UPDATED Clear Open Churches

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Bishop Gregory V. Palmer and The West Ohio Annual Conference appointive cabinet seek to match clergy and congregations as we strive toward our missional purpose of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world!  As part of our appointive process, the West Ohio cabinet is piloting a concept employed in other annual conferences (Minnesota, Northern Illinois, Rocky Mountain, & Michigan) called “clear open churches."

Presently there are clear open churches in seven of our eight districts of The West Ohio Annual Conference. These churches are listed below, along with a brief description.  Also, there is a link to a pdf file listing the clear open churches for you to print. The appointive cabinet will employ the information from your interest as part of our appointment-making process. 

If you are an elder in full connection or an associate member and are interested in being considered for one of these clear open churches, the cabinet invites you to send an email to the superintendent of the open church, with a copy to your own DS, stating why you are interested and what gifts you think you bring. If you want to know more about the church, please check out its website by clicking the name of the church below and email the DS.


List of Clear Open Churches for the 2017 Appointment Year


CAPITOL AREA NORTH DISTRICT: DS Linda Middelberg, lmiddelberg [at] wocumc.org

  • Riverside UMC: Upper Arlington, Ohio (Full Elder Open) (Average Worship Attendance 300). Riverside UMC is in Upper Arlington (Columbus metro) and provides a place for members to grow in Christ, serve in the community, and fellowship together. With an average Sunday attendance of 300, Riverside UMC offers two worship services on Sunday mornings (traditional & contemporary worship experience), and numerous small groups throughout the week to come together in Bible Study and fellowship. Riverside UMC also offer a full breadth of ministries for children and youth as well as active mission opportunities. This appointment becomes a clear open through the retirement of a 25-year pastorate. Riverside UMC requires someone who will lead and care for the congregation through this pastoral change and lead them to create and claim a new vision for ministry.  
     
  • Stonybrook UMC: Gahanna, Ohio (Full Elder Open) (Average Worship Attendance 480). Stonybrook is a large UM church in a growing area in northeast Columbus. The Stonybrook congregation has been involved in the Missional Church Consultative Initiative (MCCI) and has responded positively to the needed changes of reaching out into the community, offering Christ, establishing ministries of faith development, and equipping persons to be engaged in the community. The congregation supports three worship services, two traditional and one contemporary. It is known for its’ youth ministry and its’ mission engagement with the local community and in the larger global community. The congregation is financially sound and has a strong record of paying full apportionments on all levels – conference, district, and community ministries of the CAN/CAS districts.  With approximately 750 members, Stonybrook UMC’s average Sunday worship attendance is 480.

CAPITOL AREA SOUTH DISTRICT: DS Tim Bias, tbias [at] wocumc.org

  • Summit Station UMCPataskala, Ohio  (Full Elder Open)  (Average Worship Attendance -200). Summit Station UMC is in the eastern suburbs of Columbus in a stable to growing community. The congregation has been involved in the Missional Church Consultative Initiative (MCCI) and has responded positively to the needed changes of reaching out into the community, offering Christ, establishing ministries of faith development, and equipping persons to be engaged in the community. The congregation supports two worship services with equal attendance at both traditional and non-traditional worship services. It is known for its spiritual depth, its prayer ministry, and its renewed engagement with the community. The congregation is financially sound and healthy and has a strong record of paying apportionments of all levels: conference, district, and community outreach. The church presently has approximately 275 members with an average attendance of 200 persons in worship weekly. Note: The congregation has stayed focused and healthy through an unexpected pastoral change at the end of 2015.

FOOTHILLS DISTRICT: DS Dennis Miller,  dmiller [at] wocumc.org

  • Malta UMCMorgan County (near McConnelsville) (Full Elder Open) (AWA-200) Full-time appointment Malta UMC is in the center of Ohio’s beautiful Appalachian Foothills across the river from McConnelsville. The slow paced, small-town friendly atmosphere offers a refreshing change from the frenzied schedules and hectic pace of urban life. Malta UMC is seeking a visionary pastor to lead the congregation into a new life-cycle of discipleship and growth upon the retirement of their current pastor in June 2017. Ten years ago, the Malta UMC averaged 250 in worship attendance, but since then has been in slow decline. Under the current leadership, they have now stabilized and are looking toward the future. They remain the largest United Methodist congregation in Morgan County. They have an active children’s program and possess a strong desire to reach the youth of their community. In addition to the historic church facility, they have built a youth center within the past 10 years. Currently, congregation offers a blended style worship experience. A preferred pastor will preach well, have good relationship skills across all age groups, be highly approachable and welcoming, lead the congregation toward membership growth, and continue to cultivate mission and youth programs.

MIAMI VALLEY DISTRICT: DS Jocelyn Roper, jroper [at] wocumc.org

  • Enon UMC: Clark County OH (Full Elder Open) (AWA -200) Enon United Methodist Church is in Clark County which is the eastern most county in the Miami Valley District, near Springfield, Ohio. Enon is considered part of the Springfield metro area and is a community that is very homogeneous as nearly 96 percent of the residents are Anglo. The average worship attendance is 200 with most of the congregation worshipping at the traditional service at 9:00 a.m., with the smaller number attending the contemporary service 11:00 a.m. The church facility is modern and is conducive to hosting community groups that include the American Heritage Girls, Girl Scouts, and Boy Scout Troops. The church has a strong commitment to mission in their community and the education level in the area is above average for the state. They have a growing youth ministry and a long history of being a vital Methodist congregation. They pay 100% of their connectional giving. Enon UMC is theologically moderate to conservative. The new pastor and the congregation will need to work together on developing a discipleship pathway for all ages, and revamping the second service and to attract a younger demographic if they are to reverse their slow but continued decline and remain vital.

MAUMEE WATERSHED DISTRICT: DS Scot Ocke, socke [at] wocumc.org

  • Oregon Christ UMCOregon, OH (Full Elder Open) (AWA – 109) A successful Missional Consultation Church Initiative (MCCI) where the main prescription was to draw youth in the community. They sponsor Upward Basketball with over 100 participating. Membership is 300 and average worship attendance at 109. Both a traditional and blended service are offered on Sunday morning. Music is better than average. The have come to expect excellent preaching. Sunday school attendance 38. The town of Oregon is east of Toledo, located near Maumee Bay. It is a blue-collar town, population 20,000. They need a leader to help them have a more fruitful financial ministry and do more fruitful outreach to adults of all ages.
  • Perrysburg FirstPerrysburg, OH  (Full Elder Open) (AWA -150) Perrysburg First is located in the fastest growing city in the Maumee Watershed District. The church currently averages about 150 in worship, is declining but has huge potential for growth. Saturday night offers a praise service with traditional worship on Sunday morning. The membership includes people who are theologically progressive, moderate, and conservative. Perrysburg First has a great traditional music program. They have strong lay leadership but also need their pastor to help them create a vision that will propel them into their future, help outreach to their neighbors and beyond, and help them grow younger as a church.

NORTHWEST PLAINS DISTRICT: DS Barry Burns, bburns [at] wocumc.org

  • St Andrew’s UMCSenior Pastor - Findlay, Ohio (Full Elder Open) (AWA- 325) St Andrew’s UMC is an historic, United Methodist congregation in the heart of Findlay, Ohio, which is the County seat of Hancock County. Findlay is a city of approximately 45,000 people and growing. St Andrew’s is a congregation that averages 325 people per Sunday in their two Sunday morning worship services, one traditional and one contemporary. The congregation is a strong congregation with a vital connection to their community, and one that values strong preaching. There is a strong staff that is committed to serving Christ and growing disciples.
  • Walnut Grove UMC: Kenton, OH (Full Elder Open) (AWA -150) Walnut Grove is an active and vital rural congregation, just north of Kenton, Ohio. It is a multi-Generational congregation that averages approximately 150 people a week in worship. The congregation is needing a pastor who is a strong leader and preacher who can lead them in discovering God’s vision for them as they move forward together. This person needs to be able to relate to multiple generations and lead with energy.

OHIO RIVER VALLEY DISTRICT: DS Todd Anderson, tanderson [at] wocumc.org

  • Franklin First UMC: Franklin, OH (Full Elder Open) (AWA – 75) "Making disciples…Building Christian community… Transforming lives!" FFUMC is a downtown congregation in an area that has experienced some growth. Franklin is in Warren County, one of the fastest growing regions, in the Ohio River Valley District. The church has one worship service in the traditional style paired with a traditional Sunday School hour for all ages. The worship attendance is 72. In addition to the Sunday morning schedule, the church boasts Mid-Week Education and Music Rehearsals as a part of their small group ministry. The congregation is invested heavily in food insecurity issues and works in a consortium of other United Methodist Churches in an area feeding program in Middletown. The current pastor has served ably for several years. With the right pastoral leadership this church could grow. Theological Understanding: Moderate
  • Miami Whitewater UMC: Hamilton County, OH (Full Elder Open) (AWA -150) "To boldly make and nurture disciples of Christ". MWUMC is a merger of three struggling congregations and has become a strong congregation on the Northwestern side of Hamilton County in the Ohio River Valley District. The church has good facilities with newer finishes. The current pastor has served in a long sometimes tempestuous appointment. The church has two worship styles, traditional and contemporary paired with traditional Sunday School for all ages. The church has created satellite locations, especially a youth center for outreach in the community. Currently the church worships 153 combined. In addition to Sunday morning there are midweek activities for education and outreach. The church has been active in raising awareness and creating plans along with the Wild West Clergy Cluster to meet the needs of the heroin crisis which is raging in the area. MWWUMC has several full and part time staff members that the Lead pastor will need to manage. Theological Understanding: Moderate-Conservative
  • Hyde Park Bethlehem: Cincinnati, OH (Full Elder Open) (AWA -75-80) "To share the good news in order to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world." HPBUMC is a first-tier neighborhood in an economically advantaged community of Oakley, which is next door to Hyde Park, one of the wealthiest areas in the City of Cincinnati. This former EUB church boasts a significant endowment, which supports much of the ministry of the church in annual draws. The church has an excellent leadership team and recently received recognition for reaching all 5 of their Breakthrough Goals for 2016. The church has one worship style, traditional with an attendance of 76; as well as a separate education time on Sunday mornings for all ages. Midweek there are Bible studies and many outreach ministries including an outstanding food insecurity ministry, of which the church is well known. The church has an outstanding music program. The current pastor has provided excellent steady leadership and the church has grown. Theological Understanding: Moderate-Progressive

SHAWNEE VALLEY DISTRICT: DS Brent Watson, bwatson [at] wocumc.org

  • No Clear Open Churches

Bishop Gregory V. Palmer and the West Ohio Annual Conference appointive cabinet seek to match clergy and congregations as we strive toward our missional purpose of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world!  As part of our appointive process, the West Ohio cabinet is piloting a concept employed in other annual conferences (Minnesota, Northern Illinois, Rocky Mountain, & Michigan) called “clear open churches”. Clear open churches are churches where a change of appointment has already been announced (most often through retirements).  The list of "clear open churches" was sent in an early January email to all active full elder and associate member clergy. The District Superintendent of each open church has written a brief description.