Last week I shared the good news that we are moving into the “Public Phase” of our Building Discipleship Centers Campaign for the new Discipleship Center at Epworth Forest, along with additional “victory goals” for the Indicoso lake project, the Buck Lodge project and a Scholarship Fund for campers. To repeat that good news: to date we have received $7.7 million in cash and pledges for our campaign. We will continue to seek funds to finish the total campaign – and in fact on Wednesday, March 23rd, we will be having a gathering at Sonrise UMC in Fort Wayne (the church that Stan Buck founded and served until his death) to share our progress on the Buck Lodge. Everyone who is interested in the Buck Lodge project is welcome to attend that 7 p.m. gathering to see the latest drawings and to hear about our progress on the Buck Lodge.

Meanwhile, I am so grateful for those who have already made pledges and donations to the total Campaign. In particular I’m grateful for some of our major donors who are providing gifts to name aspects of the project. We will be celebrating those special gifts at our Annual Conference Session in June and at the Ground-Breaking ceremony on August 7th. I also value EVERY gift, so here is a list of institutions, churches, groups and individuals who have already pledged and given to this Campaign. Their names will be included in a “scrolling thank you” (coming soon) on the Campaign website, but here is our initial list of donors for whom I am grateful:

Indiana University Health, Parkview Health, 2016 Youth Rally Offering, 2016 Our Life Together Clergy Retreat offering, Doug Anderson, Frank Beard, Mike Biggs, Pam Bruce, Lee Burris, Jim Bushfield, David Byrum, Marianne Chalstrom, Steve Clouse, Michelle Cobb, Mike and Marsha Coyner, Dave and Bonnie Craig, John Easley, Ida Easley, Bill and Betsy Erdman, Matthew Fetter, Ron Frieden, Sherry Fulbright, Aleze Fulbright, Connie Fulmer, Jennifer Gallagher, Dan Gangler, Chip Gast, Jim Gentry, Ryan Gernard, Lillian Gotshall, Don and Donna Grate, Tom Grate, Don Griffith, Sandy Harlan, Gerald Hewson, Lamar Imes, Rick and Vicki James, Steven and Erin Jungbauer, Bert Kite, Craig LaSuer, Dave Maish, J. Richard and Elizabeth Marshall, Dale and Cathy Mendenhall, Ed and Erma Metzler, David Michel, Jill Murphy, David Neckers, Chris and Paul Newman-Jacobs, Bob Ostermeier, David and June Owen, Gregory and Karen Parrish, Joan and Scott Pattison, Bev Perry, George Purnell, Judy Purvis, Cindy Reynolds, Bill and Jane Salin, Gary and Joyce Schaar, David Schrader, John and Diane Schroeder, Robert Sharp, Ned Steele, Roger and Judy Summers, Dick and Carol Tully, Bill and Jeanie Tyler, Kate Walker, Brian White, Larry and Susan Whitehead, Charlie Wilfong, Brent Williams, Doug and Marsha Worthington, Colleen Zurcher-McGuarn, Dar and Dot Weicamp family, Carmel UMC, Munster Ridge UMC, Zionsville UMC.

In addition, these donors gave previously to the Buck Lodge project and related appeals for that project: Altarstar UMC, Arcola UMC, Auburn First UMC, Bethel UMC, Bluffton Epworth UMC, Bluffton First UMC, Castleton UMC, Dave A. Noyes & Company in honor of Judith Cardy, Etna UMC, First Wayne Street UMC, Fort Wayne Aldersgate UMC, Fort Wayne Covenant UMC Youth, Fort Wayne Taylor Chapel UMC, Garrett UMC, Good Shepherd UMC, Griffith First UMC, Harlan Lions Club, Harlan UMC, Knowlton UMC, Lafayette Grace UMC, Markle UMC, Nine Mile UMC, Solid Rock UMC, Solomon Creek UMC, Sonrise UMC, UMW Abigail Circle, Wayne Center UMC, West Point Trinity UMC, Winamac First UMC, National Christian Foundation in honor of Cynthia Bozard, Dr. David Allen, Mr. and Mrs. Anderson, William Archer, Mr. and Mrs. Arivett, Dan Arnold, Stephan Bard, Karla S. Barnum, Amos Bateman, Mr. and Mrs. Bauer, Gladys Beale Pamela Becker, Thomas W. Bleezarde, Rebecca S. Bradley, Jon Brelje, Rev. Steven Brittenham, Charles W. Brookshire, Douglas Brown, Scott Brown, Mrs. Kathy Buck, Gerald Buess, Emily Burkart, Jon S. Burris, Barb Burroughs, Mr. and Mrs. Carlstrom, Michael Carpenter, Norma Carroll, Jerry Chapman, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Clark, Trey Clayton, Tom Cochran, Mr. and Mrs. Vernon C. Deutsch, John Downing, Joseph Downs, Joe and Patricia Easley, Bradley Emerick, Ed Fenstermacher, Betty Fosnough, Wendell Fritz, Al Frushour, Sherry Fulbright, Paul Fulghum, John Gallagher, Keith Gallaway, Michael Gilbert, Judith Glasgow, Scott and Melissa Glaze, Thomas and Lori Goble, Karen Hamaker, Hal Hanes, Wesley Hanson, Paul Harman, Rev. Charlene Harris, Diana L. Harris, Lucille A. Harris, Mr. and Mrs. Shane Hartman, Timothy W. Herald, Dan Herstad, Harold Hicks, Lucille Highley estate, Patricia Hinen, Rev. Donna Holcomb, Robert Huitsing, Carol Irmscher, Kenneth Johnson, Mr. and Mrs. Koepke, Charles Koller, David and Debra Laird, Alexis Kuhne, Mary Langvardt, Craig D. LaSuer, David Leff, Mr. and Mrs. Alan Leichty, Matthew and Michelle Liepold, Mr. and Mrs. Litton, Mike Marker, Steve Markley, Cathie Markstahler, Elmer Matthews, David Michel, Donald Morgan, Brandon Morrical, Elizabeth Mudrack, Suanne Musser, Francis Mustapha, Mr. and Mrs. Nowak, Rev. Harold Oechsle, Michel and Kirstin Ormsby, Peter Paonessa, Karen Parsons, Sharon Pence, Douglas Randol, Dolores B.S. Raugh, Rev. Larry Ray, Rod Ray, Lowell Reardon, Greg Rittenhouse, Jon D. Rowe, Perry Scharr, Brian R. Sellers, Robert Sellers, Dewey and Julie Senger, Katy Shively, Larry Shorten, Vern Shupe, Dawn Snader, Imogene Snyder, Adam and Jill Stretzel, Carol L. Summers, Roger Summers, Steve J. Tanner, Barbara L. Thiel, Kerry Thomas, Kyle Thomas, Mike Thomas, Chuck Trowbridge, William Van Alstine, Ashley Waterson, Mark and Rene Waterson, Ronald and Linda Watts, Andrew Voyles, Mike Weeks-Jones, Larry Whitehead, C. and Kathy Williams, Randall Williams, David Wilson, Rev. Leroy Wise, Rev. Jill Wright, John Zoss, Margo Zumwalt.

Those are long lists, and I know the list will get longer as we move into the full-blown Public Phase of this Campaign. I also know that we may have missed some names – especially if people gave through their local church and the church forwarded their gift without letting the Conference Center know the names of individual gifts. So I apologize to anyone who may be overlooked, but I am so grateful for the generosity of these early givers and lead givers who have gotten us started.

May God continue to bless our efforts to make new disciples and to develop new young leaders for the sake of our mission and in the name of Jesus Christ.