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Stories of Brethren stewards * May 21, 2015

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AC-staff&e-boat 2015
Annual Conference staff Debbie Noffsinger, Chris Douglas,
and Jon Kobel standing by an E-boat in Tampa.

Photo by Jane Godfrey

An interview with the Annual Conference Office

What excites you about Tampa?

Chris Douglas: It’s one of the most beautiful places we’ve had Annual Conference because it’s surrounded by palm trees and water.

Jon Kobel: It’s a great vacation spot. People can bring their families and enjoy fishing excursions or riding paddle boats or E-boats.

Debbie Noffsinger: We should have sunshine and warmth for at least part of Annual Conference. Also, dolphins have been spotted right outside the convention center.

Is there anything special about the hotels or conference center?

Chris: The convention center is smaller than in past years, so we’ll fill the whole building and it will be an intimate gathering. It will also be easier to get around the convention center.

Jon: For hotels, these are the lowest rates we’ve had in nine years, and they are available up to three days after Conference.

What are the must-see sights and attractions in Tampa?

Chris: My favorite is the Henry B. Plant Museum that was built in 1890 and has been beautifully restored. It’s gorgeous and you can learn a lot about the culture of that time.

Register for Annual Conference today at .
Jon: We’re selling tickets for dolphin tours, which are really neat. You can also enjoy a stroll on the river walk or ride a street car (for half price with your Conference badge) to the historic Ybor City.

Debbie: There’s also the aquarium, children’s museum, and the history center close to the convention center. We highlighted other options in our recent e-mail blast too.

What restaurants would you recommend?

Jon: You can’t talk about Tampa without mentioning the Columbia Restaurant. It has wonderful, authentic Cuban food, and traditional flamenco dancing may be seen in the evening. I also recommend the Oxford Exchange. It’s the coolest eclectic restaurant with interesting food, a tea emporium, and a coffee center.

Chris: There’s also a place called Channelside (just a five-minute walk away) that has several restaurants. There’s Mexican food, Thai food, and my favorite pizza place.

Is anything unique about this year’s gathering?

Chris: Sunday evening will feature biblical storytelling and music by Ken Medema and Ted & Co.

Jon: The Sunday insight sessions will specifically focus on equipping people with tools to enrich their own lives and serve their churches.

Online registration for Annual Conference closes June 10. Learn more or register today at .


Pentecost prayer

“Spirit of Life,
come to us now,
with full assurance of
your mercy and love.
Descend on every heart
and fill us with your light.

This prayer was written by
Paula Bowser for the
Pentecost offering on May 24.
Find worship resources
or give today at

“That's the thing about grace
it often arrives when we least expect it,
and when we feel we least deserve it.”

—Randy Miller in “Unexpected grace,"
in the May issue of
Messenger  magazine.



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June 4

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