Brethren Bits for June 13

Photo by Versa Press
Brethren Press celebrated printing of the “New Inglenook Cookbook.” In a Facebook post, the printers at Versa Press posted a video of the new cookbook’s title page for the “Desserts” section, which came off the press May 31. “How did they know we’d be most tantalized by this page?” commented the Brethren Press Facebook post. See the video at

— Corrections: The correct date of the concert by La Verne Church of the Brethren Sanctuary Choir at the Annual Conference in Charlotte, N.C., is Saturday, June 29, at 9 p.m. following worship. In another correction, facilitators for the youth and young adult peace retreat at Camp Mt. Hermon in Kansas on Aug. 9-11, include Bethany Seminary along with On Earth Peace and Western Plains District (an updated brochure is available, contact ).

— Remembrance: Brethren Disaster Ministries staff share their sadness at the death of Doris Hollinger, 93, on June 2. She was married to Paul Hollinger, who passed away in 2008. The Hollingers spent 25 years doing disaster relief work together. They served as Shenandoah District disaster coordinators and as disaster project leaders for Brethren Disaster Ministries, traveling as far as Puerto Rico to serve. Along with three other couples, they organized the Brethren Disaster Relief Sale held annually in Rockingham County, Va. She also was one of the early volunteers for Children’s Disaster Services. A celebration of her life took place on June 8 at Mount Vernon Church of the Brethren in Waynesboro, Va. Brethren Disaster Ministries has been named as one of the charities to receive memorial gifts.

— The National Council of Churches (NCC) seeks candidates to fill the top executive leadership position of general secretary/president. This newly designated position is the top staff leadership position in the 63-year-old ecumenical organization and has emerged from a year-long transitional process conducted by the NCC Governing Board led by president Kathryn Lohre and transitional general secretary Peg Birk. In the new configuration, the president of the NCC will become chair of the Governing Board. The general secretary/president serves as executive leader with overall responsibility for personnel, deploying resources to achieve priorities, organizational and board development, fundraising, vision-setting, long-range planning, financial management, external relationships, and thoughtful leadership. Since its founding in 1950, the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA has been the leading force for shared ecumenical witness among Christians in the US. The 37 member communions–from a wide spectrum of Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox, Evangelical, historic African American, and Living Peace churches–include 40 million people in more than 100,000 congregations in communities across the nation. Additional information can be found at and . The deadline for applications is July 8. Applications should be sent to Alisa Lewis, director of human resources, United Church of Christ, at , or by mail to 700 Prospect Ave., Cleveland, OH 44115.

— Brethren Press and MennoMedia seek a managing editor for a new Sunday school curriculum titled “Shine: Living in God’s Light.” The managing editor, who reports to the project director, manages contracts, guides all curriculum components through the production process, attends to administrative details, relates to freelance writers and editors, and serves on various committees. Candidates should have excellent skills in editing and project management, and have strong technical skills. They should be knowledgeable about the Church of the Brethren or the Mennonite Church. Applications will be reviewed as they are received. For a full job description and contact information visit .

— The Palms of Sebring, Fla., a church-related retirement community, is searching for a chaplain, on a part-time basis, who will minister to seniors in the Health Care Center. Familiarity with senior ministries in a skilled nursing or assisted living environment would be preferable. Hospital ministry would also be helpful. The Palms of Sebring is located in central Florida, approximately 84 miles southwest of Disney World. Highlands County offers wonderful golfing, fishing, and auto racing. Annually, the first race of the American Formula 1 Grand Prix series is held in Sebring. Apply at or submit a resume to 863-385-2385.

— On Earth Peace has issued a request for proposals for curriculum development with an arts emphasis. The agency seeks a curriculum developer to add an arts component to the existing Agape-Satyagraha Training resource. The estimated budget for this project is $2,500; any proposal should include what could be accomplished with this amount. A secondary proposal may be submitted with an estimate for an amount greater than $2,500. The project should be completed during the time frame of July 1-Oct. 31. This time frame is negotiable but should be discussed within the proposal. Contact Marie Benner-Rhoades, Youth and Young Adult Peace Formation Director, at for a full description of the project, the existing curriculum, and any questions. All completed proposals are due by June 21.

— Amy Heckert has resigned as media support specialist with the Church of the Brethren. Her last day at the General Offices in Elgin, Ill., will be July 26. As of July 15 she will have completed 22 years of service with church-related agencies. She was first hired by Brethren Benefit Trust in 1991. She moved to a job with the former General Board in 2000, and has worked for the Church of the Brethren since then. Most recently, her work has focused on creation and maintenance of web pages for including widely used denominational tools such as the online calendar. In a major website project, she helped move the denominational website to its current host. She regularly aids the various departments of the church with a variety of web-based functions, e-mail newsletters, online photo albums, and more. For many years, she has been a key person in the Press Rooms at Annual Conference and National Youth Conference, where she serves as webmaster and creates a welcoming environment for volunteers.

— Audrey Hollenberg-Duffey will serve as summer intern with the Ministry of Reconciliation (MoR) of On Earth Peace. A Bethany Seminary student, she grew up in Westminster (Md.) Church of the Brethren and has done occasional work with MoR for the past several summers. This summer she will dig deeper into the work of MoR with the main responsibility of supporting the Annual Conference MoR team and helping update the Matthew 18 workshop.

— Prayer is requested for the National Junior High Conference being held at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College this weekend. Sponsored by the Youth and Young Adult Ministry, Church of the Brethren junior high students and adult advisors will gather for the conference tomorrow through Sunday. “Pray for safety in travel and participation and pray that these young people be encouraged in their faith and recognize the opportunities available to them to serve the church and our God,” said the June prayer guide from the Global Mission and Service office. Find the full prayer guide at .

— Congregations are invited to use Gather ’Round themes in worship this summer. Worship resources and sermon starters that coordinate with the weekly Gather ’Round themes are available. Gather ’Round is the curriculum produced by Brethren Press and MennoMedia. “God’s Good Creation” is the theme for the summer, “a wonderful time to pause and appreciate the essential goodness of the natural world,” said an announcement. “In Genesis 1, we meet God the majestic poet; in Genesis 2, we encounter a God with muddy hands, crafting human beings out of dirt. Psalms lift up the vast diversity of creation as well as God’s love for each one of us, inside and out…. This is a great opportunity to show children and youth that the congregation walks with them in their faith formation journey. One good way to use the prayers and calls to worship is to invite children and youth to lead them.” Find resources at . Summer curriculum is available for Preschool (ages 3-4), Multiage (grades K-5), and Youth/Junior Youth (grades 6-12). Order curriculum from Brethren Press at 800-441-3712.

— The summer 2013 quarter of A Guide for Biblical Studies, the Church of the Brethren Bible study curriculum for adults, is focused on the theme “God’s People Worship.” Written by Debbie Eisenbise, this study uses Old Testament texts to focus on God’s holiness, steadfast faith, joyful worship, and more. Cost is $4.25 ($7.35 large print) per copy, plus shipping and handling. Order from Brethren Press at 800-441-3712 or online at .

— Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) director Dan McFadden is the special guest for the June program of “Brethren Voices,” a community cable television show produced by Portland (Ore.) Peace Church of the Brethren. The program is hosted by Brent Carlson, with Ed Groff as producer. “Over 7,000 volunteers have served in BVS during the past 63 years and it has been Dan McFadden who has been at the helm of Brethren Volunteer Service the last 17 years,” said an announcement. “Under his leadership, BVS has celebrated its 300th training unit since 1948. Currently, there are 104 active projects with 67 in the US, 21 in Europe, 8 in Latin America, 5 in Africa, 2 in Japan, and 1 active project in Haiti.” The program also explores McFadden’s personal experience as a BVS volunteer in Honduras in 1981. “It was a time of war in El Salvador and Honduras. Dan states that his responsibility was to accompany refugees to safe areas using large cattle trucks.” Upcoming “Brethren Voices” will feature church member Jerry O’Donnell who is press secretary for US Representative Grace Napolitano in Washington D.C.; youth who attended the 2013 Christian Citizenship Seminar and some of the first who participated in this event in the 1950s; and Merle Forney, founder of “Kids as Peacemakers.” Order a copy from Ed Groff at . Brethren Voices is also seen on .

— Spirit of Joy, a Church of the Brethren group meeting in Arvada, Colo., is asking for prayer as it moves through a process of being “reborn” under the name “Living Light of Peace,” and becoming a dually affiliated congregation with the former Arvada Mennonite Church. “Pray we will be open to and follow the leading of the Spirit in this new and wonderful adventure God is calling us to experience,” said a note in the Western Plains District newsletter.

— “Are you looking for adventure? Then we might have an opportunity for you,” says Stover Memorial Church of the Brethren in the Oak Park/Highland Park neighborhood of Des Moines, Iowa. The church seeks “a few good folks” who want to live and work in Des Moines to help the congregation create a new “point of light” in the neighborhood. Stover will make the parsonage available to church planters, and the church house will be available for meetings, Bible study, worship, and community events. “We have been in an intentional discernment process for the past five years as our membership has declined,” said the announcement. “We believe that God is not done with us yet. The Northern Plains District has expressed its full support for this endeavor. Please come and join us on this new journey as we continue God’s work together.” Contact Pastor Barbara Wise Lewczak, 515-240-0060 or .

— Columbia Furnace Church of the Brethren in Woodstock, Va., is hosting a Holy Spirit Conference on July 15-18 on the theme, “One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism” (Ephesians 4:4-6). According to the Western Pennsylvania District newsletter, speakers include Melodye Hilton and Eric Smith, with workshop leaders Lallah Brilhart, Carolyn Cecil, and Sheryl Merritt. Childcare and age appropriate worship and activities are available. The Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership will grant .5 continuing education units to ministers who attend. For more information and to register go to .

— On July 7, Brian McLaren will be the featured guest in worship with Living Stream Church of the Brethren, the denomination’s first strictly online church plant. McLaren is a leader in the emergent church movement and author of “A Generous Orthodoxy,” “A New Kind of Christianity,” and “Naked Spirituality: A Life with God in 12 Simple Words.” Living Stream pastor Audrey deCoursey reports that McLaren will share visions for the church in the emerging Internet era. Questions from worshipers are welcomed throughout the live interview or by e-mail before the service. The webcast begins at 5 p.m. (Pacific time) on July 7. Worshipers can join the service by visiting and following links to the webcast portal. Archived video will be made available. Living Stream celebrated a six-month anniversary on June 2 when Colleen Michael, executive minister of Pacific Northwest District, installed deCoursey as pastor. The church plant operates under the auspices of Portland (Ore.) Peace Church of the Brethren.

— The 7th Annual Family Peace Camp in Atlantic Southeast District will be Aug 30-Sept. 1 at Camp Ithiel near Gotha, Fla. Resource leaders LuAnne Harley and Brian Kruschwitz of Yurtfolk will lead family-oriented peace activities. Kayla and Ilexene Alphonse will speak about their work in Haiti. Contact Phil Lersch, Action for Peace Team, at .

— Shepherd’s Spring outdoor ministry center is holding its 17th annual golf tournament on June 17 at the Maryland National Golf Club in Middletown. Entry fee is $95, check in is at 7:30 a.m. The tournament benefits scholarships and ministries at Shepherd’s Spring. Call 301-223-8193.

— Manchester University president Jo Young Switzer wrote in a recent newsletter that “commencement was especially exciting this year with the largest graduating class in years–284! Typically we honor around 200 graduates.” The university welcomed thousands of guests to its campus in North Manchester, Ind., to celebrate commencement.

— Three Church of the Brethren couples have received Citations of Merit from McPherson (Kan.) College: David and Bonnie Fruth, Phil and Pearl Miller, and Bill and Lois Grove. “David, Pearl, and Lois are also siblings, but the couples have more in common than their family connection,” notes a release. “These six encapsulate the values at the roots of the college, based in the Church of the Brethren.” Recipients are honored for “a commitment to quality education, to serving others, to building community, to promoting peace, and to living with simplicity and humility.” David and Bonnie Fruth met in Brethren Volunteer Service and spent their careers in education, David as a high school counselor and Bonnie as an elementary school teacher. They live at the Cedars, a Brethren retirement community in McPherson. Phil and Pearl Miller were mission workers with the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria, where Phil did alternative service as a conscientious objector and the couple taught school. They spent the rest of their careers in education in Iowa, and today are retired in Missouri and active in Warrensburg (Mo.) Church of the Brethren. Bill and Lois Grove also were mission workers in Nigeria where Bill was a teacher and school principal. Later both taught school in Zaire. Back in Iowa, Bill was a school principal while Lois “had the harder job–full-time mom.” Today she works for FEMA with survivor disaster assistance, and is an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren. Read the release at .

— In more news from McPherson–the only college that offers a four-year degree in automotive restoration–assistant professor of technology Ed Barr has written a comprehensive handbook on automotive metal shaping published by Motorbooks under the title “Professional Sheet Metal Fabrication.” After Motorbooks approached Barr to write the book, the volume took him two years working nights and weekends to complete, said a release. He received help from McPherson students “who illustrated shaping techniques and made their projects available to be photographed.” As of June 3, Barr has been blogging for Motorbooks at . Read the full release at .

— Christian Churches Together (CCT) has sent a letter to President Obama sharing “deepest concern over the kidnaping of two prominent archbishops in Syria, Greek Orthodox Archbishop Paul Yazigi of Aleppo and Syriac Orthodox Archbishop Yohanna Ibrahim of Aleppo.” The two have been missing since April 22. The letter asked the US government to use its influence to make a difference in the fate of the two church leaders. The letter also said, in part, “The members of our churches and organizations deeply lament the ongoing and horrible tragedy in Syria, with the deaths of tens of thousands, the displacement of millions, and the bitter sectarian hostility which seems to grow daily. Our prayers for comfort are with all who suffer, and our prayers for wisdom and courage are with all who are working for peace.” The letter was signed by the five presidents of the “families” of churches within CCT including Brethren Press publisher Wendy McFadden, president of the historic Protestant family.

— African churches celebrated 50 years of the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) at a 10th Assembly in Kampala, Uganda, on June 3-9. For this 50th Jubilee of the AACC, “church leaders from more than 40 African countries asked how they can rise up against the shackles of the colonial legacy, conflicts, poverty, class struggles and political upheavals, to unlock Africa’s immense potential,” said a release from the World Council of Churches. Speaking on the AACC vision, president Valentine Mokiwa said the AACC was created in 1963 to translate “African spirituality into the social, political, and moral transformation of this continent as it was emerging from the bondage of spiritual and mental imperialism and colonization.” He encouraged African churches to speak out against poverty, calling it a sin: “We must declare poverty the greatest scandal and sin of our time and age.” For the WCC release go to .

— A special trip to experience life in Lewistown, Maine, a ministry center for Brethren Revival Fellowship and the Brethren Volunteer Service BRF unit, has been announced for July 6-13. “You’ll get a taste of day-to-day life on Horton Street as we interact with those young and old in desperate need of the Savior,” said the BRF newsletter. “Those needed are to be 16 years old and older who have a heart to serve. Activities may include time spent at the Root Cellar, working with the local youth, time at the Good Shepherd Food Bank, as well as helping local church families with service projects.” Cost for the trip is approximately $100. Contact Caleb Long at 717-597-9935 or .

— An interview with Noam Chomsky has been published by Christian Peacemaker Teams and is available as a podcast online, according to a CPT release. The linguist, cognitive scientist, philosopher, and “radical truth-teller,” is interviewed by CPT interim assistant director Tim Nafziger and Herald Press editor Joanna Shenk, followed by a discussion with Nafziger, Shenk, and editor of Mark Van Steenwyck. In the interview, Chomsky and Nafziger discuss the 2005-06 CPT hostage crisis and how grassroots movements sustain themselves. Chomsky “has said in the past that CPT’s work gives him hope,” the release reported. “Although Chomsky is not religious, he has often expressed respect for religious people who put themselves at risk for the sake of justice.” The podcast is part of an Iconocast series on the Jesus Radicals website and is available at .

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