2016 Ohio Conference Annual Gathering
Inspiring Stories
Registration deadline:  Thursday, May 26

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Friday & Saturday
June 10-11, 2016

Friday, 1-5 pm EDT (plus optional evening activities)
Saturday, 9 am - 4:30 pm

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Otterbein University
Campus Center
100 Home Street
Westerville, Ohio 43081


Pam Brown 
Ohio Conference United Church of Christ 
800-282-0740 Ext 202 


Lodging Information - Friday, June 10

Blocks of rooms have been reserved at two hotels near Otterbein University and in DeVore Residence Hall on the Otterbein campus. To reserve a hotel room, contact the hotel directly.  You can reserve a room in the residence hall with your Annual Gathering registration, either online or by mail.

Comfort Inn Polaris
8400 Lyra Drive
Columbus OH 43240
More information on hotel website

King bed, $107, single or double
2 Queen beds, $107 single or double
Rooms do not contain microwave or refrigerator. They are available for an additional $10.
Reserve by May 20
Group name: Ohio Conference

Residence Inn Columbus Polaris
8865 Lyra Drive

Columbus OH 43240
More information on hotel website

Studio suites with 1 King and 1 sofa bed, full kitchen
Reserve by May 10. 
Group name: Ohio Conference UCC
Call 614-436-3955 or use the reservation link below.

Reserve room at Residence Inn


DeVore Residence Hall at Otterbein Univ.
Dorm bedrooms have 2 single beds. 2 bedrooms share a bathroom.  A linen packet is provided that contains 2 sheets, 1 pillowcase, 1 hand towel, 1 washcloth, 2 bath towels.  Pillows and blankets are NOT available. 

Single occupancy      $50 per person
(1 person in room with 2 beds, shared bath)

Double occupancy     $36 per person
(2 people in room with 2 beds, shared bath)

Reserve a dorm room as part of your Annual Gathering registration.


















Join us for the 2016 Annual Gathering to hear inspiring stories of ministry in the Ohio Conference and perhaps tell your own. The clergy and lay leaders who gather at Otterbein will return home recharged and 'inspired' for ministry. We will be joined by one of our ministry partners from Germany to share their inspiring story of working in the current refugee crisis. 

Friday afternoon's session will feature two workshops: Faith Formation That Transforms Your Church and Practicing Discernment Together. Each will be presented twice so you can attend both. After a brief worship service at the end of the afternoon, you may enjoy the optional dinner at Cantina Laredo, followed by Beer and Hymns.  The dinner is 'order from the menu and pay your own tab,' but please register as seating is limited. 

Look for discounts for attendees under 40, first-time participants and groups of 3 or more.  Registration deadline:  May 26.  Details on the registration page. 

Download and print the hardcopy registration form



Thank you to our sponsors

Premiere Sponsors

Methodist Theological School in Ohio

United Church Homes

Saturday Lunch Sponsor

UCC Insurance Board with agents Ben Rupp and John Bouhall

Saturday Refreshment Break Sponsor

              Chicago Theological Seminary

Friday Refreshment Break Sponsor

             Lancaster Theological Seminary



Annual Gathering Agenda 

Friday, June 10

12:00   •   Registration, Beverages and Snacks


1:00-2:30 pm  •  Workshop Session 1

Faith Formation that Transforms Your Church
Leaders: Ivy Beckwith, Faith Formation Team Leader, United Church of Christ
Nicole Havelka, Minister for Resourcing, Networking and Creativity, Ohio Conference

Workshop details below 

Practicing Discernment Together
Leader:  Rev. Kathy Clark; Minister for Members in Discernment; Ministerial Excellence, Support and Authorization (MESA) Ministry Team; United Church of Christ

Workshop details below

2:30 - 3:00  Break

3:00-4:30 pm  •  Workshop Session 2

Faith Formation that Transforms Your Church
Practicing Discernment Together

Both workshops will be presented again in Session 2 so participants can attend both.  See workshop details below.

4:30-5:00  Annual Gathering Opening Worship

6:00  Optional socializing and dinner at Cantina Laredo
         Cantina Laredo, 8791 Lyra Dr (off Polaris Parkway)
         (Limited seating. Reserve a spot in our private room during registration.)

7:30  Beer and Hymns - at Cantina Laredo
         After dinner, enjoy a beverage and a group hymn-sing!
         Song leader provided!

Saturday, June 11      

8:15 - 9:00 am 
Registration, Continental breakfast, Greet friends and colleagues


9:00 am  •   Convene, Introductions

9:15 amDevotions 

9:30 - 10:30 am Plenary Session
Inspiring Story:  Single in the Sanctuary, Michelle Torigian
Small Group Conversations
Worshipful Work
        Approval of 2015 Minutes
        Adoption of Agenda
        Treasurer's Report - Sam Buehrer
        State of the Conference - Phil Hart

10:30-11:30 am Plenary Session
Inspiring Story:  The Bookworm Diner, Dan Smith, Immanuel UCC, Cincinnati
Small Group Conversations
Refugees Rescue the Soul of the Church, Rev. Dr. Christel Weber, Evangelical Church of Westphalia, Germany

11:30 - 12:30  •  Lunch in Campus Center Dining Hall

12:30 - 1:30 pm Plenary Session
Inspiring Story:  God of Love, Joni Christian
Small Group Conversations
Worshipful Work
        Wider Church Conversation
        Ministry Partner Presentation - Defiance College
        Nominating Committee Report and Election

1:35 pm   Closing Worship
Worship will begin immediately following the last plenary session.
Gluten-free bread for all provided by Bridges of Grace UCC, Charleston WV
Offering will help support the Young Ambassadors Ohio trip to Germany

2:45 pm   Adjourn


Friday Afternoon Workshops

Session 1:  1:00 - 2:30 pm
Session 2:  3:00 - 4:30 pm
Both workshops will be presented at both sessions. 

Faith Formation that Transforms Your Church
Leaders: Rev. Ivy Beckwith, Faith Formation Team Leader, United Church of Christ
Rev. Nicole Havelka; Minister for Resourcing, Networking and Creativity; Ohio Conference UCC

You might remember fondly youth groups, engaging Sunday school classes, mission trips and confirmation. Now, you might be confronted with dwindling energy for and numbers in these “traditional” programs. The good news is that researchers and writers have been contemplating these challenge for decades and have landed on an even older guiding principle —  the relationships young people form with other adults and parents are far more important than program design and curriculum.

In this workshop, Ivy Beckwith and Nicole Havelka will give you some basic principles by which to create faith formation practices in your church that transform not only your ministry with children, youth and families, but help to transform your whole church into fertile soil for growing a lifelong faith for all ages.
The Rev. Dr. Ivy Beckwith is the Faith Formation Minister and Team Leader for the national setting of the United Church of Christ. She is an internationally known speaker and writer on the topic of faith formation.  Rev. Beckwith has served churches on the East Coast and in the Midwest and spent some time in curriculum and book publishing. She lives in Westlake, Ohio with her Cairn Terrier, Lola, and her cat, Maris. 


The Rev. Nicole Havelka comes to the Ohio Conference with a history of making space for creativity and innovation in the wider church. She served first as the Associate Conference Minister for Youth and Young Adult Ministries in the Iowa Conference UCC. Most recently she served as an Area Minister in the Michi-gan Conference. While in that role, she also worked as a coach and trainer specializing in youth ministry for the Center for Progressive Renewal, as an associate consultant with Vibrant Faith Ministries and as the Minister for Digital Programs with Extravagance UCC (an online ministry based in the Ohio Conference).

In her “spare time,” Nicole does yoga, cooks for friends and watches as many Oscar-nominated movies as possible. She recently took up the hobby of training for and competing in triathlons.

Practicing Discernment Together
Leader:  Rev. Kathy Clark; Minister for Members in Discernment; Ministerial Excellence, Support and Authorization (MESA) Ministry Team; Local Church Ministries, United Church of Christ

Discernment is a way of living life thoughtfully and faithfully — the Christian practice of seeking God’s call in the midst of decisions that mark an individual’s or community’s life. This practice of discernment can be used in so many ways in the life of a local church or specialized ministry. In this workshop, we will explore tools to help us practice discernment together as we listen for and respond to God’s call in our lives. Whether we are in the meeting room, experiencing formal worship, out serving the community, sitting with someone who is ill or when we are alone in prayer or meditation, discernment empowers us our decisions to be rested in and guided by the Spirit. 

This workshop is for anyone — either lay or authorized — who seeks to employ discernment practices in local churches or specialized ministries. These practices will be especially resonant with the work of local church leaders who serve on members of discernment committees, Committee on Ministry members, Members in Discernment, authorized ministers, and mentors/advisors.

The Rev. Kathy Clark is the Minister for Members in Discernment on the Ministerial Excellence, Support and Authorization (MESA) Ministry Team of the United Church of Christ. In her position, Kathy resources Committees on Ministry for work with Members in Discernment; engages partners in researching, developing and disseminating resources on call, discernment, educational and spiritual formation for ministry; develops and oversees policies regarding authorization in the United Church of Christ; and, generally, fosters a “Culture of Call” within the UCC. Prior to joining the MESA team, Kathy was an Associate Conference Minister with the Southeast Conference, the Director of Theology Among the People, and the founder of PATHWAYS: Transformative Theological Education for a Changing World. She was also involved on the national level with authoring and implementing the 2005 General Synod Pronouncement, “Ministry Issues: Forming and Preparing Pastoral Leaders for God’s Church.” Kathy holds master degrees in Adult Education from the University of Georgia and in Divinity from the Candler School of Theology of Emory University. She is the mother of four grown children and grandmother of nine “amazing” grandchildren. Kathy resides in Cleveland, where she enjoys spending quality time in local coffee shops and book stores.