New wineskins

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By Dick Barrett Conference Minister “No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch tears away from the garment, and a worse tear is made.  Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put…

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Resources offer responses to pandemic challenges

By Ann Leaman Ohio Conference Resource Advocate This month I would like to highlight two resources, one primarily for pastors and one for families. What Now? MennoMedia is offering the “What Now?” series designed specifically for pastors as they navigate the challenges and opportunities that have emerged as a result of the global pandemic. In August, September, and October subscribers are…

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Central Christian remains focused on its mission

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Following a challenging 2020-21 school year, Central Christian School in Kidron is focusing on fulfilling its mission of developing Christian leaders. “Central Christian is on task with the mission of growing Christian leaders who know Christ and make Christ known,” said Interim Head Administrator Terry Shue. The staff is committed to that mission and to doing it through an Anabaptist…

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Songs & Salsa to benefit Open Arms

Save the date: Open Arms Hispanic Ministries will hold its annual Songs & Salsa fundraising event on Sunday, Oct. 10, at 6 p.m. at Salem Mennonite Church, 3363 Zuercher Road, Dalton. Tortilla chips will be served with a variety of salsas and dips. The group Renacer from Goshen, Indiana, will provide music. A freewill offering will be taken to benefit…

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Immigration Resource Team shares resources

The Ohio Conference Immigration Resource Team is continuing its work of raising awareness and sharing resources related to immigration. Scripture resource This summer, the Immigration Resource Team released a resource titled “A Biblical Guide to Immigration.” This guide, which includes a compilation of scriptures related to immigration, is suitable for both personal and congregational use. “A Biblical Guide to Immigration”…

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MDT awards two Ministry Grants

The Ohio Conference Ministry Development Team (MDT) has awarded two grants totaling $2,750. The MDT approved these grants at its Aug. 24 meeting. Grants will provide funds toward the following projects: Youth Events — Lee Heights Community Church in Cleveland is receiving funding for two youth programs intended to promote personal development, career exploration and faith formation, a Youth Exposure Trip…

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Being the church — challenge and calling

This episode of the Ohio Conference Cast podcast features an interview with Con­ference Minister Dick Barrett. Hosts Corben Weaver Boshart and Ramon Lianez talk with Dick about challenges facing the church today. Dick notes that he has been encour­aged to view challenges as opportunities. “God has called us in this time for a specific reason,” he says. Listen to this…

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Conference plans Women in Leadership Retreat

Ohio Conference will hold a Women in Leadership Retreat Feb. 18-19, 2022, at the St. Francis Spirituality Center in Tiffin, Ohio. The resource speaker will be Rebecca Slough, academic dean emerita and professor emerita of worship and the arts at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Indiana. Please see the event flier for details. Registration information will be announced in…

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New Pastor Orientation held Aug. 15-16

Ohio Conference held a New Pastor Orientation Aug. 15-16 in Holmes County and Wayne County. Thirteen people participat­ed, including Ohio Conference pastoral staff members. The orien­tation helped pastors new to the Ohio Conference learn to know each other and learn about resources available to them. In addition to visiting the Ohio Conference office in Kidron, par­ticipants spent time at MCC…

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All-Ohio Conference Pastor Meeting features fellowship, worship and dialogue

By Dick Barrett Conference Minister On Aug. 5 congregational pastors from across Ohio Conference gathered at the Upper Sandusky Community Library for a time of fellowship, worship and discernment together. It was the first time they were able to gather in person in a year and a half. While fellowship was the highlight for the 28 ministers present, time was…

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Workshop to feature conversations about baptism

Ohio Conference and Central District Conference are hosting a free workshop featuring ecumenical conversation about baptism on Saturday, Nov. 6, from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Columbus Mennonite Church. “Believe and Be Baptized: Conversations on a 500-year Tradition” will be led by John D. Roth, a history professor at Goshen College. This workshop is open to all in the…

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Living the dream!

By Dick Barrett Conference Minister One of the responses that I seem to get more and more frequently from people whom I encounter, after asking them how they are doing is, “I am (just) living the dream!” Of course, for almost all of them that response is meant to be sarcastic and negative. What they really want me to know…

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Ohio Mennonite Relief Sale will be an in-person event this year

Wooster, Ohio — For 56 years, the Mennonite, Brethren, Apostolic and Amish churches of northeastern Ohio have worked together to create a festive event that raises funds for the work of Mennonite Central Committee. After a COVID-limited virtual auction in 2020, the Ohio Mennonite Relief Sale will return in person Aug. 6 and 7. The event will take place in…

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Resources deal with considerations for in-person worship

By Ann Leaman Ohio Conference Resource Advocate As the COVID-19 pandemic enters a new phase and many local health restrictions are lifted, how should our congregations approach in-person worship? Anabaptist Worship Network has explored this topic in a recent webinar titled “Worship and Reopening Churches.” If you would like to watch a recording of this webinar, you can find it online…

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Climate Riders seek to raise awareness

The Center for Sustainable Climate Solutions (CSCS) is leading a cross-country bike ride to raise awareness regarding climate change and related issues, as well as to learn and to connect with people along the way. CSCS is a collaborative initiative of Goshen College, Eastern Mennonite University, and Mennonite Central Committee. The Climate Ride started in Seattle May 31 and will…

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Registration is open for OC retreats

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Online registration is open for three upcoming events sponsored by the Ohio Conference. Ohio Conference will hold a New Pastor Orientation Aug.  15-16 at the Sleep Inn & Suites in Mt. Hope. This free event is designed for all pastors new to the Ohio Conference in the past several years. Register online at http://bit.ly/2021NewPastors. Glen Guyton, executive director of Mennonite…

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Concert to feature ‘Songs and Stories of Peace, Hope, and Justice’

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Oak Grove Mennonite Church in Smithville will host a concert featuring Anthony Brown on Saturday, Aug. 14, at 7 p.m. The theme of this concert will be “Songs and Stories of Peace, Hope, and Justice.” An offering will be taken to help cover expenses. Please see the event flier for more details: Anthony Brown Concert at Oak Grove.    

Military service from a Mennonite perspective

Picture this scene: Three Mennonite pastors, two of whom are military veterans, sit down for a discussion of Mennonites and the military. This scenario may sound unlikely, but it’s actually a description of the latest episode of the Ohio Conference Cast podcast. In this podcast episode, hosts Corben Weaver Boshart and Ramon Lianez talk with Lucas Johnson, pastor of Valley…

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Showing God’s love to immigrants:  Will you join us?

The Immigration Resource Team of Ohio Conference is aware of many immigrants seeking asylum at our southern border. We ask: “How can we here in Ohio show them God’s welcoming love?”    We remember the amazing way a dozen or so Ohio Conference churches came together to assemble 175 immigration welcome kits in the fall of 2019.  Covid-19 precautions prevent this…

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Leadership Team affirms women in ministry

Several months ago, the Ohio Conference Leadership Development Resource Team surveyed pastors and leaders of Ohio Conference congregations about attitudes regarding women in ministry. The team has shared their findings with the Ohio Conference Leadership Team. Below is a response from the Leadership Team: The Leadership Team has gratefully received the work of the Leadership Development Resource Team’s Summary of…

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Love God, love others, make disciples

By Dick Barrett Conference Minister Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. — Romans 13:8 Over the past year or so, Ohio Conference’s Leadership Team, with affirmation from both our pastors and delegates at regional gatherings, has developed a new mission statement to guide us as…

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MDS shower trailer ‘restoring dignity and hope’ for homeless individuals in Colorado

From the generous hands of the Maple Grove Mennonite Church in Hartville, Ohio, a shower trailer traveled to Denver, Colorado, where it will help homeless people restore a sense of dignity in their lives. Volunteers from the church built and used the shower trailer in 2012 when they helped Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS) rebuild a church in Alabama. When they…

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Hymnal-related resources are online

By Ann Leaman Ohio Conference Resource Advocate This month I would like to highlight a resource from MennoMedia. The publisher has created a special website with information about the new hymnal Voices Together. Found at http://voicestogetherhymnal.org, the website offers a guide for introducing Voices Together to your congregation.  In addition, this website has a wide variety of resources related to…

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Retreat to focus on equipping youth workers

Coming Oct. 15-17, 2021: Ohio Conference is excited to announce its next youth worker retreat — Equipped for the Journey: The who, what and how for youth leaders. This event will be held at Camp Luz in Kidron. Glen Guyton, executive director of Mennonite Church USA, will be leading the retreat. Participants will be challenged to settle into who God is…

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Pastor-Spouse Retreat planned for fall

Ohio Conference will hold a Pastor-Spouse Retreat Nov. 12-14 at the Mills Park Hotel in Yellow Springs, Ohio. The theme of this event will be “Live and Laugh.” Pastors and their spouses are invited to find the joy in the everyday through laughter and stories. The weekend will include a show by comedian Shawn Reynolds, as well as free time and…

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Giving is more than an expression of gratitude

By Beryl Jantzi Director of Stewardship Education, Everence   No one should appear before the Lord empty-handed. —Deuteronomy 16:16 He has filled the hungry with good things; And sent away the rich empty-handed. — Luke 1:53 One of the biblical images used to teach generosity is that of hands. Empty hands. And the message is don’t come before God empty-handed. Giving is…

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Missional festival canceled

Engaging Mission 2022: A missional festival for all ages, which was scheduled for June 24-26, 2022, has been cancelled. Ohio Conference will continue to assess its objectives and goals regarding this festival and other missional events. We encourage you to make plans now to join us for our next missional conference, which will be held in March of 2022. More…

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Where are you going next on your journey?

Are you paying attention to what the Spirit is saying to you and calling you to do for the next stage of your life? The special guest for this episode of the Ohio Conference Cast podcast, Jewel Gingerich Longenecker, would encourage everyone to consider that question. Jewel Gingerich Longenecker is dean of lifelong learning at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary (AMBS)…

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Conference explores mission in the rural church

Speaker Brad Roth helped participants focus on God’s mission in the rural church during the evenings of March 4 and 5 during Ohio Conference’s missional conference. One hundred nineteen people participated in this event, which was held on the Zoom videoconferencing platform. A pastor of a rural church in Kansas, Roth is also the author of the book God’s Country:…

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