Butler District News

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Changes in Butler District

I ask you to be in regular prayer for those of our colleagues from the district who are transitioning into new appointments effective July 1:
Bay Allen
Bay moves from our district to a new appointment in the Kane District. We are praying for you Bay, Mary, Kailey, and Gavin, and we will miss you!
Angie Ciarimboli
Angie, who comes out of Butler First UMC, begins her very first pastoral appointment at Millerstown/Walter Chapel.
Donna Doutt
Donna, who has been serving with Bay Allen at Faith Community/Riverview, begins a new appointment at Savanna UMC.
Earl Dykes
Earl, who will continue to serve St. Johns UMC on the Butler District, will also begin to serve a second church—Barkeyville UMC (Franklin District)
Tim Goodman
Tim begins a new appointment at the College Avenue UMC (a new faith community resulting from the merger of College Hill UMC and the Beaver UMC).
Bill LaVelle
Bill, who has been serving part time in retirement, is going to give full time retirement a try! (Heartiest congratulations, Bill and Shyrl!)
Darryl Lockie
Darryl, who has been serving College Hill UMC, begins a new appointment at Grace United Methodist Ministry of New Castle (a new faith community resulting from the merger of Croton UMC, Epworth UMC, First UMC, and King’s Chapel UMC).
Maryann Long
Maryann moves into the retired relationship. (Heartiest congratulations, Maryann and Mike!)
Mike Long
Mike moves from our district to a new appointment on the Indiana District. We are praying for you, Mike and Maryann, and we will miss you!
Hannah Loughman
Hannah moves from our district to a new appointment on the Pittsburgh District. We are praying for you Hannah, Todd, Owyn, and Jordyn, and we will miss you!
Ross Pryor
Ross, who has been serving Aliquippa First UMC, begins a new appointment at a newly-formed 2-point charge: Aliquippa First/Monaca
Nancy Shute
Nancy moves into the retired relationship. Heartiest congratulations, Nancy and Rich!
Barbara Stoehr
Barbara moves into the retired relationship. Heartiest congratulations, Barbara and John!
Luke Whipple
Luke comes to us from the Pittsburgh District and begins a new appointment at Faith Community/Riverview. Welcome Luke, Rachel, Evangeline, August, and Joanna!
Please join me in praying for these clergy and clergy families as they manage both the excitement and challenge of their transitions.


Regional Ordination Services

Regional Ordination Services: The dates and times for the three regional ordination services have been set for Saturdays in October and November. Get details at wpaumc.org/AC.


Merger News

Mergers can breathe life into new ministries. The Beaver County Times published a story about the merger process of College Hill UMC in Beaver Falls and Beaver UMC in Beaver, and the sense of hope felt by the new College Ave. UMC. Read it

 "The newly merged Grace UMM is excited to announce we will be offering drive-in worship services throughout the summer. We will mostly remain in our cars (feel free to bring a lawn chair as we will have a little space for that) and will be using an FM transmitter. Starting July 12, please join us on Sundays at 10 am at our Decker Drive location for the rest of the month of July.  Then in August, we will be worshipping on Sundays at 10 am in the lot of our Croton Ave location.  We know drive-in services are not as joyous as being in the sanctuary, but this does give us a safe way to worship and we are happy to provide the opportunity. Please tell a friend and join us yourself as you are available!  PS- also please log onto our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/GraceNewCastle/ on Sunday, July 5th as we will have a welcome video and some other online content on that date."

Church Reopening?

Church reopening? Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi said in a letter to clergy that you must follow governmental laws and official health guidelines.  Continue to have conversations with your church leadership and your District Superintendent as you make decisions about how and when to reintegrate in-person worship to your ministry. You can find our reopening guidelines and a video discussing our reasoning at wpaumc.org/covid-19-whats-next-for-churches.  

WPA Health Team Updates Reopening Guidelines: As some Western PA counties move toward the Green phase of Gov. Tom Wolf’s Plan for Reopening Pennsylvania, the Conference Abundant Health Team issued updated guidelines for churches in “green” counties. Learn more

2020 Annual Conference

 Annual Conference 2020

Annual Conference Updates:
Keep up with Annual Conference news, see a list of Frequently Asked Questions, download the Appointment book, read reports, and legislation at wpaumc.org/AC.
Clergy: Plan your vacation, weddings, mission trips, etc. around this date and plan to attend.
The 2021 session of the Annual Conference also will be held at the Bayfront Convention Center.

The one-day Annual Conference session will be held on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020 at the Erie Bayfront Convention Center. We hope to arrange for blocks of hotel rooms at special rates for voting members who want to stay overnight at their own expense. Read more Getting there information
Clergy: Plan your vacation, weddings, mission trips, etc. around these dates and plan to attend.
Note: The 2021 session of the Annual Conference also will be held at the Bayfront Convention Center.

2020 General Conference Dates Announced

Dates set for General Conference: August 29 - September 7, 2021, at the Minneapolis Convention Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Learn more.
General Conference to move to 2021 Read the news release


Explore info and resources for COVID-19 ministry with people in the disability community

Digital Poor People’s Assembly and Moral March: On June 20, the largest digital and social media gathering of poor and low-income people, moral and religious leaders, advocates, and people of conscience will give voice to the 140 million poor and low-income people across the U.S. Get details and register

Online Summer Course for Academic and CEU Credit: from Wesley Theological Seminary CM-137 Church Finances (July 6-10, 2020) are 1 academic credit hour or 1.5 CEU credits. See the full list of online summer and fall courses and register now.

At The Lake Ministries: Our schedule starts on July 17th. ATLM offers opportunities for persons with special needs to enjoy fishing and cruising on Lake Erie. To view the dates and to schedule a charter for your family or group, visit atthelakeministries.org Lots of dates are still available!

Millennial Pastor Holds Senior Church Together: Rev. Bryant Phelps is a 29-year-old millennial shepherding a senior-citizen congregation in one of the Dallas zip codes hit hardest by the coronavirus. His efforts to hold the church together and speak prophetically about inequities affecting his African American community drew the attention of columnist Sharon Grigsby. Read column

Standing in Solidarity-6 Ft. Apart! The coronavirus pandemic has reminded us that injustice is routine, too – ingrained in the fabric of society, writes Rev. Susan Henry Crowe of the Board of Church and Society. The systems and structures that routinely oppress have continued to disproportionately impact the most marginalized during COVID-19. See why


Virtual Day Camp from UM Camp & Retreat Ministries: Check out this creative virtual day camp pack and encourage your youth to continue their growth and adventures, even if they can’t get to camp. Read more.  

Cleaning and disinfecting your Worship Facility: CongregationU has a new 1-hour online course that leadership and staff in your congregation should take right now! The course contains vital information about:
•   Germs and how they are spread
•   The differences among cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing
•   Tools and materials needed for an effective cleaning program
•   Planning for the frequency and variety of tasks for specific areas within a facility
•   Training your staff and volunteers about safety
•   Planning for the unexpected onset of a contagious virus
•   How to prepare your worship facility for reopening
Get started at https://congregationu.com/get-started/.

#Hope4Tomorrow: Youth Worship Planning Materials During COVID-19 in 2020. Creating space to celebrate youth and graduating seniors can still be done with worship online. This worship resource provides a theme and template for youth to share their voices, and perhaps give the regular worship planners and preachers a much-needed weekend off of speaking, and have the chance to listen to the impact that the church has made in the lives of young people. READ MORE


Free "Basics of Faith Formation" Download: Get to "the why" behind your ministry. The Directors of Young People’s, Children’s, and Adult’s Ministries at Discipleship Ministries co-wrote this resource. Disciple-making is at the core of your ministry, and this resource will aid you and your team to think intentionally about “the why” behind every opportunity that you create for young people to grow in their faith. Download free


Resuming in-person worship: After weeks of worshiping online, many United Methodist congregations will resume in-person services in the weeks ahead. What might we expect? Read  »  


Discover the latest Church Leader Guide: Explore local church tools and resources specially designed to help you communicate all the good you can! Our recently updated Church Leader Guide includes:


•          Marketing and outreach tools

•          Online training courses

•          Digital ministry ideas

•          Giving resources

Explore now 

Training Opportunities: Join leaders within our jurisdiction as we cover theological and Biblical foundations for mission, intercultural considerations, planning, budgeting, logistics, health & safety, and how to build a mission relationship. Register For other ongoing learning opportunities visit the jurisdictional page.

News from the General Council on Finance and Administration:

Like many of you, GCFA is staring at the stark reality of our nation attempting to flatten the curve and spread of Covid-19 by engaging in social distancing. For many of us, that may mean your weekly worship services are going to look a bit different than they have in the past. To support our United Methodist churches as we continue to make disciples, we have pulled out relevant articles that we feel may help during this time. We invite you to look through these, and we pray they may be of some help as we all face this uncertainty.
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT eGIVING: In response to Covid-19 and social distancing, many churches many close as they put the health of their congregation first. This may lead to stress around the collection plate. Check out this handy guide to understanding electronic, text, and other forms of online giving.
UNDERSTAND LIVE STREAMING NOW TO BENEFIT YOUR CONGREGATION: As churches, theatres, and sporting events all press the pause button, churches across the nation will turn to live streaming to give their churches an option to worship. Download this guide to understanding different components of live streaming.

Camps and Retreat Center Updates

WPA Camps and Olmsted Retreat Center

Olmsted Manor Retreat Center: At this time, all of the planned Olmsted events have been cancelled or postponed through the end of June.
Olmsted Manor Take-out Community Dinners: Olmsted is expanding the Community Meals pick-up from 50 meals given out by RSVP each Friday evening to 75 meals each Friday and Tuesday evening from 5-6 pm. There is no cost, but donations will gladly be accepted by check or through our donation page. 
Olmsted is now able to serve small clergy family groups and clergy for overnight stays. Food service is not available but you are welcome to bring your own low-prep food or enjoy takeout from Kane’s restaurants. The Olmsted campus, set in the middle of the Allegheny National Forest, is open for exploring or simply relaxing. Come shoot your next video sermon amidst the water and rock formations of the awesome Olmsted estate. Special discount for WPAUMC Pastors: receive 50% off a stay Sundays through Thursdays from now until the end of August. Contact us at (814) 945-6512 or anne@olmstedmanor.org to schedule.
New- Now accepting groups of up to 25 people with physical distancing and masking, along with the other CDC recommended protocols for lodging, food service, and meeting space. Interested in booking a group? Check out our guest guidelines and questionnaire and then call to book your next retreat with us.
Upcoming Events at Olmsted:

Jumonville's 18th annual Golf Fundraiser will be held on Saturday, August 29th at Butler's Golf Course in Elizabeth, PA.  This is a new course as well as day and time for this year.  More details regarding costs and prices will be coming soon!  In the meantime, check out the course at www.butlersgolf.com. If you are unable to attend, there are several sponsorships and opportunities to still donate.  We also have some volunteer opportunities available as well on the day of the event. For questions, please email either Bob Boyle at rjboyle@consolidated.net or Heather Withrow at Heather@jumonville.org
Wesley Woods Shifts Summer Season: After much prayer and deliberation, Wesley Woods has decided to delay the start of its summer camping season until June 28, 2020. It will only open to campers IF Warren County has moved to the Green Phase under Gov. Wolf’s reopening plan by then. Camps that had been scheduled to start before June 28 are being rescheduled, if possible. Full refunds will be issued to all registered campers who cannot attend another session or a rescheduled event. Get details at WesleyWoods.com
Camp Allegheny has shortened its summer camping season to guard against possible spread of the novel coronavirus. It will run from June 28 to August 1. Learn more at campallegheny.org/covid19-info 
Camp Allegheny has shortened its summer camping season to guard against possible spread of the novel coronavirus. It will run from June 28 to August 1. Learn more at campallegheny.org/covid19-info 

Feels Like Home - CD Still Available!

Tara and Eric Park share their musical gifts on their new CD Feels Like Home. Eric is the Butler District Superintendent. Sales of the CD will benefit WPAUMC Camping and Retreat Ministries. Learn more   The CD can be downloaded at CD Baby, iTunes, or Amazon. You may call the district office at 724-252-3198 or pick up a cd at the WPA Conference Center. Make checks payable to “WPA Camping” for $10.

At The Lake Ministries

At The Lake Ministries: Our schedule starts July 17th. ATLM offers opportunities for persons with special needs to enjoy fishing and cruising on Lake Erie. To view the dates and to schedule a charter for your family or group, visit atthelakeministries.org Lots of dates are still available!

Youth News

Youth Worker/Young People Heads Up: Later this summer, the Youth Worker Collective website will become part of a larger umbrella of ministry resources for young people at an updated UMCyoungpeople.org, the homepage for Young People’s Ministries. Young People’s Ministries is a part of UMC Discipleship Ministries and the crew that runs UMCyoungpeople.org is also runs the Youth Worker Collective, so the same quality content will still be easy to find. Visit umcyoungpeople.org
Visit youthworkercollective.com

UMC Student Loans: Loan applications for the January to May 2020 period is open until May 5. Students are eligible to apply for up to $10,000 per calendar year from the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry. Click here for eligibility and application information.  

YOUTH INFORMATION: on the web at https://www.wpaumc.org/youthevents

  • Resources for Youth Workers
  • Explore weekly updates, devotions, games, and lessons on the Youth Worker Collective. Some of the top UM youth workers offer free resources from their real-world ministries. 
  • Check out all of the Youth news at https://www.wpaumc.org/Youth
YSF Grants!
Your church can apply for a Youth Service Fund grant! Need some money to help run or launch a youth-led program or mission trip?
Apply at  www.wpaumc.org/ysfapplication.
Applications are accepted all year long.

Looking to connect with other UM Youth Leaders?
Be on the lookout for upcoming Youth Leader Networks! A small group regional program for you as a youth leader to grow and live life in
community with others who “get it.”
More info?     https://www.wpaumc.org/youth        On Facebook: Western Pa UMC Youth Leaders

Happy Anniversary



7/1       Y. Hope & James Cummins 
7/3       Doug & Denise Myers
7/1       Harriet  & Bill Hutton
7/6       Keith H. & Robyn L. McIlwain
7/11     Dean D. & Linda S. Ziegler
7/16     Joel & Debbie Garrett -                                               
7/22     Darlene & Ken Ryniec          

Happy Birthday


7/4/-    Nancy H. (David) Wilson, Jr
7/5/-     James (Hope) Cummins
7/11/-   S. Bruce Mould
7/12/    Angelique Bradford
7/19/ – Barbara Barnhart
7/22/ -    David Janz
7/30/-    Kenneth R. [Glea] Foster
7/30/-    Kathleen (James) Young
7/30/ –  Mary Jo Gould
7/30/ –  Hannah Loughman

Prayer Concerns and Joys

Please send us your prayer concerns and joys, to Butler.Office@wpaumc.org

Prayer in the Face of a Pandemic, written by DS Eric Park  
  • Our military and military families.
  • Prayers for God’s will to be done, as we navigate the future of the UMChurch.
  • Those awaiting test results, surgery, and medical treatment.
  • Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi and the WPA Cabinet
  • Clergy and churches of our conference.
  • Glenda Merritt is hospitalized with pneumonia and son Sam Merritt is in quarantine after a positive test result
  • Pastors and churches receiving new appointments
  • Those who are at higher risk and those who are working on the frontlines of the Pandemic.
  • Rev. Bruce Merritt- health                                                                                            
  • Rev. Eric Park, DS, as he cares for the churches and pastors of the district
  • Our Country and our leaders
  • The United Methodist Church/2021 General and Jurisdictional Conferences

Prayer Focus This Week

WPA Conference, and beyond as we deal with the effects of the Coronavirus Pandemic.

District Notables

Social Distancing, Not Social Isolation: A Family Systems Perspective

Thursday, June 11, 2020 to June 17

Thursday, June 11 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Central Time or Tuesday, June 16 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Central Time.
Presented via Zoom ~ Attend on your computer, iPad, or Smartphone. Fee – $30 (increases to $40 after: June 8 for the June 11 webinar, or June 12 for the June 16 webinar) Please note: Brown Paper Tickets will charge a small non-refundable service fee. To register online for any session of this webinar, please click here.

Summer Licensing School

Where: Olmsted Manor Retreat Center in Ludlow, PA

Sunday, July 26, 2020 to August 5

Summer Licensing School: The 2020 Summer Residential Licensing School will be held from Sunday evening, July 26 - Wednesday, August 5 at Olmsted Manor Retreat Center in Ludlow. Apply as soon as possible. Class size will be limited due to COVID-19 precautions. Get  application with details. 

News Articles

Mission (read more )

Hygiene Kits: UMCOR is accepting requests for Hygiene Kits for shelters. If you know any shelters in the conference in need of Hygiene Kits, please suggest they fill out the Relief Supply Request Form, or have them contact our Disaster Response Coordinator, David Kissinger at dlkissinger22@gmail.com      UMCOR Relief Kits: UMCOR provides relief all around the world and works in partnership with United Methodists everywhere. The Relief Supply Network program provides cleaning kit, hygiene kit ... read more

Conference News

Below you will find some conference news relevant to Butler District. To see all conference news, go to the News section at the very top of this page.
WPA COVID-19 Updates (read more )


Conference Announcements Updated June 12, 2020.  Read Bishop's Update on Reopening Churches See What's Next for Churches video with Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi and Dr. Jessica Price. Download our Guidelines for Church Reopening  Download Green Phase Guidelines    Get take-aways and other info from our twice weekly Covid-19 Clergy Conversations. See our Coronavirus Stimulus and Relief Package information for churches. Check our Covid-19 Church Planning Resources page on Facebook. Due to ... read more

Clergy Coaching Sessions Offered (read more )


To assist clergy as they strive to meet the on-going challenges of ministry in the age of the novel coronavirus, the Western PA Conference is offering Coaching on Demand.  Trained coaches in the Conference are offering their skills at no charge as a ministry to their colleagues. "Right now, we are each navigating personal and professional challenges, new realities, and unexpected ministry opportunities," said the Rev. Amy Wagner, who took a lead role in organizing the Coaching on Demand ... read more

Conference Call to Prayer (read more )


The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?   (Psalm 27:1, NRSV)   As our world has become encased in fear and uncertainty because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Western Pennsylvania Conference calls all laity and clergy to an intentional, daily time of prayer.  In the midst of the chaos, we need to stand in the power of prayer.   On March 24, 2020, Rev. Randall Bain, senior pastor at the Oakland United Methodist ... read more

Bishops Ask to Postpone GC2020 (read more )


UPDATE:  The Commission on the General Conference, in a March 16 press release said: As concerns over the coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic continue to escalate, the Commission on the General Conference will meet on March 21 via teleconference to discuss plans for the 2020 General Conference, scheduled for May 5-15, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minn.  According to the United Methodist Book of Discipline, in the absence of a convened General Conference, only the full Commission, as the duly authorized ... read more

Worship in Virus/Flu Season (read more )


UPDATED - 3/16/20 On March 15, the Center for Disease Control recommended that for the next 8 weeks, throughout the U.S., organizers cancel or postpone in-person events that involve 50 people or more. Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi will issue a statement on hope-filled ways United Methodists can offer ministry during this season. Updated CDC info on Mass Gatherings is at https://www.cdc.gov/…/mass-gatherings-ready-for-covid-19.ht… With the number of Coronavirus 2019 (COVID19) cases increasing ... read more


New look for our WPA Conference website

Conference website has a new look. It should be easier for you find what you are looking for using the dropdown menus across the top -- and the responsive features with the new design should make it easier to view on cell phones or tablets. Check it out at wpaumc.org.

Resources for Responding to Racism    more info

The Conference Anti-Racism Team (ART) compiled a list of suggestions for Western PA churches to address racism. Download it from the Conference's Discussing Racism page.

Bishops Vow This Time Will Be Different! Watch and learn more about the official launch of the UMC’s renewed effort to dismantle racism and press on to freedom. Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi is one of five bishops in the video announcement on Juneteenth. See video and story

Talking About Race: No matter where you are on your journey of understanding, the resources on the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture can help. Explore Talking About Race

Be Part of the Change! How can the church reach out with sensitivity about race and injustice? To effectively communicate beyond your congregation and culture, try to forge a true, interpersonal connection with those you want to reach. It would help to also do some homework, says John Coleman, Communications Director in the Eastern PA Conference. Read more.

United Methodists stand against racism: A new campaign is uniting the denomination against racism. Church leaders can turn to ResourceUMC.org to find the latest diversity and inclusiveness information and tools, including downloadable campaign graphics. Resources to engage members as they listen, act, speak and pray are available at UMC.org/EndRacism.

Learn how United Methodists are taking a stand against racism at UMC.org/EndRacism

Race and Protest: Two relevant resources regarding race and protest for young people: How to Acknowledge Hurt in Youth Ministry  and Tools for Processing Protests with Teens

Grant Available: Applications for Racial Ethnic Local Church Grants to strengthen ethnic congregations, are due September 1. Learn more

Racial Justice Conversations: GCORR offers excellent resources to help churches discuss and learn more about racial justice. See Racial Justice Conversations Guide.  

Quick Links

WPA Facebook Page
Diversity Development
Mission Barn

The Eastbrook Mission Barn is one of six UMCOR Relief Supply Network depots across the United States.

Mission Barn & UMCOR Supplies- Due to Annual Conference in June being cancelled and therefore the UMCOR collection, Mission Barn Director Katie Peterson is looking for a church willing to be the collection point for their district for UMCOR supplies, cleaning buckets, and hygiene kits on a one or two time basis this summer.  Preferably they can keep track of what church brought the donations and then store the kits and supplies in a secure location. People can bring the kits and supplies from the collection directly to the barn or the conference center, or she can arrange to send a truck or trailer to pick them up. Contact: Katie Peterson


Scholarships and Grants

There are a variety of scholarships available at www.umc.org/resources/scholarships and at www.wpaumc.org/scholarshipforms.