The Directors of the LCMS Ohio District Board of Directors met on Friday, April 5, 2019. They heard the opening devotion from Rev. John Hohe, Third Vice President, that Jesus took on all people's unbeliefs which were nailed to the cross. In the same way, we Christians may wonder about sharing the Gospel today, but God still forgives us, so we can make all sorts of ways for others to taste of God's grace and become a part of His unity. With this devotion as its basis, the Board was ready to consider District business:

District Personnel

  • Three Regional Facilitators are on board: Pastor Mark Heuser, NE Region; Pastor Derrick Hurst, SE Region and and Pastor Mark Etter, SW Region. This system of facilitators replaces President Wilson's past position of Executive Director of Mission and Ministry. In this way the facilitators can work with 10 congregations which is much more than what a single Director can do on his own.
  • The Ministerial Health Commission now includes Pastor Chris Eldridge, chair, and Pastor Phil McClelland and Pastor Mike Saylor. The Commission now includes two men and two women to be caregivers to our professional church workers and their families. In addition, Pastor Eldridge is visiting circuits, making a presentation on clergy depression which is a major problem among church workers.
  • The District will explore the possibilities of holding an All-Professional Church Worker Conference in fall of 2020.
  • The Ohio District is reaching out more to the English and SELC (Slovak Evangelical Lutheran Church) District Presidents to work together in Ohio. Area pastors from the English and SELC churches were invited to participate in the Fall Pastors Conference. Both districts were both very grateful for the invitations.

District Finances

  • Mrs. Lisa Rachul, District Treasurer, noted that the Synodical Internal Audit Department audited the District books and gave it a clean report.
  • Mission support for 2019 Period 2 is 9.7% above the same period as last year. However, it included two very generous donations from two congregations.
  • The Board is considering its Board-Designated Funds to help District congregations and schools more. It may decide to use the Mission Contingency Fund to help congregations with revitalization or possible dissolution, since there are ten congregations which face deep financial problems. The Board should also revisit the Ministerial Health and Circuit Visitation Funds to see how they may be used more and designate funds to help fund circuit visitors' travel.
  • The Board released funds from the Board-Designated Funds for school administrator and teacher assistance in a variety of areas including, but not limited to, accreditation, program creation, program advancement, administrator training and teacher training. This release will be on a three-year basis. Mr. Kevin Creutz, the District Superintendent of Schools, will oversee this program.
  • District Endowment Fund now stands at $1,678,405.11. This Fund shouldn't be confused with the recently-established Thrivent Account of the District.

District Office Building

  • Lisa has met with several administrators from Sunset Cemetery. They are in the process of doing research regarding the zoning options for the property. If Olmsted Township zoning approves the permit, they will take the next steps to begin negotiations with the Ohio District regarding purchase of the District building.

District Congregations

  • President Wilson has made 26 visits on congregations, as mandated by the Synod. His visit include discussion with the pastors and leaders of the congregation, but also during the visit he encourages the congregations to connect with mission and ministry resources for revitalization. Sometimes he may suggest certain items for growth, but sometimes the church culture won't allow it.
  • The Ohio District has invited pastors from the English and SELC (Slovak Evangelical Lutheran Church) to participate in the Fall Pastors Conference. Both districts were both very grateful for the invitations.

District Missions

  • President Wilson stated that four churches in Dayton and four churches in Columbus have partnered with the District to bring People of the Book Lutheran Outreach missionaries to serve as evangelists. The evangelists are tasked with reaching first generation Muslim immigrants, as well as immigrants of other faiths.
  • First Vice President Michael Philips created an interactive map of the Ohio District as a visual way to understand churches and circuits to help people without church homes.