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).

The UB Executive Leadership Team met on December 9 with the Missionary Church Transition Team. A process for joining the two denominations was agreed upon, and 36 questions which have arisen in United Brethren circles were discussed. On most of those issues, statements were agreed upon, and will be published here around mid-December. A mailing to United Brethren ministers is being prepared. The material–including all of the agreed-upon statements–will then be published on the website.

On October 13, the UB Executive Leadership Team and the conference superintendents held a special meeting in Huntington, Ind., to consider options for the future of the United Brethren church. A special study committee, having studied several options, recommended that we pursue joining with the Missionary Church, an evangelical denomination based in Fort Wayne, Ind. After meeting with the superintendents on October 13, the ELT voted unanimously to pursue joining with the Missionary Church.

This set into motion a two-year process which will require affirmation by the US National Board in April 2004, a positive vote in a referendum by the UB constituency in October 2004, and a two-thirds vote by the US National Conference in June 2005. Only the US National Conference can make the official final decision. Much discussion about this is occurring online on the UB Discussion Board. Various resources will be posted here.

Sue Cherry has been the “voice of the UB Headquarters” for 24 years. It was in 1979 that she began serving as receptionist. So when people called, her voice was usually the first voice they heard.

Sue concluded her service at the UB Headquarters at the end of August. She has been greatly appreciated, and will be missed.

Sue is the husband of Dr. Howard Cherry. They pastored several UB churches before Dr. Cherry joined the staff of the Huntington College Graduate School of Christian Ministries in 1979. They will remain active in various types of ministry.

This photo of the International Executive Committee was taken at the 2001 General Conference. L-r: Gary Dilley, Paul Hirschy, Francisco Raudales, Brian Magnus, Juan Pavon, Joe Bob Amara (then superintendent in Sierra Leone), Lloyd Spencer (then superintendent in Jamaica), and Peter Lee.

The International Executive Committee met September 15-16 at the Daytona UB church in Holly Hill. This group consists of the top leader from each UB national conference. The persons attending included:

* Sierra Leone: Albert Beckley, General Superintendent.
* Jamaica: Winston Smith, Superintendent.
* Honduras: Francisco Raudales, Superintendent.
* Nicaragua: Juan Pavon, Superintendent.
* Canada: Brian Magnus, Bishop.
* United States: Paul Hirschy, Bishop.
* Hong Kong: Peter Lee, Superintendent.

Also attending was Gary Dilley, the US Director of Global Ministries.

This was the first meeting of the International Executive Committee. The committee was established as part of the new international structure at the 2001 General Conference.

Brian Magnus, Bishop of the UB Church in Canada, was named chairperson of the IEC.

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.

Marda Hoffman is retiring after 24 years as the denominational Finance Director. In addition to overseeing all of the financial operations at the UB Headquarters in Huntington, Ind., she has provided all kinds of help over the years to local church pastors and treasurers. She has also filled the role of Office Manager for the UB Headquarters. Marda’s last day of work will be May 31. Her knowledge, expertise, and commitment to the UB church will be greatly missed. Marda and her husband, Jim, have a lakeside home in northern Michigan, but will continue living in Huntington for now.

The Women’s Ministry Leadership Team has completed its first year. Kathy Bruce, who chairs the team, reports, “It was a busy year, as we got established and focused, and began meeting women’s leaders in our UB churches. We hope to bring that focus and encouragement to the local women’s leaders even more in 2003. Here are some of the things we have done:

  • “We identified our focus to be “Women Equipping Women.”
  • “Representatives of the WMLT attended most attended annual conference meetings. We set up a resource table and began contacting women’s leaders.
  • “We established our own website, ubwomen.org, for information, resources, and an email system for contacting individuals.
  • “We set up an internet bulletin board for swapping ideas, and have had a very successful response of women writing in with questions and ideas.
  • “We distributed our first Women’s Ministry Newsletter to each church and to our email contact list. It is a resource for fresh ideas and encouragement.
  • “We have called or written each UB church, attempting to identify a women’s contact in each of the UB churches nationwide.
  • “The WMLT members completed training in the Sonlife Strategy and Advanced 1 for Women’s Ministry leaders. We plan to begin teaching this biblical approach at our July conference and then locally for women’s groups.
  • “We established networks with women’s ministry leaders in other denominations to share ideas and strategies
  • “We are now planning for the National Women’s Conference, to be held July 25-27, 2003, at Huntington College in Huntington, Ind. The theme is, “Women Equipping Women: His Plan, His Way, His Glory.”
  • “We have also started to plan for the International UB Conference in 2005.

“We do ask again for your financial support and prayer in that effort. We ask that UB women support the ministry by giving $20.03 in 2003. These funds will be used to provide training, sponsor future conferences, and increase our resources to be Women Equipping Women in the United Brethren Church, nationwide. Send to: WMLT, 302 Lake St., Huntington, Ind. 46750.”