Michelle Harris, associate director of UB Global, leads in prayer for the travelers at the airport in Fort Wayne, Ind.

Ruth Rivera (right) with Dr. Richard and Cathy Toupin.

Ruth packing for the six-week trip to Sierra Leone.

Ruth at work at Mattru Hospital.

On October 29, Ruth Esther Rivera Mejia, a dentist from Honduras, and Dr. Richard Toupin and Cathy Toupin left for Sierra Leone. They will serve at Mattru Hospital for six weeks. We are looking forward to what God will do in and through this team.

They worshiped at the UB church in Bo on Sunday morning, November 1, and arrived in Mattru late that afternoon.

Now these servants–surgeon, nurse, and dentist–are at work bringing healing to people through Mattru Hospital.

The Saopin bridge on the east side of La Ceiba.

Hurricane Eta slammed into Honduras on Tuesday, affecting the northern coast where dozens of United Brethren churches are located. Roger and Marilyn Reeck are Wycliffe missionaries in Honduras, and their daughter Christi and her husband, Rigo, are UB endorsed missionaries with Commission to Every Nation. They live in La Ceiba, located on the north coast, but all are currently in San Antonio, Texas, where the Reecks have been since the pandemic began. Marilyn sent this note:

Our daughter, Christy, and her family arrived in San Antonio from Honduras last night. From their house to the International airport, they travel four hours. Predicting the flooding that would take place due to Hurricane Eta, they left home a day early. They drove through several towns along the route that were already flooded from the heavy rains. Praise God they made it to the airport, and the plane did fly.

But, the reports we have received today are of major flooding, landslides, damage, and destruction. The hurricane has now diminished to a tropical storm. La Ceiba, where we have lived for many years, runs east-west with the ocean on one side and the mountains on the other. A section of the bridge we must cross over to get into town on the east side has collapsed. The two bridges leading out of town on the west side are damaged also and deemed unsafe.

There is major flooding, and bridges are out on the whole northern coast of Honduras and part of Nicaragua. This all brings back memories of Hurricane Mitch that happened 22 years ago on the same date.

Please pray that the necessary relief, food, etc. will arrive for the people who have suffered so much already from the strict lockdowns due to the pandemic.

Our plans are to return to Honduras in another three weeks.

L-r: Coach Kevin Marshall, Calvary member Jeff Frazier, Athletic Director Gabe Rodriguez, and Pastor Ted Doolittle.

Ted Doolittle, senior pastor, Calvary Community Church

One of the “Be the Church” projects of Calvary Community Church (Saginaw, Mich.) was collecting water for the Bridgeport Public Schools. While most students are doing virtual school online in our school district, we learned that there are a total of 445 in-person students in the school district.

Drinking fountains are closed due to Covid-19, so our Leadership Team challenged the church to bring in water bottles so that schools could make every Wednesday in October “Water Wednesday” courtesy of Calvary. We set a goal of 1,780 bottles, but we surpassed that goal in two weeks by receiving 2,148! The schools were delighted when we delivered them.

While we have not been doing indoor worship yet, the church is not closed! The motto is: “While we can’t GO to church, we will continue to BE the church!” In addition to the water project, the church has continued to distribute more than ninety boxes of food each month to needy families in our community through our bi-monthly Outreach Ministry. More projects are planned.

Mount Pleasant United Brethren Church (Chambersburg, Pa.) is seeking a part-time Director of Children’s Ministries (15-20 hours/week). The successful candidate will possess:

  • a vibrant relationship with God which demonstrates itself in his/her lifestyle, relationships and conversations.
  • a passion for both enabling children to begin and grow a relationship with Jesus, and equipping parents to be the primary spiritual influence in their child’s life.
  • skill and experience in both team building and the administrative tasks of ministry.

Interested candidates should submit the following to Pastor Jim Bolich:

  • Cover letter
  • Resume
  • Written testimony and call to ministry
  • Links to social media profiles

Download the complete job description here.

(Posted October 2, 2020)

A record 25 people, including four men from Jamaica, attended the September 28-29 UB History course. The course, which is a requirement for ministerial licensing, was taught via Zoom. Bob Bruce, formerly a fulltime staffer at Emmanuel Community Church (Fort Wayne, Ind.), led the course. Cathy Reich, administrative assistant to the bishop, tended to the technical and administrative aspects of the event.

The Covid crisis has led to some unexpected discoveries. One is that face-to-face meetings are not always necessary. Various denominational groups, including the Executive Leadership Team and the UB Global board, have been holding meetings online. In the process, money is saved on travel, food and lodging, and members don’t spend many hours traveling back and forth.

The UB History Course is another example. The in-person course scheduled last spring was hastily converted to a Zoom course, and it went surprisingly well. So when another session was scheduled for September, it was designed from the start as a Zoom class.

Of the 25 students, all but two were taking the course for licensing. They included one person from Canada, four from Jamaica, and 20 from the United States. The latter included persons participating from Pennsylvania, Maryland, South Carolina, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois. There were 7 women and 18 men.

The format also allowed for guests to pop in and talk about an aspect of the denomination. They included Bishop Todd Fetters, Frank Y (acting director of UB Global), Jim Bolich (director of Ministerial Licensing), Steve Dennie (Communications director), Dr. Sherilyn Emberton (president of Huntington University), and Dr. Anthony Blair (president of Evangelical Seminary).

It may be the Year of Covid, but Huntington University has set a new enrollment record: 1,402 students, up from 1,393 the previous year. That includes students at the two Indiana campuses (Huntington and Fort Wayne) and at the campus in Peoria, Ariz. Enrollment hit 1300 back in 2016.

For the 8th consecutive year, the number of ethnic minorities from the United States has increased. They now make up 16% of the Huntington University population.

Also, for the fifth consecutive year, the number of states represented has increased. HU students now come from 34 different states.

Says HU President Sherilyn Emberton, “Our entire campus community, at all three geographic locations, worked diligently through the pandemic recess to offer the residential educational experience for our students in the fall of 2020.”

Dr. Carl Zurcher

Dr. Carl Zurcher, professor emeritus of speech, beloved teacher, and theatre director to hundreds of Huntington University students, passed to his eternal reward on September 11, 2020. He taught at Huntington University for 39 years, starting in 1950.

Born on a farm near Berne, Indiana, to Fred F. and Martha (Valentine) Zurcher, Carl graduated as valedictorian from Geneva High School. He began his college education at Huntington University (then College) in 1942 but was interrupted by World War II, where he served with the 104th Infantry (Timberwolf) Division in Holland, France. Returning to HU after the war, he began dating Mabel (Alpaugh) Thompson his senior year and graduated with a degree in speech and history in 1948. He taught at Huntington Township High School for a year and completed a master’s degree at Northwestern University.

In 1950, a position opened in the Speech Department at HU, and Zurcher stated that he “was flattered to be invited to teach at his alma mater.” He accepted the position and began a lifelong devotion to Huntington University, where he taught for 39 years. After completing his first year of teaching at Huntington he married Mabel Thompson in 1951, a marriage of mutual devotion that lasted until her death in 2018. The Zurchers have two daughters, Beverly Ann (Dan) Brauchler and Carla Jeanne Zurcher, both Huntington alumni.

Among the many positions and chairmanships Zurcher held at the institution was his service as registrar from 1953 to 1964 and chair of the Division of Humanities and Bible from 1965 until his retirement. Zurcher was one of the principle faculty members who worked tenaciously for national accreditation in 1961. Zurcher often cited this as one of the highlights of his service to Huntington University. One of the leading members of the faculty, he was always spoken of highly by his colleagues. Dr. Gerald Smith described him as “teacher … exemplar” and “persuasive” in faculty meetings. Dr. William Hasker states, “He was there with a lot of wisdom and judgement, and he would always take the time to work through the problem.”

The impact he had on students was immeasurable. Many have commented on his excellent abilities in teaching and directing, but most of his former students have reflected on the impact this humble Christian gentleman had on their lives. Phrases such as “elegance of wisdom and patience,” “cherished his counsel always and his friendship,” “unconditional love and integrity,” and “taught me my work ethic and my high standards” are just a few of the accolades of those former students who looked up to Dr. “Z” as a mentor and friend. Perhaps former Vice President for University Relations John Paff said it best…“Oh, what a true Christian gentleman! He embodied the values and virtues of Huntington College, modeling ‘Christ, Scholarship, and Service’ to generations of HC and HU students.”

During his years at Huntington University, Dr. Zurcher was recognized many times for his talent and contribution. He was elected four times by the student body as Professor of the Year, received the Alumnus of the Year Award in 1974, was awarded a Centennial Medallion in 1996 and received an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree in 1989. In 2005, the University further paid tribute to Dr. Zurcher by naming the auditorium in the Merillat Centre for the Arts in his honor.

Dr. Carl Zurcher’s life and work can best be summed up with the verses from 1 Corinthians 13:4-7: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

Easter Offering Update

We are so thankful for many churches and individuals that, in spite of not having in-person church, gave generously towards the generator fund for the Easter offering. The generator will contribute to the longevity of the hospital solar grid and increase income from community sales that go to pay hospital salaries. Thank you!

Posted by UB Global on Monday, August 24, 2020

The Easter Offering raised $17,100, which will go toward buying and installing a generator at Mattru Hospital in Sierra Leone. Here is more from David Kline, associate director of UB Global. This will greatly increase the efficiency and lifespan of the solar power grid.

Since installing this grid, the level of care has changed at the hospital. They now have the ability to depend on oxygen machines that sustain life. Care is much easier when lights are on while preforming medical procedures. And in the sweltering African heat, air conditioning in the operating room provides a cleaner, more controlled environment for both the patient and surgeon.

Above is a thank-you message from David Kline, associate director of UB Global.

Ruth A. Merillat, 99, passed away Wednesday, August 19, in East Jordan, Mich. She and her husband, Orville Merillat, who died in 1999, were members of Trenton Hills UB church in Adrian, Mich. In 1946, they founded what became Merillat Industries, the nation’s largest maker of kitchen and bathroom cabinets.

After retiring from active leadership in the company, they devoted themselves to philanthropy through the Merillat Christian Family Foundation. Among other things, they gave tens of millions of dollars to Huntington University, to United Brethren church building projects, to UB missions and camps, and to other UB-related causes. In 1988, the National Association of Evangelicals recognized them jointly as NAE Laypersons of the Year.

A private funeral service is being held on Tuesday, August 25. It will be streamed live at 2:00 pm via the Lenawee Christian School Facebook page and Youtube channel.