Monday, July 01, 2019

The Reflector -- July 2019

DE Ponderings

by Kevin Kessler 

Destinations are great. But more inspirational than arriving at the place to which we are traveling is all we observe and absorb while on the journey. For example, Tammy and I recently traveled to Greensboro, NC, for Annual Conference. The miles on the road to and from conference were scenic as we traveled across flat prairieland and through mountainous areas, all of which provided unique vistas of grasses, trees, rivers, farmland, architecture, rock formations, etc. The eye was never without a view nor the mind without a thought about the encompassing majestic beauty.

Journeys, in addition to the physical aspects, also offer a spiritual component. Pilgrimage is a term often incorporated when thinking of a spiritual journey. Christians make pilgrimage to the Holy Land and Muslims to Mecca. These are significant sites and places with religious meaning, places where pilgrims on the way can reflect introspectively and upon their faith, becoming more self-aware and more intimately connected with the Divine as understood in their tradition. Annual Conference, as a destination this summer, evolved into a pilgrimage for me. I normally look forward to Annual Conference, but something was different this year. That the usual conference format was changed for compelling vision purposes was not a factor in my unusual sense of attending. Rather, I was more tired than usual. My expectations were low. I made the trek to the Big Meeting somewhat out of obligation.

I wonder if I’m alone in this kind of experience. Likely not and neither would I be alone in being surprised by a spiritual encounter in moments of low expectation. Several factors were at play in changing my perspective. I rarely attend an insight session every evening but this year I wanted to attend 2 or 3 some evenings. The subject matter was enticing. I was impressed by the questions the Compelling Process Team had developed for thought-provoking discussion. Those who shared sermons and messages during the week obviously engaged in thoughtful study to provide quality insights. I observed many persons from our district who were in places and positions of leadership during the conference. It warmed my heart. The music penetrated my soul at various times. From all that this pilgrim encountered during the few days of Annual Conference, I reflected deeply about my participation in kingdom work and encountered the Divine in ways that strengthened my faith. None of this did I expect before the pilgrimage of Annual Conference. But it was the pilgrimage through the days of the conference that refreshed, renewed, and reenergized my spirit and my being.

The value of pilgrimage became real for me. I also learned that I don’t have to travel to another land to experience this value. God is present in any and all places, able to excite and empower our senses and sensibilities to become more than we can expect to be. Even when we are not open to what God has in store, we can be enlivened.

I’ll be able to approach Annual Conference in another way from this point onward. I may not always have great expectations of conference, but I’ll value the opportunity to be a pilgrim, to be open to the unexpected God may have in store for me and for others. May this be a common experience for us all.

The Moderator's Column

Who can sit at YOUR Table?

I have been on part of my Sabbath Rest and spent some time in a place most people don’t even know about called Sneads Ferry, NC. It is just down the road from the Jacksonville, where Camp Lejeune, one of the largest Marine training camps, is located.

Our son made arrangements for us to stay at a nice hotel that was very close to everything. It had a great pool but was just across from the ocean and beautiful beaches, close to lots of great food locations - including fresh water fish restaurants - and anything you needed to buy.

I soon found out hat many Marine families came there to stay short-term to be close to their dads/moms/sons/daughters/sisters/ brothers, while they are stationed at Camp Lejeune.

Although I was NOT supposed to be working while in North Carolina, because of the length of my stay, I soon became like a “hostess” in the breakfast room as I met people and watched how friendly they were about sharing their tables with one another.

Since my husband is not an early riser I was on my own, which gave me leverage of having a table to share. One morning I met Sara, the sweetest little 4 year-old you can imagine with bright red pigtails, a lovely sundress with a big smile, and a gift to gab that was amazing! She was with her soldier Daddy and her Mommy, who had brought her from Oklahoma to see him. They wanted to surprise him and show him how well they were doing without him!

She plopped her food down at my table, then said very seriously to me: "We’ve been watching you and it’s okay for us to sit with you. We saw you pray for your food and you’re not like some of the other people in here. You’re the same color as us and you dress nice like us so my folks will be okay with us sitting with you. And before I could even respond, she hollered out, “Come on…there’s a place that is just right for us at this table!” And with that I met Bruce and Elizabeth and Sara and found out their story. I was a little shell-shocked and didn’t know whether to be happy or sad that they chose my table after what Sara said to me. I learned a lot about what Sara was thinking and learning about people! I tried very gracefully to tell them who I really was but am not sure they really got them to understand.

In the next few days, Sara, Bruce, and Elizabeth did not sit with me again. It may be because in those days I invited the really loving black family from New York who had saved to come to a beach and have a great time. I ate another day with a young girl from Iran and her children who were staying at the hotel and their Dad was coming from the base to have breakfast with them each day, then would spend the weekend with them at the hotel. They were excited to be there and to tell me that they are all citizens of America.

I write these things from my heart because I am challenging all of us to examine who can sit at our table?  Jesus said, “All can come to mine!”  We must make sure that we are teaching our young generations what Jesus really wants us to be like!

Pleasant Hill Village Files Chapter 11

Due to unprecedented and sustained non-payment from Illinois Medicaid, Pleasant Hill Village has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.  After closing its nursing home in August 2018 under the burden of $2 million of non-compensated care, Pleasant Hill Village now seeks bankruptcy protection in the interest of its ongoing Girard ministries of Senior Independent Living and Senior Assisted Living.  Established in 1905 as a home for orphans and the elderly, Pleasant Hill Village is a ministry of the Church of the Brethren.

The Board and leadership of Pleasant Hill Village wish to express our gratitude for the support and loyalty of our residents, families, employees and friends at this challenging time.  Pleasant Hill Residence, our Senior Independent and Assisted Living facility, continues to operate 48 apartments on our Girard campus.  This important ministry has served many residents and families since its construction in 2002.  It is our intention and plan to continue these stable and comfortable Independent and Assisted Living apartments for our residents and the community.     

Bethany Remembers President Warren Groff

Warren F. Groff, the fifth president of Bethany Theological Seminary, died Sunday, June 23, 2019. During his career in ministry and higher education, he was characterized as a “perceptive scholar, careful administrator, ardent churchman, skillful wordsmith, and devoted family man.”1  A memorial service for Warren Groff will be held August 10, 2019, at 11:00 a.m. at the York Center Church of the Brethren in Lombard, Illinois.

“Dr. Warren Groff was a man of amazing intellect who possessed a deep love for the church and Seminary,” states Jeff Carter, president of Bethany. “Committed to the academy and service to the church, Dr. Groff’s writings embodied Bethany’s founders’ commitment to academic rigor and a theological education rooted in practical experience and daily life. A gentle soul, he will be long remembered for his thoughtfulness and service to others.”

Groff served Bridgewater College as associate professor of religion from 1954-58 before his call to join the Bethany faculty as associate professor of theology. In 1962 he became dean and professor of theology, just as a new faculty of reputable scholars was being established and Bethany was preparing to move to the new Oak Brook campus. As dean, Groff took a leading role in redesigning the curriculum, featuring a small-group colloquial structure as the core of the MDiv program. He was instrumental in the creation of a doctor of ministry program; the program standards were adopted by the National Council of Churches and were subsequently followed by other seminaries. Also during his tenure, Bethany entered into new cross-registration partnerships with other Chicago-area seminaries and began offering an MATh jointly with Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary and Earlham School of Religion.

Following the resignation of President Paul M. Robinson in 1975, Groff was unanimously selected by the search committee to become Bethany’s next president, the first from among the Seminary faculty, and served until his retirement in 1989. Highlights of his presidency included growth of the DMin program, with the first degree awarded a year after he took office. Education for a Shared Ministry was founded in 1977, followed by Training in Ministry in 1984, both nondegree ministry programs for lay leaders that continue today through the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership.

Groff’s early years as president saw Bethany transition successfully to a self-funded agency of the Church of the Brethren with strong enrollment and generous financial support. The first endowed chairs were funded, honoring Alvin Brightbill and Albert and David Wieand, and an additional major gift established Bethany’s peace studies program. Groff also initiated a renewal of Bethany’s music program, which by the early ’80s featured tours with a mixed choir, instrumental ensemble, and handbell choir. During his tenure, the Seminary celebrated its seventy-fifth year in 1979-80.

Originally from Harleysville, Pennsylvania, Groff was ordained in the Church of the Brethren in 1947 and pastored the Beech Run congregation near Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, for two years before earning his BA from Juniata College in 1949. He received a BD from Yale Divinity School in 1952, including a year at Bethany, while on the ministerial staff of the First Congregational Church in Southington, Connecticut, from 1951-53. He received a PhD from Yale University in 1955 and was a visiting scholar at Harvard University during 1965-66. During his presidency, he served the denomination as moderator in 1978-79. Juniata College awarded him an honorary doctor of divinity degree in 1976, and in 1983 he received a doctor of humane letters degree from his alma mater, Bridgewater.

During the 1960s and ’70s, Groff was a member of the Faith and Order Commissions of both the World Council of Churches and the National Council of Churches. He was a delegate to the Fourth World Assembly of the WCC in 1968 and served as president of the American Theological Society in 1972-73. Groff held key positions on the Commissions of Accrediting and Revision of Standards of the Association of Theological Schools and was a member of the American Academy of Religion. Among his publications are Christ the Hope of the Future, Prayer: God’s Time and Ours!, Story Time: God’s Time and Ours!, and God’s Story—and Ours! Between 1947 and 1994, he wrote more than fifty articles and was a contributing author to five books. The spring 2011 issue of Brethren Life & Thought was devoted to excerpts of his writings.

In 1968 Groff coauthored The Shaping of Modern Christian Thought with longtime fellow faculty member Donald Miller. “Warren and I worked closely together on many projects at Bethany,” Miller says, “including teaching classes, writing articles, and developing curriculum. He was highly regarded and respected for his theology and made a heavy impression on all the theologians in the Chicago area. Having come from a simple church background, Warren was extremely intelligent and made innovations wherever he went.”

*From the program of Warren Groff’s presidential inauguration, 1976
‘We love each other despite our differences’: The story of ND9
Church of the Brethren Newsline
July 13, 2019

ND9 is interviewed following the love feast at Annual Conference: (from left) Kenton Grossnickle, Carolyn Schrock, Bobbi Dykema, interviewer Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford of the Church of the Brethren News Services, and Bob Johnson.

“We shared what was on our hearts, the words that were needed,” said Bob Johnson, one of those seated at Nondelegate Table Number Nine--known in the common parlance of the 2019 Annual Conference as “ND9.”

By the close of compelling vision conversations, this table that had a “rocky start” marked by feelings of isolation over their differences had become a group that “wanted to love each other.” 

ND9 offered to share their story publicly because the group felt their transformative experience could be helpful to others and demonstrates the possibilities of the process.

In addition to Johnson, who pastors Middle River Church of the Brethren in New Hope, Va., those participating in the interview included Bobbi Dykema, pastor at First Church of the Brethren in Springfield, Ill.; Kenton Grossnickle from Myersville, Md.; and Carolyn Schrock from McPherson, Kan. Two table members had to leave before the interview.
The group was careful to acknowledge not every table had a transformative experience. They had heard reports from people at tables where the experience had been painful throughout the conversation sessions. However, if one table could be surprised by unexpected relationship-building, perhaps there is hope for others--perhaps even the whole denomination.

The members of ND9 came to the conversation with their own feelings and thoughts, and at times with ill feelings toward each other. Over the course of the three days, their journey toward what ended up being “a wonderful way of listening”--as Johnson put it--was not easy. Some hurtful things were said, even if they were honest. After the first day’s conversation, one person said they wished another person wasn’t at the table. Another person was feeling pushed out, and finally told that to the group.

By the second day, things began to change. The honest expression of feelings--however hurtful--created a new possibility for openness and acceptance. “It’s so powerful to let you feel what you feel and say what you say and still love each other,” Johnson said.

By the third day, the group had decided to wash feet together during the love feast scheduled for that afternoon. When the time came for feetwashing, they went as a group to the area for the genders to wash together, inviting Johnson’s wife to join them. Each person in the group washed every other person’s feet.

The love and servanthood they expressed in feetwashing did not change who they were as people, and did not change their opinions, Dykema noted. But it was a symbol of a new willingness to be vulnerable to each other. “Our ideology hasn’t changed but our togetherness has,” she said.

Surprisingly, one of the things that brought the group together was a common concern for creation care--an issue usually assumed to be extremely divisive. The table shared a concern for farmers in their communities, some grew up on farms, and some are enthusiastic gardeners. They also shared a heart for trauma victims and people with addictions.

“We love each other despite our differences,” said Grossnickle, who noted that distrust was an obstacle they had to overcome from the start. He blamed the distrust on their fear of each other’s differences. It is important to understand that perfect love casts out fear, he said, quoting scripture. He added that it was helpful to realize they could listen to each other without fear.

“After our rocky time, I was praying that God would help us and then I felt the Spirit move among us,” said Schrock.

ND9 hopes the Holy Spirit will move in the same way among the wider church--in Dykema’s words, that the Spirit may “write this large.”

Parables Community Dundee Kick-off Event

Come Celebrate Our First Worship Service in Dundee!

Sunday, Aug 25, 2019 at 4pm (followed by a light meal)
First Congregational Church of Dundee • 900 S 8th St, West Dundee, IL

Come help us celebrate our first Parables Community Worship Service in Dundee!

Our worship services are “hands on” and accessible for people of all ages and abilities — using music, art, symbols, and images. We provide noise-reducing headphones, fidgets, and weighted lap pads. There is a sensory room adjoining the worship space and all are free

to move around. Parables worship is a “no-shushing zone” of affirmation and joy. Come
just as you are – we’ll be glad to see you.

“Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people! The variety is wonderful.”

— 1 Corinthians 12:7 The Message     

The 2019 Annual the numbers

Church of the Brethren Newsline
July 13, 2019

2,155: Total registration number for the 2019 Annual Conference including 677 delegates and 1,478 nondelegates.

For the latest Brethren news go to the main Newsline page

$50,928.49: Worship offerings. Each evening worship service and the Sunday morning service received an offering dedicated to a particular purpose. This total includes:

$13,212.01 for Brethren Disaster Ministries work in Puerto Rico

$11,383.41 for the Church of the Brethren core ministries

$11,152.16 for church rebuilding in Nigeria in a collaboration between the Church of the Brethren's Global Mission and Service and Ekklesiyar Yan'uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria)

$8,171.35 for child care and age activities expenses at Annual Conference

$7,009.56 for Calling the Called workshops in the Church of the Brethren districts, sponsored by the Office of Ministry

$2,360: The online donations and offerings received via related to the 2019 Annual Conference. The 30 online gifts included $900 in general donations for Annual Conference, $940 to support webcasts of the Conference, $150 for the Nigeria Crisis Response, $150 for Brethren Disaster Ministries work in Puerto Rico, $200 for Church of the Brethren core ministries, $100 for the work of Global Mission and Service, and $70 for the work of the Office of Peacebuilding and Policy in Washington, D.C.

$7, 595: Amount raised for hunger relief by the Association for the Arts Quilt Auction.

$1,312: Amount received in an offering for ministers’ assistance during the pre-Conference Minister’s Association event. At least 132 people participated in the event led by Dr. David Olson on the theme, “Saying No to Say Yes: Everyday Boundaries and Pastoral Excellence.”

$2,500: Donation from the conference center in Grand Rapids to purchase free ice cream bars for this year’s Conference goers, as a gesture of thanks to the Annual Conference for returning to their city again in 2020.

165: Pints collected by the Annual Conference Blood Drive in onsite donations.

35: Years of service by Joyce Person as teller coordinator and lead teller for Annual Conference, recognized during the first morning’s business session.

Invitation: Good Samaritan Banquet at Pinecrest Community

Pinecrest Community invites you to its annual Good Samaritan Banquet on Saturday, August 3, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. The Good Samaritan Fund supports residents at Pinecrest whose personal resources have run out. Pinecrest never asks a resident to leave because they can no longer afford to pay. This commitment has a price, however, and Pinecrest provides nearly $2 million annually in charitable care. The Good Samaritan Banquet is a fundraiser in support of these residents.

The evening includes a delicious dinner with your choice of entrée, entertainment by magical entertainer and balloon sculptor Brett Belleque, good fellowship, and updates on what’s going on at Pinecrest. The cost is $75 per person, which goes directly to the Good Samaritan Fund, and you’ll be seated at a table of six or eight. The event is held in The Grove Community Center on Pinecrest’s campus in Mt. Morris, IL.

To reserve a place for you and your guests, return the attached reply card, indicating meal choice for each attendee (boneless pork ribeye or baked chicken – for special dietary needs, please contact us!). Checks should be made payable to Brethren Home (our legal name) with “Good Sam Bqt” on the memo line. If you have questions or would like additional information, contact or call Amy at 815-734-1712.

We hope you can join us! While you’re at it, bring a carload of friends with you!     

Compelling Vision Process Team publishes report on district conversations

The Compelling Vision Process Team has published a report on the district conversations of the past year, to share with the denomination in advance of compelling vision conversations planned for Annual Conference. The report is titled, “Unfolding Journey: A Report on the District Conversations.” Find this and other information about the compelling vision process at  

Annual Conference on July 3-7 in Greensboro, N.C., will focus on compelling vision conversations as the main event for three days of business sessions. The conversations to be held in small groups at round tables will include the delegate body and those nondelegates who registered ahead of time to take part.

Also being shared as a resource is a “Messenger” article titled “Hope for the Future,” that first appeared in January. It reported on the compelling vision conversations that took place at the 2018 Conference.

“We think it is important for people to read both in preparation for Annual Conference, since the conversation to take place at Annual Conference this year will build on the conversations that took place last year at Annual Conference and throughout the year in the districts,” said team chair Rhonda Pittman Gingrich. “They are good reading for anyone who cares about the church and the compelling vision process.”

Go to  for “Unfolding Journey: A Report on the District Conversations”

Messy Church

with Dave Martin

“Church, but not as you know it.”

Christ-centered • All-Ages • Creativity • Hospitality • Celebration

For pastors, youth ministers, Christian educators, worship planners and leaders, and anyone else interested in participatory, intergenerational worship. Come experience a Messy Church service, followed by a presentation about Messy Church led by Dave Martin. Messy Church is for families who have not found other forms of church engaging and who don’t yet belong to a church. It explores a biblical theme through includes hands-on creative experiences, a celebration and a meal. It does not prioritize either the needs of children or adults but intentionally welcomes and provides for all ages.

Dave Martin is a children’s, youth and families’ minister, and a lay reader in the Church of England. He is passionate about intergenerational church and started a mid-week Messy Church service in Radlett, England that quickly grew into a community ministry of 60-100 people.

Sunday, July 14, 4 p.m.

Parables Community/York Center Church of the Brethren

1 South 071 Luther Ave, Lombard, IL
Free event (.2 CEUs available to ministers for $20)     

Beacon Light to Perform at Rockford COB

Rockford Community Church of the Brethren is hosting a FREE Christian music concert Saturday, July 20th, 2019 at 6:00pm and you’re invited! We have been blessed to host his talent once before, and we believe God is using his talent to reach young people through a music style that resonates with today’s generation.

Beacon Light is a Hip Hop artist from Grand Rapids, MI. His music varies from hard hitting 808s & creative wordplay, to poetic lyricism over emotionally packed chord progressions. Beacon's music is a platter of energetic singles and good vibes, blended with moments of deep conversations about real issues and uncomfortable topics. He has been featured on numerous Spotify playlists, Top 30 Billboard charts, and Top 50 Hip Hop charts on iTunes. Beacon has had songs in TV/FILM as well, including "Power" (a Starz original series produced by 50 Cent). In 2016 his music video "Haters" won video of the year in the We Love Music Awards. "I make music to make a difference," says Beacon. "I believe what I have to say needs to be heard by everybody. Jesus is LORD.”

A Love Offering will be collected during the concert. The artist will also be speaking at the church the following morning to give testimony, as well as information on some of the missions he supports. Consideration of support for any of these ministries is greatly appreciated!

Rockford Community Church
6909 Auburn Street
Rockford, IL 61101
Doors open at 5:30pm     

National Older Adult Conference

September 2-6, 2019

Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center in the beautiful mountains of western North Carolina NOAC is a Spirit-filled gathering of adults 50 and older who love learning and discerning together, exploring God’s call for their lives and living out that call by sharing their energy, insight, and legacy with their families, communities, and the world.

Registration Information

The cost per person is $195 if you register before July 15. After that date the cost will be $225. First time attendees will get a $20 discount. Your registration fee does not include housing or meals.

After you register you will be able to go to the Lake J housing reservations website to make your lodging reservations. Learn more about lodging and dining at NOAC

Paper registration

Paper registration forms will be available on request. If you are able to register online, please do so. To request a paper registration form please call 800-323-8039, ext. 302.     
Northern Indiana District Church of the Brethren is sponsoring a bus to NOAC 2019 in Lake Junaluska

The cost of the round-trip bus ride is $200. There are 56 seats available. It will stop to pick-up and drop off at the Nappanee and Mexico Church of the Brethrens. The bus will stop in Kentucky for the night both leaving and returning. Riders are responsible for booking their room. Rooms with two beds (2-4 persons) and rooms with one king bed (1-2 persons) are both available. Cost ranges from $70-85+ tax per night; mention “Church of the Brethren” as there are rooms reserved and priced for this trip. See bus itinerary for other trip details.

September 1 - Quality Inn, Berea, KY - 859-986-9627; $69.99 +tax
September 6 - Quality Inn, Erlanger, KY - 859-746-0300; king bed at $75+tax or 2 beds at $85+tax

Registration forms need to be returned to the district office no later than August 1. The 56 seats are
first come, first served basis and is open to both the Northern and South Central Indiana District
members. Early registration is encouraged.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact the district office at 574-773-3149,

Brethren Volunteer Service announces orientation units

From the April 18, 2019 Newsline

Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) has announced the dates and locations of orientation units for the rest of the year. BVS offers orientations to train prospective volunteers to serve fulltime for one or more years at projects across the United States and in several other countries around the world. For more about BVS go to

The remaining units to take place in 2019 are:

Summer Unit 322
July 21-Aug. 9
Inspiration Hills Camp in Burbank, Ohio
Deadline for applications is June 7.

Brethren Revival Fellowship (BRF) Unit 323
Aug. 18-26
Camp Swatara near Bethel, Pa.
Deadline for applications is July 5.

Fall Unit 324
Sept. 22-Oct. 11
Camp Emmaus in Mount Morris, Ill.
Deadline for applications is Aug. 9.

For more information contact Jocelyn Siakula, BVS orientation coordinator, at  or 847-429-4384.


-- Andie Garcia has been hired by the Church of the Brethren as systems specialist in the information technology department at the General Offices in Elgin, Ill. He has worked as a Level 1 Technician for School District U-46 and is a graduate of Northern Illinois University with a bachelor of general studies and an emphasis in computer science. He is pursuing a master of science degree in management information systems. He begins his work on July 15.

-- On Earth Peace has welcomed two new interns, according to its recent newsletter: Arielys Liriano, a junior at Southern New Hampshire University with double majors in law and politics and sociology and a minor in world languages and culture, will serve as migrant justice organizer. Katie Feuerstein, a junior at Oberlin College majoring in English with minors in philosophy and Hispanic studies, will serve as gender justice organizer. On Earth Peace offers paid internships in positions across the organization for young adults, college students, and recent graduates. More information, including all current openings and application instructions, can be found at

-- Dylan Higgs of Fishers, Ind., has been hired as director of instructional design at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., starting July 8. In this new position, Higgs will support faculty and students in the use of technology for course content and resources; facilitate videoconferencing and production for classes, meetings, and other events; assist in the production of videos and DVDs; and provide training and education in the use of technological communication tools. He has been an adjunct instructor at Ivy Tech Community College and an instructional designer for Kelly Services, both in Indianapolis. From 2009-2014 he was an adjunct instructor at the University of the Bahamas in Nassau. He holds a master’s degree in translation from Autonomous University in Barcelona, Spain, and a master’s degree in higher education from Purdue University Global in Indianapolis, and is completing a master’s degree in learning design and technology from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind.

-- Gabriela Carillo Chacón began as admissions recruiter at Bethany Seminary on June 26. She is a 2019 graduate of Earlham College, also in Richmond, Ind., with a bachelor’s degree in human development and social relations and a minor in French and Francophone studies. She interned with the Human Resources Department at Universidad Técnica Nacional in Costa Rica. Fluent in Spanish, she has taught English to native Spanish speakers and has done translation and interpretation.

-- The Church of the Brethren seeks candidates for a full-time salaried director of Intercultural Ministries to serve on the Discipleship Ministries staff based at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. The major responsibility is to equip the denomination to fulfill its intercultural vision and commitments. Required skills and knowledge include, among others: commitment to Jesus Christ as understood through the Anabaptist and radical Pietist roots of the Church of the Brethren; knowledge of Church of the Brethren heritage, theology, and polity; effective sharing of personal faith; ability to articulate and operate out of the vision of the Church of the Brethren and the Mission and Ministry Board; ability to integrate intercultural competencies within a model of discipleship; demonstration of intercultural understanding and competency, and the ability to teach others; having a broad definition of “intercultural” and ability to see wide applications for core intercultural competencies; ability to move easily among a variety of different cultural groups, recognizing and respecting their unique qualities and gifts and cultivating forms of expression that bridge the diversity throughout the church; knowledge of group process and ability to facilitate appropriate processes for sharing learning, receiving feedback, and decision-making; written and oral communication skills with bilingual ability preferred; ability and willingness to draw on the expertise of others as needed; skills in developing, implementing, and evaluating strategic initiatives; logistics management, such as meeting and event planning; ability to function effectively in a complex system, including making difficult decisions; ability to engage and utilize teams of volunteers to execute strategies; interpersonal skills that contribute to effective work within the Church of the Brethren, its congregations, and districts; computer aptitude and experience with current platforms; familiarity with and experience of social media work; ability to build the capacity of the denomination to identify, acknowledge, confess, lament, repent, and counteract racialized hierarchies and patterns. Experience and education requirements include five or more years of participation in intercultural contexts; experience developing and implementing program, managing complex workloads, communicating effectively to a diverse constituency, and working as part of a collaborative team; a bachelor’s degree, with a master’s degree in a related field preferred. Applications are reviewed on an ongoing basis until the position is filled. Send a resume to
>  . Contact the Human Resources Manager, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; 800-323-8039 ext. 367. The Church of the Brethren is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

-- Bethany Theological Seminary seeks an office manager for “Brethren Life & Thought,” an academic journal of the Church of the Brethren. The position is expected to average eight hours per week. Many duties can be performed offsite; some travel to Bethany’s campus in Richmond, Ind., is required. Major responsibilities include operations of journal production (subscriptions, communication with editors, logistics of printing); communicating with subscribers and donors (not including fundraising); providing clerical support for the advisory board of the Brethren Journal Association; maintaining an inventory of back issues and archives of the association’s work. Qualifications include a high school diploma and preferably a year’s experience in a business setting, organizational skills, self-motivation, and familiarity with database management and current computer technology. Familiarity with the Church of the Brethren is preferred. The desired start date is early September. Applications will be reviewed until the position is filled. Send a letter of interest, resume, and contact information for three references to
>  or Academic Dean’s Office, Office Manager, Brethren Life & Thought, Bethany Theological Seminary, 615 National Road West, Richmond, IN 47374; 765-983-1815. Bethany Theological Seminary’s policy prohibits discrimination in employment opportunities or practices with regard to race, gender, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, or religion.

-- Shepherd’s Spring Inc., has launched a search for a new executive director. “We look forward to its continued impact on the lives of thousands of children, youth, and adults of all ages,” said an announcement from the board of the outdoor ministries and retreat facility in Mid-Atlantic District. The executive director has overall strategic and operational responsibility for Shepherd’s Spring staff, programs, facilities, and execution of its mission, and will develop a deep understanding of the outdoor ministry field, core programs, operations, and business plans. Qualifications include a thorough commitment to the Shepherd’s Spring mission and proven leadership, coaching, and relationship management experience, preferably in a faith-based outdoor ministry program with a retreat center. To apply, respond to the Indeed posting at's-Spring-Outdoor-Ministry-Center/jobs/Executive-Director-dd30307c74d9e8cb. More information about the organization is at For questions contact

-- “Get the complete stories and more BVS goodness by reading our latest newsletter,” invites Brethren Volunteer Service. The latest BVS newsletter on the theme “Finding Joy” is online at “If you or someone you know is wondering about their next step, BVS has life-changing volunteer positions open all year round,” the invitation continues. Find out more or explore project listings at

-- A new edition of the BHLA News and Notes from the Brethren Historical Library and Archives is at In this issue: "Where Was I Born on March 21, 1930? A Story of Bethany Hospital" by Mary Bowman Baucher, with history of the hospital on the near west side of Chicago, Ill.; "The Dunker Meeting House and the Irony of Brethren History," a review of the book "September Mourn. The Dunker Church of Antietam Battlefield" by Alann Schmidt and Terry Barkley; and more.

-- A reminder to register for National Older Adult Conference (NOAC) now, before prices go up on July 15. The event for those age 50-plus is held at Lake Junaluska in western North Carolina on Sept. 2-6. Cost per person is $195 for those who register before July 15. After that date the cost will be $225. First time attendees will get a $20 discount. The registration fee does not include housing or meals, which must be reserved and purchased separately. More information and a registration link are at

-- Brethren Disaster Ministries has announced a new rebuilding project site in the area of Jacksonville, Fla., where Hurricane Irma caused extensive flooding and damage in 2017. Work at the new site will begin Sept. 1, after Brethren Disaster Ministries volunteers pack and move half of the current rebuilding project site in the Carolinas to Florida in late August, said the announcement. The program will continue to work in the Carolinas into 2020. The Florida site is expected to be active through the end of 2019 with possible extension into 2020 depending on the work and volunteer housing availability. “All groups that were previously listed as Project 2 on the 2019 schedule will now be going to this [Florida] location,” the announcement said. A maximum of 15 volunteers can be accommodated each week due to the available tools, transportation, and leadership. For more information go to or contact Brethren Disaster Ministries at or 800-451-4407.