“Don’t think of yourself more highly than you ought to think. Instead be reasonable since God has measured out a portion of faith to each one of you” (Romans 12:3b, CEB).
Quotes of the day:
“O God, as we gather together as friends in Christ, brothers and sisters across the world...bless our differences, the unique gifts of each.”
-- Annual Conference moderator David Steele, giving an opening prayer for the afternoon business session.
“The heart of Jesus is in this body.”
-- Rodger Nishioka preaching for Sunday morning worship. He commented on the text for the morning from Romans 12, “To embody the new community is to let love be genuine.... Paul the apostle is lining out for us, this is what it means to embody the new community.” Nishioka is from the Presbyterian Church USA and teaches at Columbia Theological Seminary.
“We forget that we deliberately need to enter grief.”
-- Joyce Rupp speaking at the Clergywomen’s Breakfast.
“The Bible is not a linear story, we have to find out how our story is woven into it.”
-- Richard Newton speaking for the Elizabethtown (Pa.) College Luncheon, on the topic “The African American Bible: Bound in a Christian Nation.” He is assistant professor of Religious Studies at the college.
“He told me how his heifer had helped his family survive. She was so important that they kept her in the house with them.... I share with you all the gratitude of Stanislas and his family.”
-- Peggy Reiff Miller speaking at the Brethren Press and Messenger Dinner about her research on sea-going cowboys who helped bring heifers to a devastated Europe following World War II, through Heifer Project, now Heifer International, and the UN Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. Miller went to Europe recently to meet with some families who received animals, to find out how the gift of heifers affected their lives. She is working on an illustrated children’s book that will be published by Brethren Press.
By the numbers
2,068 registrations include 646 delegates and 1,422 nondelegates, as of 7:15 p.m. this evening
$14,434.94 received in the morning offering for the Nigeria Crisis Fund
200 simultaneous logins for worship webcasts, 150 for the afternoon business webcast, which combining live and recorded Conference webcasts totaled more than 1,000 views
Delegates welcome new district and fellowship, approve ballot and cost of living increase for pastors
The opening business session of the Tampa Conference was held this afternoon, presided over by moderator David Steele. The session included a welcome of the new Puerto Rico District, and one new fellowship into the denomination: Ministerio Rios de Agua Viva in Southeastern District.
The delegate body also welcomed a number of international guests including leaders of the Churches of the Brethren in Nigeria, Brazil, Spain, and Haiti, as well as mission workers in South Sudan and Quaker pastors from Burundi and Rwanda who are guests at the Conference this year. The EYN Women’s Fellowship Choir and the BEST group that have been touring and giving concerts in many different churches and districts also were welcomed. The choir has been singing for worship, offering songs last night and this morning.
Also on the agenda this afternoon was approval of a ballot, and two names were added from the floor as candidates for the Review and Evaluation Committee: Carol Lundquist and Mary Kay Ogden. The election will be held during tomorrow’s business sessions.
The delegates approved a 1 percent cost of living increase in the recommended minimum cash salary table for pastors.
BBT sponsors 5K Fitness Challenge
Brethren were running around Tampa this morning, literally! Conference-goers ran and walked along the city’s River Walk in a 5K Fitness Challenge sponsored by Brethren Benefit Trust. Four categories of “firsts” were acknowledged: first male runner was Nathan Hosler (19:01); first female runner was Marianne Fitzkee (24:19); first male walker was Don Shankster (33:44); first female walker was Bev Anspaugh (36:31).
Webcast logins ‘bump’ over the 1,000 mark
In news from Enten Eller, who is running the webcasts from Annual Conference worship and business sessions, the number of logins to live and recorded webcasts have “bumped” over the 1,000 mark. “We're running over 200 simultaneous logins for worships, 150 for business so far. But views of the recordings bump numbers to over 1,000!” he reported. “For Sunday morning, from what I am hearing more people participated in worship around the country than were here in Tampa! Perhaps twice as many.” The Conference Office had invited congregations across the denomination to worship along with the Annual Conference today via live webcast, in order to make up one large virtual congregation for the Conference’s Sunday morning service.
Bridgewater College presents Garber Awards
At its Annual Conference luncheon, Bridgewater (Va.) College presented two alumni with Garber Awards: Fred Swartz, class of 1958, who is a retired Church of the Brethren pastor and a former Annual Conference secretary who served in the position for 10 years from 2003-2012; and Emily Birr, class of 2015, who has been involved with New Community Project, has helped plan the Roundtable regional youth conference, and has worked at Camp Mack in Indiana. The Merlin and Dorothy Faw Garber Award for Christian Service honors Merlin Garber, a Church of the Brethren pastor and 1936 Bridgewater alumnus, and his wife Dorothy Faw Garber, who was in the class of 1933.
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.