I was just thinking…

Published on Aug 2nd, 2017 by wpd-office | 0
I was just thinking...

This weekend, I am almost sure that there was a glow of holiness around everyone as they attended the Western Plains District Conference!  And why not?!  That was the theme of the conference, ably moderated by Jon Tuttle.  The theme was “Worship God in the Beauty of His Holiness” and was taken from Psalm 91:9a.  There were 46 delegates from the different churches, and they began meeting in the sanctuary of the McPherson Church of the Brethren on Friday afternoon.


Prior to their meeting, several pre-conference events took place.  These events were:  District Conference Planning Committee, Area Ministers Meeting, Transformation Vision Team Meeting, and the Pastor/Leader Training Meetings on Discernment.  These last meetings met in the church basement, and were led by Connie Burkholder.  She presented material on Thursday evening and Friday morning.  Her focus was doing the work that it takes to discern and make good decisions, as opposed to decisions that we might later regret.


The conference proper began on Friday afternoon with a hospitality time in the church basement, and a chance to look at the items brought for auction at the Projects Unlimited Auction.  Then the first business session began with the roll call, minutes of the last meeting, delegate commissioning, and presentation from the Gifts Discernment Team on those called to leadership, the Stewards Team on the budget for 2018, and from the Parliamentary Committee on their constitution and bylaws which they developed.  All of these were to be addressed in the next day’s business.  Finally, after a welcome by President Michael Schneider of McPherson College, who told us about the fine standing and great plans of the College, the group was sent off to dinner.


The Pastor/Guest Meal, provided by the College, met in Mingenback Auditorium.  They were treated to a talk by Professor Kirk MacGregor, on “the Reality of the Soul.”  This was a lively presentation, as well as a thought-provoking one!  Worship followed, led by Pastor Jane Flora Swick and with Pastor Jon Tuttle preaching on “Holiness.”  And then the group had ice cream, courtesy of the Cedars!!


Saturday began with the Women’s Breakfast in Mingenback Auditorium, and Pastor Jane Flora-Swick was our very fine speaker, talking especially about the Song of Songs in the Bible as it was a love song about Jesus and us!  Insight sessions with Matt Christian, the Shalom Team, Becky Tuttle, and the Parliamentary Committee followed–all well presented.  The second business session followed, with action on the affirmation of leadership, and denominational report.  The business sessions had moved to Mingenback Auditorium.  After lunch, Milestones in Ministry were celebrated, with special recognition of Bob Sifrit for 55 years of service, and Jack Melhorn for 75 years of service.  Kendra Flory was also recognized for her 7 1/2 years of service to the District.  This was followed by action on the budget, action on the sale of the Washington Church property and cemetery, hearing the reports of the various teams, by the Standing Committee delegate, and the report of the District Executive Minister.  She especially urged the district to get out of their church pews and speak to people about what the church can and should offer them. In between this, the delegates had time to enjoy and find out about the displays in Friendship Hall.  The gavel was passed from Jon Tuttle to Jane Flora Swick, and thus the business of the conference concluded


Saturday night saw David Steel, our General Secretary, address the Mission and Service Dinner on the various mission points of the Church of the Brethren that are being opened.  Becky Tuttle led the church in worship with her beautiful voice and her thoughts.  Then came time for the Projects Unlimited Auction.  Despite having somewhat fewer items this year, $5500 dollars still were raised for the various entities named.  After a long, tiring, and yet fulfilling day, the delegates retired, so they could come back for the Sunday Worship.  Mark Lancaster led the Sunday school hour with a reading from Psalm 91, used in lectio divina reading style, asking what God was saying to us and what we would like to say to God. The morning concluded with a rousing worship at the McPherson Church of the Brethren with preaching by Tom Harrison of Eden Valley.  Following the service, the new Moderator, Jane Flora Swick, and the new Moderator-Elect, Keith Funk, were consecrated, as were all the members of the new Leadership Team.  All those moments were holy, filled with the presence of God and calling all the people of the church and of the conference to greater holiness in their living and serving God!!



Submitted with grace and peace and love,

Sonja Griffith, District Executive Minister



Comments are closed.