The group from Mount Pleasant.

The group from Mount Pleasant.

A VBS session.

A VBS session.

At the River of Life UB church in Mexico.

At the River of Life UB church in Mexico.

Bobby Culler, youth pastor, Mount Pleasant Church (Chambersburg, Pa.)

On July 8, 2016, a team of 16 people from Mt. Pleasant Church began what they hope to be a multi-year partnership with River of Life UB church in the beautiful city of Queretaro, Mexico. We were accompanied by Denis Casco, bishop of Mexico Conference, and his wife, Reina.

With the help of Bishop Casco, contacts were made, friendships were formed, and ministry began. We believe we accomplished all of the three-fold purpose of this partnership:

  1. To help the River of Life church have positive and sustainable impact in the lives of the people in their community.
  2. To encourage, train, and equip the leaders of this church and the surrounding United Brethren churches
  3. To build lifelong relationships with the people of this church and community.

We hosted a week of vacation Bible school and throughout the week we saw a drastic increase in attendance. But more than that, we saw lives change and we saw people come to church who had never been there before. We heard community people say that they’ve never seen anything like this before—a church full and alive with excitement for Christ.

We also hosted two leader training sessions, both of which were attended by 15-16 people from two different United Brethren churches. We’re excited about equipping these leaders to be more effective in the ministry that they provide.

We also spent some time in a city park playing bubbles and kicking soccer balls with children. We shared with them the story of the Gospel colors, gave them the ball, and encouraged them to share that story with their friends and family.

We are grateful for what God has started and for the people that we had the chance to talk with and minister to. Based on how difficult it was to say goodbye, I believe that we established some strong friendships with these precious people.

We’re thankful for the opportunity God has given us to begin this partnership, and we encourage other UB churches in the United States to consider doing the same thing. There are over 40 United Brethren churches and preaching points in Mexico. All of them are eager to partner with other, more established and healthy United Brethren churches.

Although we just returned, all of us are anxious to go back and to continue the good work that the Lord has begun. And with God’s help and involvement, great things will be done for the Kingdom worldwide.

Bishop Todd Fetters (right) leads the installation service for Amos and Annalee Rawley.

Bishop Todd Fetters (right) leads the installation service for Amos and Annalee Rawley.

Ray Seilhamer preaching for the last time as senior pastor of New Hope Church.

Ray Seilhamer preaching for the last time as senior pastor of New Hope Church.

The packed Family Life Center on July 24, 2016.

The packed Family Life Center on July 24, 2016.

Amos Rawley has been appointed senior pastor of New Hope UB church (Huntington, Ind.) effective January 25, 2016. He had been associate pastor of New Hope since July 2015, and served a year as youth pastor, 2009-2010, while attending Huntington University. Amos grew up in the Otterbein UB church of Greencastle, Pa. His parents, Rev. David and Cindy Rawley, have served Otterbein since 1985.

On July 24, 2016, New Hope Church held a special service in its packed Family Life Center. This was the final service for Ray and Ruth Seilhamer, who had served New Hope for the last 12 years. They will move this week to Chambersburg, Pa., to begin serving a two-year interim pastorate at Mount Pleasant UB church, effective August 1. Chris Little, who had been senior pastor of Mount Pleasant since 2001, died suddenly on April 19, 2016, at age 51.

Bishop Emeritus Seilhamer became senior pastor of New Hope in 2004. In 2010, the congregation dedicated a 13,000 square-foot Family Life Center which includes a multi-purpose gymnasium, where the congregation now holds worship services, plus a kitchen, large foyer, and other rooms. The total cost was $980,000. The congregation raised over $300,000; outside investors pitched in $490,000, and various fundraisers brought in the rest. During the July 25 service, New Hope celebrated by burning the mortgage.

Bishop Todd Fetters led an installation service for Amos and Annalee Rawley. David Rawley was among those participating in the laying on of hands.

Amos graduated from Huntington University in 2010, and went on to earn a Master of Divinity in 2015 from Evangelical Seminary in Myerstown, Pa. Annalee, whom he married in 2011, also graduated in 2015 from Evangelical Seminary, but with a masters in Marriage and Family Therapy. She has been an adjunct faculty member at Huntington University and has been involved with two local counseling centers.

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Lester Smith, senior pastor, Hillsdale UB church (Hillsdale, Mich.)

With all the fear and confusion going on in our nation presently, the Hillsdale UB church (Hillsdale, Mich.) is being intentional about praying for revival to sweep our land.

On July 3, the congregation concluded both services with a Call2Fall. Nearly 400 people at the church cried out to the Lord on their knees for our nation on Independence Day weekend. Many tears were shed by men and women at the front prayer altar, while others knelt at their seats.

We joined hundreds of churches in all 50 states in spending five minutes in prayer on our knees at the end of our worship. More information on this national prayer movement can be found on the website Call2Fall.com.

The Hillsdale congregation is also participating in the Hillsdale County Revival Prayer Gathering on July 26 at Davis Middle School. Many area churches are coming together to pray for revival in our own community.

The church is also planning to travel to our State Capitol in Lansing on October 4 for the Franklin Graham Decision America 2016 Tour. This Prayer Revival for our nation has already visited over 30 state capitols with thousands attending each one.

Kevin Whitacre and family.

Kevin Whitacre and family.

The Anchor Resource Team prays over the Whitacre family.

The Anchor Resource Team prays over the Whitacre family.

On Sunday, July 3, 2016, Anchor UB church (Fort Wayne, Ind.) officially announced the appointment of Kevin Whitacre as the new senior pastor. Kevin had served the past two years as associate pastor, and had led the church since April, when founding pastor Tim Hallman took a position with the Fort Wayne YMCA.

Anchor made it a celebrative time. At the beginning of the service, the Whitacre family was brought to the front of the church. As board chair Tomi Cardin read the official appointment from Bishop Todd Fetters, a number of things happened. People stood to clap and cheer. People distributed leis. Balloons streamed from the balcony, to be batted around by the congregation. Flowers were presented to Christia Whitacre, and gifts were presented to both children.

After things calmed down, the Anchor board (called the Anchor Resource Team) came forward to lay hands on the new pastoral family as Tomi Cardin prayed over them. Then the congregation went on with the service (Kevin preached wearing his lei). After the service, cakes awaited in the lobby.

Participants in the baptisms. Pastor Kevin Whitacre is on the right.

Participants in the baptisms. Pastor Kevin Whitacre is on the right.

Watching from the shore.

Watching from the shore.

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Kevin Whitacre (right) and Tomi Cardin (left) conduct one of the eight baptisms.

Kevin Whitacre (right) and Tomi Cardin (left) conduct one of the eight baptisms.

Anchor UB church (Fort Wayne, Ind.) held its annual baptismal service and church picnic on Sunday, June 5. After the morning service at the church, the congregation adjourned to the home of parishioners whose property includes a large pond.

Eight persons were baptized. Associate pastor Kevin Whitacre, who is leading the church until a senior pastor is officially assigned (following the departure of former pastor Tim Hallman in April), conducted the baptisms. He was assisted by Tomi Cardin, who chairs the church’s administrative board. She is also executive director of Redemption House, a faith-based alternative to incarceration for women; six of the women baptized were residents of Redemption House.

After the baptisms, everyone stuck around for a potluck, volleyball, swimming and more. Fortunately, the forecasts of rain proved wrong.

Dedication of the new parsonage at Brooklyn Park.

Dedication of the new parsonage at Brooklyn Park.

The fire-ravaged parsonage at Brooklyn Park.

The previous parsonage after the tragic fire.

On April 17, Brooklyn Park UB church (Baltimore, Md.) dedicated its rebuilt parsonage. Pastor Samuel Sinnah and his son, Joseph, planned to move in as soon as the county granted a permit for occupancy.

The parsonage burned on February 10, 2015, claiming three lives: Mrs. Letitia Sinnah, 17-year-old son Sundima Sinnah, and a neighbor, Christopher Rickman, who tried to help.

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Vicki McKeown, First UB church, Holly Hill, Fla.

With Deronda Meyer’s original script and Pastor Matt McKeown’s original music, our cast and crew blessed our church and community with five performances of “Grave Dance.” The resurrection story is told from the prospective of transformed Zacchaeus, the families in Jerusalem, the adultress thrown at Jesus’ feet, and the disciples. As the resurrected Savior comes out of the tomb, the audience is thrilled to see him dance in joy and victory over the grave.

Harold Hancock, New Hope UB church (Camden, Mich.)

On Maundy Thursday, our weekly prayer group met as usual. We were expecting the regular prayer time. When we arrived, the communion set was on the table and Pastor Travis Ambrose told us that since it was Maundy Thursday, we were going to take communion as the disciples did with Jesus on that day.

We had a time of silent prayer and then took communion together, followed by our regular prayer time. After ending our time there, we went into the Sanctuary and prayed over every pew and the entire sanctuary asking for God’s blessings on our Sunday service.

On Sunday morning, we were blessed to have many people there who had not been in our church for years. We are so thankful that one of our ladies and Pastor Travis were on the same page about communion on that special day.

Randy Magnus (right), senior pastor, Roseville UB church (Roseville, Ontario)

For decades Roseville UB Church has partnered with Grace United Church around the corner (it used to be Evangelical United Brethren) to do an Easter sunrise service and breakfast. Normal attendance was 40-45 with 10-15 from our church. Grace closed last June, so we prayed about what to do on Easter this year.

Gerry Drews, our Men’s Ministry coordinator, suggested we move our scheduled men’s breakfast from March 20 to 9 am on Easter Sunday, and open it up to everyone. We had 112 show up for breakfast (our average attendance is about 90). Joel Plato, one of our young adults, gave a presentation about a mission trip he had participated in with Power to Change.

We then moved upstairs for our Easter worship celebration and focused on Jesus as the Giver of Life. With several more visitors in the crowd, we topped 120. Best of all, we had two adults make a decision to follow Christ! What a great day!

Tell us about the Easter season at your church.

A crowded sanctuary at Mt. Hermon UB on Easter Sunday.

A crowded sanctuary at Mt. Hermon UB on Easter Sunday.

Adam Will, senior pastor, Mount Hermon UB Church (Pomeroy, Ohio)

At Mount Hermon, we began our Easter Sunday with a breakfast that was well attended. We then had a packed worship service with many guests and people who have not been frequently attending for some time. We had nearly 40 kids in our children’s ministry, who had an egg hunt following the service.

This year we used the Easter season not so much to be an outreach to those who aren’t saved, but to reach out to those who have “given up” on church. We really hit home how the resurrection is still relevant for us as Christ followers today.

Tell us about the Easter season at your church.