Pittsburgh District News


Church Admin Training at Olmsted Manor  (more info )

Where: Olmsted Manor Retreat Center, 17 East Main St., Ludlow, PA 16333

Sunday, June 27, 2021 to July 2

This retreat is designed for those who serve in a church, ministry, or similar organization in an administrative role. Prioritize this time to gain new skills, fellowship with folks who understand, and recharge your batteries.  The retreat includes three sessions:  Living a Burned Out Life, Who Do You Think You Are? and Building an Online Presence.  Learn more and register here.

Youth Ministry Training at Olmsted Manor  (more info )

Where: Olmsted Manor Retreat Center, 17 East Main St., Ludlow, PA 16333

Friday, September 10, 2021 to September 12

Olmsted is excited to welcome leading youth ministry expert Duffy Robbins to the 2021 Youth Ministry Training. This event is for everyone who works with youth in the church. Come to build relationships with others in youth ministry, develop new skills for serving your youth, and leave with a couple of tricks up your sleeve.  Learn more and register here.


Free Bibles

Free - 50 used pew Bibles - Revised Standard Version.  If interested please contact Bev Gross at 724-483-2372.

Clergy Summer Getaway @ Olmsted Manor    more info

Olmsted is inviting WPAUMC clergy and their families to get away during July and August for some respite, renewal, and time to grow. Pastors can come alone for an individual retreat or bring along immediate family to make some memories in the woods. This reduced rate is available through the Clergy Respite Retreat Scholarship.  For more information and to register, click here.

Program Director – First Charities, Inc.    more info

Program Director – First Charities, Inc.:  Key management leader for First Food & Friends Saturday community meal at First United Methodist Church in Shadyside.  Job begins on July 1 for 2 month paid training period.  Recruits and schedules volunteers, orders food and supplies, manages meal preparation for 100 and associated clean-up.  Responsible for building security and opening/closing facility on Saturday mornings.  Maintains necessary records for Food Bank and Board of Directors.  Must have reliable transportation and access to the internet.  For more information or to obtain a detailed job description, contact Ms. Gwendolen Jackson at (412) 450-8532 or by email at office@fumcpittsburgh.org .   

Transforming Evangelism Online LSM Class    more info

The Western PA Conference Evangelism Team has funded a limited number of seats for laity in the Western PA Conference to take the “Transforming Evangelism” online two-week class that will fulfill the continuing education requirements for renewal of Certified Lay Servants, Certified Lay Speakers, and Certified Lay Ministers.  This online course requires the student to commit about one hour per day, Monday through Friday, for two weeks (10 days), Sept 20 - Oct 1, 2021.

Online Instructors: John and Christine Zimmerman.  Information and registration are available at: af180.org/transforming-evangelism.

Seats will be filled in the order of registrations received until full. Therefore, please only register if you know you can attend.  The class is fully funded but you will need to purchase a copy of Transforming Evangelism: The Wesleyan Way of Sharing Faith by Henry H. Knight III & F. Douglas Powe, Jr. A link to purchase the book is available on the website.

Introductory Anti-Racism Class

An Introductory Anti-Racism Class is Coming to a Location Near You this Fall:

  • For those who are early in their journeys about racism, systemic racism, implicit bias, white privilege, white supremacy, etc
  • A face-to-face ecumenical multi-session series of 4-6 classes in multiple Pittsburgh-area locations in the Fall of 2021
  • Details to be announced in the Summer of 2021

This class is being offered in support of the Pittsburgh District Core Values and the Pittsburgh District Antiracism Team’s objectives:

  • One of the Core Values of the Pittsburgh District is to “Confront systemic racism and oppression by actively eliminating disparities and inequities in the church and in society”
  • One of the objectives of the Pittsburgh District Antiracism Team is to “Host at least one multi-location, multi-session training course to equip churches to deal with systemic racism in the church and society”

Part-time Circles Program Coach - Roots of Faith Ministry    more info

Faith UMC is seeking to hire a part-time Circles Program Coach position for the Roots of Faith Ministry in Sharpsburg. Details are available here: https://faithfoxchapel.org/circlesjob/.

Kids' Worship Ministry    more info

Seeing a need for Kids' Worship during the pandemic, Rev. Kelly Smith, recruited some clergy colleagues and began producing weekly worship videos for kids.   The playlist is here:  https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8qKQIz7bMSt9RIgLpcjzUdtn2JO8rbT0

Pittsburgh District Conference 2021

The 2021 Pittsburgh District Conference was held via Zoom on Saturday, April 17 at 10 am.  Click here for the report and here for the minutes.

Camp Agape - Summer Staffing    more info

Camp Agape in Hickory, PA is seeking 3 males and 2 females as summer camp cabin leaders.  Two weeks of training begins May 31st camp season ends July 29th with possible extension to August 1st – 5th.  Camp week runs from Sunday 1 p.m. – Thursday 6 p.m. with time off on Friday and Saturday each week.  Here are job descriptions for the Cabin Leader and Senior Cabin Leader positions and the benefits of working at a summer camp.

Please reach out to Karen Reardon, Program Director, with any questions:  campagapeprogramdirector@gmail.com / (631) 806-2257

Wesley Woods is Hiring for Summer Camp    more info

Wesley Woods is looking to fill some important roles in our ministry. Go to the link below and create an account to fill out the application and interviews happen as we receive your application all applicants need to be 18 or older.  We are in NEED of males over 18 especially. Thank you.

We are in need of the following positions to be filled:  Part Time Office Manager - Full Time Summer Kitchen Manager - Kitchen Lead - Music Worship Leader - Summer Staff Members

Staff training starts June 5th and we will run until the Beginning or Middle of August depending on the number of staff needed.

Red Cross Needs Volunteers for Vaccine Site    more info

The Red Cross is recruiting "General Volunteers" to assist with line management, registration, mobility assistance, etc. at their mass vaccination site in Castle Shannon.  Please help spread this information to potential volunteers who might be able to help there are multiple ways people can help.  More info is at https://timecounts.org/redcross-swpa.

Ackley-Killian To Serve as Pittsburgh Superintendent    more info

Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi named a new member of her Cabinet to lead the Pittsburgh District.  Effective July 1, Rev. Deborah Ackley-Killian will serve as the next Superintendent of the Pittsburgh District . The Bishop's announcement:  https://www.wpaumc.org/newsdetail/ackley-killian-to-serve-as-pittsburgh-superintendent-15073704

Pittsburgh DS Dawn Hand Moving to New Post    more info

Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi announced that Pittsburgh District Superintendent Dawn M. Hand will return to the Baltimore-Washington Conference to serve as a district superintendent effective July 1, 2021.  Read the announcement here:  https://www.wpaumc.org/newsdetail/pittsburgh-ds-moving-to-new-post-14965310 

Decennial Report

Decennial Report Required?  Some local churches have received a postcard from the PA Dept of State (Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations) requesting that a Decennial Report be submitted by December 31, 2021. 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. Conference Treasurer Roger White reports that the Conference has received the postcard as well, and will be completing the form and submitting the $70 filing fee to the state.  He suggests that churches do the same before the Dec. 31, 2021 deadline. The form and additional details can be found on the Pennsylvania Department of State’s website:  Decennial Filing

AARP Foundation Senior Community Service Employment Program    more info

SCSEP helps people age 55+ find work, develop new skills, and build their financial security.  Through SCSEP, job candidates can receive up to 20 hours/week of paid training and work experience, gain valuable skills and experience, and build self-confidence and use their skills and talents to improve the community by training in a wide variety of locations, including offices, hospitals, daycare centers, senior centers and other community organizations.

Wondering if you might qualify? Answer the following questions:  Are you 55 years of age or older?  Are you unemployed?  Do you earn a low or no income?  Do you wish to work in your community?  Do you want to be paid to learn new skills through on-the-job training?

If you answered “yes” to the above questions, you may be eligible.  Apply now at https://www.scsep.org/OnlineApplication/ or call AARP Foundation at 412-271-1580.

Summer Camp 2021

Camp Allegheny Summer 2021 Registration are OPEN!
We are ready!  We have the experience!  Whatever this summer looks like we are ready to provide a safe week of Fun, Faith and Friends for the children and youth of our conference.   We operated and served over 600 last summer and are preparing for another exciting summer of ministry.  Visit www.CampAllegheny.org for more info and to register.

Wesley Woods is offering 21 different camps this summer and registration is open.  It is our goal to create a welcoming environment that is an echo of the embrace that we receive from Jesus.  Summer Camp is a place for kids to find themselves, meet new friends, and above all connect with God. With programs like adventure, sports, fine arts, special interest camps, little camps for our junior campers, and exceptional persons camp, Wesley Woods has something to offer everyone. Visit www.wesleywoods.com to begin your journey.

Work At Wesley Woods:  Are you too old to be a camper? Do you have a passion for sharing your faith with others?  Do you want to be part of am amazing team in the summer of 2021?  If so then please consider applying to be on our summer staff this year.

Summer 2021 at Jumonville:   We are preparing for an amazing summer!  Click here to check out a video of some of the fun & exciting events we have to offer this summer.  We have something for everyone!  2021 summer camp registration is open and ready for you!  Learn more and register at jumonville.org.  Hope to see you on the Jumonville mountaintop soon!

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

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. 


Resources for Responding to Racism    more info


Erie Looks at Racial Justice: Over the next year, a senior fellow from the Brookings Institution will help local leaders in Erie look at issues of equity, racial justice and economic mobility to identify and correct policies that perpetuate racial injustice and inequity in the area.  Read Erie Times-News story here https://www.goerie.com/story/news/local/erie-next/2021/06/10/racial-justice-erie-scholar-camille-busette-working-inclusion-action-plan-city/7604408002/

Freedom Day for All: June 19th celebrates a specific event in the U.S., but the day is a time for all people to recommit to antiracism work. Learn more here https://www.umc.org/en/content/juneteenth-celebrates-freedom-from-slavery
See Six Ways White People Can Observe Juneteenth here https://www.r2hub.org/library/juneteenth

May 20, 2021
Understanding Other Cultures: The Commission on Religion and Race has designed two new infographics for Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month to help churches provide information about these cultures. “Ten Things to Know About Asian Americans” and “Ten Honorable Traits of Pacific Islander Culture” are available for download on the GCORR resource library. Download resources here https://www.r2hub.org/library?mkt_tok=MDc4LUpYUS02NDMAAAF9Gxo3JHKJmfRvtlw1VTXRbMgf4zXr9A7oGx51N1_fcSe-8jVgaeEIfWEgsLik_IH-0Vr4BcyQE40lLdC_ZYFNB27zaylH9vyXHlrk1LgN-PGsZA

Latin@s, Hispanics, Latinx: ¡Si! To All of it!  Latino/Latinx people in the United States are diverse in many ways, including theologically, writes the Rev. Lydia E. Muñoz. She gives an overview of the rich diversity and cautions against assuming that all Latino/Latinx United Methodists would go in the same direction if the denomination were to split. Read commentary here https://marchaumc.org/voices-latins-hispanics-latinx-si-to-all-of-it/?mkt_tok=MDc4LUpYUS02NDMAAAF9IFvaTaLivyvH4wZ6GoMQxx0ruumVfB0Q4FcBT1ukjZRalYqCmzhOs3DmXxnNlF6g2452bgCuxreCzc_FBsqcGIqPA5idFsZCRThF0eMKW8NqMA

Healthy Village Learning Institute (HVLI) in McKeesport continually adapted through the pandemic to support the community and connect youth and families with needed services. HVLI played a big role in providing PPE equipment and encouraging social responsibility and healthy practices. To highlight the effort, Keith Murphy, HVLI executive director, is featured in the Spring edition of The Pittsburgh Foundation’s quarterly magazine Forum. He’s one of 11 community and non-profit leaders and activists who helped the Foundation develop a grant-making program for racial justice. Read Keith Murphy’s HVLI story here https://pittsburghfoundation.org/keith-murphy

Diversity Linked to Church Growth: A recent study of the United Methodist Church by Baylor University found that racial diversity is linked to church growth. In a UM News story, Dr. Mark DeYmaz and Rev. Chip Freed, leaders of the Mosaix House of Studies at United Seminary, shared why they are committed to growing the multi-ethnic church movement. Read UMNews story
Learn more about Mosaix House of Studies at United 

Film Looks at Lives of Korean Americans: United Methodists Julian Kim and Peter Lee didn't see their lives represented in Hollywood films, so they did it themselves. Their film "Happy Cleaners" takes a look at the lives and struggles of working-class Korean Americans. Read UM News feature

Diversity Linked to Church Growth: A recent study of the United Methodist Church by Baylor University found that racial diversity is linked to church growth. In a UM News story, Dr. Mark DeYmaz and Rev. Chip Freed, leaders of the Mosaix House of Studies at United Seminary, shared why they are committed to growing the multi-ethnic church movement. Read UMNews stor here https://www.umnews.org/en/news/racial-diversity-linked-to-church-growth
Learn more about Mosaix House of Studies at United  here http://united.edu/mosaix-house-of-studies/

Film Looks at Lives of Korean Americans: United Methodists Julian Kim and Peter Lee didn't see their lives represented in Hollywood films, so they did it themselves. Their film "Happy Cleaners" takes a look at the lives and struggles of working-class Korean Americans. Read UM News feature here https://www.umnews.org/en/news/film-puts-korean-americans-center-stage

Advocate to End Hunger! Learn more about the connections between racial inequity, policy, and wealth at this year’s Bread for the World Hunger Advocacy Workshop on Saturday, May 15 from 9:30 to noon via Zoom. It offers an opportunity to participate in an online version of Bread’s Racial Wealth Gap Simulation. It’s a tool that helps participants understand how federal policies created structural inequalities and how those policies have differently impacted black and while communities in the U.S. The session will also offer details of Bread’s 2021 Offering of Letters, an opportunity for churches to advocate to end hunger by reaching out to elected officials. Learn more and register.  here https://www.eventbrite.com/e/bread-for-the-world-hunger-advocacy-workshop-racial-wealth-gap-simulation-tickets-149220872647          


Making Room for the Other: A three-part blog series with entries by staff from Perkins Theological Seminary and UM Young People’s Ministries, explores the theological and practical importance of making space for the new, for strangers, for what some might call the “other.” Become familiar with discipleship strategies and processes that can help turn strangers into friends and unfamiliar outsiders into cared-for peers. See posts

Racism in Church Ranks? Anonymous letters criticizing the appearance of an African associate pastor have led to self-reflection for a Virginia congregation and a "Do Not Harm" campaign seeking changes in The United Methodist Church. The hairstyle, clothing and accessories of the Rev. Chenda Innis Lee became an issue at Fairlington UMC. Read story


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 Dec. 11, 2020.  Our Bishop and District Superintendents urge church leaders to follow current state and local health mandates and guidelines to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus and to consider the risk to the most vulnerable in our churches and communities in determining whether to hold in-person worship services. On Dec. 11, 2020, after Gov. Tom Wolf issued a temporary executive order reducing the number of people permitted to gather both indoors and ... 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.