Connellsville District News

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Fall Office Hours
Monday, Wednesday and Friday 10:30 am-4:30 pm
Tuesday, 12:00 pm-4:00 pm
Please call before stopping in as hours may vary.
Stay Informed and  Current 
Visit The Western PA Conference web page for current news and information:
Connellsville District Conference Book
You can find the district conference book  here:

Annual Conference 2020 UPDATE

Annual Conference 2020

Annual Conference Wrap-Up: A story with links to videos is posted on the Conference website. See story 

Save the Date

The one-day Annual Conference Session- Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020.

World Communion Sunday is October 4: In an email to pastors this week, Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi noted that every United Methodist congregation is expected to celebrate World Communion Sunday and receive a special offering to support scholarships for General Board of Global Ministries work and for ethnic persons pursuing higher education and in-service training. She also addressed how to celebrate communion during a pandemic. Read her email
Get worship and promotional resources in the Pastor and Leader’s Kit
 Ordination Service - at New Stanton UMC for Greensburg, Connellsville, and Washington Districts CANCELLED
Christmas Party-Paradise UMC Saturday, December 12th (11:30am-1:30pm)

Christmas Office Open House- Monday, December 14th (1:00pm-3:00pm)

Lay Ministry School:  February 21-March 21, 2021 Paradise UMC

UMW Day Apart on September Thursday, September 9, 2021


2021 Pension Calculation Worksheet

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

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

Covid Update for Churches:

Covid Update for Churches: The Conference Abundant Health Team has updated guidelines for churches to protect congregants and the community from the spread of COVID-19. It includes a link to recommendations from the CDC for upcoming holidays. See WPAUMC guidelines
See CDC guidelines for holiday celebrations.

2020 General Conference Dates Announced

Dates set for General Conference: August 29 - September 7, 2021, at the Minneapolis Convention Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Learn more.
General Conference to move to 2021 Read the news release

Prayer Concerns and Joys


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. 

COVID-19 Prayer Initiative: You’re invited to join in a Conference-wide COVID-19 Prayer Initiative that begins October 5. A daily video with scripture and prayers by the Rev. Dr. Renee Mikell and Rev. Chris Kindle  will be posted on the Conference website and social media each weekday for 19 days to guide you. Watch for more details next week. Invite your friends, neighbors and congregation, especially prayer groups and small groups, to join in. 

Annual Conference 2020
School administrators, teachers, students, custodians, and kitchen personal.
Jville U: This program is designed to provide a safe, supervised space where school aged children may come for the day to complete online schoolwork and participate in daily camp and recreational activities.  

Our Country and our leaders     
Pastors and congregations          
Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi and the WPA Cabinet
2021 General and Jurisdictional Conference                                                 

Please send your Joy's and Prayer concerns to:

Our Deepest Condolences

Praise to the God of All Comfort

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
Rev. Jay Polowsky passed away on September 30, 2020.


Birthdays and Anniversaries


 Rev. Bev Roscoe 12                                                   
Beverly Saunders—Spouse 13                                        
Audrey Bell—Spouse 18                                          
Rev. Jeri Penrod 19                                                    
Rhoda Applebee—Spouse 20                                         
Peg Reamer—Spouse 21
Rev. Tim Auer 22
Tom Shaffer—Spouse 28
Rev. Brenda Shaffer 29  
Rev. Christine & Steve Doren  8                         
Rev. Tim & Shelly Auer   17                              
Rev. Jack & Lisa Washabaugh  14                        
Rev. David & Suzanne Ealy  21               


Harbor of Hope Training: Conference Evangelists John and Christine Zimmerman will offer an online (Zoom) training session on their new Harbor of Hope Bible study from 7-9 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 12.  The study can be used by any church to provide a safe gathering for all people, including those with addiction, to explore the writings of the Holy Bible and pursue a relationship with Jesus Christ. Learn more and see video at
Register for the Nov. 12 online training

Clergy Continuing Ed Scholarships: The Board of Ministry is now accepting applications for Continuing Education Scholarships from clergy. For 2020, the maximum grant for any single event is $250 instead of the usual $500. Find the application form with details at
Download directly here.

Continuing Education for United Methodist Clergy
Since 2018, United Methodist clergy and other church leaders have taken one-hour continuing education classes at 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: 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.


Conference UMW Meeting Going Virtual 
Conference UMW Meeting Going Virtual: The Conference United Methodist Women’s annual meeting, scheduled for Saturday, October 24, will be offered in an online webinar format, rather than in person. The keynote address by the Rev. Debra Flint, an ordained deacon and licensed clinical social worker, is entitled “There’s Nothing Selfish About Self Care.” Registration will open on the Conference website by September 1.



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

  • 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
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
Applications are accepted all year long.

Mission/Disaster Response

UMCOR is assisting in conference response to the Gulf Coast hurricanes and wildfires in the West. Get updates at


Mission News: Check out updates on local and global ministries in this week’s issue of the Mission News.

Online Training
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.

 Digital Church Is Here to Stay: The move to digital worship is here to stay. Putting it back on the shelf in the new normal would ignore the greatest opportunity the church today has to reach people. Read more now.

  Connecting Small Groups Digitally: A section has been added to our eLearning series to help you gain insights on how you might use technology to enhance small groups, no matter the circumstances. Learn more.

 Clergy Facebook Group: Social Media Coordinator Liz Lennox has created a private Facebook group specifically so clergy can provide peer support during the COVID-19 crisis. You can request to join the group at
Facebook Prayer Group: We also have a public group for all our Facebook followers to offer prayer to one another at

WPAUMC Church Planning Resource List: Visit our Facebook COVID-19 Church Planning Resources here. 

  Christian Counseling Associates (CCA), seeks to be a support in this time of challenge for all who are searching for stability and guidance. CCA is available to provide counseling at their offices or online. Call 724-396-1510 to set up an appointment. Listen to their newest podcast! Resiliency in Times of Crisis

   Online Payments: The Conference Center offers online payment capability. This service will allow churches and individuals to submit payments electronically instead of mailing checks to the Conference Center. Separate webpages have been set-up for Bishop's Initiative – WPA Coronavirus Relief Fund, Bishop's Initiative-Camping Campaign, Pension & Healthcare Payments and Local Church Remittances. Details

 Tracking Online Worship Attendance: Conference Secretary John Wilson points out that there's a place on the annual statistical report form to report online worship attendance. The denomination added the line a few years ago as an experiment. He explains more about it on his webpage Learn more about counting virtual attendance from GCFA data services


Conference News

Below you will find some conference news relevant to Connellsville District. To see all conference news, go to the News section at the very top of this page.
WPA COVID-19 Updates (read more )


Conference Announcements Updated June 12, 2020.  Read Bishop's Update on Reopening Churches See What's Next for Churches video with Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi and Dr. Jessica Price. Download our Guidelines for Church Reopening  Download Green Phase Guidelines    Get take-aways and other info from our twice weekly Covid-19 Clergy Conversations. See our Coronavirus Stimulus and Relief Package information for churches. Check our Covid-19 Church Planning Resources page on Facebook. Due to ... read more

Clergy Coaching Sessions Offered (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

Conference Call to Prayer (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

Bishops Ask to Postpone GC2020 (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

Worship in Virus/Flu Season (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…/… With the number of Coronavirus 2019 (COVID19) cases increasing ... read more


Resources for Responding to Racism    more info

Racism and Faith: Three theologians from across the U.S. wrestled with how Christianity can overcome racism at a time when polls show that many white Christians don’t see racial injustice as a problem. Heather Hahn reports on the most recent online panel in the UMC series on dismantling racism. Read story 

New Online Course for Christians on Race & Racism: You Are Here: First Steps for White Christians on Race and Racism is an online course for Christians who want to acquire a fundamental understanding of race and racism from a biblical perspective. This four-part self-directed course offers videos featuring Robin DiAngelo and Rev. Dr. Anderson Hooker, reflections, and activities to help people of faith to recognize racism and begin to challenge it in their lives. Enroll here.

Seminary Dean Discusses Racial Justice: Leah Gunning Francis, author and dean of the faculty at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, bases her anti-racism work on the concept of imago dei — that all beings are created in the image of God. In the latest episode of the "Get Your Spirit in Shape" podcast, she and the Rev. Joe Iovino discuss where The United Methodist Church is already at work in the area of racial justice and what more needs to be done. Listen to episode.

Wake Up Call for White Christian America: By confronting their faith’s legacy of racism, white Christians can build a better future for themselves, and their fellow Americans, writes Robert F.  Jones, author of White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity. Read more. 

The Conference Anti-Racism Team (ART) compiled a list of suggestions for Western PA churches to address racism. Download it from the Conference's Responding to Racism page.

Listen First! As congregations work toward equality for all, it may be helpful to hear from some local church experts on how to improve communication with people from different racial and ethnic groups. Here are some tips about listening, language choices and more. Read story

Bishops Vow This Time Will Be Different! Watch and learn more about the official launch of the UMC’s renewed effort to dismantle racism and press on to freedom. Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi is one of five bishops in the video announcement on Juneteenth. See video and story

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 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

Learn how United Methodists are taking a stand against racism at

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.  

Quick Links

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 and at