Neal and Carol Brinneman

Richard Neal Brinneman, 83, a longtime United Brethren endorsed missionary, passed away Saturday, May 26, 2018, after several days in hospice care.

Neal, a 1957 Huntington University graduate, spent 1966-1969 as a teacher and principal at Bumpe High School in Sierra Leone. In 1970 he joined Wycliffe Bible Translators and went to Togo to begin translating the Bible into the Lama language spoken by 200,000 people in West Africa.

Meanwhile Carol, a graduate of Houghton College, joined Wycliffe in 1970 and ended up spending seven years translating the Bible for the Godie people in Ivory Coast, a West African country to the west of Togo.

Neal and Carol were married in 1979 in Ivory Coast, and worked together in Togo. They helped complete the Lama New Testament in 1994, and then moved to North Carolina to work with JAARS, the aviation and technical support service of Wycliffe. Neal helped translators with computer and software needs, while Carol was a talented writer and editor.

Carol wrote, “Neal and I had an extraordinary chance to serve God together so that others might have God’s Word, God’s promises, in their own language. We worked together well as a team. We anticipated seeing the entire Bible completed by the Lama (Togo) team within three years. At 83 years old, Neal had still not retired from Wycliffe. He loved helping others complete Bible translations, and loved attending church and teaching Sunday school.”

Les and Linda Smith in front of the lighthouse replica.

Lester Smith is retiring on June 1 after 38 years of United Brethren ministry, and 20 years as pastor of Hillsdale UB church (Hillsdale, Mich.).

On April 30, a Sunday evening, the Hillsdale congregation celebrated Les and Linda Smith with a retirement “roast.”

Smith writes, “The lighthouse on the platform behind my wife and I is a smaller size replica of the one they are having installed in honor of my almost 20 years of service at the HUB. A 12-foot lighthouse will be the centerpiece of a new playground that will replace the existing one in front of our church. It symbolizes a combination of my twin passions of spreading the gospel light to our community, and my love for ministry to children. I’m truly a blessed man to have served such a wonderful congregation. Their gift is both creative and inspiring! “

Jim Bolich (right) has been appointed senior pastor of Mount Pleasant UB church (Chambersburg, Pa.) effective July 1, 2018. He had been senior pastor of Prince Street UB church (Shippensburg, Pa.) since 2002, and prior to that served in associate pastor roles at two other Pennsylvania UB churches–Franklin (New Castle) and Mongul (Shippensburg). He is also part-time Director of Ministerial Licensing for the US National Conference.

At Mount Pleasant, he will replace Dr. Ray Seilhamer, who is concluding a two year assignment as interim pastor. He and Ruth will be moving back to their home in Roanoke, Ind.

Brad and Janet North

Brad North was appointed senior pastor of South Scipio UB church (Harlan, Ind.) effective April 1, 2018. He had been in camp ministry since 1997, most recently as director of Camp Living Waters in Luther, Mich., since 2013. He replaces Ken Thompson, who had pastored South Scipio for two years.

L-r: Josh and Sara Good, Les and Linda Smith, David and Jennifer Dakin.

Josh Good has been appointed senior pastor of Hillsdale UB church (Hillsdale, Mich.) effective June 4, 2018. He has been in United Brethren ministry since 1998, serving in youth ministry until 2012, when he became senior pastor of Homefront UB church in Grandville, Mich.

Lester Smith is concluding 20 years as senior pastor at Hillsdale. Smith is retiring on June 1 after 38 years in United Brethren ministry. During that time, he served at four different UB churches in Michigan–Pennfield (Battle Creek) 1980-1982, Maple Hill (Grandville) 1982-1987, Richfield Road (Flint) 1987-1998, and Hillsdale since 1998. He has provided leadership in a number of roles within Michigan Conference and at the denominational level, including assistant chairperson of the Executive Leadership Team.

David Dakin has been appointed senior pastor of Homefront UB church (Grandville, Mich.) effective June 11, 2018. He had been associate pastor of Jerusalem Chapel UB church (Churchville, Va.).

About 55 United Brethren pastors and spouses are attending the third Pastors Summit, which begins tonight (April 30) in Daytona Beach, Fla. This summit is for senior pastors and spouses from churches with an attendance less than 150. They are coming from seven states–Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, and Kansas.

Also attending are Bishop Todd and Lisa Fetters, and National Ministries director Mike and Pam Dittman. The summit will conclude at noon on Thursday.

The Pastors Summit for churches of 300+ attendance was held three weeks ago (April 9-12), and the summit for churches of 150-300 attendance was held two weeks ago (April 16-19). Last week, April 23-27, was the annual UB Youth Summit for youth leaders in UB churches.

That leaves only the Associate Staff Summit, for ministers serving in staff roles at UB churches. It will be held next week, May 7-11.

All of these events are being held in Daytona Beach, Fla.

Attendees of the April 16-19 summit in Daytona Beach, Fla.

Lisa Fetters (right) with Janet Bolich, from Prince Street UB church (Shippensburg, Pa.).

Bishop Todd Fetters (left) with Marc Stephenson, pastor of Mt. Olivet UB church (Chambersburg, Pa.).

Every other year–the year when we don’t have National Conference–we hold Pastors Summits for senior pastors and spouses. Three such summits are happening during April. All are being held in Daytona Beach, Fla., starting on a Monday and ending on Thursday.

The first summit was held April 9-12. It was for senior pastors and spouses from churches with an attendance above 300. Nine pastoral couples attended, along with Bishop Todd and Lisa Fetters, National Ministries director Mike Dittman, and UB Global associate director Frank Y.

The second summit is ending today. It is for senior pastors and spouses from churches with an attendance of 150-300. The attendees include nine pastoral couples, three senior pastors by themselves, plus Bishop Todd and Lisa Fetters and Mike Dittman.

The third Pastors Summit will be held April 30 – May 3. This one is for senior pastors and spouses from churches with an attendance below 150. This will be the largest group. There will be 22 pastoral couples, plus six senior pastors attending by themselves. Todd and Lisa Fetters and Mike and Pam Dittman will also attend.

Christiana Danielle, a 2017 Huntington University graduate, has made it past the opening rounds of The Voice. Tonight, the live playoff rounds begin. And now, viewers can start voting. It would be great to have a Huntington University alum as a winner of The Voice!

At HU, students and others will gather at the Merillat Center for the Arts to watch the live show in Zurcher Auditorium. Free snacks from The Party Shop, JJ Java, and Sugar Mama’s Bakery will be available, along with a limited supply of Christiana Danielle shirts. The show will start at 8:00 p.m.

The alumni office sent out this information about how to vote. There are several different ways. If you have the Voice app on your smartphone or tablet, you can vote up to ten times on each device.

Voting is in real time, so you need to watch the Voice for the official voting times.

Children’s presentation on Easter Sunday at First UB.

Dan Maas (right), senior pastor, First UB Church (Findlay, Ohio)

First UB celebrated Good Friday with three separate services.

8:30 am: Totally Alone. Remembering the people who left Jesus to the authorities, and the forgiveness of Jesus towards those who left him behind.

Noon: Totally Abandoned. Remembering the dimming of the sun as the Father turned away from Jesus. We had a gradually dimming sanctuary eventually illuminated by only a small spotlight in the middle of the cross. A heartbeat in the dark commemorated the final pulses of hope in the world on that cross. The main theme was the determination of Jesus to finish the work of the cross through his death.

6:30 pm: Totally Accomplished. Celebrating the wonderful final words of Jesus on the cross, “It is finished!” Our freedom from sin was accomplished with that holy sacrifice of the Perfect Lamb! This service was special for the lighted atmosphere, two pieces of special music, and many visitors to the church. We asked Dr. John Noble, from Huntington University, to provide us a Hebrew reading of Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12. We played the recording and then had a responsive reading by Craig and Becky Kupferberg. It was amazing to hear and experience what Jesus might have heard in the synagogue!

Easter Sunday continued the theme with two services: Totally Alive (Sunrise) and Totally Accepted (Christ welcoming the disciples on the beach in Galilee with breakfast). The children celebrated with a special presentation, the worship team shared a meaningful piece, and others found different ways to bring the new life in Jesus into focus.

Rocky Spear (right), senior pastor, Kilpatrick UB church (Woodland, Mich.)

On March 31, Kilpatrick Church sponsored our first Easter Eggs-travaganza. We are endeavoring to reach our “Jerusalem” (Woodland, Mich.).

It was a cold (30s), rainy, windy (gusts 30+ mph) kind of a day. Typical Michigan. 157 children were registered, along with 35 adults. Around 250 people showed up. Our volunteers were troopers as they set up refreshments, registration, and then distributed 5400 eggs for the children of our community.

Six bicycles and two tricycles were given away via drawing, and 40 prize eggs were in the mix. Fourteen families indicated they wanted more information about Kilpatrick Church.

Easter Sunday was well attended, with our largest number on record. The best part: three individuals chose to make Jesus Christ their Savior.