Newsline for Oct. 7, 2017

Church of the Brethren Newsline
October 7, 2017

“But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers…” (James 1:22).

1) CDS deploys Critical Response Childcare team to Las Vegas
2) Iran deal represents meaningful step to prevent nuclear conflict
3) New students begin at Bethany Seminary
4) Northern Indiana District issues resolution against racism
5) Nobel prize-winner ICAN says it will work for full nuclear ban

6) Atlantic Northeast hires Pete Kontra as district executive

7) NYC registration will open Jan. 18, youthworker applications are due Nov. 1
8) Mission Alive 2018 to be hosted at Frederick church
9) Next Nigeria workcamp is scheduled for January

10) Brethren bits: Personnel, job opening, disaster response efforts, district conferences, more


1) CDS deploys Critical Response Childcare team to Las Vegas

The Critical Response Childcare team that deployed to Las Vegas earlier this week (shown here) has been joined by another six volunteers to total 13 people. The group is specially trained to care for children following extreme trauma, such as airplane crashes, acts of terrorism, or other mass casualty events such as the Las Vegas mass shooting. Photo by Dot Norsen.


Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) has deployed a specially trained team of Critical Response Childcare volunteers to Las Vegas, Nev., following the mass shooting there. The team was requested by the American Red Cross, and are serving in a Family Assistance Center, reported CDS associate director Kathleen Fry-Miller.

A group of seven volunteers arrived in Las Vegas earlier this week. CDS sent another six people to join the team on Oct. 6, for a total of 13 volunteers.

Team member Patty Henry reported from Las Vegas that “this center is expecting up to 27,000 people who have been affected by this tragedy.” Her report, provided via Facebook, noted the many privacy regulations in place. The CDS team is only able to provide photos of the center before people arrive, and photos of the team itself. Volunteers’ cell phones must be silenced while at the center, out of respect, Henry wrote.

To help in their work, the CDS team has received donations of playdough, paint, and other supplies from Child Life Specialists at a Las Vegas hospital, and also is receiving donations from Save the Children.

Critical Response Childcare volunteers have received specialized training to care for children following extreme trauma, such as airplane crashes, acts of terrorism, or other mass casualty events. Since 1997, the team has responded to the terrorist attacks of 9/11, 8 aviation incidents, 1 train incident, the Boston Marathon bombing, and the mass shooting in Orlando.

Find out more about the Critical Response Childcare team at . Financially support the work of the team, and the other CDS volunteers still responding to Hurricane Harvey in Texas, by giving to the Emergency Disaster Fund at .

2) Iran deal represents meaningful step to prevent nuclear conflict

From the Church of the Brethren Office of Public Witness

The media is reporting that the Trump administration has decided to de-certify Iran’s compliance with the Iran nuclear deal. The deal, negotiated by the UN Security Council, put restrictions on Iran’s uranium enrichment abilities and gave the international community access to the country to verify their compliance with the restrictions.

The Church of the Brethren has a long history of outspoken opposition to nuclear weapon development, use, and proliferation. In 1982, the denomination issued “A Call to Halt the Nuclear Arms Race,” which said:

“Since its inception the church has understood the biblical message as contrary to the destructive, life denying, realities of war. The position of the Church of the Brethren is that all war is sin and contrary to the will of God and we confirm that position. We seek to work with other Christians and all persons who desire to abolish war as a means of resolving difference. The church has consistently spoken and continues to speak against the production and use of nuclear weapons. We have called upon our government to “dismantle its nuclear arsenal, pledge not to use nuclear weapons, refuse to sell nuclear fuels and technology to any state not agreeing to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency, work tirelessly for a comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, take unilateral disarmament initiatives as a way of breaking the current stalemate, and strengthen global institutions that facilitate nonviolent means of conflict resolution and the process of disarmament.”

The United Nations’ work on the Iran deal is exactly the sort of “global institution” process that facilitates nonviolent conflict resolution, and the deal has been largely successful. It has allowed international monitoring of Iran’s nuclear capabilities, and allowed for the lifting of sanctions and increased economic integration between Iran and Western nations like France and Germany. These are important steps in the right direction.

The rhetoric surrounding the upcoming Iran deal decision brings to mind the Church of the Brethren’s 1984 statement, “Terrible Belligerence,” written in response to Cold War tensions:

“Our nation has contributed to a world situation in which few serious negotiations are taking place to reduce the danger of nuclear annihilation. We assume that all liberation movements are ‘communist’ inspired and controlled. We reduce international relationships to a conflict between ‘the free world’ and ‘an evil empire.’ We replace diplomacy with military confrontation as a means to world stability.”

Nuclear negotiations are difficult, imperfect, and too little, too late. However, the deal with Iran represents a meaningful step forward for the global community in using diplomacy to prevent nuclear conflict. It is essential that, as it says in the 1980 Church of the Brethren statement, “The Time Is So Urgent: Threats to Peace”:

“To break this mad cycle we call for bold and creative initiatives such as a unilateral decision by our government to terminate all nuclear tests and the production of all nuclear weapons and their delivery systems.”

We continue to call for an end to the development and proliferation of nuclear weapons, and urge the United States government to do everything within its power to ensure the success of nuclear negotiations that bring the world closer to peaceful, stable coexistence without the threat of nuclear annihilation.

3) New students begin at Bethany Seminary

by Jenny Williams

The class of new students at Bethany Seminary, fall 2017, includes: (from left) Hassan Dicks, Steven Headings, Tom McMullin, Katie Peterson, Paul Samura, Jack Roegner, Martin Jockel, Chuck Jackson, Elena Bohlander. Photo courtesy of Jenny Williams.


With the start of the fall 2017 semester, 12 new students are beginning their theological studies at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind. Five are pursing a master of divinity degree, four are pursuing a master of arts degree, and three are pursuing graduate certificates. In addition, two graduates are returning to complete additional degrees, and one occasional student has enrolled.

One-quarter of the new, incoming class members are international, all of whom are living in the Bethany Neighborhood in Richmond. Two students come from the Wesleyan Church of Sierra Leone and Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). A third, from the German Free Church tradition, is spending a year at Bethany through the BCA (Brethren Colleges Abroad) program.

The following new students have been welcomed to Bethany:

Elena Bohlander, MA – Fort Wayne, IN

Jeff Clouser, Certificate of Achievement in Theological Studies – Mount Joy, PA

Carol Davis, Certificate in Theopoetics and Theological Imagination – Canton, IL

Hassan Dicks, MA – Jos, Nigeria

Steven Headings, MDiv – Comstock Park, MI

Charles Jackson, Certificate in Conflict Transformation – Champaign, IL

Martin Jockel, MDiv – Giessen, Germany

Thomas McMullin, MDiv- Minburn, IA

Katherine Peterson, MDiv – Cincinnati, OH

Jack Roegner, MDiv – Richmond, IN

Paul Samura, MA – Freetown, Sierra Leone

Alumnae Freedom Eastling, CATS 2017, and Staci Williams, MA 2017, are returning to complete an MA and an MDiv, respectively.

This fall also marks the launch of the Pillars and Pathways Residential Scholarship, a program structured to assist students in completing their seminary studies without incurring any additional educational or consumer debt. A cooperative effort between the student and the seminary, this scholarship covers the gap between the cost of attendance for residential students and the combination of Bethany financial aid and work income the student receives. Recipients commit to living in the Bethany Neighborhood and must maintain eligibility for the Academic Excellence Scholarship. The amount to be contributed by the student can be earned through a certain number of work-study hours and summer employment.

Four members of the incoming class and two current students are the first participants in the new scholarship program. As part of the agreement, they will actively engage in community living and campus activities, meet for group reflection, volunteer a certain number of hours at a local nonprofit, and live within their means, with support from the neighborhood community.

— Jenny Williams is director of communications for Bethany Theological Seminary.

4) Northern Indiana District issues resolution against racism

by Torin Eikler

Among other business accomplished by Northern Indiana District at its district conference this year was the affirmation of the resolution “We Reaffirm that Racism is a Sin Against God and Our Neighbors.” The conversation was characterized by a unified desire to express the pain felt by the gathered body on the heels of the protests and counter-protests witnessed in Charlottesville, Va., and in other places around this country.

One of the very few areas of contention in the discussions concerned how to broaden the resolution from the focus on African Americans evident in our Annual Conference statements, to include all those racial minorities that experience racially motivated discrimination.

The final resolution reached back across the years of Annual Conference decisions and all the way up to the statement by current Annual Conference moderator Samuel Sarpiya, to “name racism as a sin against God and against our neighbors” and to challenge members of the district to respond to ongoing individual and systemic racism “in works as eloquent as our words, in practices as profound as our prayers, in action as heroic as our gospel.”

The full text of the resolution follows:

Northern Indiana District Church of the Brethren

2017 District Conference

Resolution: We Reaffirm that Racism is a Sin Against God and Our Neighbors

We, the delegates of the 2017 Northern Indiana District Conference, reaffirm Annual Conference reports and statements which name racism as a sin against God and against our neighbors.1 In 1991, a study group reported that, “Members of the Church of the Brethren face the subtle temptation of thinking that because there are not many black Americans in the denomination, or because many of us do not live in physical proximity to black people, that the problem of racism is not our concern. Nothing could be further from the truth. Many of us benefit from racist practices, without being direct participants, because of decisions and policies already in place in our religious, economic, and political institutions.”2

We confess that we as the church have not taken the lead in transforming the understanding or the agency of racism in our society whether to African Americans or to people of other minorities. We confess our need to recommit to Bible study, prayer, and lament, and to reaffirm the witness of Jesus Christ in response to white supremacists, hate crimes, and an awareness of social injustice; we must connect our faith with our actions.3

The words of a 1963 Annual Conference Resolution carry the same challenge and urgency now as they did then: “The call of Christ is for commitment and courage in such a time as this. This call comes to every one of us, every congregation among us, and every community in which we live. We can dodge neither the revolution nor the call of Christ. Let us respond in works as eloquent as our words, in practices as profound as our prayers, in action as heroic as our gospel.”4

1 1991 Annual Conference report: Brethren and Black Americans
2 1991 Annual Conference report: Brethren and Black Americans
3 2018 Annual Conference moderator Samuel Sarpiya, Church of the Brethren Newsline, August 14, 2017,
4 1963 Annual Conference resolution: The Time is Now to Heal our Racial Brokenness.

— Torin Eikler is district executive minister of Northern Indiana District.

5) Nobel prize-winner ICAN says it will work for full nuclear ban

A World Council of Churches release.

ICAN leaders at a press conference at the World Council of Churches headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, after receiving news that the anti-nuclear weapons organization is receiving the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize. Photo by Kristin Flory.

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) said Friday, Oct. 6, it will work tirelessly in coming years to ensure the full implementation of the nuclear ban treaty it assembled.

Beatrice Fihn, executive director of ICAN, said at a media conference at the headquarters of the World Council of Churches (WCC) in Geneva, “It is a great honor to have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2017 in recognition of our role in achieving the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.”

Journalists covering all corners of the globe in Switzerland including the United States, Russia, China, Japan and Brazil and Mexico converged on the media conference at the Ecumenical Centre hosted by the WCC.

Opening the conference, WCC general secretary Olav Fyske Tveit said, “It is a very important day for moral standards in the word. It should be obvious that there should be no nuclear weapons…. As people of faith we must say this together.”

The general secretary is a Norwegian Lutheran and he said, “I look forward to the day when my government will sign the treaty.”

The Norwegian Nobel Committee had earlier honored the Geneva-based group “for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons.”

Fihn said that the agreement, was adopted July 7 with the backing of 122 nations at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

ICAN has existed for 10 years and is a coalition of 400 nongovernmental organizations in 100 countries. The WCC is one of its partners, along with many civil society organizations. The ICAN headquarters in Geneva has a staff of four people.

A tribute to survivors

Fihn spoke of the victims of the only two nuclear bombings the world has experienced, in 1945 in Japan, noting that the prize is a tribute to them.

“It is a tribute also to the survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki–the hibakusha–and victims of nuclear test explosions around the world, whose searing testimonies and unstinting advocacy were instrumental in securing this landmark agreement,” said Fihn.

She noted, “The treaty categorically outlaws the worst weapons of mass destruction and establishes a clear pathway to their total elimination. It is a response to the ever-deepening concern of the international community that any use of nuclear weapons would inflict catastrophic, widespread and long-lasting harm on people and our planet.”

None of the five permanent members of the Security Council, however, signed the treaty, nor did any states known to have nuclear weapons nor any member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Asked by a journalist if the lack of a signature from any of the five permanent Security Council members and other nuclear states was divisive for the world, Fihn replied, “It is the nuclear powers that are dividing the world.”

She said that the “majority of the world does not have nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons do not bring peace and stability” while noting that people on the Korean Peninsula and Japan “do not feel particularly safe.”

‘Powerful alternative’

Fihn said, “The treaty offers a powerful, much-needed alternative to a world in which threats of mass destruction are allowed to prevail and, indeed, are escalating.”

The Nobel committee statement, read by committee chairwoman Berit Reiss-Andersen, was also read at the Friday media conference, read by the WCC general secretary.

Tveit read: “Through its inspiring and innovative support for the U.N. negotiations on a treaty banning nuclear weapons, ICAN has played a major part in bringing about what in our day and age is equivalent to an international peace congress.”

The aim of the treaty is to delegitimize nuclear weapons and to make them illegal, said Fihn.

“We hope that this treaty will provide space for those states that have not signed this treaty,” said Fihn, noting that the treaty will enter into existence when 50 states have signed it.

“We will use the treaty to put pressure on states that have said they will never sign it…. It does change things when the rest of the international community declares them illegal…. It will take time, but we will get there.”

6) Atlantic Northeast hires Pete Kontra as district executive

Atlantic Northeast District of the Church of the Brethren has called Pete Kontra to the position of district executive minister effective Jan. 1, 2018. He has been in pastoral ministry for more than 20 years, and currently is senior pastor at Hempfield Church of the Brethren in Atlantic Northeast District.

Kontra received a bachelor of science degree from Penn State University in 1992, and a master of divinity degree from Bethany Seminary in 1999. In addition to serving as a pastor in the district, he also has served as chair of the district board for the past two years and has been involved with other district ministries. He and his family live in East Hempfield, Pa., which is about 20 minutes from the district office.

“Brother Pete is committed to listening and relationship-building and his heart for Jesus is evident in his words as well as his actions,” said an announcement from the district.

7) NYC registration will open Jan. 18, youthworker applications are due Nov. 1

National Youth Conference (NYC) takes place next summer, July 21-26, 2018, in Fort Collins, Colo., at Colorado State University. This Church of the Brethren conference is held every four years for youth who have completed grade 9 through 1 year of college (or the age equivalent).

Registration for NYC will open on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018, at 6 p.m. (central time) or 7 p.m. (Eastern). The registration fee is $500 for each youth participant and each adult advisor. All youth attending must have an advisor; for every five youth attending from a congregation there must be at least one adult advisor who accompanies the group. A non-refundable deposit of $250 for each participant must be paid at the time of registration, with the balance due by April 30, 2018.

Each participant who registers by midnight on Sunday, Jan. 21, will receive a free limited edition NYC drawstring backpack.

Go to for more information about the NYC schedule, a FAQ sheet for adult advisors, a FAQ sheet for youth, and fundraising ideas. For questions contact the Youth and Young Adult Ministry Office at 800-323-8039 ext. 385 or .

The NYC office seeks youthworkers to volunteer during the conference. Youthworkers must be 22 years old or older, and must fill out the application found online at . The application deadline is Nov. 1.

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

8) Mission Alive 2018 to be hosted at Frederick church

by Kendra Harbeck

Mission Alive 2018, a conference sponsored by the Global Mission and Service program of the Church of  Brethren, will take place April 6-8 at Frederick (Md.) Church of the Brethren. The theme is “A Gathering of God’s People…a Global Church of the Brethren,” seeking inspiration from Revelation 7:9.

Mission Alive events seek to revitalize Church of the Brethren members’ interest, awareness, and involvement in Global Mission programs and partnerships. The 2018 conference specifically explores how Brethren can live into the vision of a global church based on mutuality and relationship.

Speakers for Mission Alive 2018 include:

Michaela Alphonse, pastor of Miami (Fla.) First Church of the Brethren and Global Mission worker with Eglise des Freres d’Haiti, the Church of the Brethren in Haiti.

Hunter Farrell, director of the World Mission Initiative at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and former director of World Mission for the Presbyterian Church (USA).

Alexandre Gonçalves, minister of Igreja da Irmandade (Church of the Brethren in Brazil) and educator with CLAVES, an international domestic violence and child abuse prevention program.

David Niyonzima, founder and director of Trauma Healing and Reconciliation Services (THARS) and vice chancellor of the International Leadership University-Burundi.

Jay Wittmeyer, executive director of Global Mission and Service for the Church of the Brethren.

Through workshops, conference participants will hear updates from international Brethren leaders, dig deeper into the developing mission philosophy of a global church, and explore many other topics related to Global Mission and Service. Information about workshop offerings will be available soon.

In keeping with the conference theme, Mission Alive 2018 will provide the opportunity to celebrate love feast with international sisters and brothers, and will celebrate the different national bodies in the Church of the Brethren family.

The conference begins at 3 p.m. on Friday, April 6, and concludes with worship on Sunday morning, April 8. Registration for the full conference is $85 per person through Feb. 15, going up to $110 on Feb. 16. Family, student, and daily rates are available. Housing will be in local homes, with sign up for housing included in the registration process. Participants have the option to stay in local hotels at their own cost.

More detailed information about Mission Alive 2018 can be found at .

— Kendra Harbeck is manager of Global Mission and Service for the Church of the Brethren.

9) Next Nigeria workcamp is scheduled for January

A workcamp in Nigeria builds a church. Photo by Donna Parcell.

by Kendra Harbeck

Global Mission and Service invites participants to join a workcamp organized by Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). Workcamp dates, including travel to and from Nigeria, are Jan. 5-22, 2018.

Participants will work in a EYN-directed construction project, such as rebuilding a church or health clinic that has been destroyed by Boko Haram violence. Other key elements of the experience will be attending worship services and visiting EYN and partner programs that have been supported by the Nigeria Crisis Response. Most importantly, participants will have the opportunity to hear first-hand stories of what Nigerian Brethren have experienced and build relationships with these sisters and brothers in Christ.

The cost is approximately $2,600. This amount varies depending on the cost of airfare, and also includes Nigerian visa fees, construction materials, and food, travel, and lodging while in Nigeria. Participants are encouraged to seek financial support from congregations, and to share about the experience with the congregation upon their return.

More information and registration information can be found at or contact Kendra Harbeck at or 847-429-4388.

Prayerfully consider this opportunity to express solidarity with EYN through labor and fellowship, and be changed in the process!

— Kendra Harbeck is manager of Global Mission and Service for the Church of the Brethren.

Brethren bits

A Brethren Disaster Ministries photo shows generators that will be going on a container for shipment to Puerto Rico. This past week the staff of Material Resources had been putting together the container of relief supplies, which in addition to the generators also included chain saws and other tools, tarpaulins, gas cans, and canned meat. Brethren Disaster Ministries thanked Jack Myrick for picking up the generators and delivering them to the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., where the container has been loaded.— Melissa Fritz has been hired by the Church of the Brethren as a packer for Material Resources, working at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. She began her work on Oct. 2.


— Bethany Theological Seminary seeks a half-time program director of youth engagement, to work with the seminary admissions team. The program director of youth engagement is responsible for the planning and implementation of vibrant, educational programing for youth events. The program director will demonstrate excitement and enthusiasm in individual and group situations overseeing direct contact with prospective participants, working to ensure robust program enrollment while enacting agreed-to recruitment and marketing strategies. This position requires broad travel within the United States. The office location is in Richmond, Ind. Qualifications include admissions experience and an MDiv or an MA in a theological field preferred; a bachelor’s degree with admissions experience acceptable. Affinity with the values and mission of the seminary is required, and an understanding of the Church of the Brethren, in the Anabaptist-Pietist tradition, is preferred. Multicultural competency and the ability to communicate and interact with potential participants and with individuals at all levels of denominational and educational structures are required. Applicants should demonstrate strong interpersonal oral and written communication skills, a collaborative working style, self-motivation, and task management skills. The use of social media and electronic communication is expected. A link to a complete job description is at . Application review begins immediately and will continue until an appointment is made. To apply, send a letter of interest, resume, and contact information for three references to or Attn: Lori Current, Bethany Theological Seminary, 615 National Road West, Richmond, IN 47374. Bethany Theological Seminary’s policy prohibits discrimination in employment opportunities or practices with regard to race, gender, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, or religion.

Living Peace Church members assemble Clean-Up Buckets. Photo courtesy of Becky and Gary Copenhaver.

— Kits, kits, and more kits! After several hurricanes have hit the United States, Puerto Rico, and other Caribbean islands, many congregations and districts across the denomination have begun answering the call from Church World Service for more Clean-Up Buckets and other Gift of the Heart kits. Kits are donated and assembled by groups and individuals across the country, warehoused and processed at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., and distributed to disaster survivors.

Living Peace Church in Plymouth, Mich., is just one of the congregations that have been collecting Clean-Up Buckets. “Within four days after Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, the 25 members of Living Peace Church collected donations and bought supplies to create 14 Clean-Up Buckets,” reported Becky and Gary Copenhaver. “Days later, a member delivered them to the Brethren Service Center.”

Mountville (Pa.) Church of the Brethren is another congregation that’s involved in the effort. The church assembles 15 Clean-Up Buckets every August, says an article published by Lancaster Online. After Hurricane Harvey hit, the church was asked to put more together. “The money just kept pouring in,” team leader Marian Bollinger told the reporter, and in the end the church donated another 75 of the buckets to hurricane relief. Find the article at .

— Green Hill Church of the Brethren in Salem, Va., will celebrate its 100th anniversary on Sunday, Oct. 22. The worship service will begin at 10:45 a.m. with David K. Shumate, Virlina District executive, as guest speaker. Former pastors will participate. J.R. Cannaday will be guest organist. A potluck meal will follow the service, and an informal program in the afternoon will feature former members performing musical selections and sharing from their experiences at Green Hill.

— Western Pennsylvania District has a new office phone number: 866-279-2181.

— The Buckeye Brethren Institute in Northern Ohio District is offering a class on “Teaching and Learning in the Church,” taught by Tina Hunt, pastor of Ashland (Ohio) First Church of the Brethren and a district board member. “This course will provide an overview of the scriptural and historical backgrounds of Christian education, with special emphasis on the various specialized teaching ministries of the local church in operation today. The pastor’s role as leader of educational and meaningful church growth is also to be explored,” said an announcement. The course will be held on three Saturdays–Oct. 14, Oct. 28, and Nov. 18–from 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. A syllabus and reading assignments are sent to students once registration is received. The course fee is $25, due by Oct. 10. Contact Paul Bozman at 330-354-7559 or .

Images courtesy of Marty Barlow.

A 2018 calendar of photographs by Marty Barlow and several other Brethren is being sold in a special fundraiser to support Brethren Disaster Ministries and the Monica Pence Barlow Endowment for Childhood Literacy. Photographs are by Marty Barlow of Montezuma Church of the Brethren in Shenandoah District, past Annual Conference moderator Carol Scheppard, former Mission and Ministry board chair Ben Barlow, Harold Furr and Elizabeth Stover–both from Bridgewater, Va., and Christy Waltersdorff, paster of York Center Church of the Brethren in Lombard, Ill. Orders are being taken now for the calendar, which costs $20. Contact or 540-280-5180.

— Several district conferences take place this weekend and next: Southern Ohio meets at Pleasant Hill Church of the Brethren on Oct. 6-7. Atlantic Northeast meets at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College in Leffler Chapel on Oct. 7. Mid-Atlantic meets at Frederick (Md.) Church of the Brethren on Oct. 13-14. Middle Pennsylvania meets at Maitland Church of the Brethren in Lewistown, Pa., on Oct. 13-14.

— Shenandoah District Conference on Oct. 27-28 at Mill Creek Church of the Brethren in Port Republic, Va., will have a new focus, the district has announced. The district is “taking a break from queries and resolutions that tend to divide us and instead focusing on what unites us: Christ, our foundation, our solid rock,” the announcement said. Instead of a day full of business sessions, the Saturday of the conference weekend “will be a day of revival, featuring gifted preachers and inspiring music. Time devoted to business will be minimal. Insight sessions again will present us with ministries and opportunities for service. We will come together affirming ‘On Christ the Solid Rock We Stand.’”

— In scheduling its 2018 district conference, Northern Ohio District is taking the dates of National Youth Conference (NYC) into account. The district has set the date for August 3-4, said an announcement. “Our 2017 District Conference saw the first youth registrations and events in 5 years. And the youth performing from the Worship Arts Camp add such a richness to our experience together. The Central Committee is committed to including youth and youth activities as part of District Conference and believe that warrants holding conference one week later than usual.” NYC will take place July 21-26 in Fort Collins, Colo. Find out more about the Church of the Brethren’s nationwide youth conference, held only every four years, at .

— CROP Hunger events are scheduled at Bridgewater (Va.) College in October. “Last year, the Bridgewater College CROP meal and the Bridgewater/Dayton CROP Hunger Walk raised $6,292 for Church World Service’s hunger relief, education and development programs in 80 countries around the world,” said an announcement. This year, the CROP meal will be Thursday, Oct. 26, and the CROP Hunger Walk will be Sunday, Oct. 29. For more information contact coordinator Robbie Miller at or 540-828-5383.

— Valley Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center, CrossRoads, is in need of volunteers for weekly field trips coming to the campus on Thursdays through Nov. 16. Volunteers may sign up for one or more weeks. No experience is necessary. Volunteers accompany small groups of young children, usually first or second graders, from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Contact Martha Reish at 540-246-5685 or .

— The current episode of “Brethren Voices,” a made-for-community-television show from Peace Church of the Brethren in Portland, Ore., interviews Global Mission and Service executive director Jay Wittmeyer about the work of Heifer International, and the role of the Church of the Brethren in starting Heifer Project. Wittmeyer also talks about the church’s current mission and service ministries. This “Brethren Voices” program also features a special video, “Paradigm Shift: A Look at the Total Eclipse Through the Eyes of Seth Ring,” video producer of Metro East Community Media. For more information contact producer Ed Groff at .

— “The chances of finding an exact match with an unrelated organ donor are one in 100,000,” reports the Hutchinson (Kan.) News, “so when John Hoffman of McPherson needed a kidney, he was surprised to find a match in his church’s 40-person congregation.” Hoffman, who has served on the denomination’s Mission and Ministry Board, told the newspaper that several church members and family members volunteered to be tested in the search for a match. Wanting to help spread the word, Shana Leck was one of the church members who had her blood drawn for testing. Read the touching story of how the two bonded through kidney donation, at .

— Evelyn Jones, who attends the monthly senior club meetings at Manor Church of the Brethren in Boonsboro, Md., has been celebrated for her long life and “right living” in an article in the “Herald-Mail.” She is 99 years old. Find the article at .

Contributors to this issue of Newsline include Victoria Bateman, Torin Eikler, Kristin Flory, Kathleen Fry-Miller, Kendra Harbeck, Kelsey Murray, Becky Ullom Naugle, Stan Noffsinger, Julie Watson, Jenny Williams, Roy Winter, and Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren. Newsline stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source. Please send news tips and submissions to the editor at .

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

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