We received word that Bishop Emeritus Wilber Sites has been hospitalized with double pneumonia. About 11:00 this morning, he was checked into the Chambersburg Hospital (Chambersburg, Pa.). They are trying to drain the excess fluid, since it affects his heart.

Wilber Sites served as bishop 1977-1989. He is the father of Denny Sites, senior pastor of Jerusalem Chapel UB in Churchville, Va.

Please keep Bishop Sites and his wife, Mossie, in your prayers.

Norma Tinker, a longtime UB member and trustee of Huntington University, passed away January 5 at Swiss Village in Berne, Ind. She is the mother of Pat Bergdall, wife of Huntington University professor Dr. Chaney Bergdall.

Visitation: Thursday, January 8, 4-7 p.m., and 1 hour before the funeral service.
Location: Myers Funeral Home, 2901 Guilford Street, Huntington, Ind.
Funeral Service: Friday, January 9, 2 p.m.
Funeral Service Location: Myers Funeral Home.

Burial will be in Sacramento, California at 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 14.
Preferred memorials are to the Huntington University Scholarship Fund.

Jim Pryor, pastor of Richfield Road UB (Flint, Mich.), sent the following about Christmas activities at his church.
This Christmas our women’s ministry team really thought out of the box. They planned an outreach event focusing on one of the women’s shelters in the community. This shelter is for recovering addicts and abused women. These women stuggle with identity and issues of self-worth.
Our women’s ministry set up a spa day for 25 women. The women were treated and pampered for four hours with massages, hair styling, make-up, manicures, and pedicures. They were also treated to a meal at the church and door prizes, and sent home with gift baskets full of items these ladies could use.
It’s funny–we were told by the director that the ladies didn’t want to come to the church because of perception issues on both sides. But by the end of our time together you saw how powerfully the love of God breaks down barriers and builds the bonds of relationships. These women, who didn’t want to be touched or to touch, were crying, hugging, laughing, not wanting to leave. In fact, this coming Sunday we expect a number of them to come worship with us.
I am so proud of the team here at Richfield Road Church and their willingness to reach out and minister to these women who have such needs in their lives. What a way to minister in our community during the greatest time of outreach that the world has ever known. It made the days of Christmas a little brighter and a little lighter, and many here were touched in ways like never before. We thank God for allowing us to play a part in HIs plans for our community.

kevinsharoncherry.jpgSharon Cherry was supposed to have surgery today for breast cancer. But it’s been postponed. Her husband Kevin, pastor of Heart O the Lakes UB (Brooklkyn, Mich.), writes:

“It is to happen next week now,  sometime, date unknown. The MRI that she had on Monday revealed several more large suspicious places all on one side deeper in her chest. Her other side is clear. They will schedule either another MRI or an ultra-sound to look at these spots individually in the next few days.

They are thinking it will involve a more radical approach for surgery. It does not mean that it is a more aggressive form of cancer. In fact, the one biopsied is one of the four lesser kinds of cancer and a very treatable form. They are simply trying to determine what has been there all along, and identify what up to now has not been seen.

We appreciate so much your concern and prayers! Postponing such stress is not always the best choice, but Sharon has a great attitude toward it. I know it comes from her confidence in our great God!

Eric Self sent this report from Mt. Zion UB church in Junction City, Ohio. Eric is the senior pastor.
We kicked off the season by participating in Franklin Graham’s Christmas Shoebox ministry. This was the third year we gathered boxes for this ministry. We gave 30 boxes this past Christmas, which was an average of almost one box per person in attendance.

Next, we adopted two families within our church. One is a single father with his two children, mother, and neice. This was accomplished with our own angel tree with ornaments describing a needed/wanted gift. People took ornaments from the tree and bought presents for this family; one couple even did shopping for some of the rest of us! Then we helped the other family with Christmas dinner and some presents.

We also participated in our local community’s food pantry Christmas basket program with ten bags of sugar and 40 boxes of spaghetti. In addition, we gave another family in the community a gift certificate so they could buy Christmas presents for their children.

Our congregation loves to bring Christmas cheer to those in need! At the same time, we have fun and fellowship with each other, including our annual Christmas dinner. The season was concluded with annual caroling and delivery of cookies and fruit to several senior members of our congregation.

We sent out a mass email last week with various year-end reminders. It’s worth repeating them here.

Annual Reports Due March 15
The annual reports have been mailed to all churches and pastors.

  • The Local Church report, which senior pastors must complete.
  • The Minister’s report, which all licensed ministers must complete.

It is VERY important that we receive your report on time (the deadline is March 15), so we can record the information in our database and compile reports to send to delegates for the US National Conference.

Any church not submitting the church annual report form by March 15 will not be allowed representation at National Conference.

You can also download these reports as MS Word forms which you can fill out on your computer and then email back to the bishop.

February: Referenda Voting
February is when churches vote on two proposed changes to the UB Constitution. We call them “referenda.”

You need to put someone in charge of that–getting ballots to people, checking off names as people vote, recording results, etc. The results must be returned to Bishop Ramsey by March 15.

Who are Your Lay Delegate(s)?
Your church needs to select laypersons to represent your church at the US National Conference. Every church can send at least one person. Churches have been notified of the number of delegates they can send.

Bishop Ramsey needs to know by March 1 who your delegates are.

Chris Kuntz, worship leader at Union Chapel (Fort Wayne, Ind.), sent out this update on Gary Reiber. Gary was hospitalized New Year’s Eve with Toxic Shock Syndrone.

“Great news! Gary is home! The doctors sent Gary home today (Monday, January 5), and he is now resting within his own confines. He will be going to the doctor tomorrow morning to have his liver enzymes checked and again on the 12th for a complete checkup on all vitals and organs. He is still on antibotics and will be for awhile, but for the most part, he is getting better.

“It will be a while before he is back on the horse again. Imagine a tornado going through the neighborhood and ripping everything apart. The storm may be gone, but there is still a lot to clean up. Same with Gary. He has a lot of recovery to do, but thank God he can do it at home. He walked into the house tonight under his own steam and crashed on the couch. He is suppose to be using a walker to aid his leg since it was hit the hardest.”

Chris wrote up a timeline of what happened with Gary during the first few days. You can read it following the link below.

BigMac2009_250.jpgThe annual Big MAC Ski Attack brings about 500 youth to a retreat center near Pittsburgh, Pa. This event has been happening for about 20 years (originating from the former Mid-Atlantic Conference). UB teens have come not only from the Mid-Atlantic region (Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia), but from Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio as well.

With a top-notch guest speaker, great music, and fun activities, good things happen in the lives of teens. Read all about it, and bring some youth from your church.

sites_annetteAnnette Sites sent this report about Christmas activities at Jerusalem Chapel (Churchville, Va.). Her husband, Denny, is the pastor.

After months of practices and hard work, the children and youth shared a wonderful musical entitled “The Christmas Carol.” The musical was loosely based on the traditional “Scrooge” story, but this one spoke of making the most of what we have and sharing the ultimate gift of Jesus Christ with others.

As a part of the process of teaching those children who were a part of the musical, Velma “Beanie” Griffin, encouraged the children to find out what true giving was really all about. How? Well, one of the props that was needed for the musical was a bicycle (which was also a topic of discussion in the musical).

Rather than just have the church buy a new bike for a prop, this creative director had the children participate in a bake sale to raise funds for the bicycle. Then, after the presentation, the bicycle would be donated to a needy child.
The children raised enough money to buy two bikes. A third bike was donated by one of the children. And, by God’s grace, a needy family was presented to Mrs. Griffin and guess what they wanted? The family had three children, and each had asked for just one thing for Christmas: a bicycle!

What a blessing for these children to receive an answer to their Christmas wish, but also for our children to see how God can work through us as we seek to serve Him. We are blessed to have some very generous and loving children as a part of our church family–and adults and parents who are willing to help them grow up in their faith!

Elmer Long mentioned some holiday-related activities at Hillsdale UB (St. Mary’s, Ohio):

  • The Saturday after Thanksgiving we had a church decorating party. Everyone brought their favorite chili and we put it all together. 
  • We offer free babysitting to the community for Christmas twice. We offer this to parents who have shopping or other things to do without the children. 
  • We held a Christmas Eve candlelight service. 
  • Our youth had a bake sale to help raise money for them to go to camp this summer.