Brethren Bits for Oct. 4, 2013

— Remembered: Duane H. Ramsey died on Sept 26. He was moderator of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference in 1981, held in Indianapolis. In other volunteer leadership roles in the denomination, he served terms on the former General Board and a number of committees of Annual Conference and the General Board. He also for a time was a pastor in resident at Bethany Theological Seminary. His daughter Kahy Melhorn currently serves on the Bethany Board of Trustees. Ramsey was best known among Brethren as the 45-year pastor at Washington (D.C.) City Church of the Brethren where he was a leader among clergy in the city. He was a chair of the Board of Directors of Capitol Hill Ministry, and served terms on the Board of Directors of the Council of Churches of Greater Washington, the Board of Trustees of Inter-Faith Metropolitan Theological Education, and the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Ecumenical Training Center. In 1997 he was honored with the Capitol Hill Community Achievement Award; the award program commented that the most vital point of his ministry was as “a presence of compassion and care for people who are desperate…. Duane Ramsey’s impact on Capitol Hill can best be measured by the growth of our community’s response to human need.” Ramsey was born in Wichita, Kan., on May 23, 1924, and returned to Wichita when he retired in 1999. He was a conscientious objector and performed three-plus years of Civilian Public Service shortly following World War II, carrying out work in soil conservation and in a mental health hospital. He was a graduate of McPherson (Kan.) College and Bethany Seminary. He also studied at the University of Boston Theological School, Iliff School of Theology in Denver, and Princeton. His wife, Jane Ramsey, survives him, as do children Kathy and Mark Melhorn, Barbara and Bruce Wagoner, Michael Ramsey and Gina Sutton, Nancy and Gregg Grant, Brian and Jennifer Ramsey. Services are pending.

Photo by Brethren Disaster Ministries
Helen Kinsel is honored with a peace pole at the Brethren Disaster Ministries office in New Windsor, Md.

— After 18 years of faithful service, Helen Kinsel’s last day volunteering in the Brethren Disaster Ministries office in New Windsor, Md., was Sept. 24. She and her husband, the late Glenn Kinsel, had commuted initially from Hanover and then from New Oxford, Pa., to support the work of Brethren Disaster Ministries and Children’s Disaster Services. “Since 1995, she served 1,233 days or 9,864 hours,” reported Jane Yount of Brethren Disaster Ministries. “She and Glenn together served 2,361 days or 18,888 hours, which equals 6.5 years!” In addition, previously the Kinsels were Virlina District disaster coordinators, volunteered at a number of rebuilding project sites, were disaster project leaders, assisted with training events, and devoted many hours to promoting Brethren Disaster Ministries at district and church events, National Older Adult Conference, and Annual Conference. Helen also was a volunteer for Children’s Disaster Services. In honor of the Kinsels’ service, as well as their lifelong advocacy for peace, Brethren Disaster Ministries has erected a Peace Pole at the entrance of its office declaring “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in Japanese, German, Hebrew, and English.

— The World Council of Churches (WCC) seeks a program executive for Spirituality and Worship, to start April 1, 2014 (negotiable), based in Geneva, Switzerland. The position reports to the associate general secretary for Unity and Mission. Responsibilities include to initiate and facilitate reflection and practice on spirituality and worship in the WCC fellowship within the present context of new challenges and recent developments in world Christianity, among others. Qualifications include a post-graduate degree, preferably a doctorate in theology in areas related to spirituality and worship, and practical experience as a musician, composer, choir leader in churches, among others. For more specific responsibilities and qualifications see the full job description at . The deadline for applications is Nov. 15. Full applications including curriculum vitae, motivation letter, application form, copies of diplomas, and recommendation letters are to be sent to: .  The WCC application form is available on the WCC recruitment webpage: .

— Camp Swatara in Bethel, Pa., seeks a food service manager to begin Jan. 1, 2014. This is a full-time, year-round, salaried position based on an average of 40 hours per week with many hours during the summer season, less hours in the fall and spring, and limited hours in the winter. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, Camp Swatara is primarily a summer camp for children and youth. From Labor Day to Memorial Day, Camp Swatara is primarily a retreat facility with frequent weekend use and occasional midweek groups, including school groups. The food service manager is responsible to plan, coordinate, and carry out camp food service for all scheduled groups, activities, and events throughout the year. Candidates should have training, education, and/or experience in food service management, culinary arts, quantity food service, and staff supervision. Benefits include a starting salary of $24,000, employee insurance, a pension plan, and professional growth funds. Applications are due by Nov. 15. For more information and application materials, visit or call 717-933-8510.

— A court decision in the Dominican Republic is stripping citizenship from children of Haitian migrants and could cause a crisis in the DR and Haiti, said an Associated Press report published on Sept. 26. “The ruling by the Constitutional Court is final and gives the electoral commission one year to produce a list of people to be excluded from citizenship,” the AP report said. The report also said that a half million people born in Haiti are living in the DR and that the ruling could affect children and even grandchildren of Haitian migrants, and that mass deportations may result. Global Mission and Service executive Jay Wittmeyer said he expects the Church of the Brethren in the DR, or Iglesia des los Hermanos, to be heavily affected by the court ruling. The church includes Creole congregations and many Haitian immigrant families. On the Haitian side of the border between the two countries, which share the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, communities of the Church of the Brethren in Haiti or Eglise des Freres Haitiens may be among those helping to receive and house families of Haitian migrants if the DR carries out mass deportations as is feared. Global Mission and Service called for prayer.

— Pleasant Hill Church of the Brethren in Crimora, Va., celebrates its 150th anniversary with special services and activities on Oct. 9-13. Daily services feature a variety of preachers and entertainment. On Saturday, Oct. 12, a picnic features the music group “High Ground” beginning at 3 p.m. with the picnic at 4 p.m. “Bring a lawn chair and join in,” said an invitation. On Sunday, Oct. 13, Daniel Carter will bring the 11 a.m. message, with a carry-in meal at noon and a program by “Southern Grace” at 2 p.m.

— “Our beloved Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ, requests your presence at a Love Feast to be held in his honor,” said an invitation to a joint Love Feast held by the Central Iowa Church of the Brethren congregations and hosted by Panora Church of the Brethren. The service starts at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 6. Leadership will be shared by pastors and lay members of the Brethren in central Iowa. RSVP to the Panora Church by Sept. 22, contact 641-755-3800.

— The annual Camp Mack Festival at Camp Alexander Mack near Milford, Ind., is this Saturday, Oct. 5, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Events include benefit auctions, demonstrations and displays such as candle dipping and corn shelling and grinding and rope making, food and craft booths, a scarecrow contest, entertainment, and children’s activities including train rides, hayrides, pontoon rides, games, and more. Go to .

— The 29th Brethren Heritage Day Festival will be held at Camp Bethel near Fincastle, Va., on Saturday, Oct. 5. Breakfast starts at 7:30 a.m. in the Ark. Booths open throughout the camp at 9 a.m., to close at 2:30 p.m. Children’s events begin at 9:30 a.m. with train rides followed by kids’ trout fishing. The Apple Butter Overnight event is today, Oct. 4. Heritage Day forms, fliers and information are available at .

— Recently residents of the Church of the Brethren Home in Windber, Pa., had a chance to visit the Pittsburgh Steeler football team’s training camp. A newsletter said the annual trip is “one of our personal care residents’ favorite activities…. Bob Thompson and Susan Haluska escorted the football fans as they watched the black and gold run through drills and scrimmages. Steely McBeam graciously posed for keepsake pictures with each person.”

— Atlantic Northeast District Conference will be held Oct. 4-5 at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College.

— Middle Pennsylvania District Conference will be held Oct. 4-5 at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., on the theme, “Here am I! Send me” (Isaiah 6:8). Mark Liller will serve as moderator.

— Missouri and Arkansas District Conference will be held Oct. 4-5 in Roach, Mo.

— McPherson (Kan.) College is live-streaming its Homecoming Worship Service, according to an announcement from Western Plains District. The college and representatives from five area Church of the Brethren congregations have planned a Homecoming Worship Service on Sunday, Oct. 6, 10:15 a.m., to be held at McPherson Church of the Brethren. Campus pastor Steven Crain will preach and special music will be provided by a mass choir, the McPherson College Women’s Ensemble, the Angelus Ringers, and the McPherson College Brass Quintet. Anyone wishing to be part of the mass choir should be at McPherson Church of the Brethren by 8:30 a.m. that Sunday for a one-hour rehearsal. Participate in the live-stream worship at . A recording of the service will be posted for later viewing.

— Eboo Patel has been named Manchester University Innovator of the Year 2013-14. He will bring lessons in bridging faith chasms to the campus in North Manchester, Ind., on Oct. 8, according to a release from campus minister Walt Wiltschek. Patel is president and founder of Interfaith Youth Core, an India-born Muslim raised in the United States. “Patel has made it his life’s work to show people how to view religion as a bridge of cooperation rather than a chasm of division,” the release said. He will deliver a message and receive the honor at convocation at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 8, in Cordier Auditorium. The public is invited to the free program sponsored by the Mark E. Johnston Entrepreneurship Program. To learn more about Patel’s Chicago-based international non-profit Interfaith Youth Core, visit For more about entrepreneurship at Manchester University, or studying for a Certificate in Innovation, visit .

— College-bound high school students are invited to Manchester University to get a taste of campus life at four “Spartan Days” for prospective students this fall on its campus in North Manchester, Ind.: Friday, Oct. 18; Friday, Oct. 25; Saturday, Oct. 26; Saturday, Nov. 9. Spartan Days visitors will tour the campus, meet current students, discover academic and Division III NCAA athletics opportunities, learn about scholarships and financial aid, talk with faculty and admissions counselors, and receive a complementary lunch, said a release. Those who visit on Fridays also can sit in on a class. Manchester also welcomes prospective students for individual visits on weekdays and some Saturdays during the academic year. Transfer students have special visit days tailored to their needs on Monday, Nov. 18, and Wednesday, Dec. 18. For more information about Manchester and to make a reservation for a campus visit, click on “Visit Campus” at or contact 800-852-3648 or .

— Bridgewater (Va.) College invites alumni and friends of the college to celebrate Homecoming activities on Oct. 18-20 with the 2013 theme “Spread Your Wings, it’s Time to Fly!” Alumni and community members are invited to celebrate with former classmates, cheer the Eagles on to victory at a game, meet President David Bushman, enjoy music and concerts, and family-friendly activities on the campus mall, said a release. For more information about the events of homecoming, go to .

— The University of La Verne, Calif., also is holding a Homecoming Weekend on Oct. 11-13. For more information go to .

— The death toll has risen sharply in the Sept. 22 bombing at All Saints Church in Peshawar, Pakistan, according to Episcopal News Service. It currently stands at 127 dead, with 170 injured, reported Bishop Humphrey Sarfaraz Peters of the Diocese of Peshawar. “It has been just devastating,” he said. “Quite a few children are paralyzed, and others are orphaned. This is a terrible time for the Christian community.” The ENS release said government officials including the Governor of Khyber Pakhtunkwa, the Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and federal ministers have visited to express concern and condolence. This past Sunday the church was rocked again by a car bomb in a nearby bazaar that was detonated while the congregation was in worship, on the week anniversary of the Sept. 22 bomb. The bomb killed 40 people and was reported to have exploded about 300 yards from All Saints Church near a mosque and a police station.

— Larry Ulrich, an ordained minister from York Center Church of the Brethren in Lombard, Ill., has been identified as “the first Protestant minister to serve as a dean in a Roman Catholic Seminary in the United States and most probably since the Reformation,” in a release sent out via Religion News Services. National and international accrediting professional organizations for graduate theological education have so identified Ulrich, the release said. He was installed in June 1982 as dean of Supervised Ministry at DeAndreis Institute of Theology in Lemont, Ill., which was a seminary of the Congregation of the Mission (Vincentians). At DeAndreis, he was professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling and director of the Deacon Internship program. “In the 30 interim years, there has not been another Protestant dean in a Roman Catholic seminary, nor a Roman Catholic dean in a Protestant seminary,” the release said. Francis Cardinal George, Archbishop of Chicago, commented, “For a Protestant minister to be engaged in the formation process of future priests through their four years of seminary training is note-worthy. This collaboration exemplifies the ecumenical openness of the contemporary Roman Catholic Church at this time [and] ecumenical cooperation continues.”

[gt-link lang="en" label="English" widget_look="flags_name"]