Conference Blog


Compelling Choreography

By Brian Bauknight


Apart from any political implications, I was impressed with the detailed flow and connectedness of the DNC last week.  The RNC was coordinated also, but the DNC seemed almost flawless and precise as it unfolded from introductory video to speaker to the “next item” on the agenda.  From lowered lights to video to spotlight—even the technology seemed extraordinarily well planned and expertly orchestrated.   Someone or some group had put exceptional work into each movement and each detail of the ...


By Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton


This originally appeared in a Facebook post on July 20, 2016. I love the concept of “intercession.” Over the years it has been wonderful to hear and to say, “When you are unable or not strong enough to pray, there is someone, somewhere who is praying for you.” We intercede on behalf of those who cannot pray. Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton with son T.J., left, and dad Jim. Many of you know that my father, Jim, has been struggling with life in an ICU here in Brandenton, Florida. I, along with ...

Monroeville Church Works to Dismantle Racism

By Dianne Glave


The Rev. Ed Schoeneck, pastor of Monroeville United Methodist Church, understands the urgency of white people growing their cultural competencies in response to racism, including white privilege and implicit bias.  On Sunday, July 17, 2016, he urged the predominantly white congregation to begin or continue their journey in dismantling racism in the United Methodist Church and their own neighborhoods in two ways: Welcoming our new African American bishop, Taking some personal steps in learning ...

Pondering Pokemon Go

By Brian Bauknight


Last week, we took five grandchildren to Niagara Falls for (what my wife calls) a “Grand Adventure” (only grandparents and grandchildren allowed).  During the trip, our two oldest grandsons (ages 13 and 14) began to point out sites and businesses we were passing, then and then became highly animated. Occasionally, they asked me to stop the car for a few minutes—at a post office, a gas station or another landmark.  I then discovered that they had discovered Pokemon Go!   The next two days were ...

Life, Liberty, Happiness and Justice

By Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton


Listening to the radio last night, I heard a commentator use a phrase that stuck with me all evening. The phrase was "the benefit of humanity." As I drove last night I asked myself the question, "What ARE the benefits of being human?" What first came to mind were these words: "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness." That phrase, as you may know, is in the U.S. Declaration of Independence. In Thomas Jefferson's rough draft for the declaration, it reads, "We hold these truths to be sacred ...

Triple Berry Blast

By Brian Bauknight


Sounds like a new ice cream flavor from Baskin-Robbins or Ben&Jerry’s, right?    Not quite.  The phrase describes the focus of a significant chunk of my activity on our small farm property right now. Blueberries, blackberries, and red raspberries are all coming ripe at the same time.  Late June is prime ripening season for all three!  Most early mornings and later evenings (too hot to pick at mid day!), I am out with bowls and other containers gathering the berries for Elaine to bag for the ...

Unstoppable: Invite a Young Woman!

By WPa United Methodist Women


Denise Nicole Stone, a co-founder and member of Unstoppable in Western PA, has been elected a Director of United Methodist Women.  The UMW Board of Directors consists of 25 members and is responsible for managing the organization’s program policies, finances, property and its top executive staff person.  At 19 years of age, Denise becomes the youngest of those 25 women. UMW President Diane Miller and Denise Stone Since she first attended the Children’s School of Mission (now Mission u) at age...

AC2016 Impressions: Adam Hamilton Gets It!

By Sara Richardson


Sara Richardson served as a Kane District equalization member of the 2016 annual conference. She offers her perspective as a young adult on Adam Hamilton's teaching. Adam Hamilton, the 2016 speaker for Annual Conference teaching sessions, brought messages that focused on leadership, worship and evangelism. He also brought a spirit of innovation and a consciousness of how the church needs to change to meet the next generation.   From the very beginning of his lecture, Hamilton spoke a lot about ...

Why Worship?

By Brian Bauknight


A seasoned preacher once told a class of graduating seminarians:  “Always remember that about half the people in front of you on any given Sunday morning almost decided not to come!”   Why do you go to worship?  Why get up on a beautiful Sunday morning – when there are lots of good possibilities to fill your day—and head out to a service of worship?   I need to ask myself this question these days as a retired preacher—as one no longer actively preaching or leading worship!   Let me suggest some ...

Orlando Massacre Response

By Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton


Earlier this week, I had the amazing privilege of opening our Annual Conference session with the major words from the minor prophet Micah.  Little did I know how important those words would become today when news emerged concerning the senseless and violent killing in Orlando, Florida that left 50 people dead, 53 injured, and countless others stunned by yet another act of violence.   The words of Micah to “Do Justice, Love Kindness, and Walk Humbly with Your God,” were originally spoken in the ...

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