Brethren Bits for Feb. 3, 2015

As Brethren seek ways to reach out to members of our sister church in Nigeria, Larry Glick is available to present a special program. Glick is well known for his portrayals of leaders from Brethren history including Brethren founder A. Mack (Alexander Mack Sr.) and Civil War-era elder and martyr for peace John Kline (see photo above). The special program for Nigeria will include a time of worship, the story of Elder John Kline, a video presentation on the crisis in Nigeria, and will conclude with an opportunity to contribute to the Nigeria Crisis Fund. Contact Larry Glick at .

— Fahrney-Keedy Home and Village, a Church of the Brethren-related continuing care retirement community near Boonsboro, Md., has announced the retirement of CEO and president Keith Bryan. Bryan, who has been the chief executive since 2010, will retire on Dec. 31. He shared in a release: “The time has come for me to begin planning for my retirement… This decision does not come without prayer and discussion with my family.” Chair of the Board of Directors, Lerry Fogle, commented, “During his tenure as CEO/president, Keith has guided us through some challenging times.  He has returned the organization to financial soundness, restructured and worked on operational efficiency, strongly networked Fahrney-Keedy with the larger community, worked to strengthen the executive team and the board, and played a significant role in developing strategic and master plans for future expansion and development.  Fahrney-Keedy is a better community because of Keith’s valued leadership. We will be looking for a chief executive to continue strong leadership, strategic thinking, and overall excellence for the community into the future.” The Board of Directors has begun an executive search, said the release.

— Jeffrey A. Bach, director of the Young Center and associate professor of religious studies at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College, has succeeded Dale. V. Ulrich as the Church of the Brethren member of the Brethren Encyclopedia, Inc. Board of Directors. The announcement came in the Winter 2014 issue of “Brethren Encyclopedia News.” Bach has served as editor of the Brethren Encyclopedia Monograph Series since 2007. Ulrich retired from the board in Oct. 2013 and was appointed to an Honorary Membership after serving as secretary since the board’s formation in 1977–a position he held for 36 years. He is the only surviving original member of the Brethren Encyclopedia Inc. Board of Directors and was a participant in the first meeting of the Brethren bodies called by M.R. Zigler in June 1973. He attended each of the board’s biannual meetings, recorded the proceedings, wrote the minutes of the meetings, participated in development of five Brethren World Assemblies, and playing a large role in preparation of Volume 4 of the Brethren Encyclopedia after the death of Donald F. Durnbaugh. In 2005 he began producing the catalog, and since 2002 he has published the annual newsletter. Previously he was a professor of physics at Bridgewater (Va.) College for 14 years, dean of the college for 15 years, and provost for 9 years.

— In more news from the Brethren Encyclopedia Inc., the organization has made a plea for financial help for the Alexander Mack Museum in Schwarzenau, Germany–the village that witnessed the birth of the Brethren movement and the first baptisms in the Eder River in 1708. With initiative from the late Donald F. Durnbaugh, an endowment was created in the 1980s to support a museum in the Hüttental area above Schwarzenau where the first Brethren lived. “The endowment for the Alexander Mack Museum (now $40,000) was sufficient to support operations for many years,” the newsletter reported. “Because investments in Germany are yielding exceedingly low interest rates at this time, the endowment produced an income of only $500 in 2013–far below the $4,300 needed.” The board of the Brethren Encyclopedia Inc. has set a goal of establishing an additional endowment of $40,000 invested in the US, “which would provide adequate diversity of investment and stable support for the Museum.” Contact Brethren Encyclopedia Inc., 10 South Broad St., Lititz, PA 17543.

— Lakewood Church of the Brethren in Millbury, Ohio, will host a presentation by Carl and Roxane Hill, co-directors of the Nigeria Crisis Response of the Church of the Brethren, tomorrow, Wednesday, Feb. 4. The event was announced in the “Sentinel-Tribune” of Bowling Green, Ohio. The Hills previously have served as mission workers at Kulp Bible College of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa in Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). “The presentation will conclude a local church sponsored day of fasting and prayer for the people ravaged by the terrorists in Nigeria,” the newspaper reported. The Hills’ presentation will start at 7 p.m., preceded by a light dinner served at 6 p.m. for anyone wishing to attend.

— Roundtable, a Church of the Brethren regional youth conference, takes place at Bridgewater (Va.) College on March 20-22. The theme, “Follower and Friend: Our Relationship with God,” is inspired by John 15:12-17. The speaker will be Carol Elmore, minister of youth and music at Oak Grove Church of the Brethren in Roanoke, Va. Friday night entertainment will feature Jessica Crawford, a Christian recording artist and former member of the youth group at Bridgewater Church of the Brethren. The event also includes small groups, workshops, a variety show, singing, vespers, recreation, and more. Participants will stay on the college campus for the weekend and eat their meals in the dining hall. Estimated cost is $50 per participant. The event is for high school age youth and adult advisors. Information is being posted, with registration opening soon, at . For questions e-mail .

— Southern Pennsylvania District is challenging its congregations and members to raise $250,000 for the Nigeria Crisis Fund by the time of the 2015 district conference in September. The challenge was issued by the district board, and shared in the district newsletter. As a way of celebrating attaining the goal, two district members–Larry Dentler, an ardent Farmall fan, and Chris Elliott, a John Deere aficionado–will exchange tractors for a day, the newsletter said. “Brother Dentler is already being teased by Brother Elliott about how wonderful it will be to see him on a green tractor.”

— Each year, McPherson (Kan.) College offers travel opportunities during spring break that students can spend their time serving others, said an announcement in the Western Plains District newsletter. Two Alternative Spring Break trips will be offered this year from March 16-20. One option will take students to the Heifer Ranch in Arkansas, with opportunities to experience team building, along with service activities like milking a goats or harvesting vegetables, while learning how Heifer International functions. The second Alternative Spring Break trip is to the Lybrook Community Ministries and Tokahookaadi Church of the Brethren in New Mexico. “The Lybrook Community Ministries is experiencing growth and rejuvenation and our students will have the opportunity to be a part of it,” said the newsletter. “They will spend the week working on houses in the community, assist with cooking at the mission, work in the thrift store, and possibly assist with setting up the spring garden. The evenings will be spent participating in community activities offered by Lybrook Community Ministries such as GED class, craft night, carpentry class, etc. They might even have an opportunity to learn some of the Navajo native language.” Students are not asked to pay for the cost of Alternative Spring Break trips. Some of the necessary funds are raised, but the college is still looking for 20 people to sponsor a student’s Alternative Spring Break trip at $150 each. Contact Jen Jensen, director of Spiritual Life and Service Learning, at or 620-242-0503.

— The Shenandoah District Service Ministries Team is awarding grants to congregations that are ready to take on a new service project, said an announcement in the district newsletter. “In 2014, the Service Ministries Team approved seven $1,000 grants to congregations across the District,” the newsletter reported, listing some of the service projects supported: Antioch Church’s “Welcome Home” ministry for persons moving from homelessness to new homes; Briery Branch’s restoration of a local residence for a family of five; Concord’s new well and associated plumbing; the start of a new thrift shop by Mt. Zion/Linville to support an orphanage in Haiti; Mt. Zion/Luray’s support for a pre-med student who volunteers in Kenya; Staunton workcamp experience in Mexico; an outreach ministry called the Connection by White Hill joining with other Stuarts Draft congregations. “Christ’s work is being done in the Shenandoah District!” the newsletter said.

— Shenandoah District’s Pastors for Peace will hold its annual “Peace Feast” Living Peace Recognition Banquet at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 17, at Staunton (Va.) Church of the Brethren. This fifth annual banquet will recognize the work of Church of the Brethren peacemakers the late R. Jan Thompson and Roma Jo Thompson, who have been members of Bridgewater (Va.) Church of the Brethren. Evan Knappenberger, a member of Veterans for Peace, will speak; and special music will be provided by Scott Duffey. Cost is $15 for adults and $10 for students. Registration and payment are due to the district office by March 10. For a flier go to .

— The first event in celebration of the 90th Anniversary of Camp Mack in Milford, Ind., is a Sweetheart Banquet “for all those who love Camp Mack,” said an invitation. The Sweetheart Banquet is on Feb 14. “This will be a very special evening beginning with hors d’oeuvres at 5 p.m., followed by dinner at 6 p.m. Special recognition will go to those who met or were married at Camp Mack,” said the invitation. The banquet features a photo booth, dancing, shrimp cocktail, prime rib, chocolate, and flowers. Register online at or call 574-658-4831.

— Southeastern District Church of the Brethren has issued an invitation to a reception for Mandy Rocker, administrator of the John M. Reed Home Home and Healthcare, a Church of the Brethren-related retirement community in Limestone, Tenn. The celebration takes place on Feb. 5 at 2 p.m. “Come and meet the staff, see the remodeled facilities, and share in the celebration of Mandy’s graduation and licensing as well as the Five Star rating from the State,” said the invitation. Contact 423-257-6122.

— Bridgewater (Va.) College and 14 other private, nonprofit colleges in the Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia and the US Department of Energy have joined forces to help develop comprehensive plans for implementing solar power on area campuses, said a Bridgewater release. “Money for the three-year program will come through the CICV via an $807,000 award provided by the Department of Energy SunShot Initiative. The program will help Bridgewater and partner schools navigate complex legal, regulatory, and technical challenges associated with installing solar-powered systems. It will also provide group purchasing to achieve price reductions for hardware and installation services and create a learning network accessible by other organizations considering solar power.” Consulting services will be provided by Optony, Inc., a global consulting firm focused on solar energy. The project is to create and implement a replicable plan for participating institutions to deploy solar electricity within five years.

— The Kansas Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (KIPCOR) in North Newton, Kan., is offering a two-day course “Managing Differences within Faith Communities” on April 23-24 from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. “Differences in the congregation don’t have to result in a polarization that leaves a congregation stuck in disagreement,” said an announcement. “Resilient congregations understand this. Still, many of us feel ill prepared to handle conflict within our faith communities.” The course will help participants learn how to transform conflict into spiritual and community renewal, focusing on biblical and theological principles; congregations as family systems; levels of conflict within faith communities; collaborative and transparent decision-making principles; structured dialogue in high-anxiety situations; and congregational discernment processes. Cost is $300 per person or, for congregations sending more than one member, $250 per person for two people or $200 per person for three or more. The course will be held at KIPCOR’s Kaufman House Training Facility at Bethel College. Academic credit, continuing education credit, and seminary credit are available. The instructors are Robert Yutzy, senior associate, Congregational Ministries; and Kirsten Zerger, KIPCOR director of Education and Training. Go to . For questions contact Doug Lengel, office manager, at 316-284-5217 or .

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