Newsline for May 12, 2017

Church of the Brethren Newsline
May 12, 2017

Photos from Camp Taylor, one of the prison camps where Church of the Brethren conscientious objectors were held during World War I. These photos are in a collection of WWI images in the Brethren Historical Library and Archives. Courtesy of the BHLA.

“Keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just” (Genesis 18:19b).

1) Bethany Seminary honors new graduates
2) Bethany trustees focus on new Strategic Plan
3) Office of Public Witness signs on to letter opposing deportations of Haitians
4) CCS 2017 studies Native American rights and food security

5) CCS: Sparking a passion for social justice

6) Two units of Brethren Volunteer Service are placed at project sites
7) Sandy Schild retires from Brethren Benefit Trust

8) Ecumenical Stewardship Center offers resources

9) Brethren bits: Correction, remembering Evie Toppel and Lila McCray, personnel notes, CDS continues work in Missouri, Brethren Press seeks dessert recipes for new cookbook, and more


Quote of the week:

“My Grandpa Cook…was a conscientious objector in World War I. What I know from studying nonviolence is that this was a very tough time to be a pacifist. The men were scattered and isolated from one another. The alternative service options that existed in World War II didn’t exist during World War I…. For my grandfather this meant he had to serve as a cook in an Army unit, but refused to carry a gun. For this stance he was tarred and feathered.”

— Celia Cook-Huffman in “Shoes of Peace: Letters to Youth from Peacemakers” (Brethren Press, 2002), from a letter she wrote about her grandfather’s experiences as a conscientious objector during World War I. This story also is one of those featured in “Keep the Way of the Lord: A Service of Listening to the Stories and Voices of Conscientious Objectors,” a simple worship service provided for annual observances honoring conscientious objectors on May 15. Go to .


1) Bethany Seminary honors new graduates

Bethany Seminary graduates in 2017: Back row: Bryan Hanger, Jonathan Stauffer, Evan Underbrink, Joel Gibbel, Caleb Kragt; Front row: Staci Williams, Freedom Eastling, Bethany Hoffer, Jody Gunn, Wendy McFadden, Tabitha Rudy, Jennifer Quijano. Not pictured: Samuel Brackett, Steven Petersheim, Chibuzo Petty.

By Jenny Williams

Bethany Theological Seminary’s class of 2017 gathered with family, friends, and the Bethany community on Saturday, May 6, at the campus in Richmond, Ind., to celebrate their academic achievements. Fifteen seniors received their degrees and certificates from president Jeff Carter and Lynn Myers, chair of the board of trustees.

“You are a faithful class,” Carter told the group, “faithful not only to your studies but to your families, to your churches, to your professions…. So many sermons preached, papers written, books read, old truths exegeted in new ways–and the work of heart, soul, and mind brought to life through your presence among us.”

The following diplomas and certificates were granted, which include the first of Bethany’s specialized graduate certificates:

Master of Divinity:

Joel C. Gibbel, Lititz, Pennsylvania
Jody M. Gunn, Cordova, Maryland
Bethany L. Hoffer, Palmyra, Pennsylvania – emphasis in youth and young adult ministry
Caleb Kragt, Richmond, Indiana – ministry focus in preaching and worship, emphasis in conflict transformation
Jennifer L. Quijano, Richmond, Indiana
Tabitha Hartman Rudy, Roanoke, Virginia – emphasis in leadership and administration

Master of Arts:

Bryan Hanger, Richmond, Indiana – concentration in peace studies
Wendy C. McFadden, Elgin, Illinois – concentration in theological studies
Jonathan P. Stauffer, Polo, Illinois – concentration in theological studies
Staci A. Williams, Cecil, Ohio – concentration in theological studies

Certificate of Achievement in Theological Studies:

Samuel A. Brackett, Eugene, Oregon
Freedom Eastling, Indianapolis, Indiana

Specialized Certificate in Theopoetics and Theological Imagination:

Wendy C. McFadden, Elgin, Illinois
Steven P. Petersheim, Richmond, Indiana
Chibuzo Petty, Dayton, Ohio
Evan R. Underbrink, Richmond, Indiana

The commencement speaker was Dennis Webb, pastor of the Naperville (Illinois) Church of the Brethren. In his address entitled “Ministry–Praxis, Peril, and Promise,” he called attention to both the needs of a complex world in which the graduates would serve and the personal challenges they would encounter in becoming effective servants.

“People’s world views have changed, and consequently their needs have changed. Global shifts abound…. The context of your graduation is change, change in a dual sense: You are called to change the world at the same time the world itself is changing.” Webb encouraged the graduates to make caring for others and modeling truth essential parts of their ministry, following the Great Commission to “make disciples of all nations” (Matt 28:16-20).

“Your character will always be more important than your craft. Your integrity will always trump your insight. Your approachability will always supersede your visibility. And your availability will count far more than your ability.”

A 2012 graduate of Bethany, Webb is currently on the Mission and Ministry Board of the Church of the Brethren. He has been involved in multicultural ministry for a number of years and served on the denomination’s Intercultural Consultation and Celebration Committee. He has also spoken at national and district Church of the Brethren events.

The graduating seniors shared their talents in leading a worship service on Friday, May 5, which included a traditional ritual of sending. Joel Gibbel gave a message entitled “The Beautiful Shepherd,” and Evan Underbrink shared a theopoetic reflection of his educational and spiritual journey at Bethany. At the close of the service, faculty members anointed the seniors in preparation for their new ventures as Jennifer Quijano performed a vocal solo. Future plans of class members include seeking or continuing in positions of congregational ministry, further study, teaching, and community service.

Recordings of both the academic ceremony and the worship service will be posted on Bethany’s website at as soon as they are available.

— Jenny Williams is director of Communications for Bethany Seminary.

2) Bethany trustees focus on new Strategic Plan

By Jenny Williams

During their spring meeting held March 23-26, the Bethany Theological Seminary Board of Trustees took action in the formulation of a new strategic plan for the Seminary. As a major item of business, the board was presented with a narrative framework from which goals and implementation steps of the strategic plan will be defined. The framework was approved, and the Seminary’s president was charged with developing the plan.

With the name Extending Our Witness, Enlarging Our Impact, the strategic planning process reflects themes of growth, innovation, and diversity. As the seminary of the Church of the Brethren, Bethany will continue its witness to Anabaptist-Pietist tradition and values in preparing students for traditional ministry and others with wider vocational interests. New engagement with those of diverse backgrounds and faith traditions, including international students, is a priority, whether through technology or onsite in new settings. New partnerships with educational institutions and other agencies can help build the student body and expand the academic program. In all facets of the strategic plan, Bethany will maintain the combination of scholarship and practical application as a hallmark of its educational program.

“The framework of the new strategic plan brings into focus the future of the Seminary while honoring and addressing the heritage of Bethany,” said Lynn Myers, chair of the board. “As the implementation plan is fashioned, the mission of Bethany will reflect a widening footprint as a larger domestic and international constituent base is created. At the same time, the plan will guide Bethany to continue to be the place where students join together to increase their skill, knowledge, and understanding.”

The approved framework is the result of a year’s work by the Strategic Planning Oversight Committee. Input from Bethany faculty and staff was gathered on the nature of theological education to be offered, the recipients of that education, and sustainability of the Seminary. From several scenarios, the committee distilled the best combination of characteristics and goals that could be achieved. Ted Long, a member of the Association of Governing Boards, is serving as consultant for the strategic planning process.

Bethany’s curriculum review beginning in fall 2017 will be shaped by the strategic planning process. President Jeff Carter also notes that Bethany is already moving into the vision expressed in the strategic framework. Classes in the new partnership with Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria are expected to begin in 2017-18, and a January 2017 intensive travel course will focus on urban ministry in Atlanta. “It is an exciting time as the Seminary extends its witness and enlarges its impact. Committed to biblical studies, theological studies, and ministry formation and creating a community of faith and scholarship, Bethany is removing every barrier to ministry, deepening partnerships at home and abroad, and looking to inspire a church and world as we seek God’s call and Christ’s way.”

In other business, the board heard reports from Academic Services, Institutional Advancement, Business Services, and the new Admissions and Student Services department, reflecting the Seminary’s increased emphasis on recruitment. The Seminary’s recent successful ten-year reaccreditation was highlighted as were new connections in the Richmond community and with the World Council of Churches, through Jeff Carter’s participation as the Church of the Brethren representative.

Among Investment Committee items, it was reported that Bethany’s investment advisors, Concord Advisory Group, had affirmed the performance of the Seminary’s five investment fund managers. The proposed 2017-18 budgets from the Business Affairs Committee for Bethany, the Brethren Academy of Ministerial Leadership, and the Brethren Journal Association were approved by the trustees. From the Institutional Advancement Committee, the board heard of good progress in acquiring support for construction of the new technology center in Nigeria for the EYN educational partnership. Efforts and results of solicitations for the current year’s annual fund and proposed ways to increase the donor base were also reported.

The Academic Services Committee discussed the implications of Bethany’s reaccreditation report, noting documentation of program assessment and increasing diversity at the Seminary as major points. The faculty is currently conducting a diversity audit of the curriculum. The committee presented the board with a list of potential 2017 Seminary graduates, which was approved. At its first meeting, the Student Affairs Committee also reviewed the reaccreditation findings. Discussion of the new Pillars and Pathways Residency Scholarship and the challenges of recruiting in areas new to Bethany were noted for the board.

Board secretary Marty Farahat was recognized for her service as she concluded her second five-year term. The trustees approved Michele Firebaugh and Christina Bucher to begin new terms as at-large trustees in 2017-18 pending confirmation at Annual Conference this summer. Firebaugh has previously served two consecutive terms; Bucher would begin her second consecutive term.

The trustees approved the following board leadership to continue in their respective positions for 2017-18: Lynn Myers as chair, David Witkovsky as vice chair, Celia Cook-Huffman as chair of the Academic Affairs Committee, Miller Davis as chair of the Institutional Advancement Committee, and Phil Stover as chair of the Business Services Committee. New approvals included Cathy Huffman as board secretary, Eric Bishop as chair of the Student Affairs Committee, Karen O. Crim as chair of the Audit Committee, and Paul Brubaker as chair of the Investment Committee.

— Jenny Williams is director of Communications for Bethany Seminary.

3) Office of Public Witness signs on to letter opposing deportations of Haitians

Roy Winter (left), director of Brethren Disaster Ministries, traveled to Haiti just days after the Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake with a small delegation from the US church. He is shown here with Pastor Ludovic St. Fleur (at center in red) of Miami, Fla, meeting with members of Eglise des Freres Haitiens (the Church of the Brethren in Haiti) who were affected by the disaster. Photo by Jeff Boshart.

The Church of the Brethren Office of Public Witness has signed on to a letter to the US administration from the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti. The letter responds to signals from the administration that a decision may be made not to extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for nearly 50,000 Haitians living in the United States.

The special TPS status has been extended in 18-month increments since this group of Haitians gained took refuge in the United States following the earthquake that devastated their nation in 2010. If TPS were not to be extended for another 18 months beyond the current end date of July 22, Haitians with TPS status will face deportation.

The letter asked for TPS status to be extended, saying: “We concur with USCIS’s extremely detailed, 8-page single-spaced December 2016 review and assessment that the conditions warranting TPS for this group persist. We respectfully disagree with its recent unfounded contrary recommendation and urge you to extend TPS for 18 months for those currently enjoying this status, i.e. who applied as having been present in the United States on or before January 12, 2010 (updated to January 12, 2011 to cover some post-earthquake parolees)….

“TPS…is appropriate today because it remains unsafe to deport due to conditions including incomplete earthquake recovery; the still-unchecked cholera epidemic, the world’s worst; and Hurricane Matthew’s vast destruction in October, which has caused a severe food insecurity crisis,” the letter continued, in part.

Nathan Hosler, director of the Office of Public Witness, reported that he signed on to the letter in support of Haitian Brethren, after receiving information about the concern this is causing among Haitian congregations.

Separately, Global Food Initiative manager Jeff Boshart, who has spent time working in Haiti in the past and who served there with Brethren Disaster Ministries following the earthquake, reported similar responses from Haitian Brethren. Ludovic St. Fleur of the Eglise des Freres Haitiens congregation in Miami, Fla., is one of the Brethren leaders expressing concern, noting that people in his congregation will be negatively affected.

“His members have written to their representatives and senators and are not sure what else they can do,” Boshart said of St. Fleur’s concerns. “They greatly appreciate the prayers and support of the wider church.”

The full text of the letter follows:

Hon. Donald J. Trump
President of the United States
Hon. John F. Kelly, Secretary
U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Dear President Trump and Secretary Kelly:

We write as organizations and leaders in and serving the Haitian American community on an issue of extreme concern and urgency, DHS’s impending decision whether to extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for nearly 50,000 long-resident Haitians–whose remittances sustain as many as 500,000 relatives in Haiti, to the benefit of its stability and our national security–for 18 months beyond July 22. We know and appreciate that Secretary Kelly is intimately familiar with Haiti and that President Trump visited the Haitian community during the campaign and promised to be its champion.

We concur with USCIS’s extremely detailed, 8-page single-spaced December 2016 review and assessment that the conditions warranting TPS for this group persist. We respectfully disagree with its recent unfounded contrary recommendation and urge you to extend TPS for 18 months for those currently enjoying this status, i.e. who applied as having been present in the United States on or before January 12, 2010 (updated to January 12, 2011 to cover some post-earthquake parolees).

We respectfully ask this for compelling reasons referenced below and urged by bipartisan political leaders and by the New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Miami Herald, Sun Sentinel, and New York Daily News editorial boards, among many others.

TPS for the 50,000 has been renewed in 18-month increments and is appropriate today because it remains unsafe to deport due to conditions including incomplete earthquake recovery; the still-unchecked cholera epidemic, the world’s worst; and Hurricane Matthew’s vast destruction in October, which has caused a severe food insecurity crisis.

Haiti is reeling from these two massive calamities since the January 2010, 7.0 magnitude quake killed at least 200,000, destroyed Port au Prince, affected a third of Haiti’s people, cost an estimated 120% of its GDP, and from which recovery remains incomplete.

In October, 2016, Hurricane Matthew, Haiti’s worst hurricane in 52 years, effected 2 million Haitians, left 1.4 million including 800,000 children in need of emergency aid, killed 1,000, rendered 800,000 extremely food insecure, left 1,250,000 including 500,000 children without safe water, destroyed livestock and crops in broad areas, damaged or destroyed at least 716 schools interrupting the education of an estimated 490,000 children, dramatically increased the number of cholera cases in affected areas, and destroyed entire towns which were cut off from the outside world by flooding and infrastructure damage. According to a March 2017 United Nations Report, the hurricane cost Haiti $2.7 billion, or 32% of its GDP.

Hurricane Matthew’s destruction of crops and livestock has also caused a food insecurity crisis today –Haitians in some affected areas are dying of malnutrition — and efforts to repair Matthew’s vast infrastructure and other damage have been slow and limited. Another post-quake sledgehammer blow is killing and sickening Haitians today. Haiti had not had cholera in at least 100 years, but UN peacekeepers’ unsanitary practices caused a cholera outbreak in October, 2010 which by conservative estimates has killed and sickened 9,500 and 900,000 Haitians. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has called the cholera epidemic “the worst in recent history,” and the United Nations, which until December failed to acknowledge responsibility, has to date raised only $2 million of the $400 million it targeted to even begin addressing this deadly crisis.

These are extraordinary conditions fully warranting TPS extension. Haiti today cannot safely assimilate 50,000 long-resident deportees or replace their remittances on which hundreds of thousands depend. Remittances are Haiti’s chief form of foreign aid and totaled $1.3 billion from the United States alone in 2015 — about 15% of Haiti’s GDP. Deporting them would also hurt communities you pledged to champion. The 50,000 are noncriminals (by TPS requirement) who have mostly been here 7 to 15 years, working and raising families including U.S.-born children who should not be forced to choose between their parents and their birthright and future as Americans.

Failure to extend TPS given these conditions would be disastrous for families here and there and destabilizing, adding a significant burden to a nation already saddled with overwhelming challenges, increasing desperation and possibly entailing additional U.S. Coast Guard interdiction resources, among other possible consequences. Haiti’s stability is in the national security interest of the United States.

For these reasons, we respectfully ask that you extend Haiti’s TPS designation for another 18 months, and we appreciate your consideration on this important matter.

— For more information and an online link to the letter, go to .

4) CCS 2017 studies Native American rights and food security

Speakers from New Mexico address the CCS group: (from left) Kim Therrien, who with her husband Jim resides in Lybrook, N.M., and works for the Church of the Brethren-connected Lybrook Community Ministries; and Kendra Pinto, who is a young adult Navajo activist. Photo by Paige Butzlaff.

by Paige Butzlaff

This year’s Christian Citizenship Seminar (CCS) took place from April 22-27. The theme was based on Native American rights and food security. Thirty-eight high school aged youth and their advisers from as far as California to as close as Pennsylvania, and states like Kansas in between, were a part of this year’s CCS.

Upon arrival in New York City on April 22, the group met with Jim and Kim Therrien, who reside in Lybrook, N.M., and work for the Church of the Brethren-connected Lybrook Community Ministries. Also presenting was Kendra Pinto, who is a young adult Navajo activist from New Mexico. They all shared their experiences of serving with the Navajo community and how they have encountered issues such as oil contamination, land rights, and food insecurity.

Sunday, April 23, the youth and their advisers had the chance to explore New York City for most of the day, including visits to various churches. Afterward, Devon Miller, an adviser, led a session on the historical roots of indigenous food rights. Miller has a doctorate in anthropology and teaches at Michigan State University. He also studies native populations. His session got the youth thinking about how historic treaties establish rights between nations, and how the United States has carried out those treaties. Small groups gave a chance for the youth to reflect on what they learned as well as pray together followed his insightful session.

The next day was marked by tours of the United Nations headquarters. After lunch, the whole group packed into a charter bus and drove to Washington, D.C., to kick off the second part of the week. Joel West Williams, an attorney who works with the Native American Rights Fund, led a session based on his expertise on how the law works for and against Native American populations. He helped the group understand the country’s relationship with indigenous populations. He is a member of the Cherokee Nation.

The group met with or heard presentations by a number of other leaders with expertise in Native American rights or lobbying skills, during the ensuing days in Washington, D.C.

They heard from Josiah Griffin from the Office of Tribal Relations at the US Department of Agriculture.

A lobbying training was led by Jerry O’Donnell, who grew up in the Church of the Brethren and now works on Capitol Hill, and gave a surplus of information on what one might experience during visits to senators and their staff.

Shantha Ready Alonso, executive director at Creation Justice Ministries, discussed tribal sovereignty, sacred places, our relationships with God’s creation, as well as considerations for land-based livelihoods.

Mark Charles, a theologian and Navajo Christian activist, and Gimbiya Kettering, the Church of the Brethren’s director of Intercultural Ministries, provided information on how to process what is learned during CCS, what the next steps might be taken to share the knowledge, and how to help deal with the increasing alienation of Native Americans.

Also during their time in DC, groups of youth and advisers from the same states made their way to Capitol Hill for their previously scheduled congressional visits.

Nathan Hosler and Emmy Goering of the Office of Public Witness led a follow up session in which everyone got to share their experiences and what they learned from speaking with people who work within our government.

Brethren Volunteer Service sponsored an ice cream social that evening, in which BVS volunteers had the opportunity to talk about their BVS experience and answered questions.

A final worship service took place after the last session, which helped establish the strong link between faith and the pressing moral issues.

This event would not have been a success without leadership from Becky Ullom Naugle, director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries, and Paige Butzlaff, a Brethren Volunteer Service worker in the Youth and Young Adult Office, as well as Hosler and Goering from the Office of Public Witness.

But what really made this week a success was the impression the topic made on the youth and the impact they will now have, as they take a stand for what they believe in.

The next CCS will not take place next year because of National Youth Conference in 2018, but is planned for the spring of 2019.

— Paige Butzlaff is a Brethren Volunteer Service worker serving in the Church of the Brethren Youth and Young Adult Ministry. Find an album of her photos from the Christian Citizenship Seminar at


5) CCS: Sparking a passion for social justice

One of the small groups that worked together at CCS 2017. Photo by Paige Butzlaff.

By Emerson Goering

I’ve found that social media does an amazing job of keeping track of timelines I could never have kept straight for myself. While scrolling through my Facebook feed during a time of leisure at this year’s Christian Citizenship Seminar, I stumbled upon pictures of me and other 2015 CCS participants enjoying the city life in Washington, D.C. and New York. The energy of my companions and the dynamic cities we explored together left me even more excited to learn about the issues surrounding immigration, which was the theme of CCS the year that I attended as a high school junior.

CCS helped spark my passion for social justice in an exciting and engaging way that appeals to many youth. Now, as a young adult, I’m so happy that I got to play a part in the planning of CCS 2017. This year’s topic was “Native American Rights: Food Security,” and I couldn’t be any more pleased with the level of engagement that the youth demonstrated.

The sessions were kicked off with personal stories shared by Jim and Kim Therrien and Kendra Pinto. These vivid accounts of the struggles faced by Native Americans today naturally evoked an unsettled and anxious feeling in the participants. Through the centuries-old tradition of storytelling, our youth became emotionally invested in the topic, which is the first step towards change.

While preparing for our morning meeting with the Department of Agriculture, I created some discussion starters, assuming we might see a lull in the participants’ questions. However, I was happy to find that most of my prompts weren’t needed, as CCSers found their own niche in the game of question-asking. The interest this group of students had in the meeting was so hardy that the meeting went over time by about half an hour. In fact, some students even stayed behind to continue the conversation.

After the intensive meeting at the USDA, participants spent time exploring Washington, D.C., taking in the vast amounts of museums and monuments. Folks later reconvened, bringing a new level of excitement to the table, as they planned their congressional visits. I was pleased to see such involvement from CCSers during the planning period as I helped the representatives from the different regions shape their visits. After planning, everyone was sent off to dinner at a variety of restaurants. I was able to join my home congregation’s group at my favorite neighborhood pizza place. Speaking with the students about their upcoming congressional visits transported me back to the eve of my group’s visits two years ago. While I empathized with their nerves, I was excited for everyone to voice their concerns in a more formal setting.

Later, Jerry O’Donnell was able to calm the nerves of CCSers with a session describing a bit of what they could expect from their lobbying meetings. Jerry’s insight from working in a representative’s office for many years gave him the credibility and clarity that I think many people needed.

Before CCSers were sent off to their Hill visits, Shantha Ready-Alonso further demonstrated the significance of tribal sovereignty with her morning session. As participants and advisors later ventured toward the Hill, they were a bit anxious as to how they would be received. Later that evening, an air of relief filled the room as we spent time debriefing their Hill visits.

Some groups were incredibly pleased by both the hospitality of the congressional office staffers, as well as their actual encounters with the Senators and Representative themselves. Other groups recounted the struggles they faced in trying to keep office staffers on topic. Instead of addressing the group’s questions, one pair of staffers went off on a tangent about increased opioid use nationwide.

While the mood of the meeting might have varied by office or even by person, participants were in agreement that advocating for an issue is not as intimidating as they’d expected.

In my mind, CCS 2017 was a resounding success: a group of youth gained knowledge about a topic, developed empathy for a group of people beyond themselves, and ultimately used their newfound voices while addressing our government officials to demonstrate their solidarity. I’m excited to see the long-term impact that CCS has on the youth of today, just as it has had on me.

— Emerson Goering is a Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) worker serving with the Church of the Brethren Office of Public Witness.


6) Two units of Brethren Volunteer Service are placed at project sites

In recent months, two units of Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) have been placed at project sites across the United States and in a variety of international settings. The units are listed below by volunteer names and project placements.

BVS/BRF Unit 314:

The Brethren Revival Fellowship (BRF) volunteers serve at The Root Cellar in Lewiston, Maine: Joshua Diffenderfer, Walter and Peggy Heisey, Tim and Emily Rogers.

BVS-BRF Unit 314: 1st Row: Emily Rogers, Peggy Heisey; 2nd Row: Joshua Diffenderfer, Tim Rogers, Walter Heisey.

BVS Unit 315:

Marie Maurice is serving at The Palms in Sebring, Fla.

Matilde Sousa Vilela Thomas is placed at Horton’s Kids in Washington, D.C.

Jon Bennett is working at Camp Courageous in Monticello, Iowa

Esther Miller is at El Centro Arte para la Paz, Suchitoto, El Salvador

Lauren Sauder serves at the Capital Area Food Bank, Washington, D.C.

Carina Nagy is working for ABODE, Fremont, Calif.

Shelley Weachter is an assistant coordinator for the Church of the Brethren Workcamp Ministry

Friedrich Stoeckmann is at SnowCap Food Pantry, Portland, Ore.

Nina Schedler serves with Rural and Migrant Ministries, Liberty, N.Y.

Matias Mancebo works for Su Casa Catholic Worker, Chicago, Ill.

Leon Schulze is working with Habitat for Humanity, Lancaster, Pa.

Sebastian Cailloud is at Cooper Riis, Asheville, N.C.

BVS Unit 315: 1st Row: Marie Maurice, Matilde Sousa Vilela Thomas, Jon Bennett 2nd Row: Esther Miller, Lauren Sauder, Carina Nagy 3rd Row: Shelley Weachter, Friedrich Stoeckmann 4th Row: Nina Schedler, Matias Mancebo 5th Row: Leon Schulze, Sebastian Cailloud.

Find out more about Brethren Volunteer Service at .


8) Ecumenical Stewardship Center offers resources

By Matt DeBall

The 2017 edition of “Giving” magazine titled “Live Generously,” and related materials, are now available from the Ecumenical Stewardship Center. The Church of the Brethren partners with the center in stewardship resources and other initiatives.

“Giving” features inspiring stories and articles to encourage individuals and congregations in stewardship practices. Request a complimentary copy (while supplies last) from the Church of the Brethren by e-mailing . Additional materials may be ordered directly from the Ecumenical Stewardship Center at or by calling 855-278-4372.

The Ecumenical Stewardship Center is hosting its May Author Chat on Thursday, May 24, at 7 p.m. (Eastern time). It will be led by Margaret Marcuson of Marcuson Leadership Circle, and will feature her book “Social Media for Your Church,” addressing why social media matters for the church, social media strategies, and what social media has to do with generosity. Register at .

The COMPASS Initiative of the Ecumenical Stewardship Center is hosting a Live Chat on Tuesday, May 30, at 8 p.m. (Eastern) titled “Your Relationship with Your Money.” The COMPASS Initiative features resources to connect faith and finances, particularly for young adults. The Live Chat will be led by Mike Little of the Faith and Money Network and will explore creating a money autobiography, making good financial decisions, and connecting faith and finances. Register at .

— Matt DeBall is coordinator of Donor Communications for the Church of the Brethren.

9) Brethren bits

Children’s Disaster Services reports that the teams of CDS volunteers caring for children and families in Missouri following flooding have served in six different locations, at six MARCs (Multi Agency Resource Centers) so far this week, caring for 64 children. “We are so very grateful for the work of these volunteers!” said the message from the CDS staff. In a Facebook post, the program displayed a picture made by a child who received care, with a comment about partner and sponsoring organizations the American Red Cross: “Red Cross helps a lot of people!” The CDS staff added, “Sending kind thoughts and prayers to these children and families as they struggle with next steps and rebuilding their lives.” Find out more about CDS and its work at .

— Correction: The editor apologizes to the Wieand Trust and the Wieand family for the misspelling of their name in the article published in last week’s Newsline about recent grants given from the trust.

— Remembrance: Evelyn (Evie) Toppel, 83, passed away on May 6 at Rosewood Care Center in Elgin, Ill. She served the Church of the Brethren as secretary for the director of Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) from May 1978 until her retirement in May 1996, and was affectionately known as “Mom” to countless BVSers through the years. Funeral services will be held on Saturday, May 13, at 10 a.m. at Cornerstone Methodist Church in Plato Center, Ill. The full obituary is posted at .

— Remembrance: Lila McCray, 92, a former missionary to India and a former employee of the Church of the Brethren General Board, passed away on May 7 in Kenosha, Wis. She served with her husband, Jack, in the Church of the Brethren mission in India from 1960 to 1965. After returning to the US, they lived in Elkhart, Ind., where she worked for 12 years with CROP/Church World Service. In 1981, she joined the stewardship staff of the Church of the Brethren, providing leadership in the area of congregational support until 1983. Honoring her request that there be no memorial service, the family will have a private remembrance of her life.

— The Church of the Brethren Workcamp Ministry has announced that its assistant coordinator for the 2018 season will be Grey Robinson. Originally from Glade Spring, Va., Robinson is graduating from Bridgewater (Va.) College this May with a degree in Religion and Philosophy, and will begin work in August to plan the 2018 workcamp season.

— The Brethren Academy is offering “Healthy Conversations as Spiritual Practice” as an online course from September 13-November 8, taught by Reba Herder. She is an experienced conversation facilitator, trainer, author, and coach. Students will gain a deeper theological basis for healthy conversations as well as practical tools, skills, and experience they need to encourage spiritual growth within their ministry context. This course is offered at the Academy level and is open to Brethren Academy students (TRIM and EFSM), lay persons and pastors. TRIM students will earn one Academy Level unit in Ministry Skills studies. Pastors will earn .2 continuing education credits. For online learning, students will need basic computer skills and access to the Internet.The course fee is $295. The registration deadline is August 13. For more information contact 800-287-8822, ext. 1824, or .

— Recipes are sought for the upcoming “Inglenook Desserts” cookbook, to be published by Brethren Press. “The initial round of recipe testing has ended,” reports an e-mail from Brethren Press staff. “We have sorted through evaluations and have found many first-rate recipes to include in our forthcoming Inglenook Desserts cookbook. Many thanks to our amazing team of testers! We’ve also discovered several areas where we could use some new recipes, to provide variety and round out our cookbook.” Recipes are sought in the following categories: brownies–unique, not chocolate, but in mint and other flavors; cakes—Angel food or sponge cake recipes only; candy–any candy except fudge; cheesecakes; cobblers and crisps–raspberry, strawberry and/or rhubarb, and peach recipes only; frozen desserts–no homemade ice cream; pies–cream and custard (no pumpkin or pecan), cherry, strawberry; trifles; general fruit desserts (no cakes, pies, cobblers, or crisps); ice cream toppings or sauces; gluten-free desserts of all kinds–please include information in the notes section of the form. “If you have a recipe to submit, remember the recipe should be yours, not one that is already published,” the e-mail reminded. “The Inglenook philosophy is that recipes should be simple, made with wholesome ingredients, and ‘mostly from scratch,’ and come from the tried-and-true kitchens of ordinary cooks. Please spell out everything, no abbreviations. Be very thorough when writing out the directions, remember some of our bakers may not have very much experience.” Submit recipes by June 12 online at . Only submissions received through this online form will be considered.

— The Brethren Nutrition Program in Washington, D.C., is seeking candidates for an unpaid part-time summer internship. The program is connected with the Washington City Church of the Brethren, and is located on Capitol Hill. An ideal candidate is a current college undergraduate with an interest in the non-profit sector, gardening, or social services. A job description is available. Contact Faith Westdorp, BNP Operations Manager, Brethren Nutrition Program, 337 North Carolina Avenue, SE,Washington, DC 20003; 202-546-8706.

Contributors to this issue of Newsline include Jeff Boshart, Paige Butzlaff, James Deaton, Matt DeBall, Steven Forester, Emerson Goering, Nathan Hosler, Donna March, Fran Massie, Nancy Miner, Dena Pence, Jocelyn Snyder, Karen Stocking, Emily Tyler, 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.

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