Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Mid-Atlantic conference encourages ‘rest in God's presence.’

The 41st Annual Mid-Atlantic District Conference convened Oct. 5-6 at Hagerstown (Md.) Church of the Brethren under the leadership of moderator Gretchen Zience. Highlights included a pre-conference continuing education event for pastors led by Dawn Ottoni-Wilhelm, associate professor of Preaching and Worship at Bethany Theological Seminary. She also served as the conference speaker.

Ottoni-Wilhelm’s informative presentation on "Make the Word Come Alive: How to Preach Like Anabaptists," challenged pastors to incorporate historic Brethren practices into worship and preaching. In response to the conference theme, "Be Still and Know that I Am God" (Psalm 46:1), Ottoni-Wilhelm encouraged Friday evening worshipers to put their ultimate trust in God by "being still" and "resting in God's presence." She noted that prayerful silence "makes way for God's creativity, imagination, and hope."

The conference was divided into two business sessions. Approval of the 2008 district budget was the only new business and passed unanimously. In between sessions, attendees chose from 10 learning centers addressing topics as diverse as spirituality and spiritual direction, life planning, hymn leading, and gun violence. Walt Wiltschek, editor of the "Messenger" magazine, provided comic relief with "Top 10 Lists." An observation in one list, that Mid-Atlantic District (which includes Baltimore and its inner harbor area) is the only district that could legitimately offer a "Booz Cruise," earned hearty and sustained laughter from district executive minister Don Booz, along with all conference attendees.

The 2008 Mid-Atlantic District Conference is scheduled for Oct. 10-11, at Frederick (Md.) Church of the Brethren.

--Roseann Harwood is interim pastor at Dranesville Church of the Brethren in Herndon, Va.

Source: 11/07/2007 Newsline

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