April 25th about 25 of us gathered at First Congregational Church, Lodi for our Spring meeting. Our host pastor, Rev. Dave Dake and his son led us in praise songs with their guitars to start the morning.
Rev. Gary Eno then shared about his call into the prison chaplaincy ministry. His congregation is about 2,500 inmates and prison staff and includes those of Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Satanists, Atheists, and Secular faiths, and perhaps others. Our Ohio state prisons have a population of about 52,000. The recidivist rate is much lower in Ohio because of its emphasis on equipping the inmates to return back into society with some type of useful skill and support. The worship services Gary leads are usually filled and God has used his ministry without restraints to point the way to salvation in Jesus Christ. There are some inmates that are lifers, and having received Christ as Lord are engaged in mentoring others in the faith. It was an uplifting presentation during which we all learned much.
We enjoyed a delicious lunch and good fellowship and are grateful to the Lodi Church and those who prepared the meal.
During our meeting Rev. Mitch Reed was nominated and elected as Secretary along with Dave Dake as Vice Moderator, Jonathan Cheatham as Treasurer, and myself as Moderator. We passed a motion to be the sending organization for Jeff and Lisa Griffith and their family to return to the Czech Republic as missionaries. Steve Clifford was appointed by the officers as Assistant Treasurer to handle the state side financial aspects of sending Jeff and Lisa Griffith back to the Czech Republic this summer where they will finish their work in the coming term that the Lord has assigned them. At the end of the meeting we gathered around them to commission them to service and commended them to the Lord for safety and fruitful ministry by the power of the Holy Spirit. If any of you personally or your church are interested in prayerfully and financially giving support to the Griffith Ministry, they could use an additional $1,000 monthly. Steve Clifford is setting up a special account for the Griffith Ministry. Please send any donations for their support to Clifford and Associates, 4150 Belden Village St. NW #601, Canton, OH 44718.
Dave Kimberly gave us an update on the Barnabas Ministry Clinic, the first retreat of which is scheduled for this Thursday and Friday. Five pastors have signed up for the four retreats this year during which they will pray together, give support, and brain-storm their local ministry challenges.
Bob Barber updated us on the Pastor’s Gathering Networks for fellowship, sharing, and encouragement. They are proving to be very helpful.
It was another excellent meeting for our East Ohio Fellowship. We hope to find a time to gather during the CCCC 68th Family Conference in Pittsburgh this July. Hope to see you there. Our Ohio Fall Meeting is Tuesday, October 17, 9:30am-2pm at Pat Street’s Church, Salem Evangelical Church, Marion, Ohio. Hope you can make these events.