Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Dixie Chicks to Draw in New Members at Annual Conference

The Programming and Arrangements Committee, facing the displeasure of some members of the Church of the Brethren for not allowing BMC to have a dialogue session, announced today that the Dixie Chicks will be performing a concert at Annual Conference this year. Members of Kindling, who are getting their feet wet in the country western milieu with their latest song "Stand by Your Domestic Partner of Non-Specific Gender and Sexual Orientation," are said to have given them advice on what things are better off not being said if you want to be re-invited to Annual Conference. Considering their upcoming cover on Entertainment Weekly, we wonder if Programming and Arrangements Committee realize that the Dixie Chicks are not part of a fund raiser for Heifer Project from the south?

Meanwhile, a group of singers from a congregation in the Atlantic Northeast District is suffering from the patriotic backlash unleashed by the once popular country western group. The barbershop quartet "The Dixie Chiques" has inexplicably seen bookings cancelled over the past few months. "It all started after singer Natalie Maines spoke out at a London concert last month," said Don Fitzkee who is one quarter of the group. He did not go on to clarify whether or not the quartet supports President Bush's policies.
Best If Used By 04/30/03

As the Southern Pennsylvania/Mid-Atlantic Meat Canning Project winds to a close, the Gospel Messenger has discovered that those districts have begun secret negotiations with the animal rights group PETA. "It's not about that wacky veggie Jesus stuff," said an undisclosed source. The canning project organizers are hoping that they can double the output of their efforts by replacing the canned beef with vegetable patties. The vegetarian fare would be subsidized, if not outright funded, by PETA. It would not be the first time PETA has offered veggie burgers to feed the hungry.

In related news, rumors have also been cropping up that VOS will spin off a progressive vegetarian spiritual organization, calling itself BETA (Brethren for the Ethical Treatment of Anibaptists).

Thursday, April 10, 2003

P&A Committee Strikes Again

April 10, 2003
Mr. David E. Leckrone
Woodbridge, VA

Dear Brother Leckrone:

These are times in the life of the church when we do not find clear-cut directives and unfettered guidance, even if we try our best to be true to the spirit and teachings of Jesus. The church in general, and the Church of the Brethren in particular, are going through a time of change which is testing and refining our identity and our faith. Moderator Harriet Finney tells us that she is finding an uneasiness about the church everywhere she goes in these months leading up the 2003 Conference in Boise. There also seems to us to be a spirit of hostility and defiance at a number of fronts in our denominational family.

It deeply pained the members of the Program and Arrangements Committee to read your letter in the April 2003 Messenger, that contained unkind, unfair, and defiant criticism of our Denomination and its leadership. It was difficult for some members of the Committee to get beyond those biting words to enter into the sprit of open and unaffected consideration of your letter.

As a number of persons on the Program and Arrangement Committee are new, the committee examined carefully the Guidelines pertaining to Annual Conference. A copy of those guidelines, Exhibit E, is enclosed for your reference. We spent a considerable amount of time kneeling in prayer. A motion was made and approved, given the policy of the church in the guidelines of the P&A Committee, the tone of the letter, and the general uneasiness of the denomination at this time, that we decline of your issues. We were not all of one mind on the decision, but we honor the majority in the vote. As Moderator Finney commented, it was very painful for us.

We wish there could have been a more peaceful back drop for this consideration.


Program & Arrangements Committee

c: Mr. Everett Fisher, BMC
Cache, Check or Charge

National Public Radio was apparently premature in its reports earlier this week. Chemical agents discovered Monday at a military compound on the Euphrates River were actually pesticides, not sarin gas, a U.S. military official told a foreign press service Tuesday. Regardless of what NPR is reporting, searches have also yielded no evidence of nuclear weapons at the General Offices in Elgin