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: 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.

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!

Contact Kristen Hoffman, NJHC Coordinator,
by phone at 847-429-4389 or
by email at

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

May 3 is National Youth Sunday

May 3 is National Youth Sunday in the Church of the Brethren, on the theme, “Always Loved, Never Alone” (Romans 8:28-39). Worship planning resources will be posted April 1 at

Source: 3/31/2015 Newsline

Summer workcamp to be at new Brethren Disaster Ministries project site in Colorado

Brethren Disaster Ministries is opening a new disaster recovery project in Greeley, Colo., in May. Several days of heavy rain in the fall of 2013 turned five rivers into raging torrents through the hills and canyons north of Denver. The flooding destroyed 1,882 homes and left 5,566 others with major damage.

Brethren Disaster Ministries volunteers will work on various types of home repair for flood survivors. Volunteer housing is being provided by a Lutheran church in Greeley.

This new disaster rebuilding site also will be a Church of the Brethren workcamp site this summer, reports Theresa Ford of the Workcamp Ministry. The workcamp is for senior high youth in grades 9 through age 19, and adult advisors. Minimum age for this workcamp is 15, but 14-year-olds may participate if accompanied by a parent or legal guardian as an advisor.

Dates of the workcamp are June 14-20. Cost is $285. A $150 non-refundable deposit is due seven days after online registration confirmation, and the full balance of the registration fee is due by April 1. Registration is open online until April 1, go to

Source: 3/31/2015 Newsline

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Peace First Prize Fellowship program for young people age 8 to 22

Applications for the Peace First Prize Fellowship program for young people age 8 to 22 are due by March 30 at 5 p.m. (eastern time). The prize celebrates the contributions of youth peacemakers by recognizing five young people for their compassion, courage, and ability to create collaborative change. “Through a two-year $25,000 Peace First Fellowship, we will invest in their leadership as peacemakers and share their stories with the nation,” said an announcement of the program. For US-based peacemakers only, the program is a two-year investment in young people with a track record of making change in their communities in the United States. Go to for more information.

Source: 3/18/2015 Newsline

Camp Bethel’s Sounds of the Mountains Festival of Music and Storytelling - April 17-18

Camp Bethel’s annual Sounds of the Mountains Festival of Music and Storytelling is April 17-18. It will be the 14th festival hosted by the camp located near Fincastle, Va. This year’s event features nationally known tellers Donald Davis, Dolores Hydock, Patrick Ball, and Baba Jamal Koram, as well as performances by After Jack and the Back Porch Studio Cloggers. Tickets and information are available at

Source: 3/18/2015 Newsline

Shepherd’s Spring Birdwatcher Retreat - May 1-3

Shepherd’s Spring, a camp and outdoor ministry center in Mid-Atlantic District, is holding a Birdwatcher Retreat on May 1-3. The event is for beginner to intermediate birders and is “a great family opportunity,” said an announcement. “It will include some basic bird watching techniques, bird games, migration information, planting and feeding suggestions for your backyard, and time to listen to the sounds of the birds in the area.” The retreat is led by professional ornithologist and executive director of the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory Chris Eberly, and University of Maryland- Eastern Shore biology professor Doug Ruby. Cost for the full retreat package including two night’s lodging and four meals is $125. A reduced price is available for those who do not wish to stay overnight. Bring your own binoculars and field guides. Call 301-223-8193.

Source: 3/18/2015 Newsline

Camp Mt. Hermon “On the Edge” Survival Camp - Aug. 2-7

This year the Outdoor Ministries Team of Western Plains District offers a new experience for campers: “On the Edge” Survival Camp held Aug. 2-7 at Camp Mt. Hermon in Kansas. The camp is limited to 12 campers (half girls, half boys) who have completed grades 7 to 10. Leaders/co-directors will be Randall Westfall and Jan Hurst. Cheryl Mishler will be the spiritual adviser and nurse. Learn more at

Source: 3/18/2015 Newsline

Reflection On A Visit to the Office of Public Witness

A guest post by Church of the Brethren young adult Jenna Walmer has been shared on the Office of Public Witness blog. Walmer, who will attend Bridgewater (Va.) College in the fall, writes about her work to discern a calling in life, and how it relates to a “job shadowing” visit she made to the Office of Public Witness. She had been preparing to become a physical therapist, but “being raised in the Church of the Brethren provided me with a passion for peace, and as I grow up that passion burns brighter,” she wrote. “Fast forward to this past summer in Colorado, I had a change of heart. I spent a few days with seminary professors before National Youth Conference exploring my call. During Exploring Your Call, we explored ways we know it is God’s will for what we are pursuing. One that especially applies to me is the compelling of the Holy Spirit, or nudges from God.  Over the past few years, the word “peace” has been etched in my heart, and during that week I recognized that this is where I was being ‘nudged.’” Read her full blogpost at

Source: 3/18/2015 Newsline

Bethany Theological Seminary’s Institute for Ministry with Youth and Young Adults

Bethany Theological Seminary’s Institute for Ministry with Youth and Young Adults has issued a reminder that registration is still open for “Anabaptism, the Next Generation,” an event held at the seminary in Richmond, Ind., on April 17-19. The event is for those in ministry with young adults and welcomes all who want to explore the growing edges of Anabaptism. Go to for more information and to register.

Source: 3/18/2015 Newsline

Young Adult Conference is planned for Pennsylvania in May

By Laura Whitman

The 2015 Young Adult Conference will be held at Camp Swatara near Bethel, Pa., from May 22-24. The conference for those that are age 18-35, sponsored by the Church of the Brethren Youth and Young Adult Ministry. The theme for the conference, that will shape worship and workshops is: “You Shall Go Out With Joy: Transforming the World’s Thorns with Joyful Action” based on Isaiah 55:12-13.

Young Adult Conference logo 2015
Featured speakers are Andy Murray, Samuel Sarpiya, Karen Duhai, and Joanna Johnson. Andy Murray is the moderator-elect of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference. Samuel Sarpiya is a Church of the Brethren pastor and church planter in Rockford, Ill. Karen Duhai, originally from Bedford, Pa., is currently in seminary at Bethany, in Richmond, Ind. Joanna Johnson grew up in the Methodist Church and is attending Tulane University in New Orleans, La.

The worship coordinators are Rachel Witkovsky of Palmyra (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, and Kelsey Murray of Lancaster (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. Musical leadership is by Rachel Bucher Swank of Annville, Pa.

There will be plenty of time for fellowship, games, and singing around the campfire. Registration is now open and scholarship requests will be accepted until April 17. Cost is $125 or $150 after April 30. Register now at Please contact Laura Whitman with any further questions at or 847-429-4323.

-- Laura Whitman is a Brethren Volunteer Service worker and is helping to coordinate Young Adult Conference and National Older Adult Conference.

Source: 3/18/2015 Newsline

‘Early bird’ registration for National Junior High Conference ends soon

Home page image for National Junior High Conference logo for 2015
By Kristen Hoffman

Thinking about attending National Junior High Conference 2015? Online registration is open! We encourage you to register soon to take advantage of special early bird rates. Through March 31, the cost is $160 per person. After March 31, the cost for regular registration is $185 per person. Travel scholarships are available to those who live west of the Mississippi River. For more information and to register, visit or call 847-429-4389.

National Junior High Conference is sponsored by the Church of the Brethren Youth and Young Adult Ministry, which is a part of Congregational Life Ministries. The conference will be held on June 19-21 on the campus of Elizabethtown (Pa.) College. Junior high youth and their adult advisors will be invited to consider Romans 12:1-2 and the theme, “Living the Change: Our Offering to God.”

The theme asks participants to consider taking their everyday, ordinary life--our sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking around life--and place it before God as an offering. As junior high youth encounter a number of changes in their lives, NJHC 2015 will encourage them to live the changes in ways pleasing to God.

The event will be enriched by worship speakers Lauren Seganos, Steve Schweitzer, Amy Gall-Ritchie, and Eric Bishop. Seth Hendricks will be coordinating music, and worship will be coordinated by Rebekah Houff and Trent Smith. In addition to four celebrations of worship, there will be time for learning in workshops and for play during recreation.

We are excited to announce that our special evening activities include a performance by Chris Ivey, an interactive juggler, and an evening carnival complete with fun games, snacks, and music. We look forward to meeting and worshipping with you in Elizabethtown!

-- Kristen Hoffman is a Brethren Volunteer Service worker and coordinator of this year’s Christian Citizenship Seminar and National Junior High Conference.

Source: 3/18/2015 Newsline

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Bridgewater Roundtable RYC - March 20-22

The Roundtable regional youth conference is held at Bridgewater (Va.) College on March 20-22, on the theme “Follower and Friend: Our Relationship with God” (John 15:12-17). Leadership is provided by Carol Elmore, music and youth minister at Oak Grove Church of the Brethren. The event includes worship, small groups, workshops, a variety show, singing, vespers, recreation, and more. Participants stay on the college campus for the weekend and eat meals in the college dining hall. “Brethren from different districts come together to reconnect with NYC friends, or to make new friends,” said an announcement from Virlina District. Estimated cost is $50 per participant. Roundtable is open to senior high youth in grades 9-12. Pre-registration is recommended. For more information, go to or contact

Source: 3/10/2015 Newsline

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Mutual Kumquat at Hollidaysburg (Pa.) Church of the Brethren - 4/18

Mutual Kumquat, a popular Brethren band, will be in concert at Hollidaysburg (Pa.) Church of the Brethren on Saturday, April 18, at 7 p.m., sponsored by Camp Blue Diamond in Middle Pennsylvania District. Pre-concert music begins at 6 p.m. “Mutual Kumquat shares an eclectic sound and positive message through their unique combination of danceable rhythms, stick-in-your-head melodies, rich harmonies, and uplifting, fun-filled lyrics,” said an invitation to the event. Mutual Kumquat has performed at National Youth Conference, Annual Conference, National Older Adult Conference, Song and Story Fest, and other venues. Cost is $5, plus either a jar of peanut butter, jelly, or spaghetti sauce to donate to the American Rescue Workers of Hollidaysburg. For more information visit . For questions call 814-667-2355.

Source: 3/4/2015 Newsline

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Youth ministry webinar series continues with focus on ‘Life and Time’

The third webinar in a series on Christian practices for teens, offered for adult leaders of youth, will be on the topic “Life and Time.” Emily Tyler, coordinator of workcamps and volunteer recruitment for the Church of the Brethren, will be leading the webinar which takes place the evening of Tuesday, March 3, at 8 p.m. (eastern time).

This is one in a series of webinars offered jointly by staff of the Church of the Brethren, Bethany Theological Seminary, and On Earth Peace. These staff are teaming up to provide informational and educational webinars geared to pastors, parents, and anyone who works with youth, primarily within the Church of the Brethren.

This series takes the form of a book study of “Way to Live: Christian Practices for Teens” edited by Dorothy C. Bass and Don C. Richter, and will offer reflections on a few selected chapters of the book. While having a copy of the book is helpful, it is not required. The book may be purchased through Brethren Press at or by calling 800-441-3712.

Both a telephone and a computer are required to join the webinar. To join the video portion, go to and enter the phone number and access code given below (the technology used for this webinar works best with non-mobile devices). After joining the video portion, participants will need to join the audio portion by dialing 877-204-3718 or 303-223-9908. The access code is 8946766.

For those of you who wish to view the web portion via an iPad, download the link from the iTunes store (Level 3), and have the conference telephone number and access code available to enter. You will still need to join the audio portion with the Audio Login credentials. The name of the app is Level 3.

The final webinar in the series is planned for May 5, at 8 p.m. (eastern), on the topic “Forgiveness and Justice” led by Marie Benner-Rhoades of the On Earth Peace staff.

Ordained ministers may earn .1 continuing education credit for participating in the real-time event. To request continuing education credit, prior to the webinar contact Bekah Houff, coordinator of Outreach Programs at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., at

Source: 2/25/2015 Newsline

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

ENGAGE to welcome prospective students to Bethany Seminary

By Jenny Williams

Campus visit days are well-established events at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., eliciting appreciation from attendees for the information and hospitality they receive. The spring 2015 ENGAGE visit day, to be held Friday, March 27, will again offer prospective seminary students as much of the Bethany experience as possible in a day’s time.

Faculty, current students, and staff will be involved in leadership. A morning presentation, “Living Words, Living People: Creative Ways of Presenting Scripture in Worship,” will be led by Dawn Ottoni-Wilhelm, Brightbill Professor of Preaching and Worship. “This session will explore new ways to read, recite, and perform scripture in worship--and help us understand scripture as a living text that seeks to engage us today. We’ll look and listen to scripture anew, in ways that call forth the best of our energy and imagination.”

Attendees will learn about Bethany’s newly revised curriculum and its many options from Steve Schweitzer, academic dean. Over lunch, a presentation on the changing landscape of ministry will be led by Scott Holland, Slabaugh Professor of Theology and Culture, and Tara Hornbacker, professor of ministry formation, missional leadership, and evangelism.

To convey the student experience, a student panel discussion will be held via Bethany’s new technology classroom, demonstrating how Bethany allows for distance students to participate in classroom events in real time. Kristy Shellenberger, an MA student, will lead joint worship for the Bethany and Earlham School of Religion communities, and students will also give tours of the Earlham College campus.

Information on the financial investment of seminary education will include the amenities of the emerging Bethany Neighborhood in addition to financial aid and other considerations presented by Brian Schleeper, student services associate. Courtney Hess, grant project director, will speak to the research and programming being undertaken to address student debt and ongoing stewardship, of which the housing and community opportunities of the Neighborhood are a part. Students who have already applied also will be able to meet with faculty.

Bethany will cover lodging expenses and two meals for ENGAGE guests. For more information and to register, visit or call 800-287-8822.

On Saturday, all are invited to stay for the Willson Lectures at Earlham School of Religion, presented by renowned writer and speaker Diana Butler Bass on the topic, “Finding the Spirit of God in the Spirit of the World.” The event is free; breakfast and lunch will cost $25, and registration is required. For more information go to

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

Source: 2/25/2015 Newsline

National Youth Cabinet Meeting

National Youth Cabinet for 2015-16
Shown above from left: Digby Strogen, Pacific Southwest District; Olivia Russell, Pacific Northest District; Krystal Bellis, Northern Plains District; Alexa Harshbarger, Northern Indiana District; Yeysi Diaz, Southern Ohio District; Emily Van Pelt, advisor, Virlina District; Jeremy Hardy, Mid-Atlantic District; Glenn Bollinger, advisor, Shenandoah District. Becky Ullom Naugle met with the cabinet in her role as director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry.
The National Youth Cabinet met Feb. 20-22 at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., to select the theme for National Youth Sunday 2015. The cabinet selected Romans 8:28-39 as scripture focus for the theme “Always Loved, Never Alone.” Congregations are invited to celebrate the worship leadership gifts of their youth by participating in National Youth Sunday on May 3. Worship resources will be posted at on April 1.

Source: 2/25/2015 Newsline

McPherson Regional Youth Conference - March 6-8

“Keep Calm and Be a Dunker Punk” is the theme for Regional Youth Conference at McPherson (Kan.) College on March 6-8. The event is for senior high youth and advisors. The theme scripture is from Isaiah 1:17: “Say no to wrong. Learn to do good. Work for justice. Help the down-and-out. Stand up for the homeless. Go to bat for the defenseless” (The Message). The conference will feature leadership by David Radcliff of the New Community Project, and performances by Mutual Kumquat and Ted and Co. The fee for youth to attend is $65. Special pricing is available for college students willing to volunteer part of their time to assist with the weekend. For more information and online registration go to For questions contact Jen Jensen, McPherson College director of Spiritual Life, or 620-242-0503.
The public is invited to performances by Mutual Kumquat and Ted and Co. in McPherson, Kan., as part of the Regional Youth Conference. Ted and Co. will present “Laughter Is Sacred Space” in Brown Auditorium at McPherson College at 12 noon on March 6, and “The Big Story” at 1 p.m. on March 7 at McPherson Church of the Brethren. Mutual Kumquat, a band rooted in the Church of the Brethren, and billed as “obviously the best band ever,” will perform at the McPherson Church at 9 p.m. on March 7. “All are welcome to attend these events!” said an invitation from the church.

Source: 2/25/2015 Newsline