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May 15-16, 2020

Welcome to our page!
Shenandoah District
Church of the Brethren
P.O. Box 67
1453 Westview School Road
Weyers Cave, VA 24486
Phone: (540) 234-8555
Toll-free: (888) 308-8555
Fax: (540) 234-8333

Calling the Called April 17-18

Calling the Called is geared specifically for those who are considering a call into the set-apart ministry. However, this retreat could benefit any of you who are grappling with the question of “what’s next” in your service to Christ. I ask you to read carefully and think who in your circle of friends and acquaintances in your congregational life would benefit from such a time. Click here for a brochure and here to download a registration form. Calling the Called was featured in the Feb./Mar. edition of the Shenandoah Journal.

Ballot for Annual Conference Announced

The Annual Conference Office has released the ballot, which will be presented at this year's meeting in Grand Rapids, Mich., July 1-5. Paul Liepelt and Tim McElwee are candidates for Annual Conference moderator-elect. Liepelt pastors in Annville, Penn., and McElwee is retired and has been affiliated with Manchester University. He resides in Wolcottville, Ind.
Other candidates include Harrisonburg First's Beth Jarrett, who has been selected for the ballot for Annual Conference Program and Arrangements Committee. Walt Wiltschek from Easton, Md., is also on the Program and Arrangements ballot.
Representing the laity for the Pastoral Compensation and Benefits Advisory Committee are Richard E. Allison from Claysburg, Pa., and Arthur Fourman from Dayton, Ohio.
On the ballot for Area 1 of the Mission and Ministry Board are Josiah Ludwick from Harrisburg, Pa., and Mandy North from Manassas, Va. For Area 4, Daniel L. Butler from Grundy Center, Iowa, and Kathy A. Mack from Rochester, Minn. have been tapped.
Candidates for clergy representation for Bethany Seminary trustees include Chris Bowman from Manassas, Va., and Frances R. Townsend from Onekama, Mich. Candidates for laity representation as trustees are Irene Beltran from Pomona, Calif., and Jacki Hartley from Elgin, Ill.
On the ballot for the Brethren Benefit Trust board is Janis Fahs from North Manchester, Ind., and David L. Shissler from Hummelstown, Pa.
On Earth Peace board candidates are Erick Flores from Hermitage, Tenn., and Drew G. I. Hart from Harrisburg, Pa.
To read the complete article, click here.
Annual Conference registration opens March 2.

Pastor Lawan Adimini

Nigerian Pastor Executed

We join with our brothers and sisters in Nigeria in prayer as we mourn the loss of Pastor Lawan Andimi (pictured above), who was executed by Boko Haram on Mon., Jan. 20. Pastor Andimi was an ordained minister with Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria, EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria. He had been missing and feared abducted after an attack on Jan. 2. Read the Church of the Brethren Newsline article here.
A proof of life video was released by his captors wherein Andimi praised God and told his loved ones and friends, “...don’t cry, don’t worry, but thank God for everything...I have never been discouraged because everything is in the hands of God”. He summarized near the end of the video, “By the grace of God, I will be together with my wife, children, and colleagues, and if the opportunity has not been granted, then maybe it is the will of God.”
Nigeria is ranked number 12 on the World Watch List for the 50 countries where it’s most dangerous to follow Jesus.

(Photo from the Christian Post)

Earthquake in Puerto Rico - Update 1/23/2020

We also continue to pray for Puerto Rico as they recover from multiple earthquakes this month. On Jan. 17, a Church of the Brethren Newsline article reported the people of Puerto Rico are still assessing the damage after the 6.4 magnitude event on Jan. 7, which is said to have been the most powerful earthquake on the island in a century(*). Thankfully, the loss of life has been minimal. However, the quakes continue daily, and electricity and water services have been interrupted. The people there do not feel safe sleeping inside of buildings. These experiences create enormous stress over time and have affected people deeply. To read the complete Newsline article, click here.
Financial contributions for the relief effort may be made online at (Note: Write “Puerto Rico earthquake” in the comment box). Checks may be sent to the Emergency Disaster Fund, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120 (Please indicate “Puerto Rico earthquake” in the memo).

Bearing_Jesus_Fruit_Dec_2019.docxBearing Jesus' Fruit - More Stories From the 2019 Shenandoah District Conference

Past Moderator George Bowers issued a call this fall to Shenandoah District churches to identify and share the fruit being borne in local congregations. The previous two issues of the Shenandoah Journal capture over 70 ministries and stories. Read more here and here.

2020 District Leadership Slate | Bios Here

Moderator Elect - Daniel House
District Leadership Team:
Congregational Care - Bruce Bowman, Second Term
Development - Paul Davis, Second Term
Discipleship Ministries - Jan Orndorff
New Church Development - Leah Hileman
Outdoor Ministries - Marty Doss, Second Term
Gifts Discernment Team:
Jim Chappell
Gail Johnson, Second Term
Frank Tusing
Becky Leland
Standing Committee:
Karen Shiflet

District Forms

Blue Ribbon Committee

(Renamed District Discernment Team)

A Blue Ribbon Committee, whose formation was announced at the 2017 Shenandoah District Conference, has been organized and has begun its work. As planned, the 10-member committee will meet through 2018, focusing on ways our congregations can covenant anew to work together through divisions that threaten our unity as followers of Christ.

The committee is chaired by Jon Prater, pastor of the Mt. Zion/Linville Church of the Brethren and immediate past chair of the District Leadership Team. Joining him on the committee are Jonathan Brush (Lebanon), Heather Driver (Bridgewater), Hobert Harvey (Bethel/Mayland), Terry Jewell (Knights Chapel), LaDawn Knicely (Beaver Creek), David R. Miller (Montezuma), Carter Myers (Mill Creek), Nate Rittenhouse (New Hope) and Karen Shiflet (Mt. Bethel). The committee also will be served by three ex-officio members and three consultants.

Click here for the full description of the purpose, tasks and structure of the committee.

Click here for District Executive Minister John Jantzi's August pastor letter referenced in the previous document.

Click here for the minutes from the Committee's first meeting on Feb. 25, 2018.

Click here for minutes from the March 18, 2018, meeting.

Click here for minutes from the April 15, 2018, meeting.

Click here for minutes from the May 20, 2018, meeting.

Click here for the Discernment Team's report: "Congregational Withdrawal Process"

2019 District Conference Bore Jesus' Fruit in Many Ways

The 2019 Shenandoah District Conference concluded Sat. afternoon at Antioch after the delegate body, comprised of 261 representatives, elected the leadership slate and accepted the proposed budget. The Congregational Withdrawal Paper passed 240 to 19, and the Calling the Called resolution was affirmed with no dissenting votes heard.


The business sessions were preceded by times of worship. Conference preachers were George Bowers, Galen Combs and Jan Orndorff. Worship leaders were Linda Waggy and Mark Bowyer. Leah Hileman led members of the Luray congregation, Leaksville UCC, Bethlehem Lutheran, St. John's Baptist, Bethel Baptist and the Bethel-Mayland congregation in a special choral presentation featuring Steve Green's Find Us Faithful.


Fri. night worship services were led by George Bowers, who introduced this year’s conference theme: “Bearing Jesus’ Fruit.” George and Dale Bowers illustrated the theme through a skit about cutting down the trees in the orchard that were not bearing fruit. Dale, with chainsaw in hand, was persuaded to wait until the conclusion of the service to make a decision about chopping down the trees. In the meantime, worshippers contemplated the parable of the fruitless fig tree found in the thirteenth chapter of the Gospel of Luke. George reminded the listeners that, "We can't bear Jesus' fruit if we're not rooted in Jesus."


As time elapsed and "fruit" was placed on the trees, Dale Bowers' chainsaw was not needed. The "fruit" hanging on the trees at the end of the evening were the programs, events and activities in District churches. Click here to read the poem George wrote about this story from Luke, and click here to listen to a recording of this sermon.


On Saturday, Galen Combs' meditation focused on allowing God to change us through spiritual disciplines such as prayer, Bible study, reading and meditation. These practices bear fruit. He illustrated this concept by telling the story of wanting to pull the leaves off of the trees in his aunt and uncle's apple orchard in Ky. when he was young. He soon learned that stripping the trees would mean fewer apples in the fall. He also learned that trees have to be planted at the right time and pollination is essential. As the fruit develops, it must remain connected to the vine because, "You can't staple apples to the tree," he said.


In a lighter moment, Combs asked the audience to list their favorite things involving apples. Fritters, sauce, pie, butter and, of course, dumplings topped the list. One lone voice cried iPhone, to the amusement of the crowd.


Jan Orndorff's meditation picked up on the themes introduced by Combs. Orndorff related a personal story about being led by the Holy Spirit to give a panhandler a twenty dollar bill, even though she had a lot of excuses for not doing so. The man was so hungry, he ran as fast as he could across six lanes of traffic to purchase food. That left quite an impression on Orndorff about being in constant communication with God and being willing to respond.


Being tuned into God's plan through reading scripture, prayer and asking yourself how this applies to your life leads to spiritual growth. Orndorff reminded those who were gathered that Jesus was humble and loving enough to wash even Judas' feet--the one who would betray Him. She encouraged everyone struggling with this degree of love and humility to, "Come back to God and let Him show you how to love." Orndorff believes, "Heaven is the fulfillment of what happens now."


At the end of the business session, the gavel was passed from 2019 District Conference Moderator George Bowers to 2020 District Conference Moderator Marty Barlow. District Executive Minister John Jantzi conducted the consecration ceremony for the District Leadership slate. Barlow announced the 2020 District Conference will be Nov. 6-7.


After the conference, the worship center, which featured donations of produce and other items, was gathered up to be delivered to Columbia Furnace's Love Center. This food will be distributed to Shenandoah County families who are food insecure.


Seventy-three congregations were represented at this year's District Conference and 41 people attended as non-delegates.


More District Conference stories will appear in the Dec./Jan. Shenandoah Journal, due out Nov. 30.

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