This is the first of what will be two installments of our Crossroads District Team Update for this week, with an update on District Conference 2018 coming tomorrow.
Sunday, June 24, I began the day worshiping with the folks at Greenfield Brown’s Chapel. The guest speaker for the morning service was Dr. Jim Dunn, former pastor and now Church Relations Director for Wesleyan Investment Foundation. Jim had a fruitful ministry there before being elected to denominational service and the congregation always enjoys welcoming him home. Rev. Matthew Tietje, who works in the Communications and Administration office at Wesleyan HQ, has agreed to serve as interim pastor while the pastoral search continues. Pray that God will direct their search.
Sunday afternoon, I joined Rev. Victor Silva and Rev. Claudia Silva for worship at Richmond Casa del Alfarero (The Potter’s House). Pastor Victor and Claudia have served in Richmond since 2007 in partnership with Fountain City Wesleyan Church. The congregation is largely comprised of newer immigrant families and the church responds generously to serving their needs. They have heart-felt worship services and even the children are enthusiastic participants. Pray that God will bless their outreach.
My next stop was at North Anderson Wesleyan Church to join the celebration of Rev. Eddie and Julie Purciful’s retirement after 32 years of faithful ministry that included relocating the landlocked church to the spacious new campus and multi-purpose facility. Rev. David Shafer, Lead Pastor, and Rev. James (Scott) Stamper, Executive Pastor, have been working alongside Rev. Purciful as assistants for several years as he prepared for this transition. Pastor Eddie plans to enjoy vacation time with Julie this summer but will be back this fall to continue as an active volunteer in the church. The attendance record board shows the cumulative ministry and was presented as a retirement gift.
Sunday evening, I chaired a special Local Church Conference called at Kokomo Trinity Wesleyan Church to consider the proposal to discontinue their current ministry and become a satellite campus ministry of Tipton Trinity Wesleyan Church. Pastor Johnnie Blair’s team at Tipton Trinity extended the invitation to collaborate for more effective ministry. There was broad participation as they considered the pros and cons of the proposal. After prayer, the ballots were cast and counted. The vote was 18-1 in favor of asking the DBA to discontinue the church and to guide the adoption process with Tipton Trinity. Pending DBA approval, Pastor Marc Watkins will become an assistant pastor to Pastor Blair and the Tipton Trinity LBA will provide leadership to the combined ministry.
While district conference preparation consumed a good bit of last week’s calendar, I was able to attend worship services at Fairmount Senior High Youth Camp and Week #2 of Never the Same Camp at Indiana Wesleyan University. Rev. John and Danielle Freed were the evangelists at Fairmount and it was exciting to see the response of students to the challenging message that was shared. Again this week, the campers generously contributed to Rising Hope, the church planting project in Muncie. The $500 they gave was matched by the camp leadership team and the $1000 total was also matched by Waterline Church to bring the amount to $2000. What a beautiful act of generosity!
I was headed to Indy for meetings on Wednesday but had the opportunity to connect with Rev. Dr. Jim Lo at Chesterfield Parkview Wesleyan Church as he gathered with his team to launch weekly prayer walks through the community. These are exciting days at Parkview as Pastor Jim and Roxene Lo have leaned into this ministry challenge. The congregation is responding warmly to the their leadership and God is clearly at work!
The Heartland Collective (Greater Ohio, Indiana South, Kentucky-Tennessee, and Crossroads districts) had a Zoom call meeting and then I met with Assistant DS Mike Colaw over lunch to review his plans for Region 2 leadership development this fall. After lunch, I met with a pastoral prospect who is prayerfully considering transferring into The Wesleyan Church. My last meeting of the day was with Pastor Zach and Assistant Pastor Carla Working and the leadership team in Huntington. Among the highlights of this meeting was their decision to request a name change to “Hope Rising” from Etna Avenue and their request for Caleb & Kiana Kimball to be appointed as ministerial staff on their revitalization team. The DBA and District Conference has approved these requests. Pray for these leaders and their team in this exciting renewal project!
Here’s one last praise report. Rev. Duane Cragun shared pictures and a praise report from the baptism service yesterday with Lancaster Wesleyan. There were 43 in attendance as Pastor Doug Sharrard and Rev. Cragun baptized four teenage believers. After the service, another young mother gave her life to Christ and expressed her desire to be baptized later this summer. Thank the Lord for changed lives!
We’ll share photos and reports from Ordination and District Conference 2018 tomorrow.
Thank you for all you do to advance the Kingdom!
Your servant in Christ,