Wednesday, May 07, 2008

300th Anniversary update: Surrendered, transformed, serve.

The 300th Anniversary Committee is sponsoring two unique opportunities to reach out to the community in Richmond, Va., during the 2008 Annual Conference July 12-16.

"Our roots may be sectarian, but we have always reached out to others, showing them Christ' s love through word and deed. In Richmond we plan to carry on this strong tradition," said a statement from the committee. "In honor of our anniversary and 'for the glory of God and our neighbor's good,' we want to shower the community of Richmond with acts of service that they might 'know we are Christians by our love.'"

A Service Blitz is planned for July 12 and 14 (for nondelegates only on July 14). There will be various shifts available each day: mornings from 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., afternoons from 12:30-4:30 p.m., and all day from 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. These times include transportation time to work projects. The blitz is in cooperation with an umbrella organization in Richmond called Together We Stand, in order to line up a wide range of service opportunities. The committee hopes thousands of Brethren will participate.

Advance registration is required so that adequate plans can be made. A nominal registration fee--$12 for a half day and $20 for a full day--will cover the cost of transportation and materials including drinking water. Lunch is also included in the fee for persons registering for an all-day shift. Those registering for a half day shift may purchase a box lunch in advance for an additional $8.50.

A Food Drive is also planned to benefit the Central Virginia Food Bank. Food banks experience a drastic increase in demand each summer. Founded in 1980, the Central Virginia Food Bank distributes almost 49,000 pounds of food each day to the most vulnerable people--children in need, the elderly, working poor families, disabled individuals, and others in crisis--through more than 500 organizations and agencies feeding the hungry in five cities and 31 counties in the region, representing 12.6 million pounds of food a year.

Conferencegoers are encouraged to bring a donation of healthy, nonperishable food with them to Richmond. Particular needs include canned fish and meats, peanut butter, canned fruits and vegetables, hot and cold cereals, pasta, and rice. Donations will be collected in the registration lobby at the Convention Center. The committee's goal is to collect three tons (6,000 pounds) of food to celebrate the three centuries of the Brethren movement. Congregations may wish to hold a food drive in advance of Annual Conference and send large donations with their delegates.

More information and a registration form for the Service Blitz are at in the Annual Conference Information Packet. A relevant query coming to the 2008 Annual Conference, about the Conference witnessing to its host city each year through efforts to care, give, nurture, and transform lives in the name of Jesus Christ, can also be found at the website.

--Rhonda Pittman Gingrich is a member of the 300th Anniversary Committee.

Source: 5/07/2008 Newsline Extra

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