Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Church of the Brethren Annual Conference 2013.

Our Church of the Brethren Annual Conference was the impelling force for our journey to Charlotte, NC the 28th of June. Lib and I were in better health than we had been in a number of years and we are adventurous souls! We left our home in Midlothian around 10:30 and using reliable GPS arrived in Charlotte around 3:30. Our GPS took us to the Hilton downtown where we had registered, but to new comers it can be a daunting task to discover the entrance to the registration area. Eventually we were able to park our car, register, and ascend to the 8th floor and our very nice room.

Next we walked over to the Charlotte Convention Center just a block across from the hotel. We noted with some interest that the light rail system had a station  at the hotel's back entrance and that it went right through the convention center. When we entered the center we soon met friends who helped us register and orient ourselves to the huge building. All the eating places in the food court were closed and we were steered to a pizza place across from the center. Both of us had done a lot more walking just that afternoon than we had for some time.  Returning from supper we found the huge auditorium where the conference would meet.

Saturday after lunch there was our initial rehearsal and later a first convening worship service. I was part of a small instrumental ensemble consisting of a violin, an Eb saxophone, two trombones, guitar, and percussion.
Our pianist was Terry Murray a cousin by marriage. Our fine organist was also had connections to the Roanoke area churches. Our function was to accompany the congregational singing led by Carol Elmore.
She was our music director and helped unite us through music when sometimes dialogue failed. There were several early morning rehearsals at 7:00 AM. Lib had a woozy faint occurrence at the second  early rehearsal requiring some on the spot ER evaluation. After a little more to eat and drinking a lot of water she felt better.

Between meetings we visited with friends, perused the items in the large Brethren display and attended a Bridgewater College Alummni lunch. Had a nice chat with a professor Ulrich who had taught physics while I was a student there in the late 50's. No, I didn't take physics! He remembered colleagues for whom Lib had been a typing secretary. Tyler Goss from our small West Richmond Chuch of the Brethren received one of two top awards for leadership  to youth, the church, and the college.
Several times we enjoyed breakfast in the Hilton's buffet. The food was tasty and there was ample from which to select. One supper we had with Oak Grove friends at the other nearby hotel and a last supper they
shared with us at the Hilton.

Our denomination, though somewhat battered by controversy the past years appeared to be bandaging up its wounds and working toward conciliation. After all we are "The Church of the Brethren" and brethren should
work toward conciliation as that is at the heart of what we are about.

Around noon on Wednesday we left Charlotte and headed for Sevierville, TN where we hoped to see the Smokeys and do some shopping.
Our room in the Hilton

Downtown Hilton

Lib at breakfast

Inside light rail car.

Entrance to Charlotte Convention Center

Children learning a "share" lesson

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