Today in Tampa – Wednesday, July 15, 2015

“I have said these things to you so that my joy will be in you and your joy will be complete. This is my commandment: love each other just as I have loved you” (John 15:11-12, CEB).


Photo by Glenn Riegel
The consecration of a new moderator and moderator elect for 2016. Kneeling at left, Andy Murray is consecrated as moderator. Kneeling at right, Carol Scheppard is consecrated moderator-elect.

Quotes of the day:

“May God’s joy be made known in our lives!”
— The response to the Call to Worship during the morning worship service.

“How good it has been to gather with our EYN brothers and sisters, one body in Christ…they have inspired us…. They carry the prayers and the love of the church with them.”
— Moderator David Steele praying a prayer of blessing for the Nigerian Brethren tour group as they prepare to fly home in the next few days.

“Through social media, we can reach more people than Jesus did when on earth.”
Thomas Dowdy, pastor at Imperial Heights Church of the Brethren in Los Angeles, Calif., who preached the closing sermon of Annual Conference 2015.

“Carry the light.”
— Andy Murray’s announcement of the Annual Conference theme for 2016, after he was consecrated to the position of moderator for the next year. He invited all the Brethren to Greensboro, N.C., for next year’s Conference on June 29-July 3, returning to a Wednesday through Sunday schedule.


Photo by Regina Holmes
Thomas Dowdy preaches the closing sermon of Annual Conference 2015

By the numbers

2,075 total registrations

$5,834 received in the morning offering


Recognitions and honors

A number of people and groups received special recognition during this Annual Conference. The following is doubtless an incomplete list. Please send additions to this list to the News Services director at cobnews@brethren.org .

— Cedar Lake Church of the Brethren in Auburn, Ind., and Staunton (Va.) Church of the Brethren received the Open Roof Award for progress in making their churches welcoming for those living with disabilities. The award is presented by the disabilities ministry of Congregational Life Ministries. A full report on this award will appear in a later issue of Newsline.

— Eugene F. Roop, a member of the Manchester University Board of Trustees, was presented with the Manchester University Church-University Service Award. “Eugene F. Roop has perhaps been for the Church of the Brethren what the train conductor was for the Polar Express: someone who has kept everything pointed in the right direction and on track and helping a lot of people in their belief along the way,” the citation said. Roop is a past president of Bethany Theological Seminary, known for his biblical scholarship and commentaries. This year, he and his wife established the Eugene F. and Delora A. Roop Endowed Fund that will help Manchester bring in speakers, programs, and other initiatives to lift up Brethren heritage.

— Bridgewater (Va.) College presented two alumni with Garber Awards: Fred Swartz, class of 1958, who is a retired Church of the Brethren pastor and a former Annual Conference secretary from 2003-2012; and Emily Birr, class of 2015, who has been involved with New Community Project and the Roundtable regional youth conference, and has worked at Camp Mack in Indiana. The Merlin and Dorothy Faw Garber Award for Christian Service honors Merlin Garber, a Church of the Brethren pastor and 1936 Bridgewater alumnus, and his wife Dorothy Faw Garber, who was in the class of 1933.

— Carol Wise, executive director of the Brethren and Mennonite Council for LGBT Interests (BMC), was honored by the Womaen’s Caucus during a luncheon that continued the caucus’ celebration of its 40 years of existence. Wise received an award, and also was the featured speaker at the luncheon, addressing the topic “Left on the Vine” (Romans 24 and 25).

— Ralph Miner was named OMA Volunteer of the Year by the Outdoor Ministries Association of the Church of the Brethren. He is a member of Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, Ill., and has participated at Camp Emmaus in Mount Morris, Ill., “practically since birth,” according to the citation pos

ted on the camp’s website. Find the full citation at www.campemmaus.org



Photo by Glenn Riegel
The EYN Women’s Fellowship Choir sings one more time for the closing service of the Tampa conference.


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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