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Daily Prayer and Meditation knit us together as a community.
We are one in the Spirit; we are one in the Lord . . . .

Quadriplegic Alex Malarkey - continued prayer vigil for his welfare
Betty Houser - scleroderma  ~ family - caregivers
Melisa (Houser) Lovelace - cancer
~ family - caregivers
Zelinda Severt - illness, Caregivers - Husband Ron and family

Cindy – prayers for healing and encouragement to keep strong

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Rockford United Methodist Church Welcomes New Pastor and Wife
The congregation of Rockford United Methodist Church at 202 S. Franklin St in Rockford, Ohio is excited to announce the appointment of our new Pastor, Bill Halter, and his wife Sharon. They come to us from DeGraff, Ohio. They began their journey with us on July 2.

Pastor Bill and Sharon look forward to growing and sharing with us in worship, service and casual conversation as we serve an awesome God!

The congregation would like you to come meet our new Pastoral family! We offer a traditional service at 8:30 am and a contemporary service at 10:30. Sunday School classes for all ages are available at 9:30. Fellowship time, along with hot beverages and pastries, can be enjoyed throughout the morning, beginning at 8 am.

Pastor Bill shares one of his life verses: "He has told you, human one, what is good and what the Lord requires from you: to do justice, embrace faithful love, and walk humbly with your God." - Micah 6:8




School Prayer Walk at Parkway Schools

On Saturday, August 19th, a group of community members met outside Parkway High School to conduct the annual School Prayer Walk. The group stopped at 8 locations outside the building, offering prayer for the upcoming school year, students, specific programs, staff, and volunteers. 



Rockford United Methodist and Other Area Churches
Travel on Mission Trip to Kentucky

The Henderson Settlement Project mission team from Rockford United Methodist, along with St. John’s Lutheran Hopewell and Mendon Methodist church members traveled to Frakes, KY recently.  Some of the work that the 20-member team carried out included removing old siding, hanging new siding, and repairing a back deck for a young couple and their family. Some team members also helped in the Settlement thrift store and food pantry. This is the 16th trip to Henderson Settlement with folks from the Rockford area.  The biggest challenge is often the actual trip there.  Once the group turns off Highway 25E in southeast Kentucky, there are 159 curves (yes, someone has counted them!) on a 17-mile stretch to reach the Henderson Settlement in Frakes.  Other work teams from many states are also there so new relationships are formed, as well as seeing many “old” friends who also return.  Each morning begins with a work camp devotion/worship service, and evenings include a program to share information with work campers about the ministries of Henderson Settlement. 


Rockford United Methodist Church's Helping Hands Thrift Store Opens in New Location
The Helping Hands Thrift Store, run by Rockford United Methodist Church, has served the community of Rockford for 9 years. During that time, they have been able to help families in need with gently used items donated by the members of the church. From their young beginnings in 2008 when they shared a donated space in Dave Salway's Cabinetry Business in the old Lloyd Motor Sales Building to a recent return to the same location after 5 years in the old Reisch's Dime Store Building, the mission as never changed. They offer all sizes and types of clothing, shoes, household goods, furniture, toys, books, etc. Betsey's Boutique recently bought out the old "dime store" building in Rockford requiring Helping Hands to relocate. Fortunately, Tammy Cheek had recently purchased the old Lloyd Motor Sales location. She and her husband Rusty are remodeling it into several spaces for businesses to operate. Helping Hands took over one of the beautifully remodeled areas and can be accessed from the north side door. They are open two days a week: Wednesday 4-7 PM and Saturday 10-1. Several church members volunteer their time with Karla Butler heading-up the operation. Karla mentioned that the public is invited to shop. She has regulars who come in looking for good used items. And she has seen many first time customers just recently with the new move. Christmas gift shopping is a good reason to stop in, she says. With very limited space, Karla does not take outside donations but can be contacted at the church at 419-363-3230 for more information.

Interesting Lloyd Motor Sales Building History: See the pictures below of the railroad train rail showing through the flooring where the railroad actually pulled right into the building to unload new cars to the Ford dealership. Also see the picture of the floor hydraulic jack for lifting cars to service them.



For more than a decade Parkway Local School District residents contacted their local churches in advance for food assistance through the Parkway Ministerial Association Food Pantry.   The pantry enjoyed district-wide support.   

Recently, to better serve area communities and fulfill food assistance needs, residents of the Parkway School District may come in person to the new Parkway Local Food Pantry located on East Columbia Street in Rockford in the same building area as Helping Hands Thrift Store. 

The Parkway Local Food Pantry will be open the fourth Saturday of the month from 9-11 a.m.   Those who need food assistance will be asked to show proof of residency in the school district and provide the names of those in their household.  

The new Parkway Local Food Pantry on East Columbia Street, is facilitated by the Rockford United Methodist Church, and guided by the biblical command to ‘…serve one another in love’ found in Galatians 5:13.   

Click pictures below to enlarge.

North Door Entry Clothing and more Railroad track Car Hydraulic jack

Mission Trip Completed to Henderson Settlement

The Henderson Settlement Project (HSP) Mission Team from the Rockford United Methodist Church spent a week in July at Henderson Settlement in Frakes, Kentucky.  Henderson Settlement serves the people in the Bell County, Kentucky area.  This year, the HSP Mission Team was joined by three members of the St. John Lutheran Hopewell Church.  With the financial support of the two congregations, materials were purchased so that a storage shed was built and sided for a family.  The team also delivered to the Henderson Settlement Food Pantry food and personal hygiene items that were generously donated throughout the year or were purchased in nearby towns while at Henderson Settlement.   

Several members of the team worked throughout the week in the food pantry and the thrift store, which are both ministries of Henderson Settlement. 

Each day of work camp begins with morning devotions with the other 180 campers and ends with an evening program that includes learning about the missions of Henderson Settlement, a time of sharing and communion, and music entertainment by a local Appalachian band.

Members of the Team left to right: Dick Edgell, Dennis Hecht, Casey Nuttle, Warren Menchhofer, Keith Canary, Kara Rupp, Loren Shindeldecker, Barb Pedroza, Karla Butler, Pastor Chip Steffy. kneeling: Nathan Rupp, Jordan, Tina (missing: Janet Steffy)


St. Paul’s United Church of Christ Celebrates 150th

The Congregation of St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, 1538 Oregon Road, Rockford, OH  is thankful for God’s blessings over their 150 year history 1867-2017 that guided them to last Sunday - November 5, 2017, when they celebrated. It was a windy and rainy morning, but the church was overflowing with members and guests as Reverend Larry K. May, (left) who served the church from 1961-1967, delivered the inspiring message from the pulpit. His lesson entitled, I Will Build My Church, was taken from Matthew 16:13-18 where Jesus asked the questions of his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” After they answered, he again asked of them, “Who do YOU say that I am?” When Peter answered that He was the Messiah, Jesus was happy and said that Peter was a rock and “ . . . on this rock foundation I will build my church and not even death will overcome it.” Reverend May reminded the congregation that Jesus did not say your church or his church. Jesus said I will build MY church. And so we tend this church, now here for 150 years, for Jesus Christ our risen Lord and Savior.








He reminded the congregation that the acolyte (see Remmie above) brings in the light of Jesus every Sunday during worship and carries it back out, and we are thankful for His presence among us. He also spoke about the actual building of the church and obstacles such as getting the new bell up into the tower. Building the church had its challenges. Before the service started, everyone was thrilled to hear the first ringing of the bell in the tower. It had been in the repair shop for a while.

Communion was served by Reverend May, and a Service of Remembrance ceremony was conducted for those in the church who had passed away this year. The choir sang “Bless This House” and many beautiful old hymns were used throughout the service.


A delicious lunch was catered by Rockford Carry-Out with tender chicken and beef in gravy and all the best fixings of vegetables and salads. Later, two delicious white and chocolate cakes, decorated with edible icing photos of the old church and the current church were enjoyed by over 260 people. People enjoyed looking through the complimentary 150th Anniversary History Book, printed for the occasion. Pens and magnets with church information were handed out to everyone. People enjoyed the beautiful fall table decorations of the fellowship hall and the gorgeous altar arrangements.



Even though the skies turned dark in the afternoon as severe weather swept through and tornadoes passed close by, the celebration service went on as planned with Pastor Mark Rutledge, speaking from the pulpit. He no more than began with his messages from Paul’s Letters to the Thessalonians and Ephesians, than the thunder and lightning began, the wind howled and the lights went out. Reverend May offered Pastor Rutledge a flashlight to read the scripture lessons, with the light of Christ burning on the altar candles behind him. St. Paul, this church’s namesake, wrote from prison to the two young churches and reminded them of the power they have within themselves to do so much more together with God and power of the Spirit and Jesus Christ residing in their hearts (Ephesians3:14-21). In Paul’s letter to the I Thessalonians (5:1-11), Pastor Mark reminded the congregation that Paul said the Day of the Lord would come as a thief in the night. We, as Christians must be watchful and prepared, and help each other and encourage one another. Pastor Mark remarked that the congregation of St. Paul’s cares for Christ’s church and the rock it is founded upon and follows those lessons.  Special choir music at the second service was “On Eagles Wings” and other beautiful favorites were sung.


Thank you’s go out to everyone who worked so diligently to prepare for this very successful 150th celebration. And, thank you’s go out to Reverend May and his entire family who traveled so far to celebrate with the congregation, to Pastor Mark Rutledge, and to so many neighboring churches for well wishes, gifts and spending the day at the celebration.







For more than a decade Parkway Local School District residents contacted their local churches in advance for food assistance through the Parkway Ministerial Association Food Pantry.   The pantry enjoyed district-wide support.   


Beginning Saturday, June 24th, 2017, to better serve area communities and fulfill food assistance needs, residents of the Parkway School District may come in person to the new Parkway Local Food Pantry located on East Columbia Street in Rockford. 


The Parkway Local Food Pantry will be open the fourth Saturday of the month from 9-11 a.m.   Those who need food assistance will be asked to show proof of residency in the school district and provide the names of those in their household.  


The new Parkway Local Food Pantry on East Columbia Street, is facilitated by the Rockford United Methodist Church, and guided by the biblical command to ‘…serve one another in love’ found in Galatians 5:13.   


Serving the Rockford community since April of 2009, the Helping Hands Thrift Store helps to provide Parkway families with clothing and some household items.   Helping Hands, located at 131 S. Main Street in Rockford, is open Wednesdays from 4-7 p.m. and Saturdays from 10-1 p.m.  


For more information contact the office of the Rockford UMC 202 S. Franklin Street, 419-363-3230.


In addition to the local resources, since February 2017 Mercer County residents who qualify under the Job and Family Services Poverty guidelines may receive food assistance through the Agape’ Mobile Rural Food Pantry a creative cooperative of churches, businesses, and individuals based in Sidney, OH.  


The Mobile Pantry travels to Mendon and Rockford on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of the month and to Fort Recovery on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month.    







Couple from Rockford Serve the Lord in Detroit Michigan
Fall 2014 by Sheila Baltzell

Chad Shellabarger and his wife Doris recently celebrated their first year in Mission work, following the call from Lord Jesus to move to Detroit, Michigan to serve the under-privileged of the inner city.

The young couple from Rockford (who belong to Mt. Tabor church of God), work within the organization called YouthWorks which focuses the majority of its time and efforts on equipping Detroit youth for the fullness  of life (John 10:10).  Chad and Doris work within the school year calendar of Detroit Public School system.  They pull together a unique group of volunteers called gapers in order to fully staff the different programs. Gappers take a year to “stand in the  gap” (Ezekiel 22:30).  Shown here is the group of Gappers who helped the Shellabargers move into their third story apartment  last August 2013. 



Top L to bottom R:  Evan (Gapper from Ann Arbor), Camille (part-time staff from Ann Arbor), Ryan (Gapper from Belfast, Northern Ireland), Emily (staff from Sterling Heights, MI), Matt (Gapper from Minnesota) Chad, and Anna (staff from Minnesota)  Photographer: Josh (Executive Director)


The  P.R.A.I.S.E. youth group is a weekly program. Chad explains, “It is structured similarly to a church youth group, but with some natural differences based on the needs of urban youth.  We focus chiefly on intentionally building deep relationships and living out our faith by example.  With a good balance of fun events and teaching, we witnessed a very fruitful year with the amazing group of young people we are privileged to serve.  By opening our lives and our homes to the youth, God creates a spirit-filled environment that leads to growth in our focus areas: Prayer, Relationships, Academics, Integrity, Service, and Evangelization (together, we P.R.A.I.S.E.).” 



Chad and Doris also ran the Bezalel Project.  Named after an Israelite that God gifted with artistic and creative skills (Exodus 31), Bezalel is an after-school program for elementary and middle school youth that engages in the arts and other creative outlets.  The couple is working with some of the talented youth there to create their own entrepreneurial projects. Shown below, the Bezalel group took a trip to downtown Detroit for some ice skating last winter.


YouthWorks-Detroit also runs an Urban Encounter program.  On these short-term mission trips, groups of high schoolers, collegiates, and adults have the opportunity to serve the elderly, youth, homeless, and homebound in the city.  Serving in this way is not only an opportunity for them to bring Christ to those in need but also an opportunity for Christ to open the eyes and change the hearts of those who “come and see.” (John 1:39-46), said Chad.  He also explained that through a complete urban mission experience, missionaries serving in Detroit are encouraged to re-examine their views of culture, tradition, race, economic class, and other issues involved in urban life.  After experiencing Detroit as a mission field, “Urban Encounterers” are encouraged to hear God's call for them as individuals for a life of Christian mission.  Chad and Doris attended their  first Urban Encounter in 2010 while students at Huntington University in Indiana. They feel it changed their lives, and God led them to his service.


During the recent summer, Chad and Doris planned and completed Detroit Summer Outreach.  For two  months college age men and women (approx. 18-23) live and serve in Detroit, while receiving Christian information to prepare them for a life of mission. Chad feels these Interns, who  give two months of their summer over to deep discipleship, learn the true meaning of fullness of what God has for them and learning to live a life poured out on mission for Christ by  sacrificing luxuries, and receiving training in youth work and urban issues.  After a couple weeks of training, the summer Outreach participants dove into the  summer ministry programs: Bezalel Project, Mercy Team, and the StreetTeam Leadership and Job Training program.

Shown below: a glimpse of the StreetTeam men’s backpacking weekend in Manistee National Forest.


Chad and Doris are into their 2nd year in Detroit, and if you would like to support YouthWorks-Detroit,  please Visit to make a donation!


Chad is the son of Randy and Colleen (Sites) Shellabarger of Rockford. Chad is a 2009 Parkway graduate. Doris grew up in Germany in the Black Forest Region. They attended Huntington University together, both graduating in 2013. They have been married 1-1/2 years.









African Mission Trip Taken by Local Physician

By Sheila Baltzell 8-6-2014

Below, hats made by the Seirre Leones

Sierra Leone is an independent country in Africa (but once a British Colony until 1961) sitting aside of Guinea and Liberia on the far western coast of the Atlantic Ocean. Sierra Leone is tiny, impoverished, recovering from civil war and crying-out for missionaries, volunteers and medical help in any form . . . and many people feel the calling to go and help.


One doctor from the Rockford community, Jerry Sell, M.D. recently fulfilled a dream of his to visit and care for the poorest of the poor in Sierra Leone at a hospital there which was started by the missionary parents of another traveler on the journey, Ron Baker, M.D.


Dr. “Baka” as he is fondly called, actually grew up in Sierra Leone while his parents, Dr. and Mrs. DeWitt Baker were missionaries (and he the Education Secretary) from 1949-1965. They built the hospital in Mattru, a village of 1500 people and ministered to their needs for 16 years.  Then the family returned to Indiana where Dewitt became the president of Huntington College. It was there that Ron went to college and did his residency in medicine. He then returned to Sierra Leone and served the people for 16 years before coming back to Berrian Springs, Michigan. Ron’s maternal grandpa was Pastor L. A. Middaugh who was once a pastor at Otterbein U. B Church, where Jerry Sell and his family attended. Dr. Sell has known and kept in contact with the family (including Ron’s mother living in Indiana) over the many years of their ministry. The country of Sierra Leone has a United Brethren African Conference supporting the hospital. Personal support comes from other places, too. Francis Mustapha, a construction worker from Ft. Wayne, Indiana, recently ran a 401K and used the donations to support the Madina School (for teaching good morals and values) in Moiomba. He is from Sierra Leone and wants to help his people. (At left, Dr. Baker and a man severly beaten with a belt buckle during the Civil War.)


In March of 2013, Dr. Baker and Dr. Sell began an earnest dialogue in planning a mission trip to Africa. There was much to discuss. Who would be going along? Dr. Sell talked to one of Van Wert County Hospital’s Nurse Anesthetists, Mike Smith, CRNA, who is also an ordained Baptist Minister, and he requested a place on the team. Dr. Baker goes back every other year to serve.


Dr. Ron Baker talked to Allie Kaditu from Neighborville, IL, a native of Sierra Leone, who works for BP Oil Company as a Financial Analyst. She accompanied the group and was their trip facilitator, handling flights, road travel, and necessary paperwork.  She speaks both Mende (Southern ½ of Sierra Leone) and Krio (Pidgeon English). Her skills came in handy and in one instance, life-saving for the team. They were stopped by a policeman looking to empty the pockets of strangers. She spoke to them in their language, telling them they were missionaries and to please let them pass. They did. Dr. Sell said that usually paying respect  to the Paramount Chief (District Mayor) will get travelers protected. Even though they had done this act, it did not help, until Kaditu spoke up.


The travel took 30 hours in late January 2014. The group of four flew from Chicago to Brussels and then on to the Sierra Leone coastal town of Freetown via an airbus. The flights alone took 10 hours.  Then there was a six hour layover.  In the city of a million people, they saw a beautiful, very old cotton tree, valued by the community because it is the tree where slaves were freed many years long ago. In Brussels, the group met up with Michelle from Michigan, who came to work with the nurses in the Mattru Harmony House Nursing Hospital and Paradise Dormitory.  Then the mission team of 5 boarded a truck which took them on a 14 hour ride down a rutted lane they called a road, followed by a Ferry Boat ride across the Jong River. A system of sticks launched the ferry across the water. The weary group spread out in various spots for the mission including a Catholic Mission, and apartment building and two houses.

Rice bag at left.





They were greeted by Mama Parker, Pastor Parker’s wife. They showed her respect and later they met up with another team member who practices in South Africa for the United Nations. Abu Minah stayed for the week, as well. The women cooked for the group. Chickens ran around free and then wound up in a stew for supper. They were offered fresh baked bread and peanut butter, and pineapple. The team took food with them as well including instant oatmeal and Cliff energy bars. Sometimes they ate food they were not sure what it was. Dr. Sell says he lived on peanut butter sandwiches.



According to history, there was a 10 year Civil War in the 1990’s and was perpetrated by neighboring Liberian Rebels who performed horrible atrocities. The warriors destroyed the hospital in Mattru where the rebels dumped the country’s only x-ray machine in the river. The government had to pay off the rebels to enact a cease-fire. The opposition party in Sierra Leone is now made up of the former rebels. The atrocities are forgiven. One woman was injured by a machete cut with her intestines hanging out during the struggles. When the mission team recently arrived, she rode her bicycle 3 hours to see Dr. Ron Baker  who was the surgeon who fixed her wound. Dr. Baker’s name is known through-out the country. While his family lived in Mattru, he and his brother and 2 younger sisters played with the villagers who lived in thatched-roof houses. Ron attended the Danville School. Tragedy struck the family when a boat launch collapsed and killed Dan’s older brother. Dan regularly visits the gravesite, which the villagers prepare for viewing by brushing the grave area.







All supplies have to be brought along, according to Dr. Sell, so, Van Wert County Hospital and the Pharmacy Staff donated medical supplies and money. Dr. Sell and Dr. Baker bought a ton (25 kilos) of rice for the hospital. Mary, Dr. Ron’s housekeeper and cook, cooked the rice for them to eat. She kept their mosquito nets mended and they ate on a screened gazebo. All team members had their shots before the trip and took malaria pills the entire time.  With a 50% infant mortality rate by the age of 5 years, it is not surprising that they are the worst in the world. Infectious disease is prevalent; viruses abound. One evening a premature baby was brought in with breathing difficulties. Mike Smith the anesthetist worked and managed to get an IV in. They used a bag apparatus to breathe for it but it’s little lungs were not developed enough and it died in Nurse Michelle’s arms.


Each member carried 2 suitcases up to 50 lbs, plus a carryon and a backpack.

All items and supplies were used or left behind. The doctors played volleyball with the village children and handed out candy and balloons. There was swimming in the river. They walked ½ mile every day to and from the hospital.


All in all, the group performed 31 hernia surgeries in 5 days. They gave joint injections for pain; Dr. Sell did ultrasounds; CRNA Smith did anesthesia including spinals. Once, they treated a construction worker who fell 30 feet in a pit and caused severe damage so he could not walk. The team figured out how to get him a wheelchair. He was so happy and appreciative. There were heart failure induced leg ulceratons for which Dr. Sell used Una boots and people got better.  People came from near and far for care. They had to pay for their services. But some could not, so the team actually paid $1000 for their patients to have the surgery they gave as volunteers.










When the week was done, all doctors were thanked with the hand-shake of highest status and respect; they were each given a hat; and they left down the dirt lane for their ferry boat ride to the airport: Dr. Ron Baker, Dr. Jerry Sell, Dr. Minah (back to South Africa), Allie Kaditu and Nurse Michelle.

Click on smaller thumbnail pictures to enlarge them.

Disembarking in Brussels

Typical village thatched huts

Paying respects at the grave of Norman Baker

Old friends

Log canoes, dug out by hand

Ferry boat powered by ropes and sticks

Nurses' school members
in morning devotions

Blue Water tank in background

Dr. Sell in one of the hallways
which is on the outside of the buildings

Doctors are held in highest respect
by adults and children

Drs: Sell, Baker and Minah
swim in the Jong River

Francis Mustapha
and the Baker Family

Jerry Sell, Allie Kaditu & Mike Smith

Boarding the Ferry Boat

Boarding the van for a bumpy
and dusty ride to Mattru

Jerry Sell, Mike Smith and Ron Baker
at their residence

The chicken that became dinner

Prison Ministry visit

Madina School supported
by Mr. Mustapha from Indiana

Madina School supported
by Mr. Mustapha from Indiana

Ridding the Ferry Boat

Doctors have the highest respect

Volleyball Passtime

Dr. Baker and Dr. Minah with friends


A patient

Dr. Sell examining a patient

Fresh sardines for supper

Freetown (see the tree?)

New Pastor Takes the Reins at New Horizon Church


Pastor Dave Souers is from the Ft. Wayne, Indiana area where he was born and raised and now has moved into the calling as head pastor of New Horizon Community Church in Rockford. Dave and his wife Annette, who is a registered nurse at the St. Joe Burn Center, recently became the parents of Eli, 2 months.

The couple came from Westwood Fellowship after having served there 5-1/2 years, where Dave pastored and they both enjoyed coaching soccer and track. Dave also was an announcer for the basketball games. They will miss their church home, but both felt the calling of the Lord and Dave answered the call a month ago.


After graduating from Blackhawk Christian in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, he completed a four year degree in Biblical Studies at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. He is currently working on his Master of Divinity through Indiana Wesleyan. While in Chicago, he served in the inner city in Youth Ministry and coached sports. But he really missed the green grass.

He also met his wife Annette at Moody. She was born and raised in a missionary Family in the Albertville area of France near the Alps. She loves to coach and serves as a track coach as well as a student athletic trainer. Dave and Annette are committed to mission work, and he is very excited about the upcoming trip to Guatemala, which is in the works for this summer.

Dave has a “Come as You Are”  philosophy, a relaxed atmosphere where “church” clothes are not required to honor the Lord. He along with the other members also have a warm and inviting atmosphere, Dave has already met Ken Meyer, worship director, Todd Moser, Children’s Pastor and more wonderful people according to Dave. He prepares all of his sermons which he strives to create Bible-based and relevant messages. He wants his flock to understand what’s written and apply it to your life and engage you in the bible. He plans his lessons with lively enthusiasm. In fact, his series right now called "In Joy" is guaranteed to get the enthusiasm back in your life.

The worship team provides music at the 10:30  services. A cafe of food and fellowship starts at 9 AM.  They invite you to attend their church  next Sunday.

Mercer and Mt. Zion UMC Invite Public to Welcome New Pastor

The Mercer United Methodist Church, Junction of State Route 707 and State Route 33, Mercer, OH and the Mount Zion United Methodist Church, 9503 Celina/Mendon Road, Celina, OH have a new Pastor; Craig Cisco. 

Craig and his wife Johanna live in St. Mary’s, OH.  Craig attended Wayne Street United Methodist Church in St. Mary’s and was active with the Youth and Missions.

The congregations at both churches would like to extend an invitation to come and worship with us and meet Pastor, Craig and Johanna Cisco. 

Times are as follows:  Mercer UMC – Sunday Worship, 9:00 am; Mt. Zion UMC – Sunday School 9:15 & Worship 10:15 am.




Activity Bus Finds New Home at Rockford United Methodist Church

By Susan Sheppard


The people of Rockford United Methodist Church are making plans to launch a Church Bus Ministry after a recent purchase of a 33 passenger activity bus. The vehicle was purchased from Bear Creek Farms after that facility closed. It has been detailed and ‘branded’ by Doug and Ryan Hole, father and son team of Holeshot.

Kids’ Club, the church’s Wednesday after school program, has flourished under the leadership of Nathan Rupp, the church’s Youth Director. Transportation of students from the school facilitates that program, which includes a time for snacks, games, lessons and crafts.

There are so many people to thank for their vision of and participation in this ministry. The bus has been paid for by donations of church people. There will be plans made to use the bus for purposes other than transporting Kids’ Club participants. Chip Steffy is pastor of the church which is located at 202 South Franklin Street in Rockford.










Director of Children and Youth  Position Filled at RUMC

Rockford United Methodist Church is proud to announce the hiring of Nathan Rupp, from Berne, Indiana as their Director of Children and Youth Ministries, effective July 1. 

Nathan Rupp was born in Sierra Leone, West Africa to missionary parents, Larry and Jean Rupp. He graduated from South Adams High School in 2009 and from Huntington University with a degree in Mission and Youth Ministry and a Bible minor in 2013. Nathan has one brother and one sister and is engaged to be married to Kara Lehman  later this year. 

Rockford United Methodist Church is located at 202 South Franklin Street in Rockford, where Thurlow ‘Chip’ Steffy is pastor. The church offers two worship services on Sunday morning. A traditional worship service begins at 8:30 with a more contemporary worship starting at 10:30.





Rockford United Methodist Church and Other Area Churches - Henderson Settlement Project (HSP) Mission Team Completes Annual Committment

The Henderson Settlement Project (HSP) Mission Team from the Rockford United Methodist Church spent a week in July 2013 at Henderson Settlement in Frakes, Kentucky.  Henderson Settlement serves the people in the Bell County, Kentucky area.  This year, the HSP Mission Team was joined by six members of the Mendon United Methodist Church and six members of the St. John Lutheran Hopewell Church.  With the financial support of the three congregations, materials were purchased so that a gable roof was added to a family’s house trailer along with adding insulation and siding.  The team also delivered food and personal hygiene items that were generously donated throughout the year.  Delivered to the food pantry were canned meats, cooking oil, powdered milk, peanut butter, and fruit juices.  

The HSP Mission Team also delivered “Labels for Education” (Campbell Soup labels) that had been collected.  Henderson Settlement uses these to get free items, including minivans!

Several members of the team worked throughout the week in the food pantry and the thrift store which are both outreach ministries of Henderson Settlement. 

Using funds that the HSP Mission Team raised this year, some of the mission team shopped in Pineville and Middlesboro, KY on two different days.  They purchased Tuna Helper, beef stew, peanuts, raisins, cheese, butter, hamburger, noodles, soup beans, muffin mix, and cooking oil, along with more toiletries.  These were delivered to the food pantry and immediately added to the monthly food boxes to be given to qualifying clients.

Each day of work camp begins with morning devotions with the other 180 campers and ends with an evening program that includes learning about the missions of Henderson Settlement, a time of sharing and communion, and music entertainment by a local Appalachian band.

For more information on this year’s trip, visit or learn about Henderson Settlement at

Pictured: Front row: Kayle Heckler, Ashlynn Henderson, Kayla Webb, Karla Butler

Second row: Cindy Canary, Deb Hecht, Shelby Barnett, Betsy Armstrong, Amanda Tribolet

Third row: Dennis Hecht, DeDe Stoner, Tam Boroff, Jeremy Tribolet, Dick Edgell

Back row: Loren Shindeldecker, Pastor Chip Steffy, Casey Nuttle, Grey Fox





St. John Lutheran Hopewell and Zion Lutheran Chatt Served by Pastor Karen Tamorria

The congregations of St. John Lutheran Church/Hopewell and Zion Lutheran Church/Chatt are pleased to announce the installation of Pastor Karen Tamorria as their pastor to serve both congregations as a two-point parish.  Pastor Tamorria was formally installed for service on January 6.

Pastor Tamorria came to this area from Frostburg, Maryland, having served there as a pastor for a multiple-congregation parish as well as serving as a chaplain for area nursing homes included in the parish.  With her formal education beginning with training in Sacred Music (voice concentration) and previous work as a music therapist, Pastor Tamorria brings to the congregations a love of music along with a love for visiting and caring for church members of all ages.  She also has a zest for making worship exciting and responsive to the members’ needs.  Pastor Karen attended Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

Pastor Karen Tamorria is married to Pastor Mike Tamorria, who currently serves the North American Lutheran Church (NALC) as an interim minister for congregations in need.  The Tamorrias reside in the parsonage located in Chatt.  Both St. John and Chatt are members of the North American Lutheran Church (NALC).

Pastor Karen states, “We have settled in and are enjoying our life in Ohio.  The people here have been VERY kind, helpful, and understanding, making our first weeks very pleasant!  I am looking forward to getting to know all of you more and moving ahead with the ministry that God has called me to do and has called St. John and Zion churches to do!”

St. John Lutheran Church/Hopewell is located at the corner of St. Rt. 118 and Oregon Road, just south of Rockford (9009 St. Rt. 118, Celina OH) and offers services at 9 a.m. followed by Sunday School for all ages at 10:15 a.m. 

Zion Lutheran Church/Chatt is located at the corner of St. Rt. 49 and Tama Road, at the south edge of Chattanooga (9764 St. Rt. 49, Rockford OH) and offers services at 10:30 a.m. with Sunday School for all ages preceding church services at 9:30 a.m.

Both churches offer a variety of ministries, including women’s and men’s bible study groups, the Chatta-John Youth Group for teens, and monthly children’s programs.  Each of the churches also offer additional programs including adult and children’s choir, dartball, and various community volunteer activities.  Please consider stopping in and checking out the exciting ministries of St. John and Zion Churches.



New Horizons Church Announces Their New Children's Pastor Todd Moser 11-7-2012


New Horizons Community Church Welcomes New Youth Pastor
by Sheila Baltzell 11-1-2012

Matt Rhynehart, formerly of a small town, Marlboro,  in the state of New York, has accepted a call to the youth pastorate position at New Horizons Community Church. He and his wife Michelle (a former missionary to Belize) and their 16 month old daughter, Adelyn, moved to Rockford in August, right before school started at Parkway Local. He settled right in and began his duties. Michelle is a stay at home mom.

Matt graduated in May from Nyack College a small Christian, liberal arts college in New York state. He went there through a turning point in his life while on his second church mission trip to Belize. He had graduated from high school, had been active in his youth group, and felt great support in his church when his parents went though a brief separation. Although he considered culinary school and music education, Matt eventually decided to apply to Moody Bible College for 4 years of intensive Bible education. As he waited for an acceptance letter, he planned to go on a church mission trip to Belize. It was in that country he met-up with a past church acquaintance, his now wife, Michelle. She was finishing a 6 month mission and waited to return to the states with Matt. While there he felt God working in his life as he helped build a home for an impoverished family. Two young men, residents, became his friends in the short time and taught him to play the guitar. Matt felt pulled toward the youth ministry and later found a passion for it. When he arrived home, Michelle encouraged him to help her with the youth group at their church. It was a small group of 10 young people, but they were encouraged by the numbers of children who attended.   He decided on Nyack after learning they had a great youth pastoral program.  They came highly recommended, too. Two of his professors had actually been full time youth pastors, and he thrived on their training. He believes his courses at Nyack give him the tools to teach the youth of New Horizons. He took child and adolescent psychology, counseling youth, a Bible teaching course, and classes in learning styles and differentiation of teaching methods including the Hook, Book, Look and Took method. Basically, he gets their attention, reads a story or passage, encourages discussion on how this applies in today’s world, and then challenges them to each go out and do an activity that shows love of neighbor.

At New Horizons, Matt has 6th grade through 12th grade in his group. He and 3 other volunteers have a Wednesday night meeting that is further broken down into age groups and by gender. They study the bible. On Sunday, the group again meets with 3 parent volunteers with a  more structured lesson  including worship, songs, lesson, and games (they have a gym), social time and snacks.

He is also involved in EGGS (Encouraging God’s Great Students) and meeting with students at lunchtime at Parkway Schools. Although he is running New Horizons existing programs, he loves their structure and the set-up. And, most of all, he is excited to have anywhere from 41 to 47 youth show up, and parental volunteers who serve as the backbone of any ministry.

Matt announced that the group will be heading to the Winter Jam in January 2013, where they will hear Christian Bands. A video game night for the junior high youth is planned for the first week in November and a progressive dinner for the Senior High students. New Horizons is also welcoming a new Children’s Pastor for the Pre-K through 5th graders during the first full week in November.

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