Sunday morning, June 28, I had the privilege of preaching at New Journey Community Church in Wabash. The church was planted by Tom & Sarah Cochrane and Brian Scramlin has effectively served the church since 2016. With Brian’s resignation this spring, the LBA has been in pastoral search mode. They were pleased to announce the results of their pastoral vote yesterday with 45-0 in favor of calling their next pastor. The candidate has until next Sunday to accept the call and I’m hoping we’ll be able to make that announcement next week.
Monday, I met with Pastor Craig Thurmon in Fishers. In addition to being a church planter, Craig does auditing work for the Department of Defense and agreed to be considered as our next district treasurer. We met with the accounting staff in the General Treasurer’s Office to familiarize Craig with the process flow and controls that are in place through HQ’s Shared Accounting Services agreement. I am grateful for Mr. Kevin Batman and his team who are generously serving districts and local churches.
Later in the afternoon, I joined the Hartford City Wesleyan Church staff for our weekly team meeting. John Bonham is doing a great job holding things together and mentoring this young team. They were prepping for their first young adult fellowship supper and were excited to welcome a total of 24 young adults for this first event. Tuesday morning, I worked on my annual report and then our Crossroads District staff met at Abbey Coffee in the afternoon.
Wednesday morning, Assistant DS Chris Williams and I traveled to Logansport for his cohort meeting with Region 3 pastors. Chris has been leading these monthly meetings for the past year and it was good to see the camaraderie that they’ve developed. Pastor Zach Szmara and his team at The Bridge generously hosted the meeting. Zach, Chris and I were joined by Logan Patriquin (Lafayette The Branch), Dan Fisher (Delphi Wesleyan), Matt Ohime (Davis Wesleyan), and Terry Vaughn (South Bend The Bridge) who connected via Zoom.
Thursday, the District Board of Administration met at Lakeview Wesleyan Church in Marion with what would have been our District Conference agenda. Assistant DS Mike Colaw brought the devotional and challenged us to see the miracles beyond the mess. Our agenda included closing items from last conference year and significant items for the new conference year including approving ordination candidates and finalizing the ministerial appointment list. These documents will be complied and distributed as an annual report for the 2020 conference year. Credential cards will also be available and most will be distributed at the August 15 ordination service. If you need your card sooner (i.e. for chaplaincy or other employment), please contact Seth Bye.
The DBA did appoint Craig Thurmon as our new district treasurer. We expressed appreciation to Nancy Schoonmaker for her exceptional contribution in establishing the new district and facilitating the transition to the shared services agreement with the General Treasurer’s Office. Nancy resigned after 4 years on our leadership team to devote additional time to the doctoral program she’s pursuing with IWU.
We honored Mrs. Roxene Lo for her combined 22 years of service to the Indiana North and Crossroads District. Roxene’s dedication and faithfulness have impacted so many lives in her roles as missionary, pastor’s wife, district office manager, and Christian educator. Roxene taught classes at 4 different colleges, including Oklahoma Wesleyan and Indiana Wesleyan. We have been blessed by her ministry to our district and pray God’s best as she continues to serve in her local church.
The DBA approved moving Albion Wesleyan Church from developing to established church status, and approved appointing Rev. Jeff Brady as church planter for Commoners’ Church, a new house church network in Grant County. We also appointed Pastor Bernie Haddad as the church planter for Eden Unleashed, a church planting project within the walls of the New Castle prison system. While our overall attendance was down slightly last year, baptisms were up from the previous. Our eight newest churches (less than 3 years old) baptized 69 new believers and led 92 people to Christ.
The DBA discussed our current partnership with the Heartland Region and affirmed that collaboration. The DBA also voted to open the door for conversations with other districts who might want to considering joining us in the decentralized model we are creating. One way the Crossroads District model is unique is in the extent to which Assistant DS’s are empowered as regional ministry leaders. After the meeting, we enjoyed a delicious meal catered by The Branch (Fairmount) and honored Roxene for her years of service.
Thursday evening, I joined the LBA at Hartford City Wesleyan Church for their monthly meeting. The church is doing well handling the unexpected resignation of their pastor. Attendance is back over the 50% mark since reopening with continued online ministry serving those of the congregation who have not yet been able to worship in person.
Friday, I met with Dr. Ed Love, Executive Director of Church Multiplication for The Wesleyan Church. We met in Gaston near where he and his family reside. Ed and I first met when he was still a student at Asbury Seminary so it has been a joy to watch God bless Ed and Emily each time they have stepped out in faith to advance the Kingdom, whether through planting themselves or by equipping others. If you’d like to know more about church planting residencies and training, Dr. Love is the one to contact at HQ.
Saturday morning, I met with the LBA members at Lancaster Wesleyan Church as they continue working through their pastoral transition. Pastor Doug Sharrard has faithfully served the church for 17 years and will be relocating to Marion. The LBA interviewed some strong candidates over the past few weeks but the consensus of the board was that the church would be best served by having the DBA appoint an intentional interim pastor. They determined that this would be a best next step to help them address strategic concerns and build greater unity over the next few months.
Frankfort Connecting Point Church reported the first baptisms of this new conference year. Upon their profession of faith in Christ, Pastor Alan Downing had the joy of baptizing Cora Bachman and Jaden Bogard. Please share your baptism reports and photos so our district team can celebrate with your church.
Congratulations to Pastor Dale and Lori Munsell on the arrival of their grandson Nehemiah on June 22. Nehemiah’s parents are Corey and Emilie Munsell, missionaries with Global Partners. Nehemiah, or someone in the family, likes our Colts.
Many of you will be enjoying a few days away from the office this week as we celebrate July 4, our nation’s Independence Day. America is not perfect, but I can’t imagine anywhere else in the world that I would rather live. I’m grateful for the liberty that we enjoy here in the USA and indebted to those who paid the price for this freedom.
The preamble to our constitution reads: “We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
May we never stop working together toward a more perfect union with liberty and justice for all. More than ever before, we desperately need God to revive our nation and to grant us His peace.
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent