Brethren Bits for Sept. 20, 2013

— Correction: A change of date has been announced for the nonviolence training sessions in Akron, Pa., led by Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) Palestine coordinator Tarek Abuata. The event has been postponed to Nov. 16-17, instead of the dates of Nov. 9 and 16 as given in last week’s Newsline. The sessions, sponsored by the “1040 for Peace” group, are planned as “intensive experiential workshops giving participants a comprehensive introduction to Martin Luther King Jr.’s philosophy and strategy of nonviolence.” Sponsored by the sessions will cost $100 to attend. Take 5 percent off the fee payable to “Christian Peacemaker Teams” by registering prior to Oct. 15. Send by mail to registrar H.A. Penner, 108 South Fifth St., Akron, PA 17501-1204. Participation is limited; partial scholarships are available. Contact 717-859-3529 or .

— Remembered: Mary Elizabeth (Spessard) Workman, 93, passed away Sept. 14 at the Cedars Health Care Center in McPherson, Kan. She was a former member of the Church of the Brethren denominational staff, serving from 1955-63 as director of Children’s Work. She and her late husband Ronald Workman also were early leaders in the International Christian Youth Exchange (ICYE) and served as regional representatives for that program for eight years as well as personally hosting exchange students from Finland, Japan, and Germany. She also served the church at the local and district levels while living and working in Goshen and Elkhart, Ind. She was a pioneer in helping establish the Oaklawn Psychiatric Center Auxiliary in Indiana, serving as its president during a time when her home was a “community home” for Oaklawn patients. She and her husband worked with the blind and their rehabilitation and in 1968, she began employment with the Elkhart Rehabilitation Center, becoming the founder of Services for the Visually Impaired. In 1972 she was named “Woman of the Year” by the Goshen Business and Professional Women’s Organization. In 1980, Beta Sigma Phi gave her the “First Lady of the Year” award. McPherson College in 1970 gave her the “Alumni Citation of Merit” award for outstanding public service. She was born July 18, 1920, near Nickerson, Kan., the daughter of Keller and Agnes (Slifer) Spessard, and was married to Ronald Workman in 1963. He passed away on May 7, 1985. Survivors include step-son David Workman of Denton, Texas, step-grandchildren, and step-great-grandchildren. The funeral service is at 2 p.m. Sept. 20 at McPherson Church of the Brethren with Chris Whitacre officiating. Memorial donations are received to McPherson Church of the Brethren, care of Stockham Family Funeral Home, 205 N. Chestnut, McPherson, KS 67460.

— Remembered: Olden D. Mitchell, a former district executive in the Church of the Brethren and a longtime pastor, has passed away. He served from 1951-54 as Northern Illinois, Southern Illinois, and Wisconsin district executive, in what is now Illinois and Wisconsin District. In other significant service to the denomination, he chaired the Annual Conference study committee on Diminishing Membership, which reported to Conference in 1981. At that point he was “discipleship counselor” in Northern Indiana District. He served several congregations in Indiana and in Virlina District, and did several interim pastorates after retirement. He also wrote many letters to Messenger magazine over the years. At the time of his death he was living in North Manchester, Ind. A memorial service will be held at Manchester Church of the Brethren on Nov. 29 at 2 p.m.

— Remembered: Mary Stowe died on Sept. 15. She and her late husband, Ned Stowe, were longtime program volunteers for the denomination serving at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., and at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. She was a member at York Center Church of the Brethren in Lombard, Ill. A memorial service will be held on Oct. 19 at 2 p.m. at the York Center Church.

— An important artefact from the bombing of 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., in which four young black girls were killed on Sept. 15, 1963, has been given to the Smithsonian by the family of Melva Jimerson. She was a staff member of the Church of the Brethren in Washington, D.C., who during the 1980s-90s served for seven-plus years in the church’s Washington Office and also for a time worked for Church Women United. She and her husband Jim also served as staff of the Plowshares Peace and Justice Center in Roanoke, Va., and were members of Williamson Road Church of the Brethren. The Jimerson family donated “a piece of shattered stained glass from the church” reports Religion News Services (RNS). The piece was picked up by Jim Jimerson, who was active in the civil rights movement, when he visited the church after it was bombed. “This was just a little over two weeks after the March on Washington, which had generated so much optimism for progress of civil rights,” son Randall Jimerson told RNS. He and his siblings made the donation to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which will open in 2015. RNS reported it was a speech by President Obama at last year’s groundbreaking for the museum that prompted the family to make the donation. The piece of broken window had been in their dining room hutch for decades. Randall Jimerson “said his jaw dropped when Obama specifically cited ‘the shards of glass’ from the Birmingham church as objects his daughters should see in the forthcoming museum. ‘That’s us,’ he thought. ‘That’s what we have.’” Read the RNS article at .

— Resources are now online for this year’s Junior High Sunday, scheduled for Nov. 3. The theme is a scripture text from 1 John 4:16b-18: “God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love.” Find the resources, including worship resources, a scripture jam, children’s stories, a skit, and more at .

— Also new online at are Spanish and Haitian Creole translation of the Annual Conference theme statement from moderator Nancy Sollenberger Heishman. The theme for the Conference that takes place next year, July 2-6, in Columbus, Ohio, is “Live as Courageous Disciples.” Find the theme statement and links to the translations at .

— Black Rock Church of the Brethren in Glenville, Pa., continues its year-long celebration of 275 years with a Homecoming Weekend on Oct. 4-6. Events will include a Friday evening Festival of the Arts, Saturday afternoon Love Feast with leadership from several former pastors, and Sunday morning service and fellowship. The homecoming will be followed by a Fall Fest on Nov. 2, and Memories of Christmas on Dec. 8, which will round out the anniversary celebrations. Black Rock, established in 1738, was the fourth Brethren congregation planted in North America and the first west of the Susquehanna River, said the announcement from the church. For more information contact 717-637-6170 or or go to .

— Modesto (Calif.) Church of the Brethren hosts a Solar Fair from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Sept. 28. The free event “will give residents and small business owners a chance to learn what generating with the sun is all about,” said an announcement in the “Modesto Bee” newspaper. “Attendees can meet with solar installers and get information on financing, federal tax credits, and incentives. People who have placed systems on their roofs will talk about the experience. The church will show off its own panels.” The fair is sponsored by SolarEverywhere. Read the “Modesto Bee” article at or go to for more information.

— The 37th Brethren Disaster Relief Auction is Sept. 27-28 at the Lebanon (Pa.) Valley Expo Center. The “Lebanon Daily News” reports that the event will begin with volunteers coming together to assemble school kits for disaster victims. The auction, an annual event of two Church of the Brethren districts–Atlantic Northeast and Southern Pennsylvania–takes place each year on the fourth weekend of September, raising money for disaster relief. Proceeds go to Brethren Disaster Ministries and the United Relief Fund of the two districts. Volunteers will be needed at 2 p.m. on Sept. 27 to assemble Church World Service “Gift of the Heart” School Kits. Over the years since the auction began in 1977, “it has provided more than $12 million in disaster relief to victims of natural and man-made disasters both in the United States and internationally,” said a release. For sale this year: more than 75 quilts will be among the items to be sold in various different auctions including a children’s auction, heifer auction, coin auction, theme basket auction, silent auction, and pole barn auction. Read the “Lebanon Daily News” article at . Find out more about the auction at .

— Western Pennsylvania District holds the 30th Annual Brethren Heritage Festival at Camp Harmony in Hooversville, Pa., on Sept. 21 starting at 7 a.m. with a breakfast, followed by
9 a.m. devotions with bread and cup communion. Events continue through the afternoon including booths, a District Choir, children’s activities, music, a Heritage Auction, a Red Cross Blood Drive, and closing devotions. For more go to .

— The Bridgewater (Va.) Home Auxiliary Fall Festival is Sept. 21 at 7:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds. The auxiliary supports the Bridgewater Retirement Community. The festival features auctions of art, quilts, gift baskets, and more, along with specialty shops and food, including breakfast and lunch.

— Middle Pennsylvania District’s 33rd Annual Heritage Fair will be Sept. 28 at Camp Blue Diamond. There will be a family style dinner and a free concert by Joseph Helfrich on Friday, followed on Saturday by a breakfast and food and craft booths as well as auctions, children’s activities, music, and more. Brethren historical impersonator Larry Glick will be at the fair on Saturday. Sunday features a free continental breakfast followed by worship in the lodge.

— West Marva District Conference is Sept. 20-21 at Moorefield (W.Va.) Church of the Brethren on the theme, “Follow Me” (Matthew 16:21-26). J. Rogers Fike is moderator.

— Northern Indiana District Conference will be held Sept. 20-21 at Camp Mack, Milford, Ind.

— Southern Pennsylvania District Conference will be held Sept. 20-21 at Greencastle (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. Moderator Larry Dentler will lead the meeting.

— South Central Indiana District holds its district conference on Sept. 21 at Manchester Church of the Brethren in North Manchester, Ind. Moderator Guy Studebaker and moderator-elect Kay Gaier will lead the conference in the theme “Take Your Mat and Walk” (Mark 2:9). Since the conference coincides with the 2013 Peace Day, over the lunch hour all participants will be invited to walk a few steps for peace as part of the 3,000 Miles for Peace campaign of On Earth Peace.

— “Called to be Servants: Entrusted to Be Servant Leaders” is the title of the new Spiritual Disciplines folder from the Springs of Living Water Initiative in Church Renewal. The folder offers Sunday texts and daily scriptures on 12 biblical traits of the servant leader for whole congregations to use together in worship and daily devotions. With the folder omes a guide for daily prayer as well as a commitment page for persons on the journey, said a release, along with a summary sheet of the 12 traits, using Christ’s example as the model servant leader. The folder can be used for group Bible study, Sunday school classes, and individual study. Vince Cable is the author of the Bible study questions. “In Springs of Living Water, regular nurture of the spiritual life is seen as the basis of all renewal,” said the release. “Churches discover new spiritual energy, new depth of faith, new unity, and a sense of being on a faith journey. The folder and Bible study questions are available at .

— In more news from the Springs Initiative, the Level 2 Springs Academy for pastors began Sept. 14, and registration is open for the next Foundations for Christ-centered Church Renewal class to start Feb. 4, 2014. Carried out through five interactive conference calls over a 12-week period, the course will teach a spiritually grounded, servant-led path of ongoing church renewal, and the five roles of a transformational pastor. Class members participate in daily spiritual disciplines, intermingled with study of the texts “Springs of Living Water, Christ-centered Church Renewal” by David S. Young who teaches the course, and “Celebration of Discipline” by Richard J. Foster. Guest pastors from Springs engage in a call-in to share how they implemented the renewal process. For more information contact or refer to the Springs website at .

— Fahrney-Keedy Home and Village’s Auxiliary been an increasingly visible aspect of the Boonsboro, Md., continuing care retirement community, reports a release. In recognition of this, two ginkgo trees will be dedicated in the Auxiliary’s honor, at noon on Saturday, Oct. 19. The Fahrney-Keedy Auxiliary provides support to the residents of the community by holding fund-raisers and events to raise money. The money is used to provide programs for the residents, purchase items needed to support the residents and assist the associates in scholarships and recognition. A plaque to be displayed near the trees reads, “In recognition, honor and appreciation of our Auxiliary and their untiring commitment and service.” The public is invited to the dedication. For more information, call Deborah Haviland, director of marketing, at 301-671-5038, or Linda Reed, director of admissions, at 301-671-5007.

— McPherson (Kan.) College is offering a series of courses and webinars for the purpose of training and supporting small congregations, under the title “Ventures in Christian Discipleship.” An announcement of the series came in the Northern Plains District newsletter. The first is a webinar on Nov. 9 with Deb Oskin as presenter on the topic “Faith and Finance for Small Congregations,” intended for church treasurers and others responsible for the financial operations of a congregation (cost is $15). A two-part classroom workshop on “Building Healthy Relationships” will be held Jan. 25 and 26, 2014, taught by Barbara Daté (cost is $50 for Jan. 25 and $25 for Jan. 26). Two webinars will be led by Donna Kline, director of the Church of the Brethren Deacon Ministry: “Deaconing in Small Congregations” and “The Gift of Grief: Offering Support in Times of Loss” both on April 12, 2014 (cost is $15 per webinar). Joshua Brockway, director of Spiritual Life and Discipleship for the denomination, will give webinars on “Spiritual Direction” and “The Practice of Prayer” on March 8, 2014 (cost is $15 per webinar). Contact campus pastor Steve Crain at . For more details go to .

— Peter Kuznick, professor of history at American University and director of the university’s Nuclear Studies Institute, will speak at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa. on the topic “The Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the Rise of the American Empire.” The lecture takes place at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 26 in Neff Lecture Hall in the von Liebig Center for Science. The lecture is free and open to the public, sponsored by the Baker Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies. “Rather than emphasizing the triumphalist narrative or the victims’ narrative regarding the atomic bombings of Japan, Kuznick will emphasize an apocalyptic narrative,” said James Skelly, director of the Baker Institute, in a release from the college. “He will note that the people involved in the decision to utilize atomic weapons understood that the processes that they had set in motion could ultimately lead to the elimination of all life on the planet.” Kuznick is the author of “Beyond the Laboratory: Scientists as Political Activists in 1930s America” and currently is writing a book on scientists’ opposition to the Vietnam War. He was a co-author, with film director Oliver Stone, of “The Untold History of the United States,” and also helped Stone write a 10-part documentary series of the same name for the Showtime Network. For more about Juniata College go to .

— Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) is issuing an invitation to a “first ever CPT Americas Convergence”–five days of worship, public protest, fellowship, accompaniment, and the opportunity for nonviolent direct action from Nov. 20-24 in Georgia in advance of the annual School of the Americas witness at the gates of Fort Benning, Ga. CPT also is joining with the Alterna Community and Georgia Detention Watch in an annual public witness and civil disobedience action at the Stewart Detention Center, a privately run prison and immigration detention center in Lumpkin, Ga. The annual witness at the gates of Ft. Benning calls for the closure of the US Army School of the Americas (SOA), now known as WHINSEC, which since 1946 “has trained over 64,000 Latin American soldiers in counterinsurgency techniques, psychological warfare, military intelligence, and interrogation tactics,” the CPT release said. “SOA graduates have consistently used their skills to wage a war against their own people, targeting educators, union organizers, religious workers, student leaders, and others who work for the rights of the poor. They have tortured, raped, ‘disappeared,’ assassinated, and massacred hundreds and thousands of Latin Americans.” For more details contact CPT reservist Beth Pyles at . More information is at and .

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