MennoMedia provides free resources

While gatherings are limited because of COVID-19, MennoMedia is providing free online resources. MennoMedia is offering a special issue of its daily devotional magazine, Rejoice!, as a free download from the MennoMedia website. The special publication, titled Rejoice! A Time Such as This: Reflections on COVID-19, was written, edited, and designed by individuals volunteering their time to contribute their gifts…

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Engaging Mission 2020 has been canceled

Please note: Because there is uncertainty about when restrictions will be lifted for public gatherings, the Ohio Conference Leadership Team has decided to cancel Engaging Mission 2020. This intergenerational missional festival was scheduled to take place June 24-26 at Bluffton University. Plans are already underway for a missional conference next March. The 2021 missional conference is scheduled for March 4-5 at…

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Webinar to focus on youth ministry, online tools

Shana Peachey Boshart, MC USA denominational minister for faith formation, will host a one-hour webinar called “Virtual Tools for Real Youth Ministry” on Tuesday, April 7, at 4 p.m. EDT. To learn more about this webinar and get more suggestions for working with youth during this time of social distancing, see the latest Faith Formation e-newsletter from Mennonite Church USA: http://bit.ly/FaithFormationYouth.

Anabaptist Worship Network offers connections

Are you interested in sharing ideas with others who are planning worship? Anabaptist Worship Network, a new Facebook group conversation, is hosted by Katie Graber and Anneli Loepp Thiessen. This Facebook group is a meetup for pastors, worship leaders, song leaders, and those interested in Anabaptist worship. Participants can ask questions, share ideas and resources, and make connections. To participate,…

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We want to hear from you

The Youth and Young Adult Ministry Development Team is seeking stories from our Ohio Conference congregations about how they are working with youth and young adults. We would like to hear from you. What have been your successes? How have you learned from your failures?  Where is God working now?  If you have a story that you would be willing…

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Everence offers support during COVID-19 outbreak

Everence has expanded its services to members during the outbreak of COVID-19.  Some of these expanded services include waiving ATM fees, allowing borrowers to skip a pay on certain loans, and a sharing fund increase for churches with an advocate. For more details, see the Everence website: https://www.everence.com/resources/supporting-you-during-the-covid-19-outbreak.

Explore resources for moving faith formation online

Many churches have cancelled gathered faith formation programs (and even Sunday worship) to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus in their communities. But that doesn’t mean faith formation needs to stop. One way we can respond is to move faith formation online and into people’s homes and personal lives. John Roberto has compiled a list of resources for congregations seeking…

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Service Adventure seeks unit leader

Looking for a non-traditional pastoral role? Become a unit leader in Service Adventure, a gap-year program for ages 17-20 from Mennonite Mission Network. Unit leaders, at least 24 years of age, serve as mentors to the young adults in the household. An opening is available at the Service Adventure unit in Jackson, Mississippi. This is a two-year term beginning in…

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Central District compiles COVID-19-related resources

Central District Conference has compiled a list of resources related to COVID-19. Some highlights include the following: A link to a 50-page guide with information about how congregations can use streaming platforms for church services Financial resources to help churches apply for a small business loan through the recently passed CARES Act Everence’s resources for supporting congregational members with needs…

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The Mennonite seeks submissions for June

The Mennonite Inc. invites your original submissions for the June 2020 issue focusing on the theme “community in the face of COVID-19.” Sub­missions are due to Editor@TheMennonite.org  no later than May 1. For more information about this theme, see http://bit.ly/TheMennoniteJune2020.

What is truth?

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By Dick Barrett, Conference Minister This year we find ourselves on a Lenten journey different than any other year, especially with the coronavirus pandemic, our need to stay isolated, and our inability to worship together as churches. “What is truth?” That is one of the questions that Pilate asked Jesus to help him decide whether to turn him over to…

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Planning for Sunday school amid church closures

While gatherings are limited because of COVID-19, MennoMedia is offering free online resources for Christian education. These materials are from MennoMedia’s Shine curriculum, and they are free for use by churches for online learning or to send to parents for use at home. You can find them at https://shinecurriculum.com/shineathome/free-resources.

MDI virtual learning communities connect people in distancing times

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As the spread of COVID-19 creates distance between people out in public, Mennonite Mission Network’s Missional Discipleship Initiative  (MDI) continues to connect people online by spreading God’s good news in Christ through its training of missional leaders, said Marvin Lorenzana, Mission Network’s MDI director. To learn more about how MDI is helping people connect online, please see the news release…

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MennoHealth Cast podcast focuses on coronavirus

The most recent episode of the MennoHealth Cast podcast features a conversation between host Joann Hunsberger and Dr. Dan Nafziger of Goshen, Indiana, the chief medical officer at Goshen Health. They discuss the new coronavirus, some common terminology used to discuss the pandemic and how it might affect church community culture. You can listen at http://bit.ly/MennoHealthPodcast.

Coronavirus causes cancellations

With the COVID-19 outbreak disrupting day-to-day life for millions across the United States, The Mennonite has compiled a list of Mennonite organizations, schools and gatherings that have been affected: http://bit.ly/CoronavirusCancellations.

MCC postpones centennial picnic

Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is carefully monitoring the evolving COVID-19 pandemic and adjusting plans to help mitigate its impact and keep people safe. Therefore, we have made the decision to postpone the MCC Great Lakes Centennial Celebration Picnic in Kidron originally scheduled for Saturday, May 2. We will keep you updated on plans to reschedule as those develop. In the…

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In an anxious time: Be still and know that I am God

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God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where…

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MC USA provides resources for responding to COVID-19

Mennonite Church USA  (MC USA) has compiled a variety of resources for individuals and congregations responding to the spread of COVID-19. Links to these resources can be found at http://bit.ly/RespondingtoCOVID-19. In addition to news from MC USA and church-related agencies, this web page has links to worship and devotional resources, information about livestreaming platforms, articles about caring and connecting with…

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Giving slows in February

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After strong levels of congregational giving in December and January, Ohio Conference experienced a drop in receipts during February. According to figures provided by Financial Coordinator Stan Helmuth, receipts for February totaled just $14,770, including $14,664 in giving from congregations. Expenses for the month totaled $23,369, resulting in an operating balance of -$8,559 for the month. Even so, that shortfall…

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Consider carefully whether to meet during coronavirus outbreak

At the direction of Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, the Ohio Department of Health issued an order on March 12 banning mass gatherings of more than 100 people. While religious institutions are one of the groups excluded in the ban, the Leadership Team of Ohio Conference encourages each of our congregations to carefully discern what is best, especially for the health…

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MennoMedia offers free resources for calming fears

In light of the alarming coronavirus headlines, MennoMedia is providing free resources to help calm the fears of congregations. Beyond Our Fears: Following Jesus in Times of Crisis was originally created after the SARS outbreak of 2009, but the content is just as relevant today. To download this material, go to http://bit.ly/BeyondOurFears. For children, MennoMedia is offering Don’t Be Afraid:…

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Open Arms cancels March 19 banquet

Open Arms Hispanic Ministry has had to cancel its fundraising banquet scheduled for March 19 due to the COVID-19 virus and concern for the safety of many at-risk elderly who attend this event. Open Arms Executive Director Haroldo Nunes said, “We are hoping to have an event in the summer to reconnect and have fellowship with our support community!”

Conference shares recommendations regarding the coronavirus

In an effort to be cautious but not overanxious regarding the spread of the coronavirus, Ohio Conference offers the following recommendations for our congregations to follow at the present time: Limit the practices that could spread germs, such as the shaking of hands and hugs. Make hand sanitizer and/or wipes readily available, and encourage their use. Communion and other activities…

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Pastors explore spiritual direction

On Feb. 4 Ohio Conference held a daylong event to introduce pastors to spiritual direction, a practice of deepening one’s relationship with God and learning to grow in one’s own spiritual maturity. This event, held at Camp Luz, brought together an equal number of spiritual directors and pastors, approximately 20 people altogether. Facilitated by Janice Hershberger, Randy Murray, and Christine…

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Missional festival is for people of all ages

You’ve probably heard the word “missional” many times before. But what does it really mean? And how can you live missionally? You can explore the answers to these questions at Engaging Mission 2020, an Ohio Conference missional festival planned for June 26-28 at Bluffton University. This will be a bilingual event in both English and Spanish. Engaging Mission 2020 is…

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Seeking

By Dick Barrett Conference Minister Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. — Matthew 6:33 (NIV) I recently spent a week alone with God. I try to do that a couple of times a year. I have learned to go into the week without my own expectations of how…

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Pastors participate in leadership program

Four pastors of Ohio Conference congregations recently participated in the Values-Based Leadership Program at Laurelville Mennonite Church Center in Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania. The program includes two four-day sessions, one in October and one in February. “This is an excellent program that we encourage other pastors to participate in,” said  Paula Snyder Belousek, pastor of Salem Mennonite Church in Elida. The…

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Delegates gather for business, worship

One hundred seventy-three people gathered at Sharon Mennonite Church in Plain City on March 7 for the 51st Annual Conference Assembly (ACA) of the Ohio Conference. Delegates from 36 congregations participated in the one-day meeting. Delegates worship In addition to business sessions, the one-day event included a time of worship, focusing on the theme “Hearts of Wisdom,” based on Psalm…

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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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