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