Running a denomination, even a young, small one, takes hours of diligent work. Those you have called to serve on the Executive Board have been working hard to be faithful to the call you have placed upon them. They have been excited to see all the work that is taking place within the denomination. To that end, the EC met on October 22 and 23 at the denominational headquarters in Fairmont, WV to address the work that still needs to be done as the denomination moves forward.
Each day the meeting began with devotions lead by Scott Kinnick and Jim Myer respectively. This involved vision casting and a challenge to move our eyes forward, away from being churches that have left the Church of the Brethren to being the Covenant Brethren Church. To this end, Jim Nolt was encouraged by the large number of people who have been visiting the CBC website. Larry Dentler suggested that in addition to the website, a color publication in print could be developed and sent to our churches.
Fred Shank reported that monies continue to come in for the support of CBC ministries and that we continue to set aside one tenth of every dollar given for missions. While money is coming in, it was also noted that there soon will be some major expenses on the horizon as the denomination continues to grow.
The Executive Board also addressed something that had not yet been addressed, namely, the terms of the board members. Since all of the members had been elected at the same time, terms had not yet been established. To determine the order of the terms the members “drew straws”. The outcome was as follows:
4 Year term starting in 2021 – Stafford Fredrick and Craig Alan Myers
4 Year term starting in 2020 – Grover Duling, Jim Nolt, Eric Brubaker
3 Year term starting in 2020 – Larry Dentler and Scott Kinnick
2 Year term starting in 2020 – George Bowers and Jim Myer
Officers were then elected for a one-year term to serve on the EC. They are:
Chair: Grover Duling
Vice Chair: Scott Kinnick
Secretary: Eric Brubaker
Treasurer: Fred Shank
Assistant Treasurer: Jerry Funkhouser
Two new regions are in development in the Central Allegheny and Western Pennsylvania areas. Several planning meetings have taken place and there is much excitement about the possibilities these two new regions offer. There is also a lot of interest in region formation being shown in other areas.
The Executive Board is trying to explore ways to offer churches in transition some legal guidance. There are some similarities in each state but the requirements of each state are also different. They are recommending that each church seek their own legal counsel to address all the elements of transitioning to CBC.
There were a number of churches and pastors presented to the Executive Board for acceptance into the Covenant Brethren Church. (The Pine Grove church’s covenant acceptance is pictured above.) It was an exciting time as these new CBC family members were accepted. One church that was approved was the Maranatha congregation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo! This church represents our first international member and with several other churches in that region of Africa also showing interest, they are sure not to be our last. Sadly, one church was refused because the pastor was unable to accept CBC’s statement of faith. The door remains open to them if things change in the future and they desire to reapply.
The Executive Board also spend a great deal of time working on the Ministerial Training Program. Much work has gone into developing this program. The struggle is to make it comprehensive enough to meet the need for training in ministry but not be so overbearing that it seems impossible for working men and women who may already be involved in ministry at some level. It was decided to develop a multilevel approach that would provide more flexibility to those entering. The multilevel approach may include a level for a minister in training, a licensed minister, an ordained minister, and an elder. More work will be done but it is recognized that there are already people waiting to participate in a training program and the need is urgent.
Matt Bernard was appointed as CBC’s “technical director” and he shared some new technical information available to us as we move forward and seek to stay as connected as possible.
Roy McVey brought the discussion around to the next Annual Meeting. The 2021 meeting had to be canceled due to covid, but July 1-2, 2022 was set as the new date for the next Annual Meeting to be held at Fairmont State University in Fairmont, WV.
Other reports were given by sub-committees focusing continuing good communication to the local churches and upcoming plans for national youth ministry, including the trip to Guatemala in June of 2022. There was also a report on the continued processing of ordination requests by pastors from around the country. Of course, each application is reviewed carefully and all applicants must agree to CBC’s statement of faith.
A plan was discussed to develop and print our own Covenant Brethren certificates and minister’s manual. The Ministerial Leadership Committee was tasked with putting this together. The manuals will be offered as replacements for the COB ministers manuals but not required. It is hoped that we will soon be able to offer membership, baptismal, baby dedication and other certificates specific to Covenant Brethren Church.
Other things were reviewed including stewardship, policy and polity, missions and outreach, and new members. Each sub-committee is working hard in their respective areas looking at things like evangelism and church planting, and a missions project through Operation Christmas Child, a ministry that has already been responsible for starting hundreds of new churches each year. The photo shows the first shoebox collection. The denomination is paying for some of the contents and shipping. The stewardship committee presented a preliminary budget that will be distributed to member churches so that they can stay abreast of the needs and spending of the denomination.
Lastly there was a lot of discussion about the way in which each COB district is addressing churches that are leaving. There is a wide variety of departure policies ranging from no cost to the local church to districts that are charging departing churches a hefty sum. In either case there are churches lining up to get information on the process of leaving the COB and joining Covenant Brethren Church.
The Executive Board meeting began with a lot of work to accomplish and they sought to do it with a spirit of love and cooperation, asking God to guide them all along the way. If you have any questions about any of this information you can contact Eric Brubaker, the executive Board secretary, for more detailed information from the minutes. You can email him at email@example.com.
Craig Howard – Publications and News Articles Committee Chair