Brethren Bits for March 7, 2012

Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
The Mission and Ministry Board met at the church’s General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Find a photo album at

The Church of the Brethren’s Mission and Ministry Board (MMB) holds its Spring meeting at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., on March 9-12. Board chair Ben Barlow will lead the meeting. Topping the agenda are financial reports and a budget for denominational ministries in 2012, alongside a conversation on the “Ecumenical Call to Just Peace,” the Ministerial Leadership Paper that is coming to the 2012 Annual Conference, a new Congregational Vitality Initiative partnership between Congregational Life Ministries and the Council of District Executives, a query from Southern Pennsylvania District on representation to the board, and a conversation with executives of agencies that report to Annual Conference, among other business. On Sunday the group worships with Frederick (Md.) Church of the Brethren and board members will meet with pastor Paul Mundey for an executive session on “Leadership in Times of Struggle.” A report from the meeting will appear in the next Newsline.

— The Church of the Brethren seeks a director of Donor Relations to fill a fulltime salaried position based at the General Offices in Elgin, Ill. This position manages the direct gift, planned giving, congregational stewardship, and enlistment programs of the Church of the Brethren. The director for Donor Relations is responsible for the solicitation and management of gifts and for securing special, deferred, and direct gifts from individuals and congregations. In this capacity the director works in collaboration with all stakeholders of the Church of the Brethren to develop and carry out an organizational plan for fund development, while nurturing and building relationship with members of the church. Additional responsibilities include overseeing congregational stewardship and enlistment activities; working collaboratively with the Donor Invitation coordinator, executive director of Congregational Life Ministries, and director of Spiritual Life and Discipleship; working with volunteers, contractors, and staff to hold area meetings to acquaint individuals with planned giving options and ministries supported by special and deferred gifts, and to interpret the ministries and programs of the church; objectives, budget, and program for the Donor Relations office; and representing the denomination as appropriate in ecumenical organizations. Required skills and knowledge include grounding in Church of the Brethren heritage, theology, and polity; ability to articulate and operate out of the vision of the Church of the Brethren; at least five years of experience in planned/deferred giving and/or five years in development-related activities in the not-for-profit sector; ability to inter-relate with individuals and groups; some management experience or work experience related to objective setting, budget preparation, team building, and organizational dynamics. A bachelor’s degree is required. A master’s degree is preferred. Interviews begin mid-March and continue until the position is filled. Request the application form and complete job description, submit a résumé and letter of application, and request three letters of reference to be sent to: Office of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120-1694; 800-323-8039 ext. 258; .

— The National Council of Churches (NCC) is searching for a leader skilled in change management, organizational transformation, and funds development to serve as its transitional general secretary for 18 months during the council’s planned restructuring. The Search Committee is chaired by Bishop Mark Hanson, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Review of applicants will begin immediately with the aim of presenting a candidate to the NCC’s Governing Board in May. Clare J. Chapman has been serving as the council’s interim general secretary since the departure on Dec. 31 of former general secretary Michael Kinnamon. The announcement of the search for a transitional general secretary coincides with the formation during the NCC Executive Committee meeting Feb. 23-24 of a task force to re-envision and restructure the council. This Task Force will facilitate a coordinated effort among NCC leaders, Governing Board members, and staff to provide clarity of mission, and to develop and implement an organizational structure that is better suited to the unique challenges of today’s ecumenical landscape. The transitional general secretary will be expected to work with board and staff to transform the NCC mission and oversee funds development. Special skills in addressing institutional racism and working with diverse constituencies are required. Since its founding in 1950, the NCC has been the leading force for shared ecumenical witness among Christians in the US. The NCC’s 37 member communions include the Church of the Brethren and represent a wide spectrum of Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox, Evangelical, historic African-American and Living Peace churches, which include 45 million people in more than 100,000 congregations in communities across the nation. See the job posting at .

— Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) seeks a full-time delegations and administrative coordinator. The person in this position will provide leadership support to CPT’s delegation program. CPT delegations form essential advocacy links between communities experiencing violence with concerned individuals and groups, and offer participants first-hand experiences of CPT’s on-the-ground faith-based, active peacemaking. This includes working with CPT teams to schedule delegations, recruiting delegates and delegation leaders, facilitating pre-delegation orientation and post delegation debriefings, administering details such as booking flights and finances, taking part in CPT’s Chicago-based administrative coordination. Exact roles will be determined by how the appointee’s gifts mesh with those of others working in CPT administration. Location is Chicago, Ill. Expressions of interest/nominations are due no later than March 19, with full application materials due March 30. Position to start as soon as preferred candidate is available. After confirmed, appointment will be for a period of three years. Compensation includes a need-based stipend, full health coverage, and “incredibly  meaningful work within a team of kind, gutsy, and committed peacemakers,” according to the announcement. Contact Carol Rose, CPT Co-Director, at . See for background information.

 The visas of Samuel Sarpiya and his family have been denied, according to a release from Illinois and Wisconsin District, where Sarpiya serves as a new church planter and pastor in Rockford, Ill. Sarpiya also is a part-time staff person with On Earth Peace, and has been a presenter and a preacher at Annual Conference. Prior to moving to the United States, Sarpiya and his family lived in various European and African countries. “The denial letter states that a 30-day window is open for Samuel’s attorney to file a motion to continue or re-open the case for Samuel’s visa,” said the release from the District Leadership Team, which has established a Sarpiya Visa Fund. For the full release from the district go to .

— “Basin and Towel,” a magazine published by Congregational Life Ministries, is now offering resources from each issue at . Click on the books referenced to order them through Brethren Press. Complete issues more than a year old also are being made available online, as is a subscriptions link to subscribe to the magazine, order a gift subscription, or order a subscription for a congregation (minimum of three copies) to share with leaders in your faith community.

— Rates go up March 16 for the Church of the Brethren’s New Church Development Conference. Go to for online registration and information including a schedule, speakers, workshops, logistical details, and more. The conference is May 17-19 at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., on the theme, “Plant Generously, Reap Bountifully” (1 Corinthians 3:6). Pre-conference activities begin May 16. Keynote leaders are Tom Johnston and Mike Chong Perkinson of the Praxis Center for Church Development ( ). Workshops for Spanish speaking participants are offered and Spanish translation is available. Sponsors are the New Church Development Advisory Committee and Congregational Life Ministries. The early registration fee of $169 is available through March 15.

— A March 31 deadline is quickly approaching for young adults who would like to request a scholarship to attend this year’s National Young Adult Conference. The conference is June 18-22 at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. March 31 is the deadline for attendees to contact the Youth and Young Adult Office requesting staff to send a letter to their home church requesting a scholarship. More information and online registration are at . For questions contact Carol Fike, NYAC coordinator, at 800-323-8039 or .

— Regional Youth Conference will be held at McPherson (Kan.) College on March 30-April 1 on the theme “For All of You Are One” (Galatians 3:26-28). For more information and to register, go to . Registration is due by March 19. For questions, call McPherson College dean of students LaMonte Rothrock at 620-242-0501.

— New at is a “Brethren in the News” page linking to online news from around the country about Church of the Brethren congregations, programs, and people. Find the page at .

— Covington (Wash.) Community Church of the Brethren in November began “Soup, Soap, Socks, and Soccer Balls,” a holiday collection. “Here’s what we collected,” reports the church in a recent newsletter: 120 pairs of socks for 16 mentally ill men and women who used to be homeless, 67 soccer balls and 110 bars of soap for refugee children and families being resettled in the community, 8 boxes and 142 cans of food for hungry families in the Covington area.

— Whittier Community Church, a new church plant in Denver, Colo., in Western Plains District, has started a free meal program called “The Feast of Love,” according to the district newsletter. The meal is held on the last Sunday of every month, “when a lot of folks’ checks run out.” Go to .

— The steering committee for the Renovaré Essentials Conference at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College on April 21 has extended the $40 registration fee until the registration deadline of April 5. “This is going to be a wonderful conference,” said David Young, a leader in the Springs Initiative for church vitality. “We invite you to an ‘oil change’ for our spirit! …The (Atlantic Northeast) District Spiritual Renewal Team…hopes that this will be a way to develop the spiritual journey of for you and your congregation in 2012.” Richard Foster and Chris Webb will be the speakers. Foster is the author of “Celebration of Discipline” and a founder of Renovaré. Webb is the new president of Renovaré and an Anglican priest from Wales. A program for children will be part of the conference. Go to .

— A “Matthew 18 Workshop” is offered in Northern Indiana District on March 16-17 at Union Center Church of the Brethren. Cost is $10 if pre-registered by March 9 ($15 at the door) which includes lunch, snacks, and materials. The workshop will be led by District Shalom Team members. At the close of this workshop, participants will be able to articulate the relevance of Matthew 18 and put conflict transformation skills into practice. Contact Northern Indiana District Church of the Brethren, 162 E. Market St., Nappanee, IN 46550.

— The Shenandoah District office in Weyers Cave, Va., is a drop-off depot for Church World Service (CWS) kits again this year. The depot is open to receive donations of kits Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., through April 20 (excluding April 5, 6, and 9). For current information about CWS kits go to . Contact the Shenandoah District office at or 540-234-8555.

— In more news from Shenandoah District, Pastors for Peace is holding a second annual Living Peace Award Banquet on March 20 at 6:30 p.m. at Mill Creek Church of the Brethren in Port Republic, Va. David Radcliff, director of the New Community Project, is the speaker. A Living Peace Award will be presented to a local Church of the Brethren person who embodies the living peace witness of Christ’s gospel. Tickets are $15 ($10 for students). Contact David R. Miller at .

— Middle Pennsylvania District is holding a lay leadership event titled “Changing Landscapes: Responding to Congregational Challenges” on March 24 at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa. The event takes place in the Von Liebig Center for Science Sill Boardroom. The district’s Shalom Team is sponsor. Jonathan Shively, executive director of Congregational Life Ministries, will facilitate. Cost is $60. “Being a Christian congregation in North America is more unpredictable than in years past,” said an announcement. “Such unpredictability makes some people very anxious; for others it signals new opportunities. Whether you are anxious, eager, or somewhere in between, this workshop will provide key insights and introduce essential tools for responding to the rapid changes taking place both within and around the church.” Find a brochure on the district website (click on the tab “Middle PA News”).

— “Reflections on the Care of Creation from the Perspective of the Hebrew Bible” is the title of a continuing education event with Robert Neff on March 27 at the Village at Morrisons Cove, Willows Room, in Martinsburg, Pa. Cost is $50, with an additional $10 for continuing education credit. Light refreshments and lunch are included. Registration deadline is March 13. Contact the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center to register, 717-361-1450 or .

— The Brethren Home Community in Windber, Pa., is planning a 90th Anniversary Celebration Service on June 24, to be hosted by Scalp Level Church of the Brethren. Organizers are seeking copies of old photographs from over the years for displays, including photos for an album of Candy Striper classes through the years. Contact Rebecca Hoffman, director of Church and  Community Relations/Fund Development, at .

— “Pasta with the Pastors,” an annual fundraiser benefiting the scholarship fund for staff of Bridgewater (Va.) Retirement Community, will be held from 4:30-6:30 p.m. on March 16, in the facility’s Houff Community Center. Following dinner, the Rockingham Male Chorus will present a concert at 7 p.m. in Lantz Chapel.

— COBYS Family Services is planning to “Have a Ball” on March 15. The annual informational/fundraising banquet will be a Fancy Ball, according to a release. The COBYS Fancy Ball takes place March 15 at 6:30 p.m. at Middle Creek Church of the Brethren in Lititz, Pa., with a mix of good food, humor, music, information, and inspiration about COBYS ministries. Doors open at 6 p.m. During the program, guests will meet COBYS resource parents Matt and Marie Cooper and some special friends they met through foster care; Ryan and Erica Onufer and their four adopted children; Lancaster County judge Jay Hoberg, who presided over the Onufer adoptions and many other COBYS adoptions; and District Magisterial Justice Rodney Hartman with COBYS Family Life Education supervisor Abby Keiser. Providing music is a quartet of members of the Susquehanna Chorale, including COBYS controller Cynthia Umberger, Brethren Village pastor Mark Tedford, Sara Zentmeyer, and Stephen Schaefer. There is no charge to attend, but reservations are required. Register by contacting director of Development Don Fitzkee at or 717-656-6580. Additional information is at the News and Events page at .

— The February edition of “Brethren Voices” tells the story of how one Church of the Brethren congregation is continuing the work of Jesus. Portland Peace Church of the Brethren in Oregon has transformed Super Bowl Sunday to “Souper Bowl Sunday,” making a gift to the community and having fun–all at the same time. Members of the church put together packages of bean soup for the community’s emergency food program, Snow Cap. “Host John Zunkle and his crack on-field-reporters interview the MVPs of this years record breaking ‘Souper Bowl Sunday,’” said an announcement from producer Ed Groff. Brethren Voices is a community television program offered by Portland Peace Church, tailored for congregations to air on local community access cable television, or for use by study groups or Sunday school classes. In March, Brethren Voices features the work and photographs of Laura Sewell, who served in India as a missionary for the Church of the Brethren from 1946-84. In May, Brethren Voices features Jim Lehman of Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, Ill., who is known for his writing about the Brethren and his involvement with the annual Song and Story Fest family camp. To order a copy or subscribe to the show, contact Groff at .

— Manchester College in N. Manchester, Ind., is awarding a record $14.4 million in academic scholarships to 228 top high school seniors, according to a release from the school. The four-year scholarships for the baccalaureate program range from $56,000 Dean’s Scholarships to two full-tuition Honors Scholarships valued at $103,400 each. All are competitive, awarded for academic achievement and impressive presentation at Scholarship Day last month. “A record number of top students participated in our Scholarship Days this year,” said Dave McFadden, executive vice president. “It was exciting to see such a positive response. We responded to their enthusiasm with record scholarships.” For more about Manchester go to .

— McPherson (Kan.) College is offering students at least three service opportunities with Church of the Brethren organizations during Spring break: in Lybrook, N.M., at a mission site related to Western Plains District; at the district’s Camp Mount Hermon in Kansas; and at a Brethren Disaster Ministries rebuilding project in Arab, Ala. The college’s Spring break is March 17-24.

— Eighteen students and two staff of Bridgewater (Va.) College are volunteering with Habitat’s Collegiate Challenge Spring Break 2012, according to a release from the school. The group, accompanied by Jarret and Whitney Smith, director of admissions and director of student activities respectively, left for Maryville, Tenn., on March 4 and return to campus March 10. The group is working in partnership with the Blount County Habitat for Humanity affiliate in the Great Smoky Mountains. To raise money for the trip, they held a chili cook-off and sponsored an evening of childcare for Parents’ Night Out. This makes the 20th year that Bridgewater students have used their Spring break to work in various Habitat projects.

— This Spring students at the University of La Verne, Calif., will offer free tax services for local taxpayers. Several students are part of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, an IRS-sponsored program that helps low-to-moderate income families and individuals. “Our students have all been trained and will be supervised by our adjunct faculty…who are also IRS employees. Students had to pass an exam to participate in this volunteer program,” said professor of Accounting Renee Miller in a release. “They will be providing free tax filing services to eligible taxpayers as part of the university’s efforts to help the communities we serve.” Approximately 35 students are participating and donating about 40 work hours of their time. For more information on the VITA program contact 909-593-3511 ext. 4432 or .

— The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival has announced its National Awards for Festival Year 2011, including two individual awards and one ensemble award to Bridgewater (Va.) College. The awards recognize outstanding achievement showcased at the eight regional festivals in January and February this year. The awards to Bridgewater are for its presentation of Caryl Churchill’s adaptation of August Strindberg’s “A Dream Play” at the 44th annual Kennedy Center American College Theater Regional Festival in January. Jessica Snellings, a freshman music major from Stanley, Va., won the Distinguished Sound Design award for her work in the play. Production assistant for theater Holly Labbe was one of two Distinguished Costume Design awardees. “A Dream Play” also received a Kennedy Center nod in the Distinguished Performance and Production Ensembles category. The play was first performed at Bridgewater last November, and was chosen to perform at the Region 2 festival at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in January.

— Robert Willoughby, a 1947 graduate of Elizabethtown (Pa.) College, returns to his alma mater to talk about his experiences as a conscientious objector during World War II. On March 20 at 7:30 p.m. his presentation at the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies is titled, “Starvation Volunteer: A Conversation with an Elizabethtown Alumnus.” Young Center director Jeff Bach will facilitate a discussion about Willoughby’s CO experience and his participation in US government research on human starvation. On March 21 at 11 a.m. in Gibble Auditorium in Esbenshade Hall, he will be interviewed by Diane Bridge of the Biology Department about the government experiments he endured, and by Donald Kraybill, senior fellow at the Young Center, who will explore his Brethren heritage, conscientious objection to war, and civilian public service. Willoughby majored in sociology while at Elizabethtown, went on to earn a master’s in sociology from the University of Chicago, and taught middle school in Maryland for most of his professional life, before retiring in 1984. He has remained connected to the Church of the Brethren since his days as a CO. Go to to read more about the programs conducted during the 1940s that tested the impact of wartime diets on human volunteers.

— The Fasnacht Committee on Religion and Society at the University of La Verne, Calif., has announced the Spring 2012 Fasnacht Lecturer: Bishop Carlton Person, who will speak March 22 at 11:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. in Morgan Auditorium. Pearson is a theologian and senior pastor of New Dimensions Chicago, a multicultural and radically inclusive spiritual community, according to the announcement. He is the author of “God Is Not a Christian,” published by Simon and Shuster in 2010. His lectures will be titled “What Has Hell to Do With It?” and “Emerging Spirituality.” The Fasnacht Committee oversees the longest-standing endowed lecture series at the university, named in honor of former president Harold Fasnacht. Its goal is to encourage debate and discussion in the learning community about the place of religion in society today.

— Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) has announced a spring tour by Ted and Company TheaterWorks. The “Peace, Pies, and Prophets” tour initially travels to four cities, with additional performances to be announced: a performance on March 9 at 7:30 p.m. at Akron (Pa.) Mennonite Church; March 10 at 7 p.m. at Broad Street Ministry in Philadelphia; and March 11 at 3 p.m. at Souderton (Pa.) Mennonite Church. “Jesus commanded us to love our enemies, and Moses said, ‘Thou shall eat pie’ (or so some imagine),” said a release about the tour, which will incorporate theater and comedy into biblical storytelling. Performances will include “I’d Like to Buy an Enemy,” and will feature pie auctions to benefit CPT. Go to .

— The tenth annual Ecumenical Advocacy Days takes place March 23-26 in Washington, D.C., on the theme, “Is This the Fast I Seek? Economy, Livelihood, and Our National Priorities” (Isaiah 58). The event co-sponsored by Church World Service and the National Council of Churches and many of their member communions, brings faith-based advocates and activists from across the US and around the world to Washington to explore issues related to the economy, livelihoods, and national priorities. Presentations, workshops, and policy issue discussions will explore the need for and means of seeking a global economy and a national budget that addresses injustice, poverty, hunger, and unemployment throughout the world. Area specific sessions are planned on Africa, the Asia-Pacific, Latin America, the Middle East, and the US, including workshops on human trafficking and slavery, the economics of the Arab Spring, the US embargo on Cuba, and indigenous land rights. Following the weekend of worship, dialogue, and training on policy issues and grassroots advocacy, participants will go to Capitol Hill on March 26 to lobby lawmakers for effective and just economic policies. More information and registration is at .

— Sunbury Press has released the memoir of Helen Buehl Angency, a Church of the Brethren missionary who was held captive in a Japanese detention camp during World War II. The book is titled “Behind Barbed Wire and High Fences” and tells the story of how Angeny and her husband were held for three years in a detention camp in the Philippines, after they replaced murdered missionaries in China in 1940. According to a report in the “Pueblo (Colo.) Chieftain” newspaper, Angeny wrote the memoir when she was 80. She died in 2005. For more go to .

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