Brethren Bits for February 22, 2012

Greg Davidson Laszakovits has written the spring “A Guide for Biblical Studies,” a Bible study and small group curriculum from Brethren Press. Frank Ramirez continues as writer of the “Out of Context” feature. The theme for the spring quarter is “God’s Creative Word.” The lessons for the weeks of March 4-May 27 focus on a variety of topics and biblical texts ranging from “Wisdom’s Part in Creation” (Proverbs 8) to “The Word Became Flesh” (John 1) to “The Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14). Order for $4.25 (or $7.35 large print) from or call 800-441-3712.

— Remembrance: Esther Craig, 95, passed away Feb. 12 in South Bend, Ind. She retired in 1981 from Brethren Press, after working for 25 years for the Church of the Brethren. She also was an early Brethren Volunteer Service worker, volunteering at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., after World War II, and was a longtime supporter of Heifer Project and later Heifer International. Her father, George, was instrumental in the beginning of Heifer. She was featured in the Feb. 1995 “Messenger” for having a personal goal to contribute the cost of one heifer a year ever since the start of the project. “Many years her donation did not reach that goal,” the magazine reported. “She joyfully remembers 1957, when she first achieved it. There is rich reward, she explains, in pondering how many offspring may have been passed along since that first heifer she bought 37 years ago.” Craig was born Dec. 14, 1916, in Plymouth, Ind., to George and Ada (Berkeypile) Craig. She was a member of Crest Manor Church of the Brethren in South Bend, where funeral services were held on Feb. 16. Memorial contributions are received to Crest Manor Church of the Brethren, Heifer International, or the Center for Hospice Care in Mishawaka, Ind. Online condolences may be shared at .

— After serving both the Brethren Pension Plan and the Church of the Brethren Credit Union, Jill Olson has resigned from her position as a member services representative at Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT). Her final day of employment will be March 9. She was originally hired to work as the loan officer for the credit union in November 2008. When the denominational credit union merged with Corporate America Family Credit Union in June 2011, she joined the Pension Plan department as a customer service representative and to work on special projects.

— Brethren Press and MennoMedia seek a project manager to develop new Sunday school curriculum for children and youth. This begins a process for a new joint curriculum to launch in 2014, the successor to and building on the current Gather ’Round curriculum which continues through the next two years. Responsibilities include project oversight, staff recruitment, and supervision. Must have experience or education in theology, Christian education, or publishing. This is a full-time, salaried position for the length of the project, projected to be three to five years. Preference will be given to candidates who can work out of a MennoMedia or Mennonite Church office. Applications will be reviewed beginning March 1. Submit applications to .

— The Brethren Historical Library and Archives (BHLA) at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., has an opening for an archival intern. The purpose of the Archival Internship Program is to develop interest in vocations related to archives, libraries, and Brethren history. The program will provide work assignments in the BHLA and opportunities to develop professional contacts. Work will include processing archival materials, writing descriptive inventories, preparing books for cataloging, responding to reference requests, and assisting researchers. Professional contacts may include archival and library conferences and workshops, visits to libraries and archives in Chicago area, and participation in a Brethren Historical Committee meeting. BHLA is an official repository for Church of the Brethren publications and records. The collection consists of over 10,000 volumes, over 3,500 linear feet of manuscripts and records, over 40,000 photographs, plus videos, films, DVDs, and recordings. Term of service is one year, beginning in July. Compensation includes housing, stipend of $540 every two weeks, and health insurance. A graduate student is preferred, or an undergraduate with at least two years of college. Requirements include interest in history or library and archival work, willingness to work with detail, accurate word processing, ability to lift 30-pound boxes. Request an application packet from the Office of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; . Submissions must be completed by April 1. For more about the position contact the BHLA at 800-323-8039 ext. 294 or

— Conference Office director Chris Douglas has sent a letter to district leaders asking for help to encourage Brethren to reserve rooms set aside in the Annual Conference hotel block in St. Louis. Because contracts for Conference locations are made five years in advance, she explained to district leaders, the Conference is contracted to fill more than 970 hotel rooms on each “peak” nights of the event and pays for those rooms whether they are booked by Conference-goers or not. “Paying for hotel rooms that no Brethren stay in could cost us thousands and thousands of dollars,” she warned. “Ultimately, it will result in us having to have a two-tiered registration price: $105 (non-delegate) if you stay in the conference housing block or much higher if you choose to book outside of that block, risking that we will have to pay for unused rooms.” A second reason for booking at the Conference hotels is that those hotels pay the convention center for a portion of the meeting space rental based on the number of hotel nights used, which decreases direct charges for the convention center. “If you could please get the word out in your district and encourage people to book at one of the three conference hotels (Renaissance Grand, Holiday Inn, and Hyatt), I would be grateful,” Douglas said. In an update on hotel prices, the room rate at the Hyatt Hotel has dropped from $125 to $115. For more information or questions about Conference hotels and lodging, contact Douglas at .

— In more news from Annual Conference, moderator Tim Harvey is providing a number of short video clips between now and the 2012 Conference called “Moments with the Moderator.” They will be available at and via the Annual Conference Facebook page. A first clip is online at .

— The Church of the Brethren has joined with 60-plus groups to submit a “Friend of the Court” or amicus brief to the Supreme Court. The national, state, and local organizations filing the brief support Medicaid expansions in the Affordable Care Act, arguing that the expansions more completely address the original intent of Medicaid to fulfill the moral imperative to assist those who are poor and sick. The brief has been submitted by Faithful Reform in Health Care and the Washington Interreligious Staff Community (WISC) Health Care Working Group, which said in a release, “It is the calling of government to bring justice and protection to the poor and the sick, a goal that is consistent with the US Constitution. For this reason, amici have long supported Medicaid, our nation’s program for health care for the poor. The brief argues that the Affordable Care Act does not force states to continue to participate in Medicaid. Rather, states must continue to participate in Medicaid, and indeed expand their programs, because it is the right and moral thing to do.” To view the brief and the list of signers go to .

— Action Alerts from the denomination’s Advocacy and Peace Witness Office are asking Brethren to support calls for an end to American involvement in Afghanistan, and warns church members of increasing international tensions with Iran. “On Feb. 1, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced for the first time that the US will end combat operations in Afghanistan as early as the middle of 2013,” said one alert. “A bipartisan group of members of Congress is currently circulating a letter to the President expressing their strong support for this accelerated timeline for ending the war in Afghanistan…. The President needs to know that Americans support ending combat operations in Afghanistan as quickly as possible.” With regard to Iran, an alert said, “It is time to be proactive, and act to prevent the next (war). The standoff with Iran over its nuclear program is highly volatile. Urge the Obama administration to commit to active diplomacy, giving inspections and targeted sanctions time to work in Iran, and telling Israel not to make a pre-emptive attack on Iran.” To take action on these issues, go to the full text of the alerts online. Find the alert on “Ending Combat in Afghanistan” at . The alert about Iran is at .

— Congregational Life Ministries has received a good response to the Stuart Murray/Juliet Gilpin workshop and webinar March 10, reports Stan Dueck, director of Transforming Practices. Due to requests new ticket options have been added. Those who cannot attend the workshop or webinar may register for the recorded session. Tickets may be purchased online and an e-mail link will be sent after March 10. To purchase a ticket for the recorded session or for more information go to . Also, group prices are now available.  For group registration contact Randi Rowan at or 800-323-8039 ext. 208,
or Stan Dueck at or 717-335-3226.

Mission worker Carol Smith is providing online posts from her work with Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN–the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). Her current report includes news of a Church Leadership/Pastor’s Conference at the EYN Conference Center, as well as a ZME women’s conference, a new church started at the EYN Headquarters, and a new banner hanging in front of the Kulp Bible College chapel with the theme for 2012: “You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had” (Phillipians 2:5). Go to .

— The Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center is hosting an educational fundraising event at the Dunker Meeting House on the Antietam National Battlefield on April 28. The event begins at 11 a.m. at Manor Church of the Brethren with Jeff Bach, director of the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College, and John Frye, an interpretive guide for the National Park Service. A lunch and program will be held at the Manor Church prior to traveling to the battlefield, where a time of worship will be held in the Mumma Meetinghouse (Dunker Church). Cost including lunch is $30. Continuing education credit is available for an additional $10. The deadline for registration is April 16. Early registration is encouraged as the event is limited to 75 participants. Contact SVMC at 717-361-1450 or .

— The newest “Hidden Gem” from the Brethren Historical Library and Archives (BHLA) is a biography and set of photographs of Ted Studebaker, a Brethren martyr for peace during the Vietnam War (go to ). His story also is featured on a new section of the Civilian Public Service website focused on the work of conscientious objectors in Vietnam, at . “It seems important to revisit the service of a man whose philosophy seems more relevant than ever in our conflict-ridden world,” writes archival intern Virginia Harness.

— Roxbury Church of the Brethren in Johnstown, Pa., is celebrating its 120th anniversary.

— The New Beginnings Fellowship in Batavia, Ill., is no longer meeting, according to the Illinois and Wisconsin District newsletter. The district Leadership Team has decided to sell the property. A closing service at the New Beginnings meetinghouse will be held March 3 at 2 p.m.

— Blue Ridge Chapel Church of the Brethren near Waynesboro, Va., dedicated an addition to its church facility on Feb. 5. It addition includes a fellowship hall that seats around 300, a new kitchen, new offices, bathroom facilities, storage, and an elevator for handicapped access.

— Lancaster (Pa.) Church of the Brethren is hosting “Stories of Conscience and Taxes in a Culture of War” at 3 p.m. on March 11. Speakers include Kelly Denton-Borhaug, a Lutheran minister and professor of religious studies at Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pa., and author of “US War–Culture, Sacrifice, and Salvation”; Pat Hostetter Martin, a chaplain, hospice volunteer, and war tax resister from Harrisonburg, Va.; Jack Payden-Travers, executive director of the National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund; and Shane Claiborne of the Simple Way in Philadelphia and a speaker at the Church of the Brethren’s National Youth Conference in 2010. Sponsored by Every Church a Peace Church and 1040 for Peace, the program will address the challenges of praying for peace while paying for war. For more information contact H.A. Penner at 717-859-3529, or Berry Friesen at 717-471-9691.

— Audio recordings of a forum hosted by San Diego (Calif.) Church of the Brethren with former Marine sergeant Corey Gray are now available online, in an announcement from Pacific Southwest District. Gray is speaker for an On Earth Peace insight session at the 2012 Annual Conference, on July 10 at 9 .m. The forum in San Diego was held Oct. 30 on the topic, “From Marine Sgt. to Pacifist!” In December Gray was granted conscientious objector status. Audio of his presentation is in two parts at and .

— Shenandoah District holds its 10th Annual Disaster Ministries Auction Kick-Off Dinner at Bridgewater (Va.) College on March 10. The event at the Kline Campus Center Dining Hall starts at 5:30 p.m. with a display of auction items. Tickets are $22. Contact Brenda Fawley 540-833-2479, Karen Fleishman 540-828-2044, or Betty Morris 434-985-7571.

— The Shenandoah District Church Development and Evangelism Team sponsors “Cultivating for a Great Harvest” on March 10 from 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. at Pleasant Valley Church of the Brethren. Leaders are Fred Bernhard, staff member at Bethany Theological Seminary and Christian Community who has written extensively on hospitality and faith-sharing; and Steve Clapp and Melissa Lopze of Christian Community. Cost is $25 or $20 per person for a church group of five or more. Pastors may earn .35 continuing education units for an additional fee of $10. Lunch is included with registration. Register online at .

— Atlantic Southeast District holds its Venture Fun(d) Day at Camp Ithiel in Gotha, Fla., on March 10, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The event is an annual Church Development Council “fund giving” day to support church planting, church revitalization, and new ministry programs and church planter development in Florida, Georgia, and Puerto Rico, according to an announcement. Highlights includes an auction of home-made pies, sales of food and crafts, church booths, games, and fellowship. Music is by Saltwater Soul from Jacksonville Church of the Brethren.

— Paul Brockman, a senior music major at Bridgewater (Va.) College, will present “A Service of Choral Evensong” at 4:20 p.m. on Feb. 26 at Bridgewater Church of the Brethren, according to a release from the college. The event is Brockman’s honors project and will feature hymns, prayers, readings, the “Magnificat” (Song of Mary), and the “Nunc dimittis” (Song of Simeon). He has composed much of the music for the service and will conduct the choir, which includes Bridgewater students, faculty, and alumni. Larry Taylor, associate professor of music, will serve as organ accompanist. Robert Miller, Bridgewater College chaplain, will serve as cantor.

— The John Kline Homestead invites Sunday school classes to hold a Sunday morning session at the historic home of the Civil War-era Brethren leader in Broadway, Va. Teacher and light refreshments are provided. Morning worship afterward with nearby Linville Creek Church of the Brethren is optional. The homestead can accommodate a class size of 40 people maximum. Contact Steve Longenecker at 540-828-5321 or .

Photo courtesy of Fahrney-Keedy
Evan Bowers and David Goldsborough, both LPNs, at left and right, were among those receiving Service Excellence Awards at the Fahrney-Keedy Home and Village Employee Recognition Dinner. Here they are congratulated by director of nursing Kelly Keyfauver and assistant director of nursing Julia McGlaughlin, left and right middle.

—  Fahrney-Keedy Home and Village, a Church of the Brethren retirement community in Boonsboro, Md., has recognized a number of employees for service excellence and years worked. Six received Service Excellence Awards, and 16 were honored for their years worked, at an employee recognition dinner. The six awarded for their service were Rayanna Staley, laundry; Janet Cole, RN, assisted living; David Banzhoff, dining services; Ginny Lapole, housekeeping; and David Goldsborough, LPN, and Evan Bowers, LPN, both nursing. Employees were recognized whose length of time at Fahrney-Keedy is in multiples of five years: at five years were Andrea Betts, GNA, Deb Manahan, RN, and Nicole Moore, GNA, all nursing; Heather Cleveland, CNA/Med Tech, assisted living; Mike Leiter, vice president of Marketing and Community Development; Kathy Neville, assistant director of Activities; Doug Ridenour, director of Maintenance; Bonnie Shirk, accounting; and Fran Wilson, central supply. At 10 years were Angie Keebaugh, LPN, Naomi Keeney, GNA, Stephanie Teets, CMA/GNA/unit clerk, all nursing; Julia McGlaughlin, RN, assistant director of Nursing; Renia Talbert, laundry; and Paula Webb, GNA, assisted living coordinator. At 20 years was Joyce Grove, GNA, assisted living.

— Manchester College’s Doctor of Pharmacy program has been granted pre-candidate status by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education. A release reported that the college has received authorization to begin enrolling students in its new School of Pharmacy in Fort Wayne, Ind. Said Dave McFadden, interim dean and executive vice president, “This is a critical achievement for the School of Pharmacy because it validates the strength of our leadership team and it enables us to enroll our first class of 70 students.” The decision demonstrates that the School of Pharmacy is on track to achieve full accreditation in May 2016, upon graduating its first class of students. The school has received more than 300 applications and expects to receive more before the March 1 application deadline. For more visit .

— Elizabethtown (Pa.) College welcomes Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Laureate, at 8 p.m. on April 4 as keynote speaker for the 2012 Ware Lecture on Peacemaking. Yunus originated the concept of Grameen Bank–banking without collateral–for the poor in Bangladesh. In 2006, Yunus and the bank were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The lecture titled “Creating Hope and Success: Peace and Development through Entrepreneurship and Social Activism” is free and open to the public. Reserve tickets by calling 717-361-4757.

— The death penalty will be a topic of debate at Bridgewater (Va.) College when an opponent and proponent meet in Cole Hall on Feb. 29. According to a release from the school, death penalty opponent Bud Welch, whose daughter was killed in the Oklahoma City bombing, and Jeff Jacoby, long-time proponent of the death penalty, will debate at 7:30 p.m. sponsored by the Anna B. Mow Endowed Lecture Series. Welch is president of the board of Murder Victims Families for Human Rights, serves on the board of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, and has received “abolitionist of the year” awards. Jacoby is a columnist for the “Boston Globe.”

— In more news from Bridgewater, the college celebrates Black History Month by hosting an area observance of the 23rd National African-American Read-In on Feb. 25, from 2-4 p.m. in the Boitnott Room. The event is free and open to the public.

— The World Council of Churches (WCC) Executive Committee has sent a pastoral message to churches in Syria expressing hope for an end to violence there and a national dialogue to emerge from the conflict, based on peace with justice, recognition of human rights and human dignity, and the need to live together in mutual respect. The message supports a joint letter from the three heads of churches in Syria that was sent to congregations in December condemning the use of any type of violence while encouraging members “not to fear and not to lose hope.” WCC member churches are asked to engage in actions of solidarity during this difficult time in Syria.

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