October 4, 2021

The United Methodist Church

Tuesdays at the Table Discussion Series – Begins October 5
As the Church confronts the new realities of a global pandemic and disagreements within the denomination, it is important for the people called United Methodists to explore and understand who we are, what we believe, and how we live as people of God today and into the future. To help us think through these issues, the Connectional Table, in cooperation with our general agencies, is hosting a series of discussions with United Methodist theologians and leaders that will help us better understand our faith, our church and ourselves. Beginning October 5, join us on Facebook every Tuesday at 11:00 a.m. Eastern for a 20- to 30-minute conversation about who we are as the people of The United Methodist Church.

On Tuesday, October 5 the Rev. Kennetha Bigham-Tsai, chief Connectional Ministries officer, will be joined by Dr. David Field, renowned author, theologian and Ecumenical Staff Officer for Faith and Order and Theological Dialogue. Dr. Field will share why he is a United Methodist and how he is thinking through the issues facing the world and church today.

Learn more about the Tuesdays at the Table series.
View the Facebook Live sessions.

#BeUMC People of God Campaign
The United Methodist Church People of God campaign celebrates key attributes that are important to United Methodists and serves as a reminder of how we are living out our faith. The campaign focuses on words that reflect our denomination’s faith, heritage, values, history, diversity, connection, and global footprint. The #BeUMC message further calls us to embrace our Wesleyan heritage and envision a promising future. Every day is an opportunity to live into our mission and strive to #BeUMC — to be the church our world so desperately needs. We celebrate that God’s grace is not static but meets us where we are as we grow in mission and faith.

Learn more about the campaign.
Explore and download campaign resources.

Jurisdictional Conference

A virtual special session of Jurisdictional Conference is scheduled for November 10-11, 2021. The theme of the conference is Building Beloved Community, and the guiding scripture is Ephesians 6:23.

Learn more about the virtual special session.

General Conference

The Secretary of the General Conference has stated that The Protocol, along with the Christmas Covenant from the Philippines will be part of what delegates consider when the postponed 2020 General Conference meets August 29 – September 6, 2022, in Minneapolis. Both submitted pieces of legislation were submitted within the deadline for annual conferences to submit legislation to the 2020 General Conference.

Ask The UMC and UM News created a chart that provides a basic comparison of the General Conference legislative plans submitted by groups. View and download the chart.


Clergy Mission Day Apart – October 16
On Saturday, October 16 from 9:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m., join other East Ohio Conference clergy for a day of service and fellowship at one of our mission-partner sites. All local licensed pastors, associate members, ordained and commissioned Elders and Deacons, and retired clergy are encouraged to attend. We pray this is a time of covenant keeping, laughter, and a time that will fill your spirit during this time of chaos.

Consider inviting a clergy friend to join you for the Mission Day. When you register, you will select one of these mission sites at which you choose to work on October 16:

  • Blue Rose, Mansfield (Mid-Ohio)
  • Covered Bridge Mission, Jefferson (Western Reserve)
  • Epworth Center, Bethesda (Southern Hills)
  • Nehemiah Mission of Cleveland (North Coast)
  • Urban Mission, Steubenville (Ohio Valley)

We will follow current Centers for Disease Control (CDC) COVID-19 guidelines and appropriate face coverings will be required while indoors, regardless of vaccination status. It is the hope that groups will be able to eat lunch outdoors as the weather permits. If you have questions, please e-mail Rev. Kimberly Arbaugh. We will gather at each site at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, October 16. We apologize that an earlier flyer listed a different start time.

Learn more and register.

Virtual Holy Land UMVIM Journey for Advent
Rev. Dr. Tammy Kuntz, United Methodist Volunteers in Mission coordinator for the North Central Jurisdiction, invites you on a virtual mission journey to the Holy Land to see what Global Ministries missionaries are doing there this Advent season. The free journey will meet each Saturday from November 27 – December 18.

Learn more and register.

Bridges Out of Poverty Training – October 27
Girard First UMC will host a Bridges Out of Poverty training from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. on October 27. The nationally renowned training is designed to help pastors and community members gain a better understanding of people living in poverty. The training will examine the impact of poverty on families, explore the hidden rules of economic class, identify ways to improve relationships, and develop the tools you need to better address individuals’ needs. The cost is $49 and includes a continental breakfast, lunch, and materials. The church is located at 22 N. Market Street in Girard, 44420. If you have questions, please call the church at (330) 545-4361.

Learn more and register by October 5.

Multicultural Ministries

All In God’s Image: A Study in the History of Indigenous Peoples Now Available for Download
The All in God’s Image: A Study in the History of Indigenous Peoples resource is available for download. The guide has activity ideas for you, your family, and/or your church/organization to participate in to increase your knowledge as you learn more about who Indigenous Peoples are; how Indigenous Peoples’ Day (October 11) is celebrated around the world; and how the East Ohio Conference has begun to recognize the history and contributions of Native Americans.

This is an exciting opportunity for learning and growing with people closest to you, as well as with people across the East Ohio Conference. As we celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day on Monday, October 11, you are invited to share on the Multicultural Vitality Facebook page a new fact you have learned or a new realization that you’ve had.

Download All in God’s Image: A Study in the History of Indigenous Peoples.
View the training session for how to use the study guide.

Perspectives: Black Theologian Day – October 23
Jesus calls each of us as individuals and churches to participate in repairing communities that are broken. “I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat.” (Matthew 25:35)

Perspectives: Black Theologian Day 2021 is a learning opportunity for clergy and laity to dive deeper in responding to food insecurity and specifically how food insecurity disproportionately impacts communities of color. What are best practices? What organizations exist beyond the local church? What more can we do?

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. The Ohio Council of Churches and the Hunger Network in Ohio will be present to share about how advocacy and policy also shape access to food.

Learn more and register.

Welcoming Strangers: Afghan Refugee Resettlement Webinars Available
Right now, there are thousands of Afghans who assisted the United States during our 20-year war in Afghanistan who have been forced to abruptly leave their homes with their families and seek refuge in a strange, new country. More than 500 of those refugees will be seeking to build a new life right here in Northeast Ohio. Churches and organizations, such as Nehemiah Mission, have already been in ministry with refugee communities and have begun collecting necessary items to help new friends and neighbors plant roots in our communities.

Over the past two weeks, the Connectional Ministries offices of Multicultural Vitality and Missions & Community Engagement have hosted two Zoom webinars focused on how we can answer Jesus’ call to welcome the stranger right here in Northeast Ohio. US Together works with refugee resettlement agencies on behalf of the United States government to resettle families, provide immediate services and support in the first 90 days. Refugee Response is a non-profit organization based in Cleveland that can help families beyond the first 90 days. These refugee resettlement organizations do tremendous work, but it is not their work alone to do. Just as Jesus has invited us into relationship with him and one another, we too can be good neighbors and welcome the stranger in our midst. If you or your church want are interested in learning how to welcome strangers to your community, e-mail the Rev. Kathy Dickriede, director of Missions & Community Engagement, or e-mail Will Fenton-Jones, director of Multicultural Vitality.

Learn more and view the webinars.

Camps & Retreat Ministries

Rev. Bill Graham to Retire as Director of Camp Asbury
Camps & Retreat Ministries of East Ohio Conference of The United Methodist Church announces the Rev. Bill Graham will retire at the end of the year after serving faithfully for more than 23 as director of Camp Asbury.

“When I was appointed director of Camp Asbury, my mother commented, ‘Well, you finally got your farm.’ My mom knew me well,” said Graham. “Camp Asbury brought together multiple threads of my life: a desire to serve God; a love of the outdoors; and a desire to collaborate with people of all ages in ways that bring compassion, justice and wholeness to the world. Now, many campfires and many photos later, I am filled with the joy, laughter, tears, and contentment of being in the place where God wanted me. It’s been a privilege to care for a landscape and a ministry that is holy ground in the lives of so many people. I’m grateful for the unselfish support Camp Asbury’s ministry has received from so many and look forward to its future ministry filled with promise and vitality. I didn’t ever think I would be ‘farming’ for so long.”

Rev. Gary Jones, director of Spiritual Formation and Camps & Retreat Ministries said, “In Bill’s years providing leadership of the camp, Asbury has flourished in many ways. He will be remembered for providing a deep spiritual foundation for the camp; the many campers and guests that Bill has blessed with his caring hospitality; the many staff persons he has mentored and provided for their spiritual growth; and his care and concern of the 400+ acres of God’s creation that are Camp Asbury. He will truly be missed.”

Sammi Vaughan, assistant director of Camp Asbury, will serve as interim director of the camp. Details for a celebration of Rev. Graham’s ministry at Camp Asbury will be announced once they have been finalized.

Financial & Administrative Services

Wespath Offers EOC Pre-Retirement Webinar – October 13
Wespath Benefits & Investments will host a virtual early to mid-career retirement workshop from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 13. During this webinar the experts at Wespath will help participants: understand how to prepare for retirement in a confident and systematic fashion; create an action plan for the multiple facets of retirement; and educate about how to use Wespath benefits to achieve personal goals.

A special emphasis of the virtual workshop will be early- to mid-career attendees. The webinar will cover a myriad of topics, from health and insurance planning, to retirement accumulation and distribution planning, all the way through to investment and estate planning.

Register for the Pre-Retirement Webinar.

One-on-One Benefit Education Consultations
Don’t miss your chance to sign-up for one-on-one benefit education consultations. You need to register by the end of September.

Register for one-on-one consultation.

Health Benefits

HealthFlex Benefits Enrollment Nov. 3 – Nov. 18
The enrollment window for HealthFlex 2022 benefits opens Wednesday, November 3 and closes Thursday, November 18. Enrollment resources can be found on participants’ personal Wespath Benefits Access account and on the Health Benefits page of the Conference website.

HealthFlex is more than a health insurance plan. It’s a comprehensive approach to healthier living – an integrated, wellness-driven health program offered through Wespath Benefits & Investments, a general agency of The United Methodist Church. Pastors appointed at 75% time or more are eligible for HealthFlex benefits, as are lay employees of local churches and district offices who work at least 30 hours per week. To sponsor HealthFlex for lay employees a HealthFlex sub-adoption agreement must be completed by the employer.

Learn what’s new for HealthFlex in 2022.


Advent Resources from United Methodist Communications
Extend warm invitations to Advent and Christmas worship services and events with the help of outreach resources. Choose from banners, signs, postcards, invitation cards, posters and more. A wide variety of designs, messages and languages is available. Order today and receive up to $300 off customizable resources by using code UMCC21. This code is only available on a first-come, first-served basis. Once funds are depleted, the code will expire.

Order Advent resources.

Credit Union

Financial Wellness
Christian Family Credit Union does more than provide our members with the standard financial services. As part of our mission, we help our members build positive financial habits that allow them to make sound financial decisions throughout life. Our members have access to free online tools, resources, and coaching that will help you through all of life’s milestones, managing your finances and debt, building credit, and much more.

Join Christian Family Credit Union today and let us help set you on the path to financial freedom. By members’ choice, all accounts are insured to $250,000 by ASI (American Share Insurance) a private member owned insurer. This institution is not federally insured. Members’ accounts are not insured or guaranteed by any government or government-sponsored agency.

Learn more about and join Christian Family Credit Union.

Spiritual Formation

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.

Media Center

The Media Center has recently acquired the following resources:

  • What Matters Most; A Study of Philippians helps you deepen your relationship with Jesus, turn your worries into worship, and develop gospel-centered tools for navigating relational conflict and thriving in Christian love.
  • James: Faith/Works examines the core message of James: the relationship between faith and works. We don’t work to be saved; we work because we are saved. Faith apart from works can never be sustained.
  • Subversive Witness demonstrates that Christians can wield privilege as an instrument to pursue justice and further the Kingdom, instead of denying its existence, or feeling incapacitated by it.
  • Pray Like Jesus looks at Jesus’ prayers in the Gospel of Luke and what they teach us: how to depend on God through prayer, what it means to pray continually, as well as how prayer can help us gain wisdom, overcome temptation, and surrender our desires to His.

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

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

Dear Evan Hansen
In spite of its shortcomings, Dear Evan Hansen opens up a world of conversation around the topics of mental health, authentic friendship, social media, and family. Like its characters, it’s messy and not always graceful, but there is real compassion and caring to be found, if you take the time to understand and to forgive.

Read entire review.


Please pray for the families of:

  • Raymond P. Yody, Sr.retired Associate Member, died September 4.
  • Melvin Browningretired Associate Member, died September 22.

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.


Details of listings may be found here.

Positions Available

  • Director of Children’s Ministry – Avon UMC
  • Twice Blessed Free Store Director – Rocky River UMC
  • Contemporary Worship Leader – Rocky River UMC
  • Administrative Assistant – First UMC of Akron
  • Administrative Assistant – EOC Office of Financial & Administrative Services
  • Director of Worship Arts – Northampton UMC in Cuyahoga Falls
  • Director of Music Ministry – Christ UMC in Louisville
  • 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
  • Director of Christian Education and Program Coordinator – Brunswick UMC
  • Youth Director – Broadway UMC in New Philadelphia

To submit a classified ad please e-mail 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, October 18, 2021.

Deadline for submission is Thursday, October 14, 2021. Send articles to swilliams@eocumc.com.