Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Delegates speak out at Southern Pennsylvania District Conference.

Members of York First Church of the Brethren warmly greeted Southern Pennsylvania District Conference workers and delegates on Sept. 19-20, as the congregation opened its doors to the annual meeting of the district’s 45 congregations.

Registered attendance at District Conference on Friday was 150 delegates and 129 nondelegates and on Saturday, 143 delegates and 75 nondelegates. Attendance at the Friday evening worship service was an approximate 250 people, including 21 of the 23 licensed ministers who were present to receive their annual licensure.

Charles Ilyes, pastor of Midway Church of the Brethren in Atlantic Northeast District, brought the evening message on the conference theme, "Be still and know I AM GOD." An offering of $1,725.50 was received and has been forwarded to the denominational offices to benefit the Minister’s Emergency Fund.

John D. Byers, former Hanover Church of the Brethren pastor, was recognized for 50 years of ordained ministry; Pat Arendt of Gettysburg Church of the Brethren was recognized for completing the denominational Training in Ministry training track for credentialed ministry; Brandon Grady of York Madison Avenue Church of the Brethren was recognized for graduation from Bethany Theological Seminary; and Duane Bahn of Codorus Church of the Brethren and C. Earl Eby of Trinity Church of the Brethren were recognized for completion of the ACTS training track for set-apart ministry.

Conference delegates called Eli Mast to serve as moderator-elect in 2009. Mast will join moderator John Shelly and district writing clerk Ann Miller in leading the district forward in Christ’s directive to further the kingdom in 2009.

Others called to leadership include Richard Fischl and Kim Gingerich for the District Board Eastern Zone, Daniel Witmer for the Western Zone, R. Edward Weaver for the Northern Zone, and in the at-large category Melinda Carlson, Richard Godfrey, and Terry Smith. Betty Malenke was called to the District Program and Arrangements Committee to represent the Eastern Zone, Malinda Napp and George Martin were called to the District Nominating and Personnel Committee to represent the Eastern and Western Zones, respectively.

The District Board held its reorganizational meeting and called Terry Smith and Ray Lehman to serve as chair and vice chair.

Conference business included receiving the 2007 district financial reports, including the independent accountant’s review. The conference approved the District Board’s recommendation to close Genesis Church of the Brethren effective Sept. 30. The District Board will continue to work at determining the future of the current Genesis Church property and whether ministry there is a viable option.

District Conference delegates also approved a query from Dry Run Church of the Brethren asking Annual Conference Standing Committee to re-examine and re-educate the Church of the Brethren’s constituency on the denomination’s stance and statements about membership in secret oath-bound societies, and the conflict that has with Church of the Brethren beliefs about taking oaths.

After healthy debate, the delegates passed the 2009 District Financial Ministries Plan in the total amount of $531,019, which breaks down as $79.85 per church member. Many people, including delegates and nondelegates, attended various insight sessions including the District Financial Ministries Plan sessions, and indicated a better understanding of the complexity of the District Board and staff’s work in accomplishing district ministry that pleases its 6,700-plus constituents.

Those attending the Brethren Volunteer Service insight session and an insight session on the issue of modern-day slavery indicated the need to get information to their local congregations. Associate district executive Georgia Markey is working on a plan to make this happen. Positive feedback was received on insight sessions about stewardship, both in the area of curriculum and teaching children about stewardship. The District Nurture and Stewards Commission stands ready to help congregations follow up with this emphasis.

A new event this year was a District Auction, which netted $1,647 for the Fair Share ministries pool. A Pie and Ice Cream Social also was a positive experience. Seventy pies were asked for and 128 were received. The uneaten pies were sold with proceeds going to the Children’s Aid Society, for a copier for the Nicarry Center.

--This report is taken from the newsletter of Southern Pennsylvania District.

Source: 10/29/2008 Newsline Extra

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