Bishop Moore-Koikoi: God is in Control

published 7/19/2016
--By Jackie Campbell-- New United Methodist Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi “can’t wait to see how God is going to work in and through and among us,” she told Western Pennsylvania delegates and leaders shortly after being assigned to serve in the Pittsburgh Area. She will begin her new assignment on September 1, the same day Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton will become bishop of the New York Area. Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi meeting with WPAUMC delegates and leaders. See more photos   The daughter of a...

Youth Make Pilgrimage, Attend Convo

published 7/19/2016
--By Mollie Landman-- A group of 28 Western Pennsylvania United Methodist Youth made a pilgrimage to the Hershey area beginning July 6, to see a replica of the Tabernacle, learn about the Anabaptist faith, visit at Amish museums and attend a performance of Samson at Sight and Sound. A smaller group of 10, then went on to the Northeastern Jurisdictional Youth Convocation from July 8-10 at the Marriott Hotel in Lancaster. Mollie Landman   The 2016 NEJ convocation brought new life and energy...

Bishops' Statement on Western Jurisdiction Election

published 7/16/2016
 Bishop Bruce R. Ough, president of the United Methodist Council of Bishops, issued the following statement regarding the results of today’s Episcopal election at the Western Jurisdictional Conference of The United Methodist Church, meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona. The Western Jurisdiction has elected the Rev. Karen Oliveto of Glide Memorial United Methodist Church in San Francisco to serve as a bishop of The United Methodist Church. Rev. Oliveto has been described as "an openly lesbian ...

Stop the Violence! A Call to Prayer and Fasting

published 7/8/2016
Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton and Western Pennsylvania Conference staff and leaders have called on all people of God to pray and act to heal relationships, halt divisive rhetoric and not let fear rule.  The Conference program staff, in its regular Thursday morning meeting read from Psalm 82, "A Plea for Justice," and the Rev. Greg Cox, director of connectional ministries, shared his horror at two killings in the previous days of African-American men by police officers in Louisiana and Minnesota. ...

Bethany UMC to Host Johnstown Revival Effort

published 7/6/2016
Modeled after an old-fashioned tent revival, Bethany UMC in Johnstown will  host outdoor ecumenical gatherings each evening from July 10-16 designed to inspire and spur positive change in the Greater Johnstown area by leading people to Christ. “We’re excited about doing it and following wherever God is going to take it,” said the Rev. Larry Dunn, pastor of Bethany UMC. Dunn will lead the service on Monday evening, July 11. Rev. Larry Dunn The event is sponsored by Greater Johnstown Covenant...

Students Serve as Regional Mission Volunteers

published 7/6/2016
Two college students who are veteran mission workers are serving as Regional Mission Volunteers for the Conference this summer.   Natalia Berkey of First UMC in Kittanning, a student at Asbury College, and Denise Nicole Stone of Greenstone UMC, a Boston University student, are working out of the Conference Center in Cranberry. They’re learning about the six regional mission agencies, making site visits and helping out where they can, while devising strategies to raise awareness of the regional ...

How to Help in West Virginia Flood Response

published 6/29/2016
Watch for flood recovery updates on WVA Conference blog. As people in neighboring West Virginia were finding shelter and beginning to dig out after flooding that claimed 23 lives and damaged or destroyed thousands of homes, United Methodists who weren’t directly affected were taking steps to help. Western Pennsylvania Conference leaders and congregations took action on several fronts. After consulting with West Virginia Conference leaders, including the Rev. Dan Lowther, the WVA disaster ...

2016 Zim Immersion Participants Named

published 6/28/2016
UPDATE: Five of the ZIP participants arrived safely in Harare after leaving Pittsburgh on June 28. Three clergy and three lay people have been selected to participate in the fifth annual Zimbabwe Immersion Program (ZIP) this summer.  ZIP was developed to enable individuals from Western PA United Methodist churches to spend significant time in Zimbabwe to learn church growth, discipleship, and leadership dynamics. ZIP participants live with host families and most will be in Zimbabwe from about ...

WPA Student Elected to UMW National Board

published 6/23/2016
Denise Nicole Stone, a college student who has been attending United Methodist Women gatherings for her entire life, has been elected to the Board of Directors of the 800,000-member women’s mission organization. At age 19, she will be the youngest member of the newly structured 25-member national board.   In a sense, Denise’s election demonstrates the success of one of organization’s area of emphasis: to equip and involve young women in leadership at all levels.   “I am honored to have been ...

We'll Miss You, Bishop Bickerton!

published 6/21/2016
By Sara Richardson MAP dining hall was full of bright faces and laughter Sunday morning, June 12, as annual conference members enjoyed breakfast before the ordination service. The service marked a beginning for the newly ordained, but also a bittersweet end as we prepare to say goodbye to Bishop Bickerton. Reflecting on what they would miss most about the Bishop, many breakfast-goers mentioned his personable nature. “Oh, how would I word it?” one member from the Butler district said. “Hugs. ...

Annual Conference Wrap-Up

published 6/15/2016
The 2016 Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference, held June 9-12 at Grove City College, focused on practical ways for those on the Road to Discipleship to reach out and engage new people in new places. Highlights included the teaching of the Rev. Adam Hamilton, commissioning and ordination of new clergy, and celebrations of Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton’s leadership over the past 12 years.   Twenty-two women and men were commissioned and received as provisional members. Eight were ordained as elders...

Churches Remember Orlando Victims

published 6/15/2016
Western Pennsylvania United Methodist churches are offering services and opportunities for prayer, reflection and remembrance for those affected by the mass killing in Orlando, Florida last weekend.   In California, PA, about 30 individuals gathered on the front steps of the California United Methodist Church on Tuesday, June 14 and prayed for acceptance of LGBT people and for those killed and wounded in Sunday's bar shooting in Orlando, Florida.   “We will gather to remember and mourn those ...

Youth Ministry Team Presents Awards

published 6/15/2016
The lights went low and a familiar theme began to play during Annual Conference as members of the Conference Youth Ministry Team rushed the stage with dark robes and bright lightsabers Saturday afternoon. “The Light Side” finished off “The Dark Side” before joining the group on stage to present reports and awards. Josh Kennedy presented the award for Youth Worker of the Year, chosen from leaders nominated by local churches. “The reality is that there are many gifted and passionate people who...

New Clergy "Offer Hope to a Crushed World"

published 6/13/2016
By Sara Richardson The words of Newsboys’ song “We Believe” rang out as the conference praise band welcomed families and friends to the June 11 commissioning service at the 2016 Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference session - “in this broken generation, when all is dark you help us see."   After the 22 provisional candidates, the largest in at least 12 years, processed in with Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton, Lay Leader Sharon Gregory and other worship participants, the Rev. Stephanie Gottschalk, ...

State of the Church: Bishop Calls for Unity in Christ

published 6/9/2016
Politics are part of the church as much as they are part of the culture today, Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton told members of the 2016 Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference in his State of the Church address. “So are agendas, structures, and secularism.  But. . . We Are More!” he declared.   Describing celebrations and listing positive decisions made at the denomination’s General Conference in Portland, Oregon in April, the Bishop noted that “there was a different mood in Portland, one that was ...

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