TALES

Pastor marks 60 years in church ministry

This year marks the Rev. Kenneth Mendenhall’s 60th year in the ministry.

Last week Mendenhall was honored by his congregation, visitors and guests of Ironwood United Pentecostal Church for his years of service.

He said he couldn’t have done it without his wife, Betty, who is always by his side.

In the late 1940s, a small prayer group met on the north side of South Bend. Eventually, this group would form the Morningside Gospel Church, then located on Bulla Road.

In 1960, as the membership outgrew Morningside Church, it moved to Indiana Avenue United Pentecostal Church. In 1974, it moved to its present location and changed its name to the Ironwood United Pentecostal Church.

“I knew I wanted to be a minister at a young age,” Mendenhall said.

“Shortly after I graduated from Mount Pleasant High School (in South Bend. The school no longer exists), I began preparing for the ministry. I received my degree from The United Pentecostal Program and later my doctorate from Indiana Bible College.

“As I began pastoring at Morningside Church on Bulla Road, I really wanted to get the membership up and bring order to our church services. Being a local man, I grew up in the church so I wanted to bring more order and consistency. I’m so thankful I have been able to do that, and it’s been a great accomplishment.”

According to the Rev. Clint Walker, the church is striving to become a 21st-Century Apostolic Church.

“We are founded upon the belief that the Bible is the inspired, infallible word of God, and I have learned so much under the leadership of Pastor Mendenhall,” Walker said.

“One thing about him is he is consistent and he leads by example. He would never ask anyone in this church to do anything he wouldn’t do himself. He has a true desire for outreach and for revival in the Michiana area,” he said.

Betty Mendenhall said they were married on Feb. 14, 1953, and she always worked with him in the ministry.

“He is a very faithful man, and we have a loving family,” she said. “Prayer, our family, and belief in God has sustained us over the years.”

Over the years, the church’s ministries have grown and the pastor has expanded to the Province of Newfoundland, Canada.

“One of my greatest accomplishments has been becoming the Superintendent for Newfoundland,” Mendenhall said.    “We (UPC) had a special relationship with a church in Newfoundland Providence in Canada. We have supported them over the years financially and prayerfully. This church holds a very special place in the hearts of the saints of Ironwood UPC.”

Today the church continues to teach home Bible study, foreign language classes and Spanish services on a weekly basis.

“We have been able to provide many hours of prayers, fasting, and support to our church and reaching out to other countries,’’ Mendenhall said.

“We demonstrate our love with all of our hands. That has been my motto though the years.”

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