Brethren bits for Oct. 20, 2017

Church of the Brethren Newsline
October 20, 2017

— Remembrance: Wallace B. (Wally) Landes, 65, passed away on Sept. 21, in Palmyra, Pa. He had been a board member for the Association of Brethren Caregivers (ABC) from 2002 to 2007, serving as chair of the ABC board in 2006 and 2007. He served as senior pastor of Palmyra Church of the Brethren for 25 years, until his early retirement in 2011. He had served previous pastorates and youth pastorates in Maryland and Illinois. He was a graduate of Bethany Theological Seminary and Bridgewater (Va.) College. He also taught as adjunct faculty at Lebanon Valley College in Annville, Pa., and at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College. He is survived by his wife, Bonnie, and children Matthew and Kendra, and their families. A memorial service will be held at Palmyra Church of the Brethren on Nov. 11, at 11 a.m. The service will be followed with a luncheon and visitation in the church fellowship hall. A full obituary is posted at!/Obituary .

— Remembrance: Ella Mae Weaver, 94, a former mission worker with the Church of the Brethren, passed away on Oct. 6, at Timbercrest Healthcare Center in North Manchester, Ind. She served with her husband, Paul, at Hillcrest School in Jos, Nigeria, from 1961-67. In Nigeria, she served as a substitute teacher and Paul as principal at Hillcrest School. Daughter of Harry E. and Ida Rebecca (Hawbecker) Stern, Ella Mae was born on April 2, 1923, in Beaverton, Mich. In 1947 she married Paul M. Weaver and the couple spent 51 years together before Paul passed away on July 2, 1999. Both were graduates of Manchester College. After her service as a mission worker, Ella Mae also was a teacher in Elgin, Ill., and retired in 1984 from the U-46 School District as a teachers aide. In recent years she had been a member of Manchester Church of the Brethren. She is survived by son Thomas G. (Leslie) Weaver; daughter Rebecca Mae Weaver, both of Amherst Junction, Wis.; and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. A memorial service will be held at a later date. The full obituary is available at .

Manchester University in N. Manchester, Ind., at its homecoming this year honored two Church of the Brethren members with alumni awards: Tim McElwee of Fort Wayne, Ind., and Madalyn Metzgerof Bristol, Ind.

McElwee received the 2017 Alumni Honor Award. “Few have embodied Manchester University’s values and walked its walk with as much distinction as Tim McElwee,” said a release from the school. “McElwee came to Manchester as a student and then served it in one capacity or another for more than 30 years. Since graduating in 1978, he has consistently followed the Manchester charge to make the world a better and more peaceful place.” He is an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren, and in addition to his service at Manchester as campus pastor, director of development, vice president for advancement, Plowshares associate professor of peace studies and political science, vice president for academic resources and dean of the Office of Academic Resources, he also served the Church of the Brethren as director of the Washington, D.C., office, and worked as senior director of development for Heifer International. Currently he is senior vice president of foundations for Parkview Health.

Metzger received the Young Alumni Outstanding Achievement Award. “Her call to service includes being a member of the Manchester University Board of Trustees,” said a release. “As its youngest trustee, she brings an important perspective to the board’s discussions and decision-making.” Since her graduation in 1999, she has worked for Church World Service (CWS) and Everence, where she currently is vice president of marketing. Find a release about the award for McElwee at . Find a release about the award for Metzger at .

— Remembrance: H. Merle Brown, 99, passed away Oct. 12, in Elgin, Ill., following a brief time in hospice care. He retired from employment with the former General Board of the Church of the Brethren in October 1982, after 33 years of service. He served as bookkeeper at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor 1949-55, and at the General Offices in Elgin 1955-78. In 1978 he was promoted to chief accountant in the treasurer’s office, a position he held until his retirement. After his retirement from the General Board, he worked part-time for the Brethren Employees’ Credit Union and Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT). Originally from Mt. Pleasant, Pa., he was a graduate of Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa. During World War II he was a conscientious objector, from July 1941-Dec. 1945 attending the second Brethren Cooking School at Magnolia, Ark., as a part of Civilian Public Service, and from June-Sept. 1947 working at the New Windsor Relief Center sorting relief clothing to send to Europe. He was recognized at the Mission and Ministry Board meeting in March 2016 for his work as a “seagoing cowboy,” accompanying livestock that were sent overseas as part of Heifer Project following World War II. A memorial service is scheduled for Nov. 18 at 11 a.m. at Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, with a reception to follow.

— The Mission and Ministry Board of the Church of the Brethren meets this weekend at the General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Meetings begin with orientation for new board members and continue with Executive Committee meetings, meetings of other board committees, and the meetings of the full board starting Friday evening, Oct. 20, through Monday morning, Oct. 23. The Annual Conference officers and the denomination’s Leadership Team also met this week, in advance of the board.

— Annual Conference moderator Samuel Sarpiya is issuing an invitation for Brethren to join him at a second online “town hall,” Oct. 26, at 8 p.m. (Eastern time). A web page with a link to the moderator’s invitation video with the scripture for the discussion is at . Also at that web address are detailed instructions for how to join from a PC, Mac, Linux, iOS, or Android device, how to connect via iPhone one-tap, how to participate on the telephone, and how to connect from international phone numbers.

— It is not too late to volunteer in Houston, Texas, with Brethren Disaster Ministries’ first week of repair and rebuilding following Hurricane Harvey. The opportunity on Oct 22-29 is in partnership with IOCC, an Orthodox church humanitarian agency. “This week will be focused on clean up and preparing homes for rebuilding,” said an announcement. “We are also making a list of those interested in volunteering but were not able to go this time. Please contact Terry if you are interested in volunteering for the week or for possible future dates.”

Brethren Disaster Ministries is expressing gratitude for districts who are receiving offerings and collections for disaster relief:

A special effort in West Marva District, led by board chair Grover Duling, to raise funds to assist Puerto Rican Brethren following Hurricane Maria “raised over $20,000 for Puerto Rico in just three days under Grover’s challenge,” reported Roy Winter, associate executive director of Global Mission and Service and Brethren Disaster Ministries. The funds already have been wired to the Puerto Rico District leadership.

A special disaster response offering for hurricane relief in Virlina District has received $43,670 from 41 congregations and 20 households, reported the latest district e-newsletter. “We will continue to receive offerings from our congregations to underwrite denominational efforts in response to the hurricanes that have devastated the Gulf Coast of the United States and the entire Caribbean basin.”

Josh Brockway, the Church of the Brethren’s director of Spiritual Life and Discipleship, will lead a workshop titled “A Decade of Discipleship” for West Marva District on Oct. 29. The event is scheduled for 2:30-6 p.m. at Oak Park Church of the Brethren in Oakland, Md.– Registration for Mission Alive 2018 opens online this Saturday, Oct. 21, at . The event takes place April 6-8, 2018, at Frederick (Md.) Church of the Brethren. Find a Newsline story with more information at .

— Fatima Kurth has accepted the position of accountant/bookkeeper for Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT). She began her duties on Oct. 9. She brings more than 13 years of general accounting/booking experience with varying roles in that field, and is working to complete a bachelor’s degree in accounting from DePaul University. She and her family live in Carpentersville, Ill., and are members of St. Mary Catholic Church in Huntley, Ill.

— Prairie City (Iowa) Church of the Brethren on Oct. 14 celebrated the centennial of its building. The celebration included an Open House with historical displays, a Hymn Sing, and a Love Feast Service led by former pastor Jeff Bach, who currently directs the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College.

— Bridgewater (Va.) Church of the Brethren hosts a conference titled “Power and Privilege: The Journey towards Justice Conference” on Oct. 20-22. The event is offered by On Earth Peace and BMC (Brethren Mennonite Council for LGBT Interests). Featured speakers are Regina Shands Stoltzfus, a professor in the Peace, Justice, and Conflict Studies Department at Goshen (Ind.) College, and Matt Guynn of the On Earth Peace staff. “Goals for the conference include: exploring how power and privilege affects our individual and corporate lives, analyzing how power operates in the church, learning new ways to use power to further change, and sharing stories of liberation and healing,” said an announcement. For more information go to .

— Lancaster (Pa.) Church of the Brethren was the starting point for the 45th annual Lancaster CROP Hunger Walk on Sunday, Oct. 15. It wast the church’s first year to host the event, said a report in Lancaster Online. “The Lancaster walk alone has raised more than $1.8 million over its history. Even before Sunday’s walk was done, it had generated a prelminary total of more than $13,000,” said the report. Read it at .

— McPherson (Kan.) Church of the Brethren on Oct. 21 hosts the Kansas Coalition Against the Death Penalty’s Annual Abolition Conference and Annual Meeting. State senator Carolyn McGinn will speak on the costs associated with having a state death penalty, according to an article in the “Hutchinson News.” Additional speakers include Celeste Dixon, whose mother was a victim of murder, and Roger Werholtz, retired secretary of Corrections in Kansas. The article notes that “Kansas reinstated the death penalty in 1994. The state has not executed an inmate since 1965.” The event will start at 1 p.m. On-site registration will start at 12:30 p.m. The conference is free and open to the public.

— Eight Churches of the Brethren are among the 10 churches involved in a Growing Project of the Foods Resource Bank near Myersville, Md. The church “have come together annually to help raise money for the cause, and Sunday they celebrated their 12th harvest with a festival at the Growing Project farm near Myersville,” said a report in the “Frederick News-Post.” Church of the Brethren members Patty and Jeff Hurwitz are the project organizers and own the Growing Project farm. The newspaper reported that they “spearheaded the local fundraising campaign in 2006. Patty Hurwitz said the idea stemmed from a discussion about worldwide hunger at her church, Grossnickle Church of the Brethren. ‘We thought, “Why don’t we really do something instead of just talking about it?’” she told the reporter. The participating Churches of the Brethren are Grossnickle, Myersville, Harmony, Beaver Creek, Manor, Welty, Edgewood, and Hagerstown. Also participating are Christ Reformed United Church of Christ in Middletown and Holy Family Catholic Community. Over the years, the project has supported Food Resource Bank programs in Kenya, Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nicaragua, Malawi, Mozambique, the Dominican Republic, the Central African Republic, and Honduras. This year, it is supporting a program in Guatemala. Participants have raised some $300,000 for communities overseas. Find the news article at .

— New Fairview Church of the Brethren in York, Pa., is hosting the Children’s Aid Society Annual Dinner on Saturday, Oct. 21. Check in begins at 5:30 p.m. and dinner begins at 6 p.m. “Please join us for a celebration of food, fellowship, and another year of service to children and families,” said an announcement. Ticket prices are $30 for adults, and $15 for children ages 12 and under. The event this year celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Lehman Center.

— Maple Grove Church of the Brethren near Lexington, N.C., gets the credit for giving a young pianist/organist a chance at the start of his career, in an article about 17-year-old Caleb Sink in “The Dispatch.” The teenager “saw a sign at Maple Grove Church of the Brethren in Currytown seeking a volunteer pianist. He decided that was a ‘sign’ from God and signed up for duty,” the newspaper reported. “He remained there several months until his dad was hired as the new minister at Bethel Baptist, which coincided with another pianist becoming available to take over at Church of the Brethren.” Sink has now published his fourth book about the pianists and organists at Davidson County churches. Find the article at .

Elizabethtown (Pa.) Church of the Brethren has shared this photo of more than 275 buckets and health kits donated by the congregation along with Annville Church of the Brethren and other churches in Atlantic Northeast District. It’s just one example of the many Brethren individuals, congregations, and districts who have been collecting Clean-Up Buckets and other disaster relief kits following the rash of disasters that have hit the US and the Caribbean in recent months. These and other Church World Service kits are warehoused and shipped from the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., by staff of the Material Resources program of the Church of the Brethren.

In related news, Southern Ohio District continues a long-term project to support Church World Service kit collections. The most recent district newsletter reported, “We continue to work as a district, gathering funds and supplies for 500 Cleanup Buckets for Church World Service (CWS). The need is so great with recent flooding in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico. As of Sept. 24, churches and individuals have sent about $14,600 for this project. Each bucket is valued at $75 by CWS. We work to assemble them for much less, but this project will still cost at least $20,000.” The newsletter went on to thank each person who is supporting this project, “reaching out to share God’s love by helping those in need.”

— Prince of Peace Church of the Brethren in Littleton, Colo., just south of Denver, is hosting an evening conversation and documentary on guns. “We can do more than just pray for gun victims!” said an announcement. “Come for ‘Inside the Gun Debate’ documentary and hear live from the actual presenters, our own Tom Mauser and Michael Lang!” The event is scheduled for Saturday evening, Oct. 21, at 6:30 p.m.

— Stover Memorial Church of the Brethren helped Camp Pine Lake host the Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) orientation unit from Sept. 22-Oct. 13, among other Church of the Brethren congregations in Iowa and Northern Plains District. Stover Memorial offered the BVSers and staff a chance to participate in the urban immersion living at the church house, a work project in the Des Moines community, a day of exploring the city, and an opportunity to help lead worship. The congregation also invited the unit to a dinner, where they provided the new BVS volunteers with prayer and encouragement and care packages, as well as food and fellowship.

— Mountain View Fellowship Church of the Brethren in McGaheysville, Va., on Oct. 27, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon, will host a workshop led by Tara Hornbacker, professor of ministry formation, missional leadership, and evangelism at Bethany Theological Seminary. The topic is “The Present/Future of Pastoral Ministries,” and participants may earn .3 continuing education units. Cost is $10. To register, contact Sandy Kinsey at the Shenandoah District Office at 540-234-8555 or .

Fairview Church of the Brethren’s parade float. Photo courtesy of N. Plains District.


— Fairview Church of the Brethren in Northern Plains District won first prize with their float in the local Moulton Jamboree Parade, where the theme was “Show Your True Colors.” The district newsletter reported that the float will be entered into the Centerville Pancake Day parade too. “The following ‘blurb’ was read by the announcer as the float passed the judges,” the newsletter said. “A common Sunday School lesson describes the Path to Heaven visualized with colors. Black represents the darkness of our sin. Jesus came and shed his Red blood for our redemption, and when we accept Him into our lives, our sins are washed White as snow. Blue symbolizes the waters of baptism, Green the spiritual growth believers in Christ experience, while Yellow reminds us of the eternal light of Heaven. We pray that you, too, will experience the true colors of the Path to Heaven.”

— District conferences have been happening across the denomination this fall. Several districts are going to hold their annual meetings in the last part of October: Idaho District meets at Twin Falls Community Church on Oct. 20-21. Western Pennsylvania District meets at Camp Harmony in Hooversville, Pa., on Oct. 21. Shenandoah District gathers at Mill Creek Church of the Brethren in Port Republic, Va., on Oct. 27-28.

— Middle Pennsylvania District is holding a “Meet and Greet” for David Banaszak, to welcome him as district executive minister. The event takes place on Sunday, Nov. 12, from 3-5 p.m., at the Bistro at the Village Green-Village at Morrisons Cove, a Church of the Brethren-related retirement community in Martinsburg, Pa.

— West Marva District is holding an “Afternoon of Praise Celebrating God’s Blessings” for the congregations of the district, on Nov. 5 at 3 p.m., hosted at Cherry Grove Church of the Brethren.

— Camp Eder’s Fall Fest is this Saturday, Oct. 21, with a festival and benefit auction from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. One announcement of the event highlighted the home-made pies that will be available! The camp is located near Fairfield, Pa.

— In more news from Camp Eder, the camp is offering a series of “Life Outdoors–Life Skills Workshops” that are free and open to the public, held 6:30-8 p.m. the first Thursday of every month. RSVP by calling 717-642-8256. Topics are: Nov. 2, “Microgreens ‘Grow and Eat’”; Dec. 7, “Rockclimbing ‘Gravity Is a Myth’”; Jan. 4, 2018, “Knit and Crochet ‘Woven Together’”; Feb. 1, 2018, “Terrariums ‘Warm in Winter’”; March 1, 2018, “Outdoor Survival Skills ‘No Problems’”; April 5, 2018, “Beekeeping ‘Bee Ready for Spring.’”

— McPherson (Kan.) College professor Luke Chennell was included in the “40 Under 40″ listing in “Sports Car Market” magazine, in the October issue. “Also included on the list is McPherson College alumnus Jonathan Klinger,” reported a release from the college. “The list was compiled by the editors of the magazine who reviewed nominations sent in by its readers and features individuals in the automotive restoration industry who are ‘making a difference in the collector car world.’ Hundreds of names were submitted for consideration,” the release said. Chennell is an assistant professor of technology in the Automotive Restoration Department at McPherson College, teaching mechanical skills in the craft of authentic restoration and covering a broad range of automotive history from the 1886 Benz Patent Motorwagen to the present day. Klinger, a 2002 graduate of McPherson, is vice president of public relations at Hagerty Classic Car Insurance. He has served five years as a member of the McPherson College Board of Trustees and is an active member of the Automotive Restoration Department’s National Advisory Board.

— Bridgewater (Va.) College’s Fall Spiritual Focus will be led by David Radcliff of the New Community Projectc. His message, “We’ve Got the Whole World…,” will be presented at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 2, in the Boitnott Room in Rebecca Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

— The Springs of Living Water, an initiative for church renewal, has announced that registration is open for its Spring 2018 events in the “Saints Academy” that offers courses for pastors and ministers and their church members via telephone conference call. A course for pastors titled “Implement a Christ-Centered, Servant-Led Plan” is offered on Feb. 6 and 27, March 20, April 10, May 1, from 8-10 a.m. (Eastern time). Participants may earn 1 continuing education credit. A course for church members titled “Springs of Living Water Academy for the Saints (Laity)” is offered on Feb. 11, March 6 and 25, April 15, May 6, from 4-6 p.m. (Eastern time). The instructor is David S. Young. Register by Jan. 15 by contacting 717-615-4515 .

— The next in the lecture series at Valley Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center in Harrisonburg, Va., will be given by Carol Lena Miller of Montezuma Church of the Brethren. The lecture starts at 4 p.m. this Sunday, Oct. 22, at Immanuel Mennonite Church in Harrisonburg. Miller’s topic will be “The Earth is the Lord’s: An Honest Look at Faithful Stewardship. Miller works at the Center for Global Engagement at James Madison University and “is a passionate advocate for the outdoors and wild places,” reported the Shenandoah District newsletter in an announcement of the lecture. “In her lecture, she will examine the current state of the natural world and how Christians have responded to the degradation of the environment.” A question-and-answer session will follow. An offering will benefit the center.

— Seven prayer services intended to bring opportunities for prayer, reflection, and action on food justice around the world have been released by the World Council of Churches (WCC). The effort is part of the Churches’ Week of Action on Food, which started on Sunday, Oct. 15. The worship resources are made available through the WCC’s Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance. The Churches’ Week of Action on Food is a global campaign inviting the ecumenical movement, faith-based organizations, and other groups to act collectively for food justice. The worship resources were prepared in collaboration with churches in India, and interpret Psalm 23 from ecological, food-justice, and migration perspectives, said a WCC release. Download the seven prayer services in English from and in Spanish from .

— David Young, who leads Capstone Community Gardens in New Orleans, La., where vacant or blighted lots are turned into productive gardens, in September traveled to Washington, D.C., to speak at the Urban Agriculture Summit at the University of DC. Nathan Hosler from the Office of Public Witness also spoke at the event, sharing about the Church of the Brethren’s work through the “Going to the Garden” program. Young also visited the Louisiana congressional delegation, sharing his experiences as an urban farmer. Staffers from the offices of Senators Cassidy and Kennedy and Representative Richmond heard about his work. In honor of Peace Day, he also presented his work at Washington City Church of the Brethren’s Peace Day event titled “Song, Prayer and Gardening.”

— Obie Harris’s achievement of 100 years of life was recently noted in the “Martinsville Bulletin.” in an article called “Never Met a Stranger.” Harris has been a long-time member at First Church of the Brethren in Eden, N.C. Read the article at .

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