GCFA Continues Sanctions Against East Africa Bishop

published 11/26/2014
The board of The United Methodist Church’s finance agency is taking separate actions against two African bishops over financial and accounting issues. Some relate to issues raised by the Western PA Conference regarding use of $100,000 given to the East Africa Conference.  In one instance, the General Council on Finance and Administration board decided Nov. 21 that the finance agency will withhold funds from East Angola Area Bishop José Quipungo’s episcopal office until he provides “a ...

Help Make Mission VIMpossible!

published 11/21/2014
-By Leslie Uriss Spehar- Scholarships for Volunteers in Mission trips (VIMships) have been available for several years through the Western PA Conference, but the supply has been limited due to lack of resources. To increase the number of VIMships available, the Conference Volunteers in Mission leadership team has launched a fundraising plan that will enable them to assist people who feel called to the mission field.  They are on a mission to make the impossible VIMpossible. The costs ...

Churches Welcome All for Thanksgiving Meals

published 11/19/2014
-By Jackie Campbell- In many communities across Western PA, United Methodist churches open their doors on Thanksgiving Day to welcome friends and neighbors for a Thanksgiving feast. It’s a love gift  and a way to see that no one has to be without a “family”meal on the holiday.  At Beulah Park UMC in McKeesport, church youth, seniors, families and community volunteers help to prepare a community meal. Several families rearranged their family dinners in order to help at the church.   “We are ...

Camp Dean Sets Sites on New Telescopes

published 11/18/2014
During the past 20 years, Rev. Dale Shunk, who serves as co-dean of an Astronomy, Rocketry and Computer camp each summer, has placed professional grade telescopes at all three of the Western PA Conference camps. He's done it "in order for our campers, young and old, to enjoy an original and personal view of God’s creation," he said. Shunk's latest project was at Jumonville, where the camp purchased the newest edition of the Meade Telescope line called the Meade Light Switch or LS.   "This ...

Family Loss Leads to Thanksgiving Ministry

published 11/18/2014
By Leslie Uriss Spehar Family traditions are the foundation on which holiday celebrations are built. When those traditions change, for whatever reason, how we experience the holiday does as well. When Jeanne Cosgrove of Coraopolis UMC lost her mother and sister in 2011, the idea of celebrating anything seemed a daunting task. Cosgrove tried her best to create a festive atmosphere at Thanksgiving that year for her husband and two children, but when the meal was done and the dishes washed and ...

Missionary Requests Prayer for Peace in Jerusalem

published 11/18/2014
Conference missionary Tina Whitehead of Oakmont UMC is in the Holy Land, where tensions have been escalating in East Jerusalem.  She asks for prayers for peace and sent the following report of what she has experienced. I’ve been in Jerusalem for one month now and should have written long ago.  Where to start?  At present, the situation is very tense in East Jerusalem and has been since July.  While the world was focused on Gaza this summer, life in Jerusalem became more and more difficult.  ...

Conference Evangelist Named My Hope Coordinator

published 11/12/2014
Conference Evangelist John Zimmerman has been selected as the Pennsylvania coordinator for My Hope with Billy Graham. Regional coordinators were named across the nation this year to encourage local pastors in their efforts to share the Gospel. The My Hope organization on Nov. 7 released a new film called “Heaven,” which includes a never-before-seen message from Billy Graham that was filmed last year at his home in Montreat, N.C., as well as the impactful stories of writer and speaker Laurie ...

Bishops Issue Statement on Human Sexuality; Call for Prayer

published 11/7/2014
Oklahoma City, Okla.: The Council of Bishops has issued a statement concerning human sexuality, addressing their diverse perspectives and calling the people of The United Methodist Church to be in prayer, both for their leaders and for one another. The statement reads: As bishops of The United Methodist Church, our hearts break because of the divisions that exist within the church.  We have been in constant prayer and conversation and affirm our consecration vow “to guard the faith, to seek ...

Crossroads Launches Campus in Weirton, WVA

published 10/29/2014
By Jackie Campbell Crossroads UMC officially launched a new campus on Oct. 25, something not all that unusual for the small-group-based congregation that developed a multi-site strategy about nine years ago. But this time the campus is in a different state and a different annual conference.  It’s in the city of Weirton, West Virginia—about 25 miles due west of Crossroads’ North Fayette campus near Greater Pittsburgh Airport. The groundwork for the launch was done over several months by Barry ...

Students Raise $40,000 for Zimbabwe Clinics

published 10/29/2014
By Jackie Campbell Two United Methodist college students from the Pittsburgh area have raised $40,084 through a seven-week online campaign to help rebuild the rural Nyahuku health clinic in northeastern Zimbabwe. Because they surpassed their $30,000 goal, Natalie Geer, a junior at Ohio Wesleyan College, and Jessi Mazzoni, a senior at Allegheny College, will take the 2014 Pittsburgh Polar Bear Plunge into the frigid waters of the Allegheny River in December -- and they'll be shouting out the ...

Strengthening Black Church Event Set for Oct. 31-Nov. 1

published 10/22/2014
The Rev. Dr. Fred A. Allen, national director of Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century (SBC21), will speak to leaders from multi-racial and African-American congregations in Western PA at a seminar Oct. 31-Nov. 1.  It will begin at 3 p.m., Friday, and run through Nov. 1 at the Four Points Sheraton in Cranberry Twp.   The intent is to assist leaders with strengthening churches in Western PA, said the Rev. William B. Meekins, Jr., assistant to the Bishop, who organized the event.    ...

Enlow to Retire from Jumonville

published 10/20/2014
Being in charge of all of the programming at Jumonville requires energy, patience, motivation, and a strong desire to serve the Lord. Ree Enlow has all of that in spades. For over twenty-five years, Enlow has been planning, directing, counseling, and coordinating everything from programming, to risk management, to staff training at the camp. Though her official title is Director of Program Services, she also serves as the camp nurse, camp store manager, and Challenge Course manager. As if all ...

Kephart Church Celebrates 100

published 10/15/2014
It's 1914.  Woodrow Wilson is in the White House; the Boston Braves and Philadelphia Athletics are in the World Series; lucky drivers are in $200 Model T's and the members of the Fawcett Avenue United Brethren Church are finally in their new house of worship.         On October 19, 2014 at 10:30 am, members and friends of the now Kephart United Methodist Church will hold a special service to mark the centennial of their church and parsonage.  Pastor Deborah Kociban and retired pastor John K. ...

Protecting your identity is a full time job!

published 10/14/2014
Last year it was Target. More recently, it was Home Depot. Now, Kmart has experienced a credit card data breach. Protecting your identity has become an issue that everyone needs to make a priority. The problem is that most of us do not have the time, the knowledge, the skills, or the technology to monitor our personal information around the clock. Many times, victims don’t even realize that their identity has been stolen until months or years later. The Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates ...

Ministry Goes to the Dogs at First UMC, Johnstown

published 10/13/2014
By Leslie Uriss Spehar The music ministry at First UMC in Johnstown has gone to the dogs. Though the female responsible isn’t saying a word, everyone else is quick to sing her praises. Emmy, a 9-year-old Scottish terrier, has been part of the church choir for several years. It all started one Easter morning when Tom Ferguson, the church organist and bell choir director, had to be at church very early for a sunrise service.       Realizing that he would be away from home until later that ...

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