Bishop Ron Ramsey in front of the entrance to the registration area, which, come tomorrow, will be swarming with over 800 people.

Several dozen people are at Saw Mill Creek (Huron, Ohio), getting everything set up for the XLR8 US National Conference, which starts Thursday afternoon. It’s a lot of work–decorating the hotel in a racing theme, setting up the main conference hall (lights, video, stage, screens, you-name-it), stuffing packets, hanging signs, and much more.

A number of photos have been posted here. You can also follow the UB Twitter feed for updates throughout the days of the conference.


Bishop Ron Ramsey in front of the entrance to the main hall atl Saw Mill Creek.


The main hall is a busy place. By Thursday night, it will be set up with 900 chairs, ready to go. But right now, Chris Kuntz and his crew is setting up the stage, lighting, and lots of elaborate computer and video equipment.


Heather Umbaugh and her decorations crew are transforming the hotel with the racing theme. Pieces of actual Nascar vehicles are everywhere. Not to mention all the checkered flags.


Some of the ladies spent hours putting together the packets for all attendees–nearly 900 packets.


The sound table is filled with computer, monitors, and all kinds of gadgetry–not to mention a multitude of cords. And it all needs to work together.


Huntington University‘s Department of Nursing has acquired 11 manikins for lab and clinical classes. Junior nursing majors, with an anticipated graduation date of May 2011, will be the first to use them in the fall of 2009.

Of the 11 manikins at the Nursing Department’s disposal, four are VitalSims, one is a SimMan, and the remaining six manikins serve more basic functions than the others.

The four VitalSims–one male, one female, one infant and one child–are equipped to be as lifelike as possible. Each one, when plugged in, resorts to the default setting and begins to make respiratory sounds and has a heartbeat and stomach gurgles. As the instructor changes the settings, different scenarios can happen. The manikin can have high blood pressure, the respiratory sounds of a person with pneumonia, stitches, and a myriad of other symptoms of various illnesses and diseases.

The VitalSims manikins are programmed so that students can give full head-to-toe assessments. They also have the capability to give students the experience of performing procedures including, but not limited to, catheters and intravenous therapy. 

SimMan is similar to the VitalSims but more sophisticated. SimMan can do everything that the VitalSims can do and more. He will be hooked up to all the typical monitoring devices that one would see in a hospital setting, each monitoring an actual function of SimMan, including heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen level and more.

The purpose of SimMan is for students to work with him in simulated scenarios. SimMan has set scenarios and has the option of new scenarios being programmed into him. These scenarios simulate real-to-life timeframes and situations to which students will respond. For instance, during one scenario, a student may be performing a routine procedure when suddenly, SimMan’s blood pressure will spike. The students must make rapid decisions and perform the necessary procedures to stabilize the manikin, or he may simulate a stroke that the student will then have to respond to as well. SimMan is so advanced that his settings allow students to “save him” or “kill him.”

The remaining six manikins are less sophisticated but still useful for training. Each one allows students to become accustomed to performing sterile procedures, moving patients in beds, helping patients to the shower and restroom, as well as other basic nursing functions.

Huntington University will launch a new initiative this summer designed to prepare educators for the Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). Curriculum development, staffing, and the acquisition of equipment and library resources will begin this month.

The Institute for TESOL Studies and related academic courses are an outgrowth of long-term relationships between Huntington University faculty and educators in China. fetters_lukeDr. Luke Fetters (right), who formerly worked 11 years in Macau, is under contract to provide teacher training in Zhuhai City, China. By the end of this summer, Fetters and his team of Huntington faculty, local teachers and volunteers will have trained nearly 400 Chinese educators in English-teaching skills.

The university’s new Institute for TESOL Studies will build upon this foundation and extend new learning opportunities to HU students. Fetters will serve as the director of the institute.

“We anticipate tremendous benefits for Huntington University students, especially those planning careers in education or other professional service in an intercultural setting,” said Fetters. “Future teachers will be better prepared to teach students for whom English is not their first language. Ministry students, social workers and others also may have interest in TESOL training as they prepare to serve various non-English-speaking populations.”


Dr. Terrell Peace (right), chair of HU’s Department of Education, agrees. “There is growing demand for teachers and other professionals who have the ability to bridge cultural and language barriers,” he said. “In our local school corporation, for example, the number of students for whom English is a second language has increased tenfold in the past eight years.”

Pending state approval, the Institute for TESOL Studies will offer English as a New Language (ENL) certification for HU education students and area teachers. Huntington University also will offer a TESOL minor to HU students pursuing a degree in any discipline. Additional formal training and informal consulting in ENL and TESOL methodologies will be available to local, regional and international schools, agencies and social service organizations.


Bishop Ron Ramsey (right) and Pat Jones, Director of Healthy Church Ministries, in front of the loaded trailer. Among all the supplies, printed materials, etc., are many pieces from actual Nascar vehicles. They’ll be used in set decoration by Heather Umbaugh, who is heading up that part of the conference.

The trailer will head to Huron, Ohio, Wednesday morning, and we’ll spend the day–along with many other volunteers–getting everything set up. Then, Thursday noon, registration starts.

It is now 8:17 a.m. (EDT) in Huntington, Ind. The staff in the office has been in a “full court press” for some time now to get everything done for National Conference. Sometime this morning we will begin packing the trailer to bring all the necessary forms, reports, supplies, packets, name badges, agendas, sermon notes, computers, printers, posters, pens and probably a whole lot more I can’t think of right at this moment.

We are checking and double-checking to be sure we have everything we need. I have checked with the main speaker, Tim Brown and he is set to be with us. We have had an excellent registration of over 850 individuals.

The point is: we are almost ready to make the trip to Sawmill Creek Resort, Huron, Ohio, for National Conference 2009. I am excited. Thanks to all who have been planning and praying for this National Conference 2009.

Just some thoughts….

  • I am surprised how fast these past four years have flown by!
  • I am thankful for travel safety for all who have traveled these past four years!
  • I am so grateful for the staff that God has placed in this building!
  • I am blessed to think of all the new friends who have come into my life in these years!
  • I am burdened for far too many of our churches that don’t “get it”!
  • I am flabbergasted at those who don’t know what “IT” is!
  • I have realized just how dependent on God I really am to do anything of worth!
  • I have been amazed to find myself in this position!
  • I am so thankful for the planning team that helped plan every detail of this National Conference 2009.
  • I am really looking forward to worshipping with all of you this week!
  • I am blessed to be trusting in The One who has my future in His hands!

Well, that’s it for this time. Hope to see you on Thursday. Drive careful ‘ya hear!


They said they needed my camera in the break room. Something was going on, something apparently newsworthy. So I grabbed it and went in, and there sat an ice cream cake. And it was for…me?

Indeed. Bishop Ron Ramsey instructed that the occasion appear on the Bishopblog–whether I wrote it, or somebody else. Since I don’t trust any of my coworkers, I thought I better do the deed. Besides, everyone is crazy-busy with National Conference preparations.

The occasion: June 1 marks 30 years of working fulltime at the United Brethren national office. I actually started on June 1, 1978, after my junior year at Huntington University, but I didn’t go fulltime until graduating in 1979. Back then, my title was assistant editor. I worked on the monthly United Brethren magazine, edited a weekly Sunday school take-home paper, and did some work on the adult Sunday school quarterlies.

We discontinued the Sunday school curriculum in 1982 and closed the printshop. At that point, I became editor of the United Brethren magazine. And the position has evolved from there. I took the title Communications Director in 1993, when we centralized all of our communications. And from there, this and that has happened, yada yada yada, you’re really not that interested.

Along with the ice cream cake, my coworkers gave me a card (of sorts) with comments like these:

  • Way to go! Your endurance is amazing.
  • You are a great asset here. Old and musty, but still a good asset.
  • People who stay in one place for so long usually are honored with a statue. Have you posed for yours yet?
  • 30 years! Most marriages last less time than that!
  • Congrats! Putting up with everyone who has come and gone. Wow!
  • You must have started here at the office when you were a child!
  • Wow! 30 years! You must be older than I thought!
  • How many Macs or models of Macs have you had in those 30 years? [I think 7, plus 2 laptops.]
  • Amazing! You have worked here almost my whole life!
  • I know that cars are considered vintage or antique after 20 years, so….

Now you know why I thought I better write this.

It’s been a joy working here and serving our churches. I’ve never NOT attended a United Brethren church. I’ve basically ordered the entire UB menu: grew up UB in four different states, attended our camps, participated in Bible quizzing, UB preacher’s kid, graduated from our college, and have now spent my entire career in the service of my denomination. No regrets. Unless you count eating that too-big piece of ice cream cake this morning.

prommurders.jpegA new book, “The Prom Night Murders,” tells about the 1989 murders of United Brethren minister Robert Pelley, his wife, and two young daughters. They were found shotgunned in the parsonage on Sunday morning, just after the local high school prom.

Rev. Pelley’s son from a previous marriage, Jeff, was convicted of the murders in 2006 (the result of a cold case investigation). The story is that Jeff was grounded from participating in prom weekend activities, and that led to the murders.

Jeff Pelley, 37, is serving a 160-year sentence. His conviction was reversed by a Court of Apopeals, but this spring the Indiana Supreme Court reversed the reversal.