Today at Annual Conference – Saturday

Photo by Glenn Riegel
Bread is carried in to the opening worship of the 2012 Annual Conference, a symbol of the communion table of the Lord.

Quotes of the day

“If your church did just these things for the next decade it would be a fabulous 10 years.” – Moderator Tim Harvey recommending the directional goals for the Church of the Brethren that provide daily themes for the 2012 Annual Conference.

“Dad, you should be moderator every year. This is a really cool hotel room!” – Harvey opening the morning’s Standing Committee meeting with a smile. He was quoting a comment from his daughter when he got back to the family’s hotel room after a long day of work. A Standing Committee member called out in response: “Is that a motion? Do you need a second?”

“So Paul says through the bars to his friends, ‘Don’t act like the empire, act like Jesus is raised from the dead…. Glory to God who has raised Jesus from the dead and uncaged us all.” — Walter Brueggemann preaching for the opening worship service from the book of Philippians, which Paul wrote while in prison.

Today in St. Louis

With afternoon temperatures well over 100, Conference-goers arrived at registration hot and sweaty and appreciating efficient air conditioning in the America’s Center. In recent days, St. Louis highs have gone as high as 106, or higher. By the late evening, however, the skies over the Mississippi were crackling with lightning as a storm approached, carrying hopes for cooler days ahead.

Today pre-Conference meetings included the Standing Committee of district delegates, the Mission and Ministry Board, the Council of District Executives, Deacon Training Workshops, and the Minister’s Association–whose continuing education event led by biblical scholar Walter Brueggemann was moved to a bigger room because of the large crowd that attended.

This afternoon a briefing was held for new attendees, the choir rehearsed, the Fellowship of Brethren Genealogists met, there was an Intercultural Welcome and Networking Reception, and Voices for an Open Spirit (VOS) held an annual dinner.

Opening worship started at 6:50 p.m., with Walter Brueggemann as preacher and Walt Wiltschek as worship leader. The sermon topic was “Behind Bars: Freedom Uncaged.”

Hearings on Conference business items and age group activities closed out the day, with young adults and single adults heading to St. Louis’ City Museum for a “Night at the Museum” by flashlight.

Photo by Glenn Riegel
Walter Brueggemann preaches for the Saturday evening worship service that opened the 2012 Conference.

By the numbers

$6,332.35 received in Saturday evening’s offering

2,283 total registration, including 727 delegates and 1,556 nondelegates

10, 28, and 42 – the number of years that Fred Swartz has served as Annual Conference secretary, as previous editor of the “Conference Journal,” and in pastoral ministry, respectively

Ballot change

In a change to the Annual Conference ballot, following her hiring by Bethany Seminary Bekah Houff’s name has been removed (agency personnel are ineligible for elected positions) and replaced with that of Christy Waltersdorff, pastor of York Center Church of the Brethren in Lombard, Ill. This change was announced at the Standing Committee meeting.

Photo by Glenn Riegel
Chris Douglas, Conference director, addresses the opening worship service.

Safe Space contact information

Ministers of Reconciliation will be available throughout the Conference at the MoR Observers area during business sessions, and on call in the rest of the venue. They are available to listen, help make sense of proceedings, be a peaceful presence in tense situations, mediate conflict, and help navigate misunderstandings. Conference-goers who want to ask for the Ministers of Reconciliation should go to the On Earth Peace booth or call this number: 847-622-3394.

A blast from the past

The last time Annual Conference was held in St. Louis was the first time computers were used in the Press Room. Prior to that year, typewriters were king!

The 2012 Annual Conference news team includes: photographers Glenn Riegel, Regina Holmes, Debbie Surin, Alysson Wittmeyer; writers Don Fitzkee, Mandy Garcia, Karen Garrett, Randy Miller, Frank Ramirez, Frances Townsend; “Conference Journal” editor Eddie Edmonds; web staff Amy Heckert and Don Knieriem; and Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, editor and director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren.

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