The National Conference nominating committee always has an important job, especially when a new bishop will be elected. That’s the case right now.

Upon the recommendation of Bishop Ron Ramsey, Executive Leadership Team approved a nominating committee of three ministers:

  • J. Michael Caley (Banner of Christ, Byron Center, Mich.). He’s the chairman.
  • Greg Reed (Morning Star, Kokomo, Ind.).
  • Todd Fetters (Devonshire UB, Harrisburg, Pa.).
  • Greg Voight (Lancaster UB, Lancaster, Ohio).

They, in turn, selected several laypersons to serve on the committee. 

The nominating committee will put together a ballot for:

  • Bishop.
  • 8 members of the Executive Leadership Team (1 layperson and 1 minister from each of the four US districts). 

Keeps these folks in your prayers as they go about discussing candidates and contacting people. They already held one meeting. 

Brad Kittle, pastor of The Rock (Findlay, Ohio), reports: “The Rock and First UB of Findlay held a combined Christmas Eve service this year. It was an awsome experience for both churches. About 200 people attended, and that didn’t even represent all of the people from both churches!

“Darwin Dunten, pastor of First UB, I were very pleased with the experience and the turnout. We also believe that this service was the beginning of a closer partnership between the two churches, which has been needed for many years. I praise God that I could be a part of such a rich and fulfilling experience!”

Ron Ramsey, Bishop
United Brethren churches do a lot of neat things over the Christmas holidays. 

  • Helping needy families
  • Participating in programs like Operation Christmas Child.
  • Putting on special Christmas programs.
  • Special gifts and recognition for the pastor and staff.

What did your church do this year? Let me know, so we can share it with others.

An ice storm hit northeast Indiana last Friday, knocking out power to businesses and homes all over the area. Most power was finally restored today. But trees are down everywhere.

Such was Jeff Bleijerveld’s welcome back from his trip to Sierra Leone. He arrived on December 23. He’ll no doubt have plenty to report.

Anyway, all is well. We hope your church has a wonderful Christmas season (what’s left of it), and that you personally have a joyous time. The office was closed today, and will be closed on Friday, the 26th. But we’ll see you next Monday

Global Ministries cleaned out some old cabinets and came across various printed materials that might interest you. We’re talking coin folders, letterhead, envelopes, and more. These are available for free on a first-come, first-served basis. All you need to do is cover the shipping cost. Check the Global Ministries site for more info.

Some of your teens would no doubt enjoy taking part in the Big MAC Ski Attack. This youth ski retreat started as a ministry of the former Mid-Atlantic Conference, thus the MAC. But UB youth from Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio have taken part during the last few years. It’s open to any UB youth.

Bobby Culler, youth pastor of Mount Pleasant Church (Chambersburg, Pa.), heads up the Big MAC event, and also chairs the denominational Youth Ministry Team, He says they have around 500 people at Big MAC. So this is no small thing.

You can find complete information on the UB Youth website. Here are some basic details:

Date: February 6-8
Location: a Mennonite conference center in Laurelville, Pa. (near Pittsburgh).
Cost: $80 registration, plus an activity fee of $10-$40, depending on the activity you choose.



The staff with some of the gifts, before we loaded them into Bishop Ramsey’s van (bottom).

The Healthy Ministry Resources staff and the Huntington University graduate school (whose staff are housed in our building) joined forces to buy gifts for a local family. This family includes a father and mother, five kids, and another child on the way.

We hooked up with them through Love in the Name of Christ, a local agency that serves as a clearinghouse and screening agency for churches and other groups that want to help local people.

On Wednesday, Bishop Ron Ramsey and Steve Dennie delivered a van-load of gifts to this family. There were multiple presents for each member of the family, plus a number of food items.

Sandie Birdsall, who suffered a brain aneurysm on December 1, is now out of Intensive Care–though still in the hospital. The following is from Brent Birdsall’s Facebook post. Brent and Sandie served as UB missionaries in Africa, and Brent pastored both the Emmanuel and College Park UB churches in Indiana. He is now on staff with a church in Minnesota.

GREAT NEWS! At 3:45 p.m. on Wednesday, December 17, Sandie was released from ICU!!!! We are so grateful. Many indicators show that Sandie has come through the worst of her brain hemorrhage and its aftermath. The Interventional Neuroradiologist team who performed the initial emergency surgery on December 1 and the subsequent angiograms/interventions have released Sandie from their care. An appointment will be scheduled for June 2009 to check her aneurysm and the coiling procedure they performed in such a timely manner.

Prayer request: Sandie has been diagnosed with ICU psychosis. Check for an article explaining the ailment. In laymen’s terms, it means, “Get me out of this darn place!!!” Sandie’s symptoms were primarily anxiety, agitation, or some paranoia. The other day when talking about the nurses, she said to me in hushed tones, “I don’t trust them anymore.”

Hopefully, as Sandie moves to a quieter section of the hospital and is allowed more rest and less interruptions, her recovery will be more speedy. Let me say, lest you worry, I am nominating many of these ICU nurses for sainthood. They truly have been “angels of mercy” who lovingly, faithfully, and competently cared for Sandie as she was snatched from the brink of death.

I’ve been told that Sandie will forget most of what has happened these last 16 days. I will never forget and am deeply indebted to the staff of Fairview Southdale Hospital and to the first responders from the city of Apple Valley.
Sandie’s not out of the hospital, but this is a great leap forward. Oh, by the way, she did better with her swallow test. With a little more rest and study [ lame joke], maybe she’ll pass tomorrow.

Thanks again for your prayers and notes. They play a huge part in Sandie’s recovery. We’ll keep you posted from fifth floor. Adieu, Room 350, may we never meet again.


Anchor UB church (Fort Wayne, Ind.) held its Supper with Santa evening on Saturday, December 13. Over 100 people, including people from the community, attended. There were crafts for children, and lots of food.

And people could get their picture taken with Santa (a return performance by Tim Bauman, a worship team guitarist who has moonlighted as a Santa at the local Glenbrook Mall).

Pastor Tim Hallman met with all the young children to read through the Christmas story.

This is the second year for Supper with Santa.


Every year, the Healthy Ministry Resources staff and spouses go somewhere nice for a Christmas party. Two years ago it was the Bluegate Inn in Shipshewana, Ind. Last year we went to the Back 40 in Decatur, Ind. 

This year: the Potawatomi Inn at Pokagon State Park near Angola, Ind. With snow falling all around, it was a beautiful place to be. Not much fun getting there, and not much fun driving back home. But snow falling upon a lodge in the woods–nice. 


Before the fabulous buffet meal, we all played (brace yourself) Bingo. Cathy Reich, the administrative assistant, found Christmas-themed Bingo cards. Click on the thumbnail on the right for a large view of the card.

Bishop Ron Ramsey drew and called out the card items, which in this case were like “I Snowman” or “G Holly.” Winners received prizes (though be assured,no actual money exchanged hands). Pam Dennie, wife of Communications Director Steve Dennie, won the grand prize (a four-corners round).