Conference Blog



By WPa United Methodist Women


All my life I’ve heard leaders refer to the United Methodist Church as a connectional denomination. As a result, when it’s time for a new pastor, a newly appointed pastor is in the pulpit the week after the old pastor moves on. Through our global connection, United Methodists are in ministry and mission in the United States, Africa, Europe, and Asia.  We make decisions for the denomination every four years at a General Conference gathering where delegates pray and worship together, receive ...

Won't You Be My Neighbor?

By Eric Park


I spent a portion of my 8th birthday walking through the streets of a small town in Pennsylvania with my best friend, Tim. On the way home, we walked into Kroger supermarket for the purpose of purchasing a couple of Mountain Dews. As we stood in the check out line, Tim and I chuckled at a little boy, maybe four years of age, who had accidentally knocked over a supermarket display. His mother reprimanded him. As the two of them, mother and child, walked past us in the store, the little boy ...

The Valley of Vision

By WPA Commission on Archives and History


--By Rev. Shane Siciliano-- Growing up in Southwest Florida, I had no concept of what a mountain was. My nana lived four hours north of me. I remember rollerblading down her street, on what I thought was the biggest hill in the whole world.  Where I lived, the only roads with a slope were bridges, built high enough to let the boats through. The highest point in Florida is Britton Hill—only around 300 feet high—and it is 10 hours away from where I grew up, far outside the world of my childhood....

UMW Owns Chautauqua Homes

By WPa United Methodist Women


Take a break!  Sit and rock on the porch and watch the lake.  Enjoy leisurely conversations with interesting people around the breakfast table, eating a meal you didn’t have to fix or clean up after. Take in an incredible concert or stimulating lecture.  During this last week of the season at the Chautauqua Institution, participants are enjoying these things in a setting that speaks of another time, a different pace, and values that are not always affirmed in today’s world. United Methodist ...

A Letter on A Way Forward

By Eric Park


In the past week, Butler District Superintendent Eric Park wrote the following letter to clergy and leaders in the Butler District offering his thoughts on a report from the Commission on a Way Forward. Since then, on Aug. 1, the official translations of the Commission on a Way Forward's report to the General Conference were released. The English version can be found here. Greetings, friends.   Grace and peace to you as you continue to communicate the love of Jesus to a world that desperately ...

A Shooting and a Reflection on Job

By Michael Airgood


On Saturday, June 9, a 17-year-old young man who is serving as a summer intern at Pine Run United Methodist Church in Clairton stopped to check on an older parishioner who had fallen a few days earlier, then continued on to his job as a lifeguard at Clairton park pool. Later that afternoon, he was shot in the stomach at the pool. He was recovering. Pastor Michael Airgood wrote this reflection after the shooting and it served as his sermon the following day.  Listen to this Message Oh Clairton....

Forming Disciples

By Brian Bauknight


The church is sometimes over-obsessed with orthodoxy.  Jesus was clear as to what he was about:forming disciples for Kingdom living.   What does it mean to form disciples as the primary mission of a local church?  I received a helpful answer to that question from Dr. David Lowes Watson 30 years ago:   To bear witness to Jesus in the world through works of worship, devotion, compassion, and justice under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.   John Wesley enjoined “works of piety and works of mercy” ...

Solid Encouragement

By Brian Bauknight


Sometimes, despite our best efforts, traces of cynicism or discouragement set in.  Nothing seems to be happening in and through the church.  Critics seem to be everywhere.  The church is going nowhere, and we can’t seem to get it started again.  Where do we turn for sustenance?  For encouragement? Jesus once told a parable—about a seed that grows secretly.  The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout ...

Report from the Mission Field: Florida 2018


It was an honor and blessing for me to lead a VIM team from Western Pennsylvania to Tampa, Florida last week. We had eight team members, two from the Johnstown District, one from the Greensburg District, three from Erie-Meadville and two non-United Methodist guests.  Team members ranged from age 85 to 20. We were a very diverse team, but as always God pulled us together and we got a lot of work done during our five days there. Day 1-2 We met at the Conference Center on Saturday, Feb. 3 and ...

Pass the Plate!

By Greg Cox


Giving is down in most local churches. Church leaders and “stewardship experts” cite several reasons for this. I’ve done a lot of reading, studying and speaking about stewardship, and while all the usual reasons given are valid, I think there’s more to it.   What I’ve seen while visiting local churches has prompted some wrestling with God over the way we receive –or don’t receive—offerings during our worship services. Gone are the days when we gave by passing the plate or basket across pews ...

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