September 9, 2023 was a blessed time for the members of the Covenant Brethren Church’s Central Allegheny Region (CAR). Ninety-seven people from twenty-two churches came together at the Maple Spring Covenant Brethren Church in Eglon, WV for worship, fellowship and business. Vendors were present, offering everything from business cards to clothing. The fellowship was filled with joy. The food provided by the host church for lunch was delicious, and the worship was spirit-filled.

Maple Spring kitchen and staff

Danny Durst making a report

The day started with registration, a delicious breakfast provided by Brookside Church and an inspiring piano concert by Seth Matthews which called the attendees together.

The conference theme was “Walking by Faith.”

Moderator Mike Bernard officially called the meeting to order and opened with prayer after which he turned the meeting over to Randy Shoemaker who led in worship music that was truly uplifting. Mike brought the moderator’s address reminding everyone that “Walking by Faith” and trusting God’s character is our call.

Conference worship at Maple Spring Covenant Brethren Church

Two churches from the region were highlighted. Asher Glade and Brake both gave reports on what has been happening in their churches over the past year and of the unique events which have been successful for them.

Next, we moved into the board reports. We were all impressed with the work the Regional Board and Regional Ministry Teams have been doing. The financial reports showed that the region doing well generally and is offering significant support to missions. Teams reported on events that have been completed or are in the planning stage. They spanned everything from a regional picnic, a pulpit exchange, a call to ministry teams going to churches, and calling people to the set-apart ministry.

We received reports from the Mission Team, the Publications Team, the Regional Conference Planning Team, the Ministry Growth and Spiritual Development Team, the Congregational Life/Camp Planning and Promotions Team, the Stewardship Team, the Humanitarian Relief Team, the Prayer Team, the Ministerial Leadership Team and the Regional Polity and Policy Team.

Each team had been busy with programing which has been very successful in moving CAR forward. One of the particularly exciting reports was from the Mission Team that has been actively supporting short term mission programing within the region and beyond.

Very encouraging was the report from the Ministerial Leadership Team which has been directing the call to ministry program. They already have several people waiting to enter the ministerial training program.

We moved on to approve our budget for the year and to elect Mark Jones as our Moderator-elect. After that we enjoyed more singing and worship before going to a great lunch and time to look at all that the venders had on display.

After lunch, George Bowers from the Antioch Covenant Brethren Church, was introduced as our guest speaker. What a challenging, spirit filled message! Everyone in the room was touched but the power of the spirit at work through this faithful messenger.

Brother George Bowers, Antioch CBC

Rodney Durst as Peter

The day ended with three powerful events. First, David Ziler, the director of the local Union Rescue Mission came and powerfully challenged the group to trust God with what he has given us and put it to his use. He was followed by Rodney Durst who performed one act of a play he had written about the life of Peter. It included music that he wrote and carried a moving message.

Next all of the board members, team members and Moderator elect came forward for an installation service with the congregation of delegates unanimously voting to offer them their support and encouragement. Moderator Mike Bernard prayed God’s blessing over them all.

The conference ended with Mike passing the gavel on to Phil Matthews the new moderator, who closed the conference and dismissed the body. As people left the conference, faces were smiling and everyone was looking forward to our next regional event.

Respectfully submitted – Craig Howard – Publications Committee