Greetings as we enter a new calendar year! It has been a very full fall semester at Manchester University, and we’re looking forward to the spring.
As you may have read elsewhere, we had another successful Powerhouse regional youth conference in November, with about 85 youth and advisors from five Midwest districts attending. Josh Brockway, director of spiritual life and discipleship for the Church of the Brethren, spoke three times on the theme “Hello, My Name Is ... : Getting to Know God.” Using a variety of names for God in Scripture, Brockway centered three worship services on the ways that people encounter God, and what that means for those who seek God today. The weekend also included a variety of workshops, an “Amazing Name Race,” recreation and campus tours, and opportunities for fellowship. Next year’s conference will tentatively take place at Manchester the weekend of Nov. 16-17, 2013.
Our “Simply Brethren” student group has been quite active this year, with an average of 20 students attending at any given gathering. Our fall schedule included a love feast service, visits by Tracy Primozich of Bethany Theological Seminary and Becky Ullom of the denominational Youth/Young Adult Ministry office, a visit to the nearby Kindy-Gross farm, a retreat at Camp Mack, a Christmas party and, of course, ice cream!
In January, a small “Brethren Heritage”class is studying Anabaptist and Pietist history for a week on campus and at local sites, then hit the road for 11 days of visiting churches and other significant sites in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia.
The spring is already filling up, too, with visits planned from David Radcliff, Frank Ramirez and Annual Conference moderator Bob Krouse, along with several local pastors who will speak at our weekly chapel services. We also will join several of the other Brethren colleges for a retreat near Wheeling, W.Va., in early April, continuing a new tradition that began two years ago.
Our ROBOT (Radically Obedient Brethren Outreach Team) group is preparing for its third year of providing worship leadership with five or six stops planned in Northern Indiana and South/Central Indiana from late February to early May.
And, of course, we’re looking ahead to the next academic year. A number of Brethren students have already committed to joining us in fall 2013, and we hope to have more. If you know a prospective student who might be interested, encourage them to visit campus for one of our Spartan Days or at another time.
Finally, a few other events to note: Noted Quaker author Philip Gulley will speak on “The Evolution of Faith” at 7 p.m. April 11 in the upper Union for the spring Religious Life convocation ... Peace Week will be April 14-20, with an International Buffet on April 14 and the PeaceWeek Concert on April 20 ... This year’s baccalaureate service and commencement will take place on May 19 ... Look for Manchester again at Annual Conference June 29 to July 3 in Charlotte, N.C., with the annual Alumni Luncheon on June 30.