Issue # 35 | September 9, 2021
"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

"Blessings Always"
Rev. Daniel L. Busch
Association Minister Message
September 8, 2021

IDENTITY. “Jesus asked them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’” (Mark 8:29, CEB). At an office last month, I noticed the person I was talking to looked like another friend of mine, even the same hair style, smile and conversation. I told him, “You have a twin who lives in Columbus.” His response was, “Oh,” and began a conversation about why I was in his office. We all have IDENTITIIES that make us who we are, but it is more than just physical appearance. Yes, physical appearance draws us to certain people and certain physical features may lead to romantic love.
     We IDENTIFY people important in our lives by the relationship we have established with them. We also IDENTIFY persons by their wisdom, intellect, kindness, harshness, misbehavior, family connections and faith expressions. Relationships and groups are formed with those having same characteristics. There is an expression, “Birds of the same feather flock together.” Churches have been established that draw members who express faith in certain manners, beliefs, economic status, ethnic or cultural “sameness.” On Sunday mornings the American church becomes the most segregated gathering in our society, an IDENTITY of sameness. The choice to be with people “like me,” and wanting to “do worship” that I am comfortable to do, misses the richness of God’s diversity in one another. However, worship is not about “me/us” but rather about Christ and the “we” together.
     Jesus initially asks the disciples to report to Him what the crowds thought Him to be. It was like taking a poll and Jesus was IDENTIFIED by the crowd as important religious persons of faith coming alive. And then the zinger was asked, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered the question by declaring Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah, the Holy One. That question is also asked of us today and our response IDENTIFIES our core beliefs. Jesus calls us into a relationship that can change us and can change the world. Jesus is the Savior and demands of us living in communion with Him and having a relationship with others, caring for the creation in ways of love and stewardship. The word “Christian” means “Christ-bearer” and having that IDENTITY reflects the Christ in us and through us. At our baptisms we are given a new name “Christian” and our lives are Spirit-filled. God knows each one of us and all of us as family affirmed as precious in God’s sight. Claim your IDENTITY with Christ and be the Christ-bearer to others. BLESSINGS ALWAYS.

Travel with Rev. Daniel Busch, Association Minister
Sept. 12 - Preaching at Sycamore UCC, Sycamore 10:30 am
Sept. 19 - Attending the Farewell Service at St. John's UCC, Fostoria 10:00 am
Sept. 19 - Joining St. Peter's UCC, Millbury for a 3:00 pm Installation
Sept. 26 - Preaching at First Congregational UCC, Sandusky
Oct. 2 - Ordination at Memorial UCC, Toledo 1:00 pm
Oct. 3 - Preaching at Sycamore UCC, Sycamore 10:30 am
Oct. 3 - Ordination at St. John's UCC, Genoa 3:00 pm
Sunday, September 19th, during the 10:00 am worship, St. John's UCC, Fostoria congregation will celebrate with Rev. David Culp his ministry with this congregation for quite sometime. Rev. Culp is now enjoying retirement.

On Sunday, September 19th at 3:00 pm the Association and the congregation at St. Peter's UCC Millbury will install Rev. Thomas James as Pastor. All are welcome!

Rev. Lenore Kure will celebrate her 25th Anniversary of Ordination on Sunday, September 26th at First Congregational UCC, Sandusky during the morning worship at 10:00 am.

Philip Balla will be ordained on Saturday, October 2nd at Memorial UCC, Toledo beginning at 1:00 pm.

Dawn Balduf will be ordained on Sunday, October 3rd at St. John's UCC, Genoa beginning at 3:00 pm.
Prayer Concerns/Request

Continuing prayer for : Keith Huizenga, Rev. Steve Voelker, Pastor Dee Schroer, Pastor Bill Kerr, Tim Metz, Jim Huckemeyer, Pastor Tom Kagy, Rev. Marty Stiffler, Rev. John Rainey, Rev. Daniel Johnson, Rev. David Culp, Rev. Becky Sunday

Rev. Adrian Sunday is preparing for an upcoming surgery. Please keep Adrian in your prayers.

Pastor Tom Kagy, Bloomville UCC was recently diagnosed with Parkinson's. Please keep Tom in your prayers.

2021 OCWM Giving Goal - $280,000
2021 Giving through August - $146,436

Church Remittance Form - please use this form when sending donations to/through the Association office.

Date: Saturday, October 9, 2021
Location: VIA Zoom
Time: 9:00 am - Noon
***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

Video # 3 - Coming Soon!

Video #4 - We are Back!
Church Giving after the Return to the Sanctuary 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.

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

Congratulations to Buckland UCC VBS. With the help of the congregation and the organization by a teen in the church, the VBS kids created 241 CWS School Kits, just in time for the new school year. Awesome.......
Join in the Annual Tiffin CROP Hunger Walk sponsored by Church World Service! Sunday, October 3. Registration/Send Off beginning at 1 PM at First Presbyterian Church, 96 South Monroe, Tiffin. Walk as an individual or part of a team. Set-up your walk and enlist gifting to your walk online. Together we can change the world, for the better, one step at a time! Thank you, Tiffin CROP Walk organizer, Rev. Pam Easterday. Find more information and links at

Sylvania UCC
Open Positions

Faith Formation Director

Connection & Engagement Director

Please send a cover letter and resumes to: Sylvania UCC, Attention: David Walker and Rev. Dr. Vern Swett, 7240 Erie Street, Sylvania, OH 43560 or email
Special Offerings
November 14- Stewardship Sunday
December 19 - Christmas Fund
Quick Links
** Please note that you will need to click the translate button in your browsers address bar to view the registration in English.
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
Interim Ministry Workshop
for Authorized Ministers
Monday, September 27, 10am-2pm, via Zoom
Spiritual Practices for Those Weary and Wondering
Zoom link will be sent to all registrants on September 24
Registration fee: $15, scholarships available upon request
Sponsored by Interim Ministry Network 
Heartland Conference UCC and Christian Church in Ohio (DOC)
HPfM: Ethical Practices in Hybrid & Online Church
This event will satisfy NWOA Boundary Training
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
Vine Logo 2
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