Friday, October 23, 2009

NYC Youth Speech Contest

For those of you that are considering writing a speech for the Youth Speech Contest or know some one who is, here are some things to consider as you write.
  1. Write from your own perspective, you have a unique story to tell!
  2. Incorporate the theme “More than Meets the Eye”
    1. Think about…
      1. how you are more than meets the eye
      2. how experiences in your life have been more than meets the eye
      3. how others in your life have been more than meets the eye
    2. Explore…
      1. what your own distinct “earthen vessel” or “pottery” looks like
      2. the treasure that is inside of you that people cannot necessarily see
  3. Do not be afraid to show vulnerability by sharing your story, God will speak through that vulnerability.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Youth Peace Travel Team: A dream of peace.

Applications are being accepted for next summer’s Youth Peace Travel Team, a group of young adults age 19 to 22 who share Jesus' message of peace with other young people at church camps and other venues. The team is sponsored by the Church of the Brethren’s Youth and Young Adult Ministry, Brethren Volunteer Service, On Earth Peace, and the Outdoor Ministries Association. They receive food, lodging, and travel expenses for the summer, and a college tuition grant. Applications are due Jan. 19, 2010. Go to or contact Becky Ullom at 800-323-8039 ext. 297.

The following is excerpted from a reflection by Jessica Flory-Steury, a member of the 2009 Youth Peace Travel Team along with Bethany Funkhouser, Chelsea Goss, and Marianne Houff:

"Before my experience on the Youth Peace Travel Team, I dreamed of peace on earth. I wondered what it would be like if all wars ended, world hunger was defeated, and love reigned over all. I always knew it was possible. I just didn’t know how....

"One of our junior high campers had a very interesting story. He had come to camp by invitation of a friend. He had not been to church more than a few times in his life. He didn’t know anything about the church, or much about Jesus Christ. He had come from a broken home and had witnessed things that no one should ever have to see in their lifetime.... He often teased other campers and in the past had been known to be involved in violence. In spite of that, he could be a kind and passionate individual. I was so glad he was there and I was glad to be there to witness his transformation.

"Throughout the beginning of the week, he got in trouble for goofing off. I discovered from conversation with him that he often had no idea what the leaders were talking about during Bible studies, leaving him frustrated and pushed even farther when he was reprimanded for not paying attention.

"From observing the campers that week, the team decided that these kids needed to hear more of the basics. They had more experiences of violence and hate in their lives than we could imagine. We told them that Jesus loved them--completely, uniquely, and intimately. We told them that we are called to love one another. In the session, we had them think of ways to break down walls of hate. At the end, we had them write their own ‘peace raps.’

"The passion and creativity that poured out of those kids was amazing. It was inspiring to observe that even though they had all experienced so much hate and violence in their schools and homes, they still had hope.

"The previously mentioned camper grew from an instigator to a leader...the one who was encouraging his teammates, presenting ideas, and motivating everyone to keep going. After we left that week, I wanted to go with that boy, to help him maintain his eagerness to learn and make peace and to remind him that he was loved. My hope is that we instilled something in him that doesn’t go away.... I pray that boy continues on his journey of peace with God....

" World peace will not be solved by one person in a day. We need each other and all the love that we possess to fulfill the message that Jesus had for us."

Source: 10/22/2009 Newsline

Friday, October 09, 2009

National Junior High Sunday is scheduled for Nov. 1.

Sunday, Nov. 1, has been scheduled as National Junior High Sunday in the Church of the Brethren. The junior high theme for the upcoming year is "Overflowing with Thankfulness" (Colossians 2:6-7).

"I hope many congregations will invite junior highs to lead worship on that Sunday," said an announcement from Becky Ullom, director of the church’s Youth and Young Adult Ministry.

A number of resources for National Junior High Sunday are available online: a Bible study by Dennis Lohr of Palmyra, Pa.; worship resources including a call to worship, invocation, invitation to giving, offertory prayer, readers theater, and benediction; a skit and prayer litany by Lorele Yager of Churubusco, Ind., (the skit is adapted from a demonstration by Charles Tayler of Goshen City, Ind.); a sample bulletin cover, and some creative ideas for worship including a "thankfulness display" and worship center.

Go to for links to the junior high resources.

Source: 10/9/2009 Newsline Extra

Thursday, October 01, 2009

NYC 2010 Speaker Feature: Carol Scheppard

Carol Scheppard is the Vice President and Dean for Academic Affairs at Bridgewater College. She grew up in New England and first joined the Church of the Brethren through the Genesis Church in Putney, Vermont. Called out in ministry by the Genesis congregation, she went on to seek theological training and, ultimately, ordination through the Southern Pennsylvania District. After completing her Master of Divinity at Princeton Theological Seminary and her PhD at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Scheppard moved to Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley in 1998. There she joined the faculty of the Philosophy and Religion Department at Bridgewater College, teaching such courses as History of the Christian Church, Medieval Women’s Spirituality, History of Biblical Interpretation, and Biblical Themes in Literature. An active member of the Lebanon Church of the Brethren in Mt. Sidney, Virginia, she is a former chair of its Church Board. Dr. Scheppard is now serving her second term with the Board of Trustees for Bethany Theological Seminary where she is the Chair of the Academic Affairs Committee.