Sunday morning, December 15, I had the privilege of worshiping with the wonderful folks at Wabash North Wesleyan Church. Rodger Smith serves as the supply pastor for this committed core of believers. I enjoyed the Adult Sunday School class, played organ in the worship service, and brought the morning message. Following the service, the congregation shared a meal in the fellowship hall. I celebrate this small church that has a big heart for world missions and for prayer.
Last Monday, I participated in my first meeting (via Zoom technology) as a member of the Wesleyan Village Board of Directors (Brooksville). Dr. Don Maness, Executive Director, is bringing exceptional leadership to this growing ministry that serves so many of our Crossroads District retirees.
After our office staff meeting in Marion on Tuesday morning, I met with Dr. Mark Rennaker (Kokomo Southdowns Wesleyan) for our annual coaching conversation. Dr. Rennaker is another of our faithful co-vocational pastors who provides academic leadership at Indiana Wesleyan University in addition to his pastoral responsibilities at Southdowns Wesleyan Church.
Pastor Joe Park (Evergreen Wesleyan Wesleyan Church) met in Lafayette for our annual coaching conversation on Wednesday. Pastor Park had some wonderful testimonies to share of how God is moving in their congregation.
The Crossroads District Board of Administration met at Wesleyan Headquarters in Fishers on Thursday afternoon. In addition to handling our routine business items and reports, we were blessed to welcome Marcus DePeal and Andy Riermersma, two of our ministerial students and recent IWU grads. Together, they lead Awaken, a ministry to students on campus at Ball State University, University of Indianapolis, and Indiana Wesleyan University, in partnership with Trinity Wesleyan Church in Indianapolis. It was encouraging to hear how God is opening doors to additional state universities and raising up next generation leaders.
After the DBA meeting, board members’ spouses joined us for supper along with special guests Dr. Wayne and Jan Schmidt. We always enjoy hearing from our General Superintendent and are glad that Dr. Schmidt is part of our Crossroads District team.
Friday evening, Sherry and I were delighted to welcome Pastor Mark & Ronda Atkinson and pastoral couples from Region 1 South Zone 2. This was the last gathering of the calendar year. We always look forward to these evenings of fellowship and encouragement. With several former choir members in this group, we enjoyed singing a cappella Christmas carols. We closed our time together sharing in prayer for our families and churches in this busy season of pastoral ministry.
Saturday afternoon, I drove north to Chesterton to join Pastor Matthew Trexler, Chesterton Campus Pastor Andy Hammond, and their wonderful volunteer team for the “Big Give.” Between the Chesterton and Marion campuses, The River Church will bless more than 1000 families with Christmas meals and a special presentation of the Gospel. Please join me in praying that God will bless all of our churches who are reaching out in creative ways to share God’s love with their communities in this Advent season.
Our prayers and sympathies are extended to two more of our ministry families who have had loved ones promoted to glory in the last few days.
The family of Mrs. Alberta Metz gathered at Brookhaven Wesleyan Church on Monday, December 9, to honor her memory and celebrate her life. Mrs. Metz left a legacy of teaching, writing and faith that extends to three generations in The Wesleyan Church. She served in pastorates for 25 years with her late husband, Floyd Metz. She also served as editorial assistant for the Wesleyan Advocate for twenty years, edited Sunday school curriculum for 11 years for Wesley Press, wrote 12 books, and served as a volunteer missionary in Czech Republic for three years.
Alberta’s daughter, Lydia Hines, and her husband, Rev. Thomas Hines, have been career missionaries with Global Partners. Her son, Rev. Daniel Metz, is currently pastoring in Pennsylvania. Her grandson, Rev. Matthew Hines, is assistant pastor at Indianapolis Trinity; her grandson, Rev. David Hines, and his wife Rev. Emily Hines, are assistant pastors at Marion Brookhaven; and her grandson, Nathan Metz, is a missionary with WGM. Mrs. Metz requested that any memorials be directed to missionary work through Wesleyan Global Partners.
Rev. Albert H. Fletcher, 94, of Fort Wayne, formerly of Brooksville, Fl, passed away on Tuesday, December 10, 2019, at his home. He spent his formative years in Emily. After high school he served in the United States Navy during World War II. Following his service in the Navy he graduated from Miltonville Wesleyan College with a degree in ministry. He then received a secondary education degree from Marion College and a degree in elementary education from the University of South Florida.
Rev, Fletcher was married to Lucille Leisy in Gordon, NE, on August 25, 1949. The couple then lived in Nebraska and Iowa where he pastored several churches, before settling in Florida. He was a Wesleyan Minister for over 30 years. Albert is survived by his wife of 70 years, Lucille Fletcher; two sons, Rev. Rick (Debbie) Fletcher (Pastor of Lifeway Wesleyan Church in Fort Wayne) and Phil (Cindy) Fletcher; a daughter, Linda Halt, four sisters, Lola Hermann, Carol Baas, Esther Vermillion and Rebecca Engle; ten grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren. In addition to his parents, he is preceded in death by a son, Rev. Steve Fletcher; a brother, Rolland Fletcher; a sister, Ruth Baty.
Visitation will be from 9:30 until 10 followed by the funeral service at 11 a.m., will be held in Fort Wayne at Lifeway Wesleyan Church on Tuesday, December 17.
This will be the last Crossroads District Team Update until the new year. Sherry and I will be spending Christmas Sunday with three of our children in Grand Rapids, Michigan. After Christmas, we will be joining with several thousand Wesleyan students in Cincinnati, Ohio for the FOLLOW19 International Youth Convention.
From our hearts to yours, Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!
Your servant in Christ,
Crossroads District Superintendent