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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MMN offers free Scripture graphics

Are you looking for Scripture-related art that you can use in your office, youth room or classroom? Mennonite Mission Network (MMN) offers a wide selection of Scripture graphics on its website which you can download for free: http://bit.ly/MMNScriptureGraphics. You can browse the entire collection or narrow your search by focusing on a specific book of the Bible. A sample graphic…

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A new chapter of ministry begins

By Dick Barrett Conference Minister On Dec. 31 I completed my time as one of the pastors of Oak Grove Mennonite Church in West Liberty (four years as associate pastor and 12 years as lead pastor). There was much sadness and grief on my part in the ending. On Jan. 2 I began full-time as conference minister for the Ohio…

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Journey transforms learners and leaders

By Ben Parker Sutter and Annette Brill Bergstresser ELKHART, Indiana (Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary) — Dennis Miller of Goshen, Indiana, was in his late 50s when he realized it was time for him to explore other vocational possibilities. “I’ve been in construction my entire working life,” he said. “Working in the church is something I always thought about but at the same…

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Missional conference to explore the role of established congregations

Ohio Conference will hold a missional conference March 7-8 at Salem Mennonite Church in Kidron, immediately prior to the 2019 Annual Conference Assembly. The theme of the missional conference will be “From Jerusalem to Antioch: Legacy Churches Anchoring Missional Communities,” based on Acts 11:19-30. Presenters will be Sally Schreiner Youngquist, one of the founding pastors of Living Water Community Church in Chicago,…

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Salem Mennonite in Kidron to host ACA

Salem Mennonite Church in Kidron will host the 2019 Annual Conference Assembly (ACA) of the Ohio Conference March  8-9. The theme of this year’s gathering will be “From Jerusalem to Antioch: Legacy Churches Anchoring Missional Communities,” based on Acts 11: 19-30. Ohio Conference also will hold a missional conference at Salem Mennonite in Kidron immediately prior to ACA, on March…

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Salem congregation moves into new building

Two and a half years after breaking ground for a new church building, the Salem Mennonite Church congregation in Waldron, Michigan, has begun worshipping in its new facility. The first worship service in the new building took place on Sunday, Dec. 9. On that day, the congregation met in the lobby of the old church building and marched out together,…

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Everence program benefits Ohio Conference

In January the Ohio Conference received a check for $747.24 from Everence Federal Credit Union as part of its MyNeighbor credit card program. With the MyNeighbor program, individuals and businesses generate reward dollars for their favorite nonprofits 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…

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Giving increases during December

Giving to Ohio Conference increased greatly during December, according to figures provided by Financial Coordinator Stan Helmuth. In fact, the amount received in December was more than double the amount received in any other month of the current fiscal year. (See the chart below for details.) Receipts for December totaled $60,171. Of that amount, $41,174 came from congregational giving. During…

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Thankful and hopeful

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By Dick Barrett Conference Minister I have now completed two months as Conference Minister, working one to two days a week until beginning full-time on Jan. 1. I have participated in the four cluster meetings across the Conference, the congregational leadership team retreat in Bellville, the Mennonite Church USA Constituency Leaders Council meeting in Chicago, a day-long pastors and credentialed…

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Bluffton students ‘reimagine’ the Church

By Tricia Bell Bluffton University BLUFFTON, Ohio – Using the theme “Reimagining the Church: Looking Back to Move Forward” as inspiration, Bluffton University students explored the relevance of the Church in the modern era during Spiritual Life Week. The week-long, student-led examination of faith is held each semester on Bluffton’s campus. For Jenny Dorsey, a Bible and theology major from…

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Advent worship guide is for families

Anabaptist Faith Formation Network and Mennonite Church USA are offering a free, downloadable guide for family worship during Advent written by Elsie Rempel and illustrated by Megan Kamei. This resource, titled God’s Goodness, is designed for parents to use at home with their children. For use between Dec. 2 and Jan. 6, the worship guide includes Bible readings, short litanies, songs, hands-on…

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MyNeighbor program can benefit Ohio Conference

Do you have a credit card through Everence? If so, your purchases can benefit the Ohio Conference. Everence donates 1.5 percent of the transaction total of each purchase made with a MyNeighbor credit card to the charitable organization of your choice.  Donations are distributed each January and are based on the card holder’s choice of “neighbor” as of Dec. 31.  In January…

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Credentialed leaders meet in Upper Sandusky

What does it mean when we say, “Jesus is our Center”? Thirty-six credentialed leaders from across the Ohio Conference came together to discuss that question on Thursday, Nov. 9, at the All-Ohio Conference Pastors’ Meeting. The pastors and other credentialed leaders met for a day of discussion and relationship-building at the Upper Sandusky Library in Upper Sandusky, Ohio. Since 2015,…

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Pastor-Leadership Team Retreat examines attitudes and behaviors

Forty-one people representing eight Ohio Conference congregations participated in the Pastor-Leadership Retreat held at the Quality Inn & Suites in Bellville Oct. 26-27. Presenter Duane Beck led the event, focusing on the topic “Leadership Matters: Finding God in the Changes.” He encouraged retreat participants to consider attitudes and behaviors in their congregations. Photos by Greg Bowman, Ralph Reinford and Bob Sauder

Central Mennonite hosts worship workshop

Central Mennonite Church in Archbold hosted the “Enhancing and Equipping for Worship” workshop Oct. 5-6. Rachel Miller Jacobs, associate professor of congregational formation at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Indiana, was the featured speaker. About 30 people participated in this event, which included  break-out workshops on music, art in worship, and several other topics. The event was planned with…

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Dove’s Nest offers sample protection policy

Does your church need a protection policy? If so, check out Dove’s Nest’s updated three-page model policy available as a PDF: http://bit.ly/ProtectionPolicyModel. You can also find more resources on the Dove’s Nest website: https://dovesnest.net/policies. You can use this model policy as a guide to create or update your own that works for your church’s context, settings, and values. The 2018…

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Missional training focuses on growing leaders, communities

In August and September, Ohio Conference Missional Consultant Jessica Schrock-Ringenberg led several missional training events focusing on developing leadership and growing missional communities. In the quest for developing leaders, she emphasized the need to look for people who are teachable and available, and the need to focus on the gifts of the people who are being called, rather than pushing…

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