NORTH WEBSTER, Ind. – Bishop & Mrs. Sheldon Duecker, along with major donors Rick & Vicki James, cut the ribbon which officially opened Duecker Lodge at Epworth Forest Conference Center in North Webster on Saturday, June 4.

In opening remarks, Jim Coy of Evansville, who is chairperson of the Indiana Conference Camping Board, said, “Truly this is a wonderful day in the life of the Indiana Conference. We got the whole state covered today.”

Coy was a member of the former South Indiana Conference. The Duecker Lodge project and the Right Future Campaign, which supports it, is a $12-million project that began in the former North Indiana Conference before the two conferences became the Indiana Conference. Coy now presides over the board, which oversees the entire Impact 2818 Outdoor Ministries program of the conference.

In his remarks, Coy also remembered the late Rev. David Cross of Wabash and the late Mr. Lloyd Tucker of Indianapolis in his remarks. Both men also led in capital campaign efforts for the conference camping ministry. Both died this spring.

Coy also acknowledged the Rev. Jean Brindel, who led in campaign efforts raising money for the new lodge through the Indiana Conference Right Future capital campaign to finance the building of up to six lodges at the Epworth Forest site. The estimated cost of each lodge is $750,000.

Alexis Hyndman, development manager for the campaign, told more than 250 donors and guests who attended the event, “God has done the work.” She went on to say the new lodge would house 32 campers who would most likely find Christ here, if they hadn’t already found Him. She thanked the many donors who contributed to the building of the lodge.

Aaron Lewis, summer staff member and former camper for 12 years, said, “Epworth Forest has always been good to me and my friends from second grade on. To come here is a great place to meet Christ. Being here helped me to begin a journey. That Thing (a weekend event for youth) renewed my life spiritually. Through it, I committed my life to missions.”

Marsha Worthington of Fort Wayne, a donor and former camper, told those celebrating the ribbon cutting she first went to camp at Epworth Forest in junior high and continued through senior high camp which led her to the Ball State Wesley Foundation, where she met her husband of 41 years.

She said, “I’ve been blessed by the opportunities, came and met our Lord. I have a love for Christ and love of campers.” She further said it was her privilege to contribute to this project.

Indiana Bishop Mike Coyner, also shared his appreciation of Epworth Forest in his own life. “It was here that I prayed and confirmed my call to ministry.”

After words of dedication by Coyner, Duecker gave a blessing upon the new lodge. (See blessing accompanying this story).

Following the ceremony, guests were treated to a reception and open house at the new lodge.

For photos and videos of the dedication, plus more information, visit

Bishop & Mrs. Sheldon Duecker (center), along with major donors Rick & Vicki James (left), cut the ribbon and officially opened Duecker Lodge at Epworth Forest Conference Center in North Webster.

Duecker lodge has bunk beds for 32 guests.

More than 250 guests enter Duecker Lodge following its dedication.

“It was here that I prayed and confirmed my call to ministry.”

– Bishop Coyner