A devastating tornado ripped through Kokomo this past week. While our two churches in the city were not damaged, hundreds in the city were left homeless. Rev. Marc Watkins, pastor of Kokomo Trinity Wesleyan, is a volunteer chaplain with the Kokomo Police Department and was part of the early response team. Pastor Marc has been in constant dialogue with response team leaders on the front lines of the relief efforts. Remarkably, there was no loss of life and for this we thank God. Immediate needs include financial assistance for those who lost everything and volunteers to help in the clean-up.
Thank you to each Crossroads District church who remembered the people of Kokomo in prayer yesterday and provided an opportunity for the congregation to help financially. I already received word last evening that Brookhaven Wesleyan Church raised nearly $1200 in their special offering. For more information about how you and your church can assist, please visit the Crossroads District Facebook page.
Sunday, August 28, Assistant DS Chris Williams was in Fort Wayne to preach at Lifeway Church and I was in Lafayette to preach at Evergreen Wesleyan Church. Pastor Joe and Nancy Park faithfully serve the Evergreen congregation in Lafayette and it was encouraging to see the steps they are taking to reach out to their community. Recognizing that one of their constraints was a lack of off-street parking, the church acquired an adjacent property and is completing a project that will provide 15 additional spaces.
The church has a baptism service planned for September 11. They are also planning a “Grandparents Day” outreach when grandpas and grandmas invited their children and grandchildren to worship with them. The church is also growing in ethnic diversity that reflects the community around them. I commend Pastor Joe and Nancy for their faithful and effective leadership at Evergreen.
Sunday evening, I was in Fowler for a congregation meeting at Hope Wesleyan Church. This is a small congregation in a rural community. Pastor Jim Bretzinger has been lovingly ministering here since 2011 but announced last Sunday that he’ll be concluding his service on October 30 due to health concerns and will be relocating to Lafayette. The church is not in the financial position to call another pastor but the outcome of last evening’s meeting was a commitment by the group to carry on ministry with lay leadership through this conference year. They are making plans to share the preaching, to restart a home Bible study and to begin preparing for a Christmas Eve outreach. I know they will welcome your prayers.
Last week I had the privilege of meeting with Crossroads District pastors for our annual coaching conversations. On Wednesday, I met with Mike Colaw (Indianapolis Trinity) and David Anderson (Fountain City). On Thursday, I met with Matthew Trexler (Marion The River) and Jason Tash (Columbia City New Hope). These are meaningful opportunities to learn how God is at work in each of their lives and ministries.
Thursday afternoon, Dr. David Smith convened a planning meeting for our regional DBMD directors. Dr. Jim Lo (Region 1) and Pastor Mike Cloud (Region 3) were in the room. Dr. Rich Schenck (Region 2) joined us from Australia via Skype. This is a great team to give direction to the leadership development initiatives of our new district and more than 100 students on the ordination track. You’ll be hear more in the near future but I am delighted with their focus on mentoring and the role of the sending church. The prayer of the Harvest is always that the Father would send out more laborers!
Some of you have been tracking the developments of Fall Creek Wesleyan Church. After a Maximizing Impact consultation last spring led by Rev. Paul James, the congregation determined to take a huge step of faith to reverse their decline. Interim Pastor Patty Bray recommended and the congregation overwhelmingly voted to become a campus of Indianapolis Trinity. Jon Wiest, Minister of Multiplication at Trinity, has been leading this turnaround. While the most significant work is in the ministry of the church, the community took notice this week as Trinity East on Olio Road did more landscaping and added a new sign. Pray for this team as they reach out with God’s love to their growing community.
Congratulations to Pastor Clifton Ashlock and the Anderson Memorial Circle Wesleyan Church as they celebrated their first year anniversary as a merged congregation and baptized 7 new believers yesteday. This is a wonderful story of new beginnings!
Condolences are extended from our district family to the family of Mrs. Ruthanne Emery, wife of Dr. O.D. Emery, former General Superintendent, and mother of Dr. Steve Emery, our retired Indiana Central District Superintendent. I was able to view the service online Friday morning and it was a beautiful celebration of the life of this beloved woman of God. Memories shared that morning included her years as an active member in our Michigantown and Lebanon churches.
On Saturday morning, I attended the funeral service for Dr. Evrett Smith, long-time member of the IWU Board of Trustees, at College Wesleyan Church. Terry Munday brought a personal tribute as a close friend of Dr. Smith’s and Dr. Steve DeNeff shared a challenging message on the theme “Do You Believe This?”
This week, I’m looking forward to several more coaching conversations with our pastors and then I will be preaching at Calvary Family Church in Indianapolis on Sunday. Our offices will be closed next Monday for Labor Day. Don’t forget the Wesleyan Married Couples Retreat coming up at Fairmount Camp on September 9-11. You can find more information and register online at: http://www.fairmountcamp.org
There’s still time to register for ReEquip 2016. We have two challenging speakers this year in Hugh Halter and Tom Mercer. The story of High Desert Church growing from less than 200 to more than 10,000 under Tom’s leadership is truly remarkable. For more information and to register, go to http://www.reequipconference.org/
Thank you for all you do to advance His Kingdom!
Your servant in Christ,