Steve Dennie, Communications Director

Since the start of the US National Conference a little over a week ago, the United Brethren Facebook page has gained 75 followers–or more technically, “likes.”

The number of “likes,” as of July 15, stands at 573. So we pretty much obliterated the 500 barrier. A 15% increase in one week.

I posted several hundred photos from National Conference last week. Posting photos, I’ve found, always draws new people to your Facebook page. I’ve seen that with the Facebook page for my own church, Anchor Community Church. I frequently post photos that I’ve taken at Anchor events. When you “tag” someone in a photo–that is, when you identify a Facebook member in a photo–then that photo appears on their own Facebook wall. That makes it visible to all of their friends.

In Anchor’s case, the people who “like” Anchor’s page average 300 Facebook friends of their own. Most of those friends have probably never been to the Anchor page. But when they see a photo of their friend or relative, they click on on it, and suddenly there they are, on Anchor’s page. Some of them, then, tag people in photos who may be on their own Facebook friend list, but who may not be on Anchor’s “like” list…yet. Then those photos appear on other people’s walls, visible to a whole new set of friends–a second degree of separation, if you will.

One or two degrees of separation quickly adds up.  If Anchor’s page has 300 friends, and each of those persons have 300 friends (and that’s the actual average–I checked a while back), you’re talking 90,000 people…each of whom have 300 friends. Sure, lots and lots of duplication. But still.

That no doubt explains the surge in “likes” for the UB page. I’ve tagged United Brethren people in many of the photos. So, for instance, when UB persons see a photo of their pastor at the conference, they click on the photo to see what it’s about, and find themselves on the United Brethren page. And they think, “I didn’t realize there was a United Brethren Facebook page.” They click the “like” button…and there you have it, 75 new people added just because I posted some photos.

Ah, the power of Facebook!

Huntington University’s EXCEL business students placed in the Top 25 worldwide in the Global Business Simulation Strategy Game.

Competing against teams from around the world, four teams from the EXCEL business administration, human resource management, and not-for-profit leadership degrees competed in mid-December in a business simulation competition hosted by GLO-BUS. The GLO-BUS competition helps students learn how to make decisions faced by everyday companies by placing them in circumstances that parallel real-world conditions.

This is the first year that the university has participated in this competition.

Ron Cook tees off as Gary Gates and Bishop Phil Whipple watch.

Terry Smith headed up the Golf Scramble at the UB National Conference, as he did in 2007 and 2009. Terry is Congregational Care Pastor at Mainstreet Church in Walbridge, Ohio.

The Golf Scramble–an 18-hole, four-person scramble–was held on Thursday, July 7, on the golf course at Saw Mill Creek Resort, where the conference was held. It started right after the business session ended on Thursday.

Bishop Phil Whipple

There were 44 participants, coming from churches across the denomination.

The winning team consisted of Craig Mickey, Brent Stinger, Dennis Miller, and John Fisher with a score of 64 (seven under par). They all received UB golf shirts for winning.

The last place team consisted of John Erwin, Edgar Harman, Darren Duncan, and Dave Luther, with a score of 75 (four over par). They all received a bag of practice balls.

Gift certificates were given to:

  • Bob Tobey, for the longest drive on hole 3.
  • Brent Stinger, for the longeest drive on hole 12.
  • Harold Ditmer, for the longest putt on hole 9.
  • John Fisher, for the longest putt on hole 18.

Golf shirts were given to:

  • Dan Kopp, closest to the pin on hole 5.
  • Al Carter, closest to the pin on hole 7.
  • Davde Staples, closest to the pin on hole 13.
  • Bob Tobey, closest to the pin on hole 17

These women receive gift certificates:

  • Donna Nye, cloest to the pin on hole 5.
  • Bev Ditmer, closest to thep in on hole 7.
  • Amy Yoder, closest to the pin on hole 13.

Jeff Bleijerveld (center) giving certificates to the top-giving churches. On the left is Art Page, senior pastor of Salem UB (Chambersburg, Pa.), and on the right is Marty Pennington, senior pastor of Mainstreet Church (Walbridge, Ohio).

Jeff Bleijerveld, Director of Global Ministries

Global Ministries is very blessed to be the international arm of the United Brethren in Christ. On July 7, during the National Conference business meeting, we acknowledged those who were the largest donors to our ministry during the previous year (2010). The top ten churches, in terms of total giving to Global Ministries, are listed below.

This year we added one more category: the per-captial award. That recognition went to Log Cabin United Brethren in Boise, Idaho. Although, they have an average attendance of just 26, they gave more per member than any other church in the denomination. Their divided their giving fairly evenly between missionary support and relief needs.

Top Giving UB Churches in 2010

  1. King Street (Chambersburg Pa.): $67,737
  2. Salem (Chambersburg, Pa.): $31,170
  3. Brown Corners (Clare, Mich.): $31,100
  4. Mt. Pleasant (Chambersburg, Pa.): $30,650
  5. Mainstreet (Walbridge, Ohio): $27,650
  6. College Park (Huntington, Ind.): $26,194
  7. Parkwood Gardens (Guelph, Ont.): $24,865
  8. Emmanuel (Fort Wayne, Ind.): $18,300
  9. Banner of Christ (Bryon Center, Mich.): $16,304
  10. Grace (Sherkston, Ont.):L $12,469

Highest Per Capita
Log Cabin UB (Boise, Idaho): $9,870

The first annual Fandana Festival is coming to the Huntington University campus August 11-13, 2011.

More than 30 bands will perform on multiple stages around campus, including Switchfoot, Sidewalk Prophets, Photoside Cafe, Attaboy, and Me in Motion. The festival will also feature an indie band competition, seminars, and an indie film component.

The campus will be buzzing from Thursday afternoon through Saturday with fun for the whole family. Overnight lodging is also available in residence halls for individuals or groups.

Tickets are $19 in advance or $25 at the gate. Groups of 15 or more are $15.

Mark Choi, mission director for Hong Kong Conference, reports that a group of 20 adults and children from the Hong Kong churches will leave for Thailand tomorrow, July 14. They will spend six days with our two churches in Thailand, teaching four classes of English to 90 students, and conducting a carnival with students in the Chinese high school.

Owen Gordon (right), a UB minister in Jamaica and president of Jamaica Bible College, sent this note on July 11.

“Over the last several weeks, there has been a series of violent incidents and killings in the York Town area. The result is that persons have been shot, members of the community and church have been traumatized, and the citizens are living in fear. Persons are afraid to venture outside after dark. Our Sunday and Wednesday night meetings are sparsely attended.

“Having just started to minister at York Town since April, I believe God sent me to York Town for a purpose, and I am appealing for special prayer not just for the United Brethren church, but for the other churches in the community. Pray for much wisdom as we seek to lead the people of God, provide encouragement and guidance for the community, and trust God for a restoration of peace and calmness in the community.

“This Sunday, July 17, at 5 pm, we are asking all of God’s people to join us in prayer for the community and where possible to join us in a Witness Prayer Walk through the community. Nothing is impossible with God. We wish to walk through the community praying and encouraging persons in the strong all-powerful name of Jesus. There is no distance in prayer.

“One of the persons shot will be buried on July 23, with the service being held at the church at 10 am.”

The 2011 US National Conference concluded with a photo montage from the week (excluding the final day, Saturday, of course). Here is that video. Y The video was done by Chris Kuntz, who is on staff at Emmanuel Community Church (Fort Wayne, Ind.), and coordinated the behind-the-scenes music/sound/lighting/etc. stuff at national conference.

Tom and Evelyn Mahas

On July 4, a ceremony at Sauder Village in Archbold, Ohio, saw 56 people become American citizens. Among them was Evelyn Mahas, whose husband, Tom, is youth pastor at Bethel UB church in Elmore, Ohio.

“I really wanted to be able to vote,” said Evelyn. “And if I have kids, I will be certain of their safety.”

Evelyn, a 26-year-old music therapist, was born in Canada but has lived in the United States since age 12. Six other Canadians became US citizens during the ceremony, along with persons from 25 other countries. The online Toledo Blade published an article about it.