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July 17, 2014

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Three new fellowships welcomed by 2014 Annual Conference
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Vitally connected

Annual Conference giving

Wherever Brethren are


VMJ flyer
Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford

VMJ13 group2
“We gather to read scripture,
share our insights, and pray.”
Photo by Stan Dueck 

Vitally connected
By Chris Bowman, pastor of the Oakton Church of the Brethren (Vienna, Va.).

One of the best things about the Vital Ministry Journey is that it is not about the minister—it's about the church and our journey together as this “fellowship of Jesus-followers.”

This kind of gathering is not new. Reading the Oakton Church minutes for 1903—1913 we see this kind of vital ministry journey was part of every church council meeting (though by a different name). Every three months the whole church would gather, share, and identify the needs in their community. Then someone would “admonish the Brethren,” which meant “to encourage” or “urge forward.”

In the same way, this year we met together to hone and sharpen individual gifts even as we knit them closer together through the ministries of the body of Christ. This is what a vital congregation is—continually connecting people to their ministry purpose.

For too long church leadership has said, “We professionals can do it; you can help.” The emerging church is different. Instead we should be saying, “If your minister is the one doing your Vital Ministry Journey, you’re doing it wrong.” Thus, at Oakton Church, VMJ is laity led. This is the best way we have found to inspire a meaningful experience.

Ministry is the calling of every Jesus-follower. Our baptism is our ordination. Our personal giftedness shared in community is our training. Wherever God sends us is our “mission field” as God calls us to do our part in the unfolding Kingdom of Heaven. To stay alive, empowered, vital, and connected to God, we gather to read scripture, share our insights, and pray.

Visit to learn about the Vital Ministry Journey. Support the ministries of the Church of the Brethren that produce resources for congregations at .

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Diapers, hygiene kits, and socks given for the Witness to the Host City service project.
Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford

Annual Conference giving

The ministries of the Church of the Brethren
are possible 
only through your many gifts of
time, talent, prayer, and finances. At Annual Conference, our efforts joined together

and served as a great example of how we
are more together than we are apart.

Together we gave:

  • $17,176.47 to Annual Conference offerings.

  • $1,140 additional online.

  • $18,689.68 to the special offering for
    the Core Ministries of the church.

  • 20,875 diapers, 1,750 hygiene kits, and
    too many socks to count to the
    YMCA/YWCA shelter of Columbus for the
    Witness to the Host City service project.

  • If you were not able to give
    at Annual Conference, you can still support
    the ministries of the Church of the Brethren
    today at .

    Thank you for giving generously!

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    June 14 Messenger
    View the digital version free at

    “Wherever Brethren are, they look for people whom they can serve. That’s in our DNA. Local congregations are deeply generous and committed to service—not just in terms of hospitality, but also in the ways they serve each other and their communities. There is a great sense of service and generosity, all done with a humble spirit.”

    —Nancy Heishman in “What's up with
    the Brethren?” in the June edition
    Messenger magazine

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    Watch for our next issue on July 31, 2014.

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    eBrethren: Stories of Brethren Stewards, is produced every other week by the Church of the Brethren donor communications team.

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