Further reports from Jamaica, in the wake of Hurricane Ivan, tell of much damage to UB churches and homes. in addition, at least 7 buildings lost their roofs at Jamaica Bible College (where Owen Gordon is the president, and where Bishop Emeritus Wilbur and Mossie Sites are currently serving as volunteers), and there is also much water damage.

A fund has been set up for Jamaica Hurricane Relief. You can donate via credit card online, or send a check to: Jamaica Relief, 302 Lake St., Huntington, IN 46750. Make checks payable to “United Brethren Headquarters,” and be sure to indicate whether it is for Jamaica or Florida hurricane relief (since we have funds set up for each).

Jana sent the following updates on September 14:

  • Last week over 20 children attended the first Kids’ Klub. We’d only set up 15 chairs, so God worked beyond our expectations! Praise the Lord for these children who will be learning God’s Word each week.
  • ELP enrollment is much higher than it was last fall. The overall atmosphere is also more upbeat with Michael, David, and Melissa here also building relationships. Praise God for all these people He’s bringing into the center to hear about Him.
  • David and Melissa Kline are still waiting for their permits from the government to be able to teach legally. Continue to pray for that whole situation. Also pray for missionaries with other mission organizations in Macau who are facing similar struggles.
  • This Friday night, Michael will start a Cantonese-speaking Care Group. As with Kids’ Klub, our goal is to start having some activities that are not using English instruction as the main attraction. Pray that people who are spiritually hungry will come. Also pray for wisdom for Michael as he begins this new ministry.

As of Thursday afternoon, September 16, UB people and churches had contributed about $6000 to the relief funds for Florida and Jamaica. This is only money channeled through the United Brethren Offices; others funds have been given directly. The Jamaica fund was established and publicized on Wednesday. Here is the breakdown thus far:

  • Florida Hurricane Relief Fund: $3219 donated.
  • Jamaica Hurricane Relief Fund: $2785 donated.

Darlene Burkett, who works in Global Ministries, was able to speak today with Owen Gordon, a UB minister in Jamaica who is also president of Jamaica Bible College. Phone service is back up, but that is all. There is still no electricity and no water. Owen said that they have no idea when those things will get restored because of the extreme damage.

Owen said that if there is someone who absolutely wants to come to Jamaica right now to help, here are three things that they could bring with them that would be of immediate assistance:

  • Generator. If they had a generator, they would be able to pump water from a holding tank that they have. Right now there are no generators to be found anywhere. They were purchased almost immediately. The government has said that they will not charge duty on any item like this for an extended period of time because of the great need.
  • Chlorine tablets for water purification. These, too, are unable to be obtained in Jamaica.
  • Battery powered lamps and their batteries. This would help, especially at night.

The airports are open on a limited basis. Owen isn’t sure what travel from the airports would be like. Most roads are still impassable for the large part. He thinks that individuals familiar with Jamaica might be able to get through.

Lamar and Karen Crumbley served with the UB mission in Honduras over a period of about 15 years, and recently served a short-term stint in Macau. Lamar sent a note about a surgery Karen will undergo on Thursday, September 16.

“After a long struggle with her lung tumor, Karen is at present very weak, but she is finally getting the operation she needs. On September 16 she will enter Northside Hospital in Atlanta and at 1:00 P.M. they will begin a three-and-one-half -hour surgery to remove one-third of her lung plus, part of her bronchial tube. Afterwards, she will spend a couple days in ICU with a total of about seven days in the hospital. Then home where it will about 4-6 weeks before she will be able to get around much, and a total of three to four months for complete healing. It’s going to be a long hard road for her, so please keep us both in your prayers.”

Donna Hollopeter, associate director of Global Ministries, made contact with Janet Smith, wife of Jamaica superintendent Rev. Winston Smith. As we know, the island of Jamaica was hit hard by Hurricane Ivan. Here are some notes Donna took from her phone conversation with Janet.

“Janet said that no part of the island escaped damage, but she feels that the Kingston area was one of the more fortunate areas. Along the bay in Kingston they experienced 15-foot swells and there is a great deal of debris that will need to be removed from the roadways, especially out to the airport in Kingston.

“The Golden Springs area of Jamaica is okay. They had high winds and a lot of rain, but everyone is safe. Mandeville was hit very hard. Rev. Don Dacres and Rev. Trevor Williams had heavy damage to their homes. Many of our churches sustained heavy damage, but it has been difficult to assess the damage because of debris on the roads. Janet knows that the Mt. Pleasant and Mt. Prospect churches sustained heavy damage. Montego Bay was also hit quite heavily.

“The whole island is without power. Electricity was cut before the hurricane came so as to help prevent fires from downed lines. There is no idea when power will be restored. They have limited phone service.

“As far as she knows, none of our UB people lost their lives and no one sustained injuries. There are many, however, who are without homes.

“Winston Smith will be calling into the office and keep us informed about needs. Mrs. Smith says she is confident one need will be work teams to help repair and rebuild homes and churches.”

  • Dr. Dave Rahn, professor of ministry and missions, had an article published in the September 2004 edition of Decision magazine. It is called “Church for the ‘Unchurched’ Kids: Tackling the cultural gap between church and unchurched kids.”
  • The Wall Street Journal ran a front-page feature on Jim and Lizzie O’Donnell, with mention about Jim’s book, Letters for Lizzie.
  • Huntington College has been formally approved to offer Master’s programs in Education and Counseling, and has been authorized to offer academic programs at off-campus sites within an expanded 100-mile radius.
  • The Huntington College campus radio station, 105.5 FM WQHC, has been accessed by online listeners in well over 100 regions and countries during the past six months. That includes the Americans (North, Central, and South), Europe, Asia, Australia, and Africa.

  • Ron Gonzales will begin as senior pastor of Faith Community UB in Findlay, Ohio, on September 19. He previously pastored the Open Bible Fellowship UB church in Safford, Ariz. Open Bible Fellowship is currently searching for a new pastor.
  • Dan Young, who started Faith Community Church in the early 1990s, is now serving as interim pastor of Crestview UB church in Lafayette, Ind.
  • Dick Case, formerly pastor of Crestview UB, is serving as interim pastor of Dillman UB in Warren, Ind.
  • Bishop Emeritus Ray Seilhamer has been named senior pastor of New Hope UB in Huntington, Ind. He continues serving as associate dean of the Huntington College Graduate School of Christian Ministries.
  • Lynn Mefferd, who retired as pastor of Dillman UB (Warren, Ind.), is serving on a part-time basis in an associate role at New Hope UB in Huntington, Ind.
  • Toby Lazo is no longer pastor of Victory Celebration Center in Burbank, Calif. A layperson is currently overseeing the church.
  • Decatur UB (Decatur, Ind.) has changed its name to Cornerstone Community Church.
  • Murray Stevens is the new pastor of Saint James UB (Chambersburg, Pa.).
  • Harvest Community UB (Toledo, Ohio) changed its named to North Point UB church. The pastor is Brad Wotring.
  • DeWitt UB church (DeWitt, Mich.) has closed.
  • Valerie Reynolds is the new senior pastor of Mount Hope UB in Carson City, Mich.
  • Roger Burk has assumed the role of fulltime superintendent in Michigan Conference (a position to which he was elected last spring). The former superintendent, David Burkett, is now pastor of Mount Morris UB in Mt. Morris, Mich.
  • Stephen Clulow is a new superintendent in Sandusky Conference. He replaces Roger Overmyer.
  • Covenant Fellowship UB Church at Steubenville, Ohio, has been closed.
  • Red Mountain UB in Birmingham, Ala., has closed. The pastor, Fred Johns, is now pastoring a Wesleyan church in Birmingham.

Throughout the month of October, voting will occur in the US National Conference churches. Adult members will select laypersons and ministers to represent their conference at the 2005 US National Conference, and will also cast votes concerning three referendum items. Each church needs to appoint a board of tellers to oversee the voting. The conference will provide enough ballots for each member in your church, as well as other information. A number of resources concerning the voting are available online, though most will be sent to your church from the conference.

Various items regarding the initiative to join with the Missionary Church have been sent to all UB local churches in the United States, or will soon be sent. Other information is available on the UB website.

  • Information Sheets. Four information sheets were sent to all churches at the beginning of August. They are designed to be duplicated and inserted in church bulletins, if appropriate, but can also be used in other ways. All four can be downloaded.
  • “Joining Forces” Video. A 14-minute video has been sent to each church. It includes a short introduction by Bishop Paul Hirschy, and then statements from three Missionary Church officials regarding the vision and ministry of the Missionary Church. All churches are encouraged to show this to their congregation prior to the October elections, preferably as part of a church service or congregational meeting.
  • Online Statements. A number of UB people have submitted statements regarding the possibility of joining the Missionary Church–both in favor, and not in favor. You can find them here.
  • Missionary Church Materials. The Missionary Church headquarters provided a variety of printed materials which were sent in a packet to each UB church in the United States. The packet includes a brief snapshot of the Missionary Church district your church would most likely become part of, if the joining takes place. Pastors are encouraged to make this material available to their congregations.
  • Informational Meetings. Several informational meetings have been scheduled, including five within Central Conference. Meetings have also been scheduled in several local churches, at the request of pastors.