Friday, April 01, 2022


David Shumate will retire as district executive minister of the Virlina District as of December 31, 2022. He is currently the longest serving middle judicatory staff person in the denomination as well as in the Commonwealth of Virginia. He began his service on January 1, 1993.

Shumate’s service as district executive minister includes various committees and roles within the Council of District Executives including most recently serving as treasurer, prior service as chairperson, Ministry Advisory Council member, and representative to the Pastoral Compensation and Benefits Advisory Committee. He concluded 16 years as a member of the New Church Development Advisory Committee of the Mission and Ministry Board in 2014. During his tenure he compiled a manual for new church development, helped plan nine New Church Development events (attending eight), and taught two courses for Training in Ministry (TRIM) in conjunction with conferences.

Within the wider denomination Shumate served as Annual Conference moderator in San Diego in 2009. He served on three denominational study committees including World Mission Philosophy and Global Church Structure (1996-98), Vision of Ecumenism for the 21st Century (2013-18), and the Review and Evaluation Committee (2015-17). As a writer, he has completed three issues of the Guide for Biblical Studies and one People of the Covenant volume.

After a 40-year career working at Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT), Connie Sandman has announced her retirement as of April 30, with her last working day scheduled for April 22. Sandman holds the record for longest tenured employee, said a release from BBT. She began at BBT on April 26, 1982, pre-dating the current name of the organization. Her first role involved serving as a claims processor for Brethren Insurance Services, progressing to lead claims processor in 1995. She later transitioned from insurance to become the information services technician. In 2004, she became a member services representative for the Church of the Brethren Credit Union. For the last 11 years, she has served as Insurance Plans specialist. BBT board members and staff will celebrate Sandman’s retirement on April 22 as part of a BBT Board meeting.

Beth Sollenberger has been hired as a two-year part-time interim district executive and member of the Michigan District executive leadership team. She has been named as the official DE representative to the Council of District Executives.

Bethany Theological Seminary has hired Dr. Margaret (Maggie) Elwell, currently on the faculty of the University of Maryland, as Assistant Professor of Peace Studies. With a PhD from Princeton Seminary, Dr. Elwell will contribute courses in both Peace Studies and Theopoetics across Bethany's various degree and certificate programs. And Sam Locke will join Bethany in May as Executive Director of Institutional Advancement. Locke has extensive and varied experience in fundraising, including serving at the national office of the Presbyterian Church (USA). Most recently, he has served as Director of Development for Indiana Legal Services, a nonprofit law firm in Indianapolis. Earlier, he served the Presbyterian Church (USA) as national director for special offerings and direct response fundraising from 2008-2015.