Spend time exploring the inspirational stories of Exodus experiences from people who have embraced the wilderness and are allowing God to lead them toward the Promised Land.

Two session times will be held Friday afternoon (1:30 to 2:45 p.m. and 3 to 4:15 p.m.) so you will be able to choose two of these conversations to attend.

Making Room for Otherness

The Rev Paul Fromberg

Paul Fromberg

Our call to practice hospitality and welcome is no easy task; neither is our journey with Jesus into the streets. Both invite us to transformation. Following Jesus is a two-way street: we follow Jesus into the streets, looking for signs of God’s presence and God’s mission around us, and we encounter people who are coming to us, looking into our churches, benefiting from our programs, and meeting each of us along the way. We have work to do in both directions. One of the values we must nurture for this work is making room for otherness.

This workshop with our keynote speaker, the Rev. Paul Fromberg, will look to scripture, tradition, experience, and reason and discover new ways to make room for otherness in our congregations and our lives.

Faith, Food and Farming

The Rev Nurya Love Parish

Nurya Love Parish

In Exodus God leads the people of Israel from slavery, through wilderness, to a place where they can farm. Jesus Christ, who lived on the land, set us a holy table where we yet feast today. Land and table are part of our everyday lives, and can still show us ways we are meant to be at one with God. Food and farming are bound up with faith, from grace at mealtimes to the Bible’s teaching that we are made one with the earth (Genesis 2). In an era of climate change, our relationship to soil and food takes on greater urgency. Come reflect together on the wisdom of Scripture and learn how disciples today are putting faith into practice through growing food for people and people for God.

The Rev. Nurya Love Parish is an Episcopal priest, co-founder of Plainsong Farm in greater Grand Rapids, and curator of the Christian food movement website. She edits the Grow Christians website, serves Holy Spirit Episcopal Church in Belmont, Michigan as priest-in-charge and is the Province V representative on the Episcopal Church’s churchwide Advisory Council for the Stewardship of Creation. Her first book, Resurrection Matters: Church Renewal for Creation’s Sake, is forthcoming from Church Publishing Inc. (Spring 2018).

Becoming Beloved Community in a Divided World

Sara Ward

Sara Ward

Join us for a conversation about how we can live into Beloved Community in a world increasingly divided by race, political persuasion, economic injustice, and religious ideology. Presiding Bishop Michael Curry has called the Episcopal Church to work towards racial and environmental justice as we strive to live into the mission of the church to reconcile ourselves to God, one another, and to all of creation. The work before us involves telling the truth about racial and other injustices, proclaiming God’s dream for Beloved Community, practicing the way of love, and working to repair the breach in society and in our own institutions. We will begin to practice how to talk to one another about these issues and listen for how we in the Diocese of Southern Ohio might work together and witness to God’s love that can overcome all that divides us.

This workshop will be facilitated by Sara Ward. Sara is the Executive Director of Ohio Interfaith Power & Light since August of 2011, is one of its original steering committee members and previously served as the Advocacy Chair of the Board.  She is serving as the Spiritual Director for Trinity Lutheran Seminary, in Columbus, Ohio and is a graduate of the Wellstreams Training Program in the Art and Practice of Spiritual Direction and Spiritual Formation. She is launching a program called “Be the Spark” a series of facilitated conversations this fall to invite communities to reflect on how to engage in the work of community organizing specifically around the intersection of racial, economic and environmental justice. Members of the Diocese of Southern Ohio will also help host this conversation.

A Church in Exodus

The Rev Joseph Kovitch

The story of St. Matthew’s Westerville

In 2013, the congregation of St. Matthew’s, Westerville moved out of their 24,000 square foot church building and began to reimagine a fresh expression of church outside the walls of a traditional building. Today, all of uptown Westerville has become their new church home. St. Matthew’s holds its Sunday services in an upper-level banquet room at the Old Bag of Nails Pub and owns a house it uses for office and shared neighborhood and community events. As one member says, “You find that the coffeehouses, the restaurants, the campuses and the neighborhoods become a parish. And we find that Old Bag of Nails can be a sanctuary, and that a 19th-century house can become a chapel, and the front porch can be a fellowship hall.”

We hope St. Matthew’s story might inspire your church to get out into the streets and listen deeply to the people and communities you are part of. As St. Matthew’s finds its identity transformed by their neighbors, they are committed to being a church who gives itself away, sharing space, conversations, and even their priest with the neighborhood. Join the Rev. Joseph Kovitch and leaders from St. Matthew’s to reflect on being a church in Exodus!

The Sanctuary Movement

Joel Miller

Joel Miller, Ruben Castilla Herrera

Imagine making an exodus from oppression in your homeland of Mexico, establishing a new life in Columbus, Ohio with your husband and three children – the only home they’ve known. After 20 years in the country you are treated as an unwanted foreigner as your application for asylum is denied and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) orders your deportation. This is the immigration saga of Edith Espinal and her family. Imagine churches responding like the Hebrew midwives, protecting the vulnerable among us. Rather than be deported and separated from her family, Edith chose to enter sanctuary at the Columbus Mennonite Church on October 2.

Hear more about Edith’s story, how the congregation decided to offer sanctuary, and what that has involved for them and the wider community in Central Ohio. Hear about the organizations that are giving support to advocate for Edith and people like her, and the growing sanctuary movement in the state and country.

Joel Miller has been Pastor at Columbus Mennonite Church since 2013. He is a past member of the Executive Committee of BREAD, a coalition of 40 Franklin County congregations working on local justice issues. He also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Methodist Theological School in Ohio (MTSO). Miller grew up on a farm in Bellefontaine, Ohio but has lived his adult life in urban areas. Before moving to Columbus he pastored for seven years in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is a graduate of Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary and also lived in St. Louis; Philadelphia; Cairo, Egypt; and Atlanta. Miller and wife Abbie have three young daughters, and backyard chickens that miraculously turn compost into tasty eggs.

Rubén Castilla Herrera

Rubén Castilla Herrera is a second-generation Mexican-American born in Seguin, Texas. Mr. Herrera spent his childhood as a migrant farm worker in California, Oregon and Washington. Mr. Herrera graduated from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon and attended the Methodist Theological School in Delaware, Ohio. Mr. Hererra is a longtime civil rights leader and organizer/activist. He was founding member of several Latino related organizations including the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Central Ohio, Ohio Action Circle, and others. He has served as the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Director of the A World of Difference Institute, and as Executive Director of City Year Columbus. Herrera began working on issues of immigrant rights as State Director of Reform Immigration for America, a national organization fighting for comprehensive immigration reform. Herrera is with the Ohio Interfaith Immigrant and Migrant Justice Coalition. Herrera lives in Columbus with his partner, Nicholas Pasquarello, and attends St. John’s Episcopal Church in Franklinton.

Small church, no priest – No problem.

The Rev Jason Leo

Wisdom from a few small and vibrant congregations in our diocese

In a panel discussion moderated by the Rev. Jason Leo, Missioner for Congregational Vitality, church leaders from some small congregations in our diocese offer insight into how they have learned how to do worship, pastoral care, outreach and parish administration in a church with no full-time (or any!) clergy leadership.