Newsline for Feb. 25, 2014

“Hear my voice. Don’t close your ear to my need for relief, to my cry for help” (Lamentations 3:56, CEB).

Quote of the week:

“Puerto Rico was the country to which Heifer International sent its first 17 cows 70 years ago. The cows traveled from Mobile, Ala., to San Juan, and then on to Castañer. Where there was once a poor, isolated village, there is now a peaceful, thriving community. Though there are no dairy cows left in Castañer (everyone buys milk in the supermarkets like they do here), the legacy that the Church of the Brethren and Heifer International brought remains.”

— Heifer International president and CEO Pierre Ferrari (second from right above), in his blog for Huffington Post titled “I Found Social Justice in a Puerto Rican Village.” He writes about his visit to Castañer, where he found a community built on Church of the Brethren foundations and the work of Brethren volunteers during and after World War II. Ferrari visited and met with Brethren in Castañer, and visited the hospital and school founded by the Brethren. Read the blog and view a Heifer video about Castañer at .

1) Brethren Disaster Ministries makes assessment visit to the Philippines
2) On Earth Peace celebrates 40 years with conversations between ‘spirited peacemakers’
3) Bethany Seminary hosts speakers on peace and justice
4) Building peace in Washington at the Ecumenical Advocacy Days
5) National Council of Churches plans Christian Unity Gathering

6) ‘Guide for Biblical Studies’ studies Jesus’ fulfillment of scripture

7) Tita Grace’s tiled floor: One family’s story of Typhoon Haiyan
8) ‘I trust there will be cactus blooms’: Indiana leader reflects on court decision affecting church property

9) Brethren bits: Manchester announces next College of Pharmacy dean, Camp Bethel and CPT seek staff, call for CWS School Kits, WCC general secretary visits Iran, churches involved in anti-torture event, congregations host Bethany professors, and much more.

A note to readers: With the shift of Newsline to a weekly publication, we are experimenting with the right time to distribute. It will be sent out on Tuesdays on a trial basis. Reader feedback and comments are welcomed, please contact editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford at .

1) Brethren Disaster Ministries makes assessment visit to the Philippines

Photo by Peter Barlow
Brethren Disaster Ministries leader Roy Winter visits with Philippines villagers at a Heifer International project site.

A visit to the Philippines from Jan. 18-28 to evaluate the current state of the response to Typhoon Haiyan was made by Roy Winter, associate executive director of Global Mission and Service and Brethren Disaster Ministries–part of the Church of the Brethren response following the destruction caused by Typhoon Haiyan last November. Brethren Disaster Ministries is using the information gained to identify local partners and how the Brethren may best contribute to ecumenical relief and recovery efforts.

Accompanied by Church of the Brethren member Peter Barlow, who has volunteered for the Peace Corps in one of the hardest-hit areas, Winter visited with partners of Church World Service (CWS) and ACT International, communities where Heifer International is at work, and local Filipino organizations.

The two visited the island of Leyte and the city of Tacloban, which has received much of the world’s attention following the typhoon, met with government officials, and visited communities where Heifer is doing longterm sustainability work around Ormoc city. They also met with several village community groups, who received them warmly. At some places the two Brethren spoke with meetings of hundreds of people. “They mostly seemed really glad to see people who were there to help,” Winter said.

The storm made landfall on Nov. 8, 2013, and affected some 12 million people, displaced nearly a million more, and killed more than 6,200. “For many coastal fishermen, coconut farmers and rice farmers, the wind and storm surge not only took their home, it stole their livelihood possibly for years to come,” Winter reported.

He said that some areas they visited were hit by 40- to 50-foot tidal surges. In Tacloban, some two months later, the city was still struggling to regain basic infrastructure such as electricity, buildings were destroyed and roofs blown off. “It was a shock to see so many palm trees down,” Winter said, noting that is unusual given the resilient nature of the tropical trees that survive many storms. However, so many palms were blown down by this storm, the strongest typhoon in recorded history, that people are using their wood for rebuilding.

The hardest part of the trip was listening to the stories of death and loss, Winter said. They met parents who lost children, families in which many loved ones died, and communities that have been decimated. One man who survived by clinging to a tree, told how his wife was swept out of his grasp and lost to the storm.

Winter views the typhoon recovery in the Philippines as an opportunity for Brethren Disaster Ministries to help a country work at sustaining itself. He plans to focus the Brethren resources on rebuilding livelihoods for at least the next couple of years, with some support given to permanent construction work by partner organizations in the Philippines. So far at least $200,000 in donations have been received for Typhoon Haiyan recovery, with some significant responses from congregations and districts.

Read Winter’s personal report from the trip is at . A story from Peter Barlow’s experience of returning to the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan is at . Give to the Typhoon Haiyan appeal online at . Donations may be mailed to Emergency Disaster Fund, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120.

2) On Earth Peace celebrates 40 years with conversations between ‘spirited peacemakers’

By Marie Benner-Rhoades

Image courtesy of On Earth Peace
On Earth Peace celebrates 40 years with an emphasis on conversation among peacemakers.

“Your young people will see visions and your elders will dream dreams” (Acts 2:17).

Visions and Dreams of Building Peace: On Earth Peace Celebrates 40 Years. Through the 40-year history of On Earth Peace, its ministry of peacemaking has been the result of the dreams and visions of faithful Christians of all ages. In this anniversary year we are drawing on the Acts 2:17 passage above and building on those years of practical dreaming with the theme, “Visions and Dreams of Building Peace.”

One of the highlights of this 40th year will be a number of planned conversations between spirited peacemakers of all generations: elders, youth, and all ages between.

Please join us! Arrange to sit down with someone who shares your commitment to nonviolent living and who differs from you in age, ethnicity, gender, theology, or some other significant way. We can provide further guidelines and a list of questions you could ask each other as you talk. Record your conversation in video, audio, photo, or text, and send it to us. We look forward to sharing brief segments of these conversations through our website and social media.

— Marie Benner-Rhoades first published this announcement in the On Earth Peace e-newsletter “Peacebuilder.” Contact her at .

3) Bethany Seminary hosts speakers on peace and justice

By Jenny Williams

Photo by CPT
Peggy Gish serving with Christian Peacemaker Teams

Two women known for their work toward peace, justice, and human rights spoke during the month of February at Bethany Seminary’s Peace Forum, a weekly lunch gathering that highlights issues of peace and social justice through a variety of speakers and program formats.

Peggy Gish has been involved with peace and justice work for 45 years, including work in Iraq with Christian Peacemaker Teams since October 2002. Her recently released second book, “Walking Through Fire,” documents the Iraqi people’s efforts toward justice and reconciliation while caught in political and religious hostilities. Having asked the group, “What if we put the same efforts into peacemaking as we do toward war?” Peggy shared stories of daily life for Iraqis, of her relationships with the people, and of her own kidnapping ordeal. She also spoke about the role of peacemakers as they interact with and listen to those considered “the enemy” and witness the truth behind stories presented in the news. Gish, who gave her presentation on Feb. 6, is a member of the Church of the Brethren and lives near Athens, Ohio.

Beena Sebastion, founder and chairperson of Cultural Academy for Peace in Kochi, India, spoke Feb. 20 on how peace is linked to equality between men and women. In addition to providing shelter and programs for women experiencing gender violence, the Cultural Academy offers a multitude of educational resources, including health classes, environmental awareness, an interfaith study center, and training on issues of masculinity for men–who also experience gender violence. Sebastion noted that the need for this work in India is heightened by tensions from religious, political, and social class differences. The Cultural Academy has collaborated with the International Fellowship of Reconciliation and the Women’s Peacemakers Program organized by women from Asian countries.

Peace Forum is webcast every Thursday at 12 noon (eastern time). Go to to see the presentations live or to view recordings.

— Jenny Williams is director of Communications and Alumni/ae Relations for Bethany Theological Seminary.


4) Building peace in Washington at the Ecumenical Advocacy Days

From March 21-24 hundreds of Christians will gather in Washington, D.C., to build peace together. The 12th annual Ecumenical Advocacy Days conference entitled “Jesus Weeps: Resisting Violence, Building Peace” will explore the violence that saturates our world and seek to find ways to build peace in all areas of society.

Ecumenical gatherings like EAD help us to unite with other Christians and give us an opportunity to meet with and encourage one another to work for good, as we are called to do in Hebrews 10:24-25. EAD is a great opportunity to use our unique Brethren voice to share visions of peace and reconciliation with Christians from different denominations, and also to learn from the experiences of Christians from around the world.

Through prayer, worship, workshops, and advocacy, participants will seek a vision for how our beliefs can take root in the social and political realities of our world. Participants will take these messages of peace and hope to Capitol Hill to call for change in public policy and together lift up a vision of a more just and peaceful world.

EAD brings speakers from around the world to address issues such as gun violence, domestic violence, worker justice, global hunger, climate change, and foreign policy issues such as Israel/Palestine, Syria, and Iran. But this is only a glimpse of the many issues that will be covered at the plenaries, worship services and workshops. For a full list of topics and workshops, and to register, go to .

If you have any questions about Ecumenical Advocacy Days, please contact Nathan Hosler, coordinator of the Church of the Brethren Office of Public Witness, at or 717-333-1649. Sign up for Action Alerts from the Office of Public Witness at .

5) National Council of Churches plans Christian Unity Gathering

The National Council of Churches (NCC) is planning a Christian Unity Gathering for May 18-20, at the Hilton hotel at Washington Dulles Airport near Washington, D.C.

The NCC has gone through sweeping changes over the last two years. After a time of reflection and reorganization, the NCC is poised to convene people of faith in exploring the widening revelation of God’s love and challenge to deepen Christian commitment to work with people who are marginalized and disenfranchised from opportunities God desires everyone to enjoy.

The first major event of this new era in the NCC is an inaugural Christian Unity Gathering. At this gathering the primary focus will be on the scourge of mass incarceration and what the ecumenical community is already doing and can do together to combat a justice system that warehouses and disposes disproportionate numbers of people of color.

A roster of presenters and resource people will lead the conversations and time together. In addition, new NCC general secretary/president Jim Winkler will offer his vision for NCC during a service of celebration.

Presenters and resource people include
— Iva Carruthers, general secretary of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference
— Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund
— A. Roy Medley, general secretary of the American Baptist Churches-USA and chair of the NCC Governing Board
— Harold Dean Trulear, national director of Healing Communities and associate professor at Howard University School of Divinity
— Jim Wallis, president and editor in chief of Sojourners

Visit for the full roster of speakers and presenters in addition to those listed above, and for information on the schedule and registration.
(This article is from a National Council of Churches release.)


6) ‘Guide for Biblical Studies’ studies Jesus’ fulfillment of scripture

Author Estella Horning has written the Spring quarter of “A Guide for Biblical Studies,” the Brethren Press curriculum for adults. The theme for the quarter is “Jesus’ Fulfillment of Scripture.”

Lessons for the spring explore connections between Jesus and the Hebrew Scriptures: the reign of David and the lordship of Christ, the prophetic use of scriptures related to Jesus’ crucifixion, and the ways Jesus used the Hebrew Scriptures in his own ministry and teachings.

Written from a Church of the Brethren perspective, “A Guide for Biblical Studies” is issued quarterly and contains daily NRSV scriptures, lessons, and questions for both individual preparation and classroom use. The curriculum follows the International Sunday School Lessons/Uniform Series.

Price is $4.25 or $7.35 large print, plus shipping and handling. Purchase one copy per student, per quarter either online at or by calling the Brethren Press order line 800-441-3712.


7) Tita Grace’s tiled floor: One family’s story of Typhoon Haiyan

By Peter Barlow

Photo by Roy Winter
Peter Barlow visited the Philippines with Brethren Disaster Ministries leader Roy Winter. A former Peace Corps volunteer, he revisited areas of the country where he had worked before Typhoon Haiyan devastated the land and the lives of families he had known and loved.

Grace Anne stood on a colorful tiled foundation, the only indication that a house once stood where a few broken cinderblocks with jagged rebar were emanating. My memories of standing within these walls, sleeping, eating with this wonderful family, came from a time when they hosted me just a few years ago.

“Ha! We are rico na!” Grace Anne’s mother, Tita Grace, had said to me one day, as she proudly showed me her newly tiled floor, designed off of pictures she had seen in a re-gifted “Good Housekeeping” magazine. She stood with a large smile, pointing at the fragments of tile and drying grout in between. Without funds to buy proper tile, she had found a pallet of broken shards in town, so the floor was a colorful mix of blues, reds, greens, and all mixes in between.  In many ways, it looked better than if she had just gotten a standard set of tile, all alike, with similar patterns and shapes.

When we first drove through the little village of Cabuynan, Tanauan, Leyte on Jan. 22, I recognized only the big Copra Mill where sweating bodies had milled coconut oil, all of the huge containers overturned and leaking sludge. Everything else was a burned, spoiled palette of the town and houses that had once been.

We drove by the house the first time, since I was looking for the sturdy little home that I had known. But then we lurched the creaking jeepney to a stop and turned around, slowly creeping along the National Highway. Finally, we saw a bright tiled floor out in the open, and chain-link remnants of the fence that once guarded the hacienda. Roy and I exited the jeep and walked across the road carrying a few new folding chairs and provisional clothes as Grace Anne stood in a light drizzle in front of her makeshift home of donated plywood, paper-thin roofing, and a soiled UNICEF tent.

Her smile was huge, and as she talked, Grace Anne’s pride shone through a strong composure. Only when asked of her experience during Typhoon Haiyan’s fierce winds and surge did the corners of her beautiful big eyes puddle with anguish.

Grace Anne, her cousin Roussini, her mother and father, and her grandmother were all at her house when they began to hear the first rains hit the metal roof of their home during the evening of Nov. 8, 2013. Within an hour, winds were deafening, and their coastal community knew that this storm was unlike the others they had known.

The first salty Pacific wave shattered a thin wall of cinderblocks and mortar, and tore away the thin metal roof. At about five o’clock, Grace Anne held onto Roussini as they were carried on a wave, white and ferocious, some 50 feet high over to the steep mountain that flanks their little town. The other family members were unable to stay with them, and were forced in other directions. Grace Anne pointed to the places where she and Roussini clung for about three hours as wave after wave of storm surge wiped away homes and lives and the futures of so many. A boulder outcrop jutting out from the mountain where they found shelter at last stands as memorial to their horrible experience.

As they told their story, we stood under a tarp in the small cooking area listening intently, incredulously, to their memories of that night. Finally I asked about her mother, the woman I had known as Tita Grace. Before Grace Anne could answer, we heard a motor slow outside, and Terry, Grace Anne’s father came around the corner, much leaner than I remembered, with a large smile on his face, and outstretched arms.

Rain subsided and we walked on the colorful tile floor in the hot Philippine sun as Terry recounted his experience during the storm. Despite some new scars on his upper arms and a tighter gait to protect some broken ribs, he was the same Terry as always. His voice was tired though, and one could only imagine the pain that he had experienced in the couple of months since the storm.

That night, as waves had swept them toward the same steep slope where Grace Anne and Roussini were clinging for their lives, Terry and Grace held onto each other, grasping for tree tops as the torrent tossed them around. Finally, Terry said they lost their grasp on each other and he clung to a tall coconut tree as floating debris battered his arms and back. A giant white swell carried Tita Grace away into the darkness.

The day after the typhoon, light drizzle fell as Grace Anne, Roussini, and Terry were reunited. Their home was gone, and all that remained were some pieces of rubble and bright tile, washed by ferocious winds and rain. They would find Tita Grace’s torn body a half mile away amongst fallen mahogany branches and a bramble of balukawi vines, and eventually discover Tita Grace’s mother, a cousin, Terry’s mother and father, and many friends who had been lost to the typhoon as well.

For one family to feel this kind of pain is devastating, but unfortunately, it is similar to tens of thousands of stories of families in this jovial, welcoming corner of the world.

Grace Anne told me of her struggle to stay afloat, and her reliance on leaves and wood in those three hours. Neither she nor Roussini could swim, adding to their panic. She stretched her arms wide to show me the size of the snakes and lizards that floated in the white froth with her, and, when I asked her how, despite the waters and odds against them, she had managed to remain alive, Roussini and she clutched one another again, as I imagine they had that evening. Grace Anne shook her head, motioning to the sky.

— Peter Barlow is a member of Montezuma Church of the Brethren and a former Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines. He accompanied Brethren Disaster Ministries leader Roy Winter on a trip to the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan, to help evaluate how best the Church of the Brethren can support the relief and recovery effort.

8) ‘I trust there will be cactus blooms’: Indiana leader reflects on court decision affecting church property

A court has ruled against South Central Indiana District in a property suit concerning Roann Church of the Brethren. The ruling on property and assets was in favor of a group wishing to leave the Church of the Brethren. Here is a prayerful reflection on this moment in the life of the district, from district executive minister Beth Sollenberger:

When Tim and I moved to Ohio I left a fun position as the associate pastor of the Sebring congregation behind. Tim was called to serve the West Charleston church and I was trying to find some joy being a lousy homemaker while I looked for a pastorate within driving distance. Things did not happen on my time. I was bored and desperate and sad and discouraged.

On a winter day, surrounded by cold snow and a living room taken over by dusty clutter, I happened to glance at an abandoned cactus plant relegated to the lamp stand in the corner. We had originally been faithful keepers of the plant–watering sparingly but on schedule, turning occasionally so a new side would receive the sunlight, storing in the dark as suggested…and always we had waxy green stems to enjoy, never a bloom.

On a dark December day, after being told NO one more time, I huddled into the couch corner and discovered one bright pink bloom brightly attached to the cactus stem.

It is difficult to know what to say when, during this winter that will not quit, the judge has ruled against the district and for those who have chosen to leave the Church of the Brethren. And yet, I trust that there will be cactus blooms, reminders that God is over all and in control and guiding our lives. God knows us from before we came into being and ever after. God loves us through despair and gives us purpose and peace.

Thank you Almighty God for all those who have gone before us, planting the Church of the Brethren congregations that make up our district. Thank you God for all those who worship and serve you. Thank you God for the churches of our denomination with whom we share the joys of faith and the disappointments of living. Thank you for cactus blooms and signs of your love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

— Beth Sollenberger is executive minister of South Central Indiana District of the Church of the Brethren.

9) Brethren bits

Manchester University
Raylene Rospond will serve as dean of Manchester University’s College of Pharmacy.

— Raylene Rospond will become the next vice president and dean of the College of Pharmacy for Manchester University, according to a university release. Currently deputy provost of Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, she will assume the Manchester post on June 30. Rospond succeeds Dave McFadden as dean, who assumes the presidency of the university on July 1. At Drake, Rospond served as associate professor, associate dean, and chair of pharmacy practice before becoming dean of the College of Pharmacy and Health Services in 2003. She became deputy provost in June 2013. She led strategic plans that gained re-accreditation of the pharmacy program, new laboratories, and enhanced physical facilities. During her leadership, Drake doubled the endowment and scholarships and transformed the curriculum for the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. The four-year, professional Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) program at Manchester University is in the process of enrolling its third class on its new campus in north Fort Wayne, Ind.

— Camp Bethel near Fincastle, Va., seeks a facilities manager to fill a fulltime salaried position beginning immediately. The camp seeks a motivated, dependable, caring worker with good interpersonal, organizational, and leadership skills. The facilities manager ensures that facilities and site enhance the experience of guests and campers by overseeing all housekeeping and maintenance. The preferred candidate will have experience or proven ability in repair and renewal of facilities including construction, carpentry, electrical wiring and control, plumbing of water and sewage, vehicle and camp/farm equipment maintenance. Starting benefits package includes salary of $29,000, optional family medical insurance plan, a pension plan, professional growth funds, and optional on-site family/individual housing. Camp Bethel is a tobacco-free workplace. An application, a detailed position description, and more information will be made available at or send a letter of interest and an updated résumé to Barry LeNoir at .

— Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) is looking to fill two new positions: communications and engagement director and program director. CPT is seeking a communications and engagement director to coordinate, develop, and implement a new overall CPT communications strategy to share CPT’s story in a way that honors the voices of CPT’s partners, undoes oppression, and furthers CPT’s mission, vision, and values. Find the full job description and requirements at . CPT is seeking a program director to oversee current projects and support the organization’s Peacemaker and Reserve Corps with attention to team and partner needs, direction, budget, sustainability, personnel processes, and health. Find the full job description and requirements at . For all openings at CPT go to . Christian Peacemaker Teams, which was founded with support from the peace churches including the Church of the Brethren, has the mission of building partnerships to transform violence and oppression, with the vision of a world of communities that together embrace the diversity of the human family and live justly and peaceably with all creation. CPT is committed to work and relationships that honor and reflect the presence of faith and spirituality; strengthen grassroots initiatives; transform structures of domination and oppression; embody creative nonviolence and liberating love.

— Brethren Disaster Ministries is asking Brethren to help Church World Service replenish its supply of CWS School Kits. “Church World Service is down to its last few cartons of CWS School Kits, and those have all been spoken for,” said an announcement. “Our warehouses need replenishing so that we can meet pending requests and future needs.” CWS School Kits give basic tools for learning to children in impoverished schools, refugee camps, and other difficult settings including the aftermath of floods, tornados, and other disasters. Last year, 57,730 CWS School Kits were provided for children in need in the US and around the world. International recipients included Syrian school children forced to flee their homes by the civil war. Many of the kits are warehoused and shipped from the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. For information to assemble kits go to .

— World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Olav Fykse Tveit has visited Iran, underlining “the important role of faith leaders, religious communities, and governments to work together for the cause of justice and peace,” according to a WCC release. Tveit was in Iran from Feb. 15-20 where he met with representatives of WCC member churches and participated in the seventh round of dialogue between the WCC and the Centre for Inter-religious Dialogue, held in Tehran. He also met with Ali Jannati, minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance of the Islamic Republic of Iran, where Abouzar Ebrahimi, president of the Islamic Culture and Relations Organization, was also present. In his discussion with the minister, the WCC general secretary stressed the significant role Iran could play for peace and stability in the Middle East region, including Syria. “The cultural history of Iran as well as its strategic location in the Middle East makes it one of the important actors in ensuring a peaceful coexistence between the different religions, denominations, ethnic groups, and countries,” said Tveit. The WCC delegation in addition met with the leading religious figure Ayatollah Abdollah Javadi Amoli. In meeting with him, Tveit stressed the responsibility of leaders of faith in promoting justice and peace to build a world free of nuclear weapons. Find the full WCC release at .

— Today an event in Washington, D.C., organized by the National Religious Campaign Against Torture and the ACLU preceded a Congressional hearing on solitary confinement, “Reassessing Solitary Confinement II: The Human Rights, Fiscal and Public Safety Consequences.” National faith leaders, survivors of solitary confinement and their families, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, and human rights activists joined together to spotlight the continuing national human rights crisis faced by tens of thousands of adults and children held in conditions of long-term isolation in prisons, jails, and detention centers at the federal, state and local level, said a release. “The United States now holds far more prisoners in solitary confinement than any other democratic nation,” said Ron Stief, the National Religious Campaign Against Torture’s executive director. “An estimated 80,000 incarcerated adults and youth are held in solitary confinement in US prisons, jails, and detention centers. They are held in isolation for 23 to 24 hours a day in small cells with no natural light and no meaningful contact with staff or other prisoners for weeks, years, even decades. This violates basic religious values of community, restorative justice, compassion, and healing. The faith-based members of NRCAT are united in opposing treatment that violates our values as people of faith.” For more go to .

— Newville Church of the Brethren is hosting Southern Pennsylvania District’s Truck Stop Ministry Spring Banquet on April 5. For ticket information call 717-385-7932.

— Monitor Church of the Brethren near McPherson, Kan., is holding a Bethany Weekend on March 8-9. Dawn Ottoni-Wilhelm, professor of Preaching and Worship at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., will teach two sessions on scripture interpretation on the morning of March 8, with afternoon sessions devoted to the role of scripture and prayer in worship. Lunch will be provided. Ottoni-Wilhelm will preaching on Sunday morning for services starting at 10 a.m., followed by a potluck meal. To attend, contact or 620-755-5096. An RSVP would be helpful for food preparations.

— Staunton (Va.) Church of the Brethren is hosting a Spiritual Renewal Weekend March 7-9, featuring Tara Hornbacker, professor of Ministry Formation at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind. The focus will be an exploration of evangelism in the Sermon on the Mount. The weekend opens Friday evening with worship including special music and drama, and on Saturday a dessert social begins at 6:30 p.m. followed by worship at 7:30 p.m. with special music by Mill Creek Church of the Brethren’s Praise Team. Sunday worship begins at 11 a.m., preceded during the 10 a.m. Sunday school hour by a drama workshop for youth and young adults led by Hornbacker. For more go to .

— The 2014 Shenandoah District Disaster Ministries Auction will be held May 16-17 at the Rockingham County (Va.) Fairgrounds.

— David Radcliff of the New Community Project will be giving presentations at churches and retirement communities in Western Plains District: Feb. 28, 6:30 p.m. Mont Ida Church of the Brethren; March 1, 10 a.m. Wichita (Kan.) First Church of the Brethren; March 1, 3 p.m. The Cedars in McPherson, Kan.; March 2, 10 a.m. leading worship at McPherson (Kan.) Church of the Brethren; March 5, evening presentation at Rochester Church of the Brethren, Topeka, Kan. He also plans several other presentations at McPherson College, Tabor College, Washburn University, and Barstow School, said a district announcement. For more information contact 785-448-4436 or .

— Virlina District’s Pilgrimage XVIII will be held March 14-16 at Camp Bethel near Fincastle, Va. The pilgrimage retreat is a spirit-filled experience for adults of all ages who, no matter where they are in their spiritual walk, want to take another step to draw closer to God, said the district newsletter. For information or brochures contact 336-765-5263 or .

— The Church of the Brethren Regional Youth Conference hosted by McPherson (Kan.) College is March 28-30 on the theme “Called by God: Preparing for the Journey Together.” Guest speakers and musicians will be Jacob and Jerry Crouse. Online registration and schedule can be found at . Registration deadline is March 24.

— Youth Roundtable, a regional youth conference hosted by Bridgewater (Va.) College, will be March 21-23. The event includes workshops, small groups, songs, open mic night, and worship. The speaker will be Eric Landram, a Bridgewater College alumnus and member of Staunton (Va.) Church of the Brethren who is now attending Bethany Theological Seminary. Go to for updates and to register online. Cost is approximately $50.

— South Central Indiana District Conference will be held Saturday, Sept. 13, at Pleasant Dale Church of the Brethren on the theme, “Released by Grace” (Isaiah 55:1-3). The district moderator is Kay Gaier.

— “Donations + Reimer Memorial = New Tractor!” said an announcement from Camp Bethel, a Church of the Brethren outdoor ministry center near Fincastle, Va. The camp reports that 64 supporters enjoyed a meal and holiday program by the Jones Family at Camp Bethel’s Christmas TOGETHER Banquet on Dec. 6, raising $5,760. “When our dear friend, mentor and supporter Judy Mills Reimer passed way on November 13, we were honored for Camp Bethel to be included in her memorial,” said the announcement. George Reimer, Judy Mills Reimer’s husband, and son Troy Reimer requested that any memorial gifts go toward a new tractor, and donated the remaining $8,600 balance. More about the camp is at .

— Spring Candlelight Dinners at the John Kline Homestead in Broadway, Va., will be held at 6 p.m. March 14 and 15 and April 25 and 26. The site is the historic home of Civil War era Brethren elder and peace martyr John Kline. The dinner guests will experience a family’s struggle as the Civil War impacted Shenandoah Valley homes and farms in the early months of 1864, around a family-style meal in the John Kline house. For reservations, call 540-896-5001 or e-mail . Cost is $40 per plate; groups are welcome. Seating is limited to 32.

Employee recognition at Fahrney-Keedy, a Church of the Brethren retirement community in Maryland

— Twenty associates were honored for service excellence and for years worked during the annual Employee Recognition Dinner of Fahrney-Keedy Home and Village, a Church of the Brethren retirement community near Boonsboro, Md. Associates nominated their co-workers for the service excellence awards, which went to six individuals: in nursing, Lisa Younker, LPN, Raykia Harvey-Thorne and Tamara Bowie, GNAs; in assisted living, Amanda Myers and Katie Lee; in accounting, Debbie Slifer. Length-of-service awards were given to associates having worked for multiples of five years. At five years: Janet Cole, RN, assisted living; Evan Bowers, LPN, and Kathy Kennedy, nursing; Ginny Lapole and Nancy Hoch, environmental services; and Tina Morgan, human resources. At 10 years: Pam Burger and Carla Spataro, LPN, nursing; and Kelly Keyfauver, RN, director of Nursing. At 15 years: Debbie Martz, environmental services, and Mary Moore, nursing. At 20 years, Kathy Cosens, CMA, nursing. At 25 years, Martha Wolfe, human resources. At 40 years, Ginger Lowery, environmental services.

— The Global Women’s Project is providing some special resources to help Brethren begin the season of Lent, which starts on Ash Wednesday, March 5, and celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8. “This year, think about using the excellent International Women’s Day resources from the GWP website to create a women-centered worship on Sunday, March 2, and pass out the new GWP Lenten Calendar,” said an invitation. “Lift up women around the world, celebrate the season of Lent, and share stories and prayers with your faith community.” To receive free copies of the Global Women’s Project Lenten Calendar, send an e-mail to with the number of copies requested. Or ask to receive a page of the calendar by e-mail each day. Find the International Women’s Day resources online at .

— The Valley Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center (CrossRoads) in Harrisonburg, Va., is inviting entries to a highlight of its Open House on Saturday, March 8, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Gingerbread Village, composed of entries in the gingerbread house contest. “You are encouraged to enter your creation and be eligible for prizes, including gift certificates from local businesses,” said the announcement. The contest entry fee is $5; admission to the open house is $3 per person. Go to or phone 540-438-1275 for contest information.

— Juniata College students, sponsored by the Juniata College Campus Ministry, held an annual “Meal for CROP” on Feb. 18 in the Baker Refectory. Each year, Juniata’s Christian Ministry Board asks students to sacrifice their evening meal so those meals can be sold to the general public and the money raised is donated to CROP, a hunger relief program of Church World Service. The Huntingdon Forum of Churches also sponsors the meal, noted a release from the college. Each year, 75 percent of the funds go to CROP and the remaining 25 percent is donated to the Huntingdon Area Food Bank to fight hunger at the local level. “Over the past 20 years, members of the Huntingdon community have helped to raise more than $50,000 for hunger relief,” the release said.

— Elizabethtown (Pa.) College was recognized for creativity in marketing and communications at the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) District II Conference held Feb. 9-11 in Baltimore, Md. Representatives from the college’s Office of Marketing and Communications accepted awards in creativity, multimedia communications, web, and illustration, said a release from the college. Mid-Atlantic District II, which includes Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Ontario, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and West Virginia, is the largest of eight CASE districts. Awards earned by the college in the four-year colleges and universities category included Gold for Creativity on a Shoe String for the “Tag You’re It” Campaign, a grassroots social media promotion to engage Homecoming attendees; Bronze in Best Practices in Communications for the “Share Your Moment” Campaign–an integrated communications effort for accepted students; Bronze in Web Site: Student Recruitment for redevelopment of the School of Continuing and Professional Studies website, .

Contributors to this issue of Newsline include Peter Barlow, Marie Benner-Rhoades, Jonathan Brenneman, Joanna Davidson-Smith, Kendra Flory, Elizabeth Harvey, Nathan Hosler, Jeri S. Kornegay, Paul Roth, Glen Sargent, Beth Sollenberger, John Wall, Jenny Williams, Roy Winter, Jane Yount, and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren. The next regularly scheduled issue of Newsline is planned for Feb. 28. Newsline is produced by the News Services of the Church of the Brethren. Contact the editor at . Newsline appears at the end of every week, with special issues as needed. Stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source. To unsubscribe or change your e-mail preferences go to .

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