News and information from around the Ohio Conference
Conference President Bob Cundiff Shares Video Address
"Some months ago, I made an urgent appeal to our constituency, to remain faithful in giving during the COVID crisis," said Bob Cundiff, Ohio Conference president during the opening of his August 2020 video update. "I did this out of great concern for the Lord's work as well as our employees for the Ohio Conference.

Conference books will close next week for the month of July, and Cundiff shares optimistic news about the financial health of the Ohio Conference mid-way through the fiscal year. "Of the eight conference in the Columbia Union, four conferences have had tithe gains and four conferences have had tithe losses. I'm happy to report that Ohio is blessed to be one of the conferences that have had a gain."

"Praise the Lord and thank you to our faithful constituents who have been so generous and open handed with your resources."

Administration expects tithe to be up 3% over the same time period last year. This is truly remarkable, as our church facilities were closed during a portion of this time, and occurred during a pandemic.

"As a denomination that cares deeply about the health and wellness of our members and our community, it seems appropriate that the Seventh-day Adventist Church should be a leader in caring for others - even if it causes a minor inconvenience to me," said Cundiff. "Thank you to the majority of you who are practicing faithfulness in your giving, and in your mask wearing, and in how you represent us as a church. You have gone above and beyond in your giving, and now you are going above and beyond in your care and concern for one another."

"Being the healing hands of Christ is not only the job of our front line workers, but it is an opportunity for all of us - even in the pews of our churches. Good job Ohio!"

The Online Member
by Michael Stough II, Pastor, Till Plains Fellowship
It was somewhere towards the end of 2017, my wife, Maribel, took out her cell phone and began streaming the worship service at Springfield to the church’s Facebook page. A couple of weeks later the phone was firmly on top of a tripod. Fast-forward to 2020, and so much has changed. In the intervening years the phone was replaced by multiple camera angles, computer began handling putting the video onto multiple social media platforms, the media team just recently put together a studio from which the church can produce engaging content.

Now I’m not mentioning all this to have you rush out and do the same, but something interesting took place when we went online. A new paradigm for being engaged with people as a part of the congregation, one which makes the local church no longer just local, but global. What is it? The online member.

Now typically, as Adventists, we define membership as someone who is a baptized member of a local congregation. They live in or near the community where the building is located. To be engaged means showing up for at least Sabbath services, if not other events throughout the week like small group meetings, Pathfinders, vespers, etc. Members give tithes and offerings to support the ministry of the church. However, with the digital age we now find ourselves in, and more content from even the smallest churches now online, people are engaging church in different ways and from different locations.

Yes, many of those now utilizing Till Plains’ online content are members in the traditional sense, but there are those who are what we could consider online members.

Shut-ins: There have always been shut-ins, but with more churches offering engagement online, shut-ins are no longer shut in. They can join or keep up with much of what the congregation is doing via online content.

Occasional: Yes, we do want members to come in-person to the worship and activities of the church, but we need to face realities. Not everyone has made the commitment to get up every Sabbath morning, get ready, and drive to worship. Maybe every now and then they show up, but ask yourselves, if these members are still watching worship weekly, even if not at 11 AM or even on Sabbath, if they started attending a Zoom Sabbath School or small group, if they made the commitment to come to ministry events like VBS, food distribution and the like, this is still participation, even if it isn’t the ideal.

Global: By being online, the local church is no longer local. People from all over the globe can see, hear, and at times even participate in what is happening in your neck of the woods. When I look at the demographics for Till Plains, people from the Middle East, China, Thailand, South Africa, and the UK have stopped by. Here in the United States, people in Florida, Michigan, Colorado, Nevada and throughout Ohio join on a regular basis. Granted, some of these are members who have moved outside of immediate area, while a few are family and friends, but many are people we’ve never met in-person.

The important point in all of this, there is and will continue to be growth of those who participate in the church via online only methods. They are just as important in being ministered to as the person who comes and sits in the pew. 

Does all this take work? Yes, but the Bible never says church is easy, and anything worth doing, worth value takes time and energy. Even Jesus dying for us was an extreme commitment on God’s part. So what will you do?
CHRISTventists
by Pastor Mike Fortune, Toledo First
We've been known as a church that worships on Saturdays and doesn't eat certain kinds of food. But we at Toledo First are creating a new normal Seventh-day Adventist church—one known primarily for making the cross and the Christ who died on it central in our teaching and in our lives as illustrated in the picture below. It's a picture entitled "Christ—The Way of Life." It was commissioned by co-founders of our church, James and Ellen White, and completed in 1883. It is a picture of the plan of salvation and mission of the church from Eden to Eden. You see Adam and Eve exiting the Garden of Eden. There is Cain and Able, the sacrificial service. Mt. Sinai symbolizing the Ten Commandments and law are in background left. Over on the right of the picture is the baptism of Jesus, the Lord’s Supper, and the New Jerusalem. But in the middle is a huge depiction of Jesus on the cross as the focus of emphasis.

The apostolic church in Acts was known as a church that worships on Saturdays and doesn't eat certain kinds of food too. But they learned to hold tightly to Jesus and the teachings of Jesus. They learned to listen carefully to Old Testament prophets pointing forward to Jesus. They learned to share fearlessly what they learned from the prophecies and teachings of Jesus even if they encountered opposition and suffering. They learned to obey faithfully God not man. They learned how to pray and God blessed them with additional influence and courage. They also learned to share their possessions sacrificially. And thus became known by their love for Jesus and the world God so loved that He sent the Son (John 3:16). If the apostolic church could become known by their love for Christ and the cross as their way of life, our church can too! 

So join us September 26 (continuing in November) online or in person for a new sermon series based on Acts chapters 3-4 coming to Toledo First entitled CHRISTventists. And help us become known for making Jesus and the teachings of Jesus primary today too.
Akron First Produces "Beginner Sabbath School" Resources
After the coronavirus pandemic began and closed church facilities around the conference, many leaders wondered how to keep our youngest members engaged. The Akron First church began early on producing programs and activities for their church, and have made them available to everyone as a playlist on their YouTube channel.

Registration Closing Soon for Session I
Registration will close Saturday evening for the free, virtual "You Are Enough" women's ministries event.

Ladies, enjoy this oasis...a time for fellowship, encouragement, and most importantly, prayer.

Hispanic Ministries Holds "Powerful Evangelistic Campaign" on Final Events
Beginning this Saturday night at 8:00 PM, the Ohio Conference Hispanic Ministries department in collaboration with Stereo Adventista will host a powerful week-long evangelistic series on "Final Events." The series will be broadcast live from the Dayton Hispanic church across multiple platforms, including Facebook and YouTube.

The series will be presented by international evangelist and new Ohio Conference pastor, Roger Meléndez.

This event follows other successful campaigns across the state, including in Columbus and Akron. The Hispanic Ministries department will conclude these campaigns with a one-day camp meeting on August 22, broadcast live from Camp Mohaven (where limited, pre-registered attendees will undergo temperature checks, wear masks, socially distance, and be issued hand sanitizer).

Opening for Administrative Assistant at Ohio Conference Headquarters
The Ohio Conference announces an opening for the position of Administrative Assistant for their headquarters in Dayton. 

Visit www.ohioadventist.org/openings for details about position requirements. Resumes will be accepted until August 26, 2020. Please express interest to Elder Oswaldo Magaña at the office at: 740.397.4665 and send resumes to omagana@ohioadventist.org.
Divorce Care Class Begins August 15, Continues Weekly for 13 Weeks
A weekly support group and seminar conducted by people who understand the pain you are experiencing stemming from your separation or divorce. Most importantly, learn how to deal with the pain of the past and look forward to rebuilding your life. You are welcome to begin attending the DivorceCare group on any week. Each session is “self-contained,” and you may continue through the next 13-week cycle to view any unseen topics. Begins August 15, from 3:00-5:00 PM.

Registration fee is $20, payable by cash or check addressed to Centerville SDA Church

Contact Linda Byrd lindalou.lbz81@gmail.com for details.

Photo of the Week
West Salem Amish Mission Church held their annual camp meeting last weekend in West Salem, Ohio. Among the attendees were new Ohio Conference President Bob Cundiff and his wife Tanique.

Three baptisms took place on Sabbath, August 8, 2020. Elder Bob Cundiff (center) baptized Alan Yoder (in white shirt) while Lawrence Burn (far right) baptized Ariana Mayhew and Lydia Glick.

Some of the camp meeting highlights may be seen on their Facebook page.

Photo credit: Doreen Vaughn
Verse of the Week
Inspirational Quote of the Week
Upcoming Events Around the Conference
August 15-22
Columbus Ghanaian Church
Online with Facebook Live
Weeknights in August
Centerville Church
Online with Zoom
October 9-11
Camp Mohaven
Read the Current Issue of Mission Ohio in the Columbia Union Visitor
Highlights of this issue include the Worthington Church growing younger as they fuel a warm community, and Kettering Church youth leadership uniting during a crisis.

Read these articles and more in the current issue of Mission Ohio in Visitor magazine.
Heidi A. Shoemaker, Communication Director
Ohio Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
1251 E Dorothy Ln, Dayton, OH 45419