Conference Blog


Smith Center Building Named for Bloomsters

By WPa United Methodist Women


The Ruth M. Smith Center’s Board of Directors has named its residential and day care building the Bloomster Building in honor of the Rev. Donald E. and Shirley Bloomster. Rev. Bloomster retired from the Smith Center board in December 2018 after serving since January 1982 when he was pastor of First United Methodist Church in Warren.  Don reports that he served several 4-year terms himself and finished out terms for others who were not able to complete their terms. Over the 37 years that he was ...

Mission Ambassadors Report from Texas Border

By Mission Ambassadors


Mission Ambassadors Sandy McKee and Lynn Sibley report from missions along the U.S. - Mexican border. With all the controversy regarding immigration and detention, we welcomed an opportunity to travel to McAllen, Texas to learn about Methodist mission work on both sides of the border. Our host was Susan Hellums, Border Area Mission Coordinator, a native of the area. She’s been involved in mission work there since the 1980s. Her knowledge of the challenges facing the area is deep, objective and ...

Notes from Belfast - Part 2

By Mission Ambassadors


Mission Ambassadors Sandy McKee and Lynn Sibley recently returned a visit to Belfast, Northern Ireland. Here's the second of two reports. Lynn and Sandy will teach the mission study at WPAUMC's 2019 Mission u at California University of PA in July. “The goal of our mission is to shine a light into people’s darkness,” said Brian Anderson, a Methodist minister and superintendent of the East Belfast Mission.  He says that along with reaching out to those in need, the mission works to bring ...

Notes from Belfast

By Mission Ambassadors


Mission Ambassadors Sandy McKee and Lynn Sibley recently returned a visit to Belfast, Northern Ireland. Here's the first of two reports. “The work of our missionaries is a magnificent expression of the Lord’s redeeming love.” (Elder D Todd Christofferson) We did a lot of reading about the struggles and conflicts in Northern Ireland prior to our visit. We agreed it was probably best to keep our mouths shut and eyes open regarding the ongoing challenges of keeping peace between Protestants and ...

Meet Your Conference UMW Leaders

By WPa United Methodist Women


United Methodist Women are an integral part of many Western PA churches, making a difference particularly by equipping women for leadership skills, supporting mission and working  for justice. These women are usually well known in their congregation. The UMW's Conference Leadership Team also makes a difference through their support of mission and advocacy and providing leadership and connection for UMW units. In 2019, there are eight people in new positions on the Conference team.  In February, ...

Henderson Settlement: Part 2

By Mission Ambassadors


“Creating opportunities for better lives through Christ-centered service” is the mission of Henderson Settlement. Mission Ambassadors Sandy McKee and Lynn Sibley share some additional experiences from their week there On Tuesday we volunteered to assist in the food pantry that’s open three days a week. Two local women who volunteer there on a regular basis showed us the ropes of bookkeeping, food distribution and neighborly kindness and hospitality. We’d been told that there is much food ...

Henderson Settlement: Providing Hope in Rural Poverty

By Mission Ambassadors


WPA Mission Ambassadors Lynn Sibley and Saundra McKee recently traveled to Henderson Settlement, near Red Bird Mission, in Kentucky to learn about ministry and mission opportunities there. They suggest it as a great place for local church or UMW mission teams to go. Here's a report of their experiences. It was a dark and stormy day as we headed out on the 550-mile drive to Henderson Settlement, in Frakes, KY. We’d been to Red Bird a few years back, but had little knowledge of Henderson. We’d ...

Mission Ambassadors Visit Ruth Smith Center

By Mission Ambassadors


Lynn Sibley and Sandy McKee of Manorville UMC are serving as the 2019-2020 Mission Ambassadors. Here's a report of their first official trip. We made our first trip as Mission Ambassadors to the Ruth M. Smith Center in Sheffield, PA, a ministry of the national UMW organization. We were so impressed with interim director Kim Adams, who took us around the campus, introduced us to staff and residents and answered all our questions.   We immediately sensed the loving, caring and homey atmosphere ...

Meet the New Mission Ambassadors

By WPa United Methodist Women


The Mission Ambassador Program in Western Pennsylvania has been in existence since 1976.  It has a long history that includes lay men and women, and clergy men and women called to service.  These dedicated disciples commit to travel and learn, then itinerate in WPA and resource local churches and UMW units.  Funded by the Conference Board of Global Ministries and United Methodist Women, Mission Ambassadors also commit their own resources to the travel experience.  Sandy McKee, left, and Lynn ...

Meeting Brings Hope for General Conference

By Alyce Weaver Dunn


On Thursday, January 10, 2019 at Pittsburgh International Airport, I boarded a plane bound for Dallas/Fort Worth to participate in a January 11-12 meeting of the General Conference Committee on Reference.  I served on the Committee during the 2016 General Conference in Portland, OR, and although the Committee does not normally meet outside a session of the General Conference, we were summoned in mid-December to reconvene in advance of the February 2019 special called session of General ...

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