Elise Atkins, daughter of Andrew and Jennifer Atkins, has been admitted to the hospital with kidney failure. They are waiting on specialists to assist with the reason for this and will keep us updated. Elise is a senior in high school and was a member of the Global Ministries teams that ministered in Germany in 2010 and 2012. Andrew is pastor of Monticello UB church near Spencerville, Ohio.

Huntington University spring break teams preparing to go impact their world. The Haiti team left on Friday, March 22, and the Nashville and Los Angeles teams left on Saturday, March 23.

Huntington University spring break teams preparing to go impact their world. The Haiti team left on Friday, March 22, and the Nashville and Los Angeles teams left on Saturday, March 23.

For many Huntington University students, spring break is a time to serve others. During this year’s spring break, March 25-29, HU students will serve in three places: Los Angeles, Nashville, and Haiti.

Haiti. Once again, a team will serve in Haiti with Mission of Hope, an organization founded by Brad and Vanessa Johnson, 1993 and 1994 HU graduates. Accompanying the team of 15 students will be Vince Haupert, vice president for advancement, his brother, Jason Haupert, and Dr. Jerry Clore, a dentist and 1979 alum. Departure date: Friday, March 22.

Los Angeles. Eight students and faculty will spend each morning with the Center for Student Missions, serving breakfast in soup kitchens and working with a resident in a local retirement facility. In the afternoons, they will work with the afterschool program for Door of Hope, a Christian transitional housing program for families. The team will include five students, plus Dr. Tanner Babb (psychology professor), Jodi Fiedler (Campus Ministries administrative secretary), and Campus Pastor Arthur Wilson. Departure date: Saturday, March 23.

Nashville, Tenn. Nine persons will minister at the local Rescue Mission, a homeless ministry that provides a shelter, a clothing clothing donation center, and a soup kitchen. The team will wash laundry, sort clothes, and take to the streets to distribute meals and build relationships with the homeless. At night, they will help with the Christian worship service held on the streets. Departure date: Saturday, March 23.

The Hillsdale UB church (Hillsdale, Mich.) opened a skatepark in January 2013. It is held 6-8 pm on Sunday nights in the church’s activity center.

The skatepark began as a group of three friends, and has grown to see as many as 17 people attend. Josh Quiggle, a volunteer who has served on the youth leadership team for about four years, heads up the ministry.

Kurt Charleville (right), director of Worship & Student Ministries, explains some of the background.

“A couple years ago we looked into starting an outdoor skatepark, as there is a need for one in our community. The overall cost of the park was too great, so we put the project on hold. Recently, we were given permission to skate on the floors inside our activity center, and the resulting skate times have experienced rapid growth and lots of interest. Even with only a few ramps and obstacles, it has still drawn people.

“Its amazing how once we opened the doors to this ministry, people jumped in wanting to help get it going. We have ramps and half pipes being offered to us, and we have volunteers making up the waivers for us.

“Best of all, we have already seen a couple of younger students come to the Wednesday night middle school program, where they are being exposed to the Gospel. It is an incredible opportunity to get to know people from the community, and it gives us a chance to invite them to church.”

Delegates and attendees at the 2010 General Conference in La Ceiba, Honduras.

Delegates and attendees at the 2010 General Conference in La Ceiba, Honduras.

Date: May 29 – June 2, 2013.
Location: Emmanuel Bible College, Kitchener, Ontario

General Conference is an international gathering, bringing together representatives from all 10 United Brethren national conference, along with guests from the various mission districts (countries which haven’t yet organized as an official national conference).

General Conference meets every three years. The last event was held in La Ceiba, Honduras, in January 2010.

The 2013 General Conference will be hosted by the Stanley Park United Brethren Church, and held at Emmanuel Bible College in Kitchener, Ontario. Brian Magnus (right), Bishop of the Canadian conference, is the pastor at the Parkwood Gardens UB Church in nearby Guelph, Ontario. He is also chairman of the International Executive Committee, and will chair the meetings of the General Conference.

The sessions will include the business of the international United Brethren Church, the sharing of accomplishments, challenges and missions activities, and the election of new leadership for the International Executive Committee. Following the example of Honduras Conference in 2010, there will be excursions to nearby significant sights in the afternoons and inspiring worship services in the evenings.

On Saturday, June 1, the General Conference members will be joined by folk from churches around the United Brethren Church in Canada for a giant Missions Day.

On April 2, Huntington University will host the first Bergdall Endowed Lectureship on Biblical Studies. The lectureship is named in honor of Dr. Chaney Bergdall (right), an ordained United Brethren minister, who taught Bible and Religion at HU 1975-2012.

Date: 7 pm Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Location: Zurcher Auditorium of the Merillat Centre for the Arts

The event is free and open to the public.

kaiser_walterWalter Kaiser (right), one of the world’s top evangelical Old Testament scholars, will address the topic, “Why Does God Use the Jewish People?”

Kaiser, now retired, was the president of Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, former Old Testament professor at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, former president of the Evangelical Theological Society, and the author of more than 40 academic books and commentaries on a variety of biblical topics.

Praise Point Church (Willshire, Ohio) held a Sportsman’s Banquet on March 9, 2013. The Sportman’s Banquet was organized as an outreach opportunity. Over 200 people attended, and prizes valued at over $7000 were given away. Fifty volunteers from the church help make it a success. The video above shows some of what happened at the banquet. (You can also view it here.)

Pastor Brad Kittle writes, “It was crazy exhausting, but I’d done them before and I knew the possible impact. At the banquet we gave opportunities for guys to make first-time commitments, etc. As a result, 10 adults and 5 students make first-time commitments at the banquet. We also had a lot of guys check on a response card that they wanted to know more about what it means to follow Christ and even more wanted to know more about the church.”

On Sunday, March 17, youth pastor Marcus Flood talked individually with teens. “Nine teens made made recommitments because they realized they hadn’t been living like a Christian, and 1 teen made a first-time commitment to Christ.”

Kittle continued, “I’m hoping these trends continue, and now the real work begins with the discipleship end of things (and I was hoping for rest after the banquet).”

fight-for-joyJason Garwood, lead pastor of Colwood UB church (Caro, Mich.), has published his first book, “The Fight for Joy: Reflections on the Book of Philippians.” It’s available for $6.38 at both Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

The description on Amazon reads: “Feeling stagnant, stressed out and anxious? Would you consider yourself a joyful person? For many followers of Jesus, joy seems like a far-fetched concept that is unattainable in this life. Feelings of happiness are replaced by anger, stress, discontentment, and depression. The demands of job, school, family, and schedules are difficult. What can we do? The Fight for Joy is an honest look at what it takes to find joy in the Christian life. Whether you are a seasoned Christian looking for a fresh start, or someone who just met Christ yesterday, this book is for you.”

Jason GarwoodPastor Garwood (right) writes on his blog, “For me it was a journey through the mind of Paul as we learn to appropriate the gospel in the context of missional communities. My prayer is that no matter who reads it, he/she will find it to be encouraging and challenging. Philippians is very rich in content, and it was a blast working through it at our church.”

On Saturday, March 2, Hillsdale UB (Hillsdale, Mich.) held the closing program for their fourth Upwards season. Over 300 elementary age kids were enrolled in the two events, basketball and cheerleading, more than doubling the number from the first season.

Each year, the church gains new families through Upwards. “Most of the kids in Upwards are not from our church,” says Pastor Lester Smith (right).

The Upwards program is for children in kindergarten through grade 6. The basketball program had 252 students, and 60-some girls participated in cheerleading. In addition, 78 volunteers helped out each week.

Pastor Smith estimated that over 1000 people came through the church’s doors each Saturday during the season (January and February).

The kids wore their Upwards uniforms for the closing program. As each team was introduced, they took the stage with cheerleaders cheering them on. Each basketball participants received a basketball, and duffel bags were given to the cheerleaders.

Then came Jon Bruney, a minister whose program, Pressing the Limits, includes acts of strength and endurance–breaking cinder blocks with his first, ripping apart phone books, tearing open a pop can, etc. Along with these demonstrations, Bruney presents the gospel message.

On March 11, Renew Communities (Berea, Ohio) celebrated its second anniversary as a church. They put together the video above to celebrate what God has done in their midst during the past two years. It is narrated by founding pastor Andy Sikora (right). (You can also view it here.)