General Assembly of the Church of God in Michigan

45th Ministers Retreat

January 30-February 1, 2023

Still on the Wall

Gull Lake Ministries
Hickory Corners, Michigan

17 But now I said to them, “You know very well what trouble we are in. Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire. Let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem and end this disgrace!” 18 Then I told them about how the gracious hand of God had been on me, and about my conversation with the king.
They replied at once, “Yes, let’s rebuild the wall!” So, they began the good work.
Nehemiah 2:17-18 (NLT)

This small piece of the story of Nehemiah begs for Context. Before this section we would read about Nehemiah’s struggle with sadness at the state of his once proud nation that is now in ruins, and about a king who showed mercy and compassion to Nehemiah by giving him all that he would need to start the process of rebuilding the wall.

If we were to read on past this small section, we would come to discover that the decision by the people to join Nehemiah and Rebuild the wall was only the beginning. We would read a story of challenges, trials, and opposition from without and within, and we might just be left with a feeling of comradery with poor Nehemiah as he tries to rally the people behind this monumental task and keep them on the walls even in the face of opposition and danger.

If you are like me, you are probably saddened by all that the Church has lost over the last few years of sickness, and social and political division. Maybe you are longing for the days before Covid when people showed up at church instead of watching from home. When people weren’t afraid of personal contact and relationships just seemed easier.

Whatever we have faced over the past few years, let me reassure you that just as God had a plan for the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem, I believe he has a plan for the rebuilding of his Church. It won’t look exactly as it did before, but I believe in many ways the rebuilt church will be stronger than ever before because of the adversity that she has faced.

God not only had a plan for the rebuilding of the walls, but he had a “man”, a “servant”, a “person” for the rebuilding of those walls. God is looking for servants today, who will be his chosen servants to rebuild his church and all that he requires of us as his chosen servants is that we keep building, and defending, and opposing those who would see the church fall. In the face of any and every adversity God’s design for us, is that we be found right where he needs us, “Still on the wall”!

Join us for the 45th annual Ministers Retreat, January 30th - February 1st at Gull Lake Ministries in Hickory Corners, Michigan, as we explore what it means to stay on the wall and keep building the kingdom in the face of adversity. Our speaker will be Handel Smith, Executive Director, US and Canada Strategies at Church of God Ministries - Anderson, Indiana, and Lead Pastor at Celebration Church in Arrow Heights.

In addition to some great teaching there will be opportunities to worship together, eat together, play together (basketball, bowling, volleyball, cards. Etc.) and spend time in conversation with others who share some of the same challenges and opportunities.

Come and join us!

Speaker and Worship

Rev. Handel & Victoria Smith

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Executive Director, US and Canada Strategy

Church of God Ministries

Rev. Handel Smith has served the Church of God at the local and national levels for over 40 years. His background is richly enhanced through education and extensive business experience, as well as a long and fruitful ministry in the Church of God. He is a graduate of Anderson University, and holds an MS in Business Administration and an Executive Leadership Certificate in Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services from Johns Hopkins University. He has achieved Executive Leadership Certificate from the Wharton Business School and Rutgers Business School. He is currently pursuing a Master of Divinity degree from the Anderson University School of Theology. Along with his experience at several levels within the Church of God, Rev. Smith had an extensive career at Verizon, serving 27 years as the Vice President of Verizon Business with state and local government bodies. He has received many awards for his community service, including an award from the Governor of Maryland for implementing Celebrate Recovery Ministries within the prison system of Maryland.

Rev. Handel Smith is serving as the Executive Director for the US and Canada Strategy for Church of God Ministries in Anderson, Indiana. He serves the Church of God General Assembly by empowering the people of God to collectively build a Jesus-centered, biblically grounded Movement that brings the Kingdom to life on earth as it is in heaven. Rev. Smith’s work with Church of God Ministries involves leading a team of dynamic leaders that serve over 2,000 churches and over 6,000 ministers in the United States and Canada. In addition to his work with Church of God Ministries, He serves as Lead Pastor for the Celebration Church at Arrow Heights in Anderson, Indiana, supporting the national focus on Urban Ministry Initiatives. Celebration Church at Arrow Heights was the recent recipient of the Anderson Chamber of Commerce "2022 Religious Service Award."

Rev. Handel Smith lives in Fishers, Indiana, and has been happily married to his wife Vickey for 39 years. They have three children: Darius, Josiah, and Mariah. Rev. Smith and Vickey are dedicated to the mission of the Church of God. It is Rev. Smith’s expressed desire to be used by God to help Church of God churches continue to discover God’s purpose and to help people and organizations to reach their full potential in God. This they do together as ministers of music and are accomplished recording artists of the inspirational CD “Healed in His Presence.” Handel’s favorite verse expresses well his heart for the Lord and his determination to serve God with steadfast fruitfulness: “…His delight is in the law of the Lord and on his law he meditates day and night…He is like a tree planted by streams of water which bears its fruit in season…whatever he does prospers…” (Psalm 1:2-3).

Ministers in Residence

Individual Spiritual Direction

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Dr. Carl Addison

Dr. Carl Addison has served as the Executive Director of Earthen Vessels Ministry (EVM) for the past thirteen years. EVM exists to serve pastors, their families, and the congregations they serve. EVM offers pastoral care for pastors, multiple types of coaching for pastors, marital coaching for ministry couples, crisis care for pastors as well as ministry families, and other services designed to support those in ministry.

Carl pastored in Michigan, Ohio, and Missouri for 28 years before founding EVM. He and his wife, Valerie, have been married for 43 years. They have three married children and eight grandchildren.

Carl also serves on the Indiana Ministries’ team as director of Thriving in Ministry, a comprehensive ministry designed to facilitate pastoral health and the spiritual formation of those in ministry Carl has also served as an adjunct faculty member at Indiana Wesleyan University for the past 10 years.

Dr. Addison received his BA and M.Div. degrees from Anderson University and his D.Min. from Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama.

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Rev. Sandy Kuepfer

Rev. Sandy Kuepfer [kip-fer] was raised in Wisconsin and graduated from Anderson University and the School of Theology, where she met her husband Scott, who is also an ordained pastor. Sandy served as associate pastor at Rustic Hills Community Church in Sioux Falls, SD for nine years. She then stayed home with her children, Noah and Ella, for nine years. FIve years ago, her family moved to the Lansing area, where they worship at Pennway Church of God. Sandy completed her certification for Spiritual Direction from Sioux Falls Seminary in 2017. Currently she is bi-vocational and offering spiritual direction part-time. Through retreats, classes, spiritual direction, and everyday conversations, Sandy enjoys sharing with believers about contemplative spiritual practices, prayer, and creating space to rest and listen to Jesus.


Monday, January 30

01:30-4:00 p.m.
     Registration in the Ministry Center
4:00 p.m.
     Rev. Jeff Eckman speaking and Handel and Victoria Smith Worship
6:00 p.m.
7:00 p.m.
     Free time with bowling

Tuesday, January 31

8:00 a.m.
9:00-11:00 a.m.
   Session 1 – Rev. Handel Smith
12:30 p.m.
2:00-4:00 p.m.
   Session 2 – Rev. Handel Smith
6:00 p.m.
7:15-8:15 p.m.
   Community Worship - Handel and Victoria Smith and Rev. Portia Davis-Mann
8:15 p.m.
   Free time

Wednesday, February 1

8:00 a.m.
9:00-10:30 a.m.
   Session – Rev. Handel Smith
10:30-11:00 a.m.
   Concluding Session -
     Survey from Sheryl Thompson

Download Brochure

Registration Costs

Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Eastern Canada Ministers - Single Occupancy: $300.00

Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Eastern Canada Ministers - Double Occupancy: $250.00

Retired Ministers - Single Occupancy: $200.00

Retired Ministers - Double Occupancy: $150.00

Out-of-State Ministers - Single Occupancy: $350.00

Out-of-State Ministers - Double Occupancy: $300.00

Daily Attendance - Jan. 30: $90.00
Daily Attendance - Jan. 31: $125.00
Daily Attendance - Feb. 1: $30.00

Lifelong Learning Matching Funds

Lifelong Learning Matching Funds may be used for this event. Email the Service Center to request your current balance.

Lifelong Learning Registration is part of the online registration.

"equipping local congregations
to extend the Kingdom of God"

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