Sherry and I had the privilege of worshiping with Pastor Allen Laws and the team at Warren Wesleyan Church on Sunday, December 10. Pastor Allen and Cheryl have been faithfully serving here for the past 8 years and are making inroads into their neighborhood. Attendance has doubled under their ministry and the church has taken a lead in the community food pantry that serves needy children. After the service, we joined Allen and Cheryl for lunch at East of Chicago Pizza in historic downtown Warren.
Sunday evening, Rev. Chris Williams and I joined Dr. Jim & Roxene Lo at Parkview Wesleyan Church in Chesterfield for a communion service that concluded with Silent Night by candlelight. The congregation has enthusiastically welcomed Jim and Roxie for this interim ministry. The search for a full-time pastor will pick up again in the spring.
This was a great week of connecting with our Crossroads District team. After our Monday morning staff meeting in Marion, I was in Fishers for a meeting with one of our pastors and then jumped on Zoom for one of the monthly connections Dr. Wayne Schmidt provides for district superintendents. Monday evening, Sherry and I joined Pastor Mark Atkinson’s and his zone for a Christmas fellowship at Eastview Wesleyan Church.
Tuesday morning, I connected with Pastor Aldean Pablo (Marion Brinker Heights) for our annual coaching conversation. Dr. Lenny Luchetti and I shared lunch and I learned about his soon-to-be released book on the role of empathy in preaching. Pastor Ryan Budde (Jonesboro Westview) and I met in the afternoon for our coaching session. Then, Sherry and I made it to Fort Wayne in time to join Pastor Rick Fletcher for the zone Christmas fellowship hosted at Lifeway Wesleyan Church.
Wednesday morning, I worshiped with the student body at IWU as Pastor George Martin (Indianapolis Sanctuary Church) brought the message. Pastor Chris Williams and I connected in the afternoon for planning and DBA prep. Sherry and I hosted Dr. David and Angie Smith for supper at our place. Thursday morning, I connected with Rev. Jon Wiest, District Multiplication Director, on the progress his team is making. Then, on Thursday afternoon, our District Board of Administration met at Wesleyan World Headquarters in Fishers with a full agenda.
We had a productive meeting and then welcomed General Superintendent Dr. Wayne Schmidt for our Christmas supper. We were delighted that Jan Schmidt was also able to join us. We have a great DBA and value their wisdom in directing our movement.
Friday, I met with 5 of the 6 district superintendents who have been strategizing for a possible Great Lake Region pilot project. It was good to connect with my colleagues and to learn more about the model they are developing to leverage their collective resources. Friday evening, Sherry and I joined Rev. Bill Thompson and the Madison County Zone for their Christmas fellowship. One of the highlights was standing in a circle and singing “Silent Night” in the restaurant. The servers thanked us for brightening their evening!
Saturday afternoon, Sherry and I hosted four of our pastoral couples who lead urban ministries. These are amazing leaders doing remarkable work in challenging circumstances. After great conversations at Thornapple Lodge, we shared supper with them at Cracker Barrel, where we also bumped into Pastor Steve and Cheryll Colter and Pastor Ryan and Rachel Budde. It was a wonderful way to end an exciting week!
After the Sunday evening service at Chesterfield Parkview, Pastor Chris Williams and I drove on to Cincinnati. We will be in meetings there on Monday with leaders from our neighboring districts. Your prayers are appreciated as we discuss partnership possibilities moving forward.
Please also join us in prayer for Rev. Larry Wilson as their family grieves the death of his son, Uriah. Visitation with the family will be held on Tuesday, 4-8 pm and the funeral service on Wednesday at 11 am, all at Pendleton Christian Church, 1170 S. Pendleton Avenue, in Pendleton. Your prayers and support are deeply appreciated by the family.
Your servant in Christ,