The Vine
"An email update...
Keeping Us Connected in Christ"
Northwest Ohio Association
Heartland Conference, United Church of Christ
416 Wentz Street, Tiffin, OH 44883
phone: 419-447-8323 fax: 419-447-6727
Proclaim God's Word in Worship and Worshipful Ways
Strengthen our Witness to the Gospel in the World
Discern God's Will for Faithful and Effective Ministry
Manifest Faithful, Wise and Responsible
Stewardship of all God's Gifts
Demonstrate Care, Compassion, Forgiveness
and Accountability to and for One Another 
July 17, 2020 - Issue # 21
Due to COVID -19 the Association office doors are closed to visitors but be assured the
Office staff are available by email or phone and working virtually from the office.
See contact information below.
This newsletter is brought to you by your OCWM contributions.
Message from the Association Minister

Rev. Daniel Busch
July 10, 2020

LISTEN. “Listen! A sower went out to sow…Let anyone with ears listen! Hear then the parable of the sower.” (Matthew 13:3b, 9). This parable of Jesus is a familiar one for Christian faithful. It is one of the first faith stories that I remember since third grade. Living in a farming community, “of course” planning, planting, harvesting and market were important considerations. “Of course” where seeds were planted was a “no-brainer” because “we” just knew seeds could not be planted anywhere if one expected a generous yield. But what always caught my attention of this parable are Jesus’ words: “LISTEN” and “Let anyone with ears LISTEN!” “Of course” if you have ears you can listen. During confirmation my pastor remarked, “Parables are earthly stories with heavenly meaning.” Seeds. Planting. Harvest. Ears. Listening. There is more to the parable than the words. Yes, ears help us hear but are we listening? How do deaf people have amazing listening skills? It is more than listening to sounds; it is also listening to inner joy and/or pain of others and within ourselves. Jesus explains the parable and reminds us of being attentive to the world around us. Words/sounds have the power to be blessings or curses, love or hatred. Public (societal) conversations recently use words/sounds of condemnation, rejection and insensitivity. Words/speech damage relationships and seeds of suspicion (fear of losing power) do not allow much listening. Seeds of racial disrespect, discrimination and revenge are tearing apart the social fiber of communities/nation/world. Needed are seeds of decency, care, peace, justice and welcome to those who seem so different than my/our comfort zones. “Let anyone with ears LISTEN!” Where seeds are planted allow the roots to thrive or die. Our lives are rooted in so many soils (traditions, places of comfort and power)—familial, societal, religious, financial—that give many people privilege, advantage, opportunities and benefits. There are many people who have faced discrimination, enslavement, terror, rejection or disrespect just by having different skin color or appearance or speech; this causes fear, hopelessness, belittling, contempt, physical and mental harm. LISTEN! It is time to claim that we all are created in the image of God—not God—with the relationship to God as family members, all daughters and sons, to be Christ-like and empowered by God’s Spirit as caretakers—not owners—of creation. “Let anyone with ears LISTEN!” BLESSINGS ALWAYS.

57th NWOA Annual
August 1, 2020
Virtual Meeting
Complete information about this meeting and ways to register
can be found at
Online registration will close
on July 30th.
Paper registration will need to arrive
at the Association office by
Monday July 27th.

All attending must have email to receive the invitation to join the meeting through Zoom.

Need help getting online with Zoom?
Watch for directions & details
coming soon!

Have buckets or personnel care kits ready? Please call the Association office for delivery options. 419-447-8323
Changes & Celebrations
Rev. Mark & Susan Bishop, Bellevue have two new grand-babies. Astrid Jaraslava Bishop born March 15th to Lee and Stana Bishop & Jonathan James Bishop born June 23rd to Andrew and Catherine Bishop. They all live in Berkeley, CA.

Rev. David & Rev. Dr. Marian Plant, Defiance are new grandparents. Wyatt Patrick Plant was born to Christine (Christi) and Jordan Plant on July 9, 2020. Jordan, Christi & Wyatt live in Defiance.
Retirement Celebration
Rev. Gale Green
First UCC, Marion
July 26, 2020
Parking Lot at 930 Harding Memorial Parkway, Marion, OH
11:00 am Outdoor Worship & Farewell Service
12:15 pm Drive-by Goodbye

Prayer Concerns/Request
Continuing prayer for: Georgiana & Keith Huizenga, Rev. Joy Skeel, Terry Tangeman (husband of Rev. Jeanette Tangeman), Rev. Steve Voelker, John Cox (husband of Rev. Kay Mooney Cox), Rev. Diane Christopherson, Rev. Don Corbin, Karen Culp

Rev. Darrin Harvey, Pastor at First UCC, Galion will have surgery soon and would appreciate prayers.

Priscilla Jo Kries-Isaacs, wife of Rev. Frank Isaacs had surgery and is recovering at home. Prayers appreciated.
Travel with Rev. Daniel Busch, Association Minister
July 19 - Joining First UCC, Marion in celebrating Rev. Gale Green's retirement
July 26 - Preaching at Zion UCC-Fireside 9:00 am (outside with video)
Aug 2 - Preaching at St. John's UCC, Tiffin 10:30 am
Aug 16 - Preaching at St. John's UCC, Tiffin 10:30 am
Lay School of Religion
The Northwest Ohio Association of the United Church of Christ and the Lay School Board offer classes to expand knowledge about the Christian faith to those folks in congregations who are actively involved in the life of the church.
Next Class: New Testament I
Beginning: September 8, 2020
Instructor: Rev. Mark Bishop

Local Church News
Doors begin to open for Sunday services
but continue streaming
see HERE how this is happening
Feeding God's children!
Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, St. Paul UCC, Wapakoneta has lived into its mission of feeding God’s children. The church has hosted four large-scale food distribution events in coordination with the West Ohio Food Bank and the Ohio Army National Guard. Beginning in March, the congregation launched a weekly carry-out and delivery meal to serve church members, which was quickly extended to the community at large as local needs increased.
That program continued until late May, when St. Paul UCC’s daily Summer Lunch Program began. Through this program, St. Paul UCC has been serving roughly 1,350 “grab and go” meals each week to adults and children in the Wapakoneta and Cridersville communities. The congregation of St. Paul UCC, Wapakoneta truly feels blessed to be a blessing!
Disasters in El Salvador

Hello friends;
  We, here in the US, think things are really bad because of Covid-19, the unemployment, the protests and unrest in the streets, and the political environment.
   Our troubles seem small compared to what our friends in El Salvador are dealing with. Covid-19, a storm from the Pacific coming into their country with wind and rain for five days, and then a storm from the Gulf side with more rain caused much damage.  During these storms, several earth quakes occurred. The rains caused mud slides, killing many people and washed out many roads. Many homes were destroyed by the wind, by flooding and by the mud. To add to the trauma, El Salvador’s poverty level is one of the highest in the world.
  How do you recover from all these catastrophes? Our friends at the Lutheran Synod of El Salvador are trying their best. Many people come to the church and ask for help. The people ask for food, clothing, sheets of plastic to cover their roofs, money, and also psychological help.
  Our Northwest Ohio Association had in its EL Salvador account over $2000. This money has been sent, as well as other funds from some churches and individuals, which is now over $5,300. If you would like to contribute to this fund, you can send money to the NWOA office and mark it for El Salvador relief.
  Our friend, Rev. Christian Chavarria, who many of you know, is the point person for the church in their recovery efforts. He is being stressed over these problems. Please pray for Christian and the people of the Lutheran Church who are trying to help their people recover.
  Thank you, Northwest Ohio, for all you do!
        John Gilberg, Chair of El Salvador Coordinating Team     

Give to our friends in El Salvador. Remittance Form  
Heartland Conference Faith Formation
Video Resource Gatherings
July Focus: Faith Formation Zoom
Summer check-in and preparing for fall

Monthly Faith Formation Resource Zoom calls are the  3rd Monday  of the month at  1 p.m.  and the  3rd Wednesday  of the month at  7 p.m.

FREE Clergy Retreat from the
Ohio Council of Churches
Covid-19 has created drastic shifts for pastors, chaplains, and faith leaders. You have worked tirelessly learning new technology, providing pastoral care through illness, fears and death; while creatively loving God’s people through pandemic.

The Ohio Council of Churches offers all clergy a FREE interactive time of retreat. These 4 One-hour retreats, facilitated by Rev. Dr. Brenda Buckwell and Rev. Dr. Cheryl Lindsay, will open the way for God to anoint your life anew, engage the sense and gift you with tools from spiritual direction training to empower your ministry. We encourage full participation in the series as each session will build upon another, but they will also stand alone. Now is the opportune time to take a Breath and Take Flight.

Before each zoom meeting, you have opportunity to take a photo pilgrimage to capture the hidden beauty of God amid the pandemic. A simple smart phone is perfect for taking pictures. No previous skill needed.
Each week prior to the retreat session upload your favorite photo and email in advance to Dr. Brenda Buckwell: .

Be restored. Be renewed. Be refreshed. Take a breath. Take flight.
Zoom meetings will be interactive with small group discussion, music, visio divina and creative arts prayers. 

As your ministry navigates through COVID-19, you may find yourself looking for information to help your ministry continue to thrive. Click below to view our COVID-19 Resource Page, and sign-up to download our COVID-19 Toolkit. Insurance Board protects your ministry by offering resources to support it. For more information, please visit our website.

UCC Webinar: The Green New Deal and Reparations
When it comes to justice-oriented policy proposals that seek to fundamentally transform our society, the Green New Deal and reparations currently rise to the top. Yet, often they are discussed separately, despite clear and compelling connections. The Green New Deal Resolution proposed in Congress sought "to promote justice and equity by stopping current, preventing future, and repairing historic oppression." At the same time, the demand for reparations compels our society to address the historic injustices of systemic racism, including environmental racism. To explore such connections and how faith communities can work to advance just policies, this webinar will feature three panelists: Congresswoman Barbara Lee,’s North America Director Tamara Toles O'Laughlin, and the UCC’s Economic Justice Minister Sekinah Hamlin. Register now!
Redesigned Doctor of Ministry Program
Winebrenner Theological Seminary is pleased to share with you that the Doctor of Ministry program has undergone extensive revision. The Professional degree program is designed to integrate critical thinking, theological reflection, leadership skills and personal information.
For more information contact
Amy Kinney, Director of Enrollment Management or 419-434-4241 or visit
Stay Connected
Rev. Daniel L. Busch, Association Minister cell phone: 419-934-5386
Joan Davidson, Office Manager/Search and Call Coordinator

Deborah Long, Bookkeeper 

OFFICE PHONE 419-447-8323