Annual Conference will be held
Wednesday, July 3–Sunday, July 7, 2024
at the DeVos Place Convention Center in Grand Rapids, Michigan
Go to www.brethren.org/ac for more information.
There are five types of events that Church of the Brethren agencies, organizations, and groups can host or sponsor:
Exhibits are either linear booth spaces or ‘free standing’ spaces located in the exhibit hall at Annual Conference. Agencies, organizations, groups, and businesses affiliated with the Church of the Brethren or whose values align with the Church of the Brethren can apply for exhibit space. All exhibitors must meet certain criteria, agree to the Program and Arrangements Committee’s Guidelines and Expectations for Annual Conference Exhibit, and complete an Application for Exhibitor Status (form #1 below). Program and Arrangements Committee will review each application in late November.
Exhibitors can request single, double, or triple 10’ x 10’ linear booths. These booths include 8′ tall back drape and 3′ side rail drape. The booth furnishings include an eight-foot skirted table, two plastic side chairs, a wastebasket, and an ID sign.
Larger free-standing exhibit space is also available, allowing you the option to choose the square footage you need. There is an incremental discount for larger sizes. Please note that these areas do not include any furnishings or pipe and drape. You will have the opportunity to order those items on form #3.
Move-in day for exhibitors will be at noon the day before conference starts. Exhibits will open at 12:00 noon on the first day of conference and must remain in place through 7:00pm the night before the last day of conference. Exhibit Hall hours during Conference will be 8:00 am to 10:00 pm. but the Exhibit Hall is closed during worship (6:45 pm – 8:15 pm). The exhibitor contract, floor plan drawing, and furnishings list will be provided later.
All exhibitors and other staff related to the exhibit area must register for Annual Conference. Your exhibitor fee does not include registration. Registration opens March 1 at www.brethren.org/ac.
This could be a board meeting, training seminar, reunion, support group, gathering, annual meeting, prayer group, networking session, etc.
This is an educational breakout session. Equipping Sessions are reserved for agencies of the Church of the Brethren and Districts. Equipping sessions must equip and empower congregations and participants for a life of discipleship and service to Christ and the Church. So, we ask that all your sessions be interactive learning experiences that introduce or explore practical tools, skills, practices, or frameworks that participants can take home with them to enhance their personal or congregational ministry. In particular, we urge you to consider sessions related to discipleship formation, neighborhood engagement and missional outreach, leadership development, and stewardship enhancement. We really want you to focus on how you can better serve and empower congregations and individuals for ministry. Please review these Goals and Guidelines for Equipping Sessions before finalizing your session.
In keeping with this goal, we are asking you to address both focus (the subject of your session) and function (how it will equip attendees for ministry) in your description. In other words, your description should not only describe your topic, but it should include a sentence that lets attendees know what they will learn and take with them from your session. Example: “Attendees of this session will discover three new spiritual practices they can implement in their lives or congregations to deepen their walk with Christ.” You can also include information on any materials or handouts they will receive.
Requests for Equipping Sessions are only to be completed by the agencies that are accountable to the Annual Conference or by one of the Districts. If your agency chooses to sponsor a session for another group that is not accountable to the Annual Conference you should have an understanding of the proposed topic and presenters and knowledge that the session content will be in harmony with the beliefs, practices, and official statements of the Church of the Brethren. Program and Arrangements Committee has the final decision on Equipping Sessions.
The Church of the Brethren and each of the three Annual Conference agencies have been allocated a specific number of equipping sessions. To minimize the impact of other activities on attendance and ensure the best possible attendance at equipping sessions, we are maintaining a smaller number of equipping sessions and we will NOT offer equipping sessions the night we host a special late evening activity. Sessions will be split in a balanced way between two evening slots and three early afternoon slots. More detailed information about how equipping sessions will be allocated among the available time slots will be shared with our primary contacts within each agency.
|Agency||Number of Equipping Sessions|
|Church of the Brethren||20|
|Eder Financial (BBT)||5|
|Bethany Theological Seminary||5|
|On Earth Peace||5|
|Districts & Program and Arrangements Committee||3|
Non-delegates will have an option to register to participate in Annual Conference virtually. For our virtual participants and for in-person participants who may not be able to attend an equipping session they are interested in for whatever reason, we want to offer at least some equipping sessions in a virtual or hybrid format and/or record them for viewing after Annual Conference. You will have the ability to indicate your willingness to offer your equipping session in a hybrid format, a virtual only format, or to record your session for future viewing on your space request form. Annual Conference will provide internet access for hybrid sessions, but sponsors/presenters will be responsible for all other equipment and/or arrangements necessary to produce a hybrid session or to record their session.
This is an event during which food is served. It could be a breakfast, lunch, or dinner event. The Annual Conference office sets the prices for the meals based on an estimate from the caterer; we will share those prices with you around the first of the year. You may choose to have the Annual Conference office sell your meal tickets during advanced registration and onsite, you may distribute tickets and pay for the meals yourself, you may choose to host a “by invitation only” event, or you can choose to host an event open to all conference-goers without the need for tickets. College/University luncheons are always scheduled on the last full day of conference. Please review these Catered Meal Event Guidelines before finalizing your meal.
This year there will be a $125 surcharge for any meal event with under 29 participants. Please factor this into your budgeting for your meal.
If you would like to have catering for anything other than a breakfast, lunch, or dinner (i.e. reception, snacks during a meeting, birthday cake, coffee or tea service, etc.) you would complete the Additional Catering Request form. Note: The convention center does not allow you to bring in food from outside the building.
When filling out the Catered Meal Request Form or the Additional Catering Form, do not over-estimate your approximate attendance counts. We make room assignments based on approximated attendance. In addition, when the final guarantee provided just before Annual Conference is significantly lower than the preliminary estimate you may have to pay for more than your guarantee. Your guaranteed meal numbers will be due about 2 weeks before Annual Conference.
Form #1 – Submissions due November 1
On this form you state your initial intention for Exhibit Space, Meetings, Equipping Sessions, Catered Meals, or Additional Catering. Exhibit Space requests will be assessed and approved by Program and Arrangements Committee. Equipping Session planners please read this important information.
Form #2 – Submissions due February 1
The links to these forms will be posted in December.
On this form–just for Meeting, Equipping Session, or Catered Meal planners–you will provide information that will be printed in the Annual Conference Booklet in March, including a full description and information about leadership.
Form #3 A or B – Submissions due April 1
The links to these forms will be posted in February.
Form A is for Meeting, Equipping Session, or Catered Meal planners, you can order AV equipment or additional furnishings for your event.
Form B is for Exhibitors. You can order additional furnishings, electrical hookups, or other rentals for your exhibit.
Equipment: Pricing for available AV equipment will be on form #3 and listed on this page after the first of the year. Please order all of the equipment you will need. Items ordered on-site will have an additional $25 late-order fee added.
Room Set-up: A $50 room usage fee is charged for each catered meal, meeting, and equipping session. It is expensive to change the set-up of meeting rooms in convention centers and hotels, so all rooms being used for equipping sessions will be set up theater style. All rooms being used for sit-down meals will be set up with round tables for 8-10 persons per table.
Registration opens at 12:00 Noon Central Time on Wednesday, March 1 at www.brethren.org/ac. You will need to register yourself for Annual Conference. Exhibitor fees do not include a conference registration.
There are two hotel choices in our conference block: the Amway Grand Plaza and the Courtyard Grand Rapids Downtown. Our Annual Conference Room Rate at both hotels will be $119 plus tax (15%) totaling $136.90 per night. Self-parking is complimentary for hotel guests at both hotels, valet parking is not complimentary and will be charged at current rates. In room Wi-Fi is complimentary for all hotel guests.
You will be able to make hotel reservations after you have registered for Annual Conference with a link included in your Annual Conference registration confirmation email. If you call the hotel directly, they will not be able to give you the Annual Conference reduced room rate.
Please keep checking this page for additional information as we receive it from the Convention Center and vendors.
Information to come:
- Map of conference center and meeting spaces
- Technology available to order for meetings and sessions
- Layout of exhibits
- Meal prices
- Unloading and Loading information with dock map