Friday, December 31, 2004

Council endorses Selective Service conversations, alternative service consultation.

The Annual Conference Council has given its endorsement to continued conversations between the General Board and Selective Service in a telephone conference call Dec. 10. The endorsement was given in response to the invitation by Selective Service for the Church of the Brethren, as a historic peace church, to develop a plan for alternative service opportunities. The council also endorsed Church of the Brethren participation in an Anabaptist meeting on alternative service opportunities.

Earl K. Ziegler, chair of the council, called the group together to discuss the matter at the request of Stan Noffsinger, general secretary of the General Board. Noffsinger turned to the council in its capacity as executive committee of the Conference, reported Conference secretary Fred Swartz. Noffsinger told the council that he considered the opportunity and call to be larger than a General Board program, and an invitation to the entire denomination to be involved in a positive witness to its heritage and faith.

"The council understood from the background material given that Selective Service, or the Bush administration, have no plans in the offing to institute a new draft," Swartz reported. "There have been discussions during the past two presidential administrations of the eventual possibility of some kind of general national service. Selective Service officials explained to General Board staff that they want alternative service opportunities to be in place if and when such a program would be launched."

The council unanimously agreed to "give the general secretary our encouragement to maximize our efforts to have alternative service opportunities in place" and "to continue to explore the relationship with Selective Service." The council added a strong urging for all Annual Conference agencies "to renew the task of resourcing the church with tools to guide our youth in their choice of nonviolent service." Noffsinger reported that he will give On Earth Peace a full report of the conversations with Selective Service and will make sure that agency is a participant in the discussion. "We don't want to miss the part of providing resources to our youth that will help them understand and embrace the Brethren peace witness," commented Chris Bowman, moderator of the 2004 Conference.

Noffsinger and Jim Hardenbrook, 2005 Annual Conference moderator, also reported to the council their participation in a recent meeting of executives and moderators of Anabaptist communions. Although this fellowship has met annually, the Church of the Brethren has not been involved for six years. The meeting also included officers of the Mennonite Church US, the Brethren in Christ, the Conservative Mennonite Church, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) US, and the Mennonite Brethren USA.

At the Anabaptist meeting, the MCC's executive director Rolando Santiago brought a proposal urging Anabaptist churches to intensify their witness to service. After Church of the Brethren representatives disclosed the contacts with Selective Service, the group made plans for a consultation of representatives of Anabaptist communions to discuss the tradition's understanding of service and how to prepare for alternative service opportunities. At Noffsinger's invitation the consultation will be held at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill.

After hearing the report, the Annual Conference Council took action to support "our denomination's participation in a consultation on alternative service March 4-6, 2005, to be held in Elgin, Ill., as proposed by the council of moderators and secretaries of the Anabaptist churches, and in which the Annual Conference moderator and General Board general secretary will participate on behalf of the Church of the Brethren." Council members participating in the meeting were Ziegler, Bowman, Hardenbrook, Swartz, Ron Beachley, Joan Daggett, and Lerry Fogle.

Source: 12/31/2004 Newsline

Friday, December 17, 2004

Church staff meet with Selective Service.

Three staff directors of the General Board met with staff of Selective Service at the agency's office in Arlington, Va., Dec. 2. The meeting followed up on an unannounced visit to the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., on Oct. 8 by Cassandra Costley, director of the Alternative Service Division of Selective Service.

New Windsor has a long history of being a site where Brethren have organized and gathered around issues of conscience and military service, most notably hosting Civilian Public Service workers from 1944-46. Selective Service is the federal agency that registers and maintains a database of young men as they reach their eighteenth birthday in order to maintain an accounting of those available for military service in the event of a military draft.

"We went into this meeting with a clear agenda of opening a conversation with Selective Service in an effort to better understand why this visit to New Windsor occurred, and how we as a church could make clear our historic and active voice as a people of peace and nonviolence," reported Phil Jones, director of Brethren Witness/Washington Office. Also in the meeting were Brethren Volunteer Service director Dan McFadden and Brethren Service Center executive director Roy Winter.

The meeting lasted well into three hours, Jones reported. Was the New Windsor visit an indication that Selective Service was gearing up for a military conscription program, the group asked. "The answer is no, according to Costley, and her immediate supervisor, Richard Flahavan," Jones said. Costley, Flahavan, and the newly installed Director of Selective Service William Chatfield, who joined the meeting briefly, all indicated that their work was in regards to preparedness only. The New Windsor visit was made because Costley was in the area for other business and took the opportunity to make an outreach visit.

Flahavan went on to explain that there is no draft and that none is coming as indicated by statements from the White House and Pentagon in recent months, Jones reported. "He also pointed to the late October vote of Congress that overwhelmingly defeated a proposed draft bill" (HR 163), Jones said. "The gearing up for a draft and the sheer amount of funding and staff increases that would be necessary are reasons enough to indicate there will be no draft," Flahavan stated, indicating that a draft would cost in excess of one half billion dollars to initiate. Most of the meeting was spent in learning more about Selective Service and how its Alternative Service program would operate if there were a draft.

"The fact that they were asking us a lot of questions shows that one of the things we have developed as a peace church is a lot of respect for our position," commented Stan Noffsinger, general secretary of the General Board. Within a week of the meeting with Selective Service, Noffsinger and Annual Conference moderator Jim Hardenbrook reported on the meeting to the Council of Moderators and Secretaries of the Anabaptist Churches. The council also includes officers of the Mennonite Church US, the Brethren in Christ, the Conservative Mennonite Church, Mennonite Central Committee US, and the Mennonite Brethren USA.

Planning is underway for an Anabaptist churches' Consultation on Alternative Service, to be held at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Details will be announced after the first of the year. McFadden will represent the Church of the Brethren on the planning committee along with Noffsinger.

"Now's the time to talk about the issues of alternative service and its future," Noffsinger said. "To me that's the value" of the conversation with Selective Service, he added.

Source: 12/17/2004 Newsline

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Begin the year with the Bible

How long does it take to read the Bible cover to cover—nonstop? It took us 81 hours!

Beginning the first minute of 2003, the sound of scripture echoed through the halls of our church. Each person took a 15-minute assignment, reading from wherever the previous person left off. The marathon concluded with a unison reading of the last chapter of Revelation shortly after 9 a.m. on Jan. 4. Almost 150 people participated in the reading, with approximately 75 people present for the conclusion. News coverage was provided by area television stations and newspapers.

The senior high youth planned and led the project. The church newsletter and bulletin were used to explain and promote the idea. A few weeks before the reading began, youth were available before and after worship to sign up readers. When a snow storm made it difficult for some readers to come to the event, youth camped out in the church overnight to make sure the reading didn’t stop.

Most importantly, the marathon had a surprising and wonderful spiritual impact on those who participated. Many were blessed not only by the time they spent reading, but also by the time they spent listening. A sense of reverence filled the sanctuary and church building as voices of young and old gave sound to the ancient, yet living texts. A spirit of community emerged as readers greeted and encouraged one another throughout the marathon. Those who risked a night-time reading quickly signed up to come in a second or third night, indicating that the sacrifice gave the experience extra meaning. The boundaries of the church expanded as members welcomed friends and relatives to participate in the project.

When the last verse was read an overwhelming feeling of joy broke forth—joy not so much over having finished, but over having made the journey simply… peacefully… together. What is difficult to accomplish as an individual, is more easily done in community.

For more details or resources, contact me at

Dennis Lohr is pastor of Christian nurture at Palmyra (Pa.) Church of the Brethren.

Source: The Seed Packet – Winter 2004

Friday, December 03, 2004

Workcamp Registration Opens

Registration for the 2005 youth and young adult workcamps sponsored by the General Board took off in the first half-hour after it opened online, at midnight on Nov. 30, reported coordinators Cindy Laprade and Beth Rhodes. In the first 30 minutes of registration 118 people signed up, and by the next morning at 8 a.m. a total of 203 people had registered. "We were quite overwhelmed," Laprade said. Already four of the workcamps are completely full. For more information on the workcamps see, click on "General Board," go to keyword "Youth/young adults."

Source: Newsline 12/3/2004
Manchester College

Manchester College, a Church of the Brethren school in North Manchester, Ind., is among the "Best Midwestern Colleges," says the "Princeton Review." Rankings released by the review put the college in the company of 170 colleges and universities recognized as outstanding in the region, the college reported in a press release. The review ranks colleges and universities nationwide and offers school selection advice on its website, along with comments from students and college officials. Learn more about the rankings at For more information about the college visit

Source: Newsline 12/3/2004

Friday, November 05, 2004

Senior High Fall Retreat -- November 5-7, 2004

Our keynote speaker will be Matt Guynn, coordinator of peace witness for On Earth Peace. Matt lives in Richmond, Ind., and attends the Richmond Church of the Brethren. He has led numerous workshops and other events all across the denomination. Students from Manchester College will assist in music leadership for the weekend.

"Prepare, God's People!" The Brethren love feast includes a time of preparation, in which Brethren historically were asked whether all was "right" between them and their neighbors. Did any conflict exist? How do we get ourselves "right" with God, or with one another? The weekend will look at ways of dealing with conflict in healthy ways that can transform relationships.

Other Activities:
Worship, games and recreation, an ice cream social, a service project, and lots of fun, food, and fellowship.

Manchester Scholarships

Manchester College, North Manchester, Ind., has tripled its Connections scholarship to $3,000 for new Church of the Brethren students entering in the fall of 2005. Brethren students will receive the award on top of all other financial aid for which they qualify, up to full tuition. "Our Brethren students are consistently among our top students academically and are leaders on campus," noted Dave McFadden, vice president for Enrollment and Planning, in a release from the college. "They are a key part of what makes us a distinctive college." The release reported that 11 Fulbright Scholars from Manchester have been Church of the Brethren. Visit or call 800-852-3648.

source: Newsline 11/05/2004
Youth Resources

The December Source mailing, sent to church pastors, includes ideas for congregations to use the unique opportunity of the Church of the Brethren Christmas Eve Service on CBS. Ideas are given for how congregations may use the national television broadcast to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with their communities. The Source packet, a monthly mailing of resources for congregations, will arrive at church offices by mid-November. Also in this Source packet: A letter from Annual Conference moderator Jim Hardenbrook; information from the 300th Anniversary Committee; order forms for a Lent devotional by Glenn Mitchell; a Christmas catalogue from Brethren Press; a youth essay contest by "Messenger" magazine; bulletin inserts on stewardship; brochures for the 2005 National Workcamps for youth and young adults; an invitation to send Christmas cards to Brethren Volunteer Service workers; a flier from A Greater Gift/SERRV; "The Seed Packet" newsletter for Christian educators; and the "Tapestry" newsletter.

source: Newsline 11/05/2004

Friday, October 29, 2004


"Disaster response, caring for children, environmental preservation, confronting racial barriers, experiencing new cultures, exploring urban poverty and rural development issues--all of these opportunities and more are available to youth and young adults through the 2005 National Workcamps," said coordinators Cindy Laprade, Beth Rhodes, and Steve Van Houten in a note inviting youth and young adults to participate in workcamps next summer. The theme will be "Rivers of Life" based on John 7:38. Workcampers will be invited to "step into the flow of other people's lives and experiences, and to affect change in the people and places that have been washed away by the currents of our society," the coordinators said. Brochures are available from district offices, congregations, or the General Board's Youth and Young Adult Ministry Office at 800-323-8039. A website also provides information and registration materials, see Registration begins Dec. 1. Contact the coordinators at 800-323-8039 or by e-mail at

source: Newsline 10/29/2004
Diferent Drummers

The Chicago-based CBS show "Different Drummers" featured the General Board's youth and young adult workcamp program with coordinators Cindy Laprade and Beth Rhodes. Agata Zalewski, a youth workcamp participant from York Center Church of the Brethren, Lombard, Ill., was interviewed as were several other Brethren members in the audience including youth and advisors from Chicago-area congregations. The show aired Oct. 23 at 5 a.m.

source: Newsline 10/29/2004
Jubilee Troupe

Sick of the choke of political messages being thrown around these days? Me too! Feel a little disempowered? Sometimes, me too. Want to do something...something BEYOND politics, something practical and yet intensely creative and deeply spiritual? I am about to share something that is maybe the craziest serious invitation you've had since... well, since a long time.

Ready? Here goes...

The Jubilee Troupe. We are a group of fairly young adults (23-31), mostly Anabaptist, mostly Brethren, seeking to introduce new forms of sacred arts to churches, church-related events and colleges with themes of reconciliation in the year 2005. Jubilee. According to Leviticus, it only happens once every 49 years. So this is your once-in-a-generation chance to be part of something, well, on the edge. Curious? Read on...

Several years ago, a few young adults in the Church of the Brethren had an idea to take groups like JOYA and the Youth Peace Travel Team once step further. What would it be like if we developed and incorporated some radically new forms of interactive drama and dance into worship? What would it look like if we shared that with others? How could the church be changed with this kind of infusion of creative energy? How could WE be tranformed in the process of creating our own little creating-community?

We first came together a year after this first sprouted, at the Organizing for Peace Conference (of On Earth Peace) this past March: Shalom Black, Christina Cruz, Myra Martin Adkins, Gloria Newton, Chris Palsgrove and me. Since then we've performed or led worship at four four events from Washington, DC to California. We've explored a theater improvisation form called Playback Theater, with sharing and stories from an audience, and we've used a simple, powerful form of sacred "dance" based on improvising simple movement and physical contact. At the heart of our work and play has been a central theme - expressing the creating, renewing, reconciling Spirit of God through our bodies.

Since March we have changed personalities a few times. New folks have joined, shared their gifts, explored creative work and play together...others have tended to other pastures. And that's one of the reasons i am writing you. We are looking for new blood, searching, passionate, gifted, creative, curious, questioning folks with presense...not necessarily an opportunity for professional actors or dancers...i consider it more of a CALL, a call to share of yourself, express the raw Spirit in you and ultimately perform in that Spirit.

So i have a few invitations for you and your community...if you've read this far:

CONSIDER inviting the Jubilee Troupe to your church, your community, your college. We are seeking invitations for this wandering band of neo-minstrels beginning February 2005. The Troupe offers several exciting workshops alongside worship-full performances and contributions to worship services. We consider ourselves in the ancient tradition essentially, "Revival." Would you or your community be interested in that kind of energy? See more on the program page of the Jubilee Troupe website.

CONSIDER also attending our first training on the weekend of January 7-9, 2005 in New Windsor, MD. It is open to all interested - young and old, committed or just curious, from any background or artistic persuasion. We are shaping a weekend for getting in touch with our joyful and quiet selves, playing with drama and movement, sharing stories and devotional time together. Consider coming - whether or not you would consider being part of an ongoing "troupe." And even if you'd like to come but can't make this one, email a response or register your interest here.

FINALLY, CONSIDER being part of the Troupe itself. Could that be in your calling? Want to know more about it? Write back or call me up and let's talk! Our various members have various commitments - from traveling half the spring and summer, to only occasional, more convenient involvement for those of us with other jobs, studies and commitments.

And as a postscript, maybe someone you know is searching for that call, someone open, eager, curious, expressive, passionate about Life... so pass this on! This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity!

chris fitz

Jubilee Troupe primary sponsor: On Earth Peace Assembly

Other sponsors:
Church of the Brethren Witness Office
New Community Project
Brethren Peace Fellowship
Advisory Group:
  • Barb Sayler, co-director of On Earth Peace, Inc. (MD)
  • David Radcliff, director of the New Community Project (IL)
  • Lee Krähenbühl, theater coach, professor of communications, Manchester College (IN)
  • Arlene Kiely, director of the Dumbarton Playback company (MD/DC)
  • Phil Jones, director of the Brethren Witness Office (DC)
  • Matt Guynn, trainer, program associate, On Earth Peace (IN)
  • Paul Grout, visual artist, former pastor of Genesis Church of the Brethren (VT)
  • Chris Fitze, improvisational actor, technical theater director (ME)
  • Jessica Eller, activist, mediator, Portland Friends Meeting (ME)
  • Ruth Aukerman, visual artist, teacher and activist (MD)
Jubilee Troupe 2004-2005
  • Shalom Black, Catholic University PhD candidate (DC)
  • Christina Cruz, poet, Goshen College graduate (PA)
  • Christopher Fitz, dancer, actor, Troupe director (PA)
  • Rachel Koontz, actor, dancer, Goshen College graduate (IN)
  • Myra Martin-Adkins, actor, student, Manchester College (IN)
  • Gloria Newton, artist in residence, Center for Anabaptist Leadership (CA)
  • Chris Palsgrove, actor, technician at McDaniels College (MD)
  • Tabea Steinbeisser, spiritual midwife, musician (Germany)
Christopher Fitz

The Jubilee Troupe
888-228-4491 tel.
2005 Workcamp Listing

Senior High
  1. Alaska June 12-20 (full)
  2. Castaner, PR June 13-20 (full)
  3. Lybrook, New Mexico (BRF) June 18-27 (full)
  4. Walk Across America (Illinois) June 27-July 2
  5. St. Croix, Virgin Islands July 11-17 (full)
  6. Phoenix, Arizona July 11-17
  7. Los Angeles, CA July 11-17 (full)
  8. Camp Myrtlewood, Oregon July 18-24
  9. St. Croix, Virgin Islands July 18-24 (full)
  10. Crossnore, North Carolina July 18-24 (full)
  11. Tijuana, Mexico July 25-31 (full)
  12. N. Fort Myers, Florida July 25-31 (full)
  13. Pine Ridge, South Dakota July 31-August 6 (full)
  14. Gould Farm, Massachussetts August 1-7 (full)
  15. Mendenhall, Mississippi August 1-7
  16. Keyser, West Virginia August 8-14 (full)
Junior High
  1. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania June 15-19 (full)
  2. Ashland, Ohio June 22-26 (full)
  3. Inspiration Center, Wisconsin June 26-July 1
  4. Innisfree Village, Virginia June 26-July 1
  5. New Windsor, Maryland July 18-22 (full)
  6. Chicago, Illinois July 20-24 (full)
  7. Indianapolis, Indiana July 27-31
  8. Koinonia Partners, Georgia August 3-7 (full)
Young Adult
  1. Disaster Response (Location TBA) May 29-June 4
  2. Brazil June 1-10
  3. Guatemala June 1-10 (full)

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Plowshares National Student Peace and Justice Conference

The second annual Plowshares National Student Peace and Justice Conference will be Oct. 22-24 in Richmond, Ind., on the theme, "Bringing Our Pieces Together: Peacebuilding Through Intercultural Dialogue." Presenters include Aaron Miller, president of Seeds for Peace; Mental Notes, of the Movement in Motion arts collective of New York; Jennie Kiesling, professor of history at the US Military Academy; Ilyasah Shabazz, daughter of Malcolm X; Funkdesi, a musical ensemble; and Saoud El Mawla, Earlham's Plowshares professor. Plowshares is a collaborative project of Manchester College, Earlham College, and Goshen College, and is funded by Lilly Endowment Inc. For more information see

source: 10/15/2004 Newsline

Friday, October 15, 2004

Steve Van Houten to Assist Workcamps

Steve Van Houten has accepted a call to assist as a workcamp coordinator for the General Board's Youth and Young Adult Ministries on a part-time, shared basis for the 2005 program year. He is lead pastor at Akron, Springfield Church of the Brethren in Ohio. He will begin in the position Jan. 2005, and will work with workcamp coordinators Cindy Laprade and Beth Rhodes.

source: 10/15/2004 Newsline
National Junior High Sunday

November 7 is National Junior High Sunday with "Maturing in Faith," Luke 2:52, as the theme. A Bible study, skit, worship resources, and other materials are available at click on General Board, search for key words Youth & Young Adults. For purposes of conservation, packets of these materials were not mailed out to each congregation, according to an announcement from Youth and Young Adult Ministries. Instead, junior high advisors received postcards directing them to the website, where all of the materials may be printed out.

source: 10/15/2004 Newsline
CCS 2005

April 23-28, 2005, high school youth and advisors are invited to the 2005 Christian Citizenship Seminar in New York and Washington, D.C. The event will be open to 100 participants on a first-come first-served basis. The topic is "Conscientious Objection." Cost is $350. The seminar is sponsored by the General Board's Youth and Young Adult Ministry and Brethren Witness/Washington Office. "It is a unique opportunity to visit the United Nations and Capitol Hill, meet with senators and representatives, as we study the questions of how to make life choices based on our Christian discipleship," said Youth and Young Adult Ministry director Chris Douglas. Registration is available at click on General Board, keyword Youth & Young Adults. For brochures call 800-323-8039.

source: 10/15/2004 Newsline

Monday, October 04, 2004

CCS Registration is Open

Online registration is now open for next spring's Christian Citizenship Seminar.

CCS will begin on Saturday, April 23, 2005 in New York City and will end on Thursday April 28, 2005 in Washington, DC. The cost is $350.

Registrations will be cut off by February 28, 2005 or as soon as 100 registrations have been received.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Young Adult Conference 2005 taking shape.

The Young Adult Steering Committee met Sept. 24-26 in Elgin, Ill., to plan for next year's Young Adult Conference. Camp Woodland Alters, in Peebles, Ohio, will be the site for the conference on Memorial Day weekend May 27-29. The theme, based on Hebrews 10:24, is "Provoking love and good deeds."

"Inspired by the energy and spirit of worship at National Young Adult Conference, worship will be a larger part of YAC this year," reported steering committee member Robert Etzweiler. "It will be the thrust of the weekend as sessions have been in the past. We're in the process of lining up worship leaders and speakers and will be able to let you know who they are soon. We hope to see you there!" More information will be posted at on the Youth/Young Adults web page under "Young Adult Conference."

Source: Newsline 10/01/2004

Friday, September 17, 2004

NYAC Video

A wrap-up video of National Young Adult Conference 2004 is available. The video runs about 20 minutes and gives viewers a taste of the NYAC spirit, according to Becky Ullom, who served as coordinator. To order your copy, contact David Sollenberger at A DVD or a VHS tape costs $15.

Source: Newsline 9/17/2004

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Regional conference gathers youth from western states.

The hills of foggy San Francisco provided the setting for the 2004 Western Regional Youth Conference (WRYC), held Aug. 4-8 for youth in Arizona, California, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.

About 110 people met on the University of San Francisco campus for the event, held only once every four years. Dena Gilbert, coordinator of youth and young adult ministries for Pacific Southwest District and chair of the WRYC planning committee, said she was pleased with the turnout. The region includes about 50 congregations spread over a large geographical area, making region-wide events a challenge.

The theme for this WRYC was "Living in God's Hands Together," focusing on John 8:12. Moderator-elect Jim Hardenbrook of Idaho was among guest speakers for the twice-daily worship times, done "in the round" in a beautifully decorated chapel. Each youth group was asked to bring a symbol of light to help form the worship center.

General Board Youth/Young Adult Ministries director Chris Douglas, David Radcliff of New Community Project, and pastors Thomas Dowdy, Debbie Eisenbise, Deanna Brown, and Susan Boyer also spoke during the week. Members of the WRYC youth planning committee led the opening service. Additional creative elements entered worship via the Jubilee Troupe, who used drama and interpretive movement to illustrate themes, and Joseph Helfrich of Ohio, who led music.

Numerous workshop options, service projects around San Francisco, sightseeing, sports tournaments and other recreation, community-group discussions, and evening activities such as swing dancing, a photo scavenger hunt, and an open mic night filled out the schedule.

"It's been incredible," said Zac Morgan of Claremont, Calif., a member of the youth planning committee. "It's almost hard to put in words all I've learned this week, spiritually and about myself. It came out to be even more than I had expected."

Source: Newsline 09/03/2004
Ben Kreider joins workcamp team.

Ben Kreider began Aug. 23 as a Brethren Volunteer Service worker with the 2005 Workcamp Team in the General Board's Youth/Young Adult Ministry Office. He joins Beth Rhodes and Cindy Laprade in planning for next summer's workcamps. Kreider is a member of Annville (Pa.) Church of the Brethren and a 2004 graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Source: Newsline 09/03/2004

Friday, July 30, 2004

National Youth Conference Coordinator Position

The Youth and Young Adult Office of the General Board seeks applicants for a coordinator position for National Youth Conference in 2006. The position is a 15‑month Brethren Volunteer Service placement for a college graduate, beginning the end of May 2005 through August 2006. For an application form or more information, please contact Chris Douglas, director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry, by e‑mail at Applications are due no later than September 30.

Source: Newsline 7/30/2004
Two National Youth Conference Coordinators Named

Beth Rhodes and Cindy Laprade have been selected as two of the three National Youth Conference coordinators for 2006. A third position is still available and applicants are being sought. Rhodes is a graduate of Georgetown University and a member of Central Church of the Brethren, Roanoke, Va. Laprade is a graduate of Mary Washington College and a member of Antioch Church of the Brethren, Rocky Mount, Va. For the past year, Rhodes and Laprade have served as workcamp coordinators for the Youth and Young Adult Ministry Office of the General Board, through Brethren Volunteer Service.

Source: Newsline 7/30/2004
Western Regional Youth Conference

Western Regional Youth Conference takes place Aug. 4‑8 at the University of San Francisco on the theme, "Living in God's Hands Together," John 8:12. Speakers include Annual Conference moderator Jim Hardenbrook. The Jubilee Troupe, a Brethren‑related performance art group, will help lead worship. Brethren youth from five states are expected to attend. For more information see the Pacific Southwest District website

Source: Newsline 7/30/2004
Brethren young adults prepare for mission service.

Three young adults‑‑Matthew Haren, of Brook Park (Ohio) Community Church of the Brethren; Paul Liepelt, recently ordained by Cedar Grove Church of the Brethren, New Paris, Ohio; and Beth Gunzel, of York Center Church of the Brethren, Lombard, Ill.‑‑have been preparing for mission service with the Global Mission Partnerships office of the General Board, through an ecumenical cross‑cultural orientation in Chicago, July 11‑23. The training focused on topics such as missiology, globalization, intercultural dynamics, security, and self‑care.

Haren, a Manchester College graduate, left July 28 for a teaching assignment in history and government at Hillcrest School in Jos, Nigeria. Liepelt, a May graduate of Bethany Theological Seminary, is heading to Nigeria in a few weeks to teach at Kulp Bible College. Gunzel, a recent graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago with a masters degree in international community development, will leave in September for the Dominican Republic where she will take up the role of consultant for the community development work begun by Jeff and Peggy Boshart as they conclude their service later this year.

"These capable young adults are exciting additions to the mission team," said Merv Keeney, executive director for Global Mission Partnerships. "It is a delight to see some of our finest young adults responding to God's call to mission service."

Source: Newsline 7/30/2004
Nominations are being accepted for the National Youth Cabinet.

National Youth Cabinet nominations are now being accepted for the 2005‑2006 cabinet, which will plan National Youth Conference in 2006.

High school youth entering their junior and senior years are eligible. Nominations must come from district youth advisors or district executives by Sept. 30. Nominees must have involvement and leadership at the district level as well as in their congregations.

"If you know of a youth you believe is exceptionally competent and has very strong leadership skills, please contact your district youth advisor or district executive to request they consider nominating that person," said Chris Douglas, director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry. Nomination forms are being sent to district executives and youth advisors this week.

Source: Newsline 7/30/2004

Thursday, July 29, 2004

NYAC: Alive with energy

More than 250 Brethren in the 18-to-35 age range converged on Winter Park, Colo., June 14 to 18 for a powerful and energetic week in the Rocky Mountains.

Worship formed the heart of this National Young Adult Conference (NYAC), with daily morning and evening services. Tony Campolo, general secretary Stan Noffsinger, Belita Mitchell, Angie Lahman Yoder, and Susan Boyer all spoke. Other services used only video, drama, music, and other creative outlets to share the message.

NYAC also included daily discussion-oriented workshop options, sharing in small community groups, late-night open mic coffeehouse sessions, and abundant free time for recreation and fellowship.

Young adults generously participated in an offering of shoes, in donations at the coffeehouse ($604) and in cash offerings for On Earth Peace ($847) and the General Board ($3,468).

It was the first time for a young adult conference of this length and scope. Another smaller event is planned for May 2005 at Woodland Altars in Ohio.

Source: Tapestry Newsletter 09/2004

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Set for April 23-28.
Theme: Conscientious Objection - A Witness to Our Faith

Mark your calendars now!!

Source: Witness to Washington Newsletter

It Really Is A Matter of Conscience

The Brethren Witness/Washington Office has been busy putting together a resource packet on the Church of the Brethren’s faith belief of conscientious objection. This packet includes education resources along with a tool to help youth groups, congregations, or individuals record their personal beliefs and convictions. In addition we extend the invitation to any persons wanting to explore this issue more to give us a call or arrange for a visit to our office. The Witness/Washington Office is also available to resource district gatherings in an effort to get the word out about the importance of this issue. Resources that we offer, amongst many, are information and updates on the pending draft legislation, background information on conscientious objection, and workshops on what it is to be a conscientious objector and how to claim C/O status. For more information on conscientious objection please contact our office at (800) 785-3246. Or email
-Amy Adkins

Source: Witness to Washington Newsletter

Monday, July 19, 2004

An Earful of Excitement About NYAC

Everyone is singing praises of National Young Adult Conference (NYAC). Susan Boyer, pastor of the LaVerne CoB, and NYAC speaker wrote, "I went to NYAC hoping to walk away with hope for the future of the Church of the Brethren. I did. There was a winsome spirit about the conference. The Young Adults of this denomination are intelligent, faithful, down-to-earth servants of the way of Jesus. They talk to each other directly about their differences and concerns. I just hope we listen to their voices now or I am afraid they won't hang around."

Laura Stone of Manchester College brought back an "earful of excitement." She wrote, "The energy, commitment to faith, and varied gifts at the conference were very refreshing for me to see. Leaders with vision, gifts, and energy are present throughout the denomination and the broader church, but I was especially struck this past week with there presence in that group of young adults. Brothers and sisters, we have much to be exited about!"

Heard at NYAC: "You are as young as your dreams and as old as your cynicism." - Tony Campolo, speaker.

Source: VOS Journal (Volume 1, Issue 1)

Friday, July 16, 2004

Anti-Racism Team Will Lead Youth Peace Retreat on September 24-26 

The weekend of Sept. 24-26, On Earth Peace will host a Senior High Youth Peace Retreat at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. "Red and Yellow, Black and White: Learning about Racism," will help youth develop skills to identify and dismantle the sin of racism in their lives. The weekend will include time for worship, discussions, and recreation. All high-school aged youth are invited to attend.

The Church of the Brethren Anti Racism Team members will provide leadership for the weekend. The team has been trained and called by the denomination for this ministry, and has previously led training events for the General Board and district conferences. "While it's critical for everyone to be a part of this kind of training, it is especially important for youth," said Torin Eikler, a member of the team. "They seem to see the struggles and pain that institutional racism causes within the church, in their schools, and in the world more easily, as they look at things with a fresh set of eyes." The team also will lead the On Earth Peace board, meeting in New Windsor at the same time, in an all-day training.

"This retreat is a great way for youth and their advisors to engage in the same questions that were raised this summer about our church fulfilling the scriptures, like in Galatians 3:28," said Kim Stuckey, coordinator of Peacemaker Formation for On Earth Peace. The 2004 Annual Conference grappled with the next steps to becoming a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic church.

The retreat will begin 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 24, and end at 11:30 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 26. Cost is $50 including housing and meals. To register or for information about scholarships contact Kim Stuckey at On Earth Peace, 410-635-8706 or e-mail More information and a complete schedule are available on the On Earth Peace website. On Earth Peace is a peace education and action agency rooted in the Church of the Brethren, dedicated to empowering people to see "the things that make for peace" (Luke 19).

Source: Newsline 7/16/2004

Beacon Heights Youth Tour Honduras

Eleven youth from Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren in Fort Wayne, Ind., formed the nucleus of a June 18-28 learning tour to Honduras coordinated by the New Community Project, a Brethren-related nonprofit organization. The group, along with pastor Melissa Bennett, youth advisor Shawn Sollenberger, construction guide Jim Dodd of Midland, Va., and New Community Project director David Radcliff, refurbished a badly deteriorated health clinic in the community of San Juan Bosco. The group also visited with teachers, nurses, and a women's group; attended a soccer match in a neighboring village; and ended the trip with a visit to the Copan Ruins.

Source: Newsline 7/16/2004

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Young Adults 18-30 Urged to Apply for 'Experience of a Lifetime' as 2004 General Assembly Stewards

Stephanie Templin of Reading, Pa., called it "an experience of a lifetime...a chance to meet some of the most progressive and insightful religious leaders of the nation." Evan Jones of San Antonio, Texas, described it with such words as "excitement, energized, consumed, renewed, filled with the Holy Spirit, hope, rebuilt." Melissa Porter of Virginia Beach, Va., said it rekindled her passion for social justice. "It" was service as a young adult steward at the November 2004 General Assembly of the National Council of Churches USA and Church World Service. The Stewards Program offers a unique opportunity for 18- to 30-year-olds to serve in the background and observe up close the deliberative work of one aspect of the ecumenical movement. Stewards network with other young adults, encounter a rich multicultural environment, worship in an ecumenical setting and experience the church at work, living its unity in Jesus Christ. Applications are being received through August 2 for the 2004 Stewards Program, scheduled for Nov. 7-12 in St. Louis, Mo. Learn more/apply.

Source: National Council of Churches USA

Friday, July 02, 2004

National Young Adult Conference meets in Colorado.

More than 250 Brethren in the 18 to 35 age range converged on Winter Park, Colo., June 14 to 18 for a powerful and energetic week in the Rocky Mountains.

Worship formed the heart of this National Young Adult Conference (NYAC), with daily morning and evening services. Tony Campolo, the General Board's general secretary Stan Noffsinger, Belita Mitchell, Angie Lahman Yoder, and Susan Boyer all spoke. Other services used only video, drama, music, and other creative outlets to share the message.

NYAC also included daily discussion-oriented workshop options (called "padares," after an African term for a "marketplace of ideas"), sharing in small community groups, late-night open mic coffeehouse sessions, and abundant free time for recreation and fellowship.

"NYAC was a great experience for meeting new people, reacquainting with old friends, for spiritual growth and renewal, and wonderful worship services," participant Sonja LeCount of Elgin, Ill., said.

Young adults generously participated in an offering of shoes, in donations at the coffeehouse ($604), and in cash offerings for On Earth Peace ($847) and the General Board ($3,468). Some also took part in a service project to clear beetle-infested wood, helping to protect healthy trees.

The General Board's Youth/Young Adult Ministry Office has long sponsored an annual Young Adult Conference, but previous events are smaller and held only over a weekend, typically at a Brethren camp.

This was the first time for a young adult conference of this length and scope. Another smaller event is planned for May 27-29, 2005, at Woodland Altars in Ohio.

Source: Newsline 7/02/2004

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Youth Peace Travel Team 2005

The first Youth Peace Travel Team was formed in the summer of 1991 as a cooperative effort of a number of General Board programs. Since that year a team has been fielded every summer. This year's team will be sponsored by Brethren Witness/Washington Office, Brethren Volunteer Service, Outdoor Ministries Association and On Earth Peace.

Four youth/young adults between the ages of 16-22 will be selected for the 2005 team. A stipend is paid to team members.

If you'd like more information or an application form (PDF) contact the office at 202-546-3202 or email

Completed applications for the 2005 team are due by February 4, 2005.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Youth Peace Travel Team - Summer 2004

Team members are:

Tiffany Carty, a recent high school graduate from the Brook Park Church of the Brethren in the Northern Ohio district. She plans to attend Baldwin Wallace College in Ohio in the fall.

Carrie Fry-Miller, who will be starting her sophomore year at Manchester in the fall, from the Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Carrie is also a licensed minister in the Church of the Brethren.

Jeff McAvoy who just finished his second year at Manchester College and will be attending the Chicago Art Institute next year to study graphic design, from the Live Oak Church of the Brethren in the Pacific Southwest District.

Matt Witkovsky, who just finished his first year at Elizabethtown College and is from the Stone Church of the Brethren in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania.


Youth Peace Travel Team's Summer 2004 Schedule
  • Shepherd’s Spring – June 20-26 and July 25-30
  • Brethren Woods – June 27 – July 2
  • Annual Conference – July 3 - 7
  • Camp Blue Diamond – July 11-17
  • Camp Bethel – July 18 – 23
  • Camp Harmony – August 1 - 7 Mission Camp (inner city kids from Johnstown coming to camp, ages 7-12)
  • Camp Swatara – August 8 – 14 – Intermediate Camp
  • Waynesboro Church of the Brethren – August 15
  • New Windsor, MD – August 15 – 17
Source: Brethren Witness/Peace & Justice

Friday, June 18, 2004

Record number train for Ministry Summer Service.

A record number of interns met in Richmond, Ind., June 5-11 for this year's Ministry Summer Service (MSS) orientation. Some late additions raised the total number of young adults participating to 17, the highest total in the program's nine years. The program sponsored by the General Board's Youth/Young Adult Ministries office gives young adults ages 18-24 an opportunity to explore ministry options under the guidance of a mentor. Interns serve for nine weeks in congregational or other church-related settings.

Ministry Office director Mary Jo Flory-Steury and Youth/Young Adult Ministries director Chris Douglas led many of this year's sessions. Faculty from Bethany Theological Seminary, Southern Ohio District executive Mark Flory Steury, and other denominational staff provided additional leadership. Topics addressed included Brethren heritage, personality styles, ministerial ethics, and church polity. The group also worshiped at Richmond Church of the Brethren, visited the Bethany campus, and took turns leading devotions. Mentors arrived for the final three days of the orientation, getting to know their interns and building plans for the summer. The week concluded with a commissioning service.

Ten female and seven male interns are participating this year. Ten are serving in congregations, others are working with camps, on the Youth Peace Travel Team, with youth workcamps, in the Brethren Witness/Washington Office, and with Companeros en Ministerio of Tijuana, Mexico.

More than 100 young adults have been part of MSS since it began in 1996. The challenge now is to secure support so the program can continue. Underwritten by an individual donor for its first eight years, the program now requires other funding. General Board staff are seeking donors and funding resources.

Source: 6/18/2004 Newsline

Friday, June 04, 2004

Workcamps Under Way

The 2004 series of Church of the Brethren workcamps for junior and senior highs and young adults began with a May 28-June 10 trip to the Taize community in France and the World Council of Churches in Geneva, Switzerland. Leaders are Beth Rhodes and Cindy Laprade, co-coordinators of this year's workcamp program. Crystal Waggy, of Rock Run Church of the Brethren, Goshen, Ind., and a student at Manchester College, is assistant coordinator.

Source: 6/04/2004 Newsline
Fourteen Attend "Raise Your Voice"

Fourteen young adults from across the country spent Memorial Day weekend at Camp Emmaus in Mount Morris, Ill., at a "Raise Your Voice" retreat offered by the New Community Project, a Brethren-related nonprofit organization. The event was a leadership development experience to equip young adults for advocacy within and beyond the church on issues of justice and care for the earth. Leadership was provided by Don Vermilyea, Brethren Volunteer Service worker who is doing a Walk Across America; David Radcliff, New Community Project director; and Brethren musician Joseph Helfrich. The Ecumenical Eco-Justice Network was a co-sponsor, and funds for participants' travel were provided by Lancaster (Pa.) Church of the Brethren and Modesto (Calif.) Church of the Brethren. For more information call 888-800-2985 or e-mail

Source: 6/04/2004 Newsline
NCC Young Adult Stewards Program

Applications for a Young Adult Stewards Program at the National Council of Churches (NCC) General Assembly 2004, to be held Nov. 9-11 in St. Louis, Mo., are available from the General Board's Youth and Young Adult Office. Call 800-323-8039 ext. 297 or e-mail The assembly will gather delegates from 36 Christian denominations for business, worship, and fellowship. Stewards ages 18-30 will help provide hospitality and help staff the assembly. Stewards also will have opportunities to network with other young adults, join in worship, and interact with national Christian leaders. Expenses, except for personal expenses, will be covered by the NCC. Completed applications are due Aug. 2.

Source: 6/04/2004 Newsline

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Youth Peace Travel Team Ready For the Summer of 2004

Well, the weather is changing. The temperature is rising and the sun is shining. Here at the Brethren Witness/Washington Office, we’re excited about summer. “Why so excited” you ask? Well, that’s because we have a special announcement to make: the Youth Peace Travel Team for the summer of 2004 is assembled and ready to go!!!

What’s that? You don’t know about the Youth Peace Travel Team? Well, let us fill you in, friend! The Youth Peace Travel Team is a cooperative effort among a number of Brethren programs and agencies. Initiated in 1991 and active every year since, this program assembles a group of four youth/young adults with the goal of visiting Brethren camps throughout the summer. Members are between the ages of 16 and 22, and must apply for a coveted spot on the team. Their goal is to interact with the young campers who are just starting to explore and understand their faith in these glorious wilderness settings. Team members (or “YPTTer’s,” as we like to call ‘em) act as a sort of dynamic, traveling band of Brethren go-getters. They sing, they dance, they play instruments, they talk about faith and the teachings of Christ – hey, they do it all! And this year, we’ve got a great team set up. The Brethren Witness/Washington Office, On Earth Peace, the Youth/Young Adult Office, and the Office of Outdoor Ministries has worked hard to put a great group of young adults together. And without further ado, allow us to introduce the Summer of 2004 Youth Peace Travel Team:

• Jeff McAvoy
• Tiffany Carty
• Matt Witkovsky
• Carrie Fry-Miller

Interested in learning more about the Youth Peace Travel Team? Just give us a call at the Brethren Witness/Washington Office and we’ll keep you up-dated. And hey, all you interested individuals – don’t forget about next year. The summer of 2005 could be when YOU are called to spread the WORD as a part of the Brethren Youth Peace Travel Team!

-Bryan Hissong
source: Witness to Washington March/April/May 2004

Monday, May 24, 2004

Resource Packet on Conscientious Objection

The General Board's Brethren Witness/Washington Office has a new resource packet on conscientious objection that includes education resources along with a tool to help youth groups, congregations, or individuals record their personal beliefs and convictions. Among many other resources available from the office are information and updates on pending draft legislation, background information on conscientious objection, and workshops on what it is to be a conscientious objector and how to claim conscientious objector status. The office also extends an invitation to anyone wanting to explore the issue more to call or arrange for a visit. Call 800-785-3246 or e-mail

source: Newsline 5/21/04

Friday, May 07, 2004

"Raise Your Voice" May 28-31, 2004

"Raise Your Voice," a retreat and training event for young adults May 28-31 at Camp Emmaus in Mount Morris, Ill., is sponsored by the New Community Project and the Ecumenical Eco-Justice Network. The retreat will equip young adults to raise concerns of justice and caring for the earth, and is open to Church of the Brethren young adults out of high school up to their mid-twenties. Cost is $150 with scholarship assistance available. To register, e-mail Karen Hodges at For more information contact David Radcliff at 888-800-2985 or e-mail

Source: Newsline 5/7/2004
Christian Citizenship Seminar 2005

Dates have been set for the 2005 Christian Citizenship Seminar, April 23-28 in New York and Washington, D.C. The focus will be on conscientious objection to war.

Source: Newsline 5/7/2004
National Youth Conference 2006

Dates for the next National Youth Conference have been announced by the General Board's Youth and Young Adult Office. NYC will be held July 22-27, 2006, at Colorado State University in Ft. Collins, Colo., beginning Saturday evening with dinner at 5 p.m. through closing worship Thursday morning ending at 11:30 a.m. Registration will begin at 10:00 a.m. Saturday.

Source: Newsline 5/7/2004

Friday, April 30, 2004

Youth meet at Bridgewater Roundtable and Manchester RYC.

Church of the Brethren youth were at Bridgewater (Va.) and Manchester (Ind.) Colleges for regional youth conferences in March and April.

Nearly 265 youth and advisors gathered at Bridgewater March 26-28 for Roundtable, the annual Southeastern Regional Youth Conference. Roundtable 2004 was led by keynote speaker Jeff Carter, pastor of Manassas (Va.) Church of the Brethren, and entertainer and musician Joseph Helfrich. Participants explored the theme, "The Next Chapter...A Future with Hope."

Roundtable has undergone significant changes in recent years, reported Jonathan Emmons, 2003-04 president of the Interdistrict Youth Cabinet. For the second year, it included a Friday night concert and small groups, which provided opportunities for meeting new people and processing the keynote speaker's message. Roundtable 2004 marked the 60th occurrence of the event.

About 115 youth and advisors met at Manchester April 17-18. It marked the first year that the midwestern regional youth conference shifted from a Friday evening through Sunday format, to a 24-hour event beginning Saturday morning. Another new feature was a Saturday night "RYC Cafe" where youth shared a variety of talents in music, acting, and comedy.

Worship remained at the heart of the event with three celebrations focusing on the national youth theme, "Seeking, Thirsting, Longing." Christy Waltersdorff, pastor of York Center Church of the Brethren in Lombard, Ill., and Jeremy Ashworth, pastor of Lincolnshire Church of the Brethren in Fort Wayne, Ind., spoke at two of the services. The third service featured three youth--Nick Kauffman from Indiana, Jonathan Keeney from Illinois, and Colleen Hamilton from Michigan--sharing their reflections on the theme. Each service ended with a creative expression of commitment, inviting participants to scoop up sand, pour water, and light candles. The conference also included Manchester College Peace Week activities, ten workshops, and a gathering for high school seniors.

Source: Newsline 4/30/2004

Friday, April 23, 2004

Raise Your Voice

An empowerment event for young adults with a passion for justice and caring for the earth.

Sponsored by New Community Project and the Ecumenical Eco-Justice Network

May 28-31, 2004
Camp Emmaus -- Mount Morris, Illinois

What do Mr. Walk Across America Don Vermilyea, UC Davis junior Zandi Llanos, singer and outdoorsman Bob Etzweiler, and the NCP's David Radcliff have in common? They're leaders at Raise Your Voice, rescheduled from to Memorial Day weekend. For young adults only, the purpose of RYV is to sharpen knowledge and skills for justice and environmental advocacy. Limited to 12 people--first come, first serve. $150 registration will be covered by a grant from friends of ours, and we can also help with travel costs. For more info and to register:

A training event is being planned to equip young adults for advocacy in the areas of working for justice and caring for the earth. This event is a response to requests from young adults. They often feel that their voice is not heard by the church or the community, and also wish to be better prepared to engage their peers on these issues.

The goals of the retreat are to:
  1. gain a better awareness of issues related to justice and care for the earth;
  2. gain a deeper understanding of what our faith has to say about these matters;
  3. gain greater skills in presenting information on these matters to others;
  4. make plans for sharing our knowledge with others;
  5. renew our own faith and grow personally through the experience.
The event will be held at Camp Emmaus, a Brethren camp about 75 miles west of Chicago. The accommodations will add to the ambiance of the experience. The group will stay in a log cabin, sleeping on bunks in the same large room and preparing their own meals. Can you dig it?

The experience is open to Church of the Brethren young adults out of high school up to their mid-20's. Space constraints require the registration be limited to 12 persons.

Friday, April 16, 2004

National Young Adult Conference registration deadline extended

Late registration fee waived until April 30!
Registration is still open! Click here to register.

The registration fee is $225, and includes meals, lodging, and program fees. Although the regular registration deadline has passed, the late registration fee of $50 will be waived until April 30. No refunds will be granted. Please be respectful of the NYAC staff and of your fellow conference participants by complying with deadlines.

Visit this page to complete your on-line registration form. After submitting the on-line form and in order to complete the registration process, mail your entire registration fee plus a signed covenant and assumption of risk waiver to the NYAC Office. You are not registered until your forms and fee are received.

This event is targeted at persons aged 18-35. If you have graduated from high school but are only 17, please contact the Youth/Young Adult Ministries Office for information on how to register.

Due to our facilities, staff, and the nature of the conference schedule, we cannot extend an invitation to children of any age.

Exactly how will you benefit by spending $225 to participate in NYAC? Click here to view a cost/benefit analysis of attending NYAC.
Regional conferences energize Brethren youth.

Three regional conferences were held for Church of the Brethren youth in late March and early April: Eastern Regional Youth Conference (ERYC) at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College March 26-28; Roundtable at Bridgewater (Va.) College March 26-28; and Regional Youth Conference at McPherson (Kan.) College April 2-4. Another is planned for this weekend, April 17-18, at Manchester College in Indiana. The Western Regional Youth Conference, held every fourth year, will take place Aug. 4-8 at the University of San Francisco, Calif.

About 250 senior high youth and advisors gathered for an upbeat ERYC. Organizers emphasized a multimedia approach in exploring the theme "Uncluttered: Letting Go...Letting God." Music from the Brethren band "Wake-Up Call" injected additional energy. Jake Larson of the Los Angeles-based duo "Craig & Jake Live" provided keynote leadership for several sessions, working solo after Craig Gross was unable to attend due to illness. Larson challenged the youth, expressing a hope "that you leave here more excited about God."

Jeff Carter, pastor at Manassas (Va.) Church of the Brethren, spoke at the Bridgewater Roundtable on the theme, "The Next Chapter...A Future with Hope." Joseph Helfrich provided a concert on Friday evening and led singing throughout the weekend.

Nearly 50 youth and advisors attended the McPherson event, spanning an area from Colorado to Missouri and from the Canadian border to Mexico. Matt Guynn of On Earth Peace and Lee Krahenbuhl of Manchester College provided keynote leadership, focusing on the theme "Simply." Guynn used meditative "centering prayers" as a focus point, while challenging youth to look at priorities, the US culture of consumerism, and the need to turn toward God. "`Simply' is about understanding where our priorities are and letting things fall away and reorganize themselves," he said. "It's about a lifetime of turning. It's not just a single, one-time decision." Krahenbuhl led singing through the weekend, culminating with the group providing special music for McPherson Church of the Brethren's worship Sunday morning.

Messenger editor Walt Wiltschek led an all-group session on media messages, and a series of breakout sessions explored topics including thinking about ministry, youth workcamps, conscientious objection, and various aspects of simple living. Billy Jonas of Asheville, N.C., gave a unique Saturday-evening concert, using an assortment of unusual percussion instruments and heavily involving the audience in being "part of the band." The weekend was organized by McPherson staff Tracy Stoddart, Kenny Manhamo, and LaMonte Rothrock.

For information on the Manchester conference contact Wendi Hutchinson at 260-982-5232 or e-mail For more information on the western conference see the Pacific Southwest District Youth website or contact Dena Gilbert at 909-392-4055 or e-mail

Source: Newsline 4/16/2004

Friday, April 09, 2004

Last call for NYAC registration!
Time is up! Don’t miss this great opportunity because you lost track of your calendar. If you have questions about registration or unique circumstance, please call Becky in the NYAC Office immediately! Please register by April 15 to avoid late fees. If you have not turned in your forms and registration fee yet, please put those items in the mail and then email Becky ( to indicate that they are coming.

Information Packets
Registered participants will receive an information packet in May. The packet will contain items such as: a map, a schedule, a list of suggested packing items, reminders about the offerings that will be collected, and reminders about the service projects that will take place. If you have a question prior to receiving the information packet, contact Becky in the NYAC Office ( or 800-323-8039, x 286).

“…for every seed I plant, will grow into a tree…”
If any of you are familiar with the second verse of the “Johnny Appleseed” blessing, you’ve heard that line before. At NYAC, you too will have the opportunity to plant some seedlings that will soon be trees. As a part of reforestation efforts of Rocky Mountain National Park, you will plant seedlings in areas that have recently been destroyed by forest fires. If you are interested in helping, please pack a pair of sturdy shoes - for your own protection, no sandals please. Tools will be provided if necessary. Stay tuned for more information on how to participate! (If you are driving to NYAC and would be willing to transport some of your fellow NYAC friends to this service project, please contact Becky at or 800-323-8039, x 286.)

Shoe Offering
On Thursday, our daily theme will be “walk.” As we reflect on what it means to walk and how we walk, you will have an opportunity to share a pair of used shoes as an offering. Feel free to contribute tennis shoes, walking shoes, work boots, or any other “gently used” and serviceable shoes (no sandals please). Once collected, the shoes will be donated to an organization with the resources to distribute them to those in need. Have more than one pair you’d like to give? Great - the more the better!

Shuttle Service
As you are making your final travel arrangements, remember to make a reservation with the shuttle service in order to travel from Denver International Airport to Snow Mountain Ranch. Call Home James Transportation at 970-726-5060 or 800-451-4844. Identify yourself as an NYAC participant because we have special shuttles arranged. The shuttles run from Denver International Airport to Snow Mountain Ranch at 1 p.m., 3 p.m., and 5 p.m. on June 14. On June 18, the shuttles run from Snow Mountain Ranch to Denver International Airport at 9 a.m. and noon. Reservations must be pre-paid, so have a credit card number ready or send in a check!

Friday, April 02, 2004

Christian Citizenship Seminar focuses on tension between Israel and Palestine.

Tensions between Israel and Palestine formed the central focus as nearly 100 youth and advisors met for this year's Christian Citizenship Seminar March 20-25 in New York and Washington, D.C.

Participants came from California, the Midwest, and several East Coast states for the event, sponsored by the General Board's Youth/Young Adult Ministries office and the Brethren Witness/Washington Office. The seminar examines a different theme of current global or domestic significance each year. News of the assassination of a Hamas leader in Israel came during the week this year, adding a note of immediate relevance to the conversations. Most speakers approached the issue from the Palestinian perspective, recounting the difficulties and oppression this group has suffered in a struggle over land that has significance to several major religions.

Rick Polhamus, a Brethren member of Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) who has spent several extended stays in the West Bank, shared about CPT's work, his own experiences of being tear-gassed and breaking up situations of conflict, and the need to find the people behind the stories. "It's when we get back to being human that we can transform things," he said. Catholic aid worker Joseph Donnelly, a drama/music team from New York, and Brian Avery of International Solidarity Movement also described their experiences working among the Palestinian people, sometimes with strong emotion. Much attention was given to the "separation barrier" being built as a security measure and boundary through the disputed territory; simulated security "checkpoints" even greeted participants as they came to one session.

Other speakers included National Council of Churches general secretary Bob Edgar, who talked about the political process in general as well as the NCC's work on the Israel-Palestine issue including his own recent trip to the region. He described the situation as one of rage on one side and fear on the other. Jim Wetekan, media director for Churches for Middle East Peace, framed the discussion in terms of political advocacy; Washington-area Rabbi Bruce Aft helped to express some of the Jewish/Israeli perspective in the situation; and Imam J. Abdul-Malik gave an outline of Islamic beliefs and practice.

"I found (the seminar) as a whole really valuable, because it allows us to discuss world events and the Middle East," participant Nick Kauffman of Goshen, Ind., said. "We never discuss things like this at school. This gives us a chance to all get together and talk about it."

The week also featured worship in New York churches, a tour of the United Nations, small-group discussions, a political comedy performance by Dave Lippman, visits with congressional representatives, and free time for exploring the two cities.

Source: Newsline 4/02/2004
NYAC Update

As of March 31, 212 people have registered to participate in National Young Adult Conference. The Young Adult Steering Committee encourages young adults aged 18-35 to register soon, because registration will close April 15. To register online, go to and click on the registration link. All forms and the entire registration fee of $225 are due in the NYAC Office by April 15. For questions or more information, please visit the website or contact Becky Ullom at 800-323-8039, ext. 286.

Source: Newsline 4/02/2004
Song and Story Fest will examine conflict and conscience near Antietam battlefield.

This year's pre-Annual Conference "Song and Story Fest" family camp will be held on the banks of the Potomac near the Antietam Civil War battlefield. The theme will be"Gathered at the Cross-Roads of Conflict and Conscience." On Earth Peace is a co-sponsor.

The June 27-July 2 event will be hosted by Shepherd's Spring, an outdoor ministry center of Mid-Atlantic District. Participants will spend most of a day at Antietam and gather in its old Dunker meeting house to tell stories, sing, and pray.

The family camp is for all ages and includes intergenerational gatherings and worship; workshops for adults, children, and youth; family time and recreation; story swaps; music making; campfires; and a concert or folk dance. Among many others giving leadership is Bethany Theological Seminary professor Dena Pence Frantz, who will offer a Brethren Academy course on "Faith and Art" for which students can receive credit. For more information e-mail Ken Kline Smeltzer at or register online at

Source: Newsline 4/02/2004

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Sole Offering

Quick poll – how many pairs of shoes do you have in your closet that you could offer for someone else’s use? You probably have at least one extra pair, right? On Thursday of NYAC, our daily theme will be “walk.” As we reflect on what it means to walk and how we walk, you will have an opportunity to share a pair of used shoes as an offering. Feel free to contribute tennis shoes, walking shoes, work boots, or any other “gently used” and serviceable shoes (no flimsy sandals please). Once collected, the shoes will be donated to an organization with the resources to distribute them to those in need. Have more than one pair you’d like to give? Great – the more the better!

Fees and forms due by April 13
Remember that all fees and forms are due in the NYAC Office by April 13. If you are unsure of how much money you owe or have other questions, contact Becky (800-323-8039, x 286). Please respect this deadline! If you do not turn in your complete registration fee and signed forms by April 13, your registration will be removed.

Only 15 days left to register
Ok, for all you procrastinators – time is almost up! Registration closes on April 15. Visit today and register.

Friday, March 19, 2004

Committee plans for the 300th anniversary of the Brethren movement, chooses logo.

Meeting in Elgin, Ill., Feb. 29-Mar. 2, the Annual Conference Anniversary Committee continued to plan for the 300th Anniversary of the Church of the Brethren, to be celebrated in 2008. A highlight of the meeting was the selection of a logo to illustrate the anniversary theme, "Surrendered to God, Transformed in Christ, Empowered by the Spirit." The logo, designed by Becky Goldstein of Boise, Idaho, will be unveiled at Annual Conference this summer.

In other business, the committee continued collaboration with Brethren Press about anniversary publications; met with Chris Douglas, the General Board's director of youth and young adult ministry, to discuss ways in which youth might be engaged in celebrating the anniversary; and began designing an anniversary website. Brethren Benefit Trust is offering technical assistance and funding the development of the site.

A call was issued earlier this year for musical submissions (hymns, anthems, folk songs, children's songs, etc.) based on the anniversary theme. The deadline for submissions is June 30, 2005. Calls for other types of resources will be forthcoming.

The committee's next meeting is scheduled for October in Ashland, Ohio, with the Tercentennial Committee of the Brethren Church to further define cooperative efforts, including some joint events at the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference in 2008. Members of the committee are Jeff Bach, Don Durnbaugh, Dean Garrett, Leslie Lake, Rhonda Pittman Gingrich, and Lorele Yager, with Lerry Fogle, Annual Conference executive director, serving ex-officio.

Source: Newsline 3/19/2004

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Chocolate that is absolutely Divine!

According to Food in America 2002's Food and Wine poll, 46% of Americans said they “couldn’t live without chocolate.” Are you a part of that 46% we lovingly call chocoholics? At NYAC this summer, you can satisfy your craving for chocolate while participating in a service project and supporting fair trade. In the NYAC Coffee Shop, you will be able to sample Divine Chocolate for a free will donation. (The free will donations will be divided and given to designated charitable organizations.)

Divine Chocolate products are manufactured by the Day Chocolate Company, one third of which is owned by a cooperative of Ghanaian cocoa farmers. Divine Chocolate is Fair Trade Certified, which means (among other things) that the farmers received a fair price and that there was no child exploitation during production. For more information about Divine Chocolate, please visit

Only 29 days left to register
What are you waiting for? Register! As of today, there are 210 participants registered for NYAC. Registration closes on April 15! Visit today and register. (Remember that all forms and fees are due on April 15 as well.)

What a mug…
Don’t forget to bring your own coffee mug to NYAC. In the coffee shop, you can laugh during Open Mic times, have a great conversation with peers, check out the bookstore, or simply grab a cup of joe. Let’s save a few trees by sipping from reusable mugs!

Friday, March 05, 2004

More participants sought for youth and young adult workcamps.

Although the majority of the 2004 Church of the Brethren junior high, senior high, and young adult workcamps are filled or nearly filled, the General Board’s Youth and Young Adult Office reports that some locations do not seem to be generating as much interest as others.

"Despite their non-exotic setting, each of these camps would be an amazing experience for all participants," said Beth Rhodes, workcamp co-coordinator. "We want to alert all youth and young adults of the opportunities they have available to them."

Openings are in the Washington, D.C., senior high workcamp July 26-Aug. 1, with space for 14; the young adult trip to Taize, France, and Geneva, Switzerland, May 28-June 10, with space for 10; a senior high workcamp at Gould Farm in Massachusetts Aug. 9-15, with space for eight; a senior high workcamp in Keyser, W.Va., Aug. 9-15, with space for seven; the Disaster Response senior high workcamp July 25-31, with space for five; and the Brethren Revival Fellowship senior high workcamp in the Dominican Republic June 20-30, also with space for five. A junior high workcamp in New Windsor, Md., July 19-23, has openings for three participants. For more information contact the Youth and Young Adult Ministry Office, 800-323-8039.

Source: Newsline 3/05/2004
Senior High Spring Retreat -- March 5-7, 2004

Click for More Pictures

Friday, February 27, 2004

NYAC Website updates

Have you been “dying to know” what recreation options you’ll have at NYAC? Have you wondered what Snow Mountain Ranch looks like? You will suffer in anticipation no more – the website has been updated. Check out the leadership page for a few more bios, the new Recreation page, the new Photo Gallery, and the current weather conditions in Winter Park (on the accommodations page).

Remember that you must register between now and Sunday in order to receive your free NYAC CD.

190 and going up!
As of today, Feb. 27, 190 people have completed the online registration form! If you’ve registered, remember that your spot will not be reserved until your deposit of at least $125 is received in the NYAC Office. If you haven’t registered, remember that you need to be one of the next 310 people to complete the form and mail your deposit in order to be guaranteed a spot. Don’t miss this opportunity!

Number of days until NYAC fills to capacity = ???

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Earth Day - April 25, 2004

The Brethren Witness/Washington Office encourages all congregations to recognize April 25, 2004 as Earth Day in their morning worship services. Help make this day a time to celebrate the resources of our earth and environment, and a time to challenge one another and recognize our faithful part in protecting and renewing this Eden. We join the National Council of Churches of Christ and their emphasis on the air for Earth Day 2004. You will find helpful ideas by linking to the NCCC Website as well as to our own Environmental Concerns Page.

Thank you for visiting our website and Earth Day Link. We hope these links will be helpful in accessing useful resources for planning your Earth Day worship and celebration event. If you need additional help, please contact our office by e-mail at or toll-free at 1-800-785-3246.

Source: COB Washington Office
Christian Citizenship Seminar

Preparations are well under way for the 2004 Christian Citizenship Seminar. Packets will be mailed out soon to the participants. 100 youth and adult advisors will be gathering in New York and DC to explore the broad concept of the violence in the Middle East, not only Israel and Palestine but also the surrounding peoples and nations involved. Please hold CCS, the participants and staff up in your prayers, that this will be a successful, uplifting and educational experience for all involved.

Source: COB Washington Office

Friday, February 20, 2004

NYAC Registrations

Registration for the denomination's first large-scale National Young Adult Conference (NYAC), scheduled for June 14-18 in Winter Park, Colo., stood at 160 as of early February. The site can accommodate 500. About 70 percent of those who have registered to date have never before attended a denominational young adult conference, according to Becky Ullom, NYAC coordinator. Registration remains open through April 15 at

Source: Newsline 02/20/2004

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Laughter, java, and a free CD!

Coffee, tea, and talent!
At NYAC, you’ll have a chance to share your talents and a cup of java during several evenings of open mic time! Music, humor, drama, poetry readings, and other talents are all welcome. Begin planning your “act” now, and stay tuned for more details!

Nine days left to claim your FREE NYAC CD!
You must register by Feb. 29 to receive your free NYAC CD, packed with old and new hits!

Registration update
As of today, Feb. 19, 183 people have completed the online registration form! If you’ve registered, remember that your spot will not be reserved until your deposit of at least $125 is received in the NYAC Office. If you haven’t registered, remember that you need to be one of the next 317 people to complete the form and mail your deposit in order to be guaranteed a spot. Don’t miss this opportunity!

Number of days until NYAC fills to capacity = ???

Friday, February 06, 2004

Humor and drumming at NYAC - what more could you ask for?

Walt Wiltschek joins worship leadership line-up!
The list of people who will share their gifts with us during worship at NYAC continues to expand! Most recently, Walt Wiltschek, Messenger Editor in real life and comedian at heart, signed on. We look forward to benefitting from Walt’s gifts of humor!

Calling all drummers
If you have a drum and like to play, please bring it and your enthusiasm to NYAC! There will be plenty of opportunities for impromptu drumming sessions, and we hope to use drums as a regular part of our worship music. If you would like to be involved in worship through drumming or some other musical ability, please contact Becky in the NYAC Office (

Don’t forget about “Hogs for Heifers”
A group of young adults from the Church of the Brethren are organizing a charity motorcycle ride to sponsor Heifer Project. There is no initial cost for the ride, but riders will be responsible for food and gasoline cost as well as providing their own transportation. In order to raise money for Heifer Project, riders will ask individuals to sponsor them. The hope is to raise a thousand dollars. If you are a young adult on the fringe, what better way to experience the beauty of God's creation than to ride through it, rain and sun, for a week and a half? All are welcome and any bike is welcome. For information on registering for the ride or how to become a sponsor, please contact Paul Liepelt at (765-977-4513) or via email at

Registration climbs steadily
As of today, Feb. 6, 160 people have completed the online registration form! If you’ve registered, remember that your spot will not be reserved until your deposit of at least $125 is received in the NYAC Office. If you haven’t registered, remember that you need to be one of the next 340 people to complete the form and mail your deposit in order to be guaranteed a spot. Don’t miss this opportunity!

Number of days until NYAC fills to capacity = ???

Becky Ullom, NYAC Coordinator
800-323-8039, x 286