The 2021 Annual Conference of the Church of the Brethren will be held online June 30 to July 4–the first-ever fully online annual meeting.
The theme is “God’s Adventurous Future.” Moderator Paul Mundey will preside, assisted by moderator-elect David Sollenberger and secretary James Beckwith. Also on the Program and Arrangements Committee are Emily Shonk Edwards, Carol Elmore, Jan King, and Conference director Chris Douglas.
Registration is required for delegates and nondelegates to attend the full Conference. Worship services will be free and open to the public and will not require registration. Business and worship will be live-streamed in both English and Spanish. A number of Conference events will offer continuing education units for ministers.
Register and find detailed information at www.brethren.org/ac2021. #cobac21
Links for the worship services in English and in Spanish, and links for the worship bulletins, will be posted at www.brethren.org/ac2021.
The preachers are:
— Moderator Paul Mundey on Wednesday, June 30, at 8 p.m. (Eastern), speaking on “A Future Grounded in Jesus” (Revelation 1:1-9)
— Richard Zapata of Anaheim, Calif., a pastor of Santa Ana Principe de Paz Church of the Brethren, on Thursday, July 1, at 8 p.m. (Eastern), speaking on “A Future Informed by Scripture” (2 Timothy 3:10-17)
— Virginia-based siblings Chelsea Goss and Tyler Goss on Friday, July 2, at 8 p.m. (Eastern), speaking on “A Future Sharpened through Risk” (Matthew 14:22-33)
— Beth Sollenberger, executive minister for South Central Indiana District, on Saturday, July 3, at 8 p.m. (Eastern), speaking on “A Future Dependent on Prayer” (Ephesians 3: 14-20)
— Patrick Starkey of Cloverdale, Va., chair of the Mission and Ministry Board, on Sunday, July 4, at 10 a.m. (Eastern), speaking on “A Future Filled with Promise” (Revelation 21:1-6).
Offerings will be received via credit card payments at a link that will appear during the live-stream of worship. Also, checks may be mailed to Annual Conference, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120.
Wednesday’s offering will support church rebuilding in Nigeria in collaboration with Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria), which continues to suffer violent attacks by the terrorist group Boko Haram. At least 1,668 churches or church branches have been burned or abandoned, affecting nearly 70 percent of the EYN properties.
Thursday’s offering will help pay for the expenses of volunteers who lead and staff the children’s activities at Annual Conference, encouraging more families to bring their children to participate in the annual meeting. Next year, for the first time, through a partnership with Outdoor Ministries Association, camp staff will be assisting with each age level of children’s activities.
Friday’s offering will help pay Conference expenses for translation into Spanish including the documents for business sessions and worship services and the live, simultaneous translation that takes place during worship services and business sessions.
Saturday’s offering will help upgrade the furniture and supplies used for the Conference children’s activities. New children’s tables and chairs, cribs, pack-n-plays, changing tables, and the shipping containers used to carry furniture to each Conference location, have not been purchased for more than 30 years.
Sunday’s offering will go to the Church of the Brethren’s Core Ministries Fund, for financial support of core denominational ministries.
Registered delegates and registered nondelegates will receive a link to log in to the livestreamed business sessions, available in both English and Spanish, using their computers, tablets, or smart phones. Business is scheduled Thursday through Saturday, July 1-3, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon and 3-5 p.m. (Eastern). Business sessions will be livestreamed from the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill.
The business agenda will focus on the compelling vision being proposed for the Church of the Brethren, along with reports and the ballot (see www.brethren.org/ac2021/business/ballots). Business sessions also will include Bible studies and a special plenary session.
The plenary on Friday, July 2, at 10:40 a.m. to 12:10 p.m. (Eastern), will led by Tod Bolsinger, vice president and chief of leadership formation at Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, Calif., and the author of Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory.
Bible studies will be led by Michael Gorman, the Raymond E. Brown Chair in Biblical Studies and Theology at St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore, Md., and the author of books on biblical theology.
Christian recording artist Fernando Ortega, a Dove award winner whose hits include “This Good Day” and “Jesus, King of Angels,” will give a concert on Wednesday, June 30, at 9:15 p.m. (Eastern).
An organ recital will be given by Robin Risser Mundey on Friday, July 2, at 2 p.m. (Eastern).
Workshops and networking
A wide variety of insight sessions, equipping sessions, and networking groups are planned Thursday through Saturday, July 1-3, in three time slots: 12:30-1:30 p.m., 5:30-6:30 p.m., and 9:15-10:15 p.m. (Eastern). These will be offered through a Zoom platform allowing a featured speaker to present, followed by a question and answer time.
During the late afternoon time slot, 5:30-6:30 p.m. (Eastern), Q&A sessions will be held by the board chairs and executives of the Mission and Ministry Board, Bethany Theological Seminary, Brethren Benefit Trust, and On Earth Peace.
An online “Children’s Corner” is planned for ages 4-7, but available to all who may enjoy this resource. Children do not need to be registered. The three online sessions will welcome children and help them learn about this year’s theme through songs, stories, and activities. Each session includes three short videos, with a downloadable song lyrics page and downloadable activity pages.
The Standing Committee of district delegates will meet online Sunday, June 27, through Wednesday, June 30.
The Ministers Association continuing education event will be held Tuesday, June 29, from 6-9 p.m., and Wednesday, June 30, from 10:30 a.m. to 12 noon and 1-4 p.m. (Eastern). Keynote speaker Michael J. Gorman will lead on the theme, “The Church in 1 Corinthians: Challenges for Today.” Registration is through the Church of the Brethren Office of Ministry at www.brethren.org/ministryoffice.
For registration and detailed information see www.brethren.org/ac2021.
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