Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Workcamp Registration Opens on January 5th

Registration opens Jan. 5 at 8 p.m. central time for the Church of the Brethren's 2009 workcamps. The 2009 workcamp theme is "Bound Together, Finely Woven." Workcamp opportunities are available for junior high youth, senior high youth, and young adults, as well as a new opportunity for an intergenerational workcamp on the theme, "Passing on the Peace Witness," available for families. Also new this year is "We Are Able," a workcamp for intellectually disabled participants to work alongside a service partner. Go to for a bulletin insert with a list of the 2009 workcamps and more information, or call the workcamp office at 800-323-8039.

Source: 12/17/2008 Newsline
Conference Theme Video Contest

For the 2009 Annual Conference, the Church of the Brethren's Congregational Life Team is sponsoring a contest for the best 3-minute video giving a creative interpretation of the Conference theme, "The old has gone! The new has come! All this is from God!" The winner of the contest will see their video shown from the floor of Annual Conference and will receive a $100 prize. Up to four runner-ups will have their videos distributed on a DVD at the Conference and will receive $50. The video contest entry form and an information form are at For more information contact Jeff Glass at or 888-826-4951.

Source: 12/17/2008 Newsline
Young adults are chosen as National Youth Conference coordinators.

Coordinators have been chosen for the Church of the Brethren's National Youth Conference (NYC) in 2010. The conference takes place every four years, sponsored by the denomination's Youth and Young Adult Ministry.

The NYC coordinators will be Audrey Hollenberg, a senior at Bridgewater (Va.) College from Westminster (Md.) Church of the Brethren; Emily Laprade, currently one of the assistant coordinators for the Church of the Brethren's workcamp program, from Antioch Church of the Brethren in Rocky Mount, Va.; and Matt Witkovsky, a graduate of Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., from Stone Church of the Brethren in Huntingdon.

The NYC coordinators will serve as fulltime volunteers through Brethren Volunteer Service. They will spend 15 months working in the Youth and Young Adult Ministry Office in Elgin, Ill., beginning in May 2009. The work will entail planning for the gathering of thousands of Brethren youth at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo., on July 17-22.

Source: 12/17/2008 Newsline

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

National Youth Conference Dates Announced

Dates have been announced for the Church of the Brethren's National Youth Conference (NYC) in 2010: July 17-22. The conference is sponsored by the Youth and Young Adult Ministry Office. It will take place at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo., beginning with dinner on Saturday, July 17, and concluding Thursday morning, July 22, at 11:30 a.m.

Source: 12/3/2008 Newsline
2009 Christian Citizenship Seminar on April 25-30

The 2009 Christian Citizenship Seminar on April 25-30 will focus on the topic of modern-day slavery. The event for 100 high school age youth and advisors is sponsored by the Brethren Witness/Washington Office and the Youth and Young Adult Office of the Church of the Brethren. All high school youth and adult advisors are eligible to attend. Churches sending more than four youth are required to send at least one adult. Registration is limited to the first 100 youth and advisors who apply. The seminar will begin in New York City and end in Washington, D.C. The registration fee of $350 includes lodging for five nights, dinner on the opening evening, and transportation from New York to Washington. At go to keyword "Youth/Young Adults" and click on "Christian Citizenship Seminar" for more information and to register. Registration ends Feb. 28, 2009, or as soon as 100 registrations are received.

Source: 12/3/2008 Newsline

Monday, December 01, 2008

Fall Retreat Wrapup

This fall's district senior high youth retreat, held during district conference in Peoria, focused on "The Pursuit of Peace." Marie Rhoades from On Earth Peace served as our resource leader for four sessions during the weekend.

Marie had the youth explore several passages of scripture, with a focus on thinking about who was the powerful and the powerless, the insiders and outsiders, in each story. We also considered what things lead to violence and what leads to peace.

The group of 20, representing seven congregations, was well hosted by a Covenant congregation near the Peoria Church of the Brethren. Youth joined the opening and closing worship services at the conference and also came over for the Andy and Terry Murray concert Saturday evening, serving up ice cream for the social time afterwards. Andy and Terry were kind enough to spend some time in a Q&A session with the group.

The rest of the weekend was spent eating, playing games, spending time in devotions and worship, and recreation at the River Center. (Thanks to Dana McNeil and the Peoria church for setting up our accommodations and the recreation/shower time!)

The spring retreat is tentatively scheduled for April 17-19 in the northwest part of the district. Watch for further details. Youth are also encouraged to consider participation in one of the Church of the Brethren summer workcamps (registration begins Jan. 5 at and the national youth Christian Citizenship Seminar on modern-day slavery, which will be April 25-30 in New York and Washington, D.C. (see

Source: December IL/WI District Newsletter

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Manchester RYC

Three dozen senior high youth and advisors gathered Oct. 4-5 at Manchester College in North Manchester, Ind., for a Regional Youth Conference exploring faith and politics. Phil Jones, director of the Brethren Witness/Washington Office, led sessions emphasizing the possibilities that Christians can help bring about. “Politicians and political structures are not going to be the answers for this world,” Jones said. He described from scripture what the world “should be” and told youth, “It’s up to us to help (government) get there. It’s putting our basic and core faith understandings into action.” Sessions explored topics of justice, passion, and humility, using Micah 6:8 as a central text. Paul Fry-Miller led music for the weekend, while Manchester students helped to lead small groups for deeper discussion. The two-man band Jayber Crow gave a concert.

Source: 11/19/2008 Newsline

Friday, November 07, 2008

Senior High Fall Retreat -- November 7-9, 2008
Peoria Illinois

"Pursuing Peace"

Why is the Church of the Brethren a “Historic Peace Church”? What does that even mean? How did the Bible and our heritage shape those beliefs? And how do we live it out today when the world if full of so much violence? Come spend a full and fun weekend with friends exploring these questions along with time for games, recreation, music, good food, and more.

The details:

WHERE: Peoria Church of the Brethren, 4714 N. Sheridan Rd., Peoria, Ill.

WHEN: November 7-9, 2008.

LEADERSHIP: Marie Rhoades of On Earth Peace

WHAT: A weekend filled with fun, learning, worship, food, and time with

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

'We Are Able' is among new workcamps scheduled for 2009.

The 2009 schedule of summer workcamps has been announced by the Church of the Brethren's Youth and Young Adult Office. The workcamp theme for the year is "Bound Together, Finely Woven" (2 Corinthians 8:12-15). In 2009, 29 workcamps will be offered in 25 diverse locations in the United States and several international locations.

Each workcamp offers a week-long service opportunity for junior high youth, senior high youth, young adults, or an intergenerational group. Held in the months of June, July, and August, the workcamps provide experiences that unite service, spiritual growth, and Brethren heritage.

Four of the 2009 workcamps are highlighted by staff as offering new or unique opportunities:
  • A workcamp titled "We Are Able" for senior high youth and young adults at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., on July 6-10 is a new concept in the workcamp ministry. Recognizing that all people have gifts to share, the workcamp will enable youth and young adults with intellectual disabilities to serve side-by-side with a service-partner youth or young adult.

  • A young adult workcamp in Northern Ireland will be held June 6-14, offering the opportunity to travel to an area of extreme beauty, but also extreme conflict. Participants will learn about conflict and reconciliation while working at Kilcranny House in Coleraine.

  • An intergenerational workcamp titled "Passing on the Peace Witness" at the Brethren Service Center on Aug. 2-7 is co-sponsored by On Earth Peace and is offered to people of all ages. Multiple generations will serve together, exploring the legacy and importance of the peace witness in the Church of the Brethren. Families are invited.

  • A workcamp for senior high youth on the issue of racism is held in Germantown, Pa., on July 27-Aug. 2, co-sponsored by On Earth Peace. Church of the Brethren leaders recently issued a letter calling for continued study and self-examination on the issue of racism. This workcamp will offer that opportunity as participants serve together in an urban setting.
Junior high workcamps will be held at 10 other sites, among them the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., and the John Kline Homestead in Broadway, Va. (see feature story below reflecting on this summer's workcamp at the John Kline Homestead; go to and click on "Photo Journal" to find a photographic tour of the homestead). Many other senior high workcamps will be offered next summer, at 15 sites including at Brethren Disaster Ministries rebuilding projects on the Gulf coast.

"Just as each thread is important in a tapestry, each person is important in a workcamp," said an announcement from the workcamp staff. "This summer we will work side by side, giving and receiving; revealing a God already present in the world. Come discover the importance of each thread of the tapestry, bound together and finely woven as the community of all God's children."

Workcamp registration begins online at 8 p.m. central time on Jan. 5, 2009. Go to for more information. For a brochure with a complete listing of the 2009 workcamp sites and dates contact Jeanne Davies, Meghan Horne, Bekah Houff, or Emily LaPrade in the workcamp office at or 800-323-8039.

Meghan Horne is one of the coordinators for the workcamp program, through Brethren Volunteer Service.

Source: 11/5/2008 Newsline
John Kline Homestead workcamp strengthens hearts and spirits.

Going to the John Kline Homestead was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We worked to renew the John Kline property for others who will visit the historic place in its 300th anniversary year.

Our theme for the week was "strengthen our hands," but it was more than just doing hard work for a good cause. Not only did we strengthen our hands, but I feel also our hearts and spirits. It's hard to believe we were able to be part of something that will forever be part of our Brethren history.

To sleep in the house Elder John Kline slept in, and to touch and feel things he actually used with his own hands, was something I'll never forget. Our group spent three days cleaning out the antiques in the horse barn. It was amazing to see these old and dusty things come to life. We saw medicine bottles Elder John Kline used as a doctor, a tanner's bench and shoe forms he used to make shoes, and a gorgeous blue glass coffee table we discovered after cleaning years of dust.

Before going on our trip, not many in our group knew who John Kline was. But through this experience we all learned how important he was. A person to look up to and aspire to be like. He gave so much of himself to help others without really getting much in return. Hopefully each of us who went can feel that we strengthened our hearts and spirits, so that we too can help others in the Brethren way that Elder John Kline did.

Stacy Stewart is a member of the youth group at Spring Run Church of the Brethren. This report first appeared in the Middle Pennsylvania District newsletter. To view a photographic tour of the John Kline Homestead go to and click on "Photo Journal."

Source: 11/5/2008 Newsline

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

National Young Adult Conference meets in the mountains of Colorado.

About 130 people worshiped, conversed, and enjoyed the outdoors at this year’s Church of the Brethren National Young Adult Conference (NYAC) in Estes Park, Colo.

The schedule was built around worship, with morning and evening celebrations on the theme "Come to the Mountain: Guidance for the Journey" each day of the Aug. 11-15 event. Leaders for those times included a mix of young adults and denominational staff, each addressing a key word such as "honesty," "credibility," or "grace."

Several speakers looked at issues currently confronting Brethren. Videographer Dave Sollenberger of Annville, Pa., highlighted both examples of faithfulness and credibility in the church and places where the church has come up short. "It’s very easy to buy into the lies our culture has taught us," Sollenberger said.

On Thursday evening, in a drizzly outdoor service, On Earth Peace peace witness coordinator Matt Guynn looked at the conflict and differences that exist among Brethren. He suggested that the "push-pull" process can be dynamic and healthy, moving the church out of being "stuck" and stagnant. "We in the church need to engage in the push and the pull together," said Guynn, who also spoke at the closing service.

Kayla Camps, a young adult leader from Florida, challenged the group to work toward integrity. "The more of God we have in our everyday choices, the more just our society will become," she said.

Other worship leaders included general secretary Stan Noffsinger; Imperial Heights Church of the Brethren (Los Angeles) pastor Thomas Dowdy; Laura Stone, a young adult currently volunteering at Gould Farm in Massachusetts; and "Messenger" editor Walt Wiltschek.

Young adults delved further into some of the issues raised during a variety of workshops and community group times. Topics ranged from media and ministry to more controversial issues in the church, such as homosexuality and biblical interpretation. Staff from numerous Brethren agencies also shared about their work.

Less structured times included opportunities for salsa dancing, ultimate frisbee, volleyball, hiking, roller skating, and other options at the host YMCA of the Rockies. Several dozen people took part in service projects one afternoon, assisting with tasks such as staining fences and pulling invasive thistles. Late-evening open microphone sessions offered abundant music and laughter.

Bekah Houff, a Brethren Volunteer Service worker in the Youth and Young Adult Ministry Office, served as coordinator for the conference with the help of the Young Adult Steering Committee. Jim Chinworth and Becky Ullom were worship coordinators, and Shawn Kirchner provided musical leadership.

--Walt Wiltschek is editor of the Church of the Brethren's "Messenger" magazine.

Source: 8/27/2008 Newsline

Friday, August 15, 2008

Regional Youth Conference - October 4-5, 2008 @ Manchester College

Regional Youth Conference (RYC) takes place each year on the Manchester College campus. Church of the Brethren high school students and their youth group advisors are invited to participate in this weekend event. The weekend consists of worship, small group sharing, educational workshops, recreation, campus tours … all of which lead to personal growth and a great opportunity for fellowship with other Brethren youth.

RYC 2008 will be held Saturday and Sunday,
Oct. 4-5, 2008.

What is at RYC for me?
Worship is always the highlight of RYC. Our three worship celebrations will pull topics from our conference theme of Faith and Politics. Through worship, we will explore these ideas as we continue to grow in our faith, and discern the influence of faith on political beliefs during this election year.

Keynote speaker for RYC 2008 is Phil Jones. Phil is the director of the Brethren Witness/Washington D.C. Office, the Church of the Brethren’s go-to office on matters of legislation and political action. He works to advocate and effect change in U.S. policy in regard to peace and justice issues from a Church of the Brethren faith-based perspective.

Registration for RYC will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, with our opening worship beginning at 10:15 a.m. Large-group sessions with Phil Jones, as well as small group discussion sessions, will be offered after lunch. It will be a full and fun weekend of learning, worship and fellowship with others from our region.

Paul Fry-Miller will lead music throughout the weekend. Paul leads music regularly in worship at Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren in Fort Wayne. Joining Paul will be other talented local musicians. A special Saturday evening concert will also be offered. Youth may also choose to attend a Sunday morning reflection time.

But wait! There’s more … campus tours, informational displays, old and new friends, and much, much more. You won’t want to miss this year’s RYC!

Just the facts
Where? On the Manchester College campus

When? RYC is held Oct. 4-5, 2008 with registration beginning at 8:30 a.m. Saturday morning in the Physical Education and Recreation Center (PERC), next to the lower Union parking lot. RYC will conclude before lunch on Sunday morning.

What to bring? Please bring a sleeping bag, pillow, towel, change of clothes, personal care items, a second pair of shoes, your Bible and an open heart and mind. You’ll be sleeping on the PERC floor, so please bring something soft to sleep on! Locker rooms with non-private showers will be available.

Who and Why? RYC is a youth conference provided by Manchester College for high school students and their adult advisors who reside in the Illinois/Wisconsin, Michigan, Northern Ohio, Southern Ohio, Northern Indiana and South/Central Indiana districts of the Church of the Brethren. This conference provides an opportunity for youth to socialize and share fellowship with one another, learn about what it means to be Brethren, and to praise God together. Churches are expected to send advisors with their youth. For example, if you send young women to RYC, please send a female chaperone. If you send young men to RYC, please send a male chaperone. If you send both young women and men to RYC, please send both a female and male chaperone. Please call the RYC office if you have difficulty in finding adults to send with your youth.

How much? Cost of the conference is $50 for youth and $35 for advisors. This cost covers three meals, lodging, snacks, conference activities and registration costs. A late registration fee of $60 for youth and $45 for advisors will be charged for registrations postmarked after Sept. 26.

A partial RYC experience is better than no RYC experience! Please call the RYC office (260-982-4151) for special discounted rates for a partial RYC weekend.

How to register? Download and print a registration form. Also, fill out an Emergency Information form and an Assumption of Risk form, and send them, along with your registration fee, to:
RYC 2008
Manchester College,
604 E. College Ave.,
North Manchester, IN 46962
Return no later than Sept. 26, 2008. Please be sure to read and sign the covenant. Checks should be made payable to Manchester College.

Contact Information: Call Sarah Hall, 260-982-4151 or e-mail

Download a printable .pdf file of all this information.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Christian Citizenship Seminar will focus on modern-day slavery.

On April 25-30, 2009, high school age youth and advisors in the Church of the Brethren will gather in New York City and Washington, D.C., for the 2009 Christian Citizenship Seminar. The focus for the seminar will be modern-day slavery. The event is sponsored by the Church of the Brethren's Youth and Young Adult Ministry and the Brethren Witness/Washington Office.

"Most of us think of slavery as an institution that does not exist anymore, but many experts estimate that there are approximately 27 million human beings who are currently being held in slavery around the world," said an announcement of the event. "What would Jesus do? What does God call us to do in light of these persons forced to perform domestic and agricultural work as well as to become prostitutes or soldiers against their will? We will examine the current status of slavery today and what our Christian faith invites us to do for ‘the least of these.’"

Brochures are now available from the Church of the Brethren's Youth and Young Adult Ministry Office, call 800-323-8039.

Source: 8/13/2008 Newsline
Ministry Summer Service participants complete internship program.

Eight young adults are completing internships with the Church of the Brethren’s Ministry Summer Service program, which is sponsored by the Office of Ministry and by the Youth and Young Adult Ministry Office.

College students who are completing internships include Sarah Dotter of Atlantic Northeast District, Meredith Barton of Middle Pennsylvania District, Dylan Haro of Pacific Southwest District, Andy Duffey and Gabe Dodd of Mid-Atlantic District, John Michael Pickens of Southern Pennsylvania District, Melisa Grandison of Western Plains District, and Samantha Carwile of South/Central Indiana District.

The eight interns began their summer experience with an orientation May 30-June 4 at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Throughout the orientation they participated in Bible studies and sessions on topics such as leadership, the call to ministry, spiritual disciplines, Brethren heritage, and personality and work styles. The adults who served as mentors for these young adults joined the orientation for the last two and a half days.

Following the orientation, four students went to Church of the Brethren congregations to serve as assistant summer pastors. The students served at San Diego (Calif.) Church of the Brethren, Palmyra (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, Happy Corner Church of the Brethren in Clayton, Ohio, and Easton (Md.) Church of the Brethren. Four other interns served as the denomination’s Youth Peace Travel Team, visiting Church of the Brethren camps to talk about Jesus’ teaching of peace.

Congregations interested in having a Ministry Summer Service intern next summer are invited to contact Chris Douglas, director of the Youth and Young Adult Ministry Office, at

Source: 8/13/2008 Newsline

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Anniversary Writing Contest for Youth is announced.

The 300th Anniversary Committee is sponsoring an Anniversary Writing Contest for Youth, grades 6-12, on the theme, "Why will you continue to be part of the Church of the Brethren?"

"Are you passionate about your faith?" the committee asked Brethren youth in the announcement. "Do you have a deep appreciation for the Church of the Brethren? Do you enjoy thinking and writing? If so, we have an opportunity for you."

Entries are limited to one page in length and can be in the form of poetry, short stories, or essays. The following information should be on the entry: name, grade, congregation, and district. Contact information for the author should be submitted on a separate sheet of paper. The deadline for submissions is June 1. Entries will be exhibited at Annual Conference in Richmond, Va., in July, and some may be published in "Messenger" magazine. Entries will not be returned to participants.

Submissions should be sent to Lorele Yager either electronically at or by mail to 425 Woodland Place, Churubusco, IN 46723.

Source: 3/27/2008 Newsline Extra

Thursday, March 06, 2008


Samantha Carwile, Gabriel Dodd, Melisa Grandison, and John-Michael Pickens will make up this year’s Church of the Brethren Youth Peace Travel Team. The group will give peace programs at a variety of camps and conferences this summer.

Carwile is a student at Manchester College in North Manchester, Ind., majoring in peace studies and sociology, and is a member of Anderson (Ind.) Church of the Brethren. Dodd is a student at Bridgewater (Va.) College majoring in communications and peace studies, and is a member of Bethany Church of the Brethren in Farmington, Del. Grandison is a student at McPherson (Kan.) College studying elementary education and Spanish, and is a member of Quinter (Kan.) Church of the Brethren. Pickens is a student at Messiah College in Grantham, Pa., currently studying in Thailand, and is a member of Mechanicsburg (Pa.) Church of the Brethren.

This summer the team will travel to camps around the denomination, as well as to Annual Conference in Richmond, Va., and National Young Adult Conference in Estes Park, Colo. The Youth Peace Travel Team is an annual program sponsored by the Outdoor Ministries Association, On Earth Peace, and the Church of the Brethren General Board.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Spring Retreat - February 29 - March 2

Twenty-one people from five congregations were part of this year's spring district youth retreat, held Feb. 29 to March 2 at the Decatur Church of the Brethren.

The 300th anniversary took center stage for this retreat, with the theme "300!: Remembering Our Brethren Heritage." Logan Condon from the General Board's Brethren Historical Library and Archives showed some of the changes from past to present with a Powerpoint presentation and stories from Brethren history.

James Gibble-Keenan, the district's Youth Heritage Team member, shared other glimpses from history in an afternoon session, and the Saturday evening worship featured vignettes of the early Brethren in Germany, Sarah Righter Major, and Ted Studebaker.

Our expert chef, Jewel McNary, again provided several good meals during the weekend, and Saturday afternoon was spent at the Decatur YMCA for swimming and other recreation.

Many thanks go to the Decatur church for hosting us so well, including a fellowship time after worship on Sunday, and to the advisors at nearby Cerro Gordo for setting up the use of the YMCA.

The fall retreat will be held during district conference, Nov. 7-9 in Peoria. Leadership will be provided by On Earth Peace.

Also, don't forget to register for youth camps at Camp Emmanuel and Camp Emmaus this summer!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Online Workcamp Registration

Registration for the 2008 workcamps offered by the Church of the Brethren General Board begins online early tomorrow morning, on Jan. 3 at 12:01 a.m. central time. To register go to The workcamp program is part of the Youth and Young Adult Ministries of the General Board. Staff issued a reminder today of some things to remember when registering: individual congregations are asked to make up no more than a third of the participants of any one workcamp; although those registering will receive a confirmation e-mail, this may not guarantee a place in the workcamp because registration is not complete until the $100 non-refundable deposit is received; deposits are due within seven days of registration. “We at the workcamp office have been anxiously awaiting this day for months,” said the staff. “Thank you for your submissions, questions, recommendations, and all of the other things you do to help us prepare for the 2008 Workcamps.” The workcamp coordinators for 2008 are Sharon Flaten, Jerry O’Donnell, Jeanne Davies, and Steve Van Houten. Contact the program at 800-323-8039 or

Source: 1/02/2008 Newsline