Sunday morning, June 19, I had the joy of worshiping with Rev. Calimerio and Maria Rodriguez at Templo dr Poder Iglesia Wesleyana (Temple of Power Wesleyan Church) in Frankfort. This vibrant congregation averages 65 in attendance with people driving from as far as Noblesville and Lafayette. Pastor and Mrs. Rodriguez have faithfully served as bi-vocational pastors for the church since 2001.
The church had a special sermon and recognition time for all the fathers that included several children coming forward to read scriptures verses. The Templo de Poder congregation lost beloved family members to Covid over the past two years but they are pressing forward to make disciples.
Sunday afternoon, I was glad to join Rev. Nicolas and Rev. Adriana Zarate for their worship service at Rey de Gloria (King of Glory) Iglesia Wesleyana, a ministry of the Circle of Hope network of churches based in Noblesville and led by Dr. Rich and Rev. Carol Schenck. Pastor Adriana has recently returned from being with her family in Argentina during the illness and death of her father. After the worship service, the Zarates introduced me to a newer couple in their church, Walter and Diana, who are taking FLAMA courses and envisioning church planting possibilities with the Zarates. Pray that God will bless these leaders and their multiplication vision!
Sunday evening, Rev. John Davey invited me to join in with the members at Hartford City Wesleyan Church for a special local church conference. Rev. Davey had served effectively this year as the interim pastor and this conference was a celebration of what God has accomplished in the past year including 11 baptisms and the 100% vote to call Rev. Josh Fox as their next pastor. We’re excited to welcome Josh, Candy and their family to the Crossroads District in July.
The highlights of last week were three amazing youth camps that ministered to more than 400 of our district youth. Tuesday morning, I dropped in at Fairmount Camp and was blessed by the ministry of Dr. Jim Lo. There was a wonderful response to the invitation at the close of the service. Tuesday afternoon, I was able to connect with Rev. Marc Ulrich who was in Marion with teenagers from ReThink Church (Merrillville) who were attending Never The Same Camp at IWU. Later on Tuesday, I attended the NTS evening rally and was able to connect with several of our pastors and their students.
Wednesday morning, I was invited to meet with Rev. Johanna Rugh, the newly-elected Executive Director of Education and Clergy Development for The Wesleyan Church. Rev. Rugh had a wealth of pastoral and district leadership experience before coming to ECD. She has also been a wonderful encourager to our Hispanic pastors and a champion for women in ministry. It was an honor to meet with her and to hear more about her vision for ministerial development in The Wesleyan Church. We are also glad that she and her family are becoming members at Trinity Wesleyan Church and that Rev. Rugh will be transferring her credentials to become part of the Crossroads District. Pray for our leaders!
Wednesday evening, Rev. Zachary and Rev. Carla Working invited me to join the team from Huntington Hope Rising Church as they hosted a conversation with a nearby UMC congregation. This church leadership team had asked to meet with them about the possibility of merging into the good work that God is doing through Hope Rising. It was a very helpful conversation and we are praying that God provides wisdom and direction to all involved.
Thursday morning, I hit the road headed west past Lafayette to Hanging Rock Camp where Rev. Seth Merrill and his team hosted their annual youth camp that serves several of our churches from Tipton Trinity to New Carlisle. This is a classic camp setting with more than 200 acres including horseback riding, ziplines, and a swimming pool. This year’s camp evangelist was Trevor Heyd, a long-time friend from our days in West Michigan District. Special thanks to Pastor Seth and Breanna Merrill for all their hard work and the leadership they bring to this important camping partnership!
I made it back in time to worship with the team at Fairmount youth camp for their final evening rally. In addition to the wonderful crew that worked with Executive Director Rev. Angela Spangler, it was fun to see the collaboration of summer ministry teams representing Kingswood University, Southern Wesleyan University, and Indiana Wesleyan University. Pray for our youth who attended these summer camps last week and for those who will be attending Week #2 of NTS at IWU this week. Significant decisions were made for Christ. Reach out to the students in your church to let them know that you are praying for them and standing with them as they follow Christ!
In addition to camping ministries, two of our churches were competing in the national finals for the Wesleyan Bible Bowl quizzing program hosted this year at Southern Wesleyan University in Central, South Carolina. Rev. Randy Yaryan (Winchester) and Rev. Matthew Stewart (Sweetser) both took quiz teams that did well in the national competition. If your church is interested in starting a quiz team and the substantial college scholarships that can be won in these competitions, I encourage you to reach out to Randy or Matt for the next steps your church can take to become part of this exciting opportunity.
We always love to pass along reports of God changing lives. Dr. Bob Hallett has been serving as the interim pastor at Anderson Lone Oak Wesleyan Church during this past conference year. He shared the good news of 4 professions of faith last year and 3 baptisms including the most recent one captured here. Praise the Lord for lives being #MadeNew!
Congratulations to Rev. Rochelle and Travis Jenkins (Indianapolis Circle City Church) on the birth of their son, Atlas James Jenkins. For those of you who have followed their journey, you will know what an amazing answer to prayer is captured in this picture. We celebrate this precious gift of life!
This is the week that we’ve been planning and praying for when our Crossroads District team comes together for Ordination and Annual Conference. Ordained ministers will meet at College Wesleyan at 6:30 on Friday for our group photo and prayer with the ordinands. The service will commence promptly at 7:00 pm with General Superintendent Dr. Wayne Schmidt presiding. A reception will follow.
Conference registration will open Saturday at 8 a.m. in the Chapel at IWU. The first session of our annual conference will begin promptly at 9. We’re blessed once again this year to have Dr. Wayne Schmidt, our General Superintendent, present to chair the conference. Key items coming before us this year will include the two constitutional changes voted on at General Conference that are to be considered by each district conference. Constitutional memorials require a two-thirds vote by the delegates at General Conference and then a two-thirds aggregate vote of all delegates voting at the several district conferences this summer. To review those constitutional memorials, please visit these links at the denomination’s website:
Please join us in praying for a special sense of God’s presence and our obedience to His direction as we gather for ordination and conference again this year, the 174th time that Wesleyans have gathered in Indiana since the first conference was formed in 1848.
Keep on making a difference in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent
PS: For those of you who serve as treasurers or submit mileage for reimbursement, the IRS announced last week that the mileage tax rate beginning July 1 will be 62.5 cents per mile for business use of a vehicle. (It will be important to keep records from January 1 to June 30 separate from mileage for July 1 through December 31). Charitable mileage has not changed and remains at 14 cents per mile.