2009 San Diego, California 223rd
2009 Logo

The 224th Annual Conference (June 26-30, 2009) of the Church of the Brethren was held in the Town & Country Resort & Convention Center located at 500 Hotel Circle North, in the Mission Valley district or the heart of San Diego. Extending over 32 acres, guests are accommodated in 996 rooms in either of Two Main Towers or many ranch style Garden Bungalows. Unlike most Conference venues with a large city auditorium in the midst of several downtown hotels that requires walking on unfamiliar streets at night, this location is better described as a walled Campus that offered attendees meeting space, accommodations, eateries, and shopping, immediately surrounded by a treasure of beautiful scenery, all in one place without the incursion of walking at night on city streets. There were several very good campus Restaurants, a few providing Alfresco Dining.
Personal security afforded by this type of location was overheard in not just a few conversations. Additional delights of the Town & Country Resort were spacious Brick Walkways surrounded by Flowers. There were Tiny Pools, Large Pools, and Ornate Pools. There were Short Trees, Tall Trees, and Banana Trees. Conference is a time for chatting and there was Lady Chatting, Group Chatting, Dinner Chatting, and Puzzle Chatting. Security was a blessing for young as well as old. Frequently one would see Children & Youth going about their activities in Complete Safety of the campus confinement. Tuesday evening remained the traditional time for the Children's Choir. Saturday evening, worship leader Jonathan Shively told a Children's Story on the main floor.


Across the San Diego River was a huge Shopping Mall complete with many familiar stores and great restaurants. The Metropolitan Transit System, referred to by locals as The Trolley, completely encircles the city of San Diego with its pleasing mixture of Old & New. Any visit to this region begs to also include a side trip to the world famous San Diego Zoo. Confusing for at least a few Brethren was the fact that the city of San Diego has its own Convention Center adjacent to the harbor. Presuming this venue to be the correct location for Conference, they had reserved rooms in one of the nearby Towering Hotels without going through the Annual Conference office. Landing at the San Diego airport from the east includes one of the steepest descents in the nation. Airplanes must clear the ridge of Balboa park and then drop over 250 feet to the runway in less than one mile, further complicated by a parking garage immediately under the flight path. Ex-military pilots now in commercial aviation enjoy the extra challenge and passengers facing west get a spectacular view of the Downtown Area.
The Main Entrance to the Conference Center from the city was seen by fewer Brethren as most entered from the opposite Campus Side of the building. Registration took place in the lobby inside from the the city entrance. First greeting inside the campus doors was the host Pacific-Southwest District's Hospitality Room. Technology has not replaced the old fashioned Bulletin Board which is always a mixture of personal contact requests and mini-announcements.


High ceilings of previous years gave way to low ceilings and multiple rooms for exhibits. The regulars such as SERRV, Brethren Colleges, Outdoor Ministries, and Brethren Press, to name a few, were well represented. New themes were witnessed in Cross-Cultural Ministries emphasis or life-style changes from Brethren Volunteer Service. Exhibit booths came in all dimensions from the elaborate of Stewardship to the plain message of Global Missions, to the exotic of the Brethren Service Center. A variety of WiFi Games (bowling here) were available and enjoyed by all ages.


2009 Conference Officers were Moderator David Shumate, District Executive of the Virlina District; Moderator-elect Shawn Flory Replogle, pastor of McPherson COB, McPherson, Kansas; 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