Newsline for Oct. 28, 2014


Quote of the week:

Leader: Come, let us worship God in our midst.
People: We come seeking God, who is in this place.
Leader: Yet God is not only found in brick and stone.
People: We see God in our neighbors and our friends–even the strangers we pass every day.
Leader: Come, let us honor God through sharing ourselves with one another.
People: We come, honoring God by honoring our brothers and sisters here in your church, out in our community, and throughout the world.
All: Come, let us worship God together.

— A Call to Worship written by Stephen Hershberger, one of the resources for National Junior High Sunday in the Church of the Brethren, scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 2. The theme for the day is “Honor God by Honoring Others” based on Matthew 7:12. Find this and other worship resources at .

“In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets” (Matthew 7:12).

1) Brethren workcamps schedule for 2015 is released
2) Presenters are announced for NOAC 2015
3) Webinar will explore relationship between farm workers and gardens

4) Russell Matteson named district executive for Pacific Southwest District

5) Brethren bits: Remembering Wilbur Mullen, personnel, job openings, letter on Iran, Bethany travel seminar to Germany, Mark Yaconelli event at New Carlisle, ’tis the season for holiday fairs and bazaars, the last of the 2014 district conferences, and more.


1) Brethren workcamps schedule for 2015 is released

The Church of the Brethren Workcamp Office has released the workcamp schedule for 2015, which is now available at . The theme for the year, “Side by Side: Imitating Christ’s Humility” is inspired by Philippians 2:1-8. A brochure will be mailed soon to congregations. For questions, contact the Workcamp Office at .

2015 workcamp schedule

Find the full workcamp schedule with links to descriptions of each workcamp and a picture key identifying the different types of work at each site, at . The key provides a rough guide to the five different types of work: emphasis on relational service, gardening and eco-service, construction and painting etc., food bank or soup kitchen, thrift store or packaging clothes.

Junior high workcamps for those who have completed 6th-8th grade:
June 21-25 at the John Kline Homestead in Broadway, Va., $275
June 22-26 at Camp Pine Lake in Iowa, $275
July 1-5 hosted by Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, Ill., $275
July 22-26 hosted by Prince of Peace Church of the Brethren in South Bend, Ind., $275
July 29-Aug 2 partnering with On Earth Peace and the Brethren Housing Association in Harrisburg, Pa., $275
Aug 5-9 hosted by Brooklyn (N.Y.) First Church of the Brethren, $275
Aug 5-9 hosted by First Church of the Brethren in Roanoke, Va., $275

Senior high workcamps for those having completed 9th grade through age 19:
June 7-14 at Camp Wilbur Stover in Idaho, $325
June 8-13 at Koinonia Farm in Americus, Ga., $395
June 14-20 at a project site of Brethren Disaster Ministries, to be determined, $285
June 14-20 in New Orleans, La., $425
June 21-27 at Pine Ridge Reservation in Kyle, S.D., $455
June 28-July 4 at the Family Abuse Center in Waco, Texas, $335
July 5-11 at ECHO in N. Fort Myers, Fla., $375
July 5-11 at Innisfree in Crozet, Va., $325
July 19-25 partnering with Baltimore (Md.) County Christian Workcamp, $325
July 20-26 hosted by Camp Carmel working with Crossnore School in Crossnore, N.C., $325
July 20-26 hosted by York Center Church of the Brethren in Lombard, Ill., $325
July 27-Aug 2 hosted by Olympic View Church of the Brethren in Seattle, Wash., $325
July 27-Aug 2 at the Brethren Nutrition Program in Washington, D.C., $325
Aug 9-15 co-sponsored by the Brethren Revival Fellowship (BRF) at New Horizons Ministries in Colorado, $335
Aug 9-15 hosted by Bittersweet Ministries in Los Angeles, Calif., $425

Intergenerational workcamps for youth and adults who have completed 6th grade and older:
June 14-20 at Camp Mardela on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, $325
June 20-27 co-sponsored by the Brethren Revival Fellowship (BRF) in Lewiston, Maine, $325

Young adult workcamps for those ages 18-35:
May 29-June 7 in the Dominican Republic, $700
June 29-July 2 We Are Able Assistants at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., $375

We Are Able:
June 29-July 2 We Are Able, a workcamp for youth and young adults with intellectual disabilities, ages 16-23, in New Windsor, Md., $375

Registration will open Jan. 8, 2015, at . Registrations will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis starting at 7 p.m. (central time) on Jan. 8. A $150 non-refundable deposit will be due seven days after receipt of registration confirmation, with the full balance of the registration fee due by April 1, 2015. For more information go to .

2) Presenters are announced for NOAC 2015

The major presenters, preachers, and performers at the 2015 National Older Adult Conference (NOAC) have been announced. The event on the theme “then Jesus told them a story…” (Matthew 13:34-35, CEV) is planned for Sept. 7-11 at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center in western North Carolina.

NOAC is a Spirit-filled gathering of adults who love learning and discerning together, exploring God’s call for their lives and living out that call by sharing their energy, insight, and legacy with their families, communities, and the world. NOAC is sponsored by the Older Adult Ministry of Congregational Life Ministries. Kim Ebersole serves as NOAC coordinator and director of Family Life and Older Adult Ministries. Serving as NOAC assistant for 2015 is Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) worker Laura Whitman of Palmyra, Pa.

Preaching for NOAC 2015 will be

Robert Neff, associate for Resource Development at the Village at Morrisons Cove, a Church of the Brethren retirement community in Pennsylvania, president emeritus at Juniata College, and a former general secretary of the Church of the Brethren

Chris Smith, a minister in the Covenant Baptist Church in Wickliffe, Ohio, and author of “Beyond the Stained Glass Ceiling: Equipping and Encouraging Female Pastors,” who was a popular speaker at the Intercultural Ministries Luncheon at this year’s Annual Conference

LaDonna Sanders Nkosi, “global pastor” and public poet, and pastor of First Church of the Brethren in Chicago, Ill.

Keynote presenters are

Ken Medema, a Christian musician who for four decades has inspired people through storytelling and music, with a unique ability to capture the spirit of the moment in word and song. Though blind from birth, he sees and hears with heart and mind.

Brian McLaren, a well known author, speaker, activist, and public theologian. A former college English teacher and pastor, he is an ecumenical global networker among innovative Christian leaders.

Deanna Brown, founder and facilitator of Cultural Connections, an international pilgrimage connecting women from the USA with women in India (and more recently in Turkey).

Morning Bible studies will be led by Robert Bowman, a Church of the Brethren pastor and former missionary, and retired associate professor of Biblical Studies at Manchester University.

Musical and dramatic performances will be given by Terra Voce, a cello and flute duo, and comedian Bob Stromberg.

For more information about NOAC 2015, and an original poem inspired by the theme titled “then Jesus” by NOAC planning team member Jim Kinsey, go to . More information will be added to this website as planning progresses. Registration materials will be available in Spring 2015.

3) Webinar will explore relationship between farm workers and gardens

A webinar on the topic “For We Are Co-Workers in God’s Service” is planned for Tuesday, Nov. 18, at 7 p.m. (eastern time) to explore the relationship between farm workers and gardens.

Lindsay Andreolli-Comstock

Where do our fruits and vegetables come from? Who is responsible for seeing that these foods are harvested for us to buy and eat? What are the lives of these farm workers like? And how does our faith connect us to our brothers and sisters who do this work?

Through the Going to the Garden grant initiative of the Office of Public Witness and Global Food Crisis Fund, this webinar will focus on issues surrounding the national farm workers movement to create better work and living standards. The webinar will hear from individuals deeply involved with the National Farm Worker Ministry (NFWM) and the NFWM’s Youth and Young Adult network in order to understand what these two groups are doing to support farm workers. It also will discuss how individuals can show support and solidarity in their own communities through initiatives like Going to the Garden.


Nico Gumbs

Lindsay Andreolli-Comstock, an ordained Baptist minister and human-trafficking specialist, serves as executive director of the National Farm Worker Ministry. She served for four years as a human-trafficking specialist in Southeast Asia. She is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Alliance of Baptists and a doctoral candidate at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

Nico Gumbs is the Florida state coordinator of the National Farm Worker Ministry’s youth-led program, YAYA. He has been in the agriculture sector most of his life, from growing up on a farm in avocado groves, to more than eight years with Future Farmers of America (FFA), and now active in the farmworker movement for more than three years.

Daniel McClain

Daniel McClain is director of Program Operations for Graduate Theological Programs at Loyola University Maryland. His areas of research and publishing include the doctrine of creation, theologies of education and formation, political theology, and theologies of art and image. In addition to these areas, he also has led classes and workshops on the theology and ethics of work and creativity.

Join us as we discuss how farm workers are organizing, how individuals and groups are becoming involved, and what we can all do about it in our own communities and churches. To register for this webinar, send an e-mail to with your name and contact information.

— Katie Furrow recently began a term of Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) working with the Church of the Brethren Office of Public Witness.


4) Russell Matteson named district executive for Pacific Southwest District

Russell L. Matteson has accepted a call to serve Pacific Southwest District as district executive, beginning Jan. 16, 2015. He has 18 years of experience in ministry, currently serving as co-pastor of Modesto (Calif.) Church of the Brethren with his wife, Erin Matteson.

Previously the Mattesons co-pastored Fellowship in Christ Fremont (Calif.) Church of the Brethren from June 1993 to July 1996. Additionally, he served as director of Marketing and Sales for Brethren Press from July 1999 to August 2003, and was a youth worker with Brethren Volunteer Service from September 1988 to August 1989.

His leadership in Pacific Southwest District has included service on the Program Committee, Ethics Committee, Financial Task Force, and Camp Peaceful Pines Program Committee, where he has been chair and has served on the Executive Committee. Denominationally, he has been a worship coordinator for the 2012 Young Adult Conference, presenter at Annual Conference sessions related to technology and creativity in worship, and served on the Worship Planning Committee for the 2015 Annual Conference.

He holds master of divinity degree from Bethany Theological Seminary, and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Grinnell College.

The Pacific Southwest District Office will continue to be located in La Verne, Calif.

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

5) Brethren bits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contributors to this issue of Newsline include Deborah Brehm, Kim Ebersole, Mary Jo Flory-Steury, Theresa Ford, Katie Furrow, Bryan Hanger, Mary Kay Heatwole, Nathan Hosler, Ferol Labash, Kendall Rogers, Walt Wiltschek, Andrew Wright, David Young, and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren. The next issue of Newsline is scheduled for Nov. 4. Newsline is produced by the News Services of the Church of the Brethren. Contact the editor at . Newsline appears every week, with special issues as needed. Stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source.<

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