Brethren Bits for Nov. 15, 2012

Photo by courtesy of Jim Beckwith
Footwashing at Annville (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, when the church held Love Feast this fall.

— Remembrance: James R. (Jim) Sampson, a member of the Standing Committee of district representatives to Annual Conference, passed away at his home on Nov. 7. He served on Standing Committee as a representative of Northern Ohio District. He was an ordained minister and since 2000 had been chaplain at Good Shepherd Home in Fostoria, Ohio. Visitation was held Sunday, Nov. 11, at the Coldren-Crates Funeral Home in Findlay, Ohio, where a funeral service was held on Monday, Nov. 12. Andrew Sampson, pastor of Eel River Community Church of the Brethren in Silver Lake, Ind., and son of Jim and Sheri, officiated.

— Remembrance: John Post, who had worked for Brethren Press at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., died on Nov. 2. He had served in the pre-press department, when printing presses for books, curriculum, and the “Messenger” magazine all were located onsite at the denominational offices. The Oct. 1974 “Messenger” noted his role when, as composing department supervisor, the press shifted from a “hot type” to a “cold type” system in 1974 and the shift was made from Linotype to computer-based typesetting. By the time Brethren Press closed its onsite printing operation in 1986-87, he was creative services manager and had logged 32 years of employment at the publishing house. He lay claim to having been the last employee to leave the printing department in early 1987. In addition to love of God, his family, and the Church of the Brethren, his passions in life included genealogy research, golf, bicycling, world travel, science and animal life, and talking to people of all ages. His collection of 175,000-plus genealogy records not only includes ancestors, but descendents–all relatives to his four children. In retirement, he and his wife Donna moved to Glendale, Ariz., where they attended Dove of the Desert United Methodist Church and where a memorial service was held Nov. 4. Another service is planned for Dec. 2, at 3 p.m., at Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, where the couple were longtime members. Surviving are his wife Donna; their children Don Post of Elgin, Ill.; Diane Parrott of Lake in the Hills, Ill.; David Post (Pamela), of Ojo Caliente, N.M.; and Daniel Post of Glendale, Ariz.; grandchildren, step-grandsons,  and great grandchildren; and included as members of his extended family the Than Phu family whom he helped resettle from Vietnam, and Steffen Nies, a friend from Germany. Memorial contributions are accepted to the Good Samaritan Fund at Dove of the Desert UM Church.

— Remembrance: Roy Edwin McAuley, 91, a past president of Elizabethtown (Pa.) College, passed away on Oct. 29. Formerly of Warrensburg, Mo., he died at Kingswood Health Center in Kansas City, Mo. He was born May 31, 1921, in Wichita, Kan., the son of Addison Bishop and Thomasita (Martin) McAuley. On June 21, 1943, he married Ruth Arlene Nicholson in Wichita. She preceded him in death on Nov. 12, 2010. He was a graduate of McPherson (Kan.) College, Bethany Theological Seminary, the University of Nebraska, and the University of Denver where he earned a doctorate in education. He served pastorates in Omaha, Neb., and Akron, Colo., before serving as academic dean and then president of Elizabethtown College. Later he became academic vice president of the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, retiring in 1988. After retirement he served as pastor of Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Warrensburg, where memorial services were held on Friday, Nov. 9. Survivors include his children, Arthur McAuley and wife Victoria of Paxton, Mass.; Mark McAuley and wife Virginia of Kansas City, Mo.; Anne McAuley of Kansas City; and Ruth Alicia Jones and husband Curtis of Warrensburg; grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Memorial donations are received to the Cumberland Presbyterian Church Pipe Organ Fund, care of Sweeney-Phillips and Holdren Funeral Home in Warrensburg.

— Remembrance: Ruth Clark, 77, of Big Sky American Baptist/Brethren Church in Froid, Mont., in Northern Plains District, died on Nov. 6 at Trinity Hospital in Minot, N.D. She was a former member of the Church of the Brethren General Board, serving two terms on the denominational board. She also had served on the board of directors of On Earth Peace. She was born July 18, 1935, on the family farm in rural Cherokee County, Kan., the oldest child of Jacob and Opal Davidson. She graduated from McCune Rural High School and earned a bachelor of science degree from McPherson (Kan.) College. Committed to a life of church and community service, she also was an advocate for peace. After college she entered Brethren Volunteer Service, serving in Refugee Camp Friedland and in the Church of the Brethren teacher/student exchange office in Kassel, Germany. After returning home, she was a youth fieldworker for the Central Region of the Church of the Brethren. She attended Bethany Theological Seminary, earning a master’s degree in Religious Education. After a summer of working with Grandview Church of the Brethren at Froid, she served for 10 months as director of Christian Education with First Church of the Brethren in Roanoke, Va. Throughout her time in northeast Montana she was active in her church community, and also in other community organizations. For several years, she served as a board member of the Institute for Peace Studies in Billings, Mont. In May 2009, she was recognized by Northern Plains District for serving for more than 35 years in various roles including several terms on the District Board, the Standing Committee of Annual Conference, and as a Heifer International representative. On July 10, 1965, she married Ralph Clark, who survives her. Also surviving are daughter Kristi Jamison (Billy) of Jefferson City, Mo.; son Russell Clark (Brandi) of Bozeman, Mont.; and grandchildren. A funeral was held Nov. 13, at the Big Sky Church. Memorial gifts are received to Northern Plains District.

— The World Council of Churches (WCC) is welcoming the appointment of the next Archbishop of Canterbury, primate of the Church of the England, who plays a leading role in the world-wide Anglican Communion. In a release, the WCC extended congratulations to Bishop Justin Welby, current bishop of Durham in the Church of England, who is to become the next Archbishop of Canterbury. Welby will take up the responsibility following the departure of Archbishop Rowan Williams next month. Williams, a celebrated theologian, has accepted an academic appointment at Cambridge University, the WCC release said.

— Sarah Long, a member of Grottoes Church of the Brethren and financial secretary for Shenandoah District, has been named the Shenandoah District Center Coordinator for the Christian Growth Institute (CGI). She is a graduate of CGI and begins her new role on Jan. 1, 2013. John Jantzi, Shenandoah District executive minister, completes his tenure as CGI dean on that date.

— Sonia Himlie has resigned as director of Camp Pine Lake near Eldora, Iowa, in Northern Plains District. She began in the fulltime role in August, and will continue until a replacement is found. The district newsletter announced that a search committee has been formed to find a replacement.

— The Brethren Journal Association has announced its search for a new editor for “Brethren Life and Thought.” This is a contract position. The person filling this position will consult with the Brethren Journal Association Advisory Board regarding long-range planning, possible writers and topics, and maintaining high standards of journalism and scholarship. The editor is responsible for determining the content of the journal. The Brethren Journal Association exists for the purpose of publishing a journal and related resources to address critical issues that confront the church and to foster thoughtful, scholarly, and creative interpretations of the Anabaptist and Pietist traditions that nourish the Church of the Brethren. A detailed job description is posted on the Bethany Theological Seminary website at . Applicants should send resumes by Jan. 15, 2013, to . For further information, contact .

— In more news from the seminary, for the first time Bethany will offer devotionals for each Sunday in Advent, beginning Dec. 2. Written by teaching and administrative faculty, the devotionals will be available beginning Nov. 26 at . Devotionals on four different scripture texts will be featured each week. The seminary hopes that the insights, meditations, and prayers shared by the faculty will be meaningful and useful to congregations, organizations, and individuals throughout the season.

Photo by Ilexene Alphonse
Destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy when it hit Haiti. Haitian Brethren in the Marin church were among families who lost homes.

— Ilexene Alphonse has reported from Haiti with photos of the destruction left by Hurricane Sandy in the community of Marin Church of the Brethren. “I went to Marin…with Michaela and Jean Altenord from the National Committee to see first hand what’s going on,” he reported by e-mail. “There are three families, about 10 people, staying in the church building. One family lost their house, completely gone. One Brethren Disaster Ministries house is almost gone. It’s on the edge of the river…. Another church member’s house is not liveable. Some other houses are flooded,” he added. The group brought rice, spaghetti, and oil for those living in the church building. In less somber news, the Marin congregation also recently celebrated the installation of a new pastor, Joel Bonnet, who was licensed to the set-apart ministry.

— View webcasts from Mission Alive 2012, taking place at Lititz (Pa.) Church of the Brethren from Nov. 16-18, at . Plenary sessions will be webcast beginning Friday at 3 p.m. (eastern).

— Worship resources are online at for the “One People, One King” emphasis on Sunday, Nov. 25. Held on this year’s unusual Sunday between Thanksgiving and the start of Advent–called “Christ the King” or “Reign of Christ” Sunday in the church calendar–this special emphasis invites Brethren to be reminded, before a season of waiting, of whom we await. The scriptural theme is “But our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20).

— Living Stream Church of the Brethren has been announced as a new online worship community of Oregon and Washington District, launching its opening worship service on Sunday, Dec. 2, at 5 p.m. (Pacific time). Worship will be held at the website . The service will be hosted in person in Portland, Ore., and will be streamed by live webcast to worshipers anywhere with an Internet connection, said a release. Participants will contribute to the worship service through live chat features. Living Stream Church of the Brethren will host weekly worship services, webcast live on Sunday evenings, led by pastor Audrey deCoursey. More information is at .

— Virlina District is holding a special all-district offering for Hurricane Sandy response. “Due to the pressing need for response to the devastation of Hurricane Sandy in the northeastern US, we are encouraging Virlina District congregations to have a special offering on Sunday, Nov. 18 for this purpose,” said the district newsletter.

— An inter-district youth event, “Loving Our Enemies…REALLY!?!” will be held Nov. 17-18 sponsored by the Shenandoah District Pastors for Peace at Bridgewater (Va.) Church of the Brethren. Starting at noon Saturday, Nov. 17, the event continues through the morning of Nov. 18, including an overnight. Bethany Seminary professor Russell Haitch will provide leadership.

— Ted & Company Theaterworks will present “Peace, Pies, and Prophets” in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia on Nov. 17-18, including the play “I’d Like to Buy an Enemy.” At each show, homemade pies will be auctioned, benefitting local peace work. The first performance at Bridgewater (Va.) Church of the Brethren benefits Pastors for Peace and the Fairfield Center, on Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $12, or $10 for students and seniors, free for children 6 and under.

— Middle Pennsylvania District has issued an update on its recent Heritage Fair held in cooperation with Camp Blue Diamond. “Heritage Fair 2012 was a success,” said the notice. “Proceeds of approximately $27, 083.54 will be divided between Middle Pennsylvania District and Camp Blue Diamond to support their ministries.”

— Northern Plains District has sent a collection of Emergency Clean-Up Buckets for the Hurricane Sandy response, sending them with disaster ministries coordinator Dick Williams when he visited the Church of the Brethren General Offices recently. Williams arrived carrying 30 clean-up buckets to donate on behalf of the district.

Photo by Hallie Pilcher
A youth lime-aid stand at Mid-Atlantic District Conference raised more than $200 for a Haiti project of the Global Food Crisis Fund.

— Youth at Mid-Atlantic District Conference offered homemade “lime aid,” lemonade, and water to delegates in response to the conference theme, which included “I was thirsty and you gave me to drink.” They created posters showing a Global Food Crisis Fund well project in Haiti and invited delegates to donate to the project. Around $230 was raised.

— Brethren Village Retirement Community collected a truck-load of items for Hurricane Sandy survivors, sending the materials to be distributed through Brooklyn First Church of the Brethren in New York, according to an article in the “Intelligencer Journal” of Lancaster, Pa. The donated goods included sweaters, coats, blankets, and sleeping bags. Dana Statler, associate pastor at Brethren Village, organized the donation after reaching out to members of Brooklyn First. “When we saw how hard that area was hit by Sandy, we knew we wanted to do what we could to help,” Statler told the paper. Read the report at .

— Youth, youth leaders, and parents are invited to hear Maria Santelli, director of the Center on Conscience and War, speak at Lancaster (Pa.) Church of the Brethren on Dec. 2 at 3 p.m. Santelli’s remarks will focus on the issues of religious freedom and conscience raised by participation in the military while highlighting the new book, “Soul Repair: Recovering from Moral Injury after War.” Accompanying her presentation will be an exhibit of a predator drone replica. In its efforts to educate the public about the need to stop using these unmanned aerial vehicles for targeted assassinations and robotic warfare abroad as well as civilian surveillance at home, the PeaceSeekers Project of Pacem in Terris in Newark, Del., is loaning its drone replica for educational displays in various locations around Lancaster County on Nov. 29-Dec. 8. This event is sponsored by with Harold A. (“H.A.”) Penner as convener.

— Church Women United (CWU) and the National Council of Churches (NCC) are offering Young Women’s Leadership Experiences to provide opportunities for women between the ages of 18 and 30 who are active in a NCC member communion or Church Women United unit.  The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) event will be March 1-6, 2013, providing orientation to the CWU, NCC, Ecumenical Women at the United Nations, and this year’s theme, “Elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls.” Apply at .

— UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Agnes Chan has visited the Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) office in the old city of Hebron, Palestine, on Nov. 6 together with a UNICEF delegation to see first-hand effects of the occupation on children and education, a CPT release said. “Chan thanked EAPPI (a World Council of Churches accompaniment program) and CPT for their work in Hebron, ensuring that children can access school with more dignity.”

— The World Council of Churches is calling on Christians to help promote children’s rights and eliminate violence against children. An inter-religious call for prayer and action is Nov. 20, part of the World Day of Prayer and Action for Children. Said Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the WCC, “No matter what the situation is, war, disaster, disease or poverty, children suffer the most injustice. They are the innocent ones and we must lift them up to God in prayer.” More information is at .

— Phil and Jean Lersch have been presented with the 2012 Gemmer Peacemaking Award by the Action for Peace Team of Atlantic Southeast District. Both have been members of the team, and Phil has served for several years as chair and financial secretary. He also chairs the Historic Peace Churches Coordinating Committee in Florida. Although life-long members of the Brethren Church, as students they participated in Brethren Volunteer Service and attended peace seminars at Brethren Haus in Kassel, Germany, and at the home of M.R. Zigler. Phil helped form a Brethren World Relief Board in the Brethren Church, where he chaired the Peace Committee for 20 years. The couple also have sponsored Peace Seminars at Ashland Theological Seminary, and had a Brethren House Ministry for 30 years in St. Petersburg where they wrote and published resources for teaching peace to children. “Their strong commitment and vision have kept the call to peacemaking alive in our district,” said a citation from Atlantic Southeast.

— Catherine Fitze celebrated her 100th birthday with her church family at Westminster (Md.) Church of the Brethren on Oct. 21, according to the “Carroll County Times.” Pastor Glenn McCriard, called her a “remarkable individual who embodies love and care.”

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