MC USA leadership encourages discussion

Save the date: Mennonite Church USA (MC USA) is planning a second webinar on the theme “Race, Church and Change.” This webinar is scheduled for July 23 at 6:30 p.m. EDT on both Zoom and Facebook Live. To register for this webinar, please go to https://bit.ly/RaceChurchandChange2. The first “Race, Church and Change” webinar took place on Thursday, June 25, and…

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Called to make disciples, even in a pandemic

COVID-19 has changed our daily lives in many ways, but even so, God is still at work in the world. And despite the challenges of living through a pandemic, the Ohio Conference Missional Resource Team is encouraging people to keep participating in God’s mission. “We still want to be a missional people,” said Missional Resource Team member Jacob Dodson, the…

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Fighting the wrong battles with the wrong weapons

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By Dick Barrett Conference Minister If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. — 2 Chronicles 7:14 (ESV) Over the past several months we have witnessed several African American people die…

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Involving young adults in ministry

How is your congregation ministering to youth and young adults? How are you involving these young people in ministry? Ohio Conference’s Youth and Young Adult Ministry Team has been encouraging Ohio Conference congregations to share their stories of how they are relating to youth and young adults. In this issue of Ohio Mennonite Evangel, we check in with Matthew Reed,…

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Engaging immigration: Some action steps

A few thoughts from the Ohio Conference Immigration Resource Team: Are you aware that a significant number of immigrants living in Ohio (and the rest of this country) face a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 because of their work in meat processing plants and other factories? Don’t forget to pray for them. There’s plenty of time left this summer for…

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MCC plans centennial livestream celebration July 26

Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) will celebrate its centennial year with a virtual event on Sunday, July 26, at 6:30 p.m. EDT. MCC will be broadcasting live from Prairie Street Mennonite Church in Elkhart, Indiana, the site of an important first meeting in the formation of MCC when representatives of various Mennonite and Mennonite Brethren groups met in July 1920. This…

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Giving to Conference increases during June

Ohio Conference’s financial picture improved during June, with much stronger giving from congregations than in May, ac­cording to figures provided by Finan­cial Coordinator Stan Helmuth. Congregational giving in June totaled $43,884, compared with just $11,964 during May. During June total income from all sources was $44,772, and expenses for the month totaled $28,855, resulting a surplus of $15,917 for the…

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Women in Leadership Retreat planned for February

Save the date: Ohio Confer­ence will hold a Women in Leadership Retreat Feb. 5-6, 2021, at the St. Francis Spir­ituality Center in Tiffin. The input speaker for this retreat will be Rebecca Slough, aca­demic dean emerita and pro­fessor emerita of worship and the arts at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary. Retreat plan­ners are encouraging every Ohio Conference congregation to send at…

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MDT to award Ministry Grants

Ministry Grants are back! Aug. 10 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. The MDT has $7,000 available for grants in 2020. This year the MDT is seeking to provide grants for projects that address…

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New members join Immigration Resource Team

The Ohio Conference Immigration Resource Team has added two new members from western Ohio, Megan Bettelon and Krisha Pagniano. Below they share some information about themselves and their interest in immigration: Megan Bettelon: I’ve been a lifelong attendee of Huber Mennonite Church in New Carlisle. I am a social worker and currently work in a school setting. Growing up in…

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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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Podcast hosts to conclude their work

After more than three years and dozens of podcast episodes, Thomas Dunn and Bill Seymour have decided to resign as hosts of the Ohio Conference Cast podcast. The Ohio Conference Cast began in the fall of 2016 with the goal of creating another avenue for people to learn about happenings within the Ohio Conference. Since that time, Bill and Thomas…

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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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Peaceful at Heart explores healthy masculinity

What does Anabaptism have to teach us about healthy masculinity? Don Neufeld and Steve Thomas, coordinators of Mennonite Men Canada and Mennonite Men USA, respectively, have edited a collection of essays, Peaceful at Heart: Anabaptist Reflections on Healthy Masculinity, with support from the Institute of Mennonite Studies to answer this question. This project of Mennonite Men is a collaborative effort…

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Applications pour in for COVID-19 Congregational Relief Fund

By Susan Kim GOSHEN, Indiana — Anabaptist churches in the U.S. have submitted more than 200 applications to the new COVID-19 Congregational Relief Fund since its launch on April 13, 2020. The great majority of the applications have come from churches serving racially or ethnically diverse communities – congregations whose needs center around lost jobs and income that have led…

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University Euclid congregation closes

University Euclid Christ New Testament Church, an Ohio Conference congregation in Cleveland, has closed, reports Regional Pastor Ralph Reinford. The congregation’s pastors, Brian Anderson and Sheila Spencer Anderson, resigned in September 2019. A small group from the congregation continued meeting through February of this year, when the congregation decided to close. The congregation intends to donate the church property to…

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Engaging Mission 2020 has been canceled

Please note: Because there is uncertainty about when restrictions will be lifted for public gatherings, the Ohio Conference Leadership Team has decided to cancel Engaging Mission 2020. This intergenerational missional festival was scheduled to take place June 24-26 at Bluffton University. Plans are already underway for a missional conference next March. The 2021 missional conference is scheduled for March 4-5 at…

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MennoMedia offers free resources for calming fears

In light of the alarming coronavirus headlines, MennoMedia is providing free resources to help calm the fears of congregations. Beyond Our Fears: Following Jesus in Times of Crisis was originally created after the SARS outbreak of 2009, but the content is just as relevant today. To download this material, go to http://bit.ly/BeyondOurFears. For children, MennoMedia is offering Don’t Be Afraid:…

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Conference shares recommendations regarding the coronavirus

In an effort to be cautious but not overanxious regarding the spread of the coronavirus, Ohio Conference offers the following recommendations for our congregations to follow at the present time: Limit the practices that could spread germs, such as the shaking of hands and hugs. Make hand sanitizer and/or wipes readily available, and encourage their use. Communion and other activities…

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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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Missional festival is for people of all ages

You’ve probably heard the word “missional” many times before. But what does it really mean? And how can you live missionally? You can explore the answers to these questions at Engaging Mission 2020, an Ohio Conference missional festival planned for June 26-28 at Bluffton University. This will be a bilingual event in both English and Spanish. Engaging Mission 2020 is…

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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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Pastors participate in leadership program

Four pastors of Ohio Conference congregations recently participated in the Values-Based Leadership Program at Laurelville Mennonite Church Center in Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania. The program includes two four-day sessions, one in October and one in February. “This is an excellent program that we encourage other pastors to participate in,” said  Paula Snyder Belousek, pastor of Salem Mennonite Church in Elida. The…

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Delegates gather for business, worship

One hundred seventy-three people gathered at Sharon Mennonite Church in Plain City on March 7 for the 51st Annual Conference Assembly (ACA) of the Ohio Conference. Delegates from 36 congregations participated in the one-day meeting. Delegates worship In addition to business sessions, the one-day event included a time of worship, focusing on the theme “Hearts of Wisdom,” based on Psalm…

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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 Team, the Ministry Development Team, the Credentialing Ministry, the Stewardship Ministry and…

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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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Everence’s MyNeighbor program benefits Ohio Conference, other nonprofits

During January the Ohio Conference received a check for $1,077.66 from Everence Financial as part of Everence’s MyNeighbor credit card program. With the MyNeighbor program, individuals and businesses generate reward dollars for their favorite nonprofit every time they use their MyNeighbor credit cards from Everence. Everence donates 1.5 percent of each purchase to the card user’s chosen nonprofit agency. Then…

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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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