At Corunna UB, the church my husband Jason pastors, we started Vacation Bible School last night. I am co-teaching with another person.

During the lesson, as I talked about what sin is, I asked the young children, “How many of you have never sinned?”

One little five-year-old girl shot her hand up.

“You’ve never sinned?” I asked her.

She answered, “I’ve been naughty, but I’ve never sinned.”


Jeff Bleijerveld was in Macau last week, visiting our missionaries, and he spent some time at the home of David and Melissa Kline. Dave Kline sent the above photo, showing Jeff with the Kline kids, with this subject line: “The work of Jeff Bleijerveld in Macau. There was some other stuff, too.”

Award-winning Christian radio station Star 88.3 WLAB-FM and Huntington University have formed a strategic alliance. Huntington University will extend financial support to the newly-established Star Educational Media Network, a non-profit formed to purchase Star 88.3 in May. In return, the college will receive:

  • A significant stake in the enterprise,.
  • Several positions on the board of directors.
  • On-air and off-air promotion.
  • Expanded learning opportunities for students.

In addition:

  • Star 88.3 is involved in many kinds of community outreach. This new relationship will provide numerous opportunities for collaborative volunteer service in the greater Fort Wayne area.
  • HU’s campus radio station (The FUSE 105.5 FM) will benefit from the Christian broadcasting expertise of Star 88.3 staff and national consultants.
  • Star 88.3 receives many benefits from record labels and recording artists nationwide. These relationships will create opportunities for on-campus and off-campus performances.

Star 88.3 has 70,000 weekly listeners, and in 2009 was named Gospel Music Association’s Radio Station of the Year at the Dove Awards.

You can read more on Huntington University’s news page.

Andrew Atkins, pastor of Monticello UB (Spencerville, Ohio), sent us this testimony. It happened on Saturday night, June 6, after the evening service at the US National Conference. Andrew said we could publish the story, but emphasized, “I just want to make sure that the focus is about the fact that God provides opportunity when we are obedient to Him.”

My wife and I arrived back at our hotel around 11 pm, and in the parking lot were the “Bikers.” There were guys doing burnouts, drinking, and basically kickin back. As I walked back to my van to get some pop that I had forgotten, God began to break my heart for these guys and ask me what I was willing to do to reach them with the Gospel.

I walked into our hotel room and told my wife that we needed to go out and bless some bikes.

About three years ago at Monticello, we started doing a Biker Sunday. At the end of the day we have guys pull through on their motorcylces and we pray for them to be safe and encourage them to follow Christ on the highway of life. I never realized how important that was to guys that ride, but because of our Biker Sundays, I have learned that.

So at about 11:15 pm, my wife and I headed into the parking lot to the first group of guys. I asked them if they had been prayed for, that they would ride safely. They said, “You mean, blessed? No, we haven’t had that yet.” I told them I was a pastor and I would love to do that for them.

Immediately they said, “That would be awesome, but go down there and ask those guys too!”

So in two separate locations, my wife and I watched bikers stand by and even kneel at their bikes as we prayed that God would keep them safe, and that they would know the joy that comes from riding with Christ as their Saviour. We went back to our hotel room knowing that the reason we were at National Conference during bike week was to reach out to those guys.

The following morning before the closing service, we went down to check out of our room. One guy that we prayed for was looking at the back tire of his bike; it was in pretty bad shape. I asked if it was rideable, and he said it was. Then, as I turned to walk away, he said, “Hey hold on.” Then a very big, bald biker came over and wrapped his arms around me and said, “Thanks so much for praying for us last night. We won’t forget it.”

The Center Hill church of Mt. Carroll, Ill., will hold a closing celebration service tomorrow (June 14) afternoon at 2 p.m. The attendance has dwindled to only a few people, and the remaining members voted in April to close the church. Center Hill dates back to 1856, and officially organized in 1870.

Center Hill United Brethren Church of Mt. Carroll, Ill., is closing after nearly 140 years. A final celebration service will be held Sunday afternoon, June 14, at 2:00. Bishop Ron Ramsey will speak at the closing service.

The attendance of Center Hill had declined to the point where it was no longer viable. Bishop Ramsey met with remaining members on April 19. During that meeting, they voted to close.

“While this is a sad time for the congregation,” says Bishop Ramsey, “yet we rejoice over the faithfulness of God’s people who worshiped and served our Lord from that location. They have truly tried to fulfill being a lighthouse on the hill for that community.

He continues, “Closing churches is painful. We wish the closing service to be a time of great celebration.”

During the Friday business meeting at National Conference, Dennis Miller introduced Anna Evenzahav, who has been arranging trips to the Holy Land for him and Emmanuel Community Church for many years. She works with Bible Lands & Reformation Group Travel. If you’re interested in contacting her, you can do so at:

Toll-free: 800-801-4795

As of June 1, the Michindoh Camp and Conference Center in Hillsdale, Mich., is owned by Spring Arbor University. It comes as a gift from the Merillat Foundation, and is described as the largest gift in the college’s history.

Spring Arbor’s main campus is 35 miles away. The college has conducted a number of classes and programs at the camp over the years, and has supplied students for the summer camping program.

An article in the Hillsdale Daily News explains how this came about, and gives a lot of background. It says that Spring Arbor is the camp’s fifth owner since 2007. Here is how that works:

  1. Michindoh Conference originally owned the camp.
  2. In the spring of 2007, Gull Lake Ministries, another camping ministry in Michigan, agreed to assume ownership of the camp. But before the deal with completed, they backed out.
  3. In the fall of 2007, the Executive Leadership Team took control of the camp.
  4. The Executive Leadership Team deeded the camp to the Lenawee Christian Association, the organization created by Orville and Ruth Merillat.
  5. Now, the foundation has given the camp to Spring Arbor University.

The Michindoh Camp and Conference Center opened in 1987, replacing the former Michindoh Conference camp called Rothfuss Park, located just down the road. The conference center was built largely through gifts from the Merillat Foundation.


Bishop Ron Ramsey (right) prays over Phil and Sandy Whipple during the June 7 installation service for the newly-elected bishop.

After a near-unanimous vote of 336 delegates, Phil Whipple, pastor of Colwood UB Church (Caro, Mich.) was elected bishop of the United Brethren church 2009-2013. He will take office August 15.

The voting occurred about 9:30 Friday morning, June 5, as one of the first items on the agenda of the US National Conference business meeting. The results were announced just before lunch.

Bishop-elect Whipple spoke briefly to the assembled delegates and observers (over 500 people). Then Bishop Ron Ramsey asked the former UB bishops, all of whom were in attendance, to come forward for a prayer time. They included Raymond Waldfogel (1969-1981), C. Ray Miller (1973-1993), Wilber L. Sites, Jr. (1977-1989), Ray Seilhamer (1993-2001), and Paul Hirschy (2001-2005). They laid their hands on Rev. Whipple, and Bishop Emeritus Raymond Waldfogel led in prayer.

philinstallation_500.jpgBishop Ramsey led the official installation service on Sunday morning, June 7. Assisting in that service were:

  • Roxton Spear, who spent four years serving on staff with Phil at Colwood UB, and now pastors the Mongul UB church in Shippensburg, Pa.
  • Russ Tibbits, chairman of the governance board at Colwood.
  • Lester Smith, pastor of Hillsdale UB (Hillsdale, Mich.). Les is responsible for hiring Phil into the United Brethren church.
  • Pat Jones, Director of Healthy Church Ministries.

Phil grew up in a strong Christian family, and sensed God’s callto the ministry at age 17. He graduated from Liberty University, and took his first pastorate in 1984.

Phil entered the United Brethren fold in 1990, when Lester Smith hired him as an associate pastor at Richfield Road UB in Flint, Mich. A year later, he was stationed as pastor of Pleasant Valley UB in Lake Odessa, Mich. He remained there for seven years, and was then assigned to Colwood. At Colwood, the church’s morning attendance has grown from 200 to over 500, and they have baptized over 130 people.

Phil and his wife, Sandy, have been married for almost 30 years. They have two sons, both serving the Lord in ministry. Josh is Youth and Worship Arts Pastor at Mongul UB in Shippensburg, Pa. Mike works part-time at Colwood as Worship Arts Pastor, and as a custodian.