Steve Dennie, Communications Director

In two days, Anchor Community Church celebrates its tenth anniversary. Pam and I were among the 50 people sent out from Emmanuel UB church in Fort Wayne in 1998 to “restart” the former Third Street UB church, which had existed there since the 1930s.

The church had a great history, but had declined in size and not adapted to the changing neighborhood. Most of the attendees were older and drove in from outlying areas.Third Street was shut-down for five months, and underwent an extensive renovation. New carpet everywhere. Fresh paint. Got rid of the pews and organ. A whole new platform area. New name and sign. Lots of other stuff. Meanwhile, Emmanuel people were challenged to commit a certain amount of time–3 months, 6 months, a year–to getting the reincarnated church going. Pam and I signed up “indefinitely.”

In September of that year, the core group met in our home–the first time we’d been together. With only a few weeks until our first service. Some of us didn’t even know each other; I knew only a few others very well. We looked at what each of us brought to the table, our gifts and interests.

Amazingly, out of this haphazard assemblage of people, God brought together exactly what we needed. There was certainly no human design behind it.

Today, only Pam and I, along with Pastor Tim and Tara (who have since added four children to the mix) remain from that initial core group. Most of the 100-plus people who attend Anchor come from the immediate community. Which was the original vision.

A few weeks ago, while still on vacation, Pam and I attended the Sonrise United Methodist Church near where we live. They told about the new church they were starting in Roanoke, and how 50 people had committed to leaving Sonrise to take part.

It took me back ten years, and I envied those 50 people.

  • They will work harder than they’ve ever worked in church.
  • They will be needed more than Sonrise, with its large size and resources, ever needed them.
  • They will pray harder, knowing full well that they are in over their heads.
  • They will do things way out of their comfort zone.
  • They will think about their new church, this baby, all week long, looking forward with eagerness and some fear to the coming Sunday.
  • And they will be totally energized by the venture.

That’s what Anchor did for me ten years ago. And I wish more United Brethren people could experience the same thing.


On October 15, Mount Zion United African Church dedicated its new church facility located on 1453 N. 52nd Street in Philadelphia, Pa. They’ve been holding meetings there for a few weeks, but on Sunday, people came from far and wide for the dedication.

In the photo (l-r): Bishop Emeritus Paul Hirschy (guest speaker), Dr. Anthony Blair (former Mid-Atlantic Conference superintendent), and Joe Abu, the church’s pastor.

Tim Hallman, senior pastor, Anchor Community Church (Fort Wayne, Ind.)
I am attending the REVEAL conference at Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago. On Tuesday, Bill Hybels, Willow’s pastor, talked about the four categories of people they identified in the REVEAL study. Here’s what he had to say about them:

  • Exploring Christ. People at this level are not sure what they believe or even really think about Jesus.
  • Growing in Christ. These are people attending the church who are beginning to work on their relationship with Jesus.
  • Close to Christ. These church people depend on Jesus regularly for help in their lives.
  • Christ-centered. For these people, Jesus is the most important person in their life.

As revealing as this information was to Hybels, what he really wanted to know was how to move people from segment to segment. How do you do that? Preaching? Worship singing? Church activity?

A major revelation was the primacy of engagement with the Bible! The more an individual fed on the Scriptures, the more they moved towards becoming Christ-centered.

Interestingly, the most difficult transition to make in becoming Christ-centered was the last movement–from Close to Christ to Christ-centered. It’s the Christ-centered ones who give sacrificially of money, time, energy, love, service. People in the other three categories are still very self-centered about their relationship with Christ. Only in the last category are people fully-devoted to the person of Christ. They have moved beyond self-centeredness to Christ-centeredness, abandoning self in complete surrender to Jesus.

The new strategy at Willow for Hybels? Focus on helping people make the move to become Christ-centered. It’s the hardest move, but it’s the one that will yield the biggest results for the Kingdom.

Ron Ramsey, Bishop
On Monday we sent an email to the denominational list telling about the upcoming regional meetings regarding National Conference. The first is next Monday here in Huntington at the Good Shepherd UB church, followed by a meeting three days later in Bryan, Ohio. Then, in November, we’ll hold meetings in:

  • Cochranton, Pa. (Nov 6)
  • Chambersburg, Pa. (Nov 10)
  • Lancaster, Ohio (Nov. 12)
  • Ashley, Mich. (Nov.18)

These meetings are for both ministers and laypersons. Pat Jones and I want to talk to you about various things in preparation for next summer’s US National Conference.

  • How your church should process the two referenda items, which your members must vote on next February.
  • Make sure your church selects lay delegates for the conference.
  • Get your input as we look toward a leadership transition next summer, when we elect a new bishop.
  • Inform you about a variety of Discipline revisions being proposed.

The meetings:

  • Are open to all UB people, both ministers and laypersons.
  • Will last two hours.
  • Are free (but we’d like you to register).
  • Won’t include a meal, like the Hang with the Bishop meetings held earlier this year.

Ron Ramsey, Bishop
Several weeks ago I came into possession of some old books about the history of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ. One was the translated journal of Christian Newcomer. He:

  • was born 1749
  • answered the call to preach in 1777
  • became a bishop in 1813
  • died in 1830.

Between 1810 and 1828, Newcomer made 24 round trips across the Allegheny Mountains on horseback, starting churches wherever he went. Newcomer tried making one trip in a horse and buggy, but it didn’t work, so he reverted to horseback. He left his family for months at a time. One time, he got lost in a forest in Ohio. He stopped, knelt down, prayed, and he and the horse quickly found the path.

Our church spread into western Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana because Newcomer’s soul burned with a fire to reach the lost. In reading Newcomer’s journal, I was moved by his passion and determination to plant churches wherever he went.

As he moved into the west, he began organizing some annual conferences–Scioto, Muskingum, a few others. It wasn’t organization for organization’s sake, but organization to support the mission. In some ways, it seems like those early leaders purposely tried not to organize themselves. Yet the providence off God led them to develop their organization and structures.

Newcomer’s passion to reach lost people drove him. I don’t want to go back to our history to stay there, but I would like to drag some of that passion forward.

Olinda Barnes has concluded her 13-year ministry as director of Camp Living Waters in Luther, Mich. Her last day was September 30. Olinda became the director in January 1995.

Olinda is looking for employment, and says she would love to remain in the UB church. She’s got lots of experience in youth and children’s minisry, women’s ministry, and running an office. You can contact her by email.

Bishop Ron Ramsey is holding a series of regional meetings in preparation for the 2009 US National Conference, which will be held June 4-7. These meetings are designed to:

  • Make sure pastors understand their responsibilities in presenting two changes to the UB Constitution (referenda). In February, members of all UB churches in the United States must vote on these proposed changes.
  • Get input from UB people as we look to a new bishop taking office next summer. Bishop Ramsey does not intend to seek re-election.
  • Review any necessary Discipline changes.

The meeting is open to all UB people, both ministers and laypersons. The meetings will last two hours, and there is no cost.

October 20 (Monday)
Good Shepherd UB church
Huntington, Ind.
Time: 10 a.m. – Noon

October 23 (Thursday)
New Hope Community Church
Bryan, Ohio
Time: 10 a.m. – Noon

November 6 (Thursday)
Cochranton UB Church
Cochranton, Pa.
Time: 1-3 p.m.

November 10 (Monday)
Rhodes Grove Camp
Chambersburg, Pa.
Part of the Mid-Atlantic Foundation meeting, during the afternoon breakout sessions

November 12 (Wednesday)
Lancaster UB Church
Lancaster, Ohio
Time: 1-3 p.m.

November 18 (Tuesday)
East Washington UB Church
Ashley, Mich.
Time: 10 a.m. – Noon

If you have any questions, please contact Cathy Reich at 888-622-3019. Cathy is the bishop’s administrative assistant.

October is always infested with lots of meetings.

  • The Pastoral Ministry Leadership Team met last Monday and Tuesday (October 6-7).
  • The Global Ministries Leadership Team met Thursday and Friday (October 9-10).
  • The Executive Leadership Team meets tonight and all day tomorrow (October 13-14).
  • The Higher Education Leadership Team meets Wednesday (October 15).
  • The Huntington University Board of Trustees meets Thursday and Friday (October 16-17). Bishop Ron Ramsey and Pat Jones, from the national office, are members of all three groups meeting this week.

October is Pastor Appreciation Month. Are you doing something special for your pastor? It could be:

  • Something the entire church does, corporately. to show appreciation.
  • Something you do, just yourself. A one-to-one expression of appreciation.


The Global Ministries team gathers around Miriam Prabhakar to pray for her at the conclusion of her report.

The Global Ministries Leadership Team meets twice a year, and they’re meeting right now. The always follow the same format: the Finance Committee meets Wednesday night, then the full team meets all day Thursday and Friday.

Thus far today:

  • They heard reports from Jeff Bleijerveld and Donna Hollopeter.
  • Looked at a possible new logo for Global Ministries.
  • Looked at Finances. Things are pretty good.
  • Spent an hour hearing from Miriam Prabhakar about her work.
  • Looked at a set of guiding principles for Global Ministries.
  • Reviewed new missionaries in the pipeline. Several people are at various stages, from ready to go, to just considering possibilities.
  • Discussed policies regarding Global Ministries personnel and UB membership. (For instance: can we allow dual membership, so that a missionary can be a member of the church he attends on the field, rather than only being a member of a church in the States that he no longer attends, but needs to stay qualified to be a Global Ministries missionary?)