By Regional Minister Search Team - Friday October 9, 2020
Greetings, fellow Disciples! As many of you saw at our virtual Regional Assembly, we were excited to share that the Regional Profile has been completed along with a Regional Minister Job Description. We believe that these are reflective not just of our current identity as a collective community of faith, but also as a foundational visioning document for going forward.
By Rev. Don Baird - Friday October 2, 2020
I've been struggling with the meaning of World Communion Sunday this week.
In Galatians 3:28 Paul writes
"28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."
These were the three great issues of his time which Jews and some Jewish Christians believed separated persons from God and from each other - dividing lines which he insisted time and again were overcome in Christ. In our time the issues of religious diversity, gender equality, and racism and social class divide us still. In this season we would certainly add politics to the list.
By Christian Church in Ohio - Tuesday September 29, 2020
We had such a wonderful Virtual Regional Assembly on Saturday! We are so glad that so many of you were able to join us online. If you were not able to participate on Saturday, the content and videos (with the exception of the live Zoom gatherings) that were available on Saturday are still available for you to access at your convenience. There are also several ongoing Outreach at Home projects and donation opportunities. ~ We want to especially say THANK YOU to all of the people who assisted in pulling together the Assembly. Whether it was preparing content, providing or assembling videos, performing music, hosting Zoom gatherings or workshops, or any of the other behind the scenes work. We are so grateful for the time and work you put into this!
By the Christian Church in Ohio - Wednesday September 9, 2020
We have reason to be joyful in Ohio today! Today we celebrate that we have in just 7 weeks already exceeded our goal for the Renewal Initiative! As of 4:00pm today, we have received gifts totaling $75,506.11! Plus, we know that there are still generous donations from Congregations and individuals on their way to further exceed this initial goal.
By Candis Wilson, Regional Moderator - Friday August 14, 2020
This year has found us all in unprecedented times. Our daily normal has no longer been normal and has challenged us with finding new ways to work, live, and worship. For our Region to continue safe practices, this year's Regional Assembly will be a virtual experience on our scheduled gathering date of September 26, 2020 for Ohio Disciples to participate in and view at their convenience.
The theme for the Assembly is "Rise Up” based on Isaiah 40:31 which reads:
"but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”
By Regional Minister Search Team - Thursday August 13, 2020
Thank you to all of you who have connected with us, offering support, prayer, and hopeful ideas for the shape and leadership of our Christian Church in Ohio beloved network and community of congregations! As I've had the opportunity to see (virtually) and hear from more of you, I am more and more grateful for the depth and range of hopes and dreams (and passion) that we have together. In these conversations, the Regional Minister Search Team has heard that many of you would like more regular communication and updates from us. We understand and will do our best to send regular updates, including this one!
By Alan Dicken - Tuesday August 11, 2020
Renewal Update: We wanted to send you an update about the Renewal Initiative and let you know that we have already collected a little over $35,000! We wanted to say a big THANK YOU! We have updated our giving thermometer here /other-pages/renewal-initiative.aspx. You can also find additional documents and resources about the Renewal Initiative at that site. - Worship Resources: To supplement the Renewal Initiative, there are some worship resources we have put together for use in the coming weeks. If your church is interested, here are a few resources that could be incorporated into a worship service including Hymn Recommendations, Call to Worship, Prayer and a video including Scripture Reading, and a Sermon.
By Staff & Leadership of the Christian Church in Ohio & Camp Christian - Monday July 27, 2020
Dear Friends, Since March, our lives and daily routines have been disrupted in ways that none of us have anticipated. I’m sure you’ve gone through your own upheaval in response to the coronavirus pandemic. It has impacted nearly every aspect of our lives – our families, our employment, our finances, and even the way we worship and join in fellowship. As you probably know, The Christian Church in Ohio and Camp Christian had to make the tough but necessary decision to not hold in-person Summer Camp, as well as postponing all Regional events for the Spring, Summer, and now into the Fall. It is clear that these sad but needed decisions have left a void in the lives of many people, especially those who were eager to spend time at Camp this summer. This situation has also caused a real, tangible financial hardship for the Region and Camp Christian. Registration fees and donations made in conjunction with those events help pay for our staff, operations, buildings and grounds, and general upkeep of the Camp.
By Christian Church in Ohio - Wednesday July 22, 2020
Recently, we had the chance to catch up with our international church partners at Centro Shalom! It was a great opportunity to be reminded of how global the church of Jesus Christ truly is. We affectionately call The Shalom Center, "Camp Christian South America" and our shared ministry between Chile and Ohio is linked by a long history of delegations, shared resources, and mostly through ongoing prayer and continued relationship rooted in the Holy Spirit.
By Rev. Eugene James - Wednesday July 15, 2020
Coming together in fellowship is a common characteristic of Disciples, which enriches and enlivens our gatherings. We look forward to those times that we share together. The Regional Assemblies provide opportunities for fellowship and much more. Congregations have the time and space to share the activities and accomplishments of their ministries as well as the challenges they face and their hopes for the future. Representatives from the General Ministries, the Office of the General Minister and President, the wider church, and inter-faith groups take part in the programs that inform and enlighten the participants. Representatives from each congregation play a role in conducting the business and making critical decisions affecting the life, direction, and future of the ministry of the Regional Church.
By Regional Minister Search Team - Friday July 3, 2020
This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it! Even in these times of uncertainty and isolation we have much to celebrate as we find new ways of moving and being in the world. As we pray for you in your new and renewed ministries, we are also asking that you would be in prayer for our Regional Search Committee. We have been meeting regularly in discernment about where we have been, where we are, and where God is leading us next.
In our time together, the Regional Search Team has met six times with our Regional Church Council Moderator, Candis Wilson, as well as, Rick Spleth, visiting Regional Minister from Indiana. During that time, we have reviewed the Regional Constitution and Bylaws for our own edification in this process. We have evaluated job descriptions and compensation packages for other Regional Minister positions throughout the country as well as comparable positions in the United Church of Christ and non-profits, allowing us to better examine how to balance the administrative, pastoral, and creative aspects of this unique calling. All of this has been held in faithfulness to the Marks of a Faithful Regional Church and the Manual for a Regional Search Committee.
By Rev. Alan Dicken - Friday June 5, 2020
Dear Ohio Region, In late April, we shared the tough news of the decision to close Camp Christian for summer 2020 for the health and safety of all of those who are involved with our camping program. It was a devastating decision, but we knew it was what was right for us to do. Since then, we have been hard at work developing programming and options to make available to the region. The directors and ADs from the various camps have been meeting and talking through what some of our alternative options could be and we are very pleased to announce that we will be able to provide online camp alternatives for all of our camp programs!devastating decision, but we knew it was what was right for us to do.
By Rev. Thaddaeus Allen - Friday May 15, 2020
The Fifth Mark of a Faithful Regional Church instructs us that regions are charged with: CARING FOR MINISTERS AND THE MINISTRY - The Region provides care for ministers and their families. The Region helps promote healthy relationships between congregations and their leaders. The Region assists clergy and congregations in the Search and Call process in order to match the needs of congregations with the particular gifts and graces of ministerial leaders.
By the Christian Church in Ohio - Tuesday May 5, 2020
We hope you and your family are well in these challenging times. As a faithful supporter of the mission of Camp Christian and the Christian Church in Ohio, we wanted to take some time to update you on some of the things that are going on at Camp Christian and throughout the Ohio Region even as we navigate through this pandemic. We all may be working remotely and scrambling to adapt ministries to a new, physically distant world, but we are nonetheless continuing to work hard to move forward in mission. At the risk of employing a now overused sentiment, our ministry remains important, “now more than ever.”
By The Christian Church in Ohio & Camp Christian - Monday May 4, 2020
“GivingTuesday is a global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world.”
The past few months have been a time that has created circumstances that we never thought we would be in, as individuals, as churches, and as a region. Despite the ups and downs experienced by so many, people have continued giving their time, talents, money, donations of food, and other valuable resources needed in so many ways. The generosity has been incredible and it is something the region is truly grateful for.
By The Christian Church in Ohio & Camp Christian Committee - Wednesday April 29, 2020
For 70 years the summers at Camp Christian have been the highlight of the year for so many people. It’s abundantly clear from all of the messages of prayers and support we received over the last few weeks, as well as the number of RSVPs for our modified summer programming that Camp still holds an important place in the hearts and minds of the people of Ohio. The love and passion that so many show for Camp Christian is a great blessing. This has been, and continues to be an amazing and beloved community.
By the Christian Church in Ohio - Friday April 24, 2020
Dear Ohio Region, Happy Eastertide! We have continued to be in prayer with and for each and every one of you especially over the past couple of weeks of celebrating Holy Week and Easter in new and different ways this year. We hope you are staying healthy and safe and will continue to pray for healing and hope for us all as we move forward together in our faith and in our congregations.
By Rev. Dean Phelps - Wednesday April 15, 2020
The fourth mark of a faithful regional church is calling out and developing leaders. The tag and description both frame leadership as call: “The Region assists individuals and congregations in discerning God’s call as they move through life’s journey.” Leadership and ministry are a calling. I have long held to the belief that as soon as we rise from the water of baptism we are called to ministry. Each of us have gifts for a particular ministry. The faithful regional church serves as a partner with the local congregation in helping people understand their gifts and discern their call.
By Rev. Thaddaeus Allen - Saturday April 11, 2020
Please read Matthew 27:57-66 ~ On this Holy Saturday we sit at the tomb of Jesus and join with all of creation in the great silence that this day holds. The mystery and confusion of what has been, what is, and ultimately what will be weighs heavy on our hearts and minds. With all of creation the church is compelled to renew again our commitment to live in and into the holy mystery of what happens between Thursday night and Sunday morn. This day we wait in holy silence for that which is to come
By Rev. Dr. Betty M. Green and Rev. Dr. Irvin W. Green - Friday April 10, 2020
Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear. The slave’s name was Malchus. Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back into its sheath. Am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?” John 18:10-11 NRSV ~ It is frightening to realize that, if Peter had his way, the chosen course of Jesus would have been altered. Without consulting with Jesus, or anyone else, Peter drew his sword and sought to initiate a battle. He must have believed that the other disciples would join in. Otherwise, he would have to know that the Roman soldiers could have killed him without bringing him to trial.
By Rev. Dean Phelps - Thursday April 9, 2020
In a Worthy Manner ~ Please read 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 ~ When I step to the table to offer the words of institution—that is, to tell the story—I use these words from Paul almost every time. The most likely reason is that these are the words my pastor used, and so I carry it forward. This is the story I was told, so now I am telling it to you.
By Lectio Divina - Wednesday April 8, 2020
Follow the Lectio Divina phases for your devotion today ~ Praying with Scripture falls into the following four phases. These phases are not air-tight compartments with rigid transitions between them. Lectio offers a natural flow from one phase to the next rather than a lock-step march. ~ Please read Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19
By Rev. Matt Every - Tuesday April 7, 2020
Mark 14:3–9 (NRSV): While he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at the table, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment of nard, and she broke open the jar and poured the ointment on his head. But some were there who said to one another in anger, “Why was the ointment wasted in this way? For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor.” And they scolded her. But Jesus said, “Let her alone; why do you trouble her? She has performed a good service for me. For you always have the poor with you, and you can show kindness to them whenever you wish; but you will not always have me. She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for its burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.”
By the Christian Church in Ohio - Monday April 6, 2020
Paycheck Protection Program ~ The federal government has allocated more than $350 billion to assist small businesses, including non-profits such as congregations and other denominational organizations, in keeping employees on the payroll and covering critical expenses through this trying financial time. The CARES Act created the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), providing loans through the Small Business Administration with provisions for loan forgiveness of up to 100%, depending upon how the loan funds are spent.
By Mike Valentine - Monday April 6, 2020
Please read John 12:1-12 ~ This Jesus has to die! There’s just no getting around it. He’s disrupting our agenda. He’s affecting our livelihood. He’s challenging our authority. He’s dismantling our influence. Either he goes or we’ll all be undone. That was the motivation behind the sinister conspiracy to kill Jesus of Nazareth. The religious and political bosses had met and the decision was made. Come Passover we’re going to abduct this Jesus and rub him out before anymore of this gets out of hand. We owe it to ourselves, our institution, and our nation to remove this upstart reformer from the equation. As such, we’ll send out spies to infiltrate meetings and gatherings in order to learn of his whereabouts. And when the time is right, we’ll make our move.
By Rev. Rick Spleth - Sunday April 5, 2020
The Back Story ~ Please read Luke 19:28-38 ~ If you read the gospel of John the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem sounds like a flash mob, something that just sort of happens. John says “The next day the great crowd that had come to the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So, they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, shouting, "Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord-- the King of Israel!" Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it.
By ~ the Hymn "All Glory, Laud, and Honor” - Saturday April 4, 2020
Please read Matthew 21:8-11 ~ Reflect on the Hymn "All Glory, Laud, and Honor”
By the Camp Christian Committee & Regional Staff - Friday April 3, 2020
Greetings Region of Ohio, Every day we are in prayer for our region. We are in prayer for all those who are church leaders, both clergy and lay. We pray for those who belong to our congregations. We pray for healing and hope for us all. We also pray for our leadership, that we may be guided by the Holy Spirit to do what is safe and faithful. Every day we also take in new information about this Covid-19 situation, and we make adjustments to our daily lives in many ways. These recent updates and projections have now shifted from looking at our response to the virus in terms of days and weeks, to looking ahead in terms of months. That shift has caused us to look at how we will need to approach our camping program at Camp Christian.
By Rev Dr. Claudella Koen - Friday April 3, 2020
Joy in a New Reality ~ Please read Romans 8:6-11 ~ In this text Paul believes that here and now humans can live in the Spirit (verse 9). Paul believes that this new reality is not something people dream about in their heads, or must work hard to pretend that they are living in. It is not a reality that exists somewhere else or in the future. Paul is certain that it is real, it is here, and it is now. Paul is convinced that because of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection that a new reality exists. This is not to say that people continuously have occurrences of Spiritual gifts, such as speaking in tongues or prophesying. It is to say that believers in Christ live in a new environment, a new place with new reality structures. Instead of living a life structured by sin and death, we can live in one structured by Christ, by the Spirit, by life. We can live in the Spirit because we are “in Christ Jesus” (8:1).
By ~ Scripture for Reflection: Revelation 21:1-5a - Thursday April 2, 2020
Scripture for Reflection: Revelation 21:1-5a Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
By Rev. Dr. Jack Sullivan Jr. - Wednesday April 1, 2020
The God of the Living ~ Matthew 22:23-33 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) 23 The same day some Sadducees came to him, saying there is no resurrection;[a] and they asked him a question, saying, 24 “Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies childless, his brother shall marry the widow, and raise up children for his brother.’ 25 Now there were seven brothers among us; the first married, and died childless, leaving the widow to his brother. 26 The second did the same, so also the third, down to the seventh. 27 Last of all, the woman herself died. 28 In the resurrection, then, whose wife of the seven will she be? For all of them had married her.” 29 Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels[b] in heaven. 31 And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God, 32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is God not of the dead, but of the living.” 33 And when the crowd heard it, they were astounded at his teaching.
By Alan Dicken - Tuesday March 31, 2020
A video update from the Ohio Region
By Rev. Dr. Pamela Barnes-Jackson - Tuesday March 31, 2020
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 (NKJV) ~ From Ashes to Rejoicing: The Story Is Not Over! ~ We as Christians understand the story of Jesus’ resurrection. Because Christ died on the Cross, we thank God, his story did not end at the cross, it was just the beginning. When thinking of ashes, the ideology that comes to mind is something has been destroyed and the ashes are the remains.
By The Christian Church in West Virginia and Pennsylvania - Monday March 30, 2020
Please read Isaiah 55:1-9 ~ Mighty and merciful God, giver of grace and goodness, we come as grateful children this day. We come confessing that we are not always grateful to you or as gracious to others we encounter in the twists and turns of our lives. We thank you that you have promised your forgiveness to us as we place our trust in you. Hear our prayers that we might be forgiven, renewed and restored to a fuller life—the life you have shown us in Jesus the Christ.
By Rev. Deb Bolen - Sunday March 29, 2020
Please read John 11:1-45 ~ Every single one of us has known death and grief, haven't we? We can put ourselves in the place of Mary and Martha, and the friends who are weeping at the death of Lazarus. We also may be familiar with the disappointment of Mary and Martha, who had sent word to Jesus that Lazarus was ill and he had not come until now, when Lazarus had been dead. For four days the family has been waiting, as their feelings of grief are compounded by disappointment and perhaps anger. We too may feel disappointed and even angry that our prayers have not been answered the way we wanted. After four days, the initial shock and disbelief is still raw but perhaps beginning to fade just a tiny bit. And now, here is Jesus, at last, too late they think. And Jesus, seeing the pain and grief of all those present, wept at his friend's tomb before calling him forth from the tomb.
By The Christian Church in West Virginia and Pennsylvania - Saturday March 28, 2020
Please read John 15:1-8 Jesus said, "I am the vine and you are the branches… Abide in me as I abide in you.” We come to reaffirm and renew our connection with the life-giving Vine. Jesus said, "I appointed you to go and bear fruit… fruit that will last.” We want to be fruitful, productive people whose lives make a difference. Jesus said, "This is my commandment: love one another as I have loved you.” Christ, you are the Vine. We are the branches. We will bear your fruit. We will abide in your love and share it!
By Rev. Cynthia Klingemier - Friday March 27, 2020
“3 So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with God in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes. 4 I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed: “Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps God’s covenant of love with those who love God and keep God’s commandments, 5 we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. 6 We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land.” Daniel 9:3-6 (NIV)
By Ohio Regional Staff - Thursday March 26, 2020
As we prepared to write this letter and update, we were reminded of the many openings of the epistles often attributed to Paul. In 1 Corinthians 1:3-9 we read: 3 Grace to you and peace from God and the Lord Jesus Christ. 4 I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, 5for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind— 6just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you— 7so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ. 8He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9God is faithful; by God you were called into fellowship of Jesus Christ our Lord.
By Wendy Taylor - Thursday March 26, 2020
Luke 3:10-11 ~ 10 The crowds asked him, “What then should we do?” 11John replied, “Whoever has two tunics should share with him who has none, and whoever has food should do the same.” ~ Lent is a time for “ALMSGIVING” ~ "The Lenten call to almsgiving means making the needs of other people our own. One of the central lessons of the cross is compassion; the heavy burdens we carry help us to appreciate the suffering in others.” - Teaching Catholic Kids
By ~ From the DHM 2015 Lenten Resource - Rev. Dr. Beth Rupe - Wednesday March 25, 2020
Please read Philippians 2: 1 – 11 ~ "Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends." Philippians 2: 2 ~ The Message Bible ~ "Complete my joy by thinking the same way, having the same love, being united, and agreeing with each other." Philippians 2: 2 ~ Common English Bible ~ One need not scroll very far on a news website or listen very long to a news broadcast, before there is a story illustrating the brokenness and factionalization of our world. Over and over again, we are bombarded with “us” verses “them” mentality and an attitude of protectionism and isolationism. Our world is marked by an increased tribalism rather than a sense of unity, and competitive rather than cooperative spirit.
By Rev. Christopher K. Stark - Tuesday March 24, 2020
“And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13 (NRSV) ~ Things were easier in elementary school. Milk came in single servings, we had designated times for naps, and I always knew what season it was just by glancing at the bulletin board boarders. October had jack-o-lanterns, November was turkeys, December evergreens, January snowflakes, and in February little red hearts abounded. I learned in elementary school that February is a month dedicated to love. We would set aside a day to pass out cards letting everyone know that we loved them. We passed out little inspirational sayings on candy hearts that I think were made of chalk dust and sugar. And I learned that love is best expressed by sharing food, preferably sweets.
By the Hymn “If You Will Trust in God to Guide You” - Monday March 23, 2020
Please read Psalm 55:22-33 ~ Reflect on the Hymn “If You Will Trust in God to Guide You” by Georg Neumark ~ Chalice Hymnal 565 ~ CCLI #225547
By Rev. Jeff Gill - Sunday March 22, 2020
Ephesians 5:8-14 ~ For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light - for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true. Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what such people do secretly; but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, "Sleeper, awake! Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
By Lectio Divina - Saturday March 21, 2020
Follow the Lectio Divina phases for your devotion today ~ Praying with Scripture falls into the following four phases. These phases are not air-tight compartments with rigid transitions between them. Lectio offers a natural flow from one phase to the next rather than a lock-step march.
~ Please read John 9:1-41
By Rev. Thaddaeus Allen - Friday March 20, 2020
Church Administration or Stewardship of the Body in Trying Economic Times ~ Thaddaeus B. Allen, Regional Minister, West Virginia and Pennsylvania ~ March 20, 2020 ~ Yesterday I was contacted by three congregations who expressed very real concern for the financial realities that we will all face as a result of COVID-19. For many these realities are here, right now. This is not theoretical or abstract stuff we are worrying about, rather this is a very real issue that we must address. We can survive this fiscal reset, but only if we stay together and raise our game as church administrators. These thoughts are for congregations and church bodies who are fiscally tight and not running overflowing with cash. This is about all of us!
By Rev. Harry Bolen - Friday March 20, 2020
Please read Romans 5: 1 - 11 ~ As we read what Paul wrote in Romans 5: 1 - 11 we come up against many of the sufferings that Paul went through for his devotion to Jesus. Paul was originally Saul until he met the risen Christ on the road to Damascus (Acts 9) and instead of being vilified or harshly put down for his persecution of Christians, he found a love so deep and forgiveness so genuine that it changed his life and his life's direction.
By The Christian Church in West Virginia and Pennsylvania - Thursday March 19, 2020
Please read Psalm 32 ~ Lord of all that is silent and all that is spoken, because our lives are full of detail and deadlines, much to be done and little time in which to do it all, we find few moments in which to savor the beauty of the world, to contemplate the fierce endurance of everything that lives, to enter that timeless realm of divine mystery which surrounds us, entered only in silence. Yet we know that this place exists and is close to us. O God, grant us a glimpse of this inner sanctuary, and the desire and calm to dwell there in prayer.
By Ohio Regional Staff - Wednesday March 18, 2020
Dear Ohio Region, What a long month this past week has been! Seriously though, we pray that you are doing well and that you are all taking care of yourselves, your families, and your communities. We are praying for the whole region and for all of the ways that we can be working together, praying together, and lifting up one another in support, love, and encouragement at this time. For our part as a Regional Staff, we want to do our best to share with you what we have been doing and how we anticipate to be moving forward. Communication and transparency are vital to us all as we make important decisions about how we move ahead as a church and in relationship together.
By the Camp Christian Committee & Regional Staff - Wednesday March 18, 2020
We are all coming to terms with the rapidly changing circumstances surrounding the coronavirus. We are well aware of the numerous organizations and businesses that have closed their doors in recent days or have had to alter what they do in a significant way. We have learned that is not always possible to plan too many days in advance as situations continue to change. However, the Camp Christian Committee does have an eye on the future even if our knowledge of what the future holds may be limited. Our Camp Christian Committee met online in recent days to discuss what this upcoming summer might look like as far as our outdoor ministries are concerned. We want you to know that steps have already been instituted as far as cleanliness and sanitization are concerned which are likely to remain in place even when the coronavirus is behind us. And the most important thing to hear is that no decisions have yet been made concerning our summer program.
By In Memory of Rev. Paul A. Johnson - Wednesday March 18, 2020
Please read John 4:1-26 ~ The repeating of this scripture would be a lesson in history. This scripture could also be a source for negative preaching. I recommend that a person look at the whole chapter to discover something positive and challenging. The message I receive from this scripture can be summarized in two great hymns. “Come unto me ye weary, and I will give you rest” and “In Christ there is no east or west”.
By Christian Church in Ohio - Tuesday March 17, 2020
Dear Ohio Congregational Leaders! How are you doing? There is a lot going on and we know that last week especially was difficult for many of you having to make decisions on the fly. With urgent congregational communications, altered worship practices, and perhaps even the need to quickly learn new technologies to facilitate online services, it has certainly been a tumultuous time for churches across Ohio. All of this, of course, has been piled on top of normal pastoral care duties and the now exacerbated needs of an entire community going through this crisis all at once. Truly, we know and understand that this must be an incredibly trying time for you in your pastoral role and leadership. Know that we are praying for you and are grateful for your service and ministry. Your calling and your gifts are appreciated now in ways that they have not been before. Thank you for your service, your generosity of spirit, your compassion, and your love. Please know that you are not alone. There are similarly gifted and passionate ministerial leaders across the state that share your vision and compassion as we all continue forward in mission.
By Rev. Jeff Gill - Tuesday March 17, 2020
For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, ‘I have set you to be a light for the Gentiles, so that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’ ~ Acts 13:47 (NRSV) ~ Saint Patrick is a Christian figure who floats into and out of our consciousness from the mists of time, and of legend. He’s associated with Ireland, and the day is an observance that has a pretty spectacular secular association, but the good saint and bishop didn’t convert water into green beer. Patrick was a victim of slavery and oppression who chose not only to forgive his captors, but to commit his life and ministry to their benefit. Patrick, in short, wasn’t Irish. It was Irish pirates who captured and sold him, and it was from his home in England and his adopted land of France where he was trained for ministry, out of which he dedicated his life to return to the Emerald Isle.
By Rev. Eugene James - Monday March 16, 2020
Relationships are so very important and fundamental to human existence, the relationship between spouses, parents and children, teacher and student, co-workers, employer and employee, pastor and congregation just to name a few. The way those relationships develop and grow has a significant impact on our lives. The Regional church provides fellowship groups that foster the development of broader relationships beyond the local congregation. I don’t hesitate to say the trust earned through the relationships I established over the thirty years prior to my being called as Regional Minister has been an immense asset to enable me to fulfill my responsibilities effectively.
By ~ From the DHM 2017 Lenten Resource - Rev. Courtney Richards - Monday March 16, 2020
Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. Then Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, "This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!"
By Rev. Cynthia Klingemier - Sunday March 15, 2020
“28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. 29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:28-31 (NIV) ~ WEARY IS THE WORLD. Weary of hateful words. Weary of suicide bombers. Weary of mass shootings. Weary of job loss. Weary of increasing taxes. Weary of hunger. Weary of poverty. Weary of division. Weary of war mongering. Weary of creation abuse. Weary of lies. Weary of inept leaders. Weary of ….. (keep filling in the blank). The list goes on and on. And the weary hearts of the world’s inhabitants sink deeper and deeper into despair.
By Life in Liturgy from The Christian Church in West Virginia and Pennsylvania - Saturday March 14, 2020
Please read Psalm 27 ~ Loving God, through Jesus Christ you bring light and life to a dark and dying world. We give you thanks and praise for your love which he reveals to us, even today, and for the hope which his life and death and resurrection unfolds for our world. Even as you love the world so greatly and sacrificially in Jesus, help us in his spirit to live and to love your world today, especially as we lift to you the lonely, the hurting, the sick and the dying.
By The Visiting Regional Ministers - Friday March 13, 2020
Dear Church, On Thursday, Governor Mike Dewine outline several actions designed to mitigate the spread of the Coronavirus among Ohioans. Among them was a ban on gatherings of 100 or more. Although religious services are exempt, the ban prompts our congregations to consider how we respond to the outbreak of COVID-19. As communities of faith, we gather for worship, fellowship, and mission. We are naturally in close proximity to each other, and many members of our communities are among the most vulnerable to the disease. While cancelling worship services and other church gatherings is not mandated, we should consider that possibility to ensure the health and safety of those who worship and serve with us.
By Rev. Michael Doerr - Friday March 13, 2020
O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord, our maker! Psalm 95:6 ~ Every morning at camp, cabins of Chi Rhoers gather together for morning prayers. As candles are lit, this verse is read out loud together by campers and their counselors. Thinking about this, I wonder at how many campers have shared in this devotion through the years. Was this prayer liturgy, and this verse, used at the very beginning of Camp Christian's ministry? Even back in the days when there were 8 (yes, 8!) weeks of Chi Rho every summer?! Hundreds, even thousands, of campers, every morning for a week, every summer for generations, have begun a time of prayer in the morning seeking God's presence in that moment, and by extension for the entire day ahead of them. This is significant, really it is. If we call Camp Christian holy ground with straight faces, it can only be because we have joined together seeking God's presence, and God has answered our prayers by providing it.
By ~ Scripture for Reflection: Psalm 51:1-10 - Thursday March 12, 2020
Scripture for Reflection: Psalm 51:1-10
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
By Christian Church in Ohio - Wednesday March 11, 2020
Dear Church, This is just a quick message to let you all know what the Region is doing in response to COVID-19. First and foremost, we are praying. Praying for healing, praying for wholeness, praying for hope. We ask all of you to join us in this prayer as we know that we must always root all of our actions, thoughts, and daily lives in the power of prayer. ~ We know that prayer requires action of us as well and we want to reassure you that we are taking action...
By Pastor Wally Burman - Wednesday March 11, 2020
Please read John 7:53-8:11 The Voice (VOICE) ~ This passage of Scripture tells the story of the woman caught in adultery and brought before Jesus by the Pharisees. The Pharisees were a member of an ancient Jewish sect, distinguished by strict observance of the traditional and written law, and commonly held to have pretensions to superior sanctity. They also claimed Mosaic authority for their interpretation of Jewish Laws.
By Rev. Kerry Reed - Tuesday March 10, 2020
Please read Isaiah 65:17-25 ~ Perhaps, it is easier to think of a new creation at the time of year when crocus peep through the earth … when sunny days outnumber grey cloudy ones … when birdsong awakens us more frequently. More than the truth of the natural references, Isaiah’s invitation is to account for God’s presence in their post Exilic lives. The invitation to the Hebrews celebrates God’s promise actualized back in the Promised Land.
By ~ From the DHM 2016 Lenten Resource - Rev. Antonio (Tony) Redd - Monday March 9, 2020
“You Have Nothing to Fear” Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16 NRSV ~ 1 You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty, 2 will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust.” ~ 9 Because you have made the LORD your refuge, the Most High your dwelling place, 10no evil shall befall you, no scourge come near your tent. 11For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. 12On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone. 13You will tread on the lion and the adder, the young lion and the serpent you will trample under foot. 14Those who love me, I will deliver; I will protect those who know my name. 15When they call to me, I will answer them; I will be with them in trouble, I will rescue them and honor them. 16With long life I will satisfy them, and show them my salvation.
By Rev. John Cox - Sunday March 8, 2020
Throughout Epiphany I had been preaching a series based on the world of "Star Trek." It was not everyone's cup of earl grey tea, but it was fun for me to be able to share the love of God through the lens of this science fiction story. ~ I learned a few things that I would like to share...
By ~ In Memory of Rev. George R. Reese - Saturday March 7, 2020
Please read John 13: 21-32 ~ “. . .And it was night.” (vs. 30c) ~ “And it was night.” marks much more than time of day! It applies to everyone. Each knew the NIGHT - Judas, Jesus and each disciple had their personal night ahead. ~ Eli Wiesel wrote: “Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed. . .
By Lectio Divina - Friday March 6, 2020
Follow the Lectio Divina phases for your devotion today ~ Praying with Scripture falls into the following four phases. These phases are not air-tight compartments with rigid transitions between them. Lectio offers a natural flow from one phase to the next rather than a lock-step march.
~ Please read Joel 2:1-2, 12-17
By Alan Dicken - Thursday March 5, 2020
Hello and Happy March!
In January, I began a blog post to update folks with what I have been up to as the Regional Program Director and what I am hopeful for in the coming months in this role. February came and went quickly, but here is a recap of what all has been happening with the Ohio Regional Program Director!
Firstly, I am hopeful that everyone is having a good and faithful start to their Lenten Season as we head into this month of preparation for the coming of Holy Week and Easter. If you would like to receive Lenten Devotionals, many leaders from around the state have offered daily devotionals which can be found here...
By Rev. Kevin C. Greenwald - Thursday March 5, 2020
2nd Timothy 1:3-7 Common English Bible (CEB):
I’m grateful to God, whom I serve with a good conscience as my ancestors did. I constantly remember you in my prayers day and night. When I remember your tears, I long to see you so that I can be filled with happiness. I’m reminded of your authentic faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice. I’m sure that this faith is also inside you. Because of this, I’m reminding you to revive God’s gift that is in you through the laying on of my hands. God didn’t give us a spirit that is timid but one that is powerful, loving, and self-controlled.
By Rev. Ralph S. Wearstler - Wednesday March 4, 2020
Random Acts of Kindness ~ We are just into our 2nd week of the Lenten Season. For many, as we continue in this journey of faith, have been challenged to give something up. The usual joke is, "Yeah, I'm giving up liver for Lent." So, what are you giving up for Lent this year? Is it your favorite desert, skipping a meal, fasting one meal a day, or fasting one day a week? Let me ask you a very different question, "What are you willing to take up for Lent?" In the Gospel story of Zacchaeus, we find that his redemptive act was more than giving up his wealth to the poor and making amends. It was more than that. It was a change of lifestyle, a change in how we treat other people. It means engaging in random acts of kindness whenever and wherever we get the chance with whoever we encounter.
By Rev. Nik Donges - Tuesday March 3, 2020
Psalm 51 "Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin." ~ As we move from Ash Wednesday to the glorious celebration of Easter, the opening words of this Psalm take on a powerful meaning. We can join with the Psalmist and invoke these words as our own personal prayer.
By Gladys Davis - Monday March 2, 2020
Co-creators with God. ~ “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden to till it and keep it.” - Gen 2:15 (NRSV) ~ Regardless of your views on exactly how Creation took place, one thing we can likely agree on is that God, the Ground of all Being, had a hand in it. Genesis tells us that after God created the world, he asked us, humans, to take care of it, “to till it and keep it.” Tilling the land breaks up the soil and makes it a welcoming environment to allow newly planted seeds to germinate, grow, and flourish. Think about that for a moment . . . God asked us to be Co-Creators of life. We get to be co-creators anytime we help give birth to new life — plants, animals, even little baby humans.
By Polly Tallos - Sunday March 1, 2020
Jesus Is Tested in the Wilderness
1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”
7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”
11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
By Rev. Mary Jo Bray - Saturday February 29, 2020
"Then Peter took the lame man by the right hand and helped him up. And as he did, the man’s feet and ankles were instantly healed and strengthened.He jumped up, stood on his feet, and began to walk! Then, walking, leaping, and praising God, he went into the Temple with them.” Acts 3:7-8 ~ Somewhere in the recesses of my memory is a Vacation Bible School song whose title I can’t remember, but whose chorus echoes this verse in Acts, “He went walking and leaping and praising God, walking and leaping and praising God. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.” It was a catchy chorus, but that’s all I got! It’s pretty much all I really need when I think about the story in Acts where Peter and John were going about their daily routine, and basically stumbled on this guy laying in the entrance to the Temple. Both parties were expecting the same old, same old for the day; Peter and John the ninth hour prayer practice, and the gate blocker another day of asking for money.
By Tomas Hernandez - Friday February 28, 2020
1 Peter 2:4-5
"Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." ~ I love this metaphor of the living stones that Peter is making in this letter. The “Living Stones’’ creates a clear reminder to us that our own contributions in worship -- both at a congregation or just at home -- may seem like a very small part of fellowship; however, we are all the living stones that are building God’s beloved community. In the season of Lent, we recognize the restructuring that is important in our lives; it’s a time where we rebuild our community. And this rebuilding is not a complete redo in trying to make God’s community; rather, it is mending and moving of living stones that may have fallen or jostled in this last year. The continual building of this community to, in the end, reach fellowship and rejoicing with all who help construct this holy space.
By Rev. Audrey Connor - Thursday February 27, 2020
1 Happy are they who have not walked in the counsel of the wicked,
nor lingered in the way of sinners,
nor sat in the seats of the scornful!
2 Their delight is in the law of the Lord,
and they meditate on his law day and night.
3 They are like trees planted by streams of water,
bearing fruit in due season, with leaves that do not wither;
everything they do shall prosper.
4 It is not so with the wicked;
they are like chaff which the wind blows away.
5 Therefore the wicked shall not stand upright when judgment comes,
nor the sinner in the council of the righteous.
6 For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked is doomed.
By Rev. Alan Dicken - Wednesday February 26, 2020
Joel 2:12-18: 12
12 Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
13 rend your hearts and not your clothing. Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing.
14 Who knows whether he will not turn and relent, and leave a blessing behind him, a grain offering and a drink offering for the Lord, your God?
15 Blow the trumpet in Zion; sanctify a fast; call a solemn assembly;
16 gather the people. Sanctify the congregation; assemble the aged; gather the children, even infants at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his room, and the bride her canopy.
17 Between the vestibule and the altar let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep. Let them say, "Spare your people, O Lord, and do not make your heritage a mockery, a byword among the nations. Why should it be said among the peoples, 'Where is their God?'"
By Rev. Rick Spleth - Friday February 21, 2020
Caring for Congregations is the second of twelve marks. It says that “the Region resources congregations and extends consulting services in such areas as ministerial transition, problem-solving, conflict resolution, renewal (transformation), and planning for the future, as well as celebrations of congregational life such as anniversaries, dedications, installations and retirements.” Many of our churches know the Ohio Region because of the ways they experience Regional staff present in their congregation fulfilling one of these roles. Local churches know that they can call on the expertise and service of a Regional Minister to guide them as they go through a pastoral transition. “Search and Call” comprises a large part of the time Regional staff devote to congregational care, as Regional Ministers help congregations discern what God is calling them to do and be and then help them identify a candidate with the gifts they need to flourish in their setting.
By Alan Dicken - Friday January 31, 2020
Over the past month, I have been so richly blessed in my role as Regional Program Director for the Ohio Region. I wanted to thank you all for this opportunity and let you know how thrilled I am to serve God alongside you all in this capacity. This blog, and future entries, will hopefully serve as monthly check-ins and updates about what I have been up to, what I’ve seen and heard from around the region, and what I believe we can do moving forward together. Also, just quickly here at the beginning – I don’t think I’m the only one busy at work, listening to the region, and excited about the possibilities that God has laid before us.
By Rev. Thaddaeus Allen - Thursday January 16, 2020
Proclaiming the Gospel is the first of twelve and it asserts and makes clear that “The Region gives spiritual leadership, enables the ministry of evangelization, and calls a Regional Minister who serves as a sign of the unity of the church in sacrament and service.”
The Christian Church in Ohio is a parish, an ecclesia, and is a body with a defined membership and shared mission. As a “congregation” of God’s very own, our work is to proclaim the gospel. We, as a region, are called to share the good news in all of the places we will live, work and play. The very essence of the regional church is to be a church that freely and lovingly embodies and shares the Good News of Jesus Christ! Our very place in the economy of the church is to proclaim the gospel in all that we do and in all that we are.
By Gladys Davis - Monday December 30, 2019
I wanted to share my personal Christmas Blessings to you in this season of miracles, light and love. And I also wanted to express my appreciation for your continued support of the Region and its ministries. I am so blessed to live in a Region that provides a bounty of ministries throughout the year. My own family has benefited directly from the ministries of the Ohio Region this year.
By Rev. Thaddaeus Allen - Friday December 20, 2019
Come they told me…… and light a fourth and purple candle for Love. As we approach the holy night of Christmas Eve we are given one more visible and powerful reminder of the very real presence and peace of Christ in our midst. And this candle burns totally dedicated to Love. It burns in our midst as a visible sign of God’s love for us, and is a call to the church to mirror and share the very same with all of humanity. The words of Paul echo, again, in that the greatest of these candles, perhaps, is Love!
By Rev. Roger McKinney - Thursday December 19, 2019
I was born into Second Christian Church in Warren, Ohio, in 1956. My father was an elder and a trustee who fixed things in the building and my mother was a deacon. My grandfather and great grandfather were elders in the Church of Christ in West Union, West Virginian before that. I have been a "Disciple" for at least four generations!
By Rev. Eugene James - Wednesday December 18, 2019
“Joy to the world…” These words from the lyrics of this beloved Christmas carol would come mind almost automatically to many of us if asked to respond to the word joy during this time of Advent. It expresses the message of joy for the giving of the greatest gift: “…the Lord has come.”
By Rev. Jeff Gill - Tuesday December 17, 2019
Buckeye Disciples have a history in cooperation between churches that formally begins in 1852, with a meeting in Wooster that formed the “Ohio Christian Missionary Society.” That original name picked up on the wider “American Christian Missionary Society” begun at a national meeting in Cincinnati in 1849. As the effort to bring local churches together in shared missions struggled in our early days, the first secretary of the ACMS, Alexander Campbell, told the founders of the OCMS — today our Christian Church in Ohio — that “the whole future of organized missionary work among the disciples of Christ depends on the Ohio Society.”
By Rev. Dean Phelps - Monday December 16, 2019
The Old Testament reading for the second Sunday in Advent contains a well-known passage from Isaiah, a vision of peace in the realm of God: “The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them” (Is. 11:6). The prophet paints a picture of opposites, predator and prey, living side by side in peace.
By Rev. Rick Spleth - Sunday December 15, 2019
The first Sunday of Advent marks the beginning of the Christian year, and it always starts with Hope. Just as our secular society often views the beginning of the new calendar year as the chance for a new beginning, people of faith start Advent, our new year, with the expectation of change.
By Rev. John M. Richardson - Tuesday December 25, 2018
Christmas Day ~ Please Read Luke 1: 46b – 55 - In a sense, because of the cycle of the Julian calendar, the opening two lines of Wendell Berry’s 6th poem in the 1987 Sabbath poems collection, “Remembering that it happened once, we cannot turn away the thought…” were fulfilled this year. Yesterday, my day began and ended in worship, remembering that God came into this world in the form of a baby, named Jesus by his mother.
By The Christian Church in West Virginia and Pennsylvania - Monday December 24, 2018
Christmas Eve ~ O God, you are never revealed so completely as in the face of the child of Bethlehem. Hear us as we give you thanks for those who today reveal your love in our world in his spirit. We pray for those who give you hands by doing their best toward their brothers and sisters; for those who give you a mouth by speaking words of justice and peace for the broken and oppressed; for those who give your poverty the look of hope for your reign, revealing you simply by being your children, reflecting your beauty as did your only Son Jesus.
By Rev Jeff Gill - Saturday December 22, 2018
A star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel… ~ Numbers 24:17 (NRSV) - Christmas is, practically speaking, a birthday celebration. Did Jesus celebrate his birthday? The truth is that we don’t know. Josephus, a Jewish author of just a few decades after Jesus’ time, said that people in Israel did not observe the date of their birth, but he goes on to explain that they don’t want to encourage an occasion for heavy drinking, implying that maybe people were doing just that. But birthdays seem in the literature to be more of an Egyptian or outlander thing.
By Rev. Dr. Tom Stephenson - Friday December 21, 2018
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” John 1:14
- “Troublesome Terminology” - It comes around every single year at this time. Well, yes, Christmas, but what I’m referring to is the regular litany about how the culture has so diminished the true meaning of Christmas. To that I simply ask, “Is anyone really surprised?” That grousing came again in a CNN story by reporter Jeanne Moos, wherein she flipped through the advertisements in the New York Times. She noted that every ad, except one, promoted its event as a ‘Holiday’ sale.
By Rev. Ralph S. Wearstler - Thursday December 20, 2018
Malachi 3:1 (NIV) - "See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come," says the LORD Almighty. - Back when I was a kid, I had a favorite Christmas Carol, and I couldn’t wait to hear it played on the radio stations. From Thanksgiving through Christmas I would scan the dial searching for it. In 1958 when it was first aired it reached #1 on the Billboard Music Chart. That was the last time a Christmas song would do that. Maybe it was one of your favorites as well, because it’s still a classic today. I still hear it played from time to time during the holiday season.
By Rev. Mike Valentine - Wednesday December 19, 2018
Please read Isaiah 40:9 - You who bring good tidings to Zion, go up to a high mountain. You who bring good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, "Here is your God!” Behold, the Sovereign Lord comes….. Since being retired I have had plenty of time to reflect. One of things I had trouble resolving over my forty-one years was dealing with interruptions. You know, like being engrossed with my plans, my agenda, my program, my sermon, my space, and then, suddenly, Bam! The phone rings.
By Wendy Taylor - Tuesday December 18, 2018
Hebrews 13:2 (NIV): 2 Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. - Awaitng the arrival… It is the beginning of the holiday season and in my world, the beginning of preparing for guests. A number of years back, I realized a dear friend of mine, Shannon, possessed one of the most honorable and cherished spiritual gifts in my opinion…the gift of hospitality.
By Dr. Jack Sullivan, Jr. - Monday December 17, 2018
“The Power of Preparation” - Please read Mark 1.1-8 - What is the Advent blessing that God has for us? News! It won’t come through Macy’s but through Mary. It won’t be encased in flashy gift wrap but in swaddling clothes. The gift was born in a manger, and now wants to be born in us. John suggests the blessing we need is the Christ Child. However, we’ve got to get ready for him. We must participate in our own blessing.
By Faith Solon - Saturday December 15, 2018
Divine Anticipation - Well before Thanksgiving, and even before Halloween, a local store had filled their display with Christmas decor. Every year, there seems to be a headlong rush into Christmas that plows right through Advent. This seems to be an all too familiar pattern. Why wait for Christmas when we can have it right now? After all we live in a world obsessed with instant gratification. But something is lost in a jump straight to Christmas.
By Frances Smith - Friday December 14, 2018
When it comes to the month of December, a lot of people think about what gifts they are going to buy people. Also others think about Santa Claus and the story of Rudolph. But really the month of December should be about Advent, which leads us up to Jesus’ birth. Advent comes from the latin word adventus which means, “coming” or preparing for something. In the Christian viewpoint, Mary and Joseph were waiting for Jesus’ coming into the world, in which we celebrate his birth on the 25th of December which is Christmas. An angel appeared to Mary and told her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
By Rev. Roger McKinney - Thursday December 13, 2018
Please read Exodus 2:1-9 - In Disciples Christian Church in Cleveland Heights we are using Desmond Tutu’s Children of God Storybook Bible as a guide for worship this year. The story from Exodus 2 of the beginning of the life of Moses came up in November. It is a remarkable story, not because it tells of the birth of Moses, but of the “Sheroes” who saved the life of this infant. The midwives of Israel refused to kill Hebrew baby boys at the command of King Pharaoh. The mother of Moses hid this baby that was under threat of execution. The sister of Moses (later named Miriam), watched the baby and dared to offer assistance. The princess, daughter of Pharaoh, was not fooled. She knew this was a Hebrew baby boy, and still saved him, even adopted him! Each of these was a shero!
By Rev. Jeff Gill - Wednesday December 12, 2018
Please read Titus 3:3-8 (NRSV) - That passage doesn't sound much like Christmas, does it? But it's one of just a few passages outside of the traditional Gospel accounts (Matthew 2, Luke 2) which describe the birth of Jesus. And if you've been present for the birth of a child, whether as a guest or the principal actor (God bless you all, mothers of the world), you might note that this passage of Scripture is a bit more on point than Luke or Matthew ever want to get. I know, these are Advent devotionals. We don't like messy. That's why we like Hallmark movies, where the messes are strategically placed and resolved by the last act, often cleaned up off-camera during the commercial break.
By Rev. Chad Delaney - Tuesday December 11, 2018
Psalm 130:5-6 - 5 I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; 6 my soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning, more than those who watch for the morning. - A few years ago, I was walking through the Dollar General with my kids and we heard this really fun Christmas song. The song was "The Twelve Days of Christmas”...but with a twist. It was sung by an all men's acapella group, had some funny lyric changes, and they finished it by incorporating Toto's famous 80's song, "Africa.” It was different but awesome. I wanted it for our family playlist.
By Gladys Davis - Monday December 10, 2018
And the crowds asked him, "What then should we do?” In reply he said to them, "Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise." - Luke 3:10-11 - At this time of Advent, we are often our most generous. We give gifts to families and friends. More importantly, we give to those from whom we expect nothing in return. It is in this spirit that I want to share some of the great work that is happening right at our very own Camp Christian.