“Best of all, God is with us!” These are recorded as John Wesley’s final words and that same thought echoed in my heart as the 2021 Crossroads District Conference adjourned on Saturday afternoon. Thank you to Dr. David Wright and his helpful team (Phil Huber and many others) at Indiana Wesleyan University for being such generous hosts to our delegates for ordination and conference. We were honored once again this year to welcome as our special guest Rev. Dr. Wayne Schmidt, our General Superintendent and a member of our conference, who led our ordination service on Friday evening and our communion service at the first session on Saturday.
Ordination service is always a highlight in our district life. Thank you to every ordained minister and spouse who, by their presence, helped to make this such a special evening. Dr. Wayne Schmidt ordained Rev. Joyce Dixon (Indianapolis Calvary), Rev. Ed Ensley (Marion Chapel Pike), Rev. Jessica Folz (Marion Lakeview), Rev. Allen Gross (Cicero United), Rev. Kyle Horton (Fort Wayne Three Rivers), Rev. Christian Kelley (Marion Lakeview), Rev. Stephen Mathews (Richmond LifeSpring), Rev. Scott McDermid (Sheridan Six Points), Rev. John Miller (Speedway Way City Church), Rev. Andy Riemersma Westfield ONE Church), Rev. Brandon Shroyer (Tipton Trinity), and Rev. Josh Warren (Laketon Wesleyan). Mr. James Bechdol (Lafayette Evergreen) was affirmed as a Commissioned Special Worker.
Thank you to our district office team: Rev. Seth Bye, Rev. Carla Working, and Michael (Woody) Wood for their countless hours and “can-do” attitudes. Special thanks to Josh Lavender and his team for leading such meaningful worship, and a profound debt of gratitude to Rev. Chip Bos who did amazing work this year as our videographer.
In addition to elections, the conference delegates debated three proposals brought forward by the Conference Action Committee. Delegates approved electing DBA members to 3-year alternating terms. Delegates approved an amended recommendation to move the minimum recommended salary for full-time pastors from $575 per week to $650 per week. (This adjustment reflected the change in cost of living since the original amount was established.) Delegates debated but ultimately defeated a recommendation that would have allowed local churches to withdraw from the denomination and retain their property if the denomination were to ever change its official position on same-sex marriage. Similar proposals have been passed in other districts and will likely be considered at General Conference 2022.
Our district conference concluded on a high note with a closing challenge and prayer for pastors who were willing to lead their churches in prayerfully considering where and by when they might be used of God to plant a new Kingdom community. Dr. Jim Lo led us in this closing prayer time over these pastors and our present corps of church planters. Mark your calendar and make plans to join us next year on June 24-25 for ordination and conference!
Sunday morning, June 27, I had the privilege of worshiping with Pastor Dan Fisher and the wonderful folks at Delphi Wesleyan Church. Pastor Dan and Amy are beginning their 15th year of ministry at Delphi Wesleyan. Last year they averaged 38 in person and 13 online with four professions of faith and four baptisms. Dan preached a powerful message on “The Miracle of The Church” from Acts 2. Please remember Amy, Dan’s wife, who has some continuing health issues that may be related to her bout with Covid19.
While much of last week was consumed with conference prep, I was blessed to sit in on the Region 1 pastors and spouses enrichment event hosted last Monday at The River Church in Marion. Pastor Matthew Trexler, Assistant DS for Region 1, and his team at The River welcomed us for a lunch session, an afternoon Q & A, and an evening meal with Rev. Ken and Serena Murphy who lead the dynamic ministry of Cypress Wesleyan Church in Columbus, Ohio. The learning was rich, the fellowship was sweet, and the meals were delicious! Thank you, Pastor Trexler!
I am always encouraged to receive praise reports from our pastors. Yesterday afternoon, I heard from two of our pastors via texts with pictures. Pastor David Cox and the team at Laketon Wesleyan Church were rejoicing to report five baptisms on Sunday morning. The group pictured below includes one lady who is 95-years-old and also includes Pastor David’s 14-year-old grandson. Praise God for lives being #MadeNew!
Pastor Rich VanVuren shared the exciting report of five new members joining the Shiloh Wesleyan Church last Sunday and two new believers being baptized yesterday as a public profession of their new lives in Christ. We rejoice with Pastor Rich and the Shiloh team as they continue to pray and work together to see more lives being #MadeNew!
Pastor Matthew Stewart passed along the good report that the Wesleyan Bible Bowl team from Sweetser Wesleyan Church placed 2nd in the national event in Oklahoma earlier this month and that Brian Crossman, their team member, won 1st place in individual quizzing. Congratulations to Sweetser Wesleyan and Pastor Stewart who served as their team’s coach. If your church would be interested in developing a Bible quizzing team, Pastor Stewart is willing to help your volunteers get off to a strong start.
Thank you for all you do to advance God’s Kingdom here in the Crossroads of America!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent