Dominican Brethren Celebrate 18th Annual Conference

Feb. 23, 2009
Church of the Brethren Newsline

“Without faith, it is impossible to please God!” (Hebrews 11:6). With this challenging theme, moderator José Juan Méndez opened and guided the 18th Annual Conference of the Church of the Brethren in the Dominican Republic. The conference was held at a Nazarene Church campground in Los Alcarrizos in Santo Domingo, Feb. 20-22.

Two new congregations were received into the denomination and prayer was held for five new preaching points. The 74 delegates also approved a new constitution for the church, elected leaders for the national board and other positions, approved the 2009 budget, and dealt with some challenging issues of discipline.

Jay Wittmeyer, executive director of Global Mission Partnerships for the Church of the Brethren, presented plaques to national leaders recognizing their excellent work during the past year and led the delegates in a closing service of bread and cup communion.

Pastor Jorge Rivera, associate district executive for Puerto Rico, in Atlantic Southeast District, presented a moving tribute following a time of silence in honor of the late Guillermo Encarnación for his many years of service in the DR, Puerto Rico, Texas, and Pennsylvania. Also representing the Puerto Rican Brethren was Severo Romero. The Church of the Brethren in Haiti was represented by pastor Ives Jean and Altenor Gesusand, a church deacon.

Nancy Heishman, director of the Church of the Brethren’s theological education program in the DR, led morning Bible studies on the theme of faith, utilizing the talent of some of her students as co-teachers. Irvin Heishman, co-coordinator of the DR mission for the Church of the Brethren, commented, “It’s a joy to see the Dominican church emerging from several difficult years with such vitality and health.”

(This article is taken from a report by Irvin and Nancy Heishman, co-coordinators of mission in the Dominican Republic for the Church of the Brethren’s Global Mission Partnerships.)

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 at For more Church of the Brethren news and features, subscribe to “Messenger” magazine; call 800-323-8039 ext. 247.

Brethren in the News

“Church’s Sewing Day helps those in need,” (Feb. 19, 2009). For the past 51 years, Community Sewing Day at the Nokesville Church of the Brethren has been a place to meet new friends and spend time together while doing a project to help others.

“Doughnuts reign in Franklin County on Fastnacht Day,” Chambersburg (Pa.) Public Opinion (Feb. 19, 2009). The Chambersburg paper highlights local traditions prior to Lent–including Greencastle Church of the Brethren, where members start making fastnacht donuts all night Monday before “Fastnacht Day” or the day before Ash Wednesday. Sales benefit the Women’s Fellowship.

“Wife of Slim Whitman dies at 84,” Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville, Fla. (Feb. 18, 2009). Alma “Jerry” Crist Whitman, wife of “America’s Favorite Folksinger” Slim Whitman, died on Feb. 16 at the age of 84. She is survived by her husband. Her father, A.D. Crist, helped found Clay County Church of the Brethren in Middleburg, Fla.

“Protestants awarded Lilly grants,” South Bend (Ind.) Tribune (Feb. 11, 2009). Northern Indiana District has received $335,000 in the Lilly Endowment’s “Initiative to Address Economic Challenges Facing Indiana Pastors.”

“Grof and Baer represent Meyersdale Area High School,” Daily American, Somerset County, Pa. (Feb. 10, 2009). Shawn Baer of Beachdale Church of the Brethren is representing Meyersdale (Pa.) Area High School at Lions Club meetings.

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