Brethren Bits for March 7, 2013

General secretary Stan Noffsinger (at right) was recently in the Dominican Republic for the 2013 Asamblea, the annual meeting of Iglesia de los Hermanos (the Dominican Church of the Brethren). “The Asamblea in the DR was very well attended and the spirit of the church was positive, redeeming, and hopeful! What a delight,” Noffsinger said in a Facebook post while he was in the DR. He also reported that Ariel Rosario Abreu (at left) is the new moderator for the Dominican church.

— The COBYS Family Services board of directors recently reorganized, calling Rose Walmer to serve as president. In addition, the board welcomed new member Brenda Spence. Walmer, of Myerstown, Pa., is chief personnel officer at Wengers of Myerstown and president of the Wenger Foundation, Inc., the charitable giving arm of the Wenger Family of Companies. A member of Myerstown Church of the Brethren and a graduate of Elizabethtown (Pa.) College, she has served on a number of nonprofit boards, including Evangelical Seminary and On Fire Youth Ministries. Spence, of Manheim, Pa., is employed as resident accounts manager by Masonic Village in Elizabethtown and is a member of Chiques Church of the Brethren where she serves as a deacon and writing clerk. She previously served the Atlantic Northeast District as district clerk and member of the Program and Arrangements Committee and the Gifts Discernment Team. COBYS Family Services educates, supports, and empowers children and adults to reach their full potential, carrying out this mission by offering foster care and adoption services, counseling, and family life education in Lancaster, Pa., and neighboring counties.

— The Church of the Brethren Workcamp office has announced that the assistant coordinator for the 2014 season will be Jenna Stacy. She will graduate from Bridgewater (Va.) College in May, where she is majoring in philosophy and religion with a peace studies minor. While studying at Bridgewater, she has also been serving as a junior high advisor for Harrisonburg (Va.) First Church of the Brethren. She comes from Melvin Hill Church of the Brethren in Southeastern District. Working through Brethren Volunteer Service, Stacy will begin her work in August to plan the 2014 workcamp season.

— In an announcement from the Zigler Hospitality Center at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., changes have been made to housekeeping and dining services in order to reduce expenses and better match the volume of volunteer guests. Janet Comings began as lead cook on Jan. 2, after Walter Trail Jr. concluded his service as managing chef on Dec. 31, 2012. Comings will lead a team of assistants and volunteer kitchen aides in providing the dining services for volunteer groups and guests of the center.

— The Zigler Hospitality Center seeks volunteer kitchen assistants. This position at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., is open in April, with an urgent need for the months of May through July, and October through November, which are busier times of year for the dining facilities at the center. The Zigler Hospitality Center is a program of the Church of the Brethren and functions as a meeting and retreat center primarily serving day volunteers who support campus agencies such as SERRV, Material Resources, and IMA World Health. The Hospitality Center also serves churches, non-profit groups, small businesses, individuals, and families who visit the Brethren Service Center. The Hospitality Center welcomes people of all faiths and backgrounds. It includes two buildings with 12 guest rooms accommodating up to 30, conference rooms, outdoor recreation, and a dining and banquet facility. Volunteer kitchen assistants serve alongside a dedicated staff by assisting in the preparation of food for guests. The work includes preparing and serving continental breakfast and catered snacks for overnight guests, assisting in the preparation of the salad bar for campus lunch, assisting in preparation for banquets and special events, working in the dish room, and following all sanitation and health department rules and regulations. Resident volunteers are provided with a furnished one-bedroom efficiency apartment with private bath, living area, and kitchen in a building on the Brethren Service Center campus. Volunteers are welcome to partake of any meal served in the dining room and are also provided a food stipend to cover days when meals are not provided because the dining room is closed. The Zigler Hospitality Center welcomes couples who would like to serve together. If a prospective volunteer has a physical handicap, please contact the center directly to determine collectively whether service at the Zigler Hospitality Center is a good fit overall. The term of service ranges from a minimum of two months to a maximum of two years. Volunteers have two days off work each week, and an additional week of vacation for every six months of service. In addition to volunteer kitchen assistants, the Hospitality Center is always in need of outgoing, generous people to serve as volunteer hosts or hostesses to provide Christian hospitality and conference services to guests. For more information contact Cori Hahn, Hospitality Coordinator, at or 410-635-8700.

— “Childhood Poverty: Nutrition, Housing, and Education” is the focus for the 2013 Christian Citizenship Seminar in New York and Washington, D.C., that begins on March 23 and continues through March 28. The event is for high school age youth and adult advisors to consider current issues and engage in advocacy in the nation’s capital. For more about CCS go to .

— “There’s still room for YOU at a workcamp this summer!” says an announcement from the Church of the Brethren Workcamp Ministry. “There is room for you to…walk the sordid streets of Los Angeles, see the beautiful mountains of Colorado, expand your understanding of others at Innisfree Village, raft the mighty rivers of Idaho, work with the earth in the green city of Seattle and more! There’s room for EVERYONE! Did you know…that we offer a workcamp for intellectually and physically disabled youth ages 16-23 AND that we offer a workcamp that you and your grandkids can go to? Check out our lesser known workcamps–We Are Able and Intergenerational.” Registration for workcamps is open at .

— “At God’s Table: Food Justice for a Healthy World”
is the focus of Ecumenical Advocacy Days on April 5-8. Early registration for a reduced fee ends March 15. Participants book their own rooms at the DoubleTree Crystal City Hotel in Crystal City, Va. Events are also held in Washington, D.C. “Join 1,000 Christian advocates at the 11th annual Ecumenical Advocacy Days to seek Food Justice for a Healthy World!” said an invitation. “In a world that produces enough food for everyone, EAD will explore the injustices in global food systems that leave one billion people hungry, create food price shocks that destabilize communities everywhere, and undermine God’s creation. At God’s Table, all are invited and fed, and the poorest in our midst are given a special place.” The theme image of God’s table comes from Exodus 16:16-18 and Luke 14:12-24. Speakers will offer a faith-based vision for fair and humane food policies and practices, along with grassroots advocacy training, culminating with a Monday Lobby Day on Capitol Hill. Organizers encourage churches, denominations, and regional councils of churches to charter buses and bring large groups to this important faith-in-action event. For detailed information and registration go to . Brethren who attend are requested to contact Nathan Hosler, director of the denomination’s Peace Witness Ministry based in Washington, at 202-481-6943 or .

— Applications are due April 12 for this summer’s Exploring Your Call (EYC) at Bethany Theological Seminary. EYC takes place June 14-24. Sponsored by the seminary’s Institute for Ministry with Youth and Young Adults, EYC is a grant-funded leadership and discernment program for rising high school juniors and seniors. Participants value the hands-on ministry experiences, college-level classroom learning, and connection with peers who are asking similar questions about life, faith, and ministry. Students need only pay for transportation to and from the event, held on the Bethany Seminary campus in Richmond, Ind. For more information and to apply, go to .

— The Youth and Young Adult office is sharing fundraising ideas for National Youth Conference 2014 at . Here’s one of the latest: the $500 wheelbarrow. “Did you know that a large, heavy-duty wheelbarrow can hold 50,000 pennies?” said the post. “That amounts to $500! Borrow the wheelbarrow from a church member and place in a high-traffic area of your church. Always keep a sign nearby to explaining what the wheelbarrow and pennies are for. It also helps if someone can ‘work’ the wheelbarrow, standing nearby to explain the fundraiser, why you are raising money, and to sell rolls of pennies. Remember to place the wheelbarrow in a secure area when it’s not in use or no one is around.”

— “It’s not too early to hold May 15-17, 2014, for the next Church of the Brethren church planting conference,” said Congregational Life Ministries’ Jonathan Shively in a Facebook post. The event in Richmond, Ind., will focus on planting toward an intercultural future.

— The Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center hosts “Dunkers Impacted by the Battle of Gettysburg” on April 6 from 8:30 a.m.-4:15 p.m. The event starts at Lutheran Theological Seminary of Gettysburg, Pa. Stephen Longenecker, professor of history at Bridgewater (Va.) College, will offer lectures on “Dunkers on the Gettysburg Community and Battle” and “The Dunkers’ Ancient Order in Antebellum America.” Marc Oldenberg, professor of preaching at the Lutheran seminary, will lecture on “Simon Samuel Schmucker: Lutheran Pietist and Abolitionist.” Also included will be a tour of the newly renovated Seminary Ridge Museum and a visit to March Creek Meeting House, mother meeting house of Gettysburg Church of the Brethren, where closing worship will be held. Registration is $50 (including lunch). Registration including .4 continuing education units costs $60. Children may register for $20. Proceeds support the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center. Registration deadline is March 25. To register contact 717-361-1450 or . The registration form is at .

— Peace pole dancing? To show their love for peace and to encourage On Earth Peace in its efforts, folk at Palmyra (Pa.) Church of the Brethren recently danced around their peace pole to the music of Mutual Kumquat–and posted the dance on YouTube. “My home church is amazing and this should go viral,” said a Facebook fan. Inspired by Palmyra, some staff and Brethren Volunteer Service workers at the General Offices did their own peace pole dance, in the snow. Says a post on the official Facebook page of the “peace pole dance revolution”: “The first known outbreak of the peace pole dancing epidemic may be traceable back to Harrisburg, Pa., and the retirement ceremony of Gerald W. Rhoades. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) has issued a public health alert: CAUTION: avoid peace poles, look out for them wherever you travel.” Find out more and see videos at .

— Olympia, Lacey Community Church in Lacey, Wash., has been holding worship walks, led by pastor Howard Ullery Jr. The congregation is affiliated jointly with the United Church of Christ and the Church of the Brethren. Ullery is leading out-door walks with the intention of worship and fellowship, starting the first Saturday in March at a rose garden at Priest Point Park followed on Wednesday on the Chehalis Trail at Chambers Lake.

— Iglesia Cristiana Renacer-Roanoke, a Church of the Brethren congregation in Roanoke, Va., will offer a 12-week course of basic conversational Spanish starting March 14. Classes will be on Thursdays from  6:30-8:30 p.m. at Roanoke First Church of the Brethren. A monthly contribution of $25 will help cover costs. A fee of $20 will be charged for the textbook. Register no later than Feb. 28 by calling Daniel D’Oleo at 540-892-8791.

— The Senior High Youth of Pleasant Valley Church of the Brethren in Weyers Cave, Va., invite other youth groups to join them on March 17, 6:30-8 p.m., for an evening with Bill Scheurer, executive director of On Earth Peace. RSVP to by March 13.

— McPherson (Kan.) Church of the Brethren and McPherson Mennonite Church are hosting a “Peace, Pies, and Prophets” performance by Ted and Company to benefit Christian Peacemaker Teams. The performance will be at 7 p.m. on March 16 at the Opera House in McPherson. During the evening there will be a pie auction to help raise money for CPT.

— Shenandoah District Pastors for Peace will present a Living Peace Recognition Award to Dale V. Ulrich, professor emeritus of physics at Bridgewater (Va.) College, at a Peace Feast at 6:30 p.m. March 19 at Montezuma Church of the Brethren in Dayton, Va. Bill Scheurer, executive director of On Earth Peace, will be guest speaker. Reservations are due at the District Office by March 12. Tickets are $15 general admission and $10 for students. Contact 540-234-8555 or .

— Roundtable regional youth conference at Bridgewater (Va.) College is scheduled for March 22-24. This event for senior high youth will feature worship, workshops, open mike night, and more. Cost is $50. The theme is “Transformed: Rebel with a Cause” with Marcus Harden as speaker. Entertainment will be by a cappella choirs from James Madison University. Register at .

— CrossRoads’ 2013 Benefit Auction begins at 9 a.m. on March 23 at Bowman Auctions in Harrisonburg, Va. The sale will feature furniture, hand-crafted items, collectibles, antiques, and more. Breakfast and lunch will be available as well as a bake sale. Proceeds benefit the Valley Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center.

— The Southern Ohio District Board has taken action to form a new team based on the Shalom Team paper passed at the 2002 Annual Conference. “This team will promote the holistic concept of shalom and will be dedicated to the health, wholeness, and well being of every congregation, pastor, and leadership team in the district,” reported the district newsletter.

— Foregoing “fun in the sun” spring breaks, several groups of students at Church of the Brethren-related colleges are doing services projects instead.
At Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., 21 students in the Habitat for Humanity club will take on the construction of an entire house in Albany, Ga., and other students will organize the affiliate’s ReStore location. The college’s Hillel chapter for Jewish students is traveling to the Dominican Republic to work on the “My Roof” project that focuses on building shelters for people who don’t have adequate, safe housing, and will volunteer at a health clinic and a school. Juniata’s Christian Ministry Board is traveling to North Fort Myers, Fla., to volunteer on a demonstration farm working with Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization. The college’s Community Service Board is going to Apopka, Fla., to work with immigrant families in collaboration with a local organization called Hope CommUnity Center.
At Bridgewater (Va.) College, 18 students and 2 staff members will spend spring break volunteering with Habitat’s Collegiate Challenge Spring Break 2013. The group, accompanied by college chaplain Robbie Miller and Stacie Horrell, assistant director of student activities, will leave for Sumter, S.C., on March 10 to work in partnership with the Sumter Habitat for Humanity helping to build several houses. To raise money for the trip, they held a chili cook-off and sponsored a faculty/staff car wash. This is the 21st year that Bridgewater College students have used spring break to work on various Habitat projects.
At McPherson (Kan.) College, a group of students is planning to serve for a week at a Brethren Disaster Ministries project site in Holton, Ind., in late March. Tom Hurst, director of Service for the college, is organizing the trip with help from Western Plains District.

— The next event in the Presidential Community Enrichment series of lectures at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College features associate professor of history David Kenley on the struggle of Church of the Brethren missionaries in China. The lecture at noon March 21 is titled “Peace and Conflict in Asia: Missionaries and the Chinese Revolution.” All sessions in the series are held in the Susquehanna Room at Myer Hall and begin with lunch at noon followed by a lecture, questions, and discussion, ending by 2 p.m. Cost is $10 and registration is required. Contact Lisa Wolfe at 717-361-6410 or or see .

— Also at Elizabethtown College, Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) founder and president Marian Wright Edelman will give the 2013 Leffler Memorial Lecture on March 20 at 7:30 p.m. Edelman is a graduate of Spelman College and Yale Law School, and was the first black woman admitted to the Mississippi Bar. She began her professional career in the mid-1960s as director of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund office in Jackson, Miss. After moving to Washington, D.C., in 1968, she took a position as counsel for the Poor People’s Campaign, organized by Martin Luther King Jr. Soon after, she founded the Washington Research Project, a public interest law firm and the parent of the CDF, which she founded in 1973. Tickets are free, reserve by calling 717-361-4757.

— Jonathan Reed presented the McPherson (Kan.) College Religious Heritage Lecture hosted by McPherson Church of the Brethren on March 3. Professor of religion and dean of the college of arts and sciences at the University of La Verne, Calif., Reed investigates “the life, times, and teachings of Jesus with a shovel and trowel as much as with a Bible and commentaries,” said a release. “You have to understand the history and society of first-century Galilee, before you can get right a theology for the 21st century,” Reed said in the release. His work in the field includes 13 years in supervisory roles at excavations in Israel, and five books including “Archaeology and the Galilean Jesus” and “Excavating Jesus,” which takes on a major archaeological or textual discovery in each chapter and how those discoveries illuminate the life and teachings of Jesus.

— McPherson (Kan.) College Automotive Restoration students have built a custom pedal car to raise money to bring children from underserved schools in Los Angeles to the Petersen Automotive Museum. McPherson is the only college that offers a four-year liberal arts degree in automotive restoration. The pedal car is one of three the museum is auctioning at the RM Auction at Amelia Island, Fla., on March 9. As a part of the Petersen Automotive Museum’s Deuce Week celebration of the 80th anniversary of the ’32 Ford, nine of the “hottest” hot rod builders in the country were invited to create pedal cars. “Each builder started with a pedal car 1932 Ford Roadster and then used their vision, craftsmanship, and passion to create the one-off customized collectibles,” said a release. Six of the nine cars have already sold and raised more than $25,000. Proceeds help fund the Robert E. Petersen Free School Bus program. The car built at McPherson was inspired by the 1932 Paul Harris roadster, which was donated to the college. To bid on the car, go to . For more information see

— For a second year, Bridgewater (Va.) College is taking part in “Walk for Hope: Colleges Unite for Depression and Suicide,” on March 23, from 9 a.m. to noon at James Madison University’s Godwin Field. Students, faculty, and staff of area colleges are walking, along with the school presidents. The walk is open to the public. “Suicide prevention and depression awareness are key concerns for our campuses,” said the school presidents in a statement. “We fully support initiatives that draw attention to these pressing mental health issues, and are committed to providing support for the people affected by them.” The walk is made possible by the Austin Frazier Memorial Fund in memory of a JMU student who committed suicide in October 2009.

— In more news from Bridgewater, the college will dedicate an electric-vehicle charging station. College officials and local legislators will perform a ribbon cutting at 9:30 a.m. on March 19 in the Stone Village parking lot. The public is invited. The charging station was made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act through the Department of Energy’s Transportation Electrification Initiative. The $6,000 grant to Bridgewater was part of an overall objective to accelerate development and production of electric vehicles to reduce petroleum consumption, reduce greenhouse gas production, and create jobs. The charging station will be used by the college’s fleet of fully electric campus utility vehicles, and faculty, staff, and students who drive plug-in electric cars. Eventually the station will be available to the public as well.

— Steve Longenecker will give the John Kline Lecture at the John Kline Homestead in Broadway, Va., on March 24 at 3 p.m. He is author of “Gettysburg Religion,” a new book due out later this year. The lecture will explore the impact of the Battle of Gettysburg on Brethren who lived on the battlefield. “Refreshments, of the 19th century variety, will be served,” reports the Shenandoah District announcement.

— In preparation for Annual Conference in Charlotte, N.C., the Springs of Living Water Initiative has created a disciplines folder on the book of Philippians for the month of April. With prayer suggestions for missions around the world given by Annual Conference moderator Robert Krouse, the theme is “Shining Like Stars in the World, the Journey Outward: Growing in Christian Maturity.” Users will find a suggested prayer pattern followed by daily readings from Philippians and a daily request for prayer for a mission point. Bible study questions, also found on the Springs website, are prepared by Vince Cable, pastor of Uniontown Church of the Brethren near Pittsburgh, Pa. For more information go to www.churchrenewalservant or e-mail David and Joan Young at .

— Sojourners, a Christian community in Washington, D.C., has received a request from faith leaders in Newtown, Conn., for help to stand in solidarity with them as they sent a letter to Congress on the need for laws to limit gun violence. In response, Sojourners is inviting other faith leaders across the country to sign a letter to the Senate asking for “strong, enforceable laws to limit gun violence,” said a release from the community. “Newtown does not want to be remembered as the town of the tragedy but the bridge to a new and kinder world,” the letter reads in part. Find the letter and more information at .

— Melissa Carr of Central Church of the Brethren in Roanoke, Va., and who teaches science at William Byrd High School in Roanoke County, has been honored “for being ‘Best of the Best,’” reports WSLS Channel 10. She has received the honor from the Rochester Institute of Technology. “A student Carr taught four years ago nominated her for the award. He says Carr inspired him to pursue a career in engineering,” the television station reported. Find the report at .

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