Brethren Bits for Oct. 11, 2013

— Tammy Chudy has been promoted to assistant director of Employee Benefits at Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT). She has a combined tenure with BBT of more than 11 years, having worked with accounts payable in her earlier tenure. Since August 2006, she worked with insurance services in various roles. “Her commitment and leadership to BBT are reflected in this promotion,” said an announcement. In Chudy’s new role she will continue to provide oversight for insurance services operations, will permanently assume the role of oversight for pension operations, will assist the director of employee benefits as needed, and will continue to have three member service representatives reporting to her. For more information about the services provided by BBT go to .

— Roseanne Segovia finishes her assignment as editorial assistant of the Gather ’Round curriculum project today, Oct. 11. Her position is coming to a close as planned, as the production side of the project winds down. She began her employment with Gather ’Round, a joint Christian education curriculum of Brethren Press and MennoMedia, on May 18, 2011. Segovia’s responsibilities have included website maintenance, proofreading, copyright permissions, customer service, and newsletter production, with extra emphasis recently on copy editing and coordination of illustrations. She also has provided general office support for the Gather ’Round team, through tasks such as writing minutes, coordinating meetings, and producing reports.
Gather ’Round concludes next summer, and congregations will transition to the new Shine curriculum in the fall, which also is a joint project of Brethren Press and MennoMedia. Segovia will begin a new position as managing editor of “West Suburban Living” magazine.

— The Church of the Brethren seeks a temporary full-time box car helper to work in the Material Resources department at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. This position is responsible for loading and unloading boxes from train cars and trailers, with some warehouse duties included. The preferred candidate will have experience assisting with loading and unloading train cars and trailers, must be able to lift a limit of 50 pounds, must work well with a team, and be reliable and flexible. Applications will be received and reviewed until the position is filled. Request the application packet and complete job description by contacting the Office of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; 800-323-8039 ext. 367; . The Church of the Brethren is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

— Nov. 2 is the deadline for youth worker applications for National Youth Conference, scheduled for July 19-24, 2014, at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. Youth workers, who serve on a volunteer basis, should be available on the CSU campus beginning Friday, July 18, the day prior to NYC, through Thursday evening, July 24. More information can be found at .

— Nov. 1 is the date of the next campus visit day at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind. “Have you been considering visiting Bethany? Do you know someone who might like to experience what Bethany has to offer? ENGAGE is a day of options designed for you to explore the Bethany experience with other people interested in theological education,” said an announcement. The day will offer prospective seminary students the opportunity to worship together with the Bethany Seminary community and partner seminary Earlham School of Religion (ESR), hear a student panel, experience a class session, lunch with faculty, discuss financial aid and the admissions process, and take a campus tour. Register at or contact director of admissions Tracy Primozich at 765-983-1832 or .

— Brethren young adults are invited to participate in the World Council of Churches Virtual Conference for Youth tomorrow, Saturday, Oct. 12. “What are you doing on Saturday? Would you like to hear thoughts from some amazing folks, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, for free? The WCC Youth Virtual Conference on October 12 promises to be a direct encounter among young Christians living in many different countries. The conference will center on the following topics: eco-justice, migration, and peace-building.” said the invitation from Becky Ullom Naugle, director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Church of the Brethren. She noted that in ecumenical circles, “youth” often means age 45 and under. Go to .

— Two ecumenical programs formerly housed in the National Council of Churches (NCC) have gone independent in recent weeks. After 30 years, the Eco-Justice Program has spun off to form its own organization Creation Justice Ministries, according to an announcement. “Though we now have a new name, we remain dedicated to the same goal of protecting God’s earth and God’s people,” it said. “With continued support from our member denominations and communions, we will continue to provide education and public witness through our annual Earth Day resources, webinars, and other Creation care activities for congregations.” The new web address for the program is or contact . Also newly independent is the Poverty Initiative launched by the NCC in 2009, now known as the Ecumenical Poverty Initiative. “As the council goes through organizational transitions and moves away from programmatic activities, this vibrant ecumenical ministry will be continuing its important work from its new home: the Disciples Center for Public Witness,” said an announcement. “The initiative will remain ecumenical in focus and scope, continuing to work with current partners from NCC communions and reaching out to new partners, including our friends and allies in the Roman Catholic community.” Providing leadership as active advisors will be former Poverty Initiative directors Michael Livingston and Shantha Alonso Ready, and the former director of the NCC’s Washington Office, Cassandra Carmichael. Find out more at .

— White Rock Church of the Brethren in Carthage, Va., holds a 125th anniversary celebration and annual homecoming on Sunday, Oct. 13. Morning worship will begin at 10:30 a.m. with pastor Michael Pugh speaking. Special music will be provided by Angie West and the church choir. A potluck meal begins at 11:30 with the church providing meat, drinks, and tableware. The afternoon service begins at 1:30 p.m. and will include special singing by the Pleasant Valley Church Choir, Angie West, and the White Rock Choir, and speakers David Shumate and Emma Jean Woodard from the Virlina District. The day will close with a reception at 3 p.m.

— Eel River Community Church of the Brethren in Silver Lake, Ind., recently celebrated its 175th anniversary. The South Central Indiana District newsletter marked the occasion with photos from the celebration, including a picture of Lewis Bolinger standing beside an original, restored 1868 eastern covered wagon, and Jerry Bolinger demonstrating how logs were hewn to build the traditional log cabins that dotted the landscape of the area when the Eel River Church was built.

— Antioch Church of the Brethren in Woodstock, Va., will dedicate its new sanctuary and renovated construction while also celebrating its 145th anniversary with a homecoming at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 13. “All are invited to attend this special celebration and meal following at noon,” said the Shenandoah District newsletter.

— Northern Plains District is hosting a “Circuit Ride Through Iowa” by Dennis Webb, pastor of Naperville (Ill.) Church of the Brethren. The district “is delighted to host the dynamic speaker Dennis Webb for four stops on his ‘circuit ride’ through southern Iowa,” said the district newsletter. “His trip is inspired by the circuit riding preachers of 150 years ago.” Webb will make the following stops: Sunday, Oct. 13, he will preach at English River Church of the Brethren on the topic, “The Business of Jesus Putting up with Us Is Serious Business”; on Oct. 14, he will speak at Ottumwa Church of the Brethren on “Maserati Reality: Where Do You Park?”; on Oct. 15 his sermon at Fairview Church of the Brethren is titled “God Still Uses Folks with Flaws”; and on Oct. 16 Prairie City Church of the Brethren will host Webb for a service focused on “When We Slip.” All meetings start with carry-in dinner at 6 p.m., with worship and the message to follow at 7 p.m.

— The Brethren Home Community Auxiliary at Cross Keys Village-the Brethren Home Community in New Oxford, Pa., is sponsoring an Apple Butter Festival complete with a car show and bake sale on Saturday, Oct. 12, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The day of family fun includes apple boiling, entertainment, food, hayrides, a car show, displays of antique engines, and pull tractors. “There is something for all,” said an announcement.

— Southern Ohio District is offering a Deacon Training led by Donna Kline, director of the Church of the Brethren Deacon Ministry. The training is at Happy Corner Church of the Brethren on Sunday, Oct. 13, after a carry in meal following worship. The meal starts at 12:30 p.m. There is no fee to attend, although a free will offering will be received. Contact 937-439-9717 for more information and to make reservations.

— The World Hunger Auction planning committee in Virlina District has announced the funding to be distributed from 2013 events: Heifer Project (Guatemala) $27,375; Heifer Project (N.C. and Tenn.) $5,475; Roanoke Area Ministries $13,687; Church of the Brethren Global Food Crisis Fund $5,475; Heavenly Manna $2,737. “Having completed 30 years of work, the total gifts generated by the auction and its related activities now exceed $1,150,000,” reported the Virlina District newsletter. “Praise be to God for the blessings that flow to His people.”

— “Ministering to Spiritual Hunger” is the theme of a retreat on Oct. 19, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., at Camp Bethel, led by pastor Paul Roth of Linville Church of the Brethren in Broadway, Va. The event is sponsored by Virlina District’s Spiritual Retreat Development Committee. Roth is certified to provide spiritual direction and will lead a retreat that promises to be biblically based and spiritually enlightening with opportunities for individual and group reflection. Cost is $20.

— Two “Equipping the Saints 2013″ workshops are scheduled in West Marva District, both hosted by Oak Park Church of the Brethren on Oct. 19 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. In session one, Amy Williams of Bunker Hill (W.Va.) Elementary School Library, will lead “Teaching Children (and Adults)… Is it a JOB or a JOY?” In the concurrent session two, district executive minister Kendal Elmore will moderate a forum led by three pastors who have experienced the dynamic impact of the Holy Spirit working in various settings and circumstances to bring health and vitality to congregations. Continuing education units are available for credentialed ministers. For more information call the district office at 301-334-9270.

— At its 2013 district conference, West Marva District recognized the Hanging Rock Project as a Church of the Brethren fellowship. Also approved, among other business, was a new Plan of Organization for the district including a constitution and by-laws. The district recognized Brenda Harvey for 20 years of service as administrative assistant in the district office. The following were recognized for significant years of service as ordained ministers: 45 years: Don Matthews; 25 years: Randall Ours, John Walker; 15 years: Burl Charlton, Danny Combs, Elmer Cosner, Steve Sauder, Otis Weatherholt; 10 years: Robert Hughes, Carroll Junkins, Lynn Ryder; 5 years: Diane May.

— South Central Indiana District included a brief report from its recent district conference in its district newsletter, and a “thank you” to all who helped out. The “few fun facts” reported included statistics: about 40 people walked at least 17 miles for peace; 32 participated in the continuing education opportunity; and baskets from 21 churches netted $1,197 for ministry training. “In this season of gathering in and collecting the harvest, I am deeply grateful to the folks of this district and the ways we seek to follow Jesus peacefully, simply, together,” wrote district executive minister Beth Sollenberger.

— Southern Ohio District holds its 159th District Conference this weekend, Oct. 11-12, at Trotwood (Ohio) Church of the Brethren led by moderator Julie Hostetter. “For All of You Are One in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:23-28) is the theme. On the schedule are a pre-conference meeting for pastors and office assistants, and a Saturday youth event. District executive minister David Shetler has issued a special call for prayer for this conference, writing in an e-mail sent Oct. 10, “It is my prayer than we indeed will be one in Jesus as we come together and as we scatter back across the district. We are facing several difficult and potentially divisive issues with the District Conference. As your District Executive Minister, I am asking that all of us coming to this gathering will come with a sensitivity to the leading of God’s Spirit and with a genuine and deep love for one another.” His e-mail highlighted a question being brought by the Eaton congregation concerning a district response to “actions by various denominational agencies, departments, committees, and educational institutions of the Church of the Brethren that are in conflict with the 1983 Annual Conference paper on Human Sexuality”; and proposals from the Brookville congregation having to do with the district’s outdoor ministries program and Camp Woodland Altars. More information is at the district website .

— The Atlantic Southeast District Conference is Oct. 11-12 at Camp Ithiel, Gotha, Fla. It will be the 89th conference held by Atlantic Southeast District. Included in the agenda is a continuing education opportunity for ministers, a Seminar of Church Finances and Investments. Youth activities also are offered concurrently with the conference.

— Mid-Atlantic District holds its 47th District Conference Oct. 11-12 at Frederick (Md.) Church of the Brethren on the themes, “One in the Spirit” (John 17:20-23) and “Filled with Laughter and Joy” (Psalms 126:1-3). On the evening of Oct. 12, the National Christian Choir gives a concert in the Frederick sanctuary starting at 7 p.m. (doors open at 6 p.m.). A freewill offering will support the choir. For more go to the Mid-Atlantic District website at .

— The New Community Project has received a request from its partner in Nimule, South Sudan, to raise $10,000 to build a first-ever girls’ boarding school in the community. Project director David Radcliff reported that according to Agnes Amileto of the Girlchild Education and Development Association, the school will bring several important benefits, will allow young women to remain at school rather than return to their homes each evening where often there is no time for school work, will keep boys and girls separate during school hours, and will make school more feasible for girls coming from a distance and for girls with disabilities. The New Community Project is calling the initiative “If We Built It…” and is taking responsibility for raising funds for construction of facilities which will include dormitories and classrooms; the community and government will provide teachers and administration. Individuals are invited to join a Feb. 4-17, 2014, Learning Tour to South Sudan to see the completed school, said the release. Learn more at .

— Juniata College has announced events for president Jim Troha’s Inauguration Week. James A. Troha will be formally inaugurated as the 12th president of Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., in an “investiture ceremony” at 4 p.m. Oct. 18 in Rosenberger Auditorium in the Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts. The 900-seat auditorium is expected to be filled to capacity, with plans for overflow seating, said a release from the college. Attending the ceremony will be a mix of Juniata students, faculty, administrators, alumni, and delegates from the Church of the Brethren and representatives from almost 100 colleges and universities. “The singular thing that drew me to Juniata during my interview and periodic visits was the college’s sense of community,” says Troha. “We wanted to honor Juniata’s traditions by emphasizing events and activities that would bring the college, our alumni, and Huntingdon together as a community.” Following the inauguration, there will be a reception on the campus quad and a 7 p.m. invitation-only inaugural gala in the Intramural Gym in Kennedy Sports and Recreation Center. Celebrations continue through Homecoming Weekend, Oct. 24-26, including a 5K, German Club Octoberfest, a production of the musical “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” a community-focused lunch hosted by Troha and his wife Jennifer, a presentation by “eco-entrepreneur” Majora Carter on “Home(town) Security,” a concert to benefit Alex’s Lemonade Stand, an Alumni Advocates Panel, Homecoming football, and a concert by the Asphalt Orchestra.  In addition, members of the Juniata community will be asked to give an hour or more of community service culminating in National Make-A-Difference Day on Oct. 26.

— In more news from Juniata College, the school’s Department of World Languages has received a $65,000 grant from the US Department of Education’s Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad program. The grant will fund a multiweek trip to Morocco next summer for intensive language instruction and cultural educational opportunities in history, diversity, and contemporary issues, said a release. “The grant will provide an exciting opportunity to foster collaboration between Juniata College, international alumni, and regional educators to develop curricular resources for understanding the complex cultural crossroads that inform one of the most dynamic countries of the Arab world,” says Michael Henderson, associate professor of French and one of the co-authors of the grant. In partnership with the Ibn Ghazi Arabic Institute, in Fez, Morocco, Juniata will send 10 local educators to Morocco to develop new curriculum for K-12 and baccalaureate education in order understand the background information of Morocco and to integrate the cultural history of North Africa into social science and humanities courses in central Pennsylvania K-12 schools. Juniata will send four professors, and local school districts will send four high school teachers and a curriculum coordinator. The Ibn Ghazi Arabic Institute offers summer language and culture courses to students and professionals from all over the world. The institute’s director, Fouad Touzani, is a 2006 graduate of Juniata College.

— McPherson (Kan.) College Young Alumni Award recipients this year include Jenny Williams, director of communications and alumni/ae relations at Bethany Theological Seminary. The annual award honors McPherson College alumni who have graduated within approximately the last 30 years. The recipients for 2013 also include Ryan Wenzel of Melrose, Mass., co-founder of CovalX, a company that develops and produces a detector system for machines called “mass spectrometers”; and Dallas Blacklock of Houston, Texas, director of high school relations at the University of Houston, where he’s a liaison for the football program to area high school teams for recruiting, and also associate pastor at Mt. Carmel Baptist Church. The three were honored on Oct. 4 at a ceremony during McPherson College’s Homecoming Weekend.

— In more news from McPherson College, enrollment has been holding steady at 40-year highs for the last four years, according to the official fall enrollment numbers compiled Sept. 20. A release said that in total, 656 students are enrolled at McPherson College for fall 2013. A boost to enrollment has come from the new master of education degree. After accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission in spring 2013, the number of students in graduate-level classes at McPherson increased by 58 percent. A large incoming class also helped keep enrollment consistently high, the release said, this year bringing 261 incoming freshmen and transfer students. “The automotive restoration program had its best year ever for incoming students as they opened more spots in the department for interested students. The program’s 60 incoming freshman and transfer students this year more than doubles last year’s incoming enrollment.”

— Bridgwater (Va.) College is hosting an annual CROP dinner this fall to raise money to overcome hunger locally and globally, in conjunction with the annual area CROP Walk. The dinner is from 4:45-7 p.m. on Oct. 24; the walk begins at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 27, at the Bridgewater Municipal Building.

— Also at Bridgewater College, the school has earned a Bronze rating from the Association for the Advancement of  Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). A release notes the rating was given for completing a rigorous 20-month, in-depth study of several areas in sustainability: education, research, operation, planning, administration, engagement and innovation. The study was conducted through the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System (STARS), a framework for colleges and universities to measure sustainability performance. Bridgewater is one of only eight colleges and universities in Virginia to have completed STARS reporting, the release said. “Bridgewater College takes seriously its responsibilities to the environment, society and future generations,” said president David W. Bushman. “The college has gained valuable insight from STARS and its report and will use this experience to expand sustainability programs and advance environmental stewardship in the future.” To learn more about Bridgewater’s sustainability efforts, visit .

— Bridgewater College is hosting “Why a Peace Church?” on Nov. 23, an event sponsored by Shenandoah District Pastors for Peace. The speaker will be Jeff Bach of Elizabethtown College’s Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies. The event is billed as “a biblical, theological, and historical conversation on why Christ’s people should stay in the peace business.” It will be held 9 a.m.-3:15 p.m. in the Boitnott Room in Moomaw Hall. Cost is $25 for ministers earning continuing education units, $20 for other interested adults, $10 for students. Registration is due by Nov. 15. Find a registration flier at .

— The Elizabethtown (Pa.) College Alumni Peace Fellowship is giving students the opportunity to enter the 2013 Paul M. Grubb Jr. Student Peace Award competition. This competition allows students to submit a proposal for a research project focused on spreading peace and justice in a local or international community, a release said. Student projects will take place between October 2013 and October 2014, and the winning proposal will be given $1,000 to make the project a reality. Past project winner David Bresnahan won the award in 2008, spending six weeks in Guatemala focusing on the mistreatment of the indigenous Mayan people. Nikki Koyste was the recipient of the award in 2011. Her project proposal sent her to Vietnam, where she volunteered in an orphanage.

— In more news from Elizabethtown College, rising juniors and seniors interested in spending next summer interning abroad with an intergovernmental or nongovernmental organization may be eligible to receive financial support said a release. Oya Ozkanca, associate professor of political science, is chair of a new program sponsored by the college’s Center for Global Understanding and Peacemaking and made possible by an international studies and foreign language grant from the US Department of Education. The IGO/NGO Summer Internship Financial Support Program will provide three students with round-trip airfare and an hourly wage for an otherwise unpaid internship. The fund will cover internships lasting about six to 10 weeks. In addition to being a rising junior or senior, to apply students must already have secured a position for the summer. An IGO/NGO conference featured a career and internship fair as an opportunity to find organizations for internships.

— The University of La Verne is the second institution of higher education in California to join the Billion Dollar Green Challenge, through which it will establish a fund to facilitate “green” energy-saving measures on campus said a release from ULV. The university joins the California Institute of Technology as the only California schools so far to sign on with the program launched by the Sustainable Endowments Institute based in Cambridge, Mass. The institute is encouraging colleges, universities, and other nonprofit institutions to invest a combined total of $1 billion in self-managed funds to finance energy efficiency improvements. Thirty-nine other schools nationwide are also making such a commitment to sustainability the release said. Each institution committed to the challenge must establish a fund, separate from other capital projects, which will be used only to fund green initiatives on its campus. The University of La Verne is to build a fund of $400,000 during the next six years. “A significant element of the University of La Verne’s mission is to affirm a values system that supports the health of the planet and all inhabitants,” said president Devorah Lieberman. “We are consistently seeking to promote sustainability and to emphasize its importance to our students, faculty, and staff.”

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