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.

Moy Ling and family.

Oliver A. Howard — renowned Civil War general (Bull Run, Antietam, Gettysburg, Chancellorsville, Fredericksburg, Atlanta), Medal of Honor winner, head of the post-war Freedman’s Bureau, advocate for freed slaves, founder of Howard University—was born on November 8, 1830. The West Point grad became popularly known as “the Christian general” because his decisions were strongly influenced by his faith.

General Oliver Howard lost his right arm in an early Civil War battle.

He was never United Brethren. Probably never attended a UB church. So why is he included here? Read on.

After negotiating the surrender of Apache chief Cochise in 1872, Howard was sent to the Northwest in 1874 to subdue the Nez Perce Indians.

Howard’s daughter lived in Portland, and a young Chinese immigrant named Moy Ling was attached to the family in some way, probably as a worker. General Howard talked about Moy Ling in his autobiography.

“I had not been in the city of Portland long before the active people in the different churches combined to form a union mission with a view to doing something for the Chinamen, who had already come in large numbers to that part of the Pacific Coast.

“In my family, there was a young Chinaman of slender build, very dignified, and apparently independent. His name was Moy Yu Ling. One day I gave him a Bible printed in Chinese. He read it quietly without remark, but soon he joined the mission, became deeply interested, and united with one of the churches, and for over 25 years has been a consistent Christian and a local missionary to his own people in Portland.

“A little later, he opened up a store filled with Chinese goods of various descriptions. As a merchant and as a Christian teacher, for he continued in both capacities, he has been remarkably successful. His children speak good English, and we always say when we meet them: ‘What a beautiful family!’ The last time I was in Portland, every child remembered me, took me by the hand, and called me by name.”

By 1882, the school Moy Ling had begun in 1876 was more than he could handle. The United Brethren church agreed to assume ownership. That served as our bridge to opening ministry in China—twice, as it turned out.

Moy Ling’s school stayed with the “liberal” branch after the division of 1889. When they gave up the school in 1898, our group took charge. Twenty years later, Moy Ling’s contacts led us to Dr. Y. T. Chiu, and we again launched ministry in Canton, China—a ministry which later led us to Hong Kong…and Macau…and Myanmar…and Thailand.

And it all started with a Civil War general giving a Bible to a Chinese immigrant.

Joseph Hoffman, bishop 1821-1825

Joseph Hoffman, our 6th bishop, passed away at age 76 on November 8, 1856. He was there at the beginning, growing up in the United Brethren church long before it officially organized as a denomination. He was licensed as a United Brethren minister in 1803, at age 23, and became a traveling preacher in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. He could preach in both German and English.

Biographer Henry Adams Thompson described Hoffman this way: about six feet tall, one good eye (a tree branch took out the other), thin hair, strong and vigorous. “His countenance was expressive, and the whole man seemed to speak to you. He had a strong voice, which without being strained could be heard a mile. His enunciation was clear and full.”

Hoffman was a bit out of step with his times, or visionary—or both—when it came to the minister’s role. Back then, as Thompson explained in “Our Bishops,” ministers were expected to preach without compensation on Sunday, and then ply their trade the rest of the week (most ministers were farmers). The belief was that only a person truly called by the Holy Spirit would do this for free. If ministers were paid fulltime, the role would attract persons who were in it for the money, not because they were called by God.

Hoffman didn’t see it that way. He felt that if God called you to preach, that’s what you should do fulltime. Those who preached the Gospel should live off the Gospel. In that way, he was somewhat of a reformer.

Hoffman was one of the three men ordained by William Otterbein in 1813, shortly before Otterbein’s death. The next year, he became pastor of the church in Baltimore which Otterbein had pastored for 39 years. He was 34 years old at the time, in his prime, but remained there just three years. In 1817, the Hoffman family moved to central Ohio, just southeast of Columbus—sparsely populated pioneer territory. His resume and experience immediately placed him in leadership among the United Brethren located there. His home remained there for the rest of his life.

Andrew Zeller, also from Ohio, had been elected bishop in 1817, but poor health kept him from continuing in office. Instead, in 1821, Joseph Hoffman was elected bishop. Although he served only until 1825, he made the most of it, traveling extensively. He spent a summer preaching in Canada, and later spent a winter in New York City, where he preached in many prominent churches.

Hoffman’s first wife died, and he remarried. Altogether, he fathered eleven children. Five of his eight sons became United Brethren ministers.

On November 8, 1856, a new church was being dedicated near Lewisburg, Ohio. People were excited that Bishop Hoffman would be there to preach the first sermon. But he never made it. He died that morning before even leaving home.