On Sunday, May 4, Banner of Christ UB (Byron Center, Mich.) shared gifts of people and nursery furnishings to the newly forming HomeFront Church. HomeFront is a church under development with Rev. Howard Matthews as pastor. This was the former Maple Hill UB Church.

Banner has committed to a partnering relationship with this rejuvenated sister congregation and on this Sunday had a presentation of numerous nursery items to outfit HomeFront’s nursery and young children’s area. Banner also is sending two families to help with the forming launch team that Pastor Matthews reports is now over 30 adults.

The service included a time of prayer for the launch team and Pastor Matthews, and the presentation of the two new cribs, bedding, and several toys and games for the new church. Banner had collected items that the HomeFront children’s ministry team had identified and registered at the local Target store for a nursery shower. An empty crib was placed in Banner’s foyer for the month of April with gift tags attached to the crib. Members of the church picked up tags, bought and wrapped the gifts and returned them to the crib during the month long “shower.”

HomeFront is poised to begin a series of preview services for the community to come and see during the summer months. Their first preview service was on Mother’s Day.

During the Easter holiday, Pixley UB looked for a way to reach out to neighborhood families. Pastor Rodney Bittick writes, “Originally we considered running a three-day VBS on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. But knowing that our small number of workers could be easily overwhelmed by a daily increasing volume of children, we decided to try a more modest one-day carnival-type event. Our goal was two-fold: to establish a connection between the church and its largely Hispanic neighbors, and to get scriptures and Christian materials into the homes.

“Setting aside the same three days, we set to work on Monday making take-home bags. We made bags for children and adults in both Spanish and English. They contained Scripture portions and tracts as well as treats and other prizes.

“On Tuesday, we canvassed the homes in the immediate neighborhood of the church, passing out flyers and inviting them to the party. We decided to call it √îFiesta de Vida’ (Festival of Life).

“Wednesday was party day! The church parking lot was decorated with colorful signs (in Spanish) and helium balloons. Activities included games, coloring pages, and a flannel graph story telling of Jesus’ crucifixion, death and resurrection. Hot dogs and sodas were served and the party ended with the breaking of a pi‚Äìata. The party ended at noon, and each person present was given a gift bag.

“In all, about 35 children and approximately 17 adults attended. Most of the grown-ups and many of the smaller children spoke only Spanish.”

Valerie Reynolds, associate pastor of Mt. Hope UB in Carson City, Mich., writes, “In our effort to make an impact in our small community, we have changed our focus to trying to become friends to our neighbors. One of the things that we are doing is having a ‘Project Night’ the first and third Mondays of each month. One night, for instance, we did scrapbooking and quilting. So far around 30% of the participants have been unchurched women. We are intentionally looking for ways to become friends with our neighbors and looking for ways to invite them to a non-church activity where we can get to know them more personally. The excitement is spreading within our church as we are being challenged to live the lifestyle of Jesus.”

Lee Rhodes, pastor of Countryside UB (Breckenridge, Mich.), sent this report.

“Our youth group, TLC (Teens Loving Christ), held an activity day at Central Michigan University’s Student Activity Center. We rented two buses from the school to transport 74 middle school and high school students. There were 28 adults that chaperoned. Events included wallyball, swimming, bowling, basketball, pool, volleyball, eating donated food and purchased pizzas, and two sets of devotions for each group. During the day, there were five conversions and eight recommitments to Christ.

“This is an annual event. This is the first year both age groups went on the same day. The Student Activity Center was quite empty until we arrived. The youth were pumped. TLC youth come from various churches in the area. For this event we had 13 youth come from a different school district as well. Kurt Peters, 19, has been leading TLC for several years. He is now on staff part time. John Cole is assisting him by leading the middle school age group in devotions and some activities on a regular basis. The two halves of the group meet at the same time on Sunday evenings, sharing worship time but split for most of the other activities.”

Titus Boggs, director of the Laurel Mission (Big Laurel, Kent.), reports that the mission’s clothing store has almost no summer clothing. The residents who shop at the clothing store are beginning to request such items. Any help would be appreciated. Titus can be contacted at: titus@ub.org.

Park Layne UB (Dayton, Ohio) held a five-day revival which resulted in three conversions and some rededications. An average of 30-40 people attended each night. Associate Pastor George Rhodifer was the speaker.

The Easter Services on Sunday was well, attended. There were 25 for the Sunrise Service and about 35 for the Breakfast that followed. Pastor Roland Albert brought the Worship Morning message. His theme was “He is Risen, He is Alive, What About You?” This rebuilding church set a new attendance mark of 51.

Two weeks prior to Easter, Living Water UB (Clarksburg, W. Va.) began the process of knocking on every door in the city–all 7000 of them. Pastor Chris Mullett writes, “We began with the 415 homes closest to the church. Twenty-four adults and ten youth members participated in the visitation. We bought a packet of flower seeds for each of the homes to be visited and attached an invitation to our Easter service.

“Our Easter service was our largest attendance in our 28-month existence. We had 140, many of them visiting for the first time. Our next neighborhood outreach, in May, will target getting people to church for Memorial Day. This summer we will target a neighborhood with an invitation for children to attend a Bible school in a local park.”

Barb Clingensmith writes, “Eight ladies and two teens from the First UB in New Castle, Pa., traveled to Laurel Mission in Kentucky the last weekend in March to assist and encourage Titus and Debbie Boggs. It is phenomenal to see the dedication of this couple to the mission work God has called them to.

“We were able to do some work in the yard and on the driveway, plus some cleaning in the kitchen/dorm areas. We had collected clothing and household items and were able to boost the clothing store’s inventory with what we brought. Also, learning about their Campbell Soup label project and that a van could be obtained with the labels, we were able to assist in getting labels ready to submit. Deciding this was a project we could share in, we began collecting labels. Seeing firsthand the work at the elementary school run by the Boggs family and the young lives they are touching, we have also pledged monthly support to this great effort. This was a rewarding trip.”

Ron Gonzales, pastor of Open Bible Fellowship (Safford, Ariz.), reports on the exciting things happening as this booming Hispanic church.

“We had our first services in our newly remodeled 15,000 square-foot facility during the Easter weekend. We didn’t receive our certificate of occupancy for the property until Friday at 4:30. Without that we couldn’t have had our Easter services there. The work on the property was done over a period of 20 months by volunteers from the church.

“We had a 7:00 Saturday evening service and, on Easter Sunday, a 10:40 morning service. We did a drama production called ‘Victory Symphony.’ The combined attendance hit 650, with 29 conversions. Now we are making plans for our dedication service.”