Homeschooled children can take advantage of a physical education program being offered this fall by Huntington University’s Department of Physical Education. There are nine session from September to December for children in grades K-5. Classes last for 50 minutes and are free. More information is on the HU website.

Rev. Reuben Zurcher, a retired United Brethren minister, passed away early this morning, Sept. 13, 2010. He was a World War 2 veteran and, at the time of his death, a member of Monroe United Brethren church in Monroe, Ind.

Rev. Zurcher graduated from Huntington College in 1962 and began his pastoral ministry at the Zanesville, Ind., United Brethren church. He served six other UB pastorates: Third Street (Fort Wayne, Ind.), St. Mary’s (Ohio), Olivet (near Dayton, Ohio), Kettering (Dayton, Ohio), Alexandria (Ind.), and Bobo (Willshire, Ohio). He also served a term as conference superintendent in Central Conference. The family believes he retired in 1986.

Viewing: Tuesday, Sept 14, 2010, 2-4 pm and 6-8 pm.
Viewing Location: Maplewood Park D.O. McComb and Sons funeral home, 4017 Maplecrest Rd., Fort Wayne, Ind. 46815.

Funeral: 10 am Wednesday, Sept 15, 2010. Viewing will be at 9 am.
Location: Maplewood Park D.O. McComb and Sons funeral home, 4017 Maplecrest Rd., Fort Wayne, Ind. 46815.

Read more about Rev. Zurcher on the D. O. McComb website.

Burley Clay, 88, a retired United Brethren minister, passed away September 10, 2010. He was a pastor for 58 years–48 in the Missionary Church, and 10 in the United Brethren church. He pastored the Alvordton, Ohio, and Waldron, Mich., UB churches during the 1980s. Prior to that, they served non-UB churches in Arizona and California.

Burley Clay is the father of Polly Dunten, whose husband, Darwin, is pastor of Findlay First United Brethren Church, Findlay, Ohio.


Viewing: Monday, Sept. 13, 2010.
Location: Walker Funeral Home, 5155 W. Sylvania Avenue, Toledo, Ohio.
Funeral: 11 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2010. Visitation at 10 a.m.
Location: Redeemer (Community) Missionary Church, 5321 Springdale Ave., Toledo, Ohio.

Rev. Clay is survived by his wife of 66 years, Alice, 6 children, 15 grandchildren, and 16 great-grandchildren.

Huntington University launched a $21 million capital campaign to:

  • Renovate Becker Hall (the former Administration Building).
  • Build a new Studio Art Center.
  • $9.5 million to expand the Merillat physical education complex.
  • $3 million for the University Fund.
  • $2 million for endowment.

“We must dream again,” said HU President G. Blair Dowden. “We need to expand and renovate and build.”

“Together: The Campaign for Huntington University” started in 2007 to improve and expand campus offerings and facilities. Over the past two years, the university has received $9.7 million in donations and pledges, resulting in:

  • Construction of the Studio Art Center — a combination of the Art Annex building and a new 2-D studio.
  • Renovations to Becker Hall, including refurbishing the entryway, adding an elevator, and renovating the third floor to create a film studio for the digital media arts program.

Work has also begun at the Merillat Complex. New bleachers were installed this summer. Additional plans include:

  • Creating a new entryway.
  • Expanding the exercise and weight-training areas.
  • Adding new classroom and fitness lab spaces.
  • Renovating the outdoor track.
  • Constructing a new hardwood floor gymnasium.
  • Installing all-weather turf on the soccer field.
  • Funds for a facilities endowment.

The University Fund helps to bridge the gap between what students can afford and the financial aid available to them. Currently, 91 percent of the student body receives some sort of financial aid.

The endowment has a long-term impact by establishing scholarships, endowing faculty chairs, or supporting a particular program. It also helps supplement funds for the overall operation of the university.

Donations can be made to the university in various forms such as cash, appreciated securities, or real estate. The Office of Advancement will work with individuals to make sure that their gifts fulfill the donor’s wishes as well as the university’s needs.

Felida Christian Fellowship, a UB church in Vancouver, Wash., has withdrawn from the denomination. On August 4, the congregation voted to join, and integrate its assets with, Summit View Church, a megachurch located 17 miles away.

Summit had been planning to launch a new campus on the west side of town. For that, they will now use the former UB building, which will be known as Summit View: Felida. Services are being held there at 10 am on Sundays.

Ian McIntosh, pastor of Felida Christian Fellowship, will become a part-time staffperson at Summit View.

The church began in 1976 as a mission church under the sponsorship of the denominational Board of Church Extension. It was named Guiding Light, and Ron Mulles was the founding pastor. For three years, the congregation met in a local Grange Hall, growing to about 65 people. A 3.9 acre piece of land was purchased, and in 1979, ground was broken for a building.

The name was later changed to Friendship Community Church, and then to Felida Christian Fellowship.

Billy Simbo sent the following update on his wife, Mamei. Billy is serving a three-year term with Global Ministries in Sierra Leone, where he holds the title of Bishop of Sierra Leone Conference.

  • The strep bacterial infection didn’t show in the latest blood cultures taken. Mamei will continue receiving antibiotics.
  • Though there is still an infection spot on one of Mamei’s heart valves, no damage shows. The surgeon said Mamei is too weak to withstand surgery now or in the near future (she has not got out of bed for 12 days). To prevent the infection from spreading and causing a stroke, they will continue aggressively treating her with antibiotics.
  • The oncologist will keep Mamei one more night in the Coronary Care Unit just for monitoring, and then move her back to the Oncology unit. He hopes to resume the chemotherapy treatments again for multiple myeloma, so it doesn’t get out of control. Her last treatment, on August 26, was given through a vein; an oral drug is also an option. There is no talk of putting in another port until the infection issue is settled.
  • The immediate goal is to address the excruciating pain in her legs. Because of the pain, she has resisted all efforts to receive physical therapy, which is vital to her recovery. She is also not eating because she says she has no appetite. Since she is taking very potent pain medications, she needs food in her stomach.
  • At this point, Billy plans to return to Sierra Leone on September 14. Son Alan and Katerina Simbo have agreed to have Mamei stay with them when she leaves the hospital.

Please remember Mamei in your prayers. Also pray for Billy. He writes: “Pray for me as I return to do all the things that have been interrupted by my absence from the field. I do a lot through emails and telephone conversations, but there is a pile that needs to be tackled as we prepare for the all-important conference in December to transition to a new Bishop and his administration.”

Pastor Les Smith enacts the Book of James

Pastor Les Smith enacts the Book of James

Kurt Charleville, Hillsdale's new youth and worship director.

Kurt Charleville, Hillsdale's new youth and worship director.

On Sunday, August 29, the Hillsdale UB Church held its 11th annual Outdoor Service at Michindoh Conference Center. The day featured the 4 Friends Quartet and a visit from the Apostle James.

Pastor Les Smith’s dramatization of the book of James had an unusual sense of divine timing. As he began the final sentence of James, there was a crashing sound from above and suddenly a huge limb fell to the ground. Since there were no seats left in the amphitheatre, the quartet members were standing to the side under the tree. One of the singers stepped aside just in time, as the branch landed next to him.

The crowd gasped and there was a pause, whereupon “James,” without missing a beat, seized the opportunity and finished his book, “Let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way, shall SAVE A SOUL FROM DEATH.” Before he could add the last phrase, the crowd broke out in laughter and applause. Then the Apostle concluded, “and shall cover a multitude of sins” and exited.

During the potluck picnic and waterfront activities that followed, the buzz continued. Several people who witnessed it asked Pastor Les if he had somehow arranged this “prop.” The pastor’s reply was, “I think the Lord just wanted to emphasize that last verse to us, about the eternal importance of turning sinners back to him.”

There was a record attendance for the Outdoor Service of over 550, including a large number of guests.

On Monday, September 6, Billy Simbo, bishop of Sierra Leone Conference, sent the following update about his wife, Mamei. Her situation was previously reported on September 1.

Today marks one week since we brought Mamei to the hospital by ambulance. She had been in bed for over four days without being able to get up or move due to excessive pain in her knees and all over her body.

In the ER, various blood tests and scans revealed infection in the port that had been inserted for the administration of the chemotherapy drug and also infection in her right knee. The next day she had surgery to clean up the knee infection. She had a drain put in to clean out the infection and antibiotics were applied directly to the surface. The doctors determined that the same bacteria that infected the port had traveled to the knee. So she has been on antibiotics and all kinds of other medications. The immense side pains she was experiencing were the result of kidney stones, which have now passed, eliminating that pain.

Today things got a little more complicated. The in-house doctors noticed irregular sounds in Mamei’s heart. We were transferred from the oncology unit to the Coronary Care Unit, which is an intensive care unit for monitoring. An updated ultrasound found inflammation around the heart and leakage around one of the valves, probably caused by the same bacterial infection. They ordered a procedure requiring anesthesia and the insertion of a tube down the throat to get a clearer picture of the heart.

Thank God that though the infection and inflammation was confirmed around the one valve, the infection had not spread all over the heart. They will continue treating with antibiotics and other medications, and hope that no surgery will be required. Mamei is now resting quietly and still hooked up to monitors. We don’t know how long they will keep her in this particular unit.

We have completed one week in the hospital, I say we because I have been sleeping on a folding bed next to her. But with this unit and all the monitoring, I am planning to go home tonight and sleep on a real bed for a change!

We should have an idea after a couple more days as to what plans we should make for rehab. I will make a final decision on whether to change my departure date for Sierra Leone some time this week based upon the whole heart issue.

Please pray for the following:

  1. The clearing of the infection around the heart.
  2. For Mamei  to regain her appetite. She eats very little even with us standing over her and urging her to eat. She needs the nutrition to back up the medications.
  3. The strength to endure pain, thereby allowing the nurses and staff to help her with her mobility. The longer she stays down, the more difficult her recovery will be. The initial surgery on her knee was over one year ago and she was still walking with a cane or walker before this new onset of infection.
  4. For the family as we make arrangements and organize things for Mamei’s aftercare once she is discharged from the hospital and or rehab facility.
  5. My plans as I seek to complete our assignment in Sierra Leone on schedule. I am scheduled to attend a conference in Ghana September 19-24, and I am teaching two classes at The Evangelical College of Theology (TECT). Classes start next week and they have asked me to be the main speaker for Spiritual Emphasis week which starts in the middle of October.

Cards for Mamei can be sent to:

Mamei Simbo
1822 Erlens Rd.
Elkins Park, PA  19027

Jeff Bleijerveld, Director of Global Ministries, is currently on a trip to the Philippines and then on to Macau with Donna Hollopeter, Kathy Bruce, and Barry Skinner. He wrote the following on September 2.

We’re on our way home from Tarlac, having visited seven or so churches in this farming province north of Manila in the Philippines.

The reception was very positive and we were impressed with the work of the pastors and congregations. One pastor rides his bicycle about 30 km to preach at a new church plant and also oversees all the other pastors in the area. Talk about commitment. In the rainy season he’s soaked with rain, and in the dry season soaked with sweat.

While we were meeting at one church, we were sharing a number of things and I asked if some of the newest believers would share their testimonies. I’ve done this in other places and have always been thrilled with the response. So three people shared, and then I also had Barry Skinner share his. We wrapped up some time later, but one couple that had joined us from the community stayed to ask for counsel – they wanted to receive Christ.

We were surprised but very pleased. We thought we were there to encourage pastors and a few of the church leaders. God had something else in mind.

Mamei Simbo, wife of Sierra Leone Bishop Billy Simbo, was admitted to the hospital on Monday, August 30. The Simbos live in Abingdon, Pa., north of Philadelphia. Rev. Simbo, serving a three-year term with Global Ministries in Sierra Leone, is currently in the States with Mamei.

Tests revealed a bacterial infection in the port used for her chemotherapy for multiple myeloma. She also has infection in her right knee, which underwent surgery last summer. In addition, Mamei has also passed kidney stones, which was the cause of tremendous side pains.

On Tuesday, August 31, the port was removed and she was taken to surgery for orthopedic work on her knee. X-rays showed the knee had terrible arthritis, but since knee replacement surgery is not an option, they cleaned out the infection and applied local antibiotics. She is on anti-biotics for all of the infections. The early guess is that bacteria from the port caused the infection in the knee and blood stream.

Right now, the chemotherapy treatment is on hold.

Billy Simbo writes, “The underling problem is to get her to take fluids to fight the dehydration and kidney problems which are there anyway due to the multiple myeloma. She also needs to start moving right away or it will get more painful and the recovery will be much slower.”

Mamei will need to either go to a rehab facility or have in-home health care. The family is looking into options.

Billy says, “We are relying on the Lord to provide the help and answers for Mamei, for us as a family, and for the medical staff as they treat her so that this infection does not become a recurring affair. Dealing with the original sickness of multiple myeloma is tough enough without the additional stuff that limits her mobility and causes her such pain.”

Please remember Mamei Simbo and the Simbo family in your prayers.

You can write to Mamei at this address:

Mamei Simbo
1822 Erlens Rd.
Elkins Park, PA 19027