On Saturday, April 5, 35 children attended an Easter Egg Hunt at Prince Street UB (Shippensburg, Pa.). The children hunted for 600 hidden eggs. The children also viewed a puppet show entitled The Soldier and the Centurion. The Legend of the Easter Egg was read to them, followed by crafts and food.

California Annual Conference was held earlier this month. We have three Hispanic churches with Latin American Ministries in the Los Angeles area. Those three churches are now part of California Conference. The conference took in a total of five new Hispanic churches–the three with LAM, plus two new churches from its own church planting efforts.

Bishop Paul Hirschy reports, “California Conference is trying to develop a structure that gives the English-speaking churches and the Spanish-speaking churches a fair representation in the affairs of the conference. The conference superintendent, Rev. Sam Quinn, recommended appointing an English director and a Spanish director to the conference, which was approved. The English director is Rev. Jim Clayton, and the Spanish director is Rev. Edwin Recinos.”

Marda Hoffman is retiring after 24 years as the denominational Finance Director. In addition to overseeing all of the financial operations at the UB Headquarters in Huntington, Ind., she has provided all kinds of help over the years to local church pastors and treasurers. She has also filled the role of Office Manager for the UB Headquarters. Marda’s last day of work will be May 31. Her knowledge, expertise, and commitment to the UB church will be greatly missed. Marda and her husband, Jim, have a lakeside home in northern Michigan, but will continue living in Huntington for now.

Central Conference Superintendent Tom Brodbeck provides this update on the new Hispanic church plant in Columbus.

“The church has 56 different people who are active in the ministry, averaging around 40. Pastor Volfi Valenzuela reports that 13 people have been saved and five others have rededicated their lives. The need continues for Hispanic Bibles and other Spanish literature. The church will be participating in a Columbus, Ohio, Latin festival June 20-21. Over 300,000 people attend this event each year. The church continues to worship on Sunday afternoons at the Columbus First UB church facility.”

The Women’s Ministry Leadership Team has completed its first year. Kathy Bruce, who chairs the team, reports, “It was a busy year, as we got established and focused, and began meeting women’s leaders in our UB churches. We hope to bring that focus and encouragement to the local women’s leaders even more in 2003. Here are some of the things we have done:

  • “We identified our focus to be “Women Equipping Women.”
  • “Representatives of the WMLT attended most attended annual conference meetings. We set up a resource table and began contacting women’s leaders.
  • “We established our own website, ubwomen.org, for information, resources, and an email system for contacting individuals.
  • “We set up an internet bulletin board for swapping ideas, and have had a very successful response of women writing in with questions and ideas.
  • “We distributed our first Women’s Ministry Newsletter to each church and to our email contact list. It is a resource for fresh ideas and encouragement.
  • “We have called or written each UB church, attempting to identify a women’s contact in each of the UB churches nationwide.
  • “The WMLT members completed training in the Sonlife Strategy and Advanced 1 for Women’s Ministry leaders. We plan to begin teaching this biblical approach at our July conference and then locally for women’s groups.
  • “We established networks with women’s ministry leaders in other denominations to share ideas and strategies
  • “We are now planning for the National Women’s Conference, to be held July 25-27, 2003, at Huntington College in Huntington, Ind. The theme is, “Women Equipping Women: His Plan, His Way, His Glory.”
  • “We have also started to plan for the International UB Conference in 2005.

“We do ask again for your financial support and prayer in that effort. We ask that UB women support the ministry by giving $20.03 in 2003. These funds will be used to provide training, sponsor future conferences, and increase our resources to be Women Equipping Women in the United Brethren Church, nationwide. Send to: WMLT, 302 Lake St., Huntington, Ind. 46750.”

At Pleasant Hill UB (Greencastle, Pa.), the junior church and Good News Club decided to support Child Evangelism Fellowship as their mission project for September through December. Each week the Good News children were encouraged to support the project through their offerings. The junior church and Sunday school children received donations for memorizing Bible verses.

The children turned in their money at the end of November. It came to $757. A check for that amount was presented, on Mission Sunday in December, to Lois Anderson of CEF.

Good Shepherd UB (Huntington, Ind.) has a new missions team under the direction of Matt and Eva Webb. All seven of them attended the Perspectives class held at Huntington College this winter, and they have developed a great vision for getting the church more missions-oriented. A team will to go Haiti this spring, and another will go to our Laurel Mission in Kentucky in July. The new team includes one college student and two high school students.

One of Good Shepherd’s worship teams will hold a praise and worship concert the evening of March 2. A photo and poster were put up all over the community, inviting people to come. Proceeds will help with building improvements.

The church renovated the stage and sound booth areas of the sanctuary. One parishioner, who was laid off from his construction work this winter, did the work. The congregation gave his family a “pounding” in appreciation, and bought him a nailgun as a thank-you for his month of hard work.

Atlantic Avenue UB (Franklin, Pa.) holds a breakfast every Sunday between services, with people actually cooking three out of the four Sundays per months. Nancy Robison writes, “We started cooking for 60 people and now we cook for over 200! That’s a lot of eggs! We have guys who set up tables and make toast and even help with the clean up. A Sunday school class cleans up the kitchen so the cooks can attend the second service.

The breakfasts are free. The menu includes eggs, bacon, sausage, toast, bagels, donuts, juices, and chocolate milk. “This has become an evangelistic tool. Some children have told us that our breakfast is the only good one they get all week! Nothing is better than getting a hug from a child and see them eat a good breakfast, and having them get powdered sugar all over you! A couple of times we have gone to service with our aprons on, but I don’t think God cares!”

Pastor Brad Riddle conducts evangelism classes twice a week for anyone interested. Members of the new Evangelism Team must attend the class. The team has washed all of the windows on both sides of Liberty Street in the town of Franklin. Pastor Riddle was teaching fifth grade in Franklin when God called him into the ministry less than two years ago. He is also taking courses at Huntington College.

Atlantic Avenue’s Christmas dinner theater was full all three nights. It was free to the public. The church performed the play “What Would You Do?”, written by their own Carole Rugh. The first night, the coat rack bent in half from the weight of all the coats.