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Annual Conference, Community

2011 Annual Conference Reflections

I did not attend Annual Conference this year in person. However, I was impressed by the video quality of watching the services and business sessions over the internet. It was good to connect with the conference and Brethren in this way. The crew that broadcast the conference did a great job! Thank you!!

I woke-up this morning wondering, “How many people are affected by the decisions made at this meeting?” There’s no way to really measure this. Annual Conference doesn’t have the power in our polity to enforce any decisions made upon the congregations or membership of the church. So, congregations are free to abide or not abide by what’s decided. So, whether the decision has to do with what congregations should be about, what the U.S. government should do, or how we should live in this world and care for the environment, the Brethren have free will as to whether they will abide or not abide with the business decisions.

Another aspect of my question, “How many people are affected by the decisions made at this meeting?”, is this: if the money spent on holding and coming to this annual meeting were given to ministry agencies like Heifer Project, Int., or New Community Project, or split between the two, how many lives would be effected and changed? I don’t know how much is spent for and on Annual Conference. It’s got to be in the hundreds of thousands, if not over a million dollars (totaling-up all the attendee’s expenses). This is a pretty big chunk of money! A great deal could be done to make the world a better place, help the poor, and bring others to Christ by contributing this money to different agencies, like those named above.

I hope this post doesn’t come across as sounding too critical of the church and conference. That’s not my purpose in writing it. Instead, I’ve just been pondering the thought of how the church can best impact lives through the money that is spent to hold and attend Annual Conference.

What are your thoughts on this, or reflections from Annual Conference?

Blessings to you all!
Jeff

Annual Conference

Emergent Brethren Insight Session – July 5

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Ryan Braught and Matt McKimmy will be hosting and leading an insight session at the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference at 9pm on July 5th. During the hour for Emergent Brethren conversations, they have a few topics they plan to touch on. They include:

Introductory presentation about the emergence

Connection between Brethren/Anabaptist and the Emerging/Missional Movement

Emergent/Emerging Worship- planning and practice

A Framework for Missional Churches and Communities

Questions/Comments/Dialogue

If you are inspired and stimulated by the conversation, they invite you to continue it afterwards at Flanagan’s Irish Pub. Directions to the pub will be shared at the gathering.

I hope you’ll be able to make it! Please take notes for me. 🙂

Jeff Glass

Annual Conference, Ministry Formation

Emergent Brethren Conversations at Annual Conference

Sorry to be so late in reporting how our gathering was at Annual Conference. The week following conference, I was busy preparing for and attending my D. Min. classes at Bethel Seminary.

I was surprised and amazed by how many attended our gathering this year! Knowing that some who attended in previous years were not coming to San Diego made me wonder if anyone would show-up. Twenty-three people showed-up for all or part of the gathering! This is the highest attendance since the group started with Brian McLaren’s participation (2005).

No only was this year’s gathering different by having the highest attendance, but the topic of conversation was very different. In the past, this has been more of a time of support and sharing what’s happening in our ministry. This year, about 2/3’s of the group was older than 50. Some came because they feel like their traditional-styled ministry is not working, they don’t know much about emergent-style ministy, and so they came to find out. One literally asked, “What is emergent?”.

Some attempted to answer this question in different ways such as:
* the local community works best at defining it.
* it is measured both subjectively and objectively.
* it is a combination of both artistry and technology.

In addition to those who didn’t know much about the topic, there were some from a Sustaining Pastoral Excellence group who had studied the topic and gone to Europe to explore different churches. There were also a couple pastors present who are trying to move their congregation in this direction. So, much of the conversation was going back and forth between those who are new and curious about the topic and those who have seriously explored this style of ministry.

My wife commented afterwards that she felt like she had been in one of my seminary classes at Bethany. This was a good description of the level of conversation.

If I mis-interpreted what happened, please leave a comment below to correct my reflections! Those who didn’t make it West this year — we missed you!

Jeff Glass

Annual Conference

Annual Conference Activities for Emergent Brethren

Annual Conference will soon be here (in San Diego)! How many of you are planning to attend? I just heard that as of today, registration is only about 1800 people. Thus, conference attendance will be really low compared to last year. But, this was expected. Besides, it’s on the West Coast, too. 🙂

If you are planning to attend, here are some activities that you might be interested in:

Emergent Brethren Conversations — Friday, 9:00pm, Pacific Salon 7. This is our annual informal conversation time, where everybody can share what’s happening in their ministry, what they’re exploring, how they see God moving in their midst, and ask questions. This is an informal time of sharing. There are no “presentations”, unless you have something to share. Please pass the word of this event to your friends!

Worship Music Celebration — Saturday, 9:00pm, Grand Hall. This is a different kind of a worship service planned to start shortly after the regular evening worship. It will feature three groups, video, prayer, and scripture readings. The first worship leader will be Lindsey Wildey, from Flood Church in San Diego. She will be performing contemporary praise and worship music. Next, James Washington and Best Friends will be sharing their African-America Gospel music. Following Best Friends, the praise team from Principe de Paz Church of the Brethren will be performing Latin-American praise and worship music. So, in addition to this being a different kind of worship service, it will also be a cross-cultural experience! It will go till about 10:30pm.

Worship at Flood Church — Sunday, 9am, 11am, 6pm and 8pm. Flood Church is less than 9 years old and has an average attendance of 1500 in San Diego. I have been participating with them since their beginning in many capacities. They now meet at Kearny High School, less than 4 miles north of the Town and Country Hotel. I’m planning to attend the 8pm service and would be happy to give people a ride. I can also introduce you to any staff who will be attending. You can view their website at www.diveintoflood.com. This is NOT an officially sponsored Church of the Brethren activity. But, if you’d like to see some smooth video, a great band, and some good preaching, just let me know.

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Enhancing Worship with Digital Stained Glass — Monday, 12:30pm, Hampton. This insight session will look at using digital imagery in worship or websites, reflect on effective uses of media and show what some Brethren are doing. If you have an example of something that you’re proud of, contact me ASAP at konajeff@gmail.com. I might be able to get it included.

If you know of people who are attending, please forward this information to them, or better yet, give them the link to this website and have them click on “Annual Conference” on the link in the right column.

Also, if you have any questions about where to, what to do, or where to eat, please ask me! You can also get information about San Diego at 101SanDiego.com.

Hope to see you soon in my home town!

Jeff Glass

Annual Conference, Media for Worship

Enhancing Worship With Digital Stained Glass

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This year at Annual Conference, there will be an insight session focusing on media and worship. Assisting in the presentation will be a multi-media pastor from a church in San Diego. During this insight session, I would like to show on how congregations can use of media to enhance worship and highlight the best of how congregations are using multi-media in worship. For more information, you’re invited to download the Information Form. If you would like to submit something you’ve created for worship for possible use in the insight session, please submit it with the Submission Form.

I would really like to give the media artists in our church the opportunity to show-off their best work. I would also like for the members of our congregations to be inspired by the work of others to develop their own ministry. This insight session will help people to network with one another, in addition to being inspired. A DVD of the best submissions will be distributed during the insight session.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to be in touch with me. I look forward to hearing from you! Please refer this information with anyone you know who is developing media for worship! Please check back to this announcement, as I will be updating it in the future.

Thanks!

Jeff Glass
jglass_gb@brethren.org
888-826-4951

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