September 21, 2020

Annual Conference

You can view every business session and worship service of this year’s virtual Annual Conference on the AC 2020 livestream page of the Conference website.

Saturday, September 26
9:00 a.m. Service of Commemoration and Holy Communion
10:30 a.m. Business Session
1:00 p.m. Episcopal Address
1:30 p.m. Business Session
6:00 p.m. Service of Commissioning and Ordination

Sunday, September 27
10:00 a.m. Closing Worship

Livestream Sunday’s Closing Worship to Your Congregation
In this year in which the theme word for Annual Conference is Connected, local church leaders are invited to use the livestream of the closing worship service at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, September 27 as their church’s weekly service. Simply post the livestream link,, on the church website or Facebook page. Church leaders wishing to show the service later in the day can download the file of the service after it’s approximate 11:00 a.m. conclusion.

Learn more about this year’s virtual Annual Conference.

Financial & Administrative Services

Financial Assessment Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic
To assess how the COVID-19 pandemic might be impacting the Conference financially, a survey was created to compare the financial period of 1/1/2020 – 5/31/2020 to the period of 1/1/2019 – 5/31/2019.

The survey was sent to the pastors and financial secretaries of our 692 East Ohio churches. Responses from the 422 churches (61%) that answered the survey show:

  • Offerings in 2020 increased by 0.6%.
  • Payrolls in 2020 decreased by 0.94%.
  • Operating expenses in 2020 decreased by 12.8%.
  • Program expenses in 2020 decreased by almost 32%.
  • 109 churches were approved for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans.
  • Nine churches were denied Payroll Protection Program Loans.
  • The total amount of PPP Loans received was $4,136,833.

2021 Apportionments
On Saturday, September 26, Annual Conference members will vote to approve the 2021 East Ohio Conference budget. Once the budget is approved, preliminary apportionment figures for next year will be calculated and mailed to each local church at the end of October or beginning of November.

Because Annual Conference is meeting in September this year, instead of June, the window is much shorter for churches to request a change in 2021 apportionment figures, which are based on figures reported in 2019 Local Church Reports. Therefore, it is very important that pastors, treasurers and others with finance responsibility review their church’s 2019 Local Church Reports now to ensure that no changes to them are needed. This will help to ensure that 2021 apportionments can be processed and mailed in as orderly a fashion as possible.

Health Benefits

Look What’s New for HealthFlex in 2021
For 2021 HealthFlex has reduced the total out-of-pocket expenses for five of its six offered medical plans. It’s also lowered the out-of-pocket maximums for all HRA and HAS plans, enhanced vision benefits, and lowered co-payments for generic prescriptions.

Learn more about what’s new with HealthFlex for 2021.

Teach • Reach • Bless

77% of Needed $1.5 Million has been Committed – and 24% Collected
Our East Ohio Conference is committed to improving the education and wellness of women today for a better Africa tomorrow. Your support of the Teach • Reach • Bless campaign to raise and collect $1.5 million to build and furnish a residence hall for female students on the campus of Africa University in Zimbabwe will change lives.

To date, commitments of $1,151,050.94 toward the $1.5 million needed to break ground have been made and $362,050.94 has been received. Thank you for your support! The new East Ohio Conference-built dorm will enable more female students to live on campus, meaning they won’t need to find off-campus housing that makes them vulnerable to untenable situations.

Support Teach • Reach • Bless and download campaign resources.


I AM Her Women’s Leadership Summit – Oct. 8-10
The I AM Her Women’s Leadership Summit is a movement of women coming together to Be InspiredBe Empowered, and to Be Equipped to do the work personally and professionally and to connect within The United Methodist Church. The Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber is the keynote speaker for this year’s virtual conference. Bishop Tracy S. Malone is the preacher for the Thursday, October 8 worship service.

The summit will focus on worship, relationship building and network mapping along with various courses to help participants learn how women in leadership have overcome challenges and have created solutions that supported their success. There will also be opportunities to learn how to build your professional network and maximize its potential.

Join the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women and Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary for the Oct. 8-10 virtual I AM Her Women’s Leadership Summit. Registration cost is just $39 and CEUs are available. If you are in need of financial assistance, please email Rev. Pamela Pirtle.

Learn more and register.

East Ohio Votes
Oct. 5 is the deadline in the State of Ohio to register to vote in the November 3 general election. Visit the new online resource, East Ohio Votes, on the Conference website for more information about the voting process and to register to vote.

The new page can be found by placing your cursor over the Advocacy tab and clicking on East Ohio Votes in the dropdown menu. It can also be found on the sidebar of the Multicultural Ministries page and the side bar of the Stand Against Racism page of the Conference website.

Visit the East Ohio Votes resource.

Congregational Vitality

Registration is Open for 2020-2021 Learning Cohorts
Learning Cohorts are designed for clergy and laity to learn the best practices for establishing systems in congregations for vitality and effectiveness. Each cohort consists of learning best practices, strategic planning, and ongoing coaching. Choose from these excellent offerings: Leading Well in Chronically Anxious Times; Teamwork: Working the Transition Together; Conflict Management in the Midst of Pandemic; Hope; How to Reach New People; Discipleship Pathway Partners; Reach, and Leadership Coaching.

Learn more and register.

Special Sunday Offering

World Communion Sunday is October 4
Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.” Around the globe, countless gifted and qualified people face financial obstacles that hinder them from preparing for the vocation God has given them, especially youth and young adults. In 1972, the General Conference approved the World Communion Sunday offering to support the education of racial-ethnic and international students to transform the church and their communities as both laity and clergy. Learn more about World Communion Sunday and download the pastor and leader resource kit.

Camps & Retreat Ministries

Family Camp Offered at Aldersgate, Asbury and Wanake
Break the grip that cabin fever can have on those in your house tired of sheltering in place by registering for Family Camp. Our East Ohio Camps – Aldersgate, Asbury and Wanake – are offering the opportunity for families/households to get away and enjoy the beautiful fall weather at our sites in a safe environment. Read more about Family Camp.

To ask questions about Family Camp and/or to make reservations: visit the Camp Aldersgate website, call the office at (330) 627-4369 or send an e-mail; visit the Camp Wanake website, call the office at (330) 756-2333 or send an e-mail; or visit the Camp Asbury website, call the office at (330) 569-3171 or send an e-mail.

Young People’s Ministries

Project Impact Apparel Sale Ends September 28
Order gear to show your support and organize our friends, family or church congregation to participate in our first-ever Project Impact service initiative. During the month of October, we’re going to impact our communities by serving others. You decide how you’ll serve – while being sure to follow the social distancing recommendations of your local health department. Learn more about Project Impact.

You can further support Project Impact and EOC Young People’s Ministries by purchasing shirts and other gear. Learn more and order.

  • T-shirt: S, M, L are $12/ea.; 2XL are $14/ea.
  • Crew Neck Sweatshirt: S, M, L are $20/ea.; 2XL are $22/ea.
  • Long Sleeve Shirt: S, M, L are $15/ea.; 2XL are $17/ea.
  • Hoodie: S, M, L are $25/ea.; 2XL are $27/ea.

Virtual Youth Room Trainings
The recordings of the Zoom sessions have been archived for viewing on the EOC YPM YouTube page. You can also find more information and instructions at There will be a Facebook Live training at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 29 at 1:00 on the Practically Honest Facebook page to answer questions and to help with next steps in the creative process.

Stay in Touch with the Class of 2020
Attention pastors and youth leaders, if you had teens from the class of 2020 head off to college this fall, be sure you collect their new addresses to stay in touch. Continue to walk with them in their faith journey during this transitional time in the lives. Click here to learn more about, and find contact information for, some of the many campus ministries the East Ohio Conference supports.


Laity Sunday is October 18
Laity Sunday offers an opportunity to emphasize the ministry of all Christians – laity. This special Sunday in the Church calls each of us to celebrate the ministry of Christians of all ages in the home, workplace, congregation, community, and the world. Laity Sunday can take all kinds of forms, with all levels of involvement in the leading of worship, from giving a sermon to sharing a message or offering a testimonial. Open your hearts and your minds to creative ways of hearing from and about the laity of the congregation.

Learn more about Laity Sunday.

Media Center

The Media Center has recently acquired the following resources:

  • 2084; Artificial Intelligence, the Future of Humanity, and the God Question introduces you to key developments in technological enhancement, bioengineering, and artificial intelligence. Discover the current capacity of AI, its advantages and disadvantages, the facts and the fiction, as well as potential future implications. 
  • 30 Days to Understanding the Bible helps participants to understand not only the facts and history of the Bible but also its teachings that have become such an important foundation of Western civilization.
  • The Bible for Grown-Ups gives us a way to approach the Bible that begins with something other than “in the beginning…” Learn the story of the Bible, not just Bible stories.

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 Movies Message in the Movies banner (colorful film strip

Rarely Never Sometimes Always & Unpregnant
Both films depict abortion with seriousness, but only Rarely Never Sometimes Always deals honestly with the pain and price of making that decision – in a stunning scene at the clinic in which Autumn answers an intake questionnaire. (The interviewer is played by an actual Planned Parenthood staff person using their standard inquiry tool.) Unpregnant is primarily interested in making us laugh and falls short of making much of a statement.

While neither of these films would be warmly received by most United Methodist youth groups, I would hope that parents might consider viewing them with their youth at home. If I were a parent of teens I would want to have a conversation in which I could bring Christian values into the conversation. But most of all, I would want to have an opportunity to listen to my kids and hear what they have to say.

Read entire review.


Please pray for the families of:

  • Kenneth E. Maddoxretired Elder, died September 2.

View obituaries

To submit the obituary of an EOC clergy, clergy spouse, or surviving spouse, family should contact Melissa McGee, executive secretary to the bishop’s office, by phone at (330) 499-3972 ext. 112 or via e-mail.


Details of listings may be found here.

Positions Available

  • Piano and/or Organ Player – First UMC in Massillon
  • Worship Leader – Real Hope Church
  • Custodian – Church of the Redeemer UMC
  • Office Manager – Church of the Redeemer UMC

To submit a classified ad please e-mail

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