Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Frosty the Sermon

One Of These Things Is Not Like The Others

It wasn't only Frosty the snowman that was sticking out during the recent Christmas eve service broadcast on CBS. In this carefully crafted service with each person on screen selected to to represent the diversity of our denomination, the Gospel Messenger has to wonder are there no Mandolin players in the Church of the Brethren?

Jacob Jolliff, mandolin, has played since he was seven years old. He and his dad began playing shows together at coffee shops, churches, bluegrass festivals, and camps when he was nine. Jacob also plays the piano, and enjoys lots of different kinds of music, but up to this point has mainly played bluegrass. He has been mentored by David Grisman, and has also had lessons with Chris Thile. Jacob lives in Newberg, Ore., with his mom, dad, and two sisters, and has been home-schooled his whole life. Says Jacob of the CBS Christmas special: “It was tons of fun being a part of this project!”

In other CBS Event news, perhaps one good brother could use some glasses. We, at the Gospel Messenger do have televisions and took time to watch the entire program. And we counted a fairly even gender division among the primary participants. Of course we may be weighing the female side too heavily since we credit the fine contribution of the 6 and 8 year old girls. While there may not be an abundance of women ministers, perhaps those performances give hope for the future to some in spite of others' dread.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Baby, It's Cold Outside

Weather Forecast

Expect an extreme cold snap in the near future. Perhaps due to the freezing over of the netherworld as the Dunker Journalist has agreed in principle with a recent NCC statement defending churches' access to network airtime.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Moo in Our Midst

Moo in Our Midst

The cover feature of our sister publication this month takes a look at the wide-ranging ministry of Heifer International, which grew from the small idea of an Indiana Brethren to a global enterprise with a huge budget and projects in more than 50 countries.

Messenger editor and writer Walt Wiltscheck, while harboring an aversion to all manner of vegetables, has a certain fondness for bovines. Perhaps this explains his affection for Heifer International and their mission.

Thursday, December 09, 2004


Q & A

  1. What do unwelcoming churches and steroid using ball players have in common?
  1. Just about no one admits to being one while just about everyone knows that they're out there.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Jesus didn’t turn away

Jesus Didn’t Turn Away People, Neither Should We

A Welcome Home Project for soldiers is being coordinated by On Earth Peace and the Association of Brethren Caregivers (ABC). The Welcome Home Project began when it was recognized that military personnel returning home from combat zones "should experience a loving, compassionate response from the church to help them re-acclimate and heal from their experiences". As part of the project an insight session for "Receiving People Returning from Military Service" will be held at the 2005 Annual Conference in Peoria, Ill.

Extravagant Welcome

Advertising Controversy

A TV commercial which allegedly does not uphold dignity or cultural respect may remain unseen by over a billion people. Already, the ad has received an indignant response from viewers.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

CBS Special

Christmas Special

CBS is reportedly having doubts about airing the program recently recorded at Bethany Seminary. Originally scheduled to air on Christmas Eve during the late night slot normally filled be David Letterman, CBS may air a holiday service presented by the United Church of Christ.

A source close to CBS reports, “Because of the Church of the Brethren's peace position, and the fact the Executive Branch has recently proposed an increase of the number of troops in Iraq, this program may be unacceptable for broadcast on the [CBS and UPN] networks.”

Various groups within the Church of the Brethren are at odds about the apparent CBS decision. On one hand, it would be nice for the Church of the Brethren to have a chance to appear before a national audience. However, is it valid to support CBS with its policies about what is acceptable programming. And the UCC does deserve its chance to be seen.


Review: To Kill A Mocking Bird

Perhaps the best book ever written by a person. Some call it the timeless classic of growing up and the human dignity that unites us all.
Ignatius of Taiwan

Ignatius of Antioch was thrown to the lions as a Christian martyr in 107 CE. He wrote, "Let me be food for the wild beasts, for they are my way to God. I am God's wheat and bread. Pray to Christ for me that the animals will be the means of making me a sacrificial victim for God." He was devoured completely by the beasts.

Perhaps Christian doctrine regarding the afterlife will have to be re-examined, because apparently Ignatius was reincarnated in China, as reported in November: A man leaped into a lion's den at the Taipei Zoo on Wednesday to try to convert the king of beasts to Christianity, but was bitten in the leg for his efforts.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Turkey Soda

For He Satisfies the Thirsty

First it started when the Dixon Church of the Brethren started handing out bottled water. Next summer’s workcamps use the imagery of water for their theme. Some wondered where this would lead and now we’re beginning to find out. Tying into the holiday season, several churches are providing holiday themed (no-alcoholic) beverages to help spread the Word. Branded with the COB logo, the labels also include one of several verses such as Psalm 107:9, Proverbs 25:21, and Matthew 25:35. Vegetarian options are available.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

workcamps 2005

Workcamp Registration Extravaganza

The team of coordinators have plans well underway for the 2005 season of workcamps. Registrations will begin on December 1st. Workcampers who register before the April 1st deadline will receive the obligatory t-shirt. The workcamper who opens the most windows while searching for the perfect workcamp will receive a special prize.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Buzzword Bingo Oct 2004

General Board Meetings

The Church of the Brethren General Board will be meeting on Saturday, October 16, 2004 through Monday, October 18, 2004.

[Meeting Information] | [Meal Reservations] | [Buzzword Bingo]

Sunday, October 10, 2004

CoBACE funds make Christian education events possible.

Funds from the former Church of the Brethren Association for Christian Education (CoBACE) will make it possible for Brethren Press and the General Board's Congregational Life Teams to offer training events on Christian education at Annual Conference next year. CoBACE bequeathed a total of $1,678 to promote Christian education in the denomination when it disbanded in 2001. Over its 21-year career, CoBACE published a newsletter, hosted Annual Conference luncheons and insight sessions on a variety of topics, and provided continuing education activities for professional and volunteer church educators.

Conferencegoers will be able to earn continuing education credit, through the Brethren Academy, for attending a "track" of five insight sessions and a meal event focused on Christian education. CoBACE funds are paying for the leadership of Pamela Anderson, noted Sunday School teacher, at two insight sessions and the Brethren Press breakfast. Anderson spoke on becoming a dynamic 21st century Sunday school teacher, selecting Sunday school curriculum, and her three-year study of 150 different Sunday school curricula and how congregations nurture their children's spirituality in Sunday school, worship, and children's church.

At last year’s Conference, sessions were funded by Congregational Life Teams and featured Jacqueline Nowak, Christian educator and director of The Blessing Center at Memorial United Presbyterian Church, Xenia, Ohio, on family prayer time, the spirituality of children, and family faith formation. Fourteen people received continuing education credit, and between 17 and 65 conferencegoers came to each insight session. Julie Hostetter, CLT for Area 3, and Jewel McNary and Anna Speicher of Brethren Press coordinated the events.

The CoBACE bequest also supported insight sessions at last year's Annual Conference led by Judith Myers-Walls, associate professor of Child Development and Family Studies at Purdue University.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Scared Music

Kindling: Scared Music

Kindling has announced it's latest album, Black & Bluegrass: A Tribute to Ozzy Osbourne.

Thanks to MTV, Ozzy Osbourne and his family are household names - sort of a Beverly Hillbillies for the 21st century. Kindling could not agree more. Trading Ozzy's anguished vocals for high-lonesome harmonies, and screaming guitars for lightning-quick banjos, this collection gives the music of heavy metal's founding father the bluegrass treatment. Performed by Kindling and featuring such classics as "Crazy Train," "Paranoid," and "Flying High Again." Black and Bluegrass cooks up a tribute as good as mama's cornbread - with a side of dove heads.

Black & Bluegrass: A Tribute to Ozzy Osbourne is the kind of record that should probably never be made. It is a cynical pairing of two completely divergent streams of culture that is obviously only in existence to bilk people out of their money. Still, that being said, it is actually a pretty good record. Bluegrass is a surprisingly elastic form of music that can easily transform a heavy metal anthem like "Crazy Train" into something that sounds like it was written by Bill Monroe. Well, almost. The band doing the transforming of both solo Ozzy and Black Sabbath classics is called Kindling, and the four performers in the band are very proficient musicians and singers who sound like they are in on the joke. Their take on "Paranoid" is especially fun with plenty of lightning-fast pickin' and a suitable hellfire-and-brimstone vocal. They also do weird things with "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" and "Shot in the Dark" that almost defy nature. Most likely bluegrass fans will shun this like the plague, and Ozzy fans, should they stumble across it, will find the concept pretty hokey. It's their loss because Black & Bluegrass is a barrel of fun.

Lee Krähenbühl states, "There are plenty of innate differences in the styles that make a fusion difficult — the concept of melody being one. This album pinpoints the fact that in their original versions, these songs contain precious little melody, especially in the vocals, and we had to work hard to extract that and create harmonies behind the Shawn's lead"

Shawn Kirchner added, "Ozzy's songs are about alienation, an important issue for today's church. The church should be not be for just one type of music"

Peg Lehman indicated that the reason that Kindling made this album was, "we've run out of music for the autoharp".

Steve Kinzie was happy that none of the lyrics were attributed to Nelson Mandela.

Kindling premiered many of the numbers off their new CD at a concert hosted by the Tonoloway Primitive Baptist Church located in Hancock, Md.

Joseph Helfrich, not to be out done, will be releasing Fade to Bluegrass; The Bluegrass Tribute to Metallica, and donating the proceeds to a Suicide Prevention Hot-line.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Pity the Fool

Thou Shalt Pity the Fool: Mr. T gets spiritual at Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren

It's Sunday night in the bustling lobby of Elgin's Community Church, and hundreds of clean-cut 20-somethings are asserting a pronouncement of profound benevolence.

They're voicing compassion for the world's less fortunate, but it's by repeating a sentiment not found in any Bible: "I pity the fool!"

Those weighty words, the "Whazzzzup?" or "You're fired!" of the mid-'80s, fill the air.

Why? Because Mr. T - née Lawrence Tureaud, later shortened to Tero, then simply T - is in the house.

But when he speaks to the crowd, he doesn't appear to be the Mr. T we all remember. The obligatory gold jewelry, the pounds and pounds of bling, are nowhere to be seen.

"When I'm in a house of God, I don't wear the jewelry," he explains softly. "If I were wearing my gold, I couldn't be humble. I want you all to see my heart of gold."

Bejeweled or not, Mr. T, 52, is indeed still pitying fools everywhere he goes. And tonight, Sept. 26, he's in Elgin to... well, we're not sure.

Many of tonight's packed house - Elgin officials says attendance is around 1,600 people - are certain that he's going to enlighten them with a very spiritual message.

"He's a Christian, and he's been in Hollywood for 20 years," explains Joel Kline. "And he's battled cancer, too."

Others, well, they're here more for the camp value than anything else.

"We're big Mr. T fans," says Round Lake Beach's Jason Mount, who's holding a Mr. T doll that says "I pity the fool!" when Mount pulls the string on the back. "We're here to see the T!"

Pitiful fools

After an intro that features a band playing Survivor's stale "Eye of the Tiger," Mr. T walks onstage wearing a sleeveless black T-shirt, navy blue warm-up pants and sandals with white socks.

"Thank you so much," he says, in a voice not much above a whisper and holding a large Bible above his head. "I'm so glad to be here."

Wait - huh? Who is this low-key guy who seems to be inhabiting Mr. T's body?

Yes, he's got the muscles and the mohawk. But this man's T-shirt asks, "Got Jesus?" And a simple cross hangs from his neck on a necklace of wooden beads.

Joel Kline and Mr. T sit down and begin an earnest discussion about the Lord. Turns out, Mr. T has a lot on his mind, and most of it has to do with Jesus.

"Lord, I ask that you hide my face so my words can be heard," Mr. T says. "Tonight, we want to heal some hearts."

Whoa. Where's the "Cut the jibba-jabba, fool!" or "Better watch out, sucker!"?

This is like going to see Metallica in concert and watching them put down their electric guitars and start playing Gordon Lightfoot songs.

The clean-cut crowd stares at Mr. T spellbound, hanging on his every word. He talks about growing up in Chicago's Robert Taylor Homes, being one of 12 children and his adoration for his mother.

"I'm a big, tough, overgrown momma's boy," he says proudly.

The crowd laughs and cheers. The whole spectacle seems somewhat, well, odd.

After all, Mr. T's last movie was 2001's "Judgment," also known as "Apocalypse IV: Judgment." Not exactly "Spider-Man 2."

Yes, he was in "Rocky III," and "D.C. Cab" and of course, he was Bosco Albert "B.A." Baracus on the famed "The A-Team." But this was a long, long time ago.

The average age at Highland Avenue looks to be about 26, and "The A-Team" went off the air in 1987. So, in Mr. T's prime they were what - 8? 9? Are they really interested in his thoughts on religion? Or is this just a chance to see a celebrity?

Pity = compassion

Mr. T doesn't take long to warm up, and soon the low-key persona is gone. Talking about salvation gets him quite worked up, and he commandeers the microphone and leads the crowd like a preacher addressing his flock.

"These hands can break a brick, but at the same time I can go to a hospital and hold a little baby!" he says.

"God will never leave you," he says. "If you believe, everything will come to pass."

Mr. T eventually turns to his cancer diagnosis, which came in 1995.

"It shook me, it rocked me to my core, and it knocked me to my knees," he says. "But then I realized: What a great place to be, to pray."

Mr. T invokes the name of Jacob, the biblical character who wrestled with an angel, and the famously troubled Job.

Then, he finally explains what he meant by constantly decreeing that he pitied the fool. It turns out he didn't mean I pity you because your foolishness makes it inevitable that I will physically harm you.

Rather, his pity is a somewhat Christian message - albeit tinged with violent overtones: "You see, it allows me to pity fools and not beat them up," he says. "If someone cuts me off on the freeway, I just say, 'I pity him,' and then I'm done with it."

When his hourlong talk ends, the adoring throng treats Mr. T to a standing ovation.

He is the bomb

Afterward, Mr. T chats for a few moments before patiently signing hundreds of autographs.

He stands the whole time: "I can't sit down - I'm too excited to sit!" he says. "I got too much energy to sit!"

He talks about living in Lake Forest and the famous incident in which he cut down more than 100 trees on his property.

"A white man came up to me and said, 'I cut down trees all the time,'æ" he explains. "It was just because I'm black. And the same people who said I couldn't do that, they live in wooden houses."

Then he heads back upstairs to sign autographs for the hundreds of people waiting for him.

Mr. T knows how to handle the crowd: He shakes hands, poses for pictures and reacts good-naturedly when a woman suddenly reaches up and rubs his mohawk.

"See, it's good to have a short name," he says, signing as many autographs as he can. "If my name was Engelbert Humperdinck, we'd be here all night!"

Jill Schroeder of Algonquin hands him her cell phone with her friend Ray at the other end.

"Why aren't you in church?" he growls into the phone with mock anger.

The signing goes on and on, and Mr. T shows no sign of complaining.

"You were the bomb in 'D.C. Cab!'æ" yells Steve Mravik of Elgin.

"Thank you, thank you very much!" Mr. T replies.

The line between Christianity and celebrity seems to have blurred here, yet the crowd seems to have taken away nothing but goodness from Mr. T's talk.

"I don't know where God is in my life, and he sent me the message that I should look further," says Kristin Kiefer of Elk Grove Village. "He was really inspirational."

Behind her, Mr. T continues to strike poses for cameras, shake hands and offer thanks to the Lord.

"We met Mr. T!" Mravik says, high-fiving his friend Lauren Greeno.

"It was awesome!" she agrees. "It really was. He was really full of love."

Agrees Manning: "He delivered a message of humility and putting God first," she says.

"And pitying the fool!" comes a lone voice behind her.

And pitying the fool, indeed.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Ad-Hoc Additions

Ad-Hoc Additions

The ad-hoc relocifcation committee has secured the services of a group of consultants who will serve as inspectors for any possible sites that may be considered for national program in the future. The four consultants, Brian Kelly, Andy Ryan, Kevin Sexton, and David Marino are expected to positively impact any decisions through the years of experience they bring to the job. Two more consultants, Collin Flynn and Michael Gruring, are expected to join the team in the near future.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Bethany Indiana

Bethany News

COBCOA is continuing with will its plans to shut down operations. Unfortunately, contrary to previous reports, the existence of Brethren Colleges is indeed in jeopardy as they are beginning to divest themselves of any Brethren denominational affiliation. Also, in a related move, Melrose Park School has announced its plans to move to Bethany, Ind., which will make it the only Church of the Brethren school in the US.

In related news, Bethany Theological Seminary will be renaming itself to "The Richmond School of Religion" in order to clear up any confusion as to its location.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Illinois Pennsylvania Whatever

Ethnic Demographics

The Multi-Ethnic/Cross-Cultural Study Committee has begun implementation of its first plan to make the denomination more geographically and ethnically diverse. Committee member Neemita Pandya announced that the Naperville Church of the Brethren, which is primarily ethnically Indian, will be moving around periodically so that different districts' ethnic demographics will all get a boost. Initially located in Illinois, Naperville’s next location will be Pennsylvania. The specific district to be credited with Naperville’s membership has yet to be determined. The four districts comprising the Keystone State are the Western, Middle, and Southern Pennsylvania District along with the Atlantic Northeast District.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Manchester Plague

Another College Ranking

Although Manchester College is reported by U.S. News & World Report in its annual rankings on the magazine’s “Best Colleges” list, at number 33 among Midwest schools, everything is not peaches and cream at the northern Indiana college. In spite of the college making the list for 10 consecutive years, about one-third of the residential student body and even some of the faculty are sick of school after less than a month being back to classes.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Elgin Witness

Elgin's Historic Peace Church Tour

This past weekend, while neighbors were selling lemonade and hawking various and sundry other refreshments, volunteers from the Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren were distributing free Brethren Water to the thousands of passer-bys. And while the Church of the Brethren was making that witness, the Brethren Volunteer (BVS) House witnessed the Church’s peace position with a display modeled on that displayed by the Skyridge COB.

The now nationally famous Gifford Park Association Annual House Tour is a tour of the historically and/or architecturally significant homes in Elgin, Illinois and is typically held on the first or second weekend of September. Each year about 9-10 homes are selected and shown on the tour. A different section of Elgin is featured each year. This year's House Tour was held September 11 and 12. The House Tour was centered around the neighborhood of the Church of the Brethren, located at the intersection of Highland Avenue and McClure St. in the near west side area of Elgin, where the houses range from cottages to grand mansions.

Attendees viewed the interior and exterior of the homes at their own pace and in whatever order they chose. For the interior, docents guided the guests through the house, pointing out features of architectural and historical significance, and answering what questions they could.

Spearheaded by the Gifford Park Association, formed in 1978, the annual Historic Elgin House Tour in early September attracts over 2,000 people.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

BRF Jeopardy

1000 Points of Darkness

This just in from or correspondents Ken Jennings and Bernie Neis... While “What is 1000?” is the Jeopardy answer to “The number of U.S. deaths in Iraq recently topped this figure”, the answer to the question “What do 1000 and September 11 have in common?” has nothing to do with the war in terrorism. While the tragedy of 9/11 spurred the war in Afghanistan, any links to Iraq are, at best, tenuous.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004


YAC 2005: 'Twice the Fun'

Young adults may need to make more free time on their schedules next spring. With the success of this year's National Young Adult Conference, the Youth and Young Adult Ministries Office couldn't simply return to the smaller YAC format. So, instead, it looks like there are plans underway for two regional events to take place concurrently on Memorial Day weekend, May 27-29 2005. One event will take place in Ohio at Camp Woodland Altars. The location for the second has yet to be named.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Jones Scam

Another General Board Staff Implicated

Merlyn Kettering is no longer alone among the Brethren caught up in the turmoil of African based controversy. It has come to the attention of the Gospel Messenger that Phil Jones' name has been linked to the Nigerian 4-1-9 scam, often seen in internet spam messages. In this case, the scam takes the form of a fraudulent lottery promotion. While Phil Jones may be a common name, the Church of the Brethren does have a long history in Nigeria.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Theft Strikes Brethren Art World

The crime was so improbable that even after it happened the first time, coincidentally during an Olympics, the Norwegians took no special precautions to prevent a recurrence.

In 1994, as Norway was hosting the Winter Olympics, thieves climbed a ladder, broke a window at the National Gallery in Oslo and stole Edward Munch's painting "The Scream." On Sunday, two thieves wearing ski masks rushed into the Munch Museum and, while the unarmed guards were held at gunpoint, made off with three more masterpieces.

Missing is another version of "The Scream", Munch's "Madonna", and an original "Little Man", on loan from the Brethren Historical Library and Archives. Not as well known as "The Scream", "Little Man" has striking similarities to Munch’s well known image.

The earlier theft was solved and the painting recovered after the thieves tried to settle for a $1 million ransom.

As for this latest theft, a stolen station wagon and frames and broken glass from the paintings were found not far from the museum. Other than that, police have few clues; the thieves did speak in Norwegian, which narrows it down somewhat since the famously law-abiding country has only 4.5 million people.

Attacker Sentenced, Fined

Attacker Sentenced, Fined

After Parker Marden was tackled by Cornelius Horan in a bizarre incident, Manchester College has named Jo Young Switzer as the school's first female president.

Marden insists that the brush with Horan, a defrocked Irish priest, who has disrupted the British Grand Prix and other sporting events, did not have any influence on his descision to retire in June 2005. Switzer is a 1969 Manchester graduate and has been the school's vice president and dean for academic affairs since 1993. She is also a professor of communication studies at the college.

She previously taught communications at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne. She has a master's degree and a doctorate in communications from the University of Kansas.

Friday, August 27, 2004

US News College Rankings

More College Rankings

Bridgewater College

General Information
Private institution
Year founded: 1880
Religious affiliation: Church of the Brethren
Academic calendar: 4-1-4
Undergraduate student body: 1,403
Setting: Rural

Fall 2005 Admissions
Application deadline: Rolling
Application fee: $30
Selectivity: Selective

U.S. News Ranking
Liberal Arts Colleges, fourth tier

2004-2005 Expenses
Tuition and fees: $17,990
Room/board: $8,480
Elizabethtown College

General Information
Private institution
Year founded: 1899
Religious affiliation: Church of the Brethren
Academic calendar: Semester
Undergraduate student body: 1,975
Setting: Suburban

Fall 2005 Admissions
Application deadline: Rolling
Application fee: $20
Selectivity: More selective

U.S. News Ranking
Comprehensive Colleges–Bachelor's (North), 2

2004-2005 Expenses
Tuition and fees: $23,710
Room/board: $6,600
Juniata College

General Information
Private institution
Year founded: 1876
Religious affiliation: Church of the Brethren
Academic calendar: Semester
Undergraduate student body: 1,396
Setting: Rural

Fall 2005 Admissions
Application deadline: March 15
Application fee: $30
Selectivity: More selective

U.S. News Ranking
U.S. News ranking: Liberal Arts Colleges, 101

2004-2005 Expenses
Tuition and fees: $24,320
Room/board: $6,770
University of LaVerne

General Information
Private institution
Year founded: 1891
Religious affiliation: Church of the Brethren
Academic calendar: 4-1-4
Undergraduate student body: 1,396
Setting: Suburban

Fall 2005 Admissions
Application deadline: February 1
Application fee: $50
Selectivity: Selective

U.S. News Ranking
National Universities, third tier

2004-2005 Expenses
Tuition and fees: $21,500
Room/board: $8,510
Manchester College

General Information
Private institution
Year founded: 1889
Religious affiliation: Church of the Brethren
Academic calendar: 4-1-4
Undergraduate student body: 1,153
Setting: Rural

Fall 2005 Admissions
Application deadline: Rolling
Application fee: $20
Selectivity: Selective

U.S. News Ranking
Comprehensive Colleges–Bachelor's (Midwest), 33

2004-2005 Expenses
Tuition and fees: $18,060
Room/board: $6,710
McPherson College

General Information
Private institution
Year founded: 1887
Religious affiliation: Church of the Brethren
Academic calendar: 4-1-4
Undergraduate student body: 436
Setting: Rural

Fall 2005 Admissions
Application deadline: Rolling
Application fee: $25
Selectivity: Selective

U.S. News Ranking
Comprehensive Colleges–Bachelor's (Midwest), third tier

2004-2005 Expenses
Tuition and fees: $14,645
Room/board: $5,620

Our interpretation...
  • oldest school: Juniata (1876)
  • largest / smallest student body: 1,975 / 436
  • variance in tuition (between cheapest and most expensive): $9,675
  • cheapest to get into: Manchester
  • most expensive / affordable room and board: $8,510 / $5,620
  • LaVerne is now affiliated with the COB
Kudos to ETown, Manchester, and Juniata for making the rankings.

Source: US News

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Princeton Review

Admissions Selectivity Rating:897465787793
Religious Affiliation:No AffiliationChurch of BrethrenChurch of BrethrenChurch of BrethrenChurch of BrethrenChurch of Brethren
Average SAT:1001Not Reported10151022Not Reported1168
Average ACT:20Not Reported2220Not ReportedNot Reported
Female/Male Ratio:63:3744:5655:4555:4565:3556:44
White/Ethnic Ratio:36:6479:2186:1488:1292:893:7
Freshmen Returning for Sophomore Year:88%61%74%74%84%86%
Freshmen Graduating in 4 years:31%35%41%54%62%68%
Freshmen Graduating in 6 years:50%45%56%59%70%75%
Total applicants who are accepted:56%68%79%88%70%75%
Total of accepted students who enroll:36%33%39%32%28%32%
Rating:Best in the West
Best in the MidwestBest in the Mid-AtlanticBest in the Mid-AtlanticBest in the Mid-Atlantic; #14 Best Bargains - Private
Average freshman total gift aid:$16,878n/a$13,516$11,346n/a$15,078
Academic Rating:90n/a78728592
Student/faculty ratio:9:19:114:114:112:113:1
Full-time faculty:10536688812693
Full-time & part-time faculty with PhDs:40%55%72%66%55%80%
Quality of Life Rating:94n/a90909190
Fire Safety Rating:80012013
Students living on campus:37%0%74%76%84%85%
Athletic division:Division IIIDivision IIDivision IIIDivision IIIDivision IIIDivision III

Our analysis:
  • Smartest students: Juniata
  • Worst students: Bridgewater (we're giving McPherson the benefit of the doubt)
  • Priciest: Elizabethtown
  • Cheapest: McPherson
  • Best place to meet sisters: Elizabethtown
  • Best place to meet brothers: McPherson
  • Palest campus: Juniata
  • Easiest to get into: McPherson
  • Most selective school: Juniata
  • But they're most likely to go to: Manchester
  • Brightest faculty: Juniata
  • Dimmest faculty: LaVerne
  • Least likely to burn down: Juniata
  • Why is LaVerne considered a Brethren University?

Actual student quotes:

source: Princeton Review

Thursday, August 12, 2004

jesus h chnst

The Chnst Centered Church

As the General Board plans for its upcoming fall meetings in Elgin, it has announced plans to add Christ-Centeredness at the top of its list of core values.

Currently, these values include Servant Leadership, Discernment, Community, Stewardship, Simplicity, Hospitality, and Peacemaking. After many long meetings and much debate it was determined that "centeredness" is, indeed, a word. The Board hopes to make the new value a priority which will replace the generally ignored value of Chnst-Centeredness.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Jones Arrest

Questioning Jones Questioning

The Gospel Messenger has been unable to confirm whether Phil Jones has been questioned by the US State Department in regards to the whereabouts of Merlyn Kettering following his recent arrest. Efforts to obtain a comment from the Brethren Church in the USA proved fruitless.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Protection from Universities

COBCOA Closure

Ian Hargrave announced today that COBCOA will take the first steps in shutting down its operations. Although the current Brethren schools are in no jeopardy of closing down, their affiliation with the Church of the Brethren is in question. Once COBCOA realized that Brethren beliefs are not conducive to higher education, they decided that their mission would be difficult, if not impossible, to implement. Devout followers of the Christian-based religion founded 300 years ago in Germany believe their children should be protected from universities, television, radio and the internet. Girls are banned from wearing trousers, the theory of evolution is not taught and non-believers cannot attend some Brethren schools.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Kenya Conference

Five From Richmond Travel to Kenya

Five Richmond area residents are on their way to Nairobi. They left today for a conference in Kenya, in spite of the tarnished name of the Church of the Brethren in that country. The Swahili-language name for the conference, Kitu Kidoko, means “a little something” and describes the common exchange of favors in the Kenyan culture.

Donald Miller, emeritus professor of Christian education and ethics at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, is the convener of the planning committee for the event. Two local women, Aletha Stahl and Dawn Wilhlem, also are making the trip to Kenya. Stahl, professor of French at Earlham College, will be one of five translators at the conference. Wilhelm is an assistant professor of preaching and worship at Bethany. Other planning committee members attending include Scott Holland, associate professor of peace studies and cross-cultural studies at Bethany Theological Seminary and Ben Richmond, director of North American Ministries at Friends United Meeting in Richmond. All will attend the conference. Merlyn Kettering will not be traveling with the group.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004


Not a Political Endorsement

To paraphrase Barak Obama, we are neither conservative nor progressive. We merely belong to the Church of the Brethren. And while endorsing no political party we do offer you this tidbit for your consideration.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Kettering Watch

Latest News

Kettering Updates

Dali Llama

Baptismal Transcendence

If I had known that the "surreal moment
of baptismal transcendence" would involve
being pelted with deformed clocks and
spat on, I likely wouldn't have made
this trip to see the Dali Llama.

(Brad Simanek)

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Sudan Position Opening

Position Announcement

Applications are being sought for the position of Strategic Advisor, New Sudan Council of Churches. An opening is expected in the near future. Applicants should have no skeletons in their closets. Resumés and references should be sent to the Kenyan government.

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Merlyngate Consulting

Help Wanted: Relocation Consultants

The Ad Hoc Relocation Committee has contracted the consulting services of the Anglo Leasing Finance Company to aid in its search for possible future locations of General Board offices. The General Board’s Management Consultant and Development Advisor, Dr. Merlyn Kettering, will be serving as a liaison to the consultants. Dr. Kettering will be available in Charleston during Annual Conference to anyone wishing to provide input into the process. Other firms also providing input to the process are Dyntech International, Kamsons Limited, Kasson International, and Sagaar Associates.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Legalize Pot-Lucks

Illinois Incentive

Brethren can keep sharing their fried chicken and green bean casserole if Illinois lawmakers get their way. Illinois legislators voted in favor of loosening health regulations for traditional potluck dinners. The move to legalize potlucks is expected to make the state much more attractive to the Church of the Brethren and could affect the ongoing discussion of the General Offices' location.

The legislation would lift the usual health rules for potlucks that don't charge a fee and aren't held on public property.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Sudan Funds in Jeopardy

Sudan Funds in Jeopardy

Funds slated for the New Sudan Council of Churches are now in question as financial scandals wrack that small country and others. While Nigeria has long been noted for its internet money scams, it seems that Kenya has troubles of its own. And where there's a Kenya connection there is also a Sudan connection.

Charleston 2004 Buzzword Bingo

Annual Conference Buzzword Bingo

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Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Molding Young Minds

Building Bridges of Love and Understanding

While BRF leaders are insisting that the scheduling of workcamps is a coincidence, rumors are rampant that there is some conspiracy behind the concurrent workcamps in progress in the end of June in the Dominican Republic. BRF leaders, and General Board staff alike, are frantically reassuring their respective members that the larger BRF workcamp is not working towards instilling conservative values upon others. As stated of the Youth/Young Adult workcamp site, they are in the DR merely to "build bridges of love and understanding".

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

“…for every seed I plant, will grow into a tree…”

If any of you are familiar with the second verse of the “Johnny Appleseed” blessing, you’ve heard that line before. At NYAC, participants were going to have the opportunity to plant some seedlings that would soon be trees which would later be destroyed by forest fires. However, plans change and, in order to streamline the process, the closing evening activities will include a bonfire of seedlings - eliminating the middle-man, so to speak. In addition to eliminating the pointless growth and destruction, time and other resources will be saved that would otherwise been used in the distribution and planting of the seedlings. Plans are under way for next year's NYAC where the bonfire will be symbolic, thus saving yet another segment in this circle of life.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Statistics Don't Lie

Statistics Don't Lie

Plans for a Nigerian relocation of Brethren headquarters are on hold due to a brewing statistical controversy. It appears that the large membership figures reported by the Nigerian churches may be inflated or inaccurate. Tom and Janet Crago, Interim Mission Coordinators, report that some churches are reporting active membership while not reporting any church or Sunday School attendance.

Weighing in on the Nigeria location's behest are the overwhelming offers of financial support.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

We Still Love You Matt

The much beloved Matt Guynn was recently identified as one of the Church of the Brethren’s high-level leaders. Other members of this august group include Mark Flory Steury, David Shumate, Ron and Harriet Finneys, Fred Swartz, Kathy and Stephen Reid, Jeff Bach, Dena Pence Frantz, Jonathan Shively, Stan Noffsinger, Wendy McFadden, Mary Jo Flory Steury, Julie Hostetter, and Del Keeney.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Waiting in the On-Deck Circle...

Even though Mission and Ministries Planning Council plans for advertising were rained out in the late innings another Church of the Brethren group waiting in the on-deck circle and ready for their chance at bat.

The Church of the Brethren Collaboration on Admissions (COBCOA) is planning to promote Brethren colleges at the upcoming NCAA Division III national baseball championship. According to COBCOA, a Brethren education encourages free inquiry, intellectual curiosity, academic challenge, and programs that foster maturity and quality of character. It focuses on the growth of the whole person, the worth of the individual, and each person's responsibility to others. It instills within students a clearly visible system of values that they will carry throughout their lives. Ultimately, a Brethren education unites the world of work with the world of the spirit.

Watch for the COBCOA logo and the Manchester College Spartans on the bases at the double-elimination national championship tourney in Appleton, Wis., from May 28 to June 2.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Ad Hoc Takes Stock on ReLoc

With the reduction of the position of New Windsor Conference Center Director and no apparent plans to hire a replacement director, doubts are being cast upon any plans to consolidate denominational offices to the Maryland site. And ever since the Ad Hoc Relocation Committee was formed by the General Board at its March Board Meetings, staff at the Elgin (IL) headquarters have been uneasy about their future. Now it appears that, in an apparent attempt to return to the denomination’s roots, a third location is being considered.

Kable News and Watt Publishing are in negotiations to sell some of their property, originally bought from the Church of the Brethren, in Mount Morris. With the currently small and shrinking size of the denomination such a small town setting will prove efficacious.

It is also noted that other reports suggest that an overseas location is also under consideration.

Thursday, May 20, 2004