Marion Lakeview Wesleyan Church announced on Friday that Rev. Chris Williams, Assistant DS, accepted the call to become their new senior pastor. Chris has been a church planter, church revitalizer, ministry coach, executive pastor and, since 2016, he has done an exceptional job as our full-time Assistant District Superintendent.
Special thanks to Bob Burchell and the search team who completed a thorough process to identify the best candidate. We are also grateful for the excellent interim ministry provided by Dr. Lenny Luchetti. I’m grateful to report that Rev. Williams has agreed to continue coaching our pastors in Region 3 and serving as one of our assistant superintendents alongside Rev. Mike Colaw and Rev. Matthew Trexler.
Last week’s schedule included Zoom webinars, Zoom calls with denominational leaders, pastor coaching calls via Zoom, but my favorite Zoom call of the week was on Tuesday afternoon, 2 p.m., when 50 of our Crossroads District pastors connected for updates and then broke out into groups for prayer. My breakout prayer group included Pastor Tim Becker (Elwood Main Street) and Pastor Matthew Ohime (Davis Wesleyan). I am grateful for the way so many of our pastors are rising to the challenge of leading churches in the midst of this pandemic.
This weekend was a bit unusual for our family. Jordan, our daughter, and Samuel An had planned a May wedding in Michigan until the pandemic prompted her county to cease providing marriage licenses. We found a county clerk here in Indiana who was incredibly helpful and so Jordan’s wedding plans were changed.
The sun was shining on Saturday as our family gathered for a small private ceremony to bless this union. Jordan has two brothers and a sister-in-law who are ordained Wesleyan ministers so we had plenty of help in tying the knot. Sherry and her daughters-in-law worked hard to accommodate the changes and to make it a wonderful day of celebration. Jordan and Sam will reside in Grand Rapids, Michigan where she is the Marketing Communications Manager for the media ministry of the Christian Reformed Church.
We have been encouraged to hear progress reports from Pastor Michele Henry (Brookhaven Wesleyan) as David her husband, continues to slowly recover in Fort Wayne. Pastor Carol Schenck (Noblesville Circle of Hope) was also able to pass along better news from her brother’s hospitalization. Pastor Calimerio Rodriguez (Frankfort Templo de Poder) was feeling well enough to preach the message for his church family on Sunday. Please continue to remember these requests in your prayers.
While we rejoice with those who rejoice, we also weep with those who weep. Pastor Ryan Budde reached out to me on Sunday to let me know that Mrs. Sue Budde, his mother and the wife of Rev. Roger Budde, had passed away earlier that morning. Sue was a wonderful partner in life and ministry as she and Roger served Wesleyan churches here in Indiana, in Wisconsin and even in Alaska. Mrs. Budde will be greatly missed by her family, friends and the many lives she touched through the years of ministry. We express our sincere condolences and extend our prayers on behalf of the Crossroads District family to the Budde family.
As we noted last week, the Crossroads District Conference has been postponed until June 2021. We are authorizing pastors to postpone their local church conferences until no later than May of 2021, but they may choose to meet earlier as restrictions are lifted.
In this time of national emergency, your Local Board of Administration is empowered to 1) approve any necessary changes to the budget (including any housing designation, if any) and 2) elect/appoint any officers needed to fill vacancies that might occur before your next conference.
Reminder: Annual statistical reports and the pastor’s annual service report are still due on May 15.
TOGETHER: an online Pentecost event
On May 31, Pentecost Sunday, Wesleyans are gathering online to worship and pray for the fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit. This hour-long event begins at 7 p.m. EST.
“Wesleyans are people of prayer,” said General Superintendent Wayne Schmidt. “We live and minister daily knowing that prayer is foundational to any work of the Holy Spirit. May 31 is an important time for us to be together and continue building our Kingdom Force foundation. In the book of Acts, remember the early believers were together in unity and praying. They were anticipating that God was going to move in powerful ways.”
TOGETHER, hosted by Wayne Schmidt, General Superintendent of The Wesleyan Church, will be streaming live from Marion, Indiana on Sunday, May 31, at 7 p.m. EST. The 60-minute online service will feature focused prayer delivered by Wesleyans from around the world with times of worship led by Josh Lavender. Pastors can find more information at:
The Center for Congregations has just announced a one-time “Connect Through Tech” grant for all Indiana congregations. This is a unique opportunity for congregations in Indiana to purchase new technology resources to help connect virtually during the pandemic and beyond. This includes streaming hardware, computers, audio/visual equipment, software, video conferencing subscriptions, licensing fees, and more!
For more information and to submit your grant application, click here:
Center for Congregations Grant Form
Never think you’re too old to try something new. Reverend Duane Seitz is in his 6th decade of ministry and serves our congregation in Silver Lake. Most of his congregants don’t readily access social media so Pastor Seitz took a page from John Wesley and preached from the back of his Toyota pickup on Easter Sunday and again yesterday. His innovation and sermon were well-received by the members. He was excited to report that some neighbors he’d been reaching out to listened in for the first time. The person who doesn’t think it can be done should not discourage the person who is doing it!
Thank you for all you are doing to lead and love in this challenging season of ministry!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent
P.S. – As I’ve been talking with our pastors over the last few weeks, I’ve been concerned about the fatigue factor that can easily overtake us if we’re not being intentional about our own well-being. Back in the days when we were still traveling by air, the flight attendant would remind us to secure our own oxygen masks first in an emergency before attempting to assist others. That is good advice for leading in any crisis. The Barna Report spoke to this topic in a recent article. They quoted Dr. Henry Cloud, Christian psychologist and author, said: “What you need to do in a time of crisis is reset your system and God has given us ways to do this. There are four main areas that need to be reset: your sense of connectedness, structure and routines, sense of control and, lastly, mental space. We also need to be increasing our regular spiritual practices…”