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Creating Harmony Colossians 3:12-17 A newsletter by and for Church of the Brethren Young Adults Bridge 2016


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Getting to know the NYAC Speakers Laura Whitman There are many things about National Young Adult Conference that I am looking forward to this year: seeing many friends that I haven’t seen in over a year, getting to travel and a take a break from work, and enjoying some warmer weather. However, one of the most exciting things for me when I attend conferences like this is getting to hear wonderful speakers. At NYAC 2016, our preachers and Bible study leaders include: Christy Dowdy, Jim GrossnickleBatterton, Drew Heart, Eric Landram, Waltrina N. Middleton, and Richard Zapata. We hope that you are planning on attending NYAC to hear from these awesome presenters!

Richard Zapata

Profession: Pastor of the PrĂ­ncipe de Paz Church of the Brethren in Santa Anna, Ca. Hometown: Quito, Ecuador What is the most meaningful place that you have ever traveled to? Mexico What are you most excited about NYAC? Sharing about Jesus with new generations. If you could give one piece of advice to a group of young adults, what would it be? Have faith in God.

Waltrina N. Middleton Profession: Associate for National Youth Event Programming with the United Church of Christ Hometown: Chicago, Ill. Alma Matter: Chicago Theological Seminary, MDiv. What is the most meaningful place you have ever traveled to? Palestine has continually been a transformative place for me that deeply impacts my life personally and my call in ministry. What about NYAC most excites you? Connecting with faith leaders with a passion for and understanding that social justice and ministry are inclusive. If you could give one piece of advice to a group of young adults, what would it be? Don't be afraid to go against the grain and be a prophetic voice in the wilderness. Boldly speak truth to power and through your prophetic imagination, gifts, leadership, ministry and works, do justice and be love Bridge 2016 3


Jim Grossnickle-Batterton Profession: Interim Coordinator of Admissions for Bethany Theological Seminary and Interim Associate Pastor at First Mennonite Church, Iowa City Hometown: Summum, IL; currently living in Iowa City, IA Alma Mater: Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, 1996; Bethany Theological Seminary, 2014 What is the most meaningful place that you have ever traveled to? I visited the Tuscon and southern Arizona area in 2006 as part of a Christian Peacemaker Team delegation on the annual Migrant Trail Walk to raise awareness about the crisis of migrant deaths in the Sonora Desert. Seven days walking 75 miles from the border to Tuscon was an eye-opening experience for me. What are you most excited about NYAC? I have read a lot the past few years about young adults becoming disillusioned with denominations, so I am heartened and excited to meet young adults who are actively involved in making us better. If you could give one piece of advice to a group of young adults, what would it be? Do what feeds your creativity. I have gone stretches of time at various points in my life without a creative outlet. “Oh, I'm too busy” soon becomes “Blah! I've had it with the drudgery of life.” I like doing lots of different things so my creativity is fed in various ways: pencil drawing, reading novels, visiting art museums, origami, listening to live music, creative writing, reading comics, engaging things that require me to turn on different parts of the brain. Find something that interests you, and do it!

In lieu of questions & answers, here is Drew’s bio:

Drew G. I. Hart is a PhD candidate in theology, part-time professor, and writer, with ten years of pastoral experience. In addition to his doctoral work, he received his MDiv from Biblical Theological Seminary and a Biblical Studies degree from Messiah College. His blog entitled ‘Taking Jesus Seriously’ is hosted at Christian Century, and Drew speaks regularly in churches, colleges, and conferences. His book Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism expands the church’s frameworks for understanding racism through story-telling and critical reflection, and then offers Christian practices for the journey forward. He and his family live in Philadelphia. You can follow him on twitter @DruHart, on Facebook, and can order his book from Brethren Press (800-444-3112).

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Eric Landram Profession: Pastor at the Lititz Church of the Brethren in Lititz, Pa. Hometown: Lititz, Pa. Alma Mater: Bridgewater College, Bethany Theological Seminary What is the most meaningful place you have ever traveled to? Last May I traveled to Germany for my cross-cultural class at Bethany Theological Seminary. While in Marburg we studied the history and origins of the Protestant church and the beginnings of the Anabaptists as a result of the Reformation. We spent some time in Schwarzenau, which is a very significant place for the Church of the Brethren. The hospitality there was unlike any I have ever encountered before. We were warmly received at the Alexander Mack house/museum. We shared stories, our faith journeys, and passions. The students enrolled in the seminary had worship on the banks of the Eder River, where the original eight were baptized. We anointed one another with water from the river. There was something holy and beautiful about being in this place where the community we have today began. What about NYAC most excites you? Being an extrovert, I’m always excited for opportunities to gather together and be with one another. I’m looking forward to worship and fellowship. Being Brethren, we like to keep things simple. We have each other, we have the movement of the Spirit, and that’s more than enough for us! If you could give one piece of advice to a group of young adults, what would it be? Carpe diem! Seize the day! As young adults were have so many creative ideas, gifts, and passions to share with the world. This is our moment. Live today, live this very second to the fullest so that we can make a difference for tomorrow.

Christy Dowdy Profession: Pastor at Stone Church of the Brethren, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania Hometown: McPherson, Ks Alma Mater: McPherson College, Bethany Theological Seminary What is the most meaningful place that you have ever traveled to? Athens, Greece What about NYAC most excites you? Meeting all the young adults and hearing your dreams for our church. If you could give one piece of advice to a group of young adults, what would it be? Give thanks every day and spend time each day as you retire for the day reflecting about the "good, bad and learnings of the day." Bridge 2016 5


Harmony in the Boat Amanda McLearn-Montz Colossians 3:12-17, NRSV As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

A boat of rowers needs perfect harmony in order to stay afloat and glide through the water quickly. If one of the rowers is out of sync, the boat could lose its balance. Without balance, a boat will slow down and could even capsize. As a rower on my college’s club team for three years, I learned the importance of harmony in the boat. I was taught to row with my teammates in a smooth rhythm so we could be a successful boat. I quickly learned that the harmony I had with my teammates was dependent on my own inner harmony as a rower. Before I could row in unity with my boat mates, I had to row with good form and be in harmony with the oar I was controlling. Just like rowers in a boat, we have to create inner harmony before we can live in harmony with each other. We have big dreams of bringing peace and justice to our world, but we cannot do that if we do not have peace and harmony within our own hearts. Unfortunately, creating inner harmony can be difficult for us young adults. We are living in a stage of life that is full of transitions and changes. Often, we have to make major decisions about school, jobs, relationships, and places to live, and finding peace with our decisions can be hard. Many of us also have a difficult time creating inner harmony when we make mistakes. We might mess up at work, upset a friend, or fail a workout regimen, and then we may struggle to forgive ourselves for making these mistakes. Despite these challenges, Colossians 3:12-17* tells us that we can still create inner harmony through God. By doing devotions and meditating, we can find God’s wisdom and be at peace with the decisions and transitions in our lives. By praying and worshipping, we can experience God’s love and learn to forgive ourselves for our mistakes. When we have created our inner harmony, we can come together to create harmony in our world like rowers do in their boat. *This is the theme scripture for National Young Adult Conference 2016. Come to this conference in May to explore this scripture more and to have a fun weekend of fellowship and worship with fellow young adults! Register at www.brethren.org/yac/. 6 Bridge 2016


Manchester University: it is where you become the best version of yourself. Through these past few years Manchester has grown a lot. We have become a university, switched into the structure of colleges and have grown in numbers; but those changes do not effect our values and mission in the small town of North Manchester, IN. One of the things that has not changed is the students love of the warm weather. As soon as the temperature is warm enough students come out their nice warm cocoons from winter. They come out on to the mall to play ultimate, throw around a football or even do homework. There are many other parts of the campus to explore when it is warm as well, including the Muir Peace garden and our own labyrinth. On a stressful day it is nice to just grab a book and sit outside either by the Peace Garden or under one of the many beautiful oak trees all around campus. If you do not want to sit on the ground you can find a good spot and hang up a hammock. There are also many options of bike routes as well as exploring around the campus and North Manchester area. We look forward to hosting NYAC this summer! RenĂŠe Neher

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I Need You & You Need Me: A Reflection on Community Living Mark Pickens The word, “community” is one that I have not always thought about or understood in so many ways. Since after college, I began talking more about community in the context of “Christian community.” While studying Biblical and Religious Studies in college, along with history and the human sciences, I became more and more interested in the application of faith to daily life and practice. I enjoyed talking about topics of faith and listening to stories from others who have lived and led a life of faith in strong and radical ways. I became fascinated with studies on monasticism and faith-based initiatives on community living. I recall having conversations that stretched my thought process on connecting my personal relationship with God as an individual with the social action with the wider human community. Which is more important or valuable than the other? The general consensus around the table was that neither was more important, but rather co-equal. In other words, we could not have an honest and sincere personal relationship with God through Christ as individuals unless we were willing to accept the call to engage the world we live in. Likewise, we could not honestly and sincerely live a life devoted to social action and community activity unless we spent time on individual spiritual formation and growth. During Ministry Summer Service, I lived in a house with six other interns and a family. We learned a lot about intentional community living that summer and I was invited to stay longer and devote more time to learning what it means to live in community. As a young adult in the Church of the Brethren, I am encouraged to see and hear how community is being discussed and lived out. I think that there are many challenges for us as we engage with one another through healthy conversation and reflection on issues that affect who we are as individuals as well as who we are as a larger human community. How do I relate to others who are like me as well as others who are different from me? How do I welcome the other and not simply expect them to welcome me? How is my individual faith being challenged by, as well as contributing to, the larger faith community and the Church? As I think of these questions, the practice of community remains on my mind. I need you as much as you need me. We need each other in order to truly be an authentic Christian community that is committed to living out the teachings of Jesus and of our own faith tradition. It is my hope and prayer that as we live life day-to-day and carry out our mundane tasks, we may be open to receive a message that we are not alone in our endeavors. Let us work through faith to discover, consider, and embrace who we are in the context of community. For those of us who claim faith in Christ, may our lives be a reflection of the whole Christian community and Christian community as a whole.

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Harmony in Italy Jess Hoffert The Drake Choir’s first glimpse of the quaint village, Assisi, occurred as our coach bus made a gentle bend on the highway. There was a sense of anticipation and excitement as our bus driver navigated tight turns and inclines to get us closer to the magnificent hillside village overlooking the Umbrian countryside. It was my freshman year at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, and I was on my first European choir tour. Our evening concert was held at the Basilica of St. Francis. It’s hard to describe the basilica in words, but it truly is the anchor of Assisi, standing out when viewing the village from the south. The tomb of St. Francis is actually located within the lower church, a sight we were all fortunate enough to see. Our evening concert was held in the upper church of the basilica. It’s a rarity for any choir to perform in this lovely sacred place, so we felt honored and privileged to sing in the 800year-old space that is highlighted by works of Giotto, the famous Renaissance painter.

sacred and astoundingly resonant space.

As we entered the church in formation, I was surprised that so many people had shown up for the performance. This was encouraging in itself, and I think it only increased the drive of the choir to get the most beautiful sound out of such a

Our first piece was Deus Creator Omnium, a work for two choirs that consists of us standing on opposite sides of the church. I couldn’t help but see a nun from the corner of my eye who had closed her eyes to listen to the beauty of our music. As I glanced around some more, I witnessed more people who were gently closing their eyes and simply basking in the warmth of the sound. By the end of our piece, I had tears in my eyes because I had personally seen, for the first time, profound physical reactions of the audience to our music. The Drake Choir did something special at that concert. Let’s face it: Foreigners don’t see Americans like they used to anymore. That evening, an audience of all ages and nationalities smiled, cheered, and gave us the greatest standing ovation of the year that moved many of us to tears. Everyone in that audience felt our great love for music through songs of peace, reverence, and reconciliation. Mother Theresa once said, “We can do no great things; only small things with great love.” I’ve always loved that quote but I’m not sure if I’ve always lived by it. At least on that day, I was able to meet the challenge set forth by Mother Theresa with 49 of my best friends by my side. Bridge 2016 9


Together in Harmony Kyle Remnant In our worship services, we usually hear a scripture passage with several verses read consecutively. Rarely do we get the opportunity to sit with any verse in particular unless it is highlighted further in the message. I often like to reflect on just a verse or two and compare several translations to see what I might glean from a solitary session of semantics. Each version is a different translator’s take on the original text and it always amazes me how much resemblance and/or how much contrast there is between translations. The following is a result of this small hobby: a multi-translation journey – a progression, if you will – through Psalm 133:1. From the Message: How wonderful, how beautiful, when brothers and sisters get along! Who is my brother? Who are my sisters? God blessed me with a younger sister, Kelly. She and I did not always get along growing up. Long car rides tested our patience with each other, board games often brought out the worst in us, and there were times we just plain didn’t like each other. We got over our arguments as soon as we started them and by the time we became young adults we learned to respect and love each other. Between our childhood spats I'm sure my parents may have said, "How wonderful, how beautiful it is when Kyle and Kelly get along!” But this surely cannot be what Psalm 133 is referring to, not biological siblings. I am certain that David, our Psalmist, had a much larger family in mind. From the King James Version: Behold, how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! Now we're talking. Brethren. Brethren living together in unity. This is often seen through potlucks and picnics and barbeques and Love Feast – the fellowship of Brethren. All is right with the world when Brethren dwell together, the way God intended. Behold, the Brethren are leading the way, dwelling in community with one another. Ah, but this is also not what David meant. He did not capitalize “brethren.” Obviously the Church of the Brethren wasn't around in David's day, so surely he meant ‘brethren’ as a term for brothers and sisters and that puts us back at square one. Who is my brother? Who are my sisters? The NIV: How good and pleasant it is when God's people live together in unity! Ah! God's people! The Jewish people! How good and pleasant it is when Jewish people live together in unity! Or... maybe "God's people" is all-inclusive. Jew and Gentile, Christian and Muslim, black and white, gay and straight, married and divorced, male and female, veteran and conscientious objector, republican and democrat... and libertarian and green party and constitutional party… To me, “God's people” doesn’t seem to imply just one select group of folks. We are each fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God. I don’t think it was just Christians that were made in God’s image. God created each one of us. God breathes life into all people. How good and pleasant it is when ALL people live together in unity! But there's still something missing for me... and it has to do with the "unity" part. How do we achieve unity in our current dynamic and vibrant world? Unity means the same. How can we be expected to do the same things and look and think the exact same way as the other 7 billion inhabitants of earth? With all of the divisions of nationality, geography, ethnicity, religion, orientation, educational backgrounds, marital status, political affiliations, or even our sports team allegiances, how can we be unified when we are so different? Red Sox and Yankees fans living together in unity? Fat chance. Far right and far left getting along? 10 Bridge 2016


Not likely. How can a bassoon sound like a trumpet? Or a harp sound like a snare drum? That just can't be, so how can they be in unity? How can we be unified? If we are already one in Christ, do we even need to aim for absolute unity? From the Good News Translation: How wonderful it is, how pleasant, for God's people to live together in harmony! It is all of the previously mentioned differences, all of those divisions, that make each of us who we are. Each of us has a one-of-a-kind voice that fits into the greater choir. We aren't all sopranos, or altos, or baritones. We don't all sing the same part, but you don’t get harmony when everyone sings the same note. It takes the acknowledgement of our differences to come together to create something beautiful, something wonderful. We all have different gifts and talents. We all have different roles and niches, but they all fit together in the family of Christ, the kingdom of God. Harmony is not necessarily always pretty. Musically, dissonance is the term for harmony that is created by an unpleasing combination of tones or an unresolved chord. When a dissonant chord is sounded, you can feel the tension and the need for resolution. Composers use dissonance to create a somber or even angry mood, but it can also be used as a tool to contrast the consonant chords. If prepared and resolved well, dissonance has a powerful presence in music. Imagine squeezing a sore neck muscle for a while and then letting it go. You will notice an immediate sense of comfort after overwhelming tension. Dissonance serves the same purpose in music, creating tension to enhance the sense of comfort that accompanies consonant harmonies. We often experience a similar dissonance in our relationships as well. Disagreements happen and arguments are bound to ensue; but if they are resolved well, the dissonant experience gives way to stronger, healthier relationships. It is important to keep this in mind as we go about our daily lives. The differences we experience can be overwhelming. When language or religion or political inclinations separate us, we do not always know where to begin. But as long as we are aware of the contrasting ideas, and recognize the value in varying opinions, we can begin to construct a vision for a harmonious future where all are welcome to share their unique voice. So may our good news for today come from the Good News Translation of Psalm 133:1. How wonderful it is, how pleasant, for God's people to live together in harmony! May it be so, friends.

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There will be three positions opening up on the Young Adult Steering Committee after NYAC. Are you interested in helping plan Young Adult Conferences? Apply Today!

Young Adult Steering Committee Application Name__________________________________________ Age_______ Gender__________ Address______________________________________________________________________ Phone________________________ Email__________________________________________ Congregation and district________________________________________________________ What activities and/or leadership opportunities have you had in your congregation and district?

Describe where you are currently at on your faith journey.

Why do you want to serve on the denominational Young Adult Steering Committee?

What are your ideas/hopes/dreams for the future of young adult ministry for the Church of the Brethren?

By June 30, 2016 please return to: Becky Ullom Naugle, Director of Youth/Young Adult Ministry Church of the Brethren 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120 bullomnaugle@brethren.org fax: 847-429-4395 14 Bridge 2016


2015-2016 Young Adult Steering Committee Jess Hoffert, Des Moines, Iowa Heather Landram, Lititz, Pennsylvania Amanda McLearn-Montz, Elgin, Illinois Mark Pickens, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Kyle Remnant, Cincinnati, Ohio Laura Whitman, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Staff for Young Adult Ministries

Join the Conversation!

Becky Ullom Naugle

Each week members of the Young Adult Steering Committee post a question to the “Young Adults of the Church of the Brethren� Facebook page. Join the conversation and suggest your own questions!

bullomnaugle@brethren.org 847-429-4385 800-323-8039 ext. 385 Youth/Young Adult Ministry Church of the Brethren 1451 Dundee Ave

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Job Description Youth/Young Adult Ministry Assistant Congregational Life Ministries Church of the Brethren Elgin, IL The YYA Ministry Assistant position is both a practical ministry position as well as an administrative position. In 2016 – 2017, the assistant will focus on preparations for Christian Citizenship Seminar 2017, Young Adult Conference 2017, National Junior High Conference 2017, and Ministry Summer Service (which includes Youth Peace Travel Team). Most of the year is spent preparing for these events in the Elgin office, while the remainder of the time is spent facilitating these events on-site. Work includes working with various planning teams to envision and carry out the various events (identifying themes, workshops, speakers and other leaders), as well as managing the administrative side of the various events (setting up online registration, managing budgets, coordinating logistics, tracking contracts & forms, etc.). This position is a Brethren Volunteer Service placement and thus includes serving as a BVS volunteer and being a member of the Elgin Community House. Skills Required Gifts for and experience in youth ministry Passion for Christian service and an understanding of mutual ministry, both giving and receiving Emotional and spiritual maturity Organizational and office skills Physical stamina and the ability to travel well Computer skills, including experience with Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Access, and Publisher) For more information or to request an application, please contact: Becky Ullom Naugle Church of the Brethren Youth/Young Adult Ministry Office 1451 Dundee Ave. Elgin, IL 60120 bullomnaugle@brethren.org 800-323-8039, x 385 or 847-429-4385 Fax: 847-429-4395

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