Terrence L. Bakner Sr., 80, passed away on March 12, 2019, in Chambersburg, Pa. He was a former United Brethren minister in Pennsylvania, including at Blue Rock UB church in Waynesboro. He was also a graduate of Huntington University.

Gary Dilley (right) resigned as senior pastor of College Park UB church (Huntington, Ind.), effective February 17, 2019. He had been pastor of College Park since 2008. Dilley has been a UB minister since 1980, and served seven years, 2001-2008, as Director of Missions. He is also currently a member of the denominational Executive Leadership Team.

Effective February 25, Dilley began a three-month interim assignment as senior pastor of Findlay First UB church (Findlay, Ohio). He takes the place of Dan Maas (right), who had pastored the church since July 2017 and resigned effective February 17. Bishop Todd Fetters preached at Findlay on February 24, and Gary Dilley started the next day.

Marc Stephenson was appointed senior pastor of First UB church in New Castle, Pa., effective January 1, 2019. Since 2012 he had been senior pastor of Mt. Olivet UB (Chambersburg, Pa.), and was youth pastor of Cochranton Community UB (Cochranton, Pa.) 2005-2012. Marc was ordained in 2007.

Steve and Amanda Henry and children.

Amanda Henry provided this update about her husband, Steve, who had heart surgery on Wednesday, February 27. Steve Henry is pastor of Victory Heights UB church in Franklin, Pa.

“Praise the Lord!!!! Steve is out of surgery! Everything went well. The surgeon decided to do a newer procedure to bypass Steve’s arch altogether. He made a couple of connections now, and in another month or so they will do a stint and finish the bypass then. That should be a small procedure. Right now we are waiting to see him. Thank you for all your prayers and support. This is still a long road to recovery after open heart.”

Says Bishop Todd Fetters, “Let’s keep on praying for Steve, Amanda, and the Henry family.”

Steve has suffered from Marfan Syndrome all his life, and has undergone five other major surgeries. He recently published a book, “Custom Scars,” which tells his story. It is available on Amazon. You can read more about the book, and his testimony, on this web page.

Mark Vincenti (right) has published a book titled Pursuing the Third Option: Following Jesus in a Polarized World. Mark, an ordained United Brethren minister, has served since 2011 as youth pastor of College Park UB church (Huntington, Ind.). Before that, he served 11 years as youth pastor of King Street UB church (Chambersburg, Pa.).

The back cover explains:

Are you tired of the relentless rhetoric trying to convince you that one extreme and problem-laden approach to an issue is superior to all others? Do you long to follow Jesus authentically, but wonder if the choices typically presented to you are the only real options? You are not alone….Pursuing the Third Option invites us to consider the possibility that there is another way to approach issues, one which Jesus, himself, option exemplified. It requires a rejection of polarized thinking and the embrace of nuance and opens up new possibilities for following Jesus in this polarized world. More than ever, we need a fresh paradigm to help us engage in a world full of complex issues.

The chapters tackle a variety of subjects–nuance, politics, the church, leadership, the body, sex, disciplines, and more.

Pursuing the Third Option is available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle editions.

The Pastoral Ministry Licensing Team (PMLT) has been busy this year approving and granting ministerial licenses to United Brethren people. Here are 17 new licensees from 2018.


L-r: Brad North, Philip Kandeh, Jerald Jones, Dan Reed, Curtis Carnes, Matt McKeown, and Josh McKeown.


National Conference Licenses

  • Brad North, appointed in April 2018 as senior pastor of South Scipio UB church (Harlan, Ind.).
  • Philip Kandeh, from Mt. Zion United African Church (Philadelphia, Pa.).
  • Jerald Jones, appointed in March 2018 as senior pastor of McCallum UB church (Delton, Mich.).
  • Dan Reed, Family Pastor since August 2016 at Bethel UB church (Elmore, Ohio).
  • Curtis Carnes, Pastor of Missional Discipleship at Renew Communities (Berea, Ohio).
  • Matt McKeown, associate pastor of First UB (Holly Hill, Fla.).
  • Josh McKeown, appointed in August 2017 as senior pastor of Faith UB (Port Orange, Fla.).

L-r: Don Swartz, Nik Walborn, and Brandon Groff.

Specialized Ministry licenses

  • Don Swartz, Executive Pastor at Dillman UB church (Warren, Ind.).
  • Nik Walborn, Student Ministries pastor at New Hope Community Church (Bryan, Ohio).
  • Brandon Groff, Student Ministry Pastor at Fowlerville UB church (Fowlerville, Mich.).

L-r: Nicholas Balsiger, Andrew Franks, Eric Griffon, Adam Keath, Lissa Litka, Julie Llewellyn, and Jason Peterson.

Provisional Licenses

  • Nickolas Balsiger, Associate Pastor of Discipleship & Student Ministries /Youth at The Well (Huntington, Ind.).
  • Andrew Franks, Youth Pastor at New Hope UB church (Huntington, Ind.).
  • Eric Griffon, Worship Pastor at Fowlerville UB church (Fowlerville, Mich.).
  • Adam Keath, Director of Restoration and Recovery at King Street UB church (Chambersburg, Pa.).
  • Lissa Litka, Spiritual Journey Director at Morning Star Church (Kokomo, Ind.).
  • Julie Llewellyn, Pastor of Early Childhood Ministries at Emmanuel Community Church (Fort Wayne, Ind.).
  • Jason Peterson, Children/Youth Pastor at Atlantic Avenue UB church (Franklin, Pa.).

L-r: Dennis Wood, Linton Thomas, Gary Small, Marvin Schwartz.

Rev. Dennis Wood was appointed senior pastor of Park UB church (Bluffton, Ind.) effective July 29, 2018. The previous pastor, John Cole, had served there since 2010.

Gary Small is serving September and October as supply pastor of First UB (New Castle, Pa.). David Bell, who had been senior pastor there since 1990, passed away September 8 as a result of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). First UB is Gary’s home church, and where he began his ministry in 1985 with six years as youth pastor. He served at nearby Atlantic Avenue UB (Franklin, Pa.) 1991-2016.

Rev. Linton Thomas resigned as pastor of First Church Bronx (Bronx, NY) effective August 31, 2018. He had been the senior pastor for 20 years, 1998-2018.

Marvin Schwartz will retire effective November 11, 2018. He has been serving as pastor of Mt. Victory UB church (Decatur, Ind.) since June 2015. The church is waiting on an assignment.

Mark and Ruth Ralph, retiring after 43 years in ministry.

Pastor Mark Ralph speaking to children.

Mark Ralph with his father.

On Saturday, September 29, a retirement party was held for Pastor Mark and Ruth Ralph, who have served in pastoral ministry since 1975. Of those 43 years, all but about ten years were spent at United Brethren churches.

The celebration was held at Mt. Zion UB church in Wayne, Ohio, the congregation the Ralphs have served since 2012. Here are the other UB churches:

  • 1975-1981: Brown Corners UB church (Clare, Mich.).
  • 1983-1986: the UB church in Charlotte, Mich.
  • 1986-1989: UB church planter in Birmingham, Ala.
  • 1997-2009: Sunfield UB church (Sunfield, Mich.).
  • 2012 to the present: Mt. Zion UB church (Wayne, Ohio).

Some folks from Mark’s previous pastorates attended the retirement celebration. Also present was his father, now age 96, a longtime minister in the Evangelical Congregational Church. Mark was present for his father’s last Sunday in fulltime ministry. His father returned the favor on September 30, hearing his son preach his final sermon as pastor of Mt. Zion.

Mark graduated in 1974 from Huntington University with a degree in Bible & Religion. Now age 67, he and Ruth are retiring to a home in Ohio City, Ohio, near where their daughter lives.

Here are details for the viewing and funeral for Rev. David Bell, who passed away Saturday, September 8, 2018.

Viewing: Tuesday, September 11, 2-4 pm and 6-8 pm.
Funeral: 11 am Wednesday, September 12. Viewing one hour beforehand.
Location of viewing and funeral: First UB church, 1900 Eastbrook Road, New Castle, PA 16101.