Bishop Todd Fetters speaking to the cluster leaders on Monday night.

Bishop Todd Fetters speaking to the cluster leaders on Monday night.

Twenty cluster leaders came to Huntington University for the 2017 Cluster Leader Winter Gathering. The event started on Monday night, January 16, with a meal and service. It continued Tuesday morning with a short message from Bishop Todd Fetters, followed by a time of leadership training led by Mike Dittman, Director of National Ministries.

Two cluster leaders are retiring as pastors during January. Charlie Milliken retired on January 8 after 29 years as a United Brethren minister, including 1995-2017 at the UB church in Franklintown, Pa. Marshall Woods is retiring as of January 29 after 16 years as pastor of Mill Chapel in Reedsville, W. Va.

Bishop Todd Fetters recognized both men on Monday night, and there was a prayer time as these men and their wives enter this new period of their lives.

Here are some photos from the Winter Gathering.

Dr. Sherilyn Emberton, president of Huntington University, welcomes the cluster leaders on Monday night.

Dr. Sherilyn Emberton, president of Huntington University, welcomes the cluster leaders on Monday night.

Matthew and Emilyn Hann, from College Park UB church, led a time of singing on Monday night.

Matthew and Emilyn Hann, from College Park UB church, led a time of singing on Monday night.

Mike Dittman talking to the cluster leaders.

Mike Dittman talking to the cluster leaders.

Todd Fetters presenting a gift of appreciation to Charlie and Paula Milliken.

Todd Fetters presenting a gift of appreciation to Charlie and Paula Milliken.

Praying for Charlie and Paula Milliken, who have retired after 29 years of pastoral ministry.

Praying for Charlie and Paula Milliken, who have retired after 29 years of pastoral ministry.

Todd Fetters and Marshall Woods.

Todd Fetters and Marshall Woods, who is retiring after 16 years of pastoral ministry.

Jeff Bleijerveld praying for Marshall Woods, one of the two cluster leaders who is retiring as pastor.

Jeff Bleijerveld praying for Marshall Woods, one of the two cluster leaders who is retiring as pastor.

David Kline, associate director of Global Ministries, told about upcoming regional Ignite! conferences sponsored by Global Ministries.

David Kline, associate director of Global Ministries, told about upcoming regional Ignite! conferences sponsored by Global Ministries.

Mike Dittman, Director of National Ministries, led the training time on Tuesday morning.

Mike Dittman, Director of National Ministries, led the training time on Tuesday morning.

Todd Fetters (right), Bishop, US National Conference

The 2017 US National Conference will meet next summer, July 12-15, in Lancaster, Pa., where our denomination began 250 years ago. We have reserved the afternoons for special activities surrounding our 250th anniversary. For that reason, we want to limit the business session to Thursday morning, 8 am to noon. Center stage will be important proposals from the Task Force on Human Sexuality (which are still being finalized).

We invite United Brethren members and churches to submit proposals they would like the National Conference to consider in 2017. Proposals normally involve revisions to the United Brethren Discipline, but may include other issues. However, in light of the anniversary, we will limit what gets passed along. The bishop, in collaboration with the Executive Leadership Team, will decide the urgency of the proposals; some can no doubt wait until 2019. But we do want to open the door to your ideas.

The Executive Leadership Team set the following schedule regarding proposals for the 2017 US National Conference.

  • March 1, 2017. Deadline for submitting proposals to the Bishop’s Office.
  • April 25, 2017. The Executive Leadership Team reviews the proposals.
  • May 1, 2017. A draft of the approved proposals is posted on the national conference website.
  • May 2017. The draft proposals are discussed in regional meetings.
  • June 10, 2017. A final version of all proposals is posted on the conference website.

In submitting proposals for revising the Discipline, here are a few guidelines:

  1. For revisions to existing content: submit the exact wording you would like to see used (rather than just a general idea), along with the paragraph number. Indicate exactly where it should be placed in the Discipline (chapter and paragraph number).
  2. Include a brief statement of the rationale for making the revision. A sentence or two is usually sufficient.

As a reference, here is a proposal from a previous conference.

Chapter 14, Churches in Crisis
Intent: Place closing a church in the hands of the local board, instead of the local conference.

Current wording:
3. Closing the Church
The final decision will be made by the local conference. When that decision is made, the following actions will occur:

New wording:
3. Closing the Church
The final decision will be made by the local board. When that decision is made, the following actions will occur:

For non-Discipline proposals, include a description of what you want to see done (perhaps in the form of a motion, if appropriate), along with rationale.

Send all proposals to my administrative assistant, Cathy Reich:

Email: cathy@ub.org
Surface mail: 302 Lake Street, Huntington, IN 46750.

The current Discipline can be found at ub.org/discipline. You can read it online or download a PDF copy. If you attend one of the regional meetings, and certainly if you attend National Conference, I recommend that you print out a copy for yourself.

I look forward to seeing you next summer in Lancaster.

Trust God More!

Details have been set for the 2017 UB Youth Workers Summit.

Date: April 24-28, 2017
Hotel: Hilton Gardens Inn
Address: 2560 N. Atlantic Ave., Daytona Beach, FL 32118

This is an annual event of encouragement and training for persons in youth ministry. It is available for the lead youth ministry workers (fulltime, part-time, or volunteer) in every United Brethren church. About 25 youth persons usually attend.

The Summit is a great time of networking with other youth leaders and being encouraged by others who are in the trenches of youth ministry. They enjoy the beach, the golf course, and incredibly beautiful weather, along with the chance to slow down and step away from the constant demands of youth ministry.

Looking ahead: The 2018 Youth Summit will be held April 23-26, 2018, in Daytona Beach, Fla.

Matt McKeown from First UB church in Holly Hill, Fla., leads a time of worship.

Matt McKeown from First UB church in Holly Hill, Fla., leads a time of worship.

Jeff Bleijerveld, Director of Global Ministries

Fifteen ministry couples are gathered in Daytona Beach for fellowship, relaxation, and mutual stimulation. Yesterday, we dealt with the question of our heart’s condition, spiritual disciplines, and cultivating friendship while ministering to others. Today we’re wrestling with numerous cultural shifts and how our principles and values may need to be expressed in new ways so that the mission of God, to make and multiply disciples, remains at the forefront of our ministries.

A Pastoral Resource Day will be held November 6-7, 2016, at Rhodes Grove Camp & Conference Center in Chambersburg, Pa. This event is sponsored by the United Brethren Association, the United Brethren denomination, and Rhodes Grove Camp. This year’s theme is “UB Connected.”

The event begins at 3 pm on Sunday, November 6. Bishop Todd Fetters will speak at 6:30 on “Gospel: Spiritually Alive.”

At 9 am on Monday, Mike Dittman, director of National Ministries, will speak on “Unity: Relationally Connected.” Then Jeff Bleijerveld, director of Global Ministries, will speak at 10:15 on “Mission: Missionally Engaged.”

A Pastors & Wives Summit is underway in Daytona Beach, Fla., with 32 people attending. They include 13 senior pastor and spouses from churches of 300+ attendance. They are joined by three couples from the National Office: Bishop Todd and Lisa Fetters, Global Ministries director Jeff and Charlene Bleijerveld, and National Ministries director Mike and Pam Dittman. The event began Monday night and will conclude on Thursday.

L-r: Bob Bruce, Jeff Lawson, Brandon Groff, Christine Augustat, and Holly Lutton.

L-r: Bob Bruce, Jeff Lawson, Brandon Groff, Christine Augustat, and Holly Lutton.

A United Brethren History Course was held October 10-11 at the National Office in Huntington, Ind. Bob Bruce, Pastor of Caring Ministries at Emmanuel Community Church (Fort Wayne, Ind.), taught the course to four students—one senior pastor, and three staff ministers.:

  • Jeff Lawson, lead pastor of Hopewell UB church (Auburn, Ind.).
  • Brandon Groff, a Huntington University graduate who is now Student Pastor at Fowlerville UB church (Fowlerville, Mich.).
  • Christine Augustat, Children’s Pastor at Fowlerville UB church (Fowlerville, Mich.).
  • Holly Lutton, a Huntington University graduate who is Youth Ministry Assistant at College Park UB church (Huntington, Ind.).

The UB History course will be taught October 10-11, 2016, at the UB national office in Huntington, Ind. This course is a requirement for ministerial licensing. However, people who just want to learn more about United Brethren history are free to take the course.

Go here for complete information and to register.

Date: October 10-11, 2016.
Time: 9 am – 4 pm each day.
Location: United Brethren National Office.
Address: 302 Lake Street, Huntington, IN 46750.

Instructor
The instructor is Bob Bruce (right), associate pastor of Emmanuel UB church (Fort Wayne, Ind.).

Registration

  • $200, if you are seeking a ministerial license. There is a $25 discount if you pay fully in advance of the class, making your cost just $175.
  • $100 for everyone else.

Lodging
Lodging can be secured at the Comfort Inn Huntington for $95 per night plus taxes. You can request a reservation through the online registration form.

This course is held periodically in regional settings. During the past four years, 125 people have attended the course in about 20 different locations.

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There is still time to register for the UB Women’s Conference, September 30 – October 1. The room cost did not increase, as previously announced. Room rates for two nights are based on the number of persons sharing the room. The costs are:

Quad occupancy: $120 per person.
Triple Occupancy: $145 per person.
Double Occupancy: $195 per person.
Single Occupancy: $335 per person.

The event fee is still $75.

Join Other Women on the Bus!

If you need a ride to Gettysburg, the Emmanuel bus still has a few seats. All you have to do is park your car at Emmanuel Community Church in Fort Wayne, Ind. The cost of the two-way, 500-mile trip is just $25.

Bishop Todd Fetters speaking to the afternoon gathering.

Bishop Todd Fetters speaking to the afternoon gathering at King Street church in Chambersburg, Pa.

Bishop Todd Fetters.

Bishop Todd Fetters.

Mike Dittman led the morning session with cluster leaders from the East region.

Mike Dittman led the morning session with cluster leaders from the East region.

Bishop Todd Fetters and Mike Dittman, director of National Ministries, held four regional meetings this summer with pastors, spouses, and laypersons. They all followed the same format: a meeting with cluster leaders in the morning, followed by lunch and an afternoon meetings with pastors, spouses, and key laypersons.

The final regional meeting was held August 8 at King Street UB church in Chambersburg, Pa. Above are some photos from that event.