Thursday, March 20, 2008

2008 Annual Conference will celebrate the 300th Anniversary.

The 222nd recorded Annual Conference of the Church of the Brethren will be held July 12-16 in Richmond, Va. The Conference will focus on a celebration of the 300th Anniversary of the Brethren movement, and is a joint annual meeting with the Brethren Church. The theme for the Conference is the 300th Anniversary theme, "Surrendered to God--Transformed in Christ--Empowered by the Spirit" (John 12:24-26a). Pre-registration for the Conference began online on March 7, and is available through May 30 at

The Conference will convene at the Greater Richmond Convention Center, with worship services and business sessions at the Richmond Coliseum. Some meal events and insight sessions will be held at the Richmond Marriott.

Main events on Saturday, July 12, include opening worship at 6:15 p.m., and an 8 p.m. worship concert by the National Christian Choir. Based in the area of Washington, D.C., the choir of 200 includes members representing a variety of denominations including the Church of the Brethren. The choir has been in existence since 1984, and was founded by its director, C. Harry Causey.

On Sunday, July 13, morning worship will be a joint service with the Brethren Church at 9:30 a.m., with a worship team representing both denominations. "Jubilee Events" on Sunday include an afternoon "Experience of Brethren Faith Journeys," from 1:30-4:30 p.m., in which conference-goers may choose one of 10 presentations each hour that explore the past, present, and future identity of the Brethren. A "Global Celebration" is planned for the evening, beginning at 7 p.m., as a celebration of the Brethren presence and mission around the world, and featuring representatives from the global community of Brethren. In a special event on Sunday, the John Kline Memorial Riders will make a presentation in the morning, and then will be outside the Coliseum with their horses following the worship service.

On Monday, July 14, and Tuesday, July 15, the two denominations will hold separate business meetings and worship services. A concert on July 14 at 8 p.m. will feature Christian musician Ken Medema, known in the Church of the Brethren from his regular appearances at National Youth Conference. On July 15 at 8 p.m. will be a drama titled, "Life Is Great. Yea!" about the life of Ted Studebaker, a church volunteer who was killed during the Vietnam War.

On Wednesday, July 16, the Conference closes with a joint worship service with the Brethren Church, at 9:30 a.m., with a worship team representing both bodies.

A Service Blitz on Saturday, July 12, and Monday, July 14, will support to the Richmond community through a variety of work projects. "We are hoping that thousands of Brethren will participate, showing our Christian love by helping others in this way," said the 300th Anniversary Committee. Various shifts are available each day. Advance registration by May 30 is required, and a fee of $12 for a half-day, $20 for a full day (including lunch), will help defray costs. Participants may order a sack lunch with registration (forms and more information are in the Annual Conference Packet and at

Business to be addressed by the 2008 Conference includes two unfinished business items, the "Review and Evaluation Implementation Committee Recommendation" and the "Process Committee for Doing Church Business," and six items of new business: "Update on Ministerial Ethics," "Resolution on Ministers’ Medical Insurance Crisis," "Resolution on Slavery in the 21st Century," "Resolution Urging Forbearance," "Query--Conference Witness to Host City," and "Revision to Unfunded Mandates Polity."

This special annual meeting also offers the usual Annual Conference features of daily Bible studies, a variety of meal events and insight sessions, hearings on business items, age group activities, and a shared exhibit hall with the Brethren Church featuring a large heritage display.

Cost of registration for adult non-delegates is $75 for the full conference if pre-registered, or $100 onsite. Weekend and daily registration are also available. Cost of registration for ages 12-21 is $25 for the full conference if pre-registered, or $43 onsite. Children under 12 are free. Fees are required for age-group activities and child care. There is no charge to attend worship.

Pre-registration continues through May 30 at, or fill out and mail in the registration form from the Annual Conference Packet, which also gives detailed information about the Conference schedule, hotel options, meal tickets, age group activities, and more. Packets have been mailed to each congregation on CD, and the packet is posted at For more information contact the Annual Conference Office at 800-688-5186.

Source: 3/20/2008 Newsline

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