"...which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures,   concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh,  and  declared  to be  the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead." (Romans 1:2-4, NKJV).
December 19, 2019
In Our Prayers
As we move into the final Sunday of Advent, let us remember Pastor Chuck Davis of Calvary, his wife Linda, two daughters, Sarah and Lydia, and their families in prayer for God's will and for the peace of the Lord to be present with them.

We also remember Pastor Mark Bowyers of Wakemans Grove as he recovers from surgery this week, and Pastor Jonathan Fletcher of Valley Pike as he prepares for back surgery tomorrow at UVA. May the Lord restore them both to complete health.
District News
District Executive Minister Issues Pastoral Letter
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

It is with a great deal of delight that I greet you this Advent. Advent, the season of waiting and longing, have characterized this past season of our lives as a District. We have come through some painful and intense conflict making it sometimes difficult to claim the promise of the birth of the Christ child. However, this 2019 Advent, my spirit resonates with the opening verse of Mary’s song, “My soul glorifies the Lord and my Spirit rejoices in God my Savior. Proclaiming together, “Our soul glorifies the Lord and our Spirits rejoice in God our Savior”. (Luke 2:46, NIV) There is much for which to be grateful.

It is dangerous to coopt a scripture for one’s own use and context. Indeed, Mary’s world and journey were fraught with danger and uncertainty in ways we can scarce imagine. At the same time Mary’s words are words of hope and praise for us all. As a District, I believe we are pivoting toward the future in ways that were not imaginable four years ago. The passage of the “Congregational Withdrawal Paper” at the 2019 District Conference marked the end of an era. Not only an end but the spirit which marked District Conference and subsequent conversations and gatherings are markers which will guide us into the future as we seek to follow Jesus together. That is indeed something in which to rejoice.

We need ever increasing discipline and focus to foster our continued growth and development. There are many things waiting to distract us. Our nation and denomination are prone to polarizations that confuse and divert energy from our primary task. That is the task of building with imagination, creativity and faithfulness upon “Christ the Solid Rock”. Our debates, our indignations, our critiques need to be subservient to that call. I believe with all my being that the greatest gift we have to offer is to focus on the call of Christ to the Shenandoah District. As we grow in Christ and as we expand our mission in our communities then that will be the witness to the broader church and world. If we can continue the common confession, “On Christ the Solid Rock We Stand” then the Holy Spirit will continue to reveal the shape and direction we are called to pursue together.

As we look forward to 2020, let us do so as a people who have glimpsed, perhaps but briefly, the promise of the babe 2000 years ago. Thanks to each one of you for the gifts you bring, and the promise contained in your faithfulness.

Serving Jesus with Joy Together,

John Jantzi
District Executive Minister
2019 Congregational Giving to District
We are deeply grateful for the faithful and generous contributions District congregations have made to the 2019 Shenandoah District Budget. Thank you.

Following are two reminders for 2019-year end giving:
-District Director of Finance Gary Higgs has announced the deadline for 2019 congregational giving to the Shenandoah District will be Jan. 13, 2020. Monies received by Mon., Jan. 13, will be credited to the 2019 revenues.

-We would appreciate it if congregations would review year to date giving to the District to ensure all contributions have been made. Contact Gary Higgs for more information.
In Our Pastoral Family
Interims
-J. D. Glick has been called as half-time interim pastor at Staunton.
-Mike Hostetter is serving interim pastor at Sunrise.
Pastoral Vacancies
Friends Run/Smith Creek - full-time, David Morris, interim pastor, congregational profile available
Garbers - part-time, congregational profile forthcoming
Leake's Chapel - congregational profile forthcoming 
Mill Creek - full-time associate pastor, congregational profile available
Pine Grove - part-time, congregational profile forthcoming

Pleasant Hill - part-time, congregational profile forthcoming
Waynesboro - full-time, Dot Mellott, interim pastor, updated congregational profile available
Third Thursday Specials
Church Growth: Pastor Dwight Roetto announced the congregation welcomed three new members by letters of transfer and re-affirmation into the Father's house at Mt. Vernon on Dec. 8: Jim and Pam Fitzgerald, and Bunny Stein.


District Communications Schedule
Today's edition is the last issue of Shenandoah Update for this year. This publication will resume Jan. 9, 2020.

We wish all of our readers a safe, meaningful, and blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Pastor Scott Duffey to Retire Later This Month
“Even though the Church is in a period of transition the Church will survive because it’s God’s Church." Scott Duffey
Pastor Scott Duffey, left.
Photo source: http://www.stauntonbrethren.org/ contact.html
Pastor Scott Duffey will be retiring from Staunton Church of the Brethren at the end of this month after 40 years as an ordained minister. 

Upon graduation from Bridgewater College, he opted to wait a year before entering seminary as his future wife, Becky, was finishing her degree at Madison College. During this gap year, he was licensed in the Mid-Atlantic District and placed in ministry in the Shenandoah District by then-District Executive Stan Wampler. He served for 14 months at Salem Church in Stephens City as a student minister.
 
Pastor Duffey grew up in a Christian family who was active in the Hagerstown (Md.) Church of the Brethren. One day while sitting in the pew, he felt a clear call to ministry. He said the thought occurred to him, as he was listening to his pastor, Dr. DeWitt L. Miller, “I could do this...” He was in ninth grade at that time.
 
During this same period, another young man in the Hagerstown congregation was sensing the call to ministry, as well. The two teens decided to meet with their pastor to find out more about ministry. After that meeting, they both knew they would be in set-apart ministry one day. The other teen in that meeting was the 2020 Annual Conference Moderator Paul Mundey.
 
Pastor Duffey believes one of the most important roles he has as a pastor is to help others discern God’s call on their lives for the ministry. He says, “…ten to twelve people have been called out” during his ministry. Pastor Duffey’s advice for those considering going in the ministry is, “Do a lot of praying because it’s a hard time to go into ministry.” He observes, “The church [universal] is in such a period of transition.” For example, there are conflicts and many churches have moved to part-time ministries. “You will need a strong foundation and be clear about your calling,” according to Pastor Duffey, and “You need to count the costs well.” His final word of advice, “Preparation is key. Put in the time to do it right,” he said, “The spirit is also in the preparation.”
 
Reflecting on his life in the set-apart ministry, Pastor Duffey recalls his favorite memories are the baptisms he has performed over the decades. As a student minister, he baptized 14 people when he served at Salem. There were other good memories, as well. Pastor Duffey remembers there were many great opportunities over the years, including serving at the national level on Standing Committee and as a member of the Program and Arrangements Committee for the Annual Conference. Once, he was selected to be the music director at Annual Conference. It must have left an impression because he has also been tapped to be the music coordinator for the 2021 Annual Conference in Greensboro.
 
In his spare time, Pastor Duffey is a musician and songwriter, performing with the Bittersweet Gospel Band. The group has had two music videos produced by Annual Conference Moderator-Elect David Sollenberger. They have also recorded five new songs, which will be coming out this spring as downloads and on CD. The band performs at various Churches of the Brethren and other denominations to reach youth and break down cultural barriers.
 
Pastor Duffey will continue to tour with the Bittersweet Gospel Band, but in the weeks immediately following retirement, he will take a "Sabbath" and travel with his wife Becky to explore some of the nation's great parks. They do not have plans at this time to move because they are already strategically located between their two sons and their families. One son, Tim, and his wife Audrey Hollenberg Duffey are co-pastoring at Oakton. Their other son, Andy, is pastoring at Antioch Church and lives in Rocky Mount, N.C. with his wife Courtney, a kindergarten teacher.
 
As for what the future holds, Pastor Duffey will return from his Sabbath and “…will see what happens.” He cites  Jeremiah 29:11 : “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope,” with the expectation that God will have more ministry for him in the future. “Even though the Church is in a period of transition, the Church will survive because it’s God’s Church. It may not look anything like this or what we’ve experienced in the past, but the body of Christ will continue the work on this earth.” In the final analysis, Pastor Duffey says, “Thank God it doesn’t depend on me.” He encourages everyone to remain hopeful and not to spend too much time in despair.
Annual Conference Orchestra Being Formed
Annual Conference Director Chris Douglas announced in a recent email that "Next summer in Grand Rapids we plan to have an Annual Conference Orchestra. " Those who desire to perform with the orchestra are asked to indicate their interest by completing this survey online . Musicians may contact Orchestra Director Nonie Detrick for more information.

Annual Conference will be held July 1-5, 2020 in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Nonie Detrick will be serving as the orchestra director for the 2020 Annual Conference.
(Photo from survey website)
Big Beautiful World Curriculum Promo available

A promotional kit from Shine featuring the Big, Beautiful World Vacation Bible School curriculum for 2020 is available at the District office. Stop by the and take a look after Jan. 6.
District Events
Meetings at the District Office
Please take note of the following meetings and events scheduled for the District Office: 
-Dec. 19: 11 a.m., District Office staff meeting, phones unanswered
-Dec. 24-Jan. 5: District Office closed for Christmas and the New Year
Mark Your Calendar
Dec. 20: Luray Church ( 119 High Street, Luray) will host The Longest Night , (a candlelight vigil dedicated to bringing light into the darkness that many people experience during the holidays), 7 p.m. It is open to all who are experiencing grief, sadness, fear, isolation, or exclusion during Christmastide.

Dec. 21-23: Mill Creek Church of the Brethren will be sponsoring a Live Nativity, 7 to 9 p.m., nightly, at The Barn at Mill Creek ( 8216 Port Republic Road , Port Republic). The event is free and shuttle service will begin at 7 p.m. and run every 15 minutes from the church ( 7600 Port Republic Road , Port Republic). Park in the east parking lot. Check out the Facebook page event Live Nativity Port Republic VA for more information.

Dec. 22: Christmas Play at Greenmount (4881 Greenmount Road, Harrisonburg), 6 p.m.

Dec. 22: Luray Church will be dedicating a Peace Pole to the memory of Pastor Rebecca Harding . Pastor Rebecca served the Luray congregation from 2012 until her death in 2015. Her obituary appears here . Contact Pastor Leah Hileman for more information.

Dec. 24: Candlelight Christmas Eve service at Antioch ( 23502 Senedo Road , Woodstock), 7 p.m.

Dec. 24 : Greenmount ( 4881 Greenmount Road , Harrisonburg) will be having a Christmas Eve service at 7 p.m.

Dec. 24: Grottoes ( 98 Augusta Avenue, Route 340 , Grottoes) Christmas Eve Candlelight service, 7 p.m.

Dec. 24: Linville Creek ( 409 Brethren Road , Broadway) will celebrate the birth of Christ through scripture, song, communion and candle lighting during their Christmas Eve service at 7 p.m. Nursery will be provided and refreshments will be served in the Fellowship Hall following the service. Call 896-5001 for more information.

Dec. 24: Sunrise ( 1496 S. Main Street, Harrisonburg ) will hold a Christmas Eve candlelight service at 7 p.m.


Dec. 25: Oak Hill ( 7010 Fort Valley Road, Fort Valley) will hold Christmas Day service at 10:30 a.m. Contact Pastor Duke McCaffrey for more information.

Dec. 29, Time TBD, Leah J Christmas Concert at Luray Christian Church, 2 Amiss Avenue , Luray. Pastor Leah J. Hileman serves at Luray Church and is a singer/songwriter and recording artist on House Rat Records, and is the author of over 300 original Christian songs. Visit  www.LeahJMusic.com  or  www.Facebook.com/LeahJMusic1  to follow event details.

LOOKING AHEAD:
Jan. 20, 2020: Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration Celebrating the Dream, Continuing the Journey, Oakdale Park, Bridgewater, and on Bridgewater College’s campus. A community celebration of the life and legacy of renowned civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The event begins at Oakdale Park, where guest speakers will give their remarks and will be followed by a march of event attendees from the park to the College campus. More details of the event will follow.

Mar. 6-7, 2020:  Children's Disaster Services Training , Fri. 4:30 p.m. to Sat. 4:30 p.m., Bridgewater Church  ( 420 College View Drive , Bridgewater). Register  online here Click here  for a flyer. A bulletin insert may be found here.
District Youth
Place the following two dates on your calendar for 2020:

Jan. 25: District Sr. High Winter Retreat will be held at Mill Creek ( 7600 Port Republic Road , Port Republic) . The Interdistrict Youth Cabinet (IYC) will be leading sessions and youth will have the opportunity to serve the community. It will be a great time to have fun and grow in faith. Times and more information will be forthcoming.

Feb. 28-Mar. 1: Youth Roundtable at Bridgewater College. The theme will be 2020 Vision. More information will be forthcoming.

Mar. 13-14: District Jr. High Lock-in will be held on at Luray Church . More information will be forthcoming.
Brethren Disaster News
2020 Schedule for Disaster Ministry Trips Updated
Disaster Ministry Chair Jerry Ruff announced there would be a slight change in the schedule for the trip in Ma y. The May week will be May 3-9 so that it does not conflict with the auction. Ruff will be filling readers in on recent developments in Jacksonville, Fla., Lumberton, N.C. and here in the Shenandoah Valley after the first of the year. Download an updated listing of trips here .
Disaster Auction Booklet in the Works
Disaster Auction Committee Chair Catherine Lantz reminded potential donors, "Now is the time to give individuals, Sunday School classes, etc. an opportunity to support the 2020 auction by becoming a supporter in one of the following categories: Follower $25, Believer $50, Sustainer $75, Disciple $100 and above." The names of persons or groups will appear on the supporters' page of the auction book. The Disaster booklet advertising form may be downloaded from the District website . The deadline for advertising is Jan. 5, 2020.
 
She went on to say, "Thanks, to those churches and individuals that have responded thus far" and " If there are folks with a business that would want an ad in the book and didn't have an ad last year, they can print the form and follow the instructions..." Those who advertised last year are being contacted.
 
For those making donations of larger items to the auction, photos of those items will be needed by Jan. 15 in order to be included in the booklet. Send photos to sdcobda@gmail.com, along  with a short explanation of the item.

For more information about advertising in the 2020 Disaster Auction and Sale booklet, contact Nancy Harlow at 350-2298 or Catherine Lantz at 896-7556
Disaster Auction Golf Tournament Moves to Another Location; Back on for May 15.
The Disaster Auction Golf Committee has decided to move the 2020 annual golf tournament to Heritage Oaks Golf Course on Fri., May 15, with a rain date of Fri., May 22. An 8:30 a.m. shotgun start is planned. Brochures will be available in the coming weeks. Contact Doug Hughes at 830-8543 for more information.
Brethren Woods
Camp Now Hiring for 2020 Paid Positions
Assistant Director Linetta Ballew announced that  applications are now online for 2020 Summer Staff (Paid) Positions. "Strong, solid Christians are needed to serve in June and July during the 6-week summer camp program," she emphasized in a recent release. Open positions include several counselors, lifeguards, an arts and crafts director, a nature director, a challenge course facilitator, kitchen assistants, a maintenance assistant, various support staff, and summer supervisors (summer program director and/or head counselor). 
 
Be sure to check out the Summer Staff webpage to review job descriptions and get more information about serving at camp. Click the Apply Here button to apply. If you need any assistance, utilize the online chat during the application process, email the camp or call the office at 269-2741.
 
Winter Camp 2020
Winter Camp is back and better than ever in 2020. Campers in third through eighth grade are invited to head out to camp for this two-night weekend retreat on Feb. 7-9, 2020. Winterized facilities and wood-burning stoves will keep everyone toasty while enjoying the camp’s traditional activities like crafts, singing, nature, Bible study, group games, morning watch, vespers, and delicious family-style meals. There will also be all kinds of extra special winter fun including a mid-winter celebration (complete with a lost-and-found sock snowball fight!), snow-tubing at a nearby resort, hot chocolate, and a movie night with popcorn and snacks! 

It all begins at 6 p.m. on Fri., Feb. 7 and ends at 2 p.m. on Sun., Feb. 9. Registration includes lodging, meals and snacks, snow-tubing, a group photo, and an apparel item, staff leadership, and all retreat supplies. It promises to be an amazing weekend of fun, faith, and friends this winter.  Click here  for more information, online registration access and a paper flyer/printable registration form.
Preparing for Advent
Links for Advent Lectionary Readings
The season of Advent begins this year on Dec. 1. Click on the link for each week of Advent below and read all of the lectionary scriptures for that week.

Revised Common Lectionary - Year A
Dec. 22: Advent 4 - Isaiah 7:10-16, Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19 (19), Romans 1:1-7, Matthew 1:18-25;

Dec. 24/25: Christmas Eve/Christmas Day:
Choice 1 - Isaiah 9:2-7, Psalm 96, Titus 2:11-14, Luke 2:1-14, (15-20) (10), or Choice 2 - Isaiah 62:6-12, Psalm 97, Titus 3:4-7, Luke 2:(1-7), 8-20 or
Choice 3 - Isaiah 52:7-10, Psalm 98, Hebrews 1:1-4, (5-12), John 1:1-14.
Upcoming Classes and
CEU Opportunities
The District offers several opportunities for pastors to acquire continuing education units (CEUs). Two classes being offered through the Christian Growth Institute (CGI) this winter each provide 1.6 CEUs. Details below:

1) Church History (Beginnings to Present) Jan. 11, Feb. 8 and Feb. 29, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Instructor David Miller invites students to "...study the lives and circumstances of persons and communities who endeavored by their own effort and the grace of God to follow Christ and share in the life of his church. History is more than dates, timelines and wars (though there is some of that). Ultimately, this is a love story, a revolution, a conquest, a tragedy, a comedy, and a mystery all brought together. Textbook reading isn’t the most exciting, but Gonzalez is a good writer and he offers a fine introduction to the subject. If you give the class a fair shot, you’ll get more than you bargained for. This is the story of people who – through the power of God – turned the world upside down (Acts 17:6)." 1.6 CEUs. Click for the Syllabus | and Research Topics .

2) Belief and Practices of the Church of the Brethren Jan. 18, Feb. 1 and 15, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with Instructor Jim Miller. By the end of this unit, the student will be able to recount the origin and development of the Brethren from 1708 to the present day, including important historical figures. This includes familiarity with the history and activity of the Brethren in his or her particular community or region. The student will also be able to articulate the beliefs, basic values and special emphases that are characteristic of Brethren faith and life, and become familiar with the way these values and beliefs have expressed themselves in organizational and ecumenical expressions. Finally, the student will be able to describe and conduct the various ordinances of the Church of the Brethren.1.6 CEUs. Click here for the syllabus .

Contact Sarah Long for more information about registering for either of these classes at 234-8555.

Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership is hosting several upcoming classes. Click here and scroll down to view future educational offerings. Upcoming online classes include Nurturing Vital Spirituality in a Changing World with Instructor Rhonda Pittman-Gingrich, Jan. 22 – Mar. 17, 2020
and Spiritual Practices in Ministry Instructor Reba Herder, April 15 – June 9, 2020.

Ethics for the Set-Apart Ministry: Basic Course is being offered for newly licensed ministers and others seeking basic clergy ethics training. Janet Ober Lambert will be the instructor. The new date for the course is Feb. 8, 2020. Click here for a registration form .
Continuing the work of Jesus. Peacefully. Simply. Together.
Questions? Comments?
Contact Brenda Diehl
Director of Communications
Images through pixabay.com , unless otherwise noted.