New Pastors Orientation and Seminary Days met for the two events’ annual gathering at The Wesleyan Church World Headquarters in Fishers, Ind., prior to Thanksgiving.
The two events, normally held separately, celebrated 65 newly ordained or first appointment pastors, chaplains, and transfers from other denominations in attendance. Seminarians and spouses also gathered for the two-day orientation.
The purpose of the event was three-fold: to assist new pastors and students to develop a strong relational connection to and identity with The Wesleyan Church, to learn how the denomination can serve them in ministry, and to provide encouragement for their overall health and well-being as clergy. A panel of General Board members fielded a variety of questions from the participants, which helped illustrate the structure of the denomination and its approach to ministry and various social issues facing the church today.
Dr. Keith Drury, former Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) professor, provided an overview of the history of The Wesleyan Church and its contemporary relevance. General Superintendent Jo Anne Lyon was on hand to welcome the new group of ministers with a variety of transformational stories from the worldwide ministry of the Church. Dr. Dave Ward, IWU School of Theology & Ministry, helped attendees think through developing depth in their identified areas of strengths in ministry. Dr. Lenny Luchetti from Wesley Seminary at IWU spoke about the importance of cultivating deep relationships in ministry, whether with family, friends, and one’s congregation. New pastors and seminary students also learned more about the roles that the Wesleyan headquarters plays in serving the local church in North America.
Two unique clergy couples attended the event. Rev. Raafat and Mrs. Wafaa Hanna, originally from Egypt, have transferred into The Wesleyan Church from another denomination. Rev. Raafat is a hospice chaplain in the greater Detroit area, and he and his wife attend Stony Creek Community Church.
Rev. William Campbell, newly ordained at age 71, was present with his wife, Virginia. They serve at Middleville Wesleyan Church in Middleville, Mich.