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Announcements

Is Your Find-A-Church Profile Up-to-Date?

People searching for places to celebrate Christmas, and perhaps to find meaning in the new year, so make it easier for them to find you. Through Find-a-Church you can offer words of welcome, list details about worship services, add links to your website and social media channels and more. Find your church using the search function at umc.org/find-a-church, then review and add using the update button at the bottom of the page.
 


Statistical Reports

2021 Statistical Reports are due to be completed by Monday, January 31. Senior pastors should have received an email from John Wilson, Conference Secretary, on Monday, November 22 with detailed instructions. If you have any questions, please contact him at john.wilson@wpaumc.org
 
There have been some changes to this process so it’s not too early for pastors to get started-especially if you have never done them before. Please don't leave this task until the last minute or you risk being late with the reports. It takes time to gather the information for the three Tables. It will be the pastor’s responsibility to see that the information is gathered from church leadership and entered online by January 31, 2022.

Please click this link to log in. The old login site is not available any longer!

Annual Church Statistics (gcfa.org)

 


Boy Scout Bankruptcy Update

Conference Asked to Help Fund Boy Scout Survivor Trust: Pending court approval of a settlement agreement in the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) bankruptcy case, United Methodists have agreed to contribute $30 million to a $3 billion Survivor Trust Fund that will receive contributions from the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), insurance companies and charter organizations.  Every annual conference in America is asked to contribute toward the $30 million. The Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference has been asked to contribute $ 650,300 to the Survivor Trust Fund. Learn more


Orientation to Ministry

Feeling a Call to Ministry? Learn about the various types of ministry in The United Methodist Church during an Orientation to Ministry Session scheduled via Zoom on Saturday, Feb. 15. Get details. 


General Conference

General Conference postponed until August 29 – September 6, 2022, in Minneapolis, Minn. After two postponements, organizers continue working to hold General Conference next year. The business manager says staff knows how important the coming legislative assembly is as the denomination weighs a potential split. However, the delta variant presents new challenges. Read story

Join in Active Waiting: Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi suggests that United Methodists spend the time leading up to the next General Conference engaging in the spiritual exercise of active waiting. Rather than a time of anxiety and stagnation, active waiting for believers is a time to cooperate with what God is doing among us while preparing for new manifestations of God’s promises. Read her blog post


2022 WPA UMC Annual Conference

Update your calendar now!
Thursday, JUNE 2 – Saturday, JUNE 4, 2022
at the Erie Bayfront Convention Center, 1 Sassafras Pier, Erie, PA 16507
 


Happy Birthday




 

January


13  Rev Chris Kindle
15  Denise Myers
23  Rev Kenneth Miller
25  Rev W Charles Adkins
25  Jan Kindle
30  Rev Mary Grey Emmett
31  Janice Hall


 


Happy Anniversary

                                                         

 

January

17  Rev Bruce & Laurie Gascoine
18  Rev Eric & Tara Park



 


Prayer Concerns and Joys

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

Clergywomen Share Hopes and Prayers for 2022: You may recognize two of the United Methodist clergywomen from across the U.S. who shared their hopes and prayers in this video. 

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is Jan. 18-25!  This annual observance invites all Christians to remember one another in prayer and strengthen the bonds of love and mutual mission. This year’s theme is based on Matthew 2:2 and invites  churches across the globe to reflect on the hope and joy in the verse: “We saw the star in the East, and we came to worship him.” Learn more
Download booklet of info and resources
Get details from the World Council of Churches
See resources from the Council of Bishops


All who are suffering from the effects of Covid.
  • Our military and military families.
  • Our Country and our leaders
  • Those awaiting test results, surgery, and medical treatment.
  • Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi and the WPA Cabinet
  • Those who are at higher risk and those who are working on the frontlines of the Pandemic                                                                                      
  • 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

 


Youth News

SPARK Pittsburgh Draws Youth: About 250 youth and adult leaders gathered at Pittsburgh’s Station Square for SPARK 2022 last weekend. During the event, youth discussed ways to be in mission in their communities and put together 200 Blessing bags for homeless people. The bags were shared with three ministries in the Pittsburgh District – United Methodist Church Union, 8th Avenue Ministries and Roots of Faith in Sharpsburg. Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi joined in worship on Sunday. See photos at .facebook.com/wpaumc
SPARK 2022 will be held in Erie on April 9-10. Get details and register at wpaumc.org/spark

Confirmation Event Registration Open: Confirmation Class events with Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi are scheduled on three Fridays in March – March 4, 11 and 18, 2022 – from Noon to 4 p.m. at Dutilh UMC. The event will feature a Confirmation lesson and conversation with the Bishop and begin with an optional lunch. For details, click the link on the day of your choice on the Conference website March calendar here https://www.wpaumc.org/events?month=3&year=2022&cals=. Or use this link to Register here https://wpa-reg.brtapp.com/Journey2022

Youth Ministry Resources: Discipleship Ministries just released new free downloadable ebooks -- Crash Courses in Youth Ministry. Each is loaded with practical tips and basic wisdom you can read today and put into practice tomorrow. Topics include Recruiting Volunteers, Keeping Volunteers, Fundraising, Methodist Heritage and Beliefs, Trips and Retreats, and more. View and download the resources. here https://store.umcdiscipleship.org/product-category/leadership_resources/crash-courses-youth-ministry/

50 Ways to Strengthen Ministry with Youth: The Lewis Center for Church Leadership offers this resource to view or download.  here https://www.churchleadership.com/50-ways/50-ways-to-strengthen-ministry-with-youth/

Young Adult Opportunity: Wesley Theological Seminary has launched Wesley Design Fellowship, a one-year, cohort-based experience for young adults that includes community formation, spiritual direction, graduate-level courses, and hands-on experience leading innovation. Open to young people ages 23-29 interested in leading new ways to connect young adults with the whole church, each fellow will earn an $8,000 stipend and four graduate academic course credits. Application deadline is Feb. 1, 2022. Learn more. herehttps://www.wesleyseminary.edu/wesley-innovation-hub/design-fellows/

Innovate to Reach New/Younger People: Director F. Douglas Powe Jr. of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership interviews Mikka McCracken about innovation, building relationships, and creating person-focused ministries so more people know the way of Jesus and discover community, justice, and love. McCracken leads the ELCA Innovation Hub. Read more  here
https://www.churchleadership.com/leading-ideas/innovating-to-reach-more-people/

Safe Sanctuaries and Online Youth Groups: WPAUMC’s Youth and Young Adult Ministry Coordinator Amanda Gilligan offers things for you to consider, as well as resources to help, as you adapt your church’s Safe Sanctuaries policy to include online gatherings. Read her blog post.

Upcoming Youth Events: Mark your calendars for these Conference youth events:
Youth 2023 - We are excited to announce the tradition continues with YOUTH 2023 headed to Daytona Beach, Florida July 25-28, 2023! Stay connected as we plan the details that make this event so memorable! Learn More

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.

50 Ways to Strengthen Your Ministry with Youth: This resource sheet from the Lewis Center for Church Leadership is available to read or download in PDF. 

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

 
YOUNG ADULT OPPORTUNITIES
Seeking US2 Missionaries: United Methodist Global Ministries is now accepting applications for the 2021-23 cohort of Global Mission Fellows on the US-2 track. The Global Mission Fellows program places young adults, ages 20-30, in social justice ministries for two years of service. The US-2 track offers the opportunity in the United States. Learn more and apply

WPA has a Young Adult Council who is available to encourage and resource local churches with your young adult ministry. Contact Amanda Mitchell at amanda.mitchell@wpaumc.org for information.

Connecting with Young Adults: In a recent, Leading Ideas, Discipleship Ministries’ Chris Wilterdink says a critical strategy for engaging young adults is to create discipleship opportunities and build relationships in the online communities where they are active. Within these spaces, the church can provide young adults an opportunity to explore identity, belonging, and purpose. Read more.


Camps and Retreat Center Updates

Winter Blast Weekend at Jumonville Camp from January 22 - 24 for a weekend of fun and exciting activities. Youth groups that bring seven or more youth ages 12-17 get one adult reservation free! Details


OLMSTED MANOR RETREAT CENTER- Stay in our modern hotel-style lodge or the historic Tudor-style manor house as you enjoy the peace and beauty of the Allegheny National Forest. Learn more. Call us today at (814) 945-6512. Calendar of Events:

 



 



 

 
  


Calendar Items

- Human Relations Day Encourages Community Outreach

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Be a part of building a beloved community with your gifts on Human Relations Day, January 16, or a day of your choosing. Your contributions spark hope, develop skills and reimagine neighborhoods. Find resources in the Pastor and Leader's Kit.

 


new Martin Luther King Day (added 1/13/2022)

Monday, January 17, 2022

Conference offices will be closed. The Greensburg District Anti-Racism Team has prepared a virtual worship celebration that will be posted by 4 p.m. Sunday on the Conference website (Find a link on the homepage). Other observances have been scheduled for later in the month. Read more. 
 


new Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (added 1/13/2022)

Tuesday, January 18, 2022 to January 25

This annual observance invites all Christians to remember one another in prayer and strengthen the bonds of love and mutual mission. This year’s theme is based on Matthew 2:2 and invites  churches across the globe to reflect on the hope and joy in the verse: “We saw the star in the East, and we came to worship him.” Learn more
Download booklet of info and resources
Get details from the World Council of Churches
See resources from the Council of Bishops

 


new Harnessing the Holidays (added 1/12/2022)

Where: Olmsted Manor Retreat Center

Monday, January 24, 2022 to January 26

Harnessing the Holidays from January 24-26 at Olmsted Manor Retreat Center. It will prepare leaders for the upcoming Lenten season. Participants will enjoy personal quiet time for study, planning, and reflection in the beautiful sacred space of Olmsted Manor Retreat Center. Retreat leader, Rev. Dr. Jeff Sterling, will offer individual consultation to aid participants in making their specific plans for this central season of the church year. The event will offer ideas helpful to any size congregationMore information and registration Note: Olmsted is and will continue to follow the most up-to-date recommendations from the CDC and PA Dept. of Health to ensure a safe experience for all our guests.


Focusing on the Lord’s Prayer While Leading Your Congregation during Lent

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Focusing on the Lord’s Prayer While Leading Your Congregation during Lent with Olu Brown on
January 27. During this webinar, Olu will discuss leading and preaching during Lent, and how we can help our congregations practice the spiritual discipline of trust. Using the Lord's Prayer as a focus, Olu will discuss ways to challenge our congregants to be open and willing to ask God for help and direction. Click Here to Register
 


new 2022 Winter Mission Academy (added 1/12/2022)

Where: Zoom

Monday, January 31, 2022 to February 5

2022 Winter Mission Academy from Monday, January 31 at 12:00 PM - Saturday, February 5 at 2:00 PM
Join us for six sessions of different ways to engage in mission. All sessions will be on Zoom. Register

  • January 31 Engaging the Community for Social Transformation
  • February 1 Creating the Family Mission Experience
  • February 2 Volunteerism with Justice for our Neighbors
  • February 3 Raising Money (Without Embarrassment) for Your UMVIM Project
  • February 4 Equipping the Church for Preparedness and Resilience for Extreme Weather and Disaster
  • February 5 Mobile Photography and Mission


new White Awake Book Study (added 1/12/2022)

Tuesday, February 1, 2022 to March 8

White Awake Book Study: The Conference Committee on Religion and Race will offer a 6-week Tuesday evening online study of the book White Awake by Daniel Hill, from February 1 until March 8. The author shows seven stages to expect on the path to cultural awakening. It’s a call to find our deepest sense of identity in Christ, offers a new perspective on being white and empowers readers to be an agent of reconciliation in our increasingly diverse and divided world. Lisa Morse and Rev. Dylan Parson will lead the discussion each Tuesday from 7 to 9 pm. Register here through Eventbrite   


new 2022 Ignite Conference (added 1/13/2022)

Where: Crossroad's UMC, Oakdale

Friday, February 4, 2022 to February 5

Pastors are invited to Crossroads’ Oakdale campus for the 2022 Ignite Conference on February 4-5 with Alex and Hannah Absalom. Get details
 


new The Case for Heaven (added 1/13/2022)

Wednesday, February 9, 2022 to March 9

Rev. Howard Greenfield will lead a clergy book study on The Case for Heaven – A Journalist Investigates Evidence for Life After Death, written in 2021 by Lee Strobel. It will be held on the second Wednesday of each month beginning on February 9 at Punxsutawney First UMC from 9:30-11:30 a.m. Clergy from other districts are invited to participate. Read the intro and Chapter 1 before the first session.
 


new Love is in the Air (added 1/13/2022)

Where: Olmsted Manor

Friday, February 11, 2022 to January 13

Olmsted Manor Retreat Center is partnering with Christian Counseling Associates of Western PA to offer a weekend marriage course February 11-13 at the retreat center in Ludlow, PA. A trained CCA counselor will offer Biblical teachings, relationship assessments, communication tools, and activities for couples to grow closer. It begins Friday evening and runs through Saturday; couples can choose to stay Saturday night free and enjoy brunch and a service on Sunday. Get details and register at olmstedmanor.org/marriage-tune-up.html  
 


new Orientation to Ministry (added 1/12/2022)

Where: Zoom

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Orientation to Ministry: Tuesday, February 15 from 7-8:30 PM via Zoom. Orientation to Ministry is required of all pre-certified candidates but is open to anyone interested in obtaining more information about the various types of ministry options available. Registration begins January 10. Contact Janet Lord to register.


new 2022 Spring Commuter LICENSING SCHOOL TRAINING and CERTIFIED LAY MINISTRY TRAINING: (added 1/12/2022)

Where: Manorville UMC

Thursday, February 17, 2022 to April 23

2022 Spring Commuter Licensing School Training and Certified Lay Ministry Training:
 
First Retreat: February 17 (6 - 9 pm), February 18 (9 am – 5 pm), February 19 (9 am – 5 pm)
Saturdays: February 26, March 5, 12, 19, & 26 and April 2, & 9 (9 am – 5 pm)
Ending Retreat: April 21 (9 am - 5 pm), April 22 (9 am – 5 pm), April 23 (9 am - 5 pm)
 
To apply for Licensing School, you must be a certified candidate for ministry.  Applications and a $100 deposit are due February 5. Participation is limited to 15. Get application with details at wpaumc.org/forms



new I Go On Singing (added 1/13/2022)

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Renowned baritone Anthony Brown will present  “I Go On Singing: Paul Robeson’s Life in His Words & Songs”, his multimedia musical documentary, at 6 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 26 at Dutilh United Methodist Church. It’s sponsored by the Pittsburgh District Anti-Racism Team as a special event for Black History Month. Brown, a member of the Wrestling with Racism Team of Warren and Pittsburgh First UMC Pittsburgh, has performed internationally in concert halls and fine arts centers, and has used music to promote peace and reconciliation in hotspots around the world. Watch video


new Confirmation Journey Events (added 1/12/2022)

Where: Dutilh UM Church, 1270 Dutilh Rd, Cranberry Twp., PA

Friday, March 4, 2022 to March 18

Register for A Confirmation Journey: Confirmation Class events with Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi are scheduled on three Fridays in March – March 4, 11, and 18, 2022 – from Noon to 4 p.m. at Dutilh UMC. The event begins with an optional lunch and will feature a Confirmation lesson and conversation with the Bishop. For details, click the link on the day of your choice on the Conference website March calendar. Or use this link to Register


 


2022 Spring Lay Servant Ministry School

Where: Harmony-Zelienople UMC 123 N Pittsburgh Street, Zelienople PA 16063

Sunday, March 6, 2022 to April 3

2022 Butler District Spring Lay Ministry School
 

Once again the Harmony-Zelienople United Methodist Church has opened its doors to allow us to offer classes during the 2022 Lenten period.
The dates will be March 6, 13, 20, 27, and April 3. The time will be from 2 PM until 5 PM.

Courses being offered:

Basic

Preaching

Spirit Gifts

Conflict Transformation


Butler District UMW Spring Meeting

Where: TBA

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Save the date!  More details coming soon!


UMW Assembly 2022  (more info )

Friday, May 20, 2022 to May 22

                                     “TURN IT UP!”    WWW.ASSEMBLY2022.org
 
 


News Articles

Postponed until 2022-General Conference (read more )

12/6/2032

Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi today addressed the postponement of the General Conference of the United Methodist Church and what it means for the denomination. The Bishop's remarks came after the Council of Bishops (COB), in response to the Commission on the General Conference's announcement that the postponed 2020 General Conference could not be held until 2022, called a Special Session of the General Conference to be convened online on May 8, 2021.   According to the call letter signed by COB ... 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.
MLK Day Events Planned (read more )

1/12/2022

Martin Luther King Jr. weekend -- Jan. 15-17, 2022 -- has been a time to celebrate Dr. King’s life and remember how his work in the Civil Rights Movement prepared the foundation for dismantling racism. This year, due to the resurgence of the coronavirus, observances have been moved online or scheduled for later in the month.  In Western Pennsylvania, for the second year, the Greensburg District Antiracism Team has prepared a virtual service that will be available on this website by 4 p.m. ... read more


Conferences Asked to Contribute to BSA Survivor Trust (read more )

1/10/2022

Pending court approval of a settlement agreement in the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) bankruptcy case, United Methodists have agreed to contribute $30 million to a $3 billion Survivor Trust Fund that will receive contributions from the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), insurance companies and charter organizations.  Every annual conference in America is asked to contribute toward the $30 million. The Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference has been asked to contribute $ 650,300 to the Survivor Trust ... read more


Resources

Resources for Responding to Racism    more info

Join Cross Racial/Cross Cultural Ministry Training: The Conference Committee on Religion and Race is seeking volunteers to join our Cross Racial Cross Cultural (CRCC) Ministry teams that work in training and support of congregations with CRCC pastors.  A one-year time commitment is required and extensive training is provided. A strong interest in working competently and equitably across cultures and/or across races as part of a diverse team is required, along with adaptability and a willingness to grow and be challenged in the area of racial justice. Two short       information sessions have been scheduled, via Zoom: Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022 at 1 p.m., OR Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022 at  7 p.m. To express interest or get more info, contact Peggy Ward at pdward11@gmail.com , using CRCC in email subject line. Individuals and Antiracism Team members are encouraged to respond.
 
White Awake Book Study: The Conference Committee on Religion and Race will offer a 6-week Tuesday evening online study of the book White Awake by Daniel Hill, beginning February 1.  The author shows seven stages to expect on the path to cultural awakening. It’s a call to find our deepest sense of identity in Christ, offers a new perspective on being white and empowers readers to be an agent of reconciliation in our increasingly diverse and divided world. Lisa Morse and Rev. Dylan Parson will lead the discussion each Tuesday from 7 to 9 p.m. from February 1 until March 8. Register here through Eventbrite  here https://www.eventbrite.com/e/white-awake-book-study-tickets-230448336177 

African American Methodist Heritage Center: The African American Methodist Heritage Center in Madison, NJ needs money and attention so it can continue to preserve the history of African American Methodists. The center is prioritizing fundraising in 2022 and considering a name change. See UM News story. here https://www.umnews.org/en/news/preserving-black-church-history




Risky Discipleship: Watch a video to learn the story of The Village at Glencliff, a unique respite care community for persons experiencing homelessness, and the risky discipleship required by the

United Methodists who made it happen. Watch  here https://www.umc.org/en/content/risky-discipleship-the-village-at-glencliff

Tips for Building Relationships: Elizabeth Mae Magill wanted to create a food ministry that wasn’t a charity, but a demonstration of Christ’s radical welcome. For months, she did street ministry to get to know food insecure neighbors, hear their stories, and build relationships. In Leading Ideas, she shares nine practical tips for meeting people and learning their needs. Learn more. here https://www.churchleadership.com/leading-ideas/9-strategies-for-meeting-people-and-learning-their-needs/

Discipleship and Anti-Racism: Realize the connection and learn how to have courageous conversations on a difficult topic through a new online course from Discipleship Ministries. There’s no cost. See video and learn more here https://discipleship-ministries.teachable.com/p/courageous-conversations-racism-free

UMC Dismantling Campaign Hits One-Year Mark: The anti-racism work of the UMC is just getting started after one year of a Dismantling Racism campaign, say bishops and others. Upcoming initiatives include an anti-racism social justice agenda, more educational materials, and an Advent devotional series. Read story here 

Expanding the Table is GCORR's new podcast on practicing anti-racism. In episode 2, three Asian-American Christian theologians examine the history and current realities of anti-Asian racism in the United States and what every Christian should know and do.
Listen or Watch video here https://www.r2hub.org/library/podcast

 


Resources - Helpful Links

UMCOR – Here’s how you can help!

  • Pray: Continue to pray for all partners as well as for survivors.

  • Donate: We will need to restock to make sure we are able to respond when asked.

  • Purchase materials for kits. Advance Number:  #901440 Donate

  • Assemble kits. This is a great Mission Opportunity for groups.

    • Kit recipes and direct monetary donations UMCOR.org

  • Drop offs: Kits can be dropped off a one of our Relief Supply Network Satellites listed below:

  • WPA Conference Center, 724-776-2300. 1204 Freedom Road, Cranberry Twp., PA 16066

  • Butler District, Mission Barn. Katie Peterson 724-856-8241. 226 Church Lane, New Castle

  • Volunteer: Set up time to volunteer at the Mission Barn. Groups of no more than eight. For more information, contact Katie Peterson at missionbarn@gmail.com 

 
UMCOR will remain at the disaster until the final home for the final survivor is safe, sanitary and secure. This is
a seven-fold ministry that shows our witness as Christians as we continue our outreach- seen through the stores, customers, transporters, makers, verifiers, the people that hand out the buckets and the survivors.

2021: The year in photos: NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UM News) — Amid challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and uncertainties about the future of the denomination, United Methodists continued to live out their faith and serve their communities in 2021. Photographers from UM News, the denomination's official news service, documented a year in the life of United Methodism worldwide. View Photos

 

New- Clergy Education: Continuing Education for Church Leaders.

See all of their online courses and webinars at clergyeducation.com

 

Show, Not Tell-Faith Edition: If you do communications for your church, consider attending a free virtual writing workshop designed to help you tell vibrant, engaging stories. It's offered by Chris Hedlin, faith & religion reporter for PublicSource, who recently wrote the in-depth Pittsburgh Magazine feature about Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi. During Show, Not Tell: Faith Edition on Tuesday, January 11 from 7-8:30 p.m., she’ll share five practical strategies to energize your writing. Register here See Pittsburgh Magazine story about Bishop

 Evangelism Grants Offered: The Foundation for Evangelism will launch a new $250,000 Equipping the Local Church grant cycle in January 2022. Grants for $5,000 or $10,000 will be awarded to small and medium church congregations or clusters of churches in a Wesleyan-tradition denomination. The focus of the grants is on launching an experiment or initiative to share the Gospel, tell their faith stories, and invite others into a relationship with Jesus. Applications will be posted on January 1 at foundationforevangelism.org/grant-seekers/

 

Grant Helps United Reduce Student Debt: United Theological Seminary has received $3 million to reduce the educational indebtedness of its students. Under the anonymous grant, each graduate will receive up to $20,000 to reduce his/her educational debt from both theological and previous academic studies. Press release

Appalachian Trail Chaplain Named: The Rev. Randy Simpkins, a local pastor serving Bowdon First UMC in the North Georgia Conference, has been named the 2022 Appalachian Trail chaplain. Each year, the chaplain hikes from Georgia to Maine with the purpose of listening, helping, and showing God’s love. Read story

My Portal offers an easy way to ensure you're receiving the most helpful information from United Methodist Communications. Church leaders, staff, volunteers, members, and those seeking to know more about The UMC can update contact information, roles, interests, subscriptions, and more. Learn more.

Cokesbury Kids offers FREE resources that help children and families experience the hope, joy, and wonder of the season. Resources include songs and videos, coloring pages, as well as helpful hints for leaders and parents. Download The Kids Advent Guide here https://www.cokesburykids.com/free-resources//2021-advent-guide
 

 UMMen News: The winter edition of United Methodist Men's magazine features stories on Scouting and dismantling racism, as well as new top executive Greg Arnold's vision for the agency's future. Read it 


 
 WPA Prison Outreach Ministry 2021 Winter Newsletter. Visit our new website www.wpapom.org:

 

 CLERGY TITLES

Earlier this year, because of a number of questions, the Bishop clarified some confusion over the titles used for various types of clergy. Here is a copy of her letter that was distributed. Please
use it for your reference and for clear communication:

 

Pastor - In the United Methodist Church, this title is reserved only for those who are under appointment by a bishop.  It also can be used in retirement by those who have been ordained or have completed the Course of Study.  This title cannot be used by persons hired by local churches.

 

Reverend – Use of this title is not necessarily governed by United Methodist polity.  However, historically it is reserved for those who have earned a Master of Divinity or Master of Theological Studies degree or completed the requirements for Associate Membership.

 

Licensed Local Pastor - This term applies to those who have been issued a license by a bishop in the United Methodist Church.

 

Minister - This term can be used to refer to persons hired by churches to provide ministerial type services.  For example, Minister of Music, Youth Minister, Minister for Pastoral Care would be appropriate for laypersons or clergy from another denomination who are not serving under appointment, but, rather, have been hired by the local congregation.  This title can also be used for Certified Lay Ministers who volunteer in local churches or are hired by District Superintendents to provide pulpit supply. 

 

Deacons are a diverse population of clergy.  If a Deacon has been appointed to serve as pastor of a local church, the title of pastor is appropriate.  If a Deacon serving in extension ministry has been granted sacramental rights, they can be referred to as a pastor.  Beyond these absolutes, Deacons can use the title of pastor if they choose because they are, in fact, under appointment in a clergy role.  Some Deacons, however, prefer not to be referred to as pastor, so when in doubt, ask. It is always appropriate to refer to a Deacon as Reverend.

 

I hope that these descriptions provide clarity as we seek to be more consistent and transparent in all that we do as an annual conference.  As always, if you have any questions you may ask your District Superintendent.  Members of the Board of Ordained Ministry can also answer your questions regarding appropriate titling - particularly regarding changes in the title as persons navigate the ordination process.

____________________________________________________________________________Copyright Extended: The United Methodist Publishing House is extending full permission to all churches for use of its copyrighted worship materials through December 31. This includes the use of the Common English Bible. Read the press release.

 


 
Decennial Report - This is a valid request.  The state requires a Decennial Report of Association Continued Existence form to be filed every 10 years -- in years ending with the number 1. The form and additional details can be found on the PA Dept. of State’s website. Due by December 31. Decennial Filing   

 


 

 

 
 
 

 


Youth Resources

Crash Courses in Youth Ministry: Complete Series Now Available! This set of 10 e-books are easy to read and simple to put into practice, equipping you with knowledge and ideas necessary to create an effective youth ministry. The newest additions to the bunch are Speaking Adolescent, Discipleship, and Digital Youth Ministry. Learn more and download

A Christian Teenager’s Guide to Surviving High School by Ashley Conner. This guide was born from a
private blog Ashley Conner created to help her younger brother navigate high school as an incoming freshman. There were hundreds of posts from big sister to little brother, like "Who pays for the date" and “How to get along with THAT teacher." Much of what she shared with her brother is found in this book. Download free chapter

Benefits of Conducting an HR Assessment for Your Ministry: Improving the basic functions of your ministry will help you improve the effectiveness of your work. Performing a Human Resources assessment will help your ministry identify areas of improvement and growth. Benefit #1 is....

Connecting Faith and Justice: A new curriculum to help junior and senior high students actively engage the intersection of faith and justice and explore why our faith compels us toward justice. It is available to download today for free. Learn more and download

Connecting with Young Adults: In this week’s Leading Ideas, Discipleship Ministries’ Chris Wilterdink says a critical strategy for engaging young adults is to create discipleship opportunities and build relationships in the online communities where they are active. Within these spaces, the church can provide young adults an opportunity to explore identity, belonging, and purpose. Read more.

50 Ways to Strengthen Your Ministry with Youth: This resource sheet from the Lewis Center for Church Leadership is available to read or download in PDF. 


Join the Youth Ministry Team: Let your youth know that there’s still time to apply to be part of the 2020-2021 Conference Youth Ministry Team. Watch video. Fill out the online YMT application

10 Youth Ministry Lessons: SMU's Perkins School of Youth Ministry offers free youth ministry lessons that make it easy to stay connected with youth during the COVID-19 pandemic. Download the curriculum  
 


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


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.