By Rhonda Pittman Gingrich
David Sollenberger, moderator for the 2022 Annual Conference, has chosen the theme “Embracing One Another as Christ Embraces Us.” In his theme statement, he writes:
“The apostle Paul calls us to live in harmony (Romans 12:16). We Brethren know harmony. Musically, it means not singing the same thing–the same words or melody. Instead, harmony implies variety. It means respecting and appreciating the differences in the way we understand scripture, respond to God’s love, or go about continuing the work of Jesus.
“Our theme for 2022 explores what it means to live in harmony with one another, respecting each other’s gifts and perspectives, while committed to a saving Christ who calls us to another way of living. The word that embodies this notion best is ‘embrace.’ Embracing implies reaching out intentionally, not just tolerating or refraining from objecting. It’s an action verb, consistent with the many biblical calls to love one another as Christ loves us.
“Paul echoes that theme in his advice to the Roman church. ‘Welcome one another,’ he writes, ‘just as Christ welcomed you’ (Romans 15:7). The NIV uses the word ‘accepting.’ As we embark on the adventurous future that God promises, I invite us to go even further, ‘Embracing One Another, as Christ Embraces Us,’ living and working in harmony, as we share Jesus in the neighborhood.” (Find the full theme statement at www.brethren.org/ac2022/theme.)
As we prepare to explore this theme through worship, the Program and Arrangements Committee is excited to announce the line-up of preachers for the Conference to be held in Omaha, Neb., on July 10-14, 2022:
— On Sunday evening, July 10, moderator Sollenberger will speak on the theme for that day, “Embracing One Another with Christ as Our Example.”
— On Monday evening, July 11, Leonor Ochoa, a church planter in Atlantic Northeast District, will speak on the theme for that day, “Embracing One Another in Times of Pain and Brokenness.”
— On Tuesday evening, July 12, Eric Bishop, chair of the board of trustees of Bethany Theological Seminary, will speak on the theme for that day, “Embracing One Another in Our Joy and Celebration.”
— On Wednesday evening, July 13, Nathan Rittenhouse, one of the Standing Committee members from Shenandoah District, will speak on the theme for the day, “Embracing One Another Amidst Our Diversity as a Faith Community.”
— On Thursday morning, July 14, Belita Mitchell, a former Annual Conference moderator and retired pastor, will speak on the theme for the day, “Embracing One Another as We Reach Out to Our Neighbors.”
The worship services are being planned by Dawn Ottoni-Wilhelm, Paula Bowser, and Tim Hollenberg-Duffey. Carol Elmore, the third year Program and Arrangements Committee member, is chairing the worship team. Scott Duffey will serve as music coordinator.
For more information about the 2022 Annual Conference go to www.brethren.org/ac.
–– Rhonda Pittman Gingrich is director of the Annual Conference office.
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