Russ Neterer is known to many people in the denomination through his involvement at College Park UB church in Huntington, Ind., his role as a founding member of Emmanuel Community UB church in Fort Wayne, Ind., his service as a lay delegate to General Conference, and his 25-year tenure on the Huntington College Board of Trustees.

Russ, 92, passed away early Wednesday morning, November 17, at Parkview Huntington Hospital. He is survived by his wife, Thelma, and two children.

  • Visitation: November 19 (Friday) from 1-4 pm and 6-8 pm at Emmanuel Community Church (12222 W. US-24, Fort Wayne, Ind.).
  • Funeral: November 20 (Saturday), 10 a.m., at Emmanuel Community Church. Rev. Dennis Miller will officiate. Burial will be in Wakarusa, Ind.

Edward E. Souers has been elected chairman of the Huntington College Board of Trustees. He is managing partner of Christen Souers LLC, an accounting firm in Fort Wayne, Ind. Ed is a 1977 HC graduate, and is a member of South Scipio UB church in Harlan, Ind.

Kelly Savage (Class of 1983) was elected Vice Chair of the Board. Savage is the chief information officer for Alticor, the parent company of Amway, Quixtar and Access Business Group. David Tinkey (1980), a commercial banking finance manager for Bank One in Indianapolis, Ind., was elected Secretary of the Board.

David and Melissa Kline continue to await word from Macau governmental authorities concerning their status for long-term service in Macau. With the new regulations, one of the sticking points is getting permission from the Education Department, the Labor Department, as well as the Immigration Department to be an “English teacher.” We continue to seek your prayer for God’s sovereign hand over this process.

The Klines are not alone. In a changing world, many mission agencies in many countries are facing the increased challenge of getting immigration visas for missionaries, as well as work permits. Wes and Jean Bell, Wycliffe missionaries to Brazil (also UB endorsed missionaries), are struggling with Brazilian immigration as they seek to recruit needed missionary teachers to their school.

Throughout October 2004, United Brethren members in the United States voted on these matters:Next

  • Electing clergy and lay delegates to the 2005 national Conference.
  • Voting “yes” or “no” on three referendum items, including the referendum to unite the UB churches in the United States with the Missionary Church USA.

The voting ended on October 31. Here are the next steps in the timeline, as stated in chapter 33 of the UB Discipline:

  • November 15. The results from each church must be sent to the conference board of tellers, postmarked no later than November 15.
  • December 1. The conference board of tellers will tally the results from the various churches, producing conference totals. Persons elected as delegates must be notified by December 1.
  • December 15. The conference results must be sent, by December 15, to these persons: Bishop Paul Hirschy, the superintendent(s) of that conference, and each senior pastor in the conference.
  • February 15. The bishop will publish the results of the election by this date. It allows time for any appeals or recounts.

Most likely, the results of the voting will be announced in late December. The results will be announced in the same way they were published in 1993, the last time we had a referendum. The referendum results from each conference will be posted, with three pieces of information for each referendum: the number of Yes votes, the number of No votes, and the percentage of Yes votes. The names of the delegates elected from each conference will also be posted.

If a referendum receives a simple majority of all votes cast in the United States churches, it can be passed along to the National Conference in 2005. The 65 delegates to the National Conference can, with a two-thirds vote, make a referendum official.

Information about the voting, as well as other information related to the 2005 US National Conference, can be found at this address.

Bob Lust is no longer pastor of First UB in Columbus. The pastoral staff at Franklin Church in New Albany, Ohio, will provide pastoral oversight for this congregation during the transition.

As of October 25, people had contributed over $55,000 to the three hurricane relief funds we created in September.

  • Jamaica: $24,541
  • Haiti: $7,026
  • Florida: $23,512

In addition, some people have contributed directly to these places. The figures above reflect only the money channelled through the United Brethren Headquarters and Global Ministries.

Doug Birdsall was installed as International Chairman of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization during the organization’s global forum in Pattaya, Thailand, in October.

Doug is the brother of Brent Birdsall, pastor of College Park UB church (Huntington, Ind.) and of Brian Birdsall, a UB endorsed missionary serving in Ukraine. A sister, Connie, attends a Missionary Church congregation in Berne, Ind.

The forum brought together 1500 church leaders from around the world to focus on the task of global evangelism.

The Lausanne Movement is an outgrowth of a 1974 International Congress in Lausanne, Switzerland, convened by Billy Graham. At that historic meeting, several thousand participants from 150 countries signed the Lausanne Covenant “to be more intentional about world evangelization.” Lausanne’s vision is to energize churches, mission agencies, networks and individuals “to respond with vigor and courage to the cause of world evangelization.” The unifying theme of the Lausanne Covenant and the Lausanne Movement is, “The Whole Church Taking the Whole Gospel to the Whole World.”

Since 1980, Doug Birdsall has served as a missionary in Japan with Asian Access/LIFE Ministries, an organization that focuses on evangelism and church multiplication. He is currently President of Asian Access. He is a graduate of Wheaton College, Gordon-Conwell, and Harvard University. He and his wife, Jeanie, have three children, Stacia, Judd and Jessamin, who were all born and reared in Japan.

Doug returned to Gordon-Conwell in 1999 to help establish the Wilson Center for World Missions, and is seconded to the seminary for 20 percent of his time by Asian Access/Life Ministries

David and Melissa Kline are still trying to obtain work permits so they can teach in the Macau English Language Program. In the meantime, they are finding other ways to serve the Macau people, while Jana and Jennifer Blandin carry the bulk of the teaching responsibilities.

Huntington College has announced a total fall enrollment of 975 students. This is just slightly lower than the 980 announced in 2003. They include:

  • 819 undergraduates (down from 838 in 2003).
  • 96 students enrolled in the EXCEL Program (an increase of 7 from 2003).
  • 60 students enrolled in the Graduate School of Christian Ministries (an increase of 7 from 2003).

The College enrolled 235 new students, including 204 freshmen and 31 transfer students.

During Homecoming at the beginning of October, Huntington College presented awards to two alumni.

  • Lola Lee Peters, Class of 1949, was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Citation, which honors distinguished service and achievement over an extended period of time.
  • Dawn Rae Smith (1968) was named Alumnus of the Year, an award which recognizes outstanding achievement or honor during the past year.