The Delmas 33 Church (click to enlarge)

The Delmas 33 church

Joan Sider, UB Church in Canada

In December 2006, just 4.5 short years ago, Delmas 33 church was birthed. A team from the United Brethren Church in Canada witnessed this event–a weekend of services with around 100 converts.

Since that time, this congregation has forged ahead, even though there have been several obstacles to overcome. A strong wind blew down their first hangar structure. An earthquake, while not destroying any part of the built church at that point, caused grief to every church member who lost loved ones or friends. Praise God, no members of the congregation were killed. Along with these, were the exorbitant prices for building materials.

August 5-7 saw this Delmas 33 church hosting the first-ever convention of all of our UB churches in Haiti. About 20 churches now come under the United Brethren in Christ banner. Attendance ranged from 450 to nearly 600 in the 7 services. Times of worship, outstanding music from several of the churches, excellent speakers (including Jeff Bleijerveld, the Director of Global Ministries), and good fellowship made for a very worthwhile time. The Canadian delegation felt privileged to be a part of this very special occasion.

Pastor Oliam Richard’s vision for a conference center has been realized. A school is on the property now thanks to our partnership with CH Global. About 180 children are sponsored, with about 75 waiting to become sponsored. Pastor Richard’s next goal is to see our own seminary using the center.

In December 2011, the 5th anniversary of the church will occur. God is good!

Continue to pray for our Haiti work and for Pastor Oliam Richard, who provides excellent leadership.

VBS at Lake View Church (click to enlarge)

Lake View United Brethren Church (Camden, Mich.) hosted its Vacation Bible School July 24-28. The program is focused on children ages 4-12. Over 40 adult and teen volunteers were involved, leading such areas as crafts, games, Bible lessons, decorating, and nursery.

The highest attendance was 66 children in one night, with a total attendance of 72 children throughout the week. So our attendance each night with leaders and children was just over 100 people.

This year’s theme was Gold Rush. Each day the children dove into the gold mine of Scripture to hear about the precious truth of Jesus Christ! As songs were sung, fun games were played, amazing crafts were made, and even scrumptious snacks were eaten, the children heard how they could discover the true rock of ages.

Each year we collect a missions offering during our VBS. The children are encouraged to gather their change, find jobs to do for their families, and even invite the help of others to raise money. This year’s offering went to support United Brethren Global missions.

Their 2011 Children’s Project is focused on raising funds to purchase the medicines and supplies needed for medical teams, the treatment of children with AIDS, and those suffering from leprosy. Due to the generosity of our children, this year we raised a total of $1,026.05!

Stellar Kart performing on the Red Stage

People of all ages…and a hot air balloon!

Headliner BarlowGirl

Steve Dennie, Communications Director

Huntington University kicked off its first Fandana Music Festival on Thursday, August 11. They gave me a press pass, so around 5 pm I headed over to the campus to catch some good music.

Fandana is a big deal. At least a thousand people would be attending. I heard thoughts of maybe 3000 people coming before it was all over. Hard to tell with a first-time thing like this. But the college seemed ready, with volunteers everywhere, places roped off, plentiful signs, and all kinds of little extras. This took a healthy dose of planning to put together. And there’s still time to come for the big Friday night finale with Todd Agnew, Superchick, Attaboy, and Switchfoot!

After getting my pass in the Merillat Physical Education Complex, I traipsed over to the Fine Arts building, where bands had been performing in the main auditorium–the Orange stage–since 4 pm.


I heard Reilly, a five-member band from Philadelphia, that I just loved. The show opened with two members–husband and wife–coming onto the stage playing “All the Lonely People” on violins. The girl played violin during most of the songs, and a little keyboard. The guy mostly played lead guitar, but occasionally would sling it onto his back and go play some mean violin with his wife. I tell you, it was a beautiful sound! I’ve never heard a rock band combine violins so effectively. Plus, they gave a solid, but brief, presentation of the gospel. (I should mention their incredible version of “For What It’s Worth,” the “there’s something happening here” classic from Buffalo Springfield.)

Throughout Reilly’s performance, more and more people trickled in, until the lower section was decently populated, with others in the upper section. Probably a dozen kids stood in front of the stage. I must say, I didn’t care for the dark, foggy atmosphere on stage. I couldn’t see the performers well–way too much shadow, and no spotlights hitting them from the front (that I could see). I don’t know if that mood atmosphere was intentional, or the result of a fog machine gone rogue. But I didn’t care for it (though I realize I’m not the target demographic).

After Reilly came two guys from Nashville who called themselves 33 Miles. I’m sure there’s a story behind the name, but I didn’t hear it. They sat on stools, with one guy singing lead vocals and the other playing acoustic guitar and harmonizing. The crowd loved them. A lot of energy between them, and they connected with the crowd. The guitarist reminded me of Kristian Bush from Sugarland. Their second-to-last song was a nicely-done version of David Crowder’s “How He Loves.”

They finished just before 8 pm. Another group, 77 Times, was scheduled to play next. But at the same time, Stellar Kart was playing out on the Red Stage outside. Nearly everyone cleared out of the auditorium. I decided to hear a few songs from 77 Times before leaving. But after 1 song, I realized they weren’t quite my cup of tea, so I headed out.

Ashley Smith, who works in the university media relations, gave me a ride in an electric cart out to the Red Stage, which was set up on a field along Route 24, a field sometimes used for soccer practice. It made a nice, mini-Woodstock venue. As Stellar Kart jammed (they were my kind of band!), people sat on blankets or in chairs they had brought, while others threw frisbee rings. There was a hot air balloon, and a long line of people at a cart selling coffee products–coffee, tea, mocha, latte, and smoothies. There were a lot of younger kids with parents. A good-sized crowd stood in front of the stage listening to the band. A big screen to the side showed the performers in large.

Stellar Kart did two Disney songs in kind of a rock/grunge style (I’m not good at differentiating contemporary music styles). One was “Kiss the Girl,” from The Little Mermaid, followed by “A Whole New World.” I could imagine Foo Fighters doing those songs, though I could understand all of the words. (Thanks for enunciating!)

After Stellar Kart finished, there was a ten-minute lull during which headliner BarlowGirl got set up. The big screen was filled with scenes from Huntington University–students, profs, athletics, classes, etc. Good marketing opp.

I’d never heard BarlowGirl before, though I know they’ve come through Fort Wayne. I was quite impressed. They rocked the place, that’s for sure. Three girls, and a guy on drums, for the first couple songs. Then the lead singer switched to drums, the bass guitarist moved over to lead vocals along with some keyboard, and the drummer took bass. I liked them a lot.

BarlowGirl started playing at 9 sharp, right on time. I stayed for about a half hour before deciding I needed to leave. But I left excited about what Huntington University was pulling off. And with anticipation to coming back the next day, when the REALLY big crowds were expected. Bands would play on the Orange Stage all day, beginning at 9 am. Then at night would come the headliners. Yes, this 54-year-old with one bad ear is looking forward to it.

The Hydraid filter.

Gail Welch, a former nurse at Mattru Hospital, spent four weeks in Sierra Leone this summer with a team installing HydrAid BioSand water filters ( in various villages and training installers for the future. They worked closely with the United Brethren church in Sierra Leone (Bishop John Pessima, Rev. Justin Marva, and close friend Rev. Thomas Beckley) installing more than 30 filters in the Bo and Mattru area, including three filters at Mattru Hospital.

Another 30 filters remain to be installed. If they are accepted and people want to see more, the Welches would like to send more filters. This shipment of 60 filters got a free ride from the US Navy to the Port of Freetown.

The filters are simple. They have a plastic casing and tubes, are filled with different layers of sand, and grow a “biological layer” that attacks bacteria and viruses. There is no real maintenance except to keep it wet, wash the tube and tray monthly, and if running too slowly, stir the biological layer with your hand (perhaps 2 or 3 times a year). No electricity, no in-line chlorinators or iodine, no charcoal, no paper filters, no replacement parts.

Gail and Brian Welch (left) live in Fremont, Mich. Gail served as a nurse the the Mattru Hospital and Brian taught at Centennial School until 1994, when the civil war forced their evacuation.

The Hong Kong team.

The Hong Kong team. (Click to enlarge)

The Hong Kong team recognized four Thai students for academic achievement. Mark Choi is on the right, and Rev. Li is on the left.

At a Thai school. (Click to enlarge)

Two Hong Kong members eating with a Thai boy.

During July, 25 persons from Hong Kong Conference took part in a mission trip to Thailand, and brought along 400 kilgrams of donated materials (mostly clothing and stationery). Hong Kong oversees the UB ministries in the mountains of northern Thailand.

Mark Choi, Hong Kong’s mission director, sent a report about the trip.

1. Summer English lesson. We provided 4 English classes for 90 students in Zhongxing Middle School, which is located on a hilltop within 100 meters of our Student Center. That is a private school.

2. A Carnival. We held a carnival at the town hall for about 200 children.

3. Scholarship Ceremony. They provided prizes (worth about $13) to three students to recognize academic achievement, and another prize to recognize a student’s academic improvement. They held the ceremony at Zhonxing Middle School.

4. Worship & Preaching. They participated in a service at one of our churches


Many people have fond memories of attending summer camp while they were growing up. Friendships were formed, knees were skinned, challenges were conquered and most of all, life long lessons were learned. Now that we are older we are glad places like that still exist for our own kids and grand-kids.

Camp Cotubic is one such place and it held a special place in the heart of Mr. Tom Ponsot who passed away in 2005. Tom saw the great potential of Camp Cotubic and volunteered his time and financial resources to preserve it as a place where his own grand-kids and many other children could continue to have summer camp experiences. Tom served as the Chairman of the Board for several years and was passionate about the camp’s ministry.

One of the challenges summer camps face is raising the financial resources to maintain the high quality programs of the camp. The upcoming 7th Annual Tom Ponsot Memorial Golf Tournament will help in that way, with all proceeds going to support the ministries of Camp Cotubic.

Date: September 10, 2011
Time: Registration at 8 am, shotgun start at 9 am.
Location: Clear Creek Golf Course, 10930 N 300W, Huntington, Ind.
Cost: $50 per person.

How can you help? First of all we need teams. The tournament will use a Florida scramble format with teams of four. The cost is $50 per person and includes cart, green fees, snacks and lunch. We would love to have

you join us. So, enlist some friends and reserve your spot today.

If you would like to provide further help we have a number of other opportunities for you. We are looking for individuals, businesses, or other groups (churches, men’s groups, etc.) to sponsor holes and tournament prizes. Hole sponsorships cost $100 per hole. We also will have special prizes for a variety of competitions (longest drive, closest to the pin, etc.) and are looking for sponsors to donate prizes or cash for these events.

Questions? Please contact the Zanesville United Brethren Church at (260) 638-4220. To enter a team, please send names and addresses to the Zanesville United Brethren Church at the address below or email them to We also encourage you to visit the Camp Cotubic website and see what a wonderful place it is.

Zanesville United Brethren Church
P.O. Box 386
Zanesville, Indiana 46799

Thousands of men and women loyally serve this country each year in the armed forces. As a way to say thank you, the EXCEL Adult Degree Programs at Huntington University lowered the cost of its degree programs for active-duty military personnel.

Beginning with the fall semester, tuition will be reduced from $340 per credit hour to $250 per credit hour for all 100 and 200 level courses for active-duty military personnel and their dependents.

Numerous military personnel have enrolled in the EXCEL program since its inception in 1993 because of its reputation for quality education and the high standards it sets for its students.

Senior Master Sgt. John Furge, a 2005 EXCEL graduate, used the program to finish his bachelor’s degree in organization management while continuing his career in the 122nd Fighter Wing of the Indiana Air National Guard in Fort Wayne, Ind. Chief Master Sgt. Tim Tolentino, also of the Fighter Wing, transferred to the program after discovering the convenience of the onsite classes and the quality of the professors.

“The flexibility that I had through Huntington fit perfectly with my schedule especially as a military person. They understood that sometimes duty calls,” said Tolentino, a 2007 graduate. “They took into consideration that we were working people and that we were fitting education into our schedule, but they still made it challenging. They empower you to learn.”

Dave Datema, a UB endorsed missionary, was named General Director of Frontier Mission Fellowship in May 2009. He succeeded Dr. Ralph Winter, who founded the organization and its various subsidiaries. Here is a paragraph from Dave’s August newsletter:

Trying to evaluate and organize 35 years of Ralph Winter’s activism has been a challenge. Nevertheless, the onion is getting peeled layer by layer and new clarity is emerging. Please keep me and our leaders in your prayers as hard decisions are made and complex issues understood. I’m excited about what God is doing in our midst. We have a great opportunity in these days to re-engineer and re-invent ourselves with old values and new vision.

Renew Communities, a church plant in Berea, Ohio (Cleveland area), is really big on serving the community, and they’ve been doing that in a variety of ways. Says senior pastor Andy Sikora, “We believe that one of the way that communities are renewed is that we serve together, whether you belong to Jesus already and have been made new by the gospel, or you haven’t, we want to create atmosphere where we can all work together.”

One group from Renew, while serving in a thrift store, got the idea of filling a 50-foot semi trailer with supplies for tornado victims in Alabama. They talked about it for a few days before mentioning it to Andy. The project took off.

Sort of. The first time they collected supplies, all they got was four bottles of detergent and four bucks. But they kept at it. Fourteen businesses partnered with them, along with others, and the supplies came in.

In the video above. Andy tells about the whole project. It gives you a good flavor of what Renew Communities is all about.

While you’re at it, read this article about how Renew helped clean the flooded basement for a family with a cancer-stricken seven-year-old daughter.

Thirty bands are expected to perform during the first Fandana Festival, to be held on the campus of Huntington University this week. The festival begins on Thursday afternoon, August 11, and continues to Saturday morning, August 13. The biggest day will be Friday, with Todd Agnew, Superchick, and Switchfoot performing in the evening starting at 6 pm.

There will be two stages–one by the soccer field, and another in the Merillat Centre for the Arts

Tickets are:

  • $19 for adults, in advance, or $25 at the gate.
  • $5 for ages 6-10.
  • Free for ages 5 and under.
  • $15 for groups of 15 or more.

Bring your youth! They’ll have a great time, and will get acquainted with our church college at the same time.