The 2019 Annual Conference of the Church of the Brethren takes place next week July 3-7 in Greensboro, N.C. Presiding will be moderator Donita Keister, moderator-elect Paul Mundey, and Conference secretary James Beckwith. Keister preaches for opening worship Wednesday evening. Pre-Conference meetings include the Ministers’ Association annual continuing education event and the Standing Committee meetings of district delegates, among others.
For details go to www.brethren.org/ac .
This year’s onsite news index page will be live as of July 1 at www.brethren.org/ac/2019/coverage .
-- The three days of business sessions Thursday through Saturday will have a special focus on compelling vision conversations and will include a new morning worship service this year. The conversations will be held in small groups at round tables, led by the Compelling Vision Process Team, and will include all delegates and those nondelegates who have pre-registered to take part. Saturday afternoon’s love feast will be a highlight. Find the business agenda at www.brethren.org/ac/2019/business .
-- A request from Eric Reamer, who is helping coordinate the holding of love feast at Annual Conference 2019 in Greensboro, N.C. The love feast will be offered during the final business session on Saturday afternoon, July 6, and all delegates and nondelegates who are present will be invited to participate. “We are anticipating as many as 1,500 people participating,” Reamer reported in a request for help to obtain home-made loaves of bread for the event. “At this time we still need many loaves of home-made bread, not communion bread but loaves of bread that will be shared at the tables as part of the communion meal.” He noted that some of the bread needs to be gluten free. He also shared a request for people to volunteer to help set up and serve the love feast. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 570-837-9393.
-- “Connect your congregation for Annual Conference Sunday 2019!” says an invitation to the Annual Conference Sunday morning webcast on July 7. “Each year, we form one large worshiping congregation on Annual Conference Sunday, as many congregations and individuals tune into the webcast on Sunday morning.... By streaming the service from Annual Conference for the worship in your church, your congregation can worship along with thousands of other Brethren!” Differing time zones and worship start times are not an obstacle to a congregation joining in the live stream worship because the webcast can be rewound and paused and started as needed. Plan for worship start times after 8:30 a.m. (Eastern). Link to the Annual Conference daily webcasts of worship and business sessions and find more information about the special Sunday morning service at www.brethren.org/ac/2019/webcasts/#acsunday . Worship bulletins are at www.brethren.org/ac/2019/webcasts/#resources .
-- For those traveling to Greensboro by air, the Annual Conference hotel--the Sheraton at the Koury Convention Center--provides complimentary shuttle transportation to and from the Greensboro airport. The service van has limited seating and there may be wait times if several people arrive and need the shuttle at the same time. Call 336-292-9161 after arriving at the airport and picking up luggage (no advance reservations) for information about the wait time for the next available pickup.
-- This year’s Witness to the Host City is partnering with BackPack Beginnings in Greensboro. “The mission of BackPack Beginnings is to provide children in need with nutritious food, comfort items, and basic necessities,” said an announcement. “The organization was started in 2010 by Parker White, a young mother who wanted to help children in need in her community. From a few boxes of food on her dining room table, this organization has grown to a multi-program organization that now serves over 4,000 children. The organization is staffed 100 percent by volunteers!” The Annual Conference office has asked BackPack Beginnings what their most needed items are, so that Conference attendees can be guided in bringing helpful donations: canned soups, canned Chef Boyardee meals, canned chicken and tuna, grits and oatmeal, healthy snacks, washcloths, deodorant, toothpaste, children’s activity books. Also needed are gently used khaki/navy pants for boys and girls, sizes 8-14; gently used jeans for boys and girls, sizes 2T, 3T, 4, 5, 6, 6X, and 7/8; gently used children’s athletic shoes, size 10-13 and 1-5. Find out more at www.backpackbeginnings.org .
-- The annual Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) Fitness Challenge 5K run/walk has been canceled this year. The event usually takes place during Annual Conference. Said a BBT announcement: “In order to be supportive of the schedule for the Annual Conference 2019 compelling vision process, BBT will not hold its annual Fitness Challenge. It was felt that the timing and the proximity of the race to the conference venue would cause a schedule conflict for those who want to be fully engaged in the important business taking place at the Annual Conference. We hope to return to our 5K tradition in Grand Rapids in 2020!”
-- In addition to the annual blood drive at Annual Conference (this year taking place Friday and Saturday, July 5-6) Brethren Disaster Ministries is sponsoring a “Church of the Brethren VIRTUAL Blood Drive” on the theme “Sleeves Up!” during Annual Conference. “Even if you are not going to the Annual Conference you can join in the Blood Drive efforts by donating blood in your home area. Click on the link below to go to our Virtual Blood Drive campaign page and pledge to give blood from June 21 through July 31,” said an announcement. “Find a blood drive near you at redcrossblood.org and let us know when you donate. Take a photo, upload it to #SleevesUpBrethren and send a copy to email@example.com .” The photo shown here is of Kathy Melhorn when she participated in the Virtual Blood Drive in 2016. Find out more at https://sleevesup.redcrossblood.org/campaign/church-of-the-brethren-virtual-blood-drive-2 .