Brethren in the News

Photo courtesy of Robert Shank
Robert Shank (center) was one of the speakers at the recent international conference at PUST, a university in Pyongyan, North Korea. Shank is dean of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology. He and his wife, Linda, are teaching at PUST with sponsorship from the Church of the Brethren Global Mission and Service program.

“Elgin church volunteers return from North Korea ‘without hassle’ after leader’s death,” Courier News, Elgin, Ill. (Dec. 28, 2011) – When North Korean leader Kim Jong Il’s death was announced Dec. 19, the Elgin-headquartered Church of the Brethren was worried. That’s because the church supports Pyongyang University of Science and Technology in North Korea’s capital and largest city, the only private university in the country. And that includes supporting volunteer teachers at the university who were set to return to the US last week. “We were a little worried whether there would be a mass exodus at the airport,” said Howard Royer, manager of the church’s Global Food Crisis Fund. The full report is at

“Windber elementary students brighten Christmas for others,” Daily American, Somerset County, Pa. (Dec. 29, 2011) – Three Windber elementary school friends, Taylor Wahl, Kira Labosky, and Baylee Wojcik, made and delivered 170 Christmas cards to the residents of the Windber Church of the Brethren Home. Read the story at,0,4970906.story

Obituary: Teresa A. “Terri” Meushaw, Carroll County (Md.) Times (Dec. 2011) – Teresa Anne “Terri” Meushaw, 62, died Dec. 17 at her home, after battling cancer for several years. She had retired as an administrative assistant for Mid-Atlantic District of the Church of the Brethren, located at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. She was a member of Uniontown Bible Church. She was the wife of William M. “Bill” Meushaw Jr., her husband of 44 years, who survives her. For the full obituary go to

“New Windsor fair trade shop to close,” Carroll County (Md.) Times, (Dec. 27, 2011) – SERRV, a fair trade international gift shop in New Windsor, Md., has been part of the Brethren Service Center campus for close to 60 years. The gift shop will close Jan. 29 and reopen March 22 as an overstock outlet store, according to a press release from the organization. The New Windsor gift shop has regularly been open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. When the doors reopen in March, the store will only be open 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. The full report is at

“Church Remembers Fallen Civil War Soldiers – Dranesville Church of the Brethren commemorates 150 years since Battle of Dranesville,”

Fairfax Underground, Fairfax County, Va. (Dec. 26, 2011) – One hundred and fifty years ago, Confederate forces coming from Centreville encountered Union troops coming from Langley, and the resulting Battle of Dranesville took place. The battle Dec. 20, 1861, resulted in a Union victory, as well as the deaths of 300 soldiers. It was with those soldiers in mind that the Dranesville Church of the Brethren, which was built in 1912 on part of the battlefield, held their annual remembrance ceremony. The church, known for its pacifist stance, paid tribute to the victims from both sides in the battle. The whole story is at
Related stories:
“Grieving the Losses: Remembering the Battle of Dranesville,” Great Falls Connection, Alexandria, Va. (Dec. 13, 2011), column by Great Falls Historical Society president Kathleen Murphy at

“Nearly 260 meals delivered for Christmas Day,” State Journal-Register, Springfield, Ill. (Dec. 25, 2011) – Mary Link said she could still remember the first time she delivered food to seniors prepared by members of First Church of the Brethren in Springfield, Ill. Thirty years ago, an elderly man in bib overalls answered the door and told her he didn’t expect a hot meal to be delivered or–more importantly to Link–see somebody that day. “It made me realize how different people experience holidays,” said Link, 85. “That fella and his bib overalls is what did it for me.”
Link was one of about 100 people who spent their Christmas morning delivering meals for seniors. Go to

Scarvey column: Shriek in heavenly peace,” Salisbury (N.C.) Post (Dec. 25, 2011) – Columnist Katie Scarvey shares the story of a memorable Christmas Eve service at the Church of the Brethren in the Virginia town where she grew up. “We picked up our candles at the door and found our seats. As other worshippers came filing in, we scanned the order of worship, amused that the church had printed an informational paragraph about the candlelight part of the service. It included practical instructions on how to light the candles. Participants were also admonished not to get the lit candle near clothing or hair. We had a few laughs over the thought that people would need to be advised to keep a flame away from their hair or clothing….” Read the column at

“Medina: After 2007 Christmas Eve fire, church rebuilt,” WKYC-TV NBC Channel 3, Cleveland, Ohio (Dec. 24, 2011) – On Christmas Eve almost four years ago, the 140-year-old Black River Church of the Brethren in Spencer, Ohio, went up in smoke. The pastor of the church, the Rev. Mark Teal, vowed to rebuild. That vow resonated with a lot of people, and in the months after that Christmas Eve fire, over $100,000 worth of donations came rolling in from all over the country.
Read the article and view a slide show at

Obituary: Harry H. Arehart, News Leader, Staunton, Va. (Dec. 24, 2011) – Harry Hollis Arehart, 85, passed away Dec. 23 at Emeritus of Staunton surrounded by his loving family. He was a lifelong member of White Hill Church of the Brethren, serving in many capacities, including Sunday School teacher and church treasurer. He is preceded in death by his beloved wife of 63 years, Sylvia M. Arehart. He worked at E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Co. in Waynesboro. Upon retirement, he had been with the company 42 years. The full obituary is at

“Live Nativity at Church of the Brethren,” (Dec. 23, 2011) – A video report on a live nativity at the Church of the Brethren in Hollidaysburg, Pa., is featured by WTAJ TV News. Click on the link to view the video at

“Two churches use different formats to tell the Christ story,” Shippensburg News-Chronicle (Dec. 22, 2011) – The story of Christmas and the Christ child took different forms, but followed the same script to the delight of appreciative onlookers at two Shippensburg churches during the weekend before Christmas. Ridge Church of the Brethren members offered three performances of the “biblically-accurate” account of the first two years of Christ’s life in a performance that leaned on scripture, hymns, live animals, and human actors with no speaking parts. The story is at
Related stories:
“Living nativity puts reason in the season,” Chambersburg (Pa.) Public Opinion (Dec. 18, 2011),
“Ridge Church tells Christ child story with live actors and animals,” Shippensburg (Pa.) News-Chronicle (Dec. 13, 2011),

“Danville Church’s ‘Living Christmas,’” Keyser (W.Va.) Mineral Daily News Tribune (Dec. 22, 2011) – The News Tribune website offers a 9-picture slide show of the live nativity held at Danville Church of the Brethren. View the show at

“Amwell Church brings joy to children of prisoners,” (Dec. 20, 2011) – When a parent is convicted of a crime there are two sets of victims–the people they’ve hurt by breaking the law and their own families, particularly their children. Prison Fellowship’s Angel Tree ministry program reaches out to those children, keeping a connection going between parent and child through the delivery of Christmas gifts. Seven years ago members of Amwell Church of the Brethren first reached out to Angel Tree. Now they accept about 25 names annually. The whole article is at

Obituary: Ruth R. Miller, Times Republican, central Iowa (Dec. 20, 2011) – Ruth R. Miller, 90, of Conrad, Iowa, died Dec. 17 at Marshalltown Medical and Surgical Center. She was a member of Ivester Church of the Brethren in Grundy Center, Iowa, where she was a member of women’s fellowship, taught Bible school and Sunday school. She was united in marriage to Jay L. Miller in May of 1947. She worked part time at the Grundy County Memorial Hospital while her daughters were in school. In 1956, they moved north of Conrad and engaged in farming with her father. The full obituary is at–Miller–90.html?nav=5006

Obituary: David D. Tyree, News Leader, Staunton, Va. (Dec. 20, 2011) – David Daniel “Danny” Tyree, 64, husband of Mary Tyree, died Dec. 19 at his residence. A memorial service was held Dec. 22 at Emmanual Church of the Brethren in Mount Solon, Va. The notice is at

“First Church of the Brethren holds ‘Christmas Worship for Pets,’” The Sentinel,, Carlisle, Pa. (Dec. 18, 2011) – More than a dozen people and their pets arrived at Shryl and Charles Carothers’ farm on Forge Road in Boiling Springs for a “Christmas Worship for Pets,” about half an hour of singing and stories by First Church of the Brethren co-pastors Marla and Jim Abe. Read more:

“Taking Action: Juniata and Steps Taken During Sandusky Investigation,” Juniata College online news, Huntingdon, Pa. (Dec. 16, 2011) – A letter from Juniata president Thomas R. Kepple Jr. opens:  Dear Juniata Community, In the last several weeks, as the alleged actions of Jerry Sandusky have dominated news headlines, we have been talking with various media about the facts of Sandusky’s having been present on our campus and around our football team during the 2010 season. The story has rightly caused concern among our alumni, students, families of our students, and other friends of Juniata. To aid in your understanding of what happened and to give you confidence in what Juniata is doing about it, I will share three things: facts regarding our initial response, the facts about Sandusky’s presence as we have known and have communicated them, and what we are doing to ensure such a situation does not occur again. Read the entire letter at
Related stories:
“Jerry Sandusky denied job upon check,” ESPN (Dec. 7, 2011) – A year and a half after an investigation began into Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State assistant football coach applied for a volunteer coaching job at Juniata College, a Church of the Brethren-related school in central Pennsylvania, but was denied the job after a background check. Read the ESPN story at
“Juniata players troubled by Sandusky’s proximity to children,” WHP TV CBS 21 News, Harrisburg, Pa. (Dec. 14, 2011)
“Denied job after background check, Jerry Sandusky still coached at Juniata,” WHP TV CBS 21 News, Harrisburg, Pa. (Dec. 12, 2011)

“Jimmy Fortune Christmas concert helps feed the area’s hungry,” News Leader, Staunton, Va. (Dec. 15, 2011) – Jimmy Fortune, singer/songwriter and recording artist, formerly with the Statler Brothers, offered a concert highlighting his new album, “Windows” and his Christmas album, “Feels Like Christmas,” with other holiday favorites at Weyers Cave Community Center. This was the fifth year that the concert benefited the Verona Food Pantry, sponsored by Pleasant Valley Church of the Brethren in Weyers Cave and Houff Transfer, as well as at least nine other companies in Weyers Cave and Verona. Read more at

“Interfaith Coalition of Washington County hosts first potluck,” Herald-Mail, Hagerstown, Md. (Dec. 14, 2011) – Food can bring folks together, which it did when people of various faiths gathered at Hagerstown (Md.) Church of the Brethren to celebrate the season with a potluck dinner. Interfaith Coalition of Washington County hosted its first potluck as a way to share holiday traditions, said Ed Poling, coordinator of the coalition and church pastor. Find more at,0,289860.story

“Habitat and ECB partner to donate house in Eaton,” The Register-Herald, Eaton, Ohio (Dec. 13, 2011) – Habitat for Humanity partnered with Eaton’s Church of the Brethren to provide a brand new home for Lauri Johnson and her family. Although this project had been in the works for the greater part of the past two years, it became official during a celebratory event held at the house on Sunday, Dec. 4. Find the report at

Obituary: Charles H. Roberts, Journal-News, Martinsburg, W.Va. (Dec. 13, 2011) – Charles H. Roberts, 96, of Martinsburg, died Dec. 11. He was retired from Martin Marietta Corp., after 37 years of service. He was a member of Moler Avenue Church of the Brethren, where he became a charter member in 1940. He was a member of the Civil Conservation Corporation in 1932 and an avid hunter, fisherman and fan of all sports. He was preceded in death by his wife, Lula C. Miller Roberts. Find the full obituary at–Roberts.html?nav=5007

Obituary: Thornton W. Byram, Staunton (Va.) News Leader (Dec. 11, 2011) – Thornton “Thorny” Wilson Byram, 74, beloved husband of Fonda (Humphries) Byram, went to be with the Lord on Dec. 9 at his residence, after a lengthy illness. He was a member of Barren Ridge Church of the Brethren. Prior to his retirement, he was employed in land sales. The obituary is at

“Live Nativity,” Daily American, Somerset County, Pa. (Dec. 11, 2011) – A photo of the folks at Middlecreek Church of the Brethren stepping back in time with “An Old Fashioned German Christmas.” Find the photo at,0,4621022.story

“Live nativity planned at County Line Church of the Brethren,” Pittsburgh Tribune Review (Dec. 9, 2011) – The County Line Church of the Brethren held a live nativity with free refreshments, a fire to roast marshmallows, and caroling. Bring your neighbors, friends and families, said the announcement. Read more:

“Sign from God soaks local church: Honey drips down cross, onto altar of church,” ABC 57 News, South Bend, Ind. (Dec. 9, 2011) – A message sent from above drips all the way down the sanctuary of the Plymouth Church of the Brethren. “Way up in the point of the ceiling you can see brown streaks coming down the wall,” Pastor Ruth Yoder said. The sticky substance has been leaking from the top of the church for almost a month now, “Running down the cross itself the walls beside it and then dripping on the altar table,” Yoder said. Read the story at

“Heritage Christmas is in full swing,” Echo-Pilot, Greencastle, Pa. (Dec. 9, 2011) – Trolley rides. Something new to Greencastle-Antrim’s Heritage Christmas will roll Saturday, Dec. 10. Trolley rides, hosted by Russ and Dodi Clever, also known as Two Nuts and a Bolt, will depart from the parking lot of the Greencastle Church of the Brethren. For the story and a picture of gingerbread making at Greencastle Church of the Brethren go to

“FOR & Historic Peace Churches discuss ecumenical engagement for peace and justice,” Fellowship of Reconciliation blog (Dec. 7, 2011) – On November 18-19, the Church of the Brethren hosted the annual meeting of the Historic Peace Churches/Fellowship of Reconciliation Consultative Committee for a time of fellowship, mutual support and conversation on ecumenical engagement for peace and justice. Read the full blog post at

Obituary: Shelby K. Campbell, Staunton (Va.) News Leader (Dec. 7, 2011) – Shelby Jean Karr Campbell, 58, of Goshen died Dec. 6 at her residence. She married Junior Franklin Campbell on Oct. 12, 1970, who survives her. She was a homemaker and a member of Little River Church of the Brethren in Goshen. For 15 years, she was a volunteer with Weekday Religious Education. The obituary is at

“Local Church Shares Meaning Of Christmas With Float in Parade,” WHSV Fox Channel 3, Virginia (Dec. 4, 2011) – Some local church members are trying to spread what they say is the true meaning of Christmas. They’re showing that message through their float for the Grottoes Christmas parade. Members of the Grottoes Church of the Brethren came together all week to put together this float. Go to

“Younger spiritual audience dwindling,” Altoona (Pa.) Mirror (Dec. 4, 2011) – Church is out, and spirituality is in. That’s how people in their 30s and younger think. Pastor Jeff Miley of Tyrone Church of the Brethren is interviewed for this article. Read it at

“Troutville Church of Brethren getting new pastor,” Roanoke (Va.) Times (Dec. 2, 2011) – Troutville Church of the Brethren announces a new pastor in the New Year with a new beginning. Terry Johnson from Nickelsville, Va., starts as pastor on Jan. 1. Find the “Bototourt View” notice at

Obituary: Mona Lou Hemminger, Star Press, Muncie, Ind. (Dec. 3, 2011) – Mona Lou Hemminger, 85, died at Courtyard Healthcare. She had been in failing health the last 13 and a half months. A 1944 graduate of Nappanee High School, she was a member of Goshen City Church of the Brethren where she enjoyed singing in the choir. Find the full obituary at

“Twin Falls Hosts After-dark Spectacle,” Twin Falls (Idaho) Times-News (Dec. 2, 2011) – Kathryn Bausman, pastor of Community Church of the Brethren in Twin Falls, and a handful of congregants were at the church working on a float for the annual Festival of Lights Parade in downtown Twin Falls. Read more:

“Local art shows feature unique gifts,” Journal Gazette, Fort Wayne, Ind. (Dec. 1, 2011) – Sophia’s Portico’s Winter Art Show, which featured 26 Indiana artists at Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren, was one of several local holiday art shows this month in the Fort Wayne area.
See the story at

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