February 21, 2022

2022 Appointments

Bishop Tracy S. Malone announces the following 2022 clergy appointments and/or changes of status. Each is effective 7/1/22 unless otherwise noted.

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

Kelly BrownDistrict SuperintendentTR, OV
Byron BufkinSalem First UMCMV
P. Wes GeorgeDover First UMCTW
Bruce HartleyHudson UMCCN
Nestor NazarioDistrict SuperintendentMO, FL
Kristen PattWilloughby & North Mentor Centenary UMCsWR
Edna StahlLexington Church of the Cross UMCMO
Paul TurnerMansfield Trinity UMCMO
Donna Van TreesDistrict Superintendent AssociateFL
Laura WhiteDistrict SuperintendentSH, OV
Philip WildenNew Concord UMCSH

Visit the 2022 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.

Bishop’s Office

Bishop Tracy S. Malone Announces New EOC Superintendency Plan
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” – Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV)

Yes! God is doing a new thing in the East Ohio Conference and in these unprecedented times, God is making a way and unfolding new ministry and leadership possibilities.

As of July 1, 2022, district superintendency will look different for several districts in the Conference. The 10 districts will be served by eight superintendents and there will be new superintendency models implemented in two regions of the Conference.

  • Rev. Bruce Hitchcock, currently serving as the Ohio Valley District superintendent, will serve as the North Coast District superintendent.
  • Rev. Laura White, superintendent of the Southern Hills District, and Rev. Kelly Brown, superintendent of the Three Rivers District, will expand their leadership to also serve as the co-superintendents of the Ohio Valley District.
  • Rev. Nestor Nazario, currently serving as the Mid-Ohio District superintendent, will expand his leadership to also serve as the superintendent of the Firelands District. Currently, Rev. Donna Van Trees assists the Firelands District superintendent. She will continue to work part-time and be appointed to serve as the district superintendent associate.

Read Bishop Malone’s letter in its entirety.

Clergy Day Apart for Clergy Actively Serving in Ministry – April 2
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30 (NRSV)

Bishop Tracy S. Malone invites all East Ohio Conference clergy actively serving in ministry to come together for a day of rest and renewal on Saturday, April 2 from 9:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at Faith UMC (300 9th St. NW, North Canton, 44720).

Clergy are serving and leading in stressful, exhausting, and difficult times. This Clergy Day Apart, designed by a team of active clergy, is an opportunity to feed your soul through reinvigorating worship, fellowship, self-care, and conversation. Clergy will hear a validating and empowering message from featured speaker the Rev. Twanda Prioleau and will participate in engaging breakout sessions designed to help you reflect, reconnect, re-center, and revel in your ministry. Rev. Prioleau is pastor of Christ UMC in East Baltimore, MD and author of the book Breathe: A Pastor’s Journey to Wholeness.

Clergy are asked to register online by Friday, March 18. During registration, clergy will choose the two breakout sessions they will attend.

Learn more and register.

Annual Conference

Annual Conference 2022
Thursday, June 9 – Saturday, June 11
John S. Knight Center in Akron

Resolutions Submission Deadline – March 15
Full rules concerning resolutions can be found in the 2021 East Ohio Conference Journal, beginning on page 8-28 (paragraph 2.I).

Resolutions are matters for consideration by the Annual Conference which are not motions for action or proper amendments to reports by Conference agencies, but which call for expression of opinion by the Annual Conference on issues of concern to the membership of the church and the public. Resolutions may be submitted by any member of a United Methodist Church or an annual conference organization of the East Ohio Conference.


  1. Submit resolutions with a title. The Conference secretary will assign each resolution a number.
  2. Submit the funding source if it is not specifically included in the budget.
  3. Include “Whereas” statements that provide rationale for the resolution.
  4. Use “Resolved” statements to give the specific stance or action called for by the resolution.
  5. List the name(s) of the resolution’s submitter(s), using an individual contact person, cell number and e-mail address for resolutions submitted by a group.

The deadline for submitting resolutions so that they can be printed in the Pre-Conference Workbook is March 15. Resolutions should be e-mailed to Rev. Cindy Patterson, Annual Conference secretary. Resolutions that become timely after the March 15 deadline can be submitted to Rev. Patterson by 5:00 p.m. on the day before the start of Annual Conference.  The Annual Conference will have the opportunity to vote to consider resolutions submitted after the deadline.

Connectional Ministries

Be a disciple

  • who worships,
  • is part of a community,
  • commits to spiritual practices,
  • is generous and serves,
  • advocates for those in need, and
  • is seeking to be Christ-like.

Lent Programming – March 6 through April 10
Join the Connectional Ministries team this Lent on social media as we all journey together in our discipleship. There will be weekly opportunities to learn, grow, and engage. These resources could be used again in small group discussions, your social media posts, and more. For questions about the Connectional Ministries office, e-mail Director Rev. Ed Fashbaugh.

Mondays: Spiritual Formation Facebook page and Strategic Ministries Facebook page
Engage with us on either ministry team’s Facebook page as we interview various leaders around the East Ohio Conference to find out more about their respective spiritual practices. Learn about a practice on Monday and then try it out the rest of the week as we all continue to learn and grow in our discipleship in holistic ways. If you have questions about this Lent program, e-mail Rev. Gary Jones, director of Spiritual Formation / Camps & Retreat Ministries, or e-mail Rev. Beth Ortiz, director of Strategic Ministries.

Wednesdays (@ noon): Multicultural Vitality Facebook page
Join the mid-week prayer. If you have questions about this Lent program, e-mail Will Fenton-Jones, director of Multicultural Vitality.

Thursdays (@ noon): Missions & Community Engagement Facebook page
Be part of the virtual mission journey in Liberia with various leaders and friends as you visit Monrovia, Harrisburg, Ganta, Camphor Mission, Farmer to Farmer, and discuss health care, schools, agriculture, and The United Methodist Church. If you have questions about this Lent program, e-mail Rev. Kathy Dickriede, director of Missions & Community Engagement

All Week: Young People’s Ministries Instagram page or Young People’s Ministries Facebook page 
Throughout the week check out the youth and adult Lent devotionals and picture challenge. If you have questions about this Lent program, e-mail Kaye Wolfinger, director of Young People’s Ministries / Higher Education and Campus Ministries.

Missions & Community Engagement

Support Love Beyond Borders This Lent and Easter
While the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many to feel isolated, it has also connected us with our missionaries in new ways. Technology has enabled relationships to be strengthened virtually.  During Lent, we welcome the opportunity to hear missionaries reflect upon the East Ohio Annual Conference theme of Let Us Live Love with scripture from 1 John 4:7-12 (NIV). We will learn about where missionaries are serving and their celebrations of 2021 and goals in 2022. You are invited to reuse their messages with children, youth, small groups and during worship.

United Methodist churches throughout East Ohio are invited to partner with missionaries by designating their Lent and Easter offerings to the new UMCOR Advance #3022671 that supports the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. E-mail Global Missions Secretary Kevin Schaner with questions.

Learn more and support the Love Beyond Borders Advance.

#StillinMission Highlights Ministry with the Homeless – March 3
Conference Secretary for Global Ministries Kevin Schaner invites you to connect with our UMC missionaries serving with the homeless in Florida, Panama, Portugal, and Southeast Asia for the latest episode of #StillinMission, Thursday, March 3 at 7:00 p.m. Eighty-two people from across the country participated in the February #StillInMission event. Join us March 3 to hear from four of our UMC missionaries.

Learn more and register.

State of the Nehemiah Mission Breakfasts – March 12 & 16
It’s been a busy year of serving neighbors through the Bread on Bridge ministry, expanding the afterschool youth programming of the Nehemiah Mission youth group, welcoming mission teams, and hosting Afghan and Burkinabe refugees in transitional housing. Come learn more from Executive Director Alison Klocker during one of two State of the Mission breakfasts in March. The first is 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 12 and the other at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, March 16. The Nehemiah Mission of Cleveland is located at 6515 Bridge Avenue, 44102.

Learn more and register.

Nehemiah Mission of Cleveland Accepting Summer Mission Teams
The Nehemiah Mission of Cleveland is excited to host mission teams this year and you are welcome to join in the fun! The Nehemiah Mission of Cleveland serves low-income persons and neighborhoods throughout Cuyahoga County by providing community enhancement, home maintenance, and targeted programming for refugees, elderly, disabled, and those without food, shelter, and clothing.

While teams serve with the Nehemiah Mission in Cleveland, they will participate in life-changing ministries in one of the poorest cities in the nation and learn a lot in the process. Teams will participate in hands-on urban missions and ministries, be a part of poverty simulations, learn what it means to be a refugee, learn about redlining and so much more. Most importantly, team members will learn how to be effective agents of change for the transformation of the world through Jesus Christ in their own communities. The Nehemiah Mission of Cleveland is now accepting team registrations for the 2022-2023 season, and we cannot wait for you to join us in mission!

Learn more and register.

EarthKeepers Training – March 18-April 2
Global Ministries EarthKeepers is a training program that equips US-based United Methodists to launch and grow environmental projects in your community. Topics include eco-theology, anti-racism, community organizing, and project planning. All participants plan a project during the training.

Learn more and register by March 1.

Last Chance to Apply for 2022 AC Community Developers Program  
Global Ministries has extended the deadline to apply for the 2022 Annual Conference Community Developers Program, a network of racial-ethnic United Methodist congregations and communities throughout the United States committed to advancing the church’s capacity to be in mission with the communities in which they are located.

Learn more and register by March 4.

Global Ministries Mission Volunteers Training – March 16-18
Mission Volunteers are individuals or couples (ages 18 and up) who seek long-term partnerships with communities around the world and fund themselves. Mission Volunteer opportunities are diverse and range from working with refugees, children, and youth to serving as a teacher, pastor, camp director or health care professional. The length of service ranges from two months to more than two years.

Learn more and register.

Global Ministries Seeking US-2 Fellows
US-2 Fellows are young adults ages 20-30 by December 31 of the year they serve who have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent life experience, are committed to two years of service, willing to live and serve in solidarity with others, dedicated to addressing the root causes of injustice, called to put their Christian faith into action, and authorized to work in the United States of America.

Learn more and apply by March 31.

UMCOR Kit Collection at Annual Conference
For more than 20 years Midwest Mission Distribution Center has been showing God’s Love in practical ways through the distribution of disaster relief supplies, education, health, and micro-business assistance meeting basic human needs around the world and around the corner. The East Ohio Conference will again support MMDC this year during Annual Conference by collecting much-needed items in a 26-foot box truck parked at the John S. Knight Center. Collect items at your church and plan to bring them to Akron. Exact dates and times for drop-off will be announced in the coming weeks.

Here is a preliminary list of what MMDC needs most: liquid laundry soap no larger than 150 oz., dish soap no larger than 64 oz., liquid household cleaner no larger than 80 oz., and five-gallon buckets.

Learn more and view items to collect.

Advanced Specials

Canton Calvary Mission Closes after 20 Years of Ministry
Canton Calvary Mission (EOC Advance 9151) was the new life that was born in 2001 out of the closure of Calvary UMC. Staff and volunteers served faithfully in good times and bad for more than two decades, including still being able to offer limited services during the ongoing pandemic. Coming to the difficult decision to close the Mission was the result of months of prayerful discernment on the part of the director and board.

We give thanks for all those who have come to Gibbs Street to serve meals, be lovingly present with children and families, paint walls, weed the garden, and distribute groceries. We give thanks for the visionary leadership of the directors and board members. We give thanks for congregations and individuals who have given generously so that all people can know God’s abundant love. Because of the ministries of the Mission, generations of children have come to know themselves as beloved, strengthened families have become havens of hope, and the community has been equipped with resources for life.

Local United Methodist congregations are coming together to listen to God’s call and to plan for continuing to meet the needs of God’s beloved in Canton. We are leaning into the ancient and ever new prophetic call, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up, do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:19). We trust that not only does God provide the pathway to the new thing but also the eyes to perceive it.

Learn about and support EOC Advance Specials.

Young People’s Ministries

Leaders Book Club
This is for any adult leader in the church. Join us in reading Wholehearted Faith by Rachel Held Evans, which we will discuss together in March.

View times and the Zoom links for the March book discussions.

Youth Leaders (Volunteers and Paid Staff)
If you are not connected with a network of other leaders in your area, please e-mail Kaye Wolfinger with “Youth Leaders Network” as the subject line. She will put you in touch with a group of other young people’s ministry leaders.

Church Leaders
For practical tips and honest thoughts on faith communities, discipleship and reaching young people post pandemic, follow “Practically Honest” on Twitter.

Follow Practically Honest on Twitter.


“Why do United Methodists oppose the Death Penalty?” – February 24
Join Bishop Tracy S. Malone, resident bishop of the East Ohio Conference, and the Rev. Dr. Jack Sullivan, executive director of the Ohio Council of Churches, for an online learning opportunity answering the question, “Why do United Methodists oppose the death penalty?”

Participants of the 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. online learning opportunity on Thursday, February 24 will hear the official position of The United Methodist Church on this topic, the theological reasons behind our belief, and ways that we can advocate together to abolish the death penalty in Ohio.

Learn more and register.


Lay Servant Training – March 12
Register today for either the Basic lay servant training class or the Advanced lay servant training class, both of which are scheduled for 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 12 at Collins UMC in the Firelands District. A Zoom option is available for the Advanced class, Addressing the Sacraments by Pastor Steve Engle. The Basic class is in-person only.

Cost for each class is $30, which includes the books. Participants are asked to register online by February 28 to allow delivery time for the books. Collins UMC is located at 4290 Hartland Center Road in Collins, 44826.

Learn more and register.

Credit Union

New Year, New Financial Start
Consolidate your bills into one affordable payment with a Christian Family Credit Union low-rate VISA credit card.

Learn more and apply today.

Kingdom Work
Remember that when you do business with Christian Family Credit Union, you participate in the Kingdom building work and ministry of the Credit Union. We invite you to align your finances with your faith when you bank with Christian Family Credit Union.

Visit the Christian Family Credit Union online.

Spiritual Formation & Christian Education

The Conversation Book Study – Wednesdays Beginning March 9
The Love Your Neighbor team at Faith UMC in North Canton invites you to read and join in discussing Robert Livingston’s book The Conversation: How Seeking and Speaking the Truth About Racism Can Radically Transform Individuals and Organizations.

The Conversation book study will meet in-person at the church and remotely via Zoom Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. – beginning March 9 and every Wednesday through April 27. Facilitators for the book study are retired Judge Mike Howard and Krista L. Allison. Loving your neighbor is action-oriented discipleship. Author Dr. Robert Livingston’s approach to racial issues invites everyone to participate in a dialogue to bring about positive change for the entire community. Faith UMC’s Love Your Neighbor team invites you to join in its efforts to build deep understanding and design intentional actions. To register for the book study, e-mail Rev. Jake Heskett or e-mail Kathy Schmucker.

Learn more about The Conversation book study.

Labyrinth & Prayer Stations – March 2-9|
Faith UMC is making available to the community its labyrinth and prayer stations. They will be in the church chapel during office and activity hours the first week of Lent, Wednesday, March 2 through Wednesday, March 9. Faith UMC is located at 300 9th St. NW in North Canton, 44720. For more information, e-mail Kathy Schmucker.

Media Center

The Media Center highlights these new resources:

  • He’s Where the Joy Is looks at the Trinity as a whole and examines each of the Persons of God individually—Father, Son, and Spirit. You’ll see how knowing God in His three-in-oneness transforms how you relate to Him. A richer understanding of who God is will begin to inform everything about the way you make peace with your past, live in the present, look to the future, and interact with others.
  • Jesus Revolution draws important parallels between the cultural atmosphere of the Jesus Movement in the late 1960s and early ‘70s and our own time of spiritual apathy and outright hostility. Discover a forgotten part of recent American history and, along with it, a reason to believe that God is not finished with today’s generation and the next great American revival may be on its way.

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

Encanto opened in theaters around Thanksgiving last year at a time when most families chose to remain at home for pandemic-related reasons. When everyone finally caught up with this animated movie on Disney+, they discovered a delightful musical fantasy about a multigenerational family who spend a lot of their time living inside their house.

Only Disney could create a storyline that is both serious and slight, but that’s what makes Encanto a great family film. You can simply enjoy the colors, the costumes, and the positive celebration of the culture of Columbia (including coffee!) while dancing to the upbeat songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda. You can also discuss the topics of diversity, community, family, and church. We have Madrigals, too!

Read entire review.


Please pray for the families of:

  • H. Walter Willis, Jr.retired Elder, died February 9.
  • Mark H. Collierretired Elder, died February 7.

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

  • Site Coordinator – Blue Rose Mission
  • Administrative Office Assistant – Shreve UMC
  • Choir and Music Director – Macedonia UMC
  • Sports Ministry Director – Johnson UMC in Norton
  • Hospitality Director – Johnson UMC in Norton
  • Director of Music Ministry – Louisville Christ UMC
  • Organist – Louisville Christ UMC
  • Choir/Handbell Choir Director – Hope Ridge UMC in Concord Twp.
  • Director of Nurture – Hope Ridge UMC in Concord Twp.
  • Christian Ministry Coordinator – Brunswick UMC
  • Treasurer/Chief Financial Officer – The North Georgia Conference of The UMC

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, March 7, 2022.

Deadline for submission is Thursday, March 3, 2022. Send articles to swilliams@eocumc.com.