Todd Fetters (right), Bishop, US National Conference

The 2017 US National Conference will meet next summer, July 12-15, in Lancaster, Pa., where our denomination began 250 years ago. We have reserved the afternoons for special activities surrounding our 250th anniversary. For that reason, we want to limit the business session to Thursday morning, 8 am to noon. Center stage will be important proposals from the Task Force on Human Sexuality (which are still being finalized).

We invite United Brethren members and churches to submit proposals they would like the National Conference to consider in 2017. Proposals normally involve revisions to the United Brethren Discipline, but may include other issues. However, in light of the anniversary, we will limit what gets passed along. The bishop, in collaboration with the Executive Leadership Team, will decide the urgency of the proposals; some can no doubt wait until 2019. But we do want to open the door to your ideas.

The Executive Leadership Team set the following schedule regarding proposals for the 2017 US National Conference.

  • March 1, 2017. Deadline for submitting proposals to the Bishop’s Office.
  • April 25, 2017. The Executive Leadership Team reviews the proposals.
  • May 1, 2017. A draft of the approved proposals is posted on the national conference website.
  • May 2017. The draft proposals are discussed in regional meetings.
  • June 10, 2017. A final version of all proposals is posted on the conference website.

In submitting proposals for revising the Discipline, here are a few guidelines:

  1. For revisions to existing content: submit the exact wording you would like to see used (rather than just a general idea), along with the paragraph number. Indicate exactly where it should be placed in the Discipline (chapter and paragraph number).
  2. Include a brief statement of the rationale for making the revision. A sentence or two is usually sufficient.

As a reference, here is a proposal from a previous conference.

Chapter 14, Churches in Crisis
Intent: Place closing a church in the hands of the local board, instead of the local conference.

Current wording:
3. Closing the Church
The final decision will be made by the local conference. When that decision is made, the following actions will occur:

New wording:
3. Closing the Church
The final decision will be made by the local board. When that decision is made, the following actions will occur:

For non-Discipline proposals, include a description of what you want to see done (perhaps in the form of a motion, if appropriate), along with rationale.

Send all proposals to my administrative assistant, Cathy Reich:

Surface mail: 302 Lake Street, Huntington, IN 46750.

The current Discipline can be found at You can read it online or download a PDF copy. If you attend one of the regional meetings, and certainly if you attend National Conference, I recommend that you print out a copy for yourself.

I look forward to seeing you next summer in Lancaster.

Trust God More!

Details have been set for the 2017 UB Youth Workers Summit.

Date: April 24-28, 2017
Hotel: Hilton Gardens Inn
Address: 2560 N. Atlantic Ave., Daytona Beach, FL 32118

This is an annual event of encouragement and training for persons in youth ministry. It is available for the lead youth ministry workers (fulltime, part-time, or volunteer) in every United Brethren church. About 25 youth persons usually attend.

The Summit is a great time of networking with other youth leaders and being encouraged by others who are in the trenches of youth ministry. They enjoy the beach, the golf course, and incredibly beautiful weather, along with the chance to slow down and step away from the constant demands of youth ministry.

Looking ahead: The 2018 Youth Summit will be held April 23-26, 2018, in Daytona Beach, Fla.

William Wheeler has been named senior pastor of Mt. Pleasant UB church in Angola, Ind. He had been filling the pulpit since the retirement of the previous pastor, Devon Strine. Wheeler is a 1987 graduate of the former Fort Wayne Bible College, and in 1991 received the Master of Christian Ministry from Huntington University.