We are excited to announce that our online merch store is NOW OPEN! That means you can now get your hands on all sorts of UB branded gear, from t-shirts and hoodies to totes and polos, and have it all shipped right to your front door.

Here’s how it works:

1. Visit unitedbrethrengear.com.
2. Choose your items, the logo you prefer, and add your church name (optional).
3. Pay online and wait for your gear to arrive.
4. Sport your new threads at your next appointment, staff meeting, or worship set.

Happy shopping! We can’t wait to see all your new gear the next time we gather.

The next United Brethren Church History course will be offered November 27-28, 2023. This class provides a great opportunity to learn about the history of the UB Church and the people who lead the way. It is also a great opportunity to learn from some of our most passionate denominational historians.

This course is a requirement for those seeking ministerial licensing, but it is open to anyone interested in our rich history. Laypersons, especially local church leaders (board chairpersons, church members, lay delegates, etc.) are encouraged to attend.

This is an online course and will be conducted via Zoom, November 27-28, 2023 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm both days. Three books are required for students taking UB History: Trials and Triumphs and All For Christ, Volume 1 and Volume 2. Registration for the class is $200 per person plus the cost of the books which can be purchased directly from the UB National Office.

If you’re ready to explore the history of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, register here.

If you have any questions about registration or how you can order the books, contact Jamie Hoffman in the Bishop’s office at jamie@ub.org.

Dr. Chaney Bergdall

Dr. Chaney Bergdall, United Brethren minister and retired professor of Bible and Religion at Huntington University, passed away on Tuesday, September 5, 2023 after a brief battle with stage 4 metastatic melanoma.

Chaney graduated from Huntington University in 1969 (BA) and went on to earn three additional degrees from Jerusalem University College (MA, 1970), Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (MDiv, 1973), and Fuller Theological Seminary (Ph. D., 1986). He was ordained as a UB minister in 1973 and served at Kilburn Ave UB Church (Rockford, IL, 1971-75), Egan UB Church (Egan, IL, 1974-75), and Glendale UB Church (Glendale, CA, 1981-84). Dr. Bergdall also taught at Huntington University for 36 years (1975-82; 1984-2012).

After he retired in 2012, Chaney moved to Goshen, Indiana with his wife, Pat, and has been an active member of 8th Street Mennonite Church as well as a number of other community-minded organizations.

Dr. Bergdall’s obituary and funeral arrangements can be found here.

Yesterday, as many of you know, Steve Dennie stepped through the doors of the UB National Office and into retirement after a long and faithful 45 year career of service to the denomination. Before we let him get away, our team at the office spent time together celebrating Steve, listening to his favorite stories, and laughing a lot along the way. Personally, I have had the privilege over the last six weeks of working beside Steve, learning from him and soaking in as much denominational history as possible. In that time, I have developed a deep appreciation for his servant heart and his humble leadership.

Steve and I share a passion for storytelling, which, not-so-coincidentally, is a primary responsibility of the communications director. He has owned that responsibility and committed years to sharing the stories of others. When I stepped into this role I wanted the first story I shared to be his story. So last week I invited Steve to sit down with me for an interview. You may have seen the short clips we posted this week on our Facebook story, but now you can view the interview in its entirety below (approximately 30 minutes).



Steve, if you are reading this, let me say one more time, thank you. Thank you for serving so faithfully for so long. Thank you modeling leadership that uplifts others without drawing attention to yourself. Thank you for the intentional and grace-filled way you’ve passed the baton on to me.

The staff of the UB National Office

Steve Dennie (left) and Brian Biedenbach

From Steve Dennie

Today is my last day as Communications Director for the Church of the United Brethren in Christ. Two years ago, just after the 2021 US National Conference, I told Bishop Todd Fetters that I would get him through one more national conference, and then I would retire. So that’s where I’m at. As of tomorrow, September 1, I am retired and unemployed and excited about whatever comes next.

It was 45 years ago that, as a senior at Huntington University, I joined the staff at United Brethren National Office. I’ve spent my entire career working in one building, which sounds boring, but it’s been varied and a perfect fit with my gifting. I started out editing a magazine and Sunday school curriculum, saw us transition from my IBM Selectric to a computer (two 5.25” disk drives, no hard drive), then to desktop publishing. And then the internet crashed in, which brought new communication tools and a host of learning curves. My core strengths have remained writing and editing, but I’ve been stretched mightily in a lot of directions…and it’s been fun and fulfilling.

Thank you for giving me a place to fully use my God-given gifts. It’s a blessing I’ll always appreciate. Over the years, I’ve received an over-abundance of affirmation from you, the people of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ. Thank you for that. You are good, good people. We at the national office recognize that the real work of the denomination occurs in our local churches, so our role is to come alongside you and serve you in any way that can help you be more effective in the trenches. But you’ve made it easy for us, and for me, by being so gracious and supportive.

As I move into retirement, I welcome Brian Biedenbach as the new Communications director. He brings skills which I lack, but which will be important in moving us forward. He’s a great guy. I’ll be cheering him on, and trust that you’ll do the same.

Dr. Ron Baker

Dr. Ron Baker, 76, a former UB missionary doctor in Sierra Leone, passed away on Friday, March 10, 2023, in Berrien Springs, Mich.

Visitation: 5-8 pm Friday, March 17, 2023.
Funeral: 10 am Saturday, March 18, 2023, with visitation one hour beforehand.
Visitation and Funeral Location: Berrien Center Bible Church, 8830 M-140, Berrien Center, MI 49102 (berriencenter.church)

Ron grew up mostly in Sierra Leone, West Africa, where his parents, Dr. DeWitt and Evelyn Baker, were United Brethren in Christ missionaries. In 6th grade, at the Kabala-Rupp school for missionary children in northern Sierra Leone, he committed his life to Jesus Christ. He was able to immerse himself in the local language and culture, which would serve him well when he came back as an adult to serve as a missionary doctor.

Ron graduated from Huntington University, where he met his wife, Jane, and from Indiana University Medical School. In 1974, the Bakers arrived in Sierra Leone as fulltime United Brethren missionaries. Ron become Chief Medical Officer at Mattru Hospital. During the next 16 years, Mattru became a thriving, well-known hospital with a strong spiritual foundation. By 1981, the hospital had grown to 69 beds with pediatrics, obstetrics, surgical, and out-patient units. Many new buildings arose on the hospital’s 15 acres.

Being one of only a few white men who were fluent in Mende, the local language, Ron was greatly respected. He recalled years later, “Every time we did surgery, we prayed out loud. We had guys who could pray in several different languages. I could pray in Mende or Krio, Solomon could pray in Temne or Sherbro, another guy could speak Limba. We couldn’t speak all of the languages, but we covered a lot of them.” The locals were also drawn to him and his family due to the love of Christ demonstrated to them.

Upon leaving the field in mid-1990, Ron began working permanently at Southwestern Medical Clinic in Stevensville, Mich., where he had worked during his furloughs since 1981. It was a way-station of sorts for a number of missionary doctors. Over the years, Ron made a number of trips back to Sierra Leone, often leading short-term medical teams.

Ron’s motto was “Work Hard. Play Hard.” He loved to share his passion for hunting and fishing, mentoring many in the craft. Ron was very active at Berrien Center Bible Church. Most importantly, throughout his life he made it a priority to share his faith with countless people in the US and overseas.

Ron was preceded in death by his parents, Dr. DeWitt and Evelyn Baker; and his younger brother, Norman, who was killed as a boy in a boating accident while on a school trip in Sierra Leone. He is survived by his wife Jane; children Jennifer, Jeff, and Julie and their families; and sisters Joyce Hewitt and Annette Shepherdson.

As an expression of sympathy, memorial contributions may be sent to Huntington University (huntington.edu), UB Global (ubglobal.org), or Berrien Center Bible Church (berriencenter.church).

Messages and memories may be shared online at allredfuneralhome.com.

Registration is now open for the next Idea to Action symposium. These events, held twice a year, are sponsored jointly by the UB denomination and Huntington University. The cost is free, but you must register. Please register by Sunday, March 19.

Date: Monday, March 27, 2023
Time: 10am to 12:30 pm
Location: Zoom and in-person at Huntington University

The topic is, “The Persevering Minister: Mental Health as a Pathway to Community.” The three presenters are faculty members of the Huntington University Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program.

Go here to register.

The three presenters for the March 2023 Idea to Action (l-r): Dr. Elijah Lee, Dr. Michelle Caulk, Chase McKinney

Mary Souders

Mary Frances Souders, three day shy of her 105th birthday, passed away September 29, 2022. She was the widow of Rev. William Merle Souders, a longtime pastor and conference superintendent in Kansas. They married in 1935 and were married for 71 years.

Visitation: 11am Thursday, October 6, 2022.
Funeral: 1:00 am Thursday, October 6, 2022.
Location: Resthaven Mortuary, 11800 West Highway 54, Wichita, Kansas

Rev. Souders pastored the former Grayston Avenue UB church in Huntington, Ind. In the 1950s, he and Frances moved to Kansas to start a new UB church, and spent the rest of their lives there.

Read the online obituary here.

Rachel Graham

Rachel Graham, 92, wife of longtime UB minister Rev. Ken Graham, passed away September 24, 2022. They were married in 1951 and remain members of Mainstreet UB church (Walbridge, Ohio), the church they pastored for many years.

Viewing: 4-7 pm Thursday, September 29, 2022
Viewing location: Witzler-Shank-Walker Funeral Home, 701 N. Main St. Walbridge, Ohio 43465
Funeral: 11 am Friday, September 30, 2022.
Funeral location: Mainstreet UB church, 5465 Moline-Martin Rd, Walbridge, OH, 43465

More information on the Walker Funeral Homes site.