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 
September 18, 2020 - Issue # 30
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
September 17, 2020
TENSION. There is nothing new about dealing with TENSION. Our Biblical and societal ancestors encountered it. Today in this pandemic time there is an underlying TENSION that gnaws at us in ways that stresses relationships with one another and in our personal inner self. One of our hymns declares “It is well with my soul…” but is it? Is it well with our lives or our living? Is it well with encountering crowds or practicing safe-distancing, choosing or not choosing to wear a mask? Is it well with your financial resources or mental, physical and spiritual health?
     Jesus’ parable in Matthew 21 is filled with TENSION because all workers received the same pay no matter when they were hired during the day. In the parable the landowner said, “Call the workers and give them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and moving on finally to the first.” (vs. 8). All received the same wage, as agreed upon when hired, and those who had worked all day grumbled and thought it was not fair. It was not well with the workers and TENSION ruined the day’s work for them. The landowner responds, “Don’t I have the right to do what I want with what belongs to me? Or are you resentful because I’m generous?”     (vs. 15). The TENSION in the parable is the contrast of generosity (sharing) versus privilege (what I deserve). Generosity expresses compassion, concern and care; privilege conveys self-interest and greediness.
     We have been blessed abundantly by God’s generosity of nourishment for our minds, bodies and souls, not because of our worthiness but because God’s grace accepts us with unconditional love. First or last, we are members of God’s family—no exception, no distinction. “So those who are last will be first. And those who are first will be last.” (vs. 16). “When we let go and let God” it is well with our lives. As God journeys with us, TENSION of these days has no power over us. God blesses us with abundant living in all circumstances and in whatever we encounter. Thanks be to God! BLESSINGS ALWAYS.

Islam within the Abrahamic Tradition
For Lay Persons and
Church Professionals

Monday, October 19, 2020
Zoom Meeting
9:30 to 12:00 pm
Online Registration by Oct. 15

COST: Free
Sponsored by Northwest Ohio Association & the NWOA Lay School Board

Changes & Celebrations
First Congregational United Church of Christ, Berlin Heights will celebrate with Rev. Casey Cain, her ministry as she prepares to retire. Her last Sunday will be September 27th with worship beginning at 10:00 am.
Rev. Katie Jackson was Ordained on Sunday, September 13th at St. Paul UCC, New Bremen. Pictured with Rev. Jackson (center); Mr. Jim Huckemeyer, Church and Ministry Team Representative; Rev. Daniel Busch, Association Minister; Rev. Rebecca Erb Strang, Sr. Pastor St. Paul UCC-New Bremen; Pastor Dee Schroer, Associate Pastor St. Paul UCC-New Bremen. To view the service, visit St. Paul UCC, New Bremen
Prayer Concerns/Request
Continuing prayer for: Keith Huizenga, Rev. Joy Skeel, Rev. Steve Voelker, John Cox (husband of Rev. Kay Mooney Cox), Rev. Diane Christopherson, Rev. Don Corbin, Priscilla Jo Kries-Isaacs, Rev. John Miller, Pastor Dee Schroer
Travel with Rev. Daniel Busch, Association Minister
Sept. 20 - Preaching at Calvary UCC, Crestline 10:00 am
Sept. 27 - Attending the Farewell at First Congl. UCC, Berlin Heights 10:00 am
Join an
"Excellence In Ministry"
Group Today!

During these unusual times, the eight Excellence in Ministry Groups in our Northwest Ohio Association have been particularly helpful to members. Participants have shared problems and solutions related to the pandemic and provided meaningful personal support. Most have opted to continue to meet throughout the summer. New members are always welcome but fall is an ideal time to join a group. For more information... and ways to join... see form HERE
Food Pantries are a necessity during this time of the Coronavirus – Covid 19 epidemic. To assist those Northwest Ohio Association (NWOA) Churches who support Our Churches Wider Mission (OCWM), a $200 grant is available by request, to those who host a food pantry or are affiliated with a community food pantry. Complete this form to apply.

Funding for this grant will come from
the NWOA Disaster Gifts Fund
given by many
Northwest Ohio Association Churches
during any given time.

*Please provide a written letter from the Local Church Leaders stating information you think is relevant to your request
and will make your application stronger.

Return application to:
Northwest Ohio Association
Heartland Conference, UCC
416 Wentz Street
Tiffin, OH 44883
Local Church News
Bulletins available
Sycamore UCC found stored away, a box of bulletins which are no longer being used for worship. The bulletins are 8 1/2 x 11 size with print on the front cover. If you are interested please contact the church at 419-927-9707 or by emailing

250 - Hearts Wide Open
200 - Wedding - Our Love
37 - Easter - Rejoice
60 - Ash Wednesday
500 or so - I am the Resurrection and the Life
150 - UCC
200, 22, 140 (3 types) Funeral
75 - Christmas Joy
45 - Remember Me
OCWM Giving
(Our Church's Wider Mission)

2020 OCWM Giving Goal - $305,000
2020 Giving through Aug.- $134,561

Church Remittance Form - use this form when sending donations to/through the Association office.
Digital Church
Healthy Practices
For Authorized Ministers Only

Attend this event for NWOA Boundary Training credit.

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.
Spring Class: New Testament II
Beginning: February, 2021
Instructor: Rev. Mark Bishop

Class Brochure (available later date)
FREE Clergy Retreats from the
Ohio Council of ChurchesRegister
Heartland Conference Happenings

Conference Minister's Reflection
Rev. David Long-Higgins (Click Here)

Conference Moderator's Reflection
Rev. David Plant (Click Here)

Executive Director for Outdoor Ministries
Jill Frey (Click Here)

You Are Invited to Join:
The Heartland Conference Anti-Racism Network
The work of dismantling racism is a long urgency. We need each other in this vitally important work. Whether you are involved in this work in some way already or want to be involved, your presence and passion matter.  An anti-racism network is forming for inspiration, education, empowerment, and engagement as God leads us in the building of the Beloved Community. If you are interested in getting connected, let Rev. Dave Long-Higgins know by emailing him at  

Weekly Zoom Discussion - Thursday
This event will be streamed via Facebook live at
Annual Gathering
September 26
9 am - 12 pm via zoom
The Gift of Revitalization: Free 6-week Interactive Online Worship Learning with Dr. Marcia McFee

We care about resourcing the churches in the Heartland Conference, and we are pleased to offer you the chance to participate in Dr. Marcia McFee's "Reboot Your Worship" training at no cost to you starting on September 20, 2020. Our participation gives you access to 6 weeks of downloadable resources (articles and videos) and 6 live webinars (also recorded for your archives) with Dr. McFee, a renowned worship designer, consultant, and educator (

She will be training churches in five basic ways to improve their worship immediately, no matter the size or style of worship and without a big budget or drastic change. Just as we have an occasional need to reboot our computers, "rebooting" your worship is simply a way to look through fresh eyes and get some fresh skills.

This course is also tailored to approach worship practices during the pandemic and will explore the basics of sensory-rich worship design while emphasizing safety protocols and getting creative for online expressions without burning out. AND Dr. McFee will be getting you ready for your best Advent season ever all along the way! All you need to do is register (at no charge) to receive the emails. You can invite unlimited members of your worship team (or potential worship team members) to receive these communications as well. We encourage you to take advantage of this free offer (usually $99 per church) made possible through the Heartland Conference's registration.

Registration link:
October 5, 6, 7 & 12, 13, 14
6 pm to 9 pm
Online via Zoom
Cost $50
Registration ends on Sept. 30

Parish Paper

The Parish Paper is a resource to which the Heartland Conference has subscribed on behalf of all Heartland Conference churches. Each issue stands alone as a topic of interest and importance to being a living and growing congregation.

West Coast fire evacuations take toll on UCC churches, camps & their communities.
September 19 3:00 pm
With the climate crisis and the struggle against inequality, the younger generations have served as today's prophets in provoking a global reckoning of the dire situation faced. As the November 3rd elections approach, children and youth are raising their voices again with a moral urgency as they awaken us to how much is at stake. This webinar will present children and youth from ages 10 to 18 who have a message and perspective that needs to be heard before those older than them vote. Register now!
UCC Health Plan Premium Rates and Plan Enhancements for 2021
The Pension Boards announced the following premium rates and plan enhancements for the 2021 plan year, effective January 1, 2021:
·    Non-Medicare Plan: 5% Increase (no change to co-pays and deductibles)
·    Pharmacy co-pays: No change
·    Dental Plan: No Change
·    Vision Plan: No Change
·    Life & and Disability Plan: No Change
For more information about health plans and/or rates, please contact Frank Loiacono, the Director of Health Plan Operations, at
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Consider highlighting products or services, sales or promotions, personal bios, and more. Use images that complement your message, and link your images to supporting resources.
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