Brethren Bits for May 13, 2014

Photo courtesy of CWS
Seen on Facebook this week: “Church of the Brethren volunteers made 504 CWS Emergency Clean-Up Buckets in 54 minutes with CWS-Ohio Region. WOW. And little Uriah put the last bucket on the truck. Way to go buddy!”

— Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) has announced two open positions: director of Communications and assistant director of Financial Operations.

The director of Communications is a full-time, salaried position based in Elgin, Ill. The director envisions how to interpret and educate members of BBT. This is achieved by providing oversight for communications, marketing, promotional and operational initiatives, and client relations that undergird BBT’s ministries. The director oversees the department that produces newsletters, fliers, mailings, advertisements, a family of websites, promotional and operational materials, videos, and other resources; serves as chief writer and editor for the organization; supervises the production manager and client relations manager; is a member of BBT’s management team; is responsible for establishing the organization’s editorial policies and guidelines; travels to the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference, board meetings, and other events. BBT seeks candidates with an undergraduate degree in communications, English, business, or related fields. Candidates should have a minimum of five years of professional experience in editorial, marketing, promotions, administration, and personnel supervision; need to be articulate writers and public presenters; have interest and aptitude in learning or understanding complex investment concepts; need to be proficient in desk-top publishing and media technology. Current and active membership in the Church of the Brethren is preferred; current and active membership in a faith community is required. Salary and benefits are competitive with Church Benefits Association agencies of comparable size and scope of services. A full benefits package is included.

The assistant director of Financial Operations is a full-time salaried position based in Elgin, Ill. The primary function is to review and coordinate the reporting of all accounting and financial transactions related to the operations of the Programs and Administration of BBT. Scope of duties includes producing monthly financial statements, managing payroll, monitoring and managing cash flow, preparing account analyses, providing backup for other positions in the Finance Department. The assistant director of Financial Operations will attend local BBT Board meetings and other events, as assigned. The ideal candidate will possess a high level of technical proficiency, intense attention to detail, impeccable integrity, a collegial and engaging demeanor, and a strong faith commitment. BBT seeks candidates with an undergraduate degree in accounting, CPA preferred. Requirements include strong verbal and written communications skills, proficiency in Microsoft Office, strong working knowledge of fund accounting, demonstrated track record in developing first-in-class support of operating activities across product lines within a complex enterprise. Experience with Microsoft Great Plains is desired. Current and active membership in the Church of the Brethren is preferred; current and active membership in a faith community is required. Salary and benefits are competitive with Church Benefits Association agencies of comparable size and scope of services. A full benefits package is included.

To apply, send a letter of interest, résumé, three professional references, and salary-range expectation to Donna March at 1505 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120, or . For questions or clarification about these positions, call 847-622-3371. For more information about Brethren Benefit Trust visit .

— Manchester Church of the Brethren is making available a DVD of the concert the congregation hosted on April 26, “Goodbye Still Night.” The DVD will be available after June 1. The concert brought together Andy and Terry Murray with their daughters Kim and Kris, Shawn Kirchner, and Mutual Kumquat (Chris Good, Seth Hendricks, Dru Gray, and Jacob Jolliff). To purchase a DVD produced by David Sollenberger and Rainer Borgmann, send $25 to: Manchester Church of the Brethren, P.O. Box 349, North Manchester, IN 46962. Make checks payable to Manchester CoB. Upon receipt of payment the church will mail the DVD. Be sure to include name and address where the DVD should be shipped.

— Lost and Found Church, a new church plant in Big Rapids, Mich., reported on its progress in the Michigan District newsletter this month. “As the L+F Church moves toward the Fall 2014 season, we are working on preparing to launch out into our community even more than we have at this point,” the report said. The group is asking for prayer as it forms a Leadership Team, moves to Sunday morning worship from Saturday afternoon gatherings, and finds a new location for weekly worship gatherings and other events. “We rejoice for the great things God has been doing in and through the Lost and Found Church over the past year,” the report said. “This includes, among other things, the growth we have seen in our college campus ministry at Ferris State University, Standing in the Gap. We have had multiple Michigan District Church of the Brethren youth, along many other Ferris students, connect with this campus ministry over the past year.”

— On April 27, more than 50 walkers gathered at Antioch, Va., for the World Hunger Walk, reports Virlina District. “They raised over $6,000 from generous donors and sponsors as they traversed the beautiful scenery of Franklin County,” said the district newsletter. The auction steering committee expressed appreciation to the walkers, support workers, and donors. Upcoming events include a golf tournament at the Mariner’s Landing course on May 17, and on June 7, the 25th annual World Hunger Auction Bike Ride kicking off at 8 a.m. from the Antioch Church of the Brethren parking lot. In addition to the traditional 5, 10, 25, and 50 mile routes for bicyclists, motorcyclists are invited to participate in a special journey through the mountains, returning to the church for food and fellowship. Registration for all riders is $25, and they are encouraged to solicit donations in support of the event. For more information and registration go to under the Events section.

— The Virlina District Evangelism Committee will hold a Renewal, Revitalization, and Outreach event at Roanoke (Va.) Central Church of the Brethren on Saturday, May 31, starting at 9 a.m. There will be presentation from three groups. E3 Ministry Group (Engage, Excite, Expand) will be led by John Neff. Springs of Living Water will be led by David Young. Vital Ministry Journey will be Stan Dueck of the denomination’s Congregational Life Ministries staff.

— Shenandoah District Disaster Ministries is continuing its “Sow and Grow” program in which participants pick up an envelope at the Shenandoah District Disaster Ministries auction that holds $10 and invest (grow) it over the coming year, returning the proceeds to the next year’s auction. “The program started in 1998,” reports the district newsletter. “In the 16 years since then, $5,910 in seed money has grown to $97,350 to support Brethren Disaster Ministries. The goal for 2015 is $11,000.”

— The Shenandoah District’s Pastoral Support Committee has scheduled a weekend Brethren Heritage Tour, planned in conjunction with former district executive Jim Miller, for Oct. 17-19. The tour includes stops of significance to Brethren history in Maryland and Pennsylvania. Pastors can earn continuing education units, but the tour is open to all interested. Find an invitation and schedule at .

— Congregational visit exchanges in Western Plains District began on May 4 for a total of 22 congregations (including two from neighboring districts) under the district’s KonX-ion emphasis. “The project is intended to build relationships across congregational lines and to help congregations appreciate their unique perspective and values,” said the district newsletter. Visits are to be completed by the end of June.

The logo for Western Plains District Conference 2014

— Western Plains District Conference will be held July 25-27 in McPherson, Kan., on the theme “Pursuing Peace.” Terri Torres will serve as moderator. Pre-Conference Service Projects will take the place of the usual pre-conference workshop this year, the district announced. Participants will join in serving the surrounding community in several service project opportunities on Friday afternoon. The weekend also includes the Cedars’ annual ice cream social Friday night, a Saturday afternoon reception hosted by Brethren Mutual Aid and Prairie View, a Women’s Breakfast on Saturday morning, and a Mission and Service Dinner on Saturday evening. Guest preachers are Ken Frantz of the Haxtun (Colo.) congregation, and Bill Scheurer, executive director of On Earth Peace.

— Timbercrest Senior Living Community in North Manchester, Ind., will celebrate its 125-year anniversary with a Summer Festival on June 5-7. The festival will include a Children’s Carnival, festival food, and music by the Fort Wayne Chamber Brass, the Bulldogs, and Triumphant Quartet. Visit for more details.

— Camp Bethel near Fincastle, Va., is celebrating having been chosen again as “Best of Botetourt” for 2014 by the readers of the “Botetourt View” (Roanoke Times). Also, the Kevin Jones Performing Arts Camps repeated as the “2014 Best Camp For Kids.”  See the camp’s ad at .

— A spiritual disciplines resource for approaching Annual Conference is provided by Springs of Living Water, an initiative in church renewal. Titled “Living as Courageous Disciples, Shining Like Stars in the World,” the resource is the next spiritual disciplines folder offered by Springs, said a release. The folder begins with Pentecost, and focuses on the New Testament letter to the Philippians, following on the Annual Conference moderator’s call to read and memorize the book this year in preparation for the Conference. The disciplines folders are designed for the entire congregation to use, but can be used by individuals as well. Vince Cable, pastor of Uniontown Church of the Brethren, has written Bible study questions for use by individuals or groups. Find the folder and Bible study questions at or contact . David and Joan Young noted in the release, “We join all Brethren in the emphasis on prayer and fasting.”

— Elizabethtown (Pa.) College commencement speaker is Mark Samels, executive producer of PBS’ “American Experience” from WGBH/Boston, the most-watched and longest-running television history series notes a release from the college. The commencement ceremony will be Saturday, May 17, at 11 a.m. at the Dell. For the college’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies commencement ceremony, the speaker will be Edward Martin, president and CEO of Blue Clay Ventures, who works with Richard Saul Wurman, founder of TED Talks, on the 555 Conference that brings together five global experts, five predictions of future patterns, and five cities across the world. The ceremony on May 17 at 4 p.m. at Leffler Chapel also will mark a school milestone: the first graduates of Elizabethtown’s MBA program. Learn more at .

— The Valley Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center in Harrisonburg, Va., will hold a celebration and service of dedication for the Brunk Revivals Exhibit on Saturday, May 24, 1-4 p.m. The celebration will include a time for browsing the exhibit and memorabilia on display, a time of reminiscing and singing from the revival songbook, and a service of dedication featuring Myron S. Augsburger as guest speaker. A release explains that “Brothers George II and Lawrence Brunk held their first tent evangelistic meeting in 1951 in Lancaster, Pa. Thus began a series of campaigns as far north as Ontario and as far west as Oregon where in 1953 Lawrence left the organization which was renamed Brunk Revivals, Inc. with a board of directors. George II continued holding the tent meetings for another 27 years across 10 states and 5 Canadian provinces from Ontario to British Columbia. The Brunk Revivals Exhibit is housed in one of the original trucks that were used to haul tents and equipment to the various campaign sites.” The Brunk family created the exhibit and donated it to the center’s permanent collection where it can be viewed during open hours Wednesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. There is no admission charge to the May 24 dedication event. A packet containing a revival songbook, a booklet featuring memories and articles on the history of the Brunk Revivals, and evangelism among Mennonites and Brethren in America, and other memorabilia will be available for purchase. For more information, visit or call 540-438-1275.

— The World Council of Churches (WCC) has published a release urging that the peace agreement negotiated between South Sudan’s president and former vice president come into immediate effect. “The peace agreement was signed by Kiir and Machar on Saturday, 10 May in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia,” the release said. “Yet the situation remains volatile until the truce actually takes effect on the ground. Church leaders who were present at the signing of the peace agreement in Addis Ababa include Archbishop Paulino Lukudu Loro of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Juba, Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul Yak of the Episcopal Church of Sudan, and Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia, former general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC), ecumenical special envoy for South Sudan and Sudan and representative of the All Africa Conference of Churches.” With the agreement having been signed, the real work starts now, said Kobia, who urged that when both parties in the conflict have agreed upon common principals, they now must commit themselves to implement the peace agreement fully. “We believe that they meant what they said,” Kobia said. The participation of church leaders in the Addis Ababa negotiations comes after the recent visit to Juba of an ecumenical delegation which urged leaders on both sides to use the negotiations as an opportunity to agree to dialogue and implement an immediate ceasefire.

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