Issue # 8 | March 4, 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
March 3, 2021

HANDIWORK. “Heaven is declaring God’s glory; the sky is proclaiming God’s handiwork. One day gushes the news to the next, and one night informs another what needs to be known.” Psalm 19:1-2. In the midst of our Lenten journey, Sundays, representing the Lord’s Day of Resurrection, offer a reminder that life may be fragile, sinful and painful, but there is always God’s promise that life has meaning and purpose. The psalmist describes that all around us is evidence of the Mighty Acts of God.
I am a fan of the original television series Perry Mason, which shows my age since the series was shown 1957-1966. (New HBO series began in 2020.) Mason is a defense attorney, except for one case, won acquittal for his clients. It is fascinating watching Mason weave a defense that befuddles the district attorney every time but one. Over the D.A.’s many objections, Mason succeeds in catching the killer and surprises us all by who the killer is. His HANDIWORK is masterful and carefully crafted.
There is so much doom and gloom these days as we deal with isolation, fear and mistrust. We need the skill of Lawyer Mason to sort out what’s behind all the violence, hatreds and contempt/insults thrown at disagreeing individuals or groups. Early nineteenth century Scottish author, Sir Walter Scott wrote, “What a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive!” Deception is self-centered, selfish and self-directed, not truthful and adds to today’s doom and gloom societal destruction.
There is a contrast to all of this. The Psalmist describes God’s HANDIWORK is “declared” or announced or known in and through the creation. God’s HANDIWORK is not hidden or kept from us. It is a gift, a blessing. Even in the midst of the most devastating of circumstances, God’s creative genius “one day gushes the news to the next, and one night informs another what needs to be known.” It is a continuum that never ceases time and time again and again. Even though Lent is often depicted as a somber season, we can, like the sky, proclaim God’s HANDIWORK. There is hope for peace and justice; there is healing of the nations and our lives; there is love that overcomes revulsion; there is forgiveness out of failure; there is extravagant welcome out of rejection. God forms each one of us and we are God’s HANDIWORK. God is our defense. Explore the gift of being God’s HANDIWORK and give God the glory. Remember, God does not create junk. Alleluia!!! BLESSINGS ALWAYS.

Travel with Rev. Daniel Busch, Association Minister
April 4, 2021 - Preaching at St. John's UCC, Fostoria
April 25, 2021 - Preaching at Trinity UCC, Upper Sandusky 10:00 am
May 23, 2021 - Preaching at First UCC, Shelby 10:00 am & 11:15 am
Prayer Concerns/Request

Rev. Frank Isaacs, retired living in Marion, had surgery on Thursday, February 25th and is doing well in recovery at home. Prayers for recovery.

Rev. Dan Busch is having cataract surgery today in Toledo. Prayers appreciated.

Continuing prayer for : Keith Huizenga, Rev. Joy Skeel, Rev. Steve Voelker, John Cox (husband of Rev. Kay Mooney Cox), Rev. Diane Christopherson, Rev. John Miller,
Pastor Dee Schroer, Pastor Bill Kerr, Rev. David Culp, Tim Metz, Jim Huckemeyer,
Rev. Pat McKinney, Pastor Tom Kagy
Save the Date!
2021 Disaster Kit Collection
Church World Service Buckets & Hygiene Kits


Keynote Speaker
Dr. Richanne C. Mankey, Ed.D.
President, Defiance College

Giving Our Best as Servants in a World of Uncertainty
There is no better place to reap the benefits of sowing seeds than on a college campus where students with raw potential and (un)realized academic skills apply grit and faith to face an uncertain world with grace and courage. At Defiance College, as in life, continual engagement about a vision and strategies to realize it as promotes holistic learning and adaptability to guide us forward. Engage. Explore. Energize.  Dr. Mankey's Bio
(Our Church's Wider Mission)

2021 OCWM Giving Goal - $305,000
2021 Giving through February 28, 2021 - $15,846

Church Remittance Form
(use this form when sending donations
to/through the Association Office)
NWOA Periodic Support Consultation
Thursday, March 11, 2021 or Saturday, October 9, 2021
To Register for this event, use printable form
Healthy Practices - Boundary Training
Engage in Tough Conversations
Saturday, March 6, 2021
Look for Registration below
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 - Part-time

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. 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.
Worship Ways
Most NWOA Congregations are offering online Sunday Worship. Look at all the options to join in.

From the NWOA Stewardship and Caring Ministry Team
I want to begin by thanking everyone who has continued to support their local churches and the wider church through these difficult days as we deal with this terrible pandemic. You may not realize the good you have done.
Agencies like Crossroad, Back Bay Mission, and local missions get support from the wider church and depend on our backing. Missions touch people and change lives. In the 21st chapter of St. John’s Gospel, Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves him. Each time, Peter says yes. After each time he says yes, Jesus gives Peter a charge to “feed my lambs,” “tend my sheep,” and “feed my sheep.” We have that same charge.
When we joined the church we took vows to support the church “with our prayers, our presence, our gifts and our service.” The work of God’s kingdom has not stopped during this pandemic. Even when churches have had to stop meeting in person, the work goes on.
There have been distributions from the Federal Government in the form of stimulus checks, and many that get those checks need them desperately. However, some of us are not as strapped as others and could spare a portion of that money to shore up the church. The Stewardship and Caring Team of the Northwest Ohio Association is asking members of NWOA churches to prayerfully consider paying forward some of the relief that they themselves received. We are all in this together, and your gift could make all the difference.
Respectfully submitted, Rev. Adrian Sunday
NWOA Stewardship & Caring Team
Information 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 whose email is and Breta Gorman whose email is 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. Thank you.
Responses from recent pastor annual review surveys indicated a strong interest in resources to assist pastors in facilitating conversations within their congregations regarding anti-racism. This is not surprising given the events of this past year and we feel it important to address this need. Our first thought was to host a virtual training event, however, as we explored, we found many readily available resources that may meet the needs of local congregations. 

Living Water’s 21 Week Anti-Racism Challenge Toolkit offers congregation members the opportunity to better understand systemic racism and to inspire local community engagement. This Challenge was developed by the YWCA of Greater Cleveland who has partnered with Living Waters Association to host the Challenge. The Challenge asks participants to make weekly time and space to build more effective social justice habits – particularly those dealing with issues of race, power, privilege and leadership for a period of 21 weeks. Each participant who registers receives daily tasks via e-mail to help foster their understanding and awareness about racial equity. Participants from a congregation can then meet to discuss the weekly Challenges. Weekly tasks may include articles to read, tips for developing social justice habits, or opportunities to reflect on personal experiences. Learn more here to determine if this may be right for your congregation:

White Privilege: Let’s Talk – A Resource for Transformational Dialogue, is a resource offered by the National UCC office. The UCC offers a full curriculum, divided in 4 parts, complete with lesson outlines and facilitator resources. In addition, there is a 6 session webinar series available at this site called White Privilege: Let’s Talk, that is very comprehensive. Each session is led by national leaders within the UCC and other denominations and tells the story of spiritual journey through the lens of race and invites participants to become an ally in pursuit of racial equity. These resources are free and available by clicking the following link:

The UCC also offers an additional curriculum titled, “Sacred Conversations to End Racism”. This program is led by Dr. Velda Love, Minister for Rachial Justice and Local Church Ministries. Dr. Love will also be the keynote speaker for The Heartland Faith Formation Conference, titled, “Live It: Engaging the Sacred Texts Through the Lens of Culture”, which will be held virtually on 2/26 and 2/27/2021. This conference includes significant time for small and large group discussion following her keynote addresses each day. The link to the Sacred Conversations site is:
To learn more about the upcoming Faith Formation Conference and to register follow this link:[NW1] 

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

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
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

Special Offerings

May 23 -Strengthen the Church
October 3-Neighbors in Need
November 14- Stewardship Sunday
Quick Links
Weathering the Storm -
Considerations for Churches

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.

Summer Camp Registration is open!
Find the camp session you are interested in and click on it to learn more and to register. Please remember that minor children must be registered for camp by their custodial/legal parent.
Volunteers are needed for camp, too! Volunteer application forms can also be found on the event calendar.
If you’d like more information before registering, please attend one of our parent information sessions. You will find them on the calendar of events on the link above.
Anti-Racism Network Book Discussion
You’re invited to join members of the Heartland Conference’s Anti-Racism Network in a group reading of Austin Channing Brown’s Book entitled I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness. Meeting Dates are Thursdays 3/11 Chapter 1-Interlude: Why I Love Being a Black Girl. 3/18 Chapter 6-Interlude: How to Survive Racism in an Organization that Claim to be Anti-Racist. 3/25 Chapters 10-14 "Standing in the Shadow of Hope". Please Register at For more information contact Matthew Hogue-Smith at
UCC Weekly Webinars
Upcoming Webinars
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