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.