The Ohio Conference Board begins discernment of the future of the wider church in Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia
Your Ohio Conference Board of Directors takes seriously the work that God is calling us to. We are discerning and listening to ALL. In February, we began our regular meeting with devotions and the lighting of the Christ candle, reminding ourselves of the vigil that binds us in faith together. It was a powerful devotion and meditation guiding us as we discussed our ministry together.
I will recap three important topics that took precedence during this meeting:
The Board continues to discern a way in which we will live into the Mission First Visioning Process in the coming months. Our Designated Conference Minster shared results of a recent meeting between National UCC staff leaders, our Association ministers and our Conference Minister that helped all parties move forward in a productive way. Those conference and association leaders agreed to create a visioning group comprised of two members selected by each Association governing body, two members of the Ohio Conference Board, the four Association Ministers, the Designated Conference Minister, the General Minister and President of the UCC, and the Executive Minister of Local Church Ministries. This group will meet with a mediator to begin the process of discerning how we will move forward with our visioning process in the wider church in Ohio, West Virginia, and Kentucky.
After learning in December of Designated Conference Minister Phil Hart’s intention not to renew his contract after it expires in July, the board reached consensus to hire an interim conference minister to lead us through this time of transition. We formed a search committee that includes board members Jeff Roeger (EOA), Jay McMillan (SONKA), Sam Buehrer (NWOA), Cynthia Tyson (CSEOA), Jim Meyer (WRA), Mindy Quellhorst (Moderator), plus a national staff representative. We are putting together a job description which will include skills of mediation, conflict resolution and community building.
The camp sales committee reported that they are working hard to balance the future needs of faith formation and outdoor ministries with the conference’s financial realities. Only one small piece of property — the house occupied by the site director at Templed Hills — has been sold. The committee is diligently working through many complicated issues related to the sale of the land before presenting a final proposal to the Board for approval.
Thank you for keeping vigil with us through this process. Your prayers are deeply appreciated as we move forward.
Yours in Covenant,
Rev. Melinda Quellhorst
Pastor of Grace United Church of Christ, Lancaster, Ohio
Moderator, Ohio Conference Board of Directors