Brethren Bits for April 29, 2016

Heifer International is holding a special event at DePaul Art Museum in Chicago, Ill., titled “Beyond Hunger 2016: Communities of Change.” The event on May 19, from 6:30-8 p.m., will honor and recognize the contributions Heifer’s community of donors and volunteers make to ending hunger and poverty around the world. Participants will have an opportunity to hear about Heifer’s plans for 2016 and beyond, as well as explore the current exhibits at the museum from 6-6:30 p.m. and enjoy live music by guitarist Bruno Alcalde. The program will include Heifer International’s CEO, Pierre Ferrari, as keynote speaker. For more information contact Beth Gunzel, Community Engagement Coordinator, at 312-340-8866 or .

— Remembrance: Harriet Finney, 75, a former moderator of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference and a former district executive for South Central Indiana District, died on April 26 at Timbercrest Senior Living Community in North Manchester, Ind. She was born Dec. 8, 1940, in Chicago, Ill., to Ammon and Blanche (Miller) Wenger. She held a degree in elementary education from Manchester College (now Manchester University); a master’s degree in education from Ball State University; and a Master of Divinity from Bethany Theological Seminary. On Aug. 19, 1962, she married Ron Finney. Early in her professional career she worked as an elementary teacher in Indiana and Colorado. Her career in ministry began at Northern Colorado Church of the Brethren, now Peace Community Church of the Brethren in Windsor, Colo., where she was licensed and ordained. She also served pastorates at churches in Indiana. From 1993-2004 she was a co-team district executive minister for South Central Indiana District, serving with her husband Ron. In 2003 she served as the moderator of Annual Conference. She retired in 2004. She was a member of Eel River Community Church of the Brethren in Silver Lake, Ind. She is survived by husband Ron Finney of North Manchester, Ind.; son David (Kate) Finney of Plymouth, Ind.; daughter Susan Finney of North Manchester, Ind.; and grandchildren. A funeral service will be held at Eel River Community Church of the Brethren in Silver Lake, Ind., at 3 p.m. today, Friday, April 29. A fellowship time will follow the service. Memorial gifts are received to Manchester Early Learning Center care of the Community Foundation of Wabash County. Find the full obituary at .

— Remembrance: Bryan L. Boyer, 57, a former district executive for Pacific Southwest District, and husband of Susan Boyer, a pastor at La Verne (Calif.) Church of the Brethren, died unexpectedly on April 23. He was born in Anaheim, Calif., to Margaret and James Boyer, the youngest of four children. He held a degree in history and psychology from the University of La Verne, Calif.; a master’s degree in counseling from Cal State Fullerton; a Master of Divinity degree from Bethany Theological Seminary; and a Psy.D. degree from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology. While in college he met Susan Stern and they were married in 1982. Together they had two sons, Matthew Boyer (San Francisco, Calif.) and Brett Boyer (Oakland, Calif.) who is married to Brendon Wilharber. His work life was varied and included service as a pastor, district executive minister, adjunct professor, licensed clinical psychologist, and clinic supervisor. In previous years he ran four different outpatient clinics in Indiana. For the last eight years he worked for the Department of Behavioral Health in San Bernardino County, Calif., as a clinic supervisor working with the severely and persistently mentally ill. In addition to service as a pastor, his work for the Church of the Brethren included leadership of Pacific Southwest District as district executive minister from 2003-2007. He was a member of La Verne (Calif.) Church of the Brethren, where his memorial service will be held on Wednesday, May 4, at 2 p.m. All who wish to share in celebrating his life, mourning his death, and supporting his family are welcome to attend. Memorial gifts are received to the New Community Project.

— Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) seeks an employee benefits specialist to fill a full-time position based at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. The primary function is to perform the daily operations of the pension, insurance, and Church Workers’ Assistance Plans, and provide plan information to staff and participants, as requested. Duties include maintaining a working knowledge of all pension and insurance systems and products; reviewing and analyzing Church Workers’ Assistance Plan grant applications; maintaining/processing daily operational work for Pension and Insurance; assisting with maintaining the Pension Plan Summary Plan Description and Plan Highlights; and maintaining the Legal Plan Document Supplements. The ideal candidate will have knowledge in employee benefits, including an understanding of pension and health and welfare plans. This position requires a person who is very detail oriented, with the ability to prioritize workloads; proficient with computer systems and applications; exceptional organizational and telephone skills; and, impeccable follow-up abilities. The candidate must be able to interact effectively with customers to provide information in response to inquiries about products and services and to handle and resolve complaints. BBT seeks candidates with strong verbal and written communications skills, proficiency in Microsoft Office, and a demonstrated track record of providing superior customer service and a willingness and ability to expand knowledge and effectiveness through classes, workshops, and pursuit of professional designations. Current and active membership in the Church of the Brethren is preferred; current and active membership in a faith community is required. Salary and benefits are competitive with Church Benefits Association agencies of comparable size and scope of services. A full benefits package is included. Send a letter of interest, résumé, three professional references, and salary-range expectation to Donna March at 1505 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120, or . For more information visit .

— Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, Ill., is holding a series of Sunday school classes for adults in May focused on the subject of mental illness. The adult elective church school class on May 1, 8, and 15 will focus on mental health as a social justice issue. Speakers will include a member of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and a panel of professionals working to divert mentally ill persons from the criminal justice system in Kane County, Ill., including Clint Hull, presiding judge in the Mental Health Court in the 16th Judicial Circuit Court, as well as an officer with the City of Elgin Police Department, and a supervisor of Mental Health Services at the Kane County Jail, and Rick Vander Forest, director of Social Services and Facilities.

— The Virlina District Historical Committee is sponsoring a “150 Year Anniversary Celebration of District Work in Virginia” at Camp Bethel near Fincastle, Va., on June 11. Annual Conference moderator Andy Murray, a native of Cloverdale Church of the Brethren in Botetourt County, Va., will be the keynote speaker.

— Residents and staff at Spurgeon Manor, a Church of the Brethren-related retirement community in Dallas Center, Iowa, will be celebrating National Nursing Home Week on May 8-14 with the theme, “It’s a Small WORLD with a Big HEART!” Events will include a Fun Fair, with games, entertainment, food, and more, as well as an afternoon of bingo on Friday, May 13 starting at 2 p.m. and followed by ice cream sundaes. An announcement noted the spirit of the celebration: “Staff and residents view each other in the spirit of family, and the daily pursuit of health and happiness occurs while recognizing the staff who face each day with a sense of purpose and compassion.” Family, friends, and community are invited to stop in to the manor during this special week.

Betty Ann Cherry


— The Juniata College commencement address will be delivered by Betty Ann Cherry of Huntingdon, Pa., a Church of the Brethren member and professor emerita of history at the college in Huntingdon. The ceremony on May 14 at 10 a.m. will be Juniata’s 138th commencement. “A historian by profession, Cherry’s background is interwoven with the history of Juniata College,” said a release. The daughter of Calvert Ellis, president of Juniata College 1943-68, and Elizabeth Wertz Ellis, she was professor of history 1962-98, and was married to the late Ronald Cherry, professor of economics and business administration 1958-98. During her teaching career at the college, she taught a variety of general education courses most notably the “Great Epochs” courses, which were the first interdisciplinary, team-taught courses at Juniata. She also taught courses in the history of science, ancient Greece and medieval history. Cherry received the Beachley Award for Distinguished Academic Service in 1990 and received the Beachley Distinguished Professor Award in 1998. She was named Juniata’s “Woman of the Year” in 1995 and 1998. She is a member of the American Historical Association and Phi Alpha Theta. She received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree in 2005. Cherry remains active in the Church of the Brethren and is a former moderator at Stone Church of the Brethren in Huntingdon. She is in her second term as chair of the Middle District Pennsylvania Coordinating Team.


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