Brethren Bits for March 22, 2012

Bridgewater (Va.) College students are planning a “March for Justice” to protest the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Florida. The march is planned for March 26, starting at 6 p.m., according to a release from the college. Marchers will wear hoodies and walk from the Kline Campus Center down Dinkel Ave. to a 7-Eleven store where they will purchase Skittles and a bottle of iced tea–items found on the body of Martin, who was shot and killed by a neighborhood watchman who has claimed self defense. After making the purchase, the group will march back to the college mall for a candlelight vigil. The march is organized by Visible Men, a college-based enrichment program that “focuses on meeting the unique needs of underrepresented male students through leadership, personal, career, and professional development.”

— Moala Penitani has resigned from the Church of the Brethren, as of March 30. She has worked as customer service/inventory specialist for Brethren Press since Oct. 4, 2010. During her employment with the church, she also served part-time as an assistant to the Older Adult Ministry helping to prepare for the 2011 National Older Adult Conference. She came to Brethren Press from Elkhart, Ind., after graduating from Manchester College with a degree in marketing and management. She is leaving to pursue interests in the Boston metropolitan area.

— Christian Churches Together in the USA (CCT) is seeking an executive director who will provide strategic leadership for the engagement of denominational church bodies and other faith-based organizations at the national level in order to build and strengthen the effectiveness of the mission of CCT. Responsibilities and activities include developing and implementing strategy for engagement with communions and denominational church bodies and other faith-based organizations in order to build participation and strengthen the effectiveness of CCT; be a public face of CCT by representing CCT at conferences, meetings, and events; facilitating relationships between CCT participants and between CCT and other Christian unity organizations; organizing the Annual Meeting and doing follow-up; organizing and facilitating meetings of the Steering Committee and other committees; developing and overseeing fundraising; overseeing tasks of the national office, including finances, communication, and the work of an administrative assistant; helping CCT regularly review its vision and methods; encouraging development of local expressions of CCT. Knowledge and skill required include extensive experience in ecumenical relations and knowledge of a range of Christian churches; strong relational skills; program or operational management experience, including staff supervision, budgeting, and fundraising; writing and editing skills; capability of traveling; a master of divinity degree or equivalent. Location is negotiable. Compensation is a base salary plus benefits.  CCT is an equal-opportunity employer. Minority candidates are encouraged to apply. The Search Committee chairman is Bishop Don diXon Williams. To apply send a letter and resume to (write “CCT-USA Executive Director Position” in the subject line). For more information go to .

— Cross Keys Village ( ), a retirement community in New Oxford, Pa., seeks a chief executive officer to lead its 900 resident/700 employee campus with a $40MM budget. Located on 232 acres in south/central Pennsylvania, this Church of the Brethren-affiliated organization seeks candidates with the following qualifications: strong financial acumen, extensive board experience, at least a bachelor’s degree (master’s degree preferred), and at least eight years of senior management experience in a complex organizational setting. Interested candidates should contact Caryn Howell with MHS Alliance at or 574-537-8736.

— The Cedars, a Church of the Brethren retirement community in McPherson, Kan., is looking for an experienced development officer to be involved in marketing, development, and work with tax sheltered annuities. As a key member of the management team, duties involve working with board members and business leaders. Salary is commensurate with experience. For more information contact Carma Wall, CEO, at 620-241-0919.

— Brethren Press seeks a part-time customer service inventory specialist to work at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Applications will be received until the position is filled. Position description and application form are available on request to contact information below. Responsibilities are to provide professional customer service by handling phone, fax, mail, and Internet orders; maintain a thorough knowledge of products offered by Brethren Press; optimize an e-commerce website with consistent product additions, updates, and promotions; carry primary responsibility for answering the customer service phone line and processing orders; provide resource information to congregations and individuals; maintain inventory; provide sales and marketing support services; assist in coordinating and developing standardized procedures and maintain written documentation. Qualifications include ability to become familiar with Church of the Brethren organization and beliefs and operate out of the vision of the Mission and Ministry Board; ability to relate with integrity and respect in and beyond the organization; skills for effective interaction with customers and colleagues; fundamental understanding of accounting; good listening and phone skills and competency in oral and written communication; keyboarding and data entry; ability to work well in a team environment and juggle several tasks simultaneously; knowledge of Christian education and resourcing congregations. Required education and experience include customer service functions and computer literacy as essential, along with experience in sales, marketing, inventory management, and reporting. A high school diploma or general education degree is required, some college preferred. Apply by completing an application form, submitting a resume and letter of application, and requesting three references to send letters of recommendation to Office of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; 847-742-5100 ext. 367; .

— Brethren Mutual Aid Agency is seeking a licensed agent (Property/Casualty and Life/Health) to work with church accounts. The successful candidate will be honest and ethical, and possess a strong understanding of church insurance needs, estimating the value of church buildings, and identifying and managing ministry risks. A faith-based, service-minded spirit, coupled with a strong desire to act in the client’s best interest is mandatory. Responsibilities include sales, service, and retention of insurance plans to churches and their related ministries. This position offers a flexible schedule, team environment, full office support, and a strong marketing communications program. Compensation includes a competitive salary, based on applicable experience, and a very generous benefit package. Send a letter of interest and resume to Brethren Mutual Aid Agency, Attn: Kim Rutter, 3094 Jeep Road, Abilene, KS 67410 or e-mail to .

— Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) seeks an interim CPTnet editor. The one year, quarter-time, temporary position starts this summer when the current editor begins a sabbatical. Responsibilities include editing CPTnet; following the releases that teams on project locations are writing for CPTnet (as well as blogs, Facebook, and Twitter accounts of individual CPTers in the field as time allows); vetting, organizing, and editing releases from teams in English; posting edited releases to CPTnet, CPT’s English language news service; communicating with translators and posting Spanish versions of releases to redECAP, CPT’s Spanish language news service; if time allows, taking on other communication-related responsibilities. Approximately 10 hours a week, flexible location and work hours. Compensation is a need-based stipend and “satisfaction of having participated in important work supporting peacemakers around the world,” said the announcement. Contact Carol Rose, CPT Co-Director, at no later than April 2. She will respond with application materials. Full application materials are due April 22.

— CPT also seeks applicants to join the Christian Peacemaker Corps. Applications are due before May 1. “Did you participate in a recent CPT delegation that whetted your appetite for embodied peace work, partnering with others working nonviolently for justice, and confronting the injustice that leads to war?” said an invitation. “Does CPT’s style of peacemaking, confronting injustice, and undoing oppressions work fit with yours? Is now the time to take the next step and join the Peacemaker Corps? If so, please send your application.” CPT seeks applicants available for stipend-eligible service, as well as reservists. Once accepted, applicants must participate in a Peacemaker Training in Chicago on July 13-Aug. 13. Find the application form at . For questions contact .

— Three Church of the Brethren women leaders have been nominated to the National Council of Churches (NCC) Circles of Names project: Ruthann Knechel Johansen, president of Bethany Theological Seminary; Judy Mills Reimer, former general secretary of the Church of the Brethren; and Nancy Faus Mullen, professor emerita at Bethany Seminary and former leader in the Hymnal Project that produced the “Hymnal: A Worship Book.” The nominations were made by general secretary Stan Noffsinger, who noted that each of the women “have in their own way made significant contributions to the life of the Church of the Brethren and the ecumenical movement.” The Circles of Names project on International Women’s Day, March 8, celebrated completion of a campaign raising $100,000.00 to support the ongoing work of the Women’s Ministries office of the NCC. For more information go to .

— This week’s Action Alert from the Advocacy and Peace Witness Office offers analysis of Kony 2012, a popular social media campaign to stop the atrocities committed by Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony. Kony is leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, which has been active in eastern Africa for more than 20 years, and is responsible for wide-spread violence as well as the abduction of children for use as child soldiers and sex slaves. “I am writing in order to reflect on this video, the advocacy it is part of, the solution that it suggests, and what might be a Brethren response to all of this,” comments Nathan Hosler in the alert, which suggests points for Brethren may consider from the Annual Conference statement on “Nonviolence and Humanitarian Intervention.” “As we read and hear about what is happening in the world I pray that we act with wisdom, in line with biblical teaching and our Annual Conference statements,” Hosler writes. “The Church of the Brethren supports and partners with a number of organizations throughout Africa and the world which are doing good work to alleviate suffering, poverty, and violence.” Read the alert at .

— Media reports of an attack on a church of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN) have been confirmed by church leaders in Nigeria. On March 6 the radical Islamic sect Boko Haram attacked an EYN church in Kunduga, near the northeastern city of Maiduguri, as well as a Roman Catholic church and a police station. There were no reports of loss of life or injuries to EYN members. The pastor and his family foresaw the trouble and members of the congregation fled before the mob arrived at the church premises.

— An annual program commemorating the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is being celebrated today in New York. Doris  Abdullah, Church of the Brethren United Nations representative, and chair of the UN NGO Human Rights Sub-Committee on Racism, gave welcoming remarks at a panel discussion that featured Corann Okorodudu, professor of Psychology and Africana Studies and a UN representative for the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues; Vilna Bashi Treitler, professor of Black and Hispanic Studies at Baruch College, City University of New York; and Theddeus Iheanacho, MD, of the Department of Psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine, among others. Co-sponsors were the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the NGO Committee on Migration, the NGO Committee on Mental Health, and the NGO Committee on the UN International Decade of the World ‘s Indigenous Peoples.

— New Lenten screensavers are available to download from the denominational website. Go to .

— A number of congregations in Pennsylvania and Virginia are hosting the Bittersweet Gospel Band for a Spring tour. The band features Gilbert Romero of Los Angeles’ Bittersweet Ministries; Scott Duffey of Staunton, Va.; Trey Curry, also of Staunton, on the drums; Dan Shaffer of Hooversville, Pa., on the bass guitar; David Sollenberger of North Manchester, Ind., on the lead guitar; and Jose Mendoza of Roanoke, Va., on keyboard. The tour schedule is: April 16, 6:30 p.m., at Somerset (Pa.) Church of the Brethren; April 17, 7 p.m., at Everett (Pa.) Church of the Brethren; April 18, 7 p.m., at York (Pa.) First Church of the Brethren; April 19, 10 a.m., at Brethren Village in Lancaster, Pa.; April 19, 7 p.m, at Bermudian Church of the Brethren in East Berlin, Pa.; April 20, 7 p.m., at York Second Church of the Brethren; April 21, 7 p.m., and April 22, 11 a.m., at Alpha y Omega Church of the Brethren in Lancaster. The band has added a pre-tour Benefit for Emergency Disaster Relief at Staunton (Va.) Church of the Brethren on April 14, at 6 p.m. The love offering will go to disaster relief work and attendees are asked to bring Church World Service hygiene kits or items for emergency clean-up buckets (for lists of kit items go to ). All services and concerts are open to the public. For more go to .

Photo by: courtesy of Children’s Aid Society
Robert A. Witt, executive director of Children’s Aid Society, Southern Pennsylvania District Church of the Brethren, with Izyek, a special guest, at the 1st annual fundraising CAS dinner.

— Southern Pennsylvania District’s Children’s Aid Society has been selected as a finalist in the Central Penn parents 2012 Healthcare Heroes Awards in the “Children’s Health Advocate” category, according to a release. A unique nonprofit that began helping children in 1913, Children’s Aid Society provides services at the Frances Leiter Center (Franklin County), the Nicarry Center (Adams County), and the Lehman Center (York County). Services include art/play therapy, family advocacy, parent support groups, and a crisis nursery with a 24-hour hotline. During last year the society provided 3,670 therapy sessions, 34,906 hours of respite care at the crisis nursery, 620 home/office visits with the Family Advocate, and 428 parents participated in Parent Support Group sessions. “As we begin preparations for our 100th anniversary, the Healthcare Hero recognition validates the ministry and rich history of Children’s Aid Society,” said Robert A. Witt, executive director.

— Responding to urgent needs created by recent tornadoes across the Midwest, the Southern Ohio District Brethren Disaster Ministries has announced a collection for Church World Service emergency clean-up bucket kits. “By purchasing items carefully, and in bulk, we are able to obtain the items needed to assemble the kits for $20 less than the estimated cost per bucket,” said an announcement. “Our goal is to collect enough money to assemble 300 clean-up buckets ($10,000).” Send donations to Southern Ohio District Church of the Brethren, 2293 Gauby Rd., New Madison, OH 45346. For questions contact Barbara Stonecash at 937-456-1638 or Dick and Pat Via at 937-456-3689 or e-mail .

— Dates are April 9-12 and 16-17 for the annual Meat Canning Project of Mid-Atlantic and Southern Pennsylvania Districts. This year’s goal is to process 67,500 pounds of chicken.

— March 31 is FUNdraiser Day at Woodland Altars, a Church of the Brethren camp and outdoor ministry center near Peebles, Ohio. The day begins with a 5K Walk/Run, continues with a hog roast lunch, followed by a corn hole tournament. For more information contact Matt Dell at or Gene Karn at . Proceeds support outdoor ministries.

— The Brethren Woods capital campaign has collected over $800,000, according to a report in the Shenandoah District newsletter from Galen Combs, prayer coordinator for the campaign. Brethren Woods Camp and Retreat Center is located near Keezletown, Va. “Fifteen acres of adjoining land has been purchased, and the roof to the dining hall has been replaced!” said the report. “Let us thank our God in prayer for what He is doing at Camp Brethren Woods.” In more news from Brethren Woods, its Spring Festival is April 28. Go to .

— After serving 14 years at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., president Tom Kepple will retire following the 2012-13 school year, according to an announcement on the school’s website. A presidential search committee has started the search for his replacement and hired search consultant R. Stanton Hales of Academic-Search, Inc. The committee also has provided students, faculty, administrators, and the community with opportunities to voice their opinions and say what they want to see in the next president. For periodic updates on Juniata’s presidential search see .

— The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) has recognized Bridgewater (Va.) College as a leader among institutions of higher education for its support of volunteering, service-learning, and civic engagement. Bridgewater was named to the 2012 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for engaging its students, faculty, and staff in meaningful service that achieves measurable results in the community.

— The Springs of Living Water initiative for church renewal has announced its next spiritual disciplines folder for Easter through Pentecost. The folder “Walking in New Life with the Risen Lord” can be found at . It follows lectionary readings and topics used for the Brethren Press bulletin series. Along with suggested Sunday texts and messages, there are daily scripture readings that lead up to the next Sunday’s service. An explanation of the theme and an insert helps members learn how to use the folders as well as discern their own next incremental step in spiritual disciplines for growth in discipleship. Bible study questions that can be used by individuals, small groups, or Sunday school classes are written by Vince Cable, pastor of Uniontown Church of the Brethren near Pittsburgh, Pa., and can be found on the website. For more information contact Joan and David Young at .

— Heeding God’s Call, a Historic Peace Church initiative to prevent gun violence in America’s cities, is holding its Fourth Annual Interfaith Good Friday Service at the site of the Mike and Kate’s Gun Shoppe in northeast Philadelphia, Pa. The event convenes April 6 at  4 p.m. at Redeemer United Methodist Church, then processes to the gun shop, ending at about 5:15 p.m. Each of the past three years Heeding God’s Call has held an interfaith service next to a gun store for which there is a published report that “straw buying” has occurred. The services “are times for the faithful to gather at a critical juncture of the gun violence that plagues our city,” said an announcement. For more go to .

— Following an announcement that Rowan Williams will be stepping down as Archbishop of Canterbury, the World Council of Churches (WCC) expressed admiration for his leadership and contribution to the ecumenical movement. The release from the WCC said Williams is accepting a new position as master of Magdalene College at the University of Cambridge beginning in January 2013. He leaves the office of Archbishop of Canterbury at the end of December, concluding his decade-long leadership of the Anglican Communion that started in 2003.

— South Sudanese people living in the north of Sudan are facing a deadline to leave the north, according to Ecumenical News International. “Sudanese Christians who have barely a month to leave the north or risk being treated as foreigners are starting to move, but Christian leaders are concerned that the April 8 deadline set by Islamic-majority Sudan is unrealistic,” ENI reported. Roman Catholic Bishop Daniel Adwok of the Khartoum archdiocese auxiliary told ENI that, “We are very concerned. Moving is not easy…people have children in school. They have homes…. It is almost impossible.” In February, Sudan announced the deadline for former citizens it had stripped of nationality after South Sudan’s vote to secede. The deadline may affect up to 700,000 people, mainly Christians of southern origin, many of whom have lived in the north for decades after fleeing the civil war in the South. More recently, AFP reported that the pressure of the deadline may be reduced by an agreement made during African Union talks. Under the deal, both the north of Sudan and South Sudan agreed to accelerate their cooperation to provide identification and other documents related to the status of people.

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