From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
Newsline - Church of the Brethren weekly news update
Church of the Brethren News Services
20 Apr 2000 13:18:24
Date: April 21, 2000
Contact: Walt Wiltschek
V: 847/742-5100 F: 847/742-6103
Newsline April 21, 2000 Best wishes in this Holy Week!
1) Brethren join a large public witness for Jubilee 2000.
2) Christian Citizenship Seminar participants focus on hunger.
3) General Ministries Fund giving tops $1 million but still lags behind 1999.
4) A gathering in Washington calls attention to Vieques.
5) Youth leaders and pastors gather in the first segment of “The
6) Former Manchester vice president Gene Fahs dies April 9.
7) A Global Food Crisis Fund grant provides seed corn for North Korea.
8) Seven participants form Brethren Volunteer Service Older Adult Unit 238.
9) Youth gather at Bridgewater College for Roundtable 2000.
10) A Brethren Peace Fellowship banquet honors Tom Hurst, hears from Dr.
11) Brethren bits: Nigeria, workcamps, OEPA, beef canning, and more.
12) Lowell Flory will become Bethany Theological Seminary’s director of
13) An Area 1 Urban Ministry Celebration and Conference will be held Aug. 26.
14) The May Source packet includes resources for families.
15) ABC provides new resources for Health Promotion Sunday.
16) One year later, ministry continues in the wounded community of Littleton,
1) More than 50 members of the Church of the Brethren, including groups from
Brethren Volunteer Service and Bridgewater College and people from as far
away as Illinois, joined a large Jubilee 2000 rally on the National Mall in
Washington, D.C., on April 9. The event called for the US to cancel debts
owed by many of the world’s poorest nations.
The Washington City Church of the Brethren featured guest speaker Sue Wagner
Fields, working on globalization issues with the Brethren Witness office of
the Church of the Brethren General Board, in a special morning service before
the afternoon events. The rally/public witness event, held in cold, windy
conditions, featured an assortment of speakers and musicians and was followed
by the creation of a human chain around the US Capitol.
Some participants stayed the following day to lobby their representatives,
urging debt relief. Some members who couldn't join in the events, meanwhile,
sent in paper chains and hundreds of petitions.
The rally, which drew more than 6,000 people, was sponsored by a national
coalition including the National Council of Churches and Church World
Service. For more details on the event, see the www.j2000usa.org web site.
2) David Radcliff of the Church of the Brethren General Board’s Brethren
Witness Office wasted no time in helping Christian Citizenship Seminar
participants put a face on the issue of hunger. "The hungry people of the
world aren't just victims,” Radcliff said in an opening-night session.
“They're people like you and me with hopes and dreams."
That session began a week of learning about local and global hunger issues
for 100 youth and advisors from across the country who gathered in New York
City on April 8. The theme of the seminar, held annually except for National
Youth Conference years, was “Hunger for Justice.” Three nights in New York
were followed by two in Washington, D.C., before the seminar concluded April
Sessions featuring a variety of speakers, service projects around Washington,
worship services, congressional visits, small-group sharing, a hunger
banquet, and other means helped to interpret the theme. Besides Radcliff,
speakers included representatives from the United Methodist Church, World
Hunger Year, the Washington Office, and National Coalition for the Homeless,
which presented a panel of three people who have lived on the streets.
The event, organized by the General Board's Youth/Young Adult Office and the
Washington Office, is a unique one in the denomination. It addresses a
different theme each year on domestic and/or global issues and helps to
relate that issue to Brethren faith and values in the setting of two of the
nation’s major cities.
Participants this year came from California, Kansas, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana,
Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., and Maryland. For pictures of
the event, visit PhotoJournal at www.brethren.org/pjournal/ccs.htm.
3) Gifts to the General Ministries Fund of the General Board for 2000 topped
the $1 million mark during the second week of April. This milestone comes
more than a week later than in 1999 and draws attention to somewhat lower
overall giving levels for the General Ministries Fund, Emergency Disaster
Fund, and Global Food Crisis Fund.
The one notable exception to the trend was in the “Special Gifts” category,
which was up nearly 60 percent to $115,585 on April 18, but not up enough to
offset the lag in total gifts for 2000 -- amounting to $73,000.
“We are glad for the support of the special ministries given life by the
Special Gifts giving,” said Ken Neher of the General Board Funding office,
“but we must not neglect the disaster victims or hungry neighbors our direct
aid funds are helping. And, without regular gifts to the General Ministries
Fund, which is the basic framework of all the General Board mission and
ministries around the world, none of our ministries or our special projects
could take place.”
Neher expressed gratitude for the gifts that congregations and individual are
sending gifts to support the various ministries and said he expects gifts to
eventually outpace those of 1999.
“When presented with the needs and opportunities of the world,” Neher said,
“we Brethren consistently rise to the occasion.”
4) Hundreds gathered in front of the White House on April 19 and demanded
President Clinton and Congress drop "not one more bomb in Vieques, Puerto
Rico," and bring a permanent halt to US Navy practice bombing of the island
of 9,000 residents. The gathering marked the one-year anniversary of the
death of David Sanes Rodriguez, who was killed when a Navy F-18 aircraft
dropped an incorrectly targeted 500-pound bomb on the island.
"Since 1941, the people of Vieques have suffered human rights violations.
They have been exposed to . . . depleted uranium, napalm, arsenic, and
cyanide," said Desmonique Bonet, spokesperson for "National Day of Solidarity
with the People of Vieques, Puerto Rico."
Currently, bombing has ceased due to the encampment of hundreds of civil
disobedience activists on the military range, including members of Christian
Peacemaker Teams. Protesters also made a plea to Attorney General Janet Reno
not to order the removal of these people and camps.
Church of the Brethren Washington Office Coordinator Greg Laszakovits will
travel to Puerto Rico early next week to meet with religious leaders seeking
a halt to the bombing.
5) The first event held as part of a new youth spirituality program
emphasis, “The God-Centered Life,” took place March 24-26 at Shepherd’s
Spring Outdoor Ministry Center in Sharpsburg, Md. The project is being
sponsored by Shepherd’s Spring and the General Board’s Youth/Young Adult
The initial weekend was designed to help youth leaders and pastors find ways
to fill and maintain their “spiritual cups” in order to be more effective in
assisting the youth they work with. The long-term goal for all participants
is to develop a life that is centered around God and follows Jesus' example.
The opening worship ended symbolically, with a cup of strained and purified
"living water" from the center's spring served to each participant.
Paul Grout, pastor of the Genesis Church of the Brethren (Putney, Vt.) joined
Chris Douglas of the Youth/Young Adult office and Shepherd’s Spring
administrator Rex Miller to provide leadership for the event. Worship
services, workshops on spiritual disciplines, discussion, sharing of
resources, a special prayer room, and communion filled the weekend.
“Every aspect of the event was carefully planned to enable each participant
to experience God, encounter Jesus, and be empowered by the Holy Spirit in a
complete way of living,” wrote participant Joy Zepp. “We were challenged to
help to prepare ground for a new paradigm, that of living life totally in the
way of Jesus.”
The second event in the project, a week-long camp for senior high youth, will
be held at Shepherd’s Spring July 2-8. Grout will again provide the main
leadership. For more details, call the Youth/Young Adult Office at 800
323-8039 (e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org) or Shepherd’s Spring at 301
223-8193 (e-mail email@example.com).
6) Brethren mourned the loss of another long-time leader recently with the
passing on April 9 of Dr. Eldon "Gene" Fahs, vice president emeritus of
Manchester College (North Manchester, Ind.) and a member of the Manchester
Church of the Brethren.
Fahs retired from Manchester in December 1995 after holding a variety of
positions, from registrar to assistant professor to treasurer, in a 31-year
career with the school. A conference room at Manchester was named in Fahs’
Among many service roles, Fahs served as chair of the Timbercrest Church of
the Brethren Home board and was a member of the Bethany Theological Seminary
board and chair of its Institutional Advancement Committee. He was also a
volunteer for Heifer Project International.
7) More resources are heading to famine-plagued North Korea due to a new
grant from the Global Food Crisis Fund.
An allocation of $21,000 will go toward food relief efforts in the east Asian
nation. The funds will be used to purchase 35 metric tons of seed corn to
grow grain for livestock as well as for human consumption.
8) Brethren Volunteer Service Older Adult Unit 238 held orientation April
4-14 at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. Seven participants
from across the US, included five members of the Church of the Brethren, two
of whom served in BVS in the 1950s.
The theme for the orientation was "Let Your Light Shine," and miniature
lighthouses were construced and used throughout the sessions. During the 10
days together the group increased awareness about honoring diversity, Church
of the Brethren history, School of the Americas Watch, issues of
homelessness, and conflict resolution. They expolored their spirituality
through devotions, sessions, storytelling, and Bible study.
Trips included visiting the Ephrata Cloister, joining in the Jubilee 2000
rally and human chain around the US Capitol in Washington, D.C.; and serving
homeless people in Baltimore.
Participants were Jim and Joan Campbell of Warsaw, Mo.; Lavonne Grubb of
Elizabethtown, Pa.; Dorothy Haner of Berkeley, Calif.; Emily Larson of Yuba
City, Calif.; Winifred Toledo of Bear Lake, Mich.; and Cleo Treadway of
Johnson City, Tenn. Alice and Larry Petry of Lakemoor, Ohio, provided guest
Older Adult units differ from other BVS orientations in several ways: They
are just 10 days in length, older adults may make a six-month service
commitment, and volunteers do not need to start projects immediately
following orientation. Unit 238 volunteers will begin their terms of service
between May and September. For more information about Brethren Volunteer
Service, contact the BVS office at 800 323-8039.
9) The Roundtable 2000 regional youth conference took place April 8-9 on the
Bridgewater (Va.) College campus. Nearly 300 youth and adults from Atlantic
Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, Shenandoah, Southeastern, Virlina, and West Marva
districts participated in the annual regional event coordinated by the
Interdistrict Youth Cabinet. Members of that group included Amanda Beckwith
(Shenandoah), Sam Bowman (Virlina), Wendy Campbell (Shenandoah), Kyle Flora
(Mid-Atlantic), David Young (Shenandoah), Aimee Zimmerman (Mid-Atlantic), and
Steve Spire (advisor-Shenandoah).
Shawn Replogle, a Bridgewater and Bethany Theological Seminary graduate, now
pastor of the South Waterloo (Iowa) Church of the Brethren, led participants
in four sessions based on the theme, “Looking Back to Look Ahead.” Replogle
encouraged youth and advisors to examine their past relationships with God
and others, name the things that have made the relationships special as well
as those that have caused difficulties, and look toward the future and how
those relationships can be improved.
The Roundtable weekend involved participants in worship, Bible studies,
morning and afternoon small-group sessions, recreation, and a service of
installation and dedication for the new cabinet. Saturday evening included a
one-act play by the Pinion Players and a concert by the Jazz Band, both from
the college, as well as a talent show by youth and a late-night Taize
worship. On Sunday an offering of $541.77 was gathered for flood relief and
recovery in Mozambique and southern Africa.
The General Board’s Area 3 Congregational Life Team is providing an
interpretive video of the Roundtable experience, created by videographer
David Sollenberger. Videos will be given to each congregation at their
respective district conferences in hopes of building future participation.
10) More than 100 people gathered at Brethren Village in Neffsville, Pa.,
April 13 for the annual spring banquet of the Brethren Peace Fellowship in
Atlantic Northeast District.
In addition to the meal, two major events were on the evening program. Tom
Hurst, who resigned last month after 10 years as executive director of On
Earth Peace Assembly, received the group’s 2000 Brethren Peacemaker of the
Year award. OEPA board member Walt Moyer presented the award, with a citation
for Hurst’s “vision, creativity, passion, and perseverance in the cause of
peace,” highlighting the many programs Hurst began at OEPA.
Dr. Dennis Lipton then delivered the evening’s keynote address, talking about
his pilgrimage as a doctor in the US Air Force and his decision to become a
conscientious objector, resulting in a court-martial and jail time last fall.
Phil Jones, Lipton’s pastor at the Shalom Church of the Brethren in North
Carolina, also attended.
11) Brethren bits: Other brief news notes from around the denomination and
*Responses came quickly for visits by Rev. Patrick Bugu, a Nigerian church
leader who is studying at Bethany Theological Seminary. Bethany and the
General Board's Office of Global Mission Partnerships, who together sponsor
Bugu’s study here, invited congregations to schedule Bugu for summer visits,
and an overwhelming response easily filled the summer tour with bookings
across the country.
*Nine spaces remain for this summer’s young adult workcamp in the Dominican
Republic, June 2-10. Spaces remaining for senior high workcamps are as
follows: June 19-26 Puerto Rico (2); June 26-July 2 St. Croix 1 (4) and
Americus, Ga. (6); July 2-8 Jamaica 1 (10); July 3-9 St. Croix 2 (8); July
9-15 Jamaica 2 (1); July 24-30 Tijuana, Mexico (11) and Wichita, Kan. (7);
July 31-Aug. 6 .Denver, Colo. (5) and Washington, D.C. (10); Aug. 7-13 Gould
Farm, Mass. (1). All junior high workcamps are filled.
*Twenty-six junior high youth met at Camp Swatara in Bethel, Pa., April 7-9
for an Atlantic Northeast District Peace Retreat, led by On Earth Peace
Assembly program coordinator Barb Leininger Dickason. The theme was
“Peace-ing It Together -- With our Friends: Turning Lemons into Lemonade.”
*The Ekklesiyar Yan'uwa a Nigeria held its “majalisa,” or annual meeting,
April 12-15 at Kulp Bible College in Kwarhi, near the Cameroon border. John
and Janet Tubbs, Nigeria mission coordinators, represented the US church, and
Mimi Copp, who teaches at the EYN secondary school and lives at Kulp, also
participated. More details will follow as they become available.
*Church World Service is continuing its massive flood relief project in
southern Africa with a program to assist farmers and homeless families in
Madagascar. Church of the Brethren Emergency Response/Service Ministries has
been among many groups to support the effort.
*Hagerstown (Md.) Church of the Brethren held a dinner last weekend in honor
of Jean Glosser, who retired after 52 years of service to the church as
secretary and administrative assistant.
*The Southern Pennsylvania and Mid-Atlantic districts hold their annual beef
canning project beginning Monday and continuing through April 28. Volunteers
have been plentiful for the two-shifts-per-day schedule, with an average 23
to 30 volunteers a shift. Nearly $90,000 has been raised to support the
project, which sends the finished cans to help the needy in the two districts
as well as overseas. A new chicken canning project is scheduled for August.
*Bridgewater (Va.) College has approved adding a 17th academic department to
the college’s curriculum and offering a communication studies major. Two
students who have been taking appropriate courses should be able to graduate
with the major in May 2001.
*Jeff Carter, associate pastor of the Manassas (Va.) Church of the Brethren,
ran the Boston Marathon on Apr. 17 and finished in three hours, 17 minutes,
putting him in the top 20 percent of race participants.
*Another outbreak of violence against Christians in India occurred recently,
according to Religion News Service. Armed men attacked St. Theresa’s Convent
School in Kosi Kalan, near Agra, on April 11, and injured the school’s
principal according to the report. This followed an attack on another convent
school in the area during the previous week.
12) Bethany Theological Seminary has announced the appointment of Lowell
Flory as director of planned giving, beginning July 1. As a member of the
Institutional Advancement staff, Flory will design and carry out an expanded
strategy for planned gift development. He will also be available for teaching
roles in the fields of stewardship, organizational leadership, and business
Flory is currently professor and chair of the Department of Business and
Economics at McPherson College, McPherson, Kan., where he has served on the
faculty since 1983. Flory had previously been in private law practice and
before that worked in education.
A member of the Church of the Brethren, Flory has served on various boards
related to church administration, including the General Board/Pension Board,
Brethren Benefit Trust, and Bethany Theological Seminary. He was moderator of
the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference in 1999. Flory and his wife,
Barbara, are the parents of four children.
13) The second annual Area 1 (Northeast) Urban Ministry Celebration and
Conference will be held Aug. 26, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m., at the Harrisburg (Pa.)
First Church of the Brethren.
Working under the theme “Urban, Not So Urban: Empowering Ministries,
Developing Leaders,” the event will include worship and insight sessions. The
Area 1 Urban Ministry Planning Team is extending an invitation to all members
and pastors of urban congregations and anyone interested in urban/ethnic
ministries in Area 1 of the Church of the Brethren.
The five districts in Area 1 include: Atlantic Northeast, Mid-Atlantic,
Middle Pennsylvania, Southern Pennsylvania, and Western Pennsylvania. For
more information contact Stan Dueck, Congregational Life Team Area 1 at 717
335-3226, or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
14) The May Source packet headed to Church of the Brethren congregations
includes resources for peace, families, and youth.
Materials from the Association of Brethren Caregivers provides aids for
observing Family Week (May 7-14), while a Brethren Witness flyer explains
“Peace Papers,” and another brochure describes “The God-Centered Life” youth
spiritual growth camp being held July 2-8 at Shepherd’s Spring Outdoor
Other resources in the mailing cover leadership development opportunities and
the Ecumenical Luncheon at Annual Conference, a “Children of Iraq”
newsletter, a booklet on ministry called “Considering Leadership,”
information on a New Life Ministries web site, details on a Germantown Trust
project, new Internet services from eMountain Communications, membership
details for Brethren Employees Credit Union, and a flyer on a National
Council of Churches young adult conference.
15) Congregations received several new resources about how to make churches
safe places as part of the Association of Brethren Caregivers’ Health
Promotion Sunday emphasis, which will be held May 21. Packets were mailed the
first week of April.
Resources in the packet include a pledge for congregations to work at issues
of creating a safe place; an idea sheet of practical activities; worship
resources, Sunday school materials, monthly devotions for use at church
meetings, and a bibliography. To view or download materials included in the
Health Promotion Sunday packet, visit ABC's website at www.brethren.org/abc/
16) Many anniversaries are much-anticipated events, but not this one. April
20 marked one year since the tragic shootings at Columbine High School in
Littleton, Colo., and the pain in the community is still sharp.
“We’re all a little shaky today and want to get it over with,” said Sarah
Leatherman Young, pastor of the Prince of Peace Church of the Brethren in
Littleton. “We’re trying to keep things simple and quiet despite the media
The Prince of Peace church has been active on the violence issue since the
Columbine incident, holding educational sessions -- including a
well-publicized one with Lt. Col. David Grossman, offering a swap for violent
toys and games that were turned in, and sending volunteers into local
preschools in a “reading for peace” program.
“We’re just more aware of trying to counter the violent messages of society
with our children,” Young said of the churches in the area. “We’re each
coming at it from our own perspective.”
Young said that area churches agreed to hold their regular Maundy Thursday
and Passover services on the anniversary date, which happened to fall during
Holy Week this year, followed by a 9:30 p.m. gathering at a park next to the
school where a memorial has been located. Columbine held classes Thursday,
but attendance was optional, and another nearby school closed due to a bomb
threat. Area pastors have tried to provide support.
“We’re trying to be a visible presence in the community,” Young said. “A lot
of us are wearing collars that usually don’t, including me.”
Newsline is produced by Walt Wiltschek, manager of news services for the
Church of the Brethren General Board, on the first, third and fifth Friday of
each month. 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 1-800-323-8039, ext. 263, or write
CoBNews@AOL.Com. Newsline is available at www.brethren.org and is archived
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