Brethren bits

— Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., is seeking applicants for a part-time, professional position to coordinate and strengthen social media efforts. The goals include generating compelling marketing-style content, increasing followers, and encouraging engagement across platforms. Successful candidates will have experience creating effective content for a variety of social media platforms. For the full position announcement and how to apply, go to

— Upcoming continuing education events sponsored by the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center include:

“Preaching and Spiritual Care” led by Dawn Ottoni-Wilhelm, Brightbill Professor of Preaching and Worship at Bethany Theological Seminary, on Oct. 10, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., in the Sill Boardroom-von Liebig Center for Science ($60 for .55 CEUs, $50 for no CEUs, includes lunch). Register at

The National Older Adult Conference team spent time enjoying Lake Junaluska, N.C., while working on plans for the next NOAC to take place there on Sept. 4-8, 2023. Team members include (in alphabetical order) Glenn Bollinger, Karen Dillon, Bonnie Kline Smeltzer, Jim Martinez, Leonard Matheny, Don Mitchell, Karlene Tyler, and Christy Waltersdorff as coordinator, with Josh Brockway and Stan Dueck as Discipleship Ministries staff.

“Violent Extremism, Radicalization, and Boko Haram” led by Amr Abdalla, Scholar in Residence at the Baker Institute at Juniata College, on Oct. 19, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., at Stone Church of the Brethren in Huntingdon, Pa. ($37 for .55 CEUs, $27 for no CEUs, includes lunch). Register at

— Wakemans Grove Church of the Brethren in Edinburg, Va., will celebrate 121 years on Sunday, Sept. 25, with Charles “Chip” Leatherman as guest speaker. The service begins at 11 a.m., followed by a covered dish meal. The day will feature a historical presentation, a capella singing, time for visiting, with the option to dress in simple, early 1900s clothing.

— The Dunker Church Service at the Dunker Meetinghouse on the Antietam National Battlefield, a Civil War battlefield site, will be held this Sunday, Sept. 18, at 3 p.m. (Eastern time). The speaker for this year’s annual service is Carl Bowman, with sponsorship from Church of the Brethren congregations and pastors in the area, and Mid-Atlantic District.

— Western Plains District Conference has adopted a foundational Purpose Statement for the district. The district newsletter reported that the work on the statement was guided by the DnA Team that included Cheryl Mishler, Erin Flory Robertson, Jon Tuttle, Keith Funk, Paul Cesare, Pat Gong, and Lowell Flory. The statement reads: “The Western Plains Church of the Brethren, in supporting our congregations in our life together, reflects, proclaims, and practices God’s Love and Good News in Christ to all creation.” Wrote interim district executive minister Randall Yoder: “From this foundation will grow the Core Values (that drive us in fulfilling this statement), and will include the Vision of how it best can be lived out in Mission. That work will be before the District Conference in 2023.” His article invited continued input from the district’s congregations in examining each part of the statement, “hopefully assisting us in thinking forward to possible meaning and even glimpses of implementation…. Let’s begin by sharing, talking about and praying that God’s will might be done through Western Plains Church of the Brethren.”

— Atlantic Northeast District is publicizing a series of “Crossroads and Connections Workshops” taking place this month with leadership from Bryan Miller, executive director of Heeding God’s Call to End Gun Violence (Heeding), based in Pennsylvania. The organization got its start following a Philadelphia meeting of the Historic Peace Churches, including the Church of the Brethren. “The purpose of the workshop is to encourage participants to take leading roles toward ending the current unfortunate absence of the American faith community from the movement to end gun violence,” said the district announcement. “It will educate participants briefly about the problem of gun violence as it affects neighborhoods, towns and cities. The workshop will discuss means to energize and mobilize people and institutions of faith to take leadership roles in pursuit of changes in culture and law about guns. We will learn about programs and activities intended to appeal specifically to people and institutions of faith.” For more information contact the district office at 717-367-4730.

— Shenandoah District has announced Disaster Auction results for 2022. The event was held May 19-20 “and the net total to be used for disaster ministry is $225,362.49,” said the district newsletter. “As of August 31, auction proceeds have been forwarded to the disaster funds in the amount of $225,340. Director of Finance Gary Higgs was pleased with the results, characterizing the totals as ‘A very successful year, even with the changes,’ noting that not all the regular fundraising options have resumed since COVID.”

— Middle Pennsylvania District this weekend is holding a combined district conference and Heritage Fair. “We will combine all the important elements of conference along with a Heritage Fair Day filled with food and fellowship,” said an announcement of the event taking place at Camp Blue Diamond on Sept. 16-18. The Annual Heritage Fair takes place Saturday, beginning at 6:30 a.m. with breakfast and booths open around 8:30 a.m., followed by crafts and activities for all ages, a children’s area, an auction at 11 a.m., and more. Registration is encouraged to attend the district conference, for which there is a fee for in-person participation. A Zoom option was available for the Friday night worship service, with a link provided at the district website at This year’s Outreach Project supports the Petersburg Volunteer Fire Company and Twin Creek Ambulance Service, a local ministry in the New Enterprise area. Other offerings will support the Church of the Brethren Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) Ukraine support. Pennies for Witness will support the district’s outreach ministries including the Trucker Traveler Ministries, CentrePeace, Prince Gallitzin Park Ministry, Small Church Fund, Outreach Ministry Matching Grant, and Global Outreach.

— Bridgewater (Va.) College is observing the International Day of Peace on Sept. 21 with guest speaker David Radcliff, director of the New Community Project. He will present at 7:30 p.m. in the Boitnott Room on the theme “Want to Give Peace a Chance?” There is no cost to attend.

Also, Bridgewater’s Carter Center is hosting a performance of “Holy Surprises” by Ted & Co, on Sept. 27 at 7:30 p.m. The performance will feature Ted Swartz and Jeff Raught. There is no cost to attend, but donations will be accepted to support the people of Ukraine.

— McPherson (Kan.) College has received $1.5 million from the Dean Coughenour Trust to establish an endowed scholarship fund and support the Student Debt Project. Said a release: “The idea of ‘paying it forward’ was important to Dean Coughenour, a 1951 graduate of McPherson College, and a recent gift made to the college will ensure that students benefit from the same generosity he received as a student.” The Dean Coughenour Endowed Scholarship will focus on Kansas students who demonstrate financial need, especially those who have shown leadership abilities. The $1 million endowment will fund $50,000 in scholarships each year. The remaining funds will support the continued growth of the Student Debt Project by increasing the matching funds awarded to participants. Explained the release: “Students participating in the Student Debt Project are required to work. All the income earned from their job(s) is applied to their McPherson College account, which earns them a 25% match, funded by McPherson College donors. In the fourth year of the program, students have reduced their debt at graduation by $12,000 per student, and the retention of students participating in the program is 93%.” Coughenour grew up in McPherson, and with help from a local doctor who contributed financially toward his college education, graduated from McPherson with a degree in history and a minor in English. In Oberlin, Kan., he taught in the high school for five years. In 1958, he switched careers and moved to Manhattan, Kan., where he purchased Ag Press and served as editor of the Grass and Grain newspaper, building his publishing business for the next 30 years.

— The University of La Verne, Calif., has been ranked sixth nationally for social mobility by U.S. News & World Report, and in the top 10 among best private national universities in California, according to a release from the school. The magazine has released its widely followed Best Colleges rankings for 2023. “In the Best Value Schools category, the university placed 10th among the best in California and is 101st nationally out of 223 institutions that were ranked,” said the release. “Overall, it ranked 151st among 440 institutions considered to be National Universities, which includes universities such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Stanford…. Top performers on the U.S. News & World Report social mobility ranking were measured by the extent schools enrolled and graduated students who received federal Pell Grants, which means their total family incomes are usually less than $50,000 per year.” Find the full article at

— McPherson College also has been recognized in the U.S. News & World Report college rankings. Said a release from the school: “For the seventh year in a row, McPherson College has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report on the 2022-23 ‘Best Colleges’ list for Regional Colleges in the Midwest. Additionally, McPherson College was ranked on the ‘Best Value Schools’ and ‘Top Performers on Social Mobility’ lists. Only schools ranked in or near the top half of their categories are included on the ‘Best Value Schools’ list. When evaluating colleges for this list, U.S. News & World Report considers the most significant value to be among colleges that are above average academically and considers academic quality as well as cost. McPherson College was also recognized among colleges that are successful at advancing social mobility by enrolling and graduating large proportions of students awarded Pell grants.” Initiatives such as the college’s Student Debt Project, which supports students in graduating with little or no debt, and the college’s successful career placement rate, are just a few examples of why McPherson is recognized, said president Michael Schneider in the release.

— A new Dunker Punks podcast is focusing on mental health. Released on Sept. 3, it is titled, “The Mind Matters,” featuring a discussion by M Gresh on mental health and the church. “The pastor of the Long Green Valley Church of the Brethren, M Gresh notes that 1 in 5 Americans experiences a mental illness and she reflects on the way that Christians talk about mental health,” said an announcement. Listen in at

— Community Peacemaker Teams has released a report on cross-border violence in Iraqi Kurdistan. Said a release: “Dunya Rasheed, a 19-year-old student was collecting wild plants on a mountainside with women from her village. Dilovan Shahin Omer, a shopkeeper, had just stopped along the side of the road to speak with a friend. 60-year old Jalal Nuradin and his son Ahmad were out tending to their crops. And 14-year-old Hussain was joining his community to protest the presence of Turkish military in Iraqi Kurdistan. All were killed by Turkish bombings, drone strikes, or artillery fire. Since 2015, our team in Iraqi Kurdistan has been meticulously compiling data and research from family visits and testimonies, to honor the lives lost or forever changed and to advocate for an end to Turkish cross-border bombing.” For the first time, this data is represented in a report available online at CPT is joining with other organizations as part of the “End Cross-Border Bombing Campaign,” to call on Turkey to completely withdraw from Iraqi Kurdistan and cease all military actions affecting civilians, and to call on all governments to cease weapon sales to Turkey. #EndCrossBorderBombing. Find out more about CPT, which began as an initiative of the Historic Peace Churches, including the Church of the Brethren, at

— Pastor Chris Heinlein of Curryville Church of the Brethren in Martinsburg, Pa., was featured by the Morrisons Cove Herald newspaper for giving a home to two unusual donkeys. “Their names are Ted and Fred, and they are beautiful white donkeys who are brothers,” said the article. “These two donkeys live at Heinlein’s home on Cove Mountain Road and are cared for by his wife Kathy and himself. The donkeys were rescued from a farm in Somerset after the owners of the farm became unable to care for all the animals related to health problems.” The article also publicized the church’s Thursday morning breakfast, open to all at Traditions Restaurant in Martinsburg, as well as Sunday worship and Sunday school, an evening meal planned once a month at the church, and an every Wednesday evening “meet up for ice cream.” Find the article at


Find more Church of the Brethren news: