JANUARY 8, 2018

Praying Our Way Forward Logo

Connectional Ministries

New Conversations on a Way Forward Scheduled
There have been many positive responses to the Conversations on a Way Forward, and the originally scheduled conversations in February and March are near capacity.  Due to demand, you now have three new opportunities to actively engage in the Conversations on a Way Forward:

  • Feb. 25, 2018, 2-5 pm – Newcomerstown Christ UMC
  • Mar. 8, 2018, 6-9 pm, Delaware Asbury UMC
  • Mar. 10, 2018, 9 am-12 pm, Fredericktown UMC

Each of these churches can accommodate the meeting spaces needed for 10-12 groups of eight people.  You must register online in advance.  We cannot accommodate walk-in registrations.

To register, click here.  To change locations, click here, sign in with your email, add the new location ticket, and then cancel the prior location ticket. If you need assistance, please e-mail events@eocumc.com.

For questions or concerns, feel free to e-mail Steve Court at SCourt@eocumc.com


East Ohio Conference Seeks Communications Specialist
The Communications office of the East Ohio Conference of The United Methodist Church seeks a self-starting individual with excellent written and oral skills to join the team as Communications Specialist. Click here for more information.

The Importance of Discipleship
“Discipleship, first and foremost, begins with me.  In other words, you cannot teach what you do not know.  You cannot model what you do not practice.  You cannot lead where you have not been.”

That was just one of the messages that UMC Discipleship Ministries General Secretary the Rev. Junius B. Dotson shared with congregation members and community leaders during his Myers Lecture presentation at Church of the Saviour UMC (North Coast District) in Cleveland Heights.  He explained that when a church is intentional about discipleship it has a clear plan and a clear process for helping people live into their baptismal covenant to support the church with their prayers, their presence, their gifts, their service, and their witness.

“Do you know what those are?  Habits of disciples.  So how are we intentional about teaching the habits of discipleship?” Dotson asked.  “Every church should be able to answer this question, ‘What is our intentional plan of discipleship?  What is our process?  How do people grow and progress spiritually within this body of Christ?’”

Read the article and view the video.

ICYMI: In Case You Missed It
The season of Advent is a joyous, but busy, time for all in the church.  In case you missed it, here are three ministries that were highlighted during the last few weeks of December:

Financial and Administrative Services

2018 Tax Amnesty Program
February 15 is the last day to apply for the Ohio Department of Taxation 2018 Tax Amnesty Program.  Individuals and businesses – including local churches – with unreported or underreported tax debts – such as unreported and unpaid employee withholding tax – are eligible to apply for the program.  Accepted participants can get current on their tax payments while avoiding paying ANY penalties and only HALF of the normally charged interest.  2018 Tax Amnesty Program Application

Clergy Housing Allowance Tax Exemption Ruling
On October 6, 2017 U.S. District Judge Barbara B. Crabb of the Western District of Wisconsin ruled that 26 U.S.C. § 107(2) violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.  On December 13, 2017 Judge Crabb enjoined the IRS from enforcing section 107(2), which is the section permitting a housing allowance for ministers of the gospel, but she stayed the injunction until 180 days after either the conclusion of any pending appeals or the failure to file an appeal by a party.  This means that the clergy housing allowance is still available while any appeals are pending.

2018 Mileage Rates
The standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) are:

  • 54.5 cents per mile for business miles driven
  • 18 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations

New Ohio Minimum Wage In 2018
The new minimum wage in the State of Ohio is $8.30/hour.  Pay for tipped employees is now $4.15/hour.  The current federal minimum wage is $7.25/hr.

Employers whose gross earnings are $305,000 or more are required to pay whichever minimum wage is higher.   Employers who gross less than $305,000 shall pay their employees no less than the current federal minimum wage rate.

Visit the Financial and Administrative Services page of the Conference website for the latest financial news.

Retirement Announcement
Charles Peek has announced his retirement after more than 15 years as computer administrator at the Area Center.  We thank him for his faithful service to the East Ohio Conference and wish him well in retirement.  January 12 is his last day.

Camps and Retreat Ministries

2018 Summer CAmp Banner

Summer Camp Registration is Open! It’s time to think about how your children are spending their summer vacation!
Camping can satisfy what children need!  They experience faith, responsibility, and cooperation as part of a caring community.  They experience self-esteem as children of God.  In a world where it is hard to be a kid, AND it is hard to be a parent, let East Ohio Camps be your partner in faith and the development of your child.  With hundreds of events to choose from, one will be right for you and your child!  Sports! Drama! Water! Horses! Great Places! Great Experiences! All with trained, caring staff.   Contact your local church, call the East Ohio Conference Camping Office at 1-330-499-3972 extension 108, or visit us on the web at www.EOCSummercamps.org.

Want to Become Part of our Summer Camp Staff?
The staff is a cornerstone of the ministry of East Ohio Camps.  Our summer program requires a great number of staff to be successful.  We are looking for outstanding Christian women and men for summer staff positions.  We offer great Christian Community, excellent training, free room and board, opportunity for ministry, and growth in leadership skills.  We are looking for counselors, lifeguards, program staff, food service, administration and maintenance.  Go to www.EOCSummercamps.org and click on the “Staff & Volunteer” tab.

Confirmation Retreat Dates are fast approaching!
At both Camp Asbury and Camp Wanake we will be hosting Confirmation Retreats in February.  The focus will be on UM History & Beliefs, the Sacraments and UM Structure. You will have the opportunity to answer the question, “Where did the UMC get its start and what are they about?”, play a life-sized game of Jenga, enjoy making new friends, discover great ways to grow closer to God through practicing spiritual disciplines, and be a part of a creative worship experience.  One adult chaperone is required for every 6 youth.  Click here for more information. or contact the East Ohio Conference Camping Office at 1-330-499-3972 extension 108, Camp Asbury at 330-569-3171, or Camp Wanake at 330-756-2333.

February 9-11
Confirmation Weekend at Camp Asbury
COST: $99/youth; $92/adults.

February 23-25
Confirmation Weekend at Camp Wanake
COST: $99/youth; $92/adults.

DisAbilities Awareness

Welcoming People of All Abilities
According to national statistics, one in five people in the United States has some type of disability.  Why, then, are there so few people with disabilities actively a part of a faith community?

Thoburn United Methodist Church (Ohio Valley District) began examining that question after being given an opportunity to partner with The Arc of Ohio to be in ministry to, and with the people with disabilities in Belmont County.  Read how Thoburn UMC is committed to being a welcoming church to all.

Multicultural Ministries

January 15 – 9:00 a.m. at Aldersgate UMC
Martin Luther King, Jr. National Holiday Observance

Bishop Tracy S. Malone is the keynote speaker for the 2nd Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. National Holiday Observance breakfast program at Aldersgate UMC in Warrensville Heights.  This year’s theme is The Dream Will Not Die Under Our Watch.

Following breakfast and leading up to Bishop Malone’s address, civic, school, and church leaders will offer words and the age group winners of the “I Have a Dream” oratory competition will recite Dr. King’s famous speech.

Tickets: $10 for adults, $5 for children younger than 12 years old.


UMVIM Team Leader Training
When you are part of an UMVIM team, you participate in each of the Four Areas of Focus of The United Methodist Church: you develop principled leaders, engage in ministry with the poor, improve global health, and create new and renewed faith communities. Living as a disciple, being the hands, feet, and heart of Jesus Christ in this way, makes new disciples and transforms the world.

Two new training dates have been set:

  • Saturday, April 28 – Brecksville UMC
  • Friday, June 15 – Lakeside, Ohio

Learn how to lead in the ministry of mission. Details of training opportunities available here.

Safe Sanctuaries

Safe Sanctuaries Facilitators
East Ohio Conference has several trained Safe Sanctuaries Facilitators who are able to go to churches throughout the conference to answer questions and help guide churches in their Safe Sanctuaries Policy, Procedures and Guidelines.   Contact Rev. Gary Jones at 330-499-3972 ext. 120 or gary@eocumc.com to schedule some time with a Safe Sanctuaries Facilitator. More about Safe Sanctuaries here. 

Pastoral Care and Counseling

Spiritual Direction
Spiritual Direction is a sacred opportunity to draw into a deeper relationship with God. A Spiritual Director serves as your spiritual companion – walking with you as you journey into a deeper relationship with God. Most spiritual directors have rigorous training in spiritual direction and spiritual disciplines. There are a num-ber of UM spiritual directors in the East Ohio Conference who have been meeting monthly for the past year under the Pastoral Care and Counseling Program of the EOC. Find an EOC spiritual director, access pro-files and contact info or call the Passtoral Care and Counseling Office at 866-456-3600.

Bi-weekly Resources
In the the January 8 edition we feature:

  • A Way Forward and Perennial Tradition
  • Book: Stilling the Storm
  • Creativity in Crisis
  • Fear of Transformation: A Guided Meditation for the New Year
  • Walking with the Wise Men
  • What Christmas Can Teach Us About New Year’s Resolutions
  • Resolving to Lose Weight? Food-Tracking Apps
  • 6 Things You Should Never Do After Eating
  • Passion Will Spark Your Resolutions, Not Pressure
  • Spiritual Practice Groups and Listings of our Spiritual Directors

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 at hkhumphress@gmail.com or use our quick contact form.

Credit Union

Visa Promotion
As of January 2, 2018 we have launched our new Visa Balance Transfer Promotion! Transfer your balance to a #UMFCU Visa and receive a 5.24% APR* for a 36 month term. Balance Transfer fees apply (3% of the transfer, or $10; whichever is greater).  For more information, contact one of our offices at:

  • North Canton (800) 831-3972
  • Cincinnati (800) 373-1059
  • Indiana (317) 296-7177

*Available to qualifying cardholders. Balance Transfers are considered cash advances; therefore, finance charges will begin to accrue on the transaction date. Cash advances do not qualify for ScoreCard Rewards.

Martin Luther King Day Closing
On Monday January 15, 2018 all offices of The United Methodist Financial Credit Union will be closed in observance of Martin Luther King Day. Members may check share account balances, pay bills, or transfer funds anytime through our website www.umethodist.com or our mobile app.

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


Message in the Movies

Review by Bruce Batchelor-Glader | Photo: Columbia Pictures, a Sony Company

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle “In this often cynical and selfish world, it’s refreshing to see a family film as hopeful and joyful as this one. Life if full of real adventure, if we take the time to work together for a greater good.” Read the entire review here.

Classified Ads

Positions Available:

  • Communications Specialist, East Ohio Conference
  • Director of Bell Choirs, Strongsville UMC
  • Communications Coordinator, Mayfield Church

Details of above classified listings may be found here. To submit job postings and items available please email sue@eocumc.com

Upcoming Events

January 8- 21


Please pray for the families of:

  • William G. Alvey, retired elder, who died December 17, 2017.
  • Alva W. Taylor, retired elder, who died December 12, 2017.

To Subscribe

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

The next scheduled edition of the E-News will be January 22, 2018.  Deadline for submission is January 17.