Panel to Address Substance Abuse Epidemic

published 9/28/2016
As overdose deaths in Pennsylvania reach epidemic proportions and Gov. Tom Wolf proposes legislation to limit prescriptions of addictive opioids for minors, efforts continue to create and promote evidence–based health and safety initiatives to prevent drug use and increase opportunities for early intervention and treatment. To educate area residents about these efforts, de-stigmatize the disease of addiction and encourage more victims to seek treatment without shame and hesitation, Christ ...

United Methodists Respond to Connellsville Flooding

published 9/27/2016
Bill Swan distributed donated cleaning supplies from the CACM truck . UPDATED Sept. 28!! The United Methodist Committee on Relief has approved a $10,000 grant to support immediate relief efforts in Connellsville and surrounding areas where flash flooding destroyed or severely damaged 91 homes. Estimates from the Fayette County Emergency Management Agency put personal property damage at $7.7 million.  As assessments of damaged homes were being completed and some debris had been cleared, ...

Zimbabwe Partnership Relationships Grow

published 9/27/2016
--Commentary by Sandra Matoushaya, Zimbabwe Partnership Coordinator-- In God, We Trust -- Four words we take for granted. How many times have we held coins and used them to make transactions? Have we ever taken the time to read and think about those four words on our currency? How many times have we said we trust in God and actually meant it? This summer five people from Western Pennsylvania trusted God and took a leap of faith by traveling 8,000 miles to a land unknown. The Zimbabwe Immersion...

Rethink Church: New Ads Launch

published 9/23/2016
The United Methodist Church launched a four-part advertising series across the U.S. this week, offering an invitation for seekers to connect with local churches. The ads are present on television, billboards, digital platforms and mobile devices. The first set of ads, running now through mid-October, highlights the church’s role in disaster response and the importance of staying involved in recovery efforts until they are complete. The next two series of ads will focus on the denomination’s ...

Youth Event Offers Look at Racism

published 9/21/2016
--By Jackie Campbell-- Systemic racism and white privilege touch almost every young person today in one way or another, yet are rarely discussed with youth in schools, churches or homes. In an effort to increase understanding and spur conversations, youth and their leaders from Western Pennsylvania United Methodist and Lutheran (ELCA) churches are invited to share a meal, worship together and see a documentary film from 5-8:30 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 9 at St. John's Lutheran Church of Highland in...

Apply to be a Mission Ambassador

published 9/9/2016
The Conference Mission Ambassador program, launched more than 40 years ago by leaders with a passion for mission and desire to share mission stories, offers the opportunity to travel and study mission work in a particular area of the world. It is a unique approach to leadership development and mission interpretation. Mission Ambassador Gerry Truog Every two years the Mission Ambassador Committee selects two people to receive partial funding (approximately half the cost of the trip) to travel ...

Nyadire Connection To Celebrate 10 Years

published 8/17/2016
--By Elsa Zollars, TNC Communications Coordinator-- The Nyadire Connection (TNC) will celebrate its 10-year relationship with the United Methodist Mission in Nyadire, Zimbabwe on Friday, Sept. 16,  with a dinner at Christ United Methodist Church (CUMC) Bethel Park. TNC is an all-volunteer, faith-based, not-for-profit organization whose mission is to support and sustain the programs and the people of Nyadire. The relationship began in August, 2006 when Christ Church commissioned an 18-member ...

Churches focus on Racial Reconciliation

published 8/10/2016
First UMC in Ellwood City, along with Wurtemburg UMC, will host an ecumenical worship service and discussions on racial reconciliation on Thursday, Aug. 25 from 7-9 p.m. Rev. Bogdewic   Spurred by recent incidents of racial violence around the nation, Rev. Chad Bogdewic, pastor of the Wurtemburg church, and Rev. Angelique Bradford, pastor of Ellwood City First UMC and Homewood UMC, convened a group of area clergy to plan the service and followed by conversations.   Rev. Bradford “In recent ...

How to Help in West Virginia Flood Response

published 7/29/2016
UPDATED - Sept. 1, 2016 The first Early Response/Volunteers in Mission (VIM) team from Western Pennsylvania has returned after working in Greenbrier County, WVA from August 25-29 on a mobile for a family who lost their home to flooding in Greenbriar County, WVA. The mobile home was set upon a hill on the property of a relative.  See more photos The Western PA Conference will sponsor a series of teams over the coming months and years, said Missions/VIM Coordinator Stephanie Gottschalk, who ...

New Overtime Pay Rules May Affect Churches

published 7/27/2016
New federal Fair Labor Standards rules governing overtime pay exemptions, scheduled to go into effect Dec. 1, 2016, may affect some churches, especially those with pre-schools. The regulations, issued on May 18, 2016 by the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), address income levels that determine whether employees are designated as exempt from overtime pay requirements.  The basic rule requires that anyone earning less than $47,476 ...

Pilot Coaching Program Showing Results

published 7/27/2016
--By Susan Moudry, Coordinator of Clergy Excellence-- During the past six months, about 20 Western Pennsylvania clergy, including district superintendents, Conference staff members and local church pastors, have been receiving coaching from the Holmes Coaching Group.          Rev. Susan Moudry The experience is intended to demonstrate what coaching is like, as well as determine its benefits and drawbacks in strengthening the ministry of the local church.  After a year of coaching, each ...

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 began her new assignment on September 1, the same day Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton became bishop of the New York Area. Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi meeting with WPAUMC delegates and leaders. See more photos   The daughter of a United ...

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. ...

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