Throughout October 2004, United Brethren members in the United States voted on these matters:Next

  • Electing clergy and lay delegates to the 2005 national Conference.
  • Voting “yes” or “no” on three referendum items, including the referendum to unite the UB churches in the United States with the Missionary Church USA.

The voting ended on October 31. Here are the next steps in the timeline, as stated in chapter 33 of the UB Discipline:

  • November 15. The results from each church must be sent to the conference board of tellers, postmarked no later than November 15.
  • December 1. The conference board of tellers will tally the results from the various churches, producing conference totals. Persons elected as delegates must be notified by December 1.
  • December 15. The conference results must be sent, by December 15, to these persons: Bishop Paul Hirschy, the superintendent(s) of that conference, and each senior pastor in the conference.
  • February 15. The bishop will publish the results of the election by this date. It allows time for any appeals or recounts.

Most likely, the results of the voting will be announced in late December. The results will be announced in the same way they were published in 1993, the last time we had a referendum. The referendum results from each conference will be posted, with three pieces of information for each referendum: the number of Yes votes, the number of No votes, and the percentage of Yes votes. The names of the delegates elected from each conference will also be posted.

If a referendum receives a simple majority of all votes cast in the United States churches, it can be passed along to the National Conference in 2005. The 65 delegates to the National Conference can, with a two-thirds vote, make a referendum official.

Information about the voting, as well as other information related to the 2005 US National Conference, can be found at this address.

Bob Lust is no longer pastor of First UB in Columbus. The pastoral staff at Franklin Church in New Albany, Ohio, will provide pastoral oversight for this congregation during the transition.

As of October 25, people had contributed over $55,000 to the three hurricane relief funds we created in September.

  • Jamaica: $24,541
  • Haiti: $7,026
  • Florida: $23,512

In addition, some people have contributed directly to these places. The figures above reflect only the money channelled through the United Brethren Headquarters and Global Ministries.

Doug Birdsall was installed as International Chairman of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization during the organization’s global forum in Pattaya, Thailand, in October.

Doug is the brother of Brent Birdsall, pastor of College Park UB church (Huntington, Ind.) and of Brian Birdsall, a UB endorsed missionary serving in Ukraine. A sister, Connie, attends a Missionary Church congregation in Berne, Ind.

The forum brought together 1500 church leaders from around the world to focus on the task of global evangelism.

The Lausanne Movement is an outgrowth of a 1974 International Congress in Lausanne, Switzerland, convened by Billy Graham. At that historic meeting, several thousand participants from 150 countries signed the Lausanne Covenant “to be more intentional about world evangelization.” Lausanne’s vision is to energize churches, mission agencies, networks and individuals “to respond with vigor and courage to the cause of world evangelization.” The unifying theme of the Lausanne Covenant and the Lausanne Movement is, “The Whole Church Taking the Whole Gospel to the Whole World.”

Since 1980, Doug Birdsall has served as a missionary in Japan with Asian Access/LIFE Ministries, an organization that focuses on evangelism and church multiplication. He is currently President of Asian Access. He is a graduate of Wheaton College, Gordon-Conwell, and Harvard University. He and his wife, Jeanie, have three children, Stacia, Judd and Jessamin, who were all born and reared in Japan.

Doug returned to Gordon-Conwell in 1999 to help establish the Wilson Center for World Missions, and is seconded to the seminary for 20 percent of his time by Asian Access/Life Ministries

David and Melissa Kline are still trying to obtain work permits so they can teach in the Macau English Language Program. In the meantime, they are finding other ways to serve the Macau people, while Jana and Jennifer Blandin carry the bulk of the teaching responsibilities.

Huntington College has announced a total fall enrollment of 975 students. This is just slightly lower than the 980 announced in 2003. They include:

  • 819 undergraduates (down from 838 in 2003).
  • 96 students enrolled in the EXCEL Program (an increase of 7 from 2003).
  • 60 students enrolled in the Graduate School of Christian Ministries (an increase of 7 from 2003).

The College enrolled 235 new students, including 204 freshmen and 31 transfer students.

During Homecoming at the beginning of October, Huntington College presented awards to two alumni.

  • Lola Lee Peters, Class of 1949, was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Citation, which honors distinguished service and achievement over an extended period of time.
  • Dawn Rae Smith (1968) was named Alumnus of the Year, an award which recognizes outstanding achievement or honor during the past year.

Jana sends these notes from Macau.

  • Several new students have attended at least one English Bible Study. Praise the Lord for these young adults who are open to learning more about God. Pray that their lives will be changed by the Truth of God’s Word.
  • Please continue to pray that David and Melissa will be granted work permits so that they can begin teaching. Pray for them, too, as they look for useful ways to use this time. Waiting is never easy. They’re anxious to jump into ministry here.
  • This Friday night we’re having a Chinese friend of ours over for dinner. She isn’t a Christian, but she’s facing some difficult things this month, and we want her to know we care.

The Laurel Mission Board of Directors met at the Mission for two days in October. Central Conference Superintendent Tom Brodbeck reports that they found two major answers to prayer.

“First, we have been praying about the need for a multi-purpose facility in the community that would replace our former Hodgeboom facility (which was destroyed by the mining operation). It appears highly probable that the local school system will have a building to give for that purpose. If all goes as planned, the Laurel Mission and the nearby Red Bird Mission will jointly oversee this venture. A new board of directors has been formed in the community to help make this happen.

“Second, we have also been praying about the need for additional staff to assist in the work, but have been unable to move ahead on this due to a lack of suitable housing in the area. Thanks to a generous donation from a long-time friend of the mission, we now have an 850 square foot house on site (almost finished). You will be seeing our invitation for resumes circulated soon.”

Tom also noted the death of Rev. Robert Smith, the father of Rev. Ken Smith, the pastor of our Cedar Chapel church at the mission. “Rev. Robert Smith was known in the region as the ‘Singing Preacher.’ In addition to his day job as a coal miner, he traveled the region as an evangelist. He had been ill for some time, and just one day prior to his death the family had finalized arrangements for hospice care. Part of his legacy is that each of his three sons followed him into the ministry.”

Five UBs are currently serving short-term in Jamaica: Bishop Emeritus Wilber and Mossie Sites (from Pennsylvania) and Angela Oesterle (Michigan) at Jamaica Bible College, and Kent and Carol Maxwell (Indiana) at Jamaica Theological Seminary.

Significant progress is occurring on the buildings and other preparations for opening the orphanage for Here’s Hope Ministries in Belize. Much work is being done through Bob Eberly, from Greencastle, Pa., and other supporters.