AUGUST 13, 2018

Special Session of the General Conference

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The East Ohio Conference Delegation Offers Listening Posts Prior to the Special Session
The Special Session of the General Conference, that has been called to address a way forward for The United Methodist Church on the matter of human sexuality, will be held February 23-26, 2019, in St. Louis, Missouri.

As East Ohio delegates to this Special Session of the General Conference, we recognize the importance of the decisions that will be before us and the impact these decisions will have on each United Methodist church and member. Recognizing this, we invite you to attend and share your thoughts and concerns at one of the five scheduled listening posts that will be held throughout the East Ohio Conference.

The listening posts will be:

We would appreciate participants registering in advance to help with our planning but registration is not required to attend the posts.  You may register here.

Read Full Article …

Spiritual Formation

Headhots of nine young adults

“How To” Discussion of Small Membership Churches
If you have an average worship attendance of 120 or less, and a desire to minister with the young people in your community, come join the conversation – Being Disciples, Making Disciples, and Maturing Disciples for the Next Generation: A “How To” Discussion for the Small Membership Church.

Presenter, Stephanie Caro, of Ministry Architects, and keynote speaker for Vision Discipleship at Annual Conference 2018, will continue the conversation about reaching young people in our communities on September 20 at Camp Wanake and Retreat Center. Caro has more than 30 years of experience working with children, youth, and adults in all aspects of church ministry. View her hilarious AC presentation. (start video at 1 hr. 10 min. mark)

The training will include: Who is the Small Membership Church?; Facing Today – it doesn’t work with millennials; A Discipleship Path; and Q&A.

Information and registration here.

Young Adult Ministries

Project Feed logo

Teen Volunteer Opportunity: Project FEED
Project FEED is November 10 (in Newcomerstown) and November 11 (in Wadsworth) from 2:00-4:30.  Cost is $5 at the door with a canned food, $10 without.  To purchase gear (t-shirts and hats) and for more information, follow this link

Project FEED Sponsorships
The Conference Council on Youth Ministries and the teens of East Ohio were recognized at Annual Conference by Rise Against Hunger, the organization that we partner with for our Project Feed events, who presented the Golden Gong Award for the 250,000 meals we packed in the last four years! This has been made possible by the dedication and support of many youth groups. 50% of the funding has come from our budget. Keep in mind, we charge $5 at the door (with a canned food), but it actually costs us $25 per person to pack these meals.

We would like to expand our efforts by offering another location, and double the number of meals packed this year from 50,000 to 100,000 and help Rise Against Hunger accomplish their goal of ending world hunger by 2030.  However, we do not have the funding to make this happen. So, CCYM is asking for financial partners to reach our goal, i.e. churches or companies etc.

We are asking for the following sponsorships:

  1. Bronze $100 donation (this equals 345 meals) Sponsor will receive a certificate of recognition.
  2. Silver $250 donation (this equals 862 meals) Sponsor will be recognized at this year’s YAC.
  3. Gold $500 donation (this equals 1,724 meals) Sponsor will be recognized at YAC and will receive VIP seating at the Saturday night concert at YAC.

All sponsors will have their name printed on the back of the Project Feed t-shirts.

All checks can be made out to East Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church with Fund #9701 in the memo and sent to 8800 Cleveland Ave. NW, North Canton OH 44720, Attn: Kaye Wolfinger. Please have all checks to us by September 28, 2018.

Position Available for Administrative Assistant to the Director of Young People’s Ministries
The East Ohio Conference of The United Methodist Church is seeking applications for the Administrative Assistant to the Director of Young People’s Ministries.The Administrative Assistant reports to and is responsible for supporting the Director of Young People’s Ministries in fulfilling the mission and vision the East Ohio Conference. This includes communication, budgeting, reporting, event planning and coordination for a variety of ministries and committees.

Experience with and understanding of The United Methodist Church is desirable but not required for this position.

This position is full-time, hourly, non-exempt with health care and retirement benefits provided.

A more detailed description of the position is available here. Please forward all resumes to: Resumes will be accepted through August 17.

Multicultural Vitality

Live Well – Be Well – Black Clergy Retreat – September 23-25
36 years ago, in 1982, Bishop James S. Thomas hosted the first Black Clergy Retreat at Mohican State Park.  This year, the 2018 Black Clergy Retreat returns to Mohican State Park.  Bishop Thomas instituted the event to nurture and develop Clergy who’s diversity and perspective is invaluable to the Conference.  This year, the theme “Live Well – Be Well” fulfills the purpose of nurturing and caring for the Black Clergy of The East and West Ohio Annual Conferences. Read entire article …

Register for the 2018 Black Clergy Retreat.

Health Benefits

Seating is Limited! Have You Registered for this Financial Wellness Workshop?
Sponsored by the Conference Board of Benefits, this one-day workshop will help you review and evaluate your current financial status.   Wespath Benefits & Investments partners with EY Financial Services.  EY will be giving a presentation on  “Achieving Financial Wellness.”   The balance of the day will include an overview of Conference-sponsored benefits, inclusive of pension, death & disability benefits, as well as healthcare.  This workshop will be offered Thursday, September 20 from 9:00 am – 3:30 pm at Westbrook Park UMC

PLEASE NOTE: SEATING IS LIMITED!  Reservations are a must for everyone attending  (this includes spouses – they must register as well)!!!  No walk-ins can be accommodated as personalized information is provided for each pastor attending.   Questions?   Contact Betsy Stewart at (800) 831-3972, Ext. 103 or Robin Whitacre, Ext. 151. Click here to register.

Don’t Forget!: HealthFlex Participants
HealthFlex participants and covered spouses must complete the Health Quotient between August 1 and September 30, 2018 to avoid paying a higher medical plan deductible in 2019—$250 extra (individual deductible) or $500 extra (family deductible). Primary participant and covered spouse must both take the HQ by September 30 to avoid higher deductible. Instructions to complete the Health Quotient.


Flyers, postcards on a cork boardBack-to-School Outreach Resources
Reach out to families in your community to promote school supply giveaways, backpack blessings, and Sunday school rally days at your church.

United Methodist Communications is offering customizable resources for your back-to-school ministry now through October 10.  They are available in a variety of designs, with multiple messages options, and you can even upload your own artwork.

Choose from: postcards for direct mailing to specific zip codes; invitation cards that congregation members can distribute to friends, coworkers and neighbors; and outdoor banners that will greet passersby with encouraging words of welcome.

Receive $200 off your order by using promo code F18UMC200 when you place your online order. Order today.

Nurture Your New Congregation
The first 30 days of pastoring a church are days of learning, listening, understanding and gaining insights. When those 30 days pass, it’s time to take action. A article explores steps that pastors can take to achieve “quick wins” in days 31, 60, 90 and beyond. Making the first 90 days count can lead to many years of fruitful ministry. Read Here.

Pastoral Care and Counseling

Bi-weekly Resources
In the August 13 issue we address:  Listening and listening’s power to transform our relationships and us as individuals.

  • A Way Forward: Deep Listening
  • Why Listening Matters for Mission and Ministry Today
  • Video: Listening with an Awakened Heart Part 1 & 2
  • Why You Need Excellent Listening Skills
  • Book: Listening for God: A Minister’s Journey Through Silence and Doubt
  • YouTube: Listening: Be Still and Know that I Am God
  • Mindful Listening: Awakening to the World around You
  • Mindful Listening: A Practice in Loving
  • The Importance of Listening: Marriage Today
  • The Digital Age: The First Duty of Love is to Listen
  • Listings of our Spiritual Directors

Contact Us
If you have any questions or issues you would like for us to address or if you would like to receive e-mail alerts when new resources have been posted, please contact Howard Humphress at or use our quick contact form.

Media Center

The Media Center recently acquired the following resources:

  • The Prayer Coin; Daring to Pray with Honest Abandon shows flipping from the brutal honesty of our own desires to a complete abandon in allowing God to lead. Moving from one side of the coin to the other and back again creates a new intimacy with the Creator.
  • Living Our Principles illustrates how valuable the United Methodist Social Principles are to our world community. This series explores the United Methodist Social Principles and their use in the lives of United Methodists across the connection.
  • Joshua; Winning the Worry Battle participants join God’s people as they arrive on the edge of the promised land only to find themselves in hostile territory, faced with fear and uncertainty and discover that winning the worry battle requires more than having faith; it requires learning to fight in faith!
  • Single & Parenting: Support Group Kit contains video seminars that discuss encouraging kids to obey, helping a hurting child, eliminate debt,
    and more while participants develop meaningful friendships with other single parents

To reserve these or other resources, call the Media Center at (800) 831-3972 x 139 or send an e-mail to Browse the resource catalog at

Message in the Movies

Message in the Movies banner (colorful film strip

Eighth Grade –This is a very honest film that is not only in touch with the social media world of today’s youth but also plugged into the developmental insecurities of anyone straddling the great divide between the innocence of older childhood and the “grownup” world of high school.Read full review

Credit Union

Car Loans
Hit the open road! The United Methodist Financial Credit Union offers great rates for new and used vehicles. Our loan officers are great and will help you find that perfect vehicle for your next road trip. Contact one of our offices today!

Certificate of Deposit Rates
Summer may be rising our temps, but it’s also been raising our CD Rates! Right now, members may get a rate as high as 2.12% APY for a 12 month certificate of deposit!  There are a variety of rates and terms available. Contact one of our offices today to lock in your rate.

Events: August 13 – August 26

Click to view East Ohio Conference Calendar.

To submit your event to the East Ohio calendar use this form.
(The East Ohio Conference only accepts East Ohio United Methodist local church, conference and general UM events for listing on the conference calendar.)


Details of listings may be found here. 

Positions Available

  • Organist/Pianist/Accompanist, Wooster UMC
  • Choir Director and Pianist, Newtown Falls UMC
  • Administrative Specialist, General Commission on the Status and Role of Women, Chicago, IL.
  • Administrative Assistant to the Director of Young People’s Ministries, East Ohio Conference Area Center
  • Accompanist or Organist, Firestone Park UMC
  • Director of Christian Education, The United Methodist Church in Stow
  • Accompanist/Pianist or Organist, Magadore UMC
  • Pianist, Andover UMC
  • Part-time Director of Music, Brecksville UMC
  • Choir Director/Accompanist, Millersburg UMC
  • Executive Secretary to the Bishop, East Ohio Conference Area Center

To submit a classified ad please email


Please pray for the family of Richard H. Parks, Jr., retired elder, who died July 27, 2018.

Obituary details may be found here.

To Subscribe

Subscribe to E-news and all East Ohio Conference news updates, Enter your email address in the “Follow News via Email” widget on the right sidebar.

Information from this E-News may be copied and used in your local church.

The next scheduled edition of the E-News is Monday, August 27, 2018.  Deadline for submission is Wednesday, August 22.

Live Well – Be Well

By Will Jones*

36 years ago, in 1982, Bishop James S. Thomas hosted the first Black Clergy Retreat at Mohican State Park.  This year, the 2018 Black Clergy Retreat returns (September 23-25) to Mohican State Park.  Bishop Thomas instituted the event to nurture and develop Clergy who’s diversity and perspective is invaluable to the Conference.  This year, the theme “Live Well – Be Well” fulfills the purpose of nurturing and caring for the Black Clergy of The East and West Ohio Annual Conferences.

Last year the retreat had a similar focus.  Bishop Malone preached, “We cannot be as effective and as fruitful in our well doing in ministry, if we are not intentional in caring for our personal well-being.  We’re talking about emotional, we’re talking about physical, and we’re talking about spiritual,” in her sermon titled “How is it with your soul?”(video)

Clergy well-being is certainly an important aspect for ALL Clergy who serve in United Methodist Appointments.  Research, data, and experience tells us that Clergy of Color face additional challenges serving in a denomination that is predominantly white.  The Church is a leader in promoting understanding of why we need to highlight and learn other perspectives than the majority perspective.  Thus, the Bishops’ Retreat with Black Clergy is really about bringing special attention to the needs of the Black Church in East Ohio and West Ohio.

In addition to the Black Clergy Retreat, in its effort to promote Clergy of Color and our Racial-Ethnic Churches, the office of Multicultural Vitality and the Bishop held a gathering titled “STRONG – Strength, Training, and Resourcing on an ON Going basis” to support our racial-ethnic clergy.  The East Ohio 2018 Annual Conference also approved the creation for the Committee on Ethnic Local Church Concerns, a discipline required committee that focuses on the health and vitality of racial-ethnic churches.

If you are Interested in supporting or learning more about the East Ohio Conference effort of promoting our Racial-Ethnic churches and ministries, please contact the office of Multicultural Vitality at 

Register for the 2018 Black Clergy Retreat.

* Will Jones is the director of Multicultural Vitality for the East Ohio Conference of The United Methodist Church.

Grandparent Ministry Offers Support to those in Need

By Rick Wolcott*

For 100 years Ontario UMC (Mid-Ohio District) has been active in school ministry.  To celebrate the milestone, church leadership invited all 215 employees of Ontario Local Schools to an in-service day luncheon last August.

In meeting with the district superintendent to plan for that lunch, the Rev. Peg Welch inquired how the church could best help the school if it received grant money it had applied for from the East Ohio Conference.

“She said that one of the biggest problems they had was the number of grandparents raising kids because the parents of the kids – their own children – are out of the picture, mostly because of the opioid crisis,” Welch said.  “We have three in our own church who are raising their grandchildren so I was aware of the need.  But I did not know that there are an estimated 4.2 million children across the United States being raised by kin.  It’s an enormous problem.”

Welch says that school districts don’t always know exactly how many children are being raised by grandparents because none of the school forms ask the caregivers filling them out what their relation is to the child.

“Estimates in the Ontario Local Schools is that as few as two and as many as four out of 10 students are being raised by kin – 20 to 40%,” she said.

“The word needs to get out.  We don’t believe that people know what is going on,” said one grandparent who is now raising his grandchild.

He and other adults who find themselves in the unexpected role of parenting grandchildren and kin meet at Ontario UMC monthly during the school year.  On this night, 10 adults and 12 children, between four and 13 years of age, attended Grandparent Night at the church.

“There’s nothing out there to model so we tried a couple of different ways that didn’t work before we finally hit on a successful formula,” Welch said.  “We meet in the evening because some of the grandparents are still working, and we provide a meal and child care, so the grandparents can be here in the first place.”

“Ontario United Methodist Church and the Ontario Schools work collaboratively, year-round, to provide quality services to children and families,” said School District Superintendent Lisa Carmichael.  “We’re truly blessed to have this unique partnership.”

A one-time grant from the East Ohio Conference of The United Methodist Church helps fund the program, which is promoted online, on flyers distributed by the school, and on the exterior signs of the church and the schools.

Meeting around table with grandparents and support group

The Thursday evening meeting is co-led by Welch and Ontario Schools Social Worker Amy Kurtz-Nagel.  Those attending the meeting have opportunities to tap into resources, as well as tell their stories – which is therapeutic to the person sharing and informative for those who are listening.

“Coming here I learned that I am not alone, which is so helpful to know,” one grandparent shared.

“When I first heard the superintendent talk about grandparents raising their grandchildren I thought ‘what a shame they don’t get to be grandparents, they miss out on the fun parts because they have to be parents.’  I had no idea that that was the least of their concerns,” Welch shared.  “They’re fighting their own children for custody.  They are fighting the courts and even the agencies that are supposed to help them.”

Several adults at the meeting echoed the disappointment shared by one grandparent who said, “I thought the job of Children and Family Services was to protect the kids but they have come out and told us that their job is to reunite the children with their parents – even if they’re not fit to parent.”

“The courts tell you that security is needed in a child’s life, but when they and Children and Family Services are part of the problem – by taking them away from loving environments – they don’t get that security,” another added.

“How do you give a child the security they so desperately want without going broke?” another asked.

“A lot of people can’t afford taking over and trying to raise their grandchildren. My savings are gone just to pay for child care.  It’s what we are all facing,” said another grandparent.

“I don’t want a reward for raising our grandchild, but I don’t want to be penalized, either,” said another.

They spoke about the children they are raising with love and pride.  But they also acknowledged that the kids have frequent nightmares, feel abandoned, have anger and behavioral issues, and constantly seek the approval of others – problems that children their age should not have to face.

“They long for chaos,” one grandparent confided.  “They don’t want it, and they’re sorry after they cause it, but that is what they are used to in their life.”

“Their needs are enormous and I am finding that this is some of the best ministry I’ve ever done outside of the church because there’s nobody else meeting those needs,” Welch said.

“The grandparent ministry has made a positive difference in the lives of several Ontario families,” Carmichael said.  “It provides a sense of community, a sense of knowing they’re not alone.  Grandparents openly share their challenges, without judgement. Many have shared with me that they appreciate having this forum to engage and talk freely about their concerns.”

Grandparentsm kids and mentors eating in at tables in the gym

“The children feel normal when they come here for the meeting,” said one grandparent.  “At school they get picked on because they aren’t being raised by their mother or father.  But here that isn’t an issue because all of the kids are being raised by grandparents.  They can talk with one another and share their feelings.”

Two of the grandparents have begun attending Ontario UMC with the children they are raising because of the way they have been welcomed on Thursday night, and Welch shared that the church youth group has doubled in size since Grandparent Night began last fall.

“This is a valuable ministry and I’d love to see more churches launch groups,” she said.

*Rick Wolcott is director of Communications for the East Ohio Conference of The United Methodist Church.