Having moved into our new home in the Cincinnati area on Dec. 23, Barbara and I are looking forward to settling into life in the state of both of our births, Ohio! Barbara was born in the northwest corner, near Toledo, while I was born just six months earlier 90 miles southwest near Van Wert, about 30 miles east of Ft. Wayne, Indiana.
Barbara was 10 years old when her father, Richard Lemke, began attending the Worldwide Church of God in Toledo. I was 18 years old when I began going to WCG in Findlay, Ohio, in January 1974 while attending Bowling Green State University. I attended as a freshman at Ambassador College in Big Sandy that autumn.
Barbara and I met very briefly at a Holy Day service near Detroit at Roma Hall, but were seniors together at Ambassador in Pasadena beginning in the autumn of 1977. We graduated together in 1978 and were married on Oct. 8 near Toledo. We returned to California and I worked as a dictation equipment salesman in the Los Angeles area for one year.
Not many men were being hired straight from Ambassador into the field ministry when I graduated, so I was not expecting to ever be a minister. I knew I was called by God, but not necessarily into the ministry of Jesus Christ.
Barbara and I moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1980 and had our daughter, Jaime, in March 1981. Our son, Matthew, was born in January 1984. They have been a tremendous blessing to us. We have two wonderful and vibrant grandsons, Xander and Wilder, who live in Homer, Alaska, with Jaime and her husband Alex Roth.
I worked as a salesman in the fundraising industry for six years, sold computers for one year, and owned a successful fundraising business for two and half years, all in the Grand Rapids area.
I was ordained an elder in 1985 in the Grand Rapids church and hired full-time into the ministry in 1989. I served as an Assistant Pastor in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1989 and was then transferred to serve as an Associate Pastor in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, from 1990-1995.
In June of 1995 I was appointed as the new pastor of Tulsa and Oklahoma City, and for a brief time, Springfield, Missouri. Before long a new local church was raised up in Lawton, Oklahoma. Early in 2011 I also became the pastor of Northwest Arkansas. It was a rewarding experience pastoring the brethren in these five church areas and Barbara and I have many wonderful friends as a result. Of course, we also have longtime friends from every church area we have ever attended.
In 2014 I became the pastor of the Dallas/Fort Worth and Sherman, Texas churches and we now have many more dear friends! In 2015, I also began pastoring the Lawton congregation once again. Our experience in God’s Church and the ministry has been one of great personal blessings and fulfillment. Barbara and I both desire to serve God and His people faithfully and we have experienced God’s involvement in our lives all along the way.
We are looking forward to building some very close relationships with the brethren in the Cincinnati area and also being able to see many of our friends as they come into the home office for various reasons throughout the years.
Being the new Operation Manager for Ministerial and Member Services seems a bit of a daunting task. But I am confident God’s blessings will continue as Barbara and I strive to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness as we faithfully love and serve His people.