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2016 Greensboro, North Carolina 230th
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The 230th Annual Conference (June 29 - July 3, 2016) of the Church of the Brethren was held in the Joseph S. Koury Convention Center/Sheraton Hotel, located at 3121 Gate City Blvd, Greensboro, NC 27407, which claims to be the largest “hotel/convention center” between Atlanta and Washington, DC. The Convention Center offers over 250,000 square feet of meeting and event space, 100,000 square feet of pre-function and exhibition space, three major ballrooms that accommodates functions with up to 6,000 guests, plus 71 breakout rooms, and 14 board rooms. The entire complex includes wireless Internet access. The adjacent Sheraton Hotel is a member of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., and their Starwood Preferred Planner program is the largest reward and recognition program for meeting planners in the hotel industry. Across the parking lot was a Shopping Mall offering a variety of dining options in a food court that was frequented by Conference goers.

The Greensboro Sit-Ins began a series of nonviolent protests against racially segregated lunch counters beginning at the Woolworth department store at 132 South Elm Street in Greensboro. On February 1, 1960, four young black men sat down at the “white only lunch counter” of the Woolworth department store and asked for coffee. Known as the Greensboro Four, Joseph McNeil, David Richmond, Ezell Blair Jr., and Franklin McCain were denied service but refused to leave. This was not the first such sit-in but it became the most famous. In the coming days, hundreds of people joined them in similar protests at Raleigh, Winston-Salem, Durham, Charlotte, and out-of-state cities of Richmond, Virginia, and Nashville, Tennessee, and Lexington, Kentucky. The Woolworth store in Greensboro is now the International Civil Rights Center and Museum which preserves a section of the original lunch counter.

An hour drive east of Greensboro is the well known Research Triangle Park, a private non-profit organization created in 1959 by state and local governments, nearby universities, and local businesses to provide a high-tech research and development complex. Over seven thousand acres provides a home for over two hundred companies who employ about 45,000 persons and engage over 9,000 contractors. IBM operates their second largest service center in the world. Simply known as “The Triangle” it is bordered by North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Duke University, and the cities of Raleigh, Durham, Cary, and Chapel Hill.

Just about an hour's drive northwest of Greensboro is Mt. Airy, the home town of Andy Griffith whose immensely successful television program by the same name aired from 1960 to 1968. TV Guide magazine ranked it the 9th best program in American television history. It never fell below seventh place in the Nielsen television ratings service and held a solid first place during its last year. None of the show was filmed in North Carolina. Desilu Studios was the setting for all of the interior scenes, and the exterior scenes filmed at the famous RKO Forty Acres in Culver City, California. Even the woodsy opening to the show was filmed at the Franklin Canyon reservoir north of Beverly Hills.

HISTORICAL NOTES:

2015 Moderator David Steele will assume the responsibilities of the denominations General Secretary on September 1, 2016. He was introduced by Mission and Ministry Board chair Don Fitzkee during the Church of the Brethren report. The delegate body also expressed their gratitude to Interim General Secretary Dale Minnich, especially since his responsibilities broadened after the sudden death of Associate General Secretary Mary Jo Flory-Steury in March 2016. Duties of the General Secretary include but not limited to the following:

Rev. Joel Stephen Billi was elected President of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN) and began serving in that office on May 1, 2016. Billi replaces Samuel Dante Dali whose term would have expired in 2015 but was extended because of the terrorist conditions that affected the church in Nigeria. President Billi well understands the persecution climate of northeast Nigeria, having served several large congregations at Biu, Utaku, Maiduguri, and most recently at Michika which is considered on the front lines of the terrorist insurgency.

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Annual Conference 10 Year Attendance

“They determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain other of them,
should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders (about this question).”
Acts 15:2

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