Thursday, December 29, 2011

Youth Peace Travel Team

Applications for the Church of the Brethren’s Youth Peace Travel Team for summer 2012 are due January 13. Each year four young adults ages 18-23 spend the summer visiting Brethren camps and conferences to educate youth about Christian peacemaking, with sponsorship from the Youth and Young Adult ministry, On Earth Peace, the Outdoor Ministries Association, Brethren Volunteer Service, and Global Mission and Service. Find information and application form at

Source:12/29/2011 Newsline

Ministry Summer Service 2012

Applications for Ministry Summer Service 2012 are due on January 13. MSS is a leadership development program for college students in the Church of the Brethren who spend 10 weeks of the summer working in the church either in a local congregation, district office, camp, or denominational program. The 2012 orientation is June 1-6. For more about the program go to

Source:12/29/2011 Newsline

NYAC and Workcamp Registrations

A number of online registration opportunities begin in the next few days:
  • Jan. 6 is when online registration opens for National Young Adult Conference. Registration opens at 8 p.m. (central) on Jan. 6 at The conference is June 18-22 at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, with the theme, "Humble Yet Bold: Being the Church" (Matthew 5:13-18). Go to the YAC web page above for more information about the conference.
  • Jan. 9 is the opening day of registration for the 2012 workcamps. “Get ready, get set, and get registered!” says a reminder from the Workcamp Office. “Can’t wait to see you this summer!” Workcamp registration opens Jan. 9 at 7 p.m. (central). Go to to register. For questions, please contact Cat Gong or Rachel Witkovsky in the Workcamp Office by e-mail at or by phone at 800-323-8039 ext. 283 or 301.
Source:12/29/2011 Newsline

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

National Youth Cabinet chooses theme for the year.

National Youth Cabinet, 2011-2012
Photo by Carol Fike/Jeremy McAvoy
The Church of the Brethren's National Youth Cabinet for 2011-12: (left front to back) Becky Ullom, Marissa Witkovsky, Lara Neher, Michael Himlie; (right, front to back) Ben Lowman, Amy Messler (adult advisor), Michael Novelli (adult advisor), and Josh Bollinger. Not shown: Kinsey Miller.
“Bridging the Gap” (Romans 15:5-7) has been chosen as the youth ministry theme for 2012 by the Church of the Brethren’s National Youth Cabinet, which held a weekend meeting at the General Offices in Elgin, Ill., on Dec. 2-4. “Bridging the Gap” also will be the theme for National Youth Sunday on May 6, 2012.

The members of the 2011-12 National Youth Cabinet are
  • Josh Bollinger of Beaver Creek Church of the Brethren in Shenandoah District;
  • Michael Himlie of Root River Church of the Brethren in Northern Plains District;
  • Ben Lowman of Antioch Church of the Brethren in Virlina District;
  • Kinsey Miller of Black Rock Church of the Brethren in Southern Pennsylvania District;
  • Lara Neher of Ivester Church of the Brethren in Northern Plains District;
  • Marissa Witkovsky of Roaring Spring Church of the Brethren in Middle Pennsylvania District;
  • adult advisors Amy Messler of Waynesboro Church of the Brethren in Southern Pennsylvania District, and Michael Novelli of Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Illinois and Wisconsin District; and
  • Becky Ullom, director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries.
Source:12/14/2011 Newsline

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Bridging the Gap

Bridging the gap: At its meeting this past weekend, the 2011-2012 National Youth Cabinet chose Romans 15:5-7 as the focus for next year.

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Young Adults Will Meet on Theme, ‘Humble Yet Bold: Being the Church.’

NYAC 2012 logoYoung adults between the ages of 18-35 are invited to National Young Adult Conference (NYAC) in Knoxville, Tenn., on June 18-22, 2012. The conference sponsored by the Church of the Brethren’s Youth and Young Adult Ministry will be held at the University of Tennessee campus on the theme, "Humble, Yet Bold: Being the Church," from Matthew 5:13-18, "Being Salt for the Earth" and "A Light for the World."

“The Young Adult Steering Committee is hoping this event will be a chance for young adults to gather and create a loving community,” said an invitation. “Young adults will gather together and have engaging conversations about our role in the denomination with one another, our various speakers, and others that will join us in Knoxville.”

Online registration begins Jan. 6, 2012, at 8 p.m. (central time) at Cost is $375, which includes housing, programing, and meals. A $100 nonrefundable deposit is due within two weeks of registering. The steering committee encourages congregations to put NYAC scholarships in their 2012 budgets to help young adults be able to attend. Also, NYAC gift certificates may be purchased by friends and family members for their favorite young adults.

Young adults are invited to show their support for the event by joining the Facebook group called "Young Adults of the Church of the Brethren." For more information go to or contact NYAC coordinator Carol Fike at 800-323-8039 ext. 281 or

Source:11/30/2011 Newsline

Registration for the 2012 Christian Citizenship Seminar

Registration for the 2012 Christian Citizenship Seminar opens at on Thursday, Dec. 1, at 6 p.m. (central time). The Christian Citizenship Seminar is an opportunity for youth and their advisors to travel to Washington, D.C., and New York City and explore the theme “Stepping Out: Our Relationship with Carbon.” The cost for the week will be $375, which includes some meals, lodging, and transportation from one city to the other. For more information check out Contact Carol Fike or Becky Ullom at 800-323-8039 ext. 281 or 297, or

Source:11/30/2011 Newsline

Bethany Seminary Invites Youth to Explore Their Call.

High school youth are invited to attend Exploring Your Call (EYC) at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., this summer, June 15-25, 2012. This event provides the opportunity for young people entering their junior or senior year of high school in fall 2012 to explore faith and vocation through classes, congregational involvement, service projects, personal and spiritual enrichment, and recreation.

Russell Haitch, associate professor of Christian education and director of the Institute for Youth and Young Adults at Bethany, oversees EYC. “It’s an intense but beautiful program. Last year, youth studied theology in the classroom, then shadowed pastors and did real-life ministry, then took a trip to Chicago to live in an intentional community and learn about all sorts of non-pastoral vocations. The level of conversation and quality of friendship that developed was really splendid, and I’m excited that equally good things will happen this year.”

Through continued generous funding from Barnabas Ltd., participants can attend EYC at no cost except for travel to and from Richmond, Ind. Located in New South Wales, Australia, this family foundation was begun by the parents of current Bethany trustee Jerry Davis and focuses primarily on projects that help prepare people for ministry. “Although the program is free,” says Haitch, “it could cost you a whole change of direction in life.”

First held from 2001-2005, EYC was revived in summer 2011 with an “intellectually alert, emotionally alive, and spiritually courageous” group of youth, according to Haitch. “Unprompted by us, they started sharing about transformational experiences of God in their lives--and every day it kept getting better.” Participant Stephen Dowdy from Stone Church of the Brethren in Huntington, Pa., said, “EYC helped me to better understand how my actions are a part of my ministry. I came to realize that my church life and my ‘normal’ life should not be separate parts, but a whole experience with a concentration in community.”

Participants have also shared that EYC sparked their interest in doing advanced biblical and theological work in a seminary environment, gave them a lively introduction to the work of pastoral ministry, and enabled them to meet peers who were serious about their Christian faith. Many continue to stay in contact with each other. Former participant Dylan Haro is now a middler student at Bethany and served as a student organizer and leader for EYC 2011. “It was during my participation in Exploring Your Call that I first considered ministry as my vocation. I am excited for high school students today who have the same opportunity to experience this unique and enriching program.... It is programs and people like these that ignite my hope for the future of the church.”

More information and an online application for Exploring Your Call can be found at or contact or 800-287-8822.

-- Jenny Williams is director of communications and alumni/ae relations at Bethany Seminary.

Source:11/30/2011 Newsline

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Elizabethtown College students go hungry for Food Stamp Challenge.

Students at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College are participating in a local version of a national program--Fighting Poverty with Faith Food Stamp Challenge--to create awareness and advocate on behalf of people who receive food stamps.

Under the program offered by the Chaplain's Office of the college, students can choose from one of three scenarios: eat one meal that costs essentially $1.50 or the amount in food stamps that a recipient would have to spend for one meal; exist on $4.50 worth of food stamps for an entire day's meals; or live on $31.50 worth of food stamps or the equivalent of a week's meals.

Students are invited to advocate for the hungry by writing letters to government representatives to continue or increase aid for Food Stamp Assistance. They also may write a letter to the editor of their local paper to help create awareness of the funding issue for the food stamp program. Many students have answered the question "What is it about my faith that causes me to advocate or act on behalf of the hungry?" on video, which can be viewed at

"By stepping into the shoes of someone who lives on food stamps, students experience the difficult decisions many families make every day," said Amy Shorner-Johnson, assistant chaplain at Elizabethtown College. "My hope for the Food Stamp Challenge is students go beyond simply being grateful for what they have, toward action and advocacy on behalf of the hungry."

As reported in the “Huffington Post” on Oct. 31, a number of congressional Democrats are participating in the Food Stamp Challenge to oppose Republican proposed cuts to the program. The number of people relying on food stamps has risen in response to the ongoing recession. According to the Post report, more than 40 million individuals and 19 million households used food stamps in 2010, as cited by the US Department of Agriculture.

-- This release was provided by Elizabeth Harvey, marketing and communications manager for Elizabethtown College ( The Food Stamp Challenge was promoted as an outreach to the Brethren-related colleges by Jordan Blevins, advocacy officer and ecumenical peace coordinator for the Church of the Brethren and the National Council of Churches.

Source:11/16/2011 Newsline

CCS 2012 asks ‘What is your carbon footprint?’

CCS 2012 image 200The Church of the Brethren’s Christian Citizenship Seminar (CCS) in 2012 will consider carbon footprints and large-scale responses to elevated levels of carbon in the atmosphere, such as carbon labeling. The event for high school youth and adult advisors takes place April 14-19 in New York City and Washington, D.C.

Participants will focus on how individuals and the country might respond to the high level of carbon in today’s atmosphere. Rather than debate global warming, participants will explore questions like "How much carbon do everyday tasks, such as driving to school or eating a banana, put into the atmosphere?" "What is our country’s carbon footprint?" "How does that footprint compare to other developed countries?" "Are there actions we can encourage our government to implement?"

As always, after a number of educational sessions, CCS participants will visit their legislators to discuss what they have learned and what changes they would like to see in government policy as a result.

Online registration opens at on Dec. 1. Registration is limited to the first 100 participants. Churches sending over four youth are required to send at least one adult advisor to insure an adequate number of adults. Cost is $375, which includes lodging for five nights, dinner on the opening evening of the seminar, and transportation from New York to Washington. Each participant should bring additional money for meals, sightseeing, personal expenses, and a few subway or taxi fares.

“Our task is nothing less than to join God in preserving, renewing, and fulfilling the creation. It is to relate to nature in ways that sustain life on the planet, provide for the essential material and physical needs of all humankind, and increase justice and wellbeing for all life in a peaceful world” (from the “Creation: Called to Care” statement approved by the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference in 1991).

Visit for more information, to download a flyer, or to register.

-- Carol Fike and Becky Ullom of the Youth and Young Adult Ministry provided this report.

Source:11/16/2011 Newsline

Workcamps prepare participants to be ‘Ready to Listen.’

Workcampers in Castaner, P.R., summer of 2011
Photo by Manuel Gonzalez
Workcampers in Castaner, P.R., this past summer. Several photo albums from the 2011 workcamp locations are online. Find descriptions and links at
“Ready to Listen” (1 Samuel 3:10) is the theme for Church of the Brethren workcamps in 2012. God is always present, listening to us. Join a workcamp this summer and be ready to listen as we continue the work of Jesus and answer God’s call through the workcamp ministry.

Workcamps are short-term mission trips that connect service with Christian faith. They give people from age 12 to 100-plus a chance to have life-changing experiences while helping to change someone else’s life for the better.

Registration opens online on Jan. 9, 2012, at 7 p.m. (central). For more information go to or contact Catherine Gong or Rachel Witkovsky in the Workcamp Office at 800-323-8039 ext. 283 or ext. 286. If you have access, check out the workcamps Facebook page periodically for updates and spotlights on certain workcamps. E-mail any questions to Several photo albums from this past summer’s workcamps are posted for viewing at

-- Rachel Witkovsky is an assistant coordinator for the workcamp ministry.

Source:11/16/2011 Newsline

Applications for the 2012 Youth Peace Travel Team

Applications for the 2012 Youth Peace Travel Team are due Jan. 13. College-age young adults (ages 19-22) are invited to apply. Through the summer, the team travels to camps and conferences talking about the Christian message and the church’s tradition of peacemaking. The team is sponsored by the Youth and Young Adult Ministry, Brethren Volunteer Service, On Earth Peace, and Outdoor Ministries Association. Go to

Source:11/16/2011 Newsline

Powerhouse Regional Youth Conference

The second annual “Powerhouse” regional youth conference took place at Manchester College Nov. 12-13, with nearly 100 senior high youth and advisors from Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. Jeff Carter, pastor of Manassas (Va.) Church of the Brethren, spoke at three worship services on the theme “Follow: If You Dare,” looking at what it really means to follow Jesus. Worship themes were inspired by Shawn Kirchner’s 2010 National Youth Conference theme song, “More Than Meets the Eye,” which touched on various aspects of Jesus as he carried out his ministry. Carter looked at some of these aspects in his messages, emphasizing the importance of all facets in fully understanding who Jesus is and what that means for Christians. Students, staff, and others led a variety of workshops during the weekend, which also included opportunities for a campus tour, displays from Brethren programs, recreation, and a game of “Mission Impossible.” The next Powerhouse is tentatively scheduled for Nov. 10-11, 2012.

The Powerhouse regional youth conference 2011 at Manchester College

Source:11/16/2011 Newsline

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Workcamps are Announced for 2012

"Ready to Listen" (1 Samuel 3:10) is the theme for the Church of the Brethren workcamps in 2012. A list of workcamp sites , dates, and costs for next summer is available at along with a downloadable flier that can be printed out for distribution to congregations and youth groups.

Workcamps are offered for junior high and senior high youth, young adults, and intergenerational groups. A "We Are Able" workcamp is offered for youth with intellectual disabilities.

Junior high workcamps are offered from late June through early August in seven US locations. Senior high workcamps are offered from mid June through mid August in 14 locations in the US and the Caribbean. One young adult workcamp will be held in Haiti on May 27-June 4. Two intergenerational workcamps will be held, in Haiti on June 17-25 in cooperation with the Brethren Revival Fellowship, and in Idaho on June 24-July 1. We Are Able is planned for July 17-20 in New Windsor, Md.

Young adults interested in serving as a workcamp coordinator through Brethren Volunteer Service are invited to apply. The fulltime volunteer position is based at the General Offices in Elgin, Ill. The job description is at . Applications are due Nov. 18.

Online registration for the 2012 workcamps will open Jan. 9 at 7 p.m. central time (8 p.m. eastern). For more information go to or contact

Source:10/20/2011 Newsline

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Junior High Sunday to be celebrated November 6

"Piece by Piece: Finding our Place within God's Story" is the theme for the Church of the Brethren celebration of Junior High Sunday on Nov. 6. A number of resources are available to help congregations involved junior high youth in the celebration.

Go to to find the online resources to download in pdf format. Resources include a theme commentary, Bible study, bulletin cover, worship resources such as calls to worship and prayers, a scripture jam, a dramatic reading of Luke 9, three skits, and an idea for a children’s story. Also offered is a link to webcasts from National Junior High Conference 2011.

For more about National Junior High Sunday contact Becky Ullom, director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry, at

Source:10/5/2011 Newsline

National Young Adult Conference - June 18-22, 2012

The Youth and Young Adult Ministry is issuing reminders of the dates for National Young Adult Conference--June 18-22, 2012, at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville--and Christian Citizenship Seminar on April 14-19, 2012, in New York and Washington D.C. Brochures are circulating for both events. For more information or brochures contact Carol Fike, or 800-323-8039 ext. 281.

Source: 10/5/2011 Newsline

Friday, September 09, 2011

Youth and Young Adult steering committee announced

The Youth and Young Adult Office is proud to announce the 2011-2012 Young Adult Steering Committee. Members of the Young Adult Steering Committee help to plan each year's conference (YAC or NYAC depending on the year), as well as representing building up other parts of young adult programming. This group of 8 young adults will be working together to plan National Young Adult Conference 2012.
  • Mark Dowdy, Stone Church of the Brethren (Huntingdon, PA) 
  • Jennifer Quijano, First Church of the Brethren (Brooklyn, NY) 
  • Kelsey Murray, Lancaster Church of the Brethren (Lancaster, PA) 
  • Jonathan Bay, LaVerne Church of the Brethren (LaVerne, CA) 
  • Joshua Bashore-Steury, Little Swatara Church of the Brethren (Bethel, PA) 
  • Ashley Kern, Hempfield Church of the Brethren (Manheim, PA) 
  • Carol Fike, NYAC Coordinator, Freeport Church of the Brethren (Freeport, IL) 
  • Becky Ullom, Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries, Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren (Elgin, IL)

National Young Adult Conference will be held June 18-22, 2012, at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Our theme for this conference is "Humble, yet Bold: Being the Church." Young adults age 18-35 please join us as we enjoy our time together being the church. Registration opens online, January 6th at Mark your calendars now and plan to attend! Have questions? Please contact us at and check out our website at

Source: 9/9/2011 Newsline

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Monday, September 05, 2011

Powerhouse 2011: Registration is open!

Greetings! Registration for the 2011 Powerhouse regional youth conference at Manchester College officially opens Sept. 6. The dates are Nov. 12-13, with the theme “Follow If You Dare.” Jeff Carter, pastor of Manassas (Va.) Church of the Brethren will be our keynote speaker during three worship times. All youth in grades 9-12 and advisors are welcome. Cost is $50 for youth, $40 for advisors, which includes three meals.

To register, go to There you’ll find registration forms to fill out and mail to the college (one of each form per person), along with other details about the conference.

We hope you can join us! If you have questions, please contact Walt Wiltschek at the Manchester College Campus Ministry office: 260-982-5243 or

Manchester College
Campus Ministry/Religious Life

Thursday, August 25, 2011

2012 Workcamp Coordinators

The 2012 youth and young adult workcamp coordinators are Catherine Gong and Rachel Witkovsky, both from the Middle Pennsylvania District. Gong is a recent graduate of Pennsylvania State University. Witkovsky is a graduate of Elizabethtown College, and comes to us after a year of working in the theatre in New Hampshire.

With gratitude for their service, the Church of the Brethren workcamp office bids farewell to volunteers Carol Fike and Clara Nelson, 2011 youth and young adult workcamp coordinators. Nelson is entering a school of veterinary medicine. Fike will continue to serve in the Youth and Young Adult Office as she coordinates National Young Adult Conference 2012.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Exploring Your Call

Six Church of the Brethren youth gathered at Bethany Theological Seminary this summer for Exploring Your Call, held June 17-27. This unique program brings high school juniors and seniors together to reflect on their own faith, explore concepts of ministry, and form supportive relationships as they consider God's presence and call in their lives. The full schedule included shadowing pastors in their work; site visits, such as the Brethren Retirement Community in Greenville, Ohio; class sessions with Bethany faculty; and leading and participating in worship. The group also traveled further afield to the Church of the Brethren general offices in Elgin, Ill., and Reba Place Fellowship, an intentional Christian community in Chicago, Ill.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

2011 Fall IL/WI District Youth Global Justice Retreat

November 4th – November 6th, 2011
Where: Lake Williamson Christian Center, Carlinville, Illinois 62626 (1-800-500-5922)

When: Registration will begin at 7 pm on Friday Night at Lake Williamson Christian Center. Retreat; participants will be dismissed at 11:45 am on Sunday.

Who: Everyone currently in 9th through 12th grades during the 2011-2012 school year. Friends and advisors are welcome.

Cost: $30 for Youth and advisors. Make checks payable to “Illinois/Wisconsin District Office”

What to Bring: Bible, Swim Suite, Games, Sleeping Bag, and Towel.

Registration Deadline: August 26th, 2011

Return completed registration form, covenant and check to: Beth Carpentier, 269 E. Chestnut; Canton Illinois 61520

Questions: Contact Ralph at (847) 742-0918 evenings, or via e-mail:

Monday, May 16, 2011

Young Adult Conference: May 28-30

On Memorial Day weekend, Brethren young adults will gather for the 2011 Young Adult Conference at Camp Inspiration Hills near Burbank, Ohio. The event takes place May 28-30 on the theme, "Re: Thinking Church" (Acts 2:1-4). For information go to

Pacific Southwest District Youth Advisor

Dawna Welch began May 1 as youth advisor for Pacific Southwest District. She is a licensed minister in the Training in Ministry (TRIM) program, and for the past seven years has been director of the Children and Young Families Ministries at La Verne (Calif.) Church of the Brethren. In her work for the district, she will be establishing a District Youth Cabinet and helping organize junior and senior high events.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Christian Citizenship Seminar connects food and faith.

What does food have to do with faith? How does "our daily bread" become "The Bread of Life?" At Christian Citizenship Seminar 2011, 55 high school youth and adults considered these questions in depth, using scriptures from the Old and New Testaments as guides.

Beginning on March 26 in New York City, participants heard the testimony of two Brethren young adult seminarians, Angela and Nathan Inglis of Brooklyn (N.Y.) Church of the Brethren, who have made radical personal food choices based on their faith. Participants also learned about international hunger relief projects of Church World Service (CWS) from Ann Walle, director of Innovation and Strategic Affairs. Nelly Gyebi, an exchange student from Ghana currently studying in Moundridge, Kan., shared personal experiences of carrying water and of gender discrimination. Prior to touring the United Nations, participants studied the hunger related portions of the Millennium Development Goals through the leadership of Phil Jones, director of refugee resettlement of the CWS affiliate office in State College, Pa.

In Washington, Brethren farmer and sustainable living advocate Tom Benevento challenged the group on a number of issues related to typical US consumption patterns. A highlight of the week was a meeting with Max Finberg, director of the Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the Department of Agriculture.

Christian Citizenship Seminar participants typically compose the largest group of Brethren who lobby Congress through personal visits on a single day in any given year. On March 30, the tradition continued as youth and advisors visited their congressional representatives after receiving training from Wendy Matheny, a Brethren young adult who works in Washington as leadership coordinator for the American Association of University Women.

"When you go to Capitol Hill, you realize that the people there are actually people and it’s not just this big government machine. They listen to you--for the most part," reflected CCS participant Kinsey Miller, Black Rock Church of the Brethren, Glenville, Pa.

"I came to CCS because it combines my two favorite things--the Church of the Brethren and politics!" reported CCS participant Evan Leiter-Mason of Glade Valley Church of the Brethren, Walkersville, Md.

Considering the theme, it was fitting that the gathered community shared communion during worship on the final evening. "CCS is about identifying and reinforcing connections between the faith we speak and the lives we live. This year, I wanted participants to tackle a topic that is both universal and also very personal. Food is one of the most basic elements of life, and we have complicated relationships with it. I hope participants discovered a new appreciation for the complex justice issues surrounding food and for the questions those issues ask us as faith-filled people," said Becky Ullom, director of youth and young adult ministry for the Church of the Brethren.

Ullom, who provided this report, coordinated the event with Jordan Blevins, advocacy officer, and Mandy Garcia, coordinator of donor invitation. Christian Citizenship Seminar is sponsored by the Church of the Brethren, and takes place each spring.

Brethren students and chaplains meet from East and Midwest colleges.

What does it mean to be Brethren today? About 20 Brethren students and the campus chaplains from Bridgewater (Va.) College, Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., and Manchester College in North Manchester, Ind., explored that question as they met April 1-3 at Grand Vue State Park in Moundsville, W.Va.

The idea of a joint retreat for Church of the Brethren colleges in the East and Midwest grew out of student brainstorming and gradually materialized over the past year. The West Virginia spot, just south of Wheeling, was chosen as a central point for the colleges attending.

Students led informal discussions on topics including peace, justice, simplicity, sustainability, and community during the weekend. Each of the three college groups also planned and led a worship service. Free time offered opportunities for hiking, disc golf, games, and further conversation. Juniata chaplain Dave Witkovsky contributed his culinary abilities in the kitchen for on-site meals.

The retreat ended with a mountaintop closing circle and hopes of doing another such gathering in the future. The schools are among six colleges/universities affiliated with the Church of the Brethren, stretching from eastern Pennsylvania to California. According to "Church of the Brethren Yearbook" statistics, they enroll a combined total of more than 300 Brethren students.

-- Walt Wiltschek is campus pastor at Manchester College.

Source: 5/5/2011 Newsline

Workcamp Gifts

Over 30 congregations answered a call from the Workcamp Office and blessed youth workcamp participants with nearly 2,000 small gifts as a token of their support. "That’s enough for each workcamper to receive at least one small gift and a bookmark," reports coordinator Jeanne Davies. "We are grateful for this tangible demonstration to our youth of the Body of Christ!" Summer workcamps begin in early June.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Assistant Workcamp Coordinators Named

The Youth and Young Adult Office is delighted to announce the assistant coordinators for the 2012 workcamp ministry, Catherine Gong and Rachel Witkovsky. Assistant coordinators serve through BVS in the Elgin office from September-May, planning for summer workcamps. During the summer, they are on the road, leading workcamps for junior highs through young adults. Catherine is graduating from Pennsylvania State University this spring. Rachel is a graduate of Elizabethtown College. Both bring a passion for service and a desire to share this with the youth of our denomination.

Early registration for Annual Conference Children's Activities ends on June 6.

Annual Conference experiences always have been fulfilling and exciting for youth and children, and this year is no exception. The Grand Rapids, Michigan, activities include the Public Museum, a West Michigan Food Bank service project, a Ken Medema concert, the Michigan Adventure amusement/waterpark, presenters, crafts, music, and recreation.
All children and youth must be registered for Annual Conference, and early registration (before June 6) for Age Group Activities helps the coordinators plan for the number of participants and is less expensive than registering onsite in Grand Rapids. The advance registration fee is $30 for ages 12-21 (not included in the Annual Conference Registration Fee). Children under 12 are free but do need to be registered to receive a nametag.

Completed Medical Record and Permission Form, appropriate for the age group, are required, to be mailed to Annual Conference, 1451 Dundee Avenue, Elgin, IL, 60120.

Online registration and forms are at

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Gifts for Workcampers

Congregations and individuals are invited to support over 600 youth and adults who will serve as the Body of Christ at Church of the Brethren Workcamps in the summer of 2011, working on service projects throughout the United States and the world. These Christian servants will spend a week of their lives learning about people on the margins, God, service, and themselves, making change in the world through their actions and through their presence. Reflecting the love and support of the Church of the Brethren family, you are invited to give gifts - donations of craft items, cards, bookmarks, or any small item you would be willing to give to enrich their experience - that can be distributed to the participants of each workcamp. By giving to them, you enrich the experience of those who are giving their time to act as the hands and feet of Christ. In order to have the the gifts ready to pack into boxes sent to each workcamp, please send 40 small items by May 1, 2011, to 2011 Church of the Brethren Workcamp Office, 1451 Dundee Avenue, Elgin IL 60120. Bless you for your efforts in blessing others in service and love.

Christian Citizenship Seminar

Church of the Brethren Christian Citizenship Seminar was held March 26 - 31, 2011 in New York City and Washington, D.C. High school youth gathered to consider how their faith interacts with the food. The Christian Citizenship Seminar (CCS) announcement read, "Since our beginnings, Brethren have been closely related to the agricultural system. While fewer and fewer of us work with the land on a daily basis, we all enjoy the fruits of the labors of those who do because we all eat. As our population (and the US population) continues to increase and shift from rural to urban, it is important to think about where our food comes from, why it comes from that particular place, and how it arrives to us. The number of questions we face about food and faith continue to expand." The youth brought these questions to Capitol Hill, sharing with legislators that the way we use and interact with food is an important part of their faith. "We have a moral obligation, in a time when more are suffering in our world than ever before, to protect and strengthen programs that serve those who are hungry and in a state of poverty, and that seek to alleviate hunger and poverty both domestically and around the world."

Friday, April 01, 2011

Manchester College Regional Youth Conference

The 2011 Powerhouse regional youth conference will take place at Manchester College (North Manchester, Ind.) Nov. 12-13. Jeff Carter, pastor of Manassas (Va.) Church of the Brethren, will be our keynote speaker for the weekend. Other details will be developed in the months ahead, but for now please mark your calendars and plan to join us! For questions, contact the Manchester College Campus Ministry office at

Walt Wiltschek; MC Campus Ministry, 260-982-5243

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Manchester College group sets new Four Square world record.

A persistent, and bone-weary team of Manchester College students appears to have set a new world record in the schoolyard game of Four Square. Fifteen students bounced the ball for 30 hours, unofficially besting the Guinness World Record TM by a full hour in the Feb. 25-26 effort. They topped the record shortly after 6 p.m. Eastern time on Feb. 26, in the College Union.

At times, the challenge was almost overwhelming, said first-year student Todd Eastis, who chaired the challenge. "It was toughest trying to get through the night and make it to sunrise Saturday. But I never heard anybody say they wanted to quit." The sociology major was back at class Monday morning, admitting it took 12 hours of sleep to rejuvenate.

The challenge, led by the campus faith group Simply Brethren, also raised $1,000 for Camp Alexander Mack in Milford, Ind. Each fall since 1925, Manchester College students, faculty, and staff members have spent a day at the camp doing service, playing softball, canoeing...and playing Four Square. Camp Mack lost its main building, Becker Lodge, to fire last summer.

"Thank you, we look at you as inspiration as we look at the task ahead of us," said Camp Mack executive director Rex Miller, of reconstruction at the camp. Construction on the new John Kline Welcome Center, which will partially replace Becker Lodge, is under way. It is expected to be ready by the end of May.

Official observers and timers from the community (they could not be associated with the college) provided continuous, around-the-clock support, as did many college employees and students.

The record the students claim is unofficial. Now the students will gather and send in witness statements and log books, photographs, media coverage and other proofs of their feat. Validation typically takes six to eight weeks, they've been told. They hope to unseat holders of the 29-hour record, Buenos Aires International Christian Academy in Argentina.

The 15 players included Katelyn Carothers from Glendale, Ariz.; Todd Eastis from Warsaw, Ind.; Kay Guyer from Woodbury, Pa.; Lucas Kauffman from Goshen, Ind.; Laban Wenger from Petersburg, Pa.; Sarah Leininger from Timberville, Va.; Julia Largent from Muncie, Ind.; Miranda DeHart from Clayton, Ohio; Andrew Miller from Elgin, Ill.; Matt Hammond from Dayton, Ohio; Jesse Steffen from Goshen, Ind.; Hunter Snapp from Flora, Ind.; Turner Ritchie from Richmond, Ind.; Laura Lichauer from Wakarusa, Ind.; and Marie Stump from Garrett, Ind.

-- Jeri Kornegay and Walt Wiltschek of the Manchester College staff provided this release.

Young Adult Conference

"Re:Thinking Church" (Acts 2:1-4) is the theme for the Young Adult Conference on May 28-30 at Camp Inspiration Hills near Burbank, Ohio. The event is for young adults ages 18-35. Cost is $95 prior to April 22, $120 thereafter. Register online at

Peace Retreats

On Earth Peace has announced four new peace retreats for youth programming: "Agape Community Peace Retreat" invites youth to consider Jesus' call to agape love of enemy and neighbor alike. "Meeting Place Peace Retreat" teaches strategies for healthy communication and alternatives to violence. "Enemy Love Peace Retreat" encourages youth to follow Jesus' call to "love our enemies" and will consider what scripture and tradition have to say about violence and war; alternatives to military service through conscientious objection are introduced. "Who Is My Neighbor Peace Retreat" for middle school youth engages the parable of the Good Samaritan. Contact Chelsea Goss, peace retreat coordinator, at

McPherson Regional Youth Conference

Cliff Kindy, an organic farmer and member of Christian Peacemaker Teams, is the speaker for Regional Youth Conference at McPherson (Kan.) College on March 11-13 on the theme "New Order Breaking In" (Mark 1). Brian Kruschwitz will lead songs, stories, and activities. Youth in middle school and high school may attend. The registration form is at or contact Tom Hurst, director of Campus Ministries, 620-242-0503 or

Southeastern Youth Roundtable

"I Believe I Can Fly" (1 Timothy 4:12) is the theme of the Southeastern Youth Roundtable on March 18-20 at Bridgewater (Va.) College. David Radcliff of New Community Project will be guest speaker. The event is planned and sponsored by the Interdistrict Youth Cabinet. Cost: $50.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Disaster Relief Trips For Youth

When: June 19th – 25th

Where: Somewhere in Tennessee

Who Can Go: Youth 15 & up or 14 if a parent goes

Typical Housing: Bunk beds, Shared Bathrooms

Food: Breakfast and Dinner at the House, Lunch on the job site

What would we do: Painting, Cleaning, Minor Carpentry work, Depends on Job Skills

Why this Trip and not the planned Denominational Work Camps planned for July:
1. Cost 2. More time with District Youth

When do we need to know: April 1st

Contact: Rick Koch @ 815-499-3012 or e-mail
Exploring Your Call Returns to Bethany

It was during Exploring Your Call that I first seriously considered ministry as a vocation. I also felt a deep connection to the denomination through the friends I made.
—Dylan Haro, San Diego, Calif, First-year Bethany student

With the encouragement of Dylan and five other current Bethany students, Bethany is reviving Exploring Your Call. Held June 17-27, 2011, at Bethany, EYC will provide the opportunity for young people who are entering their junior or senior year of high school to explore faith and vocation through courses, congregational involvement, community service, personal and spiritual enrichment, and recreation. First offered from 2001-2005, EYC sparked participants interest in doing advanced biblical and theological work and gave them a lively introduction to the work of pastoral ministry.

All expenses for EYC are covered through a generous grant from Barnabas Ltd., excluding transportation to and from Richmond, Indiana. More information and a registration application can be found at For additional information, e-mail or call 800-287-8822.

Let your youth know about this great opportunity!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Eco-Stewards Program for Young Adults

Young adults from all denominations are encouraged to participate in the Eco-Stewards Program, in a note from Greg Davidson Laszakovits, Brethren representative to the National Council of Churches’ Eco-Justice Working Group. The program is for young adults ages 20-30 who are interested in exploring connections between faith and environmental stewardship. The 2011 program will take place June 2-9 with the theme "Living with and from the Land on the Crow Reservation in Montana: Sustainability and Reconciliation Through Agriculture, Health, and Green Building." The program will be held at Greenwood Farm, an organic farm on the Crow Reservation just outside Hardin, Mont. Apply by March 1, find the application form and more information at

2011 Youth Peace Travel Team

The 2011 Youth Peace Travel Team has been announced: Mark Dowdy of Stone Church of the Brethren in Huntingdon, Pa.; Tyler Goss of West Richmond (Va.) Church of the Brethren; Kay Guyer of Manchester Church of the Brethren in North Manchester, Ind.; and Sarah Neher of McPherson (Kan.) Church of the Brethren. As they spend time with junior and senior high youth at camps across the denomination this summer, the team will teach about peace, justice, and reconciliation. Follow the team’s ministry at 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 Ministry Association.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Annual Conference: July 2-6, 2011

The 2011 Annual Conference of the Church of the Brethren will be held in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on July 2-6, 2011.

The theme statement is
Gifted with Promise: Extending Jesus’ Table
In Gifted with Promise: Extending Jesus’ Table, Brethren encounter a challenging assignment: (1) to discover afresh their giftedness with Gospel and (2) to envision their role in loving the world enough to share the physical and spiritual benefit of the Gospel. This theme connects our common interests in spirituality and service, practice and prayer. We extend the table with promised resources of grace and love. The theme calls us to mission and evangelism where we not only share and invite but we cultivate discipleship as we offer tangible resources of food, clothing, medical care, and more. At the table, we share, we receive, and we learn.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Brethren take part in national youth ministry conference.

Eighteen Brethren were among more than 200 youth ministry professionals who gathered Dec. 1-4, 2010, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., for the National Council of Churches-sponsored Youth Worker Summit.

The event, designed to provide "a sacred space for youth workers," focused on the theme "Gathering in Hope, Rekindling the Light." It offered three worship services, plenary sessions, a choice of nine workshops, affinity groups for deeper discussion, resource displays, a presentation by the Disney Youth Education Series, and some unwinding time in the parks of the host Walt Disney World resort. One participant called it the place where "the Magic Kingdom intersects with the kingdom of God."

Rodger Nishioka, associate professor of Christian education at Columbia Theological Seminary near Atlanta, delivered two keynote addresses that focused on the theme concepts of hope and light. Highlighting the writings of J├╝rgen Moltmann and Kenda Creasy Dean, he said that hope isn’t a "flimsy or passive thing" or something only in the future. "When you live hope, you are ushering in part of the reign of God," he said. He urged youth workers to use John the Baptist as a model for ministry, pointing the way to Jesus Christ. "All I’m trying to do is point to the model for the universe," Nishioka said.

Another keynoter, prominent emerging church author and speaker Phyllis Tickle, spoke to the importance of youth workers in shaping the future during a pivotal time in religious culture. "You’re touching half a millennia of history, if history holds," Tickle said. She also cautioned against being "cracked cisterns" that can no longer hold any living water, as she asserted that long-time church institutions no longer hold the key to the way forward.

Music, conversations over meals and elsewhere, and networking opportunities dotted the rest of the schedule, along with an evening at EPCOT that included the annual "candlelight processional," a retelling of the Christmas story through a massed choir and a celebrity narrator who reads the scripture texts. That day’s narrator, Corbin Bersen, finished with a call to strengthen faith, family, and community at the center of life, especially in challenging times.

The Church of the Brethren’s Youth and Young Adult Ministry provided support for many of those attending the event, which was last held in 2006. Eleven denominations assisted in planning and promoting the conference.

-- Walt Wiltschek is campus minister at Manchester College.