Brethren bits for Feb. 16, 2024

The Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership, with offices at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., seeks an administrative assistant. The academy is a ministry training partnership of Bethany Seminary and the Church of the Brethren, through the denomination’s Office of Ministry. This is a part-time, non-exempt position requiring 25 to 30 hours per week, at a pay range of $16 to $18 per hour. Responsibilities include providing direct secretarial and administrative support to the academy staff, students, and programs. Qualifications include a high school diploma (required) and an associate degree (preferred), clerical experience (preferred), professional and interpersonal skills as well as organizational skills, good proofreading skills, knowledge of Microsoft Office suite and databases, bilingual ability in English and Spanish (preferred), among others. Applications are being received and will be reviewed until the position is filled. Apply by sending a resume, letter of interest, and contact information for three references by email to Janet L. Ober Lambert, Director, Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership, 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. Find the full position description at

Nate Polzin, executive director of Discipleship and Leadership Formation for the Church of the Brethren, is the presenter at “For My Neighbor’s Good—Brethren Evangelism Training Event,” sponsored by Shenandoah District and Pleasant Valley Church of the Brethren in Weyers Cave, Va. “This training will focus on helping participants connect the story of how they have encountered Jesus in their lives with the needs of others in their neighborhoods who have not yet met Jesus,” said an announcement. It is planned for Saturday, April 20, from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., with breakfast and lunch provided. Continuing education credit will be available. There is no cost to attend.

The planning team for the next National Older Adult Conference (NOAC) held meetings earlier this week at the Church of the Brethren General Offices: (from left) Bonnie Kline Smeltzer of the University Baptist and Brethren congregation in State College, Pa.; Heidi Berkenbosch of Prairie City (Iowa) Church of the Brethren; Christy Waltersdorff, NOAC coordinator; Deanna Brown of Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren in Fort Wayne, Ind.; Leonard Matheny of Peoria (Ill.) Church of the Brethren; and Karlene Tyler of McPherson (Kan.) Church of the Brethren. Not pictured: Don Mitchell of Harrisburg (Pa.) First Church of the Brethren. Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford

Michael Schneider, president of McPherson (Kan.) College, recently received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Higher Education Management Executive Doctoral program at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. “President Schneider’s passionate vision to elevate liberal arts through an entrepreneurial mindset has sparked the imagination of an entire campus,” said a release from McPherson College. “Under his leadership in the past year, the college gained recognition for having a student-restored 1953 Mercedes-Benz 300 S Cabriolet win second in the Post-War Luxury Class at the Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance, the most prestigious car show in the world. Additionally, the college achieved a historic milestone by securing a $1 billion endowment commitment, one of the largest philanthropic commitments in the history of higher education.” Schneider, a 1996 graduate of McPherson, became president in 2009 as one of the youngest college presidents in the country. He has served as board chair of the Associated Colleges of Central Kansas, Kansas Campus Compact, and Kansas Independent College Association; as executive committee member of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities; and as national advisory board member for Future Business Leaders of America and Distributive Education Clubs of America.

“Who is my Neighbor?” is the theme for the Feb. 23-25 Roundtable weekend for senior high youth, to be held at Bridgewater (Va.) College. The guest speakers are the sister and brother team of Chelsea Goss Skillen, director of Brethren Volunteer Service, and Tyler Goss, director of Student Engagement and Leadership Development at Eastern Mennonite University. Cost for the full weekend is $70, including meals. Registration is required. Go to

A grant opportunity for creative church projects has been announced by the Brotherhood Mutual Foundation, a nonprofit connected with the Brotherhood Mutual insurance company, with which the Mutual Aid Agency ( and the Church of the Brethren denomination engage. “The Kingdom Advancing Grant supports innovative church programs or initiatives that not only connect people with Jesus but also are sustainable over time and can be replicated by other churches,” said the announcement. “During 2022, the inaugural year of the Kingdom Advancing Grant, the Brotherhood Mutual Foundation awarded a total of $150,000 to four churches for their innovative programs. And in 2023, $150,000 was awarded to five churches. Each Kingdom Advancing Grant recipient not only receives funding for their initiative or program, but also is paired with an experienced ministry leader who can provide guidance and assistance.” The grant is designed to support church programs or initiatives that are: intended to help build the Kingdom by introducing people to Jesus or strengthening their relationship with Jesus; involve a unique idea that’s innovative, creative, and new, and that other churches are not already doing; can be sustained over time; and can be replicated by other churches. The deadline to apply is March 31. Final decisions for the current round of grants will be made by July 2024. Go to

The Peace Pilgrimage, an eight-day march calling for peace and a ceasefire in Israel and Palestine, which is co-sponsored by the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) among other groups, has received media attention from Religion News Service (RNS). Read the RNS story about the origins of the event, which started on Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday, at At least two or three Church of the Brethren members may be participating on one or more days of the march that will take participants from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. Jennifer Hosler, a pastor at Washington City Church of the Brethren, has been involved as one of the local, individual organizers.

The World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Jerry Pillay will visit Israel and Palestine to “call for just peace,” said a release from the WCC. “Member churches, religious leaders and local Christian groups in Palestine and Israel—as well as Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli president Isaac Herzog—will meet with World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Jerry Pillay as he visits the area beginning 16 February,” said the release. The visit will be Pillay’s first to the region, and will open with a meeting with the Patriarchs and heads of churches in Jerusalem. He will be accompanied by Dr Audeh Quawas (WCC central committee member), Marianne Ejdersten (WCC director of Communication) and Yusef Daher (coordinator, WCC Jerusalem Liaison Office).

In the category of “Brethren in the news,” Judith Steckly of Lincolnshire Church of the Brethren in Fort Wayne, Ind., was the winner of the “Golden Pen” for December 2023 for her letter to the editors of Fort Wayne’s Journal Gazette. “In the judgment of the editors, her Dec. 20 letter was the month’s most effective,” said the announcement from the newspaper. “The recognition expresses The Journal Gazette’s appreciation for the contribution our letter writers make to the editorial page.” Steckly’s letter focused on the plight of refugees. “Part of Steckly’s teaching involved English as a second language, which gave her special insight into the dilemmas faced by people in search of a better life,” said the announcement, quoting Steckly’s comment that “I’m familiar with the hardships refugees go through.” Read more at

“Black History Names to Note: Selma to Montgomery Marchers”: A recognition shared by the National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA:


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