July 11, 2022

Bishop’s Office

Bishop Tracy S. Malone Speaks to the Deadly Police Shooting of Jayland Walker
Many people across the City of Akron, Northeast Ohio, and around the world have expressed righteous outrage at the deadly police shooting of Jayland Walker, a 25-year-old black male. Ninety shots were fired and at least 60 bullets pierced his body. This public tragedy and use of excessive force leave many questions unanswered.

I join the many others in demanding that accountability and justice prevail in this situation. I pray for comfort and healing for Mr. Walker’s family, and all who have been traumatized by his death, and I unite with them in calling for a peaceful resistance and protests.

The recurrence of these killings shines the light on the pervasive culture of racism and violence, increasingly incited by political rhetoric and gun fanaticism, that is growing fiercely across our nation and continues to tear apart families and communities. The fact that justice is seldom served is a strong indication of how deeply entrenched racism is in America’s systems, beliefs, and practices. The problem is not merely the random killings of Black people at the hands of law enforcement or by white vigilantes or terrorists, it is the absence of justice that perpetuates and compounds the violence.

So, what is our response and what is our continued work?

As United Methodists who embrace the reality of God’s presence, peace, and power in the world, we believe that attaining justice for Black lives, and all lives, is a necessary and non-negotiable requisite for true peace. The Book of Resolutions of The United Methodist Church speaks to the reforms needed in policing, criminal justice policies (and more) to address the systemic racism and structural inequities in our political, social, and economic systems and to address the criminalization of Black people.

Read Bishop Malone’s statement in its entirety.


The United Methodist Church Releases 2021 State of the Church Report
This State of the Church Report describes how The United Methodist Church, over this past year, has sought to better define its missional and theological identity. We have done that at a very sensitive time in the life of our church and in the context of our decades-long struggle over how to be in ministry with our LGBTQIA+ siblings. Our efforts have led us to ask a question similar to the one put to Peter. Who do we say that we are?

“This State of the Church Report is about how The United Methodist Church over the past year has sought to better define its missional and theological identity,” said Bishop Christian Alsted, chair of the Connectional Table. “We have done this at a very sensitive time in the life of our church and in the context of a global pandemic, multiple postponements of General Conference and our decades-long struggle over our understanding of human sexuality and how to be in ministry to all people.”

The report is built around the four themes of the #BeUMC campaign: disciple making; belonging and inclusion; influence, connection, and impact; and experience of God through the UMC. The Council of Bishops worked alongside the Connectional Table and United Methodist Communications in coordination with the general agencies and other voices across the connection, to effectively shape messaging to help generate conversation about what it means to be United Methodist.

View the 2021 State of the Church Report.

For questions about Communications ministries such as live-streaming, licensing, social media and more, please e-mail Rick Wolcott, executive director of Communications, or visit the Communications pages of the Conference website.

The BSA & The UMC

UMC & BSA Reach Agreement on Use of New Affiliation Agreement and New Facilities Use Agreement
The United Methodist Church does not tolerate child sexual abuse and we are each called to work toward ending the sexual abuse of children. Over the last year, leaders of The United Methodist Church have been engaged with the efforts of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to reorganize its organization as the result of sexual abuse in scouting programs over the last 80 years. Only 1% of all the claims involving UM scout troops occurred in the last 20 years, but even one case is too many. In December 2021, after months of listening to and having conversations with survivors of abuse in the Scouting program, United Methodists reached a $30 million settlement that includes education about safety and review of current policies.

United Methodist leaders and the BSA have now also agreed to a new Affiliation Agreement that clarifies a congregation’s role and increases its insurance. The following are key points about the agreement.

  1. Local churches, the Scout Units with which they are associated, and the corresponding BSA Local Councils have until October 31, 2022, to execute and implement their new Affiliation Agreement or Facilities Use Agreement. Scouting leaders from the congregation are to contact their BSA regional scouting representative to set a time to go over and sign the new agreement.
  2. All current Charters and Facilities Use Agreements are to continue until BSA completes the new agreement with the congregation and its scouting unit.
  3. BSA has agreed that the insurance and indemnity provisions included in the new Affiliation Agreement – which BSA agrees will also be included in the approved Facilities Use Agreement – went into effect June 30, 2022.
  4. Congregations may use the Facilities Use Agreement with the Affiliation Agreement or as a stand-alone document if the church is only allowing BSA to use the facilities. The new insurance provisions will be included with the Facilities Use Agreement as well.
  5. The new agreement is the standard agreement for all UM congregations and is not to be modified. If there are questions about modification, they should be e-mailed to Steven Scheid at the General Commission on United Methodist Men to be reviewed and evaluated for future changes.

View and download a flowchart to help answer the question “Does my church want to continue to live in ministry to youth through Scouting?”.
View and download the UMC/BSA Affiliation Agreement.
View and download the UMC/BSA Facilities Use Agreement.


EOC Disaffiliation and Separation Pathway
Churches Disaffiliated from The United Methodist Church:

  • Bisel (TW)
  • Bristolville (WR)
  • Broadway (TW)
  • Chapel of the Cross (CN)
  • Herrington Bethel (OV)
  • Mt. Olive (SH)
  • Mt. Vernon Mulberry (TR)
  • New Rumley (OV)
  • North Bloomfield (WR)
  • Real Hope (TW)
  • Williamsfield (WR)

Clergy Withdrawn from The United Methodist Church:

  • Jerald Ernst
  • Jamie Walters
  • Harley Wheeler


UMVIM Online Team Leader Training Refresher – July 30
Clergy and laity who have previously completed United Methodist Volunteers in Mission team leader training are invited to take the free online refresher being offered from 10:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 30. The course is part of the UMVIM Summer Mission Academy July 25-29. There is no cost for the training, but you must 1) register in advance, and 2) have a digital or physical copy of the team leader handbook. If you don’t have your handbook, please e-mail Melanie Thomas to request a digital version. If you have any questions, please e-mail Matt Lacey with United Methodist Volunteers in Mission.

Register for the online team leader training refresher.
Learn about and register for the UMVIM Summer Mission Academy.

Meet Missionary Priscilla Legay Jaiah – July 24-31
UMC Global Ministries missionary Priscilla Legay Jaiah, director of the Ganta Mission Station in Liberia, will be in the East Ohio Conference the last week of July to meet clergy and laity of our Conference. Her tentative schedule is:

  • Sunday, July 24 (10:00 a.m.) at Akron First UMC, 263 E. Mill Street, Akron, 44308.
  • Sunday, July 24 (5:30 p.m.) at Church Hill UMC, 189 Churchill-Hubbard Road, Youngstown, 44505. Dinner is included.
  • Tuesday, July 26 (5:00 p.m.) as part of Bread on Bridge at Nehemiah Mission, 6515 Bridge Avenue, Cleveland, 44102. Dinner is included.
  • Wednesday, July 27 (3:00 p.m.) at Church of the Saviour UMC, 2537 Lee Road, Cleveland Heights, 44118. If you can’t join in-person, please e-mail Melanie Thomas for the Zoom link. This will be an Ubuntu conversation concerning health and wellness of women and children. Ubuntu is an African word that means “I am, because you are.”
  • Sunday, July 31 (9:30 a.m.) at Andover UMC, 181 S. Main Street, Andover, 44003. Worship online that day at Andover UMC.

If you have any questions or a desire to have Priscilla Legay Jaiah be a part of your faith community or mission site, please e-mail Kevin Schaner, secretary of global ministries for the East Ohio Conference, or e-mail Rev. Kathy Dickriede, director of Missions & Community Engagement.

Visit with Missionaries Larry & Jane Kies – August 3
In 2002 UMC Global Ministries missionaries Larry and Jane Kies were assigned to Africa University in Zimbabwe. Larry retired from Global Ministries in 2020 and Jane will retire in September but before she does the Kies’ are making one last itinerancy to the East Ohio Conference. The clergy and laity of our Conference have generously supported Africa University, most recently by raising and collecting more than $1.5 million to build and furnish a new residence hall on campus for female students.

Celebrate our EOC partnership with Global Ministries missionaries Larry and Jane Kies at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, August 3 at Church of the Saviour UMC in Cleveland Heights. If you can’t join us in-person at 2537 Lee Road, you are invited to do so remotely via Zoom. Please e-mail Kevin Schaner, secretary of global ministries for the East Ohio Conference, with any questions.

Join the Zoom feed with Larry and Jane Kies. Meeting ID is 861 7776 5641 and the passcode is 254355.

Fundraiser for Mission Journey to Haiti – August 13
You are invited to a fundraiser dinner at Columbus Avenue UMC in Sandusky to support Blair Porter and learn about the work she will do teaching English at the Dondon School in Haiti. The dinner from 5:00-7:00 p.m. on August 13 at 2401 Columbus Avenue in Sandusky will consist of Haitian pork, chicken, beans and rice, fruit juice, slaw, and cake. The cost of the dinner is a donation that can be made in one of the following ways:

Learn more and donate.

Missions 5K Run / 1-Mile Walk at Annual Conference 2022
Thank you to the approximately 20 people who participated in the Missions 5K Run / 1-Mile Walk June 9 in Akron and to those who supported them. Your efforts raised $1,164 for EOC Fund 9001 Undesignated Missions. This year, the Board of Missions challenged participants to get sponsors with the person who raised the most sponsorship money being able to select the Conference or General Church Advance of their choice to receive an additional $500 donation. There was a tie for most sponsor funds between Pastor Kimberly Cheng and Danny Dickriede! Pastor Cheng choose Flat Rock Homes EOC Fund 9174 and asked that the donation be made in memory of Ethan Liming because, “at Ethan Liming’s funeral, his dad said that Flat Rock was one of his favorite places where he had served and looked forward to going, so I wanted to honor Ethan.” She said that she has built a relationship with Flat Rock representatives Rose Darling and Sherri Buehl and shared that Buehl preached for her on June 19 so that she did not have to leave Youth Annual Conference a day early to lead worship that day. Danny Dickriede chose EOC Gifted Gates EOC Fund 9919 because he has, “watched horses heal humans through the ministry of Gifted Gaits and (wants to) encourage others to learn about this ministry.” E-mail Rev. Kathy Dickriede, director of Missions & Community Engagement, with your ideas for building momentum for this fundraiser at Annual Conference 2023.

Learn more about EOC Advance Specials.

For questions about Missions & Community Engagement ministries and opportunities, please e-mail the Rev. Kathy Dickriede, director of Missions & Community Engagement, or visit the Missions & Community Engagement pages of the Conference website.

Strategic Ministries

Online Learning Platform
The Connectional Ministries office invites EOC laity and clergy to join our online learning platform, a resource designed to help you learn on your own schedule. The online learning portal currently offers many courses from other UMC conferences with which we are partnering and in the coming months we will add more of our own EOC-created content.

Register to use the online learning platform.

Rule of Christ Course Offered in Online Learning Platform
Clergy with new appointments and congregations that received a new pastor July 1 should take part in the Rule of Christ training offered through the online learning platform, but the content can also bring value to every EOC faith community. The Rule of Christ training course teaches learners to explore how to manage conflict in their church.

View the Rule of Christ online training course.

Training Offered to Become a Rule of Christ Trainer – August 23
Rule of Christ, the Christian conflict management resource, is crucial to our churches as all find ways to healthily navigate differences, tension, and conflict. Quality trainers are crucial to this process. If you are interested in being a trainer or if you have already trained, we invite you to join us at the Area Center in North Canton on Tuesday, August 23 from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. for this valuable training. Cost is just $9, and lunch will be provided.

Register for the August 23 Rule of Christ trainer training.

For questions about Strategic Ministries opportunities, please e-mail the Rev. Beth Ortiz, director of Strategic Ministries, or visit the Strategic Ministries pages on the Conference website.

Media Center

The Media Center highlights these new resources:

  • God of Deliverance: A Study of Exodus 1-18 shows us that Israel’s story is our story: the same God who delivered Israel also delivers all those He loves from slavery to sin and from service to the pharaohs of this world. He lifts our eyes to the promised land where we dwell with and worship Him as the one true God.
  • Undistracted gives us guidance in and joyful permission to identify the distractions in our lives; eliminate them so that we can recharge and refocus on our God-given purpose; and start living a less-distracted and more joy-filled and love-oriented life.
  • Sexual Reformation: Restoring the Dignity and Personhood of Man and Woman examines what the Song of Songs can teach us about Christ, his church, man, and woman. The church is ripe for a sexual reformation, and recovering a good theological footing is imperative to it. Enter the Song’s treasures as its lyrics reveal the point of it all, not a list of roles and hierarchy, but a love song.

To reserve these or other resources, call the Media Center at (800) 831-3972 ext. 139 or send an e-mail to ageorge@eocumc.com. Browse the resource catalog at www.rqmweb.com/eocumc.

For questions about the Media Center and its resources, please e-mail Amy George, Media Center coordinator, or visit the Media Center pages of the Conference website.

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

Without a doubt, Elvis Presley was an extremely popular singer and performer. For years he was the number one recording artist of all time (He is now number two, after The Beatles). A greatest hits album from 1959 was titled 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong.

Writer-director Baz Luhrmann was up to the challenge. His biopic Elvis is very wrong in many ways.

But let me begin with my positive assessment of Austin Butler’s performance as Elvis Presley. He truly personifies the King’s changing style through decades of music, including his early recordings and his Las Vegas comeback in the 1970’s. (I would note that there are dozens of professional Presley imitators who are every bit as good.) Butler is also able to communicate the soul of Presley in his dramatic scenes, but the script doesn’t give him much to work with. With a running time of over 2½ hours, the film must cover a 23-year career that included records, concerts, films and TV specials.

Read entire review.

Celebrations of Life

Please pray for the families of:

  • Shirley M. Bixlersurviving spouse of the Rev. V. Ned Bixler, died June 18.

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

  • Preschool Administrator/Teacher – Lakemore UMC Preschool
  • Operations Manager – Lakewood UMC
  • Music Specialist – LaPorte UMC in Elyria
  • Director of Children’s Ministry – Willoughby Hills UMC

Items Available/Wanted

  • Media Center Garage Sale – resources available for donation of your choice.

To submit a classified ad please e-mail swilliams@eocumc.com.

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Deadline for submission is Thursday, July 21, 2022. Send articles to swilliams@eocumc.com.