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!”

Homefront UB church (Grandville, Mich.) is seeking a part-time Community Worship Leader. This person reports to the Head Pastor, and the position requires an average of 10-15 hours per week. You can download the complete job description here.

Required tasks include:

  • Choose songs in consultation with the pastor and/or worship planning team.
  • Conduct weekly rehearsals with members of the HomeFront community (using outside musicians only when absolutely necessary).
  • Present a weekly musical service including spoken bridges and other liturgical elements that seek to draw attention to God and away from the individuals.
  • Provide musical elements for other programming throughout the year as needed.
  • Provide leadership both musically and personally for the members of the music team.
  • Serve on the Staff Board to carry out the vision set by the Elders.

Required Qualities

  • A dynamic relationship with God that involves observable growth in a personal faith journey.
  • Strong personal musicality both on a lead instrument and vocally.
  • Proficient in public speaking.
  • Demonstrated leadership skills in communication and conflict resolution.
  • Must be willing to a member of HomeFront church and participate in the life of the church outside of job responsibilities.

Desirable Qualities

  • Degree in worship/music studies or working toward a degree in those areas.
  • Proficiency in multiple instruments and musical theory.

Pastor Keith Elliott (front, right) and the group from Criders UB church.

Keith Elliott, senior pastor, Criders UB Church (Chambersburg, Pa.)

A group from Crider’s Church recently returned from a short mission trip to Laurel Mission in the mountains outside Harlan, Kent. We have been going to Laurel Mission every other year since 2014. This trip was extra special because we partnered with our sister church, Mt. Olivet UB (Chambersburg).

While at Laurel Mission, we spent two days on a variety of work projects. One group installed a new bathtub in a person’s home. Other groups finished building two porches started by others who had recently been to the mission. We painted a porch for a widow in the community. Some in our group helped sort clothing for the mission’s clothing center. Others painted, pressure washed, and helped in any way they could. While at the worksites, we spent time talking with and praying for the people who lived there.

On Sunday, July 15, we worshiped at Little Laurel Bible Church, took a challenging hike to a local waterfall, and drove to the top of one of the mountains to take in the mountaintops as the sun began to set.

Nathan Boggs, the Director of Laurel Mission, his wife Lindsey, their children, and his mom Debbie work tirelessly to minister to the people of the area. It was truly a blessing to be a part of the work God is doing through Laurel Mission.

Jeff Bleijerveld, Director of UB Global

Continue to pray for Nicaragua and our 32 United Brethren churches as the demonstrations and government assaults continue with increasing violence and deaths. In recent days, the Daniel Ortega government has sent police and armed paramilitaries into various communities to conduct “clean ups” of barricades and to quell protestors and demonstrations.

The violence, which began in mid-April just days after Jeff Bleijerveld and Jeff Dice left the country, has now left 370 dead, the vast majority of whom are young protestors. Banks generally remain closed, as do schools, businesses, markets and grocery stores, where shelves and coolers remain empty.

This past Sunday, July 15, Rev. Armando Lopez (right), our national leader in Nicaragua, negotiated the release of more than 40 young people in his town of Niquinohomo, a task generally left to Catholic priests. Evangelicals are finding it difficult to remain neutral and are often criticized for their passivity.

Just this week, we found a way to send the more than $3000 that churches and donors provided to replace the roof of a UB church destroyed by homemade mortars, and to provide packets of basic foods for the most vulnerable.

Pastor Kevin Whitacre (blue shirt) with baptism candidates and persons assisting.

Watching from the shore.

One of the baptism candidates.

Anchor Community Church (Fort Wayne, Ind.) baptized nine persons on Sunday, July 9. After the morning service at the church, the congregation traveled to the home of an Anchor family for the annual all-church outing. The event began with the baptisms, followed by a meal, and then an afternoon of swimming, volleyball, and general fun.

The 5th Annual Marriage Retreat for United Brethren Pastoral Couples will be held August 13-15 at Rhodes Grove Camp & Conference Center in Chambersburg, Pa.

This retreat is reserved for pastors and spouses serving in United Brethren in Christ churches. Please plan to separate yourselves from the needs of everyday life and invest in your marriage.

There is no cost. This three-day, two-night retreat is sponsored in full by the United Brethren National Office, the United Brethren Association for Church Development, and Rhodes Grove Camp.

The retreat topic is “Christian Marriage from the Ground Up.” It will focus on God’s unapologetic blueprint for marriage that sustains creation and reveals new creation.

The keynote speakers are Michael & Yvonne Wentz. During their 33 years of marriage, they have raised three boys and were involved in four church plants. Michael is now senior pastor of Prince Street UB church in Shippensburg, Pa. Yvonne (M.S. Math Education) is K-12 Math Supervisor in the Chambersburg School District.


The United Brethren denomination has been chosen to participate in a program which offers free financial health online courses and other resources. These are designed to help UB pastors, leaders, and congregations in the areas of personal finances and church generosity.

This is made possible because we are a member denomination of the National Association of Evangelicals. The Lilly Endowment provided a generous grant to the NAE to help member denominations improve the financial health of their pastors and churches.

The NAE set up a webpage for United Brethren which tells all about the program. The page includes a video by Bishop Todd Fetters.

An online course on Personal Finances begins in September, and a course for the broader church starts in January. Please register by August 31 to take advantage of these courses.

September: Personal Finances
This free online course begins in September, and includes six monthly sessions. It was specifically created for pastors and spouses, but any interested church staff, leaders, or members will also benefit from this training. The monthly sessions can be done at home on your own schedule.

Learn from Christian financial experts how to:

  • Pay off debts.
  • Increase savings.
  • Track and decrease expenses.
  • Prepare for retirement.
  • Find affordable healthcare.
  • Set financial goals.
  • Increase your giving.

January: Church Generosity
This free online course will help you and your key leaders determine the best ways to improve the generosity and financial health of the people in your church.

The course was specifically created for a pastor and a group of lay leaders to do together. The six monthly sessions take 20-45 minutes to complete, depending on the amount of discussion.

Various resources—brochures, planning calendar, devotionals—will be available to those who register.

Visa eGift Cards
A limited number of $100 and $200 Visa eGift cards will be given to those who complete the courses.

Grants for Ministers
Grant funds will provide several kinds of financial assistance to pastors.

  • Medical bill assistance grants of $2000 for unpaid medical bills of $2000 (up to 5 recipients).
  • Student loan grants for church planters to help with school loan repayment.
  • Retirement savings jump start grants of up to $1000.
  • Emergency fund jump start grants of up to $500.

Create an account at NAEFinancialHealth.org/UB by August 31, 2018.

 

L-r: Jim Bolich, Ray Seilhamer, Jason Bakker, Arthur Page, Michael Wentz, Jason Holliday, Gary Reiber.

Chambersburg, Pa.
Jim Bolich was appointed senior pastor of Mount Pleasant UB church (Chambersburg, Pa.) effective July 1, 2018. He had been pastor of Prince Street UB church (Shippensburg, Pa.) since 2002. Ray and Ruth Seilhamer completed a two-year interim assignment at Mount Pleasant on June 24, and have moved back to their home in Roanoke, Ind.

Chambersburg, Pa.
Jason Bakker was appointed senior pastor of Salem UB church (Chambersburg, Pa.) effective July 1, 2018. He had served as associate pastor at Salem since 2007, and was ordained in 2011. He takes the place of Arthur Page, who resigned effective July 1 after serving Salem since 2005.

Shippensburg, Pa.
Michael Wentz has been appointed senior pastor of Prince Street UB church (Shippensburg, Pa.) effective July 1, 2018. He had previously pastored United Brethren churches 1995-2008, and was ordained in 1997, after which he was employed as a health care manager.

Philomath, Ore.
Aaron de Neui (pronounce dəˈnī) was appointed senior pastor of Philomath Community Church (Philomath, Ore.) effective August 1, 2018. Rick Finley retired effective July 29, 2018, after 36 years in United Brethren ministry in Washington and Oregon, including 1989-2018 as pastor of Philomath.

Fort Wayne, Ind.
Jason Holliday was appointed senior pastor of Living Grace Community Church (Fort Wayne, Ind.) effective July 23. He had served on staff at Emmanuel UB church (Fort Wayne) since 2004, and was ordained in 2013. Gary Reiber resigned after pastoring Living Grace (formerly Union Chapel) since 2002, and after having served in UB ministry since 1993.

On Monday, July 2, Dwight Kuntz, UB missionary in Jamaica, was rushed back to Indiana and taken to the Intensive Care Unit of Parkview North Hospital in Fort Wayne, Ind. He was diagnosed with pneumonia, dehydration, renal failure, and a toxic virus called Humanmetanumovirus.

He is now doing much better. Dwight’s wife, Patti, reported the following on Sunday, July 8: “It seemed like overnight, everything changed – seemed like it anyway. I was in awe of how quickly Dwight has gone from being at death’s door on Monday night, critical state, to breathing air on his own, moving, talking, eating, and now watching American Pickers on TV.”

A year-and-a-half ago, Dwight was recovering from cancer and renal failure. Patti said, “Because this is the second time his kidneys have failed, he may need to be on dialysis for a few months.”

Please keep Dwight and Patti in your prayers as Dwight continues healing.