Thursday, March 20, 2008

Mission Alive 2008 focuses on vision for mission.

The Mission Alive 2008 conference scheduled for April 4-6 at Bridgewater (Va.) Church of the Brethren is planned both to empower congregations to take roles in mission in their communities, and to empower the Church of the Brethren denomination’s role in international mission. Online registration for the conference ends March 24, go to

The conference is sponsored by the Church of the Brethren General Board with support from the Brethren Revival Fellowship (BRF) and Brethren World Mission, and extensive involvement and logistical support from the churches of Shenandoah District.

In a recent addition to the conference schedule, the general secretary and leadership team of the General Board will hold an open discussion titled, "Hearing the Heart of the Church on Mission." General secretary Stan Noffsinger issued an invitation to "come one, come all" to the discussion on Saturday, April 5, from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

The conference will begin with worship at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, April 4, and will close with worship, ending by mid-morning on Sunday, April 6. Highlights of the schedule are plenary sessions on "Biblical Calls: Biblical Bases of Mission," "A Fruitful Past," "Leadership for the Missional Church," "Cultivating Faithful Congregations," and "Challenges Facing the Church in Mission."

Evening worship at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 4, will feature a drama by Ted & Trent and music from "Bellaccord," a men’s ensemble from Eastern Mennonite University. For nearly two decades, Mennonite comedians and actors Ted & Lee offered a unique take on scripture stories; now after the sudden death of Lee Eshleman last year, Ted Swartz will be joined at Mission Alive by Trent Wagler, an actor and musician from Harrisonburg, Va.

A guest from Pakistan, Anglican Bishop Mano Rumalshah, will preach on Saturday, April 5, at 7 p.m., in a service also featuring "Shekinah," a women’s music ensemble. Rumalshah serves the Peshawar Diocese of the Church of Pakistan, and previously was general secretary of the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in the UK, the oldest Anglican mission agency. He will be available for a "talk on" following worship, for participants to hear more about the current situation in Pakistan and to explore mission from the point of view of the church in a Muslim-oriented society.

A variety of workshops and panel discussions are offered, with a number of leaders from within and outside the denomination including Annual Conference moderator Jim Beckwith; Robert Alley, pastor of the Bridgewater congregation; Stephen Breck Reid, academic dean, and Eugene Roop, former president of Bethany Theological Seminary; general secretary Stan Noffsinger; and many former missionaries and denominational staff members. Dorothy Jean Weaver, professor at Eastern Mennonite Seminary who co-leads Middle East study tours and work groups, will also speak, among many others.

Offerings will be taken for the Emerging Global Mission Fund on Saturday evening, and for Bridgewater Church on Sunday morning. Evening meals provided by groups from the Bridgewater church and Shenandoah District also are fundraisers, and will be available for a donation.

A post-conference event at Harrisonburg (Va.) Mennonite Church on April 6 at 4 p.m. will be on the theme, "Missions in the Brethren Tradition," with speaker Joan Daggett, associate executive minister of Shenandoah District. It is sponsored by Valley Brethren Mennonite Heritage Center.

The conference fee for those who pre-register is $79 and includes Saturday lunch. Onsite registration begins at 12:30 p.m. on April 4, with a cost of $89. Participation in segments of the program is invited; part-time participants are encouraged to support the conference through the Saturday evening offering. Housing arrangements are the responsibility of participants. Ministers may receive .75 continuing education credit. Register at or call 800-323-8039 ext. 230. To register by mail, send checks to Mission Alive 2008, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120.

Source: 3/20/2008 Newsline

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