Sunday morning, January 19, I was blessed to worship with Rev. Dr. Oliver Dongell and the team at Plymouth Wesleyan Church. Pastor Dongell has served PWC since 2003. Last year, Plymouth Wesleyan averaged 620 in worship with 35 baptisms. They also have an active partnership with El Salvador that has resulted in 18 churches being planted.
I enjoyed meeting with the LBA between the two morning services. After the second service, I enjoyed hosting Pastor and Mrs. Dongell for lunch. Several of our retired ministers are part of the Plymouth congregation including Rev. Charles Peacock, Rev. Steve and Wanda Cunnington, and Rev. Les & Kathy Kephart, my friends from our time serving together in Michigan. Wanda Cunnington has a serious health concern and welcomes our prayers as they continue tests.
Last week began with a Monday morning Region 1 Leadership Cohort meeting led by Assistant DS Matthew Trexler. I’m grateful for the leadership development opportunities that are underway in each of our regions. Monday evening, I was glad to meet with Pastor David Dignal and the LBA at Edgerton Wesleyan Church to lead the review of the extended call. Pastor Dignal’s ministry and extended call were enthusiastically affirmed.
Tuesday morning, I joined the team at the River Church for their 6 a.m. prayer meeting, part of their 21 Days of Prayer to launch into the new year. Our district office staff meets on Tuesday mornings for planning and prayer. I am blessed to serve with Rev. Chris Williams, Mrs. Roxene Lo, and Rev. Seth Bye. Tuesday afternoon, I connected with Rev. Mike Cloud (via Zoom) in preparation for his upcoming pastoral vote. Tuesday evening, I met with Pastor Steve Binns and the LBA at Anderson Lone Oak. The LBA affirmed Steve’s leadership and voted to take some positive changes for the new year.
Wednesday morning, I was on the road to meet with Pastor Harold Henson at Colfax Wesleyan Church (just southeast of Lafayette). Pastor Henson is another of our faithful bi-vocational pastors and doing a wonderful job leading here in his home church. Pastor Scott McDermid and I met at his office at Six Points Church (Sheridan) in preparation for his upcoming vote and then shared lunch together. These are exciting days at Six Point and Scott has transitioned well from his long-term staff role at Carmel UMC to becoming a senior pastor of a growing church.
Wednesday afternoon, I dropped in on the staff meeting at Daybreak Church in Lapel. Pastor Andy Cole is bringing inspiring, visionary leadership to the team and they’re exploring ways to accommodate the recent growth. Wednesday evening, I was blessed to hear Rev. Matthew LeRoy preaching the closing service at Summit, the spiritual emphasis week that begins each new semester at IWU. Dr. John and Patty Bray shared how God was powerfully working in these services. Please keep IWU and President Wright in your prayers.
After teaching the morning class at IWU, Thursday was a quiet day working in my office.
Friday morning, Chris Williams and I connected for our weekly update meeting, and then I met long-time friend Erick Mowery for lunch in Fishers, Erick (and Julie, his wife) are leaders in the Back2Back missions organization. They recently returned from their assignment in Mexico and now attend Trinity Wesleyan Church when not traveling globally for their leadership training ministry. Friday night, Sherry and I were able to attend the inspiring MLK Memorial Community Concert at IWU. This year’s concert featured the Chicago Mass Choir for an incredible evening of gospel praise.
Saturday, I was privileged to represent our Crossroads District family at the triumphant homegoing celebration for Rev. Ruth Anderson, mother of our Rev. Dave Anderson, held at LifeSpring Church (formerly Fountain City Wesleyan). Rev. Ruth Anderson (ordained at Fairmount Camp in 1961), along with her husband Bob, co-pastored Eastview Wesleyan Church in Gas City and Eastlawn Wesleyan Church in Indianapolis. They enjoyed long-term effective ministries in both of these congregations. Rev. Anderson was a gifted educator, musician, and mentor. She was also recognized for her leadership contributions to the Wesleyan Women auxiliary ministry at the local, district and denominational level. Remember David, Rebecca, and the Anderson family in prayer.
The district-wide DBMD met in Marion on Saturday morning under the leadership of Dr. David Smith. I was unable to attend due to the funeral but heard encouraging reports from these interviews with exceptional candidates. We are anticipating more than a dozen candidates will be ordained at this year’s June 26th celebration.
It is always a joy to hear the stories and see the pictures from baptism celebrations across our district. One of our newest churches is The Bridge Urban Church in South Bend led by Pastor Terry and Lennaire Vaughn. I know several of our churches have been involved in financial partnership and many more have joined in prayer for this vital ministry to the inner city. Pastor Terry shared that one of these new believers had been a Muslim for the past 30 years. Continue to pray for Pastor Terry, Lennaire, and their team as they take the Gospel to the streets of South Bend.
Keep on making a difference in the cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent