The Forty-Eighth Virlina District Conference of the Church of the Brethren
Bonsack Baptist Church in Roanoke, Virginia
November 9-10, 2018.
“The Fruit of the Spirit” from Galatians 5:22 was the theme of the 2018 District Conference. Aggregate attendance on Saturday including youth and children was 389 persons. This included 226 delegates (including 65 pastors) and 163 non-delegates from 75 congregations. These participated in the worship, fellowship and spiritual discernment for the district under the leadership of Moderator Debbie Humphrey of the Roanoke, Ninth Street congregation.
Assisting in leadership during conference was Moderator-Elect Roy U. Turpin of the Pleasant Valley congregation in Floyd County, Virginia, Pam Clark of the Peters Creek congregation who served as Clerk, Hannah Oakes of the Summerdean congregation who served as Timekeeper, and Daniel L. Rudy of the Roanoke, Ninth Street congregation who served as Parliamentarian. Donita Keister, 2019 Moderator of the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference, preached Friday night on the conference theme. The president of Bethany Theological Seminary, the graduate school of theology of the Church of the Brethren, Jeff Carter, spoke both Friday night at the Ministers and Spouses dinner and during the Saturday morning worship. Members of the praise team on Friday evening were Paul and Karen Stutzman (Fraternity), Andy and Courtney Duffey (Antioch) and Aaron and Traci Lavinder (Germantown Brick). Attendees were blessed by many gifted musicians: Karen Stutzman, chorister on Friday (Fraternity), Dewey Williard, pianist on Friday (Fraternity), Grant Frederick, organist on Friday (Bonsack Baptist), Fonda Wilson, chorister on Saturday (Cloverdale) and Jan Messner (Lynchburg), pianist.
Saturday's business included the following:
Ballot Positions Filled:
- Moderator-Elect – Cathy S. Huffman (Germantown Brick)
- District Board – Christina “Chris” Monk (Copper Hill), Jeffery A. Wray (Fairview, Rocky Mount), Kaylee Nolen (Mount Hermon), Robin Lavinder (Germantown Brick), Stanley H. Hawkins (Duncan Chapel), Gayle M. Harms (Jones Chapel), Frances S. Beam (Concord, Living Faith), Michael G. Battle (Burks Fork), Sam St. John (Roanoke, Ninth Street), and Rudolph H. Taylor, III (Cloverdale).
- Outdoor Ministries Committee – Trish M. Haskins (Fairview, Rocky Mount) and Ronald D. Rucker (Roanoke, Summerdean).
- Standing Committee – Edward C. Woodard (Roanoke, Oak Grove).
- Program and Arrangements – Andy Duffey (Antioch) and Heather Minter (Mount Hermon).
- Nominating and Personnel – Amy Adams (Fraternity), Anne Mitchell (Lighthouse) and Karen Barnhart (Roanoke, Central).
The 2018 District Board Budget of $771,892.53 (including designated items of $500,000, but not including Camp Bethel) was approved.
Floyd, Iglesia Cristiana Nueva Vida (New Life Christian Church) was received as a congregation of the Church of the Brethren.
Other newsworthy items:
A Friday evening offering of $1,642.26 was received for the Brethren Disaster Ministries (BDM) and a Saturday offering of $2,148.00 to help offset conference expenses.
The District Board reorganized during the lunch hour. Serving as chairpersons are: Tony R. Robertson – District Board, Zachary R. Hatcher, Vice Chair – District Board, Michael G. Battle – Commission on Ministry, Hannah M. Oakes – Commission on Nurture, Stacy W. Goff – Commission on Stewardship, and Roger G. Stultz – Commission on Witness. Samuel C. Foster will serve as Chair of the Outdoor Ministries Committee and David A. Bess will continue as Chair of the New Church Development Committee.
Delegates 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: Donita Keister (Annual Conference), Jeff Carter (Bethany Theological Seminary), Jean Bednar (Brethren Benefit Trust), Dewey M. Williard (Bridgewater College), Nancy McCrickard (Church of the Brethren, Inc.), Mark Hoover (Mutual Aid Assocation), George Barnhart (On Earth Peace) and Mary Ann Glover (Virginia Council of Churches).
Delegates also heard that twenty-eight congregations have been involved in PASTORAL PLACEMENT PROCESS in the year ending September 30. The following were in the pastoral placement process as of October 1: Bethel, Boones Mill, Eden-First, Jeters Chapel, Jones Chapel, Maple Grove, Masons Cove, Moneta-Lake Side, Newport News-Ivy Farms, Oak Grove South, Peters Creek, Red Hill, Saint Paul, Saunders Grove, Shelton, Smith Mountain Lake Community and Trinity.
We celebrated the graduation of two graduates from Christian Growth Institute this year: Donna G. Hornsby and Frank Roderick “Rod” Quinn.
We held a memorial service for those ministers, former district staff persons, spouses and family members, who have died since the last conference: Ernst Meier, Joyce Gayle Horton Spangler, Norman Luther Harsh, Christine (Chris) Eakin Bain, Owen G. Stultz, Bobby L. Phillips, Barbara Ann Peters, Diana Lynn Lovett, Flemmie Eileen Getz Stultz, Edna Foley Phillips, Elbert Lee Naff, Sr., Hazel Mae Fleeman Moyer, Robert “Bob” C. Pittman, Paul Robert White, Sr., Wayne Cody Garst and Myron Shipman Miller
Moderator Debbie Humphrey installed Roy Turpin as the 2019 Moderator and Cathy S. Huffman as the newly called Moderator-Elect. Brother Roy shared that the focus of the 2019 District Conference will be based on I Corinthians 1:18, “Don’t Hide the Cross.”
The Virlina District is one of twenty-four districts of the denomination and encompasses 93 congregations, fellowships and meeting points with 10,346 members located in Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina. The Church of the Brethren is a denomination of 112,656 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.