Disability Awareness Sunday is Feb. 19!

published 2/14/2017
Celebrating Disability Awareness Sunday gives congregations the opportunity to assess how they welcome and include people with disabilities and find ways to acknowledge and utilize the gifts and graces of all people. The Annual Conference set Feb. 19, 2017 as the date to observe Disability Awareness Sunday, but local churches may use a different date.  "Nearly 20 percent of the population lives with some type of disability, and many more are affected through loved ones who have disabilities,"...

Black History Month: Hear the Voices

published 2/13/2017
Historic audio in the United Methodist archives from Night Call, the first national call-in radio show in America when it was launched in 1965, allows current and future generations the opportunity to hear the voices of key denominational and national civil rights leaders through the website SoundTheology.org. The nightly show, which ran from 1965-69, was produced by the United Methodist Church in conjunction with the Urban League, the National Council of Churches and other faith partners.   The...

Internships Help Define Call to Ministry

published 2/7/2017
The story of ministry internships in Western Pennsylvania is one that isn't often told.  Yet a quick search of the Pastoral Records will show that our Conference has been engaged with interns since at least the 1960s.  That’s an impressive realization: Ministry internships have been a part of our life together for at least 50 years.  Rev. C. Franklin Helt, a retired elder, got involved in the internship program in 1962, which he believes was the first year it was offered. "I was a shy, ...

PA Bishops Explore Refugee Ministry

published 2/3/2017
The Northeastern Jurisdiction College of Bishops' met in Lancaster, PA, days after U.S. executive orders affecting refugees and immigration were issued. While in the historic, ethnically diverse city recently referred to as the "refugee capital of the U.S.," Pennsylvania's three resident bishops and one retired bishop took the opportunity to learn more about ministry with the refugees.  Bishops Cynthia Moore-Koikoi of the Pittsburgh Area, Jeremiah Park of the Harrisburg Area and Peggy Johnson ...

Pittsburgh Water Order Affects East End Ministries

published 2/3/2017
After the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) issued "boil water advisory" affecting about 100,000 residents and businesses in the central and eastern parts of the city on Jan. 31, East End Cooperative Ministries (EECM) acted quickly to see that community needs were met. When the advisory was issued on Jan. 31, volunteers, residents and staff began making sandwiches, gathering fruit and other items for bag lunches to replace the cooked meal usually provided free of charge to about 150 ...

NEJ Bishops Address Actions Affecting Refugees, Immigrants

published 2/1/2017
The Northeastern Jurisdiction College of Bishops issued a statement and invitation to prayer about what they described as a disconnect between the biblical mandate to welcome foreigners and recent actions affecting refugees and immigrants. Here is their statement and prayer:   "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free . . .” These words, written by poet Emma Lazarus and posted on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty have, for decades, welcomed the foreigner to...

Annual Conference Section Leaders Needed

published 1/31/2017
Clergy and Laity, Male and Female, Youth (Sr. High) and adults are invited to help provide leadership to the 2017 Annual Conference by becoming a Section Leader. About 40 persons are needed for the teams who lead annual conference voting members as they review the legislation in their assigned sections during the June 8-11 session at Grove City College. Section leaders do not have to be elected conference members to serve in this ministry. Training and team building is provided at two group ...

Youth Seek a Renewed Kingdom of God

published 1/30/2017
By Mollie Landman, Youth Ministry Team Secretary At this year's youth retreat, SPARK, I was able to Seek and Prepare A Renewed Kingdom of God with over 500 other young believers across the Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference for the UMC.  This incredible retreat lasted through January 20-22, and was held at the Sheraton Pittsburgh Hotel in Station Square. Mollie Landman   Throughout the weekend, I had the opportunity to worship my Almighty Father with Sanctus Real, and I heard our powerful...

WPAUMC Pays 100% to UMC Funds

published 1/26/2017
The Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference is one of 27 conferences in the United States that have paid 100 percent of their 2016 apportionments to the seven General United Methodist Church funds, according to the denomination's Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA).  This is a slight increase over the previous year during which 26 of the 56 annual conferences in the U.S. reached this milestone.  The 2016 payout rate of 91.8% is the highest it has been.   In addition to Western ...

Bishop: Church Blessed by WPAUMC Youth

published 1/25/2017
See SPARK Photo Album Nearly 550 youth and leaders from 56 churches throughout Western Pennsylvania participated in SPARK, an annual weekend gathering sponsored by the Conference Youth Ministry Team (YMT).  The 2017 event was held Jan. 20-22 at the Sheraton Station Square in Pittsburgh. "This retreat has strengthened my relationship with Christ. It also brought 39 students to commit their lives to Jesus for the first time, and 75 other students recommitted their life to Christ," said Mollie ...

Mission Ambassadors Learn, Educate Others

published 1/25/2017
Two clergywomen and a layman begin a two-year journey as Conference Mission Ambassadors this year, while Geraldine Truog and Jodale Barnhart, the current Mission Ambassadors continue to share stories of their mission experiences in Latin America with local churches and groups throughout Western Pennsylvania.  Every two years the Mission Ambassador Committee selects people to receive partial funding (approximately half the cost) to travel to the area of the world that will be studied at Mission ...

Koikoi to Build Ministry In Allegheny Valley

published 1/20/2017
When Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi was assigned to lead United Methodists in Western Pennsylvania last July, she and her husband, Pastor Raphael Koikoi, found themselves in a situation facing many clergy couples, but with an added twist.   Pastor Koikoi was serving the Sharp Street UMC in the Baltimore-Washington Conference, where the Bishop had served as a superintendent until her election as Bishop. When she moved to the Pittsburgh area on September 1, 2016, the couple had to live apart, but ...

Young Adults Offered Aid for Christian Unity Event

published 1/10/2017
The Council of Bishops offers scholarships for young adult (age 18-25), first-time participants to attend the National Workshop on Christian Unity and United Methodist Ecumenical and Inter-religious Training (UMEIT:USA).   The National Workshop (NWCU) and UMEIT occur parallel to each other once a year in a different area of the US.  The 2017 sessions will be in Minneapolis, Minnesota May 1-4.   The NWCU is an opportunity for Christians who care about ecumenical and inter-religious ministry to ...

Residents Return to Parkview Towers

published 1/9/2017
Residents who were evacuated from their apartments when a pre-dawn fire broke out Dec. 16 in Parkview Towers, a senior high-rise in Munhall owned by United Methodist Church Union, began returning to their homes with the help of volunteers on Jan. 18.  Two residents died as a result of the fire, which broke out in a seventh-floor unit. Richard Miller, 61, a former paramedic and volunteer firefighter died while trying to help his neighbors in the area where the fire started.  Elizabeth "Betty" ...

Bishop Honored as Woman of Excellence

published 1/6/2017
Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi was one honored at a downtown Pittsburgh luncheon on Friday, Jan. 6 as one of the New Pittsburgh Courier's 2017 Women of Excellence.  The honor recognizes African American women who are leaving lasting marks by making great strides in their professions and positively impacting their communities. The honorees, who were selected from nominations sent in by the newspaper’s readership, have made significant contributions and achievements. “We are very pleased to recognize...

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