Snapshots from the US National Conference

The 2007 US National Conference drew over 920 UB people to the Sawmill Creek Resort in Huron, Ohio. This may have been the largest UB gathering ever. The only comparable event was “Challenge 88,” the “Vacation with a Purpose” convention held in 1988 in Knoxville, Tenn.

Bishop Ron Ramsey assembled a planning committee of persons from Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, and pretty much told them to pull out all the stops to make this conference–the first of its kind–a truly memorable event. And so they did pull out the stops–with the speakers, music, decorations, equipment, videos, signage, promotional materials, give-away items, and numerous small touches. The event was also designed to focus on the future, to portray a church that is progressive and forward-looking.

Follow the link below to glimpse various tidbits from the conference, to help you catch a feel for it.

Amy Pennington (right), from Mainstreet Church (Walbridge, Ohio), worked tirelessly making all of the hotel arrangements not only at Sawmill Creek, but at the six other motels we used when the supply of rooms at Sawmill was exhausted. On Thursday, as people arrived to register, she was constantly on the phone to other hotels making sure people were taken care of. Marsha Biard (left), administrative assistant to Bishop Ron Ramsey, oversaw the registration process and managed the information booth throughout the conference.

We brought in a ton of equipment to provide a quality experience for the services–top-notch lighting, a number of computers and numerous monitors, dual-screen projection of lyrics, video projection of speakers, and much more. A full crew of technicians, led by Chris Kuntz of Union Chapel UB Church (Fort Wayne, Ind.), kept things humming along nicely.

Brad Powell, pastor of NorthRidge Church in Plymouth, Mich., was the keynote speaker on Thursday and Friday nights. Going along with the “Extreme Makeover” theme of the conference, he spoke about the “Foundation” and the “Framework” for local church health. People loved his humor, his engaging speaking style, and his very pointed admonitions.

The worship team from Mainstreet Church (Walbridge, Ohio) led the singing on Thursday and Friday nights. Headed by worship pastor John Authenreith (second from left), who wields a mean guitar, the group provided a strong contemporary worship experience which saw numerous hands raised skyward throughout the audience. They mixed some of the newer worship songs with contemporary versions of hymns.

Throughout the conference, a number of people could be found wearing yellow vests. These persons included all members of the conference planning committee, all of the national office staff, plus a number of persons serving as hospitality/welcoming volunteers. In the photo are Debbie Voight (left) from Lancaster UB (Lancaster, Ohio), who headed up the hospitality team and served on the planning committee; Opal Sherman (far right) from Mainstreet Church (Walbridge, Ohio), who kept busy throughout the conference taking care of arrangements and people’s needs; and one of the many volunteers from Mainstreet.

Susan Burson (right), assistant professor of education at Huntington University, led the children’s activities (ages 5-11) with the help of several of her students. They offered a full, and very fun and creative, program during all of the main events–the three evening services, the Sunday morning service, the Saturday morning workshops, and the Friday morning business session. The ministry of Professor Burson and the students was greatly appreciated.

Saturday morning featured 26 workshops divided into two 90-minute time periods. Josh Greenfield, from Gaines UB church (Caledonia, Mich.), designed highly creative signs for each workshop, along with numerous other signs and banners which could be found out on the road pointing to help people find the facilities, and throughout the conference center to direct people to various locations. Well done, Josh!

Marc Stephenson, the minister of youth at Cochranton Community Church (Cochranton, Pa.) was ordained on Saturday night by Bishop Ron Ramsey. The photo shows Marc and his wife, Sue, kneeling as Bishop Ramsey (left) prays for them. Also assisting in the ordination are several other ordained ministers, including Steve Clulow, senior pastor at Cochranton (to the right of Bishop Ramsey).

David’s Reply, a team of three interpretive dancers from Union Chapel Church (Fort Wayne, Ind.), performed beautifully and movingly on Saturday night.

Kenneth Quick, author of the book Healing the Heart of Your Church, was the keynote speaker on Saturday night. He addressed the issue of corporate sin as it affects local churches.

A communion service was held on Sunday morning. It was preceded by a time of confession, during which attendees were invited to write something on a slip of paper and nail it to a large wooden cross laying at the front of the platform. There were four hammers and two buckets of nails, and the two lines filing to the cross lasted a long time.

Bishop Ron Ramsey spoke on Sunday morning, using Ephesians 1 to talk about “Our Position in Christ.” One of his closing points was accented with a loud thunder clap, which drew laughter from the crowd.

We have six former bishops, and five of them attended the 2007 US National Conference: Raymond Waldfogel, C. Ray Miller, Clarence Kopp, Ray Seilhamer, and Paul Hirschy. Only Wilber Sites, Jr., was missing. That’s Bishop Miller on the right.
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