January 13, 2020

2020 Appointments

Bishop Tracy S. Malone announces the following 2020 clergy appointments and/or changes of status, effective 7/1/20 unless otherwise noted.

Districts: (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

Pastor Appointment District Effective
Norma Bates Ravenna First UMC CN 12/1/19
Greg Calko Millcreek Community UMC MV 7/28/19
David Hill McDonald Woodland Park UMC MV 1/1/20
John Idoine Amity UMC TR 11/1/19
Gregory Kendrick Cory UMC & Church of the Saviour UMCs NC 10/1/19
R. Bob Miller East Palestine Centenary & Emmanuel UMCs MV 12/1/19
Michael Namy Hayesville & Lakefork UMCs MO 1/1/20
Nancy Parsons Cambridge Ninth Street & Byesville Main UMCs SH 1/1/20
Scott Racut Harpersfield UMC (formerly Harpersfield & Rock Creek UMCs) WR 1/1/20
Steve Rice Vienna & Fowler UMCs MV 2/1/20
Shane Russo Sebring UMC MV 1/1/20
Tadd Sponseller Congress Community Church FL 1/1/20
Cara Stultz Costello District Superintendent TW  
Stanley Wertz Transport for Christ UMC MO 9/1/19
Lisa Withrow Clear Transition Strategies MO 1/1/20
Beverly Wrobel Ohio Living Breckenridge Village WR 1/1/20

Visit the 2020 Appointments and Changes of Status page of the Conference website to read the Cabinet’s Core Values for Making Appointments and to see the lists of appointments, retirements, and those who are concluding their ministry.

Rev. Cara Stultz Costello Appointed Tuscarawas District Superintendent

Bishop Tracy S. Malone is appointing the Rev. Cara Stultz Costello to the East Ohio Conference Cabinet.  She will serve as Tuscarawas District superintendent effective July 1, when the Rev. Benita Rollins retires.

“I am overjoyed to serve with Bishop Malone, my new colleagues on the Cabinet, and the pastors and congregations in the Tuscarawas District. I anticipate God enacting life-giving ministries in and through all of us together,” Stultz Costello said.

“Cara has strong relational skills, excellent communication skills, and respects and values diversity and differences. Her gifts, insights, and innovation will enhance the work of the Cabinet and advance the mission of the church,” shared Malone.

Read the entire appointment announcement.

2020 Conference Dates

Annual Conference 2020 Bearing Fruit that Lasts: Connected is June 15-18 at Lakeside Chautauqua. Registration will open on March 1 when the AC 2020 website goes live.

Ohio Youth Annual Conference (YAC) 2020 Hope is June 12-14 at Lakeside Chautauqua. Learn more and register now.

General Conference 2020 … and Know that I am God is May 5-15 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. All proposed legislation will be posted here in February when the ADCA listing them is published.

Jurisdictional Conference 2020 We Press On meets July 15-18 in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Financial and Administrative Services

Church Statistics Year-end Reporting Due January 20
Statistics for year-end reporting are now live in Ezra. As a reminder, use Internet Explorer to access the report, as it does not work with Microsoft Edge. If you have any questions when creating the report, please call Brenda at (330) 499-3972 ext. 153.

Church Parking Tax Repealed
Section 512(a)(7) of the Internal Revenue Code, commonly referred to as the “parking tax,” was repealed on December 20, retroactive to the date of its enactment (January 1, 2018). As a result, tax-exempt employers (such as our churches) will no longer have to increase their unrelated business taxable income (UBTI) by amounts paid or incurred for providing parking and public transportation benefits to their employees. Despite guidance passed at the end of 2018, this section of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act caused concern due to the prospect of increased tax liability, the lack of clarity for determining the taxable amount and the administrative burdens the Act presented.

If any church filed a Form 990-T to report the unrelated business taxable income and pay the tax related to providing parking and/or public transportation benefits, the church is encouraged to consult its tax advisor to see if the church should file an amended Form 990-T and to see if a State tax refund might be available as well.

United Methodist Insurance Program Revisions
At its November 2019 meeting, the General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) board approved revisions to the Minimum Insurance Requirements for local church property insurance coverage.

The first change is that churches may purchase limits for sexual misconduct indemnification that are less than the stated minimum requirements if there is a legal cap on damages in that church’s state that is lower than the GCFA recommended limits.  This assures that churches are not paying for more coverage than regional legal limits allow. The second change adds functional replacement cost as an approved method of property valuation. This change particularly helps older buildings, especially in certain instances where construction methods are outdated and costly. These changes will not require any change in current policies, but it creates enhancements that could benefit both current and new clients.

Read the insurance update release in its entirety.

Young People’s Ministries

Ohio Youth Annual Conference 2020
Attention youth leaders: Registration for Ohio Youth Annual Conference (YAC) 2020 is now open. The first 250 people to register will receive a FREE light-up bracelet. Register now for the lowest rates. Learn more and register.

Wesley Week in Taizé, France – August 2-9
The General Board of Discipleship (GBOD) is promoting a Wesley Week in Taize, France for young adults ages 15-30 from around the world. Participants will experience rhythms of daily life and prayer at the monastery in Taizé, and a week of teachings of the brothers, shared community life, sacrificial living, and special Wesleyan input from invited guest speakers who will add to the Taizé program with several special gatherings for all Methodists present. Learn more and register.

Camps & Retreat Ministries

Confirmation Retreats are fast approaching!
Camp Wanake is hosting a Confirmation Retreat in February. It will explore our United Methodist understanding of the sacraments, ways we talk about and experience God, ways we can connect with God in prayer, and our United Methodist heritage and organization. One adult chaperone is required for every six youth.

Confirmation Weekend at Camp Wanake is February 21-23.
COST: $109/youth; $99/adults.

Visit www.eocumc.com/camps/confirmationretreats.html for more information or contact the East Ohio Conference Camps Office at (330) 499-3972 ext. 108 or Camp Wanake at (330) 756-2333.

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. Call your local church, call the East Ohio Conference Camps Office at (330) 499-3972 ext. 108, or visit us on the web at www.EOCSummercamps.org.

Spiritual Formation & Christian Education

The Spiritual Formation Committee invites you to pray about your “why” this year. Why does following Jesus matter to you? Why do you go to church? Why be a disciple? Why do church and discipleship go together?

In upcoming E-News issues you’ll find prompts to help you dig deeper in prayer to fully understand your “why,” and you may be inspired to share your story and your “why” with others. If you have questions, want to share a prayer concern or share an answered prayer, e-mail the Rev. Carrie Antczak at cantczak@umcb.org. God bless you in this New Year!


Puerto Rico Mission Update
Due to the recent earthquakes in Puerto Rico, we are exercising caution and postponing the first team’s trip and monitoring the local facilities on the island before determining whether the second team will travel for its scheduled trip. Teams traveling into a long-term response area have housing needs which may not be available during an early response for a new situation.

You can support the disaster response work of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) by receiving an offering in your local church and indicating EOC Fund 1327 on the church remittance form. Fund 1327 is then forwarded to UMCOR Advance #901670 U.S. Disaster Response and Recovery. You can support long-term UMVIM recovery teams traveling from East Ohio to Puerto Rico using EOC Fund 9643 and noting Puerto Rico Teams on the remittance form.

UMVIM Mission Journey Scholarships
The deadline for UMVIM scholarships is February 17. If you are participating in an upcoming UMVIM Journey with an UMVIM-trained Team Leader and you are a member of a United Methodist Church, you might be eligible for a scholarship to help with the cost of the trip.

Learn more and apply.

Immediate Openings for Mission Volunteer Placements
Mission Volunteers are individuals or couples ages 18 and older who seek long-term partnerships with communities around the world to work with refugees, children and youth or to serve as a teacher, pastor, camp director or health care professional. The length of service ranges from two months to more than two years.

Reelfoot Rural Ministries in Obion, Tennessee is in need of a Community Services assistant to be a liaison for volunteers and  work with the back-to-school program, food bank, and toy store ministry during the school year and focus on home rehab and camp ministry during the summer.

Asian Rural Institute (ARI) in Japan seeks a Training Program volunteer who will serve as part of ARI’s diverse and vibrant community to help support its training program. Work assignments include livestock, crops and vegetables, office, meal service, and maintenance.

E-mail Rev. Kathy Dickriede with any questions. See a complete list of sites requesting long-term volunteers. The next Mission Volunteer Placement Training is April 22-25 in Carlinville, Illinois. IL

Small Church Grant

Lent in a Box Grant and Free Download
Family Ministry Tools’ resources for churches are created by a team of educators with deep ties to the East Ohio Conference. Our mission is to help churches equip their families to have faith conversations at home. Lent in a Box is a pizza box filled with all-age devotions and engaging activities to help families observe Lent at home together.

Because of our shared history in a small UM church and our belief in the importance of churches investing in their families, we would like to offer an opportunity to East Ohio churches with under 100 in weekly attendance to receive a free download of our 2020 Lent in a Box and a $100 grant to help purchase the supplies needed to create boxes. Interested churches should submit a short paragraph detailing how this grant would benefit their family ministry and outreach efforts. Submissions should be emailed to robin@familyminstrytools.org no later than January 15, 2020.

Visit familyministrytools.org for more information about our resources.

Media Center

The Media Center recently acquired the following resources:

To reserve these or other resources, call the Media Center at (800) 831-3972 x139 or send an e-mail to sarnold@eocumc.com. Browse the resource catalog at www.rqmweb.com/eocumc.

Credit Union

Martin Luther King Day Closing
All offices of The United Methodist Financial Credit union will be closed Monday, January 20 in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Members may view share account balances, pay bills, and transfer funds any time through home banking at www.umethodist.com.

Shared Branching
The United Methodist Financial Credit Union partners with over 330 credit unions nationwide to provide our members with more options to do your personal banking through the Shared Branching Co-Op Network. All you need when you walk into a branch is your account number and a government-issued photo ID. Locate a branch near you on our website www.umethodist.com.

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

Little Women
Greta Gerwig has created a work of art that is layered and full of life. The film functions as a memory piece and moves between timelines with grace. While this version highlights Jo, it also allows Jo to serve as a stand-in for Alcott herself. As we watch the story unfold, we also have several meta moments in which we can stand back and think about the creative process itself. (The original book was written in two parts. After Little Women was received with great success in 1868, Alcott wrote Good Wives in 1869 to satisfy her readers’ desire to know more about the March sisters; the two parts were officially combined in 1880). Gerwig’s film stunningly reproduces the relationship between writer and publisher (Tracy Letts) and shows the labor-intensive process of writing itself.

Overall, the film’s embrace of sibling friendship as well as the independent spirit of each of the March sisters honors the original novel while also celebrating the ways in which it has inspired others to create their own worlds of imagination. This is a film for all ages, although I would recommend that older children read the book or watch an earlier film version in order to learn the story in a conventional fashion.

Little Women is one of the best films of the year and Greta Gerwig is one great writer-director. I look forward to revisiting this film and to the future book club in which I will read the Alcott book yet once again.

Read entire review.

Events: January 13 – January 26

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.)


Please pray for the families of:

  • Michael L. Conleyspouse of the Rev. Nancy L. Conley, died January 8.
  • Donna Paullsurviving spouse of the Rev. Jerry Paull, died December 28, 2019. 
  • Keith N. Mostadretired Elder, died December 22, 2019.
  • James Dyerretired Elder, died December 17, 2019.
  • Nancy Harveyspouse of the Rev. William Harvey, died December 4, 2019.

View obituaries


Details of listings may be found here.

Positions Available

  • Office Assistant – Mt. Zion UMC
  • Director of the Adult Chancel Choir – Garrettsville UMC

Items Available/ Wanted

  • Five kneeling rails – North Canton Grace UMC

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

To Subscribe

To subscribe to E-News and all East Ohio Conference news updates, enter your email address in the “Follow News via Email” widget on the right sidebar. Information from this E-News may be copied and used in your local church. The next scheduled edition of the E-News is Monday, January 27, 2020.

Deadline for submission is Thursday, January 23. Send articles to swilliams@eocumc.com.