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 ...

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 ...

Clergy Communities of Practice Facilitators Trained

published 11/16/2016
Eight Western Pennsylvania clergy were trained Nov. 14-15 as facilitators for Clergy Communities of Practice, which will be launched in January 2017 in eight locations from across Western Pennsylvania “Clergy Communities of Practice are a type of covenant group meant to support the development of Christian leaders by encouraging those who desire to get to the next place in their ministry,” said the Rev. Susan Moudry, director of clergy excellence for the Conference.  “They focus on engagement ...

UMC Scholarship Recipients Named

published 11/16/2016
Twenty-eight students from Western PA United Methodist congregations have been awarded a total of $39,092 in college or seminary scholarships for the 2016-17 school year from the UMC’s General Board of Higher Education and Ministries (GBHEM). They are among 2,300 students who received a total of $5 million in financial assistance for 2016 through the UMC Office of Scholarships and Loans! Congregations and individuals provide a portion of the funding through gifts in recognition of United ...

Female Clergy Celebrate, But Struggle Continues

published 11/15/2016
--By Jackie Campbell**-- Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi reminded Western Pennsylvania clergywomen recently that the struggle for full clergy rights for women in the denomination was not easy – and “we still have a lot of work to do.”   The Bishop said female clergy and her district superintendents have told her that there are still churches in Western Pennsylvania where they are told that the congregation doesn't want a woman pastor or they don’t want a black person as pastor. "They speak this ...

Partnership Offers Advent Devotional in English, German

published 11/11/2016
United Methodists in Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Germany have completed their 2016 Advent Devotional in English and German, which can be downloaded and copied.  Advent begins on Sunday, Nov. 27. The partnership, formed in 1988 before the fall of the Berlin Wall, has been producing the Advent devotional annually since the late '90's,  said the Rev. Joe Stains, who co-chairs the Western PA/ East German partnership group. It offers daily devotionals for the beginning of Advent through New Year...

Bishop Sets Dress Code for WPA

published 10/26/2016
--By Jackie Campbell-- Western Pennsylvania United Methodists have a new bishop – and a new dress code. It’s WPA Chic!   Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi made the announcement in her sermon when hundreds gathered on October 22 at the Crossfire Campus of Butler First UMC to officially welcome her as the new spiritual leader of the Western Pennsylvania Conference. Bishops and leaders of other denominations and ecumenical agencies were among the guests.   “To be Chic means to be stylish and ...

Coming Soon! Clergy Communities of Practice

published 10/25/2016
--By Susan Moudry, Director of Clergy Excellence-- Clergy Communities of Practice will be gearing up all around the Western Pennsylvania Conference beginning in January, 2017.  Our hope is to have eight groups meeting during the first year, with potential for expansion in the future.  We are excited to introduce this new initiative that has already been more than a year in the making.   What is a clergy community of practice?  Basically, they are a type of covenant group meant to support the ...

Connellsville Long-Term Flood Recovery Underway

published 10/24/2016
Bill Swan distributed donated cleaning supplies from the CACM truck  Volunteers and donations to help the long-term recovery from flooding in the Connellsville area were still needed two months after the April 28 flash flooding that  caused an estimated $7.7 million in property damage and affected more than 150 families. Ninety-one homes were destroyed or severely damaged. The United Methodist Committee on Relief approved a $10,000 grant to support immediate relief efforts. Connellsville Area...

Youth Get Comfortable with Discomfort

published 10/12/2016
--By Rhea Summit**-- When about 150 youth from Western Pa. United Methodist and Evangelical Lutheran of America churches got together at St. John of the Highland Lutheran Church north of Pittsburgh the evening of October 9, it was like a family reunion with aroma of delicious food cooking. These children of God were reunited with old friends and made new friends playing “ice breaker” games. After a filling meal and a trip or two to the ice-cream sundae bar, they sat back to relax and watch a ...

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