Brethren Bits for May 30

Photo by courtesy of BVS
A group of nine Manchester University graduates are planning to join Brethren Volunteer Service this year, to take part in either the summer or fall units. Pictured are (front row) Carson McFadden, Traci Doi, and Whitnee Kibler Hidalgo; (back row) Stephanie Barras, Dylan Ford, Craig Morphew, Turner Ritchie, Andrew Kurtz, and Jess Rinehart.

— Remembrance: James “Jim” E. Renz, 94, died May 19 at Pinecrest retirement community in Mt. Morris, Ill. He was a former director of social welfare for the Church of the Brethren, and founder of the Renz Addiction Counseling Center in Elgin, Ill., which now serves thousands of people through treatment and prevention programs. The “Daily Herald” newspaper notes that when Renz started the center 52 years ago it was a one-man operation in a small office on the second floor of a downtown building. It was Renz’ hard work and dedication as a Church of the Brethren pastor with a lifelong commitment to service, that propelled the center to become one of the largest nonprofits that serve northern Kane and western Cook Counties of Illinois, said the newspaper. Renz was a pastor in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois before he moved to Elgin to serve on the denominational staff in 1952. Read the full article at . A memorial service will be held at Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin on Sunday afternoon, June 2.

— Remembrance: D. Eugene Lichty, 92, died May 20 at McPherson (Kan.) Hospital. He was a former director of development for McPherson College, and served as a board member of On Earth Peace. He was born April 14, 1921, in Waterloo, Iowa, son of Ray W. and Elizabeth McRoberts Lichty. He married Eloise Marie McKnight on Aug. 20, 1944, in Quinter, Kan. He was a graduate of McPherson College and Bethany Theological Seminary in Chicago, and was a Church of the Brethren pastor. He is survived by his wife; daughters Jean (Francis) Hendricks of Abilene, Kan., and Marilyn (Rob) Rosenow of Tigard, Ore.; sons Dan (Lynne) of McPherson, Kent (Lori) of Lee’s Summit, Mo., and Lyle (Ilona) of Mount Vernon; grandchildren and great-grandchildren. A memorial service was held at McPherson Church of the Brethren. Memorial gifts are received to McPherson Church of the Brethren or to On Earth Peace.

— Jennifer Quijano, coordinator of SeBAH-CoB, reports that Spanish-speaking ministry students in Atlantic Northeast and Pacific Southwest Districts have completed the third course in the program, “Anabaptist History and Theology.” SeBAH-CoB (Seminario Biblico Anabautista Hispano) is a Brethren Academy partnership with the Mennonite Education Agency to provide a Spanish language ministry training program for the Church of the Brethren. The denomination-wide certificate-level program parallels the Academy Certified Training System programs available to English-speaking students. “This course took a deeper look at Anabaptist roots, role models, rituals, and theology. The students are now anticipating the fourth course in the program, ‘Theology of Pastoral Ministry,’ which will begin in early May,” Quijano reported in an academy newsletter. A SeBAH cohort from Atlantic Southeast District also is hard at work completing their first course, “Understanding the Bible,” and are beginning in-depth studies of Jonah and Ruth. “It is a joy to work with all the students around the denomination,” Quijano wrote. “With continuing prayers and support, we look forward to the ministries our sisters and brothers are preparing for.” Atlantic Northeast has 13 students in SeBAH-CoB, Pacific Southwest has six, and two Puerto Rican students in Atlantic Southeast are participating.

— An orientation on Aug. 1-4 will welcome new Training in Ministry (TRIM) and Education for Shared Ministry (EFSM) students to the Brethren Academy for Ministry Training on the campus of Bethany Seminary in Richmond, Ind. “If you know someone who is considering
TRIM or EFSM, please be in touch with the Brethren Academy office for information,” said an announcement. Registration deadline is June 15. A ministry training partnership of the Church of the Brethren and Bethany Seminary, the Brethren Academy may be contacted at or go to .

— Ministry Summer Service participants begin orientation Friday at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. The group will be hosted by the Ministry Office and Youth and Young Adult Ministry. Interns include Todd Eastis, Heather Gentry, Lucas Kauffman, Andrea Keller, Amanda McLearn-Montz, and Peyton Miller. Mentors include Gieta Gresh, Cindy Laprade Lattimer, Carol Lindquist, Dennis Lohr, David Miller, and Marie Benner Rhoades. Leading the orientation are associate general secretary Mary Jo Flory-Steury and Youth and Young Adult director Becky Ullom Naugle, along with Dana Cassell, Jim Chinworth, Mark Flory-Steury, Tracy Primozich, and Christy Waltersdorff. Said Naugle, “Remember us in your prayers as we prepare these young adults to spend a summer discerning their call to ministry!”

— Young adults are invited to apply to serve on the denomination’s Young Adult Steering Committee. “Are you interested in helping to shape the programs and ministries available to young adults in the Church of the Brethren? Do you know another young adult who would be interested?” said an invitation from Becky Ullom Naugle, director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry. Applications are due June 30. Download the application from .

— This year’s Song and Story Fest, an annual family camp co-sponsored by On Earth Peace, will be July 21-27 at Camp Myrtlewood in Bridge, Ore. The theme is “Between Sky and Sea” (Isaiah 55). The intergenerational gathering will feature Brethren musicians and storytellers. For more information, visit .

— The latest “Brethren in the News” page with links to news items from around the country about Church of the Brethren members, congregations, and activities is posted at

— Manchester Church of the Brethren in N. Manchester, Ind., will explore the challenges faced by Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN–the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) at a Coffee House at 6:30 p.m. on June 9. The church also announced a June 16 special offering for EYN.

Black Rock Church of the Brethren Spring Fair released butterflies in memory of loved ones
Photo by Black Rock Church of the Brethren
Black Rock Church of the Brethren Spring Fair released butterflies in memory of loved ones

— Black Rock Church of the Brethren in Glenville, Pa., continued its 275th anniversary celebration with a May 4 Spring Fair. Said a report from the church: “The event was blessed with a beautiful clear day and culminated in a release of 75 butterflies to honor and remember loved ones.” Contact 717-637-6170 or or go to .

— Another Voice at Bridgewater (Va.) Church of the Brethren is holding four weeks of “Dialogue on Gun Violence” including a special panel discussion at 6 p.m. June 2. The panel includes Rockingham County Commonwealth’s Attorney Marsha Garst, Circuit Court Judge James Lane, Lolly Miller whose daughter was injured in the Virginia Tech shooting, and Bridgewater Police Chief Joe Simmons.

— Shenandoah District has issued preliminary results of its 21st Annual Disaster Ministries Auction. Net proceeds are estimated at $180,000. Some 1,060 people were served an oyster-ham dinner, 270 people enjoyed made-to-order omelets and 157 opted for pancakes at the breakfast, and a lunch served 146 in addition to a la carte food items that were available. The event supported Brethren Disaster Ministries.

— Shenandoah District also thanks kit-makers who brought Church World Service disaster relief kits to a Kit Depot at the district office. The depot collected CWS kits, clean-up buckets, and quilts to be processed and warehoused at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. “The grand totals are gratifying,” the newsletter said: 75 baby kits, 1,303 hygiene kits, 576 school kits, 54 emergency clean-up buckets and, from Lutheran World Relief, 392 quilts.

— Virlina District has begun an Oklahoma Tornado Fund to aid those affected by the powerful tornados that hit the state in mid-May, including the devastated town of Moore. The fund will support a response by Brethren Disaster Ministries. “We will undoubtedly be sending disaster teams from Virlina for the follow up rebuilding,” said the district newsletter.

—  “Peace Gives Life!!!” (Proverbs 14:30) is the theme for the Western Plains District peace retreat for youth and young adults on Aug. 9-11 at Camp Mt. Hermon, Tonganoxie, Kan. It will be facilitated by On Earth Peace. Cost per person is $65. Download the Camp Mt. Hermon registration form and health form from and send along with a copy of health insurance card and payment by July 26 to Joanna Smith, 18190 W. 1300 Rd., Welda, KS 66091; 785-448-4436; .

— The Brethren Home Community in Windber, Pa., received a Lee Initiatives grant in a ceremony at the Johnstown Holiday Inn on April 30. The retirement community was awarded $8,442 for adjustable electric beds in the nursing wing. Social Services Director Emily Reckner was responsible for authoring the grant, and Jerry Baxter awarded the check to Home Administrator Edie Scaletta at the ceremony. The community also received $3,000 in donations for laptops for charting throughout the facility, through a “Getting Connected” computer campaign. Contact Donna Locher, Finance Director, 277 Hoffman Ave., Windber, PA 15963.

— A nonprofit organization created by a Manchester University business class has raised $15,356 and visibility about the growing number of homeless children, according to a release. The class company, H2.0 Drinkware, sold 1,121 water bottles to benefit Project Night Night, a national nonprofit that annually provides 25,000 night-time care packages for homeless children. Four area shelters for the homeless selected by the class will receive the care packages: Huntington House, Vincent Village, the Rescue Mission, and Interfaith Hospitality Network in Fort Wayne.

— A World Council of Churches conference calls for prayer and action to support Christian presence in the Middle East. The conference May 21-25 in Lebanon included more than 100 church leaders and representatives of ecumenical organizations. The statement called churches to “continue to be being involved in the building of democratic civil societies, based on the rule of law, social justice, and respect for human rights, including religious freedom…. This is another time for such action, for a new vision of Christian cooperation in the region, for recommitment to Christian Muslim engagement, for engagement with Jewish partners also working for peace and justice, expressing our Christian vocations by working together to express mutual support and solidarity.” See .

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