January 11, 2021

2021 Appointments

Bishop Tracy S. Malone announces the following 2021 clergy appointments and/or changes of status.

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
David Andrews Bunker Hill UMC MV 1/1/21
William Baker LaPorte UMC FL 1/1/21
Wendy Brown Elyria Zion & Cornerstone UMCs FL 10/1/20
Greg Bush Pine Grove UMC OV 1/1/21
Bradley Call Coshocton Grace UMC, Interim Pastor TR 10/5/20
Joe Carney Amherst & Lorain Faith UMCs FL 1/1/21
Kenneth Gifford Youngstown Trinity & Poland UMCs MV 1/1/21
Dan Holt Smithfield UMC OV 1/1/21
Dairel Kaiser Coshocton Grace UMC, Interim Pastor TR 1/4/21
Mikayla Kovacik-Doepker Mentor UMC, Associate Pastor WR 1/1/21
Kurt Landerholm Malvern UMC, Interim Pastor TW 1/1/21
Aaron Linard Wilmot, Midvale & Newport UMCs TW 1/1/21
Sturman Moore Cambridge Christ UMC, Interim Pastor SH 12/1/20
Nancy Parsons Senecaville, Cambridge Ninth Street, & Byesville Main UMCs SH 1/1/21
Nicole Pickens Greentown UMC, Interim Pastor TW 11/1/20
Andrew Thompson Barnesville Main, Belmont & Lloydsville UMCs SH 2/1/21
LuAnn Youngman Scio UMC OV 1/1/21
Frank Zugaro Damascus UMC MV 1/1/21

Visit the 2021 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.

I am still processing the acts of violence and the insurrection that took place at The U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, January 6. I am shocked and dismayed at what I saw and heard – and I know that I am not alone. The traumatization, anger and weariness that is being felt by every generation and on multiple levels are not only in response to what transpired this week, but it is a visceral response to the cumulative acts of hatred, bigotry, violence and enmity that continue to be experienced and that run rampant in communities across the nation. These ongoing pervasive forces continue to create a volatile social/political environment that perpetuate division and threaten the common good. 

What we witnessed this week was a violent reaction to misinformation born out of lies, unhealthy behaviors, and fear. But we also witnessed the spirit of God at work in the midst of the chaos as people stepped up to demonstrate that truth matters. The truth does matter – and the truth is that forces of hatred, violence, and destruction do not have the last word.

Read Bishop Malone’s message in its entirety.

Health Benefits

EOC Welcomes Director of Benefits & Human Resources
Michelle Anderson is the new director of Benefits & Human Resources for the East Ohio Conference. She succeeds the recently retired Betsy Stewart but in a role that adds Human Resources to the Benefits portfolio. Anderson has 26 years of HR experience.

“Michelle brings a breadth and depth of experience to the Conference that will benefit our clergy, churches, faith communities and employees as the areas of benefits and services evolve,” said Director of Financial & Administrative Services Vera Rebrovich.

“Intentional effort has been given to expand the Benefits position to include a Human Resources component. We look forward to the skills, experience and the expertise that Michelle will bring to her new role and we welcome her to the East Ohio Conference,” said Bishop Tracy S. Malone.

Read the release in its entirety.

HealthFlex Wellness

Delivered to You Virtual Clergy Event – Feb. 8-9, 2021
The Wespath Benefits and Investments meetings and events team has changed direction from live, in-person opportunities to offering a virtual event that will provide an energizing customer experience in a new and different way. Delivered to You is a virtual event that will bring education and five dimensions of well-being to all active clergy in their workplace/home space. The event is designed to inspire and encourage clergy of all ages and in all stages of ministry.

Wespath Benefits and Investments Delivered to You will be hosted the afternoons of Mon., Feb. 8 and Tues., Feb. 9, 2021. The registration fee of $49 offsets the cost of an event Care Kit that will be delivered to each attendee who is registered in advance.

Learn more and register.

Financial & Administrative Services

2021 IRS Mileage Rate

The Internal Revenue Service recently announced the 2021 optional standard mileage rates effective January 1, 2021.

  • $0.56 per mile for business miles driven
  • $0.16 per mile for medical, or moving purposes
  • $0.14 per mile driven in service of charitable organizations

2021 Minimum Wage
Effective January 1, 2021 the minimum wage in the State of Ohio is:

  • $8.80/hour for non-tipped employees (an increase of $0.10/hr.)
  • $4.40/hour for tipped employees (an increase of $0.05/hr.)

The Federal Minimum wage is $7.25/hour.

Employers whose gross earnings are more than $323,000 are required to pay employees whichever minimum wage is higher. Employers whose gross earnings are less than $323,000 shall pay their employees no less than the Federal minimum wage. Employers are required to post the minimum wage and overtime information in a conspicuous place, such as an employee break room or office that can be accessed by employees. Download a free copy of the poster.

Human Relations Day is January 17

Human Relations Day is one of six Special Sundays in The United Methodist Church. On the Sunday before the national observance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, our denomination recognizes the right of all of God’s children to realize their potential as human beings in relationship with one another.

Your Human Relations Day special offering will:

  • provide grants to promote ministries that respond to non-violent youth offenders through education, advocacy, or leadership training and development,
  • support organizations and congregations that fight economic, racial, and social injustices,
  • and provide grants to racial, ethnic, and multicultural congregations to hire community developers to empower the underserved.

Download Human Relations Day resources and give to UMC Fund #9024 today.

Multicultural Vitality

Black History Month Sunday School Training – January 19
The East Ohio Conference is sponsoring training for K-6th Grade Sunday School teachers, parents, and educators on Conference’s new Sunday School curriculum, All in God’s Image: A Celebration of Black History Month and Diversity. The 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. session will cover curriculum intended for use as a four-week celebration of Black History Month and diversity in the Sunday school classroom. It will include information about some pertinent events and people, specific lessons, questions for discussion, Bible verses, craft and activity ideas, and outside resources. Because of the age span, some information will be identified for Younger Students (K-2) or Older Students (3-6).

Learn more and register.


Puerto Rico Missions Update
The rebuilding of Puerto Rico after devastating hurricanes, storms, and earthquakes continues with the lead being taken by ReHace, an education and disaster management social holiness program of the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico. ReHace (Rebuilding Communities with Hope) is coordinating efforts to establish and distribute aid to people across its network of churches. This work is being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which stopped travel again shortly after UMVIM teams had resumed traveling to the island following the February 2020 earthquakes.

When Hurricane Maria hit the island in 2017, ReHace made a 10-year plan to help rebuild homes and through the Grace of God and hardworking volunteers 1,000 homes have been repaired or secured from hurricane damage! Currently May 2021 is the projected date for teams to return to Puerto Rico. Team leaders are forming teams of four to eight people so that we can honor East Ohio Conference commitment to partner in rebuilding Puerto Rico. If you would like to be a part of a team, or lead an UMVIM journey to Puerto Rico, please e-mail Rev. Kathy Dickriede to learn more.

Learn more about ReHace.

UMVIM Journeys to the Bahamas
Bahamas Methodist Habitat is a year-round housing repair, community development and disaster relief ministry serving the Bahamas and beyond. Currently Executive Director the Rev. Stephanie Gottschalk is coordinating plans for long-term disaster response and recovery after Hurricane Dorian caused widespread devastation across the Bahamas. Some of you may remember Rev. Gottschalk from when she served as Missions and Volunteers in Mission coordinator for the Western PA Conference. If you would like more information about how to assist with disaster relief in the Bahamas, please e-mail Rev. Gottschalk or e-mail Rev. Kathy Dickriede.

Learn more about Bahamas Methodist Habitat.

#StillinMission Series Returns in 2021
Explore the transforming work of United Methodist missionaries serving around the world with monthly episodes of #StillinMission from the General Board of Global Ministries. Learn about the ministries of missionaries and see a presentation from a missionary during the Zoom call. More information about the February 4 and March 4 episodes will be shared in future E-News.

Learn more about the #StillinMission series.

Virtual UMVIM Journeys
Don’t forget to sign up for one of our Virtual UMVIM journeys: ZOE Empowers in Zimbabwe starts January 12, and the virtual Peru journey begins February 7.

Learn more about EOC Mission journeys.

Spiritual Formation & Young People’s Ministries

You are invited to join us on January 21 for some thinking and planning time with Stephanie Caro of Ministry Architects. The Reboot 2021 webinar is geared towards helping churches analyze what post pandemic ministry might look like for them, plus some Lenten/Easter ideas as we transition out of the pandemic. The webinar is offered at two different times on January 21: 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Registration is free so invite as many people from your ministry as you would like.

Learn more and register for Reboot 2021.

Tuscarawas District

Simplified Leadership Training Offered
Vital and fruitful churches are being governed and led in new ways today, so that congregations can be unleashed for ministry. A simplified single board structure makes it possible for churches to better focus on leadership equipping, missional alignment, and taking the next steps in ministry. By consolidating administrative functions into a single board, disciples can focus on using their spiritual gifts and passions for ministry to contribute to the vitality of the congregation as it seeks to reach the mission field. Pastor Rick Oaks will lead Tuscarawas District-organized Zoom training sessions in January to provide guidance on Simplified Leadership, also known as the One Board Model. It is highly that churches participating in the leadership training be represented by their pastor and the entire laity leadership.

Training sessions are scheduled for 7:00 – 8: 30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 19, Tuesday, January 26 and Tuesday, February 2. On Tuesday, February 9 from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. each pastor and their leadership team will meet as a group to process the information provided during the training.

Church leadership teams interested in participating in the Simplified Leadership Training should e-mail Megan Myers in the Tuscarawas District office.


Toward Healing the Harm Training – March 8
EOC clergy will gather via Zoom from 9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. for “Toward Healing the Harm: A One-Day Event To Address the Fight, Flight, or Freeze Response in Gender Discrimination and Harassment.” Those who have been harmed, as well as their allies, are invited to attend.  Although the day will use clergywomen’s experience as the particular lens, the training will apply to a variety of situations and contexts in which all clergy might find themselves.

During the morning plenary session, Licensed Clinical Counselor Rhonda Johnston will explain the fight, flight, freeze reaction that happens when we experience harassment. The afternoon will offer an opportunity to learn and practice real skills. The training will also offer opportunities to participate in worship, prayer stations, journaling, and reflection as clergy seek healing from these experiences.

Learn more and register.


2020 Church Investments Report
Church investments managed by The Methodist Foundation of Ohio saw impressive returns in 2020, in spite of a global pandemic as well as social and political upheaval. The Foundation’s Balanced Fund, which is a combination of stocks and bonds, returned more than 18% for the year after all fees. The Equity or stock fund returned more than 25% and the fixed income fund made more than 7%.

“This has been a very strong year for investments with us,” said Brian Sheetz, executive director of the Foundation. “And while investment performance is great, what I really love is the potential tool for ministry that these additional funds represent. I expect that we will see churches be able to invest in their communities very strongly in 2021 given the growth in financial assets.”

Foundation investments are managed by Wespath, the denomination’s pension fund. “Our partnership with Wespath allows churches with as little as a few thousand to those with millions to participate in a pooled investment with billions of dollars in value,” Sheetz said. “This gives them access to some of the best fund managers with tremendous experience at a very reasonable rate.”

Historic investment returns do not guarantee future performance. View the complete report on The Methodist Foundation of Ohio website.

Credit Union

Visa Balance Transfer Promotion
The Christian Family Credit Union will accept applications to transfer over your balances from high interest rate credit cards to our credit card with a fixed rate of 4.99% APR* for 36 months. Our goal is to provide a sound solution to help you pay off your credit card debt more quickly. There is a balance transfer fee of $10 or 3%, whichever is greater. We would love to consult with you, and help you get on a better financial footing for 2021. Call the Christian Family Credit Union at (800) 831-3972 and ask for one of our loan officers today.

*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 Jr. Day Closing
All offices of Christian Family Credit Union will be closed Monday, January 18 in observance of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Members may view share account balances, pay bills, and transfer funds any time through home banking at www.christianfamilycu.com.

Media Center

The Media Center has recently acquired the following resources:

  • Saving Grace is a program to help people of faith create healthy relationships with money and possessions. Participants will move through topics as saving, earning, giving, spending, and debt, along with helpful strategies for achieving a sustainable financial life.
  • Forgiving What You Can’t Forget shows that to find life-giving freedom, we have to let go of our bound-up resentment and resistance to forgiving people who’ve hurt us.
  • Elijah; Faith and Fire is a journey through the life and times of Elijah. Discover how the fire on Mount Carmel was forged in the valley of famine. And how the emboldened, fiery faith you desire is being fashioned by God in your life right now. 
  • The Power of Knowing God will equip you with the right tools for success in pursuing a personal and authentic relationship with the Savior that goes beyond church attendance, reading the Bible, and attending study groups. 

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.

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

Small Axe
Writer-Director Steve McQueen (known for such films as 12 Years a SlaveHunger and Widows) knows first-hand what it was like to grow up in a culture of oppression. His parents came to London from Trinidad and Granada, part of a large group of immigrants hired to work in London’s factories. McQueen had more than a few stories to tell about his formative years and the West Indian community.

Small Axe is an anthology of five of them. Released in weekly installments on BBC and then on Amazon Prime Video, they are probably best thought of as a limited anthology series. Film critics are starting to hand out awards to these episodes as individual movies (McQueen himself calls them films).

Read entire review.


Please pray for the families of:

  • Barbara M. Roushspouse of the Rev. Dean V. Roush, died December 27.
  • Beverly A. Sperrysurviving spouse of the Rev. Dr. Arthur C. Sperry, died December 18.
  • Helen M. Brownsurviving spouse of the Rev. W. Paul Brown, died December 25.

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, by phone at (330) 499-3972 ext. 112 or via e-mail.

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 25, 2021.

Deadline for submission is Thursday, January 21, 2021. Send articles to swilliams@eocumc.com.