Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Atlantic Southeast District celebrates its 83rd conference.

The 83rd District Conference of Atlantic Southeast District was held at St. Petersburg (Fla.) First Church of the Brethren. The conference began with two seminars on Oct. 12 and continued through the weekend.

The seminars were held on the topic of "Mother-Daughter Church Planting," led by Ray Hileman and Wayne Sutton and an interview with Ludovic St. Fleur, pastor of Eglise des Freres Haitiens (Haitian Church of the Brethren) in Miami, Fla.; and on "Biblical and Brethren Peace Heritage," presented by Jean and Phil Lersch.

The opening evening worship service was led by Carol Mason, coordinator for the General Board's Congregational Life Team, Area 3. A mime group from the local area also performed two numbers. A tour of the Raymond James Home Office, an extensive art collection of paintings and sculptures, all from living artists, preceded the worship service.

During morning worship on Saturday six people were licensed to ministry, five of them coming from the Miami Haitian church: Founa Augustin, Fred Belony, Jean Nixon Aubel, Henry Pierre, Servillia Attelus, along with Leah Hileman from Christ the Servant Church of the Brethren in Cape Coral, Fla.

In business sessions, moderator-elect Wayne Sutton led the consecration service for the 43 delegates who were present. A report from executive minister Martha Beach kicked off the district's 300th Anniversary Celebration, challenging the district to "Lighten Up" by losing 300 pounds before the next conference. Those not needing to lose weight will sponsor those who do by contributing a monetary amount to help pay the expenses for volunteers traveling to disaster sites. Another challenge to conferencegoers was for each church to do 300 hours of some type of disaster response work.

Beach also thanked all of the churches who committed to self-allocation. For the fourth year in a row, all of those making commitments either met or exceeded the stated amount. All of the church openings also have been filled.

The delegates voted to accept the recommendation of the District Board that all undesignated gifts to the district be divided in four ways, to be shared among the Church Development Council, District Board Operating Account, Ministry Scholarships, and Brethren Foundation. A pie auction to benefit the Church Development Council raised more than $1,100, with $125 being the highest price paid for one pie.

Certificates were presented to those in ministry, for every five years of service. Receiving certificates were Cecil Hess, Terry Grove, and Keith Simmons.

John Mueller completed his term as District Board chair at this meeting. For the past year, he has been commuting more than 700 miles to District Board meetings while he and his wife, Mary, have responded to a call to be disaster response coordinators in Chalmette, La., for Brethren Disaster Ministries.

The incoming officers were installed by Mueller: James Longenecker, moderator; Charles McGuckin, chair of the District Board; Keith Simmons, vice chair of the board; Jim Baker, at-large member of the board; Jerry Hartwell, in a second term as director of ministry; and Jose Calleja, director of witness.

Carol Mason wrapped up the conference by encouraging those in attendance to "go out and sow peace."

--Martha R. Beach is district executive minister of Atlantic Southeast District.

Source: 11/21/2007 Newsline Extra

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