2021 District Conference

Northern Ohio District Conference postponed until 2021
 
The Northern Ohio District Conference Central Committee (the group responsible for planning our District Conference) met May 19th.  After much prayerful discussion, the decision was made that District Conference will not be held this year.  We will meet again for District Conference in 2021.  The 2020 conference theme, speakers, and Central Committee officers will all be carried forward to the 2021 District Conference.
 
Concerns about holding a large gathering in light of the COVID-19 restrictions/ recommendations and, even more so, concerns about putting brothers and sisters at risk, weighed heavily in the decision.  Multiple options were discussed, but after working through each one, the unanimous decision was made to postpone the entire event until 2021.  
 
More information will be shared in the next few weeks as the Central Committee and the District Board work together on the details.



2021 District Conference Officers and Central Committee:
Moderator, Brad Kelley – 2022 (East Chippewa)
Moderator-Elect, Brian Layman – 2023 (Hartville)
Past Moderator, Doug Price – 2021 (Elm Street)
Clerk, Nancy Jacobsen – 2021 (Mount Pleasant)
Michael Huffaker – 2021 (Sugar Creek West)
Fern Dews – 2022 (East Nimishillen)
Christine Harkless – 2023 (Elm Street)

 

District Conference Worship and Pre-Conference Speakers

Jeff Bach

Jeff Bach is director of the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies at Elizabethtown College and teaches in the Department of Religious Studies. He taught courses related to Brethren heritage for thirteen years at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Indiana. He earned his Ph.D. in religion from Duke University in 1997, concentrating on the history of Anabaptist and Pietist groups. He is the author of Voices of the Turtledoves: The Sacred World of Ephrata (Penn State Press, 2003). Among his recent articles are “The Ephrata Community in the Atlantic World” in Protestant Communalism in the Trans-Atlantic World, 1650-1850 (2016) and a chapter on Jacob Boehme in Protestants and Mysticism in Reformation Europe (2019). He is an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren. He is married to Ann Mason Bach and they have two adult daughters.

Pre-Conference Workshop and Non Delegate Session:  "20/20 Vision: Brethren and Christ’s Vision for the Church" (Matthew 28:16-20 and Matthew 16:18)

Insight Session:  "Do the Crime, Do the Time: Brethren Imprisoned for Baptism"

Brad Kelley

Pastor Brad currently shepherds the East Chippewa CoB congregation near Orrville, OH. He has been Pastor of East Chip since June of 2011. He is thoroughly thankful and knows he is blessed for being able to pastor at East Chip. Brad is celebrating 30 years of pastoral ministry in January of 2020. He and Sharon, his wife of over 33 years, have three grown children and live in the West Salem area.
Brad accepted the call to be our "2020 District Moderator" during the 2018 District Conference. He has been in this type of District role 20 years earlier in his previous pastorate in the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches. Recently, he has become one of our teachers in the District's Brethren Buckeye Institute. He taught the Fall 2019 BBI course on "Evangelism." For nearly the last 2 and half decades, He has provided quarterly preaching for the evangelistic chapel services at Akron Ohio's homeless shelter, the Haven of Rest.
Brad received formal higher education training from Grace College (Bachelors with a double major in both Biblical Studies and Speech Communications), Ashland Theological Seminary and Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary (Masters of Divinity and some Doctor of Ministry course work).

Friday Worship Speaker:  "Focusing on Jesus' Vision of His Church" (Matthew 16:18) 

  

Tom Zuercher

After 42 years of church work, Tom Zuercher retired from full-time ministry in 2018. In the Northern Ohio District, he served as pastor for three congregations: Danville North Bend, Mt. Pleasant, and Ashland Dickey, and was District Executive for twelve years. In additional to pastoral work, Tom has served as a teacher, spiritual speaker, retreat leader, consultant, and author. He and Susan live in rural Ashland County and are always delighted to spend time with their children and grandchildren. In retirement, Tom has enjoyed traveling, making presentations on philately (stamp collecting), and O-gauge model trains.

Pre-Conference Workshop:  “Things I’ve learned, mistakes I’ve made, advice I’m willing to give”

Saturday Worship Speaker:  "Jesus' Vision for His Church" (Matthew 28:18-20)


Pre-Conference Workshop and Non-Delegate Session

20/20 Vision: Brethren and Christ’s Vision for the Church, Presented by Jeff Bach

In this session we will check our spiritual vision for the Church to find out if we’re seeing 20/20. Using the conference theme scriptures of the Great Commission (Mt. 28:16-20) and Mt. 16:18 to explore how various groups in the Brethren movement have understood Christ’s vision of what the Church can be, and what Christ’s programmatic vision for the Church can be. Come join the conversation about how Brethren throughout their history have understood and applied these and other scriptures for a faithful Church.

 Pre-Conference Workshop

“Things I’ve learned, mistakes I’ve made, advice I’m willing to give”, Presented by Tom Zuercher

In the first session of our Pre-Conference Workshop, Tom Zuercher will share about the things he has learned during his 42 years of church work, some of the mistakes he's made along the way and advice he is willing to give.  There will be a question and answer time set aside for more in depth conversation with those in attendance.  

Insight Session

Do the Crime, Do the Time: Brethren Imprisoned for Baptism, Presented by Jeff Bach

Six Brethren men served prison time at hard labor from 1717 to 1720 for receiving adult baptism. During this time one of them wrote over 100 hymns that went into the first Brethren hymnal. They all prayed for their captors and the fellow prisoners who mistreated them. How did they stay so firm and joyful in their faith? During this illustrated lecture we will ask how seriously we take our faith today, and how meaningful is baptism? The presentation will include reflections on the suffering of Brethren in Nigeria.

 


Ice Cream Social and Entertainment

We're excited about our Ice Cream Social Friday evening, sponsored by East Chippewa Church.  Jim Boedicker, a gifted musician and entertainer (a member of County Line Church) will be providing entertainment during the social.  We hope you plan on joining us for the fun!

 

Jim Boedicker

In this age of high tech music, it’s sometimes nice to know that someone can still make music “the old fashioned way”.  Jim’s unique “fingerstyle” guitar playing appeals to a wide range of audiences. His repertoire includes many humorous songs, occasionally some trick guitar work, standards, and serious songs that can speak to and stay with his audiences. His casual style works equally well in a large concert setting or a small intimate group, and he especially enjoys performing family venues.

Forty years of guitar playing has found him performing everything from rock to country and bluegrass to gospel.  He  established himself as a legitimate songwriter when he won second place at “The Christian Artists Music Festival” in Estes Park, Colorado in 1981.  Since then, he has been active in jingle work and performance for local radio and television as well as production, promotion, recording, consulting, and encouraging aspiring talent. His recordings enjoy regular airplay at radio stations in the northwest Ohio area.

In addition to his solo performances, you will find him in a “behind the scenes” position for other artists and groups. He performs routinely for numerous civic groups, corporations, fairs, festivals, and numerous church and family events throughout Ohio and neighboring states.  He is utilized regularly by local Christian television and has shared the stage with some of the nation’s most respected gospel and country artists.