From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
Newsline - Church of the Brethren weekly news update
Church of the Brethren News Services
15 Oct 1998 22:01:02
Date: Oct. 16, 1998
Contact: Nevin Dulabaum
V: 847/742-5100 F: 847/742-6103
Newsline Oct. 16, 1998
1) The General Board is expected to determine the future of SERRV
International during its fall meetings.
2) Emergency Disaster Fund allocates $10,000 for work following
Hurricane Georges; $65,000 more has been requested.
3) The Annual Atlantic Northeast/Southern Pennsylvania Disaster
Auction has raised $540,000 so far this year.
4) The 4,700 pairs of eyeglasses collected at National Youth
Conference will be delivered to El Salvador early next year;
2,000 more pairs are still being sought.
5) Church World Service launches Disaster News Network on the World
6) Twelve Brethren are training to become denominational leadership
7) A 32-page Peace Book is now available.
8) The Death Row Support Project receives a special recognition
9) The sale of surplus Rubbermaid products nets more than $8,000
for disaster response.
10) Applications for next year's Ministry Summer Service are
11) Applications for next year's Youth Peace Travel Team are
12) The Brethren's Home breaks ground on its new cottage community.
13) It's a record enrollment year for Bridgewater (Va.) College.
14) The November Source resource packet has been mailed.
15) The General Board and West Marva District announce a change to
their joint job search.
16) Mary Cline Detrick resigns from Church Women United.
17) The Mission and Ministries Planning Council reports on its
18) Barry Conn, pastor of Pike Run Church of the Brethren, the
third Brethren church to be destroyed or damaged by fire
earlier this year, reports on Pike Run's rebuilding
process and progress.
1) Will SERRV International, the Church of the Brethren General
Board's $5 million ministry that assists artisans in developing
countries, become an independent, Brethren-related agency? That
question is perhaps the most significant item of business General
Board members will address over the next week as they convene for
their fall meetings at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor,
It is somewhat ironic yet timely that the Board's practice of
convening in New Windsor once every five years falls at this
particular time, as Board members will be residing and meeting for
a few days on the same campus as SERRV's offices during the time
they will be asked to reach a final decision pertaining to SERRV's
future. SERRV currently sells products produced by artisans from
more than 40 developing countries in gift shops, at conferences and
through hundreds of Protestant and Catholic churches.
At its June meetings in Orlando, the Board took a vote that
essentially affirmed the direction of SERRV becoming an independent
agency on Jan. 1 or whenever it thereafter becomes a nonprofit
corporation. The Board will be asked to --
* allow SERRV to separate from the General Board to become a
new, nonprofit corporation;
* "gift the balance sheet of the SERRV program less amounts
owed to the General Board as of Jan. 1, 1999, or later,
when nonprofit status is completed";
* and to lend up to $650,000 to the new SERRV at up to 8.5
percent for three years, with one-third of the principle
to be paid each year.
Steps needed for the separation to occur are underway, including
the naming of the proposed board of directors for the new
organization. In addition, SERRV employees on Oct. 1 were given
their 90-day notices of termination from the General Board, pending
the Board's approval of the separation. All employees were
reportedly offered positions in the new organization.
During its business sessions Sunday afternoon and Monday, the Board
is also expected to --
* consider a new church development proposal.
* consider a ministerial leadership paper that, if approved,
will be forwarded for action by Annual Conference
* hear a report on the Board's financial picture.
* take action on the proposed 1999 budget.
* hear a plethora of reports.
Tuesday morning will be used for the first meetings of the Board's
new task groups -- Faith Formation, Leadership, Outreach and
Official meetings actually began Thursday with orientation for new
members. Today's agenda will consist of Executive Committee
Two agenda items are scheduled for Saturday. Ellen Morseth of
Center for Transforming Religious Leadership will hold a
spirituality workshop from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. This workshop is
open to all. From 3 to 5 p.m., the executive directors of the other
four official Annual Conference agencies -- Association of Brethren
Caregivers, Bethany Theological Seminary, Brethren Benefit Trust
and On Earth Peace Assembly -- will deliver reports.
A special edition of Newsline recapping the events of the meetings
will be produced next week. Photographs from the meetings will be
posted on www.brethren.org.
2) A $10,000 allocation from the Church of the Brethren General
Board's Emergency Disaster Fund was granted Oct. 7 to assist Church
World Service in response to damage caused by Hurricane Georges.
This money will assist in the shipping of material resources to
Puerto Rico, Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
Miller Davis, manager of Emergency Response/Service Ministries and
administrator of the EDF fund, has requested an additional $65,000
in response to Hurricane Georges. Although $5,000 would go toward
an earlier CWS appeal, the remaining funds would be used
distributed as follows --
* $10,000 to assist in shipping medicines to Haiti.
* $15,000 to assist in shipping medicines to the Dominican
* $35,000 to be used for opening disaster response operations
in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.
Davis also requested and received approval to send $5,000 from the
Emergency Disaster Fund to assist Church World Service in response
to flooding in Mexico. The official death toll from more than a
week of flooding in Chiapas is more than 160, but some estimates
have the death toll at 800.
3) The annual Atlantic Northeast/Southern Pennsylvania Disaster
Relief Auction, held Sept. 25-26 in Lebanon, Pa., has raised
$540,000 this year to date, which includes earnings from the
auction, $108,000 from the sale of a house, and about $20,000
raised at this year's June kickoff dinner.
An estimated 9,000 people attended the auction, an event
traditionally marked by fellowship and generosity.
Of the main categories of items sold, quilts raised $51,000 (with
a Mariner's Compass quilt made by Lititz, Pa., Church of the
Brethren earning the most -- $2,300); livestock $18,000; heifers
$71,000; baked goods $11,000; farmer's market $10,000; and other
The generosity was most evident in the sale of two items -- a doily
and a lemon sponge pie.
A crocheted doily, made by 98-year-old Ivy Alwine of Annville (Pa.)
Church of the Brethren, was auctioned five times, with the first
four purchasers turning the doily back in so that more money could
be raised. A lemon sponge pie was sold twice, for a total of $195.
Those who attend the auction annually know how one pie can raise so
much money. A few years ago, a man whose wife had recently died
offered not a cooked pie but a pie pan on a platter with a $20 bill
in the pan. That combination reportedly sold for much more than
$20. Since then, the platter has returned each year holding a pie.
Tradition continues to hold, as the pies held on that platter have
sold for a lot of money -- All in the name of community and
world-wide disaster response.
4) Some 4,700 pairs of eyeglasses collected and sorted at National
Youth Conference will make their way to a new refugee village in El
Salvador early next year. An Ohio opthamologist is forming a team
of 37 volunteers who will give eye exams to 600 villagers a day and
fit those who need glasses.
The village is Nuevo Esperanza ("New Hope"), formed of former war
refugees who had fled El Salvador but who have since returned. The
opthamologist is Bill Brinker of Kent, Ohio, for whom the trip Feb.
6-20 will mark his 40th optical ministry abroad.
Working with Brinker will be four opthamologists, four opticians,
an optometrist and other volunteers who will register and screen
Brinker first took eyeglasses to Vietnam. He has since carried out
optical missions to Africa, India, the Middle East, Asia and Latin
America. The February trip will be his fifth mission to El
Congregations and groups may still donate eyeglasses for El
Salvador (2,000 more pairs can be used). The glasses are to be sent
in carefully packed boxes to Youth/Young Adult Ministries, Church
of the Brethren General Offices, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120,
to be received by Jan. 8.
5) The first comprehensive Internet site of news and information
about faith-based disaster response and volunteer opportunities was
launched on Oct. 1 by Church World Service. Disaster News Network
is located at www.disasternews.net.
"Disaster News Network provides an excellent resource for sharing
the faith community's role in domestic emergency response," said
Rick Augsburger, director of the emergency response office of CWS.
"It has become an excellent medium for telling the story of
disaster survivors and faith-based response efforts. Church World
Service hopes the site will continue to become a valuable
information sharing tool for disaster survivors and response
organizations alike, lifting up the importance and effectiveness of
the ecumenical response."
The Church of the Brethren General Board's Emergency
Response/Service Ministries earlier this year went online in the
General Board's section of www.brethren.org.
6) Twelve Church of the Brethren leaders have begun an intense
program to become trainers of the Creative Church Leadership
Training Program, a ministry of The Center for Creative Church
Leadership, which is owned and operated by Pat Carlisle of
Lancaster, Pa. Though many General Board staff members and district
executives have already been trained through the program, the idea
is for Brethren-trained trainers to be able to train even more
Those participating in the program are Jim Chinworth, Manchester
College pastoral staff; Manual Diaz, part-time executive of
Southern Plains District and part-time Area 4 Congregational Life
Ministry staff; Chris Douglas, coordinator of Youth/Young Adult
Ministries for the General Board; Harriet Finney, part-time
executive of South/Central Indiana District and co-coordinator of
the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership; Ron Finney,
part-time executive of South/Central Indiana District and
co-coordinator of the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership;
Duane Grady, member of the General Board's Area 2 Congregational
Life Ministry staff; Nancy Knepper, coordinator of District
Ministries for the General Board; Linda Lambert, pastor from
Mid-Atlantic District; Don Myers, part-time director of the
nondegree training program of Bethany Theological Seminary's
Susquehanna Valley Satellite and part-time Area 1 Congregational
Life Ministry staff; David Smalley, coordinator of Area 4
Congregational Life Ministry team; Earl Stovall, pastor from Middle
Pennsylvania District; and Leon Yoder, pastor from Mid-Atlantic
Training the training trainees are Carlisle, Del Keeney and Earl
To become trainers, the group has or will participate in a series
of exercises, scheduled periodically from October through April --
"Developing Hardy Leaders," "Certification in the IGE Ethics
Process," "Certification Program for Edward de Bono's Six Thinking
Hats," "Certification Program for Edward de Bono's Lateral
Thinking," and "The Self-Differentiating Leader."
A practicum will conclude the program. Each trainee, working under
supervision, will teach a five-day intensive on the above topics.
This training initiative is sponsored by the General Board's
Ministry Office in cooperation with the Brethren Academy for
7) The Peace Book, a new 32-page, pocket-sized peace resource, has
just been published. It is designed "to encourage youth to think
about Christian peacemaking on global and personal levels,"
according to Karin Davidson of the Brethren Witness Office. This
replacement for the Brethren Witness Peace Packet is filled with
photos, information about war, peace and the biblical basis of
peacemaking. Free copies can be obtained by contacting the Brethren
Witness office at email@example.com or at 800 323-8039.
8) The Death Row Support Project, which is sponsored by the Church
of the Brethren General Board's Washington Office, recently
received a Special Recognition Award "for 20 years of dedicated
service" from the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.
This award was presented at the NCADP 18th Annual Conference held
in St. Louis; keynote speaker for the evening was actor Danny
Rachel Gross, a Church of the Brethren member from North
Manchester, Ind., and coordinator of DRSP, attended the conference
and accepted the award.
DRSP's primary objective is to find a pen pal for each death row
inmate. According to Gross, there currently are nearly 3,500 people
sitting on death row; 3,000 of them have pen pals. Although writing
letters is all that is expected of the pen pals, this relationship
occasionally leads to a pen pal writing to the prisoner's family,
sending care packages or assisting with legal advocacy.
Gross said there is a punitive atmosphere in the United States with
regard to death row inmates. Currently, a California couple whose
daughter was murdered is trying to get legislation approved that
would prevent prisoners from receiving mail from nonfamily members.
"We need to be reaching out to try and make the world a better
place," Gross said. "Many of us find it difficult to respond to
Jesus' call to visit those in prison, but writing a letter is
something most of us can do."
For more information, contact gross at firstname.lastname@example.org.
9) The sale of surplus, donated Rubbermaid commercial products
Sept. 18 at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. (see
Sept. 18 Newsline), netted over $8,000 for the Church of the
Brethren Mid-Atlantic District. According to Roy Johnson of the
Church of the Brethren General Board's Emergency Response/Service
Ministries, these funds will soon be transferred to the Emergency
Disaster Fund for use in future disaster response initiatives.
10) Applications for next summer's Ministry Summer Service, an
opportunity for college-age Brethren to be placed in a
congregational setting, are now available. MSS provides
participants the opportunity to explore a call to ministry, to work
under an experienced church leader and the chance to work through
the church in community, peace and justice concerns.
Volunteers will receive food, housing, a $45/month stipend "and
perhaps one of the most life-transforming experiences they'll ever
For more information, contact Youth/Young Adult Ministries at
email@example.com or at 800 323-8039.
11) Application forms for the 1999 Youth Peace Travel Team are now
available. Four people will be selected to serve on the team, which
is sponsored by the General Board's Youth/Young Adult Ministries
and Brethren Witness offices, by Outdoor Ministry Association and
On Earth Peace Assembly.
For more information, contact David Radcliff at
firstname.lastname@example.org or at 800 323-8039.
12) A groundbreaking ceremony was held in September by The
Brethren's Home of Greenville, Ohio, for Mill Ridge Village, the
home's new cottage home retirement community. Mill Ridge Village
will consist of six clusters of 12 to 14 cottages, a
6,000-square-foot community center, landscaped grounds, walking
trails and a putting green. The cottages will range from 1,100 to
1,400 square feet, and will come with one- or two-car garages. Cost
of a cottage with a one-car garage will range from $123,500 to
$149,500, depending on the design. All maintenance, taxes and
insurance will be included in the Mill Ridge Village service
program. For more information, call 937 547-8000.
13) It's a record enrollment year at Bridgewater (Va.) College.
Four years ago fall enrollment was 847. Since then it has grown 31
percent to reach 1,112 this year, surpassing the 1,100 mark for the
first time in the college's 118-year history. This year's freshmen
class is also the largest in the school's history -- 343. Last
year's freshmen class was 316.
President Phil Stone noted that college facilities have been built
for an enrollment of 1,200, which the college hopes to reach by the
fall semester in 2000.
14) The November Source resource packet has been mailed to each
Church of the Brethren congregation. Included in this issue is --
* a report from the General Board's Mission and Ministries
Planning Council (see number 17).
* a flier seeking suggestions for the Hymnal Pocket series, to
be published by Brethren Press in 2000.
* a Brethren Press Christmas flier.
* a flier for this year's Young Adult Conference, scheduled
for Nov. 26-28.
* information about National Donor Sabbath weekend, scheduled
for Nov. 13-15 and sponsored by Association of Brethren
* information about Peace Papers, a weekly lectionary-based
resource for children ages six to nine, produced by
Parenting for Peace and Justice Network.
* and a poster announcing National Junior High Sunday, Nov. 1.
For more information, contact Howard Royer at
email@example.com or at 800 323-8039.
15) There has been a change made to the job search for a part-time
executive of West Marva District/part-time General Board Area 3
Congregational Life Team member. Having had the search process open
since January but with no success at filling the joint position,
the West Marva District Search Committee and Congregational Life
Ministries have decided to continue their search to fill their
half-time positions, though the two positions are no longer
combined into one full-time assignment.
Both groups will now review qualifications for candidates and will
produce a job description. People interested in the district
executive position should contact Nancy Knepper at
firstname.lastname@example.org or at 800 323-8039. People interested in
the Congregational Life Team position should contact Elsie
Holderread at email@example.com or at 800 323-8039.
16) Mary Cline Detrick, former Church of the Brethren General Board
staff who since 1984 has served as director of Ecumenical
Celebrations for Church Women United, has announced her
resignation, effective Oct. 31. An ordained minister in the Church
of the Brethren, Detrick cited personal reasons for her decision,
including a change in working conditions.
17) The Mission and Ministries Planning Council met in August for
the first time since it had developed a process and had distributed
materials to guide congregations and districts in making mission
proposals. The following is a report from that meeting, submitted
by Merv Keeney, director of Global Mission Partnerships for the
Church of the Brethren General Board --
The Mission and Ministries Planning Council (MMPC) met Aug. 27-28
at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Maryland. This was
its first meeting since the group had developed its process and
distributed materials to guide congregations and districts in
making mission proposals.
The MMPC was established by the action of the Annual Conference in
1997 to receive ideas and proposals for new mission and ministries,
and upon discerning God's will, recommend action by the General
Board. The intent in part was to provide a channel for such
initiatives to be considered and acted upon without going to the
floor of the conference, a process that had been found to be
unwieldy. Proposals for new mission and ministries may come from
congregations, districts, and Standing Committee.
The Council is composed of the executive director of the General
Board, Judy Mills Reimer, who serves as chair; the chair of the
General Board, Mary Jo Flory Steury; one General Board member,
David Miller; one staff director, Mervin Keeney; the Annual
Conference moderator, Lowell Flory; the moderator-elect, Emily
Mumma; and two district executives, James Miller of the Shenandoah
District and Richard Hanley of Western Plains District. Another
district executive, Randy Yoder of Middle Pennsylvania District,
ended his tenure with this meeting.
Continuing formation and process matters were central in the
agenda. With new people at the table, a review of the history and
purpose of the group was an important starting point. The group
also reviewed the denominational polity on mission. The Council
reaffirmed the value of following denominational statements about
how the church will function organizationally. Groups operating
outside the polity are to be invited to work within denominational
The Council reviewed exploration underway since last year with a
small cluster of congregations in West Africa. An ad hoc committee
of former mission staff, Board members, and staff had met twice in
1998 with the senior pastor to explore a possible relationship
between these congregations in Ghana and Liberia and the Church of
the Brethren. Based on what it had learned thus far, MMPC
recommended not pursuing the conversation.
The Council also had a request from congregations separated from
the Church of North India for "recognition as a sister church in
the globalization program of the Church of the Brethren.'' The
Council reviewed the history of the church in India, the 1988
Annual Conference action, and efforts of the General Board during
the past year. The Council viewed the request as not a new mission
initiative and therefore outside the scope of MMPC. The General
Board will continue working with this group as a part of its
reconciliation efforts in India, so the request is not lost but
awaits unfolding of the dialog process.
For the next meeting, the Council slated further development of a
discernment process plus consideration of any new mission or
ministry proposals that are received. The Council will report its
agenda and decisions after its twice-yearly meetings.
Congregations and districts are invited to submit proposals by Dec.
1. Proposal packets are available from the office of the executive
18) The Oct. 2 Newsline carried features from Erin Matteson and
Susan Boyer, pastors of two of the three Church of the Brethren
churches that were seriously damaged or destroyed by fire earlier
this year. The third church, Pike Run Church of the Brethren near
Somerset, Pa., was totally destroyed in January. Barry Conn serves
as pastor --
I am sure it was a great love for the Lord and a lot of sweat that
built the first Pike Run Church of the Brethren. That was back in
1914. It was a time when neighbors helped neighbors and when a
church relied on its members. They couldn't run to a contractor to
oversee the building of the church. They didn't run to the local
lumber supply store whenever and for whatever was needed. The first
members of the Pike Run church faced a great challenge as they
built this small country church.
The Pike Run congregation will soon have a new building because of
an act of selfishness and hatred. As a congregation, we do not
dwell on the act. We do not have hatred growing in our hearts for
the person or people who caused this loss. We are only looking to
the future and now, more than ever, with great excitement. The only
way we can look to the future with excitement is because of the
love of others.
In today's fast paced-world we find our lives busier than ever.
This was one of the problems when it came to building the new
church because the only way we could rebuild was by the efforts of
others -- in the form of money that was donated, from Church of the
Brethren disaster relief, from Middle Pennsylvania District
volunteers who gave many hours of help, and the countless others
who came day after day.
The phone still rings with people asking about the church; money is
still coming in. I cannot describe the love that has been shown to
us. It is this love and encouragement that has kept us going.
The congregation designed and planned the new building. We went
through the red tape with the advice of others who had already been
through the building process. But when the actual building began,
the community was there to help.
It is amazing to think that we as a congregation broke ground on
May 31 and now are hoping to begin worship services in our new
church by November. I vividly remember the first day we started --
A car load of men came from Middle Pennsylvania District to
volunteer; the footer was dug and poured; the first blocks were
laid after much thought and measurement. I was further impressed
later that day when a car stopped and two young men, ages 18 and
21, got out. They asked if this was the Pike Run church. "Yes it
is," we said. They proceeded to help us for a few hours, having
traveled from West Virginia just to volunteer. What a feeling of
love that remains in my mind and heart.
As I look at this bigger building, I think how we have been taught
many valuable lessons. The first lesson is the importance of faith.
Our faith in God has pulled us through this situation. It kept us
together as we began to strain during the building process.
The second lesson is one of need. We should focus on the needs of
others. We found ourselves with a great need. Today we can say our
need has been met. Now I hope and pray that after our church is
completed, we as a congregation and as individuals will look
closely at the needs of others. We need to be just as willing to
spend our time, materials and energy as the countless others who
have helped us.
I really think building a church can be one of the most challenging
times in the life of a congregation. Now, nearing the end, we
probably have learned many valuable lessons -- on faith, on
planning, on building, on Christian love. I pray no one forgets
what we learned.
The new Pike Run church will have classrooms; the old one didn't.
The fellowship hall will be big; the old one was small. The new
sanctuary will be larger, with plenty of room to grow. Overall, the
new Pike Run church will be a bigger, beautiful and better
building. Now the congregation has the opportunity to reach out to
the community and invite them to worship to learn all about Christ.
I hope the congregation puts forth the same effort in building the
people church as the many people put forth in building the building
Some time in the near-future the church will be dedicated to God
and his glory, making it his house. At that time I pray that each
member will rededicate themselves to this greater ministry. The
Pike Run church has been given a second chance because of Christian
love and kindness. Praise God his love is alive in his people. I
know it is, because I have felt it first hand.
Newsline is produced by Nevin Dulabaum, manager of the Church of
the Brethren General Board's News Services. Newsline stories may be
reprinted provided that Newsline is cited as the source and the
publication date is included.
To receive Newsline by e-mail or fax, call 800 323-8039, ext. 263,
or write CoBNews@AOL.Com. Newsline is available at www.brethren.org
and is archived with an index at http://www.wfn.org.
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