Annual Conference celebrated the service of Chris Douglas, who retired as Conference director last year, and James Beckwith, who is completing 10 years as Conference secretary, with presentations during the Tuesday afternoon business session. A reception followed.
Also noted for their years of service to the Conference were Sandy Kinsey, who is completing 10 years as assistant to the Conference secretary, and head teller Joyce Person, who has held that volunteer position for some 30-plus years.
Both Beckwith and Douglas received a variety of gifts, including presentations from the Association for the Arts in the Church of the Brethren: a quilted wall hanging for Douglas, and a set of hand-crafted bowl cozies for Beckwith.
Speaking to Beckwith, presenter Donna Ritchie Martin noted that he could use the bowl cozies to hold cold bowls of ice cream, getting chuckles from delegates familiar with the Conference tradition of ice cream socials. “You have held us together through process and polity,” she said. “You have held us together as the church and we are grateful!”
Beckwith responded by telling of his feelings when he first looked out over the delegate body from the head table. “Lord, these are my people,” he remembered thinking. “I look at you today and that’s in my heart…but my prayer was, ‘This is not my church, but your church, Lord.’”