“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” - Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV)
God is doing a new thing in the East Ohio Conference and preparing a way for new vitality within our structures and local churches and making provision for a future with hope.
During the 2023 East Ohio Annual Conference members made a courageous and faithful decision, voting to transition from 10 districts to four, effective January 1, 2024. The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church gives the Annual Conference the responsibility for determining the number of districts and gives the bishop and Cabinet the responsibility to draw the district boundaries. The Cabinet and I spent three days in retreat and have done the intentional work of remapping the district boundaries.
We continue to be confident that by reducing the number of districts, remapping the areas of each district, creating a new district leadership structure, and deploying superintendency teams to each district, we will strengthen, support and further the resourcing of pastors, local churches, and faith communities. This restructuring of the districts will also help us provide greater stewardship and alignment of resources. Having four districts instead of 10 will allow for us to re-direct more attention to the local church, provide greater flexibility with resources, generate more opportunity for creative ministries and the possibility for starting fresh expressions and new faith communities.
There is more work to be done. On October 25, I will announce the assignments of the superintendents, and they will begin ministry in the new districts January 1.
This is a time of remarkable opportunity! I invite us to be in prayer together as we live into this exciting new way of being connected in ministry and mission.Visit the re-districting page of the EOC website.
“I’ve experienced God’s grace in many different ways and some of those ways were through other people who were serving in The United Methodist Church pastors, Sunday school teachers, youth leaders, camp counselors and all of those people were different from different backgrounds, different ideas, different theological understandings but through all of them I experienced the grace of God,” said Rev. Kelly Brown, district superintendent of the Three Rivers District and co-superintendent of the Ohio Valley District.
Make plans now to tell your story of transformation in The United Methodist Church. E-mail Brett Hetherington and schedule a time to record your one- to two-minute #BeUMC story of transformation in The United Methodist Church.View #BeUMC stories & the EOC #BeUMC website.
Each episode of our East Ohio Conference podcast, Storyboard: Faith Witness Transformation, explores what it means to #BeUMC.
Episode 19 is titled “Belonging and Inclusion: Building a Community Ecumenical Youth Ministry”. The episode features conversation with Rev. Becky Evanoff of Northampton UMC and Pastor Jim Steingass of St. Luke’s Evangelical Lutheran Church about the 'Verge youth ministry they are building with a Bhutanese congregation in their shared community.
Holy Communion joins us in Christian unity. This sacrament invites us to focus on the holiness of communion with God and one another. On World Communion Sunday, October 1, United Methodists, in conjunction with other denominations and believers worldwide, will participate in communion to recognize our unity in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. This universal and inclusive connection is the foundation of the special offering for World Communion Sunday.
The World Communion Sunday special offering will support ethnic students who will be the first generation in their families to attend college and people of color who haven’t historically had access to resources that make higher education possible. The offering will also assist countless gifted and qualified youth and young adults who face financial obstacles that hinder them from preparing for the vocations for which they have been gifted by God.
RE-DISTRICTING THE EOC: The boundaries of the new four-district configuration of the Conference, effective January 1, 2024, were created with a focus on mission. You can email email@example.com by October 6 to propose names of the new districts for the bishop and Cabinet to consider.
LIGHTHOUSE CHURCHES: Are you on a pilgrimage searching for a new church to call home? We invite you to visit a Lighthouse church near you. These are congregations dedicated to The United Methodist Church that welcome those seeking a new church home. Find a Lighthouse church in your area.
DISASTER RESPONSE: United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is working with disaster coordinators and Early Response Teams (ERT) in annual conferences across the denomination to assist local churches in responding to tornados, hurricanes, storms, and other disasters. Learn how you can help.
EOC STANDS AGAINST RACISM: Bishop Tracy S. Malone, the Extended Cabinet, and East Ohio Conference laity and clergy are committed to stand against racism. Visit the Stand Against Racism resource page for small group studies, videos, podcasts, books, and more to learn how you can stand against racism.