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(revised Aug. 8, 2019)


2019 Disaster Auction & Sale Proceeds Announced

The financial books for the Shenandoah District Disaster Auction and Sale closed on July 31. A net total of $206,092.56 came in through donation and sales. Catherine Lantz noted this figure is down from 2018 due to less income from the auction and increased expenses.

She reported that $190,000 has been sent to the Emergency Disaster Fund in Elgin, Ill., and $15,330.77 was given to the local District Disaster Fund, bringing that total to $60,000 available for local needs.
On behalf of the Disaster Auction Coordinating Committee, Lantz extended a big "thank you" to all who contribute each year. Clearly, it takes many individuals to achieve this level of income and these proceeds are only possible because of the generosity of people who want to minister in practical ways to those who are experiencing disasters.

Annual Conference: The 'Compelling Vision' Process Continues

The 2019 Annual Conference held in Greensboro, N. C., concluded with a worship service on Sun., July 7, after three days spent focusing on questions ranging from "When you dream about the church of the future, what do you hope the manner of our living conveys at that time?" to "What have you heard during the visioning conversations that excites you or gives you hope about our future as the Church of the Brethren?"1 The majority of the business this year was conducted around tables where delegates discussed a series of questions like these in order to generate comments and insights to help identify a Compelling Vision for the denomination. The 'Compeling Vision' Processing Team has taken all of the input from these discussions and will be compiling and synthesizing comments over the next several weeks to articulate a 'Compelling Vision' statement for the denomination. Delegates to Annual Conference in 2020 will be entrusted with the responsibility of choosing to affirm the final 'Compelling Vision' statement or not. If affirmed, the vision will be "embodied by churches, districts and the denomination in the fall of 2020 and beyond."2
Moderator Donita Keister's opening remarks reflected on 2 Cor. 5:12-21 and she declared "The church of Jesus Christ is here to stay!" Likening the denomination to an ash tree that is under attack from the Emerald Ash Borer, she noted that what is under the skin of the tree is what causes its death, and in the same way, it is what lies under the 'skin' of our churches that causes damage to our fellowship and our witness to the world. Similar to interventions for ash trees, past treatments have also not worked well for the church. She noted, "We need the right treatment."
Keister observed that part of the right treatment is to be compelled by Christ's love for us and to be upheld by His transforming power. However, this will require humility.
Additionally, she emphasized the reconciliation process in finance requires that one know where they stand with the bank, know the way forward and enter the adjustments on the balance sheet. QuickBooks users in the audience immediately recognized the example she used for reconciliation of a bank statement. The software guides users to return to reconcile when things do not add up. Adjustments must be entered for a true balance to be achieved. In a similar manner, churches must return (persist) to reconcile (forgive), identify the adjustment that is needed and bring the account into balance. If these things are not taken care of the discrepancy will appear again on the computer screen, and by extension, in the conversations of our churches. There is a 'Help' button for bank statement reconciliations for a reason, and in the church, conflict is a reality, which causes the body of Christ to ask for His help.
Shenandoah District's own Jonathan Prater (Mt. Zion-Linville) led evening worship on Thursday, July 4. His message began with the story of a homeless man that did not want the preacher's money, but instead wanted Jesus. Prater posed the question, "How do you feel about those outside the scope of the church?" He demonstrated how Apostle Paul felt about the lost he knew from Romans 9:1-3. Paul was overcome with great sorrow and anguish, even wishing he could trade his own salvation for the salvation of his kinsman. Prater observed, "... when we disconnect people from the Gospel, we stop seeing the people and start seeing the condition." Remembering his own experience with someone who did not know Christ, Prater said, "There is no way I could have engaged this person in such a way if my driving force was anger and aggravation. I needed to feel the heart of God before I could deliver the message of God." 
In Romans 10:14-16, Prater noted there is a progression for reaching others: "Christ sends heralds; heralds preach; people hear; hearers believe..." Heralds need three things, an authority, a message and an audience, he observed. In Christ, there is authority and a message to bring to the audience, the world. While he was speaking, two women came onto the stage and washed each other's feet. Prater suggested the concept of feetwashing, which has traditionally symbolized humility, service and love, could also remind us that we are sending those whose feet we are washing into the world to take the Gospel message. The embrace shared after washing feet could be a form of sending: "Go friend into a world that needs you, needs a herald, needs a message, needs the Love of God- and preach."
The business session came to a close Saturday afternoon and Love Feast was held afterward for anyone who wished to participate. Hotel regulations precluded water be used in the basins for feetwashing, so moistened towelettes were used instead. A simple meal of a slice of bread, with packets of peanut butter, jelly and butter to spread on it, along with a container of applesauce and a bottle of milk to pass around the table was offered. Then the traditional grape juice and bread communion was shared. This was the first full Love Feast to be shared at Annual Conference in decades.
Next year's Annual Conference will be held in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Wednesday, July 1 through Sunday, July 5.
For more information, go to:
Shenandoah District Disaster Auction--Success!
2020 Auction Dates: May 15-16
The twenty-seventh annual Shenandoah District Disaster Auction and Sale concluded last Saturday, May 18. A hearty "Thank you" goes out to everyone who contributed or purchased items during the year. Reflecting on the event, Coordinating Committee Chariperson Catherine Lantz remarked, "It was a great weekend! We had a lot of good helpers and some very nice items to sell." Catherine also noted the increasing number of youth volunteers as one of the many highlights.

In addition to the dedicated volunteers and the quality of the auction and sale items, the weather was perfect, which in the Shenandoah Valley this year means it only rained for a little while. 

There were a few changes made in where things were located. The fast food was moved outside to a designated vending location, but that did not seem to deter hungry auction-goers. The move certainly made it easier for the coordinating committee to comply with stricter food safety regulations. Another move involved the plant sale, which was relocated to a nearby shelter, and business was booming there, too. Shoppers who have been to the plant sale in previous years were appreciative of having a concrete floor to walk on instead of the perennial mud carpeting to which they had become accustomed.

There were a few hiccups, though. Late in the day on Friday, there was a run on the oysters. This is only the second time the auction sold out of the magnificent mollusks before everyone had gotten through the line. 

There has not yet been a tally of the proceeds becaise the invoices and donations are still being received. Catherine estimates that the final total will likely be similar to last year's net, which was somewhere just north of $200,000. 

The generosity of donors, artisans, cooks, bakers, buyers and tireless volunteers helped to make the 2019 auction a great success. The fruit of all of this labor and generous giving is that teams may continue to go into areas devastated by disaster and share the good news of Christ through acts of service. That is what twelve months of planning and hard work is all about--sharing the love of Christ with those in desperate need. 

The June edition of The Shenandoah Journal will feature stories about two longtime auction supporters:  Flora Coffman and Ned Conklin. 
Direct questions about the Disaster Auction to Catherine Lantz at 
2019 Quilts
Quilts to be auctioned 5/18/19

District Forms

Blue Ribbon Committee

(Renamed District Discernment Team)

A Blue Ribbon Committee, whose formation was announced at the 2017 Shenandoah District Conference, has been organized and has begun its work. As planned, the 10-member committee will meet through 2018, focusing on ways our congregations can covenant anew to work together through divisions that threaten our unity as followers of Christ.

The committee is chaired by Jon Prater, pastor of the Mt. Zion/Linville Church of the Brethren and immediate past chair of the District Leadership Team. Joining him on the committee are Jonathan Brush (Lebanon), Heather Driver (Bridgewater), Hobert Harvey (Bethel/Mayland), Terry Jewell (Knights Chapel), LaDawn Knicely (Beaver Creek), David R. Miller (Montezuma), Carter Myers (Mill Creek), Nate Rittenhouse (New Hope) and Karen Shiflet (Mt. Bethel). The committee also will be served by three ex-officio members and three consultants.

Click here for the full description of the purpose, tasks and structure of the committee.

Click here for District Executive Minister John Jantzi's August pastor letter referenced in the previous document.

Click here for the minutes from the Committee's first meeting on Feb. 25, 2018.

Click here for minutes from the March 18, 2018, meeting.

Click here for minutes from the April 15, 2018, meeting.

Click here for minutes from the May 20, 2018, meeting.

Click here for the Discernment Team's report: "Congregational Withdrawal Process"

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