(937) 448-2287 info@oaklandchurch.org

Oakland News

Oakland News

September 2021

Join us for Worship:

Sunday School at 9:30am

Sunday at 10:30am:  Sunday Morning Worship live and on Facebook

Pastor Andrew’s Office Hours:

Monday 9am – Noon

Tuesday & Wednesday Work from home

Thursday 10am – Noon

Pastor Paula’s Office Hours:

Wednesday 9am – 2pm

Contact Information for Pastor Andrew Wright:

937-546-1196              awright236@aol.com

Contact Information for Associate Pastor Paula Ziegler Ulrich:

937-467-5672        ulrich,paula@gmail.com 

The church office is open Mon – Thurs 9am to 2pm.

Church Membership 

If you are not a member of Oakland but would like to become one, please contact Pastor Andrew.

Fall Adult Education Opportunities

There are several exciting opportunities at Oakland this fall.

On Tuesday, September 14th at 7pm Oakland is offering a labyrinth walk with anointing. There is more information on this opportunity later in this newsletter.

Beginning September 15th at 6:30pm, Chris Brewer will lead a discussion group studying the book Total Forgiveness by R.T.Kendall.  This is an opportunity to learn what forgiveness is and what it is not.  Uncover the physical, emotional, and spiritual consequences of unforgiveness, and see why God adamantly encourages you to forgive others.  A sign up sheet is available at the welcome center.

Also beginning September 15th at 6:30pm is a study led by Pastor Andrew of the book The God Who Sees.  Immigrants, the Bible, and the Journey to Belong by: Karen Gonzalez.  “Our upcoming 6-week book study is a riveting story of seeking safety in another land.  Debi and I have made our home on three continents.  We have experienced some of the struggles and insights presented in this book.  Please come join us as we explore biblical and personal stories.  We will search for answers and discover new insights about ourselves, our neighbors and issues surrounding this complex phenomenon.”  A sign up sheet is available at the welcome center.

Children’s Ministry

Back to school and into Oakland’s fall children’s programming!  We have lots of plans for this time of year as we move into the fall season.

Beginning with Movin’ On Up on September 12th where we recognize those children who will advance to their next level of education.

On September 15th children’s fall programming begins with Kid’s Club and 4-5-6 Youth on Wednesday nights from 6:30 – 8pm.

On September 24th we will have a Fall, Family & Friends Fest starting at 5:00pm.  This event is for the whole family and the congregation.  Be sure to mark your calendar!


Heather Manalo Children’s Director

Oakland Church of the Brethren

Church- (937) 448-2287

Personal Cell- (937) 423-139

Youth Ministry

September is a busy month!  Beginning in September, the Youth will be doing a Sunday School course titled Beginning in Jesus.  This course will help students to understand the many aspects of Jesus’ character.

L.O.L. (Live Out Love) Wednesday at 7:00 to 8:30 pm will begin September 15th.  We will begin our evening talking about our week, continuing with a scripture and devotions.  Our evening will end playing games and eating snacks.

Prayer Partner Meeting, Wednesday, September 8, will be with those who have chosen to be prayer partners and the youth.  We will meet each other and learn how we can support each other with prayer.  Snacks will be served, and information will be provided.

Fall Kickoff Tailgate Party, Saturday, September 11th, 5:00 to 7:00 pm.  This party is for the whole family, mom, dad, brothers and sisters, even grandparents.  Our Kickoff will begin with games to get to know each other, then we’ll have a meal together.  Oakland will provide meat and drinks, and we are asking that each family bring a covered dish to share.  There will be forms that need to be filled out to help with communication and to get to know our youth better.  Information on National Youth Conference for 2022 will be included.  Please RSVP Betty by September 9, at 937-564-5522.


Betty Byrd, Youth Ministry Director

Oakland Church of the Brethren

Office Phone 937-448-2287

Cell Phone 937-564-5522

Sharing Table

A sharing table is available in the fellowship hall.  This is a place to bring your surplus fruits and vegetables to share with the congregation.  If there is something on the table you can use, please feel free to take it!  This is just another way we can work together for the good of all.

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Oakland Choir rehearsals will begin weekly on Thursday, September 16, from 7:00 to 8:00 pm, and the choir will sing about every other Sunday. The only requirement is that you enjoy singing! If you would like to sing but have child care needs, please speak with Pastor Paula, and we’ll see what we can work out.

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NOAC will be entirely on-line this year, but still will include many favorite things: the daily morning Bible Study with Joel Kline; a variety of afternoon workshops; virtual “field trips” to historic Brethren sites; NOAC NEWS; worship services and more! Keynote speakers include long-time favorites, musician Ken Medema and comedian Ted Swartz; and preachers include Christy Dowdy from Bridgewater (VA) Church of the Brethren; Don Fitkee from Lancaster (PA) CoB; Paula Bowser from Troy CoB; Eric Landram from Lititz (PA) CoB; and our very own interim pastor Andrew! REGISTRATION fees are $100 for an individual; and $150 for a couple; and it has already opened on-line at www.brethren/org/NOAC. You may request a paper registration form by calling 1-800-323-8038 ext. 303. If you have questions, please ask Pastor Paula, who is serving on the NOAC Planning Team and as co-coordinator of the Worship Planning Team again this year. And REMEMBER — NOAC IS FOR ANYONE AGE 50 AND UP! We’ll miss Lake Junaluska this year, but it’s still going to be jam-packed with meaningful speakers and activities! (if you need help with registering, Pastor Paula will be happy to help you with that. Give her a call at 937-467-5672.)

Summary of the Leadership Team Meeting on August 19, 2021

Leadership Team Highlights – August 19, 2021

Oakland’s Leadership Team met the evening of August 19th at the church.  Reports were given from various teams, the Pastors, and there were a few updates given from some ad-hoc groups.  The following are some highlights from that meeting.

  • Pastors Paula and Andrew are planning a service of healing with anointing on Oct. 10.
  • A Love Feast is being planned for Oct. 17.
  • “This is Us, Oakland”, a special service, is being planned for Nov. 7.
  • The Choir is planning to resume under the direction of Pastor Paula on Sept. 16th. All are welcome to join!
  • Paula is working on a retreat/training for Deacons.
  • Andrew shared that four people are being welcomed as new members on Sunday August 29 during morning worship.  They are Norma Best, Randy Mullins, Jim and Susie Oswalt.
  • A “blessing of the backpacks” will be held Sunday August 29th as a way to recognize students return to school.
  • Andrew will be leading a discussion group on Wed. evenings this Fall. Other groups will also be announced on Sunday, such as a labyrinth prayer walk, and a Bible Study.
  • Received financial update from Dean Brewer and Ross Gruber.  Work on next year’s budget will begin at next month’s meeting.
  • Jeremy Manalo and team are assessing technology needs and making a list of what is needed for the next 5-10 years. We have replaced the TVs in a Sunday School room and the Coffee Shop.
  • Levi King reported that the Facilities Team replaced an air conditioner compressor.  They are considering whether or not to remove drinking fountains and use bottled water. May swap out a freezer in place of the ice machine and used bagged ice.
  • Toni Custer reported lots of things happening with Education. Watch for information for children and youth upcoming activities.
  • The Youth parked cars during the Fair. 
  • Kid’s Club will begin Sept. 15.
  • The camp out held in July was very successful with about 75 people attending.  Another one is planned for Fall.
  • Carrie Drees reported that the Garden Tour and Ice Cream Social was just outstanding and attendance was good.
  • Frank Marchal reported that he is getting people to hep hand out ear plugs during the tractor pull at the Fair. Oakland is donating $100.00 a month to a program called Brianna’s Hope, a faith-based program for those recovering from addictions.  This program is held weekly at the CMA church in Greenville.
  • There were approximately 200 cyclists who showed up for GOBA on June 23rd.  Oakland supplied the breakfast on a cash basis.
  • Paula reported that the Discovery Team in conjunction with Stan Dueck, consultant, will do 20 interviews with Oaklanders and then small group interviews to help our church discover who we are and what we need from leadership.
  • The goal is to call a Search Team for a new pastor in November. 

The Education Team is planning a evening for spiritual reflection on September 14 at 7pm. A labyrinth prayer walk will be available as well as opportunities for anointing and journaling.  Labyrinths provide a physical path linking together prayer, self-awareness and body movement. People find that walking labyrinths are a way to connect with God, find rest and peace as well as creative insights for our life journeys. The labyrinth walk will happen rain or shine. For more information, contact Barbara Menke at 937-417-4995.

Psalm 25:4-5

Show me the path where I should walk, O Lord;

Point out the right road for me to follow

Lead me by your truth and teach me,

For you are God who saves me.

All day long I put my hope in you.

August BDM News

Southern Ohio/Kentucky Disaster Ministries Updates


BDM Monthly Meeting

On Thursday, Sept. 2 there will be a BDM meeting at Mill Ridge Village Community Center. Fellowship Time begins at 6:30, and the meeting is at 7:00 PM. All are invited!

School Kits & Cleanup Buckets for CWS

Thank you to all who helped prepare school kits for Church World Service (CWS). Many volunteers have sewn bags, purchased school supplies, and helped with assembling 2,227 school kits. These have been sent to the Brethren Service Center, where they will be packed and shipped to children in need throughout the world. Volunteers are needed for our next project, assembling Cleanup Buckets. This will be on Thursday, Sept. 30 at 6:30 PM at Bullen Ultrasonics, 1301 Miller Williams Rd., Eaton.

Pork Festival Parking

As a fundraiser, BDM volunteers will park cars at the Pork Festival on Sat. and Sun., September 18 & 19. This event is held at the Preble County fairgrounds. Workers are needed, and now is the time to sign up for a shift. Contact Burt Wolf at 937-287-5902, SouthernOhioBDM@gmail.com.

Appreciation Dinner

Save the date for the upcoming BDM Appreciation Dinner! It will be held on Saturday, October 23 at 6:00 PM at Salem Church of the Brethren. More information will be coming soon.


The Honduran family of 4 seeking asylum should get to cross into the USA on Aug. 29. They may arrive in Dayton as soon as Aug. 31. Donations are welcome to offset the ongoing expense of providing for the family while they live at the church and work their way through the process to achieve asylum. You can contact Gale Stephenson at 513-314-1616 or at scrapper042002@yahoo.com. (Please note this new contact person as Pastor Nan Erbaugh has retired and is moving to North Manchester to be near family).

If you would like to provide special music for a worship service, please call Pastor Paula at 937-467-5672 about your interest.

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September Birthdays

9/2                   Aden Coblentz

9/2                   Mark Davis

9/2                   Eden Sgro

9/3                   Kennley Foster

9/3                   Chelsea Fields

9/3                   Norma Best  

9/4                   John Blocher

9/4                   Chalmer Unger

9/5                   Joyce Lyme

9/7                   Zane Drees

9/7                   Marilyn Gruber

9/10                 Gary Stephan

9/11                 Ted Klepinger

9/13                 Lauren Dull

9/13                 Sherry Flora

9/14                 Dalene Thomas

9/17                 Claudia Conway

9/18                 Barbara Klepinger

9/19                 Zach Hittle

9/19                 Krista Boellke

9/21                 Mike Thompson

9/22                 Gracie Brandewie

9/23                 Brett Clark

9/23                 Jaxon Hampton

9/25                 Avery Niswonger

9/26                 Joyce Lease

9/27                 Corbin Conway

9/28                 Susan Lutz

9/29                 Patrick Sampsel (Sr.)

9/30                 Donna Apple

9/30                 Bill Brandewie (Sr)

September Anniversaries

9/1                   Lowell and Doris Coppess

9/4                   Ty and Lita House

9/8                 Patrick and Dianna Sampsel

9/12                 Ray and Barbara Lavy

9/23                 Mark and Gloria Burns

9/24                 Mark and Megan Holsapple

9/24                 Chalmer & Mary Lou Unger

                                   Prayer Requests:

Please lift the following persons in prayer:

Ray Haag – Continuing health concerns

Mary Lou Unger-Continuing health concerns

Cheryl Hittle – Continuing health concerns

Kenny Mowry – Continued Healing

Jane Stump-Continued healing

Kathy Etter – Health concerns

John Blocher – Continuing health concerns

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Continued Prayers for EYN (Church of the Brethren in Nigeria), for kidnapped girls and their families:

Please pray for Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) as they face the demolition of churches in Borno State, most recently in Maduganari, despite the church having a valid permit. Protests have followed the demolitions. After the demolition of the church in Maduganari, security forces fired shots into the air, reportedly killing one church member and injuring others. There are also reports of increased tensions in and around Jos recently with Jos North under a 24-hour curfew, creating great hardship for residents there.

Our prayers are still needed for this area.

Please lift these congregations in prayer this month:

9/5   Constance

9/12 Gratis

9/19 Prices Creek

9/26 Cedar Grove

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From The District:

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From the Desk of

Dave Shetler

Yesterday I had the privilege of being with two of our congregations for times of celebration. The Pleasant Hill congregation celebrated 50 years in their current building, noting their history of living out the call of Jesus before and since of this notable date. Later in the day, the Happy Corner congregation celebrated the paying off of the mortgage on the addition of their fellowship area and educational wing and their history of mission and ministry to their neighborhood. In both celebrations there were stories of note in their past and hopes of continuing service and ministry for the future. It was a good day.

These events led me to think about the importance and value of celebrations in the life of us as followers of Jesus. By definition, celebrate means “to perform (a sacrament or solemn ceremony) publicly and with appropriate rites” or “to honor (an occasion, such as a holiday) especially by solemn ceremonies or by refraining from ordinary business” It may also mean “to observe a holiday, perform a religious ceremony, or take part in a festival, to observe a notable occasion with festivities.” It was appropriate, even necessary, to recognize the notable events in the lives of these two congregations. And it is appropriate, even necessary, for us to remember and celebrate moments in our individual and corporate lives.

Think about the symbols we use during holidays such as Christmas and Holy Week and Easter. These symbols help us remember the significance of these events in our personal and spiritual lives. A manger scene reminds us of the incarnation of Jesus and the love of God; a star on the tree reminds us of the declaration of good news and guidance given by God; lights remind us God’s presence coming to a dark and dreary world. Love Feast with the symbols of a common meal representing deep fellowship, feetwashing representing service given and received, and the bread and cup representing sacrifice are all reminders of God’s great love offered through Jesus. Easter sunrise reminds of resurrection and new life. Even special meals or treats during these times remind us of meaningful times with family or friends. These celebratory moments not only feed our souls, but also inspire us to continue on in the journey.

Scripture has many stories of directing us to celebrate and to remember; rainbows for God’s promises; Passover meal reminded the Israelites of freedom from oppression; communion to remember the passion of Jesus; and many more festivals and celebrations, all for the purpose of remembering God’s interaction of love and grace with us. And it is right that we stop and spend time to celebrate, to remember and to be empowered and inspired for what comes next in our journeys.

So this day, stop and remember, stop and celebrate, stop so that you can go forward. I’ve seen it written: “Celebrate the beginning of each new day with prayer, asking God to show you where the Spirit will be at work and where you can help. Be prepared each day to work for what you pray for.” May we celebrate God’s presence, love and grace each day, each moment during each day as we grow in faith.

We will have our weekly Zoom gathering Thursday; we will have an update from Brethren Retirement Community; I am still working to confirm a guest for this week’s gathering. The Living Sanctuary support group meets this evening. The Racial Justice Task Team is holding another story telling event tomorrow evening, these events are all by Zoom. Brethren Disaster Ministries will hold their monthly meeting Thursday evening, returning to their meeting place at the Mill Ridge community building.

News continues to change regarding the pandemic with the Delta variant now receiving much more attention and creating more concern. The numbers for Ohio and Kentucky continue to rise to levels as high as a previous surge in the winter. Hospitalizations are rising in many parts of the country creating shortages of beds and supplies and taxing staffs. More younger persons including children are now being infected with this variant and a very high percentage of those infected are unvaccinated. I am hearing reports from our congregations of young adults in intensive care and children being hospitalized. Positivity rates continue to climb which affect decisions of nursing homes, hospitals, businesses, schools, and other organizations. New guidance and recommendations regarding the use of masks and physical distancing is being issued by the CDC and many local health departments. I was grateful to see most people at the celebrations mentioned above were wearing masks out of love and concern for one another. However, there are many reports of conflicts, some even becoming violent, regarding the use of masks and the requirements for vaccinations in many areas. Please keep the well-being of each other as important as decisions are made on congregational activities. We are all navigating this time together; prayers for guidance are being offered and to sense the presence of God’s love, peace, and grace in the midst of unsettling times.

September, 2021 Southern Ohio/Kentucky District Newsletter

        Southern Ohio/Kentucky District Conference October 8 & 9, 2021 This year’s conference will again be all virtual. Because of the planning time needed, and the uncertainty of  circumstances when planning began, your Program and Arrangements Committee again made the difficult decision to hold our conference using the Zoom platform.   Friday workshops will be led by the District Racial Justice Commission, the District Climate Justice Commission and by Zach Spidel and Susan Liller about Jesus in the Neighborhood. An afternoon session will explore how the Spirit is moving in our midst through all three of these district ministries. CEUS will be offered for all 3 workshops.     Click here for a complete schedule of conference.    Click here to register. Registration is required to obtain your zoom link.       Move in Our Midst An Invitation to Participate  To date 69 persons have donated or pledged $25,870 of a $50,000 goal.   “Teach us to love with heart, soul and mind.”   “When I think about the hymn “Move In Our Midst,” I remember singing it in my home church from the time I was very young, learning the alto part before the melody because that’s what my mom always sang along with my dad singing bass.  I remember the first time I sang it at Annual Conference a cappella, and the amazing chills I felt as I was surrounded by that awesome harmony from 3,000 other Church of the Brethren members.  I remember singing it with my seminary women’s spirituality group for a beloved friend, Bob Faus, who was in the hospital in the last days of his life here on earth, mostly sleeping.  Our group was able to cover soprano, alto, and tenor, and as we sang it wasn’t too long before we could hear Bob humming the bass part with us.  Bob shared his love and music with us right up to the end.    “Music has a way of bringing people together.  It’s one of the beautiful things that I’m glad we can hold on to, despite our differences.  As a church, we are divided in so many ways, yet music allows us to sometimes be in unison, to experience the sweet harmonies, and be challenged by the complex dissonances that keep things interesting.  In the third verse of “Move In Our Midst,” the text is “Teach us to love with heart, soul, and mind.”  Music offers us a great example of following this great commandment.  As a church, as people of faith, we are called to love, and we are called to sing together: “Spirit of God, thy love makes us strong.” –Reflection by Pastor Barb Sayler     If you are not familiar with this favorite hymn I encourage you to Click here to listen to a rendition of the hymn which includes all of the lyrics.      If you are someone who wants to see the Church of the Brethren spreading the love of God to our neighbors, you are invited to join the Ambassadors for Christ by making a donation of any size.    Go to the district website at www.sodcob.org and click on the “Ambassadors for Christ” link to make a commitment for a future donation. Donate now by check. Please mark Ambassador’s Club on the memo line. Send your check via mail to: Southern Ohio/Kentucky District Church of the Brethren, P O Box 785 Greenville, Ohio 45331 Contribute monthly by going to the district website at www.sodcob.org and click on the donate now tab. This will walk you through the process of making a monthly deposit using your credit card. You also can make a one time donation using your credit card in the same manner.     First Ever Old Fashioned Brethren Gathering  Presented by the Brethren Heritage Center   SAVE THE DATE..…..Saturday, September 25, 2021 from 10-3 the Brethren Heritage Center along with Brethren Charities will present our first ever……”Old Fashioned Brethren Gathering”.   This event will be held in the lot behind the Heritage Center at 428 N. Wolf Creek St., Brookville, Oh. There will be a book fair, with ice cream, pastries and face painting available.   Throughout the day, our guests, the Salem Quartet, will present music along with an old fashioned hymn sing. Tours of our facilities, the Brethren Heritage Center and Brethren Charities, will be given.   Our first-ever “Old Fashioned Brethren Gathering” will be a great success if you mark your calendar and plan on joining us!         Southern Ohio/Kentucky Disaster Ministries Updates   Ice Cream Social – Thank you to all who were a part of the annual Ice Cream Social on Saturday, August 7. We appreciate the support of the workers, musicians, and all who attended. For those still wanting to make a donation, it’s not too late! Checks may be made out to “S. Ohio/KY District COB” with “BDM” on the memo line. Send to S. Ohio/KY District COB, PO Box 785, Greenville, OH 45331.   BDM Sites – Work continues in the Dayton area on tornado damaged homes and with houses that are part of the Tornado Survivor Pathways to Home Ownership Program. Opportunities are winding down, as the Dayton site will close on October 2. Then BDM will return to Bayboro, NC, continuing recovery from Hurricane Florence (Sept. 2018).  To volunteer or for more information, call/text Burt Wolf at 937-287-5902 or SouthernOhioBDM@gmail.com.   Sewing Bee/Prep CWS Items – There will be work for both sewers and non-sewers at the September 25 Sewing Bee. It will be held at 9:00 AM at Eaton Community Church, 813 Camden Road. Non-sewers will be preparing items for Church World Service (CWS) cleanup buckets and school kits. Many items have been purchased and need to be taken out of the packaging. Sewers will be making school bags for CWS school kits. Bring your sewing machine and an extension cord. Everyone, bring a sack lunch and come for a time of service and fellowship. For more information call Barb Brower at 937-336-2442. Click here for a flyer showing all the 2021 Sewing Bee dates and locations.   Bucket Assembly – Volunteers are needed to assemble Clean-up Buckets for CWS.The assembly will beonThursday, September 30 at 6:30 PM at Bullen Ultrasonics, 1301 Miller Williams Rd., Eaton.    Appreciation Dinner – Save the date for the upcoming BDM Appreciation Dinner! It will be held on Saturday, October 23 at 6:00 PM at Salem Church of the Brethren. More information will be coming soon.    

A very important way we can be supportive of each other is to lift each other up in prayer.

-Todd Reish, SOKD Board Chair—several areas of blockage in his heart.

-Sie Brock—Pastor of the Stonelick Congregation and member of the District Boart, fully vaccinated but has a breakthrough case of Covid is in quarantine at home.  Having some symptoms primarily as a bad cold.

-Those dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Ida and the continuing effects of this now tropical storm.

-The people of Haiti- dealing with an earthquake then a tropical storm.

-Those in Afghanistan-persons fleeing or attempting to flee to places of safety.

-Severe wildfires in CA and flooding in TN.

-Folks directly affected by acts of violence and an end of such violence.

-Those affected by the coronavirus outbreak.  Brethren Retirement Community reports a few staff members testing positive which changes visitation guidelines.  If you plan on visiting at BRC, please make sure that you will be able to do so.

-Those congregations in pastoral transition:

-Andrew Wright is serving as interim at Oakland.

-Donnels Creek has called Nicholas Kallis to begin work as pastor;  Nicholas is beginning the credentialing process.

-Fred Bernhard is serving as interim pastor at Brookville.

-White cottage has entered an agreement with a neighboring congregation to supply pastoral services during a time of transition and discernment, but is considering entering the search process.

-Tara Hornbacker is serving as interim at New Carlisle.

-The Prince of Peace congregation has called John Sgro to serve as interim pastor.

-Trotwood leadership has called Rusty Dinkins Curling to serve as interim pastor.

-Nan Erbaugh has retired as pastor of the lower Miami congregation. The congregation has called Tracy Knechel Sturgis as interim pastor.

-Eversole has entered the pastoral search process with hopes to call someone to serve alongside current pastor Mark Bowman as he approaches retirement late next year and then for the newly called person to begin service as senior pastor.

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