2005 Peoria, Illinois 219th
2005 Logo

The 219th Annual Conference (July 2-6, 2005) of the Church of the Brethren was held in the Peoria Civic Center, 201 SW Jefferson Avenue, Peoria, IL 61602. The Center comprises three separate venues under one roof: the Carver Arena with a total seating capacity of 12,145, an Exhibit Hall providing 63,668 square feet of display space, and a Performing Arts Theater, plus additional small Meeting Rooms. Business and worship convened in the large Carver Arena, also home of the Peoria hockey team the Rivermen. Some conference attendees joked about sitting in the penalty box. It is the largest convention facility anywhere in mid-state Illinois. Peoria is the third most populated city in the State, and the largest on the Illinois River. It was named after the Peoria Tribe. Because of references to Peoria in Horatio Alger's novel “Five Hundred Dollars” and perceiving Peoria to be a good representation of an average American city, Vaudeville entertainers would often say that succeeding in Peoria, meant succeeding anywhere. That phrase or question “Will it play in Peoria?” has now become common place in American mainstream conversation. Peoria is also known as the home of Caterpiller, Inc., the world's largest manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel engines, and gas turbines.

Leisure activities were plentiful along the riverfront, including a flea market with local Artisans demonstrating their trade, Street Musicians entertaining passersby, and children jumping around in this animal Air House. Especially refreshing to Adventurous Brethren was the afternoon cruise on the resident paddle wheeler The Spirit of Peoria that offered Comfortable Seating, refreshing mist from the Paddle Wheels, calm river breezes, and Friendly Faces, lots of Friendly Faces. Can you see Mother Duck? This female mallard sat quietly and motionless as People Waited to board the Paddle Wheeler. The Convention Center Grounds was more like a city park, with ample room to sit on the warm grass or under an Umbrella Table. Families and Special Groups frequently used the ornate Pedestal Clock as a meeting spot.


Special words of greeting were expressed to the delegate body on Tuesday afternoon from Ken Hunn, Executive Director of The Brethren Church, especially remarking that their past Conference theme centered on Evangelism, and their current theme centers on Evangelism, and that their next theme will center on Evangelism. Also during the Tuesday evening worship the traditional Children's Choir blessed worshippers with several songs. Immediately before each worship service the Christ Candle was lit. A new technological innovation for the deaf and hearing impaired this year was the use of Closed-Circuit Captioning instead of Sign Language. Meals were served at lunch and dinner from a buffet. There was a large area of tables and chairs, where Brethren had no difficulty in Fellowshipping with other Brethren.


Bethany Theological Seminary celebrates their 100th Anniversary with a large exhibit of archived material including former student desks, paraphernalia, and numerous photographs covering their different ministry phases: Hastings Street Mission, Bethany Bible School (1905-1909), Bethany Bible School (1909-1931), and the Bethany Biblical Seminary (1931-1963) on Van Buren Street. Brethren Benefit Trust, the people with the green logo, encouraged us to Think Pink, in an effort to create awareness concerning good health (taken from the common slogan of being “In the Pink”).


2005 Conference Officers were Moderator Jim Hardenbrook, Idaho District Executive; Moderator-elect Ronald Beachley, Pennsylvania Western District Executive Minister; and Secretary Fred Swartz.






“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