Brethren bits for October 5, 2018

Marlin Heckman, University Librarian Emeritus at the University of La Verne (Calif.) and a former member of the Brethren Historical Committee and Annual Conference Standing Committee, died suddenly on Sept. 22. He was an alumnus of La Verne, Bethany Theological Seminary, and the Graduate Library School of the University ofChicago. A memorial service has been scheduled for Oct. 29.

Ballew family

Linetta Alley Ballew has been named assistant director at Brethren Woods (Keezletown, Va.) effective Jan. 1. She will carry program and some administrative responsibilities as “part of a transitional leadership model.” Ballew, who had previously worked at Brethren Woods from 2003 to 2013, has most recently been co-administrator of Camp Swatara (Bethel, Pa.) with her husband, Joel. Brethren Woods also announced the hiring of Andy Myers as maintenance director effective Nov. 1.

Karen Schroeder began as the new executive assistant to the president at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., on Oct. 1. She had previously served as administrative assistant to the academic dean at neighboring Earlham College.

Marvin Greener, who had served as director of building and grounds at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., since February 2009 concluded his employment Sept. 27.

— The Church of the Brethren Mission & Ministry Board has announced opening for two sorters/packers of medical supplies and two new temporary full-time boxcar positions to unload train cars and trailers and do other warehouse duties at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. A high school diploma is desired. Interested applicants should send a resume’ to, or for further information contact Loretta Wolf at 410-635-8795 or

— In the wake of Hurricane Florence, Church World Service responded by sending 11 shipments to North Carolina and one to South Carolina, consisting of clean-up buckets, hygiene kits, blankets, and toothpaste. Most Church of the Brethren congregations are located in the western part of the state and were spared damage. Brethren Disaster Ministries work continues in the region. A robust 2019 schedule for volunteer teams in the Carolinas has been created.

District disaster coordinators (DDC’s) and disaster project leaders (DPL’s) of Brethren Disaster Ministries will hold a leadership conference Oct. 30-Nov. 2 at Camp Swatara (Bethel, Pa.) for worship, networking, training, and fellowship.

Brethren Disaster Relief Auction logo

The Brethren Disaster Relief Auction  held Sept. 21-22 in Lebanon, Pa., has announced an estimated preliminary total of $420,306 raised for disaster ministries. That includes $33,000 from quilts, $34,000 in food sales, $10,000 from baked goods, more than $110,000 in contributions and donations (including an earlier bequest), and $25,000 in matching funds. Several auction items were sold multiple times. The auction, billed as “the largest of its type in the world,” began in 1977. It is held in cooperation with Atlantic Northeast and Southern Pennsylvania districts.

— Several districts are holding their district conferences this weekend or in coming weeks. They include: Atlantic Northeast, Oct. 5-6 at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College; Idaho/Western Montana, Oct. 5-6 at Bowmont Church of the Brethren, Nampa, Idaho; Mid-Atlantic, Oct. 12-13 at Manassas (Va.) Church of the Brethren; Middle Pennsylvania, Oct. 12-13 at Roaring Spring (Pa.) Church of the Brethren; Southern Ohio/Kentucky, Oct. 19-20 at Salem Church of the Brethren, Englewood, Ohio; and Western Pennsylvania, Oct. 20 at Camp Harmony, Hooversville, Pa.

Green Tree Church of the Brethren (Oaks, Pa.) has constructed and opened a “blessing box,” according to an article in “The Mercury” of Exton, Pa. The cabinet contains non-perishable food and home and hygiene supplies for anyone to take what they need and leave what they can.

Akron (Ohio) Springfield Church of the Brethren celebrated its 150th anniversary Sept. 29-30 with a hymn sing, anniversary cake, a history skit, and a guest sermon by Bethany Theological Seminary president Jeff Carter.

Charlottesville (Va.) Church of the Brethren on Sept. 30 held a homecoming service celebrating 60 years since the fellowship was officially recognized as a church.

Brethren Woods (Keezletown, Va.) held a surprise party on Sept. 30 honoring director Doug Phillips for 35 years of service at the camp to date. About 75 people attended the celebration.

Camp Bethel (Fincastle, Va.) will hold its annual Heritage Day this Saturday, Oct. 6. The day includes food, crafts, activities, exhibit and event booths, fishing, and more.

Jay Wittmeyer, executive director of Global Mission and Service for the Church of the Brethren, is doing a “Circuit Ride” of Northern Plains District churches Oct. 6-9. He will share on the theme “Fellowship in the Gospel of Christ,” looking at the life cycle of missions work. Congregations on the tour include English River, Fairview, Pickwick Community (Ottumwa), and Prairie City.

— USAID recently awarded $6 million to the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Soybean Value Chain Research (also known as the Soybean Innovation Lab, SIL) at the University of Illinois. The project operates in 17 countries, including a partnership with the Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (Church of the Brethren in Nigeria).

This year’s Nobel Peace Prize went to Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad for their work related to human rights and ending sexual violence. Mukwege, a surgeon, has worked extensively in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). He has partnered with the work of IMA World Health in the DRC and has done advocacy work in the United States for IMA, according to Church of the Brethren associate executive director Roy Winter. The Church of the Brethren is a long-time partner of IMA, which for many years was based at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md.

Nominations for the Church of the Brethren National Youth Cabinet are due Oct. 15. Forms are available at

Abundand Life in Jesus

National Junior High Sunday is Nov. 4. The theme is “Abundant Life in Jesus,” based on John 10:10. Look for worship resources at

Bethany Theological Seminary has created resources for congregations to observe “Bethany Sunday” on Oct. 21. Visit

The 2019 Brethren Prayer & Worship Summit, “Praying for the Vision,” has been scheduled for March 29-30 in Harrisonburg, Va. The event will focus on worship, prayer, and development of the “Compelling Vision” for the Church of the Brethren. The website,, will open soon for registration.

— Annual Conference moderator-elect Paul Mundey will lead “The Why and How of Kingdom Building  an Evangelism Conference” Nov. 9-10 at Greenville (Ohio) Church of the Brethren. The event is for “pastors, lay leaders, and anyone interested in reaching out and enlarging the Kingdom.” For more information, call Dean Garrett at 937-329-0166 or Ron Scherck at the Greenville Church of the Brethren at 937-548-3583, or email

— The public is invited by the Elizabethtown (Pa.) College Center for Global Understanding and Peacemakingto a presentation by Hiroshima bombing survivor Shigeko Sasamori, who will share her story of survival and forgiveness, “Hibakusha and Peacemaking in Japan,” on Nov. 3, 2-3:30 pm, in Gibble Auditorium, Esbenshade Hall. No reservations/tickets needed.

— The Church of the Brethren Office of Peacebuilding and Policy this week issued an “Action Alert” encouraging Brethren to contact their congressional representatives and ask them to support a bill to end the current US military engagement in Yemen, where the US is supporting a Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels.

— On the latest episode of the “Dunker Punks Podcast,” Kiana Simonson sits down with Laura Hay as the two discuss their various Youth Peace Travel Team experiences. The audio show is created by more than a dozen Brethren young adults across the country. Listen on the episode page:, or subscribe on iTunes:

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