Two ministry training events head the meetings that precede the 2014 Annual Conference in Columbus, Ohio: the Ministers’ Association, and Congregational Vitality Workshops. Other regular annual meetings held prior to the Conference include the Standing Committee of district delegates, the Mission and Ministry Board, and the Council of District Executives, among others.
Ministers theme is ‘Preaching the Lively Word’
The Ministers’ Association pre-Conference event is Tuesday, July 1, through Wednesday, July 2, at the Columbus convention center. “Preaching the Lively Word: Text and Context in Today’s Pulpit” is the theme, with leadership by Thomas G. Long.
Long is the Bandy Professor of Preaching at Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga. He has previously taught preaching at Princeton, Columbia, and Erskine seminaries. He is the author of numerous books and articles on preaching and worship as well as biblical commentaries on Matthew, Hebrews, and the Pastoral Epistles. He served as senior homiletics editor of “The New Interpreter’s Bible,” and is an editor-at-large for “The Christian Century.” His latest books are “Accompany Them with Singing: The Christian Funeral” (2009), “Preaching from Memory to Hope” (2009), “What Shall We Say? Evil, Suffering, and the Crisis of Faith” (2011), and “The Good Funeral: Death, Grief, and the Community of Care” (2013, with Thomas Lynch). Emory University awarded him the Emory Williams Award for teaching excellence in 2011.
Session one on July 1 from 6-9 p.m. is titled “Disruption, Enchantment, and Wisdom: The Emerging Languages of Preaching.” Session two on July 2 from 9-11:45 a.m. is titled “The Churches at the Four Corners: Insights on Preaching from the New Testament Churches.” Session three on July 2 from 1-3:45 p.m. is titled “Puzzles, Riddles, and Paradoxes: Preaching and the Parables of Jesus.”
This event includes continuing education units for ordained ministers. The deadline to register is June 15. Find more information and register at www.brethren.org/livelyword .
Congregational Vitality Workshops
The Church of the Brethren Congregational Life Ministries is offering two Congregational Vitality Workshops prior to Annual Conference. On Wednesday, July 2, at 9 a.m.-12 noon will be a workshop on the topic “Restoring Hope: Transforming Lives and Congregations”; at 1:30-4:30 p.m. a workshop will be held on the topic “The Role of Congregations in Mental Health.”
“Restoring Hope: Transforming Lives and Congregations” will address the question, What does the future look like to you, family members, friends, and the congregation you attend? Hope is the ability to see a future that is life-giving. Unfortunately, many people feel weighed down by scarcity and grief. Practical resources will be shared for helping people rediscover hope. Christian people with hope transform congregations creating vital communities of faith.
“The Role of Congregations in Mental Health” will take a look at the number of people, one in four adults or nearly 30,000 members of our faith tradition, who will experience some type of mental illness during their lifetimes. This workshop will present ways that faith communities and people engaged in mental health recovery can work together to educate communities about mental illness, and equip them to develop supporting, caring responses through relationships and practices that facilitate recovery. The Church of the Brethren’s new partnership with ADNet, the Anabaptist Disabilities Network, will be introduced and information shared about how church members and congregations can participate.
Registration deadline is June 23. Cost is $15 per person for one workshop, $25 per person to attend both workshops. Lunch is on your own. For a registration form and more information go to www.brethren.org/ac/2014/documents/congregational-vitality-workshops.pdf .