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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Workshop to promote healthy conversations

In a world that seems increasingly polarized, how can we promote healthy conversations? Sonnenberg Mennonite Church in Kidron is hosting a Healthy Conversations Workshop Nov. 9-10. Jes Stoltzfus Buller, the peace education coordinator for Mennonite Central Committee, will be the facilitator for this free workshop, and all are invited to attend. Many people today bemoan the difficulty of conversing with…

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Central Produce Table encourages sharing, raises funds for local food pantry

There are few things better than the taste of a home-grown tomato. But sometimes home gardeners can be overwhelmed with an overabundance of tomatoes, or zucchini, or beans. What to do then? At Central Mennonite Church in Archbold, the answer is simple. Church members have a standing invitation to share the bounty from their gardens each week at the Central…

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Event offers resources for new pastors

By Ralph Reinford Regional Pastor Fourteen members of Ohio Conference gathered for a New Pastor Orientation on Aug. 12 and 13, beginning Sunday evening and continuing all day on Monday. The gathering provided a time for new pastors to learn about resources and ask questions about the Ohio Conference. Sunday evening was a time for sharing finger foods and popcorn along with introductions…

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Conference deficit increases during August

Ohio Conference’s financial deficit increased during August, according to figures provided by Financial Coordinator Stan Helmuth. Total receipts for the month were $19,524, including $18,515 in giving from congregations. Expenses for the month totaled $24,772, resulting in an operating balance of -$5,248 for the month. That shortfall added to the year-to-date deficit. At the end of August the operating balance…

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Ministry Development Team awards seven grants in 2018

The Ohio Conference Ministry Development Team (MDT) has awarded seven grants totaling $21,860. The MDT approved these grants at its Aug. 23 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. Grants will provide funding toward the following projects: The Server — Crown Hill…

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Videos have tips for leading adult Bible studies

Central Plains Mennonite Conference has produced a series of short videos with tips for leading adult Bible study groups. The series, titled “Open the Book,” features presenter Keith Slater, who has worked for SIL International and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. He is a member of West Union Mennonite Church in Parnell, Iowa. The title of each video in the series refers…

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Stronger giving is needed to meet budget

A reminder from the Stewardship Ministry Team: At our Annual Conference Assembly in March delegates strongly affirmed the 2018-2019 budget. This budget allows us to hire a full-time conference minister. Currently, our congregational support is not adequate to support our budget for 2018-2019. Please consider increased support of our Conference needs, both as a congregation and as individuals. Your prayer…

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Missional Network training begins

How can we live as missionaries in our own communities, sharing the Good News with those we meet and discipling people who are already in our lives? And how does that mindset differ from the “church as usual” model that many of our congregations currently use? Participants in the Ohio Conference Missional Network are beginning to consider the details of…

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God is doing a new thing in Central America

By Dan King Instead of a luxury cruise to some tropical paradise this year, consider an “Anabaptist Church Tour” in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras this fall. Charles Geiser will be leading this tour Oct. 19-30, and it will highlight what Anabaptist churches in the region are doing. Experience firsthand and up close how God’s Spirit is working among Anabaptist believers…

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Berean Fellowship Church hands the baton to another congregation

The members of Berean Fellowship Church have decided to close the congregation after more than 50 years of ministry in Youngstown. The congregation was founded in 1961. The congregation held a closing worship service on Sunday afternoon, July 1. During the worship service, Pastor Samuel Olarewaju talked about how the congregation decided to close and sell the building to another…

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Missional consultant to move out of state

July 2, 2018 Jessica Schrock-Ringenberg’s Resignation Announcement Dear Ohio Conference, On Sunday, July 1, I announced my resignation from Zion Mennonite Church in Archbold, effective Oct. 1. My husband is purchasing a business and will be moving out of state soon. The children and I will be moving at Christmas break. (We are unable to say more at this time.)…

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Why missional?

By Jessica Schrock-Ringenberg Ohio Conference Missional Consultant What is my motivation? Why do I do what I do? What is my end goal? What am I valuing above anything else that would inspire me to behave the way in which I am behaving? As Mennonite people, deeply rooted in tradition, history, and a strong communal story, we need to ask…

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MC USA releases ‘Pathways’ study guide

Mennonite Church USA has released a study guide, “Pathways,” to invite churchwide engagement in the denomination’s two-year Journey Forward process. The “Pathways” study guide, available online at http://mennoniteusa.org/resource/pathways-study-guide/, invites congregations and groups across Mennonite Church USA to engage in studying Scripture, singing, praying, storytelling, exploring Anabaptist history and values, and discussing how they see God working in their lives. The “Pathways”…

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Christiana Peterson – Mystics, misfits and longing for a deep encounter with God

What is a mystic? Ohio Conference Cast hosts Bill Seymour and Thomas Dunn explore this question and more with Christiana Peterson, a member of Midway Mennonite Church and the author of the new Herald Press book titled Mystics and Misfits: Meeting God Through St. Francis and Other Unlikely Saints.   “Being a mystic in my definition is … longing for a deep…

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Chestnut Ridge shares memories at closing service

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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Plug into Ohio Conference Cast podcasts

Ohio Conference Cast podcasts are a great way to learn more about Ohio Conference and the broader Mennonite Church. Have you listened to Ohio Conference Cast lately? During April and early May, hosts Bill Seymour, pastor of Orrville Mennonite Church, and Thomas Dunn, pastor of Crown Hill Mennonite Church in Rittman, have talked with Paula Snyder Belousek about the search…

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Hispanics of Ohio churches to celebrate the 15th year of Hispanic Encounters

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By Haroldo Nunes The 15th year of Hispanic Family Encounters will take place at Camp Luz, Kidron, Ohio, during the weekend of June 15-17.  This year we will have a celebration of 15 years (called “quinceañera” in Spanish).  Hispanics from various Ohio Mennonite churches will come together for the celebration. The topic for the weekend is “The security of the…

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What exactly is the Church, anyway?

By Hannah Troyer Summit Mennonite Church Hannah Troyer is a member of  Summit Mennonite Church. She shared this sermon at Summit Mennonite in September 2017. When I was growing up, I attended a church that met in the old auditorium at Stark State College in Canton. I remember as a little girl, running around playing tag with all the other…

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Oak Grove Mennonite Church — a profile in God’s faithfulness

By Paul J. Miller   By 1815, at least 16 Amish families were landowners in Wayne County, Ohio. The small community had its first resident minister, Christian Brandt, who was ordained in Switzerland. Bishop David Zook moved into the region from Mifflin County, Pa. With ministerial leadership present, the Amish families began to meet as a congregation by 1818. By…

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