Archive for January, 2015

coynerMike Coyner, bishop of the Indiana Area (Conference), recently shared in the Hoosier United Methodist Together newspaper (Jan./Feb. 2015) that his tenure will be ending as of the end of August 2016.  In The United Methodist Church, bishops have four-year assignments and Bishop Coyner’s will be ending at that time.  He will be retiring, so a different bishop will be assigned to lead the Indiana Conference beginning September 2016.

Please keep him in your prayers as he completes his ministry leading the Indiana United Methodist churches.  He certainly doesn’t plan to coast to retirement but has specific goals he’s focused on reaching.  (See the article.)  Also keep the Indiana Area Committee on Episcopacy, and a new transition team that’s been formed, in your prayers as they begin preparing for this transition in leadership.

Because at least three of the nine active bishops serving in the Midwest (North Central Jurisdiction) will be retiring and because of the common practice of having bishops serve two consecutive 4-year terms in the same Area, it is very possible Indiana will be receiving a newly-elected bishop, something that hasn’t happened before.  So please keep those “running” for bishop and those electing the new bishops in your prayers.  Those electing will be the delegates to the North Central Jurisdictional Conference, held in Peoria, IL, July 13-16.  This delegation will include 16 laity and 16 clergy from Indiana who will be chosen at this May’s Annual Conference in Indianapolis.

Finally, pray for the NCJ Committee on Episcopacy, which is the group that will recommend to the Jurisdictional delegates as to which Area each of the nine bishops will serve, including who will lead the Indiana Area (Conference).  Each Annual Conference has one clergy and one lay person serving on this committee.  For Indiana its Rev. Frank Beard and myself, Ed Fenstermacher.  Know that we covet your prayers.

We have been blessed these past 12 years with Bishop Coyner’s leadership.  May we be equally blessed by the leadership of our next episcopal leader.

— Ed Fenstermacher, Associate Director for Church Development

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copy-logo“Living Into It and Through It – Missional Church”

What:       Learn from a church that is living out the missional-church concepts introduced at the “Putting the Movement Back into Indiana Methodism” event featuring Alan Hirsch.  Those churches especially interested in reaching the growing slice of our population that isn’t interested in the institutional church are especially encouraged to participate.  Become a part of a network of missional churches!

When:  February 21, 10am-3pm (Eastern Time)

Where:  Saint Joseph United Methodist Church, 6004 Reed Rd., Fort Wayne, IN 46835-2215

Registration Deadline:  Walk-in’s are welcome.  For lunch, you must register by Feb. 16th.

To Register click here.  

Cost:  $10 for lunch.  None refundable.

Invitation from Rev. Russ Abel…  Join us at Saint Joseph UMC, Fort Wayne, February 21st, 10:00am-3:00pm (Eastern Time),  as we share how we have worked to become a missional church.  Over the past five years we have intentionally worked to develop and claim a missional identity among ourselves; and a missional presence beyond ourselves.  Our team is excited to share what God has been up to.  Here are a few of the things we will share:

  • Visioning: How we began at the Church council level to develop a different understanding of church.
  • Hits and Misses: We will hare some of the things that have worked for us and some of the things that did not.
  • Kristos Hands and Feet: Pastor Steve Mekaru and his team will share about our “New Faith Community” which is fully relational and making new disciples.
  • We will also share how we still believe God is calling us to push forward, challenge boundaries and take risks for the sake of the Gospel.

We are encouraging everyone to come in teams, if possible.  We look forward to seeing you and sharing a little about what God is doing here at Saint Joseph.

For more information contact:  Ed Fenstermacher at ed.fenstermacher@inumc.org or contact Saint Joseph UMC at (260) 485-9681.

Co-sponsored with Saint Joseph UMC by the Indiana Conference Church Development Team.

10869435_843136035744611_6827256694248204505_oAs we begin 2015, the Indiana Conference of The United Methodist Church is proud to announce that it once again has a church worshiping in the city of East Chicago after a twenty year hiatus.  East Chicago is a city of 30,000 residents, half of whom are Hispanic, located in northwest Indiana.

The new church is Torre Fuerta (Strong Tower), led by Esequiel and Suri Becerra.  It was started by the Becerra’s six years ago and has been meeting in the Hammond First UMC’s building much of this time.  The church, which has around 100 people in the congregation, began renovating a former Boys and Girls Club facility located in East Chicago over a year ago.  After much hard work in remodeling a portion of this large facility, Torre Fuerta received its occupancy permit and was able to celebrate Christmas worship in East Chicago.

In the mid 1980’s, the former North Indiana Conference attempted to start a new congregation in the city targeting Hispanics.  Additionally, First United Methodist Church of East Chicago, after years of decline, closed in 1994 and its building was sold.  Since then, there has been no United Methodist presence in the city, that is until now.

Over the past few years, the Indiana Conference has been encouraging the development of Torre Fuerta, providing it with Church Development grants totaling $180,000.  Nearby First United Methodist Church also graciously provided the use of its facility for the congregation, and its pastor, Rev. Shannon Stringer, has been providing leadership for Torre Fuerta’s steering committee.

We celebrate with the Becerra’s and the Torre Fuerta congregation as they serve and disciple the people living in the East Chicago-Hammond area!  May God richly continue to bless their efforts!

— Ed Fenstermacher, Association Director of Church Development