The Ohio Conference Ministry Development Team (MDT) has awarded eight grants totaling $21,614 to Ohio Conference congregations and Conference-related groups. The Ministry Development Team approved the grants at its Aug. 1 meeting in Upper Sandusky.
Funding for these grants comes from surplus funds that had accumulated during years in which the Conference ended its fiscal year with a surplus.
The following ministries received grants:
The MDT approved a grant for Connexus, a developing conflict management center for Holmes and Wayne counties. The people developing this group see the need for more resources in Holmes and Wayne counties for resolving conflicts using skills such as mediation, arbitration and facilitation. Individuals from Kidron Mennonite Church, Berlin Mennonite Church and Wooster Mennonite Church have been involved in the development of Connexus. The grant from Ohio Conference will be used toward the costs of mediation grants for volunteers, educational services and training for the public, and publicity and marketing.
Lighthouse Ministries of Canton received a grant toward the purchase of a peace curriculum and team-building curriculum for use in an after-school program. The after-school program serves second-, third-, fourth- and fifth-graders in the Lighthouse’s neighborhood in southeast Canton. A special feature of the peace and team-building training will be the incorporation of a special piece of artwork: a table on the Lighthouse’s outdoor patio with a tabletop made from handguns. This artwork will make a swords-into-plowshares statement to the community.
In the grant application, Lighthouse Director Darin Nissley explained, “A little over three years ago a young man was murdered in front of our office. Since that time we have sought to make some sort of statement against violence in this place. His body ended up lying in front of the patio where the table will be placed. Last year we raised the support to put a peace garden in place with a patio at the center. The idea being that eventually the picnic table on the patio would be replaced with the gun table.”
Multi-Purpose Building Renovation — Huber Mennonite
Huber Mennonite Church in New Carlisle received a grant toward the costs of renovating a 40’ x60’ steel building which the church purchased from a neighboring car dealership. The goal is to create a space which can be used throughout the year as a multi-purpose space. The plan is for the building to be used for church activities centered on outreach, as well as providing a space for use by the community, either for free or for a nominal charge.
Welcome Area — Salem Mennonite (Waldron, Mich.)
Salem Mennonite Church in Waldron, Michigan, received a grant toward the cost of creating a welcome area in the congregation’s new worship facility. The building plans for the facility call for a large foyer/gathering area just inside the main entrance and a multipurpose worship area. Grant funds will go toward creating a coffee house-style atmosphere in part of the gathering area. The intention is to make this area a place for meeting people informally, as well as to create a safe place for discussing questions and difficulties.
Playground Set — Salem Mennonite (Wooster)
Salem Mennonite Church in Wooster received a grant toward the cost of a new playground set for the church. The congregation has a strong outreach to immigrant Hispanic families, many of whom have young children.
MennoMedia — Project 606
MennoMedia received a grant toward the costs of Project 606, which is the development of a new hymnal for congregations in Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada. For more information about this project, see www.heraldpress.com/HymnalProject.
Guns into Garden Tools
Toledo Mennonite Church, in partnership with RAW Tools, University Church and several other Toledo-area organizations, has received a grant toward the cost of holding a Guns into Garden Tools Event in Toledo Oct. 29-30. RAW Tools is a grassroots non-profit organization from Colorado affiliated with the Mennonite Church. Inspired by Isaiah 2:4, they take guns and blacksmith them into garden tools. See http://rawtools.org for more information about this organization.
Missionary Competency Development — Five Wayne County Churches
A network of five churches in Wayne County has received a grant toward the cost of working with consultant JR Rozko. The network of churches includes Chestnut Ridge Mennonite, Crown Hill Mennonite, Martins Mennonite, Orrville Mennonite and Salem Mennonite of Wooster. The pastors of these five churches meet together weekly, and the congregations have been working together at a variety of ministries, such as a joint youth group, vacation Bible school, marriage enrichment nights, among others. The grant funds will allow consultant JR Rozko to work with the congregations to develop ideas about how to increase their missionary competencies in their local setting.