Friday, October 11, 2013

Entries sought for Bethany Peace Essay Contest.

By Jenny Williams

Bethany Theological Seminary is encouraging seminary and graduate school, college, and high school students to think creatively about peacemaking and to share those thoughts for the greater good. The Bethany Peace Essay Contest is being reinstated this coming January as part of the peace studies program at the seminary.

The contest, open to all full-time students in the categories above, invites reflections on how personal and local peacemaking efforts can address universal concerns. Participants may choose to explore this theme in one of the following areas, relating to personal experience: art, music, or poetry; the just peace movement; protest or change movements; social media, or interfaith efforts. Prizes of $2,000, $1,000, and $500 will be awarded for the top three essays.

A natural fit within the teaching and learning in peace studies at Bethany, the essay contest is underwritten by the Jennie Calhoun Baker Endowment, funded by John C. Baker in honor of his mother. Described as a “Church of the Brethren woman ahead of her time,” Jennie was known for actively pursuing peacemaking by meeting the needs of others, providing community leadership, and upholding the value of creative and independent thinking in education. John Baker saw her vision and modeling of contemporary peacemaking reflected in Bethany’s collaborative leadership among the three Historic Peace Churches and thus selected the seminary to administer the endowment’s programs.

John Baker, a philanthropist for peace with a distinguished career in higher education, and his wife had also helped establish the peace studies program at Bethany with an earlier endowment gift. “John and Elizabeth Baker were deeply committed to building cultures of peace,” says Scott Holland, professor of theology and culture and director of peace studies and cross-cultural studies at Bethany. “This peace essay contest is intended to encourage thoughtful writing on peace in essays that are informed by the rich traditions of God's shalom and Christ's peace yet articulated in voices that are public, ecumenical, and interfaith. There is also the hope that this contest will lead to international networking and partnerships in pursuit of peace.”

Holland is administrator of the Baker endowment programs and is working with a new Peace Essay Contest Committee to re-envision the contest after a hiatus of several years. Committee members are from the Historic Peace Churches: Kirsten Beachy, assistant professor of visual and communication arts at Eastern Mennonite University (Mennonite); Nathan Hosler, Office of Public Witness for the Church of the Brethren; Abbey Pratt-Harrington, 2013 alumna of Earlham School of Religion (Friends); Anne-Marie Roderick, student at Union Theological Seminary (Brethren); and Lonnie Valentine, professor of peace and justice studies at Earlham School of Religion (Friends).

Bekah Houff, coordinator of outreach programs at Bethany, chairs the committee and is assisting with the administration of the contest. “The committee has been fabulous to work with and represents a variety of talents and experiences. Their input and planning have been crucial to the process. We hope to have some good ecumenical involvement in the contest while mostly focusing on the peace churches in our publicity. In the future we hope to expand to different forms of media for entries, such as video and art.”

Holland also notes that the endowment can be used to underwrite peace sermon contests, which have been held previously and likely will be again.

Judges of the essays include Holland and Valentine; Randy Miller, editor of the Church of the Brethren magazine “Messenger”; and Anna Groff, associate editor of “The Mennonite.” Essays can be submitted between Jan. 1-Jan. 27, 2014, and results will be announced by the end of February 2014. Plans are being made to publish the winning essays in some of the journals and magazines of the Church of the Brethren, Friends, and Mennonite faith communities.

For guidelines, terms, and submission procedures, go to . Contact Bekah Houff at or 765-983-1809 for additional information.

-- Jenny Williams is director of Communications and Alumni/ae Relations for Bethany Seminary.

Source: 10/11/2013 Newsline

NYC Youth Worker Application Deadline - Nov 2

Nov. 2 is the deadline for youth worker applications for National Youth Conference, scheduled for July 19-24, 2014, at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. Youth workers, who serve on a volunteer basis, should be available on the CSU campus beginning Friday, July 18, the day prior to NYC, through Thursday evening, July 24. More information can be found at

Source: 10/11/2013 Newsline

ENGAGE Day at Bethany Theological Seminary - Nov 1

Nov. 1 is the date of the next campus visit day at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind. “Have you been considering visiting Bethany? Do you know someone who might like to experience what Bethany has to offer? ENGAGE is a day of options designed for you to explore the Bethany experience with other people interested in theological education,” said an announcement. The day will offer prospective seminary students the opportunity to worship together with the Bethany Seminary community and partner seminary Earlham School of Religion (ESR), hear a student panel, experience a class session, lunch with faculty, discuss financial aid and the admissions process, and take a campus tour. Register at or contact director of admissions Tracy Primozich at 765-983-1832 or

Source: 10/11/2013 Newsline

Brethren Young Adults Invited to Participate in World Council of Churches Virtual Conference for Youth - Oct 12

Brethren young adults are invited to participate in the World Council of Churches Virtual Conference for Youth tomorrow, Saturday, Oct. 12. “What are you doing on Saturday? Would you like to hear thoughts from some amazing folks, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, for free? The WCC Youth Virtual Conference on October 12 promises to be a direct encounter among young Christians living in many different countries. The conference will center on the following topics: eco-justice, migration, and peace-building.” said the invitation from Becky Ullom Naugle, director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Church of the Brethren. She noted that in ecumenical circles, "youth" often means age 45 and under. Go to

Source: 10/11/2013 Newsline

Friday, October 04, 2013

Webinar series to give information about Brethren ministries for young people.

New “non-event” resources from the Youth and Young Adult Ministry this year are a series of webinars by denominational staff whose ministries relate to youth and young adults. These staff have teamed up to provide informational and educational webinars geared toward those who work with Church of the Brethren youth and young adults as advisors, pastors, or parents.

“We hope you will join us!” said Becky Ullom Naugle, director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry.

The first webinar will be this Tuesday, Oct. 9, at 7 p.m. central time (8 p.m. eastern), and will be an introduction to the ministries related to young people from the Church of the Brethren, Bethany Theological Seminary, and On Earth Peace.

To join the webinar on Oct. 9 go to . After joining the video portion, participants will need to join the audio portion by dialing 877-204-3718 (toll free) or 303-223-9908. The access code is 8946766.

Four additional webinars on youth ministry also are planned:
  • Nov. 5, 7 p.m. central time, “Short-Term Mission Trips,” led by Emily Tyler of the Workcamp Ministry staff
  • Jan. 21, 2014, 7 p.m. central time, “Call and Gifts Discernment,” led by Bekah Houff of the Bethany Seminary staff
  • March 4, 2014, 7 p.m. central time, “Intergenerational Relationships,” led by Becky Ullom Naugle, director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry
  • May 6, 2014, 7 p.m. central time, “Bullying,” led by Marie Benner-Rhoades of On Earth Peace
For questions call Becky Ullom Naugle at 847-429-4385.

Source: 10/4/2013 Newsline

Curriculum helps youth develop beliefs on peace, conscientious objection.

Call of ConscienceCall of Conscience, a Church of the Brethren web-based curriculum, is available to download from Written by Julie Garber, this resource is designed to help youth develop their beliefs about peace and conscientious objection to war. The curriculum focuses on developing a personal peace position based on biblical teaching and the traditions of the church.

As young men, and possibly women someday, reach the age of 18 they are required by law to register with the Selective Service System, a federal agency responsible for a military draft in the event the nation wants more soldiers than it can recruit as volunteers. If Congress decided to reinstate the draft, young people would have only a short time to gather evidence to convince Selective Service they are conscientious objectors and have a religious opposition to killing.

Call of Conscience helps youth prepare to “make a defense for the hope that is within them” (1 Peter 3:15). Four sessions designed to be led by an adult will help youth think through their beliefs as taught by the Church of the Brethren. Full session plans and downloadable resources are included:
  • Session One: The difference between allegiance to God and allegiance to the state.
  • Session Two: Biblical teaching on war and peace.
  • Session Three: The Church of the Brethren historic and living peace position.
  • Session Four: Making a case for conscientious objection.
In a culminating project, youth compile a file of evidence that they believe in the teachings of Jesus on peace, by keeping journals, collecting letters of reference, gathering lists of influential books, websites, news clippings, and films, and answering questions Selective Service will ask to determine the strength of their commitment to peace.


Source: 10/4/2013 Newsline

Workcamps schedule is announced for 2014.

The logo for the 2014 workcamps sponsored by the Church of the BrethrenThe schedule for the 2014 summer workcamps offered by the Church of the Brethren is now available online at Workcamps will be offered for junior high youth, BRF senior high youth, young adults, and an intergenerational group. Because senior high youth will be attending National Youth Conference in July 2014, a full slate of workcamps for senior high youth will be offered again in 2015.

The following workcamps are planned for junior high youth who have completed grades 6-8. In order to register, the parents of junior high youth must complete a Parental Permission Form:
  • Brooklyn, N.Y., June 18-22, cost is $275
  • Camp Harmony, Pa., June 18-22, $275
  • Harrisburg, Pa., June 25-29, $275
  • Columbus, Ohio, July 6-10, $275
  • South Bend, Ind., July 9-13, $275
  • Crossnore, N.C., July 14-18, $275
  • Roanoke, Va., July 30-Aug. 3, $275
  • Seattle, Wash., Aug. 6-10, $300
One workcamp is offered for senior high youth (completed grade 9 through age 19) who identify with the views of the Brethren Revival Fellowship (BRF), in cooperation with Brethren Disaster Ministries at a location yet to be determined. Dates are June 22-28. Cost is $285.

The young adult workcamp for people between ages 18-35 will be held on the island of La Tortue, Haiti, June 9-16. Cost is $700.

The intergenerational workcamp for those who have completed grade 6 up to age 99-plus is scheduled at Idaho Mountain Camp on June 16-22. Cost is $375.

For more information go to

Source: 10/4/2013 Newsline

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Powerhouse Regional Youth Conference

It's time for the fourth year of Powerhouse, the regional youth conference for youth in the Midwest. This year the conference will try out a new site, going to Camp Alexander Mack in Milford, Ind., Nov. 16-17. We hope you can join us for this exciting weekend! Opportunities will also be available to visit and tour the Manchester University campus (about 45-50 minutes from Camp Mack) before or after the conference.

At, you will find a variety of information and forms needed for each participant to register. All forms must be completed for participants to attend. Forms should be downloaded, printed, and mailed to the university when completed; make enough copies so that each participant has one copy of each form.

Cost this year will be $65 for youth, $60 for advisors (for extenuating circumstances, please contact us). With our new location, everyone will have a bed to sleep in, and the camp will be preparing our meals.

The keynote speakers for our three worship times will be Audrey and Tim Hollenberg- Duffey, students at Bethany Theological Seminary. They will lead us in an exploration of our theme, "On Earth As It Is in Heaven: Stories from the Garden." We want it to be a weekend full of energy and inspiration!

If your group is coming from a distance and needs a place to stay in the area Friday night, please contact us and we can help you make arrangements at Manchester University or with congregations in the area. Please be in prayer for this event and, encourage your youth and advisors to attend.