Keeping You Connected

This newsletter is brought to you by your OCWM contributions.

There are a whole bunch of reasons why reporting your church's annual data is important. One of those is the numbers you report help to determine how many delegates our conference can designate for General Synod, which is one of the essential ways your voice is heard on important issues. Read about other reasons.
A Message from Our New AGM
Greetings, and thank you for the warm welcome many of you continue to extend to me since my arrival on February 1. I am deeply grateful to experience, in this frigid February climate, the warmth and heart of your extravagant welcome. I am excited to be in OH, to be part of the active engaged ministry of EOA and WRA. I am delighted to be part of the ongoing journey of "imagining a new conference." I am glad to be where God is still speaking, Christ is still living and the Spirit is still transforming and doing a new thing.

Thank You from Mark Frey
It was my pleasure to serve our Associations as Acting Associations General Minister for two months while we anticipated Nayiri Karjian's arrival. Nayiri has started her ministry among us and I think you will enjoy getting acquainted with her. There will be several "Meet & Greet" events coming up.

Lenten Book Reading Event
The Opiate Crisis Prophetic Witness Team invites you to join in an association-wide Lenten book reading event. All churches are invited to read the book which chronicles the rise and development of the heroin crisis: Dreamland by Sam Quinones. Congregations are urged to host a weekly book study during Lent. New, used, e-book and audio books are available from Amazon. Each Wednesday during Lent, the Prophetic Witness Team will present a new meditation based on the book, life experiences and issues of recovery. The meditations will be on the Opiate Prophetic Witness Team's page .

Black History Month Celebration
Join West Park UCC (3909 Rocky River Dr, Cleveland) on February 18 at 11:30AM. Dr. Padmore Agbemabiese, Associate Professor of English and African American and African Studies at Cuyahoga Community College, will offer a presentation on Renewing the American Dream for Afreican Americans. problems of violence, lack of education and mass incarceration are intimately linked to black America's job crisis. Chronic unemployment and underemployment fractures families and neighborhoods and chokes off hope. But what are some of the programs that can renew the pursuit of the American dream? RSVP to West Park UCC is appreciated, but not required.
Lenten Conversations
You are invited to U nited with C ookies and C onversation. Rev. Neal Sadler will moderate a Lenten series of speakers and discussions exploring the identity of the United Church of Christ. Come to First Congregational Church (85 Heritage Dr, Tallmadge) to hear the speakers and share your thoughts and eat cookies on Wednesday mornings 10-11:30AM or evenings 7-8:30PM.
  • Feb 21: Our Roots - Rev. Rip Noble
  • Feb 28: Our Relationships - Rev. Nayiri Karjian
  • Mar 7: Our Faith - Rev. Gene McAfee
  • Mar 14: Our Fellowship - Rev. David Loar
  • Mar 21: Our Mission - Rev. Mark Frey
Lenten Spiritual Spa Days
Breathe on me, Breath of God
Fill me with life anew.
That I may love as you do love,
And do what you would do.

Take some time away during Lent to experience the "Breath of God" through contemplative prayer, a labyrinth, qijong, drumming, art/music, massage, and/or Reiki. Two Spa Days from which to choose:
You can come for all or part of the day. You may also register for the $10 lunch or feel free to brown-bag it.

Webinar on Climate Change
Twenty-one youth are suing the federal government over climate change, and one of them is the son of a UCC pastor. Hear a personal perspective on the case in a live webinar featuring Kiran Oommen and his mother the Rev. Melanie Oommen of First Congregational UCC in Eugene, Oregon. A brief legal update on the case will be provided by Coreal Riday-White of Our Children's Trust. The webinar will take place on the evening of February 28 th .

40th Anniversary
On Sunday, March 4, Rev. Mark Thomas will celebrate 40 years of UCC ministry. Lakewood Congregational UCC (1375 W Clifton Blvd, Lakewood) invites you to the 10AM worship service which will be followed by a coffee hour reception in the social hall.
Healthy Practices for Ministry
All authorized ministers are invited to attend Healthy Practices for Ministry: Ending Racism and Understanding White Privilege on March 6, 10AM, at Richfield UCC (4340 W Streetsboro Rd, Richfield). This event will focus on the new Sacred Conversation to End Racism curriculum and will be facilitated by Rev. Dr. Velda Love, Minister for Racial Justice, UCC. The event is only $ for pastors who retired from ministry. Lunch is optional and is $10. All commissioned, licensed and ordained persons are required to attend Healthy Practices once every two years to maintain standing in the Association.

Spring A.R.T. Retreat
You are invited to attend the Spring Artistic Expression, Reflection, and Time with God Retreat. A "Tree of Life" Creatively Grows in You! is the theme for the 13th biannual A.R.T. Retreat at Olmsted Community Church (7853 Main St, Olmsted Falls) March 17, 10AM-3PM. Focusing on God's amazing gift of life through trees, we will reflect on the diversity of trees and the many ways they benefit our lives. Cost is $25; register by February 26 for a $5 discount. Deadline for registration is March 12.

Open Position
United Protestant Campus Ministries in Cleveland (UPCaM) is seeking an Executive Director to serve students at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland State University, and Cuyahoga Community College-Metropolitan Campus. The successful candidate will be an ordained minister with a Master of Divinity or equivalent degree. Experience in campus ministry desired, including creating programming for traditional and non-traditional college students, in multicultural and multi-faith environments, with a commitment to interfaith collaborations. This is a full-time, year-round position. For more information and a job description, email or visit the website. Application deadline: March 30, 2018.
In Our Prayers
Please keep the following people in your prayers.

The family of Wayne Pressler. Wayne, who was very active in the work of the Associations, died Wednesday, February 7.
Ordinations & Installations
Installation of Brent Gundlah
February 18 ♦ 10:30AM
St Paul UCC ♦ 21 Wooster St NW ♦ Navarre

Installation of Karin Wright
March 4 ♦ 9:30AM
United Church of Christ ♦ 1115 SR 43 ♦ Suffield

Installation of Robin Stanley
March 18 ♦ 11AM
Hartsgrove Community UCC ♦ 5260 US 6 ♦ Rome

Installation of David W. Brown
May 6 ♦ 10:30AM
Trinity UCC ♦ 915 N Main St ♦ Akron
Association Ministers' Schedules
Here's where your Association Ministers will be the next few Sundays.
March 4
United Church of Christ
1115 SR 43 ♦ Suffield
February 18
21 Wooster St NW ♦ Navarre

March 4
1375 W Clifton Blvd ♦ Lakewood
Your Associations' Staff
Nayiri Karjian
Associations General Minister

Gary Halstead
Associations Associate Minister

Machelle Miller
Office Manager & Bookkeeper

Cheryl McGraw
Communications & Administration
Don Hill
Financial Development Consultant

Gene McAfee
Dean of Northeast Ohio School of Ministry

Bob Richardson
Coach Coordinator

Committee on Ministry Registrar
Submission Guidelines
If you'd like to share information about an upcoming event or past event sponsored or co-sponsored by a church in our Associations, please send your article of 100 words or less in a paragraph to by Tuesday noon of each week. Be extravagantly welcoming by including in the article the name, location, address, date, time and contact information of the event. Items will run for two consecutive weeks. Fliers may be sent in addition to the 100 word article and a link will be provided in the article to the flier. Fliers should be less than 5MB and in Word or PDF format. Photos (which display next to your article) may be sent in addition to the article. Photos should be less than 5MB and in JPG or PNG format.