The 215th Annual Conference (June 30-July 4, 2001) of the Church of the Brethren was held in the Baltimore Convention Center, 1 West Pratt Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21201, located about three blocks from the Inner Harbor complex which includes the National Aquarium and the Baltimore Maritime Museum. The City of Baltimore owns the facility and built it in two phases. An opening date of 1979 at a cost of fifty-one million offered over 425,000 total exhibition and meeting room space square feet with a ceiling height of thirty feet. Just in time for the Brethren, a second building phase completed in April 1997 increased the Center's total space to 1,225,000 square feet. Nearby hotels and the Inner Harbor are accessible by elevated open air skywalks. Annual Conference has previously visited the State of Maryland thirteen (13) times: Pipe Creek, (moderator unknown) in 1778, 1783, 1787, 1799, 1804, 1814, 1830, and 1867 H.B. Davy, Moderator; Beaver Dam, 1842 (moderator unknown) and 1853 George Hoke, Moderator; Hagerstown, 1891 Daniel Vaniman, Moderator; Frederick, 1897 L.W. Teeter, Moderator; and Baltimore, 1983 Paul W. Hoffman, Moderator.
There were historical things that happened at this conference Messenger, the Church of the Brethren flagship publication celebrates its 150th anniversary. During the Tuesday morning business session Henry Kurtz (portrayed by Lee Krahenbuhl) was invited to share his views on the need for a denominational publication during the 1850s. The real Henry Kurtz started the Gospel Visitor in 1851 in a spring house on a small farm in Ohio. It later merged with the Christian Family Companion and renamed The Primitive Christian. In 1876 it absorbed the Pilgrim. J.T. Myers and L.A. Plate started the Brethren's Messenger from Germantown, Pennsylvania and then moved it to Lanark, Illinois, with a new title, Brethren at Work. In 1883, these two papers were merged to form the Gospel Messenger. The word Gospel was dropped with the January, 1965 issue and the frequency of publication changed from weekly to monthly. All these publications were on exhibit under the title, In The Midst of You.
A Tuesday morning Fire Alarm during a business session witnessed the orderly and respectful egress of delegates from the building, which gave an impressive and memorable witness to the Brethren way of doing things. Thankfully the cause was due to an electrical short-curcuit which present no actual danger to anyone. Some delegates expressed their need for a welcome break. Friday evening is the treasured night to hear the Children's Choir.
SHALL WE GATHER AT THE RIVER:
The theme of the Conference was Revive Us Again taken from Psalm 85:6. Intending to light the fire of revival, Moderator Phil Carlos Archbold gave a stirring call for the Church of the Brethren to be Helpers instead of Hinderers. Moderator Archbold further reminded us that God stirs people to accomplish great tasks for His glory, as when Nehemiah was moved to revive building of the Jerusalem city wall. During the opening part of Saturday's evening worship, a slow procession of worshippers carried District Banners from most of the twenty-three districts. They entered to the music of Shall We Gather at the River, a traditional hymn written by Robert Lowry in 1864. Its poetic call to final rest with God was stiring.
2001 Conference Officers were Moderator Phil Carlos Archbold, pastor of Brooklyn First COB, Brooklyn, New York; Moderator-elect Paul Grout, pastor of Genesis COB, Putney, Vermont; and Secretary Cathy Huffman.
2001 Annual Conference Report created in Power Point by Michael D. Martin of Phoenix First COB in the Pacific-Southwest District. One hundred and twenty different slides explain Annual Conference business, elections, and committee reports. Great for presenting information to your local congregation.
They determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain other of them,
should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders (about this question).