Sunday morning, Dr. Sherry and I worshiped with Rev. Michael and Kim Hewitt at Rising Hope Church in Muncie. This dynamic church plant was launched less than 5 years ago with a wonderful group that included former members of Northview Church. That aging congregation voted to close their chapter of ministry and turn the keys over to see a new multi-generational ministry launched in their facility, just a few blocks away from Ball State University. The church has flourished under the leadership of Pastor Mike and Kim with college ministry, youth ministry, and a strong ministry to children.
The most exciting recent development has been their partnership in launching a new campus of Rising Hope in Seville, Spain with Marcos Cruz serving as campus pastor. Pastor Hewitt led a team to Spain earlier this fall to celebrate this new launch. They are praying for a multiplying network to reach 20 of the largest cities in Spain.
In addition to leading Rising Hope, planting a new campus in Spain, and representing the USA in the World Blackball Tournament in Morocco, Pastor Mike also completed his Master of Divinity degree at Wesley Seminary. We’re happy to join his family and friends in congratulating him on this accomplishment.
Here’s another district graduate we’re glad to congratulate. Mr. Joel Hunt, a lay member of our Crossroads District Board of Administration graduated from Wesley Seminary with a Master of Ministry degree on Saturday. Joel (pictured on the far left) also serves as Director of Seminary Communication & Relations for the seminary. Congratulations and thank you, Joel, for your service in the Kingdom!
Last week’s schedule included our district office staff meeting on Monday afternoon followed by a meeting with the LBA at Nelson Street Wesleyan in Marion on Monday evening. Rev. Bob McHenry is resigning after having served effectively at Nelson Street for the past few years. Bob is stepping back as he carries expanding responsibilities in his community mental health career and completes his Master of Social Work degree at IWU. After that meeting, I dropped in on the LBA at The River Church to congratulate them on another successful “Big Give.”
On Tuesday I met with Rev. Joe Park (Lafayette Evergreen Wesleyan Church) for an early lunch and our annual coaching conversation. I traveled over to Delphi to check on and pray with Pastor Dan Fisher as Amy, his wife, has experienced a setback in her health. I dropped in on Rev. Martin Furrow at The Cross in Rochester for an update on their ministry and time of prayer and then connected with Rev. Jarod Osborne at Pathway Church in Warsaw before closing out the day in Bippus. I received a warm welcome from a group of folks in Bippus (near Huntington) who are disaffiliating from the UMC and had invited several denominational representatives to meet with them for Q&A sessions.
Wednesday morning, I was back at Nelson Street to meet with Keith Hardin, vicechair of the LBA, as the church considers options for greater impact in their community. Rev. Zach Szmara (Logansport The Bridge) and I met via Zoom for our annual coaching conversation. Zach continues to serve effectively as pastor for The Bridge while also leading the rapidly-growing team at Immigrant Connection. Pastor Gary Bingham (Marion Hillside Wesleyan) and I met for our annual coaching conversation over lunch in Marion and then I connected with Rev. Trevor O’Dell for an update on his ministry at Lancaster Wesleyan Church.
Thursday, I traveled to Tipton for coaching conversations with Rev. Logan Westrick (Ash Street Wesleyan Church) and Rev. Johnnie Blair (Trinity Wesleyan Church). I met via ZOOM on Thursday evening with the LBA at Fishers Waterline Church as they completed their positive evaluation of Pastor Scott Rhyno. The congregation will vote on an extended call in March.
I took the day off on Friday as Sherry and I hosted family members including Lennon, our oldest grandchild, for an early Christmas. I’m grateful for these special moments and memories with family. Our family was also able to join in the celebration at Wesley Seminary as Rev. John Mark Gorveatte, our oldest child, graduated with his master’s degree on Saturday afternoon.
Rev. Carla Working, Assistant District Superintendent and chair of our District Board of Ministerial Development, stays busy with our district team and continues to serve actively with Rev. Zach Working, her husband, at Hope Rising, their home church in Huntington. Last evening, she joined their church family in Christmas caroling. We’re grateful for Rev. Working’s ministry and I invite you to join me in wishing Carla and her family a Merry Christmas!
Mr. Michael Wood, also affectionately known as "Woody," is the other full-time employee on our Crossroads District office staff. Michael serves as District Admin / Executive Ministry Partner and is our primary interface with all things digital, including communications and web/digital resourcing. In addition to his work with our district team, Michael is making a difference by serving with Pastor Johnnie Blair and the team at Tipton Trinity Wesleyan Church. Please join me in expressing our gratitude for his ministry and in wishing Michael and his family a Merry Christmas!
Our condolences and prayers are extended to Rev. Brent Miller on the passing of his father, John Brent Miller, age 64, on December 7. The funeral service was held on Saturday, December 17, with Reverend Mark Atkinson (Crossroads District Circuit Rider) officiating.
Please join us in praying for Dr. Joe Harmon, pastor at New Castle Memorial Wesleyan Church, as he undergoes the first of two cornea transplants on Monday, December 19. During his recovery period, Dr. Harmon will be limited in activity but he’s looking forward to preaching on January 1.
Please pray for our pastors and congregations as they maximize the opportunities of this Christmas week to share the life-changing Gospel of Jesus Christ!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent