Brethren Bits for Feb. 5, 2016

The Bittersweet Gospel Band is planning a spring tour of concerts in churches in Pennsylvania. The ministry of the Bittersweet Gospel Band goes back for 40 years, said an announcement. Begun by Church of the Brethren minister Gilbert Romero, the band is part of a larger Bittersweet Ministries that supports a community ministry in Tijuana, Mexico, through workcamps, home building, food ministry, Bible study and worship, and a Christian Community Center. For the past 19 years, Romero has partnered with Brethren minister Scott Duffey in this ministry, writing much of their own music while maintaining some of the familiar. The band has produced two CDs of music: “Through My Lord’s Eyes,” and “Bittersweet Lane.” Brethren videographer David Sollenberger has joined them to produce two music videos: “Jesus In the Line,” and “Cardboard Hotel”–a new music video to be released on this tour. The band’s song for the Nigerian Brethren, “We Kneel Together,” has been used on a fundraising DVD for the Nigeria Crisis Fund.

The tour dates are:

— March 29, 7 p.m., at New Enterprise (Pa.) Church of the Brethren

— March 30, 7 p.m., Martinsburg (Pa.) Memorial Church of the Brethren

— March 31, 7 p.m., at Bermudian Church of the Brethren in East Berlin, Pa.

— April 1, 10:30 a.m., at Brethren Village in Lancaster, Pa.

— April 1, 6:30 p.m., at Alpha y Omega Church of the Brethren in Lancaster, Pa.

— April 2, 3 p.m., at Harrisburg (Pa.) First Church of the Brethren

— April 3, 9:15 a.m., at Lititz (Pa.) Church of the Brethren

— April 3, 1:30 p.m., at Mechanic Grove Church of the Brethren in Quarryville, Pa.

For more information go to or find Bittersweet Gospel Band on Facebook.

Remembrance: Mona Lou Teeter, a former Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) volunteer in Haiti, passed away on Jan. 31. A member of Miami (Fla.) First Church of the Brethren, she had suffered a head injury from a fall a week earlier. She served in Haiti for over 36 years, including from 1976-82 as a BVSer at Aide Aux Enfants, a children’s feeding program in Port-au-Prince. She was founder of the New American School in Port-au-Prince, where she served as director for many years. A Facebook post from Miami First Church shared, “Mona was our eldest member and she will be missed so much but we celebrate a true servant of the Lord and rejoice for her going home to be with Him.” A memorial service will be held in Miami on Monday, Feb. 8.

Remembrance: Phillip K. Bradley of Cheverly, Md., who led the nationally televised funeral service for Ted Studebaker in 1971, died during emergency surgery at the University of Maryland Medical Center on Jan. 9. He was born in Wichita, Kan., on Oct. 7, 1936, to the late Vernon and Dorothy (DeSelms) Bradley. He earned a degree in sociology from McPherson (Kan.) College and a master of divinity and a doctorate of ministry from Bethany Theological Seminary. Throughout his ministry career he served as pastor of nine churches in the states of Kansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Maryland. He was active in leadership in the local communities where he pastored, and among other activities in West Milton, Ohio, assisted in re-activating the Milton-Union Council of Churches and started the International Christian Youth Exchange program in West Milton. It was in 1971 during his ministry at West Milton Church of the Brethren that Ted Studebaker, a young peace activist from the church serving in alternative service in Vietnam, was killed by the Viet Cong. A portion of the funeral service that Bradley led was aired on the ABC Nightly News, sharing with a larger audience the witness of Ted Studebaker’s life and the peace ministry of the Church of the Brethren. In 1991, Bradley began a second career providing counseling services for victims of domestic violence at the Family Crisis Center of Baltimore County, Md., and served in this capacity until his retirement in 2005. He was an active member of University Park Church of the Brethren in Maryland from 1991 until his death. A memorial service celebrated his life on Jan. 16 at the University Park Church. He is survived by his wife, Janice Siegel; children Phyllis (Paul) Dodd, David (Cindy) Bradley, Pam (Bill) Neilson, and Sheila (Joseph) Robertson; stepchildren Jeremy Siegel and Megan Siegel; grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Sarah Butler begins as Brethren Benefit Trust member services representative, Employee Benefits, on Feb. 9. She brings 10 years of experience serving in various roles, much of that time working with credit union members. She is in the process of earning a bachelor of arts degree in organizational leadership through Roosevelt University. She and her family live in Elgin, Ill.In two personnel announcements from Bethany Theological Seminary, Monica Rice has resigned as administrative assistant for institutional advancement and coordinator of congregational and alumni/ae relations, effective March 11; and Brian Schleeper was promoted to coordinator of student financial services and Title IX on Jan. 13. Rice is a 2011 master of arts graduate of Bethany, who began serving as administrative assistant for institutional advancement and coordinator of congregational relations in Sept. 2011, and had recently taken on additional responsibilities for alumni/ae relations. Schleeper has served in the Student and Business Services Department since coming to Bethany in 2007. His new responsibilities will include ensuring that Bethany maintains legal compliance with the US Department of Education, granting student financial aid, and coordinating the seminary’s participation in the Federal Work-Study Program.

As Shepherd’s Spring celebrates 25 years of ministry, the camp and outdoor ministry center in Mid-Atlantic District also is announcing personnel changes. Glenn Gordon is completing three years of service as Shepherd’s Spring program director. He has coordinated the summer camp, Heifer Global Village, and Road Scholar programs, and has assisted with the annual Golf tournament, Birdwatcher’s Retreat, and December events at the camp. The camp is welcoming back Britnee Harbaugh, who will be working into the program director position beginning part-time in February and full-time in March. Formerly serving in the summer camp coordinator position, she returns to Shepherd’s Spring with a master of divinity degree from Bethany Seminary.

The Brethren Housing Association in Harrisburg Pa., is seeking an executive director. This position focuses on providing strategic direction and vision consistent with BHA’s mission. Main responsibilities include: assuring the delivery of high-quality services to BHA’s clients, managing a full-time and part-time multi-disciplinary staff, assuring maintenance and good stewardship of housing assets, maintaining fiscally sound operations, developing meaningful relationships with existing and potential BHA donors, and networking with related human service agencies and the local community. Qualifications include: a strong Christian faith, education and/or experience in social work or a human services discipline (master’s degree preferred), five or more years of experience in a management role preferably in a faith-based human services agency. The executive director represents the organization to the general public and donors, and is a full-time, salaried role reporting to the BHA Board of Directors. The position offers competitive salary and benefits including a generous paid leave policy. BHA is a growing, inner city, nonprofit organization that provides a holistic program of secure housing, supportive casework, and educational services and mentoring relationships to homeless and low-income individuals to help them transition to self-sufficiency. BHA’s primary focus is helping homeless women and their children; in addition, it has programs to support individuals, and intact families. Founded in 1989 by two Church of the Brethren congregations, it initially was run entirely by volunteers from these two congregations. Today, BHA owns more than 20 apartments in the area around its offices at 219 Hummel Street in the South Allison Hill section of Harrisburg, has a diverse group of faith-based and non-faith-based donors, and employs professional program, development, and volunteer coordination staff. Applicants should submit a resume, with a cover letter and salary requirements, no later than March 18, to .

Pinecrest Community in Mount Morris, Ill., is seeking a director of Independent Living Sales. This is a full time position responsible for the promotion of Pinecrest Village apartment living and the daily management of the Pinecrest Village facilities and The Grove. A high school diploma or GED equivalent, with some college experience, is preferred. A prior position or extensive training in marketing along with background in real estate sales person is preferred.  Successful supervisory or management experience is beneficial. Pinecrest Community is a five-star rated Continuing Care Retirement Community, which is related to the Church of the Brethren. Please respond to Victoria Marshall, Director of Human Resources, at . For more information call 815-734-4103.

“Keep thinking long term when it comes to your investments,” says a first-quarter greeting to members and clients of Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) from president Nevin Dulabaum. “From a market standpoint, one word that might describe the beginning of 2016 is rocky,” the letter continues. “This can be blamed on everything from China’s economy to plummeting oil prices, to the upcoming presidential election. If you are watching the headlines, you may be feeling anxious about your investments, and how this market and financial volatility going on worldwide might affect you. It’s normal to feel this way. BBT developed investment options with a long-term view in mind, and we believe you should continue thinking long term. Each January we meet with our investment managers, and we have just completed these meetings. They, too, are certainly feeling the effects of global volatility, but join us in believing that a well-balanced
portfolio is still a safe place for investments. You can be assured that our investment managers are watching these things closely, we are watching our investment managers closely, and we encourage you to watch the market closely too…. We urge you to meet with your financial planner, to establish your long-term goals and tolerance for risk, to select an asset allocation model from the funds available to you, and then stay the course, remembering that this recent
meandering by the markets is just what the markets always do.” For more about the ministries of BBT go to .

The next webinar in the series on “The Heart of Anabaptism” is set for Feb. 11 at 2:30 p.m. (Eastern time). The theme is “Spirituality and Economics.” Leading the event is Joanna (Jo) Frew, who will guide participants in exploring and reflecting on the interconnection of spirituality to economics. “In an individualist and consumerist culture and a world where economic injustice is rife, we are committed to finding ways of living simply, sharing generously, caring for creation and working for justice,” said an invitation. “The webinar looks at ways this conviction is practiced in communities along with its outcomes.” Frew lives and works in a house of hospitality that she and her partner run for destitute asylum seekers in the United Kingdom. For many years, she worked with the SPEAK Network on social justice campaigns and is now active in nonviolent direct action on the arms fair and Trident renewal. She holds a doctorate on the history of the British Empire in India. The webinar is free and no registration is required. Participants in the live event may receive .1 continuing education credit. Join the webinar on the day of the event by clicking on the link at . The webinar is jointly sponsored by the Church of the Brethren’s Congregational Life Ministries, Urban Expression UK, Center for Anabaptist Studies, Bristol Baptist College, and Mennonite Trust. Contact Stan Dueck for more information at 800-323-8039 ext. 343 or .

On Sunday, Jan. 31, Prince of Peace Church of the Brethren in Littleton, Colo., hosted a presentation by Tom Mauser on the topic, “A View of Gun Violence through the Lens of the Bible.” Mauser is a new member of the church, according to an announcement, and he and his wife Linda are the parents of son Daniel, who was murdered at Columbine High School. Mauser has been lobbying for stricter gun control, and the announcement noted his ability to give “charming, good natured, and funny” presentations despite the serious subject matter and his personal tragedy, reflecting “his ability to forgive and move forward.” The Prince of Peace Church is located close to the high school where, on April 20, 1999, 13 students and teachers were murdered by the two student gunmen who then committed suicide. Some 23 more people were injured in the attack, the first to bring national attention to the problem of mass shootings at schools.

Shane Claiborne will lead a “Radical Christians” workshop at New Carlisle (Ohio) Church of the Brethren on March 12. “Christians are meant to be radical nonconformists, interrupting the patterns of our world with prophetic imagination–a holy counterculture,” said an invitation from the church. “The Kingdom of God is not just something we hope for when we die, but something that we are to bring on earth as it is in heaven. Let’s turn off our TVs, pick up our Bibles, and rethink the way we live.” Claiborne is a founder amnd board member of “The Simple Way,” a faith community in inner-city Philadelphia. His career has taken him from the streets of Calcutta, India, where he worked with Mother Teresa, to the wealthy suburbs of Chicago, where he served at Willow Creek Church. As a peacemaker, he has traveled to some of the most troubled regions of the world, from Rwanda to the West Bank, and has been on peace delegations in Afghanistan and Iraq. He also has been a speaker at the Church of the Brethren’s National Youth Conference.

The Bridgewater Home Auxiliary will host Shrove Tuesday pancake meals at Bridgewater (Va.) Church of the Brethren on Tuesday, Feb. 9 (snow date Feb. 16). Meals will be served from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4-7 p.m.

Montezuma Church of the Brethren will host a program at 7 p.m. on Feb. 10, at Montezuma Hall in Dayton, Va., featuring David Radcliff of New Community Project and Peter Barlow, a church member. The two men have been traveling in Nepal with New Community Project. Their presentation will share what they have witnessed about Nepal’s recovery from the devastating earthquake and the challenges facing the country’s sex traffic victims, said an announcement. The Ears to the Ground Family Band will perform.

Pacific Northwest District’s Spring Event is planned for March 4-6 in Lacey, Wash., featuring Brethren Press publisher Wendy McFadden leading an exploration of the theme “Story.” The theme will be explored through the sharing of stories from scripture, Brethren heritage, “and our personal lives,” said an announcement. “This gathering brings together people from across our district to celebrate what is happening in our churches, share ideas, worship, and re-connect.”

The 2016 Shenandoah District Peace Feast will be held at 6:30 p.m. on March 15 at Harrisonburg (Va.) First Church of the Brethren. Sponsored by the district’s Pastors for Peace, the banquet is now in its sixth year, annually honoring a person or persons with the Living Peace Award. This year, Mike Phillips of Cedar Run Church of the Brethren will be recognized for his work in developing sustainable agriculture practices. Tom Benevento of New Community Project will be the guest speaker. Beth Jarrett, pastor of Harrisonburg First Church, will provide special music.

Rebecca Fuchs and Lisa Reinhart have joined the Board of Directors of COBYS Family Services. Fuchs is pastor of Mountville (Pa.) Church of the Brethren and a 2008 graduate of Lancaster Theological Seminary. She originally graduated from Gettysburg College and worked in the mental health field for several years. Prior to becoming pastor at Mountville, she also volunteered with Encounter, a counseling and child abuse prevention program of the Lancaster County Council of Churches. Reinhart is marketing manager and preservation specialist at her family-owned business Fillmore Container. She is a member of Lampeter Church of the Brethren where she teaches elementary children, is Memorial Garden coordinator, and serves with her husband, Keith, as a deacon. COBYS Family Services educates, supports, and empowers children and adults to reach their full potential through adoption and foster care services, counseling, and family life education.

“Living Life Filled with the Spirit, Following a Resurrected Savior” is the title of the Lenten/Easter Spiritual Disciplines folder from the Springs of Living Water initiative for church renewal. The folder is for both individual and congregational spiritual growth.  Following up the theme of the “Come to the Well” Sabbath Rest, this folder emphasizes how to receive Christ’s invitation for Living Water and be empowered by Christ’s Spirit and walk in Christ’s ways. Gospel texts for Sundays in Lent and Easter are from Luke, following the lectionary for year C and the Brethren bulletin series, and run from Feb. 13-March 27. The folder is provided to congregations interested in following the Brethren practice of reading scripture and having daily prayer, with the entire congregation working to grow together spiritually in preparation and celebration of Easter. Sunday scriptures also can be used to coordinate preaching and worship. Vince Cable, interim pastor of Fairchance Church of the Brethren, has written Bible study questions for individual and group use. Find the folder and questions at or contact David and Joan Young at or 717-615-4515.

The United Nations is warning that child protection systems across Europe are completely overwhelmed as the rate of youngsters in the flood of refugees and migrants has soared to one in three–compared with one in 10 less than a year ago. The UN is calling for strengthened steps to prevent exploitation and abuse, said a release. A UNICEF spokesperson told a news briefing in Geneva, Switzerland, that although there is a great risk of trafficking, so far there has only been anecdotal evidence. She noted that for the first time since the start of the refugee crisis, the majority of those crossing from Greece into the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, nearly 60 percent have been children and women. The release said that Germany and Sweden have the most thorough data on the numbers of unaccompanied children who have requested asylum–60,000 and 35,400 respectively. Effective guardianship programs for children on the move are needed every step of the way, the release said. The unaccompanied children are mainly adolescents 15-17 years old, coming primarily from Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

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