Brethren Bits for Nov. 4, 2014

Erma Ecker Frock (at right above) was honored by Westminster (Md.) Church of the Brethren on Sunday, Oct. 12, as a long-time devoted member of the church. She had attended the Westminster church for more than 87 years, since she was 8 years old. “This is record attendance for the Westminster church and possibly for attendance at just one church for the county,” said a report written by a the church’s publicity committee and submitted to the local newspaper. As part of a celebration of her life, people in the congregation put on a cake-and-ice cream reception followed by a film of an interview with her by Mark Woodworth. “The guiding principles of Mrs. Frock’s life have been to be heavily involved in church work, live a ‘basic, simple life’ and to ‘live simply so others may simply live,’” the report said. “When asked what it means to her to be Brethren, she responded, ‘Give, give, give. There are always people who need help.’ She indicated that prayer and the 23rd Psalm have helped her through the difficult times in her life. Two of those challenging times were losing her husband Orville to a heart attack when he was in his fifties and, as a result, needing to find employment herself at age 52 to support her family.” In November she will turn 95 and has moved to Pennsylvania to live with her daughter. “I love my church and am sad to have to leave it,” she said. (Photo by Nevin Dulabaum.)

 — Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., announces a full-time, tenure track, faculty position in theological studies, to begin July 1, 2015. Rank: open. PhD preferred; ABD considered. The appointee will develop and teach the equivalent of an average of five graduate courses (at least one online) annually and offer one course for the Brethren Academy biennially. Other duties include student advising, supervising MA theses in theological studies, participating in student recruitment and the life of the community. Commitment to the values and theological emphases within the Church of the Brethren is essential. Women, minorities, and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply. The application deadline is Dec. 1. Interviews begin in early 2015. Send an application letter, a CV, and names and contact information for three references to Theological Studies Search, Attn: Dean’s Office, Bethany Theological Seminary, 615 National Road West, Richmond, IN 47374; deansoffice@bethanyseminary.edu.

— The Church of the Brethren Workcamp Ministry seeks applicants for the 2016 workcamp coordinator position. “Do you want to help plan and guide the 2016 workcamp season? Apply to be an assistant workcamp coordinator!” said an invitation. Applications are due by Jan. 9, 2015. The position begins in August 2015 and continues through the summer of 2016. The position is both an administrative and a practical ministry. The first three-quarters of the year is spent preparing for youth and young adult summer workcamps, working at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. This work includes choosing an annual theme, preparing promotional materials, writing and designing a devotional book and leaders resources, setting up financial spreadsheets, setting up and maintaining a registration database, sending letters to participants and leaders, making workcamp site visits, collecting forms and paperwork, and other administrative work. During the summer, assistant coordinators travel from location to location, serving as coordinators of workcamps for youth and young adults, responsible for the overall administration of a workcamp including housing, transportation, food, work, recreation, and often responsible for planning and leading devotional, educational, and group activities. This position is a Brethren Volunteer Service placement and includes serving as a BVS volunteer and being a member of the BVS Community House in Elgin. Required skills and gifts include gifts for and experience in youth ministry, passion for Christian service, an understanding of mutual ministry, spiritual and emotional maturity, organizational and office skills, physical stamina and the ability to travel well, computer skills including experience with Microsoft Office Word, Excel, Access, and Publisher. Previous workcamp experience, as a leader or participant, is preferred. For more information, an application form, and specific instructions about how to submit applications, go to www.brethren.org/workcamps . For questions contact Emily Tyler at the Church of the Brethren Workcamp Office, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; etyler@brethren.org ; 800-323-8039 ext. 396.

— Manchester University in North Manchester, Ind., will inaugurate its 15th president in the school’s 125-year history on Friday. Dave McFadden most recently served as the school’s executive vice president. The public is invited to his Inaugural Ceremony at 1:30 p.m. at the North Manchester campus, followed by a reception at the Jo Young Switzer Center. Find an article from “Inside Indiana Business” spotlighting the new president of Manchester University at www.insideindianabusiness.com/newsitem.asp?ID=67858 .

— A blog post about how to get your church online is now available at http://blog.brethren.org/2014/three-easy-ways-to-get-your-church-online . The post by Church of the Brethren website producer Jan Fischer Bachman is titled “Three Easy Ways to Get Your Church Online” and includes advice on creating a website, setting up a Facebook page, and claiming a Google listing.

— Crest Manor Church of the Brethren pastor Bradley Bohrer is presenting “Insights in History–Transformed by the War: The Anabaptist Response to World War I” on Wednesday, Nov. 5, at 1:30-3:30 p.m. at the Center for History in South Bend, Ind. Bohrer will discuss the effect of World War I on groups such as the Brethren, Mennonites, and Quakers, and their response to the war. A tour of the exhibit World War I: The War to End All Wars will be offered. Admission is $3 or $1 for members. Reservations are required by today, Nov. 3; contact the center at 574-235-9664.

— Hagerstown (Md.) Church of the Brethren is hosting a Fall Concert by the Hagerstown Choral Arts on Sunday, Nov. 16, at 4 p.m. Hagerstown Choral Arts is directed by Greg Shook. The concert is open to the public, and free-will gifts will be accepted.

— “Come early to pray!” said an invitation to the Shenandoah District Conference that starts on Friday, Nov. 7, on the theme “The Return of the Word.” An evening worship service hosted by Bridgewater (Va.) Church of the Brethren at 6:45 p.m. Friday officially begins the conference, but members of the district are encouraged to come early and join a time of prayer beginning at 6 p.m., in the Bridgewater church’s chapel. The prayer session will be led by Dwight Roetto, a Christian Growth Institute graduate recently licensed to the ministry at Blue Ridge Chapel Church of the Brethren.

— There will be three Prayer Stations focused on Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) at the Pacific Southwest District Conference. The event takes place Nov. 7-9 hosted by Hillcrest, a Church of the Brethren retirement community in La Verne, Calif. Participants will be able to go to the prayer stations at any time during the conference to sense, pray for, and be a part of the Spirit of God moving in meaningful ways for brothers and sisters in Nigeria, said the district newsletter. Prayer Station 1 will feature a large, red pillar candle that will be lit during Friday evening worship and will stay lit as much as possible during the business sessions and each worship service. Prayer Station 2 will have a large piece of paper for participants to write hopes and prayers for the Nigerian church, with the option to also write cards with expressions of love, hope, and peace to be sent to Nigerian church leaders. At Prayer Station 3 those who would like to participate in a financial offering as an active prayer may place gifts in a wrapped box. The newsletter reported that the offerings of money will go to the Nigerian Compassion Fund.

— Special recognitions honored ministerial milestones as well as others in ministry at the 2014 Middle Pennsylvania District Conference, according to the district newsletter. The event was held at Camp Blue Diamond and combined with the Annual Heritage Fair, and also was hosted in part by the University Baptist and Brethren Church in State College, Pa. The Juniata College-Church College Relations Recognition honored Henry Thurston-Griswold. Laurie Stiles was recognized for completion of the Training in Ministry Certificate. Ministerial milestones celebrated the following years of service: Harry Spaeth, 60 years; Christy Dowdy, 25 years; Linda Banaszak, Patricia Muthler, Paul Snyder, Ronald Stacey, and Rebecca Zeek, each for 10 years in ministry.

— Mid-Atlantic District is beginning a “replant” effort at Good Shepherd in Silver Spring. “The Good Shepherd congregation has declined–down to six to eight persons in worship attendance–to the point where it will no longer be able to sustain itself as a congregation,” said an article by district executive minister Gene Hagenberger in the district newsletter. “We see Silver Spring and the neighborhoods around the current Good Shepherd church as an area that needs what we have to share as those who know the love and grace of Jesus Christ and as members of the Church of the Brethren.” The district’s Church Extension and Evangelism Ministry Team is heading up the work. The district is requesting prayers and donations for the replant effort.

— The John Kline Homestead in Broadway, Va., is offering a series of historical dinners in November and December. The homestead is the family home of Civil War-era Brethren elder and martyr for peace John Kline. “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 are Nov. 21 and 22 and 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.

— A $100,000 grant has been awarded to Elizabethtown (Pa.) College by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to help ensure the value of a humanities education in an increasingly technology-driven world. “The grant supports innovative student-faculty engagement in the humanities,” said a release from the college, “including undergraduate research, internships, and interdisciplinary study.” There are five Mellon grants made available each year for liberal arts colleges; Elizabethtown was awarded the Higher Education and Scholarship in the Humanities grant, the release said. The two-year program designed to strengthen the humanities through the creation of a Humanities Challenge and a Cultivating Humanities programs, will enable faculty to create cocurricular programming that weaves the humanities into student activities and, in doing so, increases the number of students majoring in the humanities and raises the visibility of humanities across campus.

— Christian Peacemaker Teams in Iraqi Kurdistan has published an interview with a survivor of an Islamic State massacre. The release published by CPTnet on Nov. 1 is titled “Survivor of ISIS massacre tells story to Christian Peacemaker Teams” and relates the story of an Ezidi (Yazidi) man whose village of Kocho was invaded by the extremist group on Oct. 8. The man escaped after being wounded when many other men in the village were massacred. The report, which contains disturbing violent content, is available in full at  www.cpt.org/cptnet/2014/11/01/iraqi-kurdistan-survivor-isis-massacre-tells-story-christian-peacemaker-teams .