Brethren Bits for Nov. 15, 2013

Image courtesy of Frederick Church of the Brethren
On Dec. 14, Frederick (Md.) Church of the Brethren hosts a special Christmas event called “Search for the Christ Child,” a journey to find the true meaning of Christmas, said an invitation. “Over 100 volunteers transform the entire church building into first century Bethlehem. Visitors are led through the story of the first Christmas and brought to the feet of a live baby representing the Christ child. The event is free for the whole family with guests being asked to donate a non-perishable food item to our Deacon Pantry,” the announcement said. The 30-minute guided tours will be held from 12 noon through 3 p.m. and 5-9 p.m. For special accommodations, please e-mail . For more information visit, .

— Remembrance: J. Henry Long, 89, a former executive secretary of the Church of the Brethren’s Foreign Mission Commission, passed away Oct. 19. He was a life-long member of the Church of the Brethren and served the denomination in many capacities throughout his long career. Born in Lebanon, Pa., to the late Henry F. and Frances Horst Long, he earned degrees from Hershey (Pa.) Junior College, Elizabethtown (Pa.) College, Bethany Theological Seminary, and Temple University. He also studied at the University of Chicago. He was licensed to the ministry in 1941 and in 1947 with his wife Millie served in post-WWII Holland, Poland, and Austria under the Brethren Service Committee. Thereafter, he directed Audio Visual Education for the denomination beginning in 1949, before becoming an associate executive secretary in the Foreign Mission Commission, and then assuming the executive secretary position in 1957. In all, he spent some 15 years in world missions work. During his work for the former General Board of the Church of the Brethren, he stressed the indigenous development of overseas churches and urged their move toward cooperative relationships with national boards in the United States. He also served on several specialized committees of the National Council of Churches, and on behalf of the NCC was part of a special delegation meeting with Christians in conflict areas of Asia during a time of crisis between India and Pakistan. In 1969 he joined the faculty of Elizabethtown College, where he was associate professor of Sociology and associate dean for Continuing Education. During his time at the college, he was elected chair of the American Leprosy Missions in 1974. He had been a member of the organization’s board of directors since 1967. Following retirement, he gave full time service as a volunteer Facilities Manager for Elizabethtown Church of the Brethren. Throughout his life, he was an ardent photographer and wood worker. He is survived by his wife Millie Fogelsanger Long, to whom he had been married for 69 years; daughter Nancy and her husband Michael Elder; son Scott and his wife Valerie Long; daughter Barbara Brubaker and her husband Henry Smith; grandchildren and great grandchildren. A memorial service will be held at Elizabethtown (Pa.) Church of the Brethren on Nov. 30 at 11 a.m. Memorial gifts are received to the Elizabethtown Child Care Center Benevolence Fund and the Alzheimer’s Association.

— Joe A. Detrick has been appointed interim district executive minister for the Church of the Brethren’s Pacific Southwest District. The interim position is fulltime beginning Dec. 1, for a period of nine to twelve months. Detrick is an ordained minister who retired in 2011 as district executive of Southern Pennsylvania District. In previous positions he has served as coordinator of Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) orientation from 1984-88, and has pastored congregations in Indiana and Pennsylvania. He is a graduate of Manchester University in North Manchester, Ind., and holds a master of divinity degree from Bethany Theological Seminary. The Pacific Southwest District office will continue to be located at 2705 Mountain View Dr., P.O. Box 219, La Verne, CA 91750-0219; .

— Fumio Sugihara has been named vice president for enrollment at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., effective Feb. 1, 2014. He has been director of admissions at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Wash., since 2007. He will oversee Juniata’s enrollment office and provide leadership to grow the college’s enrollment, identify new markets for recruitment, and strengthen existing markets, nurture alumni connections to Juniata’s enrollment program, play a key role in retention efforts, and enhance communication and enrollment-related efforts throughout the campus community, said a release from the school. Sugihara started his career in higher education in 1998 at Bowdoin College, in Brunswick, Maine, where he was director for multicultural recruitment and associate director of admission. Bowdoin also is Sugihara’s alma mater, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in 1996 in women’s studies and environmental studies. He went on to earn a master’s degree in higher education in 2007 from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education. He also has worked extensively with children, working as a vocational coordinator and case manager for developmentally disabled residential students at the New England Center for Children in Southborough, Mass., from 1996-98.

— “The Gospel of John and the Anabaptist Tradition,” a one-day continuing education event sponsored by the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center (SVMC) was held Nov. 4 at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College. Presenters were John David Bowman, Greg David Laszakovits, David Leiter, John Yeatts, Christina Bucher, Frank Ramirez, and Jeff Bach. A key resource was the Believers’ Church Bible Commentary on John by Willard M. Swartley. Approximately 70 participants listened to lectures and engaged in group discussion at round tables. SVMC is planning more such events in 2014: “What Every Christian Should Know about Islam” will be taught by Messiah College professor of Theology and Mission George Pickens at Mechanicsburg (Pa.) Church of the Brethren on March 15; “Leadership for the Emerging Church” will be taught by pastor and district executive Randy Yoder at the Village at Morrison’s Cove in Martinsburg, Pa., on March 22. Contact the SVMC office at 717-361-1450 or .

— Information about the Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Programs is now linked at the Church of the Brethren Ministry Office web page . Also available is more information about other continuing education opportunities for ministers. Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Programs provide funds to congregations to support renewal leaves for pastors. Congregations may apply for grants of up to $50,000 to underwrite a renewal program for a pastor and family, with up to $15,000 of those funds available to the congregation to help cover expenses while the pastor is away. The link on the Ministry Office page will direct visitors to the Clergy Renewal Programs’ website with application materials and other content.

— McPherson (Kan.) Church of the Brethren is sponsoring its ninth annual Alternative Christmas Gift Market this Saturday, Nov. 16, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., hosted at the Cedars Conference Center. “The purpose of the market is to feature 21 charitable organizations that help persons in need and encourage market-goers to ‘Give Hope at Christmas’ by making donations to or purchasing items from these agencies,” said an announcement from Western Plains District. “This year’s new booth is MacCare, a local organization which provides backpacks for children who are removed from their homes in emergency situations. Get in the true spirit of Christmas with live music, refreshments, and something for everyone on your hard-to-buy- for list.” For more information, contact the McPherson Church office at 620-241-1109 or .

— The Iowa Peace Network Open House will be hosted by Stover Memorial Church of the Brethren in Des Moines, Iowa, on Nov. 24 from 2-4 p.m. “Jeffrey Weiss will be speaking about Syria, and Zach Heffernen will speak about The Great March for Climate Action scheduled for next summer,” said an announcement. “As always, alternative gifts will be available for sale to benefit nonprofit organizations.”

— Virlina District held its 43rd conference on Nov. 8-9. Among newsworthy decisions, the conference approved a resolution to reprint “The Brethren in Virginia” and create a companion volume, and designated the entire amount of the offerings received of $5,078.37 for the Compassion Fund of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN–the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). Also premiering at the conference was a new district study resource on stewardship titled, “Give of the First Fruits: A Study of Stewardship for the 21st Century Church.” Clyde E. Hylton was honored for 50-plus years of ministerial service.

— Shenandoah District Conference was a “Living the Gospel” weekend, according to a newsletter report. The event included feetwashing and a remembrance of Jesus’ sacrifice through communion. A Milestones in Ministry banquet brought together 27 pastors with a combined total of 1,292 years of ordained ministry. “Nineteen of those were ordained more than 50 years ago; Sam Flora, with 70 years of service, was the most senior pastor in attendance,” the newsletter said. The Friday offering for global mission projects in Haiti and Nigeria totaled $2,274.36.

— Illinois and Wisconsin District held its conference on the theme “Renew.” “One sad item of business this year was the dissolving of the Douglas Park congregation” located in Douglas Park neighborhood of Chicago, reported the district newsletter. Among highlights of the district conference, the newsletter report recognized one of the elders present, that “Sister Esther Frey spoke on Renewal in her 95.5 years, plus three days.”

— South Central Indiana District has announced dates for a court case regarding ownership of the property of Roann Church of the Brethren, after a group from the congregation decided to leave the district and denomination. “Tuesday and Wednesday (Nov. 19 and 20) are the days scheduled for the court case regarding the Roann Church of the Brethren property,” said the communication from district executive minister Beth Sollenberger. “Please be in prayer for the process and all who will be a part of the trial…. We are grateful for your expressions of care and concern. We especially value your prayers.”

— A Heritage Day at Camp Bethel near Fincastle, Va., raised $34,374. “Over 1,800 guests enjoyed our 29th annual Brethren Heritage Day Festival on a beautiful (and hot!) October 5,” said a report from the camp. “Big, big, big THANKS to everyone who attended, supported, or gave a special offering.” Groups and congregations supporting the event numbered at least
32, including some area businesses. More information is at .

— Nobel laureate in physics, William (Bill) Phillips, is scheduled to return to his alma mater at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., on Nov. 21. A 1970 Juniata graduate and co-winner of the 1997 Nobel Prize for Physics, Phillips will speak to several physics classes and give a lecture on “Time, Einstein, and the Coolest Stuff in the Universe,” at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 21, in the Brumbaugh Academic Center. The lecture is free and open to the public, sponsored by the Juniata Department of Physics. A release from the college noted that Phillips “was honored by the Nobel panel for his work in laser cooling, a technique used to slow the movement of gaseous atoms in order to study them,” and shared the Nobel Prize with Steven Chu, former Secretary of Energy and a professor at the University of California-Berkeley, and Claude Cohen-Tannoudji, a researcher at Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris. Phillips is an atomic physicist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, Md.

— Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) is celebrating a recognition for the community of Las Pavas in Colombia. “Members from the community of Las Pavas stood in the national spotlight at the National Museum in Bogotá where they won the National Peace Prize,” said a release. CPT has provided accompaniment to Las Pavas since 2009. The community has experienced displacement, eviction, victimization, and continuing threats of violence from armed security guards of the palm oil company Aportes San Isisdro, because the 3,000 hectares of land on which the farm of Las Pavas is located has been in legal contention, the release said. CPT noted that on Nov. 12, the Colombian government body investigates claims of forced displacement affirmed the farmers from Las Pavas are in fact victims of forced displacement, and are included without reservation in the national registry of victims. “The Las Pavas case file now lies on the desk of the…highest court in the land that deals with government administrative disputes,” the CPT release said. “This ruling will be the final step to land ownership for each of the 123 families.”

— In Virginia elections, two members of Virlina District were elected to local school boards reports Tim Harvey of Central Church of the Brethren in Roanoke. Tom Auker, pastor of Eden (N.C.) First Church of the Brethren was elected to Henry County (Va.) school board; and J.D. Morse, a member of New Hope Church of the Brethren in Patrick County, Va., was elected to Patrick County school board. “J.D.’s seat had been held by another Brethren from the Smith River Church of the Brethren, who chose not to run for reelection,” Harvey reports.

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