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Pastor Appreciation Day

October is Pastor Appreciation Month! A day set apart to celebrate our pastors in 2021 is October 10th. Find ways to tell your pastor he/she is appreciated and loved.

The Ultimate Guide to Pastor Appreciation Day

The Presence Based Church with Terry Teykl

Butler First UMC will host author and "prayer evangelist" Terry Tekyl at its downtown campus (200 E North St, Butler, PA 16001) for a presentation on the Presence Based Church on Sunday, October 24 from 1:00-5:00 p.m.  Cost is $5.

How to Set Your Pastor’s Salary for 2022

This memo from the Cabinet and Commission on Equitable Compensation was emailed to pastors and local church leaders. It’s also available on the Conference website at wpaumc.org/formsandinformation

Health Insurance Billing Rate  The WPA CBOP approved the 2022 blended health insurance billing rate to the local church. Please be aware effective 1.1.2022, the rate will be $1481.00 a month. This rate includes medical, vision, and dental coverage. This represents a $28.00 a month increase over 2021. The member cost-share remains the same for 2022 at:

$20.00 single / $35.00 two persons / $70.00 family

Conference Benefits Officer


724-776-2300, Ext # 274

Summer/Fall 2021 Calendar Items for the Butler District

  • Thursday -  November 4, and December 2, at 8 am. Prayer time with DS Eric Park via Zoom.  A link to each first Thursday Prayer time will be sent prior to each gathering.  
  • November 21 (Sunday) 7:00 PM—Butler District Worship Celebration - (Location to be determined.
  •  December 3 (Friday) 5:00 PM—Butler District Christmas Dinner for Clergy and Families - Location to be determined.  

General Conference

General Conference postponed until August 29 – September 6, 2022, in Minneapolis, Minn. After two postponements, organizers continue working to hold General Conference next year. The business manager says staff knows how important the coming legislative assembly is as the denomination weighs a potential split. However, the delta variant presents new challenges. Read story

Join in Active Waiting: Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi suggests that United Methodists spend the time leading up to the next General Conference engaging in the spiritual exercise of active waiting. Rather than a time of anxiety and stagnation, active waiting for believers is a time to cooperate with what God is doing among us while preparing for new manifestations of God’s promises. Read her blog post

2022 WPA UMC Annual Conference

Update your calendar now!
Thursday, JUNE 2 – Saturday, JUNE 4, 2022
at the Erie Bayfront Convention Center, 1 Sassafras Pier, Erie, PA 16507

Happy Birthday


 9     Rev Donna Doutt
19    Rev Glenn Kohlhepp
15    Rev Jay Sterling
        Rev Loren McQueen
        Rev Joseph Patterson
16    Rev Steve Soltis
        Nancy (Rev Bert) Domineck 
18    Rev Kathleen Soltis
19    Sheryl (Rev Allan) Brooks
21    Cathy (Rev Earl) Dykes
28    Rev Anette Gerber
31    Patricia (Rev Bruce) Mould

Happy Anniversary


17  Rev Greg & Christine Spencer


Prayer Concerns and Joys

Please send us your prayer concerns and joys, to Butler.Office@wpaumc.org

Please keep the Ciarimboli family in prayer as they grieve the loss of their son, Tyler.  

Prayers for the Otto family - Sue Otto's daughter, Kelly died today from COVID?
Kelly was on staff at Center for Hope: Ambridge, where Sue is the director.  
Cards could be sent to Sue Otto at 1000 Second St., Beaver, PA 15009

Rev Howard Burrell had surgery to replace the mitral valve and a double bypass. Please keep Howard and Carolyn in prayer.
Howard had a setback on Sunday. Tests revealed a hole in his colon and infection. During the surgery, the decision to do a colostomy was made. Hopefully, in 2-3 weeks they will be able to reconnect the colon. 

Kathy Young (Rev James) had back surgery recently. Please keep her in your prayers for complete healing.

Dan Merritt (son of Rev Bruce & Glenda) had surgery and has experienced a setback.  Also please continue prayers for Bruce and Glenda with their health struggles.

Please continue to keep Ed Rogosky in prayer. Ed suffered a fall and is experiencing some paralysis. Ed is now home with his family.

All who are suffering with the effects of Covid.
  • Our military and military families.
  • Our Country and our leaders
  • Those awaiting test results, surgery, and medical treatment.
  • Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi and the WPA Cabinet
  • Those who are at higher risk and those who are working on the frontlines of the Pandemic                                                                                      
  • Rev. Eric Park, DS, as he cares for the churches and pastors of the district
  • Our Country and our leaders
  • The United Methodist Church/2021 General and Jurisdictional Conferences


Youth News


Young Adult Opportunity: Wesley Theological Seminary has launched Wesley Design Fellowship, a one-year, cohort-based experience for young adults that includes community formation, spiritual direction, graduate-level courses, and hands-on experience leading innovation. Open to young people ages 23-29 interested in leading new ways to connect young adults with the whole church, each fellow will earn an $8,000 stipend and four graduate academic course credits. Application deadline is Feb. 1, 2022. Learn more. herehttps://www.wesleyseminary.edu/wesley-innovation-hub/design-fellows/

Innovate to Reach New/Younger People: Director F. Douglas Powe Jr. of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership interviews Mikka McCracken about innovation, building relationships, and creating person-focused ministries so more people know the way of Jesus and discover community, justice, and love. McCracken leads the ELCA Innovation Hub. Read more  here


SPARK = 2 for 2022! The annual youth gathering will be offered on two weekends in two places -- Jan. 8-9 in Pittsburgh and April 9-10 in Erie--in 2022. Registration is open now! Check out the details and register to get the early bird discount at wpaumc.org/spark 


Safe Sanctuaries and Online Youth Groups: WPAUMC’s Youth and Young Adult Ministry Coordinator Amanda Gilligan offers things for you to consider, as well as resources to help, as you adapt your church’s Safe Sanctuaries policy to include online gatherings. Read her blog post.

Upcoming Youth Events: Mark your calendars for these Conference youth events:

Youth 2023 - We are excited to announce the tradition continues with YOUTH 2023 headed to Daytona Beach, Florida July 25-28, 2023! Stay connected as we plan the details that make this event so memorable! Learn More

YSF Grants!

Your church can apply for a Youth Service Fund grant! Need some money to help run or launch a youth-led program or mission trip? Apply at  www.wpaumc.org/ysfapplication. Applications are accepted all year long.



50 Ways to Strengthen Your Ministry with Youth: This resource sheet from the Lewis Center for Church Leadership is available to read or download in PDF. 


Race and Protest: Two relevant resources regarding race and protest for young people: How to Acknowledge Hurt in Youth Ministry  and Tools for Processing Protests with Teens



Seeking US2 Missionaries: United Methodist Global Ministries is now accepting applications for the 2021-23 cohort of Global Mission Fellows on the US-2 track. The Global Mission Fellows program places young adults, ages 20-30, in social justice ministries for two years of service. The US-2 track offers the opportunity in the United States. Learn more and apply


WPA has a Young Adult Council who is available to encourage and resource local churches with your young adult ministry. Contact Amanda Mitchell at amanda.mitchell@wpaumc.org for information.


Connecting with Young Adults: In a recent, Leading Ideas, Discipleship Ministries’ Chris Wilterdink says a critical strategy for engaging young adults is to create discipleship opportunities and build relationships in the online communities where they are active. Within these spaces, the church can provide young adults an opportunity to explore identity, belonging, and purpose. Read more.

Camps and Retreat Center Updates

Wesley Woods Open House: on October 9 from 11 am – 2 pm. at the camp, 1001 Fiddlersgreen Rd, Grand Valley, PA. Join us for a hot dog cookout and camp activities for the whole family.

OLMSTED MANOR RETREAT CENTER- Stay in our modern hotel-style lodge or the historic Tudor-style manor house as you enjoy the peace and beauty of the Allegheny National Forest. Learn more. Call us today at (814) 945-6512. Calendar of Events:





Calendar Items

October is Pastor Appreciation Month

Friday, October 1, 2021 to October 31

Noting that its 2021 Clergy Well-being Survey results show a continued downward trend in clergy well-being, Wespath encourages congregations and groups to find ways to show appreciation to their clergy. They offer 50 Ways to Support Your Pastor's Wellbeing. Resource UMC also has some suggestions to show appreciation.

Walk (14,000 steps) Like Jesus!

Friday, October 1, 2021 to November 12

The Emmaus Ministries Virtual Walk and Challenge is set for October 1 to November 12. The challenge is to walk the same distance as Jesus did from Jerusalem to Emmaus. The top three finishing teams will win cash prizes from $250 to $1,000. The 14,000 steps amount to about 7 miles. Learn more

Mediation Skills Training Institute for Church Leaders

Monday, October 11, 2021 to November 19

Registration is open for training to deal with conflict offered by the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center on October 11-15 or November 15-19, 2021. The two identical sessions will be held remotely via Zoom. This workshop is designed to help church leaders deal more effectively with interpersonal, congregational, and other forms of group conflict.  For details consult this MSTI Brochure.  Register at lmpeacecenter.org/all-events.  


Early Response Team Training

Saturday, October 16, 2021 to November 13

This is an UMCOR certified training for Disaster Response ministries of Volunteers in Mission. Non-United Methodist participants are welcome but will not be badged or deployed through the UMCOR-UMVIM ministry network. Clearances are required from United Methodists on the day of the training. When we travel to support other conferences, a current badge is required.


UMCOR has changed the rules for recertification effective December 31, 2021. You can currently do the recertification class if you expired during the second half of 2019 or during 2020 and 2021. These two classes will be last ones that you can take to recertify through the four-hour class. The new rule will only let you recertify if your badge expiration date is less than six months past. If your badge is more than six months past, then you will need to do the basic training class again.


UMCOR has enabled us to utilize virtual training for recertification. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact David Kissinger at disasterresponse@wpaumc.org. For more information click here.


· October 16, 2021. 8:30 am - 12:30pm EDT

· November 13, 2021. 8:30am- 12:30pm EDT

Communicating during Seasons of Change

Monday, October 18, 2021 to November 8

A four-week learning experience that will give participants the opportunity to consider church communication needs in the midst of change, tips to navigate change through communication strategy and ideas about how to respond in times of crisis. This interactive course will feature articles, live discussions and assignments. It begins on October 18! Register by October 15.

WPA Conference UMW Annual Meeting

Where: Dutilh UMC, Cranberry Twp

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Saturday, October 23 at Dutilh UMC 1270 Dutilh Road Cranberry Twp, PA 16066-5108
Registration at 9:30 am, program at 9:45.  The cost is $8 per person for morning beverages and lunch.  We will also have an online option.  You must register if you are planning on attending either option.  This can be done on the Conference website at www.wpaumc.org/UMWomen .  The deadline for registering is midnight October 8.
    An offering will be put toward our pledge.

2021 Native Immersion Experience

Sunday, October 24, 2021 to October 28

The Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference (OIMC) Immersion is from October 24-28, 2021 in Oklahoma City. The immersion experience provides history, context, and unique perspectives on Native peoples in the OIMC and their involvement with The United Methodist Church. Their Native communities will proudly share their traditions and culture throughout the event. Learn more

UM Foundation Grants

Friday, October 29, 2021

Deadline for grant applications!

The UM Foundation of Pennsylvania is currently accepting applications for a limited number of grants to United Methodist churches and affiliated agencies. The Foundation awards these grants twice a year – in January and June. Applications for the next round of grants will be accepted through October 29. Visit umfoundation.org/grants for details and to apply or email grants@umfoundation.org.

- The Future of “First” Churches

Monday, November 8, 2021

: Duke Divinity School's Office of Wesleyan Engagement will host a free two-part interactive lunchtime seminar with Bishop Ken Carter and Rev. Dr. Audrey B. Warren entitled The Future of “First Churches”: Foundations, Partnerships and Legacies. The event is for clergy and laity serving churches that historically were at the geographic and spiritual center of their community. The first session will be November 8, 2021, 12-1p.m., and the second session will be February 22, 2022. Learn more

Save the Date: The Nyadire Connection

Where: Dutilh UMC

Sunday, November 14, 2021

The Nyadire Connection will celebrate its 15th Anniversary at Dutilh UM Church in Cranberry Township on Sunday, Nov. 14 at 6 pm.  They hope to have some guests from Nyadire attend. Get details.

Butler District UMW Spring Meeting

Where: TBA

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Save the date!  More details coming soon!

UMW Assembly 2022  (more info )

Friday, May 20, 2022 to May 22

                                     “TURN IT UP!”    WWW.ASSEMBLY2022.org

News Articles

Postponed until 2022-General Conference (read more )


Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi today addressed the postponement of the General Conference of the United Methodist Church and what it means for the denomination. The Bishop's remarks came after the Council of Bishops (COB), in response to the Commission on the General Conference's announcement that the postponed 2020 General Conference could not be held until 2022, called a Special Session of the General Conference to be convened online on May 8, 2021.   According to the call letter signed by COB ... read more

Conference News

Below you will find some conference news relevant to Butler District. To see all conference news, go to the News section at the very top of this page.
WPAUMC enews - Aug. 25, 2021 (read more )


Back to School Anxiety and COVID: To help parents and students better understand the issues and the risks involved in returning to the classroom, PennLive and the World Affairs Council of Harrisburg will co-host a “Back to School” webinar at 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 26, featuring educators as well as parents and experts in mental and emotional wellness. Nicole Kirksey, MSW, Associate Lay Leader in the Susquehanna Conference, will be one of the panelists. Joyce Davis, coordinator of UM Advocacy in ... read more

Bishop: Be Cautious in Re-Opening (read more )


Although Pennsylvania's mask mandate was lifted on June 28, some businesses and public facilities such as mass transit still require masks. Overall, the latest advice from Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi and the Abundant Health Team still applies: Exercise caution and consider the vaccination rate and other conditions in your area and among your congregation in resuming worship and other group activities.  In a May 17 e-mail to church leaders, the Bishop shared guidelines to consider.  Here is the ... read more




Do No More Harm!  The General Commission on the Status and Role of Women has released a  new resource, Do No More Harm! It was developed to assist those navigating the complexities of the complaint process by providing clear step-by-step guidance, information on what to expect from other participants in the process, and videos that highlight key parts in the process from different perspectives. See the resource at donomoreharm.org.


Improved Sexual Ethics Website: The GCSRW, in partnership with UM Communications (UMCOM), has re-launched the UM Sexual Ethics website on ResourceUMC. Check it out at umsexualethics.org.


Did Jesus Really Say That? In a new Rethink Church podcast, biblical scholar Amy-Jill Levine explains teachings of Jesus that seem harsh. Levine is a Vanderbilt Divinity School professor and New Testament scholar. She wrote "The Difficult Words of Jesus." Listen to podcast here https://www.umc.org/en/content/wrestling-with-the-tough-sayings-compass-episode-68


Must We Choose Between God and Science? A course available through the Lewis Center offers a way to live in today’s world as scientifically informed believers. Dr. Francis S. Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health, hosts this adult education series in which more than a dozen leading scientists, theologians, and philosophers explore the contrasts and similarities between religion and science. Learn more here https://www.churchleadership.com/product/religion-science-pathways-truth/


SOSA Advent Devotionals: "Signs of the Sacred". The Society of St. Andrew, a gleaning ministry that distributes excess food to those in need, invites Christians to seek signs in the world around them with its free devotions. Order or download EndHunger.org/advent. Read Reclaiming more food to fill pandemic gaps


Decolonizing the Advent Journey: The UMC Commission on Religion and Race has created an Advent 2021 resource, with the theme of "decolonizing" the Advent journey. "Reimagine Advent. Discover The Liberating Christ" looks at the Advent story through the eyes of Jesus as a Hebrew child born and living under Roman colonialism. It offers sermon starters based on the lectionary, plus suggested songs and hymns, original litanies and children's activities that local congregations may use this season. $30. View resource

Overview of US Copyright Laws: To help avoid issues, our Legal Services team has developed a comprehensive five-part series to help your ministry understand copyright laws and licensing. View the Guidelines

Global Mission Opportunities: The Global Mission Fellows program places young adults, ages 20–30, in social justice ministries for two years of service. The program offers the opportunity for service in the United States (US-2 track) and around the world (international track). Applications for the 2022-24 cohort of Global Mission Fellows US-2 track are being accepted now. The fall deadline is November 30, 2021. Learn more.

Coffee, Kids & Chaos: Are you looking for a simple, creative way to engage young families in the life of your congregation? Coffee, Kids, and Chaos may be a great way to reach new people in your community: stay-at-home/work-from-home parents, nannies, or grandparents caring for young children. Read more

Sweet Hour of Prayer:
“The first time I participated in fixed-hour prayer, I felt like I had come home to a place I had never been and yet a place in which I truly belonged,” writes Ruth Hayley Barton. In a Beyond Words reflection, she explains how fixed-hour prayer nourishes the soul.  Read more here https://transformingcenter.org/2016/05/sweet-hours-of-prayer-how-fixed-hour-prayer-nourishes-the-soul/

Disciple-Making Resources: Discipleship Ministries offers a variety of free resources for church leaders and individuals to use. See what’s available and download  here https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/annual-conference-virtual-presence

Leading Amid Mask and Vaccine Controversy: Navigating the complicated and divisive issues of vaccines and mask-wearing has made ministry during this pandemic even more fraught for many pastors and congregations. Doug Powe and Jessica Anschutz of the Lewis Center say the key question is how we can be God’s ambassadors in the midst of this tension. They outline four strategies to reframe the debate. Learn more here https://www.churchleadership.com/leading-ideas/leading-amid-controversy-over-masks-and-vaccines/

Need Help with Social Media? Using social media to reach new people might seem complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. If your church could use some help with social media marketing, apply to UM Communications to receive free one-on-one coaching and/or Facebook Ads assistance tailored to your church’s unique needs. Learn more and apply  here https://www.resourceumc.org/en/agencies/communications/services/local-church-marketing-services

Resource UMC shares a collection educational and practical resources gathered by the Virginia Conference that will boost our understanding and ability to care for refugees. See resources

here https://www.resourceumc.org/en/content/resources-to-help-afghan-refugees

Church World Service, a UMC partner organization, is one of the agencies actively working to welcome refugees. Learn more here https://cwsglobal.org/take-action/afghan-siv-and-refugee-program/


Rebuilding Church Choirs after a Pandemic:
As churches begin to re-open, it's time to think about how we will welcome back our choirs. Several guest writers share their experiences as we plan for rebuilding church choirs after the pandemic. Read More!

CommonRoots Federal Credit Union Back-to-school loan specials, college student credit cards and youth debit cards. Information at commonrootsfcu.com. Time for a getaway Member discounts
New- Social Media Graphics: When you’re short on time or ideas but need new social media graphics, visit our free shareable library. Choose the seasonal and non-seasonal options that will best engage your online audience and post them alongside written announcements, invitations or encouraging messages. Download now

New- Clergywomen Still Under-compensated: Since the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women began monitoring disparities in compensation for UMC clergy by gender, things got worse for women clergy before getting slightly better in 2020. In 2011, clergywomen, on average, made 13% less than clergymen did. In 2015, it was 16% less. The 2020 study shows clergywomen made, on average, 11% less in salary. See the details

Boy Scout Bankruptcy Affects Churches: As Boy Scouts of America moves through a bankruptcy process, it recently reached a tentative settlement agreement with survivors of sexual abuse. Questions remain about how that agreement might affect chartered organizations, including thousands of United Methodist congregations that have sponsored scouting programs. An ad hoc committee established to represent United Methodist interests is actively engaged in the bankruptcy process and related negotiations. That committee has some recommendations for chartering congregations as the process continues. Read press release

10 Things Your Church Should Know About Cryptocurrency
What is a Bitcoin? And what should you do if your church receives Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency as a gift? See what you can do to ensure your church leaders are on the same page. Learn More!
Rebuilding Church Choirs after a Pandemic
As churches begin to re-open, it's time to think about how we will welcome back our choirs. Several guest writers share their experiences as we plan for rebuilding church choirs after the pandemic. Read More!

Use Zoom for digital ministry: If your church would like to begin using Zoom to connect with members and those in your community, you can be a part of UM Communications’ Enterprise level account through April 19, 2022. Features include up to 500 participants, no time limits, webinar functionality and much more. Learn more & apply

Higher Ed Showcase: If you know someone exploring options for higher education, send them to the UMC.org School Showcase. This comprehensive website helps students discover many options for their educational next steps. Take a look.
See how United Methodists support loans and scholarships

Rural Churches Can Thrive! While the demise of small, rural churches sometimes seems irreversible as United Methodist faithful grow older, there are ways to revitalize these congregations by focusing on what their communities most need. Bigger and younger is not always better, say some United Methodist experts. Read story

What’s Critical Race Theory? Our denomination’s Religion and Race resource library has a page that defines the construct and offers some information that Christians should know about it. There’s a video and some helpful infographics to download. Check it out here https://www.r2hub.org/library/what-is-critical-race-theory

World Photography Day: For World Photography Day on August 19, United Methodist Communications offers a variety of photographic resources for local churches. There’s a searchable media library of downloadable images, a training course on Capturing Better Smartphone Photos, a video tutorial on making photo slideshows and articles with tips for taking better pictures. Take a look 

Facing Emotional Chaos? Men who find themselves in emotional chaos can find a way out. Prayer, forming an intentional relationship with Christ and engaging in accountability relationships with other men are key steps toward emerging from a dark stretch, the Rev. Rick Vance said during a presentation at a retreat sponsored by the Commission on United Methodist Men. Read report on retreat here https://www.gcumm.org/news/weekend-retreat-helps-men-cope-with-chaos?mkt_tok=MDc4LUpYUS02NDMAAAF-1hiugPzXB2JfmaKdXdz3yeWDg0Wk3wxxERBrKQLm1vLhTsC718rLRmJA_Du78Atdur3iC1qkXHX4qyo7gPwQKrA17mznW6nLTc5KmOnCeYHfQw

Jesus' Model of How to Unplug: When Jesus took time for spiritual renewal, he went into the wilderness, writes the Rev. Rebekah Simon-Peter. She suggests that to connect with God, Christians take some time away from their laptops, calendars and smartphones. Read commentary here https://rebekahsimonpeter.com/unplugged-like-jesus?mkt_tok=MDc4LUpYUS02NDMAAAF-0PJRg3cwBGhBsQC4r1PnDITL8AQuO7Zd6JSlr3TTKvDJ0MLLl4ktV_bc4flHe8PfuivbwyrX8_A579JHPhPeunNESo7L8u-JwismZBjWpuIeJw

Talking About Money in Church: Ann Michel of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership writes that churches can promote financial transparency and enhance generosity by addressing the often-taboo subject of money more openly and faithfully. She offers seven practical strategies to improve the tone of your conversation around money and giving. Learn more.here 

Cultivating Generosity: One of the best ways to inspire giving to fund ministry is sharing stories of how lives have been changed, but there are pitfalls, says Joe Park of Horizon Stewardship. See what they are here https://www.horizons.net/blog/eight-common-pitfalls-in-offering-talk-storytelling

Discussing Christian Nationalism-Carefully: The Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol spurred a new Courageous Conversations resource from Discipleship Ministries. It is designed to help United Methodists talk about Christian nationalism while maintaining civility. Read more  here https://www.umnews.org/en/news/discussing-christian-nationalism-carefully?mkt_tok=MDc4LUpYUS02NDMAAAF-p78nBblPcyPDDZr4NT3JNOticqvBbhoXwNedJM_n_BRuSw7K62eSzM_eqla5pWOlYR0l8l1hH1V0-43Ulsm2kSuJnGnnaIVRU-yOsyl1v7Vh_A


The Caring Congregation
offers guidance on the best Christian practices to help people move through life’s challenges. The method of care is based on a team approach that empowers both pastors and laity (serving as Congregational Care Ministers or CCMs) working together to support the congregation and community. Learn more and listen to podcasts at thecaringcongregation.com

Want to Connect with New People?  Focus on the people God has already put in your path, says Ann MIchel of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership. Learn more here


Want to Use Zoom to connect with church members and the community? If you don’t already have an account, you can be a part of United Methodist Communications’ Enterprise-level account. Features include up to 500 participants, no time limits, webinar functionality and much more; licenses are valid through April 19, 2022. Get details here https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfiEU0OXGR432ZEdD2BjGGReFeptUZIVEQsyAeGzcIsLveFPg/viewform

Facilitating Hybrid Worship: The global pandemic has changed the way we think about and do worship. The new reality is there are congregants who are as comfortable at home in their pajamas as others are sitting in the pews. If you’re trying to figure out a hybrid worship model, Jeremy Steele has some tips.  here https://www.resourceumc.org/en/content/hybrid-worship


Earlier this year, because of a number of questions, the Bishop clarified some confusion over the titles used for various types of clergy. Here is a copy of her letter that was distributed. Please use it for your reference and for clear communication:


Pastor - In the United Methodist Church, this title is reserved only for those who are under appointment by a bishop.  It also can be used in retirement by those who have been ordained or have completed the Course of Study.  This title cannot be used by persons hired by local churches.


Reverend – Use of this title is not necessarily governed by United Methodist polity.  However, historically it is reserved for those who have earned a Master of Divinity or Master of Theological Studies degree or completed the requirements for Associate Membership.


Licensed Local Pastor - This term applies to those who have been issued a license by a bishop in the United Methodist Church.


Minister - This term can be used to refer to persons hired by churches to provide ministerial type services.  For example, Minister of Music, Youth Minister, Minister for Pastoral Care would be appropriate for laypersons or clergy from another denomination who are not serving under appointment, but, rather, have been hired by the local congregation.  This title can also be used for Certified Lay Ministers who volunteer in local churches or are hired by District Superintendents to provide pulpit supply. 


Deacons are a diverse population of clergy.  If a Deacon has been appointed to serve as pastor of a local church, the title of pastor is appropriate.  If a Deacon serving in extension ministry has been granted sacramental rights, they can be referred to as a pastor.  Beyond these absolutes, Deacons can use the title of pastor if they choose because they are, in fact, under appointment in a clergy role.  Some Deacons, however, prefer not to be referred to as pastor, so when in doubt, ask. It is always appropriate to refer to a Deacon as Reverend.


I hope that these descriptions provide clarity as we seek to be more consistent and transparent in all that we do as an annual conference.  As always, if you have any questions you may ask your District Superintendent.  Members of the Board of Ordained Ministry can also answer your questions regarding appropriate titling - particularly regarding changes in the title as persons navigate the ordination process.


-Copyright Extended: The United Methodist Publishing House is extending full permission to all churches for use of its copyrighted worship materials through December 31. This includes the use of the Common English Bible. Read the press release.


Decennial Report - This is a valid request.  The state requires a Decennial Report of Association Continued Existence form to be filed every 10 years -- in years ending with the number 1. The form and additional details can be found on the PA Dept. of State’s website. Due by December 31. Decennial Filing   





Resources for Responding to Racism    more info


Challenging the School to Prison Pipeline: Learn more about the way children and youth of color are funneled away from educational success and towards the criminal justice system during an October 9 seminar at Christ UMC in Bethel Park. Panelists include Allegheny County President Judge Kim Berkeley Clark, an area school superintendent and a school board member who happens to be a UMC pastor. Rev. Debra Mason will be the moderator. Get details and register now. here https://www.christumc.net/pipeline

National Day of Remembrance: Global Ministries and 10 other UMC  boards and agencies have issued a statement calling for equity and justice for Native Americans. The statement endorses the Sept. 30 national Day of Remembrance for victims and survivors of boarding schools, which stripped many Native Americans of their culture. The groups also pledge an investigation of boarding schools associated with the denomination. Read press release here https://umcmission.org/news-statements/remembering-native-american-victims-of-us-schools/?mkt_tok=MDc4LUpYUS02NDMAAAF_zXLuR3-to5yEJ_ot-psvzxREiPiR9zIGMIO-e_ZA9mFHyHVfjtJARD4cBU1yFquD4-Q2_RcoOf7HeDUhaNyW14zBTy0wwmEgEvyA_rCOmw73Ig
Read UM News story Pastor reflects on abuses at Indian boarding schools here https://www.umnews.org/en/news/pastor-reflects-on-dark-days-at-indian-boarding-schools?mkt_tok=MDc4LUpYUS02NDMAAAF_zXLuR78J1YqYL7uJbWlkcwIUqGd_4qibvATqgG-_fgs6hTLbX6J72vdvUP2ieUuqxGa4cBeDjy_5g3U99uz8990nHI4qAzF50IwyMp4lO5mLfg

Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from Sept. 15-Oct. 15 each year in the United States. The UMC Commission on Religion and Race has an infographic with facts about Hispanics' impact on the UM Church and suggestions for ways to celebrate. UM News’ overview about the month is in Spanish, but you can read it in English with Google Translate. See What is Hispanic Heritage Month?    https://www.umnews.org/es/news/que-es-el-mes-de-la-herencia-hispana
See infographic  https://www.r2hub.org/library/hispanic-heritage-month

A Day of Truth and Repentance: On Oct. 6, 1879, Gen. Richard Pratt forcibly removed First-Nations children from their homes and placed them in the Carlisle (PA) Indian Industrial School, which he founded. This year, the Church is called to observe October 6 as a Day of Truth and Repentance for Our Children. Bishops Cynthia Moore-Koikoi and Sandra Steiner Ball suggested some concrete acts we can take as followers of Christ to begin a process a healing. Read more here https://www.wpaumc.org/newsdetail/oct-6-day-of-truth-and-repentance-15467482

Poverty Simulation Postponed: The Poverty Simulation scheduled for Oct. 9 at Clarks Mills UMC has been postponed by the Conference Poverty Team. Facilitators hope to reschedule in early 2022. 

Risky Discipleship: Watch a video to learn the story of The Village at Glencliff, a unique respite care community for persons experiencing homelessness, and the risky discipleship required by the United Methodists who made it happen. Watch  here https://www.umc.org/en/content/risky-discipleship-the-village-at-glencliff

Tips for Building Relationships: Elizabeth Mae Magill wanted to create a food ministry that wasn’t a charity, but a demonstration of Christ’s radical welcome. For months, she did street ministry to get to know food insecure neighbors, hear their stories, and build relationships. In Leading Ideas, she shares nine practical tips for meeting people and learning their needs. Learn more. here https://www.churchleadership.com/leading-ideas/9-strategies-for-meeting-people-and-learning-their-needs/


Justice, Inclusion Efforts in Erie: An Erie Time-News columnist writes about methods Erie and other cities are using to examine racial justice and inclusion. Read column

Methodists Who Integrated Baseball: The man who integrated Major League Baseball had a little-known ally in his quest. Jackie Robinson had his Methodist faith, something he shared with Brooklyn Dodger executive Branch Rickey, who recruited him for the task. Robinson never publicly lost his composure while dealing with death threats, racial abuse and physical danger. Read UMNews story

Discipleship and Anti-Racism: Realize the connection and learn how to have courageous conversations on a difficult topic through a new online course from Discipleship Ministries. There’s no cost. See video and learn more here https://discipleship-ministries.teachable.com/p/courageous-conversations-racism-free

UMC Dismantling Campaign Hits One-Year Mark: The anti-racism work of the UMC is just getting started after one year of a Dismantling Racism campaign, say bishops and others. Upcoming initiatives include an anti-racism social justice agenda, more educational materials and an Advent devotional series. Read story here 

2021 Native Immersion Experience: Registration is now open for The Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference (OIMC) Immersion, scheduled for October 24-28, 2021 in Oklahoma City. The immersion experience provides history, context, and unique perspectives on Native peoples in the OIMC and their involvement with The United Methodist Church.  In addition, their Native communities will proudly share their traditions and culture throughout the event. Learn more here http://www.umc-oimc.org/2021-immersion-experience-registration-now-open/

Expanding the Table is GCORR's new podcast on practicing anti-racism. In episode 2, three Asian-American Christian theologians examine the history and current realities of anti-Asian racism in the United States and what every Christian should know and do.
Listen or Watch video here https://www.r2hub.org/library/podcast


Youth Resources

Benefits of Conducting an HR Assessment for Your Ministry: Improving the basic functions of your ministry will help you improve the effectiveness of your work. Performing a Human Resources assessment will help your ministry identify areas of improvement and growth. Benefit #1 is....

Youth Leader Retreat from Friday, September 10, 2021 to Sunday, September 12, 2021 at Olmsted Manor, Ludlow, PA 16333. Duffy Robbins will be the keynote speaker. Contact person: Amanda Gilligan

Connecting Faith and Justice: A new curriculum to help junior and senior high students actively engage the intersection of faith and justice and explore why our faith compels us toward justice. It is available to download today for free. Learn more and download

Connecting with Young Adults: In this week’s Leading Ideas, Discipleship Ministries’ Chris Wilterdink says a critical strategy for engaging young adults is to create discipleship opportunities and build relationships in the online communities where they are active. Within these spaces, the church can provide young adults an opportunity to explore identity, belonging, and purpose. Read more.

50 Ways to Strengthen Your Ministry with Youth: This resource sheet from the Lewis Center for Church Leadership is available to read or download in PDF. 

Join the Youth Ministry Team: Let your youth know that there’s still time to apply to be part of the 2020-2021 Conference Youth Ministry Team. Watch video. Fill out the online YMT application

10 Youth Ministry Lessons: SMU's Perkins School of Youth Ministry offers free youth ministry lessons that make it easy to stay connected with youth during the COVID-19 pandemic. Download the curriculum  

Online Devotions for and by Youth Workers: You need a recharge after a week of working with teens! Premieres August 6! Join us for a weekly time to be encouraged by a leading youth ministry trainer and spend a couple minutes focusing on how it is with your own soul around people who know what it's like to minister to teens! Join us every Thursday at noon Eastern, 9am Pacific to recharge!

YOUTH INFORMATION: on the web at https://www.wpaumc.org/youthevents

  • Resources for Youth Workers
  • Explore weekly updates, devotions, games, and lessons on the Youth Worker Collective. Some of the top UM youth workers offer free resources from their real-world ministries. 
  • Check out all of the Youth news at https://www.wpaumc.org/Youth
YSF Grants!
Your church can apply for a Youth Service Fund grant! Need some money to help run or launch a youth-led program or mission trip?
Apply at  www.wpaumc.org/ysfapplication.
Applications are accepted all year long.

Looking to connect with other UM Youth Leaders?
Be on the lookout for upcoming Youth Leader Networks! A small group regional program for you as a youth leader to grow and live life in
community with others who “get it.”
More info?     https://www.wpaumc.org/youth        On Facebook: Western Pa UMC Youth Leaders

Quick Links

WPA Facebook Page
Diversity Development
Mission Barn

The Eastbrook Mission Barn is one of six UMCOR Relief Supply Network depots across the United States.

Mission Barn & UMCOR Supplies- Due to Annual Conference in June being cancelled and therefore the UMCOR collection, Mission Barn Director Katie Peterson is looking for a church willing to be the collection point for their district for UMCOR supplies, cleaning buckets, and hygiene kits on a one or two time basis this summer.  Preferably they can keep track of what church brought the donations and then store the kits and supplies in a secure location. People can bring the kits and supplies from the collection directly to the barn or the conference center, or she can arrange to send a truck or trailer to pick them up. Contact: Katie Peterson


Scholarships and Grants

There are a variety of scholarships available at www.umc.org/resources/scholarships and at www.wpaumc.org/scholarshipforms.