Brethren Bits for Jan. 21, 2015


Service Sunday, a day of worship that celebrates the Church of the Brethren’s rich history of living out its faith through service, will be recognized on Feb. 1. Congregations and leaders are asked to use this Sunday to recognize all who serve. This year’s theme, “Side by Side: Imitating Christ’s Humility,” is based on Philippians 2:1-4. Worship resources surrounding this theme are available at .

— Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., seeks a dynamic and energetic leader with fundraising experience to serve as executive director of Institutional Advancement. As senior administrator and primary fundraiser, this person will lead fundraising efforts with creative and proven strategic approaches to successfully position the seminary for the future as well as cultivate and deepen relationships with alumni/ae, supporters, and friends in the Church of the Brethren. Founded in 1905, Bethany is the Church of the Brethren graduate school for theological education. It seeks to equip spiritual and intellectual leaders with an Incarnational education for ministering, proclaiming, and living out God’s shalom and Christ’s peace in the church and world. Bethany’s educational program bears witness to the beliefs, heritage, and practices of the Church of the Brethren in the context of the whole Christian tradition. In partnerships with Earlham School of Religion, the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center, and the Church of the Brethren denomination, Bethany embodies ecumenical cooperation in the Anabaptist-Pietist tradition and innovation in programming, curriculum design, and economic stewardship. The new executive director of Institutional Advancement will join the seminary at an exciting time of growth and innovation as the Seminary expands program, institutes new initiatives for residential and distance learners, and continues to raise its profile in the Church of the Brethren and larger ecumenical community. A full position description is at . Interested individuals should provide a letter outlining their interest in and qualifications for the position, resume, and names and contact information for three references. Reviews of applications will begin Feb. 1, and continue until an appointment is made. Applications and nominations may be submitted electronically or by mail to: Rev. Dr. Jeff Carter, President, Bethany Theological Seminary, 615 National Road West, Richmond, IN 47374-4019; .

— Creation Justice Ministries, formerly the National Council of Churches (NCC) Eco-Justice program, is seeking candidates for the position of executive director. Reporting to the Board of Directors, the executive director will have overall strategic and operational responsibility for Creation Justice Ministries’ programs and execution of its mission. The overarching responsibility will be to continue and enhance the program ministries and encourage and enable member communions to address eco-justice issues through their own programs. Creation Justice Ministries, headquartered in Washington, D.C., is an ecumenical organization representing the creation care policies of 38 Christian denominations including mainline Protestant, Orthodox, Baptist, and peace churches. Based on the priorities of its members, it educates, equips, and mobilizes Christian communions/denominations to protect God’s Creation, providing collaborative opportunities to build ecumenical community and raising a collective witness in the public arena echoing Christ’s call for just relationships among all of Creation. A detailed position description is available. The position is located in Washington, D.C. A competitive salary and benefits package commensurate with experience is offered. Apply by sendin resume, salary requirements, cover letter, and three references to . Applications will be reviewed starting March 16.

— The Church of the Brethren is seeking to fill the position of 2015 Brethren Historical Library and Archives (BHLA) intern. The purpose of the BHLA intern program is to develop interest in vocations related to archives, libraries, and Brethren history. The program will provide the intern with work assignments in the BHLA and with opportunities to develop professional contacts. A full position posting is available. Interested candidates may request an application packet by contacting: Office of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Avenue, Elgin, IL 60120; ; 800-323-8039 ext. 367. All submissions must be completed by April 1.

— The Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., provided warehouse space for the city’s annual Martin Luther King Day Food Drive. This was the fourth year in a row the denomination provided facilities for the drive which collected canned and boxed foods from congregations, businesses, community groups, and individuals. The food was delivered to the warehouse space at the church’s General Offices, sorted by youth volunteers from the community, and then donated to area food pantries to be distributed to people in need. Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren was one of the congregations that helped collect the food. More than 8,400 pounds of food was sorted with help from youth who participate in the Boys and Girls Club. Joe Wars, who formerly served on the city’s human rights commission, organized the drive. Don Knierem from the Church of the Brethren staff also worked with the event.

— The Youth and Young Adult Office welcomed the Young Adult Steering Committee to the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., last week. Members of the committee include Jess Hoffert, Heather Houff Landram, Amanda McLearn-Montz, Mark Pickens, and Kyle Remnant. The group was led by Laura Whitman and assisted by Kristen Hoffman, in their planning for the 2015 Young Adult Conference.

— “The students of Christopher Dock Mennonite High School attended a powerful presentation on Wednesday by Musa Mambula, the national spiritual adviser for Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN), also known as the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria,” reported Eric Fitzsimmons of “The Reporter” newspaper in Lansdale, Pa. Mambula has been on a lengthy speaking tour in Pennsylvania and other areas, and is receiving coverage from local media. The Reporter article noted that Mambula spoke about the history of the Brethren movement in Nigeria “and its founders commitment to loving ‘like Jesus. Standing with those who are at the margins, loving even their enemies, praying for those who persecuted them.’ A love, Mambula continued, ‘that precludes violence and killing.’” Read the full article at .

— The Council of District Executives is holding its winter meeting Jan. 15-22 in Florida. Also meeting concurrently are other denominational leadership groups including the Inter-Agency Forum and the Annual Conference officers.

— Bethany Seminary’s next Engage campus visit day is March 27. “Engage is an opportunity for prospective students to experience a day on the Bethany campus attending classes, worship, and meeting with faculty and current students,” said an announcement. “This is an excellent opportunity to explore the possibility of pursuing theological education and to discover what makes Bethany unique and distinctive. Come experience Bethany by joining others and our community for a day of study, worship, information, and discernment.” Find more information, a tentative schedule, and registration for Engage at .

— Since October, On Earth Peace’s Nonviolent Social Change ministry has been applying the organizing skills of Kingian nonviolence to the issues that have been publicly framed by Michael Brown’s killing in Ferguson, Mo., reported the On Earth Peace newsletter this week. “Our Racial Justice Strategy and Research Team has conducted more than 20 conversations with people in and beyond our current constituency, as the team identifies ways that On Earth Peace might encourage or catalyze our supporters and congregations to challenge extrajudicial killings of people of color and related issues.” Team members and advisors include Tami Grandison, Matt Knieling, Ashley Olson, Sharon Crossen, Bill Scheurer, Beth Gunzel, Tobé Ekwealor, Gail Atchinson, Melisa Grandison, and Matt Guynn. The team’s first phase of work is expected to complete in late January, the newsletter reported.

Image courtesy of Pacific Southwest District

— Pacific Southwest District is celebrating the installation of Russ Matteson as district executive minister on Feb. 28 from 3:30-4:30 p.m. “Plan now to join the PSWD Policy Board for this special time of consecration at Pomona Fellowship Church of the Brethren,” said an announcement in the district newsletter.

— In more news from Pacific Southwest, the district already has released the theme and logo for its 2015 district conference planned for Nov. 13-15 at Hillcrest, a Church of the Brethren-related retirement community in La Verne, Calif. Led by moderator Eric Bishop, the conference will focus on the theme, “Justice: Called to Be Just Christians” (Matthew 5:1-12 and 25:33-45). Follow the moderator’s blog at .

— The Global Women’s Project has welcomed Carol Leland of Harrisonburg, Va., as a new member on its steering committee. She is joining steering committee members Pearl Miller of Warrensburg, Mo.; Kim Hill Smith of Minneapolis, Minn.; Emily Matteson of Modesto, Calif.; Tina Rieman of El Cerrito, Calif.; and Anke Pietsch of Lebanon, Ohio. Among resources for upcoming events offered by the Global Women’s Project are resources for celebrating International Women’s Day on Sunday, March 8. “GWP has a number of beautiful writings and ideas for celebrating women on our website at . Just click on the tab for International Women’s Day Resources. We are continually adding to our resources for this important day,” said the newsletter. Another Global Women’s Project resource is the annual Lenten Devotional Calendar. Last year’s calendar designed with help from Etch Marketing and Design Studio–a student-run, nonprofit marketing and graphic design firm affiliated with McPherson (Kan.) College–was so popular that it was printed a second time. Order individually or multiple copies for a church or receive a page of the calendar by e-mail each day through Lent, beginning Ash Wednesday, Feb. 18. Contact .

— Winter Park (Fla.) Church of the Brethren celebrates its 90th anniversary on Feb. 15. The celebration begins at 10 a.m. and will include a service led by pastor Robert Dunlap, and a video presentation “90 Years & Going Strong.” “Many visitors, former members, and pastors who’ve been a big part of the ministry over the years have been invited,” said an announcement. A lunch in the adjacent Bethany Fellowship Hall will be provided for everyone who has come to help celebrate. Streaming online at will be provided. For more information contact Tanya Hastler, 407-644-3981 or .

— Frederick (Md.) Church of the Brethren is hosting “A Night to Remember: A Ken Medema Concert” on Saturday, Feb. 14. Dessert starts at 7 p.m., and the concert is from 7:30-9 p.m. in the sanctuary. Tickets are $10 per person. “Save the date!” said the church newsletter.

— Virlina District is planning Pilgrimage XIX for March 13-15 at Camp Bethel. The event is an annual spiritual retreat for adults of all ages. “It is for the young and old, for the new Christian and the one who has been a Christian for decades,” said an announcement in the district newsletter. “Pilgrimage is for everyone because no matter where a person is on his or her faith journey, it is always good to take another step and draw closer to God.” The weekend includes talks, small groups, fun, worship, and more. For more information contact 336-765-5263 or .

— The next classes in the Ventures series hosted by McPherson (Kan.) College will be held on Feb. 7 and March 14. The Feb. 7 courses will be taught by J.D. Bowman on the topics “Innovation on a Timeline: Embracing Your Creativity Angles” (morning) and “Come to the Table, but Bring Your Crayons” (afternoon). The March 14 courses will be taught by Bob Bowman and are titled “Reading the Bible for Spiritual Growth” and “Reading Church History for Spiritual Growth.” Each course costs $15 and will be taught online. Go to for more details and how to register.

— Bridgewater (Va.) College is hosting a presentation by Rais Bhuiyan, who just weeks after the tragic events of 9/11 was shot in the face by a white supremacist, who at that time called himself “the Arab slayer.” Bhuiyan, a Bangladeshi American, will speak on “The Healing and Transforming Power of Forgiveness” at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 4, in Cole Hall, said a release from the college. “The man who shot him was Mark Stroman, who confessed to shooting Bhuiyan and killing two other South Asians. He was sentenced to death. After conferring with the families of the other victims, Bhuiyan worked to save Stroman’s life with pleas for clemency that, in 2011, reached the US Supreme Court,” the release said. “Even though Stroman was executed in July 2011, Bhuiyan continues his World Without Hate campaign to promote healing, compassion, and forgiveness. Bhuiyan was named a 2011 American of the Year by Esquire magazine. He received the national 2011 Peace and Justice Award from the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Excellence for Human Service Award from United for Change.” His presentation is co-sponsored by the Anna B. Mow Lecture Series and the college’s Center for International Education. The event is free and open to the public.

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