“A bittersweet time has come at Rhodes Grove Camp. The historic tabernacle, constructed in 1917, was officially condemned in the spring of 2004. Since that time the management of Rhodes Grove has sought a sensible plan for its removal.

“A local German-Baptist business offered to take the building down, piece by piece, to be used for wood-flooring. This is being done for an extremely minimal amount of money. We consider this to be a blessing, as we did not want to spend significant dollars on removing the Tabernacle. The removal process should be complete by mid-February.

“There are no immediate plans to construct a new building on that site. To help preserve the important commitments, memories and decisions made in the building, we have commissioned an artist to render a painting of the tabernacle. Rhodes Grove will make prints of this painting available at a low cost to those who are interested. More information will be shared as it becomes available.”

Jamaica Conference held its first Youth Leadership Training Seminar January 6-8 at the York Town church. It was attended by 45 young people from 18 churches. The event was hosted by the conference Church Services Board.

The seminar presenters were:

  • Bill Blue, youth pastor of Fowlerville UB Church (Fowlerville, Mich.). and a member of Youth Leadership Team of the USA National Conference.
  • Matt McKeown, youth pastor of Daytona UB Church (Holly Hill, Fla.), and also a member of the Youth Leadership Team.
  • Nathan Gernert, youth pastor of New Horizons UB church (Rockford, Ohio).

The objectives of the training seminars were:

  1. To communicate the qualities of a healthy, biblical youth ministry.
  2. To develop effective programming.
  3. To train youth leaders in how to teach young people how to share their faith.
  4. Build a bridge with our brothers in the USA National Conference for future cooperation with our Youth Workers.

Here are some comments from persons who attended the event, in response t the question, “What are you taking back to your local church from this Youth Leadership Training?

  • “The need to deliberately create an atmosphere of love” (York Town Church).
  • “New strategies, greater motivation, and more knowledge” (Rhymesbury).
  • “The fundamentals of Jesus’ leadership style that He use in His ministry and how to improve harmony and balance in our ministries” (Content).
  • “A new approach to witnessing. Though from another culture, Bill Blue was excellent. He captured my attention and the seminar was purpose-focused” (Washington Gardens).
  • “Every activity in youth ministry must have a purpose, and that purpose must be eternal” (Content).
  • “The urgency in reaching unsaved young people as well as the strategies that can be followed to make evangelism and outreach more effective. This was a wonderful training session. It was presented creatively and was very interesting and simple to understand. I was expecting to be bored and that we would be passive as participants, but the sessions were the total opposite (Greater Portmore).

A “Part 2” is planned for later in 2005 or early 2006.

Briana Nei is the youth and drama leader at Emmaus Church in Berryville, Va. She writes, “Incredible things are happening at Emmaus. We have been meeting for a little over a year and a half. Last Sunday, January 9, was our highest attendance with 114 people. Our youth program is growing quickly. Many have been saved. We are seeing people come out of homosexuality, drugs, alcohol etc.

“The teens put on a Christmas musical called STARS, which I wrote and directed. About 30 people were involved with putting on this 90-minute show about reality TV and the desire of teens to find hope in pop culture. Over 250 people attended the two showings at the middle school auditorium. Many non-Christian teens attended both nights because they loved it so much. It created much unity among the teens involved from different social backgrounds.

“The youth are studying godliness, honor in relationships, and other hot topics during regular youth night. We also are starting Power Groups for teens (short-term four-week small groups that focus on different topics). We are getting ready to begin the Grow in the Word discipleship series with about ten senior high students (many of them new Christians), plus a new believer’s five-week Power Group. God is moving.

“We started a Hispanic ministry, and a mercy ministry to hungry and homeless families. We have a ministry for young boys and a children’s ministry busting out of the seams (about 30-40 on a normal Sunday).

“One family has a ministry called Hope-n-Helps; they serve pastors, orphanages, and leper colonies in India. The church recently raised $2000 to send to churches in India harmed by the Tsunami. The youth did a project on giving in November through this ministry. The teens were given seed money out of the youth budget and, as in the parable of the talents, were given one week to try to increase it as much as possible. The students tripled the money in one week from $100 to $300 dollars by selling brownies, candles, or whatever they wanted to do. All the money was sent to India. They were excited as they received letters back from the pastors and orphanages.”

Margaret Maybee, minister of Music at Eden UB (Mason, Mich.), writes, “We were privileged, for the third time, to present a 20-minute portrayal of the Christmas Story on the lawn of the Ingham County Courthouse in downtown Mason. We did this on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings of Thanksgiving weekend.

“The Eden Church presented a Christmas Cantata entitled ‘Journey to the Manger.’ A new cantata with a powerful message of what God can do to change the heart of an atheist through drama and music.

“Eden church went to two services–a blended service, and a contemporary service. We recently changed this, making the first service traditional and the second one contemporary. No other church in the Mason area offers a traditional service. We have both styles, now and we trust it will help reach those who favor the hymns, choir, organ, and piano. This change came because of a request of some in the congregation. A fine worship band will provide the contemporary service to meet the needs of those who desire this type of music. Our goal is to reach all kinds of people for Christ.”

On January 7, Camp Cotubic sent out a plea for help. An ice storm knocked down numerous trees and branches, and also killed the power at the camp in the town of Bellefontaine. The ton of trees and branches and also wiped out the power.

In response, 40-50 men, women, and children showed up the next day, Saturday, to help clean up the mess. Chainsaws ran most of the day. They created a number of piles of wood to be removed or burned, and in other places pushed trees to the side to open the roads. New Horizons Church in Rockford, Ohio, offered to rent a tree chipper for the camp.

Our couple in India sent a report on January 9 concerning the tsunami. “In India, the badly hit state is Tamil Nadu, which is the state south of our state. We live one and half miles from the coast, where one village was hit hard by the tsunami. Twenty houses were washed away and five people died. More than 5000 people were accommodated in the local schools and colleges in Narsapur immediately after it happened. They all returned to their villages within 48 hours. We offered medical care in our hospital.

“We have distributed saris, towels, and lunges (men’s clothing) to the fishermen community who have become Christians in the near by villages. Community health teams from our hospital are involved in helping the people in the villages. We are still in need of funds for blankets, sheets, and funds to help rebuild huts so they can start over again. These people are going through much grief. Showing the love and compassion of Christ is so important right now.

“We request that your gifts be sent to Global Ministries, 302 Lake Street, Huntington, IN 46750. Please mention that it is for tsunami relief.”

On February 5, Corunna UB is sponsoring “An Evening with Marilyn Laszlo.” It will be at the Auburn Cord-Deusenberg Museum in Auburn, Ind., beginning at 5:00 pm. From 5:00 — 6:00, there will be a tour of the museum (tours will also take place following the event). A banquet begins at 6:00 pm, followed by music by “One Faith,” a women’s trio from Emmanuel Community UB church in Fort Wayne. Then Marilyn Laszlo will speak.

Tickets for the banquet are $18 per person. They can be obtained by calling either 260-281-2138 or 260- 927-8137. They are also available at the Anchor Room Bookstore in Fort Wayne.

On Sunday morning, February 6, Jennifer Blandin will speak at 9:00, followed by Marilyn Laszlo speaking at 10:00.

At the beginning of January, Bishop Paul Hirschy began a new round of radiation treatments. On January 12 he reported, “I am in the middle of the second week of radiation treatments on a lump in my neck. They originally projected just ten days of treatment. However, the lump has not decreased as rapidly as the doctors expected, and so I very likely will need additional treatments. Doctors will let me know on Friday, when I go in for my treatment.

“As of today, January 12, I am happy to report that I have not had any noticeable side effects from the radiation treatment. I praise God that I have been able to keep my normal schedule except for the time that I must drive to Fort Wayne for the treatment. I have had to cancel just a few meetings during this time.”

HallmanTwins.jpgOn January 5, during an ice storm, Pastor Tim and Tara Hallman of Anchor UB Church in Fort Wayne, Ind. became the parents of twin boys. Levi Matthew and Isaac Timothy, identical twins, were born 17 minutes apart at Dupont Hospital in Fort Wayne. They were born about four-and-a-half weeks early, weighing 5 lbs, 8.8 oz (Levi) and 5 lbs, 13 oz. Everyone’s doing great.