Sunday morning, June 20, I had the privilege of worshiping with Pastor Jeff and Dr. Amy Luedtke at Fairmount Wesleyan Church. They have adjusted their schedule to offer two Sunday services (one at 9 and another at 11) allowing them to better accommodate social distancing and disinfecting guidelines. The music team led us in meaningful worship, I enjoyed the opportunity to preach the Word, and Pastor Jeff closed out each service with fun gifts for all the fathers.
Fairmount Wesleyan has been on the move in the past year with the continued development of their coffee shop The Branch, with their support for the Rising Hope church planting project in Muncie, and a beautiful job updating their worship facility. Best of all, they celebrated 9 professions of faith in the last conference year. I am grateful for Pastor Jeff’s leadership in his church, in the community and on our DBA.
The highlight of Monday was meeting with the Hartford City Wesleyan Church staff and then sharing supper with them at John and Debra Bonham’s home. In addition to chairing the Upland Town Council, John is the administrative director for the church.
Tuesday, I drove to Cincinnati for another enjoyable meeting with the district superintendents of the Heartland Region (Crossroads, Greater Ohio, Indiana South, and Kentucky-Tennessee). This is our third year of working together. The recent Heartland Region Gathering in Pigeon Forge was one result of this collaboration. Another win has been the leadership cohort that Rev. Ken Murphy, pastor at Cypress Church in Columbus, has provided for encouragement and equipping. We continue to prayerfully explore next steps for greater impact in our region.
Wednesday, I joined Assistant DS Matthew Trexler and area pastors for lunch with a leader who shared his vision for initiating a house church network in Marion. The recommendation of these pastors will be presented to the District Board of Administration this week.
After the lunch meeting, I made a road trip to some of our northern churches. I stopped in to connect with Assistant Pastor Martin Furrow at Rochester The Cross. They’re making rapid progress in completing their addition and updating their auditorium. The next stop was at Plymouth Wesleyan Church to connect with Assistant Pastors Taylor Hulse and Ed Friberg. Pastor Rich VanVuren (Shiloh Wesleyan) and I met briefly for an update and prayer. When I arrived in South Bend, Pastor Greg Holmes (Sonlight Fellowship) and I were also able to meet for an update on the ministry and prayer.
Pastor Terry Vaughn (The Bridge Urban Church) and I met for supper in downtown South Bend. After supper, I joined Pastor Terry for the online discipleship group that he leads on Wednesday evenings. Rev. Terry and Lennaire Vaughn are doing the difficult work of church planting in the inner city. I am grateful for each of our pastors and congregations who have partnered with them in this important ministry.
After 22 years of dedicated ministry to our district office team, Mrs. Roxene Lo will be retiring at the end of this month. We will be recognizing her contribution at the DBA meeting on Thursday and honoring her at the Ordination Service on August 15. With our bookkeeping now handled by the General Treasurer’s office, Roxene’s retirement and the transition of Rev. Chris Williams back into full-time pastoral ministry at Lakeview (while also serving as Assistant DS for Region 3) will see us reworking our staffing model. Thursday, Seth Bye and I interviewed prospective staff members as we take a next step toward remote working arrangements.
Friday morning, I connected with our staff members and checked in on Pastor Mark Atkinson who is recovering from a heart-related surgical procedure. Join us in praying for Mark’s full recovery. My final appointment for the week was a lunch meeting with an experienced minister who is considering transferring into The Wesleyan Church.
In other transitions around the district, Parkview Wesleyan Church in Chesterfield added a new staff member. Anna Armiger, Pastor Jeremy Armiger’s wife, completed the requirements for licensed ministry and was welcomed to Parkview’s staff as an Assistant Pastor along with Dr. Jim Lo.
Congratulations to one of our retired district superintendents. Dr. Steve and Carol Emery celebrated their 50th Anniversary last week. We are grateful for their many years of effective pastoral ministry and their district leadership in The Wesleyan Church.
Congratulations to Josiah Gorveatte, worship director at McCordsville Harvest Church, on his engagement to Elizabeth Scotch of Destin, Florida. Josiah and Elizabeth are planning a wedding in the fall and we’re excited to welcome Elizabeth to our family.
Sunday morning, we received the heartbreaking news from Pastor Rochelle and Travis Jenkins (planting Circle City Church). Their daughter Sydney Claire was born prematurely but was unable to survive. Some of you will know the long and difficult journey this has been for Pastor Rochelle and Travis. All of us can join in prayer for God’s comforting grace as they grieve this painful loss.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” Romans 12:15 (NIV)
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent