Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Middle Pennsylvania District Conference affirms new mission plan.

Middle Pennsylvania District Conference was hosted Oct. 19-20 by Everett (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. Wayne Brockway, pastor of New Enterprise (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, served as moderator. The Everett volunteers led by Leah Pepple, on-site coordinator, welcomed the conference with hospitality. Jolene Black of New Enterprise created and designed the conference logo using the theme, "Follow Me...Where? How? Now?"

Friday evening featured a Ministers' Banquet and a district Pastors and Spouses Choir led by Terry Hershberger and accompanied by Earla Shehan-Reffner. The Adult Choir of New Enterprise also shared music. Brockway gave the message for opening worship, asking the question whether we have become too comfortable in our churches. "Following Jesus: Where?" was his title based on Luke 9:23-26. Are we willing to follow Jesus wherever he would have us go? Brockway asked.

In business sessions, 51 churches were represented with 160 delegates, and 144 nondelegates also registered. The delegates affirmed an aggressive 2008 Mission Plan (2008 budget) which calls for a 7.6 percent increase over 2007. Prior to the conference delegates, pastors, board chairs, and treasurers were asked to take the increases and ministry priorities seriously. In order to meet the goals of the plan, congregations were asked to increase their giving levels to $25 per member. Churches already at or above that level were asked to consider a $5 per member increase. Most of the increases represented in the plan are seen in the addition of a part-time youth position (up to 10 hours per week) and additional expenses associated with an upcoming combined District Conference and Heritage Fair planned for Sept. 26-28, 2008, at Camp Blue Diamond to celebrate the 300th Anniversary of the Brethren.

The Youth Ministry Team and Connie Maclay, pastor of Beech Run Church of the Brethren in Mapleton Depot, Pa., shared with the delegate body on Saturday morning followed by an anointing and commissioning service for the Youth Ministry Team. Joel Rhodes of Stone Church and Kay Guyer of Woodbury (Pa.) Church of the Brethren also shared stories of their workcamp experiences this past summer. Doc O'Connor of Point Man Ministries shared ideas of how congregations can support returning military veterans as part of On Earth Peace's Welcome Home Project.

The Youth Ministry offering totaled $1,724, while a Pennies for Congregational Ministries offering totaled $5,027.30. Gas cards, phone cards, and pajamas were collected for Your Safe Haven, Inc.

Several ministers were recognized for ministry milestones. Recognized for 50 or more years of service were Dick Landrum of Huntingdon (Pa.) Stone Church of the Brethren, Michael Olivieri of Albright Church of the Brethren in Roaring Spring, Pa. (52 years), and Ron Hershberger of State College (Pa.) University Baptist and Brethren Church (56 years). Patricia Muthler was recognized for completing the Training in Ministry program. Michael Benner was recognized for his graduation from Bethany Theological Seminary this year.

In leadership positions, James Ake of the Stone Church was affirmed for another year as treasurer. A slate for district leadership was affirmed including Lori Knepp of the Everett Church as moderator designate. She will assist Robert Sell at the 2008 combined District Conference and Heritage Fair. Other leaders affirmed were Dennis Brumbaugh and Dale Dowdy for the Gifts Discernment Committee; Pat Gong for the Program and Arrangements Committee; Kelly Ritchey for the Audit Committee; Charles Eldredge for Standing Committee; Sara Miller, Brian Creps, and Dale Roth for the Congregational Ministry Coordinating Team; and Donald Brumbaugh for Pennsylvanians Concerned about Alcohol Problems.

The Conference concluded with moderator Brockway consecrating Robert Sell as moderator for 2008.

Source: 11/21/2007 Newsline Extra

No comments: