Conference Blogs

4/1/2020

A song has been playing on repeat in my head these last few weeks:  “Into the unknown, into the unknown, into the unknown.” I’ve actually believed all along that this hit song from Frozen 2 is rich with theological depth. (Seriously, go listen to it and consider the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives.) But the reason I can’t get it out of my head as of late is because in every meeting I have been a part of recently someone utters these words: “Into the unknown.” That is very much where we are as...


3/23/2020

Those of you familiar with best practices in leadership know this buzz word well:  “adaptability.” For years now, leadership experts have hailed it as a necessary quality, present in strong leaders. Tod Bolsinger even wrote a popular book, Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Unchartered Territory, exploring the idea of adaptable leadership. Bolsinger uses Lewis’ and Clark’s famous expedition as a metaphor for church leadership today, showing how they had to leave their canoes behind ...


3/18/2020

Lynn Sibley and Sandy McKee are serving as WPAUMC Mission Ambassadors. They traveled to sites in the U.S. and Ireland in 2019.  It’s been a busy year for us. After completing our visits to four mission centers, we’ve been sharing what we’ve learned at MissionU and churches around our conference. Our mostly UMW audiences have been receptive and generous in supporting the missions. There have been changes too in the months since our earlier blog posts: The Ruth Smith Center in Sheffield has ...


3/18/2020

I was on an UMCOR Conference Disaster Response Coordinator (CDRC) conference call this afternoon to discuss COVID-19 and our response to the current pandemic.  COVID-19 as we have all heard by now is a respiratory infection that starts in the upper respiratory system and then spreads to the lower system, the lungs.  The number of cases will continue to grow every day for some number of weeks.  Vast number of Americans must continue to get tested and the results collected. We have trained Early ...


3/18/2020

My dear friends, leaders of the church, things are changing so quickly. Every hour brings news and with it the need for further communication, decision making and planning. You’re leading change in ways you never imagined and aren’t wholly comfortable doing. In the midst of that, you’ve driven to your kid’s dorm to help them pack up and move home; or you’re trying to lean into being the kindergarten and preschool teacher; or you’re caring for an aging parent and are afraid to go out; or you ...


3/17/2020

Dear United Methodist Women,   Oh my!  On the phone this morning my sister said, “Everything is upside down.”  Yes, it is.  Since big (Jurisdiction), medium (conference and district), and small (local church/UMW) meetings have been postponed or cancelled, I have time to ponder important things.  What do I need for self care?  How do I stay connected with friends and loved ones?  What am I called to do to continue building relationships in the United Methodist Women and the United Methodist ...


2/20/2020

As we move into the season of Lent, I want to share the following message from the Northeastern Jurisdiction College of Bishops. The season of Lent invites us, individually and collectively, to a deep assessment of and prayer-filled reflection on our faithfulness and fruitfulness. At times, we use Lent to anticipate the coming of the resurrected Christ without taking the gift of these 40 days to also examine our faith; to intentionally concentrate on our faithful response as disciples. Lent is...


11/6/2019

Last December, the Ruth M Smith Center Board of Directors had to decide whether the Smith Center could continue its ministry to vulnerable adults and children. The Center was home to 26 adults, none of whom could afford to pay their full way, and a Preschool/Day Care for young children in the area.  Deeply in debt, the Smith Center could not continue unless more funding was found.  The Board took a step of faith and with determination looked for new financial support, more grants, and more ...


9/25/2019

The next time you hear someone complain about young people – how obsessed they are with their computer games and cell phones, how little they do to make life better for others, how poorly they are prepared for the future, pass on this story.   The Ruth M Smith Center lifts up the work of high school junior Eric Pierson with gratitude, and hopes others adopt the example of service that he models.    Eric has spent considerable time the past couple of years working at what is required to become an...


9/9/2019

A few weeks ago, my family and I had the opportunity to take a quick trip to Disney World. Disney is known for many things, but one thing that brings people back again and again is the atmosphere they create. I’ve made numerous trips to Disney parks over the years because I suppose I believe in what they’ve created. In fact, I even spent a brief time working for them in entertainment. So I was thrilled to be going with my young kids and husband, together as a family, for the first time. We had a...


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