Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Exploring Your Call Event - Aug. 4-7

During a meeting of the Bethany Theological Seminary Board of Trustees, the Academic Affairs Committee discussed ways to increase the number of fulltime graduate students, learned that the Advanced Foundations for Church Leadership program of the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership has enrolled a new cohort group of ten people, and has received several proposals for the Vital Pastor Program. The committee also heard a report on plans for an Exploring Your Call Event for high school youth, administered by the Institute for Ministry with Youth and Young Adults, which will take place Aug. 4-7.

Source: 04/27/2005 Newsline
Conference brings 85 youth and advisors to Manchester College.

Eighty-five senior high youth and advisors met on the campus of Manchester College in North Manchester, Ind., April 16-17 for the Midwest's Regional Youth Conference.

On Earth Peace staff member Matt Guynn served as keynote speaker for the weekend, leading three sessions on the national youth theme, "Seeing God." Joseph Helfrich and Brett Clark provided music leadership.

Guynn focused on ways one moves from blindness to sight, handing out symbolic blindfolds that youth carried with them during the conference. "What are those forms of blindness you're ready to release so that you can see God more clearly?" Guynn asked the group. He also wrote an upbeat chorus used in a moving evening worship: "No longer blind, let me see, Christ in you, Christ in me."

Participants could choose from a variety of workshops Saturday afternoon, followed by time to enjoy campus "Peace Week" activities or other recreation options. Several members of the band Mutual Kumquat gave a concert Saturday night.

Source: 04/27/2005 Newsline
Youth Sunday - May 1

May 1 is National Youth Sunday in the Church of the Brethren, on the theme, "Seeing God," from 1 John 4:12-13. On this Sunday, many congregational worship services across the country will be led by the senior high youth. Worship resources, a Bible study, and a children's story can be found at

Source: 04/27/2005 Newsline
Young Adult Conference May 27-29

Young Adult Conference May 27-29 at Woodland Altars in Southern Ohio still has space available for young adults who wish to register. The Memorial Day weekend conference will be filled with fellowship, workshops, worship, singing, an outdoor campfire, an indoor coffeehouse, and more. For more information call Chris Douglas at 800-323-8039 ext. 297. Registration is available at

Source: 04/27/2005 Newsline
National Merit Scholarship Finalists

Church of the Brethren members who are National Merit Scholarship Finalists this year include Anna Lisa Gross of North Manchester, Ind.; Nick Kauffman, a member of Goshen (Ind.) City Church of the Brethren; and Jonathan B. Keeney, a member of Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, Ill. Newsline readers are invited to send in the names of other Brethren students who are National Merit Scholarship Finalists this year.

Source: 04/27/2005 Newsline

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


50 Young Adults, 5 Speakers, 4 days, 1 city

August 11-14, 2005
Eden Theological Seminary
St. Louis, Missouri

For registration information, email the planning committee at:

Register before May 1, 2005

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Anniversary group plans Youth Heritage Travel Teams.

The Annual Conference Anniversary Committee met March 13-15 in Elgin, Ill. Named at Annual Conference 2000, this committee is developing events, activities, and resources to help congregations, districts, and the denomination as a whole celebrate the 300th anniversary of the Church of the Brethren in 2008.

Engaging children and youth in the anniversary celebration was a key agenda item at the meeting. The committee met with Chris Douglas, General Board director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry, who has agreed to work with the committee in planning for the training and equipping of Youth Heritage Travel Teams. These teams of two youth from each district will visit congregations during the anniversary year to interpret Brethren heritage and how it can shape the church today and into the future.

The committee also met with Wendy McFadden and Nancy Klemm from Brethren Press to receive updates on publishing projects related to the anniversary. "Meanest Man in Patrick County," a book by Frank Ramirez, was released at Annual Conference last summer. The second book in the anniversary series, "Another Way of Believing," by Dale Brown on Brethren theology, should be released at Annual Conference this summer. A sourcebook by Steve Longenecker on the Brethren between the world wars is being edited and indexed. In addition, Brethren Press is beginning work on a devotional book to be used during the anniversary year.

Updates on current and potential projects fleshed out the agenda: a kick-off celebration in Germantown, Pa., in Sept. 2007; a celebration in Schwarzenau, Germany, Aug. 3, 2008; a curriculum resource for the anniversary year; plans for Annual Conference 2008; a commemorative calendar; anniversary-related courses at the Brethren colleges; a tour guide for Brethren historical sites; submission of music, drama, and worship resources; and a study guide on the anniversary theme.

For more information on anniversary plans, including the submission of original musical compositions, drama resources, and worship resources, visit Committee members are Jeff Bach (chair), Don Durnbaugh, Dean Garrett, Rhonda Pittman Gingrich (recorder), Leslie Lake, Lorele Yager, and Lerry Fogle (ex-officio).

Source: 4/13/2005 Newsline
On Earth Peace forms Peace Retreat Leadership Team.

On Earth Peace has formed a volunteer Peace Retreat Leadership Team to help increase the number of retreats and workshops it is able to offer across the denomination, reported Kim Stuckey Hissong, On Earth Peace program coordinator of Peacemaker Formation. The new team will expand and energize the existing retreat program. Team members will be available to provide leadership for youth retreats, workshops, and worship experiences for congregations, districts, camps, denominational gatherings, and other groups.

Plans call for slowly expanding the number of team members, making sure that program staff can adequately support the network, according to Hissong. Retreats provided by the team will be based on an interactive, experiential model that challenges youth to consider Christian peacemaking in the context of faith and the world. Retreat sessions will draw on the Brethren heritage of peacemaking and bring scripture alive to examine how Christ calls believers to live in these times.

"If we are serious about being a resource to the entire denomination, we need to increase our identified leaders in the church," said Hissong. "There are so many great leaders in our denomination that are already doing peace education work. Formation of the Peace Retreat Leadership Team is an attempt to bring these folks together, recognize them for the work they are doing, and provide support and a place to develop and exchange ideas."

The team gathered for an initial planning meeting at the New Windsor (Md.) Conference Center in late February. Current team members are Carrie Eikler of Richmond, Ind.; Debbie Eisenbise of Kalamazoo, Mich.; Dena Lee of Kent, Ohio; and Rick Polhamus of Fletcher, Ohio. To schedule a retreat, or if you are interested in serving on the Peace Retreat Leadership Team, call Kim Stuckey Hissong at 410-635-8706 or e-mail See for more information.

Source: 4/13/2005 Newsline
Office encourages youth to start conscientious objector files.

Resources related to conscientious objection are available from the General Board's Brethren Witness/Washington Office, including the maintenance of personal conscientious objector files. The office maintains individual files for youth and young adult men and women who choose to document their conscientious objection to war and violence.

The office has received over 40 conscientious objector files in recent months. Such files are the only means for conscientious objectors to register their beliefs against war, as the Selective Service System does not keep records of conscientious objectors and does not acknowledge statements of conscientious objection when young men register at age 18. In the event of a military draft, having such a file in place from an early age may help a young man or woman prove a long-standing faith basis for his or her convictions.

Forms and instructions for the files are included in a Church/Youth Conscientious Objector Packet available from the office. Over the past 18 months more than 2,500 of the packets have been distributed. Call 800-785-3246 or download the packet from the Conscientious Objection link at (search words: Witness/Washington Office). Congregations and youth groups are encouraged to use the packet in youth group discussions and congregational forums.

Brethren may request office staff to lead congregational or district conscientious objection workshops. Office staff have presented workshops in seven districts and another district event is planned for Columbus, Ohio, in May. Other regional retreats are scheduled for the Spring, and workshops at district conferences are scheduled for the Fall. Office director Phil Jones also is a board member of the Center on Conscience and War (CCW--formerly NISBCO), and can assist in making available materials, resources, and staff leadership from that organization.

Other upcoming events on conscientious objection include the Christian Citizenship Seminar for Church of the Brethren youth, which will provide an opportunity for youth to make their voice heard in Washington, D.C,; and an insight session and the "Un-Luncheon" at this year's Annual Conference. The "Un-Luncheon" will feature CCW program director Bill Galvin.

The office also is organizing a pool of district support people and legal counselors to be available to conscientious objectors in the event of a draft. To participate in the program, call the office at 800-785-3246 or visit (search words: Witness/Washington Office).

Source: 4/13/2005 Newsline

Monday, April 11, 2005


Youth of the church encouraged to establish personal file Church of the Brethren congregations and individuals are encouraged to use the General Board’s Witness/Washington Office in whatever way seems most helpful in learning more around the issue of conscientious objection. The BW/WO provides many resource materials to assist in this endeavor. Church/Youth Conscientious Objector packets are available by simply requesting these from the office (1-800-785-3246) or by going to the BW/WO website and downloading these from the CO link. You are encouraged to use these in youth group discussions or congregational forums. If you would like someone from the BW/WO to resource congregational or district CO workshops we can gladly assist. Over the past eighteen months we have mailed out or distributed over 2500 of our CO packets and presented workshops in seven different districts. A district/community event is being planned for the Columbus, OH, area in May and workshops are being scheduled for other regional spring retreats and upcoming fall district conferences. Phil Jones, director of the BW/WO is a board member of the Center of Conscience and War, and can assist in making available from CCW materials, resources and staff leadership as necessary. The April Christian Citizenship Seminar gives focus to Conscientious Objection and will provide an opportunity for Brethren youth to make their voice known in Washington D.C. around this important issue.

CO files are maintained by the Brethren Witness/Washington Office for those who choose to document their beliefs of conscience in regards to war and violence. Forms and instructions for this are included in the CO packet. The BW/WO has received over forty personal files in recent months. For more information on this, or other concerns or requests, please give the BW/WO a call.

Insight Sessions Highlight Focus on Environment, War and the Ministry of Our Office

Sunday Evening, July 3 - 9:00-10:00 p.m.
Holiday Inn City Center, Salon B

Hear Tom Benevento share how we as people of faith can be more responsible in protecting and caring for our environment. Explore with others how we can be intentional in recognizing the bounty of God’s creation.

Monday Morning, July 4 - 7:30-8:30 a.m.
Civic Center, Room 200

Wake up with a cup of Equal Exchange coffee and good group discussion! Learn how the Church of the Brethren is involved in the shaping of public policy. Hear and discuss the latest on current issues that impact the communities in which we live and worship.

Tuesday, July 5 - 12 noon - 1:30 p.m.
Hotel Pere Marquette, LaSalle
Guest presenters: The staff of Center on Conscience and War

Join in this Un-Luncheon as we hear the most current information in regards to any possible military draft and how the church can/should respond. You are invited (though not required) to go without lunch on this day and donate what you would have spent on lunch to the important work of this leading organization in regards to conscientious objection and military conscription.

Tuesday Evening, July 5 - 9:00-10:00 p.m.
Holiday Inn City Centre, Hamilton

Conscientious Objection to War—A Brethren Lifestyle? What is the voice of the church on this issue? Come and learn more of our history and of our current involvements.

Tuesday Evening, July 5 - 9:00-10:00 p.m.
Civic Center, Room 200 Sponsored jointly with On Earth Peace

Answering the call to be a Living Peace Church takes intentional effort. Come learn and share about how congregations and individuals are engaging their communities while reaching out to them.

The Brethren Witness/Washington Office would like to invite persons 18-39 to this year’s Young Adult Environmental Justice Conference, May 20, 21, and 22. Sponsored by the National Council of Churches in Christ, the intent of the gathering is to equip emerging leaders with the skills to address environmental justice issues in their faith communities. As the 1991 Annual Conference Called to Care statement reveals, “Our task is nothing less than to join God in preserving, renewing and fulfilling the creation.” The event will take place in Atlanta’s Interdenominational Theological Center and will give participants the opportunity to work with impacted communities. The conference will offer plenaries, workshops including greening congregations, messaging and organizing, as well as providing time for fellowship and networking. The registration fee, which includes food and lodging, is $185 by May 1, and $205 thereafter. Those interested in attending should contact Cassandra Carmichael at, or at 202-544-2350, ext. 27.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Freeport Youth - April 16

The Freeport Church of the Brethren Youth are holding a rummage and bake sale on Saturday, April 16, 8 AM-2 PM. Proceeds will go toward their trip to National Youth Conference in 2006.There will be free coffee with lots of pies, cookies, etc. for purchase. A BBQ & hot dog lunch will be offered as well. After noon, clothes will be $1/bag.

Donations of any kind are welcome. Call the church at 232-1938 to arrange a drop-off time or if you need something delivered from your home.

The church is located at 777 W. Pleasant Street (at the corner of Hwy. 26).

CONTACT: Linda Simler, 815-232-7344 or

Monday, April 04, 2005

Spring Retreat - April 1-3

Spring 2005

Illinois/Wisconsin District Sr. High Youth Retreat

Where: We headed north! We felt like it was time to connect with the Wisconsin part of our district, so this retreat took place at the Stanley Church of the Brethren, in Stanley, Wisc.

When: April 1-3.

Leadership: Jeff Neuman-Lee

Theme: "Seeing God" This is the national Church of the Brethren youth theme for 2005. based on 1 John 4:12-20. We looked at ways that we experience God, how we see God's presence in one another, and what we can do to strengthen our Christian walk.