Brethren Bits

The Brethren Historical Library and Archives has acquired a historic chest originally belonging to the Kurtz family. The chest reportedly was brought over to the US from Europe in 1817 by Henry Kurtz (1796-1874), first Brethren publisher (“Monthly Gospel-Visiter”). Measuring two feet by two feet by 55 inches, made of wood with metal fastenings and handles, the chest stayed in the family long after the death of Henry Kurtz. It was donated to the archives at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., by Edward and Mary Jane Todd of Columbiana, Ohio, members of Zion Hill Church of the Brethren. The chest is a companion piece to a pipe organ (1698) brought over to America by Henry Kurtz in 1817. For a “Hidden Gems” page about Henry Kurtz go to .

— Remembrance: Teresa Anne “Terri” Meushaw, 62, died on Dec. 17 after a long battle with cancer. (The story of her struggle with cancer is told in an online journal, find it at .) She had retired as administrative assistant for the Church of the Brethren’s Mid-Atlantic District. She was a long-time presence at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., having also been a part of SERRV, a former administrative assistant to Miller Davis when he was director of the center, and director of the New Windsor Conference Center. Her memorial service will be held on her birthday, Dec. 31, at noon at Uniontown Bible Church in Union Bridge, Md. Memorial contributions are received to Uniontown Bible Church in support of missions. “Please keep Terri’s husband Bill and her children in your prayers,” said a prayer concern from the district.

— The Church of the Brethren seeks a coordinator of Workcamps and Volunteer Recruitment. This full-time salaried position located at the General Offices in Elgin, Ill., provides oversight and administration of youth and young adult workcamps and supports recruitment of volunteers for Brethren Volunteer Service. Applicants will need the following: Experience in leadership during workcamps or mission trips; experience working with youth; strong interpersonal skills and an ability to take initiative without regular supervision; experience working in a team; excellent ability in organizational skills; demonstrated ability in communication skills (verbal and written); demonstrated ability in providing faith/spiritual leadership in group settings; experience in word processing, database, and spreadsheet software. In addition the candidate will be well-grounded in Church of the Brethren heritage, theology, and practices, and be able to articulate and operate out of the vision of the Mission and Ministry Board of the Church of the Brethren. Recruitment experience in a college or equivalent volunteer service setting preferred. Understanding of managing a budget required. Experience managing a budget preferred. Willingness to travel extensively is required. A bachelor’s degree is expected, with a master’s degree or equivalent work experience helpful but not required. Request an application packet and full job description by contacting Director of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; .

— The Church of the Brethren seeks a manager to fill a three-quarter time salaried position with benefits to provide oversight and administration of the Global Food Crisis Fund and the Emerging Global Mission Fund. This includes fundraising, grant making, and education and support of the Church of the Brethren regarding hunger issues. A bachelor’s degree is required, a master’s degree or equivalent experience is preferred in sustainable agriculture, economic development, community development, or a related field. Requirements also include strong interpersonal skills; ability to take initiative without regular supervision; strong verbal and written communication skills; willingness to travel; experience in word processing, database, and spreadsheet software; and understanding of budget management, with experience with grant management preferred. Knowledge of Church of the Brethren heritage, theology, and polity strongly preferred. Request an application packet and full job description by contacting Director of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; .

— The Church of the Brethren seeks a program assistant in Human Resources, a part-time hourly position located at the General Offices in Elgin, Ill. The program assistant will facilitate human resources activities such as employment, compensation, labor relations, benefits, training, and employee services. Requirements include an associate’s degree, with a bachelor’s degree strongly preferred; two to four years generalist experience and/or training in the Human Resources field, business, or equivalent combination of education and experience; knowledge of the ADP Workforce Now human resource and payroll system a plus. Request an application packet and full job description by contacting Director of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; .

— The World Council of Churches (WCC) has publicized vacancy notices for four positions: Manager Income Monitoring and Development (deadline for receiving applications is Jan. 25, 2012); Associate General Secretary for Programmes Public Witness and Diakonia to set strategic directions for the WCC’s programmatic work in the area of Public Witness and Diakonia (deadline for receiving applications is Jan. 25, 2012); Programme Executive for Inter-religious Dialogue and Cooperation to facilitate reflection and action on dialogue and cooperation with other religions, especially in relation to East Asian religions (deadline for receiving applications is Jan. 10, 2012); and EAPPI Communications Officer. The Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) is a program of the WCC that brings internationals to the West Bank to experience life under occupation. Ecumenical Accompaniers provide protective presence to vulnerable communities, monitor and report human rights abuses, and support Palestinians and Israelis working together for peace and for a just and peaceful resolution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict through an end to the occupation, respect for international law, and implementation of UN resolutions (deadline for receiving applications is Jan. 16, 2012). Vacancy notices are at . Applicants should apply online to within the planned time frames.

— Applications for the Church of the Brethren’s Youth Peace Travel Team for summer 2012 are due Jan. 13. Each year four young adults ages 18-23 spend the summer visiting Brethren camps and conferences to educate youth about Christian peacemaking, with sponsorship from the Youth and Young Adult ministry, On Earth Peace, the Outdoor Ministries Association, Brethren Volunteer Service, and Global Mission and Service. Find information and application form at .

— Also due Jan. 13 are applications for Ministry Summer Service 2012. MSS is a leadership development program for college students in the Church of the Brethren who spend 10 weeks of the summer working in the church either in a local congregation, district office, camp, or denominational program. The 2012 orientation is June 1-6. For more about the program go to .

— A number of online registration opportunities begin in the next few days:

Jan. 2 is the opening date for early registration for congregational delegates to the 2012 Annual Conference in St. Louis, Mo. Registration opens at noon (central time) on Jan. 2 at . The early registration fee is $285 per delegate. The fee increases to $310 on Feb. 23. Congregations will be able to register their delegates online and will be able to pay either by credit card or by sending a check. A memo and registration form has been mailed to every congregation. Nondelegate registration and housing reservations will begin Feb. 22. Contact the Conference Office at or 800-323-8039 ext. 229.

Jan. 6 is when online registration opens for National Young Adult Conference. Registration opens at 8 p.m. (central) on Jan. 6 at . The conference is June 18-22 at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, with the theme, “Humble Yet Bold: Being the Church” (Matthew 5:13-18). Go to the YAC web page above for more information about the conference.

Jan. 9 is the opening day of registration for the 2012 workcamps. “Get ready, get set, and get registered!” says a reminder from the Workcamp Office. “Can’t wait to see you this summer!” Workcamp registration opens Jan. 9 at 7 p.m. (central). Go to to register. For questions, please contact Cat Gong or Rachel Witkovsky in the Workcamp Office by e-mail at or by phone at 800-323-8039 ext. 283 or 301.

— A draft revision of “Ministerial Leadership Polity in the Church of the Brethren” as well as resources to help explain and interpret the paper are posted at . The revision will come to the Annual Conference for a first read in 2012, to be voted on in 2013. “Until Annual Conference approves a new polity document on ministerial leadership, the Church of the Brethren follows polity laid out in the paper on Ministerial Leadership adopted by Annual Conference in 1999,” explains an introductory note from the Ministry Office. “Calling and sustaining leadership for the church are the responsibilities of the whole church. Individuals, congregations, districts and the denomination work together to call forth leaders for our life together. Our hope in making this draft widely available is that we might read, study, and consider all that it includes–together.” Plans are for each district to host a listening and information session for its District Ministry Commission, facilitated by Office of Ministry staff and representatives to the Ministry Advisory Council, in the early months of 2012. Available at are the draft revision, timeline, and responses to frequently asked questions.

— “Benign Neglect Imperils Children after a Disaster” is the title of an article contributed by Judy Bezon, associate director of the Church of the Brethren’s Children’s Disaster Services, to the “The Dialogue,” a journal published by the Disaster Technical Assistance Center of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The journal provides information and resources to disaster behavioral health professionals. Find the article at .

— The Church of the Brethren in Hollidaysburg, Pa., is only one of many Brethren congregations who received media coverage this month. A video report from WTAJ TV News reviews the Hollidaysburg live Nativity at . The rebuilt Black River Church of the Brethren in Spencer, Ohio, was featured by WKYC-TV NBC in Cleveland with a report and slide show at . Dranesville Church of the Brethren in Herndon, Va., held a candlelight peace service Dec.18 to commemorate the loss of life in the Civil War Battle of Dranesville in 1861, and pastor Glenn Young gave an interview to the “Fairfax Underground” at . Find the latest “Brethren in the News” links for December at .

— The Third Peace Gathering of the Historic Peace Churches in Florida will be held Jan. 28, 2012, from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. hosted by Sebring Church of the Brethren. The $20 registration fee includes lunch and snacks. A special peace testimony will be given by Enten Eller, former draft resister and now staff at Bethany Theological Seminary, who also will lead a morning workshop on “Social Networking and Electronic Communications for Peace.” Other workshops will address praying for peace, peace education, witnessing to lawmakers, and more. Contact Phil Lersch, facilitator of the coordinating committee, at 727-544-2911 or .

— Emmert F. Bittinger’s book, “Allegheny Passage: Churches and Families of the West Marva District of the Church of the Brethren, 1752-1990,” is being reprinted and will be made available in early 2012 by West Marva District. The book had been out of print for some years. A group from West Marva, working with the Bittinger family, facilitated the reprinting. A pre-publication discount price of $64.95 (plus $6 shipping and handling per copy by mail) is available for those purchasing the book by Dec. 31. After the first of the year, the cost will be $79.95 plus shipping and handling. Contact West Marva District Office, 384 Dennett Rd., Oakland MD 21550.

— The Milestones in Ministry dinner was again a part of the Shenandoah District Conference this year. Twenty-eight ministers were recognized for years of service since ordination: Fred Bowman and Emerson Fike, 65 years; Bob McFadden, 60 years; Dee Flory, David Rittenhouse, and Albert Sauls, 55 years; Auburn Boyers and Fred Swartz, 50 years; J.D. Glick, 45 years; Ed Carl and John Foster, 40 years; Sam Sligar, 35 years; JuliAnne Bowser Sloughfy, Don Curry, and Bruce Noffsinger, 30 years; Jim Jinks and Elaine Hartman McGann, 25 years; Bill Abshire, Shelvie Mantz, Julian Rittenhouse, and George Yocum, 20 years; George Bowers, Walt Crull, Bill Fitchett, and Don Guthrie, 15 years; Gary Major, Daryl Ritchie, and Glenn Shifflett, 5 years.

— At least two other districts also honored ministers for terms of service: Virlina District Conference honored L. Clyde Carter Jr. for 50 years of service. Atlantic Southeast District Conference recognized the following ministers: Steve Horrell and Jaime Diaz, 5 years; Jimmy Baker, 20 years; Jerry Hartwell and Benjamin Perez, 35 years; Terry Hatfield, 40 years; Wendell Bohrer and Merle Crouse, 55 years. Also, Berwyn Oltman received the Gemmer Peace Award at the Atlantic Southeast District Conference.

— Feb. 3, 2012, is the Annual Dinner and Meeting of the Valley Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center in Harrisonburg, Va. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. at Shady Oak beside Weavers Mennonite Church. In addition to food prepared by the Rhodes Sisters and provided by a generous donor, guests will see a preview of the play, “Jordan’s Stormy Banks.”

— The December edition of “Brethren Voices,” the community television program produced by Portland’s Peace Church of the Brethren, features the Intentional Community Houses of Brethren Volunteer Service. Since 2009, BVS has created Intentional Community Houses in Elgin, Ill.; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Portland, Ore. These projects offer volunteers a community living experience and the opportunity to volunteer with local organizations serving the needs of  the nearby community, along with relationship to a local congregation. This edition of “Brethren Voices,” hosted by Brent Carlson, features five volunteers who have been the first to serve in the Portland project. Members of the congregation provide insight into how a small church was able to bring this into reality as part of its ministry. The  January 2012 “Brethren Voices” features 2012 Annual Conference moderator Tim Harvey of Roanoke, Va. “Brethren Voices” is offered as community television resource and isbeing used by some congregations as a resource for Sunday school classes. Contact Ed Groff at for more information.

— A children’s book by Jan West Schrock, daughter of Heifer International founder Dan West, has been made into a play. Schrock reports, “My little children’s book, ‘Give A Goat,’ is featured in the Dec. 2011 ‘Library Sparks’ magazine. It has become a play in the Reader’s Theater for children Grades 3-5.” Find an interview with Schrock at , click on “Meet the Author.”

— Two Church of the Brethren members have co-authored “Beneath the Tip of the Iceberg: Improving English and Understanding US Cultural Patterns” (Univ. of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor). Darla K. Bowman Deardorff of Peace Covenant Church of the Brethren in Durham, N.C., is executive director of the association of International Education Administrators based at Duke University where she also teaches cross-cultural courses, and on the faculty at North Carolina State University and the University of N. Carolina, Chapel Hill. Kay M. Bowman of Bridgewater (Va.) Church of the Brethren is a retired minister’s wife, speaker, author, and writer for more than 50 years. Their book introduces students who are new to the US to deeper levels of American culture in order to help improve their interactions with others in their communities.