Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Colorado Brethren and Mennonite youth join for retreat.

Church of the Brethren and Mennonite youth in the Denver and Colorado Springs area of Colorado participated in "River of Life," a weekend of service on Aug. 18-20. Students including youth from Prince of Peace Church of the Brethren arrived at First Mennonite Church to examine how the Anabaptist faith tradition teaches them to be in service to others. Some students gave up their last free weekend of summer, while others rushed from school to attend.

Twenty-six participants were divided between four service projects. The projects included painting a Community Outreach Center at Garden Park Mennonite Brethren Church; pulling weeds and picking up trash at Yarrow Gardens, a Mennonite owned low-income housing project; scrubbing a club at a Denver Boy's and Girl's Club; and office work, yard work, transforming pallets into firewood, and serving lunch to the homeless at Franciscan Friends of the Poor.

On Sunday, the youth reported some life lessons they had learned from the weekend during the worship service at First Mennonite, and led the church in singing. They not only filled the platform with their physical presence, but with their faith sharing as well.

"I didn't know what a homeless person would be like, but now I know they are really cool human beings," reported one youth. "Kids with few options for where to go after school can join a Boy's and Girl's Club for only $2 per year," reported another youth. Another youth observed the struggle for help a single mom was having with her teenagers on moving day, the same day as the River of Life service projects. When the River of Life youth pitched in to help, the other kids also started helping more.

Maybe the life lesson from River of Life was best summed by the song title "Take Me In" sung during the closing concert by the band BlackKnyt (whose members are middle school students with connections to Glennon Heights Mennonite Church). Even when life pushes us to be on the outside, the River of Life weekend models a different way of living that encourages youth to "take people in" and share some simple deeds inspired by Jesus' love.

Mennonite Urban Ministries (MUM) and Discovering Opportunities for Outreach and Reflection (DOOR) sponsored the event.

Source: 10/25/2006 Newsline
Junior High Youth Sunday

November 5 is Junior High Youth Sunday in the Church of the Brethren. The theme is "Transformed" based on the story of Jacob and Esau from Genesis 25-27. Resources available at include an introduction, a Bible study by Robert Neff, worship ideas from the new Sunday school curriculum "Gather 'Round," and an outline for a junior high retreat.

Source: 10/25/2006 Newsline
BVS PowerPoint Slideshow

The Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) slide show presented at National Youth Conference this summer is now available for download at The show is in PowerPoint format, and for copyright reasons does not including the music used with it at NYC, "What are you waiting for?" by Natalie Grant-Awaken. The slide show is suitable for use by congregations and others interested in BVS.

Source: 10/25/2006 Newsline
COBYS Family Services Bike and Hike

The COBYS Family Services Bike and Hike on Sept. 10 at Lititz (Pa.) Church of the Brethren included a 55-mile motorcycle ride, 25-mile and 10-mile bicycle rides, and a 3-mile walk. The event raised pledges and donations exceeding the $60,000 goal. Some 520 people participated including 316 motorcyclists, 75 bicyclists, and 131 walkers. Two church youth groups raised $1,250 or more, from Little Swatara Church of the Brethren in Bethel, and Chiques Church of the Brethren in Manheim. Proceeds benefited COBYS Family Services, a Church of the Brethren-related agency offering adoption and foster care services, counseling, family life education, and a teen mother and child group home.

Source: 10/25/2006 Newsline
First-ever National Junior High Conference planned for next June.

A first-ever National Junior High Conference is being planned for sixth, seventh, and eighth graders in the Church of the Brethren. The event will be held the weekend of June 15-17, 2007, at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College.

On the theme, "The Amazing Race: Continuing the Work of Jesus" (Luke 9:2-3), the event is designed to give a taste of a mini-National Youth Conference experience. It will include high-energy worship, active learning workshops, music, games, fun, and fellowship. Featured presenters are the Mennonite comedy duo Ted and Lee, musician Ken Medema, and speaker Tony Campolo.

The conference is sponsored by the Youth and Young Adult Ministries of the Church of the Brethren General Board. Cost will be $99 per person, registration begins online on February 1. After April 15, the cost will go up to $125. Churches are required to send adult advisors with their youth. For more information contact Chris Douglas at 800-323-8039 ext. 297.

Source: 10/25/2006 Newsline

Friday, October 13, 2006

November 3-5, 2006

Purpose: The conference will bring together youth and adults to discuss ways to counter the actions of military recruiters. The focus will be on highly recruited areas such as communities of color and settings of poverty.

  • provide accurate information on the realities behind military advertising and recruitment
  • Equip congregations with meaningful nonmilitary opportunities for education, job training, and employment for youth
  • Discuss strategy for counter-recruitment in public schools and other public settings
  • Provide opportunities for networking and sharing of resources.
This conference is organized by the Mennonite Central Committee. For more information and to register for the conference (scholarships are available) go to:

Brethren at the conference will be greeted by Phil Jones of the Brethren Witness/Washington Office and Matt Guynn of On Earth Peace.

Counter-recruitment can be about much more than being against recruiters or resisting No Child Left Behind. Counter-recruitment can be at the intersection of gospel peace and gospel evangelism. It can be about inviting entire communities into God's dream of shalom that began with Eden and continues to this day. It can be about youth being mentored and accompanied into meaningful futures, of congregations catching a vision of economic development and making easy the paths that lead to life, of seeking anew and proclaiming God's leadings toward wholeness and dignity for all.
- from scheduled workshop leader Matt Guynn, OEP
2007 Christian Citizenship Seminar

The 2007 Christian Citizenship Seminar on the theme, "The State of Our Health," will be held March 24-29, 2007, in New York City and Washington, D.C.

The State of Our Health…
an exploration of faith and response in
regards to the health and well being of our
global community

You will be invited to explore and be challenged by the many health concerns and conditions of our global population. Speakers, presentations, interactive worship and workshops, on-sight visitations and direct advocacy opportunities will all be a part of the CCS 2007 experience. Find out how international governments contribute to the HIV/AIDS explosion in Africa or the overwhelming poverty of many Latin America countries. Learn how HIV/AIDS affects local villages in Sudan and in US communities. Explore the impact of prenatal care, poverty, and hunger on the world’s population. Consider the advantages, challenges, and privileges of health care programs. Advocate for the hungry, the disabled, the uninsured and the voiceless brothers and sisters in our world.

March 24-29, 2007

CCS is held the first three days in New York City and the final three days in Washington, DC - Transportation provided between the two cities.

On-line registration begins January 1, 2007
Reserved for the first 100 who register
Open to all high school age youth

A ministry of the Youth and Young Adult and Brethren Witness/Washington Office of the Church of the Brethren General Board Contact the BW/WO for program information 1-800-785-3246 or the YYA office for registration and logistics 1-800-323-8039.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Leaders for the 2007 Annual Conference are announced.

The Program and Arrangements Commitee for the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference has completed its recruiting of leadership for the Conference in Cleveland, Ohio, June 30-July 4, 2007. Preachers, worship leaders, music coordinator, choir director, organist, pianist, and children's choir director have been announced.

Preachers are Jeff Carter, pastor of Manassas (Va.) Church of the Brethren who preached at National Youth Conference this summer, will preach on Saturday evening June 30; Belita Mitchell, Annual Conference moderator and pastor of First Church of the Brethren in Harrisburg, Pa., on Sunday morning July 1; Duane Grady, a member of the Church of the Brethren General Board's Congregational Life Team, on Monday evening July 2; Tim Harvey, pastor of Central Church of the Brethren in Roanoke, Va., on Tuesday evening July 3; and Ataloa Woodin, pastor of Community Brethren Church, a Church of the Brethren congregation in Fresno, Calif., on Wednesday morning July 4.

Worship leaders are Chrissy Sollenberger of Annville, Pa., who was a youth speaker at National Youth Conference this summer; James Beckwith, Annual Conference moderator-elect and pastor of Annville (Pa.) Church of the Brethren; Brandon Grady, a Bethany Seminary student from Richmond, Ind.; Bev and Eric Anspaugh, pastor of Florin Church of the Brethren in Mount Joy, Pa.; and Erin Matteson, co-pastor of Modesto (Calif.) Church of the Brethren.

Coordinating worship will be Program and Arrangements Committee member Joanna Willoughby of Wyoming, Mich. Joseph Helfrich, a Church of the Brethren musician from Bradford, Ohio, will coordinate the music. Rebecca Rhodes of Roanoke, Va., will serve as choir director; and Raymonde Rougier of Dayton, Ohio, will direct the children's choir. This year's organist is Chris Brewer of Bradford, Ohio, and on the piano/keyboard will be Bob Iseminger of Roanoke, Va.

For more about the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference go to

Source: 10/11/2006 Newsline