his summer, the Huntington University Department of Theatre Arts will host its fourth Huntington University Summer Theatre Youth Camp. From June 29-July 25, campers entering grades kindergarten through 12 in the fall will learn basic theatrical training from theatre professionals and perform a fully produced musical theatre production. This summer’s performance will be “Fiddler on the Roof Jr.,” and every camper will have a part.

The camp will run Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Huntington University Merillat Centre for the Arts with performances on July 25.

Cost is $175 per camper with a late registration fee of $25 after May 1. Space is limited to 50 campers. Brochures and registration forms were distributed to area elementary and middle schools and are available at the Merillat Centre for the Arts Box Office.



Denny Miller, pastor of Emmanuel Community Church, returned a few days ago from a trip to Israel. Altogether, 33 people went, including UB ministers Kent Maxwell and Howard Cherry.

Bob Carpenter, a former United Brethren pastor in Michigan, passed away Tuesday, March 17. He had most previously pastored the UB church in Freeport, Mich.


Worship at Casa de Adoracion (House of Prayer) in Guadalupe, Costa Rica.

We have four churches in Costa Rica, and they are doing well. There are a lot of evangelical churches in San Jose, and a relatively high percentage of evangelicals. So when I visited there in January, I was encouraged that we weren’t just building one more church in a neighborhood of churches.

Rather than follow the suburban model of planting yourself in a nice community, our churches in San Jose are focusing on some rough, dangerous neighborhoods nobody would go through.

I visited Costa Rica in January, and was joined there by Joe Leighton, pastor of Salem Chapel UB church in Junction City, Ohio.

Cristo Rey, where Pastor Marvin and Aura work, is one of the most violent neighborhoods in San Jose. They’ve been working there for a number of years.

As we worshipped at House of Prayer, crazed drug addicts yelled through the windows. We were there two nights. The second night, the pastor called us about a half hour before the service with a heads-up.

“The neighborhood is really on edge,” he warned. “Be sure to drive your van right up to the door, so you don’t have to walk through the neighborhood.”

As it turned out, the only violence that night was two huge alley cats who actually fell through the roof while I was preaching. I didn’t know what was happening. “What kind of demon-possessed people are they?” I thought. But it was just cats.

Keith Drury, a professor and former Wesleyan denominational official who now teaches at Indiana Wesleyan University, publishes a thought-provoking column every Tuesday. It often spotlights new trends in the church.

In his most recent column, Drury discusses what he calls “emerging adulthood.” It’s about the trend for young people to not “settle down” until they age 30 or later. Perhaps you’ve noticed this in your church–twentysomethings who haven’t committed to marriage, a job, or even the church.

Drury describes the characteristics of these young people and the implications for the church. It’s really quite fascinating. In the future, he says, this age-group will be the “new youth ministry.”


Church planting team in Esquintla, Guatemala, looks over a new site.

Next January when the international General Conference meets, we hope to welcome Guatemala as our newest national conference–our tenth. I visited Guatemala earlier this year. Let me tell you about our pastors and churches there.

Eight million people live in Guatemala City. Five volcanoes, two of them quite active, surround the city. The landscape is flat with huge gullies produced by lava flows. The roads curve around through the lava flows. It takes a long time to drive anywhere in Guatemala City.However, Guatemala is probably more developed than the other countries where we operate in Central America–Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, El Salvador. There are a lot of shopping malls. But because Guatemala City has eight million people, you do see a lot of poverty in that mix.

We have 12 churches in Guatemala, and a number of new church plants. They are basically divided into two geographical locations–around Guatemala City, and in the coastal area of Esquintla. I visited a number of the churches. Some are what I describe as “picnic shelters.”

I was so impressed with the pastors, especially their level of dedication. They work with very few resources. Most have committed themselves fulltime to the work, even if they have no income. They live by faith. Nobody owns a vehicle. One project for Self Denial is to purchase a vehicle for the conference.


A United Brethren church in Esquintla, Guatemala.

The pastors live very simply. Most of them have a humble, one-bedroom home. Everybody sleeps in the same room. All resources go into the ministry.

Our leader in Guatemala is Francisco Najera. He is a wonderful,  humble, committed leader. You can see leadership oozing out of this guy in the way he develops a sense of teamwork among his fellow pastors. I’m excited about how God is using him.

Phil Burkett called earlier this morning to let us know about Darlene’s surgery yesterday. He spoke to Jeff Bleijerveld, and Jeff passed along this information: “Darlene came through just fine and all went as planned. The operation was four and a half hours long and they installed 2 rods, 2 wedges and 10 screws. She’ll be in Lutheran Hospital on the third floor of the musculoskeletal wing for the next three to four days.” Jeff adds, “We expect she will be out of the office for at least a month.” 


Huntington University freshman Ben Swartz is selling necklaces to raise money for orphanages overseas.

“I have known since I was 16 that God was calling me to care for the orphans,” said Swartz, a freshman nursing major from Botkins, Ohio.

Swartz said he had been praying for some time for a way to raise money for this cause. Then one day someone showed him how to make the necklaces he currently sells. He started wearing them, and when others expressed interest in the necklaces, he decided to sell them as a way to raise money for orphanages.

necklaces.jpegThe funds raised from approximately 200 necklaces was given to CKS Ministries, an organization building an orphanage in Kenya, Africa, and started by C. Kevin and Cheri Singer, a couple who attend Swartz’s church.

“I’ve been able to converse, meet, and befriend so many awesome people who are feeding and caring for orphans and the least of society,” Swartz said. “I know that the money that we have given to the orphanage being built in Kenya will affect kids’ lives that we may never meet, and it is hard to grasp the affect that the money will have.

“I know that this has affected my life so much. Just to see the amount of people who believe in the dream that God has placed in my heart is incredible. Our next step is to create a non-profit, and it is cool to see how God provides now even before we are a non-profit.”

Last Saturday night, March 14, fire completely destroyed the home of Ed and Jean Harvey, who pastor Lighthouse Community UB church in Dayton, Ohio.

They had been trying to trace a slight smell of smoke for much of the day, and a circuit breaker kept tripping. A friend looked in the attic and spotted heavy smoke, at which point the fire department was contacted. They fought the fire from inside until the ceiling began caving inside, at which point they retreated to outside. It took several hours to extinguish the fire.

The deadline for all annual reports, covenants, and lay delegate notifications was March 15. As of today, here is what Bishop Ron Ramsey has received:

  • 166 local church annual reports (out of about 200 churches).
  • 140 referenda results.
  • 144 national conference covenants.
  • 119 notifications of local church delegates.

The number of registrations for the US National Conference increased about 20 over the weekend. Here are the latest figures:

  • 379 people registered.
  • 70 registered for the UB Historical Society Banquet (which promises to be very well attended).
  • 32 signed up for the Golf Outing.
  • 65 are children and teens.