“So roll up your sleeves, put your mind in gear, be totally ready to receive the gift that’s coming when Jesus arrives…. Let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God’s life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness” (from 1 Peter 1:13-15 in “The Message” version).
1) Grant of $50,000 will send aid for Syrian refugee crisis in Lebanon
2) Yearbook reports denominational membership in 2014, and other statistics
3) New Church of the Brethren Yearbook is available on CD
4) Brethren bits: Remembrance, new faculty at Elizabethtown’s Young Center, Shine curriculum seeks project director, registration discount for NYAC ends Jan. 31, pray for delegation to S. Sudan, BVS projects on Facebook, resources for Service Sunday Feb. 7, and much more
Quote of the week:
One: When we feel crippled in our fear,
All: And the problems of the world seem too huge to bear,
One: Remind us, O God, that you are mightier than every evil.
All: Remind us that as long as we are a little faithful,
One: We can move mountains
All: And spark change among the nations.
One: Because with You in control,
All: Nothing is impossible.
— A Call for Worship for Service Sunday 2016, written by Amanda McLearn-Montz who is serving in the Workcamp Ministry of the Church of the Brethren, through Brethren Volunteer Service. She is one of the BVS volunteers who have written the resources for this year’s Service Sunday. The suggested date for this annual observance is Feb. 7. Find worship resources and a downloadable poster at www.brethren.org/bvs/files .
1) Grant of $50,000 will send aid for Syrian refugee crisis in Lebanon
The staff at Brethren Disaster Ministries have directed an allocation of $50,000 from the Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) to support the Syrian refugee relief programs of Lebanese Society for Education and Social Development (LSESD).
“The now six-year Syrian civil war has displaced nearly 10 million Syrians, even as the other conflicts in the Middle East have displaced millions more,” said the grant request. “Lebanon, which shares a long border with Syria, now has 1.5 million Syrian refugees, and another half million Palestinian refugees.
“Public officials are very reluctant to provide support to these groups, and the government is unwilling to allow large-scale international relief or the development of Syrian refugee camps. Most refugees live in substandard housing with several other families and without enough food, little medical care, and poor sanitation, and the children are not able to attend school.”
Partner organization LSESD currently has more than 20 relief projects across Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq. Through support from LSESD, many schools and educational programs have been started for Syrian refugees. The organization’s monthly feeding programs, medical care, winterization supplies, and trauma recovery programming are reaching many in need.
This initial grant will provide monthly food packages for displaced people in Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq, along with health care, milk and diapers for families with small children, bedding, education for Syrian refugee children, trauma recovery, social and psychological support programs, and drinking water.
For more information about the work of Brethren Disaster Ministries go to www.brethren.org/bdm .
For more information about the EDF and to give online to the fund, go to www.brethren.org/edf .
2) Yearbook reports denominational membership in 2014, and other statistics
The Church of the Brethren denominational membership was 114,465 in 2014, according to data from the “2015 Church of the Brethren Yearbook.” Compared to 2009, when denominational membership was 122,810, this represents a decline of 8,345 members over the previous five years.
The Church of the Brethren denomination has experienced a decades-long trend of declining membership since the 1960s.
Denominational membership is one of the numbers included in the statistical section of the annual Yearbook, which collects statistics from the previous year–the 2015 Yearbook reports statistics from 2014. The Yearbook also includes a current directory for the denomination. The Yearbook may be purchased from Brethren Press and is provided in pdf format on CD.
Yearbook figures are based on data provided by congregations that turn in statistical reports. However, not all congregations turn in reports. In 2009, 686 or 65.5 percent of Church of the Brethren congregations turned in a statistical report. The 2014 statistics reflect the reports returned by 602 or 59 percent of the churches. The numbers of reporting congregations are relatively consistent with most recent years, and so provide a means for comparison.
The total number of congregations in the denomination, which includes the United States and Puerto Rico, in 2014 was 967. In addition, there were 54 fellowship and projects across the denomination. Five years previously, in 2009, congregations numbered 994, and fellowships and projects numbered 53.
In 2014, the denomination reported a total average weekly worship attendance of 50,625 for the year, also a decline from five years previously when average attendance was 58,830.
Congregations reported 1,074 baptisms in 2014, compared to 1,394 in 2009.
The denomination gained a district in 2014, with the addition of Puerto Rico District. This increases the number of Church of the Brethren districts to 24 from the previous 23.
Shenandoah District has overtaken Atlantic Northeast District as the largest in the denomination, in terms of membership. Shenandoah had 13,763 members in 2014. In 2009 Shenandoah came in at second largest, with 14,189 members. In 2009 Atlantic Northeast had 14,336 members; in 2014 its congregations reported 13,551 members. The third largest district continues to be Virlina District, with 10,598 members in 2014. In 2009 it also was the third largest district, with 10,947 members.
Congregational giving to denominational ministries increased to a total of $5,578,041 in 2014. The 2009 total was $3,519,737.
Congregational giving to special purpose funds and other specially designated gifts more than doubled compared to 2009. Giving by congregations to the Emergency Disaster Fund, Global Food Crisis Fund, Emerging Global Mission Fund, and specially designated gifts amounted to $2,859,134 in 2014, as compared to $1,401,454 in 2009. Such giving often is determined by the nature and scope of disasters or other events during that period. In 2014 that included the persecution of Nigerian Brethren by Boko Haram, and the American Brethren responded with resolve to support Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria).
Giving to the other two Annual Conference agencies that receive financial support from congregations also is recorded in the Yearbook: Bethany Theological Seminary received $313,907 from congregations in 2014, and On Earth Peace received $85,008.
To purchase a copy of the 2015 Church of the Brethren Yearbook go to www.BrethrenPress.com or call 800-441-3712.
3) New Church of the Brethren Yearbook is available on CD
The 2015 Church of the Brethren Yearbook is now available for purchase from Brethren Press. The Yearbook is the annual directory of the Church of the Brethren denomination, and is published in pdf format on CD. The 2015 Yearbook may be purchased for $21.50, plus shipping and handling.
In more news from Brethren Press, the website of the online bookstore recently was updated and offers new mobile-friendly features as well as a new look. “The Brethren Press website has undergone a sleek transformation,” reports marketing director Jeff Lennard. “The new modern design was selected for its versatility, responsiveness, and ability to showcase products without distraction. Site navigation was also improved by refining categories and search functions.” The aim of the update is to enhance the overall customer experience. To view the new look visit www.brethrenpress.com .
The Church of the Brethren Yearbook includes detailed contact information for each congregation in the Church of the Brethren, along with information about each of the denomination’s 24 districts, agencies of the church, the denominational staff, and more.
In the statistical reporting section of the Yearbook, statistics are collected for the denominationa and its districts in the previous year. In the 2015 Yearbook, the statistical section reports numbers for 2014.
The 2015 Yearbook has been published later than usual because of delays relating to the shift to a new database at the Church of the Brethren General Offices. Usually the annual Yearbook is available in mid-year. However, the 2015 Yearbook includes the most up-to-date information available as of fall 2015.
Order the yearbook at www.brethrenpress.com or call Brethren Press at 800-441-3712.
4) Brethren bits
— Remembrance: Virginia (Ginny) M. Stockton, 87, a former mission worker in Nigeria and a former employee at Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT), died on Jan. 12 at Peabody Retirement Community in North Manchester, Ind. She was born Feb. 14, 1928, in Logansport, Ind., to Howard and Alice (Moss) Johnson. She attended Manchester College for two years. She married Roger L. Ingold on June 22, 1947. In 1997 she married Richard Stockton, who died in 2003. In 1960 she and her family moved to Nigeria where she taught English and was secretary at the office of the Church of the Brethren mission. In 1975 she and her family moved to Elgin, Ill., and continued work at the Church of the Brethren General Offices. She was a full-time employee for the Pension Fund/General Board starting in Nov. 1983, and then retired from Brethren Benefit Trust on April 27, 1990, and moved to Fort Myers, Fla. She is survived by sons John (Gay) Ingold of North Manchester, and David (Rose) Ingold of Graff, Mo.; grandchildren and great grandchildren. A memorial service was held on Monday, Jan. 18, at Peabody Chapel in North Manchester. Memorial gifts are received to the Peabody Caring Circle and the Peabody Chapel Endowment Fund.
— Steven M. Nolt has been named to succeed Donald B. Kraybill as senior scholar at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College’s Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies. Kraybill retired in July 2015. Nolt is a professor at Goshen (Ind.) College and holds a master’s degree from the Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary and a master’s and a doctorate from the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. He has taught courses in American history, Mennonite and Amish history, immigration, ethnic history, and North American Christianity, according to an announcement in “The Etownian,” the campus newspaper. He also is an author, and has contributed to 14 books. His next publication is titled “The Amish: A Concise Introduction,” and he is contracted to write “Anabaptists in America” for Columbia University Press’ Columbia Contemporary American Religion Series. He will begin at the Young Center on July 1.
— Brethren Press and MennoMedia seek a project director to oversee all aspects of Shine: Living in God’s Light, a multi-component Sunday school curriculum for ages 3 through grade 8 that invites children and junior youth to know of God’s love and to follow Jesus. The project director oversees all aspects of the curriculum and must have strong vision and leadership, planning and oversight skills. Responsibilities include editing and writing in ways that show theological depth, an awareness of multicultural diversity, and a commitment to inquiry-based learning. The project director must be able to research trends and supervise staff. A strong understanding of Christian education and curriculum, and experience teaching or administering programming for children or youth, are required. This is a full-time, salaried position for the duration of the curriculum, which is projected to be four to five years. Preference will be given to applicants who can work out of MennoMedia’s office in Elkhart, Ind. Click on “Job Openings” at www.MennoMedia.org for a complete job description and application form. Contact email@example.com for more information. The application reviews begin in March.
— The deadline to get an “early bird” registration discount for National Young Adult Conference (NYAC) is Jan. 31. The Youth and Young Adult Ministry office reminds young adults ages 18-35, to register before the end of January to receive the discount. Although a young adult conference is held annually, NYAC is an expanded event offered every few years. Dates for the 2016 NYAC are May 27-30. Manchester University in North Manchester, Ind., will host the conference on the theme, “Creating Harmony.” Through Jan. 31 registration costs $200, going up to $250 beginning Feb. 1. Find registration and more information at www.brethren.org/yac .
— The Global Mission and Service office seeks prayer for a delegation of six Church of the Brethren members traveling to South Sudan to visit church and community partners there. Along with Annual Conference moderator Andy Murray, the group includes former Sudan mission worker Roger Schrock, Leon Neher, Linda Zunkel, Eli Mast, and Brent Carlson. The group arrived in Juba on Jan. 20 and will depart from there on Feb. 1. They plan to visit the Africa Inland Church, the South Sudan Council of Churches, and refugee and educational ministries supported by the Church of the Brethren, staying at the Brethren Peace Center in Torit. Hosting the group will be Global Mission and Service worker Athanasus Ungang. “Pray for God’s protective presence to surround the group and for peace to prevail in all of South Sudan,” said the request.
— Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) is highlighting one of its project sites each week with a Facebook post. Recent posts feature Gould Farm in Monterey, Mass., America’s original community for psychiatric rehabilitation in an open setting on 700 acres of farm and woodlands; and the Asian Rural Institute (ARI) in Tochigi-ken, Japan, an international training ground for grassroots rural leaders. “Christian in inspiration, ARI openly invites people of all religions,” the BVS post notes. Volunteers at Gould Farm fill work-leader positions in specific areas, supporting guests in tasks such as dairy and animal husbandry, cheese-making, auto mechanics, organic gardening, food services, and maintenance; and also serve on the residential team, supporting guests with daily living skills, activities, recreation, and overnight sleep coverage. At ARI BVSers fully participate in this international community together with staff and participants, with each volunteer assigned to a specific section and area of work such as the farm (livestock and crops), meal service, computers systems, publications (writing and layout design), recruitment, graduate outreach, and maintenance of machines and facilities. Find the BVS Facebook page at www.facebook.com/brethrenvolunteerservice . Find out more about how to become a BVS volunteer at www.brethren.org/bvs .
— Worship resources are now available for Service Sunday 2016 on the theme “Blazing with Holiness” (1 Peter 1:13-16, The Message). This special Sunday, with the suggested date of Feb. 7, is an annual occasion to celebrate and encourage service to others in the name of Christ. Worship resources are written by Brethren Volunteer Service workers, and include reflections and poetry alongside litanies, prayers, and more. The free online resources also include a downloadable poster. Go to www.brethren.org/bvs/files .
— La Place (Ill.) Church of the Brethren was named “Church of the Week” by the “Herald and Review” newspaper. The review noted the church’s outreach activities, history, and welcome to visitors. Pastor Joe Harley is quoted as saying: “The members walk in love, congregation is small enough to know and enter into a caring atmosphere. Several activities are spaced throughout the year to keep you active and allowing you to minister to others.”
— The public is invited to events on Sunday, Feb. 7, led by Shawn Kirchner at Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, Ill. The morning worship service at 9:30 a.m. will feature his leadership, and will be followed by a time of reflection and a sing-along from 11 a.m.-12 noon. That evening, he will perform at a Coffeehouse at the church from 7-9 p.m. Kirchner is a musician and composer and member of La Verne (Calif.) Church of the Brethren, who will be coordinating music for the 2016 Annual Conference. He participates in the Los Angeles Master Chorale. An album to which he contributed was nominated for a Grammy award this year. Titled “Pablo Neruda: The Poet Sings,” the album by choral ensemble Conspirare includes two of Kirchner’s choral settings of poems by Neruda. For more information about the events at Highland Avenue Church contact firstname.lastname@example.org .
— Antioch Church of the Brethren in Woodstock, Va., is lifting Jesus up through “Antioch on the Radio,” said a recent newsletter from the congregation. The sermons at the Antioch Church are rebroadcast on the radio by WBTX 1470AM and 102.1FM, every Sunday from 12:30-1 p.m. George Bowers is pastor of the church, and Stephanie Heishman-Litten is associate pastor. “Share the news with others and invite them to listen in!” said the announcement.
— Summer campers from First Church of the Brethren in Brooklyn, N.Y., painted fire hydrants around the community this past summer. Pastor Jonathan Bream shared a note in the Winter 2015 newsletter from the assistant speaker for New York, Felix W. Ortiz, whose office coordinated the effort with the city’s Department of Environment Protection. “Their volunteer effort will keep our community safer by making the hydrants more visible ensuring accessibility to firefighters,” the newsletter said. “The campers undertook the joy of painting the hydrants from 64th to 60th Streets between 3rd and 5th Ave. Thank you to all who participated!
— Goshen (Ind.) City Church of the Brethren is thanking the many people who responded on short notice to collect one-gallon plastic containers for the Time for Children in worship on Jan. 17. “Our children pulled together 28 gallon containers to visualize the abundant amount provided by Jesus,” said the church newsletter. “Twenty to thirty gallons filled the big barrel when Jesus turned the water to fine wine in John 2. And Jesus filled six barrels…. This shows how Jesus takes the ordinary, such as each of us, and turns us into the extraordinary.”
— South/Central Indiana District’s Program and Arrangements Committee has issued an invitation to a Ted & Co. performance of “12 Baskets and a Goat” on Feb. 26, at 7 p.m., at Northview Church of the Brethren in Indianapolis. Performances of “12 Baskets and a Goat” benefit Heifer International and are a joint effort of Ted & Co. with the Global Mission and Service of the Church of the Brethren, hosted by Brethren congregations. The district invitation noted, “More than 70 years ago, Dan West, a member of the Elkhart Valley Church of the Brethren, dreamed of a day when all people would have enough to eat. Heifer Project was begun with a load of heifers from Indiana and Ohio that was sent to Puerto Rico. That means that Heifer International is part of the Church of the Brethren legacy. Heifer International has grown, and today movie stars and children share gifts with Heifer so that people have food.” The Feb. 26 performance will feature “The Jesus Stories: Faith, Forks, and Fettuccini,” written and performed by Ted Swartz and Jeff Raught. Two intervals will be held to auction off baskets of breads to support Heifer International. District members and congregations are invited to provide a basket and be present to bid in the auction.
— A leadership training event focused on dealing with disagreement and differences is planned by Western Plains District on Feb. 22-24, with continuing education units available to ministers. The event, which also is being publicized by neighboring districts including Missouri and Arkansas, is planned for pastors, congregational, and district leaders to provide transformational training. “Difference and disagreement are normal and inevitable,” said an announcement. “However, many of us feel ill prepared to handle conflict within our faith communities. We will examine how to transform conflict into spiritual and community renewal, focusing on: biblical and theological principles, congregations as family systems, levels of conflict within faith communities, structured dialogue in high-anxiety situations, assessment tools, reconciliation.” The event takes place at the Heartland Center in Great Bend, Kan. Gary Flory and Robert Yutzy from the Kansas Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution at Bethel College in Newton, Kan., will be the resource people. For more information contact Kendra Flory at the Western Plains District Office at email@example.com or 620-241-4240.
— The Inter-District Youth Cabinet (IYC) at Bridgewater (Va.) College is leading two events in February for senior high youth and their advisors, on the theme “Some Assembly Required” (Matthew 6:19-34). The first event on Feb. 6-7 is for high schoolers in Virlina District, hosted at Antioch Church of the Brethren in Woodstock, Va.; fee for the overnight event is $10 per person, contact firstname.lastname@example.org . The second event is on Feb. 19-21 for high schoolers in Shenandoah District, hosted by Brethren Woods Camp and Retreat Center near Keezletown, Va.; go to www.shencob.org/youth for more information.
— Among four new members of the Manchester University Board of Trustees is Madalyn Metzger, a member of Goshen (Ind.) City Church of the Brethren, according to a release from the university. Others joining the board are Michael J. Packnett, president and CEO at Parkview Health; Ding-Jo Hsia Currie, past president of Coastline Community College, and currently a professor in the doctoral education leadership program at California State University-Fullerton; and William “Mark” Rosenbury, a retired renewables and environment professional with extensive experience in public service and volunteering. Metzger leads the marketing and communications direction and vision for Everence Financial in Goshen, including the company’s investment, asset management, charitable services, health, and retirement and credit union products. In 2015, she received the Everence Financial Commitment to Excellence Award, as part of the company’s Financial Planning Leadership Group. Previously she worked in fundraising communication for Church World Service. She also is an advocate for peace and justice and has been a board member of On Earth Peace, where she served as chair 2008-13, and has served on the advisory board for New Community Project from 2006-09. In 2008, she was recognized as one of 40 young professionals younger than 40 in northern Indiana and southern Michigan. She is a member of the American Marketing Association and Anabaptist Communicators. She is a 1999 Manchester graduate, with a degree in interpersonal and organizational communication. Find the complete release at www.manchester.edu/about-manchester/news/news-articles/trustees-2016 .
— Presentations this winter at the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College explore a 1762 German hymnal, Amish attitudes about vaccinations, and the biblical story of Jacob. At 7 p.m. on Feb. 11, Church of the Brethren linguist and hymnologist Hedda Durnbaugh discusses “The Schwenkfelder Hymnal of 1762 and its Unique Place in German Hymnody.” Christine Nelson-Tuttle, associate professor of nursing at St. John Fisher College, discusses “Assessing Vaccination Receptivity in the Old Order Amish in Cattaraugus County, N.Y.” at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 23. “Gender, Shame, and Jacob’s Hip: One Communal Society’s Views” is a presentation by Jeff Bach, Young Center director and religious studies professor, at 7:30 p.m. on March 15. Bach will discuss the Ephrata Community’s unique interpretation of the biblical story of Jacob, that allowed it to criticize patriarchy and male domination. The lectures, held in the Bucher Meetinghouse, are free. Contact the Young Center at 717-361-1470 or email@example.com .
— Henry H. Gibbel, and his wife, Joanie, have donated $500,000 to Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., to fund an artificial turf soccer field and stadium, according to a release from the college. Henry Gibbel is a member of Lititz Church of the Brethren, director of the Mutual Aid Association of the Church of the Brethren, and past chairman and director emeritus for the Brethren Village Retirement and Health Care Community. He retired as chair of the Juniata Board of Trustees in 2006, receiving the John C. Baker Award for Exemplary Service, and is chair of Lititz Mutual Insurance Co. He is a past chairman of the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies and secretary/treasurer and past president of the Pennsylvania Association of Mutual Insurance Companies. He received the 1981 Distinguished Service Award from the Pennsylvania Association of Mutual Insurance Companies. He is a retired director of Susquehanna Bancshares Inc. He and his wife have been contributors to Juniata College since he graduated in 1957. In 2002 they sponsored the Henry and Joan Gibbel Award for Distinguished Teaching. They have donated to the soccer project because almost all of their eight grandchildren have played soccer–three in college and another in college and professionally. The new facility will be called the Henry H. and Joanie R. Gibbel Stadium and will be part of a $3.5 million Winton Hill Athletic Complex that also will include six tennis courts, a locker room and office, a grandstand with enclosed press box, and stadium lights for the soccer and tennis locations. “Soccer continues to gain on football as the fall sport of choice for men and the number of women who continue to flock to the game is increasing,” said Greg Curley, athletic director. “Tennis is also growing in popularity again. The Winton Hill complex truly has the potential to transform Juniata’s ability to meet our ambitious enrollment goals.” The complex will be located behind Nathan Hall at the intersection of College Avenue and Cold Springs Road. Construction is tentatively scheduled to begin this spring.
— The annual meeting and dinner of CrossRoads, a Brethren and Mennonite heritage center in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, will be held Feb. 5, starting at 6:30 p.m., hosted by Dayton (Va.) Mennonite Church. John D. Roth, professor of history at Goshen (Ind.) College and editor of “The Mennonite Quarterly Review” will be the guest speaker on the topic “Tap Root or Rhizome? Retelling the Brethren and Mennonite Stories as if the Global Church Mattered.” The meal will be prepared by Janet Wenger. Also on the program are updates about the center and information about capital projects. There is no cost for the meal. Contributions will be received for the CrossRoads Annual Fund. Make reservations at www.vbmhc.org or call 540-438-1275.
— Leaders of the worldwide Orthodox churches are meeting Jan. 21-28 in Geneva, Switzerland, to prepare for a Great and Holy Council of the Orthodox Church to occur later this year. All of the top Orthodox leaders are expected to attend, with a few exceptions due to health concerns, said a release from the World Council of Churches. Preparation for the Great and Holy Council has been decades in the making. The release reported that the agenda was formulated 40 years ago, in November 1976, by the Pre-Conciliar Pan-Orthodox Conference.
— Don Shank, 92, was interviewed by the Elgin “Courier News” about his experience of marching with Martin Luther King Jr. during the Civil Rights movement. He is an ordained minister and hospital chaplain, retired from the pastorate at Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, Ill. He was instrumental in establishing an annual Sunday of joint worship between Highland Avenue and Elgin’s Second Baptist Church, a majority Black congregation led by pastor Nathaniel Edmond. “If there was a kind of principle we learned from Dr. King, it was equality for all,” Edmond told the newspaper. “If the church cannot do it we can’t expect the rest of the world to do it.” Read more at www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/elgin-courier-news/news/ct-ecn-elgin-minister-mlk-reflection-st-0118-20160116-story.html .
— Meredith Balsbaugh of Midway Church of the Brethren is one of the Elco High School seniors named Myerstown-Elco Rotary Club Students of the Month for January, in the Lebanon (Pa.) “Daily News.” She is the daughter of Mike and Becky Balsbaugh, and among her many other activities is a junior church teacher, a member of the church’s praise team, and has helped with Vacation Bible School and the Lebanon Project for the Needy. See www.ldnews.com/story/news/local/community/2016/01/15/rotary-club-honors-elco-students/78426358 .
— Oscar Garner, a lifelong member of Lakewood Church of the Brethren in Milbury, Ohio, will turn 100 on Feb. 10. A party in his honor will be held Feb. 14 at Otterbein Portage Valley where Garner resides, said an announcement from Barbara Wilch at the Lakewood Church. Garner was born on a farm in Walbridge, Ohio, during World War I. The story of his life, shared by Wilch, notes that the bell from the Frog Pond School where he started first grade is the bell that wakes up campers at Inspiration Hills, a Church of the Brethren camp. Garner is the only living member of his high school graduating class. His father, George Garner, was the first permanent preacher at Black Swamp Church of the Brethren, now the Lakewood Church. Garner enjoyed 63 and a half years of marriage to Florice Loop, beginning in 1940 when they were wed. During World War II, Garner continued to follow his faith with his conscientious objector stand, going overseas first to New Guinea where he was told to prepare for the invasion of Japan. After Japan’s surrender on August 15, 1945, he was sent home. A few years ago he was honored as a member of the Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. He spent his working career at DuPont where he got a job as a “paint shader” or color analyst. He and his wife never had children, Wilch reported, “but loved and cared for many others’ children and always tried to help others.” He has been a trustee and treasurer for the Lakewood Church, a Sunday school teacher, and a driver for campers going to Camp Mack in Indiana. When Good Shepherd Home in Fostoria, Ohio, was rebuilt, he served on that board as chair. “Church of the Brethren molded much of Oscar Garner and in turn Oscar has witnessed for Church of the Brethren throughout his life,” said Wilch’s report. “Praise God!”
Contributors to this issue of Newsline include Jonathan Bream, Anne Gregory, Elizabeth Harvey, Jeff Lennard, Wendy McFadden, Nancy Miner, John Wall, Barbara Wilch, Roy Winter, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org . 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 Jan. 29.