Gary Reiber, pastor of Union Chapel (Fort Wayne, Ind.), was hospitalized just before New  Year’s with what’s been diagnosed as Toxic Shock Syndrome. After a scrape in a basketball game, his leg swelled up bright red. His body began shutting down, and he ended up in Intensive Care. For a while, there was concern about whether or not he would survive, and the family was called in. That serious.

Gary is now at Parkview Hospital in Fort Wayne. His protein and oxygen levels are still low, but he’s progressing, and is back to eating solid food. He’s expected to remain in the hospital another week or so, and be out of commission for several weeks after that. We’ll keep you informed about his progress.

On another health-related note: Sandie Birdsall came home from the hospital on January 3.

Sharon Cherry, wife of Pastor Kevin Cherry of Heart O the Lakes UB (Brooklyn, Mich.), has been diagnosed with breast cancer. She is scheduled for surgery on Wednesday, January 7.

Kevin writes:

The doctors are not greatly concerned, but cancer is cancer.  Hers, fortunately, is one of the four better kinds and is highly treatable. She will begin radiation after surgery.

However, she also is to have an MRI [probably Monday or Tuesday] to check out the other spots that are deeper in her chest.  If they are found suspicious, a more radical surgery will likely take place on January 7.  If more is discovered, then she will receive chemo as well.

We are both very much at peace with this, knowing our God is able to heal,  and able to see us through whatever comes. His strength is ours.  We are His. We are not losing sleep,  we are not anxious (I keep asking her and don’t sense it in her),  but there are moments of emotion.  This is your invitation to join us in prayer!

Please do join in prayer for Sharon. Sharon is the daughter of Russ and Nellie Birdsall, who spent their lives in service to the United Brethren church as missionaries in Sierra Leone, at Huntington University, in the pastorate, and as short-term missionaries in Macau and Jamaica.

We trust you’ve all have a wonderful News Year’s Day, regardless of whether or not your team won (sorry about that, to all of our constituents in Pennsylvania). 

The Healthy Ministry Resources office is closed until Monday.

May this be a great year for the United Brethren in Christ!