Brethren Bits for Sept. 9, 2014

“Brethren hospitality rocks,” write Carl and Roxane Hill, who have been traveling around the country this summer to various churches and retirement communities, sharing about their experiences as mission workers in Nigeria. “From the Rockies to the Jersey shore, from northern Iowa to Tucson, Ariz., we have stayed in over 18 homes and facilities,” they reported. “Thank you so much to all the churches and individuals that hosted us this summer. What a privilege to go around the country speaking about a subject so dear to us, Nigeria. Thanks for sharing your homes for overnights and meals, for taking us sightseeing and for the numerous discussions about Nigeria. Special thanks to Kendra Harbeck for coordinating our schedule. While in Nigeria we were able to continue the work of Jesus living peacefully, simply and together. This summer we were able to do the same thing. People around the world are unique yet very similar. It was awesome to experience hospitality on both continents. Our prayer is that we can continue to live out the motto of the Church of the Brethren. Pray for us as we wait for God to bring us the next ministry opportunity.” Shown here are just two of the Hills’ stops across the country. Above: a “selfie” with George and Sylvia Hess of Beaver Creek Church of the Brethren in Dayton, Ohio. Below: the Hills pose for a picture with Judith and David Whitten at the church in South Waterloo, Iowa.

— Correction: Newsline last week incorrectly reported the project placement of Brethren Volunteer Service worker Lee Walters, who is serving at L’Arche Cork, not L’Arche Dublin.

Remembrance: Yvonne (Von) James, who was an employee of the former Church of the Brethren General Board from 1962-1985, passed away on Aug. 21. She began her employment with the Church of the Brethren in March 1962, serving first as a secretary for Central Office Services and for the Parish Ministries Commission. She was administrative assistant for the World Ministries Commission for 13 years, until her retirement in 1985. She also was active with Womaen’s Caucus, where she served on the Steering Committee ansd as longtime editor of the “Femailings” newsletter. A memorial service was held Sept. 8 in the chapel at Pinecrest Manor in Mt. Morris, Ill. The full obituary is at .

— The National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) is seeking candidates to fill two positions: associate general secretary for Action and Advocacy for Justice and Peace, and director of Communications and Development.

The position of associate general secretary for Action and Advocacy for Justice and Peace will be located in the NCC’s Washington, D.C., offices. Essential functions are, among others, to be primary staff to support the Convening Table on Joint Action and Advocacy for Justice and Peace; take a lead role in the NCC’s priority emphasis on issues related to mass incarceration; work closely with staff colleagues and others on the NCC’s priority emphasis on interreligious relations with a focus on peace; coordinate the “SOS communicator’s e-mail list” to notify member communions of advocacy letters; be active in the Washington Interreligious Staff Community; take a leading role in planning for the NCC’s Christian Unity Gathering; serve as liaison to the Ecumenical Advocacy Days (EAD) leadership team; serve as liaison to New Fire, the young adult network; serve as liaison to the NCC’s intergenerational think tank; and more. Essential skills and requirements include, among others, membership in an NCC member communion; education, training, and expertise in the content area of the Convening Table on Justice and Advocacy; deep understanding of ecumenism, interchurch relationships, and pertinent ecclesial concerns; facilitation, consensus building, and ability to connect people, ideas, work, and resources; and more. An advanced degree in theology, with the minimum of a master’s degree in theological studies, comparative religion, or related field is preferred, or significant relevant experience. An annual salary of $116,225, and 9 percent pension benefits, 22 days of paid vacation, and a significant health care insurance subsidy, are offered. To apply send a cover letter and resume by Sept. 30 to Ms. Elspeth Cavert, Office Manager, National Council of Churches of Christ, 110 Maryland Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20002; .

The director of Communications and Development is responsible for managing the public relations work and fundraising efforts of the NCC. Essential functions include, among others, to work closely with the Development Committee to implement the development plan and provide creative leadership regarding fundraising opportunities; work closely with the Communications Committee to develop communications strategies and programs; produce and edit an electronic newsletter and lead social media efforts; maintain contact with communications staff of NCC member communions and partners and strategize with them; maintain contact with and develop strategic relationships with members of the secular and religious media to ensure the NCC has a high public profile; manage the NCC’s public relations, brand, and reputation, create and distribute press releases, action alerts, and marketing campaigns; and more. Essential qualifications include, among others, a degree in journalism, communications, or related field preferred; training in theology and ecumenism preferred; passion and experience for ecumenism and the work of the NCC; experience in managing a comprehensive strategic communications and media relations program to advance an organization’s mission and goals; track record in development and fundraising is desired; and more. An annual salary of $75,000 and 9 percent pension benefits, 22 days of paid vacation, and a significant health care insurance subsidy, are offered. To apply send a cover letter and resume by Sept. 30 to Ms. Elspeth Cavert, Office Manager, National Council of Churches of Christ, 110 Maryland Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20002; .

— Southeastern District of the Church of the Brethren seeks a part-time office support staff person to be communications manager for the district. This is contract position is reviewed annually for renewal. The work can be done from home, and will include some travel and meetings. The communications manager will handle approved district-wide communications; monitor and update a webpage and social media; create and distribute agendas, newsletters, directories, Conference books and other needed media mailings; keep data and records for events including conferences and retreats; attend and help at District Conference; attend and provide needed paperwork for board meetings. Send a resume and letter of interest to the Southeastern District either by e-mail to or by mail to Southeastern District Office, P.O. Box 8366, Gray, TN  37615. Resumes are due by Sept. 22. A more detailed job description will be made available to those who send a resume.

— “Save the date” says an announcement from the Church of the Brethren Intercultural Ministries. May 1-3, 2015, are the dates for the next intercultural gathering in the denomination, to be hosted by Atlantic Northeast District at Harrisburg (Pa.) First Church of the Brethren. The gathering will be an opportunity for fellowship, worship, work, and continuing education credit for ministers. More information will be provided in upcoming months. For more about the intercultural ministries in the Church of the Brethren, contact Gimbiya Kettering at .

— Bethany Theological Seminary will welcome prospective students to the fall Engage Visit Day on Oct. 31 at the campus in Richmond, Ind. Now in its seventh year, this event provides prospective students with practical information about enrolling in seminary study and includes them in seminary activities and experiences. Campus guests will take part in worship, interact with a panel of students, attend class, meet faculty, and be informed about the admissions process, with encouragement for each to continue discerning the path to which he or she is called. Registration and a schedule are at . For more information, contact Tracy Primozich, director of admissions, at .

— In more news from Bethany, the seminary is taking part in the 2014 Seminary and Theological Grad School Virtual Fair on Sept. 17. This is Bethany’s second year participating in the event with nearly 50 other seminaries across the country. Online live “fair” will answer admissions questions, with representatives from multiple seminary and graduate institutions participating during the event that is intended to connect from anywhere in real-time with educational program representatives. Participants have the option of uploading resumes prior to the event. Live chat hours are from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Register at . For questions contact Tracy Primozich, director of Admissions, at 765-983-1832 or .

— Antelope Park Church of the Brethren celebrates its 125th anniversary this weekend. The “Lincoln (Neb.) Journal Star” reported that Stan Noffsinger, Church of the Brethren general secretary, will be the keynote speaker presenting on the topic “Just War or Just Peace” on Saturday, Sept. 13, at 4:30 p.m., with a catered meal served at 6:30 p.m. Noffsinger will speak on Sunday, Sept. 14, at an open forum at 9 a.m. and for worship at 10:15 a.m. Music during worship will include the choir anthem “Cornerstone” by Brethren composer Shawn Kirchner. The 125th Anniversary Celebration meal will be on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. RSVP for meal reservations to or 402-488-2793. Find the newspaper piece at .

— Williamson Road Church of the Brethren in Roanoke, Va., is hosting a Renacer Harvest Banquet on Sept. 27 at 6 p.m. This is billed as “a special evening to: fellowship, learn, share support, and just have fun.” Marvin Lorenzana is the keynote speaker. Leah Hileman and the Renacer’s Praise Dance will be sharing music. RSVP by Sept. 15. For questions and additional information contact Daniel D’Oleo at 540-892-8791.

— In more news from Renacer in Roanoke, the Iglesia Cristiana Renacer church will host a praise and worship workshop led by Leah Hileman on the theme, “All of Me Will Praise You: Soul, Body and Spirit.” The evening of praise and worship training takes place Sept. 26, at 7 p.m. at the church at 2001 Carroll Avenue in Roanoke. Hileman is a Church of the Brethren minister, independent recording artist, and freelance writer, currently serving as interim pastor of Lake View Christian Fellowship in Southern Pennsylvania District. She has served the denomination as Annual Conference pianist (2008) and music coordinator (2010), has been a Standing Committee representative for Atlantic Southeast District, and most recently preached for National Youth Conference. For questions contact Daniel D’Oleo at 540-892-8791.

— Frederick (Md.) Church of the Brethren celebrated a L.I.F.T. Weekend this past Sunday, Sept. 7. Dennis Webb, pastor of Naperville (Ill.) Church of the Brethren, was the guest speaker for the three morning worship services and “The Basement,” bringing “the gospel to FCOB in a powerful and anointed way,” said the church e-mail newsletter. Two morning services featured the Ridgeway Brass, a premier brass group in the area. Church members were encouraged to wear a t-shirt representing any ministry they have served in at the Frederick Church.

— South Central Indiana District holds its district conference on Saturday, Sept. 13, at Pleasant Dale Church of the Brethren in Decatur, Ind.

— The Camp Mack Festival is scheduled for Oct. 4. Camp Alexander Mack is a Church of the Brethren outdoor ministry center related to Northern Indiana and South-Central Indiana Districts, located near Milford, Ind. “Do candle dipping, corn shelling and grinding, rope making,” said an invitation. “Take a hayride and/or a train ride. Take children to Sarah Major for craft projects and games. Enter the “Make a scarecrow on the spot” contest. Enjoy live entertainment while you feast on delicious food choices. Help fund Capitol Improvements with your food and auction purchases.” The 5K Run/Walk for the Growing From the Ashes Campaign that is supporting the rebuilding of Becker Retreat Center is scheduled for Oct. 12. Register at , cost is $20 for entries received by Sept. 30, or $25 for entries after that date including on race day. In addition to the 5K, a kid’s fun run will begin at 3 p.m., cost is $10 or $15 after Sept. 30.

— Shenandoah District Pastors for Peace will sponsor “Peace and Mental Health: A Mental Health First Aid Training Event” on Nov. 21-22 at Linville Creek Church of the Brethren in Broadway, Va., beginning at 3 p.m. Friday and concluding at 2 p.m. Saturday. The event will “help attendees understand the signs and symptoms of a variety of mental health conditions and provide the skills and knowledge to be able to help if present when someone is experiencing a mental health crisis,” said an announcement. The presenter is Rebekah Brubaker of the Harrisonburg Rockingham Community Services Board. Cost of $40 includes dinner on Friday and lunch on Saturday. Ordained clergy may earn 0.8 continuing education credit. Overnight accommodations and breakfast at the nearby John Kline Homestead are available for an additional fee. Registration information is at . For questions contact David R. Miller at or 540-578-0241.

— The Apple Butter Festival at Cross Keys Village-the Brethren Home Community in New Oxford, Pa., continues to grow and is popular because of its food, entertainment, and car show–plus apple butter and fresh bread to take home, said an announcement from Southern Pennsylvania District. This year’s Apple Butter Festival will be held Oct. 10, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., in and around the Nicarry Meetinghouse. For more contact .

— To raise awareness of the impact of climate change, representatives of churches, ecumenical organizations, and the United Nations stood together in the sea in Apia, Samoa, in prayerful solidarity with those vulnerable to rising sea-levels and extreme weather events, reports the World Council of Churches (WCC) in a release. The prayer was conducted on Sept. 4 as part of the international campaign of people from diverse religious and spiritual backgrounds who are urging world leaders to agree to a strong climate treaty at the UN climate talks in 2015. Participants in the prayer included representatives of the WCC, Samoa Council of Churches, Pacific Conference of Churches, and the UN. A germinating coconut served as a “symbol of hope and resilience in life” and former ambassador to the UN, Dessima Williams, threw the coconut into the ocean, where it would inevitably find its way back to shore, grow, and show its resilience, the release said. Williams commented that such global actions of solidarity are a reminder that “people around the world care deeply about those impacted by climate change.” She invited others to offer Solidarity Sea Prayers and to send their pictures to for sharing with world leaders.

— In related news, the WCC also is helping to organize an Interfaith Summit on Climate Change to take place in New York City on Sept. 221-22. For more about the event, go to .

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