Newsline for July 7, 2010

July 7, 2010

“If you love me, you will obey what I command” (John 14:15 NIV),


1) Resolution Against Torture is adopted by Annual Conference.

2) Delegates approve church bylaws, act on two queries and a recommendation on appeals.

3) Hearing gives first look at Special Response process in districts.

4) Harvey is chosen as moderator-elect, and more elections and appointments.

5) Resolution on gun violence, 2011 budget adopted by denominational board.


6) Deacon training to be offered in Spanish.

7) Brethren bits: Webcasts, Conference statistics, 5K winners, anniversaries, and more.

For more about the 2010 Annual Conference go to www.brethren.org/news  . That same news index page will begin featuring onsite reporting from National Youth Conference (NYC) in Fort Collins, Colo., once that event begins on July 17. The NYC reporting will include news, photos, webcasts, Facebook posts, tweets, and more. (Photos at right by Glenn Riegel)

1) Resolution Against Torture is adopted by Annual Conference.

A Church of the Brethren Resolution Against Torture has been adopted by the Annual Conference, meeting in Pittsburgh, Pa., July 3-7, on the theme, “Taking Jesus Seriously.” The Conference was led by moderator Shawn Flory Replogle.

In adopting the resolution, the Conference stated, “Torture is a blatant violation of the tenets of our faith.”

Brought by the denomination’s Mission and Ministry Board and presented to the delegates by Standing Committee member Leah Hileman of Atlantic Southeast District, the paper offers a biblical and historical basis for Brethren opposition to torture, and concludes with a strong and emotional call to confession and action.

The section of confession reads: “We…find both the occurrences of torture and the attempt to legitimize the acts of torture unconscionable.

“We confess allowing the rhetoric and images of torture to pass us by.
“We confess ignoring the cry for justice.
“We confess becoming desensitized and complacent.
“We confess feeling insignificant to make a difference.
“We confess not speaking in a timely manner.
“We confess our inaction.
“We confess our silence.

“We deeply mourn the harm that has been done to all who have been tortured and have tortured. Lord have mercy. We will be silent no more.”

Presenting the resolution to the body, Hileman told the story of preaching on this issue recently in her congregation, and then experiencing a 20-minute debate in the open response time following the sermon. Earlier in the week she had told the Standing Committee of district delegates that the response of her congregation, which included “all sorts of arguments to justify it (torture),” is all the more reason to put such a statement into place for the church. “The question still is, ‘What would Jesus do?’” she told the delegates. “The answer is that Jesus wouldn’t be in a room pushing a prisoner to his limit.”

She challenged Brethren to be aware of the ways torture is present in daily life, such as in our television viewing where she offered the example of the series “24” in which torture has been graphically depicted for viewers’ entertainment. “That’s not who we are,” she said. “The Church of the Brethren can choose today to be in the forefront modeling an alternative to the action of torture.”

Speeches from the floor uniformly applauded the intent of the resolution. “I stand in righteous affirmation,” said Doris Abdullah, the Church of the Brethren’s representative to the United Nations. “It’s a very important statement for us to make as the body of Christ,” said Eric Anspaugh, pastor of Florin Church of the Brethren in Mount Joy, Pa.

“This is an important step to take,” said Duane Ediger of First Church of the Brethren in Chicago, Ill., and a participant in Christian Peacemaker Teams, referring to the abuses of Abu Ghraib in Iraq and the practice of extraordinary rendition of prisoners by the CIA and other government agencies.

There were some calls to include a definition of torture in the resolution, and concerns that it refer more specifically to mental and emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and domestic violence. Two amendments were defeated, including one that would have added a short statement reaffirming the Brethren opposition to all violence, after several responses from the microphones indicated delegates regarded the amendment as diluting the resolution’s focus.


2) Delegates approve church bylaws, act on two queries and a recommendation on appeals.

The Annual Conference adopted revised bylaws for the Church of the Brethren and acted on a query on the structure of Annual Conference, a query on guidelines for implementation of the Congregational Ethics Paper, and a recommendation from the denomination’s Leadership Team on appeals of Program and Arrangements Committee decisions.

Query: The Structure of Annual Conference:

Delegates gave overwhelming support to the Standing Committee recommendation to adopt the query on the structure of Annual Conference, and to refer its concerns to the Annual Conference Revitalization Task Force–a body recently put in place by the Conference officers.

The query asks, “What ways are there to structure Annual Conference that might more effectively fulfill the mission of Annual Conference to unite, strengthen, and equip the Church of the Brethren to follow Jesus?”

Standing Committee delegate Vicky Ullery, from Southern Ohio District, told how a group of pastors from Southern Ohio initiated this query. She said it was not designed to do away with the business function of Annual Conference but seeks to uncover ways of enhancing the Conference function of strengthening unity and equipping the church to be the church. Words such as passion, energy, joy, and enthusiasm describe the hope for what Annual Conference may become.

Many people spoke from the floor in favor of the motion, some making suggestions for the task force to consider. Several hoped for more of the flavor of National Youth Conference. Moderator Shawn Flory Replogle noted that two members of the task force have been NYC staffers.

Query: Guidelines for Implementation of the Congregational Ethics Paper:

The delegates also overwhelmingly approved adoption of this query and the Standing Committee recommendation “that it be referred to a committee consisting of the appropriate Congregational Life staff and three persons appointed by the Annual Conference officers and confirmed by Standing Committee.”

Named to the committee were Joshua Brockway, Church of the Brethren’s director of Spiritual Life and Discipleship and a member of the staff of Congregational Life Ministries; Joan L. Daggett, associate district executive in Shenandoah District; Lisa L. Hazen, pastor of First Church of the Brethren in Wichita, Kan.; and Clyde C. Fry, a retired pastor from Mansfield, Ohio.

The query asks, “Would it not be helpful and contribute toward the unity of the Body if Annual Conference developed a uniform denominational process by which districts might deal with a congregation that engages in questionable ethical activity?”

Standing Committee’s recommendation was presented by delegate Roger Forry from Western Pennsylvania District, which brought the query. During discussion district executive minister Ron Beachley noted that since the Ministerial Ethics paper contains a specific process to follow in the event of allegations of ministerial conduct, there was a desire also to have a similar process applicable to congregations.

Some who spoke from the floor were concerned about the scope of the committee’s mandate. Moderator Shawn Flory Replogle conferred with the officers and said if the committee decides a process is needed, they will move forward to develop it, and bring it back to a future Annual Conference.

Another concern was that a single process applied across all districts may not be appropriate because of differences between districts. One person wondered if a congregation accused of ethical violations might simply decide to leave the denomination, rather than submit to such a process. The presenters pointed out that the intent of the congregational ethics paper is to keep both parties in relationship and to bring healing and transformation, not punishment.

Appeals of Program and Arrangements Committee Decisions:

The delegates adopted by more than the two-thirds majority required a recommendation on appeals of decisions made by the Conference’s Program and Arrangements Committee. The recommendation brought by the denomination’s Leadership Team–made up of the three Annual Conference officers and the general secretary–was that Standing Committee be the body to receive such appeals.

Added recommendations from Standing Committee also were approved, that this “be adopted as new polity with the understanding that Standing Committee will subsequently develop a policy of how to address appeals of Program and Arrangements decisions that is different from the process Standing Committee follows in making judicatory decisions.”

The presenters explained why the Leadership Team thought a change was desirable. Before the recent reorganization, the Annual Conference Council held responsibility to receive such appeals, but several members of the Council also sat on the Program and Arrangements Committee. Since reorganization, the successor to the Council is the Leadership Team, but three of its four members also are on Program and Arrangements.

Several questions from the floor centered on how this new plan would work and how quickly appeals could be handled. The moderator noted that Standing Committee will need to work on developing a process to be used.

Church of the Brethren Bylaws Revision:

The delegate body adopted the revision to the bylaws of the Church of the Brethren by well over the two-thirds margin required. The bylaws under revision were initially adopted in 2008, when the former General Board and Association of Brethren Caregivers joined together in one organization creating the new structure under which the church is now operating.

In 2009, a shorter, clearer revision of the bylaws was brought for a first reading. Delegates were invited to send in suggestions and concerns. The process resulted in minor changes to the document, made for additional clarity or better wording.

In discussion before the vote, a few delegates raised concerns or offered comments. One expressed concern about the legal language, suggesting that the document not refer to the organization as a corporation, but as a church. General secretary Stan Noffsinger replied that the bylaws is a legal document, and that such language is necessary in accordance with the laws of Illinois where the church corporation legally resides.

Composition of the Mission and Ministry Board was another concern. Following these bylaws, the denomination is divided into five areas with two board members coming from each, with Brethren populations varying widely from area to area. Noffsinger replied that members of the denominational board have been either elected or ratified by Annual Conference and always have represented the entire denomination, not just their home districts. He also noted that the Mission and Ministry Board will continue to receive concerns.

The provision that one at-large member of the board can be a person with particular expertise who is not a member of the Church of the Brethren also prompted a question. Noffsinger replied that he could not envision a scenario in which this would be necessary, but that the committee who developed the document wanted to provide for the opportunity if needed.

3) Hearing gives first look at Special Response process in districts.

A hearing on the final evening of the 2010 Annual Conference offered a first look at hearings that will take place in each of the 23 districts in the Church of the Brethren this fall and winter.

The district hearings are part of a Special Response process set in motion at last year’s Conference, when delegates acted on two business items related to issues of human sexuality: “A Statement of Confession and Commitment” from the Standing Committee of district delegates, and “Query: Language on Same-Sex Covenantal Relationships” brought by Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren in Fort Wayne, Ind., and Northern Indiana District.

The 2009 Conference voted to accept the two documents as “special response” items to be dealt with using a process for strongly controversial issues. The decision commits the denomination to an intentional church-wide conversation focused on human sexuality.

At the evening hearing, Standing Committee members modeled and explained a format that will be used for all of the district hearings, the “Framework for Conversation” from the Annual Conference paper “Structural Framework for Dealing with Strongly Controversial Issues.”

Larry Dentler, a member of Standing Committee from Southern Pennsylvania District, introduced the hearing format as “the Acts 15 model” for how to make decisions. “I would be delighted if every member of the Church of the Brethren found his way into a hearing,” he said. “It’s a wonderful process.” He characterized church members who may choose not to participate in hearings–those who “fold your arms and grump away”–as losing an opportunity to have their voices heard.

The Framework for Conversation format is intended to be “transparent in its process and broad in its invitation, fostering a spirit of openness, promoting community rather than uniformity, and understanding rather than debate,” as it is described in the Annual Conference paper.

Dentler explained that the format is designed as a two-hour meeting for a group of about 10 to 12 people. The meeting is led by a facilitator from Standing Committee, or another person invited to lead such hearings in a district, who helps guide the discussion but not as a participant.

In addition to the facilitator, a notetaker is to be part of each hearing. A standard response form will be provided for each hearing to send feedback to help Standing Committee formulate recommendations on the two items of business when they come back to Annual Conference next year.

Each hearing is to follow a scripted outline that opens with a welcome, an opportunity for people to introduce themselves, the reading of 1 Corinthians 12:12-27, and a prayer. The hearing then continues with a review of the Special Response process, ground rules for the discussion (such as listening and speaking with respect, and making sure every person has an opportunity to participate), the reading of each business item, and a short series of questions about each business item.

One of the questions will specifically ask what participants want Standing Committee to know as they make their recommendation to the 2011 Annual Conference, and what participants want Standing Committee to do about the two business items.

“By the end (of a hearing) every one of you has the opportunity to answer the question, what do you want to say to Standing Committee?” Dentler emphasized.

A follow up question will ask how participants think members of the church can hold each other together in light of differences among the body.

While the facilitator’s words were scripted on Tuesday evening, the responses of Standing Committee members in the “model” hearing were not. Dentler pointed out the remarkable level of honesty and trust that was exhibited, in front of an audience numbering something over 300 people–plus possibly a much wider audience via webcast. “These brothers and sisters were being vulnerable before you tonight,” he said.

The “model” group–all Standing Committee members–displayed widely different points of view when asked what they want Standing Committee to know in this Special Response process. Several made statements in support of the denomination’s 1983 paper on human sexuality, while at least one said forthrightly that she cannot support it. One expressed the need to “stand upon the authority of God’s word,” while another spoke of a daughter who is gay, saying “She is not a sinner, she is born the way God wanted her to be.” Others talked about their concerns for unity and the church, that “through the midst we hold one another in Christ’s love.”

The model hearing closed with a short question and answer time. One question asked if the district hearings will be for church members only, and if people should attend only one. Dentler answered that the hearings should be open to any active participant in the life of a Church of the Brethren congregation, and that yes, people should only attend one. “We don’t want to stuff the ballot box,” he said.

Other questions focused on the process, for example in some larger districts how enough hearings can be offered if groups are limited to 10 to 12 people, and what the timing for hearings should be, specifically if one should participate in a Special Response Bible study before attending a hearing.

A more substantive question asked if Standing Committee members will be able to put aside their own feelings, as they take into consideration the responses received from across the denomination.

“We cannot do it on our own,” responded one Standing Committee member. “We cannot do it without the Holy Spirit.”

After the hearing ended, the room quickly broke up into small groups of people engaged in earnest conversation. Each Standing Committee member was quickly surrounded by those wanting to ask more questions or to express concerns.

It was the second Special Response hearing offered at the Conference. A hearing on the first evening modeled a session of the Bible study that congregations are encouraged to use to prepare members to take part in the district hearings. The Special Response Resource committee also offered an insight session.

For resources for the Special Response process go to www.cobannualconference.org/special_response_resource.html  , where there are links to the Bible study prepared by the Special Response Resource Committee, a detailed timeline of the Special Response process, and the Annual Conference paper that is guiding the process–the “Structural Framework for Dealing with Strongly Controversial Issues.”

4) Harvey is chosen as moderator-elect, and more elections and appointments.

Tim Harvey, pastor of Roanoke (Va.) Central Church of the Brethren, was elected Annual Conference moderator-elect. The Nominating Committee of the Standing Committee of district delegates developed the slate of candidates, and Standing Committee voted to create the ballot that was presented to the 2010 delegate body.

As moderator-elect of Annual Conference, Harvey will serve for the next year in the second-highest elected position in the Church of the Brethren, assisting 2011 moderator Robert Alley to lead the Conference next year. In 2010 Harvey will serve in the highest elected position in the church as moderator of the 2012 Annual Conference.

Having grown up in Broadway, Va., his home congregation is Bethel Church of the Brethren in Broadway. He holds a bachelor of science degree in chemistry from Virginia Tech and a master of divinity from Eastern Mennonite Seminary. He is an ordained minister and his pastoral career also has included service as youth minister/associate pastor at Dayton (Va.) Church of the Brethren, and as pastor at New Hope Church of the Brethren in Stuart, Va.

He was a member of the Church of the Brethren General Board 2003-08, and chair of the board from 2007-08. He currently is chair of Congregations in Action, an interfaith group of nine Roanoke congregations partnering in a local, public elementary school. He and his wife Lynette have three children, Emily, Zachary, and Rose.

Other election results:

Annual Conference Program and Arrangements Committee: Eric Bishop of Pomona, Calif.

Pastoral Compensation and Benefits Advisory Committee: Mark Doramus of Middleton, Idaho.

Committee on Interchurch Relations: Christina Singh of Panora, Iowa.

Mission and Ministry Board: Area 1 — Pamela Reist of Mount Joy, Pa.; Area 4 — Tim Peter of Prairie City, Iowa; Area 5 — Gilbert Romero of Los Angeles, Calif.

Bethany Theological Seminary Trustee: representing the clergy — John David Bowman of Lititz, Pa.; representing the laity — Lynn Myers of Rocky Mount, Va.

Brethren Benefit Trust Board: Wayne T. Scott of Harrisburg, Pa.

On Earth Peace Board: Gail Erisman Valeta of Denver, Colo.

Confirmations of agency ppointments and nominations:

Mission and Ministry Board: Rebecca Ball-Miller of Goshen, Ind., and Brian Messler of Emmitsburg, Md.

On Earth Peace Board: Carol Mason of Centralia, Wash., and Donna Shumate of Sparta, N.C.

Bethany Theological Seminary Board of Trustees: Elaine Gibbel of Lititz, Pa., and Paul Wampler of Manassas, Va.

Brethren Benefit Trust Board: Eunice Culp of Goshen, Ind.; Karen Orpurt Crim of Dayton, Ohio; and Michael B. Leiter of Frederick, Md.

Elections and appointments made by Standing Committee:

World Council of Churches representative: Michael L. Hostetter, pastor of Salem Church of the Brethren in Englewood, Ohio, with R. Jan Thompson of Bridgewater, Va., as alternate.

Nominating Committee of Standing Committee: Leah Hileman from Atlantic Southeast District, Ed Garrison from Illinois and Wisconsin District, Cathy S. Huffman from Virlina District, and Steve Sauder from West Marva District.

Appeals Committee of Standing Committee: Jeff Carter from Mid-Atlantic District, Eileen Wilson from Oregon and Washington District, Jim Hoffman from Southeastern District, with alternates Frank Polzin of Michigan District and Shirley Wampler of Virlina District.

Annual Conference Program Feasibility Study Committee: David Crumrine of Middle Pennsylvania District.

Elections and appointments by the Mission and Ministry Board:

Executive Committee of the Mission and Ministry Board: Andy Hamilton and Barbra Davis (Dale Minnich continues as chair, and Ben Barlow continues as chair-elect).

Program Feasibility Study Committee: LeAnn Wine, executive director of Systems and Services.

Mission and Ministry Planning Council: Terry Lewis.


5) Resolution on gun violence, 2011 budget adopted by denominational board.

A “Resolution on Ending Gun Violence” and a budget parameter for 2011 topped the agenda at the pre-Conference meeting of the Church of the Brethren’s Mission and Ministry Board. The group was led by chair Dale Minnich.

Other business included financial reports, and approval of financial policies that have been revised to bring church nomenclature up to date and allow for technological developments like donations via electronic transfer. The board also nominated trustees to a trust in India and approved a large grant to continue disaster response in Haiti.

Reports were received on the board’s strategic planning process, the work of the denominational Vision Committee, progress toward a major revision of the Ministerial Leadership Paper, and from general secretary Stan Noffsinger on his visit to the White House earlier in the week.

Resolution on Ending Gun Violence:

The board adopted a Resolution on Ending Gun Violence that endorses a similar resolution by the National Council of Churches (NCC). The board’s resolution echoes the NCC document in encouraging church members to engage in action on the issue.

A recent Supreme Court decision on gun rights “really should not discourage us from this resolution,” said Noffsinger as he presented the document. “If we do anything we ought to approach this with more vigor and determination to add our voice against handgun violence.”

Invited to speak was Mimi Copp, a Church of the Brethren member living in Philadelphia, who has been part of the Heeding God’s Call movement for responsible gun sales and against the “straw sales” that provide guns to criminals.

Reviewing shocking statistics on deaths by gun violence in the United States–such as that since the events of Sept. 11, 2001, 25 times the number of Americans have been killed by gun violence in the US than have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan–she outlined the urgency for church action. “I am inspired by your willingness to look at this very touchy issue and pray for you in your deliberations,” she told the board.

After some questions from board members, Noffsinger clarified that the resolution is not addressing guns used for hunting, and that the NCC resolution (which is attached to the board resolution) makes a clear distinction about the type of gun that is the focus. He also noted that the Church of the Brethren does not yet have an Annual Conference statement solely addressing gun violence, and commented that he views this resolution as “an intermediate step” until such a document may be created.

Budget parameter for 2011:

The board approved a 2011 budget parameter of $5,426,000 for the Church of the Brethren’s core ministries. The decision includes permission for up to $437,000 to be drawn from a bequest quasi endowment to cover an expected shortfall in income from other sources.

The shortfall reflects the continuing effect of the recession on the church’s investment income, as well as an expected 20 percent increase in the bill for employee health insurance, and a decrease in giving from individuals to core ministries. Wages will be frozen for a second year in a row.

However, report forms from congregations show that the churches who expect to contribute to the work of the denomination are committed to increase their giving by 4.5 percent for next year. “We are indeed blessed,” commented Ken Neher, director of Stewardship and Donor Development.

“Our goal is to get to the point where our income matches our expense,” said treasurer Judy Keyser, who characterized the funds from the bequest quasi endowment as a “short-term plug” and emphasized that it is not a solution to longterm issues affecting the church’s finances.

Noffsinger explained that with the board having just started a strategic planning–or “appreciative inquiry”–process, executive staff did not want to make decisions such as reconfiguring staff or programs before the board has an opportunity to consider long term goals.

“Everything I hear is directed at systemic organizational change,” vice chair Ben Barlow responded, adding that he hopes the denomination understands the seriousness of the situation.

EDF grant to Haiti disaster response:

An additional grant of $250,000 from the Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) was approved by the board following a video report on the work of Brethren Disaster Ministries and Global Mission Partnerships in Haiti. Prior EDF grants to the earthquake relief work in Haiti have totaled $300,000.

The direct relief phase of earthquake response, such as feeding programs and the building of temporary shelters, ends this summer, reported Brethren Disaster Ministries executive director Roy Winter. After that the focus of the work will turn to construction of permanent homes, trauma recovery, a medical effort, and agricultural development.

Nominations to the GBB Trust in India:

The board nominated four trustees to the General Brotherhood Board (GBB) Trust in India, which is located in the Second District of the India Brethren. The 95th annual assembly of the India Brethren had provided the names of Kantilal Somchand Tandel, Nityanand Manilal Thakore, Darryl Raphael Sankey, and Ramesh William Makwan, which were approved for nomination.

The board also instructed Noffsinger and Global Mission Partnerships executive director Jay Wittmeyer to seek out additional nominees to represent the Second district of the India Brethren and the Church of North India, after conversation revealed that all four nominees are from the First District.

Noffsinger explained that this is a second trust–along with the Church of the Brethren General Board (CBGB) Trust–to which the Church of the Brethren in the US has the responsibility to nominate trustees. Nominations will be given to the Charity Commissioner. The nominations need to be made to ensure that the trust does not revert the state, Noffsinger said, as the single remaining trustee is over 90 years old and will continue to serve out his lifetime.

General secretary’s report:

Noffsinger reported being one of 15 US church leaders who were invited to the White House last week to discuss Israel and Palestine with Denis McDonough, National Security Council Chief of Staff to President Obama. All three of the historic peace churches were represented, along with other Christian traditions who are members of Churches for Middle East Peace.

The reception the group received at the White House was excellent, Noffsinger said. “We were there to voice our concern over a sustainable peace,” he told the board, adding that “it was a lively conversation.”

The church leaders transmitted several messages to the US administration, including that the US has an important role to broker a peace for all peoples of the conflict. The group urged moving the peace negotiations into direct talks between the parties, the free flow of non-lethal goods between Gaza and Israel, and the immediate resumption of full humanitarian aid shipments.

The group also touched on the status of the city of Jerusalem. “Any peace that is brokered will need to allow free access to Jerusalem by peoples of all three faiths–Christian, Jewish, and Muslim,” Noffsinger said.

In other business, the board also thanked retiring members for their service, including Vernne Greiner, Bruce Holderreed, John Katonah, Dan McRoberts, and Chris Whitacre.

6) Deacon training to be offered in Spanish.

In order to be a truly intercultural denomination, it is critical that we have continuity throughout the work we do, that we consider the whole of our life together as an intercultural community. One effort toward such continuity will come to fruition on Aug. 14 when deacon training will be offered with full Spanish translation at the Nuevo Amanecer Fellowship in Bethlehem, Pa.

To date, bilingual training has been provided by multiple individuals on multiple topics. We are grateful for and are building on that foundation, with a goal of developing core competencies among all denominational deacons, regardless of language or culture.

In his work with Nuevo Amanecer and pastor Fausto Carrasco, intercultural ministries director Ruben Deoleo learned that the congregation’s deacons were interested in the same types of training workshops now being offered in English around the country. How could they take advantage of these presentations and materials in the primary language of their own faith community, Spanish? Within a matter of weeks a day of training had been scheduled, and all printed workshop materials were quickly translated into Spanish.

Phase I of providing this training in Spanish is simultaneous translation; one of the members of the fellowship will translate as the presenter offers the training in English. This is not an ideal situation, however, so future plans will be to offer a “train the trainer” program so that Spanish-speaking trainers are fully equipped to offer all of the same workshops now available in English.

Congregational Life Ministries is very excited to be able to offer this deacon training session in August and, along with the Nuevo Amanecer Fellowship, encourage other congregations with deacons whose primary language is Spanish to take advantage of this day of worship, fellowship, and learning.

For more information and to register, visit www.brethren.org/deacontraining  . For questions, or if you are interested in becoming a trainer, contact Donna Kline, director of deacon ministry, dkline@brethren.org  or 800-323-8039.

— Donna Kline is director of the Church of the Brethren’s Deacon Ministry.

7) Brethren bits: Webcasts, Conference statistics, 5K winners, anniversaries, and more.

The Saturday evening worship service of the 2010 Annual Conference was the first worship of an annual meeting of the Brethren to be broadcast worldwide. Brethren videographer David Sollenberger and his team provided live video feeds and Bethany Seminary staff member Enten Eller conducted the webcast. Based on the story of the Transfiguration found in Matthew 17:1-9, Annual Conference moderator Shawn Flory Replogle preached on the moments “When Heaven and Earth Touch.” With moderator-elect Robert Earl Alley as worship leader, the assembled called to mind biblical and Brethren luminaries as all prayed with the ancient mystic Teresa of Avila to become the mind, the eyes, the ears, and the heart of Christ. Each day’s worship throughout the rest of the Conference also was webcast, along with some other events. The Sunday morning service was estimated to have reached some 1,000 people via the Internet. View recordings of the Conference webcasts at www.bethanyseminary.edu/webcasts/AC2010  .

Conference statistics for 2010 included a total registration number of 3,381 including 793 delegates; 200 pints of blood collected, which exactly met the goal of the Blood Drive; $5,700.50 raised by the quilt auction of the Association for the Arts in the Church of the Brethren (AACB), which will go for hunger relief; and total offerings of $58,333.72.

Four new churches were welcomed by the 2010 Conference. Iglesia de los Hermanos Christo Nuestro Paz, in Yahuecas, PR, was welcomed as a congregation. Common Spirit Fellowship in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis-St. Paul) area of Minnesota; Cornerstone Church of the Brethren in Preble County, Ohio; and Way of Hope Ministry in Western Pennsylvania District were welcomed as new fellowships.

— Winners of this year’s Brethren Benefit Trust 5K Fitness Challenge are: Nathan Hosler, first male runner with a time of 18:13; Christy Crouse, first female runner (25:44); Don Shankster, first male walker (31:23); and Bev Anspaugh, first female walker (34:45).

— The 100 Year Celebration of Boones Chapel (Snow Creek) Church of the Brethren will be held Sunday, July 18, beginning at 10 a.m. with worship. Virlina District executive David Shumate will be the speaker, with former pastors and spouses sharing during worship and special music by Circle Creek Revival. A covered dish fellowship meal will be served.

Boones Mill (Va.) Church of the Brethren celebrates its 85th anniversary on Sunday, July 18, with a 10 a.m. concert by contemporary gospel singing group Rise and Shine! followed by worship at 11 a.m. with William Abshire, professor of Philosophy and Religion at Bridgewater (Va.) College.

Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren, cobnews@brethren.org   or 800-323-8039 ext. 260. The News Team for the 2010 Annual Conference also included writers Karen Garrett, Frank Ramirez, Frances Townsend; photographers Kay Guyer, Justin Hollenberg, Keith Hollenberg, Glenn Riegel; and website staff Amy Heckert and Jan Fischer Bachman. Newsline appears every other week, with special issues as needed. The next regular issue scheduled for July 22 will feature a full report from National Youth Conference. Newsline stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source. To unsubscribe or change your e-mail preferences go to www.brethren.org/newsline  .
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