Paul Hirschy, who served as bishop 2001-2005, dealt with lymphoma cancer during his years as bishop and and before. Now his cancer has returned. He will begin chemo treatments on Thursday, October 21, and it will continue over a period of months.

You can send cards to:

Paul Hirschy
5493 North Goshen Rd
Huntington, IN  46750

Elva L. Whybark Armitage, 92, passed away Sunday, September 19, 2010, in Lewiston, Idaho, from complications related to cancer surgery. For 56 years, she was married to Arly Whybark, and for 37 of those years, they pastored United Brethren churches in northern Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. Elva was active in the various Women’s Missionary Societies, often serving as president.

Arly passed away in 1989. In 1990, she married Rollin Armitage; he passed away in 2002. She was most recently a member of the Lewiston First Church of the Nazarene.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, September 23, at Malcom’s Brower-Wann Funeral Home of Lewiston, Idaho.

Rev. Simon White, 55, former pastor of First UB Church of the Bronx (New York City), was killed September 18 in a car accident on the New York State Thruway. Also killed were his wife, Zelda, and four members of the Joy Fellow Christian Assembly (a non-UB Jamaican church), of which White was the pastor.

The Whites and 12 parishioners were traveling in a 15-passenger Ford Econoline van when the left rear tire blew out. The vehicle spiraled, and ejected 8 passengers. The dead included Simon White’s sister and an assistant pastor.

AOLNews published an article about the accident.

Rev. White grew up in Jamaica and was a former minister in Jamaica Conference.

Rev. Reuben Zurcher, a retired United Brethren minister, passed away early this morning, Sept. 13, 2010. He was a World War 2 veteran and, at the time of his death, a member of Monroe United Brethren church in Monroe, Ind.

Rev. Zurcher graduated from Huntington College in 1962 and began his pastoral ministry at the Zanesville, Ind., United Brethren church. He served six other UB pastorates: Third Street (Fort Wayne, Ind.), St. Mary’s (Ohio), Olivet (near Dayton, Ohio), Kettering (Dayton, Ohio), Alexandria (Ind.), and Bobo (Willshire, Ohio). He also served a term as conference superintendent in Central Conference. The family believes he retired in 1986.

Viewing: Tuesday, Sept 14, 2010, 2-4 pm and 6-8 pm.
Viewing Location: Maplewood Park D.O. McComb and Sons funeral home, 4017 Maplecrest Rd., Fort Wayne, Ind. 46815.

Funeral: 10 am Wednesday, Sept 15, 2010. Viewing will be at 9 am.
Location: Maplewood Park D.O. McComb and Sons funeral home, 4017 Maplecrest Rd., Fort Wayne, Ind. 46815.

Read more about Rev. Zurcher on the D. O. McComb website.

Burley Clay, 88, a retired United Brethren minister, passed away September 10, 2010. He was a pastor for 58 years–48 in the Missionary Church, and 10 in the United Brethren church. He pastored the Alvordton, Ohio, and Waldron, Mich., UB churches during the 1980s. Prior to that, they served non-UB churches in Arizona and California.

Burley Clay is the father of Polly Dunten, whose husband, Darwin, is pastor of Findlay First United Brethren Church, Findlay, Ohio.


Viewing: Monday, Sept. 13, 2010.
Location: Walker Funeral Home, 5155 W. Sylvania Avenue, Toledo, Ohio.
Funeral: 11 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2010. Visitation at 10 a.m.
Location: Redeemer (Community) Missionary Church, 5321 Springdale Ave., Toledo, Ohio.

Rev. Clay is survived by his wife of 66 years, Alice, 6 children, 15 grandchildren, and 16 great-grandchildren.

On Monday, September 6, Billy Simbo, bishop of Sierra Leone Conference, sent the following update about his wife, Mamei. Her situation was previously reported on September 1.

Today marks one week since we brought Mamei to the hospital by ambulance. She had been in bed for over four days without being able to get up or move due to excessive pain in her knees and all over her body.

In the ER, various blood tests and scans revealed infection in the port that had been inserted for the administration of the chemotherapy drug and also infection in her right knee. The next day she had surgery to clean up the knee infection. She had a drain put in to clean out the infection and antibiotics were applied directly to the surface. The doctors determined that the same bacteria that infected the port had traveled to the knee. So she has been on antibiotics and all kinds of other medications. The immense side pains she was experiencing were the result of kidney stones, which have now passed, eliminating that pain.

Today things got a little more complicated. The in-house doctors noticed irregular sounds in Mamei’s heart. We were transferred from the oncology unit to the Coronary Care Unit, which is an intensive care unit for monitoring. An updated ultrasound found inflammation around the heart and leakage around one of the valves, probably caused by the same bacterial infection. They ordered a procedure requiring anesthesia and the insertion of a tube down the throat to get a clearer picture of the heart.

Thank God that though the infection and inflammation was confirmed around the one valve, the infection had not spread all over the heart. They will continue treating with antibiotics and other medications, and hope that no surgery will be required. Mamei is now resting quietly and still hooked up to monitors. We don’t know how long they will keep her in this particular unit.

We have completed one week in the hospital, I say we because I have been sleeping on a folding bed next to her. But with this unit and all the monitoring, I am planning to go home tonight and sleep on a real bed for a change!

We should have an idea after a couple more days as to what plans we should make for rehab. I will make a final decision on whether to change my departure date for Sierra Leone some time this week based upon the whole heart issue.

Please pray for the following:

  1. The clearing of the infection around the heart.
  2. For Mamei  to regain her appetite. She eats very little even with us standing over her and urging her to eat. She needs the nutrition to back up the medications.
  3. The strength to endure pain, thereby allowing the nurses and staff to help her with her mobility. The longer she stays down, the more difficult her recovery will be. The initial surgery on her knee was over one year ago and she was still walking with a cane or walker before this new onset of infection.
  4. For the family as we make arrangements and organize things for Mamei’s aftercare once she is discharged from the hospital and or rehab facility.
  5. My plans as I seek to complete our assignment in Sierra Leone on schedule. I am scheduled to attend a conference in Ghana September 19-24, and I am teaching two classes at The Evangelical College of Theology (TECT). Classes start next week and they have asked me to be the main speaker for Spiritual Emphasis week which starts in the middle of October.

Cards for Mamei can be sent to:

Mamei Simbo
1822 Erlens Rd.
Elkins Park, PA  19027

Matt McKeown

Matt McKeown

Matt McKeown wears a few different hats. His title is associate pastor of of First UB church in Holly Hill, Fla. (where his father, Chuck, is senior pastor). He manages Sound Mind Studios, a recording studio which is a ministry of first UB. And on the side, he writes lots of music.

At the moment, Matt has written songs for (and is waiting on possible approval from) mainstream artists like Leona Lewis, Jennifer Hudson, Meatloaf, Jordin Sparks, Matthew Morrison (from Glee), Apocalyptica, and others. Nothing’s been picked up yet. He’s still mostly in the “trying to get my foot in the door” stage. But he’s been working hard at it.

Matt was delighted last week when a song he co-wrote played on an NFL promo on Fox. I asked him to tell me more.

“For the last 2 years I’ve been writing with a man named Billy Chapin. He has been in the business for years. He has written for and/or produced for a lot of mainstream pop acts like Backstreet Boys, O Town, and artists like Edwin McCain and Sister Hazel. He won an award for the song he wrote for the Christian group Avalon called “Undeniably You.” He has offers all the time from people looking for songs.

“I have submitted literally dozens of ideas for lots of different artists. I submitted a song called “Nothin’ but the Best.” It was passed on by the band. So we submitted it to a company that gets music placed in pro sports games. That’s when the NFL picked it up. It played last Thursday (August 19, 2010), the day of the pre-season Patriots/Falcons game in a promo for the NFL on FOX. We heard from the music company that got it to the NFL that they want more music. So, in the last week or so he and I have written 10 or so more ideas to submit.

“This first time is not going to mean anything big money-wise for me, but it was a way to get in the door. Now that I’m in, Hopefully there will be enough demand to insist on a nice paycheck. As we all know, being in ministry doesn’t pay a lot, but like tentmaker Paul, I can work with my hands and make some extra money.”

Earlier today, Matt reported on Facebook, “The media company that got my song placed on Fox for the NFL has picked up another one of my songs. Life is good.”

Way to go, Matt!

Allen “Rocky” Layne has been named senior pastor of West Pleasant Hill UB (Rockbridge, Ohio) effective August 1, 2010. He is also planting a United Brethren church called Eternal Water. He and a core group are personally funding the church plant, which began April 4, 2010.