Today in Tampa - Monday, July 13, 2015




Members of the Annual Conference choir during the anthem for Monday evening worship
Photo by Regina Holmes

“If we claim, ‘We don’t have any sin,’ we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from everything we’ve done wrong” (1 John 1:8-9, CEB).


Quotes of the day:

“Let us admit we need each other to care for us, to wash our dirty, aching feet.... Let us admit that the one who calls us to love one another will create in us a clean heart.”
-- Katie Shaw Thompson preaching for evening worship. She has pastored Ivester Church of the Brethren in Northern Plains District since graduating from Bethany Seminary in 2012, and is part of the first cohort of the David G. Buttrick Certificate Program in Homiletic Peer Coaching at Vanderbilt Divinity School.

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“Then you, the Church of the Brethren, suddenly and dramatically came to our rescue beyond expectation.... You have been crying and groaning with us...through the valley of the shadow of death.... This is like resurrection to us.”
-- Samuel Dante Dali, president of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren), thanking the Church of the Brethren in the United States for supporting the Nigerian Brethren during a time of suffering, persecution, and death at the hands of Boko Haram, an extremist Islamist insurgency. In his address to the delegate body this afternoon, Dali described how the American Brethren came to their aid, when EYN attempted to get help from the Nigerian government and from international agencies like the United Nations, to no avail.

“What do we tell Jesus
We thank and glorify him
Because he gave us children
We did not buy them with money
But they are a gift from heaven”
-- A verse from a song performed by the EYN Women’s Fellowship Choir for the afternoon business session.

Worship leaders for the evening service included preacher Katie Shaw Thompson (left) and Jennifer Scarr
Photo by Regina Holmes

Worship leaders for the evening service included preacher Katie Shaw Thompson (left) and Jennifer Scarr

By the numbers

2,073 registrations include 646 delegates and 1,425 nondelegates

$10,951.94 received in the evening offering

120 usable pints received from donors to the Blood Drive today, including a number of “double red” donations


Happy birthday to the Brethren Foundation!

The delegate body today sang “Happy Birthday” to the Brethren Foundation, and blew noisemakers to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the foundation. The foundation is a ministry of Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT).

BBT president Nevin Dulabaum announced that the foundation has grown greatly over its 25 years, now managing $170 million in assets for the Church of the Brethren denomination-wide. He invited Conference-goers to the BBT booth in the exhibit hall to enjoy 200 pieces of birthday cake, first come first served.


Memory book for general secretary Stan Noffsinger

During this Annual Conference, each participant is invited to give good wishes to general secretary Stan Noffsinger through signing a Memory Book that will be presented to him on Tuesday morning.

Noffsinger is concluding his service as Church of the Brethren general secretary in the next few months, and the Memory Book will provide him with a meaningful memento of the church’s appreciation of his leadership.

Each page of the Memory Book features one or more photos of Noffsinger in his role as general secretary, or pictures of places and events of importance during his term of service. The book was put together by a group of volunteers at Elizabethtown (Pa.) Church of the Brethren.

Moderator David Steele receives a plaque of appreciation from EYN president Samuel Dali, in a gesture of thanks to the entire Church of the Brethren in the United from the Brethren in Nigeria. The presentation took place during a time focused on reporting on the Nigeria crisis in this afternoon's business session.
Photo by Glenn Riegel

Moderator David Steele receives a plaque of appreciation from EYN president Samuel Dali, in a gesture of thanks to the entire Church of the Brethren in the United from the Brethren in Nigeria. The presentation took place during a time focused on reporting on the Nigeria crisis in this afternoon's business session.

New Nigeria books and resources

At its onsite bookstore in the exhibit hall, Brethren Press is offering three new resources on Nigeria, all resulting from suggestions from church members:

“Children of the Same Mother: A Nigeria Activity Book” is a colorful magazine style paperback designed to help children learn more about Nigeria and Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). While their congregations and elders pray for the Nigeria crisis and raise money to help fund the crisis response, this book helps children understand the situation at an age-appropriate level. Quantity discounts are available for purchases of 10 or more copies.

A new t-shirt highlights the deep connection between the Brethren in America and in Nigeria. The design is coherent with the bright costumes of the EYN Women’s Fellowship Choir. A portion of t-shirt sales benefit the Nigeria Crisis Fund.

#BringBackOurGirls, an original and unique art piece by Colorado artist Sandra Ceas, is on display in the Church of the Brethren exhibit. Art prints of the piece are for sale in the Brethren Press bookstore, with a portion of the sales going to the Nigeria Crisis Fund.

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Photo by Glenn Riegel

A "Wall of Healing" is displayed during the afternoon business session focus on Nigeria. The "wall" displays 10,000 names of Nigerian Brethren killed by Boko Haram or who died of effects of the insurgent violence over the past few years in Nigeria. The display lists the names and dates of each death and each person's home town or village, on 17 posters sized about 3 by 6 feet. During the afternoon session, Nigerian guests carried the posters around the hall while the delegate body prayed for Nigeria. Shown here, the session included the singing of "Amazing Grace" in Hausa and English.

‘Take Twenty’ and learn more about Church of the Brethren ministries

A “mini” version of insight sessions is happening at the Church of the Brethren exhibit. Staff from various ministries of the denomination are offering 20-minute sessions open to whoever would like to come and learn about the work or a particular aspect of the ministry of the denomination.


Manchester University honors Eugene Roop

Eugene F. Roop, a member of the Manchester University Board of Trustees, was presented on Sunday with the Manchester University Church-University Service Award. “Eugene F. Roop has perhaps been for the Church of the Brethren what the train conductor was for the Polar Express: someone who has kept everything pointed in the right direction and on track and helping a lot of people in their belief along the way,” the citation said. Roop is a past president of Bethany Theological Seminary, from which he retired in 2007, and is known for his biblical scholarship and commentaries. This year, he and his wife established the Eugene F. and Delora A. Roop Endowed Fund that will help Manchester bring in speakers, programs, and other initiatives that lift up Brethren heritage. For the full press release from Manchester University by Anne Gregory, staff for media relations, go to www.manchester.edu/News/RoopServiceHonor.htm .


The News Team for Annual Conference 2015: photographers Glenn Riegel, Regina Holmes, Keith Hollenberg, Justin Hollenberg, Donna Parcell, Alysson Wittmeyer, Alyssa Parker; writers Frances Townsend and Karen Garrett; Eddie Edmonds, Conference Journal; Jan Fischer Bachman and Russ Otto, web staff; Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, news director.

Go to www.brethren.org/Newsline to subscribe to the Church of the Brethren Newsline free e-mail news service and receive church news every week.