Issue # 18 | May 13, 2021
"The Vine"
An email update.... Keeping Us Connected in Christ"
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"Blessings Always"
Rev. Daniel L. Busch
Association Minister Message
May 12, 2021
 REPLACEMENT(S). “When they cast lots, the lot fell on Matthias. He was added to the eleven apostles.” Act 1:26. The 58th Annual Meeting of NWOA was done virtually this year on April 24, 2021. This was the second consecutive meeting and only meetings in NWOA’s history not done in person. Much took place and much was accomplished. The words of Luke in Acts 10 caught my attention. Shortly after the Resurrection and after Pentecost, the actions (Acts) of the Apostles were about finding a REPLACEMENT for Judas Iscariot “who turned away to go to his own place.” In a sense, the Board of Directors of the early Christians had a vacancy
     Whether in families or business, when there is a loss of a family member or a member of the corporate structure, some things do not get done or cannot get done as they have always been done. Families miss their loved ones but the role that loved ones did for the family are often “passed on” to another relative such as matriarch/patriarch. When employees leave, a job description is posted for applicants and a REPLACEMENT is found. Sometimes positions are eliminated and work is assigned to other employees or just not done and workplace crunch happens causing low morale.
     Luke records that there were at least two candidates considered as REPLACEMENTS: Justus and Matthias. They both had qualifications to be selected: 1) journeyed with Jesus when He was alive, and 2) they were witnesses (spokespersons) to Jesus’s resurrection. However, there was danger being a follower of Jesus and especially to be part of the leadership team. The early Christians were targets for persecution which could lead to death.
     The Christian Faith Community continues to need REPLACEMENTS to carry on the mission and ministries of the Resurrection message. The organizational tasks of NWOA continue as persons are elected to various leadership positions of the association. We thank those who have shared with us their skills, thoughts and time to continue the work of NWOA in the past, now and hope for the future. Every position is a calling to ministry and continue doing the work of care, stewardship, ministry, faith formation, ministerial formation and authorization, mission partnerships and ministries that give testimony to resurrection faith that proclaims the living Christ among us. We, too, have the hope that there will always be REPLACEMENTS to bring the love of God made known in Jesus Christ into God’s future. There will always be opportunities to share the resurrection message of God’s amazing grace and love. We all are called to be “added to the eleven apostles.” BLESSINGS ALWAYS.
Travel with Rev. Daniel Busch, Association Minister
May 23 - Preaching at First UCC, Shelby 10:00 am & 11:15 am
May 26 - June 9 Out of Town Vacation Time
June 13 - Preaching at Calvary UCC, Crestline 10:00 am
June 20 & 27 - Preaching at Sycamore UCC 10:30 am
Prayer Concerns/Request

Continuing prayer for : Keith Huizenga, Rev. Steve Voelker, Rev. Diane Christopherson, Rev. John Miller, Pastor Dee Schroer, Pastor Bill Kerr, Tim Metz, Jim Huckemeyer, Pastor Tom Kagy, Rev. Marty Stiffler

Rev. Mary Wood, Calvin UCC-Toledo Pastor, would appreciate prayers for her family. Mary and her siblings are caring for their father at his Spencerville home while in hospice care.

Janet Barnes, widow of Clyde Barnes, UCC licensed minister in the 1970s and 1980s passed away. Janet was a member of The Mud Church, where Clyde was pastor for several years in the 1970s. A Celebration of Life for Janet Barnes is schedule for Friday morning at 11:00 at Emanuel UCC, with visitation starting at 10:00. Pastor Jay Scott and Rev. Don Corbin will officiate. Obituary for Janet I. Barnes | Lucas Batton Funeral Home

Pictured: Rev. Emily Howard, front with green stole on her day of Ordination, April 18, 2021 at First UCC, Marion, OH. Congratulations!

2021 Disaster Kit Collection Numbers

Disaster Buckets - 83
Hygiene/Personal Care Kits - 427
School Kits - 38

Thank you to all volunteers who made this collection possible.

***From the NWOA Stewardship and Caring Ministry Team
Dear NWOA Faith Family,
The Stewardship and Caring Team is pleased to offer you a series of conversations with Don Hill, a specialist in Stewardship and Fundraising. The team met with Don one Saturday morning in April and from that meeting came 5 separate videos for your consideration. A new video will be posted each week so you might take time to linger over each one (about 15-20 minutes in length). If you wish to follow up with the team with questions or wish to be put in touch with Don for a follow up consultation use the Association email or phone number to send a message and someone will be in contact with you. We hope you enjoyed these “conversations” and that Don’s thoughts prove useful to all as we continue to engage our local church Stewardship practices.
Blessings to All, The NWOA Stewardship and Caring Team

Video # 1 - Post-Pandemic: Is this the time to ask for money? CLICK HERE

Video # 2 - A Church Member's Legacy:
How to Support the Church after You've Gone CLICK HERE
***From the NWOA Witness and Proclamation Ministry Team
To the clergy and lay people of the Northwest Ohio Association…..

I am the Chair of the Witness and Proclamation Team, and we have been working to keep you informed through The Vine of ways in which we can witness to the salvation we have in Jesus Christ and proclaim it in the corner of Northwest Ohio where we live and worship. Please note that we are also trying to keep you informed through our Facebook page, and please LIKE / FOLLOW us so that you can stay engaged with us and others.

2 Timothy 4:1-2 New International Version
“In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.”

What a “season” this Covid pandemic has imposed upon us and which continues to influence us in ways that we are conscious of, and in other ways which are deeply unconscious or subconscious!! The long-term effects of this “season” will appear and reverberate for decades to come, with many of these revelations being rather shocking to us when they come, I imagine.

God blessing and peace to all,
Pastor Scott Johnson
***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; 

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 & White Privilege

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

Special Offerings
November 14- Stewardship Sunday
December 19 - Christmas Fund
Quick Links
Our Renewed Why, Calling and Covenant”
Dear Friends in Christ,

            Sometimes what appears to be a fallow time, is actually the space of God’s clarifying renewal. Strangely, COVID created space for a new thing to rise in our shared life.  Forced into the space of zoom, prompted by the 2018 Conference Vision Proposal, and stirred by the Holy Spirit, the executive teams of the associations and the conference, have together affirmed a renewal of our shared “Why, Calling, and Covenant.”  I am excited to introduce this to you.  Through it may we discover God’s pull of Love toward shalom, the weave of life God intends, and the way of life God yearns us to embrace. 
Rev. Dave Long-Higgins
Transitional Conference Minister
Especially I want you to note toward the end of what follows, the “Covenant” framed as a litany and prayer.  I encourage you to use these in your worship as a way of reminding your congregation of the covenantal character of our life.  Without further ado, our “Why, Calling, and Covenant.”  
What’s in a Team?

Certainly not the letter i.  These past two years a group of leaders that we have been referring to as the “Executive Teams” of the associations and the conference, have met regularly and often.  Also, two of each of the “teams” have been part of a smaller group of people called the “One Heart Working Group”.  The One Heart Working Group and the Executive Teams have worked faithfully and put pen to paper to encapsulate a forward moving vision for the conference that had its springboard from the 2018 Vision Document presented at our 2018 Annual Gathering. 
Rev. David Plant
Conference Moderator
Camp is On!
Camp will be Safe!
Kids need Camp!

After more than a year of isolation and disrupted social schedules, what we need most is time and a safe space to gather and re-connect! Summer camp has always been a great place for everyone to connect on a deeper level with each other and with Christ and for children and youth to do so under the supervision of caring and loving adults. This year we need this more than ever. We know that Covid-19 is still among us and we are taking lots of precautions for all events happening on site and are offering family events, as well as virtual events to meet your family’s needs. For on-site events we are asking participants to monitor their health and avoid risky exposures two weeks prior to camp, pass a screening upon arrival, wear masks consistently, and participate at camp in the same small group of 10 or less for their activities, including eating and sleeping. 
Summer camp worship bulletin insert now available in the two most common sizes!
If you have potential campers who are not sure which camp is for them, Faith Adventures is a great place for a 9–11-year-old to start and try it all at camp! check it out.
Does your church pay for a portion of the fees for campers in your congregation? 

If so, please get your payments to the conference office by May 10th, if possible so that we can enter them and the parents can pay the remaining balance by May 15th.

Please click below for a handy form you can use to accompany the check so that payments are processed appropriately. If you have any questions or concerns about payment timeframe, please contact Executive Administrator, Becca Hoskins at or 1-800-282-0740, ext. 2. 
The Heartland Conference is delighted to offer scholarship support to emerging leaders who are seeking authorization for ministry in the United Church of Christ. Applications for available scholarships will be open until Monday, May 31, 2021.
Join in conversations with local church pastors from across all three conferences as they share learnings from the long season of COVID and what those might suggest for emerging ministries going forward.
UCC Digital Programing
How to Attend General Synod
Meet.ucc will be the hub for all virtual Synod 2021 activities.
Hope Springs Eternal
  • Keeping Campers Safe
  • New Security Tool for Your Church
  • Water, Water Everywhere
  • #LowerTheRiskLowerTheCost
  • Slips, Trips and Falls: Common Culprits

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