Thursday, July 01, 2010

Annual Conference bits and pieces.
  • The 50th anniversary of the Emergency Disaster Fund will be celebrated with a presentation by Ryan & Friends ventriloquist and comedian, sponsored by Brethren Disaster Ministries on Sunday, July 4, at 7 p.m. in the Spirit of Pittsburgh Ballroom. A free-will offering will be received to benefit the Emergency Disaster Fund.

  • The Church of the Brethren exhibit in the Brethren Press bookstore at Annual Conference will feature a hot new technology: QR code, a type of two-dimensional barcode. QR code will hold far more information than a regular barcode, and can include text, a business card, or even a URL. Brethren Press publisher Wendy McFadden is creating QR codes for about a dozen of the images on the exhibit, to be affixed in corners of display panels. The code can be read by a smartphone that has a barcode scanner app. The codes will be "a bonus for those people who recognize them," McFadden said. "The QR codes on the exhibit will take people to relevant pages on our website, such as, workcamps, Brethren Volunteer Service, and several photo albums.

  • Guests representing the Foods Resource Bank (FRB) at the Annual Conference include Cher-Frère Fortune, an agriculturist from Haiti, and translator Kelsey Day. Fortune is a consultant for SKDE, Sant Kretyen Pou Development Entegre (Christian Center for Integrated Development), and works with Haiti’s Northwest Rural Development Program. He also helped with the Brethren homes constructed in Gonaives, Haiti, through Brethren Disaster Ministries. Day is fluent in French, has done special projects for FRB at its Western Springs office, and is a recent graduate of Elmhurst (Ill.) College this month. The Church of the Brethren’s Global Food Crisis Fund contributed $15,000 to the Northwest Rural Development Program in 2008, and previously the Church of the Brethren allocated grants of $2,500 to the program from its member account in FRB in 2006 and 2007. "The guests also will attend the National Gathering of FRB hosted by our Grossnickle growing project in Maryland July 12-15," reported fund manager Howard Royer.

  • Two key Brethren ministries are marking 20th anniversaries at this Annual Conference: the Ministry of Reconciliation is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a reception on Saturday afternoon, July 3; the Brethren Foundation is celebrating its 20th anniversary with cupcakes in the exhibit hall on Monday, July 5, over the lunch hour.

  • Ed Poling, pastor of Hagerstown (Md.) Church of the Brethren, is riding his bicycle to Annual Conference as a fundraiser for church camping in the Church of the Brethren, and is seeking people to make pledges as sponsors of his ride. "The distance is about 250 miles from Washington County, Md., to the big city," he wrote in a letter to supporters. "I plan to take four days, traveling by way of the C&O Canal towpath to Cumberland, then over the Alleghany Mountains via the Great Alleghany Passage Rail-Trail." He was to leave on June 30 from Shepherd's Spring Outdoor Ministry Center near Sharpsburg, Md. "I used to be a camp director myself and have a great love for the out-of-doors and appreciation for what the experience of church camping can do for young people in their spiritual development," he wrote. "Such Christian camping experiences help them not only learn to appreciate the natural world but also to see the Creator and Sustainer behind it all." Read a "Washington Examiner" article about Poling’s bike ride at

  • The Springs of Living Water Initiative for church renewal is featured at several places during the Annual Conference. On Sunday, July 4, 9-10 p.m. an insight session will feature Springs founders Joan and David Young presenting a path of renewal for churches, with testimonies from congregation members and pastors, and sponsorship by four districts. At the Congregational Life Ministries exhibit the Youngs will offer two "Living Room Chats" about the Springs initiative, on Monday, July 5, 10:30-11:30 a.m., and on Tuesday, July 6, at 3-4 p.m. A Congregational Life Ministries insight session titled "Stories of Congregational Vitality and Hope" on Monday, July 6, 9-10 p.m. will feature a panel including David Young and Gary Moore representing the initiative. A prayer request from the Youngs asks "for a sense of the movement of God's spirit in formal and informal gatherings and that the presence of Christ will be real as we gather in Pittsburgh and go forth with a sense of mission for Christ."
Source: 7/1/2010 Newsline

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