Joe and Carolyn Wagner presented with plaque for their years of service to Colfax and the Indiana Conference.
By Donald Batz
Colfax UMC recognized, Sunday, April 12, their Pastor Emeritus and his wife, the Rev. Joe and Carolyn Wagner, with a plaque in their honor on the large stone in the church’s Garden of Memories that surround their building. Rev. Wagner served the Colfax Church for sixteen years from 1988 to 2004 in conjunction with the Conference special appointment as co-coordinators of Operation Classroom in Liberia and Sierra Leone from 1988 to 2012. The Wagner’s who live in the Colfax area, more recently served the Colfax Church as Interim Pastor from January to July 2014. He was honored by the congregation as Pastor Emeritus in 2007. The recognition of Joe and Carolyn Wagner was a part of the 90th Anniversary celebration of their sanctuary building, which was constructed in 1924, and the 100th celebration of their parsonage. United Methodism has a rich legacy in the Colfax community with the church being founded in Colfax in 1860, but it wasn’t until 1875 that they were able to construct their first church building.
Rev. Wagner was ordained an elder in the former North Indiana Conference in 1964. In addition to the Colfax congregation, he and Carolyn also served New Hope, County Line, Sunnyside and Vaughn churches in the Georgia Conference; and Uniondale, Hillcrest in Elkhart, Trinity in Lapel in the Indiana Conference. Rev. Wagner also served as the district mission secretary in four different districts in the Indiana Conference – Wabash, Elkhart, Kokomo and Lafayette; and for eighteen years he was a member of the International Child Care mission program in Haiti, serving for six years as its president. From 1983 to 1987, Rev. Wagner served as Executive Director of Intersharing. During his 16 years as pastor in Colfax, Rev. Wagner was also appointed as a missionary of the General Board of Global Ministries. He has led work teams to Oklahoma Indian Mission, Grace Children’s Hospital in Haiti, Brazil, Kansas, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi and Minnesota, Texas, Liberia; Sierra Leone and annually from 1987 to 2014, he traveled to West Africa to work with the Sierra Leone and Liberia Annual Conference in Education and Health in Africa. Rev. Wagner was also honored in 2006 by having a school and a surgical unit named after him in Sierra Leone.