The Day in Columbus – Wednesday

Photo by Regina Holmes
Wednesday evening worship opens the 2014 Conference, with moderator Nancy Sollenberger Heishman on the big screens. The Annual Conference is taking place in Columbus, Ohio, at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, on July 2-6.

From Philippians

“What does it matter? Just this, that Christ is proclaimed in every way, whether out of false motives or true; and in that I rejoice” (Philippians 1:18).

Quotable quotes

“Blessings that fill our hearts just have to be expressed, you know.”
— Moderator Nancy Sollenberger Heishman, in her invitation to the offering during the opening worship service of the 2014 Annual Conference. She spoke of the encouragement that the Brethren have given her during her term as moderator, and the excitement and life she has seen in the churches she has visited. “Even when all the signs point down,” she said of Brethren congregations, “you keep looking up.”

Photo by Glenn Riegel
Thomas G. Long preaches for the Wednesday evening service.

“Between what matters and what does not, brown and green, life and death, this is precisely the issue that Paul is struggling with in his jail cell. What he sees is that his own success in minister doesn’t matter, compared to the proclamation of the gospel.”
— Thomas G. Long, in the opening sermon of the Conference

By the numbers

Attendance: 717 delegates, 1,643 nondelegates, for a total of 2,360 at the first day of the Conference.

Photo by Regina Holmes

Wednesday’s schedule

The 2014 Annual Conference of the Church of the Brethren opened today at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio. Exhibits opened at noon, following by new attendees orientation and training for those who will serve as table facilitators in business sessions. The Open Table Mix and Mingle at 5 p.m. helped welcome Conference-goers to Columbus.

Already meeting in Columbus prior the start of the Conference were the Standing Committee of district delegates, the Mission and Ministry Board, the Council of District Executives, the Ministers’ Association, and Congregational Vitality Training Workshops.

Evening worship heard a message from Thomas G. Long, who was the presenter for the Ministers’ Association,

Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
One of the many families who arrived in Columbus today for the beginning of Annual Conference.

speaking on “Partners, Striving Side by Side” from Philippians 1.

The evening’s hearings addressed several items that will be discussed on the Conference floor including a document responding to the changing of the earth’s climate, the Brethren Service Center property in New Windsor, Md., implementation of the Congregational Ethics paper, and revision to Ministerial Leadership Polity.

Age group activities began this evening for junior highs, senior highs, and young adults. Also, the single adults will met for coffee at Cup O’Joes.

Ministry of Reconciliation

MoR members were wearing yellow lanyards today as a sign that they are available to Conference goers. “If at any point during conference, you find yourself in need of a Minister of Reconciliation, please feel free to use this resource by stopping by the On Earth Peace Booth or the Annual Conference office,” said an invitation. The number to reach a member of the MoR team is 620-755-3940.

Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
Rebecca Dali (second from left) meets eight-year-old Preston Andrews, who helped make a fundraising drive happen at his school to aid the families of the schoolgirls abducted from Chibok, Nigeria. Shown here: Dali shows him a list of the abducted girls. She has been visiting with the Chibok families as part of her work with CCEPI. At left, general secretary Stan Noffsinger, who is great uncle to Preston, looks on.

The Annual Conference coverage is offered by the News Services of the Church of the Brethren. Contributors include members of the Annual Conference News Team: photographers Glenn Riegel, Regina Holmes, Keith Hollenberg, Justin Hollenberg, Alysson Wittmeyer; writers Frank Ramirez, Frances Townsend, Karen Garrett, Eddie Edmonds, Britness Harbaugh; web staff Jan Fischer Bachman, Don Knieriem, Russ Otto; communications staff Mandy Garcia, Randy Miller, Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, and Wendy McFadden.

Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford
Nigeria mission staff with EYN representative Rebecca Dali, from left: Carol Smith, Rebecca Dali, Roxane and Carl Hill