Special Sundays are designated Sundays throughout the year that provide opportunities for giving. These special offerings are earmarked to support designated ministries. On these Sundays, we empower our congregations to give toward causes and organizations that promote sustainable life change. These offerings help provide refuge in times of disaster, promote peace and justice, provide scholarships, reach out to the community, teach skills to encourage self-sufficiency and share the love of Jesus Christ with God’s people everywhere. These Special Sundays are part of our denomination-wide effort we call connectional giving. It is one of the most powerful vehicles for generosity we have. Together, our churches are making an impact all over the world.
There are eight Special Sundays with offerings approved by Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference to be celebrated each year in the local church. The WPAUMC also approved a ninth Special Sunday, without offering, to recognize and honor retired clergy.
In addition, there are six Special Sundays with offerings established by the General Church to be celebrated yearly in local churches. Churches may choose an alternate date to observe any Special Sunday.
Saturday, January 30, 2021 to January 31
WPA Conference authorize Camping and Retreat Ministries Corporations to urge local churches to celebrate a Camping Weekend on January 30-31, 2021 (or another date chosen by the local church) for the purpose of receiving a Camping Weekend Offering; to promote the continued support of the “Deeply Rooted, Upward Reaching” campaign; and to encourage participation in the 2021 summer camp season.
Saturday, February 20, 2021 to February 21
The United Methodist Social Principles call the Church to celebrate the gifts and graces of persons with disabilities and support full inclusion of persons with disabilities in the community. Offerings received are used to promote awareness of issues, as well as ministries that provide opportunities for fuller inclusion of people with disabilities. In this Annual Conference they have been used for ministries as defined by the Discipline: “to promote the work of creating architectural and attitudinal accessibility in local churches” Information concerning the observance of this Sunday will be provided to local churches upon request by the People With Disabilities Inclusion Ministry Team.
Saturday, May 1, 2021 to May 2
Both the Golden Cross and Red Stocking weekends offer an opportunity to highlight and support United Methodist-related homes and agencies in Western PA. Special offerings received in the local churches provide support to those homes and mission agencies. Red Stocking weekend is during Advent.
Saturday, August 7, 2021 to August 8
Churches are encouraged to celebrate the rural heritage of The United Methodist Church, to recognize the needs of rural areas and to affirm the interdependence of rural and urban communities. A special offering may be received in the local churches for the purpose of strengthening nurture, witness and outreach in town and rural areas in Western PA.
Saturday, September 4, 2021 to September 5
Local churches are urged to use this day as a time to celebrate their Christian Education ministries with events of appreciation and recognition of growth and learning as disciples of Jesus Christ. Special offering received in the local churches support the educational ministries of the Conference, which include Training and Resources and Laity Scholarships.
Saturday, September 18, 2021 to September 19
Local churches are encouraged to use this weekend, or another that they choose, to recognize and honor the retired clergy, their spouses, and the surviving spouses of clergy who continue to support the church in various and significant ways. This recognition may provide inspiration to those considering ministry. (This Sunday of recognition does not call for a special offering.)
Saturday, October 16, 2021 to October 17
Local churches are urged to use this day in conjunction with Laity Sunday to celebrate those who used their God-given gifts to serve in short-term mission work and highlight the ways in which VIM mission teams are deepening of our sense of mutuality between different parts of our global connection. Special offerings received will be used in Western PA to strengthening Volunteers in Mission engagement and participation.
Saturday, November 6, 2021 to November 7
Youth Service Fund Weekend provides an opportunity for local churches to highlight the ministry carried out through YSF and receive a special offering in support of WPAUMC youth missions. It is a good time to celebrate church youth and encourage youth involvement in missions through the church, district, and Conference and beyond. The Youth Service Fund of the Western PA Conference has financially assisted many youth programs in our Conference, our nation, and our world.
Sunday, November 28, 2021 to December 24
Any weekend during Advent, or another date selected by the local church, may be used to recognize and receive a special offering for support of the six regional mission agencies in Western Pennnsylvania. These agencies -- the Erie United Methodist Alliance, United Methodist Human Services of Johnstown, WPA Prison Outreach Ministries, Connellsville Area Community Ministries, Greater Pittsburgh Ministries, and Eastbrook Mission Barn -- extend the love of Christ to those who need shelter, food, clothing, skill-building support, and loving care. Their ministries engage large numbers of local United Methodist churches, individuals, and partner organizations and make a significant impact through witness, outreach, and work for justice. Additional funds received through special offerings will support their ongoing ministries to break the cycle of poverty, reduce homelessness, and provide hope for those struggling to survive. These additional gifts will help keep doors open, enabling us, as United Methodists in Western Pennsylvania, to remain faithful in serving even the least of these.
Sunday, November 28, 2021 to December 24
Any Sunday in Advent
Like the Golden Cross weekend listed above, offerings received for Red Stocking weekend support the ministries of the six regional mission agencies.
Sunday, January 17, 2021
Celebrated on the Sunday before the observance of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr's birthday, Human Relations Day acknowledges the right of all God's children to reach their potential, and calls all of our churches to strengthen United Methodist outreach to communities in the United States through supporting social justice and work with at-risk youth.
Sunday, March 14, 2021
The fourth Sunday in Lent; provides major support of the United Methodist Committee on Relief. UMCOR provides immediate assistance in the wake of disasters and helps support ongoing ministries of food, shelter, health and peace. Allows 100 percent of designated gifts to be used for specified disaster response or other ministry
Sunday, April 18, 2021
Celebrating Native American Sunday reminds United Methodists of the contributions made by Native Americans to our society. The special offering benefits Native American outreach within annual conferences and across the United States and provides seminary scholarships for Native Americans. It helps to equip and empower Native American pastors, congregations and seminary students to authentically worship and serve Jesus as only they can in their communities.
Sunday, May 30, 2021
The first Sunday after Pentecost; supports peace with justice ministries through the General Board of Church and Society and the annual conferences.
Sunday, October 3, 2021
The first Sunday in October; supports World Communion Scholarships, the Ethnic Scholarship Program and the Ethnic In-Service Training Program.
Sunday, November 28, 2021
The last Sunday of November supports United Methodist scholarships and the United Methodist student loan fund.