Wednesday, May 25, 2005

General Board Welcomes Volunteers

The General Board is welcoming three young adult volunteers. Reid Merryman of Prince of Peace Church of the Brethren in South Bend, Ind., will work with the Youth and Young Adult Ministries Office as a summer workcamp assistant. Brethren Volunteer Service worker Emily Tyler of McPherson (Kan.) Church of the Brethren, begins June 1 as one of three coordinators of National Youth Conference 2006. Hannah Edwards, a Ministry Summer Service worker from Jackson Park Church of the Brethren in Jonesborough, Tenn., will serve half-time in General Board communications and half-time at Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, Ill.

Source: 05/25/2005 Newsline

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Selective Service: Support and Networking Meeting at Annual Conference

On Earth Peace invites those thinking about not registering for the draft to a Support and Networking Meeting at Annual Conference in Peoria, Ill., on Sunday, July 3, at 5 p.m. The meeting will be held in Room 202 of the Peoria Civic Center. "Come to meet others who share your concerns and beliefs, find support from the church and from each other, and learn more about the options and consequences," invites On Earth Peace. The meeting is open to all who are interested, including families of youth who are considering nonregistration. For more information contact On Earth Peace co-executive director Bob Gross at or 260-982-7751.

Source: 5/11/2005 Newsline
Conscientious Objection Workshops

Workshops on conscientious objection are being held on Saturday, May 21: 9 a.m.-12 noon at New Covenant Church of the Brethren in Columbus, Ohio, with presenter Phil Jones of the General Board's Brethren Witness/Washington Office; and 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at York Center Church of the Brethren in Lombard, Ill., with presenter Bob Gross, co-executive director of On Earth Peace. For more information about the New Covenant workshop--whose sponsors include Ohio peace groups, Southern Ohio District of the Church of the Brethren, and West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church--call 614-763-0564 or see For more information about the York First event call 630-627-7411.

Source: 5/11/2005 Newsline
Regional Junior High Conference

A Regional Junior High Conference is planned for September 30-October 2 in New Windsor, Md., sponsored by On Earth Peace with eight districts and the General Board's Youth and Young Adult Ministry Office.

Source: 5/11/2005 Newsline

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Christian Citizenship Seminar focuses on conscientious objection.

By Walt Wiltschek

Nearly 100 senior high youth and advisors participated in this year's Church of the Brethren Christian Citizenship Seminar. The April 23-28 event, which began in New York and ended in Washington, D.C., focused on the topic of conscientious objection to war.

Speakers shared perspectives representing a wide range of viewpoints. Phil Jones, director of the General Board's Brethren Witness/Washington Office and one of the seminar's coordinators, said the program was designed to have youth "struggle with your head, your heart, and your spirit...the things that guide your conscience."

Former conscientious objectors (COs) Enten Pfaltzgraff Eller and Clarence Quay shared the stories of their struggles, as did more more recent COs Andrew Engdahl and Anita Cole. Eller and Quay each chose not to register and instead did alternative service, although Eller's service came after a lengthy court case. Engdahl and Cole arrived at their decisions after entering the military, and they asked for reclassification. "When Jesus said ‘Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,' that has to be now, not later," Eller said. "You have to struggle with where God is calling you and how you're going to follow."

Others, like Indiana pastor Jack Cary, offered a different voice: that of a church that strives for peace but is not pacifist. He said this stance is shared by many in the denomination. Representatives of Selective Service talked about their work to prepare for the eventuality of a military draft and provisions made for alternative service. They assured the group that "no one wants a draft." Center on Conscience and War director J.E. McNeil, meanwhile, said the peace churches must be concerned about such a possibility.

Several speakers addressed a different form of conscientious objection, war tax resistance. Phil and Louise Rieman of Indianapolis and Alice and Ron Martin-Adkins of Washington, D.C., explained why they had decided not to pay the portion of their taxes that support military operations--and the consequences that can come with that choice. Marian Franz of the National Peace Tax Fund provided additional background on this form of witness. "If we say that war is wrong, and we believe war is wrong, then why would we pay for it?" Louise Rieman said.

"It was more than I expected," said Chrissy Sollenberger, a youth participant from Annville, Pa. "I didn't think there was so much about conscientious objection to talk about. I just thought it was saying no to being drafted, but it's so much more than that.... It feels like we have more power now to make those choices."

The Christian Citizenship Seminar is held annually except in National Youth Conference years. It is sponsored by the General Board's Youth and Young Adult Ministry and Brethren Witness/Washington Office.

--Walt Wiltschek is a member of the General Board staff and editor of the Church of the Brethren "Messenger" magazine.

Source: 5/10/2005 Newsline

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

CCS Report

From April 23—28, 2005, 98 youth, advisors, and staff attended Christian Citizenship Seminar. This year's topic was conscientious objection. Splitting time between New York and Washington D.C., participants had a chance to visit both the United Nations and their representatives in Congress.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Conscientious Objection Workshop - May 21 - Lombard

On May 21, York Center Church of the Brethren (Lombard, Ill.) will host a workshop on conscientious objection, exploring the peace church tradition, the spiritual roots of these beliefs, and what the church would do if a draft were to occur. Times are 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., with morning and afternoon sessions and a break for lunch. Bob Gross, co-executive director of On Earth Peace will lead the session. Junior and senior high youth are invited, but parents and others who want to observe are welcome. The workshop is FREE except for lunch on your own. Youth are invited to stay for a lock-in afterwards. Call 630-627-7411 if you plan to attend.
2006 National Youth Conference

Plans are under way for district buses to National Youth Conference next summer. NYC will be July 22-27, 2006. It promises to be a fantastic week.

The theme is "Come and See." For more details see

Stay tuned to district publications and your mail for more information on the bus trip.
Youth Retreat Wrap-up

Eighteen senior high youth and advisors traveled north to Stanley, Wis., April 1-3 for this year's spring youth retreat. Stanley Church of the Brethren hosted the group, providing a place to sleep and meet, lots of donuts, a chance to participate in worship, and a delicious potluck meal. Youth from the Stanley church joined in for part of the weekend.

Jeff Neuman-Lee of Adel, Iowa, the keynote leader, worked with the national youth theme of "Seeing God" from 1 John 4. Jeff focused on issues of leadership, how we can be the church, and led the youth in a Saturday evening time of worship.

The group went swimming at the local high school, played games, joined in Sunday school, and made new connections with our neighbors to the north. The next retreat will be during district conference, Nov. 4-6 at Springfield Church of the Brethren.

We are looking for new youth cabinet members for next year. If you'll be in grades 9-12 this fall, ask your pastor for an application form or go to