You're Welcome Here
Welcome to Leo United Methodist Church where we like to build bridges between people and Jesus. What that means is that we will welcome and encourage you if you are brand new to attending church, or if you have begun your life with Jesus and are looking for a place to worship surrounded by a supportive group who are all in varying stages on their journey with Him.
We are one of the oldest congregations in northeast Indiana, originally founded by Methodist Circuit rider Reverend Edward Hickland in 1834. More recently, in striving to meet the growing ministry needs of our community, we changed location in 1978, moving to our current address at 13527 Leo Road. It is from this beautiful campus that we continue to strive to meet the changing ministry needs in Leo and the surrounding areas. The Spiritual DNA of Leo UMC is Wesleyan to the core in that we are deeply attuned to the spiritual and physical needs of our community and beyond.
In Acts 1:8, Jesus instructs his disciples to be His witness in Jerusalem, all of Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the Earth, and so our congregation seeks to share along the same path, from our community of Leo/Grabill, such as Gateway Woods and the Grabill Food Bank, to Lifehouse in Fort Wayne, to world-wide ministries such as Tapio School in Haiti, which was constructed and is supported directly from our congregation.
MEET OUR TEAM
Leo UMC is staffed by an amazing team. Senior Pastor Jeff Smith is leading us to become "Bridge Builders between people and Jesus." Helping him is an excellent team that is willing to assist visitors and members in any way that they can.
Rev. Jeff Smith
Pastor Jeff Smith began leading Leo United Methodist Church in July of 2020. As an Elder in the United Methodist Church, Pastor Jeff has served several churches in the Indiana Conference, including churches in the Lafayette-West Lafayette area, South Bend and Muncie. In addition, Jeff has served in several conference wide leadership capacities, including a stint on the Board of Ordained Ministry.
Pastor Jeff brings far more than his considerable ministry experience to serve at Leo UMC. Accompanying him is his wife of nearly three decades, Rhonda Smith. An educator by profession, Rhonda brings her passion for teaching bible studies, with a particular bent for leading women's bible studies. In addition, Rhonda has a huge heart for missions, serving diligently and faithfully in multiple ministries over the years. When asked about his call to ministry, Pastor Jeff will often quip: "I have come to the conclusion that Rhonda has been called to be a Pastor's spouse and I'm just the chump along for the ride." On a more serious note, Pastor Jeff states that his ministry would be dramatically less effective if not for Rhonda's support and guidance. An avid reader, Pastor Jeff is a huge fan of Christian apologist CS Lewis. He also loves historical novels. Author James Michener is a particular favorite. And much to Rhonda's chagrin, Pastor Jeff is an unapologetic science fiction buff. The vision statement of the United Methodist Church is "Making Disciples for Jesus Christ for the Transformation of the World." Pastor Jeff and Rhonda don't simply agree with that statement. They try to diligently live it.
Diana, a retired project coordinator for a clinical research team, has found that the duties of a church administrator are very similar when it comes to details, but loves serving the Lord and all her congregation "bosses" so much more than pharmaceutical companies! She and her husband, Cal, joined LUMC in 1990, shortly after moving north of Leo in 1989. They share a love of the outdoors and antique restoration, and their furry family of three Labrador Retrievers and two kitties - all rescues. When not at the church or home with Cal, Diana volunteers at the Allen County Public Library's Audio Reading Service, Parkview and several nursing care facilities with one of their certified visiting therapy dogs.
Bonnie is married to Mark and has two handsome sons. As in most families, her sons are very different! One son is married-with three daughters and another on the way. The other son is single and enjoying life. Once Mark and Bonnie set off on their adventure, they moved seven times, across 5 different states, and ended up in Leo, Indiana. She enjoys her grandchildren, her precious dog Coco Bean and video games.
Rob and his wife, Mary, have a daughter, Sophie, who is still in school. Rob manages the church facilities and can usually find a solution to almost any problem that arises and is wise enough to never turn down any offers of help.