Tuscarawas Connexions
District News

In observation of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the district office will be closed today, January 16. The district office will also be closed on Friday, January 20. Megan will be unavailable January 20 - 22, in case of emergency, please reach out to DS Cara Stultz Costello

Cara's Weekly Calendar


January 16: Sabbath


January 17: District Strategizing


January 18: District Strategizing


January 19: District Strategizing


January 20: Teaching COS @ MTSO


January 22: Worship on the District

Around East Ohio & the Tuscarawas District

Night to Shine at Westbrook Park


This story is about settling in and becoming too comfortable with what you think is normal, and then God’s way of stepping in shaking things up. I’ve been going to Westbrook Park for about 13 years. For as long as I have been here our goal has always been to be an outreach to our local community. Unfortunately, other than our food pantry, we have never been able to achieve that. We became comfortable going to church with people that look like us, act like us, and check off our little boxes. All along we were missing the mark of meeting needs of people literally across the street. To make matters worse, we often had a difficult time being united in our own church family. We had different groups with different goals, and we would rather sweep our differences under the rug than actually deal with them. If what I’m saying sounds familiar to you, then know you are not alone. This is a tough situation many churches deal with. The congregation got way too comfortable with this form of “normal” and just settled into it. We had become stagnant.


Thankfully God had different plans and decided to shake things up a bit. With the leadership of Rev Adkins, we brought an outside consultant in to help assess our situation and give us direction on options for the future. Well, I’ll say it was not very easy hearing an outsider confirm all our issues and problems, but it was very eye opening. One thing we got from the group was an assessment of our local community and their needs. What we found out was our local neighborhood is filled with single parents with a big concern. They are worried about finding a safe place to take their kids while they work. And they are worried about how they are going to afford that childcare. This revealed a wonderful opportunity for Westbrook Park to fill a need for our local community. Rev Adkins and our childcare director started on a journey to build a childcare program that helps parents and guardians to keep their children at one place for their entire work shifts. They also completed the process to allow families to apply for public assistance to her pay for the childcare. Covid slowed down the growth, but this gave the director and staff time to get it right. Now it is rated as a 5-star program and is really taking off. Now Monday through Friday, when you come to Westbrook, you will see our local community reflected, because it is our local community. From the children that attend, to the parents and guardians dropping and picking them up, to the staff. All during this time, our church community has been working on our internal issues and becoming a more unified family. We still have different views and disagreements, but in the end when we agree on something as a church family, we move forward with that decision. We have each other’s back. And now, the families are seeing the love of Christ that the staff are showing their children, and they are venturing in on Sundays to see what we are about. And the beautiful thing is… we are ready! We have worked on our issues as a church family and are ready to grow our community. And people are coming back week after week. We are still far from where we want to be, but it’s a wonderful start.


Then God opened another door for us and the community. Through networking, pastor Joel came in contact of a church that was offering their community occupational training. Now we are on a mission to create a training program that will offer free training for people in our local community to progress their careers and help them support their families better. But God isn’t stopping there. Seemingly out of nowhere he has given us the opportunity to show Christ’s love to our community through another outlet. Westbrook Park has been accepted to be the Stark County host of A Night To Shine. For those who haven’t heard about of before, it is a prom for people with developmental disabilities ages 14 and up it is sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation. We limited in person guests to 100 for our first year and reached 100 only 3 days into registration. To me this is a sign from God that we are on the right track. But I believe God is also working another angle here to help us strengthen another community. You see, to pull this off, we need about 250 volunteers. God knows that Westbrook is not nearly big enough to run this with our current members. I feel like this is God’s way of helping us to strengthen our local church community. So, Here’s my selfish plug. If you or anyone you know is interested, we would love you have you with us. You can call the church office to get some info. This is going to be an amazing way to show Christ’s love to the special needs community, and we would be honored to work on this with all of you.


In closing, I’d just like to say, we still have a long way to go, but we are so excited to see where God is taking us and how he is using us to grow His community.

Wespath FAQ


Wespath, the benefits and pension partner of the UMC, continues to focus on continuity of benefits for those who serve and the impact of disaffiliations on pensions, benefits and liabilities funding. FAQs are updated periodically.


Link to Wespath FAQ


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.

BSA & The UMC


The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) bankruptcy agreement with The United Methodist Church was approved by the court and is now under further review along with the BSA reorganization plan. Currently, BSA is ahead of projections this year for recruiting new troops and has decided not to extend all previous charters beyond December 31, 2022, for two reasons:

  1. in most areas, the affiliation agreements and facility use agreements are being implemented and the implementation is going well.
  2. BSA wants to assure the court that it is emerging from bankruptcy and its business plan is working as evidenced by new scouts and organizational agreements.


If you have questions about the BSA Affiliation Agreement or about the Facilities Use Agreement, please e-mail Steven Scheid, the scouting executive for United Methodist Men. If your local BSA Council is not complying with the new BSA organizational agreement, please e-mail Jeffrey Hunt, who oversees the BSA Councils across the United States.


View the BSA & The UMC resource on the Conference website.

DISAFFILIATION PATHWAY: Following consultation between Bishop Malone and EOC leadership, churches and clergy wishing to separate from the denomination must follow the disaffiliation pathway found in ¶ 2553 of The Book of Discipline of The UMC. View the EOC Disaffiliation Pathway resource.

Global Ministries


How does your congregation care for God’s creation? Do you regularly conduct an energy audit to minimize wasted electricity and water in your church building, reuse resources that would otherwise be tossed in a landfill, encourage biking to church by installing a bike rack in the parking lot or teach sustainable gardening practices through community gardening? Have you found a creative new way to be good stewards of our natural resources? We want to hear your story and celebrate the impact your ministry has on God’s world. Contact Kate Colbow, Conference Secretary to Global Ministries via email to share how your congregation cares for creation. 

Safe Sanctuaries


Join in on this online course that covers the basics of Safe Sanctuaries. Rev Gary Jones walks participants through the what is it, the why we do it, and common elements. This is a great course for churches reviewing or creating their policies, for ministry team leads, and for anyone working with vulnerable persons in your faith community.    


Enroll anytime at https://eocumc.myabsorb.com/#/online-courses/409157e8-86de-49c2-b36a-306010758353

Scholarships Available for Methodist Students


Don’t let finances get in the way of achieving your dreams of a quality education! Applications are open for scholarships from the United Methodist Higher Education Foundation. Every year, UMHEF awards $2+ million to students planning to attend one of the 100+ UM-related colleges, universities, and seminaries across the country. For complete details, eligibility requirements, and to apply, visit https://umhef.org. The deadline is March 1.

The Seran Foundation is part of the Stark Community Foundation. Students can apply through the foundation’s General Scholarship Application. This can be done by going to the Stark Community Foundation’s website (https://www.starkcf.org/for-grantees/for-students/scholarship-opportunities) and clicking on the Menu tab at the top right. Scroll down to Grants and under For Students click on Scholarship Opportunities. Finally click on Begin Your Application. Your application allows you to apply for the Seran Foundation grant as well as others for which you may be eligible. 


The deadline for applications is April 1.  


The Chester A. and Ethel J. Seran Scholarship Foundation was established many years ago to help college students toward their bachelor or associate degrees. The assistance is in the form of grants and not loans. The grants are renewable each year as long as students are in good academic standing with their college or university. The Scholarship Selection Committee restricts the grants to no more than 4 years.  



If you have any questions or need additional assistance, you can call the Stark Community Foundation at 234-458-2905. You can also contact Steve Moore, Chairperson of the Seran Foundation with any specific questions about this particular foundation.  

Strategic Ministries


Simplified Structure Training: Many in church life realize the practical benefits of moving into a more simplified committee structure. Join together via Zoom in Jan with other congregations around the conference to learn about this model and to have opportunities to continue learning throughout the year. These classes would also be good for churches already in a simplified structure who would like a tune up or want to continue learning. For more information and to register go to: East Ohio Conference of The United Methodist Church (eocumc.com) or you can click on the image above. This training is on Zoom but we do recommend you gather together and stream it as a group to help with conversations.  


Online Learning Platform

We are excited to share with you about another tool that your Connectional Ministries Office now has to help resource you and your church as we invite all to join our online learning platform! Designed for both lay and clergy this is a way to have learning happen on your own schedule. There are already many courses available from other conferences that we are in partnership with and in coming months we will be adding more and more of our own content. 

Registration is at: https://eocumc.myabsorb.com/?KeyName=EO%20Sign%20UP


We just launched our Charge Conference course. This course would be particularly helpful to new clergy or lay who have not dealt with the paperwork before. The chapters can be done in any order so they can just engage with the parts that they want. https://eocumc.myabsorb.com/#/online-courses/62d66c8a-512d-4b47-8587-349480a00f86


Among the courses, make sure to check out Rule of Christ. This resource helps learners to explore how to manage conflict in their church. While churches with new pastoral appointments should make sure to review this class, it can bring value to every faith community. https://eocumc.myabsorb.com/#/online-courses/8ba13648-889e-411c-857d-099495709b69


Rule of Christ Trainer Training - If you are interested in becoming a trainer for Rule of Christ please register here.

UMVIM NCJ Mission Project and Youth 2023


Charter Bus to Youth 2023

The deadline to request a spot on the charter bus for the UMVIM NCJ Mission Project and Youth 2023 is January 23! The bus departs from the Area Center on July 22, travels to Charlotte NC for an UMVIM NCJ Mission Project, then onto Daytona for Youth 2023. The cost of the bus is being covered by the conference, seating is limited, and will be offered on a first come first, serve basis. However, there is a refundable $100 per person deposit to hold a seat. The full deposit will be refunded after the trip, as long as the person attended. ‘No shows’ will not be refunded; other refund requests will be considered on a case by case basis.


Please note that requesting bus seats does not register you or your group for the events or lodging. Find out more about Youth 2023 on their website. Contact Stefanie Williams by email at stef.youthministry@gmail.com with any questions about the NC mission project. Bus request deadline is Jan. 23.


Request a Spot on Youth 2023 Charter Bus

Positions Available

Fairhope UMC in Louisville is actively seeking a Part-Time Custodian, 8 hours per week, $12.00/hr. Duties include sweeping, dusting, mopping, and general cleaning. Please submit resumes to Fairhope UMC, 5660 Louisville Rd, Louisville OH 44641.

Otterbein (Navarre) UMC is seeking applicants for Youth Director Position (grades 9 - 12) and Assistant Youth Leader Position (grades 6 – 8). If you are interested in either of these or have questions, please contact the church at 330-484-2776.

Simpson UMC in Canton is actively seeking an Organist. Please contact Simpson via email.
Items Available

Otterbein (Navarre) UMC has a variety of Sunday School & Bible Study books available. Click here to access the entire list. If interested, please contact Doris Brown at (330) 704-2055 or by email.

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Tuscarawas Connexions
Official Publication of the Tuscarawas District East Ohio Conference —
The United Methodist Church

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