Church of the Brethren
Virlina District
3402 Plantation Road, NE
Roanoke, Virginia  24012
(800) 847-5462
(540) 362-1816
Virlina District

Church of the Brethren
Continuing the Work of Jesus.  Peacefully. Simply. Together.
Continuing the Work of Jesus. Peacefully. Simply. Together.



Music and Worship Resources


Continuing Education for Ministers

“White Privilege- Let’s Talk: A Resource for Transformational Dialogue”

The Virlina District Peace Affairs Committee (part of the Commission on Witness) invites you to participate in an ongoing Sacred Conversation on Race. The focus will be on White Privilege and its manifestations and impact. The six-session series, entitled “White Privilege- Let’s Talk: A Resource for Transformational Dialogue,” will meet on Monday, March 26 and April 2, 9, and 16 from 7:00-9:00 p.m at the Virlina District Resource Center (3402 Plantation Road, NE, Roanoke, VA 24012-3732).

Continuing Education Units (.9 CEUs) for $10, through the Brethren Academy are available for those who register for CEUs and complete the entire course (participant information and fees will be collected at the first session - contact Eric Anspaugh for more information about CEUs -

The curriculum is published by the United Church of Christ and is designed to help white people to see and understand how white privilege functions in the United States. The curriculum’s introduction states, “If you are a person of color in America, the seeing of privilege is inescapable. If you are white, you have most likely not been conditioned to even look for, much less see, where your privilege functions.”

Each session will include a time of coming together to:

  • set the tone for the conversation
  • discussing the printed material for the session
  • watching and listening to media to engage together
  • discussion questions and related activities
  • a blessing and sending forth which includes a handout to help prepare for the next session

The curriculum is centered on story: the stories of the writers as well as the participants. As a part of the curriculum, each participant will be composing a spiritual biography written through the lens of race. Since the focus of the course is on white privilege, persons of all racial and ethnic identities are welcome.

Due to the curriculum content and space requirements, the class will be limited to the first 20 registrants. Please register by contacting Tabitha Rudy, Interim Associate District Executive Minister, at 540-362-1816 or  Registration closes on Friday, March 2. Class participants are required to download and print their own reading material from


When is it?  Friday, April 20th; 2-4 p.m.

Where is it happening?  Camp Bethel

Who should come?  Ministers and congregational leaders interested in how we are called to call others into ministry.

What will happen?  The Calling the Called committee is sponsoring this pre-conference event entitled Creating a Culture of Call.  Led by Nancy Sollenberger Heishman (Director of the Office of Ministry) is intended to help congregations consider how they may maintain a steady focus of identifying, calling, and training pastoral leadership from within their own congregations.  How many of our future church leaders are currently sitting in our pews?

How much is it?  $10 per person 

For more information and for registration forms, visit our Calling the Called 2018 page.

"Ventures in Christian Discipleship" - Online Classes by McPherson College

The “Ventures in Christian Discipleship” program at McPherson (Kan.) College is moving into its sixth year of providing useful, affordable education to small church congregations.  Ventures courses, while not for college credit, offer high-quality instruction. The goal of the program is to empower lay people, especially in smaller congregations, to more effectively carry out the work of discipleship, following in Jesus’ footsteps to transform ourselves and the world. 
Technology Requirements for Live Courses: If you can surf the web, you will be able to participate in our online courses! For the best experience, we recommend that you have a computer with high-speed internet connection and external powered speakers. We encourage several people to share a computer to participate in a course together! No camera or microphone needed for most courses.
Classes are held on their appointed days from 9 am - 12 pm CST.  All classes are donation-based and continuing education credit is available for $10 per course. To learn more about Ventures in Christian Discipleship and to register for courses, visit

The classes being offered include the following:

  1. September 16, 2017: "Welcoming Muslims: Understanding the Differences between 98% of the World’s Muslims, Islamists, and Jihadists” by Dr. Kirk MacGregor, Assistant Professor of Philosophy & Religion at McPherson College
  2. October 14, 2017: “Navigating Religious Diversity: An Introduction to Interfaith Cooperation” by Rev. Zandra Wagoner, Ph.D., Interfaith Chaplain at the University of La Verne
  3. November 11, 2017: “Welcome to Transformation” by Irvin R. Heishman, Pastor of West Charleston Church of the Brethren & Beth Gunzel
  4. January 20, 2018: “Congregation in Mission” by Jim Tomlonson, Retired Church of the Brethren pastor, district executive, & teacher
  5. February 10, 2018: “How the Bible Came to be The Bible” by Carol A. Scheppard, 2017 Moderator of the Church of the Brethren & Professor of theCollege at Bridgewater College 
  6. March 17, 2018: “Revitalizing Worship through the Arts” by Rev. Dr. Bobbi Dykema, Pastor & professor serving in the Pacific Northwest Districtof the Church of the Brethren 
  7. April 14, 2018: “Congregations Nurturing a Culture of Call: Why It Matters” by Joe Detrick, Retired district executive minister in the Church of the Brethren

Brethren Academy Classes and Information

The Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership (BAML) now has the ability to accept online registrations and payments for many of our programs. Students may register for English-language courses as well as make payments through the Bethany website. In addition to course fees, Directed Independent Study Unit fees, TRIM/EFSM enrollment fees and TRIM student yearly fees, are accepted online.

At this time, district fees, congregational fees, and Spanish-language program fees still need to be made by mailing a check to the Brethren Academy office.

To register or pay online, please visit Look for the green Registration/Payment button on our home page or course listings page.

  • Clergy Tax Seminar  –  Saturday, January 27, 2018Students, pastors, and other church leaders are invited to attend either in person at Bethany Theological Seminary or online.
  • Elements of Preaching
    Instructor: Dawn Ottoni-Wilhelm
    January 17-19, 2018 (Bethany Theological Seminary)
    Registration deadline: December 11, 2017
    Course Brochure
  • The Gospel of John
    Instructor: Andrew Hamilton
    January 29-March 23, 2018 (online)
    Registration deadline: December 18, 2017
    Course Brochure
  • Now the Silence, Now the Songs: An Introduction to Worship in the Church
    Instructor: Lee-Lani Wright
    March 14 – May 8, 2018 (online)
    Registration deadline: February 7, 2018
    Course Brochure
  • What Brethren Believe
    Instructor:  Denise Kettering-Lane
    April 12-15, 2018 (McPherson College)
    Registration deadline: March 5, 2018
    Course Brochure

Lombard Mennonite Peace Center

Event: Mediation Skills Training Institute for Church Leaders
Date: Monday-Friday, March 12-16, 2018
Host: Forest Lake Presbyterian Church
Location: Columbia, SC

This five-day training is intended to equip church leaders with the skills necessary to deal effectively with interpersonal, congregational, and other forms of group conflict.  It includes lectures, discussion, and guided practice in role plays.  Active and practical in focus, the sessions emphasize hands-on skills training and real life role-plays, based on the types of conflicts faced by participants.  This training is useful for pastors, judicatory staff, lay leaders, and others who serve with churches and church ministries.  The brochure can be downloaded from the LMPC website at



The first class at the Roanoke center for 2018 is BRETHREN LIFE AND THOUGHT, taught by David K. Shumate.  District Executive Minister. These Sunday afternoon classes will be held January 14, January 28, February 11 and February 25, 2018 from 2:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. (weather permitting) at the District Resource Center, 3402 Plantation Road, NE, Roanoke, VA. Tuition for the class is $75.00 and students are responsible for purchasing the required textbooks which are: Fruit of the Vine, Donald F. Durnbaugh, Brethren press, 1997 and Another Way of Believing: A Brethren Theology, Dale W Brown, Brethren Press, 2005. For more information or to obtain a registration form, please contact Judy Mills, Center Coordinator at (540) 992-1980 or <>. Make checks payable to VIRLINA DISTRICT and mail to: Judy Mills, Roanoke Center Coordinator, 2805 Nace Rd, Fincastle, VA 24090-4515. CEU credit is available for ordained ministers who choose to audit CGI classes.


"Teaching and Learning in the Church" will be taught by Tabitha H. Rudy, Interim Associate District Executive Minister, on the following Saturdays: January 13, January 27 and February 10.  Classes will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Coulson Church of the Brethren.  Students will need to purchase the following books: Powerful Lesson Planning: Every Teacher's Guide to Effective Instruction by Janice Skowron (ISBN 978-1-63450-353-2) and Christian Education and the Emerging Church: Postmodern Faith Formation by Wendi Sargeant (ISBN 978-1-4982-0430-9).  They are available on Amazon and at other major book stores.  Other reading materials will be provided in class.  Because of scheduling conflicts, there are only three sessions.  It is important that students get a syllabus and come prepared for the first session of class. For more information or to obtain a registration form, please contact Sue Morris, Center Coordinator at (540) 651-8331 or <>.  Make checks payable to VIRLINA DISTRICT and mail to: Sue Morris, Roanoke Center Coordinator, P.O. Box 8, Copper Hill, Virginia 24079-0008. CEU credit is available for ordained ministers who choose to audit CGI classes.


The Old Testament Class will be offered by the Shenandoah Center of the Christian Growth Institute during the Winter Session. Ryan Cooper, pastor of the Emmanuel Church of the Brethren in Mount Solon, Virginia, will be the instructor. The dates are January 6, January 27 and February 17, 2018. The Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament will serve as the text book for the course. For more information or to obtain a registration form, please contact Sarah Long, Center Coordinator at (540) 908-0423 or <>. Tuition for the class is $75.00. Make checks payable to VIRLINA DISTRICT and mail to: Sarah Long, Shenandoah Center Coordinator, 205 South Willow Street, Apartment C, Harrisonburg, VA 22801-1937. CEU credit is available for ordained ministers who audit class sessions.

To learn more about the Christian Growth Institute, check out it's page here

Church of the Brethren office of Ministry

Documents and Announcements regarding placement, events, employment guidelines, etc.

Christian Education Resources

Coming soon!    :)

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New Church Development

Children's Cabinet

Jr. & Sr. High Youth

Young Adults

 Spiritual Development

Women's Fellowship Groups


Disaster Response

Ministry & Mission in Virlina

Peace Affairs

Project WARM

Ecumenical Groups

Christian Growth Institute

Calling the Called


Retreat Information

Interested in Church Planting?



Children's Cabinet

Join us at District Conference!  


Jr. & Sr. High Youth

Senior high youth and IYC retreat - February 3-4, 2018 at Henry Fork COB

Click for more information!

Junior High Youth Retreat - March 2-3, 2018 at Camp Bethel

Click for more information!

senior high youth - faithquest retreat 

The FaithQuest retreat is for high school youth in grades 9-12 who want to explore their relationship with God. FaithQuest is an opportunity for youth to share and learn with others and journey together on the road to a deeper spirituality and commitment. Be on the lookout for the next one.


Camp Bethel has a variety of camping options for youth in grades 6-12.  Adventure camps, Resident camps, and volunteer opportunities at 540-992-2940 or at <>.

Young Adults

Virlina Events are organized by CONNECT!  Check out the Facebook page to stay up to date on upcoming events.


Spiritual Development

SEPTEMBER 30, 2017 --- SAVE-THE-DATE!!!  The annual spiritual retreat will be held at Camp Bethel in the House of Pillars on Saturday, September 30. Additional information will be available in April including theme, leadership, and activities. The Spiritual Development Retreat Committee will be sponsoring this retreat.


 Women's Fellowship Groups

Stay tuned!



Pilgrimage XXII will be held March 16-18, 2018, at Camp Bethel. Pilgrimage is a spiritual retreat for adults of all ages, and God is working through this ministry in wonderful ways. The structure of the weekend includes talks, small groups, fun times, inspiring worship services, and much more. God knows where we are on our spiritual journey, and He meets us right there. Whether you need peace, or joy, or forgiveness, or encouragement, or hope, or revival, or a little extra time with Him...He gives more than we even desire. It is difficult to put into words how wonderful the weekend is. The only way to truly understand what Pilgrimage has to offer is to experience it! Prayerfully consider if this is your year to attend. If you would like more information, go to <> or contact Karen Haynes at (336) 765-5263 or <>.


Disaster Response

The Church of the Brethren has long valued the practice of serving others.  If you are interested in helping with local projects, or traveling with others to work on rebuilding projects, contact our district's coordinator, Jim Kropff at <> or 540-761-8671.

Projects vary from rebuilding/repairing homes and other buildings, to assisting with childcare in shelters where displaced persons are living.  Skilled and unskilled volunteers are all welcome!


Ministry & Mission in Virlina

This event is held yearly on the first Saturday in May. In 2017 that will be May 6. The District Board Commissions provide workships for this annual gathering.  Contact the District Resource Center with questions.


Peace Affairs

As one of the Historic Peace Churches, the Church of the Brethren seeks to build community based on peace rather than violence.  Our district holds yearly events to draw attention to how people are working for peace in our local communities.

Check back for more information regarding events and how we can work together to share God's peace with others!


Project WARM

When it gets cold outside, many folks in the Roanoke Valley are not able to heat their homes.  Project WARM seeks to help folks out by providing firewood to families in need.  Interested in helping?  Volunteers are always needed to help cut, split, load and deliver firewood to families in the Roanoke area.  Contact Marc Wilson at <> for information about deliveries and scheduling.

Read the article that was featured in the Salem Newspaper here!


Ecumenical Groups

The Virlina District seeks to build and maintain relationships with other denominations on a regular basis.  For more information about these opportunities, see the following links:

    The Virginia Council of Churches

    The West Virginia Council of Churches


Christian Growth Institute

Together with the Shenandoah District Church of the Brethren, Virlina works to equip ministers with the best training.  The Christian Growth Institute (CGI) is accredited by the Brethren Acadamy and provides those who are pursuing the set apart ministry with a training option when seminary or TRIM is not possible.  For more information, contact the District Resource Center.

calendar.png Find the Class Schedule here!

Download the most recent brochure here!  pdf


About the Program 

The Institute's program of study is designed to be completed in four years.  Here are the required components:

Orientation: This is a one day event to introduce the program to students.

Required Courses:

  1. Old Testament Survey
  2. New Testament Survey
  3. Introduction to Theology
  4. Ministerial Leadership and Administration
  5. History of the Church
  6. Beliefs and Practices of the Church of the Brethren
  7. Preaching
  8. Worship
  9. Introduction to Pastoral Care
  10. Biblical Interpretation
  11. Teaching and Learning in the Church
  12. Evangelism/Outreach
  13. Written Communication (Writing)

Portfolio: This is designed to help studetns with their minitry goals.  Quarterly meetings with a mentor will aid in this.  

Practice of Ministry Days: Students are required to participate in 3 Practice of Ministry Days, which are held annually, and cover a wide range of topics spoken on by guest speakers.

Ministry Formation: 3 spiritual formation retreats are required to help students develop and learnd about the spiritual disciplines.

Supervised Ministry Experience:  This is still in the works, but the goal of this will be to allow a student to benefit from an on-site ministry experience under the direction of an experienced pastor. 

Broader Church: Students ae required to attend at least one Church of the Brethren Annual Conference, one district conference, and a significatn ecumenical, interfaith or intercultural event.  


Calling the Called

Calling the Called is held every so many years by the Virlina District.  During this event people gather to hear the call stories of many pastors and other church leaders.  Participants are challenged to seek God's call for their own lives in ministry as God's servants.   

To watch the video from the previous event and get more information, click here: Calling the Called 2012 Promotional Video


Calling the Called: Discernment – Discipleship - Direction, is an event jointly organized by the Shenandoah and Virlina Districts. It is an intentional time away from the routine of life for persons to discern what it means to be called by God to the set-apart ministry. 

Whether you are someone actively exploring the possibility of ministry or someone unsure of God’s calling this will be a helpful time of discernment and discovery.

Come and hear personal call stories, come and wrestle with biblical call stories, come and learn about the process of entering the set-apart ministry in the Church of the Brethren. Come for worship and fellowship; come and discover what it means to be a people called by God.

Calling the Called: Discernment - Discipleship – Direction will be held beginning at 5 p.m. with registration on Friday, April 20, 2018 through closing at 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 21, 2018 at Camp Bethel. The cost of registration is $50 per person which includes lodging at Camp Bethel, meals, classes and materials. CEU’s will be available for ordained ministers at $10 extra.

Check out the Calling the Called Facebook Page!


New Church Development

Of the Church of the Brethren districts, Virlina has been the most successful in church planting.  We currently have four fellowships that continue to be nurtured by the district:  Blacksburg, Iglesia del Buen Pastor; Floyd, Iglesia Cristiana Renacer; Moneta, Lake Side; and Roanoke, Iglesia Cristiana Renacer.  Find our Roanoke City fellowship, Iglesia Cristiana Renacer, on Facebook!

MARK YOUR CALENDAR FOR A SPECIAL RETREAT:  New Church Development Committee Intercultural Retreat will be held at the Smith Mountain Lake 4-H Educational Conference Center on October 20-22, 2017.  Details will be forthcoming.

Interested in Church Planting?



For more information, check out

Brethren Colleges

An education at a Brethren college or university encourages free inquiry, intellectual curiosity, academic achievement, and offers programs that foster maturity, leadership, and service. Brethren institutions of higher education focus on the whole person and the worth of an individual. Ultimately, a Brethren education joins the world of work with the world of the spirit. Cornerstones of a Brethren education include values of peace, justice, and human dignity. Upon this foundation, students develop the qualities essential for intellectual growth, personal integrity, and service to their community. A Brethren education gives students a system of values which they will carry throughout their lives.

Camps / Outdoor Ministries Association2773574.png

The experience of God in the outdoors has long been an important aspect of Church of the Brethren ministries.  Located throughout the United States, Brethren camps and other outdoor ministry facilities offer time for renewal and learning for children and adults in the nature and peace of God’s creation.


Disaster Response

Inspired by Jesus, Brethren Disaster Ministries focuses on rebuilding homes, caring for children, and providing international relief by engaging our volunteers, supporters, and partners to serve communities recovering from disaster.

Children's Disaster Services

Since 1980 Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) has been meeting the needs of children by setting up child care centers in shelters and disaster assistance centers across the nation. Specially trained to respond to traumatized children, volunteers provide a calm, safe and reassuring presence in the midst of the chaos created by tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, wildfires any natural or human caused disaster.

Global Mission and Service

In addition to many places worldwide where Brethren are active with volunteer work or emergency assistance, the Church of the Brethren carries out mission projects in a number of countries. Some of these projects are the fruits of long relationships that span generations. Others are newer efforts in places where we have sensed God leading us today. In all cases, we work in mutual relationship with individuals and organizations in the local setting—seeking both to give and to learn.

Haiti Logo - Final-01.pngHaiti Medical Project

Persons living in most communities in Haiti have almost no opportunity to see a physician and cannot afford hospital care. As a result, health care needs in Haiti are acute. Beginning in 2011 the Church of the Brethren has been sponsoring the Haiti Medical Project as a way to begin to meet these needs in some of the communities where new Haitian Brethren congregations are located.

Peace Witness

The Church of the Brethren seeks to become a living peace church. Christians are called by God to witness to the gospel of peace with such intensity that nations repent and history is changed. Less than a radical witness can only lead us to accept idols of materialism, blind nationalism, the glorification of military strength, dependence on technological solutions for human problems, and personal and national security at the expense of justice.

Death Row Support Project

A person confined to death row often spends up to 23 hours each day alone in a small cell—for years and sometimes decades. Letters can bring a ray of hope to the darkness of death row. For those on the outside, learning to know just one prisoner can dispel some of the misconceptions and fears about prisons and the people locked away inside of them.


Brethren Volunteer Service

Brethren Volunteer Service is a full time volunteer program that places volunteers in a one or two year long assignment in the United States and some locations around the world.  This ministry of the Church of the Brethren has been a major program in this Christian denomination since 1948.

Material Resources

In order to collect and ship material resources to war-torn Europe after World War II, the Church of the Brethren established the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Maryland. Over the years, staff at the Brethren Service Center have worked with denominational and private nonprofit organizations to help meet needs of people in the U.S. and around the globe.

Office of Public Witness

Our public witness is larger than legislative advocacy. Public witness points to working to find coherence between congregation life, service, advocating on policy, and questioning the values that undergird our politics.

Work Camps

The Church of the Brethren provides a variety of work camp opportunities each summer for persons as young as Jr. High and older.  These work camps are held across the country and world.