October 17, 2022


Download the #BeUMC Discussion Guide
“Transform lives with us through The United Methodist Church. #BeUMC.” That tag line of our East Ohio Conference-branded #BeUMC campaign builds on the messaging of our denomination-wide #BeUMC campaign. For those who are unfamiliar with it, the tag line provides context to the abbreviation “UMC” and educates about the mission of the Church to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

The new #BeUMC resource on the Conference website is designed to assist clergy and laity in incorporating elements of the campaign into their ministries. The pages can be accessed from several places on the Conference homepage, www.eocumc.com.

The online resource highlights the four core values of the campaign and offers EOC-branded #BeUMC social media images and several other resources. One such resource is the downloadable 45-page discussion guide created by United Methodist Communications that contains messaging, Bible verses, and suggested questions for leading small group conversations about the #BeUMC campaign.

Visit the EOC #BeUMC campaign web pages and download the Discussion Guide.

For questions about Communications ministries such as the #BeUMC campaign, 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.

Financial & Administrative Services

HealthFlex Benefits Enrollment Opens Nov. 2, Closes Nov. 17
The enrollment window for HealthFlex 2023 benefits opens Wednesday, November 2 and closes on Thursday, November 17. HealthFlex is more than a health insurance plan. It’s a comprehensive approach to healthier living – an integrated, wellness-driven health program offered through The United Methodist Church general agency Wespath Benefits & Investments.

Pastors appointed at ¾-time, or more, are eligible for HealthFlex benefits, as are lay employees of local churches, the Conference office, and/or 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. If you have questions about the agreement or about HealthFlex enrollment, please e-mail Robin Whitacre in the Conference office.

Learn more on the Health Benefits page of the Conference website.
Select your HealthFlex Benefits choices on your personal benefits access page.

For questions about Financial & Administrative Services ministries and opportunities, please e-mail Vera Rebrovich, executive director of Financial & Administrative Services, or visit the Financial & Administrative Services pages of the Conference website.

Strategic Ministries

Simplified Accountable Structure Workshop Offered on Zoom
The Connectional Ministries office Strategic Ministries team is offering a three-hour Zoom workshop for clergy and laity to explain the principles of a simplified governance structure previously referred to as the one-board model. As part of the workshop, participating leadership teams will be able to discern if this might be a good path for their church. Following the workshop, churches that are interested in moving forward with transitioning to this model will be offered a year of cohort and coaching.

The Simplified Accountable Structure workshop is being offered on the following dates and times. You only need to participate in one.

  • Saturday, January 21, 2023, from 9:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday, January 24, 2023, from 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.

Register for the Simplified Accountable Structure retreat on the EOC Events Registration page.

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

Missions & Community Engagement

MMDC Collection Begins in East Ohio on November 28
The Board of Missions is encouraging all congregations and faith communities in East Ohio to support groups within The United Methodist Church connection this Christmas. The Midwest Mission Distribution Center (MMDC) is asking for donations of United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) cleaning and hygiene kits, diapers, gently used music instruments, and sports balls.

East Ohio Conference drop-off sites are being organized in each district. These sites will accept donated items for MMDC beginning Monday, November 28 and ending Friday, December 2.

Learn more on the Missions News page of the Conference website.

Board of Missions Grants Are Making a Difference – Thrive 10:10
Over the past year, the Board of Missions has awarded several grants to missions and ministries in East Ohio utilizing undesignated missions giving to the Conference by churches and individuals. Meghan DeGregory, operations director of Thrive 10:10 (Fund 9979), shares the following information about the many ways the organization has used its grant.

“Thrive 10:10 uses Conference grants to ensure women can get to school and work when they lack hygiene products. Ruth’s Boutique, the flagship program of Thrive 10:10, began in 2019 as a way for women to access personal-care items. Studies show that women and girls who cannot afford hygiene products miss work and school, further stressing already strained budgets and affecting their confidence and grades. To promote beauty, dignity, and strength, our clients shop at no cost to them in a boutique environment. Lunch is served to allow participants to connect with volunteers and one another, and a time to learn from local professionals has been added to increase the value of their experience.

“Beginning in 2023, Thrive 10:10 will begin a program called Getting Ahead in a Just Gettin’ by World that will provide an impactful service to the Mahoning Valley. The 16-week program is designed to reduce the barriers of rising from poverty. During the program, clients will investigate their lives and determine what changes will impact their family economically, socially, and relationally. As a group, they will support each other in making the changes that will help stabilize their families and put them on the path to greater wholeness. The East Ohio Conference has provided a grant to cover all the expenses of training for our volunteers in Bridges Out of Poverty and Getting Ahead in a Just Gettin’ by World. The grant provided covers all training and costs for six students.”

Donate to Thrive 10:10 EOC Fund 9979.
Donate to EOC Fund 9001 to make these grants possible.

UMVIM Long-Term Mission Sites
United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) teams are recruiting people to journey to mission fields in Cambodia, Liberia, Guatemala Mexico, and more long-term recovery mission sites. How can you and your faith community partner in long-term mission? Where are folks in your congregation partnering in the mission field? How can we help you connect with places in need of relationships and response? E-mail the Rev. Kathy Dickriede, Connectional Ministries office Missions & Community Engagement director, if you are interested in getting involved and/or need team leader training.

View the list of scheduled long-term mission journeys.

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

Disaster Response

UMCOR Cleaning Kits to Be Collected in East Ohio This Month
To assist in replenishing its depleted cleaning kit inventory, United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is asking UMC conferences to donate kits. Cleaning kits assembled by East Ohio Conference clergy and laity will be collected October 24-30 from drop-off sites across the Conference.

View the list of drop-off sites and learn more about the EOC UMCOR cleaning kit drive.

ERT Training and Recertification – November 12
If you missed the Early Response Team (ERT) training and recertification class offered in East Ohio in September you have a chance to take the course in the West Ohio Conference from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 12. Our ERT-trained volunteers have deployed to multiple locations this year and East Ohio Conference leadership is currently looking to form a team to travel to Florida. You need to have completed ERT training to go. Questions about ERT and disaster response should be directed to the disaster response coordinator in your district.

View the list of EOC disaster response coordinators.
Register for the ERT training in West Ohio by the November 6 deadline.

For questions about Disaster Response ministries of the Connectional Ministries office, please e-mail the Rev. Ed Fashbaugh, executive director of Connectional Ministries, or visit the Disaster Response pages of the Conference website.

Young People’s Ministries

Project Feed – November 13
Project Feed is a fun and meaningful food-packing event for youth and their adult leaders from across the East Ohio Conference. Again, this year, the Project Feed event is in partnership with Rise Against Hunger, which distributes the packed non-perishable meals to those in need around the world. Project Feed will be held at Wadsworth Middle School at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, November 13. Cost to participate is just $10 per person.

Register to participate in Project Feed on the EOC Events Registration page.

For questions about Young People’s Ministries opportunities, please e-mail Will Fenton-Jones, Connectional Ministries office Multicultural Ministries director, or visit the Young People’s Ministries pages of the Conference website.

Higher Education

United Protestant Campus Ministries Reaching Out to Students
The Conference Board of Higher Education endorses United Protestant Campus Ministries of Cleveland, which is looking to connect with young adults and college students living or working in the Cleveland area. If you have questions about this ministry or would like to refer the name of a student, please e-mail Executive Director the Rev. Shelley Nelson-Bridger.

For questions about Higher Education ministry opportunities, please e-mail the Rev. Gary Jones, Connectional Ministries office Camps & Retreat Ministries/Spiritual Formation & Christian Education director, or visit the Higher Education pages of the Conference website.

Camps & Retreat Ministries

Confirmation Retreats Scheduled for February 2023
In February, Camp Asbury and Camp Wanake will host confirmation retreat weekends at which participants will explore: our United Methodist understanding of the sacraments; the ways we talk about and experience God; the ways we can connect with God in prayer; and our United Methodist heritage and organization. Cost is $140 per youth and $133 per adult. One chaperone is required for every six youth who will attend the retreat.

Retreat dates are:

  • February 3 – 5, 2023 @ Camp Asbury, with registrations due by January 25.
  • February 24 – 26, 2023 @ Camp Wanake, with registrations due by February 15.

If you would like more information about the retreats, please call the Connectional Ministries office Camps & Retreat Ministries team at (800) 831-3972 ext. 108 or call the camps directly at (330) 569-3171 for Camp Asbury or (330) 756-2333 for Camp Wanake.

Register to participate in the Confirmation Retreats on the EOC Events Registration page.

For questions about Camps & Retreat Ministries opportunities, please e-mail the Rev. Gary Jones, Connectional Ministries office Camps & Retreat Ministries/Spiritual Formation & Christian Education director, or visit the Camps & Retreat Ministries pages of the Conference website.

Spiritual Formation & Christian Education

New Online Course Offers the Basics of Safe Sanctuaries Training
A new training resource for Safe Sanctuaries has been added to the Portico learning platform that the East Ohio Conference shares with other conferences of The United Methodist Church. The online format allows learners to take courses when their schedule permits and to move at their own pace. Those learners can then meet in-person to study a topic more deeply and to nurture relationships.

In the new Safe Sanctuaries module, the Rev. Gary Jones explains the basics of Safe Sanctuaries training and why clergy and laity need to learn about and follow its principles. This is a great course for churches reviewing or creating their policies, for ministry team leaders, and for anyone working with vulnerable persons in their faith community.

Learn more about the Portico online learning platform and sign-up to use its courses.

For questions about Spiritual Formation & Christian Education ministries opportunities, please e-mail the Rev. Gary Jones, Connectional Ministries office Camps & Retreat Ministries/Spiritual Formation & Christian Education director, or visit the Spiritual Formation & Christian Education pages of the Conference website.

Local Church

Youth4Jesus Revival – October 27-30
Aldersgate UMC in Warrensville Heights is hosting a four-night youth revival featuring messages from four young pastors of the East Ohio Conference and music from an all-youth chorus. The revival begins at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 27, continues at that time the following two days, and concludes beginning at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 30 at the church, located at 4069 Eastwood Lane in Warrensville Heights. The four featured clergy are the Rev. Gerald Cameron of Celebration UMC, the Rev. Monique Greenfield of St. Matthew UMC, the Rev. Gregory Kendrick of Cory UMC, and the Rev. Dawan Buie of Medina UMC. For more information, please e-mail the church office.

Media Center

The Media Center highlights these new resources:

  • The Bible in a Year: A Scripture Reading Journey for Women shares how like Mary who “made the right choice” (Luke 10:42) when she stepped back from the busyness of life to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to His teaching, God wants you to experience the life change that happens when you prioritize spending time with Him.
  • Ephesians: Life in God’s Diverse Family takes you through Paul’s letter to the Ephesians to reveal the revolutionary idea that Jesus came not only to forgive sins but also to create a unified family out of a diverse people.
  • Romans: Live with Clarity helps you to know truly who God is and, in that knowing, know better who you are as a person and who you are as part of your surroundings. Romans invites you to both intimacy and inspiration – but requires that you come with an appetite greater than your current circumstance because God has prepared a God-sized feast of what love in action looks like, feels like, and results in.

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

Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile
Hector P. Valenti (Bardem) is a magician who is no longer able to impress an audience with his old-timey routines. Dejected, he visits an exotic pet store for inspiration. He has had some success with rabbits; maybe there is something else he can work into his act. He hears singing in the back of the store and discovers a tiny baby crocodile. He takes it home and works out a delightful song-and-dance act with the reptile (which he names “Lyle”). Hector spends money to rent a theater and introduce this wonder to the world. Lyle (with the voice of pop star Shawn Mendes) sings with enthusiasm until the curtain is raised and then – like the singing frog in the Looney Tunes cartoon “One Froggy Evening” – Lyle silently stares into the crowd, filled with performance anxiety. Hector decides to go back on the road, and leaves Lyle in the attic of his Upper East Side townhouse.

Read entire review.

Celebrations of Life

Please pray for the families of:

  • Ruby Cunninghamretired Diaconal Minister and surviving spouse of the Rev. Earl Cunningham, died October 8.
  • Clara Jacksonspouse of the Rev. John Jackson, died September 30.

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

  • Youth Director – Otterbein UMC of Navarre
  • Assistant Youth Leader – Otterbein UMC of Navarre
  • Financial Secretary – Carrollton First UMC
  • Custodian – Carrollton First UMC
  • Christian Ministry Coordinator – Brunswick UMC
  • Youth Director – Gay Street UMC in Mount Vernon
  • Director of Children’s Education – Gay Street UMC in Mount Vernon

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 31, 2022.

Deadline for submission is Thursday, October 27, 2022. Send articles to swilliams@eocumc.com.