August 12, 2019

General Conference

Commission Acts Following Task Force Review
The Commission on the General Conference voted during its August 7-9 meeting in Lexington, Kentucky to implement new registration and credentialing procedures for General Conference delegates to safeguard against the possibility of unauthorized voting.

The Commission made the decision based on the results of an independent investigation into allegations of voting improprieties at the 2019 Special Session of the General Conference. A task force was convened to oversee the investigation, which was carried out by an independent auditing firm, LBMC, with the assistance of an independent outside legal firm. The investigation found credible objective evidence that four ineligible persons cast votes using the credentials of delegates who were not present. Multiple pieces of evidence corroborated the conclusion that these four individuals improperly cast votes.

Four votes could not have affected the outcome of the vote on the Traditional Plan, which passed 438-384. Likewise, the disaffiliation petition passed 420-390, too large a margin to have been impacted. However, the vote to substitute the minority report for the legislative committee report, which is the action that enabled plenary voting on the disaffiliation petition, passed by only two votes.

Having found sufficient evidence that there were invalid votes that potentially affected the result of the vote, the Commission determined that the vote to substitute the minority report is void. They also made a decision to ask the Council of Bishops to consider referring the matter to the Judicial Council to examine the potential impact on the disaffiliation vote. The Judicial Council has the authority to determine the legality of any action taken by the General Conference, but the Commission on the General Conference may not make such a request on its own pursuant to Paragraph 56, Section 4, of the Discipline–thus the referral to the Council of Bishops.

Read the press release in its entirety.

General Conference 2020 is May 5-15 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Financial and Administrative Services

The 2020 Preliminary Apportionment statements have been sent to each church: a copy each for the pastor and the treasurer. Please review the preliminary statement as soon as possible.

The 2018 Local Church Report contains the data that goes into calculating the 2020 Preliminary Apportionments. If an error was made when filling in the 2018 Local Church Report, there is still time to correct it. Please submit your request in writing and send via e-mail to or mail it Attn: Vera Rebrovich to 8800 Cleveland Ave. NW, P.O. Box 2800, North Canton, OH 44720.

September 13 is the deadline to correct the Local Church Report, which will update the 2020 Apportionment calculation. Final 2020 Apportionment statements will be mailed in late September/early October.

Health Benefits

HealthFlex Benefits Workshops – Oct. 2 & 3
Open Enrollment for 2020 HealthFlex benefits for HealthFlex participants (actives and retirees less than age 65) begins October 30 and runs through November 14. In preparation for Open Enrollment, the Board of Benefits is hosting HealthFlex workshops across the Conference. There will be one on October 2 and two on October 3. The workshops will provide participants a review of the medical plan options, discuss buy-ups/premium credits, and focus on the Wellness features of HealthFlex.

Click here for the locations and times of the workshops and to learn more.

Congregational Vitality

Be the Church in new, creative ways through Catalyst Faith Communities, that create change by breaking down barriers through an authentic witness of Christian community. Attend a Vision Day in your district to: discover how Catalyst Faith Communities can impact your mission field; learn how your congregation can engage the community beyond the church walls; and get the tools to start a local Catalyst Faith Community.

The first districts to host Catalyst Vision Days are:

  • North Coast – Aug. 20 (1:00-4:00 p.m.)
  • Firelands – Sept. 6 (9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.)
  • Canal – Sept. 10 (9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.)
  • Mahoning Valley – Sept. 22 (2:00-5:00 p.m.)

Click here for the locations of scheduled Vision Days and to learn more about Catalyst Faith Communities.


Sexual Ethics Boundary Training
As part of caring for the clergy covenant, the East Ohio Board of Ministry carries the responsibility of presenting a quadrennial workshop on the topic of healthy clergy boundaries and principled sexual ethics. Healthy boundaries sustain personal and ministerial relationships and bring joy to ministry.

Becky Posey Williams, the senior director of sexual ethics and advocacy for the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women, will lead Integrity in Ministry: Boundaries and the Importance of Self-Care training in our Conference in September. The training will address the awareness of power and vulnerability in ministerial relationships and explore dual relationships and the challenges they present within the Church as well as through social media.

The training is required of all clergy under appointment in, or through, the East Ohio Conference. This includes full-time or part-time Elders, Deacons, local pastors and those in extension ministry, as well as other people who are the primary leaders of a local church. Exceptions to this rule must be requested through the clergy person’s district superintendent.

Integrity in Ministry: Boundaries and the Importance of Self-Care will take place from 9:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m. on:

  • Wed., Sept. 11, at Lorain Lighthouse UMC;
  • Thurs., Sept. 12 at Boardman UMC;
  • Fri., Sept. 13 at Shreve UMC; and
  • Sat., Sept. 14 at Newcomerstown Christ UMC.

Participants may choose any of the dates or locations for participation. Register online at by August 31. The $12 registration fee includes materials, lunch and other supplies for the day. The event fee for walk-in attendees is $15. Learn more.


United Methodist Volunteers in Mission Journeys

Puerto Rico UMVIM Journeys
Prayers for Puerto Rico, the people and their leaders. In the midst of new challenges and controversy, the work of the Methodist Church in Puerto Rico continues. Partnering together, local people rebuilding after the hurricane and people from our East Ohio Conference continue being the hands, feet and heart of Jesus on the move! Are you ready to be a part of the relief efforts? Then sign-up to join one of the three scheduled mission journeys to Puerto Rico: September 7-14, 2019, January 14-21, 2020, and February 6-13, 2020. Learn more.

Midwest Mission Journey
Join Stanley Wertz for a week at Midwest Mission Distribution Center (MMDC) in Illinois on December 9-14, 2019. There is work for all ages and abilities at MMDC and the cost is only about $300 per person. More details here.

Peru Journey with Medical Focus
Join Kathy Dickriede, EOC UMVIM coordinator, and Carmen Kluth in the Cusco region of Peru July 6-17, 2020. The team is looking for – but is not limited to – ophthalmologists, OBGYNs, pediatricians, nurses, psychologists, and dentists who can help women learn some early stimulation techniques. An information meeting is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 8 at Mogadore UMC. If interested in more information about this trip, e-mail Kathy Dickriede,, or Carmen Kluth,

Youth UMVIM Journeys in 2020
Thinking about a youth mission trip next summer? Planning for the following trips that include youth will begin this fall. Contact the listed team leaders for more info:

Peru — July 6-7, 2020 — Kathy Dickriede or Carmen Kluth

Uganda, Rock Foundation School of Masindi — Summer 2020 — David Weir

Estonia, Camp Gideon — July 2020 — Kathryn Adams

Liberia, Camphor Mission — Early July 2020 — Jason Hockran

Ukraine – Mid-July 2020 — Vernon Palo

Advance Specials

West Side Community House Changing Lives for the Better
West Side Community House (WSCH) transforms lives in the community through an array of model programs and services that strengthen and stabilize the family, encourage lifelong learning and economic self-sufficiency, promote health and wellness, foster independence and renew the life spirit.

WSCH Healthy Aging Success Story
“When Helen first walked through the doors at West Side Community House she announced, ‘I’m looking for something to do!’ She quickly became a familiar face in the Healthy Aging Center. She began riding our van here and enjoying a variety of activities at the center. Helen regularly participates in exercise and nutrition classes and plays Bingo. She quickly built friendships, and her favorite part of the day became sharing meals and talking with friends.”

Read the full story to learn how West Side Community House helped Helen through a housing crisis.

West Side Community House (Fund 9933) is one of 39 projects that Annual Conference 2019 adopted to promote July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020 as East Ohio Conference Advance Specials for support by our Conference pastors, congregations, and faith communities.

Learn more about each EOC Advance Special and how you can support them.

Health & Welfare

Flat Rock Homes Deepens Engagement with Churches
Flat Rock Homes is deepening its commitment to engagement and partnership with East Ohio Conference churches by growing its Church Engagement team with the hiring of Sherri Buehl (left in the photo) and Rose Darling (right in the photo) as Church and Community Engagement coordinators, effective July 29.

“Sherri and Rose will be connecting with our churches, their mission committees, and UMW groups to share the story of the people of Flat Rock Homes,” said Karen Kilgo, president/CEO of Flat Rock Homes, Care Center, and Community Services. “Whether bringing the Sunday message, meeting with mission committees, or talking with UMW ladies, Sherri, Rose, and I want to connect with every congregation in our conference.”

Buehl, a commissioned Deaconess in The United Methodist Church, previously served as the director of the Epworth Center (2017-2019), following five years as its director of Community Development, and was treasurer of the Southern Hills District (2012-2018).

Darling served Canal Fulton United Methodist Church as the Music and Church Growth director (2014-2019) and previously served as an associate in Communications with International Partners in Mission in Cleveland (2013-2014).

Read the press release in its entirety.

Media Center

The Media Center recently acquired the following resources:

  • Salt; Baptism – We live surrounded by mysteries, by so much that we do not know. But there is one thing we do know: the presence of God all around us, like the waters of our mother’s womb, nourishing and sustaining us.
  • Salt; Bless – This is what the church teaches us: we are made to bless. We are created and called to bless hammers and backpacks; relationships and homes; the waters of baptism and the bread and cup of Christ’s communion; victims and perpetrators of violence, and even our own enemies. Also by Salt: Creation, Mountains and Resurrection
  • The Generosity Challenge: 28 Days to a Life of Gratitude – those seeking to live a more generous life will be exposed to and inspired by cultural, generational and family attitudes towards generosity.
  • Strange Fruit is the story of an American masterpiece, the song TIME Magazine in 1999 called “the song of the century.” But even more, this is a Good Friday story, an Easter Sunday story, a deeply human story of tragedy, defiance, genius, and grace.

To reserve these or other resources, call the Media Center at (800) 831-3972 x139 or send an e-mail to Browse the resource catalog at

Message in the MoviesMessage in the Movies banner (colorful film strip

The Farewell
The Farewell is primarily in Mandarin, but Wang considers it an American story, since the central characters are living in the United States. She should know, since it’s based on her own family story that was first heard on the radio show This American Life, (Episode 585 “In Defense of Ignorance”, recently rebroadcast). The film reminds us that we are a country of different cultures and various languages, but we share the universal poetry of the heart. You may want to give your parents or grandmother a phone call or video chat after watching this movie.

The acting is first-rate, with a luminous and delightful performance by Zhao Shuzhen as Nai Nai and a heartfelt and expressive turn from Awkwafina. The movie is not only a joy-filled experience, but refreshingly family-friendly. I hope that more people discover The Farewell and that we can expand our worldview to celebrate the diversity that not only is essential to America but also to the Kingdom of God.

Read entire review.

Credit Union

Start off the new school year with UMFCU
Going back to school is a fun and exciting time. It can also be expensive! Don’t break the piggy bank. Let your United Methodist Financial Credit Union be your backup for your backpack.

The UMFCU offers personal loans and Visa credit cards with great rates to help you cover all of those back to school financial needs. Our loan officers are available to help you find the right solution for you!

Events: August 11 – August 25

Click to view East Ohio Conference Calendar

(The East Ohio Conference only accepts East Ohio United Methodist local church, conference and general UM events for listing on the Conference calendar.)


Details of listings may be found here.

Positions Available

  • Children’s Education Director – Damascus UMC
  • Worship Leader – New Washington UMC
  • Office Manager – Uniontown UMC
  • Children’s Choir Director – Rocky River UMC
  • Finance Secretary – Trinity UMC
  • Facilities Manager – Trinity UMC
  • Pianist or Organist – Canal Fulton UMC
  • Organist/Pianist – East Shore UMC
  • Administrative Assistant – Greensburg UMC
  • Alto, Soprano and Tenor Soloists – Rocky River UMC

To submit a classified ad please email

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