2010 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 224th
2010 Logo

The 224th Annual Conference (July 3-7, 2010) of the Church of the Brethren was held in the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, located at 1000 Fort Duquesne Boulevard, immediately adjacent to the Allegheny River, and in the very heart of the downtown area. Decades ago, the city of Pittsburgh had the unfortunate reputation of being a polluted city that was usually covered with a blanket of smoke due to the numerous Steel Mills in the area. That has dramatically changed over the years, as mayors, city planners, and vested interests have striven to produce an environmentally friendly city with Clear Blue Skies. The conference center is touted as a Green 1ST facility. Not only was it constructed with environmentally responsible innovations such as more than 75% of the building using natural light through Moveable Sail Panels and open walkways with Glass Walls, but that natural light is then reflected from Brightly Colored Walls. Its daily operation incorporates policies such as Recycling and conservation. The Light Weight Roof is suspended by cables attached to Huge Anchors that were also seen inside the Conference Center. Brethren were Welcomed to a structure that also reflects many of their simple living values. The adjacent Westin Hotel served as the primary base for attendees. It is connected to the Center through a Skywalk that reminded some Brethren of the many similar Skywalks of the Des Moines 2006 Annual Conference.


A technological first for the Church of the Brethren were Webcasts. Many Annual Conference events were streamed by Bethany Theological Seminary through the services of LiveStream.com. Non-attending Brethren “back home” were able to view live televised events over broadband Internet connections. This worldwide innovation gave Brethren the opportunity to feel as though they were apart of the event.


Also known as the City of Bridges, at a total of 446, Pittsburgh has three more bridges than Venice, Italy. Persistence could have been learned by Conference goers from this tree that was growing from a bridge abutment. The downtown area is a mixture of different Building Styles, cultural flavors, and the opportunity to get wet on a hot afternoon at the PPG Complex. Along both the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers which parallel the city, one can see a wide variety of River Craft. Coinciding with the Brethren event was the annual Three Rivers Regatta that garnered even more boats and thousands of people to the riverfront. Saturday evening the hometown Pittsburgh Pirates lost to the visiting Philadelphia Phillies, 12-4 at PNC Park. Sports fans in this town are stridently loyal. Hometown colors of Gold & Black are prominent everywhere. Late Sunday evening, the July 4th Fireworks entertained most of the city and surrounding river-front districts. River Construction also provided attendees with side-enjoyment.

This is a great place to dine with friends. Two hundred and one Pittsburgh restaurants have national reviews. Friends, Relatives, and District Groups had no trouble finding a nice place for their annual get-to-gether. Lunch & Dinner were again offered to attendees in the Exhibit Hall. Children & Youth were often seen going to activities. Tuesday evening is the traditional evening for the Children's Choir to perform. After singing, the Children presented Moderator Replogle with a Special Quilt that had been uniquely signed by each child with their painted hand. Presenting evening worshippers with a nice range of music was the Adult Choir. The Message Board held many notes, and the Prayer Board had a few requests. This year a new face gave official announcements. Chris Douglas assumed responsibilities as the new Conference Director in September 2009, from the retiring Lerry Fogle who had served Conferences 2003-2009. Standing Committee member John Shelly found time to have some fun.


A total of 63 sessions gave attendees a wide range of topics and interests from which to choose. Many attended the Special Response Committee hearing since this item of business was a major topic of concern. During this same time frame, Youth Activities gave younger Brethren a chance to similarly grow, learn, and interact.


The very low ceiling of the San Diego 2009 exhibit hall returned to the customary High Ceiling of most Conferences (2008 2006). The 2010 Exhibit Hall represented a wide array of Brethren concerns and interests. Spacious walkways and unused areas provided ample room for the traditional Brethren game of Four Square and the new innovation of Nine Square. While youth waited for the Sunday evening July 4th fireworks display, Four Square was enjoyed on the roof top walkway of the Center.


2010 Conference Officers were Moderator Shawn Flory Replogle, Co-Pastor of the First Church of the Brethren, McPherson, Kansas; Moderator-elect Robert E. Alley, pastor of the Bridgewater Church of the Brethren in Bridgewater, Virginia; and Secretary Fred Swartz. Moderator Replogle drew attention to the captioning that appears at the bottom of the large screens, to inform delegates that this service was actually being done by a firm in his native state of Kansas. Everyone laughed when the captioneer responded by stating that they were actually located in Topeka. He replied by saying: “That's where my taxes go.”





No Ice Cream


“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