Donna Kline has announced her retirement as director of Deacon Ministries for the Church of the Brethren, as of July 11. She has held this position in Congregational Life Ministries for more than five years, since Oct. 20, 2008.
Things were a little sparse in the primary Sunday school class the weekend after Thanksgiving. Only two little girls were there, one of them a visitor. Elbow-deep in the glitter and glue of the construction paper Advent wreathes they were making, the visiting kindergartner smiled at the other and said, “Wanna make friends?”
McPherson (Kan.) College is offering a series of courses and webinars for the purpose of training and supporting small congregations, under the title “Ventures in Christian Discipleship.” Campus minister Steve Crain and Ken and Elsie Holderread from Western Plains District are co-coordinators for the series.
Throughout the Strengthening Your Small Congregation event, leaders of small churches received essentially the same guidance from various speakers and workshop leaders: know yourself, know your congregation, seek out God’s purpose for you and your church. Organized in large part by the Congregational Life Ministries of the Church of the Brethren, the event was the brainchild of the pastors of two small congregations in Indiana–Kay Gaier of Wabash Church of the Brethren and Brenda Hostetler Meyer of Benton Mennonite Church.
“It’s not too late, save the date,” reminds the Church of the Brethren’s Deacon Ministry office. Just a few days remain before registration ends for the first deacon training event of 2013.
Worship, workshops, and fellowship are standard components of deacon training, but when staff from Middle Pennsylvania District asked about hosting a day of training at the Village at Morrisons Cove, they requested that the focus be on ministry specific to older adults.
This reflection first appeared in the August issue of the “Deacon Update,” an e-mail newsletter from the denominational Deacon Ministry. For more deacon ministry resources, past copies of the “Deacon Update,” or to subscribe to the newsletter, go to www.brethren.org/deacons/resources.html : “A couple of months ago I took down the robins’ nest from behind the wreath on our front porch….”
The Church of the Brethren Deacon Ministry has scheduled five workshops this fall, offering training for deacons in local congregations.
A newly revised and expanded “Deacon Manual” is nearing completion, with delivery scheduled for this summer, reports Donna Kline, director of the Church of the Brethren’s Deacon Ministries. The new two-volume set offers one volume for individual and group study, while the second volume is designed to accompany deacons as they minister in homes, hospitals, and the many other places they serve.
Two deacon training workshops will be held in St. Louis on Saturday, July 7, prior to the start of the 2012 Annual Conference. The workshops are sponsored by the Church of the Brethren Deacon Ministry, a part of Congregational Life Ministries. Both workshops will be held in the America’s Center convention center, Room 122.