By Daniel R. Gangler

The numbers continue to grow, both in the number of people coming into ordained ministry, as well as those retiring from active ministry in the Indiana Conference. During this conference session, 13 provisional ministers will be ordained (1 Deacon, 12 Elders), 15 will be commissioned as provisional clergy members of the conference (4 as Deacons, 11 as Elders) and 38 clergy will retire from active ministry. Indiana is the fourth largest conference in The United Methodist Church with more than 1,000 appointed clergy.

Bishop Mike Coyner called the Clergy Executive Session to order Thursday afternoon. The Rev. Steve Ailes chairs the Conference Board of Ordained Ministries, which oversees clergy credentialing activities in the life of the Indiana Conference. Clergy recognized the Rev. Samuel Padgett for his work as the board’s staff person who tracks the progress of each ministerial candidate through the ordination process.

Those approved for ordination include: Deacon: Lowell Gregg Black; Elders: Benjamin William Cassiday, Sarah Marie Knapp Ellis, Charles Ray Fenwick, Heather Alaine Foley, Colleen Harden, John Edgar Huff, Amber Karkosky-Litten, Christopher William Lantz, Christopher Dale Neikirk, Christopher Reed Renick, James Edward Roach and Christopher Michael Stephens.

Those approved to be commissioned include: Provisional Deacons – Jill Marie Buckler, Angela Kay Kidd, Amy Marie Kiray, Benjamin M. Lovell; and Provisional Elders – Curtis Aaron Banker, Ronald Owen Branson, Duane C. Carlisle, Jr., Lisa Anne Cottingham, Jeffrey Baron Herron, Samuel William Needham, Jacob McGrath Ohlemiller, Amy Marie Pritchard, Angel S. Rea, Joseph Randall Seger, Ann Christine Thomas.

Next year, 37 new candidates will begin the ordination process.

Those approved to be retired this session include: Amy K. Artis, William C. Babb III, Randell Fred Boys, Deborah Kay Cronin, Douglas Henry Davies, Jack A. Diel, Stephen Edward Ellis, Everett Dean Fager, Justin Kent Fisher, Edward J. Gilmore, Charles Maurice Grindle, Clive James B. Hamlyn, Connie Mac Hamon, Fred Earl Haywood, Janice Sue Heseman, David G. Inskeep, Stephen Wendell Johnson, Rex Edward Jones, Nikki M. Marker, Terry L. Marker, Lance G. Marshall, Linda Schiphorst McCoy, Gregory McGarvey, David A. Michel, Jacqueline C. Munson, John S. Myrland, Richard L. Pettys, Donald E. Reed, Honna T. Schloss, Nelson Edward (Ned) Steele, Warren R. Stewart, Michael E. Tarner, Charles David Ternet, Thomas Thews, Paul Wayne Trevathan, Craig Reid Walker, Aaron E. Wheaton, Raymond Wilkins. Doreen Grayless is also retiring but as a Deaconess, which is a lay order in the life of the church. Retirees will be honored during the 10 a.m. Saturday plenary session.

Local Pastors Course of Study graduates this year include the following: Scott Aselage, Patricia S. Bymaster, Edward H. Cottrell, Jr., D LaJo Dunbar, Marlene Ellis, Sharon Engert, Cindy L. Gackenheimer, Michael V. Irvine, Regina Kirkland, Carolyn J. Mikesell, Jon Leon Myers and Linda Sproull. Currently, 328 local pastors serve under appointment in the Indiana Conference.

In other business during the session, Saneto Maiko of Kenya was recognized in an Affiliate Relationship with the conference. Clergy also welcomed the Rev. Rick Koch from the Upper New York Conference and learned that the Rev. LeKisha Reed was transferred to the California-Nevada Conference. Reed was a former member of the Indiana Conference staff.

The Board of Ordained Ministry also reported that the conference Ministerial Education Fund, that provides support to seminary students, ran out of money this year. This year MEF spent $263,000 in grants to seminarians. Due to the shortfall, the board will be working on a plan to remedy this problem.

MEF receives funds through the conference tithe and other special contributions. Full-time seminaries receive up to $5,000 in MEF grants for their education.

During a closing worship, clergy members of the conference prayed over the stoles that will be presented to those being ordained Thursday evening.