Brethren Bits for Nov. 12, 2014

On Nov. 7 Manchester University inaugurated Dave McFadden as president “in a spirit of abundance,” said a release from the university in North Manchester, Ind. McFadden is a member of the Church of the Brethren and will serve as the 15th president in the university’s 125-year-history. “Cordier Auditorium was full Friday–an abundant response to a man who has poured his heart and soul into Manchester University for decades, according to Board of Trustees chair D. Randall Brown, who presented the Presidential Medallion to Dave McFadden,” the release said. McFadden spoke about abundance and gratitude. “Going forward, we will be audacious in embracing opportunity,” he said. “We aim to grow our total enrollment by as many as a thousand students by the end of this decade, grounding new programs in our mission and infusing them with our values. Why? Because the world needs more Manchester graduates. We will be a source of hope and optimism, of promise and possibility, of ability and conviction.” Among events at the inauguration, an anthem titled “Only Now” was commissioned by McFadden and composed by Brethren musician and Manchester alumnus Shawn Kirchner, adapting excerpts from the Wendell Berry novel “Hannah Coulter.” McFadden also thanked Jo Young Switzer and Bill Robinson, former Manchester presidents who were honored for their years of service. See www.manchester.edu/news/McFaddeninauguration2014.htm .
— Camp Alexander Mack in Milford, Ind., and the Indiana Camp Board are hosting a retirement party to honor Rex Miller. The event takes place at Camp Mack on Saturday, Nov. 22, from 1-4 p.m. “All those who have a love for camp or have known Rex during his lifetime of involvement in outdoor ministries are invited to join us in celebrating this gift of service to the church and the wider community,” said an invitation. There will be a 30-minute program at 1:15 p.m. followed by a reception with cake and ice cream. A table will be set up for people to write or drop off comments, memories, or letters for Miller that will be made into a book. If you are not able to attend, tributes can be mailed to Peggy Miller at P.O. Box 117, Milford, IN 46542-0117 or e-mailed to prmiller@bnin.net.

— Brethren Disaster Ministries has announced some interim staffing
during a time when the program is without a director. Jenn Dorsch has been hired as a temporary part-time program assistant to help out three days a week, starting Oct. 30. She will be the point of contact for the project leaders on rebuilding sites, and also is assisting with communications for the Nigeria Crisis Response, as well as providing other support to the Brethren Disaster Ministries staff.

— The Church of the Brethren is seeking an individual to fill a full-time salaried position of coordinator of Donor Communications. This position is based at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Major responsibilities are to create and maintain relationships with Church of the Brethren congregations and individuals through various mediums of communication, encouraging donor awareness and involvement in denominational ministries, leading to increased giving and support of the mission and ministries of the church. Required skills and knowledge include knowledge of Church of the Brethren heritage, theology, and polity; ability to articulate and operate out of the vision of the Mission and Ministry Board; high professional level of communication and well-crafted writing; collaborative working style; basic knowledge of financial planning tools and estate laws; proficiency with Blackbaud (Convio), all Microsoft Office programs, Adobe InDesign, Acrobat Pro, and Photoshop, and familiarity with basics of web design and HTML. A bachelor’s degree or equivalent work experience is required, with experience in communications, fundraising, public relations, or marketing desired. Applications will be received beginning immediately and will be reviewed on an ongoing basis until the position is filled. Request the application form by contacting the Office of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; 800-323-8039 ext. 367; humanresources@brethren.org . The Church of the Brethren is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

— The Church of the Brethren seeks two individuals to fill a temporary part-time kitchen assistant position at the Zigler Hospitality Center of the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. The position works directly with the lead cook. The temporary part-time kitchen assistant assists in preparing food for guests of the Zigler Hospitality Center and works in the dish room following all sanitation and health department rules and regulations as prescribed by the lead cook. Responsibilities include assisting in proper handling of food; preparing and replenishing food for salad bar and desserts; cleaning and set up; snack preparation; operating and cleaning dishwashing machine; sorting, stacking, and putting away dishes; pre-soaking, rinsing, and cleaning silverware, glasses, and dishes; and other assignments. The preferred candidate will have experience assisting in a kitchen environment and must be able to lift a limit of 35 pounds and exercise care in handling sharp equipment and power-operated equipment. Applications will be received and reviewed beginning immediately until the position is filled. Request the application packet and complete job description by contacting the Office of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; 800-323-8039 ext. 367; humanresources@brethren.org . The Church of the Brethren is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

— There is a new registration address for the webinar “For We Are Co-Workers in God’s Service: The Relationship between Farm Workers and Gardens” on Tuesday, Nov. 18, at 7 p.m. (Eastern time). Through the Going to the Garden grant initiative of the Office of Public Witness and Global Food Crisis Fund, this webinar will focus on issues surrounding the national farm workers movement to create better work and living standards. The webinar will hear from individuals deeply involved with the National Farm Worker Ministry (NFWM) and the NFWM’s Youth and Young Adult network: Lindsay Andreolli-Comstock, an ordained Baptist minister and human-trafficking specialist, and executive director of the National Farm Worker Ministry; Nico Gumbs, the Florida state coordinator of the National Farm Worker Ministry’s youth-led program, YAYA; and Daniel McClain, director of Program Operations for Graduate Theological Programs at Loyola University Maryland whose areas of research and publishing include the doctrine of creation. To attend the webinar register at www.anymeeting.com/PIID=EB51D685814931 .

— Musa Mambula, a leader in Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria), will be speaking on Nov. 20, at 7:30 p.m., at the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College, in the Bucher Meetinghouse. He also is scheduled to speak on Dec. 30, at 6 p.m., at Cross Keys Village-The Brethren Home Community in New Oxford, Pa. The topic will be “Religion and Terror in Northeastern Nigeria: Boko Haram, Christians, and Modern Muslims,” and he will share information about recent attacks by the insurgent group Boko Haram in northeast Nigeria, and the takeover of the headquarters of EYN and Kulp Bible College. Brian Newsome, professor of history at Elizabethtown College, will respond. For more information call 717-361-1470 or visit www.etown.edu/youngctr .

— Western Pennsylvania District has received a challenge to continue praying for Nigeria, in a letter from district executive minister Ronald Beachley. “I would challenge congregations to invite members to join other brothers and sisters in a four (4) time daily prayer commitment,” he wrote, in part. “I would suggest taking two or three minutes each designated time to lift up our sisters and brothers facing persecution in Nigeria, pray God’s presence will surround and protect, pray their faith will remain strong, and pray for those who are persecuting them. The four designated times would be 8 a.m.; 12 noon; 4 p.m.; and 8 p.m. I believe if we join together with at least 2,000 individuals joining this effort from our district, our sisters and brothers in Nigeria will feel the power of the Holy Spirit surrounding, encouraging, and strengthening their faith during this time of persecution.”

— The Illinois and Wisconsin District Conference has returned a query asking, “How should districts respond to congregations and pastors who perform same-sex marriages?” The district conference on Nov. 8 returned the query to the originating congregation with thanks and an invitation to continue discussion. That action means the query will not be passed on to Annual Conference. The query was brought by Neighborhood Church of the Brethren in Montgomery, Ill., responding to a decision by Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, Ill., to perform same-sex weddings. The Highland Avenue church had informed the district about its process of discernment, and also posted that information publicly on its website. A law legalizing same-sex marriage in the State of Illinois took effect on June 1 and a wedding was performed at the Highland Avenue church in early October.

— The Christmas Boutique at Frederick (Md.) Church of the Brethren on Nov. 14, from 5:30-8:30 p.m., will raise funds to benefit Blessings in a Backpack, a local charity that provides food on the weekends for low-income children who otherwise might not be fed. Shoppers and vendors are invited, said the church newsletter. Items available for sale will include jewelry, home décor, accessories, fair trade items, beauty products, books, and more. The evening also will include music, door prizes, free desserts, and hot drinks. Vendor spaces are still available. Contact women@fcob.net .

— Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren in Fort Wayne, Ind., is hosting a presentation by Bernard Alter titled “US and Pakistan: Friends or Foes?” sponsored by the Indiana Center for Middle East Peace. The event is planned for Nov. 13 at 6:30 p.m. Said an announcement: “Bernard Alter served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in India from 1967-1969. His 31-year career with the State Department included posts in Pakistan, India, Thailand, Canada, Hong Kong, and Korea. He speaks Hindi, Urdu, and Thai. He has worked with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and served as Consul General in Islamabad, Seoul, and Chennai. In Washington, he was Bangladesh desk officer in the Near East/South Asia Bureau, and State Department legislative liaison officer, working with Congress on refugees, human rights, and immigration.” Alter and his wife, Pat, have written a book titled “Gather the Fruit One by One: Peace Corps at 50.”

— The November edition of “Brethren Voices” public television program from Portland (Ore.) Peace Church of the Brethren features the Meat Canning Project of Southern Pennsylvania and Mid-Atlantic Districts. “For the past 37 years the two districts have co-sponsored a Meat Canning Project as a way to serve those in need,” said a note from producer Ed Groff. “The goal of this year’s project was the canning of 45,000 pounds of chicken, in four days. The canned chicken was then distributed to local food banks as well as a special outreach program in Honduras. This effort like many of the Church of the Brethren projects requires many dedicated volunteers and some solid financial support.” Brethren Voice interviews coordinator Rick Shaffer and others who assist in the effort of canning 22 tons of chicken. The November program also features Lee Byrd, a resident of Cross Keys Village-The Brethren Home Community, who tells the story of the integration of Maryville College in Tennessee. Find more Brethren Voices programs at www.Youtube.com/Brethrenvoices . To subscribe contact groffprod1@msn.com .

— Stover Memorial Church of the Brethren in Des Moines, Iowa, will host the Iowa Peace Network annual Open House on Nov. 23 at 2:30 p.m. “Please join us for an afternoon of fellowship and refreshments with IPN board member Darrell Mitchell, who has just published his memoirs and will have copies of his book,” said an invitation. Mitchell will speak on “How I Became a Peace Worker.” He is a United Methodist minister and advocate for Palestinian and human rights. Network vice chair Patty Wengert of Des Moines Valley Friends will speak about STARPAC and the work of studying the costs of war. Tim Button-Harrison, district executive minister of Northern Plains District, will provide music. Northern Plains District of the Church of the Brethrenis one of the founding groups of the Iowa Peace Network along with the Quakers, Mennonites, and Methodists. The network offices are in the Stover Memorial Church and currently Myrna Frantz and her son Jon Overton, members of Ivester Church of the Brethren, are fulfilling staff responsibilities for the network, reported the district newsletter.

— Virlina District is preparing for its 2014 District Conference on Nov. 14-15 in Roanoke, Va. Preachers are Jeffrey W. Carter, president of Bethany Theological Seminary, and David A. Steele, moderator of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference, according to the district newsletter. The theme of the event is “Taste and See that the Lord Is Good.”

— The New Church Development commission of Southern Ohio District is offering a Small Groups Discipleship Workshop on Nov. 22, at the Eaton Church, Barron Street location. “We invite you to come explore how a Small Group Ministry can benefit your congregation,” said an announcement. A fee of $15 per person includes lunch. Pre-register at www.sodcob.org/_forms/view/22411 and find more information at http://media1.razorplanet.com/share/511272-2452/resources/687951_SGDTraining11.22Flyer1.pdf .

— Shepherd’s Spring, a camp and outdoor ministry center in Sharpsburg, Md., is offering something unique to mark a once-in-a-lifetime date:

10 special holiday activities beginning at 11 a.m. on 12-13-14 (Dec. 13, 2014). “Join us for 10 hours of fun for all ages,” said an invitation. “Join us for the entire day, or choose your time and activities.” As part of the event, participants may travel to Fahrney Keedy Home and Village, a Church of the Brethren retirement community, to see the Christmas wreath display and carol in the halls. “Your smiles will make the day complete!” said the announcement. Other activities include making your own pizza, building a gingerbread house, creating bird treats and tree ornaments, decorating cookies, a dinner, an evening campfire and s’mores, and a Christmas light tour. Cost is $40 per person for the full day, or $75 for a family all-inclusive package, or participants may pay a separate fee for each activity. Reservations are due by Dec. 6.

— Nov. 22 is the date for the Lighting of the Woods at Camp Eder in Fairfield, Pa. The event takes place from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. and marks the official hanging of lights and decorating of the camp for the upcoming Christmas Tree Festival (Dec. 12-14). Breakfast and lunch will be provided. RSVP to Ljackson@campdeder.org or 717-642-8256.

— The John M. Reed Home, a retirement community in Southeastern District, has received a 5 Star rating from Medicare, according to a note from the district. “Congratulations to the staff, employees, and the board,” said the e-mail note from the district office.

Photo courtesy of Fahrney-Keedy
Fahrney-Keedy Home and Village chaplain Twyla Rowe (left) and board member Ellen Catlett (right) admire some of the entries that have arrived for the Festival of Wreaths on Dec. 13.

— Fahrney-Keedy Home and Village holds a Festival of Wreaths and a Luminaria Remembrance Display on Saturday, Dec. 13, from 3-7 p.m. The Church of the Brethren retirement community is located near Boonsboro, Md. Entertainment through the day will include holiday music, horse-drawn sleigh rides, and refreshments. The wreath event and a bake sale is from 3-5:30 p.m. Silent auction bidding on nearly 50 donated wreaths begins in mid-November and will conclude at the festival, and winners will be announced after 5 p.m. Proceeds from wreaths and the bake sale will support Pastoral Care Ministries, said a release. Potential buyers are encouraged to visit Fahrney-Keedy often during the four weeks the wreaths will be on display, and check the status of their bids, which are accepted in $5 increments. Twyla Rowe, chaplain, is committee chair for the event. Also at 5 p.m. on Dec. 13 is the lighting of the third annual luminaria display by the home’s auxiliary. The display is on walks and curbsides around the campus through 7 p.m. Donations of $5 are received for candles to be lit in honor or memory of friends or family members, and proceeds support the services the auxiliary provides to Fahrney-Keedy. Luminaria order forms are in the News and Announcements section of www.fkhv.org .

— Cross Keys Village-The Brethren Home Community in New Oxford, Pa., holds its Christmas Bazaar on Nov. 29 from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. in the Nicarry Meetinghouse. “What better way to shop and what better place to find the perfect holiday gift?” said an announcement. Nearly two dozen vendors are expected, offering holiday-themed items like Christmas ornaments, Santas and snowmen, as well as jewelry, woodcrafts, ceramics, fiber art, and more. Many of the crafters are Cross Keys Village residents. The Bee Hive Gift Shop also will have items for sale. For more information, call 717-624-5203 or 717-624-5533.

— Robert C. Johansen, a Church of the Brethren member and 2014 Peace Fellow and professor emeritus of political science and peace studies at Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies in Notre Dame, is visiting Elizabethtown (Pa.) College for two events this week. Johansen specializes in issues of international ethics and global governance, the United Nations, and the maintenance of peace and security, and peace and world order studies. The events are sponsored by the Elizabethtown College Alumni Peace Fellowship and Peace and Conflict Studies.

— Elizabethtown (Pa.) College has been awarded a $500,000 Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority grant to install a two-megawatt ground-mounted solar photovoltaic system and create opportunities for students and faculty members to study various aspects of solar energy. “There were 184 PEDA projects submitted to the governor’s office, totaling more than $81 million. Only 28 were awarded grants to local governments, schools, and businesses for alternative and clean energy projects, along with projects deploying technologies such as solar energy, hydropower, biomass, and energy efficiency. Elizabethtown is the only one in Lancaster County,” said a release from the college. The solar array is planned for installation on 33.2 acres owned by the college in Mount Joy Township.

— Noted religion author Cathleen Falsani was the keynote speaker for Manchester University’s 2014 Focus on Faith Week convocation on Oct. 30. She is a former religion columnist for the “Chicago Sun-Times” and the “Orange County Register.” Using the theme “The Dude Abides,” a reference to the movie “The Big Lebowski,” Falsani looked at messages of faith and spirituality woven through a variety of films, reported a release. “Films tell stories of who we are,” Falsani said, “and part of that is how we relate to whatever it is that’s bigger than us, the ‘More.’” She said she often finds the most powerful portrayals of that in films that aren’t necessarily labeled as “religious” films, but instead in ones that advance those themes more subtly. The event was sponsored by the Campus Interfaith Board and the Campus Ministry/Religious Life office.

— The John Kline Homestead in Broadway, Va., is offering historical dinners

looking back at the anguish of the Kline family after Civil War-era Brethren elder John Kline was killed for his work crossing the battle lines between North and South. “The Shenandoah Valley strains under the fourth year of the Civil War,” said an announcement. “Experience the anguish of John Kline’s family since his death last spring. Listen to conversations of actors as they come around the table while you enjoy a home-style meal.” Dinner dates that are still available are Dec. 19 and 20 at 6 p.m. The homestead, which dates to 1822, is at 223 East Springbrook Road, Broadway, Va. Cost is $40 per plate. Groups are welcome, but seating is limited to 32. Contacat 540-421-5267 or proth@eagles.bridgewater.edu for reservations. All proceeds support the John Kline Homestead.

— The Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Programs at Christian Theological Seminary provide funds to congregations to support renewal leaves for their pastors. Congregations may apply for grants of up to $50,000 to underwrite a renewal program for a pastor and family, with up to $15,000 of those funds available to the congregation to help cover costs for ministerial supply while the pastor is away. There is no cost to apply. The grants represent the endowment’s continued investment in renewing the health and vitality of American Christian congregations, said a release. For more information go to www.cpx.cts.edu/renewal .

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