England of Peoria (Ill.) Church of the Brethren; Timothy Fisher of Chiques Church of the Brethren in Manheim, Pa.; Amy Frye of Woodbury (Pa.) Church of the Brethren; Heather Galang-Ellerbee of Bridgewater (Va.) Church of the Brethren; Tina Good of Bermudian Church of the Brethren in East Berlin, Pa.; Jennifer Miller of West Green Tree Church of the Brethren in Elizabethtown, Pa.; Kimberly Ryman of Antioch Church of the Brethren in Woodstock, Va.; and Shayla Thomas of Palmyra (Pa.) Church of the Brethren.

Scholarships of up to $2,000 for RN and graduate nurse candidates and up to $1,000 for LPN candidates are awarded to a limited number of applicants each year. Information on the scholarships, including an application form and instructions, is available at Applications and supporting documentation are due by April 1 of each year.

— Nancy Miner is manager of the Office of the General Secretary.

6) Agape-Satyagraha peace program begins at three new pilot sites.

It looks like it could be tutoring: an after-school program, adults and youth paired together, having intense conversations. But if you listen closely, no one is talking about math or history or literature. The word coming up again and again is peace.

Not a generic peace, like peace on earth, but rather how these students can choose peace in their day-to-day activities. They role play ways to respond to situations they face: in school with bullies, interactions in their neighborhoods, and how to help friends who may be angry at one another.

Adults call this conflict resolution, with a foundation in social theory and religious philosophy that informs their conversations; whereas in these classrooms it is called Agape-Satyagraha building upon Jesus’ philosophy of interpersonal love and Gandhi’s belief that nonviolent expressions of truth are forceful.

It is On Earth Peace’s newest program offering. The program equips youth to confront violence with active nonviolence. These skills are taught within the context that the youth face in their lives, preparing them to think about the larger context of their communities, country, and the world as a whole.

Agape-Satyagraha was developed in Harrisburg, Pa., by Brethren Community Ministry’s director Gerald Rhoades in response to school shootings in 2001. “Youth need alternatives to solving conflicts rather than fighting,” he reflected. Success in Harrisburg inspired On Earth Peace to develop a curriculum that could be expanded to other communities.

Donations from Church of the Brethren constituents and a matching grant from the Shumaker Foundation have enabled three new pilot sites: Modesto (Calif.) Church of the Brethren; Elm Street Church of the Brethren in Lima, Ohio; and Beaver Dam Church of the Brethren in Union Bridge, Md. There are currently 22 youth and 17 adult mentors active in the Agape-Satyagraha program.

Site coordinators hold monthly phone calls to share updates, hear from On Earth Peace staff, work on specific questions, and network with one another. Communication also includes individual site check-ins with On Earth Peace staff and weekly and monthly written reports.

The Agape-Satyagraha program continues to grow. On Earth Peace is currently in conversation with four congregations discerning their call to bring this message of peace to the youth in their communities. This is a possibility because of the time donated by volunteers in the classroom and donors from around the country who support the vision that young people can change the world, if we teach them how.

For more information visit .

— Gimbiya Kettering is communications coordinator for On Earth Peace.

7) National Youth Conference to gather close to 3,000 Brethren.

National Youth Conference (NYC) is about a month away, and more than 2,800 people are registered to attend. Online registration ended on June 15 for the conference that takes place in Fort Collins, Colo., on July 17-22.

Youth, advisors, parents, and congregations have been spending years preparing for NYC by raising money, having informational meetings, coordinating travel, and much more.

Coming up on June 20, the denomination is having an NYC Prayer Day. Just under a month from the beginning of NYC, congregations will spend time in prayer for their youth and what they will experience at NYC. The congregations who have spent so much time physically preparing for NYC, will take this time to spiritually prepare the youth for their mountain top experience, both literally and figuratively.

National Youth Conference is such a unique experience for youth. Youth will come together, in community, with people who are very different, yet very similar. The NYC participants are a diverse community. In a time when it feels like differences are being accented, we encourage participants to be in conversation with people who are different from themselves. The diversity that the body of Christ offers is important. As the scripture reminds us, not everyone can be a hand. Some people need to be a foot, or an arm, or a nose.

Everyone is invited to take advantage of the unique opportunity that is NYC, and we invite everyone to see the God in others! It is no accident that the NYC theme this summer is “More than Meets the Eye.”

— Audrey Hollenberg is one of the two NYC coordinators, along with Emily LaPrade.

8) Garcia to coordinate donor invitation for Church of the Brethren.

Amanda (Mandy) Garcia has accepted the position of coordinator of Donor Invitation for the Church of the Brethren, effective July 26. Her responsibilities will include promoting and securing online and direct mail gifts, working in the Stewardship and Donor Development department.

She comes to the position from Brethren Benefit Trust, where she has resigned as administrative office assistant, effective July 23. She has worked for BBT since Feb. 2, 2009. She is a graduate of Judson University in Elgin, Ill., where she earned a degree in worship arts/communications and media. She and her family live in Elgin.

9) Baseball… and forgiveness.

The following reflection by Larry Gibble about what baseball may have to teach us about forgiveness comes from the e-mail newsletter of York (Pa.) First Church of the Brethren. It is used here with permission:

“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” (Matthew 6:12, KJV).

Detroit. Wednesday night, June 2, 2010. The Cleveland Indians vs. the Detroit Tigers. The principles: pitcher Armando Galarraga (2-1/2 weeks Major League experience) and umpire Jim Joyce (Major League umpire since 1989). The witnesses: millions of TV viewers. The situation: a perfect game is underway and is down to the last out.

A grounder is hit to the first baseman, who tosses to the pitcher covering first base. Then there is the blown call at first base (the mistake). The spontaneous smile (instead of anger) of the pitcher when the umpire made the bad call depriving him of a perfect game forever. The TV replay (seeing the facts). The remorse of the umpire (after seeing the replay several times) realizing, “I just cost that kid a perfect game.” The umpire’s tears. Minutes later, the umpire’s sincerest apology in the clubhouse to the pitcher with tears flowing down his cheeks (his debt to the young pitcher could never be repaid). The pitcher’s immediate acceptance of the apology (forgiveness).

The witnesses: millions around the world. The replays of the event since then: provided by the news media around the world. The lesson: for each one of us to apply in our everyday living. “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”

Artist and minister David Weiss painted pictures inspired by the New Church Development Conference (see story at left). This painting illustrates the text for the conference, 1 Corinthians 3:6. View the photo album from the conference at

Young Adult Conference drew 70 Brethren from across the country to Camp Blue Diamond over Memorial Day Weekend (see story at left). The theme was “Community” based on Romans 12. Find a photo album at
. Photo by Justin Hollenberg

Nine Ministry Summer Service interns
participated in orientation in early June. Interns serve in congregations and denominational programs and include the Youth Peace Travel Team. Above from left are interns Hannah Wysong, Bethany Clark, Allen Bowers, Marcus Harden, Jenna Stacy, Cambria Teter, Hannah Miller, Sarah Neher, and Tim Heishman. Find a blog from the 2010 Youth Peace Travel Team (Harden, Heishman, Teter, and Wysong) at . Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford

Some of the colorful fabric bags made out of used t-shirts
by women at Skyridge Church of the Brethren in Kalamazoo, Mich., on May 15. Carie Gross had seen the pattern in her “Family Fun” magazine as an idea for your child’s favorite t-shirts that have been outgrown. Seeing a possible outreach project, she began in February collecting donations. Thanks to the letter she wrote to the local paper, the church not only received donations, but two women from the community joined in the first work day alongside six from the congregation. Over 600 t-shirts were donated and the women finished 180 bags that first day. The bags were blessed the following day during worship, and delivered to Ministry with Community, a daytime drop-in shelter that serves the homeless. Photo by Carie Gross

Brethren bits

— Jan Fischer Bachman began June 7 as website producer for the Church of the Brethren, working on a contract basis from Chantilly, Va. A member of Oakton (Va.) Church of the Brethren, she is a writer for the Gather ’Round curriculum published by Brethren Press and Mennonite Publishing Network. In other work, she has provided consultation in editing, design, and marketing for a wide range of clients in several countries, most recently in the Gambia, where she used to live. During a stint with the Foreign Service Institute at the US Department of State, she was a writer, editor, and manager of the organization’s websites.

— Sam Smith has joined the Church of the Brethren’s Global Mission Partnerships staff in a 12-week position as Peace Witness Consultant. His responsibilities will include strengthening the conscientious objector program, developing peace-related print resources, populating the Church of the Brethren website peace pages, and nurturing relationships with Brethren-affiliated peace entities. He is an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren. He and his family live in West Chicago, Ill. Since 1995 he has served as a youth pastor in Mennonite, Brethren, and United Methodist congregations. Currently he is a youth speaker/evangelist with Heavy Light Ministries and most recently started a youth church called Upper Xtreme Fellowship, which meets in the western suburbs of Chicago.

— Ray and Bev Ax have begun as managers at Camp Wilbur Stover in New Meadows, Idaho. Both grew up on farms in the Nampa area where Bev Ax attended Bowmont and Nampa Churches of the Brethren. They are currently members of First Church of the Nazarene in Nampa. Retired in 2003 and 1995 respectively, the couple are members of ROAM (RVers On A Mission), a ministry of the Nazarene Church, and have worked at small Nazarene congregations and campgrounds in Arizona, Oregon, and Washington States. In other news, the camp was struck by flash floods recently, pictures of damage are at , click on “News” and choose “Goose Creek Murmurs” Vol. 2, Issue 4. “Due to the flash floods this year we are in need of your prayers,” said the camp newsletter. “Also we are in need of donations for gravel and other repairs.” Send love offerings to Gary Ackerman, 44 N. Pit Ln., Nampa, ID 83687.

— Southern Ohio District seeks a district executive minister for a part-time position available Jan. 1, 2011. The district includes 52 congregations and 3 fellowships in Ohio and Kentucky, and is entering a time of transition and visioning new mission and ministry as it moves from full-time to part-time executive staffing. Congregations are rural, suburban, and urban, with the majority in the greater Dayton area. It is theologically diverse while able to celebrate its unity in Jesus Christ. The preferred candidate is a spiritual leader who offers inspiration and works collaboratively. The district office is at Mill Ridge Village of the Brethren Retirement Community in Union, Ohio. Responsibilities include serving as executive officer of the board of the district, facilitating and giving general oversight to planning and implementation of ministries as directed by the District Conference and District Board, providing linkages to congregations and denominational agencies, articulating and promoting the vision of the district, assisting congregations and pastors with placement, building and strengthening relationships with congregations and pastors, using mediation skills to work with congregations in conflict, facilitating and encouraging the calling of people to set-apart ministry and lay leadership, and promoting unity in the district. Qualifications include a clear commitment to Jesus Christ demonstrated by a vibrant spiritual life, commitment to New Testament values, commitment to Church of the Brethren faith and heritage, a minimum of 10 years of pastoral experience, respect for theological diversity, flexibility in working with staff and volunteers and pastoral and lay leadership, and strong skills in communication, mediation, conflict resolution, administration, management, and budget. Ordination in the Church of the Brethren is required, with a master of divinity degree preferred. Send letter of interest and resume to Applicants are requested to contact three or four people to provide a letter of reference. A candidate profile must be completed and returned before the application is complete. The application deadline is Aug. 1.

— With the announced retirement of president Steve Morgan, the University of La Verne Board of Trustees, through the Presidential Search Advisory Committee and national search firm of Witt/Kieffer, is conducting a nationwide search for a new president to take office July 2011. The University of La Verne is a Church of the Brethren related school located in La Verne, Calif. Visit the Presidential Search webpage at
 to review the “Position Specification.” Submit letters of nomination or expressions of interest to Witt/Kieffer through the Presidential Search webpage by selecting “How to Submit or Nominate” for details and contact information.

— Camp Eder near Gettysburg, Pa., seeks a seasoned and dynamic full-time executive director to lead the organization to new levels of growth in its mission to provide creative camping ministry for children, youth, and adults in a place of natural beauty where people can experience God’s creation in a loving and caring environment. The executive director works with the camp board to carry out the strategic goals of Camp Eder. Responsibilities include managing personnel and fiscal operations, fundraising, agency relations, communications, assuring compliance with governmental regulations, assessing organizational needs, and implementing improvements. The executive director will foster development and implementation of organizational strategic direction, reporting directly to the camp board and nurturing a strong relationship with Southern Pennsylvania District. Camp Eder ( ) is eight miles west of Gettysburg on a 400-acre facility. As a ministry of the Southern Pennsylvania District, Camp Eder is a faith-based agency grounded in values and beliefs of the Church of the Brethren. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to lead an organization rooted in central Pennsylvania’s history for 50 years and whose future will build on the agency’s exemplary record of creative camping ministry for children, youth, and families. Qualifications and required skills: A Christian with a growing faith and a heart for evangelism as well as an understanding and acceptance of Church of the Brethren core values. Strong spiritual leader with a passion for outdoor ministry. Ability to implement the strategic vision plan as directed by the camp board. A bachelor’s degree or equivalent life/work experience. Previous administration and camping experience preferred with strong fiscal, management, organizational, computer, and communication skills. Capability and enthusiasm for interpreting the mission and vision of the camp to area congregations and beyond. Submit a cover letter, resume, and three or four references (personal and professional) along with salary expectations to Joe Detrick at . The deadline for submissions is Aug. 7.

— Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) seeks a full-time administrative office assistant at its Elgin, Ill., office as soon as possible. This person will assist the director of office operations by typing general documents; assisting with logistics for special events and travel; maintaining records; assisting with document retention (electronic and paper) for Board documents, contracts, and more; and performing other administrative duties as requested. This position also assists the director of information technology by functioning as the operations go-to person for the VOIP phone system, training employees to use BBT’s e-mail system, helping with backup tape rotation, and administering BBT’s Internet conferencing system. Qualifications for this role include maintaining confidentiality (which is critical to the position), proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite, and excellent writing, grammar, organizational, and multi-tasking skills. The candidate must possess a positive, committed, collaborative working style and be a member of a faith community. Candidates must have at least five years of experience performing secretarial or general office duties or a bachelor’s degree. Submit a resume, letter of interest, salary requirement, and three references to Donna March, Director of Office Operations, Brethren Benefit Trust, 1505 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; 800-746-1505 ext. 371; . More information about the position can be found at , click on “About BBT” and then “Job Openings.”

— Brethren Disaster Ministries is in need of long-term volunteer cooks at its Winamac, Ind., and Chalmette, La., projects, willing to spend three or more weeks cooking for groups of volunteer disaster workers. The ministry will pay transportation costs and provide separate sleeping quarters when possible. Cooks are needed during the months of July and August at both sites. Contact Zach Wolgemuth at  or 800-451-4407.

— Several Brethren were part of hunger events in Washington, D.C., this week. Among religious leaders in a meeting with US Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was Jay Wittmeyer, executive director of the Church of the Brethren’s Global Mission Partnerships. The meeting was organized by Bread for the World and addressed domestic hunger issues. Also sponsored by Bread was a training for 75 young adult hunge justice advocates including former National Youth Conference coordinator Beth Rhodes. In addition, Herb and Jeanne Smith of McPherson, Kan., participated in the Foods Resource Bank’s “Heart of the Hill” witness on hunger to legislators.

— Congregational Life Ministries executive director Jonathan Shively is on the planning committee for the 2011 Congress on Urban Ministry, titled “Peacemaking in a Culture of Violence.” Sponsored by the Seminary Consortium for Urban Pastoral Education in Chicago, Ill. (SCUPE), the event will be held March 1-4, 2011, at Hyatt McCormick Place in Chicago.

— The Church of the Brethren’s Facebook page now has more than 3,000 fans as of yesterday. “Thanks for being part of the Church of the Brethren online community,” wrote Wendy McFadden, Brethren Press publisher who posts on behalf of the denomination. “Thanks for all the ways you continue the work of Jesus.” The 3,000 mark is roughly double the number of fans in late January. The country with the second highest number of fans after the United States is Nigeria, with 19, and top cities are Philadelphia, Roanoke, Harrisburg, and Chicago. Find the page at

— “Join us live in Colorado!” says an invitation to the first-ever webcast from National Youth Conference. On July 19, from 8:30-9:55 a.m. mountain time (10:30-11:55 a.m. eastern), streaming video of the worship service from NYC will feature the youth speech and music contest winners. A recording will be made for those unable to tune in at the time of the live broadcast. All that will be needed to view the broadcast is a computer connected to the Internet. The webcast will be produced by Bethany Seminary in collaboration with the Church of the Brethren’s Youth and Young Adult Ministry. To view the webcast or access the recording go to  and click on the National Youth Conference link.

— The Sustaining Pastoral Excellence program of the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership continues this year with some “tweaking,” reports the academy newsletter. Recruitment of pastors began this April, an initial retreat for the Advanced Foundations for Congregational Leaders will be Aug. 24-27, and a first retreat/workshop for Vital Pastor cohorts will be Sept. 13-16. Recruitment will continue through the summer while there is time for the pastors entering this fall’s cohorts to complete their pre-retreat reflections or until each educational track is filled. Pastors can contact coordinators Linda and Glenn Timmons at  or  or 800-287-8822 ext. 1810.

— “Peace Among the Peoples: Overcoming the Spirit, Logic, and Practice of Violence” is planned for July 28-31 in Elkhart, Ind. The Church of the Brethren is one of the sponsors of this ecumenical peace conference focused on contemporary North American responses to war in preparation for the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation culminating event of the Decade to Overcome Violence in Jamaica next year. For more information and to register go to .

— Erwin (Tenn.) Church of the Brethren has opened its new sanctuary for worship, two years after a fire touched off by lightning destroyed its church building on June 9, 2008 (see the Newsline report of the fire at ). A piece from News Channel 11 posted at last Sunday, June 13, reported on the first worship service open to the public at the new building. “That new church smell greeted dozens of regulars–and several guests,” the report said, quoting pastor Phil Graeber: “A lot of times I hear people say, ‘Well you all have done a tremendous job.’ It’s not me that’s done a tremendous job, it’s everyone. Because everyone has had a hand in it.” A video report is at

— Shiloh Church of the Brethren near Kasson, W.Va., has started rebuilding following a fire on Jan. 3 this year (see the Newsline report of Jan. 5 at ). Financial secretary Doug Mills reports the congregation hopes to have its new building enclosed and weather proofed by the end of this week, at this point focusing on first completing the sanctuary and restrooms. So far, about $474,000 has been received from the church’s insurance plan and in donations, toward a total rebuilding estimate of $528,000, Mills said. Virlina District churches have contributed more than $8,000, and some 20 other Brethren congregations also have sent donations. “You never can get enough insurance, and we voted not to borrow any money,” Mills commented. For more information about the rebuilding effort contact Shiloh Church of the Brethren, Attn: Doug Mills, Rt. 1, Box 284, Moatsville, WV 26405; 304-457-2650 or .

— May 16 marked the Open House service for the new Glory to Glory Ministries, a church plant of Illinois and Wisconsin District in the Douglas Park neighborhood of Chicago. “The house was packed with all 64 seats taken,” reported the district newsletter. “Please continue to keep this ministry and the work in Chicago in your prayers.”

— Atlantic Southeast District has a new website: .

— Manchester College in North Manchester, Ind., has recognized five people with its Alumni Honor Award including physician Phil Wright of Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren in Fort Wayne, Ind., who serves as medical director for Physicians Health Plan. Also receiving the award are Marvin L. Bittinger of Carmel, Ind., mathematics textbook author and honorary professor emeritus of mathematics education for Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis; Carolyn Hardman, long-time board member of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and the American Pianists Association; Edward L. Hollenberg of Winamac, Ind., family physician and author; and Anita Sherman of Indianapolis, senior audit partner of Greenwalt CPAs.

— The Chinese Golden Dragon Acrobats will perform at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., on June 29 starting at 7:30 p.m. in Rosenberger Auditorium in Oller Hall. “The awe-inspiring acts of acrobatics used by the Golden Dragon troupe date back more than 2,000 years” and include routines such as the human pagoda, rope-walking, and the “dancing horse,” the release said. For tickets and information call 814-641-JTIX (5849). General admission is $12. Juniata College students are admitted free with a student ID.

— Louise Nolt, a resident at Timbercrest Senior Living, a Church of the Brethren retirement community in North Manchester, Ind., is collecting stories from people who served in Civilian Public Service (CPS) or alternative service during World War II. Nolt is undertaking a history of CPS camps and alternative service projects during the war. Write to Louise Nolt, c/o Timbercrest Senior Living, 2201 East St., North Manchester, IN 46962.

Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren,  or 800-323-8039 ext. 260. Jan Fischer Bachman, Martha Beach, Kathleen Campanella, Lesley Crosson, Joe Detrick, Enten Eller, Mary Jo Flory-Steury, Jonathan Frerichs, Ed Groff, Carie Gross, Audrey Hollenberg, Jeri S. Kornegay, Karin L. Krog, Emily LaPrade, Donna March, Wendy McFadden, Howard Royer, Andrew Sampson, Jonathan Shively, Brian Solem, John Wall, Julia Wheeler contributed to this report. Newsline regularly appears every other week, with special issues as needed. The next regular issue is scheduled for June 30. 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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