Being Jesus in the reopening of his churches

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By Dick Barrett Conference Minister  The past several months have certainly been a difficult time in our individual lives and in the lives of our churches throughout Ohio Conference of Mennonite Church USA. It seems like “a perfect storm” — a pandemic that almost none of us have ever experienced before, an economy that crashed with no one sure of…

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Leadership Team makes statement on racial injustice

As the Leadership Team of Ohio Conference of Mennonite Church USA, we affirm the recent statement from Mennonite Church USA on racial injustice and Executive Director Glen Guyton’s open letter to the denomination. We lament the death of George Floyd, the latest death of an African-American person at the hands of a white police officer. We grieve the violence that has erupted…

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Time is running out to apply for grants

Last call: There is still time to apply for an Ohio Conference Ministry Grant. Aug. 10 is the deadline to submit a grant proposal to the Ohio Conference Ministry Development Team (MDT). The MDT is accepting proposals from Conference congregations and related organizations for projects and mission initiatives. The MDT has $7,000 available for grants in 2020. This year the MDT is seeking…

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Immigration Resource Team recommends book

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An update from the Ohio Conference Immigration Resource Team: Please keep in your prayers our many immigrant neighbors who are at greater risk of infection with COVID-19 — those in crowded detention centers, meat packing plants, etc. Consider a donation to Open Arms Hispanic Ministry or Brazo en Brazo, who are working directly with this population. Here is a must-read,…

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Giving to Conference drops during July

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Giving to Ohio Conference dropped sharply during July, according to figures provided by Conference Financial Coordinator Stan Helmuth. Receipts for July totaled just $11,300, compared to $44,772 in June. Expenses for July totaled $28,099, resulting in an operating balance of -$16,799 for the month. As of July 31, the Conference’s year-to-date operating balance was -$10,613. The Conference fiscal year ends…

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MCC seeks donations of school kits

With the start of the new school year imminent, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is asking for your help. MCC needs an additional 70,000 school kits to fulfill requests from their partners around the world this year. Making a kit is a fun and easy way to provide life-changing support to children in need. To learn how to pack a school…

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Peace center offers mediation skills training

Registration is now open for both sessions of Lombard Mennonite Peace Center’s Mediation Skills Training Institute scheduled for this fall: Oct. 5-9 and Nov. 16-20. This workshop helps clergy and other church leaders deal more effectively with interpersonal, congregational, and other forms of group conflict. Registrants will attend remotely via Zoom. A $200 discount is available to those who register by the discount…

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COVID-19 global response fund helps churches

Mennonite World Conference’s COVID-19 inter-agency task force has approved 21 relief proposals. Food and sanitation materials are part of all the proposals from Anabaptist member churches in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Read more about how these funds will be used at https://bit.ly/MWCCOVID-19Fund.

Golf scramble to benefit Adriel

Adriel will hold a benefit golf scramble on Monday, Sept. 14, at the Eagle Rock Golf Club in Defiance. Proceeds from this event will benefit children in Northwest Ohio and throughout the state through Adriel’s foster care and adoption, clinical services, training, and family preservation programs. For more information or to register, go to https://www.adriel.org/how-you-can-help/adriel-golf-outings.

Anabaptist Witness seeks submissions for April issue

Call for submissions: Anabaptist Witness welcomes submissions of various genres (sermons, photo essays, interviews, biographies, poems, academic papers, etc.) for its April 2021 issue on “Worship and Witness.” The deadline is Nov. 1, 2020. View submission guidelines at anabaptistwitness.org.

Mennonite Church USA to meet virtually for remainder of 2020

(Mennonite Church USA) — Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Mennonite Church USA (MC USA) announced that it is adapting its meeting plans for the remainder of 2020, including the upcoming meetings of the Executive Board, the Constituency Leaders Council (CLC) and the Racial Ethnic Council, as well as the Women Doing Theology conference. For more details, see https://bit.ly/MCUSAVirtualMeetings2020.

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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Called to make disciples, even in a pandemic

COVID-19 has changed our daily lives in many ways, but even so, God is still at work in the world. And despite the challenges of living through a pandemic, the Ohio Conference Missional Resource Team is encouraging people to keep participating in God’s mission. “We still want to be a missional people,” said Missional Resource Team member Jacob Dodson, the…

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Fighting the wrong battles with the wrong weapons

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By Dick Barrett Conference Minister If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. — 2 Chronicles 7:14 (ESV) Over the past several months we have witnessed several African American people die…

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Involving young adults in ministry

How is your congregation ministering to youth and young adults? How are you involving these young people in ministry? Ohio Conference’s Youth and Young Adult Ministry Team has been encouraging Ohio Conference congregations to share their stories of how they are relating to youth and young adults. In this issue of Ohio Mennonite Evangel, we check in with Matthew Reed,…

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Engaging immigration: Some action steps

A few thoughts from the Ohio Conference Immigration Resource Team: Are you aware that a significant number of immigrants living in Ohio (and the rest of this country) face a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 because of their work in meat processing plants and other factories? Don’t forget to pray for them. There’s plenty of time left this summer for…

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MCC plans centennial livestream celebration July 26

Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) will celebrate its centennial year with a virtual event on Sunday, July 26, at 6:30 p.m. EDT. MCC will be broadcasting live from Prairie Street Mennonite Church in Elkhart, Indiana, the site of an important first meeting in the formation of MCC when representatives of various Mennonite and Mennonite Brethren groups met in July 1920. This…

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Giving to Conference increases during June

Ohio Conference’s financial picture improved during June, with much stronger giving from congregations than in May, ac­cording to figures provided by Finan­cial Coordinator Stan Helmuth. Congregational giving in June totaled $43,884, compared with just $11,964 during May. During June total income from all sources was $44,772, and expenses for the month totaled $28,855, resulting a surplus of $15,917 for the…

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Leadership is visioning for the future

The Ohio Conference Leadership Team and the Pastoral Team have begun meet­ing with consultants Howard and Cathy Wagler from South Hutchinson, Kansas. They are looking at our current mission and purpose statements (introduced in 2006) as we begin discerning together God’s vision for the future of the Confer­ence over the next five to seven years. The Leadership Team and Pastoral…

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Pastor gatherings to be held regionally

A note from Conference Minister Dick Barrett: In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will not be holding one large pastor gathering in the fall as we have during the past several years. In place of the one gathering we are planning on meeting in person in smaller groups. Taking into account social distancing practices, we will gather during the…

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Retreat for Pastors’ Wives canceled

Please note: The Ohio Conference Retreat for Pastors’ Wives has been canceled. This retreat had been scheduled for Nov. 6-8 at the St. Francis Spirituality Center in Tiffin, Ohio. Because of on­going concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, retreat organ­izers have decided to cancel this event.

Planning continues for MWC Assembly in 2021

Mennonite World Conference (MWC) continues to plan for the next MWC Assembly, which is scheduled for July 2021. A state­ment in the latest issue of MWC Assembly News addresses con­cerns about the upcoming Assembly: “COVID-19 has had an impact in many areas of our lives. As the Assembly planning team, we are still on target to celebrate with you in…

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Peace Sunday is Sept. 20

Mennonite World Conference (MWC) has created resource materials for a Peace Sunday worship service on Sept. 20, using the theme “When one member suffers, all members suffer: Peace as accompaniment and solidarity.” Go to https://bit.ly/2020MWCPeaceSunday to download these materials.  

Convention planners seek proposals for seminars

Convention planners are seeking proposals for equipping seminars at MennoCon21, the Mennonite Church USA biennial convention slated to take place in Cincinnati, Ohio on July 6-10, 2021. The deadline for proposal submissions is Oct. 10, 2020. See https://bit.ly/MennoCon21SeminarProposals for more information.

MCC livestream celebration set for July 26

A message from Mennonite Central Committee: It’s time to celebrate 100 years! Join us (virtually) for an MCC Centennial Celebration this Sunday, July 26. This year marks the 100th anniversary of MCC! It is not the centennial year we anticipated. Still, we invite you to join us (virtually) on Sunday, July 26, at 6:30 p.m. (EDT), as we offer thanks…

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Everence to celebrate 75th anniversary July 19

GOSHEN, Indiana — Everence is not letting social distancing deter plans to commemorate the organization’s 75th anniversary. Instead of an in-person gathering, the faith-based financial ser­vices company will celebrate virtually, with a videocast on Sun­day, July 19, at 3 p.m. (EDT). The July 19 videocast will feature comments from John D. Roth, Ph.D., Goshen College Professor of History and author…

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Lighthouse Ministries plans Over The Edge fundraiser

A message from Lighthouse Ministries in Canton: Are you willing to go Over The Edge for kids? On Friday and Saturday, Sept. 4 and 5, people from all over northeast Ohio will be rappelling 14 stories down the side of the Bliss Lofts in downtown Canton. You have to raise $1,000 for the right to rappel, but all the money goes towards starting a mentoring pro­gram, academic supports, and funding scholarships for vocational training or college…

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AMBS webinar is for those experiencing loss

AMBS webinar: Mourning Our Losses Together During COVID-19: The Good News of Biblical Lament: Tuesday, July 21, 2–3 p.m. EDT. This free webinar — back by popular demand! — is for those experiencing loss and those journeying with them. Participants will explore the three–act movement of biblical lament as a faithful response to God. Registration is required. See ambs.edu/mourningourlosses.

MCC plans centennial livestream celebration

Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) will celebrate its centennial year with a virtual event on Sunday, July 26, at 6:30 p.m. EDT.  MCC will be broadcasting live from Prairie Street Mennonite Church in Elkhart, Indiana, the site of an important first meeting in the formation of MCC. This livestream event will feature a combination of live and pre-recorded speakers and music.…

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MCC U.S. names next executive director

Ann Graber Hershberger has been named the next executive director of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) U.S. She will begin her new role in October 2020 as current executive director J. Ron Byler retires. The shift reflects a leadership plan determined in 2019 and affirmed by the organization’s board of directors at their June 20 meeting. Hershberger began as associate executive director following…

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Women in Leadership Retreat planned for February

Save the date: Ohio Confer­ence will hold a Women in Leadership Retreat Feb. 5-6, 2021, at the St. Francis Spir­ituality Center in Tiffin. The input speaker for this retreat will be Rebecca Slough, aca­demic dean emerita and pro­fessor emerita of worship and the arts at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary. Retreat plan­ners are encouraging every Ohio Conference congregation to send at…

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This far by faith

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Vikki Pruitte-Sorrells, pastor of Lee Heights Community Church in Cleveland, wrote an article about her experience with music in worship for the July issue of The Mennonite. You can read “This far by faith: Music and worship in a diverse congregation” online at https://bit.ly/MusicLeeHeights.