402 Pekin St.,
Pastor: James Cravens
7:30 & 9:45AM Sunday
Lutheran Church ELCA
1409 Pulaski St., Lincoln
Pastor Joe Bleakley
205 Pulaski St.,
Pastor Mark Carnahan
Pastor Kirk Cunningham
8:00 & 10:30AM Sunday
United Methodist Church
302 Broadway St., Lincoln
Pastor: Larry Maffett
Sept-May: 8:30 &
Web site: www.gbgm-umc.org/
about listing your congregation's worship information, please e-mail us
or call us at 217-732-7443.
more important than sight at Lincoln Hill Free Methodist
14, 2000] Bill
Dolan, the new pastor at Lincoln Hill Free Methodist Church in
Lincoln, does not have good eyesight, but he and his congregation
have keen insight into where their church should be going and
Bill is one of the few blind pastors in the United States and the
only one in the Free Methodist movement, but his visual disability
does not hinder his spiritual and leadership ability. The future of
this church will be built on five pillars that Pastor Bill and
church leaders have set out as their vision statement. Those pillars
include God-centered worship, developing the spiritual disciplines,
a comprehensive program of Christian education, developing strong
families and evangelistic outreach into the community.
pastoral "call" that brought Bill Dolan and the Lincoln
Hill church together is in human terms intriguing; in Biblical terms
it is providential.
did not become a Christian until he was 21 and a student at Lincoln
College. He was converted through the campus outreach of Lincoln
Christian Church and its youth minister, Mark Post. Dolan says of
his conversion, the "Lord satisfied my needs," and made
him realize that he had "never known genuine love," until
he came to know Christ and His followers.
transferred to Lincoln Christian College and graduated with an A.A.
degree in Bible in 1994. He subsequently attended the University of
Illinois, Springfield, where he completed a B.A. degree in
communications in 1996. He is currently working on a graduate degree
at Lincoln Christian Seminary.
gained experience for ministry and pastoring through a unique
avenue. He had been involved with radio throughout his teen years,
and after he became a Christian, Dolan put his intellect and his
rich, melodious voice to use in Christian radio where he served as
announcer, writer, and producer at stations in Illinois. He also
sought to be a "radio church" planter in Illinois and
Iowa. As he describes it, he became a "pastor on the
radio," long before he considered becoming a pastor of a
experiences in Christian radio led him to a "ministry in
media" with an Assemblies of God church in Springfield before
returning to Lincoln in the summer of 1999 to study at the seminary.
intending to study counseling at Lincoln Christian Seminary, Dolan
felt divine leading to change his major to ministry. As part of that
leading, he began to send out resumes to churches in the Lincoln
area, but he was often cautioned about the many obstacles
confronting a blind candidate for the ministry.
late spring 2000, a family in Rushville, who knew Dolan through his
radio career, told him about a possible opening in the Free
Methodist congregation in Lincoln. Within a few days, Dolan
contacted the regional conference of the denomination, met with
regional leaders, then met with and received a call to the pulpit of
the Lincoln Hill church. As Dolan and church members describe this
chain of events, "God was at work in this every step of the
to Dolan, his blindness was never made an issue throughout this
process. When asked if Dolan's visual impairment was a concern to
the congregation, Bob Strotheide, a member of the search committee
and adult Sunday school teacher said "maybe there were some
concerns," but that Dolan had already shown himself to be
"very resourceful" in meeting the challenges of ministry.
all accounts, the Lincoln Hill congregation has had some trying
times in recent years. But it is clear that great faith and a great
love for each other brought the members together and have sustained
them through the years.
do not recall talking to any members who grew up in the Free
Methodist tradition. Most joined the congregation because of the
fellowship and caring evidenced by the church. Midge Woodard, a
member for 50-plus years, became involved because the Lincoln Hill
pastor called on her when she moved to Lincoln, and he encouraged
her to get involved. During Sunday school, Geraldine Heinzel
described her belief that she was "led by the Holy Spirit"
to this body. She later told how the congregation has cared for her
and her family during time of need. Dean and Bernice Rock echoed her
sentiments when they said they were there because of the "love
and concern of the members." They said that "the church
was there for them" through some major medical problems.
"Everybody prays" in this church, said Clarence Spurgeon,
who, like the Rocks, had been nurtured by the church family while he
experienced medical problems.
members and leaders noted that until recently, both the attendance
and the self-confidence of the congregation had been challenged
during the transition in leadership. It is evident that there is now
a spirit of enthusiasm and expectation of great things for the
future. Pastor Bill and the church leadership have sought to freshen
the worship service by blending praise choruses with traditional
hymns. According to church leaders, the worship time has been
extended and has been made flexible to the leading of the Holy
Spirit. One of the highlights of the service I attended on July 9
was the time set aside for the testimonies and praises of the
members during the worship.
members noted the immediate impact of their new pastor on the church
and its worship. According to Bob Strotheide, there are conscious
efforts to make sure the worship service "ministers to the
young and inspires the young" members and visitors to the
church. He also added that Dolan is an "excellent
preacher" who has brought positive changes to the congregation.
Dolan is a spiritual leader who "helps us be more
spiritual," says Midge Woodard. She and several others noted
the great blessing of the Thursday morning prayer time (7 to 8
a.m.), which is enriching the church.
emphasis on prayer and spiritual growth in the Lincoln Hill
congregation is part of a long tradition in the Free Methodist
denomination. Free Methodism traces its origins to the classic
Methodist and Wesleyan traditions and the Holiness movement, which
emphasized deep personal piety and the perfection of the individual.
The founder of Free Methodism, Benjamin Titus Roberts, helped
organize the denomination in New York state in 1860, and sought to
create a body which was "free" from the institution of
slavery and which promoted freedom and simplicity in worship. Free
Methodists provided free pews for all who came to worship, in an era
when many churches charged "pew rents" for the pews which
were near the front and center of the sanctuary. The best pews were
often controlled by those who were rich, powerful and who were
sometimes impious members of the community.
Lincoln Hill Free Methodist congregation was organized in 1939, and
the present building at 201 S. College was erected in 1945.
school meets at 9:30 a.m., with worship starting at 10:30 a.m.
church phone is 732-6722. Pastor Dolan's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
church will have revival services
17, 2000] The
United Pentecostal Church of Lincoln, 1422 Pekin St., is having a
revival. Revival services are scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 20, through
Wednesday, Aug. 23, with services at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Sunday
and at 7 p.m. the following days. The Rev. Jackie Lewis from
southeast Missouri will be preaching. For more information or a
ride, call 732-4662.
services to be this weekend
16, 2000] Evangelist
George McGregor from South Africa, one of the McGregor Brothers
Minister Team, who have ministered at the ongoing revival at the
Brownsville Assembly of God in Pensacola, Fla., will be leading
special revival services this weekend at Full Gospel Evangelistic
Center, 426 N. Monroe St. in Lincoln. The services will be Friday,
Aug. 18, at 7 p.m.; Saturday, Aug. 19, at 7 p.m.; and Sunday, Aug.
20, at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.
more information, go to www.fullgospelrevival.org.
Episcopal Church presents
12, 2000] The
Vestry of Trinity Episcopal Church presented Beth Bryant
with a Scholarship
to Life. Beth, a graduating senior, has been a very active member in
the life of the church, being involved in church school, as an
in Breakfast Club, musical programs for the holidays,
summer church camp, chairing Crop Walk, and in the pews at worship with her parish family.
It is for this faithfulness to her church and God that she has
received this gift. To Beth we are truly grateful, and wish her the
very best as she starts college this fall. We have truly been
blessed to have such a fine young woman in our midst.