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Announcements

2021 Annual Conference

The 2021 session of the Annual Conference will be held at the Bayfront Convention Center.
Thursday, June 17 - Saturday, June 19, 2021


General Conference 2021

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
 


Church Reopening?

Returning to Church During COVID-19 Playbook: How your congregation joins in worship and community activities has changed significantly. Members want to come together for services but appreciate the flexibility technology offers. Shifting back to in-person services while maintaining a vibrant virtual ministry presents a unique challenge for churches. But you can make this transition as easy as possible. Vanco created the Returning to Church During COVID-19 Playbook to guide you through safely reopening your church and preparing for the future of worship. In this playbook, you will find essential guidance and recommendations on…
• Adjusting church practices to accommodate safe, contact-free activities, sacraments, events and giving.
• Communicating virtually with staff, volunteers and your congregation.
• Infusing technology into ministry.
• Maintaining a sense of community wherever members are gathering.
Welcome your congregation back to in-person worship with confidence and embrace the new hybrid church. Download your copy of our playbook today.


Church reopening? Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi said in a letter to clergy that you must follow governmental laws and official health guidelines.  Continue to have conversations with your church leadership and your District Superintendent as you make decisions about how and when to reintegrate in-person worship to your ministry. You can find our reopening guidelines and a video discussing our reasoning at wpaumc.org/covid-19-whats-next-for-churches.  

WPA Health Team Updates Reopening Guidelines: As some Western PA counties move toward the Green phase of Gov. Tom Wolf’s Plan for Reopening Pennsylvania, the Conference Abundant Health Team issued updated guidelines for churches in “green” counties. Learn more


Rich & Lu Mroczka Coming to Johnstown

Rich & Lu Mroczka will be in Johnstown, PA from October 12 through the end of November.  They would like to know if you want them to speak at your church about what has been happening in their missions ministry.  You may email Rich at richmroczka@gmail.com to schedule a time for the couple to come speak at your church.

 


Moxham Mom's Club Volunteers Needed    more info

WOULD YOU LIKE TO VOLUNTEER???
We need you. Moxham needs you.
 
Dates needed: October 5, 12, 19, 25 and November 1, 9, 16, 23 and 30 – whenever you are available is fine (1 week or 9 weeks!!!) Please call Natalie Marionneaux at (814) 410-5457
 
Volunteer opportunities include:
1.            Meal preparation and clean up (5-6:15pm)
2.            Assist in supervising mom’s group – topics to include finance, parenting, health (physical, mental & spiritual) – Be a presence and support for the women. If you would like to lead a topic, that can be arranged. If you have ideas for topics, please share. Call Natalie to discuss.
3.            Assist in youth activity – will usually be an art activity where youth will need supervision and guidance. Would you like to lead? Have ideas for activities?
4.            Assist in childcare (up to age 4) – keep a watchful eye on the children as they play. (Youth and childcare will require clearances which all UMC churches follow. We will help with those requirements.)
 
If you are unable to be with us in person, there are other ways to participate:
1.            Donate a meal one week (prepare it or donate cost of meal $25+)
2.            Match saving account funds up to $100 for those who open savings accounts (we will verify accounts and deposit directly)
3.            Donate art supplies one week ($20/week)
4.            Donate to sponsor paid supervision for youth and childcare ($50/week)
5.            Donate a turkey for Thanksgiving week – “Make a Meal” meeting
 
THANK YOU THANK THANK YOU for your consideration in being part of this new venture with Moxham Moms. We look forward to what may come and hope you will be a part of it with us. Please feel free to reach out to Natalie with questions and when you can volunteer. Call her directly at (814) 410-5457
 


Eunice Smith Coat Giveaway

6th Annual “Eunice Smith” Coat Giveaway, Sponsored by Scalp Level Trinity UMC will be held on Saturday, October 17th, 12:00PM to 4:30PM at the Windber Community Building, located at 1605 Graham Ave, Windber, PA 15963. 

Nearly 1,500 coats have been distributed through the Coat Giveaway over the past 6 years. We expect that the need for this ministry will be greater than ever.

We welcome donations of new or gently used coats of all sizes, infant to adult! Monetary donations, as well as, donations of hats, gloves, and scarves are also appreciated. Donations can be brought to the church by October 13th. Call (814)467-9051 to arrange a time to drop off items. Monetary donations can be mailed to Scalp Level Trinity UMC, 751 Horn Road, Windber, PA 15963.

Help us to share God’s warmth and love with the community!


Training at Olmsted

In light of the last several months, it is clear that the future of ministry will rely on technology. These tools have helped us to continue serving our congregations through a pandemic and have opened doors to allow the church to reach wider and serve better. After a season of “just figuring it out,” Olmsted is offering a Ministry Technology Training on September 13-15, 2020 to help church leaders become experts at all things virtual. Topics will include utilizing virtual spaces for all of church life, software, equipment, social media, legality, and best practices. Have a specific skill you are looking to master? Bring your questions and go home ready for the future!
Speakers: Bill Jacka, Liz Lennox, Alan Morrison, Sean Lewis
Location: Olmsted Manor Retreat Center, 17 East Main St. Ludlow PA 16333
https://www.olmstedmanor.org/ministry-technology-training.html
 


Opportunity for Clergy

We are again offering Clergy Communities of Practice—a type of covenant-learning group for pastors in various locations around our Conference. This year we’ve even offered added an online group which will meet in the evening so that more clergy can be involved. The groups meet together monthly beginning in September. Each meeting includes worship, conversation, learning and accountability. Now is a great time to be involved, as pastors can connect with other clergy and hear new ideas, while supporting one another! Each meeting focuses on a different topic such as:  worship, leadership, mission, diversity, etc. Questions can be directed to Susan Moudry:  susan.moudry@wpaumc.org.
For more information and to register visit:  https://wpa-reg.brtapp.com/CCOP2020
 


UM Human Services Project Shoes

Please consider making a donation on behalf of United Methodist Human Services, for their Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community fundraiser. All proceeds go to support Project Shoes,  providing new, seasonally appropriate, well fitting shoes to under-resourced kids in close to 50 schools and agencies across five counties. This year we participated in a Virtual Walk! A real walk, but on our terms, with photos submitted of our journey. You can go to our Highmark Page to give by no later than July 15th:  http://hcf.convio.net/site/TR?fr_id=3009&pg=entry  Or you can send donations to UMHS at 510 Locust Street, Johnstown, PA 15901. Please put Highmark Walk in the memo line.


Events

Annual Reviews/Evaluations

Monday, March 9, 2020

The due date for all three evaluations - May 15, 2020

Evaluation links were sent on Monday, March 2, 2020.  Reminder that the links to all three evaluations have been sent to the senior pastor.  Please make sure the links are sent to those responsible for completing the 2020 evaluations.  If you need help, please don't hesitate to call the district office.  


The Language We Use

Saturday, October 10, 2020 to December 16

Agreeing and Disagreeing In Love, a 90-minute webinar if you intentionally avoid conversations during holiday gatherings with relatives whom you find unreasonable.  Are certain "hot potatoes" off the table at Thanksgiving? Is the "good news" of Advent overshadowed by arguments over "fake news"? Three sessions available: October 10, December 2, or December 16 from 10:30am to Noon (Central Time). Contact us at 630-627-0507 or Admin@LMPeaceCenter.org, or register online at https://www.brownpapertickets.com/producer/720852. Information & Registration
 


new SPARK! (added 5/24/2030)

Saturday, April 17, 2021 (1-Start date exaclty the same as end date)

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.
 


News Articles

Conference Committee on Disability Concerns Grant Pool (read more )

10/28/2020

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? ... read more


Acts 29 Study (read more )

9/11/2020

ACTS 29 Study In the book of ACTS (with 28 chapters), we read about the Holy Spirit at work in the lives of believers & about his power unleashed in the communities in which they lived & traveled. How did that happen? It all began with prayer! Before Jesus ascended into heaven, he told his disciples to stay in Jerusalem & wait for his gift, promised by the Father. As they waited, they all joined together constantly in prayer. And, God sent his Holy Spirit to fill them. God is the ... read more


Schedule Your Retreat at Camp Allegheny (read more )

8/26/2020

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 during this 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!  ... read more


University of Pittsburgh's Tech Support for Teachers (read more )

4/28/2020

View this email in your browser University of Pittsburgh's Tech Support for Teachers/Community-Based Organizations   Editor’s note: This information was originally shared in an email from Lina Dostilio, Associate Vice Chancellor for Community Engagement   We’ve been hearing from within our networks that in many cases our teachers are the front line of helping students and families navigate ... read more


United Methodist Human Services (read more )

3/9/2020

5x1000 Campaign:  $5 is all it takes to change lives!  A small way to make a big difference! We all want to do good with our money, but sometimes there just isn't much left at the end of the month!  A little can go a long way with the Power of Multiplication!   The 5x1000 Campaign for UMHS $5 a month is all it takes to change lives! Your $5 monthly gift will help put shoes on children's feet and food on the tables of families and senior citizens.  You'll help provide diapers and hygiene kits to ... read more


Holy Land Pilgrimage (read more )

2/20/2020

Revs. John & Patsy Ciampa invite you to join them in a journey to the Holy Land on February 16-26, 2021. Have you ever considered walking where Jesus walked, or sailing on the Sea of Galilee, how about walking the streets of Old Jerusalem?  What it would be like to visit the birthplace of Jesus, or stand at the site of the crucifixion, or better still, the empty tomb? An opportunity to do these things and much more is coming.  Pastors John & Patsy Ciampa will lead a Holy Land Tour early next ... read more


Umcor Updates to Cleaning Kit (read more )

2/10/2020

Cleaning Kit Value: $75.00 per kit Cleaning Kit Materials One five-gallon round bucket with lid (14.35” h x 12.19” w x 12.19” d) o No screw lids o May be used, but must be free from all residual product o Advertisement on the outside acceptable One 32–64 oz. bottle liquid laundry detergent One 16–40 oz. bottle liquid concentrate household cleaner o No spray cleaners One 16–34 oz. bottle liquid dish soap One 4–8 oz. pump spray air freshener One 6–14 oz. pump spray insect repellant (pack of 10... read more


Conference News

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

6/5/2020

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 )

5/6/2020

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 )

4/13/2020

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


Resources

Leadership Development

Online Attendance Metric Myths: Churches often make worship attendance a primary measure of effectiveness, but counting is very different in a digital world, writes Rev. Ben Gosden. The counting process is much more complicated. Read more

Overinvest in Young People? “Working harder at what we have always done will not engage vast groups of unaffiliated millennials,” says Bishop Janice Huie. The Sunday School to youth group to campus ministry to principled Christian leader pipeline only works in larger healthy churches with a critical mass of younger people and resources for all aspects of ministry. For others, she calls for redirecting some church resources to reach unaffiliated young people in communities, a plan she admits may not be popular in many churches.  Read more from Leading Ideas

Did Your Church Charter a Boy Scout Troup? Because of the Boy Scouts of America (“BSA”) bankruptcy litigation, if your church is or ever was a chartering organization, file a proof of claim request. You do that by following the links in the notice on the Finance Announcements page of the Conference website.

 


Resources for Responding to Racism    more info

Dismantling Racism: As we work to educate and dismantle racist systems, an FBI analyst speaking at a symposium on domestic terrorism last week said it’s important to be aware that the Pittsburgh area has become a hub for white supremacy and extremists. Read Post-Gazette story. 

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

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.  


Advent Resources

WPA Missions Advent Calendar. This year, WPA missions has decided to come up with something different to spread the joy of Christmas. We are launching a Missions Advent Calendar! This is an exciting opportunity for us to learn about something mission related, pray for a ministry, and donate. Share it with your ministries and group, friends and family. How powerful is it when we can all get together and pray for the same cause? That is POWERFUL! Let's spread the light and Joy of Jesus Christ this Advent.
 
Reimagine Christmas: As church leaders face the prospect of preparing for an Advent and Christmas that will look very different in 2020, the Conference staff offers something to help ease the stress a bit. It’s a bundle of tools, ideas and resources to help you Reimagine Christmas. 

Partnership Advent Devotional: United Methodists in Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Germany have completed their 2020 Advent Devotional in English and German.  Read more. Download devotional.

 
Extend Advent Invitations: People will be yearning to connect with a loving community this Christmas. Extend warm invitations to online and/or in-person worship services with the help of customizable outreach resources, such as banners, postcards, invitation cards and more. A wide variety of designs, messages and languages is available. Save $300 off your order by using code UMCA20. Order resources.


Quick Links

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.