On Friday, July 7, the gavel was handed from 2023 Annual Conference moderator Tim McElwee to 2024 moderator Madalyn Metzger.
Metger was commissioned at the Saturday morning worship service the next day.
In her remarks introducing the 2024 theme, she said
“In today’s society, we spend an awful lot of time wondering if we’re worthy. We wonder
- If we have the right skills
- If we’ve worked hard enough
- If our sacrifices are worth it
- If our thoughts and opinions are valid
- If our voice will be heard
- If our presence will be valued
- If we are lovable
- If we’re safe
- If we are enough
“And, let’s be honest… we spend a lot of time assessing and evaluating others based on our own standards…
“Since our founding in the early 1700s, the Brethren have been a faith family that has chosen another way of living… the way of Christ. We are people called to live and experience our faith together – as a community – in service to (and with) God, each other, and our neighbors. And, every person in our faith community shares in the spiritual direction of the church.
“All of our spiritual gifts are needed if we are to function together as a healthy Body of Christ.
“Each and every one of us is called… to extend AND receive… Christ’s love.
“This is the basis of the theme for the 2024 Annual Conference: Welcome and Worthy, based on Paul’s letter to the Church in Rome, in which he introduces Phoebe and tells the Roman Christians to “Welcome her in the Lord in a way that is worthy of God’s people.”
“We don’t know much about Phoebe. In fact, this is the one and only time she is named in the Bible.
“But what we do know is that Paul viewed Phoebe as a valued sibling in Christ… and he commended her as an integral part of the Body, encouraging the Church in Rome to welcome her and to build an authentic relationship with her as a child of God.
“Like Phoebe, each of us brings our own unique abilities, experiences, and perspectives to this community. And it is through our willingness to share our faith journeys with one another – and to receive one another in the fullness of each person’s being – that we can experience and see God’s vision for us more fully… and, therefore, be transformed together by God’s Spirit.
“And so, in the year to come, I invite you to explore and embrace our call to live together in community… to abide in Christ and one another… to renounce our personal rules and inner assumptions, and replace them with God’s eternal truth… and to re-envision how we can extend Christ’s love to one another – and to ourselves – in ways that are worthy of God’s people.”