Brethren Bits for Aug. 23, 2013

Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
The Program and Arrangements Committee has spent several days this week beginning the planning for the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference in 2014. A highlight of the meeting was the option to Skype with a member who could not be at the church’s General Offices in person this week.

— Correction: There is new information to add to Newsline’s coverage of the Fifth Brethren World Assembly held in July at the Brethren Heritage Center in Brookville, Ohio. The center is issuing an invitation to help out with the task of preserving and sharing the rich Brethren heritage by donating significant items, or by becoming a “Heritage Friend.” For details go to or contact the Brethren Heritage Center at 937-833-5222.

— On Sunday, Aug. 18, First Church of the Brethren in Chicago held an “I Have a Dream” Anniversary Commemoration Service. The church for a time housed the westside Chicago office of Martin Luther King Jr., who preached from the First Church pulpit. “As our nation prepares to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington, join us one and all as we look at ‘I Have A Dream’ for us today. What is the Dream now?” asked the invitation to the service. Pastor LaDonna Sanders Nkosi led the service and a community choir sang “Revelation 19.” More information is at the Facebook event page .

Antioch Church of the Brethren in Woodstock, Va., has begun worshiping in a new sanctuary, as the congregation anticipates its 145th anniversary on Oct. 13, reports Shenandoah District.

Olean Church of the Brethren in Giles County, Va., celebrates its 100th anniversary on Sunday, Sept. 8, according to the Virlina District newsletter. Olean was a mission point of the Oakvale congregation, the newsletter reported, and was originally planted by Brethren evangelists Levi Garst and C.D. Hylton beginning in 1913.

Church World Service celebrates the good work of disaster relief kits and blankets shared with a Kentucky County struggling with multiple disasters, see . These supplies were warehoused and shipped from the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., through the work of the church’s Material Resources program.

New in the “Hidden Gems” series from the Brethren Historical Library and Archives, a review of “The Challenge of Military Camp Life for the Church of the Brethren During World War I” by intern Andrew Pankratz. The article reveals the suffering of conscientious objectors during the war when “camp life for the several hundred Brethren who refused combatant and noncombatant service proved to be a challenging ordeal,” Pankratz writes. “Often the ordeal began when the young Brethren would refuse to wear a military uniform or do any military work. For many of these Brethren wearing the uniform or doing any work on base meant supporting the war effort and the killing of a fellow man. By refusing to wear uniforms or perform military camp duties, the Brethren underwent harsh treatment.” Go to .

Training in Ministry (TRIM) graduates were honored at the 2013 Bethany Theological Seminary Annual Conference Luncheon: Rhonda Dorn (Northern Indiana District), Mary Etta Reinhart (Atlantic Northeast), Diane Mason (Northern Plains), Marilyn Koehler (Northern Plains), and Traci Rabenstein (Southern Pennsylvania). TRIM is a program of the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership. For more go to .

Photo by Brethren Academy
Final pastors group in the SPE Advanced Foundations of Church Leadership Program

The final group of pastors in the Sustaining Pastoral Exellence-Advanced Foundations of Church Leadership program of the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership completed their two-year training on June 21: Mike Martin, David Hendricks, Martin Hutchison, Roland Johnson, Mary Fleming, Robin Wentworth Meyer, and Marty Doss. “This completes the Sustaining Pastoral Excellence initiative funded by Lilly Endowment Inc.,” reports the academy newsletter. The Sustaining Ministerial Excellence Advanced Seminar will begin in early 2014, funded by Wieand grants from the Church of the Brethren and Bethany Seminary.

The “Daily Gazette” of Schenectady, N.Y., has featured the work of Brethren Disaster Ministries in Schoharie in a feature article titled “Flood Recovery Groups Welcome Family Back into Their Schoharie Home.” The article posted on Aug. 16 at celebrates the new home built for the Coons family by SALT and Brethren volunteers.

Green Tree Church of the Brethren in Oaks, Pa., is offering an interactive workshop on “Brethren Peacemaking: Yesterday and Today” on Sept. 14 from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Session One on  “Our Roots: History of Church of the Brethren Peacemaking” will be followed by a potluck dinner. Session Two on “Bringing Peacemaking into Our Communities” is from 7-8:30 p.m. The event is free. Leadership is provided by Rick Polhamus of Pleasant Hill Church of the Brethren in Ohio and one of On Earth Peace’s retreat and leadership training leaders. Contact to RSVP. More information is at .

— July 14 was a day of celebration for Locust Grove Church of the Brethren, according to West Marva District newsletter. “A baptismal service was held at the Dominion Power Plant Recreation Center. Twenty people pledged to serve and love our Lord through the sacrament of baptism and commitment. Locust Grove then received 21 new members.” A picnic and afternoon of fellowship followed.

— Also in West Marva District, Living Stone Church of the Brethren will host an event featuring Erik Estrada of “CHiPs” fame, on Sept. 9. The church will show the movie “Finding Faith” featuring Estrada, who has gone on to become a child advocate, portraying a sheriff who works with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. The film tells the story of Holly Austin Smith, who was abducted by a child predator, to help educate parents and children about Internet safety. Doors open at 5 p.m. with the movie beginning at 6 p.m. The district newsletter reports that following the film there will be an opportunity to meet and talk to Estrada.

The Northern Plains District Conference recognized milestones for several ordained ministers: Lois Grove–5 years, Laura Leighton-Harris–5 years, Jeannine Leonard–5 years, Rhonda Pittman Gingrich–15 years, Diana Lovett–15 years, Mary Jane Button-Harrison–20 years, Nelda Rhoades Clarke–35 years.

— Final accounting is complete for the 2013 Shenandoah District Disaster Ministries Auction: $211,699.46. The district newsletter reported that “our 21-year total is now $3,692,379.60. Thanks to everyone who made this year’s event such a success. Disaster response is one of our district’s strongest ministries, and the proceeds from the auction support that outreach.”

— Shenandoah District’s Disaster Ministries Auction Coordinating Committee “Family Fun Day” is Aug. 24, at 502 Sandy Ridge Rd., Waynesboro, Va. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. “Come for games, food, and a pie-baking contest. Music groups will be performing from 12:30-4:30 p.m.,” said an invitation. There is a $10 fee for the two-mile run/walk and corn hole tournament. See .

— Brethren Woods’ 18th Annual Golf Blast and Elzie Morris Memorial Tournament and Fundraiser is Saturday, Sept. 7, at Lakeview Golf Course east of Harrisonburg, Va. A putting contest starts at 7:30 a.m., and the shotgun start is at 8:30 a.m. Cost is $70 per person which includes green fees, cart, prizes, and lunch. Go to .

The Valley Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center is “calling all (apple) bakers” to compete in its inaugural Great Apple Bake-Off on Sept. 7, during CrossRoads’ Harvest Day Festival. “Ribbons will be awarded to the top three entries in each category–pies, cakes, bread/pastry. Bakers will submit two items for each entry–one will be judged, the other sold at the baked goods booth. The winning baked goods will be auctioned at noon,” said an announcement in the Shenandoah District newsletter. The center is located in Harrisonburg, Va.

— The website of the John Kline Homestead in Broadway, Va.–historic home of Civil War-era Brethren elder and peace martyr John Kline–has posted a Civil War Sesquicentennial essay “150 Years Ago: The Shenandoah Valley and the Civil War” by Steve Longenecker of Bridgewater (Va.) College. Go to .

The Global Women’s Project will hold its next semi-annual meeting in September in North Manchester, Ind. The group will worship with Manchester Church of the Brethren and Eel River Community Church of the Brethren and will meet with Growing Grounds, a partner project in Wabash, Ind., that supports women in the criminal justice system.

“Brethren Voices” producer Ed Groff reports that the October edition will be the 100th for this Brethren community television show, a project of Portland (Ore.) Peace Church of the Brethren. In September “Brethren Voices” features Jan and Doug Eller speaking about “A Brethren Visit to Cuba” with host Brent Carlson. The Ellers, who attend Portland Peace Church, recently visited Cuba with the organization Road Scholar, which provides educational tours in all 50 states and to 150 countries. Groff notes that “under US law, educational and cultural tours are permitted  during the embargo of Cuba, which has been ongoing for many years. The people of Cuba refer to it as a blockade, which restricts the shipment of goods from the United States…. Doug Eller states that a nine-day-visit does not make a person an authority, however their visit provides a good look at what is happening in Cuba, today.” October’s 100th edition of “Brethren Voices” features John Jones and Camp Myrtlewood, a Church of the Brethren outdoor ministry center in southern Oregon. Jones shares information about a Sept. 2002 stream restoration project conducted to restore fish habitat for migrating salmon and steelhead trout on Myrtle Creek, and shares his thoughts about the changes that have occurred to restore fish habitat over the years. For a copy of “Brethren Voices” contact .

—  New Community Project is turning 10. Described by founder David Radcliff as “a Christian nonprofit organization with Brethren affinities,” the project was founded in August 2003, and over the past decade has sponsored dozens of Learning Tours involving some 500 Church of the Brethren members to places as diverse as South Sudan, the Arctic, the Ecuadorian Amazon, Burma, and Nepal, Radcliff reports. The project also has sent over $600,000 to its partners in Africa, Asia, and Central and South America to support girls’ education, women’s development, and forest preservation, and has established a Sustainable Living Homestead in Harrisonburg, Va. More than 1,000 New Community Project presentations have been given in schools, colleges, congregations, and community groups. The New Community Project now includes a network of some 10,000 people across the US and internationally. To celebrate the occasion, the project’s booth at Annual Conference gave away over 250 t-shirts along with other items. Plans for year 11 include, according to Radcliff, another round of Learning Tours, a new “If We Build It…” campaign to construct a school in South Sudan, and an apprenticeship program at the Harrisonburg site led by coordinator Tom Benevento. Contact .

McPherson (Kan.) College on Aug. 20 hosted a Food for Orphans Anti-Hunger Run. A release about the event noted that “even small donations will make a huge difference for some of the 60 million orphans in developing countries suffering from famine, poverty, and conflict.” Shay Maclin, dean of students and assistant professor of education, said the fundraiser was a great way for incoming McPherson students to get an early taste of what the college’s mission–“Scholarship. Participation. Service”–actually means.


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