Brethren bits for Oct. 14, 2022

Remembrance: Paul Willis Hoffman (90), a past moderator of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference and the 11th president of McPherson (Kan.) College, died on Sept. 30 in McPherson. He was born on May 14, 1932, to Ralph and Tressie (Heeter) Hoffman and grew up at the family farm near Roann, Ind. He met his future wife, Joanna Begerow, during a youth event in Florida. While in college, they fell in love and were married on April 11, 1954. He held a bachelor’s degree from Manchester College (now Manchester University) in North Manchester, Ind.; a master of divinity from Bethany Theological Seminary; a master of arts degree from the University of Michigan; and a doctor of philosophy from Purdue University. His career included service as a pastor, educator, administrator, philosopher, theologian, counselor, pilot, farmer, athlete, and coach. In 1962 he began teaching at Manchester College, served as dean of men in 1965, following by dean of students and professor of psychology from 1968 to 1976. He became president of McPherson College in 1976, serving in the position for 20 years until he retired in 1996. During his tenure, he continued to teach at least one psychology class each semester. He had the longest tenure of any sitting college or university president in Kansas at the time of his retirement. His professional memberships included the Kansas Association of Colleges and Universities where he served a term as president, the Associated Colleges of Central Kansas, McPherson Rotary, McPherson Arts Council, and the Board of the Chamber of Commerce in McPherson. The Dr. Paul Hoffman Student Union was named in his honor in 1998. “Serving as the college’s 11th president, Dr. Hoffman provided sound financial and organizational leadership overseeing three successful fundraising campaigns, several buildings and grounds projects, and providing mentorship for generations of staff and students,” said a remembrance from the college. Hoffman was an ordained minister and was known for his dedication to the church, serving a five-year tenure as a fulltime pastor prior to his employment at Manchester College. While teaching and administering at Manchester and at McPherson, he continued to offer leadership to various congregations on an interim or part-time basis or as moderator. He served terms as moderator for the Church of the Brethren districts of Michigan and of South Central Indiana. He was moderator of the church’s Annual Conference in 1983, “remembered in the Church of the Brethren as the year of the human sexuality paper,” noted an article about “The Hoffman Era” in the McPherson College Review (Winter 1993). “It was an emotional year, with the president preaching at churches threatening to leave the denomination if the paper passed. Annual Conference in Baltimore was one of the most intense in recent church history…. Many credited Dr. Hoffman’s compassionate, reasonable, and open leadership style for keeping the lid on the explosive issue.” Throughout his years in college leadership roles, Hoffman and his family continued to farm. He is survived by his wife, Joanna Begerow Hoffman; son-in-law John Wagoner, son Dan and Dawn (Robbins) Hoffman, son John and Sandra (Sharp) Hoffman, and son Jim and Lisa (Lee) Hoffman; grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by daughter Deb Wagoner, grandson Samuel Dean Hoffman, and great-granddaughter Ophelia (Hoffman) Santillan. A memorial service was held on the afternoon of Saturday, Oct. 8, at McPherson Church of the Brethren (a recording of the livestreamed service is at–J5woE8Feg). Memorial gifts are received to the Joanna and Paul Hoffman Scholarship Fund at McPherson College. Find an online obituary and opportunity to send condolences to the family at Find the remembrance from McPherson College at

The disaster ministry of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) has sent a link to a video of a news program featuring their work to distribute relief goods to the CAN Center for displaced people in the northern Nigerian city of Maiduguri. Go to Reported director Yuguda Ndurvwa about the way the video came about: “They heard about our good work and showed interest in the work, so we made the arrangement through a Maiduguri reporter, he is an EYN member.”

Please pray… For the families, friends, congregations, and communities of those whose losses we remember in this issue of Newsline.

Remembrance: Larry Lee Elliott (81), former business manager and field representative for the Church of the Brethren Mission in Nigeria, who held a significant role in merging the mission into Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria), died Oct. 5 in Fort Collins, Colo., surrounded by his family. He was born Oct. 8, 1940, on a farm near Fredericksburg, Iowa, to Mildred (Small) and Glen Elliott. In 1962, he graduated from McPherson (Kan.) College with a business and economics degree and began two years of Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) in Garkida, Nigeria, as a conscientious objector doing alternative service, witnessing to his strong belief in peace. As a BVSer he worked in the business office of the Church of the Brethren Mission. While in Nigeria, he fell in love with the land, the people, and his church work. He returned to McPherson College as an assistant in the business office. In 1965, he married Donna McBride, also from Fredericksburg, who was his longtime sweetheart. They went to Nigeria in 1966 as mission workers, and their two daughters were born there. Elliott’s work in Nigeria over some 22 years included significant service to integrate the Church of the Brethren Mission into EYN. He served as business manager/treasurer for the mission until 1981, when he was succeeded by Nigerian church leader Jesse Shinggu. From 1966 to 1976 he also served as treasurer for the Nigerian church that became EYN, turning that post over to Nigerian church leader Karagama Gadzama in 1976. From 1975 to 1988, Elliott was field representative for the mission, working out of the city of Jos. In 1988, the Church of the Brethren Mission became fully integrated into EYN. Back in the United States, he took the position of sales and marketing director at Pinecrest, a Church of the Brethren-related retirement community in Mount Morris, Ill. While there, the couple were active members of Mount Morris Church of the Brethren. He retired from Pinecrest in Jan. 2005 after having a brain tumor in Oct. 2004. In June 2013, the Elliotts moved to Fort Collins to live near their daughters and families. In Colorado, they have been active in Peace Community Church of the Brethren in Windsor, where a memorial service was held on Sunday afternoon, Oct. 9. He is survived by his wife, Donna; daughters Deanna (Dean) and Julie (Bryan); and grandchildren. Memorial gifts are received to EYN and to Brethren Disaster Ministries.

Remembrance: Ruben D. Deoleo (62), a former director of Intercultural Ministries for the Church of the Brethren who was instrumental in efforts toward Annual Conference action on intercultural ministry, died Oct. 5 at his residence in Lancaster, Pa., following a long illness. Born in Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic, he was the son of Heriberta Rodriguez Vda De Oleo of Lancaster and the late Daniel Enrique De Oleo. He was the husband of Rosanna Deoleo for 16 years. He held a degree in law from University O&M in Santo Domingo, where he later practiced law, and also held a license to be a real estate agent and notary public as well as ordination in the church. He served as a pastor, chaplain, and church planter over the course of his church career. He first was ordained as a Mennonite pastor in the Dominican Republic. His pastorates in the Church of the Brethren included Alpha and Omega Church of the Brethren in Lancaster. Recently, he was being ministered to by Laurel Street Mennonite Church. His service on the staff of the Church of the Brethren began in Nov. 2007 when he started as a member of the former Congregational Life Team and director for Cross-Cultural Ministries. In 2009 he shifted to fulltime work with Intercultural Ministries, continuing in that position until 2011. He also worked with the Church of the Brethren’s Atlantic Northeast District as coordinator for Hispanic Ministry, and planted and helped to develop new congregations. His efforts for intercultural ministry across the denomination included instrumental work toward Annual Conference action, which culminated in the 2007 Annual Conference statement “Becoming a Multi-Ethnic Church.” He was elected by Annual Conference to the Study Committee: Multi-Ethnic Church/Cross-Cultural Ministries, serving on the committee for two years. He is survived by his wife, Rosanna; children Marirub Daribel Deoleo, Ruben Deoleo, and Ruby Mabel Deoleo Pierre, wife of Herby Pierre; and grandchildren. A memorial service was held on Sunday afternoon, Oct. 9, at Mountville (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. Memorial gifts are received to Laurel Street Mennonite Church. Find an online obituary and opportunity to share condolences with the family at

Remembrance: Glen M. Faus (86) of Manheim, Pa., who was instrumental in founding Church of the Brethren Youth Services, now COBYS Family Services, a nonprofit affiliated with the church’s Atlantic Northeast District, died on Oct. 4 at Pleasant View Retirement Community with his wife and children at his side. Born in Rapho Township, Pa., he was the son of Henry G. Faus and Verna M. Koser Faus. He was the husband of Sheryl B. Strom Faus for 62 years. He was a dedicated member of Chiques Church of the Brethren, where he served as a bi-vocational minister for 50-plus years and moderator for 8 years. He held a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and religion from McPherson (Kan.) College and attended Bethany Theological Seminary in Oak Brook, Ill. While working as a probation officer for the County of Lancaster, he envisioned a Christian-based agency to help children and youth. In 1979, he was instrumental in founding COBYS Family Services, a ministry dedicated to providing foster care, adoption, counseling, family life education, and permanency services for children and families at risk. He retired in 2001 after 22 years as executive director. He also was a part-time farmer and gardener. He is survived by his wife; children Glenda M. Faus of Longmont, Colo., Jeffrey S., husband of Jenny A. Stover Faus of Wichita, Kan., and Krista B., wife of Edward E. Allison Jr. of Millersville; and grandchildren. A memorial service was held on Monday afternoon, Oct. 10, at Lancaster (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. Memorial gifts are received to COBYS Family Services. A livestream of the service can be viewed at Find an online obituary and opportunity to express condolences to the family at

— The Church of the Brethren seeks applicants for a full-time salaried position of executive director of Discipleship and Leadership Formation. Providing executive leadership and oversight in a reconfigured program area, the executive director will guide the Discipleship Ministries and Office of Ministry staff to foster the discipleship and leadership formation of pastors, youth and young adults, and congregations through events, resources, and ministries that live out of the strategic plan of the Church of the Brethren Mission and Ministry Board. Additional responsibilities include collaborating with staff and networking with district and congregational leadership to discern and address the ministry needs of the church. This person will oversee the day-to-day operations of these areas, including staff support, supervision, evaluation, budget development and review, reporting, and workload management. Required skills and knowledge include grounding in Church of the Brethren heritage, theology, and polity; ability to articulate and operate out of the vision of the Church of the Brethren; 10 years of pastoral ministry, including administration; expertise and skills in group dynamics, including networking with diverse groups of people; and knowledge and experience in budget development and management. A master of divinity degree or equivalent is required. Full COVID-19 vaccination is a condition of employment. The position is based at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill.; location is negotiable. A position description will be provided upon request. Applications will be reviewed and will continue to be accepted until the position is filled. Qualified candidates are invited to send a cover letter and resume to; Office of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; 800-323-8039 ext. 367. The Church of the Brethren is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

— Onekama (Mich.) Church of the Brethren’s entry in the scarecrow contest that happens every October. “Marilyn Acker, who is the daughter of the first woman in Michigan to be licensed to the ministry in the Church of the Brethren, is the person who has made this event happen for years,” reported pastor Frances Townsend, who helped decorate the scarecrow along with Alice Ross. The church is the white building in the background. (Photo by Frances Townsend)

— Womaen’s Caucus, a church-related organization, has announced a new series of Zoom “Thinking Sessions” following on its luncheon at the 2022 Church of the Brethren Annual Conference. “We intentionally built a program that encouraged table discussions among new and long-standing friends,” said an announcement. “With enthusiasm and hope, table groups shared their perceptions of challenges now facing women and ways that Womaen’s Caucus could work to address them. The overwhelming plea was for Caucus to bring people together to learn and support one another.”

The Zoom conversation series on the theme “Living as an Intergenerational Church” begins Oct. 20, at 8 p.m. (Eastern time), with a session on the topic of faith and reproductive rights. For 75 minutes, large and small group conversations will study denominational statements and the work of well-regarded non-Church of the Brethren voices. Prior to the discussion, participants are encouraged to browse online resources that can be accessed through a link on the caucus website. Look for the Zoom link for “Faith and Reproductive Rights” at beginning Oct. 18. For additional information, send an email to

— Church World Service (CWS) is asking for advocacy on behalf of those affected by the recent decision of the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in the case Texas v. United States to end Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy. “This decision leaves hundreds of thousands of immigrant youth at risk and will prevent thousands of DACA-eligible persons from rightfully applying for temporary relief,” said an action alert from CWS. “We must be committed to protect and defend Dreamers against a life of uncertainty and invest in immigrant protections and dignity. It is critical that Congress immediately provides a pathway to citizenship for all Dreamers who should be able to safely and permanently reside in the US.” The alert suggested “top ways to take action” including contacting members of Congress “to support a permanent pathways to citizenship for undocumented immigrants” and sharing on social media.

— Creation Justice Ministries is celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the National Marine Sanctuaries Act, on Sunday, Oct. 23. “This is such an exciting and momentous occasion,” said an announcement. “Unfortunately, our nation’s marine sanctuaries have not been treated with the best care and gentleness these past 50 years. With this anniversary fast approaching, we need to fulfill our call from God to care for God’s Creation.” The organization, which is a partner with the Church of the Brethren’s Office of Peacebuilding and Policy, is offering resources to protect and restore sacred marine sanctuaries through advocacy, prayer, and community action. Find out more at

— Peggy Reiff Miller, a Church of the Brethren member who is an expert on the history of Heifer Project and the “seagoing cowboys,” is giving a presentation at the Dayton (Ohio) International Peace Museum. The event takes place Saturday, Oct. 15, at 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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