VIP New-The Connellsville District Lay Servant Ministry Committee met Tuesday, January 5th by way of zoom, and out of an abundance of caution cancelled Spring Lay Servant Ministry School and set the date of the next Lay Servant Ministry School for September 19th through October 17th at Paradise United Methodist Church. The classes will begin at 2:00 pm. and end at 5:00 p.m. More information will follow after the committee’s next meeting on March 2nd at 7:00 p.m. Any questions may be directed to Tracy Shultz or the district office. As a reminder classes may also be taken on-line.
CONNELLSVILLE DISTRICT LAY MINISTY SCHOOL
New Dates: September 19th through October 17th from 2:00 pm. and end at 5:00 p.m.
Basic* - Karen Sholtis
Called to Preach* - Rev. Roger Howard
Leading Prayer* - Rev. Rick Helsel
United Methodist Polity* - Rev. Arnold McFarland
Lay Pastoral Care Giving - Rev. Tom Shirer
Teach Adults- Barbara Hess
Opening Ourselves to Grace: Basic Christian Practices -Rev. Mark Sholtis
Thursday, January 14, 2021 is the cut-off of 2020 Connectional Apportionment payments.New-Payments need to be received by the Conference Center by close of business that day(1/14/2021)for them to be counted towards the 2020 apportionment.
New-Statistical Reports due January 31. Senior pastors received an email on December 14th from John Wilson, Conference Secretary with instructions on how to submit the reports on the Ezra website.
Directions to complete online Statistical reports.
New-Beginning Wednesday, Jan. 20, Barbara Hess and Pastor Karen Martin will lead a 4-week Wednesday evening online study of Finding Peace in an Anxious World, which uses the book of Proverbs and “The Serenity Prayer” as a guide to help Christians find their way through anxiety, worry, and fear and move towards God’s peace. The book and study materials were designed as the Spiritual Growth Study for Mission u 2020, which was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The study was offered in July - August 2020 as a weekly online morning class for laity and clergy in lieu of the typical Mission u. The January 20 - February 17, 2021 study includes four weeks of the study in the evening, with a fifth session for related activities and discussion. The weekly evening sessions will run from 7-9 p.m., led by Pastor Karen Martin of the Connellsville Cooperative Parish, and Barbara Hess, former Conference UMW President and former Mission u dean.
Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 7:00 PM
Wednesday, January 27, 2021 at 7:00 PM
This event recurs Weekly from Wednesday, January 20, 2021 to Wednesday, February 17, 2021
COVID Updates: With the resurgence of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania bringing a record high number of new cases daily in several counties, the following actions were taken this week:COVID Updates: To avoid returning to a complete shutdown as COVID-19 cases surge, state and local officials have issued stay at home advisories and pleaded with people to wear masks anytime they do leave home. The latest order again stressed the need for social distancing and reduced the limit for gatherings to 10 percent of capacity. While churches are legally exempt from the gathering limits during religious services, Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi continued to emphasizes the importance of following health mandates and guidelines to protect the most vulnerable in our churches and communities. In a Nov. 18 email, she said pastors and leaders of each church should make decisions based on current conditions in their area. See Bishop’s email
New-Lay Ministry School: Cancelled February 21-March 21, 2021 Paradise UMC
New dates: September 19th through October 17th at Paradise United Methodist Church. The classes will begin at 2:00 pm. and end at 5:00 p.m.
SPARK: Saturday, April 17, 2021
Annual Conference: Thursday, June 17 - Saturday, June 19, 2021
will be held at the Bayfront Convention Center.
General Conference: August 29 - September 7, 2021, at the Minneapolis Convention Center
UMW Day Apart: Thursday, September 9, 2021
Please be aware we have updated the 2021 pension calculation worksheet on our webpage.
It can be found by visiting us at :
Drop down to misc files and it can be found there.
Please note, there is a slight increase from 2020 in that the Benefit Reserve is changing from .1% to .5% for 2021.
2021 Benefits Rate Set: The Conference Board of Pensions approved the 2021 blended health care billing rate to the local church for those covered by the Conference Benefits program. Effective Jan. 1, 2021, the rate will be $1453.00 a month, including medical, vision and dental coverage. This represents an increase of $40 a month. The monthly member cost share remains the same for 2021 at: $20 single / $35 two persons / $70 family. Get details
Rev. Chuck Hildbold and his wife Cheryl. Cheryl has been battling cancer for the past 4 years and they are hoping for an invitation to an immunotherapy trial.
Caregivers and their families.
Our Country and our leaders.
Schools and universities.
Pastors and congregations dealing with covid
Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi and the WPA Cabinet
2021 General and Jurisdictional Conference
For the covid vaccines
Continuing Education for United Methodist Clergy
Since 2018, United Methodist clergy and other church leaders have taken one-hour continuing education classes at clergyeducation.com. In addition to admission into live sessions, registrants receive a video recording of the webinar and a certificate representing 1-hour CEU credit. The cost for each session is $25.
Clergy webinars: ClergyEducation.com to see the latest list of upcoming webinars. In addition to live webinars, recordings of previous webinars are available in our "Recorded Courses" section.
Foundations for Ministry online course August 31, 2020 – May 16, 2021: This course helps Certified Lay Ministers, first-time pastors, and District Superintendent assigned persons to develop best practices for serving the local church in sermon writing, developing relationships with their congregation, building mission and vision. The course focuses on a different aspect of ministry each month with all work and discussion forums taking place online, including monthly meetings. www.larcm.org
Upcoming Events at Olmsted:
Celebrate Marriage Getaway - Feb. 12-14, 2021
Camp Allegheny is already known as the “Best Retreat Value” around. Camp Allegheny has had a successful summer of ministry serving over 600 folks. We have worked hard to be able to provide a safe camping and retreat experience. But now the best is even better! Thanks to a generous bequest and the unfortunate pandemic, Camp Allegheny is able to offer our United Methodist Churches the following opportunity.
Schedule your retreat NOW! The Best Retreat Value is now even better! Schedule your retreat between Sept. 1 2020 and May 23, 2021 and New Groups receive 50% off your entire fee. Returning groups receive 25% off. Limited time offer so schedule now!
As one retreat leader shared, “I have high expectations when I go on a retreat and you exceeded those expectations”
Contact Erika at Erika@campallegheny.org or give her a call at 814 754 5122. Also check out our webpage at; www.campallegheny.org
Saturday, April 17, 2021
Plans are being made to hold SPARK, the annual WPAUMC Youth gathering, in the Spring of 2021. The event is usually held at a Pittsburgh hotel in January. Details to be announced.
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
YOUTH INFORMATION: on the web at https://www.wpaumc.org/youthevents
Mission News: Check out updates on local and global ministries in this week’s issue of the Mission News.
One Emergency After Another for UMCOR: In a year when one disaster seems to follow another, the United Methodist Committee on Relief’s longtime investment into the training and support of church members who respond — both in the U.S. and globally — is paying off. See how
As autumn unwinds its days and leads us toward winter, many people start thinking about year-end festivities and responsibilities. We plan cheery parties, hang glittery decorations, and mostly, we spend money. We spend it on our families and friends, coworkers and neighbors. We even spend it on strangers through various charitable campaigns. If you’re looking for a way to give this holiday season, may we suggest the Conference Committee on Disability Concerns Grant Pool?
What Is the Grant Pool?
The Conference Committee on Disability Concerns maintains a fund to assist churches in their quest to make their buildings accessible to those with disabilities. It can be used for projects involving any number of disabilities, most commonly mobility issues. Churches wishing to utilize our grant program simply submit a short application detailing the project and the costs involved. The Committee reviews it, and then awards grants as funds are available. Grant amounts vary depending on project costs - twenty percent of the final cost with a cap of $2,000.
How does the Committee get the grant money?
Every penny of our Grant Pool comes from donations. The third Sunday in February is Disability Awareness Sunday; churches across the Conference take a special collection and the funds are invested right back into our churches. Parsonage projects are also eligible for grants!
I like the sound of this grant. I don’t want to wait for Disability Awareness Sunday. Can I give now?
Absolutely! In fact, our Committee has a problem. We’ve run out of money and had to implement a waiting list. It’s actually a good problem to have, because it means churches are using the money to improve our Conference’s churches! If you’d like to make a donation to the Grant Pool, simply put the funds (cash or check) in an envelope marked “Disability Concerns Grant Pool” and put it in your collection plate. Your church treasurer will send it to the Conference Center.
This is the first I’ve heard of the grant pool. How does our church get more information?
Information and applications can be found at https://www.wpaumc.org/disabilityconcerns
Will our church get more information on Disability Awareness Sunday?
Yes! Our Committee is working on the information for Disability Awareness Sunday 2021. Your church should receive the packet in early to mid-January.
I’m interested in the Conference Committee on Disability Concerns. Do you have room for me?
Of course! Contact the committee chairs to get more information.
Chad – email@example.com
Kristen – firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you so much for your time and consideration!
Rev. Chad Bogdewic, STM
Conference Committee on Disability Concerns Co-Chairpersons
http://Information and applications can be found at https://www.wpaumc.org/disabilityconcerns
Video Editing: Church leaders can learn how to use the Adobe Rush video-editing tool through a new, free training program from UM Communications. Adobe Rush enables church staff and volunteers to produce ministry videos with a polished look for posting on church websites and social media channels. Learn more
Using phones to worship remotely: Most churches have members who can connect to online worship platforms and members who cannot. Incorporating call-in capability bridges the gap. See best practices and tips for making sure everyone can worship remotely, with or without internet access. Read more.
Conference Announcements Updated Dec. 11, 2020. Our Bishop and District Superintendents urge church leaders to follow current state and local health mandates and guidelines to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus and to consider the risk to the most vulnerable in our churches and communities in determining whether to hold in-person worship services. On Dec. 11, 2020, after Gov. Tom Wolf issued a temporary executive order reducing the number of people permitted to gather both indoors and ... read more
To assist clergy as they strive to meet the on-going challenges of ministry in the age of the novel coronavirus, the Western PA Conference is offering Coaching on Demand. Trained coaches in the Conference are offering their skills at no charge as a ministry to their colleagues. "Right now, we are each navigating personal and professional challenges, new realities, and unexpected ministry opportunities," said the Rev. Amy Wagner, who took a lead role in organizing the Coaching on Demand ... read more
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1, NRSV) As our world has become encased in fear and uncertainty because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Western Pennsylvania Conference calls all laity and clergy to an intentional, daily time of prayer. In the midst of the chaos, we need to stand in the power of prayer. On March 24, 2020, Rev. Randall Bain, senior pastor at the Oakland United Methodist ... read more
UPDATE: The Commission on the General Conference, in a March 16 press release said: As concerns over the coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic continue to escalate, the Commission on the General Conference will meet on March 21 via teleconference to discuss plans for the 2020 General Conference, scheduled for May 5-15, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minn. According to the United Methodist Book of Discipline, in the absence of a convened General Conference, only the full Commission, as the duly authorized ... read more
UPDATED - 3/16/20 On March 15, the Center for Disease Control recommended that for the next 8 weeks, throughout the U.S., organizers cancel or postpone in-person events that involve 50 people or more. Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi will issue a statement on hope-filled ways United Methodists can offer ministry during this season. Updated CDC info on Mass Gatherings is at https://www.cdc.gov/…/mass-gatherings-ready-for-covid-19.ht… With the number of Coronavirus 2019 (COVID19) cases increasing ... read more
Antiracism Tips for White Christians: M. Garlinda Burton, the interim top executive for the General Commission on Religion and Race, offers some Do’s and Don’ts for white Christians starting on the antiracism journey. Read her commentary
Talking About Race: No matter where you are on your journey of understanding, the resources on the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture can help. Explore Talking About Race
Be Part of the Change! How can the church reach out with sensitivity about race and injustice? To effectively communicate beyond your congregation and culture, try to forge a true, interpersonal connection with those you want to reach. It would help to also do some homework, says John Coleman, Communications Director in the Eastern PA Conference. Read more.
United Methodists stand against racism: A new campaign is uniting the denomination against racism. Church leaders can turn to ResourceUMC.org to find the latest diversity and inclusiveness information and tools, including downloadable campaign graphics. Resources to engage members as they listen, act, speak and pray are available at UMC.org/EndRacism.
Learn how United Methodists are taking a stand against racism at UMC.org/EndRacism.
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
Racial Justice Conversations: GCORR offers excellent resources to help churches discuss and learn more about racial justice. See Racial Justice Conversations Guide.
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