Conference Blog


Unstoppable: Learning the issues, finding your voice, changing the world

By WPa United Methodist Women


 Do you believe that? Can we learn the issues, find our voices, and change the world? There’s a group of young women in Western Pennsylvania who believe they can.   One of the things I love most about young women is their idealism.  As we age, sometimes we lose some of that idealism.  We’ve run into too many brick walls and glass ceilings.  For three years now, I’ve been learning to mentor the young women of “unstoppable.” They’ve been teaching me; I’ve been teaching them.  Sometimes I talk too ...

Three-Point Stance

By Brian Bauknight


As I watch my grandsons learn something about lining up for a football play, I see them perfecting the all-important three-point stance: both feet planted firmly on the ground, one hand on the ground, and one hand up and cocked back toward the hip or thigh.  The stance allows for a faster start by linemen and running backs.  It’s a pretty easy “learn.”   As I grow older, I have learned something important about my own three point stance: don’t try to bend down to pick up something on the floor ...

What Are You Reading?

By WPa United Methodist Women


United Methodist Women are readers.  They read for pleasure; they read for information; they read to challenge themselves to grow.  Some of what they read makes them uncomfortable; they’d rather not know some of the painful things that go on in the world around them.  Sometimes they are called to speak up, or support projects in far off places, or actually go and do something.  Those who want an additional reading challenge often participate in one of the four organized “reading plans” set up by...

The Mystery of Hope

By Brian Bauknight


The season of Eastertide is a season of hope.  Mostly that hope is filled with a special mystery.    Somewhere I read a story about an ad that appeared in the classified section of a large city newspaper. In big, bold letters, it read: “USED TOMBSTONE FOR SALE.”  Underneath was this description, “Used tombstone for sale.  Real bargain to someone named ‘Dingo.’  For more information, call…”   Wouldn’t you love to know about Dingo? Who was he, and why did he no longer have need for a tombstone?   ...

What Are We Paying For? Why?

By Larry Bridge


A Short Story About Connectional Apportionments I once read a comment about connectional apportionments from someone who asked the question, “Is this like the baggage fee I have to pay when flying?”   Another person wanted to know if Apportionments were similar to dues you pay to belong to a club. I suppose these are not unreasonable questions to ask if you have never had the opportunity to receive an explanation of how Connectional Apportionments are an integral part of the fabric of the ...

Budgets, Budgets, Budgets

By Larry Bridge


Budget, budgets, budgets…!!!!! We all prepare financial budgets, sometimes intentionally, sometimes by accident.  Regardless, planning our finances is an essential part of today’s personal and business finances.  In fact, lacking a budget, we wouldn’t be able to plan vacations, to save for major purchases or, most importantly, to share with God a very small portion of what we have gained through His grace. For the majority of people, budgeting could simply be planning the payment of bills for ...

Experiencing Easter

By Brian Bauknight


Some years ago, a Jewish widow stood by the early grave of her husband. He had been respected in the community, a devoted leader, a much beloved person. As she stood by grave, she asked her Rabbi: “Is this the end.”  Came the reply, “Yes for him.  But for you, the beginning of new life.”   The new widow was not satisfied.  She asked permission to discuss the matter with a Christian minister—to gain insight into Christian views on resurrection and eternal life.  Her Rabbi responded, “You are ...

One Thing Led to Another

By WPa United Methodist Women


United Methodist Women in Western PA support international ministry and mission through their local organizations and churches, and through their pledge to mission administered by the national organization. WPA United Methodist Women have received a request from Mrs. Nhiwatiwa, the wife of the Bishop of the two conferences in Zimbabwe and president of their equivalent of United Methodist Women.  Mrs. Nhiwatiwa is seeking funds to complete construction of the Early Childhood Development School in...

Starting a Conversation About Race

By Amy Wagner


I was 16 the summer that my family visited Las Vegas.  We spent two nights under the lights of the Strip during a three-week trip around the southwestern United States.  The trip included the Hoover Dam, the Grand Canyon, Zion and Bryce National Parks, and Yellowstone.  It was spectacular.  Except for those two nights in Las Vegas.  They were awful.   I hated Vegas because, as a minor, every move I made was suspicious.  While we walked the Strip to see the lights, security guards eyed me warily....

Soul Food

By Brian Bauknight


The late Ernest Campbell told the story of a woman who purchased a parrot at a local pet store.  Two days after her purchase, she returned to the store to report that the parrot “never talks.”  The manager suggested she add a swing to the bird cage.  “Parrots like to swing,” he says.    She purchased the swing, took it home, but is back the next day.  “The parrot still does not talk,” she reports.  “Here, try this mirror,” the manager says. “Parrots like to see themselves in mirrors.”  So she ...

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