Issue #39 | December 3, 2020
"The Vine"
An email update.... Keeping Us Connected in Christ"
This newsletter is brought to you by your OCWM Contributions
Your generous gift makes our ministry possible

"Blessings Always"
Rev. Daniel L. Busch
Association Minister Message
December 2, 2020

ADVENT. ADVENTure. “A voice says, ‘Cry out!’” Isaiah 40:6a. Something is happening: expectation, fear, surprise, anguish, hope, blessing. For many Christians, Advent has begun, a season that leads to birth, something new, something long-expected, hope made real.
     Isaiah’s words are about announcement. We continue this Advent journey crying about the pain that is in the world and in our own being. There is fear being with loved ones; there is loneliness not being able to be with loved ones; there is fear of losing someone we love or know. There is both celebration and anguish in our nation following an election that continues to divide citizenry. For many hope is lost because there are cultural and racial disparities, no food, lost employment, and debt is overwhelming. Meanness. Contempt. Acrimony. Hatred. There is crying and no announcement. Where is the hope and where is consolation?
     On the first Sunday of Advent, the candle lit symbolized HOPE. This coming Sunday’s Advent candle symbolizes PEACE. ADVENT is defined as “the coming or arrival, especially of something extremely important.” Are we so busy or fearful that we might miss the importance of Jesus? Are we cautious and fearful of the ADVENTure (to take a risk) for hope, peace love and joy (themes of ADVENT)—for God’s way?
     “Cry out!” This coming Sunday’s scripture introduces us to the messenger John, the Baptist, who was the voice of change. He announced the ADVENTure of promises given and now being fulfilled in Jesus. John, the Baptist, cried out “proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” Mark 1:4. In the prophetic tradition of the prophet Isaiah, John spoke the words of repentance, changing ways, changing direction and changing thinking to conform to a recovering and affirming outlook on life as God intends it to be. It is an ADVENTure—taking risk of claiming God-given abundant living—that unites the divine with humanity and the creation. Hope thrives, peace flourishes, love embraces and joy overflows. Let us be ADVENTurous as ADVENT leads us to Jesus as our Christ, Lord, and Savior. BLESSINGS ALWAYS.
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, Rev. Bob Bottoms, Pastor Amy Kinney, Rev. Jeanette Tangeman, Pastor Bill Kerr

Rev. David Culp was hospitalized recently and would appreciate your prayers.

Rev. Darla Metz, husband, Tim has been ill and the hospital. Please keep this family in your prayer.
Full Video Worship Available for All Churches
As pastors and congregations plan for worship in the season of Advent and beyond, we are happy to share available and upcoming video worship resources.

From the National Setting: A Very UCC Christmas 2020. See the options for use here: UCC Christmas Worship Options.

From the IKC/ISC/Heartland Conferences: This tri-Conference collaboration will provide churches with a service intended for use on January 3rd. Details to come.

From the Council of Conference Ministers: The CCM put out a full worship service intended for use on Nov. 15, but which, in whole or in part, you may use at any time. Click here for access to all the worship materials:
(Our Church's Wider Mission)

2020 OCWM Giving Goal - $305,000
2020 Giving through November. - $191,338

2020 donation deadline is January 8, 2021
Please see all 2020 donations are dated December 31, 2020 if sent between December 31st and January 8.
All donations after January 8 will be considered 2021 donations.

Church Remittance Form
(use this form when sending donations
to/through the Association Office)
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:
Beginning: January 19, 2021
Instructor: Rev. Mark Bishop

Stewardship and Caring Ministry Team

In this time of disruption of our ordinary ways of doing Stewardship there are some "tried and true, does and don'ts" for any time. Enjoy the following submission by Rev. Wayne Chasney from our Congregational Community UCC, Monroeville church on the art of recognizing faithful giving through letter writing. Enjoy its guidance for an often neglected practice. If you have a submission you think valuable to share please send it to Joan and we will work it into the "communication" schedule.   Be Blessed, Be a Blessing.
Rev. David Plant, chair

"How NOT To Say Thank You."

El Salvador News

On October 30, 2020, fifteen people were killed and 35 were missing when torrential rains triggered a mud slide at 2:00 a.m. that hit the village of Los Angelitos in the municipality of Nejapa to the north of the capital, San Salvador. This is located close to Fe Y Esperanza, the refugee center owned and operated by the Lutheran Synod during their country’s civil war. Fe Y Esperanza has been visited by many who went on mission trips from our Northwest Ohio Region.

These people are now in dire need of food, clothing, and housing. Over 50 homes were destroyed. The Lutheran Church in San Salvador is trying to provide assistance to these people. The land that they inhabit on the side of a volcano is steep and a dangerous place to live but because of their poverty, they have no other choice as to where they live.

If you would like to help out with providing for their needs, please send donations to the Northwest Ohio Association. Our Association is in a partnership relationship with them. Prayers are also needed. 

Thank you, John and Joyce Gilberg
Witness and Proclamation Ministry Team

Back Bay Mission Report from the Witness and Proclamation Team

Like with many ministries around the country, Back Bay Mission has had to make major adjustments due to the Covid-19 pandemic. After a shut down in the spring, Back Bay resumed services in early June. Policy changes went into effect that includes social distancing and mask wearing for all staff and guests. The Client Choice Food Pantry and Micah Day Center for the homeless are open and serving those in need. Housing Rehabilitation is allowing campers to return to Back Bay with policies in place to ensure that it is a safe environment for all participants.
Many people in Northwest Ohio will remember Terry Tangeman who passed away in August. Terry was a long-term volunteer construction site supervisor at Back Bay Mission following Katrina for 13 years constructing and rehabbing homes. The Back Bay community mourns his loss along with his family.
 Executive Director Alice Graham expressed appreciation for the resiliency of the BBM staff who negotiated through the Covid-19 uncertainties. She also reports that two staff members have taken implicit bias training.
Back Bay Mission has been a close mission partner for our association and your support for them is much appreciated. Please pray for their mission and ministry, their staff and that God may continue to bless them as they do vitally important work for the Biloxi community and beyond.

More information about Back Bay Mission can be found at

Rev. Darrin Harvey, member of the Witness & Proclamation M
Worship Ways
See what other NWOA congregations are offering in the way of Sunday Worship.

Local Church News
Youth Leader Opening

St. Paul's United Church of Christ, St. Marys is seeking an energetic, organized and creative youth leader. Candidate must have excellent communication skills and be able to work with all age ranges of our congregation, with a focus on Senior High youth and school age children.

Person should be a lay member of the United Church of Christ or a person with like beliefs of the United Church of Christ. Position is part-time.

Send resumes to: St. Paul's United Church of Christ, Attn: Pastor Rhonda Hainer, 201 N. Perry Street, St. Marys OH 45885. Applications can also be picked up at this address
How Long O Lord?
A Maryland pastor reflects on why we need Advent more than ever in 2020.

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
Chaplain at Parkvue Community, Sandusky - Full Time Opening

United Church Homes, Inc. is seeking a Chaplain to join our team! This position is responsible for providing a program of spiritual care and worship for residents and the community at assigned United Church Homes (UCH) facilities; and providing public and church relations activities in support of the community's goals. The Chaplain models pastoral competencies in accordance with United Church of Christ and The Association of Clinical Pastoral Education professional standards.

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

Heartland Conference
is on the move.....

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.

Lancaster Theological Seminary will partner with Rev. Dr. Carrie Call (and Penn Central Conference staff) to offer UCC History and Polity via synchronous Zoom sessions in 2021. This course satisfies the UCC History and Polity requirement for authorization by association Committees on Ministry across the church. Please join us live on zoom each Friday afternoon from 2pm-5pm from February 12th through March 26th. Cost of the course is $100 and you can register below. The course is fun and informative and will change the way you think about the UCC. We’d love to see you live on 8 Fabulous Fridays in the new year!
Registration HERE
Over the past four years, Harvard’s Environmental and Energy Law Program has been tracking all of the federal environmental rules and protections that are being rolled back. This list of rollbacks is now over 100. It includes weakened limits on CO2 emissions, the removal of protections for more than half the nation's wetlands, and the undoing of restrictions on mercury pollution from power plants. The EPA's stated mission is to protect human health and the environment. What needs to happen in 2021 to repair and advance this mission? What do faith communities need to know to hold the EPA morally accountable? Caitlin McCoy from Harvard’s Environmental and Energy Law Program will join us for this discussion along with Vernice Miller-Travis who was a contributing author to the UCC’s historic Toxic Wastes and Race report. Even if you can't make the webinar’s scheduled time on Wednesday, December 9th at 1 pm ET, still sign-up, and we will send you a recording of it. Sign up now to join the webinar!
Women's Table of the
United Church of Christ - Survey

Thank you for taking the time to complete this survey prepared by the Women’s Table of the United Church of Christ. It is intended to gather information from women in the UCC about the issues and concerns you most care about, are engaged with, and for which your faithful responses make a difference in the world around us. We are grateful for the staff of the UCC’s Center for Analytics, Research & Development, and Data (CARDD) who will conduct the survey.
What is the Women’s Table, you ask? Good question! Since January 2019, a group of women convened by the Rev. Traci Blackmon has been meeting to discuss how the UCC can address and advocate effectively for gender justice and the issues that impact women’s lives. In the past several years, due to the need to maintain fiscal sustainability, the National Setting has reduced staff in many areas of ministry once vibrant in our collective lives. Distinct attention to women’s ministry and gender justice is gone. 
Yet as you know, the struggle for justice continues in all settings of our church and we recognize and give thanks for all the work you continue to do to make our world a better place for us all. 
We are not yet certain of the future of the Women’s Table but we are cognizant that as a denomination which has provided a great deal of leadership and advocacy on gender justice and for women in ministry within ecumenical and interfaith partnerships, that we need to find ways to remain visibly engaged, accessible, and resourceful on these matters. This survey, sent out to a diverse cross-section of women in the UCC, is designed to help inform next steps. What is on your minds and hearts matters to us.
Again, we cannot thank you enough for taking the time to offer your feedback. We look forward to hearing from you and to reporting our findings. Your responses will be strictly confidential and anonymous. It will take approximately 10 minutes to complete the survey. Please have your responses included by Friday, December 11, at 11:59 pm EDT.
This survey is also available in Spanish online. In the right-hand corner of the survey change the language from English to Spanish. Esta encuesta también está disponible en español en línea. En la esquina derecha de la encuesta, cambie el idioma de inglés a español.
The survey can be accessed here:
Grace and peace to you!
Members of the Women’s Table:
Rev. Heather Archovitch, Ms. Barbara Baylor, Rev. Traci Blackmon, Rev. Amy Butler, Rev. Jessica Chancey, Ms. Rachel Chapman, Ms. Gabrielle Claiborne, Rev. Davida Foy Crabtree,
Rev. Ginny Brown Daniel, Rev. Sharon Ellis Davis, Rev. Caroline Dean, Rev. Yvonne Delk,
Rev. Yvette Flunder, Rev. Amy Gopp, Ms. Edith Guffey, Rev. M. Linda Jaramillo,
Ms. Brenda Joyner (Consultant), Rev. Loey Powell, Ms. Yesenia Menéndez Sánchez,
Rev. Karen Georgia Thompson
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