Rev. Russ and Nellie Birdsall

Nellie Birdsall passed away Monday, January 16, 2023. She and her late husband, Russ, who passed away in 2021, were United Brethren missionaries in Sierra Leone and Macau, and served ten years in pastoral ministry.

Visitation: 3-7 pm Friday, January 20.
Visitation location: Bailey Love Funeral Home, 35 West Park Drive, Huntington, IN 46750
Funeral: 12pm Saturday, January 21, 2023. Visitation one hour beforehand.
Funeral location: College Park UB church, Huntington, Ind.

Nellie was born in Chambersburg, Pa., in 1931 and grew up there. She and Russ met at Huntington University and were married in 1951. On September 4, 1957, they and their young daughter, Sharon, boarded a ship for Sierra Leone, where they served as UB missionaries for the next 11 years.

In July 1968, the family returned to Huntington at the request of Dr. DeWitt Baker, another former Sierra Leone missionary, so Russ could become dean of students at Huntington University. Nellie was a public schoolteacher in Huntington for 22 years. She held masters degrees in Education and in Counseling from Indiana University-Fort Wayne.

In 1979, Russ and Nellie began ten years serving the New Hope UB church in Huntington, Ind. Between 1994 and 2006, they served seven times in Macau as short-term missionaries, always going at their own expense. They taught in the English Language Program, conducted Bible studies, and provided pastoral care for the other missionaries.

Russ passed away in February 2021. Nellie is survived by their only child, Sharon Cherry, who lives in Huntington with her husband, Kevin.

At the time of her death, Nellie was a member of College Park UB church in Huntington. Preferred memorials are to Huntington University or UB Global, in care of Bailey-Love Mortuary, 35 West Park Drive, Huntington, IN, 46750.

Registration is now open for the 2023 UB Youth Summit.

Dates: April 24-28, 2023 (Begins Monday evening; ends Thursday evening with check-out on Friday)

Location: Aku Tiki Best Western in Daytona Beach Shores, Fla.

The UB Youth Summit is an annual event which averages around 25 persons. It’s a great time of networking with other youth leaders and being encouraged by others who are in the trenches of youth ministry. Enjoy the beach, golf course, and incredibly beautiful weather, along with the chance to slow down and step away from the constant demands of youth ministry.

Go here for more details and to register.

The Well, a United Brethren church in Huntington, Ind., is seeking a person to serve as Children’s and Ministry Coordinator. This position consists of roughly 25-30 hours weekly of Children’s Ministry and 10-15 hours weekly as Ministry Coordinator.

You can download the full job description here.

If interested, feel free to contact Senior Pastor Josh Kesler directly:

Phone: 260-355-9608

Rev. Gar Hull, 61, passed away January 9, 2023 in Jackson, Mich.

He graduated from Huntington University in 1984 and from the Graduate School of Christian Ministries in 1985. He was ordained in 1986. He served at four United Brethren churches in Michigan up through 2010. They include Homefront (now Maple Hill) in Grandville; East Washington in Ashley; and Hillsdale UB in Hillsdale.

Rev. Hull is survived by four children and one grandchild. His wife of 39 years, Lisa, preceded him in death.

Please visit to sign the guestbook and/or send a condolence to the family.
Hampton Funeral Homes – Hillsdale

Donald W. Dennie, 91, a longtime United Brethren in Christ minister, passed away the evening of Friday, December 30, 2022. He died at the home he shared with Gloria, his wife of 67 years, in Fort Wayne, Ind.

Don Dennie grew up around Lake Odessa and Lowell, Mich., the youngest of five children. Growing up, he attended Pleasant Valley UB in Lake Odessa. He went off to Huntington College in 1951, but was drafted and served two years in the US Army, mostly in Germany (he was a chaplain’s assistant).

After mustering out, he returned to Huntington and completed his degree in Social Studies in 1957. He added a Masters in Elementary Education and Administration in 1964 from Ball State University. Further coursework occurred at the California Graduate School of Theology, the HC School of Christian Ministries, Long Beach University, Biola University, and other schools.

Don and Gloria met at Huntington College and were married in 1955. They have three children: Steve (now age 66), Stu (63), and Rick (58). Steve is Communications director for the United Brethren in Christ denomination; Stu owns an automobile sales and repair shop in Van Wert, Ohio; and Rick is director of Student Support Services at Indiana University-South Bend. There are seven grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild, all living in Indiana and Ohio.

Don taught elementary school in the Huntington area and worked six years as assistant business manager at Huntington College. In 1966, the Dennie family moved to Harrisburg, Pa. Don taught sixth grade, and he and Gloria provided leadership to the recently-started Devonshire Memorial United Brethren church. Don also directed junior camp at Rhodes Grove Camp in Chambersburg, Pa.

In 1969, the family moved to Lake Havasu City, Ariz., where Don taught junior high while providing leadership, particularly in youth ministry, to the new First UB church started by Rev. Marvin D. Price.

In 1973, Don Dennie left teaching to become a fulltime United Brethren minister. He was assigned to the UB church in Pixley, Calif., serving there 1973-1983. He was ordained in 1983 by Bishop Raymond Waldfogel. Five more UB senior pastor assignments followed: Fountain Hills Community in Fountain Hills, Ariz. (1984-1989); Olive Branch in Lakeville, Ind. (1989-1995); Third Street UB church in Fort Wayne (now Anchor Community, 1995-1998); Convoy UB in Convoy, Ohio (1998-2001); and a second stint at Olive Branch (2002-2006).

A small memorial service will be held. There will be no body (cremation was chosen), and no meal afterwords.

Time: 2:00 pm Sunday, January 8, 2023. People can visit with the family one hour beforehand.

Location: Anchor UB church, 1529 Third St., Fort Wayne, IN 46808

Gloria asks that memorials be made to UB Global, the mission arm of the United Brethren in Christ. Contribute online at, or send a check to: UB Global, 302 Lake Street, Huntington, IN 46750.

Rev. George D. Cole, 96, passed away Thursday afternoon, December 29, 2022, in Huntington, Ind.

Visitation: 5-7 pm Thursday, January 5, 2023.
Funeral: 10:00 am Friday, January 6, 2023. Visiting one hour beforehand.
Location for both: Myers Funeral Home Huntington Chapel, 2901 Guilford Street, Huntington, IN 46750.

George was born in 1926 in Fulton County, Ohio. After graduating from high school in 1944, he enlisted in the Army Air Corp Cadet program, and went on to serve 13 years in Search and Rescue with the Civil Air Patrol.

George received his Bachelors in Psychology in 1966 and his Bachelors in Theology in 1967, both from Huntington University. He was ordained in 1967. He served three UB churches in Ohio (Montpelier, Kunkle, and Nettle Lake), as well as the Hudson/Corunna and Olive Branch churches in Indiana. After 24 years of ministry, he retired from Convoy, Ohio in 1988.

George is survived by his wife of 75 years, Aldene. Also surviving are two brothers and a sister preceded him in death. two sons, five grandchildren, three step-grandchildren, ten great-grandchildren, and twelve step-great-grandchildren.

Memorial donations can be made to the New Hope United Brethren Church sent in care of Myers Funeral Home, 2901 Guilford Street, Huntington, IN 46750.

Jamie Hoffman joined the Headquarters staff on November 28, 2022. As administrative assistant to the bishop, she interacts regularly with UB ministers, church leaders, cluster leaders, and leadership teams.

Jamie taught language arts for 31 years—three years in Kendallville, Ind., followed by 28 years at Crestview Middle School in Huntington, Ind. She also taught at Huntington University for many years as an adjunct professor. When she became eligible for retirement from the school system, she decided to see what God might have in terms of a second career. She wanted to do something with an emphasis on service. Upon learning about the opening at the United Brethren National Office, she was immediately drawn to it.

Jamie came to the UB National Office with deep roots in the United Brethren in Christ Church. Her grandfather, Rev. Ronald Hoffman, was a longtime UB minister in Michigan, and her great-grandfather, Andrew Hoffman, was a UB minister, too. Jamie’s great-aunt, Bernadine Hoffman, was a UB missionary in Sierra Leone for 39 years. Both of Jamie’s parents graduated from Huntington University, as did Jamie and her sister, as well as both of Jamie’s children.

Jamie was born in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, but when she was in second grade, her father, Jim Hoffman, accepted an administrative position at Huntington University. Her mother, Marda Hoffman, was Finance Director and Office Manager at the United Brethren National Office for 24 years, 1979-2003 (back in the 1960s, she had spent a couple years as assistant editor of publications).

So, Jamie brings to the position a love for the United Brethren church, and a familiarity with a great many UB people. She attends College Park UB church in Huntington, the church in which she grew up.

Jamie has two children. Aisha and her husband, a lawyer, live in Minneapolis, Minn. Her son, Kai, lives in Huntington and works for Sweetwater Sound.

Courtney Waterman joined the UB Global team as an associate director on November 1, 2022. She and her husband are members of Emmanuel Community Church in Fort Wayne, Ind.

Courtney grew up mostly around Buffalo, New York. She attended her first Bills game at age five and rejoices at the team’s current success.

Courtney attended DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind., where she earned an Economics degree. There, she met her husband, John, a fellow Economics student. After seven years in Chicago, they moved to John’s hometown of Fort Wayne, where he took a position in his father’s company.

After doing tech consulting for a number of years, Courtney went to cooking school and then ran her own catering business for a few years. Then she returned to consulting, and during the past 12 years worked for

John and Courtney began attending Emmanuel Community Church about 13 years ago. There, she became deeply interested in missions, going on short-term trips, joining the missions team, and serving in volunteer and board leadership at various nonprofits.

For about five years, Courtney had been praying, “God, I love my job and enjoy the people, but you know my interests and skills. If you have something else for me, make it happen.” So when Frank Yang contacted her about joining the UB Global team, she was ready. The position matched her skills with her passion for missions.

Frank said, “I’m excited about Courtney joining the UB Global team. Her decades of non-profit leadership, involvement in many short-term mission trips, leadership on the church missions board, and her management and leadership experience as a director of Salesforce will be a great asset to our team.”