Huntington University is hosting a one-day workshop on “Strategic Planning for the Local Church.” It’s limited to 30 persons–the first 30 to register.

Date: Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Time: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Location: Habecker Dining Commons at Huntington University.
Cost: $89 (or $69 each if 3 or more persons come from the same church). Includes lunch.
CEU Credit: .5 CEU

The class will focus on:

  • Change and change strategies
  • Kick-start strategies
  • Strategic initiatives
  • Vision and values

As part of the workshop, you’ll work on ideas for your own congregation.

To register, contact Rick Upchurch at:

Phone: 740-412-3808

You can download a PDF flyer with all the information you need.

Gary Brooks, a former UB missionary in Honduras who now lives in Ruskin, Fla., has done a lot of work with our churches in Mexico. He sent this report on October 29.

On October 22, I flew to Mexico and was met at the airport by Rev. Denis Casco, bishop of the Mexico National Conference. The next day we took a bus to Zacapu, Michoacan, where we taught a three-day pastors’ seminar

  • The seminar emphasized doctrinal lessons on morality in church leadership.
  • Sessions were held Thursday evening, Friday morning, afternoon, and evening, as well as Saturday morning.
  • The average attendance at these sessions varied from 22-25 persons.
  • One new congregation was accepted into the fellowship of the Mexican Conference during the seminar.

Saturday afternoon, Denis and I travelled to Valle de Santiago, Guanajuato, and our Centro Familiar Cristiano Church (Christian Family Center Church), pastored by Ramiro Negrete. Denis spoke Sunday morning, and I was the guest speaker for the 11th anniversary celebration of the church that afternoon. Some 250 people attended that afternoon service.

On Monday, we returned to Mexico City by bus. While there, Denis met with leaders of an emerging independent congregation regarding the possibility of that group joining the fellowship of other United Brethren in the Mexican Conference.  Hopefully, we will soon have our first United Brethren congregation in what is said to be the second largest city in the world. Mexico City has a population of over 22 million people, the majority of whom have little or no knowledge of the Gospel.

Rev. Casco continues to labor on for the glory of the Lord in spite of needed funding. God has provided for the continuation of this ministry, but as the work expands, more support funds are needed. Keep praying for the work being done in the Mexican Conference.


About 40 people came to New Hope Church in Bryan, Ohio, on October 23 for the second of six regional meetings with Bishop Ron Ramsey. The first was held three days before in Huntington, Ind. This one included a surprise announcement.

As in Huntington, Bishop Ramsey and Pat Jones, Director of Healthy Church Ministries, explained the two referenda and various Discipline revision proposals which will come before the US National Conference next June.

Bishop Ramsey has previously made known his intention to serve only until 2009. What wasn’t known was that Pat Jones plans to leave the national office at the same time, neither staying in his current position nor allowing his name to run on the ballot for bishop. Pat made that announcement publicly at the regional meeting in Bryan.

Bishop Ramsey then led the group in a discussion about the upcoming leadership transition. He asked, “What do we need in terms of leadership?” The assembled pastors and laypersons addressed that question from various angles.

The next four regional meetings will be held:

  • Thursday, November 6: Cochranton UB, Cochranton, Pa. (1-3 p.m.).
  • Monday, November 10: Rhodes Grove Camp, Chambersburg, Pa.
  • Wednesday, November 12: Lancaster UB, Lancaster, Ohio (1-3 p.m.).
  • Tuesday, November 18: East Washington UB, Ashley, Mich. (10-noon).

The meetings are open to any UB ministers and laypersons. Please register in advance.

Ron Ramsey, Bishop
The Michindoh Camp and Conference Center (Hillsdale, Mich.) is now a ministry of Lenawee Christian Ministries, an organization founded by Orville and Ruth Merillat, who basically donated the camp to us in the first place. In April, I signed various papers on behalf of the denomination to transfer title of all camp assets to Lenawee for one dollar. I believe it was the right decision.

After the 2005 US National Conference, Michindoh Conference took action to dissolve (like other conferences), but entrusted the conference council with determining the fate of the camp.

Various possibilities were considered. In the spring of 2007, Gull Lake Ministries, a highly-respected camping ministry in Michigan, agreed to assume ownership of Michindoh. But they backed out, sending the conference council back to square one.

We expected that all annual conferences would have dissolved by the 2007 US National Conference. However, Michindoh Conference couldn’t dissolve until they settled the fate of the camp. With no resolution in sight, the following happened:

  • The Executive Leadership Team asked Michindoh Conference to deed the camp to the denomination.
  • The ELT became, in effect, the camp board in October 2007.
  • A  temporary management agreement was signed with Lenawee Ministries to provide immediate oversight of the camp.
  • This spring, the ELT, confident of the camp’s future in the hands of Lenawee Ministries, decided to deed the camp to them.

Camp Michindoh was not an asset that the denomination could maintain long-term. We’re not in the camping business, and don’t have the deep pockets to finance some of the needs currently confronting the camp. So I’m happy that we could turn everything over to Lenawee. Jim McClellen, from Lenawee, is serving as the camp CEO.

The revised Pastoral Ministry Handbook (revised in early October by the Pastoral Ministry Leadership Team) is now available. You can view it online or download as a PDF file.

The nature of the local church license was changed:

  • Before: It was the first of three steps toward ordination, which was the expected goal.
  • Now: It’s still the first step in our licensing process, but there are two tracks: one leading toward ordination, one leading to a Specialized Ministry license.

The Pastoral Ministry Handbook explains our ministerial categories and requirements. It was part of the Discipline until 2005. Then it was removed and placed under the PMLT, which can revise it whenever they wish.

Jeff Bleijerveld, Director of Global Ministries, and Donna Hollopeter, Associate Director, are in Honduras right now taking a tour of the churches. Or trying to. Heavy flood damage is preventing them from reaching various churches on their itinerary.

Honduras is experiencing heavy flooding. Jeff Bleijerveld and Donna Hollopeter are both in Honduras right now. They report a lot of flooding and major damage, making it impossible to get to some of the churches they had planned to visit.

Marilyn Reeck, one of our endorsed missionaries living in Honduras, sent this report:

“We have had several days of heavy rains, but since [Monday] it is even heavier.

“My daughter Chrysti called requesting prayer. The town where they live (one hour away) is located on the mouth of the river. The river has flooded, probrably the dam broke loose, and the town is flooded. Two people have already drowned. Her husband, Rigo, is helping rescue people and they have over 50 extra people in their house seeking shelter.

“This week is the 10th year anniversay of Hurricane Mitch. Roger is in Brazil and will return to Honduras on November 10. Please pray for this situation.”


Jeff Bleijerveld, Director of Global Ministries
As far as I know, Global Ministries has never had its own official logo– something that signifies who we are, what our values are, and gives Global Ministries its own identity.

The national office went through a branding process during the past year which resulted in the name Healthy Ministry Resources, with its own logo and this website. Now the national office has its own identity underneath the United Brethren umbrella.

Global Ministries needed something similar. And so, we worked with a design firm, and the result is the logo above.

The logo emphasizes partnership, which portrays much of the work of Global Ministries.

  • We partner with local churches to support UB mission work.
  • We partner with other mission agencies.
  • We partner with our international fields.
  • We encourage partnerships between local churches and missionaries.

The logo is based on Ecclesiastes 4:12, “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” There is strength in working together.

You’ll be seeing this logo on our various materials. Stationery is being printed, and in the months ahead, we plan to redesign the website.

New Hope Church in Camden, Mich., is looking for a fulltime staffperson to coordinate two areas of the church’s ministry: worship and assimilation. Don Gentry is the pastor.

Pat Jones, Director of Healthy Church Ministries
I visited George Rhodifer last week. As we mentioned previously for prayer, George has been diagnosed with a fast-moving form of leukemia. The doctors are using chemo to address the cancer and try to slow it. Currently, George’s white count is almost zero, so he must guard against exposure to anything that would bring infection.

George is pastor of the Olivet Church in New Lebanon, Ohio, also cluster leader for churches in the Dayton and central Ohio area. Albert Roland, pastor of Park Layne UB church in New Carlisle, Ohio, will be taking on responsibility for the cluster while George is in treatment.

Please be praying for George and his wife Beverly.You can contact George by email or by writing to:

George Rhodifer
109 Solar Drive
Tipp City, OH 45371

Ron Ramsey, Bishop

The Pastor’s Salary Compensation Formula was updated October 14 by the Executive Leadership Team. For 2009, the minimum suggested fulltime Standard Base Salary was raised from $35,000 to $35,700.

However, that’s only part of the fulltime salary package.

Some churches use only the suggested Standard Base Salary. They figure that if the total salary package equals $35,000, then their pastor is fulltime. That’s a wrong assumption.

The minimum fulltime salary includes that base amount, plus additional compensation depending on:

  • Years of service.
  • Education level.
  • The church’s average attendance.
  • Staff size.

Plus these benefits:

  • Housing allowance.
  • Utilities.
  • Medical and disability insurance.
  • SECA and pension.
  • Vacation.

If a church doesn’t meet the criteria in full (the base salary plus the additional factors plus the benefits):

  • The pastor is not considered fulltime.
  • The pastor may pursue supplemental employment to achieve this compensation level.

And keep in mind: this is only the minimum. I would hope that many of our churches could exceed these guidelines for their pastor.

You can view the formula online.