Newsline for March 18, 2014

“Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find” (Matthew 7:7a).

1) Good giving and investment report, Brethren Service Center discussion, board development work highlight Mission and Ministry Board meeting
2) Denomination receives insurance dividend, Brethren Mutual Aid named a top agency by Brotherhood Mutual
3) Fellowship of Brethren Homes members awarded 2014 Continuing Education Grants
4) Winners of NYC speech and music contests are named

5) Jeff Carter to be inaugurated as president of Bethany Seminary
6) March 27 webinar focuses on ‘Leading Teams: Positives, Pressures and Potentials’
7) Killbuck Creek Song and Story Fest to be hosted by Inspiration Hills
8) Bridgewater College inaugurates David W. Bushman as 9th president
9) Juniata College hosts ‘Reconstructing Peace Studies’ conference

10) A prayer request from Maiduguri, Nigeria

11) Brethren bits: Corrections, camp resignation, BDM volunteer milestone, US-Africa Environmental Justice Tour stop at First Chicago, congregations in the news, installation of executive in Southern Pennsylvania, new Children’s Fund in West Marva, college events, more.

Quote of the week:
“It…matters what we seek and pursue, both in our relationships and faith. If we look for conflict and knock on its door, we will find it.
Likewise, if we search for wisdom and pursue it with persistency, we will learn and grow beyond ourselves.”

— Duane Grady writing in the 2014 Lenten devotional from Brethren Press, “Real Rest: Devotions for Ash Wednesday Through Easter” ( ).

1) Good giving and investment report, Brethren Service Center discussion, board development work highlight Mission and Ministry Board meeting

Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
A chart showing increased giving to Church of the Brethren ministries in 2013.

A good giving and investment report for 2013, discussion of the Brethren Service Center, and several hours of board development work marked the spring meeting of the Church of the Brethren Mission and Ministry Board. The meeting March 14-17 at the denomination’s General Offices in Elgin, Ill., was led by board chair Becky Ball-Miller.

In other business the board approved the Church of the Brethren Annual Report for 2013, amended a minute on India that dates back to 2010, and received numerous reports on recent events and updates on programs, as well as presentations on the work of fellow Annual Conference agencies Bethany Seminary, Brethren Benefit Trust, and On Earth Peace.

An honors string quartet from the Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra, which has its offices at the General Offices, provided dinner entertainment one evening. EYSO executive director Kathy Matthews introduced the quartet of high school string players, who performed selections from String Quartet No 1, Op. 27 by Edvard Grieg.

Worship led by board members focused on St. Patrick and Irish heritage, as a way to mark the St. Patrick’s Day weekend. Janet Wayland Elsea preached for the Sunday morning service, and Tim Peter brought the closing message.

Finance reports reveal good giving, investment rebound

Highlights of the 2013 financial reports were an increase in overall giving to Church of the Brethren ministries, along with good investment news, and an increase in the denomination’s net assets. Treasurer LeAnn Harnist also presented an income and expense report for 2013.

All 2013 figures presented to the board were pre-audit. A fully audited financial report for the year will be available in advance of the 2014 Annual Conference.

Last year, total giving to denominational ministries exceeded $6,250,000 in pre-audit figures, Harnist said. The combined total of individual and congregational giving represents an increase of more than 15 percent over total donations received in 2012.

Giving to the Core Ministries Fund exceeded $3,050,000, an increase of almost 3 percent over 2012. Although giving to Core Ministries from congregations was down by about 3 percent, giving from individuals rose by about 27 percent over the previous year.

Harnist informed the board that the denomination’s investments have fully recovered value lost in the economic downturn that started in late 2008, and actually have increased in value compared to the high point experienced earlier in 2008. “We have recovered all of those significant market losses,” she said. As of the end of 2013, the investment balance had gained a value of close to $28 million, in contrast to a 2009 value of less than $21 million.

As of Dec. 31, 2013, the Church of the Brethren’s total net assets exceeded $31 million including more than $19 million in unrestricted assets. This represents an increase over 2012 of more than $4 million. Bequest income also increased over the previous year.

Discussion of the Brethren Service Center

Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
Mission and Ministry Board chair Becky Ball-Miller.

The board spent time discussing the future of the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. Chair Becky Ball-Miller focused small group discussion or “table talk” on how to lead Annual Conference delegates in a similar discussion this July, and what questions and resources would help increase the wider church’s understanding of the situation.

The Mission and Ministry Board holds authority for stewardship and ownership of denominational property. Board member questions focused on the nature of the discussion required at Annual Conference, and how to ensure that the future of the center is again on the agenda for the fall board meeting.

In June last year, following the closing of the New Windsor Conference Center, the board authorized officers to pursue all options for the property, up to and including receiving letters of intent from potential buyers.

Continuation of Brethren Disaster Ministries, Children’s Disaster Services, and Material Resources–currently based at the Brethren Service Center–are not connected with the potential sale of the property.

The property is not being actively marketed, but staff have informed the board that they want to be prepared if a bona fide offer comes. Other solutions including leasing portions or all of the property will be entertained. However, it may take up to $10 million to bring the property up to standards.

General secretary Stan Noffsinger assured the board that former conference center facilities, now empty or underutilized, are being well maintained, but without income from the use of those facilities the maintenance expenses are paid out of the Core Ministries Fund with dollars diverted from mission and program. Any sale of the campus-style property will likely will take time, and would not be carried out quickly. Final details of a sale would have to be approved by the Mission and Ministry Board.

Four partner organizations lease facilities at the center: Mid-Atlantic District, SERRV, On Earth Peace, and IMA World Health. Lease agreements in place with partner organizations assure that work will be done to benefit both parties in the event either must leave the property.

Amendment to minute on India

Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
“Table talk” was part of the discussion of the Brethren Service Center.

The board amended a minute from 2010 regarding its responsibility to nominate trustees for former mission properties in India. Since there has been no Second District Church of the Brethren in India since 1970, the board amended the following paragraph from the July 3, 2010, minute, adding the underlined words: “Concern was raised regarding all the nominations being from the First District. Stan [Noffsinger] and Jay [Wittmeyer] asked that the board bring names from the area formerly known as the Second District Brethren so they can be in discussion with CNI [Church of North India].”

The board also adopted this statement: “The Church of the Brethren Mission and Ministry Board recognized that, while the Church of the Brethren has a formal relationship with the First District Church of the Brethren in India, we have had no relationship with a Second District Church of the Brethren in India since 1970. We have become aware there is a self-described ‘Second District Church of the Brethren in India’ allegedly operating. The Church of the Brethren Mission and Ministry Board has never had and does not have any relationship with this self-described ‘Second District Church of the Brethren in India.’”

In other business

Rick Stiffney of Mennonite Health Services Alliance led several hours of board development work. His opening session for both board and staff focused on trends and emerging practices in nonprofit governance, different roles and responsibilities of board and staff, roles of board committees, policy framework for a nonprofit board, and related topics. Stiffney then led some hours of sessions solely for the board.

Susan Liller of New Carlisle, Ohio, began a term on the board with this meeting. She was appointed to fill the unexpired term of Don Fitzkee, after he was chosen as chair elect. The chair elect begins a new term of service, and the remainder of his or her board term is filled by appointment.

The Executive Committee approved the appointment of Timothy S.G. Binkley to a second term on the Brethren Historical Committee.

2) Denomination receives insurance dividend, Brethren Mutual Aid named a top agency by Brotherhood Mutual


Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company, through a partnership program with the Brethren Mutual Aid Agency, presented a large insurance dividend of more than $174,000 to the Church of the Brethren.

The Church of the Brethren denomination has received a large insurance dividend of $174,984 from Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company, through its Partnership Group Program. Brethren Mutual Aid is the sponsoring agency for the program, which rewards the claims experience of the congregations, camps, and districts that make up the group along with the denominational organization.

Brotherhood Mutual returns excess premiums not needed to pay losses, up to a certain level, as part of its Partnership Group Program. The company grants the dividend if the denominational group collectively enjoys a better-than-average claims experience.

In related news, the Brethren Mutual Aid Agency has been recognized by Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company as one of the company’s top 15 agencies for 2013.

Leadership team directs insurance dividend to aid districts

The denomination’s Leadership Team–which includes the Annual Conference officers and the General Secretary–determined this year’s distribution. The bulk of this dividend will be shared directly with districts, said moderator Nancy Sollenberger Heishman in a report to the Mission and Ministry Board.

Each district will receive $2,000, with policy participating districts receiving an additional amount based on their percentage of total district premiums. The largest district distribution will amount to almost $16,000. In addition, 5 percent or $8,750 will go to the Brethren Mutual Aid Share Fund, and 5 percent or $8,750 will be given to the Compassion Fund of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN–the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) to aid to Nigerian Brethren who have been affected by violence.

Each time the Church of the Brethren receives such a dividend, part of the money is given to the Brethren Mutual Aid Share Fund, and $1,000 is given to the Finance Office to pay for administration of the funds.

Previous years in which the denomination has received a dividend are 2005 when $109,835 helped support a number of 300th anniversary events as well as a congregational membership study among other projects; 2006 when $128,290 supported the 300th anniversary Annual Conference and the Germantown Trust; and 2010 when $156,031 aided Brethren Disaster Ministries work in Haiti following the earthquake as well as debt reduction for Annual Conference. Moneys also have helped support the presence of Brethren Mutual Aid at Annual Conference.

Brethren Mutual Aid Agency receives national recognition

Brethren Mutual Aid Agency based in Abilene, Kan., has been named one of Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company’s Top 15 agencies for 2013.

The agency received the Five-Star Award at an awards banquet on March 7 in Fort Wayne, Ind. The annual award recognizes an agent’s outstanding production and overall profitability to the company over a three-year period.

This is the fifth time the company has been recognized as a Five-Star agency. The agency has represented Brotherhood Mutual since 2002. President and general manager Eric Lamer has worked in insurance for five years and the communications industry for 29 years, including nine years as the president of a marketing agency.

Brotherhood Mutual is one of the nation’s leading insurers of churches and related ministries. It designs property and liability insurance to help ministries run safely and effectively.

For more information about Brethren Mutual Aid go to . For more about Brotherhood Mutual visit .

— A release from Dan Watson, communications specialist-marketing communications for Brotherhood Mutual, contributed to this report.

3) Fellowship of Brethren Homes members awarded 2014 Continuing Education Grants

By Kim Ebersole

Eight retirement communities that are members of the Fellowship of Brethren Homes have been awarded Continuing Education Grants for 2014. The grants, up to $1,000 per retirement community, are funded by the denomination’s Health Education and Research Fund, which supports nursing in the Church of the Brethren, and are administered by Congregational Life Ministries.

The grants are to be used for professional development workshops focused on clinical concerns and/or supervisory skills, leadership for in-house training for nursing assistants and other direct care staff, or the purchase of reusable resources for in-service training for nursing staff and/or nursing assistants. To qualify, a retirement community must be a dues-paying member in good standing of the Fellowship of Brethren Homes. Invitations to submit proposals are extended to half of the fellowship membership each year; each community is invited every other year.

The following retirement facilities received grants for 2014:

The Brethren Home Community in Windber, Pa.: The community will purchase a PowerPoint projector and software to enhance monthly in-service instruction for the direct-care staff.

The Brethren Retirement Community in Greenville, Ohio: All direct caregivers including nurses, certified nursing assistants, and resident assistants of the community will benefit from the purchase of eight training DVDs on a variety of topics, including dementia care.

Casa de Modesto (Calif.) Retirement Center: The community received funds to purchase continuing education modules through the American Association for Long Term Care Nursing to provide relevant educational resources for the nursing staff.

Lebanon Valley Brethren Home in Palmyra, Pa.: Nurses, certified nursing assistants, and other staff will receive dementia training through the Alzheimer’s Association’s essentiALZ program.

Northaven Retirement Residences in Seattle, Wash.: Northaven Assisted Living will conduct “virtual dementia tours” using program materials from Second Wind Dreams to help direct-care staff identify with and better understand the behaviors and needs of residents with memory loss and dementia.

The Peter Becker Community in Harleysville, Pa.: The community will provide a series of four training events for skilled nursing and personal care staff on the importance of customer service to resident care.

Pleasant Hill Village in Girard, Ill.: Registered nurses will receive training about effective infection surveillance, multi-resistant organisms, end-of-life symptom management, challenging behaviors, and other pertinent resident care topics.

West View Healthy Living in Wooster, Ohio: The community will purchase training videos for staff related to geriatric assessment, fall prevention, patient transfers and ambulation, and disaster preparedness for long-term care.

As a ministry to those who are aging and their families, the 22 retirement communities related to the Church of the Brethren are committed to providing high quality, loving care for older adults. This group, known as the Fellowship of Brethren Homes, works together on common challenges such as uncompensated care, long-term care needs, and nurturing relationships with congregations and districts. A directory of member communities can be found at .

— Kim Ebersole is director of Family Life and Older Adult Ministry for the Church of the Brethren.

4) Winners of NYC speech and music contests are named

The winners of the National Youth Conference (NYC) Music Contest and Speech Contest have been announced by the Youth and Young Adult Ministry Office.

Sam Stein, of Wheaton, Ill., is the winner of the NYC Music Contest. He is a junior in high school and a member of the York Center Church of the Brethren youth group in Lombard, Ill.

There are three winners for the NYC Speech Contest. Alison Helfrich of Bradford, Ohio, is a junior in high school from Oakland Church of the Brethren in Southern Ohio District. Katelyn Young, also a junior, is from Lititz, Pa., and from Ephrata Church of the Brethren in Atlantic Northeast District. Laura Ritchey, a senior from Martinsburg, Pa., is from Woodbury Church of the Brethren in Middle Pennsylvania District.

Speech Contest winners will share their speeches during the Sunday morning worship service at NYC, and the Music Contest winner will have the opportunity to perform his song on stage sometime during the week.

— Tim Heishman, one of the coordinators for the 2014 National Youth Conference, provided this report. Find out more about NYC, a conference for youth and their adult advisors on July 19-24 in Fort Collins, Colo., and register online at .


5) Jeff Carter to be inaugurated as president of Bethany Seminary

By Jenny Williams

Photo by courtesy of Jeff Carter
Jeff Carter, president of Bethany Theological Seminary

The Bethany Seminary community in Richmond, Ind., is preparing for an event that seldom occurs in the life of an educational institution: the inauguration of a president. On Saturday, March 29, Jeff Carter will be inaugurated as the seminary’s tenth president in its 108-year history. Bethany invites all to join in the event via webcast at 9:45 a.m. (Eastern time).

Patterned as a worship service, the inauguration carries the theme “Can I Get a Witness?” chosen by Carter and speaking to a message of discipleship found in 1 John 1:1-2: “The Word that gives life was from the beginning, and this is the one our message is about…. The one who gives life appeared! We saw it happen, and we are witnesses to what we have seen.”

The event is scheduled during the seminary’s spring board meeting, enabling trustees to attend and be part of the program. A number of Bethany faculty, staff, and students as well as trustees will take part in the service, including musical offerings, roles in the inauguration ceremony, and statements of witness. Special guests will include delegates from Brethren colleges and neighboring seminaries.

The inaugural speaker will be Thomas G. Long, Bandy Professor of Preaching at Candler School of Theology at Emory University. Widely known and respected in the field of homiletics, Long will give a sermon titled, “Faithful Witness: Engaging the Senses.” The author of numerous books and articles on preaching and worship as well as biblical commentaries, Long served as senior homiletics editor of “The New Interpreter’s Bible,” and is an editor-at-large for “Christian Century.” He has also previously taught preaching at Princeton, Columbia, and Erskine Seminaries.

An inaugural dinner for the Bethany community and guests will take place the evening of the 29th. To watch the webcast of the morning’s inaugural service, viewers can go to .

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

6) March 27 webinar focuses on ‘Leading Teams: Positives, Pressures and Potentials’

Congregational Life Ministries is offering a webinar on Thursday, March 27, 3:30-5 p.m. (Eastern time), on the topic of “Leading Teams: Positives, Pressures and Potentials” with presenter Fran Beckett. This is the second of two webinars exploring the theme of leadership hosted by the Church of the Brethren and organized together with Urban Expression, Bristol Baptist College, and BMS World Mission, partners based in the UK.

“Join us. This will be an engaging learning experience,” said an invitation from Stan Dueck, director of Transforming Practices for the Church of the Brethren.

The webinar explores the role of leadership in building and leading effective teams. The presentation will include consideration of principles and practicalities of an empowering leadership style, and how vulnerability as a team leader can have a positive impact.

Beckett is a speaker, writer, and trainer in the areas of missional community action and leadership development, with a background as CEO of two national not-for-profit organizations, and experience chairing various national boards and government advisory groups in the United Kingdom. She also is involved locally as a community activist and is a committed inner-city dweller who has helped pioneer an emerging church.

The webinar is free, ministers may receive .15 continuing education units for participating in the live session. Register at . For more information contact Stan Dueck, director of Transforming Practices for the Church of the Brethren, at .

7) Killbuck Creek Song and Story Fest to be hosted by Inspiration Hills

The Killbuck Creek Song and Story Fest on the theme, “All God’s Critters Got a Place in This Choir!” is planned for July 6-12 at Inspiration Hills, an outdoor ministry center in Burbank, Ohio. This annual family camp features Church of the Brethren musicians and storytellers, and is co-sponsored by On Earth Peace.

“In the world that God created, all the critters, all the people are welcomed with joy and offered a place to flourish and belong,” said an announcement of the event. “But just how much do we value all of creation, beginning with our global brothers and sisters, those alive today and yet to come, and extending to all God’s creatures? Do we, as Christians, have a perspective that can help the world solve its riddles of how to get along and to share the fantastic resources of this planet with each other and all God’s critters?”

Storytellers and workshop leaders include Debbie Eisenbise, Bob Gross, Kathy Guisewite, Jonathan Hunter, Jim Lehman, and Matt Guynn. Campfire, workshop, and concert musicians include Bill Jolliff, Tim Joseph, Peg Lehman, Brian Kruschwitz and LuAnne Harley, Mike Stern, and Mutual Kumquat, a group that includes Chris Good, Seth Hendricks, and Drue Jones.

Song and Story Fest is an intergenerational camp for all ages, single persons, and families. The schedule includes intergenerational gatherings and worship, afternoon free time, recreation, story swaps, music-making, evening campfires, concerts, a folk dance, and a number workshops for adults, children, and youth.

This is the eighteenth summer in a row for the Song and Story Fest, and its second visit to Inspiration Hills, the Church of the Brethren camp for northern Ohio located along Killbuck Creek in the northwest corner of Wayne County on Ohio Rt. 604. Housing will be in lodges and cabins, or participants may choose to bring a tent or an RV or motel lodging in Myrtle Point. For more about Inspiration Hills go to or call 419-846-3010.

For registration, costs, and more about the schedule and leadership for Song and Story Fest, go to .

8) Bridgewater College inaugurates David W. Bushman as 9th president

By Mary Kay Heatwole

Photo by courtesy of Bridgewater College
David W. Bushman named president of Bridgewater College, January 2013.

Bridgewater (Va.) College will inaugurate David W. Bushman as its ninth president on April 11 at 10:30 a.m., on the campus mall. The inauguration of Bushman, who took office June 1, 2013, will celebrate ideals for which the college stands as reflected in the four Latin words appearing on the Bridgewater College seal: Bonitas, Veritas, Pulchritudo, and Concordia, which mean Goodness, Truth, Beauty, and Harmony.

“Higher education today, maybe more so than ever before, is fluid and challenging,” said Nathan Miller, chair of the Bridgewater College board of trustees. “Bridgewater College is fortunate to have Dr. Bushman as its president. He has superb academic credentials, solid management experience, and a vision for the college. These attributes make Dr. Bushman and the college a good fit, which ensures a bright future for our institution in an ever-changing environment.”

Free and open-to-the-public activities that will complement the inauguration ceremony–which itself will form part of the college’s Alumni Weekend celebration–include:

— April 7, 7:30 p.m., Carter Center for Worship and Music. “Scientific Inquiry to Seek and Protect Truth: From Ancient to Modern Times,” by Krishna Kodukula, SRI Shenandoah Valley director of strategic development and Bridgewater College trustee. Kodukula’s speech celebrates the ideal of “Truth” from the Bridgewater College seal.

— April 8, 7:30 p.m. Carter Center for Worship and Music. “Presidential Inauguration Campus Worship Service,” by Jeff Carr, Bridgewater Church of the Brethren senior pastor, and Robbie Miller, Bridgewater College chaplain. The service celebrates “Goodness” from the college seal.

— April 9, 7:30 p.m., Carter Center for Worship and Music. “Harmonic Beauty Concert,” featuring the Bridgewater College Jazz Ensemble and Chorale, as well as a variety of small instrumental and vocal groups. The concert celebrates “Beauty” from the college seal.

— Ongoing throughout the spring semester is a community service project to benefit Well of Hope International. The project celebrates “Harmony” from the college seal.

To learn more about all events, go to .

Bushman came to Bridgewater from Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Md., where he was the founding dean of the university’s School of Natural Science and Mathematics. In this role, he oversaw numerous academic programs and new academic program development, as well as strategic and communications planning and fundraising for the school.

Prior to leading Mount St. Mary’s School of Natural Science and Mathematics, Bushman served as president of Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, N.C. While at Lees-McRae, he oversaw the college’s successful bid for re-accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and developed and implemented a new strategic plan for the institution.

Under Bushman’s leadership, Lees-McRae engaged in a number of significant campus renovations, implemented curricular and co-curricular enhancements, and significantly increased its freshman retention rate.

Before joining Lees-McRae in 2004, Bushman served in a variety of roles at Mount St. Mary’s, including dean of academic services, director of assessment, chair of the department of science and associate professor of biology.

Bushman earned his bachelor of science in biology summa cum laude from Loyola College in Maryland. He graduated from the University of Maryland with both his master of science and doctorate in entomology. Upon completion of his doctorate, Bushman worked for several years in private industry as a research biologist and research fellow. He has been published in the field of entomology as well as undergraduate science education.

Bushman has served as an executive committee member for North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities and was a board member for the Edgar Tufts Memorial Association. He has also served as a campus site visit member for SACS re-accreditation.

Bushman and his wife, Suzanne DeLaney Bushman, have two children, Emily and Will. Suzanne was raised in Virginia and has spent her career in healthcare as a pediatric intensive care nurse for 17 years and, most recently, in an outpatient surgery unit.

— Mary Kay Heatwole is editorial assistant for media relations in the Office of Marketing and Communications at Bridgewater College.

9) Juniata College hosts ‘Reconstructing Peace Studies’ conference

By John Wall

The Baker Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., will bring in a team of nationally known scholars to determine how best to identify success in student learning and curriculum at the conference “Reconstructing Peace Studies: Assessing New Knowledge and Outcomes,” held March 20-23.

“The event is a small, working conference where the participants hope to identify and assess the skills, attitudes, and knowledge that all students pursuing a degree in a peace studies program should have,” says Celia Cook-Huffman, professor of conflict resolution at Juniata College. “We want to discuss how to equip students with the means to negotiate emerging global challenges and best practices for engaging students in the learning process.”

The sessions are restricted to those who have registered for the conference. To get information about registering for the conference, call Elizabeth Widman at 814-641-3464. All sessions will take place in Sill Boardroom in the von Liebig Center for Science.

The conference will open at 5:30 p.m. March 20 with a “world café” discussion on “What Does Peace Studies Seek to Achieve?”

The next day, March 21, the first session “What are the Social and Political Purposes/Goals of the Field?” will start at 9 a.m. The session will discuss emerging issues such as globalization and state-sponsored violence and how peace programs might adapt to these issues to make a contribution to society.

The three-person panel leading the discussion is:
–George Lopez, vice president of the US Institute of Peace Academy for International Conflict Management and Peacebuilding. Before accepting that job in 2013, Lopez was a faculty member for 27 years at the Joan B. Kroc Institute of International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame.
–Mary Adams Trujillo, professor of communication arts at North Park University, in Chicago, Ill., where she teaches courses on cultural communication and conflict transformation. She earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Illinois and went on to earn a master’s degree at the University of New Mexico and a doctorate at Northwestern University.
–Elton Skendaj, visiting assistant professor of political science at the University of Miami, where he teaches courses on international relations and comparative politics. He previously taught at Florida International University and Cornell University.

Friday’s second session starts at 11:30 a.m. on “Teaching Peace Studies” in which participants will discuss how to reflect the values of fieldwork into classrooms. Panelists include:
–Dale Snauwaert, professor of educational theory and social foundations of education at the University of Toledo, director of the Center for Nonviolence and Democratic Education. He is the founding editor of the journal “In Factis Pax: Online Journal of Peace Education and Social Justice.”
–Meg Gardinier, assistant professor of international and intercultural education at Florida International University, a former research scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, where she researched international educational development.
–Christa Tinari, founder of Peace Praxis Educational Services, who works with community colleges, peace organizations, and diversity coalitions to organize dialogues and educational forums.

At 2:30 p.m., Friday, the third session features the topic “Attitudes: How Do We Ask our Students to Identify, Explore, and Develop Attitudes, Values, and Opinions?” Panelists are:
–Polly Walker, assistant professor of peace studies at Juniata College, who teaches courses on conflict resolution and has researched how conflicts can be resolved through performance and the arts.
–David Ragland, a visiting assistant professor of education at Bucknell University, who also is a United Nations Representative for the International Peace Research Association.
–Angie Lederach, RATE Bilingual Project assistant at Teaching Peace, a Denver-based nonprofit educational organization.
–David Smith, a part-time professor of George Mason University’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution and an independent peacebuilding trainer. He is a former national education outreach officer for the US Institute of Peace.

Sessions March 22 begin at 9 a.m. with “Knowledge: What Should Peace Studies Students Know?” where discussions will focus on the big ideas students must address. Panelists include:
–Rhys Kelly, a lecturer in conflict resolution at the University of Bradford, England. His research interests include language and linguistics and culture and cultural theory.
–Randall Amster, director of the Program on Justice and Peace at Georgetown University, author of two books, including “Lost in Space: The Criminalization, Globalization, and Urban Ecology of Homelessness.”
–JoAnn Bowman, a 1975 Juniata graduate, executive leadership development director for Chemonics International.

At 11 a.m., the second session will cover “Skills: What Should Peace Studies Students Be Able to Do?” Panelists include:
–Donna Chung, a member of the United Nations Global Compact Project.
–Andy Loomis, deputy director of Operations Team Three at the US State Department’s Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations, a graduate of Georgetown University.
–Fidele Lumeya, executive director of the Congolese American Council for Peace and Development, an associate director for international emergency response for Church World Service.
–Matt Guynn, program director for nonviolent change at On Earth Peace, and a graduate of Bethany Theological Seminary.

An afternoon session on “Program and Course Assessment: Strategies, Tools, and Critiques,” will be moderated by Pat Coy, director and associate professor at the Center for Applied Conflict Management at Kent State University. Several members of Juniata’s faculty from the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies, will participate.

On Sunday, March 23, the conference will end with the 11 a.m. workshop “Imagining Futures,” moderated by Tony Jenkins, vice president for academic affairs at the National Peace Academy, and accompanied by members of Juniata’s Department of Peace and Conflict Studies.

— Contact John Wall at or 814-641-3132 for more information.


10) A prayer request from Maiduguri, Nigeria

The following prayer request from a member of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN–the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) living in the city of Maiduguri. It was received this weekend by an Annual Conference officer and shared with the Mission and Ministry Board on Sunday during worship. The city of Maiduguri was attacked this past weekend by the terrorist group Boko Haram:

Dear Brethren,

I pray and hope that your family and your entire congregation are all in great health.

My family, I, and the EYN Brethren in Maiduguri and in Nigeria generally are well. We are however traumatized by an attack on Maiduguri by terrorists, two days ago, on Friday and Saturday. The Nigerian Air Force had to conduct very heavy bombing of the terrorists before overpowering and subduing them for now.

By the Grace of God Almighty we don’t have casualties among EYN members. I was away from Maiduguri when it happened and I’m yet to go back to Maiduguri, but I have been in very close contact with both my family and EYN members. So far it is well, but people are under fear and are psychologically traumatized.

God is surely with us and always telling us that our hearts should not be troubled for HE is with us; and so we are enjoying his faithfulness to us. Thank you for your continued prayers for us which is surely yielding very positive results.

Please, give my regards to your family and your entire Church of the Brethren congregation. God bless you!

11) Brethren bits

— Corrections: The editor apologies for misspelling the name of Mission Advisory Committee member Jim Myer in the Newsline of March 11. Also, in the listing of a “Spirituality of Dying Well” continuing education opportunity May 17 at the Village Green in Martinsburg, Pa., sponsors of the event are the Village at Morrisons Cove and Middle Pennsylvania District, not the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center.

Phyllis Marsh, who has served as camp manager for Camp Galilee in West Marva District for several years, has tendered her resignation effective May 1. “We wish Phyllis all the best in the future. Please keep the camp in your prayers as we start the process of finding a new manager,” said an announcement in the district newsletter. To express interest in the position contact or 301-334-9270. See the job opening in the Newsline of March 4, in the “Brethren bits” at .

The Church of the Brethren seeks a maintenance mechanic for a full-time hourly position at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. Applications will be received and reviewed beginning immediately and will continue until the position is filled. Request the application packet and complete job description by contacting: Office of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Avenue, Elgin, IL 60120; 800-323-8039 ext. 367; .

A new BVS blog features stories from Brethren Volunteer Service workers at . Readers may sign up to follow the blog and receive posts by e-mail.

Photo courtesy of Brethren Disaster Ministries
Brethren Disaster Ministries is celebrating a milestone for one of its regular volunteers, with a Facebook post: “Barb Stonecash is on her 50th BDM trip this week…and she says she is ready to start on the next 50!” Stonecash has been serving at a Hurricane Sandy recovery project in Spotswood, N.J., with other volunteers from Southern Ohio District.

Immerse! registration deadline has been extended. Slots are still available for Immerse!, a junior high Bible and Brethren history event sponsored by the Institute for Ministry with Youth and Young Adults at Bethany Theological Seminary. The event will be held June 12-17. “Please encourage junior high youth who have completed 6th, 7th, and 8th grades to register by April 8 at ,” said an announcement. For more information about Immerse! see Bethany’s press release at .

First Church of the Brethren in Chicago, Ill., is hosting One Struggle, Many Fronts, a stop on the US-Africa Environmental Justice Tour, at 6:30 p.m. on March 28. “The tour, a first-of-its-kind bridge-building effort between US and African climate, environmental justice, human rights, and solidarity activists, aims to build solidarity and strengthen interdisciplinary groups’ push for justice, reason, health and survival in the face of social and climate catastrophe,” said a release. Main speakers are: Emem J. Okon, founder and executive director of Kebet-kache Women Development and Resource Centre in Nigeria’s Niger Delta region, who organizes women to resist oil drilling by Shell, Chevron, and ExxonMobil in the Niger Delta; and Mithika Mwenda, from Kenya, who is secretary general of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance he co-founded in 2008 to give Africans a voice in the climate debate and in United Nations climate negotiations, and which is Africa’s largest climate network with 300 member organizations in 45 countries. A panel on US fronts and the common struggle also will include: Debra Michaud of Tar Sands Free Midwest, Tom Shepherd of the Southeast Environmental Task Force, and moderator Kimberly Wasserman, recent recipient of the Goldman Environmental Prize, co-sponsored by the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization and South Side NAACP. A presentation by Tom Shepherd on petroleum coke (“petcoke”) ash will open the evening. An earlier Chicago Tour event will be at Roosevelt University on March 27, at 5 p.m. Other tour cities include Detroit, Washington, New York, Kalamazoo, Berkeley, and Atlanta. The full announcement is at .

The newly named Living Light of Peace congregation in Arvada, Colo., is holding a service on Sunday, March 30 at 3 p.m. to recognize this transformation of Arvada Mennonite/Spirit of Joy Fellowship Church of the Brethren. The church will install Jeni Hiett Umble as pastor. A reception will follow.

The Haiti Benefit Concert at McPherson (Kan.) Opera House on Feb. 23 was a success, according to the Western Plains District newsletter. Community musical groups presented the concert to raise funds for the Haiti Medical Project, part of a year-long effort by McPherson Church of the Brethren to raise funds to bring mobile medical clinics to Haitian communities. Concert attendees numbered around 200 and free-will offerings and matching gifts came to at least $13,400. “Funds from this event bring the congregation’s total money raised to more than its ‘$100,000 by Easter’ goal,” said the newsletter.

A Children’s Disaster Services training at La Verne (Calif.) Church of the Brethren received coverage in the “Inland Valley Daily Bulletin.” The training showed 26 participants how to care for children traumatized by disasters. They “quickly got the point of the national Brethren ministry program lauded for its excellent track record in taking care of children while parents meet with emergency relief workers to restore normalcy to family life after a disaster. Lessons were simple and direct. Listen attentively, with empathy and without judgment or prodding. Understand the importance of play for children following a disaster. Comprehend how stages of development and ages affect children’s viewpoints, play habits, and reactions to disaster.” See .

Nappanee (Ind.) Church of the Brethren has begun the spiritual journey of Lent using “a much simpler process,” reports the “Nappanee Advance News” highlighting the use of the Vital Ministry Journey, a resource from the Church of the Brethren Congregational Life Ministries. “What we’re trying to do is get people to think for themselves,”  pastor Byrl Shaver said. “Instead of having one person say ‘This is what God says,’ you’re reflecting in on it.” Read the article at .

Osage Church of the Brethren in Kansas has begun sponsoring “a new adventure called Financial Peace University,” the church announced in the Western Plains District newsletter. The nine-week series started March 7. “We have nine people signed up. It is our hope not only to help those struggling with their everyday finances, but also that this is a life changing spiritual experience that will open our eyes to new ways of stewardship and care.”

Western Plains District has requested continued prayer for those affected by the extreme flooding in Colorado last year. In particular, the district requested prayer for Boulder Mennonite Church and the Church of the Brethren fellowship that worships there. “The church basement is usable again,” reported the district newsletter, adding however that “several families in the congregation are still working to recover from major damage to their homes.”

Southern Pennsylvania District installed district executive minister William A. Waugh on Sunday, March 9, at Newville Church of the Brethren. In attendance were Church of the Brethren general secretary Stan Noffsinger, Annual Conference moderator-elect David Steele, and associate general secretary Mary Jo Flory- Steury, reported the district newsletter. Leah Hileman, interim pastor at the Lake View Church, shared special music. District board chair Mike Miller shared the board’s journey from forming the Search Committee to the calling of Waugh. Traci Rabenstein and Jay Finkenbinger Jr. also assisted in the service. John Shelly delivered the sermon from Matthew 25:14-30 and Acts 13:22.

There is still time to register for a workshop on spiritual gifts, led by Congregational Life Ministries executive Jonathan Shively and hosted by Cross Keys Village-Brethren Home Community in New Oxford, Pa., on April 12, from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. “Vital Passions, Holy Practices: Exploring Spiritual Gifts” will help participants consider the gifts of the church community and how to discern ministries based on those gifts, according to the Southern Pennsylvania District newsletter. Cost is $10 per person or $25 for five or more participants from the same congregation. Ordained ministers may receive .4 continuing education units. Registration deadline is April 4. Contact the district office at P.O. Box 218, New Oxford, PA, 17350; 717-624-8636.

McPherson (Kan.) College hosts a Regional Youth Conference on March 28-30. The theme is a variation of the National Youth Conference (NYC) theme: “Called by God: Preparing for the Journey Together.” The main presenters will be Jacob and Jerry Crouse. Jacob was the 2010 NYC Youth Theme Song Contest winner and a member of last year’s Youth Peace Travel Team. Jerry is a member of the pastoral team at Warrensburg (Mo.) Church of the Brethren. The cost is $65. Register online at . The registration deadline is March 24.

At a rally last fall, the District Women’s Fellowship in West Marva District voted to give their offerings to establish a Children’s Fund. The district newsletter reports that the program is coordinated with the schools across the district. The school counselor or another staff member contacts the District Office when there is a child in need. The district has “shoppers” across the area who will go out and make the necessary purchases to assist the children. “The program has only been in place for one month and already the requests are rolling in,” the newsletter said. “We never imagined the dire circumstances that some of these children are in…. There have been requests for food, for basic clothing, and for hygiene items. It is heartbreaking and very humbling to hear the stories of the hardships these young people have already experienced in their lives.”

On April 12 Donna Kline, director of Deacon Ministry for the Church of the Brethren, is leading webinars on “Deaconing in Small Congregations” from 9-11 a.m. (central time) and “The Gift of Grief” from 1-3 p.m. (central time). Anyone who offers caregiving ministries is invited to participate. Go to for more information and to register. The registration fee is $15 per course and a group rate of $75 is available for 5 or more tuning in from one site. These are the final two webinars for this academic year being offered by Ventures in Christian Discipleship, a program of McPherson (Kan.) College primarily geared toward lay leaders in congregations.

The first Arab woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize, human rights activist Tawakkol Karman, will speak at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College’s Ware Lecture on April 10. Karman was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011. “Upon receiving the award she became the first Arab woman, the second Muslim woman, and, at 32, the youngest person to earn the prize,” said a release from the college. The passionate speaker and journalist will bring a message titled “Women, Human Rights, and the Arab Revolution” to the annual Ware Lecture on Peacemaking at 7:30 p.m. on April 10, in Leffler Chapel and Performance Center. The lecture, sponsored by Judy S.  and Paul W. Ware and the college’s Center for Global Understanding and Peacemaking, will be moderated by Brian Katulis, a senior fellow with the Center for American Progress. To reserve free Ware Lecture tickets, call 717-361-4757.

ABC Channel 27 in Harrisburg, Pa., has spotlighted the history of Elizabethtown College in a piece on a new book titled “Elizabethtown College” by faculty members Jean-Paul Benowitz and Peter J. DePuydt, published in February by Arcadia Publishing’s Campus History Series. In an interview, Benowitz spoke of the library’s extensive collection of historical photographs, which have been digitized. “We thought that this would be a great way to share those images with people,” he said. “Central Pennsylvania, particularly Lancaster County, is home to the largest population of Mennonites, Amish, Church of the Brethren, Quakers, historic peace churches…. What’s interesting is that most people don’t assume that those churches have an appreciation for higher education. And this is the only college in Lancaster County which was formed by one of the historic peace churches, or the Anabaptists.” Find the story and video at .

A Gospel Extravaganza at 3 p.m. Saturday, March 22, in the Carter Center for Worship and Music at Bridgewater (Va.) College includes the Bridgewater College Lift Your Voice Gospel Choir and James Madison University’s Contemporary Gospel Singers. Also featured are musician Joyce Garrett and the gospel group Roderick Giles and Grace. Garrett created the Eastern High School Choir of Washington, D.C., during her 27-year teaching career at the school. In retirement, she founded the Washington Youth Choir, a city-wide choral ensemble based on the principles of teamwork, perseverance, high achievement, and self-discipline, said a release. Giles, a former member of the Eastern High School Choir, is CEO of Giles Music Group LLC and founder of Grace, the primary singers for the Giles Music Group, and director and lead singer of the Harlem Gospel Choir (DC Division). The program is free and open to the public.

Bridgewater (Va.) College is implementing a composting pilot program for food waste from its dining hall. “Bridgewater College has always been environmentally conscious, but there’s always more that can be done,” said Anne Keeler, vice president for finance, in a release. “By instituting the composting pilot program, we are committed to do even more to help protect and preserve our environment.” Benefits of composting are numerous, the release notes: less methane is released into the air, reducing emission of greenhouse gases; diverting food waste from the landfill avoids adding even more waste to rapidly filling landfill areas; composting returns nutrients to the soil, supporting efforts to grow food without chemical fertilizers. The pilot program is providing educational opportunities for students, including two senior environmental science majors who are interning to learn the process of composting, as well as the business and outreach aspects. The program is a collaborative effort with Waste Management of Virginia Inc. and Black Bear Composting in Crimora, Va.

The “New York Times” has reported on a struggle to preserve a rural district known as Wood Colony, an Old German Baptist Brethren area near Modesto, Calif. The Old German Baptist Brethren and the Church of the Brethren split in the late 1800s. Many Brethren living in the area are fourth- and fifth-generation farmers of walnut and almond orchards, the Times reports, and are among local people objecting to “plans to bring about 1,800 acres of Wood Colony under city jurisdiction, which many residents regard as a blueprint for development…. The city’s Chamber of Commerce, supported by the mayor and other elected officials, says that some sort of ‘pathway to prosperity’ is needed to expand the tax base and address chronic unemployment, which hovers around 13 percent, twice the national average.” See .

Contributors to this issue of Newsline include Jan Fischer Bachman, Jim Beckwith, Stan Dueck, Kim Ebersole, Duane Ediger, Bob Gross, LeAnn Harnist, Elizabeth Harvey, Mary Kay Heatwole, Tim Heishman, Elsie Holderread, Rebekah Houff, Jon Kobel, Stan Noffsinger, Abbie Parkhurst, Ken Kline Smeltzer, John Wall, Dan Watson, 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 Tuesday, March 25.

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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