Newsline for Oct. 30, 2021

1) A container of faith: Brethren in Miami send relief goods to earthquake survivors in Haiti

2) Pastoral Compensation and Benefits Advisory Committee holds annual meeting

3) Barum Brethren? No, that’s not us

4) New Bible translation close to completion in Nigeria

5) National Youth Conference worship and music coordinators are announced

6) Youth at Brownsville Church raise funds to attend National Youth Conference

7) Brethren bits: Memorial service for the late Dale Brown, Q&A about National Youth Conference, Brethren Press sales, Manchester University celebrates 132 years, more

Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford

Quote of the week:

“These crises present us with the need to take decisions, radical decisions that are not always easy. At the same time, moments of difficulty like these also present opportunities, opportunities that we must not waste. We can confront these crises by retreating into isolationism, protectionism and exploitation. Or we can see in them a real chance for change, a genuine moment of conversion, and not simply in a spiritual sense…. A renewed sense of shared responsibility for our world, and an effective solidarity based on justice, a sense of our common destiny and a recognition of the unity of our human family in God’s plan for the world…. And it is worth repeating that each of us–whoever and wherever we may be–can play our own part in changing our collective response to the unprecedented threat of climate change and the degradation of our common home.”

— Pope Francis in a special message recorded for BBC Radio 4’s “Thought for the Day” in advance of Cop26, next week’s global environmental summit in Glasgow, Scotland. The Pope spoke not just about the climate crisis but a succession of crises relating to healthcare, the environment, food supplies, and the economy that he said are “profoundly interconnected” and “also forecast a perfect storm that could rupture the bonds holding our society together.” Reported by the Guardian newspaper at

A note to readers: As many congregations return to in-person worship, we want to update our listing of Churches of the Brethren at

*Spanish/bilingual; **Haitian Kreyol/bilingual; ***Arabic/bilingual

*español/bilingüe, **kreyol haitiano/bilingüe, ***عربي / ثنائي اللغة

Please send new information to

Lifting up Brethren who are active in health care:

Add a person to the list by sending first name, county, and state to

1) A container of faith: Brethren in Miami send relief goods to earthquake survivors in Haiti

By Ilexene Alphonse

When we at Eglise des Freres Haitiens in Miami, Fla., decided to ship a container to Haiti, we had no idea how it would play out. We didn’t know how much it would cost and whether we would have enough money to ship. We didn’t know whether we would have enough supplies to fill a 40-foot container. We didn’t know anyone in Haiti who knows the custom system, with the connections to help us. There was fear of not knowing what would happen.

But we didn’t give in to the fear and concerns that we have felt. We stepped out in faith and God made it all possible.

Our congregation gave money, food, supplies, and their time to box and load the container. We had more than enough to fill the container, with things left for next time. Partnering with us were Peniel Baptist Church and its pastor, Dr. Renaut Pierre Louis, and Onica Charles, the owner of Little Master Academy, and a few other donors like Falcon Middle in Weston, Fla., and Miami Metro Ford. Brethren Disaster Ministries also contributed, two Church of the Brethren congregations sent handmade dresses, and many other friends helped out too–and God multiplied.

The container came out of customs in Haiti a week after the time they told me it would be released. I flew to Haiti last Thursday, Oct. 21, to help with getting the container out of customs and to unload it into box trucks to take to Saut Mathurine, the area in southwest Haiti where the Haitian Brethren are beginning to rebuild after the earthquake.

But by the time I came back to the US on Saturday the 23rd, nothing was done except the container was out of customs.

Then some of the unions in Haiti announced a strike for three days to close the country because of lack of fuel, so we were compelled to work diligently to bring the supplies to Saut Mathurine before the country closed the next day. When pastor Romy Telfort, a leader in L’Eglise des Freres d’Haiti (the Church of the Brethren in Haiti), called the drivers to go, they told him that they had to fuel up to go to the south. On Sunday morning, I spent most of my time during worship on the phone with people in Haiti to find drivers who had fuel and were brave enough to make the drive.

Finally we found two drivers. They left Port-au-Prince on Sunday at 8:30 p.m. One of them made it to Saut Mathurine on Monday afternoon, after a few broken windows. The other driver made it to Saut Mathurine on Wednesday afternoon. For those types of vehicles, it’s a maximum of 7 hours of driving from Port-au-Prince to Saut Mathurine–but with the situation of the country it took days for them to get there. There were a lot of roadblocks, rock throwing, and bullets flying, but thanks to God they made it safely to their destination.

There were a total of three big closed trucks filled with the supplies from the container. So far, two of them have made it safely to Saut Mathurine and one is still at the Church of the Brethren guesthouse in Croix des Bouquets, near to Port-au-Prince, waiting for fuel and safe passage to go.

We thank God and everyone who prayed for and gave to this effort, for the glory of God and the wellbeing of our neighbors in Haiti. Every time they thank God, God will remember you!

Ilexene Alphonse is pastor of Eglise des Freres Haitiens in Miami, Fla., a majority Haitian congregation of the Church of the Brethren. He is helping coordinate the joint earthquake response of Brethren Disaster Ministries and L’Eglise des Freres d’Haiti (the Church of the Brethren in Haiti).

The container (above). Donations from Falcon Middle School (below). All photos courtesy of Ilexene Alphonse
Above: Donations take over the church building. Below: Sorting and packaging donations for the shipment.
Above: Beginning to unload the container after its arrival in Haiti.
Above: Relief goods are transferred to one of the vehicles that drove them to their destination in Saut Mathurine.

2) Pastoral Compensation and Benefits Advisory Committee holds annual meeting

By Deb Oskin

The Pastoral Compensation and Benefits Advisory Committee met virtually for their annual retreat on Oct. 18-20. New laity members Art Fourman (2020-2025) and Bob McMinn (2021-2026) had plenty of time to get to know returning members, secretary Dan Rudy (clergy, 2017-2022), chair Deb Oskin (secular compensation professional, 2018-2023), Gene Hagenberger (representative of the Council of District Executives, 2021-2024), and Nancy Sollenberger Heishman (ex officio, director of the Church of the Brethren Office of Ministry).

While the committee has met three times prior to the retreat, the 15 hours spent together really immersed them in the results of the Mandatory 5-Year Review of Pastoral Compensation and Benefits (which will be presenting to the delegates at Annual Conference in Omaha next summer).

The Pastoral Compensation and Benefits Advisory Committee “having a little too much fun,” according to Deb Oskin: (top row, from left) Bob McMinn, Deb Oskin, Art Fourman; (bottom row, from left) Gene Hagenberger, Dan Rudy, Nancy Sollenberger Heishman.

They updated every section of the “Guidelines for Pastors’ Salary and Benefits” document to match the work their committee and subcommittees of the Council of District Executives have been doing over the past two years.

And they reviewed and recommended changes to the 2002 “Guidelines for Continuing Education” paper that will be reviewed by the Council of District Executives.

The meeting received reports from Brethren Benefit Trust president Nevin Dulabaum and Lynnae Rodeffer, director of Employee Benefits for BBT.

An update was received from a former member of the committee, Ray Flagg (laity, 2016-2021), who is playing a critical role in the development of a “Pastoral Compensation Calculator” that will be central to the new “Integrated Annual Ministry Agreement”–which, after Annual Conference 2022, will replace the current “Start-Up” and “Renewal Agreements.”

Exciting changes for the better are coming soon!

— Deb Oskin is chair of the Pastoral Compensation and Benefits Advisory Committee. She is a tax professional specializing in clergy tax returns and leads the annual Clergy Tax Seminar that is sponsored by the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership, the Church of the Brethren Office of Ministry, and Bethany Theological Seminary. The next Clergy Tax Seminar is scheduled for Jan. 29, 2022. Register now at

3) Barum Brethren? No, that’s not us

By Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford

A note to the reader: Since this article was first published earlier this week, TopBuzzTrends has issued an apology and a correction.

A bunch of websites are very confused. In reviewing The Long Call–a new ITV and BritBox TV show made from an Ann Cleeves book of the same name–they’re identifying the fictional “Barum Brethren” as a Church of the Brethren congregation.,,, and have now joined the list of media that have, over the years, mistaken the Church of the Brethren for someone else. It’s a cautionary tale about how such mistakes are made and get shared way too widely. These posts appear to have taken details from our website and mixed them up with information from other groups, most likely the Plymouth Brethren.

But we’re not the Plymouth Brethren either!

Plymouth Brethren–not us.

Exclusive Brethren–not us.

Open Brethren–not us.

Barum Brethren–also not us!

There are several Christian groups that are like distant cousins to us–the Brethren Church, Old Order German Baptist Brethren, Dunkard Brethren, Grace Brethren, Brethren in Christ–and none are related to the Plymouth Brethren.

So who are we?

The Church of the Brethren is a Christian denomination in the United States and Puerto Rico, with some 99,000 members in 24 church districts. We got our start in Germany in 1708, based in the Anabaptist and Pietist faith traditions. We are one of the three Historic Peace Churches along with the Mennonites and the Society of Friends (Quakers). We are a founding member of the World Council of Churches and the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA, and we work collaboratively with many other Christian groups.

Here are 7 things to know about the real Church of the Brethren:

  1. Church of the Brethren congregations often are well regarded in their communities, and for attendees of all ages may be places to ask spiritual questions and delve deeply into the Christian faith.
  2. Our gatherings (in-person or virtual) often succeed in transcending ordinary life through music and singing, prayer, sharing joys and concerns, reading the Bible, and learning about God.
  3. Our denominational programs offer numerous opportunities to engage in disaster relief and service projects, develop and grow discipleship to Jesus Christ, and in other ways love our neighbors.
  4. Across the US, there are Church of the Brethren congregations worshiping in at least five languages including English, Spanish, Haitian Kreyol, Arabic, and ASL.
  5. There are other Church of the Brethren denominations in about a dozen countries, some very small, but all with connections to us here in the US.
  6. Our seminary (Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind.) among its degree and certificate offerings includes a master’s degree in theopoetics–the only one of its kind!
  7. During the pandemic we have given COVID-19 grants to congregations and camps.

We know it’s going to be a “long call” to get these websites to acknowledge their mistake and take down the articles or make corrections. But if they do, we’ll let you know.

In the meantime, you can help correct this mistake in your own circles by sharing this article with family and friends and on social media.

And find out more about the real Church of the Brethren at

— Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford is director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren, and serves as associate editor of the Church of the Brethren magazine Messenger, working out of the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., USA. Contact her at or 224-735-9692 (cell).

4) New Bible translation close to completion in Nigeria

Translation of the New Testament into Margi South, a language of northeast Nigeria, is close to completion according to Sikabiya Ishaya Samson. He is a minister with Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) who has been working on the translation as a language programs manager for ITDAL (Initiative for the Development of African Languages) based in the city of Jos.

“Margi Tiwi Nga Tǝm (Margi South) is said to be at 80 percent completion, all the books have been drafted, and are waiting for consultant checking,” he wrote in an email report to Newsline. “The Gospels and Acts have been typeset for publication, we are trusting God to get it ready so that it may be dedicated and launched in December 2021.”

He reported that the project is in its fourth year. Also, “a Jesus film has been published and it is in use in the Margi land,” he wrote.

Coincidentally, it was almost exactly a year ago–on Oct. 27, 2020–that EYN ministers reported in Newsline about the near-completion of a long-awaited Bible translation into the Kamwe language. See

A book of Bible stories in the Margi South language is shared in schools. Photo courtesy of Sikabiya Ishaya Samson


5) National Youth Conference worship and music coordinators are announced

By Erika Clary

The National Youth Conference (NYC) 2022 office is excited to announce our worship and music coordinators for next summer. Our worship coordinators are Bekah Houff, Cindy Laprade Lattimer, Shawn Flory Replogle, and Walt Wiltschek. Jacob Crouse is coordinating music.

Thus far, the worship and music coordinators have been meeting over Zoom to plan worship for NYC 2022. We are excited to see the ways in which they make the theme come to life next summer!

Below are brief biographies for each of these leaders:

Bekah Houff serves as the university pastor and director of Church Relations at Manchester University in North Manchester, Ind. She loves to work with college students and help them succeed during their academic career. A graduate of Bridgewater (Va.) College and Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., Bekah is no stranger to Church of the Brethren conferences and events. She served as coordinator of National Young Adult Conference, National Junior High Conference, and workcamps (now FaithX) during her time in Brethren Volunteer Service. Bekah loves camping, spending quality time with friends, and spoiling her nieces and nephews. She lives in Goshen, Ind., with her spouse Nick, dog Kobol, and cats Starbuck and Boomer.

The worship and music coordinators for National Youth Conference 2022 meet via Zoom with Youth and Young Adult Ministries staff for a planning call: (top from left) NYC coordinator Erika Clary, Youth and Young Adult Ministries director Becky Ullom Naugle, Bekah Houff; (center from left) Walt Wiltschek, Cindy Laprade Lattimer, Shawn Flory Replogle; (bottom) Jacob Crouse.

Cindy Laprade Lattimer (she/her) and her partner Ben are parents to three energetic kids: Everett (8) and twins Ezra and Cyrus (6), plus an aging dog, Jake. They are also co-pastors of Stone Church of the Brethren in Huntingdon, Pa., and co-chaplains at Juniata College. She enjoys reading, coaching her kids and their friends in sports, playing strategic board games, and hiking the wooded trails behind their home. This is her seventh NYC and she always looks forward to the connection and community NYC creates.

Shawn Flory Replogle is the proud partner of Alison, with whom he shares a great family: Adin, Caleb, Tessa, and Simon. Together, they live in Lindsborg, Kan., where Shawn has been a pastor and a consultant who facilitates/advises/consults and trains organizations of all sizes and shapes. Currently Shawn is executive director of Organizational Resources for the Church of the Brethren, based out of Elgin, Ill., and serves as one of the Western Plains District co-district youth coordinators. This will be Shawn’s ninth National Youth Conference (he’s not really that old), and he says he’s done about everything there is to do at an NYC: “OK, I’ve never led the choir…or played in the band…or been on the medical staff…but nearly everything else!”

Walt Wiltschek started Sept. 1 as part-time district executive minister for Illinois and Wisconsin District and currently divides his time between Maryland and Illinois. He also does part-time chaplaincy work for Illinois Wesleyan University. He is finishing up as pastor of Easton (Md.) Church of the Brethren and was previously campus pastor at Manchester University, and editor of Messenger magazine, for which he still does some writing and editing. He enjoys traveling, camp ministry, puns and wordplay, and cheering for various sports teams. Walt was an advisor for the 2010 NYC cabinet, but this is his first time serving as a worship coordinator.

Jacob Crouse (he/him) serves as a music leader for Washington (D.C.) City Church of the Brethren along with running projection, audio, and recording. Brother Jake also does audio-visual engineering work for the American College of Cardiology. Other notable activities he enjoys include working on vintage motorcycles, cooking, traveling to new and familiar places (road trip!), spending quality time with family and friends, editing and hosting the Dunker Punks Podcast, and writing and recording music. He wrote this autobiographical haiku to briefly describe himself to someone he hasn’t met before:

Culture, adventures give life
Dunker Punk describes

Erika Clary is coordinator of the 2022 National Youth Conference, serving in the Church of the Brethren Youth and Young Adult Ministry as a Brethren Volunteer Service worker. Find out more about NYC 2022 at


6) Youth at Brownsville Church raise funds to attend National Youth Conference

The Youth and Young Adult Ministries office has shared kudos for the fundraising effort of the youth group at Brownsville Church of the Brethren in Knoxville, Md., in a meme posted on the National Youth Conference (NYC) Facebook page.

“Last month, youth at Brownsville COB participated in a ‘Dude and Youth’ cake bake and silent auction,” said the post. “Each youth worked with a male mentor in their life to bake a cake for the auction. They raised almost $2,000!

“Which cool fundraiser is your youth group doing?” asks the NYC office. Send pictures and descriptions to to be featured on NYC social media.

7) Brethren bits

The family of the late Dale Brown has announced the date and time for his memorial service on Sunday, Nov. 7, at 3 p.m. (Eastern time). There will be a streaming option and an in-person event with masks required, hosted at Manchester Church of the Brethren in North Manchester, Ind. Music and a slideshow will precede the service beginning at 2:40 p.m. The YouTube link for the livestream event online will become active at 2:40 p.m. on Nov. 7 and subsequently will provide a link to view the recording of the service. Go to

National Youth Conference coordinator Erika Clary and director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries Becky Ullom Naugle are offering an online Q&A session next Monday, Nov. 1, at 8 p.m. (Eastern time) to answer questions about the upcoming NYC 2022. Register for the call at

Brethren Press has announced a Nov. 1 deadline for advance savings on the new children’s book Maria’s Kit of Comfort, a story based on the Children’s Disaster Services “kit of comfort.” Pre-order by calling 800-441-3712 or go to

Also in time for the holiday season, Brethren Press is offering Christmas cards in packs of 10, displaying calligraphy by Gwen Stamm of the Bible text “In the beginning was the Word” on the outside, and on the inside “And the Word became flesh and lived among us. Behold the glory of Christ.” Go to

New contact and address information has been announced for South Central Indiana District. The district office phone number is 260-274-0396. The district office mailing address is P.O. Box 32, North Manchester, IN 46962-0032. The district office street address is 645 Bond St., Wabash, IN 46992-2002. Email addresses remain unchanged.

Manchester University in North Manchester, Ind., is celebrating 132 years with a parade on Nov. 5. The school, which is connected with the Church of the Brethren, got its start on Nov. 5, 1889, when Roanoke Classical Seminary moved to North Manchester. “One hundred thirty-two years later, Manchester University is celebrating Founders Day with a parade and birthday celebration,” said a release. “The parade led by the Spartan Pride Marching Band begins at 11:30 a.m. Friday, Nov. 5, at the corner of College Avenue and Wayne Street. It will go east on College Avenue and then north to Cordier Auditorium on the Manchester Mall, then south and over to the Jo Young Switzer Center for refreshments in Haist Commons. The public is welcome to watch the parade. Masks are not required outside on campus, but they must be worn inside all buildings. Megan Julian (’07) Sarber, assistant director of donor relations, is organizing the Founders Day celebration.” Find the full release with more details of the school’s history and its Church of the Brethren connections at

A recent Dunker Punks newsletter listed the first of its fall line-up of podcasts:

118, “We Are Part of One Another,” featured Anna Lisa Gross interviewing another panel of from the Womaen’s Caucus about their stories as women in church leadership.

119, “More Than a Song,” shares insights on how music is “more than” from Matt Rittle and Mandy North.

120, “Arts on the Hill,” hears from Jessie Houff, Agnes Chen, and Jacob Crouse from Washington (D.C.) City Church of the Brethren about their church’s community arts ministry.

121, “Forgive Them,” gives a glimpse of the complexities of the Christian act of forgiving, with Gabriel Padilla.

Also listed in the newsletter were this summer’s “bonus” podcasts on theopoetics:

Theopoetics 1, “Good God,” asks how people of faith struggle with the question of how a good God created a world with so much strife in it, with Matt Rittle and Bethany Seminary faculty Scott Holland.

Theopoetics 2 “Is God Dead?” asks how can poetry help us progress in our beliefs and explore our questions of faith, led by Rittle and Holland.

Theopoetics 3, “The Blessed Assurance of ‘Perhaps,’” asks what it would mean for our questions about faith–or even our doubts–bring us joy, with Rittle, Julia Baker Swann, and Carol Davis.

Theopoetics 4, “The God Beyond the God We Name,” wraps up the summer’s bonus series on theopoetics, with Rittle and Holland.

Find the Dunker Punks webpage and links to podcasts at

In the latest episode of the Brethren Voices television show for community access stations, host Brent Carlson interviews Carol Mason. She compiled stories of the Nigerian Brethren and Muslims of Nigeria who survived the violent attacks of the Boko Haram for a recent book published by Brethren Press. The stories were supplemented by the photographs of Donna Parcell, and became the book We Bear It in Tears. The stories represent various affected areas of Nigeria, widely ranging types of experiences, and diverse populations. Together they are a significant effort at establishing a sustainable peace in Nigeria, giving voice to the women, men, and children who have suffered. “By hearing their stories, we share their burden of tears,” said an announcement of the new episode. “By seeing their faces, we witness an enduring faith and a commitment to nonviolence. These are not merely symbols of violence, but individuals with real stories, real families, and real pain.” Mason was a mission worker in Nigeria for 12 years, at a time when programs that were begun by the Church of the Brethren were being turned over to Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria and local government bodies. Find this and other episodes of Brethren Voices on YouTube.

Church World Service (CWS) has been featured in an article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review titled “A Movement for Refugee Leadership” by Basma Alawee and Taryn Higashi. The article reviews how “philanthropy can invigorate our communities and our democracy by investing in refugee leadership and civic participation.” CWS was lauded as “exemplary model” for refugee resettlement working in collaboration with refugee-led networks, such as Refugee Congress. “Church World Service has trained over 1,500 refugee leaders to organize their communities; tell their stories in impactful ways; develop campaign ideas; to defend the refugee program; and engage in voter education, registration, and mobilization for eligible former refugees who are now US citizens,” the article said, in part. “As a result of Church World Service’s programs, and others like it, refugees are writing their own op-eds and pitching their own stories to the media, with the goal of helping to shape the public narrative about refugees.” Find the full article at

Mary Garvey of Stone Church of the Brethren in Huntingdon, Pa., was featured as a contestant on Jeopardy on Oct. 13. Find a review of the Oct. 13 episode of the popular television game show from “The Jeopardy Fan” at

A screenshot of a Facebook promo for Mary Garvey’s appearance on Jeopardy

Newsline is the email news service of the Church of the Brethren. Inclusion in Newsline does not necessarily convey endorsement by the Church of the Brethren. All submissions are subject to editing. Newsline stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source. Contributors to this issue include Ilexene Alphonse, Deanna Brown, Erika Clary, James Deaton, Jan Fischer Bachman, Anne Gregory, Ed Groff, Wendy McFadden, Mishael Nouveau, Deb Oskin, Walt Wiltschek, Roy Winter, and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren. Please send news tips and submissions to . Find the Newsline archive at . Sign up for Newsline and other Church of the Brethren email newsletters and make subscription changes at . Unsubscribe by using the link at the top of any Newsline email.

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