“Together in Christ, we collaborate to reconcile and restore all God’s creation.”
Dear Friends in Christ,
There are several things I want to share with you by way of update and invitation as part of our collaboration in ministry for both reconciliation and restoration of God’s creation. Some of these were shared at our Annual Gathering but I realize that some may not have been able to participate in that event.
The Conference Office Will Be Completely Virtual by November 30th
One of the things which COVID 19 has allowed us to test is the viability of having the Conference Office be a virtual office. Because the nature of our ministry together is about networking and collaboration, we have discovered that the space we inhabit at Busch Boulevard in Columbus is not a necessity. Central Southeast Ohio Association who shares space in the same suite will also be going virtual. This will result in a combined annual savings of nearly $20,000. Our phone system is already virtual and so there will be no interruption in service. A new post office box/address will be announced soon so stay tuned for details. What this means is that the next six weeks especially will be full tending the details of the move. We are very thankful to St. John’s UCC in Newark for their very kind offer of free space for storage.
A Word of Deep Thanks to the Annual Gathering Planning Team
Anyone who has needed to shift to online meeting planning knows that there are many details which need to be tended. Many thanks Annual Gathering Planning Team to our chairperson, Rev. Beth Gedert, and team members Jonathan Bradner, Rev. Wendy Schindler-Chasney, Rev. Dave Plant, Adam Sharp, Rev. Nikki Shaw, and Jill Frey for their very creative leadership. Special thanks to First Community Church and their tech guru, Stew Pitchford, for hosting the tech pieces and providing a centering space from which we could “broadcast” the event. Thanks to all who contributed to this great event. Special thanks to all of you who registered and came virtually. Your registration fees helped to cover costs that we had related to setting the meeting up. Any extra funds will go to the Camp 2.0 fund to help offset the costs incurred for that gift which was offered to the entire conference free of charge due to COVID 19.
Annual Gathering Videos are Available to View
If you didn’t get a chance to attend the Annual Gathering you can still catch the spirit of it! Video shorts (available here) highlighting our shared ministries from across the conference and around the country are available for viewing and for sharing in your worship services or by other means. These testimonies can be a great way to tell the story of how God is using us to change lives and strengthen the life of the world.
A Series of Fourteen Generosity/Stewardship Videos Are Available on the Heartland Website
Andrew Warner, Generosity Outreach Officer for the UCC, has developed a series of 14 videos to help local churches in many aspects of their stewardship ministries. You can find them as one of the sliding headers on www.heartlanducc.org, or you can click here.
Pastors, I Am Glad to Offer a Respite by Guest Preaching
I am especially aware that this season has created an exhaustion for all who are engaged in any form of ministry. I give thanks to God for you and for all that God is doing through you. I hold you in my prayers. For those of you pastoring in local church settings, I am glad to continue to offer myself for preaching if this could be a help to you to catch your spiritual breath. I have done this already virtually and would be delighted to be of help. Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remember that Your Voice and Vote Matter
Finally, remember that your voice and your vote matter. I urge you to exercise the responsibility which we all share in a free society to vote. As people of faith it is vital that our energy be expressed to help shape the priorities focused on the least of these, for this is the way of Jesus Christ. I close my note to you with these words from Psalm 146: 5-9. May they be a guide for us all as we cast our ballots.
Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord their God,
6 who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them;
who keeps faith forever;
7 who executes justice for the oppressed;
who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets the prisoners free;
8 the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
the Lord loves the righteous.
9 The Lord watches over the strangers;
he upholds the orphan and the widow,
but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
Blessings on you all! – Pastor Dave