“Celebrating the Church of the Brethren’s 300th Anniversary in 2008″
(March 25, 2008) — In a meeting on March 10-11 at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., the Annual Conference Council received an update on funding for the Annual Conference. The group also addressed issues related to the merger of the Association of Brethren Caregivers and the General Board, among other business.
The Annual Conference Fund ended 2007 with a deficit of $46,376, a figure $45,000 better than was projected when the year began. The deficit represents losses Annual Conference has experienced over the past five Conferences. The deficit for the year 2007 alone was $15,501, some $45,000 better than budgeted. Income for the 2007 Conference–including registrations, district contributions, etc.–exceeded budget expectations by $57,000, but facility expenses in Cleveland were $24,000 more than budgeted. The unexpected costs were due primarily to excessive labor charges at the Cleveland Convention Center.
The Annual Conference Council, which has fiscal responsibility for Conference among its functions, anticipates that the 2008 Annual Conference in Richmond, Va., will help resolve the financial problem. Already, registrations and lodging reservations are showing encouraging increases. If the Conference hotels are filled, costs of the convention facilities will be minimal.
In other business the council put finishing touches on its report to the Standing Committee of district delegates about a revision of the process for dealing with “special response queries.” The council was asked by Annual Conference to revise the existing 1988 paper in response to a recommendation from the Denominational Name Committee in 2004. If approved, Standing Committee will send the paper to the 2009 Conference for approval.
The council also reviewed proposed bylaws for the new denominational structure merging the General Board and the Association of Brethren Caregivers, and decided that the entire document should be considered polity even though some portions of the bylaws were not previously designated as polity. The group noted that more extensive changes will be required to the Manual of Organization and Polity, which has just recently been revised and reissued, after Annual Conference approves the new bylaws, and that some changes and corrections already need to be made to the 2008 manual. It was reported there have been more orders than expected for paper copies of the recently revised manual.
The group compiled a list of agenda items for the April meeting of the Inter-Agency Forum, an annual meeting of executives and board chairs of the Annual Conference agencies (the Association of Brethren Caregivers, Bethany Theological Seminary, Brethren Benefit Trust, the General Board, and On Earth Peace), the Annual Conference officers, and a representative of the Council of District Executives.
The council accepted an invitation from the General Board’s general secretary to have a joint meeting of the council and the proposed new denominational Leadership Team in August, to follow up on 2008 Annual Conference decisions and facilitate the transition of responsibilities from the council to the Leadership Team.
–Fred Swartz is the secretary of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference.
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