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 
August 27, 2020 - Issue # 27
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
August 25, 2020

HOLY GROUND.  Then God said to Moses, “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” Exodus 3:5.
The calling of Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt to the Promised Land is filled with suspense, adventure, doubt and fear. It is an adventure that would take forty years. Those forty years were filled with anticipation and hope. And yet there was complaining, irritation, even comments that it would have been better to stay in Egypt than on this journey. Moses considered himself not qualified to lead the people and wondered at times why he was put in such a position as the leader of ungrateful people.
Let’s not get ahead of the story without remembering Moses’ encounter with God. Moses was leading his flock “beyond the wilderness, coming to Horeb, the mountain of God.” There God called Moses out of the bush, and told Moses “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”
HOLY GROUND. We live in a time of terror, uncertainty and hatred. We act as if nothing is holy, sacred, blessed or godly anymore. Words are uttered that disrespect persons and places. Actions are done to brutalize and destroy human relationships. Are we really on HOLY GROUND? I believe that we all are on HOLY GROUND, called to journey to places yet unknown, beyond the wilderness, a journey that should be renewable and timeless. There has been and will be complaining, despair, resentment—but God is calling us and we find ourselves on HOLY GROUND.
When we take off our sandals, we have intimate touch with the HOLY GROUND. We feel it. Our touch has no barrier between us and the HOLY GROUND. God’s vision touches us and we touch God’s vision that can release us from our bondages of all that makes life and living not as God intends them to be. When we are released from that which binds us, ministries, missions and service to others happen. As we have heard often, we are always on a journey, not at the destination. May God bless our journey that will always continue. God calls us. God touches us. We touch God. We touch God’s creation and each other with love, respect and care. We are on HOLY GROUND. 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 only and also offered through Facebook Live.
Katie was called as Pastor at Bethany UCC in Ephrata, PA.
St. Peter's United Church of Christ, Millbury will celebrate with Rev. Julia Bertalan, her ministry with the congregation as Rev. Bertalan prepares to move to New Jersey to accept the call to ministry at Packanack Community Church, Wayne, NJ. This Sunday, August 30 celebration will begin at 9:00 am.

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.

Sylvania United Church of Christ, Sylvania is welcoming Senior Pastor, Rev. Vernard Swett officially on September 1, 2020.

Zion United Church of Christ - Fireside called Mr. Bryan Niebanck, Intern Pastor which began on August 16, 2020.

Rev. Katherine Beckett will serve as Interim Pastor at St. John's UCC, Bluffton beginning September 1, 2020.

Rev. Paul Stark will serve as Interim pastor at St. John's UCC, Tiffin beginning September 1, 2020.

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

Sympathy and Love to Rev. Jeanette Tangeman concerning the passing of her husband Terry Tangeman.
Travel with Rev. Daniel Busch, Association Minister
Aug. 30 - Preaching at Sylvania UCC, Sylvania
Sept. 13 - Attending Ordination for Katherine Jackson, St. Paul UCC, New Bremen
Sept. 20 - Preaching at Calvary UCC, Crestline
Sept. 27 - Attending the Farewell at First Congl. UCC, Berlin Heights
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
OCWM Giving
(Our Church's Wider Mission)

2020 OCWM Giving Goal - $305,000
2020 Giving through July - $117,968

Church Remittance Form - use this form when sending donations to/through the Association office.
Local Church News
Toledo Northwestern Ohio Food Bank set up a drive through food distribution at St. Paul's United Church of Christ in Bellevue with the help of the Army and Air Force personnel handled the check in and distribution. Church volunteers assisted by welcoming recipients and directing them to line up.

From Rev. Diane Carter, St. Paul's Pastor "As far as numbers, my understanding is that they distributed around 75 boxes of food, and I can tell you from my involvement with those who received them, there was tremendous gratitude for the Food Bank's efforts."
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)

"Conversation For The Present Moment"
Guest - Heather Kimmel, legal counsel for the UCC

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  

Weekly Zoom Discussion
This event will be streamed via Facebook live at
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

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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

Deborah Long, Bookkeeper 

OFFICE PHONE 419-447-8323