Sabbatical plans announced

Conference Minister Dick Barrett will be on sabbatical from Nov. 28 to Dec. 31, 2022. If you need a Conference pastor during that time, please contact Regional Pastor Tony Doehrmann. Tony will be on vacation Dec. 4–11. During that week Paula Snyder Belousek, assistant moderator and pastor at Salem Mennonite Church in Elida, will be the emergency contact person. As…

Read More »

Discerning God’s will together

By Dick Barrett Conference Minister Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God — this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve…

Read More »

Dwelling in the Word

By Dick Barrett Conference Minister As we are early in this season of trying to discern God’s will for us together as a conference of Mennonite churches across Ohio and our neighboring states, it is very important to make sure that each of our hearts, minds and souls is prepared for the process. Even as individual Christians, discerning God’s will…

Read More »

The centrality of Jesus Christ

By Dick Barrett Conference Minister  For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. ─ 1 Corinthians 2:2 (NRSV) On March 4 and 5, Ohio Conference hosted our Annual Conference Assembly at Zion Mennonite Church in Archbold. During the assembly delegates unanimously affirmed our new mission statement – The mission of Ohio Conference of Mennonite…

Read More »

Conference minister reappointed for another term

In January the Ohio Conference Leadership Team reappointed Conference Minister Dick Barrett to another three-year term as conference minister. Interim Conference Moderator Paula Snyder Belousek said that the Leadership Team expressed a strong affirmation of Dick’s ministry and the excellent work he has done to build relationships and to stabilize the Conference after several years without a permanent conference minister.

New wineskins

 |  Category:

By Dick Barrett Conference Minister “No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch tears away from the garment, and a worse tear is made.  Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put…

Read More »

Being the church — challenge and calling

This episode of the Ohio Conference Cast podcast features an interview with Con­ference Minister Dick Barrett. Hosts Corben Weaver Boshart and Ramon Lianez talk with Dick about challenges facing the church today. Dick notes that he has been encour­aged to view challenges as opportunities. “God has called us in this time for a specific reason,” he says. Listen to this…

Read More »

Love God, love others, make disciples

By Dick Barrett Conference Minister Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. — Romans 13:8 Over the past year or so, Ohio Conference’s Leadership Team, with affirmation from both our pastors and delegates at regional gatherings, has developed a new mission statement to guide us as…

Read More »

Return to our roots

 |  Category:

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.…

Read More »

Being Jesus in the reopening of his churches

 |  Category:

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…

Read More »

Faith leaders call for National Day of Mourning and Lament

This week America surpassed 100,000 deaths from COVID-19. Many of those who died had to do so without the presence of family and loved ones. The deaths have been disproportionate in age, race and economic status. As we mark this grim milestone of more than 100,000 deaths in America and more than 350,000 worldwide, faith leaders from across our country…

Read More »

Thoughtful and prayerful reopening

All of our congregations throughout Ohio Conference are dis­cerning when is the best time to start gathering together in person again and what steps need to be taken to try to prevent any spread of COVID-19. Most will be reopening in phases offering limited interaction (e.g. no Sunday school, no nursery care, no coffee and refreshments). Some will begin by…

Read More »

Easter – now what?

 |  Category:

By Dick Barrett, Conference Minister This past Sunday we celebrated Easter in a way far different than most of us have celebrated Easter in the past. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, we couldn’t celebrate it together in our churches with all the pomp which we normally do. Most of us had to celebrate in a much more subdued manner in…

Read More »

What is truth?

 |  Category:

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…

Read More »

Thankful for the incarnation!

 |  Category:

By Dick Barrett Conference Minister We are entering into the special time of year when we celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas. Thanksgiving was originally a religious holiday in which people paused to give thanks to God for the blessings of the harvest. Thanksgiving is followed by the beginning of Advent as Christians prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Unfortunately,…

Read More »

A biblical people?

By Dick Barrett Conference Minister  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. — Hebrews 13:8 (ESV) Each year I try to read through the entire Bible, both the New Testament and the Old Testament, following different Bible reading plans. I must confess that I have not always been successful. I also often find myself struggling with parts of…

Read More »

An Update with Dick Barrett

After a hiatus of several months, the Ohio Conference Cast podcast has returned. In this episode host Thomas Dunn is joined by a guest co-host, Jacob Dodson, pastor of Wooster Mennonite Church, for a conversation with Conference Minister Dick Barrett. “I’m excited about the people we have in Conference….I’m excited about where God is leading us in the months and…

Read More »

The changing church landscape

By Dick Barrett Conference Minister The church landscape in 21st century America has radically changed over the past 20 years. We can no longer expect that the church model that existed for most of the 20th century is going to be effective for carrying out God’s call upon our lives as disciples of Jesus: to go out and make more…

Read More »

The Good News people

 |  Category:

By Dick Barrett Conference Minister “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” — Luke 4:18-19 (NIV) Jesus…

Read More »

Men’s Retreat features Dick Barrett

 |  Category:

More than 50 men from about 10 different congregations gathered for the annual Camp Luz Men’s Retreat on April 5-7.  While some of the men have been attending this retreat for years, there were a good number of younger men also in attendance, which was very encouraging to see. Dick Barrett, Conference minister for the Ohio Conference, provided the input…

Read More »

A new chapter of ministry begins

By Dick Barrett Conference Minister On Dec. 31 I completed my time as one of the pastors of Oak Grove Mennonite Church in West Liberty (four years as associate pastor and 12 years as lead pastor). There was much sadness and grief on my part in the ending. On Jan. 2 I began full-time as conference minister for the Ohio…

Read More »

Thankful and hopeful

 |  Category:

By Dick Barrett Conference Minister I have now completed two months as Conference Minister, working one to two days a week until beginning full-time on Jan. 1. I have participated in the four cluster meetings across the Conference, the congregational leadership team retreat in Bellville, the Mennonite Church USA Constituency Leaders Council meeting in Chicago, a day-long pastors and credentialed…

Read More »

A conversation with Dick Barrett

In this episode of the Ohio Conference Cast podcast, hosts Thomas Dunn and Bill Seymour talk with Dick Barrett, the new conference minister for the Ohio Conference. Listen to this conversation to learn more about Dick’s background, his journey to becoming an Anabaptist, and his hopes for the Ohio Conference in the coming years. As a bonus, this episode also…

Read More »

Dick Barrett hired as conference minister

The Ohio Conference Leadership Team has hired Dick Barrett of West Liberty to serve as conference minister of the Ohio Conference of Mennonite Church USA. Dick comes to the conference minister position after serving Oak Grove Mennonite Church in West Liberty, Ohio, for 16 years, the first four as associate pastor and the last 12 as lead pastor. After being…

Read More »