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...

Martin Luther King Day Events, Resources

published 1/4/2017
Several United Methodist churches were involved in services celebrating the life of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the weekend of the federal holiday honoring the preacher who in 1964 at age 35 became the youngest man to win the Nobel Peace Prize at the age of 35 for his nonviolent leadership of the U.S. civil rights movement. See photos from the service Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi was the preacher for a Jan.15 evening worship service celebrating the life of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther...

United Methodists Aid in Flood Recovery

published 1/2/2017
United Methodists currently are playing key roles in  flood relief efforts in two southwestern Pennsylvania counties after heavy rain caused creeks to rise, affecting dozens of families and forcing some from their homes in the Waynesburg and Rogersville areas of Greene County the weekend before Christmas. See news video report. As assessments and early response efforts got underway there, recovery work by Volunteers in Mission teams and recovery coordinators in Connellsville area continue.  ...

A Prayer for the New Year 2017

published 12/28/2016
At the start of each year, members of the Western Pennsylvania-East German Conference Partnership offer a Prayer for the New Year. The prayer is prepared in alternate years by a member of the partnership committee in Western PA or in Germany so that congregations in both areas can unite in prayer on the first Sunday or another Sunday in January.  It may also be used by individuals or groups as the Spirit leads. The 2017 prayer was composed by the Rev. Thomas Q. Strandburg, pastor of Mt. ...

Scam Alert: Churches Targeted

published 12/23/2016
Some Western PA Conference churches recently have been targets of a scam in which a request for wire transfers of significant amounts of money come from what appears to be the senior pastor’s email address.   Similar schemes hit churches in North Carolina and North Georgia in December 2015 and early 2016. The most recent reported attempt in Western PA began with a late afternoon email to a church secretary from a gmail address that appeared to be the senior pastor’s.   A blog post on ...

Bishop Receives Extraordinary Gift

published 12/16/2016
--By Jackie Campbell-- Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi was surprised when the Rev. Jonathan and Anne Bell arrived in her office recently bearing a unique gift -- a quilted wall hanging created by Anne from communion cloths she made for the Bishop’s welcome service last October. The 60-inch square wall-hanging uses colors that reflect the Cross and Flame and Pentecost, Anne explained. “The crosses are different sizes like the congregations of Western Pennsylvania, and the perspective from which we ...

New Scholarships To Help UM Seminary Students

published 12/14/2016
A new scholarship for students enrolled in United Methodist seminaries, known as the Excellence in Clergy Leadership Scholarship, has been created to help entering United Methodist clergy avoid excessive educational loan debt, minimize financial stress and build financial acumen. It's funded in part by a grant from the Lilly Endowment.   Wespath Benefits and Investments (formerly the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits), the UMC General Board of Higher Education and Ministry and the ...

Zim Immersion: Seeing Hope in Christ

published 12/7/2016
Saundra McKee, a life-long United Methodist and active member of Manorville UMC, spent five weeks last summer as part of the Zimbabwe Immersion Program. Committed to spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ, she was an educator for 38 years at the secondary and college levels before retiring in 2008. Her PhD is in International Multicultural Studies. She offers the following commentary on her experience getting to know the people and churches of the Marange District of Zimbabwe. --A commentary by ...

Orientation to Ministry Set for January 7

published 12/5/2016
An Orientation to Ministry, sponsored by the Conference Board of Ordained Ministry, will be held on Saturday, January 7, 2017 from 9:30 a.m. to Noon at Kittanning First UMC,  801 N. Jefferson Street, Kittanning, PA  16201. The orientation is open to anyone who would like to learn more about the various types of set-apart ministry that exist within the United Methodist Church.  Information will be presented about the broad range of opportunities including Certified Lay Ministry, other ...

Gilligan Named to Young People's Ministry Post

published 11/30/2016
Amanda Gilligan --By Jackie Campbell-- Amanda Gilligan, who received the Professional Youth Worker of the Year Award in 2009 while serving as youth director at Grace UMC in Indiana, has been named Coordinator of Young People’s Ministry for the Western Pennsylvania Conference. She officially begins work Dec. 1 in the part-time staff position that will encompass ministries designed for youth, college students and young adults. Amanda was chosen from among a pool of applicants. Leaders of the ...

New Overtime Pay Rules Delayed

published 11/30/2016
UPDATED information as of 11/29/2016 A U.S. District Court in Texas has granted a temporary, nationwide injunction on Nov. 22, 2016, that postpones the implementation and enforcement of wage and overtime pay regulations that were set to go into effect on December 1, 2016. The changes may have affected some churches, particularly those with preschools. Based on the injunction order, it is the opinion of the Conference Treasurer’s office that churches should make no further changes to their ...

God's Country Stars to Shine in Butler

published 11/22/2016
CONCERT CANCELED due to illness!! A constellation of country gospel stars will align Sunday, Nov. 27 in a heavenly show of lively music and worship, hosted by Butler First United Methodist Church.  But for the stars themselves, it will just be a gathering of old friends. They’ll include Tommy Brandt, the 2016 Inspirational Country Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year, with his son, guitarist Tommy Brandt II, the association’s Musician of the Year. They’re meeting up with Butler ...

Bishop's Prayer of Thanksgiving

published 11/21/2016
--By Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi-- I recently received a card from the Sewickley United Methodist Church.  It was a card of welcome and invitation to their Family Thanksgiving Dinner.  The outside of the card caught my attention.  It read, “We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing.”  In the midst of reading my mail that day, the line from this familiar hymn caused me to pause.  I began to reflect on all of the many blessings this season of my life has brought.   God, I am grateful for ...

Thanksgiving: Sharing our Blessings

published 11/21/2016
--By Jackie Campbell-- Although it’s been a federal holiday in the United States since 1863, Thanksgiving Day is rooted in Christian faith and values. In the early 1600s, Virginia colonists routinely observed a day of thanksgiving to God. An annual celebration was part of the charter for those settling Jamestown. What is generally recognized as the “first Thanksgiving” was the celebration in which the Pilgrims gave thanks to God for their safe journey and early days in the New World. It ...

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