Saturday, June 7, 2003

Faith Matters: Tradition's the thing in Maineville



MAINEVILLE - To the 100 members of the 189-year-old Bethel Murdoch Presbyterian Church in Maineville, tradition is everything. And in the summer, that tradition includes ice cream socials with homemade, churned ice cream.

"We don't do anything different than they did 80 years ago, except we don't use raw eggs," said Pastor Mike Mullin. "We don't want anyone getting salmonella poisoning. But we use all the technology of the 18th century."

The church members get together on Wednesday nights and use Amish-built ice boxes to freeze the 80 gallons of ice cream in six to eight flavors. Then on Saturday, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., hundreds of people come to the church, 9602 Murdoch-Goshen Road, for the monthly event.

This year, the congregation is adding something more to the community gatherings - entertainment. Next Saturday, a bluegrass band, No Tools Loaned, from Lexington, will perform. For July's social, the church plans to have a book fair and possibly an oldies car show. For August, there are plans for a quilt show.

Fighting racism

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once called Sunday morning "the most segregated hour in America." But next week, an interracial, intercultural, interdenominational group of church leaders, Cincinnati Area Pastors, is taking steps to combat racism in the church.

"We know there are issues of racism in our city and that those extend even into the church. We're looking to erase both the roots and the fruits of racism," said Bishop Bobby Hilton of Word of Deliverance Ministries in Forest Park, one of the event's organizers. "We as church leaders know we need to be at the forefront of the healing."

The group has organized a national summit on racism in the church, to be held at Tri-County Assembly of God, 7350 Dixie Highway in Fairfield, Thursday through Friday. Nationally known religious figures will be a part of the three-day conference.

T.D. Jakes, an African-American preacher from Dallas who was dubbed the nation's "best preacher" and possibly "the next Billy Graham" by Time magazine in September 2001, will be among the speakers. Bill Hybels, pastor of the 18,000-member Willow Creek Community Church in suburban Chicago, and Fred Price, pastor of the 17,000-member Crenshaw Christian Center in Los Angeles, will also speak.

The conference is primarily geared toward church leaders, but organizers are hoping to fill the 2,500-seat sanctuary at Tri-County Assembly of God for the evening services at 7 p.m. There will also be a Middle Passage Museum Exhibit, featuring 15,000 artifacts from slavery, which will be open free from 4 to 6:45 p.m. daily throughout the conference.

Workshops for the three-day event will be 9 a.m. to noon and 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Registration is $99 for all three days and $35 for one day, but scholarships are available. The evening services are free.

For more information or to register, call (800) 388-0727 or visit www.cincinnatiareapastors.com.

Contact Karen Vance at kvance@fuse.net.




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