In an unprecedented fourth meeting between Annual Conference gatherings, the Church of the Brethren Standing Committee met March 7 via Zoom to make a decision about a proposed time of confession and repentance at Annual Conference 2023 and to receive reports from four additional subcommittees. The meeting opened and closed with prayer.
A previous meeting on Feb. 28 led to three options for following up on a recommendation adopted by Standing Committee at the July 2022 Annual Conference:
- Proceed with the service developed by the original subcommittee tasked with planning the proposed service of confession and repentance, a service intentionally designed to allow an opportunity for personal confession around our failure in our relationships with one another.
- Admit that we are not ready for a service of confession and repentance in relation to the exclusion experienced by our LGBTQIA brothers and sisters and failure in our relationships with one another
- Read the recommendation adopted by the 2022 Standing Committee and provide for a time of silent personal reflection and confession
Following discussion, the committee voted to adopt the third option, which passed with 19 out of 28 in favor. An additional motion that this action be the start of a multi-year process was voted down.
Four subcommittees described progress made on their tasks: a subcommittee tasked with developing covenants with Annual Conference agencies under the new polity approved last year; a subcommittee tasked with developing a process for responding to concerns about Annual Conference agencies; a subcommittee considering a potential review of denominational structure; and a subcommittee exploring how Annual Conference decisions and statements should be received and implemented.
Annual Conference moderator Tim McElwee, who led the meeting, expressed gratitude for the work of the committee members, noting that it is unusual for Standing Committee to meet one time between conferences, much less four times.
McElwee was assisted by moderator-elect Madalyn Metzger, secretary David Shumate, parliamentarian Lowell Flory, and Annual Conference director Rhonda Pittman Gingrich. Twenty-eight of 33 voting members of Standing Committee attended, while in the invisible online gallery, 38 people observed.
According to the Church of the Brethren’s Manual of Organization and Polity, Standing Committee is composed of district representatives and the Immediate Past Moderator. It has “nominating, legislative, judicial, and envisioning responsibilities.” Find out more at https://www.brethren.org/ac/ppg/ (Chapter 1, Annual Conference).
Find more information on the tasks assigned to Standing Committee at the July 2022 Annual Conference at www.brethren.org/news/2022/standing-committee-makes-recommendations.