Brethren Bits for May 17, 2013

Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
Executives of the agencies of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference take advantage of beautiful weather to hold their spring meeting at a picnic table in the courtyard at the church’s General Offices in Elgin, Ill.: (from left) Stan Noffsinger, general secretary of the Church of the Brethren; Nevin Dulabaum, president of Brethren Benefit Trust; Bill Scheurer, executive director of On Earth Peace; and Ruthann Knechel Johansen, president of Bethany Theological Seminary. This is the last such meeting for Johansen, who is retiring from the seminary this summer.

— Correction: A Newsline remembrance of Bob Edgar, a former general secretary of the National Council of Churches, it was incorrectly stated that Church of the Brethren general secretary Stan Noffsinger had served on the NCC executive committee. Noffsinger served on the governing board of the NCC during Edgar’s term.

— Remembrance: Marion F. Showalter, 96, who had served for many years as a Church of the Brethren mission worker in Nigeria, died on Dec. 17, 2012. He was born Nov. 9, 1916, in Thomas, Okla., to Frank G. and Olive Showalter, and on June 4, 1939, married Dora Belle Tooker. He was a life-long member of Empire Church of the Brethren in Modesto, Calif. In 1964 the Showalters decided to volunteer for Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) and traveled to Nigeria for what was to have been a two-year stay. However, they remained in Nigeria for a total of 19 years, retiring in 1983. After retirement he continued to serve the church in many areas including doing opening and closing and ongoing maintenance of Camp Peaceful Pines, a Church of the Brethren camp located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. “He was a mechanic by trade and anyone who knew him knew that if something was broken then he could likely fix it,” said the obituary in “The Modesto Bee.” He was preceded in death by his only daughter Kollene. He is survived by his wife of almost 74 years, Dora Showalter, and grandchildren Kristina Pyatt of Walnut Creek, Calif., Cynthia Bilyeu also of Walnut Creek, and Shawn Bilyeu of Orcutt, Calif., and great-grandchildren. Family and friends held a memorial celebration on Jan. 13 at Empire Church of the Brethren. Memorial gifts are received to Empire Church of the Brethren.

— Brethren Press and MennoMedia are seeking a project editor for a new Sunday school curriculum titled Shine: Living in God’s Light. The editor works closely with freelance writers and editors and various committees, and reports to the project director. Candidates should have excellent skills in editing and project management, and 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 Church of the Brethren seeks a manager for the Global Mission and Service office, to fill a fulltime, salaried position at the General Offices in Elgin, Ill. This position is responsible for administrative processes assigned by the executive director for areas including Global Mission and Service, Brethren Volunteer Service, and Global Food Crisis. Major responsibilities include development of unit-wide synergies among GMS programs, coordination of staff meetings, and cross-promotion of activities in internal and external communications. Additional responsibilities include responding to general inquiries; promoting financial support; facilitating the functioning of the Mission Advisory Committee; assisting in creation and development of promotional materials; facilitating multiple tasks including financial processes, international travel, and mission worker speaking tours; maintaining files and records. Requirements include communication and organizational skills; competency in Microsoft Office Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint; ability to problem solve, exercise good judgment, prioritize tasks; ability to work collaboratively and independently with minimal supervision; ability to maintain confidentiality; appreciation for the church’s role in mission; ability to act in a multicultural and multigenerational environment; ability to interact gracefully with the public. Three to five years of executive administrative experience is required with a preference for experience in a not-for-profit. A bachelor’s degree or other relevant education is required. Applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis until the position is filled. Request an application form and a complete job description from the Office of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; 800-323-8039 ext. 367; .

— Fahrney-Keedy Home and Village, a Church of the Brethren retirement community near Boonsboro, Md., seeks an administrator to serve as vice president of Health Services. This position is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the 106 skilled nursing care and 32 assisted living bed units in accordance with regulations that govern long-term and assisted living care facilities. Candidates must hold a current, unencumbered nursing facility Administrator’s License for the State of Maryland. For additional information visit the website . Resumes or applications should be sent to Cassandra Weaver, Vice President of Operations, 301-671-5014, or . Fahrney-Keedy Home and Village is an equal opportunity employer and is located at 8507 Mapleville Rd., Boonsboro, MD 21713; fax 301-733-3805.

— June 1 is the deadline for submitting an application for the Open Roof Award. If you know of a congregation who has gone the extra mile to serve–and be served by–those who are differently-abled, send nominations along with any applicable pictures to by June 1. It is okay to nominate your own congregation, notes Donna Kline, director of Deacon Ministries for the Church of the Brethren. Nomination materials as well as descriptions of previous recipients are online at .

— Nigerian Brethren continue to suffer attacks from the extreme Islamist group Boko Haram. On Sunday, May 5, gunmen attacked members of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN–the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) in Jilang village in Adamawa State, killing 10 people and injuring 12, according to Nigerian news reports. The reports said gunmen attacked the village and stormed the church during the worship service, shooting at worshipers as they were listening to the preacher. On that Saturday, the sect had attacked another town near the border with Cameroon, killing four people including two Muslim clerics. In recent months the violence in northern Nigeria has heated up and is now being called an insurgency, and this week the Nigerian government declared a state of emergency in three northern states. Also recently government troops have come under criticism for alleged massacres of civilians in the north of the country, while Boko Haram has declared political control over several border regions around Lake Chad close to the large northeastern city of Maiduguri. For an analysis of the grim situation in Nigeria from the London-based newspaper “The Guardian,” go to .

Photo by courtesy of Becky Ullom Naugle
The Outdoor Ministries Association (OMA) steering committee met March 11-13 at Camp Ithiel in Gotha, Fla. The mission of OMA is to “connect, enliven, and support the dynamic ministries of the Church of the Brethren camps.” The steering committee supports new camp staff by connecting them with mentors, plans an annual retreat for people working in outdoor ministries, recognizes outstanding contributions to camping ministries, and promotes outdoor ministries at Church of the Brethren and other ecumenical events. Shown here are (back row, from left) Gene Karn, Becky Ullom Naugle, Rex Miller, Gieta Gresh, Dean Wenger; (front, from left) Margo Royer-Miller, Debbie Eisenbise, Jan Gilbert Hurst, Curt Rowland. For more information, visit .

– The 2013 Young Adult Conference is coming up at the end of May. For ages 18-35, the event takes place May 25-27 at Camp Pine Lake near Eldora, Iowa. Find out more at .

— This year’s National Junior High Conference on the theme “Love Speaks” is planned for June 14-16 at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College. Speakers include Jeff Carter, Marlys Hershberger, and Jennifer Quijano. Cost is $155. Registration and information is at .

— Manassas (Va.) Church of the Brethren celebrated Lois Wine’s 48 years of service as organist on May 12 with a time of special music during the morning worship service. “She has played for innumerable occasions through-out the years from 1965-2013,” said the church newsletter. “Lois Glick Wine left the console for the next organist on Easter Sunday, 2013.”

— Bridgewater (Va.) Church of the Brethren hosts the John Kline Riders on Sunday, May 26. “The riders (and their horses, of course) plan to arrive at 9:45 a.m.,” said the Shenandoah District newsletter. “This annual ride relates our rich heritage at various points along the circuit that Elder Kline rode more than 150 years ago.” The riders are named in honor of Civil War-era Brethren elder and martyr for peace John Kline, who rode his horse Nell across the battle lines between North and South as a preacher and healer. At Bridgewater on May 26, the riders will participate in inter-generational Sunday school, the 11 a.m. worship service, and a potluck lunch.

— On Sunday, May 19, Pleasant Dale Church of the Brethren in Decatur, Ind., is having a Blessing of the Bikes. “Bring your motorcycles, bicycles, tricycles, golf carts, scooters, ATVs–if it has wheels we’ll bless it!” said an invitation. Contact the church at 260-565-3797.

— York Center (Ill.) Church of the Brethren is holding a work/study trip to Honduras to tour Heifer International projects. Dates are tentatively Oct. 5-12, according to an announcement in the Illinois and Wisconsin District newsletter. Participants will give input to the itinerary which may include visits to Heifer projects, house construction, assisting at a home for boys, a visit to Copa Mayan ruins. Cost estimate is $500 plus airfare. Contact by July 1.

— Prairie City (Iowa) Church of the Brethren has launched a new website and announced a new mailing address: 12015 Hwy S 6G, Prairie City, IA 50228.

— “Have you ever felt called to the mission field?” asks Stover Memorial Church of the Brethren in Des Moines, Iowa. “Do you feel a calling to bring others to Christ? Are you looking for adventure? Then we might have an opportunity for you.” The congregation in the Oak Park/Highland Park neighborhood of Des Moines seeks people to help plant a new “point of light” in its location. “We do not know what this ‘point of light’ might look like; however we do feel God calling us to this work,” said the announcement shared through Northern Plains District. The church will provide the parsonage rent-free to church planters, and will provide the use of the church house for meetings, Bible study, worship, community meetings. “We have been in an intentional discernment process for the past five years as our membership has declined,” the church explained. “We believe that God is not done with us yet and that the Northern Plains District is to continue planting and watering in this location.” Contact pastor Barbara Wise Lewczak, 515-240-0060 or to express interest or for more information.

— Southern Ohio District will gather for a Pentecost Celebration on May 19, 4-7 p.m. at Happy Corner Church of the Brethren. The family friendly celebration will be an intercultural experience with a performance by LuAnne Harley and Brian Kruschwitz of Yurtfolk, a carry-in meal of favorite multi-ethnic recipes, games, face painting, balloon creations, and worship.

— The Shenandoah District Disaster Ministries Auction is at Rockingham County (Va.) Fairgrounds on May 17-18. The event raises money for Brethren Disaster Ministries. This is Shenandoah’s 21st annual auction and starts off “with a bang” at 8:30 a.m. on May 17 with the Golf Tournament Shotgun Start at Heritage Oaks Golf Course. Also on the 17th at the fairgrounds are sales of arts and crafts, baked goods, plants, art, furniture, selected handiwork, an oyster-country ham dinner, and a silent auction. The livestock auction starts at 6:15 p.m. Events at the fairgrounds on May 18 begin with breakfast from 7-10 a.m., sales beginning at 8 a.m., another silent auction in the morning, following by a worship service at 8:45 a.m. The main auction starts at 9 a.m. and includes quilts, crafts, handmade furniture, and miscellaneous items. Also on sale are theme baskets and a barbecue lunch. Children’s activities will be in the big tent from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. More detailed information is at the district’s website, .

— World Hunger Auction events in Virlina District are kicking off for the summer with the World Hunger Bike Ride on June 1. Registration begins at 8 a.m. at Antioch Church of the Brethren. The event offers the choice of riding 50, 25, 10, and 5 miles through Virginia’s Franklin and Floyd Counties. As a special option this year, young children will be invited to ride five miles on the track at Callaway (Va.) Elementary School. The 11th Annual World Hunger Golf Tournament at Mariner’s Landing Golf and Country Club is on June 8. Shotgun start is at 1 p.m. Arrive early for lunch. Contact Chris Myers at to reserve a team spot. More information and registration forms for the bike ride and golf tournament can be found at .

— Camp Colorado near Sedalia, Colo., is having a Workcamp Weekend on May 24-27 to open the camp and prepare it for the 2013 camping season. Meals and tools will be provided for all who come to volunteer. The camp’s special project to complete a tractor shed this year honors Darrel Jones, camp co-manager for the last decade, who was killed in a tragic accident in November. “We’ll come together to finish this in his memory,” said an invitation from Western Plains District. RSVP to Rosi Jones at or 719-688-2375.

— Saturday, May 18, is the annual Camp Eder Benefit Golf Tournament at Mountain View Golf Course in Fairfield, Pa. Registration starts at 6:30 a.m., the shotgun start at 8:30 a.m. There will a lunch at Camp Eder at 1 p.m.

— The 6th Annual Butterfly Release to benefit the Good Samaritan Fund of the Brethren Home Foundation is on May 18 at 10 a.m. Location is by the pond at Cross Keys Village-The Brethren Home Community in New Oxford, PA. There will be musical performances and photo memories captured at previous events by local artist Bobbi Becker. For more information contact the Foundation Office at 717-624-5208.

— The Bridgewater (Va.) Retirement Community expects to break ground in coming months for additions to and renovation of the Huffman Health Center, according to a note from Shenandoah District. The new center will provide residents with a homelike setting in six households, a result of a culture change movement toward more resident-centered living, the newsletter said. The project is called “Advancing the Vision.”

— Several Church of the Brethren-related colleges or universities have announced their plans for commencement:
Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., has announced that outgoing president Thomas R. Kepple will finish his 15th year leading the school after delivering the address at the college’s 135th commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. on May 18.
The Bridgewater (Va.) College commencement address will be given by Virginia Supreme Court Justice William C. Mims on May 18 at 10 a.m. More than 300 seniors are expected to receive degrees at the ceremony on the campus mall. Carl Fike, pastor of Oak Park Church of the Brethren in Oakland, Md., will deliver the message at the baccalaureate service on May 17 at 6 p.m. in Nininger Hall.
Also at Bridgewater College, 129 of the graduating seniors are joining students across the nation and around the world in signing the Graduation Pledge and making a commitment to promote social and environmental responsibility in their future workplaces. According to a release from the school, this marks the 12th year that Bridgewater graduates have participated. “I think the Graduation Pledge is a great fit with Bridgewater’s mission of empowering our students to live ethical lives in a global society,” said chaplain Robert Miller.
Elizabethtown (Pa.) College holds its 110th Commencement on May 18 with two ceremonies: commencement for traditional students starts at 11 a.m. at The Dell, with speaker Eboo Patel, President of the Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC); and a ceremony for Edward R. Murphy Center for Continuing Education and Distance Learning students starts at 4 p.m. at Leffler Chapel with speaker Jeffrey B. Miller, vice president and chief security officer of the National Football League.
Manchester University in N. Manchester, Ind., announces that award-winning solar physicist Sarah Kurtz will deliver the address and receive an honorary degree at the commencement ceremony on May 19.

— Bridgewater (Va.) College has announced numerous student awards at the close of the school year. Of note for Brethren, Katie Furrow of Monte Vista Church of the Brethren in Virlina District has received the Esther Mae Wilson Petcher Memorial Scholarship in memory of Esther Mae Wilson Petcher, a former missionary to Nigeria. Scott R. Griffin received the Dale V. Ulrich Physics Scholarship in honor of the former professor of physics and dean and provost who served 38 years on the faculty. Seniors Tyler Goss and Stephanie R. Breen were recognized by the Department of  Philosophy and Religion. Goss received the Outstanding Senior Award in Religion. He is a leader of Outspoken, the chapel praise band; a member of the Brethren Student Movement; and a member of the Deputation Team that provides worship services for churches. Breen received the Ruth and Steve Watson Philosophy Scholarship Award. Four students received Summer Christian Experience Scholarships and will spend 10 weeks working at Church of the Brethren-related camps: Patricia A. Ajavon and Kirsten Roth will serve at Shepherd’s Spring in Sharpsburg, Md.; Kaitlyn Harris will go to Camp Swatara in Bethel, Pa.; and Shelley Weachter will serve at Camp Bethel in Fincastle, Va.

— Juniata College’s John C. Baker Award for Exemplary Service has been given to James Lakso, provost since 1998 and a member of the faculty for more than four decades, and John Hille, executive vice president for enrollment and retention. Lakso and Hille are the seventh and eighth recipient of the award since it was established in 1997. The two retiring administrators and retiring Juniata College president Thomas R. Kepple also have been honored by the establishment of a scholarship and two endowments to benefit students and faculty. Kepple was honored by the Thomas R. Kepple and Patricia G. Kepple International Opportunities Endowment to fund travel grants for students studying abroad and international students at Juniata. Hille was honored by the John and Tan Hille Endowed Scholarship, a merit scholarship to one student per year. In 2010, Lakso was honored by the James J. Lakso Endowment for Faculty Excellence providing annual funding for faculty development. In addition, the college also named its recently established teaching center the James J. Lakso Center for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.

— Kathy Guisewite, a licensed minister from Staunton (Va.) Church of the Brethren, is outreach coordinator at the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind. In an announcement from Shenandoah District, she has been making presentations about the school and the early intervention program that she facilitates for church gatherings and Sunday school classes. More about the school is at .

— David Radcliff of the Brethren-related New Community Project had a letter to the editor published in the “New York Times” commenting on the clothing factory collapse in Bangladesh that killed more than 1,000 workers, most of them young women. Radcliff bemoaned the limitations consumers face in their ability to effect change. He wrote, in part, “For myself, I have divested from the stock market; reduced purchases to the minimum while seeking out previously owned and/or fairly made items whenever possible; spread the word in schools and other settings about these abuses; and taken groups abroad to visit our struggling neighbors and ecosystems and to consider the connections between our lives and theirs.” Find the letter in full at .

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