A Future with Hope Video Message from Bishop Tracy S. Malone
Clergy and laity of the East Ohio Conference, I greet you with the love and the peace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I give thanks to God always for each of you, for how you are living into our shared vision of being disciples of Jesus Christ and making and maturing disciples of Jesus Christ. I give thanks to God for how you are being agents of healing, and hope, and transformation in your communities; for how you are loving, and leading, and serving your neighbors.
We know that these are challenging times in which we are living and leading and being the Church. And I want you to know that I am feeling the exhaustion, and the grief, and the loss, and the loneliness and the pain that many of you are experiencing. It is in these times that we should depend on the sufficiency of God’s grace, that we should depend on our faith in Jesus Christ and the gift of community.
We don’t know what the future will hold but what we do know is who holds the future … our Sovereign God … who has plans for our welfare, for our good and not for our harm … to give us a future and a hope. It is with this confidence and reassurance, that I encourage us to embrace our future together as a Church, with hope.
Virtual NCJ Jurisdictional Conference – November 10-11
NCJ delegates will meet virtually Wednesday, November 10 and Thursday, November 11 for a special-called session of Jurisdictional Conference. During the special session delegates will:
- worship and pray together,
- receive a report on work being done in the North Central Jurisdiction and its annual conferences on dismantling racism and to consider how we might further this essential work,
- receive reports from the NCJ Committee on the Episcopacy, the NCJ Episcopal Leadership Task Force and other appropriate persons on the future shape of episcopal leadership including episcopal areas, and to engage in a conversation about the future deployment of bishops and the role of bishops in The United Methodist Church, and
- utilize the processes being developed by the Connectional Table and other denominational leaders, including jurisdictional leaders, to discuss the future of The United Methodist Church and the future work of the North Central Jurisdiction.
Teach • Reach • Bless
Bishop Malone Preaches at UMC of Kent Saturation Sunday
Bishop Tracy S. Malone preached Sunday, October 31 at United Methodist Church of Kent for its Teach • Reach • Bless Saturation Sunday services. The congregation made a commitment early in the campaign to support the East Ohio Conference initiative to raise $1.5 million dollars to build and furnish on the campus of Africa University a residence hall for female students.
“We aim to complete our commitment by the end of this year because this year there is a matching gift offered,” the Rev. Dr. David Palmer, senior pastor of UMC Kent, said during the 10:30 a.m. service. “We rejoice to be part of this way of raising up new leaders in our church and in the world.”
“Thank you on behalf of the East Ohio Conference and on behalf of Africa University for your generosity and your commitment to contribute to the $1.5 million Teach • Reach • Bless campaign,” Bishop Malone said. “Because of your generosity and the generosity of other congregations here in the East Ohio Conference together we are providing safe and secure housing while these students pursue their education. There are 25 countries among the students at Africa University. So you can imagine when we educate a student at Africa University we are literally transforming the continent of Africa.”
It’s not too late to support the Teach • Reach • Bless campaign and to hold a Saturation Sunday service in your church.
Christmas Collection Drive – November 29-December 5
It’s time to start collecting items for our Christmas collection for Midwest Mission Distribution Center (MMDC). During the week of November 29 – December 5, you will need to take your collected items to one of the drop-off churches located in each district. MMDC is looking for toys to be donated in addition to the usual kits for United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). East Ohio Missions realizes there are many organizations that vie for your support during the holidays. We encourage you to support ones that align with the mission and vision of The United Methodist Church.
Learn more on the EOC Missions Events page.
UMC Declares COVID-19 Vaccination a Missional Priority
The Connectional Table of The United Methodist Church has declared increasing vaccinations against COVID-19 a denomination-wide “missional priority.” The declaration makes the fight against the coronavirus as much a focus as previous denominational initiatives to combat malaria and Ebola. The leadership body also hopes to bolster current United Methodist efforts to counter misinformation and get more shots in arms.
The EOC Health and Welfare Committee and the Board of Missions will be discussing how our Conference can support this mission to increase the vaccination rate in East Ohio and reduce the spread of this deadly virus that has impacted millions of lives worldwide.
Collection Drive for Afghan Refugees – November 6
“I was a stranger and you invited me in.” (Matthew 25:35)
Nehemiah Mission of Cleveland is hosting a collection drive for the Refugee Response, which is assisting Afghan refugees as they arrive in Cleveland. Due to needs and storage space only specific items are being collected. View the list in the link below. Take items on November 6 to Nehemiah Mission of Cleveland (6515 Bridge Avenue, Cleveland, 44102).
Camps & Retreat Ministries
Summer Camp 2021 Recap
Thank you for participating in and supporting Summer Camp 2021! We had an amazing summer of fun and adventure, challenges and changes, and friendships and faith formation.
Our hope is that when children tell the story of what they did this past summer they say, “I went to camp for a week and connected with great friends and counselors, had fun adventures, learned new things, experienced God in nature, and now my faith is soaring!” We’re planning another summer camp just like that for next year and we can’t wait for your family to experience it with us.
The Summer Camp 2022 catalog will be available in early 2022.
HealthFlex Benefits Enrollment Begin – November 3
The enrollment window for HealthFlex 2022 benefits opens on Wednesday, November 3. Pastors appointed at 75%-time, or more, and lay employees of local churches, district offices and the East Ohio Conference who work at least 30 hours per week are eligible for HealthFlex benefits. They must select their HealthFlex plan before the enrollment window closes on Thursday, November 18.
HealthFlex employee enrollment resources can be found on the personal Wespath Benefits Access account of participants – and on the Health Benefits page of this website, in the dropdown menu of the Finance/Benefits tab. To sponsor HealthFlex for lay employees a HealthFlex sub-adoption agreement must be completed by the employer. To request the HealthFlex enrollment form and the HealthFlex sub-adoption agreement, please e-mail Michelle Anderson, director of Benefits and Human Resources, or e-mail Robin Whitacre, Benefits account analyst.
Financial & Administrative Services
Review Your Remittance Statement Monthly
The Conference Finance team reminds you to take the time to review your monthly church remittance statement each month. This is the fourth quarter of 2021. We want to ensure that all apportionment payments are included in the current year so that each church gets the benefit of having achieved 100% of its apportionment commitment.
In keeping with the notice in the East Ohio Annual Conference Journal, the final payment of the 2021 apportionment year must be received at our lockbox on or before January 5, 2022, to be credited as a 2021 payment. Checks received in our lockbox after January 5, 2022, regardless of the postmark date on the envelope, will be counted as having been received in 2022.
Ezra Statistical Module To Be Replaced
The General Council on Finance & Administration (GCFA) will no longer use the Ezra Statistical Module to collect and report data. Information about the new system being developed to replace it will be announced once the system has been completed. While the reporting system isn’t ready for use, the type of data that will be reported in it remains unchanged from previous years. So that you will be ready to enter data in the new system, please print a blank copy of the current report in Ezra and manually fill in the 2021 data. This way when the new system is ready, you will have all the information needed to complete the report in a timely manner in the new system.
Please note that the Church Dashboard is still active – so please enter your new leadership before the end of December, as always.
Support United Methodist Student Day: Sunday, November 28
United Methodist Student Day invests in our students by raising money for scholarships and loans for students attending United Methodist-related and other accredited colleges and universities. By supporting United Methodist Student Day through a special offering on November 28, your congregation will provide resources for students to reach the next level of their life by uniting faith with knowledge.
The scholarships provided because of United Methodist Student Day are the only chance that some young people will have to be able to attend school. Be generous in your giving because when we educate students, we make a difference in the world.
Membership: Share the Love
Christian Family Credit Union gives members the opportunity to bank at an institution where mission and values matter most. Members can give their family that same opportunity. Membership to Christian Family Credit Union is open to those who align with traditional Christian beliefs and regularly attend a Protestant church. This includes Protestant churches, members, regular attendees, employees of these churches, ministries, schools, and organizations within the state of Ohio – plus immediate family of our members. Don’t keep us all to yourself! Invite your family to join Christian Family Credit Union today.
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, and if the institution fails, the Federal Government does not guarantee the depositors will get back their money. Members’ accounts are not insured or guaranteed by any government or government-sponsored agency.
The Media Center has these Advent resources and more:
- Incarnation; Rediscovering the Significance of Christmas explores the meaning of Jesus’ titles and what they tell us about the child whose birth we celebrate at Christmas. His parents gave him the name Jesus. But the prophets, the shepherds, the wise men, and angels addressed him as Lord, Messiah, Savior, Emmanuel, Light of the World, and Word Made Flesh.
- Because of Bethlehem; Love is Born, Hope is Here explores how the One who made everything chose to make himself nothing and come into our world. Jesus’ birth gives us the promise that God is always near us, always for us, and always within us—and that we no longer need to have marks on our record.
- The Wonder of Christmas; Once You Believe, Anything is Possible helps us rediscover the true wonder of Christmas by sharing the love of Christ with others. Each chapter centers on one element of the Christmas story, looking to the Christmas story and the stories of real people today to offer inspiration and ideas for reflecting the light of Jesus at Christmas and throughout the year.
- Sent; Delivering the Gift of Hope at Christmas God sent Christ at Christmas. In turn, Christ sends us into the world to be his hands and feet, head and heart. Discover how, where, and why we are sent through story, art, and Bible study. Presenters’ stories show that Christ sends us to liberate, to heal, to reconcile, to transform, and to bring new life.
Message in the Movies
A stunningly beautiful and respectful visualization of Frank Herbert’s science fiction classic. This movie is full of wonders and delights, including major roles for female characters, incredible desert vistas filmed on location in Jordan and United Arab Emirates, and beautiful spaceships and flying vehicles. The film is well cast and the acting is sincere and heartfelt. (Zendaya fans need to be warned that she only shows up for the last 15-20 minutes of the picture but will be a major player in Part Two.)
Please pray for the families of:
- Daniel P. Wilson, retired Elder, died October 24.
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.
- Custodian/Maintenance Person – The UMC of Macedonia
- Director of Preschool/Child Care Center – The UMC in Stow
- Director of Spiritual Formation for Children and Youth – Vermilion Grace UMC
- Cross Racial/Cross Cultural Leadership and Partnerships Sr. Specialist – GCORR
- Senior Director of Program and Education Strategies – GCORR
- Assistance Treasurer/Controller – The Great Plains Conference of the UMC
- Custodian – Doylestown UMC
- Executive Assistant – GCORR
- Church Musician/Organist/Pianist – Brimfield Faith UMC
- Assistant Director of Program at Wanake Camp and Retreat Center – The Camps & Retreat Ministries of the EOC
- Assistant Director of Guest Services and Finance at Wanake Camp and Retreat Center – The Camps & Retreat Ministries of the EOC
- Assistant Camp Director at Camp Asbury – The Camp & Retreat Ministries of the EOC
- Worship Leader – Westbrook Park UMC in Canton
- Children’s Ministry Leader – Westbrook Park UMC in Canton
- Praise Team Leader – Western Reserve UMC in Canfield
- Director of Children’s Ministry – Avon UMC
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