Butler District News

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Are New Appointments Being Made?

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.

2020 General Conference

Postponed - General Conference May 5-15, 2020
General Conference to move to 2021 Read the news release

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.

Remembering Holy Week, celebrating Easter at home:

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

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

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. 

Information about Coronavirus

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has relevant information that is updated regularly on its website at health.pa.gov/topics/disease/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx

The Center for Disease Control website offers information and downloadable resources on its main COVID-19 page and a page devoted to information for faith-based organizations.

Leading the Church in the Face of Coronavirus: How can the church provide timely and proactive leadership when there is no tried and true template? Bill Owen, a consultant and coach with the Center for Healthy Congregations, lists best practices, but more importantly stresses the importance of leaning in toward the challenge and into your values as the Body of Christ. Read more now.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health has relevant information that is updated regularly on its website at health.pa.gov/topics/disease/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx

The Center for Disease Control website offers information and downloadable resources on its main COVID-19 page and a page devoted to information for faith-based organizations. Faith in Troubling Times: In an email to local church leaders this week, Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi addressed the fear and anxiety affecting so many in our churches and communities now. Read her message.
Resources: While your community copes with the COVID-19 pandemic, turn to resources that will support your church during this time of uncertainty and change:
•  ResourceUMC.org: Leaders will find virtual worship how-tos, congregational care ideas and ways to respond
•  UMC.org: Members will discover prayer tools, encouraging podcasts and comforting articles
In Such a Time as This: In an email to local church leaders and pastors on Wednesday night, Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi offered some guidelines and information to help them address the current coronavirus situation. The letter included a link to an update prepared by Dr. Jessica Price, chair of the Conference’s Abundant Health Team.  Read more.

What Does the Stay-At-Home Order Mean? After Erie County was added to the areas with mandatory stay-at-home orders, GoErie published an article with a good explanation adapted from the Governor’s order by their county officials. Learn more
Chuck’s Back! He’s teamed up with #SeeAllThePeople for a “Chuck Knows Church” video series: “Things We Can Do-Covid-19.”  It suggests simple things to maintain and build community during this time of crisis. Share them with your congregation. Take a look
New- Leading the Church in the Face of Coronavirus: Bill Owens of the Center for Healthy Congregations offers some simple reminders and best practices in this Leading Ideas article. 
Helping Children Deal with Covid 19: Sheltering in place is confusing for children accustomed to daily contact with friends and teachers. Church leaders offer advice on how to help them. Read story
Announcements: Use the link on the WPAUMC.org homepage for announcements and resources related to coronavirus response in our Conference or find it here. 
Leadership Blog: It seems that church leaders must constantly take in information, make decisions and communicate plans to change familiar practices and rituals to adapt to the coronavirus pandemic. Rev. Dr. Susan Moudry has some advice for leaders in these challenging times. She’ll be posting regularly.
Sources for Coronavirus Information: Keep up with information and advice from the World Health Organization, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For more localized information, check the Pennsylvania Department of Health website, your county Health Department or local officials.

Resources for Digital Ministry: The ResourceUMC Facebook page will post Local Church Learning Sessions at noon daily from Friday, March 27 through Thursday, April 2. Experts will discuss topics including: Online worship tools and platform options, copyrights and licenses, E-giving and Connectional Giving, Using Zoom for virtual small group meetings, and connecting through text messaging.
Worship Practices for Flu/Virus Season: With flu season in full swing and an increasing number of Coronavirus (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.
What You Need to Know About Coronavirus Disease 2019. This is a concise one-page fact sheet.
Giving & COVID-19: Discipleship Ministries of the UMC sent out 10 Ideas for Church Financial Leaders Amid the COVID-19 Crisis. An article about electronic giving: Electronic Giving Allows Ministry to Continue in “Isolating” Times.

Butler District Lay Servant Ministry School

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.

Pastor, SPRC and Congregational Evaluations

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. 

Quickly launch online giving: As church members take shelter at home, they will yearn to continue their support of vital ministries. When done well, online giving can help your church thrive. A new article explores quickly launched giving options, communication best practices and tips for inspiring generosity. Read more

Christian Counseling Associates (CCA), seeks to be a support in this time of challenge for all who are searching for stability and guidance. CCA is available to provide counseling at their offices or online. Call 724-396-1510 to set up an appointment. Listen to their newest podcast! Resiliency in Times of Crisis

Local Church Learning Sessions - Watch daily training sessions on Facebook: As you shift to digital ministry during the COVID-19 pandemic, turn to our Facebook page for guidance. We are posting daily Local Church Learning Sessions through April 2, all developed specifically to support your church during this extraordinary time. Experts will discuss a range of topics, including:
• Online worship: livestreaming, tools, platform options and more
• Copyrights and licenses
• E-giving and Connectional Giving
• Using Zoom for virtual small group meetings
• Connecting through text messaging

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-Open Dates Released

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

Youth News

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

  • 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
Discussing General Conference 2020 with Youth: For many youth workers, General Conference season can be a confusing time. In 2020, there are many plans that would re-shape the United Methodist Church significantly. General Conference is a representative body, made up of elected clergy and lay people from all over the globe. It is also the only body that can speak officially on behalf of the United Methodist Church! For observations and discussion tips on the “Protocol on Reconciliation & Grace” as well as other legislation and happenings at General Conference, check out the Youth Worker Collective. No matter what happens at General Conference, decisions also get made at Annual Conference meetings and at your local Church Conference. Any youth who has completed Confirmation is a member of your church and has the ability to join those meetings and make their voice and vote heard! Read more  

June 9-13th: Annual Conference (Grove City College)
July 10-13th: NEJ Youth Convo (Hunt Valley, MD)
July 20-24th: Uth 4 Missions (Jumonville)
July 22-26th: Youth Mission U (CalU)
Sat., Sept. 19th: National Day of Volunteer YM Training (Dutilh)
Fri, Oct. 30th: Pitt Youth Workers Conference (Grove Farm)
Dec. 27-Jan 15th: Mission of Peace to China

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 Birthday


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  
  • -Barb Hehman and family as they mourn the passing of her husband Walt, a retired pastor
  • The Kennedy family as they mourn the passing of Rev TomKennedy
  • 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.
  • 2020 General and Jurisdictional Conference
  • World Leaders

Prayer Focus This Week

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

United Methodist Women

UM Women e-news: This FREE monthly electronic newsletter contains information on many topics. Subscribe

The Butler District Bugle-Spring 2020 Newsletter 
Mini Mission u – April 19-21
Leader: Rev. Dr. Eric S Park
Cost: $160/person includes class, two-night stay, and all meals
The Gospel of Mark and Radical Discipleship: In Mark’s day and now, Christians are caught in a world of crisis and confusion, a time of uncertainty and fear. There’s a struggle going on and evil appears to be winning: injustice reigns, money and greed measure our living and our dying, divisions deepen and hope is sometimes hard to find. Then and now, part of the crisis is the church’s complicity, complacency, and silence in a world where so much has gone wrong.
Dates to Remember in 2020
  • April 24-26, 2020 -Northeastern Jurisdiction United Methodist Women 
Keynote speaker: Rev. Jennifer Crumpton  Come be a part of a movement where we are committed to putting Faith, Hope and Love in Action! 
  • Late Registration January 1 – March 31, 2020            $375
 If you should have any questions, please contact Mikele Delmore, Registrar at:
(302) 853-7512 or northeastern@unitedmethodistwomen.org  For more information, go to: www.nejumw.org

Spring Women’s Retreat – May 22-24
Leaders: Aimee & Amber Kaple
Cost: $175/person includes programming, two-night stay, and all meals
Sister speaker team Aimee and Amber will lead you in a time of renewal away from the worries of your everyday life. This retreat is designed for you to spend time away focusing on your mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Come and enjoy the beauty of the forest, supportive women, encouragement, space to share, delicious meals, and purposeful relaxation.

District Notables

Chippewa UMC Events

Where: Chippewa UMC 2545 Darlington Rd Beaver Falls PA 15010

To see all of Chippewa UMC March & April 2020 events, click here.

Hunger Advocacy Workshop

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

Celebrate Earth Day

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. 

Native American Ministries Sunday

Sunday, April 26, 2020 to April 27

Native American Ministries Sunday is scheduled for April 26! Resources

District Conference

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.

Pastoral Transitions Seminar

Where: TBA

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.

Pirates 8th Annual Faith Night

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.

2020 Annual Conference

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

News Articles

United Methodist Men (read more )


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 (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 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 Announcements, Info (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

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

Meet our new Camping Coordinator! (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

Watch Developers Discuss Separation Protocol (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.

Resource Page with Links

To see all resources with links, click here.

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.

Understanding the UMC Trust Clause: The United Methodist Church is in transition. At the 2020 General Conference there will be discussions about several proposals for the restructuring, separation, or dissolution of the United Methodist Church. These proposals have brought concerns about property, assets, and the trust clause to the forefront of discussions. Check out this Q&A feature on the Trust Clause. 

6 Silver Linings in the Clouds of Doom and Gloom: Ann Michel of the Lewis Center staff points to six positive factors that may offer clues to churches seeking a way forward in an environment shaped by so many discouraging trends and challenges. Read more now.

Connecting Generosity to Faith: What will it take to help church members practice what Robert Schnase calls "extravagant generosity"? In To the Point: Connecting Generosity to Faith, Wesley Theological Seminary President David McAllister-Wilson says we can ask three questions about how to take next steps to connect faith and generosity more effectively. Read now and download free.

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

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.

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.

Scholarships and Grants

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