June 2003
June 1, 2003

Walter Brueggemann to retire

The Rev. Walter Brueggemann, a UCC minister, writer and scholar, is retiring after 42 years of teaching. In June, he will participate in a five-month post-retirement sabbatical at the University of Cambridge in England, but plans to return to Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Ga., and teach one course per year.

Prior to joining the faculty at Columbia in 1986, Brueggemann taught at UCC-related Eden Theological Seminary near St. Louis for 25 years. Regarded internationally as one of the foremost theological interpreters of the Hebrew Bible, Brueggemann has helped generations of clergy and laity alike to read the Old Testament with renewed appreciation for its influences on Christian worship, doctrine and culture. His extensive writings on the Hebrew prophets and Christian mission have helped shape the church's scriptural underpinnings for justice advocacy in the public sphere.

A prolific writer, Brueggemann is the principal author or a contributing writer of nearly 40 books, many of which have become required reading for pastors and theological students. In 1990, he was named president of the Society of Biblical Literature.

He received an A.B. degree from UCC-related Elmhurst College, a B.D. from Eden, a Th.D. degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York, and a Ph.D. from St. Louis University.

Martin and Dubois
Pension Boards new Health Plan Leadership office opens in Cleveland

The Pension Boards' Health Plan Leadership office opened May 1, with two new staff persons filling the recently-established positions of Case Manager and Enrollment/Member Services Specialist.

The office is located at the UCC's Church House in Cleveland. Martha ("Corky") Dubois and Beverly Martin, along with the Rev. Kenneth L. Ulmer, Director of Health Plans, will work out of the Cleveland office.

Shannon Karr, Assistant for Member/ Vendor Relations, will continue to be based in the Pension Boards' offices in New York City.

Dubois joins the Health Plan Leadership Team as case manager for the health, Medicare and dental plans. A certified case manager and former orthopedic therapist, Dubois brings 25 years of case management experience with various organizations, including Peoples Health Plan of Ohio, HCR Manor Care and Meridia Health Plan.

Martin, who joins the staff as Enrollment/Member Services Specialist, served for 17 years as a sales manager and account executive with Aetna, Inc., in Richfield, Ohio, where her work included physician recruitment, network contracting, territory management, health care sales and service.

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SARS virus affects ministries of UCC/Disciples missionaries

The Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) epidemic is affecting the lives of people throughout the world. The virus also is having an impact on the ministry of Global Ministries missionaries overseas.

Six UCC/Disciples missionaries are serving in China and Hong Kong: Douglas and Elizabeth Searles, Sam Pearson and Janis Engsberg (China); and Judy Chan and Bruce Van Voorhis (Hong Kong).

According to Dale L. Bishop, Executive Minister of the UCC's Wider Church Ministries, "When overseas staff are in situations that are potentially threatening to their well being ... we give them the option of returning to their home countries, in consultation with partner churches with whom they work."

Bishop says that the missionaries in China and Hong Kong were given the option of returning to the United States until the health situation becomes clearer. "All of them declined to exercise that option," he says.

The missionaries, as well as all affected by SARS, have been remembered in prayer during the weekly Wednesday morning worship service in the UCC's Amistad Chapel in the Church House in Cleveland.

In an e-mail from Hong Kong, missionary Chan writes:

"I want to thank you for the many expressions of concern for us ... in the midst of the SARS disease.

"We are doing OK for the moment. The SARS vius is scary, but we are taking precautions as advised by medical experts. We all wear face masks in public places, we wash our hands frequently, we try to avoid crowded places. ... It is a stressful time, but since we know that stress makes you even more vulnerable to disease, we need to be calm and relax as best we can.

"The cause is not yet certain, but it seems to have started in mainland China, perhaps spreading from farm animals to people in a new way. The highest number of cases in Hong Kong come from the Amoy Garden Housing estate, where almost 300 people have gotten it.

"The whole situation makes one aware of what a precious gift our health is. We in Hong Kong who are obsessed with money realize now that money can't buy everything. We have a marvelous public health system here, one of the best and cheapest in the world. I would put my life in their hands anytime.

"Please do pray for Hong Kong—it is a rough time. So many dedicated doctors and medical staff are on the front lines. Some have died treating patients. One pediatrician who is known to our staff [recently] died. He had caught it from one of his little patients.

"Everyone fighting this disease is working overtime. Many others are hardly working at all ... due to falling tourism numbers and business.

"Churches in Hong Kong continue to have services, but with reduction of meetings and Sunday schools. Yes, you wear a mask to church. [There are some restrictions during worship] so that there is less chance of infection through contact by touching or sharing, but we still carry on!"

Pastoral Changes

Bottoms, Robert R. Geneseo IL to St. Paul's UCC, Bellevue OH
Butner, Jennifer D. Berkeley CA to Rock Spring Congr. UCC, Arlington VA
Close, Charles C. North Falmouth MA to United UCC, Arlington VA
Dollgener, Carl D. Eureka MO to Int. St. Johns UCC, St. Louis MO
Gifford, Mary L. South Weymouth MA to Wo llaston Congr. UCC, Quincy MA
Gobledale, Ana and Tod Cleveland OH to Churches of Christ Theological College, Melborne, Australia (with Global Ministries)
Hamilton, John J. Walpole MA to First Congr. UCC, Norwood MA
Horvath, Christopher C. Plainville CT to First Church of Christ Congr. UCC, Clinton CT
Lane, David L. Elyria OH to Emmanuel UCC, Sandusky OH
Lebar, Ruth C. New Haven CT to Union Congr. UCC, Oakville CT
Miers, Karen L. Buffalo WY to St. Pauls & Augustana UCC, Holland IN
Shiras, Natalie C. Fairfield CT to Church on the Hill UCC, Lenox MA
Shivers, Amelia Mayville ND to St. John's UCC, McEwensville PA
Smith, Michael H. Hammond IN to Tri- Penn Charge, Spring Mills PA
Spicer Jr., Clyde Baltimore MD to Int., Southern Maryland Faith Community, California MD
Ward, Wendy L. Richmond IN to Preble UCC, Preble NY


Bennett, Lobell 76, 2/25/03 Served MT and OH churches
Halliday, Norman 91, 2/21/03 Served Fl and IA churches
Johnson, Martin T. 70, 3/6/03 Served CT, NH and WI churches
Schoonmaker, Theodore 81, 3/19/03 Served CT, MA and OH churches
Seymour, Collie 84, 1/21/03 Served AL, FL, NC, TN and VA churches
Voll, Charles L. 83, 3/3/2003 Served MD, OH and PA churches

Pastoral changes and obituaries are reported by Local Church Ministries and run as space permits