The 40th anniversary of Brethren Volunteer Service in Northern Ireland was celebrated Sept. 15 when a group of current BVS workers and past volunteers got together for a lunch. BVS Europe coordinator Kristin Flory was in Belfast for the event. In her note about the celebration, she recalled comments by Rev. Harold Good at the 30th anniversary gathering: “When the full story of all these years in Northern Ireland is written, sadly you probably won’t be recorded or mentioned–not BVS nor you individually. Sorry about that. But more important, in ways that can never be measured, is that you’ve made a huge contribution to the lives of so many people here and to our overall situation. By your coming here you have encouraged us, by helping us to realize we are part of a great world family who are concerned about peace, justice, and people…. It’s important that we’re not alone in that.”
— Remembrance: Phill Carlos Archbold, 76, a past moderator of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference and a prominent pastor in Atlantic Northeast District, died Oct. 1 at Brethren Village in Lancaster, Pa. He had been placed in hospice care on Sept. 21 after a hospitalization in his struggle with cancer. He served as moderator of the 2001 Annual Conference in Baltimore, Md. In 2002 he retired from longterm pastoral service at Brooklyn (N.Y.) First Church of the Brethren, where he began as associate pastor for Hispanic and special ministries and also was a youth minister. However, more recently he had been called back to serve the church in an interim capacity. His years at Brooklyn First helped lead the congregation in significant ministries providing service to older adults in the congregation, as well as to the poor and those in need in the neighborhood where he was involved in a special ministry of visitation and care for the homeless, drug users, and in particular those suffering illnesses related to HIV and AIDS. His work for the district and denomination included involvement with the former General Board’s urban ministry program, and service on the Atlantic Northeast District board as well as other leadership in the district where he was a popular speaker. He also was chaplain for many years at Bailey House, a hospice for people with AIDS. Archbold grew up in Colón, Panama, and as a young man did volunteer work for the chaplain of Fort Davis, a US military base. After coming to the US, he was drafted and went to Vietnam as General Westmoreland’s secretary. It was while setting up a chapel room for the general that he met Earl Foster, who was to become senior pastor at Brooklyn First Church of the Brethren. Archbold’s professional career also included hospital administration. In 1990, at the age of 54, he was named youth leader of the year by “Group” magazine. In an interview with “Group” he told the magazine that he spent eight years as a youth ministry volunteer at Brooklyn First before entering the pastoral ministry as a fulltime youth worker. His comment on leaving a high-paying job for youth ministry: “I made a lot of money as a hospital administrator…. Now everything is less. But the joy is so much more. I see lives being changed.” A memorial service will be held at Lititz (Pa.) Church of the Brethren on Oct. 28, at 4 p.m. Guests are invited to a reception immediately following. Memorial contributions are received to Brooklyn First Church of the Brethren, Brethren Village’s Good Samaritan Fund, or an AIDS organization of the donor’s choice. To watch a webcast of the service any time after Oct. 29, visit www.spencefuneralservices.com.
— Mandy Garcia has been promoted to associate director of Donor Communications for the Church of the Brethren. In this newly created position she will report to John Hipps, director of Donor Relations, and will work out of the General Secretary’s office. Most recently she has been coordinator of Donor Invitation, a position within the communications staff. She began as part of the Stewardship and Donor Development team in July of 2010.
— Camp Bethel near Fincastle, Va., seeks a guest services coordinator to fill a fulltime salaried position beginning Jan. 2, 2013. The camp seeks a dependable, caring worker with good interpersonal, organizational, and leadership skills. Experience in camping/retreat ministry or guest hospitality is preferred and/or related experience. Experience in office management is a plus, with computer skills with proficiency with MS Office Suite 2007 or higher is a must. An application, a detailed position description, and more information are available at www.campbethelvirginia.org .
— Church World Service (CWS) seeks an emergency response specialist for the Midwest and plains states (job location and residence in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, or North Dakota). The emergency response specialist is the critical central operational component of the CWS Emergency Response Program in the US and encourages cooperative work by people of faith in comprehensive management of natural and human-caused disasters including preparedness, response, recovery, reduction of vulnerability through training, mentoring, building organizational capacity of local community leadership. Application deadline is Oct. 24. For details go to www.churchworldservice.org/site/PageServer?pagename=employment_241 .
— On Earth Peace has sent out a recap of Peace Day 2012 in its recent e-mail newsletter. Peace Day is an initiative inviting congregations and communities to observe the International Day of Prayer for Peace on or around Sept. 21. Over 170 congregations and community groups in 15 countries and 26 US states partnered with On Earth Peace to organize prayer events this year during the organization’s sixth annual campaign. “The locally identified focus of specific events included many faces of violence: gun violence, bullying, domestic violence, war, and hatred based on religious belief, among others,” said the recap, which included details about some specific events in Sharpsburg, Md.; Auburn, Ind.; and India. Find the full Peace Day recap in the most recent issue of the “Peacebuilder” at http://conta.cc/O2BudO .
— A meeting of leaders from the Church of the Brethren, Bethany Seminary, and Brethren-related colleges and universities begins today at the General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Hosting the meeting is the Ministry Advisory Council–a group of denominational and seminary staff and district executives–which has invited a representative of each school to attend. Also invited are heads of the Annual Conference agencies: general secretary Stan Noffsinger, Bethany Seminary president Ruthann Knechel Johansen, Brethren Benefit Trust president Nevin Dulabaum, and On Earth Peace executive Bill Scheurer. Representing the colleges will be president Thomas Kepple of Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa.; Robert Andersen, W. Harold Row Professor of International Studies at Bridgewater (Va.) College; Greg Dewey, provost of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of La Verne, Calif.; Kent Eaton, vice president for Academic Affairs at McPherson (Kan.) College; Dave McFadden, executive vice president and dean of the College of Pharmacy at Manchester University, which has its main campus in N. Manchester, Ind.; and Susan Traverso, provost and senior vice president at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College. In a letter to participants, Johansen and Noffsinger noted it has been 30 years since educators and denominational leaders have met to discuss the relationship between faith and learning as experienced at the Brethren colleges.
— The 40th anniversary of Brethren Volunteer Service in Northern Ireland was celebrated Sept. 15 when a group of current BVS workers and past volunteers got together for a lunch. BVS Europe coordinator Kristin Flory was in Belfast for the event. In her note about the celebration, she recalled comments by Rev. Harold Good at the 30th anniversary gathering: “When the full story of all these years in Northern Ireland is written, sadly you probably won’t be recorded or mentioned–not BVS nor you individually. Sorry about that. But more important, in ways that can never be measured, is that you’ve made a huge contribution to the lives of so many people here and to our overall situation. By your coming here you have encouraged us, by helping us to realize we are part of a great world family who are concerned about peace, justice, and people…. It’s important that we’re not alone in that.”
— Church ministers are offered continuing education units (CEUs) for attending Mission Alive on Nov. 16-18 at Lititz (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. Ministers who attend the full conference can receive 1.0 CEUs. Those attending the Friday events only can receive 0.4 CEUs and must attend both Friday plenary sessions. Attendance at Saturday’s three plenary sessions and at least three workshops offers 0.6 CEUs. To receive CEUs, indicate interest on the registration form; the fee is $10 per person. Go to www.brethren.org/missionalive2012 for the online registration.
— A massacre of students at a Polytechnic University has occurred in the city of Mubi, Nigeria–the nearest large city to the headquarters of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). The city was already under curfew and undergoing house-to-house searches by Nigerian security forces following attacks on communication network towers by an Islamist sect called Boko Haram. However, officials and media reports are not linking the violence to Boko Haram but say student gangs are responsible. The killings follow a disputed student union election. “Some eyewitness (student) said over 35 students were killed,” reported an EYN leader by e-mail. He said that since the killings, university leaders have ordered students to vacate the campus and hundreds have been leaving the city. Some students have been left “with no food and no shelter because not enough cars to take them to their home town and no transport from their parents,” the EYN leader wrote, adding that he personally is helping two Mennonite students get home. His e-mail cast doubt on the official explanation for the violence, reporting that there also have been students killed in the city of Maiduguri at two locations related to the university there. His e-mail ended with, “many thanks for your prayers.”
— Mt. Vernon Church of the Brethren in Waynesboro, Va., celebrates 146 years (1866-2012) with Homecoming on Sunday, Oct. 7. A special 11 a.m. service is planned with Garold Senger as guest speaker, bread and cup communion, dedication of the recently renovated kitchen and fellowship hall, and fellowship meal. The congregation extends a welcome to those who have attended or visited at Mt. Vernon in the past.
— On Oct. 7, Monitor Church of the Brethren in McPherson, Kan., holds it 125th anniversary celebration.
— Finalists for the 2012 Energy Oscars awarded by California Interfaith Power & Light include two Church of the Brethren congregations: La Verne and Modesto. The awards event will be the evening of Nov. 13 at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. It honors churches with outstanding achievements in energy stewardship, education, and advocacy for a safe climate. The La Verne Church is one of three finalist for “Energy Efficiency.” The Modesto Church is one of four finalists in the “Green Building” category. For more information go to http://interfaithpower.org/2012/07/save-the-date-2012-energy-oscars-november-13 .
Photo by courtesy of Wolgamuth Church of the Brethren
— Wolgamuth Church of the Brethren is giving a “pick up” to New Hope Ministries, a local food pantry in Dillsburg, Pa. On Aug. 26, the congregation and the Dillsburg community exceeded expectations by filling not only one, but two pick-up trucks with more than 1,060 pounds of food and non-perishable items for New Hope Ministries, said a release from the church. The total number of pounds equated to $1,759.60 worth of items. The congregation’s vision for a social ministry that reaches out to the poor and broken in the name of Jesus Christ is what led its Servant Leadership Mission Team, headed by Dallas Lehman, to organize the special food drive.
— New Fairview Church of the Brethren in York, Pa., is hosting a Fall Banquet for the Carlisle Truck Stop Ministry on Oct. 6. A silent auction begins at 4 p.m. A full course meal is served at 5:30 p.m. The event features an update from Chaplain Dan and entertainment by Set Free.
— Panther Creek Church of the Brethren in Adel, Iowa, is hosting the fifth annual Central Iowa Love Feast on Worldwide Communion Sunday, Oct. 7, at 5 p.m. Leadership will be shared by pastors and lay members of the Brethren congregations in central Iowa. “All brothers and sisters in Christ are welcome to come and participate,” said an announcement from Northern Plains District. Contact 515-993-4096.
— York (Pa.) First Church of the Brethren has announced a special guest on Oct. 14: Elizabethtown (Pa.) College president Carl J. Strikwerda will speak for the Sunday morning worship service.
— A spontaneous blessing for the fall unit of Brethren Volunteer Service happened during Sunday morning worship at Manassas (Va.) Church of the Brethren last week, when the BVS orientation group worshiped with the congregation. An e-mail newsletter from Manassas noted the special Sunday experience with this comment: “When you miss a Sunday at Manassas, you miss a Sunday at Manassas…. The sound of German. A spontaneous congregation blessing upon 27 Brethren Volunteer Service workers. Great singing. Bees, bees, and more bees. Free lettuce.”
— Pastor Ken Oren of Pitsburg Church of the Brethren in Arcanum, Ohio, is one of the ministers participating in a Kairos long weekend at Warren County Correctional Institution on the first weekend of November. He is undergoing eight weeks of training, one evening a week, to prepare for the ministry. The congregation is participating by praying for the event, and making special cookies and placemats to send along for inmates. “From my past experience, I can tell you that this is a movement of God,” Oren wrote in the church newsletter “During the four days together, we see lives transformed.” The newsletter included a link to an online prayer vigil for Kairos: www.3dayol.org/Vigil/GetVigil.phtml?pvid=7447&commid=1551 .
— Blue Ridge Chapel Church of the Brethren, Waynesboro, Va., is hosting Pull-for-a-Cause on Oct. 6 beginning at 10 a.m. The Shenandoah District newsletter reports that proceeds benefit the Gibson family, whose son Dustyn died this week in a fire that destroyed their home. The event features Mary Jacobson, 58, known as the “Eldest World’s Strongest Woman.” “An active member at Blue Ridge Chapel, she will demonstrate that strength by pulling a 47,000-pound fire truck,” said the announcement. There also will be opportunities for all ages to compete in strength contests. For more information call 540-949-6915.
— Somerset (Pa.) Church of the Brethren was the target of a recent “bungled” burglary according to the “Tribune Democrat.” Under the title, “Bungling burglars lock themselves in, leave own credit card at scene,” the newspaper reported two burglars “allegedly used a pry bar to force their way into the Somerset Church of the Brethren…. They broke into a safe and stole a credit card but then accidentally locked themselves inside the church office.” Find the full report at http://tribune-democrat.com/local/x403302079/Burglars-locked-in-church-left-credit-card-police-say .
— Five free performances of the Ted & Company show, “What’s So Funny About Money?” are sponsored by the Ministry Excellence Project of Northern Indiana and South/Central Indiana Districts, with funding from Lilly Endowment Fund. Performances are: Oct. 12, 7 p.m., at Indian Springs Middle School in Columbia City, Ind.; Oct. 13, 7 p.m. at Anderson (Ind.) Church of the Brethren; Oct. 14, 3 p.m., at Camp Mack in Milford, Ind.; Oct. 20, 7 p.m. at Osceola (Ind.) Church of the Brethren; and Oct. 21, 3 p.m. at Manchester Church of the Brethren in N. Manchester, Ind. For more information contact South/Central Indiana District at 260-982-8805.
— A Congregational Revitalization Workshop called “Transformed!” will be held by Northern Plains District on Oct. 12-13 at Camp Pine Lake. Leading the event are denominational staff Stan Dueck, director of Transforming Practices, and Donna Kline, director of Deacon Ministry. Sessions are intended for pastors, congregational leaders, deacons, and all who are looking to bring new life to their congregations. Freewill donations will help cover costs. Contact district executive minister Tim Button-Harrison at 641-485-5604 or email@example.com .
— “Save the Date!” Oct. 13 is the Centennial Celebration 100th Anniversary Banquet marking 100 years of the Children’s Aid Society, a ministry of Southern Pennsylvania District. Held at the Valencia Ballroom in York, Pa., the evening begins with a reception at 5 p.m. with the program starting at 6 p.m. The theme is “A Century of Caring, a Future for Children.”
— In more news from Southern Pennsylvania District, a Risk Management Training titled “Reporting Child Abuse” will be offered Oct. 11 from 6-9 p.m. in the Gallery Room at the Cross Keys Village of the Brethren Home. There is no fee and participants may earn .3 continuing education units.
— Oct. 12-13 are the dates for three district conferences in the Church of the Brethren: Atlantic Northeast District will meet in Leffler Chapel at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College; Mid-Atlantic District meets in Easton, Md.; and Atlantic Southeast District holds its 128th District Conference at Sebring (Fla.) Church of the Brethren on the theme “Fanning the Flame” (Acts 2:1-4), with Congregational Life Ministries executive Jonathan Shively as the opening speaker.
— “Growing from the Ashes” is the name of the Camp Mack campaign to raise funds to build Becker Retreat Center on the site of the former Becker Lodge, according to a release from the camp. The lodge was lost to a fire in July 2010. After the June 2011 completion of the John Kline Welcome Center to replace the food service and office functions formerly housed in the lodge, Camp Mack now needs to replace lodging and meeting areas. The campaign goal is $2,466,000 toward the project goal of $3,766,000. As a part of the campaign, Camp Mack is hosting eight fundraising dinners throughout Indiana on Saturday and Sunday evenings. The first was Sept. 22 at Camp Mack. The final dinner also will be at Camp Mack on Dec. 9. In between, dinners are scheduled in Kokomo on Sept. 30, North Manchester on Oct. 14, Fort Wayne on Oct. 20, Indianapolis on Nov. 4, Mishawaka on Nov. 17, and Richmond on Dec. 1. Information about the campaign and the dinners, and an opportunity to donate, are online at www.campmack.org . Reservations for a dinner may be made by calling Camp Mack at 574-658-4831.
— The 28th Brethren Heritage Day Festival at Camp Bethel near Fincastle, Va., is Oct. 6 from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.–rain or shine, according to the camp newsletter. “Our 2012 Heritage Day will have all the same great food and fun as usual PLUS some exciting new and returning goodies: The good people of Cedar Bluff Church of the Brethren will be graciously cooking TWO open-kettles of delicious apple butter. Lakeside Church of the Brethren will provide a Bounce House for children and a Heritage Area displaying and demonstrating the ‘old ways.’ The Virlina Children’s Cabinet will provide children’s craft activities in the Craft House. Alexander Mack himself (!) will visit us and give two presentations at Hillside Auditorium,” said the announcement. For more go to www.campbethelvirginia.org/hday.htm .
— Bridgewater (Va.) College celebrates Homecoming on Oct. 5-7. A special event during the weekend is an exhibit of “Threads of History: Bridgewater College Clothing Through the Years,” a collection of freshman beanies, historic sportswear, vintage theater costume, and other clothing from the past, in the Baugher Room in the Alexander Mack Memorial Library. Other events include: an Alumni and Friends Golf Tournament; the Athletic Hall of Fame Banquet–where college athletes Amy Rafalski Hamilton ’98, James Hulvey ’73, Andrew Hence ’75, and Davon Lewis ’98 will be inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame; a 5K run/walk; a family oriented Homecoming Festival; tours of Stone Village; an open house at the Wright-Heritage Link; men’s and women’s soccer games; reunion picnics for the classes of 1967, 1972, 1977, 1982, 1987, 1992, 1997, 2002, 2007, and 2012; and a football game against the Hampden-Sydney Tigers. During halftime, Hall of Fame inductees will be presented rings and the Homecoming King and Queen will be crowned. An evening concert will be presented by the Bridgewater College Chorale and Jazz Ensemble. For a schedule go to www.bridgewater.edu/files/alumni/homecoming-schedule.pdf .
— In an update from the Springs Initiative in Church Renewal, the second part of a spiritual disciplines folder on Acts that runs from mid-October to Advent is now available at www.churchrenewalservant.org . The theme is “The People of God in Mission” with meditations and scriptures on Paul’s missionary journeys, reports Springs leader David Young. Bible study questions are by Vince Cable, pastor of Uniontown Church of the Brethren, and can be used by individuals or small group Bible studies. To receive more information about a Springs Initiative program for a local church, or the Springs Academy for training of pastors and church leaders, contact Joan and David Young at firstname.lastname@example.org .
— The New Community Project reports a final 2012 grant of $4,000 to South Sudan for girls’ education and women’s development. This brings the yearly total of grants from the organization to South Sudan to around $35,000. Also, the project has received a $6,000 grant from the Royer Family Charitable Foundation to provide additional sanitary materials for Sudanese school girls in the coming year. In his report, director David Radcliff also expressed concern for deaths caused by a recent fire at a factory in Pakistan, which had received an “excellent safety rating by a monitoring group employed by the corporations who get their products from these factories,” he wrote. “This is one of the reasons NCP works to equip women to be productive within their local economies–tailoring skills, gardening tools, education, micro-loans–rather than get caught up in the typically exploitative if not deadly international economic system.” For more go to www.newcommunityproject.org .
— Save the date for Ecumenical Advocacy Days (EAD) 2013, says a recent note from the Advocacy and Peace Witness Ministries based in Washington, D.C. The annual EAD event welcomes hundreds of Christians to the nation’s capital for a weekend of education, worship, and advocacy. It is planned next year for April 5-8 on the theme, “At God’s Table: Food Justice for a Healthy World.” Notes staff member Nate Hosler, “April 5-8, 2013, will be a critical time to raise faith voices in support of ending hunger, improving nutrition, creating more just and sustainable food systems, and protecting God’s creation–and advocating for a ‘Faithful Federal Budget.’” Learn more at www.AdvocacyDays.org . Brethren are invited to let Advocacy and Peace Witness staff know if they plan to attend.
— In recent meetings the World Council of Churches (WCC) Central Committee–representing 349 member churches around the world including the Church of the Brethren–adopted statements on contemporary issues and prepared documents to come to the WCC General Assembly next year in South Korea. Statements responded to the Aug. 16 massacre at the Marikana-Lonmin mine in South Africa, reaffirmed a commitment to solidarity with the indigenous peoples of Australia, called for the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to release from imprisonment Serbian Orthodox Archbishop Jovan of Ochrid; made a statement on the economic crisis in Europe; called for re-inscription of French Polynesia (Maohi Nui) on the United Nations list of colonies to be prepared for independence; encouraged Pakistan “to take immediate action to prevent the abduction, forced conversion to Islam, and forced marriage of young women from minority religious communities”; hailed the churches of Myanmar for initiatives aimed at building peace; and called all parties to engage in dialogue to end violence in Syria. The Central Committee recommended that statements be prepared for the General Assembly on the following topics: freedom of religion and rights of all religious communities in the context of the politicization of religion; peace and reunification in the Korean Peninsula; and “Just Peace.” The committee also discussed a statement on Christian unity, and a document on mission, both to be presented for consideration by the assembly. The mission document is the first since 1982 to make an ecumenical affirmation of mission, said the WCC release. Find “Together Towards Life: Mission and Evangelism in Changing Landscapes” at www.oikoumene.org/fileadmin/files/wcc-main/2012pdfs/Mission_statement_approved_10_09_2012_final.pdf .
— Joyce and John Cassell, Brethren members currently working in Israel and Palestine with an ecumenical accompaniment program of the World Council of Churches, have been blogging about the experience. Find their stories and photos at www.3monthsinpalestine.tumblr.com .