Stephen Clymer was appointed senior pastor of Victory Chapel (Liberty Center, Ohio) on August 4, 2019. He replaced Don Ross, who retired after serving as senior pastor of Victory Chapel since 2009. Clymer graduated from Moody Bible Institute in 1982 with a degree in Bible/Theology, and received a Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministries in 2002 from the Huntington University Graduate School of Christian Ministries. He has been in pastoral ministry since 1982, including 1991-2000 as pastor of the former Harvest Lane UB church (Toledo, Ohio), and two previous stints at Victory Chapel: 2001-2005 and 2007-2009.
Dr. Jody Fleming was appointed senior pastor of Strinestown UB church (Strinestown, Pa.), effective September 8, 2019. She holds a Master of Divinity from Evangelical Seminary (Myerstown, Pa.), and a Ph.D. in Theological Studies/Global Christianity from Regent University School of Divinity. She takes the place of Rev. Dawn Spangler, who had pastored the church since 2012.
Alan DeCristoforo, an ordained United Brethren minister, passed away September 9, 2019. He was the former senior pastor of Highland Heights UB church, and later Pastor of Spiritual Care at First UB Church; both churches are located in New Castle, Pa).
Viewing: 4-6pm Thursday, September 11, and 9:30-10:30 am Thursday, September 12.
Funeral: 11am Thursday, September 12.
Viewing and Funeral Location: First UB Church, 1900 Eastbrook Road, New Castle, PA 16101,
Faith UB church in Port Orange, Fla., is all boarded up as they await the arrival of Hurricane Dorian, which is expected to hit the Port Orange/Daytona area on Tuesday. First UB church of Holly Hill, located just up the road, will be making similar preparations. Pray for Pastor Josh McKeown and the Faith UB congregation, and for his father, Pastor Chuck McKeown, and the congregation at First UB.
Evan T. Towne, 94, a former United Brethren missionary in Sierra Leone, passed away August 26, 2019, at his residence in Van Buren, Ind. He was the son of Rev. Jerry and Nella Town, who pastored UB churches in California, Ontario, and North Ohio Conference (which spanned southern Michigan, northern Indiana, and northwest Ohio).
Visitation :: 5-8 pm on Friday, August 30, 2019.
Funeral: 11:00 am on Saturday, August 31, 2019. Visitation one hour beforehand.
Visitation and funeral location: Myers Funeral Home, Huntington Chapel, 2901 Guilford Street, Huntington, Ind. 46750.
Evan graduated from high school in Huntington, Ind., in 1946. After a tour of service as a sergeant with the US Army Corp, he attended Huntington University and went on to earn a masters in education from Ball State University.
He and his family served two terms in Sierra Leone. Their first term, 1953-1956, was spent at the boys home in Ggangbaia. Their first child, Linda Gail, was born there. Back in the States, another daughter was born, Leora Komeh. During their second term, 1964-1967, Evan started an Industrial Arts department at Centennial High School in Mattru.
For 27 years, Evan taught junior high industrial arts in Huntington County. He retired in 1989. He was a member of College Park UB church in Huntington, where he taught Sunday school and served in leadership.
He is survived by his wife, Mary, and daughters Linda Schweikhardt and Komeh Zilka.
Memorial donations should be made out to United Brethren Missions in care of Myers Funeral Home, 2901 Guilford Street, Huntington, IN 46750.
The 2019-2021 Executive Leadership Team is now complete. Four members were elected by this summer’s US National Conference, to join four others with continuing terms. That left four persons to be appointed for the next two years. Bishop Todd Fetters has now chosen those persons, and they were unanimously approved by the ELT.
The appointees include one person from each region—two laypersons, two clergy. Three of the appointees are serving on the ELT for the first time. The fourth, Greg Voight, has been an ELT member since 2013. Here is information about each of them.
Greg Voight has been senior pastor of Lancaster UB church in Lancaster, Ohio, since 2006. Before that, he served two years as an intern at what is now Shoreline UB church in Oak Harbor, Ohio. He is a 2006 graduate of Findlay University (Findlay, Ohio), and was ordained in 2011. Greg and his wife, Debbie, were married in 1995 and have three children.
Joni Michaud is a member of Pleasant Valley UB church in Lake Odessa, Mich. She currently serves there as administrative board chair and lay leader, and teaches junior church and Sunday school. Joni has been a lay delegate from her church to the last four meetings of the US National Conference, and served on the Human Sexuality Task Force 2015-2017. Joni works as an attorney in Grand Rapids, Mich., practicing immigration law, family law, and criminal defense. She earned her bachelor’s degree in history from Huntington University in 2005 and her juris doctor from Notre Dame Law School in 2008.
Victor Mojica and his wife, Margarita, have been members of Clearview UB church (Goshen, Ind.) since 1994. He has been serving as a part-time pastor at Clearview since 1998. Currently, Clearview is made up of an English-speaking congregation pastored by Jim Gillette, and a Spanish-speaking congregation pastored by Victor. He also works in his family business.
Dale Perry served 25 years as an employee of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, from which he recently retired as Manager of the Department’s Land Acquisition Program for highway and bridge construction projects. Dale has since joined consulting firm Arrow Land Solutions, LLC, as Director of Training and Development. He and his wife, Shirley, have been members of Mount Pleasant UB church (Chambersburg, Pa.) for 27 years. Dale is currently chairperson of the Governance Board (since 2016), teaches an adult Sunday school class, and serves on the church Personnel Relations Commission and Worship Media Team.
You can view the complete ELT here. There are three persons from each region, for a total of 12 members. Six are clergy, six are laypersons. The bishop is the 13th member, and he chairs the Executive Leadership Team, which meets twice a year.
Gregory M. Sweetland, 67, of Huntington, Ind., went home to be with Jesus on Thursday, July 11, 2019. Greg’s life goal was that others would know Jesus Christ and have a personal relationship with him. Greg accomplished this by leading his wife, children, and five grandchildren in growing relationships with Jesus Christ. In addition, he developed and taught curriculum for children’s Sunday school.
Greg also volunteered and served in various capacities at different churches, and he reached out to the international community with the Gospel. Greg knew that the only way to be sure of Heaven was to believe that Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and no one can come to God the Father except through Jesus (John 14:6).
A memorial service will be held at 10 am on Saturday, August 17, 2019, at College Park United Brethren Church, 1936 College Ave., Huntington, Indiana.
Memorial donations can be made out to the “By the Book” Bible Trailer or the TESOL Program at Huntington University. Both can be sent in care of Myers Funeral Home, 2901 Guilford Street, Huntington, IN 46750.
Major floods have been impacting much of Sierra Leone in recent days. As of August 5, five persons were reported dead, 41 communities affected, and in Freetown alone, 459 homes flooded and 5318 people displaced. In Sulima, where the UB Sierra Leone Conference has been working among the Muslim majority Vai people, Rev. Tucker’s home was flooded, forcing him to seek shelter elsewhere. Please be lifting them up in prayer.
We were shocked to learn of the murder of Pastor César Obregón, one of the United Brethren pastors in Guatemala. Witnesses claim a local sorcerer/witch-doctor brutally attacked him with a machete. He died soon after from his wounds.
Pastor Obregón had served as a church planter since our earliest days in Guatemala, which go back to 2000. He had planted numerous churches. The most recent was located in San Antonio, Suchitepequez, a three-hour drive from the capital of Guatemala City. There, the congregation met on a property they had purchased, under a bamboo-framed structure covered with a heavy mill black plastic. People were hearing the Gospel and were being saved.
Pastor Obregón left behind a wife, children, grandchildren, and a very new congregation.
Jeff Bleijerveld, executive director of UB Global, writes, “Pray for our Guatemalan brothers and sisters as they mourn his loss and seek to reconcile what took place in a country that is overwhelmingly Christian. Indeed, darkness often rages against the church where its light shines the brightest. However, the victory is ours because the battle has already been won, and our dear brother César has gone on to receive his reward. Pray that even this tragic event might be transformed for God’s glory, and that many would come to know Christ as Lord and Savior.”
Rev. Armando Lopez (right), national leader of Nicaragua Conference, provided the following update on his country’s ongoing national crisis.
The economic situation has deteriorated rapidly, with immediate consequences for our churches, which are struggling to support themselves. As an example, in one church with an average number of attendees, only 20 Cordobas ($0.59) was collected, which is very rare. I tell you this because [I am] very concerned about the situation and the crisis that we have been experiencing over the last year. We still do not know how it will end.
The closure of many companies and the decline in exports has forced the dismissal of many people, including many church members. There is also been an increase in electricity and water rates, and people and churches have to pay more for these services. In addition, new tax reform was passed that forces companies and citizens to pay more taxes to cover the federal budget.
We had been using much of our financial resources to legalize church properties that were never officially registered. We managed to legalize three, but the problem with legalizing them is that doing so exposed old debts to be collected for garbage collection, property improvements, and property taxes. We did not have the money needed to pay all these debts, so we are paying in installments for two of the churches. This has been a huge challenge for the conference that is not currently generating income.
We also have six pastors who are sick with Dengue Fever. These are pastors for small rural churches and have not been able to receive treatment. I’m worried for them as they cannot afford medicines. Without further ado, I am thanking you in advance for anything you can do for this conference. Bishop Armando Jose Lopez – UBIC Nicaragua.