Thursday, August 20, 2015

National Junior High Sunday

Nov. 1 is National Junior High Sunday in the Church of the Brethren. The theme is the same as that for this year's National Junior High Conference, “Honor God by Honoring Others” (Matthew 7:12). Find worship resources and a logo in pdf format at www.brethren.org/yya/jr-high-resources.html.

Source: 8/20/2015 Newsline

Establishing Policies to Restrict Military Recruiting in K-12 Schools

A free webinar about counter recruitment is offered by the National Network Opposing the Militarization of Youth (NNOMY, see www.nnomy.org ) and hosted by the American Friends Service Committee. An event flier is at http://bit.ly/nnomy_crwebinars . The webinar in three parts focuses on how to establish policies to restrict military recruiting in K-12 schools. Participants are requested to send name, e-mail address, and phone number to projyano@aol.com by Friday, Aug. 21, in order to reserve a place in the webinar. The webinar is offered in three parts on Aug. 26, Aug. 28, and Aug. 31 from 5-6 p.m. (Eastern time). Each session will cover a different set of topics.

Source: 8/20/2015 Newsline

Western Regional Youth Conference

Senior high youth in the western districts of the Church of the Brethren are invited to set aside Jan. 15-17, 2016, to attend Western Regional Youth Conference. On the theme, “Becoming the Beloved Community” (Luke 17:20), the event takes place on Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend on the campus of the University of La Verne in southern California. “Violence, conflict, and controversy can tear us down and break us apart,” said an announcement. “The beloved community seeks to raise levels of relationships and work for justice--peacefully, simply, together. Because the Kingdom of God is here; in our midst!” The cost is $45 for youth and their adult advisors. Registration forms will be available in the fall.

Source: 8/20/2015 Newsline

First Church of the Brethren in Chicago, Ill., helped host Westfield, N.J youth group

Members of First Church of the Brethren in Chicago, Ill., helped host a youth group from First Congregational Church of Westfield, N.J., when the youth were in Chicago for a short-term mission trip. The experience received coverage by New Jersey Online, which reported that the annual mission trip has become a summer tradition for the congregation which sends its youth to serve in a different city each year. “More than 30 church representatives, including middle and senior high students, friends, clergy members, and chaperones, traveled to Chicago, Illinois, from July 19 to 25, to work with Discovering Opportunities for Outreach and Reflection (DOOR), a faith-based organization that stresses local immersion while working with inner-city communities,” said the report. “Under the guidance of DOOR representatives from the First Church of the Brethren, the First Congregational Church volunteers took public transportation to work sites throughout the city, including community parks and gardens, an adult day care center, a food distribution warehouse, and a city-run Safe Haven program for youth. The students also learned about the challenges of living in South Chicago through speakers and activities arranged by DOOR.” Find the article at www.nj.com/suburbannews/index.ssf/2015/08/first_congregational_youth_fro.html.

Source: 8/20/2015 Newsline

2016 National Young Adult Conference Dates Set

Dates have been announced for the next National Young Adult Conference, which will be held from Friday, May 27, to Monday, May 30, 2016, at Manchester University in North Manchester, Ind. Young adults ages 18-35 are invited to put this event on their calendars and plan to attend.

Source: 8/20/2015 Newsline

The 2015 Youth Peace Travel Team has completed its travels this summer

The 2015 Youth Peace Travel Team has completed its travels this summer, and has posted blogs from the camps and events where the team attended. One recent post reflected on the team’s participation in Brethren United Adventure Camp in North Carolina. This camp is hosted by Camp Carmel, run by Camp Ithiel, and also attended this year by Camp Bethel, Camp Brethren Woods, Camp Inspiration Hills, and Camp Harmony. Each of the six camps sent campers and counselors to the joint adventure camp. The 2015 Youth Peace Travel Team included Annika Harley, Brianna Wenger, and Kerrick van Asselt. Find their blogposts at http://blog.brethren.org/category/youth-peace-travel-team.

Source: 8/20/2015 Newsline

Thursday, July 02, 2015

2016 Assistant Workcamp Coordinators Named

The Church of the Brethren Workcamp Ministry has announced the assistant coordinators for the 2016 season: Deanna Beckner of Columbia City (Ind.) Church of the Brethren, and Amanda McLearn-Montz of Panther Creek Church of the Brethren in Adel, Iowa. Beckner graduated from Manchester University in May with a degree in Communication Studies. McLearn-Montz graduated from Tulane University in May with a degree in Spanish and Public Health. The two assistant coordinators will begin their work in August, to plan for the 2016 workcamp season.

source: 7/2/2015 Newsline

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Junior high conference helps youth address change, while keeping a focus on God

Photo by Glenn Riegel

Junior high youth gather at Elizabethtown College in 
Pennsylvania for the 2015 National Junior High Conference.
By Josh Harbeck

An acorn. Small, ordinary, even insignificant. Yet that small seed transforms into a massive, rooted, solid oak tree.

That transformation was the metaphor for change used by the organizers of the 2015 National Junior High Conference held June 19-21 at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College. The message came through clearly.

In total, 325 youth, advisors, and staff attended the conference and participated in workshops, recreation times, and even a carnival while also sharing meals and worship together.

Theme guides youth through change

The worship sessions each built upon the metaphor of transformation. The theme from the weekend was based on Romans 12:1-2, which, in the Message version, states, “Take your everyday, ordinary life--your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life--and place it before God as an offering.” In addition, the youth were charged to not allow themselves to “become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out.”

Organizers of the event, including director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry Becky Ullom Naugle, wanted to acknowledge the changes junior high youth go through and remind them to keep their focus on God.

“We were thinking about different images for change, and the acorn starts so small and so insignificant, but it turns in to this mighty oak tree,” she said. “And we thought that could help the kids see long term. It’s not about how you look or what you have. God’s looking at other things.”

Kristen Hoffman, coordinator of National Junior High Conference and a Brethren Volunteer Service worker, said she wanted the students to feel energized. “We wanted to focus on their gifts and talents and have them fueled by that and ready to go back to their junior highs,” she said.

Preachers share personal stories, challenges

That energizing process began with the opening worship service. Lauren Seganos, a seminarian at the Memorial Church of Harvard University and member of Stone Church of the Brethren in Huntingdon, Pa., had the first opportunity to address the attendees, and she shared a personal story about her time in junior and senior high.

She talked about how much she enjoyed singing and performing and how she would audition for parts in musicals and solos in choir. However, another classmate usually earned those leads and solos. Seganos said she became so discouraged, she turned down an opportunity to sing at a coffee house hosted by her high school during her senior year.

She told the crowd that today, she can look back and see her focus was in trying to be the best rather than accepting the talents and strengths she did have. “We are all made in God’s image,” she said during her message, “but sometimes it’s hard to remember that.”

Putting unrealistic expectations on ourselves is a quick way to lose focus. “We’re in a culture where everyone needs to be the best at everything, and it’s worse today than when I was a child,” she said. “I think it’s important to not focus on being the best necessarily, but focus on what brings you joy because when we’re doing something that comes from our heart, that pleases God.”

Seganos said she was excited when contacted by the conference organizers. “They explained to me the vision for the weekend, with the image of the acorn and how it ties in,” she said. “I love the scripture passage; I actually have a poster of that up on my wall, that verse in the Message translation, and I thought it was so neat that that was the verse they asked me to preach on.”

On Saturday morning the transformation metaphor was expanded when Bethany Theological Seminary academic dean Steve Schweitzer talked about filters. He began by showing what different pictures looked like with different filters, such as different color filters, simple back and white, or even a negative filter. He then talked about the filters through which we see ourselves, or how others see us, or how God sees us. His theme was identity, an important topic for junior high youth.

“This is an age in which the answer to the question about knowing who you are can change every day,” he said. “We have to recognize that God sees us as no one else can and to know that God knows who we are and who we will become, so even when we screw up and get it wrong, God is there to call us into being that which God sees in us.”

Amy Gall Ritchie, a former Church of the Brethren pastor who now works with students at Bethany Seminary, also used pictures and images as part of her message during Saturday night’s worship service. She showed pictures of trees that grew in prevailing winds, trees that have grown more horizontally than vertically. She explained how while we should grow vertically, stretching to God, the prevailing winds of peer pressure can cause any of us to change direction.

She related a powerful story about peer pressure, describing how a group of friends organized a trip to the mall and while there, devised a plan to ditch one person in the group. Knowing what she was doing was wrong, she went ahead with her friends. The plan worked.

Acknowledging her guilt in making a bad choice, she had advice for those in worship that night: “We are going to make bad choices,” she said, “but there is always the next choice. We do not have to carry around our bad choices like a chain of punishment.”

Realizing those next-choice opportunities is the key to avoiding bad choices in the future, not to mention the guilt that comes with them. “If we get discouraged and give up, then we’re in that unproductive place of shame and guilt again,” she said. “And honestly, if I’m going to put my energy into something, I want to put it into goodness.”

Pacific Southwest District moderator Eric Bishop gave the message closing the conference on Sunday morning, building on what previous speakers had said. He challenged the youth to keep in mind what they had heard over the weekend, and challenged the adults as well.

“Yours has to be the just generation,” he told the youth. “We are failing and falling. Each generation, we hope the next will be the change we want and need. If we are going to change, we must help show you how.”

He talked about the mistake some people make in their underestimating of junior high youth. “We tell the youth, ‘You're the future, but [you have to] wait.’ But I think they are not the future; they are a part of the church now. We need to bring them in and listen to them,” he said.

Workshops include Charleston discussion

Between worship sessions, youth and advisors alike had opportunities to unwind or get wound up. Saturday afternoon featured opportunities for sports and recreation, utilizing Elizabethtown’s facilities for kickball, volleyball, and Ultimate Frisbee.

Saturday’s schedule also featured two sessions of workshops, where youth could learn about a wide variety of topics including what Brethren volunteers are doing in Nigeria, how pop culture relates to faith, how not to be a jerk, among many others.

Organizers also saw an opportunity for discussion with the tragic shooting in South Carolina. Bishop offered to facilitate a talk specifically about what happened in Charleston, and also more generally about violence and race. He said it was a good chance to discuss some important topics. “It was primarily advisors, but those are the people who help influence the youth,” he said. “It’s interesting because there was a point where I said, ‘OK, we’ve been here an hour, so you’re welcome to come and go as you need,’ but no one moved.”

All of the discussions and activities took place in large part because of the efforts of the steering committee, which included Dave Miller, Michelle Gibbel, Eric Landram, and Jennifer Jensen. “Anytime at conference when something needed to happen they were always the first ones who said they’d do it,” Hoffman said. That included the Saturday night carnival, featuring activity booths from Brethren Volunteer Service, Global Mission and Service, Bethany Seminary, and McPherson College.

Seth Hendricks led the musical portion of worship, including praise songs and an original work based on the conference’s theme.

All of the activities and fellowship made for a positive experience.

“It’s been a good and healthy place for kids to be over the weekend,” Ullom Naugle said.

-- Josh Harbeck is a high school English teacher and member of Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, Ill., where he serves as a junior high teacher. 

Glenn Riegel, a photographer and member of Little Swatara Church of the Brethren in Bethel, Pa., has posted albums from the National Junior High Conference at
www.facebook.com/glenn.riegel.

Source: 6/24/2015 Newsline

Lightsabers and communicating with junior highs: An interview with Bethany dean Steve Schweitzer

Photo by Glenn Riegel

Bethany Seminary dean Steve Schweitzer speaks 
at 2015 National Junior High Conference
By Josh Harbeck

When pondering the best tools to use to communicate with junior high youth, lightsabers may not appear on the top of the list. However, according to Bethany Theological Seminary academic dean and professor Steve Schweitzer, they may have their place.

Schweitzer is teaching a new course at Bethany called “Science Fiction and Theology,” and he brought some of the ideas discussed in that class to a workshop at the National Junior High Conference held June 19-21 at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College.

Schweitzer showed clips from the Star Wars and Star Trek movie and television franchises, along with clips from various episodes of the BBC television show “Dr. Who.” Each of these clips had to do with faith, humanity, relationships, and concepts of God.

Why bring topics from a college course to a junior high conference? For Schweitzer, the answer is simple. “This is my favorite age group. I love junior high,” he said. “They’re honest, they ask good questions, and they don’t know yet that those aren’t the questions you’re supposed to ask. There’s a blunt honesty about life that makes you smile.”

Junior high is an important time in the life of an adolescent, a time when many changes are happening. One of those changes is independence that manifests itself partly in choices about entertainment. Authority figures must have an idea about what junior high students are consuming.

“We have to be aware about what's going on culturally and be willing to engage it in productive ways” Schweitzer said. “That doesn’t mean we have to agree with it, but we have to communicate about the truth of the gospel and truth of our faith in ways that make sense.”

Schweitzer brought up the example of Paul and how he tried to minister in the New Testament. “He doesn’t go in and pull out references that no one understands. He talks to them in ways they understand culturally and ways that make sense,” he said. “That’s a huge part of what it means to communicate effectively in our culture.”

That means taking an interest in the interests of students. Those who serve as authority figures have to be able to meet the students on their level. “Think about the young adult dystopian phase right now, like the Hunger Games and Divergent [book series and movies], and if your children are into that, for you not to talk about why this is so appealing and what’s the attraction seems to me a big missed opportunity, whether it's a parent or a teacher or a pastor,” Schweitzer said.

In the end, communication is about honesty. A genuine interest in the interest of the students will bring about real conversations about serious topics. That’s how a discussion of Yoda’s philosophies about the Force in “The Empire Strikes Back” can lead to discussions about faith and the Holy Spirit.

“They want someone who is going to respect them and listen to them and is going to, when they have a question, have a real answer,” Schweitzer said. “Saying, ‘I don't know’ is fine, but [we also say,] ‘This is how I am able to make sense of some of this.’ That authenticity and respect is huge.”

-- Josh Harbeck is a high school English teacher and member of Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, Ill., where he serves as a junior high teacher.

Glenn Riegel, a photographer and member of Little Swatara Church of the Brethren in Bethel, Pa., has posted albums from the National Junior High Conference at
www.facebook.com/glenn.riegel.

Source: 6/24/2015 Newsline

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

National Junior High Conference worship will be webcast

Logo for National Junior High Conference 2015
Worship services at the National Junior High Conference taking place this weekend at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College will be webcast. The conference is offered by the Church of the Brethren Youth and Young Adult Ministry. Junior high youth from across the denomination will gather the weekend of June 19-21 for a faith formation experience that will include worship, fellowship, workshops, recreation, and more.

Link to the webcasts at https://livestream.com/livingstreamcob/NJHC2015.

The conference worship schedule and speakers:
  • Friday, June 19, at 7:15 p.m. (Eastern time): Lauren Seganos, a member of Stone Church of the Brethren in Huntingdon, Pa., is a student at Andover Newton Theological School outside of Boston, Mass. As part of her education, she is a seminarian at the Memorial Church of Harvard University.
  • Saturday, June 20, at 9 a.m. (Eastern): Bethany Seminary dean and professor Steve Schweitzer teaches courses in Old Testament, and a new course on Science Fiction and Theology, at the Church of the Brethren seminary in Richmond, Ind.
  • Saturday, June 20, at 7 p.m. (Eastern): Amy Gall Ritchie works with students at Bethany Theological Seminary, and has been a pastor and spiritual director in the Church of the Brethren.
  • Sunday, June 21, at 9 a.m. (Eastern): Eric Bishop is a member of La Verne (Calif.) Church of the Brethren, moderator of the Pacific Southwest District for 2015, and a graduate of the University of La Verne. He is vice president of student services for a community college in southern California.
For more information about the Youth and Young Adult Ministry, go to www.brethren.org/yya.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

2016 Western Regional Youth Conference

Dates have been set for the next Western Regional Youth Conference in 2016, to be held over the Martin Luther King Day weekend, Jan. 15-17, on the campus of the University of La Verne in southern California. The theme will be “Becoming the Beloved Community” (Luke 17:20). Registration, fees, details about leadership, and information on special events will be made available later this summer, said an announcement from Pacific Southwest District.

Source: June 10, 2015 Newsline

Youth and Young Adult Ministry Internship

The Church of the Brethren Youth and Young Adult Ministry is publicizing an opportunity for an individual who is interested in volunteer work to serve with the ministry beginning later this year. This Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) assignment is based at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., and will include opportunity for a young adult to work in a professional environment that is spiritually rooted and serves young people in the Anabaptist and Pietist traditions. Additional opportunities include a communal living situation at the BVS Intentional Community House in Elgin, active mentorship by a member of the Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren, spiritual formation support for individual growth, and administrative experience for national ministry programming. To express interest or for more information contact Becky Ullom Naugle, director of the Youth and Young Adult Ministry, at bullomnaugle@brethren.org.

Source: June 10, 2015 Newsline

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Christian Citizenship Seminar 2015 takes on the topic of immigration

Some notes taken during the 2015 Christian Citizenship Seminar on the topic of immigration
Photo by Kristen Hoffman

Some notes taken during the 2015 Christian Citizenship Seminar on the topic of immigration

Two of the senior high youth who participated in this year’s Christian Citizenship Seminar report on the event and its impact:

Youth discuss connections between immigration and faith

By Jenna Walmer

On April 18, Church of the Brethren youth gathered in New York City at the start of Christian Citizenship Seminar (CCS), a conference that allows youth to explore the connections between a specific topic and our faith. This year the topic was immigration.

The seminar culminates with congressional visits in Washington, D.C. Throughout the seminar, we discussed the importance of our faith’s connection with citizenship and how immigration impacts our lives. It is a busy week filled with learning, fun, and spiritual growth. Following is an abridged version of what goes down at CCS.

Walking through New York’s Times Square with luggage in tow is definitely an adventure. We admired the sites of the city, but we walked many blocks to find our hotel. After we recuperated from the long walk and went to dinner, we had our first session led by Nate Hosler and Bryan Hanger of the Office of Public Witness. Nate discussed the connections of immigration to the Bible. Then, Bryan introduced talking points for our congressional visits.

The next day, we split up and went to churches around the city. I went to Judson Memorial, a church that is affiliated with the Baptists and United Church of Christ. This church was very different and not what I expected, but I could definitely see myself attending. The preacher was pretty socialist, and the whole congregation was accepting of everyone: people with AIDS, homosexuals, immigrants. They also promoted being politically and socially active.

What interested me was that the preacher was arrested with Dorothy Day and Cesar Chavez. Later in the evening, the speaker was actually the preacher we listened to that morning at Judson. She told story after story about immigrants she has helped. This developed an emotional connection to the facts we already started to learn. Putting a story to the facts is important to connect with congressional visits.

Rev. Michael Livingston of Riverside Church in New York speaks with the CCS group
Photo by Kristen Hoffman

Rev. Michael Livingston of Riverside Church in New York speaks with the CCS group

On Monday, we started off the day with the pastor from Riverside Church, who discussed the systematic problems of immigration and the general process. After this session, many headed to the United Nations for a tour and another educational experience. At the UN, the group learned about human rights. I would recommend that everyone visits the United Nations at least once because it opens your eyes to what the world as a whole is working towards.

Finally, the day of travel! The bus trip is one of the first times you get to interact with a larger group of people. Then, we arrived in Washington, D.C. We had a meeting with Julie Chavez Rodriguez, deputy director of the White House’s Office of Public Engagement. We had the opportunity to be on the White House campus! We were sniffed by a drug dog. I even saw the fountain that you always see on TV, and I have pictures of the outside of the West Wing and all the Secret Service Cars. Julie Chavez Rodriguez gave us insight on President Obama’s agenda on immigration. She also told us about the internship program at the White House.

After dinner, Jerry O’Donnell gave us our first full lesson on how to talk to our representatives. He told us to use personal experiences, and acknowledge the conditions of the government currently. Also, he reminded us that we are speaking for those who do not have a voice, the immigrants.

Wednesday we had another legislative training session in the morning. This session gave us examples in the form of a pretend meeting of what to do and what not to do while in an office. We also discussed our main points once again, so they were fresh in our memory. The speaker told us to lead with a story of how immigration has impacted our lives. She also told us that congressmen don’t demilitarize the border because they are afraid. They don’t act on immigration reform and give immigrants rights because they are afraid. These points stuck with me as we moved into our own groups and preparation for our Hill visits.

My group went to Senator Bob Casey’s office. We asked him about demilitarization of the border. Casey is a Democrat. He votes to keep military at the border because it is one thing that the Republicans want to keep in immigration reform. The aide explained that this is “give and take,” what Casey “gives” to the Republicans so he can receive something else in return. In the evening, we reflected with the larger group on our visits.

Our final session reflected on the week, and how we’ve grown mentally and spiritually. After the session, we took many pictures, exchanged hugs, and said our goodbyes. Our pastor arrived with our van and we were off, ready to be disciples of Christ, now able to spread the word about immigration to our communities to make a difference in the world.

As we become active in politics and discern what issues are near and dear to our hearts, remember to keep a connection to faith in mind. Remember to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. Finally, remember to act without fear.

-- Jenna Walmer is a high school senior from Palmyra (Pa.) Church of the Brethren who also blogs for the Dunker Punks blogsite.

Source: 5/13/2015 Newsline

Christian Citizenship Seminar reflections

By Corrie Osborne

Youth group trips are a special thing in themselves, but Christian Citizenship Seminar (CCS) is even more unique in the fact that its attendees get to learn and take political action about a certain topic. At this year's Christian Citizenship Seminar, a few main points have continued to be ingrained in our minds. We learned that as Christians it is important to care for people whether they are documented or not, that immigrants are helping our economy rather than hurting it, and that there is no justified reason to keep immigrants out.

A sermon was about caring for the flock without being particular about who you are  helping--this includes immigrants. One of our speakers, a pastor from Judson Memorial Church and long time political activist, told us the story of around 30 female police officers throughout New York City who have volunteered to answer calls of help from undocumented immigrants who are being abused. In order to keep them from being deported, the officers have to keep the visits off the books. In other words, the officers choose what they believe is morally right to take precedence over the steps that the broken immigration system calls them to take.

Staff take a break during the 2015 CCS: (from left) Office of Public Witness director Nate Hosler and advocacy associate Bryan Hanger, and Youth and Young Adult Ministry director Becky Ullom Naugle.
Photo by Kristen Hoffman
Staff take a break during the 2015 CCS: (from left)
Office of Public Witness director Nate Hosler and
advocacy associate Bryan Hanger, and Youth and
Young Adult Ministry director Becky Ullom Naugle.
We learned that it is important to be educated about a subject, but also to take action in ways that apply to you. Sometimes it is better to lean toward mercy and hospitality as opposed to the letter of the law.

While it may seem inconsequential to deport undocumented immigrants, an estimated 11 million are already living in the United States. Their jobs mainly involve manual labor, agriculture, the restaurant business, and domestic help. One frequent argument used against immigrants living in the US is that they are taking available jobs away from “born and bred” Americans. To the contrary, approximately $6 billion to $7 billion worth of Social Security tax is paid by undocumented workers each year. This statistic does not include the millions of dollars of wages that are paid under the table.

The truth is that documented and undocumented workers alike do the jobs that not many American citizens would care to do themselves. In addition, Social Security taxes from undocumented workers will never come to fruition for themselves; the money goes into a large pool doled out among legal citizens. In essence, those undocumented immigrants are paying for the rest of us to retire.
To better understand the issue, we met with someone who has first-hand experience working with the personal and political aspects of the immigration issue--Julia Chavez Rodriguez, the daughter of Cesar Chavez. We witnessed how she connects with groups across the country and gathers stories in order to put a human face on President Obama's policies. A main point of hers was that there aren't any quality arguments to justify keeping immigrants out.

The two issues that bring the most contention are not having a personal connection to an immigrant family and being uneducated about the matter. As in many other cases, misinformation leads to fear. Some say that the immigration system is “broken,” but several prominent figures suspect that the complicated governmental pyramid is forming immigration policies to be purposefully vague in order to create a stalemate. That fragile political environment makes it easy to score political points as a politician. A politician's stance on immigration can affect their whole platform and change the outcome of a race.

The group of senior high youth and adult advisors at Christian Citizenship Seminar 2015
Photo by Kristen Hoffman
The group of senior high youth and adult advisors at Christian Citizenship Seminar 2015
In summation, we learned that the key component to the immigration issue is lack of compassion and the dehumanization of immigrants. It is important for us as a church to be open and welcoming because that is what we are called to do. However, we observed that the politicians we spoke with didn't directly answer the questions we asked--in part because they might not have been completely familiar with the topic at hand, but also because the nature of their job requires that they don't give away too much. Sadly, it's too dangerous to become a partisan even within one's political group.

Most importantly, we understood that the best thing we can do for this issue is to take what we have learned with us, in order to use it later in life when the opportunity arises.

-- Corrie Osborne is a senior high youth at Manchester Church of the Brethren in North Manchester, Ind.

Source: 5/13/2015 Newsline

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Young Adult Conference 2015

May 22 - 24, 2015

Where: Camp Swatara in Bethel, PA
When: May 22-24, 2015
Who: All young adults are welcome (Ages 18-35)
Cost: $125 ($150 after April 30)

Go to: http://www.brethren.org/yac/ to register or for more information.

National Junior High Conference 2015

National Junior High Conference 2015
Elizabethtown College
Elizabethtown, PA
June 19 – 21, 2015

Living the Change:
Our Offering to God

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
—Romans 12:1 – 2 (The Message)

Come join us for a weekend packed with powerful worship, fun workshops, music, and recreation!

For Junior High Youth (those who have completed grades 6 – 8) and their advisors.

Cost?
Early bird registration, from January 9 – March 31, is $160 per person
(participants and advisors).

Regular registration, on and after April 1, is $185 per person.

A non-refundable deposit of $80 is required within two weeks of submitting your online registration to hold your spot.
Travel scholarships are available to those who live west of the Mississippi River. Download the form and check registration deadlines on the NJHC website.

Registration begins online January 9, 2015 at 12 noon central time.

Check the website for frequent updates!
www.brethren.org/njhc

Contact Kristen Hoffman, NJHC Coordinator,
by phone at 847-429-4389 or
by email at khoffman@brethren.org