The US National Conference, celebrating the 250th anniversary of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, is just one week away. The conference opens on Wednesday, July 12, and continues until Saturday morning, July 15. Currently, 842 people are registered.

The evening sessions will feature not one, but two different speakers, both of whom will address aspects of that night’s theme. The bishop-elect will speak on Saturday morning.

We are meeting in Lancaster, Pa. That’s where the United Brethren church began. There are several sites of historical interest, including Long’s Barn, where founders William Otterbein and Martin Boehm first met. There will be free excursions, by shuttle bus, to these locations on Thursday afternoon, and on Friday morning and afternoon.

A lot of other great things are planned for this historic conference.

Business Session Reports Available
The business session begins with a 7:30 breakfast, which delegates and advisory members are required to attend. It is sponsored by UB Global. The breakfast transitions into the business session, which begins at 8:30. The election of bishop and members of the Executive Leadership Team will occur very early in the meeting.

Anyone can attend the business session. Only delegates can speak and vote, and they must sit within the designated area.

Most of the reports for the business session are now available online. You can download all of them as PDF files, and most can be viewed online.

Participants may also want to download the UB Discipline.

International Delegates
Nineteen international guests are joining us for our national conference. They represent United Brethren national conferences and mission districts from around the world–Nicaragua, Honduras, Haiti, Hong Kong, Germany, Liberia, Jamaica, India, China, Sierra Leone, Macau, and Canada. They will then go to Chambersburg, Pa., for the international General Conference meeting on Sunday and Monday.

Global Ministries invites attendees to spend time with these international delegates over a lunch or dinner, or otherwise get acquainted. You are welcome to make arrangements with them during conference, or you can set up a meal with them by contacting Jeff Bleijerveld at jeff@ub.org. This is a great opportunity to learn about United Brethren ministry in other parts of the world.

Afternoon Historical Excursions
Twelve historical tours are scheduled on Thursday and Friday. Charter buses will provide transportation. The tours are free, but you must get a ticket at the conference registration table.

There are 11 opportunities to take a two-hour tour of Boehm’s Chapel and Isaac Long’s Barn.

  • Thursday: 11:30 am, 1:00 pm, 2:00 pm, 3:30 pm.
  • Friday: 10:00 am, 10:15 am, 10:30 am, 1:00 pm, 1:15 pm, 3:30 pm, 3:45 pm.

One four-hour tour, at 1:00 Friday afternoon, also includes Byerland Mennonite Church (Boehm’s home church), and First Reformed Church (which Otterbein pastored).

Buses load ten minutes prior to the scheduled departure time and will leave on time.

Thursday: Just for Women
Women who aren’t involved in the business session are invited to take part in a breakfast/devotional, followed by one of three different excursions.

An optional breakfast, with speaker Christy Cabe, starts at 8 am. Breakfast tickets can be purchased for $5.

Three different excursions begin at 9:00 or 10:00.

  1. Go shopping at the Tanger Outlet mall. Shuttles leave at 9 am.
  2. Visit the Biblical Tabernacle Reproduction, a full-size version of Moses’ tabernacle in the Wilderness. Shuttles leave at 10 am. Cost: $7.50.
  3. Take the Historic Lancaster Walking Tour, a 90-minute tour of over 30 locations in downtown Lancaster. Meet at 10 am in the hotel lobby. Cost: $6.

Youth

  • Huntington University will sponsor a Pizza Outing for high schoolers after the Wednesday service.
  • Youth will spend Thursday at Hershey Park. The bus leaves at 9 am and returns at 6 pm. UB youth workers will chaperone for junior high. Huntington University will chaperone for senior high, and pay their entrance fee.
  • HU will host workshops for youth on Friday morning in the Exhibit hall.

Nursery & Children
Childcare will be provided up through grade 5 during all worship services, and on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday mornings. The conference childcare director is Rebecca Hann from King Street Church. The age breakdowns are: 0-2 (infants), ages 3-5, grades 1-3, and grades 4-5.

  • Wednesday, Thursday, Friday: 6:15 – 8 pm (services).
  • Thursday: 7:15 am – noon (business, women’s track).
  • Friday: 8:45 am – noon (workshops).
  • Saturday: 8:45 – 11 am (closing service).

People can bring their children 15 minutes before the event starts, and must retrieve their children immediately after the event.

Onsite Options for Meals
A continental breakfast will be served 6:30-8:30 am Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in the Exhibit hall. The per-day cost is $5 cash. A ticket is required.

On Thursday, participants can take their breakfast to the observation tables in the Business session or to the Women’s Devotional.

Schedule
Registration begins at 2 pm on Wednesday, July 12. The first event of the conference is the evening service, which begins at 6:30. All three evening services begin at 6:30.

Here is some information about the upcoming US National Conference, July 12-15 in Lancaster, Pa.

Women’s Missionary Fellowship Recognition
On Friday night, a ten minute video will be shown to recognize the role of the Women’s Missionary Fellowship throughout our history. The WMF is being discontinued as an official organization, but Global Ministries wants to honor it’s enormous contributions over the years to United Brethren missions.

Historical Tours
On Thursday and Friday (July 13 and 14), shuttle buses will take people to either two or four sites of historical significance to the United Brethren church. The tours are free, but you will need a ticket. Tickets will be available at the conference registration table.

  • Isaac Long’s Barn. This barn, built during the 1750s, is where it all began—the place where William Otterbein and Martin Boehm met and began working together.
  • Boehm’s Chapel. Martin Boehm built this church on his own property, overlooking the Boehm homestead. The gravesites of Martin and Eva Boehm are located here.
  • Byerland Mennonite Church. This is Martin Boehm’s home congregation.
  • First Reformed Church. This was William Otterbein’s charge when he started working with Boehm.

A morning option will accommodate local UB churches that want to send their constituents.

You will have 11 opportunities to take a two-hour tour of Boehm’s Chapel and Isaac Long’s Barn. Here are the departure times from the convention center:

  • Thursday: 11:30 am, 1:00 pm, 2:00 pm, 3:30 pm.
  • Friday: 10:00 am, 10:15 am, 10:30 am, 1:00 pm, 1:15 pm, 3:30 pm, 3:45 pm.

On Friday afternoon, there will be a four-hour tour of all four sites—Long’s Barn, Boehm’s chapel, Byerland Mennonite Church, and First Reformed Church. It departs from the convention center at 1:00 p.m.

Charter buses will provide transportation. You may bring food or drink with you on the bus.

Thursday Delegate Breakfast
Churches have registered their ministerial and lay delegates. If you need to make a change regarding the personnel attending the business session, please contact Marci Hammel at marci@ub.org or (888-622-3019, ext. 308) as soon as possible.

All ministerial and lay delegates and advisory members are required to attend the breakfast at 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, July 13. The breakfast is being sponsored by Global Ministries, which will be charged for the meal whether you attend or not. Please attend at 8:00 for the breakfast and presentation. We appreciateGlobal Ministries providing this meal as a start to the day’s Business session.

Friday Retiree Breakfast
A breakfast for retired ministers, spouses, and widows will be held at 8:00 a.m. on Friday, July 13. This breakfast is by reservation only. A limited number of sets are still available. Contact Judy Dyer at judy@ub.org or by phone (888-622-3019, ext. 313).

Thursday Morning Women’s Excursions
Three excursions are planned for Thursday morning for women who are not participating in the Business session: the Tabernacle Reproduction, the Tanger Outlet Mall, and a Walking Tour of downtown Lancaster. Descriptions of the excursions are here.

The morning starts at 8:00 am. Women will meet for breakfast ($5 ticket required) and devotions by Christy Cabe. Buses leave for the Tabernacle Reproduction and Tanger Outlets excursions at 9:00 am, and the Walking Tour starts at 10:00 am.

The 2017 US National Conference is just five weeks away. Registrations have now hit 760 (135 of them children), and we’ll soon hit 800. At this point, about 50 UB churches in the United States have not yet registered anybody for this historic 250th anniversary conference.

Although the conference hotel is filled up, we have secured a block of 25 rooms at the Heritage Hotel in Lancaster, about six miles away. The Heritage will honor our conference $125 (plus tax) rate. Please contact the Heritage Hotel directly to make reservations. Call 1-800-223-8963 extension 1580 for Resort Sales. Let them know you are registering as part of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ (National Conference).

Many other hotels are located in the Lancaster area. You are free to make reservations anywhere you’d like. However, you’ll still need to register for the conference itself.

Registration

You can register using the links here. Costs:

  • Individual full conference: $75
  • Family full conference: $125
  • Day only: $40

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Jonah: Sight & Sound Theater

The National Office has purchased a block of tickets for the Saturday afternoon, July 15, performance of “Jonah” at the Sight and Sound Theatre in Lancaster, Pa. The theater is located nine miles from the conference center.

Thus far, 42 people have signed up. We still have 28 tickets. You need to sign up by June 15.

The conference will conclude around 11:00 Saturday morning. The show starts at 3:00 pm.

Make plans to extend your visit to Lancaster by joining us for this fantastic production! All tickets are on a first-come, first-paid, first-serve basis. Adult tickets are $75 and children (ages 3-12) are $35.

 

Keynote Speakers
During the Great Meeting of 1767 at Long’s Barn, Martin Boehm was preaching inside the barn while another minister was preaching in the orchard outside. Somewhat in that tradition, we will have two speakers each night. They will each address an aspect of that night’s theme. The opening night speakers will be Dennis Miller, senior pastor of Emmanuel Community Church (Fort Wayne, Ind.), and Jody Bowser, senior pastor of King Street UB church (Chambersburg, Pa.).

All of the keynote speakers are from the United Brethren world.

Workshops
Friday morning will feature three rounds of workshops–some with a historical bent, some designed especially for women, plus workshops on a number of other subjects. You can read about the workshops here–the time slots, titles, and presenters.

A breakfast for retired ministers and spouses will also be held Friday morning.

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The National Office has purchased a block of tickets for the Saturday afternoon, July 15, performance of “Jonah” at the Sight and Sound Theatre in Lancaster, Pa. The theater is located nine miles from the conference center.

Thus far, 42 people have signed up. We still have 28 tickets. You need to sign up by June 15.

The conference will conclude around 11:00 Saturday morning. The show starts at 3:00 pm.

Make plans to extend your visit to Lancaster by joining us for this fantastic production! All tickets are on a first-come, first-paid, first-serve basis. Adult tickets are $75 and children (ages 3-12) are $35.

 

Bishop Todd Fetters will lead an Online Regional Review meeting to discuss the upcoming US National Conference and review items of business which will come before the conference. This is especially designed for ministers and lay delegates who were unable to attend one of the regional meetings held during May in Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

Date: Monday, June 5, 2017
Time: 4:00 pm – 5:15 pm.

The meeting will cover the same ground that the three geographic meetings covered during May. Dr. Luke Fetters and Mark Vincenti will present the proposals from the Human Sexuality Task Force. Rocky Spear will present the report of the Nominating Committee.

The online meeting is open to the first 100 registrants. You can register here.

You will want to read or download the reports from the Human Sexuality Task Force and the Nominating Committee. They are available here.

For the meeting, you will need to submit questions ahead of time by email. Send your questions to Administrative Assistant Cathy Reich at: cathy@ub.org.

How to Connect to the Online Meeting

You can join the meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone. Start by going here.

You can also dial in using your phone and just listen to the audio.

United States: +1 (224) 501-3412
Access Code: 746-479-637

First GoToMeeting? Try a test session: https://care.citrixonline.com/g2m/getready

The crowd at Rhodes Grove Camp.

The crowd at Rhodes Grove Camp.

Bishop Todd Fetters (left) and members of the Human Sexuality Task Force ( l-r): Luke Fetters, Anthony Blair, and Mark Vincenti.

Bishop Todd Fetters (left) and members of the Human Sexuality Task Force ( l-r): Luke Fetters, Anthony Blair, and Mark Vincenti.

The crowd at Rhodes Grove Camp.

The crowd at Rhodes Grove Camp.

L-r: Task force members Luke Fetters, Anthony Blair, and Mark Vincenti.

L-r: Task force members Luke Fetters, Anthony Blair, and Mark Vincenti.

Attendees praying to conclude the meeting.

Attendees praying to conclude the meeting.

Attendees praying to conclude the meeting.

Attendees praying to conclude the meeting.

The final Regional Meeting was held Monday, May 22, at Rhodes Grove Camp in Chambersburg, Pa. A total of 77 persons showed up to hear information about the July 12-15 US National Conference.

Bishop Todd Fetters talked about various things which would be happening at the conference. Dennis Sites presented the report of the Nominating Committee. Then three members of the Human Sexuality Task Force–chairman Luke Fetters and members Anthony Blair and Mark Vincenti–discussed their report and fielded questions. The morning concluded with a prayer time.

A meeting had been scheduled for the evening of May 23 in Lancaster, Ohio, but was cancelled.

The meeting at Praise Point UB church in Willshire, Ohio, on June 17, 2017.

The meeting at Praise Point UB church in Willshire, Ohio, on June 17, 2017.

L-r: Bishop Todd Fetters, task force chairperson Luke Fetters, and task force member Mark Vincenti.

L-r: Bishop Todd Fetters, task force chairperson Luke Fetters, and task force member Mark Vincenti.

Rocky Spear, chairman of the Nominating Committee, rode his Harley down from Woodland, Mich., to speak to the Ohio group.

Rocky Spear, chairman of the Nominating Committee, rode his Harley down from Woodland, Mich., to speak to the Ohio group.

About 62 people attended the Regional Meeting held May 17 at Praise Point UB church in Willshire, Ohio. It followed the same basic format as the meeting Monday in Sunfield, Mich. Attendees spent much time interacting over the proposals from the Human Sexuality Task Force.

Two more meetings will be held: May 22 in Chambersburg, Pa., and May 23 in Lancaster, Ohio. People are asked to sign up using the online form.

About 55 people attended the regional meeting on May 15 in Sunfield, Mich.

About 55 people attended the regional meeting on May 15 in Sunfield, Mich.

Bishop Todd Fetters at the Sunfield regional meeting.

Bishop Todd Fetters at the Sunfield regional meeting.

L-r: Task force members Joni Michaud, Luke Fetters, and Mark Vincenti.

L-r: Task force members Joni Michaud, Luke Fetters, and Mark Vincenti.

About 55 people gathered on May 15 at Sunfield UB church in Sunfield, Mich. It was the first of four regional meetings being held as a prelude to this summer’s US National Conference. Most of the people at Sunfield came from UB churches in Michigan, but there were a few from Indiana and Ohio.

Bishop Todd Fetters shared some information about the US National Conference and its significance as our 250th anniversary.

Rocky Spear, chairperson of the Nominating Committee, shared the National Conference ballot for bishop and Executive Leadership Team.

Most of the meeting was devoted to the report of the Human Sexuality Task Force. Three members were present: Luke Fetters (chair), Joni Michaud, and Mark Vincenti. After an introduction of the report by Luke Fetters, the task force members answered questions from the attendees.

The next regional meeting will be held Wednesday, May 17, at Praise Point UB church in Willshire, Ohio. Next week, regional meetings will be held May 22 at Rhodes Grove Camp (Chambersburg, Pa.) and on May 23 at Lancaster UB church (Lancaster, Ohio). These meetings will follow the same format as the Sunfield meeting. Bishop Fetters, Luke Fetters, and Mark Vincenti will attend all three. Sign up here.

Todd H. Fetters, Bishop, US National Conference

With National Conference 2017 soon upon us, we will gather to celebrate our 250th Anniversary. Now, that’s an historic milestone as the first denomination born on American soil.

In anticipation of this historic US National Conference, four regional meetings will be held to promote the events of National Conference, review the ballot for bishop and Executive Leadership Team members, and review the proposals for Discipline revision.

Regional Meetings

The regional meetings will be held as follows:

  • Monday, May 15 – Sunfield UB (Sunfield, MI). 9:00 – 11:30 am. Address: 8436 W Grand Ledge Highway, Sunfield, MI 48890
  • Wednesday, May 17. Praise Point (Willshire, OH). 9:00 – 11:30 am. Address: 555 Decatur Rd, Willshire, OH 45898
  • Monday, May 22 – Rhodes Grove Camp & Conference Center (Greencastle, PA). 9:00 – 11:30 am. Address: 7693 Brown’s Mill Road, Chambersburg, PA 17202
  • Tuesday, May 23 – Lancaster UB (Lancaster, OH). 6:30 – 9:00 pm. Address: 1125 Pleasantville Rd, Lancaster, OH 43130

These regional meetings are designed to facilitate questions and answers, specifically about the Discipline revisions proposed by the Human Sexuality Task Force. (ub.org/ncreports). Dr. Luke Fetters, HSTF chair, will be at each meeting to talk about the report, answer questions, and receive feedback. Other members of the HSTF will attend meetings closer to their region.

If you haven’t registered for a regional meeting, you can do so here:
ub.org/2017-regional-meetings/

About the Human Sexuality Task Force Report

I want to thank Dr. Luke Fetters and the members of the task force. They have labored for nearly two years on their report. It represents deep biblical and theological thinking, energetic and humble discussion, and collaborative and unified decision-making. In April, the Executive Leadership Team received and reviewed the report, and greenlighted it for National Conference consideration.

You can download the HSTF report here: ub.org/ncreports

About the National Conference Business Session

The business for National Conference will focus exclusively on the proposals from the HSTF report. No other items of Discipline revision will be presented. Our business session will begin Thursday, July 13, with breakfast at 7:30 am. We will call the meeting to order promptly at 9:00 am and conclude at 12:00 pm. Business is limited to these three hours so that our afternoon is free for folks to enjoy tours to historic sites around Lancaster.

I look forward to seeing you at one of our regional meetings. Please pray that the Lord will continue to bless the ministry and movement of the United Brethren in Christ.

Let the Wind Blow! (John 3:8)

From Global Ministries

“After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken” (Acts 4:31a).

There are two opportunities in the coming weeks to support our UB missionaries in their spiritual battles. We will be gathering and having Scripture guide us in praying for Thailand and Sierra Leone. If you can’t join us physically, we invite you to do so right where you are. But if you can, come be a part of a powerful time of gathering!

If you’re interested in prayer resources and/or hosting similar future prayer gatherings for UB missionaries, let us know by sending an email to info@ubglobal.org.

Thailand: 7-8 pm on Thursday, May 11. Location: Emmanuel Community Church in Fort Wayne, Ind. The event will be held in the Galatians Room. Address: 12222 Us Highway 24 W, Fort Wayne, Ind.

Sierra Leone: 6:30 – 7:30 pm on Wednesday, May 17.
Location: Corunna UB Church in Corunna, Ind. Address: 315 South Bridge Street, Corunna, Ind.