Bishop Todd Fetters spoke during the concluding service on Friday morning, July 14.

Nathan Hann and a team mostly from King Street UB church (Chambersburg, Pa.) led in worship throughout the week.

Over 500 people attended the 2023 US National Conference, held July 11-14 in Fort Wayne, Ind. The conference concluded on Friday morning, July 14, with a thrilling and moving service.

Once again, everyone experienced a superb time of worship led by Nathan Hann and his team from King Street UB church in Chambersburg, Pa.

Bishop Todd Fetters gave a stirring message from Philippians 2:1-18. He focused on three commands–LOVE (each other and the church), LIVE like Jesus, and LIGHT the world.

Andy Sikora prays for Nate Sams and his family, church planters in Surprise, Ariz.

There was a commissioning service for the Nate Sams family, who are 18 months into planting a new UB church in Surprise, Ariz.

Frank Yang, executive director of UB Global, prays for Chloe Makley.

The UB Global staff led a commissioning service for Chloe Makley, who served as an intern in Thailand during 2022, and in late 2023 will return to Thailand for a one-year term.

Bishop Todd Fetters led the ordination service for seven persons.

Bishop Todd Fetters ordained seven persons as elders in the Church of the United Brethren in Christ. This is always a highlight of National Conference. Those persons were:

  • Brad North, senior pastor of South Scipio UB church (Harlan, Ind.).
  • Jerald Jones, senior pastor of McCallum UB church (Delton, Mich.).
  • Jennifer Smith, Women’s Pastor at Emmanuel Community Church (Fort Wayne, Ind.).
  • Aaron deNeui, senior pastor of Philomath UB church (Philomath, Oregon).
  • Sam Ward, Worship Pastor at Emmanuel Community Church (Fort Wayne, Ind.).
  • Rick Tawney, church planter and pastor of First UB church (Columbus, Ohio).
  • Eric Griffon, Worship Pastor at Fowlerville UB church (Fowlerville, Mich.).

Bishop Fetters closed the service with some personal remarks, including a big thanks to the awesome productions team, and sent people on their way. To Love, to Live Like Jesus, and to Light the World.

And then it was over.

Rev. Dan and Jane Kopp

Rev. Dan Kopp, a UB minister since 1980, passed away July 7, 2023, on his 65th birthday. Dan had battled stage 4 gallbladder cancer for the past year.

Dan grew up in the United Brethren church, the son of Rev. Clarence A. Kopp, Jr., who served as bishop 1981-1993. Dan graduated from Huntington University in 1980 with degrees in Psychology and Christian Education, and in 1982 received the Master of Christian Ministries from the HU graduate school. He was ordained that year.

Most of Dan’s career involved pastoring two churches that he and his wife, Jane, started: First Love UB in Reynoldsburg, Ohio (1984-1998), and NorthPointe UB in Lewis Center, Ohio (1999-2017).

Funeral arrangements are not yet available.

The 2023 US National Conference is only a few days away. It will begin July 11 at the Grand Wayne Center in downtown Fort Wayne, Ind. Currently, about 530 people are registered.

Livestream of Keynote Services
The four main services are open to anyone to attend. You don’t need to be registered for the conference. Just come and enjoy the services.

Those four main services will also be livestreamed, so you can participate from afar. Click on this link.

Those four services are:

  • July 11: Opening service at 6:30 pm. Dr. Walter Kim, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, is the speaker.
  • July 12: Evening service at 6:30 pm. Dr. Kim will speak again.
  • July 13: Evening service at 6:30 pm. Frank Yang and Steve Fish, from UB Global, will speak.
  • July 14: Closing service at 9:30 am. Bishop Todd Fetters will speak. The service will include seven ordinations and a commissioning service.

Open the church to people to come watch on the sanctuary screen. Maybe share a meal together beforehand. Or invite fellow parishioners to your home to watch a service together. Though not attending in person, you can still participate.

Business Session on July 12
The morning and afternoon of the second day–Wednesday, July 12–are devoted to business. The delegates will consider nearly 30 different proposals, seven of them from the Human Reproduction Task Force. All have now been posted on the Reports page on the UB website.

Take a look at the reports. You’ll learn a lot about what’s been happening in the United Brethren world during the past two years.

Marilyn Waters

Marilyn Waters passed away May 26, 2023. A funeral service was held on June 16 in Harlan, Ind.

In 1996, Marilyn joined the staff of the UB National Office to manage the denominational bookstore. She has diligently handled all curriculum orders from United Brethren churches, shipping out thousands of pieces of Sunday school literature and other materials every quarter. She retired from that position in May 2011, after having served for 15 years. Many UBs across the denomination would have interacted with Marilyn.

Huntington University has an opening for Associate Campus Pastor. The associate campus pastor is responsible for fostering the spiritual formation of students. Under the direction and leadership of the campus pastor, the associate campus pastor will oversee day-to-day ministry programs and outreach experiences including worship, student discipleship, prayer initiatives, chapel programming and small groups.

Qualifications

  • Must have a strong personal Christian commitment and faith in Jesus Christ and a desire to serve others.
  • Growing Christian with a track record of discipleship and accountability relationships.
  • Experience developing and leading women’s ministries.
  • A ministry/theological graduate degree or its equivalent.
  • Evangelical in theological orientation, in general accord with the Church of the United Brethren in Christ’s Confession of Faith.
  • Licensed or ordained UB minister preferred. If not licensed/ordained through the UB denomination, willing to consider transfer license/ordination to the UBIC.
  • A minimum of three to five years of successful fulltime pastoral leadership in a university ministry or church setting.
  • A deeply held sense of calling to ministry with college-age students.
  • Gifted in spiritual counseling, preaching, creative worship, discipleship, and small group ministries.
  • Must be committed to the mission of Huntington University as a comprehensive Christian college dedicated to educating men and women to impact our world for Christ.
  • Understanding of and commitment to the goals and character of Huntington University.
  • Faithful attendance to a Christ-centered, Bible-believing church in the evangelical tradition. (Church of the United Brethren in Christ preferred but not required.)
  • Positive interpersonal skills and a team player.
  • Excellent communications skills.
  • Demonstrated administrative and supervisory skills.
  • Commitment to continuous process improvement.

How to Respond if Interested
This is a fulltime, 10-month exempt position. To apply, visit this link.

Have you reserved your room yet for the US National Conference? The special conference rate, as well as our reserved block of rooms, ends on June 19. After that date, you’ll pay a higher price and be subject to room availability. So don’t delay!

This applies to three hotels–the Hilton, the Courtyard, and the Hampton. There is more room available in the Hampton, which is located right across the street from the Grand Wayne Center. The Courtyard is also across the street, while the Hilton is attached to the Grand Wayne Center, where meetings will be held.

Go here for information about the hotels.

Gerald Gallaway, a United Brethren minister for 36 years, passed away May 25, 2023.

Visitation: 4-7 p.m. June 23, 2023
Funeral: 1:00 p.m. Saturday, June 24, 2023.
Visitation and Funeral Location: McCallum United Brethren Church, 5505 Otis Lake Rd, Delton, MI 49046

Gallaway grew up in Leslie, Mich., and went on to attend Huntington University, graduating from both the college and seminary. He and Saundra (known as Sonnie) met at Huntington and were married in 1961. Four years later, they embarked on a career pastoring six different churches or circuits in Michigan.

  • Casco UB/Chicora UB, 1965-1969.
  • A circuit in South Haven, Mich., 1969-1976.
  • Charlotte UB (now Crossroads) 1976-1979.
  • Maple Hill UB (now Homefront) in Grandville 1979-1986.
  • West Windsor UB in Dimondale 1987-2002.
  • McCallum UB in Delton, where he retired.

His after-retirement years were spent singing and playing his guitar at various nursing homes in Hastings, Delton, Galesburg, and Plainwell, as well as in church.

According to the published obituary, “The family is requesting that all who attend both the visitation and service wear bright Hawaiian colors. In his years after retirement, Gerald found joy in the Hawaiian colors and also the music.”

The full online obituary can be read here.

The home of Dan and Jane Kopp in Delaware, Ohio.

Rev. Dan and Jane Kopp

We received this message from Mike Brown, pastor of Franklin UB church (New Albany, Ohio). It regards Dan Kopp, a former UB pastor and church planter (and son of former bishop Clarence Kopp) and his wife, Jane. They live in Delaware, Ohio, just north of Columbus.

“I am reaching out to several of my pastor friends to ask you to pray deeply for Dan and Jane Kopp. Most of you know that Dan is in a battle with terminal cancer which often leaves him extremely weak and unable to do much of anything. But now we need to pray additionally for he and Jane. Wednesday night [May 31] their house garage caught on fire and they lost two family cars as well as everything in the garage. Also the smoke damage is so bad in the house it could be unlivable for the next six months.”

Dan has been battling stage 4 gallbladder cancer for the past year. The fire was caused by a car battery that exploded. He and Jane certainly need our prayers at this time. In addition, their daughter, Brannyn, points people to this GoFundMe page started by neighbors of Dan and Jane.

Bishop Todd Fetters has announced that Brian Biedenbach (right) has been hired as the new Director of Communications for the US National Conference. He will take the place of Steve Dennie, who will retire on August 31 after 45 years at the UB National Office. Brian will begin sometime after the US National Conference meeting in July.

Brian has worked in fulltime youth ministry for 22 years, including eight years at Emmanuel UB church in Fort Wayne, Ind., and 11 years in Fort Wayne with Youth for Christ. He served five years on the YFC Core national ministry team, wrote curriculum for everything from small groups to national conference breakouts, and spoke at a wide range of youth events and conferences.

Brian brings skills in a variety of communications-related areas, including video, podcasting, social media, graphic design, and curriculum development.

In 2021, Brian founded Summit City Studios, a podcast production company. He is a Youtube video content creator, and has also produced videos for campaigns, event promotion, and corporate training. He created and hosted four podcasts, including the ten-episode “For the Neighborhoods and the Nations,” in which he and Bishop Todd Fetters discussed the United Brethren Core Values.

Brian in the studio.

Brian Biedenbach grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and graduated in 2000 from the University of Indianapolis with a degree in Biology. In 2003 he became the middle-school pastor at Emmanuel UB church in Fort Wayne, Ind. He received his Specialized Ministry license in 2005, and in 2013 graduated from Huntington University with an MA in Youth Ministry Leadership. For five years, he was part of the denominational Youth Ministry Leadership Team.

Brian is currently involved at Living Grace UB church in Fort Wayne, Ind. He and Amy recently celebrated 23 years of marriage. They have three children: Haley (18), Jesse (16), and Asher (13). He says his favorite place to be is on the sidelines watching his kids compete in the sports they love.

The Director of Communications position traces back to 1834, when William Rhinehart became the first editor of the first UB denominational publication, The Religious Telescope. The name of the flagship publication became The Christian Conservator in 1889 and The United Brethren in 1957. The position title remained “editor” until 1993, when The United Brethren was discontinued. The editor position was then renamed “Director of Communications” and centralized under the Office of the Bishop. Twenty different persons have held the position since 1834. Brian Biedenbach will be the 21st.

During the business session of the 2021 US National Conference, Brian Biedenbach (right) and Roger Vezeau presented the 3Story method of evangelism to the assembled delegates.

On May 31, registrations for National Conference hit 469, and we’re looking to hit (and pass) 500 very soon. If you’ve not registered yet, please do so soon. The conference rate for the three hotels we’re using will end on June 19, so don’t delay.

Thursday morning of NC will feature three sessions of workshops. Nearly all have now been posted on the conference website. Take a look at them using this link. You’ll find plenty to catch your interest.