Jacob Howe at his desk in the missions office in Huntington, Ind.

Jacob Howe at his desk in the missions office in Huntington, Ind.

Jacob Howe on board a ship en route to Sierra Leone in 1914.

Jacob Howe on board a ship en route to Sierra Leone in 1914

Jacob Howe passed away on July 9, 1941. He was secretary of missions for 31 years, 1905-1936. That’s a longer stretch than any other missions director in our history. Sure, Daniel Flickinger went 28 years starting in 1857, and then came back in 1897 for another eight years, for a total of 36 years. But 31 unbroken years is a record. Howe was followed by George Fleming–a person he recruited as a missionary–who served 25 years as secretary of missions.

Very little is recorded in our history books about Howe. He was a minister from Canada…but that’s about it. He was elected at the 1905 General Conference held at Gaines UB church in Caledonia, Mich. That year saw a massive change in leadership, partly a result of a years-long controversy involving our publishing house. Milton Wright, Halleck Floyd, and Horace Barnaby, all of whom had served as bishops since 1889, all left office. We got a new publishing agent, a new denominational editor, a new president of Huntington College. And with the departure of Daniel Flickinger, General Conference elected Jacob Howe to lead our missions program.

Although we don’t know much about Jacob Howe, we can clearly see what he accomplished as secretary of missions.

He advanced the work in Sierra Leone, and kept it going through World War I and the Depression.

He recruited some outstanding missionaries–George and Daisy Fleming, Clarence and Erma Carlson, Lloyd and Eula Eby, Dr. Leslie Huntley, Abbie Swales, Martha Anna Bard. Clarence Carlson and Lloyd Eby would each serve eight years as bishop.

He launched the Sierra Leone field into medical work.

Although our work in China was spearheaded by the Women’s Missionary Association, Howe no doubt was involved.

Jacob Howe may be a forgotten giant.

Top row, l-r: Michael Burtnett, Jeff Dice, David Grove, Jason Haupert, Stuart Johns. Bottom row, l-r: Matthew Kennedy, Gener Lascase, Brent Liechty, John Shadle.

Top row, l-r: Michael Burtnett, Jeff Dice, David Grove, Jason Haupert, Stuart Johns. Bottom row, l-r: Matthew Kennedy, Gener Lascase, Brent Liechty, John Shadle.

The closing service of National Conference, on July 15, will feature the ordination of nine persons. This is very exciting.

Michael Burtnett
Associate pastor of Youth and Outreach
Franklin UB church
New Albany, Ohio

Jeffrey Alan Dice
Associate pastor
Brown Corners UB church
Caro, Mich.

David Grove
Senior pastor
Ebenezer UB church
Greencastle, Pa.

Jason S. Haupert
Eagle Quest UB church
Columbia City, Ind.

Stuart Wade Johns
Senior pastor
Idaville UB church
Gardners, Pa.

Matthew D. Kennedy
Senior pastor
Dillman UB church
Warren, Ind.

Gener Lascase
Haitian congregation pastor
Salem UB church
Chambersburg, Pa.

Brent C. Liechty
Senior pastor
Mongul UB church
Shippensburg, Pa.

John W. Shadle
Pastor of Middle School Ministries
King Street UB church
Chambersburg, Pa.

A number of persons from our international fields will attend the US National Conference next week. This is their 250th anniversary, too. Delegates from Guatemala and Costa Rica, and one delegate from Nicaragua, were unable to get visas to the United States. However, all of these persons will attend.

National Conference Delegates

Sierra Leone: John Pessima (bishop) and Jolly Lavalie.
Canada: Brian Magnus (bishop) and Matt Robertshaw.
Nicaragua: Juan Pavon, general superintendent.
Honduras: Gonzalo Alas (bishop), and Moises and Benulda Saens.
Hong Kong: Kin Keung Yiu (superintendent) and Carol Chan.
Jamaica: Isaac Nugent (bishop) and Winston Smith.
United States: Todd Fetters and Jeff Bleijerveld.

Mission Districts

Germany: Alimamy Sesay and Adama Thorlie.
Haiti: Oliam Richard.
Liberia: Moses Somah.
India: Miriam Prabhakar.
China: Jana Hoobler.
Macau: Karis Vong.

The US National Conference concludes on Saturday, July 15. The international delegates, along with several persons from the United States, will then go to Chambersburg, Pa., for the General Conference meeting. King Street UB church will host the General Conference meeting on Sunday and Monday. The last General Conference was held in 2013 in Ontario.

Alan and Marilyn Wright with daughters Carol and Joanne.

Alan and Marilyn Wright with daughters Carol and Joanne.

Alan Wright and Marilyn Saufley, missionaries in Sierra Leone, were married July 6, 1963. Jerry Datema, then a missionary in Sierra Leone, performed the wedding.

Alan was born in London, England, and graduated from Exeter University. He felt called to serve as a teacher in Sierra Leone. He would become a physics teacher at Centennial Secondary School in Mattru.

Marilyn, the daughter of former Sierra Leone missionaries Charles and Ruth Saufley (1928-1932), Marilyn became a nurse. She wrote, “Having been reared by faithful Christian parents, I cannot recall the time when I did not believe in the Lord. I considered mission work a way to come closer to the Lord. Perhaps this fact, and an early impression that I should serve as a nurse in the country where my parents served, led me to my present position.”

Marilyn served at Mattru Hospital 1960-1963. After their marriage, she and Alan served together at Mattru for two terms, from 1964-1971. They both became members of Salem UB church in Chambersburg, Pa.

Alan passed away September 18, 2013. At the time of Alan’s death, he and Marilyn were living in Abbotsford, British Columbia.

The US National Conference, celebrating the 250th anniversary of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, is just one week away. The conference opens on Wednesday, July 12, and continues until Saturday morning, July 15. Currently, 842 people are registered.

The evening sessions will feature not one, but two different speakers, both of whom will address aspects of that night’s theme. The bishop-elect will speak on Saturday morning.

We are meeting in Lancaster, Pa. That’s where the United Brethren church began. There are several sites of historical interest, including Long’s Barn, where founders William Otterbein and Martin Boehm first met. There will be free excursions, by shuttle bus, to these locations on Thursday afternoon, and on Friday morning and afternoon.

A lot of other great things are planned for this historic conference.

Business Session Reports Available
The business session begins with a 7:30 breakfast, which delegates and advisory members are required to attend. It is sponsored by UB Global. The breakfast transitions into the business session, which begins at 8:30. The election of bishop and members of the Executive Leadership Team will occur very early in the meeting.

Anyone can attend the business session. Only delegates can speak and vote, and they must sit within the designated area.

Most of the reports for the business session are now available online. You can download all of them as PDF files, and most can be viewed online.

Participants may also want to download the UB Discipline.

International Delegates
Nineteen international guests are joining us for our national conference. They represent United Brethren national conferences and mission districts from around the world–Nicaragua, Honduras, Haiti, Hong Kong, Germany, Liberia, Jamaica, India, China, Sierra Leone, Macau, and Canada. They will then go to Chambersburg, Pa., for the international General Conference meeting on Sunday and Monday.

Global Ministries invites attendees to spend time with these international delegates over a lunch or dinner, or otherwise get acquainted. You are welcome to make arrangements with them during conference, or you can set up a meal with them by contacting Jeff Bleijerveld at jeff@ub.org. This is a great opportunity to learn about United Brethren ministry in other parts of the world.

Afternoon Historical Excursions
Twelve historical tours are scheduled on Thursday and Friday. Charter buses will provide transportation. The tours are free, but you must get a ticket at the conference registration table.

There are 11 opportunities to take a two-hour tour of Boehm’s Chapel and Isaac Long’s Barn.

  • Thursday: 11:30 am, 1:00 pm, 2:00 pm, 3:30 pm.
  • Friday: 10:00 am, 10:15 am, 10:30 am, 1:00 pm, 1:15 pm, 3:30 pm, 3:45 pm.

One four-hour tour, at 1:00 Friday afternoon, also includes Byerland Mennonite Church (Boehm’s home church), and First Reformed Church (which Otterbein pastored).

Buses load ten minutes prior to the scheduled departure time and will leave on time.

Thursday: Just for Women
Women who aren’t involved in the business session are invited to take part in a breakfast/devotional, followed by one of three different excursions.

An optional breakfast, with speaker Christy Cabe, starts at 8 am. Breakfast tickets can be purchased for $5.

Three different excursions begin at 9:00 or 10:00.

  1. Go shopping at the Tanger Outlet mall. Shuttles leave at 9 am.
  2. Visit the Biblical Tabernacle Reproduction, a full-size version of Moses’ tabernacle in the Wilderness. Shuttles leave at 10 am. Cost: $7.50.
  3. Take the Historic Lancaster Walking Tour, a 90-minute tour of over 30 locations in downtown Lancaster. Meet at 10 am in the hotel lobby. Cost: $6.


  • Huntington University will sponsor a Pizza Outing for high schoolers after the Wednesday service.
  • Youth will spend Thursday at Hershey Park. The bus leaves at 9 am and returns at 6 pm. UB youth workers will chaperone for junior high. Huntington University will chaperone for senior high, and pay their entrance fee.
  • HU will host workshops for youth on Friday morning in the Exhibit hall.

Nursery & Children
Childcare will be provided up through grade 5 during all worship services, and on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday mornings. The conference childcare director is Rebecca Hann from King Street Church. The age breakdowns are: 0-2 (infants), ages 3-5, grades 1-3, and grades 4-5.

  • Wednesday, Thursday, Friday: 6:15 – 8 pm (services).
  • Thursday: 7:15 am – noon (business, women’s track).
  • Friday: 8:45 am – noon (workshops).
  • Saturday: 8:45 – 11 am (closing service).

People can bring their children 15 minutes before the event starts, and must retrieve their children immediately after the event.

Onsite Options for Meals
A continental breakfast will be served 6:30-8:30 am Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in the Exhibit hall. The per-day cost is $5 cash. A ticket is required.

On Thursday, participants can take their breakfast to the observation tables in the Business session or to the Women’s Devotional.

Registration begins at 2 pm on Wednesday, July 12. The first event of the conference is the evening service, which begins at 6:30. All three evening services begin at 6:30.

We just learned of the passing of Rev. Owen Gordon, a longtime leader in Jamaica Conference. He has been a pastor and superintendent in Jamaica, helped start the first Jamaican UB church in New York City in 1988, is a former member of the Huntington University Board of Trustees, and for many years was president of Jamaica Bible College (now Regent College of the Caribbean). Please remember Owen’s wife, Francis, in your prayers.

Wallace Graham, 80, passed away June 30 in Chillicothe, Ohio. He was the father of Scott Graham, pastor of Good Shepherd UB church in Greenfield, Ohio.

Memorial service: 7:00 pm Wednesday, July 5, 2017. Viewing one hour beforehand.
Location: Bainbridge Assembly of God Church, Bainbridge, Ohio

Scott Graham is highly involved with the US National Conference meeting, particularly is making all arrangements with exhibitors. His home address is:

Scott Graham
1660 Camelin Hill Rd
Chillicothe, OH 45601

Martha Anna Bard with two African children.

Martha Anna Bard with two African children.

Martha Anna Bard passed away on July 2, 1996. During her 35 years in Sierra Leone, 27 of them as a United Brethren missionary, she raised several African boys. Some of them were her pallbearers at the funeral.

Martha Anna Bard

Martha Anna Bard

Martha Anna Bard, born in 1907, grew up on a farm near Corunna, Ind., and as a teen joined the Corunna UB church. She obtained what was called a “Normal” degree from Huntington College, and then taught school for a year. Then she went back for her bachelor’s degree, graduating in 1931.

During a special service at College Park church, Martha was among a number of students who committed her life to fulltime missionary service. Five other students made similar commitments during that service and went on to serve as UB missionaries in Sierra Leone: Mary (Bergdall) Huntley and Leslie Huntley (later Sierra Leone’s first real doctor for the UB mission), Erma (Burton) Carlson, Emma Hyer, and Charles Saufley.

Martha sailed for Sierra Leone in October 1931. She served as a teacher, then matron, at the Minnie Mull School for Girls at Bonthe 1931-1934 and 1937-1940. She returned to Indiana in November 1940 with war approaching.

Knowing the need for healthcare in Sierra Leone, Martha entered Indiana University’s nursing school and graduated as a Registered Nurse in November 1944. Two months later, she became the college nurse an an instructor at Huntington College. That continued until 1947, when she returned to Sierra Leone, this time as a missionary nurse at the dispensary in Gbangbaia.

Dr. Dewitt Baker lived two years at Gbangbaia. He wrote, “Throughout that part of the country, her work at the dispensary was widely recognized.”

In July 1965, Martha concluded 27 years as a UB missionary. She remained in Sierra Leone, but spent the next seven years working for the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company, which in 1964 had ventured into rutile mining in Sierra Leone. Then she retired, returning to her roots in northeast Indiana.

On July 1, 1984, the Pioneer and South Amboy UB churches officially merged. It was the start of today’s Lake View church in Camden, Mich.

Bruce Strine, a UB preacher’s kid and 1977 Huntington College graduate, was assigned in July 1983 to his first pastorate: a circuit which included Pioneer and South Amboy, located six miles apart—one in northern Ohio, one in southern Michigan. Each averaged about 30 people.

Strine favored merging the two churches. It made good sense. However, he wrote, “Most of my parishioners considered merging a closed subject. It had been tried before, and many felt it should never be tried again.”

In February 1984, Strine met jointly with the two administrative boards and presented their options. Basically, they could continue struggling along as separate congregations, or they could join forces and, hopefully, become a strong, growing church. Strine, of course, recommended that they merge. And he had drawn up a four-phase proposal to make it happen.

Strine gave them three weeks to consider the matter. On March 13, 1984, each administrative board agreed. In one church, it was a 7-6 vote. But in the days and weeks ahead, people who had voted nay began to support it.

The two churches merged on July 1, and on August 15, a nearby UB church named Grace Chapel joined the merger. Three men from Grace Chapel were added to the steering committee, making it a group of ten, and Strine and George Kreger, Grace Chapel’s pastor, shared the title “co-pastor.” Strine noted that having three churches made it harder to draw up sides.

On January 1, 1985, the three churches began meeting at a neutral site. This moved everyone out of their buildings and cut all ties. All properties were sold.

On Easter Sunday—April 7, 1985—they broke ground for the new Lake View UB church in Camden, Mich. They had selected a central location—two miles from one church, four from another, and about eight miles from Grace Chapel. Six months later, they held their first service in the new facility, which seated 250-300.

Lake View, once three struggling congregations, quickly became one of the largest United Brethren churches Michigan.