Brethren bits for Sept. 24, 2021

Correction: The last issue of Newsline omitted the link to find the full text of that issue in one document online. Find the Newsline for Sept. 20, 2021, at

David Vasquez has been hired by Atlantic Northeast District as church video streaming specialist. He will be assisting with technical support for the upcoming online District Conference, working alongside Enten Eller, current interim staff for the position. Vasquez has more than 20 years of experience in the electrical and electronics field and is enrolled at Northampton Community College seeking a certification in instrumentation and controls. His wife, Betzaida, is part of the interim ministry team at Nuevo Amanecer Church of the Brethren, and he teaches Bible school to the youth at the church.

Linetta Ballew has been hired as acting director of Brethren Woods and Retreat Center, a camp and outdoor ministry center in Shenandoah District. The acting director position will run from Dec. 1, 2021, through Aug. 31, 2022. During this time a search committee will seek to fill the permanent position of executive director of Brethren Woods. Ballew brings 18 years of leadership experience with outdoor ministries. She served as program director of Brethren Woods from 2003-2013 and since 2019 has been assistant director. From 2013-2018 she was co-executive director of Camp Swatara, another Church of the Brethren-related camp. She graduated from Eastern Mennonite Seminary in 2009 with a master of divinity degree and has been ordained in the Church of the Brethren since 2013.

Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., invites applications for a fulltime, tenure-track faculty position in Peace Studies, beginning Fall 2022. Rank: open. PhD preferred; ABD considered. The appointee will be expected to develop and teach an average of five graduate courses per year, including at least one online course per year, and offer one nongraduate course for the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership biennially. While the primary focus will be courses in Peace Studies, the successful candidate will be able to offer courses in another area of expertise that complements and expands the seminary’s degree and certificate programs. Various fields of study that could supplement Bethany’s Peace Studies curriculum include theology and culture, theopoetics, social justice work, spirituality, history of Christianity, intercultural theology, intersectional theology, and ecological theology. Other duties may include student advising, supervision of MA theses in the area of Peace Studies, serving on at least one major institutional committee annually, participating in the recruitment of new students, participation in faculty meetings and other campus events, and opportunities for speaking engagements. Commitment to the mission and values of the seminary is essential. Applications are specifically encouraged from women, African Americans, Latinx, and other ethnic groups traditionally underrepresented in the seminary professorate. Bethany Theological 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 application deadline is Nov. 15. Interviews will begin in December and continue into early 2022. The appointment will begin on July 1, 2022. To apply, send a letter of application, CV, and names and contact information for three references to Peace Studies Search, Attn: Dean’s Office, Bethany Theological Seminary, 615 National Road West, Richmond, IN 47374; Find the position opening announcement at

The Gisenyi Church is currently being built in Rwanda. Said a note from the Global Mission executives: “This church will serve as the headquarters of the Rwanda Church of the Brethren and replaces a temporary building that could not pass government inspection.” Photos are by Rwanda church leader Etienne Nsanzimana.

The Church of the Brethren Office of Peacebuilding and Policy is among the 56 peace groups that are urging lawmakers to use the annual defense policy bill, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), to end all US support for the Saudi Arabia-led coalition fighting in Yemen’s civil war. In a joint letter, the organizations wrote, in part: “By suspending the sale of arms and ending US participation in the Saudi coalition’s war and blockade, Congress can prevent a humanitarian catastrophe from spiraling further out of control as it reasserts its constitutional authority on matters of war and peace.”

The Church of the Brethren in Spain will be contributing to a national fund that has been set up to help people on the Canary Island of La Palma, reported pastor Santos Terrero to Global Food Initiative manager Jeff Boshart. The island is the site of a large, destructive volcanic eruption. The Church of the Brethren congregation in the Canary Islands is not located on La Palma but on an island to the east of there called Lanzarote.

The Southern Ohio and Kentucky District Conference will be online via Zoom on Oct. 8-9. Included on the schedule are Friday workshops offering continuing education credit led by the District Racial Justice Commission, the District Climate Justice Commission, Zach Spidel and Susan Liller about Jesus in the Neighborhood, and a session on how the Holy Spirit is “moving in our midst” through these ministries. In business sessions, delegates will receive reports and will consider a proposed district budget and a proposed query on racial justice that–if adopted–would be sent on to Annual Conference, among other business. More information is at

Illinois and Wisconsin District has announced its own “Calling the Called Event.” Said an announcement: “The Calling the Called Committee invites all who may be sensing a call from God to ministry to join us for a morning event on Oct. 23 on Zoom. We will explore call stories from the scripture and from the lives of Church of the Brethren leaders, share in some reflection time, and hear some presentations on how to discern God’s call and what some next steps may be.” For more information, contact the district office.

Virlina District has announced a special online event titled “Necessary Conversations: Stories that Need to Be Told” with leadership from Curtis and Kathleen Claytor. Curtis Claytor is author of The Ultimate Black History Trivia Book. Kathleen Claytor is a member of Church Women United in Roanoke, Va. The event is scheduled for Oct. 10 at 7 p.m. (Eastern time). “We will sit together to learn their stories and to explore the importance of establishing relationships across racial lines,” said the announcement. A flier is available on

Camp Bethel, located near Fincastle, Va., has canceled the in-person Heritage Day Festival that had been planned for Oct. 2, according to a district announcement. “COVID concerns continue, and regional ‘breakthrough’ cases and hospitalizations are rising,” said the announcement. “Several congregations are unable to participate because there are not enough available helpers, there are concerns about gathering for preparations and eating, and some actual positive COVID cases within their ranks. It is safe to be outdoors at Camp Bethel, but it’s more challenging to spend hours and hours together in preparation. The Virginia Department of Health currently allows such events (with caution), but the VDH also discourages large public gatherings from ‘mixed households.’ We regret such a late announcement.” The event is rescheduled for next year, on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022.

Also postponed is “Pilgrimage: A FaithQuest for Adults,” planned by Virlina District to be hosted at Camp Bethel. The event was scheduled for Oct. 8-10.

The Brethren Heritage Festival at the Young Center at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College is planned during the college’s homecoming festivities on Oct. 16, 1-4 p.m. “Bring the family for children’s crafts, pedal the bicycle to churn ice cream, enjoy popcorn, home-baked bread with apple butter, and ice cream,” said an announcement. “Learn to quilt with experienced quilters. All the while you listen to gospel music and enjoy a magic show! Take a tour of the newly completed Interpretive Gallery and participate in an acapella hymn sing. We eagerly welcome participants and volunteers.” Contact Janice Holsinger at or 717-821-2650.

“The arrival of rankings season has given Juniata even more reasons to celebrate,” announced this week’s newsletter from James A. Troha, president of Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa. “The college earned its highest-ever ranking, 75th in national liberal arts colleges, in the recently-released U.S. News Top Colleges ( In just a few short years, Juniata has risen 33 places in this U.S. News ranking, which is widely considered one of the most important and visible college rankings in the United States.” In addition, the college “saw a considerable rise” in its ranking from Washington Monthly’s Best Liberal Arts Colleges, ranked 36 in the nation, up from 73 in 2020. “Within that same publication’s community and national service category, Juniata ranked 23rd in recognition of what our students are doing for their communities as a result of the education they are receiving,” wrote Troha.


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