Pastor Zach and Lyndy Szmara thought they were preparing for an international mission field when they graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University. They were but it turned out to be in Logansport, Indiana. I had the privilege of worshiping with them and the growing congregation at The Bridge on Sunday morning, August 5.
Nico Loran led the music and prayer (in Spanish and English) and Pastor Zach Szmara brought the message from Acts 6 (in English with Spanish translation via headsets). The Bridge also hosts Immigrant Connection and the Intersection Coffee Shop, building bridges of hope and reconciliation in this rebounding community.
Sunday afternoon, I worshiped with Rev. Calimerio & Maria Rodriguez at Templo de Poder in Frankfort. The worship here is always inspiring and Pastor Calimerio’s messsage from John 16:33 was a call to live in the peace of God.
Sunday evening, I had the privilege of representing our district in the installation of Rev. Harold Henson as the new pastor at Colfax Wesleyan Church. Rev. Henson graduated from Wesley Seminary at IWU this spring and returned to his home church after a term of service in Oklahoma. The congregation has warmly welcomed Harold and Angie.
I appreciated the special effort of Rev. Logan and Shaina Patriquin to come down from The Branch (former Schuyler Avenue) Wesleyan Church to represent the pastors in the Lafayette Zone. Following the installation service, the congregation hosted a reception in the fellowship hall. Pray that God will bless the ministry of the Henson’s and reach out to extend your welcome.
Monday morning, I assisted Rev. Rick Fletcher and Rev. Marty Fletcher in the memorial service for Rev. Steve Fletcher, pastor of Marion Nelson Street Wesleyan Church. Fairmount Wesleyan Church, where Steve and Patsy has served for 17 years, hosted the service and a reception. The service was a celebration Steve’s faith in Christ and love for his family with inspiring music and meaningful memories. Please remember Patsy, their family, and the Nelson Street congregation in your prayers as they move forward.
Last week included a variety of meetings with members of our district team, including the first coaching conversation of this new conference year. Some of you will know that I have the privilege of meeting one-on-one with every lead/senior pastor in our district each year for a guided conversation that covers personal and family well-being, along with ministry growth and challenges. Pastor Tom Parsons (Hartford City Wesleyan Church) and I met on last week. Coaching conversations this week will include Pastor Duane Summit, Pastor Brent Miller, and Pastor Dave Leitzel.
On Thursday afternoon, I joined Rev. Jon Wiest and members of his Discipleship Cohort who convened via ZOOM to continue this year-long learning journey. They’ll be wrapping up next month and then coming together for the Discipleship Conference at Indianapolis Trinity Wesleyan Church on October 1-2. You can register here:
Leadership development is one of the core values of the Crossroads District. Assistant DS Chris Williams and Dr. David Smith (chair of the DBMD) led our District Board of Ministerial Development in meetings on Friday and Saturday at Tipton Trinity Wesleyan Church. With nearly 100 students already in our process, and another 60 individuals from our district taking ministry preparation classes but not yet licensed, this team plays a significant role in shaping the future of our Crossroads District and our denomination.
DBMD team members invest significant time, energy and prayer into the task of preparing Christ-servant leaders. You may be aware that our denominational leadership is updating and revising the educational track from a checklist of courses to a core set of competencies. These core competencies will be developed and assessed in both educational environments and the supervised ministry of the local church.
Our DBMD recognizes and affirms that every believer is called to ministry, regardless of their context or career. We also affirm the specific equipping ministry of Word and Sacrament that The Wesleyan Church recognizes in ordination. Pray that God will continue to bless this team as they serve our ministerial students.
Keep on making a difference in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
P.S. It’s not just for people over 55 (like me)! Regardless of your age, if you appreciate familiar hymns and warm-hearted preaching, you’ll want to attend the “Old Time Camp” next week, August 15-19 at Fairmount Camp, with prayer gatherings led by Alex Mandura, Bible Study with Pastor Don Glenn, and the preaching of Dr. Jim Lo.