By Jean Brindel

Many North Indiana United Methodists know about the statue at Epworth Forest in North Webster that stands between the chapel and the office. The statue of Jesus has stood there, well for as long as I can remember, perhaps the mid 1970s.

When people look at the statue of Jesus they share a common experience. It is not so much the carving of the likeness of Jesus as the curve of the face depicts His wisdom and love. It is not so much the feet of the statue that has moved so many to walk in faith. No, what so many of us remember is His thumbs, or should I say lack of thumbs. Several years ago, and I do mean several, vandals broke them off.

The vandals no doubt assumed that it would be no big deal just to have new ones installed, but were they wrong. Many times, to no avail, artists - craftsmen and folks like you and me have tried to put new thumbs on the statue. So far, it has been unsuccessful. The idea has begun to emerge that perhaps we need to be the thumbs of Christ.

Being a thumb is no small matter. It is the pressure and strength created by the partnership between the figures and the thumbs that make so many activities possible. Next time you have a sore thumb, see how hard it is to open a door, pick up a small object or simply hold a glass. Oh, it can be done, but it is not easy. So if we carry this thought a little farther, then we are called to be in partnership with Jesus.

Yes, the North Indiana Conference Outdoor Ministry Project for Epworth Forest and the other camps is moving forward. The Outdoor Ministry Capital Campaign team has just added a new partner.

The Capital Campaign team has secured the services of Cargill and Associates, a fundraising consulting firm based in Fort Worth, Texas. Steve Cargill, Doug Morrow and Steve Batson will be the lead consultants for the outdoor ministry project as they join the Outdoor Ministry Capital Campaign team.

We ask that you continue to keep the Capital Team in your prayers as we move into this next phase of the project as we partner for the kingdom.

You might say, we have a "thumbs up" for the project.

Jean M. Brindel, CFRE, AFP, serves as senior pastor of Saint Matthew United Methodist Church in Frankfort, Ind. Her e-mail address is