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.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Sky Fails to Fall

Marcia Kadish, 56, and Tanya McCloskey, 52, who have been partners for 18 years, were married by Cambridge City Clerk Margaret Drury shortly after 9 a.m. EDT on May 17th.

For the most part, gay marriage opponents remained quiet as hundreds prepared to tie the knot, but a handful of anti-gay activists turned out on Sunday night in Cambridge holding signs like "God Hates Fags."

Meanwhile, it was a beautiful day, there were no meteors to be seen, not so much as a heavy gust of wind... Perhaps God was smiling down.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

ACLU is a Staunch Defender of the Religious Right

That’s the right of a student to submit a quote from the bible for the school yearbook. According to our source, “The ACLU is not persecuting christians. The only people the ACLU persecute is those who persecute others, be it George W. Bush and the patriot act, or a school where people are punished for praying individually and not as a school activity; the ACLU defends everyone's rights.”

Monday, May 17, 2004

Friday, May 14, 2004

Annual Conference Costs Rise

Already staggering from sticker shock at the Charleston AC registration costs, Annual Conference participants may suffer "licker shock" at the ice cream stand this summer when they see some of that industry's biggest price hikes ever.

Blame it on bad timing. A combination of political unrest, natural disasters overseas and fluctuations in the American dairy industry have left ice cream manufacturers grappling with higher prices for key ingredients including milk, vanilla and cocoa.

Brethren can expect to pay six to 20 per cent more for everything from pints in the grocery store to cones at the stand. The annual ice cream sundae bar may soon be a fond memory.

Retail and restaurant ice cream make up a $20 billion US business in the United States, where nearly 1.6 billion gallons are produced each year, according to Bob Yonkers, chief economist for the International Dairy Foods Association.

The average person eats 26 servings of ice cream a year, according to The NPD Group, a market research firm. Statistics for Brethren ice cream consumption were unavailable at press time.

Until recently, the price of ice cream was moderated by a glut of milk. But low prices drove many farmers from the industry, and those who remain have fewer cattle following a mad cow-induced ban on importing them from Canada.

This year, demand is up and farmers can't keep pace. That's driving up the cost of the milk and butterfat needed to make ice cream, Yonkers said.

The industry also is squeezed by vanilla prices, said Lynda Utterback, executive director of the National Ice Cream Retailers Association. A series of cyclones that hit Madagascar in recent years damaged much of the vanilla crop, driving the price per gallon for vanilla syrup from $75 US to between $400 US and $800 US.

And cocoa prices are up about $1 US per pound because political unrest in the Ivory Coast - where roughly 40 per cent of the world's cocoa crop is grown - drove many farmers from their lands.

Many in the ice cream industry have some consolation in the fact that it's early in the season, and therefore easier to post higher prices than it would be during the summer.
Although the price increase is painful, some manufacturers say dairy farmers are long overdue for a break.

"Obviously we're concerned, but our main concern is for the small family farms and making sure they can make a livable wage," said Chrystie Heimert, spokeswoman for Ben & Jerry's.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

It's Time to Reevaluate Our Involvement

Every day there are news reports about more deaths. Every night on TV there are photos of death and destruction. Why are we still there?

We occupied this land, which we had to take by force, but it causes us nothing but trouble. Why are we still there?

Many of our children go there and never come back. Why are we still there?

Their government is unstable, and they have loopy leadership. Why are we still there?

Many of their people are uncivilized. Why are we still there?

The place is subject to natural disasters, which we are supposed to bail them out of. Why are we still there?

There are more than 1000 religious sects, which we do not understand. Why are we still there?

Their folkways, foods and fads are unfathomable to ordinary Americans. Why are we still there?

We can't even secure the borders. Why are we still there?

They are billions of dollars in debt and it will cost billions more to rebuild, which we can't afford. Why are we still there?

It is becoming clear...

We must pull out of California!

Friday, May 07, 2004

There's No Crying in Baseball Advertising

Shortly after announcing its promotion to evangelize using bases next month, the Mission and Ministries Planning Council has called a balk on itself and has abandoned its plans to evangelize on the bases of Minor League Baseball. The ads, featuring the COB logo and the "Continuing the work of Jesus" tagline were to have debuted at the July 3rd game between the Charleston Alley Cats and the DelMarva Shorebirds.

"It isn't worth, frankly, having a debate about," chair Stan "Babe" Noffsinger said. "I'm a traditionalist. The problem in sports marketing, particularly in baseball, is you're always walking a very sensitive line. Nobody loves tradition and history as much as I do."

Under the original plan, black-and-blue ads were to appear on bases - but not home plate - during games from July 3-7. The plan began to crumble when the Everett AquaSox said they would only allow the ads on bases during batting practice - and only for one game that weekend.

"The bases were an extremely small part of this program," said Chris Bowman, Annual Conference's Moderator. "However, we understand that a segment of our worshipers was uncomfortable with this particular component and we do not want to detract from the worshiper's experience in any way."

While the logos will not be put on bases during games, it's still not certain whether they will appear during warmups.

"We listened to the worshipers," said Donna Shumate, General Board Chair. "We never saw this coming, the reaction the worshipers had. It became a flashpoint - the reaction was overwhelming."

Shumate said the MPCC had approached baseball about pulling the bases promotion.

"We don't want to do anything that takes away from a worshiper's enjoyment of the game," she said. "Some people thought it was a great idea, but others saw it as sacrilegious."

"I think they made a good decision to change their minds," District Executive Donald Booz said. "I don't think it makes any sense at all. It's a clutter. It’s not simple living."

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

A Record of the Historical Hollywood Jesus

No film set exists without its share of gags and accidents, even the filming of Mel Gibson’s crucifixion epic. A transcript of scenes that may never make it onto the DVD edition has been archived. Consider it a record of the historical Hollywood Jesus.

Monday, May 03, 2004

You Want Fries With That Quilt?

"Brethren Fries" - Immersed in water, Anointed with oil.

The special pommes frites were available at the Mid-Atlantic Disaster Auction.

Saturday, May 01, 2004

Visit Credit Union at Annual Conference

Visitors at the Church of the Brethren Credit Union exhibit at Annual Conference will have a chance to enter a drawing for valuable prizes. Conference goers who can show the largest collection of COBCU magnets will be eligible. Already, current credit union members who are also pension plan members have collected two of the many magnets to be distributed. The credit union is now open to all people.