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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Immigration perspective — Our holiday experience in San Antonio

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By Dan King For a change in our Christmas vacation routines, my wife, Jeanette, and I decided to give two weeks as SOOP volunteers with San Antonio Mennonite Church this year. We had visited there briefly twice before and were touched in seeing the dedication of this small congregation in reaching out to immigrants in need. For five years they…

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Register now for spiritual direction event

Last call for registrations: Ohio Conference is offering a spiritual direction event for pastors Feb. 4 at Camp Luz in Kidron. The Conference is encouraging all pastors to have a spiritual director, and this event will introduce the concept of spiritual direction. Led by Janice Hershberger, Randy Murray, and Christine Nafziger, attendees will learn about spiritual direction while also experiencing…

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Course offers congregations tools for engaging conflict

Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS) — For six weeks each year, Betty Pries, Ph.D., a conflict management specialist based in Waterloo, Ontario, leads an online short course for AMBS as a sessional instructor. In the course, Transforming Congregational Conflict and Communication, Pries and her students draw on biblical, theological, practical and spiritual sources in examining difficult experiences that pastors and…

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Bluffton University students explore faith through interactive program on Christianity

BLUFFTON, Ohio — For the second semester in a row, Bluffton University’s campus ministries team and student volunteers led Alpha, a multi-week video series and discussion group centered on the Christian faith. The international program, developed in London in 1977, creates spaces where participants come together for conversations about faith, life and God. “Alpha is specifically designed for people who…

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A peace church?

By Dick Barrett Conference Minister This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” — Luke 2:12-14 (ESV)…

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Youth and young adults: the NOW and FUTURE church

Photo credit: “Bulletin Board” by chelmsfordpubliclibrary is licensed under Creative Commons CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. By Alex Dye She was 8 years old, chin up with eyes squinting, scrutinizing the faces on the bulletin board. Her gaze glanced across the names under each face and fell upon accompanying titles like “Church Council Chair” and “Worship Committee Chair” and “Trustee” and “Elder,” all designations…

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Join MCC’s Great Winter Warm-up

Make plans to join MCC’s Great Winter Warm-up at Toledo Mennonite! Mennonite Central Committee will kick off its centennial celebration year with comforter knotting events across the U.S., Canada and Europe. On Saturday, Jan. 11, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. people of all ages are invited to Toledo Mennonite Church, 5501 Nebraska Avenue, Toledo, for the Great Winter Warm-up comforter…

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Growing Disciples, Part 2 — Seeing God at Work

This podcast episode is the second in a series exploring Missional Discipleship Groups. Guest host Lucas Johnson, pastoral team member at Valley View Mennonite Church in Spartansburg, Pennsylvania, talks with several people who are participating in these weekly small groups. Listen to this episode to hear Casey and Gail, two members of a women’s small group, reflect on how God…

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Conference to consider faith and digital culture

Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Indiana, is hosting “Shaping Faith in a Digital Culture” March 2-5. This conference will be a time for faith leaders to think theologically about living, worshiping and playing in digital spaces. Presenter Karen-Marie Yust, author of Real Kids, Real Faith, is professor of Christian education at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, Virginia. She will…

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Weekend College expands biblical literacy

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Interested in expanding your congregation’s biblical literacy? Hesston College faculty member Nick Ladd would love to come to your congregation to present a Weekend College course, “The Bible as Story.” This weekend-long resourcing event focuses on helping congregations to put Bible stories together as one big story, expanding biblical literacy and understanding. Nick Ladd formerly served as a member of…

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Growing Disciples, Part 1 — The Explosion

Sometimes growth takes a while, but patience can pay off. That’s been the experience at Valley View Mennonite Church in Spartansburg, Pennsylvania. In the latest episode of the Ohio Conference Cast, Lucas Johnson and Robb Esh, pastoral team members at Valley View Mennonite, talk about the growth of Missional Discipleship Groups in their area of Pennsylvania. The groups now include…

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Try the Anabaptist Prayer app during Advent

This Advent, try out the free Anabaptist Prayer app. Let Jesus’ words pervade your day through morning and evening prayer services with a distinctive Anabaptist flavor. Take Our Moments and Our Days: An Anabaptist Prayer App includes Scripture-saturated prayers and space for communal reflection. The free,  easy-to-navigate app covers Advent through Pentecost as well as Ordinary Time. Available for iPhone…

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Holiday card campaign supports detainees

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If your congregation is looking for a way to connect with immi­grants, consider an idea Paula Snyder Belousek shared in the lat­est issue of Ohio Mennonite Evangel: the Casa Mariposa Visita­tion Program in Arizona has a goal of collecting 3,000 cards in time for Christmas so that each person in the immigration deten­tion centers in Eloy and Florence, Arizona, receives…

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