APRIL 16, 2018

Appointments and Changes of Status

Bishop Tracy S. Malone, in the past two weeks, has announced the following East Ohio Conference clergy appointments:

  • Theresa Carter, Willard Grace UMC |FL
  • Rick Dawson, Finley UMC | OV
  • Josh Elliott, Streetsboro UMC | CN
  • Karen Graham, Lakeside UMC | FL
  • Samara Jenkins, Crestline First UMC | MO
  • Stephen Knisely, East Liverpool First UMC | MV
  • Lisa Kropinak, New Concord UMC | SH
  • Charlene Thomas, Republic Trinity, Tiffin St. Paul & Melmore UMCs  | FL
  • Amy Vittorio, Republic Trinity & Melmore UMCs | FL
  • Mark Zimmer,  Somerton UMC | SH
Districts Key: (CN) Canal, (FL) Firelands, (MO) Mid-Ohio, (MV) Mahoning Valley,  (NC) North Coast,  (OV) Ohio Valley, (SH) Southern Hills, (TR) Three Rivers,  (TW) Tuscarawas,  (WR) Western Reserve

View the entire list of appointments and changes of status.

East Ohio Annual Conference

2018 Annual Conference Logo

Be sure to visit the Annual Conference 2018 website for the latest news about this year’s session, including:

  • The list of Special Events
  • The live-stream schedule
  • The 10 submitted resolutions
  • The bios for the Class of 2018, which includes 11 ordinands, 10 commissioned members, and 38 retirees

Annual Conference 2018 begins at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, June 11 with the Service of Commemoration and Holy Communion.

Health Benefits

Two Health Screenings Offered at Annual Conference
In addition to the Health Check simple blood test, the Board of Benefits is also offering the Center of Health’s Blueprint for Wellness (BFW) as part of this year’s Annual Conference at Lakeside Chautauqua.

Blueprint for Wellness: 6:00 – 10:00 a.m., June 12-13 in Room 202 at Fountain Inn
The BFW involves one blood draw and a few measurements. It’s provided at no cost – if completed during Annual Conference or at a Quest Diagnostic location.  HealthFlex participants and spouses can each earn $100 and up to 120 Wellness points. Registration is required for the Blueprint for Wellness.  To register: click this link, enter your log in information, and, from the menu bar in the middle of the page, select Quest Diagnostics Blueprint for Wellness.  Registration ends May 30 to participate in the BFW at Annual Conference.

Health Check: 6:30 – 10:00 a.m., June 12-14 in Chautauqua Hall at Fountain Inn
Offered since 2001, this simple blood draw test is done at no cost for participants who are covered by Conference-sponsored health benefits (HealthFlex & UHC).

For questions about either Blueprint for Wellness or Health Check, please e-mail Betsy Stewart, betsy@eocumc.com, or Robin Whitacre, robin@eocumc.com.


Confronting the Idolatries of Racism Study Group
Elders, Deacons and Local Pastors are invited to join the roundtable discussion, Confronting the Idolatries of Racism.  This lectionary study group for theological reflection will be held Wednesday, April 18 from 10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at Christ Woodland UMC (444 N. Hawkins Ave.) in Akron.

We will discuss Acts 8:26-40 (lectionary reading for April 29). Are the events in Acts 8:26-40 racially charged, or is this a moment when the people are judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin – or do the events lie somewhere in between?

Questions? Need more information? Please call Tom Shaw at (330) 225-3179 or e-mail him at tom.shaw@brunswickumc.org.

Young Preachers Festival
Registration is now open for the Young Preachers Festival (YPF) to be held June 27-28 at Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas.

The Church of the Resurrection has partnered with the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry as part of the Young Clergy Initiative to encourage and equip the next generation of leaders for The United Methodist Church.  The gathering is designed specifically to engage and empower young people across the country to pursue their call to ministry and to help further inspire and develop preaching gifts in those who have already answered that call. The Festival is intended for persons age 18 – 34 who are graduating high school seniors, college-aged ministry participants, seminary students, declared candidates for ordination, youth directors and young clergy already serving in churches. Learn more and register.

Congregational Vitality

Vision Day Cleveland skyline

Fresh Expressions Cleveland Vision Day
All East Ohio Conference clergy and lay are invited to participate in Fresh Expressions Cleveland Vision Day, Saturday, May 19, from 9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. at Fields UMC in North Ridgeville, OH.

Fresh Expressions is a movement that is cultivating new forms of church alongside existing congregations in order to reach a changing world. Begun in England 10 years ago, it has resulted in the birth of over 2,500 new communities in the UK alone. Fresh Expressions has spread to Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the U.S.

At its heart, Fresh Expressions is about empowering and equipping God’s people to develop creative expressions of church that can reach the increasing diversity of our society.  Vision Day is an interactive format that highlights the ways that Fresh Expressions is renewing the church, and educates participants about the Mission-Shaped Church and how they can start Fresh Expressions in their communities. Learn more and register to attend.

Camps and Retreat Ministries

You and Camping Ministry
– A Powerful Partnership
“When I think of partners, I think of my spouse, my friends, and the people that I walk with along the journey.  That is where Camping Ministry fits,” says the Rev. Gary Jones, director of EOC Camps and Retreat Ministries.  “We are a partner along the journey of raising a generation of kids who have faith, who know Jesus, who know themselves as a beloved child of God.   We value the partnerships we have with each family and local congregation who entrust us with the spiritual formation of their child.  Partner with us this summer in raising a generation of faith-full kids!”

Contact your local church, call the East Ohio Conference Camping Office at (800) 831-3972 ext. 108, or visit us on the web at www.EOCSummercamps.org.

Summer Staff Needed at Aldersgate, Asbury and Wanake
Our summer program requires a great number of qualified staff to be successful.  We are looking for outstanding Christian women and men to be camp counselors, lifeguards, program staff, and work in food service, administration, or maintenance.  Apply online or call the camps directly:

  • Aldersgate – (330) 627-4369
  • Asbury – (330) 569-3171
  • Wanake – (330) 756-2333

Young People’s Ministries

Global Young People’s Convocation
The East Ohio Conference will be well represented July 18-22 in Johannesburg, South Africa at the Global Young People’s Convocation (GYPC).  Held once every four years, the GYPC can be attended by up to five youth, five young adults, and two adults from every jurisdiction and central conference of The United Methodist Church.

The GYPC celebrates the mission and vitality of young people in The UMC, raises the joys and concerns of young people from the global community, develops young people as leaders for effective ministry in local churches and communities of faith, and offers a Legislative Forum to propose and discuss legislation related to issues of concern to young people.

Representing the East Ohio Conference at the GYPC are youth representatives Jordan Minns (Western Reserve District), and Anna Wolfinger (Canal District), young adult representative Austin Wolfinger (Canal District), and adult delegate EOC Director of Young People’s Ministries Kaye Wolfinger.  Connor Prusha (Western Reserve District) will also attend as a member of the Division on Ministries with Young People.

Those attending must raise the majority of the cost of the trip.  If you, or your church, would like to make a financial contribution to assist in their fundraising, you may do so my clicking here.

Health & Welfare

People racing at the finish lineRace at the Rock is May 5
The 13th annual Race at the Rock, benefiting individuals served by Flat Rock Homes, Care Center, and Community Services, is May 5 at the Flat Rock Care Center Campus.

The day begins at 9:00 a.m. with the Inspirational Race, for individuals who are differently abled, followed by the Kids Fun Run, the 1-mile walk, the 5K individual race, and the 5K team race.

Learn more and register online.


Change the World with the Nehemiah Mission of Cleveland
Serve the city on Change the World Day, Saturday, May 19.

Come by yourself, bring a friend, or come as a church.  The day is about serving others and making a difference.  Plan to arrive at 8:30 a.m., have lunch at your worksite, participate in a 4:00 p.m. worship service at the Nehemiah Mission, and head home at 4:30 p.m.

Participants are asked to make a donation of $20/person to help cover the cost of lunch and the supplies and materials that will be used. Learn more and register.

Global Ministries

Global Ministries EarthKeepers Training Courses Offered
“The Global Ministries EarthKeepers training program equips United Methodists to take bold action in responding to environmental concerns,” says the Rev. Jenny Philips, Creation Care program manager at Global Ministries.

Training topics include eco-theology, strategies for social change, how to discuss challenging issues, United Methodist entry points for engagement, and intersectionality – how experiences of environmental issues are influenced by social factors.  Participants will leave the training with a plan to develop a project.

EarthKeepers Training is scheduled for:

  • May 17-20 in Atlanta, GA
  • 27-30 in Detroit, MI
  • 1-4 in Salt Lake City, UT

Applications for the Atlanta training are due by April 26Register today.

Special Session of General Conference

Volunteer Marshals and Pages Needed
Approximately 150 volunteers are needed to serve as marshals and pages during the Special Session of General Conference, February 23-26, 2019 in St. Louis, Missouri.  Applicants must be able to serve all four days of the Special Session.

Marshals will be part of the team that will assist delegates, guests, and staff with seating, checking credentials, providing information, and other duties as assigned.  Pages will assist delegates, staff, bishops, members of the Judicial Council and official guests with communication and other needs. They distribute approved materials and deliver printed information.  Pages should expect to do a great deal of walking.

Marshals and pages are responsible for their own travel and expenses. Those interested should submit an online application before the deadline of July 31. If you have additional questions, contact Dick Hooton at revshoot@gmail.com.

United Methodist Women

United Methodist Women Assembly Volunteers Needed
United Methodist Women Assembly 2018 is May 14-20 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.  Assembly is a time for fellowship and an opportunity to empower faithful women to be stronger discipleship leaders in their communities. Through moving services, inspiring speakers, immersion experience exhibits, riveting workshops, and town hall-style meetings.

UMW members and community- and mission-minded individuals will leave Assembly with the knowledge, courage and determination to change the world as part of a daring and compassionate 150-year-old movement.

Volunteers are vital to the success of Assembly 2018 and the good that will result from it locally and around the globe. There are many opportunities to serve. Learn more and sign-up to volunteer today.

Pastoral Care and Counseling

Bi-weekly Resources
In the April 16 edition you will find that maturity means making more and more room for and accepting the expansiveness of God, our sisters and brother (even those that fly or walk on four legs or have leaves and are green), our earth and all the world. Easter says suffering happens, but it’s OK.

• A Way Forward: Psalm 133, Acts 4:32-35, Growing Up
• Earth Day: Creation Reflects God’s Glory
• Creation is the Body of God
• Find your Meditation Style: 7 Practices
• Blog: On Easter and Suffering: Kate Bowler
• Podcast: An Intentional Midlife
• Human Development in Scripture
• Spiritual Practice Groups and 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 hkhumphress@gmail.com or use our quick contact form.

Credit Union

Home Loans
Are you springing into a new home this year? Your credit union can help! The United Methodist Financial Credit Union offers home loans! For more information, please contact Christine Smith at (800) 373-1059 ext. 12.

Annual Meeting
The United Methodist Financial Credit Union’s Annual Meeting will be held Thursday April 19, 2018, at the East Ohio Conference Office.

Media Center

The Media Center recently acquired the following resources:

To reserve these or other resources, call the Media Center at (800) 831-3972 x 139 or send an e-mail to sarnold@eocumc.com. Browse the resource catalog at www.rqmweb.com/eocumc

Message in the Movies

Message in the Movies banner (colorful film strip

A Quiet Place: Because silence is golden, the audience is forced to be quiet, as well. If you have ever been irked by noisy popcorn crunching or loud whispers in a movie theater, you owe it to yourself to rush to the local multiplex to see A Quiet Place. The film demands hushed attention, and writer-director-actor John Krasinski uses visual composition and a muted soundscape to create a truly suspenseful (and fairly family friendly) horror film. Read entire review.

Events: April 2-16

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.)


Positions Available
Details of listings may be found here. 

  • Pianist, Winfield UMC
  • Part-time Director of Contemporary Worship
  • Accompanist, Willoughby UMC
  • Parish Nurse, Ridgewood UMC
  • Part-time Pianist, Sharon Center UMC
  • Part-time Custodian, Oak Chapel UMC
  • Youth Leader & Director of Christian Education, Carrollton First UMC/The Bridge

To submit a classified ad please email sue@eocumc.com

To Subscribe

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The next scheduled edition of the E-News is April 30, 2018.  Deadline for submission is April 25.



Awaken. Confront. Transform.

By Will Jones*

Awaken. Confront. Transform.  These words suggest how we, as United Methodists, must respond to racism in our midst.

April 4, 2018, was the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In remembrance of that tragic day, civic leaders, and clergy and laity from countless faith communities gathered in Washington, D.C., to honor King’s legacy and recommit to continuing the work he began.  Hosted by the National Council of Churches, the Rally to End Racism called on Christians and people of faith everywhere to commit to ending racism in our churches, in our communities and in our nation.  The event began with morning prayer and a silent walk from the Rev. Dr. King Memorial to the National Mall, front porch of our nation’s capital. The remainder of the day’s activities took place just a short distance from the newly-completed Smithsonian Museum of African-American History and Culture, a powerful reminder of the sinful racial history of our country and of the Church.

Bishop Ough speaking on stage, gathers below
Bishop Ough speaking

Prominent speakers addressed the need to awaken to the reality of systemic racism, to confront the truth about its causes and effects, and to transform our hearts, our actions and our communities. Co-founders of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield acknowledged that their success would not have been possible had they not been afforded opportunities often denied to people of color.  DeRay Mckesson, a prominent civil rights activist, reminded the crowd that they must #staywoke to the challenges that still face black and other minority communities.

Confronting racism begins with acknowledging the past. “We must not ask how to bring about unity and reconciliation,” said the Rev. Dr. Jennifer Harvey, author of Dear White Christians: For Those Still Longing for Racial Reconciliation.

“Our own history makes clear that that’s not the question our brothers and sisters of color have been asking,” Harvey said, referencing a number of incidents since 1960 in which white churches failed to fight for equality.  “They’ve not been asking for more togetherness. They’ve been organizing and insisting on justice.”

Part of the issue we face today as Christians is that we have become complacent to how racism and injustice still exists today. In a way, it’s more insidious and hidden, which forces us to more closely examine ourselves and our churches if we are to confront and commit to resisting racism. Issues like mass incarceration and unfair housing practices remain deeply rooted in our society and are more likely to affect people of color.

East Ohioans listen to speakers.
East Ohioans listen to speakers.

“In a sense, the solutions are easier than we want to admit,” said Joy Parker, coordinator of New Ministry Development in the North Coast District, who attended the rally.  “Many people are willing to have conversation about racism from a safe distance, but we get uncomfortable in a hurry when that conversation shifts toward action that demands real sacrifices of money and other resources.”

Following the Rally to End Racism, participants from East Ohio had the opportunity to meet with Rev. Giovanni Arroyo, team leader for Program Ministries at the General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR). From is offices in Washington, D.C., GCORR consistently engages in work that enables vital conversation, drives institutional equity, and builds intercultural competency within The United Methodist Church. Among its upcoming events is Facing the Future, a training opportunity for clergy in cross-cultural appointments.  Arroyo offered encouraging examples of best practices that have enabled church growth and inspired healthy cross-cultural ministry in contexts throughout the United States.

In East Ohio, we must recognize that we have not consistently risen to the calling of Jesus Christ in terms of standing with our brothers and sisters of color. As painful as it can be, we do have both an opportunity and, perhaps, moral obligation to recognize the complicity of the Church in maintaining systems that privilege a few without regard for the “other,” most often people of color and people of lower socio-economic means. Our response to this is clear.

Commissions and caucus groups in the East Ohio Conference are joining together to present Resisting Racism, an enriching and challenging event for lay and clergy who seek to find ways to implement the totality of Jesus’ message and ministry. On Saturday, April 28, we will gather at Family of Faith United Methodist Church [800 East Market Street, Akron] to hear from the Rev. Michelle Ledder, director of Program Ministries for GCORR.

Building on our nation’s greater and more public awareness of racism and white privilege, this workshop will provide opportunities for participants to deepen their own knowledge (mindset), motivation (heart set), and capabilities (skillset) for resisting racism. It will also include specific strategies for taking knowledge back to a local context.

E-mail Kelley Gifford (kgifford@eocumc.com) with any questions.  The registration fee of $15 includes hospitality, lunch and materials.  Registration deadline is April 24.  Learn more and register.

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

Movie Review: Ready Player One is one strange story

Movie Review by Rev. Bruce Batchlor-Glader

Picture, if you will, a lonely guy in his parents’ basement, spending hours immersed in a role-playing video game in which his closest friends are people he knows only through their avatars; he can’t even trust that their gender identity matches that of their online character.

Now imagine a future in which the world is so messed up that millions of people are locked into a virtual reality that takes them out of their everyday despair, giving them adventure as well as opportunities to profit from their game playing skills.

Now – think about what a great time you could have if this alternative reality was totally based on 1980s pop culture trivia!

Find out more about this “strange story”…