Brethren Bits for September 30, 2016


A gift of $500 in US dollars has been given by the Croix des Bouquets congregation of l’Eglise des Freres Haitiens (the Church of the Brethren in Haiti) to Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). The envelope in which the check was enclosed made its way through several hands before it was presented to the group of leaders who received it on behalf of EYN, including Joel S. Billi, Daniel Mbaya, Anthony Ndamsai, and Samuel Shinggu. Dale Minnich, who at the time was interim general secretary of the Church of the Brethren, had carried it from Haiti to the US; Jay Wittmeyer, executive director of Global Mission and Service, had carried it from the US to Nigeria.

Shown above: EYN president Joel S. Billi holds the gift from the Croix des Bouquets congregation.

Cindy Sanders was installed as district executive minister for Missouri and Arkansas District, at the recent district conference. Jim Tomlonson presided at the installation service.

Ellen Lennard has joined Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) as employee benefits specialist. Since June 27, she has worked with BBT on a temporary basis. Previously she was in Seoul, South Korea, where she taught English for two years. She also has been a legal assistant for a law office prior to her years in teaching. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Loyola University Chicago, and resides in Elgin. She begins her permanent full-time duties for BBT on Oct. 4.

Bethany Theological Seminary announces an opening for the full-time position of executive director of Admissions and Student Services, with an immediate starting date. This is an opportunity for a creative professional seeking to invest their growing knowledge and experience in the development of an enhanced Department of Admissions and Student Services, including recruitment, student development, alumni/ae relations, financial aid, and Title IX compliance. A focus of the department is to help identify and encourage leaders to develop their gifts for a changing church through graduate theological education. The position is responsible for developing, implementing, and evaluating a dynamic recruitment and retention strategy to create a multiethnic seminary community with a strong international student presence, and will also represent the seminary at events related to recruitment and enrollment management, develop relationships with prospective students, design creative presentations for small and large group settings, and meet with church and college constituents. The work will include significant travel for student recruitment and professional and institutional development. Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree, with a master’s degree preferred. Affinity with the values and mission of the seminary is required. Three to five years of professional experience in higher education, specifically admissions or enrollment management with demonstrated success in recruitment and retention strategy, is required. Applicants should demonstrate strong oral and written communication, listening, and organizational skills; the ability to help individuals discern their vocational calling; and the eagerness to work as part of a team. Experience in communications technology and multi-cultural recruitment is highly preferred. The seminary is particularly interested in inviting applications from women and Hispanics, African-Americans, and other ethnic minorities. A complete job description with application information is available at . Application review will begin Nov. 1.

Shine: Living in God’s Light, the Sunday school curriculum produced jointly by Brethren Press and MennoMedia, is accepting applications for curriculum writers. The curriculum is for children age 3 through grade 8. Accepted writers must attend a writers conference in Virginia, March 2-5, 2017. Shine pays for meals and lodging during the conference and covers reasonable travel expenses. More details are available at . Application and sample session deadline is Dec. 1.

Brethren Woods seeks to fill a part-time hourly position of Outdoor School coordinator, beginning in early 2017. The coordinator will facilitate appreciation of the outdoors by welcoming local school groups for outdoor education programming at the camp located near Keezletown, Va. Tasks include hosting groups, coordinating registrations, recruiting and training volunteers, and assisting with publicity. The position runs on an hourly basis as needed, primarily during the months of September to November and March to early June. The ideal candidate will be a committed Christian who can work effectively in a team relationship with camp staff, will possess strong organizational skills, have experience with group dynamics and management, and have knowledge of age group characteristics. College graduates with teaching experience in some capacity are preferred, and individuals who bring diversity are encouraged to apply. Send a cover letter and resume to Tim and Katie Heishman at

The next listening session with Church of the Brethren general secretary David Steele is Saturday, Oct. 1, at Oakland Church of the Brethren in Bradford, Ohio, immediately following conclusion of the Southern Ohio District Conference. Three more listening sessions are scheduled for this fall: Oct. 8, immediately following conclusion of the Atlantic Northeast District Conference at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College’s Leffler Chapel; Nov. 3, at 7 p.m., at the Bridgewater (Va.) Retirement Community; and Nov. 12, during a “break-out” session at the Pacific Southwest District Conference at Modesto (Calif.) Church of the Brethren. More listening sessions will be held in other districts after the first of the year. For more information contact Mark Flory Steury,Donor Relations representative, at

“Pray fervently for peace” for South Sudan, said a recent Global Mission prayer request. “South Sudan’s former vice president, Riek Machar, issued a call for armed resistance against the government of president Salva Kiir. The call heightens the risk of renewing the civil war that began in 2013 and has morphed into an ongoing violent conflict, despite a peace agreement.” The prayer request noted that tens of thousands of people have been killed in the violence, and more than a million have fled South Sudan as refugees.

“Join us and other communities of faith for the Rome Conference on Nonviolence and Just Peace Webinar,” said an invitation from the Office of Public Witness of the Church of the Brethren. This second webinar coming out of the conference is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 11, at 9-10 a.m. (Eastern time), and will focus on “Experiences of Nonviolence and Jesus’ Way of Nonviolence.” The invitation describes the event held in Rome in April as “a ground-shifting conference on the topic of Gospel nonviolence and just peace.” The Vatican’s Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace was a co-sponsor. The four-part webinar series addresses questions such as: How do recent experiences of nonviolence help illuminate our understanding of Jesus’ way of nonviolence and engaging conflict? What has the latest scholarship and praxis revealed about Jesus’ approach and practices for nonviolence and engaging conflict? The webinars also offer some time for discussion. The moderator is Ken Butigan, senior lecturer in the Peace, Justice, and Conflict Studies Program at DePaul University in Chicago. Speakers include Jamal Khadar, a Roman Catholicpriest and rector of the Latin Patriarchate Seminary; Anne McCarthy, OSB, who lives at Mary the Apostle Catholic Worker in Erie, Pa.; Terry Rynne, founder of the Center for Peacemaking at Marquette University. Each webinar is recorded for re-use. Those interested in participating are encouraged to register, even if they cannot attend the live webinar, and will be given access to the recording. Find out more and register at



Oct. 1 is the last day for pre-publication orders and “early bird” discounts for two new books from Brethren Press: “Witnesses to Jesus: Devotions for Advent Through Epiphany” by Christy Waltersdorff, and “Speak Peace: A Daily Reader” edited by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford. Order online at

“Save the dates!” invites the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center (SVMC), which is announcing upcoming events in its continuing education series for ministers and others who are interested. “Preaching the Reign of God: Prophets, Poets, and Conversations” led by Dawn Ottoni-Wilhelm on Nov. 10 at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa. “Re-imagining Art for Worship” will be led by Diane Brandt on March 18, 2017, at Lititz (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. “Understanding Our American Muslim Neighbors” will be led by George Pickens on March 25, 2017, at Mechanicsburg (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. “Ten-Plus Reasons to Love Leviticus” will feature keynote speaker Bob Neff and a panel including Christina Bucher, David Leiter, Frank Ramirez, and Brode Rike, on April 24, 2017, at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College. For more information go to

A Heritage Weekend will be held Oct. 8-9 at Germantown Brick Church of the Brethren in Rocky Mount, Va., to celebrate 168 years as a congregation and 150 years as the site for the first Virlina District Conference (formerly the First District of Virginia and later the First and Southern Districts of Virginia). Events include love feast and communion on Saturday, Oct. 8, at 7 p.m: worship with special guest musicians Pantasia, a flute ensemble, on Sunday, Oct. 9, at 11 a.m., followed by a carry-in dinner; and a hymn sing sponsored by the New Conference German Baptists on Sunday evening at 6 p.m. For more information, call 540-334-5758.

Mt. Vernon Church of the Brethren in Waynesboro, Va., will celebrate its sesquicentennial or 150th anniversary with a traditional homecoming service at 11 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 9. Find out more about the celebration and the church’s history at

Cedar Run Church of the Brethren in Broadway, Va., will celebrate its 120-year anniversary with a homecoming service at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 2. Former Pastor Bill Zirk will be the guest speaker with special music by Simply Folk. A carry-in lunch will follow. For more information, call 540-896-7381.

Frederick (Md.) Church of the Brethren hosts a performance of Ted & Co.’s “12 Baskets and a Goat” on Saturday, Oct. 15, at 3:30 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public. Baskets of bread will be auctioned to benefit Heifer International. The performance will feature the original play “The Jesus Stories: Faith, Forks, and Fettucine” written and performed by Ted Swartz and Jeff Raught.

Bridgewater (Va.) Church of the Brethren hosts a fall concert of “Harmony and Hope” presented by the Valley Brethren Mennonite Heritage Center. The event features the groups Into Hymn and Rescored, and takes place at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 16. Proceeds benefit the work of the Valley Brethren Mennonite Heritage Center. Suggested donation is $10.

Southern Ohio District holds its district conference on Sept. 30-Oct. 1 at Oakland Church of the Brethren in Bradford, Ohio. The theme is “In Christ Alone.” Jeff Carter, president of Bethany Seminary, will be guest speaker. The ministry chosen for support at this conference is the Wide Arms Security Blankets and congregations and individuals are bringing blankets to donate to this new ministry in the district. Wide Arms Security Blankets is a vision of Brandi Motsinger from Stony Creek Church of the Brethren, and supports the St. Vincent DePaul Women and Family shelter. See

The books are closed on the 2016 Shenandoah District Disaster Ministries Auction, announces the district newsletter, “and the great news is the two-day event in May raised $210,585.98! The grand total raised over the 24-year history of the auction now stands at more than $4.3 million!” Next year’s auction will celebrate the event’s 25-year anniversary, on May 19-20, 2017.

The Shenandoah District Pastors for Peace will host a fall learning circle on the topic “Christ in Communities: Church and Public Witness,” on Saturday, Nov. 19, at Brethren Woods, a camp and outdoor ministry center near Keezletown, Va. Nathan and Jennifer Hosler, bi-vocational ministers at Washington (D.C.) City Church of the Brethren, will provide leadership. Nathan Hosler also serves as director of the Church of the Brethrens Office of Public Witness. Cost is $25. Ministers may earn .5 continuing education units. Registrations are due no later than Nov. 14. Go to

Saturday, Oct. 1, is the date for the Camp Mack Festival at Camp Alexander Mack near Milford, Ind. The live auction is set to begin at 10:30 a.m.

Camp Eder holds its 38th annual Fall Festival on Saturday, Oct. 15, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. A live auction to benefit the camp, which is located near Fairfield, Pa., starts at 9:30 a.m. Live music starts at 11 a.m. The day includes a pork and turkey meal, with the meat cooked overnight buried in pits. There will be apple butter making, demonstrations of glass blowing and blacksmithing, children’s games and activities, and more. Go to for more information.

In more news from Camp Eder, young adults are invited to join a group hiking part of the Appalachian Trail on Nov. 4-6. The “2016 Fall Young Adult Hike” is an overnight backpacking experience. Cost is $35. Go to for more information.

Shepherd’s Spring Outdoor Ministry Center is planning a 25th anniversary campfire on Nov. 5, starting at 4 p.m. The camp and retreat center is located near Sharpsburg, Md. The evening includes a potluck meal, soup, chili, s’mores, and more. Cabin and tent camping are available for Friday and Saturday overnights. RSVP by Oct. 28 to 301-223-8193.

The Children’s Aid Society of Southern Pennsylvania District holds its annual fundraising dinner on Oct. 29 at 5:30-9 p.m., hosted at Greencastle Church of the Brethren. The event features music by DayStar, and will celebrate the society’s 30 years of service to at-risk children in Franklin County, Pa. For more information go to

Juniata College has formed a partnership with Next-Genius, an educational initiative based in Mumbai, India. Next-Genius “identifies talented students in India and matches them with colleges in the United States that offer curriculums that focus on critical thinking,” said a release from the college in Huntingdon, Pa. “Juniata will award a full-tuition scholarship to one of the top candidates that emerge from a nationwide competition sponsored by Next Genius. According to the Next Genius website,, thousands of students from across India enter the educational competition each year.” In November, Juniata president James A. Troha and Ran Tu, associate director of international recruitment, will travel to Mumbai to participate in the final selections for the Next-Genius educational competition.

The Fellowship of Brethren Homes is featured on the October edition of “Brethren Voices” produced by Portland (Ore.) Peace Church of the Brethren. Consisting of 22 retirement communities around the United States, the homes “provide more than just a place to live; they are places to call home,” said an announcement from producer Ed Groff. “Related to the Church of the Brethren, they provide exceptional modern amenities, myriad leisure time opportunities and a network of friends. The Fellowship of Brethren Homes provides skilled nursing, assisted living, state-of-the art Alzheimer units, and beautifully designed, independent living options. As a ministry to those who are aging and their families, the 22 retirement communities are committed to providing high quality, loving care for older adults.” The show visits three of these retirement communities: Cross Keys Village–The Brethren Home Community of New Oxford, Pa., the Cedars of McPherson, Kan., and Lebanon Valley Brethren Home of Palmyra, Pa. “You’ll also be treated to the ‘Search for the Elusive White Squirrel,’ which happens to also live at Lebanon Valley Brethren Home,” said the announcement. The show’s September program featured the Church of the Brethren workcamp which was held in Portland, with 21 youth and advisors traveling from Lititz, Pa., and Bridgewater, Va., to work at area non-profit agencies which provide emergency food, clothing and shelter  to families in need. Upcoming programs will feature Elizabethtown (Pa.) Church of the Brethren involvement in Nigeria, and the community outreach of a congregation in Arlington, Va. Contact Ed Groff at



[gt-link lang="en" label="English" widget_look="flags_name"]