Holy Indifference

By Dick Barrett Conference Minister In my last article for the Evangel, I wrote about the spiritual discipline of Christian discernment. As individual Christians we should be discerning the will of God in our beliefs, decisions and actions each and every day. Our discernment of God’s will for our lives should be based on what has been revealed to us…

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Check out these Advent resources

By Ann Leaman Ohio Conference Resource Advocate As we move into the season of Advent, Mennonite Church USA and CommonWord have Advent resources for individuals, families and congregations. “Restoration is Near!” is the theme of the Advent at Home 2022 worship guide, now avail­able at the Mennonite Church USA (MC USA) website: https://mennoniteusa.org/adventathome. Using the theme developed for Leader magazine, the…

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Camp Luz to offer personal retreat

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Camp Luz in Kidron will hold a personal retreat Nov. 11-12. Check in will be from 6:30 to 7 p.m. on Friday, and the retreat will end at 6:45 p.m. Saturday. Cost for this retreat is $60 per person. The registration cost covers three meals and lodging. The retreat will feature a silence and sol­itude schedule, including a handout. Register…

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Podcast features OrrVilla CEO

Myron Weaver, CEO of OrrVilla Retirement Community and chair of Ohio Conference’s Credentialing Ministry, is the featured guest on the most recent episode of “On Leading,” a video podcast from Mennonite Health Services. See this brief (five minute) interview at https://bit.ly/MHSPodcast-MyronWeaver.

Anabaptism at 500 seeks 500 study groups

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HARRISONBURG, VA — The Anabaptism at 500 project is looking for 500 study groups from a broad spectrum of Anabaptist communities to participate in creating the first-ever Anabaptist Bible. People from all Anabaptist traditions, including Mennonites, Amish, the Church of the Brethren, Brethren in Christ, Hutterites, and the Bruderhof, are invited to form study groups and submit their insights for…

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Foundations for Justice webinar series planned

As part of Ohio Conference’s continuing education regarding anti-racism and intercultural competency, we are offering a three-part “Foundations for Justice Series,” to be held virtually from 7 to 8:15 p.m. on three Thursdays — Oct. 20, Nov. 3, and Nov. 17. This training series will be led by Nekeisha Alayna Alexis, Intercultural Competence and Undoing Racism Coordinator at Anabaptist Mennonite…

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Women’s Retreat planned for October

“Light of the World,” based on Matthew 5:14-16, will be the theme of the annual Women’s Retreat at Camp Luz in Kidron on Oct. 14-15. Although the final input session will take place Saturday afternoon, retreat participants also will have the option to stay at the camp overnight until Sunday morning, Oct. 16. Speaker for this year’s retreat will be…

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Discerning God’s will together

By Dick Barrett Conference Minister Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God — this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve…

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Starting this fall: Please join us each Wednesday for prayer

One of the opportunities to practice our faith together, growing out of our commitments from the most recent Annual Conference Assembly gathering, is to join in a collaborative prayer practice this fall. We will meet on Zoom from noon to 12:30 p.m. on Wednesdays, beginning Sept. 14 through Nov. 23, using Take Our Moments and Our Days: An Anabaptist Prayer Book,…

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Online book study planned for fall

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Elaine Enns, co-author of Healing Haunted Histories: A Settler Discipleship of Decolonization, will be leading an online intensive book study this fall for the Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery Coalition. This book encourages personal and collective work toward decolonization. It asks those of us who are settlers, immigrants and displaced peoples to do our own pre-work of integrating our ancestral…

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Please join us as we Dwell in the Word

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…

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Dwelling in the Word

By Dick Barrett Conference Minister As we are early in this season of trying to discern God’s will for us together as a conference of Mennonite churches across Ohio and our neighboring states, it is very important to make sure that each of our hearts, minds and souls is prepared for the process. Even as individual Christians, discerning God’s will…

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Immigration forum coming to Columbus

Interested in learning more about immigration issues? Immigration advocate Christy Staats is extending an invitation to Ohio Mennonites to attend Ohio 2022: A New Consensus on Immigration. This event will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday, July 7, at Scarlet City Church in Columbus. Staats notes, “During Lent of 2021 I had the privilege of joining…

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MC USA invites applications for Justice Fund grants

Mennonite Church USA (MC USA) is seeking applicants for its Justice Fund grants. The Justice Fund supports MC USA congregations that are working to combat poverty, dismantle racism, address immigration reform or reimagine policing. For more information, see the MC USA website: https://bit.ly/2022JusticeFundGrants.

Visio divina combines images with scripture

CommonWord, a collaboration of Mennonite Church Canada and Canadian Mennonite University, is offering a new free resource called the Visio Divina Project. This online resource includes a collection of visual images combined with scripture. The Visio Divina Project is inspired by Ruth Boehm, a pastor and photographer. Boehm invites us to “see with our own heart” using the practice of…

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New book focuses on communion

Brad Roth, the featured speaker for Ohio Conference’s 2021 missional conference, has written a new book about communion, The Hunger Inside: How the Meal Jesus Gave Transforms Lives. See https://paracletepress.com/products/the-hunger-inside  for details.

Conference to hold Mentor/Mentee Retreat

Ohio Conference will hold a Mentor/Mentee Retreat for pastors on Sept. 6 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the St. Francis Spirituality Center in Tiffin. Terry Shue will provide input, along with representatives from Ohio Conference. Registration is due by Aug. 16. For more details, see the 2022 Mentor-Mentee Retreat Flier.  

When will we act?

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By Dick Barrett Conference Minister Last night I watched the reports of the horrific shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, that claimed the lives of at least 19 children and two adults. That comes less than two weeks after a shooting at a grocery store in my hometown of Buffalo, New York, claimed the lives of 10 people…

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Webinar to focus on reconnecting with families

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“Where did they go? Reconnecting with kids and families” will be the theme of a webinar on Monday, May 16, at 7 p.m. hosted by Joan Daggett and Chrissie Muecke of the Shine Sunday school curriculum. COVID turned Sunday school on its head. After two years of isolation, families with youth and young children have been slow to re-engage in…

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A Year of Discernment

By Dick Barrett Conference Minister There is no doubt that the past two years have been both different and difficult on our churches. In one sense, as Mennonites/Anabaptists we don’t find ourselves to be any different from other Christian churches throughout America. Almost all congregations can say that their church has lost members and attenders, and the church doesn’t look…

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MCC webinar to explore ‘Gardening for good’

Interested in creation care? On May 26 at 8 p.m., Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) will host a webinar, “Gardening for good: Creation care tips for your backyard and stories from Bolivia.” In this virtual visit, MCC will explore what it looks like to care for the planet ─ from our own backyards to remote Bolivian communities. This presentation will include…

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Immigration Resource Team ends its work

Ohio Conference would like to express its appreciation for the work completed by the Immigration Resource Team (IRT) from 2018 to 2022. This resource team was convened to investigate, evaluate and help congregations implement the resolution on immigration which delegates affirmed in 2019. This group created a list of immigration resources as well as a biblical guide to immigration. In…

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Many work together at MCC Comforter Bash

Many people came together to support Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) at the Ohio MCC Comforter Bash on April 22-23. A total of 129 comforters were knotted during the two-day event at the Kidron Community Park Building, with 150 volunteers participating in the work on Friday and 75 volunteers on Saturday. MCC will distribute these comforters to people in need around…

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Register now for enneagram workshop

Last call for registrations: Ohio Conference will host “Exploring the Enneagram as a Ministry Tool,” a one-day work­shop for pastors on May 3. The workshop will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the main branch of the Mansfield/Richland County Public Library, 43 W. Third St., Mansfield, Ohio. This work­shop will explore how Enneagram types affect compatibility, functionality…

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Winter Read starts discussion process

Conversations about race can be uncomfortable for some of us. How do we begin to grapple with issues of racial reconciliation? More than 60 people from around the Ohio Conference committed to discussing racial reconciliation this winter while participating in a new initiative called the Ohio Conference Winter Read. Led by Pastors Vikki Pruitte-Sorrells of Lee Heights Community Church in…

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The centrality of Jesus Christ

By Dick Barrett Conference Minister  For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. ─ 1 Corinthians 2:2 (NRSV) On March 4 and 5, Ohio Conference hosted our Annual Conference Assembly at Zion Mennonite Church in Archbold. During the assembly delegates unanimously affirmed our new mission statement – The mission of Ohio Conference of Mennonite…

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Try these resources during Lent

By Ann Leaman Ohio Conference Resource Advocate Looking for Lenten resources which you can use at home? The Soil and the Seed Project has released a new free collection of resources for this season. The Soil and the Seed Project: Vol. 2 ─ Lent–Easter–Pentecost is a collection of music, artwork, and “little liturgies” following the liturgical calendar. These resources offer…

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Women leading, empowered by the Holy Spirit

By Alysa Short Coordinator of Volunteers Ohio Conference held a retreat for women in leadership Feb. 18-19 at the St. Francis Spirituality Center in Tiffin, Ohio. Twenty-three women from around Conference participated in this overnight retreat led by Rebecca Slough, academic dean and professor of worship and the arts emerita at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Indiana. Focusing on…

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Bible study series explores diversity

Mennonite Church USA has produced “Diversity: God’s Design,” a new four-week Bible study aimed at young adults (but appropriate for intergenerational audiences) that celebrates diversity and intercultural competence. “Diversity: God’s Design” features voices from across the Mennonite church who share biblical narratives and personal experiences that invite participants to explore how and why they should join the journey of celebrating…

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