Annual Conference Announces 2010 Theme, Study Committees Organize

Annual Conference moderator Shawn Flory Replogle (kneeling left) receives a blessing along with moderator-elect Robert Alley (kneeling right) at the 2009 Annual Conference in San Diego in late June. Replogle has issued a theme statement for the 2010 Annual Conference, which will take place in Pittsburgh, Pa., July 3-7. Go to
 . Photo by Glenn Riegel

Chris Douglas has begun as director of the Conference Office for the Church of the Brethren, succeeding retiring Conference director Lerry Fogle who will be helping to train the new Conference staff through November.

Jon Kobel is the new Conference administrative assistant, succeeding Dana Weaver in the position. See below for contact information for the Conference Office staff.

Church of the Brethren Newsline
Sept. 16, 2009

The 224th recorded Annual Conference of the Church of the Brethren will be held in Pittsburgh, Pa., on July 3-7, 2010. The theme statement for the Conference will be “Taking Jesus Seriously” from John 14:15, “If you love me, you will obey what I command” (NIV).

In another announcement from retiring Conference director Lerry Fogle, two Annual Conference study committees are organizing to begin their work.

The Resource Committee on Secret Oath-Bound Societies, appointed by the Annual Conference officers at the direction of the delegates to the 2009 Conference, organized on Aug. 27. The committee includes Dan Ulrich, professor of New Testament studies at Bethany Theological Seminary, as chair; Harold Martin, recorder; and Judy Mills Reimer. The group will develop a list of resources that affirms the Conference action of 1954 to educate and inform the church concerning membership in secret oath-bound societies. The committee is charged with completing its assignment by the time of the 2010 Annual Conference in Pittsburgh, Pa.

The other committee formed by the 2009 Conference is the Special Response Resource Committee. It will hold its organizational meeting on Oct. 12-13. The group includes Karen Long Garrett, Jim Myer, Marie Rhoades, John E. Wenger, and Carol Wise. This committee will develop study materials and a discussion guide for use in congregations, districts, and denominational groups, focused on the content of the paper “A Statement of Confession and Commitment” and the query “Language on Same-Sex Covenantal Relationships.” The committee has been asked to create study materials by April 1, 2010.

Information created by both resource committees will be made available on the Annual Conference website, in Source, and through other denominational communication vehicles.

Available online now is a statement from Annual Conference moderator Shawn Flory Replogle giving background for the 2010 theme. “We live in challenging times…,” he writes in part. “The Church of the Brethren is made for such a time as this,” his statement adds. “Among the most central ways the Brethren have lived out their spiritual inheritance–taking Jesus seriously–is through honest reading of the Gospels, followed by straightforward discipleship….” Go to  to find the full statement.

In related news, the Conference Office has moved from the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., to the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. Contact the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference at 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL, 60120; Chris Douglas, Conference Director, 800-323-8039 ext. 228; Jon Kobel, Conference Assistant, 800-323-8039 ext. 229; fax 847-742-1618.

Douglas will function as Conference Director starting Sept. 14. Retiring director Lerry Fogle will be in Elgin for training of new staff during multiple periods in September through November.

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The Church of the Brethren Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren. Newsline stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source. Contact to receive Newsline by e-mail or to submit news to the editor. For more Church of the Brethren news and features, subscribe to “Messenger” magazine; call 800-323-8039 ext. 247.

Brethren in the News

“Area woman serves in Maine home-school mission,” Public Opinion, Chambersburg, Pa. (Sept. 12, 2009). Amanda Akers recently undertook a Brethren Volunteer Service assignment with Maine Area Home School Project in Lewiston, Maine. The school project provides a Christian education to Brethren families and others in an atmosphere of biblical values. Akers is a member of Welsh Run Church of the Brethren in Mercersburg, Pa.

Obituary: Larry L. Rader, Palladium-Item, Richmond, Ind. (Sept. 12, 2009). Larry L. Rader, 63, of Eaton, Ohio, died on Sept. 10. He attended Eaton Church of the Brethren. He had worked for Nettle Creek Corp. in Richmond, Ind., for 24 years and retired in 2007 after 17 years at Total Fire Group Inc. in Dayton, Ohio. He is survived by his wife, Laura C. (Watson) Rader.

“Nonprofit group SERRV continues mission of fighting poverty worldwide,” Carroll County Times, Westminster, Md. (Sept. 10, 2009). At the back of SERRV’s gift shop at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md., hangs a bright orange sign with the organization’s mission statement: “Eradicate poverty wherever it resides.” On Sept. 11, the organization which was started by the Church of the Brethren celebrated its 60th year of trying to achieve that goal with a celebration held at the Brethren Service Center.

Obituary: Marvin Dale Fulton, Mansfield (Ohio) News Journal (Sept. 10, 2009). Marvin Dale Fulton, 88, passed away on Sept. 9 in Hospice House in Ashland, Ohio. A life member of Owl Creek Church of the Brethren in Bellville, Ohio, he was a former deacon, treasurer, and served on the church board. He retired from Westinghouse after working nearly 40 years. He is survived by his wife, Lois (Arnold) Fulton.

“Charity’s chief out: He writes of putting ‘personal well-being’ above agency,” Sunday News, Lancaster, Pa. (Sept. 6, 2009). The head of COBYS Family Services has resigned, saying that he put his “personal well-being above that of the organization.” Phil Hershey, who has resigned as administrator at COBYS, wrote in the organization’s fall newsletter that he was resigning because, “For a period of time, I have approved transactions that did not coincide with our accounting policies and made decisions that had an adverse effect on the financial performance of the organization.” Whit Buckwalter, president of COBYS board of directors, wrote that the board had asked for Hershey’s resignation. The board has named Mark Cunningham as acting administrator. COBYS or Church of the Brethren Youth Services was founded in 1980 and provides foster care, adoption, counseling, and family educational services. It is affiliated with Atlantic Northeast District of the Church of the Brethren.

Obituary: Roy J. McRoberts, Palladium-Item, Richmond, Ind. (Sept. 3, 2009). Roy “Bud” J. McRoberts, 79, passed away suddenly on Sept. 1 at Reid Hospital in Richmond, Ind. He was a longtime member of Prices Creek Church of the Brethren in West Manchester, Ohio, where he was a deacon for 38 years. He retired from the Alcoa Company in Richmond after 38 years of employment. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Vera I. McRoberts, who passed away in 2002. He is survived by his second wife, Geneva Lee McRoberts.

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