District Conference

District Conference 2023 is Saturday, October 14, 2023 at Hollidaysburg Church of the Brethren. Morgan Knepp will serve as District Moderator and Gabe Imler is Moderator-designate.

Moderator: Mike Benner

Moderator-Designate: Morgan Knepp

Be of one heart with Jesus.

“One heart with Jesus” is not an individual devotional ideal but a community calling. This is a synthesis from Philippians 2:2 and John 17. In Philippians 2:2 Paul is urging us to, “be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.” I would paraphrase this, “be of one heart with Jesus.” John 17 simply expresses in Jesus’ prayer, that we may all be one.

District Conference Wrap up

Be of One Heart With Jesus

District Conference opened with a worship service under the big tent at Camp Blue Diamond with 68 attending in person and 7 via Zoom. Mike Benner, District Moderator, united us in worship with times of Sharing our Joys and Sharing our Yearnings. Recognizing that we are a broken church and how do we find ways to continue to believe in a God who gathers, protects and cares for the church. Protecting the unity of the church with our words, thoughts and deeds.

Saturday began with Heritage Fair and following the auction, Mike moved us into the District Conference Business Session.

District Executive David Banaszak gave a brief overview of his report that was presented in the conference booklet. David reviewed the situation of the Middle Pa Churches during the last few years due to COVID. David used the analogy of the Wizard of Oz and the turmoil felt by Dorothy and Toto to how churches and members are feeling now as we emerge from the time of COVID. He also discussed how some churches have changed their connection with the Middle PA Church of the Brethren and the denomination. Should churches wish to remove their connection there is a plan in place for that church to follow to be disconnected from the denomination. There is also a major decrease in the availability of qualified pastors and a great need for pastors to fill pulpits. However, there is training available for those who might be interested in getting involved in ministry. David reviewed some of the ways that churches are connected to one another and specific outreach programs happening within our district. He thanked the churches and specifically the attendees there today for their service to their communities. Reaffirmed the theme of conference and thanked Mike Benner for choosing it – Be of One Heart with Jesus. We are connected with one heart as we serve throughout the district together.

The Coordinating Team presented a skit to share how the gifts from churches are being used. The Mission Plan Budget was approved $240,963.

Jesus in the Neighborhood Stories were shared. Mia Beckel shared how the youth at Hollidaysburg COB are taking Jesus into the neighborhood. They did a variety of workcamp days in their surrounding communities. Sondra Berkstresser from Tyrone COB shared about a new program they are doing called Sharing the Savior Ministries and how they are taking Jesus to their community in the Tyrone area. Letting all know that they are still doing church on the corner in Tyrone.

David Flumerfelt, Chaplain at Prince Gallitzin shared about the park ministry and how he continues to provide ministry in the park during the summer.

David Meadows shared on behalf of Juniata College. David shared goals of the college and connections they have with students. He shared a personal story about his son attending Juniata and his experiences.

Loyce Borgmann from Eder Financial shared about the name change and how they continue to provide services for pastors and congregations.

Traci Rabenstein shared on behalf of the Church of the Brethren and the appreciation of our churches connection with the denomination at large. She shared a snapshot of the various activities that occurred during this past year.

Moderator Mike transitioned the meeting over to Brian Bert and Babs Detwiler to conduct the Camp Blue Diamond Meeting. Babs shared about how transition has been going with Brian coming on as director and Gabe Imler as program director. Gabe shared about summer camp and Brian gave updates on the capital campaign. Delegates were reminded of the rental facilities that can be used by churches for outdoor worship and overnight retreats. Mike closed the Camp Meeting with prayer.

Donna Rhodes shared of the ministries for Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center. Donna shared the theme for 2023, “God Calls Ordinary People”. Alan Painter completed ACTS and was given a certificate. Craig Gandy congratulated David Crumrine for his completion of the TRIM Program.

Loren Rhodes who serves as Standing Committee Delegate shared of the need to submit names to the nominating committee so that persons from Middle PA District can be represented on the ballot.

Bruce Maxwell, chaplain for Trucker Traveler Ministry shared about how he has been reaching people in Breezewood. Many local organizations help support the ministry with fundraiser events to reach and serve the travelers.

Corey Jones shared about the “Million Letters of Hope” they are doing to provide letters for residents and also raise funds for those who need assistance. The Village continues to serve and protect residents despite the tighter budget constraints.

Morgan Knepp was consecrated as the 2023 Moderator and Gabe Imler as Moderator Designate. A meal was provided following the close of conference and many stayed to fellowship with one another.

The 2023 District Conference will be held on Saturday, October 14, 2023 at Hollidaysburg Church of the Brethren.

Conference Delegates: 107 and Non-delegates: 30

Pennies For Witness Offering: $3,666.37

Ukraine Offering: $4,153.00

Outreach Offering: $1,046.00 ($523.00 was given to each Petersburg Volunteer Fire Company & Twin Creeks Ambulance Service) We also collected 4 cases of water, 4 cases of Gatorade, and 25 boxes of snacks.

Presentation of the Slate:

Moderator Designate: Gabe Imler (Hollidaysburg)

Gifts Discernment Team-Area 1: Eric Fether (Tyrone)

Gifts Discernment Team-Area 2: James Caporuscio (Clover Creek) – CORRECTION BELOW

Gifts Discernment Team-Area 3: Rex Knepp (Everett)

Gifts Discernment Team-Area 4: Nancy Rogers (Rockhill)

Program & Arrangements: Tara Yorke (Stone)

Program & Arrangements: Rodney Ritchey (YC/Everett)

Audit Committee: LouAnn Hileman (Clover Creek)

Coordinating Team Area 1: Mark Liller (Hollidaysburg)

Coordinating Team Area 3: Susan Parish (Black Valley)

Coordinating Team Area S: Tyson Daniels (State College UBBC)Standing Committee: Rebecca Miller Zeek (Bedford)

One correction of the presented slate – James Caporuscio from Area 2 was called to serve on the Ministry Coordinating Team not Gifts Discernment. The slate was affirmed and passed as presented with the one correction.

Congregational Ministry Coordinating Team recommends the appointment of Rich Allison, Lower Claar Church of the Brethren, as District Treasurer for 2023. Affirmed and passed as presented.