• Darren Duncan resigned as Senior Pastor of Living Word UB in Columbus, Ohio, effective May 18, 2003. He will be going into active duty as a military chaplain. The church will be unassigned for the present time.
  • Ben Gladhill resigned as Children and Youth Pastor at Atlantic Avenue UB in Franklin, Pa., effective April 2.
  • Paul Rowe resigned as interim pastor at Mount Olivet UB, Mt. Solon, Va., as of May 7 due to health reasons. The church is unassigned for the present time.

On Sunday, May 4, Banner of Christ UB (Byron Center, Mich.) shared gifts of people and nursery furnishings to the newly forming HomeFront Church. HomeFront is a church under development with Rev. Howard Matthews as pastor. This was the former Maple Hill UB Church.

Banner has committed to a partnering relationship with this rejuvenated sister congregation and on this Sunday had a presentation of numerous nursery items to outfit HomeFront’s nursery and young children’s area. Banner also is sending two families to help with the forming launch team that Pastor Matthews reports is now over 30 adults.

The service included a time of prayer for the launch team and Pastor Matthews, and the presentation of the two new cribs, bedding, and several toys and games for the new church. Banner had collected items that the HomeFront children’s ministry team had identified and registered at the local Target store for a nursery shower. An empty crib was placed in Banner’s foyer for the month of April with gift tags attached to the crib. Members of the church picked up tags, bought and wrapped the gifts and returned them to the crib during the month long “shower.”

HomeFront is poised to begin a series of preview services for the community to come and see during the summer months. Their first preview service was on Mother’s Day.

During the Easter holiday, Pixley UB looked for a way to reach out to neighborhood families. Pastor Rodney Bittick writes, “Originally we considered running a three-day VBS on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. But knowing that our small number of workers could be easily overwhelmed by a daily increasing volume of children, we decided to try a more modest one-day carnival-type event. Our goal was two-fold: to establish a connection between the church and its largely Hispanic neighbors, and to get scriptures and Christian materials into the homes.

“Setting aside the same three days, we set to work on Monday making take-home bags. We made bags for children and adults in both Spanish and English. They contained Scripture portions and tracts as well as treats and other prizes.

“On Tuesday, we canvassed the homes in the immediate neighborhood of the church, passing out flyers and inviting them to the party. We decided to call it √îFiesta de Vida’ (Festival of Life).

“Wednesday was party day! The church parking lot was decorated with colorful signs (in Spanish) and helium balloons. Activities included games, coloring pages, and a flannel graph story telling of Jesus’ crucifixion, death and resurrection. Hot dogs and sodas were served and the party ended with the breaking of a pi‚Äìata. The party ended at noon, and each person present was given a gift bag.

“In all, about 35 children and approximately 17 adults attended. Most of the grown-ups and many of the smaller children spoke only Spanish.”

Alan DeCristoforo sent this update on his health condition. He is serving as Spiritual Care Pastor at First UB in New Castle, Pa. “Since I know a lot of people have been praying for me, I should let them know that I stood up and preached for 30 minutes during the Sunrise Service. After the service, I was assisted to the main floor where I stood up, with help, and walked out of the sanctuary. I had on my braces, and two gentlemen helped me stand up.”

Valerie Reynolds, associate pastor of Mt. Hope UB in Carson City, Mich., writes, “In our effort to make an impact in our small community, we have changed our focus to trying to become friends to our neighbors. One of the things that we are doing is having a ‘Project Night’ the first and third Mondays of each month. One night, for instance, we did scrapbooking and quilting. So far around 30% of the participants have been unchurched women. We are intentionally looking for ways to become friends with our neighbors and looking for ways to invite them to a non-church activity where we can get to know them more personally. The excitement is spreading within our church as we are being challenged to live the lifestyle of Jesus.”

Lee Rhodes, pastor of Countryside UB (Breckenridge, Mich.), sent this report.

“Our youth group, TLC (Teens Loving Christ), held an activity day at Central Michigan University’s Student Activity Center. We rented two buses from the school to transport 74 middle school and high school students. There were 28 adults that chaperoned. Events included wallyball, swimming, bowling, basketball, pool, volleyball, eating donated food and purchased pizzas, and two sets of devotions for each group. During the day, there were five conversions and eight recommitments to Christ.

“This is an annual event. This is the first year both age groups went on the same day. The Student Activity Center was quite empty until we arrived. The youth were pumped. TLC youth come from various churches in the area. For this event we had 13 youth come from a different school district as well. Kurt Peters, 19, has been leading TLC for several years. He is now on staff part time. John Cole is assisting him by leading the middle school age group in devotions and some activities on a regular basis. The two halves of the group meet at the same time on Sunday evenings, sharing worship time but split for most of the other activities.”

Titus Boggs, director of the Laurel Mission (Big Laurel, Kent.), reports that the mission’s clothing store has almost no summer clothing. The residents who shop at the clothing store are beginning to request such items. Any help would be appreciated. Titus can be contacted at: titus@ub.org.

Ernie Burk, a retired minister in Michigan Conference, passed away in April. He was 85. A memorial service was held April 19 at the Mt. Hope UB church in Carson City, Mich. Rev. Burk attended Huntington College and was ordained in 1949. He and his wife, Dorothy, served various churches in Michigan: Harrison, Brown Corners, Ashley, Alma, Jackson St. (now Countryside), Harrison, Caledonia, Eden, and Ithaca. They retired to a home on the Carson City Campground in 1982. Their oldest son, Roger, is the pastor at Mt. Hope. Three of their five children are still living.

Park Layne UB (Dayton, Ohio) held a five-day revival which resulted in three conversions and some rededications. An average of 30-40 people attended each night. Associate Pastor George Rhodifer was the speaker.

The Easter Services on Sunday was well, attended. There were 25 for the Sunrise Service and about 35 for the Breakfast that followed. Pastor Roland Albert brought the Worship Morning message. His theme was “He is Risen, He is Alive, What About You?” This rebuilding church set a new attendance mark of 51.