'Bishop Sheldon & Marjorie Duecker Lodge' and 'Fenstermacher Lodge'

NORTH WEBSTER, Ind. – The naming of the first two lodges now being built at the Epworth Forest Conference Center in North Webster has been claimed by two very faithful donors to the project: Rick and Vicki James of First United Methodist Church of Auburn, and Craig and Connie Fulmer of Trinity United Methodist Church of Elkhart.

The choice of both families honors those who have provided faithful leadership and shown the way for ministry into the 21st century.

The Bishop Sheldon & Marjorie Duecker Lodge

Because of their generous contribution, Rick andVicki James honor the life work of Bishop Sheldon and Marjorie Duecker through the naming of this lodge. Duecker began his work at Epworth Forest in 1950 as the associate pastor of Grace UMC in Kokomo. His work and passion for the importance of the conference camping ministry expanded as he became the former North Indiana Conference director. He played a major role in the forming of the camping ministry in the merger of the former Evangelical United Brethren Church and The Methodist Church in 1968.

In 1971, Duecker wrote the ground-breaking report on the philosophy and structure of the camping ministry that remained in effect until the forming of the new Indiana Conference in 2009. He was elected Bishop from the former North Indiana Conference in 1988 and served in the Chicago Area (Northern Illinois Conference) until 1996. Duecker has been the Emeritus Chair of the Epworth Forest Project since its conception in 2007.

The Fenstermacher Lodge

Because of their generous contribution, Craig and Connie Fulmer have taken their naming opportunity to honor the three generations of faithful ministry of the Fenstermacher family, beginning with George Fenstermacher. In 1941, George was the first Conference Executive Secretary of the former North Indiana Conference, as well as the first full-time staff member of the conference, he was instrumental in creating and running most of the programs at Epworth Forest, many of which are still an important part of the conference’s camping ministry today. His lifelong role in the camping ministry extended to Camp Adventure, where he was responsible for construction of the “new” building in 1960.

The second generation of Fenstermachers to be honored is Anita. She was a household name among those in the former North Indiana Conference, as well as the national church. Her strong leadership in the annual conference led to her election as the first woman Conference Lay person in the nation. Her work on the jurisdictional and general conference levels through the 1980s and ’90s left an indelible legacy of wisdom and faithfulness.

The third generation to be honored is the ministry of the Rev. Mark Fenstermacher. Mark is the current senior pastor at Trinity UMC in Elkhart where members Craig and Connie Fulmer attend. He continues the legacy of a strong commitment to ministry in The United Methodist Church.

The two lodges are currently under construction. The first lodge, The Bishop Sheldon and Marjorie Duecker Lodge, is scheduled to be available for use in the summer of 2011. The second lodge, The Fenstermacher Lodge, is now under construction and a completion date has yet to been set. The Epworth Forest Project continues because of the financial support from many faithful donors and additional opportunities to support the project remain. For more information, to view the construction, and to make a donation to the project, please visit www.rightfuture.org. Thank you for your generous support in transforming the lives of Indiana’s children, youth and adults for Christ through Epworth Forest.

Jean Moorman Brindel serves as the major gifts officer of the United Methodist Foundation of Indiana.

Photo courtesy of Epworth Forest Conference Center

The Bishop Sheldon and Marjorie Duecker Lodge is now under construction at Epworth Forest Conference Center.