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