Newsline for Sept. 9, 2010


A prayer circle on Sept. 3 at the church’s General Offices offered a blessing for the 15 Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) workers attending a retreat, and for Robert and Linda Shank (shown at left above), church staff preparing to travel to North Korea to teach in a new university there. Global Mission Partnerships executive director Jay Wittmeyer led the time of prayer. Photo by Wendy McFadden

Sept. 9, 2010

“And all ate and were filled…” (Mark 6:42a).

1) Annual Conference theme and speakers are announced for 2011.
2) Committee on Interchurch Relations to reconsider its mission.
3) New BVS volunteers complete summer orientation.
4) Haitian Brethren hold gathering for theological training, love feast.
5) Global Women’s Project steering committee holds summer meeting.

6) Children’s Sabbath is an opportunity to support well-being of children.
7) Training opportunities for deacons, stewardship, intercultural and youth ministry, Children’s Disaster Services.

8) Remembrances: Charles (Chuck) Boyer, Mary Eikenberry, Esther Mohler Ho, Susanne Windisch.

9) Brethren bits: Personnel, Hurricane Earl, BVS, International Day of Prayer for Peace, more.



1) Annual Conference theme and speakers are announced for 2011.

Moderator Robert Alley speaking at the National Youth Conference in July. Photo by Glenn Riegel

The theme and main speakers have been announced for the Church of the Brethren’s Annual Conference next year, July 2-6, 2011, in Grand Rapids, Mich. Moderator Robert E. Alley announced the theme “Gifted with Promise: Extending Jesus’ Table,” based on the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000.

“This story is one of few to appear in all four Gospels (Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:30-44; Luke 9:10-17; and John 6:1-14),” Alley noted in his announcement. “In every age including our own, Jesus continues to challenge disciples to respond to people with the sustaining benefit of the Gospel whether in compassionate service, forgiving grace, or abiding hope.

“In ‘Gifted with Promise: Extending Jesus’ Table,’ Brethren encounter a challenging assignment: (1) to discover afresh their giftedness with Gospel and (2) to envision their role in loving the world enough to share the physical and spiritual benefit of the Gospel,” the moderator’s statement continued. “This theme connects our common interests in spirituality and service, practice and prayer. We extend the table with promised resources of grace and love. The theme calls us to mission and evangelism where we not only share and invite but we cultivate discipleship as we offer tangible resources of food, clothing, medical care, and more. At the table, we share, we receive, and we learn.”

Alley also announced a theme song, “Praise, I Will Praise You Lord,” and the preachers and worship leaders for the daily worship services:

Saturday evening, July 2: Moderator Robert Alley will preach for the opening worship service, on the scripture Mark 6:30-44, with moderator-elect Tim Harvey as worship leader.

Sunday morning, July 3: Craig H. Smith, executive minister for Atlantic Northeast District, will preach, with worship leaders Joel and Linetta Ballew of Lebanon Church of the Brethren in Mount Sidney, Va. The daily focus will be “Jesus extends the table in the midst of domestic life,” based on the day’s scriptures of John 2:1-12 and Matthew 14:13-21.

Monday evening, July 4: Preacher Samuel Sarpiya, pastor of Rockford (Ill.) Community Church, a new church plant, will be assisted by worship leader Nathan D. Polzin, executive minister for Michigan District and pastor of the Church in Drive in Saginaw, Mich. The daily focus will be “Jesus extends the table by accepting the hospitality of others” with the day’s scriptures taken from Luke 7:36-8:3 and Mark 8:1-10.

Tuesday evening, July 5: The message will be brought by preacher Dava C. Hensley, pastor of First Church of the Brethren in Roanoke, Va., with worship leader Peter J. Kontra, pastor of Oakland Church of the Brethren in Bradford, Ohio. The daily focus will be “Jesus extends the table beyond our own kind and our own community,” with daily scriptures Luke 14:12-14 and Luke 9:10-17.

Wednesday morning, July 6: The closing service will hear from the Church of the Brethren’s general secretary Stan Noffsinger, with worship leader Rhonda Pittman Gingrich, an ordained minister from Minneapolis, Minn. The daily focus will be “Jesus extends the table to us.” The day’s scripture focuses will be John 21:9-14 and John 6:1-14.

Additional leadership at the 2011 Conference will be provided by music coordinator Bev Anspaugh of Rocky Mount, Va.; Conference Choir director Alan Gumm of Mount Pleasant, Mich.; organist Josh Tindall of Elizabethtown, Pa.; pianist Jenny Williams of Richmond, Ind.; and Children’s Choir director Rachel Bucher Swank.

The full text of the moderator’s theme statement for 2011 will be available soon at  .

In related news, the Conference Office has announced a deadline for submitting nominations for church leadership positions to be filled through elections at the 2011 Conference. The deadline to submit nominations is Dec. 1. A packet of election information has been mailed to each Church of the Brethren congregation, listing the leadership positions that are open. That information and nomination forms also are available at  . (In a correction to the Annual Conference election mailing, on the grid of the last page of the Call to Accountability document the columns of numbers marked “Men/Women” should be reversed to read “Women/Men.”)

2) Committee on Interchurch Relations to reconsider its mission.

The Committee on Interchurch Relations (CIR) met at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., on Aug. 26-28. The three-day Fall Meeting is the annual launch to the CIR’s realm of responsibilities. The CIR also participates in three telephone conferences throughout the year, and has responsibilities at Annual Conference including written and oral presentations to the delegate body.

New CIR member Christina Singh was welcomed to the committee. Paul Roth was appointed chair.

In light of economic challenges and of the changing face of ecumenism, the group reviewed the continuing viability and purpose of CIR by looking at its history and recent endeavors. The committee celebrated many accomplishments of the past few decades, but felt it is time to recast the vision for ecumenical life in the Church of the Brethren. A request will be sent to the Standing Committee of district representatives and to the Church of the Brethren’s Mission and Ministry Board to review CIR’s mission for the 21st century.

The group received positive reviews of CIR’s activities at the 2010 Annual Conference, where many noted Archbishop Vicken Aykazian’s luncheon presentation and address to the delegate body as highlights. Plans for the 2011 Annual Conference include hosting Richard Hamm, executive director of Christian Churches Together USA (CCT), as speaker for the Ecumenical Luncheon and the insight session sponsored by CIR. General Secretary Stan Noffsinger also reported on his ecumenical work during the past year.

Members of CIR are Melissa Bennett of Northern Indiana District, Christina Singh of Northern Plains District, Jim Hardenbrook of Shenandoah District, Steve Reid of Southern Plains District, Paul Roth of Shenandoah District, and Melissa Troyer of Northern Indiana District. Noffsinger serves as an ex-officio member.

— Melissa Troyer is a member of the Committee on Interchurch Relations.

3) New BVS volunteers complete summer orientation.

The summer orientation training unit for Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) was held in Harrisonburg, Va., from July 18-Aug. 6. Following are the new volunteers, their hometowns or congregations, and their project placements:

Simon Brendel of Berlin, Germany, to Project PLASE in Baltimore, Md.; Leon Buschina of Vaihingen, Germany, also going to Project PLASE; John Clucas of Glen Ellyn, Ill., to Abode in Fremont, Calif.; Jill and Randy Emmelhainz, and their children Jacob and Anna, of Ostrander, Ohio, to Lybrook (N.M.) Community Ministries; Daniel Hoellinger of Waldkraiburg, Germany, to Abode in Fremont, Calif.; Martin Kutter of St. Katharinen, Germany, to Innisfree Village in Crozet, Va.; Rebecca Marek of Crestline, Ohio, to Holywell Consultancy and the Junction in Derry, Northern Ireland; Cori Miner and Adam Stokes of North Manchester, Ind., to Su Casa Catholic Worker House in Chicago, Ill., and Greenhill YMCA in Newcastle, Northern Ireland; Katherine Philipson of Portland, Ore., to Jubilee USA Network in Washington, D.C.; Rachel Reeder of Arlington, Va., to Emmaus Community in Rouen, France; Susan and Patrick Starkey of Ninth St. Church of the Brethren in Roanoke, Va., to Casa de Esperanza de los Niños in Houston, Texas; Ellen Zemlin of Carmel, Ind., to EIRENE in Neuwied, Germany.

4) Haitian Brethren hold gathering for theological training, love feast.

An annual gathering of L’Eglise des Freres Haitiens (the Church of the Brethren in Haiti) was held in mid-August in the town of Cap-Haitien in the north of the Caribbean island. Some 92 members of the Haitian church and leadership from the US church took part in the event, which included sessions for theological training, a Love Feast service, and baptisms. The theme for the week was “Unity.”

Attending from the US Church of the Brethren were Ludovic St. Fleur, coordinator of the Haiti mission and pastor of Eglise des Freres Haitiens in Miami, Fla.; his daughter Roselanne Cadet, who provided translation services; Marie Ridore, also of Eglise des Freres Haitiens in Miami; Ilexene Alphonse of Miami First Church of the Brethren; Thomas Dowdy Jr., pastor of Imperial Heights Church of the Brethren in Los Angeles, Calif.; Verel Montauban, pastor of Haitian First Church of the Brethren of New York; and James Myer, an ordained minister from Lititz, Pa., and a leader in the Brethren Revival Fellowship.

The Brethren in the Dominican Republic sent Leton Fleury as a representative to the meeting, attending from the Boca Chica congregation near Santo Domingo.

The Love Feast included footwashing, a fellowship meal, and communion, and was attended by more than 90 people. For communion, a batch of bread was served made from a recipe that Myer had brought with him.

At the close of the gathering, seven people received believer’s baptism by trine immersion in a Brethren style that proved to be new for many Haitians who were present, according to reports from the event. On the weekend after the gathering, 12 more people planned to be baptized in their home congregations.

5) Global Women’s Project steering committee holds summer meeting.

The Global Women’s Project steering committee met in Minneapolis, Minn., from Aug. 26-29. Members are Judi Brown of N. Manchester, Ind.; Carrie Eikler of Morgantown, W.Va.; Nan Erbaugh of W. Alexandria, Ohio; Anna Lisa Gross of Richmond, Ind.; and Kim Hill Smith of Minneapolis.

The Global Women’s Project is a Church of the Brethren-related organization partnering with women around the world, striving to educate about wealth and privilege, and encouraging those with extra to share with those who do not have enough.

The steering committee was able to worship with both the Common Spirit Church of the Brethren and the Open Circle Church of the Brethren in the Minneapolis area. The project is in partnership with six projects around the world which are led by women and benefit women and their communities: an agricultural project in Rwanda, a program for women coming out of jail in Wabash, Ind.; a sewing cooperative in Narus, southern Sudan; a girls’ education program in Uganda; a job skills cooperative in Nepal; and a women’s radio show in Bethlehem, Palestine.

The volunteer steering committee members gather two times a year. In March 2011, they will meet in Richmond, Ind., worshiping and sharing with Bethany Theological Seminary and Earlham School of Religion. Those who are in the area are invited to join the steering committee at Bethany’s Peace Forum on March 3 from 12-1 p.m. As always, a free lunch is open to all who come to the Peace Forum, and Global Women’s Project will share about its work.

Supporters are invited to join the movement by using the Global Women’s Project Lenten devotional calendar and participating in a Mother’s Day Project. Learn more at  .

–Anna Lisa Gross is a member of the Global Women’s Project steering committee.

6) Children’s Sabbath is an opportunity to support well-being of children.

“Blessed to Be a Blessing: Lifting Up the Next Generation” is the theme for the Children’s Defense Fund’s 2010 Children’s Sabbaths weekend on Oct. 15-17. The observance aims to unite religious congregations of all faiths across the nation in shared concern for children and common commitment to improving their lives.

Kim Ebersole, director of the Church of the Brethren’s Family Life Ministry, encourages congregations to observe Children’s Sabbaths weekend through worship, prayer, and education programs for all ages.

“The Church of the Brethren has long been concerned with the well-being of children,” she said. “This special observance is an opportunity to reflect on the teachings of our faith, learn more about the needs of children, and explore ways to make our communities better places for kids and families.” Go to for a link to download the Children’s Sabbaths resource manual.

7) Training opportunities for deacons, stewardship, intercultural ministry, Children’s Disaster Services, youth ministry.

A number of upcoming workshops and training events are offered by or recommended by Church of the Brethren staff in the areas of deacon ministry, stewardship, intercultural ministry, serving children following disasters, and youth ministry:

Three training sessions for deacons will be hosted by Pacific Southwest District this fall. The first will be at Tucson (Ariz.) Church of the Brethren on Sept. 25, followed by identical sessions at the Empire and Glendora Churches in California on Oct. 2 and 9, respectively. Each session will include opening and closing worship, the workshops “What Are Deacons Supposed to Do, Anyway?” and “The Art of Listening,” as well as a light lunch. To register, complete the form found at   or contact the district office at 909-392-4054 or . For information about other fall training sessions for deacons visit or contact Donna Kline, director of the Church of the Brethren’s Deacon Ministry, at 800-323-8039 or .

Eric H.F. Law shown preaching at the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference. Photo by Glenn Riegel

“Intercultural Competency/Competencia Intercultural: Being an Effective Leader in a Diverse Changing World” is the theme for a workshop on Nov. 11, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., at First Church of the Brethren in Harrisburg, Pa., led by Eric H.F. Law. The event is offered in both English and Spanish, jointly sponsored by the Church of the Brethren’s Intercultural Ministry, On Earth Peace, and Mennonite Central Committee. It is designed for pastors, church members, and district leaders. Law is adjunct faculty for the Doctor of Ministry program at McCormick Theological Seminary, ACTS Doctor of Ministry program in Preaching, and the Mexican American Cultural Center in San Antonio, Texas. He will speak on viewing intercultural communities of faith through the lens of theology and explore the questions: What is culture? Why are there intercultural conflicts? How do racism, power, and privilege affect the way we can be effective leaders in a diverse community? The $25 registration fee includes lunch with a vegetarian option. A continuing education credit of 0.5 is available for $10. Online registration is at .

Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) is offering a volunteer workshop Nov. 12-13 at Salem Church of the Brethren in Englewood, Ohio. CDS volunteers provide a calm, safe, and reassuring presence following disasters by setting up and operating special child care centers in disaster locations. Parents are then able to apply for assistance and begin to put their lives back together, knowing their children are safe. The information learned at this workshop can be beneficial to anyone working with children. Cost is $45 for early registration, $55 after Oct. 22. The local contact is Carrie Smith at 937-836-6145, or contact the CDS office at 800-451-4407 ext. 5 or .

“Teaching and Preaching Christian Stewardship,” the 2010 Leadership Seminar offered by the Ecumenical Stewardship Center, will take place on Nov. 29-Dec. 2 at the Sirata Beach Resort in St. Pete’s Beach, Fla. Denominational leaders from across North America will share their insights, research, and inspiration in teaching and preaching stewardship in an event that blends workshop sessions, worship, and fellowship for pastors and stewardship leaders. To learn more about content and leadership, visit . To receive an early bird registration discount and a Church of the Brethren scholarship ($100 for the first five registrants; $50 for the second five), contact Carol Bowman, stewardship development coordinator, at 509-663-2833 (Pacific time) or before Oct. 18.

The Youth Worker Summit, a once-every-four-years ecumenical youth ministry training event, takes place Dec. 1-4 in Orlando, Fla. The summit is a chance for youth pastors and youth workers to strengthen ministry skills, network, and re-energize. Rodger Nishioka is this year’s keynote speaker, Phyllis Tickle will speak at the opening worship service, and Celia Whitler will lead the music. The schedule includes worship, workshops, plenary sessions, and time to spend with youth ministry colleagues. Visit for details. “Because this event includes high quality leadership, it is an expensive conference,” said an invitation from Becky Ullom, the Church of the Brethren’s director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry. “In order to make it more affordable for you to attend, I have set aside some budget money for scholarships.” The Youth and Young Adult Ministry office will be able to pay the entire registration fee ($275) for the first 20 Church of the Brethren youth pastors who indicate they would like a scholarship. Individuals or churches will pay for lodging and travel to the Orlando area, although some money for travel may be available. As soon as possible (or by Oct. 8), e-mail if you plan to participate.

8) Remembrances: Charles (Chuck) Boyer, Mary Eikenberry, Esther Mohler Ho, Susanne Windisch.

Charles (Chuck) Boyer, 73, a past moderator of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference and a former director of Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) and peace consultant for the denomination, passed away Sept. 2 in La Verne, Calif. He was an ordained minister and a strong peace and justice activist and advocate. He served as BVS director from 1969-76 and as peace consultant from 1976-88. During his own term as a BVS volunteer in 1959-61, he worked in a refugee camp in Berlin, Germany, and planned workcamps and peace seminars for the Brethren Service Commission. As peace consultant he helped develop the People of the Covenant program, and from 1980-85 chaired the National Interreligious Service Board for Conscientious Objectors during a time when compulsory draft registration was reinstated. In 1986 and 1988 he testified before House and Appropriations Subcommittees for fair treatment of conscientious objectors. He was arrested several times in actions for peace, once after helping lead a Brethren footwashing service in the Capitol rotunda as part of a Lenten witness against the Contra War and US policies in Central America. Then, from 1988 until his retirement in 2002 he served La Verne Church of the Brethren as senior pastor. In 1993 he was moderator of Annual Conference–the first from the West Coast in 30 years, noted a “Messenger” magazine interview published in February that year. Interviewer George Keeler reported Boyer’s “tough convictions” on a number of issues including his inclusive stance on sexuality. The interview raised a “furor” in the denomination, as Boyer describes in his most recent contribution to “Messenger”–an essay that appears posthumously this month titled “What’s Ahead for the Church of the Brethren?” Reflecting on the denomination’s current Special Response process, Boyer writes about the furor over his stance on sexual inclusivity in 1993, the calls for his resignation as moderator, and the hate mail he received at the time. Boyer was born July 20, 1937, in Wabash, Ind., the only child of Ralph and Edith (Frantz) Boyer. In 1962 he married Shirley Campbell, who survives him. He held degrees from Manchester College and Bethany Theological Seminary. At Purdue University he served as campus pastor in the Ecumenical Ministry to International Students from 1964-69. He was an accomplished pianist and loved sports, volunteering as a baseball umpire and officiating at basketball games at different times in his life. Honors and recognitions early in his career included listings in Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities and Outstanding Young Men of America, and more recently the 2008 Friend of Caucus Award given by Womaen’s Caucus. He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Shirley, son David (Gwen) Boyer, daughter Valerie (Jaime) Beltran, son Mark, and seven grandchildren. Memorial donations are received to La Verne Church of the Brethren and Manchester College. The memorial service will be held at La Verne Church of the Brethren on Sept. 16, at 10:00 a.m.

Mary Elizabeth (Flora) Eikenberry, 95, a former mission worker in Nigeria, died Sept. 1 at Timbercrest Senior Living Community in N. Manchester, Ind. With her husband, the late Ivan Eikenberry, she lived and worked in Nigeria for 35 years. Beginning in 1945 she taught elementary school at Garkida Mission School and at Waka Teachers Training College; from 1959-77 was administrative assistant for the Northern Education Advisory Council in Kaduna, where she also hosted international mission visitors, served as chair of the service committee, and as president of the International Women’s Club; and from 1979 until retirement in 1981 taught at Kulp Bible School near Mubi. At a “send off” in honor of the Eikenberrys retirement given by the Waka Old Students Association, Rev. Nvwa Balami commented, “Your contribution in education has changed the history and destiny of ethnic groups in this country within a period of one generation….” After retirement the couple moved to Trotwood, Ohio, and participated in mission interpretation and the “Micah Mission” from 1981-86, in the summer of 1983 accompanying a tour of the women’s choir of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN–the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). Other volunteer service for the church included terms on the Southern Ohio District Board and as district moderator. In 1993 her husband, Ivan, died, and in 2006 she moved to Timbercrest Senior Living Community. She was born June 13, 1915, in New Windsor, Md., to Joel Cephas and Elizabeth (Garver) Flora. She earned a degree from Manchester College, was active in church youth camps, and served on the youth cabinet in Southern Ohio District. From 1936-39 she taught junior high and high school in Ohio. In 1939 she married Ivan Eikenberry. She was preceded in death by her husband and sons Brian and Terril. She is survived by three remaining children and their spouses: Melody and Lawrence Rupley, Joel and Beverly (Sayers) Eikenberry, and Lynn and Beth (Johnson) Eikenberry; nine grandchildren; and seven great grandchildren. A celebration of her life was held Sept. 4 at Trotwood Church of the Brethren. Memorial donations are received to the Ivan Eikenberry Family Scholarship Fund at Manchester College, Trotwood Church of the Brethren, and Timbercrest Charitable Assistance Endowment Fund.

Esther Mohler Ho, 79, former staff in the denomination’s peace office, died on Aug. 20 in Hayward, Calif. From 1957-61 she worked with the director of Peace Education and Action for the Church of the Brethren. Previously she served in Brethren Volunteer Service in Kassel, Germany, as a representative for International Christian Youth Exchange. She continued her work for peace in later years by joining the Hayward Peace and Justice Fellowship, the Ecumenical Peace Institute of the Bay Area in Berkeley, Interfaith Witness for Peace in the Middle East, and the American Muslim Voice Foundation. With Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) she worked in the West Bank city of Hebron and in Chiapas, Mexico. A brief memoir of her life appears in “Love, Grandma,” published by Grandmothers Against the War. She was born July 2, 1931, the daughter of John and Lota Mohler. She held degrees from McPherson (Kan.) College and Northwestern University in Illinois, and worked as a speech and language specialist. She was a member of Modesto (Calif.) Church of the Brethren and Fremont (Calif.) Congregational Church. According to an obituary in the “Morning Sun” newspaper, she was recognized earlier this year by the Alameda County (Calif.) Board of Supervisors for her many decades of public service and faith-based activism in support of peace and social justice, and by the American Muslim Voice Foundation as a “Hero of Peace, Love, and Friendship.” Her husband of 49 years, Winston C. Ho, a native of Shanghai, China, survives along with daughters Cheri and Lisa Ho, and grandchildren. A memorial service was held at Unitarian Universalist Church of Berkeley on Sept. 5. Memorial donations are received to Christian Peacemaker Teams, On Earth Peace, and Heifer International.

Susanne Windisch, 93, who worked in Kassel, Germany, with Brethren Service following World War II, died on Aug. 30. She was a secretary, administrative assistant, translator, interpreter, and a “guide and diplomat” for the Brethren Service program, and a personal friend to many Brethren volunteers who served in or traveled through Kassel. A remembrance by Wilbur Mullen, who directed the Brethren work in Germany beginning in 1954, describes her as “one of the great and devoted friends of the Church of the Brethren. She became a helping friend to the many seagoing cowboys, those who brought the gifts of livestock to Europe. Brethren Service and Brethren Volunteer Service quickly became the family she never had. She is one who lived through World War II, before, during, and after the heavy bombing of Kassel when it was 85 percent destroyed. After the death of her parents she lived a frugal life. She spoke about walking to and from work, an hour daily each way, to save the 15 or 20 cents for food…. Susanne came to love the Church of the Brethren and the many members she met. Years later in one of her letters she wrote, ‘Now I begin to understand how Christ is central, a part of all the Brethren do.’”

9) Brethren bits: Personnel, Hurricane Earl, BVS, International Day of Prayer for Peace, more.

The BVS Europe retreat took place Aug. 8-14 in Berlin, Germany. BVS volunteers who are working in projects across Europe took part. Photo by Kristin Flory, coordinator for Brethren Service Europe

The New Windsor (Md.) Conference Center is thanking Dave Holl for his work as a first-time volunteer host in Zigler Hall in July and August. The conference center also welcomes volunteer hosts Roy and Verda Martin of Waynesboro, Pa., who have spent the past three years in Brethren Volunteer Service, working as houseparents at a project in Lewiston, Maine.

Children’s Disaster Services prepared to respond to Hurricane Earl last week, as the storm moved toward the east coast of the United States. The program had 70 volunteers on call, reported CDS associate director Judy Bezon, but the storm weakened and a response by CDS was not needed. The work done to line up such a large group of volunteers is not lost, however, Bezon said. “We have information about the availability of volunteers through mid October–for other hurricanes that may develop.”

Officers of the Church of the Brethren Ministers’ Association met Aug. 18-19 for their annual face-to-face planning meeting. In addition to administrative matters, the officers reviewed evaluations from the 2010 Pre-Conference Continuing Education Event and worked on plans for the upcoming event to precede the 2011 Annual Conference in Grand Rapids, Mich., on July 1-2. The theme will be “Breaking Down Walls: Pursuing the Vision of Becoming Multi-Cultural Congregations” and will feature the leadership of Darla Kay Deardorff and Bob Hunter. “Be watching for more details and registration information in the coming months,” said a notice from vice chair Chris Zepp of Bridgewater, Va. The 2010-11 association officers also include chair Sue Richard of Lima, Ohio; second vice chair Dave Kerkove of Adel, Iowa; secretary Joel Kline of Elgin, Ill.; and treasurer Rebecca House of Union Bridge, Md.

BVS holds its fall orientation on Sept. 26-Oct. 15 in Oregon at Camp Myrtlewood in Myrtle Point and in Portland. This will be the 291st BVS unit and will consist of 33 volunteers. The last time BVS trained such a large orientation group was in the fall of 2007. The unit will spend three weeks exploring project possibilities and topics of community building, peace and social justice, faith sharing, diversity training, and more. They will have the opportunity for several work days, in both rural and urban communities. Friends, BVS alumni, and supporters are welcomed to a potluck with the unit at 6 p.m. on Oct. 11 at Portland Peace Church of the Brethren. For more information contact the BVS office at 800-323-8039.

On Earth Peace is offering a new resource for the International Day of Prayer for Peace. The family liturgy titled “Passing of the Pieces” is written by Chris Riley, a fifth-grade teacher from Luray (Va.) Church of the Brethren. For a copy contact Michael Colvin, coordinator of the International Day of Prayer for Peace Campaign, at or 626-802-5900.

— A Ministry of Reconciliation Matthew 18 Workshop is hosted by Prince of Peace Church of the Brethren in Littleton, Colo., on Sept 17-18. Registration is $25 for individuals or $100 for groups of five or more from the same congregation. Lunch and childcare are included. Pre-register by Sept. 12 by calling 303-797-1536 or . Scholarships and housing are available.

Buena Vista (Va.) Stone Church of the Brethren celebrates its “102nd Birthday” with a Revive Us Again Homecoming on Sept. 19.

An open house for Homer Kerr’s 100th birthday was planned for Sept. 5 at English River Church of the Brethren in South English, Iowa.

First Church of the Brethren in Brooklyn, N.Y., hosted three workcamps this summer including one of the denomination’s junior high workcamps. “So far 91 youth and their advisors have experienced the urban environment and being the hands and feet of Jesus Christ,” reported pastor Jonathan Bream. A report from Brooklyn’s Channel 12 News is at .

The Handbell Choir and congregation at Montezuma Church of the Brethren in Dayton, Va., are hosting a third annual “Ring and Sing for Peace” on Sept. 19, at 6:30 p.m. The event brings together Brethren, Friends, and Mennonite congregations.

Mutual Kumquat will give a benefit concert at Bridgewater (Va.) Church of the Brethren on Sept. 12 at 6:30 p.m. A free-will offering will be taken for the “Back to School–Burma” campaign of New Community Project..

Upcoming district conferences: Southern Pennsylvania District meets on Sept. 17-18 at Black Rock Church of the Brethren in Glenville, Pa., on the theme, “The Command… Love God, Love Others, Love Well!” (1 John 4:7-8 and Mark 12:29-31); Eli Mast serves as moderator. Oregon and Washington District Conference is Sept. 17-19 at Camp Myrtlewood in Oregon, on the theme “Sacred Space,” with David Radcliff as guest speaker. The Northern Indiana District Conference is Sept. 17-18 at Camp Alexander Mark in Milford, Ind.

Virlina District’s Peace Affairs Committee is sponsoring an International Day of Prayer for Peace Service on Sept. 19 at 3 p.m. at Roanoke (Va.) Oak Grove Church of the Brethren. Walter F. Sullivan, Bishop Emeritus of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond, will be the guest speaker.

A picnic and fundraiser will be held at the John Kline Homestead in Broadway, Va., on Sept. 12, beginning at 4 p.m. The event is part of an effort to preserve the historic home of Elder John Kline, a leader of the Brethren during the Civil War. Interpretive tours will be offered, along with music by the Bridgewater Round Hill Recorders and a hymn sing. Bring your own lawn chair or blanket. There is a minimum donation of $10 for adults and $5 for children 10 and under. Reservations are requested, contact Linville Creek Church of the Brethren at 540-896-5001. An e-mail from pastor Paul Roth reports that, “As of yesterday’s accounting, we have raised over $358,500 toward our goal of $425,000 to purchase the John Kline Homestead. This means we need less than $66,500 to go!”

Bridgewater (Va.) College is experiencing record enrollment, according to a release from the school. “This year 552 new students enrolled at Bridgewater, making it the largest incoming freshman class in the college’s 130-year history. Total enrollment now stands at 1,690 students, up 6 percent from 2009,” the release said. To accommodate the growth, two new village-style residences were added to housing. Stone Village, an environmentally friendly concept constructed as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver project, houses 32 students. The college plans to add up to three more residences in Stone Village by next year.

Plans for the 2010 “Powerhouse” regional youth conference at Manchester College in N. Manchester, Ind., are in high gear. The conference on Nov. 13-14 will have the theme “Hidden Treasure” (Prov. 2:1-5). Keynote leaders are Angie Lahman Yoder and Dave Sollenberger, with a concert by Mutual Kumquat. Cost for the weekend, including three meals, is just $40. Details and downloadable registration forms can be found at . Print copies were sent to district offices and youth leaders in early September.

Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., is holding a Brethren Senior Overnight and Open House on Oct. 10-11. Activities will include meeting current Brethren students, a campus tour, a session with faculty, and information about admissions and Brethren life on campus. Register at or call 814-641-3422 or 814-641-3361.

The University of La Verne’s Abraham Campus Center is the first building in the city of La Verne, Calif., to earn LEED Certification from the US Green Building Council at the silver level.

A film version of “Amish Grace”–based on the book “Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy” by Church of the Brethren author Donald B. Kraybill along with Steven M. Nolt, and David L. Weaver-Zercher–will be available on DVD on Sept. 14, from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. The highest rated movie ever to premiere on Lifetime, according to a release, it chronicles the community of Nickel Mines, Pa., where a gunman senselessly took the lives of five girls in a schoolhouse shooting before taking his own life in Oct. 2006. The movie is directed by Gregg Champion.

The Heeding God’s Call movement against gun violence is to receive a human rights award from the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, the city agency that enforces civil rights laws and deals with inter-group conflict and neighborhood disputes. The award will be presented Sept. 16. Heeding God’s Call movement began in early 2009 at a Historic Peace Churches conference held in Philadelphia.


Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren, or 800-323-8039 ext. 260. Carol Bowman, Charles Culbertson, Chris Douglas, Kim Ebersole, Anna Emrick, Ron Keener, Donna Kline, Jon Kobel, LethaJoy Martin, Wendy McFadden, Nancy Miner, Callie Surber, Becky Ullom, Christopher W. Zepp contributed to this report. Newsline appears every other week, with special issues as needed. The next regular issue is scheduled for Sept. 22. 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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