8) Brethren bits: Correction, vigils for shooting victims, disaster response update, remembrances, anniversary, congregational and district news, evangelism conference, Outdoor Ministries Association, job opening, and more news by, for and about Brethren
Quote of the week:
“May God’s presence embrace you and give you peace. May your joy in the Lord never be taken by the thieves of this world, and may you have the peace and abundant life that Christ offers—today and always! Amen.”
— This benediction was written by Zakaria Bulus for the denomination’s National Junior High Sunday, observed on Nov. 4. More resources can be found at www.brethren.org/jrhighsunday.
Three new grants from Church of the Brethren funds will aid projects in Honduras, Indonesia, and Haiti, responding to disasters and assisting training for farmers.
Two of the grants come from the denomination’s Emergency Disaster Fund. The most recent provides $18,000 in emergency relief for Honduras, which suffered severe flash flooding in its southern region last month. The Honduras emergency response agency reported that 25,558 people were affected, with nine dying in the floods. The funds will support long-time partner PAG, which is working with churches in Honduras to help provide emergency food, drinking water, and household supplies to the most vulnerable families.
Prior to the storm, a shipping container of supplies was assembled to preposition emergency relief, medical, and agriculture supplies for PAG, including canned chicken provided by the Mid-Atlantic and Southern Pennsylvania districts’ meat canning committee, hygiene kits from Church World Services, medical supplies gathered by PAG, and some farming equipment. The container left the Port of Baltimore on Oct. 21 and will provide critical supplies for the response.
A grant of $40,000 will aid the Church World Service (CWS) response to the earthquake and resulting tsunami that struck Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, on Sept. 28. The 7.5-magnitude quake and the resulting 10-foot tsunami waves brought destruction to the city of Palu (pop. 335,000) and surrounding areas. The death toll is at least 2,096, with hundreds still missing and thousands injured. Around 79,000 people have been displaced, and some 330,000 people are left without adequate shelter.
The CWS emergency response team is working in Palu, providing clean water daily to 2,500 people and working to expand the water supply to reach more people. CWS also sent relief items including tarps, rope, sleeping mats, blankets, hygiene supplies for women and babies, and hygiene kits for families. They are working to implement a short-term response program designed to support disaster-affected families in Sigi district, Central Sulawesi, by improving access to water supplies and sanitation facilities, building temporary and transitional shelter, and rebuilding livelihoods through early recovery interventions.
The CWS response is part of a larger ACT Alliance program. CWS is partnering with members of the ACT Alliance Indonesia Forum and the Humanitarian Forum Indonesia.
And a grant of $1,659 from the Global Food Initiative covered costs of an Oct. 21-25 farmer-to-farmer exchange between agronomists/farmers from Haiti who traveled to the Dominican Republic to meet with counterparts. Three agronomists from Eglise des Freres (Church of the Brethren in Haiti)/Haiti Medical Project traveled to the DR, along Eglise des Freres general secretary Romy Telfort. In the DR they traveled with the president of the board of Iglesia de Los Hermanos (Church of the Brethren in the DR), Gustavo Bueno, along with Global Mission worker Jason Hoover and two Dominican farmers. A reverse visit hopefully will be scheduled at a later date to install a drip irrigation system in Haiti.
With celebration and a ribbon-cutting ceremony, Elizabethtown (Pa.) College’s Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies officially re-opened on Oct. 20 following a $2 million renovation and expansion carried out with funds from the “Be Inspired” campaign.
An article in the local LNP Lancaster (Pa.) Online newspaper said about 250 people attended. The ceremony—held during homecoming weekend as part of a heritage festival at the center—included a hymn sing, children’s activities, a traveling history exhibit, and ice cream, according to the report.
Young Center director Jeff Bach told LNP that interest in the center’s services has been increasing.
“I think there’s a real strong curiosity in Anabaptist groups (among students),” Bach said in the article. “I think it’s more a curiosity about these particular groups that seem so different and why they hold onto religion so tightly. I also think the college is not wanting to lose sight of the values that gave birth to it.”
The 3,500-square-foot expansion will offer additional space for researchers and the center’s collection as well as new offices, a new gallery, and a larger classroom/reading area.
A more formal dedication service is planned for March 14.
by Anne Gregory
Manchester University (North Manchester, Ind.), which is the home of the world’s first undergraduate peace studies program and the last campus to host a speech by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., has created a unique new space for discussions about diversity and inclusion, civic engagement, and civil discourse.
Civil rights legend Andrew Young was on hand Sept. 29 to dedicate the Jean Childs Young Intercultural Center and its domed Toyota Round section. The building is named for his late wife, a 1954 Manchester graduate who was known nationally and internationally as an educator and advocate for children’s rights.
Jean’s experience at Manchester, he said, helped shape her views, which in turn had a profound effect on him, their family and the many lives she touched. “Jean pushed me to understand the implication of nonviolence in everything that we do,” he said. “And I never forgot those lessons.”
Manchester’s center is the second to be named in her honor. The first is Jean Childs YoungMiddle School in Atlanta.
Flanked by relatives at the North Manchester campus earlier this fall, Andrew Young spoke to those assembled about the civil rights movement. “We did change the world,” Young said. “And we changed the world with some of the messages and the spirit that Jean learned here. But, he cautioned, “We’ve got a lot more work to do.”
In the short time since the center has opened, the Manchester University Office of Multicultural Affairs has hosted discussions about stereotyping, discrimination against people with disabilities, pressures on masculinity, and the NFL and freedom of speech.
Western Pennsylvania became the latest district to pass a policy on same-sex weddings and related issues as delegates gave overwhelming support to a measure while meeting Oct. 20 at Camp Harmony (Hooversville, Pa.).
The “Resolution on Biblical Marriage,” modeled on similar statements adopted in recent years in Shenandoah District and elsewhere, reaffirms the 1983 Annual Conference statement on homosexuality and affirms that “marriage is a God-ordained covenant that can only be entered into by one man and one woman.” It says district ministers may only officiate at such marriages and that district properties or congregations may only be used for such marriages. It also says the district “will consider for its slate of office only persons who uphold the teachings of the Bible on human sexuality and the Western Pennsylvania District’s affirmations on human sexuality.”
An amendment struck a paragraph that had said the district “recognizes that conversations about LGBTQ concerns may well continue within the Western Pennsylvania District and that such conversations will not be deemed to violate any district policies.”
A similar policy to the one adopted in Western Pennsylvania was rejected by Atlantic Northeast delegates last month, while one was adopted in Northern Ohio this past summer.
The Western Pennsylvania District conference, led by moderator Peter Kaltenbaugh, also consecrated licensed ministers, called Cheryl Marszalek as moderator-designate and elected others to various offices, approved a budget of $162,597, and filled the district van with hygiene kits, school kits, and clean-up buckets for Church World Service.
In other district conference news:
- Southern Ohio/Kentucky District met at Salem Church of the Brethren Oct. 19-20 with the theme “We Are One Body” and Deb Oskin serving as moderator. Delegates approved an update to the code of regulations for Brethren Retirement Community (Greenville, Ohio) and a new affiliation agreement with the district. District executive Dave Shetler provided an update on a framework for a congregational withdrawal process that was adopted by the district board in September. It notes that the goal of the process is “ for reconciliation rather than the withdrawal of a congregation.” Sandy Jenkins was called as moderator-elect.
- Shenandoah District is meeting this weekend at Antioch Church of the Brethren (Woodstock, Va.). Insight sessions there will present a report by the District Discernment Team on a Congregational Withdrawal Process. Delegates will also act on proposed changes to the district constitution.
- Other districts meeting this weekend include Atlantic Southeast, in North Fort Myers, Fla., and Illinois/Wisconsin, in Cerro Gordo, Ill.; wrapping up the district conference season with meetings next weekend are Pacific Southwest, meeting Nov. 9-11 in La Verne, Calif., and Virlina, which meets Nov. 9-10 in Roanoke, Va.
by Jenny Williams
Gail Connerley of Richmond, Ind., has been named the new executive director of institutional advancement at Bethany Theological Seminary, to begin Nov. 12. She comes to Bethany from neighboring Earlham College, where she has worked in advancement for 16 years.
Since 2016 Connerley has held the position of senior director of annual giving at Earlham, in which she provided oversight for implementation and evaluation of all annual fund strategies. She directed stewardship and solicitation of potential lead donors to the annual fund, managed a portfolio of annual fund and major gift prospects, and helped generate the largest annual fund total in the college’s history in fiscal 2017-18. From 2002 to 2016 she was assistant director and senior director of alumni relations at Earlham.
Connerley received her Bachelor of Arts from Wilmington (Ohio) College in 2002 and is a graduate of the Institute for Creative Leadership. She has presented for the Association of Fundraising Professionals and the Quaker Fundraisers Gathering Planning Committee and has had leadership roles with several local civic organizations.
In other recent staffing moves at Bethany:
- Sara Brann, accounting specialist, retired on Oct. 31 after nearly 17 years in business services at Bethany. She was hired in the position of accounting assistant in August 2001, working for both Bethany and Earlham School of Religion, then began as a student services associate for Bethany in 2003 after the schools divided business office operations.
- Elena Jones of Richmond, Ind., joined the Bethany staff as accounting assistant on Oct. 15. Jones has more than ten years’ experience in financial services, previously working for the City of Richmond Employee Credit Union as an assistant manager and teller.
- Ryan Frame is being promoted to director of seminary computer services for both Bethany and the Earlham School of Religion. Frame was hired as computing services specialist for both schools in August 2014. He was previously the proprietor of an IT service and consulting company.
- Lily Ballenger of Cambridge City, Ind., began her duties in the new position of business service assistant at Bethany in August. In addition to serving as Bethany’s receptionist, she assists with accounts receivable, manages Brethren House reservations, and maintains room reservations for the Bethany Center.
Bethany Theological Seminary is inviting applications for a full-time, tenure-track faculty position in Ministry Formation. Rank is open. A D.Min. or Ph.D. is preferred; an ABD will be considered. Previous or current ministry experience and ordination are preferred. The appointment will begin July 1, 2019.
The appointee will be expected to teach an average of five graduate courses per year, including at least one online course per year, and to offer one nongraduate course for the Brethren Academy biennially. These courses include the introductory M.Div. course and oversight of required M.Div. student placements in ministry settings. Other duties will include student advising, participating in the recruitment of new students through interviews and informal contacts, and opportunities for speaking engagements within the Church of the Brethren and other settings. Commitment to the values and theological emphases of the Church of the Brethren is essential.
More information about the position and application is available at bethanyseminary.edu/about/employment. The application deadline is Dec. 1; interviews will begin in early 2019.
The Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership will offer a course on “Race and the Congregation” Feb. 21-24 at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Eric Bishop, vice president of student services at Chaffey Community College (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) and adjunct professor at the University of La Verne (Calif.), will be the instructor.
“This course will consider the Church of the Brethren’s historic peace stance and belief that “all war is sin” against the current backdrop of social issues that impact Black Americans,” Bishop said.
Academy students who complete the course will receive one credit in Ministry Skills, and it also qualifies as a Brethren College/Connections Experience. Credentialed clergy may also take the course for continuing education (2.0 CEUs), or lay people may take part for personal enrichment.
Registration deadline is Jan. 17. Details and registration are at https://bethanyseminary.edu/brethren-academy. For questions, contact Academy director Janet Ober Lambert at email@example.com or 765-983-1820.
—Correction: The Oct. 26 Newsline special edition misidentified the coordinator of the Kaleidoscope program for the Brethren Mennonite Council (BMC) for LGBT Interests. Naomi Gross coordinates the program and shared with the Mission & Ministry Board at its recent meeting.
—Many communities and congregations have been holding vigils and other events for solidarity and support in the wake of the Oct. 27 massacre at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, such as one in Wichita, Kan., which was held “to remember the victims of the shooting and to show them that by standing together we can help rid the world of hate and ignorance and replace it with love and acceptance.” A photo of Springfield (Ore.) Church of the Brethren member Leslie Seese at a prayer gathering in Eugene was included in coverage by the Associated Press. At Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., the board of trustees paused their meeting on the day of the shootings for a time of prayer. The US National Council of Churches of Christ issued a statement calling for civility and healing in the wake of the tragedy, and a group of interfaith leaders held a gathering in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.
—Brethren Disaster Ministries’ response to Hurricane Michael continues in Florida. Initial Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) teams traveled home and were replaced by new teams. Shelter populations are decreasing, and the Red Cross is consolidating services at one large facility. A total of 24 CDS volunteers have served 338 children to date. Elsewhere, a team of four experienced CDS volunteers with advanced training traveled to Pittsburgh this week at the request of the Red Cross in response to the shootings at the Tree of Life Synagogue. The team set up in a Family Assistance Center to support grieving families and the community, but families did not bring their children to the center, and the team returned home Wednesday. “The team was able to minister to the other responders and community in other ways and reported it was a privilege to serve and support the grieving community,” BDM executive director Roy Winter said.
—The Pennsylvania group Heeding God’s Call to End Gun Violence is sponsoring the exhibition “Souls Shot: Portraits of Victims of Gun Violence” Nov. 2-30 (closed Nov. 21-23) at The Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill’s Widener Hall in Philadelphia.
—Dean Markey Miller, 83, passed away Oct. 20 in Hagerstown, Md. He was a long-time pastor and interim pastor, serving congregations across the country. A graduate of Wheaton College and Bethany Theological Seminary (where he later served as adjunct faculty), he was moderator of the 1973 Church of the Brethren Annual Conference, one of the youngest ever to serve in that role. He also spoke before the US House Waynes and Means Committee in 1976 on behalf of the Church of the Brethren General Board in support of the World Peace Tax Fund. A celebration of life service was held Oct. 30 at Hagerstown Church of the Brethren.
—Eleanor Plagge, 82, a long-time former Brethren Press employee, passed away Oct. 23 in Plainfield, Ill. Following a Brethren Volunteer Service term in Germany, she worked at the offices from 1958 to 1963 and again from 1976 to 1998, spending much of that time as a customer service specialist. A memorial service was held Oct. 27 in Naperville, Ill.
—Marianna Burkholder, 90, passed away on Oct. 25. She worked in the business/finance office at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., for 32 years until retiring in 1992. After retirement she continued to volunteer with Material Resources. A funeral service was held Oct. 30 in New Windsor.
—Shenandoah District has hired Brenda Sanford Diehl, a member of Calvary Church of the Brethren, as its new director of communications, effective Jan. 1. Current communications director Ellen Layman is retiring Dec. 31.
—A reception and celebration for outgoing Brethren Volunteer Service director Dan McFadden was held at the Church of the Brethren General Offices on Oct. 23. McFadden is leaving the position today after nearly 23 years in the role.
—University Baptist and Brethren Church (UBBC, State College, Pa.) at its Oct. 28 congregational business meeting endorsed a resolution stating that a revenue-neutral carbon tax should be enacted by the US Congress. “As Christians and people of faith, UBBC believes it has an important role in caring for creation,” pastor Bonnie Kline Smeltzer said. The concept would place a tax on carbon-producing energy to be collected by the Treasury Department at the source and distributed to US households. Stone Church of the Brethren (Huntingdon, Pa.) has also endorsed the idea.
—A disaster offering in Virlina District has raised more than $11,500 for disaster relief as of Oct. 30. The World Hunger Auction held annually in Virlina has distributed $29,700 from this year’s proceeds to Heifer International, $14,850 to Roanoke Area Ministries, $5,940 to the Church of the Brethren Global Food Initiative, and $2,970 to each of three local projects.
—“Kingdom Building: An Evangelism Conference” will take place Nov. 9-10 at Greenville (Ohio) Church of the Brethren. It is sponsored by Southern Ohio/Kentucky District, the Brethren Retirement Community of Greenville, and the group Brethren for Biblical Authority. Annual Conference moderator-elect Paul Mundey is the featured speaker. Cost is $20. Learn more at www.greenvillecob.weebly.com/evangelism-conf.html.
—The Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center celebrates its 25th anniversary tomorrow, Nov. 3, with a banquet and worship event at Chambersburg (Pa.) Church of the Brethren.
—A search committee is seeking a successor for Elizabethtown (Pa.) College president Carl Strikwerda, who earlier this year announced that he will retire on June 30, 2019. The committee aims to nominate a candidate to the board by year’s end.
— Bridgewater (Va.) College will host a symposium March 14-15 titled “The Status of Brethren Organizations: Demise and Momentum.” Sponsored by the Forum for Brethren Studies, it will examine the condition of Annual Conference, Bethany Theological Seminary, Brethren Press and the Mission and Ministry Board over the past quarter-century. Presenters will be Ben Barlow, Scott Holland, Ruthann Knechel Johansen, and Carol Scheppard. Jeff Carter, Wendy McFadden, and David Steele will respond.
—Manchester University (North Manchester, Ind.) will add a new Master of Accountancy degree in fall 2019. The program’s 3+1 format will allow students to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree in an intensive four years.
—Outdoor Ministries Association (OMA) will holds its annual retreat Nov. 11-15 at Camp Bethel (Fincastle, Va.) on the theme “Waters of Grace.” Workshops will address crisis management, marketing, mental health, group games, and other topics. Conversation times, a site tour, a field trip, and other activities will also be included. Details are at www.CampBethelVirginia.org/OMA.
—Camp Swatara (Bethel, Pa.) is seeking a Program Manager for a year-round, full-time, salaried position based on an average of 45 hours per week with many hours during the summer season and more regular hours the rest of the year. Applications are due by Nov. 26. For more information and application materials, visit www.campswatara.org.
—Brethren Woods (Keezletown, Va.) will holds its Election Day love feast Nov. 6, from 7 to 8 p.m. The event, which began in 2016, was started as a way “to affirm that our first allegiance is to Jesus” and to emphasize love over division. Information is at www.brethrenwoods.org/electiondaylovefeast.
—In the latest Dunker Punks podcast, Matt Rittle takes on a deep dive into the Franklin Grove (Ill.) Church of the Brethren’s event for International Day of Peace, called Pinwheels for Peace. Listen at bit.ly/DPP_Episode69 or subscribe on iTunes or your favorite podcast app.
—Resources for On Earth Peace Sunday on Dec. 9 are now available at https://www.onearthpeace.org/oep_sunday_worship_resources_2018.
— Eugene Peterson, author of “The Message” translation of the Bible and numerous books died Oct. 29 in Montana. He was 85.
—Churches for Middle East Peace will host an advocacy summit for young adults Jan. 12-14 in Washington, D.C. Titled “Reclaiming Our Voices: Reframing the Narrative for Shared Justice in Israel and Palestine,” it is open to anyone ages 18-35. Details are at https://cmep.salsalabs.org/persistenthopecopy1/index.html.
— The National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA held its annual “Christian Unity Gathering” last month in College Park, Md., with 38 faith communions—including the Church of the Brethren—taking part. Business included a progress report on an update to the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, along with adopting a budget and elections.
Newsline is the email news service of the Church of the Brethren. Newsline stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source. The Newsline editor is Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren. Contributors to this issue of Newsline include guest editor Walt Wiltschek, Jeff Bach, Donna Rhodes, Jenny Williams, Anne Gregory, Mary Kay Heatwole, Dick Jones, Nancy Miner, Tori Bateman, Ron Sherck, and Jacob Crouse. Please send news tips and submissions to the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. Find the Newsline archive at www.brethren.org/news. Sign up for Newsline and other Church of the Brethren emails, or make changes to your subscription, at www.brethren.org/intouch.