2019 Greensboro, North Carolina 233rd
2019 Logo

The 233th Annual Conference (July 3 - July 7, 2019) of the Church of the Brethren was held in the Joseph S. Koury Convention Center/Sheraton Hotel, located at 3121 Gate City Blvd, Greensboro, NC 27407, which claims to be the largest “hotel/convention center” between Atlanta and Washington, D.C. The Convention Center offers over 250,000 square feet of meeting and event space, 100,000 square feet of pre-function and exhibition space, three major ballrooms that accommodates functions with up to 6,000 guests, plus 71 breakout rooms, and 14 board rooms. The entire complex includes wireless Internet access. The adjacent Sheraton Hotel is a member of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., and their Starwood Preferred Planner program is the largest reward and recognition program for meeting planners in the hotel industry. Across the parking lot was a Shopping Mall offering a variety of dining options in a food court that was frequented by Conference goers.

The Greensboro Sit-Ins began a series of nonviolent protests against racially segregated lunch counters beginning at the Woolworth department store at 132 South Elm Street in Greensboro. On February 1, 1960, four young black men sat down at the “white only lunch counter” of the Woolworth department store and asked for coffee. Known as the Greensboro Four, Joseph McNeil, David Richmond, Ezell Blair Jr., and Franklin McCain were denied service but refused to leave. This was not the first such sit-in but it became the most famous. In the coming days, hundreds of people joined them in similar protests at Raleigh, Winston-Salem, Durham, Charlotte, and out-of-state cities of Richmond, Virginia, and Nashville, Tennessee, and Lexington, Kentucky. The Woolworth store in Greensboro is now the International Civil Rights Center and Museum which preserves a section of the original lunch counter.

POINTS OF INTEREST:

An hour drive east of Greensboro is the well known Research Triangle Park, a private non-profit organization created in 1959 by state and local governments, nearby universities, and local businesses to provide a high-tech research and development complex. Over seven thousand acres provides a home for over two hundred companies who employ about 45,000 persons and engage over 9,000 contractors. IBM operates their second largest service center in the world. Simply known as “The Triangle” it is bordered by North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Duke University, and the cities of Raleigh, Durham, Cary, and Chapel Hill.

Just about an hour's drive northwest of Greensboro is Mt. Airy, the home town of Andy Griffith whose immensely successful television program by the same name aired from 1960 to 1968. TV Guide magazine ranked it the 9th best program in American television history. It never fell below seventh place in the Nielsen television ratings service and held a solid first place during its last year. None of the show was filmed in North Carolina. Desilu Studios was the setting for all of the interior scenes, and the exterior scenes filmed at the famous RKO Forty Acres in Culver City, California. Even the woodsy opening to the show was filmed at the Franklin Canyon reservoir north of Beverly Hills.

SPECIAL NOTES:

INSIGHT SESSIONS:

EXHIBITS:

OFFICERS:

UNFINISHED BUSINESS:

NEW BUSINESS:

  1. Delegates were seated around the usual discussion tables comprised of about seven or eights persons. One of which was a Table Facilitator whose task was to encourage conversation, guide discussion, seek opinions, moderate allotted time for each process, and invite another delegate to be a scribe that would record the activity.
  2. iPad networked input was a first this year. The Process Team enlisted the data collection services of CoVision, headquartered in Oakland, California. Representatives of CoVision were present to assist the Process Team and trouble-shoot technological difficulties at each table.
  3. Table Facilitators sent table discussion input to the Process Team who could view table input in real-time. Chair Rhonda Pittman Gingrich humorously remarked that responses from all the table iPads were flying past their own monitoring system so fast, that reading each response was like drinking from a firehose.
  4. Over the three day experience numerous Discussion Questions were announced by the Process Team and simultaneously displayed on screen for the delegates to share their own opinions and respond to those of others. The table facilitator would then summarize the discussion through the iPad.
  5. Quite often the Process Team would request Delegate Surveys. The iPad would be handed around the table to each delegate so that personal assessments of varied topics could be individually submitted.
  6. After an allotted time the Delegate Survey Results would be displayed for everyone. Reactions were varied. Some delegates felt the response percentages were closely aligned with their own, while others confided their surprise or disappointment with results.
  7. Overall reaction of the Delegates seemed to be positive. Several people voiced concerns that divisive issues will continue to plague the denomination regardless of the Compelling Vision outcome.

OTHER BUSINESS:

ADDITIONAL NOTES:

WORSHIP:

SERMONS:

ATTENDANCE:

Annual Conference 10 Year Attendance

“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

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