Nearly 50 employees at The Wesleyan Church World Headquarters in Fishers, Ind., used part of a recent work week to serve a local church.
On March 19 and 20, 2013, the group helped with construction and cleaning at Baker’s Corner Wesleyan Church located in the small town near Sheridan, Ind. The only church in Baker’s Corner, the congregation is served by Rev. Carol Longenecker. She grew up in the church that her grandmother used to attend, and she has a passion to reach her small community with the good news of the gospel. Rev. Longenecker keeps one question often in her mind: if the only church in the area doesn’t care for those living in the small community, who will?
Some headquarters employees worked to spruce up and clean the church, with its historic wooden pews and bright, stained glass windows, while others served at the vacant parsonage across the street. For some time now, Rev. Longenecker and her husband, Kent, have envisioned the parsonage as a community center, being used for ministry purposes. But the house has been in such disarray that that vision has yet to come true.
Prior to hearing from headquarters staff member, Kim Craft, Rev. Longenecker was ready to give up, discouraged that the vision couldn’t come to fruition because there weren’t people and finances available. So, when she heard from Kim that the Engage Committee (a committee that represents general employees and plans building events at headquarters) had selected her church from a list of local service needs, she was greatly encouraged. Perhaps her vision would finally come to pass.
Employees and volunteers mopped; vacuumed; cleaned; taped and painted walls, floors, and ceilings; steamed and stripped wallpaper; installed countertops; and decorated rooms. Wesleyan Investment Foundation provided a grant for all needed supplies, which included 33 gallons of paint and boxes of materials.
These days, Rev. Longenecker is more encouraged, thanks to the service of headquarters employees.
“I used to walk into the house and feel so overwhelmed and not know where to start,” said Rev. Longenecker. “Now I can walk in and see ministry happening.”
Baker’s Corner Wesleyan Church has a vibrant ministry in its small town, even though average Sunday attendance is 15-20 and the congregation is primarily made up of senior citizens. The church hosts movie nights and Trunk or Treat events, provides baskets of food to widows and others in need, and gives sacks of potatoes to every occupied home in the town. (There are 41 homes with residents, all within one mile, both directions, of the church.) Recently, the church hosted a block party with 125 in attendance. Although the church is small, its congregation focuses heavily on outreach.
“The Wesleyan Church staff is living out the gospel by putting into practice what we are preaching and teaching,” said Dr. Jo Anne Lyon, General Superintendent of The Wesleyan Church. “I am grateful that The Wesleyan Church staff not only demonstrates what we are teaching and preaching in our churches, but as well as in our work and beyond.”
The Engage committee and Executive Cabinet members of The Wesleyan Church hope to make the service days an annual event.