Registrations now stand at 788, so the big 8-0-0- isn’t far away.

The number of ministerial and lay delegates has been running neck-and-neck, but now the laypersons have jumped out to a decent lead:

  • 180 ministerial delegates
  • 189 lay delegates

The UB Historical Banquet will be quite the deal, certainly the largest the UB Historical Society has had. Current signees: 135.

The golf outing has 25 people registered for Thursday and 27 for Saturday.

We’ve been publicizing the LEAD Team luncheon on Friday. We now have 22 people signed up to learn more about church planting.

Galen Fiedler and his son, Jared, in front of the school where Galen teaches.

Before visiting Sierra Leone in December, I traveled to Germany to meet with Galen and Maritta Fielder. In April, they were approved as Global Ministries missionaries.

Galen is the son of Phil and Carol Fiedler, former UB missionaries in Sierra Leone, so he is a missionary kid. So is Maritta. She is a German citizen whose parents were missionaries in South Africa, Namibia, and Papua New Guinea.

Maritta_260.jpgGalen and Maritta (right) met in Israel at a kibbutz. They corresponded for about five years. Then she made her first visit to the United States. That first night, Galen proposed, and she said yes.

Now they’re married with two children, and very actively ministering to neighbors and families in their community in southwestern Germany. Galen teaches at a Christian school called Aloys Henhofer Schulem. There are very few evangelicals in that part of Germany; most evangelicals live in the north around Berlin and Hanover. People in their area would be traditionally Catholic, mostly post-Christian.

The school primarily educates Christian children, but wants to make a broader impact in the community. So Galen, because of his English-speaking ability, developed an English club for kids from the school and community.

Galen began thinking about raising partners back in the US. It’s not about finances. That’s not an issue, because the Fiedlers earn their own living. Rather, they wondered if some English-speaking people could partner with them and maybe help them reach into the community.

So we began an email dialogue. We’re working to develop a relationship between Global Ministries and the school which might include such things as:

  • Short-term teams doing summer English camps.
  • Practicums for Huntington University students in the new English Teaching major.
  • Exchange students.

The first exchange student will come this summer and stay with Cathy and J. R. Reich (Cathy is Bishop Ramsey’s administrative assistant). This 13-year-old girl is the daughter of the school’s director.

The Fiedlers are been approved as “non-traditional” missionaries. That’s a new category. They are UB missionaries, but non-traditional since most of their support comes from his employment. They will require only a very small budget to facilitate involvement with short-term teams and other ministries. So they’re not going out in the traditional sense as fulltime missionaries, but their ministry is definitely fulltime.

This category may be used a lot more in the future by people who can support themselves through alternative means–business, retirement, other opportunities.

The Fiedlers live with Maritta’s parents, Opa and Oma. They took very good care of me, and fed me very well. Opa is suffering from cancer right now, and was quite weak while I was there. But he told me great stories. He learned to speak English from Australians while living in Papua New Guinea. It was interesting hearing this German speak English with an Australian accent.


Our lobby at Healthy Ministry Resources looks different. We added something new: a stained glass window from our former national office. Let me tell you its history.

Way back in 1834, the United Brethren denomination bought printing equipment for a new publishing house in Circleville, Ohio. In 1853, the publishing house moved to Dayton, Ohio, where the denominational headquarters was located.

After the division in 1889, our group lost everything. We had a temporary publishing operation in Dayton for a while. Then, in 1897, everything moved to Huntington, Ind.

Initially, we used a building on South Jefferson. But after 20 years, we built a new, multi-story brick building at the corner of Franklin and Warren Streets to house the publishing operation and the denominational offices. It was dedicated on May 2, 1917, by Bishop Fermin Hoskins.

Above the main entrance they installed this beautiful stained glass window that said “Publishing Establishment of the United Brethren in Christ.” We relocated the offices to the current location in 1976, selling the other building to a local businessman. However, that stained glass window was still there 30 years later when I became bishop.

I thought we needed to reclaim that window. So we talked with the building’s owner. He said we could have it, as long as we paid to have it removed and paid for a replacement. No problem.

And so, the window was removed, and we had it restored to pristine condition. Then a local contractor mounted it in this beautiful wooden case, which takes up most of a wall in our lobby. It is lighted from behind, and looks gorgeous.

Global Ministries is sponsoring several short-term ministry trips this summer–to Central America, Europe, and Asia. Almost 100 persons are involved. Please–

  • Pray for each person and team as they prepare for their trip.
  • Prayerfully consider how you might help financially.

Because of the economy, some of the teams have found fundraising for their trip challenging. Supplies that are needed for the work these groups will do. It would be a huge answer to prayer if you could assist financially. Any size gift is greatly appreciated.

Checks should be made out to Global Ministries. On the memo line, place the location to which you would like to contribute–Central America, Europe, or Asia.

People from the US Center for World Mission pray over Dave (center, blue shirt) and Cathie Datema (on Dave’s left). Dr. Ralph Winter is in the wheelchair.

David Datema has been named to succeed Dr. Ralph Winter as general director of Frontier Mission Fellowship, which oversees the US Center for World Mission. Dave is an ordained UB minister, and as a kid lived in both Jamaica and Sierra Leone, where his parents, Jerry and Eleanore Datema, were missionaries. He has served at the US Center for World Mission in Pasadena, Calif., for the past ten years. He and Cathie are endorsed missionaries with Global Ministries, and Dave serves on the Global Ministries Leadership Team.

Dr. Winter, who is currently winning a battle against multiple myleoma, stated, “I sense it is God’s will that David and Cathie Datema should be the couple that would carry on (with the help of others) the role of General Director. Dave’s steady involvement, his pastoral experience, and his scholarly emphasis and not least his concern for the Frontier Mission Fellowship [the organization to which they belong] as a fellowship, all equip him and are factors in this decision….I believe our fellowship is stronger than ever and will continue to grow stronger, and that its best days are beyond my lifespan.”

We wanted to let you know that Dr. Ralph Winter, the founder of the Frontier Mission Fellowship, the organization to which we are members, has appointed Dave to a new assignment. As of yesterday, May 5th, Dave officially became the General Director of the Frontier Mission Fellowship as Dr. Winter stepped down from this role. (See attached photo.)

Dave and Cathie write, “In this role, we will continue to live here in Pasadena and will join the current leadership team which oversees the US Center for World Mission and the William Carey International University. We appreciate your prayers as Dave transitions to this new role with its responsibilities, and as the FMF adjusts to a new General Director.

“We appreciate so many of you who have been partners with us on our ministry team with your prayers and support. Our status as missionaries on support remains the same. In other words, we continue to depend on God and his family for our ‘daily bread.'”

UBonTwitter_150.jpgWe have clambered board the Twitter bandwagon. Our Twitter feed provides little snippets of news, plus automatic notifications when anything is posted to the Bishopblog or to the UB News page. You’ll find it at:

Frankly, I don’t expect a lot of people to use the Twitter feed, mainly because not all that many UBs are using Twitter, period. We’re far from critical mass. I’ve come across less than 30 UBs with Twitter accounts, and many of them aren’t actively using Twitter. It’s not exactly a necessary communications accessory.

But, this was easy to implement and will involve little work on my part. And Twitter is mushrooming in popularity. So, there it is. Use it if you want.


Jerry Davis speaking to the UB youth workers.

I am attending the UB Youth Workers Summit, which started today at First UB church in Holly Hill, Fla. We have 33 United Brethren youth workers from as far away as Boston.

Dr. Jerry Davis, from Huntington University, is our speaker. The theme is “Rooted.”

  • Rooted in relationships
  • Rooted in worship
  • Rooted in scripture
  • Rooted in prayer
  • Rooted in Christ

Richard Palmer, pastor of the Abilene UB church (Abilene, Kansas) since 2001, passed away Sunday night, May 3. He suffered a major stroke on April 10 and has been in poorhealth ever since. He leaves behind Carmen, his wife of 55 years.

Viewing: 7-8 p.m. Thursday, May 7, at the Martin-Becker-Carlson Funeral Home in Abilene.
Funeral: 10:30 a.m. Friday, May 8, at the Abilene UB church, 114 Southeast Second Street, Abilene, KS 67410.

Notes can be send to Carmen Palmer at: 1214 North Walnut, Abilene, KS  67410.

We’ve added some information about XLR8:

A very complete list of restaurants near Sawmill Creek, where the conference will be held. Some of these may be closed, and probably some new ones have opened. But this list–quite lengthy–should be pretty close to reality.

Information on the four keynote speakers:

  • Tim Brown (Thursday and Friday).
  • Pat Jones (Friday night UB Historical Society Banquet).
  • Jeff Bleijerveld (Saturday night focus on missions).
  • Ron Ramsey (Sunday morning).

Ministers: set up a time with Denny Zimmerman to go over your pension account.

Sign up for the Friday luncheon on church multiplication.

Huntington University will award three honorary doctorates during Commencement exercises on May 16:

  • Dr. John Bernbaum, founder and president of the American Christian University in Moscow, Russia.
  • Robert and Sue Miller, entrepreneurs and owners of Essenhaus Inc. in Middlebury, Ind.