On Sept. 23, 2015, the Ohio Conference Leadership Team met with a full agenda. The Leadership Team discussed the Sept. 2 All-Ohio Conference Pastors’ Meeting which was held in Bellville, Ohio, and the review of the Five-Year Plan which had been submitted by Myron Weaver, Paula Snyder Belousek, Wes Graber and Doug Zehr.
At the Sept. 2 All-Ohio Conference Pastors’ Meeting, pastors representing 53 churches in the Ohio Conference met to discuss their future recommendations relative to the relationship of the Ohio Conference and Mennonite Church USA. Pastors were divided into table groups with table leaders who used a modified Circle Process. The Leadership Team facilitated the meeting in a process of trust building, listening and direction setting.
As a result of discussing the pastors’ meeting and the review of the Five-Year Plan, the Leadership Team developed a first draft of a proposed resolution regarding membership in Ohio Conference and Mennonite Church USA which is being discussed at fall cluster meetings for delegates.
The proposed resolution calls for amending the Ohio Conference constitution to create two distinct forms of membership within Ohio Conference. Ohio Conference would remain part of Mennonite Church USA (MC USA). Churches could choose to be a part of both Ohio Conference and MC USA or Ohio Conference only. Both forms of membership would be equal in all facets of internal conference workings. (To download a copy of the proposed resolution, please see Delegate News.) Delegates are discussing this first draft of the resolution in fall cluster meetings, and Leadership Team expects to refine the resolution based on feedback from delegates.
Leadership Team also committed time to focusing on the future vision of Ohio Conference and is anticipating investing more energy into this in the coming months and years.
Although it was acknowledged to be an inadequate long-term plan, Leadership Team is currently trusting Transitional Conference Leader George O’Reilly and Regional Pastor Ralph Reinford to cover the most pressing regional pastor needs. Local pastor peer groups and other Conference organizations such as the Credentialing Ministry and Ministry Development Team will be pitching in to help wherever possible in an attempt to make up for being short staffed.