Issue # 11 | March 25, 2021
"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
March 24, 2021
CONTRAST. “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!” Mark 11:9. “Crucify him!” Mark 15:14. Holy Week recognizes Jesus’ final days on earth. It is a journey of CONTRAST. It begins with a parade with Jesus being hailed as a ruler of peace, not as one who would wage war as their Roman captors did. The Jews wanted peace with their Roman captors so that they could become an independent nation again. “Hosanna!” is the liturgical praise or adoration to God from the Jewish tradition. The people shouted this to Jesus as a messiah to accomplish political freedom. Messiah on Sunday but by Friday the people were ready to crucify Him. What a CONTRAST!
     Holy Week concludes the Lenten Season. Lent is a journey of CONTRAST, the giving up and the receiving. It is a time of self-reflection to understand how our personal lives are in covenant with God and others. It is more than finding sins or defects or what’s wrong; it is a time to realize the gifts and graces we have been given by a gracious and caring God. It is about relationship building with others. It is about making “firmer” who we are as children of God in all the humanness as created in the image of God. We are not only life-long learners but also life-long faith learners. It soon becomes evident that we live lives of CONTRAST, contradictions and convictions firmly grounded in our faith.
     In the Book of Ecclesiastes, the Preacher in chapter 3 reminds us that we encounter so many CONTRASTS in life and that there is a time for everything. There are “Hosannas” as well as being denied respect or betrayal by those close to us. During this pandemic time, fear and worry have curtailed relationship connections and relationship building. Mental, physical and spiritual well-being have been compromised. Living in the midst of CONTRAST can be both exciting or detrimental. It is up to us, with God’s help, to know the difference.
     Holy Week is a CONTRAST of joy and sorrow, loyalty and desertion, living and dying. But it does not end there. We know the conclusion to this chapter in Jesus’ life and it becomes the beginning of Easter joy. We ARE resurrection/resurrected people. Nothing and no thing, as Paul writes to the Romans, can separate us from the love of God through Christ Jesus our Savior. The tombs of despair and death are soon empty and CONTRASTS cannot overwhelm us. The crucifixion does not end it all. We are able to proclaim, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!” The end becomes the beginning. BLESSINGS ALWAYS.

       
Travel with Rev. Daniel Busch, Association Minister
April 4 - Preaching at St. John's UCC, Fostoria
April 11 - Preaching at St. Paul UCC, Oak Harbor 10:15 am
April 18 - Preaching at Union UCC, Bascom 10:00 am
April 25 - Preaching at Trinity UCC, Upper Sandusky 10:00 am
May 2 - Preaching at Union UCC, Bascom 10:00 am
May 23 - Preaching at First UCC, Shelby 10:00 am & 11:15 am
Changes and Celebrations

Ordination Celebration
On Sunday, April 18, 2021 Emily Howard will be ordained at First UCC, Marion beginning at 3:00 pm. First UCC, Marion parishioners are invited to attend in person at the church. Others are invited to attend virtually through the Zoom link below to make social distancing possible. All Are Welcome!

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 880 4576 3257
Passcode: 062494

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First United Church of Christ, 930 Harding Memorial Pkwy
Marion OH 43302 740-382-4537

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. John Miller,
Pastor Dee Schroer, Pastor Bill Kerr, Rev. David Culp, Tim Metz, Jim Huckemeyer,
Rev. Pat McKinney, Pastor Tom Kagy, Rev. Frank Isaacs
2021 Disaster Kit Collection
Church World Service Buckets & Hygiene Kits

CHANGE IN THE MAKING

Keynote Speaker
Dr. Richanne C. Mankey, Ed.D.
President, Defiance College

Giving Our Best as Servants in a World of Uncertainty
There is no better place to reap the benefits of sowing seeds than on a college campus where students with raw potential and (un)realized academic skills apply grit and faith to face an uncertain world with grace and courage. At Defiance College, as in life, continual engagement about a vision and strategies to realize it as promotes holistic learning and adaptability to guide us forward. Engage. Explore. Energize.  Dr. Mankey's Bio
OCWM GIVING
(Our Church's Wider Mission)

2021 OCWM Giving Goal - $305,000
2021 Giving through February 28, 2021 - $15,846

Church Remittance Form
(use this form when sending donations
to/through the Association Office)
NWOA Periodic Support Consultation
Saturday, October 9, 2021
To Register for this event, use printable form
Local Church News
UCC Red Hymnals
St. Paul's UCC, Bellevue has 47 of the red UCC Hymnals (1979 print) available for anyone interested. Please call Cindy at the church if interested. 419-483-6490
Youth Leader Opening - Part-time

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. 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.
 
Worship Ways
Most NWOA Congregations are offering online Sunday Worship. Look at all the options to join in.

From the NWOA Witness and Proclamation Ministry Team
Friends;
  Everything in El Salvador, as well as at the Lutheran Church, has been affected by Covid 19. At this time, the country, which is about the size of Massachusetts, has had a total of 52,088 cases of the virus and 1950 deaths. Now there are 42 patients that are in critical condition and 178 more in serious condition, who are hospitalized. The virus is decreasing and they have finally received some vaccine, but the wealthy people, so far, have received most of it. These figures are only of the people they can count. Many of the very poor, who live in corrugated tin houses, never get to see a doctor and probably have not been counted. This is the living condition for many in El Salvador.
  The Resurrection Lutheran church is now meeting in person but livestreams their services to those who have computers. The church still supports a soup kitchen, a clinic, and one school with classes for children from kindergarten through seventh grade. The church has another satellite church in an area that used to be a refugee area during their civil war. Bishop Gomez’s wife is the pastor of that church. This church’s name is Fe y Esperanza which means Faith and Hope.  Continue Reading HERE

Written by John & Joyce Gilberg, El Salvador Coordinating Team
From the NWOA Stewardship and Caring Ministry Team
I want to begin by thanking everyone who has continued to support their local churches and the wider church through these difficult days as we deal with this terrible pandemic. You may not realize the good you have done.
Agencies like Crossroad, Back Bay Mission, and local missions get support from the wider church and depend on our backing. Missions touch people and change lives. In the 21st chapter of St. John’s Gospel, Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves him. Each time, Peter says yes. After each time he says yes, Jesus gives Peter a charge to “feed my lambs,” “tend my sheep,” and “feed my sheep.” We have that same charge.
When we joined the church we took vows to support the church “with our prayers, our presence, our gifts and our service.” The work of God’s kingdom has not stopped during this pandemic. Even when churches have had to stop meeting in person, the work goes on.
There have been distributions from the Federal Government in the form of stimulus checks, and many that get those checks need them desperately. However, some of us are not as strapped as others and could spare a portion of that money to shore up the church. The Stewardship and Caring Team of the Northwest Ohio Association is asking members of NWOA churches to prayerfully consider paying forward some of the relief that they themselves received. We are all in this together, and your gift could make all the difference.
Respectfully submitted, Rev. Adrian Sunday
NWOA Stewardship & Caring Team
Information from the Pastoral Relations Working Group
of the NWOA Church and Ministry Team
Covid Resources
The coronavirus pandemic has revealed and exacerbated places of pain and injustice throughout our institutions and communities, and clergy have borne the weight of this. The Pastoral Relations working group has listened to the pain that exists in our local clergy and have been trying to pay close attention to mental health and family concerns. Included here are links to resources for clergy and churches to be aware of.  Read more
Spiritual Director
Ongoing Covid 19 issues and other daily life processes can get in the way of mental health and happiness. We are in the process of gathering names and email addresses of spiritual directors. The names we have so far are: 

Rev. Ed Heilman Pastor at Park Congregational UCC, Toledo echeilman@hotmail.com; 

Please contact them if you would like to explore what spiritual direction is and how it can help in your day to day life.

If there are other spiritual directors you know who would be interested, please let us know by contacting the Pastoral Relations WG of the Church and Ministry Team by calling the Association office. 419-447-8323
Anti-Racism
Responses from recent pastor annual review surveys indicated a strong interest in resources to assist pastors in facilitating conversations within their congregations regarding anti-racism. This is not surprising given the events of this past year and we feel it important to address this need. Our first thought was to host a virtual training event, however, as we explored, we found many readily available resources that may meet the needs of local congregations. 

Living Water’s 21 Week Anti-Racism Challenge Toolkit offers congregation members the opportunity to better understand systemic racism and to inspire local community engagement. This Challenge was developed by the YWCA of Greater Cleveland who has partnered with Living Waters Association to host the Challenge. The Challenge asks participants to make weekly time and space to build more effective social justice habits – particularly those dealing with issues of race, power, privilege and leadership for a period of 21 weeks. Each participant who registers receives daily tasks via e-mail to help foster their understanding and awareness about racial equity. Participants from a congregation can then meet to discuss the weekly Challenges. Weekly tasks may include articles to read, tips for developing social justice habits, or opportunities to reflect on personal experiences. Learn more here to determine if this may be right for your congregation:

White Privilege: Let’s Talk – A Resource for Transformational Dialogue, is a resource offered by the National UCC office. The UCC offers a full curriculum, divided in 4 parts, complete with lesson outlines and facilitator resources. In addition, there is a 6 session webinar series available at this site called White Privilege: Let’s Talk, that is very comprehensive. Each session is led by national leaders within the UCC and other denominations and tells the story of spiritual journey through the lens of race and invites participants to become an ally in pursuit of racial equity. These resources are free and available by clicking the following link:

The UCC also offers an additional curriculum titled, “Sacred Conversations to End Racism”. This program is led by Dr. Velda Love, Minister for Rachial Justice and Local Church Ministries. Dr. Love will also be the keynote speaker for The Heartland Faith Formation Conference, titled, “Live It: Engaging the Sacred Texts Through the Lens of Culture”, which will be held virtually on 2/26 and 2/27/2021. This conference includes significant time for small and large group discussion following her keynote addresses each day. The link to the Sacred Conversations site is:
To learn more about the upcoming Faith Formation Conference and to register follow this link:https://www.ohioucc.org/all-project-list/faith-formation-conference-2021/[NW1] 

Attached to the end of the newsletter is an additional list of available resources. 
We hope that these resources meet the needs of pastors looking for resources to begin conversations regarding anti-racism within their congregations. If you have other ideas for how we may assist in bringing resources / training to you regarding this topic, please contact Nanette Warnecke-Flood at Nanettef@syctelco.com

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.
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: Pastoral Care
Beginning: September, 2021
Instructor: Rev. Catherine Lawrence

Special Offerings

May 23 -Strengthen the Church
October 3-Neighbors in Need
November 14- Stewardship Sunday
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.

Introducing the new Heartland Conference Website!

Summer Camp
Registration
is Open!
Looking for a way to promote summer camp to your congregation?
Click on the video (to the right) from Jill Frey, Executive Director of Outdoor Ministries that you can insert into your worship service.

You may also arrange for her to join your virtual coffee hour to
answer specific questions. Contact her at jill@heartlanducc.org.

Want more info about summer camp? Sign up for a virtual information session March 22, 27, or April 17. Click the link below for more summer camp information and to register. 
Summer camp staff needed! Lifeguard, Health Supervisor, Program Specialist, Cook! Contact Jill@heartlanducc.org for more information. 
You are invited to a Holy Pause nurtured by practices shared among Conference Ministers, Rev. Dave Long-Higgins (Heartland), Rev. Shana Johnson (IL South), and Rev. Chad Abbott (Indiana-Kentucky), during their Thursday Tri-Conference Conversations. This week join them in a Holy Pause as they engage the practice of Cinema Divina. The Pause begins at 3 pm EST.
UCC Weekly Webinars
Upcoming Webinars

  • Thursday, March 25 @ 3:30 pm The History of Afro-Christian Churches in the UCC with Rev. Yvonne Delk
  • Thursday, March 25 @ 6:00 pm Lessons from the Hebrew Bible: the Enduring Resilience of African Descended Women
  • Tuesday, March 30 @ 3:30 pm Stories Rooted in Love that Dismantle Stigma
  • Wednesday, March 31 @ 2:00 pm - Commission on the Status of Women
  • Thursday, April 1@ 3:30 pm Maundy Thursday
  • Tuesday, April 6, @ 3:30 pm The State of Black Bodies in the US
  • Wednesday, April 7 @ 2:00 pm Towards a Sustainable Future
  • Thursday, April 8 @ 3:30 pm Let's Talk About Abortion

Inauguration of Eden's President
Rev. Dr. Deborah Krause
At Eden Seminary next month, we are celebrating the inauguration of Deborah Krause as the seminary’s 14th president. April 6th at 5:30 pm CDT. We hope that you might be able to join in this online worship and that you can invite your conference’s congregations. Registration for a Zoom webinar link is here.  The Worship Service with the Inauguration will be part of a week-long series of online events that is this year’s Eden Spring Convocation, April 5-9, 2021. “This is What Theology Looks Like – Public Ministries of Resilience and Solidarity. A Celebration of Eden Seminary in the Progressive Christian Movement.” Find details at www.eden.edu 
Historically, the United States has released more global warming pollution than any other country, and it remains the world's second highest emitter. With its immense wealth and power, what are the moral obligations of the U.S. in confronting the climate crisis? In short, what's fair? Three leaders in the effort to address this question will present in this webinar: Sivan Kartha from the Stockholm Environment Institute, Jean Su from the Center for Biological Diversity, and Susannah Tuttle from North Carolina Interfaith Power & Light. Even if you can't make the webinar’s scheduled time on Wednesday, April 14th, at 1 pm ET, still sign-up, and we will send you a recording of it. Sign-up now for the webinar!

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: dlbusch@nwoa.org

Joan Davidson, Office Manager/Search Coordinator email: joan@nwoa.org

Deb Long, Bookkeeper
email deb@nwoa.org

OFFICE PHONE 419-447-8323