Sunday morning, December 15, I had the privilege of worshiping with the wonderful folks at Wabash North Wesleyan Church. Rodger Smith serves as the supply pastor for this committed core of believers. I enjoyed the Adult Sunday School class, played organ in the worship service, and brought the morning message. Following the service, the congregation shared a meal in the fellowship hall. I celebrate this small church that has a big heart for world missions and for prayer.
Last Monday, I participated in my first meeting (via Zoom technology) as a member of the Wesleyan Village Board of Directors (Brooksville). Dr. Don Maness, Executive Director, is bringing exceptional leadership to this growing ministry that serves so many of our Crossroads District retirees.
After our office staff meeting in Marion on Tuesday morning, I met with Dr. Mark Rennaker (Kokomo Southdowns Wesleyan) for our annual coaching conversation. Dr. Rennaker is another of our faithful co-vocational pastors who provides academic leadership at Indiana Wesleyan University in addition to his pastoral responsibilities at Southdowns Wesleyan Church.
Pastor Joe Park (Evergreen Wesleyan Wesleyan Church) met in Lafayette for our annual coaching conversation on Wednesday. Pastor Park had some wonderful testimonies to share of how God is moving in their congregation.
The Crossroads District Board of Administration met at Wesleyan Headquarters in Fishers on Thursday afternoon. In addition to handling our routine business items and reports, we were blessed to welcome Marcus DePeal and Andy Riermersma, two of our ministerial students and recent IWU grads. Together, they lead Awaken, a ministry to students on campus at Ball State University, University of Indianapolis, and Indiana Wesleyan University, in partnership with Trinity Wesleyan Church in Indianapolis. It was encouraging to hear how God is opening doors to additional state universities and raising up next generation leaders.
After the DBA meeting, board members’ spouses joined us for supper along with special guests Dr. Wayne and Jan Schmidt. We always enjoy hearing from our General Superintendent and are glad that Dr. Schmidt is part of our Crossroads District team.
Friday evening, Sherry and I were delighted to welcome Pastor Mark & Ronda Atkinson and pastoral couples from Region 1 South Zone 2. This was the last gathering of the calendar year. We always look forward to these evenings of fellowship and encouragement. With several former choir members in this group, we enjoyed singing a cappella Christmas carols. We closed our time together sharing in prayer for our families and churches in this busy season of pastoral ministry.
Saturday afternoon, I drove north to Chesterton to join Pastor Matthew Trexler, Chesterton Campus Pastor Andy Hammond, and their wonderful volunteer team for the “Big Give.” Between the Chesterton and Marion campuses, The River Church will bless more than 1000 families with Christmas meals and a special presentation of the Gospel. Please join me in praying that God will bless all of our churches who are reaching out in creative ways to share God’s love with their communities in this Advent season.
Our prayers and sympathies are extended to two more of our ministry families who have had loved ones promoted to glory in the last few days.
The family of Mrs. Alberta Metz gathered at Brookhaven Wesleyan Church on Monday, December 9, to honor her memory and celebrate her life. Mrs. Metz left a legacy of teaching, writing and faith that extends to three generations in The Wesleyan Church. She served in pastorates for 25 years with her late husband, Floyd Metz. She also served as editorial assistant for the Wesleyan Advocate for twenty years, edited Sunday school curriculum for 11 years for Wesley Press, wrote 12 books, and served as a volunteer missionary in Czech Republic for three years.
Alberta’s daughter, Lydia Hines, and her husband, Rev. Thomas Hines, have been career missionaries with Global Partners. Her son, Rev. Daniel Metz, is currently pastoring in Pennsylvania. Her grandson, Rev. Matthew Hines, is assistant pastor at Indianapolis Trinity; her grandson, Rev. David Hines, and his wife Rev. Emily Hines, are assistant pastors at Marion Brookhaven; and her grandson, Nathan Metz, is a missionary with WGM. Mrs. Metz requested that any memorials be directed to missionary work through Wesleyan Global Partners.
Rev. Albert H. Fletcher, 94, of Fort Wayne, formerly of Brooksville, Fl, passed away on Tuesday, December 10, 2019, at his home. He spent his formative years in Emily. After high school he served in the United States Navy during World War II. Following his service in the Navy he graduated from Miltonville Wesleyan College with a degree in ministry. He then received a secondary education degree from Marion College and a degree in elementary education from the University of South Florida.
Rev, Fletcher was married to Lucille Leisy in Gordon, NE, on August 25, 1949. The couple then lived in Nebraska and Iowa where he pastored several churches, before settling in Florida. He was a Wesleyan Minister for over 30 years. Albert is survived by his wife of 70 years, Lucille Fletcher; two sons, Rev. Rick (Debbie) Fletcher (Pastor of Lifeway Wesleyan Church in Fort Wayne) and Phil (Cindy) Fletcher; a daughter, Linda Halt, four sisters, Lola Hermann, Carol Baas, Esther Vermillion and Rebecca Engle; ten grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren. In addition to his parents, he is preceded in death by a son, Rev. Steve Fletcher; a brother, Rolland Fletcher; a sister, Ruth Baty.
Visitation will be from 9:30 until 10 followed by the funeral service at 11 a.m., will be held in Fort Wayne at Lifeway Wesleyan Church on Tuesday, December 17.
This will be the last Crossroads District Team Update until the new year. Sherry and I will be spending Christmas Sunday with three of our children in Grand Rapids, Michigan. After Christmas, we will be joining with several thousand Wesleyan students in Cincinnati, Ohio for the FOLLOW19 International Youth Convention.
From our hearts to yours, Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent
Level 13 and Regional Christmas Events
Sunday morning, December 8, I was able to worship with Pastor Heath Croft and the team at Level 13 Church in Fort Wayne. Level 13 Church began as a dream with Pastor Rob and Melinda Tippey welcoming people in their home back in 2005 and continues to be a congregation committed to meeting needs in the community under the leadership of Pastor Croft. Before the worship service, I had the opportunity to briefly connect with members of their leadership team. Remember Pastor Heath, Hayley and their family as they lead this ministry.
Last week’s schedule included annual coaching conversations with Pastor Ryan Budde (Jonesboro Westview), Pastor Dan Heylmann (Shirley Grant City), Pastor Jeff Luedtke (Fairmount Wesleyan), Pastor Shane Wilson (Columbia City New Hope), Pastor Doug Sharrard (Lancaster), and Co-Pastors Carla and Zach Working (Huntington Hope Rising).
Our three Assistant District Superintendents hosted Christmas events for pastors and spouses in their respective zones this week. Rev. Chris and Marietta Williams hosted the Region 3 team on Friday evening at the Whistlestop in Monon. Rev. Matthew and Nicole Trexler hosted the Region 1 team on Tuesday evening at the Roseberg in Marion on Tuesday evening. Rev. Mike and Leslie Colaw hosted the Region 2 team at Trinity Wesleyan in Indianapolis on Friday evening.
More than 250 pastors and their spouses joined us for these meaningful times of fellowship and encouragement. We enjoyed delicious meals and delightful entertainment. At each of the locations, there was a drawing for door prizes which included some free registrations to the Heartland Gathering in Pigeon Forge coming up in March 2020. Thank you to each one of you who prioritized your participation even though Christmas is such a very busy time of the year. Special thanks also to Chris, Matthew, Mike, and their teams for a terrific job in organizing and hosting these events!
The highlight of this week’s calendar for me will be our District Board of Administration meeting on Thursday at Wesleyan HQ in Fishers. I am grateful for each of these lay leaders and ministers who generously invest their time in providing oversight and governance to our collaborative ministries. We welcome your prayers for this meeting.
The 2020 Crossroads District All-Nighter is fast approaching! The main rally for this event is returning to Pathway Community Church (11910 Shearwater Run., Fort Wayne) at 8pm on February 21st (Doors open at 6:30pm and Pre-Rally starts at 7:45pm).
The night will kick-off with giveaways, worship, message, and pizza. At the conclusion of the rally we will be enjoying time at Skyzone, Ultrazone/Laser X, Crazy Pinz, and the YMCA. If you love laser tag, trampolines, bowling, putt-putt golf, swimming, pizza, open gym, and rock walls, this event is for you! We hope that you will join us, along with several hundred other students and adults from the 100+ churches that make up our Crossroads District. Here’s the link to register your team:
And there’s still time to register for the Heartland Gathering. We’re going to have a great time and would love for you to join us! https://gathering.heartlandregion.org/
Several have asked how the recovery process is coming since my heart attack back in October. I’m feeling stronger each day and continue taking part in cardiac rehabilitation therapy three times each week. The district team has been great in helping me adjust my schedule and I’m back to about 80% workload with plans to return to full speed by January. God has been so wonderfully faithful through this experience. I also appreciate your thoughts, your notes, and your prayers!
Thank you for all you do to advance the Kingdom in this Advent season!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent
Lancaster, Thanksgiving, and Baptisms
Sunday morning, December 1, I was blessed to worship with Pastor Doug Sharrard and the team at Lancaster Wesleyan Church. Rev. Duane Cragen serves alongside Rev. Sharrard as they lead the church in reaching out to their rural community. They lit the candle for the first Sunday of Advent and we shared the first carols of the season.
Two of our pastoral families were impacted by the passing of beloved family members. Rev. Carla Working’s grandmother passed away on Sunday morning. Earlier last week, Rev. Noah and Christie Farmer received the heartbreaking news that Annalysa McMillan, their 19-year-old daughter, died in a tragic accident. The obituary and funeral notice was distributed directly to our district team and your prayers are requested for their family.
Rev. Kyle Horton and the Three Rivers Wesleyan Church hosted Rev. Aldean Pablo this morning to bring the morning message and to share the vision for disciple-making and church planting in Fort Wayne. I’m grateful for each of our pastors and the churches in Region 1 that have stepped up to become partners in the SEND Church project.
Pastor Brad LeRoy and Harvest Church in McCordsville announced today that they’ve completed their extensive search process and have called Josiah Gorveatte as their new worship pastor. He’ll begin his ministry with the Harvest Church team on January 5. Josiah has previously served at Crosspoint UMC in Florida and 12Stone Church in Atlanta. Josiah’s parents (Sherry and Mark) are also excited to welcome him to the Crossroads District.
Congratulations to Pastor Dave Cox and the Laketon Wesleyan Church who welcomed seven new members into their church family on Sunday morning, Dec. 1! Just a gentle reminder that January is an opportune time to complete annual membership affirmations as your congregation launches into the new year. There are several helpful resources available from The Wesleyan Church to assist with this process:
Pastor Rick Fletcher and Associate Pastor Andy Jellison celebrated 5 more baptisms at Fort Wayne Lifeway Wesleyan Church on Sunday morning bringing their total for this conference year to 18! Pastor Rick also shared the exciting news that he met with a couple on Saturday night who both prayed to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
I trust that you had a great Thanksgiving Day gathering with loved ones. Our district office was closed on Thursday and Friday for our staff to spend time with family. Sherry and I were blessed to have all of our children home for the Thanksgiving break. We started a family tradition in 2015 when most of us ran our first 5k Turkey Trot together on Thanksgiving morning. We were able to do our 5k again this Thanksgiving. This year, the younger Gorveatte’s did their run through Upland while I was limited by doctor’s orders to doing mine on the treadmill. We have so much for which to be thankful!
I’ll be back on the road this week with coaching conversations and can’t wait to see many of you at the regional Christmas gatherings hosted on Tuesday and Friday evening by our Assistant District Superintendents. Next Sunday I’ll be with Pastor Heath Croft and the team at Level 13 Church in Fort Wayne. Then, on December 12, our District Board of Administration will have our quarterly meeting and share a Christmas meal together at Wesleyan HQ. Thank you for your prayers as my rehab and recovery continue.
Just a reminder that you are invited to sign up for a monthly e-mail newsletter from Wesleyan HQ that will profile proposed legislation, prayer promptings, and information that help you prepare for this important gathering whether you will be on site or watching online. Please click here to subscribe: https://www.wesleyan.org/unleashed
Keep on making a difference in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent