Issue #41 | December 17, 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 14, 2020

IMPOSSIBLE…POSSIBLE. The scriptures for the Fourth Sunday of Advent are about the IMPOSSIBLE becoming POSSIBLE. In 2 Samuel 7, King David established his monarchy by overcoming rivalries, other claimants to the throne, enemies within the nation and enemy nations. The shepherd boy becomes the shepherd of a nation. When David settled in his palace, the prophet Nathan visits him with a message from God, as prophets were the spokespersons for God. David realized that he lived in a palace but “But the ark of God stays in a tent.” vs. 2.
     The Ark of Covenant being visible to the Hebrews was important for they believed God resided in the Ark. The issue for the Hebrews was whenever enemies captured the Ark of the Covenant, they believed God was no longer with them. When the Hebrew people finally affirmed God’s presence everywhere, they would believe God did not abandon them and would be with them wherever they were. David wanted to build the Temple, a permanent, grand “palace” for the Ark. but it was his son Solomon who oversaw its construction in approximately 1000 BCE. It was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE. The second Temple was built in 516 BCE and in 70 CE it was destroyed by the Romans. The Hebrews again had to deal with abandonment issues and rediscovered God is with them in all conditions of life.
     We are struggling to understand, during this time of pandemic, God with us, God in us and God through us. We do miss our gatherings for worship and being together in one place. Christmas worship services will not be as usual this year. As the Hebrew people experienced God everywhere in the Creation and God did not abandon them, God is with us, too. What is IMPOSSIBLE (God in a place) soon becomes POSSIBLE (God everywhere).
     Mary and her cousin Elizabeth (John the Baptist’s mother) were miracle mothers-to-be. Elizabeth would give birth “in her old age” and Mary was a teenager. The surprise of both births was declared by the angel, “Nothing is IMPOSSIBLE for God.” What in your life has been IMPOSSIBLE that became a miracle—POSSIBLE—that has blessed you and blessed others through your gifts and graces? How do we make POSSIBLE the gifts of hope, peace, love and joy in relationships to others and care of the Creation?
     Christmas is more than a day, for it is the “gift that keeps on giving” love that confirms life filled with meaning and purpose. God, Emmanuel, is with us wherever we are. No hiding from God and God is not hidden from us. The POSSIBLE changes us and “For nothing will be IMPOSSIBLE with God.” Believe and act with unconditional love with 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, Rev. John Rainey & Gene Finnegan
OCWM GIVING
(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

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.
Special Offerings


2021
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.

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 https://www.facebook.com/HeartlandConferenceUCC/
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.
The Heartland, Illinois South, and Indiana-Kentucky Conferences of the UCC have collaborated to provide your congregation with a full-length video worship service intended for use on January 3.

You can use the video worship service in its entirety, or use parts of the worship service to enhance your own offerings.

Our hope and prayer is that this service is a gift to pastors, church musicians, church staffs, and worship teams across our three Conferences. We trust it is a gift that helps you to have some relief from the planning of socially-distanced worship, and a gift that lets you get to know the people who staff our three Conferences.

Access to the videos and links to the worship resources will be announced soon.
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. Register here by January 15, 2021: https://bit.ly/CGCSpring2021
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.

UCC HISTORY AND POLITY COURSE
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




SAVE THE DATE


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: 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