Rev. B. O. and Margaret Hazzard

Rev. B. O. Hazzard was born around 1872, and felt God calling him to Africa. He originally served in the Congo, but repeated malaria attacks forced him to return to America. There, he met and married Margaret Muirhead, a Scottish-born woman whose parents had immigrated in 1880 and started a farm in Ohio. They were married on August 15, 1900, in Portage, Ohio.

Both B. O. and Margaret felt God calling them to missionary service. They ended up going with the United Brethren in Christ, sailing from New York on September 31 (just six weeks after their wedding) and arriving in Sierra Leone on November 14. His job was to build a girls’ home at the Danville station in Gbangbaia for the Women’s Missionary Association–what would eventually become the Minnie Mull School for Girls. Margaret would care for the children residing there.

Mission director Daniel Flickinger wrote, “Mr. Hazzard did well in managing business matters and in holding meetings and getting the people aroused to a sense of duty. Some were converted and brought into the service of the Master through his labors.”

Margaret became paralyzed in July 1901 and, a few weeks later, was taken to Freetown. Since the hospital couldn’t treat her, Rev. Hazzard put her on a steamship bound for England. They had been married just 11 months. It was the last time they would see each other.

Margaret arrived in Liverpool on September 4 and was soon diagnosed with berri berri, which affects the nerves. She began nearly two years of hospitalization. Meanwhile Rev. Hazzard kept working. The school was ready for occupancy in December 1901. The plan was for him to eventually travel to Scotland to be reunited with his wife. But that never happened. He was stricken with blackwater fever, and died in Gbangbaia in July 1902.

According to George Fleming, Margaret spent a total of 21 months hospitalized, until the spring of 1903, followed by six months of continued recuperation with relatives in Scotland. Of the little we know of Margaret after that, it doesn’t include Sierra Leone. She apparently returned to Ohio and, in 1930, at age 56, married a Missouri farmer named Thomas Grubb. It appears that she died in Ohio on August 12, 1957, and was buried in Cuyahoga County, Ohio; census data lists her husband, Thomas Grubb, as a carpenter in building construction.

Although the Hazzards’ time in Sierra Leone was very short, it lives on through the Minnie Mull School, which over the years has touched the lives of thousands of Sierra Leonean girls.

Henry Barkley, bishop 1897-1913.

On September 3, 1879, Henry Barkley, age 21, was granted a United Brethren annual conference license to preach. Eight days later, he married Ida Masters, a young girl he had met in a store. They began pastoring circuits of churches in North Ohio Conference. In 1881, he was ordained by Bishop Jacob John Glossbrenner.

Barkley’s parents married in 1847 and settled in northeastern Indiana. They birthed four daughters, and finally got a son, Henry, on March 19, 1858. In 1866, at the end of the Civil War, the family moved to northwestern Ohio.

There is anecdotal evidence that young Henry, consistent with being the only boy, was somewhat of a spoiled brat–prideful, hot-headed, and prone to fighting. But he was smart, got a decent (for the time) education, and ever-so-gradually, through the influence of various ministers, journeyed toward Christ. He was converted on February 2, 1875, under the ministry of a Church of God pastor. But UBs had played a role in his journey, too. In 1876, he transferred to the United Brethren church in West Unity, Ohio. And with the UBs he stayed for the rest of his life.

Henry and Ida found themselves drawn to the West. In 1882, they accepted a UB pastorate in Denver, Colorado. But that didn’t work out. Seven months later, they were back in Ohio. But in 1888, they moved to Oregon, and that’s where they spent the rest of their days.

Henry quickly distinguished himself. He led revival meetings in places where they were launching new churches. Bishop William Dillon once commented, “No man in Oregon could draw a larger crowd.” He was elected as a presiding elder in 1880, and during the next few years, oversaw the construction of five church buildings.

Lynn Newbraugh wrote in his chapter on Barkley in United Brethren Bishops, Volume 1, “Barkley also expended great effort to guide the pastors under his care, much like a father with his son. Throughout his career, he took time to praise the efforts of each individual. Yet, he was no flatterer. When one of his pastors erred, Barkley was quick to correct him.”

Newbraught added, “He treated subordinates as equals and equals as superiors.”

In 1894, Barkley took on two new roles: he was elected president of the United Brethren college in Philomath, Oregon; and he was elected to the first of two terms in the Oregon legislature. His oratorical skills and principled leadership served him well in politics. He often presided over legislative sessions and acquired the power to make or break bills. His reputation grew to the point that both state Senators–a Democrat and a Republican–said they would campaign for him if he ran for the US Congress. But after two terms, he said goodbye to politics. He wanted to focus solely on his First Love, the Church.

In 1897, Barkley, age 39, began 16 years as a United Brethren bishop. He was initially elected, by a vote of 33-10, in place of incumbent William Dillon. For the first eight years, Barkley served alongside Milton Wright, Horace Barnaby, and Halleck Floyd, who had served together as bishops since 1889 and would continue in that role until 1905.

Barkley was assigned to the Pacific district, and in the years ahead, helped bring a Chinese school in Portland under our supervision in 1898 (it would later become our bridge to China), in 1899 helped found Edwards College in Albion, Wash.; and oversaw establishing the Idaho Mission Conference in 1901.

Bishops Wright, Barnaby, and Floyd got into a nasty dispute about the publishing house; it went on for several years. Everything came to a head at the 1905 General Conference. Barkley, who had stayed out of it, ended up presiding over large portions of the conference. In the end, the leadership slate was wiped practically clean–Wright, Barnaby, and Floyd, along with three other denominations officials, were not re-elected. Only Barkley remained–jumping immediately from junior bishop to senior bishop.

Despite his now-central role, Barkley chose to continue living in Oregon. But he had to make many trips back to the denominational office in Huntington, Ind., and to other points in the East. Thank God for trains.

In 1909, representatives from the Liberal United Brethren church, from which we had split in 1889, attended General Conference with an invitation to reunite the two groups. Perhaps, now that Milton Wright was out of the picture, they thought we might be positive toward the idea. Henry Becker, using his well-honed spontaneous eloquence, said, “I welcome these brethren and their greetings, which cheer my heart.” But he concluded, “When we can agree on doctrine, we can take care of the policy and polity.” And thus, he very diplomatically slammed shut the door for reuniting the two groups.

Barkley stepped down from the bishopric in 1913. His concluding years were frustrating to him. The churches in Oregon were in decline, sorely in need of capable ministers, and the two colleges, at Philomath and Albion, suffered financial hardship.

Plus, his fragile health plummeted. In 1894, the same year Barkley was elected to the Oregon legislature, he got food poisoning while eating at a restaurant in Butler, Ind. (a woman at a nearby table died). He was quite sick for the next two years, and never fully recovered; he was plagued by sickness for the rest of his life. During those final four years as bishop, Barkley suffered a series of small strokes which left him partly paralyzed on his left side. Nevertheless, he delivered 300 addresses during those four years, a number topped by only one other bishop.

Barkley had been suggesting that they drop from four bishops to three bishops. When he stepped down in 1913, the General Conference did just that, choosing not to replace him.

Henry and Ida Barkley continued living in Oregon for what became a very brief retirement. Henry became seriously ill in November 1914, and was bed-bound from mid-December until his death on March 7, 1915.

William Dillon wrote of Barkley, “No preacher on the Pacific Coast was ever more loved, or will be more lamented.

Isaac and Sarah Hor

On September 2, 1992, a Chinese United Brethren church opened in Toronto, Ontario. The service was held on a Sunday afternoon at the Bloem Avenue (now New Hope) UB church in Toronto. The pastor was Phil Burkett. He and his family had recently concluded four years of ministry in Macau, so they knew plenty about reaching Chinese people and could speak the language.

In North America, Toronto’s Chinese population ranked second only to New York City’s. A large percentage had emigrated from Hong Kong, the exodus spurred by the specter of 1997 and by Canada’s comparatively lenient immigration policies. The immigrants tended to be financially secure; many retained businesses in Hong Kong and shuttled back and forth.

The vision for a Chinese ministry at Toronto had existed for a while. Just two years before, the conference had embedded Chinese ministry into a long-range plan, and Phil Burkett was appointed pastor in 1991 with the expressed purpose of making it happen.

In April 1992, the Toronto church sent letters to about 20 Chinese Christian contacts in the greater Toronto area, telling about the ministry-in-the-works. The next day, Phil Burkett received a call from Stephen Chan. He and his wife were members of St. Luke’s UB church in Hong Kong before moving to Canada 20 years before. Chan was excited about starting a Chinese church in Toronto.

The Burketts and Chans got together in May 1992. The Chans mentioned a Hong Kong pastor, Isaac Hor (pronounced HAW), who had been ordained in the Missouri Synod Lutheran church. Hor had moved to Canada about the same time the Burketts did with the intention of planting a Chinese church. That project didn’t pan out, so he was seeking a new ministry in Toronto.

How convenient. The Hor family—Isaac, wife Sarah, and their two children—attended Bloem Avenue UB on May 31 and met with members of the Chinese Planning Committee. The Ontario Conference not only approved him, but agreed to fund his support for a six-month trial. Hor officially started on July 1, 1992.

“Statistics show that a newly-arrived Chinese person has a much higher likelihood of coming to Christ than a multiple-generation North American,” wrote Phil Burkett in the United Brethren magazine. “Chinese churches in Toronto are growing (some say exploding) at an unbelievable rate. New Chinese churches spring up almost weekly.”

After that opening service on September 2, the church launched an English Language Program similar to what the Burketts helped found in Macau. Classes started September 14 and ran through December 2, with 6-8 students. A second term drew 10-12 students. Teachers came from both the English-speaking congregation and the Chinese congregation. In October 1992, a group of seven persons from the New York Chinese church drove up to help with an evangelistic outreach.

Turns out the Bloem Avenue church was too far from where most Chinese lived. So in September 1993, they relocated to a junior high school about 25 miles away on the northeast side of metro Toronto in an area densely populated by Chinese; a couple families in the core group already lived there. The Hor family moved to a townhouse near the school. Services were held in the school cafeteria.

The English Language Program started up on September 20, 1993, this time drawing 40 students—an excellent enrollment.

After six years in Toronto, the Burketts left in 1996, when Phil became Minister of Music at College Park UB in Huntington, Ind. The Toronto Chinese church closed in 2002. Isaac Hor returned to Hong Kong in July 2002 to minister with a Lutheran church.

Dr. Leslie and Mary Huntley and children. The Huntleys served in Sierra Leone until November 1941, shortly before the Pearl Harbor bombing brought America into World War II. Dr. Huntley entered the US Army in 1943 as a medical officer with the rank of captain, and served in Panama, India, and China.

On September 1, 1934, Dr. Leslie and Mary Huntley arrived as UB missionaries in Sierra Leone. He was our first licensed doctor.

Dr. Huntley graduated from Huntington College and received his medical degree from the University of Nebraska. He and his fiancée, Mary Bergdall of Claytonville, Ill., committed themselves to fulltime missionary work during the same service at Huntington College, along with four other persons who would eventually serve in Sierra Leone–Martha Anna Bard, Emma Hyer, Erma (Burton) Carlson, and Charles Saufley. The Huntleys were married, and left for Sierra Leone one month later.

It was a low time for the mission. Financial support from America had fallen off—we were in the Great Depression—and several stations had been closed. George and Daisy Fleming had concluded their missionary work in 1932, turning leadership over to Clarence Carlson. But he took a desperately needed furlough in 1934. That left just Abbie Swales, a veteran missionary who was in charge of the Minnie Mull Home for Girls in Bonthe.

Dr. Huntley, a rookie missionary, found himself in charge of the entire mission—churches, schools, dispensary…everything. It was a lot of responsibility for a first-term missionary, but he proved up to the task.

The Huntleys, married for just a month, mind you, made a very charitable decision—that Mary would relocate to Bonthe to assist Abbie Swales until new recruits arrived. Dr. Huntley toiled alone at Gbangbaia, with the help of some national workers. In addition to preparing the dispensary and treating patients, he visited villages to see pastors and teachers.

It took six months to get the dispensary ready. New buildings were constructed at the Danville Station, and old ones were renovated. All the while, Huntley was treating patients in a limited capacity. The dispensary officially opened around April 1935. Huntley reported that by June, he had treated 1,035 patients. He wrote years later, “I was never able to administer treatment to everyone who came to the dispensary on any given day. We worked from early morning until late at night, but we just could not see them all.”

Reinforcements finally arrived in January 1936: Rev. Earl and Ruth Ensminger and daughter, from Greencastle, Pa. Both were ordained ministers with degrees from Huntington College. They took up residence in Bonthe, enabling Mary Huntley to finally live with and work alongside her husband for the first time in 16 months. On September 27, 1936, baby Carolyn Huntley arrived. Do the math.