The Sider Institute for Anabaptist, Pietist, and Wesleyan Studies at Messiah College will host its annual study conference on November 8, 2012. This year’s theme is “Why We Must Take Our History Seriously.”
According to the conference brochure:
The Brethren in Christ have a rich history with deep and enriching roots in multiple streams of the Christian faith: Anabaptism, Pietism, Wesleyanism and American Evangelicalism. However, some members of the church are embarrassed over aspects of their history, especially the legalism that can sometimes characterize the holiness emphasis, the historic insularity of the church and the plain style of dressing and living that defined the Brethren in Christ for so many years. Others, for a variety of reasons, simply ignore their history. But we ignore our past at our peril. This year’s Brethren in Christ Study Conference will examine why it can be catastrophic if we either ignore our history or pretend to have no history, how the history of the Brethren in Christ can immeasurably enrich the church, and how pastors can tap into the history of this church to enrich both their ministry and the life of their congregations.
The centerpiece of the conference will be a talk by celebrated Brethren in Christ historian E. Morris Sider. His talk, “Relating to Our Past: How Brethren in Christ Have Viewed Their History,” will unpack church members’ perspectives on the past.
The conference will also include two panels: “Why We Must Take the Three (Or Four?) Streams in Our History Seriously” and “What Difference Can Our History Make for the Way We Do Ministry in Our Churches?”
The first panel will engage panelists and conference attendees in a conversation about two articles, recently published in the August 2012 issue of Brethren in Christ History and Life.
The second panel will bring together a wide variety of church leaders — young and old, male and female, U.S. and Canadian — for a discussion of our denominational history’s relevance to contemporary ministry.