Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Why Should I Join the BMC?

Joining the BMC has never been easier. Membership is easy, excellent value for money, and comes with a range of benefits.

Some of the services and benefits:

Supporting Access & Conservation

In a survey, members voted Access & Conservation the BMC's most important work area. The BMC's access work helps to ensure the continued freedom.

Summit Magazine

Summit magazine is the BMC's quarterly magazine. Full of interviews and articles, training & skills features, access information, comment and current issues, plus loads of great members only offers. As an individual member you will receive the full 64 page edition free and delivered direct to your door.

Free world-wide Personal Accident and Civil Liability Insurance

As an individual member you receive personal accident disability insurance and personal liability insurance, covering your activities world-wide. This protection could be one of your most valuable benefits of membership.

Travel and Activity Insurance

Members can take advantage of our specialist and highly regarded Travel & Activity insurance. Policies available range from 3 days to annual, UK, Europe, Worldwide, including cover for most sports.

Access to the Information Service

Last year the BMC answered over 10,000 requests for technical, medical and travel information. BMC members have access to over 150 free information sheets. The BMC also produce guides and a wide range of other publications written by experts. All discounted to members.

Events Discounts

The BMC organises and supports a wide range of events. These include youth events, and training in partnership with the Conville Trust.

Members Handbook

All member benefits are detailed in the BMC Members Handbook, which is distributed annually. The 2004 edition contains all the information and contacts you need to make the best of the BMC.

BMC Shop Discounts

Nearly all products in the BMC shop are discounted to members, and some are totally free. We've also added a selection of safety products to the range.

Hertz Car Rental Discounts

With over 7000 outlets worldwide, Hertz is the biggest car rental company around. BMC members can obtain 10% discount on rentals anywhere in the world.

Thursday, December 25, 2003

Jesus and the Elves

And Joseph went up from Galilee to Bethlehem with Mary, his espoused wife, who was great with child. And she brought forth a son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn. And the angel of the Lord spoke to the shepherds and said, "I bring you tidings of great joy. Unto you is born a Savior, which is Christ the Lord."

"There's a problem with the angel," said a Pharisee who happened to be strolling by...

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Happy Holidays!

'Twas the nocturnal segment of the diurnal period preceding the annual Yuletide celebration, and throughout our place of residence, kinetic activity was not in evidence among the possessors of this potential, including that species of domestic rodent known as musculus. Hosiery was meticulously suspended from the forward edge of the wood burning caloric apparatus, pursuant to our anticipatory pleasure regarding an imminent visitation from an eccentric philanthropist among whose folkloric appelations is the honorific title of St. Nicholas.

The prepubescent siblings, comfortably ensconced in their respective accommodations of repose, were experiencing subconscious visual hallucinations of variegated fruit confections moving rhythmically through their cerebrums. My conjugal partner and I, attired in our nocturnal head coverings, were about to take slumbrous advantage of the hibernal darkness when upon the avenaceous exterior portion of the grounds there ascended such a cacaphony of dissonance that I felt compelled to arise with alacrity from my place of repose for the purpose of ascertaining the precise source thereof.

Hastening to the casement, I forthwith opened the barriers sealing this fenestration, noting thereupon that the lunar brilliance without, reflected as it was on the surface of a recent crystalline precipitation, might be said to rival that of the solar meridian itself, thus permitting my incredulous optical sensory organs to behold a miniature airborne runnered conveyance drawn by eight diminutive specimens of the genus rangifer, piloted by a miniscule, aged chauffeur so ebullient and nimble that it became instantly apparent to me that he was indeed our anticipated caller. With his ungulate motive power traveling at what may have more vertiginous velocity than patriotic alar predators, he vociferated loudly, expelled breath musically through contracted labia, and addressed each of the octet by his or her respective cognomen: Now Dasher, now Dancer, now Prancer, etc., through which structure I could readily distinguish the concatenations of each of the 32 cloven pedal extremities.

As I retracted my cranium from its erstwhile location, and was performing a 180 degree pivot, our distinguished visitant achieved, with utmost celerity and via a downward leap, entry by way of the smoke passage. He was clad entirely in animal pelts soiled by the ebon residue from oxidations of carboniferous fuels which had accumulated on the walls thereof. His resemblance to a street vendor I attributed largely to the plethora of assorted playthings which he bore dorsally in a commodious cloth receptacle.

His orbs were scintillant with reflected luminosity, while his submaxillary dermal indentations gave every evidence of engaging amiability. The capillaries of his malar regions and nasal appurtenance were engorged with blood which suffused the subcutaneous layers, the former approximating the coloration of albions floral emblem, the latter that of the prunus avium, or sweet cherry. His amusing sub and supralabials resembled nothing so much as a common loop knot, and their ambient hirsute facial adornment appeared like small, tabular and columnar crystals of frozen water.

Clenched firmly between his incisors was a smokingpiece whose gray fumes, forming a tenuous ellipse about his occiput, were suggestive of a decorative seasonal circlet of holly. His visage was wider than it was high, and when he waxed audibly mirthful, his corpulent abdominal region undulated in the manner of impectinated fruit syrup in a hemispherical container. He was, in short, neither more or less than an obese, jocund, multigenarian gnome, the optical perception of whom rendered me risibly rolicsome despite every effort to refrain from so being. By rapidly lowering and then elevating one eyelid and rotating his head slightly to one side he indicated that trepidation on my part was groundless.

Without utterance and with dispatch, he commenced filling the aforementioned hosiery with various of the aforementioned articles of merchandise extracted from his aforementioned previously dorsally transported cloth receptacle. Upon completion of his task, he executed an abrupt about face, placed a single manual digit in lateral juxtaposition to his olfactory organ, inclined his miniscule forward in a gesture of leave taking, and forthwith effected his egress by renegotiating in reverse the smoke passage. He then propelled himself in a short vector onto his conveyance, directed a musical expulsion of air through his contracted oral sphincter to the antlered quadrupeds of burden, and proceeded to soar aloft in a movement hitherto observable chiefly among the seed bearing portions of a common weed. But I overheard his parting exclamation, audible immediately prior to his vehiculation beyond the limits of visibility, "Ecstatic Yuletide to the planetary constituency, and to that selfsame assemblage, my sincerest wishes for a salubriously beneficial and gratifyingly pleasurable period between sunset and dawn."

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus

In this, the holiday season, we take pleasure in answering the communication below; expressing, at the same time, our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of the Gospel Messenger:

I am 8 years old, my friends in the BRF say there is no Santa Claus. The VOS list server was shutdown for a time of censorship. Papa says, “If you see it in the Gospel Messenger, it's so”. Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?

Virginia O Hanton


The real question is:

Is the fact that Santa's workshop isn't unionized offset by the fact that he makes all the boys and girls of the world happy one night a year?

I realize now that boys and girls are not, in fact purchasers, but rather receivers of what must be gratuitous benevolence. Ah, but still the alienation persists.

The benevolent one here is not the collection of elves, but rather the jolly man himself. And why so jolly? Because he has the benefit of connecting with the recipients; he sees their happy faces. That's something the hard workers quarantined to the North Pole have yet to experience. So don't be fooled by Santa's red coat this season.

- The Editors

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Maybe We Should Stop For Directions

“If all of us are building bridges to heaven, your way is as good as my way,” Ramesh Richard says. “But what if God built my bridge? Then it's not my bridge, it's God's. That's what happened with Jesus.”

“Once you put Jesus in the equation of God, you have a problem with other religions.”

But, still, is it the only bridge? Or is it simply the best bridge; or merely one bridge among many?

click here if you can't see the nice picture we found.

Saturday, December 13, 2003

Well We'll Be A Monkey's Uncle

In case you haven't read enough on the dialog about Evolution versus Creationism, and if you've not been swayed by some of the usual arguments, maybe you'd like to read still more.

Or maybe you'd like the straight dope on why we still have monkeys if man has descended from them, or does evolution just fly in the face of the facts?

Friday, December 12, 2003

There's Gold in Them Thar Hills

Brethren Benefit Trust has yet again been caught with its hand in the environmentally and socially dubious investment jar. BBT holds approximately 3,100 common stock shares of the Newmont Mining Corporation. The company, which has mining operations in Latin America, Africa, Asia, Central Asia and the US, has been dogged by allegations that its mines in these countries are polluting local waterways and are harming the health of nearby communities. Some local communities have protested the company's planned operations in environmentally and culturally sensitive areas. Additionally, the firm is currently under investigation by the US Department of Justice over accusations that it bribed officials in to gain ownership of its highly-profitable Yanacocha mine.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

BECU Board Nominations

BECU, which will be taken over by BBT, has announced that nominations for positions on its Board of Directors and Supervisory Committee are now being accepted. For additional information on the nominating process, call the Executive Assistant to the President and CEO. The deadline for submitting your request is Wednesday, December 31, at 2:00pm. Interviews will be conducted by members of the Governance and Nominating Committee in early January.

An alternative to the nominating process is to submit a petition with the signatures of 2% of active BECU members, as of October 17, 2003. This is approximately 6,800 signatures for the 2004 nomination process. To request a petition, please contact the Executive Assistant to the President and CEO. Petition signatures must be submitted to the Credit Union by February 1, 2004.

Nominees will be voted on by BECU members at the annual meeting to be held Wednesday, March 17, 2004.

Friday, December 05, 2003

We Prefer to Call it ''Scrutiny''

If your special interest group has not been mentioned on this site it may be that it has been banned as part of a vast conspiracy. Then again, it may be due to a lack of interest or it may be that the baby can't chew it.

Saturday, November 29, 2003

Better Investing Through Chemistry

The so called "environmentally responsible" Brethren Benefit Trust has $179,000 invested in Dow Chemical Company which left an estimated 120,000 to 150,000 people chronically ill by a gas leak at a Union Carbide pesticide factory in India in 1984.

Friday, November 28, 2003

Thursday, November 27, 2003

Sunday, November 23, 2003

Signs of the Times

Has your church's sign been posted online?

Don't have a sign? Well, now you can make one.

Saturday, November 15, 2003

Global Warming Could Affect Communion

Global warming may become a worldwide catastrophe, but at least the wine should be better.

Researchers from three universities have found that vintages improved as temperatures rose over the past 50 years, especially in areas with cooler climates.
Rah Rah Ree

rah rah ree,
kick 'em in the knee
rah rah rass,
kick 'em in the
other knee

Three cheers for protesters everywhere!
You Might Be a Fundamentalist If...

...if you are not amused when you click here.
Shall We?

Q: Why don't Brethren have sex standing up?
A: It might lead to dancing.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Da Do Ron Ron

He’s the peacemaker in Sudan
Haruun Ruun Ruun Ruun, Haruun Ruun Ruun
The Dinka and the Nuer live in that land
Haruun Ruun Ruun Ruun, Haruun Ruun Ruun

Yes, he's in the Sudan
Yes, they live in that land
And when we sing this song
Haruun Ruun Ruun Ruun, Haruun Ruun Ruun

He’ll get the Wallenberg Award on November 8
Haruun Ruun Ruun Ruun, Haruun Ruun Ruun
We think this Executive Secretary is really great
Haruun Ruun Ruun Ruun, Haruun Ruun Ruun

Yes, November 8
Yes, we think he's great
And let's all sing this song
Haruun Ruun Ruun Ruun, Haruun Ruun Ruun

apologies to fans of the Carpenters

Friday, October 17, 2003

General Board Buzzword Bingo

Just in time for General Board Meetings... Click here to get your Brethren buzzword bingo card.

click here

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Workcamp Assistant Sought

Because there are so many workcamps in the summer and only two BVSers to coordinate them, they are going to need some help. One assistant workcamp coordinator will be hired. They will spend a few weeks in Elgin helping to prepare for workcamps, and then travel to eight different workcamps all around the country.

You might be wondering what exactly this job entails. As Chris Douglas will tell you, "The job of the coordinators is to make it work. The job of the assistants is to help make it work." As an assistant workcamp coordinator, you could find yourself supervising a group of youth at a work project, providing support and encouragement to a workcamper who is going through a difficult time, grocery shopping, eating 2000 calories of Snickers, leading devotions, spending an evening in a hospital with a workcamper who broke her arm, or providing support and encouragement to an exhausted workcamp coordinator.

For more information on the roles and benefits of being a workcamp assistant as well as if you have any questions contact the Youth and Young Adult Office at or 800-323-8039

Economical Environmentalism

The Brethren Washington Office of Witness (WOW) has implemented the use of a revolutionary recycling technology. To witness the process for your self, load the paper of your choice into your printer and print page 4 of the latest Witness to Washington. You will readily notice that your paper has instantly become 20% post-consumer waste. Trees offer you their thanks. Please note that this item has been posted using soy based pixels.

Sunday, October 05, 2003

The Devil Made Me Do It

After the flash on his camera malfunctioned, what did Satan get back from the drugstore?

Thursday, September 25, 2003

It's Probably Just the Autumnal Equinox

Have you noticed a chill in the air? Are we getting closer to a freezing over of Hell? The BRF and the VOS have found common ground at last!

But, then again, maybe it's that free ice cream that NYAC registrants are being offered in January.
Mixed-up Reviews
A story of a Very sick tree.

by Paul Bunyan

Recent discussions in the COB-L listserv have centered on the topic of favorite books. One favorite mentioned was described as "seeming to advocate an extremely unhealthy relationship, in which one entity is always 'giving' and the other always 'taking'". The following article is reprinted from the April 1, 1996 issue of our very own Gospel Messenger.

"Once there was a tree... and she loved a little boy." So begins a story of unforgettable perception, beautifully written and illustrated by the gifted and versatile Shel Silverstein.

But on closer examination this story turns out to be more about a sick relationship rather then a tender story aglow with consolation.

"As the boy grew older he began to want more from the tree, and the tree gave and gave and gave." This one-sided relationship is the very definition of codependency.

The selfish boy is bad enough. He crowns himself King of the forest and otherwise shows his selfish nature. There is no recognition that this tree is a part of God's holy creation. As an environmentalist, I was appalled by the boy's poor stewardship.

Starting off small as a boy with "give me your leaves" until, as an old man, he has taken everything from the tree. And what has the boy done in return? He did take his pocket knife and carve his initials into the tree not once but twice. Mostly it is a story of neglect; "the boy stayed away for a long time."

My major disappointment is with the tree. All this suffering and there is no sign of growth on the part of the tree. The tree is forever trying to recapture the time when the boy swung in her branches.

The boy grew older, but the tree stayed the same. Each time that the boy returned, the tree would ask the boy to swing from her branches. The tree never got past this point it their relationship.

What excuse does the tree have for this abuse? The book would have you believe that the tree loved the little boy. This is not a good model of love that we should be presenting to our impressionable children.

I was happy with this book… but not really.

Paul Bunyan is a lumberjack and he's okay. He sleeps all night and he works all day. He cuts down trees; he eats his lunch; he goes to the lavatory. On Wednesdays he goes shopping, and has buttered scones for tea.

Mixed-up Reviews critiques books, films, and other products of the entertainment media that speak to Brethren, Sisters, or Orphans living out their faith. The reviews are not to be taken as the
Gospel Messenger's endorsement, necessarily. Rather, we present them as helpful information for readers who encounter the subjects they treat.


Addendum: Perhaps the giving tree was practicing nonresistance and it is the destination of trees to become stumps.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Life in Plastic, it's Fantastic

She's a barbie girl, in a barbie world
Life in plastic, it's fantastic.
you can brush her hair, undress her everywhere.
Imagination, that is your creation.
- Aqua

The big topics for the evangelical sector are sexuality, women pastors, biblical authority, and modest dress.

The BRF has declared Barbie dolls a threat to morality, complaining that the revealing clothes of the toy are offensive.

The Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice lists the dolls on a section of its Web site devoted to items deemed offensive.

"Barbie dolls, with their revealing clothes and shameful postures, accessories and tools are a symbol of decadence. Let us beware of her dangers and be careful," said a poster on the site.

The poster, plastered with pictures of Barbie in short dresses and tight pants, and with a few of her accessories, reads: "A strange request. A little girl asks her mother: Mother, I want jeans, a low-cut shirt, and a swimsuit like Barbie."

Such posters are distributed to schools and hung in the streets by the religious police. Vice police officials were not available for comment Monday.

"It is no problem that little girls play with dolls. But these dolls should not have the developed body of a woman, and wear revealing clothes," a spokesman said.

"These revealing clothes will be imprinted in their minds and they will refuse to wear the clothes we are used to," he said.

Other items listed as violations on the site included Valentine's Day gifts, perfume bottles in the shape of women's bodies, and decorative copies of religious items - offensive because they could be damaged and thus be an insult.

Come on Barbie, let's go party!
Comparative Religion

As a service to our readership, we provide this look into various religions' outlooks on life.
Agenda RIP

Next month marks the finale of a venerable Brethren institution as the October issue of the Agenda newsletter will be the final edition to be published. The newsletter serving 7,000 leaders of Church of the Brethren congregations has been in existence since October 1970. While its format has evolved over the years, its primary purpose has always been the same — to provide resources for local church leaders.

The church's financial struggles have claimed another victim but the silver lining to this cloud can be realized. A limited number of the October 2003 newsletter have been printed which means that they are bound to increase in value as collector items. Contact the Communications Office now to get your copies while they last. And be sure to store them in airtight containers to help them keep that hot off the presses look and feel.

Thursday, September 04, 2003


Where's Witness?

With the recent waning of the General Board Witness Office, many among the Brethren are wondering how David Radcliff's shoes will be filled. Much of the program which were established under Radcliff's tenure will remain in place. But not to worry, an independent organization has borrowed liberally from the COB Witness web site and will be picking up the slack.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Taken for Granite

A solution has been worked out to the problem of displaying the 10 commandments in an Alabama courthouse. In an effort to not endorse Christianity as a state religion, a plan has been worked out where the courthouse display will be changed on a monthly basis. Displays representing the following religions will each have their own month to be displayed: Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Atheist, Hinduism, Wiccan/Pagan/Druid, Native American Religion, Baha'i, New Age, Sikhism, Taoist. So as to not disrupt the daily courthouse operations, displays will be changed under the cover of darkness, over night, following the precedent set when the original display was installed. The order in which the displays will be installed will be based on a random drawing.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Peace Church Colleges Launch "Prozac for Peace" Campaign

Three Indiana colleges affiliated with the three historic peace churches (Manchester College, Church of the Brethren; Goshen College, Mennonite Church; and Earlham College, Religious Society of Friends) unveiled yesterday their new campaign, "Prozac for Peace." Each Institution received a grant from the Lilly Endowment of Eli Lilly and Company, manufacturer of, among other drugs, the anti-depressant Prozac.

When reached for comment, the grant administrators at each college denied any conflict of interest in receiving funding from a major corporation to assist studies which include critical analysis of corporate control of society and government. An intern close to the situation commented, "And certainly we don't see it as them meddling with the church, either. After all, how often do worship and committee meetings really improve your mood any more these days? Our opinion is that the church needs Eli Lilly. The church needs Prozac. And quite frankly, so does the President. I mean, how happy can that guy really be, having to kill hundreds of thousands to show that killing is wrong? It's an enormous burden. I'd even go so far as to say that our president's enemies need it too, after so much loss. How else are they supposed to recover their spirit, living in such horrible times?"

Eli Lilly's PR staff, when asked if the President, his enemies and victims should take Prozac, replied, "If someone in unhappy in any way, we say to them, 'Here, have some Prozac.'" The colleges seem to have taken this attitude as their cue to launch the campaign, and each will offer a new, "groundbreaking" course next semester entitled "Mental Health and World Peace." The course will focus on peace from the microcosm of personal relationships in regards to race, gender, and class, and expand the focus from there to genocide and nuclear holocaust, and how Prozac can help "increase the peace." As one professor slated to teach the new course commented, "If everyone's happy, then there will be no conflict ever again. Prozac will revolutionize the entire application of peace building theory." A Brethren congregation torn apart by conflict over U.S. foreign policy served as a test subject for the "Prozac for Peace" program. The pastor said, "Prozac changed our lives."! One parishioner asked, "War? What's war?" Tests on government officials are still inconclusive.

Allegations that officials from the Mennonite Church USA met secretly with Eli Lilly's top staff to persuade them to test the Church of the Brethren's General Offices first in order to aid the Mennonite's possibility of hostile takeover of the denomination have yet to be confirmed. Similarly, the Church of the Brethren's Annual Conference Program & Arrangements Committee could not be reached for comment regarding the strong resemblance between the 2003 Annual Conference logo and Lilly's logo for their Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder medication, Strattera.
Bible Study - 2 Samuel 6:20

Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, How glorious was the king of Israel to day, who uncovered himself to day in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself!

"When those gates go open wide, I am going to sit by Jesus side,
I am going to sing, I am going to shout 'Praise the Lord!'"

July 26-30, 2003
Greater San Diego Christian Sunbathing Association
Camp Closed to all visitors - gates lock

Sunday, August 10, 2003

Survey Says...

Our sibling publication, Messenger magazine, has a online survey where readers (or anyone else) can post their opinions. We encourage respondants to answer question #6 with "I do not use e-mail or internet access." And for #21, tell them GM sent you.

Alway willing to jump on a band-wagon, The Gospel Messenger staff have exploited or bussword technology, and posted our own survey.

Thursday, August 07, 2003

Monkey See, Monkey Do

Faced with growing administrative costs, of which salaries is an ever increasing component, the General Board is looking into creative measures to fill its future staffing needs. One such measure may be fulfilled by PPI which, as it expands its services, may be able to bulk up the numbers of administrative staff that the denominational headquarters has seen constantly shrinking. According to one General Board member, the savings in salaries and benefits alone will help fund expanded program and potentially allow some discontinued positions to be reopened. However, while such a move would not be expected to hurt the already negative image of leadership held by many in the denomination, it would very likely start a whole new dialog over the relative merits of evolution versus creationism.

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Store: We Love Matt

Gospel Messenger Loves Matt Too

We don't know about everybody, but he does seem to have alot of people in his corner. The website's not online, but we've got the t-shirts in the GM store.

Beware the Ties That Bind

Those old order folks had it right all along. It seems that there's more to the concept of plain dress than simple living and non-conformity. The medical community has recently determined that neckties, a no-no for the plain-dressed among us, can be a risk factor for a major cause of blindness. But we've had it backwards. It seems that seeing clearly does not lead you to go sans-tie. Instead, it's the worldly garb that can prevent the seekers' vision. We wonder what's next.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Conference Wrapup

The official Conference wrapup is online, and the Dunker Journal has given it's review of the worship music along with some highlights. Now the Gospel Messenger will jump on the band wagon with our annual review. Readers of our print versions in past years are familiar with our tradition of providing a sermon analysis of the worships at Annual Conference. The attached chart shows the relatively accurate counts in the various sermons of the occurance of "Jesus", "Jesus Christ", "Christ", and "Christ Jesus". What better way to rate a Conference then hard, cold statistics.

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Give Me a Child Until He Is 7, and I Will Show You The Man

Bob Gross, Co-Executive Director, MoR Coordinator will be leading a workshop at the 7th Annual Piecemakers Congress. He will be sharing his secrets ways of persuasion. We are sure that this will be an interesting talk, as Bob is known to be a straight shooter.

We wonder if he will be participating in the traditional action/public witness where people attending the conference ask the local Toy R Us to stop selling violent toys.

Bob has a gun!

Friday, July 04, 2003


What weapons of mass destruction? Click here for more details (the link's not broken; look closely).

Sunday, June 29, 2003

Annunal Conference Buzzword Bingo

Just in time for Boise... Click here to get your Brethren buzzword bingo card.

click here

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Clock's Ticking on Takeover Bid

The Mennonite's hostile takeover bid for its rival Church of the Brethren denomination will expire July 7, but the Mennonite Church expects to extend the offer, according to the formal offer filed Monday with the NCC.

The Mennonite Church stunned the religious community on Friday when it launched a $5.1 billion hostile bid for the Church of the Brethren, only a few days before the Brethren's Annual Conference is to take place in Boise.

According to the new filing, on June 20, 2002, The Mennonite Church and the Church of the Brethren entered into negotiations at the Church of the Brethren's bequest "concerning the possibility of combining the congregations of the two denominations." The discussion was "general in nature" and no valuation was discussed. But a few days later the denominations concluded they couldn't come to a mutually agreeable decision, and the matter was dropped, the Mennonite Church filing states.

On Friday, the Mennonites sent a letter to the Church of the Brethren's General Board, telling them about the takeover bid. The Mennonite Church says the General Board has not yet approved the offer or otherwise commented on it as of the date of the offer to purchase.

But the Church of the Brethren's General Secretary characterized the offer as "a transparent attempt" to disrupt The Church of the Brethren.

The Mennonite Church said in its filing that it has $6 billion in cash on hand, more than enough to cover the terms of initial deal. But it has arranged for a $5 billion revolving credit facility with Credit Suisse First Boston, which it would also draw on to pay shareholders.

The Mennonite Church can back out of the offer if another bid is made for the Church of the Brethren, the filing states. There has been much speculation that another religious rival could make a bid for the company, with Quaker, Presbyterian and Methodist denominations all listed by industry observers as possible bidders.

If the merger is completed, the Mennonite Church will be "providing enhanced and extended support for (the Church of the Brethren's) congregations, incorporating advanced features from the denomination's programs," the Mennonite Church states.

The merger would definitely boost the Mennonite Church's share of the peace church market, leaving only the Quakers (Friends) as the sole other historic peace church. The Mennonite denomination said in the filing that it does not anticipate any problems with antitrust issues.

The acquisition would technically be conducted through a special purchasing firm, Pepper Acquisition, a subsidiary of Oracle.

Sunday, June 22, 2003

Oil for Peace

The strapped for cash General Board has announced that is in the early stages of negotiations to sell the oil rights to it's New Windsor and Elgin properties. The income garnered from the deal could help restore much of the programs that have been reduced due to a lack of funds. Ironically, the Board will not be examining the environmental impact in any great detail because of its recent, drastic cut backs to the Brethren Witness Office.
Man Does Not Live On Bread Alone...

...he needs apple butter. In Boise this summer, conference goers can try an alternative. At the BRF display they'll be able to try some apple margarine with their bread.

Sunday, June 15, 2003

Sometimes Lebanon Baloney is Just Baloney

The General Board, after much analysis, has announced that Walt Wiltcheck has been appointed to the new position of Brethren Id-Entity. It will be Wiltscheck's job to report on what the Brethren are doing. At the same time, Jim Myer was appointed to the new position of Brethren Super-Ego-Entity. It will be Myer's job to inform the Brethren what they should be doing. The existing position of Brethren Ego-Entity will continue unchanged.

Sunday, June 08, 2003

BVS Reloaded

It seems that Paul "Neo" Grout is preaching not only from the Gospel, but also from "Simulacra and Simulation". Grout's fascination with The Matrix is evident in the fact that BVS Unit 254 was scheduled to begin shortly after the release of The Matrix Reloaded, the second of the movie trilogy. Grout has embraced the movies' Christian touches as much more than pseudophilosophical pastiche. Somebody be sure to check the back of the heads of those new volunteers for cable connections.Please Click Here if an image is not displayed.