“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).
“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.”
“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.
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,
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.
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.