Pittsburgh District News


2020 Clergy Pre-Retirement Seminar  (more info )

Where: DoubleTree by Hilton, Pittsburgh Cranberry: 910 Sheraton Drive, Mars PA 16046 (formerly the Sheraton)

Tuesday, October 20, 2020 to October 21

An in-person biennial Pre-Retirement event is scheduled for October 20-21, 2020.  If the event is postponed, cancelled, or reformat as a virtual event, participants will be refunded.   This event is open to all clergy and their spouses - not just those who are closer to their retirement. The information on pensions and financial wellness is applicable to everyone!  Feedback we’ve received previous years always includes the sentiment of “I wish I had gone to this earlier in my career!”  For more info and to register, go here.

Ordination Service

Sunday, October 25, 2020 3:00 PM

Crossroads UMC (1000 Crossroads Dr, Oakdale, PA ) Sunday, October 25, 3 pm
     (Pittsburgh District Ordinands:  
Grace Killian and Joshua Demi and former PB District, Luke Whipple)


2020 Annual Conference    more info

Annual Conference 2020 / Annual Conference Updates: Keep up with Annual Conference news, see a list of Frequently Asked Questions, download the Appointment book, read reports, and legislation at wpaumc.org/AC.

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

Clergy Communities of Practice    more info

We are again offering Clergy Communities of Practice—a type of covenant-learning group for pastors in various locations around our Conference. This year we’ve even offered added an online group which will meet in the evening so that more clergy can be involved. The groups meet together monthly beginning in September. Each meeting includes worship, conversation, learning and accountability. Now is a great time to be involved, as pastors can connect with other clergy and hear new ideas, while supporting one another! Each meeting focuses on a different topic such as:  worship, leadership, mission, diversity, etc. Questions can be directed to Susan Moudry:  susan.moudry@wpaumc.org.
If a group is filled that you are interested in, please contact Susan Moudry so we may consider possibilities for creating additional opportunities.
For more information and to register visit:  https://wpa-reg.brtapp.com/CCOP2020.

Communication Enhancement Grant    more info

The Western PA Annual Conference has received a modest grant from the UM Foundation of Western PA to assist local churches with costs of communication enhancements implemented to stay connected with constituencies amidst the Coronavirus pandemic.  With limited funds available, we will use a brief online grant application process to identify churches and their needs.  Priority will be given to churches that had no online worship or livestreaming capabilities prior to the pandemic. If your church incurred costs to implement online worship, or plans to do so in the near future, use the following link to complete the grant application questionnaire. You’ll be asked to tell us the cost and upload receipts, if applicable. Apply for the Grant. The deadline for completing the grant application is August 31, 2020; however, we anticipate having a “rolling” decision-making and funding process, with the distribution of grants beginning in the early- to mid-August timeframe.

Regional Ordination Services

WPA Ordination services will be held regionally at three locations: 
Grace UMC (501 Pennsylvania Avenue East, Warren, PA) Saturday, October 10, 1 pm

Crossroads UMC (1000 Crossroads Dr, Oakdale, PA ) Sunday, October 25, 3 pm
     (Pittsburgh District Ordinands:  
Grace Killian and Joshua Demi)

New Stanton UMC (612  South Center  Ave., New Stanton, PA) Saturday, November 7, 1 pm

Church Reopening?

Returning to Church During COVID-19 Playbook: How your congregation joins in worship and community activities has changed significantly. Members want to come together for services but appreciate the flexibility technology offers. Shifting back to in-person services while maintaining a vibrant virtual ministry presents a unique challenge for churches. But you can make this transition as easy as possible. Vanco created the Returning to Church During COVID-19 Playbook to guide you through safely reopening your church and preparing for the future of worship. In this playbook, you will find essential guidance and recommendations on…
• Adjusting church practices to accommodate safe, contact-free activities, sacraments, events and giving.
• Communicating virtually with staff, volunteers and your congregation.
• Infusing technology into ministry.
• Maintaining a sense of community wherever members are gathering.
Welcome your congregation back to in-person worship with confidence and embrace the new hybrid church. Download your copy of our playbook today.

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

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

Presering Your Church History    more info

Want to Preserve Your Church's History? The UMC Commission on Archives and History is offering a free online course that will cover a range of skills needed to become a church historian. The 12-week course begins September 14 and people can take it at their own pace.  Read press release.


Tech and Media Coordinator Wanted @ Baldwin Community UMC    more info

Baldwin Community United Methodist Church seeks to hire a part-time (12 hours/week) Tech and Media Coordinator to implement and manage digital multimedia and audio-visual technology in live and online worship, manage technology and media throughout the ministries of the church, and own and manage the church's online presence across platforms.  Ideal applicant will have strong skills in project management and problem-solving, and will become actively engaged and involved in supporting the ministries and values of the church.  A full job description can be found at baldwincommunityumc.com/about-us/employment.  To apply, email cover letter and resume to Hiring@baldwincommunityumc.com.  Applications will be considered immediately.

Worship Leader Wanted    more info

Roots of Faith, located in Sharpsburg, is seeking a part-time worship leader.  More details are here.

Fulltime Office Manager & Bookkeeper

Faith United  Methodist Church (261 West Chapel Ridge Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15238) is seeking an Office Manager & Bookkeeper.  More details are here.

At the Lake 2020 Ministry Dates    more info

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

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

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

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

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

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

Laity Leadership Academy

In 2019 the United Methodist Foundation of Western Pennsylvania launched a Laity Leadership Academy designed to empower laity to lead the connection in the ever-changing landscape of congregational life.  Participants read some of the greatest books currently available on the topic, experience seminars led by the finest leaders in our Conference, engage with one another in dialogue, and build relationships that provide support for the journey.
Each one of the Academies is structured around two modules.  The first module is one year long, experienced together in several weekend retreats held at various locations around the Conference.  During these retreats, topics relevant to congregational leadership in the current culture are covered.
The second module is custom designed for each participant, allowing her or him to explore an area of leadership individually for which she or he is especially well equipped.  That determination is made after an assessment of the participant’s spiritual gifts and strengths.  That module is open-ended; it can be accomplished at whatever pace makes sense to the individual participant.
The next session of the Laity Academy will commence in the late summer of early fall or 2020.  Those who need additional information about enrolling should contact the Dean of the Academy, Rev. Joe Patterson at jpatterson@umfoundation.org.

2020 General Conference Dates Announced    more info

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

Tara & Eric Park Release New CD    more info

Tara Park, whose music ministry has been a blessing to the Western PA Conference for over 25 years, and her husband Eric, the Butler District Superintendent, have released a new music CD entitled “Feels Like Home!”  It includes eleven original songs along with three of their favorite hymns of faith.  Every dollar raised from the sale of the CDs, which are $10 each, will go directly to support the “Deeply Rooted, Upward Reaching” campaign supporting six Western PA Conference Camping and Retreat Ministries.  The CDs are available through the Pittsburgh District Office and through other sources.  Read more at the link above.

Seeds of HOPE    more info

Rev. Anais Hussian, Aftercare Mentor Coordinator at Foundation of HOPE, is hoping raise the level of consciousness regarding issues of incarceration and reentry in Allegheny County and is always happy to speak to congregations about this reality. Click here for a brochure that provides information about the Seeds of HOPE program and how individuals and congregations can help.  

Many former inmates lack the informal and formal support systems (“seeds”) needed to help them reintegrate back into their communities. The HOPE Aftercare Program is an interfaith pre- and post-release adult reintegration program for inmates and reentrants that helps ensure their successful return to the community. HOPE Aftercare Provides basic needs assistance, information resources, referrals, and guidance regarding employment, housing, education, food assistance, mental health services, clothing, and furniture. 

Handbells Available

Carnegie UMC has Malmark handbells, including cases and tables available. The church is planning on putting them on the open market at some point, but would be happy to give a good deal to a local UM church if anyone could use them. Interested, leave a message at the Carnegie UMC office at (412) 279-3020 or email umc.carnegie@yahoo.com.


Resources for Responding to Racism    more info

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

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

Listen First! As congregations work toward equality for all, it may be helpful to hear from some local church experts on how to improve communication with people from different racial and ethnic groups. Here are some tips about listening, language choices and more. Read story

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Circles Sharpsburg    more info

Roots of Faith (800 Main Street, Sharpsburg) hosts this anti-poverty campaign that surrounds and empowers families living in poverty with positive relationships of accountability on Tuesdays at 6 pm.  This program is part of Circles Greater Pittsburgh.

Mission Vision    more info

Do you have old eyeglasses at home? Donate them to Mission Vision, a non-profit based in Cranberry Twp. that equips mission volunteers to offer eyeglass clinics where people can be fitted and get glasses matching their prescriptions. Volunteers from Zion UMC in Sarver clean and categorize the used glasses. Teams from that church take them to Haiti and other locations. Others go with The Nyadire Connection teams to Zimbabwe. Used glasses are now being collected at the United Methodist Center in Cranberry and the Eastbrook Mission Barn. 

Sharpsburg Rocks    more info

Join us as we paint rocks, make new friends, and help spread joy in Sharpsburg. Mondays, 10:30 am at Roots of Faith, 800 Main Street, Sharpsburg.   Sharpsburg Rocks is a group that paints rocks with inspirational phrases and hides them around Sharpsburg. Residents find them and can connect with Roots of Faith. We encourage people to re-hide them, and we’ve had a few rocks travel long distance – Kenya, Switzerland, across the US. You can see more about it here: facebook.com/sharpsburgrocks.

The Neighborhood Table    more info

Roots of Faith (800 Main Street, Sharpsburg), invites everyone to a free community dinner the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Thursdays of each month at 6 pm.  A free legal clinic is available on the 1st Thursday and free health clinic on the 3rd Thursday. 

Conference News

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


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

Clergy Coaching Sessions Offered (read more )


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

Conference Call to Prayer (read more )


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

Bishops Ask to Postpone GC2020 (read more )


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

Worship in Virus/Flu Season (read more )


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

Quick Links

WPA Facebook Page
Diversity Development and Inclusion
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.