Issue #40 | December 10, 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
The Office will be closed for the Holidays
December 24, 2020 through January 3, 2021

"Blessings Always"
Rev. Daniel L. Busch
Association Minister Message
December 7, 2020

VOICE. “I am a (the) VOICE crying out in the wilderness…” John 1:23. There seems to be a plethora of comments these days about everything—faith, politics, food, education, parenting, dating, how to live well, privilege, work, economics—that leads to divisiveness in our families and world. Whether it is an email, letter, or personal conversation, there is more VOICE than listening. “I’ve made up my mind; don’t confuse me with the facts.” There are still people who believe that the world is flat and there is nothing that convince them otherwise. Racial tension and inequality continue because some people VOICE the opinion that God blessed “their kind” superior to others. Even in certain faith circles, there is a privileged class claimed as authoritative and blessed by God that is their exclusive spiritual righteousness.
     In John’s Gospel, chapter 1, John, the Baptist, was asked by the priests and Levites, “Who are you?” and John confessed that he was neither the Messiah or the reappearing of the prophet Elijah. The Gospel writer continues introducing John, the Baptist, who claims to be the VOICE for his second cousin Jesus, “I am the VOICE of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”
     It is an interesting question raised of John that is asked of all of us: “Who are you?” Who are you, really? What kind of VOICE are you with others? Disruptive, opinionated, welcoming, caring, loving, compassionate? Does our VOICE reflect being led in all that we do by the love of God, the saving grace of Jesus and being Spirit filled? Is our VOICE a blessing or curse? Is God’s love found in our thoughts, words and deeds? The Third Sunday of Advent’s theme is “love.” Jesus spoke often to His followers “to love God with all your heart, mind and soul…and your neighbor as yourself.” We are called by God to be the VOICE of hope, peace, love and joy with justice and extravagant welcome. Be the VOICE of God’s welcoming spirit. 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, Tim Metz

Recently Rev. John Rainey, Sandusky was in the hospital but is now home recovering. Gene Finnegan, John's partner was ill also. Let's remember them in 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

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 direct 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
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
Ministry Preparation Scholarships
The Heartland Conference UCC is thrilled to offer financial support to those who have discerned a call to and who are preparing for authorized ministry.

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
Join us in celebrating our everyday superheros in this Fall/Winter issue of The Steward!
The topics covered in this issue include: Everyday Superheroes, Deferred Maintenance, Lessons from Claims, Water Sensor Technology, Tenants, Vendors and Contractors.
Here is an excerpt from one of the Superhero stories you'll read in this issue:
...Robin Colerick, the Pastor of the church, explained the difficulties of predicting Covid-19’s impact on the congregation. To follow health and safety approaches, St. John’s instantly switched their worship services to virtual Zoom meetings in March. Robin had just started her pastorate there in February, giving her no choice but to meet her congregation virtually. Transitioning from in-person meetings to Zoom meetings is not always easy, especially for those who are less technology-driven; however, the leaders of this congregation have worked diligently to accommodate its members. Sunday school classes are held on Zoom along with congregational conversations. Anyone who wishes to join can even call and participate on the phone! These meetings are open to everyone, giving individuals the opportunity to catch up with one another, develop relationships, build trust, share feelings, and express emotions...
Reopening During Covid-19 Considerations for Church Leadership and Clergy


JULY 11-18, 2021

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.

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