Updated Boy Scouts of America Information from Bishop Tracy S. Malone
Dear Pastors and Church Leaders,
The United Methodist Church, as a connectional system, is a gift to conferences, districts, and local churches of our denomination because it provides avenues for shared mission and witness and the sharing and receiving of resources, ideas, and expertise. Currently, I and my episcopal colleagues across the Church are continuing to work with our respective conference chancellors and counsel for The United Methodist Church to resource our conferences and the local churches that charter Boy Scout troops.
As I stated in my letter to you on August 18, the Boy Scouts of America has declared bankruptcy resulting from abuse allegations going back many decades. Because United Methodist churches are often the chartering organization for those Scout troops, our churches are at risk of being included in legal proceedings as abuse victims seek redress.
To resource our pastors, congregations, and faith communities, I formed the East Ohio Conference Boy Scouts of America (EOC BSA) leadership team. The Conference leaders that were selected was because of the roles they serve, based upon the guidance received from our denomination’s Ad Hoc Committee representing the interests of The United Methodist Church in this legal matter. The EOC BSA leadership team is:
- Mr. Rex Miller – Conference Chancellor
- Rev. Ed. Peterson – Assistant to the Bishop
- Mrs. Vera Rebrovich – Director of Financial & Administrative Services
- Rev. Dan Bryant – Chair of the Council on Finance & Administration
- Rev. Dr. Randall May – President of the Board of Trustees
The EOC BSA leadership team, working in consultation with leadership of The United Methodist Church, strongly urges:
- that churches do not initiate or renew any chartering agreements with the Boy Scouts of America.
- that churches enter into a Facilities Use Agreement that will act like a lease allowing the Scout unit to use church facilities, but the Scout unit will be responsible for everything else, including selection of leaders. A Facilities Use Agreement template can be downloaded on the EOC website.
Some East Ohio Conference churches have been named in the legal proceedings involving the Boy Scouts of America. The EOC BSA leadership team has notified the current pastors of those churches and more information is being provided directly to them.
The United Methodist Church continues to be supportive of scouting, and counsel for our denomination is resourcing the Conference leadership team so that we can provide information and guidance to our pastors, congregations, and faith communities. If you have a question for the EOC BSA leadership team, please e-mail the team at BSA_UMC_Questions@eocumc.com.
Yours in Christ,
Bishop Tracy S. Malone
Special Sunday Offering
World Communion Sunday – October 3
Nelson Mandela said that education, “is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.” On Sunday, October 3 The United Methodist will join with other denominations around the globe to celebrate World Communion Sunday. On that day, churches across the denomination will collect a special offering to support a diverse mix of national and international ethnic young adults to make a global impact for Christ. The offering will also assist countless gifted and qualified youth and young adults who face financial obstacles that hinder them from preparing for the vocations for which they have been gifted by God.
Thanks to your generosity last year, The UMC collected $400,254 on World Communion Sunday. One half of this year’s proceeds will benefit World Communion Sunday scholars administered by the General Board of Global Ministries. The remaining one half will be used for the Ethnic Scholarship Program and the Ethnic In-Service Training Program administered by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry.
All In God’s Image: Indigenous People’s Day Webinar – September 30
Indigenous Peoples’ Day is celebrated on the second Monday of October to honor the cultures and histories of the Native American people. You are invited to see a preview of, and discuss how to use, the new resource, “All In God’s Image: Indigenous People’s Day” in your home, church, and community.
Christopher Columbus represents different things to different people. For the white majority, he embodies the spirit of exploration and represents the beginning of the story that led to the establishment of new nations in the New World. For Indigenous peoples, however, Columbus stands as the epitome of colonizing cruelty and represents the first stage in an unfolding, devastating catastrophe. Learning about the indigenous story is an important step toward composing a common American story that reflects the experiences of all citizens. This short but informative study sets children and adults alike on that path.
Corinne Dunn, author of the series, explains why this is important for her and for us:
“As a parent and diversity learning consultant, I have always recognized the multiple aspects of diversity when working with both adults and young people. A number of years ago, I spent several months teaching and conducting research on the White Mountain Apache Reservation in Arizona. The impact of that experience has made me especially sensitive to sharing accurate information without stereotypes about Native American Nations, both in the historical past and in the present. I am grateful that the East Ohio Conference has also made this a priority.”
The webinar is scheduled from 7:00-7:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 30.
Perspectives: Black Theologian Day – October 23
The theme of this year’s Perspectives: Black Theologian Day is Food Insecurity: Addressing the Needs of the Most Vulnerable. Guest theologian is Professor Kyle Brooks, assistant professor of Homiletics, Worship, and Black Church and African Diasporic Studies at the Methodist Theological School in Ohio.
“I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat.” (Matthew 25:35)
Jesus calls each of us as individuals and churches to participate in repairing communities that are broken. Hunger tears at the heart of healthy communities and Black communities experience higher rates of food insecurity due to social, economic, and environmental challenges. In 2020, 24% of Black individuals experienced food insecurity – more than three times the rate of white households.
Perspectives: Black Theologian Day is scheduled for Saturday, October 23 from 9:00 a.m. – 12 noon at the James S. Thomas Building, 3412 Harmont Ave. NE, Canton, OH 44705.
Missions & Community Engagement
Welcoming Strangers: Afghan Refugee Resettlement – September 21 & 28
On Tuesday, September 21 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. join US Together to hear about its work and learn ways that you or your organization can contribute to assisting Afghan families resettling in Northeast Ohio. On Tuesday, September 28 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. join The Refugee Response and faith partners to learn about welcoming strangers from a faith perspective. Learn about The Refugee Response and how you might partner in its work to contribute to assisting Afghan families resettling in Northeast Ohio.
This free webinar series will utilize Zoom to connect participants in learning about organizations in the Northeast Ohio area and how they work together to resettle refugee families. You are invited to learn about the refugee resettlement process. This will include dispelling myths and offering opportunities for how you or your organization might be a good neighbor and welcome new friends to the Northeast Ohio area. This event is hosted in partnership with US Together, The Refugee Response, the East Ohio Conference of The United Methodist Church, the Living Water Association of the United Church of Christ, The Episcopal Diocese of Ohio, and the Northeastern Ohio Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Midwest Mission Christmas Collection – November 29-December 5
This Christmas, East Ohio Missions is encouraging all Conference churches to support the Midwest Mission Distribution Center (MMDC) United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) collection drive. Many charitable organizations offer Christmas donation drives, but we encourage you to support ones within the United Methodist connection, like MMDC. If you can’t collect items, you can make a financial donation to MMDC using Conference Fund 9944.
“This is so important to Midwest Mission and most importantly the people we serve. Your Christmas items will go to either Haiti, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamacia, or El Salvador to children who are living in orphanages. Thank you so much for showing God’s love in a practical way and giving responsible in response to what has been requested. We are so grateful for the people of the East Ohio Conference,” said Chantel Corrie, executive director of MMDC.”
In-Person Lay Servant Ministry Classes
Deadlines are quickly approaching to register for the first of several in-person lay servant ministry classes scheduled for this fall. Two classes are scheduled for October 9 at New Concord UMC in the Southern Hills District. On that date, from 8:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m. both the Basic Lay Servant class and the “Let the Whole Church Say, ‘Amen’” Advance class will be taught. All who attend are required to wear masks and honor social distancing guidelines. Other in-person, online, and hybrid lay servant ministry classes are scheduled throughout the fall.
United Methodist Men Give Day – October 18
The General Commission on United Methodist Men receives less than 25% of its yearly budget funding from World Service Funds. Give Day is an essential funding source that enables the commission to provide resources and support to United Methodist Men across our denomination.
Home Equity Line of Credit
Unlock the equity in your home and put it to use for sprucing up your house, putting in a pool, paying for college, or consolidating balances on high-interest-rate credit cards. Similar to Home Equity Loans, Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOC) allow you to access the equity in your home, but with a HELOC, funds are not provided in one lump sum, they are a revolving source of money which means you withdraw and pay back the money over time. You also only pay interest and make payments on the balance you owe, versus one set monthly payment. Rates as low as 3.25% APR (Annual Percentage Rate). This institution is not federally insured. Members’ accounts are not insured or guaranteed by any government or government-sponsored agency.
Spiritual Formation Network Gathering – September 21
If you are involved in Spiritual Formation and Christian Education, join your friends and colleagues at 9:00 a.m. on September 21 for devotions, support, questions and sharing ideas. Invite your friends and colleagues to be part of the conversation. Anne Horvath with share devotions with us and a topic of discussion will be, “How does your congregation define discipleship?”
The Spiritual Formation Network gathers every three weeks, alternating between Tuesday at 9:00 a.m. and Thursday at 7:00 p.m. to give every person a chance to participate when their schedule permits. On October 14 we will gather at 7:00 p.m. and our topic for the will be “Advent and Christmas Plans.” E-mail the Rev. Gary Jones for the Zoom meeting invitation.
Trainings Available for Your Local Congregation
The purpose of the East Ohio Conference Spiritual Formation and Christian Education Committee is to support the discipleship ministries of East Ohio congregations in the areas of Christian Education and Spiritual Formation for all age groups. We currently have the following topics available for training in your local congregation:
- Safe Sanctuaries for the Local Church
- Getting Messy Church Started in Your Setting
- Offering Worship Engagement Manipulatives in Your Congregation
- How Can Your Congregation Offer Sensory-Sensitive Inclusiveness?
- Creating a Race and Religion Forum in Your Congregation
- Offering Outdoor Discipleship as a Way to Reach More People in Your Community
- Hitting the Milestones with Children and Youth in Your Congregation
- What Every Child and What Every Youth Should Experience
- Training Effective Teachers
- Developing a Discipleship Pathway for Your Congregation
These topics are in the works and will be available in the future: Spiritual Formation and Christian Education in the Small Membership Church; and Digital Discipleship.
If you are interested in any of these topics/training opportunities, call Director of Spiritual Formation the Rev. Gary Jones at (330) 499-3972 Ext. 120 or send him an e-mail.
The Media Center has recently acquired the following resources:
- The Chosen digs deep into the backstories and context of the people and events of the gospels. Season One introduces you to people such as Simon Peter, Nicodemus, Mary Magdalene, Matthew, and of course Jesus in a way never before seen on film.
- Not Forsaken; Finding Freedom as Sons & Daughters of a Perfect Father introduces readers to the breakthrough possibility that regardless of life’s circumstances, a perfect relationship between fathers and sons/daughters can be ours when we follow through Jesus Christ. This study leads you down the path to finding God and understanding how to know God as your one true father.
- The New Rules for Love, Sex, and Dating explores the challenges, assumptions, and land mines associated with dating in the twenty-first century. You’ll be equipped and empowered to step up and set a new standard for this generation by exposing the things that create trouble in dating relationships and creating better habits now that pay off when you get married.
- Raising Teens in a Contrary Culture shares that understanding the influences a teen must deal with today calls for a new way of parental engagement and a shift in parenting styles. This authentic relational model will enlighten you with creative and successful ways to deal with today’s issues and develop deeper relationships within your family!
Message in the Movies
Kenneth Feinberg (Keaton) is a successful lawyer with a background in politics as well as a lucrative law firm. As a guest lecturer in law schools, he introduces his students to the tough questions involved in legal settlements following a death. “What is a life worth?” we hear him asking a class at the beginning of the film.
Feinberg’s friendship and prior association with Senator Ted Kennedy created an opening to apply for the job of Special Master for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund – a project created by Attorney General John Ashcroft. Emerging necessities brought Republicans and Democrats together for this undertaking. It would be a daunting enterprise to reach out to all of the families who lost loved ones (including those trapped in the building as well as first responders). Feinberg gets the job and announces to his lawyers that this will be pro bono work. (This process would take more than 2½ years to complete.)
Please pray for the families of:
- Donald O. Brown, retired Associate Member, died September 7.
- Alice Joann Chalfant, clergy spouse, died July 3.
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.
- Pianist/Organist – Trinity UMC in Mount Gilead
- Administrator of Flat Rock Care Center – Flat Rock Care Center
- Organist/Accompanist – Church of the Lakes UMC in Canton
- Chief Financial Officer/Director of Administrative Services – The United Methodist Churches of Indiana
- Coordinator for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion – The Central Texas Conference of The UMC
- Director of Christian Education and Program Coordinator – Brunswick UMC
- Youth Director – Broadway UMC in New Philadelphia
- Service Organist/Choir Accompanist – Family of Faith UMC in Akron
Items Available / Wanted
- 12 Pews – North Canton Faith UMC
- Organ – Waltz UMC in Medina
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