Brethren Bits

Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
Rachel Buller is heading to Japan to serve as a longterm volunteer at a brand new project for Brethren Volunteer Service: ARI, or the Asian Rural Institute in the area of Tochigi-ken.

— Corrections: Two links in the Nov. 16 Newsline were incorrect. The correct link to more information about Church of the Brethren workcamps is . The website for the Feast of Love movement is .

— Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) worker Rachel Buller leaves today for placement at the Asian Rural Institute in the area of Tochigi-ken. The institute, known as ARI, is a new project site for BVS. It developed connections with the Church of the Brethren through the Global Food Crisis Fund, and following the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan ARI also received funding from the church’s Emergency Disaster Fund. Buller will work on an organic farm helping with gardening, caring for livestock, cooking, office work, and hosting short-term volunteer groups. She grew up at Koinonia, an intentional Christian community and farm in Americus, Ga., also known as Jubilee Partners. While awaiting her visa to Japan she has been serving at the Meeting Ground in Elkton, Md.

— Manchester College is seeking a new dean for its School of Pharmacy. Philip J. Medon, vice president and founding dean of the new school, has resigned for health reasons. During the search for a replacement, college executive vice president Dave McFadden will serve as interim dean working closely with three associate deans. “We are grateful that Dean Medon has led the School of Pharmacy through several significant stages in its growth since his arrival in 2010,” said Manchester president Jo Young Switzer. “He has hired an exceptional team of faculty and administrators and the accreditation agency has expressed confidence with the leadership transition plan we have put in place.” The school already has 23 faculty members for its four-year professional doctoral program. The pharmacy leadership also already has secured hundreds of experiential opportunities for the pharmacy students in northeast Indiana. Classes will begin in Aug. 2012 for about 70 students in a $20 million state-of-the-art learning and research facility under construction on the north side of Fort Wayne, near Interstate 69 and Dupont Road. By the fourth year of the Pharm.D. program, enrollment is expected to exceed 260 students. The full news release is at .

— On Earth Peace has announced a job opening for a peace retreat coordinator who will serve through Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS). The peace retreat coordinator works closely with the program coordinator for Peace Education to develop, resource, and facilitate peace retreats for youth as well as work with the Step Up! network and other peace education initiatives. For a full job description, contact Marie Benner-Rhoades at .

— An Associated Press article is reporting on a delegation of US religious leaders to Cuba. The group led by National Council of Churches general secretary Michael Kinnamon includes Becky Ball-Miller, a member of the Mission and Ministry Board, as the Church of the Brethren representative. Find the AP story at .

— Congregational Life Ministries is offering prayers and questions in connection with this year’s Advent devotional from Brethren Press. “Join us as we look and listen for the coming of the Word through the reading of scripture, David’s reflections, times of prayer, and conversations on this blog,” said an invitation from Joshua Brockway, director of Spiritual Life and Discipleship. Find the blog site at . Order the devotional written by David W. Miller for $2.50 plus shipping and handling at or call 800-441-3712.

— Registration for the 2012 Christian Citizenship Seminar opens at on Thursday, Dec. 1, at 6 p.m. (central time). The Christian Citizenship Seminar is an opportunity for youth and their advisors to travel to Washington, D.C., and New York City and explore the theme “Stepping Out: Our Relationship with Carbon.” The cost for the week will be $375, which includes some meals, lodging, and transportation from one city to the other. For more information check out Contact Carol Fike or Becky Ullom at 800-323-8039 ext. 281 or 297, or .

— The Church of the Brethren’s Intercultural Consultation and Celebration scheduled for April 19-22, 2012, in Santa Ana, Calif., has been postponed until a future time to be determined. “The decision to postpone is due to the current staff vacancy for director of Intercultural Ministries and ongoing strategic planning,” said an announcement from Jonathan Shively, executive director of Congregational Life Ministries. “We remain committed to developing intercultural competence and relationships throughout the Church of the Brethren, but simply do not have the resources and readiness to follow through with this event as originally scheduled. Further information will be posted as it becomes available.” Questions? Contact Shively at 800-323-8039 ext. 282 or .

— This week’s Action alert from the church’s witness and advocacy office calls attention to the United Nations climate change conference that started Monday in Durban, S. Africa, and continues through Dec. 9. Citing the 2011 Annual Conference acceptance of a query regarding the earth’s climate, the alert asks Brethren to help encourage the US to take a prominent role on climate change. It also encourages participation in a “Do It in Durban” ecumenical Christian campaign on climate change led by the National Council of Churches Eco-justice program. The Durban meeting is an attempt to advance toward a global agreement cutting carbon emissions, with expiration of the Kyoto protocol expected at the end of 2012.

Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
Rachel Buller is heading to Japan to serve as a longterm volunteer at a brand new project for Brethren Volunteer Service: ARI, or the Asian Rural Institute in the area of Tochigi-ken.

— An initiative for Brethren-sponsored medical clinics in Haiti has held its first clinic, serving some 150 people and hosted by the Laferriere Haitian Brethren congregation near Mirebalais. The initiative is spearheaded by physicians and others who took part in a medical delegation to Haiti in March 2010, shortly after a massive earthquake ravaged the nation. The group hopes to set up an endowment fund of $100,000 for the effort. A grant of $6,000 in initial funding has been given by the denomination’s Global Mission and Service program. For photos from the clinic, plus photos of the new Canaan church in Haiti, go to .

— Church of the Brethren United Nations representative Doris Abdullah is inviting church members to join her at a forum for non-governmental organizations on the status of women, from Feb. 26-March 9, 2012, in New York City. The forum kicks off with a Consultation Day on Feb. 26 at the Salvation Army Headquarters (120 West 14th Street) and continues with a reception and other events. For more information go to .

— On Nov. 18-20, Miami (Fla.) First Church of the Brethren held its fifth annual Brethren Press booth at the Miami International Book Fair.

— Fahrney-Keedy Home and Village retirement community near Boonsboro, Md., is planning its second annual Holiday Festival, from 2-4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 11. Guests will be able to tour the main building and Village, sample refreshments, hear holiday music in the Dining Room, take a horse-drawn-sleigh ride, and meet staff and residents. Santa will be on hand for photos in the Parlor. A slide show of events during the year at Fahrney-Keedy will be on display. A copy of the 2011 Fahrney-Keedy cookbook, “Golden Goodies, Then and Now” will be a complimentary gift to all attending the event. RSVP by calling 301-671-5016.

— Bridgewater (Va.) College Equestrian Club will host the 10th annual “Horses’ Christmas” at the college’s Equestrian Center in Weyers Cave, Va., on Dec. 10 at 1 p.m. This year’s theme is “A Fairy Tale Christmas.” All elementary and pre-school students in the community and their families are invited to the presentation, which will feature horses dressed in seasonal garb and skits that are focused on fairy tales. Santa and Mrs. Claus will make an appearance on horseback. Jerry Schurink, coach of the Bridgewater riding team, will narrate. Awards will be presented to the best costumed entries. Kids will be allowed to reward horses with a tasty treat following the competition. In lieu of an admission charge, the club requests donations of canned goods for a local charity. For more information call Beth R. Boteler at 540-223-2437.

— Pleasant Hill Village, the Brethren retirement community in Girard, Ill., is offering a “Church of the Brethren Illinois/Wisconsin District Historic Sites Jigsaw Puzzle” as a gift option for the holidays. “Puzzles make perfect gifts for all occasions!” said an announcement. $25 includes shipping to family and friends, with a note card included carrying a personal message. Sales benefit Pleasant Hill Village. Call 217-627-2181 and order from chaplain Terry Link.

— The latest “Brethren Voices” community television program from Portland Peace Church of the Brethren deals with the subject of slavery in the 21st century. “We were able to get permission from a journalist in Denmark to use his documentary, ‘The Dark Side of Chocolate,’” reports producer Ed Groff. “We’re asking viewers to contact the CEO of Hershey chocolate to change the ways they do business. Most of their cocoa comes from the Ivory Coast where the documentary was filmed.” The Church of the Brethren Annual Conference in 2008 passed a resolution against modern-day slavery. “The Dark Side of Chocolate” directed by Miki Mistrati shows young children still being illegally trafficked and sold to cocoa plantations in the Ivory Coast, producing cocoa used by Nestle, Hershey’s, and other large chocolate producers. In 2001, these large chocolate producers signed the Cocoa Protocol promising to work for the eradication of child labor by 2008. Contact Groff for a copy of the program, at

— Tom Hurst, director of service programs at McPherson (Kan.) College, has been recognized as the 2011 Kansas Community Engagement Professional of the Year. The award cites his initiative to greatly increase participation by students and faculty and staff in service work since 2007.

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