FEBRUARY 5, 2018

The Bishop’s Office

Guiding Words from Bishop Tracy S. Malone
“Over the years, I have used mantras as part of my spiritual centering and they have played a significant role in my devotional life. My mantra for 2018 is ‘think higher, feel deeper.’ I heard these words a few years ago while listening to Elie Wiesel, the Nobel Prize-winning writer, professor and activist, when he appeared on the Super Soul Sunday show,” writes Bishop Tracy S. Malone in her latest message to the clergy and laity of the East Ohio Conference.

“I was reminded of these words while I was reading Philippians 4:8: ‘Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things and the God of peace will be with you.’  This passage of scripture and mantra ‘think higher, feel deeper’ provide a biblical and theological framework for how we are expected to think, behave, relate and act in response to our relationship with God, self and neighbor.”

Read Bishop Malone’s article Think Higher … Feel Deeper.

Appointments and Changes of Status

Rev. Bruce Hitchcock

Rev. Bruce Hitchcock to lead Ohio Valley District
Bishop Tracy S. Malone has appointed the Rev. Bruce Hitchcock as superintendent of the Ohio Valley District.  He succeeds the Rev. Jim Winkler, who is appointed as lead pastor of Mayfield UMC (Western Reserve District).  Both appointments are effective July 1.

“Rev. Bruce Hitchcock is a visionary leader, a strategic thinker and one who brings many learnings and experiences from serving in a variety of ministry settings. He has a deep faith and has demonstrated throughout his ministry a strong commitment to discipleship, evangelism, and mission,” Malone said.

Hitchcock is pastor of Geneva United Methodist Church (Western Reserve District).  Prior to being appointed to the church in July 2011, he was executive director of the Urban Mission in Steubenville for nine years.

“I celebrate the opportunity to return to the Ohio Valley.  The pastors and congregations of the district are wonderful, and deeply committed to loving God and serving neighbor,” Hitchcock said.

Read the announcement in its entirety.

Bishop Tracy S. Malone, since the posting of the January 22 E-News, announced the following East Ohio Conference clergy appointments:

  • Max Beery | Willoughby Hills UMC, WR
  • Jim Cooper | Wooster UMC, CN
  • Annette Dimond | Port Clinton Trinity UMC, FL
  • Jonathan George | Dueber UMC, TW
  • Bruce Hitchcock | District Superintendent, OV
  • T. Christopher Liberati | Willoughby UMC, WR
  • Jonathan Priebe | Cuyahoga Falls First UMC, CN
  • Randy Weaver | Cambridge Christ UMC, SH


  • Dan Bilkert | retiring from Jefferson UMC, WR                         
  • Beth McGuire | retiring from Canfield UMC, MV
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.

New Lent Worship Planning Series

Lent is the period of 40 non-Sundays before Easter.  It begins on Ash Wednesday, which this year is February 14, and ends at sundown the day before Easter, which is Sunday, April 1 this year.

The annual observance of the Lenten discipline among Christians is a time to seek restoration for our lives. It is a time to reflect, take stock of our spiritual condition, and realign our lives.  United Methodist Discipleship Ministries once again this year has created a Lenten worship planning series.  The theme for 2018 is Rehab.

There is much to mine from considering our Lenten journey this year within the frame of rehab, much to explore, much to learn. On each Sunday of this journey, the Scriptures provide the core guidance for the work of the week to come in our own lives and with others in midweek formation groups.

Learn more and download the Rehab worship series.

Multicultural Ministries

A statement from the Rev. Dan Hawk, chairperson of the Native American Awareness Committee
“The East Ohio Native American Awareness Committee welcomes the decision to remove Chief Wahoo from team uniforms as an important step toward recognizing and respecting the dignity of Native people. We are grateful for The United Methodist Church’s declaration, made during General Conference 2016, that the “continued use of Native American names as mascots for sports teams is demeaning and racist” (The Book of Resolutions of The United Methodist Church 2016, #3327). Consistent with this resolution, we call on the Cleveland Indians franchise to take the next step and remove Chief Wahoo from team merchandise and sales outlets. We also urge United Methodists, as an expression of our commitment to walk in Acts of Repentance, to refrain from purchasing items or wearing apparel with the Wahoo logo.”

Please remember to celebrate the contributions of the Native American community during Native American Ministries Sunday on April 15.


UMIVM and ERT Team Leader Trainings

  • Saturday, February 17  – ERT Combined Training at Mansfield First
    ERT Basic  |  9:00am-5:00pm
    Learn best practices for responding in disaster situations.
    ERT Recertification – 200 Series  |  9:00am-1:00pm
    This class will include ERT Team Leadership which is useful information on being the Team Leader for an ERT Team.
  • Saturday, April 28, 9:30-3:00 – UMVIM Team Leaders Training at Brecksville UMC
    Rev. Kathy Dickriede and Rev. Jan Yandell co-facilitators
    Anyone is welcome but targeting youth workers, professional and volunteer who have best practices to share and things to learn.  Bring youth along to be trained and learn how to take some of the leadership for the ministry of mission!

Learn how you can participate in upcoming scheduled UMVIM Mission trips.

Ukrainian children and UMVIM volunteers

Building Bridges of Peace in the Former Soviet Union
Rev. Kathryn Adams will lead a United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) trip to Chernivtsi, Ukraine this summer, July 10-24.  It will be her 25th trip to the former Soviet Union.

“Each time I go, I learn something new and different and so do those with whom we interact and work,” she wrote in a recent East Ohio News article promoting the trip.

“A trip to an orphanage teaches you many things. We learn the wonderful fact that love needs no translation, and we all share the same hopes, fears, and dreams,” she continued.  “We go to Russia hoping to give back in some way to a group of children who have so little. We go to build bridges of reconciliation and peace with a people who were once considered our greatest enemy.

If you are interested in learning more about the July 10-24 UMVIM trip to Chernivtsi, Ukraine, please e-mail Adams at revkathryn927@aol.com.

Congregational Vitality

5 Things Your Visitors Are Thinking But Won’t Ask
Join nationally known worship coach and author Jason Moore as he shares lessons learned from years of providing “secret worship consultations” in churches large and small. Jason will help your church identify what the 5 most pressing issues for new visitors and how to address them with easy-to-implement ideas and systematic steps. Bring your whole team for an experience filled with laughter, fun and practical learnings.

Free Leadership Development Webinar

  • Tues., March 13 @ 7:00 PM CDT  – Small-Membership Congregations (Part I)
    Focus on being effective: Small-Membership Church Leadership/Discipleship Models – How can leaders “See All the People” in your community? Build ministry teams to address the concerns and needs of the community while growing disciples.  Gain insights about ministry models that can help leaders evaluate, plan and implement new ways of moving forward with fulfilling the church’s mission of transformative disciple-making.  Register at www.umcdiscipleship.org/webinars.  Contact Jacqui King of UMC Discipleship Ministries at jking@umcdiscipleship.org.
  • Tues., April 17 @ 7:00 PM CDT – Small-Membership Congregations (Part II)
    Nurture Outreach Witness (NOW) Model: Living Missional in New Ways – Small vital congregations are growing through missional outreach and nurturing people. How does the N.O.W. ministry model work in your congregation? This webinar shares “vitality on the journey” from the lens of helping congregational leaders walk through the steps of making changes to increase missional-focused outreach. Register at www.umcdiscipleship.org/webinars.  Contact Jacqui King of UMC Discipleship Ministries at jking@umcdiscipleship.org.

Commission on the Status and Role of Women

United Methodist Leaders Respond to #MeToo and #ChurchToo Movement
Over the recent weeks and months, and continuing on a seemingly daily basis, the media have been saturated with stories of persons coming forward with allegations of sexual misconduct perpetrated by individuals in positions of power and authority. The pervasiveness of the power imbalance is a part of every story being told. Responses have ranged from immediate termination of employment of the accused and bribery for silence to invitations for victims to feel shame.

The Council of Bishops together with the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women reaffirm the core beliefs found in The United Methodist Church’s Social Principles which clearly state, “sexual harassment must be understood as an exploitation of a power relationship and interfering with the moral mission of the Church.”

Read the joint statement.

Church Survey Finds Drop in Sexual Harassment
Incidents of sexual harassment within The United Methodist Church have decreased for clergy, laity and employees in recent years, but seminary students reported an increase. The survey by the United Methodist Commission on the Status and Role of Women was concluded before allegations against film producer Harvey Weinstein and others snowballed into the #MeToo movement.


Faith Communities’ Response to Domestic Violence
Similar to the sexual harassment that is so prominent in the news, domestic violence occurs in all communities, regardless of a person’s age, ethnicity, or socio-economic status, and the physical, mental, and spiritual effects of such violence for all involved can be devastating.  Do you know how to spot the signs and act to help someone in your church or community?

Dr. Martha Banks, a member of Christ Woodland UMC in Akron, is offering a two-week online course to assist churches in responding to domestic violence.  The workshop, which is endorsed by the East Ohio Conference Commission on the Status and Role of Women (COSROW), begins February 12 and concludes February 23.

Classes will focus on a Christian response to domestic violence using Biblical references to shape the discussion about ways that the church can educate members, support victims, and hold abusers accountable.

Learn more about, and register for, the course by clicking here.

Young Adult Ministries

Calling All Young Adults! Work Day at Nehemiah Mission
Young Adults (18-30ish year olds)…we are gathering together on Saturday, March 3 at Nehemiah Mission in Cleveland for a work day to serve the neighborhood from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  Come dressed to work and prepared to be outside, weather permitting.  The cost is $25 per person which includes a sack lunch.  Please feel free to bring a friend!  Please help us plan by emailing us: kaye@eocumc.com or shawndelle@eocumc.com

Pastoral Care and Counseling

Bi-weekly Resources
A Way Forward
– Over the last few months and going forward, we are including A Way Forward section in the Pastoral Care Resources page. It is our hope that these selections will advance the conversation for A Way Forward as our beloved church struggles with the issue of inclusiveness of LGBTQ persons in the United Methodist Church. These materials do not always directly name the concerns but are meant to add thought to the discussion and discernment.

In the February 5, 2018 edition we feature:

• A Way Forward, Respecting Differentness
• Why We Lie
• Why Married Women Cheat
• Lenten Devotion: The Illusion of Separateness
• The Living Word of God
• Video: How Beliefs about Ourselves Affect Relationships
• 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 at hkhumphress@gmail.com or use our quick contact form.

UM Financial Credit Union

Scholarship Opportunity!
We are excited to announce that The United Methodist Financial Credit Union has scholarship opportunities available to members! In order to participate in this scholarship competition, members must complete the scholarship application and have their application packet postmarked by February 15, so please act quickly! Applicants may be anyone who is obtaining an Associate or Bachelor’s degree, and is a primary member of United Methodist Financial Credit Union!

Contact one of our offices for the scholarship application!

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

If you know a high school senior or current college student who would like to apply for the scholarship but is not a member of the Credit Union, please contact the Credit Union to get more information on membership!

President’s Day
On Monday, February 19, the Cincinnati and Indianapolis branches of the Credit Union will be closed. Our North Canton branch will observe normal business hours that day. As always, members may check account balances, transfer funds, or pay bills online any time through our website www.umethodist.com or our mobile app.

Media Center

The Media Center recently acquired the following resources:

  • Periscope equips believers to combat the onslaught of secular culture. Each session is uniquely designed to help us gain an eternal perspective (See Above) and find strength to walk in faith every day (Live Beyond).
  • Fathering 101 equips leaders to communicate a critical cultural message. This timely resource speaks directly to the God ordained responsibility and privilege of being a Dad.
  • A Theology of Luke and Acts; 17 Lessons on Major Theological Themes  provides a thorough exploration of the important introductory issues, major theological themes, and how each book relates to the broad picture of New Testament theology.
  • The Essentials of Christian Thought outlines the basic perspective on the world that all Christians, regardless of the place and time in which they were born, have historically held.
  • I Am Loved: Walking in the Fullness of God’s Love shares a message for every woman who craves to truly understand, walk confidently in, and live out God’s unconditional, extravagant, lavish love.

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

Man and Woman
Review by Rev. Bruce Batchelor-Glader – Photo: Focus Features

Although Phantom Thread is clearly set in the fashion world of early 1950’s post-war London, its story is a Gothic romance in the style of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre or Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca. A young woman enters into the employ and household of a mysterious older man and challenges the homeostasis of his daily routines. Read entire review …

Upcoming Event

GriefShare Group Offered
Church of the Lakes UMC in Canton is offering a Biblically-based program that delivers hope and support for those grieving the loss of a loved one.  The GriefShare group will meet at the church from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. beginning March 13 and continuing every Tuesday through June 5.  Cost is $20 for the workbook, but scholarships are available. If you are interested in the class, please call the Church of the Lakes office at (330) 499-8972.

Events – February 5-18

To submit your event to the East Ohio calendar use this form.
Click to view East Ohio Conference Calendar.


Positions Available
Details of listings may be found here. 

  • Communications Coordinator, Wadsworth UMC
  • Organist, Asbury UMC, Delaware
  • Director of Discipleship, Wooster UMC
  • Communications Coordinator, Mayfield UMC
  • Technical Director, Church of the Saviour
  • Director of Leadership Development, Indiana Conference of The United Methodist Church
  • Accompanist, Willoughby UMC
  • Worship Music Director, Belden UMC
  • Director of Worship and Youth Ministries, First UMC of Ravenna

Items available:
Details of listing may be found here. 

  • Adult Choir Robes – Free

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


Please pray for the family of James H.Scott, retired elder, who died January 27, 2018.

For full obituary notices.

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 February 19, 2018.  Deadline for submission is February 14.