The Connector
Bishop Tracy S. Malone Announces New EOC Superintendency Plan
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”  – Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV)

Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ!
Yes! God is doing a new thing in the East Ohio Conference and in these unprecedented times, God is making a way and unfolding new ministry and leadership possibilities.

As of July 1, 2022, district superintendency will look different for several districts in the Conference. I have spent the last several months in consultation with the Cabinet and with the district superintendents and district superintendency committees who will be affected in the new leadership configuration. I am thankful to each for their support of this strategic plan.

Considering the new ministry appointments of Rev. Dr. Steve Bailey and Rev. Doug Lewis, the 10 districts of the East Ohio Conference will now be served by eight district superintendents and there will be new superintendency models implemented in two regions of the Conference. Every district will have an appointed district superintendent. District administrative assistants will continue to serve as a vital partner to the district superintendent, pastors, and local churches.

These missional, strategic leadership changes will better position the Conference as we continue to be faithful stewards of our mission and resources and as we face the current pandemic realities, the pending separation of some of our local churches related to disagreements on matters of human sexuality, and the declining membership and financial trends of some of our churches.

To that end, effective July 1:
  • Rev. Bruce Hitchcock, currently serving as the Ohio Valley District superintendent, will serve as the North Coast District superintendent.
  • Rev. Laura White, superintendent of the Southern Hills District, and Rev. Kelly Brown, superintendent of the Three Rivers District, will expand their leadership to also serve as the co-superintendents of the Ohio Valley District.
  • Rev. Nestor Nazario, currently serving as the Mid-Ohio District superintendent, will expand his leadership to also serve as the superintendent of the Firelands District. Currently, Rev. Donna Van Trees provides assistance to the Firelands District superintendent. She will continue to serve part-time and be appointed as district superintendent associate.

In this liminal space in which we find ourselves we are leveraging this time to make some new discoveries and to assess and explore the needs, realities, and opportunities within the districts and to create a sustainable structure as we move forward in mission. The two new district superintendency regional models are intentional steps to move us forward in this process.

I have named a District Realignment/Restructure Task Force made up of a diverse group of laity and clergy from across the East Ohio Conference to do assessment work and then bring a report to the 2023 Annual Conference.

Beloved of God, amid these realities we currently face, we still have a mission to fulfill. The mission of Christ is yet alive and we continue to be called to “… go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” and to remember the promise of Jesus Christ … “and surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20 [NIV])

The East Ohio Conference is committed to resourcing and equipping pastors, local churches, and faith communities in building a greater capacity for making and maturing disciples of Jesus Christ, for being God’s agents of healing, hope and transformation in your communities, and for reaching new, younger and a more diverse people. This is our work, our mission, and our vision.

Disciples make disciples! Transformed leaders transform their communities and the world!

Let us together, stay focused on our mission … abiding in Christ, being outwardly focused through discipleship, abounding in love towards our neighbors and spiritually centered in our leadership and actions.

Let us not dwell on the past and let us embrace what is new … God’s possibilities!

Yours in Christ,
Bishop Tracy S. Malone
District News
The District Office is working primarily remotely. If you have something to drop off, there is a mailbox outside of Megan's door in the Conference Office and is checked on a regular basis.
District Appointments effective July 1, 2022
Rev. David Whitt (FE) - Lakemore UMC

To view the entire list of 2022 Appointments please visit the EOC website here
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26 - Don Kuntz & Kris Patt
Lay Servant News
Lay Servant Classes will be in person at the Lockwood United Methodist Church:
 Basic Course: 
Friday, March 18, 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday,
March 19, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
 Advanced Course: Living our United Methodist Beliefs
Friday, April 22, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday, April 23, 
9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday, May 7, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Please Contact Debbie Sloan for more information about the classes and to register—330-283-6893 or by email.
Trinity Action Project (TAP) Grants
Application Process for TAP - Any program/project from a Canal District local church that very clearly relates to the mission and vision of the Conference may submit an application. Funds for mission purposes are intended as “Seed Money” to be used as start-up funds to help initiate ministry and mission outreach. Programs/projects will be funded for a maximum of 3 years. Applications will have a specific plan and/or strategy for a program/project, a clearly defined method(s) in which the funds will be used, and a method for decreasing the “seed money” funding over the 3 year period. TAP Grant funding may not be used for capital expenditures or clergy salaries. Churches applying for a multi-year grant will submit a new application each year.

For an application go to: www.eocumc.com/canal/grants-scholarships
United Methodist Women
Great news— COMMUNITY is God’s desire for us! Please join us at Mission U 2022 as we reflect on the community that Jesus is calling us to be!
 
This year, as we study Luke 13, we find ourselves in a period of disruption and uncertainty. In the midst of a devastating pandemic, divisive political climate, unaddressed systemic racism, ecological crises and economic turmoil, we turn to the stories of Jesus that have anchored Christian communities for two millennia. 
 
Our hope is that we will leave Mission U with a bigger and broader vision of the community Christ is calling us to be in times of loss, grief and massive disruption. What would be possible if we tend to the needs of our communities in small yet radical ways, as Jesus did in Luke 13? 
 
Our newly designed Mission u 2022 is more flexible and intergenerational than ever— with curricula for youth, children and adults focused on the 13th chapter of the Gospel of Luke.
 
Here is the curricula we will be using that will be available on our e-store by January 2022: 
  • Who Can We Be Together? (Adult)
  • Community in the Midst of Challenging Times (Youth)
  • Our Growing Tree
  • From Self-Love to the Beloved Community and All of God’s Creation (Children)
Looking Ahead - UMW Events
Spring Gathering is April 24 - Speakers will talk about UMW growth and reaching younger women. Margaret Harvey and Sandy Hodge; both serve on the Conference UMW team. Margaret is the current Conference UMW Membership Nurture and Outreach chairperson. Sandy is past treasurer and now part of the UMW National Board of Directors as a Conference member to serve on the Program Advisory Group. This topic is what we all talk about. Please have several from your Unit attend. We may be virtual, maybe not! Stay tuned.

Still time to register for Assembly May 20-22, 2022
Why attend Assembly?  Now more than ever, women need to come together to reflect on today’s challenges and find comfort and strength to move forward finding ways for faith-filled women to make a difference in the world. In 2022 we will reflect on today's challenges and together find comfort and strength to move forward, building new ways for faith-filled women to make a difference in our communities and the world. We will recommit to our purpose, but also more. For such a time as this we will TURN IT UP!
 
We encourage you to register now so that we can plan the best experience for Assembly 2022. If you register for in-person attendance now, but decide to switch to the virtual option later, you will issued a refund for the additional cost of the in-person registration minus a $5 processing fee.
 
Registration fee: The registration fee for in-person is $365; virtual is $235.
Registration closes April 11. (Proof of vaccination required at time of registration.)
Hotel expenses: $158–$203 per night for up to four people (double/double room)
Meals not included: Friday and Saturday—breakfast and dinner, Sunday—breakfast
 
Assembly is a women's gathering like no other! The finest technology will even bring a virtual event to life. Please consider joining this super event. Assembly meets every four years.

EOC Annual Conference is June 9-11 in Akron.

Mission U is in July
Who Can We Be Together? Building Communities of Hope and Joy. Our newly designed Mission u 2022 is more flexible and intergenerational than ever— with curricula for youth, children, and adults, all focused on the 13th chapter of the Gospel of Luke. This structure is different than in the past. Only one adult study is offered, but it will encompass familiar components of Spiritual Growth, Geographic, and Social Issues.
Adult Study will be virtual, followed by an in-person retreat featuring some outside events such as worship around a bonfire.

An article with more details will appear in the Conference UMW Newsletter, hopefully out in February. But mark your calendars.

Adult curriculum is an 8-hour study. So, we will meet two weekends for study and the following weekend for an in-person retreat.
           Saturday July 9/Sunday July 10 AND
Saturday July 16/Sunday July 17
           10am-Noon on Saturdays and 7-9pm on Sundays.
Children and Youth programs will take place in-person at Mt Union during our retreat.
 
In-Person Retreat – Friday July 22 – Saturday July 23 (Our typical Mission u weekend)
           Place: Mt. Union University
           Arrive for supper on Friday
           Have worship outside around bonfire
           Sleep over in Bica Ross as we have in the past.
      Saturday – breakfast, a community project, lunch and closing.

Fall Gathering is September 24.

Annual Celebration is probably October 23. - The conference team mtg is later in January.
Annual Conference 2022 ~ June 9-11 ~ Akron OH
Annual Conference 2022 is June 9-11 at the John S. Knight Center in Akron. This year’s theme is Let Us Live Love and the theme scripture is 1 John 4:7-13 (NIV). In preparing for this year’s sessions and services, the Annual Conference Program Committee is planning ways it will serve attendees in love while also creating opportunities for East Ohio clergy and laity to serve others in love.
Clergy Day Apart 2022
Bishop Tracy S. Malone invites all East Ohio Conference clergy actively serving in ministry to come together for a day of rest and renewal on Saturday, April 2 from 9:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. at Faith UMC in North Canton.

Clergy are serving and leading in stressful, exhausting, and difficult times. This Clergy Day Apart, designed by a team of active clergy, is an opportunity to feed your soul through reinvigorating worship, fellowship, self-care, and conversation. Clergy will hear a validating and empowering message from featured speaker the Rev. Twanda Prioleau and will participate in engaging breakout sessions designed to help you reflect, reconnect, re-center, and revel in your ministry. Rev. Prioleau is pastor of Christ UMC in East Baltimore, MD and author of the book Breathe: A Pastor’s Journey to Wholeness.

For more information click here!
EOC Office of Finance and Administration
Audit Reports Due March 31st
All local church audits are due to the District Office no later than March 31.

Multicultural Ministries
East Ohio Conference Celebrates Black History Month in February
We encourage pastors, congregations, and faith communities to take time personally and in your communities to celebrate and reflect on the contributions of Black Americans. Whether it’s reflecting personally, learning on your own or with a group, or having conversations with African Americans the opportunities to grow are abundant.
 
You are invited to participate in an East Ohio Conference learning opportunity that will benefit you, your family, and your church small group. On four consecutive Mondays, beginning January 31, the Multicultural Ministries office will release a new installment of a study guide designed to teach elementary school-aged students, with adult help, to celebrate Black History. The guides will use material from “All In God’s Image: A Celebration of Black History and Diversity” which is a Sunday school resource released in 2021 that was written by Corinne Dunn an East Ohio lay person who is a professional Diversity Learning consultant and trainer. “I am excited that more people can engage in this revised format and different ages can learn together about African American history,” Dunn said.
Journeys of Paul in Turkey & Greece
September 26 - Oct 5, 2022
Bishop Tracy S. Malone and the Methodist Foundation of Ohio will lead an Educational Opportunities Journeys of Paul in Turkey & Greece tour September 26 – October 5, 2022. The trip is open to all East Ohio Conference laity and clergy.
“On this trip, we will retrace some of the missionary journeys of the Apostle Paul and see many significant sites of the New Testament. The Scriptures will take on new meaning as you visit the ancient communities where Paul established churches, including Colossae, Corinth, and Ephesus,” Malone shared.

During the 10-day journey, visit Istanbul, Philippi, Athens, Corinth, Cappadocia, Laodicea, Ephesus, and more. The trip starts at $3,698* departing on September 26, 2022 from Cleveland or Columbus, OH or from Pittsburgh, PA. 


*Price reflects a 4% discount and does not include the $50 Turkish Visa.

East Ohio Conference E-News
Find the information about what is happening throughout the East Ohio Conference through the biweekly newsletter. From appointments to mission opportunities to events....

See the latest E-News from HERE.
Spiritual Formation Trainings
Trainings Available for Your Local Congregation
The purpose of the East Ohio Conference Spiritual Formation and Christian Education Committee is to support the discipleship ministries of East Ohio congregations in the areas of Christian Education and Spiritual formation for all age groups. We currently have the following topics available for training in your local congregation:
1. Safe Sanctuaries for the Local Church
2. Getting Messy Church Started in Your Setting
3. Offering Worship Engagement Manipulatives in Your Congregation
4. How Can Your Congregation Offer Sensory Sensitive Inclusiveness?
5. Creating a Race and Religion Forum in Your Congregation
6. Offering Outdoor Discipleship as a Way to Reach More People in Your Community
7. Hitting the Milestones with Children and Youth in Your Congregation
8. What Every Child and What Every Youth Should Experience
9. Training Effective Teachers
10. Developing a Discipleship Pathway for Your Congregation
A few other topics are in the works and will be available in the future:
1. Spiritual Formation and Christian Education in the Small Membership Church
2. Digital Discipleship
If you are interested in any of the above topics/training opportunities, please reach out to Rev. Gary Jones, Director of Spiritual Formation in the Connectional Ministries Office - gary@eocumc.com or 330-499-3972 ext. 120.
Around East Ohio
Teach • Reach • Bless Campaign Reaches Goal of Collecting $1.5 Million; New Resident Hall for Female Students to be Built at Africa University
Laity and clergy, working together, exceeded the goal of raising and collecting $1.5 million in support of the East Ohio Conference Teach • Reach • Bless campaign. The funds will be used to build a new residence hall that will house 90 female students on the campus of Africa University in Zimbabwe. By generously supporting the East Ohio Conference Teach • Reach • Bless campaign, donors showed their commitment to improving the education and wellness of women today for a better Africa tomorrow.

To read the entire article please click this link.
The story of summer 2021 did indeed include some challenges and changes, but it was also a summer of great fun, faith formation, and renewal! Thank you for participating in and supporting Summer Camp 2021! At East Ohio Camps, we want every kid to have summer story full of fun, faith formation, adventure, and growth! Our hope is when your child tells the story of what they did this past summer they include a week of camp where, “I connected with great friends and great counselors, had fun adventures, learned new things, experienced God in nature, and now my faith is soaring!” And that is what we are planning for summer 2022! My hope is that you and your family will include East Ohio Camps as a chapter of the story of Summer 2022.

Blessings!
Rev. Gary W. Jones
Director of Spiritual Formation/Camps & Retreat Ministries
East Ohio Conference of The United Methodist Church

Registration is now open and camperships are being accepted! Please follow the links below to register for camp and download a Tuscarawas District Campership application.
Positions Available
Bennett’s Corners Community UMC in Hinckley is seeking a Director for a new Christian Preschool/Daycare. We are looking for a faithful follower of Jesus Christ who has experience as a Director and/or Preschool teacher. Please leave a message at  (330) 225-5623 or send an email to Amy.
Brimfield Faith UMC is seeking a part-time Church Musician; pianist and/or organist and/or instrumentalist who provides instrumental music for scheduled worship services and other activities in support of the music ministry of the church. Weekly worship service are Sundays at 9:30 am at 1235 Tallmadge Rd. Brimfield, 44240. Contact pastors Don & Karen Upson at 330-990-2250 or 330-990-2251 or by email.
Brunswick UMC is searching for a Christian Ministry Coordinator. The Coordinator oversees and directs all aspects of Christian Education for adults, youth ministries, and children’s ministries, and manages the development and growth of the Christian Education Program at BUMC. This position is part-time, 20-24 hours per week. Click here for a full job description. To apply, please send resume and cover letter via e-mail or by mail to Brunswick United Methodist Church, PO Box 85, Brunswick, Ohio 44212.
First United Methodist of Akron is looking for a part-time Administrative Assistant. Duties include regular bookkeeping; maintaining records and communicating with members; keeping church calendar; and performing clerical duties. Proficiency with computers and office software programs, including bookkeeping required. Wages competitive, within an anticipated range of $17 to $19 per hour, depending upon qualifications and experience. Applicants must be fully COVID-19 vaccinated and boosted. Persons interested in the position should apply by February 11, 2022. Please email the church for more information.
Johnson UMC in Norton is seeking to fill two positions:
The Christian based Sports Ministry Director is a new position and we are looking for someone to develop this ministry into various sporting events, outdoor events, etc. The church has 40-acres (our back 40) behind the church, as well as a facility for basketball and other indoor events called the Family Life Center. This person should be an organizer and a multitasker, have a willingness to work with area schools, and be community minded and church affiliated. The job will require this person to stand up and speak to the congregation about projects on Sundays as needed. Days and hours may fluctuate depending on the task.

The Hospitality Director will require a certificate from the state of Ohio due to the handling of food. This position will be responsible for purchasing food and working in the kitchen (and overseeing others) for various church events, along with outside parties as needed. This person should be outgoing, be able to enlist others to help, be able to maintain the food safety of the church based on the state protocols, and be an organizer. The Director will be responsible for using and maintaining a church credit card, organization of the kitchen, working alongside others, and being the liaison to the congregation when and as needed.

Interested candidates should send a resume and any questions to Pastor Tim Monteith via email.
Macedonia UMC is searching for a Choir and Music Director. The Director will lead musical selections that are performed during Sunday Worship, conduct weekly choir rehearsal, and prepare for Sunday’s performance. Musical and choral selections will align with the Senior Pastor’s sermon. Will also work collaboratively with the Organist, Handbell Director, and Director of Christian Education to provide an engaging worship experience for our congregation and youth. This position is part-time, about 15-20 hours per week. Click here for a full job description. To apply, please send a resume, cover letter, and valid e-mail address to Carolyn Murrock via e-mail.
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Clinton UMC is looking for a Book of Worship for their Lay Leader. If you have a copy you're no longer needing please reach out via email.
Choir Robes to be send to churches in Africa. Contact pastors Don & Karen Upson at 330-990-2250 or 330-990-2251 or by email, if you have any questions.
Please submit your request for publication of an event, job ad, or announcement to Megan at canaltuscdistoffice@eocumc.com by Thursday at 12:00 noon to run in the following Monday's newsletter. Please be aware that the less words the better and please note that flyers are not always easily readable in this format.

Please share this newsletter widely and encourage those that would like to receive it directly to share their contact email with the District Office.
The Connector
Official Publication of the Canal District East Ohio Conference —
The United Methodist Church

Canal District Office
8800 Cleveland Avenue NW, North Canton, OH 44720
Phone: (330) 499-3972 ext. 106