Butler District News

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How to Set Your Pastor’s Salary for 2022

This memo from the Cabinet and Commission on Equitable Compensation was emailed to pastors and local church leaders. It’s also available on the Conference website at wpaumc.org/formsandinformation

Health Insurance Billing Rate  The WPA CBOP approved the 2022 blended health insurance billing rate to the local church. Please be aware effective 1.1.2022, the rate will be $1481.00 a month. This rate includes medical, vision, and dental coverage. This represents a $28.00 a month increase over 2021. The member cost-share remains the same for 2022 at:

$20.00 single / $35.00 two persons / $70.00 family

Conference Benefits Officer


724-776-2300, Ext # 274

Mission Barn Needs Flood Buckets, Hygiene Kits:

With flooding in Western PA and the Louisiana Conference and other areas hard-hit by Hurricane Ida, our Eastbrook Mission Barn needs cleaning buckets and hygiene kits. These items can be brought to the Mission Barn or one of its satellites. 
Get kit assembly instructions
Kits: If you can’t find an item(s) for the kits, please send the kit without the missing item. We can put it in when we verify it. The only two kits that UMCOR is currently collecting are: Cleaning and Hygiene kits.  

East Brook Mission Barn is accepting volunteer teams on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from 10-2. You can help verify or make up UMCOR kits or build ramp modules. You can also go out and assist in assembling a ramp in the community.  Contact us at missionbarn@gmail.com to register your team.
 If you would like someone to share the joy of missions with your church, contact Katie at ktpete@gmail.com.
Her advance covenant salary number is 982942.  Eastbrook Mission Barn’s WPA advance number is ms002009b

Safe Gatherings

The deadline to complete your Safe Gatherings Training is September 30, 2021.

The Quadrennial Training required for clergy in 2021 is on Safe Sanctuaries and Mandated Reporting. It's offered online through Safe Gatherings. Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi emailed all clergy on July 6, provided instructions, and the link to register within 90 days. Details are also available at wpaumc.org/safesanctuaries.

CLERGY NOTE: Send a copy of your completion certificate to the District Office.

 is a requirement for every church and will be reviewed at this year’s fall conferences. The wpaumc.org website has many resources and even a sample policy. Review your church’s Safe Sanctuary Policy. Check out the requirements on the conference website and talk to your church insurance company. Make sure that your policy is updated, is communicated, and especially, is intentionally adhered to by the congregation. While the conference has a policy, each congregation must also have your own policy

Summer/Fall 2021 Calendar Items for the Butler District

  • Thursday - October 7 at 8 am. Prayer time with DS Eric Park via Zoom.  A link to each first Thursday Prayer time will be sent prior to each gathering.  
  • November 21 (Sunday) 7:00 PM—Butler District Worship Celebration - (Location to be determined.
  •  December 3 (Friday) 5:00 PM—Butler District Christmas Dinner for Clergy and Families - Location to be determined.  

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

Use Zoom for Digital Ministry

If your church would like to begin using Zoom to connect with members and those in your community, you can be a part of UM Communications’ Enterprise level account through April 19, 2022. Features include: up to 500 participants, no time limits, webinar functionality, and much more. Learn more & apply 


Happy Birthday


29   Rev Darlene Ryniec
24   Linda(Thom) Scott
25   Michelle (Gary) Hilton
26   David Alleman 
26  Tara Park


Happy Anniversary



Prayer Concerns and Joys

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

Prayers for the Otto family - Sue Otto's daughter, Kelly died today from COVID?
Kelly was on staff at Center for Hope: Ambridge, where Sue is the director.  
Cards could be sent to Sue Otto at 1000 Second St., Beaver, PA 15009

Rev Howard Burrell had surgery to replace the mitral valve and a double bypass. Please keep Howard and Carolyn in prayer.
Howard had a setback on Sunday. Tests revealed a hole in his colon and infection. During the surgery, the decision to do a colostomy was made. Hopefully, in 2-3 weeks they will be able to reconnect the colon. 

Kathy Young (Rev James) had back surgery recently. Please keep her in your prayers for complete healing.

Dan Merritt (son of Rev Bruce & Glenda) had surgery and has experienced a setback.  Also please continue prayers for Bruce and Glenda with their health struggles.

Please continue to keep Ed Rogosky in prayer. Ed suffered a fall and is experiencing some paralysis. Ed is now home with his family.

All who are suffering with 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 = 2 for 2022! The annual youth gathering will be offered on two weekends in two places -- Jan. 8-9 in Pittsburgh and April 9-10 in Erie--in 2022. Registration is open now! Check out the details and register to get the early bird discount at wpaumc.org/spark 


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



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

Wesley Woods Open House: on October 9 from 11 am – 2 pm. at the camp, 1001 Fiddlersgreen Rd, Grand Valley, PA. Join us for a hot dog cookout and camp activities for the whole family.

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

new Hispanic Heritage Month (added 9/21/2021)

Wednesday, September 1, 2021 to September 30

In this new article, you’ll learn about the history and significance of Hispanic Heritage Month. Discover how we should honor the Latino community, not only at an institutional level, but also with the practice we value the most—our FAITH. (Available in both English and Spanish) Learn More!  


National Preparedness Month

Wednesday, September 1, 2021 to September 30

September is National Preparedness Month (NPM). It is an opportunity to focus the citizens of Pennsylvania on preparing for emergencies. As part of National Preparedness month, Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) is encouraging citizens to sign up for the free “30 Days, 30 Ways” to be prepared event. 

Everyone who wants to participate can register to get helpful hints and tips to get started on your journey to preparedness. Share the weekly updates with family, neighbors, and loved ones. At the end of the month, participants who fill out a brief survey about their experience will be entered to win a random drawing of a preparedness starter kit that includes a wind-up/solar radio and phone charger.


September is National Hunger Action Month!

Wednesday, September 1, 2021 to September 30

It's an opportunity to invite your church family and community to get involved or do more in the mission to end hunger. The Society of St. Andrew, a UMC partner organization dedicated to feeding America’s hungry, offers a number of resources and ideas to observe Hunger Action Month. See and download them at endhunger.org/ham/

Leading Public Prayer Online Class

Monday, September 20, 2021 to October 2

An advanced course in Lay Servant Ministries. September 20 - October 1. This course follows the required text, Let the Whole Church Say Amen! by Laurence Hull Stookey (Abingdon Press, 2001). Participants will need this workbook and should obtain it well before class begins. The book is not included in the fee. You will be expected to access the online workshop daily and stay current with the assignments. Obtain, read, and complete the workbook prior to the start of the course. You will also need access to a United Methodist hymnal during the course. Information and registration

new Fall 2021 Pittsburgh District Lay Servant Ministry School (added 9/21/2021)

Saturday, September 25, 2021 to October 17

The classes will be in person and by Zoom to help laity respond to their personal call in ministry and the life of the church.  Each class is being held on different dates, allowing you to take more than one class if you wish.  There is a $25 fee per class, which includes the book/materials.  This flyer has more information.  Register online here or through the flyer.

o       The BASIC Course (Saturdays, September 25 & October 9, 9 am - 2:30 pm)
o       Change of dates: Living Our UM Beliefs  (Saturdays, October 2 & October 16, 9 am - 2:30 pm)
o       Public Prayer (Sundays, October 3, 10 & 17, 2 - 5:30 pm)

new Red Cross Blood Dri ve (added 9/21/2021)

Tuesday, September 28, 2021 1:30 PM to 6:00 PM

New Brighton UMC
1033 6th Ave
New Brighton, PA 15066

Leadership Institute 2021

Wednesday, September 29, 2021 to October 1

Leadership Institute 2021, focused on Mission, is offered as a live event at Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, KS and online from September 29 - October 1. Registration for the in-person event is limited to 500 and nearing capacity. The price of an individual registration for the online experience is just $79 through Tuesday, August 17. There’s also a Watch Party option. Get details 

new Ministry with Retirees (added 9/21/2021)

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Discipleship Ministries offers a webinar at 2 p.m.ET on September 30 exploring how churches can be more intentional about being in ministry with retirees and helping disciples age 50 and older be intentional about living with purpose in a new phase of life. Get details

"Resilience: Healing Practices for Mind, Body and Spirit"

Thursday, September 30, 2021 to October 3

Healthy spiritual practices will be explored during an online conference designed to help participants be more resilient in the wake of difficult events like the coronavirus pandemic and racial upheaval.  Learn more 

new World Communion Sunday (added 9/21/2021)

Sunday, October 3, 2021

October 3. We have assembled a collection of resources that you can download to promote this Special Sunday. Pastor and Leader’s Kit. 

Diverse Abilities Retreat

Sunday, October 3, 2021 to October 5

October 3-5 with Rev. Sally Jo Snyder at Olmsted Manor. This annual retreat provides an opportunity for people with a disability and those who support them to engage in meaningful communication, build relationships, and grow spiritually together. Get details. 

new Day of Truth and Repentance for Our Children (added 9/21/2021)

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

The day has been called for by the Boarding School Healing Project and the Native American International Caucus (NAIC). Read more

Poverty Simulation:

Saturday, October 9, 2021

To increase understanding of what it’s really like to survive on poverty-level income, the Conference Poverty Team invites clergy, laity and community leaders to a Poverty Simulation on Saturday, October 9th at Clarks Mills UMC. Get details and register

Photography Retreat

Where: Olmsted Manor

Monday, October 11, 2021 to October 13

Olmsted Manor in October offers a delightful and instructive getaway for anyone who ever snapped a picture with a camera, or even just with a cell phone. Dean Ziegler’s fifth “I Wonder as I Wander” Casual Photographers Retreat has twin themes of "Composing a Better Picture” and “Cultivating the Habit of Wonder.” 
Pastors and Leaders: Please feel free to share this with your congregations, at your discretion, via Worship bulletin announcement, Church Facebook page or Newsletter. 

Mediation Skills Training Institute for Church Leaders

Monday, October 11, 2021 to November 19

Registration is open for training to deal with conflict offered by the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center on October 11-15 or November 15-19, 2021. The two identical sessions will be held remotely via Zoom. This workshop is designed to help church leaders deal more effectively with interpersonal, congregational, and other forms of group conflict.  For details consult this MSTI Brochure.  Register at lmpeacecenter.org/all-events.  


WPA Conference UMW Annual Meeting

Where: Dutilh UMC, Cranberry Twp

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Saturday, October 23 at Dutilh UMC 1270 Dutilh Road Cranberry Twp, PA 16066-5108
Registration at 9:30 am, program at 9:45.  The cost is $8 per person for morning beverages and lunch.  We will also have an online option.  You must register if you are planning on attending either option.  This can be done on the Conference website at www.wpaumc.org/UMWomen .  The deadline for registering is midnight October 8.
    An offering will be put toward our pledge.

2021 Native Immersion Experience

Sunday, October 24, 2021 to October 28

The Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference (OIMC) Immersion is from October 24-28, 2021 in Oklahoma City. The immersion experience provides history, context, and unique perspectives on Native peoples in the OIMC and their involvement with The United Methodist Church. Their Native communities will proudly share their traditions and culture throughout the event. Learn more

Save the Date: The Nyadire Connection

Where: Dutilh UMC

Sunday, November 14, 2021

The Nyadire Connection will celebrate its 15th Anniversary at Dutilh UM Church in Cranberry Township on Sunday, Nov. 14 at 6 pm.  They hope to have some guests from Nyadire attend. Get details.

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 )


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.
WPAUMC enews - Aug. 25, 2021 (read more )


Back to School Anxiety and COVID: To help parents and students better understand the issues and the risks involved in returning to the classroom, PennLive and the World Affairs Council of Harrisburg will co-host a “Back to School” webinar at 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 26, featuring educators as well as parents and experts in mental and emotional wellness. Nicole Kirksey, MSW, Associate Lay Leader in the Susquehanna Conference, will be one of the panelists. Joyce Davis, coordinator of UM Advocacy in ... read more

Bishop: Be Cautious in Re-Opening (read more )


Although Pennsylvania's mask mandate was lifted on June 28, some businesses and public facilities such as mass transit still require masks. Overall, the latest advice from Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi and the Abundant Health Team still applies: Exercise caution and consider the vaccination rate and other conditions in your area and among your congregation in resuming worship and other group activities.  In a May 17 e-mail to church leaders, the Bishop shared guidelines to consider.  Here is the ... read more


Resources for Responding to Racism    more info


Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from Sept. 15-Oct. 15 each year in the United States. The UMC Commission on Religion and Race has an infographic with facts about Hispanics' impact on the UM Church and suggestions for ways to celebrate. UM News’ overview about the month is in Spanish, but you can read it in English with Google Translate. See What is Hispanic Heritage Month?    https://www.umnews.org/es/news/que-es-el-mes-de-la-herencia-hispana
See infographic  https://www.r2hub.org/library/hispanic-heritage-month

A Day of Truth and Repentance: On Oct. 6, 1879, Gen. Richard Pratt forcibly removed First-Nations children from their homes and placed them in the Carlisle (PA) Indian Industrial School, which he founded. This year, the Church is called to observe October 6 as a Day of Truth and Repentance for Our Children. Bishops Cynthia Moore-Koikoi and Sandra Steiner Ball suggested some concrete acts we can take as followers of Christ to begin a process a healing. Read more here https://www.wpaumc.org/newsdetail/oct-6-day-of-truth-and-repentance-15467482

Poverty Simulation Postponed: The Poverty Simulation scheduled for Oct. 9 at Clarks Mills UMC has been postponed by the Conference Poverty Team. Facilitators hope to reschedule in early 2022. 

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/


Justice, Inclusion Efforts in Erie: An Erie Time-News columnist writes about methods Erie and other cities are using to examine racial justice and inclusion. Read column

Methodists Who Integrated Baseball: The man who integrated Major League Baseball had a little-known ally in his quest. Jackie Robinson had his Methodist faith, something he shared with Brooklyn Dodger executive Branch Rickey, who recruited him for the task. Robinson never publicly lost his composure while dealing with death threats, racial abuse and physical danger. Read UMNews story

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 

2021 Native Immersion Experience: Registration is now open for The Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference (OIMC) Immersion, scheduled for October 24-28, 2021 in Oklahoma City. The immersion experience provides history, context, and unique perspectives on Native peoples in the OIMC and their involvement with The United Methodist Church.  In addition, their Native communities will proudly share their traditions and culture throughout the event. Learn more here http://www.umc-oimc.org/2021-immersion-experience-registration-now-open/

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



Sweet Hour of Prayer:
“The first time I participated in fixed-hour prayer, I felt like I had come home to a place I had never been and yet a place in which I truly belonged,” writes Ruth Hayley Barton. In a Beyond Words reflection, she explains how fixed-hour prayer nourishes the soul.  Read more here https://transformingcenter.org/2016/05/sweet-hours-of-prayer-how-fixed-hour-prayer-nourishes-the-soul/

Disciple-Making Resources: Discipleship Ministries offers a variety of free resources for church leaders and individuals to use. See what’s available and download  here https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/annual-conference-virtual-presence

Leading Amid Mask and Vaccine Controversy: Navigating the complicated and divisive issues of vaccines and mask-wearing has made ministry during this pandemic even more fraught for many pastors and congregations. Doug Powe and Jessica Anschutz of the Lewis Center say the key question is how we can be God’s ambassadors in the midst of this tension. They outline four strategies to reframe the debate. Learn more here https://www.churchleadership.com/leading-ideas/leading-amid-controversy-over-masks-and-vaccines/

Need Help with Social Media? Using social media to reach new people might seem complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. If your church could use some help with social media marketing, apply to UM Communications to receive free one-on-one coaching and/or Facebook Ads assistance tailored to your church’s unique needs. Learn more and apply  here https://www.resourceumc.org/en/agencies/communications/services/local-church-marketing-services

Resource UMC shares a collection educational and practical resources gathered by the Virginia Conference that will boost our understanding and ability to care for refugees. See resources

here https://www.resourceumc.org/en/content/resources-to-help-afghan-refugees

Church World Service, a UMC partner organization, is one of the agencies actively working to welcome refugees. Learn more here https://cwsglobal.org/take-action/afghan-siv-and-refugee-program/


Rebuilding Church Choirs after a Pandemic:
As churches begin to re-open, it's time to think about how we will welcome back our choirs. Several guest writers share their experiences as we plan for rebuilding church choirs after the pandemic. Read More!

CommonRoots Federal Credit Union Back-to-school loan specials, college student credit cards and youth debit cards. Information at commonrootsfcu.com. Time for a getaway Member discounts
New- Social Media Graphics: When you’re short on time or ideas but need new social media graphics, visit our free shareable library. Choose the seasonal and non-seasonal options that will best engage your online audience and post them alongside written announcements, invitations or encouraging messages. Download now

New- Clergywomen Still Under-compensated: Since the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women began monitoring disparities in compensation for UMC clergy by gender, things got worse for women clergy before getting slightly better in 2020. In 2011, clergywomen, on average, made 13% less than clergymen did. In 2015, it was 16% less. The 2020 study shows clergywomen made, on average, 11% less in salary. See the details

Boy Scout Bankruptcy Affects Churches: As Boy Scouts of America moves through a bankruptcy process, it recently reached a tentative settlement agreement with survivors of sexual abuse. Questions remain about how that agreement might affect chartered organizations, including thousands of United Methodist congregations that have sponsored scouting programs. An ad hoc committee established to represent United Methodist interests is actively engaged in the bankruptcy process and related negotiations. That committee has some recommendations for chartering congregations as the process continues. Read press release

10 Things Your Church Should Know About Cryptocurrency
What is a Bitcoin? And what should you do if your church receives Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency as a gift? See what you can do to ensure your church leaders are on the same page. Learn More!
Rebuilding Church Choirs after a Pandemic
As churches begin to re-open, it's time to think about how we will welcome back our choirs. Several guest writers share their experiences as we plan for rebuilding church choirs after the pandemic. Read More!

Use Zoom for digital ministry: If your church would like to begin using Zoom to connect with members and those in your community, you can be a part of UM Communications’ Enterprise level account through April 19, 2022. Features include up to 500 participants, no time limits, webinar functionality and much more. Learn more & apply

Higher Ed Showcase: If you know someone exploring options for higher education, send them to the UMC.org School Showcase. This comprehensive website helps students discover many options for their educational next steps. Take a look.
See how United Methodists support loans and scholarships

Rural Churches Can Thrive! While the demise of small, rural churches sometimes seems irreversible as United Methodist faithful grow older, there are ways to revitalize these congregations by focusing on what their communities most need. Bigger and younger is not always better, say some United Methodist experts. Read story

What’s Critical Race Theory? Our denomination’s Religion and Race resource library has a page that defines the construct and offers some information that Christians should know about it. There’s a video and some helpful infographics to download. Check it out here https://www.r2hub.org/library/what-is-critical-race-theory

World Photography Day: For World Photography Day on August 19, United Methodist Communications offers a variety of photographic resources for local churches. There’s a searchable media library of downloadable images, a training course on Capturing Better Smartphone Photos, a video tutorial on making photo slideshows and articles with tips for taking better pictures. Take a look 

Facing Emotional Chaos? Men who find themselves in emotional chaos can find a way out. Prayer, forming an intentional relationship with Christ and engaging in accountability relationships with other men are key steps toward emerging from a dark stretch, the Rev. Rick Vance said during a presentation at a retreat sponsored by the Commission on United Methodist Men. Read report on retreat here https://www.gcumm.org/news/weekend-retreat-helps-men-cope-with-chaos?mkt_tok=MDc4LUpYUS02NDMAAAF-1hiugPzXB2JfmaKdXdz3yeWDg0Wk3wxxERBrKQLm1vLhTsC718rLRmJA_Du78Atdur3iC1qkXHX4qyo7gPwQKrA17mznW6nLTc5KmOnCeYHfQw

Jesus' Model of How to Unplug: When Jesus took time for spiritual renewal, he went into the wilderness, writes the Rev. Rebekah Simon-Peter. She suggests that to connect with God, Christians take some time away from their laptops, calendars and smartphones. Read commentary here https://rebekahsimonpeter.com/unplugged-like-jesus?mkt_tok=MDc4LUpYUS02NDMAAAF-0PJRg3cwBGhBsQC4r1PnDITL8AQuO7Zd6JSlr3TTKvDJ0MLLl4ktV_bc4flHe8PfuivbwyrX8_A579JHPhPeunNESo7L8u-JwismZBjWpuIeJw

Talking About Money in Church: Ann Michel of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership writes that churches can promote financial transparency and enhance generosity by addressing the often-taboo subject of money more openly and faithfully. She offers seven practical strategies to improve the tone of your conversation around money and giving. Learn more.here 

Cultivating Generosity: One of the best ways to inspire giving to fund ministry is sharing stories of how lives have been changed, but there are pitfalls, says Joe Park of Horizon Stewardship. See what they are here https://www.horizons.net/blog/eight-common-pitfalls-in-offering-talk-storytelling

Discussing Christian Nationalism-Carefully: The Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol spurred a new Courageous Conversations resource from Discipleship Ministries. It is designed to help United Methodists talk about Christian nationalism while maintaining civility. Read more  here https://www.umnews.org/en/news/discussing-christian-nationalism-carefully?mkt_tok=MDc4LUpYUS02NDMAAAF-p78nBblPcyPDDZr4NT3JNOticqvBbhoXwNedJM_n_BRuSw7K62eSzM_eqla5pWOlYR0l8l1hH1V0-43Ulsm2kSuJnGnnaIVRU-yOsyl1v7Vh_A


The Caring Congregation
offers guidance on the best Christian practices to help people move through life’s challenges. The method of care is based on a team approach that empowers both pastors and laity (serving as Congregational Care Ministers or CCMs) working together to support the congregation and community. Learn more and listen to podcasts at thecaringcongregation.com

Want to Connect with New People?  Focus on the people God has already put in your path, says Ann MIchel of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership. Learn more here


Want to Use Zoom to connect with church members and the community? If you don’t already have an account, you can be a part of United Methodist Communications’ Enterprise-level account. Features include up to 500 participants, no time limits, webinar functionality and much more; licenses are valid through April 19, 2022. Get details here https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfiEU0OXGR432ZEdD2BjGGReFeptUZIVEQsyAeGzcIsLveFPg/viewform

Facilitating Hybrid Worship: The global pandemic has changed the way we think about and do worship. The new reality is there are congregants who are as comfortable at home in their pajamas as others are sitting in the pews. If you’re trying to figure out a hybrid worship model, Jeremy Steele has some tips.  here https://www.resourceumc.org/en/content/hybrid-worship


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

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....

Youth Leader Retreat from Friday, September 10, 2021 to Sunday, September 12, 2021 at Olmsted Manor, Ludlow, PA 16333. Duffy Robbins will be the keynote speaker. Contact person: Amanda Gilligan

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  

Online Devotions for and by Youth Workers: You need a recharge after a week of working with teens! Premieres August 6! Join us for a weekly time to be encouraged by a leading youth ministry trainer and spend a couple minutes focusing on how it is with your own soul around people who know what it's like to minister to teens! Join us every Thursday at noon Eastern, 9am Pacific to recharge!

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.