The second Annual Meeting and Worship Conference of the Covenant Brethren Church (CBC) was held at the Fairmont State University, Fairmont, West Virginia on July 1 & 2, 2022. The first conference was held in October 2020 where the official launch of this new Brethren denomination took place. Last year’s conference was cancelled because of the pandemic.
FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS, taken from Esther 4:14, was the theme of the conference. Brother George Bowers from the Antioch CBC in Virginia gave a powerful keynote address and repeatedly asked the attendees, “What will you do?” With the impending destruction of her Jewish people looming near, Esther went before the king in a high-risk fashion and accomplished a miraculous deliverance. Throughout the conference the many opportunities we have to “step up to the plate” and be counted for Jesus were emphasized. We can’t be passive as the world crumbles around us. This was also the focus in one of the pre-conference meetings conducted by George Bowers and Jim Nolt, two of the Executive Board members.
The conference was attended by about 270 people. They came from the 71 congregations and the more than 6,000 members who now are an official part of the CBC denomination. There are about 115 ordained and licensed ministers who are the spiritual leaders within CBC. George Bowers and John Swonger were elected to full terms on the CBC Executive Board. Jim Myer was elected to fill the unexpired term of Eric Brubaker who had resigned previously because of his increased local church responsibilities.
Two offerings brought in over $20,000.00 to support the ongoing financial needs of the denomination. A rather simple financial plan has thus far adequately provided sufficient funds for this largely volunteer run Christian denomination. It was suggested that CBC congregations and individuals who are not part of a CBC congregation consider sending in an offering at the beginning of each quarter. The Executive Board determined at the beginning of the CBC’s existence that a tithe of all monies received will be set aside to support outreach mission efforts. Monies can also be designated for missions, and all of that will go into the mission fund. Contributions for support of the denomination and for its mission outreach may be sent to the treasurer, Fred Shank, 4955 Thomas Spring Road, Bridgewater, VA 22812.
Representatives from Samaritan’s Purse and the Ministry of Jesus in Togo, Africa, gave stirring reports of how they are ministering to people in material and spiritual ways. Both organizations actively and clearly present the gospel, and many people receive Christ as a result. These efforts are meant to keep mission outreach as “front and center points of emphasis” to keep this young church body focused on the primary mission of the church. Executive Board member Scott Kinnick gave a report on his recent trip to Africa where he met with some leaders of some CBC churches in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
It was clearly stated from the platform that CBC leadership does not go after people to join CBC. When people call CBC then we will talk and help with the process of becoming part of CBC. There were several comments about the steady and amazing growth of the CBC organization and membership. A lot has happened in a short period of time. This conference marked three years to the month when a group of about 50 people gathered in Chambersburg, PA to explore what to do in light of so many distressing things going on around us. Out of that meeting, momentum began to develop and God’s leading has been evident in many ways.
Is there a simple answer as to why all this happened? It is all about the Bible. Do we believe its “just as it reads” message? Or, can we “pick and choose” what we will live by? In our humblest way, CBC aims to take the whole Bible and put it into “shoe leather” and live it out in daily life. This is done with a high respect for our Brethren roots and the rich heritage that brings. A moment of appreciation was expressed and a round of applause was given to Grover Duling for the way he has given unwavering dedication to help guide and lead this young church. This conference had a strong emphasis on worship. Devotionals, prayer, and spirited singing were a major part of this gathering. Keep tuned for plans for us to gather again next year. TO GOD BE THE GLORY. GREAT THINGS HE HATH DONE.
Jim Myer, CBC Executive Board member