Brethren Bits for Sept. 6, 2012

— Groups related to Annual Conference held meetings at the Church of the Brethren General Offices last week: the denomination’s Leadership Team, the Annual Conference Officers, and the Program and Arrangements Committee and Worship Committee for 2013. The Conference Officers are Bob Krouse, moderator (Fredericksburg, Pa.); Nancy Sollenberger Heishman, moderator-elect (Tipp City, Ohio); and Jim Beckwith, secretary (Lebanon, Pa.). The officers and general secretary Stan Noffsinger make up the Leadership Team. Program and Arrangements Committee members are Eric Bishop (Pomona, Calif.), Cindy Laprade Lattimer (Lancaster, Pa.), and Christy Waltersdorff (Lombard, Ill.). Additional Worship Committee members are music coordinator Carol Elmore (Roanoke, Va.), and choir director John Shafer (Oakton, Va.).

— The Church of the Brethren’s Global Mission Offering is Oct. 7 using the theme scripture 2 Corinthians 5:18-19, “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ….” This annual offering emphasis supports denomination-wide ministries, with a focus on mission. Resources are available at and include downloadable logos, worship resources, song suggestions, children’s sermon, and youth-centered resources including a skit and youth activity. Still to come: a video congregations may use to highlight the offering emphasis. Congregations on standing order will soon receive a cover letter, poster, and combination bulletin inserts/collection envelopes through the mail. Congregations not on standing order will receive a sample of the insert/envelope combination and information about how to order more. For more information or to order copies of any of the offering materials contact or call Mandy Garcia at 847-429-4361.

— New at the denomination’s website are Love Feast resources provided through members of the Gibble family and Codorus Church of the Brethren in Dallastown, Pa. Go to and enter the words “Love Feast” in the “Occasion” search box. Suitable for use on World Communion Sunday, Oct. 7, the resources provide some creative new scripture jams and ideas to focus the Love Feast experience. Web producer Jan Fischer Bachman invites others who want to contribute worship resources to contact her at .

— Bruce Lockwood is working to bring Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) to Connecticut, partly as a response to the Oct. 2011 snowstorm that hit the state, according to the Canton Patch. Lockwood was a member of the National Commission for Children in Disasters, and is co-chair of the state’s Children Emergency Preparedness Committee. He told the publication that in his travels he’s seen several groups that cater to children and feels Children’s Disaster Services is the best. “I’m a huge fan of this program,” he said. Find the article at

— Zach Wolgemuth, associate director of Brethren Disaster Ministries, recently was asked to join the drought task force of National VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster). He also is part of a subgroup that is dealing with farm operations.

— Jonathan Stauffer’s article “Why Our Roots in the Land Still Matter,” originally published in the church’s “Messenger” magazine, has been reprinted by Blessed Earth, an education nonprofit. Stauffer is an intern in the advocacy and peace witness office in Washington, D.C. The article is posted at . Find out more about “Messenger” and how to subscribe at .

— Circleville (Ohio) Church of the Brethren celebrates its 100th anniversary on Sept. 16. with a meal, special music, and visits by former pastors.

— Decatur (Ill.) Church of the Brethren has sold its building and now worships in the Crestview Worship Center, a facility of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Mailing address for the church remains the same but the congregation has a new phone number: 217-875-4849.

— Modesto (Calif.) Church of the Brethren has made the news with a commitment to renewable energy. “After decades of preaching the power of the Son (Jesus), the Modesto Church of the Brethren is harnessing an additional kind of power–energy from the sun,” the “Modesto Bee” reported. The church has installed a solar system to provide 100 percent of its electricity, with an excess amount helping to pay for the program. Find the article at .

— Briery Branch Church of the Brethren in Dayton, Va., is hosting an auction Sept. 7 to benefit members who face major medical expenses. Doors open at 4 p.m. The sale includes handmade furniture, computer equipment, TVs, an iron sleigh bed, NASCAR and Longaberger items.

— After the Jubilee Sunday school class at Pleasant Valley Church of the Brethren started reading Donald Kraybill’s book, “The Upside-Down Kingdom,” they were inspired to start a Jubilee Sunday school garden that is now helping feed the community, reports the “News Leader” of Staunton, Va. Find the article at

— Middle Pennsylvania District is kicking off the new Vital Ministry Journey, an initiative in cooperation with the Church of the Brethren’s Congregational Life Ministries. Sept. 8 some 65 representatives from 15 churches will gather at the Village at Morrisons Cove. Said the district newsletter, “It is our hope that participating congregations will invest the time and energy into the Journey of recapturing and/or maintaining the dynamic vision and mission for their congregations.” More information can be found at .

— Virlina District has shared results of this year’s World Hunger Auction held Aug. 11. Hundreds gathered for the day of sharing and fellowship, according to the district newsletter. “More than $30,000 was collected on auction day which will be added to the more than $22,000 which has been contributed in earlier activities.” A Hunger Walk was postponed because of bad weather, and will be held Sept. 30 starting at 3 p.m. at Antioch Church of the Brethren.

— The Pacific Southwest District Executive Board recently revised its “Child Abuse Prevention Policy Statement” and is requiring volunteers who work with children and youth at District Conference to undergo a background check and sign a statement (find it at ). Earlier this summer, the district mailed each congregation a copy of the May/June issue of “Church Law & Tax Report” with the article “12 Lessons Church Leaders Can Learn from Penn State’s Abuse Scandal” (find a link at ).

— West Marva District is offering “Equipping the Saints” events beginning on Sept. 15 with “Inviting and Welcoming Guests to Worship” at Maple Spring Church of the Brethren. The event from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. is led by Kendal Elmore, district executive minister.

Shenandoah District announces that “the books are closed on the 2012 Disaster Ministries Auction.” The auction raised $214,620.03–the fourth highest amount in its 20-year history.

— Three district conferences are held in mid-September: On Sept. 14-15, Northern Indiana District meets at Camp Mack near Milford, Ind., with a Friday evening hymn sing celebrating the 20th anniversary of “Hymnal: A Worship Book” led by Nancy Faus-Mullen. On Sept. 14-15 Southern Pennsylvania meets at Faith Community of the Brethren Home in New Oxford, Pa., on the theme, “Wake Up! Strengthen What Remains” (Revelation 3:2). On Sept. 14-17 Oregon and Washington District meets to consider a name change to Pacific Northwest District.

— The Bridgewater (Va.) Home Auxiliary’s Fall Festival will be Sept. 15, from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds. Breakfast and a silent auction start at 7:30 a.m., followed by lunch, the featured auction with art and quilts among the offerings, Cottage Gifts, a ReRun Shoppe, and specialty shops with baked goods, handcrafts, plants, and more.

— Camp Ithiel near Gotha, Fla., is sponsoring a Men’s Retreat in cooperation with L’Eglise des Freres Haitiens, the Haitian Church of the Brethren in Miami. The event is Sept. 15, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. The $30 fee covers breakfast, lunch, and all materials.

— Middle Pennsylvania District and Camp Blue Diamond held their 18th annual Brethren Open on Aug. 14. Tournament sponsor this year was Dr. Raymond Burket. “Thank you to the 109 golfers who participated,” said the district newsletter. “Congratulations to the winning team of John Showalter, Jim Snowberger, Jim Hamm, Bill Dodson. Total funds raised was $7,542.”

Camp Pine Lake in Eldora, Iowa, is holding a Men’s Spiritual Retreat and Canoe Weekend on Sept. 14-16 with leadership from Joshua Brockway, director of spiritual life and discipleship for the Church of the Brethren, and Randall Westfall, camp director of Camp Brethren Heights in Michigan District. Cost is $60. Contact .

Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., has been included in the revised and updated edition of “Colleges That Change Lives.” Juniata is one of 40 colleges and universities profiled in the book.

Minnijean Brown Trickey, one of the “Little Rock Nine,” will speak at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 12, in Cole Hall at Bridgewater (Va.) College. A release from the college explained the special role she played in helping set America on the path of desegregation when in 1957 the group walked through the doors of Central High School in Little Rock, Ark. “Although all of the Nine experienced verbal and physical harassment during their year at Central, Brown was first suspended, and then expelled for retaliating against the daily torment,” the release said. “She moved to New York and lived with Drs. Kenneth B. and Mamie Clark, the African American psychologists whose social science research formed the basis for the NAACP argument in Brown v. Board of Education.” Trickey served in the Clinton administration as deputy assistant secretary for workforce diversity at the Department of the Interior.

Manchester University marks its largest enrollment since the Vietnam Era, says a release. Unofficial total for fall enrollment is 1,350, including 20 new Church of the Brethren students.

— Among upcoming events at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College is a lecture at the Young Center’s Bucher Meetinghouse on Sept. 20 at 7:30 p.m., when Samuel Funkhouser will present “In the Line of Duty: Brethren and Their Early English Hymns.” He is a licensed Church of the Brethren minister and graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary.

— The August “Brethren Voices” features Wendy McFadden, publisher of Brethren Press. Copies for use by Sunday school classes can be obtained from producer Ed Groff by e-mailing . Host Brent Carlson interviews McFadden about her journey to the Church of the Brethren, and her recent participation in a Sankofa Journey. For a dozen years, this journey has been part of the Evangelical Covenant Church’s commitment to becoming more multiracial, and takes participants on a but tour of Civil Rights sites in pairs that each include an African-American partner. “Brethren Voices” is in its 8th year of offering a monthly program designed for public access cable television or small group study.

— Interfaith 9/11 Unity Walks are planned for  Sept. 9 in Washington, D.C., and New York City, with support from the National Council of Churches. Starting point for the Washington walk is the Washington Hebrew Congregation at 1:30 p.m., with various houses of worship opening their doors for the event. In New York, the walk takes place from 3-5:30 p.m. starting at Washington Square Park. For more information go to .

— Timbercrest Retirement Community in N. Manchester, Ind., is hosting a celebration of Olden Mitchell’s 100th birthday on Sept. 15, from 2-4 p.m. South/Central Indiana District has extended an open invitation to “celebrate 100 years of a good life!”

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