WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - With a few words from Bishop Mike Coyner about the sacrifices clergy need to make to be faithful to their calling and a unanimous vote of more than 400 clergy members of the North Indiana Conference, 10 Elders and 11 probationary clergy members were welcomed into the conference May 28 at Purdue University's Memorial Union.
Ten probationary members ordained Elders on May 31 included: Jeff Clinger, Bill Garver, Donna Goings, Joe Hornick, Catherine Koziatek, Mark Need, Diana Siegel, Tom Thews and Vickie Van Neve, all of Indiana. Coyner also made a courtesy ordination for Kakez-A-Kapend Christian of the South Congo Zambia Conference of the church. Christian has been an intern this past year at the Wesley Foundation and First UMC in West Lafayette.
Three probationary Deacons and eight probationary Elders commissioned on May 31 included: Amanda Connett, Jan Funk and Candyce Kaiser as Deacons, plus Joshua Ditmer, Kevin Drane, Tony Johnson, Kevin Marsh, Jean Ness, Matthew Pickutt, Jackie Smith and Nathan Whybrew as Elders.
Coyner also informed the clergy that the term "probationary" will be changed to "provisional" next year. Jack Hartman, chair of the conference Board of Ordained Ministry explained that "probationary" has come to mean something negative in our society, therefore General Conference approved the more positive word "provisional."
The clergy celebrated the active ministry of 15 retiring clergy representing a total of 351 years of ministry. They include with years: Joseph Andrews (40), Larry DeVos (27), Doug Hadley (25), Bill Kaster (44), Sandra Knepple (20), Michael Malone (26), Terry Rhine (37), Denise Frank (14), Lois Ragers-Watson (46), Timothy Wilbur (21), Lark Brown (14), Marilyn Dunten (12), DonnaJean Gammon (7) and Keith Schreffler (18).
Dan Snyder, registrar of the conference Board of Ordained Ministry, reported that Jeff Clinger was transferred to the Kansas East Conference and Jim Farrer was transferred to the Desert Southwest Conference at their own request.
After numerous reports on not only Elders and Deacons, but also associate members, local church pastors, student pastors and deceased clergy, Hartman outlined a new clergy assessment process that will be used by the Bishop and Cabinet. First, the standards for effective ministry will include living the Wesleyan way, leadership, conflict resolution skills, reaching people for Christ, teaching tithe and stewardship, focusing ministry, adaptability, a good spirit and self-evaluation for growth.
Signs of ineffective pastoral ministry include frequent moves (appointments) and poor evaluations. Ineffective pastors will be requested to enter a four-step plan to assist them in becoming effective pastors. Each step will be taken by the pastor with the district superintendent, an assessment team, and the Pastor Parish Relations Committee. If he or she makes strides toward becoming an effective pastor, the pastor be considered effective. If a pastor fails to improve he or she will be given career development counseling for another calling.
At the close of the clergy session, the clergy members unanimously endorsed Kokomo District Superintendent Frank Beard as their North Indiana Conference episcopal candidate. Bishops will be elected by the North Central Jurisdictional Conference in July.