I pray this note finds you well and blessed. What a ride! That surely describes the past few years. Covid and disaffiliation talk took up most of our time, so it seemed. So…it…seemed. While all that was going on God was at work bringing new ministries out of local churches. Using Breakthrough prayers to change hearts and missions. New people entered ministry and faithful pastors and people continued to serve the Lord. We have, indeed, found ourselves in a position of missing many of our “old church friends” and that feels bad. I know. Let me be clear, I wish each church that has disaffiliated all the best in mission and ministry. There are a lot of people who need Jesus and I pray they will supply another avenue for that to occur. But God is still at work.
I am so excited about the upcoming “Ministry Exploration” trip to Kenya. On July 5, along with three other Superintendents, I will fly to Kenya where we will visit the Greenhill Academy. A primary school located in Ekernyo, Kenya about a 6-hour drive northwest of Nairobi. We will be led by Rev. Dr. Saneta Maiko, Superintendent of the Northcentral district. We will be exploring the feasibility of our districts financially supporting the Academy. Please pray for our trip and for God’s clear leading in this matter. God is moving.
I am also excited about our district supporting the Africa University scholarship fund to celebrate Bishop and Mrs. Trimble’s 40th year in ministry. To learn more, click here https://vimeo.com/748911593. Last fall I had the amazing opportunity to visit Africa University. It was a trip of a lifetime as I saw the impact and influence of Africa University. Students from 28 different African countries come together and find education, training, and encouragement to make a difference. Over 90% of graduates stay on the continent of Africa making a difference in their home countries and communities. I am asking each congregation to give people the opportunity to give to this scholarship fund. During the month of September, please collect people’s gifts in your local church. Our district goal is $25,000. At our Charge Conference celebrations, we will collect each church’s offering as part of our celebration. God is moving.
One last thing, I am excited to announce East District quarterly gatherings. Each quarter we will gather to learn, share and celebrate together. Here is the schedule, so mark your calendars:
- August 27, 2023, 3:00-5:00, at Knightstown UMC
- October 22, 2023, 3:00-5:00, at First UMC Hagerstown
- February 4, 2024 3:00-5:00, at Redkey UMC
- May 19, 2024 3:00-5:00, at Avondale UMC (Muncie)
Your church should have received a separate mailing with details, but in case you missed it, here is the letter as well Link here. I hope you will plan to come and connect with one another.
One of the things shared at Annual Conference this year was a vision plan for our work. The main point of that vision is to “Cultivate Joy.” So, friends, that is exactly what we need to do. Remembering Jesus who brought us life eternal, life abundant, and a way of life. We will walk with joy into this next season. We will be fully who we are. Unapologetic Christians in the tradition of United Methodism. We will seek to rebuild our connection to one another, and we will pray for the ministry and mission of all the churches in our communities. So, I invite you to move forward together as we follow faithfully, serve fully, and smile often as we cultivate joy in Jesus.