Quotes of the day:
“The only reason that we are the light–the only reason–is our connection with Jesus who is the source of the light…. Staying connected with him, abiding in him is our only hope of even a flickering flame.”
— Eric Brubaker, a minister at Middle Creek Church of the Brethren in Atlantic Northeast District, preaching on the theme, “A City on a Hill” and the text from Matthew 5:14-16.
“What can one person do is a very good question if you don’t do nothing at all…. Whatever gets done is done by one, one person at a time does it all.”
— Lines from an Andy and Terry Murray song, “On Person at a Time,” which was sung by the children’s choir as a “surprise” for the 2016 moderator.
“This morning we are welcoming congregations throughout our denomination who are joining us via the webcast…so imagine how we are connected with Brethren congregations this morning, not only in North Carolina, Kansas, Ohio, Tennessee…. Worshiping in spirit together.”
— Conference director Chris Douglas welcoming the whole congregation to worship, those in the meeting room at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro, N.C., and those who worshiped together as a virtual congregation from across the denomination and around the world. She went on to thank all the volunteers and the “behind-the-scenes people” who have made the Conference possible.
Sunday morning at Annual Conference is all about worship, singing together, praying together, hearing scripture, receiving the morning’s message, and celebrating the consecration of a new moderator and moderator-elect who will lead the next year’s Conference. The Conference director and others expressed the church’s gratitude to the many people–volunteers and staff–without whose time and energy the annual meeting would not happen. And at the end of the morning, the Brethren pack up their belongings, check out of their hotel rooms, and head home with prayers for safe travel and the knowledge that God goes with them on the way.
Theme is announced for the 2017 Annual Conference
After her consecration as moderator for the 2017 Annual Conference, and the consecration of moderator-elect Samuel Sarpiya, Carol Scheppard announced the theme she has chosen for this coming year: “Risk Hope.”
The scripture theme is from Hebrews 10:23, “Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful.”
“He who has promised is faithful,” she affirmed, speaking to the congregation. “Our theme for the next Annual Conference is ‘Risk Hope.’ As we carry the light in the darkness , risk hope that the dawn will come! …Risk hope for our denomination in the world…. Risk hope for the life of the light of Christ in our hearts.”
The 2017 Annual Conference is scheduled for Grand Rapids, Mich., on June 28-July 2, a Wednesday through Sunday schedule. Conference director Chris Douglas this morning gave a blessing to the 2016 body in anticipation of 2017:
“May God bless you and keep you until we are in Grand Rapids next summer.”
By the numbers:
- 2,439 registration total for the 2016 Annual Conference, including 704 delegates and 1,735 nondelegates
- $68,516 was received in worship offerings during this Conference including the Sunday morning offering of $12,900.93. Of this amount, $23,043.59 was given in offerings to the Nigeria Crisis Fund for use in the joint Nigeria Crisis Response of the Church of the Brethren and Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). Close to $26,000 was given in offerings to the denomination’s Core Ministries. Close to $19,500 was given in offerings to fund the Annual Conference.
- 1,410 people attended the Sunday morning worship in person, with 7,343 people in total attending worship services on the previous four days of Annual Conference. Final totals for log-ins to the Conference worship webcasts and estimates of the number of people who worshiped as a virtual congregation this Sunday morning are not yet available.
- 161 participants in the Conference blood drive donated an estimated total of 160 pints of blood, which the American Red Cross reports will impact 466 people
- $2,793.24 cash donations to the Backpack Beginnings in the Witness to the Host City
- $815 cash donations to the Encore Boutique as part of the Witness to the Host City
- $10,050 raised by the AACB Quilt Auction for world hunger relief, plus $877 raised in a silent auction of Nigerian dresses, and $2,000 given toward “Gifts of the Heart”
- $7,300-plus raised at the Ted & Co. production of “12 Baskets and a Goat” benefiting Heifer International. Donations continue to be received online.
The 2016 Annual Conference News Team includes: writers Frank Ramirez, Frances Townsend, Karen Garrett, Tyler Roebuck, Monica McFadden; photographers Glenn Riegel, Regina Holmes, Keith Hollenberg, Donna Parcell, Laura Brown; Conference Journal editor Eddie Edmonds; web manager Jan Fischer Bachman; web staff Russ Otto; editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford.