Newsline for Sept. 20, 2012

Bill Scheurer
Quote of the week
“The fundamental frame of what he (Jesus) came to give us is the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, the kingdom of peace.”— Bill Scheurer, executive director of On Earth Peace, speaking for a Peace Day chapel service at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. On Earth Peace is encouraging congregations and communities to observe Peace Day on or around Sept. 21, the International Day of Prayer for Peace. Scheurer commented in his message on the way that peace “frames” Jesus earthly life and ministry in the Gospel of Luke, beginning with the heavenly chorus announcing “on earth peace” on the occasion of his birth (2:14) and closing with Jesus’ announcement to his disciples prior to his ascension, “Peace be with you” (24:36).

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace” (Luke 2:14a).

1) Brethren Press, MennoMedia to develop Gather ’Round successor.
2) Gather ’Round receives support from a variety of Christians.
3) BVS-BRF orientation unit completes training.
4) Haiti Medical Project reports growth of its endowment fund.
5) Sixth Annual Family Peace Camp is held in Florida.

6) Outdoor Ministries Association holds annual retreat.
7) Unique deacon training to be offered at the Village at Morrisons Cove.
8) Program, presenters announced for next older adult conference.
9) Workcamp dates and locations are announced for 2013.

10) Brethren bits: Correction, remembrance, personnel, Annual Conference nominations, and much more.


1) Brethren Press, MennoMedia to develop Gather ’Round successor.

Brethren Press and MennoMedia are beginning work on a successor to the Gather ’Round Sunday school curriculum. The two publishing houses, working on behalf of the Church of the Brethren and the Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada, plan to continue their decades-long cooperative work to produce joint Christian education curriculum.

Gather ’Round, which has received kudos from other Christian denominations who have signed on as cooperating and endorsing partners (see story below), has been used in congregations across the US and Canada for six years. Gather ’Round continues through the summer of 2014.

The new curriculum will build on Gather ’Round as well as its predecessor, the Jubilee curriculum. Plans are to make the next curriculum in the series available to congregations beginning in the fall of 2014.

MennoMedia and Brethren Press have hired Rebecca Seiling and Rose Stutzman to begin development of the new curriculum. MennoMedia will administer the project on behalf of the two publishing houses. For a period of time, work on the new project will run concurrently with Gather ’Round.

Seiling began May 1 in a one-year assignment as project developer. She has been a Gather ’Round writer and editor since 2004. Stutzman started June 4 as project director. She also continues as editor for Gather ’Round, a position she has held since 2006, until next May when she will shift to fulltime on the new project.

2) Gather ’Round receives support from a variety of Christians.

Now in its seventh year, the Gather ’Round curriculum for children and youth jointly published by Brethren Press and MennoMedia continues to attract attention from a variety of Christians beyond Brethren and Mennonites. The Cumberland Presbyterian Church has just signed on as an endorsing partner, and Gather ’Round recently received a strong endorsement from popular Christian author Brian McLaren.

“Many of us have lamented the fact that some of the flashiest and most widely-marketed curricula teach children about God, the Bible, and the Christian life in ways that students will need to unlearn when they reach adolescence and adulthood,” McLaren said. “We’ve hoped and prayed for curricula that would lay a foundation in childhood that will still serve as students come of age. I’m grateful that Gather ‘Round is a creative leader in this needed approach. I’m so glad to have finally discovered them.”

Gather ’Round is a joint project of the Church of the Brethren, Mennonite Church USA, and Mennonite Church Canada.

Three other denominations continue as cooperating partners: the United Church of Christ (UCC), the Mennonite Brethren, and the Moravian Church. They order prepublication quantities of the materials and sell directly to their congregations.

In addition, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), United Church of Canada, and the Cumberland Presbyterian Church are endorsing partners, promoting the curriculum in exchange for a small percentage of sales made to their congregations.

Over the years, as word of the curriculum has spread, a number of congregations from other Christian traditions have begun ordering Gather ’Round for their Sunday school classes, including Methodist, Episcopal, Baptist, Presbyterian, Friends (Quakers), Lutheran, Brethren in Christ, and Evangelical Covenant churches.

Find out more about Gather ’Round at . Order the curriculum through Brethren Press by calling 800-441-3712 or visiting .

Photo by courtesy of BVS
The members of BVS-BRF Unit 298: (front from left) Hannah Wagner, Sandra Hughes, Sarah Bucher, Joe Fretz; (back from left) Peggy and Walter Heisey (orientation coordinators), Ross Gingrich, Joyelle Bollinger, Carol Fretz

3) BVS-BRF orientation unit completes training.

Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) unit 298, a unit held jointly with the Brethren Revival Fellowship (BRF), completed orientation on Aug. 19-28 at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md.

The seven new volunteers, their congregations or home towns, and project sites follow:

Joyelle Bollinger and Hannah Wagner of Cocalico Church of the Brethren in Denver, Pa., will serve with the Root Cellar in Lewiston, Maine.

Sarah Bucher of Heidelberg Church of the Brethren in Myerstown, Pa., is to work at the Maine Home School Project in Lewiston.

Carol Fretz and Joe Fretz of Cocalico Church of the Brethren in Denver, Pa., are going to Maine Ministries in Lewiston.

Ross Gingrich of Heidelberg Church of the Brethren, will work at the Good Shepherd Food Bank.

Sandra Hughes of Central, S.C., will go to Cross Keys Village Brethren Home in New Oxford, Pa.

For more about Brethren Volunteer Service go to .

4) Haiti Medical Project reports growth of its endowment fund.

The Haiti Medical Project has issued an update on efforts to raise an endowment fund to support Church of the Brethren medical clinics in Haiti, as the project approaches the one-year mark.

Photo by Carolyn Fitzkee
A nurse helps out at one of the mobile medical clinics being provided through the Haiti Medical Project. Shown here, a clinic held earlier this year with a group from Chiques Church of the Brethren in Manheim, Pa.

The effort is supported by the denomination’s Global Mission and Service program. Leading the project are Brethren physicians including Paul Ullom-Minnich of central Kansas and other church members and congregations concerned to provide basic healthcare to Haitian Brethren communities, such as former Mission and Ministry Board chair Dale Minnich.

Ullom-Minnich, who was part of a Brethren medical delegation to Haiti shortly after the devastating 2010 earthquake, travels to the Caribbean nation again Sept. 18 to meet with Haitian church leaders and physicians who are helping to provide mobile clinics. The clinics are being held in neighborhoods around congregations of L’Eglise des Freres Haitiens (the Church of the Brethren in Haiti). Videographer Mark Myers of Little Swatara Church of the Brethren in Bethel, Pa., will go along to film for an upcoming video on the project.

In a recent e-mail to friends of the project, Ullom-Minnich reported that “a total of $20,591 has been raised for endowment.” The short-term goal for the endowment is to raise $300,000 in five years. Separately, $32,250 has been received in 2012 for the current year’s need. The project aims to raise an additional $30,000 per year to meet current operating expenses for the mobile clinics.

So far, about $12,000 has been spent to provide 10 clinics. Several more clinics are planned for coming months, with an overall goal to hold about 16 clinics a year in Haiti.

“All of this is fantastic, considering we are just nine months into this project,” Ullom-Minnich commented. “I am thrilled with the participation of so many individuals and groups. A special committee in Pennsylvania, dedicated to building the endowment, recently hosted an event with participation of 64 individuals from 6 different congregations! This group aims to raise $150,000 for the endowment in their region. A recent gift of almost $10,000 came from the Chiques Church of the Brethren, through Brethren World Mission. This foundation has set a goal of $100,000 (for operating expenses) over the next five years. Several churches across the nation are in the process of discerning whether they might also set five-year goals. The McPherson Church of the Brethren youth group has started planning a fundraising dinner for this fall, and I know many other efforts and plans are forming. Thank you all for the work and prayer you have contributed.”

For more information about the Haiti Medical Project and how to contribute or make a five-year commitment, contact Anna Emrick, coordinator of the Global Mission and Service Office, at or 800-323-8039.

5) Sixth Annual Family Peace Camp is held in Florida.

About 35 campers came together on Labor Day weekend at Camp Ithiel in Gotha, Fla. Quakers, Catholics, and Brethren from six congregations met with Donald E. Miller of Richmond, Ind., to hear stories from Africa, Asia, and Latin America, where Christians face violent threats to human life.

The Action for Peace Team of Atlantic Southeast District and Camp Ithiel co-sponsored this Sixth Annual Family Peace Camp, providing a rich experience for peacemakers young and old.

The theme for the weekend was “Decade to Overcome Violence,” a program of the World Council of Churches that led to peace conferences of the Historic Peace Churches being held on several continents between 2000 and 2010–skillfully coordinated with help from Miller, professor emeritus at Bethany Theological Seminary and a former general secretary of the Church of the Brethren.

His clear, inspiring sessions raised challenging questions: Does commitment to peace make a difference? How do peacemakers address the principalities of power? What does a peace person or group do with a violent adversary? What about the victims? Is there really a “Just War”? What does “Just Peace” look like?

The camp also gave participants opportunities to sing, play, pray, and explore new ways to be peacemakers. Miller brought his clarinet. Other musicians joined in on recorder, mandolin, and banjo, teaming with a participant who sang and played guitar. Someone else played an original number on piano, composing as he played. Sisters invented a stately “trust dance.”

— Merle Crouse provided this report.

6) Outdoor Ministries Association holds annual retreat.

The Outdoor Ministries Association (OMA) holds its annual retreat Nov. 11-15 at Camp Harmony in Hooversville, Pa. The theme is “Move in Our Midst.”

A flier notes that the theme “gives everyone from directors, office staff, program staff, food service staff, to maintenance staff, and friends of Outdoor Ministry an opportunity to let the Holy Spirit work within our camp ministries and ourselves.”

Keynote speaker Walt Wiltschek, campus minister at Manchester University and former editor of “Messenger,”, will lead the event with messages on “Encounters with the Holy.” Lance Kaltenbaugh, assistant professor of Sports Management and internship coordinator for Ashland University, will direct activities on the theme, “Diversity and Inclusion in the Outdoors: It Matters.”

Registration fees are $160 for adults, $75 for children age 5-8, children under 5 free. To request a scholarship through the Four Horsemen Fund, contact a member of the OMA Steering Committee prior to Oct. 1. To register and for more information contact Camp Harmony, 1414 Plank Road, P.O. Box 158, Hooversville, PA 15936.

7) Unique deacon training to be offered at the Village at Morrisons Cove.

Worship, workshops, and fellowship are standard components of deacon training, but when staff from Middle Pennsylvania District asked about hosting a day of training at the Village at Morrisons Cove, they requested that the focus be on ministry specific to older adults.

With that, director of deacon ministry Donna Kline and director of older adult and family life ministries Kim Ebersole worked together with district and Village staff and came up with a plan for a very focused day of training, to be held in Martinsburg, Pa., on Saturday, Nov. 10.

“Ministry with ‘Boomers’ and Beyond” will begin with a discussion of what older adulthood looks like today, and include sessions on deacon ministry specific to older adults, transitions in adulthood (retirement, health changes, death of spouse and/or friends, moving/downsizing, no longer driving, a second marriage, etc.), listening to the stories of older adults, and making the most of a visit with a resident of a longterm care community.

Ebersole and Kline also will offer resources specific to their ministries, and provide ample opportunities for sharing experiences and questions.

This training opportunity is co-sponsored by the Village at Morrisons Cove and Middle Pennsylvania District, but is open to deacons, pastors, and caregivers across the denomination. Download the registration form from or contact Kris Shunk at 814-643-0601, .

8) Program, presenters announced for next older adult conference.

Major presenters for the 2013 National Older Adult Conference (NOAC) have been confirmed, reports NOAC coordinator Kim Ebersole, director of Family Life and Older Adult Ministries for the Church of the Brethren. The conference theme, “Healing Springs Forth” (Isaiah 58), will be explored throughout the week by keynote presenters, preachers, and the Bible study leader.

NOAC is the Church of the Brethren conference for adults age 50 and older, to be held at Lake Junaluska (N.C.) Conference and Retreat Center on Sept. 2-6, 2013. Participants will enjoy a week of inspiration, community, and renewal in a beautiful mountain setting.

Keynote presenters are Phyllis Tickle, popular speaker and author of over two dozen books on religion and spirituality, who will speak on Tuesday morning; Richard J. Mouw, theologian, philosopher, author, and president of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif., who will speak on Wednesday morning; and John Paul Lederach, professor of International Peacebuilding at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame, widely known for pioneering work on conflict transformation, who will speak on Thursday morning.

Preachers are Dava Hensley, pastor of First Church of the Brethren, Roanoke, Va., preaching for the opening service on Monday evening; Edward L. Wheeler, president emeritus of Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, preaching Wednesday evening; and Kurt Borgmann, pastor of Manchester Church of the Brethren in North Manchester, Ind., preaching the closing sermon on Friday morning.

Leading the morning Bible studies will be Dawn Ottoni-Wilhelm, professor of preaching and worship at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind.

Evening performances also have been scheduled. On Tuesday, Ted Swartz of Ted & Company will perform “Laughter Is Sacred Space.” On Thursday, a concert of popular, classical, and sacred music will be given by pianists Josh Tindall and Elizabeth Davis Tindall of Elizabethtown, Pa.

Other highlights will include Interest Group workshops on a wide variety of topics, creative arts and crafts, recreation opportunities, a service project to collect and assemble school and hygiene kits for Church World Service, a fundraising walk around Lake Junaluska to support the denomination’s Youth Peace Travel Team, and the ever-popular NOAC News Team of David Sollenberger, Larry Glick, and Chris Stover.

Ice cream socials will be sponsored by the Fellowship of Brethren Homes, Bethany Theological Seminary, and the six colleges and universities affiliated with the Church of the Brethren.

The 2013 NOAC Planning Committee includes Ebersole, Bev and Eric Anspaugh, Deanna Brown, and Delora and Eugene Roop. Additional information about the 2013 NOAC will be posted at as it becomes available. Registration for the conference will begin next spring.

Notes on the NOAC theme:

We are people eager to know and do God’s ways…
     To loose the chains, untie the ropes, set the oppressed free.
Yearning for a deeper relationship with God and with each other…
     To share our bread, extend compassion, satisfy the needs of the afflicted.
Longing to respond to God’s call to Sabbath rest and restoration,
     Remembering the One who frees us from bondage…
          Ready for our worship to be reflected in our lives together.
Light breaks out, healing springs forth…
     Refreshed in the Lord, we experience renewal of body, mind, and spirit.

A time of community, gathering in the company of sisters and brothers in Christ…
A time of deepening relationships with God and with each other…
A time of challenge as we worship, learn, pray, serve, and play together…
A time of response, ready to listen to God’s call…
A time of renewal, as we experience God’s reassurance of refreshment and restoration!

Healing springs forth: Come be refreshed in the Lord.

9) Workcamp dates and locations are announced for 2013.

The denomination’s Workcamp Ministry has announced dates and locations for next summer’s workcamps. Fees and more information may be found at as it becomes available.

Week-long workcamps are offered for junior and senior high youth, young adults, an intergenerational group, and youth and young adults living with disabilities and their adult assistants. This year workcamps are held at locations across the United States and Puerto Rico.

Senior high youth who have completed ninth grade through age 19 are invited to the following workcamps:

June 8-14 at Innisfree-Crozet, Va.
June 9-16 at Idaho Mountain Camp, Idaho
June 15-21 at Caimito, P.R.
June 16-23 at Brooklyn, N.Y., in cooperation with the Brethren Revival Fellowship (BRF)
June 22-28 at Bayamon, P.R.
June 23-29 at Concord/Charlotte, N.C.
July 7-13, at a disaster response site (TBA)
July 15-21 at Koinonia Partners in Americus, Ga.
July 15-21 at Pine Ridge Reservation in Kyle, S.D.
July 22-28 in Peoria, Ariz.
July 22-28 in Washington, D.C.
July 22-28 in Lombard, Ill.
July 29-Aug. 4 at ECHO in North Fort Meyers, Fla.
Aug. 5-11 in Los Angeles, Calif.
Aug. 5-11 at Camp Eder in Fairfield, Pa.

Junior high workcamps are for youth who have completed sixth through eighth grades:

June 16-30 at New Community Project in Harrisonburg, Va.
June 17-21 at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md.
July 3-7 at the John Kline Homestead in Broadway, Va.
July 10-14 in Harrisburg, Pa.
July 17-21 in Springfield, Ill.
July 24-28 in Indianapolis, Ind.
July 29-Aug. 2 in Greenville, Ohio

Two workcamp experiences are offered for young adults, ages 18-35:

May 28-June 2 in Seattle, Wash.
June 10-13 at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., assisting with the “We Are Able” experience for youth and young adults living with disabilities

One intergenerational workcamp is open to those who have completed sixth grade and older:

July 29-Aug. 4 at Camp Colorado near Sedalia, Colo.

The “We Are Able” workcamp is for youth and young adults living with disabilities, ages 16-23, and adult assistants:

June 10-13 at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md.

Registration for the 2013 workcamps opens online on Jan. 9, 2013, at 7 p.m. (central), 8 p.m. (eastern). The website for registration and more information is .

10) Brethren bits.

— Correction: Newsline reader Sam Funkhouser has noted a correction to the feature on hymns in the last Newsline: the oldest in the list is not “Amazing Grace” but “Praise God from Whom.”

— Remembrance: William G. “Bill” Willoughby, 94, died on Aug. 28. He was a Brethren historian and ordained minister, and author of a number of articles and books including “Counting the Cost: The Life of Alexander Mack” and “The Beliefs of the Early Brethren 1706-1735.” He also translated the book “Hochmann von Hochenau” by Heinz Renkevitz from German into English. The Brethren Press website notes that “Willoughby’s translation is the only work on Hochmann in English,” adding that some regard Hochmann, an important Pietist leader, as a co-founder of the Brethren movement. Willoughby taught at Bridgewater (Va.) College and the University of La Verne, Calif., and was an early supervisor for Brethren Colleges Abroad. He was predeceased by his wife, Lena. Survivors include daughters Nancy (Frank) Garcia and Susan Rocheleau, and son Tom Willoughby; son James Willoughby died in 2001. Also surviving are brothers Robert Willoughby of Frederick, Md.; James Willoughby of Roseville, Calif.; David Willoughby of Elizabethtown, Pa.; and Don Willoughby of North Manchester, Ind.; sister Evelyn Bortner died in 2006. More information about a memorial service is to come.

Photo by Jeanne Davies
Kayla and Ilexene Alphonse

— Kayla Alphonse has served her last summer as program director at Camp Ithiel in Gotha, Fla., before leaving for a term of service in Haiti working for the Church of the Brethren on a contract basis. She will join her husband, Ilexene Alphonse, who is serving at the headquarters of L’Eglise des Freres Haitiens (the Church of the Brethren in Haiti). She will be working with a special focus on theological education.

— The Church of North India (CNI) consecrated three bishops at a ceremony in late August, including a new bishop for the diocese of Gujarat where former Church of the Brethren members are part of the denomination. Silvance S. Christian was consecrated bishop for Gujarat. A thanksgiving and farewell service for the retiring Bishop Malaviya was held in late June, according to a CNI release. CNI is one of the largest Protestant churches spread across northern India, with a membership of nearly 1.5 million.

— The Conference Office has announced the opening of nominations for offices to be filled by election at the 2013 Annual Conference. Nominations may be made either by filling out a paper form or online through a nomination tool on the Annual Conference website. Nominations are due by Dec. 1.  Go to . The positions that are open are moderator-elect, Annual Conference Program and Arrangements Committee, Mission and Ministry Board, On Earth Peace Board, Brethren Benefit Trust Board, Bethany Theological Seminary Trustees–clergy and laity, and Pastoral Compensation and Benefits Advisory Committee.

— “One People…One King” is the theme for a special worship emphasis for the Church of the Brethren, being planned for Sunday, Nov. 25. This year there is a Sunday between Thanksgiving and the start of Advent called “Christ the King” or “Reign of Christ” Sunday in the church calendar, inviting Christians to be reminded–before a season of waiting–of whom we await. In a year of contention and partisan rhetoric surrounding the upcoming national election, Christians also threaten to become a people divided. For the potentially divisive time after the election, a group of denominational staff are planning a worship emphasis based instead on the New Testament understanding that followers of Christ are a people with one ruler, from Philippians 3:20, “But our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” Special worship resources for Nov. 25 will be available online at by early October. The resources will help invite Brethren, as we enter into preparations for Christmas, to spend this one Sunday recalling that “our citizenship is in heaven.”

— October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The Family Life ministry is encouraging individuals, pastors, and congregations to learn more about domestic violence, how to recognize signs of domestic violence, ways it may be prevented, and how to respond if you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship. Links to information and resources from the National Domestic Violence Hotline, the Domestic Violence Awareness Project, and FaithTrust Institute are at .

— An update on the REILLY concert at Mission Alive 2012 has been shared by planners of the conference. The concert is open to the public for the admission price of $5 at the door. The concert is on the evening of Saturday, Nov. 17, starting at 8:30 p.m. at Lititz (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. REILLY is a Philadelphia-based band known for a unique blend of rock and dueling violins, an energetic live show, and spiritual depth. For more about Mission Alive 2012 go to .

— Church of the Brethren staff last week participated in a conference call with peace church partners to share Selective Service updates. Participating were Dan McFadden of Brethren Volunteer Service and Nate Hosler of the Advocacy and Peace Witness Office. This was one of regular twice-a-year conference calls that have resulted from a conference on Selective Service held in March 2005. “It is an effort for us to stay in touch and connected in the event that sometime in the future we need to coordinate our work,” McFadden reported. In addition to the Church of the Brethren, the following groups usually participate: Mennonite Central Committee; Mennonite Disaster Service; Mennonite Mission Network (Mennonite Volunteer Service); the Bruderhof Communities; Christian Aid Ministries–an umbrella group that works with a number of Anabaptist groups including the Beachy Amish, Old Order Amish, New Order Amish, and the Old Order Mennonites; the Quakers represented through the Friends Committee on National Legislation; and the Center on Conscience and War. “The message out of the Selective Service office is that there are no initiatives for a new draft law,” McFadden said.

— Dates and a theme have been announced for the next Christian Citizenship Seminar for high school age youth and their adult advisors. The 2013 CCS will be held March 23-28 on the theme, “Childhood Poverty: Nutrition, Housing, and Education,” according to an announcement from the Advocacy and Peace Witness Office. CCS will be held in New York City and Washington, D.C. Registration costs $375, and opens online on Dec. 1 at 10 a.m. (central time). More information and registration details will be made available at .

— “Another response completed successfully,” wrote Judy Bezon-Braune, associate director of Children’s Disaster Services, in a note on the CDS Facebook page after the program closed out its response to Hurricane Isaac in Louisiana. “It was a great response,” Bezon-Braune wrote. “Hopefully there will not be another disaster this year, but if there is, we’re ready.”

— The Church of the Brethren’s Global Food Crisis Fund has made a grant of $10,000 to Nagarta, a Christian NGO in the African country of Niger. This grant will be used to dig 10 gardening wells to supply drinking water, water for off-season gardening, and water for livestock. Five previous grants made to Nagarta from 2009-2012 total $35,000.

— Barack Obama and Mitt Romney both responded to an invitation by the “Circle of Protection” initiative to go on the record about their intentions for dealing with poverty, according to a release from the National Council of Churches. View the presidential candidates’ video statements at . Brethren staff person Nate Hosler is one of the Christian leaders quoted in the NCC release about the Circle of Protection, which is made up of more than 65 heads of denominations, including Church of the Brethren general secretary Stan Noffsinger, alongside relief and development agencies and other Christian organizations. “The Church of the Brethren has firmly believed that as followers of Jesus we are called to serve one another in the way that Jesus demonstrated by washing his disciples’ feet,” Hosler said in the release. “We urge all leaders to support programs that care for persons in poverty. We recognize that as individuals and families are assisted they will not only lead healthier lives but will be able to assist others in need.”

— Disaster Tip Sheets for Religious Leaders are a new resource provided through the National Disaster Interfaith Network. The network is offering 26 downloadable tip sheets covering a wide array of topics from disaster sheltering to spiritual care to how to prepare for an active shooter situation in church. “Disaster preparedness isn’t something most churches think about until after a disaster happens in their community,” remarked Jane Yount, coordinator for Brethren Disaster Ministries. “These tip sheets can help get the discussion started.” The effort is part of National Preparedness Month this September with the theme, “Pledge to Prepare.” Find the tip sheets at .

— Smith Chapel Church of the Brethren in Blue Field, W.Va., celebrates its 125th anniversary  on Sunday, Sept. 23. Mike Gallimore, pastor of Boones Chapel (Snow Creek) Church of the Brethren will be the guest speaker for the 11 a.m. worship service, followed by a covered dish lunch and an afternoon of  fellowship and singing. For more information call 304-425-5639.

— Sept. 30 is the 125th anniversary celebration and dedication of a new fellowship hall at Prairie View Church of the Brethren near Friend, Kan.

A painted stone outside the Friendship Lodge at Camp Pine Lake in Eldora, Iowa
Photo by courtesy of Northern Plains District
A painted stone outside the Friendship Lodge at Camp Pine Lake in Eldora, Iowa

— Northern Plains District on Sept. 2 celebrated the 50th anniversary of Friendship Lodge at Camp Pine Lake. The district posted several anniversary resources online, including photos at and a video of longtime district member Harold Mack sharing stories from camp history at .

— Northern Plains District also is mourning the loss of Kirby Leland, 59, who passed away unexpectedly on Aug. 21 at his home. He was serving as chair of the Camp Pine Lake Board, and had been active in the renovation of Friendship Lodge for its 50th anniversary re-dedication. He was a leading member of Ivester Church of the Brethren in Grundy Center, Iowa. Memorial gifts are received to Camp Pine Lake.

— Spirit of Joy Fellowship in Arvada, Colo., is requesting prayer for a time of change, in a note in the Western Plains District newsletter. The fellowship and Arvada Mennonite Church have voted to become one entity, which may mean a name change for both congregations as well as dual affiliation with the Church of the Brethren and the Mennonite Church USA. “Our new focus is on creating community,” the prayer request said. “Change does not come without loss. We have lost some longtime members. We need prayers for God’s guidance, for healing of brokenness and loss, for comforting our fears of the unknown and acceptance of change.”

— Dixon (Ill.) Church of the Brethren recently gave a substantial grant to a project in Honduras that is led by Bill Hare, who manages Camp Emmaus in Mount Morris, Ill. The deacon body at the church had recommended the gift, to come from memorial funds. “A great way to honor and remember our members who cared so much about helping God’s people and our denomination,” said a note from Marty Creager. “We would like to challenge other churches to do the same.”

— First Church of the Brethren in Springfield, Ill., has announced a new ministry called COMPASS in partnership with Harvard Park Elementary School and the Family Service Center. The ministry provides an after-school program for homeless and low-income students. “Each Thursday of the week some 30-plus students will walk from the school to our meetinghouse where they will follow a schedule that includes a snack time, help with homework, life skills lessons, and a family style dinner,” said the announcement.

— Middlebury (Ind.) Church of the Brethren is one of the congregations hosting a “Peace, Pies, and Prophets” Ted & Company benefit for Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) this fall. The show, “I’d Like to Buy an Enemy,” is interspersed with auctions of freshly baked pies, according to a CPT release. Middlebury hosts a show on Oct. 17. Other upcoming shows are Sept. 21 at 7-9 p.m. at Kaufman Mennonite Church in Davidsville, Pa.; Sept. 22, 7:30-9:30 p.m. at Central Christian School in Kidron, Ohio; and Sept. 23, 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Sharon Mennonite Church in Plain City, Ohio. For more information contact .

— York Center Church of the Brethren in Lombard, Ill., is hosting a performance of “The Cotton Patch Gospel” on Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. Originally written by Clarence Jordan, founder of the Koinonia Community in Georgia, and transformed into a bluegrass musical by Harry Chapin, this one-man show is performed by actor/musician Phil Kaufman. Proceeds benefit Lombard Villa Park Food Pantry and Mcc Food Programs. Cost is $10 plus free-will offerings. Children 12 and under are free. Contact the church office at 630-627-7411.

— Cloverdale Church of the Brethren in Virlina District is hosting a “Renacer Festival Banquette” on Sept. 22 at 6 p.m. The benefit raises funds for the Renacer new church planting ministry. Cloverdale will provide entrees, bread, dessert, and drinks, and Renacer members will bring various ethnic dishes. Attendees are invited to bring a salad or side dish if they wish. Guest speaker is Maria Conley, social worker for the Chip of Roanoke Valley.

— The Brethren Disaster Relief Auction will be held on the theme, “To God Be the Glory” on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 21-22, at the Lebanon (Pa.) Valley Expo.

— The 2012 Northern Plains District Conference recognized a number of milestones in ministry. Sarah Mason and Barbara Wise-Lewczak were recognized for completing Training in Ministry (TRIM). Others  were recognized for significant years of ministry: Marilyn Coffman for 10 years, John Glasscock for 15 years, Earl Harris for 20 years, David Lewis for 40 years, Dale Shenefelt for 50 years, Carl Heien for 55 years, and Charles Lunkley for 70 years.

— West Marva District is offering two more events in its “Equipping the Saints” series: “Christian Caregiving” at Keyser (W.Va.) Church of the Brethren on Sept. 30, 2-5:30 p.m., led by Fred Swartz who recently completed 10 years of service as Annual Conference secretary. “Christian Educator’s Toolbox” at Oak Park Church of the Brethren in Oakland, Md., on Oct. 20, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., led by Amy Elmore Williams, elementary school librarian and former kindergarten teacher. Pastors receive continuing education credit.

— Virlina District’s board and Commission on Ministry are holding “Calling the Called” events to encourage participants to consider ministerial vocation and the call to Christian service. All three days will be held at Beaver Creek Church of the Brethren in Floyd County, Va., from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. On Sept. 29 “When God Calls–Listen!” is the theme with keynote speaker Dana Cassell, minister of youth formation at Manassas (Va.) Church of the Brethren. On Oct. 13 “When God Calls–Prepare!” is the theme with keynote speakers Julie and Michael Hostetter, executive of the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership and pastor at Salem (Ohio) Church of the Brethren, respectively. On Oct. 27 “When God Calls-Respond!” is the theme with speaker Mary Jo Flory-Steury, associate general secretary of the Church of the Brethren. For more information contact Emily LaPrade at .

— Western Pennsylvania District office is hosting a “Fountain of Youth” event Sept. 23 from 3-6 p.m. Youth workers, pastors, and parents are invited to come and talk about “encouraging youth to worship an unchanging God in a rapidly changing world,” according to an announcement. The event is free, participants are invited to bring money for ordering supper from Fox’s. Register by Sept. 21 by contacting 814-479-2181 or

— A number of church districts are holding annual meetings the next two weekends: Missouri and Arkansas District Conference is Sept. 21-22 in Roach, Mo. West Marva District Conference is Sept. 21-22 at Moorefield (W.Va.) Church of the Brethren with the theme, “Soaring to New Heights in God” (Jeremiah 29:11). South Central Indiana District Conference is at Marion Church of the Brethren on Sept. 22, preceded by a special event the evening of Sept. 21 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of “Hymnal: A Worship Book” with leadership from Nancy Faus-Mullen and Jenny Williams. Idaho District Conference meets Sept. 28-29 at Mountain View Church of the Brethren in Boise, Idaho.

— The 16th annual COBYS Bike & Hike set records for income and participation, reports a release. Held Sept. 9 at Lititz (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, the event attracted 514 participants and raised more than $90,000 to support the ministries of COBYS Family Services. Overall attendance was the best in five years. Income and participation for 2011 were $89,605 and 428, respectively. The Bike & Hike consists of a three-mile walk, 10- and 25-mile bicycle rides, and the 65-mile Dutch Country Motorcycle Ride. Participants choose their event and either pay a registration fee, obtain support from sponsors, or both. Participating were 203 walkers, 169 motorcyclists, and 142 bicyclists. Seven Church of the Brethren youth groups participated, including four who earned a gym and pizza night by raising at least $1,500: Little Swatara, Midway, Chiques, and West Green Tree. COBYS Family Services educates, supports, and empowers children and adults to reach their full potential, carrying out this mission through adoption and foster care services; counseling for children, adults, and families; and family life education programs.

— Friends of Timbercrest, a supporting organization for the Church of the Brethren senior living community in North Manchester, Ind., celebrates 40 years with a Fall Fellowship Pie and Ice Cream Social and Benefit Auction the evening of Sept. 22, featuring Nordmann’s Nook Pies and the Singing Auctioneer. Tickets are $5.

— Camp Bethel near Fincastle, Va., has reported meeting and exceeding an “ambitious goal” for 2012: to increase by 99 to 925 campers. “We registered 933 campers in 67 program choices, compared to 826 total in 2011. This is a 107-camper and 13 percent increase from 2011!” said a recent camp newsletter.

— Camp Bethel is host for a “Soul Care: Music of the Heart” day-long retreat on Sept. 22. The theme is “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23). Leaders are Bill Hinton, Becky Rhodes, and Patricia Ronk, with Terry Garman and Judy Mills Reimer leading worship. A fee of $15 covers lunch, snacks, and materials.  Pre-registration is required, contact the Virlina District Resource Center at 540-362-1816 or .

— The Heritage Fair that supports the ministries of Middle Pennsylvania District and Camp Blue Diamond is planned for Sept. 29 at the camp. The fair includes an auction, a Children’s Basket Activity, sales of donated items from businesses, and more. District youth are planning a 1st Annual Heritage Fair Four Square Tournament. Information is at .

— The Valley Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center in Harrisonburg, Va., holds its annual Harvest Day on Sept. 29. The day features family fun, opportunities to feed barnyard animals, boil molasses, press cider, make butter, and enjoy homemade food. See .

— Kimberly McDowell, pastor of University Park Church of the Brethren in Hyattsville, Md., has been named church trustee on the Juniata College board. The college in Huntingdon, Pa., also has added four other trustees: Bruce Davis, who was executive director of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for more than 20 years, and who started his career as an instructor at Juniata in 1968; Douglas Spotts, alumni trustee, a family physician and chief medical information officer at Evangelical Community Hospital in Lewisburg, Pa.; John Nagl, a senior fellow of the Center for a New American Security and a research professor at the US Naval Academy; and John Hill II, president and chief operating officer of Magna Carta Companies.

— A course on “Brethren Heritage” will be offered at Manchester University this coming January, for the first time in several years reports campus minister Walt Wiltschek (find his full update at ). The course will include travel to significant sites in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions to do hands-on learning about Brethren heritage. “About 6 percent of Manchester’s student body is Brethren, the second largest group among the Brethren colleges and universities. Many participate in our ‘Simply Brethren’ group, and they are often among the top students and most actively involved leaders on campus,” Wiltschek writes.

— Brethren Voices is now on YouTube. Produced by the Portland (Oregon) Peace Church of the Brethren, this monthly show designed for use on community access cable television and for small study groups can now be viewed at . The most recent Brethren Voices segment features an interview with Brethren Press publisher Wendy McFadden.

— Organizers of the Progressive Brethren Gathering hosted by La Verne (Calif.) Church of the Brethren on Oct. 26-28 have announced the theme: “Holy Work: Becoming a Beloved Community.” This marks the fifth year for the gathering, said a release. A full schedule of events begins with a Friday evening dinner and celebratory worship with La Verne pastor Susan Boyer as preacher. On Saturday, professors Abigail Fuller and Katy Gray Brown from Manchester University will speak on the dynamics and characteristics of social justice movements including ways Brethren have responded to, and helped shape, the Civil Rights, anti-war, feminism, lgbt rights, and environmental movements. Also on the schedule: a screening of the award winning film “Two Spirits,” a music and worship experience exploring songs that inspired and strengthened justice movements throughout history led by Shawn Kirchner and artists from the La Verne congregation, a Sunday morning report from sponsoring groups, and Sunday morning worship with the La Verne congregation led by guest preacher Father Gregory Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles with the mission “to provide hope, training, and support to formerly gang-involved and recently incarcerated men and women.” The gathering is sponsored by Womaen’s Caucus, Open Table Cooperative, and the Brethren Mennonite Council for LGBT Interests. Registration is online at .


Contributors to this issue of Newsline include Kim Ebersole, Anna Emrick, Don Fitzkee, Philip E. Jenks, Kendra Johnson, Donna Kline, Wendy McFadden, Nancy Miner, John Wall, Marie Willoughby, Walt Wiltschek, Jay Wittmeyer, Jane Yount, and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren. Look for the next regularly scheduled issue on Oct. 3. Newsline is produced by the News Services of the Church of the Brethren. Contact the editor at Newsline appears every other week, with special issues as needed. Stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source. To unsubscribe or change your e-mail preferences go to
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