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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Grant program to benefit local ministries

Is your congregation looking for ways to fund a ministry that impacts your community? Consider applying for a grant from the Ohio Conference. The Ohio Conference Ministry Development Team (MDT) is accepting grant proposals from Ohio Conference congregations and related organizations for projects and mission initiatives. This year the MDT has $24,282 available for grants. In light of the current…

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Missional Network to begin in summer

By Jessica Schrock-Ringenberg Ohio Conference Missional Consultant All Ohio Conference congregations are invited to join the Ohio Conference Missional Network. Representatives from this network of congregations will begin meeting and working together during the summer of 2018. The purpose and expectation of those who sign up for Ohio Conference’s Missional Network cohort is to equip congregations in both intentional discipleship…

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Ralph Reinford begins three-month leave

As was announced at Annual Conference Assembly, Regional Pastor Ralph Reinford is taking a three-month leave from his duties with Ohio Conference. His leave will last from May 1 until the end of July. During May, June and July, contact Cliff Brubaker for any regional pastor work needed. Email Cliff at cliffbru7@gmail.com or call him at 517-398-2172. For any other…

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CommonWord offers lectionary resources

Does your congregation follow the common lectionary in your worship services? Are you looking for worship resources related to lectionary scriptures? CommonWord, a worship resource website offered by Mennonite Church Canada and Canadian Mennonite University, has an online lectionary worship calendar at https://www.commonword.ca/Content/revised-common-lectionary. The calendar has links to resources related to lectionary texts. Some resources may be downloaded for free,…

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Missional conference focuses on evangelism and discipleship

Just prior to Annual Conference Assembly, the Ohio Conference held the Gathered and Sent Missional Conference at Bluffton University March 8-9. One hundred eight people from across the Conference participated in this event. During four sessions, speakers Meghan Good and Marvin Lorenzana challenged common assumptions about evangelism and discipleship. Meghan Good, the teaching pastor at Trinity Mennonite Church in Glendale,…

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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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Resolution in appreciation of regional pastors

We the delegates of Ohio Mennonite Conference wish to convey our deepest respect and appreciation to Ralph Reinford and Cliff Brubaker for faithfully and gracefully carrying heavy responsibilities for the good of the Conference.  We acknowledge that we have not always appreciated nor affirmed them nor recognized the burdens they have carried on our behalf.  We pledge our continued prayers…

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Full-time conference minister sought

By Bob Sauder Ohio Conference Moderator After many hours spent discussing the conference minister position and a very comprehensive search process, the Search Committee and the Leadership Team are in agreement that hiring someone at a half-time capacity is not a healthy thing for any candidate or the Conference at this time. We apologize to the Conference staff and to…

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