Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving!!!

Every day is a day to give thanks and praise the Lord !

We are thankful for all 39 of our churches in this association and all 105 clergy. As an association we wish to be available and useful to all. In this time of renewal and transition we strive to learn about the strengths, gifts, challenges and histories of all our family. Please share your story today.

I challenge each clergy to write a personal brag page about what they and their place of ministry are doing to live out the faith they proclaim.  I also challenge each congregation to write a short story about who they are, what they are about, what their goals are and what they hold up proudly for all to see.

We can and must share our stories. Victories are fun, but times we have faltered and times we hurt need to be shared too.    We have congregations who need inspiration and encouragement. We have congregations that need to be applauded and some who need challenged. We have communities in need of resources including volunteer hours. There is something for us all to do.

As we give thanks, let’s put our words into actions that encourage others to give thanks too.

Send your stories, thoughts, pictures and challenges to debras@ocucc.org. They will be shared in the weekly Newsletter between now and Christmas.

 

ELDERS

Our Covenant Elders are a helpful resource to congregations in their search and call process, in trying something new doing the upcoming holy days, in self-evaluation to assist in 2018 goal setting and budget planning. Utilize them.

 

Pastoral Practice

Our groups continue to meet and we are working on starting new groups. Any authorized clergy are welcome. Please prayerfully consider devoting monthly time to excellence in your called vocation.

 

Thank You

Rev. Linda Meredith

Speaking of Faith… Spiritual but Not Religious, Hinduism, Christianity, Islam

Over the next several months Rev. Dr. Tim Ahrens will be facilitating this program.

We will learn WITH people who practice their faith in each of the above beliefs.

Monday, December 4 -7-9pm – Spiritual But Not Religious – location to be announced.

Monday, January 8 – 7-9pm –  Hinduism – location to be announced.

Monday, February 5 – 7-9pm – Christianity – location to be announced.

Monday, March 5 -7-9pm – Islam – Noor Cultural Islamic Center, 5001 Wilcox Road, Dublin, Ohio 43016

Bring friends, family, neighbors, co-workers. All are welcome. We need to have folks sign-up so we can plan for food and seating.

Contact Rev. Dr. Tim Ahrens for more information

Imagining a Different Conference

You are invited to help the Conference Vision Team!

Recently, a team of 15 representatives from Associations and Conference forwarded a report to the Board of Directors. That report imagined different ways to shape the Ohio Conference and its Associations.

The Vision Team declared to the Board of Directors that we need to become “one nimble and responsible judicatory that is faithful in mission and responsible in stewardship.”

The Board agreed. And that’s where you come in.

Read More

All Saints Day Wednesday, November 1st by Steven Liechty

“Let the saints be joyful in glory.” – Psalm 149

Every year on November 1, All Saints Day, I remember Sacred Heart cemetery in the town I grew up in. It was a huge Polish cemetery situated on a long sloping hill next to a busy intersection and we passed it every day on our way almost everywhere. Normally, like all cemeteries, it gave me the creeps, especially because at the very top of the hill there was an enormous 19th century abandoned orphanage that scared me so much I wouldn’t even look at it. Naturally, I assumed that all the orphans’ parents were buried in the cemetery.

But on the night before November 1, starting at dusk, the entire cemetery would be lit up with thousands of red votive candles. It made it look like the dead were getting ready for a party, like they had turned on all the lights in the house.

I’m sure it seems odd to say the cemetery looked festive, but it really did. On that night, there was nothing “dead” about it. The effect was to confuse the categories of living and dead. It made the dead seem less separated from us, not so different from us. I used to think all those red candles burning all night on the graves must make the dead people happy, or at least cheer them up.

Of course that was what I thought when I was a kid afraid of cemeteries and orphanages. But now I wonder: why not? If death is not the end, then it’s not the end of cheer or even joy. And not theoretical, pie-in-the-sky joy, either. The real thing, the same happiness we know now, the kind that makes us put up Christmas lights. The kind of happiness that makes us wish it could last forever. Every year on All Saints Day, I wonder if it does.

Prayer

Here’s hoping perpetual light means eternal joy. Amen.

Welcoming Those Living with Mental Illness

W.I.S.E. (Welcoming, Inclusive, Supportive, and Engaged) congregations are learning how to expand their welcome to embrace people living with mental illness, cognitive disabilities and brain injuries. A project of the UCC Mental Health Network, W.I.S.E. is a natural complement to your congregation’s ONA commitment. Learn more at the movement’s next conference Oct. 20 in Venice, FL, and check out the blog for more resources for your congregation.

LEARN MORE

Advent is Approaching! Save the Date: Sunday, December 3rd 1p-4p

Bethlehem Marketplace a non profit event sponsored by

St. John’s United Church of Christ

285 W National Dr, Newark, Ohio 43055

While waiting in the sanctuary for your trip to Bethlehem, music will be provided by various church choirs and musical groups. Once in the Marketplace, guests will experience Bethlehem, as it was 2000 years ago. They will pass the Inn where there was no room and see the Holy Family in the stable. Visitors will receive gifts as they depart the Marketplace and return to the 20th century. Come join us and experience the true meaning of Christmas.

Guests are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items or monetary gifts which will be presented to the Licking County Food Pantry Network.

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