Saturday, February 28, 2004

Performers to Sing at Two Gatherings

The Spongmonkeys have been booked to perform at two Brethren conferences this summer. First, they will be performing in Colorado at the first large scale National Young Adult Conference. Following that appearance, the wildly popular duo will present a late night concert at Annual Conference. As part of the booking arrangement, free toasted communion bread will be provided to Annual Conference. Conference goers will also find a coupon in their registration packets which will be good for a dollar off a foot long sandwich.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

General Board Begins New Chapter

In spite of a decrease in 2003's congregational giving, with its recent financial upturn, the General Board has begun its journey to financial independence. "With this first step, the General Board will no longer be accountable to the special interests of individual congregations and districts who try to pose their influence through the threat of withheld giving," said a General Board representative.
DE's Gone Wild

Brethren Press' latest money making venture will be the sale of a risque video of the District Executives partying in Dayton Beach. Watch for "DE's Gone Wild 2 - Charleston" to be released later this summer.
OMA Moves Office to Elgin

Unless the tarps are there because the General Board is procrastinating on roof repairs, it looks like OMA has been putting up their tents in the Elgin General Offices.

Monday, February 16, 2004

General Board Approves Bold, New Slogan

At its October meeting, the General Board approved a bold, new identity line, aimed at defining its niche in the marketplace of US churches and helping it "leverage" itself in the 1990s and beyond.

The line: "Church of the Brethren: We're Kind of Like the Mennonites."

The new slogan grew out of an extensive $2.2 million study conducted by MennoCorp, a marketing and imaging firm loosely associated with the Mennonite Church.

MennoCorp head Levi Smucker was on hand at the Board Meeting to unveil and explain the new slogan. Said Smucker, "In the hundreds of focus groups we conducted, we asked thousands of Brethren to tell us who they are. Again and again we heard 'Oh, uh, we're kind of like the Mennonites.' It became very clear to us that this, indeed, is who you are, or at least who you ought to be. We're quite convinced that this identity line will immediately raise the profile of the Brethren. And even if it doesn't, it certainly will raise the profile of the Mennonites."

Reactions to the new Brethren slogan were largely positive. One sister at the Board meeting gushed, "I've always known deep in my heart that this is who we were but I never could find the right words. MennoCorp has articulated for me what I've always known to be true."

Several General Board staff objected to the slogan, however, on the grounds that it was too sectarian for mainline Brethren. One staff person suggested that the statement be edited slightly from "Kind of Like the Mennonites" to "Kind of Like the Methodists," but the Board was hesitant to tamper with MennoCorp's masterful words.

Also rejected was a suggestion from the Brethren/Mennonite Caucus for Gay and Lesbian Concerns that the line "Kind of Like the Metropolitan Community Church" be substituted. A representative of the Womaen's Caucus spoke vehemently against the slogan on the grounds that it contains the words "Brethren" and "Men." As a long shot alternative, the Caucus suggested "Church of Reconciliation: As Inclusive as We Wanna Be."

MennoCorp has done similar studies for other Brethren agencies and institutions in recent years, all displaying a genius for finding just the right words. Among slogans developed by MennoCorp: "Bridgewater College: Sort of Like Eastern Mennonite;" "Manchester College: Vaguely Resembling Goshen;" "LaVerne University: Really Not Anything like Fresno Pacific;" "Bethany Theological Seminary: A Far Cry com AMBS;" "The Brethren Foundation: Somewhat Similar to the Mennonite Foundation, Only Not as Wealthy;" and "BVS: In the Vein of Mennonite Volunteer Service, But Without All the Christian Baggage."

This article was originally published in the April 1, 1995 edition of the Gospel Messenger

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

I'll Go If You Send Me (Where It's Warm)

While the vacancies aren't as high as last year, almost 15% of the summer workcamp spaces are still open. That's comprised of a whopping 20% of the young adult slots and nearly 20% of the senior high youth spaces. The junior high youth are doing better, filling over 85% of their allotment. The northeast appears to be the least popular destination as workcamps in MA, DC, and WV have a combined vacancy pushing the 80% mark. The BRF workcamp stacks up last against the rest, having a vacancy of 45%. Maybe they'd rather go to WV.
Wise Guys, Eh?

   What would have happened if it had been three wise women instead of three wise men?

   They would have asked directions, arrived on time, helped deliver the baby, cleaned the stable, made a casserole, and brought practical gifts!

Monday, February 02, 2004

Church Publisher May Leave Elgin

Since 1901, millions of Bibles and Sunday school curriculums printed in 120 languages have been launched from Elgin around the world.

But despite the religious nature of the work, the business recently was told by the Illinois appeals court that it is required to pay property taxes for the nine acres it owns in Elgin.

The court agreed with Kane County assessors by saying the Christian publishing company does not qualify for a tax exemption based on religion.

And without a property tax-free status, the corporation eventually might leave Elgin.

Sunday, February 01, 2004


The search continues for a candidate for the position of Director of Computer Operations. The General Board's Human Resource office thought they were close but, at the last minute, a hopeful prospect opted to take a position with Duplo Data instead. It appears that the ratio of work to salary that the Brethren can offer is nowhere close to that of supporting LabOra software.