Newsline for August 8, 2013

Quote of the week: “We live in a culture that can be harsh and cruel with little room for expressions of genuine blessing. Our children are caught in a swirl of myriad activities and demands which make it difficult to understand that we serve a God who wishes to pour His approval upon our lives. Without an understanding of God’s regard for us, we become caught in an increasingly anxious lifestyle which sees blessing as an elusive condition beyond our grasp rather than a gift from God that centers our lives and activities.”

— John Jantzi, Shenandoah District executive minister, on serving as dean for a week at Camp Brethren Woods. The week closed with a blessing of the campers. Read more at

“…Receive blessing from the Lord” (Psalm 24:5a).

1) WCC leader to preach at Illinois congregation, visit Church of the Brethren General Offices.

2) Harold Giggler: CDS volunteers care for children following Asiana crash.

3) Brethren Disaster Ministries directs $75,000 grant to Sandy relief in Haiti.

4) Donald Booz retires from leadership of Pacific Southwest District.

5) NOAC to feature a great line up of speakers, events for older adults.

6) Annual Conference moderator announces theme for 2014.

7) John Kline Homestead to dedicate replica of 19th century kitchen garden.

8) BBT launches news and information site on health care reform.

9) Theme for WCC Assembly invites churches to study justice and peace.

10) Lessons and legacies of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki anniversary.

11) Brethren bits: Plea for CWS kits, dates for Clergy Women’s Retreat and church planting conference, ambitious goals for COBYS Bike and Hike, CPT petition, and much much more.

1) WCC leader to preach at Illinois congregation, visit Church of the Brethren General Offices.

Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
Two general secretaries pose for the camera during the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation held in Jamaica in 2011: at right Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches; at left Stan Noffsinger, general secretary of the Church of the Brethren.

World Council of Churches general secretary Olav Fykse Tveit will bring the Sunday morning message at Neighborhood Church of the Brethren in Montgomery, Ill., this Sunday, Aug. 11, at 10:30 a.m. Tveit will be on a trip to visit various Christian groups in the United States, traveling from the World Council of Churches headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

On Monday and Tuesday, Aug. 12-13, he will be in Elgin, Ill., visiting the Church of the Brethren General Offices.

The WCC is an ecumenical fellowship of 345 member denominations representing more than 500 million Christians from Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican, and other traditions in over 110 countries. General secretary Olav Fykse Tveit is from the (Lutheran) Church of Norway. The Church of the Brethren denomination is one of the founding members of the WCC and has been part of the ecumenical organization since its start in 1948.

Sunday’s service is open to the public, and will be followed by a time for coffee and fellowship. Neighborhood Church of the Brethren is located at 155 Boulder Hill Pass in Montgomery.

When Tveit visits the denomination’s General Offices he will be hosted by Church of the Brethren general secretary Stanley Noffsinger. Conversations will focus on the “Ecumenical Call to Just Peace” document and its role at the WCC 10th Assembly this fall in Busan, South Korea. The Assembly will be held October 30-November 8 on the theme, “God of Life, Lead Us to Justice and Peace.” Noffsinger has been named by the WCC Executive Committee as a special representative from the Historic Peace Churches to the delegate body of the Assembly.

Over the two days, Tveit also will tour the facility, hold meetings with staff, and be honored with a lunch reception to which pastors in Illinois and Wisconsin District of the Church of the Brethren will be invited.

For questions about the Sunday service at Neighborhood Church of the Brethren contact pastor Mark Flory Steury, 630-897-3347 or


2) Harold Giggler: CDS volunteers care for children following Asiana crash.

Photo by CDS/John Elms
A young client of Children’s Disaster Services in San Francisco following the crash landing of an Asiana Airline plane in early July. CDS volunteers are specially trained to help children use creative play to work out the feelings of fear and loss that follow a disaster.

Following the July 6 crash landing of an Asiana Airline plane at the San Francisco airport, five volunteers from the Critical Response Childcare Team of Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) worked with children for three full days from July 10-12.

The Critical Response Childcare Team is specially trained to provide care for children and families following mass casualties events like airplane crashes. The group worked in San Francisco at the request of the American Red Cross.

The following story from this CDS response was shared by team member Mary Kay Ogden. For more information about Children’s Disaster Services go to .

Harold Giggler

Four year old Harold Giggler arrived at the Crowne Plaza Children’s Disaster Services center in Burlingame near the San Francisco Airport on Wednesday, July 10. Harold Giggler is not his real name. We couldn’t pronounce his given name. The CDS Critical Response Childcare providers named him after we got to know him. He and his parents had survived the Asiana airplane crash on July 6, and Harold rode in on a deluxe wheelchair with a casted broken left leg, which was to be kept immobile.

Harold was accompanied by either his mom, his dad, a cousin or all three. There was always someone to interpret, but the main language of communication was play. It wasn’t until the third time that the parents left him in our care while they went to the hotel restaurant for some food. It can take a long time to earn trust, especially in a foreign country where your child’s language is not spoken.

The group of five CDS childcare providers named him Harold because the only crayon he had any interest in was purple. This reminded us of the children’s book “Harold and the Purple Crayon” by Crockett Johnson. Two of us had listened carefully to his name and repeated it several times. However, Harold did not respond in the slightest degree of recognition when we used it, so we likely mispronounced it and used the wrong intonation.

We had a low table that Harold could sit parallel to and reach most items. Harold started off with the wooden puzzle, which had nine shapes. The first time, and every visit afterwards, he took out and put aside the oval, half circle, and circle. He especially liked the black trapezoid. After completing the puzzle with colors up, he put it together again with the color sides facing down. Harold worked with focus and determination.

The more time we spent with Harold, the more he jabbered in Mandarin. We smiled and nodded a lot. While we could not pronounce his name, he repeated in English some of the shape words his father taught him, including trapezoid.

When we brought the purple play doh over to him, he began pressing the puzzle shapes into the play doh. That is when some major giggling started. It continued when we flattened out some dough, thinking this would make the shape pressing more successful. He decided it was a pancake and that it should be eaten. So we pretended to do so. Once it disappeared he decided teeth brushing was in order. The giggles just got louder and more frequent.

He painstakingly built a tower out of Legos, using only the blue and the red ones. After completion and applause, he knocked the whole thing over in a fashion very typical of any preschooler.

It was the giggles and the eye contact that informed our actions. When something dropped, he would look at us and then down, effectively saying, “Pick it up!” Like many preschoolers, when he tired of coloring with his purple crayon, he pushed his clipboard and crayon off his lap and onto the floor. After picking them up several times, we pretended to go to sleep by closing our eyes and putting our heads on our hands near our shoulders. Soon three adult women were doing this, and Harold laughed with enthusiasm. Then he joined us and would wake us all up with noise and fist pumping. We all mimicked his actions, and by then Harold had earned his second name: Giggler.

It was 9:30 p.m. when Harold Giggler left to see the doctor next door to get some medication for pain. We were all tired, but refreshed with the resiliency of a four year old who never complained, worked around his casted leg, and was very easily entertained. The name Harold Giggler and the memory of his lilting voice and laughter will always bring a smile to our faces.


3) Brethren Disaster Ministries directs $75,000 grant to Sandy relief in Haiti.

One of the homes in Marin, Haiti, destroyed by Hurricane Sandy and the flooding that the storm caused when it hit the Caribbean island nation last year. Shown here, Haitian Brethren leaders assess the damage after the storm.

Brethren Disaster Ministries has directed a grant of $75,000 from the Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) to assist L’Eglise des Freres Haitiens (the Church of the Brethren in Haiti) to rebuild homes damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

The damaged homes are in Marin, Haiti. The work to rebuild them follows severe flooding brought to the region in October 2012 by Hurricane Sandy, which went on to affect the northeast coast of the US where it was known as Superstorm Sandy.

“Haiti was still recovering from the 2010 earthquake when Hurricane Sandy brought four days of rain in late October 2012,” said the grant request. “The resulting severe flooding left an estimated 200,000 Haitians homeless, caused 104 deaths, blocked infrastructure/roads, caused loss of livestock, and severe damage to agricultural fields. This led to even more food insecurity and a reignited cholera epidemic in a country with widespread poverty and hunger.”

The Haitian Brethren formally requested assistance for the community of Marin, where approximately 10 percent of families lost their homes in the flooding. Rather than starting a new Brethren Disaster Ministries project in Haiti, staff have requested this grant for a Haitian-led response to the disaster.

The funds management and construction leadership will come from the Haitian Church of the Brethren, with oversight and monitoring from Brethren Disaster Ministries. To help support this response, give to the Emergency Disaster Fund at



4) Donald Booz retires from leadership of Pacific Southwest District.

Donald R. Booz has announced his retirement as district executive minister of the Church of the Brethren’s Pacific Southwest District effective Nov. 30. He has served in the position since Dec. 1, 2008.

Booz has served two other districts as district executive minister: Atlantic Southeast District from June 1984-Jan. 1989, and Mid-Atlantic District from June 2000-Nov. 2008. Earlier in his career he pastored congregations in Atlantic Southeast District and Western Plains District. He also has been a marriage and family therapist, chaired several local and regional council of churches, and served on a variety of denominational committees over the years. He holds the College of Executive Coaching Certificate and certifications in Myers Briggs Type Indicator as well as a number of emotional intelligence indicators among other certifications.

Booz was licensed in Feb. 1974 and ordained Sept. 6, 1981, at Shippensburg (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. He is a graduate of Shippensburg Area High and Shippensburg State College, and holds a masters degree from Bethany Theological Seminary and a doctor of ministry degree from Chicago Theological Seminary. His future plans include moving to Kansas in order to live closer to family.



5) NOAC to feature a great line up of speakers, events for older adults.

There is still time to register for National Older Adult Conference (NOAC). If you are age 50 or older, plan on joining others from across the Church of the Brethren denomination at beautiful Lake Junaluska, N.C., on Sept. 2-6.

Organized by Congregational Life Ministries of the Church of the Brethren, NOAC offers inspiration, renewal, and community for adults age 50 and older. Visit to register online or contact Kim Ebersole, NOAC coordinator, at 800-323-8039 ext. 305, to have a brochure mailed to you.

Conference-goers will enjoy a great line up of presenters for the week:
— Keynote speakers Phyllis Tickle, Richard Mouw, John Paul Lederach
— Preachers Dava Hensley, Edward Wheeler, Kurt Borgmann
— Bible study leader Dawn Ottoni-Wilhelm
— Evening entertainment Ted & Company’s “Laughter Is Sacred Space” and the piano performance, “From Chopin to Sacred Songs to Show Tunes: A Musical Journey” by Josh and Elizabeth Tindall
— Afternoon entertainment “Healing Through Music: The Magic of the Native American Flute,” “Birds of Prey: Masters of the Sky,” and “Hillbilly Is Not Politically Correct! Appalachian Tales and Music”
— The humor of the NOAC News Team

NOAC attendees will have the opportunity to participate in several service projects including assembling school and hygiene kits for Church World Service and “Trekkin’ for Peace,” a walk around Lake Junaluska to raise money for the denomination’s Youth Peace Travel Team.

In addition, participants can select from a variety of interest groups, creative arts classes, and recreational activities including bus trips to the Biltmore mansion, Oconaluftee Indian Village, and Balsam Mountain Trust Preserve. “Tee Time!” a golf outing, is hosted by Bethany Theological Seminary.

Evening ice cream socials are sponsored by the Fellowship of Brethren Homes, Bethany Theological Seminary, and the Church of the Brethren-related colleges and universities.

This year’s financial sponsors are Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) sponsoring the Morning Bible Studies and NOAC News, The Palms of Sebring sponsoring the Tindall’s performance, Peter Becker Community sponsoring “Healing Through Music: The Magic of the Native American Flute,” Pinecrest Community sponsoring “Birds of Prey: Masters of the Sky,” and Hillcrest sponsoring “Hillbilly Is Not Politically Correct! Appalachian Tales and Music.”

View the entire NOAC program at where the conference booklet is available to download. During the conference, news and photos of each day’s activities will be posted at .

— Kim Ebersole is director of Family Life and Older Adult Ministries for the Church of the Brethren and the NOAC coordinator.



6) Annual Conference moderator announces theme for 2014.

Photo by Glenn Riegel
Nancy Heishman, who will serve as moderator of the 2014 Annual Conference in Columbus, Ohio

“Live as Courageous Disciples” is the theme that moderator Nancy Sollenberger Heishman has announced for the 2014 Annual Conference of the Church of the Brethren, on July 2-6 in Columbus, Ohio. The New Testament letter of Philippians is the theme scripture.

The Conference Office notes that the 2014 annual meeting is scheduled for Wednesday through Sunday, a change from recent years when the Conferences commonly have been held Saturday through Wednesday.

“The times in which we live call for boldness, for courage, for fearless living that is faithful to the word and life of Jesus Christ,” said the moderator’s theme statement, in part. “The world around us is hungry and thirsty for living examples of lives radically committed to following Jesus. More than ever, the church needs to be a community in which Jesus’ disciples spur one another on to live courageously in this world.

“My dream for this coming year is that we will take steps toward living out the beginning of our denominational vision statement, which is: ‘Through scripture Jesus calls us to live as courageous disciples in word and action,’” Heishman added.

The moderator is encouraging church members “to set aside this year to all study a particular New Testament letter together, the letter that the apostle Paul wrote to the Philippians. In this small letter, as well as the background found in the book of Acts, we see what a life of truly courageous discipleship looks like. Even from a prison cell, Paul passionately proclaimed the gospel of Christ and encouraged others to find the courage to live it out in their daily lives.”

Heishman noted that Philippians has just 104 verses and 2,243 words, and added a challenge to memorize the whole book. “It would only require memorizing two verses a week until next July!”

She invites church members to share their experiences of studying and memorizing Philippians, and stories of courageous discipleship with her as she travels among the wider church this year.

Find the full theme statement at . A list of daily themes for Annual Conference 2014 is at


7) John Kline Homestead to dedicate replica of 19th century kitchen garden.

Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
Paul Roth shares 19th century style candy at the John Kline Homestead booth at the 2013 Annual Conference. A new 19th century kitchen garden at the historic home of Civil War-era Brethren elder John Kline will be dedicated with a Garden Party on Sept. 15 in Broadway, Va.

The John Kline Homestead in Broadway, Va., will host a “Garden Party” to dedicate its new kitchen garden on Sunday, Sept. 15. The site is the historic home of Elder John Kline, a Brethren leader and martyr for peace during the Civil War.

The Garden Party will include a brief service, shape-note singing, tours of the house, and refreshments. Harvey’s of Bridgewater will serve ice cream flavored with ingredients grown on the homestead property. Events start at 4 p.m. and are free and open to the public.

Kitchen gardens were critical to 19th-century households. They were a specialized form of cultivation that grew a variety of foods for the family table. The fencing and lay-out of the gardens were particularly distinct. The Kline Homestead has created a replica of these plots.

The John Kline Homestead endeavors to preserve Kline’s memory as a 19th-century Brethren minister who led the Linville Creek congregation in Broadway. Kline established a reputation for service to the church and community, commitment to peace, and anti-slavery views.

For more information contact Paul Roth at or 540-896-5001.



8) BBT launches news and information site on health care reform.

Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) has launched a news and information website titled “ReformWatch,” offering information about health care reform and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

An April 2013 survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation determined that 4 in 10 Americans do not know whether the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is still the law and being implemented, and 49 percent of those surveyed do not know how PPACA will affect them or their family.

Do you fall into one of these two categories? Do you need more information about PPACA? Let Brethren Insurance Services assist you with ReformWatch, offering up-to-date news and information on this sweeping legislation.

Some features of this site include:

— A timeline that shows when each provision of PPACA is scheduled to be enacted and who is responsible for responding to each change.
— A regularly updated news site that connects readers with reputable sources in the health care industry and the federal government.
— A glossary of key terms that helps readers make sense of health care reform terminology.
— A page for forms.
— A frequently asked questions (FAQ) section with comprehensive responses from .
— ReformWatch E-Alerts, an e-mail service that updates registrants on the latest health care reform news.

To review the health care overhaul timeline, check FAQs, look up terminology, read news briefs from reputable sources, and sign up to receive ReformWatch E-Alerts go to .

— Brian J. Solem is manager of Publications for Brethren Benefit Trust.


9) Theme for WCC Assembly invites churches to study justice and peace.

“God of Life, Lead Us to Justice and Peace” is the theme for the World Council of Churches 10th Assembly on Oct. 30-Nov. 8 in Busan, South Korea. Congregations may walk alongside the church delegates preparing to travel to South Korea this fall through use of special study and worship resources titled “Pilgrimage to Busan: An Ecumenical Journey into World Christianity.”

The WCC is an ecumenical fellowship of 345 member denominations representing more than 500 million Christians in over 110 countries. Its general assemblies are considered the largest gathering of Christians worldwide, and occur only once every seven years. WCC assemblies have been key turning points for the worldwide church, times when the Holy Spirit has moved in unexpected ways to guide the Christian movement into new directions of discipleship and witness.

This year’s assembly theme invites congregations to join in study of how the living God leads Christians to seek justice and peace, building on the Decade to Overcome Violence. “Pilgrimage to Busan” is designed for use by study groups, adult forums, or for retreats.

Each unit or “station stop” draws participants into a specific situation–for example that of Orthodox churches in Eastern Europe, or Dalit Christians in India–and focuses on a key theme: Station One: Christian Unity, Station Two: Called to Witness, Station Three: Living with People of Other Faiths, Station Four: Working for God’s Justice, Station Five: Praying for Peace, Station Six: Transformative Spirituality for Discipleship.

A leader’s guide offers coordinators background on the sites, themes, and issues of each unit, along with links to further resource material. A participant’s guide structures the reflection and discussion and suggests possibilities for practical engagement. Download both guides in pdf format from




10) Lessons and legacies of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki anniversary.

Events in northeast Asia this year “dramatize how much the region and the world still live in the shadow of mass destruction,” the World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary said in a comment on the 68th anniversary this week of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. “The God of life calls all of us to take up [the survivors’] tireless cry and make certain that a Hiroshima or Nagasaki bombing can never happen again.”

Churches from around the world are coming to South Korea soon for the 10th Assembly of the WCC. Participants will learn the Hiroshima legacy from churches there, said WCC general secretary Olav Fykse Tveit. These include Cold War rivals North Korea and the United States “still brandishing nuclear weapons,” increasing US military deployments in the region, and government officials in Tokyo speculating about Japan developing nuclear weapons.

Sixty years after the Korean War ceasefire, “none of the antagonists have a peace treaty,” Tveit noted, “but every country in northeast Asia has its own nuclear arms or accepts protection from US nuclear weapons.” He cited Buddhist, Christian, and civil society advocacy that the Korean Peninsula “must be freed of nuclear weapons as a cornerstone for any durable peace.”

The finest tribute to the two destroyed cities, Tveit said, will be to achieve the elderly survivors’ undying hope. This means ensuring that no one suffers the fate of Hiroshima and Nagasaki ever again. It means protecting “God’s gift of life…for the good of all.”

— This report is from a World Council of Churches release. The WCC promotes Christian unity in faith, witness, and service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches founded in 1948, by the end of 2012 the WCC had 345 member communions representing more than 500 million Christians from Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other traditions in over 110 countries. Find the full text of Tveit’s comments at .


11) Brethren bits.

When Church of the Brethren member Clair Mock took his annual birthday motorcycle ride on July 25, the “Bedford Gazette” featured the event with an article and photos–noting that at 108 Mock is the second oldest resident of Pennsylvania. Mock celebrated the day with a motorcycle ride on the back of his nephew Neal Weaver’s Harley, and a trip to the County Fair where he was greeted by Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture George Grieg. Present for the occasion were his daughter and former Annual Conference moderator Elaine Sollenberger, granddaughter Lori Knepp, and great granddaughter Morgan Knepp, among other family, friends, and well wishers. Newsline thanks Frank Ramirez for being present to take this photograph and being one of those at the motorcycle ride send off!

— Material Resources director Loretta Wolf has passed along a plea for more donations of Church World Service (CWS) kits. CWS kits are among the disaster relief materials that are processed, warehoused, and distributed by the Church of the Brethren Material Resources program at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. Currently there is a good stock of Hygiene Kits but the stock of School Kits, Baby Care Kits, and Emergency Clean-Up Buckets is very low. “More materials are needed to respond to pending requests and be ready for future emergencies.” To find out how to put together kits, go to . Kit contents have been selected with care based on years of experience to make them as useful as possible, wherever and whenever they are sent following disasters in the US and around the world.

— Save these dates! Events announced for 2014 include the Church of the Brethren Clergy Women’s Retreat on Jan. 13-16 at the Sierra Retreat Center in Malibu, Calif., on the theme “Hand in Hand, Heart to Heart: On the Journey Together” (Philippians 1:3-11) with speaker Melissa Wiginton, vice president for Education Beyond the Walls at Austin (Texas) Seminary; and the church planting conference “Plant Generously, Reap Bountifully: Toward an Intercultural Future” (1 Corinthians 3:6) on May 15-17 at Bethany Seminary in Richmond, Ind., with speakers Efrem Smith of the Pacific Southwest Conference of the Evangelical Covenant Church, Alejandro Mandes director of Hispanic Ministries of the Evangelical Free Church of America, and Annual Conference moderator Nancy Sollenberger Heishman.

— Bethany Theological Seminary is one of the schools taking part in a new event on Sept. 18. According to an invitation from the Church of the Brethren seminary in Richmond, Ind.: “You are invited to attend the first-ever Seminary and Theological Grad School Virtual Fair on Sept. 18. The Virtual Fair will allow you to have your admissions questions answered by representatives from multiple graduate institutions during this live event.” The online event will offer information about seminary and theological graduate school programs, the opportunity to meet school representatives in live chat sessions, upload resumes prior to the event, and more. Register at . For more information contact Gayle Oliver-Plath at 770-980-0088 or .

— Bridgewater (Va.) Church of the Brethren is hosting a Bridgewater College Alumni Choir concert at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 18. The Alumni Choir was founded by Jesse E. Hopkins, the Edwin L. Turner Distinguished Professor of Music Emeritus at Bridgewater College. In addition to Hopkins, the 30-member choir will be directed by several other alumni including David L. Tate, Curtis Nolley, Ryan E. Keebaugh, and Melissa Dull. Mary Beth Flory will serve as accompanist. Hopkins retired in 2012 after 35 years on the college faculty. He served as music director at the Bridgewater Church of the Brethren for many years and is conductor of the Schola Cantorum of Waynesboro, Va.

— The Vital Ministry Journey is launching in Southern Ohio District with an introductory event on Aug. 10 for pastors and teams of lay leaders from each congregation. “Congregational health and vitality is a priority for the Southern Ohio District,” said an announcement in the district e-newsletter. “We want you to be alive in Christ and thriving in your local community.” The Vital Ministry Journey initiative will be a partnership of the Church of the Brethren Congregational Life Ministries and the district’s Missional/Renewal Commission.

— In more news from Southern Ohio, the district e-newsletter has publicized results from a Special District Conference held July 27 to receive a report and recommendations from the District Board in regard to Outdoors Ministries and Woodland Altars: “After much discussion, the delegates voted 67-50 to reject the board’s recommendation on selling Woodland Altars. The board will be meeting sometime during the first full week of August to consider next steps as the lessee is vacating the lease as of the end of August. Your prayers are requested as the board deals with this important matter facing our district.”

— The World Hunger Auction in Virlina District is Saturday, Aug. 10, starting at 9:30 a.m. at Antioch Church of the Brethren in Franklin County, Va. The district newsletter reports the auction will include crafts, quilts, toys, produce, baked and canned goods, special services, and more. “Items of special interest to be sold include two tickets to the Virginia Tech-Virginia football game at Charlottesville. The seats are in the lower level, approximately 10 yard line, 7th row. A ticket package to the August 31st Nationals-Mets game in the first row of the Diamond Club which includes waiter service, pre-game gourmet buffet, and reserved parking are up for bid.” A number of congregations partner with Antioch in the auction including Bethany, Bethlehem, Boones Mill, Cedar Bluff, Germantown Brick, Monte Vista, Oak Grove (South), Roanoke-Ninth Street, and Smith Mountain Lake. For more information go to .

— Virlina District is offering a Fall Foliage and West Virginia Bus Tour on Oct. 12, departing from the new Virlina District Resource Center at 3402 Plantation Road, N.E., in Roanoke, Va., at 7:30 a.m., returning around 9 p.m. Ticket cost is $29.99. Monnie R. Martin, Spruce Run Church historian, and David K. Shumate, district executive minister, will narrate the tour. Reports by congregational historians will be presented at some of the stops. Ministers may receive continuing education credits. Churches to be highlighted include Olean in Giles County, Va., Smith Chapel in Mercer County, W.Va., Crab Orchard in Raleigh County, W.Va., First Brethren in Oak Hill, W.Va., Pleasant View, W.Va., the former Bethany Church at Charmco, W.Va., and Greenbrier (Frantz Memorial) Church near Dawson, W.Va. A lunch stop with time for shopping will be at Tamarack in Beckley, W.Va. A stop will be made at the New River Gorge overlook providing a view of the highest steel arch bridge in the world. For reservations contact the Virlina Resource Center at 540-362-1816 or 800-847-5462.

— Michigan District Conference will be held Aug. 16-17 at Camp Brethren Heights, Rodney, Mich.

— Ambitious goals for the 17th annual COBYS Bike and Hike: $100,000 and 550 participants. The event is Sept. 8, beginning at 1:30 p.m. at Lititz (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. COBYS Family Services is affiliated with the Atlantic Northeast District of the Church of the Brethren. Its mission is to educate, support, and empower children and adults to reach their full potential through adoption and foster care services; counseling for children, adults, and families; and family life education programs offered in partnership with church, school, and community groups. “We’ve been steadily climbing toward the $100,000 mark,” said event planner Don Fitzkee. “We think this is the year, and we’re asking people to give a little extra to help us reach a significant milestone.” The Bike and Hike is COBYS’ signature event, and includes a 3-mile walk through Lititz, 10- and 25-mile bicycle rides on rural roads around Lititz, and the 65-mile Dutch Country Motorcycle Ride. Each participant receives a free t-shirt (while supplies last), ice cream and refreshments, and an opportunity to win one of dozens of door prizes donated by area businesses. Those who raise certain levels of support can earn additional prizes. Junior and senior high youth groups who raise $1,500 or more win a free gym and pizza night. Grand prizes donated by area businesses will be awarded to the top three fundraisers. WJTL FM 90.3 will broadcast live from the event. Information about fees, a brochure, routes, and more is at . Contact Don Fitzkee, director of Development for COBYS Family Services, at 717-656-6580 or .

— Shepherd’s Spring, a Church of the Brethren camp and retreat center in Sharpsburg, Md., holds a “Celebrate Summer” event on Aug. 17 with activities for all ages. Events start at 10 a.m. and include tours and demonstrations at the Heifer Global Village and animal visits, “Lunch Under the Big Top,” an open swim time, live music, family games, a scavenger hunt, story tellers, tomato tasting, closing with worship at the pool at 3:30 p.m. Events are free, but donations are welcome. The camp requests notice from those who plan to attend, call 301-223-8193.

— Bridgewater (Va.) Retirement Community will hold a “Laying the Foundation” ceremony on Aug. 27 at 2:30 p.m., announces the Shenandoah District newsletter. The event will recognize the legacy of founders of the Bridgewater Home and celebrate the vision for new construction and renovations at the Huffman Health Center. The event is open to the public.

— Pinecrest Community, a Church of the Brethren retirement community in Mt. Morris, Ill., has announced that with the help of several regional foundations and donations, it will be replacing every bed in its Manor nursing home and Terrace Alzheimer’s care center. The announcement made in the Illinois and Wisconsin District newsletter noted that to date, old beds (from the 1960s) already have been replaced in several wings. In 2012-13, Pinecrest received a total of $20,000 from the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois and two other $1,000 grants dedicated to purchasing new beds. “Many other donations were given by people affiliated with Pinecrest who wanted to help when the need became apparent,” said the newsletter. “Sufficient funding was finally realized in 2013 to replace each old bed with a state of the art Elite Riser.” The program is called “Pinecrest Pathways,” an overall health-related visionary program to direct services to residents dedicated to improving health and well-being. Future Pathways projects under consideration include an Arts and Music program and a Trails program. For more information contact Diana Roemer, director of Advancement and Marketing, at 815-734-4103.

— The Springs of Living Water initiative for church renewal has announced next classes for pastors. “After an exciting class for pastors this spring, two classes will be offered this fall in the Springs academy, done over the phone,” said the announcement. Five conference calls are spread over a 12-week period September through December. The introductory class, Foundations for Church Renewal, begins Sept. 11. A Level Two class, Servant Leadership for Church Renewal, begins Sept. 14. Three weeks between classes allows for reading and “shepherding” calls to each participant. The release explained: “In the introductory class, participants learn the spiritually centered, servant-led approach to church renewal which provides a path for renewal for congregations. Pastors learn how to nurture spiritual vitality for their church using spiritual disciplines folders for the entire congregation. They learn five key roles of a renewal pastor. Rather than find out what is wrong and fix it, they help their church discern their strengths and build on them…. Level Two goes deeper into application of a vision of leadership and spiritual formation of individuals and congregations.” Primary texts for Level 1 are “Celebration of Discipline” by Richard Foster and “Springs of Living Water, Christ-Centered Church Renewal” by David Young. For Level Two, the class will use “Life Together” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer and “Servant Leadership for Church Renewal, Shepherds by the Living Springs” by David Young. Continuing education units are available. More information including course descriptions, learning objectives, and testimonials from past participants are at . Contact David and Joan Young at or 717-615-4515.

— McPherson (Kan.) College president Michael Schneider has been selected for the prestigious Higher Education Doctorate Program at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, according to a release. Starting in August, Schneider will enter the 22-month program that leads to a Doctorate in Higher Education Management. Founded in 2001, the program takes an innovative approach by matching those enrolled in the program with cohorts in similar positions but with diverse backgrounds. The program involves independent study and two days per month on the Pennsylvania campus, which will allow Schneider to earn the doctorate without sacrificing his work for McPherson.  “The board fully supports Michael as he pursues his doctorate,” said Rick Doll, chair of the McPherson Board of Trustees, in the release. “I’m sure we’ll get as much out of it as he does.”

— Bridgewater (Va.) College is one of the best colleges and universities in the Southeast,  according to the Princeton Review. “The New York City-based education services company selected Bridgewater as one of 138 institutions it recommends in its “Best in the Southeast” section on its website feature, ‘2014 Best Colleges: Region by Region,’” reported a press release from the college. “In the profile on Bridgewater at, the college is described as one concerned with ‘personally developing students in every aspect of life and making each individual physically, academically, socially, and mentally fit for the real world.’” Robert Franek, vice president of publishing at The Princeton Review, commended Bridgewater and all the schools named as ‘regional best’ colleges. “We chose Bridgewater mainly for its excellent academic programs, but we also took into account what students reported to us about their campus experiences on our 80-question student survey.” Students were surveyed on a range of issues from accessibility of professors to quality of campus food.

— In more news from Bridgewater, the college has announced its line up of arts and events for the community this fall. Events are free and open to the public. Presentations will be at 7:30 p.m. in Cole Hall unless otherwise noted. Among speakers coming to campus:
Tony Mendez, former CIA officer and subject of “Argo,” winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture for 2012, will speak on Sept. 10.
Collins Tuohy, a member of the family on which the movie “The Blind Side” is based, will speak on Oct. 17.
Nontombi Naomi Tutu, peace activist and daughter of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, will speak on Oct. 21.
Shane Claiborne will speak on Nov. 5, in the Carter Center for Worship and Music, as part of Fall Spiritual Focus. Claiborne was one of the speakers at the Church of the Brethren’s National Youth Conference in 2010 and is a leader of the Simple Way, a faith community in inner city Philadelphia.
John H. “Jack” Gordon, President John F. Kennedy assassination scholar, will speak on Nov. 18. November 22 marks the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination.
For a listing of all events, go to

— Manchester University is giving away 1,000 children’s books in downtown North Manchester, Ind., on Aug. 9 at Fun Fest by the River. The books are provided through a partnership with Better World Books. “From ‘Where the Wild Things Are,’ to ‘The Cat in the Hat’ and ‘The Hungry Caterpillar,’ the mountain of books is a library of favorites and adventures in reading,” according to a release. Said Carole Miller-Patrick, director of the university’s Center for Service Opportunities: “Our goal is very simple: to increase literacy. To develop readers at a young age.” Manchester’s partnership with Better World Books includes the providing of 100 books each month to distribute in the community. Beneficiaries will include the scores of elementary students that Manchester students tutor in area schools as well as books donated to local doctors’ offices for children to take home. Part of the project is the collection of used books in bins on campus, which Better World Books collects and ships to communities around the world, and also sells at extremely reduced prices in a Mishawaka, Ind., outlet store. Read the full release at .

— Grace Zhao has been Artist in Residence at the University of La Verne, Calif. A pianist who has played in concert at the national Center for the Arts in Beijing, China, the Nixon Library in southern California, the recital hall of the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, she has been a top prize winner at the Los Angeles International Liszt Competition and the Ettlingen International Competition for Young Pianists among others, according to a feature article in the university’s “Voice” magazine. At ULV she has been director of Piano Studies, and also was recently appointed visiting professor at Sichuan Music Conservatory in China.

— Womaen’s Caucus has announced two new steering committee members: Sara Davis of La Verne (Calif.) Church of the Brethren who is serving as treasurer, and Jonathan Bay, also of the La Verne Church and currently a master’s degree student at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, who will be reworking the group’s online presence. Find the website at .

— Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) has started a petition to ask US Secretary of State John Kerry “to heed Israeli jurists’ and writers’ petitions against forced evacuation of people in Firing Zone 918 [so that] the 1,000 Palestinians, including 452 children may remain on land in the South Hebron Hills where their families have lived for many generations.” A release explained that “the Israeli military wants to force the villagers off their land so they can use the land for live fire training, which is in absolute contravention of international humanitarian law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention, Article 49, and the Hague Regulations, Articles 46 and 52.” CPT has had a relationship with villagers in this area since the late 1990s, including a seven-year period when it had a team in the village of At-Tuwani. It is asking support for petitions sponsored by prominent Israeli writers and legal advocates, available on CPT’s Palestine team website. Find out more at . Read the full release at .

— Also from Christian Peacemaker Teams this week, CPT has published an update from its Depleted Uranium (DU) delegation to Jonesborough, Tenn. Titled “Activism, War, and the Military-Industrial Complex” it is published with the author’s name withheld because “two of CPT’s DU delegation partners had their tires slashed or punctured while the delegation was in the Jonesborough area,” said the release. The reflection explains the rationale for the work in Jonesborough, and some of the experiences and conversations the delegation has had interacting with people affected by DU pollution. Read the report at .

— The August edition of “Brethren Voices,” the community television program produced by Portland (Ore.) Peace Church of the Brethren, features Jerry O’Donnell, press secretary for Rep. Grace Napolitano of California’s 38th Congressional District of the House of Representatives. O’Donnell has been involved in the Church of the Brethren throughout his life, growing up in the Church of the Brethren near Philadelphia, earning a degree from Juniata College, serving in Brethren Volunteer Service, and being involved in Church of the Brethren workcamps. In April, he was one of the leaders in Washington, D.C., who met with 55 youth of the Church of the Brethren at the Christian Citizenship Seminar where he shared his thoughts and recommendations for communicating with congressional representatives. In this edition of “Brethren Voices,” O’Donnell discusses some of the pending Congressional legislation and shares his feelings about the economy, which he states is “built” around the military. He also gives his recommendations on the sites to see in DC, including his office at 1610 Longworth HOB. To order a copy of Brethren Voices contact producer Ed Groff at .

— Two separate ecumenical councils of churches have now been established in Sudan and South Sudan, according to a release from the World Council of Churches. The decision comes after South Sudan’s independence from Sudan in 2011, following a referendum mandated by the 2005 peace pact that ended Africa’s longest-running civil war. The decision to establish two separate ecumenical organizations was made at the Sudan Council of Churches (SCC) 20th General Assembly on July 3-7. The SCC previously represented member churches of the World Council of Churches both in Sudan and South Sudan and existed as one ecumenical organization for 48 years. Now two new bodies take its place: the South Sudan Council of Churches (SSCC), based in Juba, and the Sudan Council of Churches (SCC), based in Khartoum. Festus Abdel Aziz James is general secretary of the SSCC. Kori Romla Koru is general secretary of the SCC. The two ecumenical councils plan to celebrate their 50-year Golden Jubilee together in January 2015.


Contributors to this issue of Newsline include Mary Jo Flory-Steury, Ed Groff, Mary Kay Heatwole, Jeri S. Kornegay, Frank Ramirez, Roy Winter, Loretta Wolf, David Young, Jane Yount, and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren. The next regularly scheduled issue of Newsline is planned for Aug. 15. Newsline is produced by the News Services of the Church of the Brethren. Contact the editor at Newsline appears every other week, with special issues as needed. Stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source. To unsubscribe or change your e-mail preferences go to

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