Conference operating deficit continues

Ohio Conference’s expenses were greater than receipts during May, according to figures provided by Financial Coordinator Stan Helmuth. Expenses for the month were $27,878, while receipts totaled just $21,455, resulting in an operating balance of -$6,423 for the month. For the first two months of the fiscal year, the Conference’s operating balance stands at -$18,111.  

Chestnut Ridge shares memories at closing service

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Members of Chestnut Ridge Mennonite Church in Orrville gathered Sunday morning, June 3, to hold a final worship service in the Chestnut Ridge church building. Those attending shared many memories of the congregation’s life, and several people mentioned the support that the congregation gave to other ministries, including the way that Chestnut Ridge supported the founding of Dayspring Christian Fellowship.…

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Training begins for Missional Network

The Ohio Conference Missional Network is beginning this summer. Ohio Conference Missional Consultant Jessica Schrock-Ringenberg is conducting an initial training session for participating congregations. This training session will be offered on four dates in June and July. Participants are encouraged to choose the date which best fits their schedule: June 24 — 6-9 p.m., First Mennonite Church, Canton June 26 — 9:30…

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Search committee reports progress, asks for prayer

The Search Committee tasked with hiring a Conference Minister has been hard at work over the past six weeks. We have advertised in the Mennonite press, and reached out to constituency groups, seminaries and conference leaders to collect names and contact potential candidates. One of the challenges for our recruitment process is that many have not heard about the exciting…

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Apply for grants by Aug. 6

Is your congregation looking for ways to fund a ministry that impacts your community? Aug. 6 is the deadline to submit a grant proposal to the Ohio Conference Ministry Development Team (MDT). The MDT is accepting proposals from Conference congregations and related organizations for projects and mission initiatives. This year the MDT has $24,282 available for grants. Please note that…

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Ralph Reinford begins three-month leave

As was announced at Annual Conference Assembly, Regional Pastor Ralph Reinford is taking a three-month leave from his duties with Ohio Conference. His leave will last from May 1 until the end of July. During May, June and July, contact Cliff Brubaker for any regional pastor work needed. Email Cliff at cliffbru7@gmail.com or call him at 517-398-2172. For any other…

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Conference ends 2017-18 in the black

For the second year in a row, the Ohio Conference has ended its fiscal year in the black, according to figures provided by Financial Coordinator Stan Helmuth. On March 31, 2018, the Conference finished the 2017-18 fiscal year with an operating surplus of $54,840. In comparison, the Conference finished the 2016-17 fiscal year with an operating surplus of $22,095. Before…

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Conference minister search re-opens

In February the Leadership Team made the decision to hire a full-time conference minister, rather than seek someone to fill this important role part-time. This is possible because Ralph Reinford, regional pastor, will be moving to part-time hours by Nov. 1, 2018. The previous search committee has been recalled and reorganized, and the members of that committee have again begun…

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‘Reading the Bible with Jesus’ coming to Ohio

Salem Mennonite Church in Kidron will host “Reading the Bible with Jesus,” an inspirational four-session Bible study on the book of Mark with Bryan Moyer Suderman Feb. 16-17. What can followers of Jesus today learn from Jesus’ approach to scripture? What if today’s Christians not only sought to imitate how Jesus lived and how he treated people, but also how…

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Conference minister search enters new phase

The search for a new conference minister for Ohio Conference has entered a new phase. According to the search committee chair, John Rohrer, the committee has begun the process of interviewing candidates for this half-time position. A conference minister job description was publicized in the fall, and applications for the position were accepted through Nov. 30. The search committee is…

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Cliff Brubaker to move to half-time status

Cliff Brubaker has asked to be relieved of his involvement with the Gathered and Sent initiative at the end of January. He has come to realize that attempting to focus his time and energy on three jobs is more than he desires to tackle at this time. He will continue his half-time role as regional pastor for the Ohio Conference…

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Conference ends December in the black

Giving to Ohio Conference in December was strong, bringing the Conference’s operating balance into the black for the first time in this fiscal year. Receipts for December totaled $58,206, including $43,591 in congregational giving. Giving from individuals also was strong in December. In response to a year-end appeal from Moderator Bob Sauder, individuals gave $11,475 during December. Expenses for the…

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Pastor-Spouse Retreat offers time away for couples

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Twenty-five couples took part in the Ohio Conference Pastor-Spouse Retreat at Mohican State Park on Nov. 10-12. Resource speakers for the weekend were James Lapp and Miriam Book, and Tim Shue led music. The weekend also included a chance for couples to enjoy the outdoors in the state park during free time. Photos by Cliff Brubaker

Learning more about mental illness

By Alysa Short Members of Amish and Mennonite communities are helping researchers learn more about bipolar disorder. On Nov. 5, more than 100 people attended a presentation of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) held at Central Mennonite Church in Archbold, Ohio, to learn more about this research. The event, coordinated by Bev Miller from Central, featured Dr. Francis…

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Litany of Lament, Celebration and Hope

Ohio Mennonite Women — A Patchwork Quilt Litany of Lament, Celebration and Hope Sept. 16, 2017 Leader: Lord God, Designer and Creator, Quilter and Weaver of all, We come to you in lament, celebration and hope. Women: We are your patchwork quilt, fabrics and pieces, all brought together, intricately interwoven, Leader: Quilted together by the love of God. Women: You…

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Quilting the memories of time

Ohio Mennonite Women celebrate together Photos by Willie Stoltzfus and Heidi Childs   By Willie Stoltzfus Quilts were the theme of the Time of Celebration during Women’s Retreat on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, at Camp Luz — a time of celebration and closure for the Ohio Mennonite Women (OMW) as an organization. The Camp Luz chapel was decorated with various…

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Promoting Healthy Boundaries

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How can we make sure our congregations are safe places for everyone? In a blog post on the Mennonite Church USA website, Terry Shue, director of leadership development for Mennonite Church USA, said, “Recent episodes of ministerial misconduct in our system have again alerted us to the ongoing task of making our congregations a safe place for everyone — both…

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Ohio Mennonite Women Executive Board decides to dissolve the organization

July 29, 2017 Dear Ohio Mennonite Women, The Ohio Mennonite Women have been meeting for many years, to accomplish its primary mission and vision:  “To minister to the women of Ohio Conference of Mennonite Church USA, by resourcing women’s groups and individual women, as we nurture our life in Christ, study the Bible, utilize our gifts, hear each other, and…

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OMW Executive Board decides to dissolve organization

On July 29, 2017, the Executive Board of the Ohio Mennonite Women (OMW) made the difficult decision to dissolve the organization of the Ohio Mennonite Women. The Executive Board asks all congregations to include the following announcement of this decision in their church bulletins on Aug. 20: Dear Women of Ohio, Over the years, Ohio Mennonite Women (OMW) has significantly…

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Conference deficit decreases slightly in June

  Ohio Conference’s receipts were slightly higher than expenses in June, according to figures provided by Ohio Conference Financial Coordinator Stan Helmuth. Receipts for June totaled $23,965, including $20,225 in congregational giving. Expenses for the month totaled $23,560, resulting in a surplus of $405 for the month. The year-to-date operating balance at the end of June was -$2,378.

Leadership Team continues work on staffing

The Ohio Conference Leadership Team, with the help of Regional Pastor Cliff Brubaker, has been diligently working at finding leadership for the Conference to address several needs. We are looking for leadership to guide the missional movement that has become the desired focus of the Ohio Conference. In addition, the Leadership Team is seeking to ensure that executive functions are…

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Oak Grove celebrates the arts

By Joanne Murray Oak Grove Mennonite Church in Smithville hosted “Celebrating the Arts,” a visual art exhibit with background instrumental music.  This event was held April 29-30 and featured the work of more than 20 church artists. People of all ages from Oak Grove participated by bringing their creations to the church Fellowship Center, where they were displayed. This first event…

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Ohio Mennonite Relief Sale set for Aug. 4-5

Wooster, Ohio — The 52nd Annual Ohio Mennonite Relief Sale will take place at the Wayne County Fairgrounds in Wooster on Aug. 4-5. The 2017 Ohio Mennonite Relief Sale will include live music, breakfast, food and vendor booths and children’s activities, as well as a 5K run and a volleyball tournament. Multiple auctions will be held, including a silent auction,…

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Festival raises funds, builds community

What started out as a fundraiser turned out to be something more.  On June 24 Salem Mennonite Church in Waldron, Michigan, held a Strawberry Festival on the church grounds to showcase the congregation’s new unfinished building and to help raise funds to complete it. Salem’s new building sits behind the current structure in the middle of a hay field more…

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Make disciples. Seriously. Here’s one way how.

The Missional Discipleship Initiative is coming to the Ohio Conference! The Conference is partnering with Mennonite Mission Network to offer the Missional Discipleship Initiative (MDI) to congregations, starting this fall. In this episode of the Ohio Conference Cast, hosts Bill Seymour and Jacob Dodson talk about MDI with Mennonite Mission Network staff members Marvin Lorenzana and Karla Minter, as well…

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Voices for Peace Tour coming to Ohio

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The Jewish and Palestinian Voices for Peace Tour, sponsored by Mennonite Church USA, is coming to Ohio in May with stops at three Ohio congregations. Dates and locations are as follows: May 7 — Columbus Mennonite Church, 9:30 a.m. May 8 — Lima Mennonite Church, 7 p.m. May 10 — Zion Mennonite Church, 6:30 p.m. At these programs Amy Shuster,…

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What happened at CLC this time?

In this episode of the Ohio Conference Cast, hosts Thomas Dunn and Bill Seymour talk to Ohio Conference’s representatives to the Constituency Leaders Council (CLC), Jessica Schrock-Ringenberg, Ralph Reinford, and Bob Sauder. They discuss what happened at the March meeting of the CLC and they preview the Future Church Summit, which will take place at the denominational convention in Orlando…

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Remembering Naomi Engle

Naomi Engle, who pastored West Clinton Mennonite Church in Wauseon along with her husband, Jess, passed away mid-day on Jan. 1, 2017. Naomi served as chair of the Ohio Conference Credentialing Ministry and was a member of the Ohio Conference Leadership Team from 2011 until late last year after she was diagnosed with brain cancer. An obituary can be found…

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2017 convention to offer increased accessibility for persons with disabilities

Anabaptist Disabilities Network (ADN) and planners for Orlando 2017 are collaborating to provide increased accessibility for persons with disabilities attending next summer’s biennial Mennonite Convention, July 4-8 in Orlando, Florida. ADN will serve as the information center and point of access for accessibility services to assist the new convention accessibility coordinator and volunteers. Various accessibility services are planned: Printed maps…

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