Newsline for November 18, 2010

“I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart” (Psalm 9:1a).

1) Progressive Brethren Gathering hears from seminary president.
2) Church helps Haitians access clean water during cholera outbreak.
3) NCC centennial gathering celebrates 100 years of ecumenism.
4) Spanish language ministry training track is available to Brethren.
5) Disaster volunteers receive a warm welcome in a cold climate.
6) Council continues work on ministerial leadership polity document.
7) BRF offers new commentary on Ephesians/Philippians.

8) Brethren bits: District job opening, OEP board, Spain visit, Advent video, workcamp brochures, more.


1) Progressive Brethren Gathering hears from seminary president.

Bethany Theological Seminary president Ruthann Knechel Johansen was the keynote speaker at the 2010 Progressive Brethren Gathering held in N. Manchester, Ind., this past weekend. Photo by Joel Brumbaugh-Cayford

Bethany Seminary president Ruthann Knechel Johansen called for a new sense of wonder in a time of “dis-ease,” as she gave the keynote address to the Progressive Brethren Gathering this past weekend in North Manchester, Ind.

The meeting brought more than 200 people from across the country to gather at Manchester Church of the Brethren and Manchester College. Sponsored by Womaen’s Caucus, Voices for an Open Spirit, and the Brethren Mennonite Council for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Interests (BMC), the gathering explored the theme “Forward Together: Conversations Towards an Enlivened Community.”

The timing of the meeting–while Special Response hearings related to issues of sexuality are being held in each district of the Church of the Brethren–made the denominational conversation a backdrop and context for discussion.

“Why or how is this moment in our history different than all other moments?” Johansen asked–one of several questions in which she juxtaposed a “holy order” or a “compassionate and just order” over against evidence of dis-ease and disorder in church and society.

Reviewing times of disorder in the biblical record and church history, and current social disorders, she asserted that, “We are entangled in the cultural value of unmindful domination.” This leads to abstracting people into issues, she said, and to attitudes like sexism, militarism, homophobia, racism, materialism.

“How shall we disenthrall ourselves” in the face of our own disorders? she asked. Her answer pointed to the order found in the created universe, a natural world she sees as having been given the power to shift and create anew. The example of the root system of the redwood forests offers a model of order for a time of disorder, she noted, as a network of trees that yet maintain individuality.

Another resource for dealing with disorder is the history of forebearance in the Church of the Brethren, Johansen said. She pointed to instances in which congregations have not been forced to comply with Annual Conference decisions, even over historically contentious issues such as the ordination of women and the peace witness.

Forebearance, however, requires discernment–and “discerning the role of boundaries or rules is particularly difficult in the church,” she said, especially when the secular world calls for sharp divides.

The ultimate solution is to become “incarnational people,” she concluded. Incarnational people, she said, are those who accept the invitation to incarnation with Jesus Christ, who embrace the gift of human embodiment–and sexuality, and who choose to be relational. Incarnation is made possible through the Spirit of God, and without a spiritual awakening, she warned, the church will not realize the Spirit in its midst and will not see the boundary walls already broken down.

“We must carry the incarnation out of the Bible, out of glib protestations of the faith, and into our own bodies,” she said. “There we may meet one another in all our holy diversity.”

In closing, before taking questions, Johansen pointed to a sense of wonder as the key to incarnational living, and to finding “holy order” in a difficult time. Wonder will aid the church in its task of discernment, she said. Wonder also may reduce our anxiety, and lead us back to the study of scripture with greater sensitivity, she added.

Wonder presents the possibility that “new dimensions of God’s reign may arise,” she said. “Wonder is, I think, the soil that nurtures love.”

The gathering also included an afternoon of workshops, and daily worship services. Messages were brought by Debbie Eisenbise, pastor of Skyridge Church of the Brethren in Kalamazoo, Mich., and Kreston Lipscomb, pastor of Springfield (Ill.) Church of the Brethren. The Sunday morning service was held with Manchester Church of the Brethren. Evening activities included a concert by Mutual Kumquat and a square dance.

The college hosted a banquet Saturday evening, followed by a playful exercise asking the gathering to rate how it felt about 15 word pairs under categories such as “Our church” and “What we want” and “What to do.” The exercise seemed aimed at revealing how progressive Brethren feel about the denomination, and how they want to respond to decisions of Annual Conference.

In a Sunday school session held after the closing worship service, participants in the gathering and members of the Manchester congregation shared experiences of attending Special Response hearings in different districts. Experiences ranged from very negative to quite positive, from one man’s statement that, “It (the process) was set up for failure,” to a woman’s testimony about a very “mindful” and well prepared process in her district.

However, a variety of concerns about the hearing process predominated in the ensuing discussion. As the session turned to the question of how to respond to eventualities at the 2011 Annual Conference, comments ranged widely from those who openly welcome a schism in the denomination, to those worried about the destructive nature of a church split, to those committed to staying in the denomination.

Carol Wise of BMC closed the gathering with a plea to provide care for people who during the Special Response hearings may be subjected to hurtful comments because of their sexual orientation or that of family members. “I’m very concerned about that as we move through this process,” she said, “the way we’ve put a particular community on display and on trial.”

(Information about the Church of the Brethren’s Special Response process is at .)


2) Church helps Haitians access clean water during cholera outbreak.

The 85th house to be constructed by Brethren Disaster Ministries in Haiti has been completed for the family of Jean Bily Telfort, who serves as general secretary of L’Eglise des Freres Haitiens (the Church of the Brethren in Haiti). Photo by Jeff Boshart

The Church of the Brethren is providing help to communities and neighborhoods of L’Eglise des Freres Haitiens (the Haitian Church of the Brethren) to gain access to clean water during the cholera outbreak in Haiti. Jeff Boshart, Haiti coordinator for Brethren Disaster Ministries, returned Friday, Nov. 12, from a week visiting church leaders and partner organizations in Haiti.

One hundred new water filters have been distributed to the Haitian congregations by Brethren Disaster Ministries, with another 100 water filters to come. A new well dug with funding from Brethren Disaster Ministries has proved to be an artisian well capable of providing a steady flow of clean water for one neighborhood where Haitian Brethren live. Also, a cistern for collecting rainwater funded by the Church of the Brethren’s Global Food Crisis Fund has been completed on the island of La Tortue. This cistern will serve a school supported by a Haitian Church of the Brethren congregation in Miami, Fla.

The Haitian Brethren are not severely affected by the epidemic, so far. “According to general secretary Jean Bily Telfort and moderator Yves Jean, except for the Peris congregation near St. Marc, where one church member lost her life to the epidemic, they have no other reports of anyone even being sick,” Boshart said.

All of the congregations of Haitian Brethren have been informed about the need for disease prevention, according to Klebert Exceus, Haitian consultant to Brethren Disaster Ministries who supervises the disaster rebuilding projects. The government also is broadcasting information through media sources about how to avoid cholera. Media reports this week indicate that the death toll to cholera in Haiti is now over 1,100, with more than 18,000 people hospitalized for the disease.

Boshart, Exceus, and Jean met last week with Haiti staff of IMA World Health to do planning for the new Brethren health care initiative in Haiti. During the meeting, “IMA encouraged our churches to have water treated with chlorox, a basin, and soap available,” in order to fight the spread of cholera, Boshart said. “They encouraged us to have all churchgoers wash their hands before entering their church buildings for worship.”

In an aside, he added that Haiti mission coordinator and Miami pastor Ludovic St. Fleur joked, “Instead of being a church known for washing feet, we might become known as a church that washes hands.”

A recent success is the artisian well dug just two weeks ago in an area of the city of Gonaives where Brethren have been building homes for disaster survivors. The well is in a neighborhood of 22 homes built together in a small community by Brethren Disaster Ministries in partnership with Sant Kretyen pou Devlopman Entegre (Christian Center for Integrated Development). Brethren Disaster Ministries funded the well, which was dug by an organization called Haiti Outreach.

“After the well was completed, clean, drinkable water began pouring out all over the place, according to local residents,” Boshart said. “Haiti Outreach staff have been drilling wells in Haiti for nearly 20 years and this is only the second artisian well they have come across in all of that time. Not only these 22 families, but many neighbors are getting water there presently.”

Brethren Disaster Ministries also is celebrating completion of its 85th house in Haiti. “This is a special house,” Boshart said, “as it is the first permanent house to be built for any of the Brethren earthquake victims.”

The recipient family of Jean Bily Telfort, general secretary of the National Committee of L’Eglise des Freres, were among the over one million people displaced by the earthquake. After the earthquake he was offered a temporary shelter built by the Brethren, but declined saying it should be given to someone else. Since then, his wife and young son have been living with his mother-in-law some four hours away from their home community in Port-au-Prince. “The family is now reunited!” Boshart rejoiced.

The recipients of food and other aid in several communities, as well as the National Committee of the Haitian Brethren, have sent letters of thanks to Brethren Disaster Ministries for their support in this time of need.


3) NCC centennial gathering celebrates 100 years of ecumenism.

Last week’s Centennial Gathering of the National Council of Churches (NCC) and Church World Service (CWS) brought more than 400 people to New Orleans, La., to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 1910 World Mission Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland–an event many church historians regard as the beginning of the modern ecumenical movement.

The National Council of Churches itself was formed in 1950 out of several national church streams, including Church World Service.

The theme for the centennial gathering Nov. 9-11, “Witnesses of These Things: Ecumenical Engagement in a New Era,” comes from Luke 24:48, the same scriptural theme text as the 2010 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

Church of the Brethren representatives to the NCC are Elizabeth Bidgood Enders of Harrisburg, Pa.; J.D. Glick of Bridgewater, Va.; Illana Naylor of Manassas, Va.; Kenneth M. Rieman of Seattle, Wash.; and representing the denominational staff Mary Jo Flory-Steury, executive director for Ministry, and general secretary Stanley J. Noffsinger.

The agenda included five “vision papers” presented for discussion: “Christian Understanding of Unity in an Age of Radical Diversity,” “Christian Understanding of Mission in an Age of Interfaith Relations,” “Christian Understanding of War in an Age of Terror(ism),” “Christian Understanding of the Economy in an Age of Growing Inequality,” and “Christian Understanding of Creation in an Age of Environmental Crisis.”

The vision papers were not presented for a vote, but used to stimulate ideas for future directions for common, life, witness, and mission. In comments after returning from the gathering, Noffsinger said that his office is preparing study guides to help Brethren use the vision papers, with plans to offer them as online resources.

In action items, the gathering adopted a number of statements including a resolution supporting comprehensive immigration reform, a call for ratification of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START II), a document “Honoring the Sacredness of Religious Others: Reaffirming our Commitment to Positive Interfaith Relations” that takes note of controversies over the building of Islamic houses of worship and threats to burn the Koran, a resolution on violence against Christians in Iraq, and a resolution calling for investigation of human rights abuses in Myanmar. The NCC welcomed one new member communion, the Community of Christ, once known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

In other business the NCC Governing Board, which includes Noffsinger as a member, adopted a resolution calling for an end to the war in Afghanistan, approved merging the US Conference for the World Council of Churches into the NCC, and re-elected Michael Kinnamon as NCC general secretary. The resolution, “A Call to End the War in Afghanistan,” calls for withdrawal of US and NATO forces from Afghanistan “to be completed as soon as possible without further endangerment to the lives and welfare of US and NATO troops, Afghan troops, and Afghan civilians.” The document states “that we must reaffirm our witness to Christ’s commandment to love our enemies,” and calls on member communions “to articulate to one another and to government authorities the concept of a ‘Just Peace’ as a proactive strategy for avoiding premature or unnecessary decisions to employ military means of solving conflicts.”

(This article is primarily excerpted from releases by Philip E. Jenks of the NCC staff and Lesley Crosson of CWS. For more about the gathering go to .)


4) Spanish language ministry training track is available to Brethren.

Julie Hostetter (left), director of the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership, with Rafael Barahona (right), director of SeBAH and associate director of the Mennonite Education Agency. The two are leading an effort to provide a Spanish language ministry training track for Brethren in cooperation with a similar Mennonite effort.Photo by Marcia Shetler

A new Spanish language ministry training track is being created for the Church of the Brethren, through the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership and a Mennonite ministry certification program, Seminario Biblico Anabautista Hispano. The Brethren Academy is a partnership of the Church of the Brethren and Bethany Theological Seminary.

In a report to the fall meeting of the Mission and Ministry Board, academy director Julie M. Hostetter outlined how the new program will work as a Brethren track in the Mennonite Education Agency’s program for Hispanic Pastoral Leadership Education. The Spanish language training track, SeBAH-CoB, will parallel the Academy Certified Training System (ACTS) programs that the Church of the Brethren currently has in place for English speaking students.

District-based student cohort groups will be created, some of which may include both Brethren and Mennonites. The first cohort is in Atlantic Northeast District, and is scheduled to hold orientation at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., on Jan. 20-23, 2011. This first cohort group can include up to 15 students.

At its district conference this past weekend, Pacific Southwest District affirmed the formation of a Brethren-Mennonite cohort group that will have an orientation session in late winter 2011. Several additional districts and individuals have expressed interest in the SeBAH-CoB program and more cohorts will be formed in the future. For more information contact the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership, at 800-287-8822 ext. 1820.


5) Disaster volunteers receive a warm welcome in a cold climate.

Located in north-central South Dakota, the Cheyenne River Sioux Indian Reservation recently became the coldest “hot spot” for disaster relief activity. An economically depressed area that suffered damage from a tornado, the reservation was in need of volunteers to assist with a variety of tasks before extreme winter weather set in.

After receiving an urgent request from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for volunteers, Brethren Disaster Ministries joined other National VOAD organizations on a conference call to discuss needs, resources, and logistics. The call revealed the need for volunteers with a variety of specific skills including roofing, plumbing, electrical wiring, carpentry, CDL drivers, and backhoe operators.

Following the call, Brethren Disaster Ministries contacted several volunteers in order to put together a small team that could respond in less than a week. There were many unknowns going into the project, and volunteers were asked to be prepared to embark on a real adventure, and to be extremely flexible.

Having recently returned from meetings with FEMA officials in Washington, D.C., Brethren Disaster Ministries staff noted that the different agencies that were responding needed to rely on one another. Even though not many details were provided about the project, the agencies knew that they could trust one another to do their part. Brethren staff have observed the collaborative work and partnership between disaster relief agencies evolving in an impressive way, especially collaboration between nonprofit and governmental agencies.

With travel assistance from FEMA, Brethren Disaster Ministries sent four volunteers to South Dakota. The entire response lasted two weeks and involved approximately 20 volunteers from different organizations who placed multiple mobile housing units and prepared them for the upcoming winter months.

Brethren volunteer Larry Ditmars reported, “I came here expecting an adventure, and so far am really loving what I’ve found.” Ditmars, who has a CDL license, worked with local workers to haul mobile units from a staging area to onsite lots where they were hooked into utilities and winterized.

“We were Brethren. We were Lutheran. We were Mennonite. We were Christian Reformed. We were Hope Crisis. We were Missionary,” he commented, adding: “We were from Kansas, Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida, Louisiana, South Dakota, and Manitoba. We were outsiders! We were the Body of Christ united in one Spirit and one mission.

“The people of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe saw us and were amazed,” he said. “They never knew a group of outsiders could care to give that much. The caring, healing, loving hands of Christ were at work in us in that place.”

In all, over a dozen homes were prepared for families in need of housing. Volunteers were thanked by the Tribal Chairman, who hosted a dinner for them before their departure. Brethren volunteers included Jeff Clements, Larry Ditmars, Jack Glover, and Steve Spangler.

— Zach Wolgemuth serves as associate director of Brethren Disaster Ministries.


6) Council continues work on ministerial leadership polity document.

The Ministry Advisory Council of the Church of the Brethren held its fall meeting at the church’s General Offices in Elgin, Ill., on Oct. 19-20. The group focused its energy on the continuing process of major revisions to the denominational Ministerial Leadership polity paper.

An entity created by Annual Conference, the Ministry Advisory Council is a collaborative group that exists to facilitate effective ministerial leadership in the Church of the Brethren. It includes representatives from the Office of Ministry, Bethany Theological Seminary, the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership, the Council of District Executives, and the Brethren Higher Education Association.

Caring for revisions to the Ministerial Leadership paper has been a major responsibility of this group in the last several years. The conversation began in 2007 with a Consultation on Ministerial Leadership, is projected to continue through 2013, and will include presentation of revisions to the Annual Conference for approval. The council also heard reports from each of the represented bodies.

— Dana Cassell is staff for Vocation and Community Living in Brethren Volunteer Service.


7) BRF offers new commentary on Ephesians/Philippians.

The Brethren Revival Fellowship (BRF) has announced publication of a commentary on Ephesians and Philippians by Harold S. Martin and Craig Alan Myers. The book is part of a Brethren New Testament Commentary series aiming to give a readable explanation of the New Testament, with loyalty to Anabaptist and Pietist values. Martin is general editor of the series.

“Believers, in the Ephesians letter, are pictured as a worldwide family of redeemed sons and daughters who have peace with God, and are to be living at peace with each other…. They are to be rejoicing in the great riches they possess in Jesus Christ,” said a description of the commentary. Philippians is described as an “intensely personal letter (that) expresses the great joy Paul experienced–even while in prison–and exalts the example of Jesus Christ.”

Suggested donation for the 180-page volume is $15. Send requests and donations to Brethren Revival Fellowship, P.O. Box 543, Ephrata, PA 17522-0543; or go to .


8) Brethren bits: District job opening, OEP board, Spain visit, Advent video, workcamp brochures, more.

— The Church of the Brethren’s South Central Indiana District seeks a district executive minister for a three-quarter time position available April 1, 2011. The district is made up of 46 congregations in the middle third of the state of Indiana with an average worship attendance from 10 to 350. They are predominantly small congregations in small towns and rural settings. The district is theologically diverse. The preferred candidate demonstrates initiative, adaptability, and capacity to envision future ministry. The district office is currently located in North Manchester. Responsibilities include serving as executive officer of the District Board; facilitating implementation of core ministries of the district; assisting congregations and pastors with search and call of ministerial leadership; assisting congregations and pastors with development of wholesome relationships; assisting congregations with church growth initiatives. Qualifications include a clear commitment to Jesus Christ demonstrated by a vibrant spiritual life; a commitment to Church of the Brethren faith and heritage; a commitment to the Seven Core Values of the district; a master of divinity or equivalent degree; minimum five years of pastoral or related experience; strong personal, communication, and mediation skills; strong administrative, management, and budget skills; respect for theological diversity; willingness and ability to travel. Send a letter of interest and a resume via e-mail to . Applicants are requested to contact three or four people to provide a letter of reference. Upon receipt of a resume, the individual will be sent a Candidate Profile that must be completed and returned before the application is complete. The application deadline is Dec. 17.

— Camp Swatara, outdoor ministries center for the Church of the Brethren’s Atlantic Northeast District, is seeking applications for a part-time director of Development. This position involves approximately 18 hours per week. Provided is shared office space in the camp office. Applicants should have excellent interpersonal skills, be willing to travel to visit with potential donors, and have basic computer skills working with database software. The opening will be filled by Jan. 1, 2011. Interested persons should send a resume, references, and a letter of intent to Marlin Houff, Administrator, Camp Swatara, 2905 Camp Swatara Rd., Bethel, PA 19507.

— The New Windsor (Md.) Conference Center is thanking Eddie and Becky Motley of Scottville, N.C., who have served as volunteers at the Brethren Service Center for the last six months.

— A new video resource is available for the Advent Offering on the theme, “Prepare the Way.” Congregations are invited to stream the video in their sanctuaries during the offering, or in other settings as desired. Downloadable copies are not available due to music copyright. The Advent Offering is scheduled for Dec. 5. Find the video at . Other resources are at .

— A Spain visit has been made to connect with people and churches interested in the Brethren movement. Jay Wittmeyer, executive director of the Church of the Brethren’s Global Mission Partnerships; Fausto Carrasco, a pastor at Nuevo Amanecer Fellowship in Bethlehem, Pa.; and Carol Yeazell, a pastor at His Way/Iglesia Jesucristo El Camino in Mills River, N.C., met with church leaders in the Asturias Province of Spain during a visit from Nov. 2-9. The majority of interested parties are of Dominican background and many are from the Church of the Brethren in the DR, but there also is representation from Ecuador, Colombia, and the Spanish community. Representatives also came from Madrid and the Canary Islands to attend meetings. The “mother church” of the group is La Luz in las Tinieblas in Gijon, pastored by Santos Terrero, Carrasco’s half-brother. The new mission effort will need to be approved by the Church of the Brethren’s Mission and Ministry Planning Council to receive official support, Wittmeyer said.

— The On Earth Peace board met Sept. 23-24 at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. The board approved the formation of a task group for a racism audit of the organization. Other major items of business included approving a budget for the 2011 fiscal year and updates about the Ministry of Reconciliation, the “Step Up!” program, and community nonviolence programs. The board reorganized for 2011, calling Madalyn Metzger of Bristol, Ind., to continue as chair; Robbie Miller of Bridgewater, Va., as vice chair; Doris Abdullah of Brooklyn, N.Y., as treasurer; and Ben Leiter of Washington, D.C., as secretary. Outgoing members were thanked for their service: Sarah Quinter Malone, Jordan Blevins, and Ken Edwards. Special thanks was extended to Joe Detrick, liaison with the Council of District Executives.

— After hours of labeling, sorting, and printing, the 2011 workcamp brochures are making their way out into the Church of the Brethren, reports Carol Fike, assistant coordinator of the Workcamp Ministry. “Youth of the denomination, remember to check your mailbox to receive your copy of the brochure,” she said in an announcement. “If you did not receive a brochure contact the Workcamp Office and we would love to send one out to you.” Registration for workcamps opens Jan. 3 at 7 p.m. central time, on a first come, first served basis. “The earlier you register the more likely you are to get your first choice,” Fike said. For more information call the Workcamp Ministry at 800-323-8039.

— “Let us give hope to one another,” invites a new resource for the Christmas season from the Church of the Brethren’s Global Food Crisis Fund. A mini-poster is available for congregations, Sunday school classes, and others interested in contributing to food security and agricultural development abroad this Advent. The poster highlights five giving levels, and what gifts can accomplish–ranging from the $250 that helps establish a tree nursery and demonstration plots in the Rift Valley of Kenya, to $50 that purchases a bag of rice seed for a farm rehabilitation program in N. Korea. Other programs focus on Haiti, Honduras, Sudan. Go to  or call 800-323-8039 to order printed copies.

The theme and dates have been announced for the next Christian Citizenship Seminar, in March 2011. Go to .

— Dates for the 2010 Christian Citizenship Seminar have been announced by the Youth and Young Adult Ministry: March 26-31 in New York City and Washington, D.C., on the theme, “Give Us Today Our Daily Bread” (Matthew 6:11, NIV). The seminar is for high school students and advisors to explore the connections between the food we eat and the faith we speak. Online registration will open early in 2011. For more information go to

— Dec. 1 is the deadline for new students to register for the spring session and January intensive at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind. Find application information at  or contact Elizabeth Keller, director of Admissions, at  or 800-287-8822 ext. 1832.

— The SERRV Store at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., is holding a holiday overstock sale in the Blue Ridge Building on Nov. 24-Dec. 4–9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays and Saturdays and 1-5 p.m. Sundays (closed Thanksgiving). All sale items will be 60 percent off.

— Seven months after construction began, Shiloh Church of the Brethren has completed its rebuild. The church near Kasson, W.Va., lost its building to a fire on Jan. 3 this year. “The only work that remains is a small amount of work in the kitchen area,” reported pastor Garry Clem in a recent e-mail. “We have seen first-hand how God and God’s people can really be a blessing to each other. We have received support from the coast of California to the east coast of the United States. We even received support from Nigeria. More than 200 gifts of money, supplies, and services have been received to this point. And we shall never forget the greatest gift of all, and that is the prayers that have been prayed for we here at Shiloh.” As a gesture of thanks to supporters, the church is holding an open house on Nov. 20 beginning at 2 p.m. The official dedication will take placed Sunday, Jan. 2, 2011, “which coincides with the first anniversary of the burning of our beloved Shiloh,” Clem noted. “All are welcome and encouraged to attend these celebrations. May God bless each of you in a very special way.”

— World Hunger Auction events in Virlina District have raised $55,254.17 this year, approximately $5,000 more than last year according to the district newsletter. The funds benefit Heifer International, Roanoke (Va.) Area Ministries, the Church of the Brethren’s Global Food Crisis Fund, and the Heavenly Manna organization.

— Melanie Snyder, author of the Brethren Press book “Grace Goes to Prison,” is the keynote speaker at the 2010 graduation ceremony for Bethel Ministries, an organization that helps men leaving incarceration change their lives to become law-abiding, productive members of society. The ceremony and a dinner take place Nov. 20 at 6 p.m. at Mountain View Church of the Brethren in Boise, Idaho. Snyder has been a featured speaker throughout the US, speaking on restorative justice. Suggested donation is $15. This is an “adults only” event as children are not allowed due to the presence of men on probation.

— Mercedes-Benz USA is giving three annual scholarships to McPherson (Kan.) College, according to a release. McPherson offers a unique major and four-year degree in automotive restoration. Each year, one $5,000 scholarship will be awarded to each of three students working toward an automotive restoration degree. This year, recipients are Rod Barlet, a Church of the Brethren student from Elizabethtown, Pa., along with Kendall Critchfield from Hesston, Kan., and Taylor Adams from Ashland, Va. In addition to the scholarship, the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center in Irvine, Calif., will offer at least one internship to a qualified McPherson College automotive restoration student each year.

— Stephen Morgan, president of the University of La Verne, Calif., has received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa. He received the honor at a ceremony Nov. 8, along with Theodore Long, president emeritus of Elizabethtown (Pa.) College. Morgan was at Juniata for the annual director’s meeting of Brethren Colleges Abroad, a consortium of colleges and universities associated with the Church of the Brethren. Presidential representatives from four colleges attended the meeting: La Verne, Elizabethtown, Bridgewater (Va.) College, and Manchester College in North Manchester, Ind.

— In other news from ULV, a Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) Team is participating in Campbell Soup Company’s “Let’s Can Hunger” Campaign. A kick off event took place Nov. 8 with a panel presentation including Vicki Brown DeSmet, founder and CEO of “Sowing Seeds for Life”; Linda J. Carroll, area representative for Campbell Soup Company; La Verne City Council member and mayor pro tem Donna Redman; City of La Verne director of community services Nikole Bresciani; ULV associate professor Cathy Irwin; and La Verne police chief Scott Pickwith. The public forum provided an opportunity for community leaders and the public to discuss the need to recognize the challenge of feeding the hungry, both locally and globally. The SIFE Team has a goal of donating 100,000 food items to the community food bank by Dec. 20.

— The Springs of Living Water Initiative is offering a new spiritual disciplines folder this Advent at . Several districts in the Church of the Brethren are engaging in the initiative to bring renewal to existing congregations, with leadership from David S. and Joan Young of Lancaster (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. In an announcement from the Springs Initiative, the new resource follows lectionary themes and the topic from the Church of the Brethren bulletin series, and offers a daily scripture text for participants to “read and meditate upon and attempt to apply throughout the day.” An insert provides options for next steps in spiritual growth. Study questions written by Vince Cable may be applied to personal spiritual growth or Bible study groups. Also assisting in preparing the resource were Sue Richards and Bill and Deidre Schaefer. “In the Springs Initiative the entire church joins in seasons of spiritual growth with the outcome of greater unity and a collective sense of being on a spiritual journey,” the announcement explained. Contact .

— The November edition of “Brethren Voices,” a community television program from Portland (Ore.) Peace Church of the Brethren, features an interview with Audrey deCoursey, associate pastor at Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, Ill. The show is hosted by Brent Carlson. In December, the program features an in-studio visit with 17 members of the 291st orientation unit of Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS). Contact producer Ed Groff at . Copies of the program cost $8, with donations forwarded to Portland Peace Church of the Brethren, 12727 SE Market St., Portland, OR 97233.

— People around the globe are called to “put their names and faces behind the call for strong international action on climate change” by the World Council of Churches, one of a coalition of Christian organizations holding a “photo petition” ahead of the next round of negotiations by the parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The event takes place in Mexico Nov. 29-Dec. 10. Individuals and groups are invited to contribute images of themselves and their message about climate change by sharing a picture via Flickr ( ) or by sending pictures, individual or group name, and country, to . View photos at Resources are available at .

— Terry Barkley, director of the Brethren Historical Library and Archives, has written an article in the current “Living Blues” magazine (#209) entitled “In Search of Charley Patton: Revisiting Holly Ridge and Longswitch.” The illustrated article is about the controversy surrounding the final days, death, and burial place of Charley Patton, the father of the Mississippi Delta Blues singers. Barkley describes “Living Blues” as “the oldest and most authoritative Blues magazine in the world.” The magazine was founded in Chicago, but is now owned and published by the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi, Oxford.


Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren,  or 800-323-8039 ext. 260. Charles Bentley, Carmen Rubio Cooke, Mary Jo Flory-Steury, Ed Groff, Cori Hahn, Julie Hostetter, Marlin Houff, Gimbiya Kettering, Adam Pracht, John Wall contributed to this report. Newsline appears every other week, with special issues as needed. The next regular issue is scheduled for Dec. 1. 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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