The two-year anniversary of Living Stone Church is this month. It’s incredible to see how many people God has gathered into the congregation and the ways people are growing spiritually. All of our services are bilingual, which has its challenges, but I sometimes wonder if a “monolingual” worship service would seem boring to me now!

One disappointment this year was that, after several years of struggles and evaluation, the decision was made to close Living Word Church. Church planting always involves some risk, but it’s painful to have something close that you’ve invested in. It’s been a lesson in trusting God to continue working in the lives of many children and teens who were touched through our ministry there for many years.

At the same time, we’ve seen the Macau United Brethren Association mature and reach a point where they don’t need as much missionary involvement. For me, this is an exciting time of seeing many of our original dreams for Macau accomplished. This reality also started challenging me to think a few years ago about what will be next for me.

Through a series of events and conversations, God began moving my heart toward teaching in mainland China. I was involved in teaching across the border for my first eight or so years in Macau. Eventually, we didn’t have enough staff to continue, so we stopped. However, I’ve kept in relationship with several of the teachers and administrators we worked with and have felt drawn back to working with them.

Our Macau team held vision-casting meetings in January, and the vision God brought us includes working with teachers across the border. I’ll continue my focus in Macau until my next furlough, and upon my return will switch my focus to teaching in China. I’m very excited about what God’s accomplished in Macau and what He has for me in the future.

Many…actually, most…of the details still need to be worked out over the next year or so of transition for our team to new roles, but for me it’s a fun time of moving from one ministry I love to another opportunity I love. In the meantime, I’m working on learning Mandarin and looking forward to participating in a teacher training camp in Zhuhai this July.

Bishop Emeritus Paul Hirschy, now on staff at Huntington University, is offering to local churches the “Good Sense” stewardship training produced by the Willow Creek Association. This is a six hour session which can be offered on Saturday or Sunday.

The Good Sense training helps participants understand biblical stewardship principles and develop a personal spending plan. It clarifies the danger of consumer debt and points out how this debt is keeping many from being able to enjoy the realization that they can be good stewards of all that God has entrusted to them.

The cost to the church or the participant is $15 per manual (couples share one manual). You can contact Paul Hirschy at phirschy@huntington.edu or call toll-free 1-866-213-3710 to schedule the training or ask questions.

The prayer chapel in Huntington University’s new residence hall will be called the Paul R. Fetters Chapel after Dr. Paul Fetters, who has spent his career serving the United Brethren in Christ Church as a pastor and in the Graduate School of Christian Ministries.

The Huntington University Board of Trustees adopted the resolution naming the chapel Jan. 26. President G. Blair Dowden (left, congratulating Dr. Fetters) shared the news with the campus community February 15 at the annual Honors Convocation.

“It is my privilege to recognize a colleague who epitomizes Christ-centeredness in his scholarship, his teaching, his ministry, and his personal life,” Dowden said.

Enrolling at Huntington in 1951, Fetters earned a Bachelor of Arts in 1955, followed by a Bachelor of Divinity from the Huntington College Theological Seminary in 1959. He earned a Master of Divinity from Eastern Baptist, now Palmer, Theological Seminary in Philadelphia; a Master of Education in Counseling from the University of St. Francis in 1975; and a Doctor of Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena. During the past 10 years, his studies have continued at the University of British Columbia, Regent College, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Joining the faculty in 1960 as a part time instructor in the Huntington College Theological Seminary, he filled several adjunct faculty positions during his 18 years of pastoral ministry. Later in 1972 as a full-time professor of practical theology, he was instrumental in the seminary transformation into the Graduate School of Christian Ministries, serving as director and dean from 1972 until 1997.

A contributor to a variety of denominational publications, religious periodicals and journals, Fetters served as general editor of several UB-related books, including Trials and Triumphs: History of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ and Theological Perspectives: Arminian-Wesleyan Reflections on Theology. He has taught in many of the countries where you’ll find UB churches, including Canada, Sierra Leone, Honduras, Jamaica, and Hong Kong.
He continues to invest himself in the students of Huntington University as a professor in the Bible and Religion Department and through mentoring young adults at College Park Church in Huntington, Ind.

The prayer chapel will be housed in the new residence hall, Livingston Hall, named after the historic dormitory of the same name. The building was demolished in 1988, and RichLyn Library was constructed on the site.

“What an honor!” Fetters said. “The chapel located in Livingston Hall will perpetuate the memories of the early beginnings of the Graduate School of Christian Ministries, which was housed in the original Livingston Hall, 1977-1987.”

Dr. Ora D. Lovell, 93, a longtime minister in the UB church, passed away February 19 in Circleville, Ohio. Here are the funeral arrangements:

  • Location: Wellman’s Funeral Home, 1455 N. Court St., Circleville, Ohio.
  • Viewing: Thursday, February 21, 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m.
  • Funeral: 11 a.m. Friday, February 22, at Wellman’s.

Here in the national office, we’re excited about the upcoming arrival of Jeff Bleijerveld as the new Director of Global Ministries. He’s a quality guy who will fit right in. I’ll enjoy watching him take our missions program to the next level…whatever that is. Jeff starts on March 3.

Tomorrow, the office staff will hold a farewell luncheon for Gary Dilley, who served as Global Ministries director from August 2001 until January of this year. Because of a prior commitment, I’ll miss that luncheon. Pat Jones has offered to eat my pizza for me, and he’s welcome to it. But since I’ll be gone, I thought I’d use this space to say some words about Gary, who has been a beloved friend, in addition to a coworker.

The 1990s were a time of unprecedented expansion in our worldwide ministry. In 1993, Ray Seilhamer was elected bishop and Kyle McQuillen was elected as Director of Missions, and they both served until 2001. At that time, we had churches in eight countries, and had opened only one new field per decade–Nicaragua in the 1960s, India in the 1970s, and Macau in 1987.
But from 1993-2001, the number of fields nearly doubled:

  • 1993: Thailand
  • 1995: Costa Rica
  • 1997: Mexico
  • 1998: Myanmar
  • 1999: El Salvador
  • 2000: Haiti
  • 2000: Guatemala

In addition, the church planting work in India grew by leaps and bounds, and a number of Hispanic churches in the United States arose through the work of Denis Casco. Disclaimer: we in North America can’t take credit for this expansion. Much of it came from the initiative of our churches in Hong Kong and Central America. But in each case, we were involved, often heavily involved. So a great deal of new territory needed to be assimilated into worldwide United Brethrenism, and numerous new demands were placed on Global Ministries funds.
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Are you a Facebook member? If so, you might be interested in joining one of the Facebook groups related to Huntington University. Just log-in and do a search for one of these group names. You might even be able to connect with some long-lost friends and classmates.

  • Huntington University Supporters. Currently has 247 members.
  • Huntington College Alumni. Has 178 members.
  • Huntington University Supporters. Has 103 members.

Darrel Bosworth (right, with his wife, Barbara), senior pastor of Kilpatrick UB church (Woodland, Mich.), was ordained on February 10 by Bishop Ron Ramsey at the church.

Here are some recent news items from Coleta UB in Coleta, Ill.

  • In early December, 24 youth and adults attended a Casting Crowns concert. Amazingly, though the tickets were purchased by three different people, each buying eight tickets, everyone got to sit together.
  • The church adopted a family through the county health department to bless for Christmas. they sent clothes, toys, food, and cash. Upon delivering the gifts, they learned that the family was in the midst of a tragedy, with the mother dying just days before Christmas.
  • The December 23 service was an “open mic” time, with several persons sharing poems, songs, stories, and scripture.
  • The church members are reading Change Your Church for Good, by Brad Powell, whom several members heard speak in May 2007 at the US National Conference.

Robert Schubert retired as pastor of Center Hill UB (Mount Carroll, Ill.) at the end of December 2007. Floyd West has been appointed as interim pastor for January through April 2008.

Peggy Richardson, whose husband John Richardson pastored UB churches for many years, has passed away. The funeral will be Monday, February 11, in Van Wert, Ohio. Cowans Funeral Home in Van Wert is in charge of the arrangements.