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.

These churches are currently in need of a senior pastor.

  • Corunna UB church (Corunna, Ind.).
  • Mt. Morris UB church (Mt. Morris, Mich.).
  • Sabetha UB church (Sabetha, Kansas)

These churches will have a senior pastor opening as of July 31, 2018:

  • First UB church (New Castle, Pa.).
  • Mt. Zion UB church (Wayne, Ohio).

If you are interested in any of these positions, please complete a Minister’s Profile form and submit it to:

Todd Fetters, bishop
United Brethren National Office
302 Lake Street
Huntington, IN 46750

Updated July 16, 2018

The 5th Annual Marriage Retreat for United Brethren Pastoral Couples will be held August 13-15 at Rhodes Grove Camp & Conference Center in Chambersburg, Pa.

This retreat is reserved for pastors and spouses serving in United Brethren in Christ churches. Please plan to separate yourselves from the needs of everyday life and invest in your marriage.

There is no cost. This three-day, two-night retreat is sponsored in full by the United Brethren National Office, the United Brethren Association for Church Development, and Rhodes Grove Camp.

The retreat topic is “Christian Marriage from the Ground Up.” It will focus on God’s unapologetic blueprint for marriage that sustains creation and reveals new creation.

The keynote speakers are Michael & Yvonne Wentz. During their 33 years of marriage, they have raised three boys and were involved in four church plants. Michael is now senior pastor of Prince Street UB church in Shippensburg, Pa. Yvonne (M.S. Math Education) is K-12 Math Supervisor in the Chambersburg School District.


The United Brethren denomination has been chosen to participate in a program which offers free financial health online courses and other resources. These are designed to help UB pastors, leaders, and congregations in the areas of personal finances and church generosity.

This is made possible because we are a member denomination of the National Association of Evangelicals. The Lilly Endowment provided a generous grant to the NAE to help member denominations improve the financial health of their pastors and churches.

The NAE set up a webpage for United Brethren which tells all about the program. The page includes a video by Bishop Todd Fetters.

An online course on Personal Finances begins in September, and a course for the broader church starts in January. Please register by August 31 to take advantage of these courses.

September: Personal Finances
This free online course begins in September, and includes six monthly sessions. It was specifically created for pastors and spouses, but any interested church staff, leaders, or members will also benefit from this training. The monthly sessions can be done at home on your own schedule.

Learn from Christian financial experts how to:

  • Pay off debts.
  • Increase savings.
  • Track and decrease expenses.
  • Prepare for retirement.
  • Find affordable healthcare.
  • Set financial goals.
  • Increase your giving.

January: Church Generosity
This free online course will help you and your key leaders determine the best ways to improve the generosity and financial health of the people in your church.

The course was specifically created for a pastor and a group of lay leaders to do together. The six monthly sessions take 20-45 minutes to complete, depending on the amount of discussion.

Various resources—brochures, planning calendar, devotionals—will be available to those who register.

Visa eGift Cards
A limited number of $100 and $200 Visa eGift cards will be given to those who complete the courses.

Grants for Ministers
Grant funds will provide several kinds of financial assistance to pastors.

  • Medical bill assistance grants of $2000 for unpaid medical bills of $2000 (up to 5 recipients).
  • Student loan grants for church planters to help with school loan repayment.
  • Retirement savings jump start grants of up to $1000.
  • Emergency fund jump start grants of up to $500.

Create an account at NAEFinancialHealth.org/UB by August 31, 2018.

 

L-r: Jim Bolich, Ray Seilhamer, Jason Bakker, Arthur Page, Michael Wentz, Jason Holliday, Gary Reiber.

Chambersburg, Pa.
Jim Bolich was appointed senior pastor of Mount Pleasant UB church (Chambersburg, Pa.) effective July 1, 2018. He had been pastor of Prince Street UB church (Shippensburg, Pa.) since 2002. Ray and Ruth Seilhamer completed a two-year interim assignment at Mount Pleasant on June 24, and have moved back to their home in Roanoke, Ind.

Chambersburg, Pa.
Jason Bakker was appointed senior pastor of Salem UB church (Chambersburg, Pa.) effective July 1, 2018. He had served as associate pastor at Salem since 2007, and was ordained in 2011. He takes the place of Arthur Page, who resigned effective July 1 after serving Salem since 2005.

Shippensburg, Pa.
Michael Wentz has been appointed senior pastor of Prince Street UB church (Shippensburg, Pa.) effective July 1, 2018. He had previously pastored United Brethren churches 1995-2008, and was ordained in 1997, after which he was employed as a health care manager.

Philomath, Ore.
Aaron de Neui (pronounce dəˈnī) was appointed senior pastor of Philomath Community Church (Philomath, Ore.) effective August 1, 2018. Rick Finley retired effective July 29, 2018, after 36 years in United Brethren ministry in Washington and Oregon, including 1989-2018 as pastor of Philomath.

Fort Wayne, Ind.
Jason Holliday was appointed senior pastor of Living Grace Community Church (Fort Wayne, Ind.) effective July 23. He had served on staff at Emmanuel UB church (Fort Wayne) since 2004, and was ordained in 2013. Gary Reiber resigned after pastoring Living Grace (formerly Union Chapel) since 2002, and after having served in UB ministry since 1993.

On Monday, July 2, Dwight Kuntz, UB missionary in Jamaica, was rushed back to Indiana and taken to the Intensive Care Unit of Parkview North Hospital in Fort Wayne, Ind. He was diagnosed with pneumonia, dehydration, renal failure, and a toxic virus called Humanmetanumovirus.

He is now doing much better. Dwight’s wife, Patti, reported the following on Sunday, July 8: “It seemed like overnight, everything changed – seemed like it anyway. I was in awe of how quickly Dwight has gone from being at death’s door on Monday night, critical state, to breathing air on his own, moving, talking, eating, and now watching American Pickers on TV.”

A year-and-a-half ago, Dwight was recovering from cancer and renal failure. Patti said, “Because this is the second time his kidneys have failed, he may need to be on dialysis for a few months.”

Please keep Dwight and Patti in your prayers as Dwight continues healing.

Rev. Martin Magnus

Rev. Martin Magnus passed at 3:45 a.m. on Sunday, June 24, 2018, in Kitchener, Ontario. He was 92 years old.

Visitation with the family: 2-4 pm on Thursday, June 28, 2018.
Memorial service date: 6:30 pm on Thursday, June 28, 2018.
Visitation and memorial service location: Stanley Park Community Church, 9 Dreger Avenue at Ottawa Street, Kitchener, ON. N2A 2A4

Martin was a United Brethren pastor in Ontario for 30 years and in Michigan for six years. He was also a conference superintendent for 11 years. Three times he was a Canadian delegate to the international General Conference, where he also received votes for bishop.

His pastorates in Ontario included Garrison Road (Fort Erie), Stevensville, Grace (Sherkston), Stanley Park (Kitchener), Shiloh (Tiverton) and Zion (North Bruce) churches.

He and his wife Lois, who passed away in 2012, raised five children. He had 13 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Son Brian Magnus wrote, “He had fallen from his adult tricycle three weeks before and slowly deteriorated since then. The last few days were spent with family by his side talking to him and singing God’s praises. Dad was 92 years old, and right up until his fall he lived independently in his own house and travelled to church and to get groceries on his trike.”

Two of Martin’s sons are ministers in the United Brethren Church in Canada. Brian, who is also bishop of the Canadian conference, is pastor of Parkwood Gardens UB church in Guelph. Randy is pastor of Roseville UB church in Ayr. Here are their addresses:

Brian K. Magnus
24 Lois Lane
Guelph, ON N1K 1W7
Canada

Randall J. Magnus
3 Marshall Street, R. R. 1
Ayr, ON N0B 1E0
Canada

The Mt. Olivet sanctuary.

Portraying circuit-riding bishop Christian Newcomer.

Memories posted on a bulletin board.

Mt. Olivet UB church (Mt. Solon, Va.) recently celebrated 125 years of ministry during its annual Homecoming service. The day’s events included a video message from Bishop Todd Fetters, recollections and testimonies from former pastors, special music, a portrayal of circuit riding preacher Christian Newcomer, a catered meal of barbequed pork and chicken, a display of many old photographs and stories from the past, the opening of a time capsule, a reading of the names of the veterans in the cemetery and taps on the bugle, and wonderful memories share with each other.

We thank God for a fantastic day of worship and fellowship, and look forward to what God has in store for the future.