Bishop Emeritus Ray Seilhamer (right, with his wife, Ruth) has been appointed to a two-year term as interim pastor of Mount Pleasant UB church in Chambersburg, Pa. The effective date is August 1. Chris Little, who had been senior pastor of Mount Pleasant since 2001, died suddenly and unexpectedly on April 19, 2016, at age 51.

Since 2004, Ray Seilhamer has been senior pastor of New Hope UB church in Huntington, Ind. His associate pastor since July 2015, Amos Rawley, will become senior pastor of New Hope.

As reported on June 15, Steve Henry, pastor of Victory Heights UB church (Franklin, Pa.), has been hospitalized since May 27. He had surgery on Friday, June 24, and the ventilator was removed on Sunday. Steve’s wife, Amanda, sent this report on June 28:

“I am so excited!!!! Steve was greatly improved when I saw him today. Not himself yet, but a lot better than Sunday. It seems Steve’s anxiety issue has passed as far as I can tell for now. But really, who wouldn’t be stir crazy after being in the ICU for a month.

“They have him in a chair doing ‘therapy’ as much as he can stay awake. Stacking cans, folding washcloths, and working on swallowing to strengthen his throat. The speech therapist said he is definitely swallowing but isn’t getting the flap completely sealed over his windpipe to the lungs to keep the liquids out of the lungs. She gave him a list of exercises to strengthen his throat muscles.

“They started his Heparin IV again because we need him on blood thinner so the artificial heart valve he has doesn’t have a clot form. That would cause a whole new set of issues. Please pray he doesn’t end up with any new bleeding ulcers. His Heparin has made those an issue. It seems we are on the road to recovery. Praise the Lord!!!”

Amanda posts updates on Facebook. You can post your prayer and support there, or send notes to:

Steve and Amanda Henry
5978 US 322
Franklin, PA 16323

Jeff Bleijerveld, Director of Global Ministries

Imagine what it would be like if you shared your doctor with 400,000 other people. That’s the situation in Sierra Leone today where just 17 medical doctors serve a population of more than 7 million. Prior to the outbreak of Ebola the ratio was 250,000:1, but many doctors died fighting this deadly infection.

The United Brethren in Christ established a hospital in the town of Mattru Jong nearly seventy years ago. Originally missionary doctors and nurses staffed the hospital and it was slowly being handed over to local administrators and physicians when civil war broke out in 1991. When it reopened 11 years later, it was but a pale reflection of the regional health center it had once been and has struggled since that time to gain momentum.

At the request of the Sierra Leone National Conference, Global Ministries is seeking to recruit a team of missionaries to serve for six to eight years training and mentoring hospital staff. We’re recruiting general practitioners, surgeons, pediatricians, OB specialists along with individuals with administration and engineering experience.

If you, or someone you know, might be interested, contact us by email or by using this online form.

Global Ministries is excited to announce two new family units approved for missionary service! We can’t post their full names here, because they serve in countries which are closed to missionary work. However, you can contact the Global Ministries office about them.

  • Harrison, from a United Brethren church in Indiana, will depart in August to teach in the Middle East.
  • Another couple has been serving in a closed Asian country, and will return to their field in early 2017.

In addition, a young woman on staff with Global Ministries who has been teaching in a closed country for several years will be in the States during July and August of 2016. She is available to share with groups and churches about what God is doing on the other side of the world.

Finally, get Milton and Erika Pacheco on your schedule while you can. They are fellow UBs from Honduras Conference who will be a part of the international United Brethren team in Thailand. They’ll be in the United States during the late summer and fall of 2016.

If you are interested in having any of these persons share their vision with your mission team or congregation, or if you’d like more information, contact Global Ministries at

Dale and Elaine Haupert

Dale and Elaine Haupert

Dale Haupert passed away June 17, 2016. A member of Emmanuel UB church (Fort Wayne, Ind.), Dale was a faithful and generous churchman. He was serving as chairman of the denominational Investment Committee, and was a longtime member of the Huntington University Board of Trustees. The new agricultural program was named after Dale and his wife, Elaine, who provided the lead gift–the Haupert Institute for Agricultural Studies.

Wrote Bishop Todd Fetters, “I for one am grateful for the legacy of generosity and faith that he leaves. He certainly lived out the value of one who trusted God more.”

Steve Henry, pastor of the Victory Heights UB church (Franklin, Pa.) has been hospitalized for nearly three weeks with some serious health issues. On May 27, he was life-flighted to Pittsburgh. He has an aortic dissection–a tear on the inside wall of his aorta. He remains in the ICU.

It has been a very rocky road. On June 2, Steve’s wife, Amanda, reported that they had found an infection in Steve’s lungs which indicated a form of pneumonia. He is kept sedated much of the time, and has been on a ventilator and pain medication. There has also been bleeding, and more recently, an ulcer was found in his small intestines.

Steve has Marfan Syndrome, and in the past has had four heart-aneurysm surgeries. Amanda has been told that although Steve is slowly improving, they have a very long road ahead of them.

Amanda posts updates on a Facebook page. You can post your prayer and support there, or send notes to:

Steve and Amanda Henry
5978 US 322
Franklin, PA 16323

The Task Force on Human Sexuality has been hard at work studying a variety of issues related to gender identity and sexual orientation. This group was authorized in July 2015 by the US National Conference, and was appointed in October 2015 by the Executive Leadership Team.

Their purpose was to take a comprehensive, biblical look at the many aspects of gender identity and sexual orientation. The 2015 US National Conference dealt with issues involving same-sex marriage, but it was clear that many other issues loomed on the horizon. Rather than deal with issues in a piecemeal way as they arose—perhaps a new issue at every National Conference—it made sense to take a more comprehensive approach which would serve the United Brethren Church well into the future. We wanted to avoid acting impulsively or out of a sense of fear in reaction to the issue of the moment.

Scope of the Task Force
The Task Force was asked to study such areas as these:

  • A comprehensive and biblical view toward the many forms of sexual orientation and gender identity—over 50 such categories now, by some counts.
  • Issues involving the recognition of marriages by churches and by the state.
  • A fresh look at our current Discipline statements on family-related issues.
  • Legal protections for pastors and churches regarding such areas as same-sex marriages, the use and renting of church facilities, and employment.
  • Biblical attitudes and approaches UB members and churches should take.
  • Any recommended statements to include in the Discipline as early as 2017.
  • Any recommended revisions to the Pastoral Ministry Handbook.
  • Ramifications for Huntington University.

Task Force Members
These are the persons appointed by the Executive Leadership Team to the Task Force on Human Sexuality:

  • Dr. Luke Fetters (right) is the chairperson. Luke is professor of ministry and missions at Huntington University, an ordained United Brethren minister, and a former UB missionary, pastor, and church planter.
  • Dr. Anthony Blair, president of Evangelical Seminary in Myerstown, Pa. Anthony is an ordained United Brethren minister, and former UB pastor, church planter, and superintendent.
  • Matt McKeown, associate pastor of First UB church in Holly Hill, Fla., with a degree in Christian counseling.
  • Joni Michaud, an attorney practicing in the areas of criminal law, family law, and immigration law. A graduate of Huntington University and Notre Dame Law School, Joni is a member of Pleasant Valley UB church in Lake Odessa, Mich., and was a delegate to the 2015 US National Conference.
  • Beth Pictor, a counselor from Emmanuel UB church in Fort Wayne, Ind. Beth graduated from Huntington University in 2015 with a Masters in Counseling.
  • Andy Sikora, pastor of Renew Communities, a UB church in Berea, Ohio, which he started in 2011. Andy graduated from Huntington University in 2001, was ordained in 2014, and is a current member of the Executive Leadership Team.
  • Mark Vincenti, youth pastor of College Park UB church in Huntington, Ind. Mark graduated from Huntington University in 1999, and served 11 years as youth pastor of King Street Church (Chambersburg, Pa.) before coming to College Park. He was ordained in 2015.
  • Trevor Maggart, a 2015 graduate of Huntington University, is currently associate pastor of The Pointe in Fort Wayne, Ind.

The Schedule

  1. The Task Force held its first face-to-face meeting March 3, 2016. At that meeting, they defined the task before them, defined their roles, and assigned working groups.
  2. A second meeting was held May 24, during which working groups presented their reports.
  3. A third meeting was held June 9, 2016.
  4. A fourth meeting is scheduled for September 22, 2016.
  5. The Task Force will present proposals to the October 17-18, 2016, meeting of the Executive Leadership Team, and then meet in November to discuss feedback from the ELT.
  6. The current plan is to meet in early 2017, if needed, to finalize their work before it is presented in regional gatherings prior to the 2017 US National Conference.

Nancy Richison (right), HU instructor of nursing, is teaching student Caitlin Brown how to start an IV.

Nancy Richison (right), HU instructor of nursing, is teaching student Caitlin Brown how to start an IV.

The Huntington University nursing program received a 10-year accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). This builds on the initial five-year accreditation received in 2010. Since graduating its first class in 2011, the nursing program has conferred 91 Bachelor of Science degrees to nurses who now work around the world.

“Huntington University has one of the top nursing programs in the region and we believe this has been validated by CCNE accreditation,” said Dr. Diana Shenefield, assistant professor of nursing. “The nursing faculty and staff work hard to ensure this is a premier nursing program for our students and we graduate the best trained nurses possible.”

Jeff Bleijerveld, Director of Global Ministries

On July 1, Michelle Harris will join the Global Ministries staff as one of the three associate directors (alongside Frank Y and David Kline). She brings over 25 years of cross-cultural experience in mentoring, training, and teaching in a variety of settings. Michelle will work with our short-term missions program, oversee some of our staff serving abroad, be a great resource to those seeking to work with refugees and immigrants, and use her gifts in writing.

In 2012, Michelle and her family moved to Fort Wayne, Ind., after serving 1994-2012 with InterVarsity Link in Europe and Africa. During those years, they lived a year in Paris, 11 years in the African nation of Gabon, and the last seven years in Nice, France. Michelle has been a teacher in an international school, a student minister, and a team leader. Since relocating to Fort Wayne, she has coordinated low-cost translation services at the Reclamation Project, which works in 18 languages.

Michelle graduated from Ball State University in 1990 with a degree in Education, and this summer will complete a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at Ashland University in Indiana. Her husband, Scott, is an InterVarsity campus minister working with international students in Fort Wayne. They have two children, Justin and Anna. Michelle serves with the women’s ministry at Emmanuel Community Church in Fort Wayne.

Michelle is passionate about the beauty of the international church and the ways we can learn from and serve one another. She loves to write and read. She is excited about this next chapter with Global Ministries.

Participants in the baptisms. Pastor Kevin Whitacre is on the right.

Participants in the baptisms. Pastor Kevin Whitacre is on the right.

Watching from the shore.

Watching from the shore.


Kevin Whitacre (right) and Tomi Cardin (left) conduct one of the eight baptisms.

Kevin Whitacre (right) and Tomi Cardin (left) conduct one of the eight baptisms.

Anchor UB church (Fort Wayne, Ind.) held its annual baptismal service and church picnic on Sunday, June 5. After the morning service at the church, the congregation adjourned to the home of parishioners whose property includes a large pond.

Eight persons were baptized. Associate pastor Kevin Whitacre, who is leading the church until a senior pastor is officially assigned (following the departure of former pastor Tim Hallman in April), conducted the baptisms. He was assisted by Tomi Cardin, who chairs the church’s administrative board. She is also executive director of Redemption House, a faith-based alternative to incarceration for women; six of the women baptized were residents of Redemption House.

After the baptisms, everyone stuck around for a potluck, volleyball, swimming and more. Fortunately, the forecasts of rain proved wrong.