It has been quite a summer for the Tobias family. Our daughter Hannah married Justin Mezzell in August, and last week we were able to attend our son Calvin’s marriage to Alexandra Werlinger (now Tobias). Calvin and Alexandra were married on Buttercup farm in Clayton, California, just east of San Francisco. It was a beautiful day and a wonderful ceremony. Our son Josh and daughter Hannah were able to fly to California and celebrate along with us in this joyous occasion. There were about 30 in attendance including SRC members, Pat and Jen Prater, who happened to be in the area for a business conference.
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John Qualtrough, Ron, Calvin, Alexandra
Ron, Miriam, Calvin, Alexandra and Dawn Werlinger
After the wedding, we resumed our trip by flying back to Denver. We spent an evening with Andy and Tina Kasanicky. Andy was on staff at SRC several years ago. They now make their home in Fort Collins and love the area and their lives in Colorado.
After leaving Colorado, we headed north to Wyoming to visit the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Park. The scenery was spectacular and Miriam took lots of pictures.
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Andy and Tina Kasanicky
We had a very busy day in Denver yesterday. It started with a breakfast meeting with Shane Sunn. Shane is planting a church named Saint Patrick Presbyterian Church in the heart of the city of Denver, the planned launch date will be in November. Shane also serves as the director of the Western Church Planting Network. WCPN exists to assist western presbyteries in the planting of new churches and the establishment of Reformed University Campus ministries throughout the region. Shane and his family have recently moved from Greely, Co. where he planted St. Patrick Church. Please keep Shane and his family in your prayer as he carries on this important and needed work. Church planting has been difficult for the PCA in the west. There is a huge need for more reformed churches that preach the Gospel in the Denver area.
For lunch I met with Steven Reese. Steve is the senior pastor of Redeemer PCA in Parker Colorado. Spanish River partnered to plant Redeemer several years ago, and Steve has faithfully served this church. Redeemer meets in a local theater and averages around 120 in attendance at the worship service. Steve talked about the influence that David Nicholas had in his ministry, and how appreciative he was of the investment that SRC made in him and his church. Parker is a growing community , but also has one of the highest numbers of bankruptcies in the country. Parker is a beautiful community with near perfect weather, and a great view of the Rocky Mountains.
Ron and Miriam with Duane and Holly Cory
Miriam and I connected with Duane and Holly Cory in the evening. Duane was serving as an intern, when Miriam and I first came to SRC. He later served on staff for several years before heading out to Littleton, where he and Holly planted Deer Creek Church 25 years ago.
It was wonderful spending the evening with Cory’s, sharing some fun memories of SRC and hearing about great ministry through Deer Creek Church. Duane shared some special memories of David Nicholas, and talked about how much he learned from David.
Deer Creek has a beautiful facility and averages around 350 in attendance. They have a large and active youth ministry. They also have several international partners and have had several teams serve in foreign countries for short term mission trips. The church is also engaged in helping plant a church in a community close by Littleton.
Please keep the Cory’s, their 4 grown children and three grandchildren in your prayers.
Driving through Iowa and Nebraska involves looking at a lot of corn. We were able to break that drive up by stopping in Omaha, and having lunch with Ethan Burmeister of Core Community Church.
Ethan planted this church about 10 years ago with the help of Spanish River Church. The church has seen steady growth and has an amazing ministry in Omaha. Ethan and his wife Erin have four children, and have reached that important moment in their lives when the oldest child can babysit.
Core Community has an average attendance of around 350 on Sunday morning, and the church is very involved in serving the community. Ethan also has a heart for planting churches, he spends time coaching new church planters.
Probably the most exciting news about Core Community is that they are merging with another church in Omaha called Coram Deo. This merger will be a huge benefit to both staff and members of the churches. Ethan and the senior leader of Corem Deo have had a great and long relationship. This merger will give both leaders the opportunity to use their gifts in a more effective way. The merger just officially happened this past weekend, and as in any marriage, many details will need to worked out. However, both chuches are excited about the future and the opportunity to work together.
Please keep the Burmeister’s in your prayers as this new chapter in their ministry begins. After lunch we hit the road and headed towards Denver, but only made it as far as North Platte. Nebraska. Which is famous for trains, they have over 10,000 railcars pass through this city daily.
Ron Tobias and Chris Hodge
Naperville Presbyterian was the second church that Spanish River planted, and the first outside the state of Florida. It is located just outside of Chicago.
Chris Hodge is the senior pastor of Naperville Presbyterian. Chris was formerly the pastor of Treasure Coast PCA in Stuart Florida, before he was called to serve here a few years ago. The church has a beautiful facility and has two services that meet Sunday morning. We attended the 8:30 am service and were surprised to see a great number of people attending such an early service.
Naperville has had a history of being a church planting church, and they are now refocusing their efforts to once again plant more churches in the midwest.
Riverwalk in Naperville
Miriam and I enjoyed spending the day in Naperville, Il. They have a beautiful downtown, and a great place to take a walk along the river. Fall is arriving here in the Chicago area. It was nice seeing the color of the leaves and feel the cool air.
Please keep Chris and Karen Hodge in your prayers as they lead this great church. Pray for them as they refocus on planting more churches.
After service, we hit the road and started for Des Moines and points west.
Gary and Kim Treichler and Miriam and Ron
This past Friday we spent the morning with Gary and Kim Treichler in Dublin, Ohio, which is near Columbus. Gary serves as an assistant pastor of Vista Community Church. Vista is not an SRC church plant, but Gary served for 11 years as the Small groups and Executive Pastor at SRC. We were joined at breakfast by Mike and Tammy Smith, Mike is the senior pastor of Vista. They were gearing up for a big weekend, Vista opened up their second site on Sunday. The church has outgrown the school where they currently meet, and decided to hold a second service in a local movie theater nearby.
Vista is a church on the move, they own three used Uhaul trucks, and move their church into the school and movie theater every Sunday morning. It takes a huge commitment from lots of volunteers. Vista is a growing church and with Gary’s leadership in small groups and discipleship groups, they are growing deep as well as in numbers.
Gary and his Trucks
On the Road to Chicago
Vista is also getting involved in planting churches in Kenya. They have a great movement leader and have committed to partnering to plant many churches in Africa. Please keep the Treichlers and Smiths in your prayers as they continue to reach their community for Christ.
After our time in Ohio, we headed to Chicago. More on that tomorrow!