Sunday morning, May 24, I had the privilege of dropping in on two of our congregations who were taking next steps in gathering. Pastor Barry Taylor and the team at Hartford City Wesleyan Church created space to welcome their congregation back to the building by adding a second service. They marked off alternating rows for the first service and then used the opposite seats for the second service to allow for social distancing.
Greeters wore masks for the safety of guests and helped direct people through separated entries and exits. Hartford City Wesleyan Church will continue to offer their worship online with new equipment purchased with help from the Connect with Tech grant from the Lilly Foundation.
My second stop of the morning was at Lakeview Wesleyan Church in Marion. Pastor Chris Williams and his team offered online worship again this weekend but also added a live event for leaders in the congregation. It was good to hear Pastor Chris preach in person and to visit with their staff after the service. This live gathering with limited attendance allowed them to test their systems for welcoming congregants in the safest way possible. Lakeview was also able to do a test run with the equipment they were able to purchase because of the Lilly grant.
Last week’s Zoom meetings included a General Board Exec Committee meeting on Monday and then a call with district superintendents on Wednesday.
I enjoyed connecting with pastors in person for prayers in person last week. Tuesday’s road trip allowed me to meet briefly and pray with Pastor Aldean Pablo (SEND Church), Pastor David & Carol Leitzel (Hamilton Wesleyan), Pastor Heath Croft (Level 13), Pastor Aaron Lee (Cultivate Church), Pastor Kory Christensen (Impact Church), Pastor Andy Jellison (Lifeway Church), Pastor Dave Dignal (Edgerton Wesleyan), Pastor Kyle Horton (Three Rivers), Pastor Lyle Breeding (Bluffton Sonlight), and Pastor Paul Van Cise (Bryant).
Wednesday morning, I met with Pastor Lee Miller (Memorial Drive Wesleyan) in Muncie for our annual coaching conversation. Pastor Michael and Kim Hewitt (Muncie Rising Hope) were home when I stopped by to check on them and have prayer. District Secretary Carol Schenck and I met at Wesleyan HQ in Fishers to sign legal documents for one of our churches. The Heartland Region district superintendents met via Zoom on Wednesday afternoon and then I finished out the day meeting with Rev. Barry Taylor in Hartford City for our annual coaching conversation. Thursday, I met with and had prayer with Pastor Matthew Stewart (Sweetser Wesleyan) and Rev. Jarod Osborne (Warsaw Pathway). My final meeting of the day was with the LBA at Wabash New Journey Community Church as they continue in their pastoral search process.
On Friday, Sherry and I were blessed to host the Region 2 North Zone pastors and spouses for supper and fellowship. Pastor Johnnie Blair chairs this zone and four couples were able to join us. We had a fun time sharing a meal and some competitive games of bean bag toss (watch out for Pastor Carol Schenck). We regretted having to cancel these fellowship gatherings for the past two months but look forward to welcoming more of our pastoral couples this summer.
This coming Sunday, May 31, we invite you and your congregation to join our General Superintendent Dr. Wayne Schmidt and Wesleyans from around the world for an online prayer event. “Wesleyans are people of prayer,” said Dr. 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.” Pastors can find more information at: https://www.wesleyan.org/event/together
Church Multiplication and Discipleship (CMAD) has provided free resources for your use to participate on Church Multiplication Sunday (CMS) this coming Sunday, May 31st. Promotional materials, including sermon resources, video bumpers, kids and youth ministry curriculum, and Winfield Bevin’s FREE EBOOK “Multiplying Disciples” are available here:
We received word on Monday afternoon (May 25) that Mrs. Faith Watkins, wife of Rev. Joe Watkins and mother of Pastor Marc Watkins (Kokomo Trinity), had been hospitalized in critical condition. Family members have been called to her side. Please join us in prayer for Mrs. Watkins and her family.
Keep on making a difference in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent
P.S. HERE ARE HELPFUL RESOURCES AS YOU PREPARE FOR GATHERING AGAIN: