Issue #3 | January 28, 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
January 27, 2021
AUTHORITY. “Who’s in charge here?” “You want me to do what…???” “Don’t tell me what to do.” “Do I have to do that?” “By what AUTHORITY do you have the right to tell me what to do?” Personal rights versus community rights. January 6, 2021, is a day that many will not forget as hundreds broke through barriers and entered the U.S. Capitol to try to overturn an election…and democracy. It was a troubling and disturbing moment in which fear and disbelief threated the order of the day. Here, in a sense, the question was raised: Who was the AUTHORITY or what was the AUTHORITY that permitted such an act of disrespect and violent force to happen?
     As Christians, we hold precious God’s call—AUTHORITY—to us to act in ways of love, peace and justice. It is God’s AUTHORITY given to us of unconditional love that offers us grace, forgiveness and generosity. In Sunday’s lectionary found in Mark 1, Jesus “taught as one having authority” and demands that evil come out of “the man with the unclean spirt.” Those witnessing the healing “are all amazed” Jesus later gives AUTHORITY to His disciples to cast out demons, cure the sick and raise the dead. Those things ARE happening today with the miracles of healing through doctors, therapists, care from others and prayer. However, we limit our AUTHORITY to be healers or eliminate evil or stop the dehumanization of children or loved ones by neglect, ignorance, fear and refusal to recognize that evil is happening.
     Each one of us has been given AUTHORITY to be agents of love that can heal others, bring calm into situations and raise up resurrection from dead ideas into vitality. As agents of change, it is important to bring about peace and goodwill to all. In Isaiah 61, the prophet declares, “The Spirit of God is upon me, because the Holy One has anointed me to bring good news to the poor, heal the brokenhearted, proclaim liberty to the captives, and freedom to those who are bound.” Such amazing power—AUTHORITY—is given by God on us, we who are called to be God’s servants, voices, prophets, hands, feet, embracers and servants. In this time of unrest, evil and meanness, we can be healers, lovers and visionaries as people (and world) who have been created with meaning and purpose to bring God’s amazing gift of AUTHORITY to transform life and living. We are called by God and needed by others. Accept and share the AUTHORITY given to you by God to do good. BLESSINGS ALWAYS.

Changes and Celebrations
Heartland Conference Make A Difference Grant Awards

The purposes for the Make a Difference grants are to assist with networking, capacity building, and ministry enhancement of United Church of Christ congregations in the Heartland Conference. Special attention may be given to implementation of the 2017-2019 Three Great Loves initiative of the United Church of Christ. Requests may include grants to fund leadership development, congregational ministries, and community outreach ministries.

Congratulations to the following:

Haskins Community Church, Haskins
Upgrade system to live-stream worship services,
the need for which has been heightened by COVID.
Memorial United Church of Christ, Toledo
Create 4 youth enrichment activities in conjunction with on-going community meals
in conjunction with grade school partner.
St. Paul United Church of Christ, Wapakoneta
Support for the Take Out Tuesday community meal program and emergency food pantry.
St. Paul's UCC, St. Marys / Breaking Bread Community Meal
Support for weekly community meal and delivery of meals to shut-ins, an on-going project.
Sycamore United Church of Christ, Sycamore
Purchase and install video equipment to implement on-line distribution of worship services.
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, Pastor Bill Kerr,
Rev. David Culp, Tim Metz, Jim Huckemeyer
Enjoy and be Encouraged. "SING"
(Our Church's Wider Mission)

2020 OCWM Giving Goal - $305,000
2020 Giving through December 31, 2020 - $ 244,508

Church Remittance Form
(use this form when sending donations
to/through the Association Office)
Attention: All Church Staff - Yearbook Reporting!

Earlier this month, the UCC National Office opened the DataHub so you can enter your church’s statistics. This important information makes sure your contact details and congregation trends are accurate and up to date, and that your church will have an 11 year report when needed. In addition, it helps us here at the Association, the Conference, and National Offices understand your congregation in a way to provide the best support and resources! Church leaders and offices should have received an e-mail on Monday, January 11, with further details and instructions. The deadline to enter information in Data Hub is Wednesday, March 3. Please contact the Association Office if you do not have this information. 419-447-8323
Worship Ways
See what other NWOA congregations are offering in the way of Sunday Worship.

Local Church News
Hymnals Available
St. Paul’s UCC in St. Marys, Ohio has approximately 200 copies of hymnals titled “Hymnal*United Church of Christ” to give away. If anyone is interested in these hymnals. Please give the church a call at (419) 394-3811, OPTION 3.
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
Information from the Pastoral Relations Working Group
of the NWOA Church and Ministry Team
Despite evidence and relevance to the literal, what happens when your church goes metaphorically viral on the internet?! Join Rev. Adam Ericksen, Pastor of Clackamas UCC, and Rev. Dr. Chris Davies, about faith in the technological sphere, the memes of Jesus, and pastoring folks in our own relative age group. Today 3:30 pm
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

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.
Consider this event to satisfy the requirement
for Boundary Training with the NWOA
Special Offerings

March 14 -One Great Hour of Sharing
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.

Join Us for the 2021
Wisdom Conversations Series:
Ministry & Dementia
February 2, 9 & 16 Cost $15
3:00 to 5:00 pm

As clergy and lay leader, what information is most important when dealing with dementia?

Rev. John & Dr. Susan McFadden

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
Welcome home to Templed Hills Camp and Conference Center and the Heartland Conference Outdoor Ministry!

Can fundraising be ministry? Can stewardship be spiritual? The Cultivating Generous Congregations Seminar this spring offers an opportunity for pastors and lay leaders to explore faithful, practical, and tested ways to promote generosity in our congregations. We will draw on current research, seek guidance from the wisdom of scripture, and discuss the best practices in church-based fundraising. Pastors and leaders participating in this program will be equipped to lead an effective stewardship campaign and, more broadly, help their congregation reclaim generosity as a spiritual practice.

This event is hosted by the Heartland, Illinois South, and Indiana-Kentucky Conferences of the UCC in collaboration with the national setting. The CGC Seminar is $50 per participant. Extended register by January 31, 2021:

MTSO presents lecture,
‘Providing Sanctuary as Witness:
Standing in Solidarity with Immigrants’

Isaac Villegas, pastor of Chapel Hill Mennonite Fellowship in North Carolina, will present a free public lecture, “Providing Sanctuary as Witness: Standing in Solidarity with Immigrants,” at Methodist Theological School in Ohio at 7 p.m. Feb. 23.

The lecture, presented free of charge by the Theological Commons at MTSO, will take place online. Advance Zoom registration is required and available here:

Villegas will tell the story of his church and other activist communities as they engage in tactics of collective solidarity and resistance against mass deportations.

In addition to his leadership of Chapel Hill Mennonite Fellowship, Villegas is president-elect of the North Carolina Council of Churches and has served on the denominational board of Mennonite Church USA. His writing has appeared in publications including RuminateScalawagThe Christian CenturyCommonwealSojournersFaith and LeadershipThe Conrad Grebel ReviewMennonite World Review, and The Mennonite.

Villegas holds a Master of Divinity degree from Duke Divinity School and a bachelor’s degree from Westmont College.

Methodist Theological School in Ohio provides theological education and leadership in pursuit of a just, sustainable and generative world. In addition to the Master of Divinity degree, the school offers master’s degrees in counseling, practical theology, social justice and theological studies, along with a Doctor of Ministry degree.
Save the Date! February 26-27
Virtual Heartland Faith Formation Conference
Theme: "Live it - Engaging the Sacred Texts Through the Lenses of Cultures"

Keynote Speaker: The Rev. Dr. Velda Love, Minister of Racial Justice, Justice and Local Church Ministries-UCC

When:  Friday, February 26th, 12:30 pm to Saturday, February 27th at Noon

In 2008, the United Church Board of Ministerial Assistance (UCBMA) undertook bold steps to strengthen congregational ministry in the United Church of Christ by birthing the Next Generation Leadership Initiative (NGLI or the Initiative). NGLI equips, energizes, and empowers younger United Church of Christ local church pastors to build vibrant congregations that change lives and further God’s mission in the world.

Applications may be submitted by February 1st for our 12th cohort. Additional information about the application process and program components can be found here.

Whether your church is just beginning its journey towards an Open and Affirming covenant, or you've been ONA for many years, you'll find a webinar that meets your needs! Our popular webinar series has helped congregations plan for an ONA journey that builds consensus and reduces the risk of conflict, and existing ONA churches have learned how to breathe new life into their ONA commitment. Our services are priced to fit almost any budget, and there are deep discounts when you buy a season pass.

In partnership with the Michigan ONA Coalition and the Michigan Conference, we're offering a day-long Zoom event with worship and informative workshops for ONA and not-yet ONA churches on Sat., Feb. 27, 10 am-5 pm EST. Congregations from any Conference are invited!

We'll offer two tracks: one for not-yet ONA churches, the other for existing ONA churches.

You'll learn more about
  • planning a Bible-based ONA process that will reduce the risk of conflict and inspire your church with new passion and energy.
  • exploring new ways to be an effective ally for your LGBTQ+ neighbors.
Leaders will include Kimi Floyd Reisch, the Coalition's ONA Program Minister, and Andy Lang, our executive director. More details about the program in the next issue of RIPPLES.
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

Reopening During Covid-19 Considerations
for Church Leadership and Clergy


JULY 11-18, 2021

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