April 21, 2020
Mattru Hospital. UB Global missionaries Dr. Richard and Cathy Toupin are currently working at the Samaritan’s Purse field hospital in Central Park, in New York City. Before going, they talked about preparations being made at Mattru Hospital for the arrival of Covid-19. Read their comments on UBCentral.org.
Laurel Mission. Nobody has better scenic backgrounds than Nathan Boggs, director of Laurel Mission. Rather than preach to an empty sanctuary at Little Laurel Church, he takes advantage of the gorgeous Kentucky landscape. On Palm Sunday, he preached with with beautiful waterfalls behind him. On Easter, he dressed up and went to the mountaintop. The next Sunday, he stood beside a stream (Greasy Creek?) with open Bible in hand.
April 13, 2020
Camp Cotubic. Scott Stephens, executive director of Camp Cotubic (Bellefontaine, Ohio), sent this email. “Right now, we’d normally be getting the camp ready for our summer. All that’s been put on hold. The camp has been closed by the State of Ohio as we’re in the same category as schools. If they’re closed, we’re closed. All of the May Outdoor Education camps as well as some summer rental groups have canceled. We’re monitoring the situation and reviewing the options for the Camp Cotubic camps. Whatever happens, our first priority will be the safety of our campers and staff. We know this will impact our campers, families and staff. Summer at Camp Cotubic is special for all of us, me included. If we’re not able to have camp this year, it will impact our financial outlook as 85% of our revenue is generated from May – August. I’m having a conference call later this month with the Board to decide about summer camps. Please keep us in your prayers and ask God to give us wisdom.”
“Pastor Matt & Chomp“ is a delightful Easter children’s video message produced by Matt McKeown, associate pastor of First UBIC in Holly Hill, Fla. “Chomp” is a shark with a British accent.
Easter at Your Church. This Easter Season was unlike anything our world has experienced. We’d like to captures stories from United Brethren churches about what Holy Week looked like. Other UB churches in the US and around the world will be interested. While the past week is fresh in your mind, please take a few minutes to write a couple paragraphs about the Easter Season at your churches, and particularly your Holy Week observances. You can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or use the form on the Covid-19 response page.
Franklin UB church (New Albany, Ohio) held a drive-in service on Easter. They normally have two services every Sunday, but their last service was March 15. They decided to try to drive-in concept at 10:15 on Easter Sunday. People stayed in their vehicles, and parents were encouraged to bring snacks or games to keep kids occupied during the message. Pastor Mike Brown preached from a wagon outside the church, the people listened by tuning in to FM 88.3. A local TV station did this news story.
Sierra Leone. The government of Sierra Leone reports a total of ten confirmed cases of Covid-19, and 445 persons currently under quarantine.
On Good Friday, the UB Global staff led United Brethren from around the world in a Day of Fasting & Prayer. A lot of people took part in several different ways. Here are some highlights:
- 23 people joined at 10:00 Friday morning for a prayer time on Zoom.
- 12 accounts (some with multiple participants) engaged in a second Zoom prayer time at 8:00 Friday evening. Milton and Erika Pacheco, UB Global missionaries in Thailand, led in worship.
- 42 family units (21% from outside the United States) signed up to pray for a 20-minute slot as part of the Friday 24/7 prayer time. They included UBs from Canada, Costa Rica, Honduras, and the US.
April 10, 2020
On Good Friday, UB Global missionaries Dr. Richard and Cathy Toupin (right) left for New York City to work with Samaritan’s Purse in treating COVID-19 patients. Last September, they attended an SP conference in Florida, during which they signed up to be part of a Disaster Assistance Response Team. Earlier this week, they received a call: you’re needed in New York. They have committed to work there for three weeks, until May 1, and could opt to extend it another two weeks. They were told it would be 12-hour shifts, 7 days a week. So their prayer request from the United Brethren family is for physical and emotional strength. The Toupins started the year serving a couple months at Mattru Hospital in Sierra Leone. With the country closing its borders, they left a little sooner than planned, and returned to their home in Auburn, Ind. They completed a 14-day quarantine last Sunday, April 5. On their blog, they wrote about their decision to work with Samaritan’s Purse.
April 9, 2020
Costa Rica. Erik and Iris Rojas (right) lead the one United Brethren church in Costa Rica. Pastor Rojas sent a message on Thursday morning. He said they’ve had about 500 cases of Covid-19 since the first case was confirmed on March 6 (an American tourist from New York), and there have been two deaths. But thanks to tough restrictions from the government, they appear to have the curve under control. He then sent the following information about his church in San Jose.
“During this Easter, by order of the government, everything is closed except for hospitals, pharmacies, and places where they sell food. There is a very strict vehicle restriction. The beaches, the parks, the hotels, etc., are totally closed. All people are asked to leave home only if absolutely necessary. Thank God, we have no knowledge of anyone in our congregation who is ill. We all try to help each other with food and finances, because we know that many have lost their jobs and others have reduced their working hours and, therefore, their wages have also been reduced.
“On Sundays and Wednesdays, my wife and I are sending videos with words of encouragement, Bible reflections, and preaching for the entire congregation using Facebook and WhatsApp. At home we work as a family so as not to lose communion with God. We all have devotional times together. In addition, we try to be in constant communication with the members of the congregation to know their needs and requests.
Pastor Rojas says they will participate in the UB Global Day of Fasting and Prayer on Good Friday. “I will ask all of our brothers to join in prayer and fasting to ask God for the end of Covid-19. Let us hope that when we have overcome this crisis, we will not stop praying for our brothers, and that we will be much more grateful to God for what he gives us every day.”
April 8, 2020
UB Global is coordinating a “Fast & Pray” emphasis for Good Friday, seeking to cover each minute of Good Friday in prayer. People can sign up for 20-minute periods. Go here for more information.
The World Health Organization published an entirely new interactive world map showing the number of confirmed cases and deaths in each country. Click on a country, and other information will appear, including graphs (when data is available).
April 6, 2020
Bluffton, Ind. For the second week, Park UB church held a drive-in service outside the church building. A worship team played in front of the church to rows of cars; people were asked to stay inside their vehicles. WANE TV, the CBS affiliate in Fort Wayne, Ind., came to do a news segment on the service. You can view it here. A description of the first week’s service was posted on this page under the March 31 heading.
France. We have two churches on the outskirts of Paris, France. They sent a report about how they are doing amidst the Covid-19 crisis. Although they can’t meet publicly at this time, they hold 75-minute telephone conference calls twice a day–8:45 – 10:00 am, and 4:45 – 6:00 pm. A church deacon was struck by the virus, but he recovered and his back with his family. They have nine persons ready to be baptized at the church’s annual convention in June. “Online, we are preaching an Easter revival which will end Sunday, April 12, in the evening.”
Haiti. Jean Louis Supreme (right), the leader of our churches in Haiti, sent a report on April 5. He said that thus far, Haiti had less than 30 cases. There is no stay-at-home order, but schools and churches are closed, and a daily curfew extends from 8:00 pm to 5:00 am. “I want to sympathize with all the countries that have been hit by this pandemic, especially the US….I would like you brothers and sisters to pray for Haiti as we pray for one another. We pray that our father will fortify our health and provide protection as you experience this unprecedented event. Be a source of encouragement to one another. May God in his unending love pour out his blessing upon the planet.”
Huntington University has about 30 students living on campus. Many, but not all, are international students. Student Life is coordinating to gather items to create care packages for these students, and plans to distribute them on Tuesday, April 7.
Zoombombing, which was mentioned on March 29, is a real issue. One of our ministers reported having a Zoom-based prayer meeting taken over in this way. This article, “How to Prevent Zoombombing,” gives very practical, step-by-step instructions for preventing this from happening, as well as what to do if you’re in a meeting which gets Zoombombed.
Conditions in Macau. On Wednesday evening, April 1, UB missionaries Jennifer Blandin and Jenaya Bonner spoke about their experiences in Macau relating to the pandemic. About 20 people participated in the Zoom meeting. We have two churches in Macau, which is the world’s most densely-populated city and a major tourism center. The city saw its first COVID-19 case on January 22, and took quick and aggressive action. Jen and Jenaya told about what they’ve experienced during the last two months. Some of their remarks have been posted on UBCentral.org. You can read the article here.
Good Friday Prayer Emphasis. The National Association of Evangelicals and others have joined to designate Good Friday, April 10, as a Day of Prayer & Fasting. We invite you to participate. Perhaps your church will want to include this as part of your Good Friday observances, in whatever form they may take. You’ll find more information on UBCentral.org, along with a list of ways to direct your congregation in prayer.
Nichie Parish Stonall (right, with husband Chris) is a UB Global missionary serving in South Africa with Impact Africa. She is in charge of a baby rescue center in Johannesburg. Nichie was intending to come to the States during April. However, South Africa went on lockdown, and it was unknown when she, as a foreigner, would be able to re-enter the country. Her husband, Chris, is South African. So they made the decision that she would remain in the country.
Michelle Harris, an associate director of UB Global, conducted an online interview with Nichie. You can listen to it on the UB Global Facebook page.
Andy Sikora (right), lead pastor of Renew Communities (Berea, Ohio), livestreams a brief devotional on Facebook every morning. He goes into Scripture, and draws applications pertinent to the pandemic crisis and what people are facing. It’s a great way to start the day. You can find it here, somewhere around 7:30 – 8:00 each morning.
The United Brethren National Office staff has been working from home for the past two weeks. They normally have devotions together on Thursday morning. In place of that, this morning (April 2) they began a weekly Zoom meeting as a time to touch base with each other, see how everyone’s doing, spend some time in Scripture, and pray. Mike Dittman, as director of National Ministries, works out of his home in Michigan, but he was able to join the staff devotions alongside everyone else.
April 1, 2020
Sierra Leone’s First Case. On March 31, Sierra Leone reported its first case of COVID-19: a 37-year-old Sierra Leonean male who arrived from France on March 16 aboard an Air Brussels flight. He had traveled to France no March 12. He was immediately quarantined. The man’s wife, a medical doctor, noticed the tell-tale symptoms and drove him to a hospital, where he tested positive. On Sunday he completed the mandated 14 days of isolation at a hotel and left with his wife. Sierra Leoneans health authorities are tracking every person who may have come in contact with him. The wife and everybody in the quarantine facility were tested.
Honduras Conference update. Yesterday Rev. Neptaly Ponce (right), superintendent of Honduras Conference, issued a report about conditions in Honduras. All churches are closed. Pastors provide their sermons to families for home viewing in whatever way they can–in writing, audio, video, or live on Facebook or WhatsApp. Rev. Ponce reported, “It is alarming the number of families that after these two weeks no longer have anything to eat at home.” Last week some pastors and members were able to provide help to people in need. “But this week, they report that they no longer have the resources needed to help.” To help meet these needs, Rev. Ponce and other conference leaders launched a ministry they are calling Project Love.
He concludes his message to Honduran UBs, “Finally, my brothers, let us continue, united in prayer, to share the message of salvation at this time. Many are reaching out to the Lord. Let us not let our guard down in God’s call to the ministry.”
Zoom Meeting with Macau. At 7:00 pm tonight (Wednesday, April 1), UB Global is hosting a Zoom meeting with Jennifer Blandin and Jenaya Bonner, UB missionaries in Macau. They will give an update on life in Macau during the COVID-19 crisis. You’re invited to join this conversation. The Zoom link will be posted on the UB Global Facebook page at 6:45 pm.
Brotherhood Mutual provides insurance for many United Brethren churches. To help congregations stay connected, they have teamed with Subsplash, one of the nation’s leading platforms for online giving, sermon delivery, and mobile church apps. As a special offer, Brotherhood Mutual will pay for the first two months of any new Subsplash subscription for Brotherhood Mutual customers. In addition, Subsplash has agreed to waive all setup fees. This offer will only be available for the first 200 Brotherhood Mutual customers. Go here to get started.
Tell us about your weekend. If you’re streaming your services, how did it go? How are people responding? What are you learning? What’s working, and what’s not? What do you foresee changing? Other UBs will be interested in your experience, as we’re all trying to get this figured out. You can use this form, or send a note to email@example.com.
Drive-In UB Church. Dennis Wood (right), pastor of Park UB (Bluffton, Ind.), was playing with creative ways to do church, in addition to their online recordings. Then his wife suggested, “How about a drive-in church?” He ran with the idea. They got permission to block off the street between the church and their parking lot, and broadcast the service via FM into vehicles. Let’s let Dennis describe it:
“A friend of mine has a big Christmas light display which uses an FM transmitter. We tied his system into our sound board so we could transmit the worship and my preaching right into vehicles through their radios. Another church donated a portable sound system, so we had a small worship band outside in front of the church (guitar, keys, electric drums, bass, singers). Another friend, who owns a rental business, donated a scissor lift for me to preach from. This made me very visible to all.
“We encouraged people to honk instead of clap. They really got into it. We had parking lot attendants (wearing latex gloves) who parked the cars and passed out packets through the car window as people came in. An activity pack was prepared by our children’s leaders and was given to those vehicles with children. We had a little fun by passing out free toilet paper to the vehicle that had the most people (it actually was a tie – the tie breaker was who drove the farthest). We narrowed it down by asking questions and having them honk.
“We had a great turn-out. We had three visiting cars (determined by honking three times). Even had non-church neighbors sitting in their yard listening to a radio. One guy rode by on his bike, stopped, and stayed for the whole hour. One of our people livestreamed on Facebook so others in our church who didn’t want to come out could be a part of it. Several people joined us that way.
“Our people were really excited about it and are looking forward to ‘meeting’ again this Sunday. We have communicated that this drive-in church is ‘weather-permitting.’ If the weather is just too bad, we will communicate that info via our Facebook page and website early Sunday morning. Our pre-recorded service will then be the option to view online.”
Rockford, Ohio. Pastor Ken Meyer (right) of New Horizons UB church (Rockford, Ohio) sent this report: “Our worship gatherings have been going well! We have found that streaming our services online with 2 different platforms, we are reaching many people, and people that we have never reached before are following and watching online. We have also started a Facebook live Bible Study on Thursday evenings that has been phenomenal! We have had many join us live for that, and the interaction has been great! While we have not been able to meet under one roof corporately, the Word of God is spreading and people are drawing closer to Him. We find now the importance of an active online ministry moving forward after we are past this.”
Harold and MaryAnn Hancock (right). The Hancocks serve at Regent College of the Caribbean in Jamaica. They were just finishing up their term when the virus hit. They are now back home in Camden, Mich.
Macau. UB Global missionaries Jennifer Blandin and Jenaya Bonner are riding out the coronavirus in Macau. They’ve been through the SARS and H1N1 epidemics, so quarantines and lockdowns are not totally new. Macau had its first confirmed case of COVID-19 on January 22, and they got very serious very fast. Despite being the world’s most densely-populated city, being the world’s gambling capital (far, far bigger than Las Vegas), and attracting a reported 100,000 visitors every day from China alone—despite all of that, Macau has had just 30 cases of COVID-19, and were even corona-free for a while. “Macau has done a stellar job of locking down their borders,” said David Kline, the UB Global associate director whose beat includes Macau. “They took a very aggressive approach. Macau has been a place people are watching to see how to do it right.”
The Glunt Family (right). Brian and Rachel Glunt decided to ride things out in Chiang Rai, Thailand. Brian said on the UB Global Zoom meeting this morning, “We’ve been hunkering down, doing e-learning, and focusing on some administrative aspects for the team.” The new community center opened last fall, but, says Brian, “About a week and half ago we halted the kids programming. Right now we’re not hosting any events there. It’s pretty frustrating.”
The Pachecos. Milton and Erika Pacheco, UB Global staff in Thailand, went to Honduras in December, and spent time with their home church. At the end of February they came to the States to share about the work with UB churches. They were scheduled in 2-3 places every week until the middle of April. They did get to meet with a few churches in Pennsylvania, but then things shut down. They are now staying at the UB Global mission house in Huntington, Ind., and are sharing ministry updates through a video they created.
Hannah Barrett (right), part of the UB team in Thailand, was in her second year teaching at Chiang Rai International Christian School (some of the children of Brian and Rachel Glunt attend there). When the city mandated that schools close until mid-April, Hannah decided to return to her family in Ohio. The school subsequently decided to close down for the rest of the year.
One of the UB Global staff in Thailand, as a way to reach Thai young people, is a student at a university in Chiang Rai. Now that Thailand has closed all universities, she is the only person in her entire dorm. With the dining hall closed, she has stocked up on food in her own room. She’s trying to find ways to connect with her friends online.
Zoom Meetings. A lot of things are happening online. This morning, UB Global did an hour-long update via Zoom on what is happening with UB missionaries and our work in other countries. There were 11 participants, including persons from Sierra Leone and Thailand. After hearing updates from the various members of the UB Global staff, the participants had a time of online prayer. The Pastoral Ministry Leadership team met today via Zoom, with participants from four states. And a two-day UB History Course began today, with 12 participants from Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Indiana. They will finish up on Tuesday.
Pastor Stan and Christina McCammon, from Mt. Olivet UB church (Chambersburg, Pa.), are doing short videos which they call “The Plumb Line.” The idea is to keep people aligned with God during this crisis. They are personal, conversational, encouraging, upbeat, and fun. The McCammons plan to do two editions of “The Plumb Line” each week. You can see the first several here.
Zoombombing. As UB churches venture into online options, one of the more prominent solutions is Zoom. The UB National Office uses it for various things. However, here’s a warning from Doug Weber, a UB Global endorsed missionary serving with SonSet Solutions, a mission organization which focuses on using technology to advance the Gospel worldwide. He sent a note about what is called “ZoomBombing.” Basically, someone hijacks your Zoom meeting and publishes objectionable content (racist, pornographic, etc.). You are most vulnerable when you publish ahead-of-time the meeting ID and the time the meeting begins
Doug explains how ZoomBombing works, and how to prevent it. “If they really want to mess up your meeting, they will make sure they are the first person to join the meeting. That makes them the host, which means that no one can boot them out of the meeting. You are most vulnerable when you publish ahead-of-time the meeting ID and the time the meeting begins. In order to keep them from doing that, you HAVE to be the first person to start the meeting. That will make YOU the host. As host, you do have the ability to boot anyone else out of the meeting and you can then keep them from rejoining the meeting.”
Doug suggest reading this article from the Microsoft News site, which goes into more detail and gives several preventative steps. A key one is to go into the “Share Screen” settings and make it to only the host can share what’s on their screen.
Fowlerville UB church (Fowlerville, Mich.) is working to keep prayer flowing. They posted the following: “We still want to pray for you, church, but are getting creative with what that looks like over the next couple of weeks. We’ve set up an email address that you can send prayer requests to at any time, firstname.lastname@example.org”
India, earlier this week, began a nationwide lock-down. We hear the following: People are allowed to purchase provisions from 7-9 in the morning. This may be longer than the April 16th which has been announced. The police are strict, which is really good. No temples, mosques, churches, weddings etc. are to meet. The news showed a church with people meeting, and each one was thrashed with canes by the police. The same occurred in a mosque. The government is providing extra rice and lentils to the poor for the next three months, as they cannot go to work.
Randy Magnus (right), pastor of the Roseville UB church (Roseville, Ontario), sent information about what his church is doing. Since the government banned meetings with 50+ people, they’re taking worship services and other ministries online. The Spiritual Care Team is calling church families regularly to connect, pray, and give support. They are checking with neighbors, especially elderly or vulnerable persons, and helping as able or necessary with groceries, etc. They are allowing a limited number of people who can’t work at home to pick a room and work at church. They have placed extra emphasis on physical distancing for anyone entering the church for any reason–no touching, disinfecting everything, extra hand-washing, etc. They postponed their big plans for a grand opening and dedication of their new sanctuary.
March 26, 2020
Berea, Ohio. Renew Communities is a UB congregation that really knows its way around technology. They’ve been very active online, with daily messages from Pastor Andy Sikora. In this video, Andy explains some of the adjustments they have made and are making.
Fort Wayne, Ind. At Emmanuel Community Church, Pastor Dennis Miller is doing brief teaching messages during the week which he is calling Two Minute Tuesday and Three Minute Thursday. You can watch the first two additions at those links.
Bob and Lois Conway. Rev. Robert and Lois Conway (right) have served many years in Jamaica at Regent College of the Caribbean. Two weeks ago, the government closed all schools and limited gatherings to 20 people. On March 19, the Conways heard President Trump tell American citizens living abroad to return immediately or plan to be stranded indefinitely. They left Montego Bay around noon on Sunday, and reached their home in Fayetteville, Pa., around 2:00 Monday morning. They write, “Bob’s students have their homework assignments to do during the shutdown at the college….Bob should be able to complete Biblical Hebrew using Skype. Bob has prepared self-study courses for Old Testament Theology and New Testament Theology.”
Jen Blandin, a UB Global missionary in Macau since 1996, posted a fascinating US News & World Report article which explains how Macau was able to minimize the outbreak. It is titled, “Lessons From Macau, the Densely Populated Region Beating Back COVID-19.” Interestingly, in this city of 650,000 people which normally gets 100,000 visitors from Mainland China every day, there have been just 25 cases of COVID-19. Their first case was confirmed on January 22, and the city very quickly took strong action.
March 25, 2020
Milton and Erika Pacheco. Call it bad timing. Milton and Erika Pacheco (right), part of our multi-national team in Chiang Rai, Thailand, had just arrived in the US to visit supporting churches and donors when everything shut down. They are currently living in our Mission House in Huntington, and have been self-quarantining due to some health issues which do not appear to be COVID-19. This afternoon, Andy Veenstra and Steve Fish of Emmanuel Community Church in Fort Wayne stopped by to bless them with a delivery of groceries.
Belize. On March 25, Belize became the last nation of Latin America to announce a first case of the virus. It was a 38-year-old national who arrived from the United States on March 19. UB Global endorsed missionaries Chris and Brenda Moore work with Here’s Hope Ministries, a children’s home in Belize. Every nation on the continents of North and South America now have cases of the virus; only a few Caribbean nations remain virus-free.
Roger and Marilyn Reeck (right), UB Global endorsed missionaries with Wycliffe, sent this note: “Two of our daughters are working in the medical field. Christy lives in Honduras and works at a mission hospital. At the moment many decisions have to be made about the care of coronavirus patients. Amanda is a doctor of Internal Medicine at the University Hospital in San Antonio. They already have many coronavirus patients.” Christy Andino is also a UB Global endorsed missionary, serving in Honduras with Commission to Every Nation. The Reecks have been in the states for several weeks visiting churches in Maryland and Pennsylvania, and have decided not to return to Honduras right away. They are spending this time with their daughters in San Antonio. They write, “The great thing is that we can do our work from anywhere there is internet.”
March 24, 2020
Stevensville, Ontario. The Village church is delivering necessities to persons who are uncomfortable being out in public. They are also creating DVDs and CDs for people without internet.
Guatemala. Superintendent Jaime Chun reports that they have not been holding services (which they hold multiples times were week). Instead, they urge families to read the Word together and pray for other countries that have been more severely affected.
Fort Wayne, Ind. At 6:00 pm Tuesday night, about 15 people from Anchor UB met via Zoom for an online small-group Bible study and prayer, led by Pastor Kevin Whitacre.
Sierra Leone. The Council of Churches, which consists of representatives from various Christian denominations, has asked all congregations to suspend services and weddings, limit funeral services to 25 persons, and to conduct services in homes or mortuaries. Hand washing stations, like those used during the Ebola outbreak, have been set up throughout communities and at the entrance of public buildings. However, they are warning people that COVID-19 is unlike Ebola in that someone can appear healthy and symptom free and yet transmit the virus to others. Sierra Leone has not yet reported a confirmed case of COVID-19. (Submitted by Jeff Bleijerveld, UB Global)
USA. About 105 UB churches in the United States (two-thirds of the total) are in states which are under stay-at-home orders. The actual terms of the orders vary from state to state–who it applies to, who is exempt, what exceptions are allowed, etc. But with that disclaimer, these states with UB churches are all under stay-at-home orders: Ohio (40 churches), Michigan (31), Indiana (22), Illinois (3), West Virginia (2), New York (2), California (1), Oregon (1), Washington (1), Massachusetts (1), New Mexico (1). In addition, a few churches in Pennsylvania are in the six counties under stay-at-home orders.
March 23, 2020
From Bishop Todd Fetters: “The UB National Office team will be working remotely until April 7. This comes after today’s “stay at home” order from Governor Holcomb of Indiana. I know that many of you in other states are under the same kind of order. Our team members stand ready to serve you, as they are able. Feel free to email any of us; you can look up email addresses at ub.org/contact-us. If you call the toll-free line at 888-622-3019, please leave a message and a team member will respond to you as soon as possible.”
Dave and Becky Spencer (right) are UB endorsed missionaries working at the JAARS Center in Waxhaw, N. C. JAARS is an affiliate of Wycliffe Bible Translators. They reported, “In the coming days and weeks, JAARS will be welcoming missionaries who have had to leave their country of service due to Coronavirus. We have a number of apartments on campus where they can wait out their 14 days of isolation. Pray for all the details that need to be worked out, and for the difficult adjustment for families making this unexpected return to the US.”
March 21, 2020
Sierra Leone. An update on what was happening in Sierra Leone regarding the virus. To this point, Sierr Leone was the only country with UB churches that had not yet reported a case of the virus. Read it on UBCentral.org.
El Salvador and Haiti. An update on El Salvador and Haiti, both of which had reported their first case of COVID-19 during the past couple of days. Read it on UBCentral.org.
Huntington University announced that it will complete the 2020 spring semester, including any May term courses, in an online format. This decision was not made lightly, but the timing of the decision allows the University to prepare for the remaining weeks of the semester.
Richard and Cathy Toupin. With the notice that Sierra Leone was closing its airports, Dr. Richard and Cathy Toupin (right) hurriedly made the journey to Freetown and managed to secure seats on what may have been the last commercial flight out of the country. Read about their experience on their blog.
March 19, 2020
We have United Brethren churches in 18 countries–ten national conferences, and eight mission districts. A description was published of what was happening in most of those countries regarding the virus. Read it on UBCentral.org.
March 17, 2020
Due to the CDC’s mandate prohibiting gatherings of more than 50 at any one event for the next 8 weeks, the following events were cancelled.
- The three Pastor & Spouse summits, to be held in Daytona, Fla., on these dates: April 20-23, April 27-30, and May 4-7.
- May 4-7: the Ministry Leaders Summit, to be held in Daytona, Fla. The three Pastor & Spouse summits: April 20-23, April 27-30, and May 4-7.
- March 21: the UB Association workshop at Rhodes Grove Camp in Chambersburg, Pa.
- March 30: the Idea to Action Symposium at Huntington University.
March 14, 2020
March 15 was the first Sunday for which large numbers of United Brethren churches did not hold services. With executive orders regarding crowd size issued by the governors of Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan, many churches suspended all church activities for 1-3 weeks. Here is a compilation of statements and links from about 20 UB churches in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania.
March 12, 2020
General Conference. The upcoming General Conference meeting was cancelled, and rescheduled for March of 20210. General Conference is the international gathering of United Brethren, with delegates from our various national conferences and mission districts. It meets every three years, and was scheduled to meet March 13-15 in Jamaica. This notice was sent out today to General Conference attendees: “In light of concerns regarding the coronavirus and the declining number of travelers able to attend our General Conference, we regret to inform you that we will not proceed with our General Conference as planned. We have decided that we will postpone the conference until March 13-18, 2021. It will still take place in Jamaica.” Read the UB Central article.
Bishop Todd Fetters issued a statement to United Brethren churches, with seven suggestions. Read the statement on UB Central.