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.