By Ralph Reinford
Fourteen members of Ohio Conference gathered for a New Pastor Orientation on Aug. 12 and 13, beginning Sunday evening and continuing all day on Monday. The gathering provided a time for new pastors to learn about resources and ask questions about the Ohio Conference.
Sunday evening was a time for sharing finger foods and popcorn along with introductions and going over the schedule for Monday.
On Monday, the group traveled together by van and visited the Heini’s Cheese Chalet in Bunker Hill and got to see how cheese was made and taste at least 30 varieties. We also toured Behalt (which means “to keep, hold, or remember”) at the Amish and Mennonite Heritage Center in Berlin and viewed the 265-foot mural depicting the witness of the Amish, Mennonites, and Hutterites. We learned how Behalt is a great teaching tool for our baptism classes.
We also had some Amish food at Mrs. Yoder’s in Mt. Hope, and then returned to Kidron and the Ohio Conference Office to meet Judy King, Ohio Conference administrative secretary, who gave a brief introduction to her office.
Bob Sauder, conference moderator, gave an overview of the Ohio Conference vision and structure. We entertained questions and outlined the upcoming retreats, workshops and other offerings of Conference.
All the pastors were around the first-year mark of their assignments, so we tried to answer questions they now have after some experience. Of course, there were conversations along the way about credentialing, baptism and closed versus open communion.
We had a tour of MCC Connections, given by the director, Michael Amstutz. Besides the store and rug making, he shared about health kits and school kits. He invited the pastors to have their congregations partner in meeting needs by putting kits together, purchasing batting for quilts, or providing household and clothing needs for people in their congregations.
We briefly talked about other places in the Kidron area that are church-related, such as Everence, Central Christian School, and Camp Luz.
It seemed to be a meaningful evening and day with the opportunity to get acquainted with others in similar ministry.
Those who attended included Matthew Peterson (Midway), Matt Reed (Beech), Jamie and Kelly Rye (Millersburg), Sue and Stan Short (Zion), Ryan Sprunger (Salem-Kidron), Verle and Maralee Brubaker (Maple Grove, Hartville), Regional Pastor Cliff Brubaker and Marilyn Brubaker, Regional Pastor Ralph Reinford, and Ohio Conference Moderator Bob Sauder and Pam Sauder. Thanks go to staff members Judy King and Alysa Short for help with the planning of this event.