By Rhonda Pittman Gingrich
The Annual Conference Program and Arrangements Committee is announcing the preachers for worship at the Church of the Brethren’s annual meeting in Cincinnati, Ohio, on July 4-8, 2023.
Moderator Tim McElwee has chosen the theme “Living God’s Love,” grounded in Ephesians 5:1-2.
From the moderator’s theme statement:
“In the fifth chapter of the book of Ephesians, the Apostle Paul writes: ‘Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love’ (NRSV). The Trappist monk, Thomas Merton, shared a similar observation when he wrote: ‘To say I am made in the image of God is to say that love is the reason for my existence, for God is love.’ Love is the reason for our existence. We are called to live in love.
Please pray… For the preachers who will be bringing messages in worship at this year’s Annual Conference.
“This invitation is grounded in the words of Jesus who taught us by saying, ‘By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another’ (John 13:35, NRSV). Jesus’s command to love one another is an ethical imperative. And through the word of God, we also receive God’s indicative proclamation: You are a beloved child of God. When we combine this grace-filled affirmation with the moral obligation inherent in Jesus’s love command, our calling can be summarized with this declaration: As beloved children of God, we are to love as God loves. God affirms and comforts us through the indicative statement and confronts and challenges us through the imperative.”
As we prepare to explore this theme through worship, the Program and Arrangements Committee is excited to announce the line-up of preachers for Cincinnati:
— Tuesday evening, July 4: Annual Conference moderator Tim McElwee will preach on the theme “Living God’s Love,” drawing on John 13:34-35, Ephesians 5:1-2, and 1 John 4:7-12.
— Wednesday evening, July 5: Sheila Wise Rowe, a Christian counselor, spiritual director, educator, writer, and keynote speaker for this year’s pre-Conference Brethren Ministers’ Association event, will preach on the theme “Bearing the Fruit of God’s Love,” drawing on Mark 12:28-34 and John 15:1-17.
— Thursday evening, July 6: Deanna Brown, founder and facilitator of Cultural Connections and a member of Beacon Heights Church of the Brethren in Fort Wayne, Ind., will preach on the theme “Responding in Love to the Needs of Others,” drawing on Luke 10:25-37 and 1 John 3:16-24.
— Friday evening, July 7: Jody Romero, pastor of Restoration Los Angeles (Calif.) Church of the Brethren and lead chaplain for the Los Angeles Christian Health Center, will preach on the theme “Seeing and Loving Like God,” drawing on Luke 7:36-50 and 1 Corinthians 13.
— Saturday morning, July 8: Audri Svay, an English professor, pre-school teacher, and pastor of Eel River Community Church of the Brethren in Silver Lake, Ind., will preach on the theme “Loving the Least in the Family of God,” drawing on Matthew 25:31-46 and John 21:15-19.
The worship services are being planned by Don Mitchell, Laura Stone, and David R. Miller. Beth Jarrett, the third year Program and Arrangements Committee member, is chairing the worship team. Kyle Remnant will serve as music coordinator, Becca Miller as pianist, Marty Keeney as choir director, and Pam Hoppe as children’s choir director.
For more information about the 2023 Annual Conference go to www.brethren.org/ac. Online registration will open at this site at 1 p.m. (Eastern time) on March 1.
— Rhonda Pittman Gingrich is director of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference.
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