Newsline for February 24, 2011

Feb. 24, 2011

“You should not be hard-hearted or tight-fisted toward your needy neighbor. You should rather open your hand, willingly lending enough to meet the need…” (Deuteronomy 15:7b-8a).

1) Global Food Crisis Fund hosts gathering for Foods Resource Bank.
2) Advocacy office urges federal budget to care for those in poverty.
3) Religious and humanitarian groups speak out on the federal budget.
4) Brethren Disaster Ministries reports on completed and new projects.
5) Florida peace churches prioritize six areas of service.

6) Detrick to retire from leadership of Southern Pennsylvania District.
7) Shetler resigns from Bethany, named to lead stewardship center.
8) Catanescu to begin as accounting manager for BBT.

9) Brethren bits: Remembrances, jobs, Disabilities Awareness Month, more.


1) Global Food Crisis Fund hosts gathering for Foods Resource Bank.
Author and journalist Roger Thurow was the keynote speaker for the Foods Resource Bank regional gathering hosted by the Church of the Brethren’s Global Food Crisis Fund on Feb. 15. Thurow spoke about his upcoming new book on the smallholder African farmer, and how the state of agriculture and food production in Africa has potential to affect the entire world. Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford

Growing project leaders gathered at a meeting of the Foods Resource Bank hosted by the Church of the Brethren’s Global Food Crisis Fund (GFCF) on Feb. 15. The meeting brought together some 35 farmers and representatives of churches involved in growing projects in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin.

Foods Resource Bank growing projects in US communities supply funds for food security and agricultural development and education programs carried out around the world. Brethren congregations participate in the Foods Resource Bank through the sponsorship of the GFCF.

The Feb. 15 gathering at the Church of the Brethren General Offices was one of seven simultaneous winter gatherings conducted by Foods Resource Bank board members across the country. Other regional meetings were held in Akron, Pa.; Archbold, Ohio; St. Louis, Mo.; Decatur, Ill.; Kansas City, Kan.; and San Antonio, Texas.

Foods Resource Bank members Gary Cook of Bread for the World and Brian Backe of Catholic Relief Services joined GFCF manager Howard Royer in planning and hosting the Elgin observance. The keynote presentation was by Roger Thurow, co-author of “Enough: Why the World’s Poorest Starve in an Age of Plenty” and a former journalist at the “Wall Street Journal.”

Thurow’s interest in food and agriculture began when he was on a trip to Kenya with a group of farmers from Ohio, and first saw African farmers through the eyes of American farmers, he told the gathering. The experience led to his current writing project, a book on the smallholder African farmer. Thurow is spending time with a group of subsistence farmers in Kenya, finding out what their day-to-day life is like as they try to raise crops to feed and support their families.

“What is it like not to be able to grow enough food to feed your family?” he asked. Most of the farmers he is following for the book are women, because women make up the majority of smallholder farmers in Africa. Thurow’s next trip to Kenya is this planting season, when he will wait with the farmers for the rains to come.

The challenges these farmers face are many: small plots of land, averaging less than an acre to one or two acres each; little use of hybrid seed; little education about how to plant and care for a crop; lack of good storage facilities; lack of access to markets; difficulties with transportation and infrastructure; and vulnerability to weather and drought.

“Outrage and inspire” was the “mantra” for his first book “Enough,” written with co-author Scott Kilman: “Outrage that we have brought hunger with us into the 21st century. Hunger is one of the great problems of the world that can be conquered…. It can be the singular achievement of our age,” he insisted. “So, enough is enough!”

“Captivate and motivate” is the mantra for his book on the African farmer. This is because the problems of Africa may potentially affect the food situation in the whole world, Thurow said. Experts have said that by the year 2050 the world must double its food production in order to prevent mass hunger. “Where will this quantum leap come from?” Thurow asked. “Africa is the place where this kind of improvement can still happen.”

International support for agricultural development in Africa is crucial, to move the continent from subsistence to sustainability, he said. He added a plea for the US government to maintain its budget for development work in Africa through US AID and development aid. “We have the technology, so what we need is this political will.”

Quoting from Kenyan farmers who have chosen a name meaning “We have decided” for their group, Thurow congratulated the Foods Resource Bank for being among those who have decided to fight hunger. “What I have decided is I have to go and man the front ramparts of the hunger fight with all of you,” he said in closing. “In the 21st century, nobody, particularly the small farmers of Africa, should be dying of hunger.”

Following his presentation, Thurow fielded questions about other issues, ranging from what the price of food should be in our world economic system, to crop diversification. Many people stayed on after the meeting ended to talk further with Thurow and to buy copies of “Enough,” which is available through Brethren Press (call 800-441-3712).

For more about the Global Food Crisis Fund go to . For more about the Foods Resource Bank go to .

2) Advocacy office urges federal budget to care for those in poverty.
Go to
 to send a letter to government representatives calling for a “budget of mutuality.” Brethren taking part in the campaign may choose to cite the biblical text of Genesis 4:9 in which Cain asks God, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

This week’s Action Alert from the Church of the Brethren’s office for advocacy and peace witness ministries called on the federal government to adopt a budget that reflects care for those in poverty and in need.

“These past few weeks in Washington, D.C., and around the country, the conversation has been about numbers and not about people,” the alert said, in part. “…But there is something vital missing from the conversation–and it is a voice with which the Church of the Brethren has always spoken. In a word–mutuality…. The concept that we are to live in such a way that we are partners with one another and with the entirety of Creation is a concept which Brethren have embraced for, well, more than 300 years.”

The alert invited Brethren to take action on the federal budget. “Tell Congress and President Obama that as a person of faith, you will not stand by while they seek to control spending on the backs of those living in poverty in the United States and around the world,” the alert said.

Criticizing the budget proposals from both President Obama and Congress, the alert said: “The spending cuts currently being debated are the ones we can afford the least–they are the ones that provide those living in poverty with an opportunity to have some place to live, something to eat, educational opportunities, and the chance to turn their lives around. They are the foreign aid programs that build wells, schools, and infrastructure, building relationships with countries through diplomacy rather than bombs. They are the programs that we, as people of faith, want in a budget that claims to speak for our values.”

A link provided by the office goes to a webpage at  where visitors may send a letter calling for a “budget of mutuality,” citing Genesis 4:9 in which Cain asks God, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

Also cited in the alert were church policy statements: the 2000 Annual Conference statement “Caring for the Poor” ( ), the 2006 Conference statement “A Call to Reduce Global Poverty and Hunger” ( ), and the 1970 Conference “Statement on War” ( ).

Find the Action Alert at . Sign up to receive alerts at . For more information about the church’s witness ministries go to  or contact Jordan Blevins, advocacy officer, at  or 202-481-6943.

3) Religious and humanitarian groups speak out on the federal budget.

The “What Would Jesus Cut?” campaign initiated by the Sojourners community in Washington, D.C., calls on people of faith to face lawmakers with this question. The Church of the Brethren has signed on to the campaign along with a number of other Christian denominations and organizations across the country. “Our faith tells us that that the moral test of a society is how it treats the poor. As a country, we face difficult choices, but whether or not we defend vulnerable people should not be one of them,” read a campaign ad placed in Politico magazine on Monday, Feb. 28. Photo courtesy of Sojourners

The Church of the Brethren is an “endorsing communion” for a campaign organized by the Sojourners community in Washington, D.C., called “What Would Jesus Cut?”–a play on words on the Christian slogan WWJD (What Would Jesus Do). The campaign is placing an advertisement in Monday’s issue of “Politico.”

Following is the full text of the advertisement:

“What Would Jesus Cut? Our faith tells us that that the moral test of a society is how it treats the poor. As a country, we face difficult choices, but whether or not we defend vulnerable people should not be one of them. Please defend: International aid that directly and literally save lives from pandemic diseases; critical child health and family nutrition programs–at home and abroad; proven work and income supports that lift families out of poverty; support for education, especially in low income communities. Vaccines, bed nets and food aid save the lives of thousands of children across the world every day. School lunches and early childhood education, tax credits that reward work and stabilize families–are sound investments that a just nation must protect, not abandon. The deficit is indeed a moral issue, and we must not bankrupt our nation nor leave a world of debt for our children. But how we reduce the deficit is also a moral issue. Our budget should not be balanced on the backs of poor and vulnerable people. Budgets are moral documents. We ask our legislators to consider ‘What Would Jesus Cut?’”

In an e-mail to endorsing communions, Sojourners leader Jim Wallis wrote: “If just one of the proposed cuts is passed–$450 million in contributions to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis–approximately 10.4 million bed nets that help prevent malaria will not reach people who need them; 6 million treatments for malaria will not be given; 3.7 million people will not be tested for HIV; and 372,000 tests and treatments for tuberculosis will not be administered. In addition, the proposed budget cuts $544 million in international food aid grants. Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), a program that helps provide food to hungry mothers and their children, faces a $758 million cut…. Simultaneously our military and defense budget, which sends our young adults off to kill and be killed, would receive an $8 billion increase.” For more go to .

In related news, Church World Service (CWS) and partner groups also are taking action on the proposed federal budget.

CWS is among a large group of humanitarian organizations urging lawmakers to spare humanitarian spending from budget cuts.

A release from CWS said the organization is attempting to halt “US budget cuts that could be devastating to disaster victims, displaced people and refugees throughout the world.”

In a Feb. 22 letter to House Speaker John Boehner, House Majority leader Eric Cantor, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, CWS and leaders of the nation’s foremost faith-based and humanitarian agencies made the case that cuts outlined in the House of Representatives bill H.R. 1 would severely hinder the capacity of the United States to mount effective humanitarian response efforts around the world.

The coalition’s letter posed the scenario that, “in the next major global humanitarian crisis–the next Haiti, tsunami, or Darfur–the United States might simply fail to show up,” the release said. The letter states, “The bill cuts global disaster aid by 67 percent, global refugee assistance by 45 percent and global food relief by 41 percent relative to FY10 enacted levels.” The letter’s signers urged House leaders to fully fund the programs at 2010 levels.

Signers included heads of ADRA International, American Jewish World Service, American Refugee Committee, CARE, Catholic Relief Services, CHF International, ChildFund International, Food for the Hungry, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, International Medical Corps, International Relief and Development, International Relief Teams, International Rescue Committee, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, Life for Relief & Development, Lutheran World Relief, Mercy Corps, Oxfam America, Refugees International, Relief International, Resolve, Save the Children, Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, Women’s Refugee Commission, World Food Program – USA, World Hope International, and World Vision. (The letter is at .)

4) Brethren Disaster Ministries reports on completed and new projects.
Linda (right above) and Robert Leon receive a handmade quilt from members of Eaton (Ohio) Church of the Brethren. The Leon family lost everything in the northwest Indiana flood, and have had their home rebuilt through Brethren Disaster Ministries’ project in Hammond, Ind. Making quilts for disaster survivors has become a tradition for the Eaton congregation.For more photos from Brethren Disaster Ministries project sites:

Hammond, Ind.

Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Blitz Build

American Samoa

Delphi/Winamac, Ind.

Chalmette, La.

Photo above by Lois Kime

“The cycle of disaster recovery continues as projects are completed and new ones open,” said this week’s report from Brethren Disaster Ministries. The report from coordinator Jane Yount announced that a rebuilding project in Winamac, Ind., has now been completed, and gave a first report from a new project site in Tennessee.

The final home rebuild at the Winamac project was completed by the end of January, except for a powered lift for a member of the homeowner’s family. The project repaired and rebuilt homes affected by flooding.

The local recovery group, DANI, has almost raised the $10,000 needed for the cost of the lift, Yount reported. “We were particularly amazed and heartened to learn that Bridgewater (Va.) Church of the Brethren adult Sunday school classes raised $650 toward the lift,” she added. “Thank you to any of you who donated and/or raised funds for this need.”

The new project site that was started in Ashland, Tenn., on Jan. 30 this year is in response to flood damage. Three days of heavy rain in May 2010 dropped as much as 20 inches of water on Tennessee, causing severe flooding from Nashville to Memphis and completely submerging many homes. In this area, 578 households are in need of assistance, including 41 homes destroyed and 76 in need of major repair.

“Project leader Jerry Moore reports that the work (in Tennessee) is going really well,” Yount wrote. Brethren Disaster Ministries volunteers in Tennessee are doing repair work and some new construction. Major repair work includes insulation, drywall, laminate flooring, painting, trim work, siding, and decks.

A third Brethren Disaster Ministries project site continues in Chalmette, La., following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. This project carried out in cooperation with the local organization St. Bernard Project, is expected to close in June this year.

For information about Brethren Disaster Ministries and how to volunteer with the program, go to or contact a district disaster coordinator.

5) Florida peace churches prioritize six areas of service.

About 60 participants from the three Historic Peace Churches in Florida (Mennonite, Friends/Quakers, Church of the Brethren), including 15 peace people from other groups, gathered on Jan. 29 at Ashton Christian Fellowship (Mennonite) in Sarasota. This was a second such meeting in 13 months.

Bob Gross, executive director of On Earth Peace, facilitated the first consultation in January 2010, guiding the group in prioritizing six areas of concern and mission. By this year, six subgroup chairs had been selected by a coordinating committee, allowing attendees to choose areas of service to join as active participants (listed here in order of priority): 1. Witnessing to lawmakers, 2. Peace education in schools, 3. Kids as peacemakers, 4. Praying for peace, 5. Building relationships with Muslims, and 6. Community outreach for peace.

Each subgroup chair gave a short presentation describing the particular area of concern and mission. By mid-afternoon, participants had an opportunity to attend the subgroup of their choice for further planning. This was followed by each group highlighting for everyone present some of the key projects they will be attempting in the months ahead. An e-mail network has been developed to keep attendees informed of progress and encourage their involvement.

The day began with a keynote presentation “From Conflict to Community” by Cecilia Yocum, a Quaker and a licensed psychologist. She shared from her 28 years of experience working in Rwanda, Burundi, and Colombia with Friends Peace Teams, as well as facilitating the Alternatives to Violence Project in prisons in Florida. She involved several from the audience in demonstrating applications of each topic.

Four literature tables filled with materials from several peace groups added to the day’s value. Included was information about miniature desk-top Peace Poles (eight inches high, including a square base for greater stability), which are available from the Church of the Brethren Action for Peace Team in Florida, for a $10 donation. Contact  for information.

— Phil Lersch facilitates the Coordinating Committee of the Historic Peace Churches in Florida.

6) Detrick to retire from leadership of Southern Pennsylvania District.

Joe A. Detrick has announced his retirement as district executive minister of Southern Pennsylvania District, effective Sept. 30. He began in the position on Oct. 1, 1998.

He was ordained in 1977 at Oakland Mills Uniting Church (now Columbia, United Christian in Mid-Atlantic District), and holds degrees from Manchester College and Bethany Theological Seminary. His ministry experience has included pastorates at congregations in Shenandoah, South Central Indiana, and Southern Pennsylvania Districts. He also served two years in Brethren Volunteer Service in 1966-68, and then from 1984-88 was orientation coordinator for BVS.

In retirement Detrick will continue to live in Seven Valleys, Pa., where he plans to relax and cultivate relationships with family and friends, pursue much-neglected hobbies, and consider where God is leading for the next chapter of life.

7) Shetler resigns from Bethany, named to lead stewardship center.

Marcia Shetler has resigned as director of communications and public relations at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., as of Feb. 25 She has been named executive director of the Ecumenical Stewardship Center effective March 15.

With origins in the 1920s as the United Stewardship Council of the Christian Church in the United States and Canada, as an independent nonprofit organization the Ecumenical Stewardship Center is affiliated with over 20 sponsoring organizations and denominations including the Church of the Brethren. The center’s mission is to connect, inspire, and equip Christian steward leaders to transform church communities, and accomplishes this mission through creating educational and inspirational resources, providing networking opportunities, and sponsoring events such as the North American Conference on Christian Philanthropy.

Shetler has served Bethany since 1996 and has focused on the areas of development, marketing, events, communication, and public relations.

8) Catanescu to begin as accounting manager for BBT.

Ovidiu Catanescu has accepted the position of accounting manager for Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT), beginning Feb. 28.

Catanescu brings over 20 years of general accounting and finance experience to the position. Most recently he has worked as an accountant for Jordan and Associates, Ltd. Inc., in Arlington Heights, Ill., as well as a mortgage sales consultant for JP Morgan Chase in Downers Grove, Ill. He holds a bachelor’s degree in finance and accounting from the Academy of Economic Studies in Bucharest, Romania.

He and his family migrated to the United States in the mid 1980s. They reside in Hoffman Estates, Ill., and belong to St. Hubert Catholic Church in Schaumburg, Ill.

9) Brethren bits: Remembrances, jobs, Disabilities Awareness Month, more.

— Remembrance: Frederick “Fred” W. Benedict, 81, longtime head of the Brethren Encyclopedia Project and a member of the Old German Baptist Brethren Church, died on Feb. 20 at the Brethren Retirement Community in Greenville, Ohio. He was a prominent “Old Order” historian, printer, and writer who headed the encylopedia project until the current president, Robert Lehigh, succeeded him. He also published “Old Order Notes,” one of the best sources for data on Old Order groups, on an irregular basis from 1978-2003. He was born Jan. 16, 1930, in Waynesboro, Pa., to Louis and Martha (Stoner) Benedict. He is survived by his wife Reva Benedict; sons and daughters-in-law Solomon and Linda Benedict, Daniel and Angela Benedict; daughters and son-in-law Martha Montgomery, and Sara and Wade Miller; grandchildren and great grandchildren. A funeral service was held this morning at the Old German Baptist Brethren Church in Covington, Ohio. Memorial contributions are received to Brethren Heritage Center in Brookville, Ohio, or State of the Heart Hospice.

— Remembrance: Max Douglas Gumm, 76, a former associate district executive in the Church of the Brethren, passed away on Feb. 20 in West Des Moines, Iowa. Born in Jefferson, Iowa, on June 7, 1934, to Earnest “Ray” and Wilma (Jones) Gumm, he started a family with his first wife Norita Carson (now Elwood) on a farm near Yale. Called to ministry by Panora (Iowa) Church of the Brethren, he earned degrees from McPherson (Kan.) College and Bethany Theological Seminary and held a number of pastorates. He served as associate district executive of the former Iowa-Minnesota District, and also was regional director of Church World Service (CWS)/CROP in Des Moines, and director of Development and Alumni Relations at McPherson College. He received chaplaincy training at the University of Omaha, where he met and married JoAnne Davis Howry and finished his career as a chaplain at the Omaha Correctional Center. In 2001, he was moderator of Northern Plains District Conference. He and his late wife JoAnne retired to Arkansas, where they lived until her death from cancer in 2008. He is survived by children Doug (Diane) Gumm and Tim (Carol) Gumm of Ankeny, Iowa; Jeff (Sharon) Gumm of Clive, Iowa; Alan (Gayle) Gumm of Mt. Pleasant, Mich.; Mary (Habib) Issah of Iowa City, Iowa; Jim (Sabrina) Howry of Atlanta, Ga.; Cindy Howry Laster of Blue Springs, Mo.; and Sue Howry of Omaha, Neb.; grandchildren and great-grandchildren. His funeral will be Feb. 25 at 10:30 a.m. at Prairie City (Iowa) Church of the Brethren. Condolences may be sent to the Gumm Family c/o Doug and Diane Gumm, 801 NE Lakeview Dr., Ankeny, IA 50021. Memorial donations are received to Heifer Project or the Northern Plains District.

— Remembrance: John Bather, 92, who worked for Brethren Press for more than 28 years as a proofreader and copy editor, died on Feb. 21 at Pinecrest Retirement Community in Mount Morris, Ill. He worked for Brethren Press at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., from May 1953 until his retirement in Dec. 1981. He was born July 4, 1918, in Clinton, Iowa. He studied civil engineering at Iowa State College, and also spent a year studying at Bethany Theological Seminary. As a young man he was a conscientious objector to World War II. “The then-24-year-old Iowa Baptist decided not to fight,” according to an interview published in “Messenger” magazine in 1984. After being drafted in 1943, the Fellowship of Reconciliation put him in contact with the Society of Friends (Quakers) for whom he ended up serving more than two years in Civilian Public Service (CPS). He also worked in China with a Quaker ambulance unit, helping to run a mission hospital and also overseeing construction of homes and a hospital addition. For a year from 1946-47 he worked with the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration supervising the building of a dike on the Yellow River in China. Prior to his employment with the Church of the Brethren, he taught at Chicago Technical College. In retirement he spent time volunteering at the Brethren Historical Library and Archives, sorting the large collection of pictures of CPS. As a member of Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren, he also was a deacon, volunteered with Meals on Wheels and visited patients at the Elgin Mental Health Center. He is survived by his son and daughter, Bruce and Linda.

— Remembrance: Pauline Louise Shively Daggett, 88, a former assistant to the secretary of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference, died on Feb. 14 at Timbercrest Healthcare Center in North Manchester, Ind. She was born in Wabash County, Ind., to Frank O. and Freda (Anderson) Ulery. On Sept. 19, 1942, she married Noah L. Shively. He died on July 11, 1988. She married J.W. (Bill) Daggett on Feb. 15, 1997. He died on June 10, 2000. She graduated from the International Business School in Fort Wayne, Ind. She worked at the Heckman Bindery for 10 years and then became administrative secretary for Manchester Church of the Brethren, where she was a member. In addition to seven years assisting the Conference secretary, her volunteer work for the church included service on Standing Committee; service as youth advisor for South Central Indiana District for 10 years, working along with her husband; and service on the board of Camp Alexander Mack in Milford, Ind. Surviving are sons James (Amy) Shively of Roann, Ind., and Robert (Paula) Shively of New Paris, Ind.; daughter, Linda (George) Blair of Tulsa, Okla.; step-sons John (Denise) Daggett and Dan (Theresa) Daggett; grandchildren and great-grandchildren. A memorial service will be held Feb. 26 at 11 a.m. at Manchester Church of the Brethren. Memorial contributions are received to Camp Mack.

— Alan Patterson is the new executive director of Camp Eder in Fairfield, Pa. The camp newsletter in January reported a number of staff changes, and called for prayers of blessings for former executive director Michele Smith; announced that Judy Caudill has left as hospitality assistant; welcomed Keri Gladhill as new office manager; and expressed thanks for the work of interim executive directors Tim Frisby and Tom Brant before the hiring of Patterson in Nov. 2010.

— Carol Smith has begun as a math teacher at the EYN Comprehensive Secondary School in Mubi, Nigeria, as of Feb. 3. The school is a Christian school founded for the children of members of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN–the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria), as well as other Christian denominations. Her appointment as a program volunteer is supported by the Church of the Brethren’s Global Mission Partnerships. Her prior experience abroad includes nine years of teaching math in Nigerian secondary schools, colleges, and universities. She also has taught a variety of math levels in the United States for over 30 years. She holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and Spanish from Manchester College in North Manchester, Ind.; a master of science degree in computer science from the University of Illinois at Chicago; and a master of arts in mathematics from Illinois State University. Her home congregation is Crest Manor Church of the Brethren in South Bend, Ind.

— Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) seeks a programmer analyst and technology support specialist for a full-time salaried position at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. The primary responsibility is to develop and maintain a working knowledge of all IT systems; handle technology support requests from staff; write, analyze, review, and rewrite programs as well as maintain current computer programs; conduct trial runs; write documentation of programmed applications; provide back up for the Director of Operations for Information Technology, and complete other duties assigned. The ideal candidate will possess a high level of technical proficiency, intense attention to detail, impeccable integrity, a collegial and engaging demeanor, and a strong faith commitment. BBT seeks candidates with an undergraduate degree in computer science or related fields/work experience. Requirements include strong verbal and written communications skills, ability to work independently and to conceptualize and understand data with minimal direction, and proficiency in: Microsoft Visual Studio (2008/10) – .net Framework, MS SQL, XML, or C#, Windows Forms Application and In addition, preferred skills include Javascript, HTML, Sharepoint, SSRS, AJAX, and Crystal Reports. Current and active membership in the Church of the Brethren is preferred; current and active membership in a faith community is required. Salary and benefits are competitive with Church Benefits Association agencies of comparable size and scope of services. A full benefits package is included. Apply by sending a letter of interest, résumé, three professional references, and salary-range expectation to Donna March, 1505 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; . For questions or clarification about the position call 847-622-3371. For more information about Brethren Benefit Trust visit .

— The World Council of Churches (WCC) is seeking a staff writer to promote the work and concerns of the WCC and the ecumenical movement by writing stories about WCC work and activities for public release and posting on the WCC website. Starting date is as soon as possible. Among other specific responsibilities are work with the WCC communication team to develop new and innovative ways of reporting WCC work, such as audio and video podcasting and social networking, etc. and then work as a team to implement them; participating with the communication team to train and improve the news writing skills of program staff; assisting the director of communication in strengthening collaborative relationships with communication offices in WCC member churches, ecumenical partners, and writers for Ecumenical News International; and work with the WCC photographer to maintain the gathering of WCC photos for stories and photo essays, among other tasks. Qualifications and special requirements include a university degree in related field desired; professional qualifications and experience in the field of communication work, experience in international work desired; excellent command of written and spoken English, knowledge of other WCC working languages (French, German, Spanish, Russian) an asset; proficiency with information technology: Word, Excel, Powerpoint. Willingness to learn other technology. Deadline for applications is March 15. An application form may be obtained from and returned to: Human Resources Office, World Council of Churches, 150, route de Ferney, P.O. Box 2100, 1211 Geneva 2, Switzerland; fax: +41-22.791.66.34; e-mail: . The application should be filled and returned with a separate and detailed curriculum vitae only if the applicant meets the requirements specified. Applicants are expected to send professional and non-professional reference letters. Only those short-listed for interview will be contacted.

— March is Disabilities Awareness Month for the Church of the Brethren. “We Are Able! … Through Worship, Service, Participation, and Fellowship” is the theme selected by the Disabilities Ministry to encourage congregations to see the disabled in new ways, as fellow pilgrims on a spiritual journey. “This is a call for congregations to not only welcome and provide the means for those of different abilities into worship, service, and participation, but to offer an opportunity for those individuals to share themselves as equal brothers and sisters in Christ.” said an explanation of the theme on the ministry’s web page. The scripture theme comes from 1 Corinthians 12:7 (Living Bible, paraphrased): “The Holy Spirit displays God’s power through each of us as a means of helping the entire church.” Visit  for activity ideas, worship resources, and congregational self-evaluations.

— “Illuminating Paradise: The Ephrata Cloister” is the title of an educational event with Jeffrey Bach, director of the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College and author of “Voices of the Turtledoves: The Sacred World of Ephrata.” The event is a fundraiser for the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center. It takes place March 26, with registration beginning at 1:30 p.m. and a tour of the cloister beginning at 2:15. Dinner and a lecture begin at 5:30 p.m. at Ephrata (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. Cost for the tour is $15. A free-will offering to benefit the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center will be taken at the dinner. The registration deadline is March 11. Contact 717-361-1450 or .

— Children’s Disaster Services is offering a volunteer workshop at Snellville (Ga.) United Methodist Church on March 18-19. Meals and overnight accommodations are provided by the host organization. This workshop is part of the Faith In Action Mission Conference. To register, go to . For more information contact the Children’s Disaster Services office at 800-451-4407, option 5, or . For more about the program see .

— Global Mission Partnerships is requesting renewed prayer for the city of Jos, in central Nigeria. A leader of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN–the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) this week sent an update on the violence that continues there. “Every day we have a new dimension of the crisis,” he wrote, in part. “The city is now experiencing a total division of the two faith (Christian and Muslim) demarcating ward (areas) without crossing borders.” The most recent killings took place outside Jos, he reported, when 18 people died in a pre-dawn attack on Bere, a border community in Barkin Ladi and Mangu local government areas. “People are fleeing away trying to relocate their business and homes,” the EYN leader wrote. Prayer “is highly needed.”

— A “National Evangelism Workshop, NEW2011” on July 8-9 in Nashville, Tenn., sponsored by the National Evangelistic Association is recommended by Stan Dueck, director of Transforming Practices for the Church of the Brethren. Keynote speakers are Bill Easum and Ed Stetzer, nationally recognized leaders for evangelism and church transformation. The theme will follow a three-track format using Joshua 1:1-8: 101: “Be Bold,” a basic track for churches engaging evangelistic processes; 201: “Be Strong,” an advanced track for churches engaging transformation; 301: “Be Courageous,” a track for churches on the cutting edge and ready to (or engaging in) multi-site and church planting. Early bird registration is $99 by April 30, going up to $140 on May 1. The meal package must be purchased in advance and is an additional $30. Registration is at . Or contact Dueck at 717-335-3226 or .

— Mountain View Fellowship in McGaheysville, Va., celebrates its 10th anniversary on March 6.

— Lancaster (Pa.) Church of the Brethren is hosting events sponsored by the Militarism/Taxes for Peace interest group of the Lancaster Interchurch Peace Witness. A meeting on Feb. 26 from 8:30-10 a.m. will explore consequences of the US military budget and learn about alternatives to paying taxes that support war making, followed by a free public “Workshop on Militarism and War Tax Redirection” from 10:30 a.m.-noon the same day. For more information contact H.A. Penner at  or 717-859-3529.

— Manchester College students are seeking a world record in Four Square, in a benefit for Camp Alexander Mack in Milford, Ind. Generations of Manchester students have learned how to play Four Square each fall during Camp Mack Day, according to a release. On Feb. 25-26, students will take the game to the highest level, in pursuit of a Guinness World Record for continuous play. The event in the middle of the Haist Commons dining hall in the College Union begins at noon on Feb. 25. When successful, the 25 sleep-weary student players will head for their beds at 8 p.m. on Feb. 26. They’re taking no chances: They will play at least one hour beyond the current 29-hour Guinness World Record, vows first-year student Todd Eastis of Warsaw, Ind. Eastis is a member of Simply Brethren, a campus club that has assumed leadership of the event.

— Bridgewater (Va.) College will host a Young Brethren Scholars Panel on Feb. 24 at 7:30 p.m. in the Boitnott Room. The event is sponsored by the college’s Forum for Brethren Studies, according to a release. Denise Kettering-Lane, assistant professor of Brethren studies at Bethany Theological Seminary, will discuss “Anointing for Healing: Critical Analysis of a Brethren Practice.” Aaron Jerviss, a Ph.D. candidate from the University of Tennessee and a member of the Brethren Church, will present “‘Living and Moving Amongst Us Again’: The Life After Death of Elder John Kline.” In addition to Stephen L. Longenecker, professor of history at Bridgewater, members of the Forum for Brethren Studies are William Abshire, the Anna B. Mow Endowed Professor of Philosophy and Religion; Ellen Layman, former director of church relations; Robert Miller, chaplain; and Carol Scheppard, vice president and dean for academic affairs and professor of philosophy and religion.

— The 50-member Juniata College Concert Choir has announced its spring tour, directed by Russ Shelley. The following concerts will be hosted by Church of the Brethren congregations: March 5, 7 p.m., Lancaster (Pa.) Church of the Brethren; March 6, 7 p.m., Codorus Church of the Brethren in Dallastown, Pa.; March 7, 7 p.m., Maple Spring Church of the Brethren in Hollsopple, Pa.; March 9, 7:30 p.m., Manassas (Va.) Church of the Brethren; March 12, 7 p.m., First Church of the Brethren in Roaring Spring, Pa. The Tour Homecoming Concert takes place on the college campus in Huntingdon, Pa., on March 26 at 7:30 p.m.

— Women of Chile will lead the prayers on World Day of Prayer on March 4. This ecumenical event has been conducted by Christian women around the world for more than a century. The 2011 theme is “How Many Loaves Have You” (Mark 6:30-44). Resources are at .

Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren, or 800-323-8039 ext. 260. Lesley Crosson, Anna Emrick, Mary Jo Flory-Steury, Nancy Davis, Phillip E. Jenks, Jeri S. Kornegay, Michael Leiter, Donna March, Amy K. Milligan, Craig Alan Myers, Harold A. Penner, Howard Royer contributed to this report. Newsline appears every other week, with special issues as needed. The next regular issue is scheduled for March 9. Stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source.

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