Newsline for June 13, 2013

Quote of the week
“I want to tell you this is the best thing here. My two grand boys spent the night under the bed and then spent two hours here. It was the first time they got to play or see toys since the school went down. You did a good thing.”

— A grandfather thanking Children’s Disaster Services volunteers who have been caring for children and families affected by the tornado that hit Moore, Okla., on May 20. CDS volunteers have worked in cooperation with the American Red Cross in Moore continuously since May 25. More than 300 children have received care. Above, one of the pictures drawn by children in Moore, shared by CDS volunteer Bob Roach. The child’s description of the picture: “This tornado people is sad. This tornado people is crying and crying.”

“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God” (Romans 8:14).

1) CDS volunteers continue to care for children affected by Oklahoma tornados.
2) Brethren Disaster Ministries to start Sandy recovery project in New Jersey.
3) Young adult event takes place at Camp Pine Lake.
4) World Council of Churches celebrates signing of Arms Trade Treaty.

5) NYC 2014 logo and registration opening date are announced.
6) Brethren Academy updates its list of upcoming courses.
7) Progressive Brethren Gathering to be held in Indiana.

8) Moderator Bob Krouse sets the tone for Annual Conference 2013.
9) Evidence of God working: A revival of faith at McPherson College.
10) UN representative reports ‘troubling’ global meeting on human trafficking.


11) Brethren bits:

Corrections, remembering Doris Hollinger, job openings, personnel notes, summer worship resources from Gather ’Round, Brethren Voices interviews BVS director, more.


A note to Newsline readers: Church of the Brethren staff learned this morning that–an old website mostly out of use–had been infected with a malicious script (virus) that could have affected visitors’ computers. The infection has been removed and the site is now safe. It appears that other, non-Brethren websites also were targeted and staff are investigating the source of the attack. If you accessed the Annual Conference statement page or documents between June 10-12, please update your anti-virus program and scan your computer. If you do not have anti-virus protection (which is NOT advisable) there are free options including and . Please note that the rest of the Annual Conference website hosted on was not affected. Furthermore, the old website will be taken out of service shortly and all materials will be moved to the much more secure site . If you have questions or concerns please contact .


1) CDS volunteers continue to care for children affected by Oklahoma tornados.

“Please keep the people of Oklahoma in your prayers,” asks Roy Winter, executive director of Brethren Disaster Ministries. Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) has had a group of volunteers serving in Moore, Okla., since May 25. As of June 4, 325 children have received care.

Volunteers from CDS, a program within Brethren Disaster Ministries, have been helping to care for children and families affected by the tornado that devastated Moore on May 20. CDS works cooperatively with FEMA and the American Red Cross to provide care for children following disasters. Trained and certified CDS volunteers set up child care centers in shelters and disaster assistance centers. Specially trained to respond to traumatized children, the volunteers provide a calm, safe, and reassuring presence in the midst of the chaos created by disasters.

CDS staff report that the volunteers had to evacuate to a storm shelter twice last week when more tornados touched down in Oklahoma causing more damage and flooding, and more loss of life. All the CDS volunteers are doing well and keeping in good spirits, reports project manager Bob Roach.

The CDS volunteers in Oklahoma so far have included Bob and Peggy Roach, Ken Kline, Donna Savage, Beryl Cheal, Douetta Davis, Bethany Vaughn, Josh Leu, and Virginia Holcomb. These same nine volunteers plan to continue working in the Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) at West Moore High School through the end of the week. The team will be replaced by a new set of CDS volunteers over the coming weekend.

CDS volunteers began work in Moore on Saturday, May 25, initially setting up child care areas at two MARCs at Little Axe Elementary School and West Moore High School. The school sites were two of four MARCs that were opened in the Moore area on May 25. CDS served several children at the Little Axe center on Saturday and Sunday, before that center closed. The CDS volunteers were then consolidated at the West Moore High School center.

Donations to the Emergency Disaster Fund will support the response by Children’s Disaster Services. Go to or send a check to the Emergency Disaster Fund, Church of the Brethren General Offices, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120.

Photo by Bob Roach
A child’s drawing displays her yearning for pets lost in the tornado that hit Moore, Okla. Children’s Disaster Services volunteers use play and art to help children recover from the trauma of such disasters.

CDS stories from Oklahoma

Project manager Bob Roach shares these stories from the child care centers in Moore, Okla., where Children’s Disaster Services volunteers are caring for children and families affected by the tornado that devastated the town on May 20:

A dad comes to check on daughter. “You having fun? We’re hurrying.” The child backs away and pouts. Dad: “What’s wrong?” Child: “I want you to go slow.” Dad hesitates then replies, “Okay, we’ll try to go slow.”

A grandfather stops by (without children). “I want to tell you this is the best thing here. My two grand boys spent the night under the bed and then spent two hours here. It was the first time they got to play or see toys since the school went down. You did a good thing. Some people don’t realize kids need to de-stress just like adults do–sometimes kids need it more. I wanted to thank you.”

A mom is ready to leave the MARC but her daughter has just started painting. She sits outside the CDS center to wait and begins to share: “We just moved from Massachusetts last summer and we lost everything. We got hit again last night. My father in law teases that we brought bad luck and I told him I would take the credit for any snow but I am not taking the blame for any tornados!” How wonderful that she can still have a sense of humor after all she has been through.

E’s mother just signed him out and he tells her he wants her to “meet my new friend.” He runs over to ask M (another child) to meet his mother, but she refuses to leave the play doh table. She waves and tells E’s mother, “I used to go to Plaza Towers School. I don’t go there any more.” The mother nods and replies, “I guess we’ll have to find a new school for you guys.”

During his visit with CDS one little boy stands in the center of the space, spreads out his arms, and declares, “I’m staying here forever!”

Yesterday a nurse from West Moore MARC came over and asked if I could come with her. She had a young teary-eyed mother who was very concerned about her 10 year old daughter (not present). Mother stated that since the Friday tornado, child has been very scared and upset. She stated the child was not acting like she used to. “What can I do?” I tried to reassure her that this was normal, and that children will go through the same phases of trauma that the adults were facing–almost like the grieving process. I explained that children also need to work through the trauma of a disaster and often regress to younger behaviors. I tried to explain the best thing was to get the child to express her feelings–talking, creative play, playing with classmates who are going through the same situation, drawing, art, and activities that help relieve stress and tension. “Let the child know you are having many of the same feelings and be honest how you are coping with them.” We spoke of giving reassurance to the child, and having the child involved in a plan of safety. Mother said she would get neighbor’s child and her daughter together and make emergency/safe back packs. Told her I thought this was good idea. I encouraged her to speak with Red Cross mental health and said they would be available now as well as in the future. I also gave her the brochure “Trauma, Helping Your Child Cope.” Mother gave me a big hug, saying, “I don’t know who you are, but you really helped!”

2) Brethren Disaster Ministries to start Sandy recovery project in New Jersey.

In an exciting new partnership to help recovery in communities displaced by Super Storm Sandy, Brethren Disaster Ministries is collaborating with a trusted local non-profit in a project aimed at increasing the supply of safe and affordable rental housing in New Jersey. This unique project will allow Brethren Disaster Ministries to reach out to a population that is often underserved following disasters, yet whose recovery is crucial to the overall recovery and health of the community.

Super Storm Sandy made landfall on Oct. 29, 2012, devastating the mid-Atlantic coast with flooding and high winds. Among the worst affected regions, Ocean County, N.J., saw 62 percent of all the damage in the entire state, including approximately 50,000 homes and nearly 10,000 rental properties damaged or destroyed.

As is the case after most disasters, housing availability in Ocean County is extremely limited as homeowners seek temporary rentals while repairs are made to their homes, and displaced renters seek alternative housing–not knowing if or when landlords will rebuild. These unfortunate circumstances create a situation where rental prices in the region have gone up significantly, placing many low- to moderate-income families at risk of being unable to return to their communities, places of worship, work, and schools.

Brethren Disaster Ministries is partnering with O.C.E.A.N., Inc., which will provide the land to build six single family homes in Berkeley Township, N.J. Homes will be located outside of the “flood zone,” will be constructed by Brethren Disaster Ministries volunteers, and will incorporate certain mitigation techniques designed to reduce the risk of damage from future disasters. The new homes will be rented on a sliding scale to low- and moderate-income families with special needs who were affected by Super Storm Sandy.

Brethren Disaster Ministries’ guiding principles do not allow for building rental properties for private landlords–and this project, while unique, is no exception. O.C.E.A.N., Inc. will provide case management services in order to certify all income and eligibility standards and give priority to those with special needs. Following completion of the homes, property management and maintenance services will be provided by O.C.E.A.N., Inc.

Construction is expected to begin in late August on the three- and four-bedroom homes. The response in this region also is expected to expand to include more new homes and/or repairs to existing storm-damaged homes. An allocation of $40,000 from the Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) is providing financial support for the project.

An additional EDF allocation is continuing support for the Brethren Disaster Ministries repair and rebuild project in Binghamton, N.Y., following catastrophic flooding caused by Tropical Storm Lee in Sept. 2011. To date over 200 volunteers have given close to 15,000 hours of service to complete repairs on over 40 homes. Previous grants to this project total $30,000. Give to the Emergency Disaster Fund at .

— Zach Wolgemuth is associate director of Brethren Disaster Ministries.

3) Young adult event takes place at Camp Pine Lake.

Photo by Kelsey Murray
Young Adult Conference 2013 gathered at Camp Pine Lake near Eldora, Iowa

More than 40 young adults from across the country gathered at Camp Pine Lake in Eldora, Iowa, for the Church of the Brethren’s annual Young Adult Conference (or YAC for short). YAC took place over Memorial Day weekend from May 25-27. The young adults had a great time filled with laughter, conversation, coffee, and four square, despite what was otherwise a very rainy and cool weekend in Iowa.

There was time set aside for workshops, small groups, large groups, a coffee shop and talent show, a camp fire enjoyed in the dry and warm conditions of the lodge, joyful noise, and worship.

The theme for this year revolved around “Voice…the Stones Would Shout Out!” based on Luke 19:36-40. Worship coordinators were Tyler Goss and Marie Benner-Rhoades. Worship services were led by Eric Landram, Kay Guyer, Jonathan Brenneman, and Joanna Shenk, with music leadership from Jacob Crouse.

The Young Adult Steering Committee is excited to announce that next year’s YAC will take place at Camp Brethren Woods in Keezletown, Va. Please stay tuned for more information on the exact dates.

Also, the Young Adult Steering Committee is now taking applications for open spots on the committee. Applications can be found at .

— Josh Bashore-Steury provided this report from the 2013 Young Adult Conference.

4) World Council of Churches celebrates signing of Arms Trade Treaty.

“Sign early and save lives!” said the World Council of Churches (WCC) celebratory news release on the signing of the world’s first Arms Trade Treaty:

Nearly 70 governments signed the world’s first Arms Trade Treaty at the United Nations on the day it opened for signatures, June 3. Churches in dozens of countries urged them to do so in order to keep up the momentum from successful negotiations until the new treaty takes effect.

Signatories included states that export arms and states where imported arms fuel violence.

The high turnout on the first day of signing mirrored the broad support for controlling arms sales, which brought nearly 100 churches and related organizations into the WCC two-year campaign for the treaty.

“Sign early” was the message that ecumenical campaigners gave to 24 governments in recent days–14 of them in Africa, the continent that has suffered most from unregulated arms sales.

Major arms exporters Germany, United Kingdom, and France took part in the first day of signing, as did smaller exporters such as Norway and Sweden. The world’s largest arms producer and exporter, the United States, said it would sign later. Russia, China, India, and others abstained from the treaty vote and have not indicated if they will sign.

The human cost of illicit arms trading has been the focus of church advocacy for the arms treaty to as many as 47 countries when negotiations peaked earlier this year. In April, 156 countries voted for the treaty, a milestone in bringing the multibillion-dollar arms exports under control. The treaty will take effect once 50 countries have ratified it.

In the meantime, without these new binding global controls, some 2,000 people will continue to die each day from armed violence.

When the treaty is in force and working, it will be more difficult to supply the arms that are fueling the ongoing bloody conflict in Syria. Until then it remains easier to sell bullets, bombs, and deadly weapons than it is to sell bananas or pineapples.

Given the geographic location of WCC member churches and related organizations in different regions, the WCC-led campaign was able to speak with one voice to four different kinds of governments, those that make and sell the most weapons; those that have suffered the most from irresponsible arms trading; those that want the arms trade to be reformed; and those that may not be focused on the issue but see its value.

The “Ecumenical Campaign for a Strong and Effective Arms Trade Treaty” developed out of a WCC Central Committee action in 2011. A campaign network was formed in mid-2011 during the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation in Kingston, Jamaica.

Churches and church ministries in 40 countries joined the campaign. Uganda, DR Congo, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, Sweden, Germany, Norway, India, South Korea, Australia, and Papua New Guinea were some of the countries involved. There was close collaboration with Catholic and evangelical groups.

African churches and governments played a key role in the campaign. Countries heavily affected by decades of irresponsible arms sales stood together and made their voices heard.

A key demand was that the treaty must include small arms and light weapons, plus ammunition, or it was not the treaty that Africa needed. Two major players in the negotiations, the US and China, both took note of the African position. Changes in their stance followed, and the negotiations were able to continue.

In the end, the treaty that opened for signature this week addresses much of what the WCC adopted as policy for the campaign, even though it falls short at various points.

For the first time, a global treaty covers small arms and light weapons, ammunition, human rights violations, international humanitarian law, and gender-based violence.

It bans exports of conventional arms where there is knowledge that weapons could be used in war crimes, genocide, attacks against civilians, and other grave breaches of international humanitarian law.

Support for the treaty from so many states, including major arms exporters, will put pressure on states that abstained to reform their practices.

Members of the ecumenical campaign continue to work so that more governments will sign and then ratify the long-awaited treaty.

See pictures of country officials and campaigners at the treaty signing at . The Arms Trade Treaty web page is .

The World Council of Churches 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 churches representing more than 500 million Christians from Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican, and other traditions in over 110 countries. The WCC works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church. The Church of the Brethren is a member communion of the WCC.


5) NYC 2014 logo and registration opening date are announced.

A new logo for National Youth Conference (NYC) 2014, the once every four years Church of the Brethren conference for youth who have completed grade 9 through the first year of college, has been released by the Youth and Young Adult Ministry office. The logo designed by Debbie Noffsinger illustrates the NYC theme from Ephesians 4:1-7, “Called by Christ, Blessed for the Journey Together.”

Also announced is the opening date of online registration for NYC: Jan. 3, 2014, at 7 p.m. (central time).

NYC will be held July 19-24, 2014, at Colorado State University in Ft. Collins, Colo. The conference will begin with registration at noon on Saturday and end at noon on Thursday. Meals, lodging, and programming are included in the registration fee of $450. A non-refundable deposit of $225 must be paid at the time of registration. Balance will be due by April 30, 2014.

Youth who have completed ninth grade of high school through one year of college (at the time of NYC) are eligible to attend. All youth must be accompanied by an adult advisor. Congregations and youth groups must send at least one adult advisor who is at least 22 years old for every five youth who attend, and must send a female advisor to accompany female youth, and a male advisor to accompany male youth.

The NYC 2014 coordinators, who are serving through Brethren Volunteer Service, are Katie Cummings, Tim Heishman, and Sarah Neher. The National Youth Cabinet, which helps plan and lead NYC, includes Kerrick van Asselt, Zander Willoughby, Sarah Ullom-Minnich, Sarandon Smith, Brittany Fourman, and Emmett Eldred, with adult advisors Rhonda Pittman Gingrich and Dennis Lohr. Becky Ullom Naugle is the director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Church of the Brethren.

Find more information about NYC 2014 as it becomes available at . Connect with NYC on Facebook by “liking” the NYC2014 page at . Follow NYC on Twitter @NYC_2014 . For questions contact 800-323-8039 or .

6) Brethren Academy updates its list of upcoming courses.

The Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership has updated its upcoming course listing, which includes independent study units connected with the Ministers’ Association event in late June in advance of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference, and the Fifth Brethren World Assembly in mid-July.

Brethren Academy courses are open to Training in Ministry (TRIM) and Education for Shared Ministry (EFSM) students, pastors (who may earn continuing education units), and all interested persons. Registration deadlines are noted below. The academy continues to accept students beyond the registration deadline, but on that date staff determine if there are enough students registered to offer the course. Many courses have required pre-course readings, so students must allow enough time to complete readings in advance. Students should not purchase texts or make travel plans until the registration deadline has passed, and a course confirmation is received.

For more information about these Brethren Academy courses or to enroll, contact Francine Massie, administrative assistant for the Brethren Academy, at or 765-983-1824. Register for courses noted as “SVMC” (offered by the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center, located at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College) by contacting or 717-361-1450.

— Annual Conference directed independent study unit, June 28-29 in Charlotte, N.C., available for TRIM/EFSM students. This directed independent study unit is offered in conjunction with the Ministers’ Association pre-Conference continuing education event titled “Faithful Christian Leadership in the 21st Century” led by L. Gregory Jones. The study unit is directed, planned, and led by Julie Hostetter, the Brethren Academy executive director. It will include pre-Conference reading, a one-hour session before and after the Ministers’ Association event, and attendance at the entire Ministers’ Association event. A follow-up project will be expected. If interested, contact . There will be no tuition fee, however participants must register and pay for the Ministers’ Association event. Those planning on participating will need to arrange their own lodging in Charlotte. For more about the Ministers’ Association event and to register, go to .

— Independent study unit connected with the Fifth Brethren World Assembly on the theme, “Brethren Spirituality: How Brethren Conceive of and Practice the Spiritual Life,” July 11-14, sponsored by the Brethren Encyclopedia Board and hosted by the Brethren Heritage Center in Brookville, Ohio. TRIM students wishing to attend should work with their district coordinator to arrange an independent study unit. EFSM students wanting to use this event as part of the Basic Brethren Beliefs learning unit should contact Julie Hostetter. Students are responsible for the registration fee, travel, and expenses at the assembly, and arrange their own lodging. Continuing education units are available for ordained ministers. More about the Brethren World Assembly and online registration is at .

— “Story of the Church: Reformation to the Modern Age,” an online course from July 29-Sept. 20 with instructor Craig Gandy. The registration deadline is July 15 (SVMC).

— “Ministry with Youth/Young Adults,” an online course from Aug. 19-Oct. 11 with instructor Russell Haitch, professor of Christian Education at Bethany Theological Seminary and director of the Institute for Ministry with Youth and Young Adults. The registration deadline is July 22.

— “Introduction to Theology,” an online course from Oct. 14-Dec. 13 with instructor Malinda Berry, assistant professor of Theological Studies and director of the MA program at Bethany Seminary. The registration deadline is Sept. 16.

— “But Who Is My Neighbor? Christianity in a Global Context,” an online course in Jan. 2014 with instructor Kent Eaton, provost and professor of Cultural Studies at McPherson (Kan.) College.

For more information about Brethren Academy courses contact or 765-983-1824.

7) Progressive Brethren Gathering to be held in Indiana.

Registration is open for the 2013 Progressive Brethren Gathering on the theme, “Holy Longing: This Is My Body.” This sixth annual gathering of progressive Brethren will be held Nov. 15-17 at Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren in Fort Wayne, Ind. The theme reflects the gathering’s ongoing commitment to a church and society that affirms the goodness of the whole body of Christ, said a release.

Sharon Groves, director of the Religion and Faith Program for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), will be the featured preacher and presenter. Her background includes teaching, writing, advocacy, and social service. Prior to her work at HRC, she was managing editor of “The Journal of Feminist Studies” and taught at the University of Maryland.

The gathering will include discussion groups, worship, music, and a screening of “Love Free or Die,” a documentary about Episcopal bishop Gene Robinson, the first openly gay priest ordained a bishop in any major Christian denomination. An ecumenical panel discussion featuring local pastors will follow the screening. The gathering will culminate with a banquet and celebration featuring a performance by dAnce.Kontemporary, a Fort Wayne dance company.

“Progressive Brethren are individuals who are wrestling with what it means to be people of faith in this time and setting,” said the release. “Together we embrace the gifts of diversity, hospitality, intellectual pursuit, honest engagement, and creative worship. All are welcomed to join us.”

The gathering is sponsored by the Womaen’s Caucus, the Open Table Cooperative, and the Brethren Mennonite Council for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Interests (BMC). Registration is online at . Contact Carol Wise at for additional information.


8) Moderator Bob Krouse sets the tone for Annual Conference 2013.

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).

“The Church of the Brethren Annual Conference exists to unite, strengthen and equip the Church of the Brethren to follow Jesus.” We find great joy in gathering together. Ironically, the power of our unity can magnify our feelings of vulnerability and frustration. These feelings are not conflicts that can be resolved; they also don’t justify reacting to others unkindly, nor with threats, attacks, or accusations. They are a call to respond respectfully when we are feeling most uncomfortable.

Jesus said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5: 44). This isn’t easy and we don’t have to do this work alone. The Annual Conference officers have asked the Ministry of Reconciliation (MoR) of On Earth Peace to help us work collaboratively to create a culture of faithful love and respect.

We need everyone’s commitment to create a climate of safety “so that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine” (Romans 1:12). This means: 
— Give each person time to speak, think, and listen.
— Speak from your own experience without assuming the motives and thoughts of others.
— Speak respectfully so that others can hear you without becoming defensive.
— Listen thoughtfully to build trust and to increase your own understanding.

If you are considering what to say or are uncomfortable with what another is saying ask:
— Is it safe?
— Is it respectful?
— Does it encourage faithfulness?

Reflecting on and talking about safety, respect, and Christ-like love will create a culture of respect and faithfulness:
— Recognize vulnerability. Jesus said the second greatest commandment is to “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12: 30). Keeping yourself and others safe creates a safe environment for all.
— Those who are in the minority or who are regularly criticized and challenged publically understandably feel vulnerable and need to be treated with sensitivity in order to feel safe.
— If you feel vulnerable use the buddy system. Check in on a regular basis to let your “buddy” know how you are feeling.
— Reduce unnecessary risk. Walk in groups as much as possible. Walk after dark as little as possible. Be aware of your surroundings.
— If something feels “off” or uncomfortable take another route or make another choice.
— Contact the Ministry of Reconciliation to help you assess the situation and what your choices are.
— If you feel threatened or in danger get immediate help from the nearest source: Ministry of Reconciliation (MoR), hotel staff, or security.

Stop harassment. “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers and sisters dwell in unity” (Psalm 133:1). Annual Conference is not a place to hurt, ridicule or threaten anyone for any reason. Words or actions that attack or condemn are not acceptable.

If you feel like you’re ready to confront or speak out against someone, contact MoR. They will listen and talk with you about the message you want to be heard and appropriate ways to magnify your voice without putting others down.

If you feel you are being harassed, contact MoR. They will help you consider behavior, motivations, and appropriate actions.

If MoR notices aggressive conversations they may check to see that participants feel safe. In cases of threatened or actual physical violence MoR will enlist the help of security.

Our prayer is that we can make room for the Holy Spirit to move in our midst by helping each other feel safe, respected, and encouraged to be faithful. We can’t do it alone. God grants us the grace to do it together even as Christ calls us to love one another as Christ has loved us (John 13:34).

— Bob Krouse is moderator of the 2013 Annual Conference of the Church of the Brethren, to be held June 29-July 3 in Charlotte, N.C. He also pastors Little Swatara Church of the Brethren in Bethel, Pa. The Ministry of Reconciliation (MoR) contact number during the 2013 Annual Conference will be 620-755-3940.

9) Evidence of God working: A revival of faith at McPherson College.

Photo by: courtesy of McPherson College
Steve Crain, campus minister at McPherson (Kan.) College

Reviving traditions as old as reading scripture and sharing communion. Discovering God through such unusual ways as “The Simpsons” and taking a pie to the face. God is active at McPherson (Kan.) College in ways both expected and “strange and mysterious.”

Kent Eaton, provost and professor of cultural studies, teaches courses in church history and spiritual formation. He’s seen a resurgence of Christian faith on campus in a way that both harkens back to McPherson’s roots in the Church of the Brethren and looks ahead to meeting students’ spiritual needs across a spectrum of faith traditions. “I see this evidence of God working on campus in ways that are proactive, as well as sponsored,” Eaton said.

The guidance of Steve Crain, campus pastor and associate professor of philosophy and religion, has created new ways for students to explore their faith, deepen their beliefs, and support each other on the journey. Crain began as campus pastor in fall 2012.

Events and organizations Crain has helped initiate include the start of a student-led Campus Ministry Leadership Team with about 12 active members, and prayer, worship, and communion services on campus. He has actively supported the ongoing student-led campus Bible study in Bittinger Hall, which has continued to attract students over the years. The Campus Ministry Leadership Team also helped turn a small room in the Hoffman Student Union, formerly used by student government, into “The Gathering Place”–a quiet area for prayer, reflection, and worship.

He’s helped initiate bringing together the campuses of McPherson and Central Christian College for joint worship services. Along with Matt Tobias, admissions and financial aid counselor, Shawn Flory Replogle, youth leader for the Church of the Brethren’s Western Plains District, and many students, Crain helped plan and lead a recent Regional Youth Conference in McPherson.

But Crain also has been part of some more unusual aspects of campus ministry, such as mentoring two freshmen students as they serve as regular preachers at Buckeye Church of the Brethren in Abilene, Kan. He was one of seven faculty and staff willing to take a pie to the face as a fun reward to students for winning a fundraiser competition to benefit the church’s Haiti Medical Project.

“As campus pastor, my first priority was to meet people and develop relationships.” The goal, Crain said, was to help students feed and grow their faith in the same way they nourish their mind with their education. “It’s a deep priority. For these students, their life is not complete if their faith isn’t at the heart of it,” he said. “And there are many students looking to make faith a priority again. They need one another to make it happen. As they learn and grow as young adults in an academic way, their faith is growing at the same time. Scholarship and faith wind around one another.”

A new program to help students to support each other this fall is Peer Ministry, in which volunteer peer ministers will be trained to listen, guide, and support their fellow classmates. As the leadership team considered ways to promote campus ministry, they also created “Love Month” in February to celebrate four kinds of love–friendship, romantic, familial, and unconditional (Godly) love–for each of the four weeks. Activities included creating friendship bracelets, providing cards for students to write home to family, and sponsoring a charity drive (including the aforementioned face pie). The trend has led to new groups forming at the students’ initiative, such as “Takeover,” a group open to all faiths for social time, spiritual support, and advice from peers.

Students have had an opportunity for Christian-based service at home and abroad thanks to Tom Hurst, director of service. Along with opportunities for service throughout the year, this spring he organized spring break trips to Brethren Disaster Ministries in Holton, Ind., to help rebuild destroyed homes; to the Heifer International Ranch in Arkansas; and to Camp Mt. Hermon in Tonganoxie, Kan., to help spruce up the camp for summer.

Some students traveled to Ethiopia in the spring with Herb Smith, professor of philosophy and religion, where they delivered personal energy transportation wheelchairs to polio victims. Smith said that learning about religion both in and out of the classroom is important for a complete liberal arts education. He teaches courses in World Religion, Hebrew Bible, and New Testament. “To overlook religion would be to overlook the whole dynamism of culture in human history,” he said. “All major human activities were based in religious beliefs. It permeates the ancient world, which is most of our time on planet earth.”

The same can be said about popular culture today, as students discovered in one religion class Eaton taught. They saw how spiritual lessons and ideas are conveyed in humorous satire today through “The Onion,” “Mad Magazine,” and “The Colbert Report,” but most of all “The Simpsons.” A requirement of the class was to choose an episode of the popular animated show and analyze its theological content. Students had a blast while still learning much, Eaton said, often without realizing it.

Supporting the religious and spiritual needs of students, Eaton said, must be a core aspect of campus life. “If we’re just educating the mind and the hands,” he said, “and we leave out the heart, we fail at the task of developing whole persons.”

— Adam Pracht is coordinator of Development Communications for McPherson College.

10) UN representative reports ‘troubling’ global meeting on human trafficking.

After attending the United Nations General Assembly meeting on the Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons, Church of the Brethren UN representative Doris Abdullah wrote the following report and personal responses to the issue:

“Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary wife of Cleophas and Mary Magdalene” (John 19:25).

I am writing to you about how we, as people of faith, may help in the struggle against modern day slavery. Modern day slavery is best known to us, today, as Trafficking in Persons. While the facts involved in 2013 trafficking in persons are troubling, the knowledge that we are doing so little to slow down this horror, is even more disturbing. Awareness of these facts, wisdom, Christian love, and clarity I hope will help us explore the issue and make a difference.

Some basic and troubling facts, given at the two-day meeting:

a. The global 2012 report from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) shows that women, used for sexual purposes, make up the largest number of those trafficked. Forced labor make up the second largest group of persons in slavery. Women are often both forced laborers and sex slaves.

b. Trafficking is a global problem with origin, transit, and destinations from 155 countries and territories. The bulk of reporting came from the 155 governments that participated in the data gathering while only 7 percent of the information came from non-governmental sources.

c. Factual information from the Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, and Saisuree Chutikul, board member of the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for victims of trafficking: The age of girls in sex slavery has dropped to as young as 5 years old. In addition, young women in slavery are now being forced to become pregnant in order that their babies can be sold, with mother and child bought and sold as “chattel slaves.” Chattel slavery (personal property) was the method of slavery in the USA from 1655-1863.

d. The UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking has received contributions, year to date, of only $806,000 from 12 of the 193 countries at the UN plus private donors. The 12 countries gave 54 percent or $559,000 and private donors gave the balance of $247,000. The Swedish ambassador rose from the floor, after this startling announcement of so little funds in a fund set up by themselves, and read from his cell phone another $100,000 pledge from Sweden.

So much more was said over the two days, and so much needs to be done to combat this awful moral lapse in our society, as well as criminal enterprise. While the nations need to step up to the plate, pay into their own created voluntary fund, and clean up their societies with better enforceable laws, we have the deeper commitment of doing Christian clean-up within ourselves.

I venture to say that we can start with behavior that follows the examples of the Marys who followed Jesus from Galilee and stood by him at the cross. In our churches can we preach more?  Maybe we can begin to bring forth the positive aspects of all women. As persons of faith, we owe it to women enslaved everywhere to stand up and fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.

That I am upset about these findings on trafficking is an understatement. Outrage alone is not enough. We must start to work within our outrage to combat the problem. I offer the pulpit as a start, because we are Christians. I feel that we have a pulpit alternative in the scriptures for combating trafficking of women, forced labor, and all inhumanity.

Another way to bring awareness is to start with gatherings where we show films and documentaries on trafficking in persons, which often come with educational materials that can be used in discussions. I recommend the PBS series “Half the Sky.”

Another resource is online videos and recordings of speakers on trafficking, as well as documents and reports such as those presented at the UN meeting.

— Doris Abdullah is the denomination’s UN representative and chairs the Human Rights Sub-Committee for Elimination of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance.

11) Brethren bits.

— Corrections: The correct date of the concert by La Verne Church of the Brethren Sanctuary Choir at the Annual Conference in Charlotte, N.C., is Saturday, June 29, at 9 p.m. following worship. In another correction, facilitators for the youth and young adult peace retreat at Camp Mt. Hermon in Kansas on Aug. 9-11, include Bethany Seminary along with On Earth Peace and Western Plains District (an updated brochure is available, contact ).

— Brethren Disaster Ministries staff share their sadness at the death of Doris Hollinger, 93, on June 2. She was married to Paul Hollinger, who passed away in 2008. The Hollingers spent 25 years doing disaster relief work together. They served as Shenandoah District disaster coordinators and as disaster project leaders for Brethren Disaster Ministries, traveling as far as Puerto Rico to serve. Along with three other couples, they organized the Brethren Disaster Relief Sale held annually in Rockingham County, Va. She also was one of the early volunteers for Children’s Disaster Services. A celebration of her life took place on June 8 at Mount Vernon Church of the Brethren in Waynesboro, Va. Brethren Disaster Ministries has been named as one of the charities to receive memorial gifts.

Photo by Versa Press
Brethren Press celebrated printing of the “New Inglenook Cookbook.” In a Facebook post, the printers at Versa Press posted a video of the new cookbook’s title page for the “Desserts” section, which came off the press May 31. “How did they know we’d be most tantalized by this page?” commented the Brethren Press Facebook post. See the video at

— The National Council of Churches (NCC) seeks candidates to fill the top executive leadership position of general secretary/president. This newly designated position is the top staff leadership position in the 63-year-old ecumenical organization and has emerged from a year-long transitional process conducted by the NCC Governing Board led by president Kathryn Lohre and transitional general secretary Peg Birk. In the new configuration, the president of the NCC will become chair of the Governing Board. The general secretary/president serves as executive leader with overall responsibility for personnel, deploying resources to achieve priorities, organizational and board development, fundraising, vision-setting, long-range planning, financial management, external relationships, and thoughtful leadership. Since its founding in 1950, the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA has been the leading force for shared ecumenical witness among Christians in the US. The 37 member communions–from a wide spectrum of Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox, Evangelical, historic African American, and Living Peace churches–include 40 million people in more than 100,000 congregations in communities across the nation. Additional information can be found at and . The deadline for applications is July 8. Applications should be sent to Alisa Lewis, director of human resources, United Church of Christ, at , or by mail to 700 Prospect Ave., Cleveland, OH 44115.

— Brethren Press and MennoMedia seek a managing editor for a new Sunday school curriculum titled “Shine: Living in God’s Light.” The managing editor, who reports to the project director, manages contracts, guides all curriculum components through the production process, attends to administrative details, relates to freelance writers and editors, and serves on various committees. Candidates should have excellent skills in editing and project management, and have strong technical skills. They should be knowledgeable about the Church of the Brethren or the Mennonite Church. Applications will be reviewed as they are received. For a full job description and contact information visit .

— The Palms of Sebring, Fla., a church-related retirement community, is searching for a chaplain, on a part-time basis, who will minister to seniors in the Health Care Center. Familiarity with senior ministries in a skilled nursing or assisted living environment would be preferable. Hospital ministry would also be helpful. The Palms of Sebring is located in central Florida, approximately 84 miles southwest of Disney World. Highlands County offers wonderful golfing, fishing, and auto racing. Annually, the first race of the American Formula 1 Grand Prix series is held in Sebring. Apply at or submit a resume to 863-385-2385.

— On Earth Peace has issued a request for proposals for curriculum development with an arts emphasis. The agency seeks a curriculum developer to add an arts component to the existing Agape-Satyagraha Training resource. The estimated budget for this project is $2,500; any proposal should include what could be accomplished with this amount. A secondary proposal may be submitted with an estimate for an amount greater than $2,500. The project should be completed during the time frame of July 1-Oct. 31. This time frame is negotiable but should be discussed within the proposal. Contact Marie Benner-Rhoades, Youth and Young Adult Peace Formation Director, at for a full description of the project, the existing curriculum, and any questions. All completed proposals are due by June 21.

— Amy Heckert has resigned as media support specialist with the Church of the Brethren. Her last day at the General Offices in Elgin, Ill., will be July 26. As of July 15 she will have completed 22 years of service with church-related agencies. She was first hired by Brethren Benefit Trust in 1991. She moved to a job with the former General Board in 2000, and has worked for the Church of the Brethren since then. Most recently, her work has focused on creation and maintenance of web pages for including widely used denominational tools such as the online calendar. In a major website project, she helped move the denominational website to its current host. She regularly aids the various departments of the church with a variety of web-based functions, e-mail newsletters, online photo albums, and more. For many years, she has been a key person in the Press Rooms at Annual Conference and National Youth Conference, where she serves as webmaster and creates a welcoming environment for volunteers.

— Audrey Hollenberg-Duffey will serve as summer intern with the Ministry of Reconciliation (MoR) of On Earth Peace. A Bethany Seminary student, she grew up in Westminster (Md.) Church of the Brethren and has done occasional work with MoR for the past several summers. This summer she will dig deeper into the work of MoR with the main responsibility of supporting the Annual Conference MoR team and helping update the Matthew 18 workshop.

— Prayer is requested for the National Junior High Conference being held at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College this weekend. Sponsored by the Youth and Young Adult Ministry, Church of the Brethren junior high students and adult advisors will gather for the conference tomorrow through Sunday. “Pray for safety in travel and participation and pray that these young people be encouraged in their faith and recognize the opportunities available to them to serve the church and our God,” said the June prayer guide from the Global Mission and Service office. Find the full prayer guide at .

— Congregations are invited to use Gather ’Round themes in worship this summer. Worship resources and sermon starters that coordinate with the weekly Gather ’Round themes are available. Gather ’Round is the curriculum produced by Brethren Press and MennoMedia. “God’s Good Creation” is the theme for the summer, “a wonderful time to pause and appreciate the essential goodness of the natural world,” said an announcement. “In Genesis 1, we meet God the majestic poet; in Genesis 2, we encounter a God with muddy hands, crafting human beings out of dirt. Psalms lift up the vast diversity of creation as well as God’s love for each one of us, inside and out…. This is a great opportunity to show children and youth that the congregation walks with them in their faith formation journey. One good way to use the prayers and calls to worship is to invite children and youth to lead them.” Find resources at . Summer curriculum is available for Preschool (ages 3-4), Multiage (grades K-5), and Youth/Junior Youth (grades 6-12). Order curriculum from Brethren Press at 800-441-3712.

— The summer 2013 quarter of A Guide for Biblical Studies, the Church of the Brethren Bible study curriculum for adults, is focused on the theme “God’s People Worship.” Written by Debbie Eisenbise, this study uses Old Testament texts to focus on God’s holiness, steadfast faith, joyful worship, and more. Cost is $4.25 ($7.35 large print) per copy, plus shipping and handling. Order from Brethren Press at 800-441-3712 or online at .

— Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) director Dan McFadden is the special guest for the June program of “Brethren Voices,” a community cable television show produced by Portland (Ore.) Peace Church of the Brethren. The program is hosted by Brent Carlson, with Ed Groff as producer. “Over 7,000 volunteers have served in BVS during the past 63 years and it has been Dan McFadden who has been at the helm of Brethren Volunteer Service the last 17 years,” said an announcement. “Under his leadership, BVS has celebrated its 300th training unit since 1948. Currently, there are 104 active projects with 67 in the US, 21 in Europe, 8 in Latin America, 5 in Africa, 2 in Japan, and 1 active project in Haiti.” The program also explores McFadden’s personal experience as a BVS volunteer in Honduras in 1981. “It was a time of war in El Salvador and Honduras. Dan states that his responsibility was to accompany refugees to safe areas using large cattle trucks.” Upcoming “Brethren Voices” will feature church member Jerry O’Donnell who is press secretary for US Representative Grace Napolitano in Washington D.C.; youth who attended the 2013 Christian Citizenship Seminar and some of the first who participated in this event in the 1950s; and Merle Forney, founder of “Kids as Peacemakers.” Order a copy from Ed Groff at . Brethren Voices is also seen on .

— Spirit of Joy, a Church of the Brethren group meeting in Arvada, Colo., is asking for prayer as it moves through a process of being “reborn” under the name “Living Light of Peace,” and becoming a dually affiliated congregation with the former Arvada Mennonite Church. “Pray we will be open to and follow the leading of the Spirit in this new and wonderful adventure God is calling us to experience,” said a note in the Western Plains District newsletter.

— “Are you looking for adventure? Then we might have an opportunity for you,” says Stover Memorial Church of the Brethren in the Oak Park/Highland Park neighborhood of Des Moines, Iowa. The church seeks “a few good folks” who want to live and work in Des Moines to help the congregation create a new “point of light” in the neighborhood. Stover will make the parsonage available to church planters, and the church house will be available for meetings, Bible study, worship, and community events. “We have been in an intentional discernment process for the past five years as our membership has declined,” said the announcement. “We believe that God is not done with us yet. The Northern Plains District has expressed its full support for this endeavor. Please come and join us on this new journey as we continue God’s work together.” Contact Pastor Barbara Wise Lewczak, 515-240-0060 or .

— Columbia Furnace Church of the Brethren in Woodstock, Va., is hosting a Holy Spirit Conference on July 15-18 on the theme, “One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism” (Ephesians 4:4-6). According to the Western Pennsylvania District newsletter, speakers include Melodye Hilton and Eric Smith, with workshop leaders Lallah Brilhart, Carolyn Cecil, and Sheryl Merritt. Childcare and age appropriate worship and activities are available. The Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership will grant .5 continuing education units to ministers who attend. For more information and to register go to .

— On July 7, Brian McLaren will be the featured guest in worship with Living Stream Church of the Brethren, the denomination’s first strictly online church plant. McLaren is a leader in the emergent church movement and author of “A Generous Orthodoxy,” “A New Kind of Christianity,” and “Naked Spirituality: A Life with God in 12 Simple Words.” Living Stream pastor Audrey deCoursey reports that McLaren will share visions for the church in the emerging Internet era. Questions from worshipers are welcomed throughout the live interview or by e-mail before the service. The webcast begins at 5 p.m. (Pacific time) on July 7. Worshipers can join the service by visiting and following links to the webcast portal. Archived video will be made available. Living Stream celebrated a six-month anniversary on June 2 when Colleen Michael, executive minister of Pacific Northwest District, installed deCoursey as pastor. The church plant operates under the auspices of Portland (Ore.) Peace Church of the Brethren.

— The 7th Annual Family Peace Camp in Atlantic Southeast District will be Aug 30-Sept. 1 at Camp Ithiel near Gotha, Fla. Resource leaders LuAnne Harley and Brian Kruschwitz of Yurtfolk will lead family-oriented peace activities. Kayla and Ilexene Alphonse will speak about their work in Haiti. Contact Phil Lersch, Action for Peace Team, at .

— Shepherd’s Spring outdoor ministry center is holding its 17th annual golf tournament on June 17 at the Maryland National Golf Club in Middletown. Entry fee is $95, check in is at 7:30 a.m. The tournament benefits scholarships and ministries at Shepherd’s Spring. Call 301-223-8193.

— Manchester University president Jo Young Switzer wrote in a recent newsletter that “commencement was especially exciting this year with the largest graduating class in years–284! Typically we honor around 200 graduates.” The university welcomed thousands of guests to its campus in North Manchester, Ind., to celebrate commencement.

— Three Church of the Brethren couples have received Citations of Merit from McPherson (Kan.) College: David and Bonnie Fruth, Phil and Pearl Miller, and Bill and Lois Grove. “David, Pearl, and Lois are also siblings, but the couples have more in common than their family connection,” notes a release. “These six encapsulate the values at the roots of the college, based in the Church of the Brethren.” Recipients are honored for “a commitment to quality education, to serving others, to building community, to promoting peace, and to living with simplicity and humility.” David and Bonnie Fruth met in Brethren Volunteer Service and spent their careers in education, David as a high school counselor and Bonnie as an elementary school teacher. They live at the Cedars, a Brethren retirement community in McPherson. Phil and Pearl Miller were mission workers with the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria, where Phil did alternative service as a conscientious objector and the couple taught school. They spent the rest of their careers in education in Iowa, and today are retired in Missouri and active in Warrensburg (Mo.) Church of the Brethren. Bill and Lois Grove also were mission workers in Nigeria where Bill was a teacher and school principal. Later both taught school in Zaire. Back in Iowa, Bill was a school principal while Lois “had the harder job–full-time mom.” Today she works for FEMA with survivor disaster assistance, and is an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren. Read the release at .

— In more news from McPherson–the only college that offers a four-year degree in automotive restoration–assistant professor of technology Ed Barr has written a comprehensive handbook on automotive metal shaping published by Motorbooks under the title “Professional Sheet Metal Fabrication.” After Motorbooks approached Barr to write the book, the volume took him two years working nights and weekends to complete, said a release. He received help from McPherson students “who illustrated shaping techniques and made their projects available to be photographed.” As of June 3, Barr has been blogging for Motorbooks at . Read the full release at .

— Christian Churches Together (CCT) has sent a letter to President Obama sharing “deepest concern over the kidnaping of two prominent archbishops in Syria, Greek Orthodox Archbishop Paul Yazigi of Aleppo and Syriac Orthodox Archbishop Yohanna Ibrahim of Aleppo.” The two have been missing since April 22. The letter asked the US government to use its influence to make a difference in the fate of the two church leaders. The letter also said, in part, “The members of our churches and organizations deeply lament the ongoing and horrible tragedy in Syria, with the deaths of tens of thousands, the displacement of millions, and the bitter sectarian hostility which seems to grow daily. Our prayers for comfort are with all who suffer, and our prayers for wisdom and courage are with all who are working for peace.” The letter was signed by the five presidents of the “families” of churches within CCT including Brethren Press publisher Wendy McFadden, president of the historic Protestant family.

— African churches celebrated 50 years of the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) at a 10th Assembly in Kampala, Uganda, on June 3-9. For this 50th Jubilee of the AACC, “church leaders from more than 40 African countries asked how they can rise up against the shackles of the colonial legacy, conflicts, poverty, class struggles and political upheavals, to unlock Africa’s immense potential,” said a release from the World Council of Churches. Speaking on the AACC vision, president Valentine Mokiwa said the AACC was created in 1963 to translate “African spirituality into the social, political, and moral transformation of this continent as it was emerging from the bondage of spiritual and mental imperialism and colonization.” He encouraged African churches to speak out against poverty, calling it a sin: “We must declare poverty the greatest scandal and sin of our time and age.” For the WCC release go to .

— A special trip to experience life in Lewistown, Maine, a ministry center for Brethren Revival Fellowship and the Brethren Volunteer Service BRF unit, has been announced for July 6-13. “You’ll get a taste of day-to-day life on Horton Street as we interact with those young and old in desperate need of the Savior,” said the BRF newsletter. “Those needed are to be 16 years old and older who have a heart to serve. Activities may include time spent at the Root Cellar, working with the local youth, time at the Good Shepherd Food Bank, as well as helping local church families with service projects.” Cost for the trip is approximately $100. Contact Caleb Long at 717-597-9935 or .

— An interview with Noam Chomsky has been published by Christian Peacemaker Teams and is available as a podcast online, according to a CPT release. The linguist, cognitive scientist, philosopher, and “radical truth-teller,” is interviewed by CPT interim assistant director Tim Nafziger and Herald Press editor Joanna Shenk, followed by a discussion with Nafziger, Shenk, and editor of Mark Van Steenwyck. In the interview, Chomsky and Nafziger discuss the 2005-06 CPT hostage crisis and how grassroots movements sustain themselves. Chomsky “has said in the past that CPT’s work gives him hope,” the release reported. “Although Chomsky is not religious, he has often expressed respect for religious people who put themselves at risk for the sake of justice.” The podcast is part of an Iconocast series on the Jesus Radicals website and is available at .


Contributors to this Newsline include Deborah Brehm, Audrey deCoursey, Ed Groff, Jess Hoffert, Phil Jenks, Laura King, Shawn Kirchner, Fran Massie, Wendy McFadden, Bob Roach, Roy Winter, Carol Wise, Jane Yount, and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren. Look for the next regularly scheduled issue on June 27. 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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