Today I am giving the annual Ritz Lectures at Winebrenner Theological Seminary in Findlay, Ohio. Winebrenner is not household name among seminaries but it has been around for a long time. It is denominationally affiliated with the Church of God General Conference, a small denomination that is generally found in Pennsylvania and the Midwest. Winebrenner Seminary serves students from many denominations, including many from mainline Protestant churches. Several people associated with the school are personal friends, including Dr. Brandon Withrow (photo left above), the church history professor at Winebrenner. A local pastor in Findlay, Rev. Tom Lyberg (photo at right below), also had a part in helping to introduce me to the Winebrenner community. Tom serves as pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church (ELCA) where I preached three times this weekend. Tom also served on the ACT 3 board for a season. I had a delightful time Saturday and Sunday preaching on John 17:20-23 and John 20:21 at Trinity Lutheran Church. It seems to have been quite well received. I am praying that the churches and leaders of Findlay open their heart to the message of missional-ecumenism and that ACT 3 might have a unique role in helping this happen in western Ohio. (I am about 65 miles south of Toledo.)
The Ritz Lecture series will afford me an opportunity to give my basic message of missional-ecumenism in a great learning environment with both students and ministers. I hope to get video recordings of these presentations that can then be used to teach my core message to others. If you read this blog during the day on Monday (October 18) please pray for my time here in Findlay. Pray that the leaders God wants me to reach today will be present and that a great move of the Holy Spirit will take place in a small corner of a not-so-well known place and seminary in Ohio.
ACT 3 has a clear purpose in all such occasions: “to equip leaders for unity in Christ’s mission.” Today I get to do exactly that in Findlay, Ohio. Your prayer and support makes this possible.