In this issue:
SEARCH EXTENDED FOR MINISTER OF FAITH AND GIVING
A spiritually-grounded and creative individual is sought by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to serve as the Minister of Faith and Giving. The Church has extended its search for an individual who can clearly articulate a biblical theology of stewardship and God’s abundance. The person called to this ministry will be a skilled administrator and proven network builder, and bring a deep understanding of how to develop, frame and sustain a culture of giving in racially and culturally diverse settings.
An understanding of emerging technologies and how to utilize networks of experts and ministry partners will be essential skills for the Minister of Faith and Giving. This person also should possess a minimum of seven years experience in building, directing, inspiring and equipping individuals in the spiritual discipline of stewardship. If these criteria describe your passion and experience in the area of faithful Christian stewardship, please go to www.disciples.org/watkins/news/2008/08/20a.pdf for a complete position overview. Applications are due by Oct. 1.
LEXINGTON THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY NAMES NEW PRESIDENT
Lexington Theological Seminary has tapped an alumnus with a proven track record as a church administrator and fundraiser to be the seminary’s 16th president. James P. (Jim) Johnson, currently of Indianapolis, succeeded R. Robert Cueni as president of the Seminary on August 19.
Johnson, a 1965 alumnus of LTS, is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and has served as a congregational pastor and general ministry president during his more than 43 years in ministry. He most recently was in charge of planned giving for the Mayo Foundation in Rochester, Minn. To read more about Johnson’s appointment, visit: www.lextheo.edu
NEW DISCIPLES.ORG WEB SITE TO BE LAUNCHED ON SEPTEMBER 2; GENERAL ASSEMBLY REGISTRATION ALSO STARTS ON THAT DATE
Communication Ministries will launch a new design for the primary web site of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) on Sept. 2. Disciples.org has been redesigned to utilize new technologies for managing content and will provide new services such as RSS feeds and online giving to the Disciples Mission Fund.
The launch will be the first phase of a web site improvement project by Communication Ministries. Future enhancements will include improved and additional resources, and integration with online communities such as MySpace, YouTube and Facebook. Information and online registration for the 2009 General Assembly also will be available on Sept. 2.
To see the new design and to register for the 2009 General Assembly, be sure to visit www.disciples.org on September 2.
EXHIBIT HALL NAMED AFTER LONGTIME DISCIPLE OSCAR HAYNES
The Disciples of Christ Historical Society hosted a ceremony to dedicate the new Oscar Haynes Exhibit Hall on July 29 in Nashville, Tenn. The 92-year-old Haynes, who attended the dedication, was the first lay person to serve as the president of the National Convocation and is one of the most significant African-American lay leaders in the Church. The 120 guests at the ceremony included Haynes’ wife, Joan-Bell Haynes, and four generations of his family.
Haynes was honored for distinctive service to the church. The hall named in his honor features artifacts and memorabilia of the African-American movement within the Christian Church. To read more, see: www.disciples.org/dns/Releases2008/08079.html
NATIONAL HISPANIC AND BILINGUAL ASSEMBLY HIGHLIGHTS GROWTH AND UNITY
More than 250 Disciples from the United States and Puerto Rico gathered recently in New Jersey to worship, fellowship and learn as part of the 14th National Hispanic and Bilingual Assembly. The four-day meeting included preaching by several well-known Disciples ministers, as well as workshops, youth activities and musical performances. The conference theme was: “Growth and Discipleship: Challenges of the 21st Century.” To read more about the assembly, visit: www.disciples.org/dns/Releases2008/08080.html
SOUTHWEST REGION OFFERS DISCOUNTED LANGUAGE LEARNING PROGRAM
The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the Southwest has created a unique opportunity for Disciples everywhere to learn new languages. Through a partnership with the Rosetta Stone online language learning center, the region is offering a discounted rate to purchase Rosetta Stone services.
“Our hope is that through communication people will be better able to talk to each other" said, Chuck Fisher, Hi-Plains Area minister, whose office created the opportunity. "From the day you sign up you will have one year to use the services. If you are diligent and go through all the levels you can become pretty fluent in the language of your choice.” To learn how to access the program, visit: www.ccsw-hpa.org
WEEK OF COMPASSION PREPARES TO SEND RELIEF TO GEORGIA
Week of Compassion, the relief, refugee and development ministry fund of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), is preparing a response to an appeal by Action by Churches Together (Act) for emergency relief assistance for the victims of the violence in the country of Georgia. The fighting that broke out between Russia and Georgian forces in the disputed Georgian provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia has left scores of people dead and tens of thousands of others displaced.
Week of Compassion has already approved sending a sustainable development grant to provide vocational education and employment opportunities for at-risk youth in Georgia as part of Church World Service’s assistance to the Tblisi Youth House Foundation. The foundation has helped more than 15,000 displaced and vulnerable Georgian children over the past decade. To get more, go to: www.weekofcompassion.org/pages/updates/aug0814.html
MORE THAN 100 DISCIPLES MINISTERS STAY IN TOUCH THROUGH FACEBOOK
Several Disciples ministers are using an increasingly popular medium to stay in contact with each other: Facebook, the popular Internet social utility that connects people to one another. The new facebook.com group is called Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Clergy and currently has about 117 members. In addition to being another avenue for Disciples ministers to share ideas, the site lets them keep up with what is happening in other congregations.
“I have found it great to connect with those who are in ministry with me and share ideas, thoughts and what’s going on in our lives,” said David Geenen, a Disciples Chaplain in Englewood, Colo. “It’s another example of Disciples keeping in touch with the current culture.” For more information or to join the network, contact Geenen at email@example.com or call 303-788-5041 or 303-788-6232.
INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN YOUTH FELLOWSHIP DRAWS SEVERAL HUNDRED YOUTH
Hundreds of youths gathered at Chapman University in Orange, Calif., July 24-27 for the International Christian Youth Fellowship (ICYF). Every four years, Disciples high school youth come together for worship, fun, mission work and leisure activities. More than 750 attended the opening worship service on July 24. Before that, at least 450 engaged in mission work beginning July 20. They fixed up transitional housing, labored in food warehouses in Orange, Calif., and constructed new homes.
“I didn't know what to expect for this trip, but I know I was extremely excited to go,” said Kate, a student who attended ICYF. “What I experienced in this past week has been unlike any event that has ever happened in my life. I could never have imagined what a wonderfully spiritual and overwhelming journey this adventure turned out to be.” To find out more, go to: www.disciples.org/dns/Releases2008/08081.html
To read reflections from youth that attended the ICYF, visit: www.disciples.org/dns/Releases2008/08082.html
HISTORICAL SOCIETY TO HOST SEMINAR FOR CHURCH HISTORIANS
The Disciples of Christ Historical Society will hold the 2008 Joe and Nancy Stalcup Seminar for Congregational Historians Sept. 25-27 in Nashville, Tenn. The seminar, which will equip participants to do the work of congregational historians, will be held at the T.W. Phillips Memorial at the Disciples of Christ Historical Society. The registration deadline is Aug. 25.
Session topics will include building a web site on a small budget, digitizing and indexing historic photographs, and preserving your congregation archives. Additional information and the registration form are available on the DCHS website at www.discipleshistory.org. You may also find out more details by going to: www.disciples.org/dns/Releases2008/08084.html
To download a flyer about the seminar, go to: www.disciples.org/dns/Releases2008/08083.pdf
FORMER DIVISION OF HOMELAND MINISTRIES TREASURER DIES
A former administrator at the United Christian Missionary Society, Russell F. Harrison, has died. He was 89. Harrison was a graduate of Lexington Theological Seminary. He served as national youth director and executive secretary of the world outreach education department for the United Christian Missionary Society and in the society’s office of planning and research.
Harrison retired in 1983, after serving for more than 10 years as the treasurer of the Division of Homeland Ministries. He had also authored communion prayer books, traveled the world extensively in his work, and was an avid golfer. A memorial service celebrating his life was held Aug. 6 at Downey Avenue Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Indianapolis. Memorial contributions may be made to Week of Compassion or Downey Avenue Christian Church.
DISCIPLES ECUMENICAL CONSULTATIVE COUNCIL ISSUES LETTER SUPPORTING CHURCH IN ZIMBABWE; DECC AND WARC MEET TO CONTINUE THEIR WORK TOWARD UNITY
The Disciples Ecumenical Consultative Council has issued a pastoral letter affirming its support for Christian organizations in Zimbabwe that are struggling in the current political and economic upheaval there. The DECC is a global gathering of churches representing the Disciples of Christ, Churches of Christ and the United Churches which Disciples have joined. The group recently met in Nashville, Tenn. To read more as well as to access the letter, go to: www.disciples.org/ccu/news/2008/0807.DECCmeeting.html
In addition, a recent meeting of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) and the Disciples Ecumenical Consultative Council (DECC) should pave the way for a closer relationship between the two organizations.
WARC and DECC leaders met July 26 - 27 at the Disciples of Christ Historical Society in Nashville, Tenn., to continue their conversations on “the development of a comprehensive partnership in pursuit of the visible unity of the church.”
The World Alliance of Reformed Churches is a body of Reformed, Congregational, Presbyterian, Waldensian, United and Uniting churches who have since the late 19th century engaged in common witness to Christ and in strengthening its common calling to visible unity and mission. For more on that meeting see: www.disciples.org/dns/Releases2008/08085.html
PROBLEMS IN SUDAN ARE SPREAD ACROSS ENTIRE COUNTRY
Sudan Ecumenical Forum, an umbrella advocacy group for Sudanese churches and their international partners sponsored by the World Council of Churches, promotes a “whole Sudan approach,” to the myriad problems besetting the North African nation. Sudan is facing many problems, not the least of which is in Darfur, where more than 300,000 civilians have been killed and 2.5 million people have been displaced by religious and ethnic violence.
“Sudan is such a big country, with so many ethnic groups, cultures, peace agreements and conflict situations, that people find it difficult to see the country as a whole,” said Marina Peter, European coordinator of the Sudan Ecumenical Forum with more than 20 years of advocacy work for Sudan. “Some focus on the south, others on the center, and with the Darfur crisis everybody talks about Darfur almost as if it was a separate country. Any contribution to a better future for the people needs to be based on an understanding of the complexity and interdependence of the country.” For more, visit:
For the July 29 Darfur Legislative Update, visit:
CHRISTIAN CHURCHES TOGETHER EXPECTS TO REACH BENCHMARKS
Christian Churches Together in the USA’s Executive Director, Richard L. Hamm, predicts that the organization will meet three important benchmarks that it has set for itself. Those benchmarks are that CCT will continue to grow in numbers and depth, it will continue to address relevant issues that are close to the heart of God, and continue to maintain focus, despite the number of challenges and worthy causes.
Christian Churches Together is the broadest table of conversation between Christian churches and organizations in the United States. The churches include representatives of five identified "families": Evangelical/Pentecostal, Catholic, Orthodox, Historic Protestant, and historically Racial/Ethnic. Christian Churches Together seeks to bring Christians from across the theological and denominational spectrum together for fellowship and common witness. The two foci of CCT's work are evangelism and domestic poverty. To learn more about CCT’s benchmarks, see: www.disciples.org/dns/Releases2008/08086.html