Sunday morning, I had the privilege of preaching at Cicero United Family Wesleyan Church as they celebrated their 7th anniversary (since their restart under the ministry of Pastor Wayne Lyon) with an outdoor service under the tent and dinner on the grounds. Sherry and I enjoyed worshiping with the team and I preached outdoors for the first time in years since we used to do “Church in the Park” back in Williston, North Dakota.
At the end of the service, the congregation released balloons with scripture verses and church contact information. Pastor Lloyd and Rhonda Moore are in their 4th year of faithful ministry with the fine folks in Cicero. It was encouraging to see the progress as the church reaches out to serve their community with the love of Christ.
Following lunch with the Cicero congregation, I traveled to Howard Chapel Wesleyan Church, located just south and east of Greentown, for their afternoon service. Rev. David Stout has lovingly led this congregation since 1972! I arrived in time to catch some of Pastor Stout’s lesson in the Sunday School class and he also led us in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. The church has an active ministry at the retirement center in Greentown or the “satellite campus” (as they affectionately call it). Pastor David serves as chaplain at the center holding worship services and providing personal spiritual care.
After enjoying Labor Day at home with Sherry, I was at Wesleyan HQ on Tuesday and Wednesday for District Superintendent orientation. Although I’ve previously served in this capacity, a lot has changed since my last orientation. There is a wonderful spirit in the HQ staff under the leadership of our new General Superintendent, Dr. Wayne Schmidt. Rev. Anita Eastlack (Multiplication and Discipleship) and Mrs. Janelle Vernon (Communications and Administration) are already making their mark in their new roles. It was also a delight to get to know Rev. Jonathon Lewis better. He’s the new DS for North Carolina East and is off to a great start in his new assignment.
Another highlight was worshiping with the HQ staff on Wednesday morning in their monthly chapel service. Rev. Luis Peñaranda preached on God’s scattered people as part of the plan of redemption from the tower of Babel to the Day of Pentecost.
Wednesday afternoon, I had the privilege of connecting with Wes and Susie Munsell from our Crossroads District who serve with Global Partners in Haiti. It was encouraging to hear how generous churches including their home church of Brookhaven Wesleyan and many individuals have come together be the prayer and financial support team for their ministry on La Gonave where Susie teaches nursing and Wes keeps the facility running smoothly. I know several of our churches support additional missionaries who are not part of Global Partners, but I am convinced that our own missionaries deserve our first and best support. Continue to keep the Munsell’s in your prayers!
I was in the Marion office on Thursday to catch up with the team and enjoyed a lunch meeting with Ed Hoover. Mr. Hoover has been developing a spreadsheet that efficiently captures the 10-year data for every church and creates a two-page report with graphics. I’ll be sharing that data as I meet with the DBA this week and with each LBA as we meet through the year. On Thursday evening, I connected with Pastor Steve Martin and the LBA at Sheridan Six Points Wesleyan Church as we reviewed the Maximizing Impact materials for their consultation later this fall. I’ve appreciated getting to know this team over the past year as we worked together through Pastor Steve’s sabbatical. I’m believing with them for great days ahead.
Friday morning, I worked from home and then visited Pastor Darrell Dennis in his home on Friday afternoon. Pastor Dennis is in the final stages of a battle with cancer and is at home with family in hospice care. I know that he and his family will appreciate your prayer support.
Friday evening, Sherry and I drove to Fairmount Camp to connect with the team who do such a wonderful job of hosting the Wesleyan Married Couples Retreat. We talked with one couple who first came to WMCR as newlyweds 21 years ago. Thanks to all who made this a powerful weekend of building strong marriages!
One of the highlights of this coming week will be our Coffee Fellowship with Retired Pastors and Spouses on Tuesday morning at Brookhaven Wesleyan Church. I always enjoy connecting with these heroes of faith and celebrating their contribution to our district.
We’re also looking forward to the meeting with the Crossroads District Board of Administration on Thursday. We have a remarkable group of leaders who are investing their energy and time in providing oversight and direction for our team as we seek to reach the 3 million religiously unaffiliated people in our district. Please lift this meeting in your prayers!
Keep on making a difference in the only cause that counts for eternity!
Your servant in Christ,