Brethren Bits for Oct. 28, 2014

New Carlisle (Ohio) Church of the Brethren is hosting an event with Mark Yaconelli (shown above), titled “The Way of Radical Compassion: Practicing the Spiritual Path of Jesus” on Nov. 15 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Yaconelli is a writer, speaker, retreat leader, spiritual director, community activist, youth worker, storyteller, and co-founder and program director for the Center for Engaged Compassion at Claremont (Calif.) School of Theology. “This workshop will focus on practices and strategies for creating a local, personal storytelling series that strengthens community, heals shame, cultivates compassion, and builds inter-generational relationships,” said an invitation. “Through presentation, ritual, contemplative processes, and narrative exercises participants will develop the skills and practices for creating their own community storytelling series.” Registration opens at 8:30 a.m. Cost is $20, and includes lunch. Ministers may receive .6 continuing education credit. Childcare will not be available. Conference sponsors include New Carlisle Church of the Brethren, the Rosenberger Ministry Fund, Whotkee R. WeYin? Publishing, and Southern Ohio District. The registration deadline is Nov. 3. For more information contact Vicki Ullery, associate pastor, at . 

— Remembrance: Wilbur E. Mullen, 96, who spent 26 years on the Church of the Brethren denominational staff and was a former CEO of the Brethren Retirement Community in Greenville, Ohio, died Oct. 12. He was a lifelong member of the Church of the Brethren and was ordained to ministry in 1954. He was born in Windber, Pa., to Nellie Johns Mullen and John Edward Mullen. He held a degree in peace studies from Manchester College (now Manchester University) and a master’s degree from Haverford College. He spent four years in Civilian Public Service as a conscientious objector, beginning in 1941, partly at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. He was associated with the work of Brethren Service, directly or indirectly, from 1941-59, having held positions at the Brethren Service Center (1943-47), in Geneva, Switzerland (1947-48), in Kassel and Hamburg, Germany (1948-49), then serving as director of Brethren Service in Germany (1954-58), and as interim director of the whole Brethren Service program–which included the post of representative to the World Council of Churches (1958-59). In 1951 he directed the first Brethren workcamp in Europe, after having been a participant in one of the first Brethren workcamps held in the US at Blough, Pa., in 1940. In addition, he worked for the church as interim director of Social Education before directing admissions at McPherson (Kan.) College 1959-61. He and his family moved back to Elgin, Ill., in 1961 when he began as director of Social Welfare for the Church of the Brethren. In 1964 he became the director of BVS. In the late 1960s and early 1970s he worked in the Church of the Brethren Ministry to Men Facing the Draft and did draft counseling, legal referrals, negotiations with Selective Service on behalf of conscientious objectors, and pastoral visits to COs in prison and in exile in Canada. During that time he developed and trained a network of Brethren draft counselors and edited study reports on the church’s peace position and relationship to Selective Service. In 1972 he joined the administration of the Brethren Retirement Community and as CEO shepherded the community through bankruptcy and restructuring in the late 1970s. During his first year at Greenville he and his family helped host a Nigerian delegation tour of southern Ohio, and the Mullens directed the first Brethren Mission Tour to Nigeria. On his retirement in 1983, the Brethren Retirement Community established two endowment funds in his honor, including the Brethren’s Home Scholarship Endowment Fund to help employees obtain professional licensure and certification. In 1973 he received the first Brethren Peacemaker Award from the Brethren Peace Fellowship of Atlantic Northeast District. In 2010 he was named Outstanding Senior Citizen of Darke County, Ohio, and the next year was inducted into the Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame. He is survived by his wife of nearly 62 years, Lena Belle Olwin Mullen, and daughters Joan (Tom) Mullen Woods of Portland, Ore.; Jacquelyn (Bill) Morrissey of Anchorage, Alaska; Judy (Mitch) Roth of Greenville, Ohio; and Jeanne (Jim Lunt) Mullen of Berkeley, Calif.; grandchildren and great grandchildren. A celebration of his life will be held at a future date. Memorial gifts are received to On Earth Peace and the Resident Aid Fund of the Brethren Retirement Community. Condolences to the family may be expressed at

— Suzie Moss is retiring as administrative assistant for Western Pennsylvania District, as of Oct. 31, and her daughter, Tina S. Lehman, will be filling the position, according to an announcement in the district newsletter. Lehman holds an associate’s degree in Graphic Design from Pittsburgh Technical Institute and has worked at the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art at Johnstown, Pa., where she was the Museum site coordinator and education administrator. Before her marriage she was a member at Arbutus Church of the Brethren, and currently is a member at Stahl Mennonite Church. Moss wrote in a farewell in the district newsletter: “I have been ‘Suzie Speaking’ for the last 23-plus years. A wonderful surprise retirement party was planned for the afternoon of the 19th, and it truly was a surprise!” The event was held in the dining hall at Camp Harmony.

— The Church of the Brethren is seeking an individual to fill a full-time salaried position of director of Brethren Disaster Ministries. Major responsibilities include informing and engaging Church of the Brethren constituents in Brethren Disaster Ministries activities, maintaining ecumenical and interagency relationships to facilitate response to human need in the US, coordinating with staff to employ strategy and operations to facilitate the Church of the Brethren’s mission, providing sound financial budget management and initiating Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) grants for domestic response activities. Required skills and knowledge include strong interpersonal skills; ability to articulate, support, and operate out of the vision, mission, and core values of the Church of the Brethren as defined by the Mission and Ministry Board; ability to uphold and support the basic beliefs and practices of the Church of the Brethren as determined by Annual Conference; knowledge of International Building Code and ability to act within a multicultural and multigenerational team environment. Training or experience with making effective presentations and providing adult education, especially in conducting skill training workshops, managing staff and volunteers, and in house construction and repair is required. A bachelor’s degree is required with a preference for an advanced degree. An associate degree or experience in relevant fields will be considered. This position is based at the Brethren Disaster Ministries Office in New Windsor, Md. Applications will be received beginning immediately until Dec. 15, and will be reviewed on an ongoing basis until the position is filled. Qualified candidates are invited to request the application packet by contacting the Office of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; 800-323-8039 ext. 367; .

— Pinecrest Community, a Church of the Brethren-related nonprofit continuing care retirement community in Mount Morris in the Rock River Valley of Illinois, is seeking a full-time chaplain. The primary purpose of the position is to care for the spiritual needs of residents, families, and staff as needed. The chaplain will lead a variety of pastoral care services and serve as an inter-disciplinary team member assisting in resident care plan sessions, documenting the pastoral care provided and spiritual assessments of residents from admission through discharge. The qualified candidate must be a licensed or ordained minister within the Church of the Brethren and have experience with and understanding of the needs and challenges of the geriatric population. Clinical Pastoral Education is preferred. The candidate also must possess leadership ability and willingness to work harmoniously with other staff. For more about Pinecrest go to . Because this position requires ministerial credentials in the Church of the Brethren, candidates should contact the district executive in their own district to express interest in the position.

— The Church of the Brethren Office of Public Witness has signed a letter regarding the current nuclear nonproliferation negotiations with Iran. The letter was signed by 37 organizations and sent to members of Congress on Oct. 23, indicating concern that Congress is meddling with sensitive diplomacy in the final weeks before a Nov. 24 deadline to reach an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program. The agreement is anticipated to provide access for inspectors to Iran’s nuclear sites and reduce the likelihood of Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon., among other stipulations. The letter expresses “deep concern with inaccurate and counterproductive rhetoric from a handful of Members of Congress regarding possible outcomes of the current negotiations…. Congress’ authorization of the President’s power to suspend and re-impose US sanctions on Iran is clear and unmistakable in each piece of legislation it has passed on the subject. Use of these provisions by the President to implement the initial phase of an agreement that ensures Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon would reflect an affirmation, not a subversion, of Congress’ will.” The wide range of groups signing the letter include other Christian denominations and groups such as the United Methodist Church and Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding, as well as the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, J Street,, the National Iranian American Council, Progressive Democrats of America, and VoteVets, among others. For more information contact Nathan Hosler, Director, Office of Public Witness, Church of the Brethren, 337 N. Carolina Ave, SE, Washington DC 20003; .

— From May 15-31, 2015, Bethany Theological Seminary is again offering its intercultural travel seminar to Marburg, Germany. “Worship with the city’s oldest church congregation,” said an invitation. “Learn from nationally renowned scholars of religion. Talk with pastors, students, and lay leaders. Reside with host families. Visit Wittenberg and the Wartburg.” Although this seminar is not a Brethren Heritage Tour, there will be a day outing to Schwarzenau, the village where the first Brethren baptisms were held in 1708. For further information, contact professor Ken Rogers at or 617-999-5249.

— ‘Tis the season! For church holiday fairs and bazaars, that is. Here are just a few of the fairs, bazaars, and other such events being planned by congregations in early November:

Cloverdale (Va.) Church of the Brethren announced its 26th annual Women’s Fellowship Arts and Crafts Show on Nov. 1 from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. with handcrafted products made by 32 crafters, baked goods, and homemade breakfast and lunch. Proceeds go to the church’s outreach ministries including a food pantry, the Botetourt Resource Center, and Bradley Free Clinic.

Bridgewater (Va.) Church of the Brethren holds an annual Alternative Christmas Fair on Nov. 15, from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., with groups or agencies scheduled to have exhibits including Heifer International, Trees for Life, Habitat for Humanity, a food pantry, a free clinic, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and SERRV.

Northview Church of the Brethren in Indianapolis, Ind., hosts an annual Alternative Christmas Fair on Nov. 15, 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., offering the  opportunity to purchase gifts from and donate to charitable organizations that promote peace, justice, fair trade, and environmental stewardship. A homemade lunch will be served. “Shop with Principle, Purpose, Pleasure,” said an invitation.

Bush Creek Church of the Brethren’s Women’s Fellowship offers a Crafts Bazaar in Monrovia, Md., on Nov. 8, 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m. On sale will be handmade crafts, needlecrafts, ornaments, toys, aprons, cards, jewelry, houseplants, garden produce, home-made baked goods, and more. Breakfast and lunch will be served and door prizes awarded.

Penn Run (Pa.) Church of the Brethren will sponsor a Holiday Home and Craft Show on Nov. 8 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Penn Run Christian Outreach Center behind the church. “We will have crafters, a silent auction, pie auction, bake sale, and concessions available!” said an announcement.

— November is the last month for Church of the Brethren district conferences in 2014:

Illinois and Wisconsin District meets at Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, Ill., on Nov. 7-8.

Shenandoah District meets at Bridgewater (Va.) Church of the Brethren on Nov. 7-8.

Pacific Southwest District gathers at Brethren Hillcrest Homes in La Verne, Calif., on Nov. 7-9.

Virlina District holds its conference in Roanoke, Va., on Nov. 14-15.

— The Powerhouse Regional Youth Conference has reached its fifth anniversary in 2014. The event returns to Camp Mack on Nov. 15-16, providing a weekend of worship, workshops, music, recreation, and more for senior high youth in the Midwest and their advisors. This year’s theme is “Almost Christian: Seeking an Authentic Faith” drawing from the book “Almost Christian” by Kenda Creasey Dean. Jonathan Shively, director of Congregational Life Ministries for the Church of the Brethren, is the keynote speaker. Cost is $75 for youth, $65 for advisors. Find out more at .

— Shepherd’s Spring Outdoor Ministry Center in Sharpsburg, Md., is providing an aid station for the JFK 50 Mile Race on Nov. 22. “Join us as we provide an aid station,” said an invitation. “No running required–just passing out water and snacks to those who tackle the 50-mile challenge.”

— Psalm 42 by Felix Mendelssohn will be a highlight of the Bridgewater (Va.) College Chorale, Concert Choir, and Oratorio Choir concert to be held on Sunday, Nov. 9, at 3 p.m. in the Carter Center for Worship and Music. The performance is under the direction of John McCarty, assistant professor of music and director of choral music. The Oratorio Choir, with more than 60 members including students, faculty, staff, alumni, and members of the community, will perform Psalm 42 with two students as soprano soloists: Kayla Becker, a music major from Bridgewater, Va., and Kaitlyn Harris, an athletic training major from Wyomissing, Pa. A 26-member orchestra, including members of the music faculty and students, along with local professional musicians, will accompany the work. The concert also includes a number of other pieces. The concert is free and open to the public.

— The University of La Verne, a Church of the Brethren-related university in southern California, in late September was named by White House officials as a recipient of the 2014 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, “designated as a top 5 institution in the category of interfaith and community service,” said a release from the school. The ceremony, at George Washington University, drew presidents of higher education institutions, students, administrators and chaplains, among others. University of La Verne representatives who attended were president Devorah Lieberman, chaplain Zandra Wagoner, provost Jonathan Reed, professor of Religion and Philosophy Richard Rose, Office of Civic and Community Engagement director Marisol Morales, and two La Verne students. Programs that set La Verne apart from other institutions included Freshman La Verne Experience’s (FLEX) Community Engagement Day, which introduces new students to the value of volunteering, and students who have contributed thousands of hours of service to community groups addressing issues such as hunger, homelessness, and environmental conservation; the university’s various summer camp programs introducing high school students to career paths and the college experience; REACH Business Camp, which invites high school juniors and seniors to learn how to develop a business plan while experiencing campus life; and efforts in the area of interfaith cooperation, such as the university’s Summer Service Program pairing students with religious, secular, and social service organizations.

— In more news from the University of La Verne, Lucile Leard, a lifelong member of Glendale (Calif.) Church of the Brethren, has been honored with the university’s Service to the Community Award. The award was presented during the Homecoming Alumni Dinner on Oct. 24.

— Springs of Living Water in Church Renewal has announced that the next Springs Academy for Pastors and Ministers by phone begins Feb. 4. Pastors and ministers can enroll for 5 morning 2-hour group calls over 12 weeks starting Feb. 4. “During the calls they share new life practicing spiritual disciplines,” said an announcement. “They learn a seven-step path that builds renewed spiritual energy and, using servant leadership, build on the strengths of their church. A group from the church walks along and shepherding calls are made.” Continuing education units are available. Springs of Living Water is celebrating a tenth year of assisting churches to go to the next step in renewal. For more information and a video about the ministry go to . Contact leaders David and Joan Young at or 717-615-4515.

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