Today in Tampa – Tuesday, July 14, 2015

“I chose you and appointed you so that you could go and produce fruit and so that your fruit could last” (John 15:16b, CEB).


Photo by Regina HolmesPrayer for Stan Noffsinger, outgoing general secretary, was a part of the celebration for his 12 years of service in leadership to the Church of the Brethren.


Quotes of the day:

Photo by Glenn Riegel
The children’s choir

“The Holy Spirit is ever present, awaiting our attentiveness…. There is another way of living, a way of radical compassionate discipleship.”
— General secretary Stan Noffsinger addressing the delegate body at the close of a celebration of his 12 years of service to the denomination. He will be closing out his service as general secretary over the next several months.

“You know, we Brethren have our difficulties and our congregations have their problems–I’m not naive–but our response to Nigeria shows that when it comes right down to it, we still know how to bear fruit. That gives me hope for our church. Maybe we still are branches connected to the vine…. Maybe the fruit of this love has to do with me sacrificing my priorities for kingdom priorities.”
— Don Fitzkee, who is beginning a term of service as chair of the Mission and Ministry Board, and has

been a free minister at Chiques Church of the Brethren in Manheim, Pa. He is director of development at COBYS Family Services affiliated with Atlantic Northeast District.

“We offer our collective Church of the Brethren voices in prayer for the AME Church…. Use us to proclaim the good news of your love and your peace to all people.”
— Moderator David Steele offering a prayer, along with EYN president Samuel Dali, for the AME Church, which has suffered shootings and burned churches in recent weeks.

“The role of conscience is meant to allow differences of opinion while affirming the importance of remaining in covenant relationships.”
— Bethany Seminary academic dean Steve Schweitzer in the morning Bible study on the New Testament concept of conscience, and relating it to his Bible study the previous morning on the Old Testament concept of covenant.

By the numbers

2,075 total registrations

$10,009.15 received in the evening offering

193 people presented to give blood at the Blood Drive, with a total of 181 usable pints received from donors over two days, including a number of “double red” donations

$8,750 raised by the quilt auction of the Association of Brethren Caregivers, this year benefitting the Nigeria Crisis Fund

Witness to the Host City donates five pallets of supplies to Metropolitan Ministries

Photo by Regina Holmes
Donations of supplies for Metropolitan Ministries was the Witness to the Host City for 2015. The offering collected things like diapers, to aid the ministry as it serves the homeless and those vulnerable to homelessness in the city of Tampa.

Tammy Charles, director of Donor Relations at Metropolitan Ministries, today received the gift of a large pile of materials brought by Conference-goers as part of the Witness to the Host City. In addition to five pallets of supplies such as diapers, the Brethren presented a check amounting to $3,951.15 in cash donations.

The ministry serves the homeless, as well as families and others in need in the Tampa area. Its mission statement: “We care for the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless in our community through services that alleviate suffering, promote dignity, and instill self-sufficiency…as an expression of the ongoing ministry of Jesus Christ.”

Charles thanked the Conference during the afternoon business session, and shared the story of Melanie to explain “the best” of what Metropolitan Ministries does:

Melanie was a victim of domestic violence. When her mother was killed by her father, she was left to care for her brother and sister. Melanie was later employed, but when her daughter Eurie was born with autism she lost her job because she was taking time to care for her child. Since Melanie was resourceful, she was able to live on her savings for an entire year. But eventually she only had seven dollars left. It was then that she came to Metropolitan Ministries. Melanie was received by transitional housing for families, and she received food and diapers that she really needed–just like the diapers collected for the Witness to the Host City offering of Annual Conference. Melanie has now successfully graduated from the Metropolitan Ministries program, has graduated from a local community college at the top of her class, and has received a full scholarship to Mount Holyoke University in Massachusetts.

Her story is just one of the many success stories from Metropolitan Ministries, Charles told the delegates. Metropolitan Ministries is able to do this kind of work because of the gifts they receive, she said.

“God bless you all,” she told the Conference. “Thank you so much for the work that you do, and thank you for touching so many lives.”

For more information about Metropolitan Ministries go to .

(Matt DeBall contributed to this report.)


The News Team for Annual Conference 2015: photographers Glenn Riegel, Regina Holmes, Keith Hollenberg, Justin Hollenberg, Donna Parcell, Alysson Wittmeyer, Alyssa Parker; writers Frances Townsend and Karen Garrett; Eddie Edmonds, Conference Journal; Jan Fischer Bachman and Russ Otto, web staff; Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, news director.

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