Thursday, June 30, 2005

Young adults set an example

Many wondered what effect National Young Adult Conference (NYAC) would have on the young adult community within the Church of the Brethren. Would it begin to engage young adults on the fringes of church involvement? Could the whole church experience refreshment through the Spirit's movement in the young adult community?

Almost one year after NYAC, a gathering on Memorial Day weekend of 127 young adults provides an opportunity for reflection. Hebrews 10:24 provided the theme for the weekend of Young Adult Conference (YAC): “And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds....” Sharing in a weekend of worship and fellowship, the gathered community “was the church” in notable ways.

First, it would be difficult to label those in attendance. There were singles and married couples. There were college graduates and those who didn't attend college. There were “liberals” and “conservatives.” Eighteen-year-olds chatted with 30-year-olds, who engaged a 55-year-old speaker. An engineer, a retired Marine, a young mother, a newly engaged couple, and a teacher talked during small group time. Many grew up in the Church of the Brethren, but there was a recognizable group of people being invited into fellowship. Basically, women and men at various places on faith and life journeys had a get-together.

Second, worship was the weekend's focus. Between gathering on Friday night and scattering on Sunday afternoon, the group shared in four formal worship services and observed two ordinances, communion and feetwashing. Additionally, there were multiple Bible study sessions, as well as an old-fashioned hymn sing and a campfire. If the definition of worship is expanded to include times when God is experienced through fellowship, the list of informal worship opportunities includes meal times, workshops, and late-night board games.

And that's “just” it. A diverse group of people shared in worship and fellowship. Faith grew, minds were stretched, and hospitality was extended. Wounds were healed and relationships formed. The next verse of Hebrews reads: “...Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another...” We're instructed to provoke one another to love and good deeds, to meet together, and to encourage one another. Can the church experience refreshment through the Spirit's movement in the young adult community? Isn't the answer obvious?

Becky Ullom,
Director of Identity and Relations

Source: July/August 2005 Tapestry Newsletter

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Nominations for the 2005 Ecumenical Citations are announced.

Nominees for the 2005 Ecumenical Citations have been announced by the Committee on Interchurch Relations. The citations will be awarded at the Ecumenical Luncheon on Tuesday, July 5. Four youth and young adults are nominated for peacemaking efforts. "Each in their own way have demonstrated a dedication to work at overcoming violence, and can serve as a model for others in creative challenges to the many forms of violence in our world," the committee said.

Matt Boyer of La Verne (Calif.) Church of the Brethren, is nominated for his passion for social justice issues and Fair Trade. He refused to participate in a school fundraiser of chocolate that had been produced unjustly, did extensive research and advocacy of the Fair Trade movement, and led his church youth group in becoming a retailer of Fair Trade chocolates and coffee.

Colleen Hamilton of Hope Church of the Brethren in Freeport, Mich., is nominated for multiple efforts for the environment and global concerns, including helping to begin a recycling program at her high school, bringing focus to the use and waste of styrofoam in the school cafeteria, working and worshiping ecumenically with another congregation in the area, and participating in a high school arts troupe "HEARTS: Helping Educate Abstinence, Responsible Teens." She also was nominated for a citation from the Isaac Walton League for her efforts.

Marisa de Oliveira of Campo Limpo Preaching Point in Campo Limpo, Brazil, is nominated for her deep sense of justice and her call to share God's love with others through her work for hunger and women's and children's issues. She volunteers at a local soup kitchen, has begun a children's church and after-school tutoring program, and has developed and runs children's and women's programs in a poor and dangerous neighborhood of her city. The committee reported that de Oliveira moved to the neighborhood in order to establish rapport with the inhabitants. She teaches jewelry and craft-making to help generate income and self-esteem for neighborhood women, and plans a micro-finance project to help women buy materials and market their goods.

Anna Christine Simons of Prince of Peace Church of the Brethren in South Bend, Ind., is nominated for community involvements including working at a school for disadvantaged children, volunteering with the Youth Services Bureau of South Bend, participating yearly in her community's youth conference on diversity, taking part in anti-racism efforts through community programs, and volunteering at a local food bank, soup kitchen, and rescue mission. She received the 2004 Peacemaker Award from the Clay City High School.

For more information contact the Committee on Interchurch Relations, c/o the Office of the General Secretary, Church of the Brethren General Board, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; 800-323-8039.

Source: 6/28/2005 Newsline
Workcamp Walking to Peoria

A youth workcamp plans to accompany Don Vermilyea to Annual Conference on foot, arriving in Peoria on Saturday, July 2. Vermilyea is a Brethren Volunteer Service worker on a "Walk Across America," with the goal of walking to each Church of the Brethren congregation. The workcamp is sponsored by the General Board's Youth and Young Adult Ministries. A group of 12 youth and four adult advisors are walking with Vermilyea for a week, from June 26-July 2. The trip will take them to Camp Emmanuel in Astoria, Ill., and Canton (Ill.) Church of the Brethren along the way. Plans are for the group to be hosted as well by First Christian Church in Beardstown, First United Methodist Church in Havana, and Glasford United Methodist Church. The youth are raising money for the General Board's Global Food Crisis Fund and Emergency Disaster Fund. For more information about the Walk Across America see

Source: 6/28/2005 Newsline

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

National Council of Churches Stewards Program

The National Council of Churches (NCC) seeks young adult volunteers for its Stewards Program. Stewards will serve during the General Assembly of the NCC and Church World Service in Baltimore, Md., Nov. 8-10. This is the third year for the program, which gathers a small group of Christian young adults from across the country to assist in the work of the assembly and to observe ecumenism "up close" as some 250 delegates from 36 Protestant, Anglican, and Orthodox denominations gather for worship, business, and fellowship. Stewards assist with hospitality, registration, audio-visual technology, and other tasks. The experience includes a young adult spiritual development event. Stewards must be between the ages of 18 and 30 and have the recommendation of their denomination. Contact Chris Douglas at the General Board's Youth and Young Adult Ministries, or call 800-323-8039 ext. 297.

Source: 6/22/2005 Newsline
Youth Pastor Meeting at Annual Conference

Youth pastors are invited to meet at Annual Conference in Peoria, Ill. Those who are serving as paid youth pastors in the Church of the Brethren are invited to a gathering of youth ministry professionals sponsored by the General Board's Youth and Young Adult Ministry Office on Monday, July 4, 1-2 p.m. in Room 201 of the Peoria Civic Center. This will be a time for networking, sharing, and learning to know others in the field of fulltime youth ministry.

Source: 6/22/2005 Newsline
Susanna Farahat joins the staff of On Earth Peace.

On Earth Peace has announced that Susanna Farahat will join the staff in August as the new coordinator of Peacemaker Formation. She will oversee an extensive peace education program that serves all ages, with an emphasis on youth and young adults.

Farahat is a member of York Center Church of the Brethren in Lombard, Ill., and a recent graduate of Bryn Mawr College. She brings teaching experience and a strong sense of the educational process, along with a wide variety of community service experiences to the position. Farahat will be based at the New Windsor (Md.) office of On Earth Peace.

Kim Stuckey Hissong, the current coordinator of Peacemaker Formation, will begin graduate studies in social work this fall.

Source: 6/22/2005 Newsline
Exploring Your Call event for youth will be held at Bethany Seminary.

Exploring Your Call, an event for high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors, will be held at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., on Aug. 4-9. The event is an opportunity for youth to consider issues of faith and vocation.

Remaining funds from a $2 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc.'s Theological Vocational Exploration Program Initiative, received by Manchester College on behalf of eight Brethren institutions, allow Bethany to offer the event for an additional year. Activities include classes taught by seminary professors, shadowing area pastors, planning and leading worship services, participating in hands-on ministry and service activities, and group-building recreational activities. Russell Haitch, assistant professor of Christian Education and director of the Institute for Ministry with Youth and Young Adults, will oversee the event.

Participants' only cost is travel expense to and from Richmond. Registration is limited to 20 participants. Begin the sign-up and registration process via e-mail by sending the following information to name, address, telephone and alternate telephone, e-mail address, birthdate and age, home congregation, pastor, church telephone, person to notify in case of emergency and that person's relationship to the youth and their telephone and address. For more information e-mail or call 800-287-8822 ext. 1821.

Source: 6/22/2005 Newsline