Brethren bits for Aug. 12, 2023

Remembrance: Phyllis J. Carter, 92, of Goshen, Ind., a former moderator of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference who also held other key leadership positions in the denomination, died Aug. 10 at Majestic Healthcare of Goshen. She was born in Middletown, Ohio, on Dec. 28, 1930, to William J. and Beatrice (Sloan) Noland. She married John W. Carter in 1948. He died in 2010. They were married for 62 years. She studied at Ball State, Earlham School of Religion, Bethany Theological Seminary, and Associated Biblical Seminary. She was a graduate of the Shalem Institute, Washington (D.C.) University. She was ordained to the ministry at Bethel Center Church of the Brethren in Hartford City, Ind., in 1969, and pastored several churches in Indiana and Florida until retiring from the pastorate in 1992. In addition to serving as moderator of Annual Conference in 1992–serving as the second woman to be elected to the top leadership position in the Church of the Brethren–she also served on the former General Board and chaired the board’s World Ministry Commission, and was district executive of Florida/Puerto District. Additionally, in 1997 she was interim vice president of Student Affairs at Goshen College. After retiring, she continued ministry by speaking at conferences and retreats. She was a spiritual director and a lay Cistercian of the Abbey of Gethsemani and followed the rule of St. Benedict. She helped establish the Quiet Place Retreat Center at Camp Mack in Milford, Ind. She is survived by sons Jay W. (Angie) Carter of Decatur, Ind., and Jeff A. Carter of Goshen, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Viewing will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 15, from 10 a.m. until the funeral service at 1 p.m. at Yoder-Culp Funeral Home in Goshen. Burial will follow at West Goshen Cemetery. Memorial gifts are received to the Abbey of Gethsemani, 3642 Monks Road, Trappist, KY 40051.

Brethren Disaster Ministries has shared a prayer request for volunteers from Shenandoah District who were in a van accident: “We join the Shenandoah District in prayer for the team of faithful BDM volunteers who were involved in a van accident on Saturday morning, Aug 5, and the leadership that has responded to the needs of the group. The incident happened several hours into their drive home from rebuilding in Dawson Springs, Kentucky. BDM staff have been in close contact with members of the group and District leadership in the last few days, and they have shared that while there were some injuries, none of them are life threatening and all but one of the team has returned home as of today [Wednesday, Aug. 9]. Please keep all involved in your prayers, especially for quick healing for those who are injured.”

Remembrance: Sandra Lee Meyer, 81, of Fox River Grove, Ill., a former employee of the Church of the Brethren denomination who for a time worked at the General Offices in Elgin, Ill., died on May 15. She attended Barrington High School and Elgin Community College. In addition to her work for the church, she raised her children as a stay-at-home mother, did advertising for a local newspaper, and before retirement worked alongside her husband running their home inspection business. She was preceded in death by her husband of 61 years, Allan. She is survived by children Debbie and Mick, son and daughter-in-law, Joe and Heather, and grandchildren. A memorial service was held at Willow Creek Chapel in South Barrington, Ill., on June 3. Find a full obituary at

Shelly K. Haas of Roanoke (Va.) Oak Grove Church of the Brethren began on July 15 as Financial Services coordinator for the Church of the Brethren’s Virlina District. As she serves part-time with the district, she continues her full-time employment with Marsh and McLennan in the accounting department.

The Church of the Brethren’s Mid-Atlantic District seeks candidates for the fulltime position of district executive minister. The district includes 59 congregations in 5 states: Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. The district is very spread out, creating a challenge for district leadership to attend to all parts of the district. After receiving feedback from around the district and being mindful of the challenge it can be for a single district staff person to provide in-person executive support for such a widespread area, the district is subsequently committed to developing a small team, supervised by the district executive minister, to mitigate some of the geographical challenges. With the support of this team, the district executive minister can spend less time in travel and be freed to manage time and workload more effectively. The office is located in Westminster, Md. Travel is required both within and outside of the district. Responsibilities include direction, coordination, management, and leadership of the district ministries, as authorized by the District Conference and implemented by the District Leadership Team; work with congregations in calling and credentialing ministers and in placement/call and evaluation of pastoral staff; provide support and counsel for ministers and other church leaders; share and interpret program resources for congregations; equip congregations for growth and renewal and encourage new church planting, evangelism, and missions; provide an important link between the congregations and the district and denomination by working collaboratively with the Council of District Executives and with Annual Conference and its agencies and their staff. Qualifications and experience include ordination in the Church of the Brethren; a master of divinity preferred with other approved ministry training programs considered; skills in organization, administration, and communication; commitment to the Church of the Brethren locally and denominationally and willingness to work ecumenically; demonstrated leadership skills; pastoral experience preferred. Apply by sending a letter of interest and resume to Nancy Sollenberger Heishman, director of the Church of the Brethren’s Office of Ministry, via email at Applicants are requested to contact three people to provide letters of reference. Upon receipt of a resume, a candidate profile will be sent that must be completed and returned before the application is considered complete. Applications are accepted until the position is filled.

Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., seeks candidates for the position of admissions recruiter. This is a full-time, exempt, administrative faculty position. Responsibilities include to oversee direct contact with potential students to help generate robust enrollment and to work with students to complete the full application process. The position engages in face-to-face and virtual interactions and candidates must be able to demonstrate excitement and enthusiasm in a wide variety of recruitment situations, and discuss discernment with prospective students to solidify a start date. This position requires extensive travel within the US. Salary will be commensurate with qualifications. Minimum qualifications include admissions or relevant sales and marketing experience in higher education, preferred; a bachelor’s degree; familiarity with seminaries and theological education, preferred; affinity with the values and mission of the seminary, required; understanding of the Church of the Brethren in the Anabaptist-Pietist tradition, preferred; among others. Application reviews have begun and will continue until an appointment is made. For the full job description go to To apply send a letter of interest, resume, and contact information for three references to, Attn: Lori Current, Bethany Theological Seminary, 615 National Road West, Richmond, IN 47374. 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.

Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) deployed a small team of two volunteers to Edina, Mo., for a one-day response at a MARC (Multi-Agency Resource Center). The deployment was in response to a tornado that affected Baring, in Knox County, Mo., on Aug. 4.

— In related news, the next volunteer trainings for Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) have been announced for this fall: on Oct. 20-21 at Bridgewater (Va.) Church of the Brethren, and on Oct. 27-28 at Skyridge Church of the Brethren in Kalamazoo, Mich. To find out more and to register for a training workshop, go to

The annual World Hunger Auction sponsored by Antioch Church of the Brethren in Rocky Mount, Va., is this Saturday, Aug. 12, starting at 9:30 a.m. The event raises significant funds for hunger and food security needs around the world.

After a devastating explosion destroyed the Rapho Township municipal complex and damaged some nearby homes in Manheim, Pa., on July 5, East Fairview Church of the Brethren has been helping out in a variety of ways including hosting meetings and aiding those affected by the disaster. “No one was hurt, but the township lost its public works equipment and building,” one media report said. “The blast could be heard and felt from as far away as Elizabethtown, Columbia and Millersville,” said another. Read more about the explosion at,, and

Trotwood (Ohio) Church of the Brethren is hosting a presentation titled “Ecuadorian Amazon: Deep Jungle Learning Tour” given by Rex Miller on Sunday, Aug. 27, at 4 p.m. Miller “will talk about his recent visit to Ecuador. This was a compelling encounter with nature, both fauna (toucans, monkeys, sloths, pink dolphins, snakes and a myriad of other creatures) and flora (a bursting cacophony of plants of all shapes and sizes),” said an announcement shared by Southern Ohio and Kentucky District. “We visited native communities of the Siona, Secopia, Cofan, and Shuar where we learned of their cultures and the forest around them. The threats that existed for them and their lands were the oil companies, palm oil plantations, settlers, all of which endanger this place and its people.”

A local historical society is honoring the historic Hurricane Creek Church of the Brethren in Smithboro, Ill., reports WGEL News. The Bond County Historical and Genealogical societies will conduct their annual rural church meeting at the church on Aug. 22. The public is invited and urged to bring their memories of the neighborhood called Pleasant Mound, said the report. A potluck dinner will start at 6 p.m., with the program following the meal. “The Hurricane Creek German Baptist Brethren congregation was established in 1843 and the church building was built in 1874, then moved one mile to its current location in 1908,” said the article. See

The Peace Affairs Committee of Virlina District is planning two events related to the International Day of Peace this September: a worship service and prayers for peace at Smith Mountain Lake Community Church of the Brethren on Sunday, Sept. 17, at 3 p.m. with guest speaker Josh Brockway, director of Spiritual Formation for the Church of the Brethren; and an ecumenical prayer walk for peace in Roanoke, Va., on Thursday, Sept. 21, beginning at 6 p.m. at the Gainsboro Library. “The walk will be approximately 2 miles with stops for prayer at several predominantly African-American Churches in Northwest Roanoke,” said the announcement.

Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) is offering a “mini course” titled “Armenia at War: the Survival of the Church in the Oldest Christian State.” Said an invitation: “Join us beginning September 20th for this mini-course about Armenia and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. This three-week course will address several issues. The first week will focus on the sustainability of the church in the oldest Christian state, the history of the Armenian genocide, and the ongoing struggle to protect the Christian heritage and presence in Nagorno-Karabakh and Ancient Armenia. The second week will discuss the political dynamics in the ongoing Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The third session will be a prayer gathering, including Christian ministries in Armenia, and the opportunity to pray together for an end to the ongoing war and the sustainability of the church in the region.” The Church of the Brethren is a member of CMEP and has had historic involvement with and support for the Armenian community. Find out more and register at

Christian Churches Together (CCT) is holding its annual forum on Oct. 3-6 in Savannah, Ga. The event will gather leaders and representatives of the ecumenical organization’s 30-plus communions and organizations representing Orthodox, Catholic, mainline Protestant, Evangelical, Pentecostal, and historic Black churches to “pilgrimage together on the Historic Baptismal Trail, pray and dialogue with one another, and experience each other’s traditions in shared worship as we seek to love, learn, and lead together,” said an announcement. The theme is “Water that Unites and Water that Divides: Baptism and the Journey to Unity and Reconciliation.” The Church of the Brethren is a member denomination of CCT.

Resources newly available for World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel include reflections, prayers, and more. These resources are now available online through the World Council of Churches (WCC) “to help churches and all people of good will to observe the World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel,” said an announcement. The week is scheduled to take place on Sept. 16-23. It includes the International Day of Prayer for Peace on Sept. 21. Churches and people of faith “are encouraged to bear a common witness by participating in worship services, educational events, and acts of support in favor of peace and justice for Palestinians and Israelis. While commemorating 75 years of Nakba (catastrophe) of the Palestinian people since 1948, the preparatory committee for this year’s materials questioned the injustice in all this for the family and chose the Bible verse Matthew 8:20 to lay down the issue as presented by Jesus Christ: ‘Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.’ From this verse comes the theme of the 2023 World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel, “No place to lay my head,” reflecting the challenge for Palestinian families as well as other people facing difficulties to a uniting home.” WCC general secretary Jerry Pillay has “reiterated that the WCC stands with Palestinian and Israeli people as they seek peace, justice, and reconciliation.” He said in the release: “We must work together to build a better, more humane, and more secure future for all. Children and families should not have to exist in a state of uncertainty and division–particularly not for decade after decade. It is time to seek just peace in the context of Palestine and Israel so that families can lay down their heads in peace, love, unity and joy.” To find out more and to download worship resources go to

The WCC also reiterated the need for a nuclear weapons-free world, during this week that included the Aug. 6 and Aug. 9 anniversaries of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, by the United States. The World Council of Churches joined the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons and other groups in urging nuclear-armed and nuclear umbrella countries to join the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. “Though the destruction of Nagasaki still stands as the last time an atomic bomb was used in conflict, it was followed by decades of nuclear weapon testing programmes involving thousands of nuclear detonations around the world, in faraway places where the Indigenous populations and environments continue to suffer the consequences,” said Peter Prove, director of the WCC Commission of the Churches on International Affairs, in a release. “And now the unlikely combination of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and a Hollywood ‘blockbuster’ have thrust the existential threat of nuclear conflagration back into the public consciousness…. It’s finally time for the stupidest and most catastrophically destructive weapons ever invented by human beings–or more specifically, men–to be eliminated. So let’s do it.”

The signing of an interfaith “Declaration for the Care of Creation” is planned for next week in Chicago, Ill. Up to 10,000 people from 80 countries are expected at the Parliament of the World’s Religions meeting in Chicago on Aug. 14-18. The signing ceremony is expected to be a part of that meeting, taking place next Thursday morning at McCormick Place Convention Center. The ceremony is sponsored by Ecumenism Metro Chicago and Chicagoland Christians United for the Care of Creation. The Church of the Brethren’s Illinois and Wisconsin District is a member of Ecumenism Metro Chicago and has helped publicize the event.

The youth peace camp of San Diego (Calif.) Church of the Brethren inspired a poem by Ernie McCray published by the “Ocean Beach Rag” news site, titled “What Does it Take to Be a Peacemaker?” Here are a few lines from the closing stanzas:

“When I arrived home
I felt hope
in my soul
and in my bones.

“Listening to those kids
I sense they’re on the right track
to creating
a peaceful world….”

Read the full poem at


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