pastors

Pastor George Dowell and his wife, Assistant Pastor Shanae Dowell, will depart from pastoring at the Collett Street Church of Christ.

George and Shanae Dowell aren’t content to rest on their 30-plus years’ experience as ministers. They want to reach out and share their knowledge with the entire community, region, state and beyond.

“We don’t want to stay in our comfort zone,” Shanae said. “We want to do more work for the Lord.”

The couple, married 33 years, resigned as co-pastors of the Collett Street Church of Christ to pursue other evangelization efforts. A reception on Sunday will give people a chance to wish them luck on their new endeavors.

Incoming pastor is Curtis Hawkins of Danville.

The Dowells will focus on two efforts: They will use their years of experience to talk to younger pastors, and they will operate their Pied Piper Ministry to reach children and help them make the right choices.

They plan to stay in Danville for the time being, but will travel to places such as Chicago and Indianapolis. They will be joined in their new ministry by their daughter, Cicely Dowell, music manager at the church, and her sons, Jordan, 8, and Jaron, 12, who play drums.

The couple has mixed feelings about leaving the church.

George, 59, grew up in the church and has attended it all of his life, except for the four years he served in the Navy. On the other hand, he welcomes the chance to use his life experiences, which include working as a drug counselor and child advocate and in law enforcement.

Now a part-time bailiff at the Vermilion County Courthouse, he retired as a captain after 17 years at the Danville Correctional Center in 2002. He also was a drug counselor at the Veterans Affairs Illiana Health Care System, a former deputy sheriff and works part-time for the Department of Children and Family Services.

As a pastor for more than 30 years, his work revolved around the church. But, with the change, he will deal with the entire community.

“I’m looking for a bigger arena to get the information out,” he said. “I see the need for a bigger ministry as far as touching people with my experiences.”

He and his wife have no quarrels with the congregation, he said. Instead, “The bigger picture is what drives me to go somewhere else. God is sending us somewhere. You can’t be stagnant in God.”

Dowell is pleased to leave behind a debt-free church, thanks to a contribution from Hawkins to pay off the cost of an addition. The project increased the size of the building, which held 100 people, to its current size, which seats 350 people. An average of 50 people attend services.

Shanae, 52, sees the change as bittersweet, as well.

“This has been our home church for 33 years,” said Shanae, who taught Sunday school and numerous other programs.

But, she added, “It’s also exciting for new beginnings. We’re not too old for new beginnings.

“We want to be out in the field working for the Lord.”

A pastor’s work is not just within the four walls of a church, she said, adding, “We come in to worship. We go out to serve.”

Shanae’s specialty is women’s ministry. One goal is to use her years working with auto dealerships to offer seminars to people, especially women, on how to buy a car. She worked as a finance manager for several years at Courtesy Ford and, most recently, at Toyota of Danville.

She has 12 years of banking experience and plans to study business at DePauw University.

Her special talents are the gifts of prophecy and healing, and she’s an intercessor, which means the spirit of the Lord wakes her at odd hours to pray for everyone, even world leaders.

The two work well together by combining their talents.

George also is a member of the David S. Palmer Arena board, vice president of the Vermilion County Churches of Christ and a member of the Martin Luther King Committee. He holds an associate’s degree in police science.

Their other children are daughter Asha of Atlanta and son Ryan of Denver.

Fast facts

-- A reception for George and Shanae Dowell, co-pastors of the Collett Street Church of Christ, will be from 1:30-6 p.m. Sunday at the church, 208 N. Collett. Pastors from local churches and Chicago, with their choirs, are expected to participate.

-- To contact the Dowells about their ministries or programs, call 446-7846 or 474-7186; fax number is 446-3632.