Today in Omaha – July 14, 2022

Reporting from the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference

“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:1-2, NRSVue).

New denominational leadership for the Church of the Brethren is consecrated with prayer and the laying on of hands. Kneeling, from left: Annual Conference moderator Tim McElwee, moderator-elect Madalyn Metzger, and Conference secretary David Shumate. Photo by Glenn Riegel

Quotes of the day

Tim McElwee, moderator of the 2023 Annual Conference. Photo by Glenn Riegel

Living God’s Love (Ephesians 5:1-2).”

— The theme of the 2023 Annual Conference, announced by our new moderator Tim McElwee.

“We are called to live in love, because we are made in the image of God…. We must ask ourselves how do we express God’s love? … Do our actions look like love? … God love us fully. God loves us unconditionally, everyone without exception…. Everyone at God’s banquet is invited to sit at God’s table as equals. All means all…since God loves everyone.”

— McElwee speaking to the Conference body about the theme that will guide the church through this coming year.

“God, place your hand upon these servants of yours…. Give us all strength to follow where you lead us through them.”

— David Sollenberger, moderator of the 2022 Conference, praying for the newly consecrated Conference officers: moderator Tim McElwee, moderator-elect Madalyn Metzger, and Conference secretary David Shumate.

“One thing Jesus did well was cross social and cultural boundaries…. He even talked with people labeled the enemy…. In our culture today we are hostage to our prejudices and fears…. In the church, we need to stop looking at all the differences…and look at the needs…. If we trust the power of the Spirit in us, there’s no end to what we can do to share the love.”

— Thursday’s preacher, Belita Mitchell, speaking on the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well from John 4. She is a former Annual Conference moderator and pastor emerita at Harrisburg (Pa.) First Church of the Brethren. Earlier in her sermon, she asked the congregation to engage in self-examination about the question, “Where is your Samaria? Where is the place that you feel is beyond your outreach?… What self-imposed barriers have you erected? … You and God can wrestle with this.”

Belita Mitchell preaching for the final worship service of the 2022 Annual Conference. Photo by Glenn Riegel

Recordings of the Annual Conference worship services are available at and on the Church of the Brethren Facebook page.

Find photo albums from each day of the 2022 Annual Conference in Omaha at

Annual Conference bits and pieces

By the numbers:

1,315 total registration including 425 delegates, 748 nondelegates attending in person, 142 nondelegates attending virtually.

$4,177.41 was received to support transportation for international guests to Annual Conference, in the closing worship offering. Yesterday’s offering for Girls, Inc. of Omaha has grown to $11,622.71.

Online donation totals received to date:
For the ministry of Annual Conference – $1,590
For ministerial training – $665
For the Church of the Brethren Core Ministries – $490
For international travel to Annual Conference – $250
To support the church’s webcasting – $500

101 units of blood donated. The Annual Conference Blood Drive was sponsored by Brethren Disaster Ministries in partnership with the American Red Cross. Reported Ed and Brenda Palsgrove, “Over the two days that the Church of the Brethren partnered with the American Red Cross, 101 units of blood were collected. This included 9 Double Red donors and 83 whole blood units. We thank all donors, including those who registered but were deferred for various reasons, and the dedicated staff from the Omaha Chapter of the American Red Cross.” The blood drive also is a hybrid event, with Conferencegoers and Church of the Brethren members across the denomination invited to participate from their own areas of the country. The Annual Conference Virtual Blood Drive runs through July 31. Go to

Photos by Glenn Riegel

The Annual Conference press team includes photographers Glenn Riegel, Donna Parcell, Keith Hollenberg; writers Frances Townsend, Frank Ramirez; website staff Jan Fischer Bachman, Russ Otto; and editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of News Services for the Church of the Brethren. Newsline is the email news service of the Church of the Brethren. Inclusion in Newsline does not necessarily convey endorsement by the Church of the Brethren. All submissions are subject to editing. Newsline stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source. Please send news tips and submissions to . Find the Newsline archive at . Sign up for Newsline and other Church of the Brethren email newsletters and make subscription changes at . Unsubscribe by using the link at the top of any Newsline email.

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