Rev. Michael Long

Rev. Michael Long passed away on November 17, 1891, at age 77. He is considered one of the greatest soul-winners in the history of the United Brethren church, and is credited with being instrumental in the salvation of over 5000 people. Historian William Weekley wrote, “He lived for it, prayed for it, and put all else aside for it….It may fairly be questioned whether any one minister in the history of the denomination, [Christian] Newcomer excepted, has made a greater record as a soul-winner.”

Michael Long was born May 3, 1814, in eastern Ohio. He became a Christian, and a UB, at a young age. He was licensed to preach in 1836 by Sandusky Conference (northern Ohio) and was assigned to a circuit of churches—28 appointments which took 400 miles to cover (including nine crossings of the Auglaize River). He preached at each place once a month. At the time, there were no church buildings in the entire conference. Services were held in homes, barns, groves, and other places.

Long spent his entire ministry, nearly 60 years, in the Great Black Swamp of northwestern Ohio. The Black Swamp was tough on preachers. There were few roads and bridges, and many ways to get sick. Where horses couldn’t travel, preachers had to trudge through the swamp on foot.

Long was described as having a strong, “impressive” physique. His mighty voice was perfect for campmeetings, and he was a gifted singer, too. He was personable, cordial, with a “sunny disposition and a merry humor.”It was said that Long once preached three times a day for 30 days straight. He attended Sandusky Conference 56 years in a row, and never missed the opening prayer.

Long was a demonstrative speaker, and an extraordinary evangelist. His preaching, noted Weekley, “had that quality that broke down stubborn wills, melted the hardest hearts, and caused multitudes to repent of their sins and to accept Christ as Lord and Savior.”

Said one person who knew Long, “Entire communities were transformed by his noble Christian influence and the marvelous power of his ministry.”

William Weekley said many of the early United Brethren preachers were focused on evangelism, and neglected discipleship. Consequently, churches of other denominations picked up our new converts and trained them in Christian living. But Long was both an evangelist and an organizer. “The fruits of his great evangelistic campaigns were largely conserved to the denomination. This was the exception in those earlier days.”

In May 1864, Long traveled to Fort Ethan Allen in Virginia, where many soldiers from northern Ohio were stationed. He preached to them from 1 Chronicles 4:10, the Prayer of Jabez, which was quite appropriate: “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.”

Long and his wife Sarah were married in 1837 and had five children. All three sons became ministers. Sarah, three years younger than him, preceded him in death by two years.

Long was a close personal friend, and one-time neighbor, of President Rutherford B. Hayes (they were both buried in Fremont, Ohio). When Hayes learned of Long’s death, he said, “In the history of northwestern Ohio, the name of the Rev. Michael Long can never be disassociated from the very highest rank of moral and religious leadership. Nothing my friends might say of me when I am gone will be more truthful and honorable than what I can say of my friend Long—he was a devoted and successful minister of the Gospel.”

Philip William Otterbein. This painting was done in 1810, three years before Otterbein’s death.

William Otterbein, one of the founders of the United Brethren Church, died on November 17, 1813. He was 87 years old. He had been a minister for 65 years, and a bishop for 13 years. Martin Boehm, the other founder and bishop, had died a year-and-a-half before.

Since June, Otterbein’s health had been failing. He continued as pastor of what is now called Old Otterbein Church in Baltimore, and for the most part continued his ministerial responsibilities. But, as A. W. Drury wrote in his biography of Otterbein, “His fund of vitality was gone.”

By the time October arrived, Otterbein had stopped preaching. Rev. Frederick Schaffer, who had emerged from Otterbein’s ministry at his first pastorate, in Lancaster, Pa., filled the pulpit. Meanwhile, everyone around knew of Otterbein’s deterioration.

At the time, Otterbein was the only ordained United Brethren minister. UB ministers Christian Newcomer and James Hoffman came to Baltimore at the beginning of October with the request that Otterbein ordain them, so they could then ordain others in an unbroken chain from Otterbein to…well, to the present. That happened on Saturday, October 2, during a ceremony in Otterbein’s home. He also used the occasion to ordain Frederick Schaffer. The next day, both Newcomer and Hoffman preached at Old Otterbein Church, and Schaffer joined them in administering communion to the congregation. Newcomer and Hoffman left town the next day.

For the next six weeks, Otterbein’s health continued to decline. He finally passed away at 10:00 pm on Wednesday, November 17. His final words were recorded as, “The conflict is over and past. I begin to feel an unspeakable fullness of love and peace divine. Lay my head upon my pillow and be still.”

The funeral was held on Saturday morning. It was quite an ecumenical event—a true tribute to William Otterbein, who wasn’t very concerned about denominational labels. Most of Baltimore’s ministers attended. A Lutheran minister, with whom Otterbein had labored for 27 years in Baltimore (and the son of Otterbein’s neighbor at his Tulpehocken pastorate), preached in German. Then a Methodist minister spoke in English. An Episcopal minister led the graveside ceremony in the church yard. Curiously, no United Brethren ministers participated in the funeral services. Newcomer and Hoffman had engagements in Pennsylvania.

Otterbein didn’t have many possessions to pass on. He willed $50 to Miss Elizabeth Drucks, a woman “now living in my family…as a testimony of my esteem for her.” Everything else he willed to “my friend Elizabeth Schwope, as a small but the only compensation in my power for her faithful services and uncommon attention to me for many years past.”

His most important legacy, as Drury points out, was the nearly 100 ministers who had been raised up under his influence, and who were now preaching the Gospel in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio—the core of a movement which, within 40 years, would spread from coast to coast.

During the last year of his life, Otterbein became concerned about whether or not the United Brethren movement would survive. He summoned two UB ministers, Christian Newcomer and Jacob Baulus, and they talked about the state of the church. They apparently relieved his concerns. Before Newcomer and Baulus left, Otterbein told them,”The Lord has been pleased graciously to satisfy me fully that the work will abide.”

Rev. Frank L. Mathna, 88, of Shippensburg, Pa., passed away on the morning of Tuesday, November 14, 2017.

Viewing: 3-5 pm Sunday, November 19, 2017.
Viewing location: Fogelsanger-Bricker Funeral Home, 112 West King Street, Shippensburg, PA 17257.
Funeral: 11 am Monday, November 20, 2017.
Funeral location: Lurgan United Brethren church, 7900 Roxbury Road, Shippensburg, PA 17257. Stan V. McCammon, Lurgan’s pastor, will officiate.

Frank Mathna was born on December 16, 1928, in Mongul, Pa. He served in the US Army during the Korean War, and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Theology from Huntington University in 1960.

Mathna pastored the Van Wert, Ohio, United Brethren church for five years. That was followed by 32 years as pastor of Park Layne UB church in New Carlisle, Ohio. He retired from there in 1994. He subsequently served periodically as associate pastor of Mongul UB church in Shippensburg, Pa.

He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Dot, along with four daughters, 12 grandchildren, and 18 great-grandchildren.

Over 30 historical posters were displayed at the US National Conference in July. They were developed for this year’s 250th anniversary of the United Brethren Church. They cover a range of subjects–bishops, missionaries, mission work, higher education, the Civil War, General Conferences, and more.

People inquired about being able to make their own copies of some of these posters, to be used in their churches.

All of these posters can now be downloaded from the UB website. You can then take the high-resolution PDFs to a place like FedEx/Kinkos or FastSigns for quality printing on posterboard. Or, for a really nice look, get them printed on canvas (the website easycanvasprints.com does good work for a decent price).

The posters are designed in one of three sizes: 12×18, 18×24, or 24×36.

On this page, you can:

  • View thumbnails and descriptions of each poster.
  • View a larger version of the thumbnails.
  • Download the high-resolution PDF of each poster.

James Hott

Only one part of the United Brethren denomination was located in the Confederacy: Virginia Conference, which included the states of Virginia and Maryland. The conference’s churches were divided, since Maryland was part of the Union and Virginia lay in the South.

According to Anthony Blair, three UB ministers in Virginia were arrested for not pledging loyalty to the Confederacy, and Bishop Jacob Markwood scooted out of Virginia with a reward on his head.

James Hott was born in Virginia on November 15, 1844. Both parents had been United Brethren since their youth, his father was a UB minister, and the extended family included six ministers. So it’s not surprising that James became a Christian at age 13 and immediately sensed God’s call to the ministry. He was licensed to preach at age 17, and the next year, in 1862, joined Virginia Conference.

By then, the Civil War had started. His first assignment included churches on both sides of the lines, and during the course of the war, those lines changed about 20 times. One day the area would be swarming with Union troops, the next with Confederates.

Confederate conscription officers frequently arrested Hott, seeing only an able-bodied young man. But the Confederacy exempted ministers from military service, so once he proved that he was a minister, they always let him go.

Nevertheless, it was a harrowing three years. He could hear canon and musket fire, close or distant, and regularly approached pickett posts with soldiers — sometimes Blue, sometimes Gray — leveling rifles at him. Opportunistic marauders took advantage of anyone they encountered. But he weathered the war years well. He even crossed into Maryland in 1864 to be ordained, and a couple months later got married.

Hott continued pastoring until 1873, when he began nearly 30 years in denominational positions. He was editor of the denominational paper, The Religious Telescope, from 1877-1889, and was then elected bishop of the “liberal” United Brethren church, taking the place of Milton Wright, who had departed in the division of 1889. Bishop James Hott died in 1902, a year into his fourth term as bishop.

Ruby Crum, RN

Ruby Crum, RN, passed away November 15, 1971, in Sierra Leone.

Ruby was a member of the UB church in Peoria, Ill. She went to Sierra Leone in 1967 to become a nurse at Mattru Hospital. During her second term, as she prepared to return to the States, she contracted infectious hepatitis and pulmonary edema. Dr. Sylvester Pratt and the other nurses gave her every medicine and treatment they could, but were unable to save her.

Lori Culler coaching her team.

Lori Culler, coach of the Lady Foresters, has been cited as the winningest active women’s basketball coach in NAIA Division II. She has accumulated 560 wins over the last 31 years for a win percentage of .607. She has now begun her 31st year as coach, and the team is off to a 4-1 start.

L-r: Garry, Lois, and Bobby Culler.

Lori is the daughter of Rev. Garry and Lois Culler, a long-time ministerial couple in Pennsylvania. Garry is currently Congregational Care Pastor at Mount Pleasant UB church in Chambersburg, Pa. Lori’s brother, Bobby, is youth pastor of Mount Pleasant.

Lori’s teams have racked up these accomplishments:

  • NCCAA national championships in 1991 and 1992.
  • 23 winning seasons, with an average of 18 wins per season.
  • Seven conference titles, with five teams going undefeated in the conference.
  • Six trips to the NAIA national tournament, finishing in the Sweet Sixteen three times.
  • 29 players named as NAIA or NCCAA all-Americans.
  • 70 players named to all-conference teams.
  • Two conference Players of the Year: Amy Bechtel (1999) and Miranda Palmer (2017).

In addition to coaching, Lori Culler has been the Huntington University athletic director 1995-2001 and 2009 to the present. She graduated from HU in 1986, having starred on the 1984 NCCAA national championship basketball team.

Twice, Culler was named NCCAA National Coach of the Year, and she has been the conference Coach of the Year nine times. In October 2006, she was inducted into HU’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

David Phelps, winner of multiple Dove and Grammy awards, will perform his Classic Christmas concert on Friday, December 8, at Huntington University’s Merillat Center for the Arts. Phelps is best known as the tenor with the Gaither Vocal Band. He has performed at numerous prestigious venues across the globe, including the White House, New York’s Carnegie Hall and the Sydney Opera House in Australia.

The Classic Christmas concert is one of more than a dozen Phelps and his seven-piece musical entourage will make during November and December. This musical event will be a special evening of worship and will feature many of the songs included on Phelps’ O Holy Night recording, as well as his recently released Freedom recording.

The doors will open for the event at 7:00 p.m. with the concert beginning at 7:30 p.m. Reserved-seating tickets are $18 and $25, and VIP tickets will cost $50. VIP tickets include dinner with Huntington’s President, Dr. Sherilyn Emberton, at 6 p.m., attendance at Phelps’ sound check, and a question and answer session prior to dinner.

Tickets are available by calling (260) 359-4261 or purchasing online at www.huntington.edu/BoxOffice.

Pleasant Heights UB Church (East Liverpool, Ohio) is looking for a fulltime Director of Youth Ministries.

Status: Full-time, salaried
Hours: 40 hours per week
Benefits: Health insurance, pension, continuing cducation funds

General Purpose of Position: To build young disciples for Christ by developing and implementing a comprehensive approach to youth ministry (in the areas of group building, worship, discipleship, mission, and outreach) while serving as a spiritual leader and role model.

Download the complete job description here.

Respond to:
East Liverpool UB Church
528 Grandview St
East Liverpool, Oh 43920
Phone: 330-386-4740
Pastor: Joe Cilone

Harold Mason, bishop 1921-1925

Harold Mason was born on November 9, 1888, in Kunkle, Ohio. When elected bishop in 1921 at age 32, he was the second-youngest bishop ever elected (Jacob John Glossbrenner was four months younger when elected in 1845). Mason served just four years as bishop, and spent the rest of his life in academia, including seven years as president of Huntington College—arguably, saving the college.

The information which follows is from the chapter about Harold Mason in “United Brethren Bishops, 1889-1997.” The chapter was written by Mason’s oldest son, Robert.

Harold’s father ran a general store until 1892, when he became a United Brethren minister. So Harold mostly grew up as a preacher’s kid. In 1904, at age 15, Harold entered the Central College (now Huntington University) Academy to finish high school, and in 1907 graduated with a bachelor’s degree.

North Ohio Conference assigned him to what was called the Ransom Circuit in rural Hillsdale County, Mich. Harold met a girl named Alta, who would become his wife. However, he resigned in defeat during that first year–it’s unclear what happened, even to Robert—and took a teaching job at a Free Methodist school near Rochester, New York. In that community, he experienced healing. He moved back to Michigan and married Alta on December 25, 1909.

They both taught in public schools until 1911, when Harold sensed God pulling him back into the ministry. He served the UB church in Adrian, Mich., and then the Etna Avenue congregation in Huntington, Ind. Then, in 1913, he was given a plum assignment—the UB church in Blissfield, Mich., one of the conference’s most prominent congregations. During the next five years, the church grew and completed building projects. Sons Robert and Wendell were born there. It was a good situation.

In 1918, the conference moved him (back then, they didn’t ask if you wanted to move) to the small congregation in Montpelier, Ohio. There, again, the church prospered under his leadership, and people across the denomination noticed.

In 1921, Harold Mason was elected bishop, largely on the basis of eight years as a successful pastor (he hadn’t taken the usual paths of being a conference superintendent or denominational official). He was assigned to the Pacific district. Making the rounds of his churches in Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and California required a journey of up to 6000 miles, most of it by train. But in year three, he moved the family to Ann Arbor, Mich., cut back his church traveling, and enrolled in graduate school at the University of Michigan. He graduated in 1924 with a Masters in English and Philosophy, headed west to conduct his annual conferences, and in the fall began teaching philosophy at Adrian College. When his term as bishop ended in 1925, he became Academic Dean at Adrian College. He was obviously drawn to higher education.

Harold Mason during his latter years at Asbury.

Mason was superintendent of schools in Blissfield, Mich., 1929-1932. Then he was asked to become president of Huntington College. The school was on the verge of closing in those early days of the Depression. Mason agreed to come (at half the salary he was getting in Blissfield), and he kept the college alive for the next seven years.

In 1939, Mason left to pastor the flagship Free Methodist church in Winona Lake, Ind., while also pursuing a doctorate at Indiana University. In 1943, he began five years as Professor of Christian Education at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary (Chicago, Ill.). He finished his career in 1961 after 12 years as Professor and Chairman of the Department of Christian Education at Asbury Theological Seminary (Wilmore, Kent.).

It was an interesting life. Professionally, he gave about 20 years to the United Brethren denomination, and about 30 years to non-UB educational work. He died on June 2, 1964, in Winona Lake, Ind.