Today is the Huntington University Day of Giving. They set a goal of $100,000, which will go toward student scholarships. As of 9:30 am, $38,000 had been given. They keep a real-time running total of the gifts, so you can check throughout the day.

The Day of Giving page includes a map of the United States. The first gift in every state unlocks an additional $300, and that state is turned from gray to Forester green. As of 9:30 am, just six states were green–Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois, and Idaho. The goal is to turn every state green (and claim that $300 for each turned state).

Another 16 states have United Brethren churches. It would be great for all of those states to be green by the end of the day.

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb cuts the ribbon for the building.

The Don Strauss Animal Science Education Center

HU President Dr. Sherilyn Emberton speaking at the dedication.

Inside the 10,000-square-foot center.

Huntington University held a ribbon-cutting for the new Don Strauss Animal Science Education Center on Monday afternoon, November 16. Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb did the honors with some very large scissors.

Construction began in early 2020. The building, located along Route 24 just down from the soccer field, is named in honor of the late Don Strauss, founder of Strauss Veal Feeds and Midwest Poultry Services in North Manchester, Ind. The 10,000-square-foot building will house many of the key livestock elements of HU’s agriculture degrees, including large flexible pen space and a classroom. The adaptable space will be equipped to host a variety of livestock to allow students up-close and personal hands-on learning experiences.

Huntington University’s Haupert Institute for Agricultural Studies was launched in 2014. It promotes a Christian perspective on agriculture, which recognizes a responsibility to be good stewards of God’s creation and to examine questions of sustainability and justice.

Areas of specialization:

  1. Agribusiness (Animal Production, Communications & Public Policy, Crop Production, Economics & Finance, Entrepreneurial Small Business Management. Management, Marketing, Ministry & Missions).
  2. Agricultural Education
  3. Animal Science
  4. Crop Science & Agronomy
  5. Pre-Veterinary

The institute welcomed its first students in the fall of 2015. As of this fall, over 50 students are pursuing degrees in the agriculture industry.

Phil and Sandy Whipple

Rev. Phil Whipple, who served as bishop of the US National Conference 2009-2015, passed away around 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 15. He was a victim of Covid-19. Phil was admitted to the hospital on November 2, and never left. He was placed on a ventilator on November 12, and died three days later.

Bishop Todd Fetters came to the United Brethren office in 2013 to fill a new position created by Bishop Whipple, that of Director of National Ministries. They worked closely together for the next two years, and Todd succeeded Phil as bishop in 2015.

“Those of us who served with Phil are saddened by the news of his passing,” said Bishop Fetters. “He gave each of us an opportunity to serve the Lord through the Church of the United Brethren in Christ with our unique gifts, abilities, and personalities. In this sudden loss of our brother and friend, our solace is found in the words of Psalm 116:15, ‘Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His faithful ones.’ Phil is today where he has always been, ‘in Christ.’”

Phil Whipple was born in 1957 in Illinois, and grew up in the Church of the Nazarene. He cited March 1974 as the date of his conversion.

Phil graduated from Liberty University and later from the Huntington University Graduate School. He began his ministry in 1980 at a non-UB church in Illinois, followed by five years, 1984-1989, pastoring a Wesleyan church in Saranac, Mich.

In 1990 he joined the staff of the Richfield Road UB church in Flint, Mich., as an associate pastor, where he worked under the leadership of senior pastor Lester Smith. A year later, he was assigned as senior pastor of Pleasant Valley UB church in Lake Odessa, Mich, where he served seven years.

In 1998 he began ten years as pastor of Colwood UB church in Caro, Mich. Under Phil’s leadership, the attendance grew from 200 to over 500, and they baptized 130 people. Phil was serving at Colwood when elected bishop in 2009. He succeeded Bishop Ron Ramsey, who served four years in that role.

Some highlights from Bishop Phil Whipple’s six years as bishop:

  • He created the part-time position of Director of Ministerial Licensing, which has greatly improved out efforts in guiding ministers to their next step in the licensing process (Jim Bolich now fills that role).
  • Various “summits” for UB ministers were begun, held in the year between national conferences. Three summits per year, based on church attendance, were held for senior pastors and their spouses. Other summits were organized for associate staff, worship ministers, and youth ministers.
  • He was part of the search process which brought Dr. Sherilyn Emberton to Huntington University as president in 2013.
  • We developed the current logo for the US National Conference.
  • Todd Fetters was hired as Director of National Ministries, a new position (now held by Dr. Mike Dittman).
  • He was part of the 2010 and 2013 General Conferences, in Honduras and Canada respectively.

Phil and his wife, Sandy, were married in 1979, and this past summer celebrated 41 years of marriage. They have two children, Mike and Josh, both of whom serve in ministry. When he was elected bishop in 2009, Josh was worship pastor at Mongul UB church (Shippensburg, Pa.) and Mike was the worship pastor at Colwood.

In 2015, Phil became pastor of Trinity Missionary Church in Yale, Mich. (in the thumb area). Mike Whipple announced his father’s death to the church, writing: “At 6 pm this evening my dad, Pastor Phil, slipped into Jesus’ arms. We were told he left this earth very peacefully, and we were so thankful for that news. Even though this is a time of mourning and we feel this pain deeply, we know Pastor Phil is meeting with Jesus now. What a joy that is. I want to thank you all for your kindness and your support over these last few weeks. You have all showed me what the church is capable of, and I am very grateful to have been able to walk through this with such a loving church body.”

We, too, are grateful that the Whipple family has been surrounded by a loving church family. Let’s join them with our own prayers for Sandy, and for the families of Josh and Mike, as they grieve the loss of a husband, father, and grandfather, while also celebrating a life well lived.

Jerusalem Chapel United Brethren in Christ Church in Churchville, Va., is a rural congregation with a regional reach. It is located about 20 minutes west of Staunton, Va. Our church is well positioned and prepared to step into our next season of making reproducing disciples of Jesus Christ. We are looking for a senior pastor who will lead us in vision and community engagement, while encouraging and enhancing the giftedness of our staff and people.

Our next senior pastor needs to be a skilled communicator with a shepherd’s heart. A deep commitment to prayer and the Word are essential. The ability to balance the administrative and people-skill aspects of ministry is important. Skill and experience in leading a team and engaging with families will be a benefit. It is also expected that this individual will maintain professional ministerial credentials with and be highly committed to the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, USA.

Jerusalem Chapel is a congregation of about 300 people (with Covid-19 restrictions, attendance averages 150-175). We are financially strong, have modern facilities which have room for growth, and are considering an expansion project to invest in youth/family ministries. Our staff of eight full-time and part-time individuals works well together, and our congregation is known in the community as being loving, caring, friendly, and welcoming.

If this sounds like something for which God has been preparing you, please send a copy of your resume, a cover letter, and a current photo to bishop@ub.org.

Rev. Robert “Bob” Miller, a United Brethren pastor for over 40 years, passed away on November 12, 2020, in Bryan, Ohio.

Bob was born in New Castle, Pa., in 1933, and went on to graduate from Huntington University in 1955, and from the HU seminary in 1958. He was ordained in 1959. He pastored about eight different churches in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana. He also served many years as Michindoh Conference treasurer, and was employed 1976-1990 at Michindoh Ministries Camp and Conference Center. Most recently, he was pastor 1990-1998 of South Scipio UB church in Harlan, Ind.

Due to the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions, there will be a private burial for the family with a memorial service at a later time.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial contributions be made to Huntington University in Huntington, Ind.

Michelle Harris, associate director of UB Global, leads in prayer for the travelers at the airport in Fort Wayne, Ind.

Ruth Rivera (right) with Dr. Richard and Cathy Toupin.

Ruth packing for the six-week trip to Sierra Leone.

Ruth at work at Mattru Hospital.

On October 29, Ruth Esther Rivera Mejia, a dentist from Honduras, and Dr. Richard Toupin and Cathy Toupin left for Sierra Leone. They will serve at Mattru Hospital for six weeks. We are looking forward to what God will do in and through this team.

They worshiped at the UB church in Bo on Sunday morning, November 1, and arrived in Mattru late that afternoon.

Now these servants–surgeon, nurse, and dentist–are at work bringing healing to people through Mattru Hospital.

The Saopin bridge on the east side of La Ceiba.

Hurricane Eta slammed into Honduras on Tuesday, affecting the northern coast where dozens of United Brethren churches are located. Roger and Marilyn Reeck are Wycliffe missionaries in Honduras, and their daughter Christi and her husband, Rigo, are UB endorsed missionaries with Commission to Every Nation. They live in La Ceiba, located on the north coast, but all are currently in San Antonio, Texas, where the Reecks have been since the pandemic began. Marilyn sent this note:

Our daughter, Christy, and her family arrived in San Antonio from Honduras last night. From their house to the International airport, they travel four hours. Predicting the flooding that would take place due to Hurricane Eta, they left home a day early. They drove through several towns along the route that were already flooded from the heavy rains. Praise God they made it to the airport, and the plane did fly.

But, the reports we have received today are of major flooding, landslides, damage, and destruction. The hurricane has now diminished to a tropical storm. La Ceiba, where we have lived for many years, runs east-west with the ocean on one side and the mountains on the other. A section of the bridge we must cross over to get into town on the east side has collapsed. The two bridges leading out of town on the west side are damaged also and deemed unsafe.

There is major flooding, and bridges are out on the whole northern coast of Honduras and part of Nicaragua. This all brings back memories of Hurricane Mitch that happened 22 years ago on the same date.

Please pray that the necessary relief, food, etc. will arrive for the people who have suffered so much already from the strict lockdowns due to the pandemic.

Our plans are to return to Honduras in another three weeks.