The Bishop and Cabinet are meeting online, but still working on appointment changes for this year. Any changes are being announced to congregations via email or postal mail, then posted at appointments.
Postponed - General Conference May 5-15, 2020
General Conference to move to 2021 Read the news release
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.
Remembering Holy Week, celebrating Easter at home: What can families, especially those with younger children, do at home to celebrate Holy Week and Easter? Discover ideas that will help families journey toward Easter together and then make Easter a season long, rather than one day, celebration. Learn more
Online Worship: If your church doesn’t offer online worship, invite your congregation to worship with one of our congregations who do. Links to some are on the Conference website. Pick a link or two and share them with your congregation. See the list.
Note: We will add to our list later this week, but suggest that if it’s your first time with livestreaming, do a trial run with your own congregation before sharing the link with us.
ResourceUMC offers instruction about how to take your worship online at resourceumc.org/en/content/taking-your-worship-online-a-guide-for-beginners-and-everyone-else
The United Methodist Center is closed and Conference staff will be working remotely and available by email. Some leaders and staff may report to conduct essential business from time to time, but the intent is to limit the number of people in the building. Email is the recommended method of contact. Voicemails left on office phones will be checked regularly and returned as soon as possible.
As an alternative to in-person meetings, the Conference Center has a number of conference call options available allowing you to hold meetings remotely.
Dear Students, Instructors and Committee Members,
Due to concerns over the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and for the wellbeing of ourselves and others, the remainder of the Butler District Lay Servant Ministry School, scheduled for the next two (2) Sundays, March 22 and March 29 at Harmony-Zelienople UMC has been postponed.
Please keep your books and materials, as we will look to try and reschedule the remainder of the school - date, time, location to be determined. Bob Martin and I, together with other members of the LSM Committee will have a conversation around this, and we will be in touch with you.
On behalf of the LSM Committee, I thank you for your faithfulness as disciples of Jesus. Stay safe; and continue in ministry, especially to those among us who are more vulnerable and/or isolated.
The due date for all three evaluations - May 15, 2020
Evaluation links were sent on Monday, March 2, 2020. Reminder that the links to all three evaluations have been sent to the senior pastor. Please make sure the links are sent to those responsible for completing the 2020 evaluations. If you need help, please don't hesitate to call the district office.
Clergy Conversations: In a trial Zoom meeting arranged by Conference staff Wednesday, about 50 WPAUMC pastors shared concerns and questions they encountered in making changes to contain the spread of coronavirus. In the coming weeks, conversations on related topics will be offered once or twice weekly, specifically for clergy who are serving churches. Next week’s sessions will be limited to the first 100 who respond to an emailed invitation.
Clergy Facebook Group: Social Media Coordinator Liz Lennox has created a private Facebook group specifically so clergy can provide peer support during the COVID-19 crisis. You can request to join the group at facebook.com/groups/wpaclergy.
Facebook Prayer Group: We also have a public group for all our Facebook followers to offer prayer to one another at facebook.com/groups/wpaprayer.
WPAUMC Church Planning Resource List: Visit our Facebook COVID-19 Church Planning Resources here.
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 has released their open dates for the 2020 season! ATLM offers opportunities for persons with special needs to enjoy fishing and cruising on Lake Erie. To view the dates and for directions on how to schedule a charter for your family or group, visit atthelakeministries.org
Get all of the Youth News here.....
Annual Conference: Do you have youth (from 7th grade - 12th grade) who are interested in being a page or youth delegate (voting member) at Annual Conference? They will need to come to Conference on June 9 at 1 pm and stay through June 13. There is no cost. Application forms are due March 30. Contact Amanda Gilligan at the conference office with questions. Get application.
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.
UMC Scholarships: The application period for the Fall 2020 semester will open January 3, 2020, with a deadline of March 5. Get details at gbhem.org/loans-scholarships/scholarships/
YOUTH INFORMATION: on the web at https://www.wpaumc.org/youthevents
Prayer Focus This Week
WPA Conference, and beyond as we deal with the effects of the Coronavirus Pandemic.
Where: Chippewa UMC 2545 Darlington Rd Beaver Falls PA 15010
To see all of Chippewa UMC March & April 2020 events, click here.
Where: Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
Thursday, April 9, 2020
The president of Bread for the World will be the keynote speaker at the 2020 Workshop, scheduled for Sunday April 19 at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Download flier to share
Wednesday, April 22, 2020 to April 23
Celebrate Earth Day: 2020 is the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day. This year, Earth Day (April 22) falls after Easter and Earth Day Sunday can be celebrated April 19, 26, or another day. The 2020 theme focuses on "The Fierce Urgency of Now." The UMC Board of Church and Society partners with Creation Justice Ministries, which offers free resources to observe Earth Day. Learn more.
Sunday, April 26, 2020 to April 27
Native American Ministries Sunday is scheduled for April 26! Resources
Where: Unionville UMC 1297 Route 68 Rochester, PA 16074
Sunday, April 26, 2020 3:00 PM
Mark your calendar now, and plan to attend the Butler District Conference, on April 26, 2020
Food and Fellowship beginning at 2:00 p.m.
District Conference will begin at 3:00 p.m.
Additional details to follow.
Saturday, May 30, 2020 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM
A formal invitation with complete details will follow. We look forward to the opportunity to support one another in this season of transition.
Where: PNC Park
Saturday, June 6, 2020 4:00 PM
Saturday, June 6, which is a 4:05 pm game against St. Louis. After the game, fans are invited to stay and see a more personal side of our players and coaches where a large number from the team come back out to the field to discuss how faith has impacted their careers and personal lives. Groups of 10 or more are on sale now, and Groups can be reserved with a deposit. You can reach me directly at (412) 325-4756. Chad Glover, Pirates Account Manager & Seating Sales.
Where: Grove City College
Thursday, June 11, 2020 to June 13
Clergy: Plan your vacation, weddings, mission trips, etc. around these dates and plan to attend.
What About Annual Conference? As of now, after consultation with Grove City College, our Conference Session Team leaders continue to plan for the Annual Conference to meet as scheduled in June. Because things may change rapidly, though, we will not open registration or process any additional requests for display area space that require deposits. This may eliminate the need to process refunds -- and incur associated fees--if the situation warrants cancellation of the session.
Note: Youth page and delegate applications are still due March 30! Application
United Methodist Men in Review, the Commission on United Methodist Men created more small groups, released its first study of discipleship and tackled domestic violence. Last year, The United Methodist Church also took the lead among denominations in providing a home base for Scouts BSA. Read story See United Methodist Men by the numbers Keep Up with United Methodist Men: The winter issue of UM Men magazine offers an overview of the ministry partners of the Commission on United Methodist Men. ... read more
Mission Volunteer Openings: Mission Volunteers are individuals or couples (ages 18 and up) seeking to build partnerships and serve in communities around the world. Mission Volunteer opportunities are diverse and range from working with refugees, children and youth, serving as a teacher, pastor, camp director or health care professional. The length of service ranges from two months to more than two years. Learn more New UMCOR Mission Kit: Responding to disasters in the U.S. and around the ... read more
Conference Announcements This page will updated as needed. It is a work in progress. Check our Covid-19 Church Planning Resources page on Facebook. Get take-aways and other info from our twice weekly Covid-19 Clergy Conversations. See our Coronavirus Stimulus and Relief Package information for churches. Due to the March 15 recommendations from the Center for Disease Control and later state and local advisories to help stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the Bishop and Conference leaders ... 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
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
Shane Hinderliter, a Western PA native currently serving as director of student ministries at a large-membership church in Houston, Texas, will be the new Conference Coordinator of Camping and Retreat Ministries, effective March 1. He follows Jessica Gamache, who left the camping coordinator position Nov. 4 to become executive director of the United Methodist Camp and Retreat Ministries Association. “I am excited to come home,” Shane said. “The camps have always been home to me.” He was a coun... read more
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.
Un-Welcoming? Even if your church has trained greeters and consciously works to be welcoming to visitors, there are things may sabotage those efforts. There’s a difference between offering hospitality and being guest-ready. Learn more
March is Women’s History Month! Celebrate the history of women in your local church using this packet of ideas, suggestions and historical info from ResourceUMC. Learn more.
Holy Week Worship Resources: See what’s available from Discipleship Ministries.
Wesley Hymn Devotion for Lent: Charles Wesley wrote a number of hymns that we use specifically during the Lent and Easter season, including "Come Sinners, to the Gospel Feast." This Wesley hymn, based on the Parable of the Great Banquet in the Gospel of Luke, invites everyone to receive new life in Jesus Christ. Read more
Wesley Health Tips: With an extra hour of daylight, you may have time for some activities to get in shape. SOME of John Wesley’s health tips still apply. Learn more.
Worship Practices for Flu/Virus Season: With flu season in full swing and an increasing number of Coronavirus 2019 (COVID19) cases reported in the U.S., churches here and across the nation are modifying worship practices to guard against spreading disease. Read more
Coronavirus Info: UM Communications has compiled some information on what you should know and how to help as the Coronavirus spreads. Read it.
GC and Coronavirus: The Executive Committee of the Commission on the General Conference is monitoring developments in the spread of coronavirus and will collaborate with public health authorities regarding recommended health and safety precautions to reduce exposure or transmission of illness when the 2020 General Conference meets in Minneapolis, Minn. May 5-15. Read more
Five Steps for Talking about Apportionments: Rev. Ken Sloane gives tips on how to explain the significance of The United Methodist Church’s giving structure. Learn more.
New- Smith Center Depends on Gifts: None of the 28 residents at the Ruth M Smith Center, a national mission institution of the UMW, can pay the full cost of their care at the center in Sheffield, Kane District. They are dependent upon benevolent giving to make up the difference. See how you can help
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.
WPAUMC Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/pg/wpaumc/notes/