For this year's Santa Barbara Mission Conference, "Reconciling All Things," the total attendance was 410, coming very close to the record attendance set in 2014. A very encouraging sign was the youthfulness of the house: 97 of those registered were students, mostly college. Brenda Salter McNeil inspired her audience twice as she spoke on her topic,
"The Journey to Reconciliation and Racial Healing." Her first speech was based on Acts 1:8 ("You shall be my witnesses....") and her second on the story of Peter and Cornelius in Acts 10:28-35. Soong-Chan Rah opened the eyes of many to the vitality the global church, the church outside of North America and Europe. His first address was "The Changing Face of Evangelicalism and the Need for Reconciliation," and he followed in the afternoon with "The Necessity of Lament for Racial Healing". Both authors had recently published books, and they signed copies at the conference. Among the 11 workshops were Dan McNerney on Christian-Muslim relations, Kate Wallace on the role of women in the church, Nita Hanson on her ministry to the disabled in Ukraine, and a panel discussion on serving children-at-risk in our region. Attendees engaged with mission representations in the Exhibit Tent, worshipped with the band of musicians from Free Methodist churches, and enjoyed the exceptional food hospitality of the host church.
"I so enjoyed the SBMC and was truly impressed at how the conference was put together, how the structure allowed for connecting with others as well as personal learning, and the caliber of the speakers and content. What a great event!"
- Stephanie Struck, World Relief
Soong-Chan Rah speaking on “The Changing Face of the Church.”