Newsline for September 10, 2016

“Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, says the Lord of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6b).

Photo by Glenn Riegel
Banners hang high during the 2013 Annual Conference of the Church of the Brethren, proclaiming “Move in Our Midst” — the quote is from Ken Morse’s hymn text, “Move in our midst, thou Spirit of God.”


1) New connections for Bethany Seminary in Brazil
2) Brethren sponsor capacity-building conference for Batwa from Rwanda, Burundi, DR Congo


3) Huma Rana to become director of Financial Operations for Brethren Benefit Trust
4) BVS Unit 313 volunteers begin their terms of service


5) General secretary to hold listening sessions across denomination
6) Brethren Academy offers ‘Healthy Boundaries 201′ training as a Spanish language webcast
7) Entrenamiento en Limites Saludables y en La Ética de Relaciones Ministeriales

8) Brethren bits: Corrections, remembering Kaydo Petry and David Leatherman, Terry Goodger ends her work for Material Resources, Bethany Seminary welcomes nine new students this fall, team honors Ted Studebaker at Dayton’s Peace Heroes Walk, Shanks return for another semester at PUST, the sinking of the Zam Zam, Bridgewater College enjoys record enrollment, more

Quotes of the week:

“Kindle our hearts to burn with thy flame,
Raise up thy banners high in this hour.
Stir us to build new worlds in thy name.
Spirit of God, O send us thy pow’r!”

— A stanza from Ken Morse’s hymn text, “Move in Our Midst,” which was read at a reception for new general secretary David Steele on Friday, Sept. 9, at the Church of the Brethren General Offices. A welcome speech by Global Mission and Service executive Jay Wittmeyer noted the appropriateness of this season for Steele to take up his new position of leadership for the denomination, and shared blessings for the new general secretary’s work among the Brethren.

“Transform us into people of your peace, seeking the wholeness and welfare of all people with our actions and speaking your love with our words….”

— This prayer is among the resources for observances of the 9/11 anniversary, including prayers, litanies, study resources and more. Go to .


1) New connections for Bethany Seminary in Brazil

By Jenny Williams

Photo courtesy of Bethany Seminary
Jeff Carter (second from right) and Dan Poole (right) of Bethany Theological Seminary, with their host family in Brazil.

Building on a new connection with the Church of the Brethren in Brazil (Igreja da Irmandade-Brasil), Bethany Theological Seminary president Jeff Carter joined Dan Poole, coordinator of ministry formation, for a visit in the São Paulo area Aug. 20-22.

Helping to host them were current Bethany student Alexandre Gonçalves and his wife, Gislaine de Souza. Gonçalves is completing his work to earn a master of divinity degree from Bethany in his ministry formation placement, a partnership between his congregation and the social service agency he works for, which facilitates peaceful family environments.

The visit was both a scheduled academic observation of Gonçalves in his placement–as he and Brazilian Brethren leader Marcos Inhauser gave a lecture on the family–and the opportunity to learn more about the Brethren in Brazil.

“I’m deeply curious as to what God is doing in the world and what forms ministry takes in different contexts,” said Carter. “Bethany is now part of conversations we didn’t know were happening.”

Carter noted three aspects to the visit experience: education, strong social relationships, and community-focused worship. In addition to experiencing Gonçalves’ ministry service, Carter and Poole attended the opening of a community center in the suburb of Campinas, and joined Gonçalves’ congregation for worship on a family farm near Campinas where “the love of Jesus Christ was palpable.”

— Jenny Williams is director of communications for Bethany Theological Seminary, the Church of the Brethren graduate school of theology located in Richmond, Ind.


2) Brethren sponsor capacity-building conference for Batwa from Rwanda, Burundi, DR Congo

“Reaching the Batwa (pygmy) for Christ in the Great Lakes region of Africa is deep on my heart, writes Jay Wittmeyer, executive director of Global Mission and Service. “The formerly forest-dwelling hunter-gatherers suffer profound discrimination, marginalization and violence and because of the depletion of their historic forests and access restrictions by government, the Batwa are being forced to acculturate to the modern, agrarian world–it is not going well.”

Working through a nascent Brethren church in the region, the Church of the Brethren sponsored a capacity-building conference to bring Batwa together from Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The following is excerpted from a report by Dr. David Niyonzima, detailing the conference and some of the learnings gained from the interaction:

Report of the Capacity Building Conference of the Twa of the Great Lakes Region of Africa

Photo courtesy of Global Mission and Service
A group of Batwa hold a discussion during the capacity-building conference sponsored by the Church of the Brethren, and held in the Africa Great Lakes region.

The Twa of Rwanda, Congo and Burundi, being the most affected of all other communities, are still marginalized, discriminated, and locked into a poverty that needs serous initiatives from both themselves and the concerned supporters.

It is with this concern that the representatives of the Brethren of Rwanda, the Shalom Ministries of Congo, and the Trauma Healing and Reconciliation Services in Burundi joined efforts to facilitate a capacity building and an exchange of experience among the Twa of the Great Lakes Region of Africa, that was held in Burundi on Aug. 15-19, at the THARS Center at Gitega, with the support of the Church of the Brethren.

Seeing that the objective was to build the capacity of participants through an exchange of experience, the conference was facilitated with a participatory approach. There was a session that was organized in a “get to know each other” format where each country shared their way of life with questions and answers.

This was so interesting. For example we heard the Burundi Twa asking the Twa from Congo if truly they ate other human beings as rumors had spread. The answer was, “No, we do not eat our fellow human beings.” The Twa from Congo were shocked to learn that some of the Twa in Rwanda and in Burundi were out on the streets begging, instead of getting into the forest to hunt animals for food and for sale. The Twa of Rwanda were impressed to learn that the Twa of Burundi were going to church and they said they were going to try it as well. Twa of Congo and Burundi, empathized with the Twa of Rwanda when they heard that the government had put a law prohibiting them to go into the forest to get honey to sell.

The learning from each other and practical exchange of experience was prioritized through group sharing and group presentation, questions and answers after brief presentations by the facilitators, as well as an exposure visit at Taba, one of the Twa communities in the Gitega province.

Participants were put in groups to discuss fully on the topics on their own and express themselves in an effort to establish an ownership of the issues being raised during the presentation. Those who were not able to speak found opportunities to do so, with the support of the group members. Groups were mixed ethnically and internationally for discussion on presented topics:

1. Improving the Twa’s wellbeing, facilitated by Ron Lubungo.
2. Counteracting the Twa’s discrimination, facilitated by David Niyonzima.
3. Increasing the Twa’s self-esteem, facilitated by Etienne Nsanzimana.
4. Overcoming the Twa’s economic indigence which was facilitated by Nelson Alaki, from Congo since Joseph Kalegamire (Congo World Relief) was not able to attend the conference due to other commitments.

Photo courtesy of Global Mission and Service
One of the Batwa leaders who shared at the capacity-building conference

The climax of the conference was time when the participants were boarded in minibuses to go to Taba to visit a Twa Community. Upon arrival in the village, the hosts broke into dancing and singing, welcoming the visitors with whom they knew they had a lot in common. The hosts proceeded to show the visitors where they lived, taking them right inside their houses. The language barrier particularly for Congo Twas and Burundi Twas did not seem to be a handicap for understanding each other’s living conditions. According to the participants’ report, the Twa from Congo and Rwanda were shocked to realize the dire poverty of the Taba Twa.

Recommendations: The last day was concentrated on proposing some recommendations, which were worked out in groups. Some of the main points, voiced with hope that their cry would reach the supporters, were the following (we have translated the statements in the Twa’s own wording):

1. Please help us so that this conference may be organized in Congo and in Rwanda for more capacity building.

2. We need schools in our Twa villages and parents must get sensitized to send children to school.

3. We Twa communities should develop our own self-esteem before seeking it from others.

4. We Twa communities must break the habit of begging on the streets and develop a working mentality on income-generating activities.

5. We agreed that we are lazy but this mindset should change because we are as capable as other ethnic communities, except that our governments have discriminated us for so long.

6. We need help for more advocacy and lobbying for our economic and social situation to improve

With all gender and ethnic groups represented, there was a total of 39 participants including 25 Twa, 4 Hutu, 4 Tutsi, 3 facilitators who were at the same time representatives of the three sponsoring organizations, 1 expert in community development from Congo, and 2 THARS staff for logistics, beside the kitchen staff.

We wholeheartedly thank the Church of the Brethren for supporting this important conference.

— This report was provided to Newsline by Jay Wittmeyer, executive director of the Church of the Brethren Global Mission and Service. For more information about the ministries of Global Mission and Service, go to



3) Huma Rana to become director of Financial Operations for Brethren Benefit Trust

Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) has announced that Huma Rana has accepted the role of director of Financial Operations, effective Sept. 19. She has served as assistant director of Financial Operations since July 21, 2015.

Late in 2013 BBT put a succession plan in place to seek a successor to current director of Financial Operations, Sandy Schild, after she announced her intention to enter retirement sometime next year.

Schild will continue to work for BBT until her retirement, and has accepted a new role as Finance Project Manager and Operations Support effective Sept. 19. She will focus on continuing to guide Rana through certain annual processes, manage a wide range of financial operations projects, and support the analysis of financial systems and procedures for maximum effectiveness.

“Please offer your good wishes to both of these women in their new and important BBT roles,” said the announcement from Donna March, BBT director of Human Resources and Administrative Services.


4) BVS Unit 313 volunteers begin their terms of service


Photo by Jocelyn Snyder
Brethren Volunteer Service Unit 313 completed orientation in late summer 2016


Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) Unit 313 has completed orientation and the 14 volunteers in the unit have begun work at their project sites. The volunteers, their congregations or hometowns, and their project sites follow:

Andrew Bollinger from Bridgewater (Va.) Church of the Brethren is serving at the Heifer Ranch in Perryville, Ark.

Paige Butzlaff from La Verne (Calif.) Church of the Brethren will spend her BVS term at Cooper Riis, in Mill Spring, N.C.

Sam Crompton from Koblenz, Germany, and Sarah Uhl from Elizabethtown (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, will work at Abode Services in Fremont, Calif.

Emmy Goering from McPherson (Kan.) Church of the Brethren will serve in the Church of the Brethren Office of Public Witness in Washington, D.C.

Laura Hassel from Essen, Germany, will serve with the Gubbio Project in San Francisco, Calif.

Michelle Janzen of Neuwied, Germany, has gone to Portland, Ore., to serve with SnowCap.

Kristin Munstermann from Antrochte, Germany, will be serving with Sisters of the Road in Portland, Ore.

Rebecca Neiman from Forsyth, Mont., will go to Bosnia-Herzegovina to work with OKC Abrasevic.

Clara Richter from Berlin, Germany, will serve with the Center on Conscience and War in Washington, D.C.

Travis Therrien from Cuba, N.M., and Tokahookaadi Church of the Brethren, has gone to New Orleans, La., to work with Capstone.

Helen Ullom-Minnich from McPherson (Kan.) Church of the Brethren, and Jana Zerche from Bruhl, Germany, will be serving in Baltimore, Md., at Project PLASE.

Destinee Wells from Cadillac, Mich., has gone to Tuscon, Ariz., to work with the Primavera Foundation.


For more information about Brethren Volunteer Service go to



5) General secretary to hold listening sessions across denomination

David A. Steele

David Steele, who began Sept. 1 as general secretary of the Church of the Brethren, is planning to hold listening sessions across the denomination over the next several months. He describes the sessions as an opportunity to get acquainted and to share hopes and dreams for the church.

“As I step into these new days of my ministry with the Churches of the Brethren,” he says, “I would like the opportunity to get acquainted with one another–sharing our hopes and passions for the Church of the Brethren, while listening to identify the barriers that are hindering our fulfillment of Christ’s mission.”

The listening sessions are open events, and all are invited. Currently, five sessions are scheduled, most around district conferences this fall. More events will be held in other districts after the first of the year.

Here are times and locations of the five listening sessions that have been scheduled so far:

— Saturday, Sept. 17, to start immediately following conclusion of the Southern Pennsylvania District Conference at Buffalo Valley Church of the Brethren in Mifflinburg, Pa.

— Saturday, Oct. 1, to start immediately following conclusion of the Southern Ohio District Conference at Oakland Church of the Brethren in Bradford, Ohio

— Saturday, Oct. 8, to start immediately following conclusion of the Atlantic Northeast District Conference at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College’s Leffler Chapel

— Thursday, Nov. 3, 7 p.m., at the Bridgewater (Va.) Retirement Community in Shenandoah District

— Saturday, Nov. 12, during a break-out session at the Pacific Southwest District Conference at Modesto (Calif.) Church of the Brethren

For more information contact Mark Flory Steury,Donor Relations representative, at .


6) Brethren Academy offers ‘Healthy Boundaries 201′ training as a Spanish language webcast

By Fran Massie

The Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership will offer a Spanish language version of the Healthy Boundaries 201 training on Oct. 22, as a webcast led by Ramon Torres. This is offered for ministry training students and newly licensed or ordained clergy.

The event will be webcast from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Eastern time), with a lunch break from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. The registration fee is $15 for current SeBAH-CoB/ACTS students and $30 for Church of the Brethren pastors, newly licensed or ordained. This fee includes a book that will be mailed to the participants. Pastors also will receive a certificate for continuing education credit.

The registration deadline is Oct. 7. No registrations made by telephone or e-mail will be accepted after this deadline date. Please e-mail the Brethren Academy at to request a registration form.

Torres is pastor at Puerta del Cielo Church of the Brethren in Reading, Pa., and previously led two sessions of the Healthy Boundaries training class in Atlantic Northeast District and Puerto Rico District.

— Fran Massie is administrative assistant for the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership.


7) Entrenamiento en Limites Saludables y en La Ética de Relaciones Ministeriales

Entrenamiento en Limites Saludables y en La Ética de Relaciones Ministeriales Dirigido por Ramón L. Torres. El sábado, 22 de octubre, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. hora estándar del este (descansado para el almuerzo a las 1-2 p.m.).

Un webcast por medio de la tecnología de “Zoom” se ofrecerá por la Academia Hermanos de Liderazgo Ministerial para estudiantes en programas de entrenamiento ministerial y ellos y ellas con licencias nuevas o pastores recién ordenados y ordenadas.

Ramón L. Torres:

— Pastor en Puerta del Cielo Iglesia de Los Hermanos en Reading, Pa., desde el 2001.

— Entrenado en Faith Trust Institute, presentando seminario Límites Saludables en el distrito Atlantic Northeast y en Puerto Rico.

— Nacido en Barranquitas, Puerto Rico y viviendo en Reading, Pa., por 25 años, junto a su esposa y parte del equipo ministerial, Gloria.

— Cuatro hijos y cinco nietos mantienen nuestra vida familiar saludable.

— Licenciado en 2001, y ordenado en 2011, la mayor parte de nuestra educación ministerial en Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center, el programa de ACTS.

— Desde Reading, Pa., Dios nos ha permitido viajes misioneros en Guatemala y la República Dominicana, así como ayuda ministerial a Puerto Rico.

— Desde el comienzo en Cristo como Señor hemos participado en trabajos del templo desde limpieza, estudiante, adorador, maestro, moderador y pastor.

— La mayor pasión ha sido funcionar desde la paz de Cristo; y el foco de vida personal, el ser hallado haciendo la voluntad del Padre.

Esta sesión de entrenamiento se llevará a cabo a través de un webcast el sábado 22 de octubre, de 10 a.m. a 4 p.m., hora estándar del este, con un descanso para el almuerzo de 1-2 p.m. Un enlace del sitio web de “Zoom” se enviará a los participantes unos días antes de la transmisión. Este enlace de Zoom le permitirá conectarse a la sala de conferencia por internet. Dan Poole, Director de Tecnología Educativa en el Seminario Betania, proporcionará el apoyo tecnológico para este evento.

Si está interesado en asistir a este entrenamiento en lengua español a límites saludables y una visión general del documento de la Ética en Relaciones Ministeriales, envíe el formulario de inscripción con el pago adjunto. Para preguntas relacionadas con este evento, se comuniquen con la Academia Hermanos a: Hay una cuota de inscripción de $30 para esta actividad de educación continua y un crédito de 0.5 CEU se concederá para los y las pastores de habla hispana, con licencias nuevas o pastores recién ordenados o ordenadas. La cuota de inscripción para estudiantes de SeBAH-CoB o del programas de ACTS es de $15. Inscripción y pago deben ser enviados a la Academia Hermanos antes del 7 de octubre de 2016. No se aceptarán inscripciones por teléfono o correo electrónico después de esta fecha límite.


8) Brethren bits

The “Sinking of the Zam Zam” is the latest “hidden gem” from the Brethren Historical Library and Archives. Archive intern Fred Miller has pulled together the story of three Church of the Brethren nurses who were captured by the Nazis. “The date was March 27, 1941, eight months before the USA entered World War Two. The ZamZam was a rickety Egyptian freighter, sailing from New York bound for Alexandria by way of the Cape of Good Hope…. Three Brethren nurses boarded at Recife, Brazil on April 9, on their way to Nigeria; Alice Engel, Sylvia Oiness, and Ruth Utz….” Read the story at .

Corrections: The Newsline report on the “Legacy of the China Mission” and the history of the Church of the Brethren mission that began in Pingding, China, included a few factual errors. We are endebted to Eric Miller for these corrections: The current Friendship Hospital was inspired by the work of the mission hospital and took the name You’ai/Friendship hospital, but has no direct ties to the original mission hospital. The mission house that is still standing is at the mission site in Shouyang, but was built by English Baptists who turned over the site to the Brethren.

Remembrance: Carroll M. (Kaydo) Petry, a former district executive for the Church of the Brethren who also served in the Nigeria mission of the church, died early Thursday morning, Sept. 8. He served as the first district executive of South/Central Indiana District, after the merging of the Southern and Middle Indiana Districts in 1971, and had been the secretary for the Restructuring Committee that merged the two districts. He retired from the district executive position on Sept. 1, 1993. His mission service in Nigeria with his wife, Margaret (Margie), took place from 1963-69 and included a term teaching at Kulp Bible School (now Kulp Bible College) where he was principal for a year. The Petrys also worked at a mission station in the village of Shafa. During his time in Nigeria he was literature secretary for the Lardin Gabas Church (now Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria, known as EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). In 1977, the Petrys returned to Nigeria for a sabbatical during which he as assistant to EYN general secretary Wasinda Mshelia, who had lived in Shafa at the time the Petrys served there as mission workers. In other service to the church, Petry pastored congregations in Indiana and Illinois. He was born in Pittsburg, Ohio, on Aug. 20, 1931, to Wilmer A. and Lucile Petry. He grew up in Akron, Ohio, where his father pastored Eastwood Church of the Brethren for 28 years. He married Margaret James in 1950. He held degrees from Manchester College, now Manchester University, and from Bethany Seminary. A memorial service will be held at Manchester Church of the Brethren in North Manchester, Ind., on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 11, at 2 p.m., with a time of visitation following the service.

Remembrance: P. David Leatherman, 71, a former director of Human Resources for the Church of the Brethren denomination, died Aug. 22 at his home in Oshkosh, Wis. He was born in 1944 in Chicago, Ill., the son of Paul and Victoria Leatherman, and was a graduate of Eastern Illinois University where he earned a bachelor of science degree in psychology. He worked in Human Resources at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., for several years, beginning in 1987 when he was hired as staff for personnel relations and development. His professional career also included work for the City of Elgin, the Elgin Metal Casket Company, and Lyon Metal Products in Aurora, Ill. He is survived by his wife, Joy Leatherman, whom he married in 1987; daughter Carrie Leatherman; step children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Funeral services were held on Aug. 27 at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Elgin, where he had been a member.

Terry Goodger on Sept. 2 ended her service as office coordinator in Material Resources, at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. She has been instrumental in facilitating a smooth running office in Material Resources, working with both employees and external program partners. She has been especially helpful with many of the Material Resources compliance issues with local, state, and federal governmental authorities. Goodger has been an employee of the Church of the Brethren since Sept. 13, 2006.

Bethany Theological Seminary welcomed nine new students this fall, as they met for orientation on Aug. 22-23. “Ranging from recent college graduates to career professionals in their fifties,” said a release, “members of the new class are pursuing the master of divinity, Certificate of Achievement in Theological Studies (CATS), and the Theopoetics and Theological Imagination certificate, one of three new graduate certificates Bethany is offering this year. One person is enrolled as an occasional student.” The new students are Mary Garvey, Huntingdon, Pa.; Jason Haldeman, Bethel, Pa.; Emily Hollenberg, Fort Wayne, Ind.; Kindra Kreislers, Saginaw, Mich.; Jan Orndorff, Woodstock, Va.;Steven Petersheim, Richmond, Ind.; Jacob Pilipski, Bristow, Va.; Timothy Troyer, Huntington, Ind.; Evan Underbrink, Durham, N.C. The release notes the wide experience and academic background of this group of students, which includes members who currently teach or have taught at the undergraduate level, and who have been in congregational ministry, college administrative support, and professional writing.

A walking team in honor of Ted Studebaker, a Church of the Brethren martyr for peace during the Vietnam War era, is being put together by Bethany students in the seminary’s Peace Studies Program joining with Studebaker family members and other Ohio Brethren. The team will honor Studebaker’s life and witness at the Peace Heroes Walk sponsored by the Dayton (Ohio) Peace Museum this Sunday, Sept. 11, beginning at 2 p.m. at the Riverscape Park in Dayton. Onsite registration opens at 12 noon. More information is at .

“Pray for program volunteers Linda and Robert Shank as they return for their twelfth semester of educational service with the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology…. Pray for good health and continued relationship-building,” said a prayer request from Global Mission and Service this week. Robert Shank serves as dean of the agricultural department at the university in North Korea, and teaches courses such as genetics and plant breeding. Linda Shank provides support instructional support in English and zoology..

Johnson City (Tenn.) Church of the Brethren is planning a dedication service for an addition to its worship center. “Please mark your calendars for a special dedication service, 3 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 18,” said an announcement from Southeastern District. “There will be great fellowship, singing, honoring the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ, and refreshments.”

Bridgewater (Va.) College is seeing record enrollment for 2016-2017, said a release from the school. “Enrollment at Bridgewater College is higher than at any other time in its history, with the college’s office of institutional research reporting overall total enrollment at 1,894,” the release said. “Bridgewater is also welcoming its largest-ever incoming class of 601 freshmen for the 2016-2017 academic year.” In the release, president David W. Bushman attributed the success to ongoing investment in the success of students including “additions to our historically robust commitment to the liberal arts, highlighted by the dedication of our Center for Engaged Learning and the upcoming launch of the college’s first graduate program…. Our strong enrollment indicates these initiatives are resonating with prospective students and their families across the state and around the region.” Of the 601 first-time freshmen, 32 percent are from out of state and 31 percent are from diverse backgrounds. Women make up 54 percent of the class. The class’ top five academic majors are business administration, biology, athletic training, health and exercise science, and psychology.

Episode 13 of the Dunker Punks podcast created by Brethren young adults “goes back to camp,” reports Suzanne Lay of Arlington (Va.) Church of the Brethren, which sponsors and hosts the podcasts. “Sarah Ullom-Minnich interviews counselors at Camp Colorado about how the beloved community is built when we come together for a week in the summer, and Jacob Crouse unveils a toe-tapping new tune, covering an old camp favorite. Explore how we find faith and footing through Christian community by listening to ‘Communitas’ on the Dunker Punks Podcast.” Find the show and links to listening on iTunes or Stitcher at .

Contributors to this issue of Newsline include Brian Bultman, Jane Collins, Bryan Hanger, Mary Kay Heatwole, Suzanne Lay, Donna March, Fran Massie, Wendy McFadden, Eric Miller, Nancy Miner, David Niyonzima, Jocelyn Snyder, Mark Flory Steury, Jenny Williams, Jay Wittmeyer, and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for 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 Sept. 16.

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