1999 Milwaukee, Wisconsin 213th
1999 Logo

The 213th Annual Conference (June 29-July 4, 1999) of the Church of the Brethren was held in the Milwaukee Arena which is now the U.S Cellular Arena, 400 W. Kilbourn Avenue, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53203. The Midwest Express Center exhibition center opened in 1998 with 188,695 square feet of contiguous exhibit space along with a 37,506 square foot ballroom. It has since been renamed several times: Midwest Airlines Center, Midwest Express Center, Frontier Airlines Center, and presently Delta Center. The arena seats 12,700 people and offers 41,000 feet of floor space. Extensive activity has recently surrounded this convention center with renovation and new construction, as the city is erecting a new exhibition hall that will cover four city blocks at a projected cost of $172 million. According to legend, Milwaukee gets its name from Algonkian Indians who called this area Millioki: “gathering place by the waters” (Lake Michigan and three converging rivers). It's a culturally diverse city with restaurants serving a broad taste of ethic groups: French, Irish, German, Norwegians, Poles, Czechs, Russians, Yugoslavs, Italians, and Greeks. Preferences also differ from Lake Michigan fresh seafood, cuisine-focused bistros to cheap bohemian college cafes.


Annual Conference was held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, once before in 1990 with Moderator Curtis W. Dubble presiding. It may have seemed unusual to some Brethren that the Program & Arrangements Committee would have picked Milwaukee as location for Annual Conference, since Milwaukee has enjoyed and even touted its city acclaim of being: “The Beer Capital of the World.” Some of the most famous breweries, Pabst, Schlitz, and Miller have contributed to its fame. Actually it was the other way around. Lack of 4th of July holiday business drove the Milwaukee convention association to invite the Brethren to come back at very reasonable rates, explained Duane Steiner, Annual Conference Director. He further addressed questions from delegates as to why Annual Conference is held over this holiday since traffic accidents pose an increased risk. Steiner explained that Annual Conference receives extremely good rates on convention space and hotel accommodations nation wide because most other groups rarely meet over this holiday; an important consideration for the Annual Conference Office that struggles to make financial ends meet. On Friday evening, National Youth Conference Speech Contest Winners presented their messages. Linetta Alley, a student at Bridgewater College, spoke to the title: “Living in Community.” Cindy Laprade, a high school student from Franklin County, Virginia, addressed evening worshipers with the title: “Staying Reconciled.”

Friday evening is the treasured night to hear the Children's Choir. The groups consists of about 140 children under the direction of Peg Lehman from Elgin, IL. Next to the Conference Arena is the Midwest Express Center (now Delta Center) which hosted all the agency and special interest exhibits. But what seemed to attract the most attention for Conference-goers and vacationers was the incredibly lifelike house Security Guard who stood right inside the 4th Street tower entrance. Many people stood for several minutes to admire the intricate attention to detail of this plastic and wax creation. Detail of perhaps a sixty year old man that showed freckles, skin deformities, protruding veins, fuss arm hair, naturally looking hands, and the most lifelike facial features.


1999 Conference Officers were Moderator Lowell Flory, chairman for business and economics at McPherson College; Moderator-elect Emily Mumma from Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania; and Secretary Cathy Huffman.






“They determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain other of them,
should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders (about this question).”
Acts 15:2