Church of the Brethren Newsline
May 26, 2018
“Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness” (Matthew 9:35).
ANNUAL CONFERENCE PREVIEW
1) Living parables: A preview of Annual Conference 2018
2) Conference business ranges from changes in delegate representation to a new vision for mission to creation care and more
3) ‘New and Renew’ conference: Reflections from one participant
4) Children’s Disaster Services volunteers respond to Hawaii eruption
5) Bethany Seminary holds commencement
6) Brethren attend ‘Reclaiming Jesus’ event in nation’s capital
7) Ecumenical delegation visits North Korea
8) Todd Bauer ends service with BVS as Latin America coordinator
9) Fellowship of Brethren Homes announces leadership transition
10) Sixth Brethren World Assembly set for August in Indiana
11) Brethren bits: Remembering John Crumley, personnel, jobs, commissioning for Workcampers, prayer requested for tensions in the DR, new podcasts from Frederick Church and Dunker Punks, Brethren Woods is 60, “Farm to Table Dinners” at Shepherd’s Spring, more
Quote of the week:
“‘Living Parables’ is a foundational call to be involved with the ministries of Jesus. It calls us to work for peace, reconciliation, and transformation of all things, visible and invisible. As living parables, Christ calls us to learn how to share our lives in grace with others.”
— Annual Conference moderator Samuel K. Sarpiya, in the theme statement for the 2018 annual meeting of the Church of the Brethren.
1) Living parables: A preview of Annual Conference 2018
Annual Conference 2018 takes place at the Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, on July 4-8. The theme is “Living Parables” (Matthew 9:35-38).
Online registration is open through June 11 at www.brethren.org/ac. After that date, registration will take place onsite in Cincinnati, at an increased cost.
Moderator Samuel K. Sarpiya will be assisted by moderator-elect Donita Keister and secretary James Beckwith. Serving on the Program and Arrangements Committee are Founa Inola Augustin-Badet of Miami, Fla.; John Shafer of Oakton, Va.; and Jan King of Martinsburg, Pa. Chris Douglas is the Conference director.
In addition to business sessions, Annual Conference offers opportunities for non-delegates to participate in spiritual enrichment, earn continuing education credit, take part in family friendly activities, and fellowship with Brethren from across the country and around the world.
Delegates will address 11 new and unfinished items of business and will receive numerous reports. New business includes “Change in Delegate Representation at Annual Conference,” “Vision for a Global Church of the Brethren,” “Brethren Values Investing,” “Polity for Electing Brethren Benefit Trust Board Directors,” “Polity for Electing the District Representative to the Pastoral Compensation and Benefits Advisory Committee.” Unfinished business includes “Vision of Ecumenism for the 21st Century,” “Vitality and Viability,” “Creation Care,” “Compelling Vision,” “Denominational Leadership Gathering,” and various amendments to the denomination’s bylaws. See the article below for brief descriptions of the business items. Find the full text of business items at www.brethren.org/ac/2018/business.
Preachers for the Conference are moderator Samuel Sarpiya, pastor of Rockford (Ill.) Community Church of the Brethren, Wednesday; Brian Messler, pastor of Ephrata (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, Thursday; Rosanna Eller McFadden, pastor of Creekside Church of the Brethren, Elkhart, Ind., Friday; Angela Finet, pastor of Nokesville (Va.) Church of the Brethren, Saturday; and Leonard Sweet, the E. Stanley Jones Professor of Evangelism at Drew University in New Jersey, Sunday.
Offerings will be received for the Nigeria Crisis Fund on Wednesday; Church of the Brethren Core Ministries on Thursday; Puerto Rico hurricane response on Friday; assistance to the Batwa-Pygmy communities in the Great Lakes region of Africa on Saturday; and funding of Spanish translation at Annual Conference on Sunday.
In pre-Conference activities, theologian and author Diana Butler Bass is the speaker for the Ministers’ Association event on “Gratitude: The Transformative Power of Giving Thanks.” Three sessions will be led by Butler Bass on Tuesday evening, July 3, and Wednesday morning and afternoon, July 4. See www.brethren.org/ministryoffice/sustaining.html.
Dikaios & Discipleship, a July 3-4 event combining a bus tour with group discussions, will focus on the history of race and slavery in the Cincinnati area, sponsored by Intercultural Ministries. “The Ohio River has long been a symbol: On one side slavery and on the other, freedom,” said an announcement. “Our history, as a denomination and as a nation, is just as interwoven with the complexities of race and racism. Of freedom and enslavement. Of oppression and injustice.” The tour will visit the Harriet Beecher Stowe Museum and the house where Uncle Tom’s Cabin was written; stops on the Underground Railroad; site of a former slave market; sites connected with 2001 race protests; sites connected with William Bradley–a governor who spoke up in the Jim Crow era; and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. Although the tour is filled, go to www.brethren.org/congregationallife/dikaios to be placed on a waiting list.
A tour to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is offered for nondelegates on the afternoon of July 6. Cost is $15.
A group outing to see the Cincinnati Reds play the Chicago White Sox is Tuesday evening, July 3. Tickets are $12.
This year’s Witness to the Host City will benefit First Step Home, a treatment center that helps women rebuild their families as they break the cycle of drug and alcohol addiction. This is the only addiction treatment center in Cincinnati allowing children to live with mothers who are in treatment. Conference-goers are invited to bring donations of needed items. Find a list at www.brethren.org/ac/2018/activities/witness-to-the-host-city.html.
Go to www.brethren.org/ac for more information about the Conference schedule and activities. Daily worship services and business sessions will be webcast live online, find the webcast schedule at www.brethren.org/ac/2018/webcasts.
2) Conference business ranges from changes in delegate representation, to a new vision for mission, to creation care, and more
Delegates to this year’s Annual Conference will address 11 new and unfinished items of business.
New business includes “Change in Delegate Representation at Annual Conference,” “Vision for a Global Church of the Brethren,” “Brethren Values Investing,” “Polity for Electing Brethren Benefit Trust Board Directors,” “Polity for Electing the District Representative to the Pastoral Compensation and Benefits Advisory Committee.”
Unfinished business includes “Vision of Ecumenism for the 21st Century,” “Vitality and Viability,” “Creation Care,” “Compelling Vision,” “Denominational Leadership Gathering,” and various amendments to the denomination’s bylaws.
Change in Delegate Representation at Annual Conference
Recommended by the denomination’s Leadership Team (Conference officers, general secretary, and a representative of the Council of District Executives), these changes would increase the ratio of Annual Conference delegates to membership of congregations and districts. The ratio for congregations would increase from 1 delegate per 200 members to 1 per 100 members, and for districts from 1 per 5,000 members to 1 per 4,000 members. This would add five people to the Standing Committee of district delegates. The document explains, “Conversations around decreasing membership often lead us to hold at arm’s length its realities and simply hope for ‘better times.’ The Leadership Team would rather actively walk with this current reality and seek ways to increase the vitality and effectiveness of Annual Conference.” Go to www.brethren.org/ac/2018/business/NB/NB-5-Change-in-Delegate-Representation.pdf.
Vision for a Global Church of the Brethren
Adopted by the Mission and Ministry Board at the initiative of staff of Global Mission and Service, the document has been in process for some time. Those involved in its development include the Mission Advisory Committee and church leaders from several countries. Impetus came from a disconnect between polity and practice. An Annual Conference mandate for a global church is present in previous statements, but those call for international districts rather than the independent denominations that have developed. The new vision is for a global Church of the Brethren “as a union of autonomous bodies, a spiritual community bound together by a common passion to be followers of Christ, a common New Testament theology of peace and service, and a common commitment to be in relationship with one another.” Go to www.brethren.org/ac/2018/business/NB/NB-3-Vision-for-a-Global-Church-of-the-Brethren.pdf.
Brethren Values Investing
This change to the Articles of Organization of Brethren Benefit Trust proposes the term “Brethren Values Investing” in place of “Socially Responsible Investing.” Go to www.brethren.org/ac/2018/business/NB/NB-3-Vision-for-a-Global-Church-of-the-Brethren.pdf.
Polity for Electing Brethren Benefit Trust Board Directors
This change to BBT Articles of Organization would require no more than two nominees for election of a director to the BBT board, replacing the current requirement for four nominees. Go to www.brethren.org/ac/2018/business/NB/NB-2-Polity-for-Electing-BBT-Board-Directors.pdf.
Polity for Electing the District Representative to the Pastoral Compensation and Benefits Advisory Committee
To align polity with practice, the Leadership Team recommends changes regarding where the committee makes its recommendation about pastoral salaries and howthe district executive member of the committee is chosen. Go to www.brethren.org/ac/2018/business/NB/NB-4-Polity-for-Electing-the-DE-Repr-to-the-PCBAC.pdf.
Vision of Ecumenism for the 21st Century
This proposed new statement guides the denomination’s ecumenical witness in a time of increased religiousdiversity. It comes from a committee established as part of a recommendation in 2012 from an Interchurch Relations Study Committee. It states, in part: “We will continue to build and nurture positive relationships with other faith communities. In doing so, we strengthen a history of service and missions, disaster response and relief ministries, and peace witness—nationally and globally. These relationships further our understanding of opportunities for mission and ministry, and they instill a cooperative readiness to act upon needs and areas of common concern when they arise.” Go to www.brethren.org/ac/2018/business/UB/UB-1-Vision-of-Ecumenism-for-the-21st-Century.pdf.
Vitality and Viability
This report originated with a query from Mid- Atlantic District on “Future DistrictStructure.” The 2015 Conference returned the query but called a committee to study its concerns related to vitality and viability. The report takes into account the work of the Mission and Ministry Board and the 2017 Review and Evaluation Committee. The report aims to articulate “matters of the heart,” and calls the church to “a time of renewal of relationships with our Lord and Savior and with each other,” outlining structure for a “Year of Sabbath Rest and Renewal.” The document identifies differences regarding human sexuality and approaches to scripture. It makes some specific recommendations for dealing with differing perspectives in the church and recommends a process “to ensure that congregations who may leave do so in an accountable, amicable, and gracious process…avoiding litigation.” It concludes with a series of five Bible studies. Go to www.brethren.org/ac/2018/business/UB/UB-2-Vitality-and-Viability.pdf.
This report comes from a study committee elected in 2016 to respond to a query from Illinois and Wisconsin District. The report focuses “on the charge given to us by Annual Conference by examining the impact of the use of fossil fuels and contributions to climate change on our brothers and sisters around the world, and how Brethren can take action to reduce that impact.” Outcomes of the committee’s work include a website offering a series of resources related to energy efficiency, renewable energy, financial matters, faith and liturgical resources, and community action; and a commitment by the Office of Peacebuilding and Policy to coordinate a Brethren Creation Care Network. Detailed recommendations encourage Brethren “to integrate an understanding about the real cost of fossil fuels and climate change into every part of your life, as an individual, as a member of a congregation, and as a member of the denomination.” Go to www.brethren.org/ac/2018/business/UB/UB-3-Creation-Care.pdf.
A report from the Leadership Team reviews ongoing work toward a “compelling vision” to guide the Church of the Brethren. The process begins at this year’s Conference, where a full business session and a portion of a second will be dedicated to engaging attendees, followed by further opportunities in districts throughout this year. The recommendation is “that all new business for the 2019 Annual Conference be set aside so that the delegate body and other Annual Conference participants can focus their attention on the essential conversations that will lead to discerning the compelling vision that Christ intends for the Church of the Brethren.” Go to www.brethren.org/ac/2018/business/UB/UB-4-Compelling-Vision.pdf.
Amendments to the Bylaws of the Church of the Brethren Inc.
The Mission and Ministry Board recommends bylaws changes in response to the 2017 Review and Evaluation Committee. The changes would affect the coordination of denominational envisioning; oversight of the Annual Conference office, director, and budget; membership of the Leadership Team; and some terminology. One amendment would update the name of Southern Ohio District to “Southern Ohio-Kentucky District.” Go to www.brethren.org/ac/2018/business/UB/UB-6-Amendments-to-the-Bylaws-of-the-Church-of-the-Brethren-Inc.pdf.
Denominational Leadership Gathering
Last year’s Review and Evaluation Committee recommended a gathering of denominational leadership every three to five years, and action was delayed for a year to do a feasibility study. The Program Feasibility Committee determined that current structures provide enough collaboration and that the cost is too high. The original recommendation returns to the floor this year for action. Go to www.brethren.org/ac/2018/business/UB/UB-7-Denominational-Leadership-Gathering.pdf.
Find the listing of business items at www.brethren.org/ac/2018/business.
3) ‘New and Renew’ conference: Reflections from one participant
by Karen Garrett
On May 17-19, with a pre-conference worship service on May 16, people from across the country met at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., to worship and renew. The event was “New and Renew: Revitalize, Plant, Grow,” the Church of the Brethren’s church planting and church development conference for 2018. The event was sponsored and organized by the Discipleship Ministries (formerly Congregational Life Ministries) of the Church of the Brethren.
I am not a church planter. I attend an established congregation that celebrated 200 years as a congregation in 2011. However, in 2018 I see the need for my congregation to do something to renew our mission or we will not exist in 10 years. This is probably true for many congregations across the denomination. I decided to attend “New and Renew” along with my pastor, in the hopes that we could find ideas for renewal.
My main take-away, however, was a sense of renewal in my own spirit. At some point, my pastor and I will meet and compare notes, and pray about steps–perhaps small steps–we can take to help our congregation renew and revitalize. For now, I simply thank God and the conference planners for providing space for my spirit to be nourished.
Some observations and quotes to share (the quotes are taken from my notes directly as I wrote them so they may not be word-for-word what the presenters said, but they are what my spirit heard):
It was refreshing for my Caucasian face to be in a minority. This was an intercultural event and that made the experience rich. My Latino and Latina brothers and sisters sing and worship with enthusiasm and heartfelt expressions of faith. The experience was enhanced by the deep abiding faith and prayer life of brothers and sisters of many skin tones. I had been feeling discouraged about the state of our denomination, but for two days I was energized by people who together care about being a witness for Jesus Christ. We met to learn and encourage one another.
Two keynote speakers shared from their ministries to encourage us to risk finding God’s mission for us. Orlando Crespo from the Bronx left me with the following quote: “We can’t be the incarnation–Christ did that. We can be the embodiment of Christ.” Yes, my desire is to embody Christ as I interact with my neighbors and my congregation. Christiana Rice from San Diego used the metaphor of a midwife to help us see “God crying out for a new thing to be born. We need to reach out in anticipation, because God is already at work.” I need to focus on joining God, rather that asking God to help me.
Bethany Seminary dean Steve Schweitzer led a Bible study on the broad topic of “Risk and Reward in Scripture.” According to him, that topic includes most of scripture. He narrowed his list down to nine:
— 2 Chronicles 20: Jehosophat called for a fast as he risked everything and depended on God.
— Daniel 3: Three Hebrews chose to do what was right, regardless of whether God would save them or not.
— Philippians 3: A passage where Paul discussed loss and gain.
— James 1:27: To be faithful, we must work at both holiness and social justice.
— James 2:14-19: Our work for Christ should be as a result of faith and as a demonstration of faith.
— Colossians 4:5-6: Our public witness must include word and deed.
— 1 Peter 2:9-12: We are chosen for a purpose beyond ourselves.
— 1 Peter 3:8-17: Be ready to risk with action and speech.
— Acts 20:24: God is concerned for the individual and the community.
Schweitzer closed with a question for himself and for us “What am I willing to risk?”
In addition there were a variety of workshops, breaks, and meals to connect with old friends and new acquaintances, and an Intercultural Dinner where Annual Conference moderator Samuel Sarpiya shared from his doctor of ministry project. My take-away quote from that evening: “Serve the purposes of God for your community, and for this time.” To do that we must “hear the heart of God.”
— Karen A. Garrett is managing editor for “Brethren Life & Thought” and coordinator of assessment for Bethany Seminary.
4) Children’s Disaster Services volunteers respond to Hawaii eruption
by Kathleen Fry-Miller
Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) volunteers Petie Brown and Randy Kawate have cared for children at the shelter in Pahoa on the “Big Island” of Hawaii. The effort has aided children and families affected by the volcanic eruption that has displaced hundreds of residents.
Brown and Kawate, who live on the “Big Island,” were able to set up a children’s area in the Pahoa shelter with support from Red Cross and local church volunteers. The number of families and children affected by the volcanic eruptions has been in flux, as nearby residents try to figure out where to go in the midst of unpredictable eruptions of lava, gas, ash, and earthquakes.
The CDS volunteers have cared for 49 children over the past 2 1/2 weeks. Red Cross will be re-assessing needs for child care, especially once schools are out for the summer next week. Children have been using the area for play at other times also. Schools have been open, so during the week very few children have been in the shelter. This could change, depending on what happens with the volcano and earthquakes. Brown and Kawate have shared information that another shelter could be opening up, so CDS will be alert to what the needs are at that point.
This is a time of lots of stress and uncertainty for everyone on the island. Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers continue for the people of Hawaii.’
— Kathleen Fry-Miller is associate director of Children’s Disaster Services, a ministry within Brethren Disaster Ministries. For more go to www.brethren.org/cds.
5) Bethany Seminary holds commencement
by Jenny Williams
Sixteen graduates were honored at Bethany Theological Seminary’s 2018 commencement on Saturday, May 5, in the presence of family, friends, and the Bethany community. The following degrees and graduate certificates were awarded:
Master of Divinity
Steven P. Fox of Farmersville, Ohio
Mycal C. J. Gresh of Denton, Md.
Katelynn E. Heishman of Keezletown, Va.
Timothy S. Heishman of Keezletown, Va.
Patricia A. Kapusta of Corning, N.Y., ministry focus in pastoral care
Sarah M. Neher of Overland Park, Kan., ministry focus in youth and young adults
Shayne (Chibuzo) T. Petty of Shreveport, La., emphasis in intercultural leadership
Susan L. Smith of Lutz, Fla.
Master of Arts
Karen M. Duhai of Richmond, Ind., concentration in theological studies
Charlotte D. Loewen of Mountain Lake, Minn., concentration in Brethren studies
Jonathan A. Prater of Rockingham, Va., concentration in theological studies
Brody Rike of Eaton, Ohio, concentration in biblical studies
Rudolph H. Taylor III of Blue Ridge, Va., concentration in biblical studies
Certificate of Achievement in Theological Studies
Kyle A. Remnant of Cincinnati, Ohio
Certificate in Intercultural Biblical Interpretation
Shayne (Chibuzo) T. Petty of Shreveport, La.
Certificate in Theopoetics and Theological Imagination
Martin Jockel-Giessen froom the State of Hesse, Germany
Kindra S. Kreislers of Saginaw, Mich.
Jonathan A. Prater of Rockingham, Va.
The weekend’s activities began with the traditional worship service planned and led by the graduating class on Friday, May 4. Patricia Kapusta welcomed those gathered and presented a call to worship. Jonathan Prater, Sarah Neher, and Kyle Remnant each offered personal reflections on the themes in Psalm 46, following readings of the psalm in different versions. Faculty members then anointed each of the graduates as a blessing and ritual of sending. Graduates and families were joined by members of the Bethany community for an evening banquet, during which faculty members offered personal tributes for each graduate.
The speaker for Saturday’s academic ceremony was Bethany alumnus Russ Matteson. In an address entitled “Embodying Radical Obedience to the Spirit of Christ,” he drew on Romans 8:5-17, which calls for trust in the workings of God instead of reliance on oneself. “When we give God that kind of attention, when we can allow our lives to be filled with the living and breathing God, then God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life…. I think that that is what the invitation to life in Christ is really all about.” Reminding the graduates of the radical obedience of the first Brethren in the face of oppression, Matteson stated, “I believe that that is the true genius of the Brethren movement: gathering a people who meet together in committed communities to search the scriptures and to pray about the word and the world and to trust and test the nudgings of the Holy Spirit…even as it may upset the settled order and understandings of the church or the world around them. It is my deepest hope that some of this has rubbed off on your faith during your time here at Bethany…and that you will continue to be challenged and encouraged by the witness that is behind the tradition of your seminary.”
Matteson is the district executive of the Pacific Southwest District in the Church of the Brethren and lives in Modesto, California. Prior to this call, he and his spouse copastored two California congregations: Fellowship in Christ in Fremont and Modesto Church of the Brethren. He also served as director of marketing and sales for Brethren Press from 1999 to 2003. Matteson earned an MDiv from Bethany in 1993.
President Jeff Carter addressed the class as one of “high academic quality: nine designations of honors for work completed with distinction…. You have grown in your confidence, you have found voice for your passions, and you have moved your thinking and your discovery in some familiar and new ways. You have tackled tough topics in scripture and ministry. And you have been brave…. I have confidence that bravery will continue.”
Video recordings of both the worship service and ceremony are available for viewing at https://bethanyseminary.edu/events-resources/video-vault.
— Jenny Williams is director of communications for Bethany Seminary.
6) Brethren attend ‘Reclaiming Jesus’ event in nation’s capital
by Walt Wiltschek
More than half a dozen Brethren attended the major “Reclaiming Jesus” witness event held at National City Christian Church in Washington, D.C., on May 24. The event, organized by a variety of progressive-leaning Christian leaders, was centered around a series of declarations against lying, misogyny, authoritarianism, xenophobia, and other issues that recently have dominated cultural discourse.
“Sojourners” editor Jim Wallis, one of the lead organizers, said, “We face in this nation right now a moral test.” Episcopal presiding bishop Michael Curry called it “a Jesus movement” and a “Pentecost moment,” and said it boils down to Jesus’ command to “Love your neighbor. That’s why we’re here.”
Other speakers included author/theologian Walter Brueggemann, Riverside Church senior minister emeritus James Forbes, author/spiritual leader Tony Campolo, author and Franciscan friar Richard Rohr, and former president of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Sharon Watkins.
Organizers estimated about 2,000 people in attendance. Following the service at the church, the group processed with candles to the White House about six blocks away for a vigil and prayer. “May we walk with confidence and clear love in our hearts,” Rohr said.
The Brethren and many others at the event were in Washington for the week-long Festival of Homiletics, which focused on the theme “Preaching and Politics.”
— Walt Wiltschek is pastor of Easton (Md.) Church of the Brethren and at-large editor for “Messenger,” the Church of the Brethren magazine.
7) Ecumenical delegation visits North Korea
a release from the World Council of Churches
A six-person international ecumenical delegation, comprised of representatives of the World Council of Churches and the World Communion of Reformed Churches and led by WCC general secretary Olav Fykse Tveit and WCRC general secretary Chris Ferguson, visited Pyongyang on May 3-7, at the invitation of the Korean Christian Federation (KCF) of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
This visit took place just a few days after the historic events of the Inter-Korean Summit at Panmunjom on April 27, at which president Moon Jae-in of the Republic of Korea and chairman Kim Jong Un of the State Affairs Commission of the DPRK jointly signed the Panmunjom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Unification of the Korean Peninsula. These extraordinary initiatives have created a new momentum for peace which the delegation strongly wishes to affirm, support and encourage.
The worldwide ecumenical movement has been engaged in promoting dialogue, peaceful co-existence, and the reunification of the divided Korean people for more than 30 years, especially since the 1984 “Tozanso Consultation” convened by the WCC.
Relationships with and between the KCF of the DPRK, the National Council of Churches in South Korea (NCCK), and WCC and WCRC member churches in South Korea have been at the center of this ecumenical solidarity movement for peace and reunification of the Korean Peninsula.
The statement published after the visit reads: “We give thanks to God that today we are able to celebrate together with KCF and the NCCK the political commitments expressed in the Panmunjom Declaration, encompassing so many long-held ecumenical hopes and aspirations for peace on the Korean Peninsula, including especially the commitments to joint efforts to alleviate military tensions, to promoting inter-Korean exchange and cooperation, to achieving a peace treaty to replace the 1953 Armistice Agreement, and the solemn declaration that there will be no more war on the Korean Peninsula.”
The statement added: “We celebrate and affirm the joint declaration of commitment to realizing, through complete denuclearization, a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula–in the context of our efforts for a nuclear-free world through advocacy for universal ratification and implementation of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).”
During the visit to the DPRK, the delegation met and discussed with representatives from the KCF, as well as with H.E. Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme Peoples Assembly of the DPRK, and with Ri Jong Hyok, president of the National Reunification Institute.
Tveit and Ferguson met in Seoul prior to traveling to the DPRK with H.E. Cho Myoung-Gyon, South Korean Minister for Unification, and the ecumenical delegation met with President Kim Yong Nam of the DPRK Supreme People’s Assembly in the DPRK and they affirmed and emphasized the importance of the role of church leaders and faith communities in past and future efforts for peace and reunification of the Korean people.
The delegation saw the Inter-Korean Summit and its outcomes as an almost miraculous new spring for peace in the region, after months and years of dangerously escalating tensions. “We visited Pyongyang in a beautiful new spring season, not only in the natural world but also in the relations between the people and governments of the Korean peninsula,” said Tveit. “We know that spring is also a season in which to work, to ensure that we reap a good harvest of what has been sown.”
Chris Ferguson, WCRC general secretary added: “Together, the WCC and the WCRC are committed to mobilizing our churches around the world in support of these new steps towards the peace that we have so long sought and desired for the people of the peninsula and the northeast Asian region.”
The delegation urges “all churches, all Christians called by our Lord Jesus Christ to be peacemakers, and all people of good will around the world to join in supporting the Korean-led initiatives for peace expressed in the Panmunjom Declaration, as a foundation and framework for achieving a sustainable peace for the Korean people, for the region, and for the world.”
Read the full statement from the ecumenical delegation to DPRK, published May 7, at www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/statement-international-ecumenical-delegation-visit-to-dprk-3-7-may-2018.
8) Todd Bauer ends service with BVS as Latin America coordinator
Todd Bauer’s contract with Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) as Latin America coordinator will come to an end at the end of May. BVS is reevaluating how it coordinates its work in Latin America in light of lower numbers and tightening budgets. Bauer has served in the position for nearly 11 years.
Bauer was a BVS volunteer from 2001 to 2006 in Ixtahuacán, Guatemala, where he coordinated the nursery and agricultural development for the local Catholic church in partnership with Trees for Life in Wichita, Kan. He became the BVS coordinator for Latin America in July 2007. His gifts for the ministry included a deep sensitivity to and love for the culture and people of Latin America, his ability to help volunteers and staff navigate their way through the cultural issues of BVS placements in Central American communities, and his deep faith. Bauer and his family live in Ixtahuacán.
For more about BVS go to www.brethren.org/bvs.
9) Fellowship of Brethren Homes announces leadership transition
Leadership of the Fellowship of Brethren Homes is in transition following the resignation of executive director Ralph McFadden, who resigned earlier this year. McFadden had been staying on until a successor was found. The fellowship in mid-May announced that Dave Lawrenz, who recently retired from leadership of Timbercrest, a Church of the Brethren retirement community in North Manchester, Ind., has agreed to take the executive director role.
McFadden began as executive director in January 2015. “Ralph brought a lot of energy and vitality to the role, helping us always to think about ‘next steps’ while also keeping us firmly in touch with our organization’s Brethren roots,” said an announcement from Jeff Shireman, chair of the executive committee for the fellowship. McFadden will wind down his involvement with the fellowship over the next few months, and will officially retire at the end of July.
Lawrenz begins as executive director in mid-July. “We have had several executive directors in the last 15 years, and each one has brought their own talents and spiritual gifts to bear in moving the organization forward,” said the announcement from Shireman. “Just as all of our ‘homes’ are adjusting to new ways of doing things in this volatile environment, we look forward to working with Dave and benefitting from the unique spin he will put on his leadership of the Fellowship.”
For more about the Fellowship of Brethren Homes, a collaborate ministry of the 22 retirement communities that are related to the Church of the Brethren, go to www.brethren.org/homes.
10) Sixth Brethren World Assembly set for August in Indiana
by Terry White
Registrations are now being received for the Sixth Brethren World Assembly, to be held Aug. 9-12 in Winona Lake, Ind. This gathering happens every five years for Brethren groups descended from Alexander Mack in 1708 and it is sponsored by the Brethren Encyclopedia, Inc.
“Brethren Intersections: History, Identity, Crosscurrents” is the working theme for the four-day assembly, which will be hosted by the Winona Lake Grace Brethren Church. The event is open to all, and will feature some 20 speakers giving lectures, panel discussions, historical tours, worship services, and much more.
The first day of the assembly will be Thursday, Aug. 9, with several plenary sessions focusing on historical and religious intersections for the Brethren, and it will conclude with a worship service and ice cream social. The second day, Friday, Aug. 10, will include sessions that focus on the Brethren-evangelical relationship in the eras of Charles G. Finney, Billy Sunday, and Billy Graham. Afternoon panels and sessions will include a bus tour of sites in and around historic Winona Lake, once home of the world’s largest Bible conference, and a central conference point for Brethren groups since the 1880s.
The third day, Saturday, Aug. 11, will focus on themes of social justice, relationship with the military, gender questions, and will include a bus tour of historic Brethren sites at Arnold’s Grove in Milford, Ind., and Camp Alexander Mack on Lake Waubee. On Sunday attendees are encouraged to worship with local Brethren congregations not of their own groups.
A modest registration fee will include seven meals, admittance to all sessions, ice cream socials, a follow-up book containing all proceedings, and more. Attendees will be responsible for finding their own lodging in the Warsaw/Winona Lake area.
Brethren Encyclopedia publishes encyclopedias and monographs of Brethren interest. The group comprises representatives of the seven groups descended from Alexander Mack, which include Church of the Brethren, Brethren Church, Dunkard Brethren Church, Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches (Charis Fellowship), Conservative Grace Brethren Churches International, and two groups from the Old Order German Baptist Brethren heritage.
To access a downloadable program schedule and online registration form, log onto www.brethrenencyclopedia.org or call 574-527-9573 for more information.
11) Brethren bits
The Elgin Heritage Commission Mayor’s Award for Preservation for 2018 was awarded to the Church of the Brethren General Offices on May 1, at a ceremony led by Mayor David Kaptain at the historic old Elgin High School gymnasium. Receiving the award on behalf of the Church of the Brethren were general secretary David Steele, Brethren Press publisher Wendy McFadden, Global Mission and Service executive director Jay Wittmeyer, treasurer Brian Bultman, Office of Ministry director Nancy Sollenberger Heishman, and Nancy Miner, office manager for the General Secretary’s Office, with retired staff member Howard Royer and News Services director Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford present to document the moment with this photograph.
— Bethany Theological Seminary seeks a director of student development with an immediate start date. The director of student development will have primary responsibility to design, implement, and review a student development plan and a retention plan as well as programs and initiatives that nurture current students into highly engaged alumni. Eligible applicants will hold the minimum of a bachelor’s degree, with a master’s degree preferred, and a master of divinity highly encouraged; a master’s degree in a non-theological field with applicable experience is acceptable. Qualified applicants will be personable and able to be self-directed, manage a complex workload with attention to details, offer support to colleagues, and have the ability to connect with current students as they become alumni. Multi-tasking skills are needed to manage the current student development needs. For a job description, go to www.bethanyseminary.edu
/about/employment . Application review has begun and will continue until an appointment is made. To apply, send a letter of interest, resume, and contact information for three references by email to email@example.com by mail to: Attn: Lori Current, Bethany Theological Seminary, 615 National Road West, Richmond, IN 47374. Bethany 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.
— The Outdoor Ministries Association of the Church of the Brethren (OMA) has openings for two contract positions: a communications coordinator and a social media and website specialist. OMA connects, enlivens, and supports the dynamic ministry of Church of the Brethren camps. OMA is a 501(c)(3) organization and is run by a volunteer board of directors. Each of these positions will work closely with the OMA board. These positions are available separately or may be bundled for the right candidate.
The communications coordinator will be responsible for checking the OMA general email address weekly, responding to general inquiries, and forwarding emails to appropriate parties for follow-up; maintaining contact information for camps, members, and other associated parties, and creating and maintaining a contact database; helping the board track and complete assigned tasks following each meeting; creating and mailing a semi-annual newsletter, including related tasks; facilitating an annual membership mailing and additional mailings.
The social media and website specialist will be responsible for collaboratively redesigning and maintaining the OMA website, incorporating feedback from the board; creating and posting weekly Facebook posts, or making arrangements for board members to create and post weekly; managing the OMA Facebook presence including monitoring of comment; connecting OMA to appropriate audiences through additional social media; connecting Church of the Brethren camps to OMA via Facebook and websites; posting each issue of the newsletter on the OMA website.
Qualifications: candidates who are a good fit for one or both positions will demonstrate respect for OMA and willingness to help fulfill the organization’s mission; excellent writing and communication skills; ability to proactively communicate and ask questions; ability to work well as part of a team and alone; good time management; high degree of organization and attention to detail; ability to be tech savvy and proficient with MS Office suite, Google suite, and Internet browsers; willingness to give, receive, and act on honest feedback; emotional maturity, poise, stability, warmth, kindness, and a sense of fun. Social media and website specialist will demonstrate passion and “pizzazz” for effective social media communications and strategy; professional experience with website design tools. Preference may be given to individuals who are members of the Church of the Brethren and/or who demonstrate a commitment to the work of Jesus. OMA seeks candidates throughout the US who are comfortable and adept at working remotely. Each position is available as a contract position for a 6-month trial period beginning mid-June or early July, or once a suitable candidate is found thereafter, for approximately 5-10 hours per month. Upon a positive 6-month review, there may be opportunity for a contract extension. Starting rate for each position is $150 per quarter (three months). Any travel required by the position and pre-approved by the board will be reimbursed. Apply by sending an email to brethrenOMA@gmail.com by end of day May 18, with the following format: subject line: position for which you are applying, followed by first and last name, city, and state; within the body of the email include a brief personal statement, including: why you are interested in working with the Outdoor Ministries of the Church of the Brethren; how your skills, interests, and experience intersect with the responsibilities of and qualifications for this role; your work location; when you would be available to begin work; anything else you want OMA to know about you. Attach a current resume in PDF format. These positions are open until filled. Applications will be reviewed and interviews will be scheduled on a rolling basis after May 23. Email brethrenOMA@gmail.com with any questions.
— Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) seeks a full-time administrative director to empower and guide the work of CPT in fulfilling its mission. The administrative director works closely with CPT’s program director in a collaborative, consensus-based, team model. Primary responsibilities include overall financial and administrative oversight, strategic planning and culture formation, and board and staff development, with some international travel to meetings and/or project sites each year. Candidates should demonstrate wisdom and imagination; skilled leadership of group and organizational processes and capacity building; commitment to grow in the journey of undoing oppressions; and ability to work independently and collaboratively as part of a dispersed team across continents. Nonprofit management experience and a focus on grassroots social change organizations is preferred. This is a 40 hours per week, 3-year appointment. Compensation is $24,000 per year. Benefits include 100 percent employer-paid health, dental, and vision coverage; 4 weeks of annual vacation. Location: Chicago, Ill., strongly preferred. Start date is Oct. 1. To apply, submit electronically, in English, the following to firstname.lastname@example.org: A cover letter stating motivation and reasons for interest in this position, a résumé or CV, a list of three references with e-mail and daytime telephone numbers. Application review begins May 15. Find the full position description at https://drive.google.com/file/d/13ght1zsiSwntAPV0EcryvxYOCuPndh-0/view. CPT is an international, faith-based, non-profit organization that builds partnerships to transform violence and oppression. CPT seeks individuals who are capable, responsible, and rooted in faith and spirituality to work for peace as members of teams trained in the disciplines of nonviolence. CPT is committed to building an organization that reflects the rich diversity of the human family in ability, age, class, ethnicity, gender identity, language, national origin, race and sexual orientation. All members of CPT receive a subsistence stipend currently capped at $2,000 per month for staff. For more about CPT see www.cpt.org.
— Jay Wittmeyer, executive director of the Church of the Brethren Global Mission and Service, recently visited with the Church of North India (CNI), and spoke at the commencement ceremony for Gujarat United School of Theology (GUST), of which the Church of the Brethren is a founding member. He also spent time visiting with CNI families and communities. CNI began in 1970 as a merger of several denominations, including the First District Church of the Brethren in India, which has remained independent of CNI. The Church of the Brethren in the US relates to both CNI and the First District Church of the Brethren in India.
— Miami (Fla.) Haitian Church of the Brethren is planning a “March for Equality” for immigrants. The march is for “support for every human being who may be affected by TPS and DACA.” The march takes place on Friday, May 18, starting at 10 a.m. at the church at 520 NW 103rd Street in Miami. The end point is 8801 NW 7th Avenue. In an online post about the march, the church explained: “Haitian Church of the Brethren would like to ask you to show support for every being who may be affected by TPS and DACA. As you may know the president and his administration has promised to deport between 2 to 3 million undocumented immigrants and has already repealed the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) policy. This has and will affect more than 3 million families in the US and because of that we are organizing a march against these unfair policies. We as human beings and believers in Jesus Christ will stand for our brothers and sisters, our children and friends. We will march for the them, pray with them until something is done to fix this problem in our country. We are asking you to march with us Friday, May 18.” Find more at www.haitianchurchofthebrethren.org/events/march-for-tps.
— A photo of the performers of “It Might as Well Be Spring” at Fruitland (Idaho) Church of the Brethren appears in the Argus Observer at www.argusobserver.com/valley_life/celebration-includes-musical/article_8caccb02-4e2a-11e8-b1f3-93932fb4c9ed.html. The church hosted a large gathering for the “Fruitland Over 80’s Celebration” on April 28. “The community event is co-sponsored by the Methodist Women and the women of the Brethren Church, for individuals age 80 and over,” the paper reported. “It included a skit/sing-along, followed by a light lunch.”
— The 12th Annual E. J. Smith River Float will be held on Saturday, May 19, starting at 9 a.m. at Germantown Brick Church of the Brethren in Virlina District. Participants will carpool and organize to float together from the Grassy Hill and Blue Bend section of the Blackwater River, exiting at the Corn property for a picnic. This is a fundraiser for Relay for Life. For more information, contact Ronnie Hale at 540-334-2077 or Steven McBride at 540-420-6141.
— Pinecrest Community is celebrating its 125th anniversary this summer. To spark the celebration, a “Wish List” has been created to detail specific program and equipment needs that donors can underwrite. With a third of its residents relying on charitable giving and Medicare to cover the cost of care, the retirement community in Mt. Morris, Ill., identifies more than 50 needed items that are outside the ongoing budget, most in the range of from $50 to $500.
— Virlina District holds its annual Ministry and Mission event this Saturday, May 5. Church members from around the district will worship, learn, and fellowship together, hosted at Collinsville Church of the Brethren. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. Worship will begin at 9 a.m. Lunch will be provided by the Women’s Fellowship of the Collinsville congregation. Cost is $8 per person. The event will include workshops and an Annual Conference briefing with moderator Samuel Sarpiya. Workshops offer continuing education credit for ministers, and are offered on the topics “Effectively Board” led by Scott Douglas of Brethren Benefit Trust; “Bridging the Divide: Skills in Conflict Transformation when Emotions are Involved” led by Samuel Sarpiya, in his role with the Center for Nonviolence and Conflict Transformation in Rockford, Ill.; “Escaping Purgatory: Choosing ‘WHY 2.0’ to Overcome Existential Threats to Church and Camp” led by Barry LeNoir of Camp Bethel.
— The Mid-Atlantic District Disaster Response Auction is receiving media attention from the “Carroll County Times” of Maryland. This is the 38th annual disaster auction sponsored by the district, to be held Saturday, May 5, at the Carroll County Agricultural Center starting at 9 a.m. “This regional event has raised more than $1.8 million since 1981 for disaster relief efforts,” the newspaper reported. The auction features handmade quilts, comforters, handmade crafts, art, flowers, houseplants, garden seedlings, trees, shrubs, glassware, furniture, tools, small appliances, collectibles, and more. The tool auction starts at 9 a.m., followed by general items and special items auctions. The quilt auction is scheduled for noon with about 80 items up for bid, “from smallish wall hangings to baby quilts to comforters to a dozen huge quilts larger than 80-by-100 inches,” said the news report. The report online features a photo of a quilt donated by John and Jeanne Laudermilch with appliqued daffodils done by Dorothy John Pilson and the quilting done by the women of Pipe Creek Church of the Brethren. Go to www.carrollcountytimes.com/news/local/cc-disaster-response-preview-20180503-story.html .
— The latest Dunker Punks Podcast features Kiana Simonson, a youth and young adult assistant for On Earth Peace, bringing together three other interns to discuss their roles at the agency. “Listen as the four share their thoughts on finding common ground across a variety of issues including gender, racial, and LGBT justice,” said an announcement. The Dunker Punks Podcast is an audio show created by more than a dozen Church of the Brethren young adults across the country. Listen at http://bit.ly/DPP_Episode56 or subscribe at http://bit.ly/DPP_iTunes.
— Bridgewater (Va.) College has broken ground for a “multi-million dollar transformation of Bridgewater College’s Alexander Mack Memorial Library into a state-of-the-art learning commons,” said a release from the college. The groundbreaking was celebrated May 4. “The John Kenny Forrer Learning Commons will serve as an active learning space and focal point for engaged learning for Bridgewater’s academic community,” the release said. “The facility will house the library’s collections and serve as a learning hub with a multimedia production lab, individual student study areas, peer coaching and tutoring, research support, an abundance of plug-and-play electronic outlets, group meeting spaces, on-site IT support, the Writing Center and Career Services. Thanks to record fundraising, the Forrer Learning Commons will be the first project in Bridgewater’s history to be fully funded through charitable donations. The new facility was made possible through a number of donors, including Bridgewater College alumna Bonnie Rhodes and her husband, John, who made a lead gift in honor of Mrs. Rhodes’ father, John Kenny Forrer. Other significant donors include John and Carrie Morgridge, who made a gift to name the Morgridge Center for Collaborative Learning. The facility will also include the Smith Family Learning Commons Café, the Robert H. and Mary Susan King Portico and the Beverly Perdue Art Gallery. Additionally, a gift to the Forrer Learning Commons project will be matched by The Mary Morton Parsons Foundation, which has issued a two-to-one $250,000 challenge grant.” The college plans to open the building in 2019.
— Bridgewater (Va.) College has honored three alumni for their achievements and humanitarian service, including Church of the Brethren member Steve Hollinger of Haymarket, Va., class of 1970, who received the West-Whitelow Humanitarian Award. Also receiving awards were Bruce W. Bowen of Richmond, Va., class of 1972, who received the Distinguished Alumnus Award; and James J. Mahoney III of Morgantown, W.Va. class of 2003, who received the Young Alumnus Award. Hollinger has been widely active in the Church of the Brethren and his community, serving in a variety of capacities and giving freely of the skills he gained through more than 40 years’ experience in construction, management, and training. He retired in 2016 from his private consulting practice. As a youth, growing up in Stuarts Draft, Va., he was a member and president of the Shenandoah District Youth Cabinet. After receiving his degree in biology from Bridgewater, Hollinger taught biology and earth sciences in the Prince William County Schools and earned an M.A. from Virginia Tech in 1976. His subsequent career in construction included design, supervision, risk management, and safety consultation, as well as hands-on construction work for a number of firms, including his own Construction Options Inc., in Haymarket, Va. Since 1976 he has been a member of Manassas (Va.) Church of the Brethren, where he has led various community outreach construction and service projects and spearheaded a $2.5 million renovation and addition project for his church, donating more than 3,600 hours of his time and expertise. He has been involved with Church of the Brethren national projects since 1976, including Brethren Disaster Ministries and the National Deacon Cabinet. He is a charter member and past president and treasurer of the Brethren Housing Corp. and volunteered in Brethren Volunteer Service in 2005. He supports the Shepherd’s Spring Outdoor Ministries Center in Sharpsburg, Md., having served on the Program Development Team at its inception. At Bridgewater, Hollinger served on the Parents Advisory Committee from 1997-2000, the final year as chair, and was a trustee from 2007-2016, serving at one point as chair of the Buildings and Grounds Committee.
— The National Council of the Churches (NCC) has issued a statement on the progress toward peace on the Korean Peninsula. The NCC “joins with the National Council of Churches of Korea and the World Council of Churches in giving thanks for the wonderful reports emanating from the meeting between the leaders of the two Koreas indicating the armistice that ended the war in 1953 may finally be replaced by a peace treaty,” the statement says. “For decades, we have prayed and worked for peace alongside all of our sisters and brothers from Korea. We continue to be in prayer for the possibility of a successful meeting in the coming weeks between the leaders of the United States and North Korea. May God continue to guide our leaders along the path to peace.”
— Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) executive director Mae Elise Cannon attended the Palestine National Council convention this week, including a speech by Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas. “CMEP welcomes the commitment of the PLO to peace negotiations, but condemns the inflammatory and anti-Semitic rhetoric used during the speech,” said a communication from the organization, of which the Church of the Brethren is a participating denomination. President Abbas “presented his future policy to the first regular session of the Palestine National Council (PNC) since 1996, calling for new negotiations leading to a two-state solution,” CMEP’s release said. “His recommitment to the peace process comes after remarks made earlier in January in which he threatened to withdraw from the Oslo Accords and suspend PLO recognition of Israel. However, the conciliatory tone brought to the conversation regarding the twostate solution was severely undermined by antiSemitic rhetoric peppered throughout the speech. Churches for Middle East Peace welcomes President Abbas’s renewed commitment to the establishment of a Palestinian state existing alongside Israel and his calls for nonviolent popular resistance to Israel’s occupation. CMEP condemns the antiSemitic and inflammatory remarks and affirms that support for a Palestinian state does not require downplaying historical Jewish suffering or denying their connection to the land.”
— A series of hearings is continuing at sites around the country, held by the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service. These hearings are on the future of the military draft, draft registration, and compulsory service including compulsory military or national service for women, health care workers, and people with language, IT, or STEM skills. Upcoming hearings are announced for Boston, Mass., on Wednesday, May 9, at 5:45 – 7:45 p.m. at Sargent Hall, Suffolk University Law School, 120 Tremont St.; in Nashua, N.H., on Thursday, May 10 at 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Nashua City Hall (3rd Floor Auditorium), 229 Main St.; and in Jacksonville, Fla., on May 17 at 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. at University of North Florida Herbert Center, Room 1027, 12000 Alumni Dr. Peace church members are encouraged to attend and express support for alternative, non-military service in place of a military draft. Written comments are being received by the commission by email to email@example.com with “Docket No. 05-2018-01A” in the subject line of the e-mail message, or use this online form: http://www.inspire2serve.gov/content/share-your-thoughts. The deadline to submit written comments has been extended through Sept. 30.
— Centenarian Galen L. Miller has been celebrated by his congregation at Sunnyslope Brethren/United Church of Christ in Wenatchee, Wash. He reached the 100 year mark on Jan. 7. He was born in Weiser, Idaho, on Jan. 7, 1918.
Newsline is the e-mail news service of the Church of the Brethren. Newsline stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source. Please send news tips and submissions to editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren, at firstname.lastname@example.org . Contributors to this issue of Newsline include Colleen M. Algeo, Shamek Cardona, Kathleen Fry-Miller, Karen Garrett, Mary Kay Heatwole, Suzanne Lay, Ralph McFadden, Wendy McFadden, Nancy Miner, Grey Robinson, Kevin Schatz, Jeff Shireman, David Steele, Joe Vecchio, Terry White, Walt Wiltschek, Jenny Williams.
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