Friday, January 21, 2005

Bethany Open House - February 26

A Mid-Winter Open House for college students will be held on Feb. 26 from 8:30 am to 3:00pm at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, IN. There will be opportunities for conversation with faculty, staff, and students, to visit a class, as well as a campus tour.

Come join in a day of exploring theological education and its possibilities in your life. For more information please contact Kathy Royer, Director of Admissions at

If you know of anyone who is thinking about Bethany, this would be a great opportunity to check them out. They are targeting college students in their advertising, however, other young adults are certainly welcome.

They have also made arrangements for overnight lodging for those traveling a distance. If overnight accommodations are needed, please contact Kathy Royer by Feb 15.
Churches begin planning for Consultation on Alternative Service.

Leaders from several Christian denominations will hold a March 4-5 consultation at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., to make contingency plans in case of a US military draft. The consultation of church leaders—mostly from peace churches in the Anabaptist tradition—will include education on Selective Service requirements, updates on military recruiting efforts, and conversation about alternatives to military service. It also will address how to respond to an increase in military recruitment efforts and how to promote a culture of volunteerism among youth.

The Council of Moderators and Secretaries (COMS), a group of leaders from Anabaptist denominations, is sponsoring the by-invitation-only consultation of about 80 people. The planning group includes representatives from the Church of the Brethren, the Mennonite Church USA, the Brethren in Christ Church of North America, the US Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches, and Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) US.

Invited participants will include church leaders, church youth and young adults, and representatives from church agencies and educational institutions. The Church of the Brethren will have a delegation of about 12 people including the Annual Conference moderator and moderator-elect, representatives of the General Board and On Earth Peace, and youth and young adults. Other denominations have asked to be included in the consultation and the planning group is considering inviting representatives of the American Friends Service Committee and the Bruderhof. In addition, an invitation is being extended to representatives of the American Baptist Churches USA.

The idea for the consultation was sparked in part by face-to-face conversations between Selective Service staff and General Board staff (see related stories in the Dec. 17 and Dec. 31, 2004, issues of Newsline). Planning for the consultation has been facilitated by staff of MCC US, which have spent ten months making contingency planning for such a meeting.

The consultation "is important to all of us as Historic Peace Churches," said Stan Noffsinger, general secretary of the General Board. "The outcome of this gathering is strengthened through the participation of each of these denominations," he said. The prospect for a military draft "is a common denominator and we are proactive in considering our next steps."

"I think it's very important that the Anabaptist churches and those of us with concerns for peace be working together," said McFadden, who represents the Church of the Brethren on the planning group. "While the political parties and leaders continue to say there will be no draft, it's time for us to prepare," he said.

Source: 01/21/2005 Newsline

Friday, January 07, 2005

National Youth Cabinet named for 2005-06.

The General Board's office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry has named a National Youth Cabinet for the years 2005-06, director Chris Douglas has announced. The first meeting of the new cabinet will be Jan. 14-17 at the denomination's General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Among other business, the group will choose a theme for the 2006 National Youth Conference (NYC).

Members of the cabinet are Leigh-Anne Enders of Mechanicsburg (Pa.) Church of the Brethren; Zac Morgan of La Verne (Calif.) Church of the Brethren; Rachel Stevens of McPherson (Kan.) Church of the Brethren; Nick Kauffman of Goshen City (Ind.) Church of the Brethren; and Erin Smith of Palmyra (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. Adult advisors serving on the cabinet are Becky Ball-Miller of Union Center Church of the Brethren in Nappanee, Ind., and Shawn Flory-Replogle of the McPherson church.

Working with the cabinet will be Douglas and the three NYC coordinators: Cindy Laprade, Beth Rhodes, and Emily Tyler.

Source: 01/07/2005 Newsline
Final NYC Coordinator Named

Emily Tyler of McPherson (Kan.) Church of the Brethren has been named as the third coordinator for the National Youth Conference (NYC) 2006. As a Brethren Volunteer Service worker, she will serve with Beth Rhodes and Cindy Laprade to give coordination to the youth conference. More than 4,500 youth and advisors are expected to attend. NYC will be held in Fort Collins, Colo., July 22-27, 2006. Tyler is a 2003 graduate of McPherson College and has spent the past year teaching elementary music in Wichita, Kan. She also appeared as an instrumentalist in the Church of the Brethren Christmas Eve service aired on CBS, playing the flute. She will begin in the position on June 1.

Source: 01/07/2005 Newsline
Youth Peace Travel Team

The deadline is approaching for those interested in applying to be on this summer's Youth Peace Travel Team. Every summer the General Board's Youth and Young Adult Ministry Office and Brethren/Witness Washington Office, the Outdoor Ministries Association, Brethren Volunteer Service, and On Earth Peace sponsor a team of high school youth and college-aged young adults to travel to Church of the Brethren camps to present peace education. Four people ages 18-22 will be selected for the 2005 team's eight-week journey. A stipend is available to team members. Deadline for applications is Feb. 4. Contact the Brethren Witness/Washington Office for applications at 800-785-3246.

Source: 01/07/2005 Newsline
Seeking Art, Poems, and Prayers for Earth Day Sunday - April 22

The National Council of Church's Eco-Justice Program seeks art, poems, and prayers for use on Earth Day Sunday. This year, Earth Day falls on April 22 and Earth Sunday falls on April 24. This year's theme is oceans and seas. The resources for use on Earth Sunday will feature art, poems, and prayers contributed by people of faith in an Earth Day Contest. "The Church of the Brethren has long been part of the National Council of Churches and urges Brethren to participate in this contest by submitting your entries by January 15," reported the General Board's Brethren Witness/Washington Office. Submit entries by e-mail to Cassandra Carmichael at or mail to Eco-Justice Programs, National Council of Churches, 110 Maryland Ave., NE, Washington, DC 20002. The Brethren Witness/Washington Office would like to receive copies of any Brethren submissions. E-mail or mail to 337 North Carolina Ave., SE, Washington, DC 20003.

Source: 01/07/2005 Newsline
National Peace Essay Contest

The General Board's Brethren Witness/Washington Office is calling the attention of students grades 9-12 to the 2004-05 National Peace Essay Contest of the US Institute of Peace. "As members of the Church of the Brethren we are called to advocate Christ's message of harmony and reconciliation," the office said. "This contest provides an excellent opportunity for youth to explore means of coming to international peace and conflict resolution." The essay topic for the competition is "Transitions to Democracy," and will require students to analyze two countries' attempts at such a process. Winners at the state level will receive a college scholarship of $1,000 and can compete for the national award of a $10,000 scholarship. All state winners receive an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., for the week-long awards program in June. Visit to register, receive a National Peace Essay guidebook, and view the question for this year's contest. Contest deadline is Feb. 2.

Source: 01/07/2005 Newsline

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Youth Peace Retreat: January 21-23

How much do you know about conscientious objection?

Learn more January 22 at York Center Church of the Brethren, Lombard, IL!
9:30 am - 4:30 pm

What is the peace church tradition?
   What are the scriptural roots of these beliefs?  
How does Selective Service work?
   What do you do if there’s a draft?
Bob Gross,
co-director of
On Earth Peace
  • The event itself is free of charge. Please bring money for a Subway-type lunch on Saturday.
  • Coming from a distance? We can arrange housing for Friday night so you can avoid an early start Saturday.
  • All groups are invited to stay for a lock-in Saturday night and for worship Sunday morning. Each group staying over should have at least one advisor present to spend the night. Please let us know in advance if you plan to stay over. Call 630-627-7411.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Brethren Agree to Revive 'Alternative Service' Draft Programs

By Kevin Eckstrom
Religion News Service

Leaders of the Church of the Brethren say they will follow through on a request from the Selective Service to have "alternative service" programs in place for conscientious objectors if a draft is reinstated.

As one of the historic "peace churches" that shun military service, Brethren officials were "cautious" after an unannounced visit by a draft official to a church center in Maryland last October. Officials were worried that the visit signaled that a draft may be at hand.

In follow-up meetings, draft officials urged the church to dust off long-standing "alternative service" programs that allow conscientious objectors to serve in two-year domestic service projects in lieu of military service.

In a meeting Dec. 10, the church's council voted to "maximize our efforts" on alternative service, as well as help "guide our youth in their choice of nonviolent service."

"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," said Chris Bowman, moderator of the church's 2004 conference.

Selective Service officials have insisted there are no plans to reinstate the draft, and said Alternative Service Director Cassandra Costley stopped by the Brethren Service Center simply because she was in the area.

Dick Flahavan, a spokesman for Selective Service, said officials did their best to convince church leaders there is no draft on the horizon. "We answered every one of their questions and they didn't leave with anything hanging," he said. "What we were telling them was what we tell everyone. The story hasn't varied."

Brethren leaders also agreed to meet in March with other Anabaptist churches that oppose military service. The meeting in Elgin, Ill., will bring together six Brethren and Mennonite groups to discuss "how to prepare for alternative service opportunities."

Source: BeliefNet