Hopewell United Brethren church in Auburn, Ind., is looking to hire a worship leader. This is a full-time position, that has the option of living in the church parsonage with all housing expenses paid.

You can download the full job description here.

Hopewell is a 150+ year-old rural church that has more than doubled in weekly attendance in the past three years, currently averaging 120 in attendance. We have also grown cross-generationally, having a large young adult group, kids’ ministry, and many newlyweds. There is unity in the congregation and trust in the leadership.

The preferred starting date is August/September 2022. If interested, contact senior apstor Ryan Koch at: ryan.koch@hopewellub.org.

L-r: Jody Bowser, Christopher Little V, Mark Vincenti, Joni Michaud, Kim Fish, Kent Eilers.

In April 2022, the Executive Leadership Team appointed a six-person “Task Force on Human Reproduction.” They will study a wide range of issues and propose Discipline revisions to be considered by the next US National Conference, which will meet July 11-14, 2023, in Fort Wayne, Ind.

The Task Force’s work will focus on three statements in the “Family Standards” section of the Discipline, none of which have been revised since 1985.

  • The “Abortion” statement was adopted in 1969, and was revised in 1981 and 1985.
  • The “Family Planning” statement was adopted in 1969 under the heading “Responsible Family Planning.” In 1985, one sentence was added and the name was shortened to “Family Planning.”
  • The “Genetic Engineering” statement was adopted in 1985 and has never been revised. This statement is probably most in need of updating, as a slew of new reproductive technologies have arisen during the past 30 years.

Bishop Todd Fetters felt that these statements desperately needed to be updated. We need principles which are consistent with Scripture, and which can be applied to new reproductive technologies which may arise in the future.

Bishop Fetters emphasizes that, as was the case in 2017, there is no appetite among the general UB constituency for “liberalizing” our stands. It’s just a matter of addressing current realities and giving sound biblical guidance to UB people.

The Team
This task force is modeled somewhat on the Task Force on Human Sexuality, whose work was approved by the 2017 US National Conference. Two members of this group, Joni Michaud and Mark Vincenti, also served on the Task Force on Human Sexuality.

  • Joni Michaud, the chairperson, is a member of Pleasant Valley United Brethren Church in Lake Odessa, Mich. She holds degrees from Huntington University and the Notre Dame Law School (2008), was admitted to the State Bar of Michigan in 2008, and is now a practicing attorney with Voices for Hope PLC in Grand Rapids, Mich., with a focus on criminal law, family law, and immigration law. She was a member of the Task Force on Human Sexuality.
  • Rev. Mark Vincenti has been a United Brethren minister since 2000, serving on staff at King Street UB church (Chambersburg, Pa.), College Park UB church (Huntington, Ind.), and now Emmanuel Community Church (Fort Wayne, Ind.). In addition to his work at Emmanuel, in late 2021 Mark assumed the role of Campus Chaplain at his alma mater, Huntington University.
  • Dr. Jody Bowser has been pastor of King Street UB church (Chambersburg, Pa.) since 2015. Prior to that, he served in ministry at non-UB churches in California, Washington, and Ohio going back to 1989. He holds an undergraduate degree from Judson College (1985), a Master of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary (1989), and a Doctor of Ministry from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (2003).
  • Rev. Christopher Little V, the son of former UB minister Chris Little, served 2015-2020 as Pastor of Outreach at Mount Pleasant UB church (Chambersburg, Pa.) and is now planting a church in Harrisburg, Pa. He holds degrees in Christian Ministry and Music from Geneva College (2014), and in 2018 completed a masters in church planting from Wesleyan Seminary in Indiana.
  • Kim Fish grew up in a United Brethren minister’s home, the daughter of Dr. Kent and Carol Maxwell. She holds a psychology degree from Huntington University and a masters in social work from Indiana-Purdue a degree in Psychology and went on to earn a masters in social work from IUPUI, a state university in Indiana. She has worked over 25 years in the social service field, and now works in private practice with Clarity Counseling in Fort Wayne, Ind. She is married to Rev. Steve Fish, a United Brethren ordained minister who currently works an associate director of UB Global.
  • Dr. Kent Eilers has been a professor of theology at Huntington University since 2009. He grew up in a Christian home in the Evangelical Covenant tradition, and went on to serve on staff with several churches in Michigan and Colorado. He holds an undergraduate degree from Calvin College, a master of divinity from Denver Seminary, and a PhD in systematic theology from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.

Timeline
The Task Force held an initial meeting via Zoom on March 30, and then met in person on June 17 in Huntington, Ind. They will present a preliminary report to the October 2022 Executive Leadership Team, and will submit its final report to the Bishop’s Office by March 1, 2023.

In May 2023, regional meetings will be held to prepare people for the upcoming US National Conference. A representative of the Task Force will attend those meetings to present the proposals and invite feedback.

In June 2023, a final version of all proposals will be published for delegates and the entire UB constituency. They will then be acted upon during the July 12 business session of the US National Conference.

New Hope United Brethren Church in Huntington, Ind. (25 miles southwest of Fort Wayne) is a congregation with a rich history who is looking forward to writing our next chapter of ministry. We are looking for a pastor who will train us for outreach so that we may be proactive in reaching our neighborhood.

Our next pastor will be skilled in communication and organization and possess a pastor’s heart for God and people. The ability to work on a team and encourage others to carry out leadership is essential. Demonstrated experience in helping people develop their spiritual life and ministering effectively to people in crisis will be a benefit. It is also expected that this individual will maintain professional ministerial credentials with the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, USA.

New Hope Church is a congregation of approximately 75 people. Though our current congregation trends toward senior adults, our modern facilities are large enough to accommodate much growth. We are financially stable, located near housing developments, welcoming to new people, hard-working, and missions minded.

If this sounds like something for which God has been preparing you, please send a copy of your resume, a cover letter, and a current photo to bishop@ub.org.

Rev. Keith Smith, 89, passed away June 11, 2022. He graduated from Huntington University in 1961 and from its seminary in 1965. He was ordained in 1965. Rev. Smith concluded his ministry serving on staff at First UB (now Element UB) church in Blissfield, Mich. from 2005 to 2018, most recently as Minister of Visitation.

Visitation: 6-8 pm Wednesday, June 15
Funeral: 11:00 am Thursday, June 16, 2022
Visitation and Funeral Location: Element UB church, 220 East Jefferson Street, Blissfield, Mich.

Keith and his wife Dorothy were one week away from celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary.

You can view the online obituary here.

Bobby Culler and Craig Mickey

The first Ministry Leaders Summit was held April 25-29 at the Plaza Resort & Spa in Daytona Beach, Fla. This event, designed for persons serving in staff roles at United Brethren churches, was a wonderful time of refreshment, relaxation and refueling.

Dr. Dave Rahn, the keynote speaker, brought challenging and insightful messages to the group dealing with our “joy switch” as well as some habits of integrity and ministry.

This summit included a mix of ministry positions from across the United Brethren denomination. And to say that it was enjoyable would be an understatement. Here are some of the comments from those who attended.

  • “It was valuable to me just hanging out with other like-minded people” (Matt Gish, High School Youth Pastor, King Street Church, Chambersburg, Pa.).
  • “Getting to know that people that I am working with at the different churches brings a sense of ‘we are in this together’” (Angela Vincenti, UB Global, Huntington, Ind.).
  • “I enjoyed spending face-to-face time with other ministers and having the chance to make connections and build friendship with people who understand the joys and struggles of ministry” (Jordan Hart, Worship Pastor, Atlantic Avenue UB church, Franklin, Pa.).
  • “The whole week was well planned and purposeful” (Julie Llewellyn, Early Childhood Pastor, Emmanuel Community Church, Fort Wayne, Ind.).
  • “Getting to know other UB worship pastors and discussing ministry practices was very helpful” (Mark Young, Worship Pastor, Mt. Pleasant Church, Chambersburg, Pa.).
  • “To me, the relational sharpening and encouragement that takes place between attendees is very valuable” (Brian Kramer, Middle School Pastor, Emmanuel Community Church, Fort Wayne, Ind.).
  • “I really enjoyed being able to connect with other worship pastors, and I love the community we’ve developed with the youth pastors” (Byron Spear, Youth & Worship Pastor, Colwood UB church, Caro, Mich.).

Future Summit dates are as follows:

April 24-28, 2023. UB Youth Summit.
April 29 – May 3, 2024. Ministry Leaders Summit.

We all look forward to being together again. Until then, continue to be faithful to the calling that God has placed on your life in the place that he has put you.

Rev. Marion E. Burkett, age 100, passed away May 4, 2022. Since becoming a United Brethren minister in the 1940s, he has served as a pastor, church planter, evangelist, and missionary in Sierra Leone. Here are the funeral details:

Visitation: 10:00 – 11:00 am Tuesday, May 17, 2022.
Funeral: 11:00 am Tuesday, May 17, 2022.
Location: Bailey Love Mortuary, 35 W Park Drive, Huntington, IN 46750.

From the online obituary at Bailey-Love:

“Marion spent his whole life in ministry, started at the age of 16 and faithfully continued teaching bible study up until one week before his passing. His life was devoted to his family and ministry as a pastor in congregations in several states and Canada and mission work in Southeast Kentucky and Sierra Leone West Africa for the Church of The United Brethren in Christ, United Methodist and Missionary churches.”

Preferred memorials to The Gideons International, in care of Bailey-Love Mortuary, 35 West Park Drive, Huntington, IN, 46750. Or go online to www.gideons.org/donate.

Go to the Bailey-Love website for complete information.


Nancy N’Gele
Huntington, Ind.

“100 Years Loved” was the sign on the wall at Rev. Marion E. Burkett’s birthday party at Sugar Grove Church of the Nazarene in the village of Tunker, Ind. on Good Friday afternoon, April 15.

Earlier in the day, Rev. Burkett had conducted a Good Friday service at his residence, the Columbia City Miller’s Merry Manor. He shared that he had become a Christian believer 85 years before. His sons Rev. David Burkett, wife Julie, and daughter Molly from Franklin, Pa., and Rev. Phil Burkett and wife Darlene from Cass city, Mich., led in singing “The Old Rugged Cross” and “One Day,” accompanied by Phil on the accordion. Phil also sang an a capella solo of “Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?”

Two members of the nursing home staff assisted Rev. Burkett in serving communion to approximately 40 residents and guests. Rev. Amos Rawley, pastor of New Hope United Brethren church in Huntington, gave the benediction.

At 2:00 p.m., the party began in Tunker, hosted by M. E. Burkett’s son Dr. Mark and Sandy Burkett. Delicious hot food and desserts were served guests from the church kitchen.

Special music was provided by sons David, Mark, and Phil, along with other family members. The family group sang two favorites of the guest of honor, “Life is Like a Mountain Railroad,” and “Trust and Obey,” with Darlene Burkett at the piano.

Approximately 75 members of the family and friends had come to celebrate the 100th birthday.

On Monday, the staff of Miller’s Merry Manor surprised him with another party with a huge cake and the release of 100 balloons.

Rev. Burkett grew up in a United Brethren church in Monroe, Mich. He was ordained as a United Brethren minister in 1946, and in the years ahead served in ministry in many ways. He pastored churches in a half-dozen states, served as a missionary in Sierra Leone for two terms in the 1950s and another term in 1971, served in Kentucky at the UB Laurel Mission and the United Methodist Redbird Mission, planted a UB church in Pima, Arizona…and so much more. It was fitting that he would spend his 100th birthday serving communion.

Rev. Burkett and his wife of 73 years, Frances, raised four sons. David and Phil became ordained United Brethren ministers and missionaries, and Mark became a medical doctor. The fourth son, Stephen, died of cancer in 1990.

Norma R. Murphy, 97, passed away April 16, 2022, in Fairborn, Ohio. She was both a United Brethren pastor and pastor’s wife for nearly 40 years in Michigan.

After graduating from high school in June 1942, Norma accepted a job constructing World War II amphibious landing craft at the Chris Craft boat plant in Cadillac, Mich. Two years later, she enrolled at Marion College in Marion, Ind. to study to become a teacher and athletic coach. There she met John Murphy, a World War II vet who was studying for the ministry. They were married in 1947.

After John graduated in 1951, they moved to Michigan for John’s first pastoral assignment. She served alongside him in ministry for 30 years as pastor’s wife, Sunday school teacher, youth leader, and young adult counselor. She and John had two sons.

John and Norma served the Pleasant View United Brethren church in rural Blanchard from 1966 until John’s death in November 1981. Norma was then granted a Certificate of Ministry from the Michigan Conference of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, and continued serving the Pleasant View congregation as pastor until she retired in June 1997. In addition to her pastoral duties, Norma worked as a dietician, store clerk, and cashier.

A private family graveside service will be held in Six Lakes, Mich.

Orrstown UB Church, in conjunction with a ministry partner, installed a new blessing box outside the front of the church. The blessing box will be stocked with non-perishable food, tracts, and Bibles. The box will serve as a means for Orrstown UB Church to be a blessing to our community through ways that are meaningful and leaving an impact on our community.

Fonda Cassidy passed away on March 1, 2022. A nurse, Fonda and her husband, Robert, led a number of UB medical teams to Honduras and Nicaragua. Fonda is a sister of Rev. David Rawley, pastor of Otterbein UB church in Greencastle, Pa.

Viewing: 4-8pm Friday, March 11, 2022 at Johnson Funeral Service, 208 South Main St., Bridgewater, Va. 22812

Funeral: 2:00 pm Saturday, March 12, 2022, at Jerusalem Chapel UB church, 314 Chapel Road, Churchville, Va. 24421