What is planned for district conferences this year?

This listing of what the 24 Church of the Brethren districts are planning for their conferences this year was collected by Nancy Miner, manager of the Office of the General Secretary, and Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services. Information was received from district offices and gleaned from district websites and district newsletters:

Atlantic Northeast District is planning its 52nd district conference for Oct. 1-2, online from Elizabethtown (Pa.) College, with Colossians 3 as the foundational scripture. The district’s Program and Arrangements Committee “continues to wrestle with the challenges of balancing the desire to gather and encourage one another in-person, while there is uncertainty over conditions five months from today,” said the district newsletter, and as of May had decided on a virtual event. Plans include worship highlighted by multi-cultural inspirational music, a challenge to be renewed by the district’s Way Forward process, Bible study, opportunity to support Brethren Disaster Ministries. Scott Moyer of East Fairview Church of the Brethren is the moderator.

Atlantic Southeast District plans its conference for Nov. 5-6 at Rock Church of the Brethren. The moderator is Ray Hileman.

Idaho and Western Montana District will gather at Nampa (Idaho) Church of the Brethren on Oct. 8-9. The district conference moderator is Dean Feasenhiser.

Illinois and Wisconsin District will hold its 2021 conference online on Nov. 6. “This decision was made with prayerful consideration, out of an abundance of caution, and for the safety of all concerned,” said an announcement, which added that this year’s conference will follow a similar format to the 2020 virtual event held with a shortened format. “We look forward to being able to safely meet in person at the 2022 District Conference,” said the announcement. The moderator is Blaine Miner.

Atlantic Northeast District

Michigan District is planning a hybrid format for its district conference, both in-person at Camp Brethren Heights and online. Dates are Aug. 13-14. Randall Westfall, director of the camp, is the moderator.

Mid-Atlantic District will be hosted for its conference at Frederick (Md.) Church of the Brethren for a hybrid event, taking place both in-person and online. The one-day event takes place Oct. 9. The moderator is Allen O’Hara.

Middle Pennsylvania District

Middle Pennsylvania District holds its conference on Oct. 2, as a one-day, in-person event at Pine Glen Church of the Brethren. The theme is “Bearing Fruit, Being Disciples, Surrendering All.” The day will include worship, ministry moments, a camp meeting, fellowship, and food. The moderator is Rock Manges.

Missouri and Arkansas District will have a hybrid conference with in-person events to be held at Cabool Church of the Brethren on Sept. 24-26. The moderator is Gary Gahm.

Northern Indiana District is planning its conference to take place at Camp Mack on Sept. 17-18. The moderator is Kara Morris.

Northern Ohio District plans its conference as a hybrid event on Aug. 14, scaled back to a one-day event from the usual two days. Only delegates from the district’s congregations will gather in person at Akron Springfield Church of the Brethren, but the conference will be live-streamed at no cost to online participants. Social distancing and masks will be in place. The district’s 2020 conference was canceled because of the pandemic, so the 2021 conference continues last year’s theme: “Focusing on Jesus’ Vision of His Church and for His Church” (Matthew 16:18 and 28:18-20). “This theme will still prove to be very timely due to our denomination’s current focus on a compelling vision,” said an announcement. Brad Kelley is the moderator.

Northern Plains District

Northern Plains District plans to hold its district conference on Aug. 6-8 as a virtual, online event. The theme is “Humble Service” (John 13:12-17). Among the keynote speakers is Jeff Carter, president of Bethany Theological Seminary. In addition to worship, insight sessions are being planned as well as school-age and young adult activities, and times of fellowship. The moderator is Paul Shaver of Ivester Church of the Brethren.

Pacific Northwest District’s conference will be a virtual, online event led by moderator Ben Green. Dates TBA.

Pacific Southwest District will hold a hybrid conference with in-person events hosted at Hillcrest Homes, a church-related retirement community in La Verne, Calif., and some events held online only. Dates are Nov. 7-10 for Zoom insight sessions, and Nov. 12-14 for the hybrid conference sessions. The moderator is Al Clark.

Puerto Rico District will hold its next district conference in February 2022.

Shenandoah District plans an in-person conference on Nov. 5-6. Daniel House is the moderator. Location is to be determined.

South Central Indiana District plans a hybrid conference, with delegates gathering at Manchester Church of the Brethren in North Manchester, Ind., and the conference also streaming online. The date is Sept. 11. The moderator is Spencer Spaulding.

Southeastern District will hold its conference at Camp Carmel on July 24. The district moderator is John Smith.

Southern Ohio and Kentucky District is planning a virtual, online-only conference on Oct. 8-9. The moderator is Nick Beam.

Southern Pennsylvania District has announced its conference for Sept. 18 at York (Pa.) First Church of the Brethren, as a one-day, in-person event. The theme is “Jesus Calls Us to Follow Him” (Matthew 9:9). The moderator is Ray Lehman.

Southern Plains District will hold its district conference at Antelope Valley Church of the Brethren in Billings, Okla., on Aug. 5-6.

Virlina District has not yet announced a format for its district conference this year. The dates are Nov. 12-13. The moderator is Greg Fleshman.

Western Pennsylvania District plans to meet at Camp Harmony on Oct. 16. The moderator is Cheryl Marszalek.

Western Plains District

Western Plains District will meet on the theme “Who Can Separate Us from the Love of Christ?” (Romans 8:35) via Zoom on July 23-24. The conference is planned “to help us be living examples of the scripture that ‘nothing can separate us from the love of Christ!’” said an announcement. The Friday evening celebration of the district’s annual Gathering events that have now come to a close will be held as a hybrid, online and in-person event at the Cedars retirement community in McPherson, Kan. In addition to business sessions and insight sessions, plans include a sermon by Annual Conference moderator-elect David Sollenberger, and a presentation from Tim Grove, an expert on Trauma Informed Care, speaking on “Helping Our Youth Thrive in Unprecedented Times” (ministers may earn .15 continuing education units). The moderator is Gail Erisman Valeta.

West Marva District has scheduled its conference for Sept. 17-18. “We hope for an in-person meeting at that time,” said an announcement. “Moorefield Church of the Brethren has offered their church for the conference, and we appreciate their invaluable help and support.” Mark Jones is the moderator.


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