2021 First Virtual Conference 234th Recorded
2021 Portal

The 234th Annual Conference (July 1 - July 5, 2020) of the Church of the Brethren was CANCELLED due to the pandemic coronavirus, but would have been held in DeVos Place, located at 303 Monroe Avenue, NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503. This year was the first cancellation of Annual Conference in 233 years of recorded meetings, due to the coronavirus officially labeled COVID-19. What began as a local medical issue in a Huanan seafood market in Wuhan China, gradually became a worldwide pandemic, infecting over 16 million people and killing over 650,000 (Johns Hopkins University, July, 2020). As the world began mobilizing to halt the COVID-19 pandemic, over $18 billion in emergency COVID-19 international funds was approved by the U.S. Congress to facilitate global heath and growing humanitarian needs around the world.

No other issue has prevented the yearly assembling of Brethren to worship and fellowship, not World Wars I and II, or the Great Depression, nor even during the Civil War years. Several online virtual events have provided Brethren with the opportunity to continue seeking God's will during these troubled times. Videoconferencing software developed by Zoom Video Communications became a frequent tool for Brethren to meet and conduct business and worship at all levels. Virtual Conferencing naturally became a new experience in the life of Annual Conference. Distressing situations require imaginative innovations and technical staff at the local, district, and national levels emerged to resolve the urgency.




Over the past three decades, the Church of the Brethren has witnessed an escalating social and theological division, largely concerning the issue of homosexuality. This includes licensing and ordination of homosexuals, and pastors who marry same-sex couples. Many congregations have departed from the Church of the Brethren. Legal action has been taken by some districts against a few congregations. Other districts have established guidelines for reconciliation or departure. Following is a brief history of Annual Conference business leading up to the Compelling Vision.

“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