Rev. Keith Smith, 89, passed away June 11, 2022. He graduated from Huntington University in 1961 and from its seminary in 1965. He was ordained in 1965. Rev. Smith concluded his ministry serving on staff at First UB (now Element UB) church in Blissfield, Mich. from 2005 to 2018, most recently as Minister of Visitation.

Visitation: 6-8 pm Wednesday, June 15
Funeral: 11:00 am Thursday, June 16, 2022
Visitation and Funeral Location: Element UB church, 220 East Jefferson Street, Blissfield, Mich.

Keith and his wife Dorothy were one week away from celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary.

You can view the online obituary here.

Bobby Culler and Craig Mickey

The first Ministry Leaders Summit was held April 25-29 at the Plaza Resort & Spa in Daytona Beach, Fla. This event, designed for persons serving in staff roles at United Brethren churches, was a wonderful time of refreshment, relaxation and refueling.

Dr. Dave Rahn, the keynote speaker, brought challenging and insightful messages to the group dealing with our “joy switch” as well as some habits of integrity and ministry.

This summit included a mix of ministry positions from across the United Brethren denomination. And to say that it was enjoyable would be an understatement. Here are some of the comments from those who attended.

  • “It was valuable to me just hanging out with other like-minded people” (Matt Gish, High School Youth Pastor, King Street Church, Chambersburg, Pa.).
  • “Getting to know that people that I am working with at the different churches brings a sense of ‘we are in this together’” (Angela Vincenti, UB Global, Huntington, Ind.).
  • “I enjoyed spending face-to-face time with other ministers and having the chance to make connections and build friendship with people who understand the joys and struggles of ministry” (Jordan Hart, Worship Pastor, Atlantic Avenue UB church, Franklin, Pa.).
  • “The whole week was well planned and purposeful” (Julie Llewellyn, Early Childhood Pastor, Emmanuel Community Church, Fort Wayne, Ind.).
  • “Getting to know other UB worship pastors and discussing ministry practices was very helpful” (Mark Young, Worship Pastor, Mt. Pleasant Church, Chambersburg, Pa.).
  • “To me, the relational sharpening and encouragement that takes place between attendees is very valuable” (Brian Kramer, Middle School Pastor, Emmanuel Community Church, Fort Wayne, Ind.).
  • “I really enjoyed being able to connect with other worship pastors, and I love the community we’ve developed with the youth pastors” (Byron Spear, Youth & Worship Pastor, Colwood UB church, Caro, Mich.).

Future Summit dates are as follows:

April 24-28, 2023. UB Youth Summit.
April 29 – May 3, 2024. Ministry Leaders Summit.

We all look forward to being together again. Until then, continue to be faithful to the calling that God has placed on your life in the place that he has put you.

Rev. Marion E. Burkett, age 100, passed away May 4, 2022. Since becoming a United Brethren minister in the 1940s, he has served as a pastor, church planter, evangelist, and missionary in Sierra Leone. Here are the funeral details:

Visitation: 10:00 – 11:00 am Tuesday, May 17, 2022.
Funeral: 11:00 am Tuesday, May 17, 2022.
Location: Bailey Love Mortuary, 35 W Park Drive, Huntington, IN 46750.

From the online obituary at Bailey-Love:

“Marion spent his whole life in ministry, started at the age of 16 and faithfully continued teaching bible study up until one week before his passing. His life was devoted to his family and ministry as a pastor in congregations in several states and Canada and mission work in Southeast Kentucky and Sierra Leone West Africa for the Church of The United Brethren in Christ, United Methodist and Missionary churches.”

Preferred memorials to The Gideons International, in care of Bailey-Love Mortuary, 35 West Park Drive, Huntington, IN, 46750. Or go online to www.gideons.org/donate.

Go to the Bailey-Love website for complete information.


Nancy N’Gele
Huntington, Ind.

“100 Years Loved” was the sign on the wall at Rev. Marion E. Burkett’s birthday party at Sugar Grove Church of the Nazarene in the village of Tunker, Ind. on Good Friday afternoon, April 15.

Earlier in the day, Rev. Burkett had conducted a Good Friday service at his residence, the Columbia City Miller’s Merry Manor. He shared that he had become a Christian believer 85 years before. His sons Rev. David Burkett, wife Julie, and daughter Molly from Franklin, Pa., and Rev. Phil Burkett and wife Darlene from Cass city, Mich., led in singing “The Old Rugged Cross” and “One Day,” accompanied by Phil on the accordion. Phil also sang an a capella solo of “Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?”

Two members of the nursing home staff assisted Rev. Burkett in serving communion to approximately 40 residents and guests. Rev. Amos Rawley, pastor of New Hope United Brethren church in Huntington, gave the benediction.

At 2:00 p.m., the party began in Tunker, hosted by M. E. Burkett’s son Dr. Mark and Sandy Burkett. Delicious hot food and desserts were served guests from the church kitchen.

Special music was provided by sons David, Mark, and Phil, along with other family members. The family group sang two favorites of the guest of honor, “Life is Like a Mountain Railroad,” and “Trust and Obey,” with Darlene Burkett at the piano.

Approximately 75 members of the family and friends had come to celebrate the 100th birthday.

On Monday, the staff of Miller’s Merry Manor surprised him with another party with a huge cake and the release of 100 balloons.

Rev. Burkett grew up in a United Brethren church in Monroe, Mich. He was ordained as a United Brethren minister in 1946, and in the years ahead served in ministry in many ways. He pastored churches in a half-dozen states, served as a missionary in Sierra Leone for two terms in the 1950s and another term in 1971, served in Kentucky at the UB Laurel Mission and the United Methodist Redbird Mission, planted a UB church in Pima, Arizona…and so much more. It was fitting that he would spend his 100th birthday serving communion.

Rev. Burkett and his wife of 73 years, Frances, raised four sons. David and Phil became ordained United Brethren ministers and missionaries, and Mark became a medical doctor. The fourth son, Stephen, died of cancer in 1990.

Norma R. Murphy, 97, passed away April 16, 2022, in Fairborn, Ohio. She was both a United Brethren pastor and pastor’s wife for nearly 40 years in Michigan.

After graduating from high school in June 1942, Norma accepted a job constructing World War II amphibious landing craft at the Chris Craft boat plant in Cadillac, Mich. Two years later, she enrolled at Marion College in Marion, Ind. to study to become a teacher and athletic coach. There she met John Murphy, a World War II vet who was studying for the ministry. They were married in 1947.

After John graduated in 1951, they moved to Michigan for John’s first pastoral assignment. She served alongside him in ministry for 30 years as pastor’s wife, Sunday school teacher, youth leader, and young adult counselor. She and John had two sons.

John and Norma served the Pleasant View United Brethren church in rural Blanchard from 1966 until John’s death in November 1981. Norma was then granted a Certificate of Ministry from the Michigan Conference of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, and continued serving the Pleasant View congregation as pastor until she retired in June 1997. In addition to her pastoral duties, Norma worked as a dietician, store clerk, and cashier.

A private family graveside service will be held in Six Lakes, Mich.

Orrstown UB Church, in conjunction with a ministry partner, installed a new blessing box outside the front of the church. The blessing box will be stocked with non-perishable food, tracts, and Bibles. The box will serve as a means for Orrstown UB Church to be a blessing to our community through ways that are meaningful and leaving an impact on our community.

Shoreline Church in Oak Harbor, Ohio (30 min southeast of Toledo), is a congregation which is growing spiritually and desires to make disciples who make disciples along the Lake Erie shoreline of Ottawa County. We are looking for a senior pastor who will encourage people to relate their faith to everyday life and lead from the center of congregational life.

Our next senior pastor will bring a giftedness in biblical preaching and a pastor’s heart. A strong commitment to making disciples and developing leaders is essential. Skill and experience with both community outreach and ministry among younger generations will be a benefit. It is also expected that this individual will maintain professional ministerial credentials with the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, USA.

Shoreline Church is a congregation of approximately 70 people (over 100 before Covid). We are a tight-knit group, we care deeply about each other, and we have room to grow. We are financially stable, have modern facilities, and have vision to expand the facility to help reach youth in the community. We also desire to remain a praying church and continue the development of our discipleship mentoring process.

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.

Fonda Cassidy passed away on March 1, 2022. A nurse, Fonda and her husband, Robert, led a number of UB medical teams to Honduras and Nicaragua. Fonda is a sister of Rev. David Rawley, pastor of Otterbein UB church in Greencastle, Pa.

Viewing: 4-8pm Friday, March 11, 2022 at Johnson Funeral Service, 208 South Main St., Bridgewater, Va. 22812

Funeral: 2:00 pm Saturday, March 12, 2022, at Jerusalem Chapel UB church, 314 Chapel Road, Churchville, Va. 24421

Former Bishop Ray Seilhamer has published his autobiography. “My Journey” is available on Amazon–$9.95 in paperback, $4.99 in epub format.

“My Journey” covers his life from growing up on the farm in Pennsylvania, through Huntington College, serving as president of Evangelical Seminary in Pennsylvania, his eight years at bishop, six years leading the graduate school at Huntington College, and pastoring at nine United Brethren churches, two of which he started (Emmanuel and Devonshire). It’s been a very full life. He and Ruth continue pastoring the UB church in Zanesville, Ind.

Roger and Marilyn Reeck have been endorsed UB missionaries since the 1970s, serving with Wycliffe in Mexico and Honduras (where they continue living). They sent this update on February 24:

One time someone told me, “When a person retires they need to sit under a coconut tree in a hammock and sip on Coke all day long”——-Naught! Not the retired people we know! God has given us so many opportunities since we retired at the end of July.

We returned to Honduras at the end of September. Since then Marilyn has led four Healing Groups and three Trauma Healing Trainings. In December, she began mentoring four very capable and committed young people to continue on doing Healing Groups here in Honduras in her absence. We have several churches who have requested that we hold one for their congregation, so there are many opportunities ahead. It is such a blessing to hear the testimonies of people being healed from so many of their hurts.

Roger continues on doing Bible translation with language groups in Guinea Bissau by Zoom. One of the groups that he has been working with over the last 8 years just completed the translation of the whole New Testament! His next assignment is with a language group called Manjaco, and they will be working on the book of Esther.

We now leave back to San Antonio for three months. Part of the time we will be visiting churches in the eastern part of the US. Roger is flying straight to the US and Marilyn is stopping off in Mexico. She will be holding a Healing Group for Huastec Indians February 28-March 5. It is a large group of one and a half million speakers. There are New Testament translations in the 3 different dialects of the language. This is the first step toward producing Story Based Trauma Healing in their language. Another couple will help with the Healing Group and then Marilyn will stay on for a few days mentoring the translation team in how to produce the materials in their own language. We are very excited about this new Project!

God has been so good to us and we praise Him for His goodness to us. We thank Him for letting us continue serving Him, for His protection and His wonderful provision. We praise Him that so many of those who have supported our work for so many years are still being supportive during this new phase in of our lives.