From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
Newsline - Church of the Brethren weekly news update
01 Feb 2001 08:20:46
Date: Feb. 2, 2001
Contact: Walt Wiltschek
V: 847/742-5100 F: 847/742-6103
"But be doers of the word, and not hearers only." James 1:22a
1) Relief efforts mount in two earthquake-stricken regions.
2) Standing Committee announces initial Annual Conference ballot.
3) Bethany announces a new endowment.
4) CAIR team members attend one-year memorial event.
5) Older Adult Workcamp heads for Puerto Rico.
6) BBT board discusses insurance, social activism at fall meeting.
7) Brethren Business Network holds meeting in Indiana.
8) Brethren bits: WCC, BRF, Nicaragua, death penalty, and more.
9) Jean L. Hendricks is called as president and general manager of
Mutual Aid Association.
10) ABC announces several deacon training events.
11) Ministry office produces new video on calling people to
ministry, other resources.
12) Resource packet will help interpret One Great Hour of Sharing.
13) A Bethany professor takes message of peace to Nigeria.
14) All roads lead to Rome for a Brethren scholar.
1) Cleanup efforts have mounted in the wake of two major
earthquakes in recent weeks. A quake registering 7.6 on the Richter
scale struck El Salvador on Jan. 13, and one registering 7.9 hit
Gujarat State in northwestern India on Jan. 26.
Brethren were in the vicinity in both instances: A Faith Expedition
from the General Board's Brethren Witness office was preparing to
travel from Belize to Guatemala when the quake shook neighboring El
Salvador, and an eight-member General Board delegation was visiting
in Gujarat, about 200 miles from the epicenter, when the India
quake came. Both groups were safe and unharmed, but major damage
was reported elsewhere in the quake zones.
Nearly 700 people have been reported dead in El Salvador and more
than 20,000 in India. Tens of thousands more were injured and/or
The General Board's Emergency Response/Service Ministries office is
working with relief efforts in both areas. A $25,000 Emergency
Disaster Fund grant went to El Salvador in support of Church World
Service relief work, including food, shelter, kitchen items, tools,
and other supplies. Nearly 15,000 families had received CWS
assistance through this week. Brethren clinic boxes were also made
available through Interchurch Medical Assistance.
Another grant from the Emergency Disaster Fund was pending final
approval this week to be sent to India, where CWS was working with
its local partner agency, Church's Auxiliary for Social Action
(CASA). CWS immediately sent $75,000 in blanket funds to Gujarat
and another $50,000 to neighboring Pakistan, which also suffered
damage from the quake. Meals, fresh water, temporary shelter, and
clothes were being delivered to quake survivors.
The Brethren Service Center (New Windsor, Md.) also served as a
distribution point for aid from the US Office of Foreign Disaster
Assistance, with seven trailer loads of supplies leaving the
center's warehouse this past Saturday. The supplies included
blankets, plastic sheeting, water jugs, water distribution kits,
and water purification units. Trucks took the loads to
Baltimore/Washington International Airport to be flown to India.
Long-term recovery efforts were anticipated in both locations, each
of which has experienced a series of strong aftershocks. ER/SM
manager Stan Noffsinger says the office stands ready to support
those ongoing efforts as needed. For information on sending
donations to the Emergency Disaster Fund or putting together a
clinic box, call 800-451-4407.
The delegation visiting India returned to the US safely
Wednesday--some of them to media fanfare--after a two-week visit in
India. They were meeting with Church of North India officials and
with members of Brethren groups who separated from CNI and are
seeking formal recognition by the US church.
2) The Nominating Committee of Annual Conference's Standing
Committee has produced the initial ballot for this year's Annual
Conference, listing four candidates for each of 13 positions. The
full Standing Committee will reduce the candidates to two per
position before delegates vote on the ballot this summer.
Candidates for moderator-elect are Manny Diaz of McPherson, Kan.;
Harriet Wenger Finney of North Manchester, Ind.; Karen Peterson
Miller of Hagerstown, Md.; and Terry Porter of Continental, Ohio.
All four are ordained.
Other positions on the ballot are: General Board members from the
Atlantic Northeast, Middle Pennsylvania, and Western Pennsylvania
districts, plus an at-large representative; one seat each on the
Association of Brethren Caregivers, On Earth Peace Assembly, and
Brethren Benefit Trust boards; a representative of the colleges and
a representative of the laity on the Bethany Theological Seminary
board; and one member each for Annual Conference Program and
Arrangements Committee, Pastoral Compensation and Benefits Advisory
Committee, and the Committee on Interchurch Relations.
The full ballot will be sent to congregations in the next "Source"
packet. Annual Conference is scheduled for June 30-July 4 this year
in Baltimore. Phill Carlos Archbold of Brooklyn, N.Y., is serving
as moderator and Paul Grout of Putney, Vt., as moderator-elect.
3) Bethany Theological Seminary (Richmond, Ind.) has announced a
new endowment to support a program in distributed (off-site)
education. Called "The Carl and Doreen Myers Endowment for
Distributed Education," it was established by Jay and Peg Crist of
It is named in honor of Jay's sister and brother-in-law, Carl and
Doreen Crist Myers of Elgin, Ill., for the years of service they
have given to the denomination.
"Carl and Doreen's concern about the need for more ministry
leadership for the church has always been evident, especially for
leaders who are prepared for effective ministry in Church of the
Brethren congregations," says Jay Crist, a member of the York First
The endowment will fund a faculty position to direct a graduate
degree program serving non-residential students as well as the
resources needed to carry out the program. Bethany president Eugene
Roop presented a statement of appreciation to the Myers and Crists
at a special celebration held Dec. 31 at the Highland Avenue Church
of the Brethren in Elgin.
Both Carl and Doreen Myers attended Bethany; they have served in
congregations, district offices, and denominational agencies.
4) Seven Crisis in Aviation Response (CAIR) team members and three
certified Disaster Child Care personnel traveled to Ventura,
Calif., this week to attend memorial events for families of victims
of Alaska Airlines Flight 261. The flight crashed into the Pacific
Ocean on Jan. 31, 2000, near Los Angeles.
The events were sponsored by Alaska Airlines and organizations of
families of lost loved ones, and supported by the Ventura Chapter
of the American Red Cross as well as the National Red Cross
Attending from the team that served in California one year ago were
Gloria Cooper, Sheryl Faus, Betsy Fisher, and Sharon Gilbert.
Others attending were CAIR team members Cheryl and Doug Dekker and
Jane Wingrove, and Disaster Child Care caregivers Sylvia Bolton,
Flo Barna, and Beth Shelburne. Both programs are administered by
the Church of the Brethren's Emergency Response/Service Ministries.
Level III training for new CAIR team members is scheduled for March
14-16 at the New Windsor (Md.) Conference Center. CAIR team members
are selected from certified, experienced Disaster Child Care
volunteers who have been recommended by a disaster project manager
or peer and who express interest in this volunteer ministry. The 2
1/2-day CAIR training builds on the Level I Disaster Child Care
training and covers additional subjects.
To receive an application or get more information call Lydia Walker
at 800-451-4407. Press option 7 on the menu and then option 1; or,
e-mail Lydia Walker at email@example.com .
5) Sixteen participants in this year's Association of Brethren
Caregivers' Older Adult Workcamp were preparing to leave this week
for San Juan, Puerto Rico. For five days, participants will work in
Castaner building an addition to a home. The group also will
worship and fellowship at Church of the Brethren congregations in
San Juan, Vega Baja, Rio Prieto, Castaner, Yahuecas, and possibly
Manati before returning Feb. 12.
Workcamp leaders are Bruce and Mary Sue Rosenberger of Greenville,
Ohio. Other participants include Martha and Norman Cory of Kokomo,
Ind.; Virginia Crim of Greenville, Ohio; Elvin Fillmore of Yuba
City, Calif.; Edith Hinkle of Upper Darby, Pa.; Robin and Jeanette
Lahman of North Manchester, Ind.; Alberta and Ron McAdams of Tipp
City, Ohio; Frances Thomas of Guthrie, Ohio; Bonnie and Hudson Sadd
of Manheim, Pa.; and Roy and Sara Unruh of Cedar Falls, Iowa. This
is the third Older Adult Workcamp in the past four years, all
sponsored by ABC and led by the Rosenbergers.
6) The Brethren Benefit Trust board discussed topics including
insurance premium adjustments and long-term care, an extra one-time
payment for Pension Plan retirees, and a renewed commitment to
social activism through investments during its meeting Nov. 17-18
at Hidden Valley, Pa.
The board spent significant time on the ever-increasing costs of
medical insurance premiums and prescription drugs, a situation that
is increasingly causing hardships for employers, employees, and
retirees. BBT has used a supplement to hold down cost increases for
retired pastors in the Brethren Medical Plan the past two years.
Since rising health care costs may be the norm for years to come,
the BBT board and staff voiced concern that the continued use of a
supplement for retired pastors could, in effect, be interpreted as
an entitlement. As an alternative, staff proposed a solution that
board members agreed could provide some relief, at least for the
short term: In addition to the premium reduction for retired
pastors in 2001, retirees over age 65 in the plan may now also
apply to BBT's Church Workers' Assistance Plan for a grant up to
the full amount of their insurance premium. Board and staff also
agreed that a longer-term solution is required.
Among other items, the board:
*Looked at the possibility of offering long-term care insurance for
pastors, an option that BBT staff is exploring.
*Reviewed its strong commitment to social responsibility--a
commitment it renewed in mid-2000 when it became a full member of
the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility. ICCR is composed
of nearly 300 faith-based organizations that use their investment
holdings to influence responsible changes within corporations.
*Heard that annuitants in the Brethren Pension Plan as of Sept. 1
received an additional one-time payment equal to 50 percent of
their monthly benefit. These checks were mailed on Dec. 15. In a
related item, the Supplemental Income Fund for Equitable Annuitants
will receive an adjustment for the 2000 calendar year in the amount
of $186,716. This will be distributed to fund annuitants no later
than Feb. 15.
*Heard a report from Brethren Foundation staff with highlights
including the adding of nine Asset Management Services clients
during 2000 with investments totaling $672,000 ($13.7 million was
also added by existing clients) and the decision to change its
short-term money manager from Bank of America to LaSalle Bank.
*Approved forming a pension plan retirement committee to oversee
the request of Mediation Services of Tippecanoe County, Inc., to
participate in the Brethren Pension Plan, effective Jan. 1.
*Approved increasing the retired church worker income guidelines by
2.5 percent (to qualify for a grant, income may not exceed $24,000
for couples or $18,000 for singles), and housing-allowance
exclusions up to 100 percent of pension income for retired pastors
for calendar year 2001.
*Heard that total expenses for 2001 are projected to be just below
$3 million, with total revenue over expenses of $189,084.
*Renamed BBT's Audit Committee as the Budget, Audit, and Review
Committee to reflect its expanded role in reviewing budget and
reporting results to the Board.
7) Eight people gathered at the Beacon Heights Church of the
Brethren (Fort Wayne, Ind.) on Jan. 17 for a Brethren Business
Network meeting. This was the second such gathering in the Fort
Jim Garber, of North Manchester, Ind., led the discussion.
Conversation focused on employee management issues and a case study
taken from current news. The group discussed the balance between
being compelled as Christians to act with compassion and to operate
out of the "Golden Rule" versus getting the job done well and in a
timely manner so that business isn't compromised.
Participants said that they found this kind of dialogue to be
helpful and expressed a desire to meet again. Another meeting is
being planned for March 22. For details, call 219-982-5232.
8) Brethren bits: Other brief news notes from around the
denomination and elsewhere.
*The World Council of Churches' Central Committee meetings began
this week in Potsdam, Germany, with issues on the agenda including
WCC finances, a report from the Special Commission on Orthodox
participation, and the launch of the Decade to Overcome Violence.
On Wednesday, the committee accepted member applications of seven
new churches and received four ecumenical organizations as
associate councils. It increases WCC membership to 342 churches and
60 associate councils. A full report will run in the next Newsline.
*The saga surrounding nurse Dorothy Granada and the Maria Luisa
Oritz Women's Clinic and Cooperative in Mulukuku, Nicaragua,
continues as the government seeks to have Granada deported,
allegedly for running an illegal cooperative and treating only
members of the opposition Sandanista group. Granada has denied the
charges and is in hiding, according to reports. Faith Expedition
groups, medical delegations through Manchester College, and other
Brethren groups have visited and/or worked with the clinic in
recent years. Supporters of Granada have set up a website at
*Thirty-three Virginia religious leaders, including Christians,
Muslims, and Jews, have joined to call for an end to the death
penalty in the state with a statement released Jan. 17. Church of
the Brethren leaders were among those signing. The Virlina District
passed a resolution against the death penalty at its district
conference this past fall. Key bills on the issue will be before
the Virginia legislature this year. "We call upon our congregations
to pray and work for a more perfect justice," the statement says.
*Brethren Revival Fellowship is sponsoring a one-day seminar on
"Child Development in the Christian Home" March 24 at the New
Fairview Church of the Brethren (York, Pa.). Ministers from several
Church of the Brethren congregations in Pennsylvania will serve on
a panel and lead workshops following an opening worship. Child care
will be provided. Write firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
*General Board Congregational Life Team members Beth Sollenberger
Morphew and Jim Kinsey are leading teacher training workshops for
Northern Indiana District March 3 at the North Webster (Ind.)
Church of the Brethren. Kinsey will lead "Teaching Skills for
Children's Classes," and Sollenberger Morphew will lead "Teaching
Skills for Adult Classes." Call 219-773-3149 for more details.
*Former Bridgewater (Va.) College faculty member Rose Garrison has
returned to the college as director of foundation support. She
holds National Society of Fundraising Executives certification.
*Scott Puckett has been named CEO and president of the Brethren
Retirement Community in Greenville, Ohio.
*Carlton Ruff and Earl Dohner are serving as disaster project
directors for the ongoing relief effort in Rocky Mount, N.C., in
*Brethren Employees' Credit Union current rate for one-year IRAs
(Roth or traditional) is at 6.51 percent. For more details, call
*Recent new curriculum titles from Brethren Press include "The
Place Just Right: Biblical Teachings on Simplicity" by Matt Guynn
in the Generation Why series for youth; and "Turning Up the Heat:
Studies on the Passion of Jesus" by Byron Rempel-Burkholder and
"Heart Smart: Studies on Wisdom in the Bible" by Ken Kline Smeltzer
in the Good Ground series.
9) Jean L. Hendricks of Eudora, Kan., has been called as president
and general manager of the Mutual Aid Association of the Church of
the Brethren (Abilene, Kan.) effective Feb. 6.
Hendricks is a graduate of McPherson (Kan.) College and Bethany
Theological Seminary and earned a doctorate from the University of
Kansas. She has been the pastor of congregations in Iowa and
Kansas. She has also worked for the Church of the Brethren General
Board (1991-1997) in the ministry training program and for
McPherson College (1997-2000) as director of church relations. She
has served on Bethany's board of directors, has been an officer for
the Brethren Ministers' Association, and has been on the MAA board
She is married to Francis Hendricks, Jr., pastor of the Lone Star
(Kan.) Church of the Brethren since 1989. They have two children
and one granddaughter.
10) The Association of Brethren Caregivers will offer several
deacon training events in the coming months, beginning this
*ABC staff Robert Blake and Scott Douglas will lead a training
workshop Feb. 3 at Faith Church of the Brethren in Batavia, Ill.
The workshop will discuss how deacons can provide spiritual focus
for congregations. For details about participating, contact Erin
Matteson at 630-879-9414.
*A second deacon training event for the Illinois/Wisconsin District
will be held April 28 in Peoria, led by Howard Shockey. For
information, contact the Illinois/Wisconsin District office at
*Blake will lead an April 28 workshop in the Northern Indiana
District, centering around a theme of caregiving and hospital
visitation. Location will be announced at a later date. For
information, contact the Northern Indiana District office at
*A one-day deacon training workshop is scheduled for May 5 at
Williamson Road Church of the Brethren in Roanoke, Va. Blake will
lead the workshop, on how deacons can respond when tragedy affects
people in the congregation. Sessions will focus on how deacons can
respond in situations such as when there has been a fire, a tragic
accident, or multiple deaths and on ways to be supportive without
taking sides in situations of divorce. Registrations will be
accepted until May 1; contact Mike Hostetter at 540-366-0291.
*Other deacon training opportunities will be offered at Annual
Conference, June 30-July 4 in Baltimore. The Denominational Deacon
Ministry of ABC will sponsor an insight session titled "Deacons
Caring for the Sick, Confidently, Creatively, Confidentially," and
co-sponsor another titled "Deacons as Instruments of
Reconciliation," with On Earth Peace Assembly.
11) A new congregational video on calling people to the ministry
will be mailed to all congregations in the denomination in
Based on Romans 10:14-15a, it is titled "How Are They to Hear?"
Allen Hansell, director of Ministry for the General Board, worked
with an advisory committee of six pastors, videographer David
Sollenberger, and General Board interpretation coordinator Howard
Royer to produce the piece. Sollenberger interviewed more than a
dozen people across the country.
The hour-long video is divided into five equal segments:
"Congregational Needs," "The Role of Congregations: What Went
Wrong?," "Stories of Being Called," "Creating the Climate for
Calling," and "The Joys of Ministry."
Hansell says the purpose of the video is to encourage congregations
to take seriously their key role of calling people to the ministry.
It will be accompanied by a congregational assessment sheet and a
study guide for each segment. It is designed for use in Sunday
school classes, youth or young adult gatherings, deacons' meetings,
church board meetings, and elsewhere.
In another video effort, the Ministry office and Atlantic Northeast
District funded the Spanish translation of the video "Journey in
Jesus' Way," which discusses basic Brethren beliefs. Guillermo and
Gladys Encarnacion of Lancaster, Pa., did the translation, and 20
copies have already been sent to Guillermo Encarnacion's native
The new Ministerial Leadership Manual, pre-licensing and
pre-ordination interview guide, pastoral and congregational profile
forms, and 70 pages of the "For All Who Minister" manual have also
been translated into Spanish.
Other recent items from the Ministry office include two new
position papers related to pastors: "Guidelines for Continuing
Education" and "Guidelines for Sabbath Rest" (with Sabbath Rest
replacing the term "sabbatical"). The office is also working with
districts to transmit pastoral and congregational profiles on-line
via Omniform; 19 of the 23 districts are now using the technology.
12) A packet of resources and other information on this year's One
Great Hour of Sharing emphasis will be mailed to congregations
early next week. March 25 is scheduled as the Sunday for observing
the special offering this year.
Materials include a poster on this year's theme, "From his fullness
we have received grace upon grace"; a sheet of interpretation aids
for worship; a flier for inserting in church bulletins; a sample
offering envelope; a sample fish-shaped box for collecting coins;
a sample sheet of stickers for children; a three-week "Sharing
Calendar" for use by families; and an order card for additional
Other resources will be available on the denominational website, at
The offering supports outreach ministries such as development work
in Sudan, rural health care in Nigeria, Brethren Volunteer Service
placements, and oversight of the Global Food Crisis Fund.
13) Bethany Theological Seminary professor/campus ministry
director Scott Holland spent part of January talking about peace in
a country that has been torn by violence.
The trip had been in the making for several years through the
General Board's Global Mission Partnerships office, meeting a
request from the Ekklesiyar Yan'uwa a Nigeria (Church of the
Brethren in Nigeria) to do training about peace for EYN pastors. It
finally came together this year with the office sending Holland as
the main speaker/theologian at EYN's "majalisa," or annual meeting
of pastors, at Kulp Bible College near Mubi.
Holland says he gave numerous talks, lectures, and sermons during
his two weeks in Nigeria, addressing "the Brethren understanding of
the gospel of peace." He gave particular attention to the context
of Muslim-Christian relations in Nigeria: Violence has erupted
between the groups in the past year as Muslims attempted to impose
Islamic sharia law in parts of the country. Holland toured the city
of Kaduna, where an EYN church and other Christian facilties were
burned and many people were killed last spring.
"The Christian response shouldn't be to impose Christiandom,"
Holland told the EYN group, "but to have a Christian faith that
respects diversity and religious pluralism in a democracy."
Holland says many in the group responded affirmatively to his
message and his references to Biblical texts and narratives, and
interest in learning about the Brethren historical roots of
peacemaking was high. Some, however, questioned how one can respect
"the other" in a country where a large segment of the population
feels called to impose their religion on those who embrace other
During his trip, Holland also addressed EYN students doing graduate
work at the Theological College of Northern Nigeria, met with EYN
president the Rev. Toma Raganjiya, and explored the possibilities
of a semester-long exchange program between a Nigerian student and
a student at Bethany as well as other cross-cultural study
opportunities for Bethany students. Holland said prospects for such
exchanges look good, especially as US visa restrictions "seem to be
easing a bit."
"I felt a deep interest (among EYN leaders) in being in connection
with the Church of the Brethren," Holland says. "I think there's a
deep desire to be in partnership and ministry with us. ... I think
the work there is quite important, and I hope we as a denomination
can continue to give it support."
EYN leaders told Holland they hope to continue examining themes of
peace in future years, having a Nigerian specialist speak next year
and possibly having Holland return in 2003. Holland is also writing
up several of his lectures to be translated into Hausa and
published as a booklet for the EYN.
14) A Brethren made his mark in the seat of Catholicism when
Graydon Snyder, former dean of Bethany Theological Seminary and
Chicago Theological Seminary, gave several lectures in Rome on
early Christian art and architecture Jan. 11-16.
Snyder was invited by the Catholic pilgrimage group WTS/Raptim
because of his writings and lectures on Roman Christian
antiquities, especially his books "Ante Pacem" and "Inculturation
of the Jesus Tradition." The group consisted of 20 former or
potential tour leaders who wanted to know more about early
Christian remains in Rome.
Snyder led them through the early Christian section of the Vatican
Museum, with a collection containing a large number of early (first
four centuries) sarcophagi and inscriptions from Christian and
Jewish catacombs. Following the tour of the museum, he led them
through excavations under St. Peter's Basilica where the grave of
St. Peter is said to be located.
The agenda also included two ancient churches. The first, St.
Clement, has a 12th-century church--still functioning, that was
built on top of a fourth-century church, which in turn was built on
top of a private building made out of first-century lava rock. The
church was also built over a Mithraeum--a sun religion from Persia
that competed strongly with Christianity. The various layers all
The second church was St. Sebastian, which is a covered cemetery
built over a Christian "restaurant," where early Christians ate
with their dead family members, and even with Paul and Peter,
according to Snyder. All of this was built over an earlier cemetery
and a catacomb.
Finally, he took them through the catacomb of Callixtus where many
pieces of early Christian art and symbols can be found.
The tour directors and many of the participants were delighted to
be led by a Brethren, Snyder says, as they saw the life of the
early faith community before it became a state church under
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. Marcia Shetler,
Howard Royer, Ken Shaffer, and Religion News Service contributed to
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. Also see Photo
Journal at www.brethren.org/pjournal/index.htm for photo coverage
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