Missional Church: The fad that just won’t go away

By Jessica Schrock-Ringenberg Recently I heard an observation following Ohio Conference’s Annual Conference Assembly in which we focused on becoming a mission-driven (a.k.a. “Missional”) conference. The observation? It seems as though our younger leaders are the driving force behind the passion for this movement. And so the question becomes, “Why?” Why are younger leaders pushing for this change? Is it…

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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. For the sixth year in a row, 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 $24,992 available…

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Wooster Mennonite to celebrate 75th anniversary

Wooster Mennonite Church will be celebrating 75 years of worship, fellowship, and mission Sept. 9-10, 2017.  Many have attended Wooster Mennonite over the years, and all are invited to attend this special celebration to share memories, stories, and ways God has been faithful. Activities for the weekend include an open house on Saturday, Sept. 9, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. …

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Interview with Ervin Stutzman

In this episode of the Ohio Conference Cast, Ervin Stutzman, executive director of Mennonite Church USA, has a challenge for the Ohio Conference: “Stretch yourself a bit by hanging around with people sometimes who have a different perspective than you. You don’t have to be like them. You don’t have to make your church like theirs, but expect that there’ll…

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Discount still available for Pastor-Spouse Retreat

It’s not too late to receive the discounted registration rate for the upcoming Ohio Conference Pastor-Spouse Retreat. The full registration cost is $410 per couple, but the first 25 couples who submit their registration with payment will receive a discounted rate of $210. A few spots at the discounted rate remain. The Pastor-Spouse Retreat will take place Nov. 10-12 at…

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Unit leaders needed for Service Adventure

Do you enjoy mentoring young adults and living in community?  Service Adventure is looking for unit leaders for the Jackson, Mississippi, unit. The term begins late July with orientation, and participants begin their service term in August. If you or someone you know is interested, please contact Susan Nisly at SusanN@MennoniteMission.net or visit www.mennonitemission.net.

Development conference to feature Jim Wallis

The 2017 Everence Development Conference will offer ideas for building relationships between donors and charitable organizations. This three-day event will take place Sept. 20-22, 2017, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Featured speakers will include Jim Wallis, president and founder of Sojourners; Susan Schultz Huxman, president of Eastern Mennonite University; and Doug Mason, a partner at Gonser Gerber, advancement consultants. A variety of workshops…

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Sabbatical bike ride to raise funds for orphanage

While on sabbatical, Berlin Mennonite Pastor Myron Weaver is bicycling 3,500 miles across the United States to raise funds for an orphanage in Nicaragua. To learn more about  Myron’s sabbatical journey, see his blog at https://pedalingparson.blogspot.com/.

What does it mean for Ohio Conference to be Gathered and Sent?

In this episode of Ohio Conference Cast, hosts Thomas Dunn and Bill Seymour talk with Regional Pastor Cliff Brubaker about Gathered and Sent, a new focus which brings together the work of two previous initiatives, the Year of Mission and the Year of Covenant. Cliff describes what planners are envisioning for both the “Gathered” and “Sent” parts of this process. Hint:…

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Ervin Stutzman to hold meetings in Ohio

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Ervin Stutzman, executive director of Mennonite Church USA, will be traveling through Ohio in June, and Ohio Conference has set up two meetings for delegates, pastors and other interested persons to meet with him. Those attending will hear him share about the upcoming MC USA convention in Orlando and the Future Church Summit*, which will take place at the convention.…

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Worship is formation — formation is worship

By Ellen Nussbaum Members of Oak Grove Mennonite Church (Smithville) and Sonnenberg Mennonite Church (Kidron), having discovered a common interest in exploring training and resources for leading congregational worship, came together to plan a Worship Resourcing Seminar. It was held on Saturday, May 6, at Sonnenberg Mennonite Church. Sixty-three participants gathered from 16 different Ohio Mennonite congregations. Participants included youth,…

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Worship habits which form us

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At the May 6 Worship Resourcing Workshop, speaker Rachel Miller Jacobs described three types of worship habits which form us. Worship practices for the individual level of habitus formation include 1) Physical: silence/stillness/contemplation–learning to listen for God’s voice, learning to wait for God’s initiating action; 2) Intellectual: Bible study/reading; 3) Spiritual: individual prayer, self-awareness; and 4) Emotional: attitude of attentiveness. …

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Bible studies for youth to be livestreamed

The Mennonite Inc. is teaming up with Michele Hershberger, professor of Bible at Hesston College, to offer a series of four virtual Bible studies for junior and senior high youth groups in June. Whether your youth groups are headed to the Mennonite Church USA convention in Orlando this summer or not, they’ll be sure to benefit from Michele’s four-week Bible…

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OC Leadership Team would like to hear from you

The Ohio Conference Leadership Team has begun a process designed to call a person to serve the Conference as a half-time Missional Leader. The first steps are to gather feedback to help shape this new position and to solicit names of potential candidates for this position. The Leadership Team has sent a brief online survey to Ohio Conference pastors and…

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Conference ends April with a slight deficit

Ohio Conference ended the first month of the 2017-18 fiscal year with a slight deficit, according to figures provided by Ohio Conference Financial Coordinator Stan Helmuth. Receipts for the month of April totaled $33,015, including $28,693 in congregational giving. Expenses for the month were $33,861, resulting in an operating balance of -$846 for the month. The Ohio Conference fiscal year…

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Learning more about The Mennonite

What exactly is the relationship between Mennonite Church USA and The Mennonite? In the latest episode of the Ohio Conference Cast, hosts Thomas Dunn and Bill Seymour explore that question with Hannah Heinzekehr, executive director of The Mennonite Inc. During the podcast, they also learn more about the online presence of The Mennonite, and they hear a bit about Hannah’s…

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Rachel Miller Jacobs leads Worship Resourcing Seminar

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Sixty-three people from 15 congregations participated in the Worship Resourcing Seminar at Sonnenberg Mennonite Church on May 6. This event was co-sponsored by Sonnenberg Mennonite Church and Oak Grove Mennonite Church in Smithville with additional financial support from the Ohio Conference.

Talking with Terry Shue

Hosts Bill Seymour and Thomas Dunn talk with Terry Shue, director of leadership development for Mennonite Church USA, about a wide range of topics in this episode of the Ohio Conference Cast. They talk about the upcoming retirement of Mennonite Church USA Executive Director Ervin Stutzman, and they learn about the Future Church Summit, which will take place at the…

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Executive director sought for Ohio MCC Activity Center

The board of the Ohio MCC Activity Center of Kidron, Ohio, is searching for a full-time executive director to assume responsibilities on Dec. 1, 2017. The director’s responsibilities largely entail giving direction to the MCC Connections Thrift Shop, which has three additional full-time paid staff and more than 300 active volunteers. The candidate must show a capacity for administering staff…

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Voices for Peace Tour coming to Ohio

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The Jewish and Palestinian Voices for Peace Tour, sponsored by Mennonite Church USA, is coming to Ohio in May with stops at three Ohio congregations. Dates and locations are as follows: May 7 — Columbus Mennonite Church, 9:30 a.m. May 8 — Lima Mennonite Church, 7 p.m. May 10 — Zion Mennonite Church, 6:30 p.m. At these programs Amy Shuster,…

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Youth participants sought for Future Church Summit

About 40 spots remain open for the Step Up program – an opportunity for high school age youth to participate in the Future Church Summit at this summer’s Mennonite Church USA Convention in Orlando. This opportunity was initially open to only three youth per conference. Now, any interested youth attending convention may participate. Participants will attend an orientation seminar and…

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Volunteers needed at International Guest House

Volunteer staff members are needed at the International Guest House in Washington, D.C., with flexibility of two months to a full year (currently scheduling 2018-19) for the ministry of Christian hospitality. The Guest House, a ministry of Allegheny Conference, serves both international and U.S. travelers.  Volunteers are provided full room and board in the Guest House and a monthly stipend…

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Jeanne Zimmerly Jantzi to lead Central Christian

The Central Christian School (CCS) Board of Trustees is pleased to announce the hiring of Jeanne Zimmerly Jantzi as the superintendent of CCS beginning Aug. 1, upon the retirement of the current superintendent, Gene Miller. Jantzi is a 1982 Central Christian alumnus originally from Orrville. She is married to Dan, and they have three adult sons. She received her undergraduate…

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Conference ends 2016-17 in the black

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For the first time since March 2011, Ohio Conference has ended its fiscal year in the black, according to figures provided by Conference Financial Coordinator Stan Helmuth. On March 31, 2017, the Conference finished the 2016-17 fiscal year with an operating surplus of $22,095. The Conference’s total expenses for the month of March were $20,905, and receipts for the month…

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Pastor-Spouse Retreat set for Nov. 10-12

Ohio Conference will hold a Pastor-Spouse Retreat Nov. 10-12 at the Mohican State Park Lodge in Perrysville. Presenters for the weekend will be James Lapp and Miriam Book. Tim Shue will be the worship leader for this event. The Ministry Development Team of Ohio Conference encourages congregations to gift this weekend to their pastors by paying the registration fee and…

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Kingdom Living Amidst Political Divisiveness

Hosts Thomas Dunn and Bill Seymour chat with Sean Swanson, pastor of First Mennonite Church in Canton, in this episode of the Ohio Conference Cast. They learn a bit more about Sean, who is one of the newer pastors in Ohio Conference, and talk with him about a group from First Mennonite which engaged with some of their neighbors to…

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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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OC leadership pays tribute to Naomi Engle

By Bob Sauder On behalf of the Ohio Conference Leadership Team Naomi Engle, Credentialing Ministry Chairperson and a member of the Leadership Team of the Ohio Conference, went to her heavenly home on Jan. 1.  At the beginning of their meeting on Jan. 21, the Ohio Conference Leadership Team spent some time remembering who she was, what she brought to…

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Seminar to focus on worship

Are you interested in deeper, more meaningful worship experiences in your congregation? Sonnenberg Mennonite Church in Kidron will host a worship resourcing seminar on Saturday, May 6. This seminar, featuring speaker Rachel Miller Jacobs, will provide participants with practical training, resources and theological teaching for planning and leading worship. Rachel Miller Jacobs is an assistant professor of congregational formation at…

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