Centered around Jesus

By Dan Miller Interim Conference Minister As I’ve been learning about Ohio Conference, hoping to hear the Spirit, and engaging in our work together, Philippians 2:5-11 is a passage that’s stuck out to me. Many scholars think this was a hymn used in early church worship that exalted how he went about his mission. Here are verses 5-8: Let this…

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Oak Grove Mennonite Preschool outreach

By Miriam Zehr Retired associate pastor of Worship and Education at Oak Grove Mennonite Church Oak Grove Mennonite Preschool has been in operation since 1975. It offers programming for three- and four-year-olds on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and for four– and five-year-olds on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings during the school year. We have had many connections with community families…

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Delegates approve name change, strategic plan

Note: Photos and a video summary of Annual Conference Assembly are available at https://bit.ly/ACAPhotos. Delegates to the 2024 Annual Conference Assembly (ACA) approved a name change for the Conference, a three-year strategic plan, and an updated Ohio Conference Constitution. ACA took place March 1-2 at Sharon Mennonite Church in Plain City. In addition to business, ACA included several plenary sessions…

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Ohio Mennonite Conference is…

By Jeanne Zimmerly Jantzi Process Consultant Metaphors engage us in new ways with imagery for exploration.  In the last session of the 2024 Ohio Mennonite Conference meetings, I invited delegates and other attendees to unleash their creativity to brainstorm metaphors to describe Ohio Mennonite Conference (OMC) as they currently see it.  This article contains a sampling of the many imaginative…

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Working and worshipping together

By Dan Miller Interim Conference Minister Heading into Annual Conference Assembly, I was both excited and nervous. Excited, because I find such gatherings to be fun. At the end of the day, I can be so energized that it’s hard to go to sleep! Nervous, because I am still learning about Ohio Conference. This might be hard to believe, but…

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Check out these Lenten resources

By Ann Leaman Ohio Conference Resource Advocate This month I would like to highlight some Lenten worship and devotional resources. The Soil and The Seed Project has released a new collection of free resources for Lent, Easter and Pentecost. Included are a new album of music, “Little Liturgies,” art, and lyrics/chord/lead sheets. To download these resources, go to https://www.thesoilandtheseedproject.org/vol-9. CommonWord, a…

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Volunteers accept Conference positions

Members of Ohio Conference congregations who volunteer their time play a vital role in Conference life. Without the help of numerous volunteers, many of the programs and functions of the Ohio Conference could not take place. Much of the work of Ohio Conference is done by the Leadership Council, the Credentialing Committee, the Stewardship Committee, the Gifts Discernment Committee, and…

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Podcast series focuses on shalom

Grace & Groundings, Ohio Conference’s resource team focused on racial awareness and reconciliation, is sponsoring a series of monthly podcasts about social righteousness and shalom. The series began in January, with plans to publish one episode each month through May. Each episode focuses on a different topic designed to draw listeners into deeper conversations about issues of social righteousness and…

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Sharon Mennonite to host ACA

Meghan Larissa Good to be featured presenter Sharon Mennonite Church in Plain City will host the 2024 Annual Conference Assembly (ACA) March 1-2. The theme of this year’s gathering will be “Following Jesus Together with a Common Mission,” based on Philippians 2:5-11. The 2024 Annual Conference Assembly  is intended for all members of Ohio Conference churches, not just delegates. In…

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MCC essay contest highlights youth perspectives

The annual MCC U.S.   National Peace & Justice Ministries essay contest highlights the perspectives of youth on significant public policy issues. Are you a youth who attends a Mennonite high school or an Anabaptist church? This contest is your opportunity to express your views in essay format on critical issues facing U.S. society. This year’s topics are climate change, immigration, and…

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Safe Church offers tools for abuse prevention

By Ann Leaman Ohio Conference Resource Advocate This month I would like to highlight Safe Church, which is Mennonite Church USA’s newly formed abuse prevention ministry. Safe Church now has a webpage available on the Mennoite Church USA website: https://bit.ly/MCUSASafeChurch. The webpage offers resources to help faith communities keep children, youth and vulnerable adults safe from abuse of any kind. Safe Church offers…

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Grace & Groundings offers resources

By Alysa Short Ohio Conference Coordinator of Volunteers Grace & Groundings, Ohio Conference’s resource team focused on racial awareness and reconciliation, wants to bring your attention to a number of upcoming opportunities: Podcast series — Be sure to follow the Ohio Conference Cast on your podcast platform as there will be a new episode out each month from January through May…

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Women in Leadership Retreat to equip women to use their leadership gifts

Coming in February: “Finding Your Voice” will be the theme of the 2024 Ohio Conference Women in Leadership Retreat.  This retreat is planned for Feb.  2-3 at the Lial Renewal Center in Whitehouse, Ohio. Presenter for the retreat will be Jewel Gingerich Longenecker, dean of  lifelong learning at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Indiana. She will lead participants in…

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Ohio MCC Comforter Bash set for March 8-9

Fairlawn Mennonite Church in Apple Creek will host the fourth annual Ohio MCC Comforter Bash on March 8 and 9. The church is located at 8520 Emerson Road, Apple Creek. All are invited to knot comforters for Mennonite Central Committee. Women, men, youth groups, friends and family are invited! Come and go as you are able. Hours are as follows:…

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Retreat offers couples time for rest, reconnection

Fourteen couples attended the Ohio Conference Pastor-Spouse Retreat, which was held Nov. 10-12 at Deer Creek State Park Lodge in Mt. Sterling, Ohio. The theme of the weekend gathering was “Fill my Cup,” and participants were encouraged to rest, be refreshed and reconnect with their spouse. Our thanks go to the sponsors who helped to underwrite this event: Hummel Group,…

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Community gun safety event brings Ohio churches together

In September, several Mennonite churches from Northwest Ohio worked together to host a community event about gun safety. Several organizations, such as RAWtools and Mennonite Central Committee, also helped make this event successful. By Nancy Roynon Beck Have you ever wanted to make something happen but did not know how? That was me last January. I was teaching the Mennonite…

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Advent at Home guide available soon

Update: The 2024 Advent at Home worship guide is now available. Go to https://bit.ly/AdventatHome  to download it. By Ann Leaman Ohio Conference Resource Advocate Coming soon: Once again this year, Mennonite Education Agency (MEA) will be publishing an Advent at Home worship guide. It will follow the same   Advent theme as Leader magazine, “How will we know?” The Advent at…

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Winter Read to focus on mental health

Coming in January: The Ohio Conference Winter Read. This winter Ohio Conference will once again hold a Conference-wide book study using the Zoom videoconferencing platform. We will be studying the book Not Quite Fine: Mental Health, Faith and Showing Up for One Another by Carlene Hill Byron. A schedule of Zoom meetings will be published in December, as well as registration…

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MC USA Executive Board meets in Cleveland

Ohio Conference Leadership Team welcomes MC USA Executive Board to Ohio By Camille Dager CLEVELAND, Ohio (Mennonite Church USA) — The Mennonite Church USA Executive Board strengthened key relationships and discussed creative strategies for convention and revitalization at the first Executive Board meeting of the biennium Oct. 18-20, 2023, in Cleveland, Ohio. Ohio Mennonite Conference welcomed the Executive Board and…

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Tiny, awkward little steps

Engaging with mental illness as a congregation By Nathanael Hofstetter Ressler Maple Grove Mennonite Church Hartville, Ohio  Realities exist in life that are daunting to consider, much less to know what to do about them. These realities loom over us in their enormity, and we seem to shrink into their shadows. How could I possibly do anything to address that?!…

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Toledo pastor provides peace witness with the help of an anvil

Joel Shenk, pastor of Toledo Mennonite Church, describes how he learned blacksmithing as part of his personal peace witness and how Ohio Conference and his congregation have joined him in this work. Camille Dager, chief communication officer for Mennonite Church USA (MC USA), recently talked to Joel Shenk about his peace witness in response to growing gun violence in the…

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Grateful

By Dick Barrett Conference Minister As I look toward finishing my time of serving as conference minister, I am grateful to God for the opportunity to have worked with all the many great people of Ohio Conference — the leadership teams, the staff, the pastors and other credentialed leaders, delegates, and congregational members and attenders. In the midst of challenging…

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Grants will support local ministries

The Ohio Conference Ministry Development Team (MDT) has awarded four grants totaling $7,395 for local ministries. The MDT approved these grants at its meeting on Aug. 22, 2023. Grants will provide funds toward the following projects: Millersburg Mennonite Church Refugee Resettlement Program — Several members of Millersburg Mennonite Church are making plans to support a family of Congolese refugees to…

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Putting the focus on social justice

By Nathanael Hofstetter Ressler Note: This year Grace & Groundings, Ohio Conference’s racial reconciliation resource team, invited Ohio Conference churches to set aside Sunday, June 18, as  Social Justice Sunday. The Grace & Groundings team provided worship planning resources for Social Justice Sunday. Below, Nathanael Hofstetter Ressler, pastor of   Maple Grove Mennonite Church in Hartville, reflects on his congregation’s experience…

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Webinar series focuses on giving

By Ann Leaman Ohio Conference Resource Advocate This month I would like to highlight a resource about giving and a resource from Anabaptist Disabilities Network related to baptism. Provident Giving Sessions This fall MennoMedia is partnering with Everence to provide a free webinar series about generosity, “The Provident Giving Sessions.” The first webinar, held in August, explored why people give.…

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Women in Leadership Retreat planned for February

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Ohio Conference is planning a Women in Leadership Retreat to be held Feb. 2-3, 2024. The retreat will be held at a new location in northwest Ohio, the Lial Renewal Center in Whitehouse. The intent of this retreat is to encourage women in current church leadership as well as to tap and encourage all women with leadership gifts, not just…

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Goshen College grad creates sculpture for Mennonite Church USA offices

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By Jolene VonGunten Mennonite Education Agency ELKHART, Ind. – At first look, Emma Zuercher’s sculpture invokes fire. That is precisely the theme she envisioned for “Forged Spirit,” an 11-foot sculpture she designed and created of recycled aluminum materials. The towering, colorful structure was a striking image in the late afternoon sunshine as it was installed at the Mennonite Church USA (MC USA)…

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Leadership Team appoints interim pastoral staff

The Ohio Conference Leadership Team is pleased to announce the appointment of an interim conference minister and a half-time interim regional pastor for the eastern portion of the Conference. The Leadership Team has appointed Dan Miller to serve as full-time interim conference minister for 12 months, beginning Dec. 1, 2023. Dan has enjoyed various roles over the years, at congregational…

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