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.

Rev. David Bell, a United Brethren minister since 1984, passed away at 8:15 Saturday night, September 8, 2018. He was 69 years old. Dave had recently been diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), and it progressed rapidly. A few days ago, he was placed in hospice.

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.

Dave grew up on a farm in Franklin, Pa. After graduating from high school, he enlisted in the Marines. Before leaving for Vietnam, he eloped with the love of his life, Kathryn Ann Henderson, and married her on June 28, 1968. They were married for 50 years and raised a son and three daughters.

Dave went on to receive Bachelor and Master of Divinity degrees from Asbury College and Seminary. He pastored at Fuoss Mills Christian Missionary Alliance and Faith Country Chapel in New Castle. In 1984 he joined the United Brethren church, and spent the next six years planting a church in Erie, Pa. Since 1990, he has been pastor of First UB church in New Castle, Pa.

Bishop Todd Fetters wrote, “Understandably, this news is devastating for Ann and the Bell family, as well as for the First UB congregation who have lost their longtime pastor. So, we pray.”

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the ALS Association, PO Box 37022, Boone, IA 50037-0022 or by visiting alsa.org.

Michael and Merissa Stine, and son Luke.

Rev. Michael Lee Stine, 38, passed away August 11, 2018, at his home. He was from Shippensburg, Pa., and was married to Merissa in 2009 at the nearby Orrstown United Brethren church. Stine ws diagnosed with colon cancer at age 33, and it returned two years later as stage 4 cancer.

Stine was ordained in 2008, and served at four United Brethren churches: Mt. Carmel (Fulks Run, Va.), Mainsville (Shippensburg), Orrstown, and Mongul (Shippensburg). More recently, he served at a Brethren in Christ church in Wiliamsport, Md. He also worked on websites for 20 years, published several books, and taught online Bible courses at Grand Canyon University.

He is survived by his wife of nine years, Merissa, and son Luke.

Viewing time: 5-8 pm Tuesday, August 14.
Viewing location: Fogelsanger-Bricker Funeral Home, 112 West King St., Shippensburg, Pa.
Funeral time: 11 am Wednesday, August 15, 2018.
Funeral location: Orrstown UB church, Orrstown, Pa.

Bob and Irma Kentie

Bob Kentie, pastor of the Garrison Road UB church in Fort Erie, Ontario, passed away suddenly on Monday night, July 30. Brian Magnus, bishop of the United Brethren Church in Canada, sent this report:

Bob had gone into the Welland Hospital the end of last week and had some abdominal surgery. He was recovering over the weekend and had hoped to go home tomorrow [Tuesday], but instead he slumped over in his hospital bed and couldn’t be resuscitated. I believe he was just 60 years old.

Lynette and I last saw Bob at the visitation for my father on Thursday, June 21. Bob and Irma had driven up to Kitchener, and they were so happy that Irma was slowly improving and was doing better than she had in several years. Bob had been devoting many hours to her care.

Bob Kentie spent many years as a businessman and eventually felt called to the ministry. He served as a youth pastor and senior pastor in Brethren in Christ churches before joining the Garrison Road staff 12 years ago. He started out as youth pastor, and in 2007 became senior pastor. He and Irma have three adult children.

Dwight and Patti Kuntz

Dwight Kuntz, 72, passed away on the evening of Friday, July 27, 2018. He had been hospitalized since July 2, when health problems forced him to return from Jamaica.

Dwight was a United Brethren minister, ordained in 1982, and was a member of Living Grace Community Church (formerly Union Chapel UB church) in Fort Wayne, Ind. Since 2012, he and his wife of 47 years, Patti, had been spending part of the year in Jamaica as UB Global missionaries, serving as liaisons with work teams from North America.

Dwight served in the US Army 1967-1971.

Visitation: 2-4 pm and 6-9 pm Wednesday, August 1, 2018.
Visitation location: D.O. McComb & Sons Pine Valley Park Funeral Home, 1320 East Dupont Road, Fort Wayne, Ind.
Funeral: 10 am Thursday, August 2, 2018. Visitation one hour beforehand.
Funeral location: Emmanuel Community Church, 12222 US Highway 24 West, Fort Wayne, Ind.

Memorials may be made to Patricia Kuntz.

Cards can be sent to:

Patti Kuntz
602 North Camden Drive
Fort Wayne, IN 46825

Dwight and Patti Kuntz

Dwight Kuntz passed away late Friday night, July 27, 2018. He was an ordained United Brethren minister, and since 2012, he and his wife, Patti, had been spending part of the year in Jamaica as UB Global missionaries working with short-term teams. That is what he was doing on July 2, when he became very ill and had to be rushed back to Indiana for treatment.

Patti posted the following on Facebook around 11pm on Friday:

“He is with Jesus. We were with him all day, praying, singing, crying, loving. Dwight Kuntz was a good man, he loved Jesus with all his heart, a wonderful husband, loving me unconditionally, an awesome father and Papa, who will be remembered forever.

“I will miss you, Love of my Life. Because of Christ Jesus, we will see you and David again in Glory!”