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BSSB takes ‘extraordinary’ steps to deliver literature

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–The Baptist Sunday School Board is taking “extraordinary” measures to see that churches get their literature in spite of the nationwide United Parcel Service strike, the board’s president announced Aug. 7.
James T. Draper, Jr., told Baptist Press that dated literature orders placed by Aug. 6 will be sent by other carriers at a cost to the board estimated in excess of $500,000. While approximately 70 percent of the dated orders for use beginning in September had been shipped before the strike began on Aug. 4, Draper said, delivery of the remaining 30 percent has become the board’s most immediate concern.
“We have looked at the situation, and we have made this choice because ministry is where our heart is,” Draper said. “This is an extraordinary measure, but we choose to do this because churches will get their literature when they need it and because we want to do it. We have surveyed some other organizations that are also among the largest UPS customers, and many of those are holding orders until the strike ends. We do not feel we can delay shipment to those we consider partners in ministry.”
Affected orders are primarily from ten states. On Aug. 8 the board was to begin shipping orders to Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia. Draper said if the strike continued into the week of Aug. 11, orders for Alabama, Florida and Georgia also will have been prepared for shipment by other carriers. Some orders from churches in other states, placed on or just before Aug. 6, also will be included in the shipment schedule.
Approximately 12,000 churches’ orders which were in the board’s system by Aug. 6 will be shipped by direct freight for packages of 10 pounds or more. Packages weighing less than 10 pounds will be sent by U.S. Postal Service. Freight deliveries should be completed by Aug. 22. Estimated delivery time by the Postal Service is 14 to 21 days.
However, Draper asked churches not jam the board’s phone lines inquiring about deliveries. “Please allow time for the packages to work through this process,” he said.
“We will also determine orders that may be in UPS warehouses, and we will send out duplicate orders beginning on Aug. 18. However, due to the freight expense the board will incur, we will not be able to provide free duplicate orders for those delayed in shipping. Churches will be able to return for credit duplicate orders for which they have paid.”
Churches whose orders were placed beginning Aug. 7 will be offered the choice of delivery by U.S. mail at the usual shipping and handling charge, with no tracking capability and no guarantee of delivery date, or delivery by direct freight with an additional freight charge based on weight with a minimum charge of $40.
Churches that placed orders after Aug. 6 and that are within driving distance of Nashville are encouraged to have a member pick up materials in Nashville with no pick-up charge.
Draper said changing delivery systems requires many employees from across the board to assist in resorting packages already marked with UPS codes to meet other carriers’ requirements.
“These are unusual circumstances out of our control,” Draper observed, “but we are more than a business. We succeed only when we meet the needs of churches and individuals, and we believe this extraordinary challenge deserves an extraordinary response based on ministry needs.”

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  • Charles Willis