Donelle Raab, associate pastor of Richfield Road UB, sent this report about a mission work project which stretched throughout February. “Richfield Road UB sponsored a team of 17 people to Honduras. Members of the team went and returned at various times during the month of February. Gary Case and Grady Jones headed the effort. The team built a church in the village of El Naranjal about 45 minutes west of La Ceiba. The former church was 12-by-15 feet. The new one is 30-by-50.

“Even though the new church wasn’t completely finished, Richfield Road left money, and the people in the church in El Naranjal are finishing it. The last we heard, it is almost done. Gary and Grady worked hard to include Superintendent Francisco Raudales and the pastor of the church in the planning. The people in the village were encouraged to work with the team. The children were especially eager to participate.

“The team also sponsored a VBS with the help of the Bethel church in La Ceiba. About 250 children were reached, and 15 or so made decisions to follow Jesus. One boy asked for prayer for a congenital problem with his eye. The team, with the help of Pastor Jose Rivera, made it possible for that boy to be treated by a doctor in La Ceiba.

“Isa Rivera, a student at Huntington College, was an important member of the team working as interpreter.”

In December, Good Shepherd UB in Huntington held its 15th annual Christmas Give-a-Way via the Shepherd’s Closet clothing ministry. A total of 210 grocery bags filled with shopper’s choice of clothing, gift items, toys, books, shoes, and hats were given away. The Shepherd’s Closet, located in the church basement, is open to the public year round for clothing for a small donation or for free, depending on the need.

Gary Brooks reported on February 11, “Diane and I just returned from a visit to three UB churches in Costa Rica. Our group was led by Joe Leighton, youth minister of the UB church in Lancaster, Ohio. One of those who preached in Costa Rica was the senior pastor, Bill C. Pitts. We were all impressed by the dynamic worship services and the commitment of the brethren at the Fe Abundante UB Church who are working hard to construct a permanent place of worship.”

Mt. Pleasant UB church. The new addition is on the far left.

Mount Pleasant UB recently completed the first phase of a major building project. The congregation broke ground in May 2003, and the dedication service was held on January 25. Pastor Chris Little writes, “Today the people of Mt. Pleasant remain committed to Building, Belonging and Becoming the Family of God. We are encouraged by the growing enthusiasm and excitement within our church family and our community, and we are eager to see what God will do in us and through us in the future.”

Hillsdale UB (Hillsdale, Mich.) bought out three showings at the local theatre of “The Passion of the Christ.” Pastor Lester Smith sent a note on February 19 saying, “Because we bought all 200 seats (600 tickets in all), they gave us a good discount. It was a 2,500 investment and we’ve gained back more than half already after we presented it as an application to my sermon last week. One man has offered to pay for 100 tickets to be given away to youth in our community.” The first showing will be Thursday, February 26, at 7:10 pm. They are promoting it as “Youth Night.” The other showings are on Saturday, February 28, and Monday, March 1.

On February 23, Smith reported, “Today, we sold out the rest of our tickets for all three showings. We are now going to ask for a fourth showing for next week. One of our members has promised to buy half of the tickets so we can give them out to the needy and outreach prospects. We are asking those who buy our tickets to only do so if they will also treat an unsaved or unchurched person to go with them.”

Hillsdale had David Meece for a concert in during the worship service on Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, which was January 18. They put out all of their chairs for the first time, and attendance topped 650. During the past few years, Hillsdale converted their gym into what is now the largest worship facility in the county, with 680 seats.

Many UB churches are planning evangelistic efforts around Mel Gibson’s film “The Passion of the Christ,” which opens February 25. For instance, NorthPointe UB in the Columbus, Ohio, area is renting out an entire theater. They are buying screen advertising that will run 14 weeks, and will do a mailing to 7000 homes in their zip code, plus to all new residents in the country during the past year.

At the beginning of the year, Darlene Burkett began serving fulltime as Administrative Assistant in Global Ministries. When you call Global Ministries with questions or requests, there’s a good chance you’ll talk to Darlene. Darlene actually started working part-time in the department during the fall. Darlene and her husband, Phil, are one of the two founding couples of the Macau mission work. Phil now serves as Minister of Music and Missions at College Park UB in Huntington.

As of February 1, Sherry Rupert is the new Executive Secretary to Bishop Paul Hirschy. She is from College Park UB in Huntington, Ind. Sherry replaces Susan Hoopingarner, who served in that role for six years. On February 1, Susan started a new job on the staff of Youth for Christ in Fort Wayne, Ind. We wish her well in that role.

A number of information meetings have been held about the proposed joining of the United Brethren church with the Missionary Church. Some have been held in local churches, some in regional settings. Michigan’s Mid-Year Conference, which met January 31, spent considerable time discussing the idea, mostly in a question-and-answer format. Three representatives from the Missionary Church’s Michigan District were on hand for that event.

Here are some upcoming meetings currently on the schedule:

  • Feb 6-7: Southeast Annual Conference, Daytona UB, Holly Hill, Fla.
  • Feb 16: Arizona Annual Conference, Fountain Hills, Ariz.
  • Feb 17: Midwest Conference meeting at Southwest Community UB, Wichita, Kans. (6 pm).
  • Feb 17: Midwest Conference meeting at Leavenworth UB, Leavenworth, Kans. (6 pm).
  • Feb 20-21: Mid-Atlantic meeting in Chambersburg, Pa.
  • Feb 22: Jerusalem Chapel UB, Churchville, Va.
  • Feb 22: Fort Wayne Muncie Districts of Central Conference, College Park UB, Huntington, Ind. (7 pm).
  • Feb 28: Sandusky Conference Leadership Day, Richfield, Ohio.
  • Feb 29: Lake View UB, Camden, Mich. (5:30 pm).
  • Mar 6:Rock River Church Extension District, Manlius, Ill.
  • Mar 7: Van Wert District of Central Conference, New Horizons UB, Rockford, Ohio.
  • Mar 14: Hopewell UB, Auburn, Ind. (6:30 pm).

Saddleback Community Church offers the “40 Days of Purpose” program for $750. However, you can get it for $500 by ordering through the United Brethren denomination. However, registration at this rate ends January 19.

The PurposeDriven website has much information about 40 Days of Purpose. Here is an excerpt: “Over 8,000 churches from all 50 states and 19 countries have now participated in 40 Days of Purpose. Many of these churches have reported that it was the most transforming event in their congregation’s history. Hundreds of pastors have written or called saying, “Our church will never be the same” and ‘This is the greatest thing that has ever happened in our church.’ One pastor wrote, ‘I’ve seen more growth in our members and our church in 40 days than in the previous 13 years.’

“Through 40 Days of Purpose, thousands of people have come to Christ, been baptized, welcomed into membership, connected to a small group or Sunday School class for fellowship, taught the meaning of real worship, equipped for personal ministry, and commissioned to fulfill their mission in the world.”
January 13, 2004

Sally Harrison reports from West Windsor UB (Dimondale, Mich.):

“On Sunday, January 4, we had impromptu 40th anniversary celebration of having church in that building. Among those present were ten members who were there 40 years ago, including Archie Carpenter, who will be 90 in June 2004. They were asked to share what they had remembered about that day. Some shared how they met in the basement part of the building because the upstairs (sanctuary ) wasn’t finished. In time they were able to meet upstairs, and the downstairs became Sunday school classrooms. It is now the youth room with new carpet and furnishings, just done this last summer.

“Rev. Dr. Harold Cherry had been our guest speaker on December 28, and had told about his memories of that day 40 years ago. After the time of sharing, Pastor Dick Thorp had prayer with them and asked for some of the youth present to be there in 20-30-40 more years to carry on, because Archie said he’s ‘going up to Heaven’ before another 40 years.”