During the last part of June and early July, 18 persons from several UB churches in the United States participated in an English Camp in Kutno, Poland. The team worked with Donna and Arek Delik (right), church planters with Operation Mobilization in Kutno.

Forty students participated in the English Camp, learning and practicing conversational English through sports, music, crafts, and other activities. A closing program was held on the Saturday following the week of camp, and students were encouraged to invite their entire family to attend.

On Sunday morning following camp, 20 out of the 40 students attended worship services at the church plant in Kutno.

Donna and Arek have both expressed their appreciation for the team and great work they did in building relationships with the students and helping them feel more confident in speaking English.

Jonetta, one of the newest staff members of Global Ministries, has a ministry opportunity in a limited-access country. To enable her participation, she needs $4,000 for initial ministry expenses. Jonetta has limited resources available to her and is currently involved in intense training for preparation for ministry.

Global Ministries would like to encourage individuals and churches to prayerfully consider partnering with Jonetta to raise the necessary funds. Then she can begin this ministry immediately after her training period.

If you or your church would like to partner with Jonetta, please send checks made payable to Global Ministries with a note stating the donation is for the “Jonetta ministry fund.”

(We’re not using her full name for security reasons.)

UBCentral has followed the progress of Dan Paternoster, who was nearly killed last August when he was struck by a car as he rode his bicycle to work. Dan, a member of the denominational Executive Leadership Team since 2001, is a member of Fowlerville UB church in Fowlerville, Mich. He’s a veterinarian (his day job), and a pilot, not to mention a devoted husband and father.

Dan’s story is pretty amazing. A video was shown on June 27 at National Conference (shot by Kevin Mattison, on staff at Emmanuel Community Church in Fort Wayne, Ind.). Here it is. Churches are free to use this as a United Brethren story of grace, forgiveness…well, of so many things.

Steve Dennie (right), Director of Communications

During the recent US National Conference, the delegates approved a significant change to the local church Personnel Relations Team. The new statement says:

“Each church shall have a Personnel Relations Team. Its primary responsibility is to cooperate with the stationing committee in securing a new senior pastor when the need arises. The local board will determine the constituency of the Personnel Relations Team.

“Depending on its structure, a church may give the Personnel Relations Team responsibilities in related areas, such as the work and support of the senior pastor.”

So, what’s that all about? Let me explain.

Denominationally, we give churches the freedom to operate as they see fit, with as few restrictions as possible. During the past 20+ years, we have continually revised the Discipline (our manual of operations, sort of) to give churches additional flexibility in administering their own affairs. It’s become somewhat of a core value. And churches have appreciated it. We’re down to just three requirements for local churches:

  1. A local board (the highest governing body).
  2. Lay delegates (needed only every two years for National Conference).
  3. A Personnel Relations Team.

The Discipline previously stated a number of duties for the Personnel Relations Team, including:

  • Job descriptions for employed personnel.
  • The pastor’s salary and benefits.
  • Serve as a “conferring and counseling” committee to the pastor and other employed personnel.
  • Cooperate with the stationing committee in securing a new pastor.

Many churches prefer to divide some of those duties among different administrative entities—an elder board, finance committee, etc. Some larger churches employ a business manager or executive pastor who handles some of those issues. Is it really necessary to mandate this major administrative group, with these specific duties, for all churches?

No. From a denominational standpoint, we need a Personnel team for just one situation—finding a new senior pastor. A local church group must work through that process alongside the bishop and cluster leader. It doesn’t need to be a permanent group. A Personnel team could be formed when a pastoral transition occurs, and then disbanded.

All of those other responsibilities we heap on the Personnel team—that’s the church’s business. If the church wants to assign other responsibilities to a permanent Personnel team, they can. But it’s not necessary. Their choice.

So, the new statement adopted by the National Conference follows our philosophy of giving churches freedom and flexibility. Technically, a local church doesn’t need to have a Personnel Team except when a pastoral change occurs. We don’t even state who, or how many people, should be on the Personnel team. Let the church decide.

The National Conference approved the change without discussion. Passed right through.

National Conference license recipients. L-r: Bishop Phil Whipple, Chris Kuntz, Elmer Long, and Kendall Sheen.

National Conference license recipients. L-r: Bishop Phil Whipple, Chris Kuntz, Elmer Long, and Kendal Sheen.

L-r: Bishop Phil Whipple, Zachary Kennedy, and Mike Rowley.

L-r: Bishop Phil Whipple, Zachary Kennedy, and Mike Rowley.

During the Thursday morning business session during the 2013 US National Conference (June 27), Bishop Phil Whipple presented ministerial licenses to several persons.

Provisional ministerial licenses were granted to:

  • Zachary Kennedy, associate pastor since 2009 of Olive Branch UB church in Lakeville, Ind. He holds a degree in Christian Ministry from Bethel College (Mishawaka, Ind.).
  • Mike Rowley, from College Park church in Huntington, Ind.
  • Courtney Kennedy, wife of Zachary Kennedy. She, too, is a graduate of Bethel College, with a degree in Elementary Education. (Courtney was participating in the conference women’s track during the business session.)

National Conference ministerial licenses were granted to:

  • Chris Kuntz, Worship Leader and Director of Men’s Ministries at Emmanuel Community Church in Fort Wayne, Ind.
  • Elmer Long, senior pastor of Hillsdale UB church in St. Mary’s, Ohio. He has served there since 2006.
  • Kendal Sheen, Youth and Worship Pastor at Kilpatrick UB church in Woodland, Mich.

Steve Dennie (right), Director of Communications

The US National Conference, meeting on June 27, eliminated the local conference, the highest governing body of each church. Which is probably news to you. I’m guessing you haven’t heard of such an entity being part of your church’s organizational structure. More to the point, even though “highest governing body” sounds important, axing it will probably not change anything about how your church operates.

The local conference seems to have outlived its usefulness and was ready for the organizational scrapheap. And yet, the local conference has played an important role throughout UB history, so it’s worth explaining what exactly just went bye-bye.

Every church has a local board (often called “administrative board”) which meets regularly to oversee the affairs of the church. However, technically, the highest governing body of each church has been the local conference, which consists of:

  • The board of administration.
  • Plus the bishop.
  • Plus the cluster leader (or conference superintendent in earlier times).
  • Plus all persons in that church who hold a ministerial license.

The bishop, superintendent, or cluster leader chaired local conferences.

Before we did away with annual conferences in 2005, the conference superintendent typically met with each church’s local conference once a year (it was actually four times a year further back, if you can believe that; we called it the quarterly conference). Practices probably differed from conference to conference, but the way I saw it operate is: we would hold our regular board meeting, adjourn, and then the conference superintendent would convene the local conference with pretty much the same group of people. The local conference could grant and renew local church ministerial licenses, handle church trials and appeals, and disband a church. It was a step above the administrative board, which handled most church business.

The local conference became somewhat superfluous in 2005 when we killed off the annual conferences. Plus, it didn’t fit very well into modern organizational structures. (The church’s highest governing body is chaired by somebody who isn’t even part of the church? Really?) Licensing now occurs throughout the year, and the regular local board can handle just fine all issues previously assigned to the local conference. We don’t need this uber group.

Besides, the local conference as we’ve known it created a conflict in large churches with many licensed ministers on staff. Since all of those ministers are voting members of the local conference, they can potentially outnumber the laypersons on the board, making the pastoral staff the major “power” block. This also puts staff in a position of authority regarding the senior pastor, to whom they are accountable. Not a good situation, from an organizational standpoint.

The National Conference readily agreed. They approved, without discussion, the proposal to discontinue the local conference. So now, the local board is the church’s highest governing body, period. No other local church group can trump their decisions.

And yet….

One element of the local conference involved calling a special meeting with the bishop if matters arose which, it was felt, required the bishop’s involvement. It seemed wise to keep this option available. So, in another proposal, we added a provision by which this can still happen. It, too, passed without comment. It says:

“A special meeting of the local board may be requested by the bishop, the cluster leader, the senior pastor, or upon a written request from the local board. The bishop will determine whether or not to actually call a special meeting. The bishop or his designee shall chair special meetings of the local board.”

A “special meeting” is not a business meeting, but has a specific purpose—probably to deal with a problem of some kind. The local board is still the decision-making body of the church.

A special meeting can be requested of the bishop, but not demanded just by putting in the request. As the wording states, the bishop will decide whether or not to actually call a special meeting. It may be that the bishop feels the problem can be better solved in other ways, so the proposal gives him that flexibility. For instance, if two persons are in conflict, maybe the bishop will opt to get together with the two of them and hash things out. No sense using a bazooka when a BB gun might do the trick.

So, the local conference is gone, and we’ve cleaned up the local church organizational structure. But churches still have an avenue for requesting the bishop’s intervention.

Bishop Phil Whipple (left) recognizing Dick and Darlene Case.

Bishop Phil Whipple (left) recognizing Dick and Darlene Case.

Bishop Phil Whipple attended Dillman UB church (Warren, Ind.) on July 1 to recognize the retirement of senior pastor Dick Case. Pastor Case was given a retirement pin for his 25 years as a United Brethren minister. Dick retired as of June 30, 2013.

Dick and Darlene Case have served Dillman church since 2004. Before that, they pastored Crestview UB (Lafayette, Ind.) 1991-2004. Their years in the ministry also included five years at a non-denominational church, three years at the former Kettering UB church in Ohio, and nine years as campus pastor at Hutchinson Community College in Kansas.

Dick graduated from Huntington University in 1966 with a degree in Psychology and from the HU Seminary in 1972 with a Master of Divinity. He was ordained as a UB minister in 1964.

Dick’s home church is the Bethel UB church in Wichita, Kansas, and Darlene’s home church is Brown Corners UB in Clare, Mich. Dick and Darlene, married in 1964, have two children.


Bishop Phil Whipple conducts the ordination service for Don Gentry (kneeling with his wife Stacy).

Bishop Phil Whipple conducts the ordination service for Don Gentry (kneeling with his wife Stacy).

L-r: Stacy Gentry, Bishop Phil Whipple, and Don Gentry.

L-r: Stacy Gentry, Bishop Phil Whipple, and Don Gentry.

Don Gentry was ordained Sunday night, July 1, at New Hope Church in Camden, Mich. Don has pastored New Hope since 2005. Bishop Phil Whipple conducted the ordination at New Hope. Don and his wife, Stacy, a former UB missionary in Macau, have three children.

Victor Collins and wife Susan with Bishop Whipple.

Victor Collins and wife Susan with Bishop Whipple.

Bishop Whipple conducts the ordination of Jason Holliday (kneeling with wife Christy).

Bishop Whipple conducts the ordination of Jason Holliday (kneeling with wife Christy).

Todd and Julie Rupp with Bishop Whipple.

Todd and Julie Rupp with Bishop Whipple.

Todd and Amy Yoder kneel as Bishop Whipple conducts the ordination ceremony.

Todd and Amy Yoder kneel as Bishop Whipple conducts the ordination ceremony.

During the closing service of National Conference on Saturday, June 29, Bishop Phil Whipple ordained four men as elders in the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, USA. All four serve in staff positions at United Brethren churches.

Victor Collins is associate pastor of Kilpatrick UB church in Woodland, Mich. He has served in that role since 2004. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Bible and Theology from Vennard College in Iowa (1994), and earned the Master of Divinity in 1998 from Asbury Seminary. He received his national conference ministerial license in 2005. He and his wife, Susan, were married in 1983 and have three children.

Todd Yoder is associate pastor of Jerusalem Chapel in Churchville, Va. He served four years as youth pastor of Monroe UB church in Monroe, Ind., before going to Jerusalem Chapel as youth pastor in 2003. Todd graduated from Taylor University (Upland, Ind.) in 2001 with a degree in Pastoral Ministry. Todd’s wife, Amy, is from Monroe and graduated from nearby Ball State University in 1994 with a degree in Accounting. They were married in 2002 and have four children.

Jason Holliday is Pastor of Family Ministries at Emmanuel Community Church in Fort Wayne, Ind. He graduated from Huntington University in 1996 with a degree in Educational Ministries, and in 2012 received the Master of Ministries degree from Bethel College (Mishawaka, Ind.). Jason spent four years serving at a United Methodist church in Markle, Ind. (1999-2004), and joined the Emmanuel staff in 2004. Jason received a Specialized Ministry license in 2005. Jason and his wife Christy, who holds a Math degree from Huntington University, were married in 1999 and have two children.

Todd Rupp is Pastor of Youth Equipping Ministries at Emmanuel Community Church in Fort Wayne, Ind. He has served on staff there since 2004, when he came as an intern. Todd received the Specialized Ministry license in 2005. He graduated from Huntington University in 2005 with a degree in Physical Education, and received a Masters in Ministry degree from Bethel College (Mishawaka, Ind.) in 2010. Todd and his wife, Julie (a 2005 Music Education graduate from HU), were married in 2004 and have two children.

To qualify for ordination, a person must meet these qualifications:

  1. Hold a national conference ministerial license for at least two years.
  2. Complete the course of study outlined in the Pastoral Ministry Handbook.
  3. Serve for two years in a recognized ministry appointment approved by the Pastoral Ministry Leadership Team.
  4. Demonstrate a level of faithfulness and competency which warrants consideration for the status of ordained elder.

Women of the Hillsdale Evening Missionary Society.

Women of the Hillsdale Evening Missionary Society.

Skits from the youth (left) and music from Noble Bertalon and his band were part of the 60th anniversary celebration.

Skits from the youth (left) and music from Noble Bertalon and his band were part of the 60th anniversary celebration.

The Evening Missionary Society of the Hillsdale UB church (Hillsdale, Mich.) celebrated their 60th anniversary on June 6, 2013.

With over 100 attending, the celebration kicked off with a complimentary dinner catered by the Tastes of Life Restaurant of Hillsdale. Following dinner, guests enjoyed music and drama skits performed in the sanctuary.

Donna Hollopeter (right), Global Ministries associate director, was the speaker for the evening. She showed a slide presentation of missions work around the world.

Two members of the Evening Missionary Society, Marilyn Duryea and Lois James, attended the first meeting in February 1953, and are still active members today. Marilyn told how the Evening Missionary Society got started. She stated that back in 1953 there were three women’s missionary groups at Hillsdale UB, all meeting in the daytime. Many mission-minded women worked during the day and could not attend, so they formed a missionary group that could meet in the evening.

“We were an ambitious group and enjoyed the work meetings,” Marilyn stated. The group tore up sheets, rolled them into bandages, and wrapped them up to be sent in barrels to Africa. They also collected empty pill bottles.

The group has used several methods to support missions, in addition to paying dues and taking offerings. They have had bake sales, yard sales, white elephant sales, and have sold cards, napkins, and dishcloths.

Two members of the group, Sharon Frank and Judy Hoath, were recognized for the years they spent in Sierra Leone as missionary nurses. Also recognized were missionaries Harold and MaryAnn Hancock, just back from Jamaica, and hometown missionary Pastor Jack Mosley, each expressing their thanks for the support they have received the HUB.

In addition, Pastor James Knoll and wife Elizabeth were recognized and thanked for their many years of missionary service in Japan.

EMS President Audrey Whaley (right) stated, “The Evening Missionary Society faithfully meets every month, praying for and financially supporting missionaries worldwide. Reaching out into the community by collecting needed items for organizations county wide such as Alpha Omega, Kings Cupboard, Band of Hope, Domestic Harmony, and several others, is one of the many activities EMS is involved in.”

For the past several years the group has made homemade cookies, assembled them into platters, and delivered them to the local police and fire departments, emergency services personnel, and the County Road Commission as a thank you for their many services to the community.