Exciting things are happening at the Cedars Retirement Community in McPherson, Kan. A group of dedicated folk are making plans for a great National Older Adult Conference (NOAC) experience on Sept. 6-10.
At the close of this morning’s Annual Conference worship service, new leadership was consecrated with prayer and the laying on of hands. David Sollenberger (kneeling at left) was consecrated to serve as moderator of the 2022 Conference, and Tim McElwee (kneeling at right) was consecrated as moderator-elect.
The Church of the Brethren Annual Conference affirmed board-elected and constituency-elected directors and trustees for the denomination’s Mission and Ministry Board and the Conference agencies Bethany Theological Seminary, On Earth Peace, and Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT). Also affirmed were district executive representatives to the denomination’s Leadership Team and the Pastoral Compensation and Benefits Advisory Committee.
“We are in the third year of a five-year review,” said Cage, chair of the group. “We appreciate the work of our pastors. Seventy-seven percent of our pastors are serving less than fulltime. We needed to reimagine the compensation and working arrangements between pastors and congregations.”
The Outdoor Ministries Association (OMA) of the Church of the Brethren hosted a networking session during Annual Conference on July 2. Attendees were updated on the work of OMA’s board and member camps. Awards were presented to camp staff and volunteers for many years of faithful service.
This hymn text written by Rosanna McFadden, originally for an Annual Conference statement of a decade ago, was sung during today’s consecration service for the compelling vision. Congregations have permission to use the hymn. McFadden notes that the text may be sung to any hymn tune using 87.87D meter, including the tunes of “Come Thou Fount” and “Brethren, We Have Met to Worship.”
Life, death, awe in the face of creation, alarm at the sins of humanity, anger, despair, lament, complaint, faith, hope, and love standing side by side–these are not only the qualities of the Psalms, but they are also found in the profound poetry of 86-year-old novelist, environmentalist, farmer, and poet Wendell Berry. Last fall, Joelle Hathaway, the new assistant professor of Theological Studies at Bethany Theological Seminary, taught a course about Berry’s Sabbath poetry, which plumbs the heights and depths of human experience.
“God Talk” can result in many different outcomes: conflict, terror, transformation, human flourishing, or human cruelty. So, he wondered, “Can theopoetics lead to more artful discourse? Can our hearts grow roomier and our lives become more radiant?”
The Standing Committee of district delegates to the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference met June 27-30, in advance of the Conference. The meeting was held online with delegates logging in from the denomination’s 24 districts across the US and Puerto Rico. Annual Conference moderator Paul Mundey presided, assisted by moderator-elect David Sollenberger and secretary James Beckwith.
Here is a view from a participant in one of the online “tables” or small break-out groups that participated in the process of affirming the compelling vision statement.