Dillman UB Church in Warren, Ind.

Dillman Church in Warren, Ind., has undergone an extensive sanctuary renovation. A public dedication service and open house will be begin at 9 a.m. on Sunday, September 10. Bishop Todd Fetters will give a brief dedication message, and Pastor Matt Kennedy will then speak on the future of Dillman Church.

Following the service, at 11 am, a community Open House and Celebration begins with a hog roast lunch, bouncy house, dunk tank, and other outdoor games and activities for the whole family.

Changes to the sanctuary include expansion of the blueprint to include seating for 200+ people. Movable chairs will make the space adaptable for things like an open area for children’s programming or the inclusion of tables for small conferences. New carpet and lighting have been added, along with new audio-visual capabilities.

The sanctuary renovation is the first major renovation of the sanctuary since it was repaired after a storm in 1948. “The goal of this renovation is more than just modernization,” says Pastor Kennedy (right). “With the changes that have been made, we are equipped for future growth in order that we might meet the needs of both today’s and tomorrow’s generations and better serve the surrounding community for many years to come.”

Dillman Church was established in 1889, and the sanctuary was dedicated on December 22 of that year with Bishop Milton Wright. In 1907, the structure was remodeled and included the installation of new flooring and roof as well as the rebuilding of the pulpit platform. A dedication service for that remodeling was held on November 3, 1907. In 1955, a basement and new entrance were added to the building, as well as a new indoor restroom. An extension that included a fellowship hall, kitchen facilities, and restrooms was added in 1977. Classroom space and church offices were added on in the mid 1990s.

Dillman Church is located at 8888 S 1100 W-90 in Warren, IN 46792.

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On Saturday, February 25, a few hundred children, parents, and coaches came to the closing celebration for Upwards Basketball/Cheerleading at Hillsdale UB church (Hillsdale, Mich.). Jenel Stelton-Holtmeier of ACE (Attitude/Character/Enthusiasm) Basketball and her children performed a number of stunts using multiple basketballs that delighted adults and children alike.

This is the 8th year Hillsdale has hosted this national program. Team practices began after Thanksgiving, and games were held each Saturday in January and February This season over 170 elementary age children took part.

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In early February, Bishop Todd Fetters, National Ministries director Mike Dittman, and Global Ministries director Jeff Bleijerveld visited three United Brethren churches in Illinois.

Their first stop was Claytonville, where six met at the church for a carry-in dinner. This congregation has been ministering in this community for more than 100 years. Joseph Abu, a Sierra Leonean who now pastors a UB church in Philadelphia, served this rural church as a student pastor in the 1980s. Hazel McCray, executive secretary of the Women’s Missionary Fellowship 1977-1993, came from the Claytonville church.

The next day they traveled to Rockford, Ill., where they met with 19 persons from the Kilburn Ave. and Coleta churches. In both meetings, they shared our three enduring commitments: Gospel, Unity and Mission. They also heard from those attending what they were celebrating and how they were being challenged.

United Brethren churches do a lot of special things during the Christmas season.

While the Christmas season is still fresh in your mind, write up a little description about any special ministries, programs, events, services, activities, etc. at your church. We’ll get it posted on UBCentral.org. Other United Brethren will enjoy hearing about it.

If you have digital photos, you can attach them at the end, or just email them to steve@ub.org.

We even have a form you can use (click the button below) to send your report and any photos. Or, you can email a report directly to Steve Dennie.

L-r: Joe Abu, Marshall Woods, and Bishop John Pessima.

L-r: Joe Abu, Marshall Woods, and Bishop John Pessima.

Pastors and spouses from the Cumberland cluster at their Christmas dinner.

Pastors and spouses from the Cumberland cluster at their Christmas dinner.

Mill Chapel (Reedsville, W. Va.) was honored by a visit from Rev. John Pessima, bishop of sierra Leone Conference, and by Rev. Joe Abu, a United Brethren pastor in Philadelphia. On November 27, Bishop Pessima shared a slide presentation to inform the congregation about what God was doing in his country.

Rev. Marshall Woods, pastor of Mill Chapel, leads the Cumberland cluster. On December 6, the pastors in the cluster and their wives met for a Christmas dinner, which Marshall and Gloria Woods arranged at the Penn Alps Restaurant. They presented a gift to each pastor and spouse.

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Matt McKeown (right), a pastor at First UB church in Holly Hill, Fla., sent a report about Hurricane Matthew and its aftermath. This came on Friday afternoon, October 14.

The church property—various buildings, thrift store, recording studio—suffered $40,000 – $50,000 worth of damage. “Several parts of our church roof will need to be repaired or replaced, as we’ve got about 30 leaks in it right now.”

Tree removal was be a major expense. “Hurricane insurance does not cover the removal of downed trees. We’ve got a dozen or so of those. Removal of one tree can be up to $2000, especially these big Southern yellow pines that are 100 feet tall.

“We just bought a building to expand our recording studio, and one of the selling points was the big lighted sign at the roadside. It was destroyed by the hurricane, and it is not covered by insurance….

“It’s a bit of a racket, honestly. The premiums are so large for hurricane insurance that most people can’t even afford to have wind damage insurance on their buildings. Plus, if the wind blows the roof off of your building, and the rain destroys your property, your hurricane insurance does not cover the damage from the rain because you lost your roof. It only covers the replacement of your roof. But even then, the deductibles are so high there’s no point in making a claim.

“I can also tell you that most all of our congregation was without power for almost a week. One couple in our church had a giant oak tree fall directly in the middle of their house, splitting it in two.”

On October 7, as the storm moved on, Matt posted on Facebook, “All in all we fared very well, and if not for the last minute turn of the storm to the east, we would be in many feet of water now and much more wind damage.”

Gary Vanderveen, pastor of Faith UB church in nearby Port Orange, Fla., reports that they came through the hurricane very well, with only minor cleanup needed.

The Pastors and Spouses Summit for churches with 300+ attendance is scheduled for October 24-27 in Daytona Beach. The location had to be moved because of damage to the original hotel. However, everything is working out. They’ll be able to meet at an even nicer hotel which is closer to First UB church. Pastor Chuck and Vicki McKeown of First UB are among the persons who will attend this event.

If you would like to help First UB church, please contact Matt McKeown by email, or send donations to:

First UB Church (Daytona)
560 Flomich Street
Holly Hill, FL 32117

Jim Bolich, senior pastor, Prince Street UB church (Shippensburg, Pa.)

Prince Street Church and Living Stone Church in Macau practiced unity amidst diversity by participating in Holy Communion together on October 2, bridging the distance with live streaming for World Communion Sunday.

In November 2015, I participated in a Global Ministries trip to Macau, where a friendship with Jennifer Blandin and Living Stone Church quickly formed. Since then, friendship has grown into collaboration, paving the way for the congregations to come together around the Lord’s Table. Portions of the service were held in Cantonese, Portuguese, and English.

The eye of Hurricane Matthew is expected to be over Holly Hill, Fla., on Friday. We have a church there, First United Brethren Church, located not far from the Atlantic Ocean. On Thursday morning, Pastor Matt McKeown (right) was asked about what they are doing as the hurricane approaches. Matt’s father, Chuck, and brother, Josh, are also on staff at the church. Here is Matt’s response.

We are not leaving. We don’t feel we have the right or privilege to do so. We as pastors and as a ministry family need to be here to help when the storm goes through. We are keenly aware that we could lose everything and we are reminded of Job: “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

I’ve not been a part of a storm this powerful hitting us this directly. The closest thing to it in my experience was in 2004 when three named storms hit us back to back beginning with Hurricane Charlie. People were without power for a couple weeks.

The damage will be big, to people’s property and spirits. Tensions and tempers will run high. Supplies are already low, and October is still too early in Florida to be without air conditioning. Who knows but the Mighty One of Israel how bad it will be. We will be there for the hurting and the hungry, and we will rebuild what is damaged. We will adjust. We will survive. God’s people always do.

Some of us have been gathering to study and pray the prayers in the siddur (the Jewish prayer book) in the mornings as men, and it was pointed out that we pray “You cause the wind to blow and the rain to fall” every day. This great power coming toward us is nothing compared to the power of our God. Neither is it anything that cannot be stilled by the words of our Savior.

God created these powerful systems. He is great and mighty to save. The same power that can cause the winds to blow is the same power that will strengthen us as we pick up the pieces. It is times like this when we have the opportunity to make our actions match our faith. May we and all believers be Christ to the ones in need of help in our areas as this storm does whatever it will do. Pray that we will be a light in the coming darkness.

We also have a church in Port Orange, not far to the south and also on the coast. The pastor of Faith UB church is Gary Vanderveen.

Please keep pastors Chuck, Matt, Josh, and Gary in your prayers–not only as the hurricane hits Thursday night and Friday, but for many days afterwards as they pick up the pieces and minister to people in need.

The 2016 Hillsdale outdoor service at the Michindoh Camp and Conference Center.

The 2016 Hillsdale outdoor service at the Michindoh Camp and Conference Center.

Pastor Les Smith (left) and his son Eric, an ordained Wesleyan pastor, baptize Les's grandson Titus Eisenmann.

Pastor Les Smith (left) and his son-in-law Eric, an ordained Wesleyan pastor, baptize Les’s grandson Titus Eisenmann.

The Hillsdale UB church (Hillsdale, Mich.) is 112 years old. They held their 18th annual outdoor service at Michindoh Conference Center on Sunday, August 28. There were over 600 in attendance and 90 more at the earlier indoor service at the church. The 715 total attendance is a new record for a non-Easter Sunday.

Both services included a visit from the “Apostle John” portrayed by Pastor Les Smith. The platform became the Island of Patmos as the first five chapters of the book of Revelation were dramatized.

The outdoor service continued with the crowd walking down the path to Lake Weatherwood for a baptismal service. On July 14, 1935, there were 19 people baptized in a single day at the church. It was a record that stood for over 80 years, but was eclipsed by the 20 who were baptized at Michindoh on August 28.

Afterwards, 625 were served a picnic meal at the Pavilion. The majority also took advantage of the water recreation later that afternoon.

Andy Bashore, with wife Stacey, receiving a local conference license from Lancaster UB church. Senior pastor Greg Voight is on the far right.

Andy Bashore, with wife Stacey, receiving a local conference license from Lancaster UB church. Senior pastor Greg Voight is on the far right.

The Lancaster United Brethren Church (Lancaster, Ohio), recently awarded a local conference license to Mr. Andy Bashore. Andy is presently an elder and trustee, and he and his wife, Stacey, have just taken on the new role as youth directors. Andy will serve the congregation as an associate pastor under Senior Pastor Greg Voight.