Saturday, August 12, 2006

Complete Text: Jesse Deloe Commendation

3 August, 2006

It is a delight for me to be able to announce today that the Association of Grace Brethren Ministers has chosen to award its Excellence in Ministry Award for 2006 to my good friend and colleague, Jesse B. Deloe.

Jesse was born into a printer’s family. His father, Jesse B. Deloe, Sr. was employed in Washington, D.C. at the Washington Times-Herald newspaper and at the Government Printing Office. Later the senior Deloe became a linotype operator for the Brethren Missionary Herald Company, and you can see his photo and a feature article about him posted just outside the door of Jesse’s current office at BMH.

Jesse gave his heart to the Lord early in life and was baptized by Pastor Bernard Schneider at the First Brethren Church of Washington. D.C., now the Grace Brethren Church of Lanham, Maryland.

Jesse first moved with his family to Winona Lake in February of 1945 and, after a number of ministry excursions to other parts of the country, returned to Winona Lake where he has been associated with the Brethren Missionary Herald Company as Director of Operations and Senior Editor since 2003. Every recent book issued by BMH has benefited from the careful eye and incisive mind Jesse brings to assuring that grammar, punctuation, syntax, logic, and theology are all of the highest quality in BMH Books.

Jesse and Gladys Mighells of Randolph, New York, married in June of 1956, so the Deloes earlier this year (all year, actually) celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Jesse and Gladys are both alumni of Bryan College in Tennessee, and they have two sons, Christopher and Jonathan, and three grandchildren.

Jesse went on to further his education at Indiana University and Grace Theological Seminary. A lifelong learner, he has taken additional coursework in Canada, Colorado, Iowa, Ohio, and California.

Jesse began his career as a French and English teacher at Warsaw, Indiana, high school and junior high, and went on to become a teaching fellow at Grace College. He served as an associate pastor at the Grace Brethren Church of Waterloo, Iowa; as interim pastor of the Dallas Center, Iowa, Grace Brethren Church; as pastor of the Lyndhurst Grace Brethren Church in Cleveland, Ohio; as pastor of the North Riverdale Grace Brethren Church in Dayton, Ohio; as pastor of the Grace Brethren Church of Whittier, California; and as interim pastor of the Grace Brethren Church in Lanham, Maryland.

From 1975 to 1982 Jesse served as Director of Church Relations with the Foreign Missionary Society of the Brethren Church (now GBIM). His employer there, John W. Zielasko, said, “I am pleased to have this opportunity to contribute to the honor of Jesse Deloe. Jesse is a faithful and reliable teacher of the Scriptures. He brought with him eleven years of pastoral experience when he joined the Brethren Foreign Missions staff and he served in that position with distinction.”

For the next four years Jesse was Assistant to the President – Homer Kent—of Grace College and Seminary and later also served as a field representative for Grace from his location in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. In commenting about Jesse’s service with Grace, Dr. Kent noted that “It is obvious that he knows the FGBC inside and out, and has served it well.”

Moving next to Grace Brethren Home Missions (now GBNAM), Jesse was Director of Administration from 1988 until 1997. His employer there, Dr. Larry Chamberlain, who is now president and CEO of the Grace Brethren Investment Foundation, says, “I had the great opportunity to work alongside Jesse…Jesse, as you know, is an excellent communicator, both written and oral, and he employed that skill to strategic advantage in his communications to our constituency, among our staff, and with our board of directors. As a member of the executive team, his contribution to the many decisions that needed to be made during the time he was with us was significant, born out of his years of administrative experience and training.

“He and Gladys continue to be vocal advocates of the mission and ministry of North American Missions and the Investment Foundation. On many fronts and over many years, Jesse’s gracious and enthusiastic support of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches has been profoundly far-reaching and highly effective. His strategic leadership, combined with a servant’s heart, gives us all cause to cheer this champion of excellence in ministry.”

Jesse also worked for several years as a church consultant, both independently and under the umbrella of Jerry Twombly’s organization, helping churches and schools raise funds, do strategic planning, and resolve conflicts.

In serving the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches, Jesse was secretary to the executive committee for several years, was vice-moderator in 1978-79, and was moderator of the Fellowship in 1979-1980. He is always helpful and frequently utilized as a parliamentarian, he chaired the constitution revision committee, and he has held numerous district offices including moderator and as an officer of the district missions board.

In his local congregation, Winona Lake Grace Brethren Church, Jesse has been faithful in many roles. He recently concluded lengthy service on the Board of Overseers. He has been a member of the Pastor’s Consulting Committee during the tenure of Pastor John Teevan, he has helped revise the church’s constitution, and he is popular as an ABF teacher wherever needed. He and Gladys lead the North American Prayer Group every Friday morning, they participate every Wednesday in the Global Prayer Group, and they head up the “Coffee and Juice detail” that helps Winona Lake worshipers stay awake, alive, and alert on Sunday mornings.

Pastor John Teevan comments, “Jesse is an exceptional man in our Fellowship because he has done it all, done it well, and has kept a positive spirit even when deeply disappointed. He has pastored and worked for nearly every national organization. Even when his position has been eliminated, he has continued to rebound. I also see him as a significant encourager in my life beginning in 1982 when he recommended me for the GBIM board. He has been both faithful and helpful in all my years at the church. He's on my list of heroes.”

I want to conclude by adding a personal note. Jesse and Gladys have been faithful friends to Sharon and me since we lived close to one another on Robson Road in Winona Lake in the 1970s. They have visited us as we have lived around the country, have stayed in touch with us, have prayed with us through a number of family crises, and they continue today to be faithful, encouraging, steadfast friends who are highly valued.

As a staff member of Brethren Missionary Herald Company, Jesse is insightful and faithful, approaching his work with the highest integrity and standards of excellence. His encyclopedic knowledge of the Fellowship and its history is continually valuable, and I greatly value his reasoned input on decisions, directions for the future, and his judgment on perplexing questions we face.

The AGBM has done a good thing by recognizing Jesse for his Excellence in Ministry. This is a good, faithful man with high moral, ethical, and spiritual standards. And by God’s grace, he will have many more years—in spite of his history of open heart surgeries—of vital and valued ministry. I’m honored to call Jesse friend and colleague, and I thank you for honoring him and Gladys with this well-deserved commendation for Excellence in Ministry.

--Terry White, Publisher
Brethren Missionary Herald Company
Winona Lake, Indiana


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