“For the Love of Christ”
“[Jesus] said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.”   (John 21:16 )
Rev. Dave Long-Higgins
Transitional Conference Minister

Dear Friends in Christ,

After year and a half or more of having life continually re-arranged by COVID, you, like me, may have a yearning for something that looks like “normal” whatever that may mean.  It is natural when life seems to have come unanchored to want to get back to life as usual (as if there is ever a usual).  
Annual Gathering
to Convene
September 24th and 25th

Plans for our Annual Gathering are coming together.  You have seen the dates already.  The registration link will go live on August 16th as the final “crossing of the t’s and dotting of the i’s” is completed.  At this moment, with all eyes closing monitoring Covid, it will be an in-person event with option for virtual participation via a platform called Hop-In. 
Rev. David Plant
Conference Moderator
We are already planning for Summer Camp 2022!
We are expecting the return of our most popular camp sessions like Grands and Family (June 12-15 and TBD), Music Mime Arts Dance and Drama (June 19-25), Sports (June 26-July 2), Choir (TBD).
 
And we want your input on how to expand in some other areas. We have already had some inquiries into if we will have a Confirmation Camp in 2022 and we’ve been thinking about other sessions as well.

Please have someone from your congregation fill out the survey below to let us know your thoughts by August 15th. Everyone is welcome to fill this out and give us your opinion.
Summer Camp 2021 
“Camp helps me find my place in God’s work and what I can do to spread his love even when camp is over and I go home” Camper 2021

100% of Campers had fun.
94% made new friends or connected with old friends.
81% grew in their faith.
95% experienced being close to God and understand that they are loved by God no matter what.
98% want to attend camp again

“I was accepted and acknowledged, and I felt more at home than I have felt in a long, long time” Camper 2021
We served 192 campers, 48% down from 2019
SONKA’s next Boundary Training event will take place of Saturday, August 21, via Zoom. 2 sessions options will be available from 9:00-12:00 or 1:00-4:00.

The topic of the day is Ministry with Persons who are Differently Abled. Presenters will be Sarah Lund, Teri Lynn Stackhouse, Carol Peterson and Scott Griswold. Participation in either session meets the boundary training requirement for SONKA.
An Introduction to Stewardship for Pastors and Lay Leaders

Designed for pastors and lay leaders planning an annual pledge campaign, we will explore ways to create an effective campaign. We will reflect on core purpose of a campaign, discuss practical steps leaders can take, and explore creative ideas to design a campaign uniquely suited to your congregation. Join this webinar to develop and strengthen plans for a successful fall campaign.
“Rooted in Love” Stewardship Theme Materials
New stewardship materials available from UCC Resources help congregations tell their story while making a request for financial support. The materials include everything needed to run an effective campaign such as bulletin inserts, pledge cards, and graphics. A practical campaign guide provides support for leaders running their first campaign and offers suggestions for those looking to customize stewardship messages to their own setting. Options for purchase include both printed and download formats; prices start at $39.95.  
Festival of Sharing
Share the love for neighbors in need impacted by poverty, displacement and disaster through the Festival of Sharing - Ohio! This statewide Church World Service Kit collection is a great opportunity for your congregation to do a hands-on project while serving our most vulnerable neighbors. Assemble Hygiene Kits, School Kits, and/or Emergency Cleanup Buckets (and don’t forget the $250 Matching Grant available to all UCC congregations for CWS Kits to help the love you share go even further)! 

Kit depots will be open late August and early September for convenient drop-off (please call or email ahead to make your arrangements- fosohio.org/kits-depots) OR bring them the day of the large collection on September 18 from 9am-12pm at Otterbein University: The Point - STEAM Innovation Center, 60 Collegeview Rd, Westerville, OH 43081. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram @FOSOhio! For more info: fosohio.org or email agifford@cwsglobal.org.
 
Special thanks to our UCC depots: Grace UCC (Uniontown); Trinity UCC (Canal Fulton), Northwest Ohio Association UCC (spring collection), and Sylvania UCC.
September 10th & 11th
Dislocation to Relocation - Wrestling with the future
Uprooted by Corona - Relocated after Corona - Struggle for the future

The Corona pandemic has shaken the foundations of church life. In person Worship was no longer possible, outreach was made difficult, and when our loved ones died comforting hugs were few and far between.

What might the future of the Church look like after these experiences?
How do we discern a new way? What is our mission? How do we reshape our community life?

In the main lecture by Diana Butler Bass, a historian, theologian and advocate of progressive Christianity, we want to trace this uncertainty. First answers to their theses will be given to parish pastors, but also lay leaders of churches in the United Church of Christ (UCC) and the Evangelical Church of Westphalia (EKvW). In a number of working groups, we want to explore in-depth the possibilities of the future Church.
** Please note that you will need to click the translate button in your browsers address bar to view the registration in English.
NOW HIRING
Director of Faith Formation 
and
Director of Connection and Engagement 
Sylvania UCC, Sylvania Ohio