Conference Blogs

3/22/2022

The 2022 UPMC Weight Race is well underway, running from January 24 – April 15. As we push into the final weeks of this event, the Abundant Health Team shines a spotlight on one group that has found a way to incorporate health and wellness year-round. May this story encourage you to continue in abundantly healthy habits in the coming weeks and beyond.   David McCall serves as the pastor at First United Methodist Church in Somerset. He's part of a group of pastors in Somerset County who started ...


3/2/2022

Redistricting has been second only to managing COVID-19 as a top issue in Pennsylvania politics these past months.  And for good reason. Redrawing both legislative and congressional maps will impact the nature of politics for the next 10 years. The job of redrawing the maps every 10 years after a U.S. Census falls to the state legislature.  But while legislators can propose how the district lines should be redrawn, the governor has the option to veto their proposals. And that’s exactly what ...


2/8/2022

The Pennsylvania legislature has been focused on drawing new lines for Congressional and state legislative districts. Seats are at stake and incumbents of both parties have tried to ensure their positions are safe. None of them wants to be pitted against a rival within the same party, or worse, to have the district redrawn to include a majority voters from the rival party.   Both Republicans and Democrats know the redrawn maps will determine the political landscape in Pennsylvania for the next ...


1/16/2022

For a 2022 worship service honoring the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi read verses from Genesis 37 about Joseph's dream and his brothers' plotting to kill him after he told them about it. Following is her message: I imagine that 54 years ago Martin Luther King, Jr’s assassin, James Earl Ray, said to himself, Here comes that dreamer.  Come now, let me kill him.  Then the world will see what has come of his dreams.  What has come of Rev. King’s dreams?  Did any of ...


12/21/2021

One of my aunts on my Dad’s side, Rev. Christine Moore, died last week. She had a short bout with cancer and was responding well to treatment, but then took a turn for the worse and died rather suddenly. She was an African Methodist Episcopal pastor who had served faithfully for 30 some years after leaving a career in education. Upon her retirement from the AME church, she began worshipping and helping in ministry at Emory Fellowship, a United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C. The celebration...


11/22/2021

As the COVID-19 pandemic lingers at the close of 2021, we continue to experience division over mask-wearing.  Every day news is shared about the latest disagreement in school districts, government offices and businesses over whether to follow government mask mandates or not.  Our churches are not exempt from the conversation – disagreement has prevailed across our pews, stirring up frustration, uncertainty and even anger among God’s people. At the heart of the mask debate is whether or not a ...


11/10/2021

The United Methodist Church's General Commission on Archives and History (GCAH) in its e-mail update occasionally includes reviews of books which are not scholarly journals, but are "worthy of note."T he November 2021 update included an article by Rev. Pat Thompson highlighting two books, one by a Western PA Conference clergywoman, the Rev. Josephine Whitely-Fields, and the other a collection of papers from two conferences in the United Kingdom.  The article is below.    Women, ...


10/26/2021

As the Coordinator of Discipleship and Spiritual Formation for the Conference, I have been doing Safe Sanctuary and Mandated Reporter training for the last eight years. I have enjoyed traveling throughout Western Pennsylvania and being able to share how we can keep our children, youth and vulnerable adults safe.   This year, the quadrennial training for Western PA clergy focused on Safe Sanctuaries and Mandated Reporting. It was provided by Safe Gatherings.  Safe Gatherings was formed in 2012 ...


10/14/2021

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to attend the National Young People’s Ministry Staff gathering in Charleston, South Carolina. This is an annual gathering of conference staff who work with young people as part of their job portfolios. It is always a refreshing time to learn, laugh, and update each other on what is happening in our conferences and lives. We conversed about denominational realities, conference youth ministry structures and events, and the needs of local church youth ...


9/13/2021

 “Waiting is essential to the spiritual life. But waiting as a disciple of Jesus is not an empty waiting. It is a waiting with a promise in our hearts that makes already present what we are waiting for.” --Henry Nouwen   “Waiting for God is an active, alert – yes, joyful – waiting. As we wait we remember him for whom we are waiting, and as we remember him we create a community ready to welcome him when he comes.” -- Henri Nouwen     Henri Nouwen was a Catholic priest and prolific theological ...


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