Brethren Bits: NCC and District Personnel, Church and College News, Much More

Newsline’s “Brethren bits” for Nov. 16, 2011, includes the resignation of National Council of Churches general secretary Michael Kinnamon, BVSer Jillian Foerster going to serve in South Sudan, Don Knieriem starting as data analyst with the Church of the Brethren, three new area ministers in Oregon and Washington District, Nancy Davis leaving as Northern Plains District financial and office secretary, applications for the 2012 Youth Peace Travel Team due Jan. 13, and much, much more:

Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
Jillian Foerster will serve at RECONCILE in South Sudan as a Brethren Volunteer Service worker sponsored by the Church of the Brethren’s Global Mission and Service office.

— The National Council of Churches (NCC) Governing Board has approved a “process for a stable and grace-filled transition” after general secretary Michael Kinnamon announced his intention to leave the position due to health reasons. “Members of the governing board received the news with reverence and respect for Kinnamon’s leadership of the council during the last four years,” said an NCC release. The action by the board came after Kinnamon, 63, said his cardiologist insisted that the stresses of his current position must be reduced immediately.

— Jillian Foerster, a Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) worker from Mill Creek Church of the Brethren in Port Republic, Va., will soon begin as administrative associate at RECONCILE International in Yei, South Sudan. Her placement is sponsored by the Church of the Brethren’s Global Mission and Service program. She plans to leave for Sudan near the end of November. She holds a degree in international relations with a minor in economics.

— Don Knieriem has begun in a new data analyst and registration specialist position with the Church of the Brethren Information Services. His primary responsibilities will be database management, reconciliation of discrepancies between multiple databases, and in building, testing, and support for both registration and donation forms. He is a member of Wilmington (Del.) Church of the Brethren and graduated in 2008 from the University of Delaware with degrees in mathematics and computer science. He served as a Brethren Volunteer Service worker for Brethren Disaster Ministries and as a staff volunteer in the BVS office.

— Carol Mason, Jim Miller, and Debbie Roberts have accepted appointments as area ministers for Oregon and Washington District. When the district reduced its executive position to quarter time it also established the area minister positions. “We recognized that the far-flung geography of the Pacific Northwest would frustrate the attempts of a quarter-time executive to provide needed support to pastors and churches,” explained the district newsletter. Area ministers will work closely with new district executive Colleen Michael.

— Nancy Davis’ service as Northern Plains District financial and office secretary concludes Dec. 31, as announced in the district newsletter. “We are grateful for Nancy’s years of excellent service,” the announcement said. Phyllis Prichard of Ames, Iowa, has been appointed to begin serving on Jan. 1, 2012, as the district’s next financial secretary. The district has opened a new post office box in Ames, effective immediately. The old post office box in Ankeny, Iowa, will stay open only until the end of the year. The new address is Northern Plains District/Church of the Brethren, P.O. Box 573, Ames, IA 50010-0573.

— Applications for the 2012 Youth Peace Travel Team are due Jan. 13. College-age young adults (ages 19-22) are invited to apply. Through the summer, the team travels to camps and conferences talking about the Christian message and the church’s tradition of peacemaking. The team is sponsored by the Youth and Young Adult Ministry, Brethren Volunteer Service, On Earth Peace, and Outdoor Ministries Association. Go to

— Abraham Harley Cassel (1820-1908) is the focus of the latest “Hidden Gems” webpage from the Brethren Historical Library and Archives. Cassel was a 19th century book collector and antiquarian whose collection in his home in Harleysville, Pa., was the major informational source for Martin Grove Brumbaugh’s “History of the German Baptist Brethren” (1899). Go to

— Church of the Brethren United Nations representative Doris Abdullah was moderator of a Nov. 10 event in the “Sacred Season Series” sponsored by the Subcommittee for the Elimination of Racism of the NGO Committee on Human Rights. Held at the UN Plaza in New York, the event was on the theme “Spirituality, Environmental Justice, and Human Rights.” Abdullah also has called attention to Nov. 25 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. The day was designated by the UN General Assembly in 1999 as the date of a brutal assassination in 1960 of the three Mirabal sisters, political activists in the Dominican Republic. For more information about the day go to

— New Covenant Church of the Brethren in Chester, Va., has honored Elaine McLauchlin Lowder for 70 years of playing piano for the church. According to the Virlina District newsletter, she began playing at Hopewell Church of the Brethren when she was 16 years old and has continued to play for church, weddings, and special occasions ever since.

— Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren in Fort Wayne, Ind., is hosting a presentation on “Christian Peacemaker Team (CPT) Witness for Justice in the Middle East” given by Brethren member Peggy Gish. The event is Nov. 17, at 6:30 p.m. Gish has been a longterm volunteer on the CPT team in Iraq.

— Papago Buttes Church of the Brethren in Scottsdale, Ariz., has been certified as Monarch Waystation #5125 after the congregation planted a garden of native plants. The Pacific Southwest District newsletter noted that Monarch butterflies are nourished by native milkweed plants, and that master gardeners come and harvest seeds to propagate native milkweed in other waystation gardens. Papago Buttes hosted the fall meeting of the Central Arizona Butterfly Association.

— Several ministers have been recognized for significant years of service. Middle Pennsylvania District Conference recognized Luke Bowser and Floyd Mitchell for 70 years; Ronald Hershberger for 60; Marilyn Durr, David L. Miller, and Frank Teeter for 25; and Timothy Laird and Hannah Wilson for 10 years. Atlantic Northeast District Conference recognized Paul H. Boll and Luke B. Bucher for 50 years of ordained ministry.

— The second annual “Powerhouse” regional youth conference took place at Manchester College Nov. 12-13, with nearly 100 senior high youth and advisors from Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. Jeff Carter, pastor of Manassas (Va.) Church of the Brethren, spoke at three worship services on the theme “Follow: If You Dare,” looking at what it really means to follow Jesus. Worship themes were inspired by Shawn Kirchner’s 2010 National Youth Conference theme song, “More Than Meets the Eye,” which touched on various aspects of Jesus as he carried out his ministry. Carter looked at some of these aspects in his messages, emphasizing the importance of all facets in fully understanding who Jesus is and what that means for Christians. Students, staff, and others led a variety of workshops during the weekend, which also included opportunities for a campus tour, displays from Brethren programs, recreation, and a game of “Mission Impossible.” The next Powerhouse is tentatively scheduled for Nov. 10-11, 2012.

— A Renovaré Conference will be held April 21, 2012, at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College led by Kris Webb, the new president of Renovaré, and Renovaré founder Richard Foster. Atlantic Northeast and Southern Pennsylvania Districts are inviting pastors and church leaders to prepare for the event. Cost is $40, with registration limited to the first 850 people. A children’s program will be offered during the conference, with spiritual disciplines lessons by Jean Moyer. A resource is available for pastors to preach ahead of time on the 12 spiritual disciplines that will be emphasized at the conference. After the conference on May 5 the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center will offer a “Deepening Day” on the topic, “Growing in Christian Spiritual Vitality: Personally and Corporately” led by David Young of the Springs Initiative. For more information contact

— Springs of Living Water has announced a new Advent/Christmas Spiritual Disciplines folder, posted at Titled, “For There Is Born to You a Savior Who Is Christ the Lord,” the folder follows the lectionary readings and topics used for the Brethren Press bulletin series. An explanation of the theme and an insert helps church members learn how to use the folders and discern their next steps in spiritual growth. The Bible study questions are written by Vince Cable, pastor of Uniontown Church of the Brethren near Pittsburgh, Pa. For more information contact Joan and David Young at

— This holiday season relive experiences in the Elder John Kline household in the fall of 1861 around a family-style meal at the John Kline house in Broadway, Va. Candlelight Dinners will be offered Nov. 18 and 19 and Dec. 2 and 3 at 6 p.m. Actors will convey the sentiments of family members after the Civil War came to Virginia soil. Tickets are $40. Call 540-896-5001.

— Three Bridgewater (Va.) College alumni were honored Nov. 4 at the President’s Dinner: Carol S. Fenn of Bridgewater, division superintendent of Rockingham County Public Schools, received the Distinguished Alumni Award; Linda Knight Wilson of Mathews, Va., a counselor-educator and civic volunteer, received the West-Whitelow Award for Humanitarian Service; and Cheryl M. Mascarenhas of Plainfield, Ill., associate professor of chemistry at Benedictine University, received the Young Alumnus Award. Also, Krishna Kodukula of Harrisonburg, Va., has been elected to the Bridgewater College board of trustees. He is a scientist, entrepreneur, and executive director of SRI International’s Center for Advanced Drug Research (CADRE).

— Global Entrepreneurship Week at McPherson (Kan.) College kicked off a new Global Enterprise Challenge for 35 students competing on teams to come up with the best venture to help out the country of Panama. A release from the college also announced “Jump Start Kansas,” a new program offering a $5,000 grant to the Kansas high school student who comes up with the best new commercial venture and another $5,000 to the best non-profit venture. In addition, scholarships are offered to the winners and 10 finalists. “We’re putting our money (about $100,000 commitment) where our heart is–in developing young entrepreneurs,” said the release. Find an application form for Jump Start Kansas at

— Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) has renewed its work on health issues related to the manufacture and use of depleted uranium (DU) weapons. In Jonesborough, Tenn., a CPT Depleted Uranium delegation has been collecting samples to be examined for contamination around an Aerojet Ordnance, Inc. processing plant. In the group that accompanied Dr. Michael Ketterer, professor at Northern Arizona State University, in collecting soil, water, and sediment samples was Church of the Brethren member Cliff Kindy, a longterm volunteer with CPT both in the US and Iraq. The delegation participated in a public forum at Eastern Tennessee State University on Oct. 25 and a public action at the plant on Oct. 29. For more go to

— As Super Committee lawmakers approach a Nov. 23 deadline to slash $1.2 trillion from the federal budget, Church World Service will be represented at a Nov. 20 “Super Vigil” for a budget that preserves vital domestic and international assistance funding, said a CWS release. CWS is encouraging churches across the country to hold Nov. 20 vigils in their own communities. “We are asking simply for a just and compassionate–a life-saving–budget,” said CWS director of advocacy Martin Shupack, who helps lead the Faithful Budget Campaign. For more Super Vigil information:

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