Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Junior High Winter Retreat: January 18-19

From: Lisa Fike <frptcob@juno. com>

I am sending this Email to you for advanced notice and will send more information to the churches.

Illinois Wisconsin District Jr. High Winter retreat will be January 18-19, 2008 starting at 7:00 on Friday and closing January 19 at 4:00pm. We will meet at First Church of the Brethren in Peoria .

Jr. High Youth grades 6-9 are welcome. Yes, I realize that 9th graders are in high school but I have had requests to include them especially for those who are not quite ready to go to the high school events.

This event begins AFTER supper time on Friday, so participants will need to have eaten before they arrive. We will ask everyone to bring snacks to share; a Brethren (snack) potluck.

We expect at least one adult, at the event, for every 6 youth. Please do not send youth without adult chaperons. If you are send both male and female youth send male and female chaperons. Adults will be asked to participate in all events.

There will be a nominal fee for participants to cover food and supplies. Mark your calendars. More information will be coming soon.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Brethren workcamp ministry experiences successful expansion.

An expansion of the workcamp ministry of the Church of the Brethren General Board has been very successful, according to coordinator Steve Van Houten. This past summer, the ministry involved about 875 participants in a total of 37 workcamps that took place across the US and internationally.

"We really jumped into it this year," Van Houten said. The most workcamps held in previous years was in 2005, when 26 events involved about 650 people. Another aspect of the expansion was the number of workcamps offered for different age groups, from junior high through youth to young adults, to intergenerational events that also involved older adults. The workcamp ministry also offered "custom" workcamps for congregations that could send a large enough group to hold a workcamp by themselves (at regular workcamps only a third of participants can come from the same church). Also new this year was the widest variety of locations ever offered.

"It was a very positive year, from the youth who responded," Van Houten said, adding that, "the adult leadership that stepped up and came on board was wonderful."

New locations offered the opportunity to partner with Brethren camps, including Camp Mardela in Maryland and Camp Wilbur Stover in Idaho, and with Brethren Disaster Ministries at the Hurricane Katrina rebuilding sites in the Gulf coast. Other new locations included a home building site in an Appalachian area in southeastern Kentucky with Homes, Inc., which saw the largest single group this summer with 52 participants. Five workcamps were held in the Caribbean including the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and St. Croix in the Virgin Islands. Other international workcamps were held in Mexico and Guatemala.

The responses from those receiving the service of workcampers signaled success to Van Houten. "People are amazed that the youth workcampers will pay to come to work," he said. Community members always want to know why the youth are there, he said.

Van Houten described a conversation on St. Croix with a Muslim man who managed the lumberyard that supplied materials for the workcamp. "He scratched his head," Van Houten recalled. "He said, are these bad kids doing community service? I explained these are good kids who want to be here. He struggled to understand.... He said, your kids come here and do things for people who aren’t even neighbors, this is amazing."

At the end of the conversation, the manager insisted on giving Van Houten a hug, instead of a simple handshake, saying, "We are brothers."

Another unmistakeable sign of success for Van Houten came during a "custom" intergenerational workcamp held for Plymouth (Ind.) Church of the Brethren in Keyser, W.Va. Ages ranged from the teens to the mid-70s. "Those 26 people will always have a bond that they wouldn’t have otherwise," Van Houten said. He had asked the adults to take the role of mentors, to share their knowledge and skills with the youth, and encouraged the youth to be the ones actually doing most of the work. The youth responded with affirmation, he said, even expressing the wish that their grandparents and parents would spend that kind of time with them. "Work-wise we might not have gotten quite as much done," Van Houten said, "but I think in the end they all saw the benefit."

Van Houten has resigned as coordinator for the program as of the end of the year, to return to pastoral ministry. Jeanne Davies begins in mid-January as fulltime coordinator. Sharon Flaten and Jerry O'Donnell are working with the ministry as Brethren Volunteer Service workers.

The General Board will offer 26 workcamps next summer, 2008, on the theme "Strengthen My Hands" (Nehemiah 6:9). Locations will include the Brethren Disaster Ministries rebuilding projects on the Gulf coast; the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md.; the Dominican Republic (co-sponsored by the Brethren Revival Fellowship); Roanoke, Va.; Richmond, Va.; Ashland, Ohio; Baltimore, Md.; Indianapolis, Ind.; Harrisburg, Pa.; Idaho; Broadway, Va.; Castaner, P.R.; Neon, Ky.; Kyle, S.D.; the eastern shore of Maryland; Keyser, W.Va.; Chicago, Ill.; St. Croix; Reynosa, Mexico; and North Fort Myers, Fla.

For a 2008 brochure contact cobworkcamps_gb@brethren.org or 800-323-8039, or go to www.brethrenworkcamps.org for more information. Registration for the 2008 workcamps begins online at www.brethrenworkcamps.org as of 12:01 a.m. (central time) on Jan. 3.

Source: 11/21/2007 Newsline
Counter-Recruitment Networking Call

On Earth Peace has announced its next counter-recruitment networking call for those working against military recruitment, on Dec. 13 at 10 a.m. Pacific time/1 p.m. eastern time. The networking calls are for both new and experienced peacemakers to share experiences and receive support for their work resisting military recruitment and generating alternatives for youth. Each call offers opportunities for sharing, as well as a "strategy session," and spiritual and theological reflections on counter-recruitment. Find more information about the calls at www.brethren.org/oepa/programs/peace-witness/counter-recruitment/NetworkingCalls.html. Reserve a place in the Dec. 13 call by e-mailing mattguynn@earthlink.net.

Source: 11/21/2007 Newsline
WCC Essay Contest: Making a Difference Together

Students of theology and young theologians are being invited by the World Council of Churches (WCC) to participate in an essay competition to mark the council's 60th anniversary. Participants are invited to address the theme, "Making a Difference Together--Prospects for Ecumenism in the 21st Century." The best six essays will be presented by their authors at an international consultation in Switzerland in late 2008. Other selected essays will be published by the WCC. Essays should be written in English, but will be judged for the quality of their contribution and not their language proficiency. With a length of 5,000-6,000 words, the essays should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere. More details are at www.oikoumene.org/contest. The deadline is Feb. 28, 2008.

Source: 11/21/2007 Newsline
Camp Alexander Mack: news Year's Eve

Camp Alexander Mack near Milford, Ind., is planning a New Year’s Eve event for the 300th anniversary. "Wouldn't it be great if 300 young people (who represent the next generation of the church) gathered together in one place to celebrate this milestone in our history by ushering in the New Year?" said an invitation from the camp. The event is being planned for 300 junior high and senior high youth. It will begin at 2 p.m. on Dec. 31, and conclude at 1 p.m. on Jan. 1, 2008. The theme is "Fan the Flame." Indoor and outdoor activities are planned including worship, an "Olympics," talent shows, and a Times Square-like countdown to the New Year with the dropping of a lighted ball at midnight followed by a hike to the "living cross" for devotions, and continuing on with activities throughout the night. The fee is $55 ($45 before Dec. 10). T-shirts cost $10. Contact the office at Camp Mack for brochures, 574-658-4831.

Source: 11/21/2007 Newsline

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Christian Citizenship Seminar to examine genocide.

The 2008 Christian Citizenship Seminar will be held on the topic of genocide, focusing on the Darfur region of Sudan, with a scripture theme from Matthew 5:44. The event for high school youth is scheduled for March 29-April 3, in New York City and Washington D.C., sponsored by the Brethren Witness/Washington Office and the Youth and Young Adult Ministries of the General Board.

This year’s seminar is being planned to increase understanding of the relationship between faith and our response to the violence of genocide. The event is open to all high school youth and adult advisors. Registration will be limited to the first 100 youth and adults who apply. The $350 registration fee includes lodging for five nights, dinner on the opening evening, and transportation from New York to Washington.

Register at www.brethren.org/genbd/yya/CCS.htm. Registration will be cut off by Feb. 28, 2008 or as soon as 100 registrations have been received. Contact Youth and Young Adult Ministries at 800-323-8039 or COBYouth_gb@brethren.org.

Source: 11/07/2007 Newsline
2008 National Young Adult Conference

National Young Adult Conference is offering a gift certificate option through the Youth and Young Adult Ministries Office of the General Board. Family and friends of young adults can purchase a gift certificate for 50 percent ($162.50) or 100 percent ($325) of the registration cost. "As Christmas is approaching, consider giving the gift of National Young Adult Conference to your favorite young adult!" said coordinator Rebekah Houff. Visit www.nyac08.org for more information, or contact Houff at 800-323-8039 ext. 281 or rhouff_gb@brethren.org.

Source: 11/07/2007 Newsline

Monday, November 05, 2007

IL/WI District Jr. High

From: Lisa Fike [mailto:revsfike@ hotmail.com]
Sent: Monday, November 05, 2007 9:47 AM
Subject: IL/WI District Jr. High

Amazing things happen when God is a part of Conference! Those of you who heard the report from the Jr. Highs at the conference about National Jr. High Conference will perhaps remember that I made a comment that Brian Archer and I are ready to launch a District Jr. High revival. After that comment, several of you said you had Jr. High youth that would like to be involved! Praise the Lord!!

Details will be coming, but the early news is that we are planning a District Jr. High (Grade 6-7-8) Winter retreat sometime in January.

We are most likely looking at a Friday night Saturday event. Brian and I are both serving our congregations as pastor and feel that we need to be in attendance at our churches on Sunday.

For Jr. High Kids one overnight is usually enough...(for the Leaders) If you would like to be in on the planning for this or other events, please let me know.

Next year at District conference may we have 10, 12, or more Jr. high age students.

Blessings for today and always,


Sunday, November 04, 2007

Senior High Fall Retreat -- November 2-4, 2007

"Encountering God On the Way"

About 20 people took part in this year's fall district youth retreat, held during district conference in Freeport. Thanks to the Freeport Church of the Brethren for providing space for the event!

Seth Hendricks, who coordinated music for the 2006 National Youth Conference and last year's Regional Youth Conference, was the guest leader for the weekend on the theme "Encountering God on the Way." Seth is currently a student at Bethany Theological Seminary and made the long drive up from Richmond, Ind. The three sessions took place in a worship setting, with Jewel McNary, Walt Wiltschek, and Bill Williams providing meditations on encountering God through prayer, through everyday moments and places, and through scripture.

The weekend also included a service project in Freeport, several good meals, some time for games and recreation, and a Sunday morning insight session on the district's youth ministry. The youth also joined district conference for opening and closing worship services and the Saturday evening concert---after which they served ice cream as a fundraiser for the district.

The spring youth retreat (for youth currently in grades 9-12 and advisors) is scheduled for Feb. 29 to March 2 at Decatur Church of the Brethren. Watch www.cobyouth.org for details.