Connellsville District News

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Office Information

Office Hours
Monday, Wednesday and Friday 10:00-5:00
Please call before stopping as hours may vary.
Stay Informed and  Current 
Visit The Western PA Conference web page for current news and information:                    

Ponderings from the Pastor’s Partner

New-Ponderings from the Pastor’s Partner: For 35 of her years as a pastor’s wife, Cheryl Hildbold wrote newsletter articles reflecting on the intersection of faith and family life. She always wanted to share them in a book, but she passed away after a 5-year battle with cancer on June 1.  Now, though, her husband Rev. Chuck Hildbold and family have made that book a reality. Learn more at
The book is available from the publisher through the website, search on Amazon or contact

REMINDER- Flooding that impacts homes or churches

New-If you have any local flooding that impacts homes or churches please contact your District Superintendent or David Kissinger, Conference Disaster Response Coordinator at or at 814-243-3254. The Conference Disaster Response Team(s) are prepared to assist with cleaning homes and helping people that may be impacted by the remains of any Hurricane or storm.

Safe Sanctuaries

Safe Sanctuaries-Due September 

The Quadrennial Training required for clergy in 2021 is on Safe Sanctuaries and Mandated Reporting. It's offered online through Safe Gatherings. Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi emailed all clergy on July 6, provided instructions, and the link to register within 90 days. Details are also available at

CLERGY NOTE: Send a copy of your completion certificate to the District Office.

 is a requirement for every church and will be reviewed at this year’s fall conferences. The website has many resources and even a sample policy. Review your church’s Safe Sanctuary Policy. Check out the requirements on the conference website and talk to your church insurance company. Make sure that your policy is updated, is communicated, and especially, is intentionally adhered to by the congregation. While the conference has a policy, each congregation must also have your own policy

Lay Ministry School 2021

Register here:
New Dates: September 19th through October 17th  from 2:00 pm. and end at 5:00 p.m.   
Class Title:                                                                                                                
Basic* -  Karen Sholtis                     
Called to Preach*  - Rev. Roger Howard                                           
Leading Prayer* - Kimberly Foos
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

How to Set Your Pastor’s Salary for 2022

New-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

Facilities Use Agreement for Scouting

New-Facilities Use Agreement for Scouting: In a Sept. 3 email, Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi advised leaders of churches who charter Scout troops not to renew their charter, but replace it with a Facilities Use Agreement. A denominational ad hoc committee has completed work on a Facilities Use Agreement for congregations. Copies are available from District offices. See Bishop’s September 3 email
Read latest on Boy Scouts of America bankruptcy case

Transforming Evangelism Online Class

We are announcing a wonderful opportunity for the laity of the Western PA Annual Conference!
A grant from the Evangelism Team has provided fully funded seats for the Transforming Evangelism Online Class. Not only will this class grow our laity in evangelism but it also serves as an advanced course in Lay Servant Ministries. Registration is now open. Information and registration for the class are available at the website. Feel free to share this information throughout your contacts and social media outlets. The web link below should have all the info you need but let me know if you have any questions or suggestions....

The Western PA Conference Evangelism Team has funded a limited number of seats for laity in the Western PA Conference to take the “Transforming Evangelism” online two-week class that will fulfill the continuing education requirements for renewal of Certified Lay Servant (one advanced course every 3 years), Certified Lay Speaker (one advanced course every 3 years), or Certified Lay Minister (one advanced course every 2 years). This online course requires the student to commit about one hour per day, Monday through Friday, for two weeks (10 days).

Two course dates to choose from:  Sept 20 - Oct 1, 2021

Online Instructors: John and Christine Zimmerman

Information and registration are available at:

Seats will be filled in the order of registrations received until full. Therefore, please only register if you know you can attend.
The class is fully funded but you will need to purchase a copy of Transforming Evangelism: The Wesleyan Way of Sharing Faith by Henry H. Knight III & F. Douglas Powe, Jr. A link to purchase the book is available on the website.

General Conference postponed until August 29 – September 6, 2022    more info

New-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

District Events


Wednesday, November 10, 2021
Cochran Memorial UM Church
211 Griscom Street, Dawson PA 15428
For more information: Contact Pastor Bruce Anthony-


Save the Date



Local Pastor's  Luncheon:   Friday, September 3rd
Location:  Jumonville 887 Jumonville Rd. Hopwood 
 email Pastor Mark Sholtis  for details

UMW Day Apart: Thursday, September 9, 2021

Youth Leader Retreat
September 10-12, 2021
Olmsted Manor
Guest Speaker: Duffy Robbins
For more information and to register, check out Olmsted's site!

Lay Ministry School: 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.   


Local Pastor's  Luncheon: Friday, October 1st
Location: TBD

Annual Conference
May 31-June 4, 2022
Erie Bayfront Convention Center


Prayer Concerns and Joys

States effected by floods & fires- Jason Anthony (Pastor Anthony Son)- Journeyman Lineman helping to restore power in the south

Teachers and Students- Back to School Blessing: United Methodist Communications offers a back to school blessing video you can view and share. See it
Caregivers and their families

Our Country, Military and Leaders

Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi and the WPA Cabinet

2022 General and Jurisdictional Conference   

Community: From Mission News- Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2 NIV 
A sense of community is needed now more than ever. Over the past couple of months, we have experienced many disasters such as storms and fires. But much more recently, the last few days have seen turmoil around the world, from political unrest to tropical storms. Hait, for example, has experienced political unrest, earthquakes, hurricanes, tropical storms, job insecurity, poverty, uncertainty and more. In this time of uncertainty we need to put our differences aside and come together in prayer.
Because of this upheaval, the work of UMCOR has been much needed. Your thoughts, prayers and donations are greatly needed. You might ask, how can we designate our donation to be used just for Haiti, in view of their repeated disasters? The answer is UMCOR does not designate funds for any specific disaster, which keeps us nimble in our response for immediate needs. Any and all funds that will go to Haiti for earthquake relief are pulled from our international disaster response fund here.
Read more on the earthquake in Haiti here.

Please send your Joy's and Prayer concerns to:

Birthdays and Anniversaries


Washabaugh Lisa  - Spouse 1                                      
Wyatt Fitzgibbons— Spouse 7                        
Pastor. E. Robert Nagy-16                                        
Steve Doren—Spouse  20                                        
Pastor Barry Ritenour -22                                        
Beth Forsythe—Spouse 27



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.

Olmstead Manor, Camp News & Retreats

Upcoming Events at Olmsted

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:

D I V E R S E A B I L I T I E S RETREAT with Rev. Sally Jo Snyder October 3-5, 2021 Cost: $75/person ($50 Early Bird) includes class, 2 nights stay, & 6 meals.  
Wednesday Sept. 15th or  any day after that will work for me.

Exploring Wonder and the Joy of Nature Photography- Fall Photography Workshop

October 11-13th  Common in children everywhere, wonder too often goes to sleep in adulthood. We can make wonder a habit once again and rediscover its importance as a deep well of spiritual insight, daily discovery, creativity, and productivity. This 3-day retreat, in the height of PA’s fall foliage season, explores the surprising body & brain effects of exposure to the natural world while teaching simple and effective photo skills.



Local Pastor's  Luncheon:   Friday, September 3rd
Location:  Jumonville 887 Jumonville Rd. Hopwood 
 email Pastor Mark Sholtis  for details

Grounds & Cross Information
Our grounds and walk to the Cross are now OPEN to the public! All buildings will remain closed, including restrooms.  Any trash also needs to be taken with you when you leave. All guidelines & social distancing must still be followed. 

Camp Allegheny


Local Work Teams needed...Any age or day! Schedule your team today!

Call 814 754 5122 or email

Spend a day or weekend helping Camp Allegheny while having a great time with each other.  Free overnight and meals.

FREE FIREWOOD!  We have 12 trees we need to drop and we have another 12 already down that needs cut up for firewood.  Do you need Firewood?

We have 6 buildings we would like to get stained this fall.  We have the stain and the brushes.  All ages and any day!



At The Lake Ministries

NEW -At the Lake Ministries that was part of Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi’s State of the Conference address this year was featured in the United Methodist News Service Daily Digest. Watch video

Mission/Disaster Response

Volunteer In Mission Team Leader Training Dates

New-This training is for certification as United Methodist Volunteer in Mission Team Leaderand is designed to equip participants to plan and lead VIM teams locally, nationally, or internationally.  It is designed for those who have previous experience as part of a VIM team or local mission service and for those who have led VIM teams and need to re-certified with the new UMVIM Handbook.

It is also helpful for those who have thought about joining a VIM team and want to know what to expect. In the process you will learn more about UMC missions and Volunteers In Mission opportunities for local churches & individuals. More...

  • September 25, 2021 at 10am
  • October 23, 2021at 10am
  • February, March and April 2022


Let's get ready, trained and equipped to work!

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

  • Eastbrook Mission Barn: 
    • New-Mission Barn Needs Flood Buckets, Hygiene Kits: With flooding in Western PA and the Louisiana Conference and other areas hard-hit by Hurricane Ida, our Eastbrook Mission Barn needs cleaning buckets and hygiene kits. These items can be brought to the Mission Barn or one of its satellites. 
      Get kit assembly instructions

      If you would like to come volunteer at the barn – to verify or make up UMCOR kits or build ramp modules – you can anytime!  You can also go out and assist in assembling a ramp in the community.  Just contact us at  to register your team.   Thank you to all the churches, individuals, and UMWs for your generous prayers and support of me as your Deaconess and Church and Community Worker and Eastbrook Mission Barn! If you would like someone to share the joy of missions with your church or organization, please contact me at My advance covenant salary number is 982942.  Eastbrook Mission Barn’s WPA advance number is ms002009b.  If you donate through the WPA Conference, you can designate your donation this way.      

Youth News

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

Youth Leader Retreat
September 10-12, 2021
Olmsted Manor
Guest Speaker: Duffy Robbins
For more information and to register, check out Olmsted's site!

New-SPARK 2022
Two locations and dates
Pittsburgh Sheraton Station Square: Jan. 8-9
Erie Bayfront Convention Center: April 9-10

New-July 18-22, 2022
A week of outreach, worship, and service!

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.

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.


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: 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

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

 Important Links: 

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.
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

Bishop Announces Shared District Leadership Model (read more )


As Indiana District Superintendent Jim Pond prepares to retire, Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi announced a new experimental district leadership model. Her announcement follows.           The pandemic has reinforced the importance of our connection, teamwork, innovation, and good stewardship of our resources.  It has further affirmed that in Western Pennsylvania we can manage through change because God has been faithful to us in the midst of changing dynamics as we have had to develop new ways of ... read more

WPA COVID-19 Updates (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

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

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