Issue # 20 | May 27, 2021
"The Vine"
An email update.... Keeping Us Connected in Christ"
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"Blessings Always"
Rev. Daniel L. Busch
Association Minister Message
May 26, 2021
MYSTERIOUS. This Sunday is Trinity Sunday. God known as Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer. Traditionally Trinity is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 3 in 1, 1 in 3. Each description is unique yet in a MYSTERIOUS way they are united in, by and through God’s love.
     The UCC Calendar lists the theme and scriptures for this Sunday as “MYSTERIOUS Encounter.” Isaiah 6 is about the call of Isaiah as he encountered the MYSTERIOUS presence of God in splendor and power. It was humbling to Isaiah that God would reveal the holy to him. It was troubling times that surrounded Isaiah and he must have wondered what God wanted of him. Like Isaiah, how do we live faithfully in the midst of troubling times? How do we deal with our own struggles to be strength for others? Isaiah says, “Mourn for me; I’m ruined! I’m a man with unclean lips, and I live among a people with unclean lips. Yet I’ve seen the king, the Lord of Heavenly forces.” (Isaiah 6:5, CEB). Isaiah hears God calling him into ministry and answers God, “Here I am; send me!” (Isaiah 6:8).
     The story of Nicodemus as found in John 3 is familiar. John writes, “He came to Jesus by night…” Night offered dark cover, secrecy, and he could hide from encountering friends or other religious leaders. Jesus words were MYSTERIOUS and puzzling to Nicodemus. He wanted Jesus, whom he called “Teacher,” to bring clarity to his faith.
     Easter/Resurrection is the foundation of the Christian faith. The powers of death, sin, and evil no longer hold us captive and make us less than what God intends us to be. The Easter Season prepared us for the Pentecost Season of action. Pentecost is the time of being filled with God’s Holy Spirit to live as beloved children of God with amazing possibilities for abundant living. Resurrection needs a response in actions of love. The MYSTERIOUS and ever-present God fills us with the spirit of love that transforms us and we become the messengers of transformation to others. God’s Spirit opens our eyes and we see the world through Jesus’ eyes of love. We are changed and life will never be the same for us. Like Isaiah, the MYSTERIOUS presence of God is made real all around us. The church was born on Pentecost, filled with God’s Holy Spirit to respond to God’s call to act in ways of love. It is in both the ordinary and extraordinary moments that we, too, receive God’s Spirit that calls us to make love an action of reconciliation, peace, harmony, caring, inclusion and so much more. “Whom shall I send and who will go for us?” The call is ever before me—us. May our response be: “Here we are, individually and together; send me, send us.” The MYSTERIOUS becomes faith in action! BLESSINGS ALWAYS.
Travel with Rev. Daniel Busch, Association Minister
May 26 - June 9 Out of Town - Vacation Time
June 13 - Preaching at Calvary UCC, Crestline 10:00 am
June 20 & 27 - Preaching at Sycamore UCC 10:30 am
Prayer Concerns/Request

Continuing prayer for : Keith Huizenga, Rev. Steve Voelker, Rev. Diane Christopherson, Rev. John Miller, Pastor Dee Schroer, Pastor Bill Kerr, Tim Metz, Jim Huckemeyer, Pastor Tom Kagy, Rev. Marty Stiffler

Rev. Doug Williamson, First UCC, Marblehead pastor, had surgery on Monday and is home recovering. Please keep Doug in your prayers.

2021 OCWM Giving Goal - $280,000
2021 Giving through April - $65,488

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

2 Timothy 4:1-2 New International Version
“In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.”

What a “season” this Covid pandemic has imposed upon us and which continues to influence us in ways that we are conscious of, and in other ways which are deeply unconscious or subconscious!! The long-term effects of this “season” will appear and reverberate for decades to come, with many of these revelations being rather shocking to us when they come, I imagine.

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


St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, St. Marys is seeking a dedicated and energetic person to fill the position of Children’s Ministry Coordinator. This part-time position is part of a robust children’s Christian Education program.
Trinity UCC, Elliston has a large archive of choir music that is no longer of use there. If you are a passionate music archivist and interested to look into their selections, contact Pastor Ryan
Special Offerings
November 14- Stewardship Sunday
December 19 - Christmas Fund
Quick Links
Join the United Church of Christ Musicians Association online for workshops, worship services, a wonderful concert, vendors and networking. We will be virtually hosted by the First Church of Christ, Congregational, UCC in the historic town of Glastonbury, Connecticut.

Dear Friends in Christ,

            Sometimes what appears to be a fallow time, is actually the space of God’s clarifying renewal. Strangely, COVID created space for a new thing to rise in our shared life.  Forced into the space of zoom, prompted by the 2018 Conference Vision Proposal, and stirred by the Holy Spirit, the executive teams of the associations and the conference, have together affirmed a renewal of our shared “Why, Calling, and Covenant.”  I am excited to introduce this to you.  Through it may we discover God’s pull of Love toward shalom, the weave of life God intends, and the way of life God yearns us to embrace.
Our Renewed
"Why, Calling and Covenant"

Rev. David Long-Higgins
Transitional Conference Minister

Especially I want you to note toward the end of what follows, the “Covenant” framed as a litany and prayer.  I encourage you to use these in your worship as a way of reminding your congregation of the covenantal character of our life.  Without further ado, our “Why, Calling, and Covenant.” 
What’s in a Team?

Certainly not the letter i.  These past two years a group of leaders that we have been referring to as the “Executive Teams” of the associations and the conference, have met regularly and often.  Also, two of each of the “teams” have been part of a smaller group of people called the “One Heart Working Group”.  The One Heart Working Group and the Executive Teams have worked faithfully and put pen to paper to encapsulate a forward moving vision for the conference that had its springboard from the 2018 Vision Document presented at our 2018 Annual Gathering. 
Rev. David Plant
Conference Moderator
Camp is On!
Camp will be Safe!
Kids need Camp!

After more than a year of isolation and disrupted social schedules, what we need most is time and a safe space to gather and re-connect! Summer camp has always been a great place for everyone to connect on a deeper level with each other and with Christ and for children and youth to do so under the supervision of caring and loving adults. This year we need this more than ever. We know that Covid-19 is still among us and we are taking lots of precautions for all events happening on site and are offering family events, as well as virtual events to meet your family’s needs. For on-site events we are asking participants to monitor their health and avoid risky exposures two weeks prior to camp, pass a screening upon arrival, wear masks consistently, and participate at camp in the same small group of 10 or less for their activities, including eating and sleeping. 
Summer camp worship bulletin insert now available in the two most common sizes!
If you have potential campers who are not sure which camp is for them, Faith Adventures is a great place for a 9–11-year-old to start and try it all at camp! check it out.
Does your church pay for a portion of the fees for campers in your congregation? 

If so, please get your payments to the conference office by May 10th, if possible so that we can enter them and the parents can pay the remaining balance by May 15th.

Please click below for a handy form you can use to accompany the check so that payments are processed appropriately. If you have any questions or concerns about payment timeframe, please contact Executive Administrator, Becca Hoskins at or 1-800-282-0740, ext. 2. 
For several decades, SARA, Sharing America's Resources Abroad, has been a ministry of the Heartland Conference fostering mercy, justice, and healing, for many around the world. On June 5th at 10:00 am you are invited to a virtual mission trip to Eastern Europe and other parts of the world to hear stories of transformation and the challenges of a changing world. Maybe you have been on a SARA mission pilgrimage yourself or maybe you are hearing of SARA for the very first time. Either way, you are invited to join in the joy of the journey for a one-hour experience on June 5th at 10:00 am via zoom. Register today by clicking on the image above. 
Save the date! Plan to join the Heartland Conference this September 24 and 25 in-person or virtually for our 2021 Annual Gathering. Though we continue to work on the details, we couldn't help but share our vision and inspiration.

We invite you to Say "Yes!": Connect with friends and neighbors, Equip yourself and others for ministry and mission, and Support one another in covenant as we come together as a Conference. Our team, invigorated by our newly articulated Why, Covenant, and Calling statement, is crafting an annual gathering experience that encourages all to live the love, unity, and compassion of Jesus; collaborate to mutually share resources; communicate with openness and transparency; to empower generous and responsible stewardship; and to honor God’s diverse gifts among us in all settings.

Keep an eye on your inbox and our Facebook page as we will release more details and announce registration soon!

 “But in Jesus it is always 'Yes.' For in him everyone one of God’s promises is a 'Yes.' For this reason it is through him that we say the 'Amen,' to the glory of God.” 2 Corinthians 1:19b-20
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
How to Attend General Synod
Meet.ucc will be the hub for all virtual Synod 2021 activities.

Planning to attend the UCC’s first virtual General Synod in July? Be sure to register for our ONA Love Feast at 7 to 9 pm EDT on Tuesday, July 13. This Synod event will celebrate the launch of the Coalition's 50th anniversary celebrations. Keynoter is Carmarion Anderson, a vibrant transgender activist and co-leader of the “TransSaints” movement in the Fellowship of Affirming Ministries. She is also Alabama director of the Human Rights Campaign’s “Project One America.” Coalition executive director Andy Lang will speak on the “State of the Open and Affirming Movement,” and the famous Coalition Choir will perform. Please note: the Love Feast is one of the “optional events” when you register for General Synod.
The ONA Coalition Choir has been a feature at every General Synod since 1985. This year, the choir will perform virtually at our General Synod Love Feast. To learn more, contact Kimi Floyd Reisch.

Is your church a “WISE” (Welcoming, Inclusive, Supportive and Engaged) congregation? Partly modeled on ONA, WISE is a movement of churches who commit to supporting and welcoming individuals and families living with mental health challenges, brain disorders and substance use disorders. WISE is an opportunity for ONA churches to expand their commitment to inclusion and justice. During Mental Health Awareness Month, don't miss this opportunity to explore the WISE program.
Heritage Sunday

The first annual Evangelical and Reformed Heritage Sunday is a dedicated day for each church to celebrate and share their unique heritage and continue the traditions of the former Evangelical and Reformed Church. We will celebrate this day on Sunday, June 13, 2021.  Resources are available on our website. Visit the Heritage Sunday page for a sample order of worship, bulletin covers, suggested hymns, and various historical resources.  

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