During an online meeting of the Standing Committee of district delegates to the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference, held the evening of Jan. 29, reports were received from subcommittees. The meeting was presided over by Annual Conference moderator Madalyn Metzger, assisted by moderator-elect Dava Hensley and secretary David Shumate, with Annual Conference director Rhonda Pittman Gingrich.
The Subcommittee for Negotiating and Drafting Agency Covenants received approval of its request for an additional year. The subcommittee is mandated to prepare covenants of agreement with the Annual Conference agencies—Bethany Theological Seminary, Eder Financial, and On Earth Peace. A “skeleton” document has been prepared as a model for the covenants, has been distributed to the agencies, and feedback is being received. The additional year will allow for Standing Committee to review the covenants at its in-person meeting in advance of Annual Conference this summer, and work with the agencies to prepare for the 2025 Conference. While Standing Committee will approve the covenants and present them to Annual Conference, Annual Conference will act on agency status based on the covenants.
The Subcommittee for Developing a Process for Addressing Concerns with Annual Conference Agencies reported on its work to develop and finalize a process for presentation to Standing Committee this summer. After a question was raised about whether the process is considered a Standing Committee document or needs Annual Conference approval, the Conference secretary responded that he will explore that concern.
A task team reviewing the organizational structure of the Church of the Brethren to address “deep dysfunction,” reported on two documents it is writing in anticipation of the 2025 Review and Evaluation Committee. Such committees are named by Annual Conference every 10 years to study the organization of the denomination and recommend improvements. A “white paper”—a type of document often used to provide in-depth information on a specific topic—is intended to aid the work of the Review and Evaluation Committee. The team also created a mandate for that committee and shared it with the Annual Conference officers, requesting that it be presented to Annual Conference this year. The moderator responded that the request is on the agenda for the next meeting of the denomination’s Leadership Team.
Also discussed was the question of allowing Standing Committee members to continue on subcommittees after the end of their terms, in order to help complete the work. The moderator announced that this question will be decided at this summer’s Standing Committee meeting.
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