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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Conference holds first virtual Assembly

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ohio Conference held its 2021 Annual Conference Assembly (ACA) virtually rather than in person. On March 6 delegates from all around the Conference met on Zoom for business sessions and worship. One hundred thirty-three people registered for ACA, including 122 delegates from 32 congregations. Day includes worship In addition to business sessions, the online annual…

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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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Return to our roots

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By Dick Barrett Conference Minister I write this just a few days after we concluded our 2021 Annual Conference Assembly (ACA). Because of the continued COVID pandemic, ACA had to be held virtually, but due to the efforts of many gifted people in Conference and our many congregations, the feedback that we have received so far has been very positive.…

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The Ohio Conference Cast returns with new hosts

After a hiatus of several months, the Ohio Conference Cast podcast is back with two new hosts, Corben Weaver Boshart and Ramon Lianez.  These two friends from Northwest Ohio are both pastors of Ohio Conference congregations, but they aren’t carbon copies of each other. Listen to their first episode to learn more about Corben and Ramon. You’ll even find out…

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Invite MMN to your worship service

Mennonite Mission Network (MMN) is offering resources for congregational worship services. MMN staff members are available to join congregations in worship to preach, teach, and share stories of God at work around the world. MMN staff members can join congregations through video chat or with a prerecorded message. To request a virtual visit from an MMN staffer, go to http://bit.ly/MMNinChurches.

Recordings of ACA are online

Recordings of Annual Conference Assembly are available on the Ohio Conference website. Recordings include all three business sessions and the worship service. To view any of these recordings, go to https://bit.ly/AboutACA.

Video series promotes discussion

A group of Ohio Conference congregations from Wayne County has joined together to create a video series focused on intercultural ministry and racial reconciliation. Series on Solidarity is a six-part series of videos and accompanying questions for small group discussions.

The goal of this series is to facilitate understanding and to promote the equality of all people. The Ohio Conference supported this project with a ministry grant in 2020. For links to these videos and the discussion guide, see http://bit.ly/SeriesonSolidarity.

Missional conference to focus on the rural church

Ohio Conference will hold an online missional conference during the evenings of March 4-5, just prior to Annual Conference Assembly. The theme of this conference will be “Come and See! The Mission of the Church in God’s Country.” Brad Roth, pastor and author of the book God’s Country: Faith, Hope, and the Future of the Rural Church, will be the featured…

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CommonWord offers Lenten resources

By Ann Leaman Ohio Conference Resource Advocate This year Lent begins on Feb. 17, which means now is a great time to look for worship and devotional resources related to Lent. If you are looking for new Lenten resources, check out the website for CommonWord, a collaboration of Mennonite Church Canada and Canadian Mennonite University. In preparation for Lent, CommonWord…

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Behold the Lamb of God

By Dick Barrett Conference Minister I write this in preparation for our 2021 Annual Conference Assembly, scheduled to be held virtually this year on Saturday, March 6. On March 7, 2020, we were able to meet in person at Sharon Mennonite Church. Little did we know that in less than a week our world would be turned upside down as…

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Giving to Conference increases during December

Giving to Ohio Conference increased greatly during December, according to figures provided by Financial Coordinator Stan Helmuth. Receipts for December totaled $65,389. Of that amount $29,710 came from congregational giving. During December giving from individuals was very strong. In response to a year-end appeal letter from Conference Moderator Lynn Miller, individuals gave a total of $31,535. That amount far surpassed…

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Glimpses into an unseen world

By Dan King About a year ago, pre-pandemic, one of my Guatemalan students invited me to her quinceañera. (For those who may not know, a Hispanic girl’s 15th birthday is an occasion for a no-expenses-spared party to signify her “coming of age.”) It was to be held at her evangelical church. I arrived a few minutes late, assuming the celebration…

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MC USA, Together in Worship offer free resources

By Ann Leaman Ohio Conference Resource Advocate This month I would like to highlight free worship resources, both for corporate worship and for worship at home. Together in Worship Are you looking for Anabaptist worship resources? Together in Worship (togetherinworship.net) is a new website containing a wide variety of free worship resources. A partnership with CommonWord, Together in Worship is a…

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Unity in a divisive world

By Dick Barrett Conference Minister By the time you read this column in the Evangel, the United States will have voted to elect or re-elect its next president. Hopefully, by the time you are reading this we will know who won. It seems like each election cycle creates more and more division in our country. The United States is divided…

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Pastors and congregations — Ohio Conference needs your help!

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For a variety of reasons, the number of men and women who are graduating from seminaries and pursuing pastoral ministry positions has been decreasing. This trend has resulted in fewer candidates for pastoral openings throughout the Ohio Conference. The Leadership Development Resource Team is currently exploring both new and traditional ways of identifying those whom God may be calling into…

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Regional gatherings focus on mission statement, congregational sharing

By Dick Barrett Conference Minister On Oct. 20, 22, 27 and 29 Ohio Conference held four regional fall gatherings for delegates to Annual Conference Assembly. Delegates learned about a proposed new mission statement for the Conference, heard more about the upcoming Annual Conference Assembly, and shared with one another about their congregations’ experiences dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to…

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Video training available for abuse prevention

The Dove’s Nest, an organization committed to empowering faith communities to keep children and youth safe from abuse in their churches, homes and communities, has a new video resource available. This new safety and abuse prevention training video for adult volunteers is now available to churches for a one-time fee of $75. In 38 minutes, the video covers these topics:…

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Announcement of Pastoral Sexual Misconduct Investigation

From Conference Minister Dick Barrett On June 19, 2020, Ohio Conference of Mennonite Church USA received a complaint of alleged sexual misconduct on the part of Jeffery L. Kauffman which occurred during the time that he was serving as one of the pastors of Zion Mennonite Church in Archbold, Ohio. Jeff served at Zion Mennonite Church from 2011 to 2016.…

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MC USA webinar offers ideas for children’s faith formation

By Ann Leaman Ohio Conference Resource Advocate How is your congregation handling faith formation for children during the COVID-19 pandemic? Are you seeking ideas for working with children? Mennonite Church USA is  hosting a webinar titled “It can be done! Children’s Sunday school during COVID-19.” This webinar will take place Wednesday, Sept. 23, at 2:30 p.m. EDT. If you haven’t…

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The truth will set us free

By Dick Barrett Conference Minister So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”— John 8:31-32 (ESV) Jesus said to his early disciples, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and…

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Pandemic curtails face-to-face meetings, but Conference work continues nonetheless

By Dick Barrett Conference Minister While these have been difficult times to be able to gather in person because of the coronavirus pandemic, through the use of technology we have been able to gather virtually to continue Ohio Conference work. Regional Pastors Tony Doehrmann and Ralph Reinford have continued to meet with pastors, pastor peer groups, and search committees via…

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Ohio Mennonite Relief Sale goes online

In mid-March, it all came to a stop. As with many other events, the global pandemic hindered the planning for the 55th annual Ohio Mennonite Relief Sale. Many relief sales around the nation and Canada were cancelled, leaving Mennonite Central Committee short on funding. With this in mind, the Ohio sale planning committee has committed to an online auction only,…

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Ministry Development Team awards four grants

The Ohio Conference Ministry Development Team (MDT) has awarded four grants totaling $7,000. The MDT approved these grants at its Aug. 27 meeting. Grants will provide funds toward the following projects: Student Study Center — Beginning in the fall of 2021, First Mennonite Church of Canton and Lighthouse Ministries plan to be an extension site of Bethel University (Indiana). Bethel…

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MC USA leadership encourages discussion

Save the date: Mennonite Church USA (MC USA) is planning a second webinar on the theme “Race, Church and Change.” This webinar is scheduled for July 23 at 6:30 p.m. EDT on both Zoom and Facebook Live. To register for this webinar, please go to https://bit.ly/RaceChurchandChange2. The first “Race, Church and Change” webinar took place on Thursday, June 25, and…

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