Conference awards nine ministry grants

The Ohio Conference Ministry Development Team (MDT) has awarded nine grants totaling $24,750. The MDT approved these grants at its Aug. 19 meeting. Funding for these grants comes from surplus funds that had accumulated during years in which the Conference ended its fiscal year with a surplus. The MDT has awarded these grants each year since 2012. The grants will…

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A biblical people?

By Dick Barrett Conference Minister  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. — Hebrews 13:8 (ESV) Each year I try to read through the entire Bible, both the New Testament and the Old Testament, following different Bible reading plans. I must confess that I have not always been successful. I also often find myself struggling with parts of…

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Church planting discussion planned

By Ralph Reinford Regional Pastor Are you interested in church planting? The Ohio Conference Ministry Development Team wants to initiate a conversation about growing new Visible Kingdom Communities, formerly known as church planting. This article is an invitation to anyone interested in, passionate for, or feeling a call to be a part of supporting new endeavors. We are planning a…

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Senior designs her own social work internship through Bluffton’s Summer Discovery Program

BLUFFTON, Ohio — Rowena Zuercher, a member of Sonnenberg Mennonite Church in Kidron, is making the most of her college experience. The social work and Spanish double major from Apple Creek, Ohio, is a student ambassador, active on campus and spent a semester in Guatemala. This summer, she created her own internship through the Summer Discovery Program, which provides a…

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Summer festival to focus on mission

Plans are underway for an Ohio Conference missional festival, “Engaging Mission 2020,” to be held at Bluffton University June 26-28, 2020. This event will be for people of all ages, including family groups. The festival will provide an introduction to missional living where participants will be challenged to create space for mission in their lives. In the past several years,…

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You are invited to make disciples

In Matthew 28, Jesus called for his disciples to make disciples of others. But the call to make disciples continues today. You are invited to join others in the Ohio Conference who are participating in the Missional Discipleship Initiative (https://www.mennonitemission.net/MDI). What is the Missional  Discipleship Initiative (MDI)? MDI is an initiative launched by Marvin Lorenzana and Mennonite Mission Network to…

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Immigrant care kit drive is underway

Open Arms Hispanic Ministries is coordinating a drive to collect immigration detainee care kits, which are being distributed by Mennonite Central Committee Central States and its partner, the South Texas Response Team. These kits, which contain clothing and hygiene products, are given to individuals who are being released from detention centers. On Oct. 2 Orrville Mennonite Church is hosting an…

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Lynn Miller accepts moderator position

The Ohio Conference Leadership Team is pleased to announce that Lynn Miller of Tedrow Mennonite Church has agreed to serve as our Conference moderator. Lynn has been a part of Tedrow Mennon­ite Church all his life, and he has served as a delegate to Ohio Conference in the past both as a member of Tedrow and as a member of…

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Vickie Yoder accepts new assignment

As of Sept. 1, Vicki Yoder will become chair of the Credentialing Ministry when Verle Brubaker steps down. Verle has accepted a new ministry opportunity in Pennsylvania and will be leaving the Conference shortly. Vickie is part-time interim associate pastor at Sharon Mennonite Church in Plain City, and she recently retired from her work as a chaplain. She has served…

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Developing leaders is a ‘Journey’

Ohio Conference is partnering with Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS) in Elkhart, Indiana, to provide a part-time long-distance leadership development program. Journey: A Missional Leadership Development Program is a three-year certificate program designed for people exploring a call to ministry. The program is also for pastors and other congregational leaders who have already been called to serve but who lack…

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The changing church landscape

By Dick Barrett Conference Minister The church landscape in 21st century America has radically changed over the past 20 years. We can no longer expect that the church model that existed for most of the 20th century is going to be effective for carrying out God’s call upon our lives as disciples of Jesus: to go out and make more…

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When disciples make disciples

By Laurie Oswald Robinson KANSAS CITY (Mennonite Mission Network) — Several years into her role as pastor at the 178-year-old Salem Mennonite Church in rural Elida, Ohio, Paula Snyder Belousek felt a growing dissatisfaction. Something was missing. Even though the congregation had faithfully followed Jesus for the long haul, older generations — rooted in traditional understandings of the Anabaptist faith…

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Summit Mennonite members volunteer with Habitat for Humanity

During the last week of April and the first week of May, members and friends of Summit Mennonite Church in Barberton, Ohio worked with Habitat for Humanity of Summit County at three different home building sites. They did landscaping, hung drywall (on the ceiling!) and installed siding, along with cutting lumber for heating and cooling duct installation. Hank Rossiter said,…

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MMN offers prayer resources

By Ann Leaman Ohio Conference Resource Advocate Did you know that the Mennonite Mission Network (MMN) website offers prayer-related resources? Many people may already be acquainted with Prayer Vine, MMN’s monthly prayer newsletter which lists daily prayer requests for MMN workers and programs. Each issue of Prayer Vine is available both as a PDF and as a PowerPoint file. The…

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MCC Central States is collecting immigration detainee care kits

In March, Ohio Conference delegates passed an immigration resolution. In part, the resolution states, “As delegates to Ohio Mennonite Conference, we commit ourselves to become better informed on the issues surrounding immigration, with a willingness to consider a variety of perspectives. Regardless of our own national origin, we will seek to reach out and build relationships with our neighbors, rooted…

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Cliff Brubaker to end his term as regional pastor on Sept. 13

It was with considerable sadness but also with a clear sense of direction that Cliff Brubaker recently submitted his notice of resignation from serving as a regional pastor of Ohio Conference, effective Sept. 13, 2019. In his notice Cliff shared, “I count it an honor to have served the Ohio Conference for these 3+ years. This stretch of time in…

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Pine Grove’s closing service marks 70 years of ministry

By Dick Barrett Conference Minister On June 9 Pine Grove Mennonite Church, just outside of Stryker, Ohio, held its last worship service. It was a time of both grief and celebration. Many recent and former members shared memories of God’s faithfulness during the congregation’s 70 years of ministry in the community. Pastors Gary and Sandy Stuckey led the service with…

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Therapy dog assists in ministry

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By Vickie Yoder In this essay, Vickie Yoder, a recently retired chaplain, describes the way that Shadow, a therapy dog, has helped in her ministry. Shadow became a certified therapy dog in 2013.  He takes his visitation responsibilities quite seriously.  When he puts on his vest, he is ready to bring joy and smiles to those he comes in contact…

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Laughter, tears and truth-telling at SENT 2019

By Travis Duerksen Mennonite Mission Network ENGLEWOOD, Colorado — More than 80 church leaders from across the country came together for SENT 2019 at Beloved Community Mennonite Church on April 26-28 in Englewood, Colorado. The SENT conference, now in its fourth year, is a peace church conference hosted by Mennonite Mission Network that helps connect, inspire, and equip church leaders…

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The Good News people

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By Dick Barrett Conference Minister “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” — Luke 4:18-19 (NIV) Jesus…

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Newest issue of Vision deals with fear

A new issue of Vision has been released! The Spring 2019 issue of Vision: A Journal for Church and Theology — on the theme “Be not afraid” — is now available for free online. The authors of the essays reflect on resources within the Christian tradition to help us cope with, and even overcome, our fears. You can download this…

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New Mennonite Mission Network booklet focuses on making disciples

By Ann Leaman Marvin Lorenzana is the author of the newest booklet in Mennonite Mission Network’s   Missio Dei series titled Not just disciples but disciple makers. The director for discipleship initiatives at Mennonite Mission Network, Marvin Lorenzana was one of the speakers at Ohio Conference’s 2018 Annual Conference Assembly and 2018 Gathered and Sent Missional Conference. “Biblical discipleship,” he says,…

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MCC plans Peace Camp for young adults

Coming this summer: Peace Camp. Mennonite Central Committee Great Lakes is offering a week-long Peace Camp at Amigo Centre in Sturgis, Michigan, July 21-26. This experience is for young adults ages 18-22 who are interested in learning about a biblical approach to peace and justice. During Peace Camp, young adults will explore the theme of “Responding to Violence” through hands-on…

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Anabaptist Disabilities Network offer Barrier-Free Grants for congregations

Anabaptist Disabilities Network (ADN) is announcing a new Barrier-Free Grant program that offers financial assistance to congregations for projects that facilitate barrier-free community life. Some examples of projects which would qualify for this grant are accessible restroom projects, classroom support persons, hearing devices, and mental health awareness events. The grant application lists many other examples of qualifying projects. You may…

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Conference begins 2019-20 with a deficit

Ohio Conference is beginning its 2019-20 fiscal year with a defi­cit, according to figures provided by Financial Coordinator Stan Helmuth. Receipts for the month of April totaled just $13,253, including $12,305 in giv­ing from con­gregations. Ex­penses for the month totaled $27,705, re­sulting in an operating balance of -$14,452 for the month. Even so, expenses were well below the amount budgeted…

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Pastor-Spouse Retreat planned for Nov. 15-17

Ohio Conference will hold a Pastor-Spouse Retreat Nov. 15-17 at the Mills Park Hotel in Yellow Springs, Ohio. The theme of the re­treat will be “Rest. Rejuvenate. Re­connect.” Because of the number of rooms available at this venue, the retreat is limited to the first 22 couples who register. For more information, please see the 2019 Pastor-Spouse Retreat brochure. To…

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Delegates approve immigration resolution

Delegates overwhelmingly affirmed a resolution on immigration at the 2019 Annual Conference Assembly (ACA) of the Ohio Conference. Those gathered at Salem Mennonite Church in Kidron March 8-9 numbered 204, including delegates from 38 congregations. Ninety-five percent of the delegates affirmed the immigration resolution, which calls for individuals to become better informed about the issues surrounding immigration, as well as…

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Conference focuses on building relationships

Just prior to Annual Conference Assembly, the Ohio Conference held the 2019 Missional Conference at Salem Mennonite Church in Kidron March 7-8. Eighty-eight people participated in this event. The theme of the conference was “From Jerusalem to Antioch: Legacy Churches Anchoring Missional Communities.” Featured speakers were Sally Schreiner Youngquist of Evanston, Illinois, one of the founders of Living Water Community…

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A new church for a new day

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By Dick Barrett Conference Minister “And who knows but that you have come to a royal position for such a time as this?”— Esther 4:14(b) NIV Those words from Mordecai to Queen Esther in the Old Testament should resonate with all of us Christians in New Testament times. All of us have come to the royal position we find ourselves…

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Volunteers accept Conference positions

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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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