|Ministerial Assoc. puts unity in community|
|Friday, February 28, 2014 9:07 PM|
BY ERIN COX
As stated in Ephesians 4:11-16, Christ is the head while the community is the body and the body grows when joined together and working properly. The 10 ministers in the DMA stand together in the belief that in unity and love, the community can grow.
“I’m a part of the Ministerial Association to be an encourager of fellow pastors as well as to be encouraged by them so that together we might build the kingdom of God within our community,” the Rev. Harry Tolhurst said.
The members of the group include: Tolhurst of First Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Gary Fish of First Christian Union, Ron Lumm of Joint United Methodist Project (J.U.M.P.), Dave Howell of Trinity United Methodist Church, Angela Khabeb of St. Peter’s Lutheran and Dave Reinhart of St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church; and pastors Dan Eaton of First Assembly of God, D.J. Fuerstenau of Zion United Methodist, Jane Brown of Ridge United Methodist Church and Linda Wannemacher of A.C.T.S. New Testament Fellowship.
“Being together periodically helps us to work together in times of need,” Reinhart said. “The relationships built makes helping others possible.”
The group works on two projects all year round: The Good Samaritan Ministry and visiting the Sarah Jane Living Center and Vancrest Healthcare Center and Assisted Living.
“Good Samaritan Mission is a ministry to travelers who find themselves in a difficult situation while traveling through our community onto their destination,” Tolhurst said. “The Good Samaritan fund provides food, fuel and, on occasion, lodging while in our town, depending on the traveler’s need. Each church collaborates with the Delphos Police Department for the verification of need.”
The other year-round project consists of the pastors providing a service to people living in the Sarah Jane Living Center and Vancrest Health Care Center and Assisted Living. Every Thursday of the year, one of the members of the association will go to the centers and provide a message and music for those living there.
Together the 10 ministers also work to provide a community event nearly each month of the year. Providing a community service to unite people and bring them together is the main goal of each.
Their year starts in September with the participation in Canal Days. The association takes part in the parade and also puts together the Old Fashioned Revival Tent meeting, which includes worship, singing, Scripture and a message.
In November, the association provides the Community Thanksgiving Feast. This will be the seventh year where the pastors invite the community to come together for a worship service and holiday feast. Guests bring side dishes and the DMA provides the main meal and drinks.
“One of the highlights of the year is our Community Christmas program at St. John’s,” Khabeb said. “This ecumenical service includes a variety of musical selections and Scripture readings. It is a powerful way to enter the Advent season.”
The beginning of the official new year in January brings with it the Pulpit Exchange, the longest-lasting tradition for the DMA.
“To celebrate the week of Christian Unity in January, the Delphos Ministerial Association exchanges pulpits and brings unity to the community in churches throughout the city,” Fuerstenau said.
This year, the group added a pastors’ retreat to its list of activities in January.
“It was a time of refreshing and sharing through prayer and worship in song,” Wannemacher said. “It was a blessing to seek God for the future of the association, our churches and our community. We ended the day by partaking of communion, followed by a delightful meal.”
In May, the DMA participates in the National Day of Prayer.
“On the first Thursday of May, throughout our nation, churches unite to pray for the nation, the community, businesses, schools, families and churches,” Brown said.
At 7:30 a.m. on that day, pastors from the DMA go to schools around the area and lead the students, who wish to attend, in a time of prayer around the flagpole.
“The pastors gather at noon at the City Building joined by the public to lead everyone to pray for specific entities,” Brown said. “This service is open for anyone to participate.”
The biggest project of the year for the DMA is the Community Lenten Lunches because they run the longest.
Depending on when Ash Wednesday falls during the year, the group serves the Community Lenten Lunches during the six weeks of Lent. The lunches and a service are hosted each Thursday during that time at either Trinity United Methodist or St. Peter’s Lutheran Church.
This year, the Community Lenten Lunches begin this Thursday and St. Peter’s Lutheran Church will host. The lunch will begin with a service from noon-12:30 p.m. and lunch will follow. The DMA asks for a donation of $3.50 or more. Everyone is welcome to attend any of the lunches that will take place at the same time and location on March 13, 20, 27 and April 3 and 10.
April 18 will be the Good Friday service, also from noon-1 p.m., but no lunch will be served.
With a full plate of activities throughout the year, the ministers have many opportunities to unite the community.
“I enjoy very much the National Day of Prayer at Franklin Elementary School every May and the unity of the pastors every January during the Pulpit Exchange,” Lumm said.
For decades, the DMA has played a role in the community and as new churches and pastors come to town, the group invites and encourages those who have not joined to collaborate with the association. By participating, new members could bring a part of themselves and add their ideas, support and input to a group who strives to continually be a unifying part of the community.
“I’m part of the DMA because I want to join other pastors and churches as together, we make disciples and reach the lost,” Eaton said.
“It has been a pleasure to work with the Delphos Ministerial Association the past several years,” Fish said.
The group of pastors meet at 9:30 a.m. the third Thursday of each month during which they plan, pray, designate responsibilities and at times, will have a guest speaker.
The association also wants to encourage others in the community, who want to address the pastors during their monthly meetings, to reach out to a member.
If you have any questions concerning the DMA, officers of the association may be contacted at the following numbers: Tolhurst, president, 419-692-5737; Brown, vice president, and Howell, treasurer, 419-692-0651; and Wannemacher, secretary, 419-695-3566.