On September 10th the Central Allegheny Region of the Covenant Brethren Church had its first regional conference at the Tearcoat Covenant Brethren Church near Augusta, WV. The 20 churches of the region were well represented along with some visitors from churches considering the process of transitioning to the CBC. The day began with coffee, donuts, and fellowship in the church basement followed by the registration of delegates. Many people looked at and purchased the new Central Allegheny Region merchandise that was available.
Local pastor Tom Rowan welcomed us to the Tearcoat church and expressed excitement at being the host church for the historic first regional conference of the Central Allegheny Region.
Brother Grover Duling updated us on the happenings in the region and the denomination at large; indicating more churches are preparing to join the CBC. He led the conference through a well-planed meeting. This included a prayer by Joe Brown from Region 3 asking God’s blessing over the Central Allegheny Region’s mission project of sending Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes. Brother Joe asked the group to extend their hands toward the boxes as he led in prayer.
After a wonderful time of worship Brother Craig Howard addressed the conference since a moderator had yet to be elected. He preached on the theme verse, Isaiah 43:18-19 with the theme of the conference being Streams in the Wasteland. A wonderful spirit of praise and excitement was present at the beginning of the conference which set the tone for the rest of the day.
Finally, we moved to the business of the day which included reports by all the team leaders who are shown in the photo below. The business included the adoption of our constitution and by-laws, the affirmation of the executive board and teams currently in place with a provision for term rotation, and the acceptance of a soft budget for the coming year. Delegates also elected Mike Bernard as the Moderator for 2023 and Phil Matthews as the Moderator Elect.
Scott Kinnick from the Southern Region brought us up to date on all the things taking place in our sister CBC churches in Africa. He suggested how we can respond to the educational needs of children in those churches and to the need for food. Food shortages have resulted from attacks by insurgents which have seriously hurt the families of our sister churches. Crops and buildings have been destroyed. Although the fighting has come to an end, there is a desperate need for food. Money has been sent by the CBC and by the Central Allegheny Region to buy food to feed the people of our church family there, but the need continues.
After lunch we were treated to a message by our keynote speaker, Jim Myer, who challenged us again from Isaiah 43 to move forward and not look back. We should take advantage of the streams in the desert God is providing. The challenge came with typical Jim Myer humor and power. Jim left us with the desire to see how far our Central Allegheny Region can go, and convinced us that God is at work in our midst.
Following Brother Jim’s message we enjoyed a time of prayer led by Joe Brown from Region 3. He took us to the fellowship hall and directed us to pray in groups for several topics including church and political leaders, additional mission opportunities, and many other needs within our denomination. This was a memorable time for all who participated. Everyone present was able to have a part in prayer within their group.
To cover every aspect of the conference in this article would take more space than we have available. We benefited from special music, wonderful worship leaders, gracious conference planners, and received additional information about upcoming events. It was a time of blessing and encouragement for everyone present. We finished with the dedication and installation of our newly elected and affirmed officers. The conference closed with the passing of the gavel. We look forward to all that God has in store for the Central Allegheny Region and the Covenant Brethren Church.