Brethren Bits for August 12, 2016

Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
The Annual Conference officers and Program and Arrangements Committee for the 2017 Conference met this week at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. The officers also held meetings with other groups who are helping plan for the denomination’s next annual meeting. Additionally, the General Offices this week hosted a meeting of the leadership team for the Ministers Association.


Correction: The new address of Northern Indiana District was incorrect in the last issue of Newsline. The correct address is 301 Mack Dr., Suite A, Nappanee, IN 46550.

The Global Mission and Service office is requesting prayer for the 24 pastors and church leaders who have completed the inaugural theological training class of l’Eglise des Freres d’Haiti (the Church of the Brethren in Haiti). Prayers also are requested for the third annual conference of the Haitian church, where some 150 people are expected to gather under the theme, “We Are All Brothers,” led by moderator Lisnel Hauter. The business agenda includes elections, determining priority for church construction, and changes to the church’s constitution.

Pleasant Dale Church of the Brethren in Fincastle, Va., celebrates its 100th anniversary on Sunday, Sept. 11. The worship service and celebration will be from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., followed by a potluck dinner. Owen G. Stultz, former associate pastor, will be the guest speaker. The White family will provide the special music.

Plymouth (Ind.) Church of the Brethren, which this year is celebrating 100 years in the city of Plymouth, has planned a number of special occasions. Two occurred earlier this year, but two are still to come: an outdoor worship service at Price’s Pond on Sunday, Aug. 14, starting at 10 a.m. and followed by a hot dog and corn roast; and a Homecoming Celebration on Sunday, Sept. 18, starting with a church service at 9:30 a.m. followed by a carry-in dinner at noon. The church invites all who have attended the congregation, and all the friends of the church who are interested in helping celebrate the anniversary.

Members and friends of Robins (Iowa) Church of the Brethren are invited to the closing service of the congregation on Saturday, Sept. 10, at 2 p.m. A time of fellowship and refreshments will follow. Northern Plains District has shared some of the history of the congregation, which got its start as Dry Creek German Baptist Church, organized in 1856. “This spring, due to age and infirmity, the remaining members decided to end worship services and close the congregation,” the district newsletter explained. The district board appointed a committee to work with the remaining members to dispose of the church property in accordance with Brethren polity, and to plan a closing celebration service. Jim Benedict, who grew up in the Robins Church and currently pastors Union Bridge (Md.) Church of the Brethren, will preach for the closing service.

Lancaster (Pa.) Church of the Brethren hosts “Justice Like Water” on Saturday, Aug. 20, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. “Join Gimbiya Kettering, director of Intercultural Ministries for the Church of the Brethren, for a day of discussion about race, immigration, and culture,” Said an invitation from Atlantic Northeast District. Cost is $10, which includes lunch and .3 units of continuing education credit for ministers. Go to .

The Renacer Fall Fundraiser will be held on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 25, starting at 1 p.m. at the Holiday Inn in Roanoke, Va. The event raises funds for the Renacer movement of Hispanic congregations in the Church of the Brethren. “This will be a great opportunity to get together with others to celebrate what God is doing in our midst through the ministry and outreach of Renacer Roanoke,” said an announcement. “Your prayers, attendance at services, and financial support are all greatly appreciated and very important in helping fulfill the mission of Renacer.” Because a number of businesses and individuals are participating in a sponsorship program, tickets are available at only $10 for adults and $5 for children age 10 and younger. The lunch menu will be a buffet including Chicken Marsala, roast sirloin of beef, salad, fruit and berries compote, and a number of side dishes as well as a selection of desserts, iced tea, and coffee. Pastor Daniel D’Oleo, the Renacer Dancers and Praise Team, and others from Renacer congregations will be sharing in music, dance and testimony. They will update us with exciting news of what our awesome God is doing in the ministry and mission of Renacer Roanoke. We encourage you to mark your calendar, make plans to attend, and bring others with you. To host a table of 10 for $100.00 or to purchase individual tickets, you may contact Pastor Daniel at (540) 892-8791 or e-mail him at

The annual World Hunger Auction takes place at Antioch Church of the Brethren in Rocky Mount, Va., on Saturday, Aug. 13, starting at 9:30 a.m. The auction includes the sale of crafts, quilts, toys, produce, baked and canned goods, special services, and much more. “Come early for the best selection,” said an invitation from Virlina District. “Through the first 30 years of the World Hunger Auction, the purpose has been to provide as much funding as possible to those facing hunger-related issues. With the exception of some expenses, all the money that is raised goes to organizations working toward that goal. The 10 Churches of the Brethren that sponsor the auction are blessed with the opportunity to serve; however, they do not receive any of the funds.” The money is distributed between Heifer International, Roanoke Area Ministries, the Church of the Brethren Global Food Initiative (formerly Global Food Crisis Fund), and Heavenly Manna, a food pantry in Rocky Mount.

The 46th Annual Dunker Church Service will be held in the restored Dunker Church at the Antietam National Battlefield in Sharpsburg, Md., on Sunday, Sept. 18, at 3 p.m. This service will take place on the 154th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam and commemorates the peace witness of the Brethren during the Civil War. Belita Mitchell, pastor at Harrisburg (Pa.) First Church of the Brethren, will be the preacher. The event is sponsored by Mid-Atlantic District and is open to the public. For more information contact one of the three Church of the Brethren pastors who are helping to coordinate the event: Eddie Edmonds at 304-267-4135, Audrey Hollenberg-Duffey at 301-733-3565, or Ed Poling at 301-766-9005.

Smith Mountain Lake Community Church of the Brethren will host a day-long event on the theme of reconciliation and peace, on Oct. 15. This “Peace Be Within Us Training Day” is a multi-generational workshop studying conflict resolution. “Based on instruction given in Matthew 18:15-17, this workshop will examine several aspects of conflict, steps to solutions God’s way, and greater personal growth,” said an announcement. The cost is $5 for adults and youth 12 years old and older. Children under 12 may attend for free. For more information or to register contact Smith Mountain Lake Community Church at 540-721-1816 or . Registrations are due by Oct. 7.

A Fraternity Old Meeting House worship service is planned for October. “The Fraternity congregation invites you to experience a unique Brethren worship service in the old 1860 Dunkard meetinghouse located at 4916 Charnel Rd., Winston-Salem [N.C.] on Saturday, Oct. 29, at 2 p.m.,” said an announcement. The worship service will be led by two groups that trace their heritage to this building: Mountain View Old German Baptist Brethren District in Rocky Mount, Va., and Fraternity Church of the Brethren in Winston-Salem. “Come and discover how Brethren in the 19th century worshiped God, and come to hear the beautiful sound of hymns of faith resonating off the wooden walls of this historic structure,” the announcement said. “Most of all, come to worship the Lord!” Following the service, refreshments will be served at Fraternity Church of the Brethren. For more information contact 336-765-0610 or .

The latest Dunker Punks podcast, a project sponsored by Arlington (Va.) Church of the Brethren, features Kevin Schatz and Erica Schatz Brown taking a break from preparing for a week at Camp La Verne in southern California to tell how they hear God speak through nature, friends, and fun. Dylan Dell-Haro returns as host and adds his challenges to make time to pay attention to God’s voice. Find the podcast created by Brethren young adults through the show page at .

Brethren Disaster Ministries supporters in Southern Ohio District have an opportunity to park cars at the Preble County (Ohio) Pork Festival to raise $1,500 for disaster relief. “About 200,000 people attend the 2-day event on Sept. 17 and 18,” said a district announcement. “There are 55 positions to fill, with most shifts being for 4 to 4 1/2 hours.” Hours start at 5:30 a.m. and some days extend to 8 p.m. Volunteers must be age 16 and older, and may work one shift or multiple shifts. All volunteers are asked to arrive 30 minutes early for their shift. To volunteer, contact Jim Shank at or 937-533-3800.

Nineteen Church of the Brethren members from Iowa and Minnesota have been on a Brethren heritage bus tour. The tour included a stop at Camp Alexander Mack in Milford, Ind., where the group “viewed the twelve 5.5- by 15-foot murals in the Quinter-Miller Auditorium tracing the history of the Church of the Brethren from its beginnings in Germany in 1708 to modern days,” wrote Northern Plains District executive Tim Button-Harrison on Facebook. “The capable presenter was my colleague Herman Kauffman, who recently retired as the Northern Indiana District executive.” Later stops included the John Kline Homestead and Linville Creek Church of the Brethren in Broadway, Va., among other sites of importance to the Brethren.

“Please mark your calendars for a special event at Camp Pine Lake,” said an invitation from Northern Plains District. During an all-ages event on Labor Day weekend the camp will hold a third annual “Songs of the Pines” on Saturday afternoon, Sept. 3, beginning at 2 p.m., followed by a fundraiser supper and pie auction, and a 7:30 p.m. concert by Jonathan Shively. The afternoon and evening will be filled with local musicians, storytellers, and talent sharing. Shively is a singer-songwriter who recently served the Church of the Brethren as executive director of Congregational Life Ministries, and previously directed the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership. Shively also will lead joint worship on Sunday with the all-ages camp participants and Ivester Church of the Brethren, with others invited to join in the worship service. Worship will begin at 10:30 a.m. followed by a lunch. A free-will offering will be taken. Sunday afternoon events include the camp tradition of a canoe trip down the river or on the lake. For more information contact Camp Pine Lake program director/pastor Barbara Wise Lewczak at 515-240-0060 or .

Atlantic Northeast District is highlighting a “Brethren presence” in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pa., on Saturday, Oct. 1, as part of an annual re-enactment of the Revolutionary War Battle of Germantown. “Ben Franklin Meets the Brethren/Dunkers,” a skit written by Jobie E. Riley, will be performed at Germantown Church of the Brethren as one of the day’s events. The district also is offering a “Philadelphia Brethren Heritage Tour” by bus on the same day. The bus tour departs at 8 a.m. from Ephrata (Pa.) Church of the Brethren and in addition to experiencing the Germantown activities, will also visit the site of the first Brethren baptism in North America and the site of Christopher Saur’s print shop that produced the first German Bible in North America. Cost for the bus tour is $60, which includes lunch. The deadline to register is Sept. 21. Go to .

The Brethren Disaster Relief Auction, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, will be held on Sept. 23-24 at the Lebanon (Pa.) Expo and Fairgrounds. Hours are 9 a.m.-9 p.m. on Friday, 7 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday. The auction is sponsored by the districts of Atlantic Northeast and Southern Pennsylvania, and proceeds support disaster relief work. In addition to auctions of many different items including quilts and a Heifer Auction, it features sales of crafts and food such the popular Baked Goods Table with home-made pies, a farmer’s market, and more. In addition to raising money for disaster relief, attendees are invited to bring Gift of the Heart kits for Church World Service. There is a blood drive as well. Saturday morning offers devotions and congregational singing at 8:30 a.m. A 5K run/walk for all ages is held Sept. 24, starting at 8 a.m. Register by Aug. 31 to receive a t-shirt. Cash prizes will be awarded in all age groups. For more information go to .

Saturday, Sept. 30, is the date for the 33rd Annual Brethren Heritage Festival at Camp Harmony near Hooversville, Pa. The event is held in cooperation with Western Pennsylvania District. In addition to the Heritage Auction, the day also includes a blood drive, hayrides, children’s activities, music, a pastor’s bake off, pie-eating contest, devotions, and more.
Events start with breakfast at 7:30 a.m. followed by bread and cup communion at 9 a.m. Booths open at 10 a.m. Proceeds are divided between the camp and the district. More information is in the district newsletter at .

Camp Bethel’s 32nd Annual Heritage Day Festival will be held on Saturday, Oct. 1 at the camp located near Fincastle, Va. The event is a fundraiser for Camp Bethel. Find out more at .

The Camp Mack Festival is Oct. 3 at the camp near Milford, Ind. The event will include food and crafts booths, an auction, demonstrations, children’s activities, and more. “Come help us celebrate 90 years at camp and plan to attend this fun event!” said an invitation. For more information go to or call the camp at 574-658-4831.

The Bridgewater Home Auxiliary’s Fall Festival will be held 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17, at Rockingham County (Va.) Fairgrounds. The festival supports the Church of the Brethren-related retirement community in Bridgewater, Va. A new opportunity has been announced: painted watering cans. “Pick up a watering can at the Volunteer Services Office in the administration building at Bridgewater Retirement Community, add your decorative touches, and return it by Aug. 26. Solicit all your artistic friends to paint some, too!” said an invitation from Shenandoah District.

“Sing Me High” is a family friendly, alcohol-free music festival at CrossRoads, Valley Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center in Harrisonburg, Va. The event begins at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 27. Musicians include the Highlander String Band, the Hatcher Boys, and the Walking Roots Band. The evening will conclude with popcorn and s’mores around the campfire. Tickets are $12 for adults, $6 for ages 6-12, and free for children 5 and under. Advance tickets are available at or by e-mail at . “Buy your tickets before Aug. 17 and receive a free commemorative festival picnic cup,” said an invitation. Parking is at Harrisonburg High School with shuttle service to CrossRoads.

A Brethren Heritage Festival is planned at the Young Center at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College on Saturday, Oct. 15, 1-4:30 p.m. The event will include children’s crafts and games, art projects, hands-on experiences like making corn-husk dolls, a quilting bee, a capella singing, and more, according to the newsletter of Atlantic Northeast District. Old-fashioned treats to eat will include bicycle-churned ice cream, apple butter on fresh break, and popcorn from the historic Reist popcorn wagon.

An upcoming workshop on “Ministry to Persons with Dementia and Their Families” is sponsored by Good Shepherd Home, Alzheimer’s Association Northwest Ohio Chapter, and Jonah’s People Fellowship, and is being publicized by Northern Ohio District. The workshop is scheduled for Oct. 20, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. with check-in beginning at 9:30 a.m. at the Good Shepherd Home in Fostoria, Ohio. Presenters are Barry A. Belknap, the chaplain at Good Shepherd Home and pastor of Jonah’s People in Fostoria, Ohio, who has served in ministry for 36 years including 6 years as a chaplain in two Church of the Brethren nursing homes with dedicated dementia units; and Cheryl J. Conley, program director for the Alzheimer’s Association, Northwest Ohio Chapter, who has worked in the field of aging for more than 30 years in positions that have included regional coordinator of a geriatric education center, a past gerontology faculty member, and social services director at a senior center. Pastors, chaplains, Stephen’s ministers, volunteer lay visitors, social workers, and others are invited to attend. This has been approved for 4.5 clock hours (or .45 continuing education credit) of continuing professional education for social workers. Cost is $15 for those who register by Oct. 6, or $25 after that date. The fee includes a meal, snacks, CEU certificate, and workshop materials. For registration or more information contact Barry Belknap at 419-937-1801 or .

“Nature doesn’t create trash,” says an invitation to view the August edition of Brethren Voices, a television program designed for congregations to use on public access cable stations, produced by Peace Church of the Brethren in Portland, Ore. Host Brent Carlson interviews David Radcliff of the New Community Project regarding ways to be part of the solution for the environment, rather than part of the ongoing problem. “Caring for this amazing but endangered planet is the challenge of our lifetime,” said the announcement. “Every one of earth’s systems is in trouble: the climate continues to warm, half of all the earth’s wetlands are gone, extinctions are epidemic, only half of tropical forests remain. The seas are in jeopardy due to threats from many causes.” Quoting Radcliff: “The Earth is in a real pickle. It needs some ‘champions’ who will make a difference to this planet.” In September, Brethren Voices will features the Church of the Brethren Workcamp Ministry with Brethren Volunteer Service worker and workcamp assistant coordinator Deanna Beckner and her father, Dennis Beckner, pastor of Columbia City Church of the Brethren. For more information contact produced Ed Groff at .

Christians across the globe will observe a day of prayer for the peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula this Sunday, Aug. 14. In an announcement shared by the National Council of Churches (NCC), this year’s “Sunday of Prayer for the Peaceful Reunification of the Korean Peninsula” comes after a delegation from the National Council of Churches in Korea met with NCC members and policymakers in the US last month to advocate for a permanent peace treaty between North and South Korea.

Rebecca J. Bonham who attends Crest Manor Church of the Brethren in South Bend, Ind., this spring was honored by the Studebaker National Museum at its 15th annual Hall of Champions Dinner. Bonham retired this year after serving for 15 years as executive director of the museum. The dinner honors an outstanding individual or company that has contributed to the success of the Studebaker Corp., the museum, the transportation industry, or the auto collector hobby in an extraordinary way, said a newspaper article about the event.

A special reunion took place recently in central Kansas, according to an article in the Hutchinson News, published Aug. 9: “Nigerians journey out of the shadows of terrorism to visit Kansas missionary who helped their village more than 50 years ago.” The piece written by Kathy Hanks tells the story of a Nigerian family from the Chibok area, who made a point of visiting former Church of the Brethren mission worker Lois Neher, who with her late husband, Gerald, had worked in Chibok and at Kulp Bible College from 1954-68. “Thlala Kolo…felt a connection to her because they had previously met when he was in his mother’s womb in Chibok,” the newspaper reported. Kolo told the reporter that he “was so deeply influenced by the Nehers’ work in Chibok that he wanted to meet the couple, shake their hands, and thank them.” Go to


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