Church of the Brethren
Virlina District
3402 Plantation Road, NE
Roanoke, Virginia  24012
(800) 847-5462
(540) 362-1816
Virlina District

Church of the Brethren
Continuing the Work of Jesus.  Peacefully. Simply. Together.
Continuing the Work of Jesus. Peacefully. Simply. Together.

Join us on June 29–July 3

Koury Convention Center and Sheraton Hotel

Carry the Light

Based on John 1:1–5 • Theme Statement  

•Let us hold up the Annual Conference officers and delegates in prayer as they prepare for this annual meeting.•
For more information, check out the official Annual Conference website.


The 2016 Annual Conference theme is “Carry the Light.”  Program and Arrangements Committee is inviting all congregations to send creative pictures of different ministries from your church – the choir, the youth activities, mission work, fundraising events, fellowship, etc. that show how your congregation carries the light of Christ. We would like to develop a “congregational collage” that will be displayed on the video screens in the main hall before and after gathering for worship and business.  Brother David Sollenberger will use his creativity to develop the collage.

We are requesting no more than ten (10) pictures in jpeg format.  If would be good if one of them could be your church building. If you use a phone or tablet, the format might be different, but we encourage you to send them as jpeg files, if possible, and make sure they are clear and are your best set.  This might make a good project for your youth or others in your congregation interested in media. These pictures can be emailed to <> with the subject as “Collage and [the name of your congregation.]” Please send them no later than May 15, 2016.

About the theme...

Carry the Light

…in your heart — Claim it
…in your church — Focus it
…in your community — Spread it
…in your world — Be it

The next time you see a leaf flutter in a gust of air or a blade of grass bend to the breeze, consider that it is being touched by a power that begins some 93 million miles away. Actually, every living movement on our earth begins with strength driven by the light of the sun. When we walk from one room to the next, we are burning the sunlight that brought the rain and grew the food that nourishes our physical bodies.

Some of that power, from a solar panel for example, is very immediate - about eight minutes old. Some of it, coal for example, has been stored for thousands of years. It is all from the same source.

As Christians we confess that there is one source for our spiritual being; one source for the meaning that powers our mental and emotional existence; one source for Life.

 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
 John 1:1-5 NRSV

The Gospel of John opens with this magnificent hymn in tribute to the relationship between word, life and light. They were all present “in the beginning” and they all came to focus in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. They were revealed in a person of history that we remember regularly in the act of communion; a person that we recognize as a source of our salvation; a person who, we confess, lives with us in the Holy Spirit and whose body is alive in our worshiping community of faith.

This is a confession that is, at once, intimate and shared, personal and universal, present and eternal. It is a testimony that is closer than our own name and beyond our most faithful and imaginative comprehension; a testimony that we know Him who was "in the beginning." It is a testimony that a light that is as immediate as the Holy Spirit and as ancient as the texts of the Old Testament powers us. We claim a Light that comes to us across the space of two thousand years and across the space from the beginning of creation; a light that warms us, heals us, comforts us, nourishes us, guides us and grows us.

For this, we rededicate ourselves to "Carry the Light."

Andy Murray, moderator
2016 Annual Conference


Daily Themes

Wednesday evening

The Light in the Darkness - John 1:1-5

The moderator will deliver a state of the church address as required by polity. The address might drift in the direction of a sermon toward the end.

Thursday evening

Carry the Light in Your Heart - 2 Corinthians 4:6

The emphasis is on the individual response to Jesus; the power of the Gospel to convict, redeem and recreate us from the inside out. Claim it.

Friday evening

Carry the Light in Your Church - 1 John 2:7-14

The emphasis is on the fellowship of those that share the Light. We will note the importance of participation in the life of a congregation and the importance of traditional Brethren practices in shaping our identity. Alone we cool and die. Together the light gathers energy and becomes more intense. Focus it.

Saturday evening

Carry the Light in Your Community - Isaiah 58:6-12

The emphasis is on letting the community see the Light of Christ through the life of the congregation. Spread it.

Sunday morning

Carry the Light in Your World - Matthew 5:14-16; John 1:4-5

In the end we do not just carry the Light; we become the light. The emphasis is on vision and hope. "You are the Light." "The darkness has not overcome it." Be it.