Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Mid-Atlantic District holds its 42nd annual conference.

Mid-Atlantic District held its 42nd annual District Conference on Oct. 10-11 at Frederick (Md.) Church of the Brethren on the theme, "Surrendered to God, Transformed in Christ, Empowered by the Spirit."

District pastors held a Pre-Conference Clergy Seminar at Glade Valley Church of the Brethren that focused on Christian Worship, followed by a Minister and Spouse Banquet.

The District Conference began with a Brethren meetinghouse style of worship on Friday night. In celebration of the Brethren heritage and 300th anniversary, the service recreated the kind of worship that Brethren ancestors experienced. Hymn singing, without instruments, was led by Gregory Shook of Woodbridge Church of the Brethren. Messages, which centered on being "Surrendered to God," were given by district executive minister Don Booz, Gene Hagenberger of Easton Church of the Brethren, Jim Benedict of Union Bridge Church of the Brethren, and Tracy Wiser of Harmony Church of the Brethren.

At the Saturday morning worship service, Nancy Faus-Mullen, professor emeritus at Bethany Theological Seminary, preached on the theme, "Transformed in Christ."

Business sessions were convened under the leadership of moderator Dale Posthumus. In keeping with the format used at the Mid-Atlantic District Conferences over the past two years, business items were explained to the delegates during a morning session, with time for questions and clarification. Voting then took place during an afternoon session. Conference delegates considered and passed a 2009 budget for the district, Camp Mardela incorporation, Shepherd’s Spring incorporation, disorganization of Celebration House, and disorganization of Fahrney-Keedy Fellowship.

Much of the discussion during business sessions centered on the 2009 budget, which was presented by Leadership Team member Jerry Patterson. Giving for 2008 in the district is anticipated to fall $40,000 short of budget needs. During an extensive analysis of giving trends, the Finance and Property Team discovered that church giving has essentially been flat over the past seven years. The Leadership Team presented a 2009 budget that is drastically scaled back over the past year. Patterson assured delegates that the Leadership Team would consider individual requests to fund line items that had been cut, and would endeavor to find money for programs that committees identified as important to continue. However, he emphasized that the Leadership Team is committed to passing a budget that has a realistic chance of being supported by congregational giving and will not enter into a budget that has little chance of being funded.

Saturday afternoon ended with a worship service during which Jim Hardenbrook, a former Annual Conference moderator, preached on the theme, "Empowered by the Spirit."

A highlight of the conference were the various opportunities attendees had to recognize the service of Don Booz as district executive minister. Booz is ending his eight-year tenure in Mid-Atlantic District to accept a district executive position in Pacific Southwest District. He was praised and "roasted" at various times throughout the weekend. At a reception following the Friday night worship service, attendees had an opportunity to personally thank him for his service. Cindy Booz also was recognized for the strength and support she has given throughout her husband’s service to the district.

--Gretchen M. Zience is a member of Oakton Church of the Brethren in Vienna, Va.

Source: 10/29/2008 Newsline Extra

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