Pittsburgh District News


Experience the Medicine Wheel of Indigenous People

Where: First United Methodist Church of Pittsburgh, 5401 Centre Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15232

Saturday, June 6, 2020 2:30 PM to 7:00 PM

The Medicine Wheel has been used by generations of various First Nations people for health and healing and as a tool for teaching.  We will experience the Tiano understanding of the Medicine Wheel.  Behike Dayvanna Caraballo and Uaian Kaguaia Koabu, leaders in the Taino Caney Indigenous Spiritual Circle will guide us.  In addition to the Medicine Wheel experience:

  • Greet old friends and make new ones
  • Learn and participate in the Friendship Dance 
  • Participate in a drum circle (bring your drum/rattles)
  • Listen to indigenous stories
  • Engage the art of indigenous artists and other vendors such as Miguel Sague, Uaian Kaguaia Koabu and Rodney Johns
  • Become aware of indigenous organizations such as the Council of Three Rivers American Indian Center
  • Feast on a Potluck Dinner featuring the First Nations peoples “Three Sisters” (beans, squash, corn) dishes that will include Allacus (Cuban Tamales)  You are invited to bring dishes for the potluck—please stay with the “three sisters” theme—beans, squash, corn.  You may also bring your place setting (though place settings will be available) 
Sponsored by Committee on Native American Ministries of the W.Pa. United Methodist Conference. For more info, contact RoBear Wilson at 2020CONAM@gmail.com.  A flyer for posting is available here.

Pittsburgh District Clergy Meeting

Where: Pittsburgh Presbytery, 901 Allegheny Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15233

Sunday, September 20, 2020 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM

This is a mandatory gathering of Pittsburgh District church appointed clergy.   If you will need childcare, let the District Office know.
Clergy serving in Extension Ministry, you are always invited and welcomed to participate in all clergy meetings.


Worship Leader Wanted    more info

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

Pastor's Academy / Music & Worship Week / Church Admin Training    more info

Olmsted Manor Retreat Center is proud to offer an event series designed to enrich those who contribute to local churches. We’re here to help you build a better team in 2020. Sign your whole church staff up for training, renewal, and fellowship.  Here's a flyer.

  • May 28 - 20  Pastor's Acadmey
  • June 28 - July 2  Music & Worship Week
  • July 19 - 21  Church Admin Training

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

Virtual VBS: Cokesbury’s Vacation Bible School division is revising the content of its 2020 “Knights of North Castle” curriculum to let children and families participate completely online from home. It is also making all of its digital content available free to any church that wants it. Learn more. 
Uth4Mission: Although the 2020 Uth4Mission has been canceled due to concerns over COVID-19, leaders are encouraging local church youth groups to consider a work project in their community if conditions permit. 

Summer Without Church Camp? While traditional summer camp experiences might not be possible due to social distancing this year,virtual connections are offering new ministry possibilities. Discover how United Methodists across the U.S. are planning to continue camp programming for campers and their families. Read UM News story
(NOTE: As of now, WPAUMC camps still plan to offer programming beginning in late June. For schedules and updates, visit the camp websites using the links at wpaumc.org/camping

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


In 2019, “Lego Camp” began at Wesley Woods, ministering to 14 campers.  Lego Camp was started by Rev. Corben Russell to reach campers who might not be able to fully participate in a traditional camp.  In 2020, Lego Camp is expanding to reach more campers and will be offered 2 different weeks.  Pastor Corben is asking for your prayers for the campers as well for donations.  Used Logos or financial donations to help with the purchase of Legos are needed.  Either may be sent to Pastor Corben at the church he serves, Mt Zion UMC, 16 Denton Ave, DuBois, PA 15801-1207, or directly to Wesley Woods, 1001 Fiddlersgreen Road, Grand Valley, PA 16420.  You may contact the Indiana District for further information at indiana.district@wpaumc.org.

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.

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.

Office Manager Wanted

Warren UMC (2606 Centre Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15219) is seeking an Office Manager to work 20 hours per week .  Click here for the job description.  Contact Rev. Dr. Angel De La Cruz @ corycork42@hotmail.com.   


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.

Millennial Pastor Holds Senior Church Together: Rev. Bryant Phelps is a 29-year-old millennial shepherding a senior-citizen congregation in one of the Dallas zip codes hit hardest by the coronavirus. His efforts to hold the church together and speak prophetically about inequities affecting his African American community drew the attention of columnist Sharon Grigsby. Read column

Standing in Solidarity-6 Ft. Apart! The coronavirus pandemic has reminded us that injustice is routine, too – ingrained in the fabric of society, writes Rev. Susan Henry Crowe of the Board of Church and Society. The systems and structures that routinely oppress have continued to disproportionately impact the most marginalized during COVID-19. See why

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 May 22, 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   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 Pennsylvania and local government actions ... 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.