Why He Walks: Pastor Bryan Reeves Walks from Gary, Indiana to Cleveland, Ohio

By Ron Calhoun

“Last September Bryan sensed that God was leading him into a 30 day liquid fast and time of prayer. During this time Bryan chose a theme that was on his heart: after 15 years in ministry is there more God could be asking of him?

Rev. Bryan A. Reeves, born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, is the pastor at  Immanuel Lutheran Church in Richton Park, IL.   He is celebrating 15 years of ministry in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod this year. Bryan is married to Stephanie Reeves, head of the School at Ascension Lutheran Christian School in Gary, Indiana.

Bryan and Stephanie grew up together at St. Philip Lutheran Church in Cleveland off of Kinsman Avenue near 116th Street.

Why Cleveland?

During a time of reflection on the journey Bryan’s family had been on for over 15 years, and  after fasting, the conversation  changed from his time as a pastor, to supporting Stephanie and the ministry that God has her doing at Ascension school-a blend of celebrating his pastoral ministry, and helping support Stephanie’s leadership at the school. What better way to refresh the 15 year journey, than by walking to where it all began, St. Philip Lutheran Church in Cleveland.

“I walked in to  Forged Fitness Solutions and Bryan Beard, my trainer and a man of God, simply said ‘am I walking or riding?’ Before I could finish explaining, he said, ‘when do WE leave?’ I replied, ‘I have not even finished telling you what it is.’ After I shared he said ‘if you will have me, I will walk with you across Indiana. I have also been praying about having the opportunity to walk across the state.’

The rest is now, or will be by God’s grace, history.”

The Goal

Pastor Reeves says God’s plan is for him to walk 312 miles from Gary, Indiana to Cleveland,Ohio in hope of raising $3.12M to continue the Lutheran Education Mission at Ascension Lutheran Christian School in Gary, Indiana. Also, to focus attention on Ascension in order for it to grow into everything God desires it to be.

This 15 years of ministry comes after generations of Christian service in their families, dating back over a hundred years. “So, I’m walking from where I am today, back to where it all began at St. Philip Church.”

St. Philip Lutheran Church began in 1928 inside the living room of Bryan’s great – grandmother, Sally O’Brien.  A few years later the Bonner family (his wife’s family) came to St. Philip, migrating from Atmore, Alabama.

Stephanie and Bryan were  baptized, sang in the children’s choir, and went through the Lutheran Confirmation together, a coming of age and biblical understanding in the Lutheran church. They were also married there 20 years ago. Both of their children, Olivia and Silas, were baptized at St. Philip’s.

“I wouldn’t be doing what I am doing today without Stephanie, and our families’ support, and we wouldn’t be where we are today without our start at St. Philip church” Bryan said.

The Plan

Pastor Bryan Reeves and Bryan Beard left Ascension Lutheran Christian School in Gary, Indiana at 8am on April 18th, the day after Easter. They walked approximately 30 miles per day until they reached Cleveland, Ohio.

By the time of this publishing, Reeves will have preached at St. Philip on Sunday, May 1st 2022, and enjoyed a few days of rest before returning to Immanuel Lutheran Church in Richton Park, IL.


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