Brethren Bits for April 5, 2012

Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
Volunteers from Mount Morris (Ill.) Church of the Brethren gathered at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., this week to assemble the May Source mailing. Source is a packet of flyers, brochures, newsletters, and other information and resources that is mailed to each congregation on a monthly basis. Jean Clements (third from left), an employee at Brethren Press, organizes the Source mailings and hosts the volunteer groups that help put it together.

— Correction: The name of MaryBeth Fisher, Brethren Volunteer Service worker in Unit 296, was misspelled in the Newsline of March 22.

— Remembrance: Southern Ohio District has made a special request for prayer following the sudden death of youth pastor Brian Delk of Castine Church of the Brethren in Arcanum, Ohio. He died the morning of April 3. “The youth pastor at our Castine congregation was killed in a car accident,” said the district e-mail. “Please be in prayer for Brian’s wife, Cindi, and the rest of his family as well as the Castine church, especially their youth group.”

— Mary Alice Eller has submitted her resignation as administrative secretary for the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership. Her time at the academy began with assisting with a transition and continued in three-plus years of growth, challenges, and opportunities. She has juggled a 30-hour work week while enrolled as a master of divinity student at Bethany Theological Seminary. She anticipates beginning Clinical Pastoral Education or a ministry placement in late spring, and continuing her academic career as a fulltime student. Her last day of work with the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership will be April 27.

— Diane Stroyeck has accepted the position of customer service inventory specialist for Brethren Press starting April 9. She will combine this part-time assignment with her current part-time role as “Messenger” subscriptions specialist. She has served the Church of the Brethren for nine years, and her experience in customer service, purchasing, and inventory control will be an asset for Brethren Press.

— Hillcrest ( ) roots were planted in 1947, when residents of La Verne, Calif., partnered with the Church of the Brethren to create a retirement home for the community. Now on 50 acres, Hillcrest provides a remarkable retirement community experience. Hillcrest seeks a well-organized fundraising professional to provide major and planned gift leadership while managing the organization’s comprehensive fundraising programs. Interested candidates should contact Rich Talmo with Talmo & Company at rich@talmoandcompany or 760-415-6186.

— The Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership seeks a fulltime administrative assistant to work 37.5 to 40 hours per week and to begin May 14. The academy office is on the campus of Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind. The administrative assistant provides secretarial and administrative support to the staff, programs, and projects of the academy and its students, and works collegially with staff and faculty of the seminary. Candidates should possess the following qualifications and abilities: computer skills (e-mail, Internet, word processing, desktop publishing, database management, Contact Plus software, spreadsheets, website management); good verbal and written skills; basic accounting; ability to set priorities and follow through on tasks with minimal supervision; ability to multitask; good organizational skills; office skills (accurate message taking, record keeping, filing); experience with office equipment (photocopier, fax, scanner, telephone, transcription). Applications and a more complete job description are available from the executive assistant to the president of Bethany Seminary and will be accepted until April 5, or until the position is filled. Interested candidates should send their resumes to Shaye Isaacs, Executive Assistant to the President, Bethany Theological Seminary, 615 National Road West, Richmond, IN 47374; or by e-mail to .

— The Church of the Brethren’s Deacon Ministry is looking for help from deacons in church congregations to plan for next steps. Questions provided by director Donna Kline include: Do we continue with training as it’s currently offered? What options for online resources might make sense? How can our ministry best help you with your ministry? Deacons are invited to complete the brief survey at .

— Church website staff are aware of a problem with “suggested” videos in YouTube. Complaints have been received from Brethren that after viewing church videos on YouTube, the site automatically suggests other videos on what it considers related topics. Those suggestions and links are not under the control of church staff. “We are sorry about any inconvenience or discomfort from the suggested videos,” said website producer Jan Fischer Bachman. Viewers may be able to avoid the suggested videos and links by viewing church videos on the denominational website instead of going directly to YouTube.

— Dedication services for the Lake Side Church sanctuary, a new church development in Virlina District, will be held April 15 at 4 p.m. in Moneta, Va. Jonathan Shively, executive director of Congregational Life Ministries for the Church of the Brethren, will be the keynote speaker. Pastor John N. Neff will be installed on Sunday, April 22.

— First Church of the Brethren in Harrisonburg, Va., is co-hosting an Easter Sunrise Service on the hilltop of the CrossRoads campus in a cooperative effort with Weavers Mennonite Church. CrossRoads is a Brethren and Mennonite heritage center in the Shenandoah Valley. The service on Easter Sunday, April 8, begins at 6:30 a.m. “If your church does not have a sunrise service, please consider joining us on the hilltop for worship!” said an invitation from Shenandoah District.

— The Peacemaking for Peacemakers events series in the Denver area is featuring Church of the Brethren member Cliff Kindy speaking about his experience as a “reservist” with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT). Kindy has served with CPT in Iraq, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, Colombia, and First Nation communities in New Brunswick, South Dakota, and New York. He is an organic market gardener in Indiana. Kindy will speak April 14, 6:30-9 p.m., and on April 15 at 10 a.m. at Prince of Peace Church of the Brethren in Littleton, Colo. On April 15 at 5-7 p.m. he will speak at the Whittier Neighborhood Community Center in Denver, Colo. For information contact Jeff Neuman-Lee at or 303-945-5632.

— Shenandoah District’s Disaster Ministries Committee is sponsoring a day trip to Pulaski, Va., on April 7 to join the community’s one-year Celebration of Recovery. “It was a year ago, just before Easter, that tornadoes struck Pulaski,” said a note in the district newsletter. The event on April 7 will combine a picnic, music, and recognition of the volunteers who have been helping residents move toward full recovery.

— Youth in Middle Pennsylvania District are participating in a “Soup Kitchen and Service Workcamp” in Washington, D.C., on April 15-17.

— Northern Plains District is reflecting on three challenging questions through a district-wide “Sending of the Seventy” process inspired by Luke 10:1-12, reports district executive minister Tim Button-Harrison in a recent newsletter. The questions are: “Where are you seeing or discovering God’s gift of life and vitality in your congregation?” “How do you imagine your congregation becoming more vital, with God’s help, over the next several years?” “What could we create together or do together to help each one of our sister congregations in the district to realize its hopes and dreams?” Two scriptures are being prayerfully considered: John 15:5, which refers to the vine and the branches; and Hebrews 10:24, which calls Christians to “consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds.” The process includes visitors called from the congregations and trained to visit a sister congregation. After the visits are completed, follow-up gatherings will be held in five places around the district and a district-wide workshop on congregational revitalization will be held at Camp Pine Lake.

— Camp Bethel’s 11th annual Sounds of the Mountains Festival of Music and Storytelling will be held April 20-21. The festival features Emmy winner Bobby Norfolk, nationally known tellers, Michael Reno Harrell, Bil Lepp and Kim Weitkamp, plus music from the Wright Kids and Wayne Henderson, according to an announcement. The camp is located near Fincastle, Va. More information and ticket sales are at .

— Camp Harmony near Hooversville, Pa., is having a “Manly Man Day” on April 28, featuring Steve McGranahan, “the world’s strongest redneck” according to the Western Pennsylvania District newsletter. The day will include redneck olympics, manly prizes, and a meat and potatoes supper. Cost is $20 with a $5 discount for additional family members. Go to .

— The Brethren Home Community in Windber, Pa., has received a $2,000 grant from the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies to continue outdoor repairs on the original 1921 building. The grant will help complete restoration of the manor, and is the fourth that the home has received from the Community Foundation, said the Western Pennsylvania District newsletter.

— The Global Women’s Project Steering Committee met recently in West Alexandria, Ohio, to continue the visioning and administrative work of this Church of the Brethren women’s empowerment group, started over 30 years ago. Meeting were Anna Lisa Gross, Emily Matteson, Kim Hill Smith, Nan Erbaugh, and Carrie Eikler. The weekend began with prayerful focus and ended with worship at Trotwood Church of the Brethren, where the group helped lead worship. “The energy of the weekend was uplifting as the steering committee continues to look towards the possibility of new projects, celebrating our current projects, and brainstorming educational and fundraising opportunities,” said a release. “We also had the bittersweet moment of saying goodbye to Nan Erbaugh, a dedicated steering committee member of six years.” Erbaugh served as Global Women’s Project treasurer and traveled multiple times to South Sudan visiting sister projects there. The release also welcomed a new steering committee member, Sharon Nearhoof May, who will join the committee at its next meeting in September in Morgantown, W.Va.

Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
A book Elder John Kline used in his medical practice, with one of his handwritten notes on the use of herbs. The book and notes are part of the John Kline collection at Linville Creek Church of the Brethren, just down the street from the John Kline Homestead in Broadway, Va.

— The 2012 John Kline Lecture will feature Alann Schmidt, park ranger and museum curator at the Antietam National Battlefield. The lecture and a dinner starts at 6 p.m. on April 14 at Bridgewater (Va.) Church of the Brethren. Tickets are $30. Reservations are required. Call Linville Creek Church of the Brethren at 540-896-5001 or send payment to John Kline Homestead, P.O. Box 274, Broadway, VA 22815. Schmidt’s lecture is titled, “Beacon of Peace: Antietam’s Dunker Church,” and is the second of five annual lectures commemorating the Civil War sesquicentennial.

— The practice of herbal medicine in the Shenandoah Valley in the late 1800s and specifically the medical practice of Brethren Elder John Kline will be a focus of the CrossRoads Spring Lecture to be held at 4 p.m. on April 15 at Lindale Mennonite Church in Linville, Va. Christopher Eads will present the lecture. The event also will remember the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, its impact on Shenandoah Valley Brethren and Mennonite families, and the strength with which they endured the horror of the war and the testing of their faith.

— Gene Sharp has been named Manchester College’s 2012 Innovator of the Year, reports a release from the college. Nominated in 2012 and 2009 for the Nobel Peace Prize, he is author of the book “From Dictatorship to Democracy,” which lists 198 nonviolent weapons for toppling dictators. “Gene Sharp’s tactics for peaceful removal of powerful dictators and how he made his work available to the Arab Spring citizen revolutionaries is truly innovative,” said Jim Falkiner, the Mark E. Johnston Professor of Entrepreneurship. Sharp is an Ohio native, founder and senior scholar of the Albert Einstein Institution, who held a research appointment to Harvard University’s Center for International Affairs for more than 30 years and is professor emeritus of political science for the University of Massachusetts A multi-media convocation celebrating Sharp begins at 3:30 p.m. on April 10 in Cordier Auditorium on the college campus in North Manchester, Ind. (the 84-year-old Sharp is unable to make the trip in person). The convocation is free and open to the public, sponsored by the Mark E. Johnston Entrepreneurship Program. For more about Manchester College, or about studying for a Certificate in Innovation, visit

— In more news from Manchester, the college will become a tobacco-free workplace on July 1 according to a recent “Notes from the President” e-mail from president Jo Young Switzer. “We are offering a variety of smoking cessation programs to faculty, staff, and students,” she reported. Senior Estefania Garces, a biology-chemistry major, has received a $1,500 incentive from the Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Commission at the Indiana Department of Health, selected randomly from the 4,800 determined-to-be-non-smokers who entered the pool. “She stopped smoking this year, and we are very proud of her,” Switzer wrote.

— Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., is one of five institutions to receive the 2012 Senator Paul Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalization from the National Association of International Educators. A release reports that Juniata will be profiled in the upcoming NAFSA publication, “Internationalizing the Campus 2012: Profiles of Success at Colleges and Universities.” Members of Juniata’s international office will accept the award at a Capitol Hill event during International Education Week in November. Juniata programs and initiatives that were recognized by the association include establishing a Global Engagement Initiative that led to the formation of an intercultural learning assessment committee and the Global Village Living and Learning Community, and the dedication of faculty and staff to provide students with transformative international experiences such as teaching and advising international students and traveling to international campuses for study-abroad or summer programs.

— In addition to Bridgewater (Va.) College (reported in Newsline on March 22) two more Brethren-related colleges report being named to the 2012 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll: Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., and Elizabethtown (Pa.) College. The honor roll reflects all service done by colleges in the previous year, and is given by the Corporation for National and Community Service.

— Bridgewater (Va.) College celebrated Founder’s Day on April 3, marking 132 years since the founding of the school. The college presented three awards to faculty: James D. Bowling, associate professor of mathematics, received the Ben and Janice Wade Outstanding Teaching Award; Barbara H. Long, chair and assistant professor of health and human sciences, received the Martha B. Thornton Faculty Recognition Award; and history professor Brian M. Kelley, associate professor of psychology, received the Faculty Scholarship Award.

— The 10th annual Open Door Recital, a unique experience for children with and without special needs and their parents, will be performed at 11 a.m. on April 14 in Elizabethtown (Pa.) College’s Zug Recital Hall. Students in the college’s music therapy program perform interactive short pieces, in which all expressions of joy are welcome. A reception follows the concert so children can meet the performers. This event, sponsored by the Department of Fine and Performing Art, is free and open to the public. Call 717-361-1991 or 717-361-1212 to reserve tickets.

— “Join us for a virtual 24 hour prayer-a-thon for peace in Colombia,” invites Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT). The vigil is being held in coordination with the Days of Prayer and Action for Colombia. Organizers want to gather people in prayer from all over the world over the course of a full day. To sign up for an hour of prayer, alone or with a group, between 6 p.m. Saturday, April 14, and 6 p.m. Sunday, April 15, go to . Prayer resources in Spanish are available at .

— The National Council of Churches (NCC) is moving forward in the development of a project to eliminate racial disparities in maternal health. “Due Season: A Faith-Filled Roadmap Toward Eliminating Racial Disparities in Maternal Health,” will develop congregational materials exploring the intersection of maternal health and race within the US and moving people to advocate for change. The NCC has received a $25,000 grant from Aetna to support the initiative, along with $2,500 from Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, allowing a unique intersection of conversations from both a medical and faith perspective. According to a 2010 report by Amnesty International, African-American women are four times more likely to die of pregnancy related complications than their white counterparts, while at the same time white US women already have a significantly higher maternal mortality rate than women in 24 other industrialized countries. “The fact that we continue to see such vast disparities in maternal health along racial lines is deeply troubling,” said Ann Tiemeyer, program director of the NCC’s Women’s Ministries. “We are living in the wealthiest country in the world in the 21st century. Pregnancies should be healthy and safe, regardless of the mother’s race.”

[gt-link lang="en" label="English" widget_look="flags_name"]