Throughout the month of October, voting will occur in the US National Conference churches. Adult members will select laypersons and ministers to represent their conference at the 2005 US National Conference, and will also cast votes concerning three referendum items. Each church needs to appoint a board of tellers to oversee the voting. The conference will provide enough ballots for each member in your church, as well as other information. A number of resources concerning the voting are available online, though most will be sent to your church from the conference.

Various items regarding the initiative to join with the Missionary Church have been sent to all UB local churches in the United States, or will soon be sent. Other information is available on the UB website.

  • Information Sheets. Four information sheets were sent to all churches at the beginning of August. They are designed to be duplicated and inserted in church bulletins, if appropriate, but can also be used in other ways. All four can be downloaded.
  • “Joining Forces” Video. A 14-minute video has been sent to each church. It includes a short introduction by Bishop Paul Hirschy, and then statements from three Missionary Church officials regarding the vision and ministry of the Missionary Church. All churches are encouraged to show this to their congregation prior to the October elections, preferably as part of a church service or congregational meeting.
  • Online Statements. A number of UB people have submitted statements regarding the possibility of joining the Missionary Church–both in favor, and not in favor. You can find them here.
  • Missionary Church Materials. The Missionary Church headquarters provided a variety of printed materials which were sent in a packet to each UB church in the United States. The packet includes a brief snapshot of the Missionary Church district your church would most likely become part of, if the joining takes place. Pastors are encouraged to make this material available to their congregations.
  • Informational Meetings. Several informational meetings have been scheduled, including five within Central Conference. Meetings have also been scheduled in several local churches, at the request of pastors.

Luanne Brooks will return to the States from Haiti sooner than previously reported–either the second or third week of September. The doors have opened for her to return to the nursing job she held before going to Haiti, and she will also be continuing her education to prepare for fulltime ministry in another field. Luanne had previously announced her decision to conclude her work with OMS International at the end of November.

Hurricane Francis caused damage at two of our churches in Florida, both in the Daytona area on the east side of the state.

A large part of Faith UB church in Port Orange was destroyed. The building was condemned by the city and must be torn down.

The Daytona UB church, located in Holly Hill, needs a new roof. So does the parsonage.

A Florida Hurricane Relief Fund has been established to help.

Bishop Paul Hirschy reports that he has been feeling great. His chemotherapy treatments were concluded some weeks ago, and his hair is growing back. Throughout the treatments, he was able to maintain his regular schedule, and never got sick. That is an answer to many people’s prayers, and he is very grateful.

When the recent hurricane struck Haiti, it wiped out a village where one of our churches is located. People were killed. The government has ordered that the village not be rebuilt in the same location.

The United Brethren Headquarters is undergoing a transition in the position of Finance Director. Janet Bilyew, our present Finance Director, will leave us at the end of July. Janet has worked at the UB Heaquarters since the early 1970s, longer than anyone else. She has accepted a position in Fort Wayne, just a few miles from her home. She will be greatly missed.

Janet’s replacement has been found in the person of Jane Jordan. She is moving to the Huntington area, and started with us on July 19. Her husband is in the Navy and is being transferred from Seattle; he is about reach to begin a six-month submarine tour. Jane will be in the Huntington area for an extended period before her husband is then transferred to Virginia Beach.

At the end of August, Rev. M. E. Burkett will step down from the active pastorate after 66 years in the ministry. He and his wife, Frances, will move to Florida for about nine months. He has served as a missionary in Sierra Leone and at the Laurel Mission, and has pastored churches in Canada and across the United States. Most recently, he has been pastor of the New Hope UB church in Huntington, Ind.