Today’s worship theme: Called to Proclaim Unity in Christ
“‘I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ So the last will be first, and the first will be last” (Matthew 20:14b-16).
Quotes of the day:
“And God, who knows the human heart, testified to them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us; and in cleansing their hearts by faith he has made no distinction between them and us.”
-- Verses 8-9 from the opening passage of Acts 15 that Annual Conference moderator Samuel Sarpiya chose to read to start the first business session of the 2018 Conference. He said this has been a traditional scripture passage for moderators to read to the delegate body as the Brethren gather for their annual meeting.
“I have a yellow card. Remember this is a soccer season...and I am the referee!”
-- The moderator giving instructions to the delegate body to follow the best of the Brethren tradition of loving speech to each other on the Conference floor. He held up a yellow card like those used by referees in the World Cup, the international soccer tournament, to warn players that they have transgressed the rules of the game.
“We will receive precisely what we have been promised...by God’s grace and generosity.... In the Kingdom of Heaven we do not get what we deserve.... God does promise the fullness of his kingdom forever.”
-- Galen Hackman in his Bible study on the parable of the laborers in the vineyard in Matthew 20:1-16.
“I hope you buy a lot of chocolate and coffee, otherwise registration fees will go up next year!”
-- Annual Conference director Chris Douglas requesting Conference-goers to support the SERRV store, which is on a consignment basis and run by Northern Ohio District volunteers led by pastor Tina Hunt. The fair trade chocolate and coffee are the only items that are nonreturnable.
“For the families not together today, we pray for them.... One day, we’re going to be one family together.”
-- Cesia Salcedo leading the delegate body in prayer, in Spanish and English. She was invited by the moderator to offer prayer for the immigration situation at the start of the afternoon business session.
“The Kingdom of Heaven is where the last will be first and the first will be last.... There is a certain joy we can have by putting others first.... When you forget self and reach out to others, you will find joy.”
-- Brian Messler preaching the evening sermon on the parable of the laborers in the vineyard from Matthew 20.
By the numbers:
Registration total at the end of the day: 2,193 including 673 delegates and 1,520 nondelegates
Thursday's offering received during worship, to benefit the Church of the Brethren Core Ministries: $13,157.03
Webcast estimates: 140 views for the morning business session
| ‘Thursdays in Black’
Thursday evening a group of Brethren--Nigerian and American, women and men--gathered on the steps of the convention center in Cincinnati to call attention to a serious, sometimes forgotten, and often ignored issue: rape used as a weapon of oppression and intimidation by monstrous regimes.
Rebecca Dali, founder of the Center for Caring Empowerment and Peace Initiatives (CCEPI) in Nigeria, for which she received recognition from the UN, had invited individuals to wear black in recognition of such repressive behavior. The practice of “Thursdays in Black” originally harkened back to a terrible period in Argentine history during the 1970s when women were routinely raped as part of that illegitimate regime’s plan to silence and control them. Women in Nigeria and in other places around the world are facing the same outrage today.
As the women and men assembled on the steps for a photograph, Dali counseled, “We will not smile because we are standing against violence and rape.” For those who are interested in wearing black on Thursdays as a witness against repression, “Thursdays in Black” t-shirts are available through Brethren Press.
For more onsite coverage of Annual Conference go to www.brethren.org/ac/2018/coverage .
The news coverage of Annual Conference 2018 is made possible through the work of communications staff and a volunteer news team: Frank Ramirez, Conference Journal editor; photographers Glenn Riegel, Regina Holmes, Keith Hollenberg, Donna Parcell, Laura Brown; writers Frances Townsend, Karen Garrett, Alyssa Parker; youth team member Allie Dulabaum; web staff Jan Fischer Bachman, Russ Otto; Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services; Wendy McFadden, publisher. Contact email@example.com.