Ron Ramsey, Bishop
What does it mean to be a United Brethren today?

In rereading Christian Newcomer’s journal, it seemed clear: we were passionate about reaching lost people. They took seriously the Great Commission. Being a United Brethren wasn’t simply a matter of taking a membership class in a local church.

In many of our churches:

  • The Great Commission is merely a slogan we hang on the wall or print in a worship folder.
  • The Great Commission is not an eternal truth that compels us to become strategic in reaching people for Christ.
  • There is little passion or conviction to reach lost people with the Gospel.
  • There is little talk, if any, about the passion that drove Christian Newcomer and others of our early history.

If we are to have a lasting future, we must take seriously the Great Commission.

No denomination has an inherent right to exist. Any church or denomination that loses its passion to make disciples for Jesus stands in risk of having its candlestick removed from the candelabra.

For our early church fathers, being United Brethren required a conviction that people apart from God’s saving grace are lost in their sins. They leaders would do anything, go anywhere at any cost, at any time, in order to:

  • See people come to Christ.
  • See them gain an assurance of salvation.
  • See that faith begin to grow in their lives.


Dalton Jenkins, pastor of Bethel Temple of Praise in Yonkers, NY, speaking at the Jamaica Bible College chapel.

Owen Gordon, president of Jamaica Bible College and one of our endorsed UB missionaries, sent this good report.

“Our Chapel at Jamaica Bible College is full, our canteen is congested, and our classrooms are bursting at the seems.

“We are struggling with providing the necessary tools, because thieves on the one hand and a lightening storm on the other left us with just a few working computers.

“Our new influx of students have come from a partnership with the Ministry of Education, including 110 students from the GNAT program. We will have a total of 206 students. To put it in prospective, last year we had 86 total.

“Please keep us in your prayers as we endeavour by the grace of God to make a significant spiritual difference in the lives of these persons.”

Evelyn Whetstone underwent surgery for uterine cancer October 17 in Lima, Ohio. She is the wife of Ken Whetstone, lay pastor of Victory Chapel UB church in Celina, Ohio.
The surgeon feels they got it all and that she will need no further follow-up. The Lord answered prayers by containing the cancer in the one place. Cards may be sent to her at 7729 Riley Rd. Celina OH 45822

In February, Huntington University’s EXCEL Adult Degree Programs will begin offering classes in Fort Wayne, Ind. That makes four EXCEL locations, the others being Huntington, Columbia City, and Wabash.

EXCEL offers evening classes tailored to the schedule of most working adults. Classes are held one night per week, one subject at a time. Classes last 5-8 weeks and lead to an associate degree in organizational management or bachelor’s degrees in accounting, business administration, human resource management, or not-for-profit leadership.

Denny Miller, pastor of Emmanuel Community Church (Fort Wayne, Ind.) underwent surgery September 18 to remove disc fragments and repair a ruptured disc. Everything went well, and it ended two weeks of what he describes as “relentless pain.” Full recovery recovery is expected to take a year. He’ll return to the pulpit on October 25.

Ron Ramsey, Bishop
In early October I attended the 140th anniversary of the Liberty UB church in Stockport, Ohio. Bishop Milton Wright, father of the Wright Brothers, preached when the Liberty church was dedicated. I love being in the hills of southern Ohio. That’s my roots. And being at Liberty turned out to be among the highlights of my three years as bishop.

The pastor is Charles Simmons, a converted oil derrick worker. He told me, “I’ve done every sin imaginable.” A few years ago he found Christ in a Nazarene church, and through a series of circumstances, he became the preacher at Liberty when the former preacher left. He doesn’t have a ministerial license or any formal training.

They have a girl with Down’s Syndrome who reads well. She selects the music for every service and tells the pianist, who tells the chorister. She doesn’t know what the pastor is preaching about. But it was absolutely amazing how her song selections fit what he preached about that day. It gave me goosebumps. I spoke in the afternoon, and she had no information about my sermon. But again, she chose appropriate songs.

At Liberty, the preacher preaches. He preached loud, walking down the center aisle and across the back and around the sides and back to the front. The church was full, with about 75 people. They had a sound system, but you didn’t need it for him, or for me.

Liberty is so different from Mainstreet, the church I pastored on the outskirts of Toledo. But I sat there thinking: those people are happy, they lead a Christian lifestyle, and you sense God’s Spirit in that place. I enjoyed being there. They didn’t have printed bulletins, no projector or video. But they knew how to connect with God, and it was very evident.

What works at Liberty wouldn’t be appropriate for every congregation. But one thing belongs in every church, regardless of style: to make a connection with God in worship.


About 40 people, mostly pastors, attended the first of 6 regional meetings Bishop Ron Ramsey is holding during the next few weeks. This morning’s meeting was held at the Good Shepherd UB church in Huntington, Ind.

  • Bishop Ramsey gave challenge to the group, speaking about Christian Newcomer, one of the early bishops whose ministry extended the United Brethren church into Ohio and Indiana.
  • Bishop Ramsey discussed the upcoming US National Conference, and
  • Bishop Ramsey discussed two referenda items being proposed for next summer’s US National Conference.
  • Pat Jones, Director of Healthy Church Ministries, walked through a variety of Discipline changes being proposed, and invited feedback.

Mid-Atlantic Pastoral Resource Day will be held Monday, November 10 at Rhodes Grove Camp outside Chambersburg, Pa. The event includes afternoon seminars on key issues of interest, including the Foundation Health Insurance Plan.


  • Ron Ramsey, Bishop
  • Pat Jones, Director of Healthy Church Ministries
  • Jeff Bleijerveld, Director of Global Ministries

Sunday night will feature a fireside chat hosted by Dr. Anthony Blair.


  • $35 (includes meals and continuing education credit from Lancaster Bible College)
  • $75 (lodging, meals, and continuing education credit, if staying overnight)

This event is hosted by the Mid-Atlantic Foundation for Church Multiplication, in conjunction with the Ecclesiastes Institute (a continuing education program hosted at Rhodes Grove).
For additional information, contact Rhodes Grove Camp and Conference Center:

  • Phone: 717-375-4162
  • Email:

Todd Fetters, pastor of Devonshire UB church (Harrisburg, Pa.) spoke recently at a youth retreat in Ocean City, N. J. He spoke on the theme “Jesus is Greater Than….” to the 18 students and 9 adults attending. He wrote on his blog about the unique commitment time on Saturday night.

“About a dozen students and adults came forward to commit something in their lives that they were making greater than Jesus. A relationship? Their iPod? Their Facebook or MySpace pages? Their career? Anything. The challenge just kept coming at them, “Who are you making famous with your life? Is it Jesus or you?”

“I shared personally with them that my life has been a series of moments where I had to make Jesus greater than something in my life, i.e. my music, my relationships, my career, etc….Each student and/or adult came to the front of the room to physically turn a makeshift ‘greater-than’ sign (>) that stood beside the hanging letters, J-E-S-U-S. With ‘lesser-than’ pointing at ‘Jesus,’ each individual turned the sign so that ‘lesser-than’ was aimed at them and ‘greater-than’ was directed at J-E-S-U-S.

“As a result of this retreat, I’ve heard students say that they needed to take a closer look at their Myspace and Facebook pages to make changes that will bring less attention to themselves and more on Jesus. Others are going to read a chapter a day from the Gospels and meet weekly to talk about what they are reading. Some were convicted about their movie/entertainment choices and are putting greater time into deciding if the movie is something that helps them honor God.”

It’s great to hear stories like that.

Ed Gebert, pastor of Mt. Victory UB church near Decatur, Ind., wrote a superb blog post called, simply, “Empty.” It’s the honest admission of a pastor…and we know that many pastors reach this same place.