Brethren Bits for August 22, 2012

Deborah Brehm of the Church of the Brethren human resources office will begin working fulltime on Sept. 4. Her position, which has been part-time, is being expanded to incorporate facility hospitality services at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill.

Cori Hahn has been promoted to the new position of hospitality coordinator at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. This salaried staff position holds responsibility for coordinating hospitality and public relations for the center; managing the schedules for volunteers, guests, meetings, BSC community events, and other activities; and promoting and interpreting the programs of the Church of the Brethren and partner agencies based at the center. Hahn has worked at the Brethren Service Center since Sept. 2007. She was previously conference coordinator for the New Windsor Conference Center in addition to being a part-time Human Resources administrator. She will have the opportunity to continue working alongside the dedicated volunteers at the new Hospitality Center at Zigler Hall.

The Church of the Brethren is seeking an individual to fill a fulltime position of packer for the Material Resources program at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. Material Resources processes, warehouses, packs, and ships relief materials on behalf of a number of ecumenical and not-for-profit partner organizations such as Church World Service (CWS) kits and medical supplies on behalf of IMA World Health. The packer will receive and pack quilts and blankets, and act as backup packer for other Material Resources orders and assist with unloading and working with volunteer groups as requested. Hours are 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Required skills and knowledge include ability to handle a variety of tasks accurately and efficiently, comprehend product codes and other detailed information, work compatibly and cooperatively with co-workers and volunteers, and ability to lift and move 50 pounds. Education requirement is a high school diploma or equivalent, or equivalent experience. Interviews began Aug. 15 and will continue until the position is filled. Request the application packet from Office of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120-1694; 800-323-8039 ext. 367; .

The admissions newsletter from Bethany Theological Seminary is reporting on “Where in the WORLD did all the Bethany graduates go?” The newly “re-energized” e-mail publication includes updates from recent graduates as well as upcoming dates at the seminary. Fall classes at the Church of the Brethren seminary in Richmond, Ind., start Thursday, Aug. 23. In another announcement, Nov. 2 is an “Engage Visit Day” for prospective students to explore the Bethany experience. For more information contact .

Brethren Disaster Ministries on its Facebook page reports that a recent grant of $3,000 from the Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund has helped Church World Service send 300 hygiene kits to Oklahoma to aid people fleeing wildfires. The CWS kits are processed and warehoused at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md.

Mission Alive organizers have announced a “growing list” of workshops for the mission conference scheduled for Nov. 16-18 at Lititz (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. View the list at . Mission Alive 2012 will encompass not only international mission opportunities and efforts, but also opportunities for participants to get involved from home. Learn about becoming an online missionary, peacebuilding and advocacy as mission, the Springs of Living Water church renewal program, each of the current Church of the Brethren mission points, and much more. “Check back regularly for new information,” invites Anna Emrick, program coordinator for the denomination’s Global Mission and Service office.

The Church of the Brethren’s Outdoor Ministries Association (OMA) is now offering memberships to congregations. A letter and brochure about the new membership option has been mailed to each congregation in the September Source packet. “This provides an opportunity for congregations to support OMA and Church of the Brethren camps and conference centers, and to work intentionally at increasing our church’s corporate care of God’s creation. Membership provides resources: the OMA newsletter and access to Environmental Grants to help fund projects that benefit the earth,” the letter said. The annual fee for congregational membership is $75. Other fees apply for student, individual, family, and camp professional memberships. For more information contact OMA, P.O. Box 229, Bethel, PA 19507.

An anonymous donor donated $1,000 again this year for Brethren Press to give away four $250 gift certificates to the Annual Conference bookstore. The winning churches were Gortner Union Church of the Brethren in Oakland, Md.; Westminster (Md.) Church of the Brethren; Hollisdaysburg (Pa.) Church of the Brethren; and Topeco Church of the Brethren in Floyd, Va.

This year’s Powerhouse regional youth conference at Manchester University (N. Manchester, Ind.) will be Nov. 10-11. The theme “Hello, My Name Is…: Getting to Know God” will explore the names and nature of God with keynote messages by Josh Brockway, director of spiritual life and discipleship for the Church of the Brethren. Registration will be $50 for youth, $40 for advisors. Registration materials and other details will come out in early September at .

Photo courtesy of Ron and Diane Mason
The steeple at Fairview Church of the Brethren, after a lightning strike

“Rejoice with them that do rejoice!” (Romans 12:15) begins a note from Ron and Diane Mason reporting on a lightning strike that hit Fairview Church of the Brethren in Unionville, Iowa. “The evening of Aug. 8 the Fairview Church steeple was directly hit by lightening,” they wrote. “The bolt exploded the west side off the steeple and charred a spot on the south side. By God’s grace, and God’s grace alone, that is all the damage that was done. The church building did not burn! Hallelujah!”

Middlebury (Ind.) Church of the Brethren and Goshen City Church of the Brethren are stops on Richard Propes’ 23rd Annual Tenderness Tour Against Family Violence. Propes works for the State of Indiana, Bureau of Developmental Disabilities Services, and is interim pastor at Nettle Creek Church of the Brethren in Hagerstown, Ind. Since 1989, he has traveled over 3,500 miles by wheelchair and helped raise thousands of dollars for children’s organizations, reports a release. Propes, a paraplegic/double amputee born with spina bifida, is a sexual abuse survivor who recently published his story, “The Hallelujah Life,” on his own imprint, Heart n’ Sole Press. This year his Tenderness Tour through Elkhart County, Ind., on Sept. 1-6 will raise funds for Child and Parent Services, Inc. Sponsors include the Middlebury and Goshen City churches, the Independent Critic, and Das Dutchman Essenhaus, among others. Propes will preach at the Middlebury church on Sunday, Sept. 2, at 9 a.m. He will then begin his countywide wheeling on Labor Day. On Sept. 5 in the evening he will be hosted by Goshen City Church of the Brethren. The tour includes visits to Elkhart and Wakarusa, a public reading from “The Hallelujah Life,” and meetings with city leaders, media, and schools. Propes will start each day of wheeling at 9 a.m. from each community’s city or town hall, and plans to end each day at the same location. For more information go to . To meet Propes or invite him to speak, contact 317-691-5692 or .

Hanoverdale Church of the Brethren in Hummelstown, Pa., was one of the churches taking part in non-denominational worship services that marked the opening and closing of their town’s 250 year anniversary celebration. The celebration opened July 13.

Florin Church of the Brethren hosted a Corn Roast to support the Brethren Disaster Auction. “Saturday (Aug. 11) 137 people came out for Florin COB’s annual corn roast,” reported Brethren Disaster Ministries. “The evening consisted of delicious corn, great entertainment from Ridgeway Brass, and peaches and ice cream for dessert.”

The 42nd annual commemorative service at the Dunker Church adjacent to the Antietam National Battlefield Park in Sharpsburg, Md., will be held at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 16. Phil Stone of Harrisonburg, Va., a noted Lincoln scholar and president emeritus of Bridgewater College, will preach on the topic, “Lincoln and Antietam: Peacemaker or Warrior.”

Bridgewater (Va.) Church of the Brethren is hosting a series of musical events in support of a Habitat for Humanity house in Elkton, Va., sponsored by Central Valley Habitat for Humanity. “Habitat Fest–Singing to Raise the Roof!” ecumenical choral festival starts at 7 p.m. on Sept. 15, and continues at 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 16. A commissioned anthem by John Barr, organist at Bridgewater Church, titled “Christ Is Made the Sure Foundation” will feature the chorus, organ, brass quartet, two harps, and tympani directed by Curtis Nolley, choral music director at the church. On Sunday, Oct. 14, at 3 p.m. another event at the Bridgewater Church will perform music included in a new compact disc, “Songs of Comfort, Songs of Joy.” The recording features flutist Andrea Nolley, soloist Curtis Nolley, and harpist Virginia Bethune.

Last winter, Mount Etna Church of the Brethren decided to close. On Aug. 4, the Northern Plains District Conference voted to officially disorganize the congregation, according to the district newsletter. A committee is working on disposal of the property and moving remaining assets to the district. A special service to honor the congregation’s life and ministry will be planned in upcoming months.

— Friday, Aug. 24, is Church of the Brethren day at the Great Darke County Fair in Greenville, Ohio, in an announcement from Southern Ohio District. District youth will be responsible for a 6-8 p.m. time slot that will include games and other fun activities, as well as an opportunity to witness to others who are attending the fair. Look for the Brethren at the Spiritual Life building just west of the rabbit barn.

Unique camping experiences are planned for September by Brethren Woods Camp and Retreat Center near Keezletown, Va.: Scrap and Stamp Camp on Sept. 7-9, a weekend getaway of scrapbooking and rubber stamping (registration due Aug. 25); and Rock Climbing Adventure Day the afternoon of Sept. 23, with opportunities to learn rock climbing skills for a variety of levels. Participants will gather at the Broadway/Mauzy Park ’n Ride (I-81 exit 257) and travel to a climbing site on Waterfall Mountain led by Lester Zook of WildGuyde Adventures. Cost is $45 and includes bag lunch, transportation, and some gear. Registrations are due Sept. 7. For more information or registration forms contact Brethren Woods at 540-269-2741,, or on the web at .

Brethren Alive 2012 was held on July 27-29 with sponsorship from the Brethren Revival Fellowship (BRF). Worship theme was “Fit for the Kingdom” (Luke 9:62), with a focus on Anabaptist and Pietist principles that define the Kingdom of God, and paradoxical challenges and rewards involved when living in the Kingdom, according to the BRF website, . The event took place at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College and was preceded by the annual Brethren Bible Institute. The BRF general meeting was held in conjunction with the conference, on July 28. BRF announced that it will not be holding a September BRF general meeting this year.

The Springs of Living Water initiative for church renewal is offering a new spiritual disciplines folder to help persons read the book of Acts in a meditative manner this fall. “The People of God in Mission,” the first part of the folder, begins Aug. 27. Intention for the folder is to invite entire congregations to discern their next steps in spiritual growth and read daily scripture and prayer together. With regard to the choice of the book of Acts for meditation this fall, a Springs release noted that “Brethren have always attempted to lift up the early church as a model for our life.” The folder is available to download from the Springs website . Springs leaders David and Joan Young also are requesting prayer for “a four-way renewal event to be on Sept. 28, 29, and 30 in Western Pennsylvania District held at the Somerset Church.” The event features Annual Conference moderator Bob Krouse as guest speaker. The weekend will include opportunities to hear preaching and teaching on Acts, and training on spiritual discernment and how to shape mission in one’s own neighborhood, as well as a “concert of prayer.” Each participating congregation will be encouraged to return home with plans for its own renewal service on Sept. 30. All are invited. For more information contact .

The 2012 Progressive Brethren Gathering on the theme, “Holy Work: Becoming a Beloved Community,” will be Oct. 26-28 at La Verne (Calif.) Church of the Brethren. The annual event is sponsored by Womaen’s Caucus and the Brethren Mennonite Council for LGBT Interests (BMC), this year joined by the new Open Table Cooperative. The schedule includes a keynote address on “Social Movements” by speakers Abigail A. Fuller and Katy Gray Brown. Both teach at Manchester University in N. Manchester, Ind. Fuller is associate professor of sociology and chair of the Department of Sociology and Social Work. Brown is associate professor of philosophy and peace studies. The weekend also features opportunities for small group discussion, a film screening, an evening of music featuring La Verne artists, and Sunday morning worship with the congregation. The registration fee, which includes all meals, is $125 for adults, $60 for students, $35 for children under 10. Childcare will be provided. Partial registration fees are available. Participants reserve their own housing at hotels, with members of the congregation offering to host some participants in their homes free of charge. Registration and more information is online at .

Photo by courtesy of Fahrney-Keedy
Visitors to the Summer Festival at Fahrney-Keedy Home & Village get to know some of the animals on display at the Petting Zoo.

Several hundred visitors attended Fahrney-Keedy’s eighth annual Summer Festival on Aug. 4, said a release from the Church of the Brethren retirement community near Boonsboro, Md. “This was a great turnout for the event, considering the heat,” said Deborah Haviland, director of marketing/admissions and one of the co-chairs of the event. Residents and visitors enjoyed a variety of music including the Glory Land Rambler Band and a disc jockey, and other entertainment including a magic show. Besides food and arts and crafts vendors, other attractions included a petting zoo, a classic car “cruise-in” and, for children, games, a barrel-train ride and an “inflatables park,” including a moon bounce.

The Global Women’s Project has announced dates of its next Steering Committee meeting, Sept. 7-9 in Morgantown, W.Va. Two new members will be welcomed: Sharon Nearhoof May from Phoenix, Ariz., and Tina Rieman from San Francisco, Calif. The project also is promoting a Children’s Giving Project developed by steering committee member Carrie Eikler, a five-part learning series designed to teach children about a partner project in Uganda and to introduce them to the concept of sharing with others around the world. The resource may be used for a Sunday school class or for children’s time during worship. For more information visit and click on “Children’s Giving Project.”

Bridgewater (Va.) College is one of the best colleges and universities in the Southeast,  according to the Princeton Review. The New York City-based education services company selected Bridgewater as one of 136 institutions it recommends in its “Best in the Southeast” section on its website feature, 2013 Best Colleges: Region by Region, reports a release from the college. “In the profile on Bridgewater at, the college is described as one concerned with ‘personally developing students in every aspect of life and making each individual physically, academically, socially, and mentally fit for the real world,’” the release said. Students at Bridgewater were surveyed on a range of issues from accessibility of professors to quality of campus food. According to the Review, students say, “You know you’re getting your money’s worth” thanks to consistently small class sizes and ample personal interaction with faculty. One senior is quoted as saying, “I’ve never been turned away from a professor’s office; they always make time for their students and advisees.”

— The 64 first students of Manchester University’s brand-new College of Pharmacy received their clinical white coats in a ceremony Aug. 9, according to a release. In her welcome, president Jo Young Switzer spoke of the Manchester heritage. The ceremony was on the North Manchester, Ind., campus to help students understand the compassionate roots of their pharmacy education. “We meet today in Cordier Auditorium, named after Manchester graduate Andrew Cordier, a top aide to Dag Hammarskjold who, with others, founded the United Nations,” said Switzer, who also spoke of alumni Paul Flory, who won the Nobel Prize in chemistry, and his roommate Roy Plunkett, who invented Teflon. “And, we meet today on a campus where the nation’s first academic program in Peace Studies was established in 1948 and where it thrives today, known worldwide for its combination of theory with practice.” Students received their white coats from faculty mentor and dean Dave McFadden. Each member of the class of 2016 also signed a copy and affirmed their commitment to the College of Pharmacy honor code: “As members of the Manchester University College of Pharmacy, we commit ourselves to unwavering professionalism and rigorous ethical standards. We will behave with integrity and honesty, upholding the honor of our profession and institution and accepting full responsibility for our actions. We are dedicated to being professionals of ability and conviction and leading principled, productive, and compassionate lives that improve the human condition.” For more visit .

Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) has announced delegations to CPT project sites during the remainder of 2012 and into 2013. Delegates connect with communities experiencing violence and take part in collaborative nonviolent action and advocacy. Delegations are open to all interested people and do not require specific training. CPT has fundraising expectations for delegates, who arrange and pay for their own transportation to the sites. Some physical rigors are involved in most CPT delegations. Upcoming delegation sites and dates follow: Aboriginal justice, northwestern Ontario, Canada, on Sept. 28-Oct. 8, 2012; April 5-15, Aug.9-19, and Sept. 27-Oct. 7, 2013. Colombia, Nov. 28-Dec. 12, 2012; May 30-June 12, July 17-30, Sept. 19-Oct. 2, 2013. Iraqi Kurdistan (Kurdish north of Iraq), Oct. 4-17, 2012; May 25-June 8 (German language delegation), Sept. 14-28, 2013. Palestine/Israel, Oct. 22-Nov. 4, Nov. 19-Dec. 2, 2012; March 5-18, May 21-June 8, Aug. 13-26, October and November dates TBA, 2013. For more information go to or contact .

— A Clarence Jordan Symposium honoring the 100th anniversary of Jordan’s birth is planned for Sept. 28-29, part of a month-long celebration at Koinonia Farms in Americus, Ga. July 29 would have been Jordan’s 100th birthday. He died in 1969. He was a Southern Baptist minister, a Civil Rights leader, and author of the Cotton Patch Bible. The Associated Baptist Press reports this is the first-ever Clarence Jordan Symposium at Koinonia Farms, an interracial Christian farming community that he founded 70 years ago. The report notes also that the symposium is scheduled at the birthplace of Habitat for Humanity. Former President Jimmy Carter will deliver opening remarks. Other speakers will include leaders in the New Monasticism movement of intentional Christian communities. The symposium will be followed by a Renovation Blitz Build on Oct. 1-26 to repair buildings at Koinonia. The celebration wraps up with a Koinonia Family Reunion Oct. 26-28, “both for those who have visited in the past and those who always wanted to,” says the report. Cost for the symposium is $195, with student discounts available. Information about how to register is at . (Ron Keener, who sent in this information, remembers hearing Jordan speak at a Church of the Brethren young adult conference at Bridgewater (Va.) College in the late 1950s, when he engaged in a spirited dialogue with Brethren leader Kermit Eby.)

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