GraceNow! Ministries, a church plant of Mid-Atlantic Conference, has united with two non-UB churches for joint worship experiences. Each group will maintain its own identity and ministry focus, but they will worship and work together for strategic ministry in the greater Harrisburg area. GraceNow! has been following the house church model. Both the joint worship service and GraceNow!’s weekly cell meeting take place in Middletown, Pa.

The Ladies Aid of McGuire Bend UB (Dayton, Iowa) reorganized and is meeting monthly. Most have reread the New Testament since January or plan to complete it by March, at three chapters a day. The pastor at McGuire Bend is Kent Kasler, a United Methodist minister who also served four Methodist churches.

Pastor Ron Gonzales of Open Bible Fellowship (Safford, Ariz.) writes, “We held a three-day City Conquest outreach that is part of a ministry we started this year called Master’s Commission. We held five school assemblies for seven student bodies, with a total attendance of about 3000. Then on Wednesday evening, we moved our midweek service to our local junior college and held a rally for the students. The 305-seat auditorium was filled beyond capacity, and over 170 people came forward for the altar call. There were children, students, and even some Mormon families that came forward.

“This team went to Guaymas, Mexico, in November and 188 people were saved. The first two persons saved were prostitutes standing on a dark corner waiting for some business. We stopped, ministered to them for about a half hour, and they both prayed with us. They were crying when we left and hugged us, thanking us for stopping to love them, not use them. The local missionaries are following up with them.”

The congregation anticipates moving into new property in April. It is two buildings with 15,000 square feet. The sanctuary will seat 400-450.

Pleasant Valley UB (Lake Odessa, Mich.) will host a concert by the Huntington College Choir on Sunday, April 27, at 6:00 pm. Come support the students and enjoy an evening of fine music. The church is located on highway M-50 eight miles west of Lake Odessa.

Every February, Prince Street UB (Shippensburg, Pa.) holds a banquet as a money-raiser to help families in need. A Sunday school class pays the expenses–food, decorations, etc. This year’s theme was “Under the Sea.” The fellowship hall was adorned appropriately–lobster traps, fish shells, a giant whale, and a shipwrecked boat built by two members of the class.

Pastor Ed Calhoun provided the entertainment, performing a magic show through which he presented the gospel. This year’s event, held February 1, raised $1,450, which was divided between two families.

Associate pastor Craig Mickey started a men’s ministry. They held Wild Game Nights in January and February, with about 80 men each time. Each man was to prepare his favorite dish from the past hunting season. Non-hunters were encouraged to bring a dessert and help in other ways. In February, a state wildlife conservation officer brought updates on new laws affecting hunters.

Whenever school is canceled for a scheduled holiday, the church holds a Kids’ Day Out. This event was started by Cherie Finkey, chairperson of the Christian Education Commission. Children sign up ahead of time. The church doors open at 7 a.m., with breakfast at 7:30. During the morning, games and activities are held in the fellowship hall. The afternoon usually features a field trip.

Children in kindergarten through fifth grade are invited. The event is a help to working parents, who know the children are enjoying supervised activities in a safe environment with caring people. The day usually ends at 4:30.

Greg Reed, pastor of Morning Star UB (Kokomo, Ind.) has become a certified instructor with Walk Thru the Bible. He has been given permission to test a new plan for offering the Old Testament seminar in churches with an average Sunday worship attendance of less than 300. He explains:

“As a new WTB instructor, I can offer the same seminar and give special pricing and a much lower financial commitment for a local church. A variety of formats are available: Friday night and Saturday morning, all day Saturday, Sunday afternoon and evening, etc. ”

About the seminar: “In just five action-packed hours, the world’s most popular Bible-based seminar will help you understand, like never before, 4000 years of life-changing, godly wisdom. Using hand motions, catch phrases, and group review, you’ll grasp the special messages and meanings of Old Testament characters, themes, places, and events. You will integrate your knowledge of all 39 books, 929 chapters, and 23,214 verses, trace major geographical movements on a giant map made up of the people attending the seminar, and rekindle your desire to read the Bible and pray daily.”

Joe Leighton is serving as interim pastor of Salem Chapel, Junction City, Ohio.

James Fitz has been named senior pastor of Fountain Hills Community UB, Fountain Hills, Ariz.

Don Ross resigned as pastor of Morocco UB (Temperance, Mich.).

In January, 44 people from Calvary UB (Saginaw, Mich.) went on a ski trip in Cadillac. The trip was hosted by the church’s Bible quiz team.

A new outreach ministry brings food and clothing to needy people in the Saginaw area. A local business let them use their parking lot every Saturday to hand out these items.

Dennis Hunt, a pastor in California Conference (and formerly in Arizona Conference), died February 15 after suffering a severe heart attack. Memorial services will be held Thursday, February 20, at the Lake Hills Community Church in Laguna Hills, Calif. The address is: 2331 Moulton Parkway.

Jennifer Blandin writes from Macau about events during the Christmas season.

  • December 21 featured a Christmas party for the children’s fellowship at Living Word church. They played games, shared about the Christmas story, and ate some snacks.
  • On December 22, Living Word had an outreach service. Two UB ladies from Hong Kong came to help Pastor Connie Sung with planning and leading. After the service, everyone stayed for a catered buffet at the church.
  • On Christmas Eve, a few kids, the missionaries, and Connie Sung met at the church. One person carried a cassette recorder that blared out Cantonese Christmas carols, while a couple other people carried two boxes that contained wrapped gifts, and the rest of them passed out the gifts to anyone they encountered on the sidewalk. “The reactions we received were priceless,” Jennifer says. Afterwards, Connie treated everyone at Pizza Hut. Then they headed to St. Paul’s ruins to listen to community Christmas caroling.
  • On December 30, the Living Word church family gathered at a buffet restaurant for a relaxing meal together.
  • Jennifer, along with fellow missionaries Melissa Hull and Linda Neely, took a short retreat to Hong Kong.