Issue #2 | January 22, 2021
"The Vine"
An email update.... Keeping Us Connected in Christ"
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"Blessings Always"
Rev. Daniel L. Busch
Association Minister Message
January 20, 2021
    “GET UP. FOLLOW ME. GO.” We all have dealt with assignments that seem tedious, not what we want to do, or make us uncomfortable. Not all assignments use our gifts and graces in ways that bring joy to us. Teachers remark that children from the same family deal with assignments differently—finished way ahead of time or just the night before the assignment is due.
     One of the most interesting faith witnesses from the Bible is Jonah. Jonah is stubborn, cantankerous, judgmental, and yet he is an important faith witness to God’s call in his life that made a difference in peoples’ lives. We remember that God called Jonah to go to Nineveh to proclaim a message for the people to repent—to change from evil ways to godly ways. After receiving that call, Jonah determined that there was no hope that people in Nineveh would change their lives—more his own judgement than God’s.
     Jonah then gets on a boat heading to Tarshish—the opposite direction than heading to Nineveh. While on the ship he is blamed for rough seas and turbulence on the boat and he is thrown off the boat. He ends up in the belly of a great fish, giving him time to “reconsider” his assignment. Finally, he is ready to go to Nineveh to warn them that if they didn’t change their ways, they would be destroyed. Even though he had little hope for Nineveh, the people “…believed God…” and they were saved. “God saw what they were doing—that they had ceased their evil behavior. So God stopped planning to destroy them, and God didn’t do it.” Jonah 3:10. Mission completed and Jonah fulfilled his assignment. Yet, it should be noted that Jonah was displeased that God didn’t destroy them. “GET UP.” It took Jonah two times to answer God’s call.
     We have just witnessed the inauguration of Joseph Biden as the 46th President of the United States of America. In his inaugural speech he challenged all of us (gave us an assignment) to join together and work with one another in ways that will bring respect, dignity, and acceptance to and for one another. Jesus in Mark 1 calls disciples to “FOLLOW ME” and gives them the assignment to “…fish for people.” As the disciples followed Jesus, he taught them ways to love and bring hope to a captured people who longed for peace and become free of bondages of mind, body and spirit. Jesus’ call was showing God’s way that affirmed that all persons are created in the image of God, that each person’s life is endowed with gifts and graces that offer meaning and purpose to life and living. We live in covenant with one another and do not live to ourselves. We all are to live as God’s children with honor and glory to the Creator and Still-speaking God. It is time to “GO” to the Nineveh’s places in our own lives and world that need to be changed. “GET UP. FOLLOW ME. GO.” The assignment is to “fish for people” who need to hear God’s word of transforming love. BLESSINGS ALWAYS.

Changes and Celebrations
Installation at Sylvania UCC, Sylvania
Rev. Vern Swett was installed as pastor/teacher on Sunday, January 17, 2021. This service was during the Sunday morning virtual service and is available to view on YouTube.
Rev. Vern Swett, Pastor of Sylvania United Church of Christ and Rev. Daniel Busch, Association Minister, Laying on of Hands!
Pictured around Rev. Swett, Rev. David Anderson, Rev. Kathryn Helleman, Rev. Mary Meadows and Rev. Daniel Busch
Prayer Concerns/Request

Extending Sympathy and Love from the Northwest Ohio Association,
Heartland Conference, to the following families of those who have passed away.
"With Sympathy so many are thinking of you and praying that you are touched by God's loving hand,
May your faith in Him bring you peace during this sorrowful time." (Expressions of Faith)

Diana Hoover, secretary at St. John's UCC, Tiffin passed away on January 14, 2021. Shook Family Funeral Homes assisted the family with arrangements. Diana's obituary

Rev. Robert Johnson, father of Rev. Scott Johnson, Spencerville UCC passed away last Friday, January 15th.

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
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!
It's time once again for the Center for Analytics, Research and Data (CARDD) to begin preparing the 2021 UCC Yearbook & Directory. All churches of the Association are asked to prepare information and upload data to the UCC National Database. If by some chance you did not receive this information by email to your church office, please contact 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: Pastoral Care
Beginning: September, 2021

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
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.
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
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.
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

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

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