Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Annual Conference bits and pieces
  • Onsite reporting from the 2007 Church of the Brethren Annual Conference in Cleveland, Ohio, will be posted daily at, beginning late evening June 29 through July 4. The Conference web pages at will offer daily overviews of Conference events, reports from business sessions, feature stories, a photos page, and a review of worship along with the day's sermon text and worship bulletin.

  • A "Peace Witness to Draw Attention to the War on Iraq" is planned for Sunday afternoon, July 1, at 4:30-6 p.m., during the 2007 Annual Conference in Cleveland, Ohio. The witness is sponsored by the Brethren Witness/Washington Office and On Earth Peace, along with other peace groups. Participants are invitd to meet outside the Cleveland Convention Center, to march five blocks to the Soldiers and Sailors Monument for a public witness against the war in Iraq. This event is held in partnership with Cleveland Peace Action, the Interfaith Task Force of Cleveland, and other partners in peace from the Cleveland area. "Stop by our exhibit area for more information and to make signs for the witness," said the announcement from the Brethren Witness/Washington Office.

  • The Brethren Witness/Washington Office is featuring a variety of partner organizations at its booth in the Annual Conference exhibit hall. On Sunday afternoon, July 1, the featured guest will be Cassandra Carmichael, director of the Eco-Justice program of the National Council of Churches. On Sunday afternoon and Monday morning, July 1-2, the booth will host Becky Flory, of North Country Fair Trade. Virginia Nesmith, director of the National Farm Workers Ministry, will be in the exhibit area on Monday morning. On Monday afternoon, the booth will feature the work of the National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund, and Alan Gamble, the new director of the program, will be in attendance. On Tuesday morning, July 3, Rachel Gross, coordinator of the Death Row Support Project, will give information about how to become a writing partner with someone on death row. On Tuesday afternoon, Don Vermilyea will be at the booth to talk about his Walk Across America, following his presentation at the UnLuncheon, and photographs from the walk will be displayed. Throughout the Conference, the booth will host Peter Buck, interfaith director of Equal Exchange, who will give information about how congregations can become engaged with fair trade. Conference-goers also may bring "left behind" electronics for recycling to the booth. The Brethren Witness/Washington Office invites participants to recycle old cell phones and chargers, battery chargers, and other small hand-held electronics, as well as bulletins, paper, plastic bottles, and cans.

  • Trees for Life in Wichita, Kan., has been chosen as the recipient of the second "Partners in Service" award from Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS). The award recognizes an individual, project, or congregation that has demonstrated exceptional commitment in partnering with BVS to continue the work of Jesus. Balbir and Treva Mathur, founders of Trees for Life, will accept the award at the BVS Luncheon at Annual Conference. Balbir Mathur will speak for the luncheon on the topic, "The Song of Service." Trees for Life, a nonprofit organization that helps to plant fruit trees in developing countries, has had 24 BVS volunteers since it became a participating project with BVS in 1990. These volunteers have helped further the organization's mission of providing a low-cost, self-renewing source of food while protecting the environment.

  • Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) recently released its 2006 report, which will be available at the BVS booth in the exhibit hall at Annual Conference. The report provides a general recap of activities, new projects, and statistics from the past year, including pictures of some of the current volunteers. A copy has been sent to all district offices, and extra copies may be picked up at the booth in Cleveland, or request a copy from the BVS office at 800-323-8039.

  • Book signings at the Brethren Press Bookstore at Annual Conference are planned:

    • Donald Miller, former general secretary of the General Board and professor emeritus at Bethany Theological Seminary, will sign copies of "Seeking Peace in Africa: Stories from African Peacemakers," a book he co-edited with Scott Holland, Lon Fendall, and Dean Johnson. The book results from a consultation of the Historic Peace Churches held in Kenya, and tells the stories of responses of Africans who have lived through horrific violence. Included are tales of despair at the loss of millions of lives due to warfare, riots, terror, starvation, AIDS, and disease; and stories of courageous peacemaking in nearly impossible circumstances. The signing will take place Sunday, July 1, from 11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

    • Stephen Longenecker will sign copies of his book, "Brethren During the Age of World War," on Sunday, July 1, from 4:30-5 p.m. at the bookstore. The book is the most recent volume in the series of Brethren history "source books" published by Brethren Press. Longencker is professor of history and chair of the Department of History and Political Science at Bridgwater (Va.) College.

    • Others planning book signings at the Conference include Chris Raschka, renowned illustrator of children's books and featured speaker at the Brethren Press Breakfast on Monday, July 2; Bethany Theological Seminary professor Russell Haitch, who will sign copies of his recently published book, "From Exorcism to Ecstasy: Eight Views of Baptism"; and Graydon Snyder, Brethren author and retired seminary professor, who will be signing a variety of his volumes.
Source: 6/20/2007 Newsline Extra

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