Brethren bits for June 9, 2018

Church of the Brethren Newsline
June 9, 2018

Dennis Beckner, pastor of Columbia City (Ind.) Church of the Brethren, preached for the Wednesday morning chapel service at the Church of the Brethren General Offices this week. He brought words of encouragement for the denominational staff, sharing about the revitalization that his church has experienced in recent years, and how that revitalization is related to the congregation’s strong connections with the wider ministries of the Church of the Brethren. His message: your work makes a difference! Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford.

— Haley Steinhilber ends her 2017-18 internship with the Brethren Historical Library and Archives (BHLA) at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., on June 29. She will be pursuing a master’s degree in Public History at the American University in Washington, D.C.

— In related news, Madeline McKeever of Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin begins June 19 as the 2018-19 BHLA intern. She graduated in 2017 from Judson University with a bachelor of arts degree in Interdisciplinary Communication and has worked for four years in the university’s Benjamin P. Browne Library as an assistant in the reference department.

— McPherson (Kan.) College seeks a coordinator of Spiritual Life. This is a part-time, 20 hours per week, exempt position, eligible for college benefits. The position reports to the Vice President and Dean of Students. The successful candidate will coordinate services related to the college’s mission of educating the whole person through ongoing faith formation and community building. The ideal candidate will foster the religious and spiritual needs of the entire McPherson College community. The ideal candidate will also have significant administrative experience and the ability to be an effective member of the Student Life team. Duties would include, but are not limited to, providing leadership and direction in managing the area of Spiritual Life, developing and implementing strategies and systems to ensure the visibility of the Office of Spiritual Life and developing and implementing a comprehensive Spiritual Life program. Other duties as required may be assigned. One to two years of experience in higher education pastoral care or Spiritual Life or similar experience is preferred. A baccalaureate degree is required. A master’s degree is preferred. Excellent written, oral, and interpersonal communications skills are necessary. Proficiency in Microsoft Office products is required. Complete the online application with a cover letter, resume, and one professional reference letter at McPherson College is an equal opportunity employer, is committed to diversity, and encourages applications from women and people from traditionally under-represented groups.

— Jeff Carter, president of Bethany Theological Seminary, next week travels to Geneva, Switzerland, to represent the Church of the Brethren at the World Council of Churches (WCC) Central Committee Meeting.

— Brethren Disaster Ministries is sponsoring several weeks of clean-up help in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, following last year’s hurricanes. The effort is in partnership with the DRSI and the St Thomas Recovery Team. There are two time frames for volunteering in St Thomas: Sept. 9-22, 2018, and Jan. 6-19, 2019. Contact a district disaster coordinator to volunteer or Terry for additional information. For more information about the work of Brethren Disaster Ministries go to

— Bill Kostlevy, director of the Brethren Historical Library and Archives (BHLA), recently had an article published in “The Journal of World Christianity.” The article is titled, “Radical Holiness Mission Theory in the Church of the Brethren Experience.”

“The Nigeria Crisis Response at work!” announced Brethren Disaster Ministries in a recent Facebook post accompanying a photo of bags of maize seed and fertilizer laid out for distribution by Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). The post continued: “EYN in collaboration with its partners Church of the Brethren and Mission 21 assists IDPs [internally displaced people] with fertilizer in some camps and communities in Borno, Adamawa, Nasarawa States The agricultural support project will assist 2,000 beneficiaries with fertilizer and maize seed.” Photo courtesy of EYN.
— Beaver (Iowa) Church of the Brethren “decided to close and a final service will be held later this summer or early fall,” announced the Northern Plains District newsletter. “District folks are invited to come to Beaver on Saturday, June 16, from 9 a.m. to noon, to sort through things in the church and clean and tidy the inside of the building,” said an invitation. For additional information contact 515-238-5026 or 515-480-7017.

— Morgantown (W.Va.) Church of the Brethren recently hosted a community gathering to discuss immigration and refugees. According to a report from 12WBOY, “Several different faith communities from around the area gathered at the Church of the Brethren in Morgantown to discuss their views on immigration and refugees in the states. This was an open discussion for anyone in the community wanting to stand up for what they believe in.” Said one attendee, Geoff Hilsabeck, “We wanted to be together to reflect on what we share within our traditions, within our hearts, and think about how we can make this country and this world more welcoming for persecuted people.” Find the report at

— Mohrsville (Pa.) Church of the Brethren hosted the ceremony crowning a new Berks County Dairy Princess on May 5. Samantha Haag was crowned the 2018-19 Berks County Dairy Princess, and Mikayla Davis was crowned alternate Dairy Princess for the county. Find the article at

— Northern Ohio District is publishing a “Creation Care Newsletter” and “Peace Advocate News.” The latest issues are now available online. For the “Creation Care Newsletter,” Summer 2018, from the strict’s Stewardship Advocate Clyde C. Fry, go to For the “Peace Advocate News,” Summer 2018, from district Peace Advocate Linda Fry, go to

— This year’s Meat Canning Project of Mid-Atlantic and Southern Pennsylvania Districts canned 53,120 pounds of chicken over 8 days in April. The project canned 796 cases of chicken, with 398 cases going to each district, 200 cases donated to Honduras, and 200 cases donated to Cuba.

— Virlina District is holding a “Brainfreeze Brainstorm,” according to the district e-newsletter. Afternoons of brainstorming about how the district can support ministry to children, youth, and young adults will be held along with ice cream at four churches. District members are invited to attend the location and date that works best for them: Saturday, June 16, at Cloverdale Church, beginning at 3:30 p.m.; Saturday, June 23, at Henry Fork Church, beginning at 3:30 p.m.; and Saturday, June 30, at First Church in Eden, N.C., beginning at 3:30 p.m. A registration form is at or call the District Resource Center at 540-362-1816.

— Inspiration Hills in northern Ohio is hosting this year’s Song and Story Fest, titled “The Swing State Song and Story Fest: Becoming God’s Beloved Community.” This unique family camp features Brethren musicians and storytellers. It will take place July 8-14. “At the Fest, through music, stories, and community interaction, we open ourselves to the holy so that our life, work, and struggles move more in time with the energizing Spirit of Life to help us become God’s Beloved Community,” said an invitation. Heidi Beck, Susan Boyer, Debbie Eisenbise, Kathy Guisewite, and Jim Lehman will be storytellers. Workshops and musical performances will be brought by Greg and Rhonda Baker, Louise Brodie, Peg Lehman, Erin and Cody Robertson, Mutual Kumquat, Ethan Setiawan/Theory Expats, and Mike Stern. Single persons and families are welcome. Registration includes all meals, on-site facilities, and leadership, and is based upon age.  Children 4 and under are welcome at no charge. Cost for adults is $320; teens $210; children ages 4 to 12 $150; maximum total fee per family $900. Registrations after June 15 add 10 percent as a late fee. No discount is offered for off-site, tent, or RV housing. Daily fees are $40 for an adult, $30 for a teen, $20 for a child, $100 per family, with lodging an additional $20 per night per person. Contact Ken Kline Smeltzer at for information about financial help to attend. More information about Song and Story Fest is at

— Camp Pine Lake’s “Songs of the Pines Song and Story Event” will be revived this year at an All-Age Camp on Sept. 1-3. Friends with the Weather will be the special guests. The camp is located near Eldora, Iowa, in Northern Plains District. “We promise it will be an awesome time,” said an announcement. More information and a schedule will be available soon. Registration is at

— “Voices of Conscience: Peace Witness in the Great War,” a traveling exhibit that remembers the witness of peace-minded people against the First World War 1914-18, will be on display at the Brethren Heritage Center in Brookville, Ohio. The exhibit opens July 11 and closes on Aug. 11. Developed by Kauffman Museum in North Newton, Kan., the exhibit “is based on the narratives of men and women, religious believers, secular humanitarians, political protesters, and sectarian separatists,” said an announcement. “Many Brethren young men following biblical teachings, made the decision to not enter the military. This is their story along with many others. They resisted US involvement in the war, enactment of military conscription, war bond drives, denial of freedom of speech under the Espionage and Sedition Acts. For this resistance many suffered community humiliation, federal imprisonment, and mob violence at the hands of a war-crusading American public. This exhibit lifts up the prophetic insights and personal courage of World War I peace protesters, and suggests parallels to the culture of war and violence in our world today.” The exhibit also will be on display at the Church of the Brethren 2018 Annual Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Brethren Heritage Center is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, located at 428 N. Wolf Creek St., Brookville, Ohio. For more information call 937-833-5222.

— On the latest episode of the Dunker Punks Podcast, Ben Bear interviews Jess Hoffert, who left his job in Iowa to volunteer with Principe de Paz Church of the Brethren in Santa Ana, Calif. “Listen as he explains what helped him follow this call to leave his comfort zone and how the experience has been a transformative one for him,” said an announcement. The Dunker Punks Podcast is an audio show created by more than a dozen Brethren young adults across the country. Listen to the latest on the episode page at or subscribe on iTunes at

— A Global Day of Prayer to End Famine has been announced for Sunday, June 10, by the World Council of Churches (WCC), World Evangelical Alliance, and All Africa Conference of  Churches, along with church-related humanitarian organizations and a coalition of partners. This will be the second annual Global Day of Prayer to End Famine to be observed in faith congregations worldwide. “Through humanitarian efforts, we have seen some enormous obstacles beaten for many people facing hunger,” said an announcement. “Unfortunately, in 2018, the risk of famine remains, and has even increased, having the potential to spread to many other areas. More people still face famine today than any time in modern history. More than 20 million people are at risk of starvation across Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen. Globally, millions more suffer from drought and food shortages. These crises are the result of conflict, drought, poverty and global inaction, and in most cases they are preventable. Churches have a prophetic role in calling its members, wider society and governments to make a difference during this unprecedented period of suffering.” Find out more at

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