Dirk Small resigned as pastor of Idaville UB Church (Idaville, Pa.). He has taken a staff position with Otterbein Church in Waynesboro, Pa. (a former UB church that withdrew in 2005). Idaville is now looking for a new senior pastor.

Doug and Ruth Weber Family

Doug and Ruth Weber and family, missionaries with HCBJ Radio, returned to Ecuador in August after a two-month furlough. In their September 2008 newsletter (which you can download in full as a PDF file), they told about what they did on furlough (technicallyl, called Home Ministry Assignment):

  • Traveled 8000 miles.
  • Slept in 21 different beds.
  • Visited with 21 different families.
  • Spoke at a camp and five churches.
  • Hosted two dessert and sharing times.
  • Spoke at a ladies tea.
  • Attended three reunions.
  • Celebrated four birthdays (and their own wedding anniversary).
  • Atended a colleged registration weekend.

They also moved daughter Rachel into her new home: a residence hall at Huntington University. She will major in Digital Media with an emphasis in animation. “She also has a real heart for ministry to junior high kids and would like to get involved with the youth at the church she will be attending. She has seen how god has provided for her needs and is excited about preparing herself for his service.”

The other three children are still at home. Daughter Becca is starting her junior year of high school in Ecuador, Daniel is starting 7th grade, and David is in 3rd grade.
Doug has returned ot his job as Radio Director, while Ruth has started her fifth year of teaching 3rd grade.

They write, “Becca and a friend wasted no time remodeling the room she shared with Rachel. They have re-painted the room and plan to paint some customized designs on the walls. Rachel’s “loft” is also being re-purposed as an “art room.

“Giving this room a fresh start is just what we want to do with this new term of service in Ecuador. Getting a fresh start can sometimes help us regain our perspective and prioritize the things that we do. With renewed energy, we can then accomplish the really important things in our family and ministry. We hope to do just that in the next 2 years.”

A few notes on some UB people.

  • Wardena Waldfogel, wife of Bishop Emeritus Raymond Waldfogel, spent 17 days in St. Joseph Hospital in Fort Wayne, Ind. She came home on Friday, September 26, but was taken back to the hospital yesterday, suffering from low blood pressure problems and dehydration.
  • Pam Jones, wife of Healthy Church Ministries Director Pat Jones, suffered burns in one eye last week. Nearly one-third of her cornea was burned off, but it appears to be regenerating. Pray that that will happen.
  • It’s been two months since Polly Dunten‘s brain surgery. On Sunday, September 28, “Something happened that was just wonderful,” wrote her husband, Darwin, on Polly’s Blog. “Polly accompanied the main piano with the Clavinova during the first service at church Sunday. Then in the second service she sang her first special music since the surgery. Now, she is not quite 100% yet (maybe 90%), but we are still thankful. Sunday she also stole the keys to the car and drove to church. (I guess we will just have to nail her feet to the floor.)”

In case you missed it the first time, here’s another promo for the November 1 conference in Wabash, Ind., with Dr. Kevin Leman. The event is called the 2008 Day of Healing.

In addition to Leman, over 20 other psychologists will be there, presenting workshops on a variety of subjects related to relationships, the family, and emotions. This is a good opportunity for ordained ministers looking to pick up another CEU for 2008.

At the MinistryCOM conference, the closing speakers (Jon Acuff, who runs the delightful StuffChristiansLike blog), made this point about people and churches who break new ground:

“When you go first, you give everyone else the gift of going second.”

I don’t know if we were the first denomination to oppose slavery–we probably weren’t–but our stand in the early 1800s no doubt emboldened other denominations to take such a stand. If we didn’t go first, we at least went early.

In 1853, we sent a whole wagon train of UBs from Iowa to start churches in Oregon. I’ll bet no denomination had done anything like that.

In 2005, we eliminated regional conferences–the middle-management layer–and cut assessments to a mere 3.5%. Churches in most denominations would salivate over paying just 3.5% to higher church administration. I know our example hasn’t gone unnoticed.

Several years ago, on vacation, Pam and I attended a Vineyard church that planned to always use rented facilities, rather than pour megabucks into facilities. We haven’t had a church follow through on that strategy. We need a first.

Where else have we gone first?

Where else do we need a United Brethren church to go first?

I read a lot of business-related books that have implications for the church. A book I read recently is “Transition: Making the Most of Change,” by William Bridges.

I’m intrigued by the idea of transitions. I believe that becoming a fully-devoted follower of Jesus is all about transitions. You have a conversion experience, but go through other transitions toward becoming a fully devoted follower of Christ. As a preacher, I want to see changes in people’s lives.

Chris Kuntz, Worship Pastor, Union Chapel UB (Fort Wayne, Ind.)

The following originally appeared on Chris’s blog, “Molded to Worship.”kuntz_chris.jpg

Every morning I get up before the rest of the family and get ready for work. With Lisa’s new work schedule, I leave before she gets out of bed. She is usually always either sleeping or going back to sleep as I leave, and I always give her a good-bye kiss before going.

The other morning, I was in a hurry, and as I bent down to kiss her head, my approach was a little quick. I hurriedly kissed her and started walking out the door. She asked if everything was okay, and I said, “Yes, why?”

She said the way I kissed her didn’t seem right and she thought I was mad or something. I assured her everything was okay, that I was just running late.

She drifted back off to sleep and I headed out for work.

As I was driving to work saying my morning prayers, I thought about what she said and it caused me to think about how I approach God.

  • Do I approach God in a hurry so I can get on with life?
  • Or do I approach with the intent of lingering in his presence for awhile?

I thought about how many times I throw up a prayer on the way to work, or right before I go to bed, and I wonder if God ever says, “What’s wrong? The way you approached me didn’t seem right.”

To Lisa, it might have been a fairly insignificant thing, but to me it was a lesson. How we approach those we love tells that person something.

What are you telling God by how you approach him?

Pat Jones, Director of Healthy Church Ministries

  • None of them live in that community–they all drive in.
  • None of them speak the dialect spoken in that community (Mandarin, I believe it is).

Many of the adults do not speak fluent English, but all of their children do. They’re trying to figure out the most effective way to train their young people when they don’t by nature speak Chinese–they go to American schools and speak English. They want to reach their community and the next generation, but they don’t speak the language of either.

Right now, they’re looking for some English-speaking people to work with their youth. I appreciated the spirit I saw when I visited them last year.

On Sundays, the Chinese people make a day of it. They come for worship in the morning, usually do lunch together, and have worship later in the day. They have rooms in their building where kids can watch TV, study together, and do activities. A lot of fellowship happens on Sunday. It’s a cultural thing for them. It reminds me of the old days when you had service, stayed for lunch, then had an afternoon or later service.