Wednesday, July 18, 2007

300th anniversary update: Registration opens for Germantown event, academic conference.

Registration has begun for the Opening Celebration of the 300th Anniversary on Sept. 15-16 at Germantown (Pa.) Church of the Brethren near Philadelphia; and for an academic conference titled "Honoring a Legacy, Embracing a Future: 300 Years of Brethren Heritage," sponsored by the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown (Pa.) College on Oct. 11-13.

Opening Celebration, Germantown, Sept. 15-16:

Registration began July 4 and ends Aug. 31 for the opening celebration at the first Brethren meetinghouse in the Americas. Registration costs $10 per person or $20 per household. Find a registration brochure at

On the schedule for Saturday, Sept. 15, are a lunch prepared by the Germantown Church Women’s Fellowship, children’s activities, a historic simulation of crossing the Atlantic ocean, and a number of short afternoon presentations such as a Bible study on the anniversary scripture, a session of prayer, guided exploration of the Germantown Cemetery, a presentation of the current work and vision of Germantown Outreach Ministries, history sessions on the congregation and various aspects of Brethren history, music from contemporary Brethren cultures and Germantown members, a session on the Sauer Bible, a session on the Ephrata Cloister, a Youth Heritage Travel Team presentation, and a workshop on connections between Brethren, Mennonites, and Quakers. Saturday evening at 6:30-8 p.m. neighboring Coventry Church of the Brethren will hold a Historical Presentation and Hymn Sing.

On Sunday, Sept. 16, a worship service at 10 a.m. is planned by the Germantown congregation led by pastor Richard Kyerematen, with guest preacher Earl K. Ziegler, followed by a catered lunch. Afternoon worship at 2 p.m. will feature guest preacher Belita Mitchell, moderator of the 2007 Annual Conference, marking the opening of the anniversary year.

Organizers request attendees to register ahead of time, because space is limited at the Germantown church. They suggest that area congregations interested in attending may charter buses to help with the traffic situation. The Germantown event is planned by a joint group from the Germantown and Coventry congregations and the 300th Anniversary Committee: George Ansah, Marilyn Ansah, Jeff Bach, Karen Christophel, Sandy Christophel, Joseph Craddock, Norma Keith, Richard Kyerematen, and Lorele Yager.

Academic Conference, Elizabethtown College, Oct. 11-13:

Register by Sept. 7 to receive a discount for this national academic conference on the 300th anniversary of the Brethren movement, 1708-2008. The registration deadline is Sept. 20. Cost is $110. For schedule information and a registration form go to

The conference will focus on the historical development and cultural life of the Church of the Brethren and related groups, featuring six plenary speakers and more than 20 additional presentations on the Brethren experience since 1708.

Plenary speakers are
  • Carl Bowman, author of "Brethren Society" and director of the Brethren Member Profile 2006, a professor of sociology at Bridgewater (Va.) College and director of survey research at the University of Virginia's Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture;

  • Chris Bucher, Carl W. Zeigler Professor of Religion at Elizabethtown College, currently serving a four-year term as dean of faculty, who has a special interest in Pietist readings of scripture;

  • Stewart Hoover, professor of media studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder and a professor adjoint of Religious Studies and American Studies, with research interests in reception studies of media audiences and the related cultural implications;

  • Richard T. Hughes, senior fellow in the Ernest L. Boyer Center and distinguished professor at Messiah College, who has written extensively on American political myths, the restoration impulse in Christian history, and scholarship in relation to Christian faith;

  • Marcus Meier, teaching assistant in the theology department at Philipps-University Marburg, Germany, who in 2003 finished his doctoral dissertation about the beginnings of the Schwarzenau Brethren in Europe and currently is the recipient of a research award from the University at Halle/Saale; and

  • Dale Stoffer, academic dean and professor of historical theology at Ashland Theological Seminary, who teaches in the fields of church history, theology, and Brethren, Anabaptist, and Pietist studies.
The Young Center advises that many hotels and motels in the area are already sold out for the nights of the conference because a large car show will be held on the same dates. Go to the website for lists of lodging options that are still available, or for a form to request lodging in the homes of church members.

Source: 7/19/2007 Newsline Extra

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