Jeff Bleijerveld, Director of Global Ministries

Global Ministries is partnering with Samaritan’s Purse in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated the Philippines last week. All funds we receive–100%–will be forwarded to Samaritan’s Purse.

United Brethren people are compassionate and generous. So when disaster strikes a country, they want to help. People often contact Global Ministries to ask if we are doing anything to help in a specific situation.

Our practice is to partner with organizations which specialize in disaster relief. When the earthquake hit Haiti in January 2011, we channeled relief contributions to Samaritan’s Purse and CH Global. Within weeks of the earthquake, UBs had sent nearly $70,000 for disaster relief. Likewise, in 2012 UBs gave over $11,000 after  a tsunami hit Japan. All of it was channeled to Samaritan’s Purse.

Typhoon Haiyan requires the expertise of a major relief ministry. Global Ministries is again working with Samaritan’s Purse.

Donors can direct funds to the organization themselves. Or, we will gladly forward your gift—100% of it—to Samaritan’s Purse. Some prefer the latter to avoid being placed on a mailing list.

If you want to channel relief money through Global Ministries, you can send a check to:

Global Ministries
302 Lake Street
Huntington, IN 46750

Include a memo note on the check designating the gift for “Philippines relief.” Your entire donation will go toward relief efforts.

Next fall, Huntington University will launch a degree in criminal justice. This Bachelor of Arts degree will prepare students for careers in corrections, juvenile justice, law, criminology, addictions, and public policy.

“Criminal justice careers frequently involve working with people who have violated the law or who are victims of law violations,” said Dr. Mary Ruthi, professor of sociology at HU. “With the skills gained from our program, students will be able to show God’s love to people who are experiencing these difficult situations.”

Along with classroom instruction, students will be required to take an internship to gain real-world experience. Elective courses will help students cater their degree to their interests. A minor in criminal justice also will allow students to enhance their degrees in pre-law, psychology, political science, sociology or social work.

Jamie Hotchkiss, a 1996 HU grad and now an Indiana State Police trooper, commented, “Criminal justice taught at schools like Huntington could greatly benefit the criminal justice system overall. As in any profession, integrity and service are essential in law enforcement, and HU already has those core values.”

Pastor Oliam Richard (right), our superintendent in Haiti, underwent surgery on Wednesday in France (where he and his wife have lived for many years). Joan Sider, from the UB church in Toronto, sent this note:

“I just got off the phone from talking to Pastor Richard. He sounds great. His surgery on Wednesday was successful. He will remain in the hospital until Monday or Tuesday. The expectation then is to remain in Paris for another three weeks before returning to Haiti.”

A team from Canada will visit Haiti January 31 – February 9, 2014.

Rev. Richard LePage, 68, a former United Brethren pastor, passed away November 5, 2013, at his home in Rockford, Ohio. He is survived by his wife, Roberta, and two children.

Viewing: 4-8 pm Thursday, November 7.
Viewing location: Ketcham-Ripley Funeral Home in Rockford, Ohio.
Funeral: 10 am Friday, November 8 (viewing one hour prior to the service).
Funeral location: Praise Point UB church, Willshire, Ohio.

Rev. Brad Kittle, pastor of Praise Point, will officiate at the funeral.

Andy Stahl has been named senior pastor of Mount Hope UB church (Carson City, Mich.) effective November 1, 2013. He previously served two years as senior pastor of New Life Church (Chanute, Kansas). He has held a National Conference license since 2011. Andy graduated from Huntington University in 2007 with a degree in Bible and Religion. His wife, Jennifer, graduated from HU in 2006 with a degree in Recreation Management.

New communities are being developed on the outskirts of Port Au Prince to reestablish those left homeless by the earthquake in 2010. This video features the community of Jerusalem and the efforts of one small United Brethren congregation to raise up a church to serve their new community.

A group of nearly 20 persons left for Turkey on Monday, November 4, to begin a ten-day tour of Turkey. They arrived on Tuesday, November 5.

Global Ministries is pursuing ministry opportunities in Turkey–the first predominantly Muslim nation into which the United Brethren church has ventured. We are working in Turkey with IN Network.

The UBs involved in this trip include:

  • Jeff Bleijerveld, director of Global Ministries.
  • Phil Whipple, bishop.
  • Michael Caley, senior pastor of Banner of Christ UB church (Byron Center, Mich.).
  • Patrick Daugherty, associate pastor of Atlantic Avenue UB church (New Castle, Pa.).
  • Micheal Dean, senior pastor of Sabetha UB church (Sabetha, Kansas).
  • Gary Dilley, senior pastor of College Park Church (Huntington, Ind.), and his wife, Rhonda.
  • John Erwin, senior pastor of Hopewell UB church (Auburn, Ind.).
  • Mark Fairchild, professor at Huntington University.
  • Stephen Henry, senior pastor of Victory Heights UB church (Franklin, Pa.), and his wife, Amanda.
  • Donna Hollopeter, associate director of Global Ministries, and her husband, Jason.
  • Mark Ralph, senior pastor of Mt. Zion UB church (Wayne, Ohio).

Also participating is LaDoyt Rodeaver, president and CEO of IN Network.

Six Huntington University students spent their fall break, October 11-15, doing volunteer work in Piedmont, Missouri. This small town of 2000 people in the Ozarks was hit hard by flooding in 2008. The students worked with World Renew Disaster Response to help with the rebuilding of homes.

Huntington University’s Friesen Center for Volunteer Service is plunging into inner city Chicago November 8-10 for this year’s Urban Plunge trip. Psychology professor Dr. Tanner Babb and 14 students will work with Emmaus Ministries to serve the homeless population.

“The goal of the trip will be to expand students’ knowledge and understanding of those living in an urban setting,” said Abby Goering, Friesen Center volunteer coordinator. “We will also focus on showing God’s love to those we come in contact.”

Seven of the students come from Indiana, two come from Texas, and one each from Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, California, and Kentucky. They represent a variety of majors, including social work, writing, psychology, history education, exercise science, missions, business, and political science.

This is the 17th Urban Plunge trip for Huntington University. The trip serves as an important entry point for students to begin acclimating themselves to urban ministry.

The Friesen Center is a student-directed organization that coordinates HU students in volunteer efforts on a daily basis. The Friesen Center stands to build the idea that every one person can make a difference in the community.

Mike Soltis (left) praying for graduates in May on Graduation Sunday.

Mike Soltis (left) praying for graduates in May on Graduation Sunday.

Josh Soltis leading worship.

Josh Soltis leading worship.

A service at Bridge Fellowship.

A service at Bridge Fellowship.

At the first Bridge baptism in August.

At the first Bridge baptism in August.

The Bridge Fellowship, in North Baltimore, Ohio, officially launched Sunday morning services on October 20, 2013. About 80 people attended. The church’s pastor is Mike Soltis, who began working with the church plant in November 2012.

A core group of persons from about 21 households has been meeting informally for over a year. Several more families joined during the weeks leading up to the public launch. A mailer about the new church was sent to the surrounding area to make people aware of the opening service.

“We had about a 30% increase for the launch,” said Mike Soltis. “We’ve seen three weeks now of people who have come from the mailer. We now have 26 households that are part of the group. I am happy with the way visitors have responded, and that some have returned.”

Pastor Mike Soltis doing a baby dedication.

Pastor Mike Soltis doing a baby dedication.

He was hoping they would start off with an even higher number of people. “But a 30% uptick in worship attendance—I’ll take that any day of the week.”

Bridge Fellowship rents meeting space at the local middle school/high school, a brand new facility. They sit around tables, rather than in rows of chairs. The music, led by Mike’s son, Josh, is a blend of songs. Dress is casual.

Several small groups meet at 9:15, prior to the worship service, including Bridge Kids for elementary students and Elevation Student Life, the youth group.

They had quite a bit going on even before the official launch. On Sunday nights a local lady lets them use a building on Main Street, which runs through the middle of North Baltimore. A men’s group meets monthly. They started small groups in June. They’ve run a clothing closet and tutoring for kids. In August, they baptized 12 persons in their first baptismal service.

Three prayer groups meet during the week. “I appreciate their prayer emphasis. It’s hard enough to have one prayer group, let alone three.”

This summer they sent a group of teens to Peru. Last week, the youth group had an attendance of 25, which is very commendable for a congregation of this size.

A pastoral advisory team works with Pastor Soltis in making decisions, and they also have a finance team. They’re looking at a piece of property in the middle of town, to see if they can swing it; the cost is still too high.

“A lot of fellowship happens at the Bridge,” says Soltis. “The people really like each other. It’s refreshing to be with people who like to hang out.”

The core group consists mostly of people who previously attended Mt. Zion UB church in Wayne, Ohio. They contacted Mike Soltis about being their pastor; he had previously pastored Mt. Zion for a short time.

“They asked me to consider it, and I said they would have to talk to the bishop.”

The situation was brought before the Executive Leadership Team during its spring 2012 meeting, and the ELT gave the go-ahead for a church plant. Mike and his wife, Brenda, came aboard in November 2012.

Mike is bi-vocational. He had been working as a detention officer at the Wood County Juvenile Detention Center in Bowling Green, a maximum security facility for kids who really get out of line. He concluded that job on October 26, and will now begin substitute teaching.

Brenda Soltis works in a dental office in Bowling Green, Monday through Thursday. She runs the children’s programs at Bridge Fellowship. They’re looking forward to this Saturday, November 2. It will be the first time they’ve had Saturday off together in over 13 months.

Keep Bridge Fellowship in your prayers, as they continue building a ministry in the community and among the people of North Baltimore, Ohio.