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 3, 2020 - Issue # 28
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.
The office will be closed on Monday, September 7 observing Labor Day.
This newsletter is brought to you by your OCWM contributions.
Message from the Association Minister
“BLESSINGS ALWAYS!”
Rev. Daniel Busch
September 1, 2020
GATHERED. SCATTERED. “For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” Matthew 18:20. There is not much gathering going on in church buildings these days. If in-person services are held, strict rules (hopefully) are being followed with disinfectant and social distancing a priority. We have missed being able to hug/embrace/kiss/hold one another, poke at each other, even “get into one another’s face.” Fellowship is different as we GATHER around a screen or phone via an internet that does not interpret for us noticed expressions, feelings or body language.
This past week I “preached” at a church with two other people present in the sanctuary—a liturgist and a technician. I pictured worshippers I knew sitting in the pews and responding to the words spoken, music played, and prayers offered to God. The congregation was SCATTERED near and far via the internet, still a uniquely GATHERED faith community united in Christ.
Two or three (tens, hundreds, thousands) who gather in person or spiritually find Christ in their midst. A building does not make a church. It is the power of Christ in us—each one of us—whether GATHERED or SCATTERED—that we become the community of faith. As the Body of Christ, we are united in mission, ministries and service and we become the power of change, reconciliation and love in our communities and world.
When Christ is in the midst of us, our hearts, minds and spirits are opened to those have been exclueded—SCATTERED—to treacherous, dangerous and unhealthy situations. The pandemic finds people dying alone, isolation away from family and friends, and uncertainty if it will ever end. Protests, unemployment, harassment, abuse, hunger, poverty and lawlessness have caused resentment, despair and human tragedy. Christ for us, in us, to others, together with others offers hope. To be GAHTERED with Christ in our midst can bring about a community grounded in healing. GATHERED together with Christ, we are not alone and we share the burdens of the day with and for one another.
GATHERED builds a faith community near us and in the world with hope for God’s Shalom—God’s peace—God’s vision of embracing all persons as children of God. The words of a hymn remind us: “We gather together to ask for God’s blessing, to live in community, seeking God’s will…Beside us, forgiving, enabling, sustaining, you call us, O Savior, to life that is new. You draw us away from self-centered complaining. You lead us and guide us in ways that are true.” (NCH 421) GATHERED, though SCATTERED, God’s community is blessed to be blessings to one another. BLESSINGS ALWAYS.

Lay School of Religion - still room to register......
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.

This class will be offered virtually through Zoom!

Fall Class: New Testament I
Beginning: September 8, 2020
Instructor: Rev. Mark Bishop
Cost $90 by Sept. 1
$100 after Sept. 1

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
Ordination in the planning......
Katie Jackson will be ordained on September 13th at 3:30 pm at St. Paul UCC, New Bremen. This event will be in person by invitation and offered also by streaming via Facebook Live on the church's page: St. Paul United Church of Christ-New Bremen, OH. In accordance with church guidelines, attendees are asked to follow all social distancing recommendations including wearing a mask. A reception will follow. "Clergy are invited to wear red stoles". Katie was called as Pastor at Bethany UCC in Ephrata, PA.
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.
Prayer Concerns/Request
Continuing prayer for: Georgiana & Keith Huizenga, Rev. Joy Skeel, Rev. Steve Voelker, John Cox (husband of Rev. Kay Mooney Cox), Rev. Diane Christopherson, Rev. Don Corbin, Rev. Darrin Harvey, Priscilla Jo Kries-Isaacs, Rev. John Miller, Pastor Dee Schroer
Travel with Rev. Daniel Busch, Association Minister
Sept. 13 - Preaching at St. Peter's UCC, Millbury 10:15 am
Sept. 13 - Attending Ordination for Katherine Jackson, St. Paul UCC, New Bremen
Sept. 20 - Preaching at Calvary UCC, Crestline 10:00 am
Sept. 27 - Attending the Farewell at First Congl. UCC, Berlin Heights 10:00 am
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
Seminary Graduate
Pastor Michael Ebersole, St. John's-Baseline UCC & College Hill UCC, Bloomville completed his studies at United Theological Seminary, Dayton and received his Master of Divinity Degree as of July 31, 2020. Congratulations!

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.



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)


Tom Paton Award - Apply by September 14th


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 dave@heartlanducc.org.  


Weekly Zoom Discussion - Thursday
This event will be streamed via Facebook live at https://www.facebook.com/HeartlandConferenceUCC/
Annual Gathering
September 26
9 am - 12 pm via zoom
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.


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 floiacono@pbucc.org.
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Stay Connected
Rev. Daniel L. Busch, Association Minister cell phone: 419-934-5386
  
Joan Davidson, Office Manager/Search and Call Coordinator
email: joan@nwoa.org

Deborah Long, Bookkeeper 
email: deb@nwoa.org

OFFICE PHONE 419-447-8323