Wednesday, September 01, 2021


Bobbi Dykema, pastor of Springfield (Ill.) Church of the Brethren, has written an article on “Visual Arts: Protestant” for the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Religion. A summary is online at Access to the full article is available for a fee.

Updated submission information for Messenger, the Church of the Brethren magazine, has been posted at The information may help those who would like to submit articles for consideration by the magazine’s editorial team. Subscribe to the magazine by contacting your congregation’s Messenger representative or go to

Manchester University in North Manchester, Ind., has announced an estate gift of $1.2 million that will provide scholarships to students. “The widow of a 1947 Manchester graduate has left a $1.2 million gift to the University in memory of her husband,” said a release. “The Keith Kindell Hoover Memorial Scholarship Fund will provide scholarships to any worthy Manchester students at the direction of Gerda W. Hoover, who died in 2019.” Keith Kindell, who died in 2003, studied communication studies at Manchester, earned a bachelor of divinity from Bethany Theological Seminary and a doctorate in psychology from Northwestern University, and studied at the University of Hamburg, Germany. It was there that he met Waltraud Gerda Wolff and they married in 1952, settling in Lombard, Ill. He maintained a clinical psychology therapy practice and taught college-level classes. Gerda Hoover earned a master’s degree in German literature from Northwestern and taught high school and college German. She also published four books of poems and stories. For more information call the Manchester University Office of Advancement at 260-982-5412.

Brethren Disaster Ministries is seeking a long-term disaster project leader to serve on a volunteer basis, working at various domestic disaster recovery projects. This person will become part of the recovering community by helping to foster good relationships with short-term disaster response volunteers and the disaster survivors. The volunteer will work with other disaster project leaders as part of a leadership team. The office manager disaster project leader is responsible for supporting the volunteer housing site and office management. This includes working in Microsoft Office and Google Workspace, and being a primary source of project communications by phone, in person, and via email. Responsibilities also include tracking and reporting of finances and paperwork for volunteers and clients as well as completing other project responsibilities as needed, building relationships with local partners, coordinating scheduling, and supporting incoming volunteer groups and leaders. Must be at least 21 years old, willing to move around the country depending on assignment, and willing to represent the Church of the Brethren and to be a Christian witness. The length of service will be discussed but at least seven months is preferred. Other requirements include good interpersonal, communication, organizational, and problem-solving skills; flexibility; and a valid driver’s license. Housing, meals, and transportation are provided. A stipend is available, as needed. A detailed position description is available. Contact Brethren Disaster Ministries director Jenn Dorsch-Messler for more information or questions at or 410-635-8737. A detailed position description is available.

A collection of historical photos of the construction of the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., has been posted online by the Illinois Digital Archives. The photos were provided by the Brethren Historical Library and Archives. Gail Borden Library, the public library in Elgin, also was involved as part of its project to collect and digitize historical photos of various parts of the city. View the collection at

Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., seeks an executive director of Institutional Advancement to manage the overall operations of development, alumni relations, local community relations, and institutional communications. This position strategizes and actively works to build relationships with a variety of constituents, enlists financial support for the seminary, and serves as a member of the president’s Leadership Team. For details and how to apply, go to

Registration is now open for the “Mediation Skills Training Institute for Church Leaders” at the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center, to be held on Oct. 11-15 and Nov. 15-19. The two identical sessions will be held online via Zoom. “This workshop is designed to help church leaders deal more effectively with interpersonal, congregational, and other forms of group conflict,” said an announcement. For a complete list of training events offered by the center, including a one-day “Conflict Transformation Skills and Healthy Congregations” training, go to

— The Office of Peacebuilding and Policy is pleased to welcome Galen Fitzkee on staff as this term’s Brethren Volunteer Service worker! Galen recently graduated from Messiah University with a degree in Peace and Conflict Studies and minors in politics and Spanish. He hopes to use these strengths to engage on issues related to Latin American Policy and Immigration, among other things. Galen is originally from Lancaster, PA and is a member of the Lancaster CoB.

— The following three BVSers have served in Elgin, IL over the past year and are finishing their terms of service this month.

Kara Miller has served through BVS for the last two years in Elgin, IL – first as Assistant Workcamp (now FaithX) Coordinator and most recently as Assistant Orientation Coordinator in the BVS Office. Her last date of service will be August 12, 2021.

Alton Hipps has served as an Assistant FaithX (formerly Workcamp) Coordinator in the BVS Office, and his last date of service will be August 13, 2021.

Chad Whitzel has served as an Assistant FaithX (formerly Workcamp) Coordinator in the BVS Office, and his last date of service will be August 13, 2021.

We thank them for their volunteer service and wish them well in their future endeavors.

Church of the Brethren would like to announce a new open position for Database Support Specialist. This position could be based at the General Offices in Elgin, IL or Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, MD. Please read the attached posting for further details. Interested applicants should send their resume to

Dana Cassell has resigned as the program manager of the Thriving in Ministry Initiative for the Office of Ministry. She will conclude her work with the Church of the Brethren effective September 16. Dana has served in this role since January 7, 2019. She continues in her role as pastor of Peace Covenant Church of the Brethren in Durham, N.C., and plans to increase her engagement with local community ministries as she continues to serve multi-vocationally.

The Church of the Brethren and the Office of Ministry are deeply grateful to Dana for her exceptional service and wish her well in her future endeavors.

The Church of the Brethren seeks a database support specialist to fill a fulltime hourly position based either at the denomination’s General Offices in Elgin, Ill., or at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. The major responsibility is to oversee and supervise the use of the organization’s database system and to enter and edit data that is collected across the whole organization, in consultation with the director of Information Technology. Skills and knowledge required include a positive customer service attitude, ability to work collaboratively, excellent communication skills, strong analytical critical thinking and problem-solving skills, strong understanding and knowledge of relational databases, and a working knowledge of Raiser’s Edge or comparable software, database infrastructure, Microsoft 365 Office Suite, Microsoft Access and Excel, among others. A minimum of two years of significant relational database experience and a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in information technology, computer science, database administration, or related field are required. Advanced training certifications may be advantageous. Applications are being received and will be reviewed on an ongoing basis until the position is filled. Send a resume to The Church of the Brethren is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Michael Brewer-Berres began work as the new Orientation Assistant for Brethren Volunteer Service on Monday, August 23rd, and is living in the Elgin BVS House. She was part of the summer orientation unit 325 in 2020. Following orientation, Michael served through BVS at Quaker Cottage in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Michael attended Alma College in Alma, MI and graduated with a Bachelor's degree in English in 2018.

Atlantic Southeast District seeks a half-time district executive minister. The district territory includes Florida and Georgia, although there are currently no churches in Georgia. In Florida there are 18 congregations: 9 English speaking, 7 Kreyòl speaking, and 2 Spanish speaking. These congregations span the geography of the state, minus the panhandle, with churches from north to south on both coasts and in the center of the state. The virtual district office is located wherever the district executive lives within the district. There is no administrative assistant. Camp Ithiel, located just outside of Orlando, is the camp affiliated with the Church of the Brethren, and one of the congregations is located on the campgrounds. This half-time position of approximately 100 hours per month requires travel both within and outside of the district. Responsibilities include directing, coordinating, managing, and leading the district ministries as authorized by the District Conference and implemented by the district board; working with the congregations in calling and credentialing ministers and in the placement, call, and evaluation of pastoral staff; providing support and counsel for ministers and other church leaders and sharing and interpreting program resources for congregations; providing an important link between the congregations, district, and denomination by working collaboratively with the Council of District Executives, the Annual Conference, the Conference agencies, and their staff. Qualifications and required experience include ordination within the Church of the Brethren with commensurate educational background, which includes at least one of the following: Master of Divinity, Doctor of Ministry, TRIM/EFSM certificate; clear commitment to Jesus Christ and New Testament values; knowledge of and adherence to Church of the Brethren faith and heritage; respect for diverse biblical interpretation consistent with Church of the Brethren beliefs and practices; demonstrated leadership skills in organization, administration, and communication, including ability to supervise a district staff that includes four part-time staff positions; understanding and valuing the district’s unique diversity with the aim of including all congregations in developing and carrying out the mission to grow and revitalize congregations. Pastoral experience preferred. Apply by sending a letter of interest and resume to Nancy Sollenberger Heishman, director of ministry for the Church of the Brethren, via email to Applicants are requested to contact three people to provide letters of reference. Upon receipt of a resume, a candidate profile will be sent that must be completed and returned before the application is considered complete. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Translation of documents into Spanish or Haitian Kreyòl can be provided upon request. La traducción de documentos al español se puede proporcionar a pedido. Tradiksyon dokiman an kreyòl ap disponib si gen yon demand.

Camp Blue Diamond in Petersburg, Pa., seek a gifted individual with a passion for outdoor ministry to serve as program director. The camp is a 238-acre retreat facility, summer camp, and family campground nestled within the Rothrock State Forest, affiliated with the 55 congregations of the Middle Pennsylvania District of the Church of the Brethren. The mission of Camp Blue Diamond is to encourage discipleship of Jesus Christ and to facilitate growth and healing in each person’s relationship with God, others, themselves, and the created world. The main role of the program director is to oversee all aspects of programing, managing and supervising summer staff, organizing retreats, helping to coordinate rental groups, assisting with kitchen and housekeeping duties during Outdoor School, and participating in Camp Board meetings, church visits, and the American Camp Association. Outdoor ministry at Camp Blue Diamond requires flexibility and teamwork. In this spirit, the program director may be called upon to provide help in other areas of camp as needed, and is accountable to the executive director and the board of directors. Qualifications include strong interpersonal skills as well as leadership, organization, and communication, along with a basic knowledge of program development, computer skills, and marketing. A bachelor’s degree is required, along with camp leadership experience. The applicant should be a Christian and a member of the Church of the Brethren or have an appreciation and understanding of Brethren beliefs and values. This fulltime, salaried position includes health benefits, a generous PTO/holiday package, and onsite housing and utilities. Review of applicants will begin Oct. 1. It is expected that an appointment will be made in November with an anticipated start date in January 2022. For a full position description and information about how to apply, visit Or contact Jerri Heiser-Wenger, executive co-director, at or 814-667-2355.

The Church of the Brethren Office of Ministry has published a newsletter highlighting recent developments in the office and updates on programs such as Part TimePastor/Full-Time Church and the work of the Pastoral Compensation and Benefits Advisory Committee, among other topics. Find the newsletter linked at