NOVEMBER 13, 2017

Bishop Malone headshot

The Commission on a Way Forward released its interim report to the Council of Bishops and shared sketches of models from it with the understanding that the Council is not restricted to these models and that we remain open to learning, listening and improvements. The Commission did not express preference for any particular model, and the Council of Bishops neither voted to endorse any model for the future of the Church, nor eliminated any model from consideration.

I encourage you to continue praying for the Commission and to register for one of the scheduled EOC Conversations on a Way Forward.  I trust that God will continue to lead us forward as we strive to maintain the unity of the Church and expand our witness and mission in the world.

Read the bishop’s letter in its entirety

UM Giving Opportunities

United Methodist Student Day: November 26

Across the country, the people of The United Methodist Church are serving the people God loves in Jesus’ name. We’re doing it at home, but so often we’d like to do more.

But the reality for most of us is that our responsibilities—home, family, work—don’t allow us to engage with every need we’d like to meet.

Right now there are UMC young people—who might not have had the resources to attend a school of their choice, or, for some, any school at all—who’ve been sent by you into the world God loves because of your giving to United Methodist Student Day. When you give generously you support  students as they prepare for a life that unites faith with knowledge. For more information.

UMC #GivingTuesday: November 28

One of the great things about The Advance is that it allows you to invest your resources where your passion answers specific needs in the world.

UMC #GivingTuesday is less than three weeks away. Join with thousands of United Methodists in giving generously to the work of Global Ministries missionaries and projects through The Advance.

Now is a great time to start thinking about where you want your UMC #GivingTuesday gift to go. Visit and select from more than 600 UMC-related projects and more than 300 United Methodist missionaries who bring hope and healing to a world in need.

Financial & Administrative Services

Thursday, November 16 is the deadline to select benefit options for HealthFlex. 

The East Ohio Conference is switching to the HealthFlex benefits program in 2018.  Our conference joins 28 others across the denomination in using the health benefits plan offered by Wespath Benefits and Investments, a general agency of The United Methodist Church.

Click here to view the HealthFlex Benefits workshop video and learn more about the plan and available options.

UM Financial Credit Union

Stretching Your Budget
Hosting Thanksgiving dinner? Reviewing Christmas lists? Planning a New Year’s Eve party? With the entire holiday season approaching, your budget may be feeling a little tight. The United Methodist Financial Credit Union offers personal loans to help make the holiday season a stress-free time! Let your credit union help keep the focus where it belongs: On your time with friends and family!

Contact one of our loan officers to discuss your lending options:

  • Christine Fairhurst, 800-831-3972 ext. 104, North Canton
  • Christine Smith, 800-373-1059, Cincinnati

Thanksgiving Holiday Closings
On Thursday November 23, 2017 all offices of The United Methodist Financial Credit Union will be closed in observance of Thanksgiving Day. We want to wish all of our members a Happy Thanksgiving! We are so blessed to be your financial partner in ministry!

On Friday November 24, 2017 our North Canton branch will be closed. Our Cincinnati branch will remain open during normal business hours. You can always check share account balances, pay bills, and transfer funds anytime through our website at website or through our Mobile App.

Pastoral Care and Counseling

November 13, 2017  Resources

In this edition we feature:

  • Video: Standing Against Sexual Harassment and the Abuse of Power
  • The Perils of Empathy: Non-Anxious Presence
  • Why Meditate Early in the Morning
  • Stop Mourning the Morning, Start with a Purpose: A Morning Ritual
  • The Hidden Cost of Phone Addiction
  • How a New Brand of Mindful Movement Can Help You Heal
  • 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 would like to get email alerts when new resources have been posted, please contact Howard Humphress or use our quick contact form.

Media Center

The Media Center recently acquired the following resources:

  • Building Skupperton; The Key to the Best Me teaches children the keys to being the best they can be as they learn the seven foundational principles of a good Christian life.
  • New Hope; the Key to the Best Me assembling, painting and perfecting a minute detail of a miniature town as Biblical truths seen in the lives and experiences of its inhabitants are uncovered. Each story takes place in a particular area of New Hope and teaches children a unique lesson about discovering and becoming the person God created us to be.
  • The Miracles of Jesus; Finding God in Desperate Moments explores the miracles of Jesus, helping us to see that our weakness is an invitation for God to work powerfully in our lives and reminding us that we need God on our best days just as much as we do on our worst.
  • Daring Faith; teaches the value of living by faith. Each lesson opens with an animated Bible story about a biblical hero who accomplished all that God had destined him to do, because of his trust in God’s power.

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

Photo by Piki Films

Hunt For The Wilderpeople “All of the actors are great, taking what could have become stereotypical roles and finding nuance and depth. Ricky Baker becomes the hero he always hoped that he would be, simply by being accepted as he is and challenged to become more. Although religion is gently teased in this film, grace and forgiveness are everywhere. If you were dusting this movie for fingerprints, you would find the hands of Christ.”

For full review by Rev. Bruce Batchlor-Glader


Positions available:

  • Visitation Pastor, Wadsworth UMC
  • Choir Director  Solon UMC
  • Keyboardist/Organist, Solon UMC
  • Conference Treasurer/Statistician, New Mexico Conference

Items available:

  • Chairs, adult and children’s: Millersburg UMC

Details of the above classifieds/items wanted can be found here. 
To submit job postings and items available please email

Events – November 13-27

Follow this link to the events calendar. 
To submit a calendar event.

Dates to remember


Please pray for the family of Amanda Adelee McMillen, surviving spouse of Rev. Frank McMillen, who died November 6, 2017.

For full obituary notices.

To Subscribe

To subscribe please send your request to Lois Speelman.  Information from this E-News may be copied and used in your local church.

The next scheduled edition of the E-News will be November 27, 2017.  Deadline for submission is November 22.

Bishops uphold values of mission, unity, space, contextuality in interim report on Way Forward work

November 9, 2017

LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. – Placing emphasis on the values of unity, space and contextuality – all for the sake of mission – the Council of Bishops (COB) is exploring sketches of three models as possible directions for a way forward for The United Methodist Church over LGBTQ inclusion.

With the mission of God through the risen Christ at the core, the bishops this week received an interim report from the Commission on a Way Forward that offered three sketches of models that would help ease the impasse in the church, noting that the power of the Holy Spirit trumps and guides all the church’s activities. The Commission serves the COB, helping prepare the COB to fulfill its mandate to make a recommendation for a way forward to the General Conference.

Just as the Commission did not express a preference for any of the models in its interim report to the COB in order for the bishops to fully do their work, the COB is also not now expressing a preference for any model, while engaging deeply with them and the implications for their church and their leadership. This will provide the space bishops need to teach and engage leaders in their episcopal areas.

After receiving the interim report of the sketches of the three possible models, the bishops engaged in prayerful discerning and offered substantial feedback to the Commission, but did not take any vote on any of the sketches.

The moderators of the Commission on a Way Forward noted that the values highlighted in any one model also live within the fabric of the other models.  Values expressed by any one model are not exclusive to one or absent in another.  The values that may be associated with the identity of any one model are there because it may be a value lifted to a higher level of preference or differentiation among the models.

“Operate with a heart of peace and an openness.  All three models grew out of mission, vision and scope.  Each one of these models connects to a story and experience that is represented in this body,” Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball, one of the moderators told her fellow bishops.

She added: “As we talk about it, let’s be respectful of each model.  When we speak about one of the models in a less than respectful way, we are speaking of someone’s experience or someone’s conscience. How we talk about these models is important because they are representative of where people are standing and how people are experiencing the church.”

The Commission and the COB acknowledge the interaction between the values of unity, space and contextuality, and the tension this interaction often creates, as part of what completes the UMC as a denomination rather than what divides it.

The Commission shared sketches of three models, with the awareness that the Commission and the COB are not restricted to these sketches and are open to learning, listening and improvement. It is likely that additional models or sketches may emerge as this process continues. Here is the summary about the sketches of the models presented to the bishops:

  • One sketch of a model affirms the current Book of Discipline language and places a high value on accountability.
  • Another sketch of a model removes restrictive language and places a high value on contextualization.  This sketch also specifically protects the rights of those whose conscience will not allow them to perform same gender weddings or ordain LGBTQ persons.
  • A third sketch of a model is grounded in a unified core that includes shared doctrine and services and one COB, while also creating different branches that have clearly defined values such as accountability, contextualization and justice.
  • Each sketch represents values that are within the COB and across the church.
  • Each sketch includes gracious way of exit for those who feel called to exit from the denomination.

The values underlying these proposed models are found in two documents: The Mission, Vision and Scope document, which was affirmed by the COB; and the Status Report of the Commission, released in July 2017. As part of the ongoing discernment within the church, resident bishops are being equipped to lead discussions in their episcopal areas by emphasizing the values of the proposed models as found in these two important documents.

The Commission will process the feedback received from the bishops at the Lake Junaluska meeting and will continue to welcome further input from members of the church through conversations and discussions with their respective bishops on the strengths and limitations of each model. The basic resources for these conversations were shared in a handbook with the bishops, and this handbook will be available on the Commission on a Way Forward’s website as a PDF.

The COB and the Commission have a series of meetings scheduled for early 2018 designed to continue the preparations for the Special Session of the General Conference in 2019. This includes Commission meetings in January and March; an additional COB meeting in February before a final report is discussed at the May meeting of the COB.

The COB is committed to prayerfully seeking God’s future for the UMC and continues to invite the entire church to be engaged in praying for a way forward.

“Pray for the work of the Commission and for the bishops as they continue to discern God’s plan for the future of the UMC; a future that shows love for all of God’s people and a future with hope,” said COB President Bishop Bruce R. Ough.


Contact: Rev. Dr. Maidstone Mulenga
Director of Communications – Council of Bishops
The United Methodist Church
202-748-5172 (office) or 585-455-5683 (cell)

Movie review: Thank You For Your Service

Photo by Universal Studios

‘There is nothing particularly showy or cinematically impressive about Thank You for Your Service but in its willingness to show us regular people struggling to create new possibilities in the midst of real pain, and its wisdom in avoiding platitudes and speechifying, it leaves a lasting impression. This is a film well worth your time and attention.’

Read full review by Rev. Bruce Batchelor-Glader