Presenting the van keys to Francisco Raudales, superintendent of Honduras Conference.

A group from King Street UB in Chambersburg, Pa., delivered a new van to Honduras. Ray Ankerbrand reports:

“We arrived late on Tuesday, July 15, a little late since we were held up at the Mexican border. The paperwork was not complete for permanent use, but the van can be used while it is being completed. The bus remains at the Guatemalan border pending completion of the paperwork, but it is just across the border in Honduras. We had a very good trip. One tire blowout on the bus.”

On Sunday, August 3, New Hope UB (Huntington, Ind.) dedicated a new church sign. After the morning service, everyone gathered around the sign, and Rev. M. E. Burkett conducted the dedication ceremony, assisted by Rev. Kent Maxwell and Rev. Ron Evans. To end the ceremony, all believers received communion.

The Santa Clarita Hispanic congregation (Canyon Country, Calif.) has been one of the fast-growing churches in the denomination for the past several years, now running around 400 people (and they have also helped started several other churches). They have been meeting at a Lutheran church. However, they were recently notified that they will no longer have the use of the facilities, at least not to the extend that they need. They are simply growing too fast, using too much space…and they are not Lutherans.

Starting in August, they will be using the building only on Sundays, and one or two other times, for a total of only 29 hours per month. They will be paying 100 dollars per hour, or $2900. The church has already started saving money to buy property and build their own facility. Edwin Recinos is the pastor.

The Burbank Hispanic church, under the leadership of Pastor Luis Benitez, is also experiencing fast growth and has outgrown the UB church in Burbank. They need a larger facility.

The United Brethren Historical Society sponsored a Celebration of the Wright Family Heritage on Friday, July 18, 2003, in the vicinity of Dayton, Ohio. UB people from at least five states began to gather at the Holiday Inn in Springfield, Ohio, on Thursday evening and joined together for an informal conversation about the Wright family.

On Friday, approximately 55 people went on a day-long historical tour of West Dayton, where the Milton Wright family lived; Woodland Cemetery, where members of the Wright family are buried; the Wright Brothers Memorial; and the area in and around Germantown, where the first United Brethren meeting house west of the Allegheny Mountains was built.

On Friday evening, the group shared a buffet meal at the Holiday Inn and then enjoyed Daryl Elliott’s talk on “Milton Wright, the Wright Brothers, and the Religious Foundations of American Aviation.” He described Milton Wright’s spiritual life and his commitment to all kinds of learning and to the advancement of science within the context of the Christian faith. He also examined the historical evidence for the Christian commitment of the Wright brothers.

At its annual business meeting, the Historical Society elected Howard Cherry as its president, Tom Brodbeck as Vice President, and Chaney Bergdall as Recording Secretary.

While they were in the area, several persons took advantage of the opportunity to visit the Air Force Museum and enjoy the Air Show at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

On May 24, Mt. Olivet UB (Mt. Solon, Va.) sponsored a work team to Honduras consisting of one UB and three Russian Baptists. Kevin Lam, the UB, was joined by Konstantin Sarandi, Pavel Sarandi, and Denis Verkhovtsev. Kevin writes:

“We built a house for the Timoteo Gomez family at the Monte Hebron project in El Pino. Timoteo was a valuable help to us along with 7 other local people, most of whom are now living in the Colonia Monte Hebron. We also had the great honor of attending Sunday morning worship service with the brand new congregation of about 80 now meeting at the site of the new houses. Timoteo Gomez and two others led us in singing and worship.

Our team was asked to participate (the melting together of three cultures.) So we shared some scripture and words of encouragement in Spanish, a hymn in English, and Pavel sang a solo in Russian. Then Pastor Ovidio Sanchez preached. This group meets four times a week in the street–Sunday mornings in the hot sun and three nights under a streetlight. When it rains there is no service. They are praying for shelter to come soon, but braving the elements hasn’t dimmed their joy.

Mt. Pleasant people standing on the outline of the new educational facility.

Mt. Pleasant UB held a groundbreaking ceremony on Sunday, May 4, for a new educational facility. It will add two stories of additional classroom space. Meanwhile, the current educational wing will be remodeled to provide larger classrooms and a new office complex.

Two Sunday school classes made substantial contributions to the Stewardship Campaign. The most senior class, the King’s Sons and Daughters, (who like to be called “Recycled Teenagers”), made over 26,000 chocolate-covered Easter eggs (peanut butter and coconut) between January and Easter. The profit exceeded $10,000, all of which went toward the building.

Meanwhile, the Berean class organized a church-wide benefit auction which raised over $20,000.

Sally Hock-Harrison sent these notes from West Windsor UB (Dimondale, Mich.):

  • After the AQUIRE the Fire youth meetings in Breslin at Michigan State University in March 2003, our youth group went from 8-9 kids to 25-plus, and they have had to rearrange and tear down walls in the basement to make a new youth room. The youth group leader is Christy Lambright, a college gal going to Great Lakes Christian College in Lansing.
  • A Bible study/mentoring group meets on Wednesday night for the youth.
  • Pastor Dick and Darlene Thorp went on a one-week cruise to celebrate their marriage, and came back refreshed.

  • HomeFront Church in Grandville, Mich., is a restart of the former Maple Hill UB church. Howard Matthews is the pastor.
  • Michigan Conference is planting a new church in the West Lansing area. It is called Journey Church, and is using a home church model. Tom Blaylock, who previous planted Lighthouse Community UB in Williamston, Mich., is the pastor of Journey Church.
  • Fowlerville UB is mothering a daughter church in Dansville, Mich. It is called Heritage UB church. Cal Hodgson is the planting pastor.

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.”