Faithful to the Mission: A Tribute to Ron Woodman
By Kevin Spear
Native American Ministries of the Church of God mourns the loss of one of its own, while celebrating the legacy of a ministry hero on the Navajo Reservation of northeastern Arizona. Rev. Ron Woodman passed from this earth on June 20, 2020. He was the pastor of Klagetoh Shelter Mission, an outreach of the Church of God. A previous article outlines the purpose and challenges the mission faces.
Pastor Woodman was born on April 9, 1951. He attended Gulf Coast Bible College (now Mid-America Christian University) and was ordained in 1973. He joined the mission of his father, Bahe, to the Navajo Nation. In 1992, Ron became the pastor of the Klagetoh Shelter Mission. Since then, he and his sister Maureen have kept the mission running. Maureen, and Ron’s wife, Effie, will continue to run it. Maureen is also the first chief of the American Indian Council of the Church of God.
Craig Frank, who served as regional pastor for the Church of God in Arizona for many years concurrent with Ron’s ministry, said that the mission on the Navajo Reservation is huge and the ministry is so needed, even as it cooperated well with other Navajo ministries. Of Pastor Woodman, he says, “He was faithful to the mission. He was reserved, yet so sweet.”
John Johnson, now Global Strategy regional coordinator for Africa, served for a season as Native American Ministries coordinator for Church of God Ministries. He says, “While Ron was not a man of many words, it was obvious how much he loved people. He had a deep love for the church and for Christ. He also loved his family.” Life on the Navajo Reservation can be very difficult. John remarks, “Ron, Effie [his wife], and Maureen have served for years with little recognition and little resources, and with few complaints because this is the place to which God has called them.”
Ryan Chapman, US and Canada Initiatives/credentialing program manager, says about Ron, “He was very quiet, but I sensed a great inner strength. He was humble. He was very sacrificial in his service. He had a burden for the Navajo, especially those in the area of northeast Arizona.” Ron was always looking for ways to invest in others. Ryan said, “He would find ways to bring others along with him to the American Indian Council meetings.”
While Ron has passed on to heaven, Effie and Maureen are determined to continue the mission two which Ron dedicated so much of his life. Learn more about Church of God Native American Ministries at www.jesusisthesubject.org/native-american-ministries/.
Kevin Spear has worked for Warner Press and has regularly contributed time and talent to the work of Church of God Ministries. He is a ministry partner with his wife Paula, who is an ordained minister in the Church of God.
*Feature (top) collage: Ron Woodman holds his grandson; Klagetoh Shelter Mission.