Over the past two weeks our neighboring state, Indiana, has experienced the brutal impact of natural disasters resulting in severe damage in South Bend and Kokomo. The Indiana Disaster Response Team has mobilized to connect people and communities with resources required for recovery. At this point in time, no invitations have been issued for outside volunteer teams. We ask people to practice the spiritual discipline of patience as our leaders on the ground and communities develop the capacity to host volunteers.
Rev. Edinson DeArco is a pastor in our conference who leads a Hispanic/Latino church, “Esperanza Viva,” which is housed within Mason UMC in the Ohio River Valley District.
The church was buzzing as people began to gather for the grand opening of The Market Place For All. Outside, pockets of people waited for 10:00 a.m., first a few, then more, and by the time the doors opened, more than 200 people came in and filled the sanctuary of the St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in downtown Toledo, OH. Greeters gave them a membership paper to fill out, then showed them the way to the Sanctuary where tables and chairs were set up and hospitality was teeming. So many came in that the conversations roared with excitement.
The 2016 Healing Weekend is scheduled for August 19-21. Healing Weekends are for all people affected by or living with HIV/AIDS, as well as their partners, friends, families and caregivers. The West Ohio Conference has supported this event for 26 years, providing safe space for community, fellowship and spiritual renewal. This year, nearly 100 people are expected to gather at Widewater Camp to support each other in times of difficulty, as well as celebrating each others’ victories.
Elizabeth Heft, a member at St. Paul UMC in Dayton, is returning to Bethlehem, Palestine, for another year of teaching at a Christian school there.
We want to make all of you aware of the selection of At-Large Delegates from among our laity for the upcoming West Ohio Annual Conference. The Shawnee Valley District will be allowed 35 At-Large delegates to the 2015 Annual Conference at Lakeside, Ohio and we currently have only 10 At-Large Delegates signed up. There is still the opportunity for 25 more people to attend, vote and to demonstrate their commitment to Christ and the church.
Nashville, Tenn.: A new survey of spiritual "seekers" finds that the top motivators for considering a church are knowing that everyone will be welcomed (32%), making friends and nurturing friendships (29%), support during difficult times (28%) and learning more about God (27%). Less motivating are opportunities for Bible study, volunteer opportunities, discussions of issues and topics and the provision of child care.
So you attended a West Ohio Vision Day -- or maybe you didn't -- now what?
What do you do when everyone is telling you not to go and share the love of Christ because it’s not safe? The May Medical Mission team to Mexico can answer that question: you GO. Our team of 17 people saw 275 patients in three clinic days at Manos Juntas. Each of these patients was prayed over and with during their time in the clinic. One of our team members also worked to build a new kitchen for a family that was affected by a house fire.