Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Northern Ohio District Conference celebrates ‘Life, Heart, Change.’

"Life, Heart, Change" was the theme for the 144th Northern Ohio District Conference. Delegates and other district members gathered from July 25-27 at Ashland University for worship, business, fellowship, and information-gathering. Moderator Doug Price, associate pastor of Dupont Church of the Brethren, presided over the business session.

Registration for the weekend totaled 297 people, including 82 delegates, and a total of $2,426.30 was received in offerings during worship. A Silent Auction received $1,838.85, and a "multiply your talents" collection received $544 for a Peace Endowment Fund.

Daily worship services were held. A service was provided by the Senior Performing Arts Camp. "Undo" brought the Gospel message of salvation through drama and song. Moderator Price presented a monologue on the Sermon on the Mount. Sunday morning worship was led by Jonathan Reuel, founder of the Charlottesville Project Micro Church in Virginia, presenting the "DMX Zone and Transition." Holly Hottel directed the Junior Performing Arts musical, "Life Song," a humorous look at working together for God’s Kingdom.

The district’s Anniversary Committee asked each congregation to bring a poster to the conference with a history and photos of the churches in the Northern Ohio District. Twenty-eight churches were represented through posters.

In the business session, delegates representing 44 congregations met to fellowship, receive reports, elect conference and district officers, and deliberate over several items of business.

Delegates approved a new 18-member District Board structure along with corresponding revisions to the District Constitution and Bylaws; adopted a $199,129 budget for 2009; and remembered former district secretary May Patalano, who passed away in March. District executive minister John Ballinger offered a remembrance of Patalano and her outstanding work. Patalano’s father, Durward Hays, her brother, David Hays, and husband, Bob Patalano, joined Ballinger at the podium for a prayer led by moderator Price.

Delegates viewed a 14-minute DVD about the Northern Ohio District filmed and narrated by Church of the Brethren videographer David Sollenberger. District staff and board members presented reports throughout the day, as did representatives from Manchester College, the Ohio Council of Churches, the Church of the Brethren agencies, West View Manor in Wooster, and Good Shepherd Home in Fostoria. Guests included Ken Hunn, executive director of the Brethren Church, who led an insight session; staff of Bethany Seminary and the Church of the Brethren General Board; and Brad and Jo Strycker of Heifer International.

The Ministry Commission recognized 35 ministers representing 786 years of combined ministry. Those recognized for 50 or more years of ordination included Guy Buch, 65; Richard Speicher, 62; Wayne Wheeler, 62; Durward Hays 61; Dale Young, 57; Ivan Fausnight, 57; Horace Huse, 57; Clyde Fry, 53; Carl Cawood, 53; Delbert Kettering, 51; and Wendell Tobias, 50.

Short biographical sketches interspersed among business items highlighted the life and service of Brethren leaders James Quinter, Clara Harper, Ruby Rhoades, Cora Wertz, and Goldie Swartz in celebration of the Church of the Brethren’s 300th Anniversary.

Election results included the selection of Kris Hawk as moderator-elect for 2009, and Deb Beer as District Conference clerk. Elected to the District Board were Deana Gilmore, Harold Keener, Joy Parr, Bruce Jacobsen, Paul Markland, Mike Zellers, Mark Bowyer, Scott Brinkman, and Jo Doster; and to the Nominating Committee were Max Canfield, Dottie Widmer, and Reid Firestone. In the District Board’s reorganization meeting, Paul Bartholomew was named chair, Bruce Jacobsen vice chair, and Susan Ladrach secretary.

Wes Richard will serve as district moderator in 2009. He is an ordained minister and co-pastor with his wife, Sue, at Elm Street Church of the Brethren in Lima, Ohio. A consecration service was held for the new moderator and moderator-elect following the Sunday morning worship service. Next year’s District Conference will be July 24-26, 2009, at Ashland University.

Source: 10/29/2008 Newsline Extra

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