The Annual Conference officers have announced the theme for next year’s Annual Conference of the Church of the Brethren: “Continuing the Work of Jesus. Peacefully. Simply. Together” (Matthew 28:19-20). The Conference will take place in St. Louis, Mo., on July 7-11, 2012.
The officers invite Church of the Brethren members to join them in prayer on Wednesday mornings at 8 a.m. (each in their own time zone) until the start of next year’s Conference. The officers have provided an online prayer calendar guide for this time of prayer each week.
“The Great Commission of Matthew 28:19-20 stands at an important intersection of New Testament faith,” writes moderator Tim Harvey in his theme statement, in part. “Jesus has just completed his earthly ministry, a time when his life and teaching gave evidence of another kingdom among us. This kingdom is hidden from those who will not see, and yet made clearly present through his life and ministry. Jesus taught, healed, felt deep sorrow at the suffering of others, confronted injustice, invited other persons into this kingdom life, and finally was crucified. Three days later, he was raised. And now, perhaps moments before his ascension into Heaven, Jesus gives the disciples this instruction, words that will serve the Brethren as the theme verses for the 2012 Annual Conference: ‘Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age’ (Matthew 28:19-20, NRSV).
“As 2012 Annual Conference moderator, I look forward to hearing stories of how the Brethren are ‘Continuing the Work of Jesus’ in our congregations around the world,” Harvey’s statement concludes. “Along the way to St. Louis, we will be reminded of the way Brethren of years past continued the work of Jesus in their time. And I will strive to challenge all of us to greater faithfulness. The world needs the testimony of Jesus. Brothers and Sisters, let us dedicate ourselves to ‘Continuing the Work of Jesus. Peacefully. Simply. Together.’”
In addition to the overall theme for the Conference, daily themes and scriptures also have been announced, drawn from the newly identified “Directional Goals” of the Church of the Brethren Mission and Ministry Board. “The directional goals have the potential to become the spiritual disciplines of our denomination,” Harvey writes, “faith practices that both nurture us in our faith and challenge us to continue the work of Jesus in very specific, disciplined ways.”
Daily themes and scriptures are as follows: Saturday, July 7, “International Mission,” Philippians 1:3-6; Sunday, July 8, “Brethren Voice,” Matthew 28:19-20, Luke 1:79; Monday, July 9, “Congregational Vitality,” Hebrews 10:23-25 and 1 Corinthians 12:13-27; Tuesday, July 10, “Service,” 1 John 3:16-18; Wednesday, “Church Planting,” 1 Corinthians 3:6.
Find the moderator’s statement at www.cobannualconference.org/StLouis/2012ThemeStatement.pdf. Find the prayer calendar at www.cobannualconference.org/StLouis/Annual_Conference_Prayer_Guide.pdf. General information about the Conference is at www.brethren.org/ac.