January 15, 2013
Bishop Phil Whipple speaking to the cluster leaders.
Bishop Phil Whipple (left) presenting a gift to Dennis Miller for his leadership of the clusters since 2009.
A table of cluster leaders talking during break time. L-r: Chris Little (Chambersburg, Pa.), Charles Millkin (Franklintown, Pa.), Kevin Cherry (Brooklyn, Mich.), Stephen Smith (Camden, Mich.), and Douglas Stull (Logan, Ohio).
About 25 persons participated in the annual Cluster Leader Training on January 14, 2013. They met at the Habecker Dining Commons at Huntington University.
Denny Miller, the Cluster Coordinator, was in charge of the meeting, which lasted from noon to 4 pm. Gary Gates, Director of Licensing, spoke to the group about the new Provisional ministerial license and other issues regarding ministerial credentialing. Bishop Phil Whipple then walked through the 20-some proposals for changing the Discipline. These proposals will be acted upon in June 2013 at the US National Conference. (He will also present the proposals at a series of regional meetings in February, March, and April 2013).
Bishop Whipple also talked about the upcoming addition of Todd Fetters, pastor of Devonshire UB church (Harrisburg, Pa.), to the national office staff. Fetters, among other duties, will assume leadership of the clusters, a role which Denny Miller has filled for the past three years.
Bishop Whipple explained, “I’d been thinking for some time about ways to be more effective with the tasks God has placed before us. In November, I met with Gary Gates, Denny Miller, and Jeff Bleijerveld for a little over a day. One of the concepts that came out was the advantage of bringing in somebody fulltime, rather than part-time.
“I looked into the budget to see if it would be possible to hire a fulltime person. I decided it would work. With a part-time person, you need to find somebody who matches the specific need, has the time to give in addition to their regular work, and is close enough to drive in to the office. But if you’re looking at a fulltime position, you have a much larger pool of prospects.”
He interviewed Todd Fetters in late December 2012, and in early January offered him the position, which he accepted. It was announced January 11 on UBCentral.
The Bishop continued, “Denny Miller has been very gracious, saying that if we brought in somebody fulltime, he would be willing to step aside in leading the clusters. I appreciate that attitude. As I thought about Todd’s position, it seemed like it would be a good thing to place him in charge of the clusters.”
Bishop Whipple expressed appreciation to Denny Miller for his leadership of the clusters during the past three years, and for the ways he has advanced this important area. He then presented a gift to Denny on behalf of the denomination.