Brethren Bits: Personnel, Jobs, Nursing Scholarships, Nigeria, and Much More


Service Sunday on Feb. 5
 is an opportunity for Church of the Brethren congregations to celebrate those who offer service in the name of Jesus Christ in our communities and around the world, and to explore and call people to new opportunities to serve through church ministries. The annual commemoration on the first Sunday of February is sponsored jointly by Brethren Disaster Ministries, Brethren Volunteer Service, the Brethren Service Center, and the Workcamp Ministry. This year’s theme, “Using Our Lives for Faith-Filled Service,” comes from 1 John 3:18. Find worship resources online at .

— Deborah Brehm begins Jan. 31 as part-time program assistant in Church of the Brethren Human Resources in Elgin, Ill. She is a previous intern with the office from 2008-10. Most recently she has been a new business processor for Protective Life Insurance Co. She also has been a commercial loan secretary and administrative assistant at Harris Bank in Roselle, Ill. In volunteer commitments she is a committee chairperson for Christian Youth Theater and has been on the board and faculty of Heritage Homeschool Workshops. She earned a degree in human resource management from Judson University in 2010. She and her family live in Huntley, Ill.

— Steve Bickler has shifted responsibilities at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., and is now working half-time in Brethren Press and half-time as support for Buildings and Grounds. Bickler has worked for the Church of the Brethren for 33 years.

— The Church of the Brethren seeks a fulltime director for Intercultural Ministries to fill a position based at the General Offices in Elgin, Ill. This position is part of a team of leaders in Congregational Life Ministries and will be integral in developing intercultural ministries throughout the denomination. Responsibilities include strengthening the intercultural competence of the church at all levels; relating to, advocating for, and integrating gifts, experiences, and needs of nondominant cultural groups within the church; assisting congregations toward greater diversity; resourcing church planting efforts; calling and working effectively with advisory groups; participating in development of financial strategies to support intercultural ministries; and pro-actively articulating the vision for and reinforcing commitment to a church that is multicultural. The preferred candidate will demonstrate Christian character, commitment to the values and practices of the Church of the Brethren, a disciplined spiritual life, biblical rootedness, flexibility to work collaboratively in a variety of contexts, intercultural competence, experience in leading new initiatives, and ability to follow an idea through from conception to implementation. The preferred candidate will have expertise in group dynamics and facilitation, teaching, public speaking, strategic planning, and project development. Communication skills and strong interpersonal competency are required, bilingual Spanish and English preferred. The selected candidate will work as part of a team, utilize a variety of computer and digital technologies, represent the Mission and Ministry Board, attend to self-care and continuing education, efficiently manage a complex workload, participate in regular processes of review and priority-setting, and understand this position as part of a larger vocational commitment. Applications are received immediately and will be reviewed beginning Feb. 13, with interviews commencing in February and continuing until the position is filled. Request the application form and job description, submit a résumé and letter of application, and request three references to send letters of recommendation to: Office of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; 800-323-8039 ext. 258; .

— Pinecrest Community, a Church of the Brethren retirement community in Mount Morris, Ill., seeks a director of Advancement/Marketing with the general purpose to develop, coordinate, and monitor overall fundraising strategy for solicitation, cultivation, and closing of major and planned gifts and manage relationships with donors, congregations, and prospects. The position also oversees capital campaigns, direct mail, and social media appeals, and advancement communications; maintains and expands 50-60 major donor relationships; expands the Century II Club, the planned giving society of Pinecrest Community; is an active leader in the organization as part of the administrative team and works closely with the Board of Directors, Foundation Board, and community volunteers. Requirements include minimum of a bachelor’s degree; preferred five years of fundraising experience with two years supervisory experience and understanding of retirement and long-term care communities. Skills and abilities include coordinating and/or directing a variety of complex tasks and assignments simultaneously; oral and written communication skills; management skills; ability to deliver individual and group presentations; energy and vision to take the advancement function to the next level; ability to motivate self and others with strong relationship skills;  ability to work individually or collaboratively; working knowledge of general business operations in a nonprofit, social service, or similar environment; responsibility for departmental budget; fluency in fundraising software; working knowledge of MS Office. Pinecrest offers a competitive salary and comprehensive benefit package. The position description is posted at . Resumes should be sent electronically to or mailed to Pinecrest Community, Attn: Victoria Marshall, 414 S. Wesley Ave., Mt. Morris, IL 61054.

— Fahrney Keedy Home and Village, a Church of the Brethren retirement community near Boonsboro, Md., seeks an administrator. This position is responsible for day-to-day operations of 106 skilled bed and 32 assisted living bed units in accordance with regulations that govern long-term and assisted living facilities. Candidates must hold a current unencumbered nursing facility Administrator’s License for the State of Maryland. For additional information visit . Send resumes or applications to Cassandra Weaver, Vice President of Operations, 301-671-5014, .

— Camp Pine Lake in Eldora, Iowa, outdoor ministry center for Northern Plains District, seeks four energetic, hard working, nature-loving people to join the 2012 summer staff. Applicants must be flexible, willing to work as a team, love children, and have a deep desire to share God’s love. Summer staff will live and work at the camp June 1-Aug. 15; serve in all capacities on a rotation of property, kitchen, and programming preparation work during outside rentals; and as full-time counselors during all Church of the Brethren camps. Applicants must be 19 years of age and out of high school with one year of college or equivalent. Some counseling experience and/or work with children is preferred, as well as previous involvement in organized church activities. A formal training weekend or retreat will be required, as well as participation in summer-long team building and Bible study meetings. Compensation is $1,500 to be paid in monthly stipends or directly to an educational institution in the form of a scholarship. Room and board is provided. Application materials include the application form, essay worksheet, and two letters of reference–one character and one professional. Each applicant will be interviewed by current camp staff. Each staff member will go through a complete background check. Deadline is March 1. To apply
contact Camp Pine Lake for more information: or 641-939-5334, or or 515-240-0060.

— The deadline to apply for the 2012 Youth Peace Travel Team has been extended until Jan. 31. To learn more about the Youth Peace Travel Team or to apply visit . If you have questions, contact Becky Ullom, director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries, at or 800-323-8039 ext. 297.

— Nursing scholarships are available from the Church of the Brethren’s Caring Ministries. The program awards a limited number of scholarships each year to individuals enrolled in an LPN, RN, or nursing graduate program who are members of the Church of the Brethren. Scholarships of up to $2,000 for RN and graduate nurse candidates and up to $1,000 for LPN candidates will be awarded. A preference is given to new applications, and to individuals who are in their second year of an associate’s degree or third year of a baccalaureate program. Scholarship recipients are eligible for only one scholarship per degree. Applications and supporting documentation must be submitted by April 1. Candidates who are awarded scholarships will be notified no later than July, and funds will be sent directly to the appropriate school for the Fall term. To apply, print or download the instructions and application from .

— World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Olav Fykse Tveit has sent a letter to Nigeria’s president Goodluck Jonathan expressing sadness over the violence in Nigeria, calling on the churches to pray for the victims, and asking the president to support solidarity efforts for peace by both Christians and Muslims. Tveit wrote, “We continue to mourn the loss of life, particularly among those who were killed in brutal attacks this past weekend in Kano and the attacks on and deaths of Christian worshipers celebrating the mass service of Christmas in Abuja only a month ago.” He said that actions of both Christian and Muslim leaders working together in Nigeria will ultimately allow both communities to live in peace. “Nigeria cannot become another battlefield where religion is used to promote division, hatred and allowing for destructive intentions. Christians and Muslims around the world offer their support to our sisters and brothers in Nigeria to enable them to live together in peace.” Read the letter at .

— In more news from Nigeria, Church of the Brethren mission worker Carol Smith reported some encouragement in the midst of more attacks by the Boko Haram Islamist sect. She reports that Brethren leaders are continuing efforts at dialogue and cooperative peacemaking with local Muslim leaders, with a next meeting scheduled for Feb. 6. They also plan to deliver letters of condolence and encouragement to the Emir of Mubi and the leader of the Igbo people living in the area, whose communities suffered attacks by Boko Haram earlier this month. In her e-mail reports, Smith said some of the southern Igbo people who had fled the violence are already beginning to return to the northeast of Nigeria. She also shared some nonviolent initiatives, originally reported by the BBC, including an incident in which Boko Haram soldiers turned in their guns saying they were tired of killing, and places where Christians and Muslims have cooperated to protect each other. Nigerian church leaders continue to ask for prayer.

— Would you like to have constantly updated Church of the Brethren news for your church, district, or even personal website? An RSS feed is now available to add Newsline content to a website, and to update that content automatically. The process is simple, a matter of copying and adding code to the web page where you would like to see Church of the Brethren news appear. Users may also add the feed URL ( ) in a personal news reader to have Church of the Brethren news delivered directly to your computer. More information is at .

— The church’s advocacy and peace witness office asks Brethren to take a survey to help decide a focus for Peace Witness Ministries for 2012. “It is time to consider what issues can the Church of the Brethren best bring its voice to,” said the Action Alert. “Is it issues of creation care, calling for the church and society to live in better relationship with God’s Creation? Is it working to eradicate hunger and poverty–both in our communities and around the world? Is it seeking to reduce military spending, and lessen the impacts and reality of the violence wrought by war in so many places?  Is it engaging the 2012 election process, and making sure issues of justice are highlighted? Now is your chance to weigh in!” Find the Action Alert and a link to the survey at .

— The United Nations Commission on the Status of Women will meet in New York for two weeks from Feb. 26-March 9. Church of the Brethren representative to the UN, Doris Abdullah, invites interested Brethren to join her in attending related events such as those hosted by the NGO Committee on the Status of Women, to be held at the Church Center for the UN, the Salvation Army, and other locations around the city at the same time. The theme is:”The empowerment of rural women and their role in poverty and hunger eradication; Development and current challenges.” “Join me and come to New York with a good pair of walking shoes. Together, we will explore the many discussions and debates around the issue of rural women 2012 across the globe,” Abdullah writes. The discussions and debates both inside and outside of the UN are free. More information is at and .

— “Brethren Life and Thought,” a joint publication of Bethany Theological Seminary and the Brethren Journal Association, has begun an online blog with postings from young adults reflecting on the church in a changing culture and prospects for future leadership. Find the blog at as well as more information about the journal.

— Monitor Community Church of the Brethren in McPherson, Kan., is looking for past and present members and friends of the church to help celebrate its 125th anniversary. “We would like to have any knowledge, addresses, or e-mail addresses of friends and members, and/or pictures of the beginnings of Monitor Church to the present, that you may have or know about,” said the announcement. The church will be celebrating its anniversary Sunday, Oct. 7. Send any information, pictures, or questions to or Monitor Church of the Brethren, P.O. Box 218, McPherson, KS 67460. The planning committee includes Sara Brubaker, Leslie Billhimer Frye, Kay Billhimer, Bill Kostlovy, and Mary Ellen Howell.

— David Shetler, district executive of Southern Ohio District, has shared a prayer request for Happy Corner Church of the Brethren in Clayton, Ohio. Significant damage was done to the church building when a stolen car was driven through the glass entry area and into the sanctuary early on Thursday, Jan. 19. “Your prayers are appreciated,” he wrote. The “Dayton Daily News” reported that, “The vehicle continued to plow into the church sanctuary where it ran into a rear wall, causing possible structural damage, according to police. The driver also spun the car’s tires, ripping up carpet and damaging numerous pews inside the sanctuary.” Television coverage with dramatic views of the damage to the church is at .

— Brethren Woods Camp and Retreat Center in Keezletown, Va., is holding a Caving Adventure Day on Feb. 12. The half day of caving will take participants underground to see natural subterranean features. The group will gather at Bridgewater (Va.) Church of the Brethren and travel to a cave in the area, led by Lester Zook of WildGuyde Adventures and EMU’s Outdoor Ministry and Adventure Leadership Department. Cost is $45. For more information contact the camp office at 540-269-2741. Registrations are due Jan. 27.

— The University of La Verne, a Brethren-related school in southern California, has attracted attention in a number of areas recently. An opinion piece by ULV president Devorah Lieberman titled “Diversity benefits higher education” ran in several publications including the “San Gabriel Valley Tribune,” “LA Daily News,” “Long Beach Press,” and others. She wrote, in part, “The US Departments of Justice and Education recently issued new guidelines for the use of race to measure diversity and increased student learning outcomes in colleges and universities. The guidelines make a compelling case for academic, social, and economic benefits to be achieved through a pluralistic, co-education of people from diverse backgrounds.” In other news, associate professor of writing Sean Bernard was awarded $25,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts in recognition of his fiction (see ); the university received attention for moving its Ventura County campus to a new location; and Lou Obermeyer, a graduate of the Doctoral Program in Organizational Leadership, was named 2011 Superintendent of the Year by the Association of California School Administrators (see ).

— Work on Manchester College’s new $9.1 million Academic Center is progressing through the winter reports a release from the school in N. Manchester, Ind. “We are on target for a June 4 possession of the Academic Center from the contractors,” said Jack Gochenaur, vice president for finance and treasurer. The Academic Center is a renovation and expansion of the former Holl-Kintner Hall of Science.

— The Anna B. Mow Endowed Lecture Series at Bridgewater (Va.) College on Feb. 1 features race car driver and environmental activist Leilani Münter, who will speak on “Never Underestimate a Vegetarian Hippy Chick with a Race Car.” Recognizing that racing is “not an eco-friendly sport,” says a release from the college, Münter has a strategy for minimizing an oversized carbon footprint. Her goals include convincing auto racing executives to develop more fuel-efficient engines and eco-friendly venues. Münter races in the ARCA Series, a development league of NASCAR, and is the fourth woman in history to race in the Indy Pro Series. The event at 7:30 p.m. in Cole Hall is open to the public at no charge.

— Poet and playwright Amiri Baraka will discuss American politics and culture Feb. 1 at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College, as part of Bowers Writers House events. Baraka is a recipient of the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Rockefeller Foundation Award for Drama, the Langston Hughes Award from the City College of New York, and a lifetime achievement award from the Before Columbus Foundation. He will give two presentations on Feb. 1, at 11 a.m. in Leffler Chapel, and at 8 p.m. in Brinser Lecture Hall, Steinman 114. Admission is free, seating is first-come, first-served. More information is at .

— Brethren, slavery, and Hutterite colonies will be the subject of February talks at Elizabethtown College’s Young Center. Although the Brethren were strong opponents of slave holding, with some even paying to free slaves, a few rare individuals kept slaves. Jeff Bach, director of the Young Center for Pietist and Anabaptist Studies will explore these cases in a presentation titled “The Unchristian Slave Trade: Brethren and Slavery,” at 7 p.m. on Feb. 2, in the Bucher Meetinghouse. At 7 p.m. on Feb. 23, also in the meetinghouse, college graduate Ryan Long will discuss the challenges facing Hutterite colonies during World War I. For more information contact the Young Center at 717-361-1470 or .

— New Zealand ambassador Jim McLay is the first United Nations Visiting Scholar at Juniata College’s Baker Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies. The church-related college is in Huntingdon, Pa. McLay is New Zealand’s permanent representative to the UN, and is spending the week of Jan. 22-27 at the college. The UN Visiting Scholar program will bring UN diplomats and envoys to central Pennsylvania in coming years.

— The Brethren Revival Fellowship (BRF) has announced its latest book: From the pen of longtime BRF leader Harold S. Martin comes “A Study of Basic Bible Teachings.” The 164-page book may be purchased for $12 plus $2 shipping for each book for requests under five copies. Five copies or more receive free shipping. Ten copies or more in one order receive a 10 percent discount and free shipping. According to a release from the BRF, the book “proclaims sound doctrine from a solid evangelical biblical point of view, with understandings in keeping with historic Brethren beliefs.” The 13 chapters address a wide variety of topics including the scriptures, the nature of the Trinity (“God Our Father,” “Jesus Christ Our Savior,” “The Holy Spirit Our Teacher”), sin, salvation, the church, living the Christian life, and more. Request copies at .

— Chris Raschka’s illustrated children’s book “A Ball for Daisy” (Random/Schwartz and Wade Books) was awarded the Caldecott Medal at a recent meeting of the American Library Association. Raschka, who grew up in the Church of the Brethren as son of Hedda Durnbaugh and the late Donald F. Durnbaugh, has illustrated several Brethren Press books including “Benjamin Brody’s Backyard Bag” by Phyllis Vos Wezeman and Colleen Allsburg Wiessner; “R and R: A Story of Two Alphabets,” written and illustrated by Raschka; and “This I Remember” by George Dolnikowski, a memoir by the Russian-born professor emeritus at Juniata College. Raschka was a speaker for the Brethren Press breakfast at the 2007 Annual Conference, where he demonstrated to a fascinated audience his illustration technique for “The Hello, Goodbye Window,” which won the top illustration honor in 2006. His book “Yo! Yes?” also has won a Caldecott Honor. This year he takes the 75th Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children (see ). Brethren Press is carrying “A Ball for Daisy” as well as “Benjamin Brody’s Backyard Bag” and “The Hello, Goodbye Window,” order from or call 800-441-3712.

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