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Aldersgate Summer Renewal





Tom's leave begins with some solitude and prayer reflection by him hiking through Great Smoky Mountain National Park on a portion of the Appalachian Trail. At a later date he'll drive to the Mark Twain National Forest in Missouri and hike alone on a portion of the Ozark Trail. 

Extended trips for the family include staying at a rental on the Florida coast and enjoying the Disney parks. One daughter's dream of swimming with dolphins is fulfilled by a visit to Discovery Cove. The other trip takes the family to Acadia National Park via a stop at Niagara Falls.

When not on the road, the family takes respite at their lake cottage near Warsaw.

During the pastor's leave, the congregation travels a different but similar path, seeking opportunities to look within for spiritual growth, making a concerted effort to strengthen bonds with each other, and determining how best we can be Christ's servants in this challenging, diverse, confusing world.

The wilderness theme of the proposal creates experiences designed to take us away from the familiar and comfortable. In the end, they are meant to help us learn who we are and whose we are.

Renewal Graphic-01.png

We are pleased Pastor Tom Ream is a recipient of a 2020 Lilly funded Clergy Renewal Grant. The grant provides time for ministers to take a break from their daily obligations and gain the fresh perspective and renewed energy that a carefully considered "sabbath time" of travel, study, rest and prayer can provide. The grant pays for his expenses during that time as well as expenses incurred by the church during his absence.

Throughout the Gospels we read how Jesus withdrew to deserted places and prayed. These deserted, wild, out-of-the-way places included perils, but more importantly, catalyzed self-discovery and divine-encounter. Tom realized solitude, togetherness, reflection, prayer, and physical activities must all be included in his wilderness journey toward renewal and rejuvenation. With that in mind he created an itinerary that considered personal, family and ministry needs.

Guest Speakers

Pastor George Krestik

May 30, June 20 and 27,

July 4, and August 15


George Krestik felt called into ministry when he was in high school. He went through the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod school system and was ordained in June of 1972. During his 20 years in full time ministry he served churches in three states. He and his wife Marty moved to Fort Wayne where he made a career change working in mailing and printing services until he retired.

We appreciate George's willingness to be our spiritual leader and go-to person for Sunday morning worship services throughout summer.

Guest Speakers

Hover over each speaker's picture to see their bio.


Pastor Dave Marty

June 6


Dave Marty entered the United Methodist pastorate rather late in life. Being a licensed clinical social worker, he worked for several years in social services before unexpectedly being hired as the Director of Epworth Forest Conference Center, where he served from 1984-1991. He then returned to social services until he sensed a call into pastoral ministry. He was ordained in 2010 and served at several churches before retiring in 2019.

Pastor Kent Lundy

June 13


Aldersgate's youth and parents fondly remember Kent Lundy serving as associate and youth pastor here from 1996-2011. The youth program had brag-worthy numbers during those years. Since leaving here he's served as associate pastor at Columbia City UMC and senior pastor at Churubusco UMC. From 2016-2017 he was deployed to Saudi Arabia as an Air Force Chaplain. Currently, he serves as Wing Chaplain to the 181st Intelligence Wing in Terre Haute. His wife, Marti, is the new Conference Superintendent for the North District.

Robin Shear

July 11


Robin Shear is our featured speaker on Missions Sunday. robin led four mission trips for Aldersgate members to Ecuador. In Ecuador, they would connect with his son Peter who helped them understand the history and culture of the country as well as enlist their help to work on projects that would benefit the community, such as building homes, building a community center, and preparing land for a garden. Robin and his wife Mary are both mental health counselors.

Pastor Lakeya Stewart

July 18


As our former children and youth director, Lakeya Stewart is no stranger to Aldersgate UMC. During Lakeya's time here we celebrated with her the completion of her Doctor of Ministry degree from Regent University. She now serves part-time as pastor of congregational care at Good Shepherd UMC as well as full-time as assistant professor of counseling at Indiana Wesleyan. If that isn't enough to keep her busy, she mothers triplets Christina, Courtney and Carson and finds time to pursue a master's degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.

Leslie Kitch

July 25


Leslie Kitch has a long history at Aldersgate UMC beginning with her baptism to her marriage to Mike to the baptism and confirmation of her three children. On Sunday mornings you can find Leslie sitting in the right center section near the front. Leslie is the features speaker for UMW Sunday. She is passionate about many things in life-God, her husband, children, family, friends, work, church, the Bibles, and their lake cottage. She strives to live life in a faith-filled and faithful way. 

Pastor Dave Michel

August 1 and 8


Aldersgate looks forward to reconnecting with Dave Michel who was our associate pastor from 1985-1989. The conference then moved him to Alexandra First to become its senior pastor where he served for four years. After that he moved back to the area and spent his next 14 years at Huntertown UMC. In 2007 his title changed to District Superintendent of Northeast Indiana. He served in that position until his retirement in 2015. Anne, his wife of 43 years, died October 7, 2020. Dave says his journey from grief toward a joyful life continues.

Nature: Our first way of knowing God

Led by: David Almdale

Dates: June 6, 13, 20, 27

Time: After Worship

Location: In the Sanctuary

Hover here for a description

Long before there were synagogues, churches or even the Bible, God made God's self known through the creation. The Scriptures are packed full of examples of people coming to understand God through the fig tree, the sparrow, violent storms, and of course Living Waters. We regularly experience God in a sunrise or a sunset, an awe-inspiring mountain range or a gentle stream. The study includes brief videos that will be shown and will be available on our website.

Growth Opportunities

Listening to the Celts: a way to revive your spiritual journey

Led by: Brian Witwer

Dates: July 11, 18, 25

Time: After Worship

Location: In the Sanctuary

Hover here for a description

The early Christian Celts were able to see the beautiful presence of the Divine in a relationship with Nature that stressed humility, dignity of all things, and God's presence in and through all of Creation. Celts maintained rich spiritual practices such as prayer, meditation, communing with nature, care for those in need, hospitality, and poetic use of the imagination and art. They saw, in all experiences, the presence of the spirit, and were very skilled at seeking encounters with God in all of life. These sessions will be live-streamed and remain available for viewing on our website.

Study on your own

Read and recommend spiritual growth books you've read during the pandemic or this summer by completing a brief form and posting it on the bulletin board nearest the sanctuary.

Life Lessons from Philippians

Led by: Tuesday Bible Study Group

Dates: Tuesdays beginning June 1

Time: 9:30a

Location: Room 129 or Zoom

Spiritual Growth

Reconnecting With Each Other

Hiking Boots

Group Hiking

  • Deb G will lead us on a hike at the Environmental Study Center located behind Homestead High School

  • Other hikes are currently being planned

  • Wednesday Walkers, one hour walks for 12 weeks. Click here for the Schedule.


Tour of the Botanical Conservatory

  • June 23

  • The grant will help pay admission but we ask each participant to contribute $5 

  • We will eat together in one of the meeting rooms


Boating on Fort Wayne's rivers

  • Date TBD

  • Take a 90 minute ride on Fort Wayne's Sweet Breeze

  • Participants are asked to contribute $10 toward the ride

  • There is easy access on and off the boat

  • Space is limited


Special Music

  • We're still looking for some guest musicians to provide special music during worship services this summer. If you have a referral to make, please reach out to Marlane.

Woman Cooking in Kitchen

Sharing Recipes

  • A lot more cooking and baking happened during the pandemic as restaurants closed or indoor dining was restricted. If you tried a new recipe during this time and liked it, please post it on the bulletin board by the choir room. If it was something you found on the internet that included a picture, please include that. If you need someone to type it up or print it in color, drop it off in the church office. Recipes can also be emailed by clicking here.

Flower Selection

Appreciating Nature: June

  • Submit a picture of something from the following categories. These will be put on display in the Parlor. These will be great conversation starters as we learn about and from each other.

    • A photo or artwork of a scenic location, most likely taken during a vacation​

    • Pictures of flowers and animals in their natural environment

    • A fresh bouquet of flowers from your garden to display on Sunday morning

    • A craft of sculpture made from natural items

  • Items should be submitted to the office by May 27. You can also email them here.

Blue Parachute

Do Something Outside Your Comfort Zone: July

  • Submit a picture of something from the following categories. These will be put on display in the Parlor. These will be great conversation starters as we learn about and from each other.

    • Zip lining

    • White water rafting

    • Parachuting

    • Performing in front of others

    • Displaying your artwork or entering a juried art show

  • Items should be submitted to the office by June 30

Happy Family

Reconnecting with Family and Friends: August

  • Submit a picture of something from the following categories. These will be put on display in the Parlor. These will be great conversation starters as we learn about and from each other.

    • Attendance at a wedding postponed earlier due to COVID-19

    • Holding a grandchild born during the pandemic

    • Reading to a child in person instead of using FaceTime

    • A backyard picnic with friends

    • Restaurant dining with friends

    • Attending a function in person

  • Items should be submitted to the office by July 29

Reconnecting together

Calendar of Events

  • May 23: Send off Sunday for the Reams

  • May 30: Pastor George Krestik

  • June 6: Pastor Dave Marty

  • June 13: Pastor George Krestik

  • June 20: Pastor George Krestik

  • June 27: Pastor George Krestik

  • July 4: Pastor George Krestik

  • July 11: Speaker Robin Shear (Missions Sunday)

  • July 18: Pastor Lakeya Stewart

  • July 25: Speaker Leslie Kitch (UMW Sunday)

  • August 1: Pastor Dave Michel

  • August 8: Pastor Dave Michel

  • August 15: Pastor George Krestik

  • August 22: Reconnect with the Reams

  • June 6, 13, 20, 27: After worship: Nature-Our first way of knowing God, led by David Almdale

  • July 11, 18, 25: After worship: Listening to the Celts, led by Pastor Brian Witwer

  • All summer: Read a spiritual growth book on your own and add it to the bulletin board nearest the sanctuary

  • May 23: Going away reception for the Reams after service

  • June 23: Tour Fort Wayne's Botanical Gardens and enjoy lunch together, hosted by the Jolly Gators, $5/person

  • June (date TBD): Outdoor hike at the Environmental Center off Homestead Road, led by Deb Guebard

  • July (date TBD): 90-minute cruise on Fort Wayne's rivers, $10/person, space limited

  • July (date TBD): Outdoor hike, led by Boy Scout Troop 349

  • August 22: Welcome home reception for the Reams after service

  • September 12: Church-wide picnic after service sharing about Renewal activities

  • All summer: Post a new recipe tried during the pandemic that you liked to the bulletin board outside the choir room

  • All Summer: Post a spiritual growth book you've read during the pandemic on the bulletin board nearest the sanctuary

  • June: Nature artwork displayed throughout the month

  • July: Artwork of experiences that took you out of your comfort zone displayed throughout the month

  • August: Artwork depicting the joy of reuniting with family and friends after pandemic restrictions are reduced

Girl Hiking in Mountains


  • Our Stephen Ministers (Karen Bandelier is the contact person), senior coordinator Roy Horther, and pastors George Krestik, Jim Copeland and Ron VerLee will cover these duties. If you are in need of pastoral care, please contact the church office by calling 260-432-1524.


  • Marlane Sturm, our Director of Music, is the liaison for creating our worship experience. She will be assisted by George Krestik and volunteers she recruits.


  • Knowledgeable office manager Lisa Beerbower will route questions and any needs to the appropriate person or group.


  • Treasurer Jan Goings, finance chairperson Phil Arnold and committee members will capably oversee church finances.


  • Renewal committee members oversee these events including David Almdale, Kelly Borne, Terri Coolman, Keith Nettleton, Norm Roelke, plus other volunteers they recruit to help.


  • The Trustees will oversee this aspect of the church. Steve Dale is the chairman.


  • We have a fine team of employees running day to day operations headed by director Lori Schmitt and the Academy Board led by chairperson Nikki Horther.


  • Pastor George Krestik and retired St. Joe UMC pastor Ron VerLee will work with families for the funeral service.


  • The Staff Parish Relations Committee will cover all other items that might come up. It is chaired by Norm Roelke.

Boat on Lake

Who's Doing What

Who's Doing What


  • Pray for Pastor Tom and his family, especially their health and safety during their many road trips.

  • Pray for our congregation that we will demonstrate how well we can work together to provide meaningful worship experiences.

  • Maintain a positive attitude during the leave.

  • Welcome our guest speakers and participants and any new attendees that walk through our doors.

  • After months spent apart, make an effort to reconnect with each other on your own or through the many activities that are planned.

  • Volunteer to help with an activity-it takes a village to keep a church operating.


  • 2-3 people to take pictures of everything we did during the leave

  • 3 people to keep bulletin boards updated (recipes, spiritual books read, the Ream family and congregation's calender of events)

  • Individuals to assist with refreshments after the worship service on Tom's last Sunday, first Sunday back, and the church wide picnic after service on September 12

  • Individuals to submit Scripture verses that helped them through the pandemic

  • Individuals willing to share in written form or by giving a 3-5 minute talk on one of these topics:

    • What you learned about yourself and your faith during the pandemic​

    • What you learned about the importance of attending church in person

    • Or, suggest an additional topic.


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Scenic Mountain Biking

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