Today in Grand Rapids – Thursday – June 29, 2017

Church of the Brethren Newsline
June 29, 2017

Moderator Carol Scheppard and moderator-elect Samuel Sarpiya. Photo by Regina Holmes.

“…Hold a fast on my behalf, and neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will also fast as you do. After that I will go to the king, though it is against the law; and if I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:15-16).

“But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the royal rations of food and wine; so he asked the palace master to allow him not to defile himself. Now God allowed Daniel to receive favor and compassion from the palace master” (Daniel 1:8-9).

Theme for worship:

Risk Hope: Be faithful in the struggle

Quotes of the day

“As I look out over this Conference, I see old friends and new friends and well-loved irritants…. I would go to King Ahasuerus for you.”

— Bob Bowman in the morning’s Bible study on the book of Esther, commenting on Esther’s choice to risk her own life for her people by going unannounced into the presence of the king.

“We are free to testify to our own faith. We are not free to testify to what we believe is a flaw in others’ faith.”

— Moderator Carol A. Scheppard in her instructions to the delegate body, as the first business session of the 2017 Conference got started this morning.

Jose Calleja Otero. Photo by Regina Holmes.

“If you’re about to quit ministry because of the pressures of this strange world, I’ve got news for you: we can’t…. You can’t quit. Jesus has not given up on the Church of the Brethren…. Three hundred years or more, right? Jesus has just gotten started with us! …Let’s be faithful in the struggle and in this strange world.”

— Jose Calleja Otero speaking to the pastors in the congregation, as he preached the Thursday evening sermon. Otero is district executive minister of the Puerto Rico District of the Church of the Brethren.

“See, it’s already worth planning for the 2019 Annual Conference!”

— Conference director Chris Douglas, listing reasons to start planning to go to Annual Conference at the Town and Country resort in San Diego, Calif., in two years. The reasons include a hotel rate that is $15 less per night than the previous Conference held there in 2009. Included in that $114 per night charge will be free parking, free wifi, and free continental breakfast. In addition, the resort is undergoing an $8 million renovation that will be completed before the 2019 Conference, including three new swimming pools and new restaurant areas.

By the numbers

2,273 people: the total number registered for the Conference as of Thursday evening, including 672 delegates, 1,601 nondelegates

800-plus: the number of people who joined in worship and business via webcasts, including Wednesday’s worship service and Thursday’s morning and afternoon business sessions

1,722 people: the attendance in worship on Wednesday night

$7,276.76: the offering received during worship Wednesday, to help provide copies of the Shine On Story Bible to congregations that do not use the Shine Sunday school curriculum jointly produced by Brethren Press and MennoMedia

$13,376.74: the offering received during worship Thursday for the Nigeria Crisis Response, a cooperative effort of the Church of the Brethren Global Mission and Service and Brethren Disaster Ministries with Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria). For detailed information about the effort, which aids those affected by insurgent violence in northeast Nigeria, go to .

85 pints: the amount of blood collected on the first day of the Conference Blood Drive, toward a 2-day goal of 160 pints. Today, blood donors received a free t-shirt. Tomorrow, the free gift may be an umbrella or a water bottle. All donors are offered cookies and drinks after they give blood.

The children’s choir. Photo by Regina Holmes.

Increase to Minimum Cash Salary Table for pastors

At the recommendation of the Pastoral Compensation and Benefits Advisory Committee, the delegate body approved a 1 percent increase to the Minimum Cash Salary Table for pastors. In addition, the committee encouraged congregations to monitor their pastors’ health insurance premium increases, reporting that many pastors are struggling to pay higher premium costs.

Conference location announced for 2021

During today’s business session, the Program and Arrangements Committee announced the location that has been chosen for the 2021 Annual Conference. The annual meeting will return to Greensboro, N.C., which was the location for the 2016 Conference.


The wifi service in the convention center is sponsored by Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT).

For more onsite coverage of Annual Conference go to .

The news coverage of Annual Conference 2017 is made possible through the work of the volunteer news team: Frank Ramirez, Conference Journal editor; photographers Glenn Riegel, Regina Holmes, Keith Hollenberg, Donna Parcell, Laura Brown, Allie Dulabaum; writers Frances Townsend, Karen Garrett, Gene Hollenberg; with web staff Jan Fischer Bachman and Russ Otto, and Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services. Wendy McFadden, publisher. Contact

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