Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Sailing to NYC on a sea of chicken soup.

...At least, that's what Linda K. Williams, of First Church of the Brethren in San Diego, Calif., hopes and prays will happen for the youth in the Church of the Brethren.

Williams has spent more than five-and-a-half years "birthing" the new Chicken Soup for the Soul book--"Stories for a Better World"--which includes more than 101 stories of peacemaking. She now wants to get it into the hands of everyone on the planet, she says, especially Brethren youth. The new book is highlighted in the September issue of the Church of the Brethren "Messenger" magazine. Twenty percent of the stories and four of the 11 cartoons came from people with Historic Peace Church connections.

Williams felt compelled to bring stories of peacemaking into the national consciousness via the Chicken Soup for the Soul venue in response to the murder of an elderly relative, and then the Columbine High School shootings. She has already received evidence that peacemaking can be very effectively promoted by touching the hearts of readers. In one example, a friend had been outspoken about the need for retaliation and revenge after the events of 9/11. When Williams needed volunteer readers to help rate stories for the new book, she felt God urging her to ask this friend if she would be interested. After her friend read and rated several batches of the powerful stories, Williams expressed her appreciation. Her friend replied, "No, I need to thank you; by reading these stories, I've seen there are so many ways to deal with violence!"

Williams now has arranged to offer the book at a substantial discount of more than 50 percent off the $12.95 selling price so that churches and youth groups can use it as a fundraiser for National Youth Conference in 2006. Churches and other nonprofit groups may also do other fundraising using the book. An additional option exists of becoming an "Amazon Associate" with a no-effort way to earn four to 10 percent of the book's sales price by simply putting it on an organization's website and encouraging buyers to order the book from the site.

For more information about fundraising opportunities contact Williams at or 619-583-8454.

Source: 9/28/2005 Newsline
Update From The District Youth Cabinet

Greetings! Here is an update from the district youth cabinet,

The cabinet met in August to choose members for the 2005-2006 cabinet. Three seniors departed from this past year. Seven new members were selected: Allison Gibble, St. Charles (Highland Ave.); Daniel Brumbaugh Keeney, Elgin (Highland Ave.); Cassidy McFadden, Elgin (Highland Ave.); Megan McNeil, Peoria (Peoria); Elyce Naylon, Polo (Elyce isn't Brethren, but has come to camp regularly and had a Brethren sponsor for her Cabinet application); Megan Patterson, Milledgeville (Milledgeville/Dutchtown); Laura Thompson, Batavia (Faith).

Other members of the cabinet are Nathan Benassi (Winnebago), Steve Christian (Naperville), Keegan Condon (Naperville), Meghan Dahl (Elgin), Carol Fike (Polo), James Gibble-Keenan (Elgin), Scott Heimerdinger (Pearl City), Alex Otake (Lombard), and Lisa Thompson (Batavia).

The cabinet has agreed to donate the pitcher created for the district for the 2002 NYC to this year's district conference silent auction.

Becca Lipscomb from Springfield becomes president for 2005-6. Other officers will be selected at our next meeting on Sept. 17 at Naperville. Our cabinet planning retreat comes in October. District youth retreat will run concurrently with District Conference, in Springfield. Roger Schrock is our guest/keynote leader.

Dates/site for the spring retreat are not yet set. Another big project for the year is arranging transportation for the district to the 2006 National Youth Conference (July 22-27, Ft. Collins, Colo.). Walt Wiltschek will coordinate that..

This summer a number of District youth went on denominational workcamps. Many were at Annual Conference in Peoria. More than 70 youth attended senior high camp at Camp Emmaus as well as the Youth Peace Travel Team and Don Vermilyea. It was a wonderful week!

Walt Wiltschek

Source: October 2005 Illinois/Wisconsin District Newsletter

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Junior High Sunday

Nov. 6 is Junior High Sunday in the Church of the Brethren. The theme comes from Hebrews 10:24, "Provoke One Another to Love and Good Deeds." Graphics, a Bible study, worship resources and ideas, a skit, and more are available at Materials will not be mailed to congregations but are in PDF format for printing from the website.

source: 9/14/2005 Newsline
Youth Peace Travel Team completes tour.

The 2005 Youth Peace Travel Team has completed its summer tour of eight camps in the east and midwest, and a visit to Annual Conference. The program was first formed in 1991 as a cooperative effort of a number of General Board programs, with a new team fielded each year. Sponsors now include On Earth Peace, the Outdoor Ministries Association, and the General Board's Brethren Witness/Washington Office, Brethren Volunteer Service, and Youth and Young Adult Ministry.

Team members for 2005 were Nicole Fowler of First Church of the Brethren, Roanoke, Va.; Rachel McFadden of Manchester Church of the Brethren, North Manchester, Ind.; Ben Bear of Nokesville (Va.) Church of the Brethren; and Ben Ritchey Martin of Grossnickle Church of the Brethren, Myersville, Md. They began the summer with a Ministry Summer Service orientation at Bethany Theological Seminary and a team orientation at Inspiration Hills in Burbank, Ohio.

The team led peace education for youth at camps including Brethren Heights, Camp Ithiel, Camp Mack, Woodland Altars, Camp Emmaus, Camp Blue Diamond, and Shepherd's Spring, and during Annual Conference. At the camps, the four young adults led workshops, discussions, and activities such as morning watch. They also had the opportunity to get to know campers and the surrounding natural landscape. "They learned about themselves and how they work in groups," said Susanna Farahat of On Earth Peace.

Farahat worked with the team during its debriefing at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., Aug. 12-14. "They learned a lot about community," she said. Each week, the team held a "family meeting" to discuss situations that occurred during the week. Those meetings, as well as speaking in front of larger gatherings, helped develop interpersonal communication and leadership skills. "They all got more comfortable in front of groups," Farahat said.

At Annual Conference, the team spoke at an insight session on "Teaching Peace to Youth." They also led workshops for senior high youth, supported various agencies' booths, and talked with Conference guests. The Youth Peace Travel Team spent much of its time on issues of social justice and also learning about the range of beliefs in the Church of the Brethren. "We're all Brethren, and although we all read the Bible, we're all reading it in different ways," noted Farahat. "I think that was new for them."

Young adults age 18-22 interested in being considered for next summer's Youth Peace Travel Team can obtain an application at or call 800-785-3246.

source: 9/14/2005 Newsline
Regional Junior High Conference

The Regional Junior High Conference scheduled for Sept. 30-Oct. 2 will be the first of its kind in the Church of the Brethren, reported Chris Douglas of the General Board's Youth and Young Adult Ministries. The conference at New Windsor, Md., is co-sponsored by the General Board and eight districts in the eastern part of the US. Registration already is closed because the maximum attendance of 240 people has been reached. Those who are registered are urged to bring Gift of the Heart Health Kits for the Sunday morning offering, when Annual Conference moderator-elect Belita Mitchell is preaching. An e-mail to conference participants asked them to go to for information on making kits.

source: 9/14/2005 Newsline

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Youth Lead Hurricane Relief Challenge

It was Sunday, Sept. 4, the weekend following a devastating hurricane and flooding in the South. Worship was underway in this small Northern Indiana congregation far from the impact of the storm. The worship leader was planning to come to the podium with a prepared offertory statement. But before that could happen, three youth came forward to make a special announcement.

"Today, we would like to announce that the junior and senior high youth have decided to donate money to the hurricane relief fund," came the words of Kaitlyn Hearld, Deanna Beckner and Carmen Metzger, three seventh grade youth of the church. They continued, "The junior high has decided to donate all of its money, $500, and the senior high said that they would match whatever we decided to donate." They then challenged the congregation to match the funds given by the youth.

"Following worship I had a member of the congregation say he and his wife would match the entire $1,000 challenge the youth brought," said pastor Dennis Beckner. Other smaller donations were given for a total $2,182 in the first of four planned collections during the month of September. Pastor Beckner identified that the early outcome of this challenge sounded like Jesus’ words to the disciples in Matthew 18 where he advised the disciples that they would not enter the kingdom of heaven unless they change and become like little children.

Although these children aren’t so little any more, they definitely are to be taken seriously and are driven to do what is right. The youth have been raising money through fundraisers, selling lemon shake-ups at a car show, hosting several garage sales and a silent auction, and selling Papa Johns and Subway cards. More fundraising events are planned. The funds are being raised as both groups plan a major event the summer of 2006. The junior highs are planning a mission trip while the senior highs will be attending the Church of the Brethren National Youth Conference in Colorado. Each group has exceeded early expectations in their fundraising efforts and had planned to use excess funds for a ski trip, weekend outings, and other fun events.

The youth recognized their successes in their statement Sunday morning. "Over the past few months the junior and senior high have worked very hard to earn the money that we are donating, but we feel that God is telling us that giving these people another chance at life is much more important than going skiing or to Bear Creek Farms," Kaitlyn Hearld continued. The junior and senior high youth had discussed with youth advisor, Cara Hoppe, prior to the beginning of worship that they wanted to do something to help those in need following the disaster. The Columbia City Church of the Brethren had already planned to ask members of the church to donate to the Emergency Disaster Fund of the Church of the Brethren General Board. This fund supports the efforts of the Disaster Child Care and Emergency Response/Service Ministries of the Church of the Brethren.

Pastor Beckner recalled times when he has been a part of other disaster response work projects supported by this fund. "My wife and I accompanied youth from another congregation to Alabama and Oregon back in the 1990s for disaster response. We worked side by side working on homes that had been damaged by storms, cleaning a school that had been flooded, and helping to restore some normalcy to people’s lives. And those projects were so small in scale compared to the effects of Hurricane Katrina. We have to help now with our funds, later with our skills and abilities, and always with our prayers." Pastor Beckner’s sister is a volunteer with Disaster Child Care. These volunteers work hand-in-hand with the American Red Cross in providing child care for parents who need time to process paper work and spend time at work sites during the clean-up process.

The youth challenge other area congregations and others in the Columbia City community to answer this challenge to give. To make a donation to the Emergency Disaster Fund you may send a check to the Columbia City Church of the Brethren, 112 N Washington St, Columbia City, IN 46725 or you may go online to and click on "Responding to Hurricane Katrina" ( For further information call the church office at 260-244-6278.
National Youth Conference 2006

“National Youth Conference 2006 is starting to take shape!” reports Emily Tyler, one of the three coordinators of the 2006 National Youth Conference (NYC) along with Cindy Laprade and Beth Rhodes.

NYC will be held July 22-27, in Fort Collins, Colo., on the campus of Colorado State University. Youth who have completed ninth grade through one year of college and accompanied by an adult advisor are eligible to attend.

To help preview activities for this NYC, each congregation was sent a promotional DVD; also check the website ( for updates.

The theme, “Come and See,” is based on John 1:35-39.

“When the disciples asked Jesus where he was staying, instead of telling them, he invited them to ‘come and see,’” the coordinators report. “This is in keeping with Church of the Brethren heritage; letting actions speak louder than words. By inviting the disciples to come and see, Jesus called them to a disciple’s life. NYC is the youth of the denomination’s invitation to come and see who God is calling them to become as individuals, as disciples of Christ, as the Church of the Brethren, and as God’s people living in a broken world.”

Registrations for NYC will be accepted on-line from Jan. 1-April 3, 2006. Cost per person is $400, including all programs, lodging, and food. A deposit of $200 must be paid when registering, with the balance due by April 3, 2006. Register before Feb. 15 and receive a free t-shirt!

Don’t forget:
  • Youth Speech Contest: Youth are invited to write a 550-700 word (about 10 min. spoken) speech focusing on the NYC theme. The two top entrants will give their speeches during a worship service at NYC. Entries, including both a written and an audio copy, are due Jan. 1, 2006.

  • Theme Song Contest: Anyone interested in writing music and lyrics may enter a song based on the NYC theme. The entry that is chosen will serve as the theme song for NYC 2006. Submissions, including both a printed and audio copy, are due Nov. 1.

  • Youth Worker Applications: Application forms are ready and waiting to be sent to those interested in volunteering. Contact the NYC Office: 800-323-8039, or
Source: October 2005 Tapestry

Friday, September 02, 2005

MC offers campus, collects funds, blood for Katrina victims

Manchester College is offering its campus – and special arrangements – to students whose colleges or universities are closed because of Hurricane Katrina. In addition, the Manchester College community is uniting to raise funds and donate blood for the victims of the disaster – and is inviting its neighbors to join the relief effort.

The liberal arts college will speed financial aid packaging and course registration, and waive application and late-registration fees to the transfer students, said David F. McFadden, executive vice president. The offer is extended to students already admitted or enrolled in four-year baccalaureate colleges or universities closed by the hurricane and resulting flooding.

The college will work with students on a case-by-case basis, McFadden said. If the advance work is completed by Sept. 9, the students can begin classes no later than Sept. 12. MC classes began Aug. 31.

Meanwhile, Manchester is collecting monetary donations in collaboration with Church of the Brethren and Church World Service. The Brethren Service Center already has shipped 5,000 blankets, 5,000 emergency kits and $15,000 in its intent to provide at least $300,000 in initial aid to the Hurricane Katrina disaster area.

Manchester will collect cash or check donations in its campus business office and forward them to the Church of the Brethren emergency Disaster Fund. Persons from outside the College are welcome – and encouraged – to donate through this effort.

Manchester is a college of the Church of the Brethren, a denomination experienced with long-term disaster relief. “The Brethren emergency response systems have provided monetary relief, assistance from volunteers who help with rebuilding, and extensive child care in emergency shelters for decades,” notes MC President Jo Young Switzer. “The fund has exceptionally low overhead, so donations make a huge impact.”

In addition, the college is working with the Red Cross to conduct a special blood drive on Tuesday, Sept. 20. The event, organized by the campus Office of Volunteer Services, will be 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the College Union, lower level. The community is invited.

Additional campus fund-raisers are in the works, including collections at athletic events (beginning with the home football game Saturday, Sept. 3) and by Campus Ministry. The college also hopes to organize student events that encourage students to reduce their driving and redirect that gasoline money for the relief efforts, President Switzer said.

“We thank those who are stepping forward to support those affected by this catastrophe,” she said. “The impact on their lives reminds us of the fragility of our lives and the precious privileges that we too often take for granted.”

To donate, visit the campus business office or send checks to Disaster Relief, Business Office, Manchester College, 604 E. College Ave., North Manchester, IN 46962. Please make checks to Emergency Disaster Fund. The donations are tax-deductible. For more information on the Church of the Brethren Emergency Response Fund, see

For more about the special enrollment of students affected by Hurricane Katrina, contact McFadden at or 800-852-3648. For more about Manchester College, visit

source: Manchester College