Local bakers add sweetness to Synod

cookies.jpgThe logistical challenges of organizing a General Synod are many. Moving thousands of people into hundreds of local hotel rooms, arranging transportation to events, coordinating meeting rooms and many people’s schedules are just at the top of the list.

And then, there are the cookies. Before this UCC General Synod ends on Tuesday evening, June 30, more than 2,000 dozen cookies baked by church volunteers throughout the Ohio Conference will be delivered to the Cleveland Convention Center.  

Mary Enbow of the First Congregational Church, Hudson, Ohio, was one of three Cookie Chairs responsible for recruiting bakers, coordinating recipes, and gathering treats from across the conference’s almost 45,000 square miles—an incredible job.

“It’s hard to find cookie coordinators,” she says. “It’s even harder to get the cookies here [to Synod].”

Each Synod cookie effort learns valuable lessons from the previous one. This year, the Ohio Cookie Committee limited the choices to four types of cookies – snickerdoodle, chocolate chip, peanut butter and oatmeal raisin. Also prepared were hundreds of dozens of buckeyes, which, though more of a candy than a cookie, could not be left off the menu “because we are Ohio.” (The peanut butter and chocolate Buckeye resembles the nut of the Buckeye tree from which Ohio derives its nickname of the Buckeye State.)

Fewer cookie choices reduced some of the anxiety over which cookie would be best (or easiest) to fulfill a cookie quota. Yet standardizing the cookie types did not lead to lack of variety. Cookie consumers will still be able to taste recipe variations among bakers who may prefer a bit more chocolate, a bit less baking powder, or perhaps a pinch of vanilla. Vegan, gluten-free and other variations are still available for the asking.

Another lesson learned from the past led Enbrow and her volunteers to Target stores across the state. A few eyebrows were raised as 2,000 stackable plastic shoe-sized boxes were removed from store shelves this spring for use in cookie storage, transportation and delivery.

The boxes will be cleaned and sent to Baltimore for use by the Central Atlantic Conference Cookie Committee for General Synod in 2017, perhaps to deliver some classic Berger cookies, made in Maryland. Ohio Cookie Co-Chair Gwen Zielasko, also from First Congregational, offers some valuable advice learned from the delivery teams, with vans stacked several boxes high.

“Make some allowance for those turns and stops.”

After Tuesday, when there is nothing left but cookie crumbs, Enbow wants to do something special to thank her many bakers and volunteers. A gift of cookies?

“Maybe spiced nuts.”

Categories: United Church of Christ News

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