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Sending Your Congregation’s Delegate to Annual Conference

October 14, 2016

In 2017, the 231st recorded Church of the Brethren Annual Conference will be held in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  And once again congregations will be encouraged to send a delegate to come together for fellowship and to discern the business of the denomination.  For those who may be unaware, here is some information on sending a delegate from your congregation.
 
Why is it important for my congregation to send a delegate to Annual Conference?
Sending a delegate to Annual Conference is the only way to ensure your congregation has a say in decisions that affect the whole church. The Annual Conference delegate body is one of the most important–if not the highest–level of decision making in the Church of the Brethren. Each congregation may play a vital part in Annual Conference by sending a delegate or delegates. The number of delegates a congregation may send is relative to the number of members in the congregation.
 
Who can be a delegate and how many delegates does our congregation get?
Each congregation may choose who their delegate(s) may be, and all delegates must be full members of the Church of the Brethren. The pastor of a congregation is not automatically a delegate.
 
The number of delegates allowed per congregation is based on its membership statistics as reported in the Church of the Brethren Yearbook for the previous year. The number allowed is as follows:
                1 – 200 members             1 delegate
                201 – 400 members         2 delegates
                401 – 600 members         3 delegates
                601 – 800 members         4 delegates
                801+ members                  5 delegates
 
What do delegates and their congregations get from Annual Conference?
Delegates benefit personally from the opportunities for spiritual renewal, continuing education, and faith formation. Their congregations benefit from the spiritual growth that their church leadership may bring back and share with the church. In addition to business sessions, each Conference features daily worship services, Bible studies, insight sessions on a wide variety of topics, support groups, meal events, an exhibit hall with booths and many free resources, a Brethren Press bookstore, and much more. All of these are open to every Conference attendee. Every congregation that sends a delegate will also receive a copy of that year’s Annual Conference minutes.
 
To take full advantage of sending a delegate, a congregation should make time for that person to report back following the Conference, so that they can share the experience with the whole congregation.
 
Delegate registration for Grand Rapids will open online on Wednesday, March 1, 2017.  The registration fee for each delegate is $285.  For more information about how to send a delegate to Annual Conference, contact the Conference Office by email at annualconference@brethren.org, or call 800-323-8039 ext. 365.

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