The annual outdoor service at Camp Michindoh.

The annual outdoor service at Camp Michindoh.

Pastor Lester Smith delivering the book of Philippians.

Pastor Lester Smith delivering the book of Philippians.

The annual outdoor service at Camp Michindoh.

The annual outdoor service at Camp Michindoh.

Hillsdale UB church (Hillsdale, Mich.) held its 17th annual outdoor service at Michindoh Ministries Camp & Conference Center on Sunday, August 23. A capacity crowd of about 450 packed into the Fireside Memorial Chapel (amphitheater) to see Pastor Lester Smith, clad as the Apostle Paul, deliver his letter to the Philippians.

Earlier in the day, about 100 people attended an indoor service at the church. That gave Hillsdale an attendance of 538 for the day, including guests from Ohio and Indiana.

Maintaining the solar panels which power Radio Douentza. This radio station was opened in 1993 and broadcasts in local languages.

Maintaining the solar panels which power Radio Douentza. This radio station was opened in 1993 and broadcasts in local languages.

Jeff Bleijerveld, Director of Global Ministries

USAID is providing an opportunity for small organizations like ours to be provided funding to improve healthcare in Ebola ravaged West Africa. We are currently involved in preparing a grant proposal that would provide the funds needed to install a solar electricity system with sufficient capacity to supply the needs of the Mattru UBIC Hospital and a surplus that can be sold to the surrounding community.

If you know of a public organization or for-profit company that might be interested in providing support, pass the following letter on to them. Please note that we have a deadline of September 20, 2015, to submit our application, so letters of intent would need to be received in our office no later than September 7th. Share this sample letter with your friends today

Many articles, videos, and photos from the 2015 US National Conference have been posted online since the conference ended on July 18. They’ve been dribbled out via UBCentral and Connect. Now that coverage of the conference has finished, it’s time to compile everything in one place.

Here is where you can find all of those articles, videos, and photos.


Articles
These articles about the National Conference have been posted on UBCentral.

Step by Step Through the 2015 Business Meeting. A blow-by-blow summary report of the business meeting on July 16, 2015. It covers each proposal that the delegates considered.

On the Floor in Choosing a New Bishop. An extended report on the discussions regarding the bishop’s office. Includes the text of the remarks by Todd Fetters.

The National Conference Debate on Same-Sex Marriage. An extended report on the floor discussion around the two proposals which dealt with same-sex marriage.

Six Men Ordained at National Conference 2015. A look at the six persons ordained during the closing service on July 18, 2015.

The 2015-2017 Executive Leadership Team. The complete ELT for the next two years–the eight elected members, plus the four persons appointed in early August by the ELT. You can also view them on the UB website.


Videos
In Memoriam. Honoring United Brethren pastors, missionaries, and others who passed away during the previous two years.

Consecration Service. During the concluding service on July 18, Bishop Emeritus Paul Hirschy led in a prayer of consecration for Todd and Lisa Fetters, with family and National Office staff gathered around.

Ordination Service. Six men were ordained as United Brethren ministers during the concluding service on Saturday morning, July 18.

Closing Message of National Conference. The Saturday morning, July 18, message from Todd Fetters.

Handoff to 2017. The closing minutes of the National Conference, most of which involved a promotion for the 2017 US National Conference to be held in Lancaster, Pa.


Photo Galleries
Nearly 450 photos from the July 15-18 US National Conference have been posted on the United Brethren Facebook page. You’ll find them in these albums.

Tuesday, July 14 (53 photos). The day of preparation, when the National Office staff and local volunteers arrived to begin setting things up.

Wednesday, July 15 (77). Preparations continued, with registration starting at noon. Attendees arrived all afternoon. At 6:30, the conference began with the first evening worship service. The worship team from Colwood UB church (Caro, Mich.) led the worship time, and Dr. Wayne Schmidt spoke. A reception was held afterwards.

Thursday, July 16 (78 photos). The day started with a breakfast for delegates, sponsored by Logos Bible Software. The business session consumed the rest of the morning and afternoon. The evening service again featured the Colwood worship team and a message from Dr. Wayne Schmidt. Afterwards came a reception sponsored by the exhibitors.

Friday am, July 17 (73 photos). The morning featured 19 workshops in two time slots.

July l7 Retiree Luncheon (27 photos). Retired pastors and spouses met at noon in the ResLife Olive Tree restaurant for a very nice meal. Dr. Kent Maxwell hosted the event, and gave the pastors and spouses opportunity to give an update on their lives. Dr. Mike Wanous, from Huntington University, spoke about his spiritual and occupational journey.

Friday pm, July 17 (38 photos). A new worship team for the evening service, this one from First UB church in Holly Hill, Fla. Dr. Wayne Schmidt gave his final message to the conference. After the service came an ice cream reception sponsored by Global Ministries.

Saturday, July 18 (97 photos). The closing service, at 9:30, featured a number of elements: the Florida worship team; a consecration time for Todd Fetters as he prepared to assume the responsibilities of the bishop; a message from Todd Fetters; the ordination of six men; a communion service; and a clever promotional for the 2017 US National Conference in Lancaster, Pa.


Other Links
Official conference website.

Reports and proposals for the business meeting.

United Brethren Discipline. The conference made several revisions to the United Brethren Discipline. Everything has been updated. You can view the Discipline online or download it as a PDF file.

United Brethren people have been busy writing, performing, and publishing worship music. Here are some projects you can find on the internet.

  • Chris and Bethany Solyntjes are husband and wife worship leaders out of Renew Communities, the United Brethren church in Berea, Ohio. Their album of worship music, “Refuge,” is currently streaming for free on the Relevant Magazine website.
  • The worship team from Colwood UB church (Caro, Mich.) has released a full-length worship album titled “DOXA” (as reported in July on UBCentral). The album has 3 original songs and 7 re-arranged hymns. It is available now on iTunes and AmazonMP3. In iTunes, do a search on “doxa colwood”.
  • Emmanuel UB church in Fort Wayne, Ind., has produced several projects that are available on the Emmanuel website.
  • Matt McKeown, a pastor at First UB church in Holly Hill, has created some worship music of his own. It is available on iTunes.

L-r: Dennis Sites, Sherwood Cook, and Janis Creason (East region); Greg Voight, Todd Rhoades, and Andy Sikora (Central region).

L-r: Dennis Sites, Sherwood Cook, and Janis Creason (East region); Greg Voight, Todd Rhoades, and Andy Sikora (Central region).

L-r: Randy Carpenter, Bob Tobey, and Mark Wilson (North region); Gary Dilley, Kevin Smith, and Tomi Cardin (West region).

L-r: Randy Carpenter, Bob Tobey, and Mark Wilson (North region); Gary Dilley, Kevin Smith, and Tomi Cardin (West region).

The 2015-2017 Executive Leadership Team

On July 16, the US National Conference elected eight persons to the Executive Leadership Team–one minister and one layperson from each of the four regions. That left four additional members to be appointed by the ELT.

Bishop Todd Fetters nominated four persons for appointment to the Executive Leadership Team, and all four have been approved by the ELT via online voting. They will serve two-year terms. They are:

  • East Region: Janis Creason, a county treasurer from Devonshire Church (Harrisburg, Pa.).
  • Central Region: Andy Sikora, founding pastor and senior pastor of Renew Communities (Berea, Ohio).
  • North Region: Mark Wilson, senior pastor of Fowlerville UB church (Fowerville, Mich.).
  • West Region: Tomi Cardin, executive director of Redemption House Ministries, from Anchor UB church (Fort Wayne, Ind.).

You can view on the UB website the entire Executive Leadership Team for 2015-2017.

4-grow-books700

The Grow in His Word materials, used by many United Brethren churches, can now be ordered directly from the Grow Ministries website. (They will no longer be available through the National Office.)

Grow is written by Dennis Miller, pastor of Emmanuel UB church in Fort Wayne, Ind. Since the 1980s, Grow has been used by several dozen UB churches as a discipleship tool, taking students through the entire Bible. During the past year, the Grow booklets were completely redesigned. They can be used in various ways–discipleship groups, personal study, home-school curriculum, etc.

The Grow Ministries plan is an orderly study of the Bible to help you grasp not only what happened in Scripture, but in what order. Designed to follow specific themes through the Bible, Grow in His Word also provides hooks and memory tools to help students remember what they learn. Because of the acrostics that are used to designate time periods in the Old and New Testaments and the life of Christ, students can remember what they learn and, hopefully, where to find it.

The adult material is a four-book series with 52 lessons that take students through both the Old and New Testaments, as well as Church history. Each lesson includes application questions to stimulate discussion and some spiritual wrestling.

book-1-leader-front-cover__mediumA kids’ version, Grow for Kids, is also available. This two-book series consists of a 16-week study of the Old Testament and a 14-week study of the New Testament and Church history.

Leader’s guides are available with both the adult and children’s studies. The Grow Ministries website also includes thousands of photos of the Holy Land, taken from Pastor Miller’s numerous trips there, along with some teaching videos at biblical sites in Israel.

Todd Fetters leading the National Conference business session on July 16, 2015.

Todd Fetters leading the National Conference business session on July 16, 2015.

Steve Dennie, Director of Communications

The business meeting of the 2015 US National Conference was held on Thursday, July 16, at ResLife Church in Grandville, Mich. The official minutes have now been submitted by Roxton Spear, the conference recording secretary.

Using the minutes, we updated the United Brethren Discipline. You can read the 2015-2017 Discipline online and download a PDF version to print out. The complete Discipline can also be read in the UB App.

Here is a blow-by-blow report of the business meeting, with a focus on how delegates dealt with the 13 proposals that came before them. All of the reports they considered can be viewed online.


Report 2: Rules & Procedures

Todd Fetters, chairman, called the meeting to order at 9:12 am.

After the roll call, the delegates approved the Rules & Procedures report, which explained how the meeting would be conducted (view online). This report was published in mid-June. Two amendments were made–to recognize Todd Fetters as chairman (in place of Bishop Phil Whipple) and Paul Hirschy as vice chairman (in place of Lester Smith, who was still struggling with illness). Other officers:

  • Recording secretary: Roxton Spear, senior pastor of Mongul UB church (Shippensburg, Pa.).
  • Parliamentarian: Craig Burkholder, senior pastor of Hudson UB church (Hudson, Ind.).

Report 11: ELT Minutes

Todd Fetters turned the chair over to Paul Hirschy to process the ELT minutes (Report 11) from the past two years. There was a motion to adopt the ELT minutes (you can download a PDF of the minutes).

After some discussion, a motion was made to enter into executive session to discuss circumstances related to the resignation of Bishop Phil Whipple. Executive session would be limited to clergy delegates, lay delegates, and advisory members. Everyone else was asked to leave the room.

Gary Dilley, a member of the executive committee of the Executive Leadership Team, read a letter of explanation from the ELT. Questions were answered, and there was discussion. Nothing was recorded in the minutes.

Executive session ended at 10:26, and a break was called. Business resumed at 10:42 with a motion to close the executive session.

The delegates voted to approve the ELT minutes, with the exception of the appointment of Todd Fetters as Interim Bishop.


Paul Hirschy presiding over the conference.

Paul Hirschy presiding over the conference.

Interim Bishop

There was much discussion basically around the question, “What happens now?”

Eventually Steve Fish, teaching pastor at Emmanuel Community Church (Fort Wayne, Ind.), made this motion: “I move the United Brethren National Conference affirm the ELT’s decision to appoint Todd Fetters as the Interim Bishop, and that this body determine that time-frame to begin on August 7, 2015, until the meeting of the next United Brethren National Conference in 2017.”

There was more discussion, including two attempted amendments, both of which failed:

  • To change the effective date from August 7 to July 16, which would make the appointment start immediately.
  • To drop the word “interim” from the title.

The original motion passed. Bishop Emeritus Ron Ramsey then came forward to lay hands on Todd Fetters and pray for him. Todd Fetters then shared some remarks with the conference.

Bishop Hirschy returned the chair to Todd Fetters. Hirschy was given a standing ovation for leading the conference through the ELT minutes, the executive session, and the discussion surrounding the appointment of Todd Fetters as Interim Bishop.

A lengthy report on this discussion, titled “On the Floor in Selecting a New Bishop,” is provided at UBCentral.org. (more…)

All of the ordination candidates, spouses, and assistants lined up across the platform.

All of the ordination candidates, spouses, and assistants lined up across the platform (click to enlarge)

Six men were ordained as United Brethren elders during the concluding service of the US National Conference on July 18, 2015. Two of them currently serve as senior pastors, and the other four serve in staff roles. Bishop Emeritus Paul Hirschy officiated at the ordination of each person.

The ordination service began with all six men being asked a series of questions, to which they responded individually. Then each couple came forward and knelt at the front of the platform. Ordination candidates always choose two ordained ministers to stand with them, persons who have had an impact on their life and ministry in some way. These persons stood behind the couple, laying hands on them as Bishop Hirschy said, “Take authority to execute the office of an elder in the Church of the United Brethren in Christ in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

The couple then stood. Bishop Hirschy presented a Bible to the ordination candidate and said, “Take authority to preach the Word of God and to administer the ordinances in the Church of the United Brethren in Christ.”

Here are the six persons who were ordained at National Conference.

Bill Blue has been senior pastor since 2011 of Shoreline UB church in Oak Harbor, Ohio. Prior to that, he served in youth ministry at several UB churches going back to 1976. Assisting were Rev. Carlson Becker and Bishop Emeritus Paul Hirschy (who in this case filled a double role, since he also officiated).

Jeff Evans has been Director of Youth Ministries at Morning Star UB church (Kokomo, Ind.) since 1999. Assisting in the ordination were Greg Reed, senior pastor of Morning Star church; and Steve Fish, teaching pastor at Emmanuel Community Church in Fort Wayne, Ind., and a former staff member at Morning Star.

William Flamer is assistant pastor of Park Layne UB church in New Carlisle, Ohio. Also serving there as co-assistant pastor is his wife, Mary, who was ordained in 2011. Assisting were Roland Albert, pastor of the Park Layne church; and Ed Harvey, pastor of the Lighthouse UB church in nearby Dayton, Ohio.

Ricky Hull has been senior pastor since March 2015 of Crossroads UB church in Charlotte, Mich. Before that, he pastored Mt. Hermon UB church in Pomeroy, Ohio. Assisting were Rocky Spear, senior pastor of Mongul UB church in Shippensburg, Pa.; and Todd Fetters, director of National Ministries.

Brian Kramer is Pastor of Student Ministries at Emmanuel Community Church in Fort Wayne, Ind. Before that, he was youth pastor of King Street UB church in Chambersburg, Pa. Assisting were Jason Holliday, Pastor of Family Ministries at Emmanuel; and Steve Fish, Teaching Pastor at Emmanuel.

Mark Vincenti has been Associate Youth Pastor since 2011 of College Park UB church in Huntington, Ind. Before that, he was youth pastor for 11 years at King Street UB church in Chambersburg, Pa. Assisting were Gary Dilley, senior pastor of College Park church; and Les Stine, Minister of Pastoral Care at King Street Church.

Ricky Hull, pastor of Crossroads UB in Charlotte, Mich.), with his wife, Jami.

Ricky Hull, pastor of Crossroads UB in Charlotte, Mich.), with his wife, Jami.

The ordination of Bill Blue, with his wife, Charlene. Rev. Carlson Becker is standing behind them.

The ordination of Bill Blue, with his wife, Charlene. Rev. Carlson Becker is standing behind them.

Jeff Evans, director of Youth Ministries at Morning Star UB in Kokomo, Ind.

Jeff Evans, director of Youth Ministries at Morning Star UB in Kokomo, Ind.

The ordination of William Flamer, with his wife, Mary. Standing behind them are Ed Harvey (right) and Roland Albert.

The ordination of William Flamer, with his wife, Mary. Standing behind them are Ed Harvey (right) and Roland Albert.

The ordination of Brian Kramer, with his wife, Amy.

The ordination of Brian Kramer, with his wife, Amy. Standing behind are Steve Fish (right) and Jason Holliday.

Mark Vincenti, associate youth pastor of College Park UB church (Huntington, Ind.), with his wife, Angela. In the back is Gary Dilley, pastor of College Park Church.

Mark Vincenti, associate youth pastor of College Park UB church (Huntington, Ind.), with his wife, Angela. In the back is Gary Dilley, pastor of College Park Church.

Nearly 450 photos from the July 15-18 US National Conference have been posted on the United Brethren Facebook page. You’ll find them in these albums.

Tuesday, July 14 (53 photos). The day of preparation, when the National Office staff and local volunteers arrive to begin setting things up.

Wednesday, July 15 (77). Preparations continue, with registration starting at noon. Attendees arrive all afternoon. At 6:30, the conference begins with the first evening worship service. The worship team from Colwood UB church (Caro, Mich.) leads the worship time, and Dr. Wayne Schmidt speaks. A reception is held afterwards.

Thursday, July 16 (78 photos). The day starts with a breakfast for delegates, sponsored by Logos Bible Software. The business session consumes the rest of the morning and afternoon. The evening service again features the Colwood worship team and a message from Dr. Wayne Schmidt. Afterwards comes a reception sponsored by the exhibitors.

Friday am, July 17 (73 photos). The morning features 19 workshops in two time slots.

July l7 Retiree Luncheon (27 photos). Retired pastors and spouses met at noon in the ResLife Olive Tree restaurant for a very nice meal. Dr. Kent Maxwell hosted the event, and gave the pastors and spouses opportunity to give an update on their lives. Dr. Mike Wanous, from Huntington University, spoke about his spiritual and occupational journey.

Friday pm, July 17 (38 photos). A new worship team for the evening service, this one from First UB church in Holly Hill, Fla. Dr. Wayne Schmidt gives his final message to the conference. After the service comes an ice cream reception sponsored by Global Ministries.

Saturday, July 18 (97 photos). The closing service, at 9:30, features a number of elements: the Florida worship team; a consecration time for Todd Fetters, as he prepares to assume the responsibilities of the bishop; a message from Todd Fetters; the ordination of six men; a communion service; and a clever promotional for the 2017 US National Conference in Lancaster, Pa.

equip-conf-oct2015-1000

The second annual Equip Conference will be held this October at Huntington University in Huntington, Ind. It is designed for youth pastors, adult youth leaders, and student leaders.

Date: October 10, 2015
Time: 8:30 am – 3:30 pm.
Location: Huntington University, Huntington, Ind.

The keynote speaker is Dave Rahn, vice president and chief ministry officer for Youth for Christ/USA. He is also a longtime professor at Huntington University, where he directs the Masters in Youth Ministry Leadership program. He is a youth ministry researcher, author, speaker, and leadership strategist.

Dave began his ministry with the Fort Wayne Area Youth for Christ in 1972, graduated from Huntington University in 1976, and joined the faculty of Huntington University in 1985. He served as HU for 22 years before rejoining the mission of Youth for Christ/USA in 2007. His passion is to invigorate Jesus’ Church with kids who have a story to tell. He is currently an advisor of national research initiatives for Fuller Youth Institute and the Yale Center for Faith and Culture.

Cost

  • Early bird (register and pay before September 20): $15 per person.
  • Regular (register and pay Sept. 21 – Oct. 9): $20 per person.
  • Day of conference: $25 per person.

For conference registration and other information, go to: huntington.edu/equip.