A riddle from Jon Kobel in the Conference Office: Stanley Hauerwas, Philip Yancey, Mark Yaconelli, John McCullough, Sharon Watkins, Ruthann Knechel Johansen, Devorah Lieberman, James Troha, Michael Schneider, Darla K. Deardorff. What do these nationally recognized theologians, authors, educators, and religious leaders all have in common?
Answer: All are speaking at the 2013 Annual Conference of the Church of the Brethren, June 29-July 3 in Charlotte, N.C.
— Stanley Hauerwas, a leading Christian theologian and ethicist and Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theological Ethics at Duke Divinity School, jointly appointed at Duke University School of Law, will speak for the Brethren Press and Messenger Dinner on Sunday, June 30. The dinner starts at 5 p.m. Tickets cost $25. Hauerwas was named “America’s Best Theologian” by “Time” in 2001, and also is known for his outspoken advocacy of pacifism and nonviolence. His books include “A Community of Character,” listed by “Christianity Today” as one of the 100 most important books on religion in the 20th century.
–– Philip Yancey and Mark Yaconelli are both preaching for the Day of Spiritual Renewal on Sunday, June 30. Yancey is a popular Christian writer and author of “What’s So Amazing About Grace?” and “The Jesus I Never Knew.” Yaconelli is a writer, speaker, spiritual director, and co-founder and program director for the Center for Engaged Compassion at Claremont (Calif.) School of Theology. Yancey will preach on the theme of grace for the morning worship service that begins at 9 a.m. Yaconelli will preach on the theme of prayer for an afternoon worship service that begins at 2 p.m. Yaconelli also will have an evening conversation with the young adults on Saturday, June 29, starting at 9 p.m.
— John McCullough, president and CEO of Church World Service (CWS), is addressing the Global Ministries Dinner on Monday, July 1, starting at 5 p.m. McCullough will speak about the long-standing partnership between the Church of the Brethren and CWS, and the ways that they work together toward common purposes. Tickets are $25.
— Sharon Watkins, general minister and president of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), is the featured speaker at the Ecumenical Luncheon at noon on Monday, July 1. She will share reflections on Christian unity as a gift and a goal for the church of Jesus Christ. Tickets cost $17.
— Ruthann Knechel Johansen, who concludes her term of service as president of Bethany Theological Seminary this summer, will speak for at least two special events: the Clergywomen’s Breakfast on Sunday, June 30, starting at 7 a.m. (cost is $16); and the Bethany Seminary and Brethren Academy Luncheon on Tuesday, July 2, at noon (cost is $14). Johansen’s address for the Clergywomen’s Breakfast is on “Finding Your Voice: Turning Crumbs into Bread” with scripture texts from Matthew 15 and Mark 7. The seminary and academy luncheon will focus on the transition in leadership at the seminary. Bethany is holding a reception for Johansen on Monday, July 1, from 4:45-6:45 pm.
— Devorah Lieberman, president of the University of La Verne (ULV), Calif., will speak on “The La Verne Experience” at the ULV Alumni Luncheon on Sunday, June 30, beginning at 12 noon. Tickets cost $17.
— James Troha, president of Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., will share his vision for the future of the college at the Juniata College Alumni Luncheon on June 30 at noon. Tickets cost $17.
— Michael Schneider, president of McPherson (Kan.) College, will be at a “McPherson College Alumni and Friends Reception” on Sunday, June 30, at noon.
— Darla K. Deardorff, executive director of the Association of International Education Administrators at Duke University and a recognized expert on intercultural competency, will speak for the Brethren Journal Association Luncheon on Monday, July 1, at noon. The title of her presentation is “Beyond Barriers: Following Christ’s Teachings.” Tickets are $17. She also will lead an evening insight session on Monday, July 1, at 9 p.m., with the title “Unity within Diversity-Diversity within Unity: Implications for Brethren Today” hosted by the Brethren Journal Association.
Also on the extensive list of presenters for the Conference: popular Brethren singing group Mutual Kumquat will perform for youth events and help lead a Gather ’Round curriculum insight session on Monday, July 1; and Brethren musicians David and Virginia Meadows, featured at the National Youth Conference in 2010, will lead an evening of music for the youth.
For more details about Annual Conference 2013 and to register, go to www.brethren.org/ac .