This past week has been a week of conversations for me. With our Annual Conference taking place here in Indianapolis, I ran into a number of people who shared things that you might like to hear. The first conversation was with David Purnell who currently is the District Superintendent for the Southwest District of the Indiana UM Conference. David was the Lead Pastor whom Pastor Jen worked under while at Bloomington First UMC. He shared with me that Jen was by far the best pastor he has ever worked with in his career.
I had a nice chat with Jeremiah Gibbs, the husband of Pastor Jen, who is currently Chaplain at the University of Indianapolis and has now started the process of transferring his ordination credentials from the Church of God denomination to the United Methodist Church. His comment to me was that he has been excited for Jen on a couple occasions for the appointment she received, but this was the first time he has been excited for himself. He is thrilled to be coming to a church that offers a worship experience similar to his upbringing. He also thinks Old Bethel might provide an environment comfortable to college students from UIndy.
I also had lunch with Bishop Coyner this week to discuss some of the ideas in his book Making a Good Move. I was not able to attend the seminar he offered while I was on vacation, so I wanted to pick his brain on a number of things. He still recalled the time he came to preach at Old Bethel UMC six years ago, right after I had arrived at Old Bethel. He remembers walking in the door just three weeks after my first Sunday and having five different people tell him, “We like Jerry, but we LOVE Nancy.”
Monday I met with Pastor Jen for almost three hours to discuss our most successful practices in raising funds necessary for ministry at Old Bethel. Stewardship has become a very complicated process in our day, which requires one to tailor their approach to each congregation. This was our third extended conversation and each time I have been so impressed with her intelligence and analytical skills. And even more I find her to be such a genuine person whose faith is real and vibrant. Tonight Pastor Jen and I will be meeting with Pastor Matthew, Ann Mead and members of the Hispanic congregation to complete the final elements to the Church Development Grant application. I was assured at Annual Conference that the Conference Development Team is ready to fast track this application for approval.
I want to thank all who have given to the 144 Envelop Fund Raiser for Family Ministries efforts, so far $2,871 has been given for the Youth Mission Trip and other mission projects the youth have planned. Pastor Matthew has asked me to remind people to sign up this Sunday for the Family Ministries Training scheduled for Sunday, June 14, from 2-4:00 p.m. This will be the last chance to receive Child Protection Training before Vacation Bible School.
This Sunday will I will begin a two-week series called Jesus Is the Question based on Martin Copenhaver’s book of the same title. The key concept is that Jesus asked 307 questions and only answered eight of the 183 questions posed to him. That provides a lot of food for thought. In preparation, read Mark 8:27-33. In addition we will be honoring Christa Intriago for the tremendous ministry she has provided to Old Bethel as she completes her tenure with us.
See you Sunday,