When did we see you?...
Reinvigorating Our Disaster Response Ministry
Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38 And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39 And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ 40 And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’  – Matthew 25:37-40
Rev. Dave Long-Higgins
Conference Minister
Dear Friends in Christ,

I must begin this short epistle to you with a word of deep thanks and appreciation for your affirmation of me at the Annual Gathering of the Heartland Conference as your settled Conference Minister.  It continues to be one of the great honors of my life to serve you and the mission of Jesus Christ in this way in this season of our shared life. 

I especially treasure the alternative form of leadership which the Leadership Roundtable (the Association Ministers and myself) are seeking to embody as peers so that the fullness of our giftedness can have space to flourish.  May God bless us all!
Greetings.  I am honored to become Moderator of the Heartland Conference and look forward to serving all of you.  

A little bit about me.  I have a near-lifetime association with the UCC.  I was baptized and confirmed at First UCC in Canton, Ohio and have many dear memories of that church and the pastor during my time there, Dr. Karl Koepke.  My wife, also with UCC roots as a youth, and I were married in a UCC church.  After relocating to Cincinnati over 40 years ago, we became members of St. Paul UCC-North College Hill.  For the past dozen years, I have worshipped at Fleming Road UCC.
Tom Hathaway
Conference Moderator
Make the most of this FALL!

Templed Hills Camp and Conference Center needs you!

We have more projects than we can accomplish on our own.

·       Painting/staining
·       Yard work
·       Home repair type work
·       Trail work
·       And more!

Contact Miranda to Volunteer!
1-800-282-0740 ext 104
(419) 741-4695 (call/text/fax)
Conference Staff Gathers to Grow in Service to You!

Guided by staff coach, Natalie Wittmann (far left in the picture) the Conference staff met recently at Templed Hills to clarify vision and roles, build relationships and envision how to best serve the Heartland Conference in this season by finding ways to connect, equip, and support each other as they offer that same energy to the whole Conference.  

Don’t recognize them with their masks on?  They are (from second left to right) Rev. Dave Long-Higgins, Conference Minister; Becca Hoskins, Conference Executive Administrator; Jill Frey, Executive for Outdoor Ministries; John Frey, Site Manager Support Mentor; Andy Lacefield, Site Manager, Templed Hills, Miranda Lacefield, Administrative Coordinator, Templed Hills; and Charlotte Lacefield, chief smile presence. 

 Need to contact a member staff?  You can find their emails by going to the Heartland Conference website at www.heartlanducc.org/about-us/.
Join Emmaus Homes for a
Worship and Fellowship Experience
on October 17th!
Click on the video below to learn more about Emmaus Homes!
Questions: Contact the Conference office at office@heartlanducc.org or 800-282-0740 ext. 2. The Make A Difference (MAD) committee looks forward to helping you to get your special ministries underway!
Veteran’s Day - Warriors’ Journey Home Ministry
Veteran’s Day as a day of remembrance is often met in church with an over zealous patriotic fervor; or totally ignored.  It does not have to be an either/or proposition.  Young men and women enter the uniformed services of our nation, all volunteer, with a variety of reasons:  Some are seeking adventure.  Some are looking for a way to pay for college or trade school through the GI Bill.  Some are looking to escape their home environment.  And some, feel a sense of duty.  

In Ohio there are 866,481 veterans, Kentucky is home to 330,559 veterans, and West Virginia is home for 167,355 veterans from World War II through our present war that ended.  The thing is; war may be over but it isn’t finished.  War takes a toll on individuals, families, marriages, our institutions including the church.  As Tim O’Brien, author of The Things They Carried, states, “nothing good comes from war.  There is nothing noble or glorious.”  Dr. Shelly Rambo of Boston University School of Theology instructs us, War is tragic, and our veterans are tragic heroes; our nation wants redemptive heroes. 

Warriors’ Journey Home Ministry began in 2003 as a ministry of the First Congregational Church, UCC of Tallmadge, Ohio.  The medical model of treatment is necessary but insufficient in brining our veterans all the way home to wellness.  Warriors’ Journey Home Ministry has developed a healing model addressing the invisible wounds of war and military service, or as it is now labeled, the Moral Injury.  The Moral injury is in kinship with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and persons of faith are empowered to be the healing presence of Christ in the life of those who have served, not out of pity; rather out of necessity – you see, all of us are complicit in war.  

Congregations can do a service of worship on Sunday November 7, 2021 that is reflective, solemn, sacred, and meaningful.  The liturgy is available, that lifts up the Christian values of bearing one another’s burdens, healing the wounded, providing companionship to the marginalized, welcoming the stranger – healing the wounds of war so we might achieve peace.  Is your church being called to a healing ministry?  Touching wounds that yearn to be healed?  

Every November for the past several years in NEO there is a brief ceremony called The Witness Tree.  This ceremony is held in a public place daily from November 1 through November 11.  22 dog tags are placed on a tree in view of the general public.  Twenty-two dog tags represent the 22 suicides each day committed by veterans – four times as many veterans have died by their own hand than have fallen in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The Witness Tree does not emphasize the tragic loss; but is an indictment of our society that we have abdicated our responsibility to care for the vulnerable.  The word “witness” means to “bear testimony to the truth.”  By November 11 there are 242 dog tags on the Witness Tree. 242 individuals. 242 families. Countless friends.  

For more information contact John M. Schluep, D.Min. Founder & CEO Warriors’ Journey Home Ministry, Inc. by phone at 330-715-5683 or e-mail warriorsjourneyhome@gmail.com.

Enliven is a series of virtual courses that create community and conversation around spiritual life, and encourage individuals to learn, grow and share together. Check out the course that are being offered in October below!
MTSO hosts Admissions Open House Oct. 19
Methodist Theological School in Ohio invites anyone considering graduate theological education to visit its Admissions Open House Oct. 19. The free event will be held 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on the MTSO campus, 3081 Columbus Pike in Delaware.

Highlights include opportunities to sit in on a class, attend chapel, tour apartments and residence halls, explore MTSO’s many financial aid options, talk with current students, faculty and admissions counselors, and learn about MTSO’s Seminary Hill Farm.

Lunch featuring food grown on the farm will be provided, and free overnight accommodations are available upon request.

Advance registration is required and is available by clicking the link below.
CWS Kit Collection 
at the 
Festival of Sharing 
a Success!

“Do not remember the former things or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; it now springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” - Isaiah 43: 18-19
This past year has been filled with many challenges, and honestly, I was a little nervous not knowing what to expect with the Festival of Sharing. Would the churches be interested in doing “hands on” mission work this year? Would our church volunteers want to lead a kit project when there were so many other things to focus on? What if the kit depots closed their doors? What if no one made kits?
With God all things are possible. Because of promotions and efforts within the Heartland Conference of the United Church of Christ, this CWS kit collection was a huge success! You promoted the kit collection at your conferences, in your emails and on social media. You opened new kit depots in northeast Ohio and picked up kits and brought them to Otterbein. New things were happening and the people responded. All week long I would see boxes of kits from UCC congregations. Thank you!

Thank you so much for all of the many ways you supported the Festival of Sharing. Although I can’t give you an exact count of what the UCC congregations collected, I can say that these kits will be a blessing to so many people. YOU are why the Festival of Sharing is so successful. Your dedication and your generosity is inspiring. Thank you!

One of my dedicated committee members (on the committee for over 35 years) is so quiet. She rarely says anything during our committee meetings. She came to me on Saturday during the busy unloading time, with tears in her eyes and she said "Being at the Festival of Sharing was exactly what I needed right now and I am sure these kits will arrive exactly when someone needs them the most."
After dropping my colleague off at the airport, I became a little emotional. I remembered the scripture,  “I am about to do a new thing; it now springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” What a beautiful day we celebrated. The Heartland Conference of the United Church of Christ helped to do something new for the Festival of Sharing--Thanks be to God! 

Matthew Stevens
Director of Congregational Giving 
Church World Service
We have added to our Annual Gathering reflection on our website. There you'll find both keynote preaching events, a video outlining the Conference Vision Proposal that was approved at this year's meeting, and a performance from the Annual Gathering by our musical keynote, The Many. 

You'll also find our sponsor, United Church Homes, and links for you to learn more about the important work they are doing to enrich the lives of the communities they serve.

Find it all online by clicking the image above!