Newsline for April 9, 2016

“He was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray’” (Luke 11:1).

1) New graduate certificates offered at Bethany Seminary
2) Brethren sew dolls, stuffed toys for Nigeria training by Children’s Disaster Services

3) Fellowship of Brethren Homes holds annual Forum in April
4) Early registration discount still available for @HIM #Hope #Imagination #Mission

5) Brethren bits: Remembrances, personnel notes, job opening in DC, CDS volunteers serve in Louisiana, ‘Our Calling to Racial Justice,’ ADNet financial planning seminar, and more

Quote of the week:

“Prayer requires our attention to God, and the submission of ourselves and our activities and interests to the presence of the Holy One. It calls us to be mindful of the present moment so it can be filled with the goodness, love, and power of the Creator of all. Real prayer asks us to set aside memories of the past and fears of the future in order to commune with the Eternal in the present moment.”

–Mary Sue Rosenberger in “The Lord’s Prayer,” a 2016 re-release from Brethren Press’s Covenant Bible Studies series.

A note to readers: A Newsline Special is being planned for next week, marking the second anniversary of the abduction of the schoolgirls from Chibok, Nigeria. The anniversary date is April 14.

1) New graduate certificates offered at Bethany Seminary

By Jenny Williams

For the first time in nearly 25 years, Bethany Theological Seminary is launching three additions to its academic offerings: Graduate Certificates in Biblical Interpretation, Conflict Transformation, and Theopoetics and Theological Imagination. Applications are being taken for the fall 2016 semester at the seminary in Richmond, Ind.

In addition to its master’s degrees, Bethany introduced its first graduate certificate offering in 1992, the Certificate of Achievement in Theological Studies (CATS). Like CATS, the three new certificates are graduate-level study, and all qualifying courses are already offered as part of the master of divinity (MDiv) and master of arts (MA) programs. However, the new certificates are designed for those who want to explore and gain experience in a specialized area of interest, says Steven Schweitzer, academic dean.

“Students can follow their passions and call by choosing one of these shorter-term, focused certificates, whether they want to enrich their study and interpretation of the Bible, gain skills for conflict transformation, or innovatively investigate a wide range of theological topics that matter to our contemporary church and culture. Bethany is excited to offer these creative new graduate certificates.”

The certificates open up possibilities for students who may not need or want a full master’s degree or who want to supplement their degree with further work in a certain field. With pastors in mind, they are also excellent continuing education opportunities. Each is designed to be completed in one to two years, depending on when the student’s selected courses are offered, and through a generous financial aid arrangement, students may reduce their total tuition costs to $2,200 if the certificate is completed in four semesters.

Certificate students will take two required foundational courses and three electives from a specified list. The courses are offered in the same formats and locations as for the degree programs and taught by the same faculty. Bethany’s standard financial aid options are available via application: Church Service Covenant Grant, Academic Excellence Scholarship, and need-based aid.

For more information on each certificate, courses, faculty, and financial aid, visit or contact the Admissions Office at 800-287-8822 or .

— Jenny Williams is director of communications for Bethany Theological Seminary.

2) Brethren sew dolls, stuffed toys for Nigeria training by Children’s Disaster Services

Photo courtesy of CDS
Dolls and stuffed toys made for CDS trauma healing in Nigeria

Several churches and sewing groups have made dolls and stuffed toys for use by Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) in an upcoming training in Nigeria. CDS associate director Kathleen Fry-Miller and volunteer trainer John Kinsel will travel to Nigeria to train Nigerian Brethren women leaders to provide trauma healing for children.

Some of the churches “held the dolls and animals in a short time of blessing and commissioning during their worship services as a time of thoughtfulness and prayer for the recipients of the dolls,” reported CDS in a Facebook post.

“One member who participated in one such time of sending reflected, ‘This project has certainly added warmth and beauty and inspiration to our Lenten focus on how Jesus cared for the ‘beloved community.’”

Fry-Miller and Kinsel have been working to create a “Healing Hearts” curriculum to use as a guide for the trauma healing workshops in Nigeria. They will be meeting and working with 10 women theologians of the Women’s Ministry of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) to provide a “training of trainers.”

“As they are in their final weeks of preparation for Nigeria, they are grateful for the preparations also being worked on by Suzan Mark, EYN director of Women’s Ministry,” said the report on Facebook.

“We are so grateful for prayers for this work and for the children of Nigeria.”

Healing Hearts

The “Healing Hearts” curriculum is Bible-based, as is appropriate for use by EYN. It includes nine sessions based on the Beatitudes, and an accompanying Bible story to go with each session. The Bible stories are taken from “Shine On: A Story Bible,” a children’s story Bible published by Brethren Press and MennoMedia. Fry-Miller also will be taking donated copies of the “Shine On” story Bible to give to EYN.

Photo courtesy of CDS
A sewing group makes toys for use with traumatized children in Nigeria.

Fry-Miller reported that the curriculum has been designed to be “open-ended enough that stories and feelings could be shared.” It also has been intentionally created for an area of the world where few additional materials may be available.

“People seem to be really getting into sewing dolls and animals for us to take,” she said. “I’m hoping the women’s sewing group in Nigeria will also be interested in doing some of this as a project, as long as they can have access to the fabric/stuffing.

“So far I’ve gotten very positive feedback from Suzan Mark,” she added. “I’m assuming it will be a very organic process once we get to Nigeria.”

She anticipates that the two-day “training of trainers” may be followed by opportunities for the two representatives of CDS to do some direct work with children who have been affected by the violence in northeast Nigeria.

For more about the work of Children’s Disaster Services go to . For more about the Nigeria Crisis Response, which is a joint effort of the Church of the Brethren and EYN, go to .


3) Fellowship of Brethren Homes holds annual Forum in April

The Fellowship of Brethren Homes, an organization of the Church of the Brethren-related retirement communities, will hold its annual Forum 2016 on April 19-21 at Hillcrest in La Verne, Calif. The event will begin with a dinner on Tuesday, April 19, and end with a session on Thursday morning, April 21.

Participants are expected from a good number of the 22 church-related retirement communities across the denomination. They will tour the facilities at Hillcrest–a retirement community located in southern California, hold discussion sessions on significant issues for their own facilities, address best practices, elect officers, and hear a presentation on the future of corporate collaboration and possibilities for corporate management sharing, and other ideas for future planning among the different communities. The future of non-profit organizations and their relationship with for-profits also will be a topic for the forum this year.

The Fellowship of Brethren Homes Forum has been held annually since 2002, excepting the year 2008. Ralph McFadden is currently serving as executive director of the fellowship. Find out more about these retirement communities and the work of the fellowship at .

4) Early registration discount still available for @HIM #Hope #Imagination #Mission

Register by April 15 to take advantage of early registration discount for the new church development conference, @HIM #Hope #Imagination #Mission. This event is for church planters, anyone considering becoming a church planter, planting teams, and leaders eager to explore a vision of the church that includes vital established congregations and dynamic emerging mission points.

Scheduled for May 19-21 in Richmond, Ind., the conference features Efrem Smith and Mandy Smith as keynote speakers, and will be marked by passionate worship, informative workshops, valuable networking, vision-casting, and prayerful support.

Information and online registration is at . The event is sponsored by the Church of the Brethren and hosted by Bethany Theological Seminary.

5) Brethren bits

A team of volunteers from Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) arrived in Monroe, La., on March 31 to begin caring for children and families affected by flooding. The response involved six volunteers who cared for children living in a Red Cross shelter. The response concluded today, April 9, having made 55 child contact. Reports associate director Kathy Fry-Miller, “We were able to get some of our newly trained volunteers out on this response, which was exciting.”

— Remembrance: Alan David Patterson, 38, died on April 2 at Gettysburg (Pa.) Hospital. At the time of his death, he was serving as executive camp director for Camp Eder, a Church of the Brethren-related camp and outdoor ministry center near Fairfield, Pa. He was born March 22, 1978, to John L. and Barbara J.(Kohli) Patterson. He was an avid musician and song writer, having sung in the Lima Boys Choir and later moving to Nashville to write and produce his own music. His work for the Church of the Brethren included service as a counselor and program director for Camp Inspiration Hills in Burbank, Ohio, as well as his leadership at Camp Eder. Over the years he also had served as youth leader at Elm Street Church of the Brethren. He was an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren. He also was an avid photographer, who loved nature and capturing nature’s beauty in his pictures. He loved animals and was an advocate for rescuing animals, having rescued four of his own. His legacy of giving to others will live on through his gift of life as a tissue donor. He is survived by his mother, Barbara Patterson, and seven siblings, nephews and a niece, and great nieces and nephews. He also is survived by his friend, Nate Ballinger, who donated a kidney to Alan. A service celebrating his life will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 9, at County Line Church of the Brethren in Harrod, Ohio. Friends may call from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. on Friday, April 8, at Chiles-Laman Funeral and Cremation Services, Eastside Chapel, and one hour prior to the service at County Line Church of the Brethren. Camp Eder will hold a memorial service at the camp on Sunday, April 17, at 4 p.m. Tentative plans are to hold the service in Camp Eder’s chapel on the hill. Memorial contributions are received for Camp Eder. Condolences may be expressed at . Find a full obituary at .

— Remembrance: Donald E. Willoughby, 81, formerly of the Michigan District, passed away Friday, April 8, at Timbercrest Senior Living Community in North Manchester, Ind. He had served on the former Church of the Brethren General Board in the early 1970s and provided significant leadership in the Michigan District. Nate Polzin, Michigan District executive, shared the following: “The Michigan District family has lost another of our beloved elders…. Don served the district in many ways, including as moderator of District Conference. He was a great source of encouragement, and Don had a way about him that welcomed everyone. His wife, Marie, served as district executive, and his son, John, serves now as our district vice-chair and Standing Committee delegate. The Willoughby family has given much to our district. We thank them for sharing Don with us all for so many years.” Don Willoughby was an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren and a graduate of Bridgewater (Va.) High School, Elizabethtown (Pa.) College, and Bethany Theological Seminary. He is survived by his wife Marie and children Michael (Beth) Willoughby of Elk River, Minn., John (Joanna) Willoughby of Grand Rapids, Mich., Anne (Don) Petry of Glen Carbon, Ill., Sallie Willoughby of San Leandro, Calif., Carolyn (Barron) Willoughby Deffenbaugh of Johnstown, Pa., and Brenda Willoughby of Castro Valley, Calif., and grandchildren and a great-grandchild. A memorial service is planned for Sunday, April 10, at 2 p.m. at the Timbercrest Chapel, with calling hours from 1-2 p.m.; and a memorial service and burial of ashes is planned for a later date at the Worship Walkway of Marilla Church of the Brethren in rural Copemish, Mich. Memorial gifts are received to Marilla Church of the Brethren General Fund, Manchester Church of the Brethren General Fund, and the Mission and Ministry Board General Fund.

— Shepherd’s Spring Outdoor Ministry Center in Mid-Atlantic District has announced a change of leadership. Ann Cornell resigned from the position of administrator after many years of service. The board of directors has announced that Dotty Dalphon has accepted the newly created position of executive director, as of April 1. She most recently was director of advancement for Shepherd’s Spring. Dalphon is a member at Frederick (Md.) Church of the Brethren. The board also thanked Glenn Gordon for his service as interim director during the time of transition. Ann Cornell’s years of service will be recognized at the Celebrate Summer Festival on Aug. 6.

— Gene Hollenberg has been called as the new executive director for Camp Alexander Mack, located near Milford, Ind., in an announcement from the camp board. Hollenberg has been an interim pastor, a teacher for 16 years, and a principal for 20 years. His experience at Camp Mack has been extensive. He has served as a counselor for 38 years, as a team leader and designer of Creative Arts Camp, assisted as a program director, consulted with the executive director in the development and writing of summer camp program outcomes, and visited churches on behalf of camp staff to develop relationships and promote camp programming. He is very involved at Union Center Church of the Brethren and in the Northern Indiana District. He will officially start in the position on Sept. 1.

— Mark Flory Steury has transitioned to the position of Donor Relations representative for the Church of the Brethren. He previously worked for the denomination’s Donor Relations as a contractor. He began the new part-time position located at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., on April 1. The responsibilities include strengthening and nurturing congregational and individual stewardship, direct gifts, planned giving, and enlistment programs of the Church of the Brethren, reflecting continuous development in the Donor Relations ministry area.

— Washington (D.C.) City Church of the Brethren is seeking an individual to direct overall operations of the Brethren Nutrition Program, a lunch program for those in need on Capitol Hill. The work includes supervising day-to-day functions, and leading communications, public relations, and fundraising; utilizing one’s faith and skills of administration, organization, development, and public speaking. Some experience with social work, social justice ministries, or working with marginalized people is required. The position begins Aug. 15 and is a full-time 40-hour stipend position with benefits, including housing at Brethren House, a community house on Capitol Hill. To view the complete position description, go to . To apply, send a cover letter and a resume to .

— “Our Calling to Racial Justice” is the topic of an upcoming conference call sponsored by On Earth Peace on Wednesday, April 20, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (Eastern time). “Join with other members of our multicultural and multiracial community of practice to share about our emerging inner calls to involvement and leadership for racial justice in these Black Lives Matters times,” said an invitation. “Within an atmosphere of sacred space and beloved community, this call will feature several participants sharing responses to core bio questions developed for OEP’s racial justice community of practice.” Questions include: What has been your experience with race, racism, and racial justice? What is your own calling to racial justice leadership in these times? What is one skill or growth area that you know will help you be more effective as a leader for racial justice? What is one resource that you have to offer to this emerging community of racial justice workers? The call also will include a basic orientation to On Earth Peace’s Racial Justice Organizing Community of Practice, and opportunities to get involved. Register to participate at . Contact for additional information and for a handout with guiding questions to use in preparing for the call. The preferred format for the call, with is both video and voice-only, is via PC, Android, or iOS, with an installation of a free app from . There is no fee for the call, but an option for making a donation in support of this ministry will be made available after the call.

— At the Circles of Love Banquet, ADNet (the Anabaptist Disabilities Network) introduced a new Financial Planning Seminar jointly with Everence. “Plan for Their Future” will be offered April 28 at 7 p.m. at the Everence offices in Goshen, Ind., for families that include persons with disabilities. With leadership from Randall Jacobs, J.D., it will cover the latest in estate planning laws, including how to leave a legacy without jeopardizing a loved one’s eligibility for government benefits, and how charitable trusts can benefit heirs and charities. Please RSVP by April 14 to or 574-533-9515 ext. 3307. Light refreshments will be served.

— A new issue of “Bridge,” the newsletter by and for Church of the Brethren young adults, is now available as an online publication. Find a link at or go directly to .

Photo courtesy of PUST
The graduating class at PUST


— Global Mission and Service is celebrating the graduation of 105 students from Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST) in North Korea. This is the university’s third graduation since opening six years ago. Of the six postgraduate students receiving master of science degrees, three have worked in the School of Agriculture under the direction of Robert Shank. Robert and Linda Shank have worked as Church of the Brethren volunteers at PUST since the university’s opening, serving as dean of the School of Agriculture and English instructor, respectively.

— Brethren who plan to attend the upcoming Calvin Festival of Faith and Writing in Grand Rapids, Mich., are invited to gather together dinner and discussion with Congregational Life Ministries staff member Debbie Eisenbise on Friday, April 15. RSVP via Facebook or by e-mail to .

— The Southern Ohio District board is planning a celebration of camping in Southern Ohio over the years, taking place at Woodland Altars on Saturday, April 30, 2-4 p.m. A Celebration Program will be held in Heritage Lodge from 2-3 p.m., followed by free time for hiking, touring facilities, a sing-along, and sharing memories. For more information and a flier go to .

— Cross Keys Village-the Brethren Home Community is celebrating “another good grade for CKV.” In a recent email the Church of the Brethren-related retirement community reported that its Standard and Poor’s rating “remains at A-minus with a stable outlook…. At Cross Keys Village, we take our fiduciary responsibility to existing and future residents seriously. As we embark on exciting projects, one top consideration is always to remain financially resilient and exceed our industry’s financial benchmarks.” In more news from the community, director of memory support Jennifer Holcomb was a finalist at the 9th annual Central Penn Parent’s Healthcare Heroes presentation in Harrisburg, Pa.

— “Honor a woman you know and love by celebrating and supporting mothers around the world!” said an invitation to participate in the Global Women’s Project’s annual Mother’s Day Gratitude Project. “Rather than buying more material gifts for your loved one, express your gratitude with a gift that helps other women around the world. Your donation allows us to fund projects focused on women’s health, education, and employment. In return, your chosen recipient(s) will receive a lovely, hand-written card indicating that a gift has been made in her honor, with a brief description of GWP.” To participate, send a donation to Global Women’s Project, c/o Emily Matteson, 1405 Ashwood Dr., Modesto, CA 95350. Remember to include your name and the recipient’s name and address. Memorial donations are also received and will be honored on the website . Gratitude cards will be mailed in time for Mother’s Day if requests are sent by May 3.

— Elizabethtown (Pa.) College’s Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies presents two honors student lectures on April 21 at 7:30 p.m. Annemarie Hartzell, a senior at Elizabethtown College, will present “Men of War, Men of Peace: Brethren Ideologies and the Civil War.” Quinton Meil, a senior at Temple University, will present “Amish and Criminal Law: The English Response to Amish Crime and its Implications on Due Process.” For more information, call 717-361-1470 or visit .

— A Mother’s Day 5-K Walk/Run for Nigeria and Nepal is planned for May 7 at the Bridgewater (Va.) Lawn Party grounds. Registration is from 12:15-1 p.m., and the race is from 1-3 p.m. Proceeds benefit the Church of the Brethren Nigeria Crisis Response and survivors of sex trafficking in Nepal. Register before April 30. Cost is $25 per participant to receive the T-shirt. Cost after April 30 and on race day is $30. Contact to get involved. Information also is available at .

— Wayne and Margaret Keltner will celebrate their 70th anniversary on April 21. The couple’s early years of marriage were uniquely spent in the heart of Church of the Brethren denominational ministry, reports daughter Priscilla Keltner Skeeters. They were married at the former Brethren Fellowship House in Chicago, Ill., by Harper Will. As newlyweds they moved to the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., where they lived in Old Main while Wayne worked on a Heifer Project farm and Margaret worked sorting clothing and doing other projects for Church World Service. Later in life they became involved in planting a new church in Springfield, Mo. “Sadly, the Good Shepherd church closed a few years ago,” Skeeters reports, ‘but they have remained active and continue their membership in the district at-large.”

Contributors to this issue of Newsline include Deborah Brehm, Debbie Eisenbise, Sue Freel, Kathy Fry-Miller, Kendra Harbeck, Nancy Miner, Shayne Chibuzo Petty, Randi Rowan, Priscilla Keltner Skeeters, Jenny Williams, and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren. Newsline is produced by the News Services of the Church of the Brethren. Contact the editor at . Newsline appears every week, with special issues as needed. Stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source. The next regularly scheduled issue of Newsline is set for April 15.

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