Quotes of the day
“I would not want to be a part of a church that did not accept, celebrate, and find energy in the tension that naturally arises between progressive and conservative.”
— Annual Conference moderator Andy Murray, who preached for the opening worship service
“I am so happy to be here with my mother church.”
— Suely Inhauser, to the Mission and Ministry Board, as she was introduced as one of the country coordinators for the church in Brazil.
Today the 2016 Annual Conference began in Greensboro, N.C., at the Koury Convention Center and Sheraton Hotel. The pre-Conference events concluded–Standing Committee, the Ministers Association, Council of District Executives, Mission and Ministry Board–and the opening worship service of the Conference brought together Brethren from across the country and around the globe. An evening concert, hearings about unfinished business items, a Latino Leaders meeting, age group activities rounded out the day, among opportunities for Brethren to share fellowship and enjoy a lively exhibit area.
International guests arrive from Brazil, the DR, Haiti, Nigeria
A contingent of international guests are representing Church of the Brethren bodies in Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Nigeria. From Brazil: Marcos and Suely Inhauser, national directors for the Brazilian church. From the DR: Richard Mendieta, president of the Dominican church, and Gustavo Lendi Bueno, treasurer of the Dominican church. From Haiti: Jean Altenor, a mobile clinic coordinator for the Haiti Medical Project, and Vildor Archange, director for Clean Water Projects and Community Health. From Nigeria: Joel Billi, the newly elected president of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria); Dauda Gava, president of EYN’s Kulp Bible College; and Markus Gamache, EYN staff liaison.
Also from Nigeria, several guests are attending from EYN’s BEST group: the Hon. Adamu Kamale, a member of the Nigerian Parliament, and his wife Massi Adamu Kamale; Kumai Amos Yohanna, who is an ordained minister and who works with the Nigerian government’s National Christian Pilgrim Commission; Peter Kevin, former EYN director of finance, former mayor of Mubi, and former adviser to the governor of Adamawa State; and Kambaraya Helen Yunana, a member of the Women’s Fellowship (ZME) choir who toured the US last year, and who works with Nigerian federal government in Abuja.
Open Table Mix and Mingle
A large gathering attended a meet-and-greet style event hosted by the Open Table Cooperative. Attendees enjoyed light appetizers and light-hearted socialization with church members from Oregon to Maryland. Board member Elizabeth Ullery Swenson provided an introduction and Sarandon Smith offered a song of prayer. The other board members are Kimberly Koczan Flory, Dylan Dell Haro, Audrey deCoursey and Steve Crain. For more information about the Open Table Cooperative, go to www.opentablecoop.org .
Haitian leader is remembered
Global Mission executive Jay Wittmeyer shared requests for prayer on hearing of the sudden death of Freny Elie, the general secretary of the Church of the Brethren in Haiti. Freny, who was only in his 40s, leaves behind his wife and four children. He was an ordained minister and served as pastor of the congregation in Cap Haitien. He had been a key leader for the Haitian Brethren since the time of the 2010 earthquake, and had participated in training to help church members and others heal from the trauma of that catastrophe. “It’s really sad, sad news,” Wittmeyer told the Mission and Ministry Board. “He was such a brilliant theologian.”
By the numbers
— 2,307 people have registered for the Annual Conference
— 703 of the registrants are delegates
— 23 churches and/or fellowships have now joined the new Open Roof Fellowship of congregations working on accessibility for those with disabilities
— $9,986.49 was received in the evening’s offering
Members of the Annual Conference News Team contributed to this report: 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.