MACRoCk XIV is upon us!

The 14th annual Mid-Atlantic College Radio Conference (MACRoCk) will be occurring in Harrisonburg, VA on April 1 & 2, 2011. This year, MACRoCk will be hosting over 90 bands including Bouncing Souls, Capsule, S. Carey, Screaming Females, Turbo Fruits, Algernon Cadwallader,  Timbre, Super Vacations, Invisible Hand, 1994!, Pulling Teeth, US Christmas, Cannabis Corpse, Inter Arma, Pianos Become the Teeth, The Extraordinaires, Snack Truck, Dangerous Ponies, Snowing, Woe, Withered, Brooke Waggoner, Antlers, Gifts From Enola, Ocoai, Eternal Summers, Gringo Star, Air Waves, Arches, Andrew Cedermark, Sacred Harp, Heavy Cream and Pujol. MACRoCk will also host a variety of panelists speaking on topics such as Local Food, Booking in The Music Industry & Screen Printing.

MACRoCk was first put on by the student volunteers at James Madison University’s student radio station, WXJM, in 1997. Today, MACRoCk is an independently owned and organized organization, and is the largest independent music conference on the East Coast. MACRoCk offers a unique opportunity for bands, industry professionals and fans to interact and connect to support the music they love. With all the shows taking place in independently run and operated downtown music venues, MACRoCk was founded on a belief that corporate sponsorship and big business were not part of what makes music great. Through grassroots organization and an all-volunteer staff, MACRoCk strives to promote independent music, thought, art, business, and culture. This is MACRoCk’s 14th year, and it is going to be better than ever before. For more information about the conference, bands and tickets, please visit the MACRoCk website at

Zehr Receives Thanks and Gives It, Restoratively

Howard Zehr

HARRISONBURG – Eastern Mennonite University professor Howard Zehr spent his Thanksgiving holiday this year receiving the thanks of German and Swiss groups for his work as a pioneer and propagator of restorative justice around the world. He also did “giving” as a speaker and workshop leader on the same topic.

On the day that the United States celebrated Thanksgiving 2010, Zehr received the Michael Stattler Prize from the German Mennonite Peace Committee in Rottenburg am Neckar, a town in southwestern Germany. Continue reading “Zehr Receives Thanks and Gives It, Restoratively” »

This post was submitted by Jim Bishop.

EMU Students Contend in Business Competition

The EMU team tied for fourth place in the annual Goodman & Company accounting competition (l. to r.): Ron Stoltzfus, Eric Yoder, Heidi Boese, Brittany Snyder and Jason Ropp with Gary Thomson of Goodman & Company. Photo by Kristin R. Kitchens

HARRISONBURG – They came, they collaborated, they crunched the numbers and were rewarded for their efforts in a grueling regional business competition sponsored by Goodman & Company, a major Virginia accounting firm.

A team of Eastern Mennonite University senior accounting majors tied for fourth place in the final round of competition with a team from the University of Virginia in the ninth annual Goodman & Company Accounting Challenge. Continue reading “EMU Students Contend in Business Competition” »

This post was submitted by Jim Bishop.

Eastern Mennonite University Celebrates 104 kW Photovoltaic System

EMU President Loren Swartzendruber and Harrisonburg Mayor Kai Degner 'throw the ceremonial switch' to engage the 104.3 kilowatt solar panel array that will provide enough power to supply the total average annual electricity costs of nine homes in Harrisonburg.

Eastern Mennonite University dedicated and celebrated the largest solar photovoltaic (PV) project built so far in the state of Virginia in a public ceremony held Monday afternoon, Nov. 15, on EMU’s campus.

During the celebration in EMU’s Campus Center, about 150 members of the campus community, public officials and local neighbors saw the university’s president Loren Swartzendruber unveil the website dashboard with the flip of a switch, revealing live graphs showcasing the daily, weekly and monthly output of the solar system.

“Caring for God’s good creation is central to who we are as a Christian university,” Dr. Swartzendruber told the gathering. “Our planet does not have unlimited natural resources, and it is imperative that we utilize clean renewable energy such as solar as part of the university’s long-term commitment to creation care and environmental sustainability,” he added. Continue reading “Eastern Mennonite University Celebrates 104 kW Photovoltaic System” »

This post was submitted by Jim Bishop.

New Book Revisits ‘Martyr’s Mirror’ Stories

Press Release HARRISONBURG – An Eastern Mennonite University professor has assembled a collection of poems, essays and fiction by noted and new authors responding to a classic book of martyrs who died for their faith over the centuries.

The anthology, “Tongue Screws and Testimonies,” will be released at a reception for the book’s editor, Kirsten E. Beachy, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 18 in Martin Chapel of the seminary building at EMU. Continue reading “New Book Revisits ‘Martyr’s Mirror’ Stories” »

This post was submitted by Jim Bishop.

EMU A Door To Better Things For Two German Alumni

Carl Wesselhoeft, EMU class of 1955

HARRISONBURG, Va. – Both of them were born in eastern Germany, both fled their homes in the aftermath of the second World War, and both – through a series of coincidences – arrived in North America as laborers on Mennonite farms before attending Eastern Mennonite College (now University) in the 1950s.

The second weekend in October, 2010, Carl Wesselhoeft, EMU class of 1955, and Werner Will, class of 1960, returned to Virginia to celebrate their 55th and 50th class reunions during homecoming at Eastern Mennonite University. Though they only lived briefly in Harrisonburg, both men said they gained much-needed opportunity and purpose at EMU. Continue reading “EMU A Door To Better Things For Two German Alumni” »

This post was submitted by Andrew Jenner.

Beloved Former EMU Campus Pastor Dies

Truman H. Brunk

Truman H. Brunk, 79, a former campus pastor at Eastern Mennonite University died Friday, Oct. 8, at Rockingham Memorial Hospital, Harrisonburg, Va.

Brunk was born May 19, 1931 in Washington, D.C., the son of the late Truman and Ruth Smith Brunk. He grew up in the Denbigh community of Newport News, Va.

Brunk joined the EMU faculty in 1965 following his Continue reading “Beloved Former EMU Campus Pastor Dies” »

This post was submitted by Jim Bishop.

Sachedina to Focus on Furthering Relations Between Children of Abraham

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Professor Aziz Sachedina teaches at University of Virginia and will speak at Eastern Mennonite University on October 4th.

From 4-5:30pm on Monday, October 4, Professor Aziz Sachedina from the Religious Studies Department at UVA will be presenting, “Disenchantment” with “interfaith dialogue” for furthering better relations among the Children of Abraham.  The presentation will be at Strite Auditorium and will be followed by discussion.

In recent years Aziz Sachedina has had significant high level teaching roles and encounters in Iran. He is considered one of the foremost scholars on Shi’ite Islam in the world and he is at the progressive front for conflict transformation, medical ethics and human rights within the Islamic tradition. He is very interested in how the peacebuilding and conflict transformation education and training process has developed at EMU.  

The event is co-sponsored by Eastern Mennonite Universty’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding and Abraham’s Tent.

EMU Signs Agreement to Build Va.’s Largest Solar Panel Array

Posted below is a news release from Eastern Mennonite University marking the formal announcement that the university will be proceeding with plans to install solar panels on the library roof. This effort, led by Tony Smith, the co-director of EMU’s MBA program, was first announced last spring. In April, the city council approved a rezoning to allow the construction of the project.

At the time, Smith and his colleagues hoped to install enough panels on campus to generate 1 megawatt of power. Over the summer, a number of factors prompted the university to scale back the solar project. The first phase, which began this week, will generate 104.3 kilowatts with panels on the library roof, and will still be the largest solar array in the state. The university plans a second round of construction to install panels on canopies above a parking lot, adding another 300 kilowatts of capacity. Continue reading “EMU Signs Agreement to Build Va.’s Largest Solar Panel Array” »

Still ‘Speedy’ After All These Years

Phil Helmuth, executive director of development at EMU, accepts the keys and title to Margaret Martin Gehman's 1967 Volkswagen Beetle. Photo by Jim Bishop

HARRISONBURG – At age 88, Margaret Martin Gehman of Harrisonburg has lost a little of her trademark drive, largely because she has parted company with a faithful friend.

Dr. Gehman and her trusty, albeit a bit rusty, mechanical steed, a blue 1967 Volkswagen Beetle, are almost synonymous to many observers. For years she motored the streets of the greater Harrisonburg area even though she preferred walking to as many destinations as possible. She has been a resident of Continue reading “Still ‘Speedy’ After All These Years” »

This post was submitted by Jim Bishop.

Recent EMU Grad Remembered in Ceremony

EMU junior Julia Johnson reflects on fellow New Zealand seminar participant Jason Marner. The red oak tree planted in Jason's memory is in foreground. Photo by Lindsey Kolb

HARRISONBURG – The 15-foot-tall red oak tree stood erect and vigilant on the hillside, a symbol of the person it would memorialize.

A group of some 100 supporters surrounded the tree Friday, Sept. 17, as tributes and reflections were shared on behalf of Jason Marner, 21, a spring 2010 graduate of Eastern Mennonite University.

Marner, a business administration graduate of EMU, had completed a two-year internship at Dynamic Aviation in neighboring Bridgewater while a student and had begun work there on Monday, June 28. Continue reading “Recent EMU Grad Remembered in Ceremony” »

This post was submitted by Jim Bishop.

Sept 18: EMU Quintet to Spread Harmony Through Music

Press Release HARRISONBURG – Eastern Mennonite University’s faculty artist series will present an evening of chamber music by “Musica Harmonia,” 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 18, in Martin Chapel of the seminary building at EMU. Continue reading “Sept 18: EMU Quintet to Spread Harmony Through Music” »

This post was submitted by Jim Bishop.

EMU Grad Pushes Gov. McDonnell On DREAM Act

Updated with Video

Governor McDonnell nodded as Isabel Castillo told him how she’d come to the United States at age 6, earned a 4.0 GPA in high school and graduated magna cum laude from Eastern Mennonite University in 2009.

Then, her voice cracking with emotion as she spoke at a town hall meeting the governor hosted at JMU, Castillo surprised the crowd of several hundred into momentary silence when she said, “But I’m undocumented.” Continue reading “EMU Grad Pushes Gov. McDonnell On DREAM Act” »

Children’s Choir Invites Auditions for 2010-11 Season

HARRISONBURG – The acclaimed Shenandoah Valley Children’s Choir (SVCC), part of the music department at Eastern Mennonite University, will hold newcomer auditions for the 2010-11 year 3:30-5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 26. from 3:30-5:30.

All interested children grades 3-7, regardless of their singing experience, are welcome to audition. A short, 5-minute meeting and game time is all that is required, and no prepared solo is needed. Children should be ready to sing some familiar songs such as “Happy Birthday,” “Row Your Boat” and an echo game. A parent should be present for the audition, and an appointment is required.

“Most children are surprised to find that the audition isn’t worrisome, stressful, or upsetting,” said Julia J. White, SVCC director. “It is helpful, but not required, to have attended a rehearsal or performance, and to have a teacher recommendation.”

To schedule an appointment, contact Yvette Peak, SVCC choir manager, at 540-432-4650 and visit the website at for detailed information about the program. Continue reading “Children’s Choir Invites Auditions for 2010-11 Season” »

This post was submitted by Jim Bishop.

Fall Semester Looms Ahead at EMU

HARRISONBURG – Warning: dates on the Eastern Mennonite University activities calendar are closer than they appear.

But there they are, hard to ignore – Wednesday and Thursday, Aug. 18-19, the annual faculty-staff conference, signaling the start of summer activities winding down and preparations gearing up for the start of the new academic year. Fall semester classes at EMU will begin 8 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 31. Continue reading “Fall Semester Looms Ahead at EMU” »

This post was submitted by Jim Bishop.

Pro-Life Ethics: New Book by EMU Seminary Graduate

Consistently Pro-Life by Rob Arner.

“This is a book about killing.”  That’s the opening descriptive line in Eastern Mennonite Seminary graduate Rob Arner’s new book.

Arner, of Holland, a village in Bucks County, Pa., is a 2007 master of arts in religion graduate of the seminary.  His recently-published Consistently Pro-Life: The Ethics of Bloodshed in Ancient Christianity is an extension of his master of arts in religion thesis at EMS.  The book was chosen for publication by Pickwick Publications, a division of Wipf and Stock.

Arner, who grew up United Methodist, came to EMS hoping to better understand pacifism.  Says, Arner: Continue reading “Pro-Life Ethics: New Book by EMU Seminary Graduate” »

This post was submitted by Jim Bishop.

EMU Seminary Alums Launch Blog for Young Adults

Laura Lehman Amstutz is an editor of Work & Hope.

Where do young adults go to discuss what’s right with the church, not just what’s wrong with it?

Two Eastern Mennonite Seminary alumni have created a blog and web magazine to provide a forum for young adults who are committed to staying in the institutional church but want to discuss what that means.

Work and Hope: Finding Christ in the Church was created by Jeremy Yoder, a 2010 graduate currently living in Baltimore, Md., and Laura Lehman Amstutz, a 2006 alumna, a Harrisonburg resident.   Continue reading “EMU Seminary Alums Launch Blog for Young Adults” »

This post was submitted by Jim Bishop.

Interfaith Peace Camp Starts at EMU

Today, over 40 children are beginning a week-long day camp at Eastern Mennonite University designed to build friendships and understanding between children of different Abrahamic faith traditions.

Interfaith Peace Camp, offered to rising 1st through 6th graders, is planned and staffed by an interfaith team of community members with the desire to provide low-cost, high-quality learning experiences for campers.   Continue reading “Interfaith Peace Camp Starts at EMU” »

Film: Four Local Profiles of Real Sustainability

Sustainability has been a hot topic in Harrisonburg in recent years. Many groups and causes have developed to raise awareness about issues, ranging in focus from JMU’s Institute for Stewardship of the Natural World to the Voluntary Gas Tax to EMU’s planned solar power project and much more.

Each of these projects are championed by individuals or small groups that provide the vision and drive to create new opportunities to learn about and implement ways to live that decrease environmental impact and, many times, increase quality of life.

Cyndi Gusler is featured in Pathways to Whole.

This Saturday, four such leaders will be profiled in the premiere of the 2010 Documentary Production Class film entitled, “Pathways to Whole – Stories from the Journey.”  Admission to Court Square Theater is free, and donations are accepted.  Paulette Moore, EMU professor, was a lead producer in the film.  From the press release:

This documentary focuses on the lives of 4 main characters and how each one has found a way to address the smaller and larger issues within the systems they live in through biking, gardening, art and peace building, among other things.

Tom Benevento is from Harrisonburg, Virginia and an active member of Our Community Place (OCP) and New Community Project. He loves to garden and bike and is involved in a bike movement project that is starting up. Recently Tom traveled to Davis, California with others from Harrisonburg, including Mayor Kai Degner, to learn about how they’ve made biking a sustainable system in their town. Tom and the others hope to make Harrisonburg more bike-friendly and incorporate a similar system here.

Skip Bracelin, member of Our Community Farm in Harrisonburg, Va, has done and seen a lot of things in his lifetime. Skip spent over half a year traveling the Appalachian Trail with his wife and two dogs. He currently lives and works on Our Community Farm and is an active participant in the daily activities there. He is a talented gardener and loves taking care of plants and animals, as they are all connected to us and each other in some way.

Cyndi Gusler is chair of the Visual and Communication Arts department at Eastern Mennonite University (EMU). Cyndi has been studying and creating art since her undergraduate studies at EMU. She considers using found materials her main art form. Cyndi recently went on a trip to Guatemala to learn about and study permaculture and how it relates to art. She currently works and lives in Harrisonburg, Virginia with her husband Chad and two kids Aaron and Lily.

Titus Peachey currently works for Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) as the director of Peace Education. An EMU alum, Titus has spent time living and serving overseas in Laos with MCC after serving in Vietnam as a conscientious objector during the war there. In Laos he became interested in working at removing cluster bombs that were left in the ground from the silent air war over 40 years ago. He currently lives in Lancaster, Pennsylvania but continues to work at peace building and speaking out against the dangers and harm of cluster bombs in Laos and other countries. He is also a member of the board for the group Legacies of War, based in D.C. and works closely with the director, Channapha Khamvongsa.
Date: Saturday April 24, 2010 (tomorrow)
Time: 7:30 pm
Location: Court Square Theater, Downtown Harrisonburg
Duration: 2 hours
Intended audience: general public