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