Newsline for Oct. 23, 2020

“He judges the world with righteousness; he judges the peoples with equity. The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble” (Psalm 9:8-9).

1) Workcamp options are announced for 2021

2) Annual Clergy Tax Seminar to take place Jan. 16

3) Eder River puzzle, new Forerunners card game, new digital resources from Shine are available from Brethren Press

4) Brethren bits: New representative to Heifer International, apply to be the next National Youth Conference coordinators, a unique fundraiser for Brethren Disaster Ministries, PowerHouse Regional Youth Conference, video wrap-ups of past years of Brethren gatherings, more

Quote of the week:

“Almighty God, guide the nations of the world into the way of justice and truth, and establish among them that peace which is the fruit of righteousness, that they may become the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.”

A prayer shared by the National Council of Churches (NCC) for the 75th anniversary of the United Nations Charter on Oct. 24, officially known as United Nations Day. Said the NCC newsletter, “To mark the occasion, Presiding Bishop Curry of the Episcopal Church invites prayer in solidarity through the ‘Prayer for Peace Among the Nations’ from the Book of Common Prayer.”

Find our landing page of Church of the Brethren COVID-19 related resources and information at .

Find Church of the Brethren congregations offering online worship at .

A listing to recognize Brethren who are active in health care is at . To add a person to this listing, send an email with first name, county, and state to .

1) Workcamp options are announced for 2021

The 2019 workcamp group at Harrisburg (Pa.) First Church of the Brethren. Photo by Marie Benner-Rhoades

By Hannah Shultz

The Workcamp Ministry is announcing formal plans for the 2021 workcamps. We are grateful for those who participated in the informational survey last month and have taken the feedback into account while developing options for next summer. The four workcamp options, and their costs, can be found below.

This fall, we will begin planning with individuals and groups who are interested in attending a workcamp next summer. If you would like to attend a 2021 workcamp please be in touch with the Workcamp Ministry to let us know of your tier preference by Dec. 1. Those who are planning to attend a workcamp can either fill out a preference survey or contact or 847-429-4337. Please note that filling out a preference survey does not count as registering for a workcamp.

Registration dates for the 2021 workcamps will be announced soon–stay tuned!

2021 workcamp options:

Tier 1, $75: Participants will serve in their local communities during the day, either individually or with other members of their congregation. In the evening, participants will gather virtually for devotions and activities. Participants are expected to bring their own lunch while serving. The Workcamp Ministry will work with individuals and congregations to coordinate service opportunities in their local context. The Workcamp Ministry will provide leadership for the virtual evening meetings.

Tier 2, $235: Participants will serve in their local area with other members of their congregation during the day. In the evening, they will gather together physically, in a socially distanced manner, for dinner, devotions, and activities. Participants will return home to sleep each night. Participants are expected to bring their own lunch while serving. The Workcamp Ministry will work with the congregation to plan local service activities and will provide leadership and participate in-person during the week.

Tier 3, $285: Participants will serve locally with other congregations in their region during the day. In the evening, they will gather together physically, in a socially distanced manner, for dinner, devotions, and activities. Participants will return home to sleep each night. Participants are expected to bring their own lunch while serving. The Workcamp Ministry will work with the congregations to plan local service activities and will provide leadership and participate in-person during the week.

Tier 4, $350: Participants will experience a “normal” workcamp. Participants from around the country will travel to a workcamp location, stay together in local housing accommodations (church or camp), and serve together for the week. The Workcamp Ministry will plan and lead all service work, meals, devotions, and recreational activities.*

*Please note that Tier 4 workcamps are presented as an option pending wide distribution of a safe and effective vaccine in Spring 2021. We expect to make a decision about Tier 4 workcamps by Feb. 15, 2021.

Hannah Shultz is coordinator of short-term service for Brethren Volunteer Service and oversees the Workcamp Ministry. Find out more about the Church of the Brethren’s Workcamp Ministry and a link to the preference survey at .


2) Annual Clergy Tax Seminar to take place Jan. 16

“Join us for this informational and instructive seminar!” said an invitation to the annual Clergy Tax Seminar taking place as a virtual, online event on Jan. 16, 2021. Sponsors are the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership, the Church of the Brethren Office of Ministry, and Bethany Theological Seminary. The seminar is recommended for seminary and academy students, pastors, and other church leaders who wish to understand clergy taxes including treasurers, steward commission chairs, and church board chairs.

Participants will learn how to prepare clergy taxes correctly and legally and how to comply with regulations while maximizing tax deductions, and may earn .3 continuing education units for attending the first session.

Session 1, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. (Eastern time): Focus on the rules surrounding clergy tax returns, including who is subject to those rules, what income is subject to tax, and how to reduce total tax liability using various methods such as a housing allowance, business expenses, and medical reimbursement plans. Credit for 0.3 CEUs will be available for attending Session 1 only.

Session 2, 1:30-3:30 p.m. (Eastern time): Complete a clergy tax return using H&R Block’s highest tier (Premium and Business) downloadable software.

Leadership is provided by Deb Oskin, who has been doing clergy tax returns since 1989 when her husband left seminary to pastor a small rural Church of the Brethren congregation. She has worked as a tax professional with H&R Block for 12 years, and in 2011 started her own tax practice specializing in clergy taxes. In addition she is an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren. Currently she is serving on the denomination’s Pastoral Compensation and Benefits Advisory Committee.

Registration costs $40 per person. Current students at Bethany Seminary and Earlham School of Religion and students in the academy’s TRIM, EFSM, and SeBAH programs may attend at no cost although registration is still required. Instructions and handouts will be sent a few days prior to the event. Registrations are not complete until payment is received.

The registration deadline is Jan. 6, 2021. Go to .


3) Eder River puzzle, new Forerunners card game, new digital resources from Shine are available from Brethren Press

Brethren Press is offering a variety of new resources that combine fun and learning about Brethren history, heritage, theology, and the Bible. The mix of new Brethren Press products includes a jigsaw puzzle of the Eder River, a new Forerunners card game, and new digital resources from Shine, the Sunday school curriculum jointly published with MennoMedia.

Eder River puzzle

This jigsaw puzzle features a photo of the Eder River in central Germany, where the first Brethren baptisms took place in 1708. The photo was taken in 2008 during the 300th anniversary celebration of the Brethren movement by Church of the Brethren photographer Glenn Riegel, who is known for his photography at Annual Conference.

This 432 piece, 18-by-24 inch puzzle comes in a decorative canister and costs $38.99. Order at .


With the full title “Church of the Brethren Forerunners of the Faith,” this revision of an old Brethren Press favorite features 13 people and their interesting roles in Brethren history and heritage. Illustrations are by Mitch Miller, whose bright and cheery style was on display in 25 Days to Jesus, the children’s Advent devotional from Brethren Press.

The forerunners of the faith who are featured: Mattie Dolby, Julia Gilbert, John Kline, Alexander Mack, Sarah Righter Major, Ken Morse, Anna Mow, Gladdys Muir, Christopher Sauer Jr., Ted Studebaker, Samuel Weir, Dan West, and Laura Wine.

Forerunners costs $15. Pre-orders are being taken now at .


New digital resources from Shine add to the “growing family of digital products” from this Sunday school curriculum. “As congregational needs shift amid the pandemic,” said an announcement, “Shine has re-imagined curriculum products for churches and families to offer digital content that is practical, easy to use, and easy to share.”

The Digital Teacher’s Guides are designed for Sunday school teachers who are working in virtual classrooms. The Digital Resource Packs contain PDF and JPEG versions of all content that would be included in the usual printed packet, allowing teachers to print or show items on a screen–useful for both in-person and online settings. Purchasing a Digital Resource Pack comes with the rights to email or print and share any of the contents with the families of children in the class.

To order Shine resources, both digital and print, go to .

For more resources from Brethren Press go to .

4) Brethren bits

Nathan Hosler is the new Church of the Brethren representative on the board of Heifer International. He began in the position at a recent meeting, which also was the last meeting for Jay Wittmeyer, who formerly represented the denomination as executive director of Global Mission and Service. Hosler is on the Church of the Brethren staff as director of the Office of Peacebuilding and Policy in Washington, D.C.

“Know a young adult interested in a transformational Church of the Brethren leadership experience?” asked a Facebook post today from Youth and Young Adult Ministries director Becky Ullom Naugle. “NYC coordinators serve for a year through Brethren Volunteer Service. Food, housing, insurance, student loan deferment, and a small stipend provide peace of mind in order to concentrate on planning an awesome faith formation experience for high school youth and advisors during the summer of 2022.” Applications are open until Oct. 31 at .

Before and after pictures of Doug Campbell, who offered his “COVID beard” as a fundraiser for Brethren Disaster Ministries.

A unique fundraiser was held by Brethren Disaster Ministries volunteers last week, reports director Jenn Dorsch-Messler. Doug Campbell, a disaster project leader from South Central Indiana District, had the idea for a beard-shaving fundraiser. He took bids from the volunteers at the project site that week, who were from Frederick (Md.) Church of the Brethren, as well as others from Mid-Atlantic District. Bids were made for cutting off portions of Campbell’s lengthy “COVID beard.” When the idea was shared with Doug’s wife, Alice, she said she would match all donations. On Thursday of last week, they cut and shaved Campbell’s beard for a total of $1,100 in donations to the Emergency Disaster Fund to support Brethren Disaster Ministries. “When he had the idea he hoped to raise around $75 and never thought it would be so much!” wrote Dorsch-Messler.

Applications are due Oct. 31 for community engagement grants from On Earth Peace for youth groups focused on youth-initiated peace and justice projects. The grants for up to $500 are funding projects that may include, for example, “organizing a rally to bring attention to a concern, hosting a community conversation to get to know your neighbors and their interests in justice and peace, or sponsoring a violent toy turn-in,” said an announcement. To apply or learn more go to . For questions, contact Laura Hay at

Atlantic Northeast District is holding “Coffee with ANE” as its first district-wide Zoom gathering on Saturday, Dec. 5, from 9:30-11 a.m. (Eastern time). “We have heard your need to gather together, face to face, on a larger scale based on responses from the District Conference evaluations,” said the district’s e-newsletter.

“Join Manchester University Church Relations for the PowerHouse 2020 Regional Youth Conference–a VIRTUAL event!” said an invitation to this free event serving youth in several Midwestern districts of the Church of the Brethren. This year it will be held via Zoom as three one-hour gatherings. On Friday, Nov. 13, a virtual campfire will be held from 7-8 p.m. (Eastern time). On Saturday, Nov. 14, youth will enjoy virtual games from 2-3 p.m. (Eastern) and worship from 7-8 p.m. (Eastern). High school youth in grades 9 through 12 and their adult advisors are invited. Keynote speaker pastor Jody Gunn of Bethany Church of the Brethren in Farmington, Del., will speak on John 14:27, “Do not let them be afraid.” “This is sure to be a weekend of learning and growth, fun and silliness, and you can even win prizes!” said the announcement. For more information and to register go to

Students at McPherson (Kan.) College have the opportunity to set out on their own adventures and explore all Kansas has to offer through a new program called Build Your Own Adventure, said a release. “Offered through the college’s Bulldog Adventures organization, it provides gear and planning information to assist students in taking advantage of the great outdoor spaces in Kansas on their own time. Bulldog Adventures, a program introduced by McPherson College last year, provides opportunities for students to participate in monthly adventures and on-campus outdoor activities. Offering ventures like hiking, float trips, a fishing derby, and lawn games, Bulldog Adventures utilizes outdoor spaces in and around campus to engage students and develop leadership skills.” Tony Helfrich, director of Bulldog Adventures, said in the release, “For many of our students, our adventures are their first exposure to this part of our state.” There is a list of hiking trails, fishing sites, camping areas, and disc golf courses within half a day’s drive from campus and students have free access to “adventure gear” like backpacks and trekking poles, fishing gear, tents and other camping gear, disc golf sets, binoculars, and hammocks. The gear was donated to the college through the Outdoor Fund by Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s. Bulldog Adventures also coordinates efforts of the student Adventures Club, which is working with the Environmental Stewardship class to develop the McPherson College Outdoor Adventure Education Center at Bulldog Park in McPherson.

Juniata College’s work to provide comprehensive prevention education and to implement practices designed to create a safer, more inclusive campus has been recognized by EVERFI and Parchment, according to a newsletter from college president James A. Troha. Juniata is located in Huntingdon, Pa. EVERFI and Parchment are “companies who have partnered to elevate and distinguish campuses committed to this work,” the announcement said. “The college was awarded the Campus Prevention Network (CPN) Seal of Prevention for our work on issues including sexual assault, alcohol misuse, mental health, and discrimination.”

The Mutual Aid Agency is observing October as Pastor Appreciation Month, sharing special personal messages from staff.

In more news from Juniata, the college’s web page for COVID-19 information is reporting some 20 positive tests among students and staff within the past week and a half. The college–which has a “hybrid” model combining online and in-person instruction and started its fall semester in mid-August with students on campus–has an on-campus COVID-19 testing facility and stringent COVID protocols. The outbreak was first detected late last week and is expected to be short-lived. Students remain on campus while the college has gone to online-only instruction and has put in place additional restrictions on activities. The surrounding Huntingdon County is experiencing a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases centered in long-term care facilities and correctional facilities.

“Building the Church of the Future: Kingian Nonviolence Workshop” is a webinar facilitated by On Earth Peace at the invitation of the Womaen’s Caucus and the Supportive Communities Network. The event will be online on Nov. 10 at 7:30 p.m. (Eastern time) to explore Kingian nonviolence “as a method for interpersonal and group conflict, and nonviolent social change organizing. During this session, we will explore the meaning of nonviolence (a rich conversation in our pacifist tradition!), consider the three social dynamics of nonviolence, and briefly introduce the 6 principles and 6 steps of Kingian Nonviolence.” For more information go to .

Videographer and Annual Conference moderator-elect David Sollenberger has been busy reviving video wrap-ups of past years of Church of the Brethren gatherings–specifically, select years of National Youth Conference (NYC), National Young Adult Conference, and National Older Adult Conference (NOAC). Sollenberger has been posting the videos to YouTube for the viewing enjoyment of past participants. So far the wrap-up videos from the NYCs beginning in 1986, the 2004 National Young Adult Conference, and the 1992, 1994, and 1996 NOACs have been posted. Go to the “Uploads” section of the Church of the Brethren YouTube channel at .

Actor Don Murray recently spoke about his commitment to service and to working with refugees in a wide-ranging interview with Closer Weekly. Those commitments started when he was a conscientious objector working in Germany through the Church of the Brethren’s Brethren Service program. Find the interview, titled “‘Twin Peaks’ Star Don Murray Reveals Secret to Staying Young: ‘Everything in Moderation,’” at

Newsline is the email news service of the Church of the Brethren. Contributors to this issue of Newsline include Jan Fischer Bachman, Jenn Dorsch-Messler, Tina Goodwin, Anna Lisa Gross, Bekah Houff, Francine C. Massie, Wendy McFadden, Becky Ullom Naugle, Hannah Shultz, David Sollenberger, and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren. Newsline stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source. Please send news tips and submissions to . Find the Newsline archive at . Sign up for Newsline and other Church of the Brethren email newsletters or make subscription changes at . All submissions are subject to editing. Inclusion in Newsline does not necessarily convey endorsement by the Church of the Brethren.

Find more Church of the Brethren news:

[gt-link lang="en" label="English" widget_look="flags_name"]