Brethren bits for Dec. 21, 2017

Church of the Brethren Newsline
December 21, 2017

An update from Children’s Disaster Services: The CDS team who went to Washington State to respond to the train derailment was scheduled to serve, but the deployment was cancelled the same day of departure. A team of volunteers scheduled to go on Christmas Day to California for wildfire response is no longer needed as well, and the current California team will depart by Christmas Eve at the latest. “All teams will be home for Christmas!” reports the Children’s Disaster Services office. Shown here: two of the children who were served by the CDS volunteers who responded to the wildfires in southern California. Photo by John Elms.

— Church of the Brethren offices will be closed for Christmas and New Year’s. The Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., and the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., will be closed on Friday, Dec. 22; Christmas Day, Monday, Dec. 25; and New Year’s Day, Monday, Jan. 2.

— Beth Sollenberger has been called to serve as quarter-time interim district executive for Michigan District, beginning Jan. 1, 2018. She has been district executive minister of South Central Indiana District since 2011, and will continue in that role. In previous positions in the denomination, she has served pastorates in Florida, Ohio, Maryland, and Indiana; served the former Church of the Brethren General Board as director of Stewardship Education (1995-97) and as coordinator of Congregational Life Team, Area 2 (1997-2004). Once the Michigan District Leadership Team fills an administrative assistant position, the Michigan District office will be moved to a location accessible to Sollenberger and the administrative assistant.

— Sarah Long begins Jan. 2 as administrative assistant in the Shenandoah District office. She formerly served the district as financial secretary. She is a graduate of the Christian Growth Institute (CGI), where she has been coordinator and registrar. She brings extensive office management experience in accounting and payroll, including more than 20 years at Valley Blox, where she was administrative assistant to the president for 10 years. She also has worked as project coordinator in site acquisitions for NB+C, a wireless site development firm. She is a member of Dayton Church of the Brethren.

— Shawn Flory Replogle and Jen Jensen have begun a new collaboration as co-coordinators of district youth ministry for Western Plains District. Flory Replogle has served as the district youth coordinator for the past five years. For the seven years prior to that, Jensen served as district youth coordinator. Since then, in her role as director of Spiritual Life at McPherson (Kan.) College, she planned Regional Youth Conference has remained in close contact with the district’s youth ministry. A statement from Flory Replogle in the district newsletter said, “With the addition of Jen, we’ll be able to continue the excellent youth ministry events that have existed for the better part of a decade, and also work at the relational aspects of developing leaders, all within the context of the district youth coordinator position.”

— The Church of the Brethren seeks to fill a full-time salaried position of director of Information Technology, based at the denomination’s General Offices in Elgin, Ill. The major responsibility is to give oversight to information technology needs and to manage information technology activities including application design, development, maintenance, equipment purchase, and network applications. Skills and knowledge required include understanding of Church of the Brethren heritage, theology, and polity; ability to articulate and operate out of the vision of the Church of the Brethren; knowledge and experience to plan and implement a vision for on-going technical growth that will coordinate efforts at many levels of the denomination; strong technical skills in database management and systems analysis; excellent verbal and written communication skills; progressive administrative and management skills; positive customer service attitude; knowledge and expertise in budget development and management; knowledge of Raiser’s Edge system and VOIP phone systems. A minimum of a bachelor’s degree in information technology or a related field is required. Applications will be received beginning immediately, and will be reviewed on an ongoing basis until the position is filled. Send a resume to or contact Human Resources Manager, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Avenue, Elgin, IL 60120; 800-323-8039 ext. 367.

— The Church of the Brethren seeks to fill a full-time hourly position of program assistant for the Office of Ministry, based at the denomination’s General Offices in Elgin, Ill. The major responsibilities of this position are to enhance and support the functions of the Office of Ministry through administration of a variety of tasks. Skills and knowledge required include excellent administrative and organizational skills; ability to handle sensitive information and maintain confidentiality; strong oral and written communication skills; personable qualities and capability to develop excellent working relationships with staff colleagues, districts, and pastoral personnel; skill in computer applications with capacity and willingness to learn new software applications; ability to work with minimum supervision, be a self-starter, readily adaptable to change, and work well under pressure; maturity in judgment and character; appreciation for the role of ministerial leadership in the life of the church. A bachelor’s degree or commensurate education, life, and work experience is preferred. Applications will be received beginning immediately, and will be reviewed on an ongoing basis until the position is filled. Send a resume to or contact the Office of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Avenue, Elgin, IL 60120; 800-323-8039 ext. 367.

— Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) seeks a three-quarter-time psychosocial care coordinator to resource the well-being of its service workers. The position entails ensuring independent spiritual and psychosocial support for CPT members whose work involves physical rigor, communication in crisis situations, and exposure to violence and trauma. Responsibilities include: 1) providing psychosocial support to individual CPT Corps members and teams; 2) coordinating CPT’s Circle of Care (a network of volunteer counselors, healers, and care providers); 3) enhancing organizational structures that foster a culture of self-care and sustainability in peace work; 4) working with CPT staff to coordinate holistic responses to teams in emergencies. The position involves some international travel to project sites and organizational meetings. Candidates should demonstrate passion for the spiritual and psychological health of others, commitment to grow in the journey of undoing oppressions, and ability to work independently and collaboratively as part of a dispersed team across continents. Experience in the field of psychology or social work and a trauma-informed approach is preferred. This is a 30 hours per week, three-year appointment. Compensation is $18,000 per year. Benefits include 100 percent employer-paid health, dental, and vision coverage; three weeks of annual vacation. Location: no preference. Start date is negotiable; the position is available as of Feb. 1, 2018. To apply submit electronically, in English, the following to : cover letter stating motivation/reasons for interest in this position; résumé/CV; a list of three references with e-mail and daytime telephone numbers. Application review begins Jan. 5, 2018. For more about Christian Peacemaker Teams go to .

— Annual Conference moderator Samuel Sarpiya is sharing Christmas greetings with the denomination. Find his Christmas video posted online at .

— The Global Mission and Service office requests prayer for the victims of a church bombing in Quetta, Pakistan, which killed 9 people and injured at least 50 more. Also in this week’s mission prayer request was the country of Venezuela, and those affected by the severe economic crisis there. “Hyperinflation and food shortages have led to a massive hunger crisis,” the prayer request said. “Infants and children have been especially victimized, with hundreds dying from severe malnutrition. Overrun hospitals have lacked the space and resources to treat the record number of malnourished children brought in, especially as the hospitals have not been able to access the needed medications.”

— Registration for the Clergy Tax Seminar on Jan. 27 is due by Jan. 19. The event is offered by the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership and takes place online and onsite at Bethany Seminary in Richmond, Ind. Cost is $30 per person. Current students of Bethany Seminary, TRIM/EFSM/SeBAH, and Earlham School of Religion may attend at no cost, although registration is still required. Registrations are not complete until payment is received. Space will be limited, so prompt registration is advised. Leading the seminar is Deb Oskin, who has been doing clergy tax returns since 1989 when her husband left seminary to pastor a small, rural Church of the Brethren congregation. She is a tax professional, having spent 12 years with H&R Block, and then starting her own tax practice specializing in clergy taxes. Go to .

— Roanoke (Va.) Iglesia Cristiana Renacer Fellowship was received as a congregation of the Church of the Brethren by the 2017 District Conference of Virlina District. The District Conference met Nov. 10-11 on the theme, “Listen to the Spirit!” (Revelation 3:13-22). Aggregate attendance including youth and children was 398 persons, reported the district newsletter, and included 164 delegates and 172 non-delegates from 77 congregations. Tim Emmons, pastor of Nineveh Church of the Brethren in Franklin County, Va., served as moderator.

— Prince of Peace Church of the Brethren in Littleton, Colo., in the Denver area, is hosting a Stand-Up for Nigeria Comedy Fundraiser for the victims of Boko Haram in Nigeria. The night of stand-up comedy is planned for Saturday, Jan. 13, starting at 6:30 p.m. Nigerian Brethren leaders Samuel and Rebecca Dali will be present to share updates about efforts to provide help for widows and other victims of Boko Haram violence, and congregations destroyed in the violence. The event benefits the Nigerian non-profit Center for Caring, Empowerment, and Peace Initiative (CCEPI), which is led and founded by Rebecca Dali.

— Western Pennsylvania District is holding a special all-district 2018 New Year’s Prayer Gathering on Sunday, Jan. 14, at 3:30 p.m., at Indiana (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. Said an invitation: “All Brethren folk are invited to gather and pray for 2018 to be a year of church growth and seeing new people come to Christ!”

— Western Plains District has created a new “Peace Corner” in its district newsletter, to feature updates on peace and justice education, activism, and events. “Our current Peace & Justice Coordinator is Terri Torres from the Community Church of the Brethren in Hutchinson, Kan.,” said the announcement from the district. Go to for the latest story in the “Peace Corner,” about a visit to McPherson (Kan.) College by Nigerian Brethren leaders Samuel and Rebecca Dali. Author June Switzer reports that the Dalis are making their home in the United States at this time because “as high profile leaders of Christian endeavors, they became prime targets of Boko Haram and it was necessary for them to flee the country.” The Dalis “continue to work and speak on behalf of those in Nigeria living in unsafe and life threatening surroundings.”

— Camp Bethel near Fincastle, Va., is planning and publicizing its Winter Camp Youth and Kids’ Retreat for ages 6-18. The event takes place Dec 30-31. Cost is $70. “Register, then send us your creative 3-second ‘I’ll be at Winter Camp!’ video,” said an invitation. “There s-now getting around it; it will be ICE to see you at Winter Camp!” Register and find more information at .

— Miller Library at McPherson (Kan.) College seeks volunteers to convert Brethren publications from microfilm to digital formats. It is one of the libraries connected with the Brethren Historical Library and Archives (BHLA). The publications being converted to digital format include the “Brethren Evangelist,” “Gospel Preacher,” reports of the General Conference 1892-1913, minutes of the Annual / General Conference 1914-1920, “Brethren’s Annual for the Year of Grace” / “Brethren Almanac for the Year of Our Lord” 1883-1896, “Brethren Annual” or “Church Year Book” 1897-1916, Progressive Convention / Dayton Convention / General Convention 1882-1887, “Brethren Evangelist” 1883-1917. Good eyesight is required, as is ability to carry out a process that includes using a microfilm digital scanner, cleaning up the images, converting the images to PDF files, running the PDFs though conversion software to make them searchable, and proofreading the searchable files for software mistakes in reading the PDFs. To view materials that already have been converted go to . Contact Mary L. Hester, Director of Library Services, Miller Library, McPherson College, 1600 East Euclid, McPherson, KS 67460; 620-242-0487; ; .

— The Springs of Living Water initiative for church renewal has started a White Candle Project this winter, inspired by a “discovery of new life” at Quinter (Kan.) Church of the Brethren. David Young reports that this year the churches that participate in the initiative will offer a Spiritual Disciplines Folder for Epiphany, “the season of Light for the New Year,” along with a candle at Christmas Eve services. The folder titled “Who Is Jesus?” is written by Barry Conn, pastor of County Line Church of the Brethren. Individuals and families at participating churches are invited to light their candle daily, and in the folder read a short scripture once, then twice, discerning its meaning to guide them through that day. Als in the folder is a service of re-commitment to baptismal vows. Says the announcement: “The White Candle Project points us to Jesus, in whose Grace and Love we live as Disciples in the Light of Life.”

Doris Abdullah (left) with Navi Pillay, the former High Commissioner for Human Rights, at the 70th anniversary celebration of the Declaration of Human Rights.


— Doris Abdullah, Church of the Brethren representative to the United Nations, attended the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at UN Headquarters in New York City. The theme for the celebration was STANDUP4HUMANRIGHTS, Abdulla reports. Highlights of the program were statements by UN secretary general Antonio Guterres and by the president of the General Assembly, Miroslav Lajak. Reflections were given by Navi Pillay, the former High Commissioner for Human Rights; Louise Arbour, former High Commissioner and current representative for International Migration; Liu Zhenmin, under secretary general for Economic and Social Affairs; and Susan Marie Frontczak’s presentaton as Eleanor Roosevelt. Abdullah is shown here with Navi Pillay, the former High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Go to to subscribe to the Church of the Brethren Newsline free e-mail news service and receive church news every week.

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