2020 Grand Rapids, Michigan (234th)
2020 Logo

The 234th Annual Conference (July 1 - July 5, 2020) of the Church of the Brethren was CANCELLED due to the pandemic coronavirus, but WOULD HAVE BEEN HELD in DeVos Place, located at 303 Monroe Avenue, NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503. The conference center features a 162,000 Square Foot column free space for conventions or exhibits, comprised of a 40,000 square foot ballroom, 26 sub-dividable meeting rooms (32,000 square feet), and a 2,404 seat performing arts theater. DeVos Place is also home to the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra and the Grand Rapids Ballet Company. Michigan is the eleventh largest state and the eighth most populated. Education is a premium in Michigan, offering 22 colleges and 29 universities. Grand Rapids is the second largest city in Michigan, and a three time All-American City. It gets its name from the Grand River which is the states largest inland river. Before roads and railroads provided faster travel, the 225 navigable miles of the Grand River served as a major transportation route. The city was built next to a large rapids (thus its name), much of which has disappeared from the installation of a low-head dam and fish ladder. The current rapids is actually a series of Smaller Ripples.


This year is the first cancellation of Annual Conference in 233 years of recorded meetings, due to the coronavirus officially labeled COVID-19. What began as a local medical issue in a Huanan seafood market in Wuhan China, gradually became a worldwide pandemic, infecting over 16 million people and killing over 650,000 (Johns Hopkins University, July, 2020) . No other issue has prevented the yearly assembling of Brethren to worship and fellowship, not World Wars I and II, or the Great Depression, nor even during the Civil War years. Several online virtual events have provided Brethren with the opportunity to continue seeking God's will during these troubled times. Videoconferencing software developed by Zoom Video Communications became a frequent tool for Brethren to meet and conduct business.




Over the past three decades, the Church of the Brethren has witnessed an escalating social and theological division, largely concerning the issue of homosexuality. This includes licensing and ordination of homosexuals, and pastors who marry same-sex couples. Many congregations have departed from the Church of the Brethren. Legal action has been taken by some districts against a few congregations. Other districts have established guidelines for reconciliation or departure. Following is a brief history of Annual Conference business leading up to the Compelling Vision.


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