Monday in Charlotte

Photo by Regina Holmes

Quotes of the day

“Strike from our feet the fetters that bind.
Lift from our lives the weight of our wrong.”

— Stanza three of the beloved Brethren hymn, “Move in Our Midst.” The lyrics written by Kenneth I. Morse are set to the tune, “Pine Glen,” composed by Perry L. Huffaker. The hymn was chosen as the theme for the Annual Conference in 2013, the 100th anniversary of Morse’s birth. In addition to being a poet and hymnwriter, Morse was a longtime editor and associate editor of the Church of the Brethren Messenger magazine.

“Recognize the breath that is in us. Recognize God’s presence among us…. Feel God come into this place.”

— Bible study leader Jon Brenneman, as he called the delegate body into silent prayer before the first business session began this morning.

Photo by Regina Holmes
Paul Mundey preaches for the Monday evening service.

“There must be a core entree from which we all feast…. Jesus Christ is the core entree. Jesus said it best, ‘I am the bread of life.’”

— Paul Mundey, who gave the sermon for the Conference worship service, is senior pastor of Frederick (Md.) Church of the Brethren. He previously served 13 years as program director for the Parish Ministries Commission for the former Church of the Brethren General Board, is author of several titles including Unlocking Church Doors, writes The One Minute Message, a weekly e-mail column, and Transformation, a weekly blog.

“You guys have had a conversion. It’s gotten from your heart to your feet.”

— An ecumenical guest expressing gratitude to the Brethren for coming to the aid of the small town of Prattsville, N.Y., which was overwhelmed by 14 to 17 inches of rain during Hurricane Irene. A community leader in Prattsville, he went looking for help with the response to the disaster and was directed to Brethren Disaster Ministries. Prattsville soon became a BDM project site where Brethren volunteers repaired and rebuilt homes.

“All five hotels in the Conference block have agreed to look seriously at signing a code of conduct against child prostitution and trafficking.”

— Conference Office director Chris Douglas, announcing to the delegate body that the Program and Arrangements Committee has begun raising issues of human trafficking and prostitution with the hotels used by Annual Conference.

“I am officially the table czar. It even says that on my name tag.”

— Tim Harvey, past moderator, who is coordinating the table seating of delegates this year, as he explained the concept and use of table talk during the morning business session.

Photo by Glenn Riegel
Children listen to a story during worship at the 2013 Annual Conference.

Today’s Conference schedule

The delegate body began the day with Bible study and business, which continued in the afternoon. Age groups from early childhood through senior high had special activities today. There was an opportunity for young adults and single adults to do a service project at the Charlotte Rescue Mission, and the young adults held a meet and greet with moderator elect Nancy Heishman. The Conference Blood Drive began, held at the Westin Hotel across the street from the Convention Center. Luncheons were given by Brethren Volunteer Service, Intercultural Ministries, Brethren Journal Association, Womaen’s Caucus, Brethren Revival Fellowship. The Ecumenical Luncheon featured Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) president Sharon E. Watkins. The Fellowship of Brethren Genealogists held their annual meeting. Insight sessions were held over lunch and after evening worship. Bethany Theological Seminary held a retirement reception for president Ruthann Knechel Johansen. The day’s dinners were the Celebrating Excellence in Church Leadership Dinner and the Global Ministries Dinner which welcomed John L. McCullough, president and CEO of Church World Service. Paul Mundey, pastor of Frederick (Md.) Church of the Brethren, preached for the evening worship service. The day rounded out with more age group activities and a Minister’s Forum.

Photo by Debbie Surin
Children’s painting project.

For the firefighters’ families

The delegate body prayed for the families of the 19 firefighters who were killed fighting wildfires in Arizona. Moderator Bob Krouse asked former moderator Robert Alley to give the prayer before the morning break.

The volunteers who make it all happen

Conference director Chris Douglas expressed her appreciation to all the volunteers who have made Annual Conference happen, beginning with the elected members of Program and Arrangements Committee–Eric Bishop, Cindy Laprade Lattimer, and Christy Waltersdorff–to site co-coordinators Dewey and Melissa Williard, to the leaders of children and youth and other age groups, to the hundreds of other volunteers. Virlina District, which is the host district this year, provided many of the Conference volunteers. Douglas also thanked graphic designer Debbie Noffsinger who designed the Conference logo.

Photo by Regina Holmes
A trombonist plays in the worship band.

Conference to return to Grand Rapids, twice

Hard on the heels of an announcement this morning to the delegate body by Conference Office director Chris Douglas, an article published online by Michigan Live celebrates the return of the Church of the Brethren to Grand Rapids in 2017 and 2020. Douglas explained to the delegates that the Conference is able to negotiate more savings from convention sites by agreeing to return in multiple years. Go to www.mlive.com/business/west-michigan/index.ssf/2013/07/church_of_the_brethen_is_comin.html .

Brethren minister attends 60 consecutive Annual Conferences

Paul White, a Church of the Brethren minister from Roanoke, Va., has attended 60 consecutive Annual Conferences, beginning in 1954 in Ocean Grove, N.J., and continuing through this year. Paul states that Annual Conference is in his DNA. His parents met at Conference, honeymooned at Conference, and he met his wife at Conference in Norfolk, Va., in 1984. White, 85, has served churches in Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. In the course of the 60 years, White has traveled over 41,000 miles and has been to all 50 states. He noted that when Conference was on the west coast he flew to Hawaii and Alaska so he could visit those states. He has been a delegate a number of times, and served terms on Standing Committee and the former General Board.

— Interview by Eddie Edmonds, first published in the Conference Journal

New resource on the Haiti Medical Project

A new DVD titled “Hearts United” features the Haiti Medical Project, a Church of the Brethren project providing medical clinics in Haiti in a cooperative venture with the Global Mission and Service office, congregations of L’Eglise des Freres Haitiens (Church of the Brethren in Haiti), and medical professionals in the US and Haiti. Receive a free copy of the DVD by contacting dale@minnichnet.org .

Photo by Alysson Wittmeyer
Youth painting project.

Conference by the numbers

Blood drive: 58 productive units were collected, from 64 people who presented to donate, on this first day of the drive. The Conference Blood Drive is taking place in the Westin Hotel across the street from the Convention Center, sponsored by Brethren Disaster Ministries in cooperation with the American Red Cross.

Monday offering: $6,776.95 was received in worship this evening.

Registration: 721 delegates, 1,748 non-delegates, for a total of 2,469 attendees as of 5 p.m. today.

Worship attendance: 1,803

The News Team for the 2013 Annual Conference includes volunteer photographers Glenn Riegel, Regina Holmes, Debbie Surin, and Alysson Wittmeyer; volunteer writers Frances Townsend, Frank Ramirez, and Karen Garrett; Eddie Edmonds volunteer for the Conference Journal; Brethren Press publisher Wendy McFadden; Donor Communications staff Mandy Garcia; website staff Amy Heckert and Don Knieriem; and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services.

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