May 20, 2010
“God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh…” (Acts 2:17a).
1) Sunday worship, other sessions to be webcast by Annual Conference.
2) New investment options are approved by BBT Board.
3) Bethany Seminary hosts third Presidential Forum.
4) NCC Governing Board calls for end to gun violence.
5) Kendal Elmore to serve as executive for West Marva District.
Brethren bits: Personnel, job openings, YAC, and much more (see column at right)
1) Sunday worship, other sessions to be webcast by Annual Conference.
This year, Annual Conference has announced plans to run a pilot test of webcasting–that is, broadcasting live over the Internet–a smattering of sessions including Sunday morning worship on July 4.
“Can’t make it to Pittsburgh this year for Annual Conference?” asked Conference director Chris Douglas in her report on the decision. “Have to miss that connection to the gathered body of Brethren? The news is that you can now participate in some sessions anyway…via the Internet! While it won’t be as good as being there, it will sure beat not participating at all!”
The move is designed to include as many Brethren as possible in the Annual Conference experience. Brethren are invited to view all the broadcasts either individually, or in groups. “Plan a viewing party with others at your church!” Douglas invited.
Conference worship services have been named as the highest priority to share with the wider church. In fact, congregations with projectors are invited to consider joining their Sunday morning service on July 4 with the live Internet broadcast from Pittsburgh. The prelude music will begin at 10 a.m. (eastern time), with worship starting at 10:20 a.m. Those congregations further west will have the option of streaming a recording of the webcast into their sanctuaries at a time more suitable for their own time zone.
While plans to webcast some other Conference activities are tentative, consideration also is being given to offer webcasts of business or meal events, and perhaps an insight session or even a concert.
All the webcasts in this pilot project will be evaluated for participation, cost, and effectiveness, Douglas said. 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. No pre-registration will be required to participate in the webcasts.
More information will be posted at the website for the webcasts as it becomes available. Go to www.bethanyseminary.edu/webcast/annualconference2010 ahead of time to see what is available, and to view webcasts during the Annual Conference July 3-7.
2) New investment options are approved by BBT Board.
Investments were the focus of the April meeting of the Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) Board of Directors in Elgin, Ill. Staff and board members came together at the Church of the Brethren General Offices from April 24-25 to discuss the selection of new investment funds, the move to daily valuations of funds under management, the confirmation of two investment management firms, and other matters related to BBT’s ministries.
“We have listened to requests from our members and are working with the board to strengthen the services and products we offer,” said BBT president Nevin Dulabaum. “We look forward to offering more investment choices, more frequently updated account values, and stronger fiscal management to those we serve.”
Staff recommended five funds to offer to members and clients that fit new investment styles that were added to the investment guidelines for the Brethren Pension Plan and Brethren Foundation by the board in Nov. 2009. The board approved the funds, which include an emerging markets stock fund through DFA, ING’s global public real estate fund, a Principal high-yield bond fund, a Vanguard Treasury inflation-protected securities fund, and a commodities-based fund managed by PIMCO. Brethren Foundation clients will be able to invest in these new funds in the coming months, as will members of the Pension Plan, once BBT is able to offer investment assistance.
“We searched various sectors to try to identify the best mix of funds to offer, and we think these will give our members and clients more choices for diversifying their assets,” said Jerry Rodeffer, BBT’s chief financial officer.
The board also approved the Investment Committee’s recommendation that the Pension Plan’s Common Stock fund be unbundled into its five components–International, Small Cap, Large Cap Core, Large Cap Growth, and Mid Cap Value–to provide greater variety of equity offerings for plan members. These funds will still comprise the Common Stock Fund, which will still be an allocation option.
The board approved an increase in how often BBT values its funds. While BBT currently values its funds twice monthly, the board approved a move to daily valuations. This decision will allow Pension Plan members access to updated account information through a recently launched Internet site, and will make up-to-date information available to Brethren Foundation clients once that ministry’s online presence is established.
Another decision could allow the Brethren Foundation to expand its client base. The board approved the request that the Brethren Foundation be allowed to serve non tax-exempt organizations that have values consistent with those of the Church of the Brethren, as long as those organizations do not make up more than 15 percent of the foundation’s annual revenue.
The board also confirmed two investment management firms. Based on current guidelines, the firm overseeing BBT’s large cap growth equity investments must exceed the performance of the Russell 1000 Growth index by one percent or more and bring in top quartile returns compared with similar investment managers over a five-year period. Because New Amsterdam, the manager of those funds, failed to achieve those goals in its tenure with BBT the Investment Committee recommended that the board dismiss this manager.
After interviewing two investment management firms to replace New Amsterdam, the committee recommended that Segall Bryant and Hamill, a Chicago-based investment adviser, be installed as the large cap growth equity manager for the Pension Plan and Brethren Foundation. The board approved both recommendations.
Additionally, the Investment Committee received a presentation by Agincourt–one of BBT’s two bond investment managers–reviewing its three-year performance. The board approved a recommendation that Agincourt be retained as a manager of those funds based on the firm’s outstanding investment performance. The firm’s portfolios for BBT and the Brethren Foundation beat the benchmark by seven percentage points in 2009.
Annual defense lists were presented to the board. Each year, BBT releases two lists of publicly traded companies that have strong business alliances with the Department of Defense. Because of BBT’s commitment to making investments that adhere to Brethren values and Annual Conference directives, actively managed investments in companies holding the 25 largest Department of Defense contracts, and companies that earn more than 10 percent of their income from such contracts, are prohibited. These lists can be found at www.brethrenbenefittrust.org by clicking on “Downloads” and then “Socially Responsible Investing.”
“Although our managers are expected to avoid investing in companies that are not in compliance with BBT’s socially responsible investing guidelines, we go a step further in honoring the Church of the Brethren’s historic peace stance by producing these lists,” said Steve Mason, coordinator of BBT’s socially responsible investing activities.
The board reviewed BBT’s 2010 shareholder initiatives, or efforts to effect change as an owner of stock in companies. This year, Mason will work with ConocoPhillips to ensure that its work does not interfere with the rights of indigenous people around the world. He also will pursue talks with Toyota regarding human rights and labor policies in its global supply chain.
In other business:
— auditing firm Legacy Professionals LLP offered a “clean opinion”–its highest designation–for BBT and Brethren Foundation 2009 financial reports;
— bylaws for BBT and the Brethren Foundation and their incorporated entities were updated and approved;
— staff and board addressed an ongoing issue with its custodian and administration of BBT’s securities lending portfolio;
— Michael Leiter, senior director of marketing and development at Fahrney-Keedy Home and Village in Boonsboro, Md., was elected to serve as a board member representing the Brethren retirement communities–a seat vacated by Carol Davis who resigned March 4; and
— board and staff reviewed the process for electing three board members in 2010. Two candidates–Wayne Scott and John Waggoner–will appear on the Annual Conference ballot; Karen Crim was elected to serve a second term by members of the Pension Plan; and in November, the board chose Eunice Culp to fill the third open seat. The elections of Crim and Culp will be brought to Annual Conference for affirmation.
— Brian Solem is publications coordinator for Brethren Benefit Trust.
3) Bethany Seminary hosts third Presidential Forum.
Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., hosted its third annual Presidential Forum April 8-10. This year’s theme, “When Strangers Are Angels: The Spiritual and Social Movements of Brethren, Friends, and Mennonites in the 21st Century,” was celebrated through lectures, discussions, drama, and worship. The story of Jacob wrestling with the stranger from Genesis 32 was invoked in a variety of ways.
Martin Marty, distinguished service professor emeritus at the University of Chicago and columnist for “The Christian Century,” was the featured lecturer.
A Pre-Forum Gathering for alumni/ae and friends featured lectures presented by Bethany faculty members. Academic dean Steve Schweitzer shed light on “Dimensions of the Stranger in the Old Testament.” “Surprised by Emmanuel: Mission with Jesus in Matthew” was presented by Dan Ulrich, professor of New Testament studies. Through story and song, Dawn Ottoni-Wilhelm, associate professor of preaching and worship, gave a presentation on the prophetic and pastoral distinctives of Anabaptist-Pietist preaching. Tara Hornbacker, associate professor of ministry formation, and Russell Haitch, associate professor of Christian education and director of the Institute for Ministry with Youth and Young Adults, invited participants to share in small group discussion on the topic, “How Is Today’s Church Living out Our Brethren Values?”
The Presidential Forum began with worship and a plenary session on “The Demands of the Stranger” led by Marty. He challenged the crowd to consider three aspects of the stranger: the stranger within ourselves and our own faith communities, the stranger beyond our faith communities (where he noted the particularity of the Anabaptist tradition being founded on estrangement from mainstream Christianity), and finally the global stranger.
A play closed out the evening, “Man from Magdalena” written by Earlham School of Religion student Patty Willis. The play chronicled the journey of Manuel Jesus Cordova Soberanes, a Mexican immigrant, who rescued a nine-year-old boy whose mother had just been killed in an automobile accident in the southern Arizona desert.
Saturday morning began with a panel discussion, where representatives from each of the historic peace churches (Church of the Brethren, Friends, and Mennonites) responded to the questions “What defines someone as a stranger in your faith community?” and “How are we strangers to each other?”
This led to a lively discussion about the particularities as well as deep points of connection between the three traditions. As a Mennonite teaching at Bethany, Malinda Berry, instructor in theological studies and director of the Master of Arts program, spoke of her experience on the Church of the Brethren campus as “coming to spend time with the cousins and getting to know the extended family.” Jay Marshall, dean at Earlham School of Religion, noted that today Quakers may have few external identifying markers such as unique dress, but “many orientations still matter, including the inner light, spiritual disciplines, and a commitment to equality.”
Following the panel discussion, attendees had the opportunity to continue the conversation with pairs of panel members or discuss the theme topic with area experts on poverty, immigration, globalization and militarism, sexuality, and racism.
Scott Holland, professor of theology and culture and director of peace studies and cross-cultural studies, led a Saturday afternoon intertextual interpretation of the theme of the stranger, engaging stories of Anabaptists’ experience from around the globe. The discussion and question time centered on the complexities of befriending the stranger. Holland responded with a question a man had asked him in Kenya: “What do you do when the stranger wants to kill you?” He concluded that such questions will never completely be answered, but that the two simple answers we have known–fight back or die–are not the only two options and there are a variety of ways to create cultures of peace.
During the final plenary, Marty spoke about the gifts of strangers. He presented several ways in which the Historic Peace Churches offer a unique perspective. The principles of community and hospitality were highlighted in his address.
The forum culminated in an energetic closing worship service. Participants were invited to break bread with a neighbor unknown to them. Blessings were exchanged, hearts were opened, new ideas were planted.
— Lindsey Frye is a student at Bethany Theological Seminary.
4) NCC Governing Board calls for end to gun violence.
Alarmed by statistics that 100,000 Americans annually are victims of gun violence, the National Council of Churches (NCC) Governing Board has unanimously adopted a resolution calling for legislative action to limit access to assault weapons and hand guns.
Church of the Brethren general secretary Stan Noffsinger is a member of the Governing Board, which met May 17-18 in Elizabeth, N.J. He also serves as an at-large vice president on the executive committee of the NCC.
“Ending Gun Violence: A Resolution and Call to Action,” also calls on Congress to close the “gunshow loophole” that allows buyers to purchase firearms from private sellers without submitting to background checks or providing documentation of the purchase.
The resolution calls on member churches to support the NCC staff “in coordinating ecumenical efforts for gun violence reduction,” including the preparation of educational materials and establishing dialogue among gun owners and gun control advocates.
“Responsible gun ownership can be consistent with our constitutional rights,” the resolution states. “However, it must be stressed that there are relatively few shootings by average citizens defending themselves. Rather, most fatal and non-fatal shootings result from abuse or misuse of guns.” The resolution cites statistics that firearms are used in 1.5 million crimes annually in the United States. “More than 69,000 shootings each year are non-fatal, yet still leave in their wake a trail of pain, suffering, and/or disfigurement, and anguish and grief for family and community,” the resolution states.
Among other business, the Governing Board also issued a pastoral letter urging US President Barack Obama and Congress to assure equal access to education for all children. The letter asks government leaders not to lose sight of the fact that public schools are the basic institution for educating the nation’s children and urges the nation’s leaders to help craft a system of education that looks upon children as unique and valuable individuals rather than “products to be tested.” And the letter cautions politicians against scapegoating principals and teachers when schools fall short of arbitrary goals. Widespread childhood poverty is a tragic factor that should prompt all politicians to seek the most equitable and accessible system of education, the pastoral letter said.
The letter was drafted by the NCC’s Education and Leadership Ministries Commission, with primary contributions from the Council’s Committee on Public Education and Literacy.
The Governing Board pledged to partner in the work to reform education through a number of specific measures including: encouraging congregations to value public education and teachers through sermons, worship, and prayer; supporting parent education and adult literacy; encouraging congregations to partner with public schools to provide tutors, school supplies, exposure to computers and many other supports; supporting out-of-school supports like better and widely available pre-school and after school programs; and continuing to educate our members about the value of Community Schools that surround public schools with social supports.
The full text of the resolution against gun violence can be found at www.ncccusa.org/NCCpolicies/gunviolence.pdf . The full text of the pastoral letter on education can be found at www.ncccusa.org/news/100519pastoralletter.html .
— This report is taken from press releases by Philip E. Jenks, the National Council of Churches’ media relations specialist. A “Prayer for the Human Tragedy Behind Immigration,” shared by José Luis Casal of the Presbyterian Church (USA) at the NCC Governing Board meeting, has been posted on the General Secretary’s page of www.brethren.org in both English and Spanish, go to www.brethren.org/site/PageServer?pagename=office_general_secretary .
5) Kendal Elmore to serve as executive for West Marva District.
Kendal W. Elmore will begin as executive minister for West Marva District, as of Aug. 1. Since Jan. 2006 he has pastored Toledo (Ohio) Heatherdowns Church of the Brethren.
Elmore has more than 36 years of experience in ministry, having also served as pastor of a number of congregations in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, and Indiana. He brings extensive experience in district work, having been chair of the board and chair of the ministry commission in both Western Pennsylvania and Northern Ohio Districts. In Mid-Atlantic District, he has been a member of the New Church Development Support Team, the Ministerial Continuing Education Committee, and the Ministry Commission.
He attended Ferrum College and Virginia Commonwealth University, and completed the denomination’s Three-Year Reading Course in 1976, participating in the program in both South Central Indiana and Virlina Districts.
The West Marva District office will continue to be located in Oakland, Md.
There are only two weeks left to register online for Annual Conference on July 3-7 in Pittsburgh, Pa. (shown above in a photo from VisitPittsburgh). June 7 is the last day for the advance, non-delegate registration fee of $95. After that date, participants must register onsite in Pittsburgh, where the registration fee will be $120 for the full Conference. The June 7 deadline also applies to age-group registrations and purchasing meal tickets and Conference booklets. Go to www.brethren.org/ac and click the “Housing and Registration” link. For questions, contact the Conference Office at 800-323-8039 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
Tweets are being shared by participants at the Church Planting Conference that began today at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind. Follow the Twitter stream at http://twitter.com/search?q=%23cobplant2010 . So far, participants have shared comments ranging from “Belita speaking Pour out Holy Spirit!” to “Recognizing new church plants at plenary session of the conference. Wow! great things happening in the CoB!! Praise God.” The conference continues through May 22 on the theme, “Plant Generously, Reap Bountifully” (1 Corinthians 3:6).
Young Adult Conference meets May 29-31 at Camp Blue Diamond near Petersburg, Pa. The theme for this gathering of Church of the Brethren young adults is “Community” based on Romans 12:4-8. Information and registration are online at www.brethren.org/site/PageServer?pagename=grow_young_adult_ministry
— Philip J. Medon has been selected as founding dean for Manchester College’s new School of Pharmacy. He most recently was founding dean of the School of Pharmacy of Southern Illinois University. With graduate degrees from Purdue University, he also has held faculty and administrative positions at University of Louisiana at Monroe, University of Illinois-Chicago, and University of New Mexico. He will join Manchester on July 1 as vice president and dean of the School of Pharmacy, and as a professor of pharmacy and toxicology. The School of Pharmacy is the college’s first doctoral program and will be located in Fort Wayne, Ind. For more visit pharmacy.manchester.edu.
— Nancy Buffenmyer has resigned as editorial and marketing assistant for the Gather ’Round curriculum jointly produced by Brethren Press and the Mennonite Publishing Network, as of May 21. She has worked for Gather ’Round since Jan. 2008.
— The Church of the Brethren seeks a director for the Brethren Historical Library and Archives (BHLA) at the denomination’s General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Start date is Nov. 1. Responsibilities include to promote the history and heritage of the Church of the Brethren by administering the BHLA and facilitating research and the study of Brethren history, provide reference services, assure the cataloging of books and processing of archival records, formulate policies, budget, develop the collection, recruit and train interns and volunteers. Requirements include a master’s degree in library science or archival studies and extensive knowledge of Church of the Brethren history and beliefs with a graduate degree in history or theology and/or certification by the Academy of Certified Archivists preferred; ability to articulate and operate out of the vision of the Church of the Brethren; grounding in library and archival disciplines; customer service skills; research and problem-solving skills; proficiency in Microsoft software and experience with OCLC products; three-to-five years of experience working in a library or archives. An application, resume, and three reference letters are due no later than June 25 to Karin Krog, Director of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60123; email@example.com ; 847-742-5100 ext. 258.
— Brethren Benefit Trust seeks an accounting manager to fill a fulltime position at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Function is to maintain an accurate daily valuation process and provide support to the CFO, with primary responsibility to direct the workload of daily valuation of pension and foundation investment funds. Additional responsibilities are to confirm trading activity of mutual fund shares for pension and foundation investment choices; provide backup for payroll, accounts payable and receivable; conduct internal audits and testing for accuracy and compliance within each program offered by BBT; assist in developing a business continuity plan; and other duties as assigned. BBT seeks candidates with undergraduate degrees in accounting, business, or a related field, and a CPA is preferred. Other requirements include strong verbal and written communications skills and proficiency in Microsoft Office; knowledge of accounting systems and business planning desired; current and active membership in the Church of the Brethren preferred; current and active membership in a faith community required. Salary and benefits are competitive with Church Benefits Association agencies of comparable size and scope of services. A full benefits package is included. BBT hopes to begin interviewing by June 15. Apply by submitting a letter of interest, resume, three references (one supervisor or professor/teacher, one colleague, one friend), and salary-range expectation to Donna March at 1505 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120, or firstname.lastname@example.org . For questions or clarification about the position, call 847-622-3371.
— The Church of the Brethren seeks an editorial assistant for the Gather ’Round Curriculum Project of Brethren Press and the Mennonite Publishing Network. The individual will fill a 30-40 hour per week position at the General Offices in Elgin, Ill., available May 24. The editorial assistant supports the editorial and marketing arms of the curriculum project, working closely with the managing editor and project director; coordinates contracts and payments for illustrators, designers, writers, and photographers; researches and requests permissions for use of copyrighted material; copy edits and proofreads material; serves as a liaison to denominational customer service staff and the public; produces spreadsheets and other reports; assembles a monthly e-newsletter; coordinates logistics for writers conferences and other meetings; and performs general office duties. The editorial assistant also maintains and updates the Gather ’Round website and troubleshoots web download orders. For a full position description request the application packet from the Office of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120-1694; 800-323-8039 ext. 258; email@example.com .
— Zach Wolgemuth, associate director of Brethren Disaster Ministries, was among those invited to speak at a “Champions of Hope” volunteer dinner on April 22 held by the Lakeshore Area Regional Recovery of Indiana (LARRI). Brethren Disaster Ministries received an award in recognition of its ongoing partnership and assistance following flooding in northwest Indiana. There were about 270 people at the event, including donors, sponsors, volunteers, and partner groups including the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee, the United Methodist Church of Tennessee, and the Governor’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. In his remarks, Wolgemuth credited LARRI staff and the disaster volunteers. “It goes without saying that the efforts of all the volunteers, donors, partners, and sponsors are changing lives here in this great community…. There is light where there was darkness, hope where there was hopelessness.”
— Stan Dueck, the denomination’s director for Transforming Practices, has been involved in several meetings in Virlina District and Roanoke, Va. On April 30, he met with pastors of urban congregations in a meeting arranged by Tim Harvey, pastor of Central Church of the Brethren. The pastors recently had participated in a pulpit exchange among their respective congregations. Conversation centered on stories of transformation in which churches and pastors see God working in the community, and time was devoted to exploring ways the churches may work together to make effective use of their ministries and resources. Dueck also gave a workshop for a district leadership training event at Copper Hill Church of the Brethren on May 1. “Why We Do What We Do” discussed dynamics of cultural shifts and the role that church systems have in shaping values, relationships, worship, leadership, evangelism, and conflict in communities of faith. On Sunday, May 2, he participated in the 85th anniversary of Central Church, and then worshiped at Renacer, a Hispanic church start pastored by Daniel and Oris D’Oleo.
— The Older Adult Ministry Cabinet is meeting at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., on May 20-22 for an annual planning retreat. The cabinet assists Kim Ebersole, director of Family and Older Adult Ministries, to develop resources and programing. Members attending the retreat are Bill Cave (Pennsylvania), Anne Palmer (California), Heddie Sumner (Michigan), and LeRoy Weddle (Kansas). Other cabinet members are Deanna Brown and Kim Witkovsky, who are unable to attend.
— On Earth Peace is offering Peace Retreats for congregations, districts, and camps. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to request contact from an On Earth Peace staff member who will help tailor a retreat to the congregational, district, or camp setting. Groups that host retreats are required to provide food, housing, and a stipend for the leadership. In return, On Earth Peace will provide retreat facilitators and an organized schedule of activities and lessons. For more go to www.onearthpeace.org/programs/peace-ed/peace-retreats/index.html .
— A John’s Way Ministry was started by Clover Creek Church of the Brethren in Fredericksburg, Pa., a year ago in honor of John Scott Baird, a member of the church who was born with a rare genetic abnormality that confined him to a wheelchair. He passed away on May 5, 2004, at age 19. The ministry accepts donations of used medical equipment and supplies in good working condition and freely gives them to anyone in need of them. “The equipment is cleaned, checked over, and placed in storage ready for the next request,” said an article in the Middle Pennsylvania District newsletter.
— York (Pa.) First Church of the Brethren will receive a special presentation from Church World Service (CWS) on June 13, according to the church newsletter. Regional director Patrick Walker will present a framed photo recognizing donations of over $100,000 to Church World Service, with which the church joins the CWS “millennium club.”
— Shenandoah District Disaster Ministries Auction estimates proceeds of $190,000 from the event at the Rockingham County (Va.) Fairgrounds. “God certainly blessed us with wonderful weather, faithful, hardworking volunteers, and a great crowd of folks, some of whom traveled from as far away as Pennsylvania and Ohio,” said the report from associate district executive Joan L. Daggett. Numbers from the weekend include 1,299 tickets sold for an oyster/ham dinner, and 171 pancakes and 335 omelets eaten at a Saturday morning breakfast.
— As of last report, $103,000 is needed by the end of 2010 to reach a goal of $425,000 to purchase the John Kline Homestead house and land in Broadway, Va. A note from the Virlina District Board in the district newsletter encouraged congregations to help provide these funds. The property is the historic home of Elder John Kline, a Civil War-era Brethren leader and martyr for peace. The Town Council of Broadway has requested that the John Kline Homestead be included in area tours commemorating 150 years since the Civil War (2011-2015). Contact the John Kline Homestead Preservation Fund, P.O. Box 274, Broadway, VA 22815.
— Pacific Southwest District’s newsletter has reported on a two-year ministry enrichment project, “Building Side-Doors.” The project began last month with four orientation seminars. A total of 89 people attended from the 14 churches who voted to participate. Participants received instruction and “a wealth of ‘building tools’ as they anticipated the construction of their side-doors (new outreach ministry initiatives),” the newsletter said. Translation of materials has begun for the Spanish-speaking churches involved. “Glendora Church got a jump start on one new side-door–a community garden,” the newsletter said. “According to Rev. Mike Martin, there have already been inquiries from people in the community on how they can get involved.”
— World Hunger Auction events in Virlina District began April 18 and will culminate Aug. 14 with an auction at Antioch Church of the Brethren in Rocky Mount, Va. Nine churches in the district are participating in the effort, which includes events such as a Hunger Walk held April 18; the Spring Jamboree on May 2 at Smith Mountain Lake Community Church; a Hunger Bike Ride on May 22 at Antioch Church; an Organ Concert featuring Jonathan Emmons on Aug. 1 at Antioch Church; and a World Hunger Golf Tournament on July 10. For more information contact email@example.com or 540-483-2534.
— Manchester College this fall resumes hosting a regional youth conference for Church of the Brethren youth in the Midwest. The conference, titled “Powerhouse 2010,” will be held on Nov. 13-14 on the college campus in North Manchester, Ind., for youth in grades 9-12 and advisors. Presenters will include National Youth Conference speakers Angie Lahman Yoder and Dave Sollenberger on the theme “Hidden Treasure” (Proverbs 2:1-5). The weekend will include worship, Bible study, games, recreation, music, and more. Further details, including registration information, will be available early this fall.
— The Brethren Bible Institute offered by the Brethren Revival Fellowship (BRF) will be held on July 19-23 at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College. For registration and class information contact BBI, 155 Denver Rd, Denver, PA 17517.
— Four Juniata College faculty were honored May 4 with teaching and service awards during a Spring Awards Convocation. Honorees included Church of the Brethren member Celia Cook-Huffman, who holds the W. Clay and Kathryn Burkholder Professorship in Conflict Resolution and is associate director of the Baker Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies. Also honored were Michael Boyle, who holds the William J. von Liebig Chair in Biomedical Sciences; Kathleen Biddle, assistant professor of education; and Philip Dunwoody, associate professor of psychology. Cook-Huffman was honored with the 21st annual Beachley Award for Distinguished Academic Service.
— The Henry Luce Foundation has awarded $120,000 to the “Journal of Religion, Conflict, and Peace,” an online publication of the Plowshares peace studies cooperative of the three Historic Peace Church colleges in Indiana: Manchester, Earlham, and Goshen. The publication is the only research journal focused on ways religion can cause or exacerbate war and how religion can foster peace despite religiously-influenced conflict around the globe. It is edited by Joseph Liechty, professor of peace, justice, and conflict studies at Goshen College, and was created with support from a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. The journal is at www.religionconflictpeace.org .
— The World Council of Churches (WCC) is part of a consultation to promote “justice tourism” in Israel and Palestine. The week of May 29-June 4 has been designated World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel. “There is an emerging concern that Christian tourists have an ethical obligation to engage with the people living there, to become witnesses to their struggle for freedom, human dignity, equality, justice, and peace,” said a release. The consultation May 18-21 is to consolidate a “theology of pilgrimage for Palestine-Israel” and produce a study guide for Christian tourists. The meeting is organized by the Alternative Tourism Group, the Ecumenical Coalition on Tourism, Kairos Palestine, and the Palestine-Israel Ecumenical Forum–an initiative of the WCC. For more go to www.oikoumene.org/en/programmes/
— Christian leaders in Iraq have called for end to violence in a May 6 statement released through the World Council of Churches. The statement by the Council of the Christian Church Leaders of Iraq came after a May 2 attack in the northern city of Mosul, where buses carrying Christian university students were bombed. One person was killed and 188 injured. Since then more attacks have taken place throughout Iraq, although not all were against Christians, the WCC release said. “The wave of violence comes after contentious national elections and at a time when the country is struggling to form a new government,” the release said. The church council was includes patriarchs, archbishops, bishops, and heads of churches from the 14 Christian communities in Iraq. Find the statement at www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/