Northern Ohio District Declares ‘Faith is in the Following’

Church of the Brethren Newsline
August 20, 2007

“Faith Is in the Following” was the theme for the 143rd Northern Ohio District Conference. A total of 333 delegates and other district members gathered from July 27-29 at Ashland (Ohio) University for worship, business, fellowship, and information-gathering. Moderator Larry Bradley, pastor of Reading Church of the Brethren in Homeworth, Ohio, presided over the business session.

A worship drama, “The Names of God,” was provided by the Senior Performing Arts Camp. The Junior Performing Arts musical, “American Ideal,” gave a humorous look at popculture fame and fortune turned around to shine the spotlight on God’s truth about humility. Conference moderator Larry Bradley spoke on the theme, presenting the challenge that faith goes beyond a verbal profession, it must be followed with action. A message from William Q. Brown, pastor at Marvelous Light Ministries in Canton, Ohio, followed his personal testimony of the power of God who changed his life, when he determined by faith to follow Christ. Offerings totaled $2,587.73.

The delegates approved fellowhip status for the Faith in Action ministry in Delta, Ohio, approved a 2008 district budget of $195,021.50, elected district leaders, affirmed Manchester College Trustees, and held “Conversations on Being the District.”

“Conversations on Being the District” was a vital part of the business. The District Board desired to engage everyone in a time of discussion to discern core resources for the district. Participants were asked to complete a survey, marking their choices of top six “core resources” out of ten that had been identified by the District Board. The survey results identified these priorities: 1. camp, 2. age-specific outreach (youth, young adult, adult), 3. leadership development (clergy and laity), 4. district office (pastoral placement, information, etc.), 5. missional projects (church planting/church vitality), 6. District Conference (connection/communication), 7. disaster response, 8. stewardship, 9. peace witness, 10. retirement homes. The newly re-organized District Board will use the survey results to discern how to proceed with the desired priorities that have been identified. During this time, a motion was brought to the floor and approved, to form a Camp Board for oversight of Inspiration Hills.

The District Board called Paul Bartholomew of Mohican Church of the Brethren in West Salem, as chair, and Bruce Jacobsen of Mount Pleasant Church of the Brethren in North Canton, as vice-chair. Doug Price, associate pastor at Dupont (Ohio) Church of the Brethren, will serve as moderator in 2008. Wes Richard, co-pastor at Elm Street Church of the Brethren in Lima, Ohio, was selected to be moderator-elect. A consecration service was held for the moderator and moderator-elect following the Sunday morning worship service.

In other business, the district introduced a “District Ministries” DVD, agency reports were received, and pastor Mark Teal of Black River Church of the Brethren in Spencer, reported that the congregation will break ground within the next few months for construction of a new church building. The previous structure was destroyed by fire this past Christmas Eve.

In other conference events, the Ministry Commission recognized special service anniversaries of 24 ordained ministers, including four who have served 60 years or more: Guy Buch (64), Richard Speicher (61), Wayne Wheeler (61), and Durward Hays (60). The District 300th Anniversary Committee presented biographical sketches of “founding fathers” from the Northern Ohio District. The Peace Task Team held a Silent Auction to benefit the District Peace Endowment Fund, which provides funding for a Peace and Conciliation staff person. The auction raised $2,036.05.

The Mission and Social Action Commission provided a truck, with the challenge to “Fill it up!” with Gift of the Heart Kits for disaster relief. Although the truck was not completely filled, the district sent two pallets of health and school kits to the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. Mort Curie, district disaster coordinator, drove the truck to New Windsor to deliver the kits.

The display area provided information tables for various denominational and district ministries, as well as Brethren Press and A Greater Gift (SERRV). Insight sessions were available on Friday and Saturday evenings for participants to gain valuable information on a variety of ministries and subjects. Each session averaged 20 participants.

Next year’s District Conference will take place July 25-27, 2008, at Ashland University.

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The Church of the Brethren Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren General Board. Newsline stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source. To receive Newsline by e-mail go to Submit news to the editor at For more Church of the Brethren news and features, subscribe to “Messenger” magazine; call 800-323-8039 ext. 247.

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