Epiphany Sunday, January 7, I had the privilege of worshiping with Rev. Tony Bye and the team at Brookhaven Wesleyan Church in Marion for both the morning and evening services. Pastor Tony kicked off their annual vision series with a message reminding the church that we are called first to be a place of prayer. The pastoral staff is leading Brookhaven in 21 days of prayer to launch into the new year.
Sunday evening, I was back at Brookhaven as they welcomed Rev. Juden Siachitema, National Superintendent of the 476 Wesleyan churches in Zambia, to preach at their Heritage service in the chapel. Dr. Henry Smith, retired IWU president, was also present to bring an update on the development of Africa Wesleyan University. Rev. Fred Cromer, a retired Global Partners missionary, introduced Rev. Siachitema with fond memories of their time together at Jembo Bible College where Fred was a professor and Juden was his student.
Sherry and I enjoyed hosting Bishop Siatchitema in our home last week. He graciously endured the back-to-back football games on New Year’s Day. Then, on Tuesday, Bishop traveled with me for meetings in Marion and Anderson. Our last stop was with Rev. Clifton and Arletta Ashlock to see the free meal program that Parkview Wesleyan Church has provided for the past three years. Parkview has served more than 15,000 meals to bless their neighbors!
On Wednesday, I was in Marion for an annual coaching conversation with Dr. Steve DeNeff so Rev. Siachitema came along to tour College Wesleyan. Dr. Lo joined us and then took our guest for a tour of the IWU campus. We hosted Marion area pastors for lunch and then took Bishop to meet with Rev. Darren Campbell’s team at the Slingshot office to explore future collaboration between Africa Wesleyan University and CampusEdu.
Bishop Siachitema and I were in Fishers for his meetings with General Superintendent Dr. Wayne Schmidt and Global Partners Executive Director Dr. Dennis Jackson. I was scheduled to meet with Pastor Gawin Anderson (Indianapolis Divine Direction Church) for our coaching conversation that afternoon and was glad for this opportunity to introduce him to our denominational leaders.
Supply Pastor Judy Hatt and Harold, her lay assistant, serve the congregation of Hope Wesleyan Church in Fowler. Pastor Judy invited me to meet with the lay leaders on Friday morning as they worked through some concerns in the church. We had a productive meeting and time of prayer. Pastor Judy and Harold are still serving the Lord in their 80s. They have seen the church slowly regather from the pandemic but health concerns continue among their older members. They had a recent high attendance of 37 with nearly a dozen children present. We are grateful for their faithful ministry to this rural community.
We’re always excited to hear more stories of life change and baptisms coming in from across our district team. Pastor Alan Downing and Connecting Point Church in Frankfort celebrated another baptism on Sunday, December 31, and welcomed two new members into their church family. Pray for Connecting Point Church as Rev. Downing begins his transition to retirement.
Pastor Shane Wilson and the team at New Hope Wesleyan Church in Columbia City celebrated the baptisms of four of their teenagers yesterday. Praise the Lord!
Pastor Joe Jackson and the team at Anderson United Wesleyan Church are rejoicing with two more baptisms yesterday. The service yesterday was a combined gathering of their two congregations with Rev. Jeremy Armiger preaching in English and Rev. Ana Armiger preaching in Spanish.
Rev. Dr. Steve DeNeff and the team at College Wesleyan Church in Marion celebrated another baptism yesterday!
Pastor Jacob Gibson and the team at LifeSpring Church in Richmond celebrated one baptism on December 31 and another yesterday. They are anticipating more baptisms coming up on January 21. Praise God for lives being #MadeNew!
Plan now to bring your teens to this year’s Crossroads District All-Nighter in Fort Wayne on February 16! The early bird price is $50 until January 31 ($55 starting February 1) so register soon! This year we will be enjoying Crazy Pinz, Canlan Ice Rink, laser tag, and the YMCA! Here is the registration Link: https://districtallnighter2024.eventbrite.com
*** PLEASE NOTE THE LOCATION CHANGE FOR RALLY! The rally will be held at Pine Hills Church in Fort Wayne (about 5 minutes down the road from our previous location).
We’re inviting you to join us for the 2024 Heartland Gathering, April 2-5, 2024, in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee! Our DBA has approved one $300 scholarship for each district church, designated to cover a significant portion of the registration cost for one pastoral family per church. Details regarding the scholarship were sent to lead and solo pastors. For more information and registration, visit gathering.heartlandregion.org.
Keep on making a difference in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent