Brethren Bits for Dec. 27, 2012

— Linda Reed has begun as the new director of Admissions at Fahrney-Keedy Home and Village, a Church of the Brethren continuing care retirement community near Boonsboro, Md. She began work on Nov. 12. Prior to coming to Fahrney-Keedy, she was a financial consultant to nursing homes in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, and most recently was director of Admissions and Marketing for six years at Reeders Memorial Home in Boonsboro. She and her family also operate a carriage company, and volunteer horse-and-wagon rides at nursing communities in the area. She is a member of Downsville Church of the Brethren.

– Good Shepherd Home, a full-service continuing care retirement community located in Fostoria, Ohio, is seeking a fulltime long-term care chaplain. Salary will be based on experience and education in the ministry field. The Good Shepherd Home was developed by the Northwest Ohio District of the Church of the Brethren and opened in 1904. It is a member of the Fellowship of Brethren Homes. It currently serves about 200 seniors. To apply, submit a résumé to Good Shepherd Home, 725 Columbus Ave., Fostoria, OH 44830, Attn: Chris Widman, Executive Director. Résumés must be received by March 1, 2013.  For information about the home visit www.goodshepherdhome.com . Good Shepherd Home is an equal opportunity employer.

— The new Sunday school curriculum to be produced by Brethren Press and MennoMedia is accepting applications for a part-time contract editor. Editors work closely with curriculum writers to edit manuscripts in accordance with editorial and production guidelines. Candidates must have excellent editorial and writing skills, understand faith formation and developmental stages, and operate well in a collaborative environment. Must be well-grounded in Church of the Brethren or Mennonite beliefs and practices. A bachelor’s degree is required; a graduate degree in theology or education is preferred. See Job Opportunities at www.gatherround.org .

— The Global Mission and Service office is producing a monthly prayer guide lifting up Church of the Brethren mission workers and mission partners around the world. Daily prayers are provided in a flier format easy to download and print from an online document. Find the January 2013 issue at www.brethren.org/partners/prayer-guide-2013-1.pdf .

— Online registration has opened or will open soon for church events in 2013. Unless otherwise noted, find registration links at www.brethren.org/about/registrations.html . Registration is open now for the Christian Citizenship Seminar for high schoolers and adult advisors on March 23-28 in New York City and Washington, D.C. Registration for congregational and district delegates to the 2013 Annual Conference on June 29-July 3 in Charlotte, N.C., opens Jan. 2 at www.brethren.org/ac (non-delegate registration will open Feb. 20). Registration opens Jan. 4 for the National Junior High Conference set for June 14-16 at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College (please note that an online parental consent form is required to register). Registration opens Jan. 9 at 7 p.m. (central time) for summer workcamps (find out more at www.brethren.org/workcamps ). On Jan. 25 young adults may begin registering for the Young Adult Conference on May 25-27 at Camp Pine Lake in Eldora, Iowa.

— A national call-in day to Congress against gun violence has been set for Feb. 5, 2013, in an announcement from the National Council of Churches. NCC president Kathryn M. Lohre wrote, “Sisters and brothers in Christ, it is because of my hope in the birth of Jesus that I dare to ask: What will it take? How many more communities will suffer in the wake of gun violence? How will we honor those lives lost in Aurora, Oak Creek, and Newtown, and all those lives lost over the years to gun violence on the streets and in homes throughout the US? When will we heed the call to action? Now is the time to raise our voices and pray with our feet!” The NCC is joining several interfaith partners in calling for a national religious call-in day in which congressional representatives will be urged to enact gun control legislation within 50 days. Those participating in the day are encouraged to contact President Obama to urge him “to continue to act swiftly to end this national epidemic.” A Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath weekend to prepare churches and other faith groups for the effort is set for the first weekend of the year, Jan. 5-6. Go to http://ncccusa.org/SHaction.html to sign up to receive more information as it becomes available.

— In the wake of the Newtown school shooting, Heeding God’s Call brought Philadelphia area faith leaders together to name gun violence a “spiritual and religious issue,” according to a release. The group stood at a historic spot for a press conference and rally Dec. 19–the west sidewalk of North Sixth Street between Race and Arch, site of Pennsylvania Hall, where Philadelphia leaders in 1838 named slavery as a spiritual and religious problem and demanded its end. Faith traditions represented included Mennonites, Society of Friends (Quakers), United Church of Christ, Presbyterian Church USA, Episcopal Church USA, United Methodist Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, and Reform Judaism. Heeding God’s Call is a movement to prevent gun violence, started during a meeting of the Historic Peace Churches (Church of the Brethren, Mennonites, Quakers) in 2009. It seeks to bring faithful and public pressure to bear on gun shops to persuade them to avoid selling to those who would put guns on the street. Find out more at www.heedinggodscall.org .

— “In this new year, the Cloverdale Church will mark their 100th anniversary as a congregation,” reports the Virlina District newsletter. Celebration of Cloverdale (Va.) Church of the Brethren’s centennial started on Dec. 16, when James Flora was guest speaker for worship. Flora was called into ministry by the Cloverdale congregation in the late 1940s, the announcement said. Additional anniversary events will include Cloverdale hosting the Roanoke-area Brethren Lenten services known as “Awakening” in March. On May 5, Church of the Brethren general secretary Stanley Noffsinger will speak for worship. The “big” anniversary weekend will be July 5-7. On Dec. 22, 2013, the congregation will mark 100 years since the dedication of the original Cloverdale church meetinghouse.

— McPherson (Kan.) Church of the Brethren raised more than $20,000 at an 8th annual Christmas Gift Market on Nov. 10, reports a note from Jeanne Smith in the Western Plains District newsletter. The event began in 2005 when the church’s Leadership Team challenged the board to come up with a year-long project that would kindle excitement for church ministries, Smith reported. “This year the eight-year total surpassed $138,000, a tremendous out-pouring of love from the church and community,” she added.

— Peoria (Ill.) Church of the Brethren has held a special “Mountain Mission Trip” dedicated to Jim Harshbarger, who suddenly passed away the afternoon after loading his truck for the trip. The Illinois and Wisconsin District newsletter reported that for many years he had promoted the trip to the congregation and spent many hours driving around the area collecting donations of furniture, appliances, household items, and clothing to contribute to the annual trip to Missions in Eastern Kentucky. “There was a noticeable empty space in the caravan this year,” the report said. “Even though Jim was missing his son, David, and grandsons Dylan and Randy took over the helm of Jim’s GMC/Ford truck and trailer to make the trip in his Dad’s memory.”

— Central Church of the Brethren in Roanoke, Va., was represented at a Homeless Person’s Memorial Service at Greene Memorial United Methodist Church, as part of the Congregations in Action effort. “Even more exciting was the presence of eight Highland Park Elementary School students, and the ENTIRE Highland Park faculty, who came in support of Congregations in Action and their students,” reported pastor Tim Harvey in a Facebook post. Harvey delivered the sermon for the service. The “Roanoke Times” reported on the event, which remembered the 21 homeless residents of Roanoke who died in the past year (go to www.roanoke.com/news/roanoke/wb/318278 ). “Some were welders and constructions workers,” Harvey wrote. “Some held master’s degrees. All were created in the image of God.”

— Peaceknits is a charity knitting and crocheting group that meets the first and third Mondays of the month at Bedford (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. “In preparing for the group’s Christmas lunch on Dec. 14, a tally was made of what the group has donated since its beginnings in 2008,” reported the Middle Pennsylvania District newsletter. “Peaceknits has hand made 405 items from donated yarn and given them to: Bedford UPMC Hospital, World Vision, Bedford County Children and Youth Services, Your Safe Haven, Special Olympics, a refugee center in Istanbul, the children of Alakanuk, Alaska, and Hurricane Sandy victims.”

— Virden (Ill.) Church of the Brethren celebrated its 100th anniversary at the Illinois and Wisconsin District Conference this year. Patricia Barnett wanted to do something to help the congregation celebrate, so she crocheted over 200 crosses to give out at the conference, reports the district newsletter. The theme of the conference, chosen by moderator Fletcher Farrar, was “The Courage of Daniel” and was represented by the artwork of Kay Guyer. Delegates numbered 64. A silent auction and a live auction of donated quilts and a cedar chest raised a total of $2,865. During the conference, the district youth group visited Pleasant Hill Village Healthcare, met residents, and learned about Alzheimer’s and dementia care.

— The Shenandoah District Pastoral Support Committee is sponsoring a day-long faith-based conference on substance abuse on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013, at Bridgewater (Va.) College. Location will be Bowman Hall. The conference will be led by associate professor of psychology Brian M. Kelley, who has done extensive research and lecturing about addiction. Continuing education units will be offered. Among topics to be considered are risk factors for addiction, signs and symptoms of abuse, and tools for churches to become engaged with the problem of substance abuse. Cost is $30, which includes a DVD, handouts, and a light breakfast. The lunch buffet will cost an additional $7.50. A fee of $10 will be charged to receive continuing education credits. To RSVP by Jan. 11 contact bkelleyphd@gmail.com .

Gilbert Romero will be performing in Shenandoah District with the Bittersweet Gospel Band in January. Then the band will leave for a week of ministering with the Puerto Rican Brethren on Jan. 14, reports the district newsletter. The band will play several times for Puerto Rican churches and at the Assemblea, the annual meeting of the island churches, to be held at Castañer. Romero will speak at Staunton (Va.) Church of the Brethren on Sunday morning, Jan. 13, and a Bittersweet Concert will be held at the Staunton church that afternoon at 3 p.m. The band also will perform at Sunrise Church of the Brethren in Harrisonburg, Va., on Jan. 12 at 6:30  p.m. For more information go to bittersweetgospelband.blogspot.com .

— “Why Young People Leave the Church and What to Do about It” is the title of a two-part workshop in Southern Ohio District on Jan. 12, 2013, at New Carlisle Church of the Brethren and Feb. 9 at Eversole Church of the Brethren. Each workshop begins at 9 a.m. and ends at noon. “Most young adults are striving for financial and emotional independence, and the energy they pour into this activity often draws them away from practicing faith,” said an announcement. “The percentage of young adults who leave the church has stayed pretty steady since the 1970s. But one thing has definitely declined: The hope that if we do nothing they will soon come marching back (along with spouses and kids). If we build a church, they may not come. But if they leave, what should we do about it?” The workshops will review proposals for how the church should change, and explain terms such as “missional” and “emergent.” Participants will look at ways churches can connect with young adults and help them connect with God. The workshop is offered in conjunction with a “Focus on Finance” workshop. Bekah Houff and Russell Haitch, staff and faculty of Bethany Seminary, respectively, are presenters.  Go to www.sodcob.org/event-details/195279/1358002800 for more information and to register.

— Brethren Woods is holding a “Caving Adventure Day” on Feb. 10, 2013. The half-day underground adventure will visit natural subterranean features in a cave near Bridgewater, Va. Participants will gather at 12:30 to 1 p.m. at Bridgewater Church of the Brethren and travel to a cave site together, returning to the church by 6 p.m. Lester Zook of WildGuyde Adventures and EMU’s Outdoor Ministry and Adventure Leadership Department will be the guide. Cost is $45 and includes a bag lunch, transportation, headlamp, caving helmet, and some additional gear. For more information and permission slips/waivers, as well as registration (due by Jan. 25) go to www.brethrenwoods.org or call 540-269-2741.

— Springs of Living Water, a Christ-centered church renewal initiative, has announced “Celebrating the All Sufficient Christ” as the title of its next spiritual disciplines folder for Epiphany, the Season of Light. The resource is for the season beginning Jan. 13, 2013, up to the start of Lent. “This short season of one month will focus on Paul’s book of Colossians with the highest Christology,” said the announcement. “Meditating on and pondering on these scriptures on a daily basis can be life changing.” Instructions for use of the folder by the entire congregation are given and an insert invites participants to next steps of Christian growth. Along with the disciplines folder are Bible study questions written by Pastor Vince Cable of Uniontown Church of the Brethren. Find the resources at www.churchrenewalservant.org . In another announcement from the Springs initiative, registrations are now being received for the first Springs Academy course, “Foundations of Christ-centered Church Renewal,” for pastors and church leaders using interactive telephone conference calls. For more information contact David Young at davidyoung@churchrenewalservant.org .

— In January 2014, Bridgewater (Va.) College chaplain Robbie Miller will lead a 15-day study tour of Israel and Palestine as part of a “Lands of the Bible” interterm course. The tour, conducted by the University of the Holy Land in Jerusalem ( www.uhl.ac/en ), will visit sites of biblical and religious importance. The Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center related to Bethany Seminary will grant 8 continuing education units for the study tour. Pastors and members of the Church of the Brethren are welcome to participate as space permits. Contact rmiller@bridgewater.edu or 540-828-5383.

— The Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education has awarded Elizabethtown (Pa.) College a $50,000 program development grant. A release reports that the grant, which is supported by Lilly Endowment Inc., provides colleges and universities with funds to foster the intellectual and theological exploration of vocation in their campus communities. Elizabethtown intends to use the grant to create programs that deepen faculty, staff, and student understanding of its Educate for Service motto related to purposeful life work and ethical leadership across disciplines and departments. One program that will receive funding is a summer retreat for faculty to have an opportunity to think about their life’s work and how engaging in reflection can make them better mentors.

— Che Wiechart, a Manchester University student, is a finalist in the Everence Financial “Money Talks” video contest. Wiechart’s video is one of seven that made the final cut as visitors voted on the Everence website at www.everence.com/moneytalks , reports a release. The voting continues through Jan. 15, 2013. The theme “Money Talks: The World Is Listening” encouraged people to think and talk about the role of money in the world today. The finalist who receives the most votes will win the contest and a cash prize as well as a grant to their favorite charity. Awards also will go to the second- and third-place vote getters and their selected charities.

— Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., has committed to purchase 50 MWh of Keystone Solar annually for the next seven years, according to a release. Community Energy will supply the clean energy generation from the Keystone Solar Project in Lancaster, Pa. “As the country and state move toward a clean energy future, sponsorship of the Keystone Solar Project highlights Juniata College’s commitment to environmental sustainability,” the release said. “Juniata College has a college-wide initiative to reduce its carbon footprint…. In a difficult economy that demands excellence, Juniata College has set a strong example for how to not only set an environmental goal, but make that goal mean something.” The Keystone Solar Project is a 5 megawatt (AC) ground-mounted solar project that will produce approximately 8,000 MWh of electricity annually, the equivalent of powering 950 homes or avoiding 5,516 tons of carbon dioxide each year. As part of the program, the college will have access to “Building Keystone Solar,” an online course designed to invite students and professors behind the scenes at real-world solar projects.

— A new online publication from the World Council of Churches (WCC) invites congregations to explore the themes of Christian unity, justice, and peace in advance of its upcoming 10th Assembly. “Pilgrimage to Busan: A Journey into Ecumenical Christianity” is a six-unit resource designed for study groups, adult forums, and retreat groups to study the theme of the upcoming assembly, “God of Life, Lead Us to Justice and Peace.” The resource includes participants’ and leaders’ guides, which are available online for free download, and also suitable for printing. The assembly will take place Oct. 30-Nov. 10, 2013, in Busan, Republic of Korea (South Korea). It is anticipated to be the most diverse Christian gathering of its size in the world, the WCC release said.Translations of the resource in French, German, Spanish and Korean are underway. Find the study resource at http://wcc2013.info/en/resources/pilgrimage-to-busan .

— The 2013 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity will be celebrated on Jan. 18-25.  Sponsored jointly by the Roman Catholic Church and the World Council of Churches (WCC), the Week of Prayer invites congregations all over the world to share in common prayer for Christian unity. A WCC release announced that the materials for 2013 were initially prepared by the Student Christian Movement of India and shaped by the context of great injustice experienced by the Dalits or “untouchables.” The theme will be “What Does God Require of Us?” (Micah 6:6-8). To order congregational resources for this year’s celebration, go to http://geii.org.

— The National Council of Churches (NCC) is inviting young adults to apply for seed grants to start ecumenical projects. The NCC’s New Fire Task Force, in partnership with the Ecumenical Young Adult Ministries Team, invites young adults to apply for seed grants of up to $500 to support local ecumenical young adult-initiated projects, a release said. The New Fire Network is a network of young adult Christians who are connecting and organizing young adult ecumenical leadership to re-invigorate and re-envision cooperative Christian community. Through the Seed Grant Program, New Fire seeks to support ecumenical projects that connect young adults to an experience of Christian unity in a concrete and meaningful way. The grant program aims to break down divisions among those age 18-35; renew the relationship between the church and young adults; equip young adults to be agents of love, justice, and peace; and facilitate capacity-building opportunities for young adults to expand knowledge and skills so they can better serve churches and the ecumenical movement. Find the application form online at www.ncccusa.org/pdfs/SeedGrantApplication.pdf or contact newfireyoungadults@gmail.com for a copy. Applications are due by Feb. 28, 2013, and can be submitted to the New Fire Task Force at newfireyoungadults@gmail.com . Award decisions will be announced by March 31.