October 31, 2022

Jurisdictional Conference

NCJ Jurisdictional Conference – November 2-5
The North Central Jurisdiction (NCJ) will convene in Fort Wayne, Indiana, November 2-5 with the theme We Press On.

This Jurisdictional Conference will gather lay and clergy delegates from across Illinois (Northern Illinois and Illinois Great Rivers), Indiana, Iowa, Ohio (East Ohio and West Ohio), Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin for a momentous time filled with worship and collective discernment regarding the election of episcopal leadership and receiving episcopal assignments.

The NCJ Committee on the Episcopacy, after consultation with the NCJ College of Bishops, proposes the following for consideration by the voting delegates:

  • The North Central Jurisdiction will reverse the decision of NCJ 2021 to elect one bishop, thereby returning the total number to nine active bishops, beginning January 1, 2023, until the next General Conference declares otherwise.
  • The North Central Jurisdiction will be asked to reaffirm the Dakotas and Minnesota returning to a single episcopal area, being served by one bishop.

These proposals are presented for the short-term to help navigate the uncertainty of the present time. With the Episcopacy Committee anticipating several mandatory episcopal retirements at NCJ Jurisdictional Conference in 2024, returning to nine active bishops for the interim will provide greater “breathing room” in the next 18 months.

Learn more about NCJ 2022 and view the daily livestream.

Financial & Administrative Services

Local Church Apportionments
Preliminary apportionments were mailed in mid-October. Final apportionments will be sent to local church offices in November.

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.

Connectional Ministries

All The Good We Can: Doing Ministry in New Ways – November 17-18
Clergy and laity are invited to Crossroads UMC in Canton November 17-18 to learn fresh ideas for ministering in their communities in new ways. Drawing upon their collective experiences, the participants in this two-day event will share their insights and passion for expanding ministries that transform neighborhoods as well as individuals. The gathering at the intersection of connectional and community development will conclude by launching the new statewide United Methodist Community Development Collaborative. The registration deadline for this free event is Wednesday, November 16.

Register for the Doing Ministry in New Ways event on the EOC Events Registration page.

Church and Community Transformation in Youngstown – November 11-12
In this two-day training with Dr. Angela Cowser participants will be introduced to basics of church and community transformation to understand how the ministries of their church can impact the community as we all live into what God calls us to when we pray “Thy kingdom come.” It is highly recommended that participants come in teams that have both clergy and lay leaders, not only official leaders but those with passion for the mission and with a voice that is heard within the church.

Register for the Church and Community Transformation event on the EOC Events Registration page.

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

Strategic Ministries

Free MissionInsite Webinars Offered on Zoom
MissionInsite (MI) is a resource that provides users with instant access to demographic data for their respective church. This tool enables church leadership to accurately create a plot showing where members, regular attenders, and visitors live – thus showing the church’s reach into its community. Learn more about the many ways your church can utilize MissionInsite by enrolling in one or more of the following webinars:

  • American Beliefs Study Report: Meeting Community Needs – Tuesday, November 1 @ 2:00 p.m.
  • Building Your Toolbox for Using MissionInsite – Thursday, November 10 @ 11:00 a.m.
  • American Beliefs Study: Understanding Our Communities – Thursday, November 10 @ 2:00 p.m.
  • MissionInsite Beginnings: Who and Where Are We Looking? – Tuesday, November 22 @ 11:00 a.m.

Learn more about MissionInsite and activate your account.
Register for the free MissionInsite Webinars 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

UMVIM Team Leader Refresher Training via Zoom – November 8
If it’s been a few years since you last completed United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) Team Leader training, you are in need of a refresher course. Rev. Kathy Dickriede will lead this training via Zoom from 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, November 8. To register for the class and receive the Zoom link, e-mail Melanie Thomas by Friday, November 4.

Christmas Collection for Midwest Mission – November 28-December 2
There are many charitable organizations that vie for our attention this time of year. While their intentions may be good, East Ohio Missions seeks to develop relationships and partnerships that are healthy and seek justice for the recipients. The Board of Missions encourages all East Ohio Conference congregations to collect items to support Midwest Mission then drop them off at sites across the Conference the week of November 28 – December 2. Midwest Mission is an East Ohio Conference Advance Special, meaning it is reviewed annually by the Mission Awareness Committee.

Learn more about the Christmas collection and see the list of drop-off sites.

#GivingTuesday Match for Conference Advances – November 29
On #GivingTuesday November 29 the East Ohio Conference Board of Missions will match donations to EOC Advance Specials up to $500 per Advance. To be eligible for the match, donations must be made online through the Conference website on Tuesday, November 29. On #GivingTuesday 2021 the Board sent more than $5,000 in matching funds to our mission partners. Let’s try to top that amount this year!

Our Advances are donor directed and 100% of what you give is sent to the mission or ministry. The Mission Awareness Committee reviews and recommends Advances each year and they are approved at Annual Conference. If you have questions about Advance Specials or about the #GivingTuesday match, please e-mail Melanie Thomas.

Donate to an Advance Special on #GivingTuesday November 29.
View the list of Advance Specials.

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.

Young People’s Ministries

Project Feed – November 13
Project Feed returns this year. The meal-packing event in conjunction with Rise Against Hunger is Sunday, November 13 @ 1:30 p.m. at Wadsworth Middle School. 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.

Camps & Retreat Ministries

Women’s Retreat at Camp Wanake – February 17-19
Women 18 years of age and older are invited to Camp Wanake February 17-19 for a retreat focused on the I Am in You. Just as Moses witnessed I Am in the burning bush that was not consumed, we witness I Am in each person by all that they are today. Because of I Am: I am loved, I am strong, I am capable, I am forgiven, I am free.

Study, discussion, fun, worship, meeting new friends, and fellowship are all a part of the weekend as we explore Moses at the burning bush. We’ll begin Friday evening and conclude Sunday after lunch. Meals and leadership will be provided by the team at Camp Wanake. Bring your Bible – and a friend, if you wish – and arrive ready to be challenged and renewed. Cost is $146/person ($126 if you register by January 31). If you have questions about the retreat, please call Camp Wanake at (330) 756-2333.

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

Downloadable Advent Resources
Advent, which comes from the Latin word adventus meaning “coming” or “visit,” begins this year on November 27 and ends on Christmas Eve.

The liturgical year begins with the season of Advent. During this time, we remember the Jews longing for a Messiah as we anticipate and prepare for the coming of Christ. Even as we look back and celebrate the birth of Jesus in a humble stable in Bethlehem, we also look forward anticipating the second coming of Christ as the fulfillment of all that was promised by his first coming.

Download Advent resources from Resource UMC.
Download Advent resources from UMC Discipleship Ministries.
Download Advent resources from Ministry Matters.

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.


Lay Servant Ministry Teacher/Leader Training – November 12
If you lead Bible study or teach Sunday school in your church, consider participating in the Lay Servant Ministries teacher/leader training Saturday, November from 9:00 a.m. to noon at Cambridge First UMC.

Dr. Sharon Graves will lead Beyond Discussion: Engaging Adult Learners with Active Learning Strategies, a workshop offering participants hands-on opportunities to learn new ways to teach and interact with adult learners. The workshop is free, but participants need to register by the November 4 deadline by e-mailing Mollie Gerlach or calling her in the Southern Hills District office at (740) 255-5691.

For questions about Lay Servant Ministries opportunities, please e-mail Amanda Armstrong, director of Lay Servant Ministries, or visit the Lay Servant Ministries pages on the Conference website.

Media Center

The Media Center highlights these new resources:

  • Ecclesiastes: Finding Meaning in a World of Passing Pursuits shares that a joyful life begins by stopping the manic pursuit of pleasure and fulfillment in earthly things. Happiness and pleasure are gifts from God when life is enjoyed as He intends. By fearing God and keeping His commands —through the grace of Jesus —we can find contentment.
  • The Hard Good focuses on two kings: David and Saul. Their lives went down very different roads, and one of their greatest differences was in how they handled hardship and how they trusted God with their lives. This study will inspire you to see the hardships in your own life as opportunities to discover your purpose in God’s perfect plan.
  • Ethics Beyond Rules offers a love-based framework for moral decisions that engages Scripture and the historic Christian faith, giving Christians the tools to consider the moral problems of today and the foundation to confront new issues in the years to come.

To reserve these or other resources, call the Media Center at (800) 831-3972 ext. 139 or e-mail Amy George. 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

14-year-old Emmett Till (Hall) never saw it coming. With a hug from his mother Mamie (Deadwyler), he left Chicago for Mississippi to spend the summer with relatives. His mother had “the talk” with Emmett about the need to be careful and to “be small”. Optimistic and naïve, he was unprepared for the hard daily work of picking cotton with his sharecropper cousins or with how risky it could be to walk into a small grocery store on August 24, 1955 and chat with Carolyn Bryant (Haley Bennett), the white cashier. Emmett comments that her face resembles the photo of a Hollywood star that came with his wallet. A backward glance and an appreciative whistle on his way out would seal his fate and cost him his life four days later.

wisely and beautifully focuses on the close relationship of mother and son. It begins in Chicago with scenes of Mamie watching her beloved “Bobo” smile and dance to a 78-rpm record of Dizzy Gillespie. There are just enough family scenes to demonstrate the warmth at home as well as Mamie’s trepidation of sending her child to the South, even though he is sure to receive love there, as well.

Read entire review.

Celebrations of Life

Please pray for the families of:

  • C. Dwight Hayesretired Elder, died October 22.
  • Donald E. LaFaberretired Elder, died October 18.
  • Glenn A. Taylorretired Local Pastor, died October 16.

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 Spiritual Formation for Children, Youth, and Young Adults – Norwalk First UMC
  • Youth Director – Mentor UMC
  • Director of Modern Worship – Mentor UMC
  • Director of Family Ministries – Hudson UMC
  • 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

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, November 14, 2022.

Deadline for submission is Thursday, November 10, 2022. Send articles to swilliams@eocumc.com.