Brethren Bits for July 26, 2012

— Correction: Maddie Dulabaum’s name was inadvertently omitted from the Annual Conference news team listing in the last issue of Newsline. She served as reporter for the Conference Journal’s “Question of the Day” feature.

— Remembrance: Philip West, a son of Heifer International founder Dan West, passed away June 21. He and his twin Larry were born Oct. 4, 1938, in Goshen, Ind., to Dan and Lucille West. He became one of the “seagoing cowboys” who cared for heifer cows en route to farmers struggling to recover from World War II, traveling to Japan where he remained to study at the International Christian University in Tokyo. The experience ignited a love of east Asia that would become his life’s work. He graduated from Manchester College in 1960 and served as a conscientious objector teaching English for two years in Poland with Brethren Volunteer Service. By 1971 he had earned a doctorate from Harvard University in modern Chinese history and East Asian languages. Throughout his career he expanded east Asian curricula in university and public school classrooms, engaging in interdisciplinary work that bridged the worlds of academia, language studies, culture, arts and business. Before he came to the University of Montana he taught at Indiana University for 18 years, during the last seven of which he was director of the East Asian Studies Center where he established the Summer Language Institute for intensive training of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. He and his wife Young-ee Cho moved to Missoula, Mont., in 1988 when he became Mansfield Professor of Modern Asian Affairs and then directed the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center. His projects focused on the human experience of American wars in Asia, the Korean War in particular, creating opportunities for dialogue and healing between former enemies. During his 24 years at the University of Montana he also worked abroad as co-director for the Center for Chinese and American Studies at Johns Hopkins University in Nanjing, China. His book, “Yenching University and Sino-Western Relations, 1916-1952” (Harvard University Press, 1976) was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. In 2011, he received an Alumni Honor Award from Manchester College. He is survived by his wife Young-ee Cho; son Daniel; daughters June, Jennifer, and Barbara; and grandchildren. A memorial service is planned for Aug. 9, at 4 p.m., at Christ the King Parish in Missoula. Memorial donations are received to the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center.

— Remembrance: Wolfgang Klaus Juergen Spreen, 67, a former member of the staff of the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., most recently living in Middleburg, Fla., died July 17. He was a native of Germany and moved to the US in 1998 to reside in Maryland. He moved to Middleburg in 2009. He retired from AOK Insurance Company with the government of Germany and following his retirement worked with the Church of the Brethren in New Windsor as assistant to the general secretary and supporting other program areas until 2009. Survivors include his wife Susan; children Britta Porto, Ina Spreen, Kevin (Lorriane) Jones, Karen Weimert, and Michelle (Jon) Ford; and grandchildren. Funeral services were held on July 21 at the graveside in Evergreen Cemetery of Westminster, Md. Family and friends may share their condolences at .

Photo by: Courtesy of BDM
Zach Wolgemuth, associate director of Brethren Disaster Ministries, was one of the presenters at Monday’s “Housing Recovery Support Function Training” hosted by the Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington, D.C. He serves on the Board of Directors for National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) and presented on behalf of NVOAD.

— The Church of the Brethren’s Shenandoah District is expressing appreciation to Ron Wyrick, who completes his term of service as interim district executive on July 31. “Our prayers of thanksgiving are lifted up for Ron Wyrick for his leadership of the Shenandoah District,” said a recent district newsletter. Wyrick stepped into the role on a fulltime basis on Nov. 1, 2011. The district will welcome John N. Jantzi as district executive minister beginning Aug. 1.

— Twyla Rowe has accepted the fulltime position of director of pastoral care/chaplain at Fahrney-Keedy Home and Village, a Church of the Brethren retirement community near Boonsboro, Md. Her first day in the office will be July 30. She is an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren and has served as a pastor at two congregations during the past 19 years, most recently at Westminster (Md.) Church of the Brethren where she has been minister of Christian Nurture since 2001. She holds a bachelor of arts in Organizational Management from Eastern Mennonite University, and a certificate for the completion of TRIM (Training in Ministry) from Bethany Theological Seminary. She succeeds Loyal Vanderveer, who had served as interim chaplain following the untimely death of former chaplain Sharon Peters in December 2011. With nearly 180 full- and part-time employees, Fahrney-Keedy serves a resident population of almost 200 women and men in independent living, assisted living, and long- and short-term nursing care. For more visit .

— The Church of the Brethren seeks a director for the Brethren Historical Library and Archives (BHLA). The position promotes the history and heritage of the Church of the Brethren by administering the BHLA and facilitating research and the study of Brethren history. Responsibilities include to provide reference services, assure the cataloging of books and processing of archival records, formulate policies, budget, develop the collection, recruit and train interns and volunteers. Required education includes a master’s degree in library science/archival studies and extensive knowledge of Church of the Brethren history and beliefs. A graduate degree in history or theology and/or certification by the Academy of Certified Archivists is preferred. Required skills and knowledge include the ability to articulate and operate out of the vision of the Church of the Brethren; grounding in library and archival disciplines; customer-service skills; research and problem-solving skills; proficiency in Microsoft software and experience with OCLC products; and 3-5 years of work experience in a library or archives. Location is the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. An application packet may be requested from Deborah Brehm, Program Assistant, Office of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL  60120-1694; 847-742-5100 ext. 367; . Applications include a cover letter, resume, application form, background check authorization, resume, and three reference letters. Interviews begin Sept. 1.

— A Church of the Brethren workcamp in Springfield, Ill., shortly after the close of Annual Conference received several mentions in the media. The group of junior high youth from Pennsylvania and Virginia helped clean up and “reclaim” an abandoned house in the Enos Park area. They were hosted by First Church of the Brethren in Springfield, and also helped out at St. John’s Breadline, Kumler Outreach Ministries, and Helping Hands. Find articles and photos at  and .

— New at : Two new “Christian understanding” papers on mission and the environment are available to download from the denominational website at , representing an ecumenical effort with the National Council of Churches. Also now online is a new “Volunteer Opportunities” page intended to make it simple for people to find a variety of ways to volunteer, browsing by age group, office, or length of service, at . The new “Hidden Gems” webpage from the Brethren Historical Library and Archives is on Alexander Mack, Jr. Find it at .

— A guide titled “Travel Responsibly this Summer” is available to help people concerned about modern-day slavery and particularly child sex trafficking. The guide is offered by ECPAT, one of the organizations recommended in the Church of the Brethren’s resource packet on modern-day slavery. Resources include a list of US-based companies that have signed on to the Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct to prevent child sex trafficking, and suggestions for travel with other companies that haven’t signed the code–such as a sample letter to give to the manager or owner of your favorite hotel, airline, or tour operator about the issue of commercial sexual exploitation of children and the importance of protecting children. TassaTag Fair Trade Luggage Tags also are offered to raise awareness, with proceeds going to support ECPAT-USA’s work to fight trafficking while providing an income for women in Thailand. Visit and to learn more.

— Hostetler Church of the Brethren in Meyersdale, Pa., celebrates its 200th year as a congregation on Sept. 9. Festivities will include morning Sunday school and worship, an afternoon service at 2 p.m., music by members and former members, recognition of those who have been called into ministry by the congregation, and time for sharing. The church is handicapped accessible. For more information contact 614-634-8500.

— Panther Creek Church of the Brethren near Roanoke, Ill., holds its 160th Anniversary Celebration on Aug. 11. Festivities begin at 2 p.m. and include family entertainment, gospel/country music, trumpeters, games for people of all ages, balloon art, a Christian magic show by Anet Satvedi, a pizza supper, a Christian family movie night with popcorn, dedication of new children’s playground equipment, reminiscing and sharing memories and church history. RSVP to 309-923-7775.

— Mt. Bethel Church of the Brethren in Dayton, Va.–now in the midst of its centennial celebration–is planning special events each month culminating in a final celebration on Oct. 21. A centennial cookbook is being produced with recipes from across the generations. Order for $16 by calling the church at 540-867-5326.

— On June 10, Nanty Glo (Pa.) Church of the Brethren celebrated its 90th anniversary. According to the Western Pennsylvania District newsletter, the celebration included hymns that were found in the 1924 hymnal, and that can still be found in the hymnal today. A picnic followed worship.

— The youth group at Pine Grove Church of the Brethren in West Marva District raised $4,542.49 for World Vision during a recent lock in, according to the district newsletter. During the lock in, the group also completed a community project of staining the church playground equipment. “That is what joining together can do,” the newsletter commented.

— Bermudian Church of the Brethren in East Berlin, Pa., held a second annual “Drive Your Tractor to Church Sunday” and Farm Family Blessing on July 1. The York First Church’s newsletter noted the event, quoting pastor Larry Dentler: “Both services were full, a record number of tractors, many visitors–most important of all we had the privilege to ask God’s special blessing upon our hard working farm families!”

— First Haitian Church of the Brethren in Brooklyn, N.Y., sent a mission group to the Dominican Republic. In late May and early June, pastor Verel Montauban and five members of the congregation attended an annual missionary seminar and revival services in the DR. The group was able to visit four sister churches including Mendoza Church of the Brethren, Saint Louis Church of the Brethren, Bocachica Church of the Brethren, and Salemanatolsa Church of the Brethren, and a new church, Las Americas Church, which has expressed a desire to become affiliated with the Brethren congregations.

— Virlina District Children’s Cabinet will sponsor a Children’s Ministry Roundtable at Peters Creek Church of the Brethren from 9:30-11:30 a.m. on Aug. 18. Presentations and discussion will address the participation and inclusion of children in worship, Sunday school, church activities, and the life of the congregation. This event is for children’s leaders and teachers as well as pastors and all who care about children and the future of the church. Contact the Virlina District office at or 540-362-1816.

— The Southern Ohio District Disaster Ministry holds its 6th Annual Ice Cream Social on Aug. 4 at Happy Corner Church of the Brethren. “This year’s event promises to be much more than an ice cream social–even though the ice cream itself will be fabulous!” said an announcement from the district. Activities for children, special entertainment, and a collection of Church World Service School Kits also will be part of the event. Also to be collected: donations from the district’s “Change for Change” jars which will benefit people whose lives have been affected by a natural disaster.

— Golf, golf, and more golf. A number of golf tournaments are being held this summer and fall to benefit camps and district ministries. Middle Pennsylvania District and Camp Blue Diamond hold their annual Brethren Open on Aug. 14 at Iron Masters Golf Course in Roaring Spring, Pa., with a meal following the tournament hosted by Albright Church of the Brethren. Brethren Woods holds its 17th annual golf tournament and fundraiser at Lakeview Golf Course near Harrisonburg, Va., on Sept. 8. Camp Bethel holds its 18th annual benefit Golf Tournament and Banquet on Aug. 15 at Botetourt Golf Club. The Camp Mack Annual Golf Outing is Aug. 18 at Sycamore Golf Course in North Manchester, Ind. The Children’s Aid Society’s 16th Annual FORE Children Golf Outing is Aug. 4, starting at 2 p.m., at the Hanover Country Club in Abbottstown, Pa.

— A 60th Annual Church of the Brethren Rhodes Grove Camp Meeting takes place Aug. 25-Sept. 2 at the campground near Greencastle, Pa. Each day includes a morning and evening worship service, with special youth activities on Saturday evening, and on Sunday a morning Sunday school and an afternoon service added to the morning and evening worship schedule. Speakers include Allen Nell of Upper Conewago Church of the Brethren; Dwane Schildt of Pleasant Hill Church of the Brethren; Luther Patches of White Oak Church of the Brethren; and Leon Myers of Upton Church of the Brethren as Bible study leader. For cabin or hotel reservations call 717-375-2510.

— The 11 “Food for Preston” food pantries located throughout Preston County, W.Va., have shared a “very special thank you” to the Camp Galilee staff and campers. The thank you was printed in the West Marva District newsletter. The camp held a summer food drive. “In light of the recent storms and power outages which caused a rise in emergency food needs county-wide, the pantries were beyond thankful for the donations,” said the newsletter.

— On Sept. 2, Camp Pine Lake in Northern Plains District will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its Friendship Lodge. The celebration starts at 4 p.m., with a meal following. Stories and memories of the lodge and the camp are being collected at .

— District conferences taking place in early August include the Southern Plains District Conference on Aug. 2-4 at Falfurrias (Texas) Church of the Brethren, and Northern Plains District Conference on Aug. 3-5 at Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Brethren/Baptist Church on the theme “Imagine What God Has in Store” (1 Corinthians 3:9).

— Marking its 50th anniversary (1962-2012) Brethren Colleges Abroad is inviting alumni to share memories at an online memory book. Go to . The organization held a celebration with former students and staff on June 8 at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College, and also celebrated at the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference in St. Louis.

— Thirteen Church of the Brethren members joined a New Community Project Learning Tour to the Ecuadorian Amazon in mid-June. The group was hosted by partner organization SELVA, and spent five days in the Cuyabeno Ecological Reserve, one of the most biodiverse–and threatened–areas on the planet, according to a release. The group hiked and travelled by boat through the forest and rivers, learned about local culture and challenges facing native people and the ecosystem, got a first-hand look at one of many toxic waste ponds near oil processing facilities in the Ecuadorian Amazon, and noted widespread deforestation due to oil production, cocao and coffee plantations, cattle ranching, and human settlements. There was also a visit to a 137 acre parcel NCP has purchased to preserve, adjacent to the reserve. Photos and narrative can be found on the NCP Facebook page!/media/set/?set=a.414097735295099.92395.270047579700116&type=1 . More about New Community Project is at .

— “Brethren Voices,” the community television program produced by Portland (Ore.) Peace Church of the Brethren, can now be viewed on YouTube at . Currently, the June program featuring Palmyra (Pa.) Church of the Brethren and the Caring Cupboard is being shown. Producer Ed Groff plans to place another 30 broadcasts on the Brethren Voices channel on YouTube. “All of this has been made possible by a fan of Brethren Voices in Spokane, Wash.,” Groff reports. In more news from the show, the July program of “Brethren Voices” features the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College. Hosted by Brent Carlson, the show meets Jeff Bach, director of the Young Center, who discusses the ways of the early Brethren who adopted biblical pacifism, plain and compassionate living, and a shared search for truth. Bach also shares about the Anabaptist desire to follow New Testament teachings, and the history of the early Brethren movement and the persecution it encountered because of its radical positions on baptism and separation of the church from government. For more information contact .

— A number of ecumenical partners of the Church of the Brethren have made statements following the shooting spree in Aurora, Colo., last week. The president of the National Council of Churches (NCC) said Christians across the nation are surrounding the community in prayer following the loss of loved ones and neighbors in the shooting rampage. NCC president Kathryn Lohre also called upon elected officials at every level of government to “seek policies that will foster greater peace in our communities and throughout this country,” pointing out that the NCC has been expressing its concern about gun violence for decades. The NCC’s most recent resolution on the issue, the 2010 “Ending Gun Violence, A Call to Action,” was affirmed by the Church of the Brethren’s Mission and Ministry Board and calls for a unified effort of churches, government, and individuals to enact reforms that limit access to assault weapons and handguns, including closing the so-called federal “gun show loophole.” The resolution is at .

— In related news, leaders of organizations representing some 90 percent of the world’s two billion Christians have issued a joint appeal to the 194 governments currently negotiating the first global Arms Trade Treaty. Their message is “Keep ammunition in the treaty,” according to a release from the World Council of Churches. Proposals on the negotiating table would ban arms sales for genocide, war crimes, and grave human rights violations. Almost all of the 194 states involved recognize that the arms and ammunition most often used in these crimes must therefore be included in the treaty, the release noted. “Churches and their members witness the human costs of unlawful armed violence every day, as victims are brought to church hospitals and church graveyards in different parts of the world. The Arms Trade Treaty must regulate the ammunition that strikes them down,” the release said. The groups joining together in the appeal are the World Council of Churches, the World Evangelical Alliance, Pax Christi International, and Caritas.

— The World Council of Churches (WCC) is inviting applications for workshops, exhibitions, and side events for its upcoming 10th Assembly to be held in Busan, Korea. Proposals must be submitted by Oct. 31. The WCC assembly will take place from Oct. 30-Nov. 8, 2013, addressing the theme “God of Life, Lead Us to Justice and Peace.” The series of workshops, exhibitions, and side events are to be part of the assembly’s “madang” or the “courtyard” of a traditional Korean home. It implies a space for encounter, sharing, celebration, fellowship, and welcoming a stranger, underlining the spirit with which assembly programs will be prepared. More information and a proposal form can be downloaded from .

— Heifer International has been presented with the Kiwanis International’s 2012 World Service Medal. The medal, presented to Heifer International president Pierre Ferrari by Kiwanis International president Alan Penn at the organization’s annual convention in New Orleans, also provides a $10,000 grant, said a Heifer release. Previous winners have included Mother Teresa, Sir Roger Moore and Audrey Hepburn, and First Ladies Nancy Reagan and Rosalynn Carter. Since 1944, when Heifer International was begun by Dan West as the Church of the Brethren’s Heifer Project, the organization has provided livestock and agricultural training to families who struggle to survive. To date, more than 15 million families in more than 125 countries, including the US, have been assisted to become self-reliant the release said.

— Among latest news from IMA World Health, which has its headquarters at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., is a new campaign to end sexual and gender based violence. The campaign is called “We Will Speak Out” and has received a grant from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) for work in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

— As South Sudan marked its first anniversary as a nation July 9, Christian leaders there said it has made positive progress but also highlighted significant problems. A joint letter from Roman Catholic Archbishop Paulino Lukudu Loro of Juba and Sudan Episcopal Church Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul congratulating the president and citizens for reaching the landmark celebrations. They also termed this as spiritual journey of the people. “We stand together…to celebrate the first anniversary…and to express our joys and concerns,” said the letter, reported by Ecumenical News International.

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