The Connector
View the Lenten Resource Conversations of the Heart: The Journey Continues
Bishop Tracy S. Malone traveled across the East Ohio Conference in January 2022 to engage in meaningful Conversations of the Heart with laity and clergy about mission, vision, ministry, and discipleship in the Conference and about the future of The United Methodist Church.

The Bishop met with clergy and laity in churches across the southern, central, and northern regions of the East Ohio Conference to share a message from her heart and to listen to and answer questions that were on the hearts of those in attendance. The six conversations with Bishop Malone were in-person gatherings to provide a more intimate opportunity for dialogue among the participants.

In this new video, Bishop Malone invites us into a Lenten journey of prayer, reflection, and conversations as she shares her message that was given at each of the Conversations of the Heart gatherings.

View the video, listen for the three practices that the Bishop is encouraging of all clergy and laity, reflect on the 11 questions we are asked to consider during our journeys this Lent, and then download the video to share with others.
General Conference - Postponed until 2024
The Commission on the General Conference announced on March 3, 2022 that the 2020 General Conference cannot be held in 2022 due to COVID-related and governmental policies/constraints. General Conference has thus been further postponed to 2024.

A significant advantage of further postponing the 2020 General Conference to 2024 is that the Commission has already secured a venue for what would have been the regularly scheduled quadrennial event. An announcement about the location will be forthcoming as soon as the required logistical planning is complete.

In response to the decision, Council of Bishops President Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey said, “I give thanks for the Commission on the General Conference, a committed and faithful group of laity and clergy. The Commission continues to serve tirelessly, and their work is deeply appreciated and valued."

The General Conference is the only body of The United Methodist Church that can set official policy and speak for the denomination.

The General Conference is an international body of nearly 1,000 delegates – half clergy and half lay – who are elected by the members of their respective Annual Conferences. The General Conference meets every four years and can also meet between those years if a special session is called.

During General Conference, delegates discuss and vote on petitions and resolutions proposed by individuals, agencies, annual conferences, and other groups within the denomination. These actions could result in a revision of: The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church, the denomination's book of law; and The Book of Resolutions of The United Methodist Church, the denomination’s policies on current social issues.

Bishops attend the General Conference but cannot vote. Some bishops serve as presiding officers during the conference with the remaining bishops present but unable to speak on the proceedings unless granted permission to do so by the delegates.
A Message from Bishop Tracy S. Malone
Dear Laity and Clergy of the East Ohio Conference,

I greet you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
The United Methodist Commission on the General Conference has announced that the 2020 General Conference is further postponed until May of 2024. The Commission on the General Conference provided the reasons for its decision to postpone the conference in its press release statement. It was noted that they will look to the Judicial Council for clarity regarding the processes for the General Conference in preparation for 2024. The Commission members made a difficult decision and I honor the work that they did.

There are various entities within The United Methodist Church that are working collaboratively on how best to provide leadership and to steward the mission, ministry, and witness of The United Methodist Church in light of the postponement. One of these entities is the Council of Bishops.

The Council of Bishops met today, and we addressed the implications of the postponement and we have identified and clarified some pathways forward; however, additional work needs to be done. We’re looking at provisions that already exist in The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church 2016 related to jurisdictions, assignment of bishops, disaffiliation, and separation. We are working together to provide leadership to help sustain the worldwide witness and mission of The United Methodist Church.

Where do we go from here?
Beloved, we breathe, and we don’t fret. We pray and fully rely on the Sovereignty of God, knowing that God holds us, our beloved United Methodist Church, and our future in God’s hands … trusting that God will make a way forward. I encourage us to keep our minds and efforts focused on our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world and not being preoccupied with processes and postponements. We do this because what is not postponed or delayed is our calling to share the love and the Good News of Jesus Christ, our compassion for those who are hurting and grieving, our listening and responding to the needs of the poor and the marginalized, and our work for peace, hope and reconciliation. This is our ongoing work and witness!

Let me reassure you that there are no decisions or actions that need to be made or taken now … not for pastors, congregations, or faith communities. Over the next few weeks and months, I will be working with my Cabinet and the Conference Board of Trustees to explore the Disciplinary options related to matters of separation. And I will continue to be in conversation with lay and clergy across the Conference to listen and to provide guidance and encouragement.

Let me restate what I have said on many occasions: no one is being forced out of The United Methodist Church. There is plenty good room for a generous unity in our beautifully, diverse church. It is my hope that none of you will choose to leave The United Methodist Church.

As your bishop, I will continue to shepherd and guide us through these uncertain times and humbly ask that you commit to trusting where the Spirit of God will take us.

I will continue to lead in ways that will enable as many lay and clergy who feel called to remain in The United Methodist Church to continue our shared mission and work of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

I, again, remind you of the words from the Apostle Paul: “ I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4: 1 NRSV).

Yours in Christ,
Bishop Tracy S. Malone
Resident Bishop, East Ohio Conference
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. Bruce Hartley (FE) - Hudson UMC
Rev. David Whitt (FE) - Lakemore UMC

To view the entire list of 2022 Appointments please visit the EOC website here
Spring District Conference
Spring District Conference will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 14 at Uniontown UMC.

More information will be available soon.
March 20: Jim Lewis (Twin Falls)
March 21: Tom Fish (NL Chapel of the Cross)
March 23: Craig D'Anniballe (Manchester)
March 28: Samuel Martin (Firestone Park)
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:
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.
An Apportionment Message from Bishop Tracy S. Malone
A Budget Message from Conference Council on Finance & Administration:
Faithfulness Amidst the Changing Season: God’s love remains steadfast!
To: East Ohio Pastors, Congregations, and Faith Communities,
Someone once said, “change is inevitable, but transformation is optional!” Change is everywhere around us and, as a church, we understand that challenges are opportunities for renewal, rebirth and even transformation. Given the pandemic challenges, we continue to be awakened to God’s steadfast love. Being United Methodist offers an opportunity to touch lives both within our local communities and across the world. Friends, we are not alone in the struggle and looking back at 2021, we see so much for which to be thankful. God’s love remains steadfast!

We give thanks for the gift of 679 churches serving the mission field in East Ohio in 2021. We celebrate the faithful commitment of our local churches that paid 100% of their apportionments. We saw a 6% increase in local churches paying full apportionments. The changing seasons present many challenges for us as a Conference and, as many local churches step up in their giving, we acknowledge the reality that nearly 50 churches did not pay any apportionments – an amount equaling 5% of our budget. In 2021, 300 of our churches contributed toward the shared ministry challenge (Fund 7) which represented slightly more than 10% from the previous year. Many of our churches are bearing fruit even amid the changing landscape of hybrid worship and the continued challenge of reaching newer and younger people with the transforming message of God’s love. God’s love remains steadfast!

The pay-in rate from local churches to our East Ohio Conference budget was 79% in 2021 compared to 77% in 2020. Over $8.6 million was contributed to the mission and ministry of East Ohio. The increase in pay-in rate stops the decline we have seen over the past seven years. Every dollar contributed is a gift enabling the good news of Jesus Christ to be shared. God’s love remains steadfast!

The 2021 Conference budget was reduced by 5% so that local churches would have more available funds for their respective mission fields. CCF&A continues to monitor trends and examine budgetary needs as we head into this quadrennium. The postponement of General Conference until 2024 continues the challenges of navigating the financial implications of denominational changes that may come our way. We realize the coming years will bring both challenges and opportunities for the Conference to maintain the mission of making disciples amidst uncertainties of what the future holds. Yes, change is inevitable, but transformation is optional. We will continue to strive for transformation as we review financial trends, monitor our giving patterns, and adjust our Conference budget as necessary in the coming years. But we rest assured that God’s love remains steadfast!

The faithfulness of our local churches continues to be the focal point of transformative ministry and as we journey together in 2022, we pray that you will be encouraged by the continued movement of God’s Spirit guiding us in the uncertainties, decisions, and mission opportunities enabling all of us to share God’s love and witness to a world hungering for justice, peace, and compassion. God’s love remains steadfast!

Be encouraged always,
Rev. Dan Bryant
Chairperson, CCF&A
Vera Rebrovich, CPA
Director, Financial & Administrative Services
Frequently Asked Questions
  • Who sets the apportioned Shared Ministry amounts?
  • Local church lay and clergy members of the East Ohio Conference must approve all budget items at Annual Conference. The amount we vote to support at Annual Conference is then “apportioned,” with each church in East Ohio asked to pay its fair share of what the conference voted to fund.
  • How is a church’s apportioned Shared Ministry fund amount calculated?
  • Apportionments are figured only on the amount of money a church spends on itself for programming, operations, and salaries. Church membership is no longer part of the formula.
  • What happens if we do not pay our Shared Ministry funds?
  • Some mission or ministry of our church that is being done in Christ’s name is either cut back or eliminated.
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.

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 - or 330-499-3972 ext. 120.
Around the Canal District & East Ohio
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.

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.
Items Available
Dear Friends of the Canal District,
For years our Lockwood UMC has had a sewing program where several of our members have made sleeping bags and many other items to benefit people in our community. Lately, however, a number of our volunteer seamstresses have passed on or otherwise been unable to continue the program. In dissolving the program we want to donate the remaining sewing machines, material, tables, and other equipment to another church that can put it to good use.

If interested, please call Jim Ellison at 330-591-7627 or email.
Items Missing
Items Needed
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 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