The Forty-Fifth Virlina District Conference of the Church of the Brethren was held at the Grandin Court Baptist Church in Roanoke, Virginia on November 13-14, 2015.
“You are the light of the world ... Let your light shine!” (Matthew 5:14-16) was the theme of the 2015 District Conference. Aggregate attendance including youth and children was 495 persons. This included 219 delegates (including 65 pastors) and 276 non-delegates from 76 congregations. These participated in the worship, fellowship and spiritual discernment for the district under the leadership of Moderator Dava C. Hensley, pastor of the Roanoke, First Church of the Brethren in Roanoke, Virginia...
Keynote speaker for the Friday evening worship service was Mary Jo Flory-Steury, Associate General Secretary of the Church of the Brethren and for the Saturday morning worship service was Andy Murray, 2016 Annual Conference Moderator of the Church of the Brethren. The Friday evening service was highlighted by an all conference choir under the direction of Rebecca Oliver Rhodes. Eighty-six persons attended the Ministers and Spouses Banquet held on Friday evening at the Oak Grove Church of the Brethren. Andy Murray, a Cloverdale native and the 2016 Annual Conference Moderator, was the featured speaker.
Saturday's business included the following:
Nineteen individuals were called to various positions including: Timothy H. Emmons (Nineveh) as Moderator-Elect; Roy A. McVey (Collinsville) to the Standing Committee of Annual Conference; Kathie L. Robinson (Roanoke, Oak Grove) and Karen A. Stutzman (Fraternity)to the Program and Arrangements Committee; R. Travis Beam (Concord, Living Faith), Karen B. Cassell (Roanoke, First) and Michael D. Elmore (Roanoke, Oak Grove) to the Nominating and Personnel Committee; Michael G. Battle (Burks Fork), C. Jeaneal Bishop (Parkway), Leland W. Flora (Roanoke, Oak Grove), Stanley H. Hawkins (Duncan Chapel), Nancy B. Hillsman (Durham, Peace Covenant), Donna Hornsby (Roanoke, First), A. Leo Johnson (New Bethel), Judith P. Norman (Collinsville), Michael L. Tabor, Jr. (Mount Joy) and Allison B. Yingling (Roanoke, Oak Grove) to the District Board; William E. Broyles (Roanoke, Oak Grove) and Emely D'Oleo (Roanoke, Iglesia Cristiana Renacer) to the Outdoor Ministries Committee.
Other new business included:
Approved: a District Board Budget, not including designated items, of $274,609.62 for 2016. Delegates also heard that the Camp Bethel budget for 2016 will be $691,880.00.
Adopted: Revisions to the Articles of Incorporation.
Other newsworthy items:
Honored: James C. Wood, Director of Ministry Formation, for thirteen years of service.
Received: A Saturday offering of $2,062.88 was received for conference expenses. A Friday evening offering of $2,184.00 was designated for the Nigerian Crisis Fund.
Heard that: Noel S. Naff (Mount Hermon) will serve as the District Board Chairperson for 2015-16. Other members of the Executive Committee are Jessica A. Slusher (Laurel Branch) as Vice-Chairperson, Anthony E. Emmons (Red Hill) as Commission on Ministry Chairperson, Zachary R. Hatcher (Roanoke, Summerdean) as Commission on Stewardship Chairperson, Tara L. Shepherd (Mount Hermon) as Commission on Nurture Chairperson, Logan A. Boyd (Laurel Branch) as Commission on Witness Chairperson, Sam Foster (Cloverdale) as Outdoor Ministries Committee Chairperson and Douglas E. O. Veal (Daleville) as New Church Development Committee Chairperson.
Heard the reports of the District Board, New Church Development Committee, Outdoor Ministries Committee and other institutions of the district and denomination, as well as reports from the district staff. Among those representing the wider church were: Andy Murray (Annual Conference Moderator), Scott Douglas (Brethren Benefit Trust), Mark Lancaster (Bethany Theological Seminary), Mary Jo Flory-Steury (Associate General Secretary), and Dewey M. Williard (Bridgewater College).
Heard that twenty-three congregations have been involved in PASTORAL PLACEMENT PROCESS in the year ending September 30, 2015. The following were in the pastoral placement process as of October 1: Bassett, Bethany, Copper Hill, Durham-Peace Covenant, Green Hill, Hopewell, Jones Chapel, Parkway, Peters Creek, Roanoke - Central, Roanoke-Hollins Road, Roanoke - Williamson Road, Saint Paul, Smith Chapel, Topeco, Trinity and Vinton.
Recognized eight pastoral placements since October 1, 2014: Frank Roderick Quinn (Blue Ridge), Harry W. Shelton (Boones Mill), Harold E. Sonafrank (Coulson), Dana B. Cassell (Durham-Peace Covenant), Paul F. Stutzman (Fraternity), Elizabeth Anne Mitchell (Lighthouse), Timothy P. Harvey (Roanoke-Oak Grove) and Angella F. Haranzo (Vinton).
Celebrated the graduation of four graduates from Christian Growth Institute this year. These were: Dallas L. Bailey (Henry Fork), Jeremy K. Adkins (Boones Chapel), Samuel T. Light (Roanoke, Ninth Street), and Dreama F. Osborne (Jeters Chapel).
Held a memorial service for those ministers, spouses and family members, who have died since the last conference. These included Roland Wallace Mabe, Treon Marquise Ellis, Angela Paige Jenkins, Mona Bross Hylton, Twila R. Reed, Shirley Keith Duncan, Garland Lee Pugh, Marian J. Anspaugh Woolery, Derald William Oxley, Ira Buford Peters, Jr., Pastor Roy E. Heinlen Jr., Florence (Landes) Kindy, Charles Grant Gallimore, Galen Lester Reed, Harvey Curtis Wells, Sr., James Andrew (Jim) Hinton, Jason Randal Stevens, Cecil Alfred (C.A.) Flora, Lydia Farmer Johnson Wygal, Peggy Sauls Adkins, Leah Crosby Goff, Judy Davis Reed, Alwilda M. Cox Adkins, Clarence Elwood Quay, Jr., David Kulp Webster Sr., Bridget McGhee Stovall and Wanda Martin Bowman.
Heard that the Forty-Sixth Virlina District Conference will be held, Lord willing, on November 11-12, 2016. J. W. Rhoades, a member of the Trinity Church of the Brethren in Botetourt County, Virginia, will serve as the 2016 District Conference Moderator.
The Virlina District is one of twenty-four districts of the denomination and encompasses 93 congregations, fellowships and meeting points with 10,598 members located in Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina. The Church of the Brethren is a denomination of 116,152 members in 1,026 congregations, fellowships and projects throughout the United States. Brethren are noted for an emphasis on peacemaking, reconciliation and service. Related denominations, formed through mission work, are found in Nigeria, India and other nations. Brethren began in Germany as a movement advocating adult profession of faith and baptism by immersion, separation of church and state, and an earnest desire to live out the teachings and example of Jesus Christ.