MMN webinar to focus on spiritual practices

Mennonite Mission Network (MMN) is offering a free webinar, “Spiritual practices for peacemakers: finding your center when you feel pulled apart.” Karla Minter, church relations representative for MMN, will lead the webinar on June 4 at 7 p.m. She will invite participants to encounter or rediscover spiritual practices that create a daily rhythm to help turn despair and isolation into…

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Thoughtful and prayerful reopening

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All of our congregations throughout Ohio Conference are dis­cerning when is the best time to start gathering together in person again and what steps need to be taken to try to prevent any spread of COVID-19. Most will be reopening in phases offering limited interaction (e.g. no Sunday school, no nursery care, no coffee and refreshments). Some will begin by…

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Jesus is the Center

By Dick Barrett Conference Minister More than 10 years ago now Palmer Becker wrote a small book titled What is an Anabaptist Christian? The booklet was his attempt to highlight the distinctiveness of an “Anabaptist Christian,” and he did so by highlighting three core values: 1) Jesus is the center of our faith; 2) Community is the center of our…

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An important part of Christ’s Body

By Ramon Lianez Central Mennonite Church I believe that young adults are an important part of Christ’s Body, but we are not ministering to them accordingly. The ball is being dropped on both sides; however, through appropriate means and in God’s timing, we all can turn our present situation around. I do not attest that I am an expert in…

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Hispanic families suffering more in the era of COVID-19

By Haroldo Nunes Executive Director Open Arms Hispanic Ministry Hello my sisters and brothers, I would like to start this article with a quote from Jim Wallis of Sojourners: “We believe that the ultimate test of our discipleship to Jesus Christ is how we treat the most vulnerable in society, or as Jesus refers to them in Matthew 25, ‘the…

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Issues to consider before meeting in person

As the State of Ohio introduces plans to slowly open up once more after weeks of stay-at-home orders, congregations have many things to consider before reopening their church buildings and returning to in-person worship services. As your congregation’s leaders discuss plans for returning to meeting in person, here are two articles outlining issues to consider: “Twenty-four questions your church should…

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Seminary hosts online forum series on navigating ministry during COVID-19

Eastern Mennonite Seminary is hosting Navigating Ministry During COVID-19, a free online forum series for pastors. All forums will be live via Zoom on Wednesdays, from 3-4:30 p.m. EDT. Register here. The series is an outgrowth of an April 1 online gathering that drew 32 pastors, including 22 alumni, representing Mennonite Church USA, the Church of the Brethren, Presbyterian Church USA and United…

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CommonWord and AMBS offer resources for dealing with COVID-19

CommonWord has compiled a curated list of worship, family, and other resources for use during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to downloadable documents, the list includes links to articles on topics such as “An Examen for Life During COVID-19” and “How to Livestream Your Church Service: A Practical Guide.” To view these resources, go to www.commonword.ca/go/2005. Another source for COVID-19-related…

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Easter – now what?

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By Dick Barrett, Conference Minister This past Sunday we celebrated Easter in a way far different than most of us have celebrated Easter in the past. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, we couldn’t celebrate it together in our churches with all the pomp which we normally do. Most of us had to celebrate in a much more subdued manner in…

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Hope Series offers online prayer, more

Mennonite Mission Network is offering a new digital ministry called the Hope Series. The series includes prayer gatherings which are live streamed on Facebook Monday-Saturday at 1 p.m., as well as devotional times and opportunities for group interactions. To learn more about the Hope Series, see https://www.mennonitemission.net/resources/the-hope-series/.  

MennoMedia provides free resources

While gatherings are limited because of COVID-19, MennoMedia is providing free online resources. MennoMedia is offering a special issue of its daily devotional magazine, Rejoice!, as a free download from the MennoMedia website. The special publication, titled Rejoice! A Time Such as This: Reflections on COVID-19, was written, edited, and designed by individuals volunteering their time to contribute their gifts…

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What is truth?

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By Dick Barrett, Conference Minister This year we find ourselves on a Lenten journey different than any other year, especially with the coronavirus pandemic, our need to stay isolated, and our inability to worship together as churches. “What is truth?” That is one of the questions that Pilate asked Jesus to help him decide whether to turn him over to…

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Planning for Sunday school amid church closures

While gatherings are limited because of COVID-19, MennoMedia is offering free online resources for Christian education. These materials are from MennoMedia’s Shine curriculum, and they are free for use by churches for online learning or to send to parents for use at home. You can find them at https://shinecurriculum.com/shineathome/free-resources.

MDI virtual learning communities connect people in distancing times

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As the spread of COVID-19 creates distance between people out in public, Mennonite Mission Network’s Missional Discipleship Initiative  (MDI) continues to connect people online by spreading God’s good news in Christ through its training of missional leaders, said Marvin Lorenzana, Mission Network’s MDI director. To learn more about how MDI is helping people connect online, please see the news release…

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In an anxious time: Be still and know that I am God

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God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where…

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Pastors explore spiritual direction

On Feb. 4 Ohio Conference held a daylong event to introduce pastors to spiritual direction, a practice of deepening one’s relationship with God and learning to grow in one’s own spiritual maturity. This event, held at Camp Luz, brought together an equal number of spiritual directors and pastors, approximately 20 people altogether. Facilitated by Janice Hershberger, Randy Murray, and Christine…

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Seeking

By Dick Barrett Conference Minister Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. — Matthew 6:33 (NIV) I recently spent a week alone with God. I try to do that a couple of times a year. I have learned to go into the week without my own expectations of how…

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Christians at the Border looks at immigration through the lens of scripture

By Greg Bowman Christians at the Border: Immigration, the Church, and the Bible, 2nd Edition (2013) by M. Daniel Carroll R. This author makes a profoundly simple — but perversely challenging — request: Christians, please base your attitudes about immigration on the clear teaching in the Bible — in both testaments — before considering cultural, economic, and legal arguments. He…

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Maple Syrup Festival to support missions

Please note: This event has been postponed until further notice. Sonnenberg Mennonite Church in Kidron will hold its 23rd annual Maple Syrup Festival including a pancake and sausage breakfast on Saturday, March 28, from 7 to 10:30 a.m. This annual event features locally-made maple syrup, and pro­ceeds support missions, both local and international. For more de­tails, please see the event…

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Growing Disciples, Part 5 — Ecumenical Rebuking

This episode of the Ohio Conference Cast is the final podcast in a series about Missional Discipleship Groups. Lucas Johnson of Valley View Mennonite Church in Spartansburg, Pennsylvania, talks with Nate, a member of his Missional Discipleship Group. Nate and Lucas talk about rebuking, ecumenism, ministry, and love — all from a guy’s perspective.   For more information about Missional…

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Growing Disciples, Part 4 — Building Trust

This episode of the Ohio Conference Cast is the fourth installment in a series about Missional Discipleship Groups. In this episode, Lucas Johnson of Valley View Mennonite Church talks with Randi about her three-person small group and the trust that has developed between the members of the group. “It’s just turned into my favorite time of the week,” Randi says.…

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MMN offers service opportunities for youth and young adults

Calling everyone ages 15-22! Are you looking for a fun and meaningful way to serve this summer? Join a 2020 Youth Ven­ture team! See and join in the work God is doing in Spain, Co­lombia, Arizona, Peru, Nazareth Village, or Benin. Visit www.MennoniteMission.net/Serve to learn more, or contact Lau­ren Eash Hershberger at LaurenEH@MennoniteMission.net. … Service Adventure is a gap year…

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Growing Disciples, Part 3 — Developing Relationships

The Ohio Conference Cast podcast is back with the third install­ment in a series exploring Missional Discipleship Groups. In this episode, Lucas Johnson of Valley View Mennonite Church in Spartansburg, Pennsylvania, talks with several people about how these small groups are building relationships and changing lives.   For more information about Missional Discipleship Groups, see these articles: http://bit.ly/YourInvitationToMakeDisciples http://bit.ly/DisciplesMakeDisciples http://bit.ly/WindoftheSpirit…

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Credentialed leaders meet for discussion

On Feb. 11 credentialed ministers from across Ohio Conference gathered at the Upper Sandusky Public Library. Thirty-five pastors and other credentialed leaders worshipped in song, dwelled in God’s Word together, discussed the recently released Mennonite Church USA Membership Guidelines Report, ate together, and prayed for one another. The biannual meeting is part of Ohio Conference’s Gathered and Sent initiative, which…

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Learn, Pray, Join initiative looks at climate justice

Mennonite Church USA encourages people and congregations to focus on climate justice by highlighting prayers, resources and ways to get involved in February and March. This focus is part of MC USA’s “Learn, Pray, Join” initiative in partnership with Mennonite Creation Care Network (MCCN) and the Center for Sustainable Climate Solutions (CSCS). To learn more about this focus on climate justice, go…

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Congregation’s ministry focuses on healing trauma

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Recently Dan King, a member of the Immigration Resource Team, shared a reflection about the experience he and his wife, Jeanette, had when they volunteered with San Antonio Mennonite Church’s ministry to immigrants. (To read Dan’s reflection, see http://bit.ly/SanAntonioService.) In 2019, San Antonio Mennonite Church received a Traditioned Innovation Award from Duke Divinity School for the congregation’s work toward healing…

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Millsaps to present Forum on gun violence

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BLUFFTON, Ohio — Cyneatha Millsaps, executive director of Mennonite Women USA, will present the Forum “Gun Violence: Its Effects on Family and Community” at 11 a.m. on Feb. 11 in Yoder Recital Hall at Bluffton University. This event is free and open to the public. Millsaps will tell about her family’s experience with gun violence and describe the many risks…

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Conference to focus on faith and digital culture

Faith formation leaders, come to Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary March 2-5 to join other pastors, lay leaders, youth leaders, parents, and educators as we consider Shaping Faith in a Digital Culture. How do we nurture Christian identity in a digitally saturated culture? Featured speaker will be Karen-Marie Yust, M.Div., Th.D., author of Real Kids, Real Faith and professor of Christian education at Union Presbyterian…

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Register now for Engaging Mission 2020

Please note: Due to the uncertainty about when restrictions will be lifted for public gatherings, the Ohio Conference Leadership Team has decided to cancel this event.      Online registration is now open for Engaging Mission 2020, an Ohio Conference missional festival planned for June 26-28 at Bluffton University. This event will be for people of all ages, including family…

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Pastors to meet Feb. 11 in Upper Sandusky

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The next All-Ohio Conference Pastors’ Gathering will take place Tuesday, Feb. 11, from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Upper Sandusky Public Library. There will be a time of dwelling in the Word, fellowship, and sharing about what is going on in Conference and in our congregations. This gathering will also include some time talking about the possibility of…

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