Dr. Wayne Schmidt, our General Superintendent, delivered an anointed message and presided over this year’s Crossroads District ordination service on Saturday afternoon, August 15. This class of 15 ordinands was multi-generational (from Millennials to Boomers), multi-ethnic (Asian, African-American, and Latino), with seven women and eight men, and this cohort included five church planters. I am grateful for Dr. David Smith and our District Board of Ministerial Development, and for the many ordained ministers of our Crossroads District team who blessed this service with their presence.
The following ministers were ordained: Rev. Stephan Binns (Anderson Lone Oak Wesleyan Church), Rev. Marcus DePeal (Indianapolis Trinity Wesleyan Church), Rev. Bernedette Haddad (New Castle Eden Unleashed), Rev. Rochelle Jenkins (Indianapolis Circle City Church), Rev. Amy Luedtke (Fairmount Wesleyan Church), Rev. Nathan Metz (Newark Community Church), Rev. Lee Miller (Muncie Memorial Drive Wesleyan Church), Rev. Titus Romdenh (WGM), Rev. Jessica Teegarden (Marion Hillside Wesleyan Church while applyying for military chaplaincy), Rev. Craig Thurmon Sr. (Indianapolis The Encounter Assembly), Rev. Laura Walls (Fishers Waterline Church), Rev. Jared Webb (Marion Lakeview Churc), Rev. Adriana Zarate (Circle of Hope Network), and Rev. Nicholas Zarate (Circle of Hope Network). Elizabeth Rhyno (Fishers Waterline) was unable to be present due to a family medical emergency in Canada. We were also honored to affirm the ordination of Rev. Ron Ferguson (Grant City Wesleyan Church) who transferred to us from the Church of the Nazarene.
Fairmount Wesleyan Church’s The Branch Coffee Shop provided wonderful refreshments for the reception that followed the service. Thank you, Velvet Haisley, for taking such good care of us. Special thanks to Rev. Chris Williams, Lead Pastor, and his team at Marion Lakeview Wesleyan Church for the gracious way they hosted our district family for this sacred event. Their facility staff and technical team went the second mile to accommodate us and to provide the online streaming for those who could not be present. This year’s service was extra special for the Lakeview Wesleyan team since their own assistant pastor Rev. Jared Webb was one of this year’s ordinands.
Many of you have been following the health updates for Rev. Mark Atkinson, senior pastor at Gas City Eastview Wesleyan Church. Rev. Atkinson had emergency surgery last Monday which included a triple by-pass operation. He had some complications earlier in the week but is now making encouraging progress. The restrictions on visits has made this especially difficult for Ronda, Mark’s wife, and his family. Pastor Mark and Ronda appreciate your prayers and support.
Last week included meetings with Dr. Mark Eckart, Indiana South DS, on Monday in Greenwood. I am grateful for Dr. Eckart’s wisdom and his friendship. Tuesday, I hosted our monthly Zoom meeting for district pastors with one session at 10 a.m. and the second at 8 p.m. Praying together in the breakout rooms continues to be a highlight and pastors from across the district are becoming better acquainted as we share with each other.
Tuesday also included an important training session for our DBMD leaders as the Department of Education and Clergy Development prepares to roll out a new credentialing process for our ministerial students. These changes are significant but should empower local churches for a more meaningful role in credentialing their own ministerial students and local staff.
Wednesday, I was able to head north to connect with some of our pastors in the South Bend area. Rev. Don Bayne (New Carlisle Wesleyan) and I met for lunch and then Pastor Don walked me through the impressive work they’ve done in updating their foyer and auditorium. They’ve upgraded their technology and added beautiful decorating touches that surprised the congregation as they returned to the building.
Pastor Matt Ohime and I connected at Davis Wesleyan Church. Before we had a time of prayer together, Pastor Ohime showed me through the remarkable job they’ve done in completely remodeling the interior of their worship center. Technology has also been addressed and they’ve complemented the dramatic interior changes with landscaping improvements and attractive new signs.
Pastor Ben and Kirsten Jones (Beaver Creek Wesleyan Church) met me in South Bend for supper. It was my first opportunity to visit with Kirsten. The newlyweds are doing well as they settle into their new ministry and new home. My last stop of the day was to check in on Rev. Terry and Lennaire Vaughn (South Bend The Bridge Urban Church). The Vaughn’s are doing a remarkable job of building a disciple-making movement in the city and we’re grateful for the privilege of partnering with them.
Thursday morning, I checked in on the Eastview staff and met with Seth Bye. Thursday afternoon I dropped in for a visit and prayer with Rev. Mark and Sharie Schnell (Albion Wesleyan Church). Mark would be grateful for your prayers as he puts the finishing touches on the doctoral dissertation while teaching for IWU and pastoring part-time.
This Sunday morning, I had the joy of worshiping with and preaching for Hartford City Wesleyan Church. On Sunday evening, Rev. David Dignal joined me as I met with the congregation of Fort Wayne Level 13 Church to assist them in their pastoral transition. Please pray with the team at Level 13 as they move into a season in interim ministry before beginning their pastoral search.
On the way home from Fort Wayne, I caught up with Pastor Aldean Pablo who is planting SEND church in southwest Allen County. It was encouraging to hear the doors that God is opening for this ministry. Last Sunday evening, they had over 50 people show up for a vision-casting meeting and they are planning a baptism service for later this month.
The best news of all this week was more baptisms! Pastor David Cox, Assistant Pastor Joshua Warren, and the team at Laketon Wesleyan Church celebrated baptism in the lake. Pastor Jeremy Armiger, Assistant Pastor Dr. Lo, and the team celebrated two baptisms at Chesterfield Parkview Wesleyan Church. Praise God for more lives being #MadeNew!
Keep on making a difference in the only cause that counts for all eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent