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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Gathered and Sent initiative begins

Ohio Conference will merge the focus of the two initiatives of the past year (Year of Covenant and Year of Mission) into one. The combined initiative will be called “Gathered and Sent.” A longer version could be, “Gathered in Covenant, Sent in Mission.” The “Sent” part of “Gathered and Sent” will provide us with resources, tools, training and support to…

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Direction statement affirmed

Delegates at the 2017 Annual Conference Assembly affirmed the following direction statement proposed by the Ohio Conference Leadership Team: Setting Direction for the Next Chapter of the Ohio Conference As we prayerfully consider God’s leading into the future, we commit ourselves to the following: We will continue our affiliation with Mennonite Church USA. Three changes would trigger a review of…

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Missional Conference challenges participants

Immediately prior to Annual Conference Assembly, the Ohio Conference held a Missional Conference with Alan and Debra Hirsch at Kidron Mennonite Church. One hundred forty-two people from across the Conference participated in this event. During six different sessions, speakers Alan and Debra Hirsch challenged participants to look more closely at Jesus, discipleship, mission, and sexuality. “How do we know we…

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Cliff Brubaker takes on new assignment

The Ohio Conference Leadership Team has agreed to employ Regional Pastor Cliff Brubaker for a special half-time assignment beginning in April. Since September 2016 Brubaker has been serving half time as regional pastor and half time with the Year of Covenant process and focusing on trust-building between congregations and the Conference. That second half-time position concluded at the end of…

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Delegates affirm direction statement

Delegates overwhelmingly affirmed a direction statement presented by the Ohio Conference Leadership Team at the 2017 Annual Conference Assembly (ACA) of the Ohio Conference. Those gathered at Central Christian School in Kidron on March 24-25 numbered 217, including delegates from 46 congregations. Ninety-three percent of delegates affirmed the Leadership Team’s direction statement for Ohio Conference. Vote totals were as follows:…

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Central Christian to host ACA

Central Christian School in Kidron will host the 2017 Ohio Conference Annual Conference Assembly (ACA) March 24-25. “Who is my Neighbor?” will be the theme of this year’s Assembly. The theme is based on Luke 10:25-37. This year ACA will be preceded by a missional conference at Kidron Mennonite Church featuring Alan and Debra Hirsch. Registration for ACA will begin…

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Who are Alan and Debra Hirsch?

By Jacob Dodson Pastor Wooster Mennonite Church One of the highlights of the Year of Mission is the pre-ACA missional training event with Alan and Debra Hirsch. You may have seen their names in missional books or Ohio Conference publications, but here is some biographical information about them. Alan was born in South Africa and grew up in Cape Town.…

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Missional conference to precede ACA

During the Ohio Conference Year of Mission (2016-17), the Conference has been encouraging people to think about how they and their congregations can participate in God’s mission right in their own communities. This March, as part of this mission emphasis, Ohio Conference is sponsoring a Missional Conference with Alan and Debra Hirsch. The conference will take place at Kidron Mennonite…

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How Alan and Debra Hirsch influenced me

By Jason Rissler Church Planter Cross Connections Having Alan and Debra Hirsch with us in Ohio Conference for two days is a true gift. My life and ministry have been tremendously enriched by their ministry. One of my first interactions with Alan Hirsch was in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, as Alan spoke with Lancaster Conference leaders and Mennonite church planters. He put…

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Worship resourcing seminar coming this spring

Sonnenberg Mennonite Church in Kidron will host a worship resourcing seminar on Saturday, May 6. Primary speaker for the day will be Rachel Miller Jacobs, assistant professor of congregational formation at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Indiana. In addition to her work as a professor, Rachel Miller Jacobs is a spiritual director. She was the resources coordinator for Leader,…

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New book focuses on evangelism

David Eshleman, who has worked with Ohio Conference congregations to provide revitalization resources, has written a new book, Share the Irresistible Story of Jesus, published by ChurchSmart Resources. Many Christians feel free to talk about the weather, news, cars, sports, or their job but have difficulty verbalizing their faith. Share the Irresistible Story of Jesus seeks to help Christians to…

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Everence resource focuses on generous living

By Lois Bontrager Ohio Conference Resource Advocate Here’s a great resource from Everence: Generous Living in a Self-Centered World: Biblical Models of Generosity. This resource is a six-week course in which you will be introduced to a variety of generosity models found in scripture.  Our challenge as 21st-century followers of Jesus is to take the lessons described in scripture, understand their context…

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LEAD3D focuses on youth leadership

Do you know a junior or senior in high school with budding leadership potential? LEAD3D (Discover, Develop, Disciple) is the leadership development program just for them! During two weekend retreats at Camp Luz in Kidron, students will evaluate their natural leadership tendencies, learn about principles of Christ-centered leadership and take steps toward discovering and developing a personal leadership style. Intentional discipleship by a trusted…

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Stories shared at Fall Mission Events

People from all across the Ohio Conference came to three regional gatherings to talk about how God is working in their congregations and communities. Jubilee Mennonite Church in Bellefontaine, Central Mennonite Church in Archbold and Berlin Mennonite Church hosted the three Fall Mission Events in October and November. These events are part of the Ohio Conference Year of Mission, which…

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Bluffton junior explores vocation and faith in Guatemala

Bluffton University — During the summer of 2016, Blake Hershberger ’18, an international peace, justice and conflict studies major from Canton, Ohio, immersed himself in the Guatemalan culture. Hershberger, a member of Beech Mennonite Church in Louisville, lived in Guatemala City for one month with the aid of a $1,500 Summer Discovery Grant awarded by Bluffton University to students who are…

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Calling and caring for pastors

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By Ralph Reinford Regional Pastor As a regional pastor, a fair amount of my time is spent working with congregational search groups and looking for new pastors. These are uncertain times, and I often get asked if there are available pastors. I also get asked why anyone would want to be a pastor. It is obvious to me that God…

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Pastors meet for Year of Covenant discussion

Pastors from around the Ohio Conference gathered Sept. 28 at Maple Grove Mennonite Church in Hartville for a Year of Covenant meeting. David B. Miller, associate professor of missional leadership at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, was the presenter. Covenants contain both privileges and commitments, but it is the commitments which tend to be neglected, Miller said. He noted that in…

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MMN has new mission bank teaching tools

By Lois Bontrager Ohio Conference Resource Advocate Has your congregation used the mission banks available from Mennonite Mission Network (MMN) with the children in your congregation? Introducing MMN’s newest mission bank teaching tools — Joining God’s team in Congo. These materials will help you teach your children and congregation about mission in Congo, and can be used a number of ways…

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Fall meetings to focus on mission

How have you seen God at work in your congregation during the Ohio Conference Year of Mission? This fall, members of all Ohio Conference congregations are invited to gather together at Fall Mission Events to share stories of how their churches are engaging in God’s mission in their local communities. Everyone in Ohio Conference is invited to attend the Fall…

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Conference awards eight grants

The Ohio Conference Ministry Development Team (MDT) has awarded eight grants totaling $21,614 to Ohio Conference congregations and Conference-related groups. The Ministry Development Team approved the grants at its Aug. 1 meeting in Upper Sandusky. Funding for these grants comes from surplus funds that had accumulated during years in which the Conference ended its fiscal year with a surplus. The…

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Cliff Brubaker accepts additional assignment

The Ohio Conference Leadership Team has invited Interim Regional Pastor Cliff Brubaker to work with the Conference on a full-time basis, beginning Sept. 18. Since April he has been serving as regional pastor on a half-time basis. This additional half-time assignment will have two areas of focus: Working with the continuing process of the Ohio Conference Year of Covenant Identifying…

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Donation to support church planting

Cornerstone Mennonite Fellowship has closed its doors, but one of the last actions of the congregation will further church planting. Members of the congregation, which was located in Plain City, decided to close the church as of Dec. 31, 2015. A closing worship service was held Jan. 10, 2016. Following the church’s closing, the church’s board decided to make a…

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Overplayed focuses on youth sports

By Lois Bontrager Ohio Conference Resource Advocate Now available from MennoMedia: Overplayed: A Parent’s Guide to Sanity in the World of Youth Sports by David King And Margot Starbuck. This book equips parents with concrete tips such as the following: Encouraging kids to play a different sport for a season Grabbing coffee with a friend during soccer practice (instead of…

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Resource Teams can meet shared needs

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Do you see a need that Ohio Conference should address? One way to work at these needs is by forming a Resource Team. A Resource Team is a temporary group that carries out specific tasks identified by the Ohio Conference Ministry Development Team (MDT). Resource Teams exist to respond quickly to the needs of congregations within the Ohio Conference. As…

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Task force wants to hear from you

          At Annual Conference Assembly (ACA) 2016 the delegate body affirmed an Ohio Conference “Statement on Remaining with MC USA.”  One key element of this statement was that Ohio Conference would “remain a part of MC USA in order to articulate to the denomination our perceptions of differences in doctrine and practice.” The Ohio Conference Leadership Team…

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Birthday blessing crosses cultures at Salem

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By Raul Tadeo The Hispanic members of the Salem Mennonite Church of Wooster love LuLu Miller, the oldest member of the bilingual congregation. LuLu has learned to accept the “besos”(kisses on the forehead and cheeks) and “abrazos” (hugs) that the Hispanics use to greet her with every Sunday morning when she arrives at church. On Sunday, May 22, she reached…

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Salem breaks ground for new facility

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By Bob Sauder Editor’s note: How does a congregation decide when to build a new facility? The journey to new construction is often a long one, and the path is not always a straight line. Bob Sauder, the new moderator of the Ohio Conference, is a member of Salem Mennonite Church in Waldron, Mich. He reflects on the years-long process…

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