OCTOBER 2, 2017

October 1-7 is Nonviolence Week in Ohio

“Take a moment and think about what does it mean to be nonviolent, and are you living your life that way?” Savannah Sockwell asked the hundreds gathered in Youngstown on Oct. 1 for the 7th Annual Nonviolence Parade and Rally.

Sockwell is a participant in the Sojourn to the Past, which takes students on a journey along the path of the Civil Rights Movement through the American South.
Program participants from Youngstown were instrumental in the Ohio General Assembly passing a law in 2013 to create Nonviolence Week.  Governor John Kasich signed the bill into law on July 11, 2013 making the first week in October Nonviolence Week in Ohio.

Sockwell reminds us all that, “We have to be the change we wish to see in this world.”

New Ministry Resources Cultivate Congregational Health

“A key foundational strategy for discipleship is congregational health.  Healthy churches make healthy disciples.  Healthy disciples make healthy disciples.  Healthy disciples transform the world.”

These recent words spoken by Bishop Tracy S. Malone echo her Annual Conference Episcopal Address message that congregational health is a priority of the East Ohio Conference this quadrennium.

“The overall health of the church, and the overall vitality and effectiveness of ministry, largely depends on how pastors and churches handle conflict, disagreements and relationships,” Malone told 50 clergy and laity during their August training session on the principles of the Rule of Christ.

“Rule of Christ was designed by the late Rev. Terry N. Gladstone, a Deacon in the Michigan Area, as a way of applying Jesus’ teachings from Matthew 18 to the life and relationships in the local church,” said the Rev. Arlene Christopherson, who led the session.

The six-step Rule of Christ is a new resource in the East Ohio Conference:

  • Step 1 – Look at Yourself (Matthew 18:8-9) Jesus tells us to take time to examine our role in a conflict.
  • Step 2 – One-on-One (Matthew 18:15) Resolve the conflict.
  • Step 3 – Get Some Objective Help (Matthew 18:16) Others can help the parties see possibilities.
  • Step 4 – Take it to the Church (Matthew 18:17a) Use the resources of the church.
  • Step 5 – Shake the Dust (Matthew 18:17b) Some issues cannot be resolved.
  • Step 6 – God is There (Matthew 18:20) God has promised to be with us in the midst of our problems.

“The Rule of Christ is a proven Biblical process, and a tool, for helping pastors and churches build healthy ministry together and healthy relationships,” Malone said.  “The ultimate goal is to have every one of our 718 churches trained and receive this tool, but we’re going to start in our launching of the Rule of Christ this fall in East Ohio with churches that have received pastoral changes this year.”

The pastor and the staff parish chair of each church that had a pastoral change in July will receive a letter from the episcopal office that introduces the Rule of Christ process, identifies the church’s trainer, and sets expectations for arranging the training session.  Throughout the training process, trainers are under the supervision of the district superintendent of the church to which they have been assigned.

“The goal of this work, of this ministry, of this tool, of this resource is to increase and to cultivate congregational health,” Malone said.

A week after the Rule of Christ training, an additional group of clergy and laity received Critical Response training, another tool for improving congregational health mentioned by Malone during her Episcopal Address.

“Critical response is having an intentional process, a deliberate process, for how we come alongside clergy and their families, and congregations when a critical incident has taken place,” she stated to those in the training session.

“We hope that you will never be deployed but it makes perfectly good sense that your conference would have a plan in place for what you will do upon response to a traumatic event,” said trainer Becky Posey Williams, who is senior director of Sexual Ethics and Advocacy for the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women (GCSRW).

Bishop Malone participates in the training of clergy and laity

The bishop explained that the first step for any critical incident is that she pulls together members of her deliberate process team to assess the situation and determine the next steps.  The deliberate process team consists of the bishop, the superintendent of the district where the critical incident took place, and other conference directors and local church leaders, depending upon the situation.  If a decision is made to deploy a critical response team, that team would be under the supervision of the bishop and the district superintendent.

Training East Ohio Conference clergy and laity in Critical Response and Rule of Christ provides two new resources for improving congregational health, which can lead to more effective discipleship.

“Too often the ministry is stymied, and the mission of the church is thwarted, because of differences, because of conflict, and because of misunderstanding.  I just really believe that what is key, what is foundational, and what is strategic to the growth and vitality of our churches, if we are going to truly live into and fulfill the mission of the Church, is if we lead our congregations to be healthy,” Malone said.

Hurricane Relief Efforts

Donation Collection Sites
Please check this list for updated information regarding East Ohio Conference collection sites.  You may deliver flood buckets and kits to any of these sites.

The collected items will be transported to the distribution centers in the UMCOR network. If your church would like to host a collection site or have a truck/trailer available to transport supplies please contact d1k2u3@outlook.com.

Here are more ways that you can help those whose lives have been impacted by recent hurricanes.


October 17
Center for Health to Host Webinar
The Center for Health is hosting an upcoming webinar about reducing the risk of sharing germs on pastoral care visits. The one-hour webinar Pastoral Care Visits: Are you carrying more than comfort? will be held Tuesday, October 17 at 2 p.m. CST.  Registration link.

Multicultural Ministries

October 24
Water Protectors, Prayer, and the Pipeline
The East Ohio Native American Ministries Committee is joining with Berea United Methodist Church to host a panel featuring four of the 10,000 people who traveled to Standing Rock, South Dakota to stand with the water protectors opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Panelists Kimberlee Medicine Horn Jackson, a member of the Yankton Sioux tribe of southeastern South Dakota, Dj Manito Alahun Vanpelt and Denise Witkemi Wehupotkis Vanpelt of the United Eastern Lenape Nation, and Steve Plummer, a non-Native environmental activist will each share what they experienced at the Sacred Stone Camp and talk about what prompted this powerful movement to protect safe, clean drinking water for our, and future, generations. They will highlight the spiritual dimension of the movement and the prominent role that prayer played in what took place at Standing Rock.

Their reflections and the discussion that will follow provide a timely and not-to-be missed opportunity to learn about the Native American experience in America, what Native people can teach the rest of us about caring for the land and each other, and about the spiritual and social movement that is growing out of the camps.


UM Financial Credit Union

Columbus Day
All offices of The United Methodist Financial Credit Union will be closed on Monday, October 9, 2017 in observance of Columbus Day. Check your share account balances, pay bills, and transfer funds anytime through the website or by using our Mobile App.

Fee Schedule
A new fee schedule for The United Methodist Financial Credit Union will be available for viewing this month. A copy will be sent along with your monthly statement. Please review changes to stay up to date with the credit union.

Pastoral Care and Counseling

Two Spiritual Practice Opportunities to our Pastors and Church Leaders

Online Spiritual Practice Groups We have tested ZOOM, an online conferencing program, in a pilot program and found it to be very easily used and the participants found the experience meaningful. These groups will be limited to 8-10 participates and will be scheduled as the groups are populated.

Face to Face Spiritual Practice Group Plans are being made for a face to face group at First UMC Akron. The start date will be determined by the group of interested pastors.

These groups will meet once each month for one and one-half hour. The purpose of this program is to create soul space, to explore a variety of spiritual experiences, to spend time in some spiritual practice and to provide fellowship and encouragement for our own spiritual practice.

Please contact Howard Humphress at hkhumphress@gmail.com or call 330-456-0486 for questions or to indicate interest in one of these group experiences.

October 2, 2017  Resources
In this edition we feature:

  • What is Your Mission?
  • Making Marriage Great Again: More Effective Couples Therapy
  • Guided Meditation: Yoga Nidra
  • Full Participation: Union with God, by Richard Rohr
  • Stressed Out? Self-Talk in the 3rd Person
  • Problem with Stinking Thinking and What to Do About It
  • 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:

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

Photo by Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions

Stronger “This movie is a striking reminder that many people find exceptional courage when forced to face the challenges of life: cancer patients dealing with the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation treatments; women choosing to escape abusive marriages; people speaking up against racism and intolerance; military veterans living with the aftershocks of war; folks in recovery from drugs and other addictions; and the list goes on. It is good to remember that God’s desire is for no one to be alone at times of greatest need. Kingdom Strong!”

For full review by Rev. Bruce Batchlor-Glader

Classified/Items Available

  • Director of Communications, Louisville, KY
  • Director of Adult Programs, Flat Rock Homes
  • Choir Director, Lakeside UMC

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

Events – October 2-16

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

Dates to remember


Please pray for the family of Sophie Albrecht, surviving spouse of Joseph Albrecht, who died September 14, 2017.

For full obituary notices.

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The next scheduled edition of the E-News will be October 16, 2017.  Deadline for submission is October 11.