Issue #34 | October 16. 2020
"The Vine"
An email update.... Keeping Us Connected in Christ"
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"Blessings Always"
Rev. Daniel Busch
Association Minister
October 21, 2020

TESTED. “One of them, a legal expert, tested (Jesus).” It must have been quite a scene around Jesus when the Pharisees, again, confronted Jesus. In last week’s lectionary reading, the Pharisees tried to entrap/trap Jesus to discredit Him, either to embarrass Jesus or make Him look foolish and not wise about loyalty matters. So they tried another scheme by TESTING His knowledge of religious law.
    While in school we have taken many TESTS that have two different intentions: 1) knowledge of facts and 2) ability to apply facts in solving problems. I had a college professor who had only “fact” questions on tests from the text and even footnotes. Another professor challenged us by posing essay questions to get us to bring together different ideas from readings and lectures to support our conclusions.
    Jesus understood the TESTING from the Pharisees who tried to trick Him to make themselves wiser about the law than those not as spiritual (or educated) as they were. The Pharisees used the law destructively. Where was the grace—or even love—in their harassing of Jesus?
    We encounter so many types of TESTS today. There are TESTS to join groups (even to be a church member), teams, club, neighborhoods, schools, political parties, or even marrying into a family. Prejudices, bigotry and even financial statements are TESTS that exclude certain people. Who is in or out are determined by factors that embrace judgements that are unfair, unjust, or not welcoming. The Pharisees certainly judged Jesus as unworthy to be with them so that when they met together they conspired to make Jesus unacceptable to their standards.
    However, Jesus turns things around and challenges their thinking, motives, and intentions of meanness and hatefulness. Jesus was asked what is the greatest commandment, a TEST that would lead to laws being ranked on a scale of greatest to least. Jesus, however, answered that law was about love—love of God with your entire being and loving neighbor as yourself. One cannot separate them, they are interconnected, and love is the way life should be lived. Love tears down walls of hostility and misunderstanding among families, neighbors, and world community. TESTING. It is more than just passing or failing as it becomes a way to understand and embrace acts of reconciliation, kindness, and God’s grace in and for each other. With Jesus, we never fail and are given marks of love for all. BLESSINGS ALWAYS.

Changes and Celebrations
"Drive-by Goodbye"
On July 26th the congregation at First UCC, Marion had a wonderful celebration for Rev. Gale Green as she moved forward with retirement. As you can see this was a fun day for all.
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,
Rev. John Miller, Pastor Dee Schroer
Travel with Rev. Daniel Busch, Association Minister

Nov. 8 - Preaching Lytton Zion UCC, Delta 9:15 am
Nov. 15 - Preaching Spencerville UCC, Spencerville
Worship Ways
See what other NWOA congregations are offering in the way of Sunday Worship.

Food Pantry Grant - 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.
Quick Links
(Our Church's Wider Mission)

2020 OCWM Giving Goal - $305,000
2020 Giving through Sept. - $150,536

Church Remittance Form
(use this form when sending donations
to/through the Association Office)
Boundary Training Offered
November 11, 2020
9 am - 12 pm - via Zoom

Weekly Facebook Live Discussion

Join Transitional Conference Minister David Long-Higgins on Thursday for weekly Live 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.

Nollau to You: A One Day Virtual Leadership Retreat
Wednesday, October 28, 2020 9:00 am - 4:30 pm
Fee & Online
Space limited to 25 participants
Make a Difference Grant
(Child & Family Services)
With your help, Crossroad
has been creating special holiday memories for children
for nearly 137 years.
See how you can help!

Meet the General Synod Working Group
How will the United Church of Christ National Setting program a virtual General Synod with moving worship, interesting workshops, educational intensives, church business, youth programming and service projects? There are working groups for that.
Get Involved in General Synod
People who want to submit nominations for moderator and assistant moderator of the General Synod of the United Church of Christ now have an added month to do so. The nomination deadline for those two leadership positions has been extended to Saturday, Oct. 31.

Relive the Excitement
Relive the excitement of General Synod 32 in Milwaukee! We are looking forward to a virtual - but every bit as exciting - General Synod 33 next July!

Proclaim God's Word in Worship and Worshipful Ways
Strength 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
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Stay Connected

Rev. Daniel Busch, Association Minister
cell: 419-934-5386 email:

Joan Davidson, Office Manager/Search Coordinator email:

Deb Long, Bookkeeper

OFFICE PHONE 419-447-8323