On July 2 Paula Snyder Belousek (Assistant Moderator), Dan Hooley (Prayer Coordinator) and I met to discuss some spiritual practices that we might be able to engage in as a Conference during the course of our review/discernment process. We looked at what was recommended by the delegates at our Annual Conference Assembly back in March. Four spiritual practices were recommended several times: 1) Dwelling in God’s Word Together; 2) Communal Discernment; 3) Prayer; and 4) Fasting.

We are starting with Dwelling in the Word, inviting people from across Conference to read the New Testament over the course of the next six months. That invitation was introduced in the July/August edition of the Evangel with a recommended reading schedule that begins next Monday, July 18. The schedule is available here: 2022 Dwelling in the Word – Reading Schedule. My prayer is that many across Conference will read these scriptures together. We will be introducing the other disciplines in the weeks to come through written communication, on our website and through Ohio Conference podcasts.

Paula will be introducing prayer, and she will be doing that using Take Our Moments and Our Days: An Anabaptist Prayer Book. There is also a free app titled Take Our Moments and Our Days, An Anabaptist Prayer App1 that can be downloaded on a phone or other electronic device. If you can access the app and download it on a device, please do. That will provide us the opportunity to pray the prayers when we gather together. I want to also encourage you to fast for one meal or one day each week during the review process.

It is our human tendency to expect immediate and clear answers from God when we engage in the spiritual disciplines. While that might work occasionally, that is not how God usually works. It is when we engage in a spiritual discipline (or several spiritual disciplines) over time that God often changes our minds and our hearts and reveals his will for our lives. While focusing specifically on contemplative prayer and practices, Fr. Thomas Keating and several other Christian spiritual leaders captured the primary purposes of all the spiritual disciplines during a conference in 2003 titled “Binding Head and Heart”:

The Gospel is the core of Christian living. It has with it a contemplative dimension. This dimension is God’s invitation to every human being through Jesus Christ to share God’s very nature. It begins as a way of listening with ears, eyes, and heart. It grows as a desire to know God and to enter into God’s love. This is made possible by a dying to self or emptying to self that becomes a radical emptying to God and experience of God’s love. Through a pattern of abiding in God that we call contemplative prayer, a change of consciousness takes place. This dynamic sharing of God’s nature forms each person and opens them to the mind and very life of Christ, challenging them to be instruments of God’s love and energy in the world. This contemplative consciousness bonds each person in a union with God and with all other persons. It enables them to find God present in all things.

May we continue to be directed by God as we dwell in his Word, pray and fast as we seek the Holy Spirit’s leading to discern our future together.

In Christ Jesus the Lord,

Dick Barrett
Conference Minister

1Take Our Moments and Our Days, An Anabaptist Prayer App is available at https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=edu.ambs.moments and at https://www.apple.com/us/search/take-our-moments-and-our-days?src=serp.


Ohio Conference New Testament Reading Schedule - July 18-Dec. 12, 2022

Week of MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturday
1 - July 17

Luke 1-2Luke 3-4Luke 5-6Luke 7-8Luke 9-10Luke 11-12
2 - July 24Luke 13-14Luke 15-16Luke 17-18Luke 19-20Luke 21-22Luke 23-24
3 - July 31Acts 1-2Acts 3-4Acts 5-6Acts 7-8Acts 9-10Acts 11-12
4 - Aug. 7Acts 13-14Acts 15-16Acts 17-18Acts 19-20Acts 21-22Acts 23-24
5 - Aug. 14Acts 25-26Acts 27-28Matt. 1-2Matt. 3-4Matt. 5-6Matt. 7-8
6 - Aug. 21Matt. 9-10Matt. 11-12Matt. 13-14Matt. 15-16Matt. 17-18Matt. 19-20
7 - Aug. 28Matt. 21-22Matt. 23-24Matt. 25-26Matt. 27-28Rom. 1-2Rom. 3-4
8 - Sept. 4Rom. 5-6Rom. 7-8Rom. 9-10Rom. 11-12Rom. 13-14Rom. 15-16
9 - Sept. 111 Cor. 1-21 Cor. 3-41 Cor. 5-61 Cor. 7-81 Cor. 9-101 Cor. 11-12
10 - Sept. 181 Cor. 13-141 Cor. 15-162 Cor. 1-22 Cor. 3-42 Cor. 5-62 Cor. 7-8
11 - Sept. 252 Cor. 9-102 Cor. 11-122 Cor. 13Gal. 1-2Gal. 3-4Gal. 5-6
12 - Oct. 2
Eph. 1-2Eph. 3-4Eph. 5-6Phil. 1-2Phil. 3-4Col. 1-2
13 - Oct. 9Col. 3-41 Thess. 1-21 Thess. 3-41 Thess. 52 Thess. 1-22 Thess. 3
14 - Oct. 16Mark 1-2Mark 3-4Mark 5-6Mark 7-8Mark 9-10Mark 11-12
15 - Oct. 23Mark 13-14Mark 15-161 Tim. 1-21 Tim. 3-41 Tim. 5-62 Tim. 1-2
16 - Oct. 302 Tim. 3-4Titus 1-2Titus 3PhilemonHeb. 1-2Heb. 3-4
17 - Nov. 6Heb. 5-6Heb. 7-8Heb. 9-10Heb. 11-12Heb. 13James 1-2
18 - Nov. 13James 3-4James 51 Peter 1-21 Peter 3-41 Peter 52 Peter 1-3
19 - Nov. 20John 1-2John 3-4John 5-6John 7-8John 9-10John 11-12
20 - Nov. 27John 13-14John 15-16John 17-18John 19-20John 21
21 - Dec. 41 John 1-21 John 3-41 John 52 John3 JohnJude
22 - Dec. 11Rev. 1-2Rev. 3-4Rev. 5-6Rev. 7-8Rev. 9-10Rev. 11-12
23 - Dec. 18Rev. 13-14Rev. 15-16Rev. 17-18Rev. 19-20Rev. 21-22
Merry Christmas!


A PDF of this schedule is available for download: 2022 Dwelling in the Word – Reading Schedule