A conversation guide for the “Together: Conversations on Being the Church” discussion process in the Church of the Brethren will come off the press soon, just in time for a training event for district representatives to be held in New Windsor, Md., Feb. 24-26. The conversation guide is one of several resources already available or coming soon to facilitate the denomination-wide conversations about what “being the church” in the Church of the Brethren means.
The Together conversations were initiated by the Council of District Executives in 2003, with a statement of concern and a call for the denomination to begin a discussion of “ecclesiology,” or what it means to be the church. Planning for carrying out such a conversation denomination-wide has since been carried by a committee of representatives of the district executives and the Annual Conference agencies.
The Together conversation guide written by James Benedict, pastor of Union Bridge (Md.) Church of the Brethren, is published by Brethren Press and will be used at Annual Conference this summer and at many district conferences and regional events this year and next. The guide also is available for Together conversations in congregations, Sunday school classes, and small groups. The guide is specially priced at a discount for groups and may be purchased for $4.95 a copy, plus shipping and handling. Call 800-441-3712.
The conversation guide is supplemented by a short DVD. Groups should order one book for each participant, and one DVD for the group. The DVD has a preliminary price of $4.95, and also may be ordered from Brethren Press.
Another resource for the Together conversations is a website, offering and explanation of the conversation process, background information, worship resources and scriptures, and other materials in English and Spanish. As conversations take place across the denomination, short statements from each discussion group will be posted at this site as well For more information go to http://www.togetherconversations.org/ (English) or www.brethren.org/together/eventsSp.html (Spanish).
An upcoming Bible study in the series, “A Guide for Biblical Studies,” also is recommended by Brethren Press a supplemental study for the Together conversations. The Summer (June, July, and August) 2006 Bible study written by James Eikenberry is titled, “Called to Be a Christian Community.” The study focuses on 1 and 2 Corinthians to consider the nature of the church. “Called to Be a Christian Community” is available from Brethren Press for $2.90 a copy or $5.15 for a large-print copy, plus shipping and handling. Call 800-441-3712.