Brethren bits for Dec 20, 2018

Ankeny Church of the Brethren celebrates 150 years
Ankeny Church of the Brethren celebrates 150 years

— The Church of the Brethren Office of Peacebuilding and Policy is monitoring the situation in Yemen, which has been the subject of many Action Alerts sent out to Brethren. Last week, the Senate voted to pass Senate Joint Resolution 54 ( ) calling for an end to unauthorized US military involvement in Yemen. “The legislation still faces significant hurdles, but is a huge step towards Congress exercising oversight of our support to the Saudi coalition,” said an update from the Office of Peacebuilding and Policy. “The conflict in Yemen has caused the world’s largest humanitarian disaster, and the US has contributed to the conflict by providing intelligence, refueling, and weapons. On Tuesday, a cease-fire came into effect. This ceasefire is part of a United Nations-led peace effort that seeks to find a political solution to the conflict” ( ).

— Salvador Campero has been hired by the Church of the Brethren as manager of buildings and grounds for the General Offices in Elgin, Ill. He currently works for River View Rehab Center in Elgin as director of maintenance. He begins at the General Offices on Dec. 26.

— West Marva District seeks a district executive minister to fill a three-quarter time position (approximately 30 hours per week), including many evenings and weekends. The position is available on July 15, 2019. Travel is required both within and outside of the district. Responsibilities include three main focus areas: 1. Direction, coordination, management, and leadership of the district program, as authorized by District Conference and implemented by the District Board. 2. Work with the congregations in the calling and credentialing of ministers and in the placement/call and evaluation of pastoral staff. Providing support and counsel for ministers and other church leaders, sharing and interpreting of program resources for the congregation. 3. Providing an important and crucial link between the congregations and the district and the wider church by working collaboratively with the Council of District Executives, the Annual Conference, its agencies, and their staff. Qualifications include: 1. Christ-centered belief and practice.  2. Commitment to, membership, and extensive experience in the Church of the Brethren.  3. Strong interpersonal and communication skills. 4. Ability to serve and work with persons from diverse cultural, social and theological backgrounds.5. Ordination and pastoral experience preferred. 6. Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited college along with seminary degree or completion of TRIM or other Brethren Academy programs.  7. Prior church experience as a pastor, staff person, or other related service is desirable. 8. Administration and organizational training and/or experience is highly recommended. Interested and qualified persons may apply for this position by sending a letter of interest and resume to: Nancy Sollenberger Heishman, Director, Office of Ministry, 1451 Dundee Avenue, Elgin, IL 60120 . Applicants are requested to contact three of four persons in order to have them provide a letter of reference. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

— Applications are now being accepted through Jan. 18, 2019, for Summer 2020 Assistant Workcamp Coordinators. This BVS position begins August 2019. Find the position description and application at .

— Camp Swatara seeks an executive director. The position will be filled by May of 2019. The camp is looking for a CEO/CFO for a non-profit Christian camping ministry with a million dollar budget. The camp includes a summer resident camping ministry, a family campground, and year-round retreat facilities. Camp Swatara employs a year-round full-time program manager who develops and oversees the summer program, a Buildings and Grounds manager, a Family Camp manager, an office manager, a food service manager, and a housekeeping manager. It is the executive director’s job to provide oversight for all of these areas, as well as manage and coordinate staff. The executive director will also be responsible for marketing Camp Swatara to bring immediate growth by increasing user groups. Development and fundraising are important components of this position. Applications should be completed electronically and submitted electronically by Jan. 1, 2019, at .  The Search Committee will continue to accept applications until the position is filled. Contact with any questions.

— The preacher lineup for National Older Adult Conference (NOAC) 2019 has been announced:  Dawn Ottoni Wilhelm, Brightbill Professor of Preaching and Worship at Bethany Theological Seminary; Jennifer Keeney Scarr, pastor of Trotwood (Ohio) Church of the Brethren; Jeanne Davies, pastor of Parables Community in Lombard, Ill.; Walt Wiltschek, pastor of Easton (Md.) Church of the Brethren; and Dennis Webb, pastor of Naperville (Ill.) Church of the Brethren. Keynote speakers will include Sister Joan Chittister, Benedictine nun, theologian, author, and speaker; Drew Hart, author and professor of theology at Messiah College, Grantham, Pa.; Ken Medema and Ted Swatrz. Medema is a popular Christian musician and singer-songwriter. Swartz is a Mennonite playwright and actor.

— The annual Clergy Tax Seminar offered by the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership, the Office of Ministry, and Bethany Theological Seminary is held Jan. 19, 2019, on the seminary campus in Richmond, Ind. Students, pastors, and other church leaders are invited to attend either in person or online. The seminar will offer in-depth information on changes to 2018 tax returns resulting from the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Participants will learn how to file clergy taxes correctly and legally, will learn how to comply with regulations while maximizing tax deductions, and will earn 0.4 continuing education units (requires live or online attendance in the first two sessions). In a new format this year, the seminar will be broken into three sessions: clergy tax law (morning); the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, covering significant changes for 2018 tax returns (first afternoon session); and how to use TurboTax to prepare a clergy tax return (second afternoon session). Registration is $30 per person. Current Bethany, TRIM/EFSM/SeBAH, and Earlham School of Religion students may attend at no cost, although registration is still required. Registrations are not complete until payment is received. For space and quality reasons, registrations may be capped at 20 persons locally and 85 persons online. Registration deadline is Jan. 10, 2019. Go to .

— The Global Mission and Service office is celebrating a successful three-day training organized by Iglesia Evangélica de los Hermanos–Una Luz En Las Naciones (the Church of the Brethren in Spain). Approximately 350 people attended the event that focused on how to address challenges with children and teenagers, and also featured times of prayer, worship, and introduction to the Church of the Brethren. Participants included pastors and members of the press and public.

— “Continuing ed just got easier!” said an announcement from Bethany Seminary. “Beginning this academic year, all Bethany alumni have the opportunity to audit at least one free–yes, free!–graduate course at the seminary. If you have graduated within the last five years, you may audit two courses at no cost. Alumni who have graduated more than five years ago may audit one course at no cost.” For more information go to .

Snow at Lybrook
Snow at Lybrook

— Lybrook Community Ministry, a Church of the Brethren ministry with the Navajo community in Cuba, N.M., shared a “thank you” to the Global Food Initiative on the first weekend in December. “We ended up with about 10 inches of snow,” wrote James Therrien in a Facebook post. “I want to say a big thank you to Jeff Boshart and Global Food Initiative. We purchased a tractor thru a grant from GFI for gardens, but it also came in real handy today for clearing the drive.”

— The Tuesday before Thanksgiving, 600 frozen turkeys were distributed to individuals and organizations in the greater New York City area. They were donated with funds collected from Chiques Church of the Brethren, Manheim, Pa. “Usually Kevin Hickernell and other members of the Chiques Church drive the frozen turkeys to Brooklyn, but this year Kevin was not able to do it,” reports Jonathan Break of Brooklyn First Church of the Brethren. Christopher Bucher, Bream’s son, drove the delivery to Brooklyn. Members of the church and the local CERT teams BK 7, 10/11, and 13 assisted in the unloading of the frozen turkeys and provided both traffic and crowd control. Turkeys were given to local Salvation Army units, the United Senior Center, Anchor House, Brooklyn Teen Challenge, four churches still recovering from Hurricane Sandy, and the elementary school located across the street from First Church. The school gave out turkeys to disadvantaged families. “A special thank you to all who provided the turkeys and to the volunteers for their hard work and commitment,” Bream said.

— Manchester Church of the Brethren in N. Manchester, Ind., on Jan. 25, 2019, will host a reunion concert for a group that first performed together 25 years ago. JOYA (Journey of Young Adults) was formed in 1994 to share inspiration through music, drama, and peace education with Church of the Brethren congregations around the country. The quartet was composed of Brethren Volunteer Service workers Barb Sayler (soprano), LuAnne Harley (alto), Shawn Kirchner (tenor), and Brian Kruschwitz (bass). JOYA re-gathered in 2004 with concerts in five areas of the country to help On Earth Peace celebrate 30 years of peacemaking. After JOYA, Harley and Kruschwitz have continued singing together as “Yurtfolk,” Kirchner works as a choral composer and professional musician in southern California with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and LA Master Chorale and others, Sayler has worked with On Earth Peace and currently pastors Beavercreek (Ohio) Church of the Brethren. The upcoming Jan. 25 concert represents a 25-year reunion for JOYA. Perhaps best known for their four-part a capella singing, they will perform many songs from their original tour in 1994, as well as newer material. The concert will begin at 7 p.m. A free-will donation will be received at the door.

The new young adult group in Southern Ohio & Kentucky District
The new young adult group in Southern Ohio & Kentucky District. Photo by Laura Brown

— Starting in November, a new group began meeting as the young adults of Southern Ohio/ Kentucky District. “Our December gathering had 10 young adults joining us as we journeyed to Carillon Historical Park in Dayton, Ohio,” reports Laura Brown. “We will begin meeting once a month, and are hoping to continue adding to our number.”

— Bridgewater (Va.) College’s Campus Mall was aglow the evening of Dec. 6, as members of the college community toured the Journey of Lights. Participants were “learning about cultural celebrations from around the world,” said a Facebook post from the college. “Student clubs served delicious treats and talked about their family traditions.”


— In more news from Bridgewater, the college has announced a one-to-one $250,000 challenge grant from the Robert G. Cabell III and Maude Morgan Cabell Foundation in Richmond, Va. The effort will help fund renovation of the Alexander Mack Memorial Library to create a new hub of learning on campus, the John Kenny Forrer Learning Commons. “In order to obtain the grant, Bridgewater must raise $250,000 in cash and pledges by Dec. 31, 2019,” said a release. “The Forrer Learning Commons will serve as an active learning space and focal point for connected learning for Bridgewater’s academic community. The facility will house the library’s collections and serve as a learning hub with media production, peer coaching and tutoring, writing center, career center, IT help desk, and research and information literacy support. The facility will also hold multiple flexible study spaces for students, from small and large group meeting spaces to two engaged learning classrooms and a practice presentation room. The Forrer Commons will also feature private study carrels, conversational gathering spaces and a café.” Groundbreaking for the Forrer Commons took place in May 2018. Expected completion date is fall 2019.

— The spring course offering from the “Ventures in Christian Discipleship” program at McPherson (Kan.) College will focus on the theme “Welcoming Congregations.” The first class, “Biblical Hospitality,” will explore scriptural meanings of hospitality and look at practical ways it can be used in the home, church, and community. Of particular interest are scriptures that pertain to the stranger, refugee, and foreigner, and how those texts might inform national policy on immigration. The class will be held online Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019, 9 a.m.-12 noon (central time), taught by Fred Bernhard. He is a longterm Church of the Brethren pastor who has specialized in teaching biblical hospitality to congregations through workshops and books. He is active in mentoring multiple church staff ministries and is a consultant for congregations through E-3 Ministries. All classes are donation-based and continuing education credit is available for $10 per course. Go to .

— Lyle and Marlene Neher of Ivester Church of the Brethren in Grundy Center, Iowa, were featured in the “Eldora Herald-Ledger” for their annual open house displaying 360 Christmas creche sets. See a picture and more at .

Bridgewater campus alit
Bridgewater campus alit
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