2000 Kansas City, Missouri 214th
2000 Logo

The 214th Annual Conference (July 15-19) of the Church of the Brethren was held in Bartle Hall of the Kansas City Convention Center, located at 301 West 13th Street, Kansas City, Missouri 64105. This huge multilevel convention center houses six different multipurpose facilities which encompasses over eight city blocks and 388,800 square feet of Column Free presentation space. This is achieved with roof mounted cables attached to towers called Sky Stations that support the entire roof, permitting extremely large display constructions which companies now expect of exhibition centers. It was a feat almost necessary since Interstate 670, a six-lane highway, passes directly underneath the center. To permit steady flow of interstate traffic, four 300 foot pylons called Sky Stations to support the center by cables. Bartle Hall claims to be the largest, column free convention environment in the world. Total cost of the project was 91.7 million. It opened in 1994 on schedule. Movement throughout the building is intuitive and enhanced by several well placed escalators and elevators.

Kansas City has more fountains than any city in the world except Rome, Italy. Kansas City is known as the City of Fountains. There are slightly over 200 Fountains within the city limits. The nearby Missouri River provides no shortage of water for these fountains, most of which continuously recycle their own water supply. Green conscious Brethren will be happy to know that the League of American Bicyclists has awarded Kansas City, Missouri, with a Bronze Level rating as a Bicycle Friendly Community.


Several miles west on Route 40 one can visit what is left of the Oregon Trail, a 2,000-mile east to west wagon route that linked the Missouri River to Oregon and California. The early trapper footpath of the 1810s was improved enough for wagons by 1840. The Gold Rush of 1849 found it also being called the California Trail. However, the advancing Union Pacific Railroad gradually displaced its usefulness by the 1870s, especially after the completion of the Transcontinental Railway at Promontory Summit, Utah, May 10, 1869.

Annual Conference has previously visited the State of Missouri, five times: St. Louis, 1988 William A. Hayes, Moderator; Sedalia, 1920 I.W. Taylor, Moderator; St. Joseph, 1911 D.M. Garver, Moderator; Carthage, 1904 H.C. Early, Moderator; Pertle Springs, 1890 Enoch Eby, Moderator.

Brethren are not new to this part of the nation, for Annual Conference has also visited the State of Kansas, nine times: Wichita, 1994 Earl K. Ziegler, Moderator; 1982 Earle W. Fike, Jr., Moderator; 1976 A. Blair Helman, Moderator; 1917 H.C. Early, Moderator; McPherson, 1943 W.W. Peters, Moderator; Lawrence, 1938 V.F. Schwalm, Moderator; Ottawa, 1896 D.E. Price, Moderator; 1887 Enoch Eby, Moderator; and Bismark Grove, 1883 Enoch Eby, Moderator. This is a first time, though, for the city of Kansas City, which happens to be on the Missouri side of the Missouri River. An easy way to explain the difference between Kansas City, Missouri, and Kansas City, Kansas, is that all the tall buildings are on the Missouri side of the river. Kansas City on the west side is mostly flat row-homes, factories, schools, and parks.


A new Annual Conference schedule begins this year commencing with Saturday evening worship, followed by Sunday morning worship, Sunday evening business sessions (a first), and continuing with regular daily business sessions, luncheons, insight sessions, and age group activities finishing with closing ceremonies on Wednesday morning. Brethren Ministries LIVE is a new innovation for Annual Conference reportable agencies to present their reports through imaginative use of drama. It was hoped that a storytelling / dramatic approach would create greater interest and appreciation, instead of the traditional often stale monotone reading of reports.

Fuzz Ball

Moderator Emily Mumma ended her Saturday evening message The Most Excellent Way by telling of a woman in her congregation who experienced continuous, intense pain. Carol telephoned pastor Mumma to say that she had had enough. She was going to end it. The phone call was just her way of saying goodbye. Out of that true life story came Fuzzies. Not the warm, fuzzy experiences to provide comfort and emotional stability that is too often shattered by the cold prickly events of daily life. No, real Fuzzies that you can hold in your hand, stroke, and feel the intimacy of knowing that someone loves you. With a challenge to serve and love from Moderator Mumma, Carol committed herself to making 10,000 Fuzzies by the time of Annual Conference. Someone has suggested that: “For every Prickly experience, it generally takes about eight Fuzzies to compensate.” Mumma announced to worshippers that she wanted to share Fuzzies from her friend Carol. During the last of her message, Mumma would occasionally throw a Fuzzie out into the audience from the stage area. It was a positive expression of love to compliment the Annual Conference theme: Love as I have Loved You, which is taken from the Gospel of John 15:12. Later, ushers carrying boxes filled with Fuzz Balls roamed the aisles and gingerly tossed them into the worshippers. It was a barrage of Fuzzies. It was a love fest. Many recipients thankfully remembered those precious moments of celebrating the warm, fuzzy feeling of receiving Christ's love, as demonstrated through Carol.


2000 Conference Officers were Moderator Emily Mumma from Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania; Moderator-elect Phil Carlos Archbold, pastor of Brooklyn First COB, Brooklyn, New York; and Secretary Cathy Huffman.






“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