Issue #4 | February 4, 2021
"The Vine"
An email update.... Keeping Us Connected in Christ"
This newsletter is brought to you by your OCWM Contributions
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"Blessings Always"
Rev. Daniel L. Busch
Association Minister Message
February 3, 2021
ENTITLEMENT. “God doesn’t prize the strength of a horse; God doesn’t treasure the legs of a runner. No. The Lord treasures the people who honor him, the people who wait for his faithful love.” Psalm 147:10-11. When President Kennedy spoke at his inauguration on January 20, 1961, he said, “Ask not what your country can do for you -- but what you can do for your country.” I.O.U. or You Owe Me: both have a sense of ENTITLEMENT, indebtedness and obligation under pressure. Resentment can happen when the pressure is either to pay off a debt or waiting for payment.
     President Kennedy’s words change ENTITLEMENT to a sense of generosity and care. Scripture reminds us of being blessed to be blessings to others. If we focus on “getting” more and more of what is owed us, we soon miss opportunities for service and helping those who need relief from suffering and pain. The pressures of owing can lead to despair and helplessness. In our spiritual discernment and prayer life, what words are we using? What are our requests to God? Yes, we do pray for healing of our minds, bodies and spirits but do we also include praying for peace, strength and comfort with the conditions we have? Do our prayers include having our gifts and graces help others to live abundantly with grace and love as a gift from God?
     This Sunday is Super Bowl with all its hype of elite athletes, coaches and programs that have excelled in their preparation for “the game,” achieving much to get to the Super Bowl. Some players have expressed that they “deserve” to be in “the game” not just because of winning but because of who they are. “They” did it all to get to the Super Bowl. ENTITLEMENT. They really have not done it by themselves and it takes the entire team together to arrive at where they are.
     The verses from the 147th Psalm do turn things upside down. Looking carefully at those words the Psalmist certainly knows the ability of the horse and runner. It is more than the “strength” in the horse or the “treasure” of the legs of the runner. Gifts and graces abound from God, the Creator and Source of who we are. God “treasures the people” who, as we often sing, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow.” We are blessed beyond our imaginations and God hears our prayers of distress, pain, suffering and dealing with evil around us. Our prayers to God should include thanksgiving and need for guidance on how we are to live. More than ENTITLEMENT, we are able to “wait for God’s faithful love” and that love was in the beginning, is now and shall be forevermore—always. Paraphrasing President Kennedy, “Ask not just for what God can do for you -- but what you can do for God and others.” BLESSINGS ALWAYS.

Prayer Concerns/Request

Rev. Pat McKinney is home recovering from a stay in the hospital during the month of December. Rev. McKinney would appreciate your prayers as he hopes to overcome health issues which continue.

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
(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
NWOA Periodic Support Consultation
Thursday, March 11, 2021 or Saturday, October 9
To Register for this event, use printable form
Healthy Practices - Boundary Training
Engage in Tough Conversations
Saturday, March 6, 2021
Look for Registration below
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
After decades of ecological disasters, years of political division and disruption, and now one year into the throes of a global pandemic, we invite two denominational leaders and theologians to reflect together on what is the role, condition, and emerging....
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.

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!

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.
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

UCC Webinar—Evangelical Christianity and the Climate Crisis
With its size and its collective power, evangelical Christianity has had a significant presence in the political, cultural, and religious landscape of the United States. As such, it becomes critically important to understand evangelical Christianity today in relationship to the climate crisis. February’s Creation Justice Webinar will feature a panel of speakers who will help us develop this understanding. The speakers will include Dr. Robin Veldman who has authored "The Gospel of Climate Skepticism: Why Evangelical Christians Oppose Action on Climate Change" along with the Rev. Kyle Meyaard-Schaap from the Evangelical Environmental Network and Emily Robertson from Young Evangelicals for Climate Action. Even if you can't make the webinar’s scheduled time on Wednesday, February 10th at 1 pm ET, still sign-up, and we will send you a recording of it. Sign-up now for the webinar!

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.


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