300th Anniversary Conference Begins Saturday in Richmond, Virginia

“Celebrating the Church of the Brethren’s 300th Anniversary in 2008″

(July 7, 2008) — A special conference celebrating the 300th Anniversary of the Church of the Brethren and of the Brethren Church begins in Richmond, Va., on Saturday, July 12. The conference continues through Wednesday, July 16. Pre-Conference meetings begin on Wednesday, July 9.

Online coverage of the Conference will be available at http://www.brethren.org/, beginning on Friday, July 11, and continuing through Wednesday, July 16. Click on the “Feature” box at http://www.brethren.org/.

This marks a historic occasion as the first joint annual meeting of the two Brethren denominations since a schism of the Brethren movement in the 1880s. The event also will be the Church of the Brethren’s 222nd recorded Annual Conference.

The conference will welcome Church of the Brethren members from across the US and Puerto Rico, international guests, and members of other Brethren groups. Up to 6,000 people are expected. Participants will include church members and families, pastors and delegates from congregations and church districts, and denominational officers and staff.

The Church of the Brethren and the Brethren Church both stem from the Brethren movement that began in 1708 in the village of Schwarzenau, Germany, when the eight founders of the movement were baptized in the Eder River. A major Sunday morning worship event on July 13 will be a high point of the conference, as the Church of the Brethren and the Brethren Church join together officially in worship for the first time since the 1880s.

A “Service Blitz”–two days of service projects around Richmond–is planned for July 12 and 14. A Food Drive will be held to benefit the Central Virginia Food Bank. Organizers hope several hundred church members will participate as a way to “shower the Richmond community with loving acts of service.”

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The Church of the Brethren Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren General Board. Newsline stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source. To receive Newsline by e-mail go to http://listserver.emountain.net/mailman/listinfo/newsline. Submit news to the editor at cobnews@brethren.org. For more Church of the Brethren news and features, subscribe to “Messenger” magazine; call 800-323-8039 ext. 247.