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District News & Announcements – March 2018

District News & Announcements

March 2018

 “District News and Announcements” is a monthly e-newsletter for members and friends of the Church of the Brethren in the Northern Plains District.  District Leaders, Commissions, Committees, and those doing special ministries share information on programs and activities.  Local churches share news and invitations.  Send submissions by March 24th for inclusion in next month’s newsletter to Hannah Button-Harrison, Director of Communications, communications@nplains.org.

Get a printable version of the newsletter here.

In this issue

  1. Ministers’ Professional Growth Event: April 15-17
  2. Women’s Retreat at Camp Pine Lake: April 19-21
  3. 42nd Stover Memorial Music Festival: April 29th
  4. Teachers to Haiti: June 19-26
  5. Important Information for National Youth Conference: July 21-26
  6. Camp Pine Lake seeks Camp Director
  7. Protective Factors Training Report
  8. Message from the Moderator
  9. Holiness in our Midst – On Asking Jesus
  10. Leadership Development Musings
  11. Jess Hoffert’s California Adventures
  12. David Whitten Accepts Call to Virginia Pastorate
  13. Lent Bulletins at Peace Church
  14. Congregational Newsletters
Quick info
Calendar of Events | District Staff & Leadership Contacts | Documents & Resources

Banner photo: Pastor Timothy Curtiss speaks during the children’s time at Ottumwa Church of the Brethren.  Photo by Joseph Cudal. Send in your photos for future newsletters! Email communications@nplains.org.

Holiness in our Midst: Session 66

Holiness in our Midst

SESSION LXVI: ON ASKING JESUS

If Jesus were standing right here, right now, what would you ask Him?

I heard this question on Sunday morning, Sept. 19, 2004, during worship at a Church of the Brethren fellowship in Limeira, a city located 95 miles from Sao Paulo. I was traveling with a delegation visiting the denomination’s churches in Brazil in my role as coordinator for mission connections.

The pastor asked each of the thirty persons present, including children, to answer as a way of introducing ourselves to one another. The service was held in a poor section of the city, but there was a richness of spirit pervading the room. To a one, the children asked for help for others, not just themselves: a job for a mother, health for a sibling, food for their family, freedom from addiction for a friend. The depth of the local answers was enlightening; we as North Americans tended toward asking for things that enriched ourselves. (One pastor from our delegation was so taken with this question that he brought it back to his congregation to use for sharing time in his worship services.)

Having just completed my cancer journey (successfully!), my current answer to this question would be to ask Jesus to make plain my path in the coming months. I would ask Him: Where would You have me focus my time and energies as I go forth in gratitude with a new appreciation for the gift of life?

STORY CIRCLE PROMPT: If Jesus were standing right here, right now, what would you ask Him?

FOR PERSONAL/JOURNAL REFLECTION:

  1. Read the above reflection.
  2. Write about a deeper need in your journal, using the Story Circle Prompt.

FOR GROUP STUDY:

  1.   Read aloud Session LXVI.  
  2.   Ask each person to answer the Story Circle Prompt.

[View Past Sessions Here]

Note: Holiness in Our MidstSharing Our Stories to Encourage and Heal is a monthly on-line feature created by Janis Pyle to facilitate sharing of our personal experiences, thoughts, beliefs, and spiritual practices with one another, especially through stories. Barriers are broken down when we begin to see all persons, even those with whom we disagree ideologically, as sacred and constantly attended to by a loving Creator. Each column is accompanied by a “story circle” prompt and study guides for personal and group reflection. To share your stories, contact Hannah Button-Harrison at communications@nplains.org. Janis Pyle can be reached at janispyle@yahoo.com.

Hammond Avenue Church Calls New Pastor: Dane Mauslein

Tim Button-Harrison, District Executive
de@nplains.org

On December 10, 2017, Hammond Avenue Brethren Church (Waterloo, IA) called Dane Mauslein as their new pastor.  He is from Nebraska and Kansas, is married to Caitlin, and recently graduated from Ashland Theological Seminary in Ohio with an M.Div. degree.  Dane and Caitlin arrived in Waterloo January 20, he officially starts February 11, and his installation service is February 18 during worship followed by a Soup for the Soul meal.  Tim Button-Harrison, Church of the Brethren District Executive, will preach the installation sermon, and Lee Compson of the Brethren Church will lead the installation.  District folks are encouraged to attend the installation service and/or send notes of welcome and support to Dane and Caitlin Mauslein, 1614 Hammond Avenue, Waterloo, IA 50702 or Pastor.HABC@gmail.com.

Last year Hammond Avenue’s Pastor Larry McKinney announced his plans to retire.  He began his ministry with Hammond Avenue in April 2012 and the congregation held a special celebration of his ministry on January 21.  Notes of appreciation for his ministry and involvement in the district may be sent to Larry and Linda McKinney, 2209 Cypress, Cedar Falls, IA 50613 or lmckinney@cfu.net.

Dane Mauslein shares the following on his background, work and education.

“I was born in Falls City, Nebraska and was raised in Hiawatha, Kansas. Growing up, I attended Falls City First Brethren Church. In May of 2009, I graduated with my Associate of Arts degree from Highland Community College (HCC) in Highland, Kansas. While there, I was an academic tutor and also a member of the Academic Excellence Challenge team. I was also a member HCC’s Track and Field team. After graduating from HCC, I continued my education at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. My time at Washburn was quite fruitful. I was an AmeriCorps volunteer at a community-based resource organization, known as Let’s Help, Inc. I served people pursuing their general education degree and helped in several other areas. Also, I was able to complete an addiction counseling internship of over 700 hours with Valeo Recovery Center of Topeka, Kansas.

“I graduated from Washburn University with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Human Services with an emphasis in Addiction Counseling, Summa Cum Laude. Prior to graduating I was licensed within the State of Kansas as an addiction counselor. Most important of all my wife, Caitlin, and I met during our time at Washburn, as Caitlin was also studying to be a nurse. Upon graduating in December of 2011, I moved to Norton, Kansas to work as a Licensed Addiction Counselor for Valley Hope, a nationally-recognized residential addiction treatment program.

“After reconnecting, Caitlin and I were married on June 8, 2014. We then moved to Ashland, Ohio where I recently completed my Master of Divinity degree this past December. We were able to actively participate in ministries at Park Street Brethren Church in Ashland, Ohio. I also had the privilege of serving Trinity Brethren Church of North Canton, Ohio as their Intentional Transitional Pastor. Caitlin and I are now settling into Waterloo, Iowa. We are excited to engage in what God is already doing at Hammond Avenue Brethren Church and the surrounding community.”

District News & Announcements – February 2018

District News & Announcements

February 2018

 “District News and Announcements” is a monthly e-newsletter for members and friends of the Church of the Brethren in the Northern Plains District.  District Leaders, Commissions, Committees, and those doing special ministries share information on programs and activities.  Local churches share news and invitations.  Send submissions by February 22nd for inclusion in next month’s newsletter to Hannah Button-Harrison, Director of Communications, communications@nplains.org.

Get a printable version of the newsletter here.

In this issue

  1. 2018 District Directory
  2. Michael Himlie Talks About His Work in Palestine: Feb. 1-18
  3. February Ventures Course: Feb. 10
  4. Regional Youth Conference & National Youth Conference: Mar. 2-4 & Jul. 21-26
  5. Ministers’ Professional Growth Event: April 15-17
  6. Women’s Retreat at Camp Pine Lake: April 19-21
  7. Witness Commission Projects
  8. Message from the Moderator
  9. Holiness in our Midst
  10. Leadership Development Musings
  11. Jess Hoffert’s California Adventures
  12. Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Task Force Response
  13. Ryan Bingman Helps Rebuild in Puerto Rico
  14. Hammond Avenue Brethren Church Calls New Pastor: Dan Mauslein
  15. Congregational Newsletters
Quick info

Calendar of Events | District Staff & Leadership Contacts | Documents & Resources

Banner photo: Birds walk on a frozen Lake Winona, near the Lewiston Church of the Brethren.  Photo by Jess Hoffert. Send in your photos for future newsletters! Email communications@nplains.org.

Holiness in our Midst: Session 65

Holiness in our Midst

SESSION LXV: ON FUN FACTS

A fun fact about myself is that I inhale Amish novels, at the rate of about 10 per month, year after year. Yes, there are that many out there. Authors keep writing them in single volumes, compilations of novellas and series.

Aren’t they all the same with minor changes in locations and circumstances? Well, yes and no. Most are coming-of-age stories of young women faced with the choice of living out in the English world with its myriad temptation and marrying within their familiar and comfortable (but limited) community life. Each character, though, has a twist that complicates the choice: like a controlling family (Will the father stop the marriage?), a hidden ailment (Will he still love her if he finds out she can’t bear a child?) or a yearning for higher education (Will she have to forgo her interest in becoming a veterinarian to stay in the community?).

Most are easy reads, but quite well written. Descriptions of Pennsylvania Dutch meals make my mouth water. Recipes are often included. Between the lines, authors infuse their favorite sayings (“The good stuff lies on the other side of fear.”) and philosophies of life (“We are all just people in training.” Shelley Shepard Gray), which I find quite applicable to my own. If you think you might like to enter deep into the joys and heartaches of Amish families, here is a list of authors to start with: Wanda Brunstetter, Amy Clipston, Jerry S. Eicher, Shelley Shepard Gray, Beverly Lewis, Beth Wiseman and Cindy Woodsmall.

STORY CIRCLE PROMPT: What are some fun facts about yourself?

FOR PERSONAL/JOURNAL REFLECTION:

  1. Read the above reflection.
  2. In your journal, write down a few fun facts about yourself. Explore whether they give clues to life changes you might want to make.

FOR GROUP STUDY:

  1.   Read aloud Session LXV  
  2.   Ask each person to answer the Story Circle Prompt.

[View Past Sessions Here]

Note: Holiness in Our MidstSharing Our Stories to Encourage and Heal is a monthly on-line feature created by Janis Pyle to facilitate sharing of our personal experiences, thoughts, beliefs, and spiritual practices with one another, especially through stories. Barriers are broken down when we begin to see all persons, even those with whom we disagree ideologically, as sacred and constantly attended to by a loving Creator. Each column is accompanied by a “story circle” prompt and study guides for personal and group reflection. To share your stories, contact Hannah Button-Harrison at communications@nplains.org. Janis Pyle can be reached at janispyle@yahoo.com.

District News & Announcements – January 2018

District News & Announcements

January 2018

 “District News and Announcements” is a monthly e-newsletter for members and friends of the Church of the Brethren in the Northern Plains District.  District Leaders, Commissions, Committees, and those doing special ministries share information on programs and activities.  Local churches share news and invitations.  Send submissions by January 25th for inclusion in next month’s newsletter to Hannah Button-Harrison, Director of Communications, communications@nplains.org.

Get a printable version of the newsletter here.

In this issue

  1. 2018 District Prayer Calendars
  2. Child Sexual Abuse Awareness and Prevention Sunday: Jan 21 or 28
  3. Regional Youth Conference & National Youth Conference: Mar. 2-4 & Jul. 21-26
  4. Women’s Retreat at Camp Pine Lake: April 19-21
  5. District Conference Auction 
  6. Message from the Moderator
  7. Holiness in our Midst
  8. Leadership Development Musings
  9. Jess Hoffert’s California Adventures
  10. New Courses in Ventures and Brethren Academy
  11. Congregational Newsletters
Quick info
Calendar of Events | District Staff & Leadership Contacts | Documents & Resources

Banner photo: Fairview Church celebrates “Reading Through the Bible in 2017” with a cake and punch reception following worship December 31.  Photo by Diane Mason. Send in your photos for future newsletters! Email communications@nplains.org.

Holiness in our Midst: Session 64

Holiness in our Midst

SESSION LIIX: ON MISSION FIELDS

Late last summer I went to a funeral in a church I had not attended before. As I was leaving the parking lot, a sign greeted me: You are now entering the mission field. The message on the sign stayed with me and prompts the story circle question: Where is my mission field for this New Year? My mission field for the New Year is informed by the limits imposed by my cancer journey, which began last June. After chemotherapy and a successful mastectomy, I will undergo radiation from late January through March. I remain dedicated to my local community mission causes of hunger and homelessness awareness and to the denomination’s international mission sites, but, by necessity, my mission field this year will be myself. I will dedicate time to exercise, healthy eating, positive self-talk, and attention to appearance and fashion. When I re-enter the public arena, hopefully, it will be from an enhanced self-awareness and the ability to sustain a life of advocacy with even more strength.

STORY CIRCLE PROMPT: What mission field are you being called to during the New Year?

FOR PERSONAL/JOURNAL REFLECTION:

  1. Read the above reflection.
  2. Picture Jesus handing you a personal invitation to join with Him working in a new mission field this year. What does the invitation say? Did you say ‘yes?’ Write about the spiritual exercise.

FOR GROUP STUDY:

  1.   Read aloud Session LIIX.  
  2.   Ask each person to answer the Story Circle Prompt.

[View Past Sessions Here]

Note: Holiness in Our MidstSharing Our Stories to Encourage and Heal is a monthly on-line feature created by Janis Pyle to facilitate sharing of our personal experiences, thoughts, beliefs, and spiritual practices with one another, especially through stories. Barriers are broken down when we begin to see all persons, even those with whom we disagree ideologically, as sacred and constantly attended to by a loving Creator. Each column is accompanied by a “story circle” prompt and study guides for personal and group reflection. To share your stories, contact Hannah Button-Harrison at communications@nplains.org. Janis Pyle can be reached at janispyle@yahoo.com.

District News & Announcements – December 2017

District News & Announcements

December 2017

 “District News and Announcements” is a monthly e-newsletter for members and friends of the Church of the Brethren in the Northern Plains District.  District Leaders, Commissions, Committees, and those doing special ministries share information on programs and activities.  Local churches share news and invitations.  Send submissions by December 29th for inclusion in next month’s newsletter to Hannah Button-Harrison, Director of Communications, communications@nplains.org.

Get a printable version of the newsletter here.

Holiness in our Midst: Session 63

Holiness in our Midst

SESSION LXIII: ON QUAKER QUESTIONS

Writer’s note: The “Four Quaker Questions” are frequently-used ice-breakers in small groups. They are: 1) Where did you live between the ages of 7 and 12? 2) How did you heat your home then? 3) What or who was the center of human warmth in your family? Why? 4) When, if ever, did God become more than a mere word to you? If you ask participants these questions in a group setting, leave plenty of time for answers, because they call forth deep and strong emotions.

Following is my answer to Questions 3:

The center of warmth in my family between 7 and 12 was the family table each evening in Urbandale, IA, a suburb of Des Moines. Days were hectic with work and school, but at supper time we slowed down. We shared stories from our daily lives while savoring tasty meals. (The recipes were from the Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook.) My father had remarried the year I was 9. My siblings, Jill, 5, Jerry, 8, and Janet, 13, and I were still coming to grips with the death of our mother two years earlier. In addition to moving from a farm setting, we acquired overnight a step mother, an older step brother, Arthur, who had just joined the Navy, and a step sister, Jean, who was in high school. Adjustments were required on all our parts, but our blended family came together with love and laughter as we passed around the spare ribs or pork chop casserole. On Sundays, we had pot roast that simmered in the oven while we were at church. When we got home, we added carrots, potatoes and onions while we changed clothes and anticipated another family time of togetherness. A testimony to our shared meals is the fact that the family table is still important to each of us as a symbol of security in our lives.

STORY CIRCLE PROMPT: Ask the group to answer one or more of the four Quaker Questions.

FOR PERSONAL/JOURNAL REFLECTION:

  1. Read the above reflection.
  2. Write expanded answers to the four Quaker Questions as an exercise in self-understanding.

FOR GROUP STUDY:

  1.   Read aloud Session LXIII.  
  2.   Ask each person to answer the Story Circle Prompt.

[View Past Sessions Here]

Note: Holiness in Our MidstSharing Our Stories to Encourage and Heal is a monthly on-line feature created by Janis Pyle to facilitate sharing of our personal experiences, thoughts, beliefs, and spiritual practices with one another, especially through stories. Barriers are broken down when we begin to see all persons, even those with whom we disagree ideologically, as sacred and constantly attended to by a loving Creator. Each column is accompanied by a “story circle” prompt and study guides for personal and group reflection. To share your stories, contact Hannah Button-Harrison at communications@nplains.org. Janis Pyle can be reached at janispyle@yahoo.com.

District News & Announcements – November 2017

District News & Announcements

November 2017

 “District News and Announcements” is a monthly e-newsletter for members and friends of the Church of the Brethren in the Northern Plains District.  District Leaders, Commissions, Committees, and those doing special ministries share information on programs and activities.  Local churches share news and invitations.  Send submissions by November 24th for inclusion in next month’s newsletter to Hannah Button-Harrison, Director of Communications, communications@nplains.org.

Get a printable version of the newsletter here.