THIS YEAR we celebrated the 125th General Conference of the Brethren Church. That’s a big number! This year also marks 130 years since the Progressive Brethren broke away to form our branch of the Brethren movement. On top of that, 30 years ago a group of Brethren came together to form what is known as the Centennial Statement which lays out a more systematic look at a Brethren theology. This is a year to celebrate all that God has done, is doing, and will do in the Brethren movement. This issue of the Evangelist is devoted to rediscovering Brethren. Check out Rev. Dianna Teusch’s humorous and challenging thoughts on why she is Brethren. The Resource Page highlights a new book coming out this fall that has several Brethren writing on the historic values of the movement. Lastly, Rev. Vickie Taylor has a wonderful devotional that calls us to look forward as Brethren. May this issue inspire you and challenge you to look not only back over the last 130 years but to anticipate and support the next 130 years. This movement does not just belong to seminarians and pastors…it is our movement and God is not done with the Brethren! Blessings & Peace, Jason Barnhart
In Every Issue...
OF THE WEEK 3 STORY The Amazing Race in
RESOURCE PAGE A Brethren Witness for the 21st Century
Living Word” 4 “The by Rev. Dianna Teusch
WMS OUTLOOK BITS & PIECES
GPS and Brethren 6 “Maps, Youth” by Ryan Smith DEVOTIONAL 22 CLOSING “Unity...Not Uniformity,”
Cover photo: General Conference of the Brethren Church 1915, Winona Lake, Indiana
by Rev. Vickie Taylor The Evangelist Summer/Fall 2013
Amazing Race to Serve by Gail Heiston, Program and Office Manager of Mount Olive Brethren Church
ON A CLOUDY SATURDAY MORNING in May, over 60 people gathered on the lawn of Court Square in Harrisonburg, Virginia with spirits that were not dampened by the weather. Colorful outfits began to appear as the group assembled. Laughter was heard all around the Square. What was going on? Well…it was Mt. Olive Brethren Church holding their first Amazing Race to Serve!
points, costumes and amounts collected. Service projects this year that benefited from the race included:
Pastor Fred Miller saw an idea from North Coast Church in California about their Amazing Race to Serve in which teams would collect registration fees and donations in order to compete on a course that included mental and physical challenges. The funds raised would help support local outreach projects. This year Mt. Olive was able to raise $2501 in registration and donations for six service projects. The city-wide scavenger hunt included clues and rhymes to figure out while testing team skills on strategy for course completion. The hunt included finding a waterfall, finding the largest ice cream cone, solving riddles on store names, finding pictures of Pastor Fred throughout the course, and taking your picture in front of signs and with police officers. Some challenges for the teams were downing cups full of M&Ms and eating habañero peppers (not at the same time).
Serving an appreciation breakfast to the Fire, Rescue & Police Departments in Grottoes, VA
Helping refurbish an apartment building for Mercy House, a shelter for moms and children in Harrisonburg, VA
Helping out at the farm for Our Community Place in Harrisonburg, VA which helps feed and house those who are without homes and recovering addicts
Landscaping at our backpack buddy school – Riverbend Elementary in Elkton, VA
Painting fences and building a prayer garden at Comfort Mountain Farms in Elkton, VA which ministers to children who have suffered loss
Work at Camp Shenandoah Meadows (Southeast District Brethren Camp) on the chapel
You can see more pictures of the race (costumes and some of the tasks) on our website: www.mtolivebrethren.org (picture gallery). It was a fun way to raise funds to help in our community.
The course had to be completed in 3 ½ hours and ended at Our Community Place in Harrisonburg, a center that reaches out to homeless individuals in the community. We then had a picnic to which local residents were invited. Each team received points for tasks accomplished. Awards were given for first and second place teams in
SIGN UP! The story of the week is a weekly e-publication of the Brethren Church highlighting a quick story of kingdom movement and impact amongst the Brethren. If you’re not receiving these weekly stories and would like to, sign up at email@example.com.
Summer/Fall 2013 The Evangelist
Living WO R D
MY FIRST EXPOSURE to the Brethren Church came back in the 1980s. My oldest son claimed a young man from the local Brethren church as his best friend. As a Salvation Army Corps officer I worked closely with that church helping those in need. I found the people to be kind and generous, albeit a little stiff. Later, when my life fell apart, I decided to try the Brethren as a place to heal because of their down to earth, practical faith. I remember entering the sanctuary the first time to worship. I found a pew toward the back and sat down. An older lady tapped me on the shoulder and said, “That’s my seat.” I offered to let her in the pew or scoot over. She sort of glared at me. She obviously did not like change. I quickly learned that the Brethren as a whole struggle with change.
The Evangelist Summer/Fall 2013
Brethren appear so stubborn at times that introducing any new idea feels like trying to pull my grandpa’s old mule where he didn’t want to go. I used to joke that the Brethren “are slow as molasses to change, but once they do change– they stick to it!” The very thing that drove me crazy at first about the Brethren convinced me to join our tribe. I admired the Brethren refusal to accept the latest Christian fad. The denomination reflected the maturity Paul wrote of in Ephesians 4:14 – refusing to be “tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.” In a world with few absolutes and absent of consistency, the Brethren absolutely clung to the Bible as “God-breathed
seriously as they wrestle with the application of God’s message – his truth to our own lives. I believe God called us, the Brethren, to be not only servants, but preservers and defenders of his Word. What a high honor and heavy responsibility! In the past this calling cost us a great deal. Our insistence to adhere to the Scripture found us at odds with other brothers and sisters in the Lord. Yet we knew it was right! So we stood our ground.
Each generation takes the challenge seriously as they wrestle with the application of God’s message – his truth to our own lives.
Sometimes, however, we stepped into defending and preserving our opinions and traditions as ferociously as Scripture.
Our refusal to budge from custom caused ungodly division. Our fear of change determined our opinion, rather than the Word. Even now at times that same fear peeks through and threatens to choke the life out of us. Yet in all things eventually we turn to Scripture, which releases the grip of fear and hope prevails.
and… useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16, NIV). This firm faith in the Word of God poured healing oil deep into my soul.
So what does the future hold? More change, I am sure; but never a change in the authority of Scripture and Christ’s call on our lives to live by his Word. In an age where people believe only the parts of the Bible they like or refuse the authority of Scripture, I know we will continue to hold to his Word as our rule for faith and practice. I believe we live in the dawning of a new day when the Living Word lives through us as we keep our feet planted firmly on Scripture and less in the past. That is my opinion and that is my prayer for all the Brethren.
Rev. Dianna Teusch is pastor of Huntington First Brethren Church in Huntington, IN. Together with her husband Dean she has six children, eleven grandchildren and sixteen great grandchildren. She and Dean love horses, motorcycles, and having fun. When you’re with Dianna, there’s never a dull moment!
Our motto “The Bible, the whole Bible and nothing but the Bible” reflects our understanding that God spoke directly to us when Paul wrote, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). Each generation takes the challenge
Summer/Fall 2013 The Evangelist
IT WASN’T TOO VERY LONG AGO that if you searched under the front seat of most any car you’d find yourself holding a Rand McNally road atlas. Reach under the front seat of a car today, and you’ll likely find any number of things, least of which would be a road atlas. Thanks in large part to advances in modern technology, the paper road atlas has been replaced with the GPS. In fact, who actually owns a standalone GPS anymore? We have smart phones with built in GPS to direct. Traveling, even with such modern advances as GPS, can be something of an adventure at times. I recall one time where I found myself on a new stretch of highway. This confused my GPS to no end, as it kept sounding off to me in such pleasant robotic tones, “You are not on a road, you are not on a road.” Clearly, I was. The miles of endless concrete in front of me suggested otherwise. Yet, because my GPS had not been updated with the latest maps, it assumed I was driving through a field, instead of on a road. There’s something to be said for having the latest, most up to date maps. It makes travel all the more easy. The same could be said for the journey of life. Except rather than receiving a maps update, we look back on our history to aid us in determining where we are to go as we move forward into the future. Much can most certainly be gleaned as we look back on the past. When we look back on where we’ve been it helps us see how far we’ve come and also identify the people and circumstances that helped get us to where we are now. Over the decades the BYIC has undergone various changes; changes in leadership, structure, program emphasis, and vision. Despite these changes, at our heart, we’ve remained true to the core of who we are as the BYIC. An Evangelist article written some 60 years ago had this to say concerning the Brethren Youth at the time. “No one can doubt, in the least, the worthiness and the value of Brethren Youth. We urge you to
The Evangelist Summer/Fall 2013
read through the pages of this issue of the Brethren Evangelist, and note the record as it is given herein. The record of amazing projects, of increased youth attendances at our Conferences, and the dedication of youth to Christian service speaks for itself. We see, in 1953, in Brethren Youth, an organization that has proved itself in the Brethren Church. From a humble beginning eight years ago, it has come today to a status of achievement which speaks well for the faith, vision and purpose of its founders and workers. Brethren Youth, in 1953, in service, encouragement and accomplishments is giving more to the Brethren Church than it is getting from it.”1
in the future, I’m reminded of the words spoken by the late Charles Munson, who coincidently happened to be the first director of the BYIC (at the time referred to as Brethren Youth). He said this, speaking in the summer of 1947 to the Ohio District Conference. “We have been crying, a lot of us, but don’t you see it’s not in what we do not have, but in the way we use what we have… Weeping will never help us to see the sun. All of this is important because we must be careful of the attitudes which we manifest around our young people. If they can’t see and hear us acting optimistically about our church and college then they will not have much incentive to work for our church… there is a bright future for our church, but it depends on our attitude now… Brethren Youth challenges us to manifest a hope and a courage and a faith in our own church.”2
If you were to remove the date references here, I think you’d be hard pressed to not think this was speaking of the youth of the BYIC today. No doubt we’ve seen our fair share of changes. And as with all change, some has been for the better, while some has come at some cost. Nonetheless, when I survey the landscape of the BYIC what I see are youth who are poised to make a huge Kingdom impact, both in their individual communities and on the Brethren Church overall.
His last line really gets me. Our youth are challenging us. Brethren youth are setting for all of us a clear path forward, yet it’s up to all of us to lean into this future together. Let all of us draw from the courage and faith that our youth possess. Let us mentor them like Paul mentored Timothy, entrusting them with the Kingdom today, instead of some time later.
Let me reference our corporate gathering Engage Conference to help illustrate how the Brethren youth of today seem to mirror those of long ago, while also pushing all of us forward. Engage serves as a representation of what I expect takes place, to some extent or another, at the individual church and youth group gathering. Recently, the youth of the BYIC have infused a noticeable emphasis on prayer during the week of Engage Conference. Willfully opting to engage in times of unsolicited prayer instead of games and activity, more and more clusters of youth litter the late night landscape of Engage. Additionally, we’ve witnessed a deepened intensity in corporate worship.
Together our future as Brethren is bright. It’s a future that is built on the backs of a rich and robust history. My prayer is that while we may be traveling on a road unrecognized by the GPS, we are assured of the course in which we’re headed because we know steadfastly that it’s the direction our Lord is leading us to travel, whether we be young or older. 1 Ronk, Albert T., History of the Brethren Church (Ashland, OH: Brethren Publishing Company, 1968), 483-84. Progressive Brethren history. 2 Ronk, Albert T., History of the Brethren Church (Ashland, OH: Brethren Publishing Company, 1968), 481-82. Progressive Brethren history.
Stylistic preferences aside, the youth of this generation are hungry for worship which is at its core, honest and authentic. A passion for worship seems to be tied to a very real passion for service and justice; attempting as best they know how to apply in actuality the words of Christ to love their neighbor.
Ryan Smith is the National Leadership Development Coordinator of the Brethren Church. Ryan lives in Nappanee, IN with his wife, Lindsay and daughter, Lilly. Ryan served for 13 years as Youth Pastor at Nappanee Brethren Church.
As I look upon the youth of the BYIC and I ponder where we’ve been and where God may allow us to go
Summer/Fall 2013 The Evangelist
GLOBAL PARTNERS SPOTLIGHT
IT’S LIKE “PUSHING the topfloor button on a skyscraper elevator.” That is the sensation one Sunday evening upon entering the worship area with our sister congregation in Soldini, Argentina. Our South American brothers and sisters take seriously the Bible example of praising the Lord with a LOUD voice and musical instruments! And the Holy Spirit energy of that setting is hard to describe, except that it lifts and “elevates” you in an unforgettable experience of worshiping and exalting the King of Kings! This joy and
The Evangelist Summer/Fall 2013
volunteers, in another they have converted a former soccer club facility to a community center. In yet another locality the focus is on university students. And at the other end of the age spectrum This scene is repeated over and one congregation provides again throughout our thirty-plus balanced meals for senior churches in Argentina, from the adults. Each of these outreaches capital of Buenos Aires and is bearing fruit in changed lives now and forever. Your prayers north to the second-largest city and gifts over the years and of Cordoba. This love for God today continue to support a and one another is what sets growing mission partnership these Global Partners apart, and which now is focusing on the supports and energizes their planting of still more churches. service-based mission to each Join us in continuing to “elevate” community. In one town they the Savior through our Global supply the local hospital with Partners in Argentina! affection for God is shared with one another as well in warm embraces and cheek-to-cheek kisses for all, and especially for guests!
THE CAMERAS COME OUT and the young boys crowd around with a characteristic pose of chin resting between the thumb and index finger. No words are necessary, but the frequently repeated one-word expression is the Tagalog term for “handsome!” Though the girls are much more reserved and dignified, all eagerly join in a picture-taking session. It is the children of our our Global Partners in the Philippines that get your attention first –– regardless of whether or not
the camera is involved! A strong church family of many children and young adults combined with adoring parents and grandparents is what makes these partners so special. The worship is very contemporary at Jesus Our Firm Foundation (JOFF) church, and it would be no surprise to include the arts or any skill in praising the Lord. A strong and committed pastoral staff leads three congregations in surrounding cities of the capital Manila. Prisoners are visited, the hungry find food,
children receive nurture and grow to know and serve the Savior. The congregation itself is leading the way too in helping us understand how to leverage small businesses for fueling the mission of the church. Soon, more churches will be established from your prayers and financial support, added to the hard work and youthful enthusiasm of our partners in Asia. Our relationship is truly a handsome picture of a true partnership in the gospel of Jesus Christ!
Summer/Fall 2013 The Evangelist
A Brethren Witness for the 21st Century
The resource of the week highlights a reinforcing resource for further reflection and application for kindgom movement.
NOSTALGIA can be a good thing and a bad thing. It’s bad when you live in the past but it’s good when something meaningful from the past is remembered in the present. You have that moment when you say, “This is about that!” This type of reflection, the “aha” moments of life, reminds us that our lives make up a larger story that has guiding values and principles. Experiences come and go but these values remain the same. This year marks 130 years since a progressive band of Brethren, in a desire to more faithfully engage the world of their time, separated from the German Baptist Brethren to form The Brethren Church, Ashland, Ohio. This year also marks 30 years since A Centennial Statement presented in writing what a Brethren theology looked like. From our humble beginnings, the Brethren have always stressed the importance of each generation adapting the historic values of the movement in fresh ways for their world. For 130 years, roughly every 30 years has witnessed the reenvisioning of our heritage for a new day.
In that same spirit, there has been a recent excavation process of these historic values which have shaped and directed the Brethren movement since its beginning in the 18th century. A Brethren Witness for the 21st Century is devoted to these values. Bringing together Brethren writers from around the country, this book will present the historic values of our movement. May it help remind Brethren of the historic “aha” of our theology and call us to greater faithfulness to the “ahas” of tomorrow. God is not done with the Brethren! Writers include: Arden Gilmer, Dianna Teusch, Fred Miller, Dale Stoffer, Brenda Colijn, Dustin White, Brian Moore, Nate Bebout, Jerry Flora, Wende Lance, Rich Hagopian, Mike Woods, Jason Barnhart and Bill Ludwig.
PRE-ORDERS: Please send a check for $10 with “Brethren Witness book” in the memo line to The Brethren Church National Ofﬁce, 524 College Ave., Ashland, OH 44805 For more information on other ways to purchase, please email ofﬁce@brethrenchurch.org.
The Evangelist Summer/Fall 2013
A Publication of the Women’s Missonary Society
What Does it Mean to be Brethren? by Gloria Radcliffe, President
My Dad instilled in me the importance of a good name and reputation. I remember him telling me on many occasions that this was something worth more than any material possession I could acquire and to be careful not to jeopardize it. Because, in part, of what my parents instilled in me, I greatly value my heritage. And, who I am is a result of that heritage. My great-grandfather helped found the Burlington Brethren church. My grandmother was raised in that church and so was my father. My uncle, aunt and cousins were raised in the Burlington Brethren Church. My husband was raised in the Brethren Church and his parents served in pastoral ministry over many years. When it came time for me to choose a college, my Dad really wanted me to go to Ashland. It was there that I met and fell in love with my husband and the Brethren Church. Ministry opportunities which included music, drama, Vacation Bible School, sharing
the gospel in neighborhoods and shopping malls and ministering encouragement to the body of Christ from Waterloo, Iowa to Washington D.C. on the weekends and in the Summer Crusader Program, along with National Conference grounded me deeper in my walk with the Lord and in admiration and appreciation for the Brethren Church. I am so grateful to the many women of the church who were godly and gracious role models for me. In the process of my growing and understanding of church life, it became evident to me that being Brethren wasn’t just about what church you attended, but is about who you are, a Christ follower, given to worship, the scriptures, missions, prayer and a love for one another and the lost. I am excited when I hear our denominational leaders talk about church planting, outreach ministries to our communities, being the church outside of the church walls. When I spoke earlier about my college years, I found that sense of belonging that I was so looking for. I felt a part of the group, cared for and loved. I enjoyed that and would have been happy to have stayed right there, but God called me to step out of that comfort zone
and work among hurting people who are in need of Jesus. It is hard to show them His love if we stay inside the church walls in our own little group. I am excited to read and hear of Brethren Churches and ministry teams who are reaching out sacrificially to care for local and distant needs…caring for victims of floods, tornados, hurricanes, etc., establishing new churches in an effort to meet needs and win the lost to Jesus. At the time of this writing, we have four WMS societies who have applied for the new WMS Outreach Grant that will be awarded this summer. This grant will be used by WMS ladies who have created a plan for establishing a new outreach ministry in their community. This plan has stated goals and objectives as to how this ministry will be executed. Is this not exciting? All of the experiences I have had as a result of being a part of the Brethren Church serve to spur me on. Let’s put our Brethren heritage and the biblical principles we were founded on with our desire to move forward, being the church in our communities, with those within our spheres of influence or wherever He leads us. It’s a win-win!
posts every Friday. www.mesuandrews. com/blog/. You can also find her on Facebook, and Pinterest, and follow her on Twitter.
They’ve A Story In Them by Corky Fisher, Editor
According to noted author, Toni Morrison, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” Perhaps that is the case for Mesu Andrews, Marcia Lathrop, Ann Miller, Barb Soden and Jody Thomae. Each of these ladies is a published author, and each has had, or currently has, a book on the WMS Reading Circle list. Each of them is Brethren. Mesu is married to Roy who served as a Brethren pastor in Nappanee, Indiana and in Elkhart, Indiana. Marcia’s husband, Clair, pastors the Brethren church in Lanark, Illinois, and Ann’s husband, Jim, is pastor of Oasis Community Church in Gilbert, Arizona. Barb’s husband, Scott, works with the youth at the Cheyenne, Wyoming Brethren Church. Jody is Worship Arts Pastor at 5 Stones Community Church in Ashland, Ohio. She is married to Dale, a physician in Ashland. They are all mothers; Mesu, Marcia, and Ann are grandmothers. The similarities end there. Each has a story to tell; some are fiction; some are not. Some will allow you to escape into the lives of the characters. One will draw you into God’s word; another is a very personal story. Mesu Andrews writes biblical fiction. She says, “When I read a passage of Scripture, I want
Marcia Lathrop’s first venture into the Mesu Andrews publishing world was a chapter in to know the book, Pearl Girls. This book w h o w r o t e is a compilation by several it, when contributors. It is a book offering and why. comfort, insight, and wisdom, When I discover the amazing written by women who have details of interconnected lives— faced struggles in their lives and prophets, kings, patriarchs—the overcome them through the love Scripture comes alive for me in of Christ, and deep faith. Marcia ways I hadn’t seen before, which briefly told her story in the book. fuels my passion to share all that After the cool stuff!” She tried first to write b o o k Bible studies, but publishers w a s weren’t interested because she didn’t have the degrees to back up her research. She continues, “… novels became the outlet for the wonderful information I found during my research. And frankly—fiction is more fun to write!” Mesu’s titles are: Love Amid the Ashes, Loves Sacred Song, and Love in a Broken Vessel. Her newest book, In the Shadow of Jezebel, is scheduled to be released in March of 2014. Her books are available in bookstores and on-line. You can visit her website, www. mesuandrews.com. You can also follow her blog, which she
published, the editor suggested Marcia tell the full story. Marcia says, “I was hesitant at first because I did not want to hurt my mother. I did not want anyone to think I was just getting even for the treatment she gave me.” When Marcia’s mother passed away three years ago, Marcia felt free to complete the project.
Marcia says, “Everyone has family secrets, but some of those secrets leave children and women with damage and scars that are carried into their adult years.” The secrets in Marcia’s family are an example of this. She was abused for most of her childhood leaving both physical and emotional scars that made dealing with relationships difficult. She continues, “This book is a personal testimony, a memoir that describes the horror of abuse that I suffered as a child, and the physical and emotional scars that remained for years, but mostly it is a testimony of God’s grace and healing.” Finding the Key is the title of Marcia’s book. It is available from Amazon.com or from Marcia. You can read Marcia’s blog at joyafterabuse. wordpress.com.
Ann’s maritime settings derive from living aboard a sailboat as an adolescent in Miami, FL. Her Catholic upbringing not only pointed her toward Jesus when she went looking as a teen, but gave her a hearty grasp on guilt. Most often, her story lines spring from her prayer life. She first became a writer in fifth grade, the year she discovered Sister Sheila had hair. Donning a new habit that revealed mouse-brown and silver hair, the nun encouraged Ann’s writing — especially welcome during the time Ann’s parents were divorcing.
Over 83,000 copies of Ann’s debut novel, Kicking Eternity have been downloaded from Amazon.com. This title is a free Kindle download. Completing her New Smyrna Beach series are Ann Miller writes what she calls, Avra’s God, Tattered Innocence, and The Art of My “Christian Life. All are available coming of age from Amazon.com. romances.” She To learn more from finds the early twenties rife with passion— when people discover what they’re going to do with their lives, who they’re going to do it with, and why. She says, “I had a sad childhood, but my husband has loved me well for thirty-three Ann Lee Miller years and made up for my rocky beginning. Why wouldn’t I want Ann, visit her website, www. to write about love?” Ann feels annleemiller.com. Ann is also on called to write to non-Christians. Facebook and Twitter. She prays for her books to become Barb Soden writes under the pen pieces of the readers’ salvation name, Andi Pray, a word play of puzzles. And I Pray. She explains, “My
mom is a great prayer warrior and I have always tried to have a prayer life like hers.”
Barb says she has loved to write since before she could read. “I would match the letters of words from books to the keys of typewriters and copy the story. I don’t think you can charge a fouryear-old with plagiarism.” Barb says about her work, “I write Christian romance. I am a romantic, and I like to have my characters get to know each other as they fall in love. I believe in intrigue at first sight, and then as you get to know the person, you can choose to love them. Even through fiction, truth can be told. I hope my characters can become like friends and the readers will want to go on the journey with them, and empathize, and laugh and cry with them.” Barb has published two books, Haunting Footsteps, and ‘Til Death Do Us Part: Annie. Annie is the first of the series; Maggie will soon be finished. Barb and Andi Pray are both on Facebook. The books are available at www. wingsepress.com, Amazon.com, and BarnesandNoble.com. Jody Thomae’s book, God’s Creative Gift, is an in-depth study for the creative
Authors, continued from p.13
Christian. Focusing on the creative spirit within, it is designed to help you draw your inspiration from a Deeper Source. It is deeply rooted in Scripture—for the creative Christian must enter into the Word of God on a regular basis in order to know the choreographer of their steps, the crafter of their designs, the author and perfector of their faith, and the sculptor of their creative heart, soul, mind, and body—and to know him intimately. Of her book, Jody says, “It is my prayer that these subjects, their related devotional studies, and the transparency with which I write will help the creative Christian and artist know the Master of All Creators more intimately. Each chapter is designed as a resource that will aid in the understanding of the person who uses the creative arts in worship, as well as those who use their art form and creativity as a way to bring
light to a world of darkness and despair. My hope is that the reader will ‘embody’ these ideals in order to understand why every action, movement and step; every vocal inflection, mime or character portrayed; every note, harmony and song; every brushstroke, color and hue; every pinch of clay and turn of the wheel; every word, metaphor or literary device; every graphic, photo, angle and frame; every choice he or she makes as a creator of art, has meaning—for the audience, the artist, and most importantly, the Divine Artist who is glorified through our humble creative offerings.” God’s Creative Gift is Jody’s first book. It is available directly from Jody or from Amazon.com. She is also on Facebook.
Bethlehem Provides Lunch for Volunteers by Becky Hunter In the morning we gathered at the church to make sandwiches and pack bag lunches for the 30 volunteers that were “presenting” at one of the school children’s field trips to the Heritage Center. When we delivered the lunches we felt like we were back in the 1800’s. Groups of 8-10 first grader and kindergarteners were moving in 15 minute intervals from station to station. Each station was manned by a volunteer. The costumed presenters explained , demonstrated and had the children try out how things were done in the old days. The children helped weave a basket, made butter from buttermilk, wrote on handheld slates in the one room school house (also used as a Mennonite Church and moved from Mathias, WV), helped the spinner card wool, scrubbed socks on a scrub board in the wash house, made a monogramed wooden necklace, learned how iron items were made on the farm in the blacksmith shop, pulled weeds in the garden, petted the goats and jersey cow, fed the chickens some corn, cranked the homemade ice cream freezer, got to sit in a covered wagon to see how folks traveled to VA from PA, played marbles, and other early games, watched a quilter seated at a quilting frame stitching on a quilt, and got a turn at pumping the pedals on the pump organ in the parlor of the 1854 house. Several of our WMS members volunteer at the Center. Some of us help plan Vespers on Sunday evenings in July and August, serve on various committees, and demonstrate in the washhouse, or other stations for the field trips. CrossRoads opened about 10 years ago as a joint effort of the Brethren, Church of the Brethren and Mennonites in the Shenandoah Valley. The Mission Statement of VBMHS is “To share and celebrate the story of Jesus Christ as it has been reflected in the lives of the Brethren and Mennonites in the Shenandoah Valley.” The Vision Statement is “To convey the past as promise and challenge for the present and future.” Biblical Citation for CrossRoads – “Thus says the LORD; Stand at the crossroads and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way lies; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.” Jeremiah 6:16. The Center is open for visitors Wednesday-Saturdays, 10AM-5PM & Monday and Tuesday by appointment. www.vbmhc.org
THANK YOU! Thank you for your generous support of the Brethren movement. Your time, energy, and dollars go towards the four emphases of the Brethren movement â€“ MissioChurch (church planting), Mobilize (church mobilization), Brethren Leadership Development, and Global Partners. When you financially give to the vision of the Brethren Church, you are choosing to partner with us in developing new disciples of Jesus Christ in each of these areas. The Brethren Church is blessed and strengthened by your gifts (financial and otherwise) and you can be sure that they are used strategically to impact our world for Jesus Christ! Brethren Leadership Development is an important piece of what makes the Brethren Church move forward. Finding gifted individuals and helping them grow in their understanding of how God has made them and letting them lead is at the essence of Leadership Development. The Brethren Church works constantly in Leadership Development from a National Level all the way down to local church and marketplace leaders who want to refine their leadership skills.
Mobilize knows that each church has a unique history, a unique community that surrounds them, and a unique set of barriers that hold them back from their full potential in Christ. The Brethren Church seeks to mobilize local churches, each in their unique scenario, through intentional coaching relationships, church health resources, integrated planning, guidance for pastoral and ministry transitions, and tools for learning how to navigate conflict.
MissioChurch works to steward individuals, churches and districts as they explore planting new churches in the Brethren Church. By using the Planterâ€™s Pathway, individuals are guided through a process that helps reduce the risks of planting a church and equips them with the needed skills to succeed. MissioChurch also provides training for local churches and district leaders across the country to help bring great understanding, ownership and participation in church planting. Global Partnerships recognize that the United States is just one of many countries where Brethren are spreading the message of Jesus Christ. We partner with Brethren in Argentina, Colombia, India, Peru, the Philippines, and with local Brethren Churches supporting ministries in China, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Kenya, Malawi, Malaysia, Mexico, and Spain. Brethren Church leadership not only works with our global partners to increase sustainability but also helps local church leaders as they interact with new global partnerships. Thank you again for your generosity to the Brethren movement. If you wish to start giving to the Brethren movement via one of the avenues listed above, simply visit our website www. brethrenchurch.org. If you have any questions or need assistance please contact the National Office at (877) 289-1708.
WHY A CHURCH CALLED BRETHREN
ONCE JESUS WAS ASKED which of the 613 commands in the Law of Moses is the greatest. "I'll tell you which is the great command," he replied, "but it doesn't stand alone. There is a second that goes with it, and on these two hinge all the law and the prophets: love the Lord your God completely and love your neighbor personally." If we apply that kind of both-and approach to life in the Brethren Church it may help us. Why does this denomination exist? Why should there be a church called "Brethren?" The Brethren Church exists to express our allegiance to the Lord Jesus in a family style out of loyalty to the gospel and love for the world. We have here both the "what" and the "why" of our existence. Allegiance to Jesus as Lord. Jesus said in reply to the question above, "You shall love the Lord your God." Now, "Lord" is the Hebrews' name for the God who gets involved with people. It was he who reached down and called Abram, sustained an Isaac, transformed a Jacob, and freed a whole nation from slavery. Jesus said, "The Lord, this God who acts on behalf of such people love him! Answer his love with all that you are: heart, soul, mind, and strength. Love your Rescuer completely, utterly, always, and love only him." The apostles never forgot what he said. And the central thrust of their writings is not "accept Jesus as your personal Savior." That is both true and necessary, but the basic confession of the New Testament declares, "Jesus Christ is Lord!" Jesus is God Almighty come to earth for us sinners and for our salvation. Jesus is "Lord," the God who gets involved with people. The early Brethren knew what the lordship meant and were prepared to accept it. They took as basic a passage in Luke's Gospel where Jesus taught, â€œIf The Evangelist Summer/Fall 2013
a person is going to come after me, let that person count the cost and not be like the fellow who begins to build but cannot finish, or the king who goes to war but cannot fight. Neither of them has estimated the cost." We in America don't fully understand lordship. We elect our mayors, we elect our commissioners, we elect our senators, and we elect our presidents. We don't know how it feels to have someone over us, before whom we fall prostrate and whisper, "Master!" The Brethren who first braved the Atlantic to reach Philadelphia knew the meaning of lordship. They talked much about the cost of discipleship. They recalled the story of John Naas, the giant of a man among them. So large in stature was he that the king asked him to join his elite personal bodyguard. But Naas refused to be recruited. They tortured him to no avail, hanging him at last from a tree by one thumb and one big toe. Fearing that he was going to die, they cut him down and dragged him before the monarch. Naas explained that he could not join the king's elite corps because he was already in the army of King Jesus.
A FAMILY STYLE One unique feature of the kingdom of God is that all its citizens are adopted children in the royal family. This, too, is part of the "what" of the Brethren Church, this family style. Jesus said, "Love your neighbor as yourself." If the neighbor is an outsider, that outsider must become an insider and insiders must become family. The Brethren are a family. It's frightfully easy for us to get caught up in the life of our local churches, forgetting that we are in fact a part of one another. Each congregation is a cell of the body, and each must think of itself in such terms. So far as outsiders are concerned, the quality that distinguishes the Brethren is their caring fellowship,
what we are here calling a family style of Christianity. Think for a moment about the names of other denominations. Lutherans are disciples of Martin Luther. Presbyterians are so called because they govern their churches by a system of elders (presbyters). Baptists insist on that great rite of the church. Methodists got their nickname because the founding Wesley brothers were so methodical in everything they touched. But what can you do if your name is "Brethren?” You have to be a family! That is what outsiders noticed about the first Christians, and this is what observers marked about the early Brethren, too. The Brethren Church exists to express our allegiance to the Lord Jesus in a family style out of loyalty to the gospel and love for the world. The second half of the sentence contains the "why" of the Brethren Church, our reason for existence.
LOYALTY TO THE GOSPEL As Jesus interpreted it, loyalty to his saving good news means obedience. "Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and don't do the things that I say?" he asked. "If you love me, keep my commandments.” And so, for Brethren from 1708 to the present, love has meant loyalty more than coziness or ecstasy. Now, every family has its forms, and the forms of various families differ. Some whole families, for example, squeeze the toothpaste tube in the middle. In one family that father takes out the garbage; the father in another family wouldn't think of taking out the garbage. Call it tradition, call it ritual, call it whatever you like, every family has its forms. And the Brethren Church has hers. Best known are the external forms of baptism by trine immersion, confirmation by the laying on of hands, the threefold service of the Lord's Supper, and prayer with anointing for healing. In addition to these, the Brethren family style from the beginning took the internal form of an obedient life. Here is the root of which the external forms are fruit. If Jesus commanded something the original Brethren tried to do it. Sometimes they went too far and had to pull back; then they might change direction, only to correct their course again. But they were desperately intent on obeying the word of the Lord to whom they had pledged allegiance.
of living. It was also a peaceful life. This meant a life in which they not only tried to put away violence in religion and international relations but also they tried to avoid harsh feelings toward one another. These may arise as part of life in a family but Scripture calls Christ's followers to be reconcilers and peacemakers. Likewise it was for the early Brethren a ministering life, one in which at their best they approached the world and asked, "May I serve you?" If Jesus the Lord came to minister and give away his life, his servants who followed him could do no less.
LOVE FOR THE WORLD When a theologian asked Jesus about this business of the great commandment and the second, he answered with the story of the Good Samaritan. When Jesus finished the story, he turned the theologian's question around. The problem had been "Who is my neighbor?" but he reversed it, asking, "Which of these was neighbor to the victim?” Our Lord laid the responsibility on his hearers to take the initiative by acting in a neighborly manner. He did not require needy outsiders to justify receiving aid. "What's mine is yours and you're welcome to it if you need it." As those who have become new creatures in him, we need no longer claim anything for ourselves — not even our life. At the time of the American Revolution two famous print shops operated in Philadelphia, those of Benjamin Franklin and Christopher Sauer, Jr. A loyal member of the Brethren, Sauer suffered personally and professionally during the war and its aftermath. Still he never lost sight of the motto placed in the shop by his father: "For the glory of God and my neighbor's good." That's what the Brethren are all about; a faith to live by, a family to live with, certain forms to live out, and a future to live for all to the glory of God and the good of our neighbors. That's why there's a church called Brethren!
Christian life for the founding Brethren was also a simple life. Modesty and frugality in obedience to the New Testament characterized their style
Dr. Jerry Flora is professor emeritus at Ashland Theological Seminary in Ashland, Ohio where he taught New Testament and Spiritual Formation. You may also recognize him as the “sage on the last page” of the Seminary’s quarterly magazine, “The Table.” Jerry has also served as pastor to churches in Ohio, Indiana and Washington, D.C.
Summer/Fall 2013 The Evangelist
Dear Ohio District,
FUTURE STORY ATTENTION: The following document is an exercise in spiritual imagination. It was shared at the Ohio District conference this past April as if it was a report to that same conference seven years from now! It attempts to picture what that district could look like in seven years with God’s leadership and blessing. We encourage you to dream about your district/region!
I am very honored to bring you this annual report on the progress of Brethren Church planting in Ohio. We began this practice five years ago as the momentum of Brethren congregational multiplication was just beginning to build in our state. As you recall between the 2012 and 2013 Ohio District Conferences, over 100 men and women representing nine of our 22 churches prayed and listened to God over the course of 150 days. These 150 days for prayer are the foundation of the fruit we are enjoying today. These visionary prayer warriors (in response to prompting questions) felt the following: • There was a strong desire that our efforts to multiply new congregations in Ohio serve as a catalyst and not a distraction to making our existing churches stronger and to expanding our impact upon the world • The changes we desired in our existing churches defined the kind of congregations that we wished to build. One of the best summaries of this came from Pleasant Hill First Brethren Church. Slightly paraphrased, the values read as follows: AUTHENTIC with God, with each other and to our heritage BIBLICAL the Word and the Spirit leading us forward RELATIONAL where the church is a living, loving people well-connected to one another and their community
The Evangelist Summer/Fall 2013
and not just a building or a program (The Great Commandment) INCARNATIONAL meeting the needs of the “least of these” in our communities MISSIONAL where with supernatural power we “naturally” engage the rich cultural mosaic of our Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ multiplying disciples for him (The Great Commission) • When asked about what specific people groups for which they were burdened, there was no exclusion for health, wealth, age, culture, orientation, location or ethnicity. A strong desire was nearly universally expressed to be more culturally diverse within and among our congregations, welcoming men and women from non-European backgrounds as leaders and treating ethnic congregations with equality and dignity. • As we sought a number toward which to work a very small minority felt that the challenges of revitalizing our existing churches would be so daunting that we should expect our total number of churches to be about the same in 2020. We listened and believed God was speaking through this small group of brothers and sisters. • On the same point, the vast majority of responses called for at least doubling or tripling the number of Brethren congregations in Ohio by 2020. The highest response given was a minimum of 88 (at least one in each county). As we studied these numbers we adopted a target of 55 as a rounded
median. • As to unique contributions by individual congregations, the four congregations that specifically responded listed items like prayer, finances, tangible resources, training interns, sharing leaders’ time and expertise, creativity, consensusbuilding, starting daughter congregations, experience and leading by example. • As to uncategorized promptings, one group emphasized that Kingdom expansion is church extension. Another was led to form a group to pray daily for the Ohio District Mission Board. One church even felt compelled to issue a prophetic call to real teamwork as Ohio Brethren churches. With regard to the vision God gave us, I am pleased to report that all of the 22 churches we had in 2012 are still with us today. Some have been revitalized, some re-visioned, some redeveloped and some replanted, but by the grace of God none have been lost. Names are different and target people groups have changed but the work still goes on as a legacy of those before. Additionally, annually our churches do an inventory of those five key values—are we authentic, biblically Brethren, relational, incarnational and missional? While it is our charge to lead in the multiplication of congregations, our existing congregations have greatly contributed over the past seven years to the multiplication of disciples for Jesus Christ. It is hard to tell which have generated the most disciples—our new churches or our existing ones.
And, for the next point, the evidence is standing before you. Here I am, an African-American woman, leading our Ohio church planting team. Our moderator this year was not born in this country. Look around at our ages, our backgrounds, our genders, the names of our churches and the interpreters over here on my left. Consider the faces of our churches and the languages that are spoken in them. I have travelled a lot this year in my role as coordinator but I have not been in a single Brethren church in Ohio that did not have some element of diversity or either planted or shared their facility with a congregation very different from their own. We are not 55 total churches yet but 53. Eight more Ohio Brethren congregations are scheduled to be deployed before the end of the year. We hope all will be in operation to some extent by December 31, 2020. With diverse ministry models that is hard to measure, but we will work hard and with God’s blessing, hope to say, “Thank you Lord!” by the end of the year.
QUESTIONS TO PONDER: • Do you agree or disagree with the future laid out in this article? • What might the future of the Brethren Church look like in 2020? • What’s your role in that future? Send your thoughts and feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Summer/Fall 2013 The Evangelist
In Memory during our focus group sessions which gave delegates the opportunity to discuss the proposed organizational changes. I remember clearly how passionate he was about the process and the opportunity that a more visional organization would provide. We should reflect on the fact that he was the first to hold the visional torch in our more intentional and current structure. In that role he clearly focused the church on the importance of the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. In this way he clearly linked the mission of the Brethren Church to the heart of God. In doing so he set the stage for the church to re-embrace her call to “Go!” Buzz was forthright about the imperative of God’s love as expressed in the mission of the church and called the church to new behaviors and action. He was likewise clear about setting aggressive goals in the accomplishment of God’s commands through the ministry and mission of the Brethren Church. DR. EMANUEL “BUZZ” SANDBERG passed away this past week, which got me thinking. Buzz was my predecessor and the only other person to serve in the role in which I serve. With his passing, I am called to reflect on his leadership legacy of the Brethren Church. Buzz served as the very first Executive Director of the Brethren Church for one conference year (1996-97), in transition from the former organizational structure to the current one, and then for a full six year term (1997-2003). My first experience with Buzz, however, was
The Evangelist Summer/Fall 2013
Buzz’s legacy also includes several people with whom he helped steward the call into ministry. Many came out of the church where, at the time of his death, he still held his membership, the Linwood Brethren Church in Linwood, MD. Buzz believed in the power of the local church! As we celebrate the life of Buzz Sandberg, let us do so with gratefulness for his visionary heart expressed in his leadership of the Brethren Church. Please continue to pray for his wife and ministry partner, Ann. From one Executive Director to another I say (or type), “Thank you, Buzz, for reminding us that the church exists by God for the world!” by Ken Hunn
In Memory Obituary EMANUEL “BUZZ” SANDBERG, age 88, peacefully passed away Sunday, August 4, 2013, at Hospice House of North Central Ohio in Ashland, Ohio. He was a native of Minneapolis, Minnesota and a retired Navy Captain. A PhD in Philosophy/Economics from The University of Colorado equipped Dr. Sandberg well as he served in various positions in the higher education arena. He taught students by example and demonstrated his keen sense of visionary thinking. No one left his tutelage unchallenged. Service in various executive level positions in private and governmental sectors led Buzz to share intellectual and leadership abilities in National government positions. The late 1990s to 2006 placed Buzz in the positions of Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Ashland University and as the Executive Director of the Brethren Church. Both positions provided extensive opportunities for travel with his wife, Ann, and brought great pleasure as they literally made friends and changed lives around the world. The love of all sports often found Buzz attending Ashland University sporting events or sitting in his home library cheering a favorite team. He was especially proud of the Lady Eagles women’s basketball team National Championship in 2013. All Buzz’s life experiences and endeavors were first and foremost wrapped in prayer and delivered with the love entrusted to him by his Heavenly Father. He is survived by wife, Ann, and seven children, 16 grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, one sister, and one brother. One child is deceased. Funeral services were held on Saturday, August 10, 2013 in the Ashland Theological Seminary Chapel on the Seminary campus with Dr. Fred Finks officiating. A private military interment was held at the Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery in Rittman on Monday, August 12, 2013.
JACK BRANT, 91, of Berlin, PA, passed away on February 20, 2013. Jack was baptized in 1951 by the Rev. Percy Miller and was a faithful member of the Berlin Brethren Church for 62 years. During that time he served the church in many capacities including treasurer, moderator, and deacon. In 1962, he was influential in the PA district’s decision to purchase Camp Peniel and subsequently devoted numerous hours to building projects at the camp. Jack served on the Ashland University Board of Trustees from 1970-1996 when he resigned and was named a Trustee Emeritus. A highlight of that time was being able to present his granddaughter, Heather, with her diploma. For many years Jack and his wife, Betty, were members of the Friends of the Seminary with whom they enjoyed many wonderful trips and forged some lasting friendships. Jack is survived by his wife of 65 years, Betty; two daughters, Karen Wiltrout (husband Charles); Jacqueline Smock (husband Edward); and son, Douglas Brant (wife Elena); granddaughter, Heather Wiltrout Klemens (husband Chad); and great-granddaughters, Natalie and Meredith Klemens.
Summer/Fall 2013 The Evangelist
Unity...Not Uniformity by vickie taylor Ashland, oH
ecently I spent the day on a boat with my son, his wife, and their two young daughters – my granddaughters. I listened and smiled as they played and talked of things crucial to three year olds. It was in this moment I wondered what things have they learned from my son that he would have learned from me and that I had learned from my parents? Did I do all I could to teach the fundamentals of what it means to live a holy life, one surrendered to God? Did I become the parent that God wanted me to be and pass that on to my son? Would future generations of my family have the same conversations we had along the way? It occurred to me as I asked myself these questions that I was thinking of future generations much like the discussions we are having in our local churches today. What will future generations think of this generation and the church as it is today? It is no secret that Brethren are Bible people. We hold the Bible to be the rule of our lives, our understanding of the nature of God, and his desire for humanity. Many issues are debated recently that have caused a lot of questioning in our nation as to how Christians use and interpret scripture. Brethren are
summer/fall 2013 The Evangelist
not escaping these sometimes heated and personal discussions. When people on either side of the debate believe they are interpreting scripture correctly how do we reconcile apparent differences? This is not an easy question and I have personally decided to seek wisdom from the past Brethren who often dealt with issues that seem to have caused serious debate and even dissension! God declares in Isaiah 55, “[My word] will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” With this in mind we must ask what is the “desire and purpose.” I am instantly reminded of Micah 6:8 that the desire and purpose is “to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Debates never seem to show people acting humbly! sometimes we even question whether debates are about justice and love or more about power and being right. Debating for Brethren isn’t about political positioning or following the trend; it is about allowing “each generation of Brethren” to “struggle under the spirit’s guidance to discern the meaning of scripture for its life. such a process has several
important values: it can give renewed purpose and direction to the church; it can bring the church to greater unity in thought and practice; and it assists the church in declaring its fundamental beliefs to the world” (“A Centennial Statement,” The Brethren Church, Inc., 1984). In order for greater unity in thought and practice in our church we need to have open and honest conversations about the issues that are facing the church and society today. one generation may not agree completely with another and that is precisely what our Centennial statement assumes! However, in my experience, it appears we harbor some fear about even having the discussion. We should never fear discussion. What we should fear is our lack of discussion. If we have done the work of passing the heritage to the next generation, allowing discussions on hot debate topics should not scare us but should make us proud that another generation is taking the act of doing the work of study seriously. May we continue to be a people who are known for acting justly, who love mercy, and who walk humbly with our God!
And he said to them, â€œThe harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Luke 10:2
Summer/Fall 2013 The Evangelist
The Brethren Evangelist (SSN 0747-4288) is published quarterly by The Brethren Church, Inc., 524 College Ave., Ashland, OH 44805-3792 (telephone: 419-289-1708; email: brethren@ brethrenchurch.org; fax: 419-281-0450. Authorsâ€™ views are not necessarily those of The Brethren Church. Subscription rates: Sent free to Brethren Church members; $15.00 per year to others. Member, Evangelical Press Association. Postage: Paid at Ashland, Ohio or additional mailing office at Mansfield, Ohio. Postmaster: Send address changes to The Brethren Church, 524 College Ave., Ashland, OH 44805-3792. Summer/Fall 2013, Vol. 135, No. 3
The Brethren Church 524 College Ave. Ashland, OH 44805
Please let us know when you are moving. This will save us much-needed funds for ministry.
Next Issue: Year in Review Coming Fall 2013