Distinguished Alums 2013
Jane Eesley received a bachelor’s degree (Phi Beta Kappa) in English literature and a master’s degree in English from Northwestern University. She went on to receive a master of divinity degree from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, where she was honored with the Hoyt Hickman Award for Liturgical Theory and Practice. She was ordained a deacon in 1996 and ordained an elder in 1998 in The United Methodist Church.
Eesley has served as senior pastor at Christ United Methodist Church in Rockford, Illinois since 2011. Prior to serving at Christ United Methodist Church, Eesley served three churches: Mayfair United Methodist Church in Chicago (1996); Naperville Community United Methodist Church as associate pastor (1997); and DeKalb First United Methodist Church as senior pastor (2005).
While at First United Methodist Church in DeKalb, Eesley invited the congregation to dedicate the Christmas offering to the needy, supported the church’s pledge to fund the Bradt Scholarship at Garrett-Evangelical, and led a two-year task force to develop a “living” strategic plan. Eesley lovingly tended to the needs of her parish while strengthening lay leadership, ensuring the congregation remained healthy to claim the Great Commission of Christ. During her time there, she developed a strong church based on mission, ministry, and service. Members of the congregation believed she was one of the best preachers they have had.
Eesley has been active in mission work through the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries. She served with the Mission Intern Program from 1990-1993. She also spent a year and a half working in Arab East Jerusalem with the Infant Welfare Centre and another year and a half in Staten Island, New York, working with the Methodist Federation for Social Action. Since then, she has taught extensively about Christians in the Middle East, the Israel- Palestine conflict, and interfaith relations, including teaching the “Creating Interfaith Community Study” in Schools of Christian Mission. Eesley founded the Middle East Network of United Methodists, which is an affiliate of the Methodist Federation for Social Action. In 2004, she participated in a two-week trip to Senegal where she provided training for leaders of new United Methodist congregations.
Through the years, Eesley has served on many district and conference committees, including the Chicago Northwestern District Strategy Committee, the Northern Illinois Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns (CCUIC), and the Board of Ordained Ministry as clergy mentor coordinator. Eesley has also served as a board member of the Oak Crest Retirement Center, founded by The United Methodist Church. At the center, she has often been the voice for the silent and a quiet calm strength for the weak. She has continually represented her faith community and has enabled people to continue to hear the word of God.
Earl Francis Lindsay
Earl Francis Lindsay’s parents always emphasized the love of Christ above all; thus, during his high school years Lindsay began to feel a call to ministry. He received a Bible diploma from the Chicago Evangelistic Institute (which was later renamed Vennard College), a bachelor’s degree from Alma College in Michigan, a master of divinity at Garrett Biblical Institute, a doctor of ministry degree from San Francisco Theological Seminary, and a Merrill Fellowship to Harvard University.
During his early ministerial training, he concurrently served congregations in Michigan.
While at Garrett, Richard Miller, Professor of Church Administration, suggested that Lindsay consider serving in Wisconsin. That conversation prompted his long tenure serving churches throughout Wisconsin. His first appointment was to First Methodist Church of Madison, Wisconsin, as associate pastor. Lindsay continued his ministerial career as senior pastor in the following Wisconsin Methodist churches: First Methodist Church in Portage (1960); First Methodist Church in Whitewater (1966); First United Methodist Church in West Allis (1971); and First United Methodist Church in Kenosha (1977). He also served as interim pastor in the Wisconsin cities of Brillion, Greenville, and Oshkosh.
After his pastorate in Kenosha, Lindsay led the Wisconsin United Methodist Foundation, where he was instrumental in promoting stewardship education and facilitating numerous financial campaigns across the conference. Lindsay’s last appointment was as president and CEO of Manor Park Foundation, which helps fund the Village at Manor Park, a retirement community founded by The United Methodist Church in West Allis, Wisconsin. Under his leadership, the Foundation grew and achieved substantial success in funding a number of initiatives and programs, including the Olsen Rehabilitation Center and the Sanford Archives Center.
Beyond these accomplishments, Lindsay was the Wisconsin Conference Chair of Stewardship for 16 years. In his 44 years of professional ministry, he raised 38 million dollars for church causes, had 16 people from his churches enter full-time ministry, and received 2,600 members into The United Methodist Church.
In retirement, Lindsay organized a foundation, the Community Investment Foundation, to support the Shalom Movement for the Board of Global Ministries and a second private foundation, The Albert and Mary Rhoades Foundation, which provides a stream of support of $280,000 per year for charitable causes.
Now nearing his 83rd year, and 63rd year of marriage, he still preaches, serves as Pastor Emeritus at First United Methodist Church in West Allis, consults for The Village at Manor Park, and raises funds as a volunteer for Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.