Newsline for March 8, 2013

Quote of the week
“Contrary to the business world thinking, small does not equal an unhealthy or dying congregation.”
— David Steele, Middle Pennsylvania District executive, in a report on the Small Church Fund in a district where some 40 of 55 churches have an average attendance of less than 100. “Several of our smaller congregations have a thriving spiritual health yet don’t have the financial or people resources to sustain or secure pastoral leadership, or to provide the programming and ministries necessary to help them in their efforts to grow numerically,” he writes. The district developed the fund in 1998 to assist smaller congregations, but it was depleted several years ago. Now district leaders hope to reinvigorate it with a new vision, inviting churches that receive assistance to “pay it forward” by giving back a financial gift to the fund or sharing a spiritual gift from their church. “God continues to shower blessings upon us and when we give, we provide an avenue for others to share in the blessings of God,” Steele writes. See p. 3 at .

“We look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18).

1) Major US ecumenical organizations restructure.
2) Prattsville rebuilding project expands to Schoharie, N.Y.
3) Consultation considers expansion of Haiti Medical Project.
4) Haiti Medical Project grows with strong support from Brethren.
5) Agape-Satyagraha program now at six sites across the country.
6) Historic Brethren documents now available online.

7) Registration opens for National Older Adult Conference.
8) ‘3,000 Miles for Peace’ campaign is underway.
9) Peace Witness Ministries staff organize webinar on ‘just peace.’

10) Press takes pre-publication orders for ‘New Inglenook Cookbook.’

11) Brethren bits: Call for volunteer kitchen assistants at Zigler Hospitality Center, Asamblea in the DR, peace pole dancing, spring break service projects, and much much more.

1) Major US ecumenical organizations restructure.

Two long-standing ecumenical bodies in the United States–the National Council of Churches (NCC) and Church World Service (CWS)–have undergone restructuring and re-envisioning in recent months.

Photo by Religious News Service
The NCC banner is carried proudly at the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The NCC group was led by Robert W. Spike (center left), then executive director of the NCC Commission on Religions and Race, and John W. Williams (center right), of the National Baptist Convention of America.

The NCC began a plan for re-envisioning and restructuring last fall, which has since included the elimination of at least six administrative positions on the staff, and the announcement of a move away from historic headquarters in New York. The NCC counts 37 member communions from a wide spectrum of Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox, Evangelical, historic African-American, and peace churches among its membership of 40 million people in more than 100,000 congregations.

CWS, which formerly shared the same general assembly as the NCC, has instituted a new governing structure that is independent of denominational representation. A global humanitarian agency, CWS works to help the world’s most vulnerable people overcome hunger and poverty through sustainable development. The Church of the Brethren is an active denomination in CWS, which is the primary means through which Brethren Disaster Ministries extends its work internationally.

Restructuring at the NCC

The governing board of the NCC last fall adopted the recommendation of a task force on Re-envisioning and Restructuring. The task force was co-chaired by NCC president Kathryn Lohre and former Church of the Brethren staff member Jordan Blevins, who directed the Peace Witness Ministry based in Washington, D.C.

The 17-member task force carried out its work over six months, drafting a vision statement calling for a “shared commitment to a transformed and transforming NCC through which the churches and other partners seek visible unity in Christ and work for justice and peace.” Transitional general secretary Peg Birk was named to lead the implementation.

Interaction of three foci will mark the “new NCC,” said a release: theological study and dialogue, inter-religious relations and dialogue, and joint advocacy and action for justice and peace. The new vision is that ministries of education, formation, and leadership development will integrate these foci and bolster the role of the NCC within the ecumenical landscape.

In mid-February the NCC announced it will move from the Interchurch Center at 475 Riverside Dr., New York, to its offices in Washington, D.C. The move aims at “streamlining operations to free up the council to be about the priorities that the churches set together,” said a release. In related changes, the NCC announced that outside vendors will likely provide human resources, IT, strategic accounting, and communications support.

Satellite offices for three leading staff remain in New York: Joseph Crockett, assoc. general secretary Education and Leadership Ministries; Antonios Kireopoulos, assoc. general secretary Faith and Order and Interfaith Relations; Ann Tiemeyer, program director Women’s Ministries.

Birk will join Cassandra Carmichael, head of the NCC’s Washington Office, and Shantha Ready Alonso, director of the NCC’s poverty initiative, in the offices at 110 Maryland Ave., Washington, D.C., at an ecumenical center owned by the United Methodist Church. The long-run savings of the move is projected at between $400,000 and $500,000.

The move highlights the shrinking of staff and resources of the NCC since its heyday in the 1960s when, according to a release, it “occupied three floors of the Interchurch Center in New York, in addition to its offices at 110 Maryland Avenue in Washington. The NCC was the impetus in the planning of the Interchurch Center, which opened in 1960. The Interchurch Center was conceived as the ‘Protestant Vatican on the Hudson’ when President Dwight D. Eisenhower laid the cornerstone in 1958.”

The NCC has not held a general assembly of denominational delegates since 2010 when the last one was held in New Orleans.

The shrinking of the NCC has occurred during the same period of time as the rise of a new ecumenical body, Christians Churches Together. CCT is not a church council in the way that the NCC is. With a minimal staff, it was created as a new kind of forum for leaders of Christian denominations and organizations across the US to meet once a year to broaden and expand their fellowship, unity, and witness. CCT is more inclusive of the diversity of Christians and includes five main “families”: Evangelical/Pentecostal, Orthodox, Catholic, Historic Protestant, and Historic Black churches.

The Church of the Brethren general secretary and Annual Conference moderator and/or moderator-elect attend the CCT annual meeting. Brethren Press publisher Wendy McFadden represents the Brethren on the CCT Steering Committee, and was just elected president of the Historic Protestant family of churches.

“One of the key aspects of this transitional period is the recognition that structures that were very effective from the 1950s through 2000 are no longer sustainable,” commented Church of the Brethren general secretary Stan Noffsinger who serves on the NCC governing board, is a past officer of the executive committee, and one of the heads of communion helping guide the NCC through its transition.

Noffsinger clarified that at the root of financial issues for the NCC is “the global recession affecting contributions to member communions, and their ability to support the structures of the past.” The NCC “was built on a church that was very strong and committed to ecumenical work,” he said, using “church” to refer to the broad Christian community in the US. “While this spirit is still strong, we just cannot afford the structure anymore,” he said.

“The transitional general secretary of the NCC was given a charge to carry out, and we’ll soon be living out the streamlined structure,” Noffsinger said. “We in the Church of the Brethren continue to be fully engaged in and supportive of the NCC.”

Structural changes at CWS

Church World Service also has made major structural changes. CWS elected a new board of directors last October at its annual members meeting. The board is now smaller and “non-representative,” with board members no longer considered to be representatives of their denominations.

A majority of the CWS board is still required to be recognized members of member denominations, but the remainder is now drawn from professional backgrounds that bring helpful skills and experience to CWS. This “leaner” board is expected to provide a new “pool of talent” said a CWS release in which Amy Gopp, chair of the nominations and board development committee, explained that “a majority of the directors are connected to churches that are CWS member communions, but the elections also make the board interfaith.”

The series of programmatic and staffing changes that have followed the election of the new board will help CWS “sharpen its focus and become a more global organization,” according to a release. The more global approach includes identification of the CWS headquarters in New York as a corporate center, and a change of web address from to . A global CWS Growth Plan is being studied by the new board, which met for the first time Jan. 22-23.

“For more than 65 years, the board of Church World Service has been composed of representatives from its member communions, with CWS board participation often included as a part of their job responsibilities,” said a CWS explanation. “The new board makeup, which expands representation to include people who are not of a member communion, is a major component of the agency’s CWS 2020 Vision, which defines a new foundation for CWS work as the agency adapts to current ecumenical, economic, and global contexts.”

CWS also has made staffing changes including naming James Landis vice president of program operations, and Maurice A. Bloem executive vice president. John L. McCullough continues as CEO and president. Donna Derr, a former member of the Church of the Brethren denominational staff, continues in a key role as director of development and humanitarian assistance.

The Church of the Brethren previously was represented on the CWS board by Roy Winter, associate executive for Brethren Disaster Ministries. He had been vice chair of the board for the past year, was on the executive committee, and chaired the planning committee. Now he continues as a denominational representative but no longer a member of the board. He also continues on the disaster and humanitarian assistance advisory group.

“CWS has been working on defining direction and improving structure and governance since it separated from the NCC,” said Winter. “This new board and reorganization is the result of all these years of work.”

A smaller board is “critical to improve the governance of CWS, to give it a board that could provide critical oversight and guidance to staff,” Winter added. “All these things I voted for, and supported. This seems like the right direction for CWS. However, these changes will require CWS to be more intentional in connecting with its member communions. Without continuing to nurture the relationship with the church, CWS could slowly drift away from its faith-based roots.”

— This report was prepared by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren. It incorporates information from NCC releases by Philip E. Jenks and CWS releases from Lesley Crosson and Jan Dragin.

2) Prattsville rebuilding project expands to Schoharie, N.Y.

Photo by M. Wilson
Brethren Disaster Ministries works on a house in Prattsville, N.Y.

A Brethren Disaster Ministries home rebuilding and repair project in Prattsville, N.Y., is expanding into a nearby location, the town of Schoharie. Brethren Disaster Ministries is supported through giving to the denomination’s Emergency Disaster Fund. A second allocation of $30,000 was recently made to continue the project in Prattsville and Schoharie.

The New York State project was established in response to the flooding of homes by Hurricane Irene in August 2011. The storm brought high winds and up to 10 inches of rain, causing flash floods in mountainous areas and major flooding along rivers and streams. Parts of eastern New York were hit hard, among them the small town of Prattsville. The community of about 650 people lies along Schoharie Creek in Greene County in the Catskill Mountains, and suffered its worst flash flood in memory. In one of the lowest income regions of the state, nearly 300 homes were covered by floodwater when the creek rose over 15 feet in less than 12 hours. Many affected residents are uninsured or elderly.

Brethren Disaster Ministries has been repairing and rebuilding homes in the Prattsville area since July last year. To date, more than 250 volunteers have provided over 2,000 days of labor to rebuild 7 homes.

The creek also flooded Schoharie, about 35 miles north and down stream from Prattsville. A local organization named SALT requested the assistance of Brethren Disaster Ministries to rebuild, after they became familiar with the work being done in Prattsville by the Brethren.

BDM associate director Zach Wolgemuth met with SALT leadership some weeks ago and agreed to begin repair and rebuilding work in Schoharie as the caseload in Prattsville begins to diminish.

On Feb. 5, Wolgemuth visited the new Schoharie site with David L. Myers, director of the  Department of Homeland Security’s Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships and an ordained minister in the Mennonite Church. They spent the day discussing the Brethren operation and met with local partners including the newest, SALT, which invited media to the event. Also present was a representative of Lutheran Disaster Relief, Joseph Chu.

“SALT’s board of directors got a morale boost Tuesday after hearing words of praise–and thanks–from national disaster response leaders,” reported the “Daily Gazette.” “Recovery efforts in the Schoharie Creek Basin have drawn national attention due to the uniqueness of our model and the breadth and pace of accomplishments. The presence of these visitors highlights the significance of the work that is being achieved by SALT and partner agencies, and has ramifications for the potential replication of our recovery model in other regions impacted by disaster.” Read the article at .

3) Consultation considers expansion of Haiti Medical Project.

Photo by Dale Minnich
Three of the Haitian doctors involved with the Haiti Medical Project: Kensia Thebaud, Pierre Emmerson, and Verosnel Solon.

On Feb. 28-March 3 a consultation about the Haiti Medical Project was held with leaders of L’Eglise des Freres Haitiens (the Haitian Church of the Brethren) and the Global Mission and Service arm of the US church.

The consultation included meetings with the Haitian staff of the Haiti Medical Project’s mobile clinics, meetings with the National Committee of L’Eglise des Freres, a first meeting of a newly established Coordinating Committee for the Haiti Medical Project, and a trip to northern Haiti to explore possible partners for emerging new work.

The project began as a partnership of US and Haitian Brethren responding to health needs in the wake of the 2010 earthquake. Since then, clinics have been held in 10 communities where L’Eglise des Freres has congregations. Local churches have been key participants in promoting and arranging for the clinics. Klebert Exceus, a former field director for Brethren Disaster Ministries, played a vital role in the initial organizing of the project. Several communities have emerged as primary sites where clinics are scheduled about quarterly.

Staff for the Haiti Medical Project consists of Haitian medical professionals, aided occasionally by visiting Brethren physician, nurses, and other volunteers from the US. Haitian physicians who have been involved in offering the clinics include Kensia Thebaud, Pierre Emmerson, and Verosnel Solon. Clinics typically each serve around 150 patients and are enthusiastically affirmed by the National Committee of L’Eglise des Freres.

During the consultation, a Coordinating Committee was established. Convenor for the group will be Paul Ullom-Minnich, a physician from Moundridge, Kan., who was part of the first Brethren medical delegation to Haiti following the earthquake and has been a key leader in developing the project. Committee members include two Haitian physicians–Verosnel Solon and Pierre Emmerson; two members of the National Committee of the Haitian Church–Jean Altenor and Yves Jean; and on-site staff Ilexene Alphonse. Haiti-based members of the committee will convene monthly for a video conference meeting with Ullom-Minnich.

Strong support by individuals and congregations in the US has provided funds for the first year’s clinics and expansion of the work in Haiti beginning this year. The number of clinics will increase from 16 to 24 per year. The possibility of adding services such as eye care and simple dental service is being explored. A building to serve as a base for the project and as an office for the National Committee of L’Eglise des Freres is under construction.

There is interest in exploring new work to address wider issues of community public health. One issue of concern is the high mortality rate of mothers and infants in the birthing process. In Haiti, in the majority of cases childbirth is not attended by a medical professional and less than sanitary conditions prevail. The consultation visited and talked about partnership possibilities with leaders of Midwives for Haiti in Hinche, a ministry founded by Nadene Brunk and other members of West Richmond (Va.) Church of the Brethren.

The consultation team also visited the remote village of Mombin Crochu to meet with representatives of an organization that trains volunteers to lead community development work, often focused on public health education. A group of about 20 volunteers from surrounding communities traveled in to share their stories, some walking as much as three hours. The Brethren were interested this group’s approaches and the low-tech methods for household water purification that were demonstrated.  Possible links with this organization are being explored.

The consultation group also visited Brethren congregations in Bohoc, Croix des Bouquets, Laferriere, Sodo, and Acajou.

Participating from the Church of the Brethren were Ullom-Minnich, Global Mission and Service executive Jay Wittmeyer, Global Food Crisis director Jeff Boshart, Haiti Medical Project volunteer Dale Minnich, and Lancaster (Pa.) Church of the Brethren member Otto Schaudel.

— Dale Minnich is a former denominational staff member and a past chair of the Mission and Ministry Board.

4) Haiti Medical Project grows with strong support from Brethren.

Photo by Otto Schaudel
A member of Midway Church of the Brethren (at right) helps with construction of the new building in Haiti that will house offices of L’Eglise des Freres Haitiens (the Church of the Brethren in Haiti) and headquarters of the Haiti Medical Project.

The Haiti Medical Project is growing with strong support from Brethren congregations and individuals. The support is making possible new developments, among them construction of a simple building on the headquarters compound of L’Eglise des Freres Haitiens (the Church of the Brethren in Haiti), the planning of more clinics in cooperation with the Haitian Brethren, and exploration of expansion into other areas such as neo-natal care and public health education.

The project began out of the experience of a Brethren medical delegation that offered clinics following the 2010 earthquake, in cooperation with the Haitian Brethren and Brethren Disaster Ministries. It has been energized by two US physicians who took part–Paul Ullom-Minnich of Kansas and Lori Zimmerman of Indiana–and former Mission and Ministry Board chair Dale Minnich who is retired from an executive position on the denominational staff.

A passionate ministry

When the project was first proposed to church staff it was estimated to cost $30,000 a year, “funds the Mission and Ministry Board did not have,” said Minnich. “The charge to Paul and other volunteers was to find a way to take this important project to the Brethren in ways that they would support it directly. This has happened in rather amazing fashion.”

Brethren have heard about the project by word of mouth, through presentations at venues like Annual Conference and Mission Alive, at congregational events, through promotional trips by Minnich and Ullom-Minnich, and through articles in “Messenger” and Newsline.

One of the first congregational events to support the project was an international dinner in McPherson, Kan., organized by Ullom-Minnich and others near the end of 2010. That event generated about $7,000–enough to launch pilot clinics–and a growing enthusiasm in the McPherson community. Ullom-Minnich then traveled to North Manchester, Ind., to partner with Zimmerman to lead another congregational fundraising project that raised about $11,000. A promotional trip to eastern Pennsylvania included Dale Minnich as well.

Churches become supporters

Lancaster (Pa.) Church of the Brethren recently became the leading congregation in support of the Haiti Medical Project, after it was one of several congregations in eastern Pennsylvania to attend an August meeting organized by the project and led by Earl Ziegler, Jim Gibbel, and Larry Sauder. After hearing the needs explained in person. Lancaster announced in January a goal of raising $100,000. Eighty percent of the contribution will be for an endowment, with 20 percent helping to pay immediate needs of the project.

Three other congregations who had members at the meeting–Lititz, Spring Creek, and White Oak–have since taken large Christmas offerings benefitting the project.

The Brethren World Mission group has taken on the goal of providing at least $20,000 per year for five years and has already surpassed the first year objective.

Chiques Church of the Brethren near Manheim, Pa., is another congregation taking a strong interest. It sponsored a mission trip to Haiti in January 2012, held a Vacation Bible School event supporting the project, and approved sharing four offerings with the Haiti Medical Project during 2013–estimated to total $16,000. One Chiques member organized a craft project around the edges of the Atlantic Northeast District Disaster Auction, which raised some $6,000.

A staunch supporter since the beginning, McPherson (Kan.) Church of the Brethren has continued to host presentations by Paul Ullom-Minnich and is reported to be on the brink of taking a major fund-raising step to support the project.

Individuals also are expressing their interest with financial commitments. One $2,000 gift was received from a couple in Ohio, “far from any of our personal interpretation efforts,” Minnich says. “Their cover letter said they heard about it in ‘Messenger’ and encouraged us to continue the ministry.”

Others are registering their excitement by visiting Haiti in person and volunteering at clinics or as construction workers on the headquarters building. Since January, for example, a Manchester University group and a group from Midway Church of the Brethren near Lebanon, Pa., helped with construction of the new headquarters, and Midway also assisted with a clinic. Michigan District members also have helped with the construction. A January term communication course at McPherson College was devoted to developing promotional materials and recommendations for the Haiti Medical Project through a competition between two 12-person teams.

Endowment cares for the future

Building an endowment for the Haiti Medical Project is a safeguard against an inevitable slackening of interest as the urgency of the post-earthquake situation fades. Work on the endowment is done alongside fundraising for immediate needs. “While some congregations prefer to concentrate on the immediate needs, the endowment idea has begun to take hold,” Minnich says.

As of the end of 2012, the project has received much more than the $30,000 needed to fund the first 16 clinics. “In fact,” Minnich says, “over $46,000 was raised for immediate needs and about $61,000 for the budding endowment. The strong support means that we are about ready to explore ways to expand the project–both by increasing the number of clinics and beginning new work in public health. Public health initiatives offer the greatest possibility to save many, many lives as issues of pure water, improved sanitation, and needed inoculations are addressed.”

Contact the Haiti Medical Project directly at . For more information, contact Global Mission and Service executive director Jay Wittmeyer at .

5) Agape-Satyagraha program now at six sites across the country.

The On Earth Peace program to teach nonviolence and Christian peacemaking to youth, called Agape-Satyagraha, is now active at six sites across the country. Reports Marie Benner-Rhoades, Youth and Young Adult Peace Formation director for On Earth Peace: “Agape-Satyagraha Leadership Training helps junior and senior high youth learn to deal with conflict without using violence by presenting concepts and skills training through the completion of five levels.

“The program teaches youth the heart of Christian peacemaking (agape love) and Gandhian nonviolence (satyagraha) and empowers youth to use agape and satyagraha together for nonviolent interpersonal conflict resolution and nonviolent social change.”

The Agape-Satyagraha sites mentor youth ages 11-18 through five levels of skills training: understanding conflict escalation, anger management, de-escalating conflict, negotiation and mediation, and community social change. Adult volunteers coach youth individually or in small groups through each level.

“In 2012, a three-year pilot program ended and On Earth Peace is now offering the program more widely,” reports Benner-Rhoades. The organization provides support to local communities to offer the program, and those sites provide feedback as they develop the curriculum to meet needs in different settings. Site coordinators meet monthly to share about their achievements and worship together.

Current sites for Agape-Satyagraha are:
— the Boys and Girls Club of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County, Va.
— Acts 4 Peace in Baltimore, Md.
— Modesto (Calif.) Church of the Brethren at Fremont Elementary School
— the Peace Place in Trotwood, Ohio
— Brethren Community Ministries in Harrisburg, Pa.
— Danzante Urban Arts in Harrisburg, Pa.

The program is seeking new sites in 2013. To recommend a congregation or organization as a potential Agape-Satyagraha site, please contact Marie Benner-Rhoades at .

6) Historic Brethren documents now available online.

How has Brethren theology changed since 1708? What was the discussion in church conferences in the late 1800s? What was life like on the mission field in the 1960s? When did my own congregation begin to meet?

These are among the questions that until a few years ago could only be answered by turning pages of dusty (and sometimes fragile) Brethren publications located in basement archives of colleges and denominational offices. No one archive or library in the US contained a collection of all the publications.

Representatives of the Brethren archives and current periodicals recognized that these old periodicals were valuable sources of historical, theological, and genealogical information. Yet many of them were so deteriorated that they could not be handled without being damaged. With that in mind, the group met at the Brethren Heritage Center in Brookville, Ohio, in 2007, to determine how to make these old newspapers, magazines, and journals accessible on the Internet.

The estimated cost of $150,000 seemed prohibitive until the representatives secured a grant from the Sloan Foundation that would cover 90 percent of the costs. Matching funds were quickly raised through generous donations. Each of the Brethren archives provided original issues to the authorized digitizing centers in the US where they were scanned and posted to the Internet.

Today, most of those publications are available at no charge online at They may be read online or downloaded in various formats to access later.

The publications include:
“Ashland Theological Bulletin,” 1968-2010
“Bible Monitor,” 1922-2010
“The Brethren at Work,” 1876-1883
“The Brethren Evangelist,” 1919-2000 (1883-1918 in process)
“Brethren’s (Family) Almanac,” 1871-1902 (1874 missing)
“Brethren Family Almanac,” 1903-1917
“The Brethren Missionary Herald,” 1939-1996
“The Brethren’s Missionary Visitor,” 1894-1896 in progress
“Christian Family Companion,” 1865-1873
“Christian Family Companion and Gospel Visitor,” 1874-1875
“Conestogan,” 1951-2010
“Der Brüderbote,” 1875-1877, 1880-1892 in progress
“Der Evangelische Besuch,” 1852-1861 in process
“Erstertheil der Theosophischen Lectionen,” 1752
“Etonian,” 1922-1961
“The Gospel Messenger,” 1883-1964
“The Gospel Preacher,” 1879-1882 in progress
“(The Monthly) Gospel Visitor,” 1851-1873 (1858 in process)
“Grace Journal,” 1960-1973
“Grace Theological Journal,” 1980-1991
“The Inglenook,” 1900-1913
“Messenger,” 1965-2000
“The Missionary Visitor,” 1902-1930 (1907, 1909 in process)
“Our College Times,” 1904-1922
“Pilgrim Almanac,” 1873-1874
“(The Weekly) Pilgrim,” 1870-1876
“The Pilgrim,” 1954-2000 (2009 in progress)
“The Primitive Christian (and The Pilgrim),” 1876-1883
“The Progressive Christian,” 1878-1882 in progress
“Schwarzenau,” 1939-1942

The Brethren archives and periodicals publishers that participated in project were: Ashland University Library/Brethren Church Archives; Bethany Theological Seminary, “Brethren Life and Thought”; Bethany Theological Seminary/Lilly Library; Brethren Church, “The Brethren Evangelist”; Brethren Heritage Center; the Brethren Historical Library and Archives; Bridgewater College; Church of the Brethren, “Messenger”; Conservative Grace Brethren, “The Voice Newsletter”; Dunkard Brethren, “Bible Monitor”; Elizabethtown College/High Library and the Young Center; Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches, “Brethren Missionary Herald”; Grace Seminary/Morgan Library; Juniata College/Beeghly Library; Manchester College Archives and Brethren Historical Collection, Funderburg Library; McPherson College; Old Brethren, “The Pilgrim”; Old German Baptist Brethren, New Conference, “The Testimony”; and Old German Baptist Brethren, “The Vindicator.”

— Larry E. Heisey of the Brethren Digital Archives committee provided this release.

7) Registration opens for National Older Adult Conference.

For adults age 50 and older, it is time to register for the denomination’s 2013 National Older Adult Conference (NOAC), held Sept. 2-6 at Lake Junaluska, N.C. The theme of the conference will be “Healing Springs Forth,” with the scripture verse, “Then you will be refreshed in the Lord” (Isaiah 58:14).

Register online with a credit card at or by mail with a check or credit card. The NOAC registration form is available in the registration brochure, which has been mailed to previous participants, or can be downloaded and printed from .

This year’s NOAC features outstanding preachers, speakers, and performances. Dava Hensley of First Church of the Brethren in Roanoke, Va., will preach for opening worship on Monday evening, Sept. 2. Edward Wheeler, president emeritus of Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, Ind., will deliver Wednesday’s sermon. Kurt Borgmann of Manchester Church of the Brethren in N. Manchester, Ind., will preach for the closing worship service Friday morning.

Author Phyllis Tickle is Tuesday’s keynote presenter, with Richard Mouw of Fuller Theological Seminary speaking Wednesday morning, and the Kroc Institute’s John Paul Lederach presenting Thursday morning. Dawn Ottoni-Wilhelm, a member of the faculty at Bethany Theological Seminary, will present a series of morning Bible studies focused on the conference theme.

Ted Swartz of Ted & Co. Theaterworks will perform “Laughter is Sacred Space,” a poignant look at his theatrical ministry with former partner Lee Eshleman, on Tuesday evening. Thursday evening will feature the piano performance “From Chopin to Sacred Songs to Show Tunes: A Musical Journey” by Josh and Elizabeth Tindall.

In addition to workshops, arts and crafts, and recreation, the conference features evening ice cream socials hosted by the Fellowship of Brethren Homes, Bethany Seminary, and the six Church of the Brethren-related colleges and universities. Bethany Seminary is hosting Tuesday’s golf outing. The Brethren Press bookstore will join exhibits by Brethren-related ministries in Harrell Hall.

Conference goers will have the opportunity to donate items and assemble school and hygiene kits for Church World Service, and raise funds for the Youth Peace Travel Team ministry by walking around Lake Junaluska.

NOAC appreciates the financial sponsorship of the following conference events: Morning Bible Study and “NOAC News” sponsored by Brethren Benefit Trust; Tuesday afternoon’s native American flutes program sponsored by the Peter Becker Community in Harleysville, Pa.; Wednesday’s birds of prey demonstration sponsored by Pinecrest Community in Mt. Morris, Ill.; and Thursday’s folklore program sponsored by Brethren Hillcrest Homes in La Verne, Calif.

NOAC is brought to you by the Congregational Life Ministries of the Church of the Brethren. For more information see . Contact Kim Ebersole, NOAC coordinator, at 800-323-8039 ext. 305 or for information or a registration brochure.

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

8) ‘3,000 Miles for Peace’ campaign is underway.

On March 1, On Earth Peace kicked-off “3,000 Miles for Peace,” a national campaign of riders and walkers that is raising funds and awareness for the organization’s violence-prevention efforts. The campaign is in honor of Paul Ziegler, a 19-year old McPherson (Kan.) College student who had a dream of biking across the country, about 3,000 miles, for peace. Tragically, he died in a bicycle accident in September 2012, and never got the chance to make his journey.

So far, there are over three dozen events planned in 15 states and 3 countries as part of the campaign, including rides and walks sponsored by churches, camps, colleges, and youth groups. There are individual walks and rides of several hundred miles each.

One community is planning a canoe trip which will combine fun, fundraising, inspiration, education, and music. Another group is planning to walk the Stations of the Cross in conflict areas of their city neighborhood. The campaign includes events as diverse as its participants, and welcomes new event organizers, participants, and fundraisers to join in.

The main website for the campaign, , gives more information about how to get involved by donating, starting an event, or becoming a fundraiser.

Bob Gross, On Earth Peace director of Development, will walk 650 miles on behalf of the campaign. He plans to start March 21 from North Manchester, Ind., and end May 3 in Elizabethtown, Pa. Find his blog and links to more information about his walk on the main page of .

After the conclusion of Gross’ walk there will be a culminating event on May 5 at Elizabethtown Church of the Brethren to recognize Paul Ziegler’s birthday, share stories of walks and rides, and share music and worship together. All who live in the area are invited to attend. Those who live in a nearby town may consider walking or bicycling to Elizabethtown for the culminating event of the campaign.

“3,000 Miles for Peace” will run through the summer, and end on Sept. 21-22–the weekend of Peace Day. Some organizers already have expressed enthusiasm about combining a walk or ride event with Peace Day. For more about Peace Day go to .

On Earth Peace would like to thank the many campaign volunteers who are stepping up for violence prevention and peacemaking. If you have interest in joining the campaign, check out or call the campaign office at 260-982-7751.

— Lizz Schallert is development assistant at On Earth Peace.

9) Peace Witness Ministries staff organize webinar on ‘just peace.’

As part of his work as joint staff with the National Council of Churches (NCC), Nathan Hosler has organized a webinar on March 19 at 12 noon on the “Ecumenical Call to Just Peace.” Hosler is director of Peace Witness Ministries for the Church of the Brethren, working out of Washington, D.C.

This webinar will feature presenters from four distinct streams of church life: Orthodox, African-American, mainline Protestant, and Historic Peace Churches. These theologians and peacemakers will reflect on their church tradition’s understanding and practice of just peace.

The “Ecumenical Call to Just Peace” came out of the World Council of Churches’ Decade to Overcome Violence. This fall delegates from the members communions of the WCC will consider the “Ecumenical Call to Just Peace” document at an assembly in Korea.

The four panelists are:

Scott Holland, professor of Theology and Culture and director of Peace Studies at the Church of the Brethren’s Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind. He was on the international drafting committee of the WCC’s “Ecumenical Call to Just Peace” and its companion study volume. He is co-editor of the Seeking Cultures of Peace series of books in which members of the Historic Peace Churches engage the call and challenges of the WCC Decade to Overcome Violence.

Jennifer S. Leath, who holds a bachelor of arts degree in Social Studies and African-American Studies from Harvard University and a master of divinity from Union Theological Seminary in New York. She is a doctoral candidate in Religious Studies with an emphasis in Religious Ethics, and African-American Studies at Yale University. She is licensed to preach at Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Philadelphia. She is a program associate for Roundtable on the Sexual Politics of Black Churches at Columbia University, and serves as co-moderator of the Joint Consultative Group between the WCC and Pentecostal Churches and is a member of ECHOS, the WCC youth commission.

Ellen Ott Marshall, associate professor of Christian Ethics and Conflict Transformation at Candler School of Theology, Emory University. She is on the faculty for the Ethics and Society doctoral program in Emory’s Graduate Division of Religion, where she is co-convener for the initiative in Religion, Conflict, and Peacebuilding. Her books include “Choosing Peace through Daily Practices,” “Though the Fig Tree Does Not Blossom: Toward a Responsible Theology of Christian Hope,” and “Christians in the Public Square: Faith that Transforms Politics.” She was lead writer for “God’s Renewed Creation,” a pastoral letter and foundation document from the Methodist bishops.

Alexander Patico, who served in the Peace Corps, then worked for 30-plus years in the field of international education and training. Since 2008 he has served as N. American secretary of the Orthodox Peace Fellowship, and is a member of the board of Churches for Middle East Peace, a co-founder of the National Iranian-American Council, and past member of the board of the National Religious Coalition against Torture, Christian Peace Witness, and the US Committee for the Decade to Overcome Violence. Locally, he is active with Yes, We Can!: Middle East Peace, an interfaith group promoting peace for Israel and Palestine; the Same Boat, formed to address Islamophobia; and Maryland United for Peace and Justice.

To take part in the webinar, contact Hosler at or visit to register and learn more.

10) Press takes pre-publication orders for ‘New Inglenook Cookbook.’

“The New Inglenook Cookbook is coming to your kitchen this summer! Pre-order now from Brethren Press and save up to 40 percent off the retail price of $28,” says Jeff Lennard, director of marketing and sales for Brethren Press.

The new cookbook is in the series of Inglenook cookbooks considered a cherished tradition of Brethren, passed from generation to generation. Recipes for the new cookbook have been submitted by many Brethren from across the country, and have been tested in Brethren kitchens across America. They have been selected for value, excellence, and simplicity.

The success of the Inglenook series “was its appeal to common people–those who embody the principles of simple living and value wholesome food,” Lennard reports. “Now, more than a century after the first ‘Inglenook Cookbook,’ Brethren Press has followed in that same tradition by publishing ‘The New Inglenook Cookbook.’ Together we have created a cookbook for a new generation, one that represents the tables of those who choose to live simply. Our hope is that this cookbook will bring Brethren together in a way this age of technology can’t: through food.”

The new cookbook includes over 350 recipes as well as other pieces of “wit and wisdom” including meal blessings, memories, and more. Brethren Press is offering pre-publication discounts off the retail price of $28. For individual copies ordered before April 15, the price will be $21 each. If a congregation makes a group order of 10 or more copies before April 15, the price will be $16.80 each.

Place orders for “The New Inglenook Cookbook” by calling Brethren Press at 800-441-3712 or order online at .

11) Brethren bits.

— The COBYS Family Services board of directors recently reorganized, calling Rose Walmer to serve as president. In addition, the board welcomed new member Brenda Spence. Walmer, of Myerstown, Pa., is chief personnel officer at Wengers of Myerstown and president of the Wenger Foundation, Inc., the charitable giving arm of the Wenger Family of Companies. A member of Myerstown Church of the Brethren and a graduate of Elizabethtown (Pa.) College, she has served on a number of nonprofit boards, including Evangelical Seminary and On Fire Youth Ministries. Spence, of Manheim, Pa., is employed as resident accounts manager by Masonic Village in Elizabethtown and is a member of Chiques Church of the Brethren where she serves as a deacon and writing clerk. She previously served the Atlantic Northeast District as district clerk and member of the Program and Arrangements Committee and the Gifts Discernment Team. COBYS Family Services educates, supports, and empowers children and adults to reach their full potential, carrying out this mission by offering foster care and adoption services, counseling, and family life education in Lancaster, Pa., and neighboring counties.

— The Church of the Brethren Workcamp office has announced that the assistant coordinator for the 2014 season will be Jenna Stacy. She will graduate from Bridgewater (Va.) College in May, where she is majoring in philosophy and religion with a peace studies minor. While studying at Bridgewater, she has also been serving as a junior high advisor for Harrisonburg (Va.) First Church of the Brethren. She comes from Melvin Hill Church of the Brethren in Southeastern District. Working through Brethren Volunteer Service, Stacy will begin her work in August to plan the 2014 workcamp season.

— In an announcement from the Zigler Hospitality Center
at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., changes have been made to housekeeping and dining services in order to reduce expenses and better match the volume of volunteer guests. Janet Comings began as lead cook on Jan. 2, after Walter Trail Jr. concluded his service as managing chef on Dec. 31, 2012. Comings will lead a team of assistants and volunteer kitchen aides in providing the dining services for volunteer groups and guests of the center.

— The Zigler Hospitality Center seeks volunteer kitchen assistants. This position at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., is open in April, with an urgent need for the months of May through July, and October through November, which are busier times of year for the dining facilities at the center. The Zigler Hospitality Center is a program of the Church of the Brethren and functions as a meeting and retreat center primarily serving day volunteers who support campus agencies such as SERRV, Material Resources, and IMA World Health. The Hospitality Center also serves churches, non-profit groups, small businesses, individuals, and families who visit the Brethren Service Center. The Hospitality Center welcomes people of all faiths and backgrounds. It includes two buildings with 12 guest rooms accommodating up to 30, conference rooms, outdoor recreation, and a dining and banquet facility. Volunteer kitchen assistants serve alongside a dedicated staff by assisting in the preparation of food for guests. The work includes preparing and serving continental breakfast and catered snacks for overnight guests, assisting in the preparation of the salad bar for campus lunch, assisting in preparation for banquets and special events, working in the dish room, and following all sanitation and health department rules and regulations. Resident volunteers are provided with a furnished one-bedroom efficiency apartment with private bath, living area, and kitchen in a building on the Brethren Service Center campus. Volunteers are welcome to partake of any meal served in the dining room and are also provided a food stipend to cover days when meals are not provided because the dining room is closed. The Zigler Hospitality Center welcomes couples who would like to serve together. If a prospective volunteer has a physical handicap, please contact the center directly to determine collectively whether service at the Zigler Hospitality Center is a good fit overall. The term of service ranges from a minimum of two months to a maximum of two years. Volunteers have two days off work each week, and an additional week of vacation for every six months of service. In addition to volunteer kitchen assistants, the Hospitality Center is always in need of outgoing, generous people to serve as volunteer hosts or hostesses to provide Christian hospitality and conference services to guests. For more information contact Cori Hahn, Hospitality Coordinator, at or 410-635-8700.

Photo by courtesy of Stan Noffsinger
General secretary Stan Noffsinger (right) with Ariel Rosario Abreu, moderator of Iglesia de los Heramanos, at the 2013 Asamblea of the Church of the Brethren in the Dominican Republic.

— General secretary Stan Noffsinger was recently in the Dominican Republic for the 2013 Asamblea, the annual meeting of Iglesia de los Hermanos (the Dominican Church of the Brethren). “The Asamblea in the DR was very well attended and the spirit of the church was positive, redeeming, and hopeful! What a delight,” Noffsinger said in a Facebook post while he was in the DR. He also reported that Ariel Rosario Abreu is the new moderator for the Dominican church.

— “Childhood Poverty: Nutrition, Housing, and Education” is the focus for the 2013 Christian Citizenship Seminar in New York and Washington, D.C., that begins on March 23 and continues through March 28. The event is for high school age youth and adult advisors to consider current issues and engage in advocacy in the nation’s capital. For more about CCS go to .

— “There’s still room for YOU at a workcamp this summer!” says an announcement from the Church of the Brethren Workcamp Ministry. “There is room for you to…walk the sordid streets of Los Angeles, see the beautiful mountains of Colorado, expand your understanding of others at Innisfree Village, raft the mighty rivers of Idaho, work with the earth in the green city of Seattle and more! There’s room for EVERYONE! Did you know…that we offer a workcamp for intellectually and physically disabled youth ages 16-23 AND that we offer a workcamp that you and your grandkids can go to? Check out our lesser known workcamps–We Are Able and Intergenerational.” Registration for workcamps is open at .

— “At God’s Table: Food Justice for a Healthy World” is the focus of Ecumenical Advocacy Days on April 5-8. Early registration for a reduced fee ends March 15. Participants book their own rooms at the DoubleTree Crystal City Hotel in Crystal City, Va. Events are also held in Washington, D.C. “Join 1,000 Christian advocates at the 11th annual Ecumenical Advocacy Days to seek Food Justice for a Healthy World!” said an invitation. “In a world that produces enough food for everyone, EAD will explore the injustices in global food systems that leave one billion people hungry, create food price shocks that destabilize communities everywhere, and undermine God’s creation. At God’s Table, all are invited and fed, and the poorest in our midst are given a special place.” The theme image of God’s table comes from Exodus 16:16-18 and Luke 14:12-24. Speakers will offer a faith-based vision for fair and humane food policies and practices, along with grassroots advocacy training, culminating with a Monday Lobby Day on Capitol Hill. Organizers encourage churches, denominations, and regional councils of churches to charter buses and bring large groups to this important faith-in-action event. For detailed information and registration go to . Brethren who attend are requested to contact Nathan Hosler, director of the denomination’s Peace Witness Ministry based in Washington, at 202-481-6943 or .

— Applications are due April 12 for this summer’s Exploring Your Call (EYC) at Bethany Theological Seminary. EYC takes place June 14-24. Sponsored by the seminary’s Institute for Ministry with Youth and Young Adults, EYC is a grant-funded leadership and discernment program for rising high school juniors and seniors. Participants value the hands-on ministry experiences, college-level classroom learning, and connection with peers who are asking similar questions about life, faith, and ministry. Students need only pay for transportation to and from the event, held on the Bethany Seminary campus in Richmond, Ind. For more information and to apply, go to .

— The Youth and Young Adult office is sharing fundraising ideas for National Youth Conference 2014 at . Here’s one of the latest: the $500 wheelbarrow. “Did you know that a large, heavy-duty wheelbarrow can hold 50,000 pennies?” said the post. “That amounts to $500! Borrow the wheelbarrow from a church member and place in a high-traffic area of your church. Always keep a sign nearby to explaining what the wheelbarrow and pennies are for. It also helps if someone can ‘work’ the wheelbarrow, standing nearby to explain the fundraiser, why you are raising money, and to sell rolls of pennies. Remember to place the wheelbarrow in a secure area when it’s not in use or no one is around.”

— “It’s not too early to hold May 15-17, 2014, for the next Church of the Brethren church planting conference,” said Congregational Life Ministries’ Jonathan Shively in a Facebook post. The event in Richmond, Ind., will focus on planting toward an intercultural future.

— The Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center hosts “Dunkers Impacted by the Battle of Gettysburg” on April 6 from 8:30 a.m.-4:15 p.m. The event starts at Lutheran Theological Seminary of Gettysburg, Pa. Stephen Longenecker, professor of history at Bridgewater (Va.) College, will offer lectures on “Dunkers on the Gettysburg Community and Battle” and “The Dunkers’ Ancient Order in Antebellum America.” Marc Oldenberg, professor of preaching at the Lutheran seminary, will lecture on “Simon Samuel Schmucker: Lutheran Pietist and Abolitionist.” Also included will be a tour of the newly renovated Seminary Ridge Museum and a visit to March Creek Meeting House, mother meeting house of Gettysburg Church of the Brethren, where closing worship will be held. Registration is $50 (including lunch). Registration including .4 continuing education units costs $60. Children may register for $20. Proceeds support the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center. Registration deadline is March 25. To register contact 717-361-1450 or . The registration form is at .

— Peace pole dancing? To show their love for peace and to encourage On Earth Peace in its efforts, folk at Palmyra (Pa.) Church of the Brethren recently danced around their peace pole to the music of Mutual Kumquat–and posted the dance on YouTube. “My home church is amazing and this should go viral,” said a Facebook fan. Inspired by Palmyra, some staff and Brethren Volunteer Service workers at the General Offices did their own peace pole dance, in the snow. Says a post on the official Facebook page of the “peace pole dance revolution”: “The first known outbreak of the peace pole dancing epidemic may be traceable back to Harrisburg, Pa., and the retirement ceremony of Gerald W. Rhoades. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) has issued a public health alert: CAUTION: avoid peace poles, look out for them wherever you travel.” Find out more and see videos at .

— Olympia, Lacey Community Church in Lacey, Wash., has been holding worship walks, led by pastor Howard Ullery Jr. The congregation is affiliated jointly with the United Church of Christ and the Church of the Brethren. Ullery is leading out-door walks with the intention of worship and fellowship, starting the first Saturday in March at a rose garden at Priest Point Park followed on Wednesday on the Chehalis Trail at Chambers Lake.

— Iglesia Cristiana Renacer-Roanoke, a Church of the Brethren congregation in Roanoke, Va., will offer a 12-week course of basic conversational Spanish starting March 14. Classes will be on Thursdays from  6:30-8:30 p.m. at Roanoke First Church of the Brethren. A monthly contribution of $25 will help cover costs. A fee of $20 will be charged for the textbook. Register no later than Feb. 28 by calling Daniel D’Oleo at 540-892-8791.

— The Senior High Youth of Pleasant Valley Church of the Brethren in Weyers Cave, Va., invite other youth groups to join them on March 17, 6:30-8 p.m., for an evening with Bill Scheurer, executive director of On Earth Peace. RSVP to by March 13.

— McPherson (Kan.) Church of the Brethren and McPherson Mennonite Church are hosting a “Peace, Pies, and Prophets” performance by Ted and Company to benefit Christian Peacemaker Teams. The performance will be at 7 p.m. on March 16 at the Opera House in McPherson. During the evening there will be a pie auction to help raise money for CPT.

— Shenandoah District Pastors for Peace will present a Living Peace Recognition Award to Dale V. Ulrich, professor emeritus of physics at Bridgewater (Va.) College, at a Peace Feast at 6:30 p.m. March 19 at Montezuma Church of the Brethren in Dayton, Va. Bill Scheurer, executive director of On Earth Peace, will be guest speaker. Reservations are due at the District Office by March 12. Tickets are $15 general admission and $10 for students. Contact 540-234-8555 or .

— Roundtable regional youth conference at Bridgewater (Va.) College is scheduled for March 22-24. This event for senior high youth will feature worship, workshops, open mike night, and more. Cost is $50. The theme is “Transformed: Rebel with a Cause” with Marcus Harden as speaker. Entertainment will be by a cappella choirs from James Madison University. Register at .

— CrossRoads’ 2013 Benefit Auction begins at 9 a.m. on March 23 at Bowman Auctions in Harrisonburg, Va. The sale will feature furniture, hand-crafted items, collectibles, antiques, and more. Breakfast and lunch will be available as well as a bake sale. Proceeds benefit the Valley Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center.

— The Southern Ohio District Board has taken action to form a new team based on the Shalom Team paper passed at the 2002 Annual Conference. “This team will promote the holistic concept of shalom and will be dedicated to the health, wholeness, and well being of every congregation, pastor, and leadership team in the district,” reported the district newsletter.

— Foregoing “fun in the sun” spring breaks, several groups of students at Church of the Brethren-related colleges are doing services projects instead.
At Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., 21 students in the Habitat for Humanity club will take on the construction of an entire house in Albany, Ga., and other students will organize the affiliate’s ReStore location. The college’s Hillel chapter for Jewish students is traveling to the Dominican Republic to work on the “My Roof” project that focuses on building shelters for people who don’t have adequate, safe housing, and will volunteer at a health clinic and a school. Juniata’s Christian Ministry Board is traveling to North Fort Myers, Fla., to volunteer on a demonstration farm working with Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization. The college’s Community Service Board is going to Apopka, Fla., to work with immigrant families in collaboration with a local organization called Hope CommUnity Center.
At Bridgewater (Va.) College, 18 students and 2 staff members will spend spring break volunteering with Habitat’s Collegiate Challenge Spring Break 2013. The group, accompanied by college chaplain Robbie Miller and Stacie Horrell, assistant director of student activities, will leave for Sumter, S.C., on March 10 to work in partnership with the Sumter Habitat for Humanity helping to build several houses. To raise money for the trip, they held a chili cook-off and sponsored a faculty/staff car wash. This is the 21st year that Bridgewater College students have used spring break to work on various Habitat projects.
At McPherson (Kan.) College, a group of students is planning to serve for a week at a Brethren Disaster Ministries project site in Holton, Ind., in late March. Tom Hurst, director of Service for the college, is organizing the trip with help from Western Plains District.

— The next event in the Presidential Community Enrichment series of lectures at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College features associate professor of history David Kenley on the struggle of Church of the Brethren missionaries in China. The lecture at noon March 21 is titled “Peace and Conflict in Asia: Missionaries and the Chinese Revolution.” All sessions in the series are held in the Susquehanna Room at Myer Hall and begin with lunch at noon followed by a lecture, questions, and discussion, ending by 2 p.m. Cost is $10 and registration is required. Contact Lisa Wolfe at 717-361-6410 or or see .

— Also at Elizabethtown College, Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) founder and president Marian Wright Edelman will give the 2013 Leffler Memorial Lecture on March 20 at 7:30 p.m. Edelman is a graduate of Spelman College and Yale Law School, and was the first black woman admitted to the Mississippi Bar. She began her professional career in the mid-1960s as director of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund office in Jackson, Miss. After moving to Washington, D.C., in 1968, she took a position as counsel for the Poor People’s Campaign, organized by Martin Luther King Jr. Soon after, she founded the Washington Research Project, a public interest law firm and the parent of the CDF, which she founded in 1973. Tickets are free, reserve by calling 717-361-4757.

— Jonathan Reed presented the McPherson (Kan.) College Religious Heritage Lecture hosted by McPherson Church of the Brethren on March 3. Professor of religion and dean of the college of arts and sciences at the University of La Verne, Calif., Reed investigates “the life, times, and teachings of Jesus with a shovel and trowel as much as with a Bible and commentaries,” said a release. “You have to understand the history and society of first-century Galilee, before you can get right a theology for the 21st century,” Reed said in the release. His work in the field includes 13 years in supervisory roles at excavations in Israel, and five books including “Archaeology and the Galilean Jesus” and “Excavating Jesus,” which takes on a major archaeological or textual discovery in each chapter and how those discoveries illuminate the life and teachings of Jesus.

— McPherson (Kan.) College Automotive Restoration students have built a custom pedal car to raise money to bring children from underserved schools in Los Angeles to the Petersen Automotive Museum. McPherson is the only college that offers a four-year liberal arts degree in automotive restoration. The pedal car is one of three the museum is auctioning at the RM Auction at Amelia Island, Fla., on March 9. As a part of the Petersen Automotive Museum’s Deuce Week celebration of the 80th anniversary of the ’32 Ford, nine of the “hottest” hot rod builders in the country were invited to create pedal cars. “Each builder started with a pedal car 1932 Ford Roadster and then used their vision, craftsmanship, and passion to create the one-off customized collectibles,” said a release. Six of the nine cars have already sold and raised more than $25,000. Proceeds help fund the Robert E. Petersen Free School Bus program. The car built at McPherson was inspired by the 1932 Paul Harris roadster, which was donated to the college. To bid on the car, go to . For more information see

— For a second year, Bridgewater (Va.) College is taking part in “Walk for Hope: Colleges Unite for Depression and Suicide,” on March 23, from 9 a.m. to noon at James Madison University’s Godwin Field. Students, faculty, and staff of area colleges are walking, along with the school presidents. The walk is open to the public. “Suicide prevention and depression awareness are key concerns for our campuses,” said the school presidents in a statement. “We fully support initiatives that draw attention to these pressing mental health issues, and are committed to providing support for the people affected by them.” The walk is made possible by the Austin Frazier Memorial Fund in memory of a JMU student who committed suicide in October 2009.

— In more news from Bridgewater, the college will dedicate an electric-vehicle charging station. College officials and local legislators will perform a ribbon cutting at 9:30 a.m. on March 19 in the Stone Village parking lot. The public is invited. The charging station was made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act through the Department of Energy’s Transportation Electrification Initiative. The $6,000 grant to Bridgewater was part of an overall objective to accelerate development and production of electric vehicles to reduce petroleum consumption, reduce greenhouse gas production, and create jobs. The charging station will be used by the college’s fleet of fully electric campus utility vehicles, and faculty, staff, and students who drive plug-in electric cars. Eventually the station will be available to the public as well.

— Steve Longenecker will give the John Kline Lecture at the John Kline Homestead in Broadway, Va., on March 24 at 3 p.m. He is author of “Gettysburg Religion,” a new book due out later this year. The lecture will explore the impact of the Battle of Gettysburg on Brethren who lived on the battlefield. “Refreshments, of the 19th century variety, will be served,” reports the Shenandoah District announcement.

— In preparation for Annual Conference in Charlotte, N.C., the Springs of Living Water Initiative has created a disciplines folder on the book of Philippians for the month of April. With prayer suggestions for missions around the world given by Annual Conference moderator Robert Krouse, the theme is “Shining Like Stars in the World, the Journey Outward: Growing in Christian Maturity.” Users will find a suggested prayer pattern followed by daily readings from Philippians and a daily request for prayer for a mission point. Bible study questions, also found on the Springs website, are prepared by Vince Cable, pastor of Uniontown Church of the Brethren near Pittsburgh, Pa. For more information go to www.churchrenewalservant or e-mail David and Joan Young at .

— Sojourners, a Christian community in Washington, D.C., has received a request from faith leaders in Newtown, Conn., for help to stand in solidarity with them as they sent a letter to Congress on the need for laws to limit gun violence. In response, Sojourners is inviting other faith leaders across the country to sign a letter to the Senate asking for “strong, enforceable laws to limit gun violence,” said a release from the community. “Newtown does not want to be remembered as the town of the tragedy but the bridge to a new and kinder world,” the letter reads in part. Find the letter and more information at .

— Melissa Carr of Central Church of the Brethren in Roanoke, Va., and who teaches science at William Byrd High School in Roanoke County, has been honored “for being ‘Best of the Best,’” reports WSLS Channel 10. She has received the honor from the Rochester Institute of Technology. “A student Carr taught four years ago nominated her for the award. He says Carr inspired him to pursue a career in engineering,” the television station reported. Find the report at .

Contributors to this issue of Newsline include Marie Benner-Rhoades, Jeff Boshart, Lesley Crosson, Jan Dragin, Allen Hansell, Elizabeth Harvey, Mary Kay Heatwole, Philip E. Jenks, Jeff Lennard, Dale Minnich, Amy J. Mountain, John Wall, Jenny Williams, Zach Wolgemuth, David Young, and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren. Look for the next regularly scheduled issue on March 20.

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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