Thursday, May 31, 2012

Houff Named Coordinator of Outreach Programs for Bethany Theological Seminary

Rebekah Houff, May 2012Rebekah Houff has been named coordinator of outreach programs for Bethany Theological Seminary, to begin June 1. She is a 2012 graduate, having earned a master of divinity degree with an emphasis in youth and young adult ministry. In this one-year position, she works with Russell Haitch, associate professor of Christian education and director of the Institute for Ministry with Youth and Young Adults, to expand the institute’s current programs, explore implementation of pilot projects for future programs, and assess ways for Bethany to strengthen outreach in youth and young adult ministry. Her responsibilities include facilitation of educational opportunities for congregations, current Bethany students pursuing a youth and young adult ministry emphasis, and leaders in this ministry field, as well as events for youth and young adults themselves. A key responsibility is to plan and facilitate the 2013 Exploring Your Call, a 10-day seminar for high school students finishing the sophomore, junior, or senior year to consider how faith, vocation, and God’s call intersect in their lives. Exploring Your Call is held June 15-25 at the seminary campus in Richmond, Ind. Houff has previously served in the denomination’s Youth and Young Adult Ministry, coordinating national conferences and workcamps, and has provided youth ministry leadership in several districts and congregations.

Source:5/31/2012 Newsline

Gather ’Round co-sponsors conference on children and youth.

Jeff Lennard chats with Brian McLaren about Gather 'Round
Photo by Wendy McFadden
Brethren Press's Jeff Lennard (right) chats with Brian McLaren about Gather 'Round at the conference on Children, Youth, and a New Kind of Christianity. The conference was held in Washington, D.C., on May 7-10 with co-sponsorship from the Gather 'Round curriculum.
An innovative conference on ministry with children and youth drew well over 400 people from across North America and from several other countries.

“Whatever our faith tradition, wherever we live, we are united in shared convictions that the vitality of the church depends on children and youth and that young people are dear to God’s heart,” said Dave Csinos, founder and chief planner of the conference, called “Children, Youth, and a New Kind of Christianity” (CYNKC).

The conference was held May 7-10 in Washington, D.C. Keynote speakers were Brian McLaren, John Westerhoff, Almeda Wright, and Ivy Beckwith. Some 55 others made short presentations and led workshops.

One of the co-sponsors was Gather ’Round, the Sunday school curriculum co-published by Brethren Press and MennoMedia. Staff members Anna Speicher and Rose Stutzman led a workshop on “Sunday School that Doesn’t Have All the Answers.” At the Gather ’Round booth, all preview packs were taken before the conference ended.

Speicher was gratified by the interest shown by participants. “People are hungry for the Anabaptist-Pietist message of our curriculum,” she observed.

Those attending represented a range of Christian churches and organizations, including the Church of the Brethren, Mennonite Church Canada, and Mennonite Church USA.

"As the church increasingly finds itself on the margins of our culture, we must rethink what it means to do faith formation,” said Josh Brockway, director of spiritual life and discipleship for the Church of the Brethren. “A gathering like Children, Youth, and a New Kind of Christianity gives ministers and leaders a chance to share their experiences, explore emerging trends, and seek ways to minister faithfully in changing times."

-- Wendy McFadden is publisher of Brethren Press.

Source:5/31/2012 Newsline

National Young Adult Conference takes place in mid-June.

NYAC 2012 logoOnline registration closes June 1 for the 2012 National Young Adult Conference of the Church of the Brethren. NYAC will be held June 18-22 at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville on the theme “Humble, Yet Bold: Being the Church” (Matthew 5:13-18). Young adults ages 18-35 who attend will have the opportunity to take part in a wide range of activities including daily worship and Bible studies, free time for fun activities and good conversation, service projects, and more.

The morning Bible studies and evening worship services will be webcast live and available to view online at .

“Talk Back Sessions” will give young adults an opportunity to meet leaders of the denomination including general secretary Stan Noffsinger and Annual Conference moderator Tim Harvey, as well as some of the NYAC speakers. “Coffee and Conversation” times will give participants a chance to learn more about specific organizations within the Church of the Brethren including Bethany Theological Seminary, Brethren Volunteer Service, the Office of Ministry, and On Earth Peace.

Service projects will be held with the Knoxville Area Rescue Mission and the Lost Sheep Ministry. Special offerings will support the Haiti Mobile Medical Clinic and “Christmas in July” at the John M. Reed Nursing Home, a Church of the Brethren retirement community in Limestone, Tenn. Among the more informal evening activities are games including Frisbee, a movie night, praise and worship time, a campfire, and a talent show. The event also includes an opportunity for the whole conference to go rafting together.

The list of speakers and leaders includes Harvey and Noffsinger along with Elizabethtown (Pa.) Church of the Brethren pastor Greg Davidson Laszakovits, Bethany Seminary director of admission Tracy Stoddart Primozich, director of Spiritual Life and Discipleship Josh Brockway, Manassas (Va.) Church of the Brethren Minister for Youth Formation Dana Cassell, Nate and Jenn Hosler who recently returned from serving with the church in Nigeria, pastor Joel Peña of Alpha and Omega Church of the Brethren in Lancaster, Pa., recent high school graduate and Happy Corner Church of the Brethren member Shelley West, and Angie Lahman, a licensed minister at Circle of Peace Church of the Brethren in Peoria, Ariz. Due to unforeseen circumstances guest speaker Paul Alexander is no longer able to be at NYAC.

Webcasting starts with evening worship on Monday, June 18, at 7:30-9 p.m. On Tuesday through Thursday, June 19-21, both the morning Bible studies at 9:30-10:30 a.m., and the evening worship services at 7-8 p.m., will be webcast. On June 22, the closing worship service will be webcast at 10:15-11:15 a.m. Go to to view webcasts.

Online registration also is at . Cost is  $375 which includes lodging, meals, and programming. A $100 deposit, non refundable, is due within two weeks of registering.

Source:5/31/2012 Newsline

“Grey's Anatomy” Onsite During the Pacific Southwest District Youth Retreat

During the Pacific Southwest District Youth Retreat at Camp La Verne in April, the entire cast and crew of the “Grey's Anatomy” television show was onsite filming the season finale. “It involves a plane crash,” reported district youth advisor Dawna Welch. “It was very exciting!” Camp La Verne is located at an altitude of 6,900 feet, in the mountains above San Bernardino, Calif. The show aired earlier this month on ABC.

Source:5/31/2012 Newsline

"Brethren Voices" Features Youth of Palmyra Church of the Brethren

The “Brethren Voices” community television show produced by Portland (Ore.) Peace Church of the Brethren features Brethren author, historian, and storyteller Jim Lehman in the second of a two-program series this month. Lehman, a member at Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, Ill., is author of “The Old Brethren” and a number of children’s books, among other writings. In “Brethren Voices” he discusses writing and storytelling and tells one his favorite stories about how Brethren Volunteer Service was begun by young adults at the 1948 Annual Conference. In June, “Brethren Voices” features the youth of Palmyra (Pa.) Church of the Brethren who were instrumental to the beginnings of the community’s Caring Cupboard. Contact producer Ed Groff at for copies. “Brethren Voice” is available for use as a Sunday school resource as well as for distribution on community access cable.

Source:5/31/2012 Newsline

2013 National Workcamp Assistant Coordinators Named

The 2013 national workcamp assistant coordinators will be Katie Cummings and Tricia Ziegler. Cummings is a recent graduate of Bridgewater (Va.) College, where she majored in sociology and minored in peace studies. She comes from Shenandoah District. Ziegler, a 2011 graduate of Bridgewater College, hails from Atlantic Southeast District. She graduated with a biology major and has been pursuing a secondary teaching certificate this year. Both women will begin their work to plan the denomination’s 2013 workcamp season in August.

Source:5/31/2012 Newsline

Juniata College Rreceives $1 Million Grant

Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., has received a $1 million research grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to implement and integrate a Genomics Leadership Initiative into the curriculum. It combines and expands Juniata's existing teaching and research in genomics with a developing curriculum designed to provide a solid foundation in the ethical, legal, and societal issues surrounding discoveries in genomics. Juniata is one of 47 colleges and universities nationwide to receive more than $50 million from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Source:5/31/2012 Newsline

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Replogle Accepts Position of District Youth Coordinator for Western Plains District

Shawn Flory Replogle has accepted the position of district youth coordinator for Western Plains District. The announcement in the district newsletter was made by the Congregational Resourcing Fulfillment Vision Team. He began his work in March participating with the planning team for Regional Youth Conference. Replogle served as moderator of the 2010 Annual Conference of the Church of the Brethren.

Source:5/16/2012 Newsline

National Young Adult Conference Registration Deadline

June 1 is the deadline to register for National Young Adult Conference (NYAC). This once-every-four-years Church of the Brethren event is June 18-22 at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, on the theme, “Humble, Yet Bold: Being the Church.” Young adults ages 18-35 are invited to register or find more information at

Source:5/16/2012 Newsline

Christian Citizenship Seminar Photo Album

A new online photo album displays pictures from the recent Christian Citizenship Seminar for Church of the Brethren youth in New York and Washington, D.C. Go to

Source:5/16/2012 Newsline

Manchester College A Cappella Choir

Trotwood (Ohio) Church of the Brethren is hosting the Manchester College A Cappella Choir on May 21 at 7 p.m. The choir, an auditioned ensemble of 40-50 singers directed by Debra Lynn, tours each spring after May commencement ceremonies. Tours have included performances at Carnegie Hall in New York,  the Vatican in Rome, and other prestigious venues. Trotwood is a stop on this year's tour to other churches in Pennsylvania.

Source:5/16/2012 Newsline

Bridgewater College Students Recognized by Department of Philosophy and Religion

Bridgewater (Va.) College students recognized by the Department of Philosophy and Religion for academic excellence at the annual awards convocation on May 1 included two Church of the Brethren members: Rebekah L. Miller of Bridgewater Church of the Brethren and Jesse Winter of Westminster (Md.) Church of the Brethren. Miller was presented the Outstanding Senior Award in Philosophy. Winter, a junior, was selected for the Ruth and Steve Watson Philosophy Scholarship Award, receiving a scholarship for the 2012-2013 academic year. Also receiving an award from the department was Blake Strother, who received the Outstanding Senior Award in Religion.

Source:5/16/2012 Newsline

5 Summer Christian Experience Scholarship Recipients from Bridgewater College

In more news from Bridgewater, five students including Church of the Brethren member Tyler Goss, are recipients of a 2012 Summer Christian Experience Scholarship and will spend 10 weeks in the summer working at church camps. Each student was awarded $2,500 from the scholarship program, which is funded by the Bridgewater College endowment fund. Goss will serve at Camp Bethel near Fincastle, Va. Also receiving the scholarship are Morgan Elkins and Whitney Fitzgerald, who will serve at Shepherd’s Spring in Sharpsburg, Md.; Stina Kang, who will serve at Camp Swatara in Bethel, Pa.; and Emily Ridenour, who will serve at Camp Eder in Fairfield, Pa.

Source:5/16/2012 Newsline

McPherson College has announced its first graduate-level courses in education starting this Fall.

McPherson (Kan.) College has announced its first graduate-level courses in education starting this Fall. Mark Malaby, director of the graduate courses in education and associate professor of education at McPherson, has spent the last academic year developing the unique curriculum, a release said. McPherson is seeking initial accreditation in fall of 2012 from the regional accrediting body, the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), with the hopes of gaining HLC approval to offer a Master’s in Education degree based on the course offerings. The courses have received the endorsement of the McPherson, Little River, and Smoky Valley school districts, which are encouraging their teachers to enroll in the classes. About half of the classes will be taught by working school administrators and superintendents in the area. The initial graduate level courses are “Issues in Education” and “Foundations of Education.” To apply for the graduate level courses contact Teresa Graham, graduate admissions officer, at or 620-242-0485. More information about the program is at

Source:5/16/2012 Newsline

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Christian Citizenship Seminar considers our relationship with carbon

Mural making at CCS 2012Fifty-two Church of the Brethren youth and adult advisors met for the 2012 Christian Citizenship Seminar (CCS) on April 14-19 in New York City and Washington, D.C. The theme focused on “Stepping Out: Our Relationship with Carbon.”

The 41 high school youth and 11 advisors came from 11 congregations in eight districts across the denomination. Staffing the event were CCS coordinator Carol Fike, a Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) worker in the Youth and Young Adult Ministry; Becky Ullom, director of the Youth and Young Adult Ministry; Nathan Hosler, advocacy consultant for the Church of the Brethren and the National Council of Churches, along with past advocacy consultant Jordan Blevins; Jonathan Stauffer, BVS worker in the Advocacy and Peace Witness Office in Washington; and Jeremy McAvoy, BVS recruiter.

The group experienced four sessions on different aspects of the theme. Session 1 addressed the “Personal Carbon Footprint” led by Emma and Nancy Sleeth, a mother/daughter team and authors of “Almost Amish,” “Go Green, Save Green,” and “It’s Easy Being Green.” The Sleeth family have given up a comfortable, wealthy lifestyle to live simply as better stewards of the earth, and shared about the simple things that they are doing in their everyday lives to reduce their personal carbon footprint.

A second session on the “National Carbon Footprint” was led by Tyler Edgar of the National Council of Churches, who works with a variety of environmental issues for the NCC including mountain top removal.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hosted the CCS group for a session in one of its large meeting rooms in a downtown Washington building. Shakeba Carter-Jenkins and Jonathan Stauffer worked together to set up the meeting. Included in this presentation was Dru Ealons, director of the Office of Public Engagement for the EPA; Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator, Office of Air and Radiation; Jerry Lawson of Energy Star; Marcus Sarofim of Climate Science; and Ullom as the Church of the Brethren representative.

“Many of the advisors said that this (session with the EPA) was the best agency presentation that they had ever been a part of,” Fike reported. She added that others who met with the CCS group were impressed by the level of understanding among the students. “Tyler (Edgar) was blown away by the questions that our youth asked,” she said.

Other CCS activities included viewing the documentary “The Story of Stuff,” and exercises to help youth learn about carbon and its effects in items of daily use, such as foods, and how to calculate a personal carbon footprint. Participants also gathered in congregational groups to come up with three new things they will do on their return home, and one thing they will encourage their church to do, in order to reduce carbon’s effects on the earth’s environment (see listing below).

The event closed with each and every participant visiting and talking with a governmental representative in Washington. The group from California, for example, had breakfast with their senator. Participants from Indiana met with staff of both of their senators, and the group from Illinois and Wisconsin District was able to talk with staff of senators from both states.

Daily worship was an important part of CCS, led by Ullom and Fike, and included an anointing service. Scriptures used for worship included Ezekial 34:17-19, Job 12:7-9, Esther 4:14, Romans 8:18-21, and Matthew 25:25-29.

What are you going to do to be pro-active?

Youth and advisors who attended Christian Citizenship Seminar were challenged to come up with new ideas of things they can do to curb the effects of carbon on the environment--personally and in their churches. The Youth and Young Adult Ministry hopes to offer an insight session at Annual Conference this July reporting back from these youth initiatives:

Black Rock Church of the Brethren, Glenville, Pa.: place timers on air and heat, teach lessons about small things that churches members can do to help the planet, talk about long-term investment in solar panels, go styrofoam free, clean out the kitchen and get rid of appliances that aren’t needed.

Glade Valley Church of the Brethren, Walkersville, Md.: host an Information Sunday, lead a children’s story about carbon, print bulletins on recycled paper.

Goshen (Ind.) Church of the Brethren: install light motion sensors, turn down the water heater.

Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren, Elgin, Ill.: speak at church, have a dumpster diving event.

La Verne (Calif.) Church of the Brethren: host an eco-friendly worship and lunch on May 20, wash dishes by hand, have some carbon activities, make carbon footprint placemat, change light bulbs at the church.

Manchester Church of the Brethren, North Manchester, Ind.: plant prairie grasses at their church, rather than grass that needs mowing.

Middlebury (Ind.) Church of the Brethren: the church already hosts community gardens, start a youth garden and donate the food to local pantries, host an Environmental Sunday, host a recycling campaign at church, start a community compost site.

Palmyra (Pa.) Church of the Brethren: lead a Sunday school class for adults, hold a fundraiser, sell reusable bags and mugs, have a youth room project to “be more green,” update the church kitchen to install Energy Star appliances.

Richmond (Ind.) Church of the Brethren: hold a Sunday school class for children, with visuals.

-- CCS coordinator Carol Fike contributed to this report.

Source:5/3/2012 Newsline

Manchester trustees approve name change to 'university.'

Manchester College in North Manchester, Ind., will change its name to Manchester University on July 1, to reflect the growing complexity of the institution, the Board of Trustees decided at its spring meeting on April 21.

The timing is optimal as Manchester grows in complexity beyond its 123-year-old undergraduate, residential liberal arts core with: a new professional doctoral program in pharmacy, with faculty engaged in research agendas; a new non-residential campus in Fort Wayne; graduate programs in athletic training and education, with more possibilities.

A name change to university is strategic, said president Jo Young Switzer. “A new name will help us communicate our expanding academic competencies and goals.

“What we will not change is our mission to graduate persons of ability and conviction who will work to improve the human condition,” Switzer said. “Manchester’s reputation for exciting learning and service opportunities supported by faculty mentoring will continue in the undergraduate, graduate, and School of Pharmacy programs.”

Switzer’s recommendation and the Board of Trustee’s decision were presaged by conversations with members of the Manchester community--alumni, faculty, current students, and staff--as well as surveys by a research firm of potential students and community leaders.

Manchester currently offers more than 55 areas of academic study, including master’s degrees in athletic training and education. A total of 1,320 undergraduate and graduate students study on its North Manchester campus.

In August, the first 70 students in Manchester’s new doctoral pharmacy program begin classes in a new facility in north Fort Wayne. When that first class graduates in four years, 280 students will be enrolled in the Pharm.D. program.

-- Jeri S. Kornegay is director of Media and Public Relations for Manchester College.

Source:5/3/2012 Newsline

Seminary and College Commencement Ceremonies Set for May

Bethany Theological Seminary will be holding its graduation ceremony on May 5, in Richmond, Ind., just one of several Church of the Brethren-related schools that have announced May commencement ceremonies.

This will be Bethany’s 107th commencement, and 16 graduates will be recognized. The academic ceremony for conferring degrees will take place in Nicarry Chapel at 10 a.m., with admittance by ticket only. A worship service, open to the public, will be held in Nicarry Chapel at 2:30 p.m. Nadine S. Pence, a former member of the Bethany faculty and currently director of the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion in Crawfordsville, Ind., will give the commencement address. Graduates Rebekah Houff, Jeanne Davies, and Andrew Duffey will speak during the afternoon worship service.

At Bridgewater (Va.) College, Robert Neff, president emeritus of Juniata College and a former general secretary of the Church of the Brethren and past faculty at Bethany Seminary, will deliver the message at a baccalaureate service at 6 p.m. on May 11 in Nininger Hall. Darla K. Deardorff, a Bridgewater alumna who is executive director of the Association of International Education Administrators and an authority on intercultural competence, will deliver the commencement address at 10 a.m. on May 12 on the campus mall.

Elizabethtown (Pa.) College holds its 109th commencement May 19, with traditional and adult learning programs celebrating graduates. There will be two ceremonies: at 11 a.m. the commencement ceremony for about 450 traditional undergraduate students held in the Dell will feature speaker Pauline Yu, president of the American Council of Learned Societies; at 4 p.m. the commencement ceremony for the 170-some Edward R. Murphy Center for Continuing Education and Distance Learning undergraduate students will hear from speaker Edward R. Murphy of the Board of Trustees, in the Leffler Chapel. This is the first time at the college that adult learners--students who have earned an undergraduate degree through the non-traditional degree program--will have a separate commencement.

At Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., James Madara, chief executive officer of the American Medical Association and a nationally known expert of epithelial cell biology and gastrointestinal disease and also a 1971 Juniata graduate, will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree and deliver the commencement address at 10 a.m. on May 12. Others to receive honorary degrees from Juniata are Timothy Statton, retired president of Bechtel Power Corporation and a former member of the board of directors of Bechtel Group Inc., and Henry H. Gibbel, chairman and chief executive officer of Lititz Mutual Insurance Co.

Manchester College in North Manchester, Ind., will laud Dow Chemical Co. scientist and Manchester sciences benefactor Herbert E. Chinworth with an honorary Doctor of Science degree at commencement on Sunday afternoon, May 20. Chinworth, who attended Manchester in the early ’40s, also is the speaker for the 2:30 p.m. ceremony, before the college confers more than 250 bachelor’s degrees and two Masters in Athletic Training degrees.

At McPherson (Kan.) College, the 2012 Commencement Day is scheduled for May 20. Also on the weekend of May 18-20 is McPherson’s Alumni Weekend with class reunions for 1952, 1957, 1962, 1967, 1972, and 1977. At the annual Alumni Awards Luncheon, Harold and Lynda Connell (’62 and ’61), John Ferrell (’51), and Eldred Kingery (’72) will be presented the distinguished Citation of Merit.

University of La Verne, Calif., will hold its Commencement Weekend on May 25-26.

Source:5/3/2012 Newsline

Jonathan L. Reed Named Dean of the University of La Verne

Jonathan L. Reed has been named to the post of dean of the University of La Verne (ULV) College of Arts and Sciences. ULV is a Church of the Brethren related school in La Verne, Calif. Reed has served in the position of interim dean for most of the past three years, and previously was professor of religion for 16 years. He was selected for the permanent position from a group of 55 candidates according to a release from the university. He is a recipient of the Excellence in Faculty Teaching Award, the Ellsworth Johnson Service Award, and is a founding member of The Academy at La Verne. He has also written many articles and reviews, and has authored several books, such as “In Search of Paul,” “Excavating Jesus,” and “Archaeology and the Galilean Jesus.”

Source:5/3/2012 Newsline

Bridgewater College has a New Strategic Plan

Bridgewater College has a new strategic plan to guide the college through 2020. “BC 2020: The Strategic Plan for Bridgewater College” identifies key areas critical to success in the next eight years and strategies for achieving goals in those areas, said a release. Areas include student success, the Bridgewater Experience, enhanced and new programs, access and affordability, alumni and community, and facilities. Nathan H. Miller, chair of the board, noted that in the future, higher education must focus on realities of living in an international community, fast-changing technological environment, and an educational environment in which new majors and curricula abound. For more go to

Source:5/3/2012 Newsline

McPherson College -l “Blake Reed Miracle Mile”

McPherson College holds its second annual “Blake Reed Miracle Mile” on May 12. The event remembers Blake Reed, manager for the college football team, who died at age 22 on Aug. 3, 2010 from complications of muscular dystrophy. On May 4, the college’s C.A.R.S. Club Show features an open house reception in the popular automotive restoration facility and a presentation by Wayne Carini, host of “Chasing Classic Cars” on the new Velocity Channel by Discovery.

Source:5/3/2012 Newsline

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

POWERHOUSE 2012: Save the Date - Nov 10-11

  • What: Powerhouse regional youth conference, a weekend of worship, workshops, music, food, and fun!
  • When: Nov. 10-11, 2012
  • Where: Manchester University (note our new name effective July 1!),
    North Manchester, Ind.
  • Who: Youth in grades 9-12 in 2012-2013 and advisors  
  • Website:  
  • Other details: Coming soon!  
Manchester College
Campus Ministry/Religious Life