Left: Pastor Rod Bittick outside the Pixley UB church. Right: the sanctuary.

On Monday, July 30, Bishop Todd Fetters visited the Pixley United Brethren church in Pixley, Calif. This church, founded in 1883, is now the only United Brethren church in California.

Rod and Melody Bittick have served the Pixley congregation since 1985, and are among the longest-tenured UB pastoral couples at the same church. Both came out of the former Hillsdale UB church in Sacramento, when former bishop Ron Ramsey was the pastor.

Rod graduated from Huntington University in 1976, and from its Graduate School of Christian Ministries in 1977.

Of note: George Weaver, who was bishop 1969-1977, grew up in the Pixley area and became a Christian at the Pixley UB church in 1943.

Bob and Irma Kentie

Bob Kentie, pastor of the Garrison Road UB church in Fort Erie, Ontario, passed away suddenly on Monday night, July 30. Brian Magnus, bishop of the United Brethren Church in Canada, sent this report:

Bob had gone into the Welland Hospital the end of last week and had some abdominal surgery. He was recovering over the weekend and had hoped to go home tomorrow [Tuesday], but instead he slumped over in his hospital bed and couldn’t be resuscitated. I believe he was just 60 years old.

Lynette and I last saw Bob at the visitation for my father on Thursday, June 21. Bob and Irma had driven up to Kitchener, and they were so happy that Irma was slowly improving and was doing better than she had in several years. Bob had been devoting many hours to her care.

Bob Kentie spent many years as a businessman and eventually felt called to the ministry. He served as a youth pastor and senior pastor in Brethren in Christ churches before joining the Garrison Road staff 12 years ago. He started out as youth pastor, and in 2007 became senior pastor. He and Irma have three adult children.

Dwight and Patti Kuntz

Dwight Kuntz, 72, passed away on the evening of Friday, July 27, 2018. He had been hospitalized since July 2, when health problems forced him to return from Jamaica.

Dwight was a United Brethren minister, ordained in 1982, and was a member of Living Grace Community Church (formerly Union Chapel UB church) in Fort Wayne, Ind. Since 2012, he and his wife of 47 years, Patti, had been spending part of the year in Jamaica as UB Global missionaries, serving as liaisons with work teams from North America.

Dwight served in the US Army 1967-1971.

Visitation: 2-4 pm and 6-9 pm Wednesday, August 1, 2018.
Visitation location: D.O. McComb & Sons Pine Valley Park Funeral Home, 1320 East Dupont Road, Fort Wayne, Ind.
Funeral: 10 am Thursday, August 2, 2018. Visitation one hour beforehand.
Funeral location: Emmanuel Community Church, 12222 US Highway 24 West, Fort Wayne, Ind.

Memorials may be made to Patricia Kuntz.

Cards can be sent to:

Patti Kuntz
602 North Camden Drive
Fort Wayne, IN 46825

Dwight and Patti Kuntz

Dwight Kuntz passed away late Friday night, July 27, 2018. He was an ordained United Brethren minister, and since 2012, he and his wife, Patti, had been spending part of the year in Jamaica as UB Global missionaries working with short-term teams. That is what he was doing on July 2, when he became very ill and had to be rushed back to Indiana for treatment.

Patti posted the following on Facebook around 11pm on Friday:

“He is with Jesus. We were with him all day, praying, singing, crying, loving. Dwight Kuntz was a good man, he loved Jesus with all his heart, a wonderful husband, loving me unconditionally, an awesome father and Papa, who will be remembered forever.

“I will miss you, Love of my Life. Because of Christ Jesus, we will see you and David again in Glory!”

Homefront UB church (Grandville, Mich.) is seeking a part-time Community Worship Leader. This person reports to the Head Pastor, and the position requires an average of 10-15 hours per week. You can download the complete job description here.

Required tasks include:

  • Choose songs in consultation with the pastor and/or worship planning team.
  • Conduct weekly rehearsals with members of the HomeFront community (using outside musicians only when absolutely necessary).
  • Present a weekly musical service including spoken bridges and other liturgical elements that seek to draw attention to God and away from the individuals.
  • Provide musical elements for other programming throughout the year as needed.
  • Provide leadership both musically and personally for the members of the music team.
  • Serve on the Staff Board to carry out the vision set by the Elders.

Required Qualities

  • A dynamic relationship with God that involves observable growth in a personal faith journey.
  • Strong personal musicality both on a lead instrument and vocally.
  • Proficient in public speaking.
  • Demonstrated leadership skills in communication and conflict resolution.
  • Must be willing to a member of HomeFront church and participate in the life of the church outside of job responsibilities.

Desirable Qualities

  • Degree in worship/music studies or working toward a degree in those areas.
  • Proficiency in multiple instruments and musical theory.

Banner of Christ UB church in Byron Center, Mich. (suburban Grand Rapids) is a congregation with a rich history and an exciting future. We are looking for a senior pastor who will support and enhance the giftedness of the congregation as we strive to know Jesus and make him known.

Our next senior pastor will be a person of faith who is able to effectively communicate God’s Word in both preaching and teaching in way that encourages people to relate their faith to everyday life. Strong leadership/administrative skills and a heart for working together as a team are essential. Experience in developing youth ministries and connecting with young families will be a benefit.

Banner of Christ Church is a congregation of over 150 people. We are a caring congregation which is both financially stable and generationally balanced. We are located in a rapidly growing neighborhood (17% from 2010-2016) and have facilities which will enable significant growth. We continue to focus on community family needs while adapting the style of our worship and schedule of activities around the needs of the community.

If this sounds like something for which God has been preparing you, please send a copy of your resume, a cover letter, and a current photo to Bishop Todd Fetters at bishop@ub.org.

Pastor Keith Elliott (front, right) and the group from Criders UB church.

Keith Elliott, senior pastor, Criders UB Church (Chambersburg, Pa.)

A group from Crider’s Church recently returned from a short mission trip to Laurel Mission in the mountains outside Harlan, Kent. We have been going to Laurel Mission every other year since 2014. This trip was extra special because we partnered with our sister church, Mt. Olivet UB (Chambersburg).

While at Laurel Mission, we spent two days on a variety of work projects. One group installed a new bathtub in a person’s home. Other groups finished building two porches started by others who had recently been to the mission. We painted a porch for a widow in the community. Some in our group helped sort clothing for the mission’s clothing center. Others painted, pressure washed, and helped in any way they could. While at the worksites, we spent time talking with and praying for the people who lived there.

On Sunday, July 15, we worshiped at Little Laurel Bible Church, took a challenging hike to a local waterfall, and drove to the top of one of the mountains to take in the mountaintops as the sun began to set.

Nathan Boggs, the Director of Laurel Mission, his wife Lindsey, their children, and his mom Debbie work tirelessly to minister to the people of the area. It was truly a blessing to be a part of the work God is doing through Laurel Mission.

Jeff Bleijerveld, Director of UB Global

Continue to pray for Nicaragua and our 32 United Brethren churches as the demonstrations and government assaults continue with increasing violence and deaths. In recent days, the Daniel Ortega government has sent police and armed paramilitaries into various communities to conduct “clean ups” of barricades and to quell protestors and demonstrations.

The violence, which began in mid-April just days after Jeff Bleijerveld and Jeff Dice left the country, has now left 370 dead, the vast majority of whom are young protestors. Banks generally remain closed, as do schools, businesses, markets and grocery stores, where shelves and coolers remain empty.

This past Sunday, July 15, Rev. Armando Lopez (right), our national leader in Nicaragua, negotiated the release of more than 40 young people in his town of Niquinohomo, a task generally left to Catholic priests. Evangelicals are finding it difficult to remain neutral and are often criticized for their passivity.

Just this week, we found a way to send the more than $3000 that churches and donors provided to replace the roof of a UB church destroyed by homemade mortars, and to provide packets of basic foods for the most vulnerable.

Pastor Kevin Whitacre (blue shirt) with baptism candidates and persons assisting.

Watching from the shore.

One of the baptism candidates.

Anchor Community Church (Fort Wayne, Ind.) baptized nine persons on Sunday, July 9. After the morning service at the church, the congregation traveled to the home of an Anchor family for the annual all-church outing. The event began with the baptisms, followed by a meal, and then an afternoon of swimming, volleyball, and general fun.

College Park UB church (Huntington, Ind.) is seeking a Director of Children and Family Ministries. this person is responsible for designing, coordinating, and overseeing a comprehensive children’s ministry program focused on building young disciples for Christ working in concert with parents.

We desire this person to develop children’s ministry volunteer leaders and teams who are prepared to invest in the lives of children.

This person will also seek to encourage, support and equip parents in their parenting role and as the primary spiritual influence in their children’s lives.

College Park Church is located in Huntington, Ind., adjacent to Huntington University, a Christian liberal arts university of 1200 students. College Park Church is a part of the United Brethren in Christ Church and has an average worship attendance of 475 people.

Download the complete job description here.

Interested candidates should submit their resume and cover letter to senior pastor Gary Dilley at gary@cpubchurch.com.