Jeff BleijerveldYesterday we announced through the denominational email list the appointment of Jeff Bleijerveld (right, with his wife, Charlene) as the new Director of Global Ministries. Starting March 3, he’ll head up our missions work, joining a staff which already includes Donna Hollopeter and Darlene Burkett.

Jeff is currently Assistant Director of World Partners USA, the mission arm of the Missionary Church USA, with headquarters just up the road in Fort Wayne, Ind. He is an ordained minister in the Missionary Church, served eight years as a missionary in Spain, has served as a pastor at two churches, and has worked with World Partners USA since 2001. His responsibilities at World Partners include managing the daily operations and all human resource functions for the 130 staff (missionaries mostly) scattered around the world. He is fluent in Spanish, which will be a big plus for us, since we have so much work in Central America.

I feel confident that Jeff is the right person for the job, and believe God will use him to take our missions efforts to the next level. I’m excited that God provided someone of Jeff’s caliber.

The Director of Global Ministries is a staff position, and as bishop, I am responsible for appointing all staff. Until 2005 we elected the Director of Global Ministries; Gary Dilley, who served in that role until January of this year (when he became senior pastor of College Park UB church in Huntington, Ind.), was originally elected in 2001, but then appointed by me in 2005. So it was my responsibility to appoint a replacement for Gary.
Let me tell you a little about the process we used in filling the position.

Jeff Bleijerveld, currently Assistant Director of World Partners USA, has been appointed by Bishop Ron Ramsey as the new Director of Global Ministries. He will begin his new duties on March 3, replacing Gary Dilley, who served in that position since 2001. Gary stepped down, effective January 21, to accept the senior pastor role at College Park UB church in Huntington, Ind.

Jeff and Charlene Bleijerveld
Jeff and Charlene Bleijerveld

Jeff has been an ordained minister in the Missionary Church for 23 years, was a missionary in Spain for eight years with World Partners Canada, has served as a pastor at two churches, and came to his current position in 2001. At World Partners USA, Jeff has been responsible for the daily operations, managed all human resources functions for the 130 staff scattered around the world, developed and supervised volunteer programs, worked with missionaries in raising their support, and much more. Being fluent in Spanish, he frequently traveled to South American, Central America, and Europe, and also served as Hispanic Liaison to churches in the United States and abroad. He brings a wealth of experience, knowledge, and ability to the position.

Jeff, a Canadian citizen, holds a Theology degree from Emmanuel Bible College in Kitchener, Ontario, and a Masters in Management from Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, Ind.

“Gary Dilley did much to advance our mission program,” says Bishop Ron Ramsey, “and he is highly respected throughout the denomination, not only in the United States but in our many partnering countries. We appreciate his service to the church, and wish him well as he returns to the pastorate. We knew it would be difficult to replace him.”

The Huntington University Board of Trustees has approved a 4.5 percent increase for fulltime traditional undergraduate tuition and fees in 2008-2009.

To make college more affordable, Huntington has kept increases to only 2 percent and 3 percent the past two years. The increase for the 2008-2009 academic year means that a fulltime, traditional undergraduate student at Huntington will pay $435 more in tuition and fees per semester.

The annual tuition and fees at Huntington University is currently $19,430, nearly $4,300 less than the national average. Across the United States, the average tuition and fees at four-year private institutions in 2007-2008 is $23,712, representing a 6.3 percent increase of more than $1,400 over 2006-2007, according to College Board’s 2007-2008 Annual Survey of Colleges.

In addition to being ranked No. 7 among the Midwest’s “Best Baccalaureate Colleges” in 2008 by U.S.News & World Report, Huntington University also was named No. 5 among the “Best Values in Baccalaureate Colleges” in the Midwest.

Thomas Thelen resigned as youth pastor of Kilpatrick UB (Woodland, Mich.), effective January 31, 2008.

James Nixon resigned as youth pastor of Element Church (Blissfield, Mich.), effective January 31, 2008.

The UB church in Milltown, South Dakota, has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The church received the designation last summer through the efforts of several board members.

The National Register is designed “to recognize properties which contribute to the prehistoric and historic development of our localities, states, and nation.”

“We are the only church left in the area,” says Darlene Juhnke, a member of the church, “and the only United Brethren in Christ Church in South Dakota.”

Another board member is Theresa Schutt, whose great-great-grandfather, Asa Brink, pastored the church in the 1880s. The congregation actually began in 1878, and the white frame building was erected in 1880.

Milltown UB was among the churches which stuck with Bishop Milton Wright when our group split off from the main body of the United Brethren denomination.

From 1977-1999, the church was served by student pastors from North American Baptist Seminary in Sioux Falls, S. D. From 1999-2006, a minister from a Baptist church in Parkston also filled the Milltown pulpit. Since 2006, the small congregation has not had anyone to conduct services, and the members have been scattered among other area churches.

Milltown was a stagecoach route until 1865, and was a bustling small town. But now, the population is less than 10. The nearest town is Parkston, with 1700 residents.

livingston.jpgHuntington University’s new student residence (right) will bear a name from the past: Livingston Hall. The Board of Trustees agreed on that name during their January 26 meeting.

The original Livingston Hall developed from a home built in 1897 by President Charles H. Kiracofe and later sold to theology professor Samuel L. Livingston. The house was converted to a women’s residence in 1918 and later underwent two significant expansions and renovations. After additional student residences were built in the 1980s, Livingston Hall was converted to faculty offices.

The building was demolished in 1988 to make room for RichLyn Library. The new Livingston Hall iwll house 150 undergraduates, and is scheduled for occupancy next fall.