From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Newsline - Church of the Brethren news update

Date Fri, 6 Dec 2002 11:10:50 EST

Date: Dec. 6, 2002
Contact: Walt Wiltschek
V: 847/742-5100 F: 847/742-6103

 1) Violence strikes again in Nigeria, affects EYN members.
 2) Annual Conference selects 2003 logo design.
 3) New laws, bills raise concerns for peace advocates.
 4) Four Brethren congregations receive clergy renewal grants.
 5) Global Food Crisis Fund grant sends $6,000 to Guatemala.
 6) Districts, churches respond to the "Call to Prayer."
 7) Brethren colleges report awards, building projects.
 8) Brethren bits: Workcamps, football, peace, and more.

 9) Russell W. Haitch named director of Institute for Ministry With
Youth and Young Adults.
10) John Ballinger called as district executive for Northern Ohio.
11) Robert Blake resigns as program field staff for ABC.

12) Denominational website continues to add features and resources.

13) Brethren World Assembly coming to Indiana in July 2003.


 1) Violence has again touched the Ekklesiyar Yan'uwa a Nigeria
(the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). Another round of riots
sparked by the Miss World pageant brought death and destruction to
the northern city of Kaduna and unrest in the capital of Abuja in
late November.

John Tubbs, mission co-coordinator in Nigeria for the General
Board's Global Mission Partnerships office, reported that the old
EYN Badarawa church building in Kaduna was burnt again in the
latest riots, along with the parsonage. The Badarawa congregation
worshipped in their new building on Nov. 24. Damage was reported to
nearly 60 churches in Kaduna.

Tubbs said that the riots between Christian and Muslim groups
touched 27 EYN families, with three homes burnt and 24 looted, but
he heard of no EYN members who lost their lives. The Red Cross
reported more than 200 others killed in the violence, however.

The situation was calm in the central city of Jos, where Tubbs and
his wife, Janet, are based, and where Badarawa pastor Bitrus Blama
is currently studying. A recent conference between Muslim and
Christian leaders in the Jos region was credited by some with
helping to keep the peace there.

 2) A design by Vicki Ferguson of the Prince of Peace Church of the
Brethren, Kettering, Ohio, has been selected as the logo for the
2003 Annual Conference.

Ferguson's design was chosen from among 20 entries. It is the first
Annual Conference logo for Ferguson, who serves as secretary at
Prince of Peace.

The logo features four colorful figures joined in a circle around
the words of the theme, "In Jesus' Name," in black. It will be
featured on the banner, booklet, and other materials for next
summer's Conference in Boise, Idaho. A copy of the logo can be
downloaded on the denominational website, at

 3) A small provision of the 670-page No Child Left Behind
education law signed in Washington last January has recently come
to the attention of peace advocates, and it is causing concern.

The provision, reported by the Associated Press, requires high
schools to turn over students' personal information to military
recruiters. Under the law, schools must provide the name, address,
and phone number of all juniors and seniors unless a student signs
and returns an "opt-out" form, according to the AP.

It applies to all public schools and to private schools that
receive federal funding. Schools run by Quakers, Mennonites, or
others with religious objections to military service can also be
exempted, the report said. The Pentagon reported that 95 percent of
schools are in compliance as of last week.

At the state level, meanwhile, dozens of states are exploring using
driver's license applications for automatic selective service
registration. The Church of the Brethren Washington Office last
week issued an action alert in Pennsylvania as such a bill had
passed that state's Senate and was headed to the House.

"As written, the bill provides no opportunity for a person
religiously or morally opposed to war to retain the privilege to
drive and right to hold to their beliefs," the alert said. Details
are available at, keyword
"Conscientious Objection."

 4) Four Church of the Brethren congregations have received grants
from the 2002 National Clergy Renewal Program funded by the Lilly
Endowment Inc.

The program, now in its third year, awards grants of up to $30,000
each for congregations to plan "a well-thought-out, intentional
program of renewal for their pastor and themselves," typically
including a sabbatical for the pastor. The 135 grants awarded this
year total $3.5 million, with congregations representing 35 states
and 15 denominations. Congregations in Indiana, where the Lilly
Endowment is based, are handled by a separate division. 

Among Brethren congregations, the largest grant--$28,313--went to
the Morgantown (W.Va.) congregation and pastor Cameron Blake
Kaufman-Frey. Other Brethren recipients were the Reading (Pa.)
First Church of the Brethren and pastor Tim Speicher, $24,772; the
York Center congregation, Lombard, Ill., and pastor Christy
Waltersdorff, $16,532; and the Mechanic Grove congregation,
Quarryville, Pa., and pastor for nurture Gerry Godfrey, $5,433.

"We have heard wonderful stories from the pastors who already have
experienced these sabbaticals," said Craig Dykstra, the Lilly
Endowment's vice president for religion. "Their time away freed
them up to pursue personal interests and needs in ways that have
given them new energy for ministry -- and the congregations
discovered that they didn't fall apart without their minister
around. Indeed, they, too, experienced refreshment and a new-found
sense of their own strengths."
Delegates at the 2002 Annual Conference adopted new Sabbath Rest
guidelines, which affirm the importance of sabbatical time for
pastoral staff.

 5) A new $6,000 grant from the General Board's Global Food Crisis
Fund will aid a stove and cistern project in Guatemala.

The funds will support the work of the Pastoral Social office of
the Catholic Church as it helps poor families construct
wood-conserving stoves and water-storing cisterns. The projects are
carried out in conjunction with a Brethren Volunteer Service worker
serving with the organization.

 6) Several of the denomination's districts are taking to heart the
"Call to Prayer" query adopted at the 2002 Annual Conference.

The Mid-Atlantic District, which originated the query, on Nov. 2
held a Day of Prayer with a "Prescription for a Vital Faith Life"
theme. Thirty people met at the district office in Ellicott City,
Md., for the event. Resource leaders included Ruth Aukerman, Chris
Fitz, district executive Don Booz, and several pastors from the

The day included song, movement prayers, silent prayer, prayer with
scripture, intercessory prayer, and healing prayers, drawing on
both ancient and contemporary traditions. Small-group sessions
allowed for additional exploration of other prayer forms such as
journaling and creative expression or a prayer walk, as well as a
field trip to a nearby prayer Labyrinth.

In neighboring Southern Pennsylvania District, meanwhile, January
has been designated "Prayer Emphasis Month." Congregations are
urged to make prayer a special focus, and the district's Witness
Commission has developed a packet of resources and suggestions.

And in Virlina District, the West Richmond (Va.) congregation has
partnered with Richmond Mennonite Fellowship and Pax Christi
Richmond for a series of services to pray for peace, emphasizing
confession, reflection, and hope. The next meeting is scheduled for
Dec. 10.

 7) Some news updates from the denomination's colleges:
 *Manchester College (North Manchester, Ind.) art professor Jim
Adams was named the 2002 U.S. Professor of the Year for
baccalaureate colleges by the Council for the Advancement and
Support of Education (CASE) and the Carnegie Foundation for the
Advacement of Teaching, and was honored Nov. 21 at the National
Press Club. The award ceremony was broadcast on C-SPAN and shown in
the college's Wampler Auditorium. CASE president Vance Peterson
said Adams, who has taught at Manchester for more than 40 years,
"is the kind of professor who is able to bring out the best in his
students because he helps them to believe in themselves." . . .
Manchester also reported another strong year for the Theological
Exploration of Vocation (TEV) summer service program that it
administrates for the colleges and a good response to a Conflict
Transformation Institute and other workshops held at the school.
Twenty-four students from five of the six Brethren colleges
participated in the TEV program this past summer.

 *McPherson (Kan.) College's board of trustees this fall approved
a $4.4 million proposal to upgrade campus facilities, particularly
the athletic complex. A partnership with the local school district
will allow work on the college's track, football/soccer field,
stadium seating, and press box. The improvements are expected to be
completed by fall 2003. The Sport Center will also be remodeled,
and an addition put on. . . . The search for a new college
president is under way, with nearly 40 applicants, and the number
of student applications for the 2003-2004 school year is reported
to be higher than in recent years.

 *Doris Albaugh of Westminster, Md.; William Earhart of Manassas,
Va.; and Harold Garber of Petersburg, W.Va., were elected to
five-year terms on the Bridgewater (Va.) College board of trustees
on Nov. 8. . . . Bridgewater professor Stephen Longenecker recently
had a book on religion in the Shenandoah Valley, titled "Shenandoah
Religion: Outsiders and the Mainstream, 1716-1865," published by
Baylor University Press. It studies groups including the early
Brethren and Mennonites in the region.

 *The University of La Verne (Calif.) joined with the University of
Mayab in Mexico to respond to damage caused in Yucatan state by
this fall's devastating Hurricane Isidore. La Verne professor Jose
Soto and four La Verne students from Mexico were coordinating
requests for supplies such as blankets and medicines, and
collecting materials for shipment through Dec. 3.

 8) Brethren bits: Other brief news notes from around the
denomination and elsewhere.
 *Online registration for the 2003 workcamps offered by the General
Boardbs Youth/Young Adult Ministry office opened on Dec. 1.
Twenty-six workcamps are being offered for junior and senior high
youth and young adults. Visit

 *The Bridgewater (Va.) College football team, which finished
second in the nation in Division III a year ago, is on the march
again. The Eagles (11-0) defeated King's College (Pa.) 19-17 in the
second round of the Division III playoffs this past Saturday and
play at undefeated Trinity (Tex.) this weekend. Semifinals are
slated for Dec. 14 and the Stagg Bowl championship for Dec. 21.

 *Christian Peacemaker Teams is holding an open house for its new
headquarters office next to the Douglas Park Church of the Brethren
in Chicago this Saturday, Dec. 7. The day will include a dedication
ceremony and a square dance in the evening. 

 *Church of North India (CNI) officials helped to organize and
participated in a peace march this fall, calling for an end to the
"spread of hatred in the name of religion" in the country,
according to Ecumenical News International. CNI bishop Karam Masih
joined a Roman Catholic archbishop and national leaders for the
final stretch of the five-day march in October. It came in response
to continuing tensions between Muslims and Hindus, including a
major attack on a Hindu temple in Gujarat state in late September.
The Rt. Rev. V.M. Malaviya, CNI bishop of the Gujarat Diocese,
expressed his thanks to partners including the Church of the
Brethren for the "love and concern that you all have shown for us"
through the situation.

 9) Bethany Theological Seminary has announced the appointment of
Russell W. Haitch as assistant professor and director of the
Institute for Ministry With Youth and Young Adults, as of Jan. 1.

Haitch, an ordained minister in the United Methodist Church, will
relocate to Bethany's Richmond, Ind., campus from Princeton, N.J.
He has served most recently as visiting lecturer in Christian
education at Pacific School of Religion and previously as a
teaching fellow at Princeton Theological Seminary---where he earned
his Ph.D. and M.Div. degrees---and as a pastor and youth pastor.

In his position at Bethany, he will teach graduate and
academy-level courses for the seminary and administer the overall
program of the Institute, which is supported by a designated

 10) John Ballinger has been called to serve as district executive
of the Northern Ohio District, effective Feb. 1.

Ballinger has been serving as pastor of the Maple Spring Church of
the Brethren in Ashland, Ohio, since 1995. He is a graduate of Ohio
Northern University and has a Master of Arts degree from Ashland
Theological Seminary. 

He and his wife, Kathy, have three children and will be moving to
another home in the Ashland area, where the district office is

 11) Robert Blake has resigned as program field staff for the
Association of Brethren Caregivers effective Jan. 1 to pursue a
full-time private practice for counseling and psychotherapy.  

Blake joined ABC in 1999 and has been responsible for four ministry
areas: Denominational Deacon Ministry, Family Life Ministry,
Lafiya: A Whole Person Health Ministry, and Voice Ministry. During
his tenure, Blake has created and led workshops and presentations
for districts and congregations across the denomination on a
variety of topics, written articles, and helped to create worship
and study resources.

ABC's program field staff position will not be filled until the
organization's staff and board complete its vision and planning
process. Current ABC staff will adjust responsibilities to continue
programming. As of Jan. 1, questions and requests for services for
the program field staff will be directed to ABC executive director
Steve Mason. Mason called it "an opportunity to be flexible as we
decide on program priorities."

 12) Several new additions to the denominational website,, add to a growing body of online resources.

Most recently, the site's calendar and "Find a Church" index of
districts and congregations have been converted to a database
format, allowing new search functions and other features, such as
a printable, month-view calendar. A new portal page, at, provides a quick index to Iraq-related
information throughout the site, and major sections have been added
to the Decade to Overcome Violence and to Brethren Witness.

A privacy policy has been posted on key pages, a new Brethren Press
section gives information on copyrights and permissions, On Earth
Peace offers printable "conversation cards" and other ideas for
witness, job openings are listed on the Marketplace "Classifieds"
section, and several new logos have been added to those available
for download. Annual Conference statements, a monthly General Board
bulletin insert, various newsletters, and other resources can also
be downloaded in PDF format.

Live daily coverage of the summer's three major conferences --
Annual Conference, National Youth Conference, and National Older
Adult Conference -- was provided on the site, and updates from
other major meetings have been posted as they occur. Online
registration is now available for some events, and more is planned
for the future.

 13) A spectrum of groups descended from the beginning of the
Brethren movement in 1708 will gather in Winona Lake, Ind., July
23-26 for a Brethren World Assembly.

The event, sponsored by Brethren Encyclopedia Inc., will have the
theme "Brethren Presence Around the World" and take place at Grace
College, a Grace Brethren school. Church of the Brethren member
William Eberly is serving as a program coordinator.

Objectives include increasing awareness of the worldwide
distribution of Brethren groups, exploring the development of
international Brethren church plantings and becoming acquainted
with those that exist, and reviewing the history of Brethren
service ministries in the world. To be placed on the mailing list
for updates and registration forms, write to local arrangements
coordinator Ronald T. Clutter, 20649 Becca Drive, Milford, IN

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, with other editions as needed.
Newsline stories may be reprinted provided that Newsline is cited
as the source. Suzie Moss, Marcia Shetler, Mary Dulabaum, Howard
Royer, and Joy Zepp contributed to this report.

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