Tuesday, October 14, 2014

‘Honor God by Honoring Others’ is theme for Junior High Sunday

Churches of the Brethren are encouraged to celebrate Junior High Sunday on Nov. 2. The theme for the 2014 observance of Junior High Sunday is “Honor God by Honoring Others,” based on Matthew 7:12, “In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.”

Resources for this annual special Sunday are available online, designed to aid junior high youth and their adult advisors lead their congregations in worship. Downloadable resources include the theme logo in several different formats, and worship resources written by Church of the Brethren members Marcus Harden, Stephen Hershberger, Audrey Hollenberg-Duffey, Rachel Witkovsky.

Worship resources include calls to worship and benedictions, invitations to give and blessings for the offering, a litany of confession, a scripture jam, a children’s story, and other creative worship elements.

Download resources from www.brethren.org/yya/jr-high-resources.html.

Source: 10/14/2014 Newsline

Christian Citizenship Seminar 2015 to focus on immigration

“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it” (Hebrews 13:2). This theme scripture will help guide the Christian Citizenship Seminar for 2015 in a study of US immigration.

This seminar for senior high youth and their adult advisors is scheduled for April 18-23, 2015, and will be held in New York City and Washington, D.C. It is sponsored by the Church of the Brethren Youth and Young Adult Ministry.

“Please join us as we delve into topics that will challenge and support growth in our knowledge, compassion, understanding, and faith in learning about such an important and timely issue,” said an announcement.

The brochure for the event notes that “US immigration policy is a complex and polarizing issue, regardless of whether it is discussed in the halls of Congress or the Fellowship Hall.... Participants at the 2015 Christian Citizenship Seminar will strive to understand current government policy, various suggested reforms, and the consequences of both on immigrant communities. We will learn how our faith in Jesus, expressed in our theology and action, can inform and compassionately shape our response to immigration.”

Registration for the seminar opens Dec. 1. Space is limited to 100 people so early registration is advised. Cost is $400. For more information and a downloadable brochure, go to www.brethren.org/ccs.

Source: 10/14/2014 Newsline

The Church of the Brethren seek candidates for the position of coordinator of orientation for BVS

The Church of the Brethren seek candidates for the full-time salaried position of coordinator of orientation for Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS). Major responsibilities include organizing orientation, securing facilities and resource leaders, providing leadership, reviewing volunteer applications, counseling volunteers, facilitating community building, and evaluating orientation upon conclusion. The coordinator also oversees social media connections for BVS including Facebook, Twitter, and the BVS webpage. Additional responsibilities include co-supervision of BVS staff volunteers and providing administrative back up in the absence of the BVS director. This position requires significant travel that can take up to a month at a time. Required skills and knowledge include knowledge of Church of the Brethren heritage, theology, and polity; ability to articulate and operate out of the vision of the Mission and Ministry Board; and demonstrated ability to perform administrative and management tasks. Candidate must enjoy working in a team environment and must be flexible with evolving program needs. Training or experience in group building and dynamics, training of groups and individuals, and recruiting and assessment of individuals is required for this position. A bachelor’s degree is required. Application of relevant philosophies learned through course work and seminars is helpful. This position is based at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Applications will be received beginning immediately and will be reviewed on an ongoing basis until the position is filled. Request the application form by contacting the Office of Human Resources, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; 800-323-8039 ext. 367; humanresources@brethren.org. The Church of the Brethren is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Source: 10/14/2014 Newsline

Friday, October 10, 2014

National Junior High Sunday - November 2, 2014

Celebrate Junior High Sunday on November 2!

The theme is "Honor God by honoring others" based on Matthew 7:12.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Christian Citizenship Seminar - April 18-23

Join us April 18-23, 2015 in New York City and Washington, D.C.

The theme for the upcoming Christian Citizenship Seminar is U.S. Immigration. Please join us as we delve into topics that will challenge and support growth in our knowledge, compassion, understanding, and faith in learning about such an important and timely issue.

Online registration opens here on December 1, 2014. Registration is limited to 100 participants, so register early!

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Theme announced for Bethany Seminary Peace Essay Contest

By Jenny Williams

Aspiring student writers are encouraged to begin considering their entries for Bethany Seminary’s 2015 Peace Essay Contest: Peacemaking, Creation Justice, and the Beloved Community. Building on its success in 2014, the contest again is being held as part of the peace studies program at the seminary.

The peace essay contest is open to seminary, graduate school, college, and high school students who are fully enrolled in a program en route to a degree. Prizes of $2,000, $1,000, and $500 will be awarded for the top three essays. Topics to address may include but are not limited to the following:
  • creation care
  • a just peace with creation
  • indigenous communities’ rights
  • environmental racism
  • gender and ecology
  • creating a greener economy
  • creation-centered spirituality
  • forging alliances across the traditional “left-vs.-right” ideological framing of US politics
  • intercultural coalitions for the common good
Scott Holland, Slabaugh Professor of Theology and Culture at Bethany, sees the 2015 theme as a timely one, noting how the recent People’s Climate March in New York City drew participants from across political, religious, and cultural boundaries toward a common cause. “I have spoken with career farmers, experimental urban gardeners, and students of religion and science who--in the spirit of the New York march--are convinced that creation care is becoming a unifying peace and justice issue. All express the conviction that it will be difficult to achieve peace among the nations unless we together make peace with the gift of God's creation through responsible stewardship of the land.”

A natural fit within the teaching and learning in peace studies at Bethany, the essay contest is underwritten by the Jennie Calhoun Baker Endowment, funded by John C. Baker in honor of his mother. Described as a “Church of the Brethren woman ahead of her time,” she was known for actively pursuing peacemaking by meeting the needs of others, providing community leadership, and upholding the value of creative and independent thinking in education. John Baker saw her vision and modeling of contemporary peacemaking reflected in Bethany’s collaborative leadership among the three Historic Peace Churches and thus selected the seminary to administer the endowment’s programs.

John Baker, a philanthropist for peace with a distinguished career in higher education, and his wife had also helped establish the peace studies program at Bethany with an earlier endowment gift. “John and Elizabeth Baker were deeply committed to building cultures of peace,” says Holland. “This peace essay contest is intended to encourage thoughtful writing on peace in essays that are informed by the rich traditions of God's shalom and Christ's peace yet articulated in voices that are public, ecumenical, and interfaith. There is also the hope that this contest will lead to international networking and partnerships in pursuit of peace.”

Holland administers the Baker endowment programs and is assisted in the essay contest by Bekah Houff, coordinator of outreach programs, who chairs the planning committee. Other members of this year’s committee are Kirsten Beachy, assistant professor of visual and communication arts at Eastern Mennonite University (Mennonite); Ben Brazil, assistant professor and director of the Ministry of Writing Program at Earlham School of Religion (Friends); Randy Miller, editor of the Church of the Brethren “Messenger” magazine; Abbey Pratt-Harrington, alumna of Earlham School of Religion (Friends); and Joanna Shenk, one of the pastors at First Mennonite Church in San Francisco. Brazil, Holland, Miller, and Shenk also will serve as judges.

Essays can be submitted between Jan. 1-26, 2015, and results will be announced by the end of Feb. 2015. Winning essays will appear in selected publications of the Church of the Brethren, Friends, and Mennonite faith communities. For guidelines, terms, and submission procedures, go to www.bethanyseminary.edu/peace-essay . Contact Bekah Houff at houffre@bethanyseminary.edu or 765-983-1809 for additional information.

-- Jenny Williams is director of communications and alumni/ae relations for Bethany Theological Seminary.

Source: 10/7/2014 Newsline

Friday, September 26, 2014

‘Side by Side: Imitating Christ’s Humility’ is 2015 workcamp theme.

The Workcamp office announces the theme for the 2015 Church of the Brethren Workcamp season: “Side by Side: Imitating Christ’s Humility” (Philippians 2:1-8).

Philippians 2:1-8 teaches the importance of living in community and putting one another’s interests above one’s own. In Philippians, Paul writes about Christ’s perfect example of humility, which immediately follows a call to communion with one another.

The 2015 workcamp curriculum will focus on how to serve others humbly, as Christ taught, to become more like-minded and foster meaningful relationships. The daily themes of community, service, faithfulness, prayer, renewal, and light will reflect aspects of faith that enable humble, community-based living.

More information about the 2015 workcamp schedule, dates, locations, and fees will be made available in upcoming months.

-- Theresa Ford is an assistant coordinator for the 2015 workcamp season, working alongside co-assistant coordinator Hannah Shultz. They are serving in the Workcamp office through Brethren Volunteer Service. Emily Tyler is the coordinator of Workcamps and BVS Recruitment.

Source: 9/26/2014 Newsline

Mohican CoB Youth Group rock out a house in a week

Sighting along the plane: Mohican Church youth group help  out at Toms River project site
 Brethren Disaster Ministries has posted a Facebook photo album from the week when a youth group from Mohican Church of the Brethren in Ohio volunteered at the disaster rebuilding project site at Toms River, N.J. “Mohican CoB Youth Group rock out a house in a week--June 9-13, 2014! From decking to trusses,” read the Facebook post. Find more pictures at www.facebook.com/bdm.cob.
 The frame is up! Mohican Church youth volunteer at Toms River disaster rebuilding site

Source: 9/26/2014 Newsline

Orientation for Unit 307 of Brethren Volunteer Service

Orientation for Unit 307 of Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) will be held from Sept. 28-Oct. 17 at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. The 17 new volunteers come from half a dozen states in the US as well as Germany. During the orientation there will be sessions on diversity, peacemaking, spirituality, conflict resolution, homelessness, globalization, and other challenging issues that affect the world today. The volunteers will participate in workdays in the local community, at the Brethren Service Center, and in Harrisburg, Pa. For more information about BVS, please visit www.brethren.org/bvs.

Source: 9/26/2014 Newsline

Posts on Brethren Blog

Several new blog posts are available on the Brethren Blog, including stories and pictures from this summer’s Youth Peace Travel Team, reflections on the recent work of the Office of Public Witness, more about the “Dunker Punks” movement that started at National Youth Conference, and stories from Brethren Volunteer Service. Find the blog at http://blog.brethren.org.

Source: 9/26/2014 Newsline

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

“Brethren Voices” community television program to feature National Youth Conference 2014

In October, “Brethren Voices” community television program from Portland's Peace Church of the Brethren features National Youth Conference 2014. Three youth who attended NYC--Addison, Saylor, and Alayana Neher--are interviewed and joined by their mother Marci Neher, who served as a chaperone. The program also features excerpts from the “National Youth Conference 2014 Wrap-up Video” produced by David Sollenberger. In November, “Brethren Voices” will feature the Meat Canning Project of Southern Pennsylvania and Atlantic Northeast Districts, which canned 24,000 cans of chicken in April for distribution to community food banks as well as a project in Honduras. “Brethren Voices” is viewed in approximately 25 community access stations around the country, reports producer Ed Groff. Contact Groffprod1@msn.com to ask how it can be broadcast in your community. Many of the programs also may be viewed online at www.YouTube.com/BrethrenVoices.

Source: 9/16/2014 Newsline

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Powerhouse regional youth conference to be at Camp Mack in mid-November

By Walt Wiltschek

Courtesy of Manchester University

The logo for Powerhouse 2014, a regional youth conference for the Midwest sponsored by Manchester University and held at Camp Mack
The Powerhouse regional youth conference has reached its fifth anniversary! Powerhouse will return to Camp Mack near Milford, Ind., on Nov. 15-16, providing a weekend of worship, workshops, music, recreation, and more for senior high youth in the Midwest and their advisors.

Join in this action-packed and faith-filled weekend following on National Youth Conference. The theme this year is “Almost Christian: Seeking an Authentic Faith,” drawing on the book “Almost Christian” by Kenda Creasy Dean and other studies that have been done in this area.

Jonathan Shively, executive director of Congregational Life Ministries for the Church of the Brethren, is the keynote speaker for three worship times during the weekend. Seth Hendricks, pastor of Happy Corner Church of the Brethren in Dayton, Ohio, and a member of the band Mutual Kumquat, returns as music leader.

Opportunities also will be available to visit and tour the Manchester University campus in North Manchester, Ind., about 45-50 minutes from Camp Mack, before or after the conference, and perhaps as a workshop option on Saturday.

Groups coming from a distance and needing a place to stay in the area on Friday night may contact us and we can help make arrangements to stay at Manchester University or with congregations in the area.

Cost is $75 for youth, $65 for advisors (for extenuating circumstances, please contact us). Everyone will have a bed to sleep in. Participants should bring their own bedding and towels. The camp will be preparing the meals. All the forms needed to register and a host of other information is at www.manchester.edu/powerhouse.

Please be in prayer for this event and encourage your youth and advisors to attend.

-- Walt Wiltschek is director of Religious Life and Church Relations at Manchester University. For more about Manchester go to www.manchester.edu.

Source: 9/3/2014 Newsline