Easter Sunday 2020 will go down as one of the most memorable in recent memory. Most every church in America was providing online ministry to their congregation and many thousands of others who may have been exploring faith for the first time. Saturday afternoon, my son and I participated in the drive-in worship and communion service hosted by Pastor Gary Bingham and the team at Marion Hillside Wesleyan Church.
First thing on Sunday morning I was able to be part of the drive-in communion service hosted by Pastor David Shafer and Executive Pastor James Stamper at North Anderson Wesleyan Church. I was also able to join Pastor Eric Roemer and the team at Greentown Wesleyan Church for their drive-in Easter service. Not every church has the parking lot layout or even the community approval for a drive-in service but several of our churches were able to provide this option. Several people expressed their appreciation for this unique opportunity to gather for worship, even though parking 9 feet apart.
In another memorable first, Marion Lakeview Wesleyan Church conducted their candidating and voting for a new pastor completely online this weekend. Rev. Chris Williams, currently Assistant DS, interviewed on a live streaming event on Saturday afternoon with a call-in line for the question and answer session. Then, on Sunday morning, Rev. Williams preached online for Lakeview. The Discipline allows for absentee ballots for pastoral votes and every member of the church received their absentee ballot to mail in by this Friday. We’re excited about the possibilities for Kingdom impact and will be praying for Lakeview Wesleyan and Pastor Chris as they await the results.
Last Monday included Zoom meetings with the Heartland Region district superintendents and then with the Executive Board of the General Board of The Wesleyan Church with Dr. Wayne Schmidt, General Superintendent. Tuesday included teaching online for IWU, our district staff meeting, and Zoom coaching calls with Rev. Logan Patriquin (Lafayette The Branch), Rev. Johnnie Blair (Tipton Trinity), and Rev. Gary Bingham (Marion Hillside). Wednesday included a weekly Zoom huddle with many of the district superintendents of The Wesleyan Church, and coaching calls with Pastor Kory Christensen (New Haven Impact), Pastor David Cox (Laketon Wesleyan), and Pastor Heath Croft (Fort Wayne Level 13).
Coaching calls on Thursday included Rev. Eric George (New Castle Memorial), Rev. Jarod Osborne (Warsaw Pathway), and Rev. Chuck Moorer (Indianapolis Divine Direction). Thursday evening, I met online with Dr. Joe Harmon and the LBA at New Castle Memorial Drive Wesleyan Church. The DBA will receive a recommendation later this month to appoint Dr. Harmon as the interim pastor for the coming conference year.
On Friday, Dr. David Smith, Chris Williams and I met online for a contingency planning session as we prepare for the final interviews of more than a dozen ordination candidates. We are also looking at options for ordination this summer as the impact of the pandemic is mitigated.
Praise the Lord that both Rev. Calimerio Rodriguez (pastor of Frankfort Templo de Poder) and David Henry, husband of Rev. Michelle Henry (Brookhaven Wesleyan) are both making measured progress in their recoveries. Please continue to remember them in your prayers!
*** All Crossroads District pastors are invited to a ZOOM connection on Tuesday, April 14, at 2 p.m. We’ll be connecting for an update on the PPP/CARES program, local church conference matters, and other questions that our pastors may have. There are 100 participant slots available and we would love to have you join us. Pastors will receive an email invitation with the password for login.
Lead Pastors, Staff Pastors and Ministerial Students – Annual Service Report (ASR). You should have received an email from Wesleyan Headquarters with your login username to complete this year’s report. For instructions, please access this link:
Congratulations to Pastor Steve & Susan Bray on the occasion of the marriage of Taylor, their daughter, to Mr. Andrew Rieck. Wedding plans are being altered by the pandemic but we want to join the Bray family in praying for God’s blessing on this new couple!
Our sympathies are extended to Rev. and Mrs. Barry Faucett (retired pastor) on the death last week of their son, Brandon. Please remember the Faucett family, including Brandon’s wife and children, in your prayers for God’s grace and comfort.
Again, let me say how impressed I am with the courageous and creative leadership that our pastors and staff members are providing to our congregations in this challenging season of ministry. Few pastors had training to prepare for online ministry or crisis management. Many have been working even longer hours with added stress. Please keep your pastors in your prayers and support them in every way that you can!
Together for His Kingdom!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent